Filed under: Electric Cars
Mitsubishi is postponing the sale of the Outlander plug-in hybrid car in the U.S. to the year 2015. Initially, the official release of the car in the United States market was planned for this year. The main reason for the postponement is that Lithium Energy Japan (LEJ) has not supplied adequate batteries for Mitsubishi. Mitsubishi ought to have learned a lesson from the strong-arm tactics employed by Tesla on a similar issue.
Some time back, the CEO of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk warned that battery supply issues could compromise Model S sales. Musk said that lithium-ion cell production was to be one of the greatest challenges. Hence, there was the need to have numerous batteries. Musk claimed that Tesla Motors’ issues were more of production related and not the generation of demand. The whole supply chain should move in cadence for there to be a growth in production. In the case of Tesla Motors, 7,000 cells are required by each car. Musk was quick to point out that the company’s demand could be more than the whole laptop industry by a significant margin if or when Model E is in production and the vehicle sales amount to 500,000 per annum. In October last year, Musk said that he has plans of negotiating with other suppliers of batteries so that they could supplement battery supply.
Panasonic was interviewed concerning the comments made by Musk and the company said that it was committed to the supply of batteries to support Tesla Motors’ business. Panasonic’s goal was to provide a total of three-hundred million battery cells by the year 2014. This is according to Jeff Howell, the Panasonic battery executive. In October, Panasonic and Tesla made an announcement that there had been an update and expansion of its earlier agreement. The battery maker has plans to supply approximately two-billion battery cells in the next four years.
Meanwhile, the supplier of ill-fated battery packs in Boeing Dreamliners was GS Yuasa. GS Yuasa also supplied batteries to hybrid and electric cars from Mitsubishi and Honda. A new Japanese factory was opened in 2012 so that it could partly supply an annual amount of fifteen million battery cells to Honda. The factory was also meant to support the new Outlander plug-in and fifty thousand Mitsubishi i-MiEVs. Currently, Mitsubishi can produce about sixty thousand Outlander plug-in cars per year. This has increased from thirty thousand in the year 2013. However, the U.S rollout would be delayed because of inadequate battery supply. Mitsubishi has plans of increasing its battery suppliers.
January 13, 2014
One of the milestones recorded by Massachusetts is registration of two thousand electric cars. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection spokesman, Edmund Coletta, has called the milestone an excellent start. However, the goal set by the governor to register 370,000 electric vehicles by the year 2021 will need more help and effort by consumers. According to Coletta, it is hoped that the state will continue to register electric vehicles through the coming years. It is also believed that it will need more than small-sized state programs and wishful thinking to achieve such a goal.
Recently, $550,000 in grants was approved by a Democrat governor, Deval Patrick. The grants were given to a total of twenty communities to help them purchase forty-seven electric vehicles for official purposes. Part of the grant money was also to be used for installing charging stations. Although such a move is useful, it does not replace sales tax relief, cash subsidies, access to HOV lanes and expedited charging station permissions. It is not clear why the state is focusing more on the electric vehicles for municipalities. There is a total of 2.5 million in the form of grants that would serve the purpose of subsidizing car purchases. It is unfortunate that such relief is not available to consumers. Massachusetts does not have the tax credits and rebates for pop and mom buyers despite having liberals in control of state government. Such tax credits and rebates are currently available in eleven other states.
The Sierra Club’s Director of Green Fleets, Gina Coplon-Newfield said in a blog post last year that the owners of electric vehicles in the state have incurred penalties for solo driving in HOV. Gina wrote that drivers should feel rewarded rather than hindered for cleaner driving and that Massachusetts should have programs and incentives in place to encourage a switch to electric vehicles. Last March, Massachusetts launched a state-sponsored Electric Vehicle Initiative and Electric Vehicle Task Force. The task force officials have been holding meetings with stakeholders such as utilities, electric vehicle drivers, auto companies, and environmental agencies. There is optimism that Massachusetts would form meaningful consumer electric vehicle incentives soon. Such incentives may be in the form of sales waivers, carpool lane access and tax credits. In this way Massachusetts will transform to a leader in electric vehicle adoption.
