Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Navigant: global EV C.A.G.R 23.7% to 2023

PennEnergy.com; The number of plug-in electric vehicles on roads in the U.S. will grow from nearly 296,000 in 2014 to more than 2.7 million in 2023, according to a new report from Navigant Research.

Annual sales in North America, Western Europe and Asia Pacific will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 23.7 percent, report concludes.

The largest regional market for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) is North America, with estimated 2013 sales of slightly less than 100,000. Navigant Research expects that figure to grow rapidly over the next 10 years, as more models become available, the price premium for PEVs compared to conventional vehicles narrows, and charging infrastructure is deployed widely.

“The U.S. market for plug-in electric vehicles is reaching a new level of maturity and expansion,” says Scott Shepard, research analyst with Navigant Research. “The introduction of PEV options in the truck, van, and sport utility vehicle segments — which make up half the North American automotive market — will help drive strong growth in the PEV market going forward.”

The major regional PEV markets, North America, Western Europe and Asia Pacific, will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 23.7 percent through 2023, according to the report. Outside of the U.S., the largest urban markets will be Tokyo and Paris, with PEV sales in 2023 of nearly 49,000 and 25,000 vehicles, respectively.

£500m new funds for EVs in UK

Telegraph.co.uk: Drivers of electric cars could use bus lanes and park for free under government plans.

Councils will be given millions of pounds in extra funding if they grant special privileges to drivers of electric vehicles, under a £500 million scheme to make drivers “feel confident” about buying them. It should be a “no-brainer” to own one, said Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister.
Every motorway service station is to have a charging point by the end of this year that can power a car for a 100-mile journey in 20 minutes. There are 500 more chargers planned in the next year.
The spending, from 2015 to 2020, will cut carbon emissions and create jobs, said Mr Clegg.
Local authorities will be able to bid for a share of £35 million in government funding if they come up with plans to encourage green travel, such as offering free parking and the freedom to drive in bus lanes.
A further £50 million will be offered to buy cleaner taxis and buses.
Officials believe Britons like the idea of driving an electric car in principle, and enjoy travelling in them as taxi passengers. However, they suffer from “range anxiety” – a fear they will be stranded if the car’s battery runs flat. Civil servants blame television shows such as Top Gear for showing footage of electric vehicles grinding to a halt.
The perks will not apply to owners of hybrid cars that run on a combination of petrol and electricity.
Drivers of ultra-low emissions vehicles (ULEVs) are exempt from road tax and the London Congestion Charge. They are also eligible for a £5,000 grant to offset the higher cost of an electric vehicle.
Mr Clegg said: “Owning an electric car is no longer a dream or an inconvenience. Manufacturers are turning to this new technology to help motorists make their everyday journeys green and clean.
“This major investment is there to make driving an electric car affordable, convenient, and free from anxiety about the battery running out. But it’s also about creating a culture change in our towns and cities so that driving a greener vehicle is a no-brainer for most drivers.”
Richard Bruce, the head of the Office for Low Emissions Vehicles, said last week that applications for electric car grants had risen sevenfold in the past year, to 600 a month. However, he admitted initial estimates of the scheme’s popularity had been “wildly optimistic”.
Mr Bruce said: “This technology will only become normal when people see their neighbours plugging their car in to charge, see their colleagues driving one to work, or their friends booking a test drive.”

BMW on trends in car buying

BMW global sales and marketing boss Ian Robertson - "the first non-German to make it to a seat on the BMW main board." - is revolutionising the way we buy cars. He says: ‘The car dealership of the past will not survive, the retail environment is changing dramatically.'

Robertson has led BMW's buying revolution with chic High Street stores and ‘pop-up' stores in malls that increased footfall by 20 per cent. He says the aim is to make car buying more enjoyable and to have them situated in city centres as well as traditional dealerships.

"Three years ago BMW started looking at how top-end fashion brands and companies like Apple sold products. We wanted to look at different concepts for selling cars and how we could give our customers a better experience.'

He reveals car buyers in 2003 made on average four trips to a dealership before buying - in 2013 that was down to just one visit.

Also last year 93 per cent went online to buy their car - whereas using the internet ten years ago for this was virtually unheard of.

"Making bold decisions and the right decisions gives me the most satisfaction" Robertson adds: ‘Dealerships will remain critical as customers still want to touch and drive a car and have a relationship with a dealer.

"It is about marrying digital buying with the physical, emotional part at a dealership. We are selling emotional products not transportation."

Monday, 28 April 2014

iShare Electric Car From Applus


CleanTechnica.com: I’ve been covering cars long enough to know that every car design is loved by some people and hated by others. “Car gurus” have a tendency to act as if their design opinions are objective facts (they aren’t). My guess is that said car gurus would say the Applus iShare electric car is on the bottom end of an attractiveness chart, but I’m sure the funky design also appeals to some people. Check it out in the video above and feel free to chime in with your own opinion.

“Like the Volar-E and E-Born3 concepts before it, the new iShare EV from Applus IDIADA makes you stop and look twice. Looking like the strange child of a Smart Fortwo and a flat-nose semi tractor, the iShare is a purpose-designed little car (technically, a heavy quadricycle) that Applus has prepped for carsharing duty in European cities. There are no key holes in the doors, but the designers didn’t forget them. Instead, they rethought how a car like this should be locked and unlocked,” Sebastion Blanco of Autoblog Green writes.

The iShare’s special purpose is for active duty in carsharing programs (European carsharing programs, to be specific). As part of that, there’s aren’t conventional keyholes in the doors or even inside the car at all. Rather, the car is unlocked by scanning a barcode on your smartphone or tablet, and the car is started using a PIN code.

On to some of the specs: “The concept was designed for Europe, where it would be classified as a heavy quadricycle. That means that it has a 15-kW motor (the largest allowed) with a peak torque rating of 140 nM as well as a 7-kWh lithium-ion battery. It weighs just 530 kilograms (1,168 pounds). The combination is good for an estimated 100 kilometers (62 miles) of range and a top speed of 80 kilometers per hour (50 miles per hour). Based on carsharing use in the city, 62 miles should be enough for seven or eight drivers between trips to a charging station, Satué said. When it does need more juice, the onboard 6-kW charger and Euro-spec Mennekes connector will fill up the pack in about 70 minutes.”

Cost? $8,000 to $12,000 … available to carsharing companies only.

