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Consumers Are Coming Around on Electric Vehicles



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

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.


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.”

The Best Thing For Tesla? More Electric-Car Competition

By Jonathan Welsh

Wall Street Journal

Tesla Motors Inc., the electric-car maker once written off by industry experts, is making its mark on the car market, attracting increasing attention from analysts and investors–and appears to be in for the long haul.

During an investors call on second-quarter results, company chief executive Elon Musk mentioned an auto-industry research company that predicted Tesla would turn out a maximum of 3,000 cars and was essentially doomed to fail. However, the company has delivered more than 13,000 of its Model S sedans to customers in North America so far.

For consumers, even those who cannot afford the $63,570 sticker price of the Model S, Tesla’s success means electric cars could reach the mainstream sooner than many people expected. It may happen faster if Tesla gets a little more competition.

During today’s call, Musk said he is glad BMW is getting into the electric-car market, but that there is “room for improvement” in the BMW i3.

There are several factors pointing to quicker-than-expected acceptance of electric cars in general and Teslas in particular. Among the most striking was the top score of 99 points of a possible 100 that the magazine Consumer Reports gave the Model S following a long-term road test.

Unlike glossy car-enthusiast magazines, Consumer Reports is known for unemotional, no-nonsense evaluations of vehicles that focus on practicality and ease of use as well as performance. Reviewers said they didn’t alter their scoring because the Tesla is battery powered. They also said the basic car’s range of just over 200 miles represents a sweet spot where so-called “range anxiety” fades.

Tesla’s appeal is likely to force other car makers with electric models, including BMW, Chevrolet, Honda and Nissan, to increase their vehicles’ battery range and continue lowering their prices to make them more attractive to real-world car shoppers. And having more Nissan Leafs and Chevy Volts on the road is likely to help Tesla.

Chevrolet’s recent $5,000 price cut on its Volt plug-in hybrid could indicate a lack of enthusiasm for electric cars. But it could also be seen as a sign that such vehicles have finally arrived in the consumer mainstream.

While the Model S’s unique looks, technology and performance will continue to attract early adopters and well-to-do technophiles, what draws most new-car buyers is seeing the latest model in a neighbor’s garage or in a local parking lot.

Tesla’s main goal is to get “more electric cars on the road,” Musk said, so they will seem like transportation instead of novelties.

If rivals step up and raise the level of competition, Musk may get his wish.

Electric Race Car Victorious In Student Motorsport Event


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


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.

U.S. Plug-in EV Milestone: 100,000 Sold


May 22, 2013

The U.S. plug-in EV market reached a high point this week with the sale of the 100,000th car, an achievement plug-in advocacy organization Plug In America calls a milestone. The group tracked published reports of plug-in sales to come up with its magic number.

“Our current estimate, based on monthly sales figures from automakers, is that the 100,000 highway-capable plug-n vehicle will be sold on May 20,” said Tom Saxton, Plug In America’s chief science officer. Saxton announced the date late last week.

Smart grid, smart grid technology, electric transportation, plug-in EVs, EV markets and pricing

The group also offered highlights related to the occasion. Here are a few:

  • Nissan dealers in some markets have said its Leaf plug-in outsold all other Nissan models during specific sales periods this year
  • Tesla’s Model S is selling better than the Mercedes Benz S-Class, the BMW 7 series and the Audi A8
  • The domestic EV fleet represents more than 2,000 megawatts of battery storage, which could provide opportunities for the future management of the electric grid and intermittent renewables

Car makers producing EVs include Nissan, GM, Ford, Tesla, Honda, Mitsubishi, Toyota, BMW, Mercedes and Fiat. Those cars have won several consumer and industry awards, Plug In America said.


In Two-Way Charging, Electric Cars Begin to Earn Money From the Grid

Published: April 25, 2013
New York Times

 WASHINGTON — Finally, payback for the plug-in.

A line of Mini Coopers, each attached to the regional power grid by a thick cable plugged in where a gasoline filler pipe used to be, no longer just draws energy. The power now flows two ways between the cars and the electric grid, as the cars inject and suck power in tiny jolts, and get paid for it.

This nascent form of electric car commerce will be announced on Friday by the University of Delaware, the regional grid operator and an electric company. They have developed a system to collect payments for work (balancing supply and demand moment to moment) that is normally the domain of power plants.

The possibilities of using electric cars for other purposes are being realized around the globe. Electric cars like the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet’s plug-in hybrid Volt, are generally not sold in the United States with two-way chargers that could feed back into the grid. But Nissan is offering a similar device in Japan that allows consumers to power their houses when the electric grid is down.

In the Delaware project, each car is equipped with some additional circuitry and a battery charger that operates in two directions. When the cars work with the grid, they earn about $5 a day, which comes to about $1,800 a year, according to Willett M. Kempton, a professor of electrical engineering and computing. He hopes that provides an incentive to make electric cars more attractive to consumers, and estimates that the added gadgetry would add about $400 to the cost of a car.

Granted, the scale of this project, using 15 two-passenger Mini E models, donated by BMW, is indeed minuscule compared with the task of keeping the grid system that serves two-thirds of North America in balance, making sure that supply matches demand as precisely as possible.

The frequency of electric current in the United States is supposed to be stable at 60 cycles a second, but if the supply from a wind farm or solar plant changes suddenly, or demand shifts, frequency gets out of whack.

The market that Professor Kempton is tapping into, known as frequency regulation, has become increasingly important as the mix of generators on the grid has changed.

If electric cars become more popular, proponents say that a network of thousands of plug-in cars could help stabilize the grid.

Michehl R. Gent, a former president of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, the entity designated by the federal government to write and enforce grid reliability rules, called the Delaware idea “tiny but promising.”

“If we can get our electric vehicles to do more than just be electric vehicles, it will be very well received,” said Mr. Gent, who is not associated with the project.

Professor Kempton has had this “vehicle to grid” system in the works for 10 years. He plans to double the size of his fleet by the end of the year. Half the cars are permanently parked and the other half will provide service for all the hours they are plugged in, which could be as much as 20 hours a day.

The cars listen for a signal from the headquarters of the regional grid operator, the PJM Interconnection, in Norristown, Pa., that comes every four seconds. The signal could tell the batteries to charge, or to discharge, or to do neither. Alternatively, if the cars need charging, they can provide the same service by varying the amount of current they draw. For the grid, the effect is to add or subtract load in a coordinated way that aids stability.

Two-way chargers are not generally available to drivers of electric plug-ins right now. Professor Kempton said he is working with five companies that build electric cars and are interested in a two-way system that could collect revenue from the grid: BMW and four other firms he said he could not name because of confidentiality agreements.

One of those four, he said, was working on a two-way charger that was three times more powerful than the current one, vastly increasing revenue possibilities.

A Nissan spokesman, Brian Brockman, said the company is exploring such possibilities, and recognizes the benefits of moving toward helping power the grids.

“To the electric system, the balancing effect is essentially the same,” said Scott Baker, an engineer at PJM. Mr. Baker predicted that electric vehicles would become an interactive part of the grid, helping in several ways. One goal is to spread out the charging demands of thousands of cars on the grid, so as to avoid overload.

Thomas B. Gage, president of EV Grid, a company in Palo Alto, Calif., that set up the hardware in the cars and the chargers, said that electric cars typically have chargers that run in one direction, at a power level of 3 kilowatts. The Mini Es runs in both directions, at 18 kilowatts. (For comparison, a hand-held hair dryer is 1.5 kilowatts.)

With a relatively powerful two-way link, the idea is to branch out into another service the grid needs, known as “spinning reserve.” Power plants that offer that service keep a turbine spinning, but not generating power; they are ready to pick up load at a moment’s notice, if called on by grid operators. Providing spinning reserve burns substantial amounts of fuel, usually natural gas, but batteries could do the same work with no pollution, experts say.

At any given moment, a car could provide one service or the other; an aggregator could decide on an hour-by-hour basis which service to provide. So far, the system now being commercialized is nowhere near the point of absorbing surplus electricity at night and selling it back during the day; for the time being, the frequency regulation market would be more lucrative and the battery capacity is relatively small. Besides, peak demand hours often fall when the driver would want the car on the road.

Professor Kempton is also a leading proponent of building wind turbines off the mid-Atlantic coast, and sees the electric car and the wind machine as complementary tools for a low-carbon energy system. The university has a joint venture with NRG Energy, which is based in Princeton, N.J., to expand the network of electric cars that would be paid for doing the balancing work.


A version of this article appeared in print on April 26, 2013, on page B3 of the New York edition with the headline: In Two-Way Charging, Electric Cars Begin to Earn Money From the Grid.


NYC Officially Launches Nissan Leaf Electric Taxi Program


Within a few weeks, a handful of New Yorkers each day will ride in a new kind of taxi: an all-electric Nissan Leaf.

On Monday, to celebrate Earth Day, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg joined with Nissan officials to announce that six Nissan Leaf taxis would go into service this spring.

The plan, Bloomberg said, will help the city “answer important questions about incorporating electric taxis into the fleet, so that we can achieve the goal of a one-third electric taxi fleet by 2020.”

Included in the test will be the installation of several DC fast-charging stations in New York City, which will enable Leaf taxi drivers to recharge their cars to 80 percent of capacity in 30 minutes or less.

Those stations are now going into the ground, although Nissan officials privately concede that the planning, permitting, permissions, and paperwork involved in adding such infrastructure have been more onerous than expected.

Whether taxi drivers will resist the need to stop and recharge during their shifts remains an open question.

