Thursday, November 23, 2017

Electric Car Sales Surge 63% In Third Quarter

t’s good news, bad news time at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. First the good news. Global electric car sales (including plug-in hybrids) surged 63% in the third quarter of this year and are up 23% since the second quarter. BNEF is now confident EV sales will top 1,000,000 units this year. The bad news? China accounted for almost all those increases.
Sales of electric cars totaled 287,000 in July, August, and September with China responsible for half of them. Sales in other markets are trending up gradually, but nothing like what is happening in China. The increase in EV sales in China can be traced directly to a number of government policies that strongly encourage people to purchase an electric car instead of a conventional car. Many policy makers are worried their own incentive programs are too generous but the Chinese experience makes it clear if you want people to buy electric, you have to make it worth their while.

“The Chinese government is very focused on pushing up EV sales,” says Aleksandra O’Donovan, advanced transport analyst at BNEF and one of the authors of the report. “One reason for that is the local pollution levels in the cities, and a second is for China to build domestic heroes to compete internationally in this market.”
Many countries are sending mixed messages about their electric car policies. On one hand, they are talking about banning conventional cars. On the other, they are complaining incentives are budget busters that disproportionally benefit the wealthy. The main issue is that EVs still cost quite a bit more than the least expensive conventional cars, the ones that many people rely on for daily transportation. Incentives may not make a big difference to wealthy buyers but they can make all the difference for low income drivers who need basic transportation to get back and forth to work.
China proves electric car incentives work. The only question is, can governments afford them? The factor that could make incentives unnecessary is battery prices. Batteries make up a large part of the price of electric cars. The less they cost, the more affordable those cars will be and the less the need will be for incentives.

Tesla Model 3 Configurator Goes Live – For the Fortunate Few

It appears Tesla is going to start delivering Model 3 units to preorder customers.
Some users on Reddit have posted that they have received an email allowing them to design their Model 3, and have shared screenshots of the online configurator. Perhaps most surprising to some is that the first production models say “delivery in 4 weeks,” suggesting Tesla is working out its production issues and will begin handing over the keys to preorder customers next month.
There are literally no surprises with the online configurator, if you have been following news of the Tesla Model 3. The first production units will all come equipped with the long range batteryoption as well as premium upgrades, bringing the total to $48,000 including the $1,000 deposit – but not including any destination fees. Those wanting the base $35,000 vehicle will have to wait until early 2018, while the dual motor all-wheel-drive option is coming in spring 2018.
Those at the front of the line appear to be current Tesla owners living in the state of California, just like the American automaker promised. For the initial production, customers get to choose their color, wheels, and whether they want Enhanced Autopilot and full self-driving capability.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Walmart, Loblaw Join Push For Electric Trucks With Tesla Semi Orders

Following earlier news that the US-based trucking firm JB Hunt would be reserving and ordering a number of Tesla’s new semi trucks, Walmart and the Canada-based grocery chain Loblaw have both revealed that they will be doing the same.
Tesla semi
Walmart has revealed that it will be reserving and ordering 15 of the new Tesla semi trucks — with 5 slated for use in the US and 10 in Canada. And the Canada-based grocery chain Loblaw has revealed that it will be reserving and ordering a total of 25 of the new all-electric Tesla heavy-duty trucks. Loblaw is currently working towards a goal of possessing an all-electric corporate fleet by 2030.
As a reminder here, reservation deposits for the Tesla semi trucks total $5,000 a piece.
While the order of 15 trucks from Walmart is notable, it clearly just amounts to the firm putting its foot in the water, so to speak, as the company’s US truck fleet is now comprised of around 6,000 units.
Reuters provides more: “The early orders reflected the uncertainty about how the market for electric commercial vehicles will develop. About 260,000 Class-8 trucks are produced in North America annually, and that market has a value of about $28.6 billion, said Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles at FTR, an industry economics research firm.
“The 500-mile (800 km) range between charges that Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk promised on Thursday for the Tesla Semi is about half the range between fill-ups of a diesel Class 8 truck. Heavy batteries cut payload and add cost, potential deal killers for fleet buyers focused on operating cost per mile.”
So, clearly, there are notable limits to Tesla’s semi trucks as of now, but obviously major benefits as well — greatly reduced emissions being an important one. On that note, it’ll be interesting to see if Tesla can garner interest for the semi trucks in China, despite being an outsider, as there’s expected to be a rapid shift away from diesel and petrol/gasoline powered trucks there over the coming decade or two. But maybe BYD and other Chinese players have that market locked.