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From: Eric10/3/2017 12:04:10 PM
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September 2017 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Report Card

1 hour ago by Jay Cole

12 Comments


New highers for EV sales set in September

Let the good times roll!

After years of build up, September marks the start of “something big” for plug-in vehicle sales in the US. And sure, this past month also marks a full 2 years/24 months* worth of consecutive gains (an impressive accomplishment for sure), but we haven’t seen anything yet.

Although September’s sales numbers are still rolling in (we publish and update this report live…so if you are seeing this note, the results are still being collected), we can fairly confidently say that more than 20,000 plug-in vehicles were sold during the month – a new 2017 high, and just the 2nd time to cross that plateau (Dec 2016 – 24,785).



Surprising…well, no one, the Tesla Model S took its normal position as the US sales leader for the last month of the quarter

Once again, strong results were put up by the familiar faces, as Tesla once again did its ‘end of the quarter’ US delivery explosion (after virtually taking July and August off) leading the gains, while at the same time cementing the Model S as the 2017 sales champion, selling an estimated near 5,000 copies in September – a 2017 high.

Unfortunately, while Tesla notched record Q3 sales overall ( full details), production of the new Model 3 didn’t go so well, with the company only managing to build 260 copies (about 1,400 light of Q3 guidance), and deliver 220.

Previously in August an estimated ~16,624 overall plug-in sales were made ( details).

Taking the “Tesla surge” out of the picture, the Chevrolet Bolt EV outshone all others, logging more than 2,600 sales, a new all-time high for the model; unfortunately the bright light on the Bolt cast a shadow on GM’s Volt, as the 53 mile extended range EV failed to meet year-over-year numbers for the 4th month in a row.

After 9 months, more than 140,000 plug-ins have been sold, and the 200,000 mark will easily fall before the year closes as we still anticipate big numbers for the Tesla Model 3 in the last month or two of the year, as well as much deeper inventory for the Toyota Prius Prime…and maybe even a handful of new, longer range 2018 Nissan LEAF sales.

Questions entering September (with answers in brackets as they come in):
  • Can the Chevrolet Volt, seemingly under sales pressure from stablemate Bolt EV, snap a 5 month sales losing skid? (No, and once again – it wasn’t close)
  • The Chevy Bolt EV is on a 6 month sales growth streak, can GM make it 7 in a row in September as the car finds itself in more states (more deeply) this month? (Big time yes)
  • Will this be the month that the Toyota Prius Prime shakes its inventory woes in the US and breaks the “2k barrier” for the first time? (Close, but no cigar)
  • The next generation Nissan LEAF debuted at a special event earlier in September (details/watch here). Will the news the updated/long ranger LEAF hitting the ears of mainstream buyers slow current generation sales, and stop the (somewhat inexplicable) streak of 7 consecutive months of sales in the 4 digit range? (Surprisingly, it did not)
  • In the continuing battle of “new 2018 offerings that aren’t stocked so well”, who will manage to sell more – the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, Cadillac CT6 Plug-In Hybrid, Honda Clarity Electric, Volvo SC60 PHEV or the new Mini Countryman Plug-In?
Also of note: Toyota sold 184 Mirais, good for 1,044 in 2017 (vs 710 a year ago)

Editor’s Note: This report is filed in real-time as the data starts to roll in on Tuesday, October 3rd in the AM around 9 AM. However, it takes us a good 24 hours to run down ALL the numbers,…so if you don’t see your favorite EV’s sales listed yet – check back again soon!

Last update: Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017 11:11 AM

*On year of monthly sales improvements: We know someone is going to look at the chart and say, “hey, only ~11,467 sales were made in May of 2016, when 11,540 were logged in 2015! What gives InsideEVs?” What gives is – through an odd scheduling quirk, only 24 selling days were reported in May 2016 (versus 26 in 2015) Below Chart: A individual run-down of each vehicle’s monthly result and some analysis behind the numbers. (Previous year’s monthly results can be found on our fixed Scorecard page here)


2017 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers – *Estimated Tesla Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** FCA/Hyundai-Kia Do Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data (Thanks to HybridCars for assist on Kia data), Honda Clarity estimated for Aug/Sept

Individual Plug-In Model Sales Recap For Major Models: (limited to vehicles with ~500 sales/or potential for 500 sales in a given month)


Next Generation, 2017 Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet Volt:

When the Chevrolet Bolt EV first arrived on the scene, many wondered if its electrified cousin, the original GM plug-in Chevy Volt would be affected adversely.

The early returns were in the negative, as the Volt continued to sell decently enough, perhaps the two would augment each other?

However, as the Summer as arrived, and the Bolt inventory deepened and stretched out over the country, it appears that assumption was incorrect.

For the fourth consecutive month, Volt year-over-year sales have fallen, as 1,453 cars were sold in Speteeber, off 28.5% from the 2,031 sold a year ago.

Which trend will ultimately prove correct? Only time will tell.

With the slightly lower than expected sales, inventory levels of the Volt have also come down somewhat. After cresting ~6,000 units as Summer began, the plug-in Chevy has settled at a more reasonable ~5,000 unit level heading into the Fall.

The 2018 MY Volt (now at dealers) is mostly unchanged from the 2017 edition ( details).


Chevrolet Bolt EV – looking to make its mark in 2017

Chevrolet Bolt EV:

The Chevrolet Bolt EV was finally available nationwide in August (well, technically anyway – many states still have little-to-no inventory).

And after selling 2,107 copies in August, the all-electric Chevy set the bar even higher in September, selling a record 2,632 cars in September!

September’s result put the Bolt EV within striking distance (1,046 units) of its stablemate Chevy Volt on the 2017 sales leaderboard – a result which now seems inevitable.

Also to note, the 238 mile EV has seen increasing sales month-over-month for the past 7 months.

Thanks to stronger sales, and an extended shutdown this Summer of the Bolt EV’s production facility in Orion, Michigan (mostly due to plummeting Sonic sales), inventory of the Bolt has leveled off/decreased somewhat at 5,000 units in August and actually dropped by a few hundred units in September, which is a little odd as the 238 mile EV is expected to be a hot seller into the 2017 year-end.

With national distribution widening more evenly over the next few months (and the end of the 2017 tax season – for claiming the $7,500 EV fed credit), we expect to ultimately see the Bolt EV hit the ~3,000 level before the year’s end.


2018 Nissan LEAF gets a new look, more range!

Nissan LEAF:

The Nissan LEAF entered September as the oldest offering on the US market – going on 82 months now.

And as everyone knows by now, it will be replaced in about 3 months time, as the updated 2018 Nissan LEAF debuted earlier this month (full details here).

Is the new LEAF better? Yes, in every way…including ~43 more miles range (up to 150 miles from 107) for $700 less. Not enough? A ~225 mile, higher performance trim level arrives later in 2018 (as a 2019 MY car).

Despite the buying public long knowing the new (and better) LEAF was coming (we had been pounding the table that both a 40 kWh and a 60 kWh offering was to arrive going on two years), the ‘old LEAF’ has continued to sell well, thanks primarily to deep discounting. In fact, LEAF sales had notched year-over-year gains in all 8 months of 2017.

However, that is all over now, as the 2017 MY production taps are shutdown, and Nissan has near-perfectly managed inventory levels; moving from 2,000 units on average in stock in July, to 1,300 in August, to just over 600 units in September.

For last month Nissan did still manage to keep one streak active, as the company crossed into “4 digit land” for the 8th consecutive month with 1,055 deliveries, an impressive result (all things considered).

For the year (through August), 10,740 LEAFs have been sold, a gain of 16% over 2016 when 9,238 were moved over the same time in 2016.

Production of the new LEAF is underway now, with the first few copies of the 2018 LEAF reported to arrive in the US regionally in late December, with the first wave of depth arriving in January.


2017 Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota Prius Prime:

After 18 months of waiting for the first generation Prius plug-in to be replaced, the Toyota Prius Prime ( details) arrived on US dealers lots on November 8th, and sales have not disappointed.

After setting a new high of 1,618 sales in March, Prius Prime sales has defied very low inventory levels for almost the whole year – selling a peak 1,908 in May!

Unfortunately, the Summer brought ‘really low’ inventory from Japan and sales dropped into the 1,600 range. However that situation started to change in August, as dealer stock moved from under a 1,000 units to more than 2,000 exiting September.

The result was that 1,899 Prius Primes were moved in September – a whisker off the 2017 high, and based on this deeper inventory that seems to be arriving now, we look for the Prius Prime to note year-highs throughout the Fall/Q4 selling season.

The Toyota not only features its own unique look, but 25 miles of all-electric range.

How high could sales go? It really is hard to say, we speculated before the model’s arrive last year we felt it could touch 4,000 or 5,000 units…and given that estimate was just eclipsed in May (5,369 sales) in the Toyota’s home market in Japan, (and followed by more than 4,000 in June) it seems like a realistic number, now more than ever.

When will enough inventory arrive to fill the demand void? It’s still hard to say – for sure ~2,000 units is not near enough, but perhaps by year’s end – after the 2018 model year production is well underway in Japan this Fall.

