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Articles on this Page
- 04/05/12--17:40: _Fisker may change p...
- 04/06/12--08:35: _Lithium-ion battery...
- 04/12/12--18:03: _Nissan Leaf getting...
- 04/16/12--16:00: _GM downplays effect...
- 04/17/12--11:48: _More layoffs at Fis...
- 04/17/12--14:04: _Advanced vehicle ba...
- 04/25/12--10:02: _General Electric CE...
- 04/30/12--08:21: _Toyota looking for ...
- 05/04/12--07:59: _U.S., German automa...
- 05/07/12--17:43: _Lithium ion battery...
- 05/09/12--13:56: _EVS: Why LA is the ...
- 05/09/12--16:01: _Ford ready to tripl...
- 05/22/12--09:47: _Tesla Model S deliv...
- 05/23/12--11:58: _Nissan announces pr...
- 05/25/12--13:52: _Hamtramck Chevy Vol...
- 05/29/12--15:54: _Inside Tesla! video...
- 06/06/12--16:06: _A123 Systems will h...
- 06/12/12--16:03: _Next-gen electric S...
- 06/14/12--15:50: _London Calling: BMW...
- 06/15/12--05:54: _Saab reborn as all-...
- 04/06/12--08:35: Lithium-ion battery costs will still be about $400/kWh by 2020
- 04/16/12--16:00: GM downplays effect of battery-pack accident on plug-in sales
- 04/17/12--11:48: More layoffs at Fisker; Delware plant is 'absolutely empty'
- 04/30/12--08:21: Toyota looking for high-volume Prius assembly in U.S. by 2015
- 05/04/12--07:59: U.S., German automakers will demo fast-charging system at EVS26
- 05/09/12--16:01: Ford ready to triple EcoBoost engine production in Europe
- 05/23/12--11:58: Nissan announces production of funky e-NV200 electric van
- 05/29/12--15:54: Inside Tesla! video shows off Model S stamping
- 06/06/12--16:06: A123 Systems will hire 400 new workers despite uncertain future
- 06/14/12--15:50: London Calling: BMW will make i8 plug-in hybrid engine in UK
Fisker Automotive may drop plans to use a Delaware factory to build its upcoming Atlantic sedan and is looking at "other options," Automotive News is reporting, citing an interview with company CEO Tom LaSorda. The company, in an online meeting with owners of the Fisker Karma extended-range plug-in sedan, spelled out some of the issues that have been plaguing the car.
Fisker will hold off on deciding on the Atlantic's production site until the end of summer, which will delay the debut of the model. LaSorda maintains that Fisker will be able to produce the Atlantic with or without Department of Energy funding, Automotive News reports. Fisker's director of corporate communications, Russell Datz, tells AutoblogGreen that the company remains "committed to Delaware" but admits that if the rest of the company's DOE loan money does not come through, the plan to build the Atlantic in Delaware could change.
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Count Lux Research among the pessimists when it comes to the costs of lithium-ion battery packs.
Lithium-ion battery costs will fall to about $400 per kilowatt hour by the end of the decade, more than double the $150 per kilowatt hour the U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium says will be required for battery-electric vehicles to be affordable to most of the car-buying public. So says a new report from Lux Research.
Not enough EV batteries will be made to create the economies of scale required for a substantial cost reduction, while few technologies aside from the current lithium-ion process, such as Li-air and solid-state batteries, will be developed in time to make much of an impact by 2020, according to the report.
The report is the latest to weigh in on how far battery costs will fall as automakers hope to ramp up on EV production to meet progressively more stringent greenhouse-gas emissions requirements both in the U.S. and abroad. Green-technology firm Pike Research said last month that lithium-ion battery costs may fall by about a third to about $523 per kilowatt hour by 2017, while global revenue for transportation-oriented lithium-ion batteries will jump to $14.6 billion in 2017 from about $2 billion in 2011.
Estimates of battery costs have varied as automakers and tech analysts have looked into ways to make them cheaper. The Nissan Leaf EV's battery pack has been reported to be as cheap as $375 per kilowatt hour, while Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk said last month that battery costs may fall to less than $200 per kilowatt hour "in the not-too-distant future."Permalink | Email this | Comments
Nissan has been exporting all-electric Leaf vehicles from Oppama, Japan to both the U.S. and Europe for over a year, and that's been putting a ceiling on sales numbers and a limit on how low the price can go. To minimize these barriers, the Japanese automaker is getting factories ready in both Smyrna, TN and Sunderland, UK to serve the U.S. and European markets, respectively. Over in Europe, local production, which is scheduled to start in February, 2013, will also bring a few changes to the car.
