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One in Five Americans Wants to Own an Electric Vehicle

But how many will follow through is another matter entirely.

by on May.08, 2018

If the new study is any indication, sales of electric cars could soon climb into the millions.

Automakers are investing tens of billions of dollars gearing up to produce a new generation of plug-based vehicles, a worrisome effort considering that all electrified vehicles – from mild hybrids to pure battery-electric vehicles – accounted for just 3% of the overall American market last year.

But a new study finds that a full 20% of U.S. motorists want their next car, truck or crossover to be electric, according to the AAA. That’s up from 15% in just a year, the travel service reports and, perhaps not so coincidentally, the increase comes at a time when manufacturers are beginning to roll out an assortment of new models that offer longer range and quicker charging at a lower cost.

Get Charged Up!

“Today, electric vehicles have mainstream appeal,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering. “While concern for the environment is still a major motivator, AAA found U.S. drivers are also attracted to the lower long-term costs and advanced technology features that many of these vehicles offer.”

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GM Getting the Weight Out with 3D Printing

Technology could mean lighter, strong vehicles, but challenges remain.

by on May.03, 2018

The technology could reduce the weight of a future Chevy Bolt - and simplify assembly.

Since the earliest days of the auto industry, manufacturers have stamped, forged, cast and molded most of the parts that go into their products, but the search for lighter cars and trucks is forcing them to search for alternative approaches.

Working with the software company Autodesk, General Motors is exploring the potential of using additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, and may introduce the technology on one of the more than 20 new battery-electric and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles it plans to bring to market over the next five years. And it isn’t alone. Niche manufacturers, such as Swedish hypercar company Koenigsegg, as well as major manufacturers BMW and Ford, are also exploring ways to utilize 3D printing.

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Tech Talk!

“This disruptive technology provides tremendous advancements in how we can design and develop components for our future vehicles to make them lighter and more efficient, said GM Vice President Ken Kelzer, head of the automaker’s Global Vehicle Components and Subsystems.

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GM Boosting Bolt EV Production as Demand Surges

CEO Barra asking Congress to expand electric-car tax credits.

by on Mar.08, 2018

There's significant room to expand Chevy Bolt EV production at GM's Orion Assembly Plant.

General Motors plans to expand production of its first long-range battery-car, the Chevrolet Bolt EV, CEO Mary Barra said during an energy conference in Houston.

The Bolt has experienced stronger than expected demand in recent months, some analysts suggesting that is the result of the slow ramp-up of production for Tesla’s own mainstream EV, the Model 3.

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Demand has also been buoyed by $7,500 federal tax credits that bring the base price of the Bolt down below $30,000. But under the current rules, GM is expected to soon see the credits phase out, something that could cut into demand, leading Barra to say that, “We feel tax credits should be expanded so our customers continue to receive the benefits going forward.”

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Your Guide to the 20 or More Long-Range EVs Coming to Market by 2020

Manufacturers betting on longer range, improved performance, lower prices and faster charging.

by on Sep.06, 2017

The 2018 Nissan Leaf.

With last night’s debut of its second-generation Leaf, Nissan becomes the latest automaker to charge into the long-range battery-electric market.

The 2018 model will travel an estimated 150 miles per charge — or nearly double what the original version of the battery-electric model delivered when it debuted in 2010. Though not quite up to the 200-plus-mile range of the new Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet Bolt, the new Nissan Leaf is expected to be part of a game-changing trend that will bring a wave of long-range battery cars to market, vehicles that will largely eliminate the concept of “range anxiety” from the vocabulary.

Stay Plugged In!

The 2018 Leaf introduces a number of new features, such as its ProPilot Assist system, while keeping the price down at $30,000 – before factoring in federal tax incentives – underscoring another critical trend in the battery-electric market: as battery costs plunge, automakers are bringing more new EVs into mainstream price segments. Add faster charging and the potential appeal of these new models grows exponentially. (more…)

Flood of Long-Range Electric Cars Set to Plug Into U.S. Market by 2020

Many will target affordable niches

by on Aug.09, 2017

Mercedes will introduce a new battery sub-brand and launch it with a version of the Mercedes-EQ Concept.

With last month’s launch of the Tesla Model 3, U.S. consumers now have two “affordable” long-range battery-electric vehicles to choose from. Those with a bit more money in the bank can also opt for the more expensive Tesla Model S sedan and Model X SUV.

There are plenty of other electric vehicles in U.S. showrooms today, though most, like the current-generation Ford Focus Electric, can manage barely 100 miles per charge. The Mitsubishi MiEV, which will vanish at the end of the 2017 model-year, can only make it 59 miles before having to plug in again, according to the EPA.

We'll Keep You Plugged In!

But the new model-year not only will bring us the new Model 3 but a complete makeover of the Nissan Leaf, which will nearly double its range to at least 200 miles per charge. And that’s just for starters. By 2020, virtually every major automaker is expected to have at least one long-range model in its showrooms. Many of them will be in affordable – that is, under $40,000 base MSRP – segments, with plenty more in premium niches.