The test plan was originally scheduled to start a year ago, but Nissan officials held off until the company could provide updated 2013 Nissan Leafs from its Tennessee assembly plant.

At least some New York City Council members advocate for electric taxis, to reduce emissions.


2013 Nissan Leaf electric car tested as taxi in New York City, April 2013

2013 Nissan Leaf electric car tested as taxi in New York City, April 2013

They have criticized the city’s “Taxi of Tomorrow” program, which uses a lengthened and adapted Nissan NV200 minivan as the sole vehicle for taxis starting at the end of this year, because that vehicle is currently offered only with a gasoline engine.

Nissan is testing an all-electric version of the NV200 in a variety of locations; it uses Leaf underpinnings.

We drove the Nissan e-NV200 electric minivan in Japan last fall; thus far, according to the company, tests are progressing well.

Leaf taxis already operate in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Osaka, Japan, though some Osaka drivers are not happy with the degradation in battery range they have experienced after racking up tens of thousands of miles in a short period.

New York City’s taxi fleet now is more diverse than it has been in decades, as hybrids and smaller sedans and minivans from a variety of makers replace the formerly ubiquitous Ford Crown Victoria full-size sedans, which are no longer made.


Six New Plug-In Electric Cars Coming For 2014

By Green Car Report

This is an exciting time for electric car enthusiasts. From just a handful of choices only a few years ago, buyers in some states now have access to as many as a dozen different plug-in vehicles.

It’s set to get even better–over the course of the next few years, another six electric vehicles are on the way. Here’s our full run-down of the most important plug-in vehicles debuting over the next year.

The 2014 BMW i3 electric car isn’t just important, it’s exciting too–and it’s nice to be able to say that about a new electric car.

BMW has explored electric vehicles before with thorough testing programs–significantly, the MINI E and BMW ActiveE electric vehicles–and that knowledge is helping develop the i3, a compact car based on a dedicated platform. A range-extended model will also be available, to quell those with range anxiety.

It’s high-tech too, with a carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) unibody, and the i3’s minimalist innards are trimmed in sustainable materials. It’s all very futuristic, yet as tasteful and considered as any internally-combusting BMW.

And if the i3 isn’t exciting enough, the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car will arrive shortly after…

2014 Cadillac ELR
2014 Cadillac ELR

Back when Chevy launched the Volt range-extended electric car, it promised the Voltec powertrain would appear in other vehicles.

Well, this is the first “other vehicle” it’s appearing in–the 2014 Cadillac ELR. Behind the sharp-suited Cadillac styling is a thoroughly modern drivetrain, utilizing the same 1.4-liter gasoline engine as the Volt, and a similar electric drivetrain.

We say “similar” because to suit the Caddy’s upmarket status, ELR drivers do get a little more power and torque than their Volt counterparts. They also get two fewer doors, turning the ELR into a sleek and distinctive coupe. Electric range stays the same though, at around 35 miles. Deliveries should begin early 2014.

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV
2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

Initially, we suspected the Chevy Spark EV to be one of the small but growing range of “compliance cars”–electric vehicles designed and built solely to meet California’s requirements for electric vehicle sales.

Thankfully, that isn’t the case–Chevrolet is actually rather serious about the Spark EV, and as well as making it available beyond just west coast markets, they’ve thoroughly re-engineered the gasoline Spark for its new electric powertrain.

The styling differences are subtle–some blue paint here, a Volt-style grille there–but under the skin it’s a real wolf in sheep’s clothing. A 110 kW (130 horsepower) electric motor gives it far more shove than the gasoline model, and its 400 pounds-feet torque output matches that of a Ferrari 458 Italia supercar.

The Spark EV will go on sale in several U.S. markets, as well as Canada, South Korea and Europe. U.S. pricing starts at under $32,500, pre-incentives.

2013 Fiat 500e live photos, 2012 L.A. Auto Show
2013 Fiat 500e live photos, 2012 L.A. Auto Show

At 108 MPGe highway, Fiat’s 2013 500e electric car is the most efficient highway vehicle on sale in the U.S. It also manages an official 87 miles of range, greater than that of other similarly-sized electric cars and more even than some larger models.

While the 500’s retro looks will always be an acquired taste, it’s one of the more visually interesting electric cars on sale too. Not just thanks to its eye-searing orange paintwork, but also for the aerodynamic wheels, large white front grille and other white detailing.

Inside there’s plenty of white and orange trim too, while the usual 500 dual-layer instrument dials are replaced by a TFT screen showing car data. A four-button console occupies the space you’d usually find a gear shifter. Like the BMW i3, customers will also get the use of a free loaner vehicle for longer journeys.

It’s just a pity then that, despite all the effort Fiat and Chrysler have put into the 500e, that this one will remain a compliance car–so good luck getting your hands on one outside of California.

Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid, 2012 Paris Motor Show
Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid, 2012 Paris Motor Show

Mitsubishi is in the doldrums in the U.S. market, with low sales and a range of vehicles that do little to capture the imagination.

Perhaps the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid will change that, with more modern looks and a significantly greener powertrain than previous Outlanders. Under the hood there’s a 2.0-liter gasoline engine, but twin 60-kilowatt electric motors–one for each axle–provide a healthy 245 pounds-feet of torque in electric-only mode.

Electric range in EPA testing is unconfirmed, but based on the Japanese 35-mile estimate, we’re expecting a more realistic 20-25 mile range. Once that’s depleted, you still have the engine providing backup power–though the Outlander can operate in series or parallel hybrid modes too.

2013 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive
2013 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive

Soonest to appear of all the electric vehicles above is the 2013 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive.

It may look like any other Fortwo, but this is now the third generation of the company’s diminutive electric car and happily, it’s also the best. It’s a large step up from previous models with far better performance, a smoother drive and greater potential range.

It’s also the cheapest electric car on sale in the U.S, starting at $25,750 before incentives. For those able to claim the full $7,500 Federal tax credit and California’s $2,500 purchase rebate, you’re looking at a brand-new, $15,750 electric car.

Top speed is 78 mph and it’ll do 60 mph in under 12 seconds, so drivers won’t feel too out of depth on the highway. The Electric Drive’s biggest success though is how much better (and quicker) it is than the jerky gasoline version–proof that some vehicles are just meant to be electric.


What Will It Take To Boost The Overall Success Of EVs?

by Renew Grid

Charging stations and battery-swap locations are the most crucial to developing a sustainable electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure, according to respondents to a recent survey by PwC.

The survey, which polled more than 200 participants from 34 countries representing the automotive, utilities, energy, technology, government, finance and education sectors, was conducted to help gauge some of the major determining factors for the success of EVs.

According to PwC, the global hybrid and EV market share will reach 6.3% by 2020. As municipalities continue to work with the private sector to meet future demands and develop “smart cities,” finding the ideal ratio between integrated public charging stations and the number of EVs on the road is a prevailing challenge when investing in existing and future infrastructure.

“Continued investment to improve upon the electric vehicle value chain, along with the pace of advancement in competing alternative fuel solutions, will ultimately determine the level of success EVs are able to achieve,” says Brandon Mason, a senior analyst at PwC. “While we don’t expect one to be parked in every driveway anytime soon, there is no doubt that EVs are here to stay.”

Approximately 25% of survey respondents said one public station for every 20 EVs is an ideal ratio, while 20% indicated one station for every five vehicles is ideal, according to the report. Roughly 80% of respondents also indicated that 30 minutes or less charge time is considered fast charging for EVs.

Focusing on price, the report found that nearly 46% of respondents felt that long-term total cost of ownership savings is the most likely reason consumers would be willing to pay an up-front premium for an EV. PwC says automakers continue to evaluate the price premium consumers are willing to pay for an EV. Survey respondents indicated that consumers willing to pay a premium price would need to remain under $5,000 (PHEVs 57.9%, PEVs 47.7%).

“Automakers accelerate their efforts to find solutions to reduce costs for battery, alternative drive train and the vehicle overall,” says Oliver Hazimeh, automotive cleantech transportation leader at PwC. “Passing high initial development costs on to the consumer is not a long-term option, as it is not viable to rely on long-term government incentives. Auto companies need to deploy smart vehicle and technology platforms and global partnerships to achieve economies of scale.”

Survey respondents indicated global collaboration (26.6%) will lead the development and production of EVs and supporting technologies by 2020. Respondents said China will lead by 2020 (25.9%).

According to the report, automakers are working to find a balance between production and consumer demands. The trend is to build where you sell. Automakers planning for long-term success will likely have the competitive edge.

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


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

Why Plug-in Hybrids Will Pave the Way for 100% Electric Cars

Posted on Tuesday, February 12th, 2013 at 2:30 pm by Solar Energy USA
Written by Perry Bell, President and CEO of Solar Energy USA

What are the real issues of electric cars today? The answer is nothing different from any new technology. If you look at any everyday technological advancement like computers, cell phones, etc., what was once large in size and cost is now smaller and more affordable. The same is true with cars, but one difference to other technologies is that a car’s fuel source has been owned by large industries that help support and run our country. This fuel source ownership heavily influences our government to meet their interest – a big hurdle but one that isn’t insurmountable. The unique aspect of plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles that threaten the residual fuel economy is the need for electricity instead.