Colin Lawther, vice president of Nissan engineering in Europe, recently told Automotive News that, "We'll fine tune the car for the European customer from a design point of view." Those fine-tunings include a longer range, better acceleration and a slightly different look. Oh, and the price should change, too. Nissan told AN that building in the UK will reduce costs by "about" a third, thanks to lower import taxes and less of an impact from a strong yen, but the price for the local EV has not yet been set.
As we learned recently, the U.S. version of the Leaf is also going to get some upgrades, including a better heater that can offer more miles from the battery pack. The same sort of cost reductions that will help the European Leaf will have an impact here once Nissan's Smyrna plant starts making the EV, but it's anyone's guess what the Tennessee-built Leaf will cost. Permalink | Email this | Comments
What, we worry?
A General Motors executive is downplaying the potential effects of last week's explosion of a prototype battery pack in Michigan on sales of plug-in vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in, saying that high gas prices will continue to fuel sales momentum.
Chris Perry, vice president of Chevrolet's global marketing efforts, said at a Detroit charity event that the battery involved was subject to extreme stress testing unlikely to be replicated in real-world driving and didn't involve a battery that would be used in a Volt, according to The Detroit Bureau. The explosion injured six workers at a GM plant in Warren, Michigan, according to the publication.
Additionally, Design News interviewed a number of engineering experts who said the public shouldn't assume that the accident indicates that the batteries are explosive, noting that the accident was closer to a "fire" than an "explosion" and that the batteries themselves were intact after the accident.
GM's hoping the incident doesn't curtail the Chevrolet Volt's hard-earned sales momentum. Last month, GM sold a monthly-record 2,289 Volts, which was more than three times the numbers from a year before. Higher sales are causing GM to shorten a previously scheduled production shutdown of the Volt to four weeks from five.
Last year, Volt's sales were likely hampered by a vehicle fire that took place weeks after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a crash test on the car. NHTSA said earlier this year that plug-in vehicles don't pose a greater fire risk than gas-powered cars. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Last we heard, Fisker Automotive was still "committed" to building the recently revealed Atlantic sedan at the former GM plant in Delaware. A few years ago, Fisker announced that site would be the company's new domestic production home (the Fisker Karma extended-range plug-in hybrid is made by Valmet in Finland). Still, Fisker did say that any definitive statement on the Atlantic's production location would not come until the end of the summer.
So we were interested to read new reports from local media that show more signs that the Atlantic might not ever be built in Delaware. On Friday, Delaware Online reports, 12 more workers - including engineers and maintenance technicians - were laid off at the plant, leaving "only a small maintenance team" left there. One of those let go was Jeff Garland, who had been working on community affairs and business development efforts in Delaware. He said the plant is currently "absolutely empty." This is because Fisker has taken out the old GM equipment but has not yet installed the machines it would need to build the Atlantic. As Garland told Delaware Online, "I think what happened was the budget numbers are so tight right now and they're working so hard to preserve as much cash as they can that something had to give. We're not making a car in Wilmington right now, so given that situation it was an obvious place to make a cut."
Fisker spokesman Russell Datz said that the company has flexible plans, and will hire people when "we ramp up the project again." Production of the Atlantic is being delayed, at least in part, because of issues with Fisker's DOE loan. You can read more about that here.
Then there's news that some of the components that Fisker and Ford will use in hybrid and all-electric cars are now being made by Magna E-Car Systems in Michigan. The inverters Magna makes are used in the Karma and this new production does not in any way predict a shift of Atlantic production to Michigan. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Electric-vehicle lithium-ion battery-pack costs fell 14 percent during the past year and are down 30 percent from three years ago because of technological improvements and increased production capacity, Bloomberg News reports, citing a study from its sister entity Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
EV battery costs fell to $689 per kilowatt hour (kWh) during the first quarter, down from $800 per kWh a year earlier. Bloomberg New Energy Finance also estimates that the battery industry has the capacity to supply as many as new 400,000 battery-electric vehicles this year, and that number may jump to almost 700,000 by the end of next year. Global vehicle makers sold about 43,000 EVs last year.
Lithium-ion battery costs are important because they can account for 25 percent or more of an EV's total costs, and estimates have varied widely. Last month, green-technology firm Pike Research estimated that lithium-ion battery costs may fall by about a third to $523 per kWh by 2017, while the battery pack for the Nissan Leaf EV has been reported to cost as little as $375 per kWh. The U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium has said battery costs will have to fall to about $150 per kilowatt hour for EVs to be price-competitive with conventional vehicles. Permalink | Email this | Comments
True belief or wishful thinking?