January 13, 2014
Although plug-in electric vehicles have been considered advanced in terms of technology, an analysis has shown that over the next five years, most of them are likely to undergo tremendous depreciation. Among the greatest power gaps are the year 2014 plug-in electric car models that will be powered by the batteries only. Such cars lack a gas engine. This is according to a report presented following analysis that Kelly Blue Book conducted. Some of the plug-in electric cars that are likely to depreciate tremendously are below.
Ford Focus Electric Car
This is a compact electric car whose value will be twenty percent of $35,995, its initial price in five years. This is in comparison to a well-designed traditional Focus Titanium, which will still be worth 36 percent.
Chevrolet Spark Electric Car
In five years time, this electric car is estimated to cost 28 percent of its initial price, $28,305. A comparable traditional model of a similar car will still stand at forty percent of its original value. This clearly shows that electric cars will depreciate more compared to their traditional counterparts of a similar version.
The best-selling Nissan Leaf has been estimated to be worth 15 percent of the price of the 2013 model in five years time. This is in comparison to a Nissan Sentra SL of similar version that would retain the value of 36 percent.
According to the Kelley Blue Book’s Director of Residual Consulting, Eric Ibara, pure electric vehicles have not been fast to catch on in the resale market. Customers have shown willingness to purchase a new electric car rather than a second-hand or used car. At the top of the 2014 model list presented by KBB, the cars with the highest rate of depression are the Fiat 500E, Smart Fortwo electric and Leaf. Addressing the depreciation concerns, the CEO of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk said in May that he had plans of personally backing the value of reselling Model S electric sedan for purchasers using the finance program of Tesla. Tesla stated that the deal provides for a resale value that is higher than that of Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Jaguar or Lexus.
KBB further reported that plug-in electric cars with backup gasoline engines are much better. For example, the new Panamera E-Hybrid by Porsche has a projected 37 percent resale value in comparison to 41 percent resale value of a similar conventional model. The plug-in Prius by Toyota has a 35 percent resale value, which is only 2 percent less compared to a similar conventional car. Generally, it is clear that hybrid and electric cars are likely to depreciate greatly in future.
January 6, 2014
It is normally quite easy to identify a plug-in car. For instance, most plug-in cars usually lack an exhaust pipe. Panamera S e-hybrid is however, a unique plug-in vehicle. The rear end of this car has four big pipes. This sends a clear message that this is an electric car without range extender. One of the most powerful units is the gas engine. Therefore, this car needs to have them so that it can be considered a true and real Porsche. One of the expectations of Porsche drivers, at least in its home country, is for the car to have the capacity of sustaining a high driving speed. If a car cannot confidently do 140-miles per hour, then it is not considered a Porsche.
Panamera S e-hybrid has been clocked with a high speed of approximately 167 miles an hour. Everything is this car is designed in such a way that it fits in that speed requirement. This is with the exception of its battery and the electric motor. The top speed is maintained at 84-miles per hour when the car is running in the electric mode. The batteries available in the market today are unable to sustain high-speed driving. However, this Panamera is known for having several inventions linked to its strong body. The car’s cooling systems serve as a perfect example. The vehicle has at least five cooling systems.
The car has one air-cooled system for the electric motor. Other components that require thermal regulations utilize a water-cooling system. These components include the power control unit, turbochargers, the gas engine, and the battery. There are different requirements for each component. This means that it was not possible to incorporate all the components to form one cooling system. The charger is another critical system. Kilowatt energy hours of 9.4 are stored in the battery. According to Porsche, this energy can go up to twenty-one miles of electric driving. On a small-size battery like this, one would expect the car to have a charging system specifically built for a normal home socket. This is however not the case with Porsche, which is associated with a dual-tension charger. The charger has a unit of 3.8 kilowatt and can work perfectly with a home current of 230 volts or an industrial current of 380 volts. Generally, Panamera S e-hybrid begins in electric vehicle mode. The driver can then choose to engage the car in hybrid mode to save electrical energy and enhance the performance.
