Friday, 28 December 2012

Some 2013 EV predictions

Heather Clancy of GreenTech Pastures summarises a US perspective on some predictions for the EV market for 2013 from Pike Research:

The outlook is relatively optimistic for the next 12 months, with probably 400,000 electric vehicles (which includes bicycles, by the way) expected to be on the road by the end of 2013 in the US. Hey, if Washington state feels there are enough electric vehicles on the road now in order to introduce a brand-new EV highway tax, you know mainstream adoption must be accelerating.

So what's around the corner? Cleantech market research firm PikeResearch has issued its set of predictions for the year ahead, implying that the "industry will be racing ahead in second gear."
Here are some highlights:

#1: The e-bicycle market will explode. Pike predicts that North American sales will grow by 50 percent to about 158,000, as component costs decline and the number of brands offering models multiplies. The market for e-motorcycles will remain relatively custom, though.

#2: Higher capacity, 48-volt batteries will charge up the market for stop-start and micro-hybrid vehicles. Right now, the predominant technology is 12 volts, which has seriously limited the applications. This class of teeny vehicles, which is particularly popular in Europe, shuts down at red lights or during stop-and-go traffic, helping to reduce fuel emissions.

#3: Fuel cell vehicles will gain more prominence. This technology uses hydrogen and oxygen from the air to produce enough energy to run the car, but its commercial potential is still relatively limited. Pike predicts that about 3,500 units will be shipped from the likes of Toyota, Daimler, Hyundai and Honda – primarily to companies that manage public and private fleets.

#4: Germany will lead growth in Europe. If you think electric vehicle adoption has been slow in the United States, you'll be surprised to hear that things across the Atlantic Ocean have been even slower. That will change next year, with the emergence of at least seven models optimized for the European market, according to the Pike Research predictions. The most dominant player (at least for the next 12 months) will be Volkswagen, which has six different models in the pipeline that have an electric twist. The company's home market in Germany will emerge as the single biggest market on the continent, with about 14,000 vehicles by the end of 2013. One thing that could help charge up the European market will be the emergence of IBM technology that helps drivers travel regionally, without having to worry about whether or not there is a place to refuel their battery.

#5: A larger diversity of public charging infrastructure will be in place. There are several forces as work here. First off, we'll finally see some activity around a new fast-charging standard, which should make for more installations. Most of the equipment currently in place takes woefully long to charge up a vehicle – an average of four to eight hours, which is fine if you're parked somewhere for the whole day but not-so-fine if you are traveling outside of your immediate community. Another thing to watch will be deployments of wireless charging infrastructure that don't require plugs at all. Sales should reach 283,000 units annually by 2020, according to a separate Pike Research report
#6: Natural gas will cut into the electric truck market. The interest in manufacturing or purchasing natural gas trucks has grown along with the abundant supply of natural gas. Cost factors will help the market grow to more than 47,000 vehicles sold in 2013. One limiting factor will be the dearth of places to refuel them.

Of course, many of the same things driving the industry during the past 12 months will also be a factor.
In particular, I believe you will continue to see real-estate companies and retailers continue to invest in offering electric vehicle charging infrastructure as a service in their parking lots. Safety issues will also remain in the spotlight, and more states are likely to adopt policies like the one in Washington, in order to ensure that roads and highway upkeep funds don't dry up as more car owners opt to avoid the high price of gasoline.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Reva solar recharging station (photo)

Elektromotive agrees sale to Chargemaster

I am pleased to make an announcement, one we sent out last week to the media but I forgot to post! Elektromotive is being sold to Chargemaster, as the two leading uk suppliers of charge points join forces in order to compete on the international stage. This is a deal that has taken several months to put together but I am delighted that we finally got there:

Chargemaster Plc, Europe’s leading provider of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, is pleased to announce that is has reached agreement to acquire Elektromotive Limited (“Elektromotive”), the Brighton-­based company that was the first to introduce charging stations in the UK nearly 10 years ago. The acquisition is subject to approval by the shareholders of the Singapore based holding company of Elektromotive, Elektromotive Group Ltd, listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange, and this approval is expected to be granted in the coming months. The Acquisition is being recommended to shareholders by the board of Elektromotive Group Ltd. The agreed purchase consideration is £8.5 million in cash.

Post acquisition, the Enlarged Group will be a leading European provider of EV charging infrastructure and this scale will enable the Group to compete on an international level. The combination of Elektromotive and Chargemaster are highly complementary and will form a financially, technically and operationally strong platform from which to expand internationally. Chargemaster is pleased that a British company will have the scale to compete successfully against divisions of major international players entering this marketplace such as Schneider in France and Siemens and RWE in Germany. The market is growing rapidly, with EV sales in Europe expected to grow 20 fold over the next eight years and to be worth some US$1.4 billion by 2020. The market is growing currently at an annual compound growth rate of 40% (source: Pike Research, Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment in Europe, Q3 2012).