That's the question some may ask about General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt and his statement that electric vehicles will become more than a just niche market in the U.S.
Immelt, speaking at a Detroit automotive conference on Tuesday, said GE will continue to invest in battery-electric vehicle technology with the belief that lower costs and improved performance will allow EVs to reach "a tipping point," Reuters reported. Immelt stressed the fact that GE's decision was based on his belief in what will be a substantial market, adding that "novelties don't work."
Last year, electric-drive vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in and Nissan Leaf battery-electric accounted for less than one in 500 new cars sold. By comparison, hybrids account for about one in 50 new cars sold.
GE was an early supporter of electric-drive vehicles, agreeing in November 2010 to order 12,000 Volts and work with its fleet customers to purchase 10,000 more electric-drive vehicles by 2015. GE said at the time that electric-drive vehicle adoption could create $500 million in revenue for the company during the ensuing three years. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Rumors that Toyota would some day build the Prius in the U.S. have bounced around for years, with a location in Mississippi often being cited as the most likely candidate. After that plan was officially scrapped in 2008, a new version of the same story returned in 2010 when a Toyota executive vice president said Mississippi Prius production could start up in 2016. Given the on-again, off-again history of the story we weren't surprised when not much was officially said about the matter in the last two years. That changed today.
Koei Saga, senior managing officer in charge of drivetrain R&D at Toyota, told Automotive News that Toyota is now thinking of making the Prius in the U.S. by 2015 and wants to get hybrid drivetrain components - motors, inverters, batteries (likely lithium-ion packs, Saga said) - from North American suppliers. The base fourth-gen Prius will probably still use nickel-metal hydride batteries, but the batteries made in the U.S. might be li-ion.
A 2015 timetable means it is likely that America would make the fourth-gen Prius model, which is due around that time. The reason this story keeps coming back is because it makes sense to build the Prius in the U.S. Sales are strong here and expected to grow, so extra production somewhere is needed to meet demand. Plus, a strong yen means that Prius vehicles built in America would likely come at a lower cost to Toyota.
Toyota currently makes the Camry hybrid in the U.S. at its plant in Georgetown, KY. The question of whether the U.S. Prius would be made there, at Toyota's Mississippi plant, at Tesla's plant in Fremont, CA (formerly known as NUMMI) - where rumors about Toyota and the electric car automaker building electric cars like the RAV4 EV have also floated around in the past - or somewhere else completely will need to be answered at another time. Permalink | Email this | Comments
BMW, Ford, General Motors and Volkswagen are among the eight U.S. and German automakers that will demonstrate a single-port fast-charging system for electric vehicles at the Electric Vehicle Symposium 26 (EV26) in Los Angeles starting next week.
Audi, Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler and Porsche will also show off the so-called DC-fast system, which will be able to recharge most battery-electric vehicles in as little as 15 minutes.
With a combination AC and DC charging capabilities, the DC-fast system is supposed to start sales by the end of the year and will enable U.S. and German plug-ins to be able to be recharged at most public charging stations while also accommodating high-powered fast-charging stations. The International Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has officially tapped the system as the standard for fast-charging.
Electric-vehicle proponents consider the establishment of a fast-charging standard to be an important key to plug-in vehicle adoption because the availability of publicly accessible fast chargers that can recharge a vehicle in minutes instead of hours makes range anxiety a moot point. Pike Research said last year that annual revenue generated by makers of electric-vehicle charging equipment will increase more than tenfold between 2011 and 2017 to about $4.3 billion.
Still, the fast-charging issue is far from settled because a separate fast-charging standard - CHAdeMO - has been proposed by the Japanese automotive industry. Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Subaru parent Fuji Heavy Industries are all partners in the CHAdeMO Association.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Too many lithium-ion batteries? That's not something battery makers want to hear, but it's music to our ears. It's also the prediction of Munich-based Roland Berger Strategy Consultants
Over the next few years, as battery makers like AESC, LG Chem and A123 Systems ramp up for what's expected to be a surge in electric-drive vehicle purchases, we could be awash in li-ion batteries. Global lithium-ion battery sales will total $9 billion by 2015 and will be marked by what the consultants say will be "massive overcapacity." While about four million hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery-electric vehicles will be produced worldwide that year, battery supply will be about twice as high as demand, potentially driving battery costs down to less than 200 euros ($261 U.S. at current exchange rates) per kilowatt hour.
