Archive for the ‘General’ Category

 

Oct 30

What could GM have done differently with Gen 1 Volt, and how can Gen 2 do better?

 

Yesterday a reader who periodically writes comments pointing out faults with the Volt and GM, and who points out how Toyota is doing better had more to say along those lines.

One of the reasons criticism persists – not the only reason – is because there are gaps in GM’s armor, or pick your metaphor.

IndependenceHall

The Volt is an awesome car. There’s little question about that, but I rebutted some criticism.

As we know GM has a new chance lined up for Gen 2. It will have learned lessons we hope from the Gen 1 period from Dec. 2010 to now.

Here’s the point I batted down. It was late, I was tired, so forgive me if I missed anything.

Critique: The problem is that GM built a car that did not appeal beyond EV Zealots. And the low sales reflect this. The EV Zealots seem to think the problem is with the public. Well, the public is what it is. To get the car to sell, it will have to have wider appeal.

My off-the-cuff reply:

A full analysis is open to debate, but I do not think it’s as simple as GM’s product having narrow appeal.

GM’s marketing or lack thereof plays into it.

Also the Volt was the victim of early on severe public bashing by no less that the presidential candidate, screed artists, writers of false hit pieces.

And GM was coming from dark days of public distrust, and bankruptcy, and a low point of trust for the company.

And let’s not forget the NHTSA fire safety fiasco where they crashed a Volt, then left it parked with power in the battery to see what would happen after they’d ruptured it and allowed a coolant leak to short circuit.

And the Volt is all new, the only “EREV” on the road (besides now ELR) and there are people on principle who won’t buy the first of anything.

And early on the Volt was priced from $40k, and dealers gouged over that … now it’s $35k.

And the fed tax credit did not apply to everyone. A point of sale rebate for anyone would have been more equitable.

And the public does not understand the car. Is this the fault of EV zealots as you call them? Or is this because GM focuses on Calif and gave up on other markets?

Today almost 4 yrs into it many people do not know the car has a gas generator. They don’t know the difference between it and a Leaf, or Prius or other PHEVs for that matter.

It was all new. Tripped out of the starting gate.

I believe these are pretty verifiable facts; well documented, and each has been covered over the years.

And I am probably leaving out other reasons.

I won’t have time to engage in a debate on this though …

All I am saying is there are a multitude of factors that added up to bad synergy.

The new Volt’s powertrain looks very hopeful. I am really hoping this car will be as good as GM implicitly puts forth. I think they know better than to over promise and under deliver after all the hard lessons.

So again, here’s hoping.

###

As Jackson pointed out Gen 1 has done well enough to prompt GM to build Gen 2.

And this is true. It’s sold around 70,000 and is the top-selling U.S. plug-in, second-best globally behind the Leaf.

Cynically, or practically, you decide, also true is GM is committed to electrification because of CAFE and CARB, and it has already put all those Volts on the road.

Remember who killed electric car? It can’t do that again. It’s onward and upward.

2016-Chevrolet-Volt-Teaser

But giving benefit of the doubt, I believe GM is committed despite the fact the Spark EV is a compliance car, Volt is marketed narrowly, and no Voltec spinoffs have come forth.

So now, with four years’ hindsight, what could GM have done differently? What should it do now?

You can make up a fantasy wish list, but better yet, speak to the corporation thinking for a global market with limitations and possibilities, not just what you want.

It’s not about you. It’s about GM and electrification of the automobile.

And of course this is not to bash GM. We have other helpful readers who like to do that. What can be said to GM to help launch the Gen 2 Volt and beyond?

I almost did not write this article because much will depend on the product – how good Gen 2 really is.

But it’s probably safe to say it’s better. And it’s a fresh start. Just the fact that it’s all new is a plus.

So what needs to happen? How should GM market this new car? People still don’t get it and gas is cheaper than bottled water these days, or almost.

Will GM price it right, or keep it for higher income earners?