Pretty interesting, imho. I could see the car doing quite well with its specs, cost, and many features specifically designed for carsharing service. Aside from the above, that also includes all-plastic interiors that are easier to clean — carsharing users are not always so respectful of their shared property — and can be easily replaced if need be. Of course, being a small and efficient electric vehicle, the fuel costs will be minimal, better than pretty much everything else a person can drive.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

France: even more EV incentives

In addition to the existing €6,300 for individuals who buy pure electric vehicles, there are now also regional incentives which amount to €5,000 for individuals and up to €25,000 to businesses/companies.

In addition to those already impressive incentives, the Haute-Normandie Regional council offers “up to 70% of the cost of electric vehicles for schools, and all the cost of installing charging terminals”.


Yamaha electric motorcycles

Wired.com: Tesla Motors proved electric cars can be sexy, and Yamaha is out to show electric motorcycles can be, too.

We already knew that, of course, having ridden the utterly amazing Mission RS electric superbike. But it’s still nice to see a pair of sexy machines from Yamaha, which will help push electric motorcycles a little further into the mainstream when it starts selling them… soon. Buried within Yamaha’s 2013 annual report is a brief mention of the PES1 and PED1 electric motorcycles, “which we aim to launch in the near future.”
We first saw the PES1 and PED1 last fall at the Tokyo Motor Show, and Yamaha promises the road-going PES1–for passion, electric, street–will “offer the operability expected by existing motorcycle fans” while delivering a “new riding experience.” It doesn’t look very fast, but it reportedly weighs less than 220 pounds. Having ridden the Zero DS for awhile, we know the always-on torque of an electric motor in a lightweight package can be a hell of a lot of fun on a twisty road, even if the top speed isn’t terribly impressive.
And then there’s the PED1–passion, electric, dirt, natch–will be even lighter, weighting just 188 pounds. Yamaha claims it will fit in the back of an SUV and “expand the scope of electric vehicles to the off-road world.”
Specs? Range? Who knows? Yamaha isn’t saying much, but has said in the past that bikes use a fully automated gearbox that can switch from manual to automatic control with the flick of a switch, so there’s that.
Although the Internet says these machines are coming in 2016, Yamaha’s report didn’t offer a specific timeline. We aren’t counting on these motorcycles to provide the excitement of, say, a Mission RS or even a Zero SR, but we’re still happy to hear they’re coming. Having Yamaha get in the game is a milestone for electric motorcycles.

US EV buyers younger and richer than hybrid buyers

Forbes.com: US electric-car buyers are younger and richer than hybrid owners.

While it might seem logical to expect the demographics for buyers of both electric and hybrid-powered cars to be similar, the former tend to skew considerably younger and more affluent than the latter according to a market analysis conducted by Experian Automotive in Schaumburg. Ill.

Based on calendar-year 2013 sales, the study found that 55 percent of electric vehicle buyers are between 36 and 55 years old and nearly 21 percent have an average household income of $175,000 or more. By comparison, 45 percent of those driving hybrid-powered models off the lot are 56 years old or older (compared to just 26 percent of new EV owners), with only 12 percent having an annual income of $175,000 or higher.

Among those who lease their cars, the average term length for an electric vehicle sits at 29 months with a $386 monthly payment, while the typical hybrid goes for 35 months with a more-affordable $263 payment. What’s more, nearly 44 percent of EV buyers indicate they have at least one child living at home, while nearly 52 percent of hybrid car purchasers are empty nesters.

These stats would more or less reinforce the popular wisdom that hybrids, which typically cost only nominally more than comparable conventionally powered models, appeal more to family minded penny-pinchers than do the pricier EVs, which pack more in the way of high-tech luster and are often purchased as rolling status symbols (they also require a certain infrastructure – i.e. a garage and/or easy access to an updated electrical system for charging – and because of their limited range are usually the second or third car in a family’s fleet). “At first glance, one would imagine that consumers purchasing either a hybrid or electric vehicle would be nearly identical, but our research shows that there are slight differences between the two,” says Melinda Zabritski, senior director for Experian Automotive. “One possible reason for the disparity could be the growing popularity of the higher-end luxury electric models available.”

This data also helps explain the raging success of the Tesla Model S sedan, which pushes six-figures in its top form, and could bode well for Cadillac with its new ELR plug-in coupe and other luxury automakers who are readying their own EVs for affluent environmentalists.

The top five EVs in operation last year according to Experian were the Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S, Ford Focus Electric, Fiat 500e and Mitsubishi i-MiEV, while the five most popular hybrids were the more mainstream Toyota Prius, Toyota Camry, Honda Civic, Toyota Highlander and Ford Fusion. Though hybrid vehicles still comprise 98 percent of all alternative-fuel vehicles in operation, and only a relative handful of EVs are marketed nationwide (many are offered only in California because of state regulations that require major automakers to sell at least one zero emissions model), Experian found that the number of plug-in vehicles on the road grew at a far faster rate last year – a whopping 245 percent – than hybrids, whose numbers swelled by just 19 percent.

As it is, buyers of both EVs and hybrids tend to reside in more affluent zipcodes than typical consumers, with most green-car buyers clustered in hip cities along the west coast. Based on an analysis of searches on Cars.com, the 10 cities having the largest concentration of “green” car shoppers are:
San Francisco – Oakland – San Jose, CA
Charlottesville, VA
Los Angeles, CA
San Diego, CA
Monterey – Salinas, CA
Chico – Redding, CA
Santa Barbara – Santa Mario – San Luis Obispo, CA
Portland, OR
Sacramento – Stockton – Modesto, CA
Seattle – Tacoma, WA

Friday, 25 April 2014

New EV incentives inFrance

Inide EVs.com: You may have noticed when we reported on pricing for the Nissan e-NV200 in Normandy, France that there was incredible incentives offered there.

Those incentives don’t only apply to the Nissan e-NV200.

In fact, any pure electric vehicle qualifies for the regional incentives, which amount to €5,000 for individuals and up to €25,000 to businesses/companies.

In addition to those already impressive incentives, the Haute-Normandie Regional council offers “up to 70% of the cost of electric vehicles for schools, and all the cost of installing charging terminals,” according to Connexion.

These incentives get lumped on top of France’s existing €6,300 for individuals who buy pure electric vehicles.

Haute-Normandie Regional council president, Nicolas Rossignol-Mayer, issued this statement on the region’s new incentives:

“Determined to become one of the first eco-regions of France, the Haute Normandie Regional Council has made the development of electric vehicles and economic and environmental issue.”

We suspect that these added incentives will mostly benefit sales of Renault-Nissan electric vehicles.

Who is buying electric cars in the US?

