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AutoblogGreen

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    Tesla factory

    Tesla Motors said in the release of its first-quarter earnings Wednesday that it will boost its quarterly production on its Model S luxury sedan to as many as 9,000 from the approximately 7,500 it made during the first three months of the year. Bond manager Jeffrey Gundlach doesn't believe that's a good thing.

    Gundlach, founder of DoubleLine Capital LP, told Bloomberg News that, while Tesla is a better investment than fast-growth companies like Twitter, the automaker would improve its financial results by halting production of its vehicles and dedicating itself to making battery packs for other automakers. A spokesman for Tesla, whose shares are up almost 40 percent this year, declined to comment to Bloomberg. We'll just sit here and imagine Tesla-powered Nissan Leafs and Chevy Volts.

    Back in the real world, aside from its own vehicles, Tesla makes battery packs for the Toyota RAV4 EV and for some versions of the Smart Fortwo ED and the B-Class EV. Tesla and Toyota first announced their collaborative effort in 2010, which included Toyota's equity investment in Tesla as Tesla prepared to take over the old NUMMI plant in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    Tesla said Wednesday that it took a $49.8-million first-quarter loss. Compare that to a year-earlier net income of $11.2 million. That's despite boosting revenue 10 percent from a year earlier to $620.5 million. That's largely because Tesla's selling, general and administrative costs more than doubled from a year earlier to $117.6 million.

    Bond manager has odd advice for Tesla: stop making cars originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Thu, 08 May 2014 11:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    Monique Watson and Evetta Osbourne at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly

    It's Mother's Day, and we're soft enough we love our mothers enough to share a new video from General Motors with you. In it, we meet Monique Watson (left) and Evetta Osbourne, a mother-daughter team that works at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly where GM makes the Chevy Volt (along with all of GM's other plug-in hybrids: the Opel Ampera, Holden Volt and Cadillac ELR). The two work side-by-side and have installed the lithium-ion battery pack on almost all of those vehicles - nearly 80,000 of them - since GM started making the pre-production Volts in 2009.

    In a prepared statement, Watson said that she likes working next to her mom, day in and day out, and they the two are totally in sync when it comes to putting the 400-pound, 16.5-kWh packs into the vehicle undersides. They two can also share stories throughout the day, and Watson said, "The arrangement has absolutely improved our relationship."

    Osborne started working at Detroit-Hamtramck in 1999, Watson since 2006. If you're driving a Volt today, you probably have them to thank for doing a bit of the work putting your car together. See a short video of them in action below.

    Continue reading Meet the mother-daughter team that's worked on almost every Chevy Volt

    Meet the mother-daughter team that's worked on almost every Chevy Volt originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Sun, 11 May 2014 15:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    2014 Chevy Spark EV

    As General Motors gets ready to release the 2015 Chevy Spark EV, it is retooling the Brownstown Battery Assembly to build a new battery system for the chirpy little electric car. The new Spark will lose a few pounds and kWh from its lithium-ion pack, but it will keep all of it's performance specs.

    The current Spark EV uses a 21-kWh lithium-ion battery pack with bits made by A123 Systems (known as B456 Systems during bankruptcy). For the 2015 model, GM is going to build a 19-kWh battery system in-house that will use 192 LG Chem cells. Losing a bit of energy capacity means that the battery system for the 2015 Spark EV will be 86 pounds lighter but it will keep the EPA-rated 82-mile range and 119 MPGe. The 2015 Spark EV also keeps its $26,685 (plus destination) starting price from the 2014 model. The car will once again qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500. LG Chem also supplies the cells for GM's other plug-in vehicles from its facility in Western Michigan. The Brownstown production line currently builds the battery packs for the Chevy Volt, the Opel Ampera and the Cadillac ELR.

    You can read our first drive of the 2014 Chevy Spark here.

