The Truth About Cars » Electric Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 28 May 2015 14:00:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Electric Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/electric-vehicles-2/ Sales Of The Aging Electrics You Know Best Are Predictably Falling Fast http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/sales-aging-electrics-know-best-predictably-falling-fast/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/sales-aging-electrics-know-best-predictably-falling-fast/#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 14:17:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072482 We’re accustomed to seeing outdated sports cars stumble as they age. They’re as capable as they were when launched, of course, but demand for the cars often decreases rapidly. Those who were interested in the stylistic proposition already bought one. Those who saw them as paragons of performance encounter newer models with a greater dynamic portfolio. […]

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Nissan creates "World's Cleanest Car" Ð a zero emissions Nissa

We’re accustomed to seeing outdated sports cars stumble as they age.

They’re as capable as they were when launched, of course, but demand for the cars often decreases rapidly. Those who were interested in the stylistic proposition already bought one. Those who saw them as paragons of performance encounter newer models with a greater dynamic portfolio.

Consider the Scion FR-S, sales of which plunged 23% in its second full year in the United States; sales of which declined 29% in the first four months of 2015.

Perhaps exacerbated by falling fuel prices, the sharp downturn in sales of two particularly famous, unconventionally powered hatchbacks is vaguely reminiscent of a sports car nameplate’s yo-yoing. A Camry-like ability to sustain demand right up until the new model arrives in dealers? Not for the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt.

Granted, the Volt’s decline began before old age. Launched during the same month, December 2010, as the Leaf, the Volt volume ramped up much more rapidly. 2,029 copies of the electric-plus-range-extended Volt were sold in the United States during the car’s first five months, compared with 1,044 Leafs.

Volt vs. Leaf sales chart

Yet by March 2013, when the Volt was 28 months into its first-generation, year-over-year volume plunged 35%. That began a three-month streak of decline for the Volt. In calendar year 2013, Volt sales decreased by less than 2%; declining in seven of twelve months.

Looking back from April 2015’s 42% year-over-year decline, Volt volume has decreased in the United States in nine consecutive months, in twelve of the last 16 months, and in 19 of the last 26 months.

2011 Chevrolet Volt

The Leaf’s downturn is much more recent. After posting annual increases in each of its first four years – including a 130% jump in 2013 and a 34% increase last year – Leaf volume has declined in each of 2015’s first four months.

The 15% drop in January resulted in just 1,070 Leaf sales, the lowest total for the all-electric Nissan in two years. February sales fell 16%. March volume plunged 38%, a drop of 690 sales. In April, Leaf sales slid sharply once again, with a 26% decline measuring a loss of 535 sales. Preceding this four-month streak was a 23-month-long span in which Leaf sales consistently improved on a year-over-year basis.

Many electric cars are ultra-low-volume portions of a high-volume vehicle’s lineup. Tesla infamously doesn’t release detailed monthly sales reports. (HybridCars.com estimates 6,800 Model S sales in the U.S. through the first four months of 2015, a 26% improvement.) The Model S, while never fully replaced during its near three-year lifespan to date, is markedly different from the Leaf and Volt in the sense that Tesla constantly provides significant updates to the car and the Model S lineup. Predictably, during its phasing-out, U.S. sales of the first Toyota Prius Plug-In, a vehicle which posted an annual peak of 13,263 units just last year, is down 66% to 1,699 sales.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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Audi Introducing EV Crossover In 2018, Q8 Flagship SUV In 2019 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/audi-introducing-ev-crossover-in-2018-q8-flagship-suv-in-2019/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/audi-introducing-ev-crossover-in-2018-q8-flagship-suv-in-2019/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 19:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1073122 Audi is set to launch a new flagship SUV in 2019, as well as an EV crossover in 2018, both part of the automaker’s 2020 model expansion plan. The 2019 Q8 and yet-to-be-named EV will help reinforce Audi’s place in the Chinese and U.S. auto markets, with the aim of beating BMW and keeping Mercedes-Benz […]

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Audi Q7

Audi is set to launch a new flagship SUV in 2019, as well as an EV crossover in 2018, both part of the automaker’s 2020 model expansion plan.

The 2019 Q8 and yet-to-be-named EV will help reinforce Audi’s place in the Chinese and U.S. auto markets, with the aim of beating BMW and keeping Mercedes-Benz at bay, Automotive News Europe reports. The Q8 will share its platform with the Q7 and feature styling similar to the BMW X6, while the EV will likely be based upon the Q5 and boast a 310-mile range.

By the time the two vehicles hit the market, Audi will have to face down increased competition from the likes of Bentley, Maserati, Jaguar and Tesla, the former three gunning for the high-end luxury SUV market with their respective models — Bentayga, Levante and F-Pace — while Tesla will be waiting for the EV with its own, the Model X.

Prior to their debuts, the automaker will introduce a new Q7 and TT this year, followed by the Q1 subcompact crossover in 2016. The overall plan is to have 60 models available for sale around the world by 2020, up from 52 right now.

