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Plug In Drivers Not Missin' the Piston

This is the Kodak Moment for the Auto Industry. Electric vehicles are here to stay. Their market acceptance and growth will continue....

Monday, January 31, 2011

Oregon Plug-in Vehicle Incentives

Hybrid Center :: Consumer Center :: Incentives: "Plug-in Hybrid Tax Credit: HB 2180 creates a specific tax credit for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and related equipment. The tax credit is worth up to $5,000 and awarded for purchasing a PHEV or converting a vehicle into a PHEV. The exact size of the credit will be determined by rule by the Director of the State Department of Energy. Introduced and referred to Committee on Sustainability and Economic Development 01/20/09. Passed by House 06/11/09. Passed by Senate 06/27/09 with amendments. House concurred with amendments and repassed bill 06/29/09. Signed by the Governor 08/07/09 and goes into effect 01/01/10."

Understanding Electric Vehicle Charging | Plug In America

Understanding Electric Vehicle Charging | Plug In America: "the upcoming electric Ford Focus will support charging at 6.6 kW, and is making fun of the Leaf's 3.3 kW Level 2 charging limit. By the time Ford actually starts delivering the electric Focus, Nissan may have already upgraded the Leaf to 6.6 kW charging. I don't think it will be long before mainstream EVs are capable of even faster charging. The Tesla Roadster can charge at 16.8 kW, which combined with a larger battery pack makes 400-mile drives possible even without DC Fast Charging. Given that Level 2 charging costs 1/10 of what a DC Fast Charger does, I can imagine a lot of driving being supported by full Level 2 charging stations in areas that can't justify the investment in DC Fast Charging."

Sunday, January 30, 2011

FOX News - Politics - Executive Branch Headlines - Obama Plan to End Oil Tax Breaks Taps Controversy

FOX News - Politics - Executive Branch Headlines - Obama Plan to End Oil Tax Breaks Taps Controversy: "Oil industry experts suggest the president, by singling out oil companies, could be defeating two of his stated goals: creating jobs and boosting renewable energy research.

'The administration seems poised to stifle one of the best ways to create jobs,' said Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, citing potential job growth in new petroleum exploration. "

The Nissan Leaf, an electric car that doesn't drive like an electric car. - By Farhad Manjoo - Slate Magazine

The Nissan Leaf, an electric car that doesn't drive like an electric car. - By Farhad Manjoo - Slate Magazine: "the more I drove the Leaf, the more it seemed to represent something close to the future of automobiles. Over time, we'll certainly get better versions of cars like the Leaf—electric cars will go farther, faster (the Leaf's top speed is about 90 miles per hour), they'll become easier to charge, and they'll come in a wider range of shapes and sizes, and at lower prices, too. Social attitudes will also change. Over the last few years, we have all grown used to managing the power consumption of our electronic tools—I crank down the brightness of my laptop's screen to make it last throughout a cross-country flight, and I dutifully plug my phone in every night to make sure it's there for me in the morning. We'll soon adopt these same habits with our cars."

Friday, January 28, 2011

Department of Energy - Vice President Biden Announces Plan to Put One Million Advanced Technology Vehicles on the Road by 2015

Department of Energy - Vice President Biden Announces Plan to Put One Million Advanced Technology Vehicles on the Road by 2015: "Making electric vehicles more affordable with a rebate up to $7,500: The President is proposing to transform the existing $7,500 tax credit for electric vehicles into a rebate that will be available to all consumers immediately at the point of sale."

Oregon's Electric Car Revolution

Oregon's Electric Car Revolution: "'Portland has had some of the earliest, most enthusiastic leadership around electric vehicles,' says Chelsea Sexton"

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chelsea Sexton Slams Bias On Both Sides Over Electric-Car Range

Chelsea Sexton Slams Bias On Both Sides Over Electric-Car Range: "Electric cars are mostly urban cars. But I’ll be blunt: trying to convincingly prove (or disprove) the viability of a pure electric vehicle by driving it cross country is about as logical as proving the viability of a microwave oven by using it to cook your Thanksgiving turkey. You can force it, but it ain’t gonna be pretty--and it proves nothing about the everyday experience of using the technology. "

AC Propulsion on Rare Earth Metals Batteries - Electric Motorcycle and Scooter News - Motorcycle USA

AC Propulsion on Rare Earth Metals Batteries - Electric Motorcycle and Scooter News - Motorcycle USA: "AC Propulsion notes it has been making EV motors without using rare earth metals for nearly 20 years.

