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, 24 Jul 2014 14:26:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 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 is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Electric vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Tesla Idles Plant For Two Weeks For Model X-Related Production Upgrades http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/tesla-idles-plant-for-two-weeks-for-model-x-related-production-upgrades/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/tesla-idles-plant-for-two-weeks-for-model-x-related-production-upgrades/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 12:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=871402 tesla-model-x

Those who just ordered their Tesla Model S may need to wait a bit, as the premium EV automaker has idled its California factory in order to tool up for the upcoming Model X SUV.

Bloomberg reports the reconfiguration — including 25 new robots on the floor and other modifications — began June 20, and will conclude in two weeks to the tune of $100 million and a 25 percent increase in production.

Tesla has given its assembly workers the option of reporting for maintenance and training shifts during their time off, as well as using that time for vacation.

Once completed, the newly upgraded floor should pump out some 1,000 units of the Model S per week, as well as allow for both the S and the X to be screwed together next to each other. Pricing for the EV-SUV has yet to be announced.

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Mercedes Debuts B-Class Electric Drive To US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/mercedes-debuts-b-class-electric-drive-to-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/mercedes-debuts-b-class-electric-drive-to-us-market/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=871330 2014-b-class-electric-drive-2

If the upcoming Smart ForTwo isn’t quite to your liking, yet you do want something about as small with a tri-pointed star on its nose, Mercedes has brought over its B-Class Electric Drive.

Autoblog Green reports the EV compact made its world showroom debut in the United States last week, appearing in 10 coastal states at first before heading inward toward the heartland down the road. Price of admission begins at $41,150, which will net the driver an 87-mile single-charge range and 84 MPGe, about the same as the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3.

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Low-Cost Tesla EV To Be Dubbed Model 3 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/low-cost-tesla-ev-to-be-dubbed-model-3/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/low-cost-tesla-ev-to-be-dubbed-model-3/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 12:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=867218 10352722_h15508358

Tesla announced the name of its low-cost EV due to arrive around 2017: Model 3.

Autoblog reports the name was announced on its Facebook page Tuesday, after Ford rebuffed CEO Elon Musk’s desire to call the $35,000 EV the Model E earlier this year. Musk adds the name will be written as a Roman numeral, and would occupy the space between the S and the X as far as now-vague sexual references go.

Beyond the new name, not much has been revealed aside from a 20-percent size reduction over the Model S, the increased use of steel in its construction, and that the 3 would go up against the BMW 3 Series.

Roadster owners, meanwhile, will receive an update that would swap the current battery pack for an improved model delivering 400 miles per charge over the former’s 245 miles.

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Few Majors Taking Up Tesla’s Open-Source Patent Offer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/few-majors-taking-up-teslas-open-source-patent-offer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/few-majors-taking-up-teslas-open-source-patent-offer/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 11:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=855713 10352722_h15508358

Remember when earlier this month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk released all of the patents related to his company’s offerings in the hope that all of the major players would eagerly buy into his vision thing of widespread EV production?

It hasn’t turned out as well as Musk had hoped.

Autoblog Green reports only Mahindra is interested in the patents and their potential application in future products; the company once had the e2o EV in its lineup, and is working on an EV version of its Verito Sedan. Meanwhile, General Motors is more interested in how Tesla does its business than how to put together a Model Volt S, Honda is satisfied with its own EV technology, and most of the other players aren’t saying much.

The lack of excitement may be attributed to the fact that, according to The Motley Fool:

Tesla is not revealing its trade secrets. There often is only so much information that you can get from a patent. Only Tesla knows how to put it all together in a cost-effective manner. Besides, by the time the competition digests the patents, some of them may have become outdated, and Tesla likely will have advanced to the next generation of its technology.

Though the patents seem to have more in common with a Cosby Christmas sweater than an Apple iPhone, Nissan and BMW are having secret meetings with Tesla to discuss charging technology. BMW of North America’s product and technology communications manager Matthew Russell proclaimed his employer and Tesla were “interested in the success of electro mobility” for their electric vehicles, though he declined to comment on similar announces from BMW’s competitors.

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Mercedes-Benz Offers “Range ” For B-Class EV http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/mercedes-benz-offers-range-for-b-class-ev/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/mercedes-benz-offers-range-for-b-class-ev/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 10:30:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=851857 mercedes-benz-b-class-ed

Mercedes-Benz is offering a range extender option for the new all-electric B-Class, but it’s not what the name suggests.

