New York incentives helping sales: The state of New York’s $2,000 rebate program on plug-in vehicles has helped sales spring up 74% this year. Signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and launched on March 21, the rebate program has helped plug-in electrified vehicle sales go up from 1,476 to 2,574 units year-over-year. Most people are receiving rebates of $1,100 or more, with $3 million having been set aside by the state to fund the program through participating dealers (with Tesla not qualifying for the incentive program). More than 40% of the funds have gone to Toyota Prius Prime purchases, with the Chevy Bolt coming in second at 12%, and the Chevy Volt and Ford Fusion Energi each getting 10% of the funds. It’s all part of Gov. Cuomo’s move to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030. The state is also supporting growing its public charging infrastructure – from about 1,700 chargers currently available to about 3,000 in 2018.
New offerings expected to help EV sales: Bloomberg just published a think piece on why electric vehicles have achieved an historic year of notoriety, with the technology being seen as reaching mass market in the fairly-near future. A listing of strategically planned EVs in the next few years helps paint the picture. That product lineup includes: Audi coming out with the e-tron Quatro luxury electric SUV in 2018; it will be followed by Sportback coupe in 2019, and a third vehicle, yet to be named, by 2020. Porsche will roll out its Mission E electric sports sedan in the next couple of years, with production starting in 2019. BMW will put out a dozen new EVs by 2025, starting with an electric Mini in 2019, an X3 subcompact SUV in 2020, and 10 more by that year. Daimler will roll out the EQ sub-brand of all-electric cars, with 10 new vehicles coming out by 2022. Volvo has committed that all new models launched in 2019 or later will be offered only as hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or battery electric versions. Beyond the Model 3, Tesla will begin building the Model Y small SUV in 2019 or 2020.
SpaceX going to Mars: Elon Musk’s SpaceX company will be taking a cargo load to Mars in 2022 and a manned mission in 2024. A decade later, passengers can take trips to Mars, the company’s CEO announced Friday. The company has shrunk the size of the spaceship to make the intergalactic journey. Construction of the new ship will begin the first half of next year, he said, and it will be able to carry up to 100 passengers. SpaceX thinks it will be available to also carry passengers around the world in ultra-fast flights – such as New York to Shanghai in 39 minutes. SpaceX is one of several companies planning on taking trips to the red planet. Lockheed Martin Corp. announced its own plans for a manned Mars journey on Friday. Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space travel startup is also designing a ship that will be capable of trips to Mars. Virgin Galactic founder and billionaire Richard Branson thinks that Mars should be colonized and his intergalactic division can provide transportation.