Saturday, May 31, 2014

BMW: China Will Be Largest EV Market by 2020

BMW i3

The automobile has hit China like a tsunami. Where once there were  few private cars, now there are tens of millions. This spurt in growth was fueled by the country’s leaders, who wanted to drive the economy forward as fast as possible so China could catch up with the rest of the world. Consumers in China, though, are crazy about any car with an internal combustion engine but have been slow to accept the idea of electric cars. Currently there are only a smattering of EV’s purring along Chinese roadways – roughly 70,000. BMW thinks that’s about to change.
Why? For one thing, China is experiencing crippling smog conditions in most of its major cities. This has led authorities to mandateremoving up to 6 million pollution spweing older cars from its roads as soon as possible. In an effort to tamp down the demand for cars, new registrations are strictly limited and are meted out by lottery. If you are lucky enough to be given permission for a new car registration for a non-hybrid car, the fee can be as much as $15,000.
Unless you are registering an electric vehicle. Then the registration is immediately available and costs nothing. So, let’s see: buy a Buick and wait years for a costly registration or buy an EV and start driving tomorrow for free? Hmmm … that’s a pretty easy choice to make. The government wants half a million EV’s on the road by the end of this year. One thing we know for sure is that when the Chinese government wants something, it usually gets it.

BMW Charging Station

BMW thinks such government policies will tilt the car market in China towards electric cars, and it wants to be positioned to take advantage of the surge when it comes. To pave the way forward, the Bavarian company is installing 46 public charging stations in and around Beijing . It has imported about a 1000 i3 models, which are selling in BMW showrooms next to its upmarket i8 offerings.  Mercedes and Volkswagen are also making plans to shoulder their way into the Chinese EV market, as is Tesla (who is looking into Chinese production).
While the policies of China’s central government may seem heavy handed, remember that at the beginning of the automotive era, governments in Europe decided to tax those new fangled devices on the basis of horsepower or engine displacement, which led to  smaller, less powerful cars getting built. BMW is betting Chinese policy will provide a strong boost to EV sales. That seems to be a bet worth taking.

The DELIVER Electric Van Is A Sci-Fi Package Shipper


This funky-looking electric van prototype was built as a  new generation of urban delivery vehicles developed by the DELIVER consortium, first shown to the public recently in Masstricht, Netherlands. It is the product of a European design process, which focuses on reducing the environmental impact of light commercial vehicles in urban areas. The acronym stands for Design of Electric Light Vans for Environment-Impact Reduction, and was funded in part by the European Union, and a group of auto and parts makers including Fiat. Volkswagen and Michelin as well as many universities and several European cities.
At present, no production plans for the van have been announced, though there’s nothing  really standing between the DELIVER van and actual production. It features a Michelin electric motor, rated at 57 kW, in each rear wheel hub, and there is also a two speed gear case in each rear hub. The prototype has 18% more load carrying capacity than a conventional van of similar wheelbase, thanks to its electric drivetrain, and features a range of 62 miles, with a top speed of more than 60 mph.
But the DELIVER is not just about reducing pollution in European cities. It has a clever driver’s compartment designed to increase driver efficiency and reduce fatigue. The B-pillar is omitted on the curb side of the vehicle. allowing the installation of a step out door for the driver. This makes it easier to get in and out of the van, reducing delivery times, and because the main entrance faces the curb, the driver is never faced with the perils of oncoming traffic.
The DELIVER van may have a face that only a mother could love, but its emphasis on compact size, greater load carrying capacity, high efficiency, and low environmental impact make it a strong candidate for the delivery van of the future in the Old World.

