The enthusiast group Plug In America noted that, for the first time, U.S. sales of plug-in electric cars (either pure electrics or plug-in hybrids) market will pass a significant milestone this month (May). The 100,000th mark was reached just past two years after their introduction to the market.
Compared to last year, hybrid sales for the first four months are up 12.3%, almost double the overall market’s gain. Plug-ins are on a tear with 130% growth, but on relatively small numbers. Diesels have taken a dip so far this year, dropping 6.2%, but are expected to rebound when high-volume cars like the Chevy Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel, Mazda6 SkyActiv-D, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 hit showrooms later this year. Both the hybrid and plug-in electric segments are also adding models as well.
For all the twists and turns that the auto industry undergoes, it looks like 2013 will be a clear milestone for electric cars. The point here is to look at how far we have come and note the arrival of the electric car industry. It’s no longer a model or two, but a substantial variety of vehicles from major manufacturers that the EV-conscious consumer can choose from.
When speaking recently at a “Open Garage” talk at Stanford’s Automotive Innovation Center, Nissan-Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn pointed with pride that his Alliance has put 70,000 EVs on the road around the world (of the roughly 100,000 pure battery electrics currently out there). He said that in spite of failing to hit his own targets for volume, he believes electric vehicle technology will be the winner as it approaches scale production – and he believes that is inevitable. The secret ingredient, he said, was emotion.
While many recent headlines paint a grim picture of electric vehicle sales and the market future for those vehicles, in reality consumer acceptance of the new vehicles has been stronger than hybrids and can be expected to grow in the future.
Rebuttal of a misleading Wall Street Journal op-ed that trashes clean cars.
A pair of environmentalists dismiss some of the common misconceptions that prevent the eco-conscious from buying electric cars.
The dispute between the New York Times and Tesla over the failed test drive is unfortunate. Looking past it reveals some important truths about the electric vehicle ownership experience.
Nissan has dropped the price by $6,000 for the new 2013 Nissan LEAF to $28,800 for the newly added S grade, making it the lowest priced five-passenger electric vehicle sold in the United States. In states like California, you can buy this all-electric car for as low as $18,800 with qualifying federal and state tax credits. For the almost 2 years, my wife and I have been driving the all-electric 2011 Nissan LEAF. We love the car.
This all-electric city car is priced so low that I had to ask 3 times to confirm. I heard it right. Spring 2013 you can order the smart fortwo electric drive (yes the car name is not capitalized) for $25,000 and be eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit. Your state may offer added incentives. $17,500!
The 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV will be priced by GM at less than $32,500 and eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit and added incentives in several states. Now that GM leads electric car sales in the United States with the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt, it will go after urban dwellers who want a less expensive city EV. Spark EV is the first all-electric vehicle in North America to offer optional SAE Combo DC Fast Charge capability, which can charge the battery to 80 percent of capacity in about 20 minutes.
Before stepping inside Ford’s new crossover for an 80-mile test-drive, I can’t help admiring the looks of this 2013 Ford C-MAX. This 5-seater rides tall like an SUV with a height of 63.8-inches. Here you can buy the C-MAX Hybrid starting at $25,200 and get 47-miles per gallon and 570-mile range, or you can buy the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid starting at $32,900 and get 100 mpg and 620 mile range.
At utility giant PG&E, 190 electric trucks are now used to keep things running. If a neighborhood has a power outage, a troubled truck rolls in. A technician is lifted high in the air to look at a transformer on a pole. Auxiliaries can be run for hours including test equipment into a communications. These plug-in trucks can be used twice as many hours per day as diesel trucks with legal noise restrictions. By switching from diesel to electric, PG&E pays for the electric trucks in 2.5 years according to Dave Meisel, Director Transportation for Services for PG&E.
Research conducted by UC Berkeley economists and the California Electric Transportation Coalition shows that fueling California’s cars and trucks with electricity instead of oil would help grow the state’s economy, creating tens of thousands of new jobs.
More than 12,000 customers have made reservations and $5,000 deposits for their new Tesla Model S. The first thousands of these all-electric cars being delivered have a 265-mile range (official EPA rating). In real world driving, the range is 300 miles if you stay below 55 miles per hour. This is not a plug-in hybrid. It is slightly amazing.