With a busy week behind you and the weekend within reach, there’s no shame in taking things a bit easy on Friday afternoon. With this in mind, every Friday TriplePundit will give you a fun, easy read on a topic you care about. So, take a break from those endless email threads, and spend five minutes catching up on the latest trends in sustainability and business.
We're only a few months into the year, but all signs point to 2015 being a big one for electric vehicles. Markets are slowly shifting toward EVs, and automakers have kept our news feeds buzzing with one landmark announcement after another.
While not all of these commitments will be realized this year, we're betting 2015 will be one for the history books when it comes to EV adoption. So, start your (electric) engines and read on for five trends that caught our attention.
But long-range EVs look like they're headed to the mainstream. Chevy unveiled the 2016 Volt at the Washington Auto Show in January -- which promises 50 miles of all-electric range, a 25 percent improvement from earlier Volts. It also made headlines with its Bolt EV, which could hit the market as soon as 2017. With a 200-mile electric range, the Bolt is poised to make a splash. Volkswagen and BMW are already garnering market share for their longer-range options: The Volkswagen e-Golf promises 90 miles of range, while the BMW i3 can travel up to 100 miles on a single charge and go from 0 to 60 mph in 7 seconds.
Meanwhile, several top automakers already offer respectable range at accessible price-points: With an all-electric range of about 75 miles, the Ford Focus Electric is priced less than $30,000, followed closely by the Volkswagen e-Golf at $35,000 and the BMW i3 at around $40,000.
Tesla and Panasonic made headlines last year when they announced plans to build a battery 'Gigafactory' -- which promises to produce lithium-ion batteries at a rate able to support the manufacture of 500,000 electric cars per year. Tesla expects that volume manufacturing of its mass-market Model E will drive down the cost-per-kilowatt-hour of its batteries by 30 percent in the first year. As other companies commit cash to R&D in order to bring long-range, low-cost options to market, we only expect battery tech to keep improving.
After breaking ground in 2012, the Tesla Supercharger Network now boasts more than 150 charging stations across 38 U.S. states, well surpassing the company’s initial goal to have 100 operational by 2015. Meanwhile, NRG eVgo, a subsidiary of NRG Energy, is developing a charging solution for apartment-dwellers -- long an underserved group for EV infrastructure, as they often have limited options for charging at home. The company will offer charging station installation at no cost to qualified apartment communities in California, giving renters one more reason to choose electric.
A top Volkswagen executive also spoke out recently about the need for federal investments to spur EV adoption. “Automakers have effectively delivered electric vehicles that can satisfy the needs of most American drivers,” Jörg Sommer, Volkswagen’s VP of product marketing and strategy, said at the 2015 Electric Drive Congress in Washington, D.C. last month. “In addition to the investment we and other companies and industries are making, we would like to see federal financing support for establishing fast-charging networks in urban areas and interstate corridors.”
So, what do you think? Will 2015 be the year of the EV? Tell us about it in the comments section!
Image credit: Volkswagen
Mary Mazzoni is the Senior Editor of TriplePundit. You can follow her on Twitter @mary_mazzoni.