Don’t Buy it, Build it: DIY Electric Bicycle


Interest in consumer bicycles is growing every day, with major manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz, Ford, and even IKEA trying to get in on the e-bike action. They’ll have to compete against clever startups like VanHawks and Local Motors, too – who each have their own clever ebike solution. Still, despite the growing variety of electric bicycle species out there, their numbers still can’t compare to the vast array of “regular” bicycles available from brands trendy, storied, or technified (which is a word, now).
So, what do you do if the slick new road bike or classic Schwinn Stingray (the 3 spd., of course) of your dreams isn’t an e-bike, then?
You make it one.
Micah Toll, a mechanical engineer who’s been featured in Forbes, Wired, and USA Today, wants you to know that it’s not as difficult as you might think to turn your two wheeled transport into a bona-fide, highly reliable electric bicycle with just a few simple tools – and, often, at a fraction of the cost of some of the bikes we mentioned, above. His book, the Ultimate Do-it-Yourself EBike Guide, is all about teaching ordinary people how to build your own electric bicycle for cheap.
Recently, Micah launched a Kickstarter campaign to help get the word out about his new book. He’s already shattered his initial goal with almost 3 weeks left to go, but most interesting of all, I think, is the $100 coaching option, which allows backers to connect directly with Micah so he can help walk them through the build of their unique electric bicycle. You can check out Micah’s project in the video, below, or head over to his Kickstarter page for all the details. Enjoy!



Friday, May 30, 2014

The MINI Superleggera Roadster Is Electric Driving Bliss


The MINI Superleggera Vision Concept is what you get when the German owners of a British brand turn to Italian designers to create a lightweight electric roadster. And while too many cooks often spoil the brother, this European collaboration of carbuilders has cooked up an incredible concept that deserves serious consideration for production.
It’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility, and judging from the Internet’s reaction, BMW might do well to consider this concept for production. The MINI Superleggera Vision is a hand-built expression of minimalist driving passion that combines classic British and Italian styling together in a single vessel. The emphasis on this project was the driving experience, though great care was taken to provide some measure of comfort and luxury to the driver as well.
At the heart of the MINI Superleggera concept is a hand-shaped aluminum body built by master metalworks of Touring Superleggera, which BMW contracted to construct this gorgeous concept. There are very few panel gaps, as the MINI Superleggera was constructed from huge sheets of aluminum to give it an unbroken, sleek feel. Carbon fiber reinforced plastic was also used to keep the weight off, meaning this MINI is even lighter than its ilk. A true driver from front to back, and it’s hard not to be reminded of classics from the likes of Aston Martin or Jaguar. The original MINI never made anything like this.
Powering this keen concept car is an unspecified electric drivetrain that seems more placeholder than actually planned for production, as no power figures of any kind were mentioned in the press release. Instead the focus is the light weight of the Superleggera (which in Italian means quite simply “super light”), and should the MINI Superlegerra ever aspire to be more than just a concept, a conventional powertrain would make more sense in keeping with the lightweight nature of the beast.
Even a small battery pack with a very modest range would add hundreds, of not thousands of pounds to the curb weight of the MINI Superleggera, whereas a small conventional drivetrain, like the new three-cylinder engine powering the 2015 MINI models, could provide enough oomph without adding too many unnecessary pounds. Then again, the EV version of the BMW i3 managed to keep the weight off despite its electric drivetrain, so I wouldn’t count EV power out just yet, and a plug-in hybrid drivetrain could strike the right balance between performance and weight.
It might take five years, but this concept has enough potential to make a great case for production. Then again, I thought the same thing about the won’t-ever-happen MINI Paceman Adventure pickup. The MINI Superleggera is MINI getting back to its roots, in a roundabout, luxury roadster EV sorta way.