Why the high acceptance? The plug-in Toyota is priced right – from $27,950, which after the $4,500 federal credit is applied gives the Prime an effective price of $23,450, a price-point that is actually more than $1,000 cheaper than the base hybrid version…which should eventually translate into very strong sales once the EV is well stocked, as the standard version of the car can sell upwards of 10,000 units in a month.


BMW i3

BMW i3: NO DATA TO REPORT YET

The BMW i3 entered the US market with a bang in 2014, but it is too bad that the initial fireworks display of sales back then was the peak – we just didn’t know it at the time.

For 2017, things started rough, with just 182 sales logged in January, and 318 in February. The tune changed drastically in March (which given the i3’s track record is not all that surprising), with 703 sales made, a 118% gain over March of 201 – but that the lone bright spot. Since then sales have languished in the ~500 range.

For August specifically, sales continued to be depressed, with 504 deliveries during the month – half of the amount moved a year ago (1,013).

For the year, 4,097 i3s have been sold, off 23% from last year when 5,377 had been sold through the first 8 months.

Quite frankly, the i3 as it stands today is likely too expensive for plug-in vehicle buyers, so if BMW wants to sell the EV in volumes like it did in the past, it is going to have to sharpen its pencil…and by a lot.

In late August, BMW underlined they still really didn’t understand the issue behind lackluster sales or the i3 itself, byreleasing a new, slightly sportier trim level – the i3s (full details here). The car gets some new styling details, some wider tires and some extra performance (+10 kW), but what the public really wants is a price cut (the new i3s is ~10% more in most markets), and a longer range option.

For 2016 overall, BMW sold 7,625 i3s in 2016, compared to 11,024 a year ago – also off 31% from 2015.


2014 Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S: Tesla does not give out exact monthly sales ( apparently because the public can’t handle the concept of regional allocations and delivery lead times)… so we never know for sure what the monthly numbers total up to until Tesla’s quarterly (or annual) updates add more clarity, but we do our best to keep our finger on the pulse of what is happening.

To come to an estimated monthly, number, we don’t simply take the quarterly estimate given by Tesla and divide it by 3 and hope it all works out…it just doesn’t work like that in the real world. We simply report from the data we accumulate ourselves, the first hand accounts available from the factory and from the community itself when available – and the number is what it is (see below)

Revisions/disclaimer to accuracy of prior estimates: The 2016 Model S chart has been adjusted (via US Q3 data leaked directly from Tesla) by 469 units in Q3, and 525 units in Q4. The 2015 chart was adjusted (one time) by 498 units to compensate for confirmed full year numbers. The 2014 sales chart was adjusted (one time – again after the end of the full year of estimates) 611 units to compensate for full year numbers. While past success is no guarantee of future results, InsideEVs is quite proud of its sales tracking for the Model S over the years.

That being said, we only estimate this number because Tesla does not, and to not put a number on Model S sales would be to paint an even more inaccurate overall picture of EV sales. Despite our fairly accurate track record, we are not analysts, portfolio managers and we do not own any positions in Tesla the company.

Over the past two month, we noted the almost complete lack of focus on domestic Model production by Tesla, which truthfully isn’t all that uncommon, but this quarter had been especially dry after July and August, as Tesla seemed to be focused on selling down older/discontinued models and blowing out built inventory.

In fact, those suspicions were confirmed eary in October, as Tesla reported more deliveries overall in Q3 than vehicles produced – something that hasn’t happened in years.

By late August however, we noted that all that had changed, and the Fremont production facility was churning out record numbers of Model S sedans, almost all headed to US customers…and that didn’t stop in September.

We estimate that a 2017 high 4,860 copies were sold.

Further to those numbers, with the first real US production volume in months, we got our first real look at the model trim level distribution with just the 75 kWh and 100 kWh batteries being offered.

With Tesla “anti-selling” the Model 3, and promoting a Model S purchase ‘you can get today’ over the less expensive new model, sales of the entry level 75 kWh car well outpaced the 100 kWh offering. From the data we could collect, the 75 kWh Model S outsold the 100 kWh version by a rate of more than 5-to-1 in September.

Is this the new norm with US customer? Or just an obscure one-off given the high level of attention given to the Model 3’s arrival (in very limited/controlled numbers) in late July, and the realization of some of the ~450,000+ reservists that there is still a long wait ahead? We tend to believe the latter, and expect the balance to equalize some in the coming months.


Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X: Like the Model S, Tesla does not itself report Model X sales, so we do our best – with all the data at our disposal to estimate monthly results for North America as best we can (For more info on that, check out our disclaimer for the Model S)

Historical accuracy/Sales Update (Oct 11th):

Tesla recently leaked US sales data for Q3 2016 put US deliveries at 5,428. Our own Q3 estimate was 5,800 for North America, which includes Canada (which ended Q3 with 389 registrations for the quarter), meaning 5,787 were actually sold – and not to brag…but that means we were only off by 13 units in Q3.

Previously in Q2 2016, Tesla reported 4,625 Model X deliveries…our estimated scorecard got within about ~55 units of the actual number (accounting for just a handful of international Model X deliveries). In Q1 we where within ~200 units.

As with the Tesla Model S, we noted very little customer orders for the Model X were actually delivered during July and August.

What we did see was a fair shake of discounted inventory and demo SUVs finding new homes in the US, and trend which continued somewhat in September, as Model X custom-built orders appeared to get off to a bit slower start to end the quarter than the S.

While the Model S production and delivery for the US went into hyper-drive by late August, the Model X appeared to diverge somewhat from the sedan in September – after a year of posting very similar results.

However to be fair, the Model S was squarely in focus late in Q3, as we suspect a fair number of the ~450,000+ reservists for the Model 3 considered a S purchase, once they received their personalized “estimated delivery” dates for the less expensive Tesla – some of which indicated over a year’s worth of wait for certain trims and regions.

With that said, we still estimate a very robust 3,120 Model X utility vehicles were delivered, a 2017 high.


This is the first Tesla Model 3 (#001), naturally it arrived in black – lord of all colors. Want to buy it any other way? $1,000 premium fine for bad taste.

Tesla Model 3: It has arrived!

Just ~16 months after orders opened, and ~10 years since it was first announced (then known as the “Bluestar”), the first Model 3s were delivered on July 28th, 2017! One can check out the full delivery ceremony, and all the newly released specs (220-310 miles range, 0-60 mph in 5.1-5.6 seconds) on our full recap here.

As with Model S & X sales, Tesla is not planning to release monthly Model 3 sales in the US at this point time. Until then we do our best – with all the data at our disposal to estimate monthly results for North America as best we can (For more info on that, check out our disclaimer for the Model S).

Thankfully, in these early days (Q3 2017), pegging Model 3 sales in the US is a pretty easy task, as the complete delivery volume for July took place live at the July 28th delivery event in Fremont, California, as the first 30 cars were delivered to Tesla employees/stakeholders in the US, and one could almost count the individual cars as they left Tesla’s Fremont factory in August.

Unfortunately, these early Model 3s are a virtual captured fleet as deliveries are only going to the Musk “family of company” employees and ‘friends’ of Tesla. And as part of the deal, no external, mass-media has been granted extended access to the car as of yet.

As for deliveries and production of the Model 3 in Q3 we had this directive from Musk to go by from July:

“Handover party for first 30 customer Model 3’s on the 28th! Production grows exponentially, so Aug should be 100 cars and Sept above 1500.”

Again, no sleuthing is necessary on our part to get September’s results, as the company discloses overall sales numbers at the end of each quarter. With all the Model 3 sales going to the US, and knowing that just over ~105 cars were delivered in July and August…it is simple math.

Unfortunately, Tesla whiffed on its production estimates for the Model 3 in Q3 (details), and managed to build just 260 copies, selling 220 over the three months. Meaning that ~115 deliveries were made during September – a disappointing result for sure.

The company said it was aware of the issue and it was not going to impede its progress with the Model 3.
Model 3 production was less than anticipated due to production bottlenecks. Although the vast majority of manufacturing subsystems at both our California car plant and our Nevada Gigafactory are able to operate at high rate, a handful have taken longer to activate than expected.

It is important to emphasize that there are no fundamental issues with the Model 3 production or supply chain. We understand what needs to be fixed and we are confident of addressing the manufacturing bottleneck issues in the near-term.”

Chrysler Pacific Plug-In Hybrid

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid:

The much anticipated plug-in extended range passenger van arrived in January, albeit in stealth, stuttered… and very limited in fashion.

Due to some odd quirks with production timing and plant scheduling we have had a on/off/on/off/quasi-on start for the Pacifica Hybrid as it relates to deliveries. Then there was QC holds, then launch delays. Finally, the Pacifica Hybrid officially arrived on “Earth Day” April 22nd, 2017, and customers enjoyed a good 3-4 weeks of arriving inventory…until the wheels fell off (not literally).

By June 10th a nationwide recall was announced, and all 1,677 Pacificas sold in the US and Canada had to head back to Chrysler to get a faulty diode replaced that could cause lost of power when in operation. We won’t get into all the details from there (check out our June sales report for more info).

