In its quest to take over the world, Volkswagen wants to automate parking and charging your electric vehicle at the mall and other public places where searching for a spot to put your car is an absolute pain.
Dubbed V-Charge, which is short for Valet Charge, it’s a collection of technologies — including your smartphone — that allows you to pull up to the door of your favorite shop, tell your car to go park itself and then have it retrieved automatically with a (nearly) full charge (depending on how many pairs of shoes the missus tries on).
Recent reports have incorrectly stated that the 2012 RAV4 EV will only be marketed to fleet and car sharing programs. We’d like to set the record straight. The 2012 RAV4 EV will definitely be sold to the general public. We anticipate robust public interest in the RAV4 EV and are keen to inform consumers that their future vehicle options include a battery electric Toyota.
Toyota is the only manufacturer bringing two battery electric vehicles to the market in 2012 – the RAV4 EV and the Scion iQ EV. While the RAV4 EV will be available to the public, the Scion iQ EV will be marketed to fleet and car sharing programs only.
A number of major auto outlets got clowned yesterday when a Pike Research blog item seemed to quote Toyota Business Planning Manager of Advanced Vehicle Marketing Geri Yoza as saying the Tesla-developed RAV4 EV would not be sold to private customers, but would distributed to fleets and car sharing services. Not so, it turns out, as Toyota has corrected the Yoza quote by confirming that only the electric version of the iQ city car will definitely not be offered for public sale. But by the time Pike Research got its facts straight, the misinformation had ben regurgitated by the biggest names in car blogging, and had even made its way over to the other side of the Atlantic. The worst part: the real issue brought up in the Pike Research piece was largely lost in the autoblogosphere’s rush to prove Mark Twain’s adage that “a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” And, as usual, the slow-dressing truth is a lot more interesting than the globe-trotting lie…
When I embarked on the Volt press launch, I made a public promise to keep my impressions of the car itself separate from concerns about its overall viability. My review of the Volt is coming on Monday, but a new issue is already raising its head to confront GM’s extended-range electric car. The Volt’s home charger costs $490 on top of the Volt’s $41,000 (pre-tax credit) price, and costs another $1,500 to install. But, according to BNet’s Jim Motavelli, money isn’t the only obstacle to obtaining the home charger that’s necessary to tap the Volt’s 40 miles of electric range. EV advocate and Volt Customer Advisory Board member Chelsea Sexton, of “Who Killed The Electric Car? fame, is one of the first Americans to live with the Volt, and despite enjoying the backing of GM, she’s run into a problem that she and other EV advocates worry will blunt enthusiasm for home-charged EVs like the Volt: she needs a “time of use” meter.
Reuters reports that Ford and Microsoft are deepening ties that began with the Sync hands-free system, announcing a new online app aimed at plug-in vehicle owners. “Hohm,” as the new app is called, will be made available for free to owners of Ford electric vehicles, and will “help vehicle and home owners decide when to power up electric vehicle batteries, in the hope that consumers will draw power from the grid at night, when energy use and costs are lower” according to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Which leaves only one problem: the fact that Ford doesn’t sell any electric vehicles. An EV version of the Transit Connect commercial van will be made available later this year, one of five EVs Ford says it will sell by 2013. But how much will EV recharging be about planning the most efficient time to maximize grid downtime? Won’t people who use their EV every day simply plug in when they get home and unplug when they head to work in the morning? Does there really need to be an app for this? Oh right, as a society we’ve stopped asking that particular question. Very well, carry on.