EV Update for 2013
The US electric vehicle industry came in for some pretty sharp criticism during 2012, especially during the Presidential campaign when candidate Mitt Romney called thriving start-up Tesla “a loser” – lumping it in with some of the other failed investments that the Obama administration has made in advancing the industry. Interesting take – someone forgot to tell Mr. Romney that the company’s Model S hatchback (pictured below) sold out for this model year, with 5,000 cars made to order.
So, what’s the reality? To be sure, there are nowhere near as many electric-powered cars being used in the United States as was hoped just one year ago – research from Mintel estimates shipments for this year at around 50,000 units. President Obama had hoped to have 1 million on the road by 2015, which looks like an incredibly unrealistic goal at this point.
2012 also began with a high-profiles series of recalls related to battery technology, leaving both Fisker and Chevrolet with a bit of a black eye.
Still, the outlook is relatively optimistic for the next 12 months, with probably 400,000 electric vehicles (which includes bicycles, by the way) expected to be on the road by the end of 2013.
Hey, as we reported previously, Washington state feels there are enough electric vehicles on the road now in order to introduce a brand-new EV highway tax, you know mainstream adoption must be accelerating.
So what’s around the corner? Cleantech market research firm Pike Research has issued its set of predictions for the year ahead, implying that the “industry will be racing ahead in second gear.”
Here are some highlights:
#1: The e-bicycle market will explode. Pike predicts that North American sales will grow by 50 percent to about 158,000, as component costs decline and the number of brands offering models multiplies. The market for e-motorcycles will remain relatively custom, though.
#2: Higher capacity, 48-volt batteries will charge up the market for stop-start and micro-hybrid vehicles. Right now, the predominant technology is 12 volts, which has seriously limited the applications. This class of teeny vehicles, which is particularly popular in Europe, shuts down at red lights or during stop-and-go traffic, helping to reduce fuel emissions.
#3: Fuel cell vehicles will gain more prominence. This technology uses hydrogen and oxygen from the air to produce enough energy to run the car, but its commercial potential is still relatively limited. Pike predicts that about 3,500 units will be shipped from the likes of Toyota, Daimler, Hyundai and Honda – primarily to companies that manage public and private fleets.
#4: Germany will lead growth in Europe. If you think electric vehicle adoption has been slow in the United States, you’ll be surprised to hear that things across the Atlantic Ocean have been even slower. That will change next year, with the emergence of at least seven models optimized for the European market, according to the Pike Research predictions. The most dominant player (at least for the next 12 months) will be Volkswagen, which has six different models in the pipeline that have an electric twist. The company’s home market in Germany will emerge as the single biggest market on the continent, with about 14,000 vehicles by the end of 2013. One thing that could help charge up the European market will be the emergence of IBM technology that helps drivers travel regionally, without having to worry about whether or not there is a place to refuel their battery.
#5: A larger diversity of public charging infrastructure will be in place. There are several forces as work here. First off, we’ll finally see some activity around a new fast-charging standard, which should make for more installations. Most of the equipment currently in place takes woefully long to charge up a vehicle – an average of four to eight hours, which is fine if you’re parked somewhere for the whole day but not-so-fine if you are traveling outside of your immediate community. Another thing to watch will be deployments of wireless charging infrastructure that don’t require plugs at all. Sales should reach 283,000 units annually by 2020, according to a separate Pike Research report.
#6: Natural gas will cut into the electric truck market. The interest in manufacturing or purchasing natural gas trucks has grown along with the abundant supply of natural gas. Cost factors will help the market grow to more than 47,000 vehicles sold in 2013. One limiting factor will be the dearth of places to refuel them.
Reporting with assistance from ZdNet:
According to analyst Aaron Chew of the Maxim Group, dealers sold 7,600 electric cars in November, bringing total sales for 2012 to 47,500 to date. Chew expects the year to end with sales of 56,000 electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
That of course is but a rounding error for most carmakers. Ford, for instance, sold 177,673 cars in November alone and electric vehicle sales are just .4% of total U.S. automotive sales for the year to date.
And while the slow but steady trend in electric car sales depends in part on various incentives – Nissan Leaf sales jumped after the automaker offered $199 leases and $5,000 price breaks – the introduction of new models has helped boost sales.
Ford sold 1,259 of its C-Max Energi in November just a month after the plug-in electric hybrid was introduced. That came close to the Chevrolet Volt, which recorded sales of 1,519 for the month and was not far behind the Toyota Prius plug-in, which had sales of 1,766 in November, according to Maxim.
Chew also offered some Tesla tidbits, reporting that the Silicon Valley electric carmaker delivered an estimated 1,150 of its Model S sports sedans in November.
“Despite just launching in late June 2012, this would propel Tesla to No. 5 in U.S. EV deliveries in November 2012,” Chew wrote.
published in Forbes:
An electric DeLorean
Who would have guessed the DeLorean brand still exists at all yet alone is alive and well in Texas. Since the original DeLorean company failed back in the 1980s the car has remained iconic after starting in the Back to the Future movies.