The Mercedes-Benz “temporary range extender” is

“A suite of options to further increase your driving range includes added insulation of the doors and roof for to increase climate-control efficiency, along with an electrically heated windshield and a range-extending charge function. By pressing a button on the console prior to charging, the maximum charge level for battery will increased for the next charge cycle. The higher-capacity charge can provide up to 17 additional miles of range…Electric heating of the windshield glass offers quick defogging of the windshield, even on very cold or humid days. Its energy-efficient operation also helps to extend your driving range compared to using the climate control to clear the windshield.”

While the option package is a novel way to maximize available battery capacity, it’s a bit of a misnomer, given that “range extender” is usually given to mean an on-board internal combustion engine that helps increase the driving range of an electric vehicle.

 

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Nissan Aiming For European Diesel Van Fleets With e-NV200 EV http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/nissan-aiming-for-european-diesel-van-fleets-with-e-nv200-ev/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/nissan-aiming-for-european-diesel-van-fleets-with-e-nv200-ev/#comments Mon, 23 Jun 2014 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=850162 Nissan e-NV200

Though diesel rules the delivery fleet in Europe, Nissan would like fleet managers to leave oil-burning behind for the all-electric e-NV200.

Automotive News Europe reports brand general manager for product strategy and planning Thomas Ebeling believes the EV would be a better fit over diesel power, thanks to 40 percent lower costs of operation and better handling due to the van’s low center of gravity and wider stance than the competition. The brand says 200,000 commercial vans are in service over European roads at present, and though it hasn’t offered how many e-NV200s will be sold to replace them, Nissan believes all of those vans are potential customers.

There are a few challenges to meeting that goal. For starters, the van is currently made in one location: Barcelona, Spain. Output is expected to reach 1,200 units in 2015 for the global market, 2,742 by 2020. Another factor is price: German fleet operators pay €16,480 ($22,418 USD) with tax for petrol versions of the NV200, and €18,390 ($25,017) for diesel power. The e-NV200, by comparison, would cost €29,819 ($40,564) with tax and battery purchase, though operators could also pay a monthly rental fee of €87 ($118) for the pack, dropping the price to €23,919 ($32,538).

The e-NV200 is already in showrooms in Italy, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom, and will arrive in Teutonic and Nordic countries later this summer before entering Japan in October. As for the United States, Nissan is currently conducting trial runs to determine market viability before deciding whether to bring the commercial EV to market.

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Nissan, PGE In Six-Week Commercial EV Market Research Trial http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/nissan-pge-in-six-week-commercial-ev-market-research-trial/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/nissan-pge-in-six-week-commercial-ev-market-research-trial/#comments Mon, 16 Jun 2014 12:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=844929 Portland General Electric Nissan e-NV200

While Portland, Ore. may be the place where the dream of the 1990s is still very much alive and well, the 21st century — and Nissan — is bringing the city’s electric company up to date as far as electric vehicles are concerned.

Autoblog Green reports the automaker has enlisted Portland General Electric to help in a six-week trial of its e-NV200 electric van, recording data to help better determine the EV’s viability in the United States commercial vehicle market, as explained by Nissan Director of U.S. EV Marketing Toby Perry:

Oregon has been a top five market for Nissan LEAF sales in the U.S. due to proactive policies at the state level to encourage EV adoption, as well as robust charging infrastructure championed by the state and others like PGE. If we determine that e-NV200 fits into the U.S. commercial vehicle market, we expect that Portland would be a leading driver for sales as well.

Nissan is deploying two e-NV200s along the West Coast and within the Beltway, partnering with companies like PGE and FedEx to further its market research. Currently, the PGE project has placed the EV with an underground crew, swapping places with a large diesel van for the six weeks the research will be conducted. The e-NV200 will go on sale in Europe later this summer, and in Japan later in the year.

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Tesla Opens Patents To All Potential EV, ZEV Automakers Immediately http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/tesla-opens-patents-to-all-potential-ev-zev-automakers-immediately/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/tesla-opens-patents-to-all-potential-ev-zev-automakers-immediately/#comments Fri, 13 Jun 2014 13:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=843506 tesla-model-s-logo

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has made available to all interested parties — including automakers — every patent related to the automaker’s electric-vehicle technology in the hope more EVs will be built.

