Latest EV sales stats, Gen-Y car rental survey, general news…

February 5, 2014 § Leave a comment

leaf chargingEV sales fell in the US last month; breakdown of the figures via Detroit News. Just 918 Chevy Volts hit the road (down 10.8% on last January’s figures);although Nissan Leaf sales nearly doubled, to 1,252. Sales of electrified vehicles of all types fell to just over 3.5% of the total US car market. However, this is a fall from a year (2013) in which EV and hybrid sales saw a startling growth, and sales levels are still substantially up on 2011’s results. Falling gas (petrol) prices are thought to be a major factor. (OK, I know that’s a pic of a British Leaf, and indeed, a British Nissan Ecotricity CHAdeMo fast-charger. The 1000th to be installed in Europe, at the Clacket Lane services on the M25, to be precise. But I’m in a hurry this morning).

  • Audi: an all-electric version of the Q8 SUV coming up for 2017, reports Autocar, with the powertrain from the R8 e-tron supercar giving a range of 370 miles; a plug-in hybrid will also be offered, though petrol and diesel versions will continue too. The Q8 e-tron is intended as a Tesla Model X rival and, notably, this mammoth SUV “will meet what Audi planners believe will be a demand for luxury cars that can travel in the zero-emissions city centres of the future”, writes HH. Yep, this is a trend to watch out for. Apparently, however, “Audi believes that at this market level the customers see ‘greenness’ as indivisible from premium values”. Or is that just the right to drive where and when they like, because they can afford to pay for the privilege?
  • US regulators are working to mandate wireless chips for all new cars to enable V2V and V2X communication and ‘internet of cars’ connectivity. Safety is the main motivator, but energy use and congestion reductions are also a consideration. More at Automotive News.
  • Some anecdotal detail on EVs in Norway, where EVs account for one in 100 cars sold and numbers have reached 21,000, at The Guardian. Incentives such as free parking, road tax and toll exemption, the chance to drive in bus lanes, and charging from free (hydro-generated) electricity have played a significant part… but queues for chargers and congestion in bus lanes now issues, says the report.
  • OK, a survey by Enterprise (car hire multinational) comes with an agenda, but some interesting figures for the Gen-Y-disinterest-in-cars debate. Of 1363 25-34 year-old rental customers surveyed at random: 79%  believed that owning their own vehicle was “extremely important”; 68% said their first experience with new automotive technology was in rental vehicles; 53% chose a particular rental vehicle because they wanted to try something new; 88% of then changed their minds about the make and model they rented based on a positive experience; and 28% were motivated to go car-shopping for a new car (compared to 20% across all age-groups). More at Automotive News.
  • Stelios is trying out the peer-to-peer car rental thing: easyCarClub is now being rolled out across the UK following trials in London. More here.
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