[Source: Audi]

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Marchionne: AWD Minivan Will Lose Stow ‘N Go or Gain Electric Motor http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/marchionne-awd-minivan-will-lose-stow-n-go-or-gain-electric-motor/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/marchionne-awd-minivan-will-lose-stow-n-go-or-gain-electric-motor/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 17:45:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072338 Move over, Toyota. You won’t be the only automaker hocking an all-wheel drive minivan when the new Town & Country arrives next year. According to Sergio Marchionne, the next minivan will get all-wheel drive, but something’s gotta give. Packaging constraints as they are, and the Town & Country’s features as they are, the next generation […]

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2015 Chrysler Town & Country

Move over, Toyota. You won’t be the only automaker hocking an all-wheel drive minivan when the new Town & Country arrives next year.

According to Sergio Marchionne, the next minivan will get all-wheel drive, but something’s gotta give.

Packaging constraints as they are, and the Town & Country’s features as they are, the next generation minivan can only bring all-wheel drive to fruition in one of two ways: ditch Stow ‘N Go to free up space under the passenger floor or implement a hybrid system with an electric motor driving the rear wheels. “It’s not that complicated. We’re exploring both,” said Marchionne, Automotive News reports.

Considering the popularity of Stow ‘N Go for Chrysler’s minivan twins, the latter option seems most likely, and it isn’t without precedent.

Starting with the second-generation Cube in Japan, Nissan offered a system called “e4WD” that sent power to the electrically-driven rear wheels when the front wheels slipped. It also eliminated the need for a center coupling and reduced parasitic loss typically associated with mechanical all-wheel drive systems.

The new Chrysler minivan will debut at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in January before heading off to dealers later the same year as a 2017 model.

[h/t AutoGuide]

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Direct Sales, Ride-Hailing Bills Among Those DOA In Texas House http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/direct-sales-ride-hailing-bills-among-those-doa-in-texas-house/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/direct-sales-ride-hailing-bills-among-those-doa-in-texas-house/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 18:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070898 Tesla and Uber are among those whose efforts were for nothing as a crucial deadline to win approval on the Texas House floor passed last week. The deadline was the last chance for House bills to win initial approval from the entire chamber, The Star-Telegram reports. Though said bills could be added onto other bills […]

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Uber Texas BBQ Pedicab

Tesla and Uber are among those whose efforts were for nothing as a crucial deadline to win approval on the Texas House floor passed last week.

The deadline was the last chance for House bills to win initial approval from the entire chamber, The Star-Telegram reports. Though said bills could be added onto other bills through the end of the legislative session June 1, “the funnel is only so large” to commit the necessary action, according to House Republican Caucus chair Rep. Tan Parker of Flower Mound.

One of the bills shut out by the deadline would have granted transportation network companies like Lyft and Uber statewide licenses to operate while stripping individual cities of their right to regulate their services. House Bill 2440, sponsored by Rep. Chris Paddie of Marshall, failed to receive a floor vote due to issues surrounding safety, wheelchair-access, and insurance.

Meanwhile, Tesla’s efforts to overturn the state’s ban on direct sales were thwarted for a second time since 2013. House Bill 1653 and Senate Bill 639 would have allowed automakers who’ve never sold their wares through a franchise dealership network to open and operated up to 12 stores in Texas. Neither bill drew a committee vote on their respective floors, with the blame directed at Tesla itself, according to Rep. Senfronia Thompson of Houston:

I can appreciate Tesla wanting to sell cars, but I think it would have been wiser if Mr. Tesla had sat down with the car dealers first.

[Photo credit: William Beutler/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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Tesla Seeking Candidates To Fill 30 Gigafactory Job Openings http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/tesla-seeking-candidates-to-fill-30-gigafactory-job-openings/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/tesla-seeking-candidates-to-fill-30-gigafactory-job-openings/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 19:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070194 Know someone looking for work? Tesla posted 30 job openings for its under-construction Gigafactory east of Reno, Nev. The openings come on the heels of the automaker hiring 12 employees in Q1 2015, Reno Gazette-Journal reports. The total salaries came to $314,000, carved from the investment of $80.6 million made to the $5-billion battery production […]

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gigafactory-aerial-1

Know someone looking for work? Tesla posted 30 job openings for its under-construction Gigafactory east of Reno, Nev.

The openings come on the heels of the automaker hiring 12 employees in Q1 2015, Reno Gazette-Journal reports. The total salaries came to $314,000, carved from the investment of $80.6 million made to the $5-billion battery production plant in the same period.

The positions Tesla is seeking to fill — as noted on its career site — include those in facility management, engineering, management and technology. Though wages weren’t disclosed on the aforementioned site, the newspaper notes Tesla’s original application called for a wage range between $22.79/hour and $51.83/hour to start.

[Image credit: Tesla]

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Consumer Reports Declares Tesla Model S P85D ‘Undrivable’ Due To Glitch http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/consumer-reports-declares-tesla-model-s-p85d-undrivable-due-to-glitch/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/consumer-reports-declares-tesla-model-s-p85d-undrivable-due-to-glitch/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 17:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070146 The thrill has gone for Consumer Reports‘ review team over the Tesla Model S, declaring the P85D “undrivable” in a new blog post. The publication said its tester was described as such due to issues with the automatic door handles, The Detroit Bureau writes. The handles were supposed to extend when someone with the vehicle’s […]

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Tesla Model S In Hero Blue

The thrill has gone for Consumer Reports‘ review team over the Tesla Model S, declaring the P85D “undrivable” in a new blog post.

