By Grant Smith and Bill Walker
President Trump's proposed budget for 2020 would eliminate the federal tax credit for buyers of electric vehicles. The oil industry is backing the proposal, as well as a bill to impose a "user fee" — that is, a tax — on drivers of electric vehicles and trucks.
- Will Koch Pull the Plug on Electric Cars? - EcoWatch ›
- Everybody Wants EV Charging Stations. Almost Nobody Wants to ... ›
- Will High-Speed Rail Ever Get on Track in the U.S.? - EcoWatch ›
By Jeremy Deaton
A driver planning to make the trek from Denver to Salt Lake City can look forward to an eight-hour trip across some of the most beautiful parts of the country, long stretches with nary a town in sight. The fastest route would take her along I-80 through southern Wyoming. For 300 miles between Laramie and Evanston, she would see, according to a rough estimate, no fewer than 40 gas stations where she could fuel up her car. But if she were driving an electric vehicle, she would see just four charging stations where she could recharge her battery.
The Tesla Model 3.
Tesla<p>"The problem is that the charging infrastructure doesn't have a viable business model yet," said David Greene, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Tennessee. "Although, there are some companies who are working on it really hard."</p><p>Private firms like <a href="https://www.evbox.us/" target="_blank">EvBox</a> and <a href="https://www.chargepoint.com/" target="_blank">ChargePoint</a> are looking to <a href="https://www.globalclimateactionsummit.org/international-infrastructure-boost-for-roll-out-of-zero-emission-vehicles-at-global-climate-action-summit/" target="_blank">radically expand</a> the number of available charging stations, but these plans depend on exponential growth in the sale of EVs. ChargePoint is looking to add 2.5 million charging stations to its global network of just 50,000, a goal it said is based on a "conservative view" of future EV sales. EvBox, meanwhile, is aiming for 1 million new charging stations. A spokesperson noted this target is "at least partly dependent on the number of electric vehicles on the road," though he was similarly bullish on the growth of EVs. Analysts expect EV sales to <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/energyinnovation/2017/09/14/the-future-of-electric-vehicles-in-the-u-s-part-1-65-75-new-light-duty-vehicle-sales-by-2050/#6fbaebffe289" target="_blank">increase</a> dramatically in the coming years, though <a href="https://nexusmedianews.com/consumers-dont-know-jack-about-electric-cars-f75892567226" target="_blank">major</a> <a href="https://nexusmedianews.com/car-companies-arent-even-trying-to-sell-electric-cars-cd11790cc994" target="_blank">roadblocks</a> stand in the way of future adoption.</p><p>Even if EV sales take off and charging stations proliferate, barriers will remain. Making EVs more viable means installing not just more chargers, but more fast chargers that allow drivers to take long journeys. The difference between a fast charger and a slow charger is the difference between a family stopping for coffee while they refuel their car and a family stopping overnight.</p>
A Chargepoint electric vehicle charging station.
Tony Webster<p>"It's 180 miles from Knoxville to Nashville. Supposedly there's a [direct current] fast charger at a Cracker Barrel in Cookville, which is almost exactly halfway, but it almost never works," Greene said. "The fact that the range is limited and the recharging time can be quite long if one does not have access to fast charging, that's another problem."</p><p>There is also the fact that the technology isn't standardized. Different cars use <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-electricity-charging/plug-wars-the-battle-for-electric-car-supremacy-idUSKBN1FD0QM" target="_blank">different plugs</a>. Ford and GM use one kind. Tesla uses another. Fast charging requires a different kind altogether. So, while charging stations <a href="https://www.plugshare.com/" target="_blank">dot the country</a>, not every station meets every driver's needs. Until manufacturers arrive at an industry standard — or policymakers mandate that standard — <br>"charging stations are going to need to have two or three different types of plugs, and people will need to be able to charge at different speeds because their car might not have a supercharger," Sifuentes said.</p><p>Sifuentes believes that policymakers have a key role to play in building out charging stations. "They have to actually put in place laws and incentives that encourage the development of the necessary infrastructure, and I think that takes place in two ways," he said. "One, encouraging utilities to do that. But also, I think we can't ignore the role that public transit plays here."</p>
Different types of EV plugs.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Jim Motavalli
The future of the auto industry is increasingly likely to be electric—although you wouldn't necessarily know that from sales numbers. Just under 200,000 plug-in cars were sold in the United States last year (out of a new-car market of 17.25 million). In California, cars with plugs made up 4.6 percent of the new-car market in 2017, while nationwide the number increased only slightly, to 1.16 percent of total auto sales. But 2018 is shaping up to be better, with 36 percent higher EV sales in the first four months than in the same period the previous year.
By Gina Coplon-Newfield and Sung-Jae Park
Recently, 10 major transnational corporations launched EV100, a new global initiative to slash emissions by increasing the number of corporate fleet electric vehicles (EV) on the road. EV100 companies, including Ikea, Unilever and HP, are committing to, by 2030, integrate EVs into their owned or leased fleets and install EV charging stations for customers and employees.
The full initial list of companies, many of which operate many thousands of fleet vehicles, includes: Baidu, Deutsche Post DHL Group, Heathrow Airport, HP Inc., IKEA Group, LeasePlan, METRO AG, PG&E, Unilever and Vattenfall. Vattenfall, the Swedish power company that serves most of Europe, intends to meet the campaign's commitments, and then some. "Replacing our whole 3,500 car fleet with EV in the coming five years, working with our customers to deploy charging infrastructure, and building northern Europe's biggest connected charging network, are three examples of actions we are taking to promote a sustainable and climate smarter living for customers and citizens," Magnus Hall, CEO of Vattenfall, said.
In Europe, electric vehicles are not just a low-emission way of getting from A to B, they are also being built as mobile generators. Newly designed Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) models can both receive electricity from the grid and supply excess power right back during peak demand.
Notably, the Parker Project in Denmark—carried out by grid integration specialists such as Enel, Nuvve and Insero, as well as automakers Nissan, Mitsubishi and PSA Groupe—has allowed V2G drivers to actually earn money just by parking the car at two-way charge stations.
Students in the Netherlands have built a biodegradable electric car that seats up to four people and can travel at 50 miles (80 km) per hour.
The "Lina" is said to be the world's first biocomposite car.
To help spur the "electric vehicle revolution," Australia will build a superhighway consisting of a network of free, fast-charging electric vehicle stations.
By Jason Mathers
The high level of confidence that automotive industry leaders have in the future of electric vehicles (EVs) has been on full display recently.
By Andy Rowell
The UK has followed France in banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040, as part of its plan to tackle chronic air pollution in cities. The government has been coming under intense pressure to act, with an estimated 40,000 people dying prematurely a year from air pollution.
By Ben Jervey
Just last week, we fact-checked and debunked every line of The Dirty Secrets of Electric Cars, a video produced by Fueling U.S. Forward, a Koch-funded campaign to push fossil fuels. That video represents the group's first public pivot from fossil fuel boosterism to electric vehicle (EV) attacks. More electric vehicle experts are also picking the video apart.
One effort is this video highlighting many of the same falsehoods we wrote about, and which adds key context about some of the video footage. Like, for instance, the fact that the photo that Fueling U.S. Forward claims is a lithium, cobalt or cerium mining operation is actually a copper mine.
By Kieran Cooke
The car maker Volvo has shed its reputation for safe but rather boring models—sledges rather than sleek runabouts—as it takes a decisive step towards electric cars.
The Sweden-based auto manufacturer—since 2010 owned by China's Zhejiang Geely Holding group—is set to become the first of the world's major car makers to wave goodbye to the traditional internal combustion engine.