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 17, 2019

Image: Ford/YouTube

There’s rumblings that Ford’s upcoming electric crossover — you know, the “Mustang-inspired” hot rod EV for the whole family ⁠— may make an appearance very soon. Due to go on sale in 2020, the vehicle is Ford’s first serious attempt to enter the electric vehicle field (apologies to the defunct Focus Electric, which found itself outclassed almost as soon as it appeared).

Getting Americans out of their brodozers will not be an easy feat, however, and the folks at the Blue Oval know it. With this in mind, Ford is offering future…Mach E?…buyers as many places to juice up as possible. (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 September 17, 2019

2019 Jaguar I-Pace

Based in a region where internal combustion is treated by lawmakers with the same respect as the guy who cuts one in an elevator, Jaguar Land Rover boss Ralph Speth knows there’s only one way forward for his company. To remain viable in Europe and China and hedge its bets in North America, the JLR range needs electrification in a hurry.

Diesel market share is dropping like pants at a kegger and emissions standards aren’t getting any less stringent. No time to waste.

However, with one electric crossover already on the market and a range of EVs coming down the pipe, JLR faces the same hurdles as other automakers going the green route. And Speth doesn’t see things getting easier for a while — unless someone outside the company takes the heat off. (Read More…)

By on September 11, 2019

With electric-vehicle owners eligible for sizable tax breaks, and ineligible for federal fuel taxes, it often feels like they’re not pulling their weight when it comes to maintaining this great nation’s transportation infrastructure. However, feelings are sometimes wrong — when it feels like an Arby’s night, for example.

There are actually 26 states that presently impose fees upon EV owners and, according to Consumer Reports, 11 charge more than the amount drivers of similar, gas-powered cars pay in gas taxes, with 3 charging more than twice the average amount. Another dozen states are considering adding fees, with CR’s own research stipulating that 10 would require electrics to pay more than they would if they were powered by gasoline.  (Read More…)

By on August 15, 2019

fca

The United Kingdom, a highly populous (and heavily taxed) country that’s smaller than 11 U.S. states, may serve as a canary in the coal mine for electric vehicle adoption. If there’s enough places to charge up your EV, will buyers make the switch?

From across the pond comes news that, for the first time, the number of public electric vehicle charging stations has surpassed that of gasoline and diesel stations. It’s been a long road, as “normal” stations have been on a steady decline since 1970. EV stations popped up in earnest earlier this decade, fueled by government investments and green group initiatives, as well as efforts by automakers eager to provide fuel sources for their new vehicles.

Battery-electric vehicle market share in the UK in July? 1.4 percent. (Read More…)

By on June 7, 2019

Roughly a year ago, Volkswagen subsidiary Electrify America announced a partnership with Walmart to help proliferate EV charging sites across the United States. Equal parts penance for VW’s illegal diesel shenanigans and shrewd business arrangement, the deal sought to establish plug-in points at 100 store locations in 34 states.

On Thursday, the companies announced the completion of 120 charging stations and signalled their intent to continue collaborating — citing future development programs in the District of Columbia and 46 U.S. states.  (Read More…)

By on May 31, 2019

With China having become the world’s largest automotive market by individual sales, it’s worth keeping tabs on it for burgeoning driving trends. While that’s predominantly revolved around electric vehicles, the People’s Republic also has pretty strict driving rules backed by some of the tightest monitoring of a civilian population imaginable. China is setting up a vast surveillance system that tracks every single one of its 1.4 billion citizens and is adapting it for use in its new “social credit system,” which sounds like the most Orwellian thing in existence.

The system is intended to publicly shame criminals, debtors, jaywalkers, and those with “controversial” political views while monitoring their every move but it’s also doing a fine job of making life harder for drivers.  (Read More…)

By on May 13, 2019

tesla model 3

Like most states, Illinois hasn’t raised its gas tax in years, keeping it at 19 cents since the musically gifted year of 1990, and, like most states, Illinois needs cash for pressing infrastructure repairs. Illinois’ state gas tax joins a slew of other taxes, including income tax, that’s bundled into local pump prices, but one type of driver was able laugh at all the chumps lining up for dino juice.

The electric vehicle driver.

By virtue of their emissions-free powerplant, EV drivers side-step this area of taxation. Unfortunately for the Tesla owners of Cook County and other jurisdictions, those days may soon come to an end. A proposed law would see EV owners dinged $1,000 a year — their contribution to maintaining the roads and bridges their hefty EVs ply on a daily basis. As you’d expect, many are not happy.

Neither are conventional vehicle owners, however, as the proposal would more than double the state’s gas tax. (Read More…)

By on March 7, 2019

Tesla Model 3, Image: Tesla

Tesla, the upstart electric automaker who reminds your author of that person you knew in high school who existed in a perpetual cloud of drama, wants Tesla owners to juice up their cars in a hurry. Recharging times are one factor behind the slow adoption of EVs in North America (cost, range, and recharging availability being the others), so the automaker plans to ensure their time at the Supercharger station doesn’t go overlong.

Expect 75 miles in 5 minutes, Tesla claims. (Read More…)

By on February 20, 2019

While California has some of the best driving roads in the country, large swaths of the state suffer from serious congestion issues. For years, the preferred solution was to bolster public transit in San Francisco and Los Angeles while simultaneously establishing high-speed rail lines between the two areas. Unfortunately, costs ballooned and support for the project dwindled.

Legislators are now left with a problem. Abandoning the rail program means settling for partially completed lines incapable of transporting passengers directly between LA and the Bay Area. California needs a different solution, and Sen. John Moorlach (R-CA) has a doozy of a proposition: highway lanes with no speed limit.

Effectively, an American Autobahn.  (Read More…)

By on December 29, 2018

Image: VW Group

Concerned that customers won’t buy vehicles from its upcoming electric product tsunami for fear of missing their turn at the plug, Volkswagen is offering a fairly novel solution: mobile charging stations that also require recharging, presumably from a much larger charging station. A power station, for example.

The takeaway from Volkswagen’s lesson in energy packaging is “Buy an electric Volkswagen. You’ll be fine.” (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 September 27, 2018

The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NATCO) has joined Ford, Uber and Lyft to work with the data platform SharedStreets to glean a better understanding of America’s infrastructure. Their collective goal is to “make it easier for the private sector to work with cities around the world and leverage data to improve urban mobility.”

That means different things to different companies. For Uber and Lyft, aggregate data on passenger pickups and drop-offs could be useful in deciding where to deploy their vehicles. The information could also prove helpful in telling city planners how to best manage traffic patterns. Uber also said it would track speeders and what on types of roads people are more apt to drive dangerously.  (Read More…)

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