Autoblog reports Musk had made a personal policy not to take out patents on any project he created, believing doing so actually meant buying “a lottery ticket to a lawsuit.” With Tesla, however, he claimed as many patents as he could to protect the EV automaker from the competition. To his dismay, the competition wasn’t competing at all:

… electric car programs (or programs for any vehicle that doesn’t burn hydrocarbons) at the major manufacturers are small to non-existent, constituting an average of far less than 1% of their total vehicle sales.

Thus, all patents in Tesla’s front office have been taken down as a sign of Musk’s willingness to help spur EV and ZEV development among the majors, believing “Tesla, other companies making electric cars, and the world would all benefit from a common, rapidly-evolving technology platform.” Musk also stated the open-sourcing of the patents would boost Tesla’s position as a technology leader.

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Vehicle Wireless Charging Market To Double Yearly Through 2020 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/vehicle-wireless-charging-market-to-double-yearly-through-2020/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/vehicle-wireless-charging-market-to-double-yearly-through-2020/#comments Tue, 10 Jun 2014 11:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=841506 Electic_car_wireless_parking_charge_closeup

For owners of PHEVs and EVs like the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt, the prospect of putting away the cord for wireless induction charging grows with each passing year, doubling per year toward the next decade.

Autoblog Green reports research firm Frost & Sullivan forecasts the wireless market will experience a compound growth of 126.6 percent between 2012 and 2020, resulting in nearly 352,000 units sold around the globe. Usage of the technology is expected to be at 1.2 percent of public and private charging in North America, 2.6 percent of the same in Europe — where adoption will be at its most rapid — while 70 percent of overall wireless charging will likely be in the home.

As for who all is throwing their support behind the technology, the firm says Renault, Nissan, Daimler, Volvo, BMW and Toyota are working on chargers for their upcoming EVs, with an additional 10 automakers entering the testing phase. The current obstacles for greater adoption include charging time, charging rates and production costs.

Finally, Frost & Sullivan expect on-the-road wireless charging will arrive in the next decade while stationary offerings “will be most sought after in the near-term.”

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Tesla May Soon Make EV Patents Available To All http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/tesla-may-soon-make-ev-patents-available-to-all/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/tesla-may-soon-make-ev-patents-available-to-all/#comments Tue, 10 Jun 2014 10:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=841474 tesla-model-x

Ever wanted your own Tesla, but didn’t have the thousands of dollars to order one? The automaker could soon make your dream possible by providing the patents to anyone who wants to make their own Tesla-based EV.

Autoblog Green reports CEO Elon Musk is considering making the patents to his EV tech freely available for anyone to use as a way to expand the EV market. Musk remarked during the United Kingdom market introduction of the RHD Model S that he didn’t just “want to cut a path through the jungle” only to lay out mines behind him, but did want “to write something so that [he could] articulate it properly and explain the reasoning for the decision” prior to freeing up the patents.

As for when such an announcement would occur, Tesla had “nothing further at this point” to say. Musk has freely distributed technology in the past to any and all interested parties, including the automaker’s Supercharger, and the Hyperloop rapid transit system.

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BMW: China To Be Largest EV Global Market By 2019 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/bmw-china-to-be-largest-ev-global-market-by-2019/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/bmw-china-to-be-largest-ev-global-market-by-2019/#comments Thu, 29 May 2014 12:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=834009 2014 BMW i3 01

Though Chinese consumers have been slow to adopt electric vehicles thus far, BMW believes China will become the largest global market for EVs by 2019 at the earliest.

Bloomberg reports the automaker entered into a joint venture with municipal power company State Grid Shanghai, installing public charging infrastructure at the city’s former World Expo site as one of 46 such sites around the city to be installed by the end of 2014. The charging equipment will be compatible with products made by BMW, SAIC and BYD et al, while Tesla owners will have to use Supercharger stations instead.

Meanwhile, BMW will begin deliveries of the i3 in China this September, being sold in showrooms alongside the i8. BMW China CEO Karsten Engel says he expects only 1,000 will arrive in showrooms this year due to lack of supply, while BMW overall will sell over 400,000. The Bavarians join fellow Germans Volkswagen and Daimler in producing EVs for the Chinese market to help boost adoption among consumers. Currently, 70,000 total EVs are on the road in the nation, far behind the Chinese government’s goal of 500,000 by next year.

