Archive for the ‘General’ Category

 

Jan 06

Steve Wozniak trades Old Tesla For New Chevy Bolt

 

Woz_Bolt-668x409

The co-founder of Apple Steve “Woz” Wozniak has been very publically eyeing a Chevy Bolt EV, and on Tuesday announced he bit the bullet and got one.

Prior reporting had him saying he’d not buy a Tesla Model 3, after Chevrolet grabbed his attention with the $37,495 Bolt with 238 miles range.

After some back and forth on Facebook, Woz said today an older Model S was out, and the new Bolt is in. He still retains a Model S P100D, a Hummer, and Mercedes S-Class but says the Bolt will be the main car.

His Facebook announcement today has been getting lots of likes, several shares, and while he’d said little there Tuesday on his thinking, he’d previously been quoted on how he saw things.

“Gary, after seeing the insides and the UI [User Interface], Tesla will have a difficult time selling me a Model 3,” he said on Facebook to a friend. “A lot of things wrong with the Tesla Model S are done correctly (my opinion) in this car. But it’s still missing a place to put your sunglasses, ha ha.”

It appears functionality put him over the top.

“I tell everyone that the most valuable, useful car of my life was the Prius that I drove for 10 years. I don’t need top-of-the-line luxury. We have a Tesla but there is no other EV choice that’s good for road trips. The Bolt will need some personal testing by [his wife] Janet and myself to find out how it is on road trips. Otherwise, it’s what we want. Extra features aren’t the big picture, or we’d have skipped the Tesla for a Mercedes.”

Hat tip Brian Ro.

HybridCars.com

 

Jan 05

Chevy Bolt Sales Begin; Volt Smashes Sales Records

 

Volt_bolt-668x409-668x409

December was a very good month in the history of Chevrolet’s plug-in electrified cars.

The last month of the year witnessed release of the first 579 Bolt EVs in Oregon and California and the extended-range electric Volt’s 3,691 sales smashed its all-time 3,351-unit sales record and set a calendar year record of 24,739 sales.

Previously, the Volt’s best years on record were 2012 and 2013 in which it finished within a few hundred units of each other with 23,000 and some.

As for the Bolt, the car is all new, and demand was pre-pressurized in the hottest plug-in market of the country, California. Chevrolet did not break out sales for Oregon and California, but 579 units did beat expectations and a subjective feeling among forum posters that GM was dragging its heels in getting Bolts into owners hands.

2017-chevrolet-bolt21-668x409-668x409

Back to the Volt story, this year its sales from January through November amounted to 21,048 units and given it has hovered around the 2,000 monthly unit mark for several months, odds were not great it would beat the 23,461 record from 2012.

According to analyst Alan Baum, Chevrolet most likely goosed sales as much as it could so it would end the year with a positive bang. On the flip-side, the carmaker may not have wanted to face stories that its all-new redesigned Volt could not even beat the sales performance of the first-generation in the midst of anti-Volt sentiment in 2012 politics.

How Chevrolet stimulated sales however is not exactly clear as its published incentives are not exceptional at $1,000 back or 0-5.9-percent APR, but manufacturers have other ways to incentivize their dealers when they want to move inventory.

Volt production this year of more than 30,000 units. Production numbers for second half: June: 3,900;, July: 2,700; August: 3,000; Sept./Oct.” 3,000; Nov: 2,700. This well exceeded sales of maybe a couple thousand a month, indicating GM was setting the stage for more sales if it could get them.

Volt production this year of more than 30,000 units. Production numbers for second half: June: 3,900;, July: 2,700; August: 3,000; Sept./Oct.” 3,000; Nov: 2,700. This well exceeded sales of maybe a couple thousand a month, indicating GM was setting the stage for more sales if it could get them.

GM otherwise reported a terrific month for the Chevrolet brand, and the Volt (and Bolt) rode that wave, plus December is the biggest month for plug-in sales. In January, tax season begins, allowing those eligible for federal credits to recoup their expense.

As such, December sales are always stimulated just by that fact, and Chevrolet was otherwise motivated to build synergies to push the Volt to a new sales high.

And that it did. Its 3,691 sales far eclipses any precedent to date. The next-best 3,351 units sold in August 2013 were a veritable outlier, the only other time it sold over 3,000 units.

