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These are the cheapest electric vehicles in the US today

Electric cars have a reputation for being more expensive than their traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts. But improvements in technology mean that the gap is closing every day — up to the point where many electric cars are cost-competitive with their petrol-based equivalents.

There’s a considerable selection of affordable electric cars that provide all the benefits of an EV without really breaking the bank. Here’s our list of our favorite cheapest electric cars available in the US today — and you should be paying attention to cheap EVs.

The Mini Cooper SE, the cheapest one. Image credit: Wikipedia Commons.

Why cheap electric cars matter

As the name suggests, electric vehicles run (at least in part) on electricity. Instead of having an ICE, they are powered by electric motors for propulsion. The motor derives energy from rechargeable batteries (typically lithium batteries).

EVs have actually been around for more than a century but not until recently they have become mainstream around the world, and they offer a few important advantages compared to “regular” cars.

Thanks to not having a clutch, gearbox, and even an exhaust pipe, they are significantly quieter and offer a smoother ride than conventional gasoline-driven vehicles. Until recently, standard EVs were capable of covering somewhere between 93 and 105 miles (150 km to 170 km) before needing to be recharged, with variations depending on the actual model. But now, it’s not uncommon for electric cars to have autonomy well over 200 or even 300 miles.

As well as being two to four times more efficient than ICE engine models, electric vehicles can reduce the world’s reliance on oil-based fuels and can deliver significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Plus, they are well suited to solve air pollution issues, a global health problem, and can drive advances in battery technology.

Electric vehicles fleets are currently expanding at a fast pace in several of the world’s largest vehicle markets. This is thanks to a dropping costs of batteries and EVs and an expanding charging infrastructure network. Charging stations are usually installed by utility companies as on-street facilities. They can even be situates at workplaces.  

“While they can’t do the job alone, electric vehicles have an indispensable role to play in reaching net-zero emissions worldwide,” Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, said in a statement. “Current sales trends are very encouraging, but our shared climate and energy goals call for even faster market uptake.”

EV sales rose 41% (to about three million electric cars) in 2020, with Europe overtaking China as the world’s main buyers, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Sales will continue growing through this decade, with the number of EVs registered around the world increasing from 10 million today to 145 million in 2030, IEA said. 

Similar optimism is shared by the consultancy HIS Markit, which identified 2027 as the “tipping point” for EVs. That year, EVs will reach manufacturing cost parity with ICE vehicles in Chile and soon thereafter in the EU and the US. Of the forecasted 89 million vehicles sold in 2030, the consultancy predicts 23.5 million will be electric (about 27%). 

There are plenty of options to choose from regarding electric vehicles, at least in the US. But how expensive are they and which is more convenient? We compiled a list of the cheapest models currently available in the market. They all have different features, with the main differences being the autonomy they offer and the level of comfort.

Mini Cooper SE ($30.750)

Image credits: Marco Verch.

While Mini vehicles ARE USUALLY more expensive than their mainstream counterparts, the company is now trying something different with its Mini Cooper SE — the cheapest electric car on sale today in the US. With an estimated 100 miles of range, it can travel less than other models but it’s still enough for most commutes. 

Mini had already released an electric vehicle in 2008, the Mini E, but it was the release of the Cooper SE in 2020 that gave the company a fully sorted electric runabout. It’s a tiny two-door with a fast charger that can restore 80% of its range in just 40 minutes. It’s stylish, affordable and quick but it’s also the lowest-range EV currently on sale. 

The autonomy of the Mini Cooper SE comes at about 115 miles (185 km). Its closest competitors, the 40-kWh Nissan Leaf and Hyundai Ioniq achieve 149 and 170 miles, respectively. The Cooper SE is powered by an electric motor between its front wheels that’s fed by a 32.6-kWh lithium-ion battery. In a test run by MotorTrend, it sprinted to 60 miles per hour in six seconds, faster than other models from Mini. 

For the price, the electric Mini is a pretty good alternative for city usage. You won’t go very far on it outside town, but it’ll easily get you through most days.

Nissan Leaf ($32.620)

The Nissan Leaf is the second-least expensive electric vehicle in the US, with 149 miles of range in its affordable base trim. It has a slightly better autonomy than the Mini, and an optional larger battery-pack version is also available, enabling the Nissan Leaf to travel up to 226 miles. The car made its debut over ten years ago with a range of 73 miles and has been regularly improved with new models ever since.

The Nissan Leaf. Image credit: Wikipedia Commons.

The Nissan Leaf comes standard with a 40-kWh lithium-ion battery and an electric motor that makes 147 horsepower (hp). Plus versions up the ante with a 62-kWh battery and a motor with 214 hp. It benefits from a quiet ride with little road and wind noise entering the cabin but it has limited storage and back seats that don’t fold flat. 

Its e-Pedal feature allows the driver to shift between regenerative braking modes. One mode allows the car to coast when the driver lifts off the throttle and another that slows the car when the drivers take the foot off the gas and uses that energy to recharge the battery. It can be plugged either into a 120-volt or to a 240-volt outlet. 

Hyundai Ioniq Electric ($34.250)

With impressive specs as well as a refreshing new look at car design, the Ioniq Electric is the third-least expensive electric vehicle in the US. It has a 170-mile range, which is probably enough for most daily driving scenarios but it’s still below some of the competition. Other electric vehicles like the Tesla Model 3 offer 250 miles range at a higher cost.

The Hyundai Ioniq. Image credit: Wikipedia Commons.

The Ioniq has a 38.3-kWh battery, which powers a 100-kW electric motor. The charging ability is one of its most impressive features, supporting both 400V and 800V charging without additional adapters. This means that it can charge from 10% to 80% in 18 minutes with a 350kW charger. Or that you can get 100km of range in five minutes. 

It’s equipped with an eight-inch touchscreen that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with Bluetooth connectivity. There are two front-row USB ports and an eight-speaker premium audio system. The Ioniq is compatible with Hyundai’s Blue Link smartphone app, which allows remote monitoring and control of vehicle functions.

Chevrolet Bolt ($37.495)

The Chevrolet Bolt EV is one of the older cars on this list and one of the least expensive ones in the market today. It offers 259 miles of total range and a roomy interior, with accurate steering and linear acceleration. The range number is competitive with other mainstream EVs including the Kia Niro and the Tesla Model 3.

The Chevrolet Bolt. Image credit: Wikipedia Commons.

The Bolt charges at a rate of four miles per hour with a standard 120-volt portable charge cord and reaches a full charge in about 10 hours with a 240-volt cable. Under the metal, it packs a front-axle motor and 66-kWh lithium-ion battery. Critics have said that it’s a bit plasticky and with overly firm seats, but overall a very decent EV option.

It features a 10.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system with popular standard features. A subscription-based Wi-Fi hotspot and wireless smartphone charging are also available. The Bolt also includes standard and optional driver-assistance technology, including a 360-degree camera and a rear cross-traffic alert system.

Hyundai Kona Electric ($38.565)

Like the regular Kona, the electric version drives very well and has a decent acceleration. However, as it happens frequently with electric vehicles, brake feel isn’t very progressive. It has a long range of 258 miles, which should be enough to cover most daily driving needs. In testing, it accelerates to 60 mph in just 6.6 seconds.

The Hyundai Kona Electric. Image credit: Wikipedia Commons

The Kona Electric carries a 64.0-kWh battery, which powers a 150-kW electric motor. It has two USB ports and a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen that includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth streaming. The cabin is made from quality materials and feels comfortable, and the cargo area can fit five carry-on suitcases. 

