Saturday, 28 February 2015

India: Subsidies at last

Rs. 75 Crore Earmarked for Electric Vehicles

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley outside the Parliament before presenting the Union Budget. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today earmarked Rs. 75 crore for faster adoption and manufacturing of electric vehicles in 2015-16, a step which electric vehicles makers termed as a good beginning.

"Government is also launching a scheme for faster adoption and manufacturing of electric vehicles (FAME) with an initial outlay of Rs. 75 crore," he said.

Further, the concessional excise duty of 6 per cent on specified goods for use in manufacture of electrically operated vehicles and hybrid vehicles, presently available up to this March, is being extended for another year.

Reacting to the development, Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV), Director-Corporate Affairs, Sohinder Gill termed the allocation towards promoting electric vehicles and supporting charging infrastructure and R&D investments as a welcome step.

"Its like a life saver for the ailing companies who had invested into the environmentally friendly vehicles but were bleeding heavily because of the lack of government support," he added.

In addition to supporting the industry National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) will create a significant positive impact on the health index of country by promoting zero pollution electric vehicles and reducing the dependence on the fossil fuel.

Elaborating further, he said that the biggest beneficiary of the (NEMMP) will be companies manufacturing electric two wheelers and small electric cars, who have managed to survive through the difficult years and have been still active in the market.

"Although we are awaiting details, it is expected that aroundRs. 1,000 cr will be allocated for a period of two years, a large part of which will go directly into the hands of the customers in term of reduction of the prices of electric vehicles by around 20 per cent and in installing charging stations in many cities," he added.

The government has an ambitious target of putting 5 million electric and hybrid vehicles per year on the road by 2020 under the NEMMP.

"A clear roadmap on GST, increased investment in infrastructure, agriculture investment and reforms, increased alloaction to electric vehicles and a focus on skilled development will also support auto demand," said PwC India, auto expert and partner, Abdul Majeed.

The previous UPA government had launched the NEMMP 2020 in 2013. The targets were envisaged to result in substantial lowering of vehicular emissions and decrease in carbon dioxide emissions by 1.3 per cent to 1.5 per cent in 2020 as compared to a status quo scenario.

It was estimated that the government would need to provide support to the tune of Rs. 13,000-14,000 crore over a period of 5-6 years to facilitate R&D and put in place charging infrastructure.

Second hand EVs - not bad news after all 

1. Battery depletion is not a major issue

Electric vehicle naysayers like to warn of the dire risks electric vehicle owners face with respect to lithium-ion batteries and power depletion. There are are at least two reasons why battery depletion is not a major issue on the used EV market.

First, Nissan guarantees its batteries to eight years or 100,000 miles (whichever happens first), so the best-selling vehicle in the segment is safe at least until then. Second, a study on the premium Tesla Model S showed the battery pack held 94% of its power after 50,000 miles. Based on the evidence and automaker-backed warranties, major battery depletion in EVs is a myth.

2. Model S and i3 retain value

Kelley Blue Book’s annual “best resale value” lists are respected for the research and care that go into the studies, but neither the Tesla Model S nor the BMW i3 were among the top three plug-ins for the 2015 model year. (Two Porsche plug-ins and the Fusion Energi were.)

Now a full year after i3 hit the market, there are no available used models for less than the MSRP minus federal rebate. The same is true for the Model S, which showed one 60 kWh 2013 model available in Illinois for $70,000. With a base price of $71,070 and $10,000 in credits available in select states, used consumers don’t gain much of anything by choosing a secondhand Tesla.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Audi R8 e-tron 280 miles Audi has just released a whole slew of details on its all-new R8 e-tron. The second generation of the Audi R8 forms the basis for two more models. Audi has made major engineering developments in its high-performance electric sports car, the R8 e-tron. The latest evolution of the vehicle takes up the multimaterial Audi Space Frame from the new series-production model.

The supporting structure was enhanced by a CFRP rear-section module comprising the luggage compartment. The walls of the CFRP luggage compartment well are corrugated. This way, in the event of a rear-end collision, more energy can be absorbed despite the reduced material weight.

Thanks to targeted modifications to the outer shell and on the wheels, the Audi R8 e‑tron achieves an aerodynamic drag coefficient (cd) value of 0.28. In terms of performance and range, the car enters entirely new dimensions.

The large T-shaped battery is structurally integrated into the center tunnel and behind the occupant cell – optimally positioned in the car. It supports the dynamics of the R8 e-tron with its low center of gravity. Audi produces the high-voltage battery itself, for the first time based on a newly developed lithium-ion technology which was specially conceived for a purely electric vehicle drive. In comparison to the first technology platform, the battery capacity has grown from 49 kWh to approximately 92 kWh. This progress was possible without changing the package.

The R8 e-tron achieves an electric range of 450 kilometers (279.6 mi) instead of a previous 215 kilometers (133.6 mi)with an energy density that has been increased from 84 Wh/kg to 154 Wh/kg and some other modifications to the car. The electrically powered high-performance sports car has theCombined Charging System (CCS) on board, which allows charging with direct and alternating current. Using this system, it is possible to fully charge the battery in significantly less than two hours.

The power is now twice 170 kW and the maximum torque twice 460 Nm (339.3 lb-ft). The R8 e-tron 2.0 accelerates from0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 3.9 seconds on its way to an electronically restricted top speed of 210 km/h (130.5 mph) or 250 km/h (155.3 mph). Intelligent energy management and an electromechanical brake system enable high energy recuperation rates. Targeted torque vectoring – needs-based distribution of power transmission between the rear wheels – ensures maximum stability and dynamism.

Audi uses the electrical high-performance sports car primarily as a mobile high-tech laboratory. Accordingly, the findings from the R8 e-tron help in creating a vehicle with a sedan character. Upon customer request, the R8 e-tron will be available for order in 2015 as an electrically powered sports car in supreme hand-built quality.

So, it’s now real and the numbers certainly impress.

All we need to know now is pricing, which we suspect will shock us when released soon.

Will Nissan Beat Google and Uber to Self-Driving Taxis?

Photo: NissanThese Nissan taxis are conventional gasoline-powered vehicles, driven by humans. But Nissan is collaborating with NASA to develop a fleet of electric autonomous cabs. Who will build the first robot taxis? Google has a working prototype but no experience in manufacturing cars. Uber, meanwhile, knows the transportation business but has only just started working on autonomous vehicles with Carnegie Mellon University.

Documents obtained by IEEE Spectrum suggest the first cab capable of driving itself (and that you won’t feel obliged to tip) might be made by Nissan. In January, the Japanese automaker announced that it would be working with NASA to “demonstrate proof-of-concept remote operation of autonomous vehicles for the transport of . . . goods . . . and people.” Using a California Public Records Act request, Spectrum has uncovered more details on the particular technologies Nissan and NASA plan to share and, more important, that the main goal of their collaboration appears to be the development of a fleet of remotely-supervised autonomous taxis.

The documents reveal that Nissan has set an aggressive schedule for the project, planning to have prototype cars operating within two years. Google and Uber are both rumored to be pursuing the same goal, so a race for the mythical robo-taxi is on. (A European consortium is in the race too.)

Nissan has long been a champion of self-driving cars, with its chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn claiming the company would introduce autonomous vehicles by 2018. The company also makes taxis, such as the NV200 “Taxi of Tomorrow,” which is about to replace New York City’s traditional Ford Crown Victoria cabs. An all-electric model, the e-NV200, is already on sale in Europe.

The agreement between the Nissan Research Center Silicon Valley and NASA’s Ames Research Center calls for the space agency to “provide expertise to develop and test supervisory control of multiple autonomous vehicles for transport service.” If this sounds futuristic, it’s because it is: the project will include modifying NASA’s software for operating planetary rovers, visualizing their surroundings, and controlling them with telerobotic interfaces. NASA will also assist Nissan in the design, development, testing, and assessment of prototypes.Photo: NASA/Ames/Dominic HartAn all-electric Nissan Leaf equipped with autonomous drive systems parked at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley.

That assessment will happen right at NASA Ames, a complex of buildings, labs, and hangars in the heart of Silicon Valley. A number of streets and parking lots will act as a practical test bed for Nissan’s autonomous electric vehicles (Leafsat first), potentially alongside Google’s self-driving cars, which are also due to begin testing there this year. The parking lots in this area will be closed to all other pedestrians and vehicles. In return, Nissan will pay NASA an undisclosed sum. Nissan declined to comment on this story.

