Yahoo! Autos explains why 2013 is the year of the diesel engine in North America. Clean, powerful, fuel-efficient and now, for the first time, with many domestic and foreign models to choose from.

The Globe and Mail says the growth of the electric car is going to be spurred by stringent government regulations. To deal with smog and pollution, some 200 cities and towns in 10 countries in Europe already have, or are preparing to introduce, low-emission zones. In these zones, some vehicles may be banned altogether and drivers of others may be fined if they enter one of these zones. The European Union says poor air quality kills more people in Europe each year than road accidents. The post speculates that China may be planning a similar policy as its pollution worsens and its EV production increases. London has had a low-emission zone since 2008, covering almost all of Greater London.  Drivers who do not meet the requirements of the zone have to pay a £100 ($156) or £200 charge for every day of driving in London or a £500 fine. Or buy a new low-emissions vehicle.

crienglish looks at the barriers currently facing EV growth in China. The biggest concerns for potential buyers center on the life and cost of the battery as well as lack of recharging infrastructure.

KOREA IT TIMES writes about efforts to jump start the “lack luster” EV market in South Korea. A new group has formed, EV Forum, comprised of 15 experts from industry, academia, R&D centers and government agencies. The purpose of the group is to come up with an EV industry roadmap (including the government’s EV promotion policies) by the end of this year. It will look at new niche markets such as low-speed EVs (also known as Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEV)), charging infrastructure, the conversion of gas guzzlers into EVs, and promote ways to help the public have a better understanding of the EV industry.

In the UK only 2237 EVs were sold in 2012.  To turn the industry around, The Daily Mail reports the UK government is putting another £37 million of taxpayers’ money into the promotion of EVs. The money is for homes and businesses that put in their own recharging points. The government will pay up to three-quarters of the installation costs, which range from £1,000 to £10,000. Hospitals, police and public bodies may have the full price paid. Only 3,200 Evs have sold in the UK in the last two years – less than 1% of the total market – despite subsidies to buyers of £5,000 per car. See also TheGreenCar Electric car buyers offered £1,000 grants for charging points and BBC Electric car charging points in garages and driveways get 75% subsidy.

The Netherlands is also looking at ways to encourage EV sales says Planetizen. The country reached 7500 EVs in 2012 as the country finances the construction of charging stations in cities and along highways and offers subsidies to EV buyers.  Meanwhile cities such as Amsterdam offer free charging and street parking for EVs. Gasoline costs about $8.50 US in the Netherlands. Yet, despite these incentives to go electric the uptake is still considered low, less than 1% of new car sales.

Sales have been lower than politicians and automakers hoped, representing under 1 percent of new vehicles. “It seems that the industry has not convinced consumers that they can do this. If they fail over the next few years, I think investors will pull out, and that will be a problem.’” said Peder Jensen, a transportation expert at the European Environment Agency.

France is trying to get its EV market moving by having the government buying cars reports autobloggreen.  France’s Union des Groupements d’Achats Publics (UGAP) is ordering 2,000) Renault Zoe electric vehicles and another 100 of its Fluence Z.E. EVs during the next three years. Renault hopes to deliver as many as 17,000 EVs to the government and a group of 20 large companies.

Green Car Reports explains the difference between Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 (fast charging) EV home charging stations.

plugincars notes that the US city of Boulder, Colorado has mandated that all new homes must be pre-wired to handle battery plug-in EVs.

In the US Nissan is now bundling the cost of a home charging unit and installation with the cost of its EV, the Leaf according to plugincars. Under the program, buyers can spread the payment for charger and installation over the life of an auto loan. The cost for this package, which includes installation, is $1,999. Many buyers lease the LEAF for 24 or 36 months, so the cost is amortized over that period.

MyPerfectAutomobile tells us about a German company that has a new way to charge EVs. (with video)   German manufacturer Ubitricity has invented a mobile device that is stored in the trunk (boot) of an EV and can be hooked up to specifically designed sockets at charging stations for recharging. The Ubitricity plan is for EV owners to purchase the units and carry them in the trunk, enabling billing and charging from any proprietary outlet. As long as the driver is plugged into one of the Ubriticity outlets, billing and charging takes place at the same time, and seamlessly delivers metered power to the car.

The Auto Channel reports the EV charging equipment market will reach $3.8 billion by 202o. A new study by Pike Research forecasts global annual revenue from EV charging equipment will grow from $355 million in 2012 to more than $3.8 billion in 2020 — more than a tenfold increase. Pike believes there are too many companies in the market right now and consolidation (mergers, bankruptcies) can be expected.  Also the industry has to work out a pricing model that is profitable.

The key short-term challenge for commercial EV charging equipment sales is to devise viable business models. Currently, it seems likely that both “all-you-can-eat” subscription plans and single price per charge models will be used in the near future. Pike Research’s analysis indicates that the industry seems to be converging around a very low price point for per-charge costs that affords little cushion for the host site to make money. According to the report, the subscription model appears to hold the most promise as a way to generate revenue from public charging systems at a price that will be acceptable to drivers.

Reuters says that Estonia is the first country in the world to install a nationwide system of fast chargers for electrical vehicles. The 165 EV chargers were produced and installed by engineering group ABB and construction was financed from the government’s sale of 10 million surplus CO2 emission permits to Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation. The deal with Mitsubishi also provided the government with more than 500 electric cars and the funds for a financing program to subsidize the purchase of electric cars. Estonia, with a population of about 1.2 million, has 619 all-electric cars, of which 500 are used by public authorities and about 100 by private people and companies. That amounts to one electric vehicle for every 1,000 cars, second only to Norway, which has four per 1,000. The Netherlands is third at 0.6 per 1,000. See also sustainableplant Estonia Is First with Nationwide EV Charging Network.






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