The latest 2022 version includes new front and rear bumpers, new wheel designs, and a tweaked interior. Blind-spot monitoring and automated emergency braking are standard across the range, but adaptive cruise control is only offered on the top-spec Limited model. Overall, it’s a fine basis for an electric vehicle and at a good value. 

Tesla Model 3 ($38.690)

You wouldn’t expect to see a Tesla on any cheapest list, but the company is no longer just offering high-end cars. Tesla’s Model 3 is the cheapest electric car of the company and an attractive proposition, with 263 miles of range and zero to 60 miles per hour in just 5.3 seconds – figures that many of the cheaper EVs on this list can’t match. It’s a game-changing electric vehicle, with a generous range that’s more accessible to average consumers.

Tesla Model 3. Image credit: Wikipedia Commons

It has a minimalist interior design, a wireless charging pad, USB-C ports, a power-operated trunk and 19-inch wheels. And, even more impressively, its Smart Summon function allows the Model 3 to drive to pull out of its parking spot and come to your location autonomously. It works through an app and you have to be within 200 feet. 

Still, not everything is perfect with the Model 3. Nearly everything is controlled via the massive touchscreen and that creates a significant learning curve. The menu layout might be simple but there’s still too many submenus to go through to do simple tasks like adjusting the steering wheel. Also, too much road and tire noise enter the cabin. Although, having said all this, at the end of a the day — it’s still a Tesla.

Kia Niro EV ($40.265)

With long and low proportions, the Kia Niro EV looks more like a tall wagon than a crossover. Kia’s all-electric vehicle, which is also available with gas-only and plug-in-hybrid powertrains, is fairly attractive and packed with desirable standard features. It has a range of 239 miles, which is good for most driving duties besides long road trips.

The Niro EV. Image credit: Wikipedia Commons

The Niro EV is powered by a single electric motor that produces 201 hp, sent through the front wheels by a one-speed by a one-speed direct drive transmission. It reaches 60 miles per hour in just 6.5 seconds, which is faster than the Chevy Bolt and slower than the Hyundai Kona Electric. It has a 65KwH battery capacity, in line with the rest.

The battery can be recharged using either a 120-volt or 240-volt connection, but the two connections offer different charge times. On a 240-volt connection, the car can be recharged in about nine hours. If you can’t wait that long, the EV offers standard DC fast charge capability, allowing you to recharge the battery to 80% in an hour with a 100-kW connection.

Ford Mustang Mach-E ($43.995)

The Mustang Mach-E is Ford’s first all-electric crossover, designed and named after the company’s iconic pony car. It’s available with either a standard-range 75.7Kwh battery or an extended -range 98.8kWh pack. These feed an electric motor mounted on the rear or both axles. It can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in just 3.5 seconds. 

Ford Mustang Mach-E. Image credit: Wikipedia Commons

The EV has an estimated range of between 211 and 305 miles, depending on the battery pack and type of electric motor, which isn’t as impressive as other EVs. Every model has a fast-charging capability. The Mach-E comes with a Ford mobile charger that can add 30 miles of range with a 120-volt outlet, and up to 80% of battery life with a 240-volt outlet. 

The battery is located under the floor of the car, which allows to optimize cargo and passenger space. Unlike its exterior, the inside of the Mach-E doesn’t have much in common with the regular Mustang. Its dashboard has an attractive digital gauge cluster, dominated by a touchscreen. It also has heated front seats and a panoramic sunroof.


 The electric car market is shifting rapidly, offering quick progress almost from month to month. No doubt, by the end of the year, we’ll have even more cars to add to this list. We’ll do our best to keep it updated if this page garners interest.

Electric bikes outstrip electric car sales in the UK in 2020

Credit: Pixabay.

Advances in Li-ion battery technology have not only propelled the electric car industry but also new markets such as e-bikes. Although the first patent for an electric bike can be traced to 1895, it’s only recently that this niche industry boomed. They’re particularly popular in the UK where sales during the first year of the pandemic surged. According to an annual market review by the Bicycle Association in the UK, e-bike sales far outstripped those of electric cars.

The review notes that 160,000 electric bikes were sold in 2020, or almost one e-bike every three minutes, whereas electric cars garnered 108,000 sales.

The comparison may sound unfair considering the much higher cost of an electric car. However, it’s worth noting that e-bikes are not eligible for hefty subsidies, unlike electric car buyers who receive discounts worth thousands of pounds from the government.

In any event, the fact that both segments are growing rapidly is good news as the UK struggles to transition to more environmentally friendly transportation. By 2035, the sale of all fossil fuel cars will be banned under the country’s green recovery plan.

The Bicycle Association claims that the e-bike market was worth  £2.3 billion in 2020, up 45% year-on-year. Around 64,000 jobs are directly attributed to the segment in the UK. This trend is expected to grow rapidly over the coming years.

Deloitte projected a bull market for e-bikes in late 2019, predicting “that tens of billions of additional bicycle trips per year will take place in 2022 over 2019 levels. This increase in bicycling will double the number of regular bicycle users in many major cities around the world where cycling to work is still uncommon.”

Between 2020 and 2023, 130 million e-bikes will likely be sold, Deloitte found. These predictions were made before the pandemic which has greatly accelerated interest and sales in e-bikes. More and more people are now recognizing the need for recreation, fitness, and commuting as an alternative to car-based trips and crowded public transit.

E-bikes appeal to a wide swath of people because they combine the best of both worlds thanks to an electric motor that assists pedaling. You can ride an e-bike in three distinct modes: purely under human power, purely under electric power, or a combination of motor-assisted pedaling for easier work and higher speeds (50% higher speed on average).

They’re eco-friendly, compact, and help you stay in shape. When you run out of breath, you can also switch to electric mode and let the battery do all the hard work. They’re also great for making off road trips together with people who otherwise couldn’t have kept up with a bike climb up mountain passes or across lengthy and rough terrain.

For commuters, e-bikes can sometimes be faster than either cars or the subway depending on the urban environment. The motor-assisted mode allows commuters to go to the office without fear that sweat might stain their clothes. And unlike electric cars that require special charging stations, the lightweight e-bike can be charged virtually anywhere you can find a plug.

The e-bike has come a long way since the trusty ‘moped’ that first successfully combined a bicycle with a motor scooter ages ago. Now, e-bikes are poised to go mainstream so don’t act surprised if they take over.

Norway is already selling more electric vehicles than conventional ones

Norway has become the first country in the world to sell more electric vehicles (EV) than petrol, hybrid, and diesel engines, figures from 2020 show. The achievement is part of a long-term government scheme to lead the EV revolution, giving tax breaks and financial incentives to encourage the purchase of more sustainable vehicles.

Image credit: Flickr / CityOfStPete

Electric vehicles accounted for 54.3% of new car sales in 2020, up from 42% in 2019, according to figures published by the Norwegian Road Federation (OFV). Meanwhile, vehicles with diesel-only engines have fallen from a peak of 75.7% of the Norwegian vehicle market in 2011 to just 8.6% last year.

Carmakers have had plenty of reasons to celebrate. Volkswagen’s luxury brand Audi was the market leader in 2020, according to OFV’s report, selling 9,227 of its e-tron vehicles in the country. Tesla’s Model 3, the 2019 leader, was pushed into second place with 7,770 sales. Volkswagen’s ID.3, a compact electric car, ranked third with 7,754 cars sold.

