Ford Mustang All-Electric Mach-E “First Edition” Sells Out in Five Weeks

Photo of Mustang Mach-E

The First Edition of the fully electric Mustang Mach-E by Ford Motor Company is officially sold out. Despite not delivering until the end of 2020, the company received 50,000 deposits in the last five weeks of 2019. Other models such as the Premium edition and the GT are still available for pre-order.

Here are some data points from Ford’s reservations bank:

  • Carbonized Gray is the most popular choice at 38%; Grabber Blue Metallic is second at 35% and Rapid Red third at 27%
  • More than 80% of U.S. customers are reserving the Mach-E with a 98.8 kWh Extended Range Battery that will charge at a rate up to 150 kW and is targeted to deliver a 270 mile range
  • About 55% are opting for all-wheel drive featuring peak power of 248 kW/332 HP and peak torque of 417 lb.-ft.
  • Almost 30% of U.S. customers are choosing the Mach-E GT, expected to arrive in the spring of 2021 and targeting 0 to 60 in the mid three second range!
  • More than a quarter of all reservations are coming from California

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EV Incentives Introduced In Vermont

Picture of Vermont State House in Montpelier, Vermont.

The State of Vermont today launched an incentive program for the purchase or lease of new plug-in electric vehicles, which includes all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Vermont is far behind its goal of more than 50,000 plug-in vehicles by 2025.

More than 20 plug-in models are eligible for the program, with $1500 incentives for plug-in hybrid vehicles and $2500 incentives for fully electric vehicles. Larger incentives are available for individuals whose households qualify for Vermont’s Weatherization Program. (All incentives in this program are limited to individuals with an annual household income of $92,000 or less applying for a new PEV with a base price of $40,000 or less).

The new state incentive will be in addition to rebates proposed by Green Mountain Power (currently under review by the Vermont Public Utility Commission), which would equal $1000 for plug-in hybrids, $1500 for new fully electric vehicles, and $750 for pre-owned EVs, each of which will be supplemented by a free networked EV charger valued at $600.

Although the total cost of owning (i.e., purchasing and operating) an EV is already below that of an internal combustion-powered vehicle, higher up-front costs remain a barrier for some. These incentives will reduce that cost and are expected to result in increased vehicle sales.

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Report Finds Electric Trucks and Buses Both Economical and Critical to Reducing Greenhouse Gases

Image of driver charging a Volvo electric concept truck.

From garbage trucks to transit buses to “big rigs,” heavy-duty vehicles powered by diesel are a major source of air pollution. Emissions from these vehicles have been linked to adverse health impacts and are a significant contributor to global warming.

But a new report finds that trucks and buses powered by electricity can deliver a litany of benefits, including mitigating climate change. The report, by Earthjustice, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the California Electric Transportation Coalition, concludes that electric trucks and buses:

  1. Can deliver the largest reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution (transportation accounts for 50 percent of all GHG emissions and 80-90 percent of smog forming pollutants when fuel production emissions are included);
  2. Will be cost competitive by 2030; and
  3. Will create the greatest economic benefits when compared to other emission reduction strategies for heavy-duty trucks and buses.

Improving Air Quality

Electrifying the heavy duty vehicle market can have a huge impact on air quality. According to a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, despite comprising just 10 percent of vehicles on American roads, heavy-duty vehicles contribute 28 percent of global warming emissions from the nation’s on-road transportation sector. They are also responsible for 45 percent of on-road NOx emissions (oxides of nitrogen) and 57 percent of on-road, direct PM2.5 emissions (particulate matter less than 2.5 micro-meters in diameter). And on-road sources of air pollution disproportionately burden communities of color and low-income communities due to their proximity to roads and vehicular traffic. Asian Americans, African Americans, and Latinos are exposed to 34 percent, 24 percent, and 23 percent more PM2.5 pollution (respectively) from cars, trucks, and buses than the national average.