Does GM really want to leapfrog the Toyota Prius in the sales arena?

What would you say to GM on this subject?

This week CEO Mary Barra spoke of well reasoning customers who are “thoughtfully” urging GM to step up, and she said GM wants to win, or else “why are we here?”

OK, good question. What will it take for GM to win in the electrification of the automobile, starting with Gen 2 Volt?

 

Oct 29

2016 Voltec powertrain completely updated

 

The most pressing question about the next-gen Volt is not whether its propulsion system will be improved, but whether it will be so much better that GM-bashers and Toyota fanboys have nothing else to say at GM-Volt.com.

Oh, also, about that back seat. Can the T-pack permit that oh-so-important 5th passenger space that people want but then won’t use that much anyway? (At least some won’t, others do need it).

So come to think about it, there actually are a bunch more potential questions. Another one is are you looking forward to summer (or later) 2015? How about January ’15 for starters?

NextGenVoltCamo01
 

Yesterday General Motors revealed the next-generation 2016 Chevrolet Volt will receive a substantially improved Voltec powertrain providing better efficiency and performance.

The system pioneered in the first-generation Volt introduced December 2010 has been entirely re-thought, and updates have been made to improve battery chemistry, T-pack configuration, electric drive components and range-extending gas-powered generator.

A higher percentage of U.S. content is also being brought to bear.

2016-Chevrolet-Volt-004

The new car will be seen in January, but details released yesterday imply GM is serious about improving the car that simultaneously performed less than hoped for in the sales arena, while winning many die-hard fans as well.

The Volt was already the top-EV-range plug-in hybrid with double that of the nearest U.S. competitor, and more range is coming says the automaker, without releasing the specific range in miles.

Battery

GM pared weight and cost from the battery by replacing the old LG Chem chemistry with revised LG Chem formulation good for 20-percent better storage capacity by volume.

Cell count was cut from 288 to 192 saving 30 pounds (13kg). The pack’s bulk is positioned lower for improved mass centralization.

2016_Volt_battery

The previous pack had already been well engineered with thermal management, and out of the total kilowatt-hours – it started at 16.0, grew to 16.5 and now 17.0-kwh – a conservative percentage was held back to ensure longevity and GM says it did err on the safe side.

GM says around 20 million battery cells have been produced, there are over 69,000 Volts on the road, and problems have occurred at the rate of less than two per million cells produced.

“It would have been simple for us to tweak our existing battery to provide nominally increased range, but that’s not what our customers want,” said Nitz meaning they could have reduced the buffer of unused storage capacity to the existing pack to improve range without hurting anything. “So our team created a new battery system that will exceed the performance expectations of most of our owners.”

While other companies like Tesla, BMW and Nissan and others are out there with battery using cars of their own, GM three times described its battery technology as “industry-leading.”

Drive Unit

The Volt’s new drive unit will be manufactured at its Powertrain plant in Warren, Mich.

Just as GM did not state the new Volt’s electric range, it is not just yet spelling out fuel or electric efficiency and speed capability, but does say efficiency is superior, and electric acceleration is 20 percent improved.

Drive unit.

Drive unit.

The new system is being touted for less noise, vibration, and harshness, as well as superior packaging, and is 5 to 12 percent more efficient while being 100 pounds (45 kg) lighter.

“The Traction Power Inverter Module, which manages power flow between the battery and the electric drive motors, has been directly built into the drive unit to reduce mass, size and build complexity while further improving efficiency,” said the company of a thorough redesign.

Electric motor.

Electric motor.

Now both motors can be utilized together for a “boost in performance,” but GM’s Manager, Electrification Technology Communications, Kevin Kelly clarified this. When asked whether 20-percent improved accerleration meant 0-60 time is 20-percent better, he said GM is not necessarily positioning the Volt to win more stoplight drag races.

“It means we have improved overall acceleration, not specifically 0-60 time,” said Kelly. “In fact, most of the improvement comes at the lower end of the acceleration curve, as that’s where owners told us they wanted better response.”