Thankfully by mid-August, salable vans began to re-appear at on Chrysler dealer lots – at least of the 2017 MY variety, and deliveries were back underway.

With that said, inventory has yet to get “super deep” and sales are still very much constrained, as model year 2018 production, despite having first gotten underway a couple months ago, have been held in a QC hold for the recalls repairs to be implemented (or waiting on 2017s to get sold first perhaps), leaving only the ‘fixed’ 2017 Pacifica Hybrids to make up the bulk of September’s sales.

For September, we estimate that 475 Pacifica Hybrids were delivered – all of them 2017 editions.

We should note that those 2018 Pacifica Hybrids were given the ‘green light’ on September 25th, so we expect to see today’s inventory level of about ~400 vans explode late in October, along with much higher sales to end out the year.

Also to note, Chrysler’s Windsor plant, where the Pacifica Hybrid is built, is undergoing a 4 week shutdown for Grand Caravan/US regulatory tooling issues that began on October 2nd (through October 30th) – it remains to be seen how this will effect dealer inventory later in Q4, but new customer orders this month will likely take a solid ~8 weeks to get delivered.


2017 BMW 330e – Like All Plug-Ins Sold In The US, It Wisely Is Offered In Black

BMW 330e: NO DATA TO REPORT YET

Arriving on the US market about a year ago was the BMW 330e, which is the plug-in hybrid version of the company’s high selling 3 series offering.

And while the 330e (from $44,695 including DST), physically arrived in April 2016 in a token amount, and it took BMW 9 months to begin to stock the vehicle even marginally. A process which has finally started to take hold in mid-2017.

By May 2017 some decent inventory arrived, and sales followed, as the 330 sold 475, then 499 in June.

Unfortunately, the 330e fell back in July and August, but not by a lot, as 387 and 409 copies respectively were sold – good enough to keep it moving up the sales charts into 12th, passing the VW e-Golf in July and the Audi A3 e-tron in August.

On the inventory side, the 330e peaked at around 750 cars in July, before falling back to almost 400 units – thankfully the 2018s are arriving now, and inventory is back about 700 unites heading into October -hopefully on their way much, much higher – because BMW could certainly show even better results with this offering.

As for the specs, the final EPA ‘real world’ range rating of just 14 all-electric miles (via a 7.6 Kwh battery – 5.7 usable) was a disappointment for some hoping for a number closer to 20, but with a 75 mph top speed in “Max eDrive”, it is a capable offering (featuring a 2 liter turbo inline 4) and should satisfy the traditional BMW crowd and be a strong seller.

The electric motor develops 87 hp with maximum peak torque of 184 lb-ft, when combined with the petrol engine, the total output jumps to 248 hp, with a peak torque of 310 lb-ft, allowing a sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 140 mph.


Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron: NO DATA TO REPORT YET

After selling between about ~400 copies a month in Q1 (387, 400 and 414), Audi slipped in Q2, and now into Q3.

For May Audi moved 294 A3 e-trons, before increasing to 324 copies in June.

Unfortunately, that May-to-June gain was pulled back in July and August, as just 218 and 129 plug-in Audis were sold (respectively). For September, just 85 were moved – the worst result for the car since in was introduced in 2015.

To be fair, all of this drop can be attributed to some poor planning/thin end of year inventory of the Sportback; currently only about 50-odd 2017s are left in stock. Hey Audi, make with the 2018s already!

In 2016, 4,280 copies were sold…a not insignificant contribution to the US plug-in vehicle sales scene. That said, Audi is still certainly not in the “big boys” category for EV sales, but also is definitely not in the “also rans” either.

Quirky fact not really related to EV sales, but certainly aided with the arrival of the A3 e-tron, the Audi brand has now set 79 consecutive months of record year-over-year sales in the US.

The A3 e-tron has a low price inside Audi’s lineup. $38,900 gets you the Audi badge, 8.8 kWh of battery – good for 17-odd miles of real world driving…and federal credit of $4,158, which is significant because this brings the e-tron package down to within $3,500 of the base MSRP of the A3.

Also a reason for decent sales numbers on the A3 e-tron…you can’t get the “sportback” version of the Audi in any other trim level in the US. Check out our own early/pre-delivery review on the Audi A3 e-tron here.


Ford Fusion Energi

Ford Fusion Energi: NO DATA TO REPORT YET. Ford will not be reporting electrified numbers until Wednesday (Oct 4th) around noon – so why not come back and check out the results then?

The refreshed 2017 Ford Fusion Energi ( details) was a fairly big hit in 2016, showing marked improvements throughout the year.

Heading into 2017, the Fusion Energi crossed back into “4 digit land” in March, as 1,002 Energis were moved in March…joining a club of just 5 other at that level. A level which the company returned to in May…but could not maintain, as just 707 copies were sold in June, and an near equal amount in July and August at 703 and 762 deliveries respectively.

Looking at the inventory in the past, it was easy to see why (and how) so many of the new Fusion plug-ins were sold; the Fusion Energi often won the crown for the “most stocked” EV in the US … before Chevy got crazy with the Volt and Bolt EV.

With that said, Ford had been struggling to keep production on pace with demand (or they are managing inventory lower)…after having almost 3,000 in stock in mid-June, by the start of September that number fallen below 2,00 units, as the industry-wide Summer shutdown/changeover to MY 2018 was underway.

Thankfully, the 2018s began to arrive late in August, and inventory has started to deepen (around 700 2018s were in stock starting October – and growing), so we hope for higher/better results soon.


Volkswagen e-Golf

Volkswagen e-Golf:

Congratulations Volkswagen, you win our “jackass of the year” award…and 2017 isn’t close to be over yet.

After a rocky start with continued dieselgate fallout, the longer range 2017 e-Golf was promised to the US after production started in Germany in late 2016.

Well, guess what? For the next nine months all VW did have the “old & busted” 2016s clogging up dealer lots – refusing to clear them out to make way for the new hotness.

Finally the 2016s are gone, and like a magical unicorn, the new/longer range 2017 edition has appeared! And yes, you heard that right, VW was so slow with the upgraded model that they are just now introducing a “2017” model as everyone else has switched to the 2018s.

Despite the lack of these 2017 e -Golfs for the bulk of the year, the older model sold decently enough (relatively speaking to historical sales), moving about ~300 copies a month on average this year until this past month.

With the 2016s exhausted, and only just over 100 copies of the “new” 2017s on hand, VW moved 187 e-Golfs in Septemeber – a 2017 low.



The 2017 plug-in VW will now feature a 35.8 kWh battery, increasing range to ~124 miles and debuted at the LA Auto Show in November ( details – launch gallery/video).


Ford C-Max Energi

Ford C-Max Energi: NO DATA TO REPORT YET. Ford will not be reporting electrified numbers until Wednesday (Oct 4th) around noon – so why not come back and check out the results then?

If it wasn’t for the impressive results of the Ford Fusion Energi every month, we probably would look at C-Max Energi results a lot differently. And in June AND July…we finally did.

Last year…for just one month, the plug-in C-Max manged to step out of the Fusion’s shadow for the first time, and sold an all-time best 1,289 copies – 17% more than the Fusion Energi.

But in June and July, that trick was repeated back-to-back, as the C-Max Energi sold an impressive 936 copies, 33% more than the Fusion Energi (707) in June, then again 844 to 703 in July (+20%).

For August the smaller Ford plug-in couldn’t make it three in a row, but it was still close, as the C-Max plug-in moved 705 copies (just 57 behind the Fusion).

Will the C-Max Energi ever get its due as a top-selling plug-in model for the US? Probably not. Especially as we just spotted the new Ford Escape Energi plug-in out testing in the US in June…a model which, along with a Focus Energi ( a trademark application for which we recently uncovered), basically signifies the end of the C-Max Energi.


Fiat 500e

Fiat 500e: NO DATA TO REPORT YET

When it comes to reporting plug-in sales, we have another Tesla on our hands here (as in they don’t report sales).

Chrysler/Fiat has been giving us a bit of the stonewall treatment when it comes to reporting 500e sales.

UPDATE: After initially have some issues getting data on the plug-in Fiat, more registration and rebate data is now available. That being said, the number is estimated. Historically, the average margin of error per month has been about ~40 units in those moments when some confirmed data leaks out (usually from a recall). For 2016, the yearly estimated total was adjusted upwards (once) by approximately 500 units over the full 12 months.

For most of 2016, the Fiat 500e was a consistently solid performer, but 2017 results have really result move even higher (amazing what ~$100 lease deals can do!)

It is interesting to note that sales this year peaked in January (of all months) at an estimated ~752 sales, but the sales have stayed strong for most of the year.

And by most of the year, we mean up until Summer, as for some reason the 500e seems to sell less in the Summer – we aren;t quite sure why, but it might have something to do with FCA’s production timing, which seems to always ‘short the distance’ it needs to bridge the gap between the previous model year and the next. Currently, about 300 2017s are in stock in California and Oregon, a year-low according to our calculations.

For September we estimate that 375 500es were sold.


x5 xDrive40e

BMW X5 xDrive40e: NO DATA TO REPORT YET

The BMW X5 plug-in had an unexpectedly strong debut in the US in 2016…and only get stronger over the year.

