The past week has brought us more information on the electric vehicle (EV) and plug-in hybrid automobile market as they slowly find their way into our driveways and parking lots.

The Truth About Cars has an interactive map of EV and hybrid sales by city in the US for the 21 month period January 2010 to September 2011. As one would expect, the largest market for these vehicles was the west coast and particularly the California cities of San Francisco and Monterey/Salinas where % of total car sales reached 8.4% and 6.9% respectively.  Next was Eugene, Oregon at 6.1% and Washington, DC at 4%.  For the rest of the country EV and hybrid sales were below 3% of all cars purchased.

The Green Car wrote about why UK drivers are not buying these vehicles.   Only 1,021 electric cars have been sold to date in the UK in 2011. New research by GfK Automotive suggests motorists in that country are confused by perceptions of performance and cost. GfK interviewed more than 3,000 British motorists about electric cars, finding that just 8% planned to buy one, with the vast majority underestimating the cost and time it takes to charge the vehicles and overestimated their driving range. An astounding only 1% of UK drivers have a realistic idea of what EVs cost to purchase, what they cost to operate and what their range is.  Clearly the auto manufacturers need to do more public education.

Speaking of cost, the Chevy Volt will be rolling out in China for $78,000 US or about double the price in the North American market.

CleanBiz Asia reported that Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi Province in China will be getting 50 electric buses next year. Two buses started trial operations this week. Each bus costs $310,000 US and is equipped to carry disabled persons. plugincars said that all buses and taxis in Shenzhen, China will be electric in 5 years.

The city of Seal Beach, California has decided to no longer subsidize recharging for electric cars at its charging station.  The Los Alimitos-Seal Beach Patch says that City Council voted to pass the cost of electricity on to customers at city-owned electric vehicle charging stations. That means the cost of recharging will increase 33% from $2.16 an hour to $3.37 per hour. The city has three charging stations each able to service two vehicles at a time.

CNET gives us its first impressions of driving an electric Rolls Royce, the 102EX.

In Florida, solar power is charging electric car recharging stations reports The Columbus Dispatch. WattNext is installing solar panels in several EV and plug-in hybrid recharging stations around the state. It costs about $30,000 to equip each station with solar panels and related equipment.

From USA Today we learned that the US government has given the Mitsubishi i its top milage ranking. The 2012 Mitsubishi i all-electric sedan has been rated at a 126 miles per gallon-equivalent in city driving, 99 mpg-equivalent on the highway, and 112 mpg-e in combined city/highway use. This is better than the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt. The highest-rated vehicle powered by a conventional internal combustion engine continues to be the Toyota Prius at 50 miles per gallon combined.  The company says the Mitsubishi i has a driving range of 62 miles. The vehicle’s batteries can be recharged in approximately 22 hours by the included 120v Level 1 portable charging cable, 7 hours by a dedicated 240v Level 2 EVSE charger (available for home installation by select retailers or utility companies), and receive an 80% charge in under 30 minutes from a public Level 3 quick charging station via the optional charging port.

Finally, mother nature network says Forget electric vehicles: Here come the 50-mpg gas and diesel cars. Required to meet new US milage standards (54 mpg by 2025) and in competition with the new EVs and hybrids, auto makers are looking at new ways of improving the milage and performance of the standard internal combustion engine. Says the post: “They’re making the old dog do some new tricks, with turbocharging (of downsized engines), direct injection, variable valve timing, lightweighting (carbon fiber, for instance) and clean diesels. And, as long as you don’t use too much carbon fiber, you can get 40 to 50 mpg from a car that is pretty cheap, because it’s neither a hybrid nor a battery vehicle.”

Tags: , , , , ,