The publication said its tester was described as such due to issues with the automatic door handles, The Detroit Bureau writes. The handles were supposed to extend when someone with the vehicle’s keys walked up to the car, failing to do so with the model in review.

With repeated attempts to enter the car in the traditional manner failing, one of the reviewers opened the front passenger door with a smartphone app to fire-up the EV. The success was short-lived, however, as the onboard electronics limited driving time to two minutes before shutting down.

Ultimately, CR called up customer service — which continues to receive high praise according to the publication’s reviewers — to haul the ailing P85D to the dealership for repairs. Despite the woes suffered prior to rectification, though, the publication continues to give the Model S a strong recommendation to its readership.

[Image credit: Tesla]

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Colorado Offers Tax Credits On Used EVs, PHEVs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/colorado-offers-tax-credits-on-used-evs-phevs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/colorado-offers-tax-credits-on-used-evs-phevs/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 18:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1067546 Shopping for a used PHEV or EV in Colorado? You still may be able to take a tax credit, thanks to the state’s structuring of its EV purchase tax credit. The credit — up to $6,000 — can be applied to used PHEV or EV purchases so long as it wasn’t claimed already via VIN […]

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Tesla Roadster In Colorado Showroom Circa August 2011

Shopping for a used PHEV or EV in Colorado? You still may be able to take a tax credit, thanks to the state’s structuring of its EV purchase tax credit.

The credit — up to $6,000 — can be applied to used PHEV or EV purchases so long as it wasn’t claimed already via VIN registration, Green Car Reports says. Though most Colorado-based offerings likely already have the credit cashed-in, out-of-state imports are the biggest beneficiaries.

Per an anonymous source, a Colorado resident could purchase a vehicle registered out-of-state for at least three years after originally leaving the lot, then bring the car back home to register its VIN as used in Colorado, legally claiming the credit on their next tax return in so doing.

According to the publication, the used PHEV/EV credit is the only one of its type in the United States, as the focus of tax incentives is on new vehicles.

[Photo credit: Eric Lumsden/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0]

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General Motors To Fall Short Of 2017 500K Electrified-Vehicle Milestone http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/general-motors-fall-short-2017-500k-electrified-vehicle-milestone/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/general-motors-fall-short-2017-500k-electrified-vehicle-milestone/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 16:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1064210 General Motors announced Thursday it would fall short of its goal of having 500,000 electrified vehicles on the road by 2017. GM said 180,834 EVs, PHEVs, two-mode hybrids, and vehicles equipped with the automaker’s eAssist hit the road in 2014, up from 153,034 in 2013 and 39,843 in 2011, The Detroit News reports. The census […]

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2015 Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept all electric vehicle – front ex

General Motors announced Thursday it would fall short of its goal of having 500,000 electrified vehicles on the road by 2017.

GM said 180,834 EVs, PHEVs, two-mode hybrids, and vehicles equipped with the automaker’s eAssist hit the road in 2014, up from 153,034 in 2013 and 39,843 in 2011, The Detroit News reports. The census counts vehicles from MY 2010 forward.

Regarding the future, GM said it would fall short of its 2017 goal alongside the industry as a whole as demand for electrified vehicles haven’t kept up with the automaker’s initial forecast. The automaker pointed to lower gas prices and increased demand for trucks, crossovers and SUVs as the cause behind the lukewarm progress.

Despite this, the automaker said it would continue with its electrification program, which includes the upcoming second-gen Chevrolet Volt, Cadillac’s new CT6 PHEV variant, and the Bolt EV aimed at Tesla’s Model 3, which GM expects to sell in all 50 states for $30,000 after federal tax rebates.

In the meantime, GM believes it can best handle both low fuel prices and ever-tightening fuel economy standards by improving upon the internal combustion engine and lightweighting.

The statement follows a similar instance from U.S. Department of Energy secretary Ernest Moniz made earlier this year, who stated the U.S. wouldn’t have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by the end of 2015.

[Photo credit: Chevrolet]

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Tesla Model 3 Set For Global Debut By Next March http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/tesla-model-3-set-global-debut-next-march/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/tesla-model-3-set-global-debut-next-march/#comments Thu, 07 May 2015 17:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1063618 The elusive unicorn known as the Tesla Model 3 is set to hit showrooms in H2 2017, but will make its world debut much sooner. During the automaker’s Q1 2015 earnings call, CEO Elon Musk announced that his company would bring the Model 3 to the global stage next March, AutoGuide reports. This likely could […]

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Tesla Building Circa March 2015

The elusive unicorn known as the Tesla Model 3 is set to hit showrooms in H2 2017, but will make its world debut much sooner.

During the automaker’s Q1 2015 earnings call, CEO Elon Musk announced that his company would bring the Model 3 to the global stage next March, AutoGuide reports. This likely could mean an appearance around, if not during, the Geneva or New York auto shows that bookend the month.

Before the $35,000 EV with the 200-mile range leaves the studio for the ramp, however, the Model X SUV is expected to take its place alongside the Model S.