Next best on record was October 2012 with 2,961 sales, followed by September 2012 and 2,851 sales, and August 2012 with 2,831.

This year‘s best was November’s 2,531 Volt sales, but regardless how it got there, a win is a win.

The Volt thus came from behind and made for a happy new year for its maker and getting a healthy dollop of Bolts out the door was a cherry on top.

For its part, Chevrolet attributed sales to natural demand, and sufficient supply – as Baum also noted was available.

“2016 was the first year of nationwide availability for the second generation Volt,” said Kathy Beslic, advertising and marketing manager, Chevrolet Electric Vehicle, “and Chevrolet stores had December inventory appropriate to meet strong demand for Volt, a car whose innovation, technologically-advanced powertrain and great design along with the growing acceptance of EVs make it an alluring choice for customers.”

The Volt and Bolt will now compete for consumer mindshare this year, as the Bolt’s 238 miles range on battery alone far surpasses the present leader, the Nissan’s Leaf, and its 107 miles.

Not to be forgotten is Tesla’s Model 3. With over 400,000 pre-orders, this is also quite the incentive to hold back for some buyers, if not all. Some financial analysts disbelieve Tesla will even release it in 2017 as promised. For his part, Alan Baum projects first deliveries by October, and 5,000 sales this year.

Not to be forgotten is Tesla’s Model 3. With over 400,000 pre-orders, this is also quite the incentive to hold back for some buyers, if not all. Some financial analysts disbelieve Tesla will even release it in 2017 as promised. For his part, Alan Baum projects first deliveries by October, and 5,000 sales this year.

The Bolt’s range also means a lot less EV “range anxiety” for whom this may be a concern, and it answers one of the reasons why the Volt has a gas engine to take it beyond the 53 miles range it has.

What Makes More Sense – Chevy Volt or Bolt?

This said, there is a market for each, and while opinions will vary, each are the leaders in their respective segment. The Bolt has the highest range for the dollar, and the Volt is the sales-leading plug-in hybrid with far more range than blended plug-in hybrids from Ford, Hyundai, Kia, and Toyota who provide EV range in the low to high 20s.

How the Volt and Bolt will fare sales-wise this year is however an open question. The Bolt is yet early in its lifecycle, thus not up to full speed, though Chevy dealers likely will fill many pre-orders for some time. It is to roll out through the first half of the year to the rest of the U.S., and Baum has projected 23,000 or so sales for 2017.

But could there be an upset? There was one last month, perhaps more will follow and the cars might break past previous highs?

The bottom line answer as always is time will tell.

HybridCars.com

 

Jan 04

Ford Confirms 300-Mile Range Electric SUV, F-150 Hybrid and Mustang Hybrid – and More

 

2016-F-150-FRT-34-668x409-668x409-668x409

On the first business day of the new year, Ford has announced something to please electric car fans, something for pickup and sports car enthusiasts, and it even threw a bone to incoming President Donald Trump.

Included in its plans are seven confirmed electrified vehicles due over the next five years out of 13 promised including new segment-opening models sure to make waves.

ev-graphic-01-e1483464415978

It’s been believed for some time an F-150 Hybrid pickup is in the works, and along with confirmation for that, Ford is hybridizing its equally legendary Mustang while also introducing an all-electric SUV with 300 miles range due by 2020.

A plug-in hybrid Transit van, two hybrid police vehicles and a hybrid autonomous car were also announced today.

Bolt and Model 3 Competitor?

As for the new electric SUV with ostensibly more range than a Tesla Model X, it’s due by 2020.

A price point is not stated, nor whether it will be a large more-than-five passenger vehicle, but today’s announcement may tie to an obscure statement by President and CEO Mark Fields that Ford is planning to compete with the Chevy Bolt.

Ford is going beyond converted ICE cars like this Focus Electric.

Ford is going beyond converted ICE cars like this Focus Electric.

The Bolt is a “compact crossover” with 238 miles range as of today – and who knows what it could have by 2020?

For its part, and without supplying any images, Ford said the 2020 SUV will be “engineered to deliver an estimated range of at least 300 miles, to be built at the Flat Rock plant and sold in North America, Europe and Asia.”

SEE ALSO: How Many Sub-$40,000 / 200-Mile Range EVs Might We See In 2017?