Øyvind Thorsen, the chief executive of OFV, said that with these numbers the country is well-positioned for its 2025 target to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars. EV’s would surpass 65% of the Norwegian market in 2021, according to a forecast by the country’s EV Association, which anticipates that sales will continue to grow.

More models are expected to be brought onto the Norwegian market later this year, helping sales move forward even more. Tesla’s mid-sized sports utility vehicle, the Model Y, will arrive in Norway over the next few months, as will the first electric SUVs from Ford, BMW, and Volkswagen, according to OFV’s report. In other words, the surge of electric cars shows no signs of slowing down.

Although unit sales are higher in China and the US, Norway is usually described as the poster child of the EV revolution. That’s because there are more EVs on Norwegian roads as a proportion of total vehicles than anywhere else in the world. It’s all about an electric transformation in this small country with just five million people, which owes much of its status to oil.

Nowadays though, almost all of Norway’s domestic energy comes from hydropower. This means that a switch to EVs is a much greener equation than for countries that rely on fossil fuels for their electricity. To make the switch, the government has been investing a lot since 1990 in charging infrastructure and financial incentives.

The government gave plenty of incentives to EV owners such as lowering road tax, removing charges for toll roads and public ferries, and offering free parking in municipal car parks. The sales tax was also removed from new EV purchases in 2001 and drivers were allowed to use bus lanes from 2005 onwards.

But it’s not just about cars, as Norway wants to revolutionize other ways of transportation. Scandinavian Airlines is working with Airbus on hybrid research and Avinor, the state-owned operator of the country’s airports, said it wants to use electric-powered aircraft on short-haul flights by 2030. The country also is a world leader in the transition to battery technology for shipping.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg spoke last year on the importance of electrification. “For most countries, the first phase of the green shift is the transition from coal to renewables. Thanks to our waterfalls, Norway has already entered the next phase: How can we use our clean energy to electrify other sectors? We need to replace the fossil fuels used in other sectors,” she said.

ZeroLabs’ electric platform converts vintage cars into EVs

Credit: Zero Labs.

What if you could turn your beloved vintage Bronco or Land Rover into an electric vehicle? A daring Californian startup is now offering the tools to turn any classic automobile into a full-fledged automobile to make sure no one gets left behind in the impending EV revolution — not even vintage car nostalgics.

The future of four-wheeled transportation is electric. I think no one doubts that anymore — at least not many governments who have announced a ban on the sale of new diesel- or gasoline-powered automobiles starting from 2025 to 2035, depending on the country you ask. Although conventional automobiles will likely still be allowed on the streets after this phase-out, don’t expect that to last long. In any event, it will likely be so expensive to own a fossil-fuel-powered car due to taxes and the lack of spare parts, that few will want to drive one anymore.

This means that vintage cars are either destined to gather dust in a private collection or straight for the scrapyard — but not if ZeroLabs, an L.A. startup founded in 2015 by a former advertising executive, can help it.

The company has developed an electric platform that provides virtually any vintage, discontinued model with a base to turn it into an EV. First, the vehicle is stripped of almost everything under the hood. Next, the steering controls and dashboard are hooked into the new electric drivetrain — a 600HP dual-motor drive with regenerative braking, modular battery system, independent front and rear suspension. Since the wheelbase and ride height, the platform can be customized to fit any model.

Some may be of the opinion that a classic car without its original engine or drive line can’t be called a classic car anymore. What’s certain is that this isn’t a concept for just anyone’s taste nor anyone’s pocket. One vintage Ford Bronco that was fitted with a 70kWh battery pack and a 434bhp, 277lb ft BorgWarner permanent magnet motor cost $160,000 to customize, according to Top Gear.

Credit: Zero Labs.
Credit: Zero Labs.
Credit: Zero Labs.
Credit: Zero Labs.
Credit: Zero Labs.
Credit: Zero Labs.

Japan plans to join the pack and ban sales of new gasoline cars by 2030

Japan will soon join the growing list of countries set to ban sales of new gasoline-engine cars. The new policy, which should be announced as soon as next week, would ban sales by the mid-2030s, encouraging instead the use of electric or hybrid cars across the country to lower the country’s carbon emissions.

The streets of Tokyo. Image credit: Flickr / SoulSonic

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga wants to accelerate the decarbonization of the automobile industry as part of the country’s climate goals. Japan has already committed to being carbon neutral by 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, but questions remain on how it will accomplish this.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry will hold a meeting next week with automakers representatives to discuss the details of the policy to reduce the use of gasoline vehicles. Electric and hybrid cars currently account for about 29% of the country’s 5.2 million new registration.

Japanese manufacturer Toyota was among the first producers to popularize hybrid vehicles years ago with the Prius and now, Japanese automakers are considered the world’s top producers in the segment. Nevertheless, the domestic market for electrified vehicles has plateaued in recent years, with registrations in decline last year.

If the government moves forward with its plan, “pure gasoline vehicles will likely disappear from Japanese roads by 2050,” Satoru Yoshida, a commodities analyst at Rakuten Securities, told Bloomberg. This would lead to a decline in gasoline demand, depending on the number of hybrid cars, as they are partially based on gasoline.

Still, Yoshida said Japan will likely seek to keep hybrid vehicles on the road considering a complete halt in production of gasoline engines would negatively affect small factories and parts-suppliers. This means the transition to transportation that doesn’t rely on polluting fossil fuels might take a longer time.

Japan was the sixth-largest contributor to global greenhouse emissions in 2017, according to the International Energy Agency. Following the meltdown in Fukushima, after which the nuclear reactors were shut down, the country has struggled to reduce its carbon emissions. Its reliance on fossil fuels only increased since then.

The country has regularly received criticism for continuing to build coal-fired plants at home, as well as financing projects to build them abroad, especially in Southeast Asia. Japan currently has 140 coal-fired power plants under operation, which provide a third of its total electricity generation.

Nevertheless, Japan has taken some steps to reduce its emissions. The country’s upcoming plan for cleaner vehicles is part of a global trend of reducing sales of diesel cars. China, the largest vehicle market in the world, has already announced a plan to phase out sales of conventional by 2035. The UK also set a goal for 2030, while France and Singapore hope to achieve this by 2040.

Electric cars will likely be as cheap as regular ones by 2024

In just three years, the cost of manufacturing an electric car could be the same as that of a conventional car (with internal combustion engines), according to a report by the investment bank UBS. While this could mean that the shift away from fossil fuel vehicles is closer than expected, some challenges remain.

Credit Flickr Open Grid

The extra cost of manufacturing batteries for electric cars versus their fossil fuel equivalents will drop to $1.900 per car by 2002 and disappear completely by 2024, according to the analysis done by UBS. This is based on a detailed analysis of batteries from the seven largest manufacturers in the world.

Matching the cost of batteries with that of internal combustion engines (ICE) is considered a big milestone in the world’s transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Carmakers have so far been reluctant to stop producing ICE and move to electric cars due to the high cost of batteries, which are mainly produced by Asian companies.

Batteries account for between a quarter and two-fifths of the cost of the entire vehicle. UBS said it expected battery costs to drop to below $100 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) by 2022. Carmakers that hang on to ICE sales risk being left behind by rivals who are betting on electric cars such as Tesla and Volkswagen, the bank argued.