One of the technologies that NASA will modify is its Robot Application Programming Interface Delegate (RAPID), open source software that simplifies communications between robots and their command-and-control systems. RAPID has been used with walking and flying robots, as well as in anexperiment involving a wheeled rover on Earth controlled from the International Space Station. Nissan will also make use of NASA’s Vision Workbench, an image processing and computer vision library, and algorithms from NASA’s rover software for robotic exploration.

Particularly useful for Nissan is likely to be NASA’s Virtual Environment for Remote Visual Exploration (VERVE). This interactive 3D visualization tool was designed to incorporate multiple data feeds from Mars rovers, including stereo video cameras, LIDAR systems, digital compasses, and inertial measurement units—some of the same sensors found on self-driving vehicles today.

“Typically we work with rovers to explore terrain that has not been well mapped,” says a document written by researchers at NASA’s Intelligent Robotics Group, which developed VERVE. “As the rovers traverse an area, they build more accurate maps.” This fits well with Nissan’s autonomous vehicle technology. Unlike Google’s self-driving cars, which rely on ultra-detailed maps accurate to centimeters, Nissan uses what it calls “sparse maps,” created with third-party data that offers much less detail. If effective, this approach promises to be easier to scale than Google’s expensive and data-intensive maps that, even now, cover little more than the company’s home town of Mountain View.
According to the Nissan-NASA agreement, the taxi demonstration will integrate a service-oriented software architecture, road map, and database. Software will include a “telerobotic user interface,” “real-time performance monitoring,” and “automatic event summarization,” the documents say. Any lessons learned are intended to “enable Nissan North America to better plan for development and commercialization of autonomous vehicles and applications.”
That commercialization won’t start at Ames, however, as workers at the base are forbidden from using the prototypes as their own personal taxis. The agreement stipulates: “Ames personnel will not participate in testing involving the transport of humans in conjunction with their daily official duties or their personal activities (ie transiting to meetings, lunch etc).” To avoid robotic traffic jams, NASA also reserves the right to limit the number of Nissan vehicles on the Ames campus at different times of day.
Nissan already has a thriving taxi business and some of the most accomplished autonomous vehicle prototypes in the world. If NASA can swiftly adapt its rover technologies into the supervisory and control systems Nissan needs, sleekly space-age robot taxis might be pulling up to the curb sooner than many people think.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

The Real Reasons They Buy Teslas Yesterday afternoon, a panel of investment analysts on CNBC were discussing the potential impact of falling gasoline prices in the USA on Tesla Motors electric car sales. All but one agreed that it would hurt sales of the luxury electric car maker. 'Americans will be buying more SUVs,' they concluded. The one dissenting voice pointed out that if you can afford a $100K automobile, you aren't that worried about what the price of gasoline is. He was only partly right.

A couple weeks back, Jim Schulte, a local Omaha businessman (pictured above with his Model S P85 at the Strategic Air and Space Museum between Omaha and Lincoln) invited several other Model S owners over to his house for drinks and snacks. While not a Tesla owner, I got invited too. Several of the owners are medical professionals associated with the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC). Jim's a successful entrepreneur and business owner.

As we sat comfortably around the fire in Jim's great room, snow blanketing the golf course outside, he asked each present why they bought their cars. Styling topped the list, followed by performance (0-60 in under 5 seconds) and freedom from petroleum monopolies. None of them bought their cars to 'save money at the pump' or even necessarily to 'save the planet.' This is in contrast to the assumptions of CNBC's guest panelists, none of whom, I suspect, have ever ridden in or driven a Model S. In fact, it was the lone dissenter who, in the midst of a heated argument with the lady moderator, expressed a desire to someday own a Tesla.

Tesla buyers are 'early adopters.' Everyone recognizes that. And they all bought the car for different reasons and rationalizations, likely a whole host of them, but the price of gasoline doesn't seem high on that list. The price at the pump would have to drop below $1 a gallon to equal the price of 'filling up' a Model S on electricity. Do you see that happening anytime soon?

What Tesla buyers are getting is freedom from these wild fluctuations, largely driven by greed and fear, typically resulting in ever greater economic disparity and environmental degradation. Look at what's happening in the Bakken shale play and Alberta tar sands. Sure some people are getting rich, but look at what it's doing to those communities. OPEC can play all the games they want to crush the wildcat drilling companies in North Dakota and punish the banks that backed them. Tesla owners are largely immune, unlike the rest of us.

In contrast, the growing network of Supercharger stations means Tesla owners don't have to pay a dime for the energy to power their cars when they drive out of town. When they charge at home, it's usually under a $10 'fill-up' depending on local utility rates. Do the math. 200-miles driving range for $10 works out to 5¢ per mile.

On top of this, they get to drive a beautiful and amazing automobile with performance rivaling luxury cars that cost even more.

When it came my turn to share my buying experience, I had to admit that I didn't own a Tesla - we own an early Prius plug-in conversion and I ride an electric bike. If I had the money to buy one, I explained to the group, I would prefer to spend it on other things. Jim nodded and said that I'd be a good candidate for the Model 3. Maybe. $30,000 is still a lot of money for a car and as a baby boomer who just started receiving social security, it's not high on my personal list of priorities. I'd much rather invest that money building a business that helps get more of us out of our cars and onto bicycles - electric ones, especially - at least for local travel in our immediate neighborhood, which constitutes about 40% of all the trips we make anyway. As for the other 60% of trips further than 3 miles (5km), a pre-owned LEAF or BMW i3 might be an affordable option I'd consider. I seldom buy new cars, preferring someone else to take that heavy depreciation hit. As for those longer trips, that's what rental cars are for and maybe by then Budget or Hertz will have the Model S or X in their rental fleet and the I-80 Supercharger network will be up and running. So, I may or may not ever own a Tesla, but I am delighted that others can and I hope more will.

In the meantime, my advice to CNBC is get your analysts up to speed on why people buy Teslas, because your panelist clearly don't know what they're talking about.

Germany: 2014 EV registration numbers

Germany: 2014 EV Registrations Total = 13,237 units. Just behind the UK.

Top 3 Sellers Rank: BMW i3, Smart Fortwo ED, Zoe.

Study: Chinese Car Buyers More Willing to Adopt Pure Electric Vehicles than Americans A new study by Carnegie Mellon University researchers finds that mainstream Chinese car buyers are more willing to adopt pure electric vehicles than American consumers.

CMU engineering professors Jeremy Michalek and Erica Fuchs, Ph.D. student John Helveston and their co-authors surveyed automobile consumers in China and the U.S. to understand their preferences and willingness to pay for vehicle attributes.

“China is now the world’s largest consumer and producer of automobiles,” said Fuchs, an associate professor of engineering and public policy. “The trends in China’s market and the strategies of automakers and government in China have the potential to change the economic incentives for automotive technology development worldwide.”

The research team asked prospective car buyers in China and the U.S. to choose among gasoline, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and pure electric vehicles with varying range, performance, cost, brand, styling and recharging capabilities. They then used statistical methods to infer which attributes were driving their choices.

“We found that, on average, American consumers are only willing to purchase a pure electric vehicle if it costs $10,000 to $20,000 less than an otherwise equivalent gasoline vehicle, depending on its range and recharging capabilities,” said Helveston, a doctoral candidate in engineering and public policy. “In contrast, we found a smaller average disparity for Chinese consumers, who are willing to pay even more for pure electric vehicles if they have sufficient range and recharging capabilities.”

Both countries offer similar subsidies for plug-in vehicles, with the largest subsidies reserved for vehicles with large batteries, like pure electric vehicles, according to the study.

“Given today’s vehicle offerings and subsidies, mainstream consumers in both countries prefer gasoline vehicles,” Helveston said. “But we find that mainstream Chinese consumers are willing to adopt today’s pure electric and most plug-in hybrid electric vehicles at similar rates relative to their respective gasoline counterparts. In contrast, mainstream American consumers prefer low-range plug-in hybrids over pure electric vehicles despite the lower subsidies.”

The study, set to appear in the journal Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, points out several key factors about the Chinese automotive market that might support adoption of pure electric vehicles: two-thirds of Chinese car buyers are first-time buyers who may not have established vehicle expectations; the Chinese inter-city train system is reliable and inexpensive for long distance travel; and Chinese consumers have more experience plugging in electric bicycles than American consumers.