This is on the U.S. EPA cycle, means a purpose-built EV, and that it will be an EV only was confirmed in an interview with Mike Levine, of Ford product communications.

Other details are to be announced later, Levine said.

New Pickup and Sports Car

Similarly, scant technical details or launch dates for the F-150 Hybrid was stated, short of the “next five year” timeline. Levine said Ford is not divulging more-specific powertrain or other stats at this time.

Ford in a statement does assure those who may be concerned the F-150 Hybrid will maintain “powerful towing and payload capacity,” and capability as an on-site generator. It did not say whether four wheel drive is part of the plan.

The 2.3-liter EcoBoost four cylinder itself packs 310 horses, 320 pounds-feet of torque. Mated with electric motor power, this could have even more and this is therefore in league with some V8s, but again, Ford is saying nothing today about the future hybrid’s engine.

The 2.3-liter EcoBoost four cylinder itself packs 310 horses, 320 pounds-feet of torque. Mated with electric motor power, this could have even more and this is therefore in league with some V8s, but again, Ford is saying nothing today about the future hybrid’s engine.

The new Mustang, due by 2020, likewise is to not disappoint with “V8 power” and more than customary low-end torque. This “V8 power” does not necessarily mean a V8 engine will be mated to a hybrid system, and Ford has already long boasted of V8-like power for its turbocharged EcoBoost V6s.

Speaking of which, Ford announced today for the first time it will be departing from naturally aspirated engines in some of its new models and pair up turbocharged EcoBoost engines. Levine would not state whether a CVT transmission or multi-speed automatic would be used.

Ford does say EcoBoost will improve both performance and fuel economy. It does not say which vehicles will get the EcoBoost hybrid setup, but where power and performance are required, one might surmise a few of the new announcements today would be candidates.

Given even the new Ford GT supercar is a V6, odds are good that some displacement of V6 or even I4 will be utilized in the F-150 and/or Mustang Hybrids.

Appeasing the New President

Today’s plans are part of a $700 million investment plan “adding 700 direct new jobs in Flat Rock (Michigan) Assembly Plant.” In doing so, without explicitly stating as much, the automaker appears to be not just accomodating fuel economy rules, but possibly also the incoming president.

ev-graphic-04-e1483464466982

The automaker had been targeted by President-elect Donald Trump for sending jobs to Mexico, but Ford, which had plans in motion already, today announced the investment in the U.S. factory “capable of producing high-tech electrified and autonomous vehicles” for Ford and Lincoln.

“This incremental investment in Flat Rock Assembly Plant comes from $1.6 billion the company previously had planned to invest in a new plant in Mexico,” said Ford in a statement.

“I am thrilled that we have been able to secure additional UAW-Ford jobs for American workers,” said Jimmy Settles, UAW vice president, National Ford Department. “The men and women of Flat Rock Assembly have shown a great commitment to manufacturing quality products, and we look forward to their continued success with a new generation of high-tech vehicles.”

Ford also said the $700 million is part of a previously announced $4.5 billion investment in “electrified vehicles” – a catchall term that includes hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and all-electric vehicles. Ford is expanding also into the mobility business, as it seeks to reinvent itself for new markets forecasted for growth in years ahead.

Other global models on the confirmed roster include a plug-in hybrid Transit Custom van, and “a high-volume autonomous vehicle designed for commercial ride hailing or ride sharing, starting in North America.”

This is to be a hybrid, and debut in 2021.

A couple other electrified vehicles confirmed today are hybrid police pursuit vehicles – meaning these will not be slow hybrids. One is to be built in Chicago, Ford notes without saying where the other is to be produced.

Electrified and Mobility Company

Ford added it is utilizing some of its many patents derived over the past two decades working on electrified vehicles for the new plug-in SUV, F-150, Mustang and more new vehicles.

“Ford’s global EV strategy is to build on our strengths,” said Raj Nair, executive vice president, Product Development, and chief technical officer. “While some others seem to be focused on marketing claims and numbers, we’re focused on providing customers even more of what they love about their Ford vehicles. This means more capability for trucks, more productivity for commercial vehicles and more performance for sports cars – plus improved fuel economy.”

