The Truth About Cars » EVs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 24 Feb 2015 20:51:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 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 » EVs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Skeptical Environmentalist Bjørn Lomborg Says Electric Cars Kill More Than ICEs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/skeptical-environmentalist-bjorn-lomborg-says-electric-cars-kill-more-than-ices/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/skeptical-environmentalist-bjorn-lomborg-says-electric-cars-kill-more-than-ices/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 16:25:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004746 In an op-ed in USA Today, headlined “Electric car benefits? Just myths“, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, Bjørn Lomborg, calls for people to “stop our green worship of the electric car,” arguing that EVs  end up costing society a lot of money while doing little to cut emissions of carbon dioxide. Even more provocatively, Lomborg claims that […]

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In an op-ed in USA Today, headlined “Electric car benefits? Just myths“, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, Bjørn Lomborg, calls for people to “stop our green worship of the electric car,” arguing that EVs  end up costing society a lot of money while doing little to cut emissions of carbon dioxide. Even more provocatively, Lomborg claims that because EVs are, for the most part, ultimately powered by coal fired electrical generating plants, the pollution associated with cars that run on electrons will end up killing almost twice as many people as that created by gasoline powered vehicles.

He says, for example, that the total life cycle CO2 emissions of the Tesla Model S will be about 44 tons, compared to an Audi A7 Quattro’s ~49 tons. At the current trading rate of $9/ton on Europe’s carbon emissions market, that works out to what Lomborg describes as just $45 in climate benefits for the $7,500 tax credit by which American taxpayers subsidize the purchase of EVs. “That’s a bad deal,” is how the Danish professor describes it.

Lomborg’s academic background is in the field of political science, but he’s taught statistics as a poli-sci and business professor for over  a decade. As a gay, vegetarian Scandinavian, he’s probably nobody’s stereotype of any kind of global warming skeptic. His 2001 book, The Skeptical Environmentalist, posits controversially that many commonly accepted environmental claims are wrong. As a result he’s been the target of accusations of scientific misconduct. Lomborg doesn’t dispute the existence of global warming and says that it’s a serious problem that needs to be addressed long-term but he asserts that our current reactions to it are not cost-effective.

From Lomborg’s editorial:

It is time to stop our green worship of the electric car. It costs us a fortune, cuts little CO2 and surprisingly kills almost twice the number of people compared with regular gasoline cars.

Electric cars’ global-warming benefits are small. It is advertised as a zero-emissions car, but in reality it only shifts emissions to electricity production, with most coming from fossil fuels.

Discuss among yourselves.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Nissan: EV Charging Infrastructure Surpasses Fuel Stations In Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nissan-ev-charging-infrastructure-surpasses-fuel-stations-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nissan-ev-charging-infrastructure-surpasses-fuel-stations-japan/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 14:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1003682 Driving around Japan in your EV of choice? Range anxiety likely won’t be an issue, as the nation has more charging points than gas stations. Per The Japan Times, Nissan discovered the number of such points — including fast and home chargers — now total 40,000. In contrast, there are only 34,000 fuel stations for […]

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EV Charger In Japan

Driving around Japan in your EV of choice? Range anxiety likely won’t be an issue, as the nation has more charging points than gas stations.

Per The Japan Times, Nissan discovered the number of such points — including fast and home chargers — now total 40,000. In contrast, there are only 34,000 fuel stations for those in who prefer Rocket Bunnys and Rauh-Welts over Leafs and i3s. The differing figures show how quickly those points have sprung up, especially when it took decades for the oil industry to work its magic in Japan.

However, many of the 40,000 points are in the home, and therefore, not currently accessible to the motoring public. A possible remedy could come in the form of the emerging sharing economy — Airbnb, Car2Go, Uber et al — where homeowners would share their charging point with others for a small fee.

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Second-Gen Nissan Leaf Announcements Coming This Summer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/second-gen-nissan-leaf-announcements-coming-summer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/second-gen-nissan-leaf-announcements-coming-summer/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 12:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1003642 Wanting to know if the Nissan Leaf will look more conventional in its second iteration? Power and range more your concern? Can you wait until this summer? Autoblog reports news of the next-gen Leaf will likely come this summer, despite recent announcements from Chevrolet and Tesla regarding their own respective low-cost electric offerings piquing curiosity […]

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2013 Nissan Leaf. Photo courtesy Nissan.

Wanting to know if the Nissan Leaf will look more conventional in its second iteration? Power and range more your concern? Can you wait until this summer?

Autoblog reports news of the next-gen Leaf will likely come this summer, despite recent announcements from Chevrolet and Tesla regarding their own respective low-cost electric offerings piquing curiosity regarding Nissan’s EV.

The only statement to come thus far? Per Nissan North America corporate communications chief Brian Brockman during the 2015 Chicago Auto Show, “things are in the works.” He adds that the silent treatment until the weather warms up is out of concern for the potential of cannibalized pure EV sales, an issue no other automaker has to worry about.

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Apple Rumored At Work On Titan EV Project http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/apple-rumored-work-titan-ev-project/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/apple-rumored-work-titan-ev-project/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1002074 Not about to let Google or Tesla tackle the automotive space without competition, Apple is rumored to be entering the game with its own EV project. Autoblog reports the project, dubbed Project Titan, is an EV resembling a minivan, and has several hundred Apple employees working to make the vehicle a reality. Vice president of […]

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Not about to let Google or Tesla tackle the automotive space without competition, Apple is rumored to be entering the game with its own EV project.

