China must be a hot market to sell electric vehicles (EVS) in, with all the recent corporate announcements. The reality has been that sales have been soft, and the Chinese government continues to offer attractive incentives to get the “new energy” market rolling. It’s been enough for Tesla Motors to decide not just to sell its Model S in China, but to also build future models there. CEO Elon Musk thinks the company will have a production line up in three-to-four years. That goes along with its near-term future investment in a charging infrastructure, including superchargers going into Beijing and Shanghai. Daimler and BYD will start selling its joint venture DENZA electric car in September; it will be the first complete vehicle that Daimler has built with BYD outside of Germany. The five-seater EV will have 190 miles of range and pre-incentive pricing of $60,000. Volkswagen has an even bigger plan – to sell hundreds of thousands of EVs in the China market before the end of this decade – and will spend up to $27 billion in the next five years to do it. The ambitious campaign will start up this year with the launch of the VW electric Up! and e-Golf models in China.
And in other clean transportation news…….
- The BMW i3 electric car was given high honors at the New York International Auto Show – 2014’s World Green Car. It beat out the Audi A3 Sportback g-ton and Volkswagen XL1 and 11 other entrants. It comes at a time when BMW is finding strong demand in Europe while introducing it around the world. That demand has pushed for a higher production volume than originally expected. “From the production process onwards, the BMW i3 is a truly sustainable vehicle, created with the needs of the 21st century city in mind,” said Dr. Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Sales and Marketing BMW. The BMW Group also won the 2008 World Green Car award for the BMW 118d with Efficient Dynamics.
- Further evidence that the BMW i3 is getting a lot of buzz: Winning the top spot in Kelley Blue Book’s Top Ten Green Cars for this year.
- Major auto supplier Robert Bosch LLC is getting investigated by NHTSA after a 2013 Nissan Leaf drivers reported smoke emitting while charging the EV. NHTSA reported that a possible 50 chargers may overheat and result in fires. Bosch said that it’s reviewing the filing and will cooperate with NHTSA. The charger used, a Bosch Power Xpress 240V, had been charging for over an hour at 30 amps at a private residence when signs of overheating, including a “strong burning smell,” were noticed.
- The Keystone XL pipeline startup continues to get dragged out. The Obama administration delayed a final decision on the pipeline until an ongoing court challenge to its route in Nebraska is resolved. The controversial project will remain in limbo until after the November midterm elections. It has been a “hot potato” for the Obama administration.
- Navigant Research thinks that medium- and heavy-duty trucks running on natural gas will see a huge growth spurt soon – from 1.5 million on the roads this year to 3.7 million on 2022.
- Natural gas is crossing borders into several different market segments – now into motor oil. Pennzoil has added its Pennzoil Platinum with its PurePlus Technology; this patented process that converts pure natural gas into the first-of-its-kind, high quality full synthetic base oil.