This week a raft of articles and commentaries appeared suggesting that EVs are not yet ready for prime time.  The Globe and Mail asked what’s still killing the electric car?   The author says: “As I learned, driving a pure electric car gives new meaning to the term ‘running on empty.’ Every gas station on earth has vanished – you are on your own, travelling through a future that has not yet arrived.”  EV World wonders if psychological barriers are holding back motorists. OILPRICE says that electric cars are not a good choice now that natural gas is here. And from plugincars we learn that Honda’s president sees a limited role for electric cars in our future. At the Tokyo Auto Show this week Takanobu Ito said: “…electric cars are important. I will not deny that. But when you consider the performance of batteries, the charging times, plus the cost of batteries, I think pure EVs would be best for compact, very small cars. I feel confident in saying that they could be a fit for very small vehicles.”

The fires with the Chevy Volt battery continued to get a lot of news.  Last week we learned that GM was offering loaner vehicles to worried Volt owners.  This week the company has taken the unusual step of offering to buy the cars back says autobloggreen. GM is also prepared to recall the 6,000 Volt models currently on the road if the US government deems such an action necessary. The Atlantic calls this the explosive story that could burn electric cars.

Speaking of batteries, Toyota and BMW announced that they are forming a partnership to develop batteries for electric vehicles. The two auto engineering companies said that they will divide research to accelerate the development of new electric models.

plugincars reported that the Nissan Leaf has surpassed 20,000 units worldwide.  In contrast the Chevy Volt did not meet its 10,000 production target says the Wall Street Journal.  Before the fires, the company was plagued by production delays, distribution problems and a wary consumer. GM hopes to sell 8000 Volts this year with expectations of 45,000 next year.

Green Car Reports gives some financial advice on buying an electric car. (with video) While the discussion relates to the US, it may have implications for your country.

There were also a few stories on cities and towns installing recharging stations for electric vehicles:

plugincars tells us that Nissan has started rolling out recharging stations in Japan. Nissan has started to install quick-charge units at 400 of its dealerships in Japan by the end March 2012. This will effectively double Japan’s total number of operational quick-charge stations. Further down the road, Nissan hopes to sell at least 5,000 quick-charge units to Japanese firms by March 2016. Nissan’s quick-charger is nearly half the size and substantially cheaper than today’s available alternatives.

Sofia, Bulgaria has installed its first recharging station says novinite. This station, in the heart of the city, will be joined by 5 others.  Initially, customers will pay by previously purchased vouchers and later with credit and debit cards.

The city of Bowling Green, Kentucky and its university have partnered to construct 6 recharging stations in the city. The BG News reports that three are being installed on campus and three being placed in nearby parking lots downtown. The university will charge 50 cents for a charge while the city will charge 50 cents for an hour.

The city of Buffalo, New York now has 20 recharging stations. WIBV reports that the newly-opened stations are free to users.

The Post Bulletin says that Rochester, New York now has 3 recharging stations. The stations are available to the public at a minimum $1.50 fee for the electricity.

The city of Edmonds, Washington has its 6th recharging station.  The Edmonds Patch says that the city, north of Seattle, has installed the stations in the centre of the city. To use the stations, electric car owners must register with ChargePoint Northwest and receive an RFID card, which will connect with the company’s network and be linked to their personal credit card.

Germantown, Tennessee has agreed to install 6 recharging stations says The Commercial Appeal.  The town, near Memphis, will locate the stations in its core in partnership with ECOtality. The stations will provide “quick” charges that will take 30 minutes and recharge vehicles to 80 percent of capacity. Users will not be charged a fee, but information will be collected about the usage and efficiency. ECOtality is planning to construct 70 recharging stations throughout the local county.

A report from Albuquerque, New Mexico says that the recharging stations are rarely used. KOAT says the two recharging stations, the first in the state, have been barely used since they were installed 9 months ago.  The city is going to price them at free for the next six months to see it there is any change in demand. In the spring, the city will determine how much it will begin charging drivers to park and charge their cars.

EuroWeekly says that Spain has its first solar-powered service station for electric cars in Madrid. Roof-mounted solar panels in the botanical gardens at the local university provide power for the charging points which, for the time being, are free. Each service station has a mobile phone “app” which informs users how long charging takes and when their car will be ready. Recharging can take between 3 and 8 hours depending on the car battery.

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1 Comment on The Week in EVs

  1. Elroy Jetson says:

    Interesting to read Bowling Green will offer recharging stations, unless, of course, as home to the Corvette plant, they know something about an electric ‘Vette in the very near future??? The Volt issues are confined, so far, to batteries damaged in crashes. The fix is going to be requiring any crashed EV to have the lithium battery removed and isolated until it can be properly inspected and returned to service. Not really a big deal, but the press needs sensationalism to survive.