Source: MINI

China To Junk 6 Million Old Cars By The End Of The Year


China had very lax emission standards for vehicles until about 5 years ago. But as the smog problem grew, the standards were tightened and then tightened again. The problem is, there are still lots of cars built more than 5 years ago on the roads and those are a major source of pollution. In response, China has decided that it must junk up to 6 million of the oldest and dirtiest cars on the road to help reduce pollution in major cities. Sort of reminds me of the ill fated and much debated “Cash For Clunkers” program in the US a few years back, except in China the cars selected will probably be confiscated, rather than purchased.
China has become synonymous with intense smog hanging over its cities, due in large part to tens of millions of cars, trucks and buses spewing pollutants into the air from their exhaust pipes. In Beijing, for example, the state news agency Xinhua estimates that 31% of the pollution comes from vehicle emissions. Basically, what happened to California in the 50′s and 60′s is happening to cities like Beijing and Shanghai today only more so.
You may remember that China ordered a halt to virtually all industrial activity around Beijing in an effort to reduce the smog problem before the Olympics. Chinese people have taken to wearing masks over the nose and mouth when venturing outside in an attempt to reduce breathing in the harmful elements in the air around them. For those who are able to choose where they live, the number one consideration for Chinese people is moving to a place with less air pollution. The government has made moves to reduce the choking levels of pollution, and estimates that about 7.8% of the cars on the road don’t meet current emissions standards, and that next year another 5 million dirty vehicles could head to the scrap heap as well.
How successful the program is will depend on the other areas of the economy doing their part. China relies heavily on coal, much of which it gets from Australia. So far ,the emphasis has been on providing enough power to drive the economy forward with little thought for the consequences. Now the chickens have come home to roost, so to speak, and China must deal with the fact that it is poisoning its own well.
Taking 6 million old cars off the roads will help. But China has a lot more work to do than simply crushing older cars.

Source: The Guardian | Image: Josh VaughnC.C. 2.0

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Mitsubishi GR-HEV Concept Inspiring Production Model


Now this concept from Mitsubishi is cool. Let's hope it makes it to production.
Mitsubishi is looking to get back into the compact truck market with a sleek and efficient new design based off of the GR-HEV concept. Though it might not have the same radical look of drivetrain, but it could shake-up a truck market long dominated by big American trucks.
Only recently has GM recommitted to the idea of a smaller truck, and one with a diesel engine at that, though Ford and Chrysler have left that dwindling market for other automakers to fight over. This could be Mitsubishi’s chance to muscle its way into an underserved market, at a time when trucks of all sizes are upping the MPG ante.
Details so far are scarce, and all we know is that the new L200, or Triton as its known in markets the world over, will debut this fall with a number of styling cues from the GR-HEV concept. That concept had a 2.5 liter diesel engine connected to a plug-in hybrid drvetrain that delivered a combined mileage of some 36 MPG. That’s 8 MPG better than the closest competitor, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel.
While the production model isn’t likely to offer a hybrid drivetrain at launch, I can’t help but imagine the drivetrain of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV shoehorned into a mid-size pickup. The only issue, at least as far as us Americans go, is whether or not we’ll ever see it. Importing a truck to the U.S. is a non-starter thanks to a 25% import tariff on trucks, which means it’d have to be built in North America. Unfortunately, Mitsubishi builds its trucks in Thailand, where it exports the L200 to 140 global markets…but not here.
Don’t hold your breath for this one, at least if you live in the U.S.


Source: Paultan

Panasonic Wants In On The Tesla Gigafactory


While Elon Musk is ready and raring to go, battery partner Panasonic has been more cautious when it comes to Tesla’s proposed Gigafactory battery plant. But don’t let that fool you. Panasonic has big plans for the Tesla Gigafactory , expecting to become the sole manufacturer of batteries at the $5 billion facility.
Tesla and Panasonic recently signed a battery deal worth $7 billion, which would buy enough batteries to build 300,000 Model S sedans. Musk has greater ambitions though, hoping to bring down the cost of EV battery packs by some 30%. For its part, Panasonic has benefitted tremendously from Tesla’s success, and they seem ready to piggyback on that success by remaining Tesla’s main battery contributor. The electric automaker is buying so many batteries that it’s become the world’s largest consumer of batteries.
Panasonic doesn’t expect to have to deal with any potential rivals, such as Samsung, for Tesla’s business, especially with such a massive battery deal already signed. For its part, Tesla is still searching for partners from both the government and raw material suppliers, though the batteries may not all be earmarked for automobiles. Elon Musk’s other project, Solar City, is on track to need a ton of batteries itself. If it reaches peak output, the Tesla and Panasonic could produce 500,000 EV batteries annually at the Gigafactory.
I don’t expect any major automakers to try to get in on the Gigafactory though, as many still seem dismissive of Tesla’s potential. So far Elon Musk has made all the right moves though, and with Panasonic on board, the Gigafactory now seems like a sure thing.