“There is a potential for mainstream adoption of pure electric vehicles to happen in China first,” said Michalek, a professor of engineering and public policy and mechanical engineering. “Last year we saw a surge in Chinese plug-in vehicle adoption — mostly pure electric vehicles produced by domestic manufacturers.”
The study, which was funded by the National Science Foundation and Ford Motor Company, notes that earlier adoption in China could have mixed implications.

“The U.S. and China together consume a third of global oil production and import nearly half of what they consume,” Michalek said.
 “Transitioning away from oil has major security implications. But China’s electricity grid is also dirty, and a shift to plug-in vehicles might result in higher air emissions — at least in the near term.”

Eight Manufacturers Sign On For Next Formula E Season In about three weeks time, Formula E will make its way to Miami for the fifth round of the inaugural electric racing series. Even though the first season isn’t even half over, the forces at work within Formula E are already looking towards the next season, naming eight manufacturers that have already pledged to support the fledgling motorsport. And this time, they’ll be able to modify the powertrains of their electric race cars.

Currently, all the teams race the same Spark-Renault SRT_01E car with identical chassis, battery packs, and drivetrains, but starting with the next season teams will be able to tinker with the motor, inverter, gearbox, and cooling system. While the battery and chassis will remain off-limits for the time being, this will inject an extra level of engineering and development that will (hopefully) result in efficiency and power advancements.

Eventually, these technologies will trickle down, first to high-end luxury vehicles but eventually to mass-market EVs as well. I always like to cite fuel injection as a perfect example of a technology used various racing series for decades before finally becoming available on conventional, affordable passenger cars. Hopefully the time it takes for electric racing technology to come to the mass market will be measured in years, rather than decades.

As of right now, the eight manufacturers that are already committed to the next Formula E season are;

- ABT Sportsline
– Andretti
– Mahindra
– Motomatica
– Renault Sport
– Venturi Automobiles
– Virgin Racing Engineering

Of these eight, five (ABT, Andretti, Mahindra, Venturi, and Virgin) are returning teams and two (NEXTV TCR and Motomatica) appear to be totally new. That leaves Renault Sport, which I’m guessing will be an evolution of the current E.Dams Renault team. Formula E fans will note that this is two teams short of the current ten team field. That means either the series is still looking for another two manufacturersto join the field, or it decided to trim down the field (the press release doesn’t touch on the issue).

Another reason for the smaller racing field could be that with the opening of engineering regulations, it is more difficult for some of the privateer teams in the series to compete. That said, shaving off a couple of teams to open up the drivetrains for modification is well worth the effort. Eventually, Formula E could resemble the wilder years of Formula One, which brought us innovations like the first active suspensions and six-wheeled race cars.

Get excited kids, good things are coming.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Ode to the pioneers

I wish I had been introduced to this quote a decade ago when I started out selling electric cars, and some journalists at the time were less than complimentary (but oh, how you are swimming with the tide now):

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt (not Cadillac, as they might have many in the USA think)

Mitsubishi production-intent crossover PHEV at Geneva Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) will stage the global debut of the Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV II at the 85thGeneva International Motor Show. The Concept XR-PHEV II is a small crossover powered by a new plug-in hybrid EV (PHEV) system. Mitsubishi said it expects the Concept XR-PHEV II to become MMC’s second production PHEV following the Outlander PHEV launched in January 2013. (The Outlander PHEV was Europe’s top-selling plug-in vehicle in 2014, with 19,980 units sold.)

The new PHEV system presented in the Concept XR-PHEV II is a lightweight, compact and high-efficiency front-engine/front-drive system suited for an urban crossover. The system is estimated to achieve very low CO2 emissions of below 40 g/km, while also delivering performance and response with its 120 kW electric motor.

The new PHEV system is designed for use in front-engine/front-drive models and comprises a MIVEC engine; a new electric motor/generator; a new power drive unit all mounted up front; and a 12 kWh battery pack. The new power drive unit comprises a compact and high-efficiency inverter and variable voltage system to achieve high power and high torque.

The PHEV system is designed to operate primarily in all-electric mode with the engine acting as a generator or supplying additional motive power when needed. Depending on driving conditions and remaining battery charge, the system automatically switches between all-electric, series hybrid and parallel hybrid modes.

By selecting Battery Save or Battery Charge mode, the driver can drive in all-electric mode when desired.

MMC said it is currently developing PHEV systems best suited to each model in its lineup with a view to introducing them in the near future.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Total Cost of Ownership information positively influences EV purchase Study Says More People Would Opt for Plug-ins If Monroney Stickers Focused on Total Cost of Ownership

Ever since the Automobile Information Disclosure Act of 1958, new cars sold in the U.S. must have a information sticker affixed to one of its windows, detailing basic information about the car, including its claimed fuel economy, basic specifications and more recently, environmental impact.

Often called the EPA sticker, the window stickers or Monroney stickers to give them their proper name, were proposed by United States Senator Almer Monroney, and are an essential part of any new car buying process today.

Would you be more likely to buy an electric car if it included total ownership costs for the vehicle over its lifetime?

In recent years, the information contained on the Monroney sticker has slowly evolved to make it easier for buyers to understand how different fuel types compare to one another, requiring plug-in cars to display both electric efficiency in kilowatt-hours per 100 miles as well as Miles Per Gallon Equivalent. (MPGe). Although the former was deemed too different to conventional fuel economy figures for most car buyers to understand, the latter has caused a great deal of frustration in the plug-in world, since it is essentially an arbitrary figure based on the notion that one MPGe is the energy equivalent to burning one gallon of gasoline, roughly 34 kilowatt-hours of electricity.

The U.S. EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — the two U.S. Governmental bodies responsible for setting the information which must be present on a car’s window sticker — have long maintained that buyers who are approaching alternative fuelled-vehicles find MPGe figures the easiest to understand. But now a new study from Indiana University, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, and the University of Kansas (via suggests there may be a better way to help people understand the difference between owning a traditional and an alternative-fuelled vehicle: total ownership costs.

Current window stickers focus on fuel savings over a small, 5-year period.

The study asked a total of 3,200 respondents in 32 different U.S. cities who were planning to buy a new car over the next two years to fill out an online survey back in 2013 on their attitudes towards car buying, getting them to rank cars based on information found in typical window stickers. The respondents were then shown the various different ways of expressing the total cost of ownership and cost savings that hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrids and electric-only vehicles had over traditional gasoline-fuelled cars over the lifetime of each vehicle.

Currently, window stickers do not give the total cost of ownership for a vehicle over its lifetime. Instead, it lists annual fuel costs based on a total mileage of 15,000 miles per year, alongside the total fuel savings over five years of ownership compared to a car with an ‘average’ fuel economy at projected fuel prices for that year.

They do not take into consideration total ownership costs over the lifetime of the vehicle, including servicing costs, insurance, and other wear and tear.

Due to the traditionally higher sticker price that hybrid and plug-in vehicles have over gasoline models, many buyers are put off spending the extra money up front, but as many advocates and industry-insiders have maintained, the study has proven that total ownership costs can often sway consumers’ minds.

“The information of total cost of ownership is not yet included on the EPA fuel economy labels but seems to trigger consumer interest in conventional hybrid and plug-in vehicles based on our analysis,” study authors professorsBradley Lane and Rachel Krause from the University of Kansas’ School of Public Affairs & Administration say. “We find that when total cost of ownership information is disclosed to respondents interested in small to mid-sized cars, the likelihood of ranking a conventional hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicle more favourably increases and is statistically significant.”

Would total cost of ownership calculations for an electric vehicle vs a gasoline car encourage more to plug in?

“Upfront premiums in purchase price can be very hard to overcome. People have high personal discount rates, meaning that savings often need to be perceived as rather large and quickly accumulated to be considered ‘worth’ a more expensive upfront investment,” Krause added. “In this study we find that showing savings from fuel-efficient vehicles compared with regular vehicles in terms of total cost of ownership increases the perception of their value – although, of course, their actual savings remains the same.”

When it comes to total cost of ownership for plug-in vehicles, Lane says results are even more noticeable, although a minority still do choose other factors first.

“The results indicate to me that, for all that people claim or attempt to make decisions about vehicle purchase based on rational factors like cost, fuel efficiency and safety,” Lane said, “there are quite a few other emotional factors—like brand and body style—and use factors—like size and carrying capacity—that usually trump those others, even though it costs them thousands of dollars over the life of the time they have the vehicle.”

Fuel cost comparisons alone are not enough, says study. Maintenance, Insurance should be figured in too.