GM also cut use of rare earths, and one motor is rare-earth-free.

Genset

The range-extending engine is a 1.5-liter non-turbo Ecotec four-cylinder that runs on regular gasoline instead of premium as did the 1.4-liter before.

Efficiencies are gained through a direct injection fuel system, high 12.5:1 compression ratio, cooled exhaust gas recirculation and a variable displacement oil pump, among other latest technologies.

Voltec drive unit and genset.

Voltec drive unit and genset.

“Using the 1.5-liter engine as the range extender assures owners they can go anywhere, anytime without having to worry about whether they have enough power to go through the Rocky Mountains or on a spontaneous weekend getaway,” Nitz said. “It’s all about keeping the promise that the Volt is a no-compromise electric vehicle.”

GM’s move follows that of the third-generation Toyota Prius which in 2010 increased the engine displacement from 1.5 liters to 1.8 liters and in doing so the engine did not have to rev as high, worked in its sweet spot more often, and netted improved fuel efficiency.

Looking Good

GM said it upgraded the new car based on real-world details gleaned from a case study of 300 model year 2011 and 2012 Volts in California for over 30 months. GM knows its battery was reliable, delivered EPA spec or better for EV range and fuel efficiency in charge-sustaining mode.

However where it fell perceptibly short next to the country’s best-selling hybrid, the 50-mpg Prius, was in charge-sustaining mode and to add insult to injury, drivers had to buy premium fuel.

Volt fans have vehemently defended this saying the point is to stay off gas, and true enough, no plug-in gas-electric car can do this more effectively, Volts have averaged more EV miles than gas miles with long times between fill ups, but it was not a clear win in the eyes of some.

GM also knows it needs more rear seat space, but the T-pack that impeded a middle rear seat appears likely to impede again, but GM’s Kelly neither confirmed nor denied this.

He did confirm however it will be a 2016 model year – something largely assumed, but not previously stated by GM, and the car is due not especially long from now.

“Next-gen Volt will launch sometime in second half of 2015,” Kelly said.

That the car’s powertrain is improved is clear. We’ll be looking to see if more revelations are forthcoming between now and when – as Kelly confirmed – the production-ready new Volt is shown at the North American International Auto Show in January.

Video is Volt related. More info from GM press release.

 

Oct 28

Watch the video that upset Edmunds’ car dealer customers

 

Thanks to Tesla, car dealers are on the defensive these days, but are they as bad as they used to be, or are they even as “bad” as some people want to say? Truth be told there are good ones, and not as good, and things are not as bad as the old days.

But even if today’s car dealers have cleaned up their act, are held to customer satisfaction ratings, and their own best interests not to ruin their reputation – and better yet, to earn a positive reputation – stereotypes linger …

Tesla_Store1

A video by Edmunds’ haggle-free car shopping service was not designed by Tesla, but in the eyes of some, it might just as well have been.

As Green Car Reports observes which dug up a copy from YouTube of one of four videos after Edmunds pulled them following complaints from its dealer customers, the video makes a point.

Most people who follow this space are by now abundantly aware Tesla is facing various levels of resistance from dealer groups around the country over its direct sales model.

Edmunds_no_haggle

It so far refuses to franchise any dealers, although it leaves that possibility on the table for when its volume increases, and Tesla chief Elon Musk has said one day it could use a “hybrid” sales model of some dealers plus factory retail stores and service centers.

But it took Edmunds to caricaturize the stereotypes that car shoppers have said they detest as they side with Tesla.

SEE ALSO: Elon Musk Says Tesla May Need Franchised Dealerships

And, Edmunds soon ceased the ads for its “Price Promise” service after not shoppers, but car dealers objected.

As Automotive News reported, one e-commerce director canceled his Cincinnati dealership group’s subscriptions to Edmunds.com which had up until then posted the dealership’s inventory. Such arrangements are a revenue source for Edmunds.