December 27, 2013
Different electric and hybrid car websites are doing their best to get information on the ever growing number of state and federal-based incentives for buying a plug-in hybrid or electric car. It is essential for potential electric car buyers to know the amount of money that can be saved prior to purchasing a plug-in vehicle. Some of the key information and incentives available will be highlighted below.
Better and Special Rates of Electricity
There are several electric utilities nationwide that provide better and special rates of electricity. These include time-of-use rates, which minimize the cost of electric car or plug-in hybrid power. The low rate of electricity can greatly lower a car’s charging cost. It is advisable for prospective buyers to check with their local utility companies to known the exact rates.
A 30-percent credit for purchase and charging equipment cost can be claimed by electric vehicle buyers. This can add up to thirty thousand dollars for businesses and one thousand dollars for individuals. The rules scheduled to culminate on 31st December 2011 were extended to the year 2013.
Many key insurance companies including Farmers give discounts of up to five percent. They may also provide more discounts for hybrid and electric car owners. It is recommended to get more details from the insurance agents. It is also essential to find out more about the type of companies that give the best rates of discounts to electric vehicle owners.
A tax credit amounting to ten percent of the conversion cost was received by drivers that converted a gas-powered car into an electric car, or a normal car into a plug-in hybrid. Unfortunately, this incentive came to an end on 31st December 2011. Additional incentives are provided by individual states like Florida and Colorado. These incentives include state tax credits and rebates.
Some of the State Incentives
Some of America’s most generous tax credits for plug-in hybrids and electric cars are offered by the state of Colorado. As much as eighty-five percent of the cost premiums for plug-in hybrids and electric cars are available in some cases. Most of such incentives are being phased out.
District of Columbia
In this district, all cars getting 40 or more miles a gallon are often exempt from tax that is usually imposed on an original title’s certificate.
This state offers credits on income tax amounting to at least twenty percent of an electric car cost. Any eligible business enterprise can receive an income tax credit for purchasing or leasing an electric vehicle charger located within the state.
December 27, 2013
Electric cars have proven to be highly efficient. This is unlike cars that have internal combustion engines, which causes them to lose energy in the form of heat. Advocates of electric vehicles have emphasized the efficiency of electric cars for years. Also, there is reliable data concerning the efficiency level of diesel and gasoline cars. However, electric vehicles are still novel and few in number. This means that there is less documentation to show the efficiency of such cars. Some Belgian researchers were given a chance to investigate five cars. The cars under study were Peugeot models, which are exactly the same as Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the European version. The people who monitored the cars were drawn from Laborelec, and were supported by the Vrije University in Brussels. The University houses a facility whose major focus is automotive technology.
The funding for the study was provided by a Belgian utility known as Electrabel. The funds lasted for a period of two years. The first section of the study aimed at defining the methodology. A monitoring system that was both precise and dedicated was developed, and the starting point is when a full approval was received from the vehicle manufacturer. The study entailed recording data from five cars over a time span of two years. The variables under investigation entailed voltage, battery current, odometer, state-of-charge, ambient temperature, GPS coordinates, and instant speed. The five cars covered a total distance of 42,953 miles. The five cars had energy consumption of 336.28, 291.23, 289.62, 249.39, and 299.27 respectively in watt-hours per mile. Different values were obtained for the five cars mainly due to different drivers. The average energy consumption was 293.16 for the fleet of five vehicles. The above figures represent the total energy consumption, which is considered insufficient to give a full picture. This is because the car’s efficiency has been greatly increased by regenerative braking.
A significant aim of the study was showing the eventual course of electricity. It was to find out whether electricity was going to the auxiliaries or the motor. For the five cars, the energy consumption share entering the auxiliaries was 35.8, 40.1, 22.0, 21.6, and 33.6. Internal combustion vehicles shine in that, heating is basically free. In its normal operation, an internal combustion engine would lose a lot of energy. Hence, getting back some of the energy to heat the vehicle would cost almost nothing. It can therefore be concluded that the heating system is the biggest thing to increasing the efficiency of electric vehicles.