Electric vehicle battery technology is constantly improving and will eventually meet and exceed 100% of any driving desire or need. Plug-in hybrid cars are a great multi-year segue into accommodating infrastructure to support electric cars. The mentality that there is no better way than what we are doing now will not survive ingenuity, and will progress into eventually leaving those who don’t grow behind. With a plug-in hybrid, you can recharge (refuel) at home or only when you want and not have limitations because the car is a hybrid with great fuel efficiency when not using an electric charge. You could drive within the electric range and seldom ever use petroleum fuel. No matter what you do, this will dramatically reduce the current demand for petroleum. And while this is happening, the same battery that only went 40 miles last year will now go 60 miles just one year later. That cycle will eventually be a number that doesn’t limit someone’s journey, just like anyone who needs a gas station today.

People are creatures of habit. If you look at where you drive on a daily and weekly basis, with few exceptions, there is a great deal of consistency. There is a point and range that will make sense for you if that point is not already currently available. I write this message from experience of driving a plug-in hybrid for the last year and a half. Also, I travel with a non-plug-in hybrid and I race petroleum fueled cars. My goal isn’t environmental, though that is a great byproduct. My decision revolves around independence and financial logic.

I’m writing this article as a republican embarrassed that the left wing is leading the charge in progress, which is the backbone of this country, without financial guidance. The only brainwashed response I hear from my voting group is that it is not viable and we should explore something else. I do not want to put the oil workers out of work, but the current situation is no different than the blacksmith or farrier who put horseshoes on horses when the car came along – that occupation evolved into being a mechanic. I also don’t want to send friends and family members to the Middle East just so I can fill up my car. If Americans reduce our need for petroleum enough, we can service our own demand with our current supply.

The political decisions based around petroleum and our country’s need for fuel is unhealthy. As an individual, I can create my own fuel for my plug-in hybrid through solar technology at my house, which I do, and I can also use solar energy to offset my electricity usage from the power company. Comparing the cost of petroleum against the cost of my solar system (without any incentives) gives me a 2.5 year payback. At that point, my plug-in hybrid’s fuel source is free. As you can see, solar power has the potential to be a disruptive technology, and this can be a problem for our country’s residual revenue with respect to political special interests. However, it may not be as bad as it seems once things evolve.

Like many others in America you may wait for the answers, but I already have mine. I know that renewable energy and electric cars can help create a better America for ourselves and for future generations.

Perry Bell is President and CEO of Solar Energy USA, a national solar integrator specializing in Affordable Solar Solutions.

Interview with Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Published on EV Update (

Greg Tabak, Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Posted by obalch [1] on Oct 10, 2012

EV Update talks to Greg Tabak about the roll-out of EVs in Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s Southern Californian rental fleet.

Greg Tabak is director of business sales for Enterprise [2]’s Southern California Electric vehicle/Hybrid operations.

EV Update: What kind of EV offering does Enterprise Rent-a-Car currently have for its rental customers?

Greg Tabak: At the present time, we have twelve electric vehicle rental locations in Southern California, which all have different types of charging infrastructure. Since the beginning of the year, we’ve added hybrid electrics, such as the plug-in Prius, into our fleet as well. Additionally, we’ve added more Chevy Volts to our fleet. So now we have a bigger portfolio of vehicles to rent at these locations.

EV Update: What’s the utilisation rate of the EVs in your rental fleet?

Greg Tabak: It’s more than 60 percent. It’s not where we would hope or expect it to be. There are a lot of people that are uneasy about the technology and there’s still a major lack of [consumer] education. Even though there is significant infrastructure development in many markets, it’s not vast enough for people to know where it is or how to find it. How to access it [EV charging infrastructure] is a problem too. Although the current range of 100 miles is suufient for most people, people perceptions is that it is not.

This all adds to a more complicated situation. There needs to be more education available so people feel comfortable with Electric vehicles and Alternative Fuels in general. It has to be a combined effort. That said, I believe the ability to get people driving an EV and getting them comfortable with the technology is important. That’s why having EVs as an option for our rental customers is a good thing.

EV Update: Most charging stations in California are Level II. How do your customers feel about Level II as a charging option?

Greg Tabak: Our average local car replacement customer doesn’t have a very strong appetite for Level II charging. Very often, we give them the car fully charged. If they are going to go within a limited geographic area, it’s unlikely that they are going to need charging during the day. So it’s not a major problem for our home city customers. We provide them with a Level I adaptor with the car and we show them how to charge at home. I see that this [Level II] could become a bigger problem if we expand to our airport customers. If customers fly in and go about their business, that’s when they are going to need Level III charging. Or for people taking longer trips. It’s fair to say that our customers would pay to fill up at a Level III station because they are out of there in 15 or 20 minutes. But it’s unlikely that they are going to pay $1.5 per hour to sit in a Level II station for three or four hours.

EV Update: Are you taking any steps to offer Level III charging then?

Greg Tabak: We ran a recent pilot in the Texas market with eVgo, offering Level III charging in the Texas and Houston areas. Customers were offered free access to eVgo’s Freedom Stations. The pilot enabled us to see how important Level III might be for our customers. What we found was that the access to rapid charging gave our customers a bit more peace of mind. It also gave them the ability to utilise the vehicles for what they are designed for without much hesitation.

Traditionally, if someone were to rent an electric vehicle, they would be worried about having access to charging infrastructure and having the time they need to charge the vehicle appropriately to get it back. With Level III charging, they obviously don’t have those issues. So by strategically placing Level III charging along travel corridors, people can charge quickly and then getting going to where they need to be. In general, we found customers were using the infrastructure much more than Level II charging stations.

EV Update: As well as the time required for charging, does the payment process for charging present an issue for rental customers?

Greg Tabak: Yes. We are currently offering both the Blink and Coulomb charge cards to our customers. We’ve had moderate success with usage on these. Free access to chargers is dissipating right now. Because of where Level II charge stations are located, people often need to pay for access – either for the cost of parking, or because the [charger] host is charging a fee. Access is difficult because there are so many different charging networks currently in operation. We can’t give our customers a key with twelve key-cards attached to it.

We need a centralised mechanism where they can use one card or their credit card for charging. The alternative is a business-style account where we could capture the usage and then bill the customer on their account accordingly, just as we’d do with a transponder for toll-roads and the like. We’re talking about this, but there’s really no solution out there at the moment. Every charging station manufacturer wants to have their own proprietary system and their own card and network. They don’t really want to connect the dots. That’s the problem we’re currently running into.

Nissan confirms GE WattStations not the cause of Leaf problems.

Originally Published July 28, 2012

By Jeff Cobb,

We reported GE WattStation chargers were suspected in Nissan Leaf charging issues, but since that time the fault has been traced to the car, not GE’s product, which the company has been fully assertive in pointing out.

The original story that GE Energy’s charger was being looked at as a possible cause for Leaf charging system failures began to circulate among the press after an initial piece by When we wrote our brief news 12 days ago, the first commenter was GE’s Sean Gannon, Global Media Relations and Public Affairs, who was sure to document points in an effort of public relations damage control.

“GE continues to actively work with Nissan to help determine the source of this issue,” Gannon wrote on July 16. “The GE WattStation has not encountered a similar issue with other brands of electric vehicles.”

The company’s proactive communications effort was probably a smart move, and as it turns out, at the end of this week the company was fully vindicated.

We could quote you GE’s press release which is linked below, but Gannon – who also contacted other publications via email with updated info which we have seen as well – left another follow-up note in our original story’s comment section.

“The cause of the Nissan Leaf charging problem has finally been determined,” he wrote. “It’s an OBC software issue on the Leaf – not an issue with WattStation. Here is a statement that we just posted to our Web site.”

The comment goes on as follows:

Nissan and GE have completed their investigation into the instances of Nissan LEAFs experiencing on-board charging (OBC) issues when using certain EV chargers. Nissan has traced the root cause of the issue to the LEAFs OBC software that can allow damage to occur to its OBC components while using certain chargers and in certain instances, such as when a brief under voltage or blackout condition occurs. Nissan is working to address this issue as quickly as possible, and in the meantime is advising customers to avoid charging during times when brownouts or momentary power dips may be likely, such as during electrical storms or high power usage on the grid.

As we were telling folks last week, even early on, GE’s analysis was indicating that the GE WattStation Wall Mount was not the cause of the on-board charging issue. Also, WattStation did not encounter a similar issue with other brands of electric vehicles.

And, just to reiterate, reports in the media that using a GE WattStation charger would void the warranty on the Nissan LEAF were incorrect, as were reports that Nissan had told its dealers to avoid WattStations. Nissan publicly stated that it is not their policy and they are addressing it with their dealers.

So there you have it. Duly noted, and you can refer also to GE’s press release linked above. If you have a Nissan Leaf and a GE WattStation, and haven’t already contacted your Nissan dealer for more information, that would be advisable.

This latest issue adds to an ongoing investigation by Nissan into more serious concerns related to suspected heat-induced Leaf battery degradation in Arizona, Texas, and possibly elsewhere.


Broad Coalition Offers Plan to Accelerate Adoption of Plug-In Electric Vehicles


Broad Coalition Offers Plan to Accelerate Adoption of Plug-In Electric Vehicles
C2ES-Led Group Recommends Strategies to Connect PEVs to the U.S. Electrical Grid

Press Release
March 13, 2012
Contact: Tom Steinfeldt,, 703-516-0638

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A coalition including automakers, electric utilities, environmental groups, and state officials outlined joint recommendations today to accelerate the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) nationwide.

The PEV Dialogue Group, convened last year by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), presented its recommendations at a Washington, D.C. event featuring remarks by group members from General Motors, Southern California Edison, the state of Michigan, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The group’s report, An Action Plan to Integrate Plug-in Electric Vehicles with the U.S. Electrical Grid, provides a roadmap for coordinated public and private sector action at state and local levels to ensure that PEV owners can conveniently plug in their cars without overtaxing the grid.  It recommends steps to ensure compatible regulatory approaches nationwide, balance public and private investments in charging infrastructure, and better inform consumers about PEVs.

