Posts Tagged ‘electric vehicles’

Consumers Are Coming Around on Electric Vehicles

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Consumers Are Coming Around on Electric Vehicles

As prices drop and technologies improve, electric vehicles are now set to become a mainstay on U.S. roads and even in the U.S. military.  Though adoption rates for the technology are clearly on the way up, manufacturers will still have to convince Americans that electric vehicles are cost effective, safe, and reliable.

Market research firm Navigant Research today released a survey report showing that American opinions on alternative-fuel vehicles are steadily improving.  The firm found that around 67% of those surveyed now view hybrid vehicles favorably and that 61% now view plug-in electric vehicles favorably.  Natural gas vehicles were also found to be viewed favorably by around 56% of those surveyed.

The survey also found that consumers looking for alternative-fuel vehicles are most concerned about saving money.  Fuel efficiency was a top concern for potential buyers, followed by other factors such as performance and the size of such vehicles.

Though the industry has obviously hit a tipping point, Navigant also found that manufacturers will have to work hard to build awareness for their brands.  The survey found that less than half (44%) of respondents knew of the Chevrolet Volt.  Awareness for other brands was even lower, with less than 33% having knowledge of the Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf, and BMW i3.

“Two-thirds of consumers surveyed stated that they believe EVs have unique features that stand out from their gasoline counterparts, and 6 out of 10 agreed that EVs are much less expensive to own in the long run than gasoline cars,” said Dave Hurst, principal research analyst at Navigant.  “While those are encouraging numbers, it’s clear that automakers still have a long way to go in marketing these vehicles to the wider car-buying public.”

(Image courtesy Tesla Motors)

 

These 5 things need to happen before electric cars really go mainstream

By Lydia DePillis, Published: September 19 at 4:18 pm

The Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/09/19/these-5-things-need-to-happen-before-electric-cars-really-go-mainstream/

In 1997, the world’s first real consumer-oriented electric car — the Prius — debuted in Japan. Sixteen years and many new models later, electric cars have stayed stubbornly at about 2 percent of global sales for light vehicles, which Navigant Research projects will only grow to 3 percent by 2020. Tesla may be doing well, but their $70,000 car won’t reach the masses anytime soon. Chevrolet’s Volt has had a rough ride, sales of Nissan’s Leaf have disappointed, several battery companies have failed, and Israel’s battery-swapping BetterPlace went under. Just this week, a car charging company that had received a $99 million federal grant went bankrupt.

But the sector is far from dead. The past few weeks have seen something of a boom in rollouts of new electric cars: General Motors is developing a $30,000 vehicle that can go 200 miles on a single charge, BMW is plans to launch the i3 this fall, and Volkswagen says it will bring an electric compact to the United States within two years. The all-electric Fiat just went on saleCadillac, Audi and Mercedes have prototypes as well.

Is the sudden proliferation a sign that electric cars are actually moving into the fast lane? Maybe. But there are still a bunch of pieces that need to fall into place before we’ll see very widespread adoption. Here’s what has to happen.

1. Batteries need to get cheaper. 

A battery for an electric car still costs as much as most regular cars — about $12,000 – $15,000 each. As Brad wrote back in May, that’s in part because they’re not like computer chips: You can only fit so many ions in the available space, so we’ll need a real chemistry breakthrough to increase their energy density.

It’s possible, though, that this is just a question of scale. McKinsey thinks the cost of batteries could be cut in half by 2020, as more factories come online to produce them, and Deutsche Bank sees car batteries declining in price the same way laptop batteries did. If China gets serious about reducing emissions, the scale problem could be solved — the problem then would be keeping up with demand.

2. Drivers need to believe they won’t be stranded.

Right now, only California has a substantial number of charging stations, which means it’s difficult to take a long-distance drive with your plug-in electric car. The Department of Energy dispensed a few million dollars for charging stations, but they can’t pay for all that are needed — the Center for Automotive Research estimates that charging infrastructure costs $2,160 per hybrid electric vehicle. In California, employers are increasingly offering charging stations to their staff, and NRG is starting to sell stations to anybody else who wants them. But it’s not like a gas station, where you can make a living selling fuel — these will have to be installed as amenities in workplaces and residences, or as part of government-driven efforts to string them along highways.

