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Inside Automotive (Jul 8th, 2016)

Branson is bullish on EVs, Hanergy debuts their solar-cell cars, Tesla takes June sales, Faraday Future hits a speed bump in Nevada.
THE BIG QUESTION

In an effort to get a robust dialogue going with our readers, we're going to start asking big questions about all things related to electric vehicles, and we'd love to get the most passionate responses we can out of you. Some of the questions will be broad while others will be more specialized. Any and all comments are welcome, and we'll be compiling a mailbag section curating the most interesting responses next time.  Here's today's conversation starter:

"The media credits U.S. consumers apprehension to buying an EV with a fear of what has been dubbed 'range anxiety.' Is range actually a considerable limitation given today's electric vehicles? Is it an issue for you?"

Hit reply to let us know!
China’s Hanergy Holding Group showed off four new thin-film solar-cell equipped cars in Beijing. The company boasts that each vehicle is designed to commute and even leave town without any need to plug-in. Hanergy estimates the cells have a range of about 50 miles on 5 or 6 hours of sunlight, but the car does come equipped an external charging port.  – GIZMAG

Richard Branson expects every car on the road to be electric by 2030. The Virgin boss and entrepreneur said that Formula E, the electric-only auto racing championship, is making big strides in electric vehicle technology. “What we’re doing with these race cars is pushing the technology forward so that cars one day will be able to go hundreds of miles without having to recharge their batteries.” – CNN

The British town of Milton Keynes will get 15,000 new EV parking spaces. As one of four cities given Go Ultra Low City status in a nationwide initiative to increase the uptake of electric vehicles, Milton Keynes will provide free parking, extra charging hubs and access to carpool lanes for its EV drivers. – CAR

Robert Rapier, an admitted EV skeptic, writes for Forbes that Norway, despite having the heaviest EV concentration anywhere, has not seen any kind of dip in petroleum consumption during the same period. Norway has the largest fleet of EVs per capita in the world, and they’ve averaged 110% in the area over the last seven years. (Gasoline has remained steady during those seven years, after four decades of growth preceding them.) – FORBES

Engadget calls VW’s E-Golf “an EV that’s fun instead of pretentious.” The writer refers to the vehicle as an “undercover electric car” because it resembles exactly its internal combustion engine VW counterpart. The piece praises the E-Golf’s “tight handling, solid acceleration and a deceptively large amount of storage space.” (In the comments section, TT_Guy writes “As I was saying to a colleague the other day, until you can buy a used EV for $500 it is going to be a luxury for wealthy greenies... As my father said to me over 30 years ago, if you want to change the world, invent an efficient affordable battery. He is postumously still waiting.”) – ENGADGET

The results are in for the June 2016 Plug-In Electric Vehicles Sales Report Card. Despite some nail-biting competition between the Chevy Volt and Tesla’s Model S, in the end the Model S pulled out a resounding victory and easily earned the top slot for the month’s sales chart. – CHEAT SHEET

FROM THE FORUMS
Users on the EV reddit are talking about the Schaeffler Bio-Hybrid, an odd looking concept vehicle that meets somewhere in the middle between a car and a bike. bOltzmann138e-23 says "That looks really cool, and I think it would (be) very useful in an urban environment."; Member Kichigai says "I agree it looks cool, but I disagree about it working well in an urban environment. It's too bulky to really use bike lanes or paths effectively, it's slow and large enough that motorists would complain about it as a traffic impediment, and I have no idea how you would park it."; bigexplosion is unimpressed: "I think i'd rather just have one of the current electric bikes and avoid having to find parking and looking ridiculous."



At Tesla Motors Club, users have stumbled onto a "Tesla Model S Mystery." Member Mother Frunker writes "All of the new refreshed Model S's are shipping are shipping with the integrated middle console but it DOES NOT INCLUDE REAR CUPHOLDERS. All of the new integrated center consoles that are being retrofitted INCLUDE REAR CUPHOLDERS. This is going to be a big problem for them as I can see many people requesting the console that comes with the car be removed so they can add the retrofitted one with rear cup holders."; RogerHScott jokes, "Because not everyone wants junk-collecting, sticky-beverage-consumption-encouragers in their back seat?"; Patrick W adds, "I'm pretty sure this counts as a classic First World Problem."; Member buckerine is the voice of reason: Manufacturers have to buy in bulk from their suppliers to get the best rates. So Tesla, as others have mentioned, is pretty obviously just clearing out its old inventory before it moves to the new ones. Makes sense that many of the components in the X and S are interchangeable. We'll probably see the X seats in the S and even the X door panels in the S soon. Yet another reason I've pushed delivery to March of next year."
Students at Thompson High School in Alabama are working to turn a 1974 Bradley GT II (a Beetle-based kit car known as “The Poor Man’s Ferrari”) into a relatively powerful electric vehicle. The battery compartment is made up of 40 lithium cells each powered at 3.7 volts. Working with Brian Copes, their engineering teacher, the kids are hoping to have the car primed and ready to paint Ferrari red by next month. – SHELBY COUNTY REPORTER

Since Tesla doesn’t pay for commercials, some clever and passionate fans have stepped up in their place to get the word out, creating unofficial TV spots for the Model S. While many past efforts have been made at an amateur level, the latest find is from veteran TV producer Manuel Wenger. (Wenger previously shot a commercial for the BMW i3, but that was a paying gig.) – ELECTREK

Faraday Future,  the upstart EV manufacturer who hopes to build a $1 billion factory in North Las Vegas, has yet to fully convince state treasurer Dan Schwartz to sign off on the project. Schwartz is demanding to see more transparency on the factory funding before signing off on the state bonds that will pay for the necessary infrastructure improvements. His hesitation is largely based on wanting to avoid “leaving Nevada taxpayers vulnerable to the whim of China’s volatile stock market.” (The treasurer’s critics say he is grandstanding as a step towards a run for governor, a claim Schwartz denies.) – GAS2

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