Those looking for a small to mid-sized car are most likely to change their buying preference based on total ownership costs over the lifetime of the vehicle, the authors said, with those looking at larger vehicles like crossover SUVs the least likely to be influenced by the financial benefits of buying a hybrid or plug-in car over the vehicle’s life.

The study’s conclusion? That while European studies show that showing the total fuel cost of a vehicle is enough to push people towards alternative-fuelled and fuel-efficient vehicles, displaying total cost of ownership over the lifetime of the vehicle is far more likely to influence buyers.

Should EPA labels be more upfront about total ownership costs? Would it make you buy a different car if you could see that information when buying a car? Or do you think there’s already too much information on window stickers?

Norway: 18% of new car registrations electric in January In Norway, 18% Of New Car Registrations In January Were Electric Cars; VW e-Golf Shines

Number of registrations of new all-electric passenger cars in Norway – January 2015

2015 Volkswagen e-Golf

Norway did it again! Raised the bar of electric car sales to the highest mark ever.

In January 2015, the number of registrations of all-electric cars reached the second-best result of 1,895 and 18% market share of new cars! This is over 72% more than a year earlier. With a few hundred plug-in hybrids (at least over 300) added to the mix, Norway is at over 21%! plug-in electric car market share.

Add to them the 266 electric cars imported from other countries and 38 new electric vans to get a total over 2,500 more plug-in cars of all kind added on the roads last month.

January was a special month in which Volkswagen finally managed to handle deliveries of the long-awaited e-Golfs with heat pumps (optional equipment).

A lot of deliveries launched e-Golf to a level unseen even for the Nissan LEAF – 879 registrations (LEAF’s record was 716), or 46.4%of all new passenger EVs registered that month and 66.9% of all Golfs. Golf is the best selling car in Norway, and now it turns out that most of them are electric!

Nissan LEAF sales were stable at 309 registrations, while the rest of the electric cars had problems exceeding 100 sales.

Volkswagen e-up! hit 171 registrations – 88% of all up!s

BMW i3 – 101, Mitsubishi i-MiEV – 98, Kia Soul EV – 92 (87% of all Kia Souls), Renault ZOE – 79, Tesla Model S – 71 and Peugeot iOn 60. Nissan e-NV200 had 33, while the new Mercedes B-Class ED moved its first 2 units.

That was on the all-electric side, while on plug-in hybrid side the king is just one – Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 234 registrations or 72% of all Outlanders registered. There was 54 Audi A3 e-tron, 30 Volvo V60 Plug-in and 6 BMW i8s registered too.

We are not sure how long the e-Golf bump will last, but another arrival that we’re keep our eyes on is a large delivery of Tesla Model S Ds coming soon.

Number of registrations of new all-electric passenger cars in Norway – January 2015 (source:

UK: EV grant increases to 35% up to £5000 The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) has announced changes to the Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG). From 1st April 2015, buyers of eligible electric cars will be able to claim 35% of the vehicle’s OTR price as opposed to the 25% currently offered.

However, as the PiCG will remain capped at £5,000 (for the time being), these changes really only affect electric vehicles (EVs) with an OTR under the £20,000 mark, such as theRenault Zoe.

To take account of rapidly developing technology, and the growing range of ULEVs on the market, the criteria for the Plug-in Car Grant is also being updated.

From April 2015, eligible ULEVs must meet criteria in one of the following categories depending on emission levels and zero-emission-capable mileage:

Category 1: CO2 emissions of <50g/km and a zero emission range of at least 70 miles;
Category 2: CO2 emissions of <50g/km and a zero emission range between 10 and 69 miles;
Category 3: CO2 emissions of 50-75g/km and a zero emission range of at least 20 miles.

As announced in April 2014, vehicles in all categories will continue to be eligible for the full grant of up to £5,000, until 50,000 grants are issued or the end of the budget period, whichever occurs first. The new categories will better reflect the range of vehicles on the market and make them accessible to the widest range of people.

The popularity of Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs) continues to rise sharply, with more than 25,000 Plug-in Car Grant and Plug-in Van Grant claims submitted since the scheme began in 2010.

Even the traditionally quiet January sales market saw nearly 2000 claims and total ULEV sales in 2014 were some 4 times the level of the previous year. The UK is now ahead of France and Germany in ULEV take-up, placing this country at the forefront of this green and cheap-to-run car technology.

The acceleration in popularity is matched by the growing number of ULEV models on the market with some 25 car models and 7 van models eligible for the plug-in grant. A further 40 ULEV models from major manufacturers are expected to come to market over the next 3 years.

With the announcement of the changes, Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said: “More and more people are deciding a ULEV is the right choice for them. They are great to drive, easily chargeable at home or on the street, and cheap to use with running costs from just 2 pence a mile.

“The government’s £500 million investment will help more models become available to suit a wide range of budgets. This thriving industry will support jobs and build a stronger economy.”

In response to the news, Dr Ben Lane of Next Green Car & Zap-Map commented: “The introduction of the three Plug-in Car Grant Categories indicates a significant shift in future policy. The likelihood is that future grants will differentiate between all-electric and plug-in hybrid models with official CO2 emissions of less than 50 g/km, and PHEVs with CO2 of 50-75 g/km.

“Should this turn out to be the case, we would support this change as it will ensure that any future grant system will target the highest-quality electric vehicles with the lowest CO2 emissions and longest EV-only range.”

Top 10 EV Battery Manufacturers 2014

Source: EVObsession

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Turkey: DMA electric taxis with 400 km range Turkish electric cars begin mass production in three countries

DMA, the designer company of electric cars that can travel for 400 kilometers after a single charge, has signed a license deal with three countries for mass production. DMA CEO Önder Yol said that by selling licenses to the world, they are bringing foreign exchange to Turkey.

DMA has launched the electrical cabs developed by Turkish engineers and is set to start mass production. Yol noted that they are expecting more support from the government, not necessarily monetary incentives but tax incentives for Turkish citizens to take notice of this new technology. The test drives took place in Istanbul and DMA's electric cars are now ready to be on the streets. He also announced the deals they have signed with three countries and that, along with their cars being capable of traveling for 400 kilometers with one charge, they have decreased the required charging period. He also stressed that the car is currently more expensive than average market prices with its TL 180,000 ($73,300) price tag. However, Yol noted that once they start production of 10,000 cars a year, the price will decrease toward the market average. Noting that when compared to internal combustion engines that use diesel oil or LPG, electric cars offer 10 times more fuel efficiency. Yol also said that normal taxis spend about TL 150 per day, around TL 4,500 a month, while the electric only spends TL 10 to TL 12 a day and TL 300 a month in total, which means the car would pay for itself in two years. Yol added that oil and maintenance expenses also decrease since the car does not have a motor.

Highlighting that electrical cars that were launched two years ago, Yol said that while papers printed his words as "we're the leader in domestic cars," what he said was "we're planning on becoming the leader in the domestic car market." Moreover, he could easily say that, today, DMA is the leading company in the domestic car market.

Another advantage of the electric car is the very low Special Consumption Tax (ÖTV) at 3 percent and the exemption from the Motor Vehicle Tax. Yol also said that the technology was spreading fast as the Municipality of London has announced that as of 2016, they will only issue licenses to cabs running on electricity.

Yol said that they have outgrown the most well-known electric sports car brand in terms of technology. "Their cars have 12,000 batteries while ours only have 200, therefore we can easily determine which battery is overcharging and the system deactivates that battery. This would be very hard when 12,000 batteries are running," he said.

UK: The low cost electric car revolution More drivers are opting for ultra-low emissions to cut both their motoring costs and their impact on the environment

Power play: sales of ultra-low emission cars have been soaring Photo: Matthew Howell

Britain’s adoption of ultra-low emission vehicles is set to surge again this year as a series of new electric cars go on sale and drivers continue to cut both their motoring costs and their impact on the environment.

Sales of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) saw a four- fold increase in January by comparison with the same month last year, matching the growth seen in ULEV sales in 2014. January’s increase comes despite the traditionally slow new car sales in the new year.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show that 1,708 ULEVs were sold last month. Just 431 were sold in January 2014, an increase of 396 per cent. Sales of all new cars increased by 6.7 per cent.

In 2014, 14,158 ULEVs were sold in the UK. That figure is expected to grow significantly in 2015.