Either way, AESC, LG Chem, Panasonic/Sanyo, A123 Systems and SB LiMotive will control about 70 percent of the global market by 2015, when light-duty vehicles will account for more than 85 percent of the world's lithium-ion battery demand, according to RBSC.
Batteries are said to account for 25 percent or more of an electric-vehicle's total costs, making the subjects of lithium-ion battery capacity and costs particularly important to the overall EV market. Last month, Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported that lithium-ion battery-pack costs fell 14 percent during the past year and have declined 30 percent during the past three years because of technical advancements and higher production capacity. Specifically, EV battery costs dropped to $689 per kilowatt hour during the first quarter from $800 a year earlier, BNEF calculated.Permalink | Email this | Comments
The 26th annual Electric Vehicle Symposium is taking place in Los Angeles, CA this week and the biggest news items are the details on the new Toyota RAV4 EV and the SAE-approved DC fast charging combo plug. But there is much more here on the show floor, and things got off to a good start during the opening session hosted by EDTA president Brian Wynne.
Wynne claimed EVS26 is the largest EVS ever held in North America. That's not all that surprising, since it's been many years since the last time an EVS was held on this continent (EVS23 in Anaheim in 2007). Since then, EVS has traveled to Norway and China, and moves on to Barcelona, Spain next year and Seoul, Korea after that. As that Wynne made clear, electric vehicles are a global movement. Nissan has sold more than 28,000 Leafs worldwide (including 1,000 in Norway, where EVS24 was held). Other signs Wynne mentioned that EVs are making inroads into the public consciousness are China's ambitious plan to sell five million EVs by 2020, the Ford Focus Electric acting as pace car for NASCAR and BMW's huge fleet of plug-ins at the Olympics in London this summer.
EVS organizers then gave an E-Visionary award to the city of Los Angeles and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (pictured). The mayor said he was glad to receive the award, but quickly added that Angelinos still need to be encouraged to do more. "If we're the car capitol of the United States, we should be the electric vehicle capitol of the United States," he said. To that end, he talked about how BYD and Coda Automotive are located in the city, then announced that Boulder Electric Vehicle will establish a west coast manufacturing facility in a state enterprise zone in the city. From there, the company will be able to make up to 1,000 clean trucks a year, with an eye to exporting vehicles to Asia.
Then there was a wide-ranging panel on the state of the electric vehicle industry called "Electrified Transportation: A Path to Economic Prosperity and Energy Security." This was moderated by Chris Woodyard of USA Today and featured Ted Craver, the chairman, president & CEO of Edison International, Daryl Dulaney, president & CEO of Siemens Industry, Tony Posawatz, the vehicle line director for the Chevrolet Volt, and JB Straubel, the CTO of Tesla Motors. You can listen to or download the whole thing down below.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Ford keeps boldly moving forward with the old standby: gasoline. Just a little less of it.
Today, Ford announced it will increase production of EcoBoost-powered vehicles in Europe three-fold in the coming years. In 2011, Ford made 141,000 EcoBoost engines and this number will jump to 480,000 in 2015. To meet expected demand for greener vehicles, Ford started making the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine production in Craiova, Romania today. That's the engine that will make up the bulk of the EcoBoost vehicles: roughly 800,000 of the 1.3 million units Ford will build for Eurpoe between 2012 and 2015. In Europe, the number of Ford models that will have EcoBoost will go from five to ten by 2015.
EcoBoost is Ford's first step in greening up its fleet, as you can read all about here. The gist of the strategy is to start by improving ICE vehicles while slowly adding in hybrid and electrified components until something between 10 and 25 percent of Ford's global volume is electrified some time after 2020. In the meantime, the EcoBoost engines burn less fuel than most regular ICEs by using turbocharging, direct fuel injection and variable valve timing.Permalink | Email this | Comments
The early delivery hints were spot on. Tesla's vice president of worldwide sales and ownership experience, George Blankenship, has declared June 22 - just one month away - as the day when the first Model S will be delivered. He wrote on the official Tesla blog today that, "We are ahead of schedule and can't wait to put our first Reservation Holders behind the wheel!" We're sure the buyers feel the same way.
Perhaps most exciting, the Model S will now feature adjustable regenerative brakes, which is something we certainly like to see in our EVs. For highway driving, having the brakes grab hold each time we take our foot off the accelerator is annoying, so we look forward to seeing just how much "coasting" the Model S will allow. Blankenship writes that, "Having less Regen means you will likely get less range, but some people still prefer the feel of their car with less Regen." We can't wait until some inspired hypermiler decides to test this for him- or herself. The resistance in the steering wheel and the car's suspension can also be adjusted.
