EV popularity approaches global tipping point

EV popularity approaches global tipping point

A new study has revealed a jump in the number of New Zealanders who want to make their next car an electric vehicle (EV) and advisory firm EY says the market has reached a global tipping point.

EY’s survey of 500 New Zealanders — part of a wider global study of 13,000 consumers in 18 countries — found 49% of NZ car buyers intend to purchase a fully electric, plugin hybrid or hybrid car.

That’s a 19point jump on the same survey last year, says Ashley Kearton — the head of EY NZ’s power and utilities practice. It points to New Zealand as ninth of 18 countries surveyed.

Car buyers in Italy (73%), China (69%) and South Korea (63%) were the most committed to buying an EV, while consumers in Australia (38%) and the US (29%) were the least.

The global average was 52% — the first time a majority of car buyers said they wanted to go electric.

Juicing it up . . . A survey has found 49% of New Zealand car buyers intend to purchase a fully electric, plugin hybrid or hybrid car.

Mr Kearton said environmental concerns loomed large last year, and continued to be a major factor, but the spike in EV buying intentions this year had been fuelled by the surging price of petrol combined with the new Clean Car Discount programme — which offers rebates of up to $7500 for lowemission vehicle buyers and, since April 1, has penalised buyers of higheremission vehicles up to $5175.

In a 2020 report, national grid operator Transpower predicted the tipping point for EVs would come at some point between 2025 and 2030 as electric vehicles reached price parity with petrol cars.

But EY’s survey found 90% of New Zealanders who wanted to buy an EV were prepared to pay a premium — and slightly more than a third were willing to pay up to 20% more. Regardless, not all of those intentions will translate into sales.

If you order a Tesla Model 3 today, the estimated delivery time is May 2023.

‘‘That’s consistent with what we’re seeing across other manufacturers,’’ Mr Kearton said.

If people wanted their new vehicle to arrive within a year, some would have no choice but to pick a petrol car.

Tesla’s Model 3 was far and away NZ’s bestselling electric car in the year to March — a period during which the amount Kiwis spent on imported electric and hybrid vehicles more than doubled to $877 million, in a passenger vehicle market worth a total $6.1 billion, Stats NZ figures showed.

In the near future, Covid supply chain disruption and component shortages — particularly lithium for batteries — will continue to crimp market growth, and some issues will be longterm.

Tesla chairwoman Robyn Denholm used her Apec keynote address to call on governments to coinvest in new lithium and nickel mines to help address a supply crunch.

One factor should help us out here: New Zealanders’ willingness to buy secondhand.

EY’s survey also showed New Zealanders are more likely to purchase a used electric vehicle than a new one — the only AsiaPacific country where this was the case.

‘‘Even more so than in many other countries, creating a pool of affordable, secondhand EVs will be key to making EVs accessible for all consumers and accelerating uptake in New Zealand,’’ Mr Kearton said.

One issue with buying secondhand is that the lithiumion batteries in an EV degrade — just like the lithiumion batteries in your phone or laptop that no longer last as long as when you bought them.

For example Tesla says with its Model 3, its battery warranty covers ‘‘eight years or 240,000km, whichever comes first, with minimum 70% retention of battery capacity over the warranty period’’.

And a few years ago, social media was rife with war stories over the firstgeneration Nissan Leaf and its overheating battery — a major issue given batteries account for roughly a third of the cost of an EV (the Leaf would later improve to the point where it topped a Consumer NZ survey on EV reliability).

Experts say EV battery management systems are improving all the time, and a cottage industry has emerged for budget battery replacements.

Mr Kearton said ‘‘range anxiety’’ was also becoming less of an issue.

The survey found those who already owned EVs were less worried about how far an electric car could travel on one charge, and less worried about charging infrastructure.

Only 21% of New Zealand EV drivers charged their car at home every day, the survey found.

Longterm, a transition to EVs is a certainty, given every major car maker says it will abandon petrol car production from 2030, if not earlier.

But in the medium term, there are stumbling blocks.

