Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Vodafone and Mahindra Reva

Here's a project being reported this week that I started back in 2008, bringing Vodafone and Reva together:  Vodafone has reported that Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles, part of the automotive, defence and energy multinational Mahindra Group, has partnered its recently launched e2o electric vehicle with Vodafone’s machine-to-machine (M2M) communication services.
According to Vodafone, drivers of the e2o can remotely access a range of features and functions such as checking their battery, remotely controlling air-conditioning and locking or unlocking doors by using a smartphone app or dedicated web page.

Erik Brenneis, Director of M2M, Vodafone, said: ‘We are proud to be the first telecom service provider to bring the M2M service platform to the Indian market today. An industry tailored offering coupled with secure connectivity, best in class M2M service platform and superior network from Vodafone provide Mahindra Reva the capability to develop a whole range of new services around India’s first connected car’.

Chetan Maini, Founder and Chief of Technology and Strategy at Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles Pvt, said: ‘The e2o is the first and only Indian car, and among the few worldwide, to have telematics based features that enable ‘anytime, anywhere connectivity’ between our customers and their cars’.
Maini added: ‘We are pleased to partner with Vodafone as our exclusive Machine-to-Machine mobile connectivity solution provider.’

EU directive to drive growth of charging infrastructure

The ambitious European Commission draft directive on charging station targets for member states is reproduced below. This could well be a key driver of the European EV market from 2015 to 2020, once the legislation is enacted. 122,000 public charging stations (not sockets, so the total number of charge points will be higher) for the UK, that's a good target and one that will really drive growth. In my opinion, if 2014-15 is going to be all about rapid chargers, then 2015 to 2020 is going to be all about charging up the workplace.


Saturday, 27 April 2013

Tesla best selling US EV Q1 2013

The electric car race has a new front-runner.

Tesla Motors’ Model S sedan is outpacing General Motors’ Chevrolet Volt so far this year. Tesla is on track to post first-quarter sales of at least 4,750 of its flagship model in the U.S. and Canada, a company spokeswoman said.

GM would come in second with 4,421 North American deliveries of its Volt, a plug-in hybrid that uses both batteries and a gasoline engine.

Nissan Motors sold 3,695 of its Leaf model, which like the Model S is all electric.

Tesla announced earlier this month it would turn its first quarterly profit in the company’s 10-year history. It also dropped plans to put out a lower-end version of the car with less battery power, focusing instead on higher-tier versions that start at about $70,000.

On Friday, the company said it plans to offer loaners to owners whose Teslas are in the shop. The loaners will be the newest and highest-end models.

Customers who get one can buy it on the spot, and Tesla will cut the purchase price 1% for every month it’s been on the road and $1 for every mile it has been driven.

Friday, 26 April 2013

IEE Report: EVs 2% to 10% by 2035

According to a report published this week by the  Institute for Energy Efficiency (IEE) and reported by ecartec.de, even by 2035, electric vehicles will make up no more than 30 million of the 261 million light-duty cars, trucks and vans on the road, or about 12 percent of the world’s fleet -- and that’s a best-case scenario.
IEE puts its mid-range scenario at 25 million EVs by 2035, adding up to 1 in 10 vehicles on the road. But its most conservative, i.e. pessimistic, scenario puts EV penetration at only 5 million vehicles, or about 2 percent of the world’s fleet by then.

Battery technology advances are the key variable separating IEE’s low-adoption and medium-adoption scenarios. In fact, IEE names its mid-range, 25 million EV scenario the “Advanced Battery scenario” to distinguish it from its low-range case, which it derives from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)'s Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) 2012.

The Advanced Battery scenario "shows the importance of the initial purchase price (influenced by battery costs), and the value of having enhanced vehicle utility through range extension and reduced charge time,” the report states, indicating three critical battery technology features that need to be improved, in terms of energy storage capacity, power capacity and of course, cost. While range extension and cost factors rely on improvements in battery technology and vehicle engineering, charging time is more a matter of building the fast-charging infrastructure to "refuel" EVs at a speed approaching the time it takes to fill a gas tank.

IEE's high-range EV adoption scenario takes fossil fuel prices into account, by presuming a rise from about $145 a barrel for the mid-range case to more than $200 per barrel by 2035, and comes up with a slight bump from 25 million to 30 million vehicles. “It is interesting to note that High Oil price alone does not induce that many more consumers to purchase electric LDVs,” the report stated, largely because initial price remains the most important variable for car buyers.

