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Earth's Energy

Cal on October 27th, 2014

Something Different

Cal on October 26th, 2014

-FILE PHOTO 21OCT03- China National Offshore Oil Corporation's (CNOOC) oil rig in China's Bohai Sea ..

Cal on October 25th, 2014



Welcome to the electric Lamborghini. (see photo above)  Bloomberg introduces us to the Asterion LP1-910-4, the latest supercar in the electric or hybrid-electric market.  Porsche, Ferrari, McLaren and Rolls-Royce have already introduced their own models. The hybrid  car is powered by a 610 horse power, 10-cylinder 5.2-liter gasoline engine and three plug-in electric motors using lithium ion batteries. In addition it has a 7-speed dual clutch transmission and a carbon fiber monocoque body. Total output is 910 horsepower and it goes from 0-62 mph in three seconds while averaging 57 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe). On pure electric the car only reaches a top speed of 78 mph and has a range of only 31 miles. Under gasoline power it can get to 199 mph . Not many Lamborghini drivers will want to be chugging along in the inside lane while being passed on the highway by grandma in her Corolla.

EV sales have picked up in the UK this year according to The Guardian. The demand surge has been fueled by a UK government £5,000 grant making relatively expensive pure electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles more attractive to potential buyers. As of September, pure electric and plug-in hybrids sales grew 181% and 1,101% respectively over September 2013. There are now more than 20 plug-in vehicles available in the UK compared to six in 2011.

While electric car sales are surging in the UK, they are slumping in the US. Time explores the reasons for the low consumer demand. While auto sales in general are soaring in the US this year, EVs are not keeping up with the growth. Through August hybrids and electric vehicles captured 3.6% of all auto sales. This compares to the same period a year ago when hybrid and EV sales represented 3.7% of the overall market.  This is well short of the 7% figure that some analysts have been expecting this decade. A major reason for their slow growth has been lower gasoline prices in the US as crude oil prices tumble. Also EVs are losing the new and exciting lustre they once had. In addition, as a result of changes in government regulations, gasoline and diesel vehicles are required to have greater miles per gallon by 2016 and the auto companies have made great progress in increasing mileage efficiency vis-a-vis their EV counterparts. Finally, with a surge in demand for SUVs and larger vehicles, the smaller gasoline powered cars are being discounted with low interest rates. This is the very car segment that the more expensive EVs are trying to fill.

The Independent looks at the state of Ireland’s EV market. The government wanted to have 10% of all vehicles on the roads be electric by 2020, a projected 230,000 vehicles. So far only 644 electric vehicles have been registered. This low number is an embarrassment given the government has  spent over €10m on installing electric charging points nationwide and paying out over €2m on a grant scheme for drivers to purchase electric vehicles. 1,200 publicly-accessible charge points are now available nationwide – or 2 for every electric car. A recent report from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland said that the country will not meet the 2020 target for electric vehicles. The report found that in a best-case scenario 50,000 electric vehicles will be running on Irish roads in six years.

CKGSB Knowledge brings us up to date on the Chinese EV market. The government has set a goal of half a million EVs on China’s roads by next year.  But this is not going to happen.  Currently there are only some 70,000 EVs in operation and most of these are buses, taxis and local government fleets. To speed up sales in July several state agencies mandated that at least 30% of all government vehicles purchased in the next two years be electric, plug-in or hybrid. A major road block to consumer purchases is the lack of EV charging stations. A major obstacle to EV growth emanates from charging infrastructure. Each city has developed individual power standards for charging stations in favor of its own auto state-owned firms.. If you buy an electric car in Beijing you cannot recharge it at a charging station in Shanghai. Moreover, China has fallen far behind the targeted goal of 2,000 charging stations by 2015. Current estimates say there are only about 400 charging stations in the country.

theenergycollective makes the case for electric cars in a multi-part series.  Part 1 (the driving experience) is here and Part 2 (EV costs) is here.

Gas2 says plug-in electric vehicles will make up 2.4% of the global light vehicle market by 2023. The prediction comes from Navigant Reasearch  (see here). Currently plug-in vehicles comprise 0.1% of all vehicles on the road worldwide. Navigant believes plug-in EV will grow much more quickly as several major automakers are planning to introduce vehicles in the high-volume SUV segment. China, Europe and the US (in that order) are expected to lead the EV sales charge.

The US state of Washington has created a 440 mile scenic drive for electric car drivers. Earth Island Journal advises there are now more than 60 EV charging stations on the Cascade Loop Scenic Highway making it possible for EV drivers to enjoy a day or week long outing in this beautiful area on the west coast of the country. This is the first long-distance scenic loop drive in the United States designed for electric vehicle tourism.

RIA Novosti informs us that the Russian city of Moscow plans to install 150 EV charging stations. The Department of Transport expects these stations to be in place by the end of this year. Electric car owners will also be given access to preferred parking spaces. Currently there are 28 EV charging stations in Moscow.