Autoblog reports the project, dubbed Project Titan, is an EV resembling a minivan, and has several hundred Apple employees working to make the vehicle a reality. Vice president of product design and former Ford engineer Steve Zadesky is said to be leading the project, while director of Mac systems engineering and former Mercedes-Benz R&D chief Johann Jungwirth is contributing his knowledge. Austrian supplier Magna Steyr has also been tapped by Apple execs to help guide the project along.

News of the rumored EV comes amid other rumors regarding the company’s poaching missions to Tesla — who allegedly have done the same to Apple in return — as well its desire to enter the autonomous vehicle market to one-up Google down the road.

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Sources: Three Challenges Behind Tesla Model X Delay http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/sources-three-challenges-behind-tesla-model-x-delay/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/sources-three-challenges-behind-tesla-model-x-delay/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 11:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=995282 The oft-delayed Tesla Model X is currently set for a Q3 2015 launch, two years after it was originally supposed to enter showrooms. How did this happen? Green Car Reports offers three reasons for the gull-winged crossover’s delay from its anonymous sources, the first being the bane of all electric vehicles, range. Tesla had hoped […]

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Tesla Model X

The oft-delayed Tesla Model X is currently set for a Q3 2015 launch, two years after it was originally supposed to enter showrooms. How did this happen?

Green Car Reports offers three reasons for the gull-winged crossover’s delay from its anonymous sources, the first being the bane of all electric vehicles, range. Tesla had hoped to pull 250 miles from the 85-kWh model by using side-view cameras in lieu of door mirrors. However, doing so would require some changes to safety standards, standards that are currently under-study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. With nothing on the horizon, the automaker will have to find those miles elsewhere for now.

Another issue is the rear “falcon” doors. While keeping the elements out has been solved, side-impact protection and structural issues remain. With expectations of safety to be equal to the Model S, the doors would need strong interlocking beams to protect the rear passengers, at the expense of increased weight and possible consumption of precious interior space. In turn, the doors’ torsion springs have to better spread the weight through the narrow spine of the aluminum roof, lest warpage occur. The automaker may end up using more expensive titanium to get that it needs out of that part of the crossover.

Finally, the dual-motor powertrain has to be able to tow “a trailer with a couple of motorcycles or personal watercraft.” Doing so would require extensive cooling measures to ensure the electric motors can sustain the output needed to two for miles/hours on end, which means foregoing the glycol-coolant system in the Model S P85D for refrigerant to actively remove the heat.

While Tesla claims the Model X is “on track for a Q3 launch,” Green Car Reports‘ sources point to production beginning as late as 18 to 24 months from now, a timeframe that would overlap the low-cost Model 3’s projected production start.

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Washington State Looking To Encourage EV Adoption Via Legislation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/washington-state-looking-encourage-ev-adoption-via-legislation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/washington-state-looking-encourage-ev-adoption-via-legislation/#comments Mon, 09 Feb 2015 15:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=994898 Legislators in the state of Washington have a slate of bills in mind that would encourage more EV adoption in order to help reduce air pollution. Autoblog reports one bill would create a “statewide electric vehicle infrastructure bank” that would be used to fund new charging stations throughout Washington. The bank would be funded via […]

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Tesla Model S + Space X Under the Space Needle in Seattle

Legislators in the state of Washington have a slate of bills in mind that would encourage more EV adoption in order to help reduce air pollution.

Autoblog reports one bill would create a “statewide electric vehicle infrastructure bank” that would be used to fund new charging stations throughout Washington. The bank would be funded via a $100 annual fee for EV registrations, as well as a change to sales-tax exemptions for such vehicles via a bill that would renew them through July 2021. The exemption would cover the first $45,000 of an EV’s purchase price, so those buying a Nissan Leaf or a Chevrolet Bolt would be just fine, while those buying a Tesla Model S or X would pay the sales tax.

Other bills in the running include a requirement of all cities in Snohomish, King, Pierce and Thurston counties to allow charging stations in nearly all land zoning categories; incentive programs for builders to add such stations to their projects; and utility compliance credits for those who buy new EV chargers.

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Credit Suisse Picks Tesla As One Of Its Favorites For 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/credit-suisse-picks-tesla-one-favorites-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/credit-suisse-picks-tesla-one-favorites-2015/#comments Mon, 09 Feb 2015 13:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=994858 Looking for new stock to add to your portfolio in 2015? Credit Suisse has one for your consideration: Tesla. Bidness Etc reports the investment firm’s analyst picked the Californian EV automaker as its one of its favorites in the Auto and Auto Parts Industry category. Dan Galves, who led the investment research on Tesla, says […]

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2013 Tesla Model S P85 Fishing boat

Looking for new stock to add to your portfolio in 2015? Credit Suisse has one for your consideration: Tesla.