“There are not many reasons left to buy an ICE car after 2025,” Tim Bush, a UBS analyst, told the Guardian. He said that the drop in the costs of batteries will make hybrid vehicles, which combine a battery and a conventional engine, irrelevant based on a financial point of view.

A fast drop in battery costs, as well as fleet tracking software, are expected to promote a faster switch to electric vehicles than previously expected. Sales of electric cars are booming in Europe and China, even despite the pandemic. Matthias Schmidt, an independent car analyst, told The Guardian a million electric and hybrid cars will be sold in the EU in 2020 out of 11 million.

More than seven million electric vehicles are currently operational around the world. That’s a big step from the 20,000 that were in use a decade ago. Governments are betting on their expansion. Norway plans to ban sales of new internal combustion engines by 2025, with the Netherlands following suit by 2030.

Still, there are several barriers to overcome apart from cost. A study earlier this year showed a fleet of 350 million EVs would increase annual electricity demand by 41% of current levels. This would require a major investment in new infrastructure and new power plants, some of which would run without fossil fuels.

The shift to EVs would also impact the demand curve, which shows how demand for electricity rises and falls throughout the day, which would make the management of the national grid more difficult. At the same time, the researchers said there could be technical challenges regarding the supply of materials such as lithium needed for the vehicle’s batteries.

Electric cars emit more than ‘regular’ ones? Not so fast, new research shows

Pick a region of the globe — any region. There’s a 95% chance electric cars in that area will be greener than petrol cars, even if the electricity comes from fossil fuels. In some areas, the difference is already huge.

A sight that’s bound to become more and more familiar: an electric car being charged. Image credits: Chuttersnap / Unsplash.

The sale of electric cars is taking off in the world. Places like Scandinavia, China, California, or Japan are leading the way, but the rest of the world is also catching up. It’s a bumpy road, however, and misleading myths aren’t helping.

A particularly pervasive myth is that electric cars aren’t really that eco-friendly, that they produce more emissions than regular old cars. But while electric cars have their own environmental concerns (especially in regards to the elements in their batteries), when it comes to emissions at least, electric cars are almost always better. A study recently published in Nature clearly shows it.

The new research from the universities of Nijmegen in The Netherlands, and Exeter and Cambridge in the United Kingdom, shows that in 95% of the world, driving an electric car produces fewer emissions than a petrol car.

The team split the entire globe into 59 regions and found that in 53 of them (covering 95% of the global landmass, and including the US, China, and Europe) electric cars are already less emission-intensive than fossil-fuel alternatives.

The study covered the entire lifecycle assessment of cars, including production and driving emissions, and the differences were striking.

In countries like Sweden and Denmark (which get most of their electricity from renewables) or France (which is largely powered by nuclear), the margin is particularly large: electric cars emit about 70% less over their lifetime. But what’s perhaps more surprising is that even in countries where the bulk of the electricity comes from fossil fuels, electric cars still produce fewer emissions.

For instance, in the UK, renewables account for around 20% of the country’s electricity, and still, electric car emissions are 30% lower on average. Of course, there are substantial differences between different types of cars (which is also why it’s so difficult to carry out reviews and averages as there are so many different parameters to consider) — but when we take into consideration all the cars on the street, from newer, efficient cars, to high emission junk cars, electric cars seem to fare better.

This is in line with previous estimates (and even a bit more conservative than some). For instance, a 2019 lifetime assessment in the UK found that a Nissan Leaf EV, one of the most popular electric cars, produces three times fewer emissions than the average conventional car, even before accounting for the falling carbon intensity of electricity generation forecasted for the future.

It’s worth noting that sometimes, analyses come with different conclusions. Most notably, a recent working paper from a group of German researchers concluded that “electric vehicles will barely help cut CO2 emissions in Germany over the coming years”. However, the study was not peer-reviewed and other experts were very critical of it. Meanwhile, verified, peer-reviewed studies showed the exact opposite: electric cars have substantially lower emissions.

To sum things up, the vast majority of evidence indicates that electric cars are cleaner than fossil fuel cars, even after considering the production process and the entire lifecycle. Myth — busted.

Jean-Francois Mercure, of Exeter University, a co-author of the study, concludes:

“The answer is clear: to reduce carbon emissions, we should choose electric cars and household heat pumps over fossil fuel alternatives.”

The paper “Net emission reductions from electric cars and heat pumps in 59 world regions over time” was published in the journal Nature Sustainability.

Are used cars more sustainable than new cars?

Let’s say you need a car, and you want to make an eco-conscious decision. You look for a car that, in addition to doing all the things a car is expected to, reduces the environmental impact to a minimum. What’s your best bet? An electric, a hybrid, a car with a good mileage?

The answer can vary depending on many factors, but rather surprisingly, it’s often unglamorous and counterintuitive. A lot of the time, the most sustainable choice is the unglamorous one: opting for a used car.

CO2 and g/km

The most straightforward metric when looking at car sustainability is the gram of CO2 per kilometer (or mile). Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most impactful greenhouse gas, and the less carbon dioxide a car emits per kilometer, the better it is for the climate and the environment.

A decent rule of thumb is that newer, more efficient cars tend to generate less CO2. Of course, there are many more aspects to consider (obviously, larger cars also tend to be less sustainable, different engines can also make a difference, and so on). The g/km (or g/m) has become a significant metric for evaluating cars. It’s always a good practice to consider this parameter. Nowadays, it’s typically presented in the car paperwork, and depending on where you live, you can also find official information since several countries tend to tax higher emissions. The UK government website has important data, there’s Revs check in Australia, and in the US, the EPA has a trove of valuable information regarding car emissions.

At first glance, it seems that newer cars are more sustainable and that’s that. However, it’s not just the running emissions that matter here. Much of the car’s emissions are generated in the production stage.

In other words, if you truly want to assess a car’s emissions, you need to look at the lifetime emissions.

A carbon lifecycle assessment

A 2004 analysis by Toyota found that as much as 28% of a car’s carbon dioxide emissions are generated during the manufacturing stage. In 2010, another analysis found that up to half of a car’s emissions come from its production, while other analyses propose lower figures.

Obviously, this depends greatly on the type of car, the type of energy used by the assembly plant, how materials are sourced, and so on — but the bottom line is, it’s significant enough to warrant attention.

So in a sense, when you’re buying a used car, you’re buying it with the emissions already produced, it’s like you’re getting a huge emissions discount. So even though you might be buying a less-efficient used car, the overall impact will still be positive most of the time.

However, there’s another thing worth factoring in, particularly in recent years: electric cars.

Electric cars are a game-changer — but sustainability is more than just emissions

Electric cars are a relatively recent addition to the streets, but they’re becoming more and more popular every year. As the name implies, electric cars are, well, electric — instead of using gasoline, they use electricity (hybrids are also a mid-way alternative).

The sustainability of electric cars depends a great deal on how the electricity is generated: if you’re charging it with coal-powered electricity, it’s not exactly a good thing. However, the rather prevalent myth that electric cars are less sustainable than gasoline cars is rarely (if ever) true.

A typical medium-sized family car will create around 24 tons of CO2 during its life cycle, while an electric vehicle (EV) will produce around 18 tons over its life. In addition, electric cars are becoming more and more efficient and already have fairly high mileages. So emissions-wise, electric cars provide many advantages — but we’re talking about more than just emissions here.