December 20, 2013
Among the key advantages of owning an electric vehicle is the fact that fueling it is much cheaper compared to a gasoline powered car. It is essential for an electric car driver to do a thorough research on the charging times, as well as the rate plans. Failure to do so could result in unanticipated, and at times unfortunate outcomes. Some of the key rules to take into consideration with respect to electric vehicle rate plans will be presented in this article.
Your Utility Company Should Help You with a Rate Plan
Utility companies have shown great interest in advocating for the adoption of electric vehicles. Such companies would also make sure that electric car drivers charge their vehicles at times that would support the grid’s efficiency. Thereby, utility companies have come up with online customer support centers and tools to respond to all concerns and questions. Such companies are often aware of the plans and rates available. They give all the options available and then consumers are left to make the ultimate choice.
Subscribing to a Time-Of-Use Plan
It is recommended to subscribe to a time-of-use plan in order to get the lowest rate of electric-vehicle charging. In this way, one gets to charge the vehicle at off-peak hours only. Subscribing to this plan allows users to pay low prices for charging instead of paying a standard rate around the clock. Alternatively, a driver may choose to charge an electric vehicle after midnight. At this time, most people are asleep and not using a lot of power.
Signing Up For a Time-Of-Use Electric Vehicle Rate and Charging At Peak Hours
This is one of the surest ways of subjecting electric-vehicle drivers to the highest rate. One of the main reasons why it may cost less to charge an electric vehicle during wee hours is because the prices are cranked up during the day’s peak times. The highest rates of charging can be experienced by the drivers living in big houses with appliances and systems that consume a lot of power.
Careful Calculation Should Be Done Prior To Going with Separate Metering
Electric vehicle drivers have the choice of installing a different meter for specially tracking electric-vehicle charging. One of the essential cost inputs when deciding on whether to install a different electric vehicle meter is the installation cost. The cost could be a few hundred dollars if your current meter and electric panel are close to the place you intend to charge your vehicle.
December 20, 2013
Recently, the Electronic Vehicle Symposium 27 was held in Barcelona. This conference presented a platform for exploring wireless technology, which has been a major subject in most headlines. Wireless charging is a topic that is still in need of more education and careful thought. Two major companies, Brusa, and Qualcomm displayed wireless solutions in the conference. Qualcomm is an American start-up while Brusa is a Swiss company that has many years of experience in engineering of electric vehicles. It is essential to get an overview and a basic understanding of wireless charging.
While everyone talks of wireless charging, that might actually not be the accurate term to use of the technology in question. This charging actually entails transmission of wireless power between a transmitting coil and a receiving coil through a magnetic field. The process of charging is unique, and starts when the car’s coil has changed the energy received in the form of electricity. It is essential for the parking pad to be somewhat large. A larger parking pad works better since the device should be quite tolerant to misalignment. The parking pad displayed by Brusa was thicker and larger compared to that of Qualcomm. The outlook of the Brusa unit was tough and industrial, while that of Qualcomm was more of home equipment. It was evident that the American corporation focused most energy and time towards design. A wide range of car receivers were also displayed by the American company.
With respect to safety, the representatives of both Brusa and Qualcomm said that their charging systems were safe. Both had a built-in obstacle-detecting device. If the device sees something interfering, the magnetic field is instantly switched off. Since both companies carried out several outdoor and indoor tests, safety ought not to be an issue in the future. Wireless Power Technology (WTP), commonly referred to as wireless charging is still a technology that is add-on. There is the tendency for all electric vehicles to have standard plugs. These plugs are somehow same as those applicable to computers. Nowadays, wireless Internet is available everywhere, but an Ethernet port is still present in most computers for emergency uses. It is evident that the cost of electric vehicles will rise because of wireless power transmission. Efficiency will also be an issue.
The fans of electric cars have proudly claimed that the efficiency of an electric motor is higher than that of a combustion engine. Generally, future electric-vehicle drivers may embrace wireless power transmission because of its convenience. However, cost and efficiency are major obstacles to its adoption.