Source: Reuters 

Facelifted Toyota Yaris unveiled

Toyota has poured £68m and 576,000 hours of development into itsYaris hatchback in order to help it compete in the increasingly competitive and style-conscious compact car market.
Over 1000 new parts have made their way into the 2014 Yaris, with the chief changes comprising a heavily restyled interior, more modern and distinctive exterior styling and a host of ride and refinement tweaks.
Alessandro Massimino, Toyota’s European product manager, said: “The Yaris was always extremely strong in its rational dimensions. What we wanted to achieve was to connect the model not only with our customers’ brains, but also with their hearts.”
“We identified that the Yaris delivered on the packaging, durability and cost of ownership front, but wanted to make the car more engaging and emotionally connected.”
Externally the main changes comprise the adoption of the more distinctive cross-shaped front-end styling that recently debuted on the new Aygo. The rear has also received some attention, in the form of a redesigned bumper with an integral diffuser, LED light clusters and a reshaped registration plate surround.
The Toyota's interior has benefitted from a significant revamp, consisting of a redesigned dash and door panels that grant it a sleeker look, higher-quality materials and a larger display for the integrated 'Touch 2' multimedia system.
Minor tweaks like satin chrome trim where there would have previously been plain chrome further serve to give the cabin a more upmarket look, while refinement upgrades including a wind deflector integrated in the cowl and more silencing materials to quell road and engine noise.
Toyota has looked to tap into the increasingly popularity of customisation too, consequently offering the new Yaris with a wider range of trim levels that grant buyers access to varying colour schemes, trim materials and wheels.
Underneath the Yaris benefits from a new torsion-beam rear end and a modified platform. Toyota has added additional spot welds, a thicker bulkhead, new windscreen bonding material and structurally modified the tunnel, wheel tubs and rear bumper structure to stiffen the chassis.
The car's suspension has seen some upgrades too, including new springs and retuned dampers, while the electronic power steering has been recalibrated to deliver more feedback.
Efforts to bolster the Yaris' on-road engagement further include the likes of raising the interior's centre console, allowing for a 30mm reduction in length of the gear lever, reputedly improving the feel of the car's gear shift.
“In the past, the project management was done in Japan,” says Yaris senior project manager Serkan Karaman. “But this time we were in the driver’s seat. As a result, the new Yaris really incorporates European know-how and European taste.”
Engine options remain as before, comprising a 1.0- and 1.33-litre petrol, a 1.4-litre diesel and the range-topping hybrid. Claimed reductions in noise and vibration are touted for all but the most notable change is to the 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine. It is said to perform much better on all fronts while emitting 99g/km of CO2, down from 110g/km – entailing free road tax for buyers.
Despite being one of the more costly options, the hybrid still accounts around 31 per cent of Yaris sales. Minor adjustments mean it now emits just 75g/km of CO2, compared to 79g/km of CO2, and Toyota claims it will average an impressive 86mpg, up from 80.7mpg.
Standard equipment for the new Yaris includes air-con and Toyota's Touch 2 multimedia system, while options include LED daytime running lights, a rear parking camera, auto-folding door mirrors, cruise control, dual-zone climate and leather seats.
The new Toyota Yaris will go on sale later this year. Official pricing is yet to be announced by is expected to remain “competitive with its rivals”.
It’s likely, as a result, that the model will continue to start at around the £10,000 mark, with prices rising to around £16,000 for the hybrid.

Source: Autocar

Mini One 1.2 first drive review

What is it?

