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US Electric Vehicle Sales Increased by 81% in 2018

U.S. electric vehicle sales may be finally seeing the hockey stick growth market watchers have been waiting for.

The 2018 numbers are in, and total U.S. EV sales came in at 361,307 for the year — up 81 percent over 2017 — according to the tracking website Inside EVs.

For Chris Nelder, manager of Rocky Mountain Institute’s mobility practice, the results came as a surprise.

“I did not expect the growth rate to be over 30 percent” for 2018, he said. “I expected it to be in the 20 percent range, which is where it’s been.”

“I did expect we’d have a sharp increase in the rate adoption sometime soon,” he added. “But I didn’t think it would be in 2018.”

Image from Greentech Media

Last year’s strong sales performance really came down to one thing: Tesla. The Silicon Valley automaker sold 139,782 units of the Model 3 in 2018, according to Inside EVs. Including the Model S and the Model X, Tesla was responsible for more than 50 percent of total plug-in vehicle sales last year.

The Toyota Prius Prime was the second-bestselling EV of 2018, with 27,595 units sold. GM’s Model 3 challenger, the Chevy Bolt, made the top 10 list but was well behind the market leader, with just 18,019 sales for the year.

Source: Inside EVs

U.S. EV sales to date have been underwhelming. While launching an entirely new class of vehicles is no easy feat, China has seen adoption levels surge, while European countries lead on a per-capita basis.

The U.S. EV sector has seen incremental growth over the past several years, but it has yet to reach an inflection point. And sales actually saw a dip in 2015.

Source: InsideEVs

In 2017, U.S. EV sales totaled 199,818 — up 26 percent over 2016. That number set a new record for the U.S. market, although plug-in sales barely surpassed 1 percent of total market share.

Historic EV sales growth in the U.S. has been steady, but it’s safe to say it hasn’t spiked. 2018 may prove to be the year that changed, but it will depend in large part on how well automakers other than Tesla perform.

Taking the Model 3 out of the mix, U.S. EV sales increased by only 11 percent last year, a poor showing by most standards.

But Nelder notes that many automakers were focused on introducing new EV models and retooling their production lines in 2018. While this didn’t translate to enormous sales, he believes these investments will start to pay off in the coming months.

“I think it’s going to be a whole different game,” he said. “I don’t think 2019 is going to be all about the Model 3. There are a lot more manufacturers making a lot more EVs.”

There are several new mass-market EVs available with over 200 miles of electric range, such as the Kia Soul and Kia Niro. At the same time, brands such as Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Jaguar and Audi are launching headline-grabbing high-performance electric cars — and putting real pressure on Tesla for the first time.

“In 2019, we’re going to have much more significant participation from other major manufacturers, especially in the high-end luxury crossover/SUV segment,” said Nelder. “And it’s there that I think people are going to get excited about what’s happening. That’s not the consumer model stuff that we all need and want to see, but it is the sexy stuff. It is the stuff that generates headlines and gets people to go into showrooms and gets real money to flow.”

 

US Electric Vehicle Sales Increased by 81% in 2018, by Julia Pyper, Greentech Media, January 7, 2019.

California to build liquid hydrogen production plant for the supply of fuel cell EVs

FirstElement Fuel Inc has entered into a renewable hydrogen supply agreement with Air Liquide, which in turn will invest more than $150 Million to build a new liquid hydrogen production facility. The agreement complements the deployment of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles and support the hydrogen merchant market across the state.

In addition to the long-term hydrogen supply agreement, Air Liquide has also signaled its intent to make an equity investment into FirstElement Fuel to assist the California-based company in further expansion of its retail hydrogen station network. “It’s yet another indication of the momentum for hydrogen as a replacement for gasoline”, expressed Founder & CEO of FirstElement Fuel Inc, Joel Ewanick.

“This new investment in hydrogen production accelerate the deployment of new hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles planned by automotive manufacturers like Toyota, Honda and other leading OEMs”, said Executive Vice President & Executive Committee Member of Air Liquide S.A, Michael Graff.

