RIP, Energy Bill: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced he didn’t have the votes to pass a climate-change bill that puts a price on greenhouse gases. With that statement one of Obama’s major campaign promises crashed to earth, along with hopes for slowing global warming or using cleantech to jump-start the U.S. economy. In place of a real energy bill is an (more…)
The Leaf Stampede: Nissan revealed that 90 percent of the U.S. presale orders for the all-electric Leaf are customers new to the Nissan brand. Perhaps there’s a lesson for other companies: Lead the way into green, and a whole new class of customers could follow.
Those who are passionate about electric cars know that, after many fits and starts, 2010 will likely be the year the world finally gives birth to an EV for the mass market. GM has its Volt, Nissan its Leaf, Tesla its Model S and Coda… its Coda. Now Daimler AG appears poised to get a jump-start on the competition by rolling out its electric Smart Fortwo. In a cool display of marketing savvy, Daimler will be cruising to more than a dozen US cities this fall where it will be inviting the public to come and take its Smart-ist car out for a spin. (more…)
The enthusiasm is building — we’re just a few months from the U.S. launch of the first electric vehicles aimed at mainstream consumers. Nissan is touting the success of the registration program for its upcoming Leaf EV, boasting 13,000 orders for its vehicles.
It is hoped across the industry (and in Washington DC) that sales of EVs will revive the American auto industry. While Pike Research believes that sales of EVs will grow relatively quickly, EV sales would likely grow much higher if it weren’t for our relatively cheap gasoline.
China will be the global leader in EV sales, with more than a quarter million of EVs sold in 2015, according to our projections at Pike Research. Sales of EVs in Europe – even with fewer homes with convenient access to home charging – are expected to outpace the American market.
With the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt slated for launch in December, car manufacturers and regulators are scrambling to build intelligent charging systems that help consumers schedule charging during off-peak hours.
“Off peak charging” was the mantra of Pedro Pizarro, the executive vice president of power operations for Southern California Edison during a panel that also included executives from Nissan, GM and Ford at the Green:Net 2010 conference in San Francisco. Pizarro said SCE anticipates between 150,000 – 1,000,000 EVs in its service area by 2020. (more…)
The Oil Spill’s Unlikely Victim: As oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill continued to gush into the Gulf of Mexico, it tarred the feathers of an endangered creature: the climate bill. Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman introduced a retooled American Power Act on Wednesday to little fanfare. Perhaps that’s because the media’s klieg lights were already divided between the grilling of oil executives on Capitol Hill or the so-far hapless efforts to plug the leak. Or maybe it’s because the two senators took to the dais without their erstwhile Republican ally, Lindsey Graham. Nevertheless, it was ironic to see a solution to our fossil-fuel addiction pushed to the side because of a fossil-fuel disaster. Must we cap the gusher before we get a cap on CO2?
More Electric Cars Roll to the Starting Line: You’ve heard that the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt are on the way, but how about the Think and the Wheego? Wheego, a maker of electric putt-putt vehicles based in Atlanta, hopes that 200 highway-ready copies of its Whip Life will roll off the assembly line by August, months ahead of the well-publicized launch of the Leaf. Meanwhile, the Norwegian carmaker Think raised $40 million this week and plans to start assembly of the tiny Think City in Elkhart, Indiana in early 2011.
Electric cars are a green movement that is finally moving. Shunted to the side as the public indulged its love affair with gas-guzzling SUVs and four-wheel-drive trucks, history has finally caught up with the plug-in vehicle.
The North American International Auto Show in Detroit is the domestic auto industry’s biggest annual showcase, and the new models have traditionally been brought out in a son et lumière of dancing girls, deafening music, and dry ice smoke. The few green cars that made it this far were usually for display only — very few actually made it to showrooms.
But not this year. It’s become a race to market for green cars, and soon you’ll be able to buy many of the electric vehicles that were on display last week in Detroit. The auto show featured one hybrid and battery electric car introduction after another. Although the only truly road-worthy, plug-in electric vehicle you can buy today is the $109,000 Tesla Roadster, by the end of 2010 it will be joined by such contenders as the Nissan Leaf, Coda sedan, and the Think City. (more…)
While the title of this article may be a little premature, if you ask any auto company about their most exciting models coming out in the next few years, you would be hard pressed to find any auto maker without a plug-in hybrid or all-electric vehicle hitting the market in the next few years. And as fellow CleanTechies blogger Levent Bas suggested in August last year, “the future of electric vehicles may be here sooner than we think.”
With expected release dates in 2010, the plug-in Nissan Leaf, plug-in Toyota Prius and many other models will offer a green/clean-tech alternative from their gas-powered competition. Recent estimates place the number of models available by 2014 at over 70. Not all these vehicles will make their way to the US market and some wonder if the market will be ready but in other circles there are different concerns about the electrification of the transportation industry. Will the electric grid be ready for the additional load?
Nissan is on tour promoting its upcoming electric vehicle, the Leaf, in select cities across the U.S. The 5-passenger EV will become available in December 2010, and faces many challenges in fostering a supporting vehicle charging infrastructure and creating consumer-friendly financing options, but thus far they seem to have a well-conceived plan. During an event in Portland this week I spoke with Nissan senior manager for corporate planning Brian Verprauskus about the Leaf launch plans.
Ensuring that consumers will be ready to charge on the day that they bring the vehicle home is a new challenge for Nissan and the other EV manufacturers. Nissan plans to partner with a nationally known company to provide the wall box for plugging in the vehicle and to manage matching vehicle owners with electricians. Nissan will choose a company that has experience going into consumers’ homes, and will likely announce the partner in early 2010. Consumers will need to connect the box to a dedicated circuit for EV charging, which requires carefully managing the process to reduce risk of a customer improperly plugging in a vehicle and causing damage to the vehicle or property. Nissan’s plan is smart because many consumers will need hand holding to understand the issues of EV charging, and a company with adept at customer relations will be key.
The movement towards zero emission electric cars is gaining a tremendous amount of momentum. As we move into 2010, practical electric vehicles for the vast majority of the public will be available late in the year with the release of the Nissan Leaf. The shift that may occur in the coming years provides the opportunity to engage in open dialogue about the tax benefits and burdens as the US moves into the era of the electric car.
If you plan to purchase an electric car in 2010, you can expect a healthy federal income tax credit to reward you. For plug-in electric vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of less than 14,000 pounds acquired after December 31, 2009, the maximum tax credit available will be $7,500. The base amount of the credit is $2,500. If the car has a battery capacity of at least 5kWh, then an additional $417 in tax credits will be available. For every kWh of battery capacity in excess of 5kWh, $417 will be added to the total amount. The additional amount, based on battery capacity, over the base amount is limited to a total of $5,000.