In fact the electrified BMW SUV has seen sales as high as 876 units in 2016 (August 2016).

However, 2017 has been a bit of a disappointment for the X5 plug-in, as inventories have stayed frustratingly low (insert this complaint for almost all BMW plug-ins found in America), and sales are sure to show a year-over-year loss at this point…barring a Christmas miracle.

Throughout August, inventory of the popular plug-in BMW continued to fall, as no 2018s arrived to pick up the slack for out of stock 2017s – resulting in just 317 deliveries.

And while inventory is still oppressively low (sub 300 units), we are happy to be able to report that 2018s are now arriving late in the month, representing about half the current stock. Hopefully enough plug-in SUVs will arrive that BMW can once again make a push to try and break into the 4-digit mark!

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From: Eric10/3/2017 12:33:35 PM
1 Recommendation   of 4595
 
40% Of New Cars In Oslo = Fully Electric Cars, 20% = Plug-In Hybrids [Hot!]

October 3rd, 2017 by Steve Hanley

Before jumping into the broader Norway electric car story from Steve Hanley below, there are some amazing highlights out of Oslo that helpful CleanTechnica reader Are Hansen pointed out to us:

40% of new cars registered in Oslo in September were fully electric cars.

20% of new cars registered in Oslo in September were plug-in hybrids.

7.5% of cars living in Oslo are now electric (~22,500). The total number of electric cars in the city is projected to nearly double by 2020, “expected to rise to 40,000 by 2020, as the toll road entry fee for petrol and diesel cars increases (to around $5.5),” Are reports.

Investments in EV charging infrastructure in the city continue to grow, with plans in the new budget to build 600 new charging stations in the city’s borders. “This means that during next year Oslo will have a total of 1500 slow and free charging points (mostly curbside charging poles) and 524 «semi fast chargers» (guess that means 22kW).”

Ahead of the curve, Oslo is not forgetting about those living without a garage or at least private parking space where they can charge. “Included in the budget is NOK 20 million to support charging points in housing cooperatives/condos.” (That’s approximately $2.5 million.)

“Buses on the west side motorway into Oslo have had problems being stuck in congestion. From tomorrow, a new HOV lane is opened on the stretch from Lysaker to Sandvika. The goal of the Norwegian Public Roads Administration is to reduce private car traffic by 25% to reduce pollution. During afternoon rush hours (from 2 til 6 p.m.) EVs only have access to the HOV lane if carrying at least two people, the rest of the time unlimited access.”

I find those figures and announcements both inspiring and depressing. They’re inspiring since they show what real EV leadership is and what it results in, but they’re also a bit depressing since no other country is close to Norway on the disruptive-tech S-curve.

Read on for the remainder of the news around Norway’s fast-growing EV sales, courtesy Steve Hanley. —Zach

This story about electric car sales in Norway was first published by Gas2.

Norway may have the most aggressive collection of electric car incentives of any country. Not only are electric cars and plug-in hybrids exempt from most taxes at the time of purchase, but they also qualify for reduced tolls on the nation’s highways, lower fares or no cost at all on its many ferries, and free parking in most cities. Charging infrastructure is also quite robust. Although there is always room for improvement, there are more public chargers available for EV drivers than in most other European nations.



The combination works. Last month, 13,484 new passenger cars were registered in Norway, and 29% of them were electric cars. The numbers by manufacturer break down like this:

1. Volkswagen: 2,083 (-0.0%)
2. Tesla: 2,003 (+136.2%)
3. Toyota: 1,355 (-25.7%)
4. Volvo: 960 (+25.8%)
5. BMW: 872 (-26.9%)

The numbers for Tesla are astounding. Almost 900 were registered in the last week of September alone!

Sales of the Model S (1,007) were up more than 300% from the same month last year. Model X deliveries totaled 996, a 66% increase. The next largest manufacturer to score big in the electric car sales race was Volkswagen with 1,367 e-Golf sales, up 37% from last year.

“This is a development we have expected. Norwegians want big cars that are suitable for cabins and accommodate the whole family. Half of the car sales in Norway are large and medium-sized cars, and only Tesla offers electric car models of this size today. For many, this will still be the only electric car on the market that meets your needs for a while,” says Christina Bu, General Secretary of the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association.

The increase in EV sales was matched by a nearly 25% decline in sales of petrol- and diesel-powered cars in September (the former was down 13% January–September and the latter was down 21% in that period). That’s good news for Norway’s air quality. “The decline contributes to historically low emissions,” Bu says. “This is the right way. We know that Tesla has delivered an extra lot of cars this month, but at the same time there are also several who see that time is now ripe for switching to electric cars. We see the start of a mass market, but are still a little behind the necessary development to reach the goal of just selling zero-emission cars by 2025. “

When Bu says the country is a little bit behind, she is talking about charging infrastructure. In Oslo, a new plan will add 600 public chargers and target more chargers for people who live in apartment or condominium buildings. Today, there are about 22,500 electric cars in Oslo. That number is expected to grow to 40,000 by 2020.

The European Union suggests there should be one charger for every 10 electric cars on the road. “The most important thing now is that the development of available chargers keeps pace with the sharp increase in the number of electric cars,” says Christina Bu. The city of Oslo plans to have 1,500 Level 2 chargers and another 520 higher power (22 kW) chargers in operation by next year.

“It’s a good start, but it’s not enough in the long run for what’s going to be a historic shift for road transport in the city,” Bu says. “It is also vital that the municipality collaborates with commercial actors to build more quick chargers. The public can not finance all charging infrastructure alone, and we rely on growing a commercial market that provides for the volume and spread of charging services throughout the country.”

Drivers in Oslo and other cities are beginning to experience lines of other cars waiting to access the available chargers, a situation that is further driving the push to expand the EV charging infrastructure in Norway.

cleantechnica.com

Hat tips to Are Hansen and Lief Hansen, who are not brothers, so far as we know!

Photo credit: Norsk Elbilforening

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From: Eric10/3/2017 12:49:00 PM
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Chevrolet Bolt EV Nets Record Sales In September, Not So Much For The Volt

3 hours ago by Jay Cole

32 Comments


Chevrolet Bolt EVs – finding more US driveways every month!

As the Chevrolet Bolt EV has made its way across the US, making itself move and more available at local dealers in every state, sales have (perhaps unsurprisingly) began to rise. For September, GM blew former numbers out of the water, setting a new all-time high, while logging 7 consecutive months of sales gains!


“Yeah, yeah, the Bolt has lots of twirly information, can you just not touch the screen anymore?”


The 238 mile EV also broke into the “2k” level for the second month in a row. Actually, the Bolt more than broke into the 2,000s…

For September, 2,632 Bolts were sold, a 25% gain over the 2,107 sold a month ago.

For the year, 14,302 all-electric Chevys have been delivered, keeping it firmly in the #5 slot on the best selling plug-in list for the US.

Interestingly, while the Bolt has been reaching a wider audience, the national inventory level on the EV, while more balanced, has been dropping over the past couple months; from a high of ~6,000 earlier in the Summer, to just north of 5,000 on average in August, to a few hundred less than that in September.

At this point we aren’t sure if that is a reflection of the recent higher sales constraining the inventory, or just a keener eye on inventory management from GM.


Hey look, isn’t that the car we seen in the Chevy dealership when we bought the Bolt EV?

As for GM’s other plug-in vehicle, it is hard to now not conclude that the Bolt EV is stealing some sales thunder from the Chevy Volt.

As the Bolt has arrived at more dealers, Volt sales have lessened…and not by just a handful of sales, as the year-over-year number have now turned negative for the last 4 months in a row.



We imagine the Bolt EV at Chevy dealers, and this guy (Prius Prime shown above) are responsible for softer Volt sales of late

For September 1,453 Volts were delivered, off 28.5% from the 2,031 sold a year ago.

For the full year, 15,348 Volts has sold, down 6% from 2016’s total of 16,326 cars delivered through the first 3 quarters.

Just looking at Q3 when the Volt and Bolt EV were better competing for more national eyeballs (and wallets) at the dealer level, Volt sales are off 32% (4,416 vs 6,518).

We should note that it may in fact not just be the Bolt EV taking this consumer attention away from the 53 mile, extended range Volt, it might also be the Toyota Prius Prime, which has found a lot of traction appealing to PHEV shoppers…selling some 15,000 copies this year.

Looking at the best selling EV list, the Chevrolet Volt started 2017 as the leader, had fallen to 2nd place a couple months ago, and is now in danger of falling into 5th spot overall, holding just a couple hundred sales advantage over the Prius Prime (15,056), Tesla Model X (~15,290)…with the Bolt EV just 1,000 deliveries behind (14,302).

What can Chevy do to regain the market share? The most obvious answer (besides spending more money to advertise the car – which seems unlikely with the Bolt’s arrival on the scene), is a price reduction, or more dealer-offered incentives.

