Apr 7, 2011 (From the CalCars-News archive)
As PHEVs and EVS continue to advance, we tell you where to find sales figures for Volts and Leafs; we happily announce the Sierra Club's new plug-in campaign; and we point to a place to read Pres. Obama's speech as delivered and compare it to the prepared text. You'll also find news from Fisker, SiriusXM pricing, and an unusual PHEV bus. And -- finally -- one of CalCars' wonderful historic converted Priuses is for sale.
HOW ARE VOLT AND LEAF SELLING? We see lots of misinformation about sales volumes for the Chevy Volt (and the Leaf). At MyNissanLeaf you can find a tally broken down into US-Japan-Europe-Rest of World: http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=2883 . The cumulative totals through April 1 are 2,144 Volt and 3,782 Leaf. To see how desperate some are for the plug-ins they've ordered, one owner flew a helicopter over the Port of Los Angeles to photograph Leafs on the dock. http://green.autoblog.com/2011/04/06/aerial-shots-show-hundreds-thousands-of-nissan-leafs-waiting/
Half of the 595 Volt dealers now have demos. For more insight into Volt sales, see http://gm-volt.com/2011/04/06/chevrolet-volt-selling-as-planned-and-a-bright-new-star-for-the-new-gm/ which explains that the 10,000 Volts to be sold in 2011 don't include 5,000 for international customers, and you need to add to the 45,000 planned for 2012 another 15,000 internationally, including Vauxhall and Opel Amperas.
SIERRA CLUB LAUNCHES PLUG-IN CAMPAIGN: After seven years in which we've chronicled the Sierra Club's position as "missing in action," first questioning the environmental benefits of electric miles, then placing big bets on hybrids and natural gas, we now enthusiastically welcome its "GoElectric" campaign. The Club's policies are determined by its 1.3 million members organized in local groups and regional chapters. Many thanks to new Exec. Dir. Michael Brune (formerly at Rainforest Action Network) and the internal advocacy efforts of chapters in California and elsewhere. All helped evolve the views of this 119-year-old organization. See http://www.sierraclub.org/electric-vehicles/factsheet.aspx for an excellent fact sheet and http://www.sierraclub.org/electric-vehicles/myths.aspx for one of the best "Myths vs. Reality" presentations we've seen. See an interview with the campaign's new director, Gina Coplon-Newfield at http://solarchargeddriving.com/news/interviews/637-new-sierra-club-electric-car-czar-talks-up-plug-ins.html.
With National Resources Defense Council and World Wildlife Fund having jumped in some time ago, that leaves mainly the Environmental Defense Fund http://www.edf.org/page.cfm?tagID=57179 and Union of Concerned Scientists http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_vehicles/ with "ecumenical, we don't choose among hybrids, hydrogen, biofuels" perspectives. They lack strong promotional efforts to their members or significant participation in naitonal plug-in advocacy efforts. And, one more time, we point at the UCS Hybrid Center to the INEXCUSABLE slide show that since February 2006 has scientist Bill Nye (who knows better) saying, "You might think that since my hybrid has electric motors, I go home and plug it in. Well, thatís not how this one works. Itís a gas-powered car. I get the high performance, low emissions, and great mileage without getting electric energy from anywhere but the carís own built-in electrical system. Thatís what hybrids can do when automakers build, and consumers choose, hybrids that help most at the pump and with the planet..." http://www.hybridcenter.org/owners/bill-nye-plugin.html We encourage members of these groups to contact their leaders!
TWO VERSIONS OF PRESIDENT OBAMA'S SPEECH ON ENERGY: Those disappointed by this important speech last week at Georgetown University may take some comfort from the fact that most reports were based on the prepared text. At ClimateProgress.org, you can compare that version with the one actually delivered at http://climateprogress.org/2011/04/04/environmentalist-what-can-we-deduce-about-obama-from-his-additions-to-his-big-energy-speech/ . Joe Romm comments, "Letís make what I think is a fairly reasonable assumption that the overwhelming majority of the changes in the speech were by Obama himself. Here then is the speech with additions in boldface and the few deletions in strike through, plus some running commentary." He notes a somewhat greater emphasis on climate change and electric vehicles -- while joining many others in saying that the President lost another opportunity to educate the public about the urgency of these issues and who and why some are obstructing critically-needed measures.
FISKER STARTS PRODUCTION: The PHEV manufacturer has begun building the Karma at a small partner facility in Sweden, for delivery later in 2011. (It was announced in 2007 and was originally expected to ship in volume in late 2009.) The sleek $95,000 luxury four-passenger vehicle will have an estimated 50-mile EV range. Supported by a $528M federal loan and several investment rounds, this vehicle will be followed by a lower-priced sedan and SUV to be built in a closed GM plant in Delaware.
PLUG-IN DRIVERS AND SIRIUSXM: The Volt's built-in satellite radio and traffic-aware navigation services are features we appreciate in our Volt (and Leaf) -- another reason why people we show them to say, "This is a real car!" As the first owners reach the expiration of their three-month trial periods, some are encountering confusing and varying responses on renewal rates. (Plus rates went up in December.) After several time-consuming conversations with customer service representatives, we got $370.90 for two years for XM Everything+Traffic/Nav for one vehicle and a further-discounted $282.16 for a second vehicle. No need to settle for less!
EUROPE: FUME-FREE CITIES IN 2050: Looking way down the road, the European Commission's Transport 2050 program calls for "emissions-free cities" by 2050, by eliminating conventionally-fueled cars, which they describe as "non-hybrids." Since conventional hybrids run on liquid fuels within very short distances, we think that in addition to improving prospects for EVs, this will encourage PHEVs whose drivers save their electric range for times they are driving in cities. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2011/03/european-commission-outlines-comprehensive-transport-2050-plan-to-increase-mobility-while-cutting-tr.html
FAST-CHARGING PHEV BUSES: We've gotten emails suggesting battery switching and charge-at-every-stop strategies for transit buses. Great minds think alike! A consortium of Swedish companies is testing the Busbaar, a fast-charging pantograph facility at either end the route of a series-electric hybrid bus. This extends the battery range rom 1-3 hours to 18, and the diesel-fueled generator ensures the bus won't be stranded in traffic or cold weather.
PLUG-IN FAMILY & PHEV FOR SALE: A Sunday front page story in the Bay Area Newsgroup chain (San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, others) included quotes featuring the Kramer-Lefkowitz family and a photo of our Volt, Leaf, and converted Prius. http://www.mercurynews.com/top-stories/ci_17764005
ADVT: Our first PHEV owned by a consumer driver is for sale. As it was seen and driven by leaders http://www.calcars.org/photos-leaders.html and celebrities http://www.calcars.org/photos-people.html , this car helped prove what was possible and helped build our campaigns. We even flew it to Washington at a critical moment! http://www.calcars.org/phevs-in-dc.html It has 97,000 (ground) miles, navigation/DVD changer, Bluetooth -- and a new Hymotion/A123Systems pack. It's gotten regular TLC from http://www.lusciousgarage.com and http://www.patsgarage.com . It's going for $15K, picked up in the SF Bay Area -- with a discount for a buyer who keeps the "Plug-OK" license plate and some of the smaller stickers on the car.