About 31 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions can be tied to the burning of fossil fuels in the transportation sector,” the report notes. About 60 percent of that is made up of light-duty vehicles, which make up only 1 percent of electric powered transportation today (electric buses, trains and trolleys make up the vast majority of today’s “EV” fleet).

As part of its role as a nonprofit research arm of the utility trade group Edison Electric Instutute, IEE’s report also adds up the electric generation required to power all these new plug-in vehicles, as well as a greenhouse gas footprint of what’s expected to be the power mix by 2035.

All in all, the low-case scenario leads to a 33 terawatt-hour electricity consumption increase in 2035, but reduces vehicle emissions by about 9 to 22 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent; the medium-case scenario boosts power consumption by 112 terawatt-hours and reduces vehicle emissions by about 41 to 94 million metric tons CO2; and the high-case scenario increases EV power consumption to 147 terawatt hours and reduces CO2 emissions by 51 to 116 million metric tons.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

London Congestion Charge: only EVs exempt from July 2013

BusinessGreen report that the business case for buying electric vehicles in London became even stronger yesterday, after the Mayor of London announced plans to make all diesel vehicles pay the Congestion Charge.

Transport for London (TfL) confirmed it will replace the existing Greener Vehicle and Electric Vehicle Discounts with a stricter Ultra Low Emission Discount (ULED) from July 1.
Cars currently qualify for the Greener Vehicle Discount if they emit 100g/km of CO2 or less and meet the Euro 5 standard for air quality, meaning some low emission diesel cars are exempt from the charge.

But to qualify for the ULED, vehicles will have to either be pure electric or emit 75g/km or less of CO2 and meet the Euro 5 emission standard for air quality. TfL expects that no diesel car on the market would meet the new criteria for the discount now or in the immediate future.

Matthew Pencharz, the Mayor of London's adviser on the environment, said the move was specifically designed to curb the growing number of diesel vehicles on London's roads.
A Euro 4 diesel car emits about 22 times as much particulate matter as the equivalent petrol car, but sales of diesel vehicles in the capital have climbed up from a 10 per cent to a 50 per cent market share over the past decade, partly as a result of low carbon incentives.
"These changes are in line with the Mayor's aim to improve air quality in London by reducing emissions from private vehicles and promoting the further development of low emission vehicles," said Pencharz in a statement. "We want to encourage the continued development of these technologies, while also protecting the benefits to traffic flow in the centre of London that the charge provides."

TfL also confirmed diesel drivers already receiving the Greener Vehicle Discount will continue to be eligible until June 2016.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Navigant: 2m PEVs by 2020

Navigant (formerly Pike) Research forecast 2m PEVs (plug-in electric vehicles) by 20209, a compound annual growth rate of 39%, representing 2% of the total market.

That's a very slow, but steady growth curve.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

EV League Table

 Here is ACEA's 2012 league table of plug-in vehicle registrations per '000 vehicles for 2012, as reported in IPPR's paper published today, Leading The Charge.

UK in 15th place - must do better!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Fiat 500e pricing for US launch

US pricing has been announced for Chrysler Group's Fiat 500e at $32,500, which includes a $700 destination fee, and a competitive leasing rate of $199 a month with $999 due at signing lease for 36 months.

The Fiat 500e will launch this summer in California. Eligible California residents may be able to purchase the 500e for as low as $20,500, after federal credits, state incentives and FIAT rebates are included. That’s  less than the current starting price of the ICE model.

The 500e is rated at a combined 116 miles per gallon equivalent with 122 MPGe city and 108 MPGe highway. (MPGe is the EPA-devised measure for determining how many miles an EV can travel on a quantity of battery-generated electricity that has same energy content as a gallon of gasoline).

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Rise of the electric delivery vehicles

James Murray of BusinessGreen.com muses on the rise of electric delivery vehicles in London: 

Each morning, I take a half-mile stroll from Bond Street tube station through Mayfair and Soho, past the former haunts of Handel and Hendrix, to BusinessGreen's central London bunker. Despite our interminable winter, it is a very pleasant walk and over the past few years it has provided a daily snapshot of an under-reported revolution in the green economy – a revolution that promises to slash carbon emissions, improve UK energy security and boost the profitability of millions of firms, although you'd be forgiven for having missed it.

