Posted by: Jill Bunting /
April 08, 2013 /
This week's indicator is 100, which is the number of Tesla Model S vehicles purchased by the Las Vegas-based initiative Project 100. The initiative, which aims to "bring together the ultimate in collaborative consumption," aspires to completely eliminate the need for vehicle ownership in Las Vegas by combining bike sharing, car sharing, taxis, and shuttle buses, into a single membership. This differentiates it from services like ZipCar or Getaround, which address only one corner of the market. The rise of platforms like Project 100 underscores the need for businesses to incorporate collaborative consumption into their products and services.
Posted by: Jill Bunting /
January 21, 2013 /
This week's indicator is 40 percent, which is roughly the percentage of Americans who say they are "not likely at all" to purchase a plug-in electric vehicle (EV), according to a study by Indiana University. This was the lowest level of interest available for selection. Vehicle price and range were cited as the main barriers.
Posted by: Elizabeth Lowery /
April 11, 2012 /
Estimates of electric vehicle (EV) share of the automobile market by 2020 vary widely, with projections as low as 2% and as high as 15% (Goldman Sachs, NRDC, BCG, IHS, Deutsche, IEA). While 40% of consumers are “extremely interested” in purchasing an EV, according to Pike Research, without a convergence of technologies, services, and infrastructure this interest will not translate to actual sales. This convergence is dependent on thoughtful collaboration between car companies, electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) companies, network solution providers, policy makers, and customers.
Over the past several weeks, Occupy Wall Street protesters have demanded more focus on what they call the “other 99 percent.” But in the automotive world, the “other 98 percent” – the vast majority of new car buyers who don’t buy hybrid or electric vehicles (EVs) – already have executives’ full attention. Auto makers are working hard to prove the reliability of EV technology, demonstrate the growth in charging infrastructure, and refine their marketing strategy to increase EV sales.
Many manufacturers and suppliers have invested considerable resources in production and sales, and for those to pay off, EV adoption must grow quickly beyond the current 2% of the global demand. While the importance of reducing EVs’ price cannot be overstated, this alone will not be sufficient. EVs will have to pass three critical tests before the other 98 percent ask themselves the question “should I buy an EV?” and then decide the answer to that question is yes.
1) Prove that EV technology works
First and foremost, EV technology must reach a point of maturity such that its reliability is assured. Consider this the most basic threshold necessary to attract consumers beyond the early adopters. Here, EVs are already doing quite well.
The Toyota Prius has now been on the market globally for ten years, with over 2 million cars sold to date. The batteries and other components of hybrid drivetrains have proven no more prone to malfunction than their internal combustion-only equivalents. Ford recently stated that “the odds of experiencing an issue with one of our hybrid battery cells is around 8.5 million to 1.” Additionally, both the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt come with battery warranties of eight years/100,000 miles.
Posted by: Yakov Berenshteyn /
October 27, 2011 /
By Yakov Berenshteyn and Julia Abell
A recent survey released by Accenture about electric vehicle consumer perceptions indicates that, contrary to popular belief, “range anxiety” – the fear of insufficient battery range -- and the price premium of electric vehicles are not the top factors that influence consumer plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) purchasing decisions. Instead, having a home charging point was top of mind for 63% of survey respondents while 53% listed battery range and 51% chose total cost of buying and running the vehicle as the most critical considerations. Furthermore, access to home charging was seen as a substantially stronger purchase influencer than the availability of work or public charging stations.
So, why does this matter? It’s not surprising that in today’s culture of high-tech-enabled instant gratification, consumers expect a seamless transition from fueling up at the corner gas station to plugging in to an electric charger at home.
However, the infrastructure aspect of a PEV purchase can be daunting and confusing for the average consumer. In today’s EV markets, a home charging station must be installed by an electrician, permitted by local government, inspected by the utility, and might even require a second meter, dedicated circuit, smart meter and/or adjustment of electricity rates. This installation and permitting process involves numerous points of contact and multiple appointments. And what happens when something goes wrong? How does one know if the issue is with the charger, the connection to the grid, or the car itself and, if different companies installed the various infrastructure components, who should EV owners call for tech support?
Utilities are involved in at least some aspects of home charging and are already familiar to their customers, so wouldn’t it be simpler for EV owners if their electricity providers were a one-stop shop for PEV charging needs?
Posted by: Adam Happel /
April 28, 2011 /
At this year's New York International Auto Show, the capstone of the
2010-2011 auto show season, the major auto makers' displays were big,
bold and green remained the theme as the industry moves back to
As we reported from Geneva, nearly every major introduction touted environmental performance as a focal point, if not the heart of the news.