The recent rapid growth we have seen in ULEVs is driven by the better availability of more models across more segments

The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) – set up by the Government to encourage their adoption, and which offers a £5,000 grant off the cost of a ULEV – announced this month that it has now received more than 25,000 grant applications since it was established in 2010.

The recent rapid growth we have seen in ULEVs is driven by the better availability of more models across more segments, and a selection of pure EV, hybrid and extended-range models to cater for all driving needs. Not to mention of course the plug-in grant – one of the major driving forces behind current uptake levels.

The list of cars qualifying for the £5,000 grant has increased from six in 2011 to 25, and up to 40 more ULEVs are expected to be launched by major car manufacturers in the next three years.

The list of qualifying cars now includes city cars, standard family hatchbacks, SUVs and large luxury saloons – and even the BMW i8 supercar. It will expand further as car makers race to cut their average fleet carbon dioxide emissions to just 95g/km by 2021, as demanded by the European Union.

To qualify for the grant, cars must meet demanding criteria set by OLEV on average carbon dioxide emissions and tailpipe-emissions-free driving range. Currently, only “plug-in” cars meet the standards. This includes zero-emission, 100 per cent electric vehicles (EVs), plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and extended-range electric vehicles (E-REVs).

EVs use only a battery and an electric motor to drive the car, and offer a range of between 100 and 300 miles. The “fuel” costs of an EV are estimated to be an astonishingly low 2p per mile. (A conventionally powered car will cost between 12p and 21p.)

As with a standard hybrid, PHEVs use both an electric motor and a conventional engine to turn the wheels, but they can be charged from an external source, allowing them to drive further on electric power.

E-REVs are driven solely by an electric motor and can also be plugged in. They use a small, highly efficient engine as a generator to charge the battery on the move, giving a huge combined driving range.

The Volkswagen Golf GTE plug-in hybrid is typical of the new breed of ULEVs. After charging for three hours and 45 minutes from a household socket (or considerably less from a dedicated wallbox), it offers an electric range of 31 miles, enough to cover most drivers’ average daily needs.

Together, its electric motor and its 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine offer 201bhp and a combined driving range of 580 miles. It costs from £28,035 after the grant has been deducted. Deliveries start in March.

Volkswagen, Audi and Mitsubishi this month became the latest car makers to join OLEV’s Go Ultra Low campaign, part of the Government’s £500m programme to encourage the adoption of ULEVs. BMW, Nissan, Renault and Toyota are already members.

Transport minister Baroness Kramer said: “The public are increasingly seeing the benefits of ultra-low emission vehicles, which have low running costs and are easily chargeable at home or on the street. We now have seven manufacturers campaigning to show the range of styles and prices available so even more people will see what’s on offer and the significant Government help available.”

Hetal Shah, spokesperson for Go Ultra Low, said: “More UK car-buyers are realising the advantages of owning an ultra-low emission vehicle, and the aim of the newly expanded Go Ultra Low consortium is to share the multiple benefits with a wider audience. We’ve discovered that once people learn more about these cars and vans, they’re keen to take action, and once they’ve tried them, they’re hooked.”

Friday, 20 February 2015

UK: Battersea Park double-header for Formula E London Race Following a decision by Wandsworth Council, the London race of the all-electric FIA Formula E Championship has received planning approval to be held within the grounds of Battersea Park. The London ePrix will encompass two separate races – Rounds 10 and 11 – on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 June, increasing the inaugural calendar by one additional race (see full calendar below).

After many months of planning and following lengthy consultations with all parties, the world’s first fully-electric racing series will host its final two rounds on a specially created 15-turn, 2.92km circuit – designed by FE’s London Event Team together with British architect Simon Gibbons.

Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E, said: “Discussions for our London Formula E race have been many months in the planning so we’re delighted to be awarded planning approval by Wandsworth Council. Our thanks must go to all the parties involved for their hardwork and co-operation, especially Mayor Boris Johnson, Wandsworth Council and the various stakeholder groups with interests in the location.

“Having two races in London – the final two of the season – was an option we discussed at length with Wandsworth Council and means that London could well be where the inaugural champion is crowned, making it a fantastic spectacle for the city and a great platform to showcase sustainable mobility and clean energy. We will now begin preparations for bringing urban electric racing to London but of course that means working closely with all parties and local residents’ groups to ensure that we remain sympathetic to all park users.”

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Formula E is set to be a superb addition to London’s sporting calendar. The atmosphere will quite literally be electric and Battersea, which is already booming with the buzz of regeneration, will be alive with the excitement that this new, world-class event will no doubt spark.”

Deputy council leader for Wandsworth Council Jonathan Cook added: “This is great news for Battersea and for London. Our great city now has another world-class event to add to its calendar. Formula E is an incredible racing spectacle and a showcase for zero emission electric motoring. This sport is changing attitudes to electric cars and I’m delighted Battersea Park will be the backdrop for the season finale.”

In addition to the Formula E action, spectators will also get to enjoy the championship’s support race – the FE School Series – which sees children from 10 local schools compete in self-assembled electric kit cars around the full-size race track. Organised by UK charity Greenpower, the series aims to inspire young people to develop careers in engineering and sustainability.

British racing driver Sam Bird, who competes for the UK-based Virgin Racing team, said of the circuit layout: "The track is in the beautiful Battersea Park, right next to the River Thames, just across from Chelsea and with some of the most famous features of London’s skyline in the background. The layout itself seems to combine fast straights, a couple of high-speed bends, as well as some challenging chicanes and braking zones. I think the London ePrix spectators will be treated to some close, fast racing with plenty of action and overtaking. The organisers have done a good job with this layout and I can’t wait to race there, in front of my home crowd!"

For the London ePrix, Formula E will utilise MotorSport Vision Racing (MSVR) – the event organising division of MSV – to act as the race meeting organiser.

UK: $300MN investment in London Taxi Company - electric Taxi by 2018 The Chinese-owned London Taxi Company has been given the go-ahead to build a new 300 million U.S. dollars British headquarters and production factory on Wednesday.

The development is described as being a state of the art facility for research, development and assembly of high technology electric vehicles, including the next generation of London taxi.

The site, In Rugby, will be the London Taxi Company's new headquarters and will include a substantial research and development department, supply chain team, global sales and marketing and administrative functions necessary to support the assembly operations of the new vehicles.

Two years ago London Taxi Company became part of the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.

The company says it intends to invest in the new site to help develop advanced green taxi technology over the next five years with the aim of launching a zero-emission electric powered London taxi by 2018.

The London Taxi Company is already the leading global manufacturer and retailer of the purpose-built London Taxis, now an international icon.

The company has two manufacturing plants, one in Coventry - the city where the iconic Fairway London Taxi was born - and one in Shanghai, which produces vehicles for export markets, the company said on its website.

The move to Rugby will mean the company quitting its long-established Coventry base - just 21 kilometers from Coventry - but the company views the new factory as part of a five-year investment plan, creating an initial 550 jobs with scope for future expansion that could potentially lead up to the creation of 1,000 jobs.

It is anticipated that approximately 12,000 of the specialist vehicles will be produced based each year on a single shift system.

Business leaders and local politicians welcomed the move and hailed it as a significant step forward in realising the area's strategy economic plan for creating growth in the advanced manufacturing sector.

Cllr Carolyn Robbins, chair of Rugby Council's Planning Committee said on Tuesday the committee gave their unanimous backing to the project.

"We are delighted the London Taxi Company has chosen Rugby as its new location. We hope it will attract other innovative businesses to our borough," she told Xinhua.

CHAdeMO Announces Milestone Of 1,500 Fast Chargers In Europe

The number of CHAdeMO chargers in Europe has finally exceeded 1,500 thanks to surges in the UK, France and Sweden.

In total, 1,532 units are installed (a significant portion are multi-standard with DC Combo or ACplugs).

By the end of the year, another 500 or so multi-standard fast chargers are scheduled for installations through TEN-T projects. These will shoot CHAdeMO to at least 2,000. Maybe more if other projects surface.

“The number of CHAdeMO DC Quick chargers installed up to today is 5259.
– (Japan 2819 Europe 1532 USA 854 Others 54) last update 2015.02.05″

According to CHAdeMO, growth is highest in the US.

EV to cost less than ICE within a decade Within the next decade, the cost of electric cars will equal or undercut ICE automobiles, according to Deutsche Bank analyst Rod Lache. This downward movement in costs will “serve as a catalyst for significant expansion” of electric car sales.