But then again, with GM stating this week that they intend to offer two more all-electric vehicles in the next year and a half and “at least” 20 over the next 5 or so yearsdoes the Volt’s pullback really matter that much?

insideevs.com

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From: Eric10/3/2017 1:48:55 PM
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Nissan Debuts New LEAF And e-NV200 In Europe, Urges Governments To Up EV Support – video

insideevs.com

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From: Eric10/3/2017 9:50:25 PM
   of 4595
 
Navistar & Volkswagen To Launch Medium-Duty Electric Truck In North America By Late 2019

October 3rd, 2017 by James Ayre

The commercial trucking company Navistar International and Volkswagen AG’s Truck and Bus will be jointly launching an electric medium-duty truck in the North American market by late 2019, company execs have revealed.

The two firms will be jointly developing hardware and systems that will be used by both of them — this includes “connectivity” systems to keep trucks connected to the internet and each other.



Andreas Renschler

The two companies will also be collaborating on the development of the next generation of “Big Bore” diesel powertrains, Volkswagen Truck CEO Andreas Renschler and Navistar CEO Troy Clarke revealed in an interview with Reuters.

All of this news of course follows on Volkswagen’s relatively recent acquisition of a 16.6% stake in Navistar.

Reuters provides more: “Commercial truck makers are investing in electrification as regulators and policy makers have stepped up pressure to curtail or eliminate pollution from diesel engines in big cities. … The new electric truck for North America will be a Class 6 or 7 truck based on a Navistar vehicle, and aimed at urban delivery customers.

“Volkswagen will test nine electric trucks in Austria that will offer payloads of about 18 tons and ranges of about 180 kilometers between charges, Renschler said. Rival Daimler AG said last week delivered the first of a smaller range of electric delivery trucks to customers in New York.”

The plan is apparently for this Volkswagen + Navistar collaboration to provide the two companies with a solution if some cities start banning diesel trucks due to concerns about air pollution. How likely is that in the next few years?

cleantechnica.com

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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From: Eric10/4/2017 6:55:54 AM
   of 4595
 
Renault-Nissan To Build All-Electric Compact SUV In China With New JV

15 hours ago by Mark Kane

15 Comments



Renault-Nissan looking to break into China with a new all-electric A Segment SUV (think like Renault Kwid shown here)

Renault-Nissan Alliance has announced a new joint venture – eGT New Energy Automotive Co., Ltd. , which is being established with Dongfeng Motor Group to co-develop and sell electric vehicles in China.


Venucia e30 (aka Nissan LEAF)

Renault and Nissan will each hold 25% of the new JV, while Dongfeng retains 50% of the new company…as per ‘the way it works’ if you want to sell autos in China’.

We should note that, Nissan already has a JV with Dongfeng to produce cars under the Venucia brand (including the e30 “morning wind” – AKA Nissan LEAF).

The goal with this new JV is to develop an all-electric vehicle using an A-segment SUV platform from the Renault-Nissan Alliance – think something like the Renault Kwid (pictured above).

The car would be then produced from 2019 in Dongfeng facility in City of Shiyan, Hubei Province in central China, with capacity of up to 120,000 cars.
“The new joint venture, eGT New Energy Automotive Co., Ltd. (eGT), will focus on the core competencies of each partner and will harness the full potential of the Renault-Nissan Alliance electric vehicle leadership, as well as the resources of Dongfeng in the new energy industry, to meet the expectations of the Chinese market.

eGT will design a new EV with intelligent interconnectivity, that will be in line with the expectations of Chinese customers. It will be jointly developed by the Alliance and Dongfeng on an A-segment SUV platform of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. It will draw on the global leadership on EV technologies and cost-effective car design experience from the Alliance, and the competitive manufacturing costs from Dongfeng.”

“The newly formed eGT is planned to be based in the City of Shiyan, Hubei Province in central China. The electric vehicle will be produced at the Dongfeng plant of Shiyan which has a production and sales capacity of 120,000 vehicles a year. Start of production of the new EV is forecast in the year 2019.”


Another look at the A-segment Renault Kwid

Carlos Ghosn, chairman and chief executive officer of the Renault-Nissan Alliance said:
“The establishment of the new joint venture with Dongfeng confirms our common commitment to develop competitive electric vehicles for the Chinese market. We are confident to meet the expectations of the Chinese customers and to strengthen our global electric vehicle leadership position.”
Official vehicle sales data shows 256,879 BEVs were sold in China last year (up 121%).

And despite a slow start in the Chinese market for 2017, production YTD stands at 223,000 units (up 37.8%), while sales have reached 204,000 units (up 33.6%).

insideevs.com

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From: Eric10/4/2017 2:56:30 PM
1 Recommendation   of 4595
 
New Anode In Toshiba SCiB Battery Adds 200 Miles Of Range In 6 Minutes

October 3rd, 2017 by Steve Hanley

This story about Toshiba’s next-generation SCiB battery was first published by Gas2.

When we think of electric car batteries, we think of Samsung SDI, Panasonic, LG Chem, and Tesla. The name Toshiba seldom enters the conversation. Yet Toshiba has been toiling away in relative obscurity at the margins of battery research for several years. Now it says it has developed a new version of its SCiB battery that can be recharged in less time and at higher power than batteries from its competitors.



The anode and cathode are the keys to any battery. Those are the places where electrons rush in during charging and out again to power electric motors or other devices. The more electrons that can be stored and the faster they can move, the better. Anodes and cathodes degrade over time, reducing battery performance. Some can be damaged by physical impacts or high temperatures, leading to the escape of poisonous gases or fires.

Designing anodes and cathodes that have high energy density, long life, and low volatility is very much an occult science worthy of alchemists. Toshiba introduced its SCiB rechargeable battery cells in 2008, which differ from most other lithium-ion batteries in that they use lithium titanium oxide for the anode.

The company says LTO improves battery performance at low temperatures (we can’t all live in Palo Alto). It also gives excellent power density, long battery life, and is resistant to the damage that can occur in other batteries from external impacts. In tests, the new battery maintains 90% of its capacity after 5,000 charging cycles.

The next generation of Toshiba’s SCiB battery cells uses titanium niobium oxide for its anode material. Toshiba says it has double the storage capacity of the graphite-based anodes generally used in conventional lithium-ion batteries. The new battery has both high energy density and ultra-rapid recharging characteristics. Its titanium niobium oxide anode is less susceptible to lithium metal deposition during ultra-rapid recharging or recharging in cold conditions — a frequent cause of battery degradation and internal short circuiting.

Toshiba claims the new battery can add up to 200 miles of range to an electric car after just 6 minutes using a high-power charger, but doesn’t define what it considers “high power.” Typical DC fast charging equipment in the US operates at 50 kW. Tesla Superchargers have 135 kW of power, and ABB has just announced the first installations of chargers that have up to 350 kW of power. Which is high power? All of them? Only the latter?

“We are very excited by the potential of the new titanium niobium oxide anode and the next-generation SCiB,” said Dr. Osamu Hori, director of Toshiba’s corporate research & development center. “Rather than an incremental improvement, this is a game changing advance that will make a significant difference to the range and performance of EV. We will continue to improve the battery’s performance and aim to put the next-generation SCiB™ into practical application in fiscal year 2019.”

cleantechnica.com

Source: Electric Cars Report

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From: Eric10/5/2017 7:28:10 AM
1 Recommendation   of 4595
 
  • Boeing & Aerospace
  • Business


  • Zunum brings Silicon Valley startup style to electric-airplane concept

    Originally published October 5, 2017 at 4:00 am Updated October 4, 2017 at 8:29 pm


    An artist’s rendition of Kirkland-based Zunum Aero’s hybrid electric-airplane concept. Zunum is initially developing a 9-seater model for city-to-city commuting. (Zunum)

    Kirkland-based Zunum Aero aims to have its first hybrid-electric commuter airplane in flight tests within two years, though many technological details remain to be worked out


    By
    Dominic Gates
    Seattle Times aerospace reporter


    Zunum Aero, a local startup that’s won funding from both Boeing and the state of Washington, aims to begin small but grow fast. It says it will flight test its first nine-seat hybrid-electric plane just two years from now.

    The company as yet has no hardware to show the world, only ambitious plans and alluring illustrations. It also has a Silicon Valley-style pitch.

    At Zunum’s Kirkland headquarters, Chief Executive Ashish Kumar — a former Google and Microsoft senior executive with a Ph.D. in mechanical and aerospace engineering — insists his small electric planes will open up aviation to many more travelers.

    Existing planes of this size, such as the Wichita-built Beechcraft King Air or the Swiss-made Pilatus PC-12, today are flown by city-to-city commuter airlines that typically serve lucrative short-hop routes — say San Francisco to Los Angeles — and by operators offering on-demand air-taxi service.

    They serve mainly business executives who like to fly out of small airports to avoid the security and logistical delays of major commercial airline travel.

    Kumar says Zunum’s battery-powered plane will open up this aviation sector by dramatically lowering the cost of operating such planes. He cites $260 per flight hour, compared to $600 to $1,000 and up per flight hour on similarly sized nonelectric planes.

    “It will give rise to a much more distributed air system, where smaller to midsize planes fly to many more airports than have service today,” Kumar said.