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Volvo To Conduct Electric Road Study With Focus On Inductive Charging http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/volvo-to-conduct-electric-road-study-with-focus-on-inductive-charging/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/volvo-to-conduct-electric-road-study-with-focus-on-inductive-charging/#comments Wed, 28 May 2014 10:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=833433 Volvo Hyper Bus PHEV

Coming off its study of stationary vehicle wireless charging, Volvo will turn its attention toward on-road charging of its Hyper Bus diesel-electric in a year-long study with partner Swedish Transport Association.

Autoblog reports the two parties will build a 300- to 500-meter section of electrified road that would use inductive charging for the PHEV’s batteries while shuttling passengers back and forth along the way. Currently, the buses use charging stations at either end of the route, delaying further travel until fully charged.

The road will be located in central Gothenburg, and is expected to be the herald for the ElectriCity route between Chalmers and Lindholmen, which will provide more data on charging and electric power for heavy vehicles such as buses for future industrial and political decisions.

The intended result of the study is to prove the viability of electric roads, including their impact on the environment as a piece of a greater puzzle involving sustainable transportation.

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Tesla: Toyota Desires Battery R&D Partnership, Panasonic Wants Gigafactory For Itself http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/tesla-toyota-desires-battery-rd-partnership-panasonic-wants-gigafactory-for-itself/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/tesla-toyota-desires-battery-rd-partnership-panasonic-wants-gigafactory-for-itself/#comments Fri, 23 May 2014 20:14:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=829906 Toyota Panasonic TF108

Though Toyota will soon end its battery program with Tesla for its RAV4 EV crossovers, the automaker aims to remain R&D partners on battery technology. Meanwhile, Panasonic wants to be the only producer involved in Tesla’s Gigafactory production.

Reuters reports the company plans to invest in stages, with the final amount and timeframe not yet known; Tesla seeks a total $3 billion from outside investors in addition to the $2 billion it invested into the project. Panasonic’s current lithium-ion business has performed well as Tesla seeks more batteries for its Model S, having gone as far as to sign a contract last October with the automaker for around 2 billion battery cells by 2017. The company itself aims to take the top spot on the podium by end of FY 2018, where it plans to make $4.43 billion annually from all battery production activities.

Meanwhile, Automotive News reports Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America CEO and president Osamu Nagata wants to continue working with Tesla on battery technology as the three-year agreement for the latter to supply 2,600 packs for the former draws to a close:

Tesla has quite a clear business strategy for developing a better battery. [Automakers] as well as suppliers need to work on developing better batteries.

Toyota is currently turning its focus on fuel-cell technology, which Nagata hopes his employer can show “the very strong capabilities” of the vehicles using the tech in order to convince more people “of the potential and possibilities” fuel cell vehicles — such as Toyota’s own upcoming FCV — have to offer.

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Toyota Develops New Hybrid Fuel Economy-Boosting Semiconductor Tech http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/toyota-develops-new-hybrid-fuel-economy-boosting-semiconductor-tech/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/toyota-develops-new-hybrid-fuel-economy-boosting-semiconductor-tech/#comments Thu, 22 May 2014 11:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=828586 Toyota Hybrid Semiconductors

Looking to wring out more fuel efficiency in its hybrids, Toyota has developed a silicon-carbide wafer semiconductor that could boost efficiency up to 10 percent.

Automotive News reports the semiconductor has already bestowed a 5 percent improvement in test units, with the goal of bringing the new technology to market by 2020. The potential for 10 percent increases in hybrid fuel efficiency occurs due to less energy being lost under regenerative braking, and less energy being used to power the semiconductor in the first place, whose design enables an 80 percent decrease in size from current semiconductors.

The only obstacle to bringing the tech to market is cost, which the automaker says is “an order of magnitude” higher than regular silicon wafers. In addition, silicon carbide is difficult and costly to turn into wafers, being one of the hardest materials found in the world to date.

The new semiconductors are being developed in-house with help from Toyota Central R&D Labs and supplier Denso, and will be applicable in both hybrid and EV vehicles.

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PSA, Mitsubishi May End EV Partnership http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/psa-mitsubishi-may-end-ev-partnership/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/psa-mitsubishi-may-end-ev-partnership/#comments Thu, 22 May 2014 04:01:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=828330 CITROËN_C-ZERO,_2012,_IFEVI

PSA and Mitsubishi may discontinue their electric vehicle partnership in the next 12 months, according to PSA CEO Carlos Tavares.

