tells us that EVs will drive the telemetrics market. Telematics give the driver the ability to check on the battery and charge rate, and many manufacturers are developing applications that can provide details on where the closest charging stations are within range of the battery’s current state. Pike Research predicts that nine out of every ten EVs sold in 2012 will include at least a basic telematics package, and that percentage will likely grow to 94% by 2017. In addition, many consumers will want more elaborate packages that can provide live traffic reports, weather conditions, streaming content, and cloud computing-based applications.

The Globe and Mail asks the question: how long do electric vehicle batteries last? The answer, apparently, is that no one knows. So far the failure rate has been less than one per cent and those were covered under warranty.  As for the warranties, they vary between 160,000 km to 300,000 km.  The range is pretty much that for a conventional internal combustion engine which last far longer than the warranty period.  Battery replacement costs have come down to the $2,500 to $4,000 range, not that much higher than a brand new engine and transmission in a conventional car. And batteries for small cars are less expensive than those for larger vehicles.

We learn from Consumer Reports that the American Automobile Association (AAA) is offering roadside assistance to charge electric vehicles. The AAA has put 6 trucks in service to give drivers a 15 mile charge in as little as 10 minutes. The service is rolling out in six regions: Northern and Southern California; Oregon; Washington; Eastern Tennessee; and Tampa, Florida.

The Netherlands has invited applications from owners of existing gasoline (petrol) stations to operate charging stations for EVs.  Radio Nederlands reported that successful applicants will not have to pay rent for the chargers until 2015 when the situation will be reviewed. Speed chargers could give batteries an 80% charge in about 20 minutes.

The UK Telegraph reports that an “electric highway” is opening this week in that country. A lengthy network of charging points will link London, Bristol, Exeter, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and north to the Lake District. In 2012 it will be extended to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff and Swansea. Additional charging points will be placed at service stations on the M1 near Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds. Other charging points are planned at the Eurotunnel passenger terminal and at Fleet Services on the M3 in Hampshire. The service will be free to use and topping up the charge will take around 20 minutes, while a full charge will take around two hours. The UK government believes that the absence of charging points between major cities and towns has been a barrier to the purchase of electric cars despite generous government subsidies.

Multinational engineering conglomerate ABB will build a country-wide electric vehicle charging network in Estonia reports Estonion Public Broadcasting. ABB will supply an estimated 200 charging stations along with installation, maintenance and operator service for five years. The chargers will be set up along heavily traveled highways and in all cities and towns with more than 5,000 people. The service is expected to be completed by the 3rd Q 2012. The highway chargers will be 40-60 km apart.

ZDNet tells us about the 7 trends driving electric cars in 2012. There will be a much wider choice of vehicles for consumers although not every car is being offered globally. Prices will remain high. More recharging stations will appear as they are rolled out by both the private and public sectors. We will see wireless chargers. The EV will start to become integrated with the electric grid and could serve as a power backup to a home. Finally, the problems with the Chevy Volt battery remind us that safety will be a concern going forward.

The Canberra Times tells us that EVs have yet to take off in Australia. Only one car was available this year in the country, the $48,000 Mitsubishi i-MiEV and it has only sold around 30 cars nationwide. Most have been purchased by corporate customers. In 2012 there will be some market developments. Holden, Nissan and Renault are due to release electric models to compete with the i-MiEV and Better Place will launch its electric vehicle network across the country. Along with recharge points in public, homes and offices, the Better Place network will include ”battery switch stations” that will enable owners of battery swappable cars (such as the Renault Fluence ZE), to change their empty battery for a full one on the spot.  However, the new entrants will not be cheap.  The Sydney Morning Herald tells us that the Nissan Leaf will list at $51,500 and the Holden Volt at $60,000.  While the Renault Fluence Z.E will run under $40,000 drivers will have to lease the battery and pay for battery swapping at Renault depots when they run out of charge. Fast chargers to be installed in public places are expected to provide an 80% charge in about 30 minutes.

If you are looking to buy a home charging station in the US, check out Home Depot.  Green Car Reports tells us that five models are available. Whatever you do, make sure you check that the specsifications are compatable with your EV before putting any money down.  I checked Home Depot Canada but they are not yet carrying charging stations. ConsumerAffairs reminds us that Sears is offering a wireless charging station for home and office.

EVs are getting free parking in Las Vegas posts the Las Vegas Sun. Starting in the new year, drivers of electric cars get to park for free in city-operated lots, parking areas and metered parking zones. To register, owners must file for a permit with the city and pay $10. To qualify the car must be powered by an electric motor drawing power from a battery that can be recharged by an external electricity source. Sorry Prius and Ford Fusion.  You don’t qualify.

New charging stations are being installed in Brighton, England, Bromsgrove, England, Fayetteville, North Carolina, Asheville, North Carolina (solar powered), Ashland, Oregon, Topeka, Kansas, Florence, Kentucky (solar powered), Brentwood, Tennessee and Alpharetta, Georgia (solar powered). Meanwhile, a US real estate management company is putting chargers into 4 of its offices in Maryland, California and Virginia.

mrw says the City of London, England will have 6 hybrid waste collection trucks while Gas2 reports it will also have 8 diesel-hybrid double decker buses on the road in 2012.

Post & Parcel mentions that the Austrian post office has taken possession of 10 Renault Kangoo ZE EVs to assist in its parcel delivery. Austrian Post now has 18 electric vehicles, 100 electric bikes and 75 electric mopeds within its fleet of 9,000 vehicles, laying claim to the largest alternative vehicle fleet in Austria. The Kangoo ZE is a compact all electric commerical van. Renault will deliver 10,000 of its Kangoo ZE electric vehicles to France’s La Poste by 2015.





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