Advanced Energy Perspectives

NEWS: Tesla and Chevy Battle It Out for 30somethings ($thousands); Solar Super Bowl Sunday

Posted by Lexie Briggs

Feb 5, 2016 10:03:01 AM

    

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Though still in its infancy, 2016 is shaping up as a banner year for advanced vehicles. Debuting earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show, Chevrolet’s new Bolt promises to change the EV game, with a price tag of roughly $30,000. Not to be outdone, Tesla is teasing its new Model 3, set to launch as early as next month, in the same price range. Game on! But first, there’s this big game: No matter who wins, Super Bowl 50 (no roman numerals, per NFL) will be played in the most advanced energy–powered stadium yet. Prepare to be dazzled – no matter what happens on the field.

Tesla gets the headlines, but GM’s Chevrolet Volt has been the powerhouse of the American EV market. It’s been among the top three best-selling electric vehicles for three years running, and was the top selling EV in January 2016. Now, GM is looking to up its game even more with the Chevrolet Bolt. The Bolt is a compact electric car with a reported range of more than 200 miles and a price tag of about $30,000. The Bolt offers many of the same features as the Tesla Model S, but a price tag that might go down a little easier with buyers. But wait: Tesla is planning to release a mid-market EV, the Model 3, later this year. So, EV fans, get ready to rumble!

According to Benjamin Zhang, writing for Business Insider, if all goes according to GM’s plan, “GM will swiftly rise to be Tesla’s main challenger for the Model 3 customer.” According to Chris Ziegler, who test-drove the Bolt for The Verge, “GM is trying to make a car that real people want to buy.” He says the car is largely “unremarkable,” but means that as a good thing. It’s a vehicle that performs well but just happens to be electric. 

Meanwhile, Tesla’s doing just fine, thank you, at least so far. According to The Motley Fool, Tesla Motors saw a 60% increase in vehicle sales in 2015 over 2014, and shows no signs of stopping. According to ever-present CEO Elon Musk, the company expects to produce and deliver 1,600 to 2,000 cars per week, which would mean 65% to 85% growth in sales in 2016. Not too shabby. 

The upscale Model S continues to turn heads (see the recent Popular Science article “Tesla Car can be Summoned and Park Itself”), and the company promises that level of wow-factor for the average – well, more average – consumer later this year. According to Manufacturing.net, Tesla plans to unveil the Model 3 next month and will begin taking pre-orders immediately, although the car won’t be in full production until next year. The vehicles, which will sell in the $30,000 range, will use batteries manufactured in Tesla’s own Gigafactory, which is expected to open next year.

Finally, Super Bowl L (sorry NFL, we’re old school – Roman Empire old!) is this weekend, and Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco is taking the opportunity to show off its LEED Gold certification. We approve: The stadium is topped with nearly 20,000 square feet of solar panels. The 375 kW array powers the stadium’s LED lighting and other advanced energy features that save energy and keep the lights on. It’s a far cry from 2013, when the Super Bowl’s Superdome lost power for 34 minutes. Advanced energy keeps the ball in play! Hut, hut!

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