This is the Mini One, the entry-level petrol version of the new, third-generation Mini. It features a brand new three-cylinder engine, a 1.2-litre turbocharged unit, that’s essentially a reduced cubic capacity version of the 1.5-litre engine used in the new Mini Cooper.
It still gets direct injection and double-VANOS, as well as a stop-start system, but power drops from 134bhp to 101bhp and price goes down from the Mini Cooper's £15,300 to the One’s £13,750.
As with all the other new Minis, the One is made on the same new BMW front-wheel-drive platform that will be used in other future models both from Mini and BMW.
The new model replaces the old Mini One, which had a 1.6-litre naturally aspirated four cylinder, with 97bhp but only 113lb ft of torque, compared with the new model’s 133lb ft, this is a real boost to in-gear acceleration.

What is it like?

The first thing that catches the eye are the standard 15in rims, with skinny 175/65 R15 low rolling resistance tyres. They make the car look as if it is using four emergency replacement wheels: a bit of a car stylist’s nightmare, really.
Open the door and the One doesn’t look cheap at all, however. All materials used in the cockpit are as good as the ones found in the more expensive Cooper and Cooper S variants and there is no shortage of switches in the centre console or trademark toggle switches.
The car we drove had some optional extras fitted, including a sports leather steering wheel with cruise control and Mini Driving Modes. This allows the driver to choose from Green, Mid or Sport modes. Each modifies accelerator response, steering effort and engine acoustics and, unlike similar systems in other cars, here you can actually feel the difference.
Choose Green and the circular centre console flashes a green arc and the engine gets notoriously less responsive, but never to the point of feeling sluggish. In the instrument cluster, fitted to the steering wheel column, appears a scale indicating how many range 'bonus' miles the driver won by driving in a economy-friendly way.
Change to Sport and the three-cylinder engine comes alive, without ever sounding like a typical three-pot. The engine note is surprisingly pleasant, with a roaring sporty sound. 
Press the accelerator and the One feels more rapid than the 0-62mph figure of 9.9sec might suggest. The torque curve starts to rise from very low revs and delivers a convincingly swift response across a wide range of engine speed. 
The gear change is a true joy for the keen driver. This new six-speed manual performs great automatic rev matching on downshifts, which the driver can override if they apply some well-judged heel and toeing. Fifth- and sixth-gear ratios are a little long, to save fuel when driving on the motorway, where wind noise is not as low as it could be.
And we come back to those skinny tyres. True, city driving is not affected by them and motorway fuel consumption actually benefits. But turn onto a B-road to exploit that famous go-kart-like Mini handling and soon the tyres start to come up short in terms of road holding and precision. Tyre degradation even becomes an issue, when the tyres start to bend, under heavy cornering. 
One thing is true, if you get your driving back to eight-tenths the balance between available power and grip highlights the new Mini’s excellent dynamics, which are better savoured with the stability control off. 
Sliding the front or the rear (or both) is just a question of how much lock you apply to the steering wheel and how deeply you nail the accelerator or how quickly you release it. 
This is not exactly akin to Cristiano Ronaldo playing in high heels but it seems a good idea to order your Mini One with upgraded tyres: you would lose something in fuel economy but not much in comfort, because the ride on the standard tyres is not that supple anyway.

Should I buy one?

If you really need to save the £1550 that separate Mini Cooper from Mini One, the answer is yes and you won’t be disappointed by the torquey 1.2-litre, three-cylinder engine. Just spend whatever money you can get on a bigger set of wheels. 
If you have some financial slack, go for the Cooper version. It gives access to another level of performance and the claimed fuel economy is actually slightly better.
Francisco Mota
Mini One 1.2
Price £13,750; 0-62 mph 9.9sec; Top speed 121mph; Economy61.4mpg (combined); CO2 108g/km; Kerb weight 1090kg;Engine 1198cc, in-line three-cylinder, turbo; Installation front, transversePower 101bhp at 4250rpm Torque 133lb ft at 1400rpm Gearbox 6-spd manual

Source: Autocar

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Fiat CEO: We Lose $14,000 On Every Fiat 500E EV We Sell


