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Category Archives: Personal Automobiles
Silex Power located in Malta claims they will build an electric car, powered by batteries, when fully charged, will have a range of 1000km (620miles), develop 640 horsepower, attain road speeds of 186mph, and to top that all off, it can be recharged in 10minutes. The concept car looks good, see below:
It would appear that the Leaf’s Tennessee manufacturing facility is having a positive effect on sales. In April the Leaf sold 1,937 vehicles versus Volt’s 1,306. Year-to-date sales are Leaf = 5,476 and Volt = 5,550. Very close with the Leaf sales really picking-up in the past two months.
The Green Car Report is estimating Tesla Model C sales in April at 2250 to 2500, making it the biggest seller. Tesla does not report monthly sales so this figure is subject to change.
For the other plug-ins in the sales race, The Green Car Report offers the following:
Tiny Battery Cars
As for the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, a flurry of sales in January and February that averaged almost 300 cars each month ended in March.
April sales of 127 cars improved on the dismal March number of 31 cars sold, but it remains unclear if the electric minicar will remain above its historic rate of about 50 cars a month.
Finally, either this month or next, the 2013 Smart Electric Drive–the lowest-priced plug-in car in the country–will go on sale, adding to this year’s totals as well.
Plug-in hybrids: chugging along
The Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid was last year’s second best-selling plug-in car, but it’s been on a downward trend this year.
In April, just 599 were delivered, for a year-to-date total of 2,952. That’s the lowest monthly sales number since the very first month the plug-in Prius went on sale, in March 2012.
The 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid logged 55 deliveries in April, more than its total of 45 deliveries in the three months since it went on sale in January. Sales are rising as Honda cautiously rolls out its first-ever plug-in hybrid vehicle in California.
Sales are looking up but Obama’s 2011 State of The Union target of 1,000,000 EVs on the road by 2015 wont be achieved. Obama has since backed off on that promise, but just for the record , I post it again to remind you how “hopey changey” fades in the face of reality.
The Nissan Leaf had it biggest ever sales month in March when it moved 2,236 cars. The increase was attributed in part to a reduced sales price. It sells for $28,800. The Chevy Volt sales were down 35 % compared to February. Total March sales were 1,478. The Detroit News reports that the Tesla Model S was the best EV seller for the first quarter:
“ The high-end Model S, which after a Monday announcement will start at about $62,400 after federal tax credits, registered 4,750 deliveries, topping the second-place Volt, which had 4,244 sales through March. Nissan sold 3,539 Leaf vehicles during the first three months of the year and Toyota Motor Corp. had sold 2,353 of its Prius plug-ins.”
Tesla has decided to quit selling the short range S model that is equipped with the 40kWh battery that is said to have a range of 160 miles. Only 4% want it over the S Model equipped with the 60 kWh battery that is said to have a range of 230 miles. The 85 kWh battery model is said to have a range of up to 300 miles on a single charge.
The Detroit News cites a Japanese survey that finds that about 1/3 of the current owners of EVs wont buy another. The reasons:
A new report from researcher McKinsey and Co. found that about one in three electric-vehicle buyers felt “seduced” by the prospects of low energy costs, attractive subsidies and good test-drives, but became less enthusiastic about electric vehicles when faced with issues like higher electric bills and lack of charging stations
Renault’s new all-electric car, Zoe, has an advertised range of 130 but Motortrades Insight says:
“British drivers are not expected to warm to the new Renault Zoe, an all-electric city car, after Renault today revealed it can only achieve 60 miles in cold weather and 90 miles in normal conditions.”
Apparently if you buy the Zoe, you rent the battery. Motortrades Insight adds:
“Drivers will also have to pay between £70 and £93 every month to ‘hire’ the car’s expensively-manufactured batteries, with Renault replacing them when they become worn out.”
Probably everyone by now has heard that Fisker has laid off all its US workers and will soon file for Bankruptcy. Autobloggreen says:
“Kirkland & Ellis is advising the California-based maker of the extended-range plug-in Karma for a potential bankruptcy filing, which hasn’t produced a car in about eight months and is losing interest from two prospective China-based buyers. Fisker declined to comment to Reuters.
The US Department of Energy’s Energy Information Agency (EIA) says that the recent rise in gasoline prices was due in part to an increase in the cost of crude oil and the “crack price spread”. The average U.S. retail price for regular motor gasoline is up about 45 cents per gallon since the start of 2013, reaching $3.75 per gallon on February 18. Crack price spread is defined as: “Crack spreads are differences between wholesale petroleum product prices and crude oil prices. These spreads are often used to estimate refining margins. Crack spreads are a simple measure based on one or two products produced in a refinery (usually gasoline and distillate fuel). They do not take into consideration all refinery product revenues and exclude refining costs other than the cost of crude oil.”
February sales of the Volt and the Leaf were slightly higher than in January. January Volt sales were 1140 and February sales were 1629 while Leaf’s numbers were January 650 and February 653. The recent rise in gas prices will probably result in an increase sales in the next several months.
Tesla planned, for NY Times writer John Broder, a trip using their model S top of the line all-electric car. The plan was to test out Tesla’s newly “electrified I 95 corridor” that has two charging stations along the way. The idea here is that these two station should allow for a trip from Washington DC to the Boston area. Things did not work out.