SEE ALSO: Ford Leverages Its Past and Present Toward a Mobility Solutions Future

Nair did not spell out who among its competitors are more “focused on marketing claims and numbers” but to its credit, it is making sizable commitments to future product.

By contrast,. General Motors has played its hand closer to its chest. It has not announced a hybrid truck or Camaro, for example, nor has it announced an electric SUV in the works.

TransitHybridTaxi_4501_HR-e1483464688309
Ford also observed today it’s at work on testing new EV technology in Europe, and its Transit Custom plug-in hybrid will be on the road later this year, along with a new set of mobility services, telematics and connectivity solutions.

These go along with a fleet of 20 Transit Connect hybrid taxi and van prototypes in New York and other major U.S. cities.

EV-Focused

Ford is yet holding some card of its own close to its chest, and while broader EV plans are still a secret, it is saying that it is planning for more.

The company for example touts a new suite of services to make EVs more user friendly, and also unlike GM, it signed a memorandum of understanding to build an ultra-fast charging network in Europe. For that network, about 400 sites in Europe are initially planned.

By 2020, consumers should have access to thousands of high-powered charging points,” said Ford.

And, beyond that, the company says it is preparing for more and studying what data it can.

Among 33,000 Ford EV owners that have made 58 million unique trips, Ford has learned:

◦ 88 percent of customers’ habitual daily driving distance is 60 miles or less. For plug-in hybrids, the average refueling distance is 680 miles, making gas station trips rare
◦ Customers want as much electric range as possible, but range anxiety drops over time as they become more comfortable and familiar with the technology
◦ 80 percent of Ford EV customers charge once a day; 60 percent during evenings
◦ Ford EV customers collectively have plugged in their vehicles a total of 9.4 million nights

And, said Ford, “an overwhelming majority of Ford EV owners expect to replace their current EV with a new one, additional Ford research shows.”

◦ 92 percent of battery electric car customers say they will purchase another battery electric vehicle as their next purchase
◦ 87 percent of plug-in hybrid customers want another plug-in for their next vehicle

HybridCars.com

 

Jan 03

Cadillac CT6 Plug-In Hybrid Priced Up To $95,000-Plus In China

 

By Jon LeSage
2017_CT-6_PHEV_China-668x409

SAIC-GM launched the Cadillac CT6 Plug-In on Friday in China with two price packages higher than what will come later to the U.S.

The Cadillac CT6 plug-in hybrid joins the gasoline-engine CT6 in China with two plug-in variants priced at RMB 558,800 ($80,408) and RMB 658,800 ($94,683). RMB is another name for Chinese Yuan currency.

In November, Cadillac announced that the 2017 CT6 Plug-in Hybrid will come to the U.S. in spring and will be priced at $76,090. Incentive programs will lower the starting prices in the U.S. and in China. Generous subsidies in China could make it price competitive with the U.S. offering.

GM didn’t lay out differences in the two price-point offerings for the China market. The company did say both variations will bring to market a “fresh performance standard for premium new energy vehicles through its smooth handling and exceptional fuel efficiency.”

The CT6 Plug-In is being built on an all-new rear-wheel electric drive platform. It’s powered by two “high-performance” electric motors combined with the electric drive system and a 2.0-liter spark ignition direct injection (SIDI) turbocharged engine. That’s enough to carry the plug-in sedan 0-100 km/h (about 62 mph) in 5.4 seconds.

cq5dam.web.1280.1280-3

The electric drive train has an 18.4-kWh battery pack and is enhanced by GM’s Battery Management System (BMS) and liquid cooling technology. The automaker said that the CT6 Plug-In can travel 80 kilometers (49.7 miles) on battery power and 935 km (580.9 miles) in combined range.

Drivers can tap into three operating modes to maximize convenience and energy. Cruise mode is offered for daily commutes, offering comfort along with maximized energy efficiency. Sport mode is ideal for mountain road climbing with aggressive gas pedal response and agile steering. The Hold mode was made for long-distance highway driving; it’s able to store energy that can be used later under the Cruise mode in heavy city traffic.

Cadillac is offering CT6 Plug-In buyers in China a 220-volt charger with free installation. Another perk is an eight-year unlimited-mileage warranty for the vehicle’s battery pack, electric motors, and electronic control system.