Bidness Etc reports the investment firm’s analyst picked the Californian EV automaker as its one of its favorites in the Auto and Auto Parts Industry category. Dan Galves, who led the investment research on Tesla, says the automaker’s biggest selling point for the medium term is its Gigafactory and lithium-battery pack technology. He and his fellow analysts believe the main goal of the factory — to reduce production costs — is probable, with parity compared to coventionally powered vehicles to come by 2017.

Credit Suisse also projects the Model X — when it finally does arrive — “will be a potential positive catalyst in the process of slowly shifting the industry toward EVs.” Increased production volume visibility during H2 2015 is also expected to provide a view of the automaker’s EBIT margin potential, with the firm bestowing an Outperform rating and a $325 price target on the stock.

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France Encouraging Diesel Drivers To Go Electric Via €10K Incentive http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/france-encouraging-diesel-drivers-go-electric-via-10k-incentive/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/france-encouraging-diesel-drivers-go-electric-via-10k-incentive/#comments Fri, 06 Feb 2015 15:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=994258 Starting in April, France will encourage diesel drivers to replace their oil burners with electric power through an incentive up to €10,000 ($11,422 USD). Automotive News Europe the incentive would help “convince buyers to try an electric car,” per a Renault representative. The automaker’s Zoe would leave the showroom with a price of €12,400 ($14,203) […]

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Starting in April, France will encourage diesel drivers to replace their oil burners with electric power through an incentive up to €10,000 ($11,422 USD).

Automotive News Europe the incentive would help “convince buyers to try an electric car,” per a Renault representative. The automaker’s Zoe would leave the showroom with a price of €12,400 ($14,203) instead of €22,400 ($25,658), while its partner Nissan would see a drop from €18,090 ($21,650) to €14,390 ($16,483).

France Energy Minister Ségolène Royal says the nation “must eliminate old diesel cars that are more than 13 years old and have no filters,” adding that measures will make diesel “harder and harder” to use overall.

One measure in particular would align diesel taxes with those of gasoline. The alignment would help reduce smog, according to Royal, stating that “60 percent of the French population breathes air that isn’t healthy.”

At present, 80 percent of all French drivers move about with diesel power, though new-diesel sales have declined over the past two years, from 73 percent of all new cars to 64 percent.

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Schmidt: Western Europe EV, PHEV Sales Stalling Through Decade http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/schmidt-western-europe-ev-phev-sales-stalling-decade/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/schmidt-western-europe-ev-phev-sales-stalling-decade/#comments Fri, 06 Feb 2015 13:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=994226 EV and PHEV manufacturers may have fared well in Western Europe last year, but further gains in the market aren’t likely for some time to come. Forbes reports sales in Western Europe climbed 51.7 percent in 2014 to 58,582 EVs and PHEVs, gaining an overall market share of 0.49 percent according to Automotive Industry Data. […]

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EV and PHEV manufacturers may have fared well in Western Europe last year, but further gains in the market aren’t likely for some time to come.

Forbes reports sales in Western Europe climbed 51.7 percent in 2014 to 58,582 EVs and PHEVs, gaining an overall market share of 0.49 percent according to Automotive Industry Data. Editor Peter Schmidt, however, warns that this may be the peak of such sales for the next five years:

Effectively, you have no detectable, genuine underlying consumer demand from private individuals. To make things worse, looking ahead at the next couple of years, I would say this is a scary time for electric car makers, chiefly because as the price of oil continues to hover around levels inconceivable a year ago and with fuel prices falling month by month, those people who had thought about buying an electric car may give up when they look at motoring expenses.

Per AID‘s figures, the Nissan Leaf took gold with 14,354 units sold in 2014, with the Renault Zoe winning silver with 10,885 units, and the Tesla Model S in a close third with 8,698 units. BMW and Volkswagen fill out the rest of the standings, with 8,290 i3s and 8,461 E-Ups and E-Golfs sold. Schmidt says those numbers don’t point to a “detectable genuine underlining consumer demand,” with Norway being the sole exception. There, 18,090 EVs and PHEVs took 12.5 percent of the country’s overall market last year, thanks to tax credits that make such vehicles equally as attractive as gasoline- and diesel-fueled models.

He adds that cheap oil “has tempted a rethink” among consumers as far as seeking out such vehicles are concerned, especially among those in the United States, where fuel is cheaper than in Western Europe already. Schmidt believes the lower prices at the pump would hold back the EV/PHEV market for the remainder of the decade, leading to major financial losses among the manufacturers who went all-in on EVs and PHEVs.

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Study: US Better Off Funding EV Charging Infrastructure Over Tax Incentives http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/study-us-better-off-funding-ev-charging-infrastructure-tax-incentives/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/study-us-better-off-funding-ev-charging-infrastructure-tax-incentives/#comments Thu, 05 Feb 2015 14:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=994010 According to a new study, federal funding of EV charging infrastructure would do more to increase EV adoption rates than what tax credits do now. The National Science Foundation discovered that the total amount of credits dispersed between 2011 and 2013 came out to $1.05 billion, enough to build over 60,000 charging stations had the […]

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Tesla Supercharger Night Party

According to a new study, federal funding of EV charging infrastructure would do more to increase EV adoption rates than what tax credits do now.

The National Science Foundation discovered that the total amount of credits dispersed between 2011 and 2013 came out to $1.05 billion, enough to build over 60,000 charging stations had the subsidies gone towards such things; the figure is equal to half of all gas stations in the United States. In turn, an additional 60,000 stations would boost adoption rates to five times the current rate.