If electric vehicles really replace millions of gas-powered ones, they’ll also start to suck up more electricity than the grid can handle, which makes distributed generation — wind and solar energy, for example — much more important.

3. Policy supports need to expand, and not disappear unpredictably.

Over the years, America’s federal and state governments have enacted quite a few supportive policies for alternative energy — tax incentives, direct subsidies, fuel economy and renewable portfolio standards, high-occupancy vehicle lanes, etc. Particularly important, right now, is a California rule that actually requires large auto manufacturers to either produce zero emissions vehicles or buy credits from those who do. While it would help to see those kinds of programs be implemented on a federal level or even by more states, the fact that they exist in one of the United States’s biggest markets will kick-start production.

People in the alternative fuel industry know that incentives, which currently make electric cars much cheaper than they’d otherwise be, won’t stick around forever. Unpredictable disappearances, though, can be devastating. That’s what happened repeatedly to the wind industry, as tax credits expired again and again during partisan energy policy fights in Washington:

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 2.52.39 PM“Policy certainty is necessary for a length of time,” says Phyllis Cuttino, director of the Clean Energy Program at the Pew Charitable Trusts, which put out a report after hearing from the industry. “They said, ‘We only want it until we become cost competitive. And then, let us go.'”

4. Gas prices need to get high and stay high.

Auto manufacturers convince customers that the higher sticker price of an electric vehicle pays for itself over time through savings on gasoline, and that calculus looks better the more expensive gas gets. Unfortunately for the near term future of electric cars, gas is projected to stay steady for a while, which means batteries need to get cheap as quickly as possible.

chart

5. More people need to try electric cars.

People who’ve driven electric cars tend to understand they’re a lot like regular ones. Car sharing programs like Zipcar, which have introduced some electric vehicles as part of their fleets, are a good way to make the introduction.

“It’s one of the things that we see when we ask people about these technologies. If people have seen and experienced technologies, they are much more likely to consider them,” says Pew’s Cuttino. “If you are out west and you see a million wind turbines, you’re going to understand wind energy.”

Electric Race Car Victorious In Student Motorsport Event

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July 13, 2013

Green Car Reports
AMZ Racing Team's Formula Student electric racing car (Image: AMZ Racing Team)
AMZ Racing Team’s Formula Student electric racing car (Image: AMZ Racing Team)

Want to know where the next generation of race car engineers are going to come from?

Chances are they’ll have taken part in one of the many Formula Student at some point, open to student engineers all over the world with the aim of building and racing a single-seater racing car.

This year–for the first time ever–an electric vehicle has won the UK competition, reports Earth Techling.

In fact, electric cars came first and second, suggesting something of a paradigm shift in the competition–usually dominated by gasoline-powered racers, is this year simply a one-off or the start of electric car dominance?

First place was taken by the AMZ Racing Team from ETH Zurich in Switzerland, followed by German team UAS Zwickau. Cars are judged over a series of different events, including a figure of eight, autocross, acceleration tests, and a 13-mile endurance event.

Additionally, teams are judged on the cars themselves, industry specialists analyzing the engineering and design, a cost and sustainability analysis, a business presentation and a technical and safety inspection.

1,000 points are up for grabs across the car and performance disciplines, the Swiss team taking an impressive 921.3 points overall. UAS Zwickau followed with 851.5 points.

All the more impressive is the fact that just five years ago, teams fielding electric vehicles weren’t even able to complete the endurance section of the event. Ironically, it was hot conditions–not usually favored by electric vehicles–that took out some of this year’s gasoline favorites.

The results certainly bode well for future Formula Student events, but the organizers aren’t ready to let electric vehicles walk away with things.

“We are delighted by this progress but we will have to see what needs to be done in the future to ensure petrol cars remain competitive,” said Formula Student Chairman, Jon Hilton.