Cadillac is poised to compete in the luxury electric car segment in China with Tesla and BMW. The CT6 Plug-In is the brand’s second plug-in electrified model to come to market ever since the Cadillac ELR stopped production last spring. That plug-in hybrid was built in the U.S., while the CT6 Plug-In is being manufactured in China and will be imported to the U.S.

HybridCars.com

 

Jan 02

Chevy Bolts shipping ‘in volume’ in SoCal and NorCal

 

Bolt-transit-12616-668x4092-668x409

At last patience is paying off – or impatience is being relieved.

Shipments of Chevy Bolts are arriving at key California dealers late last week, and buzz from first customers is resonating in the forums.

“Has been placed at customer location at Mira Loma at 5:34PM EST”. Woohoo!!” said one poster on the GM-Volt.com forum following his ordered blue Bolt Premier by its VIN number. “The SoCal Bolt-train has arrived!”

The Bolt EV starts at $37,495 before a $7,500 federal tax credit and potential state incentives. It offers 238 miles range and is being called by its maker “our greatest electrified vehicle so far.”

Apart from the above exuberant person’s car, some Bolts have already arrived in Canada, and on the U.S. side, destinations are in Oregon and California.

Last week they were arriving “in volume” according to someone in the know and reportedly a trainload of Bolts sent to the San Francisco Bay Area depot in Milpitas and another in Southern California in Mira Loma are being trucked to dealers.

A few Bolts just showed up at a Huntington Beach dealer.

A few Bolts just showed up at a Huntington Beach dealer.

There have been reports of 100 units per day being manufactured since November, but only a handful of buyers have gotten their cars thus far.

It would appear a fair number more will have their new Bolts by year’s end, in the weeks following, and in months beyond the rest of the country will be getting them.

“A number of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States including New York, Massachusetts and Virginia will see first deliveries this winter,” said Chevrolet, adding that more will make it to major metro dealerships through the first half of 2017 with full U.S. rollout by mid-year.

We will have U.S. sales figures this week when our sales Dashboard is posted after month’s end.

Hybridcars.com

 

Dec 30

How Many Sub-$40,000 / 200-Mile Range EVs Might We See In 2017?

 

2017-Chevrolet-BoltEV-668x409

The year 2016 saw the first 200-mile range electric car for under $40,000 and 2017 is expected to witness a few more.

General Motors’ well-publicized $37,495 Bolt EV is the forerunner fast-tracked to being first, but really, it is the inaugurator of a new price-for-range benchmark effectively raising expectations and dictating other automakers follow ASAP.

This double-the-range-for-the-dollar has come faster than some might have imagined just a few years ago. The first mass-production 200-mile-plus range electric cars – excluding Tesla’s limited-production 2008-2012 Roadster – was the $70,000 and up 2012 Tesla Model S.

Its 200-plus miles for roughly $70,000 has only been with us for a short time, so the jump this year to 200-plus miles for under $40,000 is mighty significant. That’s the good news. The open question is whether as big of a range-for-dollar increase can be done again as soon as early next decade using lithium-ion batteries.

Does anyone even need more than 200 miles range? No! Get over it! Why pay for and drag around all that extra battery? Even 107 miles can be enough, some advocates have said. However, mainstream consumers speaking with their pocketbooks have said "no sale" and the U.S. market share is just 0.45 percent. Most consumers say they want more and faster recharging, cost parity and no perceived downside with conventional cars. This is actually the goal in places like Norway, and they hope by next decade EVs will stand alone without subsidies.

Does anyone even need more than 200 miles range? No! Get over it! Why pay for and drag around all that extra battery? Even 107 miles can be enough, some advocates have said. However, mainstream consumers speaking with their pocketbooks have said “no sale” and the U.S. market share is just 0.45 percent. Most consumers say they want more and faster recharging, cost parity and no perceived downside with conventional cars. This is actually the goal in places like Norway, and they hope by next decade EVs will stand alone without subsidies.

To consumers on the fringes, this year’s progress report may sound like about what they’d expect as they’ve seen computer processing power multiply year by year to astonishing heights, but EVs are not based on the silicon chip, rather it’s batteries they rely upon. And unlike computers following Moore’s Law, cars like the Bolt are not getting a radically improved battery chemistry with double or more the energy density that comes in a Tesla Model S to enable a price cut by half.