[Photo credit: Tesla/Facebook]

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Study: Millennials Love Cars, Not So Much EVs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/study-millennials-love-cars-not-much-evs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/study-millennials-love-cars-not-much-evs/#comments Wed, 29 Apr 2015 16:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1056274 Per a new study by Continental AG, millennials love cars as much as they love iPhones, so long as their rides aren’t electrified. The biennial Continental Mobility Study found in 2015 that 84 percent of those between ages 16 and 25 state that driving matters greatly to them, with 76 percent of the group driving […]

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Kia Soul with Lyftstache Circa September 2013

Per a new study by Continental AG, millennials love cars as much as they love iPhones, so long as their rides aren’t electrified.

The biennial Continental Mobility Study found in 2015 that 84 percent of those between ages 16 and 25 state that driving matters greatly to them, with 76 percent of the group driving their vehicles every day, AutoGuide reports.

Regarding the aforementioned iPhones, consumer electronics still rule over the group, as 91 percent placed a high importance on their smartphones, tablets et al. When it comes to automakers bringing that experience to their offerings, 73 percent stated they would like a connected vehicle. However, Continental AG board member Helmut Matschi cautions automakers to take a shotgun approach to implementing said tech, with data security being at the top of the list.

Ownership matters to all who were surveyed: 94 percent said they owned their vehicles, while only 1 percent preferred to use car-sharing services. The figure follows a similar trend in Europe, where 83 percent surveyed also stated that they own their cars. Matschi said he was “a bit surprised” at the outcome, thinking behavioral changes should have occurred by now, but that both young and older drivers alike “see driving as sustainable and fun.” Industry experts add that 65 million millennials will buy a vehicle over the next five years, fueling technological advancements in connectivity and autonomy in so doing.

One of those behaviors – going for greener, electrified motoring solutions – isn’t highly regarded among the group, let alone among all those who were surveyed by the supplier. While 71 percent of all Americans surveyed found EVs did wonders for the environment, only 31 percent said EVs were a joy to drive, 38 percent loved their designs, and 27 percent believed they were sporty.

Going from bad to worse for EV proponents, 21 percent of 31- to 59-year-olds said they thought EVs were a viable solution for transportation, while 24 percent of 16- to 30-year-olds stated they would use an EV to get around over the next decade.

The 2015 edition of the Continental Mobility Study contacted 2,300 non-drivers and 400 drivers in the U.S. for representative and qualitative sampling respectively during the second half of 2014.

[Photo credit: Raido/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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Mitsubishi Evo To Return In Electrified Crossover Form http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/mitsubishi-evo-return-electrified-crossover-form/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/mitsubishi-evo-return-electrified-crossover-form/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 18:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1055665 Though the Mitsubishi Evo as we know it will soon fade into history, the Evo nameplate will return in the form of an electrified crossover. Mitsubishi boss Tetsuro Aikawa told Autocar that the future Evo would be linked to EV and PHEV technologies: In the future, we would like to launch such a vehicle with […]

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Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV II

Though the Mitsubishi Evo as we know it will soon fade into history, the Evo nameplate will return in the form of an electrified crossover.

Mitsubishi boss Tetsuro Aikawa told Autocar that the future Evo would be linked to EV and PHEV technologies:

In the future, we would like to launch such a vehicle with Evo characteristics. In Japanese, when you pronounce ‘Oh’ [in Evo], it means ‘king’. So we would like to launch this type of car, featuring EV and PHEV technology, which is the ultimate of its kind. ‘EV’ for electric vehicle, ‘O’ for king – Evo.

As for what that Evo may resemble, speculation points to the next-gen ASX crossover, based upon the XR-PHEV II concept featured at this year’s Geneva Auto Show. The ASX Evo would follow in the footsteps of the previous Lancer-based icon, with power from its PHEV drivetrain funnelled to all corners instead of only the front pair as done on the standard ASX.

That said, the wait may likely be a long one. According to Aikawa, a significant number of base ASX models would have to be sold prior to bringing the ASX Evo to the assembly line, as those sales are what fund R&D for the higher-performance model.

[Photo credit: Mitsubishi]

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Norway Set To Review EV Incentives Amid Soaring Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/norway-set-review-ev-incentives-amid-soaring-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/norway-set-review-ev-incentives-amid-soaring-sales/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 16:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1049953 The law of unintended consequences has found another victim in Norway as the nation re-assesses its electric vehicle incentives amid soaring sales. Monday marked the 50,000th EV sold in Norway since the nation implemented incentives in 2012 meant to encourage electric-vehicle adoption among its citizens. The incentive includes toll and parking fee exemptions, free use […]

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Tesla Model S delivery to Høyres Nikolai Astrup in Norway

The law of unintended consequences has found another victim in Norway as the nation re-assesses its electric vehicle incentives amid soaring sales.

Monday marked the 50,000th EV sold in Norway since the nation implemented incentives in 2012 meant to encourage electric-vehicle adoption among its citizens. The incentive includes toll and parking fee exemptions, free use of charging stations, and bus-lane usage in addition to the usual tax credit scheme, Reuters reports. The milestone arrived three years earlier than expected by the government, whose official data shows that one-fifth of 2015 new-car sales in Norway are of electric models. Norway, a nation of 5.1 million, now accounts for one-third of all battery-powered vehicle sales in Europe based on 2014 sales figures.

