Inside Electric Vehicles - July 14th, 2016

Inside Electric Vehicles (Jul 15th, 2016)

Sales are on the rise, prices are going down, and a new range of luxury electric cars and energy-saving technology is on the way.

Electric car sales are up despite low gasoline prices. A rollout of new and second-generation plug-in models that can go longer on a single charge may have sparked a new era in electric vehicles, while older models have made their way to a flourishing used car market. So far this year, prices for used EVs dropped 15% from the same period last year. - SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN

Chinese auto startup Future Mobility aims to launch smart-electric cars before 2020. The Tencent-backed company hopes to eventually sell several hundred thousand luxury vehicles a year around the world. It’s part of a wave of new auto companies in China, backed by deep-pocketed tech companies. - WALL STREET JOURNAL


Russia has lifted its customs duty on electric cars, which will make buying the vehicles in Russia about 15% cheaper. The Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) approved tax-free imports of vehicles equipped with electric engines. The new amendment will come into effect in September and last until the end of August, 2017. - RT.COM

Nissan Leaf electric cars from 2016 are being recalled due to an airbag fault. Faulty components in the wiring may cause an electrical problem that disables the passenger-side airbags, possibly to the point that they won’t deploy during a crash. Nissan dealers will inspect the wiring-harness connector and replace it or the airbag module if the fault is found. - GREEN CAR REPORTS


Tesla no longer guarantees your electric car’s resale value.  In a sign that the EV market is maturing, Tesla dropped its Resale Value Guarantee car buyback program established in 2013, when buying an upscale electric car was a riskier prospect. A spokesperson said the move will reduce interest rates “as low as possible” and sweeten leases and loans. - ENGADGET

Rumor has it the next BMW 3-Series could offer an all-electric version. The 3-Series has been a benchmark of the small luxury-sport sedan segment for decades. Now U.K. outlet AutoExpress claims that an all-electric variant could join the lineup, according to inside sources. They say the new chassis could borrow technology used on the latest 7-Series to make the car lighter, offsetting the weight of the rechargeable batteries. - ROAD AND TRACK

Peugeot is testing Israeli range-extender technology in a push to make electric cars lighter and more efficient. Parent company PSA Group is preparing to test battery-powered cars that recharge with an on-board generator, looking for a breakthrough in mass-market electric vehicles to catch rivals Toyota and Renault-Nissan. - REUTERS

Prices for first-generation electric cars are finally reaching affordable levels, with the Nissan Leaf, the Volkswagen e-Golf and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV among the cheapest models. High prices have been a big reason for low sales volumes, but now an EV listed at $30,000 can actually cost $22,500 or less after credits. - CHEATSHEET.COM


At Tesla Motors Club, some people continue to come to the company’s defense after the death of Joshua Brown, the first person to die while driving an autonomous vehicle on Autopilot. User EVie’sDad submitted this recent article from Jalopnik, which makes a counter-argument to the Consumer Reports post calling on Tesla to disable the system until major tweaks are made. Jalopnik’s Michael Ballaban calls this “an extreme reaction to an extreme circumstance” and continues, “To blame Tesla’s Autopilot system is, at best, premature.”

Meanwhile on Reddit, a blog post and video from Atieva about test-driving a powertrain testing delivery van called Edna is generating some buzz. The van features two electric motors, an 87 kWh battery and over 900 horsepower, and despite being much heavier it was able to beat smaller cars in races on a closed course. Redditor yazheirx said, “Every time I see something like this I remember this follows Elon’s original plan for Tesla — accelerate the move to sustainable transport. He happened to think that would be electric transport. So a step in the right direction.”


Many thanks to everyone who wrote in about range anxiety. 

How is the electric vehicle landscape going to change? Can the existing manufacturers innovate, or will some of them get left behind? Will we the core battery/EV functionality become commoditized the way engines are today?

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