“AC Propulsion has been making AC induction motors, which do not use any rare earth metals, for almost two decades,” says Tom Gage, AC Propulsion CEO. “The AC Propulsion induction motor technology, first introduced in 1992, is developed specifically to power vehicles. The BMW MINI E, the Peraves MonoTracer E, and the Tesla Roadster all use this motor technology. These vehicles demonstrate without a doubt that induction motors offer compact, robust, efficient, and lightweight power for electric propulsion. Induction motors are built with iron, aluminum, and copper, so no rare earth metals are needed. This explains Toyota's renewed interest in the induction motor.”"

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Nissan LEAF digital brochure

Twitter / @Nissan LEAF: "The Nissan LEAF digital brochure is available by registering at link below, ensuring you get timely product updates: http://bit.ly/eNjkJy"

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

EV economics updated and a Catch-22

EV economics updated and a Catch-22: "calculated the annual pounds of CO2 the Camry would produce. Using EPA mileage, 12,000 miles per year, and the EPA’s CO2/gallon of gasoline figure, I computed the Camry would produce 9,502 lb/CO2 per year.

Next, to calculate the Leaf’s CO2 production, I adjusted the Leaf’s kWh consumption back to the generation level by adding back transmission system losses. Then I determined the amount of natural gas consumed using night time combined cycle heat rates of 7,500 Btu/kWh.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Feeling Empowered for One Oil-Free Weekend With the Nissan Leaf - NYTimes.com

Feeling Empowered for One Oil-Free Weekend With the Nissan Leaf - NYTimes.com: "Even if net emissions were the same as a gas car’s — and they’re not — I’d rather send my money to a coal miner in West Virginia than to the sultan of Brunei or to Hugo Chávez in Venezuela."

Monday, January 24, 2011

Portland Passes Electric Vehicle Policy - News - Government Fleet

Portland Passes Electric Vehicle Policy - News - Government Fleet: "The Portland City Council unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday to enact a new plan for electric vehicles that includes supportive city policies for electric cars — such as streamlined permitting and designated charger-equipped parking — as well as purchasing electric vehicles for the city's fleet and promoting their benefits, reported Sustainable Business Oregon."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Revenge of the X

There is a long history of movie titles starting with "Revenge of the ". The Pink Panther had his revenge in 1978. Then the Nerds got theirs in four parts starting in 1984. More recent to this list is The Sith in 2005. For better or worse, revenge can be sweet and (more importantly) it can be an interesting story.

Another Revenge movie is going to be added to this list in the spring of 2011 when "Revenge of the Electric Car" premieres.

Read this next part with your best Don LaFontaine drama voice over: "Ten years ago the electric car was killed. It was stripped away from people that loved it, crushed, and shredded. They thought that was the end. It was not. Now the electric car is back and it's ready to kick some gas!"

Fredericksburg.com - Ready or not, electric cars coming soon - page 2 FLS

Fredericksburg.com - Ready or not, electric cars coming soon - page 2 FLS: "Dotter noted that charging overnight 'could be married to the development of wind power,' as land-based wind tends to peak overnight.

Dotter said there's currently room on PJM's grid for 25 million plug-in electric vehicles being charged during off-peak hours."

Cars Connected To The Cloud: The All-Electric 2012 Nissan Leaf - Green Car Reports

Cars Connected To The Cloud: The All-Electric 2012 Nissan Leaf - Green Car Reports: "This is not a dilettante thing to make it look cool, it’s not an adornment. This is really quite central to every automaker we talk to right now,” he said. ”There is a very exacting strategy around ICT [information and communication technology] … The vehicle now starts to conform to the consumer as opposed to the consumer trying to figure out what (car) is right for them."

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

Tesla’s Challenge: Build $30k Mainstream Electric Car by 2015 - All Cars Electric

Tesla’s Challenge: Build $30k Mainstream Electric Car by 2015 - All Cars Electric: "Musk also said in the same presentation that by 2030, all cars sold in the U.S. would be electric, an optimistic and idyllic view we’d place little money on actually happening.
We hope to be proven wrong. "

EV WORLD: Nancy Gioia on Ford's EV Future

EV WORLD: Nancy Gioia on Ford's EV Future: "from 10 to as high as 25 percent of the company's global vehicles sales by 2020; a number totaling in the millions of vehicles."

Will Your Next Vehicle Be A Plug-in?