As such, the nation’s finance ministry is looking to revise those incentives, especially in light of losing kr3 billion to kr4 billion ($380 million to $510 million USD) in revenue, as well as complaints about increased sales of the Tesla Model S, which made up 3 percent of overall EV sales last year. The latter issue has led to calls from critics to remove the incentives for wealthy consumers.

The finance ministry will present the outcome of its review when the revised budget is presented May 1.

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Tesla To Offer $25 Average Hourly Wage To Gigafactory Employees http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/tesla-offer-25-average-hourly-wage-gigafactory-employees/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/tesla-offer-25-average-hourly-wage-gigafactory-employees/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 13:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1046338 Tesla is set to offer an average of $25/hour for future employees at its Gigafactory battery-pack production facility in Nevada. Valuewalk reports the figure comes from Economic Development Authority for Western Nevada chief Mike Kazmierski, who adds that the average wage — set to exceed those given to new employees of other automakers, suppliers, and […]

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gigafactory-aerial-1

Tesla is set to offer an average of $25/hour for future employees at its Gigafactory battery-pack production facility in Nevada.

Valuewalk reports the figure comes from Economic Development Authority for Western Nevada chief Mike Kazmierski, who adds that the average wage — set to exceed those given to new employees of other automakers, suppliers, and Tesla’s own workers on the factory floor in California — is helping to push the state’s minimum wage from between $10 and $12 in 2012, to $12 and $15 now.

The breakdown of the average is as follows:

  • $22.79: the minimum for 4,250 Gigafactory workers on the factory floor
  • $27.88: the minimum for 820 technicians tasked with managing equipment and quality
  • $41.83: the minimum for engineering and senior staff

Though Tesla says it never claimed it would pay Gigafactory employees $25/hour via a statement to AutoblogGreen — noting that its projected wages “were informed by regional wage trends” — University of California professor and labor economist Harley Shaikin said the automaker was doing this not only “to attract the best and brightest,” but to keep unions at bay through higher compensation.

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Study: Battery Pack Costs Fell 14 Percent Annually Over Seven Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/study-battery-pack-costs-fell-14-percent-annually-seven-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/study-battery-pack-costs-fell-14-percent-annually-seven-years/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 12:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1045226 Though the most expensive part of an EV or PHEV is its battery pack, a new study shows those costs are falling at a hefty clip. According to Green Car Reports, a study by the Stockholm Environment Institute in Stockholm, Sweden found that the cost of a battery pack fell 14 percent per year between […]

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2016 Chevrolet Volt battery

Though the most expensive part of an EV or PHEV is its battery pack, a new study shows those costs are falling at a hefty clip.

According to Green Car Reports, a study by the Stockholm Environment Institute in Stockholm, Sweden found that the cost of a battery pack fell 14 percent per year between 2007 and 2014, coming down from over $1,000 USD per kWh, to around $410/kWh; market-leading EV makers saw their costs decline 8 percent annually to $300/kWh over the same period.

The study’s findings are the result of data from 85 cost estimates found in peer-reviewed academic journals, as well as reports from automakers, analysts and the media. However, the authors note that since battery producers and automakers almost never disclose the actual costs for those cells, the study is incomplete at best.

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ChargePoint Bringing Charging To Condos, Apartments With New Service http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chargepoint-bringing-charging-condos-apartments-new-service/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chargepoint-bringing-charging-condos-apartments-new-service/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 12:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1044722 Live in a condo or an apartment and would drive a PHEV or an EV if only you could charge it? Charging-station producer ChargePoint might have the solution. The company’s Multifamily Home Service aims to bring charging stations to condominiums and apartment buildings that currently lack the facilities to charge a tenant’s electrified vehicle of […]

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Live in a condo or an apartment and would drive a PHEV or an EV if only you could charge it? Charging-station producer ChargePoint might have the solution.

The company’s Multifamily Home Service aims to bring charging stations to condominiums and apartment buildings that currently lack the facilities to charge a tenant’s electrified vehicle of choice. Property owners would foot the bill for installation of ChargePoint’s Level 2 charging station, as well as set the price for charging. In turn, the company will bill the tenants who subscribe a one-time activation fee and a monthly subscription fee; the tenant can also pay the property owner for charging via their ChargePoint account.

Finally, as the subscription service would last as long as the tenant resides in the building on a month-to-month basis, the service can be deactivated once the tenant moves out or replaces their electrified ride for one that doesn’t require a plug, and can be reactivated when a new tenant with a plug-in vehicle moves into the building.

As for how much it would cost to wire a parking stall for the service, or how much owners could charge for electricity, ChargePoint did not explain at this time.

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Chevrolet Spark EV Sees Price Drop, Bonus Cash For Base Model http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chevrolet-spark-ev-sees-price-drop-bonus-cash-base-model/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chevrolet-spark-ev-sees-price-drop-bonus-cash-base-model/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 11:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1044706 In the market for a 2015 Chevrolet Spark EV? Your wallet will still feel heavy after signing off on the paperwork for the base model. Chevrolet announced the price for the base Spark EV 1LT will be cut down $1,500 to $25,995, while leasing the EV gets an $80 drop to $139/month for 39 months […]

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2014 Chevrolet Spark EV Exterior-003

In the market for a 2015 Chevrolet Spark EV? Your wallet will still feel heavy after signing off on the paperwork for the base model.

