Friday, 28 February 2014

Tesla to disrupt not 1 but 2 global industries? Shares of Tesla Motors Inc. continued to soar on Tuesday following the announcement of a new “Giga Factory,” a $46 million fourth-quarter profit, and a Morgan Stanley report that claimed that the Palo Alto, Calif.-based automaker could be on the verge of disrupting two global industries.

The report, titled “Nikola’s Revenge: TSLA’s New Path of Disruption,” was released by Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jones on Tuesday. Jones doubled Morgan Stanley’s price target for Tesla stock from $153 per share to $320.

As of this writing, shares of Tesla stock have increased more than 32 points since Jones released the note, a 15 percent increase.

In its impressive fourth-quarter earnings statement, Tesla reported that it is responding to increased demand with new production capabilities. Tesla is expected to reveal specific plans for the so-called Giga Factory, a new way to mass-produce the batteries that power Tesla cars, later this week. The Giga Factory is predicted to reduce the cost of the battery cells so much that it could impact the entire electrical grid storage industry.
“Tesla’s request to disrupt a trillion $ [sic] car industry offers an adjacent opportunity to disrupt a trillion $ electric utility industry,” Jones said in the report. Jones predicted that Tesla will produce 370,000 vehicles by 2020 and that its battery cells can be used by the utility industry for backup storage on electrical grids.

Some say that these batteries could be the missing piece in completing a renewable energy grid. Morgan Stanley said Tesla’s Giga Factory could impact the way all sorts of batteries are produced, and used Tesla’s partnership with SolarCity as evidence that the company is interested in the energy industry.

Jones also predicted that Tesla is uniquely positioned to dominate the future industry of autonomous cars.

“Tesla’s fleet is 100-percent electric and connected,” Jones said in the report. “As the role of software engulfs the car, the world’s only Silicon Valley-based car company has the upper hand.”

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Infographic: What drives California's EV owners?

McKinsey: thr car market is changing

From Americans sure don't research new cars—or even shop for them—in the ways that we used to. Why then should we have to buy them the same way?

That has been one of the hot-button issues of the past year for those involved in the auto industry, and it's not going away any time soon. With Tesla Motors selling its cars in an entirely different way, both small boutique dealerships as well as large dealership groups are crying foul, mounting a state-by-state challenge of Tesla's fixed-price, direct-sale model.

Tesla is, of course, the most extreme at this time. Shoppers browse, learn, and schedule a test drive at a local Tesla Store, often located in a mall; and they actually purchase the vehicle directly via Tesla's website, while service depots are located elsewhere.

Ask dealerships, and they'll say that they provide a very useful role—one that will be around for a long time—in supporting the after-sales experience, with repairs, maintenance, and warranty work.

Dealerships don't make their money selling cars anyway.

Truth is, it's no goodwill sacrifice; that's how dealerships make most of their money nowadays. New car sales account for less than one fifth of dealer margin in the U.S., and negative returns aren't unusual. What keeps dealerships out of the red are things like financing, service visits, and warranty work.

And those are among the starting points for a new report called“Innovating Automotive Retail,” from the prestigious global management consulting and research firm McKinsey & Company. We know that the automotive retail experience needs to change; how can it be reshaped?

First off, an admission of the current realities. “Both US customer demand as well as recent retail initiatives suggest increasing dynamics towards online as a real sales channel, even though legal obstacles exist,” says McKinsey. And in addition to the idea that dealerships aren't making the bulk of their money today selling cars:
  • The average number of customer visits to dealerships prior to buying a car has dropped to just one, typically (from up to five not so long ago).
  • A shockingly low ten percent of car buyers don't actually test-drivethe model before they buy it; and more than a third (37 percent) only take a test drive as a final confirmation before they buy.
  • One in four customers is not satisfied with the dealership experience.
  • More than one third would consider buying a car online.
  • The number of U.S. dealerships has contracted by 15 percent in the U.S. over the past five years.
  • Shoppers prefer 'new formats' like test-drive centers, exurban superstores, city showrooms, online stores, temporary stores, and even home visits to traditional, generic, 'Miracle Mile' style dealerships.

After all these admissions, McKinsey gets down to a nuts and bolts vision of the future, in a way that should be interesting to anyone who's involved at the moment in buying a new car, or daily in automotive retail or management.

“The financial sustainability of traditional dealership models is questionable in many countries,” concede the authors, who believe that “dealerships as retail formats will not vanish but will have to decide which part of the customer decision and experience journey they want to focus on: brand awareness building and messaging, product experience, sales transaction, or parts and service. ”

Changing the 'touch points'...and an entire business model

McKinsey isn't saying that dealerships won't cease to become a necessary part of consumers' car-shopping experience. Test-driving a vehicle before buying is essential—as it should be—to the vast majority of shoppers, and maintenance and repair needs will require a physical service point. It's also that crucial last 'touch point' (wherever you encounter the vehicle or information about it) before they put down the money.

But those touch points? They need to add value to the car and the experience. And that means, McKinsey sums, that there's major change coming:
There will be new retail formats and technologies. There's no doubt that sales forces need to be experts about new technologies on the market and in their vehicles—electrified powertrains are one big example, as is connectivity with personal devices. The firm points to some of their survey data from last year, which found that most shoppers expect the dealer visit to yield more information, and things not easily found online.
The number of dealerships will fall. McKinsey suggests metrics that obsolete new-car dealers be identified one on by one (by metrics or performance) and turned into service points, while sales are reserved for the top-performing dealerships. At present, using a number of criteria, there's a huge gap between the best ten percent of dealerships and the worst ten percent; and there needs to be more performance tracking in identifying these problem dealerships.
Change won't happen immediately. The firm suggests that change those entirely new dealership formats be introduced into the current retail landscape, and that this level of change won't be easy—for one, because of the sheer number of dealerships, and how hundreds would need to be involved in each major brand's transformation. Secondly, dealerships can't be forced suddenly to change fundamental ways of operating, so automakers and dealers would need to find a framework. And finally, there's the idea that dealerships run the gamut from single-store, independent community members to international retail groups.
It's an HR issue, too. The firm suggests that it may take changing the strategy of dealerships—and making them a place where top retail talent wants to stay—requiring new career paths, new positions, and new ways of incentivizing behavior that doesn't just sell cars but bolsters brand loyalty and satisfaction. The days of weaseling a few hundred extra dollars at the consumer's only contact point need to be over, as they aren't good for anyone but the salesperson.

And it really does come down to money in the end. “As more touch points become a key part of a customer’s purchasing journey, the challenging question is which channel gets credit for the sale (and how the rewards will be divided),” the McKinsey report says.

