2015 was a big year for electric vehicles. Here is my list of the things that mattered most for plug-in transportation in 2015. If you think I left something off the list, please let me know.
In no particular order:
- More than 100,000 plug-in car were sold in the US in 2015. With the cheap price* of gas, that's impressive. This put nearly 400,000 plug-in cars on US roadways.
- September '15 saw the One Million EVs Sold Worldwide milestone crossed
- COP 21 put CO2 top of the world's mind. Many CO2 reduction plans came out of Paris and many of these include increasing the number of EVs on the world's roads.
- Dieselgate, the VW scandal, made people realize that diesel is a fossil fuel, not a green alternative.
- Tesla, LG, & BYD all break ground on battery gigafactories.
- Grid storage battery applications were announced. This helps in multiple ways: it advances battery tech, increases the volume (lowering prices), and increases the amount of renewable energy that can be used on the grid.
- Now that some plug-ins have been out for 5 years, a real used market has emerged and there are some great deals. This will open the market to more people and to people that would only consider them as a second car. As we know, many of them will fall in love with that smooth ride.
- With CAFE increases, the gasoline tax is dying. Several states are rolling out alternatives; however, it's not clear if these are simple funding replacements, or punishments to EVs and fuel efficient car drivers.
- Nissan offered a Leaf with a larger battery pack. This is the first step toward the promise of affordable 200+ mile EVs coming soon (Bolt, Model 3).
- Tesla auto-pilot: an innovation breakthrough that is a big step to autonomous vehicles.
- Tesla was not bought out by Apple, Google, or anyone else. These stories were annoyingly hyped in 2015.
- In December Nissan sold their 200,000 Leaf in worldwide sales
- The Case for a Carbon Tax: The state of Oregon specifically made progress toward establishing a carbon tax. This would do much to reduce gasoline use while simultaneously increasing the amount of renewable energy on the grid (which powers EVs and everything else that plugs in).
- In June '15 Nissan/Renault crossed the 250,000 electric cars sold milestone.
- Tesla drivers passed 1 billion electric miles mark in December.
- Toyota launched their fuel cell car, the Mirai. This is the next step in the fight between electricity and fuel cells to be Fuel 2.0.
- Electric cars dominated the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, placing first and second. The elevation gain of more than 4,000 feet makes it hard for the gas cars to calibrate for the O2 intake change. EVs will soon dominate in other races (like the TT) and leave their gas-power brethren in the dust.
- According to energy.gov there are 29,627 charging outlets at 11,667 locations in the US. EV infrastructure continued to grow in 2015.
- In December of 2015, the number of CHAdeMO stations crossed the 10,000 mark for worldwide deployment.
- CCS fast chargers finally began their proliferation in the US. They are still far behind CHAdeMO & Tesla.
- China has struggled to get EVs to sell. In 2015 they finally found the right incentives and infrastructure deployment to start ramping EV sales. BYD outsold all other manufacturers.
- Plug-in car plans were on display at the 2015 Detroit auto show. Porsche, Volvo, Audi, Ford, VW, Jaguar and others all announced big plans in 2015 for future EV growth.
* Cheap at the pump does not mean cheap cost when all the externalities are considered.