Logic dictates that all cars with greener credentials would appeal equally to consumers with a social conscience. However new data from Experian Automotive, published this week, shows that there is a clear generational split when it comes to choosing a more environmentally friendly ride.
Hybrids -- cars powered by a combination of fossil fuel and electric batteries -- may well be the most popular type of greener car, accounting for 98 percent of all alternatively powered vehicles on the road, but they are more likely to be bought by drivers in their mid-to-late 50s and beyond. Crunching through data from over 3 million vehicles, Experian found that in 2013, just over 45 percent of hybrid buyers were 56 or over, compared with only 26 percent of electric car buyers.
Full electric vehicles, which offer a very limited traveling range and need to be connected to a mains or other type of outlet to recharge, again are more popular with younger, more affluent drivers -- 55 percent of new owners are aged between 36 and 55 (74 percent under 56), and 21 percent of buyers had a combined household income of $175,000 or more. Only 12 percent of hybrid owners had the same income levels.
Other interesting findings include the fact that 44 percent of electric car buyers have children and that on average they borrowed more money and accepted higher monthly repayments in order to finance the purchase than their hybrid-buying counterparts. However, they also plumped for a shorter repayment term of 58 months (62 months being the average loan term for a hybrid buyer).
"At first glance, one would imagine that consumers purchasing either a hybrid or electric vehicle would be nearly identical; both are environmentally conscious, are of similar ages and have higher income levels," said Melinda Zabritski, senior director for Experian Automotive. "While for the most part those statements ring true, our research shows that there are slight differences between the two. One possible reason for the disparity could be the growing popularity of the higher-end luxury electric models available."
In the US, where the study was conducted, the very exclusive Tesla Model S is currently the country's second most popular electric car. And despite its high ticket price, Experian Automotive says that 46 percent of owners paid cash for their Tesla in 2013 and 54 percent took out loans. The Nissan Leaf is the most popular in the US (and in the world), while the top three is rounded out by the Ford Focus.
And while electric cars have some way to go before they overtake hybrids (98% of the roughly 3.1 million alternatively powered cars on the road in the US at the end of 2013 are hybrids), popularity is rocketing. In 2012 there were only 21,000 electric cars on US roads. That number now stands at 72,000 -- a 245 percent jump.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Daimler/BYD's Denza electric car goes on show

WSJ.com: The Denza, an electric vehicle presented by German car maker Daimler and its Chinese partner BYD, in Beijing on Sunday. European Pressphoto Agency

BEIJING— Daimler the German automotive group, Sunday unveiled plans to build an all-electric vehicle with its Chinese partner BYD a further sign foreign operators are under pressure to meet demands by the Chinese government for a massive increase in electric cars to fight air pollution.

The Chinese government has a target of putting 500,000 electric or plug-in hybrid cars on the road by 2015, but the industry would have to sell about 450,000 plug-in cars during the next two years to achieve that target. The shortfall is putting more pressure on auto makers to step up investments in electrified vehicles—such as the Daimler-BYD cars.

Thomas Weber, Daimler's board member in charge of research and development, told reporters that this new model is "undoubtedly one key pillar of our electric vehicle strategy for China."

The Cars Beijingers Covet. The new electric car, called the Denza, is entitled to subsidies from both the central and local governments in China, Daimler officials said. The car was developed by Shenzen BYD Daimler New Technology Co. Ltd, the Daimler-BYD joint venture that was formed in 2010. The five-seater Denza is expected to go on sale in China in September, and is priced at 369,000 renminbi, or about $60,000. With government subsidies, Daimler said the price for the consumer could be reduced by 120,000 renminbi.
Some analysts wondered why Daimler is developing electric vehicles outside of its main business in China, its joint venture with Beijing Automotive Industrial Holding Co. Ltd, known by its initials BAIC. The two partners operate the Beijing Benz Automotive Co., which manufactures Mercedes-Benz cars in China. Last year, Daimler took a 12% stake in BAIC.

Daimler officials said the decision to develop an electric vehicle with BYD was based on a desire to "not put all of one's eggs in a single basket" and the availability of mature technology.

"At the time BYD was one of the most advanced makers of batteries for electric vehicles," Dieter Zetsche, Daimler's chief executive, told the Wall Street Journal on the sidelines of Auto China, the Beijing car fair.

Despite China's slowing economic growth, some regions' lack of cars on the road and increasing wealth likely will increase demand over the medium to long-term. WSJ's Joanne Po speaks to IHS Automotive Global Head Edouard Tavernier.

Separately, Mr. Zetsche told reporters that Daimler expects sales growth in China this year will outpace the 11% growth the company achieved in 2013.

The Chinese government is undertaking a number of measures to fight pollution in its car-congested cities. Some cities have introduced efforts to slow the growth of cars on the road by restricting the number of new registrations. China has also introduced a cap on carbon-dioxide emissions and is promoting the rapid development of electric vehicles to reduce emissions.

General Motors President Dan Ammann told reporters Sunday that the future of electric cars in China depends largely on whether the technology can be made less costly, what is done to create an infrastructure for charging electric cars, and "what policy actions does the government take to encourage consumers to move toward electrification," which is industry code for the level of subsidies that the government is prepared to offer.

The pressure to ramp up development and production of electric vehicles and hybrids was on full display at the Beijing car show. Volkswagen, the world's second-largest car manufacturer by units sold, displayed plug-in hybrid versions of nearly its entire fleet—from the compact eUp! city car and the luxurious Audi A6 sedan, to be launched in China next year, to a plug-in hybrid version of the super-luxury Bentley.

"The Chinese government is determined to reduce pollution," said Karsten Engel, CEO of BMW's China business. "This is the future trend."

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Leaf fleet sales taking off in UK

According to BusnessGreen.com Nissan Leaf fleet sales during financial year 2013 reached 818 in the UK, marking a drastic improvement on the 354 sold the previous year.

Significantly, the company is now confident demand for its electric vehicles from fleet operators will continue to accelerate over the next two years.

"The 2013 financial year has been prosperous for our corporate sales, with electric vehicles in particular proving to be an increasingly viable option for fleet operators," said Nissan GB corporate sales director Barry Beeston in a statement. "With the all-electric e-NV200 van being released later this year it is an exciting time for Nissan and we believe we will see a further increase in demand for the rest of this year and into 2015."

The company has long maintained that corporate fleet customers will drive much of the demand for electric vehicles, as they seek to cut running costs and have the ability to address "range anxiety" by assigning electric vehicles to pre-set routes.

In particular, Nissan is expecting solid demand for the new e-NV200 electric van following comprehensive trials with a host of blue chip customers, including FedEx, Coca-Cola, DHL, IKEA, British Gas and the Japan Post Office.

US military preparing for climate change conflict

Slate.com: “Climate Change War” Is Not a Metaphor. The U.S. military is preparing for conflict, retired Navy Rear Adm. David Titley says in an interview.