Chevrolet announced the price for the base Spark EV 1LT will be cut down $1,500 to $25,995, while leasing the EV gets an $80 drop to $139/month for 39 months with no money down upon signing; the down payment was $999.

In addition to the new lease and purchase figures, the brand is also throwing bonus cash on the hood, the amount varying depending on which of the three states — California, Maryland (as of this summer), Oregon — one happens to reside. The California bonus comes to $1,000 in addition to the state’s $2,500 rebate, while Oregonians receive $3,500 outright, and those in Maryland gain $1,200 on top of the state’s $2,300 excise tax exemption.

With the price cuts, bonus cash, state incentives, and the $7,500 federal tax credit, one could drive away from the lot having paid just $14,995 for the pleasure of bouncing around from the office park to the coffee shop and bakery in a vehicle meant to help General Motors come into compliance with fleet economy standards.

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IHS: PHEVs To Overtake EVs In Europe Within Two Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/ihs-phevs-overtake-evs-europe-within-two-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/ihs-phevs-overtake-evs-europe-within-two-years/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 14:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043242 Electric vehicles are doing well in Europe, but their dominance over PHEVs may soon draw to a close. Automotive News Europe reports sales of EVs in Europe jumped 73 percent to 58,244 units in 2014, while sales of PHEVs climbed 29 percent in the same period to 39,547, according to industry group ACEA. The best-selling […]

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Electric vehicles are doing well in Europe, but their dominance over PHEVs may soon draw to a close.

Automotive News Europe reports sales of EVs in Europe jumped 73 percent to 58,244 units in 2014, while sales of PHEVs climbed 29 percent in the same period to 39,547, according to industry group ACEA. The best-selling EV and PHEV in 2014 were the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (15,134 units vs. 19,855), while the largest markets were Norway for EVs (18,090 units), Netherlands for PHEVs (9,938).

According to IHS Automotive senior analyst Ben Scott, PHEVs will overtake EVs this year or in 2016 as far as production goes, forecasting 1.35 million units by 2020, and 2.7 million by 2025. Meanwhile, EV sales will be under 1 million by 2020, as consumers are likely to choose PHEVs for their flexibility in range and use over electric-only vehicles.

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BMW i3 Models Now Available Through Amazon Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/bmw-i3-models-now-available-amazon-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/bmw-i3-models-now-available-amazon-japan/#comments Wed, 08 Apr 2015 11:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1039553 You can order a lot things from Amazon, including books, CDs and giant drums of lubricant. If you’re in Japan, though, you can also order a BMW i3. Yahoo Maktoob News reports sales of the i3 began on Wednesday, a move BMW Japan hopes “will cover the entire market more thoroughly” alongside the 46 dealers […]

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2015 BMW i3 Range Extender Exterior-002

You can order a lot things from Amazon, including books, CDs and giant drums of lubricant. If you’re in Japan, though, you can also order a BMW i3.

Yahoo Maktoob News reports sales of the i3 began on Wednesday, a move BMW Japan hopes “will cover the entire market more thoroughly” alongside the 46 dealers already selling the model in Japan, widening the sales channel while providing more convenience to potential owners in so doing.

Those who do order their i3 will have their choice of either the electric-only model or the range-extender version. However, the purchase will only be completed once BMW calls up the would-be owner to request documentation regarding parking and charging space for the vehicle.

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Tesla Commits To Localized Production In China Within Three Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-commits-localized-production-china-within-three-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-commits-localized-production-china-within-three-years/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 14:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1033497 Aiming to build confidence among Chinese consumers, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has pledged his company will begin local production in China within three years. Xinhua reports that until then, imports from the United States will continue because the factory still has capacity left to grow into. Once that occurs, however, Musk says it would only […]

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2014 Tesla Model S in China

Aiming to build confidence among Chinese consumers, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has pledged his company will begin local production in China within three years.

Xinhua reports that until then, imports from the United States will continue because the factory still has capacity left to grow into. Once that occurs, however, Musk says it would only be sensible to “localize production in China for the Chinese market, in Europe for the European market.”

Though Musk and Tesla haven’t had the best time in China since importation began in mid-2013 — ranging from sales issues and speculators, to range anxiety and consumer preferences — the CEO is optimistic about the future of his company’s work in the market, taking the long-term view as the basis for said optimism.

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Edmunds: Millennials Savvier Car Shoppers Via Mobile Technology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/edmunds-millennials-savvier-car-shoppers-via-mobile-technology/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/edmunds-millennials-savvier-car-shoppers-via-mobile-technology/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1032593 According to a study, Millennials not only prefer to shop for cars via mobile devices, but also at the dealership. Per Edmunds, who commissioned the study earlier this year, 73 percent of Millennials aged 18 to 34 proclaim to be more knowledgeable about the car-buying process than their parents, while over half “actively advise their […]

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Millennials In The Back Of A Subaru BRAT

According to a study, Millennials not only prefer to shop for cars via mobile devices, but also at the dealership.