The arrangement will enable FirstElement Fuel to provide renewable hydrogen in its 19 retail hydrogen stations. The company is currently working on the construction of 12 more new sites. The hydrogen stations span from San Diego, throughout Orange County, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area, and out to Santa Barbara and Lake Tahoe.

California leading fuel cell EVs development

The State of California has positioned itself as the global leader in fuel cell electric vehicle deployment and is now unlocking private investment dollars on a much larger scale than ever before.

The California Energy Commission has strategically invested in launching a backbone network of hydrogen refueling stations to enable the State’s transition to vehicles with no tailpipe pollution. “A critical next step in establishing a stable hydrogen market is increasing supply while bringing down costs”, said California Energy Commissioner, Janea A. Scott.

 

California to build liquid hydrogen production plant for the supply of fuel cell EVs, by Pablo Plaza, Petrol Plaza, November 28, 2018.

MCE Launches Electric Vehicle Programs, Offers Competitive Rates

SAN RAFAEL and CONCORD, Calif. — MCE has launched a generous rebate program to lower the cost of installing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at workplace and multifamily properties. The program also offers rebates to low-income qualifying customers on the purchase or lease of new and used EVs.

“Transportation is the largest greenhouse gas-emitting sector in our service area and in California,” said Dawn Weisz, CEO of MCE. “This program is grounded in our mission and is focused on our customers — particularly those in underserved communities, reduces vehicle-related emissions, and provides greater access to EV charging where people live and work.”

EV Rebates for Low-Income Qualifying Customers

MCE is offering a $3,500 rebate for low-income qualifying customers to purchase or lease either a new or used EV. Additionally, MCE can help qualifying customers combine this rebate with Federal, State, and local incentives for a total discount of up to $12,000 for a new EV or $9,000 for a used EV. The final price of a used EV could now be as low as $2,000 after rebates. Qualifying households must receive MCE service and either be enrolled in California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE), Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA), or have an annual household income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

EV Charging Station Rebates for Workplaces & Multifamily Properties

MCE’s EV charging rebate program covers both large and small charging projects (from two to 20+ ports), allowing market rate and low-income multifamily properties and workplaces of any size and sector (including local government agencies) to save on hardware and installation costs — up to $2,500 per port. MCE will provide technical assistance in the application and installation process.

MCE’s EV program aims to add over 500 charging ports and 100 EVs to low-income households within MCE’s service area by March 2019. Improving charger access (particularly for renters and commuters) and reducing the purchasing price of EVs addresses two of the top barriers cited for owning an EV.

“MCE’s rebate program supports EV adoption by providing much-needed charging infrastructure, while making EVs less expensive than fossil-fueled cars for people who may not have the budget for car ownership otherwise,” said Contra Costa County Supervisor and California Air Resources Board Member, John Gioia. “Replacing a single gasoline-powered car with an EV eliminates an average of 4.6 metric tons of air pollution, which is like avoiding a trip of over 11,000 miles in a car.”

MCE’s EV Charging Rates

MCE’s residential EV rates are lower than investor-owned utility rates, providing EV drivers a cost-effective way of charging their car at home. MCE’s EV rates are flat, based on the time of day when a car is charged, with incentives for charging during off-peak usage hours, like at night when charging is least expensive. This helps to support the grid by shifting load away from times of the day when usage is high and there is more strain on the grid towards times when generation is plentiful and overall usage is low.

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About MCE: MCE is a not-for-profit, community choice electricity provider that provides all customers with electricity supplied from 50% to 100% clean, renewable sources such as solar, wind, bioenergy, geothermal, and hydroelectric at competitive rates. MCE provides service to approximately 470,000 California customers in Marin County, Napa County, unincorporated Contra Costa County, and the cities of Benicia, Concord, Danville, El Cerrito, Lafayette, Martinez, Moraga, Oakley, Pinole, Pittsburg, Richmond, San Pablo, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek. For more information about MCE, visit mceCleanEnergy.org.