    Continue reading 2015 Chevy Spark will have lighter, smaller battery

    2015 Chevy Spark will have lighter, smaller battery originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Thu, 15 May 2014 08:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    Plug-In Vehicle Battery Production GraphPanasonic's standing in the plug-in and hybrid battery production industry has zoomed ahead like a Tesla Model S taking off from a standstill. That's appropriate because the Japanese company's relationship with the California-based automaker has been the primary reason for its growth, which looks like it will continue to be rapid.

    According to new numbers from Lux Research, battery manufacturers are producing 1.4 gigawatt-hours worth of batteries for plug-in and pure battery-electric vehicles per quarter, up from under 200 MWh in early 2011. Lithium-ion batteries account for 68 percent of the current total, while nickel-metal hydride batteries (like the one used in the non-plug-in Toyota Prius) account for 28 percent. The rest are made up of small numbers of things like solid-state batteries.

    Panasonic has been the primary beneficiary of electric vehicle growth (click on chart to enlarge). The company has a 39percent market share for plug-in and hybrid batteries, while NEC has 27 percent and LG Chem has 9 percent. As for demand, Toyota, Tesla and Renault-Nissan account for about three-quarters of all batteries used for plug-in and hybrid vehicles. Panasonic expanded its battery-production deal with Tesla last October. There are more details in the Lux Research press release below.

    Continue reading Battery-pack production for plug-ins, hybrids, triples in three years

    Battery-pack production for plug-ins, hybrids, triples in three years originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Thu, 15 May 2014 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    Tesla Gigafactory Locations

    Tesla Motors has officially announced it will build a massive electric vehicle battery factory, which it calls a gigafactory, to make a huge amount of cheaper lithium-ion pack for the EVs of the future. It says these packs are so important that it is working on plans for a gigafactory in two locations, just to make sure there is a Plan B if something goes wrong with Site A. But how many gigafactories could there one day be?

    According to Musk's vision, expressed at the World Energy Innovation Forum held at the Tesla Factory in Fremont this week (where he also said that using the Lotus Elise as the basis for the Tesla Roadster was not the best idea), the auto industry will one day need hundreds of battery gigafactories. Now, that's not hundreds of Tesla gigafactories, but he thinks there will need to be 200 just to supply the automotive industry. Throw in stationary energy storage and iPads that run all year, and the number climbs even higher.

    One benefit of all these cells coming to market will be cheaper electric vehicles. Originally, Tesla said that its gigafactory would be able to reduce the per-kWh cost of a Tesla battery pack by "more than 30 percent." Musk repeated that number at the Forum this week, saying, "I think we can probably do better than 30 percent." The groundbreaking of the first Tesla plant could take place next month.

    Oh, and as a side note: doesn't Michigan look odd in the image above? We are one with the lake, apparently.

    Tesla CEO Elon Musk expects 'hundreds' of battery gigafactories originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Thu, 15 May 2014 20:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    Smith Electric Vehicles' delivery truck

    It looks like electric delivery truck maker Smith Electric Vehicles is getting plugged back in this summer. The Kansas City, MO-based company, which halted production last year, is getting a $42-million equity investment from Hong Kong-based lithium-ion battery maker Sinopoly Battery Ltd. The catch, of course, is that Sinopoly will be the exclusive battery supplier for Smith and its Newton trucks. But that's certainly better than a sharp stick in the eye.

    Sinopoly's investment included a $2-million funding round this week, with the rest of the funds slated for delivery "in the coming months." As a result, Smith will resume production at its Kansas City plant this summer.

    Smith stopped production in late 2013, ostensibly to line up a cheaper supply chain. The company, which received a $32-million grant from the US Department of Energy in 2010, used those funds to build 439 of an expected 510 demonstration trucks that would be field tested and the usage data sent back to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

    In late 2011, Smith filed registration documents for an initial public offering that it said would be worth as much as $125 million and said it would move production to New York City, but those plans were later scuttled. Link to Sinopoly's statement here and read Smith Electric's press release below.