“With plug-in electrics, we now have a mass-produced alternative to the internal combustion engine,” said C2ES president Eileen Claussen. “This is a major opportunity to tackle both energy security and climate change, and to put American industries and workers out front on a truly transformative technology. But for PEVs to succeed, we need all the right parties working together. That’s what this plan is all about.”

Nearly 18,000 PEVs were sold in the United States last year; over the next year or two, all of the major automakers plan to have models on the road. Some PEVs like the Nissan Leaf rely entirely on battery power, while others like the Chevy Volt have small backup engines to extend their driving range.

Broad deployment of PEVs, which use little or no gasoline, can significantly reduce U.S. reliance on imported oil and curb harmful tailpipe emissions. If accompanied by the gradual decarbonization of U.S. electricity, PEVs can also significantly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. But growth of the PEV market faces major challenges, including new infrastructure letting owners plug in at home and on the road while ensuring the reliability of the grid.

The PEV Dialogue Group’s Action Plan includes recommendations to:

  • Encourage state public utility commissions and other policymakers to establish a consistent regulatory framework nationwide to harmonize technical standards; streamline the installation of household and commercial charging stations; and use electricity rate structures to promote charging at off-peak hours.
  • Assist local policymakers and stakeholders in assessing local needs, developing tailored strategies, and optimizing public and private investment in charging infrastructure.
  • Provide consumers with reliable information on the costs and benefits of PEVs and the choices among PEV technologies.

“Instead of policies that increase our addiction to oil, we need to provide Americans more transportation choices,” said Roland Hwang, transportation director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Putting millions of electric vehicles on the road will cut drivers’ fuel bills, help the auto industry, keep billions of dollars in the U.S. economy, and curb emissions of dangerous air pollutants. By working together across the political spectrum to enact this Action Plan, we can create a vibrant market for electric cars, restore U.S manufacturing leadership and create thousands of jobs.”

“The U.S. electrical grid is a national energy security asset and has the excess capacity, off-peak to support millions of electric vehicles right now,” said Edward Kjaer, director of PEV readiness, at Southern California Edison, a major electric utility. “With the PEV Action Plan, C2ES has spearheaded an important effort that will help us all use this critical domestic resource for transportation and begin to reduce this nation’s dependence on imported oil.”

“GM is glad to work with groups such as C2ES that are working to advance the adoption of electric vehicles through real-world best practices and stakeholder education,” said Michael Robinson, vice president of sustainability and global regulatory affairs at GM.

“It has been a pleasure to work with the other members of the PEV Dialogue Group and identify policies that will help seamlessly integrate plug-in electric vehicles with our electrical grid,” said Orjiakor Isiogu, a member of the Michigan Public Service Commission. “I look forward to continuing my work within the group and helping it properly balance the needs of electricity customers and the opportunity presented by PEVs.”

C2ES will work with the PEV Dialogue Group and others to promote implementation of the Action Plan. Over the coming months, C2ES is working with the Washington State Department of Transportation to advise transportation officials in seven states on steps to accelerate PEV adoption, and with the U.S. Department of Energy to support DOE-funded Clean Cities Coalitions working in dozens of communities across the country to develop local PEV deployment plans.
About C2ES
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent non-profit, non-partisan organization promoting strong policy and action to address the twin challenges of energy and climate change. Launched in November 2011, C2ES is the successor to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, long recognized in the United States and abroad as an influential and pragmatic voice on climate issues. C2ES is led by Eileen Claussen, who previously led the Pew Center and is the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.
PEV Dialogue Group Participants

  • A123 Systems
  • Argonne National Laboratory
  • Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
  • Better Place
  • Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
  • City of Raleigh, NC
  • Daimler
  • U.S. Department of Energy
  • Edison Electric Institute (EEI)
  • Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA)
  • Electrification Coalition
  • Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)
  • General Electric
  • General Motors
  • Georgetown Climate Center
  • Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission*
  • Johnson Controls Inc.
  • Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
  • Michigan Public Service Commission*
  • National Wildlife Federation
  • North Carolina Department of Transportation
  • Northeast Utilities System
  • Natural Resources Defense Council
  • NRG Energy
  • PJM Interconnection
  • Rockefeller Brothers Fund
  • Rocky Mountain Institute
  • Southern California Edison
  • U.S. Department of Transportation
  • University of Delaware
  • Washington State Department of Transportation

*The role of these group members must be limited to technical contribution because of their organizational function.

President Launches EV-Everywhere Challenge….

From, March 7, 2012

Mt. Holly, N.C. – At an event today at the Daimler Truck factory in Mt. Holly, N.C., President Obama launched EV-Everywhere, the second in a series of Energy Department “Clean Energy Grand Challenges” aimed at addressing the most pressing energy challenges of our time.  The EV Everywhere Challenge will bring together America’s best and brightest scientists, engineers, and businesses to work collaboratively to make electric vehicles more affordable and convenient to own and drive than today’s gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 10 years.

Today’s announcement is part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above approach energy strategy to protect American consumers from high gas prices over the long-term by offering consumers cost-effective alternatives to gasoline-powered vehicles and helping to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil.

“The Energy Department’s Clean Energy Grand Challenges will engage America’s scientists, engineers and young people to solve some of the nation’s biggest energy challenges and make clean energy technologies affordable and accessible to the vast majority of American families and businesses,” said Secretary Chu.  “The EV-Everywhere Challenge is focused on advancing electric vehicle technologies and continuing to reduce costs, so that a decade from now, electric vehicles will be more affordable and convenient to own than today’s gasoline-powered vehicles.”

Electric vehicles can offer consumers significant advantages over gasoline-powered vehicles, including savings on fuel costs, added convenience, and reduced maintenance costs.  Electricity is cheaper than gasoline to power a vehicle – generally equivalent to less than $1 per gallon – and consumers are able to conveniently fuel up at home.  Electric vehicles can also be more reliable, require less maintenance, and offer the same or better driving performance compared to today’s gasoline-powered vehicles.  And winning the EV-Everywhere Challenge will put the U.S. in the lead to manufacture and export the next generation of advanced electric vehicles and electric vehicle components, creating good paying manufacturing jobs and stimulating the American economy.

American automakers and automotive suppliers are currently pioneering the way forward in getting the first wave of electric vehicles into the hands of a significant number of U.S. drivers. But today, the prices of these cars are still out of reach for the majority of American families.  This Department-wide initiative, which will bring together DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Program, the Office of Science, and ARPA-E, will aim to make electric vehicles affordable to the average American family by specifically targeting dramatic technological and cost improvements in batteries, electric motors, power electronics, light-weight structures, and fast charging technology.

The aggressive goal of this initiative is, by the year 2022, to enable companies in the United States to be the first in the world to produce a 5-passenger affordable American electric vehicle with a payback time of less than 5 years and sufficient range and fast-charging ability to enable average Americans everywhere to meet their daily transportation needs more conveniently and at lower cost.

The Challenge will involve working with industry, universities, our national laboratories and government partners to set technical goals for cutting costs for the batteries and electric drivetrain systems, including motors and power electronics, reducing the vehicle weights while maintaining safety, and increasing fast-charge rates.  As part of this process and to inspire and recruit the best and brightest American scientists, engineers, and businesses to tackle this electric vehicle grand challenge Secretary Chu and the Department of Energy will be organizing a series of EV-EVerywhere Challenge workshops across the country over the next few months.

With support from the Energy Department, private industry and DOE’s national laboratories have already achieved significant advances in electric vehicle and advanced battery technologies, reducing costs and improving performance significantly from even a few years before.  For example, one of the Department’s grantees, Envia Systems, announced last week at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit that they have achieved a major breakthrough in battery R&D: doubling the energy density for lithium-ion batteries and setting the world record for energy density in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.  The breakthrough could result in a 50 percent reduction in the price of the battery on a 300-mile range electric vehicle, and came several years ahead of initial projections.

The EV-Everywhere Challenge is the second of the Energy Department’s Grand Challenges, following the model of the $1/watt SunShot Challenge, which seeks to make solar power directly cost-competitive with electricity from fossil fuels by the end of the decade.  Over the next few months, the Department of Energy will announce a series of additional Grand Challenges, each focused on pursuing technical innovations and reductions in cost that will enable clean energy technologies to compete directly, without subsidies, with the energy technologies that are currently in wide use today.