If you walk through central London at about eight in the morning, you will see surprisingly little traffic (the Congestion Charge is still working; one of the many travesties of Mayor Boris' reign is the failure to build on its early success), but you will see a lot of delivery vans. And if you are interested in such things, which I have to admit I am, you will notice that a significant and growing number of them are green. In the space of a 10-minute walk you will typically see between five and 10 vans or trucks proudly displaying their green credentials, declaring to the world that they are using hybrid, gas or increasingly electric technology. They are invariably complemented by the growing numbers of electric cars taking advantage of Mayfair and Soho's relatively numerous electric car charging points. Yes, these vans and cars are still very much in the minority, but they are there, and their numbers are growing.
Obviously you have to be careful about drawing wider conclusions from a sample as arbitrary as "things I see on my walk to work", but the figures confirm that interest in these clean vans and cars is climbing at a rapid clip. The most recent numbers from the SMMT confirm sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles – including electric, natural gas and biofuel powered cars and vans – rose nearly 10 per cent last year to almost 28,000 units. Yes, they still make up just 1.4 per cent of the automotive market, but demand for these vehicles is growing at twice the rate as it is for petrol vehicles. Meanwhile, those petrol and diesel cars and vans are getting significantly more efficient, as evidenced by hugely encouraging new research from the AA that confirms forecourt fuel sales have fallen by nearly 10 per cent since 2007.
All this means that on the ground it is visually apparent that more and more businesses realise it makes sense to operate delivery fleets that are dominated by alternative fuelled vehicles. They understand that they offer a lower total cost of ownership and improved reliability, as well as lower environmental impacts. Switching your fleet overtime to electric, gas or even fuel cells is starting to become a no-brainer for a wide range of companies.
There are also several important lessons for business leaders and policymakers contained in my daily walk to work – lessons that should be heeded if we are to make the transition towards grener vehicles as painless as possible.
The first is that with alternative fuel fleets and electric cars having pretty much reached the tipping point where they offer a lower total cost of ownership than conventional alternatives, this technology is becoming normalised. It is tempting to dismiss this trend as yet more southern metropolitan eco-bling that will have no meaningful repercussions outside of the M25 – tempting, but wrong. Trends may start on Carnaby Street, but they soon spread. The cost of electric cars may currently be prohibitively high, but the cost of mobile phones and computers (both of which you also saw first in places like Soho and Mayfair) were cripplingly high at first, too. Prices for electric vehicles are already coming down fast, as evidenced by the recent price cut in the Nissan Leaf, while predictions of yet higher oil prices only serve to make alternative fuelled vehicles more attractive.
Another aspect of this green transport technology becoming normalised is the mounting evidence that it works. When you see logistics giants like UPS and FedEx using electric vans you know the due diligence has been done and that it has been extremely thorough. Delivery is the core business of these firms; they are not going to risk it being undermined by unproven technology. Other businesses can now look at these pioneers, many of which are several years into their alternative fuel vehicle programmes, and safely conclude that the approach makes both technological and economic sense.
The second major lesson is for policymakers, who, as I have argued time and again, remain obsessed with pushing green consumer technologies at the expense of business technologies that can deliver greater environmental and economic benefits at a lower cost.
Drawing on the example provided once again by the IT industry, it is worth recalling that it was businesses and schools that first pushed the use of computers into the mainstream, providing the springboard from which the technology then made it into the home. This is the approach governments should be seeking to emulate with alternative fuelled vehicles (not to mention solar panels, smart meters, and most other low-carbon technologies).
It would be far more cost effective to focus on providing the incentives and infrastructure needed to convert delivery and taxi fleets to zero emission technologies than the current approach of trying to support every aspect of this emerging market. You would realise greater economies of scale, you could better target the new recharging and refuelling technologies you would need, you would deliver rapid improvements in air quality in congested city centres, you would provide a guaranteed market that would help manufacturers to reduce costs and, best of all, the technology would become highly visible, accelerating the vital process of normalisation. Anyone driving or, more importantly, taking a taxi would experience the benefits of zero emission vehicles invariably encouraging more consumer adoption of the technology.
There are already some attractive tax breaks and grants available to companies switching to electric cars or vans, but the government should now double down on this trend and properly investigate how to ensure businesses outside of W1 can also take advantage of green fleets.
Finally, there is a broader macro-economic lesson for investors, businesses and governments contained in both my walk to work and the AA's startling figures showing that UK fuel demand is on the slide. The likelihood remains that the drastic surge in car ownership being experienced in emerging markets means global demand for oil will continue to rise for the foreseeable future. But the increasingly rapid improvement in fuel efficiency and the transition to alternative fuel vehicles proves that countries can push fuel demand into reverse. As the IT revolution proved, technological transitions can happen remarkably quickly when a new product, such as a computer or an electric car, prove that they offer cost and performance benefits over the incumbent technology.
Investors, businesses, and governments all need to be aware that there is a real and present risk that new technologies could result in falling demand for fossil fuels. And if they need a reminder they could do worse than walk through central London of a morning.