    Continue reading Smith Electric finds $42 million lifeline in Sinopoly Battery Limited

    Smith Electric finds $42 million lifeline in Sinopoly Battery Limited originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Fri, 16 May 2014 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    2013 Smart ED

    Five-plus years may have been about enough time for Daimler AG to know whether it wanted to be in the battery-pack production business. The Mercedes-Benz parent may stop making electric-vehicle batteries and ultimately sell its Li-Tec battery-cell factory in Germany within two years, according to Bloomberg News which cites Manager Magazin. The beneficiary may be LG Electronics, which would likely take over battery-production duties for models such as Daimler's Smart ED battery-electric vehicle.

    Daimler is taking a number of steps to improve profit margins, which are thinner than those of its German rivals like BMW. Like its German competition, the company has lagged behind companies such as Nissan, Renault and Tesla Motors in terms of aggressively pursuing growth via plug-in vehicle sales. Daimler spokesman Hendrik Sackmann, in an e-mail to AutoblogGreen, would only say that the battery business is growing "rapidly" and that Li-Tec is developing "according to our plans."

    "Regarding Li-Tec, we are working on a concept for the future line-up," he added. "The battery cells for the successor of the Smart electric drive won't be provided by Li-Tec."

    Daimler in 2008 launched Li-Tec as a joint venture with Evonik, though Daimler recently put plans together to buy out Evonik's 50-percent share of Li-Tec, Bloomberg reported last month. Evonik's role was manufacturing electrodes and separators for batteries. Daimler also said last fall that it was looking to cooperate more extensively with Tesla in regards to electric vehicle development. The two companies first said they'd work together in 2009.

    Daimler could sell off Li-Tec's EV battery business originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Sat, 24 May 2014 08:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    The electric vehicles that Renault offers today are having a bit of difficulty attracting customers. Maybe 180 miles of range could make prospective car buyers shed their anxiety. That's what Renault and LG Chem might one day find out, since the two giants signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) last week to co-develop battery technology for long-range EVs.

    While there was no talk about the exact single-charge range figure the companies are targeting, the implication was that the collaboration would be geared to double the typical battery's distance, which today sits at a little under 100 miles for most EVs. LG Chem is the world's largest maker of batteries used in those EVs, Business Korea reports. Renault can use all the help it can get, since the French automaker will delay the first sales of its electric Twingo because of lower-than-expected demand.

    LG Chem started making Chevrolet Volt batteries at its Michigan factory last summer after a long delay getting its US factory up and running due to initially slow early sales for the Chevy PHEV, so long that LG Chem was paying workers to be idle in Michigan while shipping battery packs over from South Korea. The situation forced LG Chem to repay $842,000 of a federal stimulus grant that had been spent on idle worker payroll.

    Renault, LG partner up for 180-mile EV battery tech originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Tue, 27 May 2014 14:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    Samsung? Who's Samsung? That's what Panasonic is asking as the electronics conglomerate makes it clear it is looking to secure its position in Tesla Motors' plans to build a huge car-battery factory over the next three years.

    Panasonic is now saying it expects to be the only battery manufacturer partner for Tesla's so-called gigafactory, Reuters says, citing comments from Panasonic senior executive Yoshio Ito. Ito says his company has been in talks with Tesla about its construction plans, and while Samsung started supplying Tesla's batteries last year, Panasonic, which makes Tesla's lithium-ion cells, is looking for solo billing once the $5-billion factory goes live in 2017. All Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said so far is that he expects Panasonic to be the main partner in the gigafactory. Tesla, when contacted by AutoblogGreen, declined to comment on Ito's comments.

    Last fall, Panasonic and Tesla reached an agreement in which Panasonic would increase its supply of battery cells to Tesla by a factor of 10 within the next three years, and Panasonic says its already doubled its battery-production investment this year largely because of the California automaker. That said, Panasonic president Kazuhiro Tsuga said in March that there was significant risk involved in any investment in the gigafactory and hadn't committed to any investment as of that time. So Ito's comments may merely be a negotiation ploy. Tesla is looking for partners to shoulder about $3 billion of the $5 billion gigafactory cost.

    Earlier this month, Lux Research estimated that Panasonic has a 39-percent global market share for plug-in and hybrid batteries. NEC has 27 percent and LG Chem has nine percent.