Don't be surprised if dealerships manage to slow the pace of change somewhat, and suggest some ideas of their own. But this is probably only the beginning of an epic haggling session—this one between automakers and dealerships.

Beijing to sell EVs reports that Chinese auto makers BYD Co. and BAIC Motor Co. on Wednesday won approval from Beijing's municipal government to sell electric cars in the city. Shares of BYD, which is partially backed by Warren Buffett, jumped 9.6% in Hong Kong. BYD's all-electric e6 crossover has been sold mainly in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, where the company is based. Most of the vehicles operate as taxicabs and buses.

Meanwhile, Switzerland's ABB Ltd. said it would make and market home, wall-mounted, electric-car chargers in China, part of an effort to address a lack of charging stations and other infrastructure necessary if electric cars are to hit China's roads in serious numbers.

Chunyuan Gu, ABB's China chairman and president, said he believed demand for cars and charging equipment will take off after a slow start. "Either you believe or you don't believe," he said. "What's difficult to predict is how fast the volume will come."

China's government wants 500,000 hybrid and electric vehicles on its roads by next year and five million by 2020. But only around 17,600 such vehicles were purchased in China last year, including hybrid and pure-electric cars and buses. It is likely that no more than 50,000 such vehicles are in use in China.

China long has said it wanted to lead the world in developing and selling electric cars, in part to reduce its reliance on oil and improve air quality. Big sections of China again were covered by thick, polluted air this week, in large part because of automotive emissions.

Global automotive companies have been drawn to China's vast potential; the country recorded about 22 million auto sales last year. Electric-car maker Tesla Motors Inc. last month said it would sell its Model S sedan in China starting around $120,000.

Tesla is aiming its car at the luxury segment. But Mr. Gu said government incentives were needed if Beijing wanted to reach the mass market. China in September rolled out an incentive program under which buyers of electric cars can receive up to 60,000 yuan, or about $9,800, in subsidies. Buyers of certain gasoline-electric hybrids can get up to 35,000 yuan. Some local governments also offer incentives.

Building a suitable charging infrastructure also is a must if electrical vehicles are to take off, Mr. Gu said. ABB this month announced a six-year agreement to supply home, wall-mounted fast chargers for Denza cars. Manufactured by a joint venture of BYD and Germany's Daimler AG , the Denza will go on sale this year.

Denza didn't respond to requests for comment.

"I am very confident that once China overcomes all these hurdles, the volumes will increase faster than we can project," Mr. Gu said.

ABB reported a "solid performance" in China for last year, despite "a mixed business climate and market environment." China revenue rose 7.7% to $5.6 billion as the company benefited from the country's greater emphasis on stable economic growth and low-carbon, sustainable development. ABB invested $136 million in China last year.

BYD this week also received approval to sell its plug-in hybrid, the Qin, in Shanghai as part of a trial. The company declined to provide details about plans for rolling out its vehicles in Beijing and Shanghai.

BAIC couldn't be reached for comment.

BYD was a pioneer in developing electric cars in China, but has struggled to win international recognition for its green-vehicle technology.

A Beijing government official said the city would provide a subsidy for the sale of BYD's e6 cars even though they are built in Shenzhen. The official said Beijing aimed to have in place around 1,000 charging units in some 100 stations throughout the city by year-end, up from 20 stations today.

"It was previously mission impossible for ordinary consumers to use BYD's electric cars in Beijing because of the many approvals that needed to be got," said Leping Huang, an analyst at Nomura.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Musk says everyone should lease EVs Sometimes, it’s nice to have a shiny new car sitting in your garage, knowing that you own it.

At others, it’s preferable to pay a modest amount for it each month knowing that, in two or three years, it will be taken away and is no longer your problem.

The latter is what we know as leasing, and it’s one part of a ‘creative financing’ route that Tesla CEO Elon Musk believes people will increasingly turn to in future–as the most consumer-friendly option currently available.

For the Model S, the benefits of leasing are clear to see.

Lease pricing is affected by several factors, but among them is the value of the car after you’re done with it. A car that depreciates heavily will feature a higher lease price as the car is worth less at the end of the term, reducing the resale value for the company setting the lease.

Musk has ensured the Model S has a competitive lease price by personally guaranteeing the future value of the cars. By promising they won’t depreciate more than that of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class luxury sedan, it keeps the lease price relatively low. Not only that, but Musk said he’ll buy back the cars at the agreed price.

This ‘creative financing’ is where Musk says the next growth wave in the EV market will stem from, reports Seeking Alpha.

It makes the total cost of ownership more appealing to the consumer, boosting demand. Among the means Tesla has taken to this end is its websitecost calculator, highlighting the reduction in costs a consumer can expect if they buy a Model S.

There’s a consumer confidence element too.

All automakers with plug-in cars offer varying battery warranties, but there’s no greater warranty than knowing your car is being looked after by somebody else.

If you own your car you may, some day down the line, be faced with the decision to replace the battery. By leasing, you take away the worry of these potential expenses, making it a compelling option for plug-in vehicle owners.

It works for Musk-backed Solar City too, where many customers pay for the privilege of solar panels on their roof, but have the luxury of knowing someone else takes care of their upkeep.

And spurred by enticing deals, a high proportion of electric cars sold in the U.S. today are done so on a lease basis. Customers have already figured out that it offers them the best value, and the greatest security for the future.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

MOTIVe city EV on fast track to production

From New Zytek high-efficiency electric powertrain selected for Yamaha’s innovative MOTIV.e city car concept.

Yamaha’s new MOTIV.e city car concept, shown at the Tokyo motorshow, will be powered by an advanced electric drive from Zytek that employs a range of new design approaches to minimise the cost, weight and size of the system while maximising the performance and range. By supplying a number of core high voltage components as an optimised system, Zytek is also minimising the time required for vehicle development.

MOTIV.e comes from the partnership between Yamaha and Gordon Murray Design, using Murray’s revolutionary iStream® manufacturing technology to deliver a highly efficient yet fun-to-drive electric vehicle at an affordable price. Zytek’s sales and marketing director, Steve Tremble says that taking a fresh approach to the powertrain is central to achieving these goals.

“Yamaha wanted the vehicle to reflect the company’s reputation for outstanding engines,” he adds. “Interpreting this in an electric vehicle has driven excellence in performance and driveability, but also in weight reduction and efficiency to build on the potential of iStream to deliver an agile drivers’ car as well as maximising the range.”

