By on November 19, 2019

If you hop around this country on a semi-regular basis, you’ve likely noticed that California seems better equipped to endure the onslaught of electric vehicles poised to reshape our society. For all the complaints about the state’s managerial issues and a homelessness situation that’s spinning wildly out of control, it’s one of the few places you can regularly encounter EV charging stations without actively looking.

It’s also an area you see them frequently in use. Many states still harbor large distances between charge points that don’t see a lot of use in the first place. But things are different in California. There are dedicated EV stations along most major highways, increasing in frequency the closer to you get to metropolitan hubs. Once inside the city limits, there are are countless office parks, service stations, and parking structures offering ground-floor charging — many of which will actually have cars plugged into them.

You’ll also notice many are broken and some don’t let you pay via a single swipe of your credit card. Instead, the machine will ask you to make an account with whatever company is offering the service, often trying to push you into using a proprietary app. It’s unfortunate and probably the last thing you want to do after scouting out a particularly well-hidden station because the first three you came across were occupied or out of order.  (Read More…)

By on November 4, 2019

German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced Sunday that her country will soon have one million charging stations ready for electric cars. Her words came ahead of numerous meetings with German automotive manufacturers on how best to spur EV adoption in Europe.

Pivoting to zero-emission vehicles has many worried about job losses. The United Auto Workers issued a nearly 40-page report on the implications of electric vehicles and how to address them during its negotiations with General Motors — after the automaker said the battery plant it was eyeballing in Ohio would require hourly employees to take pay cuts. The Center for Automotive Research has also indicated that EVs simply don’t take as many man hours to manufacture. It’s even mentioned in the Trump administration’s fuel economy rollback proposal — an effort bent on furnishing cheap automobiles and American jobs.

Germany is worried too, with groups echoing similar employment concerns. To mitigate those fears, while encouraging electrification and maintaining jobs, the nation wants to take its 20,000 charging stations to 1 million.  (Read More…)

By on October 14, 2019

There are plenty of ways to get free gasoline. Unfortunately, most require you to become uncomfortably intimate with advertising to reap any rewards. Converting your vehicle into a mobile billboard for a brand is a good way to convince said brand to foot your monthly gas bill. But you can also sit through hours of digital surveys or ads to encourage companies to part with fuel cards. Either way, it’s free go juice — with a catch.

Volta Industries is attempting to duplicate this model for EV charging, without the need for middle men. The company will allot a certain amount of electric charge time to customers willing to interact with “embedded advertisements” occupying high-end retail zones. While the company has promoted this business model for several years, it only entered our peripheral vision in recent months after securing investments and solidifying its plans.

Despite the phrase “if you’re getting something for free, you are the product” being around since at least the 1970s, it’s infinitely applicable here.  (Read More…)

By on September 30, 2019

A gas station in Takoma Park, Maryland, has become the first in America to abandon fuel pumps for EV chargers. Established in 1958, RS Automotives was your typical, small town oil change place. There were three service bays, a convenience store, some light parking, and what used to be a trio of fueling pumps. On Thursday, the station reopened — having replaced gas pumps with 200 kilowatt electric charging stations.

While there are other devoted EV charging locations dotted around this great nation, this is the first mom-and-pop fuel store we’re aware of that’s made the switch.  (Read More…)

By on August 5, 2019

Tesla has resurrected its plan to provide free, unlimited access to its supercharger stations for the automaker’s customers. While the company frequently rejiggers its product offerings, this one still came out of left field. CEO Elon Musk called the plan unsustainable when the company officially eliminated it in 2018.