EVs are likely to lose their Road User Charges exemption from March 2024 as the Government looks to plug the multibillion hole that will emerge in its petrol tax revenue, and Crownowned Transpower and other players on the power market grapple with an anticipated 20% surge in electricity demand as EVs go mainstream. —



A wave of electric cars and trucks is coming. But are we ready for it?

THE ELECTRIFICATION of the automobile is entering Ludicrous Mode, to borrow a Tesla-via-spaceballs-ism. This year, it has become increasingly clear that a surge of electric vehicles will overtake the dominance of internal combustion sooner than anyone thought. Was the tipping point Joe Biden test-driving the plug-in Ford F-150 Lightning at a proving ground in Detroit? We’re sure Diamond Joe thinks so.

Across the globe, governments are intervening in pursuit of the 1.5° C Paris Agreement goal. Germany has announced it will end the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles in 2030. The U.K. wants all its vehicles “zero emissions capable” by 2035. Canada’s emissions-free mandate is geared for the same year. In the States, Biden has signed an executive order aimed at making half of all vehicle sales electric by 2030.

Automakers have seen the writing on the wall. GM alone has committed to rolling out 30 new global electric vehicles by 2025. Even Dodge, of fossil-fuel-soaked Hellcat infamy, will build an electric muscle car by 2024. Sure, internal combustion engines have been downsized and turbocharged for better efficiency, but their ceiling is near. EV potential, on the other hand, is huge in terms of added range and power—not to mention its market share stakes in the great EV reshuffle.

But while all these EVS are surely coming down the pike, how prepared are we, really? Will our power grids hold up? Where are the chargers? What are the chances Washington, D.C., can clear the path forward with sensible legislation? And what are the hidden costs? Peeking under the hood, here’s what’s working—and what we need to fix very fast.

Washington County Invests in Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure

Washington County Invests in Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (June 15, 2022) – Seal Solar recently installed four electric vehicle (EV) chargers at the Courthouse in Downtown Fayetteville. These charging stations, located at 280 N College Avenue, are open to the public and provide around 35 miles of range per hour of charging using a 240-volt output.

“Washington County partnered with Seal Solar and is pleased to offer its citizens the ability to charge their electric vehicles while they are at the Courthouse in Downtown Fayetteville,” said Dwight Gonzales, Buildings and Grounds Director of Washington County. “Washington County is powered by 2 megawatts of solar energy, and now citizens can charge their vehicles using the power of the sun.”

Washington County utilized the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality Level 2 Rebate Program funding and will receive an estimated $22,000 back on this project. They are also accessing Southwestern Electric Power Company’s EV Charger incentive program and will receive an estimated $2,000.

“Expanding the adoption of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure go hand in hand” said Chris Flores, EV Charger Product Manager at Seal Solar. “It is crucial that we continue to make EV charging more accessible in all parts of Arkansas to make the transition to electric mobility equitable and economical.”

The Level Two Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Reimbursement Rebate Program is open to government, private, and non-profit entities across the state. It provides rebates for the installation of Level Two EV charging stations and is awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The rebate is paid by the State Environmental Mitigation Trust, funded by the Volkswagen Settlement, which began with $215,563 in 2022.

Hong Kong – Call for efforts to develop electric-car charging facilities

Hong Kong – Call for efforts to develop electric-car charging facilities

Hong Kong needs to inject greater urgency into efforts to develop electric-vehicle infrastructure to keep up with soaring sales and meet its 2050 carbon neutrality goal.

While the government has dangled some carrots to encourage the private-sector drive towards electrification, executives in the car sector foresee bottlenecks stalling progress.

“How to cope with the slowly growing infrastructure with the fast-growing sales [of electric cars] is one of the issues that we need the government to keep on top of discussing with the industry,” said Joe Lam, deputy general manager of retail services at Inchcape Hong Kong.

There are more than 30,000 electric vehicles in the city, about 3 per cent of all registered vehicles, according to figures from the Hong Kong E-Vehicles Business General Association in May. By 2025, electric vehicles are expected to account for half of the cars on the road, according to officials at the Environmental Protection Department.