Lache made these comments in a note sent to his clients. According to Lache, there are two factors that could eliminate the cost gap. Quartz describes these two factor as follows:

The first is that battery prices are expected to drop by more than half to $100 per kilowatt hour—not because of a scientific leap, but due to engineering improvements and economies of scale, particularly at Tesla’s “gigafactory.” The second factor is that combustion engines will get a lot more expensive, Lache says. US gasoline efficiency standards, which require that light vehicle fleets average 54.5 miles a gallon by 2025, will incur added costs of $2,000 to $2,600 per vehicle. That will raise the total cost of a typical drive train—an engine, transmission, and fuel and exhaust system—to $7,000 to $7,600 per vehicle in the United States, he writes.

As for electric car costs, Lache says that using the $100 per kilowatt hour cost that Deutsche Bank expects, to see within the next decade, a 47 kilowatt-hour battery pack would cost only $4,700. Add in electric motor cost and you’ve got a complete powertrain for ~ $6,000, claims Lache.

EV Charging Revenues To Reach $2.9BN By 2023 A new report from Navigant Research analyzes the global market for PEV charging equipment sales and charging services, including global market forecasts for residential and commercial charging system unit sales and revenue from charging services through 2023.

“Sales of EV charging systems are expected to grow steadily in the coming years, surpassing 2.5 million by 2023”

The market for plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) charging equipment (also known as electric vehicle supply equipment, or EVSE) is expanding, while experiencing predictable growing pains. With the number of PEVs in use projected to reach 12 million globally by 2023, the market for EV charging services is likely to continue to evolve to respond to growing demand. Click to tweet: According to a new report from Navigant Research, worldwide revenue from charging services is expected to grow from $152.6 million annually in 2015 to $2.9 billion by 2023.

“Sales of EV charging systems are expected to grow steadily in the coming years, surpassing 2.5 million by 2023,” says Lisa Jerram, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. “That represents a significant market for providers of charging systems, but the market landscape and the business models, particularly for commercial charging, are yet to be fully defined.”

Residential chargers are increasingly a commodity, competing more on price than on innovative features, according to the report, making the market for commercial chargers (defined as installations outside vehicle owners’ residences) the most dynamic and the most uncertain. Public chargers continue to spread, and workplace charging is picking up. Some charging networks have usage fees, some charge via subscription, and some companies offer EV charging as a free service to entice customers or as an employee perk. Automakers and utilities are moving to the forefront in the financing and build-out of EV charging networks, the report concludes.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Workplace Charging Meets Demand Response If you’re not familiar with workplace charging and demand response, we’ll get to that in a minute, but first, imagine if you stop at a gas station on your way to work, and you get a discount for not filling up your whole tank. To sweeten the deal, let’s say you can just glide straight on to work without even stopping at a gas station, because your parking spot at work has a gas pump. I know, right? If your head is not exploding yet, that means we’re ready to talk about a new pilot program that will study how electric vehicle owners respond to a discount for charging up their EVs at work.

The project is being conducted by the global EV charging company Greenlots, in partnership with the EV charging manufacturer EVSE LLC and Southern California Edison. Greenlots CEO Brett Hauser was nice enough to sit down with CleanTechnica for a phone interview last week, before the official announcement, so we could bring you the big picture.

Workplace EV Charging & Demand

We’ve talked about the convenience of workplace EV charging before — that’s where you can just park at work and charge up your EV while doing other things.

However, we haven’t really dug into what that all means for the companies that host workplace charging, and the utilities that provide the juice. Mr. Hauser clarified it for us: your EV now becomes part of the company’s demand on the electrical grid.

According to Hauser, the rule of thumb is that adding an EV charger to the grid is like adding another home, so workplace EV charging is more than a drop in the bucket, even for relatively small companies just putting in one or two spaces.

The numbers can really add up for large companies that host their own EV fleets while also making charging stations available to employees and visitors.

The question is, how to meet that demand, and how to pay for it.

The traditional solution is to build more power plants and upgrade the grid to meet peak demand, but that’s a pricey solution, even if you only consider grid-related costs, as Hauser noted:

…from a utility perspective, as the proliferation of electric vehicles becomes greater, there are certain service constraints, and upgrades are very time consuming and expensive.

So, there’s a big incentive for both utilities and customers to work within existing grid resources. That means shifting demand around to shave down those peak electricity use points.

Workplace EV Charging & Demand Response

Demand response refers to reducing or delaying the customer’s electricity use in response to a preset schedule, ad hoc requests, or emergencies, all with an eye toward improving overall grid performance and reducing the need for new power plants.

Electric vehicles are bringing a new twist into the whole equation, primarily because they don’t sit in one place like a building: they go from place to place, and they have different uses, so their place in the hierarchy of electricity users can change on a dime.

The flip side is that, with workplace charging, EVs provide utilities with an opportunity to build more flexibility into the grid, by engaging individual consumers both at work and at home charging stations.

That’s a win-win all around: the consumer gets a discount, the workplace gets to ease its peak demand, and the utility gets to avoid major new infrastructure investments.
The New Demand Response Pilot Project

According to some Greenlots press materials sent to CleanTechnica, this is among the first large-scale pilot tests of EV charging based on the open-standards automated demand response platforms OpenADR 2.0b and OCPP 2.0 for EV charging (think Wi-Fi open standards, and you can see why open standards are critical for mass-market EV adoption and effective demand-response programs).

As for hardware, the pilot will 80 Level 2 EV chargers recently installed by SCE at several of its facilities.

The idea is to see how EV owners respond when they are offered a variety of discounts off the base rate.

For this project, there will be a base or “premium” option, which guarantees the vehicle owner a full charge at the workplace charging station, the only exception being an emergency.

Owners who prefer to get a full charge but will settle for less, when necessary, will receive a discount.

An even bigger discount will be offered to EV owners who indicate that they don’t mind if they sometimes get less than a full charge.

In support of this arrangement, Greenlots cites Navigant studies indicating that home charging stations top the list for EV charging in the US, but workplace charging is also becoming popular as a convenience and a range extender.

In that context, it does seem likely that a fair number of EV owners with access to workplace charging also have a home charging station, which would translate into a high degree of flexibility.

The question is, will it make difference?

By the end of this year, Greenlots expects to have enough data from the SCE charging stations to do a deep dive into the ins and outs of demand response EV charging at the workplace. Here’s a laundry list of what they’ll be looking at:

Evaluating the impact of EV charging on peak load and the effectiveness of managing the peak through automatic load curtailment.
Enabling consumers to opt-in or out of a demand response program.
Evaluating consumer response to a variety of pricing and DR strategies.
Identifying cost-effective strategies related to system development requirements.
Directly engaging customers in demand response programs through Greenlots applications.
Evaluating DR as a means of mitigating local transformer overload risk in areas with EV clusters.
Evaluating the potential for creating accurate load plans through site and region specific demand response management of EV charging.
Lowering system costs via open standards.
Enabling and evaluating charging system response to day-ahead and hour-ahead pricing and load curtailment signals.

Before we leave the topic, let’s note that demand response is just one in an expanding toolkit for utilities to avoid new power plant construction. On-site energy storage, distributed energy generation, and “smart” metering can all come into play, too.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Mahindra & Mahindra plans to launch an electric car in Europe in six months NEW DELHI: Homegrown auto major Mahindra & Mahindra plans to launch its electric car in Europe in next six months as it looks to tap rising demand for eco-friendly vehicles in the continent.

"The way electric vehicle technology is growing in Europe, we expect it to play an important role there. We are also looking at the opportunity to launch our electric vehicle there and expect to do so in next six months," Mahindra & Mahindra Chief Executive, Automotive Division, Pravin Sha ..

Exuding confidence of making a mark in Europe, he said: "Our electric car quality meets the norms there and we are also entitled for support from the governments."

M&M had launched its small electric car e2o in India in 2013 and last year launched it in Bhutan. The company also sells the electric car in Nepal.

In India, due to high cost and lack of infrastructure for electric vehicles, e2o hasn't been able to clock high volumes.

"The sales of e2o are definitely below our expectations of less than 1,000 units a year," Shah said.

He, however, said entering Europe, where markets like the UK, Iceland and Norway have seen good jump in volumes of electric car sales, provided the company an opportunity to scale up.

Porsche 717 revealed: 2019’s battery-powered Tesla rival

Our Porsche 717 artist's impression (by Andreas Hartl)

► Electric rival to Merc CLS, Tesla
► Four-door body, battery power
► 300-mile range, four-wheel drive Porsche is busy preparing a battery-powered rival to the successful all-electric Tesla Model S - and CAR has details of this project, provisionally badged the Porsche 717.