Speaking to a government body related to economic affairs, Tavares said that PSA would be re-evaluating the arrangement, which has PSA selling the Mitsubishi i-MiEV under the Citroen and Peugeot brands.

According to Reuters, sales of the PSA branded EVs are down dramatically, from a combined 6,222 units in 2013 to 1106 in 2014. Despite this, Tavares cited the strength of the yen as a possible factor for the partnership’s fate.

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Toyota Turns Away From Batteries, Toward Fuel Cells http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/toyota-turns-away-from-batteries-toward-fuel-cells/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/toyota-turns-away-from-batteries-toward-fuel-cells/#comments Wed, 21 May 2014 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=828210 Toyota FCV Concept

After 20 years of pursuing a battery-powered future, Toyota has decided to take a different course powered by hydrogen.

Automotive News reports Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz says his company sees EVs’ viability “in a select way, in short-range vehicles that take you that extra mile, from the office to the train, or home to the train, as well as being used on large [corporate] campuses.” This view is reflected in the decision to end its purchase agreement with Tesla of battery packs for 2,600 RAV4 EVs over three years, which Lentz personally felt future investment into the agreement would be better spent developing hydrogen fuel cells instead.

Speaking of such things, Toyota’s commitment toward a hydrogen future includes a $7 million “arms-length” investment in FirstElement Fuel Inc. — the startup founded by former General Motors and Hyundai executive Joel Ewanick — in its plan to build 19 hydrogen fueling stations throughout California by the autumn of 2015. The automaker’s own research found that 68 stations would be needed in California to meet the needs of 10,000 fuel cell vehicle owners, 50 of which are expected to come online by the end of 2016.

Lentz says he hopes his company won’t be alone in developing the emerging market like it was when the Prius first arrived. So far, Toyota, Honda and Hyundai are working on new fuel cell vehicles to help spur demand, the first of which are predicted to arrive in 2015.

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EVs, PHEVs Faring Better Than Hybrids In Fourth-Year Sales Comparison http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/evs-phevs-faring-better-than-hybrids-in-fourth-year-sales-comparison/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/evs-phevs-faring-better-than-hybrids-in-fourth-year-sales-comparison/#comments Wed, 21 May 2014 12:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=828194 chevy volt cop car_l

Though it may appear EVs and PHEVs aren’t flying out of showrooms in comparison to Toyota Camrys and Ford F-150s, IHS Automotive says that in comparison to hybrids, the electrified offerings are faring better in their fourth year of sales.

Autoblog Green reports the research group found that in 2013, cumulative sales of the Nissan Leaf reached 100,000, while those of the Chevrolet Volt hit 70,000 in the same four-year period. Meanwhile, the first-generation Toyota Prius only managed 52,000 after four years of accumulated sales. Unlike the Prius when it first arrived, though, EVs and PHEVs have had help from federal and state tax credits, inflating sales more than where they would have been otherwise.

That said, IHS notes the market is still in the early stages of growth, with most EV/PHEV owners still in possession of their first such vehicles. Analyst Ben Scott, however, states 2014 will be the year PHEVs pull ahead of their fully electric siblings thanks to their gasoline-powered range extenders. Scott added that by 2020, the ratio between the two approaches to automotive electrification will be 55:45 in favor of the PHEV.

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Ghosn To Fight For Position Atop Global Three Podium http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/ghosn-to-fight-for-position-atop-global-three-podium/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/ghosn-to-fight-for-position-atop-global-three-podium/#comments Fri, 09 May 2014 12:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=818506 Carlos Ghosn speaks -07. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

Re-appointed through 2018 last month by Renault-Nissan shareholders by a margin of 85 percent, CEO Carlos Ghosn has adjusted his sights on Volkswagen, General Motors and Toyota in an effort to take one of their spots as a member of the Global Three.

Automotive News reports the No. 4 automaker has a ways to go before taking the lowest spot on the podium; in 2013, Renault-Nissan moved 8.3 million off the lot behind VW’s 9.73 million, Toyota’s 9.98 million and GM’s 9.71 million. The Franco-Japanese automaker also relies heavily upon its Nissan division for the majority of sales and profits, Nissan having remained the same size as it was when the alliance formed in 1999 while doubling sales and reaping the rewards over the years.