Zytek supplies the electric motor, paired with a reduction gearbox from Vocis, and the electronic vehicle control module (EVCM) which provides the interface between the powertrain and the rest of the vehicle. The low cost power electronics is manufactured in high volumes by Zytek’s technical partner Continental. In keeping with the light weight and high efficiency targets for the MOTIV.e, the 25kW motor revs to 15,000rpm, much higher than comparable units, and drives through a single-speed reduction gearbox to give the required wheel speed. Increasing motor speed allows the electric engine to be smaller, lighter and more cost-effective than previous-generation units.

“The motor weighs just 13kg, the gearbox just 11kg,” explains Zytek’s engineering program manager, Neil Cheeseman. “These are components that you can pick up with one hand.”

Cheeseman believes the power electronics also set new standards for weight and packaging. The inverter, for example, weighs just 7.5kg “By making everything in house, Continental has eliminated many of the compromises that stem from using bought-in components,” he said. “Their substantial investment in power electronics has delivered a scalable, power-dense and cost-effective product range that is already proven on everything from small city cars to hybrid commercial vehicles.”

The Zytek EVCM is unique, being built on an electronics platform that duals as a development tool and a cost-effective production unit complying with all relevant automotive standards. Zytek says that unlike other dual-purpose systems that are suitable for production, their unit is cost-competitive with bespoke production technologies. It is also thought to be the only EVCM that takes a big further step in powertrain control integration by including thermal management within the decision-making algorithms.

“This is a new generation of EVCM that integrates torque arbitration, temperature control and voltage management to allow better decision making,” Cheeseman explains. “It optimises the driver’s torque request based on a broad range of parameters including battery charge and temperature and the grip available at the tyres to support control. By integrating these decisions, we can provide more with less to improve both the driving experience and the range while reducing the size, weight and cost of the power electronics and battery pack.”

Thursday, 20 February 2014

The other reason why electric cars will win

Brilliant piece from You may remember that I published an article at the end of December regarding the #1 reason I think electric cars are a disruptive technology that will come to dominate the car market much faster than most “experts” think. I think the whole article is worth a read (otherwise, I wouldn’t have written it), but the very short summary is: electric cars are a much better drive. The article I just published an hour ago carries forward that idea, and is focused around Jeremy Grantham saying essentially the same thing.

However, I recently ran across another article with essentially the same title as that first one linked above—”The One Reason Tesla Motors, Inc. and Electric Vehicles Will Dethrone Gas-Powered Vehicles“—but focusing on a different benefit of electric cars. There are many tremendous benefits of electric cars, and I think the one on which this lady, Beth McKenna, focuses is the #2 reason why electric cars will quickly come to dominate the car market, but perhaps she’s right and it is actually the #1 reason.

Before sharing the argument for this “other #1 reason,” I will quickly quote someone from the forum (a comment I’m going to come back to in a separate article):

Was charging my Volt at a Chevy dealership and was talking to a senior salesman. Apparently he had a Volt for a few years and traded it in for CTS in recent months, he missed the Volt the first time he went to the gas station…

I asked him if he wanted to go Cadillac why not the ELR? He said it was not yet out and did not anticipate the unpleasantness of going back to gas. He had serious buyers remorse… He wished he waited for the ELR…

Yep, that’s a sure sign of a far superior product, as is the comment I hear repeatedly from male EV owners: “We got another electric car because my wife took away my [insert Tesla Model S, Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf...].”

Anyway, let’s get to an extended excerpt of McKenna’s article:

I believe there is one reason it is highly likely that EVs — with Tesla leading the way — will take the passenger-vehicle mantle from ICE vehicles: convenience. (Down the road, perhaps, EVs might be dethroned, and it would be terrific for us all if it were by solar-powered vehicles, but that’s a long way a-comin.’)

The U.S. is a “convenience society”
I realize boiling this big issue down to one key factor seems overly simplistic. However, what the consumer wants, the consumer usually gets — and what the U.S. consumer, in general, most craves is convenience, in my opinion.

The U.S. is a convenience society. We have drive-through everythings; Netflixkicked Blockbuster to the curb largely because of the convenience factor; GreenMountain Coffee Roasters’ Keurig has been phenomenally successful mainly because it’s ultra-convenient; and McDonald’s and the entire fast-food concept enjoy amazing success largely because of the ease factor.

Let’s not forget the poster child of convenience: online’s massive empire was built on convenience. And what’s the latest competitive space in that realm? Same-day delivery. Amazon, Wal-Mart, andGoogle, among others, see huge dollar signs in their corporate eyes in delivering even more convenience into consumers’ lives. Otherwise, would Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos be looking into using drones for short-distance same-day delivery? There are surely huge costs involved in getting that enterprise up and running. Google, likewise, apparently plans to spare no expense in capturing the convenience dollars up for grabs. It’s been widely speculated, including by The New York Times, that one reason Google’s been building up its massive robotics army — it bought eight robotics companies last year — is to use them in its retail delivery service.

Electric vehicles are largely “convenience vehicles” for many
EVs allow for the bulk of “fueling” to be done at the driver’s home, while he or she is sleeping away. And, when away from home, the driver will largely be able to plug in and charge up while parked at work, a restaurant, a shopping center, and so on. No need to go out of one’s way — even if it’s only a few blocks — to a gas station. Many people like this idea, and I’d venture to say that most of those same people likely don’t want to have to make pit stops at hydrogen fueling stations, either.

Additionally, EVs require less regular maintenance and likely fewer repairs than ICE vehicles — and who wouldn’t like that idea? This is a biggie with respect to both cost and convenience.

Now, EVs might not be considered convenient for some folks because of their range. However, I think the “range anxiety” issue is largely blown out of proportion when it comes to Tesla’s vehicles.

The Model S with the 85 kW-h battery has a 265-mile range. Let’s somewhat arbitrarily even lop off 15% during poor driving conditions. That’s 225 miles.

Americans who drive passenger vehicles drive an average of 12,000 to 13,500 miles per year. That equates to 230 to 260 miles per week. We’re talking one or two charges per week, which, for those with a garage, or select other parking facilities, can be done overnight.

Sure, extended drives will mean stopping at a Tesla Supercharger station. I’d guess most people — especially those with kids — stop after a few hours on the road to eat and/or use restrooms, anyway. A 20-minute break allows a Model S to get enough juice at a Supercharger station for an additional 130 miles, while a 30-minute break will provide power for about 200 miles. Granted, these sites aren’t conveniently located for everyone yet. So it should go without saying that EVs aren’t currently a good fit for some. And for some consumers, such as those whose jobs involve regular long-distance driving, even a 265-mile-range vehicle might not ever be convenient.