Retired Navy Rear Adm. David Titley sees climate change as a driving force in the 21st century.

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has just completed a series of landmark reports that chronicle an update to the current state of consensus science on climate change. In a sentence, here’s what they found: On our current path, climate change could pose an irreversible,existential risk to civilizationas we know it—but we can still fix it if we decide to work together.

But in addition to the call for cooperation, the reports also shared an alarming new trend: Climate change is already destabilizing nations and leading to wars.

That finding was highlighted in this week’s premiere of Showtime’s new star-studded climate change docu-drama Years of Living Dangerously. In the series’ first episode,New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman traveled to Syria to investigate how a long-running drought has contributed to that conflict. Climate change has also been discussed as a “threat multiplier” for recent conflicts in Darfur, Tunisia, Egypt, andfuture conflicts, too.

Climate change worsens the divide between haves and have-nots, hitting the poor the hardest. It can also drive up food prices and spawn megadisasters, creating refugees and taxing the resiliency of governments.

When a threat like that comes along, it’s impossible to ignore. Especially if your job is national security.

In a recent interview with the blog Responding to Climate Change, retired Army Brig. Gen. Chris King laid out the military’s thinking on climate change:

“This is like getting embroiled in a war that lasts 100 years. That’s the scariest thing for us,” he told RTCC. “There is no exit strategy that is available for many of the problems. You can see in military history, when they don’t have fixed durations, that’s when you’re most likely to not win.”

In a similar vein, last month, retired Navy Rear Adm. David Titley co-wrote an op-edfor Fox News:

The parallels between the political decisions regarding climate change we have made and the decisions that led Europe to World War One are striking – and sobering. The decisions made in 1914 reflected political policies pursued for short-term gains and benefits, coupled with institutional hubris, and a failure to imagine and understand the risks or to learn from recent history.

In short, climate change could be the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of the 21st century.

Earlier this year, while at the American Meteorological Society annual meeting in Atlanta, I had a chance to sit down with Titley, who is also a meteorologist and now serves on the faculty at Penn State University. He’s also probably one of the most fascinating people I’ve ever spoken with. Check out his TEDxPentagon talk, in which he discusses how he went from “a pretty hard-core skeptic about climate change” to labeling it “one of the pre-eminent challenges of our century.” (This interview has been lightly edited and condensed.)

Slate: You’ve been a leader when it comes to talking about climate change as a national security issue. What’s your take on the connection between war and climate?

Titley: Climate change did not cause the Arab spring, but could it have been a contributing factor? I think that seems pretty reasonable. This was a food-importing region, with poor governance. And then the chain of events conspires to have really a bad outcome. You get a spike in food prices, and all of a sudden, nobody’s in control of events.

“We need to start prioritizing people, not polar bears.”Retired Navy Rear Adm. David Titley

I see climate change as one of the driving forces in the 21st century. With modern technology and globalization, we are much more connected than ever before. The world’s warehouses are now container ships. Remember the Icelandic volcano with the unpronounceable name? Now, that’s not a climate change issue, but some of the people hit worst were flower growers in Kenya. In 24 hours, their entire business model disappeared. You can’t eat flowers.

Slate: What’s the worst-case scenario, in your view?

Titley: There will be a discrete event or series of events that will change the calculus. I don’t know who, I don’t know how violent. To quote Niels Bohr: Predictions are tough, especially about the future. When it comes, that will be a black swan. The question is then, do we change?

Let me give you a few examples of how that might play out. You could imagine a scenario in which both Russia and China have prolonged droughts. China decides to exert rights on foreign contracts and gets assertive in Africa. If you start getting instability in large powers with nuclear weapons, that’s not a good day.

Here’s another one: We basically do nothing on emissions. Sea level keeps rising, three to six feet by the end of the century. Then, you get a series of super-typhoons into Shanghai and millions of people die. Does the population there lose faith in Chinese government? Does China start to fissure? I’d prefer to deal with a rising, dominant China any day.

Slate: That sounds incredibly daunting. How could we head off a threat like that?

Titley: I like to think of climate action as a three-legged stool. There’s business saying, “This is a risk factor.” Coca-Cola needs to preserve its water rights, Boeing has their supply change management, Exxon has all but priced carbon in. They have influence in the Republican Party. There’s a growing divestment movement. The big question is, does it get into the California retirement fund, the New York retirement fund, those $100 billion funds that will move markets? Politicians also have responsibility to act if the public opinion changes. Flooding, storms, droughts are all getting people talking about climate change. I wonder if someday Atlanta will run out of water?

Think back to the Apollo program. President Kennedy motivated us to land a man on the moon. How that will play out exactly this time around, I don’t know. When we talk about climate, we need to do everything we can to set the stage before the actors come on. And they may only have one chance at success. We should keep thinking: How do we maximize that chance of success?

Climate change isn’t just an environmental issue; it’s a technology, water, food, energy, population issue. None of this happens in a vacuum.

Slate: Despite all the data and debates, the public still isn’t taking that great of an interest in climate change. According to Gallup, the fraction of Americans worrying about climate “a great deal” is still roughly one-third, about the same level as in 1989. Do you think that could ever change?

Titley: A lot of people who doubt climate change got co-opted by a libertarian agenda that tried to convince the public the science was uncertain—you know, theMerchants of Doubt. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of people in high places who understand the science but don’t like where the policy leads them: too much government control.

Where are the free-market, conservative ideas? The science is settled. Instead, we should have a legitimate policy debate between the center-right and the center-left on what to do about climate change. If you’re a conservative—half of America—why would you take yourself out of the debate? C’mon, don’t be stupid. Conservative people want to conserve things. Preserving the climate should be high on that list.

Slate: What could really change in the debate on climate?

Titley: We need to start prioritizing people, not polar bears. We’re probably less adaptable than them, anyway. The farther you are from the Beltway, the more you can have a conversation about climate no matter how people vote. I never try to politicize the issue.

Most people out there are just trying to keep their job and provide for their family. If climate change is now a once-in-a-mortgage problem, and if food prices start to spike, people will pay attention. Factoring in sea-level rise, storms like Hurricane Katrina and Sandy could become not once-in-100-year events, but once-in-a-mortgage events. I lost my house in Waveland, Miss., during Katrina. I’ve experienced what that’s like.

Slate: How quickly could the debate shift? How can we get past the stalemate on climate change and start focusing on what to do about it?

"When we get focused, we can do amazing things. Unfortunately, it’s usually at the last minute, usually under duress."This is the probably the best pithy description of the human race I've ever read. More...