Another part of the study focused how EV and PHEV owners charged their vehicles, looking at ways to bring low-cost, more efficient charging to the home. Most owners use a standard 120-volt outlet for overnight charging, while direct-current charging boosts recharge rates four to six times above alternating-current charging, but at a cost of $15,000 to $25,000 for the equipment.

As for outside of the home, the NSF developed an intelligent charging system that would optimize charging costs at malls or parking garages, while managing the charging itself to reduce strain on the electric grid.

The study comes as the U.S. will likely fall short of the 1-million EV goal set by President Barack Obama for the end of 2015; just over 250,000 EVs have been sold in the U.S. since 2010.

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Federal EV, PHEV Tax Incentive May Increase To $10K http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/federal-ev-phev-tax-incentive-may-increase-10k/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/federal-ev-phev-tax-incentive-may-increase-10k/#comments Thu, 05 Feb 2015 13:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=993994 Is the $7,500 federal tax incentive not enough to consider owning a new green machine? If President Obama has his way, that figure could climb to $10,000. The Detroit News says the increased incentive for purchasing an EV or PHEV — part of Obama’s FY 2016 budget — is not only meant to make ownership […]

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2016 Chevrolet Volt

Is the $7,500 federal tax incentive not enough to consider owning a new green machine? If President Obama has his way, that figure could climb to $10,000.

The Detroit News says the increased incentive for purchasing an EV or PHEV — part of Obama’s FY 2016 budget — is not only meant to make ownership of such vehicles more alluring, but would be applied as an immediate rebate at the time of purchase. The new incentive would also bring other green vehicles into the fold, such as CNG vehicles.

Other proposals in the budget include a three-fold increase in funding for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and a one-time corporate foreign earnings tax to help fund road and other infrastructure projects over the next six years.

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Thwaite: Save Georgia’s EV Incentives From The Guillotine http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/thwaite-save-georgias-ev-incentives-guillotine/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/thwaite-save-georgias-ev-incentives-guillotine/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 13:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=993594 Plug In America vice president Michael Thwaite is making a call-to-arms to ensure Georgia’s EV incentives do not go quietly into the night. Per Thwaite, the main problem is a proposal by Georgia representative Chuck Martin of Alpharetta — known as House Bill 122 — that would “eliminate the state electric vehicle tax credits of […]

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Atlanta Police Nissan Leaf

Plug In America vice president Michael Thwaite is making a call-to-arms to ensure Georgia’s EV incentives do not go quietly into the night.

Per Thwaite, the main problem is a proposal by Georgia representative Chuck Martin of Alpharetta — known as House Bill 122 — that would “eliminate the state electric vehicle tax credits of $5,000,” a bill that Thwaite claims has 60 supporters on-board already.

He says that keeping the credit would also keep $2,242/year in Georgia, due to EVs — including the largest number of Nissan Leafs in a single state — recharging from an outlet as opposed to refueling at the pump; the state boasts one asphalt refinery and no oil-producing wells.

Martin’s last attempt to cap or eliminate state incentives for EVs came in 2014 through House Bill 257, which would cap the number of incentives to just 2,000 EVs/year. The bill was tabled when time ran out to vote upon it, though it could come up during the 2015 session of the Georgia General Assembly, which begins February 4.

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Wright: Tesla’s Camry ‘Not Possible’ Despite Ongoing Success http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/wright-teslas-camry-not-possible-despite-ongoing-success/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/wright-teslas-camry-not-possible-despite-ongoing-success/#comments Tue, 03 Feb 2015 12:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=992866 Tesla co-founder Ian Wright says that while he’s surprised by his old company’s success, the idea of a mass-market EV still doesn’t seem likely. During an interview with San Francisco Business Times about Wrightspeed’s relocation from San Jose to Alameda, Calif., Wright was pleased that Tesla “worked out… quite a lot better” than he originally […]

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Ian Wright

Tesla co-founder Ian Wright says that while he’s surprised by his old company’s success, the idea of a mass-market EV still doesn’t seem likely.

During an interview with San Francisco Business Times about Wrightspeed’s relocation from San Jose to Alameda, Calif., Wright was pleased that Tesla “worked out… quite a lot better” than he originally thought it would, praising the success of the Model S.

As for Tesla’s overall goal of building EVs “cheaper and cheaper and cheaper until they were outselling the Camry,” he still thinks that isn’t possible, having never been “on board” with the idea among co-founders Martin Eberhard and Mark Tarpenning.

As for his own company, which makes hybrid gas-electric turbine drivetrains for medium and heavy commercial vehicles like garbage and delivery trucks, Wright says there’s a $5 billion market in the United States for his drivetrains, $2 billion alone in garbage trucks. Clients such as FedEx and Ratto Group have installed Wrightspeed tech into their fleets in California, while the California Energy Commission bestowed his company with nearly $7 million in grants.

Speaking of funding, Wright is preparing an IPO in the event he does take his company public, hoping he might do better than when he sold his Tesla shares in 2010 prior to their astronomical appreciation.