It’s being developed on the Volkswagen group’s latest MSB architecture under development for the Panamera Mk2 and the next Bentley Continental.

If all goes according to plan, we can expect a sporty four-door, four-seater with clear 911 overtones, wrapped in a more compact footprint than a Panamera’s. Our artist’s impression above shows the kind of direction being explored by Porsche’s design department, according to our sources. Sounds like the 911 cookie cutter hasn’t run out yet…
Porsche 717: a Tesla fighter from Stuttgart

The sports car brand already offers two plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs): one based on the facelifted Cayenne SUV and the other one on the Panamera. On an even loftier level, there is of course the now-sold-out limited-edition 918 hypercar. The logical next step therefore is a Porsche battery-electric vehicle, or BEV.

Now that the company is part of VW, it is no longer able to go and develop such new projects solo, so the power of the group is being flexed to make the Porsche 717 leap from feasibility study to factory floor.

Ground hugging and emphatically dynamic in appearance, the car that is rumoured to be badged 717 is definitely not an SUV or a crossover, CAR hears.
The battery tech underpinning the electric Porsche

While the flat-bottom Tesla features a long and wide monolithic battery pack which double-up as floorpan and structural reinforcement, the lower H-point and the sports car stance postulated by Porsche would call for a so-called topologic battery installation.

Instead of a single, square-mattress-shaped energy cell which is relatively easy to cool and to connect, the battery arrangement proposed for the 717 looks more like a mountain range with the centre tunnel acting as peak ridge, with a pair of tall bulkhead walls and smaller agglomerations in the sills, the footwell and the overhangs.

In total, a reported 108 battery pouches need to be accommodated by the body-in-white. All 717 models will feature 4wd, four-wheel torque vectoring and four-wheel steering. As a rule, there is one electric motor per axle which will either be steel-sprung or feature an electrically-controlled air suspension system. 

When is the Porsche 717 going to be on sale?

It is hard to judge whether Porsche’s provisional launch date of early 2019 is realistic or wishful thinking. The same applies to the engineering concept which, according to one insider, is set to provide three different e-power stages rated at 400, 500 and 600bhp, reflecting the choice of power outputs available in the Model S. The average driving range target is in excess of 300 miles.

Together with the US specialist supplier Quantumspace, Porsche and sister brands VW and Audi are developing a new induction charge process designed to match the Tesla principle in duration and to beat it in convenience.

NanoFlowCell Teases New Coupe Concept Ahead Of Geneva The nano-sized NanoFlowCell from Liechtenstein has been busy in recent weeks, preparing not one but two new models for the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.

Along with the updated Quant E, called the Quant F, we can now expect a new concept from the innovative carmaker on its motor show stands next month.

The concept doesn’t have a name as yet, with NanoFlowCell simply calling it the “new kid in town” (which we’ll dub ‘NKIT’ from here) and releasing a single teaser image (top of page).

While the Quant F and Quant e-Sportlimousine before it are powered by all-electric set-ups offering insane amounts of power and torque, the NKIT’s powertrain remains a mystery for now.

It’s safe to say NanoFlowCell’s, um, flowcell battery technology will feature in some way, powering at least one electric motor.

The Quant E and F are both rather long to fit their four electric motors therein (one for each wheel). But as the NKIT appears to be a much smaller model, perhaps a single electric motor will prove sufficient.

All will be revealed in the run up to the Geneva Motor Show - stay tuned to TMR for more.

Foxconn invest $800M to build electric cars in China Foxconn Technology Group, the maker of Apple’s iPhone, is investing at least 5 billion yuan (US$811 million) to develop electric car manufacturing in a Chinese province.

The Taiwanese company is making the investment in China’s Shanxi province, it said on Wednesday. Foxconn already has two factories in the province. One of these assembles smartphones while the other is devoted to producing robots and automation equipment, it added.

Foxconn has largely focused on electronics manufacturing for clients including Microsoft, Sony and But the company is branching out into new business sectors, as a way to grow its revenue streams. Analysts estimate that it makes as much as half of its revenue from assembling Apple products.

In June, Foxconn’s CEO Terry Gou said that the company is targeting to build electric cars with a price of less than $15,000.

Foxconn has already been developing electric car batteries for some time, and the company has many customers for them, he added. It also manufactures the touchscreen panels found inside the electric cars from Tesla Motors.

Foxconn Technology Group and BAIC Motor Corporation recently agreed to jointly establish a company that provides electric vehicle rental services, set to become operational in September. BAIC launched the E150 EV in China earlier this year.

The BAIC E150 EV is powered by an 60 hp and 144nm electric motor powered by a 25.6kwh lithium-ion battery. Top speed is 125km/h, range is 150km. Price range from $20.300 to 22.000.

China is mandating that electric cars make up at least 30 percent of government vehicle purchases by 2016, the latest measure to fight pollution and cut energy use after previously exempting EVs from a purchase tax.

Monday, 16 February 2015

ACEA Reports 75,331 Electric Cars Registered In EU In 2014 (Up 37%)

The European Automobile Manufacturers Association with President Carlos Ghosn on-board announced that ECV (electrically chargeable vehicle) registrations in the European Union increased in 2014 by36.6% to 75,331.

If you’ve never heard of ECV, here’s the explanation:

“1. Total Electrically Charged Vehicles (ECVs) = Pure Electric Vehicles + Extended-Range Electric Vehicles + Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles

2. Pure Electric Vehicle (Electric, All Electric, Battery Electric, Fully Electric Vehicle) = vehicle powered solely by a battery charged from mains electricity. Currently, typical pure-electric cars have a range of approximately 100 miles

3. Electrically Charged Vehicles other than Pure Electric Vehicles = Extended-Range Electric Vehicles + Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles”

In Q4, registrations went down in fact by almost 8%, but according to the press release the overall numbers are positive.

“In Q4 2014, total electrically chargeable vehicle1 (ECV) registrations in the EU decreased slightly (‑7.7%), totalling 24,552. Of these, pure battery electric vehicles2 (BEVs) represented about half of the total: 12,755 in Q4 2014, up from 8,418 in Q4 2013 (+51.5%). The remaining 11,797 was made up of Extended-Range Electric Vehicles (EREVs) and Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles3 (PHEVs), down (‑35.2%) compared to Q4 2013.

In 2014, 75,331 new ECVs were registered in the EU, a 36.6% rise. Looking at the EU’s major markets: the UK saw the largest increase over the year (+300.8%), followed by Germany (+70.2%) and France (+29.8%). Looking at the EFTA countries, Norway ended the year in first place with 19,767 registrations, more than doubling the registrations recorded in 2013 (+140.8%).”

Here is set of detailed tables for every country in the EU, for all electrically charged cars, electric cars, and other electric cars (oh yeah!).

There are a lot of numbers to analyze. In general, we find that the UK is the leader with 15,361, while Germany, Netherlands and France are not far behind. Of course, no country will exceed Norway, which is not in EU.

Total Electrically Charged Vehicles

Proportions change if we switch to all-electric cars. Norway is now out of range. France leads in the EU, Germany is second followed by the UK and the Netherlands.

Pure Electric Vehicles

Finally, electric cars that are not all-electric cars. The Netherlands is on top (Mitsubishi Oulander PHEV heaven).

Note: Although the table shows the total for the European region as a whole (97,791), the title refers to the formal European Union, which does not includes Norway, the top selling European country. By a wide margin. The piece should highlight this fact.

Europe is finally catching up with the U.S., with almost 100k PEVs sold in 2014 vs 120k in the US, and a YOY growth of 50%. It seems all the new models launched in 2014 and the Outlander PHEV are making the difference.

Agreeing on standards is a key to electric vehicles Standards are a key part of technical progress and for the increased use of renewable energy.

Solar power provides an obvious example. If a photo-voltaic unit is used to put power back into the electricity grid, then the power needs to satisfy the standards for the grid in terms of voltage, cycles-per-second, and so on. These standards have been established for traditional generation and transmission and will continue for solar systems and local battery storage.

However, some new technology will not be able to rely on existing standards. A simple example is electric vehicles and recharging stations.

Standards will be a key to the success or failure of all-electric vehicles. An electric vehicle may be used simply for urban travel with overnight charging. But the vehicle is a lot more useful if it can be used over long distances and can be easily and rapidly charged at convenient locations during a journey.