Rather, as researchers work on “beyond lithium-ion” chemistries, li-ion is being incrementally tweaked, the Bolt itself is economically built, and a big help has been li-ion’s costs have come down faster than many predicted.

SEE ALSO: Could JCESR’s Li-Sulfur Battery Revolutionize EVs?

As observed by George Crabtree, director of the federally sponsored JCESR project working on new chemistries, cars like the Bolt and others are benefitting from less-expensive li-ion batteries, and more can be stuffed in for a lower selling price.

Li-ion battery prices have plummeted multifold from many hundreds of dollars per kWh to $145/kWh for GM which got a special deal from LG Chem for its cells. By 2020 GM would like to see li-ion cells costing $100/kWh and Tesla has indicated it wants its entire assembled battery packs to be that inexpensive. It may therefore be possible to get up to 350 miles range or so for the same bucks, assuming other cost cutting. Unknown also is whether the leaders GM, Tesla, and Nissan use up their 200,000 allotted federal tax credits by 2018.

Li-ion battery prices have plummeted multifold from many hundreds of dollars per kWh to $145/kWh for GM which got a special deal from LG Chem for its cells. By 2020 GM would like to see li-ion cells costing $100/kWh and Tesla has indicated it wants its entire assembled battery packs to be that inexpensive. It may therefore be possible to get up to 350 miles range or so for the same bucks, assuming other cost cutting. Unknown also is whether the leaders GM, Tesla, and Nissan use up their 200,000 allotted federal tax credits by 2018.

How long this one-upmanship with tweaked and price-reduced li-ion may be done is not known. That is, whether a 450-mile EV using li-ion chemistry could be economically sold for under $37,495 by 2021 is anyone’s guess. Some believe that may be a bit much to ask, others are more optimistic, and otherwise the answer is time will tell.

As it is, automakers are throwing all they can at a market as soon as they can while more and faster charging infrastructure is being planned and put in place as well.

Synergies are happening to enable EVs with broader appeal than they’d had, and this year are projected a small handful of production or pre-production EVs to keep the Bolt EV company – which we’ll mention first, because it actually is a 2017 model.

2017 Bolt EV

2017-Chevrolet-BoltEV-029-668x446

As noted, the Bolt EV is this year’s most range for the dollar, representing the most advanced engineering GM has yet put into an electric car, according to Pam Fletcher, executive chief engineer for electrified vehicles.

“We got here by a lot of learning and experience, and this is our greatest electrified vehicle so far,” said Fletcher.

With a $7,500 federal tax credit whittled off a base $37,495, and possibly a state credit, these may net a couple thousand below the $30,000 mark, and offer 238 miles EPA-rated range.

Performance is also quick, with 0-60 mph in a respectable 6.5 seconds from the spacious compact crossover.

General Motors “launched” the Bolt EV to its first retail customers mid December in a way not unlike how Tesla launched the Model X – a few in Oregon and California will get them this year while the rest of the country is to get them the following year.

“A number of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States including New York, Massachusetts and Virginia will see first deliveries this winter,” said Chevrolet, adding that more will make it to major metro dealerships through the first half of 2017 with full U.S. rollout by mid-year.

2017 Opel Ampera-e

Opel-Ampera-e-303947-e1482972280401

If you know about the Chevy Bolt, then little needs explaining about the re-badged Opel Ampera-e.

Sales began Dec. 14, and plans for left-side-drive versions only at this point are for first deliveries in Norway in the spring. Following that, next in line are Germany, Netherlands, France and Switzerland.

“Most other European countries will follow in late 2017 or during 2018 as production volume grows,” says Opel.

The priority for initially limited volumes in the “staggered launch” is being given to markets with existing infrastructure and/or those wanting EVs the most.

Norway, of course, is the poster child of EV adoption, with over 25 percent market share for plug-in cars and EVs are the preferred type.

2018 Nissan Leaf

Nissan IDS Concept believed by some to contain elements foreshadowing the next Leaf’s design language.

Nissan IDS Concept believed by some to contain elements foreshadowing the next Leaf’s design language.

Nissan, the original purveyor of “mass” appeal EVs is fashionably – or is that unfashionably? – late to its second-generation reveal party.

Now with two range upgrades since a Dec. 2010 launch, the company has said it will compete with the Bolt but the latest indicator may be year one sees less than the whole potential range for it.