For its part, the chief marketing officer for Edmunds’ third-party car seller said company executives were surprised. The whole thing was meant to be a joke with exaggerated and lighthearted stereotypes she called “very outdated.”

They did not expect to strike a nerve, she said, but these days, perhaps nerves are a little more raw than usual?

Last week Michigan became the latest state to shut the door in Tesla’s face. The near-unanimous decision was decried by Tesla as being done by deeply influential lobbyists for car dealers.

Green Car Reports, Automotive News (subscription)

 

Oct 27

EVs are no longer a niche in Norway

 

Norway is an example of what can be done when unity of will is focused on a goal.

Of course its population is only around 5.1 million, so being small helps along with the relative homogeneity of purpose. But now if a critical voice says EVs aren’t ready for prime time, and wants to come up with reasons why, the case example proving their position false is Norway. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Nordic_Nissan_Leaf2
 

If anyone was ever tired of hearing about U.S. “compliance cars” by seemingly tepid automakers merely trying to appease regulators, news that EVs now comprise 15 percent of new car sales in Norway could come as a breath of fresh air.

As previously reported, the tiny country of 5.1 million people is eager to make the switch to sustainability, has the political will to do so, and is heavily subsidizing the effort on many fronts.

As the initiative to change the way Norwegians drive succeeds, talk is already being made to end incentives. In the U.S., talk of chopping incentives is also made, but this is more-often uttered by politically disgruntled commentators who think EVs are a misbegotten effort, or hate to see “the rich” recoup $7,500 federal tax credits on high-five, and six-figure cars.

By comparison, Norway is a case example of achieving a goal. It contrasts sharply given that talk is already coming to remove incentives, but this will happen after it meets the goal of 50,000 EVs or by 2017, not because it wants to abandon it as a failed attempt.

SEE ALSO: November EV Sales Approach 12-Percent In Norway

 
Despite having a population smaller than New York City, in January this year it was sixth overall in EV adoption, is still in that relative spot as of today, and accelerating its adoption rate.

The U.S. presently buys 0.5 percent all-electric cars in a vastly larger market, and is the world leader because of its bulk. Number three China is also underwriting EVs and pushing for more, and could supersede number two Japan as well.

To document things in one of its most warmly receptive markets, Nissan put together a rather clear video report on Norway, acknowledging even progress by its competitors.


 
“Tesla’s Model S is now the top-selling EV, while Volkswagen’s e-Up and eGolf are also part of Norway’s consumer charge,” wrote Nissan while also mentioning its own success, of course.

“Since sales began in 2011, Nissan Leaf has become the nation’s third best-selling car with over 15,000 on Norway’s roads,” says a press release with an unfortunate typographical error in the dateline of Oslo, “Noway.”

It may sometimes feel like no-way for others embroiled in infighting, and with automakers themselves married to gasoline power, but in Norway, it’s not “noway,” but yes, they’ve found a way.

 

Oct 24

Global top-10 best selling plug in cars

 

OK, here’s where things stand. The Volt is not first, but gen 2 could fix that.

Let’s hope that’s the way it goes.

GM has an opportunity here …

668x357xIMG_3534.jpg.pagespeed.ic.gdFbSbI6uC
 

As of September 2014, the global number of plug-in electrified vehicles (PEVs) sold crested to nearly 604,000 with certain models rounding out the bulk of these.

In fact, the top-10 models from various manufacturers have accounted for 77 percent of the total at an estimated 464,956 units.

Counted are both all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids by sales total with the biggest standout being three vehicles from Renault-Nissan.

SEE ALSO: Global Plug-in Car Sales Now Over 600,000

Together, their volume is just around 170,500 units or more than 28 percent of all plug-in cars sold to date.

These counts come with the help of Brazil-based plug-in car statistician Mario R. Duran, and are based on reports through September, where available.