We’re sure many major automakers are thinking along similar lines…

Tesla wins in North Carolina, Paves the Way for Direct-to-Consumer Sales

By: posted Jun 27th, 2013

 

Tesla Motors continues to buck the odds, celebrating a major victory in the North Carolina Senate this week. The North Carolina Automobile Dealers — concerned about competition — set its sights on the green car company last month when it endorsed a bill that would’ve significantly curtailed Tesla’s ability to sell vehicles in the state. The legislation, supported by the Senate’s Commerce Committee, targeted direct-to-consumer sales which eliminate the need for dealerships. But Elon Musk and friends proved that it wouldn’t be quite so easy to squeeze them out of NCAD’s territory — Tesla took both North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and House Speaker Thom Tillis on test drives to show off the car’s capabilities. Musk’s strategy seems to have paid off, as the North Carolina House of Representatives struck down the bill on Tuesday. With another victory under its belt, Tesla’s upward momentum shows few signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Via: Autoblog Green

Source: News & Observer

DOE: Only $1.14 a gallon to fuel your electric car

By: Chris Woodyard

USA TODAY

June 11, 2013

Now you can check your own state to see how much you can save by driving electric

In Minneapolis, gasoline averages $3.84 a gallon. But if you buy an electric car, you’ll pay the equivalent of $1.12 a gallon.

In Florida, gas costs less, about $3.42 a gallon, but motorists will still save a bundle by driving an EV. Electricity costs about  $1.10 a gallon when compared to gas.

It’s all according to a fun new “eGallon” calculator launching today on the Energy Department website. It allows users to find the difference between the price at the pump and at the plug in any state. The national average is $1.14 a gallon to “fill up” your electric, compared to $3.65 on average for gasoline.

“Consumers can see gasoline prices posted at the corner gas station, but are left in the dark on the cost of fueling an electric vehicle,” says Ernest Moniz, the new secretary of Energy, in a statement. “The eGallon will bring greater transparency to vehicle operating costs, and help drivers figure out how much they might save on fuel by choosing an electric vehicle.”

It can only help the momentum for electric cars, which are trying to break into the mainstream.

Jim Ellis Chevrolet Unveils GA’s First Dealership EV Solar Chaging Station Powered by Metro Plug-In

RIBBON CUTTING ANNOUNCED AT JIM ELLIS CHEVROLET FOR GEORGIA’S FIRST DEALERSHIP EV SOLAR CHARGING STATION

Atlanta, Georgia – February 20, 2013 – Jim Ellis Chevrolet is the first dealership in the state of Georgia to install an electric vehicle solar charging station. 

Jim Ellis Automotive Group announces the first electric vehicle solar charging station installed at an automotive dealership in the state of Georgia.    “With the rising gas prices and growth in electric vehicle sales, we knew it was important for customers with electric vehicles to have access to this station,” says Jimmy Ellis, VP and COO of Jim Ellis Automotive Group.  “We are not charging our customers for use of this station at this time.  It’s a service to those with electric vehicles and we’re sure other dealers will follow.”

Jim Ellis Chevrolet is holding their ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, February 27 at 2pm at 5900 Peachtree Industrial Blvd, Atlanta.   Mayor Donna Pittman in Doraville, Georgia will attend the ribbon cutting ceremony, along with VP and COO, Jimmy Ellis and Mark Frost, VP of Operations for GM Brands at Jim Ellis Automotive Group.  “We are seeing more and more demand for electric vehicles,” says Jimmy Ellis.  “We were the leader in all of Georgia in 2012 with Chevy Volt sales, at over 100 units.  Our goal is to take care of the needs of Georgia residents with an electric vehicle as the demand for electric vehicles increases.”  Jim Ellis Automotive Group has been a leading retailer of green vehicles, including high EPA-rated fuel mileage gasoline vehicles, high-efficiency diesel engine vehicles, and of recently, natural gas powered and electric powered vehicles.

Jim Ellis Automotive Group is the city’s single largest family owned and operated automotive group, serving Atlanta, Marietta and Buford.  Atlanta Business Chronicle ranks them as #1 in total new and used vehicles sold in 2012 at over 17,700 units.  Jim Ellis Automotive has been in business 41 years, with over 850 employees.  Jim Ellis Automotive Group represents notable brands such as Audi, Buick, Chevy, GMC, Hyundai, Maserati, Mazda, Porsche, Saab, Volkswagen and Volvo. The company website is https://www.JimEllis.com.