-G. Dannek

Titley: People working on climate change should prepare for catastrophic success. I mean, look at how quickly the gay rights conversation changed in this country. Ten years ago, it was at best a fringe thing. Nowadays, it’s much, much more accepted. Is that possible with climate change? I don’t know, but 10 years ago, if you brought up the possibility we’d have gay marriages in dozens of states in 2014, a friend might have said “Are you on drugs?” When we get focused, we can do amazing things. Unfortunately, it’s usually at the last minute, usually under duress.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Kia Soul EV (video)

Watch the Kia Soul video here.

Nissan gives 2 years free public charging in US

InsideEVs.com: Building on the strength of a successful “No Charge to Charge” program that ran regionally in Texas through the end of March, that Nissan credits with aiding in a 500% increase in sales, the company has expanded it to 25 more U.S. markets.

These 25 markets are currently responsible for “more than 80 percent of Nissan LEAF sales” today in the US.

And unlike the Texas program that was only in conjunction with NRG eVGO stations, LEAF customers can now charge for free (with some limitations – noted below) with a newly created, all access EZ-ChargeSMcard - which in this case is good for two years of free public chargers at all the major player’s stations with any purchase of a new Nissan LEAF.

“The “No Charge to Charge” expansion will use the new EZ-ChargeSM card, a first-of-its-kind platform that will offer Nissan LEAF owners access to the leading EV charging networks with a single, all-access card. New owners will receive an EZ-Charge card that will provide access to chargers with ChargePoint, Blink Network from Car Charging Group, AeroVironment and NRG eVgo.”

UPDATE: It should be noted this “free charging program” is good for a maximum of 30 minutes at DC fast chargers and one hour at L2 stations. (via AutoBlogGreen)

As it stands 30 minutes at a fast charging station can net over 80% recharge on today’s Nissan LEAF, but only up to around 25 miles via L2 in an hour.

The “No Charge to Charge” program will launch on July 1st, 2014 (yet be retroactive to all LEAF purchases from April 1st) in 10 of the LEAF’s best markets:
San Francisco
San Diego
Portland, Ore.
Dallas-Ft. Worth

“‘No Charge to Charge’ and EZ-Charge are a winning combination, making public charging free and easy for new LEAF buyers,”said Fred Diaz, senior vice president, Nissan Sales & Marketing, Aftersales. “Public charging is an important way to provide added range confidence to EV buyers and persuade more shoppers to join the more than 110,000 LEAF drivers around the world.”

Nissan LEAF “No Charge To Charge” Program

Nissan says that after the initial rollout out the company will add “No Charge to Charge” and EZ-Charge at LEAF dealers in “at least 15 additional markets” by July of 2015.

Additionally, at the live announcement at the New York Auto Show this afternoon we asked Nissan if they were going to provide a map of future DC fast chargers (like Tesla does) so their customers will know where they’re coming. While Nissan said they had no plans at the moment, they “love the idea and said that they will consider doing it now.”

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Mahindra electric scooter preview

CarTrade.com: India's renowned automaker had showcased their capabilities in the hybrid segment with the Halo concept sports-car and the XUV 500 hybrid unveiled at the February held Auto Expo event held in Delhi. Mahindra has now also decided to unveil its potential in the hybrid two wheeler segment with its first electric two wheeler rechristened as 'GenZe'. The scooter is slated for release in the US market sometime in the second half of this year.
A team based in Palo Alto, California has been working on GenZe. The first prototype was seen at an event in US held last year where the scooter was first showcased. As per sources, the idea behind the electric scooter was first conceived at Silicon Valley and was stated as, “ part of a single global initiative from Mahindra to address the growing problem of transportation in crowded cities across the world.”
Mahindra expected to launch its first electric scooter in USA this year
Mahindra expected to launch its first electric scooter in USA this year
The Mahindra GenZe shall be powered by 1.4KW (1.8bhp) electric motor that is capable of covering about 50 kms and attain a top speed of about 50 km/hr. The scooter gets an integrated power module that includes – a charger, battery pack and controller along with the replaceable lithium ion battery. The GenZe sports a wind-cheating windshield for the rider's convenience.
The GenZe from Mahindra has been designed to deliver maximum utility. The abundant amount of space in the bucket behind the rider lets you fill it up with laundry, grocery or collect parcels on your way back. A USB charger has been provided below the seat for on-the-go recharging of your mobile phones or other electrical gadgets. To make this scooter high on technology, it gets a weather-proof seven-inch touchscreen that reads out every bit of vital information like battery charge status, diagnostics, range and route update. The device is Bluetooth enabled and is compatible with GPS applications. Moreover, it also streams your favorite music while on the move.
For now the Mahindra GenZe scooter shall only be launched for the US market at a price tag of USD 3,000 (Rs 180,000). Though the Indian automaker has also been working on plans to launch something similar to the Indian market. Sources have also stated that EV team at TVS Motor Company have also been working on similar lines for their electric scooter.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

MG hints at electric city car for Europe

The Dynamo concept is based on the Roewe E50 EV
EVFleetWorld.co.uk: MG Motor UK has unveiled its first electric vehicle, a concept car based on parent company SAIC’s Roewe E50 city car sold in China.

Said to have been developed to understand European market demand for an MG electric vehicle, the Dynamo concept was redesigned at MG’s European Design and Technical Centre (SMTC) in Longbridge and is on display at the SMMT headquarters in London.

MG Motor UK hasn’t revealed any details about the drivetrain, but this is likely to be similar to the E50’s. Launched in China in January 2013, this uses a battery pack from A123 Systems to offer a range of 110 miles at up to 75mph and is heavily subsidised to bring pricing in line with conventionally-powered city cars.

SMTC’s visual upgrades are more obvious – the Dynamo concept gains octagonal MG badging and Union Jack-themed graphics with a more aggressive front bumper, and could potentially be sold in Europe as the MG1 or MG2.

UK: 9,000 public charge points and 8,500 pure electric vehicles. Next: grid management

From eandt.theiet.org: With the uptake of electric vehicles steadily increasing, grid operators have to face the challenge of making the power networks plug-in car ready before too many drivers choose to go green.
Since 2006, about 8,500 fully electric vehicles have been registered in the UK together with 125,270 hybrid cars, making up less than a half a per cent of all cars on British roads.
However, according to available data, the number of drivers opting for a vehicle with extremely low emissions is growing every year and with the widespread governmental incentives in place, the trend could be expected to continue. Between July and September 2013, 1,210 new ultra-low emission vehicles were registered in the UK for the first time – about 23 per cent more than during the same period one year earlier.
Alongside the electric vehicle fleet the network of electric vehicle chargers is expanding, which at the end of 2013 consisted of nearly 9,000 publicly funded charging points across the UK.
These chargers have been largely lying idle most of the time so far, but experts have already warned that unless users are strictly disciplined to charge their vehicles overnight, the electric vehicle revolution could put a strain on the electric power grid, potentially causing local power outages during peak demand hours.
“So far, the number of electric vehicles on the roads is really negligible, but it is expected to increase,” says Michael Clark, programme director of the Low Carbon London project at UK Power Networks. “Once we get to a double-figure percentage market share of electric vehicles, they may become a problem. Electric vehicles tend to be connected to low voltage networks and it is this impact that we are investigating before it becomes a constraint on distribution networks.”