Meanwhile, Renault struggled to move toward its goal of 3 million cars sold globally in 2013, falling 370,000 units short. Stalled sales of the Zoe EV, the loss of COO Carlos Tavares to PSA Peugeot Citroën, and poor handling of the crisis involving high-level executives falsely accused of stealing corporate secrets — leading to the forced departure of previous COO Patrick Pelata — also dinged both Renault and Ghosn.

On the plus side, Ghosn managed to keep Renault’s manufacturing in its native France, with plans to boost local production by 180,000 units by 2016, as well as helped the French brand meet its cash flow target of 2.5 billion euros over the past three years. While the Zoe may have been a bust, Ghosn proclaimed Renault was still the No. 1 seller of EVs in the European market, accounting for 37 percent to 42 percent of the local market; the alliance has an overall 60 percent of the global EV market. Finally, the CEO believes Renault will see 50 billion euros in revenue by 2017, compared to 41 billion euros in 2013.

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Study: Connecticut EV Dealer Incentive Program Could Improve Technology Adoption Rates http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/study-connecticut-ev-dealer-incentive-program-could-improve-technology-adoption-rates/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/study-connecticut-ev-dealer-incentive-program-could-improve-technology-adoption-rates/#comments Wed, 07 May 2014 12:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=816985 tesla courtesy nicholas fleury via flickr

While most states and the United States government offer tax credits to consumers for purchasing an electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid, Connecticut instead offers dealers the incentive to sell EVs and PHEVs, a move research group Navigant Research claims could be more effective at bringing about greater adoption of the new technology.

Autoblog Green reports the Connecticut Revolutionary Dealer Award program offered by the state’s Department of Energy & Environmental Protection — or DEEP — which will bestow an award upon the dealership who moves the most EVs in a six-month period ending July 31st, as well as for the dealership whose sales and leases account for a significant percentage of overall sales, could help push non-Tesla dealers normally reluctant to sell an EV to learn about their offerings, thereby leading to more sales.

In addition, Navigant suggests Connecticut offer incentives to those who do purchase an EV, as well as offer EV HOV lane access; the state already provides grants to agencies purchasing EV charging stations, totaling $175,000 divided by 50 towns, businesses and schools for 75 such units thus far.

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CA, MD Extend EV/PHEV Credit Programs, Federal Credit Increase May Follow http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/ca-md-extend-evphev-credit-programs-federal-credit-increase-may-follow/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/ca-md-extend-evphev-credit-programs-federal-credit-increase-may-follow/#comments Mon, 05 May 2014 13:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=815506 2014 Honda Fit EV

EV and PHEV owners in California and Maryland will be able to enjoy credits for the foreseeable future for going green, while one representative in Congress wants to up federal tax credits to $10,000.

Autoblog Green reports the success of the California Air Resources Board’s credit program has resulted in a funding expansion of $25 million through the end of the state’s fiscal year in late June. Those seeking rebates on their EV or plug-in purchases will be put on a list, and should receive either their $2,500 EV or $1,500 PHEV credit by the end of September.

Over in Maryland, a provisional bill awaiting Governor Martin O’Malley’s signature will extend the state’s credit program for three years through the end of June 2017. In addition, the maximum credit offered will be increased to $3,000 from $1,000 for PHEV owners.

Finally, U.S. Representative Peter Welch of Vermont is preparing to propose legislation that would boost the federal tax credit from $7,500 to $10,000, which he believes will also make owning an EV more affordable to middle-income consumers. Welch will introduce the legislation upon return to Congress.

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Musk: Tesla Will Build Cars In China Within Next Few Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/musk-tesla-will-build-cars-in-china-within-next-few-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/musk-tesla-will-build-cars-in-china-within-next-few-years/#comments Tue, 22 Apr 2014 13:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=807330 Model S - Tesla Motors China

Though Tesla is now just delivering new vehicles to China, CEO Elon Musk predicts his company will build luxury electric vehicles in the burgeoning market within the next three to four years.

Bloomberg reports the move to localized production would allow the automaker to sell their wares while also avoiding China’s 25 percent import tariff. Right now, a new Model S retails for $118,000 in Beijing due to VAT, shipping and import duties, compared to $71,000 in Los Angeles. Musk hopes to qualify the Model S for local subsidies to help offset costs in much the same way the luxury EV sedan receives federal tax credits back in the United States.

In addition, Tesla is expanding its Supercharger network to China, with Beijing and Shanghai among the first cities to join. No word yet as to how much the automaker is investing in the expansion.

