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Several posts appeared this week about weak EV sales this year. The Australian said Electric car market faces rocky road in US  while Consumer Affairs says the Outlook for electric cars remains hazy. In addition we have a survey from the American Automobile Association reported by The Auto Channel:

…eight out of ten U.S. adults are unsure about or unlikely to buy an electric vehicle (EV) and 30 percent of them say it is due to mileage limitations and availability of charging stations locations….The AAA survey also finds many consumers citing the higher cost in general of an electric vehicle as a reason they would be unlikely to make such a purchase.

Consumer Affairs also notes that people who have leased the Chevrolet Volt in the US are trying to get out of their lease after only 12 months into their 36 month lease. For the Toyota Prius hybrid this number is at only 9 months.

Things are not much better in China.  The China Post wrote Like US, China slow to embrace electric vehicles. “Despite choking pollution in big Chinese cities, consumers here see EVs as too expensive or too difficult to recharge.” Even with the availability of large government subsidies, total sales of hybrid and electric vehicles last year were 12,791, according to the Chinese Association of Automobile Manufacturers. However,  the real number of electric vehicles sold in China last year was only about 3,000, when factoring out hybrids and vehicles that aren’t roadworthy, such as golf carts, according to Namrita Chow, a Shanghai-based analyst for IHS Automotive.

Navigant Research thinks the situation in Europe may be different with higher petrol prices than North America driving EV demand, says The Auto Channel. Navigant believes national energy policies in Europe coupled with increasing availability of electric vehicle charging infrastructure will encourage strong growth in the market for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). It expects sales of PEVs will grow from fewer than 37,000 in 2012 to more than 669,000 in 2020. The top six European countries for battery electric vehicles on the road in 2020 will be Germany, France, Norway, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Sweden, with this group representing more than 67% of the total European market. You can access the report here.

Next Generation Transportation News reports the US federal government is adding 10,000 hybrid EVs to its fleet of vehicles. The addition of these vehicles is expected to reduce gasoline consumption by about 1 million gallons annually.

Energy Live News tells us police in The West Midlands of the UK are leasing 30 new electric cars from Nissan for patrol duty. In 2009, this police force became the first in the country to operate an electric patrol car. The  Nissans offer a range of between 70 and 80 miles from a full battery charge. The cost to fully charge the battery is £1.75 compared to a full tank of petrol which costs around £50.00.

The next electric car breakthrough will be short distance vehicles according to plugincars. The post refers to a triall by Toyota in Japan to focus on supplying EV service (electric car or electric bike) for the “last mile” rather than a long trip. The idea is to move people from their homes or businesses to public transportation rather than for long trips where range anxiety sets in.  Using smart cards or other devices, people would rent the EV on a short-term basis to move them that mile or two where they could connect with public transportation.

In a transportation context, it (the last mile) applies to the tremendous potential for carbon reduction and other benefits if public transit and city centers can be made accessible to the masses of people who live a mile or two away.

SKIFT tells us that in Norway early adopters of electric cars are rich, urban, educated men.

NewsDaily informs us that Hong Kong has its first electric taxis. 45 bright red  BYD e6’s are now operating in the Chinese city. The electric cars have been rented by the Hong Kong Taxi and Public Light Bus Association, which is testing them over the next six months. The sedans are powered by iron phosphate batteries and take two hours to charge, They can then travel for 300 kilometres (more than 180 miles).

Post Danmark has its first of 50 new electric vans reports Post & Parcel. The Mercedes-Benz Vito E-Cell vehicle joins an existing fleet of 1,700 electric bikes and 100 electric scooters. The postal operator is installing vehicle charging stations in various delivery depots where the 50 electric cars will be operating. Powered by a lithium ion battery, the van has a range of about 100 km and the batteries can be recharged in 6 hours with a fast charging system.






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