Christmas Yet-To-Come — A Gas2 EV 2018 Preview

Christmas is a time for celebrating the warmth of togetherness. We reach out to loved ones, far and near, and offer the embrace of time-worn traditions and memories of those who came before us.

But it can also be a moment in which we pause and think about what will be and what could be. In the spirit of Christmas Yet-to-Come, we thought we’d offer a little preview here at Gas2 of the EV world that is opening up to us in 2018 and beyond.

EV 2018The Little Car That Continues To Produce

The 2018 Nissan LEAF can be reserved online in the UK and Poland, with other European markets opening up quickly. To date, orders for this popular car have exceeded 10,000 across Europe. The LEAF, in case you’re just becoming familiar with the EV 2018 options open to you, is a long-range, completely electric, semi-autonomous car. Its features include nicely dynamic styling, ProPILOT technology, 40kWh battery, range to 235miles (NEDC), power to 150PS, e-Pedal, stylish 17” alloy wheels, front and rear heated black suede-effect bio-fabric seats, automatic air conditioning, NissanConnect EV 7” touchscreen, infotainment with six-speaker sound system, and an “intelligent around view monitor with moving object detection and intelligent driver alertness.” Wicked!

The no-pain digital system lets customers place an order for a 2.ZERO LEAF with a few clicks and minutes. A local dealer finalizes the order. Nissan will announce full range pricing for the next generation of the LEAF, the world’s best-selling electric vehicle, in early January 2018 with first customer deliveries beginning in February.

It Pivots, Turns, and Squeezes Where Others Fear to Go!

EV 2018Ready to go a little avante garde, a little radical? Then the EO Smart Connected Car 2 may be for you! With dimensions of  98″ long to 18, battery power of 54V — LiFePo4, and weight of 750 kg (1653 lb), all its four wheels turn 90 degrees. Its compact and kinda crazy size means it can squeeze into a motorcycle parking space. It has a top speed of 65 km/h (40 mph) and a range = 50 to 70 kilometers (30 to 44 miles).  The EO Smart Connected Car 2 can drive diagonally, sideways, pivot, and turn — all while maintaining a comfortable seating position.

Who knows how this design may influence urban driving in the EV future yet-to-come?

EV 2018: Electrify America Initiative Continues

As part of the penalties levied on them in response to the Dieselgate scandal, Volkswagen will install 2,800 plug-in electric vehicle charging “stations” in the US by June 2019. The Electrify America initiative will invest $2 billion over the next 10 years in Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure and education programs in the U.S. Over four 30-month cycles, Electrify America will invest $1.2 billion nationwide (in states other than California) and $800 million in California, one of the largest ZEV markets in the world. This investment represents the largest of its kind.Volkswagen Electrify America website

“One of the biggest barriers to the mass-market adoption of electric vehicles is access to chargers,” notes Mark McNabb, CEO of Electrify America. Here’s what VW has to say about the chargers:

“Charging stations will offer the most powerful and advanced charging technology ever deployed. 350 kW charging has the capability to add about 20 miles of range per minute to a vehicle, allowing up to 300 miles of fuel to be added in only 15-20 minutes for some next generation vehicles.”

These electric vehicle (EV) charging stations will be located in 17 of the biggest cities in the US, with about 75% of them to be situated in common workplaces and the other 25% to be located in dense residential areas such as apartments complexes and parking garages. It’s important to mention that the scale of these stations is less than might be thought, as they’ll be spread across only 500 or so sites. We’ll see what other ways VW will reconfigure its shame into helping to create the electric vehicle infrastructure we need across the US.

The Toyota EV Market Yet-To-Come

As it looks ahead to the next decade, Toyota can’t help but to recognize several factors that make its shift to EVs inevitable. Certainly, increasingly strict emissions regulations in markets like China and India — with their huge populations — are persuasive. So, too, is the expectation that solid-state EV batteries will make it to market within the next few years, and Toyota is busy working on an all-electric car with solid-state batteries that offer long range and fast recharging.

Of course, that plan involves a new chassis, a Japanese target market, and 5 years of R&D before production. In the meantime, the company will be marketing and selling over 10 all-electric vehicle models around the world by the early 2020s. That includes investing around or over ¥1.5 trillion ($13 billion) into the development of battery technology through 2030 as well.

What Van? Green Award Goes to the Renault Kangoo ZE

If it’s a larger EV you need for work or leisure, have you noticed that the Renault Kangoo ZE won the Green Award at the 2018 What Van? Awards? The ceremonies took place in London on December 13, 2017. The Kangoo ZE 33’s range and practicality pushed it to the top, surpassing its competitors.

Renault Kangoo Z. E.

Possessing a 124 mile range, the EVan is part of the larger Renault paradigm, which editor of What Van? James Dallas says is a leading commitment to “demonstrating the environmental, economical, and practical advantages of electric vans to light commercial vehicle operators.” The Kangoo ZE 33’s single battery charge is now a 60% increase compared to its predecessor and can be configured to allow for up to 640 kilograms of payload. Its more energy efficient motor can be fully charged in just 6 hours from a standard plug via a 32 amp onboard charger and is supported by the Renault Pro+ dealer network.

Tesla Pickup Truck Yet-To-Come

EV 2018
Image via Seeking Alpha

Tesla, that all-electric vehicle trail blazer, recently made weeks of headlines with its announcement of the Tesla Semi truck. The Semi is not slated for production until 2019, but many long haul transportation companies have made reservations already. Many people in the know are speculating that the Tesla Semi will dominate the market very quickly.

But an interesting side note during the Tesla Semi reveal offers a glimpse into a possible addition to the Tesla catalog: the Tesla concept pickup truck.  Tesla CEO Elon Musk joked and suggested that this pickup truck could carry another pickup truck in its back cargo bed.  Could Tesla offer an all-electric pickup that would be the first to enter the $100B market space? It would be quite appealing to a target audience that loves to take the family trip to the lake for boating or a camping vacation in the woods. Of course, it would need to come equipped with enough battery power to avoid needing to charge before returning home.

Everything that would be entailed in bringing such a large sized all-electric pickup to production seems a bit overwhelming at this writing. Then again, so did making a mass market Tesla seem beyond reach. But wasn’t 2017 the year of the Tesla Model 3? Who knows what’s in store in the EV world yet-to-come?

Photo by mag3737 on / CC BY-NC-SA/ daita on / CC BY

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+