December 13, 2013
Electric vehicle newbies may be surprised to find out that the vehicle’s electric charger is located on board. This equipment is deeply seated in the inner part of the car to convert an AC source to a DC. This makes it is possible to charge your vehicle’s battery pack. Nearly everybody knows that a charger is a wall-mounted box supplying 240 volts of electricity. Actually, a technical name for the box in question combined with a plug and code is EVSE or Electric Vehicle Service Equipment. An electric vehicle owner would need to install one of these at their home. We will shed light on purchasing an EVSE, which basically refers to an electrical device that allows drivers to connect their cars to an electricity source. There are a number of significant variations between different types of home chargers. Additionally, a few practices should be kept in mind.
It is advisable to purchase a charger to handle more than 30 amps. According to averages, a 30-amp service gives a driver the potential to get approximately an additional 30 miles range per hour. Similarly, 15 amps would give an additional 15 miles in charging hour. It is important to note that EVSE with 30 amps requires at least a 40 amps circuit breaker.
Most experienced electric vehicle drivers hold a general consensus that EVSE that is durable and with a high capacity costs approximately 1000 dollars. This cost could be quite less or double, excluding the installation costs. There are a number of features including connectivity and portability that could cause an increase in price. To reduce the cost, it is advisable to avoid such features. Most electric vehicle drivers could get free EVSE from the year 2010 through the year 2013.
If possible, it is advisable not to install an EVSE permanently. This implies that you need to have an electrician to install NEMA 14-50 outlet. A plug should then be put on a pigtail that is mounted to the EVSE. In case you decide to relocate at some point, you need to simply unplug the charger and then plug it to a different NEMA outlet. The approach mentioned is similar to a hard-wire installation in terms of costs.
With advanced technology, there are numerous smart grids and smart phones, which may compel electric vehicle owners to purchase EVSE that is Wi-Fi enabled. However, this move might not be a smart one. Connectivity would only add pointless complexity.
December 6, 2013
Last year, Volkswagen’s Chief of Electrification, Dr. Rudolph Krebs, claimed that Volkswagen had the aim of becoming the auto industry’s leader in electric vehicles. The commitment was reiterated in the Los Angeles Auto Show that was held last week. According to Dr. Krebs, the company will employ the most comprehensive e-market strategy. The company is spending money to create new powertrains. Dr. Krebs also mentioned the fact that Volkswagen had invested in the development of in-house electric vehicle competencies. These include employing more than 400 top specialists, manufacture and development of software, and offering training to approximately 70,000 employees so that they can cope with systems for electric traction. In the year 2014 there will be an all-electric Volkswagen E-Golf. This will be the first Volkswagen’s electric vehicle to enter the United States market. It is worth noting that the roadmap for Volkswagen electrification is associated with only two electric vehicles. These are E-Up for Europe, and the E-Golf. Meanwhile, in the next few years the company hopes to come up with more than nine plug-in hybrid cars.
A slide displayed by Dr. Krebs showed that from the year 2014, the bulk of those Volkswagen-produced plug-in hybrid cars will enter the market. Volkswagen’s officials specifically noted that Audi A3 e-tron PHEV would be available in the year 2015. This will be followed by an Audi Q7 plug-in car. There is a common script for all the mentioned models. This is in addition to an all-electric capability of 31 miles through a battery pack of 8.8 kilowatt per hour. The styling will be the same as that of conventional models. That is a good thing considering the design language of Audi cars. The total 203 horsepower originating from electricity and gas was more than sufficient for Los Angeles’ crowded streets.
With pure electric vehicle as the default, there are four different driver-selected modes. First and foremost, the vehicle is viewed as an electric vehicle. More blending of electric and electric is possible using an “auto” hybrid mode. Another mode is the “hold” mode”, whereby more gasoline is consumed in reserving electric power. “Charging” mode allows turning on of the gas engine to allow battery recharging. A driver rarely notices the transition to gas from the electric mode. The A3 e-tron can hold 5 passengers and a wagon format. This is combined with an all-electric range of 30 miles. This qualifies to be viewed as a convincing package. The corporate commitment of Volkswagen to battery-powered vehicles could be the winning touch.
December 6, 2013