The government had a crucial role to play in supporting the adoption of battery-powered cars in Hong Kong, said Lam, who was speaking as part of a panel discussion at the Post’s Climate Change Hong Kong Summit yesterday.

“The electric-vehicle adoption rate in the whole world is very highly driven by the government or depends on the policy of individual governments. [It is especially important] for Hong Kong, because right now, our sales or percentage of electric vehicles in the market is growing very fast,” he said.

The transport sector contributed about 17 per cent of Hong Kong’s carbon emissions in 2020, the second-largest contributor after power generation, according to government figures.

To reach the city’s goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2050, the government has set aside funding to promote electrification of vehicles and work with utility firms to phase out coal power generation by 2035.

“Unfortunately, Hong Kong is quite unique when it comes to electric-vehicle adaptation in the public transport sector … because they are all privately owned,” Venessa Wong, regional director at Scania China & Hong Kong, said at the panel session. “Without a great incentive, it is a very expensive shift of technology to private corporations.”

The challenges include a lack of customer choices, no universal standard for charging facilities and a lack of charging infrastructure, according to Nelson Chow, partner of supply chain and operations at EY.

Standardisation would enable citizens to power their electric cars easily when travelling to the rest of the Greater Bay Area, according to Hunter Cao, general manager of the Hong Kong digital power business department at Huawei’s Hong Kong representative office.

The government should also involve electric-vehicle makers in the early stages of urban planning and the ecosystem set-up for the cars to create the most effective transport solutions for Hong Kong, Wong said.

“That’s the only way to really help achieve the goal together with the government by 2050 … to involve all the stakeholders early on,” she said.

BMW, The Ultimate Driving Machine Is Making News With Alternative Transportation

BMW, The Ultimate Driving Machine Is Making News With Alternative Transportation

At the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, BMW used two cars, modified to “run silent, run electric” (almost a pun) — to accompany long distance runners, and for other official duties.

The cars were of the 1602 model range, and the 350 kg lead-acid batteries were loaded under the hood on a skid to allow for a fast change after some 50 km.

You must have often wondered how the bicyclists or marathon runners could NOT be affected by the exhaust fumes of the cars or motorbikes filming them at close range, and why this idea had not come up earlier.

One of the people in charge at BMW must have been an athlete, or at least considerate enough to give the Olympians a “breather”.

The R&D people took a breather as well, until they modified a 3-series car in 1982.

The battery this time was a sodium-sulphur type that “only” weighed 265 kg. With three times the energy density (an important term in alternative transportation), the eight E30 325iX test vehicles so equipped could run about 150 km in city traffic.

While all BMWs to this time were rear-wheel-drive, these cars were modified to front-wheel-drive.

Management was encouraged by the results, and continued to pursue the idea of a purely electric car. In auto shows during 1991 the company showed a concept of their idea of a city car, the E1.

Lithium-Ion batteries are the new way to power most things now, and the BMW-owned Mini was powered by these new energy storage devices in a 600 strong test fleet in 2008. Select customers in North America and Europe are driving the Mini E, while the company monitors the cars behavior during daily driving chores.

The smallest BMW at this time is the 1-series, and based on that, the Bavarian carmaker has produced a fleet of 1000 i3, purely electric lightweight EVs. BMW started selling these in 2011, and their green-oriented owners are gathering information for other future electric cars.

In 2013 BMW and Toyota announced collaboration on developing electric drive-trains and light-weight carbon fiber body structures together. An electric sportscar, dubbed i8, is in the planning stage.

Update On The 2013 Ford Focus Electric

Update On The 2013 Ford Focus Electric

Ford Motor Company’s Focus 2013 Electric is powered by a lithium-ion battery system which gives it a fuel efficiency rating of 110 MPGe city, 99 MPGe highway, 105 MPGe combined. Source: Ford Motor Company 2013 Focus product sheet.

What is MPGe?

It sounds odd, providing miles per gallon figures for a car that uses no gasoline so here’s the offical explanation: Miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) is used to compare energy consumption of alternative-powered vehicles.

MPGe tells how much gasoline and how much electricity would be used to generate an equal amount of power. One gallon of gasoline equals 33 kilowatt-hours of electricity. Now you know.