    Panasonic has an idea to be Tesla's one and only gigafactory partner originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Tue, 27 May 2014 16:16:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    Toyota RAV4 EV

    Tesla Motors said earlier this month that the agreement it has with Toyota to supply battery packs for the Toyota RAV4 EV SUV would be finished by the end of the year. The deal is done, but Toyota is now singing its best version of Baby, Please Don't Go.

    The Japanese automaker may look to extend the battery-pack agreement with California-based Tesla, Automotive News says, citing comments made by Osamu Nagata, who heads Toyota's manufacturing and engineering in North America. Nagata also complimented Tesla for its "clear business strategy." Toyota, which owns 2.5 percent of Tesla, started the RAV4 EV collaboration in 2012, in which Tesla was to make about 2,600 battery packs for the all-electric SUV. That agreement was estimated to be worth about $100 million.

    "We are also evaluating the RAV4 EV program and will have more to say at a later date" - Toyota

    "We have a good relationship with Tesla and will evaluate the feasibility of working together on future projects," Toyota said in a statement e-mailed to AutoblogGreen. "We are also evaluating the RAV4 EV program and will have more to say at a later date."

    And while Toyota hasn't quite met initial sales expectations - it sold about 1,600 of the RAV4 EVs through this spring - the company expects to reach 2,500 by the end of the year. And the partnership did generate about $15 million in revenue for Tesla, according to that company's first-quarter letter to shareholders. That said, Tesla is obviously focusing its battery-making efforts on its own models.

    Toyota still wants Tesla's battery help, still evaluating RAV4 EV program originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Wed, 28 May 2014 11:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    In the land of diesel, Toyota appears to be making money its own way and thereby making more of it. The Japanese automaker is taking on Europe's diesel-centric ways by substantially boosting sales of hybrids on the continent. That, along with cost cutting measures, has increased the company's European profitability, Automotive News says, citing recent remarks by Toyota's European operations chief Didier Leroy.

    Toyota, which lost money in Europe between 2008 and 2011, started turning things around two years ago by cutting labor at places like UK factories while consolidating production of models such as the Auris and Yaris hybrid vehicles. During the most recently completed financial year, Toyota Europe reported earnings that were up 75 percent from the year before, despite revenue being up just five percent. The company also aims to sell at least 1 million vehicles in Europe by next year and is boosting sales in countries like Russia.

    Late last year, Didier told Bloomberg News that Toyota's European market share was rising about one percentage point a year, while production at Toyota's factories in countries like France, Turkey and the UK were running at full capacity. Toyota estimated at the time that hybrids accounted for about a fifth of Toyota's European sales.

    Toyota finds profit in Europe thanks to hybrid sales originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Thu, 05 Jun 2014 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    business forward severe weather auto industry

    When it comes to climate change, the auto industry will be better served by working with the energy industry on cleaner energy plants than dealing with more and more severe weather incidents in the future. That's the finding of a new study by Business Forward, which says that supporting the EPA's new rules - which is supposed to make energy plants 30 percent cleaner - is the right move. The reason lies in just-in-time production methods, which can be tremendously impacted by severe weather incidents.

    The numbers look something like this. The EPA predicts electricity prices will rise 6.2 percent by 2020 with the EPA's clean power plan. Since the average car has $105 worth of electricity in it, that 6.2 percent rise will mean an extra $7 per car. Business Forward Foundation president Jim Doyle told reporters on a conference call last week that that means an hour of downtime is more expensive to these plants than a year of increased costs due to lowering carbon emissions. Business Forward's numbers show that an hour of downtime can cost over $1.25 million. It's tough to compare that to $7 more per car, but there you have it.

    It's not just changes in America that can affect the auto industry. Business Forward says that:

    American manufacturers rely on supply chains that are increasingly large, specialized, global and fast. The very characteristics that make them efficient also make them interdependent, and this interdependence is what makes them susceptible to severe weather. Climate change is disrupting our ports, highways, bridges, and rails - and, because producers come from all over the world, severe weather in Asia affects us, too.