As to Supercharger stations, Tesla is aggressively expanding its charging network. By 2015, 98% of the U.S. population (and parts of Canada) will live within the Model S rated-range of a station, per the company.

Down the road, EVs should become even more convenient, as battery and charging technology will almost surely improve, so ranges will increase and charging time will decrease.

It’s a strong argument. It’s why this is my #2 reason, but honestly, maybe it really should be #1. The thrill of driving an instant-torque electric car is great, but convenience is king.

I’ll just add one more note: the huge majority of people are not familiar with the Nissan Leaf (the top-selling electric car in the world), the Tesla Model S, or the Chevy Volt. Co-workers of Chevy Volt owners have reportedly thought that the Volt couldn’t be driven in heavy snow, while others think it needs to be charged at a special charging facility at the dealership. In other words: people are still clueless about electric cars. However, as they slowly come to find out that they can charge an electric car at home (even using a simple outlet) and almost never have to visit a gas station again, get ready for some disruption. Of course, I still think the test drive or driving a friend or family member’s electric car will be the “wow” factor that really gets the ball rolling. In the end, though, that 1-2 punch + massive fuel savings + the climate and environmental benefits will surely be enough to throw the automobile industry into another dimension.

VW e-Golf goes on sale

According to, Volkswagen’s new e-Golf is now on sale in Germany at a price of €34,900 ($47,833.94). It joins the smaller e-Up! which is already at dealerships in several European markets. The Golf is indisputably the most successful European car of all time, with over 30 million sold. If VW is serious about selling the electric version, it could take the European EV scene to a new level.

The e-Golf, which can be recognized by its C-shaped LED running lights, sports an 85 kW motor with maximum torque of 270 Nm, and a 24.2 kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery, which comes with an 8-year/160,000 km guarantee. VW estimates the range at between 130 and 190 km.

According to VW, the e-Golf features a higher efficiency rating (12.7 kWh/100 km) than its competitor, the Nissan LEAF (15 kWh/100 km).

The Modular Transverse Matrix architecture that underpins the Golf A7 platform allows the battery to be housed under the passenger compartment. Motor, transmission and battery were developed in-house by Volkswagen.

US sales are scheduled to begin in selected markets during the fourth quarter of 2014.

Saab EVs to have 170 mile range?

Inside EVs report: We don’t hear a lot of news about SAAB ever since NEVS - National Electric Vehicle Sweden, took back control of the Swedish auto maker from GM in 2012 (after a quite drawn-out ordeal), but when we do it’s usually decent news.
2014 Saab 9-3
2014 Saab 9-3
Tim over at SAABsUnited recently took a SAAB 9-3 electric mule out for a test spin with the company’s test driver Kjell Olofsson – a former a rally driver and part of the Saab Performance Team, and uncovered some interesting news.
NEVs has said that in a few weeks the base-plate of the car will ready for production and at that time the production line will need to be modified to accommodate the electric version of the 9-3.
NEVs intends on building both models on the same line, but the all-electric version will be shipped to China to have their battery packs installed.
SAAB also intends to build a sizeable fleets of EVs to validate the platform:
“200 Electric cars will built to be part of a test-fleet in China, some electric cars will also stay in Sweden for further testing. This also means that an increase in the production rate will take place.” – Tim at SAABsUnited
Details on the car’s abilities itself have been extremely scarce, but separately Aftonbaldet reports (via SAABblog) that the new electric 9-3 will have a range of about 280 km/174 miles on the Euro/NEDC scale – which would translate to about 115 miles in the US.

Tesla's 'Gigafactory' Tesla Motors released its 2013 shareholder letter this afternoon, declaring record vehicle sales in the fourth quarter and annual revenue of over $2 billion dollars. 

Looking forward, Tesla says its growing network of superchargers and service centers will help spur more sales this year in the United States. It also expects big sales in Europe and China. It thinks sales will hit 35,000, about 55 percent higher than this year (with sales of 22,477 cars).

Even at 35,000 cars, Tesla sales are a drop in the bucket of world auto sales. We’re following the company because of its goal of bringing down costs and making electric vehicles mainstream. In the letter, CEO Elon Musk says the company will soon release details about its proposed “Gigafactory,” which he says is key to the company’s goal of producing an electric vehicle that will cost about $35,000 (the cheapest Model S sells for $72,000, and you can pay well over $100,000 for some packages).

Batteries are the most expensive part of an electric vehicle (see “Driving Innovation”). Ordinarily, batteries components are made in separate factories–one makes electrode powders out of raw materials, another assembles cells, and yet another packages the cells into complete battery packs. The new factory will consolidate those pieces.

“[The Gigafactory] will allow us to achieve a major reduction in the cost of our battery packs and accelerate the pace of battery innovation. Working in partnership with our suppliers, we plan to integrate precursor material, cell, module and pack production into one facility. With this facility, we feel highly confident of being able to create a compelling and affordable electric car in approximately three years.”

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

France 2013 EV sales breakdown

In terms of total electric vehicle sales, France is the European leader. Though, in terms of per capita sales or EV sales as a percentage of all car sales, Norway is far and away the leader in Europe and around the world.

Sales of EVs in France rose 55% to 8,779 units in 2013, up from 5,663 the year before. The Renault Zoe took the top spot with 5,511 registrations or 62.8% of the market.

The Nissan Leaf was second, with 1,438 registrations, followed by the Bolloré Bluecar with 658 registrations.


5,175 electric vehicle vans were registered in France in 2013, with sales increasing 42% over 3,651 registrations recorded in 2012.

A total of 46,785 hybrid vehicles, including 32,799 hybrid gasoline and diesel 13,986 hybrids were registered in France in 2013. Sales increased 60% compared to 29,120 registrations recorded in 2012.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