Access to Chargemaster’s technology and manufacturing processes will enable Elektromotive to reduce production costs and the consolidation will reduce overheads for the Enlarged Group. It is the intention that the two brands will continue to be marketed in parallel and the economies of scale will enable the Enlarged Group to become increasingly
competitive in terms of pricing, in a marketplace where it is expected that rapid growth will be driven by reducing prices.

The Elektromotive brand has strengths in many geographical territories that are complementary to Chargemaster’s geographical focus, including overseas in Ireland, Belgium, and Asia; and here in the UK, the London Boroughs, the North East and North West of England and in Scotland. Elektromotive also has over 15 re-­‐seller distribution partners globally.
Chargemaster, with a strong presence in London, Southern England and the Midlands, the Netherlands and France, has built an impressive portfolio of some 30 products. Chargemaster has secured key motor manufacturer partners such as Nissan, Renault, Vauxhall, Toyota, as well as partnerships with energy companies such as British Gas and SSE. 

The Company’s products serve every sector of the EV charging market, from rapid charging units capable of re-­‐charging EVs in under 30 minutes to attractive low cost overnight domestic charging.

Chargemaster owns and operates the Polar recharging network, which it launched in 2011 and which subsequently has grown to become the UK’s largest national recharging network. In 2012 Elektromotive launched Charge Your Car, a joint venture to create an advanced central charge point management system to be offered to the market on a branded and a white label basis, designed to connect existing regional recharging networks and charge point owners across the UK, enabling them to access all EV drivers and collect revenues on a pay-­‐as-­‐you-­‐go basis.

Elektromotive has some of the most talented and knowledgeable key personnel in the industry and they will be continuing with the Enlarged Group working alongside the vastly experienced Chargemaster team. The combined management team is undoubtedly one of the most experienced worldwide in the electric vehicle charging industry.

David Martell, CEO of Chargemaster, said: “I am delighted that we have reached this agreement with Elektromotive; the two companies target highly complementary sectors of the market and offer synergistic product ranges. The Enlarged Group can now focus on growing its market share across Europe by producing the most technically advanced and value for money charging units on the market.”

Calvey Taylor-­‐Haw, Managing Director of Elektromotive, commented: “This is an extremely positive deal, not only for the two companies but also for the industry and customers. I have respected the market drive and innovative technology that Chargemaster has brought to the sector over the last few years and my senior management team and I look forward to working with David and the rest of his team in making the Enlarged Group a worldwide force in this exciting and rapidly growing market.” 

2012 - a good year for electric cars

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone involved with electric vehicles.

In spite of all the negative and unhelpful rubbish printed in the media in 2012, this year has been one of continued progress. Sure, the number of EVs on the road and charge points in the ground is less than hoped for or forecast, and it is always sad to see businesses failing. But that's the nature of early markets, as the over optimistic and the naive fall by the wayside, to be replaced by the sober men in suits.

I have a sneaky feeling that 2013 may actually be better than many people think, but a lot is riding on Renault and BMW to deliver their promises with the Zoe and the i3. Good luck to them and to you, time to unplug for a few days of excess...

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

The reports: London homeowners aren’t just offering their driveways as somewhere for commuters to park, but are now also offering them up as somewhere for EV drivers to charge their cars.

A new partnership between, energy company SSE, Chargemaster and Source London means that for the first time, drivers entering the capital will be able to reserve a charging space in advance, using’s network of driveways available for rent.

Homecharging on the driveHomeowners in London are being offered the installation of electric car charging points free of charge, if they agree to make them available to rent to other EV drivers, doing their bit to reduce the capital’s transport emissions.

Normally worth £1,500, the charging points offer homeowners a chance for a useful additional revenue stream, giving them the opportunity to make money from both their available parking space and charge point, at times when they, themselves don’t need them.

Currently drivers cannot book charge point spaces in public places in London in advance. This new service will give EV drivers peace of mind, knowing that they can now reserve a space to charge at someone’s home, freeing them from ‘range anxiety’.

Chargemaster, in partnership with SSE, expects to install 200 charge points over the coming months, adding to the 800 already in place as part of TfL’s Source London scheme. The charge points installed through partnership will appear on the Source London map of charge points.

One homeowner, Mark Jabbal from Uxbridge, West London, has received over 75 parking bookings at his house since signing up earlier this year to He is among the first of the website’s homeowners to take up the offer of a free charge point. He said: “It’s great to be able add to the services I can offer drivers, Now they can park and charge their cars at my house. I’m also planning to buy an electric car so there’s an additional benefit for me too.”

The parking space is reserved by booking online using All the driver needs do is enter the time and place they want to charge and then book the charge point. Ten points have already been installed at spaces listed on the site. The cost for charging an EV set by the homeowner and added into the overall charge for the space.

Anthony Eskinazi, CEO of commented: “We are hugely excited to be involved in this programme. Not only will this provide EV drivers with additional charge points throughout the capital, and help speed up the adoption of electric cars in London, but it will also enable homeowners to generate a new source of income from EV drivers.”

