Hydrogen Fuel News says the International Energy Agency has launched an ambitious plan for electric vehicles. The IEA wants to see more than 20 million EVs on the world’s roads by 2020. To achieve this goal, global EV sales must grow by 80% every year through the end of the decade. This, of course, would require a massive increase in the rate at which electric vehicles are being introduced into the commercial market. The post notes, however, that this is not a simple task. “This may be difficult due to the costs associated with the development of these vehicles. Lithium-ion batteries are not inexpensive and the cost of these energy systems often translates into the overall cost of the vehicle.” The IEA says this will require longer-term government EV support policies, more refueling infrastructure and lower battery development costs. The IEA report, Tracking Progress of Clean Energy 2013, can be found here and the section on electric vehicles can be found at page 80.

Utility Products notes that more than onethird of US public transportation buses use alternative fuels or hybrid engines. Alternative fuels include natural gas and biodiesel.

EVs currently account for only 0.02% of the world’s passenger vehicle stock according to Earth Techling. 38% of these vehicles are in the US which has the most EVs.  These numbers come from the Global Energy Outlook produced by the Clean Energy Ministerial. The report reviews the growth of EVs in the 15 member countries which account for 90% of global sales. This tiny number shows the world has a long way to go to hit the International Energy Agency’s goal of at least 20 million passenger car EVs, by 2020.

Inside EVs believes 22 million EVs will be sold worldwide between 2012 and 2020. This is the view of energy analysis firm Navigant Research in its latest report titled “Electric Vehicle Market Forecasts.” . This number includes all electrified automobiles (including plug-ins as well as conventional hybrids). EVs are now widely available in Asia-Pacific, North America, and Western Europe, and are being introduced in Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. As for the status of plug-in electric vehicles, while their growth rate will be high over this period, they will still only account for about 2% of all total light-duty vehicle sales by 2020. See also Fierce Energy, EVs seeing global expansion.

From Environmental Expert we learn that sales of light electric vehicles (e-bikes) will reach 130 million annually before 2025, making it one of the world’s largest industries.  IDTechEx says up until the last couple of years, e-bike sales were concentrated in China, Japan, and Europe but now are beginning to expand to the rest of the world. A light electric vehicle is a land vehicle propelled by an electric motor that uses an energy storage device such as a battery or fuel cell, has two or three wheels, and typically weighs less than 100kg. Most of these are e-bikes and most e-bikes are scooters. Today, the  industry is dominated by large bicycle companies in Asia, due to their access to distribution. However, in the future, IDTechEx expects these companies to face significant competition from automobile, motorcycle, and car parts manufacturers.

Forbes thinks automakers are relegating EVs to perpetual niche status. “Despite continued protestations that truly mainstream electric vehicles are on their way — really, just wait a little bit longer! — it’s pretty obvious at this point that automakers are relegating EVs to niche status for now, and likely for a long time to come.”  Noting that BMW and Fiat now offer EV buyers access to a gasoline or diesel powered vehicle when an EV can’t go the necessary mileage the post comments:

For if car companies now must offer you guaranteed access to other vehicles to get you to buy an all-electric one, it raises the question: Why do you need an electric vehicle in the first place?

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The fact that automakers continue to make huge strides in fuel economy with “conventional” vehicles also will increasingly  suggest to American consumers that there’s simply no reason for them to put up with the practical inadequacies of electric vehicles. Until and unless EV makers accomplish huge additions in driving range through unprecedented advances in batteries or other technologies, this whole class of vehicles will be of extremely limited use.

In a related post, mother nature network writes about the tough road ahead in resolving misconceptions about electric cars. The post looks at the reasons why EV interest continues to decline among US drivers.  The number one concern continues to be “range anxiety”, the thought that one will run out of battery power before getting to one’s destination.

The Hurriyet Daily News reports Turkey will soon have its first electric bus. The Doruk Electra, produced by Turkish bus maker Otokar, runs completely on electricity and can cover 280 kilometers with a single charge. It also has an onboard charging unit to recharge itself while waiting at municiple bus stops.

GM announces its new electric Spark gets 82 miles on a single charge. The car also gets the equivalent of 119 miles per gallon in testing monitored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. GM said that makes it the most efficient car available for sale to the public. The figure is for combined city and highway driving.

Gas2 says Nissan is now allowing its customers in Europe to purchase the 2013 Leaf without buying the batteries, which will make the electric car more affordable. The catch is that purchasers are restricted to traveling 7,500 miles per year, which is below the UK average of 10,000 to 12,000 miles per year. Nissan will also replace the battery for you if it dies, at no cost. The battery will lease for $108 per month over a 36 month period and reduce the price of the vehicle from $32,000 to the $24,000 range (assuming the purchaser takes advantage of the UK government subsidy).

Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the US, will install 225 EV charging stations at 125 of its stores in Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Diego. SFGate adds that the company already has 60 chargers in the states of Oregon and Washington as well as 14 in Texas.

Volvo’s C30 EV has cut its charge time to 8 hours to 90 minutes reports Car Advice. The C30 Electric uses the world’s first on-board charger that operates on a three-phase power supply and is small enough to be fitted in an electric car.

Read more here: http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/2013/04/24/3453225/gm-says-chevy-spark-ev-can-go.html#storylink=cpy

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