    You can download a copy of the report, called "Severe Weather and Manufacturing in American: Comparing the Cost of Droughts, Storms and Extreme Temperatures with the Cost of New EPA Standards," here. If you don't want to read it all, we've got a press release and an infographic breakdown of the numbers below.

    Continue reading Doing nothing on climate change could cost auto industry millions

    Doing nothing on climate change could cost auto industry millions originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Mon, 09 Jun 2014 18:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    doe supertruck 10.7 mpg

    Think 10 miles per gallon, and your mind may harken back to muscle cars along the line of the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard. Apply that figure to a semi-truck, though, and we're talking actual fuel-efficiency gains. That's what the four-year-old SuperTruck program shot for, and two of its four teams have already hit that goal.

    The SuperTruck program launched in 2010 with four teams led by Cummins, Daimler, Navistar and Volvo, and the goal of the US Department of Energy-funded program was to raise fuel-efficiency for Class 8 tractor-trailer trucks by 50 percent from the typical six miles-per-gallon range. Such gains by the industry would mean 300 million fewer barrels of oil consumed in the US each year and $30 billion less spent on fuel annually.

    With President Obama in February outlining details for improved heavy-duty truck fuel efficiency standards and groups like the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) joining in, such fuel-efficiency gains are in the works. In fact, already, the Cummins and Daimler teams have already boosted fuel economy by more than 50 percent. Waste-heat recovery systems, more efficient transmissions and better aerodynamics are among the improvements truck makers are applying to boost fuel economy. Check out the Department of Energy's press release below.

    Continue reading SuperTruck program claws out huge fuel efficiency gains for semi trucks

    SuperTruck program claws out huge fuel efficiency gains for semi trucks originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Wed, 11 Jun 2014 10:14:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    France EU Cruise Control Dangers

    The next time the hypermiler in front of you stops you from catching that next green light, take heart. One day, it won't be the driver's fault. There will be algorithms involved. But you migh still be aggravated for not making that light.

    Hermann Koch-Groeber, a professor at Germany's University of Heilbronn is working on a transmission system that combines cruise control with the concept of hypermiling, i.e. coasting as much as possible in order to boost fuel economy, the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Spectrum says. Koch-Groeber is working with Germany-based transmission maker Getrag to develop what's called an 'automated gearbox.' The product factors in road contours to most efficiently guide the vehicle up and down hills and, as a result, there could be a five- to 10-percent fuel-efficiency gain. The math-inclined can take a look at the formulas being used in this PDF.

    A prototype for the automated gearbox may be available as soon as next year. That's good timing, especially considering how European automakers need to cut greenhouse-gas emissions in order to meet stricter standards from the European Union. In 2012, the European Commission proposed standards that would reduce fleetwide emissions by 30 percent by 2020.

    Professor uses algorithms to put a hypermiler in your cruise control originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Wed, 11 Jun 2014 15:55:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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  • 06/12/14--18:01: Watch the VW E-Golf get made
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    volkswagen e-golf production wolfsburg

    If you've ever been on a tour of an automotive factory, you know how mesmerizing it can be to see humans and robots work together to build our four-wheeled friends. The swift automation, the cleanliness, the trained hands deftly fitting pieces together and watchful eyes inspecting every piece of the car, it's all quite impressive, especially if the vehicle is one you, as an observer, are fond of. Even just seeing a fresh, gleaming badge being applied to immaculately painted sheet metal is enough to curl ones toes.

    Such is the case with this video from of the E-Golf being pieced together in the Volkswagen's Wolfsburg plant. There's no narration or music - just the sounds of production - so it's easy to follow the singular motions that go into the process without distraction, with a slight sense of actually being on the floor. This solo video is only seven minutes long, so it's not quite the epic that was the BMW i3 production series. Therefore, we miss a lot of the initial build, such as pressing the sheet metal, painting, and putting together a lot of the inner workings.

