Advanced Energy Perspectives

NEWS: I Sing the Auto-Body Electric

Posted by Lexie Briggs

Sep 4, 2015 11:50:37 AM

    

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It’s not news that electric vehicles (EVs) are changing the trajectory of the transportation industry. Although they make up a small share of the total vehicles currently on the market, EVs are pushing innovation and expanding their reach into almost every segment of the industry. EVs aren’t just changing the game. They’re changing the rules.

In its annual driving test of vehicles, Consumer Reports ranked the Tesla all-wheel drive Model S P85D at 103 out of a possible 100 points.

That’s right. The Model S got extra credit.

According to Bloomberg, the power and efficiency of the P85D was “so off-the-chart” that Consumer Reports literally had to change its rubric to accommodate the Model S’s “exceptionally strong performance.” 

It can accelerate to 60 miles per hour from a dead stop in 3.5 seconds. Owner satisfaction is reported at 98%. It’s so remarkable that Consumer Reports has unlocked the P85D report on its website, so everyone can take a look at the new standard.

“This is a glimpse into what we can expect down the line, where we have cars with the performance of supercars and the comfort, convenience and safety features of a luxury car while still being extremely energy efficient,” Jake Fisher, head of automotive testing for Consumer Reports, said in an interview with Bloomberg. “We haven’t seen all those things before.”

“Once you start getting so ridiculously fast, so ridiculously energy efficient, it didn’t make sense to go linear on those terms anymore,” Fisher said.

The biggest con Consumer Reports can find is the price tag, and at $104,500 base MSRP, the P85D does not come cheap. But Elon Musk is never one to shrink from a challenge. Musk tweeted just this week that the Model 3, Tesla’s mid-market sedan, would begin production in about two years, once the new Gigafactory is complete. A follow-up tweet read “$35k price, unveil in March, preorders start then.”

There is an EV market beyond Tesla Motors, and it too is making waves. AEE member company Proterra has a cutting-edge electric bus that is changing mass transit. From the Fortune Magazine profile: “It has the fastest 0-20mph acceleration ever recorded in its class. It can go 200 miles on a single charge. It can recharge in as little as ten minutes.” The Catalyst electric bus, David Morris writes, “evokes the extraordinary performance” of the P85D model.

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That’s no accident. Proterra CEO Ryan Popple formerly worked for Tesla Motors, and brings to the company “relentless product focus.”

Proterra’s customers include cities you might expect to be early adopters of EV mass transit: Los Angeles, Seattle, but also Dallas, Texas, and Louisville, Ky. The reason is simple: electric buses are cheaper to operate. Diesel buses cost less to buy, but fuel per mile for the diesel bus costs almost three times more than the electricity to run a Catalyst.

Proterra was listed at 425 of Inc.’s 500 list, which ranks the fastest-growing private companies. Proterra claims 70% of the North American EV mass transit market, and is expected to grow to 1% of the overall American city transit bus market.

Get ready for EVs to pop up all over. Reports that BMW may go all-electric over the next decade are probably false (BMWBlog, which is not officially affiliated with BMW, says the article is “simply untrue”), but BMW does have plans to release electric models at a variety of price points, and offer a hybrid option for every model. Mercedes-Benz is reportedly working on an EV, the company’s first. GM announced the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt, an EV with a range of up to 200 miles. And, as reported in Green Car Reports, leases on the original Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volts are coming up, which the National Automobile Dealers Association estimates will put 25,000 used EVs on the market. 

The future is here, and cars still don’t fly. They just perform better, faster, and at lower cost than cars that burn liquid dinosaur bones. Something to sing about. 

Just how big is the advanced vehicles market, and how does it tie in to the advanced energy market overall? Check out our Advanced Energy Now 2015 Market Report, available for download below.

Download Advanced Energy Now  2015 Market Report

Topics: News Update

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