Croatia seeks to become EV manufacturing base

A report on Croatia's EV ambitions from business news europe.com as reported in ft.com: Since declaring independence in 1991, Croatia has lost a staggering 80 per cent of its manufacturing base.

But if the long-cherished plans of a couple of Croatian companies come to fruition, the country could soon become known as the home of an innovative, high-tech automotive industry that builds on the proud legacy of one of its most famous sons, electrical engineering genius Nikola Tesla.

Until recently, Croatians’ obsession with all things automotive has done little for the real sector of the economy. While western neighbour Slovenia boasts a Renault plant and eastern neighbour Serbia is home to a Fiat factory, Croatia has until recently only played host to a number of relatively small-scale domestic enterprises that supply automotive parts to foreign manufacturers.

That may be about to change if Rimac Automobil and Dok-Ing Automotive, after several years of research and development, can move beyond the concept model stage of electric cars to full-scale production. Although neither of Rimac or Dok-Ing claim that their respective cars will ever be manufactured in the type of volumes achieved by the global automotive giants, the hope is that the firms will support the ambitions of future generations of product designers, engineers and manufacturing entrepreneurs.

The first of the two models to hit the market has been Rimac’s Concept One, a true electric supercar which can reach a top speed of 305 km/h (190 mph), making it the fastest electric car currently in production. Powered by four specially developed electric motors, the 1088-horsepower vehicle can travel from 0-100 km/h in just 2.8 seconds and can drive for up to 600km on a single charge.

Developed at a purpose-built facility in Sveta Nedelja near the Croatian capital Zagreb, the Concept One, which has a million-dollar price tag, is now being actively marketed to the expanding class of the global super-rich looking for the latest plaything to brighten up their lives. At this stage, annual production is unlikely to exceed 15 cars a year, but it is hoped that the Concept One will eventually attract a fan base that will help position the Rimac Automobil marque alongside the likes of traditional supercar manufacturers such as Bugatti, Ferrari and Lamborghini.
Almost as extraordinary as the Concept One’s performance is the fact that Rimac Automobil was only founded in 2009 by a fresh-faced inventor, Mate Rimac, who is still aged just 24. Rimac has successfully transformed his one-time automotive dream into physical reality – a remarkable achievement that has earned Rimac widespread global media coverage. Bloomberg for example included him among its “Best of 2012″ list, while Wired magazine (a bible for tech geeks) recently dispatched a team of journalists and photographers to Croatia to report on the story of the Concept One’s development.

The Concept One
Rimac says he’s only interested in manufacturing the Concept One in Croatia, or not at all – a stance that meant two years of negotiations over venture capital support from investors from Abu Dhabi eventually broke down after the potential backers insisted Rimac relocate his factory to the Gulf region, which he refused to do. “It is a matter of patriotism. In Croatia, we don’t have any manufacturing industry any more. I want to establish a technology business that produces real products. I want… to be the best in the industry. And stay in Croatia,” he says.

Croatia’s other wannabe electric carmaker, Dok-Ing, is conducting final tests on its XD prototype, a more modest vehicle than the Concept One, which it hopes to start producing by the end of the year. “It’s a luxurious, fast, small urban electric car made of sophisticated materials, first in its niche, and despite a price of €50,000 already has interested buyers,” says Dok-Ing owner Vjekoslav Majetic, a 57-year-old engineer who began developing his idea five years ago and presented the first prototype at the Geneva Auto Show in 2010 to rave reviews from the motoring press.

The XD in LA
Featuring three seats configured in Y-formation like the Maclaren F1 supercar that places the driver in the middle of the car, the XD has a futuristic body shell made from a pioneering mix of carbon fibre and Kevlar, and features a touchscreen dashboard and electrically operated gullwing doors. With a top speed of 140 km/h, the XD can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 7.5 seconds and will have maximum driving range of 250km on a single charge.