Electric car batteries require rare-earth elements, which is driving demand for raw materials such as lithium and cobalt. Oftentimes, the areas with the largest reserves of lithium and rare-earth metals are located in underdeveloped countries with unstable governments and open hostility, which raises additional concerns. It’s hard to assess how to balance emissions versus raw materials in terms of sustainability — but again, buy a used car seems advantageous.

Buying a new electric car raises new challenges (particularly when it comes to used batteries) but again, buying used cars would bring an extra punch of sustainability — particularly as for electric cars, a greater percentage of the lifecycle emissions is generated at the factory.

The bottom line

Electric cars can truly bring a revolution in driving sustainability. Buying a new electric car is definitely one of the more sustainable options out there, while buying a new gasoline car is not as efficient as it may seem at first glance.

However, the unglamorous option of buying a used car may be a more eco-friendly alternative — well, maybe “eco-friendly” is not the proper term here, but it can be less taxing on the environment, because the production emissions are already there.

At the end of the day, the most sustainable option is to use public transport as much as possible, and complement it with biking and walking.

Battery prices fell nearly 50% in the last 3 years — and there’s no sign of stopping

Credit: Flickr.

There’s a huge global market demand for high-density battery packs for electric vehicles and energy storage, which in turn has led to dramatic reductions in price. In 2010, the average market price for battery packs was $1,100/kWh. In 2019, this figure hovers at around $156/kWh, marking a whopping 87% reduction in price. Compared to three years ago, when battery prices were around $300/kWh, batteries are now at almost half as cheap.

According to a recent report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), market demand and technological advances might push the price below a $100/kWh milestone by 2023.

The two most important challenges that prevent the wide-scale adoption of renewable energy and electric vehicles are infrastructure and cost — both need to be addressed. You might buy an affordable electric car with adequate autonomy, but if consumers aren’t confident there’s a reliable charging infrastructure, they will likely think twice before making a purchase. Likewise, utilities and consumers alike might be interested in investing in solar farms and wind turbines, but if storing that energy overnight to meet the baseload is too expensive, fossil fuel power plants will still have a job.

Luckily, the future seems very optimistic. According to market analysts at BNEF, battery packs have experienced an insane downward curve in terms of price.

These cost reductions can be attributed to growth in electric vehicle sales and the increasing proliferation of high energy density cathodes.

Improved battery pack design and falling manufacturing costs associated with economies of scale will drive prices down even further. New technologies such as silicon or lithium anodes, solid state cells, and new cathode materials will also play a major role in reducing costs in the future.

“Factory costs are falling thanks to improvements in manufacturing equipment and increased energy density at the cathode and cell level. The expansion of existing facilities also offers companies a lower-cost route to expand capacity,” Logan Goldie-Scot, head of energy storage at BNEF, said in a statement.

The new BNEF report, which was presented last week in Shanghai, forecasts a battery market demand of 2TWh in 2024, around which time prices are expected to fall below $100/kWh. This is an important milestone because most experts agree that at this price range, electric vehicles reach price parity with internal combustion engine vehicles.

Of course, this will vary depending on the region and vehicle segment. For instance, Amazon placed an order for 100,000 all-electric vans from Rivian, a Michigan-based auto startup company. This kind of application, however, puts more emphasis on battery life cycle than the price per unit of stored energy.

Bloomberg analysts believe that important cost reductions will continue well into the future. The global lithium-ion battery market size is expected to grow from $20 billion today to $60 billion by 2025. By 2030, it could double to $120 billion, not counting investments in the supply chain. During this time, battery pack prices could fall below $60/kWh.

How supercapacitors could usher in a new age for hybrid vehicles

Hybrid vehicles are already a significant part of the vehicle market — and there’s a good reason for it. They can be driven over long distances without refuelling, and they also have extra power and speed when needed. They consume less fuel than gasoline-powered vehicles, which reduces harmful effects on the environment, but they can also use “fuel” which, for many drivers, feels like a safety net.

In the past decade, electric vehicles — whether completely or partially propelled by electrical power — have become more and more popular and diverse. For example, there are now battery-controlled electric vehicles, power-device electric vehicles and cross-breed electric vehicles, all of which have their own pros.

Hybrids are often seen as an intermediary step, but, even by themselves, they can make a massive difference — especially given recent innovations. Among these, one particularly significant innovation has started standing out: supercapacitors.

A supercapacitor is a fast-charging mechanism that would rapidly charge hybrid vehicle batteries and work in conjunction with the vehicle’s gasoline engine to propel the vehicle. Installing supercapacitors in hybrid vehicles, would allow them to travel longer distances with high power control and efficiency. Essentially, supercapacitors would act as these vehicles’ fuel banks for propulsion.

Benefits of Using Supercapacitors to Propel Hybrid Vehicles

In a hybrid vehicle, supercapacitors would combine the capacitors and the battery to create a steady electric circuit. This combination would meet the need for a stable power bolster on the vehicle’s transmission and would power the automobile when needed. Better variants of this superconductor design are used in Formula One racing cars; half and half power units provide extra speed when these vehicles are competing in a race.

Also, the supercapacitors would regulate fuel consumption in hybrid vehicles. Hybrid capacitors work on the principle of fast-charging and slow discharge of the battery. Due to electric charging, fuel use is limited. This means hybrid vehicles have no exhaust system. As a result, there are no negative effects on the environment.

How Supercapacitors Help Hybrid Vehicle Power Transmission

Supercapacitors will divert 100% of the energy in the batteries towards the transmission in hybrid vehicles. These capacitors would work with an electric vehicle’s alternator.

The power transmission of the hybrid vehicles will have switch gears as the key component in its function. The switch gears convert and combine the power produced by both the internal combustion engine and the alternators into one stream. This will guide the system to work as one unit when a boost of power is required.

Also, switch gears could possibly allow hybrid vehicles to run using any one of their power sources when required. This would enable the supercapacitors to rest when the internal combustion engine is in use.

A KERS (kinetic energy recycling system) in an electric vehicle would transfer wasted energy from the internal combustion engine to the vehicle’s batteries and capacitors. The power from the KERS is most reliable when the engine is revving in a stationary vehicle so that all of the energy from the internal combustion engine is saved in the vehicle battery. For this purpose, capacitors are better than flywheels for storing the energy produced by an internal combustion engine.

Impact of Using Hybrid Vehicles with Supercapacitors on the Global Community

As technological advancements are made, hybrid vehicles are becoming much more efficient and showing greater potential. In future, the gasoline system would come into play only to start the vehicle. Overall, hybrid vehicles will lead to a better future by reducing pollution levels and scaling back the use of non-renewable resources.

Hybrid vehicles with supercapacitors will have a major impact on the global community if the market is ready to accept them. But, before there can be widespread adoption, these vehicles will have to prove their worth in terms of performance, fuel consumption and efficiency.

Several countries are now developing their own hybrid vehicles, which will lead to a safer environment for all and provide increasing numbers of hybrid vehicle owners with the enjoyment of driving them.

This is a guest contribution from Surya Sita krishnam raju Alluru — a graduate student at Oklahoma Christian University. He holds a bachelor of science in computer engineering and is pursuing a master of science in software engineering.

Dr. Colin Doyle is an associate professor and Program Director of Electrical Engineering in the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) at American Public University. He holds a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Oklahoma State University, a master of science in electrical engineering from The University of Oklahoma and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Southern Methodist University. 