EV industry: Myth vs. Fact

Conservative Media Pummel Emerging Industry With Misleading Claims

MYTH: Electric Cars Do Not Reduce CO2 Emissions

  • Fox News’ Greg Gutfeld said that “the entire reason for doing these stupid little cars is a lie” because electricity “comes from coal. In some cases, some studies show that these can produce more pollution than internal combustion engines.” [Fox News, The Five, 1/27/12, via Nexis]
  • Jonah Goldberg wrote in a Chicago Tribune op-ed: “The point is to reduce CO2 emissions, right? But in some regions, we get our electricity from CO2-spewing coal. The more electricity pulled from the grid, the more coal is burned, essentially replacing dirty oil with dirtier coal.” [Chicago Tribune, 8/10/10]
  • A Washington Times editorial said that when a person uses an electric car, “instead of coming out the tailpipe, the unwanted carbon-dioxide molecules are instead released at the power plant, which is generally coal-fired well outside their view.” [Washington Times, 1/17/12]

FACT: Electric Vehicles Cause Substantially Fewer CO2 Emissions

Electric Vehicles Emit Less CO2 Even If Coal Supplies The Power. This chart from the Department of Energy shows that, even though coal is the source of nearly half the nation’s electricity, all-electric vehicles (EV) like the Nissan Leaf, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) like the Chevy Volt cause on average substantially less carbon dioxide emissions than conventional gasoline-powered vehicles:

Source: Department of Energy

In states like Indiana that are heavily reliant on coal-fired power, hybrid cars cause fewer emissions than plug-in EVs, but EVs still cause fewer emissions than conventional gasoline powered cars. In areas where electric car sales are high, EVs are significantly more environmentally friendly than the national average. For example, the Los Angeles area is projected by Pike Research to have the second highest electric car sales in the nation over the next 5 years, and carbon emissions for all-electric cars there are nearly half that of the national average:

Source: Department of Energy

[Department of Energy, 9/22/11] [Pike Research, 2011]

Study: In Every Scenario, Plug-In Hybrid Electric Cars Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions “Significantly.” A 2007 study by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Electric Power Research Institute, which represents electric utilities, examined nine potential scenarios to determine the impact of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle use through 2050. The study found that in each scenario greenhouse gas emissions were “reduced significantly” — even if the electric sector remained carbon intensive and PHEVs only accounted for 20% of the market in 2050. The study further found that each region of country would yield reductions in greenhouse gas emissions if PHEVs were adopted. The study was a “well-to-wheels” analysis that accounted for emissions during production of both electricity and gasoline. [EPRI and NRDC, July 2007, via CFR]

U.S. Coal Use Is On The Decline. A January 24 Reuters article shows that as electric car sales ramp up, coal use in the U.S. is decreasing:

U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions will be 7 percent lower than their 2005 level of nearly 6 billion metric tons in 2020 as coal’s share of electricity production continues a steady descent over the next two decades, according to new government data.


“Over the next 25 years, the projected coal share of overall electricity generation falls to 39 percent, well below the 49-percent share seen as recently as 2007, because of slow growth in electricity demand, continued competition from natural gas and renewable plants, and the need to comply with new environmental regulations,” it said.

The retirement of old, inefficient coal-fired power plants will outpace new construction, and the report added that gas-fired plants – which are cheaper to build – will generate 13 percent more power in 2012 than they did last year. [Reuters, 1/24/12]

MYTH: 2011 Sales Show Americans Won’t Buy Electric Cars

  • On The O’Reilly Factor, Fox News contributor Monica Crowley said: “You know how many Chevy Volts they’ve sold? Like three because nobody, a) wants to drive a toaster oven for a car. Secondly, we don’t have the infrastructure in this country yet to support mass electric cars.” [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 11/22/11]
  • Citing July sales numbers, Eric Bolling said on Fox News that “The only Volts sold are to the government.” Co-host Greg Gutfled added that the federal tax credit for purchasing EVs is “like forcing Americans to buy broccoli flavored ice cream.” [Fox News, The Five, 8/4/11]
  • Erin Burnett stated on her CNN show, “Despite all the advertising and the celebrities saying it’s cool to drive these cars, we looked at the numbers, and it just doesn’t seem to be the truth. GM has sold 5,000 Volts. Nissan, 8,000 Leafs, less than one percent of those companies’ total sales.” [CNN, Erin Burnett Out Front, 11/11/11, via Nexis]

FACT: EV Sales Topped First-Year Hybrid Sales Despite Recession

EV Sales In 2011 Were Significantly Higher Than The First Year Hybrid Sales. From a post by the Rocky Mountain Institute:

Figures this week showed that the first mass-produced electric cars in the United States, the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt, had total sales of 17,345 in 2011, the first year in which they were available. Compared with sales of 9,350 gas-electric hybrids in 2000, the first year the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius were offered in the U.S.–where total hybrid sales have now topped 2 million–17,000 might seem like a decent start for EVs. [Rocky Mountain Institute, 1/5/12]

Media Cherry-Picked Sales Data To Paint Volt As A Failure. Yahoo! Finance ran a piece on December 27 titled “The Worst Product Flops of 2011.” The article included the Volt on the list, stating “Only 124 models were sold in July 2011,” without mentioning any other sales data. [Yahoo! Finance, 12/27/11]

Gathered from news reports on GM’s self-reported sales, the following chart shows that July was an outlier month, and that Volt sales significantly increased in the latter months of 2011:

Chevy Volt Sales

Volt Sales Affected By Lack Of Supply. CNNMoney reported:

GM executives said on the company’s conference call that Volt sales have been constrained not by lack of demand, but by lack of supply.

Volt sales had slowed to a trickle during the summer months as GM temporarily shut down the Detroit factory where the car is built. The month-long shut-down allowed GM to revamp the factory in order to boost the car’s production volume. [CNNMoney, 12/1/11]

Volt And Leaf Were Not Available Nationwide In 2011. From a Yale Environment 360 report:

But much of the reporting on the subject, and the attacks, failed to tell the full story. Neither the Volt nor Leaf were available nationwide in 2011, and both were plagued by supply problems. Leaf customers on the East Coast, who put down early deposits, should be getting their cars in the coming months, and Nissan hopes to double production and delivery in 2012. The EV technology is still a novelty for prospective buyers, but the necessary charging networks, though still embryonic, are growing rapidly.

Yet while the big electric car launches of 2011 failed to find as many buyers as hoped, automakers and analysts still see increasing success for electric vehicles in the U.S. and in global markets, including China, which will soon be the world’s largest. The future, they say, lies in new battery technologies that will lower the cost and increase the range of EVs. And tougher mileage standards for U.S. auto fleets, set to kick in over the next decade, will give the cars a big boost. [Yale Environment 360, 1/25/12]

Pike Research: 40% Are “Extremely Or Very Interested” In Purchasing An EV. From the “Electric Vehicle Consumer Survey” by Pike Research:

The survey found that, based on Americans’ driving and commute patterns, PEVs should be a strong fit for a large number of consumers. Likewise, survey respondents indicated strong fundamental interest in PEVs, with 40% of participants stating that they would be extremely or very interested in purchasing such a vehicle, assuming the price were right. [Pike Research, 1/5/2012]

EVs Trying To Compete With Artificially Low Gasoline Prices. As Washington Post commentator Ezra Klein noted, “the price you pay” for gasoline “is less than the product’s true cost. A lot less, actually”:

Most of us would call the BP spill a tragedy. Ask an economist what it is, however, and you’ll hear a different word: “externality.” An externality is a cost that’s not paid by the person, or people, using the good that creates the cost. The BP spill is going to cost fishermen, it’s going to cost the gulf’s ecosystem, and it’s going to cost the region’s tourism industry. But that cost won’t be paid by the people who wanted that oil for their cars. It’ll fall on taxpayers, on Gulf Coast residents who need new jobs, on the poisoned wildlife on the seafloor.

That means the gasoline you’re buying at the pump is — stick with me here — too cheap. The price you pay is less than the product’s true cost. A lot less, actually. And it’s not just catastrophic spills and dramatic disruptions in the Middle East that add to the price. Gasoline has so many hidden costs that there’s a cottage industry devoted to tallying them up. At least the ones that can be tallied up.

Topping that list is air pollution, which we breathe in whether or not we drive. Then there’s climate change, which is difficult to slap a price tag on because it involves such esoteric calculations as how much your grandchild’s climate is worth. There’s traffic congestion and accidents, which harm drivers and non-drivers alike. There’s the cost of basing our transportation economy on a resource that undergoes wild price swings.

Some of the best work on this subject has been done by Ian Parry, a senior fellow at Resources for the Future. His calculations — plus some data from other sources and studies — suggest that adding all the quantifiable costs into the price of oil would increase the cost of each gallon by about $1.65. According to the Energy Information Administration, the average price of a gallon of gas was $2.72 last week. It should really be as high as $4.37.

That, however, is almost certainly an underestimation. [The Washington Post, 6/13/10]

Electric Car Market Hampered By Lack Of Comprehensive Climate Policy. ClimateWire reported:

[MIT] Symposium participants generally agreed that a comprehensive federal policy to limit carbon emissions would be the most effective boost for electric vehicle development, stimulating steadily growing consumer purchases and moving the United States toward low-carbon or carbon-free generation of electricity to charge the cars.

But the summary pessimistically concludes: “The prospect for such a policy at the national level is remote. More likely, is a hodge-podge of state and federal regulation and targeted subsidies for favored technologies.”

Leaving the matter to separate states “is sheer lunacy,” but that is where the matter is headed, [Professor John] Deutch said.

“We need to continue aggressive R&D on these areas,” he said. There was consensus on that point, as well, at the symposium, although the participants differed on how much government support should go to pure research versus manufacturing operations with current technologies. [Scientific American, 1/14/11]

MYTH: Consumers Won’t Want Electric Cars Because Of Reduced Range

  • Writing for Forbes, Patrick J. Michaels of the Cato Institute claimed that “no one has figured out how to produce a comfortable electric car at an affordable (non-subsidized) price that has enough range to be practical for the most of us.” [Forbes, 8/19/11]
  • Fox Business analyst Gary Kaltbaum said the public doesn’t want to “buy an electric car where you’ve got to stop every 40 miles.” [Fox Business, Cavuto, 12/19/11, via Nexis]
  • Author and motivational speaker Larry Winget said on Fox Business that “we still can’t make an electric car that can go more than 40 miles without a recharge.” [Fox Business, The Willis Report, 12/7/11, via Nexis]

FACT: EV Range Is More Than Enough For Most Drivers

AutoObserver: Studies Show 72% Of Drivers Travel Less Than 40 Miles A Day. Edmunds AutoObserver reported on October 21:

In a phone interview with AutoObserver last week, Perry said exhaustive data gleaned from the U.S. Department of Energy’s EV Project and from the 7,500 Nissan Leaf EV (above) hatchbacks now on U.S. roads makes it abundantly clear that “there’s no market need” for an EV that gets hundreds of miles between charges.