However, with the manufacturer seeing increasing sales volume from the Model 3, its premium models are falling by the wayside. Tesla reported 95,200 deliveries in the second quarter, the vast majority being the Model 3. While the company managed to generate $6.3 billion in revenue in the second quarter from those transactions, weaker Q1 volumes took a bite out of its share price and it still lost money through both periods. But it lost a couple hundred million less in Q2 thanks to the uptick in sales.  (Read More…)

By on June 11, 2019

With Europe and China promoting aggressive emission mandates, including proposals to eventually prohibit the sale of internal combustion vehicles, electric cars look to be a shoe-in. The UK’s Committee on Climate Change recently recommended moving up the country’s 2040 deadline to end the sale of gasoline or diesel cars to 2035 as part of a wider target to cut the country’s net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.

Unfortunately, battery electric vehicles still represent less than 1 percent of the region’s new car sales. While EV sales rose 63 percent in April vs the previous year, the adoption rate doesn’t appear to be on the same track as regulatory measures pushed by various authorities.

According to government-commissioned poll from 2016, range anxiety appears to be the primary culprit in the United Kingdom. Most respondents cited recharging their battery as their biggest hangup, with elevated EV costs playing second fiddle. (Read More…)

By on May 2, 2019

The last decade is littered with announcements from cities, provinces, and states from across the globe, promising to ban internal combustion vehicles by a predetermined date. While the rules and timelines vary quite a bit, the locations are relatively consistent. China and Europe are the most eager to adopt a zero-emission strategy, with California doing most of the promising in North America.

This week, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the city’s “Green New Deal.” Styled to resemble the contentious stimulus program sponsored by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) that shares its name, LA’s plan is similarly concerned with promoting “environmental justice,” equity, green jobs,  renewable energy, improved air quality, and sourcing clean water.

Transportation is also a major component of the deal, with the city suggesting that 100 percent of car sales will be zero-emission by 2050 and 50 percent of all trips could be completed by walking, biking, “micro-mobility” (scooters, etc), or public transit — reducing vehicle miles per capita by 45 percent in the same timeframe.  (Read More…)

By on October 5, 2018

electrify-america-ev-charging-station, Electrify America

Volkswagen’s court-mandated subsidiary, Electrify America, has announced its second investment of $200 million into the nation’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and not a moment too soon. Plug-in car sales in the United States have already surpassed last year’s record of nearly 200,000 deliveries, thanks to Tesla’s rollout of the Model 3, and we’ve still got three months left to go.

Of course, it wouldn’t really matter if EV sales tanked in 2018 because VW is legally obliged to do this. There could have been a single, lonesome plug-in sale this year and Electrify America would still have to spend the same amount — as per its parent company’s agreement with the U.S. government. This time around, the goal is to improve charging infrastructure between cities while not ignoring major metropolitan areas. Cycle 2 will also focus primarily on California for the next 30 months, which is probably for the best. The state accounts for over half the country’s yearly EV sales.  (Read More…)

By on January 11, 2018

electrify-america-ev-charging-station, Electrify America

The automotive industry’s gradual shift toward electric vehicles is primarily influenced by global fuel economy mandates. A happy side effect is that consumers benefit from having access to vehicles offering better overall efficiency. This translates into lower running costs and some real savings — once EVs come down in price.

However, there are instances where it might still be cheaper to run a plain Jane internal combustion unit. A new study from the University of Michigan’s Sustainable Worldwide Transportation group explores exactly how cost-effective electric vehicles are and how fuel efficient an internal combustion model would need to be to become the cheaper alternative. The answer, as it turns out, has a lot to do with where you live.  (Read More…)

By on April 17, 2017

CCS Charging pic

A large part of Volkswagen’s emissions scandal penance involves a gargantuan investment into eco-centric technologies and the development of the United States’ electric vehicle infrastructure. The latter should come by way of its Electrify America subsidiary and four $500 million investments separated by four 30-month periods over the next 10 years.

We now know exactly how VW intends to roll out the green carpet with its court-mandated funding. (Read More…)

By on July 14, 2015

Volkswagen V-Charge Valet and Charging

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).

(Read More…)

By on July 19, 2011

UPDATE: Toyota confirms:

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…

(Read More…)

By on October 23, 2010

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.

(Read More…)

By on March 31, 2010

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.

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