I was curious about how many people will be considering a plug-in car for their next purchase. It could be pure electric like the Nissan LEAF, Ford Focus Electric, or Tesla Model S; or it could be a PHEV like the Plug-in Prius, Chevy Volt, or Karma Fisker. Anything with a plug, or as this blog is titled, a car with a cord.

Where I work, anyone can submit a poll question. The questions are put on the internal employee homepage for 48 hours. So, I submitted the poll you see in the image to the left.

This poll was taken at a major high-tech company. It is a multi-national corporation with offices and sites around the world. And like many high-tech companies they have a large percentage of their employees on the west coast of the US.

The results are encouraging, 16% say they are buying a BEV or PHEV. And an other 33% say they will buy a PEV when the price comes down.

I see three factors that are likely to drive prices down in the next 3 years:
  1. Manufactures are currently building out and increasing their volume capacity.
  2. More companies are coming out with plug-in vehicles. This is no longer just a high priced niche market.
  3. As leased vehicles are returned at the end of their term, there will a supply of used PEVs that does not exist today. Many people (smartly) do not buy new cars, regardless of the technology.

Assuming prices come down, if this poll were taken at face-value then 49% of people will be driving plug-in vehicles in 3 years. Obviously, transitions cannot occur that quickly. But this poll does show that many people are considering PEVs and that some of the industry predictions such as hitting 5% to 20% of new sales by 2020 are possible. Ω


Sidebar: Lies, damned lies, and statistics
Before there are comments about the "errors" here, I will point out that there are many problems with this poll. First, it is about what people intent to do. There is no commitment required. In some cases these answers would be similar if asked "do you plan to eat healthier this year?". The only certainly honest answers are the 45% that confirm they will still be using gasoline.

The second issue with this poll is that it is a self selected group. If someone is thinking about plug-in cars, this is far more likely to catch their interest. Conversely, how many people are actually interested in saying "I am going to continue polluting and funding terrorism?", so many people that are not considering a PEV will pass this by.

The third issue that I see with this poll is that there are three "Yes" answers, while there is only one "No" and one "N/A". It directs people away from gasoline as much as possible. While polls are often "directive" in the questions and or possible answers, this one is heavily skewed toward PEVs.

The fourth (likely far from last but the last one I will mention) is the audience for the question. It was people that work in a high-tech company.  High-tech workers are generally paid more than the average citizen and people in high-tech are also more likely to be early adopters of new technology from smart phones to cars. This is not a group that represents the average person.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Orphaned Nissan LEAF


There is a Nissan LEAF available for sale in Washington State. Well at least there was on Jan 19th 2011. There are currently thousands of people waiting to receive these cars. Many customers have been told that they cannot have one until April and even more have been told the vague four to seven months from now.

How is it that there is one for sale in Washington? The dealer was not available for immediate comment when I called. Here is my understanding of the process. For all the initial LEAFs that are being sold, Nissan corporate is keeping a tight rein on them. The orders are placed via the web to Nissan directly and then the customer can later select a dealership. The dealers are disallowed from pricing these initial orders above MSRP. And with sites like MyNissanLeaf sharing all sorts of pricing information, dealerships have to price it at least $500 under MSRP to get any quantity of sales. Even if the dealership prices the car at invoice, they will get an $820 dealership destination fee, and since Nissan corporate is handing them the cars and customers all paired up, the dealership does not have to do too much to make the sale. And like any other car, they can make money on the financing, depending on how it is paid for.

So why is there one for sale? For these initial orders, if the customer does not take the vehicle (perhaps they changed their mind, or could not get financing), then the gloves are off for the dealership. The car is considered "orphaned" and the dealership can sell it to anyone off the street for whatever price the market will bear.

Will there be price gouging and crazy bidding or will it quickly go to someone willing to pay MSRP?
We will soon see.

Dealership information:
Rairdon's Nissan of Auburn
713 35th St. NE.
Auburn, WA. 98002

Todd A. Fee
Internet Sales Director
(253)833-4700
tfee@rairdon.com

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Presidential Plug-In Promise Is Broken - Environment - GOOD

Presidential Plug-In Promise Is Broken - Environment - GOOD: "President Obama promised that 'within one year of becoming president, the entire White House fleet will be converted to plug-ins as security permits.' According to PolitiFact, which today updated this item on its Obameter, this ranks as a 'Promise Broken.'"