Going green a challenge

Getting the grid plug-in car ready is an increasingly pressing issue. The UK government has committed to source ten per cent of UK transport energy from renewables by 2020 and estimates suggest that by 2030 electric and hybrid vehicles could make up to 25 per cent of all cars on the UK roads. By that time, half of the transformers closest to homes and business might be in a need of an urgent overhaul – unless a cheaper, possibly software-based solution is found.
Together with Imperial College London, electric vehicle charging infrastructure developer POD Point and Scottish company Smarter Grid Solutions, UK Power Networks launched a pilot study evaluating the possibility of using a smart grid management system to deal with the excessive load from electric vehicle charging points.
“To deal with the excessive demand for electricity, you can either lay new cables and re-equip sub-stations with extra switches – which obviously costs a lot of money and is rather disruptive – or you can try to manage all those charging points through a smart grid management system,” says Alan Gooding, Smarter Grid Solutions' Commercial Director and Co-Founder.

Smart solution

The study, part of UK Power Networks’ Low Carbon London project, involves 50 charging stations in central London – an area with generally high power consumption.
“What we have installed is software that monitors in real time, on the level of sub-seconds, the electricity flow through parts of the London network and when the electricity network becomes congested or under stress, the software asks the electricity charging stations to reduce their consumption,” explains Gooding.
Smarter Grid Solution’s Active Network Management system has previously been used to integrate larger local energy generation systems, such as solar installations, wind turbines and combined heat and power (CHP) generation facilities, into congested electricity networks. The smart network management system consists of five platforms managing data exchange between the system and the grid, performing calculations and implementing measures to reduce the load on the grid in real time.
“We are doing all this in conjunction with the electric vehicle charging infrastructure so that any of those vehicles that still require a charge gets the charge. It’s kind of an intelligent system.”

Not cutting drivers short

Gooding says the system has been designed to disconnect the charging points from the grid for such short periods of time that the drivers shouldn’t notice any difference in the total charging time of their vehicles.
“The system has been designed to have no noticeable impact on the users of the charging stations. It takes into account when people are expecting to come back to their car and be charged,” Gooding explains, adding that the system is fully automated, not requiring any additional operational overhead.
The trial has been underway since December 2013 and UK Power Networks expect to have first results available by the end of 2014.
“It’s only a trial. We have to wait for the results to see whether it’s actually working the way we expect and decide whether it’s something a network operator should be doing,” says Clark.
As part of the Low Carbon London project, UK Power Networks has been testing various approaches to make the grid ready for the decarbonisation revolution. Experts have warned that not only the growing number of electric vehicles but also the increasing share of wind and solar installations with their unpredictable and fluctuating energy generation present the biggest challenge the UK power grid has faced since its construction in the 1930s.

The future grid

In the framework of the £28m Low Carbon London project, running from January 2011 to December 2014, UK Power Networks has investigated various low carbon technologies that could in the future change the face of London’s power grid.
“One of the approaches we have been testing to reduce peak demand loads is local energy generation for, for example, big office buildings – we have been testing novel commercial arrangements which provide a contracted service for buildings to ‘turn down’ their demand altering the use of systems such as heating and cooling,” says Clark, who believes the way forward is not only in the smarter grid but also in smarter or better informed users.
“We have already trialled this approach, providing users with incentives similar to mobile phone operators offering considerably cheaper off-peak tariffs and it has been working very well,” he says.
It’s quite likely electric car users will be intrigued by such incentives allowing them to fill the ‘electrical tanks’ of their cars fully up and pay just a couple of pounds. And if not, the smart grid management system will prevent those environmentally friendly vehicles from wreaking havoc with the wider city grid.Share on print

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Mitsubishi Boss: Electric vehicles 'will beat petrol cars'

Electric-vehicleNews.com: Electric cars will be so affordable and have such a long range between re-charges that petrol cars will not be able to compete in the next generation of cars, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation president Osamu Masuko predicts.

He said car and battery manufacturers were working on a seven-fold increase in battery capacity, increasing potential car driving ranges to more than 1000km, and major reductions to battery cost, one 20th of 2009 prices, that would drive the growth in electric cars.

“Once these things are achieved, the petrol engine can't compete,” he said, adding: “In 10 years time, we might see a dramatic change.”
He likened the rise of EVs to that of mobile phones, which had had a major impact on old style land-line telephones.
“The world is changing, and it is definitely advancing, this battery technology,” he said.

Mr Matsuko said the lithium-ion batteries for an electric car in 2009 cost as much as a Toyota Yaris, but had more than halved since.

He said the Japanese government had a target to reduce the cost of batteries for cars to one 20th of the price of the 2009 variety, and with seven fold capacity.

A 2009 electric car could travel 150km, he said, meaning the EV of the future should do more than 1000km.

Mr Masuko said Mitsubishi would not be able to meet future fuel consumption and emissions regulations in the United States, Europe and China if it did not introduce electric and PHEV cars into its mix.
He said car companies who failed to meet the regulations would have to pay penalties.
“Paying penalities is not realistic,” he said.

Mr Masuko said the fact that China – along with Bolivia and Chile – controlled one of the few sources of raw lithium for the making of current batteries was a concern, meaning the product was often used as a political bargaining tool.

However, Kazakstan supplies were now coming on stream, reducing the risk of supply instability, he said.
In the longer term, new battery substances possibly would further reduce the reliance on Chinese lithium, he said.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

IPCC report: world must urgently switch to clean sources of energy

TheGuardian.com: UN panel's third report explains how global dependence on fossil fuels must end in order to avoid catastrophic climate change

Clean energy will have to at least treble in output and dominate world energy supplies by 2050 in order to avoid catastrophic climate change, a UN report is set to conclude on Sunday.

The report produced by hundreds of experts and backed by almost 200 world governments, will detail the dramatic transformation required of the entire globe's power system, including ending centuries of coal, oil and gas supremacy.