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Voters in Trump States Less Likely to Buy Green Cars

Western motorists most open to battery-based vehicles.

by on May.11, 2017

Buyers in Trump states are more likely to view vehicles like the Toyota Prius Prime as "toys."

It’s often said that you are what you drive. And that apparently translates into how you vote.

A new study reveals that demand for battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, and other “green” cars is strongest in states that voted for Hillary Clinton in the last election, while sales of environmentally friendly vehicles is generally far lower in states that backed Donald Trump.

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The Big Picture!

“In some parts of the country buyers look at the Toyota Prius as a toy, something real men don’t drive,” said Peter Levy, CEO of the data-based car buying site Carjojo.com. “In other parts of the country, a Tesla and the Chevrolet Bolt are status symbols.”

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Autonomous Cars, Battery Vehicles and Record Sales: a Look at 2016’s Top Auto Stories

Industry at “an inflection point.”

by on Dec.29, 2016

Ford's next-generation autonomous Fusion prototype. Self-driving cars were a hot story in 2016.

Barring an unexpected, December surprise, 2016 will go out like a lion for the U.S. auto industry, automakers collectively racking up their third consecutive year of record sales. That’s an all the more massive achievement considering the decade began with the worst downturn the U.S. car market had suffered since the Great Depression.

What’s ahead for the industry is far from certain, demand showing signs of losing momentum in recent months. But what’s clear is that 2016 will not only go down in the record book from a sales perspective but that the year could be seen as marking a series of major transitions – “an inflection point,” in the words of John Krafcik, the CEO of Waymo, Google’s recently renamed autonomous vehicle subsidiary.

The Last Word!

What was once the stuff of science fiction began shifting into everyday reality this past year, with hundreds of self-driving vehicle prototypes taking to public roads across the country – some even being used as part of ride-sharing pilot programs in Pittsburgh and San Francisco.

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GM to Launch Autonomous Chevy Bolt EV Public Test

Self-driving battery car will roll off suburban Detroit assembly line.

by on Dec.16, 2016

GM CEO Mary Barra with an autonomous Bolt.

General Motors will join the growing list of automakers testing autonomous vehicles on public roads in Michigan, expanding a program that has already put 30 self-driving Chevrolet Bolt EVs on roads in San Francisco and Scottsdale, Arizona.

The new models will add the latest in sensor technology, including laser-based LIDAR, cameras and radar, and will roll off the same, Orion Township, Michigan assembly line producing the retail version of the Chevy Bolt EV. GM delivered the first retail version of the long-range battery car to three customers in California earlier this week.

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“GM will immediately begin autonomous vehicle testing on public roads in Michigan,” CEO Mary Barra announced during a news conference at the suburban Detroit plant on Thursday afternoon.

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First Drive: 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Getting charged up over battery power.

by on Dec.12, 2016

The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt can manage 238 miles from its 60 kWh battery pack, says the EPA.

It’s no surprise that the first generation of battery-electric vehicles barely registered on the U.S. sales charts. They were small, costly and, with the exception of a few luxury-priced Teslas, not very much fun to drive. Add limited range and only the most green-minded buyers were willing to plug in.

But the equation is about to change and, if a handful of new models deliver what they’re promising, we could begin to see electric propulsion move into the mainstream. First out of the box is the new Chevrolet Bolt EV. With a range of 238 miles and a price tag dipping below $30,000 – once you factor in the $7,500 federal tax credit – there’s a lot to like about the Chevy hatchback.

Stay Plugged In!

We’ve now had three stints behind the wheel of the Bolt EV, including our first drive of a pre-production prototype last January. While it may not have the cache of the Tesla Model 3 – which won’t make it to market until the second half of 2017 at the earliest – the new Chevy battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, really delivers on all its promises. It’s surprisingly quick, roomy and able to deliver nearly as much range as comparably sized gas vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Sonic.

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Getting it Right: Inside the Chevy Bolt EV Plant

by on Dec.09, 2016

A new Chevrolet Bolt rolls down the assembly line at GM's Orion Township Assembly Plant.

With the plant running at only about a third of its capacity, General Motors has dimmed the lights at much of its Orion Township Assembly Plant, save for one final station near the end of the production line. There, in a booth lit as brightly as a mid-summer’s day, a couple of hourly workers are carefully inspecting a Chevrolet Bolt hatchback.

They’re determined to make sure all the sheet metal and chrome fit together as planned, and that there are no nicks or scratches to the paint. GM can’t afford any mistakes. The Chevy Bolt EV could prove to be one of the most important products the Detroit-based automaker has launched in decades.

Plug In!

The first long-range, affordably priced battery-electric vehicle isn’t likely to generate six-figure sales. Nonetheless, it will not only demonstrate whether there’s a mainstream market for EVs but also show whether GM can appeal to the sort of buyers who have largely flocked to either imports or new start-ups like Tesla.

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