DeLorean Motor Company and Epic Electric Vehicles unveiled a development version of an electric DeLorean at the International DeLorean Owners Event in Houston, Texas. DeLorean plans to market the DMCEV in the United States in 2013, and will further develop prototypes combining the existing DeLorean automobile with the Epic EV electric powertrain. Together, Epic EV and DeLorean plan to produce a number of prototypes utilizing the Epic EV powertrain for evaluation this and next year.
The DeLorean Motor Company, based in Humble, TX, USA, acquired the original company’s name in 1995 and now owns the largest remaining original parts stock from the factory, US stock and original suppliers. In addition to servicing, restoring and selling DeLorean automobiles, parts, accessories and merchandise to customers around the world, DMC also assembles cars to order, featuring parts or designs from the original DeLorean automobile, with modern engine and suspension technology. A variety of DeLorean products have been developed through licensing relationships with manufacturers in footwear, apparel, toys, collectibles, gaming and other product categories.
Epic EV designs and manufactures electric vehicles who’s products – on land and water – make reliable, high performance electric vehicles accessible. Founder, Chris Anthony, brought together a small team for one purpose: get fast and fun vehicles to market. The Epic EV design shop is just inland from the sunny North County coastline in Vista, CA and their factory, affectionately called “Epic South” is located on an expansive plot of land in Vivian, Louisiana.
From Auto News
LOS ANGELES — Fisker Automotive has hired ousted General Motors’ global marketing boss Joel Ewanick to be interim chief of global sales and marketing for the maker of luxury plug-in hybrids.
Ewanick, 52, will replace industry veteran Richard Beattie, 58, who announced his retirement today, Fisker spokesman Roger Ormisher said.
Ewanick has been working with Fisker as a marketing consultant for at least six weeks and will fill Beattie’s role until a full-time replacement is named, Ormisher said. Beattie — formerly of Ford, Mazda and Jaguar — was hired by Fisker as its chief commercial officer last December.
“We would like to thank Richard for his valuable contribution in helping to grow the Fisker brand and sales in global markets over the past 12 months, and wish him well in his retirement,” Fisker CEO Tony Posawatz said in a statement issued to Automotive News.
“As we seek to appoint a long-term successor, there is no one better than Joel, with his wealth of motor industry experience and knowledge to guide us through this interim period. I am delighted to welcome him to the Fisker team.”
Ormisher declined to comment when asked if Ewanick would be a candidate to become Beattie’s full-time replacement.
Ewanick was fired from GM in July over the handling of a controversial sponsorship deal with English soccer club Manchester United. Since the split, Ewanick has done consulting work with a number of companies in the automotive industry, including TrueCar.com, according to a source with knowledge of Ewanick’s activities.
In joining Fisker, Ewanick will be reunited with Posawatz, the former Chevrolet Volt chief engineer who left GM in July and then became Fisker’s CEO in August. The relationship between the two was a major factor in Ewanick’s decision to become involved with Fisker, according to the source.
Recently we were walking through the Bellevue shopping mall on the way to the Apple store when we came across a rather startling store. There amongst the shoes, clothing and watches of Washington was a Tesla store showing a bright white Model S.
Today a Nissan leaf owned by our friend Robert Sharpe of EV Consultancy, EverGreen Consulting, came by for a visit, test drive and a quick charge. We do like the Leaf – it offers superb engineering with solid build quality and reliability. Robert is driving close to 20,000 miles per year on electricity in the Leaf and loving it. For more details on EverGreen EV Consulting see their website.
The car company Renault are conducting a UK ZE tour to show and demonstrate their range of electric vehicles.
These include the Twizy, Fluence, Kangoo Van and the Zoe.
The display showed a number of Kangoo Vans, plenty of Twizy models a couple of Fluence cars and a single Zoe.
We drove a Twizy and it was just great – reasonable solid, fast enough, quiet and solid even with half doors.
People tend to stare at you on the road as you drive past. This is quite exciting.
Renault were also providing lots of information on the charging systems and EV infrastructure that makes owning an EV feasible. They highlighted the Source with over 500 charging points in London active today with plans to grow that to 1,300 by 2013.
Picture kindly sent in from Rick Woodbury the CEO of Commuter Cars.
Rick was driving to the islands in Puget Sound and from Seattle there are multiple ferry rides to choose from. One benefit of the Tango is that like the Sparrow it is classified as a Motor-Bike giving it priority loading on the Washington State Ferry Systems. This lets Rick bypass the check in lines for the ferry. Regular commuters save an hour or more every day with their motor bike or electric vehicle.
At the great Goodwood Festival of Speed there is always a Future Tent where the advanced motoring concepts and ideas are to be found. This year was no exception with a number of interesting vehicles, including a pair of MIA cars.
Inside the tent was a new 3 seater Mia in white while outside on the Goodwood grass was a Mia van. They looked a little strange next to the concept cars from Toyota and Mazda. However the Mia is real and you can buy one today in the UK.
Goodwood had a number of interesting EV vehicles – The GM Volt and Vauxhall Ampere were on display. The most interesting in terms of clever was the Volvo Plug in diesel hybrid. To be reviewed in detail.