Cheaper Electric Cars Could be on the Road in US & Oz
The cost of electric cars will halve in two years as production ramps up to meet demand, Mitsubishi president Osamu Masuko said earlier this week as he announced that the first batch of battery-powered vehicles for Australia would go on sale next month, while in the US a proposal before the Senate would mean car buyers could get up to $10,000 in subsidies for electric vehicles.
Mitsubishi leads charge with electric cars
Philip King in The Australian (3 June 2010):
THE cost of electric cars will halve in two years as production ramps up to meet demand, Mitsubishi president Osamu Masuko said yesterday as he announced that the first batch of battery-powered vehicles for Australia would go on sale next month.
The car, called the iMiev, has been undergoing fleet trials around Australia for months and Mr Masuko said Mitsubishi wanted to take a lead with the technology.
“This announcement will ensure that we will be No 1 in bringing the electric vehicle to Australia,” he said. The first shipment of 40 cars will be offered on three-year leases for $1740 a month, with the cars returned to Mitsubishi at the end of the term.
The company said that, despite the total cost of $62,640, there was a lot of interest from a broad range of buyers including governments, businesses and individuals. Mitsubishi expects demand for electric vehicles and hybrids to run hot over the next few years and believes they will hold more than 20 per cent of the global market by the end of the decade.
Mitsubishi planned to quadruple production of the iMiev to 40,000 a year by 2012, Mr Masuko said, and economies of scale would halve the price of the car. But Mr Masuko said it was vital that governments helped establish the technology, which was still in the earlier stages.
“In the initial instance we will require some assistance in terms of government infrastructure, especially with quick-charge stations,” he said. In Japan, where the government offers incentives to buyers of battery vehicles, the iMiev costs about Y=4 million ($52,000).
Electric vehicle purchases are also subsidised in the US, Europe and other markets. Australia does not have such a scheme, but the federal government yesterday committed to take three iMievs after Mr Masuko met Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in Canberra and demonstrated the car to Transport Minister Anthony Albanese and Climate Change Minister Penny Wong.
Mr Albanese said 85 per cent of Australians drivers travelled less than 100km a day, so the car was ideal for their needs. “Fully electric vehicles offer significant benefits in dealing with climate change in the longer term,” he said. “There’s no doubt that the Australian market is ready for an electric vehicle.”
Up to $10k in Subsidies for Electric Cars
By Jeff Siegel in Green Chip Review (7 June 2010):
As oil continues to flow into the Gulf, it is becoming increasingly clear that this environmental disaster will be a major sticking point for voters come November. And I’m convinced this is why we’re now seeing new House and Senate bills that, if passed, will increase incentives for electric vehicles.
Sure, the timing is suspect… But if this helps bolster support for electric vehicles — and makes us some money in the process — then I’m all for it. The House legislation offers $800 million to five designated regions with the intention of getting 700,000 electric cars on the road within six years.
The Senate version would pony up $10,000 tax credits for electric car buyers in 15 metropolitan areas. This would put the price of a brand-new, extended-range Chevy Volt at around $30,000.
The legislation also bumps up the tax credit for the installation of electric vehicle charging stations from 30% to 50% of the equipment purchasing cost; it also extends the credit out to 2017. I have to admit, had this legislation been introduced two months ago — before BP and all those scumbags at the Minerals Management Service created perhaps the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history — it probably wouldn’t have gotten much support… But word on the Hill is that the uncommon face of bipartisanship is actually making an appearance on this one.
Certainly this is great news for those major automakers that will soon be debuting their new electric offerings, including Nissan, which has already had about 20,000 drivers pony up their reservation fees to be among the first to own the company’s all-electric LEAF.
Although from what I understand, Nissan only has the capacity to produce and deliver roughly 12,000 LEAFs by the end of next March. If that’s truly the case, than Nissan will actually be sold out until Q2 2011. As a side note, I’m thrilled to report that these vehicles are being built by U.S. workers in Tennessee.
Meanwhile, in China, Beijing officials just announced plans to pony up $1.76 billion to subsidize smaller, more fuel efficient cars (1.6 liter engines or smaller) that consume at least 20 percent less fuel than current standards. This is in addition to the country’s electric vehicle subsidy being tested this year in five different cities.
With this program, those who purchase electric vehicles will get up to $8,800. A $7,300 subsidy is also being offered to select gasoline hybrids. These subsidies should certainly benefit electric car manufacturer BYD — a company that’s delivered gains in excess of 480% for a number of investors to date.