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OEMs Delay Vehicle Alert Sounds For Pedestrians On EVs, Hybrids http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/oems-delay-vehicle-alert-sounds-pedestrians-evs-hybrids/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/oems-delay-vehicle-alert-sounds-pedestrians-evs-hybrids/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 14:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=992458 As quiet as electric vehicles and hybrids are, plans to make them noisy for the benefit of pedestrians et al have been delayed until 2018. Edmunds reports accidents involving pedestrians climbed 6 percent in 2012 over the previous year, totaling 76,000 injuries and 4,743 deaths. Though EVs and hybrids only account for less than 2 […]

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As quiet as electric vehicles and hybrids are, plans to make them noisy for the benefit of pedestrians et al have been delayed until 2018.

Edmunds reports accidents involving pedestrians climbed 6 percent in 2012 over the previous year, totaling 76,000 injuries and 4,743 deaths. Though EVs and hybrids only account for less than 2 percent of all vehicles traversing the United States, were they equipped with engine sound technology — and were the percentage to increase to a projected 4 percent in 2016 — the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 2,790 fewer accidents with pedestrians would result.

To help introduce the technology in all EVs and hybrids, Congress enacted the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act in January 2011, which mandates the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop standards for automakers to use in implementing “recognizable” sounds meant to alert pedestrians that a vehicle is approaching when the vehicle is moving down the road at 18 mph or less. The full power of the act would have come into play three years after the final rule is passed down, but delays in getting to that point — the result of comments by automakers and industry groups — have pushed the mandate to September 2018.

Meanwhile, a handful of automakers have moved ahead with implementing their versions of the safety system. Nissan has the Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians on its Leaf, while Chevrolet has a driver-operated noise onboard the Volt. However, the sounds don’t always resemble that of the ICE; Fisker’s Karma, for example, pulls its alert from Tron light-cycles and Motorola Droids, while the Kia Soul EV is waving its light saber in front of a field of crickets. Most manufacturers, though, are sitting out the PSEA until they know what the final rule will say on the matter.

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Toyota Unveils Silicon Carbide Semiconductor Trial http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/toyota-unveils-silicon-carbide-semiconductor-trial/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/toyota-unveils-silicon-carbide-semiconductor-trial/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 14:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=991218 Toyota unveiled its plans Wednesday to trial a new hybrid system using silicon carbide power semiconductors that could find its way into hybrids and EVs. The trial will compare the new silicon carbide semiconductors with silicon units currently found in many a hybrid’s, FCV’s and EV’s power control unit, which are linked to a 20 […]

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Toyota SiC Power Control Unit 01

Toyota unveiled its plans Wednesday to trial a new hybrid system using silicon carbide power semiconductors that could find its way into hybrids and EVs.

The trial will compare the new silicon carbide semiconductors with silicon units currently found in many a hybrid’s, FCV’s and EV’s power control unit, which are linked to a 20 percent loss in overall electric power. The aim is to increase powertrain efficiency by mitigating said losses through the new semiconductors.

The test subjects will be a Camry hybrid prototype and a fuel-cell bus. The bus trial began in early January, when Toyota started data collection on a setup featuring SiC diodes in the FCV’s voltage step-up converter. Meanwhile, the Camry — whose SiC components are in both the hybrid’s voltage step-up and inverter — will hit the road for a year beginning early next month. Both tests are being carried out in Toyota City, Japan.

Toyota hopes to have the SiC technology — developed in a partnership with Denso Corporation and Toyota Central R&D Labs, Inc. — ready for practical use as soon as possible.

Toyota Camry SiC Prototype Toyota SiC FCV Bus Toyota SiC Power Control Unit 01 Toyota SiC Power Control Unit 02 Toyota SiC Power Control Unit In Camry

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Nissan Looking Beyond Federal Credits For Leaf http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/nissan-looking-beyond-federal-credits-leaf/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/nissan-looking-beyond-federal-credits-leaf/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 14:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989562 Though Nissan has sold over 77,000 Leafs since 2010, the automaker has plans for when the federal credits end with the 200,000th unit of the popular EV. According to Ward’s Auto, Nissan North America product planning chief Pierre Loing says the automaker is looking to negotiate increasing the limit, proclaiming that the current 200,000-unit limit […]

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Though Nissan has sold over 77,000 Leafs since 2010, the automaker has plans for when the federal credits end with the 200,000th unit of the popular EV.

According to Ward’s Auto, Nissan North America product planning chief Pierre Loing says the automaker is looking to negotiate increasing the limit, proclaiming that the current 200,000-unit limit harms EV adoption:

Being the first ones on the market, we should be among the first ones to reach 200,000, and you penalize those who’ve tried to be first?

That said, even when the $7,500 credit goes away, Nissan has plans to make the Leaf more attractive, from increasing the range to reducing the cost of the EV’s lithium-ion battery pack. Loing admits that the latter’s cost issue hasn’t improved quickly enough, and worries that falling oil prices aren’t going to help much either.

He was pleased with how well the Leaf fared in 2014, however; 30,200 units left U.S. showrooms that year, an all-time record for Nissan.