UK rapid chargers on the rise

The number of UK rapid DC and AC electric vehicle chargers now exceeds 250, with a total of 269 charging sockets across 185 locations, according to
Data supplied by also shows that ratio of 'slow' (around 3kW), 'fast' (7-22kW) and 'rapid' (40-50kW) chargers in the UK has shifted dramatically over the last few years, changing in line with vehicle innovation and supported by government OLEV incentives.
According to the Zap-Map figures, 2013 saw a surge in installation of DC and AC chargers with each more than doubling since 2012, DC chargers increasing from 85 to 187, and AC increasing from 23 to 82 points.
Rapid DC chargers, which can be used by several EV models including the Nissan LEAF and Peugeot iOn, are rated at 50kW (125A), with most units provide a 'tethered' cable with a JARI DC (CHAdeMO) connector.
Rapid AC chargers, which can be used by the Renault Zoe and some commercial EVs, are rated at 43kW (3-phase, 63A) with all units provide a 'tethered' cable with a Type 2/Mennekes (IEC 62196) vehicle connector.
The opportunity of rapid chargers is the high power rates and short charging times. For both DC and AC types, charging an EV on a rapid charger typically takes approx. 30 minutes for an 80% charge (depending on battery capacity).
International evidence suggests that an effective future charging strategy is for EV owners to use home or workplace chargers for overnight charging, supplemented with rapid chargers for day charging to extend daily driving range when required. Rapid chargers also have the benefit of making the 'refuelling' experience for EVs closer to that for conventional vehicles, so reducing charge times and alleviating 'range anxiety'.
Until recently, rapid chargers were almost exclusively DC and found in a handful of Nissan dealerships, with limited access for Nissan customers. Now Nissan have been working with green electricity provider Ecotricity, to roll out a significant number of AC and DC chargers in strategic nationwide locations which has dramatically boosted the number of this type of charger.
The Ecotricity network has focused on major motorway routes, with MOTO and Roadchef service stations being main target locations. Some motorways, such as the M4 and M5 have rapid chargers at every service station stop. What's more they are all free to use until further notice!
Not content with 'only' 50kW power rates, Tesla have announced a European roll-out of 120kW 'superchargers' for Model S owners, which, provides around 5 miles range per minute. By the end of 2014, the company aim to build a supercharger network such that 90% of the EU population living within around a 200 mile distance of a charging station (approximately the range of the Model S).
UK rapid chargers pass 250 mark

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Coalition to build better batteries Three large global companies--Bosch, GS Yuasa, and Mitsubishi--have announced a joint venture to improve development of the next generation of batteries for electric vehicles.
The group's aim is to double energy capacity, helping electric cars become truly mass-market in the next decade.
Today, electric cars are still held back by existing battery technology to some extent.
The majority of EVs currently on sale provide a range of 70 to 100 miles.
In reality, that's sufficient for the majority of journeys for most drivers, but it's still perceived as a limitation by those used to the longer range of a fully-fuelled gasoline vehicle.
Dozens of entities across the globe are working on different battery technologies, with the majority of the projects aimed at increasing capacity.
Batteries with greater capacity mean packs of equivalent size can offer a significant increase in range for electric vehicles, or the same range can be provided by a smaller, lighter pack.
According to Green Car Congress (via Charged EVs), Bosch chairman Dr. Volkmar Denner says the companies want to achieve "nothing less than a giant leap forward in the development of battery technology".
The aim is to make lithium-ion batteries "twice as efficient".
Each firm brings something important to the table. Bosch has expertise in packs and management systems as well as knowledge of integrating packs into vehicles.
GS Yuasa has years of experience in manufacturing high-density cells, and Mitsubishi has a large sales network, as well as experience in global value-added chains.
As ever, it could be some years before we see the fruits of the joint venture's labor, though the three companies say they expect electric vehicles to become mass market from 2020 onward--so a year before that date might be a safe bet.

Towards the tipping point Electric vehicles are slowly winding their way into the hearts and minds of drivers and the pace is expected to pick up this year.

Worldwide production of all-electric and plug-in vehicles is expected to rise 67% in 2014 to 403,000 vehicles, up from 242,000 last year, according to market research firm IHS Automotive, when they were thefastest growing segment of the auto industry.

Thanks to competition, battery prices are dropping rapidly - the most costly component of EVs - starting this year, bigger batteries will be in many cars, giving them a 150 mile range.

Battery makers now include LG Chem (Chevy Volt), Panasonic (Tesla's Model S) and Samsung SDI (BMW i3 and Fiat 500e).

IHS points to two reasons for greater growth this year: more stringent emission standards in Europe which take effect later this year and the greater variety of models available on the market.

New vehicles entering the market this year include: BMW's i3, Volkswagen's e-Up!, Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric and Audi's A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid. More product availability and greater choice will help widespread adoption of EVs.

At the same time, the installed base of EV charging stations is hitting critical mass at over 1.1 million units worldwide by the end of this year.

All this means the price for EVs will start coming down as more manufacturers enter the market, coupled with lower battery prices. Nissan's LEAF is now profitable since it dropped the price $6000.

Then there are the exciting innovations ahead, such as flow batteries, Ford's C-MAX Solar EnergiConcept, which charges the car from rooftop solar panels, and Bosch's start/stop system that not only shuts the engine off when the car is idling, but when it's coasting - cutting fuel consumption another 10%.

And though negligible today, the market for electric vehicles that are equipped with vehicle-to-grid(V2G) technologies will expand slowly and steadily over the coming years.

"Compelling business models for V2G technologies are starting to emerge in select markets around the world, and it's expected that individually owned electric vehicles will be able to participate in grid services in the second half of this decade," says Navigant Research. They expect over 250,000 V2G-enabled PEVs to be sold worldwide by 2022.

"Plug-in electric vehicles can provide services to the grid by changing the rate at which they consume power, thereby reducing peak loads, or by providing power back to the grid, helping to balance loads on the grid," says Scott Shepard, research analyst at Navigant. "The benefits to operators also include smoothing the integration of renewable energy resources and generation revenue from ancillary services markets."

The US Department of Defense is installing 500 V2G-enabled PEVs at military bases in specific U.S. electricity markets this year.

UK 'accelerating towards EV leadership"

A round-up of UK EV news from e government is to invest more than £9m to boost the number of charging points for electric cars across the UK and will work with manufacturers to accelerate the growing market.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced today that £5.8m will be spent on providing 140 new rapid chargepoints in towns and along major roads to create a nationwide network of 500 chargers, each of which can fully power up an electric car battery in 30 minutes.

A further £600,000 is set to be spent on fitting 80 chargepoints at railway stations for commuters, while grants of £2.9m have been awarded to public sector organisations, including hospitals, fire and rescue services, the Ministry of Defence, and Gloucestershire police force, to install more than 450 chargepoints for their staff and visitors.

The money comes from the extra £37m set aside for electric vehicleinfrastructure in July 2013, on top of which the government has also committed to invest £5m to introduce electric vehicles across public sector fleets this year.

There are currently more than 6,000 public chargepoints across the UK serving a rising number of electric vehicles. Since a government grant of up to £5,000 was made available to electric car buyers in January 2011 almost 20 electric and plug-in cars and vans have been launched in the UK.