Currently hybrids are used to solve this problem. A traditional petrol engine is used to back up (and potentially recharge) the electric engine. But hybrids are more like fuel-efficient traditional cars, not electric vehicles.

All-electric vehicles will only push out traditional petrol cars if they have a longer range and can access a network of recharging stations.

Unfortunately, building a network of recharging stations is an expensive up-front investment. It is only useful (or profitable) to build a network of recharging stations if they are compatible with a wide range of electric vehicles and there are enough of these vehicles in use.

This ‘chicken and egg’ problem brought down Better Place. It will guide – or undermine – electric vehicles more broadly.

Economics has long analysed the problem of standard setting, and there are a range of potential solutions.

A government can simply mandate a particular standard and require that manufacturers selling in their country use that standard. That solution can lead to a uniform standard if other countries follow. However, governments can easily choose standards that turn out not to be the best for manufacturers or consumers. And if the rest of the world does not follow the lead country then it can be left behind.

For example, if you get annoyed by having to use adaptors for electric appliances and being careful about the voltage while travelling overseas, then thank the governments who set different standards. Similarly, if you ever wondered why railways in NSW, Queensland and Victoria all have different widths (or gauges) thank government standard setting. The colonial governments all set different standards, ruling out a national railway network.

Alternatively, the standard setting can be left to the market. Products battle out until one emerges as the dominant standard and the others are driven out. But this has three problems.

First, there is waste as consumers get stuck with the ‘wrong’ product that becomes obsolete. (Do you or your parents have a Betamax video player sitting in a broom closet somewhere?) Second, it can lead to good products failing, as consumers wait to see which standard wins before they are willing to buy any product. Third, the winner may not be the best standard.

Finally, a consortium can try and set the standard across a number of businesses or countries. This approach is used in mobile phones. However, standard setting organisations controlled by business may not necessarily choose the best standard. Each member will be keen to promote a standard that uses its own intellectual property. And, if successful, the companies may choose to profit from their patents by charging monopoly prices. China recently fined Qualcomm for exactly that behaviour.

Standard setting organisations cannot ignore business. After all, it is the individual manufacturers who need to adopt a standard and incorporate it into their products. A standard setting body purely based on government and high-minded engineers may choose a high-cost standard that is impractical and no one wants or uses.

Put simply, there is no easy answer to the best way to set standards for new technology, including recharging stations for electric vehicles.

But we need to work out an approach soon. The alternative will be a range of ad hoc and inconsistent approaches adopted around the world.

For example, China has gone with a government-set standard. It has built a series of fast recharging stations every 25km from Beijing to Shanghai.

But the standard used by the recharging stations means that, at present, they can only be used for four types of vehicles. Unsurprisingly these are all vehicles either produced by Chinese companies or by international firms that have joint ventures with Chinese companies. The recharging stations use a standard that is incompatible, for example, with Tesla and BMW electric vehicles.

China may hope that its ‘first mover’ approach forces other countries to adopt the same standard. It may be right. But history is littered with first-mover losers in standard setting (for example, the standard set for analogue televisions).

The major manufacturing countries could get together at a government level to try and establish a standard. This may take some doing. The US and EU appear to rarely agree on anything when it comes to economics and technology. Add in China, with a vested interest in protecting its existing system, Japan and others, and I suspect we will still be waiting for agreement on a standard when cars (and possibly people) have become obsolete.

Alternatively, government could facilitate a manufacturer-based standard-setting organisation that includes the major producers of electric vehicles such as Tesla, BMW, Honda and GM. ‘Traditional’ car makers will not be invited.

This approach may not lead to the best standard. It may lead to potential abuse of market power and future competition cases. But the manufacturers themselves have the greatest interest in quickly developing a global standard for recharging. This will mean they can sell more electric vehicles and make more profit. And this is a situation where the profits of the makers of electric cars, the interests of the public in more usable electric cars, and a better environment, are all aligned.

Stephen King is a professor of economics at Monash University.

Has diesel had its day in Europe? Driving into Paris a few years ago in a Peugeot diesel hatchback, I became lodged in a long line of traffic. I started coughing violently. It was so bad, I nearly couldn't drive. Thankfully, I had a bottle of water, which helped. I blamed diesel fumes.

Pollution is one reason why the diesel engine has perhaps peaked at 50 percent of new-car sales in most of Europe.

Politicians are criticizing diesels. Gasoline-electric hybrids are gaining momentum as a way to reduce CO2 instead of diesels, particularly at the Germany luxury brands. Three-cylinder engines are emerging as another method. Diesel-electric hybrids are feasible, but they are expensive.

In parts of London, the air quality is so poor, The Independent reported, that children's lungs are being stunted. In Paris, the mayor wants diesel banned from the city by 2020.

Because diesel fuel burns at a higher temperature than gasoline, the exhaust has more soot, which contains carbon combined with sulfate, nitrate and metals.

Electrification may be the next step in cleaning up diesel. Using an electric motor to reduce the load on a diesel engine could indeed reduce emissions, says Tom Watson, the former chief engineer for the Ford Escape hybrid who now works for Johnson Controls as a technical fellow in powertrains and vehicle systems.

He said diesels produce more pollution during acceleration. An electric motor can reduce these loads.

The Peugeot 3008 uses an electric motor to drive the rear wheels while a diesel powers the front wheels. But all those extra parts add cost.

Smaller, turbocharged gasoline engines are also drawing people out of diesel-powered cars. Ford's 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine has been drawing customers out of diesel cars, despite the fact that gasoline is far more expensive than diesel fuel in Europe.

Alternatives to diesel are getting better each year. It looks like diesel has peaked in Europe.

All-Electric Car Registrations Europe 2014 – Model-By-Model Breakdown Here is the as-promised second part with the best selling all-electric cars in Europe in 2014, according to Avere-France.

We already saw the results for a few models provided earlier byNissan, but this breakdown has more models and a niftycolorchart.

Among the 65,199 passenger and light delivery electric cars, the clear leader is the Nissan LEAF with 14,385 registrations (Nissan indicates a few hundred more were registerted, but Nissan’s date probably includes a few more countries – 18 in the case of Avere-France).

The second best is Renault ZOE with 10,980. And those two models alone captured over 23,000 or 39% of the electric car market in Europe in 2014.

Third is Tesla Model S with 8,744, while the all-electric BMW i3 is fourth with 5,628, just ahead of 5,170 for Volkswagen e-up!

Next we have another Renault – 4,158 for Kangoo Z.E, which again reminds us of which manufacturing group leads the way in electric car sales.

Volkswagen e-Golf with 3,368 was able to overtake electric smart at3,082.

Nissan e-NV200 had 1,770 and Bollore Bluecar with 1,170 ends the chart, although there are some 6,744 additional registrations of other models that are low volume.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

All-Electric Car Registrations Europe 2014 – Country-By-Country Breakdown

All-Electric Car Registration Numbers For Europe in 2014 By Country (source: Avere-France) Avere-France released registration numbers for all-electric car registrations in 18 European countries (Norway, France, Germany, UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Austria, Italy, Belux, Ireland, Portugal, Finland, Iceland, Greece).

Most of them were placed on the graph, but you’ll need good eyes to see it

Anyways, the year 2014 ended with 65,199 electric car registrations in Europe – up 60.9% year-over-year!

The big winner last years was Norway, with 18,649 new registrations (more than twice compared to 2013). Norway overtook France. France is now second with 15,046. And both countries have more than 50% of all the electric car registrations in Europe! Since 2005, more than 43,000 all-electric cars were registered in France.

There are almost no changes in the other positions, but all markets seem to be growing.

Third is Germany with 8,804, fourth is UK with 7,370 (UK is showing one of the highest growth paces). The Netherlands fulfills the top 5 with 3,587.

Then we have several countries with similar results from 1,913 in Switzerland, through 1,688 in Denamrk, 1,524 in Sweden, 1,509 in Spain, 1,484 in Austria, 1,431 in Italy and finally 1,422 in Belgium and Luxembourg.

Stay tuned for the second part with data for individual car models!

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

UK: EV Surge Continues

January 2015 sales of Battery Electric Vehicles were up more than 50% % Year On Year, whilst sales of Plug-in Hybrid Electric vehicles were up over 1,000% to a combined total of 1715 vehicles.
The UK showed the strongest growth of any EV market in 2014, a trend that looks set to continue.