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Carlypso: PHEVs To Reach 1 Percent Market Share In Q1 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/carlypso-phevs-reach-1-percent-market-share-q1-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/carlypso-phevs-reach-1-percent-market-share-q1-2015/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 11:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988434 By the end of Q1 2015, PHEVs are expected to take 1 percent of the overall U.S. domestic market despite fuel prices continuing their downward spiral. Online used-car resell agent Carlypso reports that while just over 50 percent of U.S. new-car sales are focused on light-duty pickups, falling fuel prices haven’t done much to boost […]

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By the end of Q1 2015, PHEVs are expected to take 1 percent of the overall U.S. domestic market despite fuel prices continuing their downward spiral.

Online used-car resell agent Carlypso reports that while just over 50 percent of U.S. new-car sales are focused on light-duty pickups, falling fuel prices haven’t done much to boost sales during the January 2013 – December 2014 period from whence the report collected its data, based on a sample of 16.3 million units.

The report also looked at over 28 million car sales in the same period, finding that PHEVs and EVs like the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt and BMW i3 made up 217,217 — or 0.86 percent — of said sales. In December 2014 alone, the Leaf, Volt, i3 and Tesla Model S collectively made up over 70 percent of U.S. PHEV/EV sales, despite the average price at the pump hitting $2.43/gallon that month; the current average is $2.05/gallon, down $1.23 from a year ago.

Carlypso co-founder Nicholas Hinrichsen says the findings show that consumers aren’t changing their behavior with the pump, opting to buy whatever they want as far as features and branding are concerned. He added that a vehicle’s value and demand isn’t going to change with the oil market either, advising consumers to let investors worry about how much West Texas Intermediate will go for per barrel.

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BMW, Volkswagen Team With ChargePoint For Bi-Coastal Network http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/bmw-volkswagen-team-chargepoint-bi-coastal-network/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/bmw-volkswagen-team-chargepoint-bi-coastal-network/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 13:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987810 More charging stations are on the way for EV owners, thanks to a new partnership between BMW, Volkswagen and ChargePoint. The first phase of the partnership will be 100 DC fast chargers running north to south between Portland and San Diego on the West Coast, Boston and the District of Columbia on the East Coast. […]

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BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf DC Charging

More charging stations are on the way for EV owners, thanks to a new partnership between BMW, Volkswagen and ChargePoint.

The first phase of the partnership will be 100 DC fast chargers running north to south between Portland and San Diego on the West Coast, Boston and the District of Columbia on the East Coast. Each station will have up to two 50 kW DC Fast or 24 kW DC Combo Fast chargers for most EVs like the BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf, as well as Level 2 chargers for all EVs. Access to each location is granted by a ChargePoint or ChargeNow membership card.

The new stations will be in metro and intercity locations — such as restaurants, malls and rest stops — spaced up to 50 miles apart for long-distance travel, joining a network of over 20,000 ChargePoint stations throughout the United States. The first location is online now in San Diego County, Calif., with the other 99 expected by the end of 2015.

Express Charging.Infographic.300dpi

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Lower Fuel Prices Mean More Savings On Green Vehicle Purchases http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/lower-fuel-prices-mean-savings-green-vehicle-purchases/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/lower-fuel-prices-mean-savings-green-vehicle-purchases/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 12:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=985106 Just like when high fuel prices knocked down the sale price of many a truck and SUV, the current drop in price at the pump is pulling down the prices for many a hybrid, PHEV and EV. Per TrueCar, the No. 1 green vehicle in January to leave more money in its buyer’s wallet is […]

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Just like when high fuel prices knocked down the sale price of many a truck and SUV, the current drop in price at the pump is pulling down the prices for many a hybrid, PHEV and EV.

Per TrueCar, the No. 1 green vehicle in January to leave more money in its buyer’s wallet is the Ford Focus Electric, which is leaving the lot with 16 percent off of its $29,995 MSRP. The market average for the EV comes out to $25,168.

Taking silver and bronze on the podium are the Ram 1500 Tradesman 4×2 with regular cab and standard bed, and the Toyota Venza XLE, coming with an average of around 11 percent savings off MSRP. Both vehicles are the only ones in the top five that aren’t green vehicles, though the 1500 can be had in EcoDiesel and EcoDiesel HFE trims.

Rounding out the quintet are the Kia Optima Hybrid and Toyota Prius Two, both saving their fans around 10 percent off MSRP for a total of $29,411 and $22,498, respectively.

President John Krafcik said that with automakers “heavily discounting their most fuel-efficient cars to clear inventories,” as well as the majority of consumers becoming more focused on the fuel pump over fuel economy, now is the time to buy a hybrid or EV. He added that “when the pendulum swings the other way,” such vehicles would become more attractive, with pricing to match.

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Webster: Smart Fortwo Electric Drive Arriving ‘A Year After’ ICE Model http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/webster-smart-fortwo-electric-drive-arriving-year-ice-model/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/webster-smart-fortwo-electric-drive-arriving-year-ice-model/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 12:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=984241 Though the new Smart Fortwo is coming to showrooms in the United States later this year, the Electric Drive model won’t be available just yet. Autoblog reports that the redesigned EV won’t hit U.S. showrooms for “approximately a year after” the ICE variant arrives, per Smart USA general manager Mark Webster, with the date of […]

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Though the new Smart Fortwo is coming to showrooms in the United States later this year, the Electric Drive model won’t be available just yet.