As we learned during the Detroit Auto Show, Tesla's Fremont factory (the former NUMMI plant) has been quite busy preparing to make the Model S. The picture above shows plant employees with the first customer Model S body. 2012 production of the Model S is sold out, but Tesla is still out there trying to drum up sales with Model S promotional tours stops on the west and east coasts of the U.S. as well as a five-city tour of Canada.
Befitting a 21st Century automaker, Tesla says it will webcast the first Model S delivery on its website. Leading up to June 22, Tesla will also post a weekly video about Model S production. So, there's more to come.
*UPDATE: Tesla CEO Elon Musk has Tweeted the following: "Major Tesla milestone: All crash testing is complete for 5* (max) safety rating. Cars can now be built for sale to public!"Permalink | Email this | Comments
There are two ways automakers can go when producing a vehicle with electric propulsion - be it a hybrid or an outright EV: make it look the same as any other car, or make it stand out. Like Toyota (for example) did with the Prius, Nissan made the Leaf look (for better or worse) unlike a conventional sedan. But while Toyota answered the call for more space with the equally "distinctive" Prius V, Nissan has gone a different route in producing a bigger brother for the Leaf.
That route is called the e-NV200, pictured above in concept form. And while the nose, unique shade of blue and electric powertrain are conceptually borrowed from the Leaf, the rest is nearly identical to the existing NV200 van that is being rolled out in New York as the city's new taxi of choice.
Nissan has just announced the production of the e-NV200, set to start next year at the same plant in Barcelona, Spain, as the conventionally-powered NV200. As a result, Nissan will hire 700 more workers at the plant and invest some €100 million (U.S. $126 million at today's exchange rates). Details like projected cost and annual capacity are not to be found in the press release below, but Nissan does say the electric van will be built starting some time in fiscal year 2013. That means some time before the end of March 2014.Permalink | Email this | Comments
They're not all for the Chevrolet Volt, but 200 new jobs are coming to General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck plant in July.
GM is adding the positions to the factory because the overall production rate will increase once the facility starts making the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, sources "familiar with the situation" told the Detroit Free Press. Those same sources told the paper that there is now a shortage of Volts in California, following a four-week shutdown (originally scheduled for five weeks). Another shut-down - this one for three weeks - is still on the calendar for June before the new Malibu comes on board, the sources said.
GM is having decent months of Volt sales, selling 1,462 in April after moving a record 2,289 in March. GM introduced the Eco version of the Malibu (made in Kansas City) first, and the Hamtramck plant will only be building the standard versions for that launch later in the summer. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Say hello to the Tesla Motors robots.
As promised, Tesla has released the first of its "Inside Tesla!" Tuesday video series. This week, the company wants to take us, well, inside the factory, specifically to the stamping process, where Kuka-brand robots insert huge aluminum blanks into the press, where a thousand pounds of force then them into panels. The complex machinery is fast enough to make a part every six seconds, Tesla says. We don't know how that math pencils out, but it sure seems like it should be enough to reach the company's production goals. Back in February, Tesla said it expects to sell around 5,000 Model S electric cars this year.
Like almost everything Tesla does, the body of the Model S is unusual (see also the company's proprietary chargers or the fact that they reinvigorated the electric car in the first place). Tesla says it "is one of the few companies in the world producing a steel-reinforced aluminum car." Using this material means the car can be lighter, which helps the EV go further. You can read more about the stamping process on Tesla's blog and check out the video below.Permalink | Email this | Comments
A123 Systems may have expressed doubt in its ability to continue as a going concern in a recent financial filing, but that doesn't mean the company has given up. Indeed, due to increases in its power-grid and commercial transportation portfolios, it has announced it will be hiring an additional 400 workers over the next few months to boost production at its Livonia and Romulus, MI plants. The additional hires would more than reverse the cuts made last November and bring staffing levels to an all-time high of 1,181 employees.
While A123 might be best known for supplying packs for cars like the Fisker Karma, it is also the battery source for Smith Electric Vehicles and its cells will soon start doing energy storage duty in Tata's hybrid buses. It's grid storage business has also scored recently, landing a contract to supply an 11 MW Grid Battery System for the Auwahi Wind project in Maui, HI.