Vehicles counted are “global” but bear in mind, some are sold in more markets than others, with a couple not sold in the world’s biggest market, the U.S., and a couple sold only in the U.S. and Canada, not elsewhere.

While this is a compilation of the top 10 in descending order, if you’re curious, we’ll list 11th-15th as well.

SEE ALSO: Should You Buy a Plug-in Hybrid?

The 11th-place BMW i3 has sold 11,676 units and is catching up to the 10th-best selling car’s 15,063 units. At present rates, BMW’s city car ought to start climbing into the top 10 soon enough.

It has outsold China’s Chery QQ3EV (11,528), Volvo S60 PHEV (11,370), Smart ED (10,000), and China’s BYD Quin PHEV (9,615).

The top 15 comprise an estimated 519,145 out of the estimated 603,932 units sold since the dawn of modern plug-in vehicles.

At this point, this should come as little surprise. There are relatively few plug-in models in the world next to the sea of internal combustion cars but that is changing.

Following are the 10 best sellers …
 
 

10. Renault Zoe, 15,063 sold

 
Renault-Zoe
 
We normally hear about success of domestic models here in the U.S., but Europeans concerned with CO2 emissions are a market to be reckoned with, and since its December 2012 launch, the Renault ZOE has become the world’s 10th best seller.

A review by Auto Express pegs range at about 100 miles – down from Renault’s claim of 130. We’ll include a video too, as this car may be of interest, and less familiar than some of the others further up the ladder.

UK Pricing for the Zoe is around the same as a Renault Clio diesel, and Renault quotes 13,995 GBP including VAT ($22,400). Unique is the battery is rented on a monthly basis from Renault.

We think it would be neat if a car like this, or a next generation were to one day find its way to the U.S.
 

9. Renault Kangoo; 15,369 sold

 
Renault-Kangoo-2014
 
Everything we just said about Renault and Europe applies to the Kangoo ZE except this is an all-electric minivan.

This one also compares to a diesel counterpart and is positioned as a small work truck.

Here are details from Renault.
 

8. Ford Fusion Energi; 15,611 sold

 
2015_Fusion_Energi_Horses
 
The Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid should be pretty familiar to U.S. buyers.

It is the top-of-the-range for the Fusion family, and shares its full hybrid powertrain – albeit one-better, in plug-in form – with the Fusion Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ and U.S. market C-Max variants.

SEE ALSO: 2015 Ford Fusion Energi Review
The sleek looking sedan with the coupe-like silhouette is sold in the U.S. and Canada only.
 

7. Ford C-Max Energi; 16,377 sold

 
2013-Ford-C-Max-Energi-Action-01
 
The C-Max Energi is also U.S. and Canadian only, although in Europe it comes with internal combustion powertrains.

It is Ford’s Prius fighter, and splits the difference between the Prius Liftback and Prius v wagon in size, while more powerful and faster.

SEE ALSO: 2013 Ford C-Max Energi Review
It and the Fusion Energi had their EPA mpg scores clipped. The C-Max was actually reduced twice but despite all that, it is a good car for what it is and gaining a following, if not still well behind the Prius which had a 12 year head start in the U.S. market.
 

6. Mitsubishi i-MiEV Family; 30,501 sold

 
Mitsubishi i - Portland
 
The Mitsu is the grandfather of mainstream city EVs and has been labeled also as Citreon and Peugeot variants.

It’s derived from a Japanese “kei” car and developed in 2009 after they removed the gas engine and installed all-electric powertrain.

SEE ALSO: 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Review – Video
We credit Mitsubishi for being bold enough to sell this car nationwide in the U.S. It has essentially fallen to low sales numbers, here, but is cheaper and better than previously, and not a bad little EV, even if other more-competitive choices are now available.
 

5. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV; 35,188 sold

 
Mitsubishi_Outlander_PHEV_Russia-668
 
Here is the PHEV Americans are waiting for, but for now it’s only being snapped up in Europe and Japan.