2013_Leaf_in_grass1

More than one battery option expected means multiple range options, and the rumor is the smaller battery will be shown first. This may be because word has it there are issues with the new Leaf’s battery, but what they could be is unknown. Its Renault ZOE and Kangoo Z.E. siblings have already receive next gen batteries, so we shall see.

When it will be shown is also a mystery. Some have suggested Tokyo motor show later this year, but a report by Forbes contributor Bertel Schmitt cites Nissan insiders saying “I think you’ll be hearing about the car much earlier than that.”

The new Leaf is expected to look more conventional than the willfully funky – others have said “frumpy” – design that screams without a word “I’m green.”

2018 Tesla Model 3

MODEL-3-HWY-668x409

Have you heard of the Tesla Model 3? Unless you have been living under a rock, odds are good you have even if you have no other interest in EVs.

This is the $35,000 EV with 215-plus miles range that’s garnered north of 400,000 refundable pre-orders at $1,000 apiece, and is due for a second pre-production reveal this year before going on sale later this year.

The second reveal will show more than its original unveiling in prototype form last March. Among the exciting details, aside from the sporty lines and Tesla brand image, are this is to be a highly configurable car.

Unlike the Bolt and Leaf which will be front wheel drive only, the Model 3 is rear or all wheel drive, and multiple battery and power options are expected from mild to wild.

Green car analyst Alan Baum projects first sales by October, and 5,000 new owners may have them in their driveways before Dec. 31.

This is the car that’s likely to steal the show from this spring forward, and it is the big news of the year.

Something from Hyundai?

Hyundai-Ioniq-668x409

Hyundai has potentially two cars to show, but question is whether either will be here in 2017 with 200 miles range.

First up is the Ioniq which is due for first sales this year with 124 miles range, and a bump to much more is expected after model year one. Whether this is revealed in 2017 may be doubtful lest it steal thunder from the still-new original, but we shall see.

Hyundai has also said it is planning a sport utility vehicle with 200 miles or more range for 2018, so this may be revealed, but this also is unclear.

Is That It?

There’s a hodge-podge of interesting new electric cars planned but with what we know so far, none may be revealed by 2017’s end with a whole 200 miles range.

One of these is the Honda Clarity. It is to be based off the Clarity fuel cell vehicle’s platform, and though Honda may surprise everyone, it may get something like 124 miles range give or take also.

311A3144-e1482972555905

Later, it may be updated to longer range but this is a question mark.

Another we’ve heard whispers of is Ford’s Model E – yep, they own the name Tesla wanted for the Model 3, and Baum projects it won’t be shown till after 2017, possibly 2018, and in production in 2019.

In fact, it’s tough to guess what the carmaker may do as it otherwise aggressively postures its advanced tech, including autonomous drive plans.

Ford Focus EV. Range was increased this year, but the 200 mile new car is further off.

Ford Focus EV. Range was increased this year, but the 200 mile new car is further off.

The main hint we have is CEO Mark Fields said in answer to being competitive with the Bolt and company, “Clearly that’s something we’re developing for.”

That’s pretty vague, but the remark was interpreted to mean a Bolt competitor is pending just the same.

Yet one more potential 200-miler is the Kia Niro Electric, and this also is up in the air, but may not be revealed until after 2017, possibly 2018, and in production in 2019, Baum said.

Kia Niro hybrid.

Kia Niro hybrid.

We’ve also heard a lot from the VW Group and its plans for 30 new battery electric cars by 2025, but it may not reveal a 200-miler in 2017.

Its VW e-Golf was just updated, and won’t likely be upgraded so soon again. The Audi Q5 electric will appear in 2017, but not with 200-miles range and it could cost north of $40,000.

Audi Q5.

Audi Q5.


Another, the Audi Q6 e-tron will get 200-miles range, but it won’t cost under $40,000 either and, said Baum, won’t likely appear until 2018.

At this stage, he added, it is unknown what automakers will do with respect to showing their cars in concept or production form since in most cases they have not made final decisions.

So that may be it, but then more could always come out of left field, as regulatory and market pressure is increasing, battery costs continue to decline and demand stands to rise as well.

This article appears also at HybridCars.com.

p.s. And have a Happy New Year!