    What is refreshing to see is how much of the final touches of the electric Golf are done by hand using actual hand tools (and with typical German efficiency). There's even a person riding a bicycle through the factory at one point, which is common at Wolfsburg and also rather quaint.

    Enjoy the video below, and if you have a suggestion for a good soundtrack to go along with it, sound off in the comments.

    Continue reading Watch the VW E-Golf get made

    Watch the VW E-Golf get made originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Thu, 12 Jun 2014 20:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    Kia Soul EV production

    As sister company Hyundai delivers its first Tucson fuel cell vehicles in California, Kia has kicked off volume production of the Soul EV in Korea. We've driven the prototype and are excited about the arrival of this electric vehicle. Kia is already calling the production start a landmark event, but let's remember that other automakers have been building production EVs for years now.

    The EVs won't be exported outside of Korea until later in 2014, but the automaker is hoping to make 5,000 a year at its Gwangju facility. The first batch is headed to "select European countries" with more coming to Europe at a later date. The vehicle might be coming to the US in the third quarter. The Soul EV is Kia's second production EV, following the Ray EV. Kia only made 2,500 of them for governmental agency use in Korea.

    We've got a little video on the Soul EV here. As a reminder, the Soul has a 27-kWh lithium-ion polymer battery which is good for a now-official range (on the European test cycle) of 212 kilometers. That's 132 miles, but expect a good chunk to get knocked off when it gets rated on the US text cycle. For example, the Nissan Leaf is rated at 199 kilometers (123 miles) in Europe but only 84 miles from the EPA. Read Kia's press release below.

    Continue reading Kia Soul EV starts production in Korea

    Kia Soul EV starts production in Korea originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Mon, 16 Jun 2014 12:24:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    Tesla Motors is, as always, thinking big. The company already has a factory in California with a lot of empty space. But with Model S deliveries happening in Europe and a right-hand drive version just launched in the UK, CEO Elon Musk is already talking about building EVs in Europe. We did some math and let's just say we think any such facility is likely a long way off.

    The California-based company plans on eventually building a factory in Europe, Automotive News Europe says, citing an interview with Musk. But Musk says Tesla would have to sell 160,000 vehicles a year in Europe to justify such a factory. Musk sees that many sales as a given, eventually, and is planning on building an R&D center in the UK within the next two years while expanding its assembly factory in the Netherlands.

    "It will take Tesla a bit longer to ramp up in Western Europe than in the US" - Ed Kim

    But just how long might it take to get to that 160,000 figure across the Pond? Well, through the first four months of the year, Tesla sold 3,467 units of its Model S electric sedans in Europe, Automotive News says, citing research firm JATO Dynamics. Extrapolating from Tesla's first-quarter 2014 delivery numbers (the company doesn't publish monthly sales totals), Tesla sold about 8,600 Model S sedans worldwide through April. Even if Tesla speeds things up in Europe this year and approaches, say, 15,000 units, that's still less than 10 percent of Musk's goal. Even with new models, 15,000 is a long way from 160,000, and it appears that Tesla will grow slower in Europe than it has in the US.

    "It will take Tesla a bit longer to ramp up in Western Europe than in the US," Ed Kim, vice president of industry analysis at AutoPacific, told AutoblogGreen. "This is partially due to infrastructure issues. In the US, most potential Tesla customers live in detached single family homes, making installation of a personal charging infrastructure at home a snap. In Western Europe, many potential customers - even affluent ones - live in communal living situations like condos and apartments. And even having assigned parking does not guarantee that they would be able to install chargers there."

    Earlier this year, Tesla dropped the prices of its Model S in Europe because of the strengthening of the Euro. The company initially priced the Model S in the UK at almost $20,000 above the US base price. At the Geneva Motor Show, Musk said that the company was in the process of expanding its Supercharger network of fast-charging units across Europe.

    Tesla talking about first European factory, but it won't happen soon originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Tue, 17 Jun 2014 19:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    Chevy Volt half-billion miles statistics

    As General Motors gets ready to start 2015 Volt production Monday, Chevrolet is looking back at some of the numbers that got the car to where it is today. The headline number is that Volt owners have collectively put more than a half-billion electric miles on their cars. The unsurprising upshot is that, if you went out and bought a Volt, you're pretty keen on getting as many electric miles out of it as possible.

