Saturday, April 5, 2014

Tesla uses 1/3 of the world's electric-car batteries. No wonder they want to build the battery gigafactory

This article from John Voelcker of Green Car Reports puts the Tesla factory in an interesting light. Today Tesla uses 1/3 of the world's electric-car batteries. To scale to the 500,000 cars they hope to eventually sell, then need the gigafactory. See the excerpt from John's article below.

Tesla Gigafactory Faces Skepticism From Panasonic, Analysts

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Few details
Musk announced a handful of high-level details about the proposed plant, which could be the world's largest single factory, in late February.
The need is clear: Even at a production rate of about 25,000 cars a year, Tesla used one-third of the world's electric-car batteries.
To scale up to 100,000 Model S sedans and Model X crossovers by 2016, he needs to quadruple that supply--which Panasonic and Tesla together expect to happen.
But if the company starts production of its next model, a lower-cost sedan often dubbed the "Model E," it will need multiples of its current battery supply.
And to hit the target price of $35,000 or less for the new car, which is expected to offer at least 200 miles of rated range, Tesla will need every bit of the 30-percent cost reduction it says it can achieve with the gigafactory.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Better Battery -- article from Nature

This article from Nature is an excellent summary of where battery technology is and where it is going. I recommend reading it for anyone interested in Electric Vehicles. The chart below is a great summary from the article showing where Lithium-ion batteries are projected to hit a ceiling and where alternatives show more promise.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S, and Chevy Volt are the top sellers so far in 2014

When you go by models, the Leaf, Model S, and Volt are at the top...with the Plug-in Prius coming in 4th. It is interesting to note that when you go by brand/company, that Nissan is on top with Ford in second. Ford has more models in the category so its sales are higher than GM or Tesla that have fewer models.

Source: Inside EVs

Saturday, January 11, 2014

US Plug-in Electric Car sales almost 100,000 in 2013

The US Plug-in EV sales came very close to 100,000 in 2013. A tally of 96,000 cars to be more exact. Quite an accomplishment at almost double the sales of 2012. However, this is still a small part of US overall cars sales which were 16+ million in 2013.

The Green Car Reports article sums it up nicely and can be read here. They are the ones that put together the 96,000 car figure. Another great article, with lots of data and graphs, can be found here at EV Obsession. The EV Obsession article leads with the fact that Battery-only EVs have more than doubled from 2012 to 2013.

With all the current models and new models coming in 2014, maybe sales could double, or even triple, this year and hit 200,000 or 300,000.

Clean Technica has a nice article on all the EVs available in 2014 here.

Happy Electrified New Year!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Tesla Fires

Here is a sane article on what we know and what we don't about the Tesla fires.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Is There Any Business Model for Public Electric-Car Charging?

The title of this article asks a good question: Is there any business model for public electric-car charging? John Voelcker is the author, who I find to be an excellent, thought provoking journalist. When charging an electric car, the electricity at home is so inexpensive, you choose to only "fill up" outside of the home when you really need it. Most of the charging stations I've found charge a lot for the convince.

How is this going to play out? Will we see more free chargers from companies, like the Tesla Supercharger Network? Or do we see the government step in and provide stations? Or will some commercial business model emerge? An interesting quote from the article below is "we recall one utility CEO saying that his company had searched for a way to make money selling charging services." This quote doesn't give me much hope for the commercial business model to emerge.

Is There Any Business Model For Public Electric-Car Charging? Plug-In 2013 Report

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2011 Nissan Leaf plugged into an EVgo quick-charging station, Texas
2011 Nissan Leaf plugged into an EVgo quick-charging station, Texas
Suppose there's no way for businesses to make money on public electric-car charging stations--even with DC quick-charging?
Then what?
That was one sobering question that came up during the Plug-In 2013 conference, held in San Diego last Monday through Thursday.
Almost three years after the first mass-produced electric cars went on sale in December 2010, the focus of the conference was on nuts-and-bolts questions of deployment, user data, electric utility partnerships, and much more.
ECOtality DC fast charger - Portland, OR
ECOtality DC fast charger - Portland, OR
And, attendees seemed to agree, this year's Plug-In conference had a more realistic tone--perhaps sobered by the recent bankruptcies of both theEcotality charging-station network and the Better Place service in Israel.
But the most intriguing question in side discussions and comments among the attendees was whether a business model really exists for providing public charging infrastructure for electric cars at all.
To keep the Ecotality network of charging stations open--including its dozens of CHAdeMO DC quick-charging stations--Nissan provided $1.2 million in operating funds last month.
What will happen to Ecotality's assets remains to be determined in bankruptcy court, though more than one conferee quietly suggested that some of Ecotality's 240-Volt Level 2 stations were not sited in useful enough locations to justify keeping them turned on.
Even before electric cars launched into the market, we recall one utility CEO saying that his company had searched for a way to make money selling charging services.
Nissan Leaf at eVgo Freedom Station Daly City, California
Nissan Leaf at eVgo Freedom Station Daly City, California
But the utility failed to find any scenario, he said, under which electric-car drivers would pay Level 2 charging fees high enough to cover the costs of building and maintaining charging stations that were robust enough to prevent vandalism (in particular the theft of valuable copper cable).
Now it seems some people close to electric-car infrastructure projects are beginning to ask: What happens if payments of, say, $5 per quick-charging session won't be enough to cover the capital costs ofinstalling and maintaining those much pricier stations?
Tesla Motors, after all, has simply declared its Supercharger quick-charging network a free benefit of buying its Model S electric luxury sedan--a marketing expense, if you like.
One possibility suggested in an off-the-record conversation with the head of electric-car infrastructure business and deployment at a Western utility is that charging stations may fall back to being the responsibility of electric power providers.

While some states--notably California--forbid utilities from being in the charging-station business, to foster private-sector competition, most utilities operate under a mandate to foster public safety and social benefits.
That's why street lights are generally considered a public benefit, and are often provided by utilities to municipalities at cost or below.
There are clearly social benefits to encouraging electric-car use, among them reduced air pollution and lower per-mile travel costs.
The public-safety benefit, presumably in reducing the number of electric cars sitting dead at the side of the road for lack of charge, may be a bit more tenuous.
According to GM's Britta Gross, fully 90 percent of electric-car charging today in done either in the home or at the workplace--and new initiatives to encourage charging at work is now underway.
Chevrolet Spark EV at CCS fast charging station in San Diego.
Chevrolet Spark EV at CCS fast charging station in San Diego.
Early data from the Oregon portion of the Oregon-Washington Electric Highway show that more than two-thirds of all plug-in electric car charging sessions are now occurring on the DC fast chargers, not the associated Level 2 stations.
While the Electric Highway has seen higher-than-projected usage, the Japanese "TEPCO Paradox" suggests that perhaps charging stations encourage longer-range driving in electric cars--but don't get used all that much.
But what happens if there's no model that produces a profit in the long term for DC fast-charging operators?
More than one conferee noted that Ecotality built its fast-charging network using Federal funds that are now largely gone, while the infrastructure now being installed in California by NRG's evGo network comes from the settlement of a long-running lawsuit.
In other words ... not the free market.
What would you pay for an electric-car charging session? More than $5? Would you do it often?
And how do you think quick-charging stations will be funded in the future?
Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.
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