Tesla Model X Electric Crossover Revealed

By Brad Berman · February 10, 2012

Tesla Model XThe Tesla Model X is scheduled for production in late 2013.

The much-hyped Tesla Model X was revealed last night at Tesla’s Los Angeles design center. The all-electric crossover utility vehicle will be built on the same platform as the automaker’s Model S sedan. Few new details emerged from the unveiling, but now EV fans have a glimpse of the Model X design.

 

Tesla Model X

The Model X reportedly zips from 0 to 60 miles per hour in approximately 4.4 seconds—and is projected to carry a price tag roughly in the same neighborhood as the automaker’s Model S sedan. That means the base-level price is somewhere in the range of $55,000 to $75,000. According to Elon Musk, Tesla chief executive officer, the Tesla Model X will top out at a price that’s close to $100,000, and will be offered in an all-wheel-drive version.

 

The unique features of the Model X include its falcon doors, and its ability to transport seven individuals in relative comfort. The Model X offers two trunks, with one underneath the bonnet and the other located under the vehicle’s rear hatch.

 

Tesla Model XThe “falcon” doors allows the Model X to park in the tightest of spaces.

Like the Model S, Tesla’s electric crossover will be fitted with a selection of battery packs, either with 60 kWh or 85 kWh of energy storage. Range is expected at between 210 to 270 miles, depending on battery size—lower than the Tesla Model S due to the crossover’s additional weight.

 

Tesla Model XThe interior of the Model X will closely resemble the Model S.

The Model X will enter the production cycle in late 2013 with full production set for 2014. Tesla starts taking online reservations for Model X today.

 

Tesla Model X

Find an EV Charging Station

The US Department of Energy maintains a great web resource for electric vehicle owners seeking charging stations near their homes and offices – click here to search for locations of alternative vehicle power near you.

Kirk-Rudy Ribbon Cutting – May 25th, 11am

Woodstock, GA. May, 2011 – At 11:00 a.m., May 25, 2011, Kirk-Rudy, a paper machinery manufacturer established in 1967, and a major employer in Cherokee County, will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its solar parking canopy with an attached Electric Vehicle (EV) charging station. This is the first solar canopy with EV charging station in Georgia; and the first EV charging station in Cherokee County.

Construction as of April 26th

Kirk-Rudy, a community leader in energy sustainability and recycling, had the solar array installed primarily to offset the company’s electricity consumption. Rick Marshall, President of Kirk-Rudy, expects the solar panels to offset the company’s electric usage by 30 percent. The solar array will also provide electricity for the charging station as well, thereby providing 100% “green”, renewable energy for the vehicle. Only one charging station is being installed at this time, but the design and construction allow for a second or third charging station to be easily installed in the future as demand dictates.

Creative Solar USA, Inc., headquartered in Woodstock, Georgia, designed, engineered, and installed the 100 kW solar canopy. Creative Solar USA has been designing and installing solar photo voltaic systems since 2008. In addition to reducing the long-term cost of electricity and providing beneficial shade for parked cars, Russell Seifert, the CEO of Creative Solar, for years has believed in the concept of solar parking canopies with EV Charging Stations and that they are a natural step in our nation’s quest for energy sustainability.

“We are honored and proud to work with Kirk-Rudy on such a monumental project,” said Mr. Seifert. “All of our labor and subcontracting was sourced locally and 85% of our materials were bought from Georgia based companies. Solar power not only helps our country with energy independence on a global scale, but is also a benefit to our local economic community.”

The charging station is made by ClipperCreek, Inc. and manufactured in Auburn, CA. Metro Plug-In, also of Woodstock, provided the charging station for the project. Creative Solar USA and Metro Plug-In find their two products to be a natural fit and both companies look forward to more joint endeavors.

The actual ribbon cutting will take place at 11:30 a.m., May 25th, at Kirk-Rudy’s office located at 125 Lorraine Parkway (near the intersection of Rope Mill Road & Ridgewalk Parkway) in Woodstock, GA to be followed by a BBQ luncheon.