    A family of electric planes

    Zunum won some credibility in April, when Boeing gave it an undisclosed amount of startup funding.

    In June, the state of Washington’s Clean Energy Fund kicked in an additional $800,000 research-and-development grant.

    The concept is a plane, mostly built of composites, with Tesla-style battery packs in the wings. As a hybrid, it will also carry a relatively small amount of fuel.

    All the electric propulsion gear will be stored behind the passenger cabin and will power two engines mounted on the fuselage, just ahead of the V-shape tail.

    Zunum promises a range of 700 miles and a cruise speed of 340 mph, which is 9 percent faster than the Pilatus and King Air planes.

    The plane would theoretically seat up to a dozen people, but since Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules would require two pilots for 10 or more passengers, in practice, it’ll be a nine-seater in the U.S.

    Zunum sees this as the first of a family of hybrid-electric planes. “In the grand scheme of things,” said Kumar, it’s “also a demonstrator for the 30- to 50-seater that we think is the next logical step.”

    Not content with that ambition, Zunum says its planes will have the capability to be flown autonomously — without a pilot. And its presentations include concept illustrations of a vertical takeoff military model.

    Tech-style startup mentality

    Yet even the baseline technology is still in development.

    A new generation of batteries is needed to power this plane. Kumar says Zunum will rely on the auto industry to come up with those.

    His engineers are focusing on developing the powertrain that will drive the engines. As for the airframe, Zunum will get to the details on that later — next year, Kumar said.

    Myriad regulatory hoops will have to be jumped through to achieve FAA certification. And while Kumar insists this can all be developed for “less than $200 million,” the business plan is sketchy.

    With another round of fundraising ahead, Kumar looks past the challenges, presenting his case as if Zunum were a Silicon Valley tech startup.

    He points out how much investor money is today being poured into innovation in ground transportation, from ride-sharing to electric cars to autonomous vehicles, and says, “that money is now crossing over” into electric, short-range flying as the next big opportunity.

    Yet it’s clear Zunum is still in the early planning phase.

    The company has hired a few high-end propulsion experts and will set up a center near Chicago to start ground tests of the electrics and motors by next summer.

    Around then, Kumar says, the company will also start wind-tunnel tests of a half-scale engine fan at Boeing Field.

    He says Zunum will deliver its first four aircraft in 2022 and ramp up from there.

    And where will they be built? Too early to discuss, says Kumar.

    In March, longtime aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group wrote a piece dismissing the various sleek and sexy Silicon Valley-style projects aiming to transform aviation — from electric planes to urban air taxis.

    He pointed out that electric airplanes specifically will require a completely new level of battery endurance and reliability compared to those powering cars, since an airplane can’t just pull over to the side of the road.

    “We’re a long way from there,” Aboulafia wrote. “It may take many decades.”

    Undeterred by such doubters, Zunum confidently predicts it will put electric planes into service five years from now.

    seattletimes.com

    Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or dgates@seattletimes.com

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    From: Eric10/5/2017 9:27:11 AM
       of 4595
     
    Business

    Boeing Buying Drone Maker Aurora Flight Services

    The proposed deal expands the aerospace giant’s reach in the field of electric-powered aircraft



    A Boeing Insitu ScanEagle unmanned aerial system is displayed at the IMDEX Asia maritime defence exhibition in Singapore on May 19, 2015. Photo: edgar su/Reuters

    By
    Doug Cameron

    Oct. 5, 2017 8:59 a.m. ET
    0 COMMENTS


    Boeing Co. BA 0.12% on Thursday said it plans to acquire Aurora Flight Sciences Corp., a maker of aerial drones and pilotless flying systems that also expands the company’s reach in the new field of electric-powered aircraft.

    Virginia-based Aurora is a specialist in autonomous systems that allow military and commercial aircraft to be flown remotely, including technology that automates many functions.

    The proposed deal marks Boeing’s second acquisition in less than a year involving autonomous systems following last December’s purchase of Liquid Robotics Inc., a maker of ships and undersea vehicles, and adds to a portfolio that includes aerial drone maker Insitu.

    Boeing’s venture capital arm also this year invested in Zunum Aero, a Washington state-based startup that on Thursday unveiled its plan for an electric-hybrid regional passenger jet.

    Terms for the proposed purchase of Aurora weren’t disclosed. The firm has more than 550 staff and will be run as an independent unit in Boeing’s engineering and technology business.

    Aurora also produces composite parts for aircraft and other vehicles. Boeing is looking to produce more of its own parts as part of an insourcing strategy to reduce costs and potential disruption in its supply chain.

    Boeing has been considering further acquisitions as part of the push to expand sales at its newly formed services arm to $50 billion over the next several years from around $14 billion at present.

    wsj.com

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    From: Eric10/5/2017 11:38:33 AM
    1 Recommendation   of 4595
     
    Electric Vehicles Report: Part 2 – The Impacts Of The Electric Vehicle Revolution

    October 5th, 2017 by John Farrell

    The following is an excerpt of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Choosing the Electric Avenue: Unlocking Savings, Emissions Reductions, and Community Benefits of Electric Vehicles report. We’ll be republishing the full report in order to bring more attention to the changing landscape of electric vehicles. Read part one.

    Impact: Improving the Grid Electric vehicles boost demand for electricity

    On one hand, that’s great news for utilities. The average electric-powered car driver covers 12,000 miles annually, and one study calculated that the additional 4,000 kilowatt-hours used by an electric vehicle would increase a typical household’s yearly energy need by 33% (without adoption of energy efficiency measures). In small numbers, electric cars will change little, but in large numbers they could reverse the stagnant growth in electricity use, which has dropped in five of the last eight years and affected the bottom line of many electric utilities.



    On the other hand, could this increased demand also increase the cost of operating the electric grid (and costs for electric customers) by shortening the life of grid components, requiring replacement or upgraded infrastructure such as transformers and capacitors, or even building new fossil fuel power plants?

    Fortunately, the evidence suggests that electric vehicle expansion will reward, not ruin, the grid and its customers.

    A rigorous analysis spearheaded by the California Public Utilities Commission in 2016 found substantial net benefits in electric vehicle adoption for the state’s electric grid and customers: worth $3.1 billion by 2030, even without smart charging policies and with vehicle adoption clustering in particular areas of the grid. This included the benefits of capturing federal tax credits, gasoline savings, and carbon credits in California’s greenhouse gas allowance transportation market plus all of the associated costs to the customer and grid.

    The study also found surprisingly low costs for upgrading the local distribution grid. Even with a much higher vehicle adoption assumption of 7 million cars by 2030 (one-quarter of all registered vehicles), annual distribution infrastructure costs would be just 1% of the annual utility distribution budget.

    A rigorous analysis by the California Public Utilities Commission found substantial net benefits in electric vehicle adoption: $3.1 billion by 2030, even without smart charging policies and with vehicle adoption clustering in particular areas of the grid.

    A set of studies for northeastern states found a similar net benefit, even without smart charging policies, for vehicle owners, utilities, and society.

    Relatively simple policy changes can enhance the payoff of adding thousands or millions of electric vehicles to the grid. California’s study suggests that the most potent and simplest tool to smoothly integrate electric vehicles is controlling when they charge. This can be done with special rates that give customers a discount for charging at grid-friendly times, or even using special chargers that disallow charging when grid demand is at its highest. These tools increase the efficiency of the electricity system, but also mean lower-cost fuel for electric vehicle owners, a win-win.

    Relatively simple policy changes can enhance the payoff of adding thousands or millions of electric vehicles to the grid. California’s study suggests that the most potent and simplest tool to smoothly integrate electric vehicles is controlling when they charge.

    In an exhaustive analysis using time-of-use (TOU) pricing to strongly incentivize nighttime charging, the California Public Utilities Commission found that shifting from flat-rate to time-of-use charging increased net benefits from $3,600 to $5,000 per vehicle through significant reductions in the energy and infrastructure costs of charging.



    While the California calculation includes the federal tax credit, the benefits are expected to persist even when that incentive expires because of falling electric vehicle and battery costs.

    This following sections explore pricing tools that allow utilities and regulators to better manage grid supply and demand, rather than building new power infrastructure that could be obsolete early in its decades-long life.

    EV Charging Terminology

    A quick note on charging before we dive in. Electric vehicles can be charged at different speeds by using different voltages. A standard 120-volt outlet can deliver about 1.3 kilowatts per hour but may take 12 or more hours to fully charge a vehicle. A 240-volt circuit can deliver a substantially faster charge and can be wired in a typical home or business. Direct current (DC) fast charging uses 440-volt charging that can “refuel” an electric vehicle battery in less than an hour. The following graphic from FleetCarma illustrates.



    Managing Demand

    With proper price incentives, grid managers can motivate electric vehicle users to avoid charging during periods of peak demand, to instead charge when demand is otherwise low, and to help smooth out large increases or decreases in demand.

    The electric grid is designed around periods of peak energy use, with requirements for significant energy reserves dictated by the single-most congested hour of the year. By raising electricity prices at times of peak energy use (and reducing them elsewhere), utilities can largely minimize electric cars’ contribution to peak energy demand. Recent modeling by the Rocky Mountain Institute suggests optimized charging rates would limit Minnesota’s peak demand increase, for example, to just 0.5% when electric vehicles hit 23% penetration, compared with an increase of more than 3% without charging controls.