Focus specs:

  • Powertrain: Permanent magnet all electric traction motor with single-speed automatic transmission
  • Power: 143 hp, 107 kW, Torque: 184 lb.-ft., 250 Nm
  • Seating: five
  • Ambient lighting with seven switchable colors
  • Standard Audio System by Sony® and HD Radio™ with iTunes Tagging
  • Where built: Wayne Assembly Plant, Wayne, Michigan

Fast Recharge

The all-electric Focus is capable of fully recharging in four hours at home using the available wall-mounted 240-volt charge station. This compares favorably with competitors like the Nissan Leaf.

According to Ford, the Focus Electric offers enough range (up to 76 miles) to meet the daily needs of most American drivers, and a top speed of up to 84 mph. Operative words in both cases being “up to.”

Battery Power

The Focus Electric’s lithium-ion battery system offers more power and less weight than comparable nickel metal-hydride systems. The battery’s power output is 23kWh, with advanced liquid heating/cooling to regulate battery temperature. This helps maximize battery life and miles from each charge. Regenerative braking boosts range by capturing up to 90 percent of energy lost through friction brakes.

What’s the Price? The Focus Electric is available at one of Ford’s certified electric vehicle (EV) dealers. MSRP is $39,200.00. Be sure to ask your tax advisor to see if you qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 – operative words being “up to.”

Electric Cars Are Charging Ahead

Electric Cars Are Charging Ahead

Paine published his views about EVs in the Washington Post; and who would be better to inform you about one of his –and my- favorite subjects than Chris in his own words, dispelling 5 myths about the electric version of alternative transportation.

1. The electric car is dead.

This myth is partly my fault, perpetuated by the title of my 2006 documentary, Who Killed the Electric Car? The signs back then weren’t promising. Under pressure from car companies and other lobbyists, California rolled back its Zero-Emission Vehicle mandate, which had helped get nearly 5,000 electric cars on the road. The change in the regulation freed carmakers to round up the cars they had leased — and then surreptitiously crush them.

Thankfully, it takes more than a crusher to kill a technology. Today, almost all the major automakers, along with a cast of new players, are investing in, and building, plug-in cars. California’s mandate [for zero emission vehicles] has also made a comeback, and other states are considering similar rules.

Fisker’s struggles can be attributed, in part, to the fact that start-ups in any industry have a high rate of failure, and launching a start-up in the automotive sector is especially expensive. That makes it all the more impressive that Fisker’s rival Tesla turned a quarterly profit this year.

A new report from IEE, part of the Edison Foundation, projects that between 5 million and 30 million electric cars will be on U.S. roads by 2035. “The electrification of the vehicle fleet is a foregone conclusion,” says former GM vice chairman (and former electric-car-basher) Bob Lutz.

Economics, politics and technology all played a role in the turnaround. Soaring gas prices in 2008 got everyone complaining. U.S. manufacturers, stuck with large inventories of low-mileage SUVs and facing bankruptcy, watched with envy as Toyota rode the buzz from its Prius hybrid to become the world’s No.1 carmaker. The chief executives of Detroit’s Big Three further reassessed after being chastised for flying corporate jets to congressional bailout hearings in November 2008. When they returned to Washington two weeks later, they arrived in electric hybrids. Since then, partly with the help of government loans (some already repaid), electric-car technology has made big strides.

2. Electric cars can’t get people where they need to go.

I’ve been driving electric cars for 15 years and have yet to run out of power. But ask people what their biggest hesi¬ta¬tion is about electric vehicles, and they’re most likely to say something about the cars leaving them stranded. This myth is so pervasive that General Motors applied to trademark the name for it: “range anxiety.”

A controversial New York Times test drive in February of Tesla’s Model S, which ended up needing a tow to a charging station, seemed to confirm the fear.

But that test drive — covering more than 500 miles in temperatures as low as 10 degrees [Fahrenheit] — was not your everyday trip. The average American drives fewer than 40 miles a day. That’s well within the 75-mile-plus range of most electric cars. And while batteries do run down faster in extreme cold, on a normal day Tesla’s Model S can go as far as 265 miles on a single charge.

