With demand for its i3 EV surpassing BMW’s expectations, the company’s chief financial officer, Friedrich Eichiner, said that the company is considering increasing production of the electric car. Though retail deliveries will not start until next month, over 8,000 orders have been booked so far. Originally, BMW hoped to sell about 10,000 i3s in 2014, but if demand stays high, the company “will adjust capacity according to demand,” Eichiner said at an Amsterdam press conference yesterday. “If demand holds, which is what it’s looking like, we will soon have to invest more.” Read More >
Category: Electric Vehicles
China has renewed government subsidies for three more years for private buyers of electric vehicles and plugin hybrids, but contrary to some observers’ predictions, incentives for the purchasers of conventional gasoline-electric hybrids have not been renewed. The national government in Beijing said that it would provide up to 60,000 yuan ($9,800) towards the purchase of an all-electric vehicle and as much as 35,000 yuan for each “near all-electric” plug-in vehicle. The purpose is ostensibly to reduce air pollution but the policy is also expected to benefit Chinese car makers like BYD. Read More >
EV charging system maker Ecotality has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from its creditors, saying that it wants to sell its assets in an auction. Last month the company said that it might be forced to sell or file for bankruptcy after the U.S. government suspended payments as part of the Department of Energy EV Project. Ecotality, based in San Francisco, makes charging and power-storage systems for electric vehicles under the Blink and Minit Charger. It also makes charging stations for Nissan’s Leaf brands, and provides testing services for government agencies, auto makers and utilities. The company now says that it would prefer to sell its assets through a court approved bankruptcy auction.
After years of rumors and speculations of the will they/won’t they variety, a brand-new Saab 9-3 has – finally! – managed to roll down the assembly line! Don’t be fooled by the fact that this new Saab looks just like the 2009 models the company was building when it was spun off from GM’s bankruptcy, however. This car features all-new components designed by Saab engineers and manufactured in Trollhättan, Sweden.
Porsche has released the final, official data on their hybrid supercar, the 918, developed alongside of the car the the company will be racing at LeMans in 2014. The 11,000 word press release has everything you could possibly want to know about the 918, plus the new 911 Turbo as well as the rest of Porsche’s presence at the Frankfurt show, which focuses on the 50th anniversary of the 911. The 918 is powered by a 4.6 liter V8 gasoline fired ICE, dry sumped and mounted behind the cockpit, that puts out 608 hp, along with three electric motors that combined produce 286 hp, giving the driver up to 887 horsepower at his or her discretion (there is, apparently, a loss of 7 hp somewhere in full power mode). Performance is rated at 2.8 seconds for 0-100 kmh (0-62 mph) and 0-200 kmh in only 7.7 seconds. The 918 is a plug in hybrid, with a recharging time for the 7 kw/h lithium-ion battery of 4 hours on Germany’s 230 volt AC mains. Fast DC charging is said to take 25 minutes. If you want to, you can even get a speeding ticket while retaining green cred, top speed on electric power alone is 93 mph. Electric-only range, though, is limited to 10 to 20 miles per charge. Porsche is claiming 85 to 94 miles per gallon, but that probably isn’t when doing 0-62 kmh runs. Read More >
Only weeks after starting up long-delayed production of lithium-ion batteries for the Chevy Volt at their new factory in Holland, Michigan, LG Chem has announced that they are stopping production for up to six weeks because a compound used in that production apparently had not been registered for use in manufacturing with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. While no shutdown order was issued by the EPA, the agency recently issued a subpoena to LG Chem, demanding a list of chemicals used at the Holland facility.
LG Chem spokesman Jeremy Hagemeyer said in an email to news agencies, “We discovered the possibility that this material may not be properly registered and made the decision to pause our production until we have that question resolved. We are currently reviewing the registration status and will work with the EPA to resolve the issue quickly. In the meanwhile, we are delaying production activities for approximately 6 weeks until we have confirmed the registration status or otherwise obtain approval from EPA.” Read More >
Analyzing data from Polk, Melissa Burden of the Detroit News reports that more than 35% of all new electric vehicle sales in the United States through June of this year have been in registered in the Los Angeles and San Francisco metropolitan regions and that a majority of EVs are being sold in just five cities. Joining LA and San Francisco on the list where EVs are popular are the Seattle, Atlanta and New York City areas.