The data shows that the typical Leaf driver averages 37 miles a day in the car, and that the typical trip length (distance between power on and power off) is seven miles, Perry said. The findings are consistent with studies of conventional-vehicle driving patterns that found that 72 percent of American drivers travel less than 40 miles a day, and 95 percent drive less than 100 miles a day. [AutoObserver, 10/21/11]

Survey: Average Driver Travels 29 Miles Per Day. According to the Federal Highway Administration’s most recent National Household Travel Survey, the average driver travels 29 miles per day and the average vehicle trip length is 9.7 miles. [Department of Transportation, 2009]

All-Electric Nissan Leaf Can Travel Over 70 Miles On A Charge. In 2010, the EPA gave the Nissan Leaf an official rating of 73 miles on a full charge. Tests by Consumer Reports yielded about 90 miles “in ideal conditions” and about 60 miles “on cold days, with the heater running.” One test by Nick Chambers of showed that the Leaf can travel up to 116 miles on a charge. [CNN Money, 11/24/10] [Consumer Reports, 9/30/11] [, 10/21/10]

Mitsubishi Electric Car Has Projected Range Of 62 Miles. According to the EPA, the 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV will travel 62 miles on a charge. The range increases to 98 miles under certain conditions. [, 7/6/11]

Plug-In Hybrids Offer Extended Range. Consumers who need to travel long distances have the option of purchasing plug-in hybrid electric cars like the Chevy Volt or the forthcoming Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid. From

Plug-in hybrids provide the benefits of an electric car, while maintaining the same driving range as conventional vehicles. Plug-in hybrid drivers travel in an all-electric mode for the vast majority of common local driving. When the battery’s electric charge is depleted, a downsized gas engine is used to either recharge the batteries (as the car moves), or as the primary source of propulsion until recharging the batteries via a plug.

Plug-in hybrid cars are also known as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles or PHEVs. Plug-in hybrid cars that use a gas engine exclusively for recharging batteries–rather than directly powering the wheels–are also called Extended-Range Electric Vehicles or E-REVs. [, accessed 2/2/12]

There Are Over 5,500 Electric Charging Stations. According to the Department of Energy, there are over 5,500 electric charging stations in the country. DOE provides a map of public charging stations on its website. The Department of Energy is investing $8.5 million to further expand charging infrastructure. [Department of Energy, accessed 2/2/12] [Department of Energy, 9/8/11]

MYTH: Volt Batteries Are Unsafe

  • In a recent editorial, The Washington Post said that “the Volt brand is suffering from news that some of its batteries burst into flames after government road tests.” [Media Matters1/5/12]
  • On The O’Reilly Factor, Lou Dobbs said the Volt “doesn’t work” because “it doesn’t go fast and go far on electricity. What happens is it catches fire … This is considered a negative when we’re trying to move an automobile.” O’Reilly then repeatedly said that the Volts “catch fire” without mentioning that the fire only happened during a crash test. [Media Matters, 1/27/12]
  • Neil Cavuto said on his Fox Business show that the Volt is “a plug-in that blows up. The battery heats up. It’s killing people. It’s maiming them.” [Media Matters, 1/27/12]

FACT: Investigators Concluded Volts Are Just As Safe As Conventional Cars

Battery Fire Happened Weeks After Pole Crash Test And Rollover Test. From the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s description of the test:

During an NCAP [New Car Assessment Program] oblique side pole impact test conducted by NHTSA in May 2011, the pole struck and deformed the sill plate under the driver’s door at a location where there is a structural member. The lateral member displaced inward, pierced the HV battery enclosure and battery, and caused a battery coolant leak. Thereafter, the Agency conducted a rollover test (the rollover test consists of four 90-degree rotate-and-hold movements about the vehicle’s longitudinal axis). In that test, the HV battery and electronics were exposed to coolant that leaked as a result of the crash. The vehicle fire that occurred three weeks later and the additional testing NHTSA conducted are discussed in a report titled “2011 Chevrolet Volt Battery Fire Incident Report” a copy of which is available in the public file. The report indicates that intrusion induced coolant leakage, and subsequent rollover that saturates electronic components, were the only test conditions which resulted in a subject vehicle HV battery fire. [NHTSA, 1/26/12]

CNN: “No Fires Were Reported In Cars That People Were Actually Driving.” CNN’s Erin Burnett made clear that fires had only occurred in crash tests, not real-life scenarios:

ERIN BURNETT: Investigators did not find a safety defect. They also supported GM’s fix, which reinforces the structure surrounding the battery. No fires were reported in cars that people were actually driving. This came from crash tests. [CNN, Out Front with Erin Burnett, 1/20/12]

NHTSA Did Not Drain Battery After Crash, As GM Protocols Require. From an Associated Press report:

General Motors spokesman Greg Martin said the test did not follow procedures developed by GM engineers for handling the Volt after a crash. The engineers tested the Volt’s battery pack for more than 300,000 hours to come up with the procedures, which include discharge and disposal of the battery pack, he said.

“Had those protocols been followed after this test, this incident would not have occurred,” he said.


After the crash test, NHTSA found a coolant leak and moved the damaged Volt to a back lot, where it was exposed to the elements, said Rob Peterson, a GM spokesman who specializes in electric cars. Exposure to the weather caused the coolant to crystalize, and that, combined with the remaining charge in the battery, were factors, he said.

NHTSA did not drain the battery of energy as called for under GM’s crash procedures. But at the time, GM had not told the agency of its protocols, Peterson said. NHTSA normally drains fuel from gasoline-powered cars after crash tests, he said. [Associated Press, 11/11/11, via]

GM Knows Via OnStar About Any Crash Significant Enough To Compromise The Battery. The Detroit Free Press reported:

Chevrolet dealers have sold about 6,000 Volts, all of which are equipped with the OnStar emergency notification system, said GM spokesman Greg Martin.

“There have been no reports of comparable incidences in the field,” GM said in a statement. “With Onstar, GM knows in real time about any crash significant enough to potentially compromise battery integrity.”

Since July, GM has implemented a process with first responders that includes depowering of the battery after a severe crash. [Detroit Free Press11/26/11]

GM Provided A Fix To Volt Owners. Automotive News reported:

The agency [NHTSA] said that modifications intended to reinforce the Volt’s 435-pound lithium-ion battery pack that General Motors announced on Jan. 5 should “reduce the potential” of the pack catching fire in the days or weeks following a crash.


Company executives [at GM] say the voluntary fix will make the car “safer” by reinforcing the steel surrounding the battery pack to prevent it from being punctured during a crash. It also will add a sensor to the battery pack to monitor coolant leaks.
GM is asking its 8,000 Volt customers to visit their Chevy dealership to have the work done. Dealers will be ready to perform the work starting in February, GM said. [Automotive News, 1/20/12]

NHTSA Concluded Investigation After Finding “No Discernible Defect Trend.” Wired‘s Autopia blog reported:

Federal regulators have closed their investigation into the Chevrolet Volt, saying they are satisfied with the steps General Motors has taken to protect the car’s lithium-ion battery and minimize the risk of a fire in the days and weeks after a severe crash.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration posted an explanation and summary of its inquiry on Friday and announced the conclusion of the investigation it launched Nov. 25.

“The agency’s investigation has concluded that no discernible defect trend exists and that the vehicle modifications recently developed by General Motors reduce the potential for battery intrusion resulting from side impacts,” the feds said in a statement.

The statement adds, “Based on the available data, NHTSA does not believe that Chevy Volts or other electric vehicles pose a greater risk of fire than gasoline-powered vehicles.”

The findings vindicate General Motors, which always argued the Chevrolet Volt is safe, and electric vehicle advocates who argued that the inquiry was much ado about very little. [Wired, Autopia, 1/20/12]

Around 250,000 Conventional Cars Catch Fire In Real-Life Every Year. Brad Plumer wrote on The Washington Post‘s WonkBlog:

[E]lectric cars have recently had to endure panicky headlines over safety, after three separate Volt batteries caught fire in crash tests. On the technical merits, this wasn’t a huge worry: The batteries caught fire days or weeks after extreme crash testing in the laboratory, and even then the fires only broke out because post-crash procedures weren’t followed. As MSNBC’s Dan Carney snarks, “The lesson here is to get out of a crashed car within a few days, and be sure to turn off the lights when exiting.” There was also the little-noted fact that, as government statistics show (PDF), some 250,000 gas-powered vehicles catch fire in real-life settings every year. [Washington Post‘s WonkBlog, 1/9/12]

MYTH: Batteries In Electric Cars Are An Environmental Hazard

  • A article about the Chevy Volt claimed “the industry has not figured out how to dispose of 500 plus pounds of highly hazardous lithum [sic] batteries per car.” [, 1/9/12]
  • Columnist Rick Martinez wrote that “lithium and other toxic elements and chemicals are needed to make electric car batteries, which don’t last forever. Sooner or later, car batteries will surpass computers and televisions as the Earth’s most pressing environmental disposal challenge.” [News & Observer, 3/9/11]
  • National Legal and Policy Center’s Mark Modica said on Fox Business that “the lithium ion battery production and disposal is a problem itself. There’s been studies that show that the Volt is not even as green as an internal combustion engine because of the battery – the lithium battery issue.” [Fox Business, Cavuto, 10/12/11, via Nexis]

FACT: Battery Recycling Efforts Are Underway

EV Batteries Are Not Toxic Like Conventional Lead-Acid Car Batteries. CNNMoney reported:

We’ve all had to get rid of spent lithium-ion batteries from laptops and cell phones so it’s natural to worry about the ones in electric cars.