Posted by: Andrew Glantz /
April 21, 2011 /
Last month, the Washington State Senate approved
a bill to assess an annual fee of $100 on electric and plug-in hybrid
vehicles. The measure is designed to offset lost revenue needed to
maintain state roads as demand for gas slows and gas-tax revenues
decline. Oregon legislators
have proposed their own scheme, which would levy a vehicle miles
traveled tax of 1.43 cents on all alternative fuel vehicles starting
with the 2014 model year.
These early efforts by state governments attempt to protect vital
revenue streams as disruptive innovations, like the electric car,
challenge traditional tax collection models. Today, drivers of
conventional vehicles pay about two cents per mile in combined state and
federal gas taxes.
Once highly fuel-efficient and alternative fuel vehicles comprise a
significant portion of the state fleet, Oregon hopes to supplant its
existing gas tax with a new VMT tax system for all vehicles. Texas, too,
has proposed a VMT tax, and other states are following closely as they
consider putting forth legislation of their own. The tax controversy is
generating buzz as the New York International Auto Show kicks off this
week -- with a great number of electric cars on display.
Posted by: Brent Dewar /
April 04, 2011 /
As Americans settle in this weekend to watch the final rounds of the NCAA basketball tournament, our collective consciousness has not only been riveted to the games, but also to the alarming news from around the world.
Japan's infrastructure challenges in the wake of the tragic earthquake and the ongoing crisis in the Middle East are changing the ways we need to think about energy, infrastructure and national security.
Never has there been a time in March when all the "circles and arrows" on the chalkboard weren't sets of basketball plays, but instead served as pointers to the need for America to move deliberately and quickly to find effective solutions to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
We need to change the game. What might a game changer look like? Imagine a March where the air is cleaner and our troops are watching March Madness at home with their families, not from a bunker 7,000 miles away. This should be our collective American goal and not just a dream.
Posted by: Ted Grozier /
March 02, 2011 /
If there’s a common thread among the 170 premieres at this
year’s Geneva Motor Show, it’s sustainable mobility. A press preview,
followed by public days March 3-14, kicks off the 81st showing of what
has become Europe’s top event for automobiles.
Almost every significant new introduction, from Kia’s redesigned Picanto
-- a city car with CO2 emissions promised to be as low as 90 grams per
kilometer, roughly equivalent to 57 U.S. mpg -- to the imposing Phantom 102EX,
an experimental all-electric version of the Rolls-Royce flagship, was
unveiled with “sustainability,” “responsibility,” or “technology for
tomorrow” as a key theme.
Andrew Shapiro, GreenOrder's Founder and President, recently interviewed Jon Lauckner, VP of General Motors and the new head of GM Ventures, at the Clean Tech Summit last month. (video)
Posted by: Ted Grozier /
January 28, 2011 /
125 years ago on January 29th, Karl Benz filed a patent in Berlin for
his three-wheeled vehicle, the first of its kind to be designed from the
ground up as an automobile. Benz and his "Patent-Motorwagen" were, of
course, not alone: It took thousands of visionaries from across the
globe, as well as a couple of decades, for the car to take shape as the
feature of life it is today. Nonetheless, January 29, 1886 serves as a
widely accepted, if symbolic "birthday" of the automobile.
The mobility and independence that has come with the automobile in its
125 years has not been without cost, particularly to the environment.
The industry widely acknowledges that it cannot have another 125 years
like those that came before. Our cities, our roads, and our climate
cannot sustain a fleet of vehicles that quickly approaches one billion
around the world. The car, after 125 years, must fundamentally change.
My colleague Truman Semans and I wrote here last week about the power of prizes to inspire the ingenuity needed to solve some of most pressing problems of our time, chief among them the need for environmental innovation.
But despite their cachet and impressive track record, prizes are not a cure-all for our every woe [PDF]. Just as there are important ways that they are underutilized, for instance by the government as a tool to stimulate technology innovation [PDF], prizes are ill-suited for other circumstances.
For example, nearly three years ago Richard Branson announced the Virgin Earth Challenge -- a $25 million prize for the first to develop a commercially viable design for removing at least one billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere per year for 10 years. But despite 2,500 entries, the prize has gone unawarded and is currently being reevaluated.
Posted by: Andrew Glantz /
October 12, 2010 /
We’ve been hearing about the elusive electric car for quite some time now, and it appears to always be just around the corner.
Now, with Chevrolet’s Volt and the Nissan Leaf nearing production in the final months of 2010, it seems that electric vehicle (EV) enthusiasts, technology pioneers, and environmentally conscious consumers might finally have their way.
But if your inner skeptic is having doubts about whether the electric vehicle movement is simply a fad, or whether electricity will truly become a dominant fuel for vehicle propulsion, keep reading.