However, take-up has been slow so far, with around 6,880 cars eligible for the plug-in grant sold over the past three years. The government is keen to grow the market, not just to help the UK meet its carbon reduction targets, but also to put the country at the forefront of electric car manufacturing.

Last year, ministers outlined £1bn plans to decarbonise UK road transport entirely by the middle of the century and ensure every new car bought after 2040 will be an ultra low emissions vehicle.

And today Clegg confirmed a 12 month awareness campaign featuring fleetpartnerships alongside print, radio, and online adverts promoting the benefits of pure electric, plug-in hybrid and extended-range vehicles that will see theDepartment for Transport and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles team up with manufacturers BMW, Nissan, Renault, Toyota, and Vauxhall, as well as trade body the SMMT.

The campaign will focus on the low driving costs associated with electric vehicles at a time of rising fuel prices and the performance of the cars, most of which can travel around 100 miles on a single charge – or up to 700 miles for hybrid – taking the range well beyond most people’s standard journeys.

At the heart of the campaign is a new website,, providing information about owning and running electric vehicles, which makes and models are available, and the locations of publicly available chargepoints.

“Electric cars are one of the most promising of our green industries and wewant to secure the UK’s position as a global leader in both the production and adoption of these vehicles,” Clegg said in a statement. “The extremely low running costs of electric cars help drivers save money and we are allocating more than £9m to boost chargepoints across the country to help drivers to go green,” he added. “This means we can lower UK emissions and create high-tech engineering and manufacturing jobs to boost our economy.”

Friday, 14 February 2014

2000 rapid chargers enough for national UK network

According to recent research by the highly experienced EV scientist Dr Ben Lane and others, national coverage can be achieved with a network of just 2000 rapid chargers. Together with other hard and soft incentives this would be sufficient to put the UK on a fast track to 16% of UK sales being electric by 2020.

Public chargers using anything other than rapids are effectively discounted for daytime charging.

This and lots more in the full report:

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Zoe reviewed - brilliantly.'s Richard Hammond (of Top Gear). 
The Mirror's motoring columnist believes Renault's new electric car has potential as a city car - but lacks the range to go much further
She's electric: The Renault Zoe

Meet Zoe, Renault’s most convincing electric car so far. There’s a bloke at Top Gear ­magazine who’s so brainy that he’s burnt all the hair off the top of his head because his grey matter is so powerful that it’s like a little power station.
This is what he says about electric cars: “If you bought a Lamborghini Aventador, you wouldn’t ring the company up the next day saying, ‘Oi, this Aventador you sold me, I can’t get all my family in it’.
“It’s the same with electric cars. Their manufacturers tell you they’re for commuting short distances and not for touring holidays around ­Scotland, so you shouldn’t complain about the limited range.’
Clearly, if you live in Gloucestershire then a vehicle with a range of less than 100 miles is out of the question. But if you live in the city it’s a different matter, so that’s where we’ve been testing this Zoe. Ours is a Dynamique Zen version – on-the-road price £15,195.
Yes, that’s a remarkably low price for an electric car when we’re used to manufacturers charging sports car money for them. That price includes deducting the five grand grant that the Government offers, but there’s some more small print. Renault has decided that the sensible way to go is to sell customers the car and lease them the batteries. This makes a lot of sense because anyone who owns a laptop knows that batteries don’t hold their maximum charge for ever.
It’s a lot like a mobile phone contract in that there are a couple of schemes to choose from. A 36-month contract allowing an annual mileage of 7,500 miles costs £70 per month, while 12,000 miles a year costs £93.
So to the Zoe. The Zen comes with a white interior rather than the grey of the other versions. White looks more like the inside of a space station and therefore suits the Zoe’s futuristic character. Cleaning it might not be so good, but it looks great when it’s new. The outside of the Zoe looks attractive too. But we must crack on because there’s much to say about this car.
FreeRenault Zoe Four-door hatchback Price: 15,195 (including government grant) Engine: Electric motor, 88bhp 0-62mph: 13.5sec Fuel consumption: 0mpg
Space-age: The Renault Zoe
You get the normal Renault key card in the Zoe, which slots into the ­dashboard. Press the start button, the instrument panel comes to life and you’re ready to go.
Move into D with the gear selector, off with the conventional handbrake, squeeze the right pedal and you’re off – fairly briskly if you prod it hard. But you won’t be thrashing an electric car because it uses a lot of battery.
The brake pedal needs a soft touch as the brakes are harsh and you could end up catapulting your ­passengers forwards.
The thing I like most about electric cars is the peace and quiet. The Zoe is almost silent, which is why Renault has fitted a gizmo that makes a strange noise to warn pedestrians you are sneaking up on them. You can turn it off it you want to.
Apart from the ­sensitive brakes, the Zoe is blissfully easy to drive. The ride is a bit disappointing, even if the car has the sporting pretensions of a couch potato. It’s no harsher than the average motor, but in ­something as peaceful as the Zoe, you’d have thought the ride would have been a priority.
When the time comes to recharge, you either go home, where Renault will have installed a domestic charging unit, or you will have found a street-side charging station. Or, in our case, one in a Waitrose car park.
You remove a fat charging cable from a bag in the back (you’d have thought there would be a special cubbyhole for it to go in) and then plug one end into the car and the other into the charging unit, having first waved your charging card over a sensor on the charging unit. It takes a few goes to get this right.
What you can’t do is recharge the Zoe using a 13amp socket. That’s a bit daft as it means you couldn’t recharge from the plug in a friend’s garage, for example. Renault quotes a maximum range of 130 miles, but also says that if you drive the Zoe around town in winter, that’ll drop to around 60 miles, which is exactly what we managed in our test car.
If one day electric cars have a range of 300 miles, I’ll consider buying one. Or if I moved to the city. But both scenarios are highly unlikely in the near future.

The Facts

Renault Zoe
Price : £15,195 (including government grant)
Engine : Electric motor, 88bhp
0-62mph : 13.5secs
Range : Up to 130 miles          

The Rivals

Nissan LEAF: Like the Zoe, this is also a purpose-made electric car. Now available with battery-leasing deals. £15,990
Mitsubishi MiEV: The first modern production electric car. Overpriced and now outclassed. £24,045
Toyota Yaris Hybrid: There’s no grant for this little Toyota, which is why it looks expensive. Low emissions and 76.3mpg. £17,545
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Renault 'Next Two' concept announced

GreenCarReports: An electric car that takes autonomous drive into a new era: that's the vision behind the new Renault Next Two concept.

The French carmaker has just revealed the prototype - which is based on a Renault ZOE - that offers an automated valet parking function permitting the car to park itself completely autonomously; and allowing the driver to delegate driving functions in congested traffic on main roads.