Founded in 1991, Dok-Ing has traditionally manufactured robotic vehicles for unexploded ordnance removal, firefighting and underground mining, but Majetic, a self-confessed car buff, admits that he has always had a burning ambition since a child to design and produce cars. “When I realised that we had the knowledge, I decided to do it. I’m not motivated by profit, it was more like a game, I wanted to prove that I could do it,” he says.

At present, the company is reported to have 50 pre-orders for the XD from Croatian customers, the first being placed by Croatia’s richest businessman Ivica Todoric. Majetic says he’s hoping for tap foreign investors for development capital that would help the company hire 200-300 additional workers and upgrade its production facilities in Zagreb. If it can source the required additional funding, Dok-Ing eventually hopes to produce 1,000 units a year. Increased production volumes could mean that the XD could eventually retail for as little as €30,000, opening it up to a potentially much wider global market.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Citroen Berlingo Electric for the UK in 2013

The new Citroen Berlingo Electric van will go on sale in the UK later this year, priced from £21,300 + VAT (££25,560).

Citroen expect local authorities and urban-based private sector businesses to be the main customers.

The Citroen Berlingo Electric uses the latest electric vehicle technology. An advanced permanent magnet synchronous 49 kW electric motor is powered by a 22.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, that gives the electric van zero emission driving range of up to 106 miles, according to official NEDC testing. The van will have a top speed of 69 mph.Recharging will take 12 hours from a standard socket or 35 minutes to 80% from a rapid charger.


Sunday, 7 April 2013

Detroit Electric sports car

The new Detroit Electric SP:01 is a 155mph, 0-62mph 3.7 seconds, 180 miles per charge (after 4+ hours of waiting around) US$135,000 (£90,000) electric car that looks great, and is a real flier.
The self-appointed 'Detroit’s fourth carmaker' (the city is home to the US’ ‘big three’; GM, Ford and Chrysler) is trying to do a very difficult thing - make money out of manufacturing a sports car, and an electric one at that.
The production run will be 'limited' to 9999. Hmm. I am usually a big supporter of EVs, not least because it is tough to start any business, never mind take on a global automotive industry. But like Fisker, these guys may find the going tough - although in Detroit Electric, they have a truly authentic brand with a great story. Only the British bluebird brand is stronger in my opinion.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The Bjorn Lomberg EV debate - why EVs must be your primary vehicle

John J Walters writes on Reason.com: When Bjorn Lomborg wrote“Green Cars Have a Dirty Little Secret” for The Wall Street Journal earlier this month, he based his argument—that electric vehicles (EVs) are no better for the environment than internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) due to the manufacturing process—on a 2012 study published by the Journal of Industrial Ecology(JIE). He made a convincing case, and I must admit: I was taken in.

But the convenience and even wide-spread belief of something doesn’t necessarily make it true. Spurred on to seek out the truth by a very helpful Reason reader, I took a hard look at the JIE study from Hawkins et al. I wasn’t the first to do this, but I hope to be one who cares more about the facts than an agenda.

As it turns out, the JIE study that Lomborg points to contains a number of problems that should raise a quizzical scientific eyebrow. In fact, Hawkins et al. were forced to issue a correction to their report in January.

In the JIE correction, EVs come out much greener than they do in Lomborg’s op-ed. While Lomborg states that “unless the electric car is driven a lot, it will never get ahead environmentally,” Hawkins et al. come to a different conclusion:
We find that EVs powered by the European electricity mix reduce GWP [global warming potential] by 26% to 30% relative to gasoline (originally 20% to 24%) and 17% to 21% relative to diesel (originally 10% to 14%).
Even in the original study, EVs came out ahead over an estimated lifespan of 90,000 miles, despite being loaded down with lithium-ion batteries that scientific advancements have not yet made kind to Mother Nature. Still, reducing emissions by up to 30% without necessitating any changes to our current energy consumption habits can hardly be called “never getting ahead.”

And that’s assuming that Hawkins et al. have actually reached a reasonable conclusion now that they have corrected their estimates of the required production inputs for a Nissan Leaf—their representative EV for the study. Instead of assuming, however, let’s take a look at another study.

This UCLA report prepared for the California Air Resources Board, Lifecycle Analysis Comparison of a Battery Electric Vehicle and a Conventional Gasoline Vehicle, compares EVs (which they refer to as BEVs, or battery electric vehicles) to ICEVs (which they call CVs, or conventional gasoline vehicles). On pages 18 and 19, the authors report average expected CO2 emissions over a lifetime of 180,000 miles for an ICEV to be more than twice those expected for an EV.