Per Edmunds, who commissioned the study earlier this year, 73 percent of Millennials aged 18 to 34 proclaim to be more knowledgeable about the car-buying process than their parents, while over half “actively advise their friends and family” on the process, compared to 37 percent of older Americans.

The study says this is due to the generation’s profieciency with mobile devices in researching the vehicles of their choice prior to purchase, from reading reviews and researching prices, to tracking down models for sale. Eighty percent of Millennials were found to have used such tactics for at least one shopping task.

Meanwhile, 64 percent stated they “valued the in-dealership experience” of face-to-face interaction with dealers, and 96 percent said that it was important to test-drive a vehicle before purchase. Purchases skew towards the used market, where 78 percent of Millennials go for their purchases, 72 percent have considered EVs or hybrids, and 66 percent hope to one day own a car that does all the driving for them.

Regarding technology, while smartphone integration and Wi-Fi are important, such features rank behind price, fuel economy and performance.

The study consisted of two surveys conducted in January and March of 2015, with 1,500 and 1,000 adults between 18 and 34 years of age who made a vehicle purchase within the previous three months polled.

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Tesla Remedying Sales, Range Anxiety Woes In China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-remedying-sales-range-anxiety-woes-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-remedying-sales-range-anxiety-woes-china/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 12:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1032577 Tesla hasn’t had the best time in China as of late, a situation the automaker is looking to remedy as quickly as possible. Bloomberg reports Tesla’s Q4 2014 sales were “unexpectedly weak,” according to CEO Elon Musk. Musk went on to place the blame on the Chinese market sales force, who he deemed not only […]

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Tesla hasn’t had the best time in China as of late, a situation the automaker is looking to remedy as quickly as possible.

Bloomberg reports Tesla’s Q4 2014 sales were “unexpectedly weak,” according to CEO Elon Musk. Musk went on to place the blame on the Chinese market sales force, who he deemed not only inept, but discouraged would-be owners by warning of the difficulties of charging electric vehicles in China. Speculators who ordered — but never purchased — vehicles, range anxiety among consumers, and Tesla’s misreading of the market also contributed to the automaker’s woes in the market.

Since then, Tesla has made some strides into rectifying the situation. In one example, new “executive rear seats” — a $2,000 option wrapped in leather and equipped with two zone heaters — were made available as a result of learning that rich Chinese customers prefer to be chauffeured over taking the wheel themselves. The option arrived as quick as it had due to the automaker’s direct-sales model, according to China sales training chief Dan Hsu.

Other actions meant to bolster Tesla’s standing in the market include: lobbying cities to order vehicles, then adding them to programs meant to bring consumers into EVs and PHEVs, side-stepping the lottery/auction process prevalent in China; providing and installing home-charging systems in consumer’s homes for free; introducing more “destination chargers” alongside its Supercharger network — over 1,000 are online so far; and mobile charging connectors for the times when an owner needs to charge no matter where they are.

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Reithofer: Government Programs Key To BMW i3 Success http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/reithofer-government-programs-key-bmw-i3-success/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/reithofer-government-programs-key-bmw-i3-success/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 11:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028841 BMW’s i3’s success is helped by a number of government incentives in a few of the automaker’s key markets, according to CEO Norbert Reithofer. According to Automotive News Europe, Reithofer said that sales figures for the i3 are connected to political initiatives toward electric mobility, adding that when those initiatives are there, “the registration figures […]

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2015 BMW i3 Range Extender Exterior-007

BMW’s i3’s success is helped by a number of government incentives in a few of the automaker’s key markets, according to CEO Norbert Reithofer.

According to Automotive News Europe, Reithofer said that sales figures for the i3 are connected to political initiatives toward electric mobility, adding that when those initiatives are there, “the registration figures for the BMW i3 soar.”

The CEO cited Norway as an example, where the government not only has a charging infrastructure where owners can park and recharge for free, but does not levy sales or registration taxes on EVs. Those incentives have helped BMW move 2,000 i3s in 2014.

Meanwhile, significant financial subsidies in the United States, as well as privileges such as use of dedicated HOV lanes, led to sales of 3,000 units in California alone, a figure that is half of all i3s sold in the U.S.

Other incentives include looser licensing restrictions in Shanghai, circulation tax exemptions for 10 years from date of first registration in Germany, and company car tax exemptions for life in France.

Speaking of Germany, where 2,000 i3s were sold in 2014, Reithofer said his country’s government needs to “pick up the pace” in pushing electric mobility. Germany wants 1 million EVs on its roads by 2020, and has plans to offer additional incentives to achieve its goal.

In the meantime, BMW will introduce its DriveNow car-sharing service this spring, beginning in London. San Francisco will be the first U.S. city in the program by May, while the German cities of Hamburg, Berlin and Munich will join in July. The program is meant to help boost acceptance of electrification, and widening the tech’s appeal among younger drivers.

