Electronic Vehicles technologies are almost ready. What is missing?

by / Thursday, 07 April 2011 / Published in Smartgrid-CI Blog

Conflicting signals are coming from the electric vehicle market. On the one hand, consumers seem more and more interested (without really buying products) and technologies are making significant progress on autonomy and recharging time. Furthermore, Better Place’s concept of battery changing stations is ready to go.

So why is not the market is not really taking off ? One answer may be the low visibility utilities have on standards which makes them quite reluctant at investing in charging stations. At the same time, some car manufacturers do not seem to believe in electric cars.

We learn from a survey published by Edmunds that the he EV and hybrid market is growing twice as fast as the overall car market. http://www.dailytech.com/Hybrids+EVs+Grow+Nearly+Twice+as+Fast+As+Overall+Market+in+Q1+2011/article21312.htm

This is quite encouraging but not so significant when looking at the numbers.  Less than 80 000 EFV and hybrid vehicles were sold in the US in Q1 of 2011.

Good news about EV’s is numerous. A Japanese manufacturer claims that it is almost ready to deliver an electric car with more than 200 miles driving range.

This is maybe an interesting answer to the issue of autonomy that is one of the biggest impediments to the development of this market.  Furthermore, research in this area looks very promising.

More good news on EV’s, Siemens just introduced at the Hanover Fair its fast charging car station, an answer to another big impediment to the development of the EV market; long charging time.

Siemens’ new station can recharge a vehicle in less an hour which is much better than having to wait the whole night as it is the case now.

Last but not least, Better Place is launching its battery exchange stations right on schedule.


Are EV’s ready to take off? Not exactly: A report published today by Pike thinks that the lack of standards are a hurdle to the development of the EV market: “Many utilities are reluctant to make long-term investments in IT systems that will be necessary to support EV charging, often due to state-level regulatory structures that discourage such spending, and as a result they may playing catch-up as more and more electrified vehicles drive off dealers’ lots.”


But the biggest threat may be the lack of enthusiasm of some car manufacturers. Fiat could be one of them. The Italian company that is involved in a strategic partnership with Chrysler is about to launch an electric version of its Fiat 500. This vehicle, very similar to a Mini, will come with a sticker price of $45000, three times higher than the price of its regular version.  And even so, Fiat (or Chrysler, that will distribute this car in the US next year) will lose $10000 per car sold. There is nothing to worry about for Fiat’s balance sheet , only a few only a few hundred s units  are scheduled to hit the market next year; http://motorcrave.com/chryslers-ev-loses-10000-a-sale/10417/

Speaking of a modest ambition.

The stories used to put together this post are some of the 54 stories that were published in Smartgrid-CI today. Smartgrid-CI is the most comprehensive news and competitive intelligence source available on the smart grid.
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