Won’t those eventually have to be disposed of, too? Are they just going to sit rotting in land fills fouling the environment?

Probably not. First, the lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars are less dangerous to the environment than most other batteries to begin with. That’s because they don’t contain large amounts of toxic rare earth metals. Second, all kinds of batteries, large and small, are routinely recycled and electric car batteries can be, too. [CNNMoney, 12/20/10]

Recycling Firms, Automakers Already Building Infrastructure To Handle EV Batteries. The New York Times reported that companies involved in recycling electronics “have already begun spending money to build an infrastructure to handle the flood of partly depleted battery packs” from electric cars. The article further stated:

Toyota Motor, whose experience goes back to 1998, shortly after the introduction of the RAV4 all-electric vehicle, has established partnerships in Europe and the United States to recycle batteries, including from the hybrid Prius. This year, it began shipping some batteries from Prius models sold in the United States to Japan to take advantage of a more-efficient recycling process at home.

Honda Motor recycled nearly 500 batteries during 2009 from the electric hybrid models it began selling in Japan more than a decade ago. But it still is exploring ways to structure that part of its business as it rolls out models like the Insight and the CR-Z.

General Motors and Nissan Motor, whose Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf are newer to the market, are taking a different tack. They have agreements with power companies to develop ways of reusing old batteries, perhaps for storing wind or solar energy during peak generating times for later use.


In the United States, the Department of Energy has granted $9.5 million to Toxco to build a specialized recycling plant in Ohio for electric vehicle batteries. It is expected to begin operations next year, handling batteries from a variety of makes and models.  [New York Times, 8/30/11]

Greenwire: Certain Battery Components “Far Too Valuable To Send To The Landfill.” Greenwire reported in September 2009 that “though lithium currently fetches very little on the open market, other components in lithium-ion batteries, such as nickel and cobalt, will make the batteries far too valuable to send to the landfill.” The report also quoted Linda Gaines of the Argonne National Laboratory, who is studying global lithium supply:

Currently, lithium is mined by only one company in the United States from a brine operation in the Nevada desert, and USGS data show that more than 85 percent of the world’s lithium reserves is in Bolivia, Chile and China.

Gaines’ research found that the amount of lithium needed for some types of lithium-ion batteries could be cut in half if those batteries are effectively recycled.

“If we had a careful recycling program in the U.S., we could conceivably be self-sufficient,” Gaines said. “The ideal would be to take the whole battery apart, clean up the material and recycle them back to battery-grade.” [Greenwire, 9/14/09, via Scientific American]

EV Batteries Could Be Used For Stationary Energy Storage. Wired‘s Autopia blog reported in November 2010:

Energy storage is a growing industry, and automakers see a demand for used packs, which could help make the grid more efficient. Nissan expects demand in Japan to be so great by 2020 that it would need 50,000 EV batteries to meet it. Automakers are confident they’ll find buyers because the lithium-ion packs used in electric vehicles are expected to retain around 70 percent of their storage capacity after 10 years. Although that may not be enough for a commuter who needs maximum range, it’s fine for stationary applications like backup power in a hospital or load-leveling at a substation.

“We expect to see an entirely new industry arise to use these batteries,” said Paul Gustavsson, vice president for business development at Volvo. The company expects to sell its first electric cars in 2013. “Every hospital has a huge battery backup in the basement. So do power plants, military installations, some skyscrapers. There’s some fascinating business opportunities there that are just now being discovered.” [Wired, Autopia, 11/24/10]

MYTH: Electric Car Subsidies Only Benefit The Rich

  • In a recent editorial, The Washington Post argued against tax credits for EV consumers, in part because “only upper-income consumers can afford to buy an electric vehicle.” [Media Matters, 1/5/12]
  • In an article at titled “Electric Car Subsidies Transferring Wealth From Poor To The Rich?”, William La Jeunesse wrote that “billions in federal subsidies for electric vehicles are going those [sic] who need them the least: the 1 percent.” [, 1/9/12]
  • Neil Monroe of The Daily Caller said on Fox Business: “President Obama wants to give $10,000 per car to wealthy blue state voters that should make Americans see red,” adding, “It is redistribution towards the wealthy. [Fox Business, Cavuto, 11/3/11, via Nexis]
  • Fox Business’ Liz MacDonald said: “one percenters, are the only ones who effectively can afford these cars, so why not support, you know, tax breaks for the upper brackets who can buy these cars?” [Fox Business, Cavuto, 12/27/11, via Nexis]

FACT: Tax Incentives Make Advanced Technology Accessible To Middle Class

Mitsubishi Electric Car Will Cost $21,625 After Tax Credit. The all-electric car from Mitsubishi, the i-MiEV, will cost $29,125 — or $21,625 after the $7,500 federal tax credit. The tax credit makes the price of the i-MiEV comparable to the Toyota Camry, the top selling car in the U.S. in 2011. [Mitsubishi, accessed 1/24/12]

Nissan Leaf Costs $27,700 After Tax Credit. The 2011 Nissan Leaf, an all-electric vehicle, costs $27,700 after the federal tax credit. [AutoGuide, 1/3/12]

Electric Cars Cost About Five Times Less Than Conventional Vehicles To Operate. According to the Department of Energy, a conventional vehicle costs 10 to 15 cents per mile in fuel to run, while an electric vehicle costs 2 to 4 cents per mile for fuel, based on the average U.S. electricity price. A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle costs 2 to 4 cents per mile when running on electricity, and 5 to 7 cents per mile when running on gasoline. [Department of Energy, 10/3/11]

Study: Battery Costs Will “Decline Steeply As Production Volumes Increase.” From an analysis of the electric car battery market by the Boston Consulting Group, a leading consulting firm:

Battery costs will decline steeply as production volumes increase. Individual parts will become less expensive thanks to experience and scale effects. Equipment costs will also drop, lowering depreciation. Higher levels of automation will further trim costs by increasing quality, reducing scrap levels, and cutting labor costs. However, some 25 percent of current battery costs – primarily the cost of raw materials and standard, commoditized parts – are likely to remain relatively independent of production volumes and to change over time.

The analysis also showed how continued government purchase incentives would “directly influence” the total cost of ownership (TCO) of EVs. According to the study, if the incentive programs continue to 2020, consumers in Western nations could recoup the added upfront cost of electric cars in 1-5 years, rather than 9-15 years:

Source: Boston Consulting Group

[Boston Consulting Group, 1/7/10]

Tax Credits For Electric Vehicles Have Bipartisan History. As the following summary from the Congressional Research Service shows, Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush signed legislation providing tax incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles and other cars that reduce reliance on oil:

EPAct 1992 established tax incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles and “clean-fuel vehicles,” including alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Section 1341) significantly expanded and extended the vehicle purchase incentives, establishing tax credits for the purchase of fuel cell, hybrid, alternative fuel, and advanced diesel vehicles.


The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 established a tax credit for the purchase of plug-in vehicles, both pure electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids (i.e., gasoline/electric hybrid vehicles that can fuel on gasoline or be recharged from the electric grid.) For passenger vehicles, the credit is a maximum of $7,500, depending on the vehicle’s battery capacity. After sales of vehicles eligible for the credit exceed a total of 250,000 for all manufacturers, the credit is phased out. [Congressional Research Service, 2/4/10]

Tax Credits Contribute To Development Of American Advanced Battery Industry And Jobs. A Duke University analysis of the U.S. value chain for lithium-ion vehicle batteries stated: “Largely as a result of financial support by federal and state governments, the U.S. domestic lithium-ion battery supply chain is developing very quickly.” The report also said “U.S. production capacity has indeed grown very quickly, from just two relevant plants before the ARRA [American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] funding, to 30 planned sites aiming to achieve a projected 20% of world capacity by 2012, and 40% by 2015.” [Duke University Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness, 10/5/10]

MYTH: Electric Cars Are A Threat To The Grid

  • On his Fox Business show, Cavuto stated that electric car owners are “compromising our grid.” [Fox Business, Cavuto, 12/8/11, via Nexis]
  • Fox’s Eric Bolling suggested that if a “million” or two million electric cars were on the road, we would have “no ability to charge these cars. The electric — the power grid right now is on its ear already.” [Fox Business, Happy Hour, 7/19/09]
  • The National Legal and Policy Center’s Mark Modica suggested on Fox Business that the “electric grid isn’t ready for” the amount of electric cars that advocates want on the road. [Fox Business, Cavuto, 10/12/11, via Nexis]

FACT: Studies Show EVs Are Unlikely To Strain Grid, Particularly With Good Planning

Studies Indicate That Plug-In Cars Won’t Strain The Grid. GreenCarReports noted:

A comprehensive and wide-ranging two-volume study from 2007, Environmental Assessment of Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles, looked at the impact of plug-in vehicles on the U.S. electrical grid. It also analyzed the “wells-to-wheels” carbon emissions of plug-ins versus gasoline cars.

The study is well regarded, in part because of its authors. It was a joint effort by two somewhat unlikely partners: the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), which is the utility industry’s research arm, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

It looks at the consequences of drivers charging plug-in vehicles at different times during the day. And it assumes a gradual rollout of electric vehicles into the current U.S. fleet of 300 million vehicles. GM, for example, will only sell 10,000 Chevy Volts during all of 2011.