According to Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn, the vehicle will be affordable too as it has been based on technologies that are already developed well enough to be built into production models over the medium-term.

"With Next Two, we wanted to combine the worlds of delegated driving and connectivity," he said.

"Not only will autonomous driving enhance safety but it will also free up time for drivers. Being connected will enable them to make the most of this extra time by providing them with access to new in-car services such as video-conferences, on-line shopping, travel information and more."

At the heart of the technology is ADAS hardware based on two main detection systems: which are used to analyse the environment.

There will be a front facing sensor that looks at the vehicle ahead, making calculations about how far away it is and the speed it is driving; while a camera will detect lateral markings on the ground to position the vehicle correctly. When the car takes over, the head-up display becomes blue and when driving of the vehicle has been delegated, the head-up display and dashboard display will allow a logical dialogue to occur between the car and the driver.

In addition, the Renault Next Two concept boasts separate advanced driver assistance systems including lane keeping assist and automotive cruise control.
From the Toyota TE-S800 is a roadster prototype created by the Toyota Engineering Society that has just been revealed on the Tokyo Auto Salon, after the concepts TES-ERA and Minute-S, TES surprises once again with a desirable vehicle that combines sportiness and efficiency.

Toyota_TE-S800_2014 (2).jpg
The TE-Spyder800 was designed by a team of Toyota engineers in their spare time from parts available from the brand. Thus, this plug-in hybrid roadster is essentially based on the components of the Prius but assembled with a sporty approach.

The selected base is the lastest generation of the Toyota MR2 receiving the 1.5L (1NZ-FE Otto cycle) of the Prius with a modified exhaust to reach 116hp at 6400rpms, then comes the 102hp electric motor from the Prius’ third generation coupled to the E-CVT transmission.
The battery is placed longitudinally in the floor to lower the center of gravity.

As a result the TE-S800 has a weight kept under the ton and goes from 0 to 100kph in 5.8seconds

Monday, 10 February 2014

Saab reborn as an EV manufacturer

The iconic Swedish brand Saab is set to make a dramatic comeback by launching a new range of electric cars, according to

Following its bankruptcy in 2012, the main assets of Saab Automobile were acquired by Chinese owned National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS) who aim to build a series of new models for the Far East and European markets.

NEVS aims to be a front-runner in the automotive industry, with focus on electric vehicle (EV) design and manufacture. During 2014 the first electric vehicles developed by them will be introduced in China, the world's most progressive market for EVs.

Electric vehicles are the passion of Mr Kai Johan Jiang, the main investor of the new ownership team. With most major car manufacturers today offering at least one electric vehicle in their range, NEVS believes that they can compete strongly with in the rapidly emerging EV market.

The new electric models developed by NEVS will be manufactured in Trollhättan, Sweden, which is also the centre of their research and development division.

The first NEVS electric vehicle will be launched in China during 2014, where there are ambitious plans to accelerate the EV market and the associated charging point infrastructure.

NEVS believe that for years to come, electric vehicles and vehicles with conventional engines will co-exist in the market – NEVS have therefore also started production of the petrol powered Saab 9-3 Aero Sedan, a return that will please the thousands of Saab aficionados world-wide.

World EV sales 2013


The numbers come from Jose Pontes, as did the numbers for the Europe electrified vehicle sales report I just published. Not 100% accurate but looks like a good effort.

UK Leaf sales up 1000+% January 2014

New figures show that the Nissan Leaf is the market leader for electric vehicles in the UK, with sales up by more than 1,000% in January.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show the Leaf clocked up 230 sales during January 2014. That was more than 1,000% up on sales in January 2013. 

In fact, nearly three quarters of all pure electric vehicles sold in January 2014 were Leafs.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Bollore's IER takes over Source London charging network. reported a month ago (12/12/13) on the largely unpublicised announcement that French Bollore subsidiary IER won the auction to take over London's Source London EV charging network of 1400 charge points (owned mostly by local authorities). I will be following developments closely, meanwhile here is TE's piece:

A subsidiary of Bolloré, the French firm responsible for Autolib, the largest and most successful electric car sharing schemes in the world, is to take over day-to-day operations of London’s electric vehicle charging network, it was announced this morning.

Source London’s RFID card gives you access to nearly 1400 charging stations in London and the south east.

The subsidiary of the global investment and industrial holding group is primarily known for its design manufacture and marketing of the ticketing and check in machinery found airports, ferry terminals and other mass-transit networks, but also specialises in logistics technology for package tracking and mobility solutions, including EV charging networks. IER’s technology underpins the entire Autolib car sharing network, managing charging events, rental and payment systems.

Source London — which currently operates nearly 1400 charging points across the Greater London area — was initially launched in May 2011 by Mayor of London Boris Johnson as an attempt to homogenise the many different charging schemes which previous existed throughout the Greater London area for electric car users.

Before its inception, electric car drivers who traveled through London had to carry multiple different RFID smart cards to access charging stations in different districts, while some boroughs even restricted electric car charging privileges to electric car drivers which lived within their boundaries.

Source London membership — which costs £10 per year — provides electric car drivers with a single RFID smart card that they can use to access charging points throughout the twin cities of Westminster and London city, as well as any borough within (and some just outside) the 117 mile circumference of the M25 orbital motorway.

While there are a few rapid charging stations which fall within the car of Source London, Source London members can also use their membership cards to access the majority of rapid charging stations located throughout the UK, as well as many 13 amp ‘slow’ and Type 2 ‘fast’ charging stations located in partnering schemes in Oxford, Milton Keynes and East Anglia.

Source London covers all of London and some of the south east of the UK

In a letter to Source London members this morning, Nick Fairholme, Director of Source London, explained the change of management is expected to take place next summer. “I am writing to let you know that following a competitive process Transport for London has selected IER to take over the management and operation of Source London from summer 2014. Please be assured that while we transition Source London to IER the scheme will continue to operate as usual and you will continue to have access to over 1300 charging points.
Over the coming months we will keep you informed of how the transition to IER is progressing. For more information regarding the transition process, please visit

Over the past few years, Source London has been criticised by EV drivers for its lack of reliability and accountability, with many of its stations permanently broken, malfunctioning, or blocked by everything from an ICE car parking in an EV bay to Motorcycles, Industrial equipment or temporary parking restrictions. Worse still, locations are often altered or removed, leaving owners confused and unable to charge. In the past two years, the Transport Evolved team have visited twelve different Source London locations. At ten of those locations, we’ve either had to find alternative places to charge due to inaccessible or broken equipment, or been forced to charge at the slowest possible speed due to equipment malfunction.