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

So Are Electric Cars Better, Batteries and All? - Transportation - GOOD

So Are Electric Cars Better, Batteries and All? - Transportation - GOOD:
"the environmental burdens of mobility are dominated by the operation phase regardless of whether a gasoline-fueled [internal combustion engine car] or a European electricity fueled [battery electric vehicle] is used. The share of the total environmental impact ... caused by the battery ... is 15%. The impact caused by the extraction of lithium for the components of the Li-ion battery is less than 2.3%."

Start-Stop Technology To Bridge Gap Between Conventional And Electric Cars | Markets | Minyanville.com

Start-Stop Technology To Bridge Gap Between Conventional And Electric Cars | Markets | Minyanville.com

This is a minor fuel improvement and does nothing significant to reduce fossil fuel dependency. We need to move to PHEV now, and BEV later.

YouTube - Blast From the Past: A look back at the EV1

YouTube - Blast From the Past: A look back at the EV1: "Blast From the Past: A look back at the EV1"

Cost Of Electricity | Electrical Engineering Portal

Cost Of Electricity | Electrical Engineering Portal

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Kulongoski departs with vision partially realized | kgw.com | Local News | Portland, Oregon

Kulongoski departs with vision partially realized | kgw.com | Local News | Portland, Oregon: "Gov. Ted Kulongoski envisioned Oregon as a world leader in green technology and clean energy, maybe even a manufacturing center for electric vehicles or their batteries.
And while it hasn't happened exactly that way, as Kulongoski prepares to leave office Monday after eight years at the helm, overcast Oregon has become a leading hub for solar energy companies."

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A mélange of favorites | OregonLive.com

A mélange of favorites | OregonLive.com: "Charging station for electric vehicles at Southpark Seafood Grill & Wine Bar: Here's something you can literally get a charge out of: Downtown restaurant Southpark has put in a charging station for electric vehicles in its parking garage. 'We knew we were ahead of the curve,' said general manager Karin Devencenzi. 'But we'll be one of few that are ready as consumers get on board with electric vehicles.' It might be a smart move. Both Nissan and Mitsubishi have chosen Portland as a test market for their new lines of electric vehicles. (901 S.W. Salmon St.; 503-326-1300; southparkseafood.com) --Kathleen Bauer"

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Strain-graded silicon nanoscoops for high power Li-ion battery anodes

Green Car Congress: Strain-graded silicon nanoscoops for high power Li-ion battery anodes: "A team at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) has developed a functionally strain-graded carbon-aluminum-silicon anode architecture that overcomes the normally poor performance of Li-ion batteries for high power applications involving ultrafast charging/discharging rates.

The new anode materials consist of an array of nanostructures each comprising an amorphous carbon nanorod with an intermediate layer of aluminum that is finally capped by a silicon nanoscoop on the very top. The gradation in strain arises from graded levels of volumetric expansion in these three materials on alloying with lithium."

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Life Cycle Analysis of Electric Car Shows Battery Has Only Minor Impact : TreeHugger

Life Cycle Analysis of Electric Car Shows Battery Has Only Minor Impact : TreeHugger: "lithium-ion batteries, a recent life-cycle analysis (a type of study that aims to find the complete environmental impact of something, taking into account manufacturing, usage, and disposal) of the lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars had some very interesting findings. It turns out that batteries have an even lower impact than most of us thought."

Trading the Pump for a Plug « Liveshots

Trading the Pump for a Plug « Liveshots: "building five different factories to build the LEAF and the batteries that go with it. They're investing somewhere around $6 billion to make this happen worldwide."

Trading the Pump for a Plug « Liveshots

Trading the Pump for a Plug « Liveshots: "The LEAF is perhaps the most ambitious electric vehicle venture since the 1990s, when several major automakers went into limited EV production in response to California zero-emissions mandates. Electric cars, such as the General Motors EV1, Ford Ranger EV, Honda EV Plus and Toyota RAV4 EV were discontinued shortly after a group of automakers successfully challenged the California requirements.

Padgett said the LEAF is a 'game changer' for Nissan, which is operating on the assumption that American consumers are ready to trade the pump for a plug."

U.S. Marines Place first Military Order for All-Electric Commercial Truck - Truckinginfo.com

U.S. Marines Place first Military Order for All-Electric Commercial Truck - Truckinginfo.com

Electric Buses Begin To Roll In Seoul | EarthTechling

Electric Buses Begin To Roll In Seoul | EarthTechling: "Seoul Metropolitan Government recently announced it had begun commercial operations of full-size electric buses on its Mt. Namsan circular routes as of December 21. This is believed to be one of the world’s first uses of electric buses in commercial service, though a similar type of electric bus is being tested out in southern California as well."