A section of Route 66 in Missouri will soon be covered in solar panels from Idaho startup, Solar Roadways. “It gets Missouri and MDOT prepared for 21st century innovations,” says Tom Blair, who heads the Road to Tomorrow initiative. “We expect them to be in place, I’m hoping, by the end of this year, maybe before snow flies.”
Originally published on EV Obsession.
Some of the factors contributing to the relatively fast adoption of electric vehicles (EV) in some American metropolitan markets have been identified and characterized by a new study from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT).
The dominant ones, according to the new report, are: stronger consumer incentives, a broader range of offerings, stronger promotional activities, and a more developed charging infrastructure.
The new findings are the result of an analysis of actions taken by various state + local governments and utility companies to spur EV adoption in the 25 most populous American metropolitan areas. These 25 areas represent roughly 42% of the total population, 67% of new EV registrations, 46% of vehicle sales, and 53% of the total EV charging infrastructure in the country.
The report also analyzes the various benefits to end users of EVs in specific cities — as well as aiming to differentiate the causes of market uptake in different cities.
The 25 cities in question altogether possessed an average of 1.1% of total vehicle sales being electric — roughly 40% higher than the nationwide average. The 7 top cities — San Diego, Seattle, Portland, LA, Riverside, San Francisco, and Atlanta — have an EV uptake between 2 and 7 times higher than the countrywide average.
The 4 primary conclusions of the study are that: 1) policy is actively driving EV adoption in many cities (manufacturers are specifically targeting these cities); 2) different cities have used different approaches to boosting sales (all of which seem to have been effective to some degree); 3) best practices are beginning to emerge, it seems (which appear to support the “ecosystem approach”); and 4) cities are the focal points of cooperation between the various actors (auto manufacturers, governments, utility companies, businesses, and EV advocates).
“The roles of automaker marketing efforts, dealer actions, and utility action to promote electric vehicles seem clearly important and deserve greater study. Cases like Atlanta, where there has been success that is built almost exclusively upon one particular model (ie, the Nissan LEAF), point to the need for further analysis of the underlying causes. Also, smaller and mid-sized cities that are outside this study’s scope are innovating with electric-drive policies and have greater electric vehicle shares; these cities could be an important source of further lessons.”
To learn more, check out the full report.
Images via ICCT
Originally posted on EV Obsession
Last year Missouri car dealers attempted to halt sales of the Tesla Model S with a last-minute change to legislation.T hat rider was eventually dropped from the bill, allowing Tesla to continue with its direct sales strategy, but the Missouri Auto Dealers Association, or MADA hasn’t given up.
A lawsuit filed by MADA against the state of Missouri seeks to halt Tesla sales, saying the direct sales model creates a “non-level playing field”, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Lawsuit aside though, that doesn’t change the fact that the language of the law prohibits manufacturers from selling vehicles in competition with existing franchise dealerships. But since Tesla has no established franchises dealerships, Missouri’s then-acting Department of Revenue chief explained that Tesla was operating within the law as it was written. That’s why MADA tried to get the law changed.
But when that didn’t pan out as hoped, it was only left with the litigation option, though the outcome isn’t likely to change. Despite being on the absolute opposite end of the political spectrum from Massachusetts, Missouri is likely to come to the same conclusion as the Commonwealth; Tesla isn’t breaking any laws, as the law is written.
Car dealers across the country have been scrambling to contain Tesla’s direct sales model, meeting with success in some die-hard conservative states (and getting them nominated for a Luddite Award in the process). There’s even been a national campaign to explain how car dealers manipulating sales process is somehow good for car buyers, even though just about everybody has a horror story about buying a car, new or otherwise. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so transparently loaded with lies about how manufacturers would attempt to screw customers if direct sales were the status quo. Yet when you ask buyers of the Tesla Model S how the purchasing experience was, they’ll gush about it for as long as you’ll listen.
This lawsuit against Tesla is the last desperate attempt by Missouri car dealers to prevent consumers from realizing, yes, there is a better way to sell cars. That way is the Tesla way.
The scumbags that make up the car dealership lobby are at it again, this time sneaking a language into an unrelated Missouri bill that would ban Tesla’s direct sales model. There has been no public debate about this bill, and it’s already been passed by the Missouri state Senate, leaving little time for Tesla to mobilize its troops.
Missouri legislators added language to bill HB 1124, a bill originally pertaining to off-road and all-terrain vehicles, that would force car buyers to get their cars through a dealership, rather than through Tesla. Currently, Missouri law only prevents automakers with established dealer franchises from directly selling their cars, but the new language would make Tesla’s direct sales model illegal. Tesla currently operates a single store and service center in St. Louis, but planned to open a second one in Kansas City soon. That could all soon be in jeopardy.
HB 1124 originally passed the Missouri House of Representatives without the language, which was only added at the last minute on the Senate side, where it also passed. There has been no public debate on this law, and the fact that the dealer lobby thinks they could just slip the law in at the last minute without anyone noticing is really drives home the point that this is a group of arrogant, protectionist assholes.
Why is it only Republican-led states like New Jersey and Texas that seem to have a problem with Tesla’s innovative sales problem? Because car dealers know they’re hated, and they know their long-protected monopoly over car sales is under serious threat. People are desperate for an alternative to dealing with slimy sales people who will say or do anything to make their commission. Even members of the Federal Trade Commission (albeit unofficially) have weighed in on the issue, putting into writing what we’re all thinking.
If the car dealership model really is better than Tesla’s direct sales, prove it out in the open, instead of operating in the shadowy halls of state legislatures. Missouri’s anti-Tesla law still has to be re-signed by the House, and Governor Jay Nixon before it becomes law, so this battle is far from over. Now that the attention of EV enthusiasts across the world are focused on Missouri, those shady car dealers may be forced to slink back into the shadows from whence they came.