A number of challenges lay ahead for Tesla’s move into the market, including slow adoption of electric vehicles among Chinese consumers and lack of a robust infrastructure, as well the loss of China general manager of operations Kingston Chang prior to the automaker’s entry. That said, Tesla plans to increase overall global sales 56 percent this year, moving 35,000 EVs out of the showroom in so doing.

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Wash. Governor Inslee Signs Pro-Tesla Legislation, Hackers Find Ubuntu Inside http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/wash-governor-inslee-signs-pro-tesla-legislation-hackers-find-ubuntu-inside/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/wash-governor-inslee-signs-pro-tesla-legislation-hackers-find-ubuntu-inside/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 13:45:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=797458 Ubuntu_GNOME_13.10_ScreenShot

Automotive News reports Washington state governor Jay Inslee signed legislation that would allow Tesla to continue with its direct-sales business model within the state while also clarifying current law that favors traditional franchise dealership networks by preventing other automakers from following in Tesla’s path. The EV automaker thanked the state government “for supporting a culture of innovation and ultimately making the right decision for consumers” with the introduction of the bill into law.

In other government news, the California Air Resources Board is considering cutting EVs priced at $60,000 and above from the agency’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Program as funding continues to run low, according to Capitol Weekly. Though the move would be temporary, the cap would push-out both the Cadillac ELR and Tesla’s Model S and upcoming X, a move that Tesla feels is disappointing:

[CARB] aims to paint Tesla as the sole purveyor of EVs (electric vehicles) to the wealthy, while disregarding the fact that individuals of similar affluence may still continue to receive a rebate by purchasing a different EV.

Finally, Autoblog Green reports a group of tech-savvy Tesla owners have dug into their EV’s console via its exposed Ethernet connector, discovering a subsystem powered by Linux distribution Ubuntu. The individual behind the dig, known only as ‘nlc,’ was contacted by the automaker through its service center, warning him that his exploration could void his car’s warranty should he persist.

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GM Adds 824k Vehicles To Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/gm-adds-824k-vehicles-to-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/gm-adds-824k-vehicles-to-recall/#comments Mon, 31 Mar 2014 13:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=785137 2009_Saturn_Sky_Redline_Ruby_Red_Limited_Edition

Over the weekend, General Motors called back an additional 824,000 vehicles whose ignition switches could slip out of the “on” position, cutting power to the engine, brakes and air bags. According to Automotive News, the recall now affects Chevrolet Cobalts and HHRs, Pontiac G5s, and Saturn Ions and Skys made between 2008 and 2011. The reasoning is that while those vehicles were made after the switch was improved in April 2006, some 90,000 vehicles may have received the faulty switch during repairs.

In addition, Detroit Free Press reports GM issued a stop sale order and recall of 190,000 2013 – 2014 Chevrolet Cruzes in the United States and Canada fitted with the gasoline-powered 1.4-liter Ecotec turbo-four. The right front axle half shaft could “fracture and separate without warning” under normal driving conditions, according to the automaker.

Meanwhile, 490,200 2014 Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras, as well as 2015 Chevrolet Tahoes and Suburbans and GMC Yukon XLs and Yukons, are being recalled in order to fix a transmission oil cooler line that, if not “securely seated and transmission oil leaks from the fitting,” may cause oil to spill onto hot surfaces, resulting in a fire such as the one experienced earlier this month during a test drive in California earlier this month.

The few who purchased or leased a 2014 Cadillac ELR may also need to bring their vehicles in for service. Detroit Free Press says ELRs made between Sept. 26, 2013 and Valentine’s Day 2014 without adaptive cruise control may suffer from an electronic stability system unable to perform certain diagnostics that would alert the driver if the system was either partially or fully disabled, which then could lead to a crash. GM will recalibrate the electronic brake control module for free in their recall notice, set to be issued April 17.

Speaking of Cadillac, Automotive News reports brand chief and former head lobbyist Bob Ferguson has been sent to Washington, D.C. ahead of two separate congressional hearings over the 2014 ignition recall crisis, helping the automaker to prepare. Though insiders have speculated Ferguson could once again return to D.C. permanently as GM’s vice president of of global public policy, the automaker offered nothing more than what Ferguson was doing for them currently.