A Cost Effective Solution

On the subject of cost, the report finds that by 2030 the lifetime cost of EV ownership is expected to be lower than diesel even without purchase subsidies. Until then, subsidies may be required to be cost competitive with diesel. According to research from the California Air Resources Board and others, in nearly every vehicle case examined, including long-haul semi trucks, battery-electric trucks and buses are cheaper than diesel vehicles on a total-cost-of-ownership basis for vehicles purchased within the next 10 years.

In the meantime, according to Jimmy O’Dea of the Union of Concerned Scientists, “significant investments must be made in electric vehicles and infrastructure now to support the transition to zero emission trucks and buses.”

Driver Benefits

Driver Henrik Sundberg below describes his experience of making deliveries over 80 days with a fully electric vehicle from Volvo Trucks.

Conclusion

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Multi-Billion Dollar Battery Investment Signals Big EV Future

Image of General Motors battery assembly line

General Motors and LG Chem announced today they will invest $2.3 billion to set up an electric vehicle (EV) battery cell joint venture plant in Ohio, creating one of the world’s largest battery facilities. The plant, to be built at a new site near GM’s closed assembly plant in Lordstown in northeast Ohio, will employ more than 1,100 people and have an annual capacity of more than 30 gigawatt hours with the flexibility to expand.

GM Chief Executive Mary Barra said the investment in the Ohio battery plant will accelerate the automaker’s initiative to introduce 20 new EVs globally by 2023. “General Motors believes in the science of global warming and believes in an all-electric future,” she said.

Barra added that the new battery cells will be used in a new GM electric pickup which will start production in fall 2021 at the company’s Detroit-Hamtramck plant.

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Shop Class Reinvented for Electric Vehicle Era

Image of teacher and student in front of VW Cabriolet being converted to electric power.
Ron Grosinger and one of his students, Isamara Lozano, pose in front of electric-powered 1990 Volkswagen Cabriolet.

As technology and STEM-focused curricula become ever more important, high school automotive shop classes have been suffering dwindling interest from teachers and students alike. Enter Ronald Grosinger, of Memorial High School in New Jersey, who figured out how to reposition the vocationally oriented course to appeal to a broader audience and prepare students for a wide range of career paths. “If you’re teaching students about gasoline cars, that’s basically the equivalent of 8-track players,” says Grosinger.

Grosinger persuaded his school to purchase a 1990 Volkswagen Cabriolet so that his class could remove the internal combustion engine, install batteries, and rebuild the vehicle to be powered by electricity.

Photo of Volkswagen Cabriolet converted to electric power.

Over time, the students learned how to produce the various mechanical parts in cardboard, then wood, then steel. They welded parts, tackled wiring and learned to solve problems as they arose. Within a year, the student makeup of the class had expanded to include advanced math, science, physics and engineering students. Also, there were many more female students.

The curriculum has evolved over the past ten years, and now is structured around what Grosinger calls the Four Cornerstones of Engineering: Electrical, Fabrication, Design, and Mechanical.

Photo of chalk board containing electrical engineering drawings.

The department has expanded to four teachers, the school added an after-school automotive program, and several of Grosinger’s students have gone on to work in the automotive field. “Teachers should encourage students to explore new and more efficient ways to move a person from point A to point B, whether that system is a train with solar panels on it, a car with an electric motor in it or retrofitting an existing technology with a different energy source,” says Grosinger. “And don’t come up with the solutions for the students.”

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Porsche Introduces Fully Electric Taycan; Sets New Standard for Driving and Charging Performance

“This day marks the start of a new era.”

With those words Oliver Blume, the Chairman of Porsche, today unveiled the eagerly awaited Taycan, a “100% electric, 100% Porsche.” The Taycan Turbo S and the Taycan Turbo will be the first in a new series of vehicles that are part of a massive transformation taking place at the iconic automaker. By 2022, the company will have invested more than six billion euros in e-mobility. Despite this apparent paradigm shift, Porsche is by no means deviating from its esteemed heritage.