    Minnesota wasn’t alone. In the four other states modeled, the Rocky Mountain Institute found peak demand impacts of widespread electric vehicle adoption could be significantly reduced with controlled charging. The following graphic illustrates.



    Utilities can also leverage electric vehicles to manage rapid changes in electricity demand. Historically, these ramps up or down have been driven by a morning surge in demand as people wake up and turn on lights and appliances, and another in the evening when stores remain open and residents return home. In some cases, these ramps are also influenced by rooftop solar generation, which sharply reduces demand from solar-powered neighborhoods in the daytime but spurs a sharp increase in local demand in the evening when residential demand increases as the sun sets.

    Utilities typically prepare for these surges by activating gas power plants that can be put on standby or ramped up quickly. However, because these plants are relatively under-utilized, the electricity provided at peak periods is expensive. An August heat wave in Texas, for example, sent hourly electricity prices on the grid well over $1 per kilowatt hour on several occasions, more than ten times the usual price.

    Utility wonks illustrate this challenge with the “duck curve,” shown below for the California Independent System Operator (CAISO). The issue is the steep curve starting around 4 p.m. and peaking around 8 p.m., driven largely by adoption of rooftop solar that drives down daytime electricity demand. One caveat: the deep dip is sometimes called “overgeneration” — implying that there’s too much solar energy production — an issue enhanced when the bottom axis reflects a minimum of 14,000 megawatts. One German observer notes that this issue (as opposed to the ramp) is exaggerated. For context, the chart is also shown with a zero axis.



    Although there are many potential solutions (the linked report from the Regulatory Assistance Project is particularly thorough), electric vehicles can help smooth the curve. By drawing power from the grid during the midday hours when solar output is greatest, electric vehicles can soak up the sun-generated power and in turn reduce the evening ramp-up. Fortunately, data from California suggests that 40% of electric vehicles remain at home even through the midday hours. If vehicle owners have access to charging at home and at work, over 70% of vehicles are available to absorb excess daytime electricity generation.



    By charging these idle electric vehicles during daytime hours, grid operators could reduce the steep afternoon ramp-up in electricity demand. The chart below illustrates how charging these vehicles between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. would help smooth the rise in demand, giving grid managers more time to accommodate increasing electricity consumption.



    The amount of additional demand needed from electric vehicles to achieve this outcome is well within projected capacity. The 1.5 million electric cars California expects by 2025 would have a maximum energy demand of about 7,000 megawatts, more than double the capacity needed to substantially smooth the current afternoon rise in peak energy demand.

    As discussed later, widely distributed charging infrastructure will be key to accessing this resource, as few homes or businesses currently have car chargers. Furthermore, the amount and availability of bill credits or compensation for grid exports (or in the case of Hawaii, a tariff that provides no payment for excess solar production) will strongly impact customer behavior.

    Soaking Up Supply

    Charging controls or pricing incentives can also motivate electric vehicle drivers to charge overnight, or whenever clean energy production is strongest.

    In markets like the Midwest that have abundant wind power, clean energy production often peaks overnight when demand is lowest. The chart below shows the daily demand curve for the Midwest Independent System Operator, which serves a number of states in the Midwest. The 50,000 megawatt-hour gap between daytime and nighttime demand (in July, when the grid is built to accommodate daytime load boosted by air conditioning) could accommodate over 7.5 million electric vehicles on Level 2 (240-volt) chargers without building a single new power plant. That’s almost 2 million more cars than the total number registered in the entire state of Illinois.



    The 50,000 megawatt-hour gap between daytime and nighttime demand could accommodate over 7.5 million electric vehicles on Level 2 (240-volt) chargers without building a single new power plant.

    The hungry batteries of electric vehicles can also be coordinated to improve the capture of wind and solar power.

    The most common constraint in a grid with high levels of renewable energy (over 30%) is overgeneration. This happens when there’s so much renewable energy available that making room for it would mean ramping down or turning off inflexible power plants (coal, nuclear, hydro). In electricity markets, renewables tend to undercut any other resource because — having no fuel — they have almost no marginal cost to produce electricity.

    Electric vehicles represent a new source of electricity demand that can absorb this excess production.

    Charging electric cars during nighttime low-demand periods, for example, means increasing the use of wind energy. A 2006 study from the National Renewable Energy Lab found that electric vehicle deployment “ results in vastly increased use of wind” because overnight vehicle charging overlaps with windier nighttime conditions. A 2011 study from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratories found that if one in eight cars were electric, the additional storage capacity would allow the Northwest grid to handle 12% more wind energy.

    Electric vehicles can also help grids put more solar power to use. The illustration in the previous section — Ready to Charge — illustrates how most electric cars could be available to charge during afternoon hours to absorb solar energy output, although it requires daytime charging (and potentially non-home charging infrastructure) that nighttime charging does not.

    Portuguese researchers found that growth in both solar generation and electric vehicles maximizes the grid benefits of each. Portugal’s heavy emphasis on solar generation means that, as time goes on, it will build up a “substantial amount” of excess daytime solar energy. Because neighboring countries are also building out their solar portfolios, Portugal’s exports would yield low prices, suggesting that solar power might be curtailed (or lost) instead. But researchers found that an expanded electric vehicle fleet — and a preference for midday workplace charging — could decrease the midday solar surplus by 50%.

    A separate Portuguese study includes analysis of simulated solar production during a given week in April. With no electric vehicles, 202 gigawatt-hours — or 48% of solar production — was curtailed during that span. With electric vehicles added to the mix, curtailment fell to 123 gigawatt-hours, or 29% of solar production.

    Together, solar and electric vehicles can do more to smooth the demand curve than either technology could on its own. The following chart, from the Rocky Mountain Institute, shows how optimized electric vehicle charging increases daytime electricity demand by over 200 megawatts (nearly 14% of peak demand) in Hawaii, allowing for more solar production.



    Other studies confirm this potential. A 2012 study by the Imperial College of London, for example, suggests that energy storage, including electric vehicles, can reduce curtailment of renewables by more than half.



    Providing Ancillary Services to the Grid



    By starting, stopping, or varying the level of charge, electric vehicle batteries can provide two crucial “ancillary” services to the grid: helping maintain a consistent voltage (120 volts) and frequency (60 Hertz). These services are provided by short bursts of “reactive” power: either drawing power from the grid or putting it back in. Since nearly all commercially available electric vehicles lack the ability to send power to the grid, car batteries would provide reactive power today only by drawing power (charging).

    The vehicle’s ability to aid the grid also hinges on the power of its charger and the ability to aggregate with other vehicles. On a typical home 120-volt outlet allowing up to 1.3 kilowatts of power per vehicle, it would take over 250 vehicles to reach the minimum threshold to provide ancillary services in energy markets run by regional grid operators PJM or MISO, which cover a substantial portion of the U.S. A 240-volt Level 2 charger with a capacity as high as 6.6 kilowatts per car significantly reduces the number of vehicles needed ( as few as 27) to join the market.

    Electric vehicles can provide substantial value to the grid as they charge (and in the future, perhaps by supplying power back to the grid, see Appendix A — The Vehicle-to-Grid Future).

    Impact: Cutting Pollution

    One major benefit of electric vehicles is reducing pollution impacts of driving. The following chart shows the greenhouse gas emissions from electric vehicles based on the grid electricity supply in 2015. The numbers on the chart are the miles per gallon required from a gasoline-fueled vehicle to have the same greenhouse gas emissions impact as an electric vehicle. The numbers will have risen since 2015, as additional coal plants have been retired.



    Driving electric also significantly reduces other pollutants. The adjacent chart is from a 2007 study of the pollutant impact of hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars in Minnesota. It assumes a grid with a mix of 40% wind power and 60% coal power. The former is likely in the next decade, the latter is laughable in the face of a massive switch from coal to gas and renewables. With that context in mind, the bar representing sulfur dioxide should be ignored as the emissions rate of sulfur dioxides is 99% lower with natural gas, and 100% lower with more wind or solar power.



    Impact: Readying Energy Democracy

    The cumulative power of electric vehicles goes beyond stabilizing the larger electricity system; it offers an opportunity to draw more power from the local economy. Electric vehicles operate in a distinct geography (near the owner) and therefore their benefits are localized. This makes electric vehicles part of a larger transition from energy monopoly to energy democracy, as distributed technology from solar to smartphones localizes everything — production, consumption, and decision making — on the electric grid.

    The following graphic illustrates the shift from energy monopoly to energy democracy. The flow of electricity changes from one-way to two-way as many customers install rooftop solar and purchase electric vehicles. The share of renewable energy grows and that of fossil fuel power shrinks. In general, the community sources more of its energy locally.



    This section details the three key local benefits of electric vehicles: enabling the combination of the “sexy electrics” (solar and electric cars); increasing the capacity for local distributed solar energy production; and providing resilient, local backup power.