Bloomberg, Automotive News and Detroit Free Press report GM has had a difficult time with the ignition switch used in their small cars. The switch had been altered three times in five years, beginning with the inability to start 2003 – 2006 Saturn Ions thanks to a defect related to the car’s Passlock theft-deterrent system. The fix, which included a new part number, led to the headache currently being experienced by the automaker.

However, the fix that would have cured the new switch’s ability to accidentally shut vehicles down — such as the Chevrolet Cobalt — was cancelled in 2005 by GM on the words of a project engineering manager who cited costly tooling and piece prices as reasons not to press forward. The part was approved by GM in 2002, despite Delphi — who made the part for GM — noting the switch did not meet specification, nor did the 2006 ignition that, while preventing the slip issue linked to 31 crashes and 13 deaths, was still below what General Motors had requested.

As for the agency responsible for pushing this issue into the spotlight much sooner than 2014, Detroit Free Press says a review by the Associated Press of complaints made to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration between 2005 and 2014 found 164 drivers of 2005 – 2007 Chevrolet Cobalts experienced their vehicle shutting down with no warning; only the Toyota Corolla of the same vintage — recalled during the government’s investigation into Toyota in 2010 — saw more complaints.

In addition, an unnamed official who headed the NHTSA’s Defects Assessment Division recommended in 2007 an investigation as to why air bags in 2003 – 2006 Cobalts and Ions didn’t deploy, stating complaints made to the agency in 2005, along with early warning data gathered from related repairs and injuries, justified such action.

Bloomberg adds the cars linked to the faulty switch were marketed to first-time drivers, whose inexperience behind the wheel may have added to the chain of events leading to the number of crashes and fatalities documented thus far. Though GM stated in 2005 the driver could regain control by shifting to neutral and restarting, auto-safety experts and driving instructors, such as American Drivers Traffic Safety Education Association CEO Allen Robinson, said the scenario presented by the ignition failure would be hard to manage by most drivers:

It’s going to be a real problem and most people are not going to know how to deal with it.These sorts of mechanical failures are so infrequent that you can’t really prepare people for them.

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Tesla Hires Renault-Nissan Communications Director http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/tesla-hires-renault-nissan-communications-director/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/tesla-hires-renault-nissan-communications-director/#comments Thu, 13 Mar 2014 12:35:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=770985 tesla-model-s-10

In preparation to enter the Chinese market while battling state governments of direct sales, Tesla has hired Renault-Nissan communications director Simon Sproule to the role of vice president of communications and marketing for the EV automaker.

Bloomberg reports Sproule’s experience gained from stints with Microsoft, Jaguar, Ford and Renault-Nissan may be of benefit to Tesla, according to AutoTrends Inc. principal Joe Phillippi:

In many respects he’s got the perfect background. He’s been on the tech side, he’s been on the international auto side and he works for a CEO with peripatetic qualities who runs more than one company.

Sproule will be responsible for marketing Tesla to Europe and China — who aim to increase sales of its Model S 55 percent through exports to the two markets this year — while aiding in the fight with various state regulators over direct sales to customers, including this week’s blow-up between the automaker and New Jersey.

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Tesla Unveils $5 Billion Gigafactory http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/tesla-unveils-5-billion-gigafactory/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/tesla-unveils-5-billion-gigafactory/#comments Thu, 27 Feb 2014 15:10:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=755721 Tesla Gigafactory

After months of speculation, Tesla drew back the curtain on their most ambitious project to date, the Gigafactory.

Yahoo News reports the Gigafactory’s price tag would total $5 billion, $2 billion of which would directly from Tesla — including a portion from a proposed $1.6 billion convertible note offering that will also be used for future vehicle development — with current partner Panasonic and their partners fronting the remainder of the investment. Interestingly, Morgan Stanley announced it was expecting to collect underwriting fees from the note just one day after also issuing a research memo that called for a doubling of their price target for Tesla shares.

Four sites in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas are under final consideration for the site of the Gigafactory, and the finished project will employ 6,500 workers. The first goal for the Gigafactory is to begin construction this year in time to open its doors in 2017 at the same time the low-cost Model E is set to enter showrooms, with battery costs projected to fall 30 percent in the same timeframe. The milestone will be followed by a push to increase cell and pack outputs by 35 and 50 GWh/yr by 2020, where Tesla expects to move 500,000 units a year into showrooms around the world. Despite widespread reports to the contrary, Musk told Bloomberg that Panasonic’s participation “is not 100 percent confirmed“.

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