Want people to buy more electric cars? Simply put green license plates

Something as simple as having differentiated, colored license plates could help boost electric car sales — at least, that’s what a new government proposal claims.

Could a small move like this have a big impact?

In the UK, electric and other low-emission cars, vans, and buses could be given special green plates to encourage more people to buy such cars, and boost awareness for “clean” cars.

As strange as it may seem, there is some reason to believe that something as small as this could make a big difference. Already, similar ideas have been implemented in Norway, Canada, Latvia, and China — and the results have been encouraging.

Elisabeth Costa, director of the Behavioural Insights Team — a company partly owned by the government which studies how to use behavioral science for better policy — explains:

“Simple changes based on behavioral science can have a big impact. Green plates would be more noticeable to road users, and this increased attraction can help normalise the idea of clean vehicles, highlighting the changing social norms around vehicle ownership.”

The British government will decide this on consultation right as Prime Minister Theresa May will be addressing the first ever zero-emission vehicle summit — and impetus for having more “green” cars on the streets is growing. Hybrids and electric cars accounted for 5.5% of the cars sold in the UK in the first half of the year, compared to 4.2% for the same period in 2017.

However, colored plates can only go so far — at the end of the day, you need strong, concrete measures if you want to support a market like electric cars. The UK already has generous subsidies for electric cars, but a study for the RAC Foundation found that the lack of reliable, easy-to-use charging points is the main roadblock to people purchasing more electric cars. This was echoed by separate research from AA, the UK’s largest motorist association, which found that although 1 in 2 young drivers want electric cars, 8 out of 10 drivers feel that the lack of sufficient electrical chargers is the main reason not to buy an electric car.

Yet this all shows that more and more people are nearing a tipping point where they are willing to buy electric cars — and a small PR stunt, the “coolness factor” of the colored plates could end up making a difference. Similarly, having red plates for the more polluting cars might also play a role. A spokesman for the Environmental Transport Association said:

“While green number plates will be positive PR for low-emission car makers and early adopters of the technology alike, to be truly effective any such initiative will need to at the same time shame the drivers of the most polluting vehicles; an electric or hydrogen-powered vehicle might sport a green plate, but the biggest gas guzzlers should have theirs branded red.”

 

Volvo reveals stunning electric robo-taxi

The Swedish carmaker Volvo has unveiled a prototype for a new Robo-taxi: a driverless, fully electric, futuristic car which could be an important part of Volvo’s future strategy.

Aside from regular city driving, the company says the 360c, as the model has been named, will attempt to tap into a new market: inter-city taxi passengers. There is a growing number of people traveling between cities using trains, taxis, or even planes, and Volvo wants to compete with them.

But this car was also designed with a specific partner in mind: Uber. Volvo previously signed a framework agreement with Uber, the ride-sharing company, to sell tens of thousands of autonomous driving compatible base vehicles between 2019 and 2021.

“The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology and Volvo Cars chooses to be an active part of that disruption,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive, at the time. “Our aim is to be the supplier of choice for AD ride-sharing service providers globally. Today’s agreement with Uber is a primary example of that strategic direction.”

Volvo engineers have worked with Uber in the past, and Samuelsson said that Volvo aims to shift its scope from being purely a car company to being a direct consumer-services provider,

Speaking to the press at the launch of the new car, Samuelsson reiterated the company’s commitment to this approach.

“This is a product where we see interest from ride-hailing businesses,” Samuelsson said.

Self-driving cars have captured the world’s imagination and it seems like it’s only a matter of time before they start becoming common-place, but for now, test programs have been hampered by a string of fatal accidents. Several automakers are carrying out intensive tests, and a few have also included robo-taxis in their planned future line-ups. However, Volvo Cars is the first prominent global brand to set a target for deliveries.

Volvo aims to have driverless vehicles make up one-third of its deliveries by the middle of the next decade — a most ambitious target, and one which they hope to achieve also thanks to cars like the lovely 360c.

Japan wants all new cars to be electric by 2050

Japan has announced a new plan under which, by 2050, all new passenger cars will be electric or hybrid. The government will also set up a new group to help manufacturers source cobalt for batteries.

The race for car electrification just got more intense as Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, announced plans to switch to electric cars in under two decades. The government panel also set a goal for emissions reduction: by 2050, all emissions from passenger vehicles must drop by 90% compared to 2010 levels.

The panel also includes members from major automobile companies such as Toyota and Nissan, who will work together on acquiring the much-needed cobalt for the cars’ batteries. This collaboration is particularly significant as Chinese investors are aggressively securing deposits of the rare resource. It’s very rare for carmakers to agree to this type of deal, which seems to bode well for the overall success of the initiative.

Overall, the fleet of light-duty plug-in electric vehicles in Japan ranked as the third largest in the world, trailing only after China and the US. However, the rate of growth of the plug-in segment has dropped somewhat, particularly due to the heavy promotion of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles over plug-in electric vehicles. Even though these vehicles hit the market only in 2015, they steered some of the Japanese buyers away from electric cars even before that year.

Now, Japan’s leaders want to infuse new life into the electric car market and continue to reduce emissions associated with transportation. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry, said:

“Japan would like to contribute to achieve zero emissions on a global scale by spreading electric vehicles worldwide.

“That’s a goal only Japan, home to the top level of the auto industry, can set.”

However, while Japan’s initiative is certainly laudable, it’s far from being a unique objective. Germany wants to make all cars electric by 2030, while France has announced a ban on gasoline and diesel cars by 2040. The UK plans a similar ban by 2040, but the country which seems lead this race is Norway. More than half of all cars sold in Norway are already, and the percentage is growing steadily.

Still, only a handful of countries have concrete plans to do this. It’s delighting to see Japan step in, and we can only hope other countries join in.

Fuel pump.

Scotland to ban petrol and diesel cars by 2032, eight years earlier than the rest of the UK

Scotland wants to phase out the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2032 — a full eight years ahead of the rest of the UK. The country will also be investing in a carbon capture project in Aberdeenshire to reduce its carbon footprint.

Fuel pump.

Image via Pixabay.

This Tuesday, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon outlined local government’s plans to end the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2032. The deadline puts Scotland eight years ahead of the roadmap Westminster set back in July, which aims to ban the sale of these vehicles throughout the UK in 2040. She added that her government wants to pay for feasibility studies of the Acorn carbon capture and storage project in Aberdeenshire.

Thistle green

“As members will be aware, we don’t currently hold powers over vehicle standards and taxation. However, we can and will take action,” Sturgeon said on Tuesday. “Our aim is for new petrol and diesel cars and vans to be phased out in Scotland by 2032 – the end of the period covered by our new climate change plan and eight years ahead of the target set by the UK government.”

“We live in a time of unprecedented global challenge and change. We face rapid advances in technology; a moral obligation to tackle climate change,” she added. “These challenges are considerable, but in each of them we will find opportunity. It is our job to seize it.”

The ban announcement comes as part of the larger climate initiative in Scotland but is perhaps the first which will have a noticeable effect for the public. It will limit “the avoidable impact poor air quality was having on people’s health,” government officials reported, a problem made glaringly obvious in other areas of the UK, most notably London. The transport sector has proved to be one of the hardest high-carbon areas of our economies to green up, partly because of industry lobby in government and partly because people didn’t feel their cars were “dirty” enough to warrant the hassle.