EV market share in California climbed from 0.4% to 1.1% year to date, with over 9,700 deliveries. “A lot of the manufacturers have targeted California for the launch of their electric vehicle product,” said Brian Maas, president of the California auto dealers’ association, said. “Our consumers are cutting-edge and early adopters in this area.” Read More >
Saying that they continue to be committed to building cars in the Detroit area, EV startup Detroit Electric has told the Detroit News that the first models of its SP:01 sports car, like Tesla’s Roadster an electrified Lotus, will have their final assembly done in Holland starting in the last quarter of the year, not this month in Wayne County, Michigan as announced when the brand was launched back in April. While some have characterized the announcement as indicating that Detroit Electric is moving production from the Motor City to Europe, at the launch the company did indeed say that they’d be opening two assembly facilities, one near Detroit and the other in Europe to build cars for the European market, so it’s possible that there is no move planned, just that the Detroit facility has been delayed. Read More >
Back in April, the revived-after-eight-decades Detroit Electric brand held a big event for the press and local dignitaries in the lobby of Detroit’s magnificent Fisher Building. They announced that the company would be doing final assembly on their battery powered Lotus-based sports car, the SP:01, in a Detroit area facility and that their headquarters would be in the historic building that Albert Kahn designed for the Fisher brothers, of car body making fame. They said that an assembly facility location would be chosen in Wayne County, that initial production would begin by the end of the summer and that they hoped to have their headquarters offices set up as soon as the Fisher Bldg suite was renovated. Joining politicians and Detroit Electric executives at the press conference was one of the building owners. Now come news that the company has not finalized a lease or purchase agreement on its chosen manufacturing site in Plymouth and a visit by TTAC to the 18th floor of the Fisher Building revealed empty offices with no sign of renovations or any activity at all since April. Read More >
National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), the Chinese backed company formed to buy the assets of Saab, says that it has hired 300 workers for the factory in Trollhattan, Sweden and that it hopes to start making cars again there by the end of this year. Mikael Oestlund, a spokesman for NEVS, said that the Trollhattan plant is “practically ready” to begin production of the 9-3 sedan. That production is dependent on coming to agreements with suppliers. Also, some of Saabs former suppliers failed when the automaker went under and replacements for those parts must be found. “We are not there yet and therefore we are not able to make the decision of start of production,” Oestlund said. Read More >
The general and automotive press was buzzing in the past couple of days about Tesla’s Model S acing crash testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, following a Tesla press release claiming that the Model S is the safest car ever tested by that agency. Now, NHTSA is throwing some cold water on Tesla’s claims that the Model S earned more than five stars, the agency’s highest score. The car performed well, NHTSA says, but not off the charts as claimed by Tesla. The implication that Tesla is exaggerating the crash test results follows the company’s release of what it said were profitable financial results, though the figures did not follow generally accepted accounting procedures. NHTSA also released video of the Model S undergoing crash testing. Read More >
Pioneering designer Gordon Murray, the man who gave the world the McLaren F1, announced on his blog that his T.25 and T.27 urban concept cars have been sold by Gordon Murray Design to an as yet unnamed manufacturer, to go into production and on sale in 2016. “The T.25 and T.27 concept has now been sold to a customer and with a following wind a lot more drivers should be able to enjoy the centre drive experience in 2016!,” Murray said. The tiny T. cars use a 1+2 configuration, with space for the driver and two passengers. The driver sits centrally with the two passengers flanking the driver in the back. The T.25 will be powered by a modified 660cc 51 HP 3 cylinder sourced from Daimler’s smart division. The T.27 is the same car, only battery electric. The very small cars were designed to be built with Murray’s unique iStream manufacturing process. Read More >
Defying analysts’ predictions that Tesla Motors would report a quarterly loss of $0.17 a share, the EV startup instead announced that it had a second quarter profit, after adjustments, of 20 cents a share, according to non-GAAP principles. On the news, Tesla stock went up 13% in after hours trading.
Neighborhood EV startup GreenTech Automotive and it’s sister company, Gulf Coast Funds Management, which are the subjects of a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into how they solicited foreign investors seeking EB-5 visas, are also at the heart of a Department of Homeland Security Inspector General’s investigation of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas. The USCIS-IG is examining Mayrokas’ role in helping those firms secure a job-creating investor’s visa for a Chinese executive. Mayorkas has been nominated by Pres. Obama for the number two position at DHS and would be acting director until the president names Janet Napolitano’s replacement as secretary of Homeland Security. GreenTech/Gulf Coast has been the largest beneficiary of the EB-5 program since 2009, with almost 100 approved and more pending. Read More >
The Electrification Coalition (EC), a trade association of companies involved in the business of electric vehicle,s released a report last week prepared by PriceWaterhouseCoopers touting strong sales of plug in electric vehicles for the first 2 1/2 years that they’be been on the market in the U.S.. Reportedly consumers are embracing PEVs much faster than they started buying hybrids when those first went on sale more than a decade ago. The report particularly noted the success of the Tesla Model S, saying that single model had an 8.4% share of the entire U.S. luxury market for the first six months of 2013. Read More >