The model S is a $101,000 vehicle with a 85 Kilowatt-hour battery that Tesla reports has a range of 300 miles between charges. The EPA rates the range at 265 miles. The distance from Broder’s home to the first charging station in Newark, DE was about 114 miles and the distance to the second charging station in Milford, CN is about 200 miles. So the trip should be easy. Below is a NYTimes graphic of the trip. The numbers represent the each new phase of the journey.
According to Detroit News, “ Electric vehicles and plug-in electric hybrids are off to a tough start in January after a disappointing 2012”.
The Volt had sales of 1,140 units in January, a drop from the December sales of 2,633.
GM says it was due to low inventories in California caused by a rush to buy the Volt in December because of tax incentives—-$7,500 in Federal Tax Credit as well as some State incentives——which owners claim on the following year’s taxes. Not only that but last year, in order to pick up slow sales, GM offered a discount of $10,000 on Volt leases.
Nissan Leaf January sales were only 650. The Leaf sales were 1,489 in December probably buoyed up at the end of the year by tax credits. The Nissan Smyrna, Tennessee Leaf manufacturing plant came on-line in January making the new 2013 model. The 2013 model’s price has been lowered to $28,800, about 18% lower than last years model.
The 2012 Volt sales were 23,461 which surpassed by a wide margin the 2011 sales of 7,671. As reported, Californians were responsible for more than half of the 2012 sales. The HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lanes now allow the Volt even if there is only one person in the vehicle. Initially, the Volt emission levels weren’t low enough when operating on gasoline to qualify for driving in the HOV lanes. This problem was corrected. If you have ever driven in California, you know just how packed roads can be out there.
My wife and I have been driving South several times a year. We use the HOV lanes when driving south out of Washington, DC, around Charlotte, North Carolina and through downtown Atlanta, Georgia. Two things are noticeable; one is that we hardly have to slow down from normal interstate driving speeds and the other is that ours is often the only vehicle in the HOV lane. The vast, and I mean vast majority of the cars, trucks, etc, have only one person in the them. I can understand the allure that driving in the HOV lane must have in Los Angles.
In addition GM worked up an attractive leasing program for the Volt. According to Money.CNN website:”….. the Volt has also been helped by aggressive leasing incentives offered in 2012. Last year, GM was offering the car for $289 a month with a $2,800 down payment. That was far less than a car with the Volt’s nearly $40,000 purchase price would ordinarily lease for, even factoring in a $7,500 plug-in car tax credit.”
The Nissan Leaf improved over last years sales by about 1.5% with total 2012 sales of about 9,800 vehicles.
The sales of the Volt, along with the Toyota Prius are the most successful hybrids on the market, are really not that impressive when you consider 2012 total vehicle sales in the US of 14.5 million. EVs, like the Leaf, are even less impressive. My guess is that gasoline prices are not going to skyrocket in the near term because of the continued world-wide recession and the introduction of a lot of new fossil fuels from fracking. Low fuel prices will depress hybrid and EV sales. And one has to wonder how long GM will be willing to subsidize the Volt.
The Spark is Chevy’s new entry into the electric vehicle race. Unlike the Spark’s big brother, the Chevy Volt, the Spark is all electric. (The Volt it is a hibrid as it has a backup internal combustion engine.) Chevy has not specified a range with a full battery charge or a price. But the Associated Press (AP) reports that the range will probably be like the Ford Focus—76 miles on a charge–and at a price less than $25,000 when the Fed’s $7,500 is deducted.
What is wrong with this picture? The gasoline powered Spark sells for $12,245 without any Federal subsidy. So the production cost with profit (maybe) for the electric Spark is in the range of $32,000. The gasoline powered Spark goes out of the showroom at roughly $20,000 less. And even with the Fed Subsidy thrown in for the electric version, the gasoline version cost half as much.
According to the Denver Post: “Since 2008, taxpayers have spent or provided loan guarantees of $6.5 billion for electric vehicles. That includes $2.4 billion for battery and electric drive component manufacturing, $3.1 billion in loan guarantees for electric vehicle projects, and $1 billion in tax credits for the vehicles.”
The Detroit News reports that GM plans to build 500,000 electric vehicles by 2017. Assuming they do this and sell that many cars, you and I–the taxpayers are on the hook for $7,500X500,000= $3.750 billion. And that would not include the subsidies given for sales of other manufacturer’s electric vehicles in that time period. Suspending your view of the advisability of having subsidies for these cars in the first place, do you think that if sales are that robust, they should continue to be given subsidies? I don’t.
Sixteen Fisker Karmas, hybrid autos, caught fire as an aftermath of the storm Sandy. Fisker’s press release concerning the fires follows:
“It was reported today that several Fisker Karmas were damaged by fire at the Port of Newark after being submerged in sea water during Superstorm Sandy. We can report that there were no injuries and none of the cars were being charged at the time.
“We have confidence in the Fisker Karma and safety is our primary concern. While we intend to find the cause as quickly as possible, storm damage has restricted access to the port.”
As you can see from the picture the damage was total:
Photo courtesy of Jalopnik.com