Currently fossil fuels provide more than 80% of all energy but the urgent need to cut planet-warming carbon emissions means this must fall to as little as a third of present levels in coming decades, according to a leaked draft of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report seen by the Guardian.

There is heavy emphasis on renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, and cutting energy waste, which together need hundreds of billions of dollars of investment a year.

But despite the scale of the challenge, the draft report is upbeat: "Since [2007], many renewable energy technologies have substantially advanced in terms of performance and cost and a growing number have achieved technical and economic maturity, making renewable energy a fast growing category in energy supply," the report says.

It also highlights that the benefits of clean energy, particularly in reducing deadly air pollution and providing secure energy supplies, "outweigh the adverse side effects". The IPCC report is the last part of a trilogy compiled by thousands of the world's most eminent scientists which gives the most definitive account of climate change to date.

The first report, released in September, showed climate change was "unequivocally" caused by human activity and prompted Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, to say: "The heat is on. Now we must act."

The second, published in March, warned that the impact of global warming, from extreme weather to reduced food production, posed a grave threat to humanity and could lead to wars and mass migration. The International Energy Agency said the IPCC's work showed "the urgent need of enabling a global transition to clean energy systems".

The report will address how to avert the worst dangers by cutting carbon emissions, which have been rising despite the global recession of 2007-08.

Nuclear power is cited among the low-carbon energy sources needed, but the draft report warns it "has been declining since 1993" and faces concerns about "safety, nuclear weapon proliferation risks, waste management security as well as financial and regulatory risks".

Another way to produce low-carbon energy is to burn fossil fuels but capture and bury the carbon emissions.

The IPCC experts note that, unlike renewable energy, this technology "has not yet been applied at a large, commercial scale".

The draft report concludes that increasing carbon emissions are due to rising coal use, along with increasing demand for energy from the world's growing population. But it notes that policies implemented to cut carbon emissions will also cut the value of fossil fuel reserves, particularly for coal. It also says increased use of gas could cut emissions in the "short term", if it replaces coal.

China's vast coal burning represents a huge challenge but a new analysis from Greenpeace, published on Friday, suggests it may have reached a turning point. "The range of coal caps and anti-smog measures put in place by the Chinese authorities could see the country cut its carbon emissions by more than twice the UK's annual footprint by 2020, making it possible for global carbon levels to peak before climate change spirals out of control," said Li Shuo, Greenpeace East Asia's climate and energy campaigner.

Over half a trillion dollars a year are spent subsidising fossil fuels – six times more than spent supporting renewable energy – and US president Barack Obama and other leaders have pledged to phase these out. The draft IPCC report states this could be done without harming the poor: "Many countries have reformed their tax and budget systems to reduce fuel subsidies, that actually accrue to the relatively wealthy, and used other mechanisms that are more targeted to the poor."

Friday, 11 April 2014

UK: My Electric Avenue

AM-online.com: UK's first road of electric vehicles created in Marlow
Residents in Marlow have become the first of 11 neighbourhoods and workplaces to take delivery of their Nissan Leafs as part of the £9 million ‘My Electric Avenue’ trial.
The trial looks at how best to manage the electricity network when a large number of EVs charge in the same street at the same time.
It is being led by EA Technology and hosted by Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution (SSEPD) and aims to avoid the need to dig up the roads to install higher capacity electric cables.
Nine neighbours in Marlow are now receiving delivery of their all-electric Nissan Leafs to use over the next 18 months.
The other ‘residential clusters’ are in Chineham, Chiswick, Lyndhurst, South Gosforth and Wylam, with two more based in South Shields.
There are two ‘workplace-based clusters’: Slough Borough Council and Your Homes Newcastle
The project has exceeded Ofgem’s recruitment and customer engagement targets, by achieving 111 signed lease contracts overall in the technical trials when 100 were required; recruiting eight  clusters with 10 people in each when seven  clusters of 10 were required; and recruiting 11 clusters overall in the technical trials when 10 clusters in total were required.
Recruitment for the trials has been successful due to ‘cluster champions’ in local communities taking up the challenge of recruiting their neighbours through leaflet dropping, door knocking, and even holding community coffee mornings to drum up support.
Although the technical trials are now fully subscribed, My Electric Avenue’s social trials are still open for business.
The social trials are designed to complement the information gathered during the technical trials and participants can lease a new 100% electric Nissan Leaf at a specially negotiated rate for 18 months.
Applicants can be individuals or groups and there’s no requirement to have any technology installed in the home.
Spaces in the social trials are limited and so the cars will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

2030:" a huge amount of oil - and no buyers"