We promised a true Porsche for the age of electromobility – a fascinating sports car that not only excites in terms of its technology and driving dynamics, but also sparks a passion in people all over the world, just like its legendary predecessors have done. Now we are delivering on this promise.

Michael Steiner, Porsche’s Executive Board Member for Research & Development

Performance

Photo of Porsche Taycan Turbo S
Photography: Christoph Bauer Postproduction: Wagnerchic – www.wagnerchic.com

The flagship Turbo S version of the Taycan can produce up to 560 kW (750 hp) of overboost power with “Launch Control” enabled, while the Taycan Turbo produces up to 500 kW of power (670 hp).

Acceleration for the Turbo S is zero to 60 mph in 2.7 seconds, while the Taycan Turbo completes this sprint in 3.1 seconds. The top speed of both all-wheel-drive models is 162 miles per hour.

Range is superior as well: The Turbo S has a range of up to 256 miles, and the Turbo a range of up to 280 miles. The Performance Battery Plus is capable of storing 93.4 kWh of energy.

Charging

The Taycan is the first production vehicle with a system voltage of 800 volts instead of the usual 400 volts for electric vehicles. Higher voltage allows for lighter wiring; lighter wiring permits design flexibility, results in lighter vehicle weight, and enables higher charging speeds. This last point is a particular advantage when needing to charge up during long distance drives. The 800V system is capable of charging at a rate of up to 270 kW, which can provide 60 miles of range in about five minutes.

Charging an EV is similar to filling a container of water; the emptier it is, the faster you can fill it. This means that a charger will output the maximum amount of energy for the longest period of time when the battery is nearly depleted. When the battery is nearly full, on the other hand, a charger will dispense energy more slowly.

To take full advantage of the Taycan’s charging capabilities, then, a driver would strive to begin charging at a low state of charge (SOC). The charging time for 5 percent to 80 percent SOC with a maximum charge rate of 270 kW under ideal conditions is a mere 22.5 minutes. By comparison, a 50 kW charger would take about an hour and a half.

Image of 2020 Porsche Taycan charging port

The Taycan will come with the CCS DC Fast Charger port. This is not compatible with Tesla or CHAdeMO chargers, but most charging station developers other than Tesla, such as EVgo and Electrify America (a related company under the Volkswagen corporate umbrella), are deploying chargers capable of 150 kW and 350 kW.

At the moment, most DC fast chargers in the U.S. (other than Tesla) are only 50 kW, but the Taycan is backward-compatible, meaning it can use the legacy CCS chargers but will be able to draw only the amount of power the chargers are capable of dispensing.

For home charging, the Taycan can fill up at a rate of 30 miles per hour (for the Turbo S) and 33 miles per hour for the Turbo (which gets slightly better mileage than the Turbo S) using an 11 kW Level 2 charger on a 60 Amp breaker. Charging at that rate from 0% to 100% would take a little less than 8.5 hours.

Design

According to Michael Mauer, Head of Style Porsche, the company at first considered an SUV as its first fully electric vehicle, but ultimately decided that taking the first step with a sports car would make a clear statement “that this is the dawn of the new, purely electric era.”

Electric vehicles are typically higher than their gasoline counterparts due to battery placement, so sports car engineers must find a way to store the batteries while providing a comfortable seating position for passengers while maintaining the lowest possible center of gravity. Porsche’s solution is what Maurer refers to as his greatest challenge is “foot garages,” which are created by arranging the batteries in a staggered stair-step position.

Graphic showing chassis and electrical system of Porsche 2020 Taycan

Dispensing with a large internal combustion engine under the hood also allowed engineers to employ a look reminiscent of the iconic 911.

Photo of Porsche Taycan
Photography: Christoph Bauer Postproduction: Wagnerchic – www.wagnerchic.com
Photo of Porsche Taycan
Photography: Christoph Bauer Postproduction: Wagnerchic – www.wagnerchic.com

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BMW Prepares for Electrified Future and Increased Electric Ranges With $10M Battery Investment

Battery being installed in BMW X5 xDrive45e at BMW Group Plant Spartanburg.