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DeltaWing Entering GT, Eyeing Future Showroom Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/deltawing-entering-gt-eyeing-future-showroom-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/deltawing-entering-gt-eyeing-future-showroom-debut/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 10:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1027369 Coming soon to a track near you, DeltaWing will bring its signature design to the GT class, and eyes set on the showroom down the road. The latest racing variant is expected to demonstrate on the track “that with far less horsepower than many of today’s best sports cars, a two-seat performance car based on […]

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DeltaWing GT race car concept chassis

Coming soon to a track near you, DeltaWing will bring its signature design to the GT class, and eyes set on the showroom down the road.

The latest racing variant is expected to demonstrate on the track “that with far less horsepower than many of today’s best sports cars, a two-seat performance car based on the DeltaWing® architecture would deliver the same performance, yet with previously unimagined fuel economy and efficiency.”

The GT will, like the DWC13 Coupe campaigned by DeltaWing Racing Cars, be a coupe using weight distribution to its advantage, thanks to its narrow nose and wide backside putting 30 percent up front, the rest in back. The project won’t interfere with the team and its efforts in IMSA’s TUDOR series.

Meanwhile, that same basic design forms the basis for two- and four-passenger prototypes that could lead to a road-legal version of the DeltaWing. Preliminary data suggests the design would net “an unadjusted EPA fuel economy rating of nearly 74 mpg Highway and over 57 mpg combined rating,” adding that if one could buy a DeltaWing from the showroom today, they would have a vehicle that was not only the most fuel efficient conventionally powered vehicle in the United States, but would also meet the 2025 54.5 mpg standard. The ratings are for a DeltaWing powered by a 138-horsepower 1.4-liter engine placed in the four-passenger variant.

Aside from traditional ICEs, the company says the prototype could be fitted with hybrid, diesel, CNG, hydrogen and electric power, with results ranging from better range for diesel, EV and FCV versions, to a 42 percent reduction in emissions for gasoline models.

DeltaWing GT race car - early concept 1 DeltaWing GT race car - early concept 2 DeltaWing GT race car concept chassis DeltaWing common chassis

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Richard Branson Setting Sights On Tesla With Possible Virgin EV http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/richard-branson-setting-sights-tesla-possible-virgin-ev/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/richard-branson-setting-sights-tesla-possible-virgin-ev/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 10:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025697 Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson has tackled everything from space and music, to airlines and MVNOs. Now, he has his sights on Tesla. Bloomberg reports Branson explained his motive for his Virgin Racing subsidiary’s involvement in Formula E when the he and and the team were in Miami last weekend: We have teams of people […]

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Richard Branson, his Virgin Racing Formula E team, and the Miami Dolphin Cheerleaders

Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson has tackled everything from space and music, to airlines and MVNOs. Now, he has his sights on Tesla.

Bloomberg reports Branson explained his motive for his Virgin Racing subsidiary’s involvement in Formula E when the he and and the team were in Miami last weekend:

We have teams of people working on electric cars. So you never know — you may find Virgin competing with the Tesla in the car business as we do in the space business. We will see what happens.

Virgin Engineering is among the few companies working on electric vehicles, which include Nissan, Audi and Apple. However, Branson concedes that Tesla is the one leading the way, proclaiming the company’s cars “as sexy as any other car on the road today.”

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Vincent Bollore Bringing ‘Superior’ EV Tech, Car-Sharing Service To US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/vincent-bollore-bringing-superior-ev-tech-car-sharing-service-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/vincent-bollore-bringing-superior-ev-tech-car-sharing-service-us-market/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 14:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025009 EV consumers in France and beyond needn’t wait months for a Tesla Model S, thanks to Vincent Bollore’s Autolib service and Bluecar EVs. Bloomberg reports the Bollore Group founder and chairman created Autolib to put EV fans behind the wheel of one of his Pininfarina-designed Bluecars for the equivalent of 20 cents per minute. Though […]

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Vincent Bollore with his Bluecars in Paris

EV consumers in France and beyond needn’t wait months for a Tesla Model S, thanks to Vincent Bollore’s Autolib service and Bluecar EVs.

Bloomberg reports the Bollore Group founder and chairman created Autolib to put EV fans behind the wheel of one of his Pininfarina-designed Bluecars for the equivalent of 20 cents per minute. Though the cars aren’t as premium as a Model S, Bollore says it’s the electrical systems powering the Bluecar that matter, proclaiming them to be “far superior” to Tesla’s efforts.

The technology involves lithium metal polymer batteries, developed by Bollore’s Blue Solutions. The batteries, which don’t need liquid electrolytes to store power, are not only lighter in weight than lithium-ion packs, but can be charged up to 3,000 times, and are stable at temps up to 338 F. No one else has gone for the technology thus far, however; Bollore invested €3 billion ($3.2 billion) over three years to develop the EVs and the battery technology now in use by his ventures.

Meanwhile, the billionaire has plans to bring Autolib and Bluecars to the United States, opening the first branch in Indianapolis this June, with Los Angeles a possible second U.S. candidate down the road. Bollore hopes to have 500 cars and 200 stations throughout the city — chosen for its strong car culture and varying weather conditions — by the end of this year.

Back home, Autolib has 3,000 Bluecars and 900 stations in service, with around 70,000 customers paying a €120 ($130 USD) annual fee to drive the EVs; 500 more cars and 200 more stations are expected to come online in 2015.

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