Autoblog reports that the redesigned EV won’t hit U.S. showrooms for “approximately a year after” the ICE variant arrives, per Smart USA general manager Mark Webster, with the date of arrival set for between late 2016 and early 2017. No explanation for the delay was given when interviewed by AutoblogGreen.

Until then, Smart plans to sell the previous generation Fortwo EV alongside the new ICE model. Webster stated that the brand moved over 2,000 units of the Fortwo ED in 2014, 921 in 2013. He added that parent company Daimler AG was “very committed” to electrification, explaining without going into specifics that other EVs were in the works.

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Tesla Share Price Plummets After Musk’s NAIAS 2015 Visit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/tesla-share-price-plummets-musks-naias-2015-visit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/tesla-share-price-plummets-musks-naias-2015-visit/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 11:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=984225 Tesla shareholders felt lighter Wednesday after the automaker’s stock price fell from just over $200/share to $186.09/share after CEO Elon Musk’s announcement at the 2015 Automotive News World Congress in Detroit — held during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show — that his company wouldn’t be profitable until the start of the 2020s. Business Insider adds […]

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Elon Musk

Tesla shareholders felt lighter Wednesday after the automaker’s stock price fell from just over $200/share to $186.09/share after CEO Elon Musk’s announcement at the 2015 Automotive News World Congress in Detroit — held during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show — that his company wouldn’t be profitable until the start of the 2020s.

Business Insider adds that another bombshell dropped at the start of his presentation likely helped to take the wind out of the sails: sales of the automaker’s Model S in China were down in Q4 2014. Musk put the blame on perception among Chinese consumers regarding the charging infrastructure for Tesla’s sole model, explaining that not only had the issue been handled, but that the Supercharger network was expanding; the rate of said expansion, however, is slower than that of Europe or the United States.

Further into the presentation, Musk proclaimed that Tesla would sell “a few million” vehicles by 2025 by going for volume over being a niche luxury player, likely built on the back of the upcoming Model 3. Meanwhile, the Model X due sometime this year is already sold out for the entire year despite the company’s best efforts to manage demand, such as steering would-be X owners into the driver’s seat of the S.

Finally, Musk urged the majors in the audience to continue their investments into electrification, stating that they all need to do more to change the public’s perceptions on EVs and hybrids.

Since the plunge, Tesla shares have recovered some of their lost value, closing $191.87/share Thursday afternoon.

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Detroit Electric Reveals Production Exterior, Interior & Signs Asia Distributor http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/detroit-electric-reveals-production-exterior-interior-signs-asia-distributor/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/detroit-electric-reveals-production-exterior-interior-signs-asia-distributor/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 20:26:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=972394 Detroit Electric, the startup company that hopes to revive the early motoring age’s most successful brand of electric cars, has revealed the final design details and specifications of its Lotus based SP:01 battery powered sports car, which it says will start production in the UK early this year. Preproduction prototypes are being tested at the […]

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Detroit Electric SP01 exterior

Detroit Electric, the startup company that hopes to revive the early motoring age’s most successful brand of electric cars, has revealed the final design details and specifications of its Lotus based SP:01 battery powered sports car, which it says will start production in the UK early this year. Preproduction prototypes are being tested at the Leamington Spa assembly facility. Detroit Electric also announced the appointment of its first distributor in Asia.

The company claims that the carbon fiber bodied 210 KW (285 HP) SP:01 will be “the world’s fastest pure-electric production two-seater sports car”. Since the Tesla Roadster is no longer in production I’m not sure that Detroit Electric even has a competitor for that fictional title belt. Either way, the company is claiming performance stats of 0-60 MPH in 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 155 MPH.

Three transmission choices will be offered, a manual gearbox and two automatics, one with two ratios and one with just a single speed. I’m interested to see why they describe that single ratio transmission as an “automatic”, since an electric motor theoretically doesn’t need a clutch or a torque converter as it doesn’t spin at idle.

Detroit Electric SP01 on the road

Exterior changes made since the second prototype was shown at the Shanghai Motor Show in 2013 are said to be for aerodynamic reasons and include a new rear profile with a fastback roof line and rear window that replace the flying buttresses of the first two prototypes. A new rear wing on top as well as a functional diffuser underneath the rear end that are intended to reduce lift at speed. Paint options and carbon fiber accessory parts were also announced as was a custom paint program for folks who insist on lime green cars. Customers will also have the choice of three different wheel designs, original to Detroit Electric.

Detroit Electric SP01 interior - Left hand drive

The centerpiece of the new interior design is an 8.4 inch touch screen in the console that the company says replaces all analog dials and switches on the instrument panel (though the photos seem to indicate conventional speedometer and tachometer dials in the binnacle in front of the driver). Infotainment, HVAC controls, battery status indicators, and V2X (Vehicle-to-Grid and Vehicle-to-Home) communication will be handled by Detroit Electric’s Android based SAMI (Smartphone Application Managed Infotainment) app. By using an open source platform, the company hopes that third party application developers will create new features for the SP:01. Interior color options were also announced, including the choice of leather or Alcantara upholstery. Based on the publicity photos, the SP:01’s cabin will be much less spartan than that of the Lotus cars on which it is based.