Launched in Japan in January 2013, Mitsubishi says the U.S. ought to see the plug-in hybrid in 2015, and we know a number of people are anticipating it.

It will fill the bill as an SUV that gets more electric range than the Ford Energis with the utility of a light-duty family-hauling SUV.

The U.S. is the largest PEV market, and when it gets here, assuming they can keep up supply, we suspect its tally shall continue to increase all the more rapidly.
 

4. Tesla Model S; estimated 47,000-plus sold

 
Model_S_white
 
This car needs no introduction, does it? Since launching it June 2012 in the U.S. Tesla is now selling it globally in 15 countries including across Europe, China, and of course the U.S. and Canada.

It starts here at $72,000 and has been a relative smash hit given its upscale price and sales volume sending it up the sales ladder In a league of cars half its price or less.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Model S Review
Model S is expected to have sold 50,000 pending full confirmation by Tesla’s third quarterly sales announcement after market close on Wednesday, November 5, 2014.
 

3. Toyota Prius PHEV; 65,300 sold

 
2012_Toyota_Prius_Plugin_017
 
The Prius with a plug rests partially on the laurels of the highly effective Prius Liftback and has sold well the past few years with global sales slowing in 2014. It was launched first in Japan in January 2012, and the U.S. February 2012.

Its EV range is lower than any PHEV, but underlying it is the 50-mpg Prius and Toyota’s reliability record, resale value, and fan base.

The next Prius PHEV is believed likely to get a boost to its 11 miles EV range but won’t be here until perhaps late 2015, early 2016.
 

2. Chevy/Holden Volt & Opel/Vauxhall Ampera; 83,687 sold

 
2011_Volt
 
This is perhaps the biggest U.S. alternative-energy success story and car political pundits love to bash the most all in one. The Volt is made in Detroit, and shipped to more than 12 nations.

And the count is for badge-engineered variants sold in Europe and the UK as Opel and Vauxhall, and in Australia as the Holden Volt.

Most have been sold in the U.S. – 69,082, and PHEV-absorbing Netherlands – 6,036, and Canada – 3,725, and this global count of 83,687 excludes several dozen cars as we only have records through June for four small European markets.

volt.ampera-markets
Top markets – note a few countries have records not through to September.

It’s sold in dribs and drabs elsewhere which is why it’s being discontinued as the Ampera, which even many Volt fans think is prettier.

Hey, here’s an idea: cancel the Volt, and introduce the Ampera to the U.S! Or never mind. GM is about to introduce the second generation in Detroit in January.

The hope is if critics ever did have ammo against it, this one will disarm them, and sales will catch up to the earlier expectations.
 

1. Nissan Leaf; 142,000 sold

 
Dongfeng Nissan launches its first all-electric vehicle
 
The success of the Leaf is a testament to the bullish investments Nissan made in an all-electric car that can work for people’s needs, and an indicator that battery electric outsell plug-in hybrids globally.

Worldwide battery electric vehicles account for 356,232 of the 603,932 PEV sales, and plug-in hybrids accounts for 247,700.

SEE ALSO: 2013 Nissan Leaf Review – Video

In the world’s biggest PEV market, the U.S., the home-market Volt with 69,082 sold holds an edge and both it and the Leaf with its 63,944 sales were launched in the U.S December 2010.

The Leaf has been catching up, and the past six month’s tally is 16,638 Leafs to 10,924 Volts, but the gen-2 Volt will come before gen-2 Leaf. That may help a year from now but the Leaf is on track to catch up and pass the Volt before then.

Worldwide, the Leaf dominates by a wide margin and at present rates could very well sail past a 150,000 global milestone by November just in time for its four-year anniversary.

 

Oct 23

Plug-in vehicles now at 600,000 sold worldwide

 

There are around 20 plug-in cars for sale in the U.S., with the Volt still holding the lead as the top selling. Globally, it’s a different story, as its 83,547 estimated including Amperas lags around 142,000 Leafs and leads 63,500 PiPs.