The answer to range anxiety for many carmakers is the plug-in hybrid, an electric car with a backup gasoline engine. The Chevrolet Volt, the Toyota Prius Plug-In and the Ford C-Max Energi all use electric power for the first 20 to 50 miles (or most daily trips) and then switch to gasoline for longer drives.

To be continued tomorrow….

Nissan Explains Why Electric Cars Are So Rare In Boston

Nissan Explains Why Electric Cars Are So Rare In Boston

From the way the mainstream media hype electric cars, one would think that they were just around every corner. However, spotting on in Boston is like finding an open parking space on Newbury St. It can happen, but you have a better chance of seeing two baby pigeons playing together. Luckily, Nissan issued a press announcement August 24rth that cleared all this up. Apparently, the EVs are all hiding on the left coast.

Six of the top eight cities that Nissan sells Leafs are in west coast states. Seven out of eight are western if you count Honolulu. New York is Nissan’s 15th largest city for sales and Boston is not even on the list. The reason has a lot to do with the marketing focus of the vehicles by their makers, but also where the money is. Atlanta makes the list at a solid number three, being the only Eastern city to break into the top 10. How did that happen? Bribes. Georgian taxpayers give Nissan Leaf buyers, and other EV buyers $5,000 by way of a state tax credit. That is on top of federal incentives provided by US taxpayers that can add up to $12,500 for EVs. Atlanta also lets the EVs cruise the HOV lanes. High occupancy vehicle used to be the name for those special lanes paid for by gas taxes before there were any EVs. Now they are called “HOT” lanes. The Leaf and the “extended range EV” Chevy Volt vie to be the top selling EV each month. Other types of green-machines like Plug-in hybrids and conventional hybrids are making life tough for the pure EVs though. Lease prices have dropped like a rock and most EVs are seeing double digit reductions in MSRP each year. That makes jumping in now hard for some who would like an EV, but don’t want to be the one who overpaid.

Volkswagen’s e-Golf Electric Car Debuts At Frankfurt

Volkswagen’s e-Golf Electric Car Debuts At Frankfurt

Since the e-Golf is based on a well proven and popular car, it’s expected to offer trademark German car handling and upscale feel to go along with its new found efficiency. Volkswagen says the new e-Golf will have a driving range of 118 miles.

Mechanically, the e-Golf gets a Volkswagen engineered and built drive system which starts with a 115 horsepower electric motor. With a robust 199 ft-lb of torque, it puts power to the front wheels through a new one-speed gearbox.

Volkswagen says it will offer spirited performance, and because it’s electric will offer smooth linear power throughout its operating range. It can accelerate from 0-62 mph in 10.4 seconds according to the company and has a governor limited top speed of about 87 mph.

There are the obligatory driving modes which allow you to select maximum range driving program or dial it up for more power and sporing attitude. The system uses regenerative braking as well to capture power back to the batter on deceleration.

A light-weight lithium-ion battery unit resides under the floor shaped to utilize the center tunnel and under seat areas. This design allows for more cells and less intrusion into the rear cargo area, an issue with many EV’s based on conventional automobiles.

Charging the e-Golf is easier than many EV’s that have come before it. You can charge over night with a 120V plug, but it also comes with a standard 230V charge cord that can be plugged in to a standard wall socket without the use of an external charger.

You can of course use an available quick charger or public charging station as a third alternative for the fastest charging.

It gets some cool new features like LED headlights, the very first Volkswagen to get them. All e-Golf models will be four-doors and come in fully loaded trim levels. This includes top end infotainment and interior comforts, trims, and equipment.

Setting the e-Golf apart visually will be special alloy wheels that are designed for maximum aerodynamics, blue accent strips in the trim, and unique fascias front and rear. The 16” alloy wheels get low rolling resistance tires to maximize range. When the e-Golf arrives next year pricing will likely be at a slight premium over competitors like the Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus Electric. Expect all the connectivity driving and planning apps which allow you to optimize your charge in more way than you can ever imagine, from the comfort of your smart phone.