In practice, this means electric cars will only impose marginal increases on the electric grid. The load of one plug-in recharging (about 2 kilowatts) is roughly the same as that of four or five plasma television sets. Plasma TVs hardly brought worries about grid crashes.


Knowing all this, the EPRI-NRDC study concluded — not surprisingly — that plug-in vehicles won’t strain the grid. Two earlier, more limited studies from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory concluded essentially the same thing. [GreenCarReports, 7/13/10, via Discovery News]

Utilities And Regulators Can Institute Policies To Smooth Demand. A 2011 MIT study on “The Future of the Electric Grid” stated:

The degree to which EVs pose a stress to the power grid depends on their local penetration rate, as well as the power and time at which they charge. If regulators and utilities appropriately influence charging so that it mostly does not coincide with the system peak demand, EVs will improve system load factor and will not cause unmanageable disruption to the bulk generation and transmission system. Otherwise, integrating these loads will require more investment in equipment. [Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2011]

Engineers Are Developing New Software To Address Added Demand. Good reported:

As I explained in a previous column, some automakers with EVs in the pipeline are already working on the issue. Ford, for example, recently joined up with Microsoft Hohm for an in-vehicle charging system in the  2011 electric Ford Focus. The system will allow drivers to schedule vehicle charging during off-peak hours, or times when the grid has capacity to spare.

Microsoft and Ford aren’t the only companies working on EV charging software. Google is also working on a platform that will use something called a vehicle dispatch algorithm to smooth out the electricity load on the grid. And the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is developing a Smart Charger Controller to automatically juice up vehicles when electricity is cheapest and the demand for power is lowest. [Good, 11/11/10]

Electric Cars Could Provide Backup Power For The Electric Grid. Miller-McCune reported in October:

For 15 years, [Willett] Kempton, who directs the University of Delaware’s Center for Carbon-Free Power Integration, has pushed the idea that fleets of electric vehicles — rather than being another big draw on the electric grid — could provide valuable backup power on demand to utilities. This would reduce the need for costly new generating plants, and help ensure a reliable supply of electricity.

Utilities pay each other billions of dollars a year for such backup power through wholesale electricity markets, and Kempton believes that a hefty slice of that pie could be paid to electric-vehicle owners instead.

Some industry analysts agree that the approach, known as “vehicle-to-grid,” could take off; a December 2010 report from the business research firm Global Data conservatively projected a global market for vehicle-to-grid that would pay $2.3 billion to electric vehicle owners by 2012 — and $40 billion by 2020. [Miller-McCune, 10/31/11]

MYTH: Each Volt Cost Taxpayers More Than $250,000 In Subsidies

  • In a CBS news brief, Ashley Morrison stated: “According to a new report, every car sold so far has cost taxpayers as much as two hundred and fifty thousand dollars.” [CBS, CBS Morning News, 12/22/11, via Nexis]
  • Fox News promoted the figure on Fox & Friends, Special Report, and The Five (twice). Fox Business covered the figure in at least 9 segments. [Media Matters, 12/22/11] [Nexis search, 1/20/12]
  • Rush Limbaugh and numerous conservative blogs repeated the figure. [, 1/11/12] [, 1/7/12] [Washington Examiner, 1/23/12] [National Review Online, 12/21/11] [, 12/21/11] [Hot Air, 12/21/11]

FACT: Subsidy Estimate Was Based On Fuzzy Math

Estimate Includes Subsidies For Supplier Companies And Subsidies That Haven’t Actually Been Distributed. The source of the claim that each Volt costs taxpayers $250,000 in subsidies is James Hohman of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a conservative think tank that has received money from fossil fuel interests. The estimate, which Hohman conceded was “simple math,” included state and federal subsidies “via tax credits and direct funding for not only General Motors, but other companies supplying parts for the vehicle.” It also included subsidies that the companies haven’t yet received. Hohman divided that total by 6,000 – the number of Volts sold at the time. [Media Matters, 12/22/11]

Finance Writer: “Fundamental Flaw” In The Estimate “Discredits The Entire Report.” Writing for, Anton Wahlman – who said he is “totally opposed to government subsidies” — stated that “there is a fundamental flaw behind the math in this ‘report’ that discredits the entire report straight down to zero, in my view.” From his post:

Here is the point: Why divide whatever amount — $1.5 billion or otherwise — by the number of Chevrolet Volts sold to date? If he had done this study one year from now, when we could be looking at 60,000 Volts made, as GM repeatedly has promised, the headline number would be $25,000 per car– not $250,000. You would divide the $1.5 billion by 60,000 instead of 6,000.

But why stop at a year from now? This investment in automotive propulsion technology is meant to be refined and influence generations of cars for decades. Some part of GM’s Voltec architecture and techniques will drive sales of approximately 60 million cars over the next 25 years or so, in any reasonable estimation.


The absurdity of the math used can be further shown by asking what the study would have yielded if it had been done six months ago or a year ago. Six months ago, 3,000 Volts had been sold and therefore the implied subsidy was $500,000 per car — half as many cars, twice the subsidy per car. One year ago, the first Volt was sold and therefore this one car must have cost $1.5 billion, according to the reasoning by the people who wrote the headlines around this study.

This is the way it works in almost every industry. The first iPad manufactured probably cost Apple $100 million or whatever. Does that mean Apple lost $100 million minus $500 on this iPad? Of course not. The development cost for any product is written off across large volumes, typically multiple generations, where both hardware and software accumulate constantly. [, 12/22/11]

Are electric-car charging stations the new must-have hotel amenity?

Published January 31, 2012 (reprinted from, Budget Travel)

Budget Travel

  • hotel_electric_car640.jpg

It’s been a rough half–decade for the travel industry, and to compete for ever–scarcer tourism dollars, service providers have been forced to come up with new ways to attract customers—or in some cases (we’re looking at you, airlines), to make more money off the ones they have through added fees and higher prices.

Customers have fared somewhat better in the hotel realm, as reduced rates, buy–two–nights–get–one–free promos, and added amenities have been hallmarks of the race to put heads in beds.

One of the newest perks to be rolled out far and wide is the addition of electric vehicle charging stations to hotels, which are typically free for guests (and sometimes even the public) to use.

Unlike tanning concierges or pillow butlers, we think this is one amenity that has real staying power.

And it’s not just an urban thing, or exclusive to one price point—hotels and resort all over the country (and all over the rate sheet) are hopping on the bandwagon (see list below).

A partial list of places to recharge today:

*In April 2011, the Sheraton Waikiki debuted five charging stations—some of the first in Hawaii—with the capacity to charge 10 cars total.

*Residence Inn Chattanooga added two stations in October 2011.

*In January 2012, The Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa installed its first charger, as part of a larger spring 2012 expansion.

*Seattle’s Northwest Cedarbrook Lodge will have valet–equipped stations in March of this year

*Hotel Monaco Portland, a Kimpton property, fired up two charging stations in October 2011, and offers guests a 50% discount on parking for hybrid vehicles.

*Four hotels in Knoxville, TN—two Hampton Inns and two Holiday Inns—plus two in Nashville added charging stations this month.

*Comfort Suites Palm Bay in Florida has a charging station.

*The Verdanza Inn in San Juan, PR, has one, too.

*In Boston, the Lenox Hotel has one

*Marriott added a total of 23 charging stations to its properties—two in NC, six in CA, one in FL, one in MA, one in NV, and one in Denmark.

*Hershey’s Chocolate World in PA added stations last summer.

*Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva, WI, an early adopter, installed its charging station way back in April 2010.

*The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver, and Fairmont Empress in Victoria all added charging stations in September.

Woodstock Takes the Lead in Sustainability

The City of Woodstock, the largest city in Cherokee County, is proud to announce it has become the first municipality in the State of Georgia to install an Electric Vehicle Charging Station (EVSE). Inspired by a local business that installed an EVSE for the benefit of their employees, Woodstock studied the forthcoming demand for charging stations based on the proliferation of electric vehicles that would be hitting the market in the next 12 months.

As part of the ongoing revitalization and renovation of downtown Woodstock, the city decided to install the charging station as a benefit to the residents and visitors. Only one charging station is being installed at this time, but the design and construction allow for the program to be expanded in the future, as demand dictates.

“We are proud to be the first Municipality in the State to have this service made available to its residents.” said Donnie Henriques, Mayor, “Woodstock, sometimes known as Greenstock, will continue to lead the pack in innovative ways to go-green.”

Metro Plug-In, Inc., headquartered in Woodstock, was in charge of the installation of the Electric Vehicle Charging Station, manufactured by Clipper Creek in Auburn, CA. Greg Crittenden, the owner of Metro Plug-In, believes “Electric Vehicles will play a major role in America’s future – providing cleaner air, lowering the cost of transportation, and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.”

The City of Woodstock started the ‘Partnership for a Sustainable Woodstock’ in 2009 through the Planning, Design and Sustainability division of the Community Development Department.

Funded in part through a grant received in 2010 from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA), the program has completed the installation of solar panels and energy-efficient systems at the newly opened Chambers at City Center, provided discounts to local builders on permit fees who build energy efficient houses and will convert lighting in the Park and Amphitheatre at City Center to energy efficient LED lighting.

The charging station is provided at no charge to the public and is located adjacent to the historic Woodstock train depot, future home to Freight Kitchen and Tap at 251 East Main Street.

For More Information:
Brian Stockton, City Planner
City of Woodstock