    Complementary, Sexy Technology

    Electric vehicles can encourage increased deployment of distributed solar. The same environmental values and spending habits that helped rocket the Toyota Prius to 1 million sales in a decade propel people to install solar panels. Like the conspicuous sustainability credential provided by the unique Prius, economists have speculated that homeowners invest more in solar panels than more affordable insulation and caulking. As such, it is not surprising that two of the clearest signals of green values — electric vehicle ownership and rooftop solar installation — often go hand-in-hand.

    In California, roughly 39% of electric vehicle drivers also owned residential solar in 2013 — far outpacing the general population in the US, where less than 1% of all households had rooftop arrays through the second quarter of 2016. Meanwhile, 17% of California electric vehicle drivers expressed “strong interest” in installing solar in the near future. Of those that already had both, 53% said they sized their at-home solar systems with electric vehicle charging in mind, exposing synergies that reduce grid strain and help accommodate higher electricity demand.

    Boulder County, CO, captured this complementary relationship by offering a program that promoted bulk buying for electric vehicles and solar. Area residents could opt in to access discounts on their purchase of either upgrade. The initiative provided a significant boost to electric vehicle sales. During the September-to-December promotional period, a local dealership sold 85 Nissan Leafs in 2013 and 2014 before jumping to 173 in the same period in 2015. Boulder County, home to less than one-tenth of 1% of the US population, accounted for 3.5% of all US Leaf sales over that span.

    Meanwhile, program participants installed 147 solar arrays totaling 832 kilowatts. At least 19 households (over 10% percent of those participating) purchased both a Leaf and a solar array, and of that group, 11 right-sized their solar project to ensure it could power both their home and their new electric vehicle. By harnessing the federal electric vehicle tax credit alone, participants brought $1.8 million into the local economy — a huge gain, considering Boulder County estimated the program required just 165 hours of staff time and $650 in out-of-pocket expenses. The program was aided by the state electric vehicle tax credit, worth about $3,800 per car or $660,000 altogether.

    The relationship between solar and electric vehicles may not remain as tight in the long term. A 2016 survey of plug-in car owners found that the percentage owning a solar array had fallen from 25% in 2012 and prior to 12% in 2015. This could be due to less affluent car owners or vehicle sales in areas with poorer solar resources. On the other hand, it also means that electric vehicles are dispersing beyond the very savvy customers that already own solar.

    Either way, electric vehicles and solar arrays are both appealing to consumers, in a way that other energy improvements are not. And fortunately, this marriage of sexy electrics delivers benefits to the grid and local economy.

    Electric Vehicles and Community Solar?

    As electric vehicle ownership expands, it will reach many Americans who lack a sunny rooftop but may still have interest in solar. Community solar programs allow these customers to invest in or subscribe to solar energy projects, and the revenue from these subscriptions could offset the cost of charging an electric vehicle. It also allows them to, indirectly, charge their car from the sun.

    The technical benefits of marrying solar and electric vehicles using community solar would be diminished unless customers subscribed to a community solar array located on the same distribution feeder as their primary place of vehicle charging.

    Increasing Local Energy Capacity



    Electric vehicles boost electricity demand and expand local storage, increasing capacity to produce more electricity from local, renewable sources.

    Solar energy, for example, can reduce a neighborhood’s peak energy consumption. If a community is served by a distribution line with a maximum capacity of 1 megawatt and it’s running near that limit, the utility may consider an expensive hardware upgrade. But adding local solar can reduce demand during hot, sunny summer afternoons, potentially allowing the utility to defer that upgrade.

    We illustrate the effect in the graphic to the right. If many homes and businesses in a neighborhood add rooftop solar, it supplants power from the grid with local energy to avoid new capacity needs.

    As solar continues to proliferate, a second set of issues can arise. Lots of small solar power plants can result in a portion of the local grid remaining energized when there’s a larger blackout. This could cause safety issues for utility workers who would expect power lines they’re repairing to be dead. However, smart inverters for solar arrays can automatically turn off power production when the grid goes dark. An even better solution is to island the home or business with solar, allowing them to have power even when the grid is dark. Newer inverters can supply up to 1500 watts for use during blackouts, even as the solar array stops sending power to the grid.

    A second issue is a technical and competitive concern called “backfeed.” Backfeed is what happens when the supply of electricity (including from local solar) exceeds total use on a certain area of the grid. In this case, power flows back onto the grid, as shown in the illustration below.



    This may require substation upgrades to mediate power flow from the high-voltage regional grid to the low-voltage local grid, which weren’t designed with this flow in mind. It also allows local solar generation to compete against many other sources of electricity, including traditional fossil fuel power plants. In the many states where the utility company is responsible for grid safety and owns power plants that would be in competition with local solar, this creates a challenging conflict of interest.

    Electric vehicles can solve backfeed issues by absorbing more local power generation, in turn enabling it to serve local needs. This also reduces wear and tear on utility hardware, inevitable in longer-distance power distribution. The following illustration shows how increasing electric vehicle ownership can reduce solar energy exports to the larger grid.



    Without an additional local source of energy consumption, utilities can “curtail,” or effectively shut off, clean power production from local solar arrays. But a 2016 study in Hawaii confirmed that more electric vehicles on the grid translates to greater potential reductions in curtailed energy. That is especially significant in a rooftop solar stronghold — 17% of utility customers in Hawaii generate their power this way, including at least 32% of single-family homes on Oahu. The study’s authors modeled a scenario where 10% to 30% of Oahu vehicles were electric, and predicted an 18% to 46% reduction in curtailed generation when vehicle charging was controlled to match local power production. In this model, wind and solar provided close to 50% of the island’s total electricity needs.

    The authors cautioned that marked day-to-day fluctuations in wind and solar curtailment obscure the precise effects of controlled charging in capturing curtailed energy, but found that using electric vehicles to integrate more storage makes distributed generation more valuable, more effective, and even more pervasive.

    It’s a scenario that could play out in markets across the country. For example, the California grid operator CAISO reported 132 megawatt-hours in local curtailments of solar generation between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Sept. 15, 2016. These curtailments were due to a limit on the capacity of the local grid to export. Typically, such curtailments involve utility-scale solar. If the capacity of the average electric car battery is 30 kilowatt-hours (the size of that in the 2017 Nissan Leaf), 8,800 parked electric vehicles needing a 50% charge could collectively offset that day’s curtailment, benefiting those generating solar power and helping to stabilize the grid.

    Local Value

    Sourcing power locally has two spillover benefits. First, it keeps more of the economic benefits of power generation within a given community. A typical 1-megawatt solar array creates $2.5 million in local economic activity and 20 jobs. Through its 25-year lifetime, a locally owned solar project will redirect an additional $5.4 million of electricity spending back into local hands.



    The energy may also be more valuable to the grid if it is consumed locally, as ILSR explains in our 2016 report, Is Bigger Best? In many debates nationwide over the proper valuation of solar, most policy outcomes include a higher value for energy that can be used on-site or locally, rather than exported to the larger grid. Utilities and regulators in Hawaii and New York, for example, have adopted measures for distributed solar that favor on-site consumption.

    Resiliency

    Electric vehicles can also provide individuals and communities greater resiliency in the face of natural disaster. In the wake of week-long power outages following Hurricane Sandy, many communities on the East Coast sought ways to reduce their reliance on their (often distantly located) utilities. Many states encourage the installation of solar energy generation and even microgrids, miniature versions of the electric grid that can operate when the larger grid goes dark. Microgrids, typically powered by solar and batteries, could use electric vehicles to soak up excess energy production — and keep it local — to provide power during extended grid outages.

    A pilot project at the University of California-San Diego, a campus which supplies more than 90% of its own energy, equipped its microgrid to host 70 electric vehicle chargers. The microgrid can ramp down charging to reduce campus-wide demand. In turn, drivers who allow flexibility in charging receive compensation when their vehicles perform services like frequency regulation. This symbiosis makes electric vehicle integration a compelling prospect for microgrid operators and vehicle owners.

    “The link between a microgrid and an electric vehicle can create a win-win situation wherein the microgrid can reduce utility costs by load shifting while the electric vehicle owner receives revenue that partially offsets his/her expensive mobile storage investment,” researchers wrote in a 2010 study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

    While microgrids currently comprise a small portion of the total US electric generation capacity, their numbers are expected to double or triple within a decade — rising in tandem with electric vehicle ownership in the US. Particularly as both markets grow, outfitting microgrids with technology to tap into storage and ancillary services from electric vehicles can fortify local power systems. Together, electric vehicles and microgrids promote resiliency.

    As noted above, electric vehicles may also offer a resiliency benefit to existing “microgrids” — homes. The typical second-generation electric vehicle battery (such as the Chevrolet Bolt) stores sufficient electricity to power the average American home for two days. This is a powerful secondary benefit for a purchase centered on mobility.

    The typical 2nd generation electric vehicle battery (such as in the Chevrolet Bolt) stores sufficient electricity to power the average American home for two days.

    Read the full report online, here. For timely updates, follow John Farrell or Karlee Weinmann on Twitter or get the Energy Democracy weekly update.


    cleantechnica.com

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