In sum: both the JIE and the UCLA studies reach very similar conclusions. Hawkins et al. find EVs to be up to 30 percent cleaner than ICEVs over 90,000 miles and the UCLA study estimates 64 percent lower CO2 emissions over 180,000. (Keep in mind: this is with current battery technology as well as current energy mixes, which rely primarily on fossil fuels.)

And yet Lomborg dismisses this still-fledgling technology as doing “virtually nothing.” He’s right that EVs are not “zero emissions,” of course. But if the chief goal of a buyer is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, they are a step in the right direction.

That having said, a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions isn't grounds for thousands of dollars in subsidies from Uncle Sam. Let the market decide if it's worth driving an electric car to be green, not the government.
UPDATE (3:00 pm): Bjorn Lomborg reached out to me via email with this response that I think is worth posting:
I do know of the correction to the Hawkins study, but it just changes the outcome about 6% (they're very explicit about it not changing much). However, the US electricity grid is also significantly more co2-intensive than the EU average, which was why I kept their estimate of 24% less emissions if driven 90,000 miles in my WSJ. It is not surprising, that if the car is driven twice that at 180,000 miles, it will emit even less.
My point with the WSJ article, however, was also to point out that if you can only drive 73 miles at a time (and likely much less, both because you want to avoid being stranded, like NYTimes reporter John Broder, and because the range declines to 55 miles in five years), it is much less likely that you will drive even 90,000 miles and certainly 180,000 miles before you change your battery and hence increase your co2 emissions again.
Moreover, if you buy a car with a longer range (just drove a fantastic Tesla with almost 300 miles range)—its batteries will obviously have emitted so much more co2 in production that it is unlikely the car will ever earn it back.
So, I don't think these points serve to undermine my argument, but rather simply show that the numbers are pretty clear. If you drive little (50,000 miles or less), you'll emit more co2. If you drive rather much (90,000 miles) you'll probably emit 76% of a gasoline car (with average US electricity), and if you drive your electric car exceptionally far (180,000 miles) you might just emit half of a gasoline car.
All that remains to think about is how far will most future purchasers of a Nissan Leaf actually drive their car. Most will buy it as their second car for short, infrequent trips.
This is an excellent point. In writing this post, I focused solely on rebutting the idea that EVs can't make up for their manufacture with lower greenhouse gas emissions over time (and miles). I stand by what I've written above—they can even with current technology. If you drive them long enough.
However, Lomborg's point that many will buy these as second cars and use them only rarely and for short trips is probably very true. If you're buying one of these cars to reduce your emissions, you better actually drive it a lot (instead of your ICEV) and hold onto it for as long as possible. Otherwise they're just a wasteful fashion statement—like pretty much every other car on the road.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Estonia's rapid recharging network

Estonia is a tiny ex-Soviet nation, home to just over 1 million people. It is also the best place in the world to buy and drive an electric car because Estonia has pursued what is probably the most ambitious plan to promote nationwide electric car use in history.

165 EV fast-charging stations across the country, plus 50% off any electric car’s sticker price with a government grant up to 18,000 euros.

That’s an amazing deal.

Each charging station will be within 40-60 km (25-37 miles) of another one. Every town with more than 5,000 people gets its own charging station. As such, Estonia has essentially eliminated range anxiety altogether—it’s now just as easy to find an electric car charger as a gas station.


Mercedes unveil B-Class Electric Drive

Thegreencarwebsite.co.uk reports that Mercedes-Benz has now unveiled the production-ready version of its B-Class Electric Drive.

Making its debut at the New York International Auto Show, this electric car comes with a 100kW electric motor capable of producing 310Nm of torque and offering a range of 115miles. It can accelerate from 0-60mph in less than 10seconds, reach a top speed of 100mph and is set to be first launched in the USA during 2014 when it will be the first luxury electric car from Mercedes-Benz on the market.

Among its most notable innovations is the inclusion of remote checking and remote configuration: both of which are possible via a vehicle homepage. This means the driver can use the internet to access a vehicle and check its charge status or verify its current range using a map. A planned route can also be displayed to show where a vehicle can be recharged during its journey.

Indeed the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive also packs in a host of safety equipment with the lithium-ion battery in the underfloor of the vehicle coming with crash protection. Also included is collision prevention assist featuring Brake Assist as standard: offering drivers an acoustic and visual warning of obstacles, in an effort to reduce the danger of rear-end collisions.