Tech Republic explores 10 things we need to know about the challenges of EV charging.

Three main things need to happen in order for EVs to grow in popularity… First, retailers and major highway routes will have to use fast chargers; second, companies will have to get home charging right; and third, workplace charging will need to be deployed across most businesses.

The US state of California is requiring all new buildings to be wired for EV charging as of 2015. Green Car Reports tells us the California Building Code will require all new construction to be wired for Level 2 electric-car charging stations.  The purpose of the mandate is to make it easier for commercial and residential buildings to install a charging station at a later date.

The UK Telegraph reports London’s electric car infrastructure is falling into ruin. London’s network of 1415 electric vehicle charging points – the largest in the UK – is falling into disrepair. Multiple charging points are currently out of service with little prospect of them being repaired in the near future. In some areas of the city most if not all of the charging points are off line. Part of the problem is that the complex network involves 66 partners and 6 different charging designs.

Ownership of the sites is split between London boroughs, manufacturers of the equipment, private businesses and landlords of commercial property sites. The fundamental stumbling block is defining responsibility and finding funds for maintenance of broken charging points.





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Cal on October 24th, 2014

Something Different

Cal on October 24th, 2014

From The Telegraph we learn driverless buses may be on the horizon in the UK. The Transport Minister has revealed his government is in discussions with a company to introduce the first automated bus service. One of the advantages of an electric bus is that it saves on the cost of the driver. Earlier this year the UK  announced driverless car trials will take place in up to three cities in 2015. The vehicles will use GPS technology to determine their exact location and navigate their way across the road map, although the law will still initially require a driver to be seated at the wheel.

The Auto Future gives us factors to consider if you want to buy an electric car. And Planetsave introduces us to a new tool from the Sierra Club that will tell you what EV is right for your driving requirements.

EVObsession gives us a list of 2014 electric vehicles on the market along with their prices, range, efficiency and where they are being sold globally.

Clean Technica says the Tesla Model S is the best car based on price per mile of range. A comparison of EV costs per mile of range revealed that the Model S with its 85 kWh battery pack, 265 mile range and $79,900 suggested price came in first at a cost of just $302 per mile. This was followed by the Chevy Spark ($325) and Nissan Leaf ($350). The worst car was the BMW i3, which costs $41,350 but has a rated range of just 81 miles per charge, which works out to about $510 for every mile of driving range. Following closely behind the BMW was the Toyota RAV4 EV $483) and Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive ($476). See chart with article.

plugincars writes about The Coming Era of Long-Range Electric Cars. According to this website, in recent week automakers have been discussing the possibility of producing and selling electric cars that get 200-plus miles on a single charge. Flor example, Mark Reuss, the global product chief for General Motors, confirmed earlier this month that the company was working on a 200-mile car. Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neusser, chief of powertrain development at Volkswagen, said his ccmpany is about five years from an EV that gets between 300 and 370 miles per charge. Neusser views plug-in hybrids as a “bridge technology” for the next few years, until the longer-range electric car is commercialized. See also, Clean Technica, 310- To 373-Mile Electric Cars By 2020, Says VW Exec

Tech Flash tells us the US state of Georgia leads in EV sales in that country. Most would think it would be California but large state tax incentives have propelled Georgia to this position. California ranks second. EVs comprise 1.6% of all registered vehicle sales in Georgia this year. The US national average for EV registrations is 0.3%. The southern state provides drivers a $5,000 tax credit for the purchase of a new EV whereas California offers a $2,500 state tax credit. The region’s temperate climate and relatively flat topography means limited drain on electric vehicle batteries, maximizing mileage range. See also International Business Times, How Georgia Became The State With The Highest Electric Car Adoption Rate.

Meanwhile ending these incentives can bring electric vehicle sales to a half. Business Vancouver reports sales of EVs have dropped considerably in the Canadian province of British Columbia once it removed its $5000 rebate for new EV purchases. The rebate was introduced in 2012 and removed in March of this year. BC is the first jurisdiction in North America to stop providing a rebate to encourage drivers to buy battery-powered vehicles. Since March only about 100 EVs have been sold in the province.

The Irish city of Cork is offering a number of perks to increase EV driving. The Irish Examiner says the city is offering free parking, free charging, free charge points, waived toll charges, zero deposit, and 0% finance as part of a package of incentives to encourage people to buy EVs. Car manufacturers, including Nissan, Renault, Mitsubishi Motors, and BMW are providing more than 75 EVs for extended test drives. Marine Minister Simon Coveney said:

“There are about 450 private electric plug-in cars in Ireland at the moment and that is not a good figure. We’d like to see this project increase that number by at least 50% in Cork alone.”

See also Kildare Nationalist, Cork launches electric car initiative in aim to become European Green Capital




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Cal on October 23rd, 2014

Earth's Energy