Gas2 Week In Review, December 24: What EV is Under Your Tree?

An EV Christmas? Maybe it’s a bit ambitious to want to give the gift of a multi-thousand $$ EV to celebrate the holiday, but wouldn’t it be fun if we could? We’d be sharing a significant piece of a sustainable collective future with someone we love. The idea of a crackling fire, aromas of cinnamon and cider, and glow of a sparkling new fossil fuel free EV outside the window is certainly enough to create a festive holiday spirit!

EV Christmas

Having an EV in the yard wrapped with a bow on Christmas morning is still a relatively new phenomenon. When we look at the consumer EV market with an historic lens, we see that the 2011 Nissan Leaf and the 2012 Tesla Model S changed the traditional auto business. Nissan came to represent the needs and wishes of the average car buyer, while Tesla understood that the high-end luxury segment required a nontraditional, manufacturer-direct-to-consumer format. Each company took a different design approach as well. Nissan built a limited range city car that had a moderate price point and restrictive, long charging times. Tesla opted for a combined city/touring car with range, charging capabilities, and the associated premium pricing.

But today, range costs are dropping, and what was once a contingent of strictly combustion engine-powered vehicle manufacturers are now joining the EV momentum. Indeed, it is common to hear daily announcements of new EV commitments, with entire fleets due to be released at the beginning of the next decade.

So we turn to our EV Christmas theme this week. What benefits would you be offering if you were able to give the gift of an EV for Christmas? There are so many ways you’d be making a loved one happy! Let us count the ways:

  • lack of particulate exposure;
  • freedom from the filmy dirty feeling of gas in the car and in the air;
  • no more tedious trips to the gas station;
  • low maintenance due to fewer moving parts and less demand for consumables;
  • a $50 or more cost for a tank of gas becomes a thing of the past; and
  • saving enough money each year to cover the average family’s £645 Christmas expenditures.

Not so sure about that last benefit– the increased savings? Well, click through to the GoUltraLow cost calculator and see for yourself.  The new cost calculator tools uses the latest official (NEDC) vehicle test data and points to how electric and hybrid car drivers pay the lowest rates of VED – with no first year rate for an 100% electric vehicle.

Which Luxury EV Is Right For That Hard-To-Buy-For Loved One?

Since we’re playing EV Christmas make-believe here, let’s look at some of the latest stories on luxury EVs and see which ones might be good choices for that discerning family member.

In today’s online world, we often predict the quality of a future purchase by surveying consumers reviews. The magazine known for assessing quality, Consumer Reports, asked Tesla owners in 2017 if they’d buy the same car again as a measure of whether the car lives up to the owners’ expectations at the time of purchase. [It should be noted that Consumer Reports, as a general rule, analyzes objective data gleaned from thousands of miles of actual testing carried out at its 327 acre facility in Connecticut. These Tesla owner reviews break away from the publication’s typical inquiry format.]

With criteria of driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio system, and climate system, Tesla had a 90% approval rating. Who wouldn’t love the wow value of the Tesla’s acceleration, home charging, over-the-air updates, seating for 7, an enormous touchscreen, and a racy appearance? Your Tesla gift recipient would become part of Tesla family, able to join in the other Tesla owners who, dreamlike, follow visionary CEO Elon Musk, when his ego can make him seem like an elitist jerk.

 

But keys to a BMW EV would make a very nice gift under the Christmas tree, too. Described as one of the top luxury cars in 2017, BMW sold at least 100,000 plug-in electric vehicles in 2017 and experienced year-on-year plug-in electric vehicle sales growth of over 60%, as compared to 2016. Strong and growing demand in Western Europe and in the US translated into BMW PHEV sales. Since the introduction of the 2013, BMW has delivered over 200,000 electrified cars to their customers and by 2025, Harald Krüger, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG. says the company will offer 25 electrified models to their customers.

Maybe you’re a Scrooge who’s uncertain if BMW can sustain the longevity necessary in the luxury EV market. If so, don’t despair.  Krüger says the BMW 2020 plug-in electric vehicles sales target is for 500,000 units. The BMW EV is here to stay.EV Christmas

If you need to watch the jingle in your pocket this year as you shop for a luxury EV Christmas present, maybe the Honda Clarity could be the right fit. Its plug-in hybrid trim costs about $33,400, offers 340 miles of total range (electric and gas)/ 47 miles on electricity alone, and a 17 kWh battery pack.  A car that has matured with its years, the Honda Clarity just reaches the higher-end market — just with a more affordable price tag.

 

Battery Innovations Make EV Christmas Gift-Giving A Bit More Certain

More than a third of all cars could be electric by 2040. That fast-adoption scenario has increased the amount and quality of batteries that can meet the EV industry needs. As the EV culture adopts distinct philosophies, each satisfying a unique user group, so, too, does this become visible with vehicle sizes and the associated batteries.  Batteries are the key to the zero carbon future. But don’t let confusion about batteries keep you from giving that special person an EV Christmas gift. A number of recent R&D announcements help to assuage our stress around EV batteries.

Battery researchers at numerous labs around the world are seeking answers to concerns about batteries ranging from their high cost, large size, excessive weight, poor function in low temperatures, tendency to catch fire under certain circumstances, or lack of durability. The Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office focuses on reducing the cost, volume, and weight of batteries, while simultaneously improving the vehicle batteries’ performance (power, energy, and durability) and ability to tolerate abuse conditions.  Stanford researchers have released a paper claiming their sodium battery could compete with the lithium-ion market leader.

It’s also true that solutions for commercially viable solid-state batteries have yet to been found. But Honda has been researching all solid-state batteries, according to company spokesperson Teruhiko Tatebe.  Solid-state battery technology may be able to provide a much safer, more energy dense, and affordable solution to powering plug-in electric vehicles.

Final EV Christmas Thoughts

And even if you weren’t able to take the plunge and bring the EV Christmas spirit to your loved ones this holiday, an EV may cross your path this Christmas Day. That is, if you live in London and forgot the important batteries for those toys and games that “St. Nick” brought to your family.

Renault has launched a new campaign; a Zoe EV will deliver batteries to those who forgot to purchase them … on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Tweet #SOSBattery, and batteries will be delivered without any harm to the environment. Delivery drivers will take to the roads in the 100 per cent electric Renault ZOE. Now isn’t that a nice was to celebrate an EV Christmas?

EV Christmas
Source: ZOE Renault

 

Photo by Charles SEGUY photography on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo by caruba on Foter.com / CC BY-NC

 

 

Carolyn Fortuna

Carolyn grew up in Stafford Springs, CT, home of the half-mile tar racetrack. She's an avid Formula One fan (this year's trip to the Monza race was memorable). With a Ph.D. from URI, she draws upon digital media literacy and learning to spread the word about sustainability issues. Please follow me on Twitter and Facebook and Google+