But the big picture is the horses are out of the stable. Word has it the fuel cell electric revolution is set to follow and we’ll see where that goes.

Chevrolet-Volt-White
 

Having started from zero last decade, global acceptance of plug-in electrified vehicles (PEVS) is speeding up and in just the past four months the number grew by 20 percent to 600,000 vehicles sold.

This counts only the top-10 countries and their purchases of primarily passenger-oriented, highway legal plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles. Of these around 356,232 are battery electric, and 247,700 are plug-in hybrids and they add to an estimated 603,932 PEVs.

The lion’s share began after 2010, but a few thousand were counted from as far back as 2006 in the UK and 2003 in Norway. Excluded are commercial vehicles except for a few small vans. Also not counted are motorcycles, and buses, and this is overwhelmingly a tally of “normal” cars for consumers.

Silver Lining

With only a little more than a quarter million PEVs in American hands so far, it’s evident the country will be late for President Obama’s goal of one million for 2015. And we’ve seen some failures with start-ups, and a U.S. market otherwise stuck in the mud with several “compliance cars” by automakers unwilling or unable to proliferate them beyond limited markets and quantities.

i3_green
 
But despite negative indicators hovering like dark clouds, the silver lining is PEV numbers are adding up not unlike pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters thrown into a jar that eventually tally to a fair amount of dollars.

SEE ALSO: Plug-In Car Sales Cross Global Half-Million Mark
As existing markets and others yet pending purchase PEVs, and as automakers roll out new models from yet-modest efforts, the tide is slowly turning, and momentum ought to increase given growth to date.

To provide a closer perspective, here are various global sales milestones and when they occurred: 100,000, Dec, 2011; 180,000, Dec. 2012; 405,000, Jan. 2014; 500,000, May 2014; 603,932, Sept. 2014.

Leaf_over_creek
 
At the current rate, estimates by Brazil-based alternative energy enthusiast, plug-in car statistician, and HybridCars.com reader, Mario R. Duran shows acceleration continuing.

Duran conservatively forecasts 700,000 global PEVs by December and 1 million by August or September 2015.

Disproportionate Contributions

Among the 10 top-contributing nations, the percentage of PEVs purchased varies considerably.

“China, Germany, the UK and Sweden all have experience ballistic grow this year,” said Duran looking over the percentage of growth. “France is tanked, and Japan slowed down from previous years.”

Tesla Motors Opens Assembly Plant in Tilburg, Netherlands

The PEV market share in the U.S. is 0.71 percent, China’s is 0.22 percent, and if only these could adopt at a rate like some of the standouts, we’d really have significant volumes.

The heavy lifting is being done by smaller nations, most notably Netherlands at 4.02 percent, and Norway at just around 15 percent.

These small countries have demonstrated political will, implemented infrastructure, and made the cost-benefit equation compelling for plugging in versus staying wedded to conventional petroleum power.

Pennies In a Jar

These are the tallies based on published reports through Sept. 2014:

United States: 259,949
Japan: 95,153
China: 77,205
Netherlands: 40,954
France: 38,605
Norway: 37,824
Germany: 21,256
UK: 17,456
Canada: 9,200
Sweden: 6,771

 

Just for some perspective, if the number-one EV adopter – the U.S – was adopting at the rate of the most aggressive – Norway – it would be a changed world.

Instead of around 6,000 electric cars bought in the U.S. in September, Americans would have taken home 185,000. And this year, instead of close to 44,000 in the U.S., the grand tally would be 1.85 million – just from January through September.

The actual numbers are around 260,000 PEVs bought by Americans since 2008 out of the just-over 604,000 global total.

And really, it’s an academic discussion and moot point as long as reality is what it is.

The present reality is earlier predictions have not all gone as hoped, but in the main, they arguably have. Growth is happening, synergy is increasing momentum, 0.6 million PEVs now displace conventional cars, and the next milestone will be here before you know it.