3 new EVs for 2013

The Nissan Leaf and Tesla S have competition. Electric vehicles from Chevrolet, Fiat, and BMW were unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show, bringing the number of EVs and plug-in hybrids on display to more than a dozen. The Chevrolet Spark EV will sell for about $25,000 after subsidies and integrates Apple Siri, the Fiat 500e will be memorable for its signature Electric Orange color, and the BMW i3 Concept Coupe sets itself apart with a carbon firbe structure. These vehicles are coming into a market that is growing rapidly and which will comprise just over 10,000 US sales is 2012 for battery-only electric vehicles (BEVs).

Chevrolet Spark: more affordability plus some cute Apple technology integration

The Chevrolet Spark EV is the first electric car to use the SAE J1772 Combo DC Fast Charge specification that allows for recharging to 80% of battery capacity in 20 minutes. It’s also cheap to buy at about $25,000 before a $7,500 federal tax credit. There are twin LDC displays in the center stack, the better to show off the electrical wizardry, and Chevrolet MyLink in the Spark EV embeds Apple Siri compatibility with the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S.
J1772 Combo DC Fast Charge is a spec endorsed by many European- and US-based automakers, but not the Asians. It’s meant to deal with recharge anxiety: If you want to drive more than 100 miles, you don’t want to wait an hour or two for existing quick charge solutions. At 20 minutes claimed, this isn’t much longer than a normal petrol/diesel-engine refueling stop. Normal recharge takes about seven hours for the Spark EV; Chevy says the A123 battery pack is designed to take multiple quick charges during the day. GM says the Spark EV will be available summer 2013 in California, Oregon, South Korea and Canada initially.

Fiat 500e: cute urban car gets cuter

This is a car Fiat didn’t want to build. Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne in March said Fiat will lose $10,000 on every Fiat 500e it builds. But it looks good on paper and now in the flesh, including the bold Electrico Arancione (Electric Orange) paint treatment shown on this vehicle on the Fiat stand. Fiat says the 500e will get about 80 miles per charge in normal driving and hints at a city driving range of more than 100 miles, which would be outstanding if it happens. Most EV driving is in urban areas. Most automakers start out saying their electric cars get about 100 miles range and then, with the reality of user experience settling in, find that 75-80 miles is the new norm.
Recharging is about four hours using a 220-volt charger and almost a full day recharging from standard 120-volt outlets. When it comes to the US, it will be sold in California only. Price is estimated to be around $35,000, less the $7,500 EV tax credit, plus the apparent $10,000 loss that Fiat shareholders will shoulder.

BMW i3: technology for efficiency

Weight is the enemy of efficiency. With the BMW i3 Concept Coupe, BMW unveiled an EV built with a carbon fiber frame instead of steel or aluminum. The body panels are covered in plastic, here a coppery orange with black roof panels. Carbon fiber also gives the i3 exceptional crash protection; carbon fiber is the component of choice in open-wheel (Formula 1) race cars. The motor and electronics are similar to the BMW ActiveE with 168 hp, which is a lot for an EV if not for a BMW. Still, this weighs under 2,500 pounds (1,100kg), or 1,200 pounds less than the BMW ActiveE, which is basically a BMW 1 Series EV that has been leased in small quantities (1,000) to build real-world experience for the i3.
The i3 is a three-door concept vehicle, although “concept car” when spoken by BMW means pretty much what you’ll see as a real car in late 2013. The big difference: the concept is a three-door coupe. The production i3 will be a five-door hatchback with decent room for four (just go easy on the luggage). The lithium-ion battery pack will be in the car’s flat floor. Rather than an instrument panel, there will be one LCD behind the steering wheel, a second in the center stack, and a control wheel (iDrive). With the motor and electronics in front and the driven wheels in back, it will have nearly equal front-rear weight distribution for better handling. Price hasn’t been announced but the premium features suggest it could be around $50,000.
BMW is building an EV/PHEV sub-brand called BMW i. The i3 (initially called the Mega City Vehicle) comes first as a battery-only vehicle, followed by the BMW i8 in 2014. The i8, which was re-unveiled in LA, will be a plug-in hybrid with acceleration and handling on par with BMW’s M performance cars - and the one that should win over the journalists.

London congestion charge: only EVs to be exempt.

Electric cars are likely to be the only vehicles to escape London’s congestion charge from next year if new emission recommendations are accepted by London Mayor Boris Johnson.
Approximately 19,000 vehicles, mainly with small diesel engines, currently escape the £10-a-day levy as their engines emit less than 100 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre. But from July 2013 the levels will be reduced to less than 75g of CO2 per kilometre, and at present only all-electric and some hybrid cars can achieve this. Owners of cars that meet today’s levels will have a sunset period of two years before they lose their exempt status.
London is the most electrified car city in the UK with 16 per cent of all electric cars and 850 charging points rising to 1,300 by March 2013. Although EV sales remain low to date, 2013 will see plug-in electric vehicle launches from several manufacturers such as BMW, Renault, VW, Toyota and Volvo and sales will be significantly bossted in London by this clear signal of intent.