Source: Tesla Motors
Can the power of social media literally propel a car halfway across the country? That’s the hope of a group of high school students who converted a Karmann Ghia into an EV, with plans to drive it from Kansas City to Washington D.C., but with a twist. The car will only go when it gets mentioned on social media. So you know what we have to do.
Mindddrive is the organization that helped put this project together, taking troubled teens off the streets and giving them a project they can be proud of. Using a 1967 Karmann Ghia is a great way to get the attention of old folks, while utilizing an all-electric drivetrain will please the younger, greener crowd.
It’s the third such conversion of the group, which tackled an Indy race car and a Lotus Espirt EV conversions before. I love this combination of old school meets new school, with an emphasis on engaging the younger crowd. The social media twist makes it even cooler.
The car will only move when it reads either the hashtag #MINDDRIVE or gets a mention on Twitter with the @minddriveorg, or using Facebook shares and likes. With major sponsors reaching millions of people via social media, the team should have no trouble making it from Kansas City to Washington D.C. in good time.
I’ll be sure to kick in a few tweets and likes to help them on their way, and so should you. Their journey kicks off next week, so make sure to follow and like them on Facebook now.
Source: Minddrive | Wired
Getting teenagers interested in STEM majors has proven difficult, but a Missouri-based program called MindDrive is taking outreach to a new level. This organization has helped at-risk teens build an awesome all-electric Karmann Ghia, helping them find a practical application for skills many young people dismiss out of hand.
While more young Americans than ever are heading off to college, there is a serious lack of those who want to pursue STEM majors; that is to say, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. But without engineers and math majors, you and I would lack many things we take for granted in life. Convincing kids to pursue this difficult-but-necessary majors has taken a new approach thanks to MindDrive.
The MindDrive program helps at-risk teens from poor communities around Missouri, and the project began by taking the Ghia completely apart. This allowed the teens to get to know the car, as well as figure out what needed replacing. They then rebuilt the Karmann, using an electric drive system powered by six 12-volt batteries to give the all-electric Ghia a top speed of 45 mph and a range of around 30 miles. MindDrive students have also built an all-electric Lotus that gets 300 MPGe and drove across the country last June.
Hardly groundbreaking stuff, but it is important to get the next generation to realize the important of Science and Engineering to the future of humanity. Moreover, the Ghia is still a sexy car, one that could help instill a sense of purpose in even more next-generation researchers.
Electric cars are suited to a number of short-range, city driving duties, though the jury is still out on their effectiveness as dedicated taxi cabs. That didn’t stop one Missouri company from stretching a Nissan Leaf into a limousine for a local Embassy Suites hotel. After just a few months in service though, the Leaf limo has found its way to eBay.
The work was done by Springfield, Missouri-based Imperial Coach Builders, who kept most of the Leaf’s internals intact. However, they did move the battery to the rear of the Leaf limo for weight balance, and the whole stretching process added an extra 400 pounds to the curb weight.
That likely had a serious effect on the Leaf limo’s range. So far the Leaf limo has racked up just 1,700 miles, a fairly paltry amount indicating a serious lack of use since the Leaf limo made its world debut in June of this year. But a lack of range doesn’t mean a lack of luxury, as this Leaf limo has room for four in the back in comfortable leather-lined seats.
Alas, without a minibar, television screen, or rows of LED lights, this Nissan Leaf stretch limo falls short compared to more accommodating vehicles. And unlike other electric limos like the student-designed “superbus”, the Leaf limo probably isn’t all that fast either. Perhaps that is the reason why it is up for sale on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $57,000. Maybe they would have been better off with a Tesla Model S instead?
Gas 2 author Charis Michelsen drove out to Cape Girardeau, Missouri for the 2011 Electric Vehicle Conversion Convention (EVCCON), which runs through tomorrow at the Cape Girardeau regional airport. Over the next few days, Charis will be highlighting some of the extra-special EVs at EVCCON, which run the full gamut from cringe-worthy to lust-worthy, with some old favorites that should already be well-known to Gas 2 readers.
Here’s a sample what’s coming …
- Mike Picard’s electric Willys Jeep restoration
- a plethora of electrified Porsches
- plenty of plug-in pickups
- a new, 8-passenger Toyota Prius
- a sporty electric Opel GT with a fun story behind it
… and there’s plenty more coming, as well, including a full “mega-gallery” of photos of Charis’ EVCCON favorites by Sunday afternoon … but I’m going to spoil it a bit by including some sneak-peeks, below.
Source | Photos: Charis Michelsen, at EVCONN 2011.
In the United States, Smith Electric Vehicles—headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri—is a relatively obscure commercial electric truck builder that’s only been around for a few years. But in Europe, Smith Electric Vehicles UK has been building electric vehicles for more than 80 years. In fact, they are currently the largest manufacturer of commercial electric vehicles in the world.
So it’s no surprise that a company with such a track record was chosen by the U.S. Department of Energy earlier this year to receive a $32 million dollar grant (as in never has to be paid back) to speed the deployment of demonstration commercial electric vehicles around the United States. And on Thursday (tomorrow), President Obama will be visiting the Smith Electric Vehicles plant to tout the benefits of plug-ins in our effort to wean ourselves off oil.
Smith Electric Vehicles to build electric trucks in Kansas City
Company officials at the UK-based Smith Electric Vehicles announced on Friday that they will begin manufacturing “The world’s largest battery-electric-powered truck” at a new plant in Kansas City, Missouri.
The battery-powered Newton will be the first vehicle to be produced at the new plant, but starting next year, the plant will manufacture an electric version of the new Transit Connect light-duty vehicle in collaboration with made by Ford Motor Co.