    90 percent of all Volt trips are done purely on electric power.

    The typical Volt driver goes 970 miles between fill-ups, GM says, and that means that 63 percent of all miles are done on battery power. General Motors executive director Larry Nitz gave AutoblogGreen a few more details on the usage habits of Volt drivers, including that 81 percent of commuting miles are electric. Two-thirds of US Volt drivers charge their vehicle 1.4 times a day, a clear indicator of drivers trying to maximize electric miles through opportunity charging. In fact, Nitz said, 90 percent of all Volt trips are done purely on electric power. GM also says that the Volt's official 35 miles of electric range is still doable for many owners who have had their car for more than 30 months.

    Looking ahead, we know that one upgrade for the 2015 Volt will be 4G LTE connectivity that can turn the car, like others in the GM family, into a mobile wifi hotspot. We're of course much more interested in when GM is finally going to start production of the next-gen Volt, but GM officials would only tell us that they're very excited about the still-secret vehicle, promising we'll be learning more "soon." Nitz did confirm that today's Volt drivers are most interested in three things from the next-gen model: more range, a lower price and a fifth seat. He did not say whether or not GM will be able to deliver on those requests.

    Continue reading Chevy Volt owners log half a billion electric miles, 2015 production starts

    Chevy Volt owners log half a billion electric miles, 2015 production starts originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Thu, 19 Jun 2014 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    Honda FCX Clarity first delivery in 2008

    Last month, Hyundai said that the initial deliveries of the Tucson Fuel Cell vehicles in California meant that, "For the first time, retail consumers can now put a mass-produced, federally-certified hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in their driveways." But try telling that to Jon Spallino.

    In 2005, Honda leased a hydrogen fuel cell FCX, a small hatchback, to the Spallino family (as far as we know, he parked it in his driveway). The company did the same thing again in 2008 with the FCX Clarity, a sleek new design based on the FCX Concept, and others signed for the H2 ride as well, including celebrities. No matter how you slice it, Honda has been in the fuel cell delivery market for almost a decade now. Just look at this. Or this. Or this. Oh, and other automakers (General Motors in Project Driveway in 2006 and Mercdes-Benz with the F-Cell in 2010, for example) have delivered fuel cell vehicles in the US as part of short-term test programs.

    But let's get back to Hyundai's claim. There's little question that the first delivery of a "fuel cell vehicle for the US market" has already taken place (and they were federally certified, too), which means that the debate revolves around the definition of mass-produced and whether "mass production" is about a number or about the process? Let's investigate below.

    Continue reading Who can really claim first mass-produced fuel cell vehicle delivery in US?

    Who can really claim first mass-produced fuel cell vehicle delivery in US? originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Thu, 19 Jun 2014 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    Detroit Electric

    Here's some news that will make the urban scavengers sifting through the ruins of the Motor City a little disappointed. Detroit Electric, the slow-moving electric-vehicle maker basing their wares off of a couple of Lotus models is employing people in Detroit. And some local vehicle production may follow.

    The company is working out of Detroit's Fisher Building, which had been empty last year, and says it plans to boost its employee count from eight to about 20 by the end of the year, The Truth About Cars reports. Detroit Electric changed its production plans for the Lotus Elise-based SP:01 last year, moving the manufacturing base of that model to the Netherlands from a production facility in Plymouth, MI, about 30 miles west of Detroit.

    Right now, the SP:01 is being worked on in Europe, Malaysia's Paultan.org says. That 201-horsepower model can go from 0-62 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds and has a single-charge range of about 190 miles. That model is expected to be priced at about $135,000. Detroit Electric is also working on a 2+2 EV based on the Lotus Evora, and, while government approvals await, the four-seater may be available for sale as soon as early 2016.

    Detroit Electric is actually active in Detroit originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Mon, 30 Jun 2014 11:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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