Readying itself for a slew of electrified vehicles, BMW Group announced this week an investment of approximately $10 million to double battery manufacturing capacity at the company’s factory in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Spartanburg produces the company’s fourth-generation batteries, which provide improved energy density over prior generations. Maximizing energy density is beneficial because higher density provides more electric range in the same size battery.

For example, the battery in the 2019 plug-in hybrid model of the BMW 5 Series sedan is the same physical size as the prior version, but has a gross energy content of 12.0 kWh, up from 9.2 kWh. The benefit is 30 percent more electric miles while taking up no additional space in the vehicle.

Already a leader in vehicle electrification, up next for the U.S. market is the BMW X5 xDrive45e plug-in (up to 50 miles on electric power), which is expected to start production next month and is pictured above. The X3 xDrive30e plug-in (about 30 all-electric miles) is expected by the end of 2019, with a purely electric version due in 2020.

BMW plans to have 25 electrified models on the market by 2023; more than half will be fully electric.

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What Happens When Cities Ignore Electric Vehicles

Photo of electric vehicle charging curbside over sidewalk and through window.

Electric vehicles need places to charge, including on-street parking when garages are not available. In the absence of solutions, drivers who are dedicated to e-mobility are taking things into their own hands.

The Mitsubishi Outlander pictured below is a plug-in hybrid, meaning plugging in is optional; but to forgo plugging in would mean relying on gasoline instead of electricity. This rather drastic charging arrangement shows the lengths to which drivers will go to maximize their vehicles’ electric capabilities.

The result of such efforts is effective for the driver in the short-term but not for passers-by, and is hardly scalable. This problem of no on-street charging must be solved.

Contact me to discuss how to bring on-street charging and cleaner air to your community.

Electric Vehicles: Something for Everyone!

With more than 100 electrified models scheduled to hit showroom floors soon, you will have plenty of options from which to choose. What’s stopping you?

  • Dollars: EVs have a considerably lower total cost of ownership; electricity is equivalent to $1/gallon gasoline, and you will never have another oil change.
  • Charging: Chargers are turning up at more and more retail, workplace, multifamily, and other convenient public locations, as well as between cities for longer journeys.
  • Range: Most new fully electric vehicles can drive 250 miles or more on a single charge, and charging speeds are increasing.

And what about plain old fun? Watch the video above from Audi, and then contact me to learn about how transportation electrification can transform your community.

All-Electric Nissan Leaf Hits 400,000 Units Globally, Sets EV Sales Record

Illustration of Nissan Leaf EV hitting 400,000 in sales.

The Nissan Leaf today became the first electric car in history to surpass 400,000 worldwide sales. Introduced in 2010 as the world’s first mass-market electric vehicle, the Leaf has now covered more than 6 billion miles, saving nearly 4 million gallons of oil per year. And this is just the beginning: Available in 50 markets globally, the Leaf is expanding to six new markets in Latin America and seven in Asia and Oceania this year.

“This milestone is a powerful statement that 400,000 customers, and counting, value the Nissan LEAF for the excitement, confidence and connection it delivers,” said Executive Vice President Daniele Schillaci, Nissan’s global head of marketing, sales and electric vehicles.

The all-new Leaf e+, with a range of 226 miles and MSRP of $36,550 (base trim & before applicable rebates), will be on sale at retailers nationwide this month.

Less than a decade ago, electric cars were seen as a niche product, and Leaf customers were mostly “early adopters.” Today, a growing number of consumers say their next car may be electric. And regulators, utilities, landlords, retailers are listening, as evidenced by EV charging stations popping up everywhere.

For tips on how EVs and EV charging can help your community, neighborhood, and place of business, please contact me. I also invite you to subscribe to receive future posts via email, view my other posts, and follow me on Twitter.