Detroit Electric SP01 interior - Right hand drive

On the business side of things, Integrated Energy, a Korean firm, has been announced as Detroit Electric’s first importer/distributor in Asia. Detroit Electric’s first Asian showroom will open in Seoul, South Korea, also in early 2015. Integrated Energy will also be be working on developing Detroit Electric’s V2X technology at a test site on Korea’s Jeju Island, using a fleet supplied by the startup automaker.

Detroit Electric is still run from their offices in Detroit’s Fisher Building and they say they still hope to one day assemble Detroit Electrics in the cars’ namesake region, but in the meantime they say they are completing the new, dedicated assembly facility in the UK as well as a new European headquarters in Houten, Netherlands that will hand sales, marketing and customer service in the EMEA region.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Hybrids Down, PHEVs, EVs Up In US Sales Amid Falling Fuel Prices http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/hybrids-phevs-evs-us-sales-amid-falling-fuel-prices/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/hybrids-phevs-evs-us-sales-amid-falling-fuel-prices/#comments Mon, 05 Jan 2015 13:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=971249 With fuel prices continuing their downward spiral, one would think EVs and hybrids would become the new Hummers and Escalades to be left to rust in the backlot of the dealership. Not quite. Detroit Free Press reports standard hybrids saw the biggest drop in sales through November 2014, from 459,375 in 2013, to 418,850. PHEVs […]

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BMW i8

With fuel prices continuing their downward spiral, one would think EVs and hybrids would become the new Hummers and Escalades to be left to rust in the backlot of the dealership. Not quite.

Detroit Free Press reports standard hybrids saw the biggest drop in sales through November 2014, from 459,375 in 2013, to 418,850. PHEVs and EVs like the BMW i8 and Nissan Leaf fared better in comparison: PHEVs rose from 43,988 to 51,490 year-over-year, and EVs jumped from 42,924 to 55,906 in the same period.

Meanwhile, SUV and trucks dominated the scene, whose rise was fueled by the improving economy and new housing starts, with lower fuel prices certainly helping matters. Sales of the former parties took 52 percent of the overall United States domestic market through November, compared 48 percent for passenger cars.

Finally, fuel economy numbers fell from a high of 25.8 mpg in August, to 25.3 mpg months later. As long as fuel prices remain on their downward trajectory, automakers may find it hard to meet the federal government’s tightening fuel standards, which are set for a fleet average of 34.1 mpg by 2016, and 54.5 mpg by 2025. The law mandating the standard is set to undergo a mid-term review in 2017.

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Chinese Internet Company Sets Sights On Tesla In Chinese EV Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/chinese-internet-company-sets-sights-tesla-chinese-ev-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/chinese-internet-company-sets-sights-tesla-chinese-ev-market/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 15:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=957953 Google may be off pursuing autonomous commuter pods, but another Internet-related company in China as decided to take on Tesla directly in the EV game. Forbes reports Leshi Internet Information and Technology Co., a concern that makes Internet TVs and set-top boxes, will begin building electric vehicles under what chairman and president Jia Yueting calls […]

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Leshi booth

Google may be off pursuing autonomous commuter pods, but another Internet-related company in China as decided to take on Tesla directly in the EV game.

Forbes reports Leshi Internet Information and Technology Co., a concern that makes Internet TVs and set-top boxes, will begin building electric vehicles under what chairman and president Jia Yueting calls the “Super Electric Eco-System.” Jia and his representative in Los Angeles, Luo Qimei, both said the results of the program — which has been in the works since the early days of 2014 — will best those of Tesla and other western companies.

Leshi is entering the game amid weak demand for EVs in China, linked to a lack of sufficient infrastructure and local protectionism barriers. The Chinese government are attempting to build-up demand by providing tax breaks for consumers who buy from local automakers such as BYD, along with ordering government officials to use more EVs. That said, Leshi believes it will stand out among the competition, though Luo won’t say how much her company will invest into making it so.

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Georgia EV Supporters Prepare To Defend State Credit In 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/georgia-ev-supporters-prepare-defend-state-credit-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/georgia-ev-supporters-prepare-defend-state-credit-2015/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 11:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934722 EV supporters in Georgia are gearing up to save the state’s tax credit from the chopping block after nearly losing it earlier this year. According to WABE-FM, the city of Atlanta is second in the EV ownership game in the United States, falling behind the technocratic capital that is San Francisco. The high ranking is […]

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EV supporters in Georgia are gearing up to save the state’s tax credit from the chopping block after nearly losing it earlier this year.

According to WABE-FM, the city of Atlanta is second in the EV ownership game in the United States, falling behind the technocratic capital that is San Francisco. The high ranking is due to the state’s credit of up to $5,000 on EVs, helping to take off $12,500 from the bottom line when the $7,500 federal credit is taken into account.

Were the state credit have been cut, EV sales would fall dramatically. EV Club of the South board member Michael Beinenson says the credit — and not wanting to feel like Ed Begley Jr. — is the main draw for consumers in Georgia. He also hopes that the credit’s terms are merely changed instead of the entire credit being guillotined when the state’s legislature meets again next year, and is preparing to defend it to the bitter end with other like-minded supporters.

The credit was set to be removed from the books in 2014, citing lost revenue in the millions of dollars as the reason; the bill that would have made it so died hours before the 2014 session drew to a close.

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