But, in the aftermath of recent revelations that some car manufacturers flat-out lie about their car’s emission levels, public sentiment has shifted strongly away from the industry — and with it, political support is also drying up. Public outcry over the scandal and air pollution levels, coupled with the rapid emergence of electric vehicles, have enabled Scotland to take a more decisive stance on the issue and impose earlier deadlines: the rest of the UK will enforce a similar ban by 2040, now eight years later than the Scotts. France has a similar ban in mind for 2040, and Norway takes the cake with a deadline set for 2025.

It’s not only about cars, however. Other goals Sturgeon’s government is pursuing include the creation of a fund to promote and support innovations in climate-change solutions, a “massive” expansion of the country’s electrical charging infrastructure, and plans to make the A9 the first fully electric-enabled road in Scottland. Finally, they will work on reviving the Acord capture and storage project which was shut down by the Tory government in 2015.

You can see the Scottish Government’s full programme here.

British Royal Mail to start piloting sleek electric trucks

The famously red Royal Mail is going green.

Red on the outside, green on the inside. Image credits: Arrival.

Every single day, thousands of British mailmen load up their trucks and drive to different houses on different streets, delivering all sorts of post and packages. The British sure love their mail system, as they should. It’s far from perfect but it works, it’s efficient, and something about the small red truck turning the corner on your street just gives you a small, pleasant tingling. But soon, the familiar shape of the Royal Mail trucks might change, and it might change for the better.

Nine electric trucks of varying sizes and ranges up to 100 miles (160 km) will roll out of Royal Mail’s central London depot from today, carrying parcels to London and around. The trucks, weighing 3.5, 6, and 7.5 tonnes respectively, are part of a one year trial.

Paul Gatti, Royal Mail Fleet’s managing director, says this is part of a larger effort to make the 49,000-car fleet more eco-friendly.

“We have trialled electric trucks before but not of this type of innovative design,” Gatti said. “Royal Mail is delighted to be collaborating with Arrival and pioneering the adoption of large electric commercial vehicles. We will be putting them through their paces over the next several months to see how they cope with the mail collection demands from our larger sites.”

The company producing these trucks, Arrival, says that they’re the first ones to emerge from its 110,000 square foot factory in the Midlands in England, but more will come. Gatti says that establishing such partnerships are vital to the company’s sustainable goals. Arrival claims it can produce 50,000 such trucks a year, due to its factory being fully automatized.

The same trucks, on a different colour. Image credits: Arrival.

Aside from being electric, the trucks are also cheap — just as cheap as diesel cars, Arrival CEO Denis Sverdlov says, thus removing the main barrier to go electric. They also feature an AI to support the driver, as well as a large front window that warps around him, allowing a larger field of view around the truck.

This isn’t the only avenue Royal Mail is taking to reduce its carbon footprint. Just earlier this year, the company has announced an agreement with Peugeot to purchase 100 zero-emission Partner L2 Electric vans, to be used by postmen on delivery rounds. This is a move that has been hailed by everyone, including the consumers.

“Our research has shown that electric vans are a good operational fit with our business and we are delighted to be ordering such a large volume to use in our daily operations. This is good news for our customers and the towns and cities which we serve.”

The vans will roll out in December, as charging stations will be installed at different delivery offices across the UK.

With a fleet of 49,000 vehicles, 9 trucks and 100 vans aren’t going to make much of a difference. But it’s a good start. The Royal Mail shows not only that it’s not clinging to the past, but that it’s quick to adapt to the needs of a changing world. The company was founded in 1516 and remained state-owned for 499 years, until 2013, when a majority of the shares in Royal Mail were floated on the London Stock Exchange. Many feared what was to come, but so far, things seem to be carrying on quite smoothly. A report revealed that the public deeply wants to continue supporting the Royal Mail and invest in it — around 700,000 applications for shares had been received by the Government, more than seven times the amount that is available to the public.

Elsewhere in the world, Deutsche Post (Germany) has been building its own electric delivery vans. They recently announced a partnership with Ford to build a fleet of 2,500 bigger all-electric delivery trucks.

Toyota to start selling long-range electric car by 2022

Toyota says the new car will feature an innovative battery which charges in minutes.

When Elon Musk promised to usher an electric car revolution with Tesla Motors, reactions ranged from skepticism to ridicule. Here was a man that hadn’t done anything in the car industry that promised to change the way things had been done for decades. But slowly, Musk’s promise started to sink in, and nothing shows that as much as the actions of his competitors.

Toyota made an exciting announcement, promising to deliver a new electric car built on a new platform, using all-solid-state batteries. It’s not clear exactly what the “new platform” entails, but Toyota did specify that the new car will have a long range and will recharge in minutes.

If this comes to fruition, the solid state batteries will be one of the main highlights. A solid-state battery is a battery that has both solid electrodes and solid electrolytes. They can be much smaller and lighter than conventional car batteries, but producing them at a reasonable price has proved challenging for companies. Since Toyota doesn’t mention any specifics, it’s not clear if they’ve reached a breakthrough or they just anticipate it being ready by 2022. As early as 2011, Toyota has worked with scientists to develop perfect crystalline structures that will move lithium ions through a solid electrolyte. Last year, they published a paper detailing a breakthrough — they created batteries that work at temperatures between -30 and 100 degrees Celsius.

Overall, this announcement doesn’t really surprise anyone. If anything, it’s surprising that the Japanese company didn’t make the announcement earlier. Toyota has long touted the benefits of electric and hybrid cars, while in parallel touting hydrogen cars as the future of driving. But there’s also a lot of vagueness and we don’t have any specifics. Also, 2022 is a long time away, and not everyone is buying it.

“There’s a pretty long distance between the lab bench and manufacturing,” said CLSA auto analyst Christopher Richter. “2022 is ages away, and a lot can change in the meantime.”

Either way, it’s yet another clear market signal that car manufacturers are looking into electric vehicles more and more. The development of batteries (and especially battery costs) are vital for the end product. If Toyota, or anyone else for that matter, can make cheaper batteries that offer a long range, we’re good to go.

porsche electric car

Porsche announced it wants half of its cars to be electric by 2023

Another emblematic car manufacturer just announced it’s making the switch to electric.

porsche electric car

The Mission E (pictured here) is Porsche’s first electric car model. The company plans to sell 20,000 copies a year. Image credits: Porsche / Wikipedia.

In a recent issue of the German business magazine Manager Magazin, Porsche CEO Oliver Blume discussed the company’s future. He described a detailed roadmap which involves a battery-powered future for half of the company’s car fleet.

Of course, Porsche’s intention doesn’t really come as a surprise, especially considering the much-awaited Mission E car, Porsche’s first fully electric car. The Mission E has over 600 horsepower, going from 0–100 km/h in 3.5 seconds and 0–200 km/h in 12 seconds, clocking in at a top speed of 250 km/h. The concept was presented in 2015, with the car expected to go into production by 2019 at the Zuffenhausen plant. Porsche wants to sell some 20,000 Mission Es a year.

However, this is just the tip of the iceberg, Blume says. The biggest change will come around 2022 when, Blume says, around half of their cars will become electric. However, the bulk of this will be represented by the next-generation Macan crossover, which is Porsche’s best selling car. The non-electrical version sold almost 100,000 copies last year, and if the figures continue to add up, the Macan and the Mission E will make the bulk of Porsche’s sales.

With this, Porsche solidifies its sustainability track record, which has had its ups and downs.