Source London charging points are often broken. This one suggests someone has been charging a 625 kilowatt-hour battery pack!

With IER’s existing experience of electric car infrastructure provision through its connection with Autolib, we’d hope that Source London is in good hands, but with so many inherent problems in the current network — not to mention a complete lack of faith in the network by most EV drivers in and around London and an almost complete lack of interest from parking lot owners and parking patrols in correctly policing EV charging bays — we think IER faces a tough challenge.

UK breaking through the 1% barrier for EVs

Is the UK about to breakthrough the 1% share of market for electric cars? 

Registrations of alternatively-fuelled vehicles (AFVs) outperformed the overall market in January 2014, growing 25% and taking an improved 1.8% share of volumes. This is the first time EVs have represented more than 1% (source SMMT) and could herald an acceleration in EV uptake.

Friday, 7 February 2014

BMW original? Yes. And no...

Nice piece from RAM did it with Paul Harvey. Apple did it with Walt Whitman (by way of Robin Williams). Visa did it with Amelia Earhart. Now, it's BMW's turn to use the poetic words of a long-ago visionary to sell a modern product.
The automaker is using a recording of Arthur C. Clarke to celebrate the promise of the future, as realised today by the new BMW i series of electric cars.
"Trying to predict the future is a discouraging and hazardous occupation," Clark says in the audio recording from 1964 which serves as the voiceover for BMW i's 60-second launch spot, "Hello Future." The ad, by Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners, will break Friday night during NBC's coverage of the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Russia.
Clark goes on: "If by some miracle a prophet could describe the future exactly as it was going to take place, his predictions would sound so absurd that people everyone would laugh him to scorn. The only thing we can be sure of about the future is that it will be absolutely fantastic. So, if what I say now seems to you to be very reasonable, then I will have failed completely. Only if what I tell you appears absolutely unbelievable have we any chance of visualising the future as it really will happen."
Stylised, futuristic images of cityscapes, drenched in blue tones, pass one after another before the spot shifts to showing one of the i vehicles, which preens by opening its scissor doors like wings—and is then seen speeding along a darkened tunnel.
Two other 30-second spots, for the i8 plug-in hybrid and the i3 all-electric city car, have a bit more of a narrative. The i8 spot, "Sightings," shows people trying to describe something they've never seen before (of course, it's the i8), while the i3 spot, "SHHH," features a boy who takes his dad's i3 for a joyride with a girl (played by Olivia Crocicchia of Rescue Me) but gets caught in the end thanks to his dad's BMW i Remote App.
"It is a rare and exciting opportunity to launch a new brand and for BMW i, one that requires a world stage," said Trudy Hardy, vp of marketing for BMW of North America. "We look forward to making a bold statement about the future of sustainable mobility."
BMW is going all out for the Olympics. It will also be running digital shorts for the BMW i on, and airing spots for the all-new X5 SUV and its first-ever BMW 2 Series. The automaker also completely redesigned the two-man bobsled that will be used by Team USA this month.
Check out this video and this one ! Quality.
PS BMW aren't just copying others for ad themes. Why are they copying Indian EV company Mahindra Reva, voted 17= with Tesla by Fast Company for Most Innovative Companies 2013. Born Green vs Born Electric? Future of Mobility vs  Hello Future? I remember the former CEO of BMW say that they would build a competitor to the G-Wiz and they the engineers have certainly done that. Brilliantly.  Now its your turn Marketing. Be original. 

Americans Don’t Want EVs? Not unlike most people in the USA I have seen some of the following headlines & quotes from mass media outlets over the last few years:

According to FOX News, CNN and the New York Times people in the USA don’t want EVs.

Soft Sales Crimp Outlook for Electric Cars
“Many auto executives were not that enthusiastic about battery-powered cars at their outset, and now that sales of electric vehicles made by Tesla and Renault have been disappointing, some carmakers are playing down the technology.”
[Jack Ewing New York Times September 30, 2012]

GM: Producing Cars (And Losses) Nobody Wants
(Chevy Volt) a car that loses money and that few want
[John Layfield FOXBusiness September 10, 2012]

Monica Crowley said: “You know how many Chevy Volts they’ve sold? Like three because nobody, a) wants to drive a toaster oven for a car. Secondly, we don’t have the infrastructure in this country yet to support mass electric cars.” [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 11/22/11]

Eric Bolling said on Fox News that “The only Volts sold are to the government.” Co-host Greg Gutfled added that the federal tax credit for purchasing EVs is “like forcing Americans to buy broccoli flavored ice cream.” [Fox News, The Five, 8/4/11]

“Despite all the advertising and the celebrities saying it’s cool to drive these cars, we looked at the numbers, and it just doesn’t seem to be the truth. GM has sold 5,000 Volts. Nissan, 8,000 Leafs, less than one percent of those companies’ total sales.” [CNN, Erin Burnett Out Front, 11/11/11]
Opinions are always good to hear, but what are the real numbers? How do EV sales compare to Hybrid vehicles?

The first year that the Chevy Volt and the Nissan LEAF were available was during a recession year (2011) and 17,345 were sold. When comparing first year sales of hybrids 9,350 Toyota Prii and Honda Insights were sold in the US in 2000. One could say that in their first year EVs are almost twice as popular as hybrids when they were introduced, and hybrids had better economic conditions which should have made it easier to have sales. One could use the 1999 figure for hybrid sales, Honda only sold 17 hybrids in that first calendar year, which would make EVs many times more popular, but that is an unfair comparison.

Also what some media are failing to mention in particular about the Chevy Volt, Nissan LEAF, or Tesla EVs is that these vehicles are just now coming online and are not yet being produced in large numbers. ICE vehicles have a hundred years worth of experience and car factories built which produced 80+ million fossil fuel burning cars in 2012, Hybrids have only been out since 1999-2000 (just over ten years) and are just now reaching the #1 sales position in Japan and California. The first mass produced EV, aka Nissan LEAF has only been rolling off the assembly line since December of 2010.

In 2012 the number of EVs sold (53,000) is three times more than the previous year, most anyone would say that hints at a major success or huge increase in interest. If current EV sales trends continue 2013 will more than double the previous year.

At the very least it is hard to deny that EV sales are growing at more than a healthy rate, despite what has been presented numerous times in the media.

This fact is even more enlightening since most of the major auto manufacturers are really only trying to sell the minimum number of ZEV compliance cars required so that they can continue to sell their more profitable fossil fuel burning vehicles.