BusinessInsider.com: Solar power will slowly squeeze the revenues of petro-rentier regimes in Russia, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. They will have to find a new business model, or fade into decline
Solar power has won the global argument. Photovoltaic energy is already so cheap that it competes with oil, diesel and liquefied natural gas in much of Asia without subsidies.
Roughly 29pc of electricity capacity added in America last year came from solar, rising to 100pc even in Massachusetts and Vermont. "More solar has been installed in the US in the past 18 months than in 30 years," says the US Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). California's subsidy pot is drying up but new solar has hardly missed a beat.
The technology is improving so fast - helped by the US military - that it has achieved a virtuous circle. Michael Parker and Flora Chang, at Sanford Bernstein, say we entering a new order of "global energy deflation" that must ineluctably erode the viability of oil, gas and the fossil fuel nexus over time. In the 1980s solar development was stopped in its tracks by the slump in oil prices. By now it has surely crossed the threshold irreversibly.
The ratchet effect of energy deflation may be imperceptible at first since solar makes up just 0.17pc of the world's $5 trillion energy market, or 3pc of its electricity. The trend does not preclude cyclical oil booms along the way. Nor does it obviate the need for shale fracking as a stop-gap, for national security reasons or in Britain's case to curb a shocking current account deficit of 5.4pc of GDP.
But the technology momentum goes only one way. "Eventually solar will become so large that there will be consequences everywhere," they said. This remarkable overthrow of everything we take for granted in world energy politics may occur within "the better part of a decade".
If the hypothesis is broadly correct, solar will slowly squeeze the revenues of petro-rentier regimes in Russia, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, among others. Many already need oil prices near $100 a barrel to cover their welfare budgets and military spending. They will have to find a new business model, or fade into decline.
The Saudis are themselves betting on solar, investing more than $100bn in 41 gigawatts (GW) of capacity, enough to cover 30pc of their power needs by 2030 rather than burning fossil fuel needed for exports. Most of the Gulf states have comparable plans. That will mean more crude - ceteris paribus - washing into a deflating global energy market.
Clean Energy Trends says new solar installations overtook wind turbines worldwide last year with an extra 36.5GW. China alone accounted for a third. Wind is still ahead with 2.5 times old capacity but the "solar sorpasso" will be reached in 2021 as photovoltaic (PV) costs keep falling.
The US National Renewable Energy Laboratory says scientists can now capture 31.1pc of the sun's energy with a 111-V Solar Cell, a world record but soon to be beaten again no doubt. This will find its way briskly into routine use. Wind cannot keep pace. It is static by comparison, a regional niche at best.
A McKinsey study said the average cost of installed solar power in the US across all sectors has dropped to $2.59 from more than $6 a watt in 2010. It expects this fall to $2.30 by next year and $1.60 by 2020. This will put solar within "striking distance" of coal and gas, it said.
Solar cell prices have already collapsed so far that other "soft costs" now make up 64pc of residential solar installation in the US. Germany has shown that this too can be slashed, partly by sheer scale.
It is hard to keep up with the cascade of research papers emerging from brain-trusts in North America, Europe and Japan, so many brimming with optimism. The University of Buffalo has developed a nanoscale microchip able to capture a "rainbow" of wavelengths and absorb far more light. A team at Oxford is pioneering use of perovskite, an abundant material that is cheaper than silicon and produces 40pc more voltage.
One by one, the seemingly intractable obstacles are being conquered. Israel's Ecoppia has just begun using robots to clean the panels of its Ketura Sun park in the Negev desert without the use of water, until now a big constraint. It is beautifully simple. Soft microfibers sweep away 99pc of the dust each night with the help of airflows.
Professor Michael Aziz, at Harvard University, is developing a flow-battery with funding from the US Advanced Research Projects Agency over the next three years that promises to cut the cost of energy storage by two-thirds below the latest vanadium batteries used in Japan.
He said the technology gives us a "fighting chance" to overcome the curse of intermittency from wind and solar power, which both spike and drop off in bursts. "I foresee a future where we can vastly cut down on fossil fuel use."
Even thermal solar is coming of age, driven for now by use of molten salts to store heat and release power hours later. California opened the world's biggest solar thermal park in February in the Mojave desert - the Ivanpah project, co-owned by Google and BrightSource Energy - able to produce power for almost 100,000 homes by reflecting sunlight from 170,000 mirrors onto boilers that generate electricity from steam. Ivanpah still relies on subsidies but a new SunPower project in Chile will go naked, selling 70 megawatts into the spot market.
Deutsche Bank say there are already 19 regional markets around the world that have achieved "grid parity", meaning that PV solar panels can match or undercut local electricity prices without subsidy: California, Chile, Australia, Turkey, Israel, Germany, Japan, Italy, Spain and Greece, for residential power, as well as Mexico and China for industrial power.
This will spread as battery storage costs - often a spin-off from electric car ventures - keep dropping. Sanford Bernstein says it may not be long before home energy storage is cheap enough to lure households away from the grid en masse across the world.
Utilities that fail to adapt fast will face "disaster". Solar competes directly. Each year it is supplying a bigger chunk of peak power needs in the middle of the day when air conditioners and factories are both at full throttle. "Demand during what was one of the most profitable times of the day disappears," said the report. They cannot raise prices to claw back lost income. That would merely accelerate what they most fear. They are trapped.
Michael Liebreich, from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, says we can already discern the moment of "peak fossil fuels" around 2030, the tipping point when the world starts using less coal, oil and gas in absolute terms, but because they cannot compete, not because they are running out.
This is a remarkable twist of history. Just six years ago we faced an oil shock with crude trading at $148. The rise of "Chindia" and the sudden inclusion of 2bn consumers into the affluent world seemed to be taxing resources to breaking point. Now we can imagine how China will fuel its future fleet of 400m vehicles. Many may be electric, charged by PV modules.
For Germany it is a bitter-sweet vindication. The country sank €100bn into feed-in tariffs or in solar companies that blazed the trail, did us all a favour, and mostly went bankrupt, displaced by copy-cat competitors in China. The Germans have the world's biggest solar infrastructure, but latecomers can now tap futuristic technology.
For Britain it offers a reprieve after 20 years of energy drift. Yet the possibility of global energy deflation raises a quandary: should the country lock into more nuclear power stations with strike-prices fixed for 35 years? Should it spend £100bn on offshore wind when imported LNG might be cheaper long hence?
For the world it portends a once-in-a-century upset of the geostrategic order. Sheikh Ahmed-Zaki Yamani, the veteran Saudi oil minister, saw the writing on the wall long ago. "Thirty years from now there will be a huge amount of oil - and no buyers. Oil will be left in the ground. The Stone Age came to an end, not because we had a lack of stones, and the oil age will come to an end not because we have a lack of oil," he told The Telegraph in 2000. Wise old owl.

EV Sales Surging In South Korea

CleanTechnica.com: Electric vehicle sales are surging in South Korea, largely thanks to a number of relatively new subsidies, according to the most recent figures.

The growth is notable because EV sales within the economic powerhouse of a country had previously been somewhat tepid, not non-existent but not strong either. But, now, with the recent surge, South Korea is joining the fast growing number of countries where EVs are now somewhat mainstream.
With the (apparent) cracking of the market there’s the possibility of EV adoption speeding up in the region as a whole — perhaps spurring further competition with prominent neighbours, such as Japan and China?

With regard to subsidies, GreenCarReports provides more:
Trade journal Ward’s Auto notes that the country’s national Ministry of Transport provides a subsidy of 15 million won ($13,900) for purchase of a battery-electric car, and 10 provinces or cities offer further incentives that range from 3 million to 8 million won ($2,800 to $7,400).
Jeju, a beautiful semi-tropical island, offers the maximum 8-million-won local subsidy–for up to 500 vehicles a year–and intends to convert to entirely emission-free transport by 2030. The small island currently has about 300,000 vehicles, and offers a perfect driving environment for electric cars, with travel distances capped by its finite network of roads. It has already installed more than 500 240-Volt Level 2 charging stations, with more on the way.
 Something else to note about the South Korean market is the fact that consumers there buy almost exclusively cars made in the country. Part of the increase no doubt has to do with the growing levels of EV manufacturing taking place in the country.
On that note:
The low-volume Kia Ray battery-electric minicar has been offered to government agencies for several years, and the Kia Soul EV — unveiled in February at the Chicago Auto Show–will go on sale in its home market shortly.
In fact, even the former Renault Fluence ZE sedan that was created for the now-defunct Better Place program in Israel has found a new life (with a fixed battery pack that cannot be swapped) as the locally-built Samsung SM3.
Kia said it expects to sell 900 Soul EVs in Korea next year, and about 5,000 globally.