For lovers of the company’s classic sports models, not much will change. Porsche hasn’t announced any plans to re-vamp its older hits and make them electric. The Mission E, however, will usher in a new age for fast, sleek Porsches, entering a market that’s already surprisingly competitive.

When we think of fast sports cars, we usually think of big, gas chugging engines, but Tesla changed all that in 2008 when they started producing the Tesla Roadster: the first highway legal serial production all-electric car to use lithium-ion battery cells, and the first production all-electric car to travel more than 200 miles (320 km) per charge. The Roadster was also a fast and sleek car, being able to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) in 3.7 or 3.9 seconds depending on the model — almost the same as the Mission E. Since then, several companies have started work on electric sports cars, whereas hybrid sports cars are already well established.

FF car

Faraday Future’s secret all-electric SUV spotted in Los Angeles

FF car

Credit: Twitter

Faraday Future, a new electric car company with billions in undisclosed funding, has been making waves in the past 12 months. The company has recruited a lot of talent, like top executives from Apple, Google and even its direct competitor Tesla Motors. It’s all sitting on a big pile of cash and plans to open a $1bn. factory soon in Nevada. But all this hype and absolutely nothing to show apart from a fantasy muscle car has made a lot of people weary, including yours truly.

It seems, however, that FF is actually farther ahead than critics thought. A Twitter user spotted one of the company’s SUV prototypes on the streets of L.A., and though the vehicle was camouflaged, its defining features are too similar to the silhouette sneak peak Faraday showcased at CES 2016, Las Vegas, a couple of months back.

The FF crossover silhouette presented at CES 2016. Credit: Autoblog

The FF crossover silhouette presented at CES 2016. The hatch hinges protruding from the rear of the roof match those photographed earlier in L.A.  Credit: Autoblog

Judging from the single picture, it seems FF’s intention is to compete directly with Tesla Motors’ Model X — a large and lengthy crossover. But right now, that’s only speculation based on appearance given that we have absolutely no specs at hand.

One thing we know for sure, however, is that this crossover and any other vehicle FF eventually releases will feature the company’s signature Variable Platform Architecture chassis. We’ve seen it presented at CES when FF showcased a monster concept car called the FFZERO1. What’s interesting about the architecture is that it enables a modular and flexible platform. Basically, a customer can order his own custom car based on specs like battery capacity, four wheel drive, etc.

How the Variable Platform Architecture works.

Previously, Faraday Future received permission from the California DMV to test driverless cars on the state’s roads. Will this secret crossover also drive itself or at least partially? It’s very likely at this point.

The hype is still here to stay, though. Faraday Future has a lot of things to do and show before it can prove itself.

US asks Volkswagen to start making electric cars to make up for wrongdoings

In late 2015, Volkswagen (VW) admitted to cheating on US tests to make its diesel cars seem more green than they actually were. Volkswagen has announced that nearly 1.2 million of its vehicles sold in the UK alone are fitted with the software that allows them to cheat. Now, US authorities are asking the German car producer to produce electric vehicles in the United States as a way to partially make up for their past wrongdoings.

Image via Pixabay.

German newspaper Welt am Sonntag claims the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently in talks with Volkswagen to produce electric vehicles at its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and to help build a network of charging stations for electric vehicles in the United States. Some of VW’s cars are already fitted with electric or hybrid motors so it wouldn’t be that big of a jump. However, right now there aren’t many details as to how this deal would work, nor has this been officially confirmed.

“Talks with the EPA are ongoing and we are not commenting on the contents and state of the negotiations,” a VW spokesman said. EPA also declined to comment.

VW will present its final report on the crisis to law firm Jones Day in April, Bild am Sonntag said, and until then all we can do is speculate. However, I feel like this would be an interesting and potentially very efficient way of making amends. Of course, it seems safe to assume that VW will have to pay massive fines, but turning a punishment into something productive seems like the right way to go about it.

VW has admitted that about 11 million cars worldwide, including eight million in Europe, are fitted with the so-called “defeat device”.

“We’ve totally screwed up,” said VW America boss Michael Horn at the time, while the group’s chief executive at the time, Martin Winterkorn, said his company had “broken the trust of our customers and the public”. Mr Winterkorn resigned as a direct result of the scandal and was replaced by Matthias Mueller, the former boss of Porsche. “My most urgent task is to win back trust for the Volkswagen Group – by leaving no stone unturned,” Mr Mueller said on taking up his new post.

Faraday Future

Faraday Future shows off an electric roadrunner concept car – we’re not impressed

The fledgling California company with billions in undisclosed funding held a press conference the other day at CES where it showed to journalists and tech enthusiasts the FFZERO1 — a high-performance concept car. It looks slick, has 1,000 horsepower, goes 0-60 in under three seconds and a maximum speed of 200mph. Since it’s all electric, it makes less noise than the purr of a cat while it eats up the highway.

Faraday Future concept care

Credit: Faraday Future

Problem is the FFZERO1 ca do this only in videos and virtual reality presentations, which Faraday Future uses to build hype around its brand. Practically, they have nothing to show and years away from building an actual running vehicle, yet some people after seeing this demo actually believe Faraday Future is a serious competitor to Tesla Motors. It’s not.

Faraday Future vehicle

Credit: Faraday Future

Faraday Future is a mysterious 18-months old company that’s been quietly hiring loads of highly qualified people from the automotive industry, to AI, to aerospace. Operating from a former Nisan office in L.A., Faraday Future wants a share of the growing EV and autonomous car market. In a couple of weeks, it will start construction of a massive new factory, its first, worth $1 billion in the Nevada desert. The head of R&D,  Nick Sampson, has heard all about how Faraday looks like a Tesla copycat, to which he told The Verge that what they’re trying to do is create “an environment that’s even more creative, even more innovative for people. Many people look at Tesla and think they’ve done it differently than the traditional auto industry — and they have. But there’s other ways and other things we can capitalize on,” he said.

 

Faraday Future

Credit: Faraday Future

Faraday Future

Credit: Faraday Future

Faraday Future

Credit: Faraday Future

At CES, we were offered a sample of what he meant. It’s called the Variable Platform Architecture: a  modular and flexible platform that allows you, the buyer, to sort of order your own custom car. For instance, if you want more autonomy, four wheel drive and more power, Faraday Future can quickly add more batteries in a stack or electric motors on the drive.

Faraday Future

“We can change the physical size and electrical size of the battery packs, so we can get bigger and larger packs and smaller packs both on the electrical size and physical size because of the modularity of how the battery architecture is being done, which is unique compared to anybody else in the industry. The underlying story is all about the platform that’s being built,” Sampson told The Verge.

Inside, Faraday’s concept car features a glass roof, a placeholder right in the wheel to mount your smartphone,  the Halo Safety System that supports the driver’s head and neck and even a crazy helmet that feeds the driver oxygen and water (?!). The designers say the car is supposedly littered with sensors that collects data on the driver’s biological signals and data, which are presented on the dashboard.

Faraday Future

 

Faraday Future

Credit: Faraday Future

Faraday Future

Credit: Faraday Future

Faraday Future

Credit: Faraday Future

Faraday Future

Credit: Faraday Future

Faraday Future

Credit: Faraday Future

While it sounds impressive, just like the Edison Electron One, the FFZERO1 will likely never see the light of day. Personally, I’m all for competition and I hope Faraday lives to its hype. But don’t get too exited. At CES, Sampson said the first car will be out “within the next couple years.”

Faraday Future

Faraday Future

Faraday Future