For Today: France banning petroleum-powered cars, More states adding plug-in vehicle fees

Banning fossil-fuel powered vehicles:  France will be banning the sale of gasoline- and diesel- powered vehicles by 2040, said Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot on Thursday. Hulot was speaking on France’s commitment to honor the Paris climate agreement now that President Donald Trump has pulled the U.S. out of it. France aims to be carbon neutral by 2050 to honor the agreement. He acknowledged that stopping sales of fossil-fuel powered vehicles would be a “revolution,” solutions are available and French automakers would be up to the task. Typical to markets around the world, electrified vehicles only make for a small share of total vehicle sales. During the first half of this year, gasoline and diesel vehicles made for 95.2% of new vehicle sales in France; hybrids made up about 3.5% and plug-in electrified vehicles made up about 1.2% of the market. The Renault Zoe, seen in this image in its e-Sport Concept version, has been a top seller in France and throughout Europe.

Terrafugia flying car maker gets backing:  Chinese automaker Geely, owner of Volvo Cars, just purchased startup flying car maker Terrafugia. The startup was launched by a group of MIT alumnae and is considered to be the furthest along in the flying car space. The company last year won a certification from the Federal Aviation Administration that would make it easier for owners to someday drive the cars on land and air. One of Google’s founders, Larry Page, has invested a lot in other flying car startups, while Uber and airplane manufacturer Airbus have also joined the race. But it’s not really a flying car, the company said. “Don’t think of it as a car that flies. Think of it as a plane that drives,” Carl Dietrich, CEO of Terrafugia, told when the concept made its debut at the New York Auto Show in 2012.

PEV fees increasing:  More states are adding fees for purchasing plug-in electrified vehicles, with the number totaling 13 that have passed or enacted such fees.  Georgia, Washington, Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, and Virginia had previously enacted PEV fees. West Virginia, Michigan, Minnesota, and California, have enacted new fees this year. Six other states have introduced legislation this year that would require PEV owners to pay a separate fee, including Indiana, South Carolina, Kansas, Tennessee, New Hampshire, and Montana. Vermont and Oregon are considering a fee based on vehicle miles traveled, rather than fuel type, but these rules may not pass through. PEV fees have been passed to pay for more transportation infrastructure upgrades, and to make up for lost tax revenue that PEV drivers don’t have to pay in gasoline and diesel taxes. Incentives are being added to get consumers to buy these cars, but the fees are mostly being charged on an annual, recurring basis.

For Today: Volvo electrifying offerings, Trucks need to electrify to stay competitive

Volvo goes electric:  Volvo Cars will be electrifying all of its new vehicle offerings starting in 2019. Five all-electric models will come out between 2019 and 2021, three under the Volvo brand and two under Polestar. These five cars will also have other electrified options that may include gasoline and diesel plug-in hybrids and 48-volt options. The Polestar high-performance electric model was launched last month. The product changeover ties into the company’s commitment to minimizing its environmental impact and making the cities of the future cleaner.

PEV drivers on charging:  Having access to public charging is still the top concern for plug-in vehicle drivers. ON World, a business intelligence firm, conducted a survey of 2,000 U.S. PEV drivers and found that over half are concerned about finding enough of these chargers. Even through 80% of their charging is done at home, they do want to see more stations on the smart grid. Range matters as well; for those interested in PEVs, three quarters would prefer a vehicle that supports a minimum of 300 miles per charge. “The millions of PEVs in use over the next few years will require smart charging solutions that provide network management, dynamic billing, energy savings and vehicle-to-grid Integration,” said Mareca Hatler, ON World’s research director.

Commercial trucks electrifying:  Truck companies building engines and supplying components for commercial trucks that don’t offer electric options will fall behind their competitors, according to a recent report to investors from analyst Alexander Potter of Piper Jaffray. Potter gave Allison Transmission Holding an “underweight” investment rating, advising investors to reduce their holdings in the company. Potter said that several companies, including engine maker Cummins and truck manufacturers Paccar, Navistar, and Scania, are investing in electric vehicle research and projects, potentially leaving Allison behind. While they’re still prototypes and pilot projects for now, the financial outlook will be affected for companies providing components to the industry, he said. Electric buses will provide some of the powertrain technology needed in heavy-duty trucks.


For Today: Tesla Model 3 ahead of schedule, Teaser video on BMW i8 Roadster

Model 3 schedule announced:  Production of the Tesla Model 3 has cleared regulatory approval and is two weeks ahead of schedule, according to a tweet last night by CEO Elon Musk. The first production model is expected to go off the line this Friday. The first 30 will be delivered to customers on July 28th at a handover party. Musk said the company expects the first 100 cars will be finished in August, and then the ramp up will start with 1,500 or more September. It’s looking like 20,000 per month can be built beginning December, he tweeted. The Model 3 is on track to break the company’s pattern of delaying production and delivery of the Model S and especially the Model X.

Safe and sane:  Green Auto Market will take the day off tomorrow for Independence Day. Have fun and expect to get stuck in traffic.

BMW video on i8 Roadster:  BMW just released a teaser video of the BMW i8 Roadster, which is scheduled to come out next year. The convertible is shown in the video with its removable hardtop in place, covered in camouflage, and being blown over in a wind tunnel. That suggests the i8 Roadster is moving forward in factory and road testing so that it can go to production level. It will be the third member of the i-Series vehicles, and BMW is expected announce the fourth member sometime this year. In May of last year, BMW’s chief Harald Kruger confirmed during a press conference in Munich that the i8 Roadster has been approved for production.