A123 uses a robust chemistry that lends itself to many applications and has a strong client list. Despite recent set backs, it could still become an American success story, though it certainly will require some deft maneuvering by its management team. Permalink | Email this | Comments
As of today, buyers in Germany will be able to order the new, third-generation Smart Fortwo Electric Drive in either coupe or cabriolet versions. The all-electric models started production in late 2009. What's interesting is that the all-electric coupe will be available for either 18,910 euros ($23,625 U.S. at today's exchange rates) plus a 65-euro-a-month ($81) battery lease or you can flat out buy the car for 23,680 euros ($29,586). The cabrio models cost 22,000 euros ($27,486) with the lease or 26,770 euros ($33,446) outright. The car will go on sale in over 30 other markets later.
Readers with good memories will note that these numbers are higher than expected. Originally, after all, Smart head Annette Winkler said the car would cost a lot less. Last September, she said, "We are offering the new electric smart within our sale&care model for considerably less than EUR 16,000 before tax - plus less than EUR 60 per month for battery rental." That would be $19,990 and $75, respectively. Even with the 19 percent VAT factored in, that would have come to 19,040 euros ($23,788). Along with the higher price, some of the performance numbers have gone up as well, compared to what was previously announced. The third-gen electric Smart has a 30-kW (55-kW peak) electric motor that can now push the little car to above 120 kilometers an hour (75 miles per hour) and deliver a 0-60 time of just 4.8 seconds. The 17.6-kWh battery offers a range estimated at 90 miles. Also, we had heard that he launch of the third version of the ED had been pushed back to the fall of 2012, so today's announcement that the car is now available is welcome news.
*UPDATE: Hybrid Cars is reporting that the Smart ED will cost $26,990 (coupe) or $29,990 (cabriolet) in Canada. There is no mention of battery leasing.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Rumored plans for BMW to curtain production of its i-series of plug-in vehicles has so far been lost in translation, even if the language is still English.
At the opening of the world's first BMW i store in Hyde Park, London - where an updated version of the i3 will be displayed when the Olympics come to town - BMW said it is planning to make engines for its i8 plug-in hybrid in the UK, HybridCars reports. The i8, whose prototype was notably featured last year in "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol," will have its engines made at BMW's factory near Birmingham, UK. That plant has produced more than three million BMW and Mini engines since 2001.
Automobile Magazine recently reported that BMW may delay or even discontinue much of the i line of vehicles because of fears over less-than-expected demand for the plug-ins and that BMW executives are in discussions about delaying or shelving plans because of lack of government incentives and EV-charging infrastructure. The i3 will deliver 170 horsepower, 170 pound-feet of torque and a 0-60 time of under eight seconds. In London, the company reiterated that the model will go into production next year. Permalink | Email this | Comments
This may not spell great news for one specific reporter trying to get parts for his '99 Saab 9-3, but electric-vehicle proponents may want to party.
The Swedish automaker is officially under contract to be acquired by National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS) for an undisclosed price. The company is described as "an international consortium formed by Japanese, Swedish and Chinese stakeholders" that will "establish a new automobile venture in Trollhättan, solely dedicated to development and manufacturing of electric vehicles."
Yes, out with targeting lovers of odd-shaped cars, old-school Saab enthusiasts and other assorted West Coast liberals! In with Chinese electric-vehicle buyers! The sale makes sense if you believe a forecast from last year by Pike Research that said the Asia Pacific region would account for more than 600,000 annual plug-in vehicles sold by 2017, with China accounting for most of that figure.
The group, whose operations will be led by ex-Volvo Trucks chief Karl-Erling Trogen, said its first vehicle would be a battery-electric 9-3, likely by 2014. Green Car Reports, which reported on the deal earlier this week, said that would be followed up by model based on the Saab Phoenix concept car (pictured) that was shown off last year. The official press release on the sale is available below.
Late last month, Autocar reported that National Electric Vehicle Sweden neared a deal to buy Saab's assets. Ex-Volvo Trucks chief Karl-Erling Trogen was leading the group. That followed March reports that an unnamed Chinese-Japanese group was looking to buy Saab and convert it into an all-plug-in brand. Before filing for bankruptcy in December, Saab had built a 70-vehicle test fleet of battery-electric 9-3s that used batteries from Boston Power and motors made by UQUM.
Saab sales dropped from a high of 133,000 units in 2006 to 31,700 in 2010, and may have plunged further (no official numbers have been disclosed) to as few as 10,000 last year, Bloomberg News reports, citing an ex-Saab spokesman.Permalink | Email this | Comments