A few years ago, Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said the company will lose $10,000 on every Fiat 500E EV it makes. Turns out he was wrong…by about 40%. According to Marchionne, Fiat loses some $14,000 on every electric car it loses. His solution? Asking people not to buy it.
But don’t feel bad for Marchionne or his massive corporation, because they have had ample time to invest and develop EVs. Remember the Chrysler ENVI program? Killed shortly after the Fiat takeover. That was about five years ago. Imagine where their EV program might be today if they had just stuck with it?
Naturally, Marchionne blamed everyone but himself and his company for their failure to make money on EVs. According to the FCA boss, “…nobody out there that makes money on the electrification of vehicles, with the exception of Tesla, which only makes electric cars and sells them at a rather inordinate price.”
While I don’t know how true that statement is, it does sound like a load of bullshit to me, especially coming from the parent company of Ferrari and Maserati. Meanwhile, other automakers. including the two biggest EV makers, GM and Nissan, have slashed the cost of their EVs by at least $5,000, which all start in the same price range as the Fiat 500E. Are they just increasing their losses? Unlikely. Instead it sounds like Sergio was forced to make a car he didn’t want to, and did the worst job possible, expecting people never to buy it.
For Marchionne though, the Fiat 500E is a compliance car, and nothing more, and there are no plans to build anymore than necessary to meet CARB regulations in California. Unfortunately for him, demand of the electric Fiat is reportedly reaching a fever pitch. By most accounts, the Fiat 500E is an excellent vehicle that’s fun to drive, and with access to a conventional version of the 500 included in the lease price drawing customers into dealerships…only to have them leave when they encounter a months-long waiting list.
Instead of redoubling its efforts on EVs, which are proving more popular than predicted, Fiat is committing to diesels, and plans to offer a plug-in hybrid minivan capable of around 75 MPG. While I think both technologies have their place, Fiat-Chrysler is only putting itself further behind the curve by not developing a profitable EV of its own.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

BMW i3 REx Rated At 39 MPG With 72-Mile EV Range, 117 MPGe

BMW i3 Electric Car

After sitting idle at the dock, awaiting an official fuel economy rating from the EPA, the BMW i3 with the three-cylinder range extender finally has the credentials needed to go on sale. Rated at 39 MPG and with a 72-mile EV range, the BMW i3 REx has a total range of about 150 miles and a 117 MPGe. So how’s it stack up against competitors?
The most obvious car to compare it to is the Chevy Volt, which can only go 35 miles per charge, but has a total range of about 300 miles with a full tank of gas. It’s also cheaper, though the purpose-built BMW i3 is rear-wheel drive, lighter, more powerful, and hence quicker. The i3 takes 7.2 seconds to go from 0 to 60 MPH, whereas the Volt is more than a second slower at 8.5 seconds. However, the Volt is also about $10,000 cheaper, $34,185compared to $45,200, but the i3 REx has a better MPGe rating, 117 compared just 98.
The conclusion? The i3 is more electric than conventional car, whereas the Volt is more conventional than gas-powered, and I have to wonder if the 78 extra miles of driving is worth the cost of the range extender. Depending on your needs, one or the other might work, though the Volt is undoubtedly the more versatile of the two.
Compared to the electric-only BMW i3, the REx model doesn’t make any better of a case for itself. The BMW i3 EV has a 81-mile electric range, 124 MPGe, and a starting MSRP of $41,350, as well as weighing less. I think GM had it right by going with a lower EV range and a longer, range-extended mode, but 150 miles may be the magic number EVs need to achieve. The two gallons of gasoline (plus the battery power of course) equates to about 75 MPG, a number no conventional hybrid has yet to achieve.
As for the rest of the plug-in hybrid fleet, like the Ford C-Max Energi and Toyota Prius Plug-in, the electric-only ranges are so low as to really disqualify them from comparison in my mind. With this little rating snafu cleared up, buyers of the BMW i3 REx can finally take delivery of their long-awaited vehicles. Did BMW hit the nail on the head, or did they not go far enough?

Source: BMW

Honda Grom Racing Seems Pretty Amazing - VIDEO

We love the Honda Grom 125 here at Gas 2. Why shouldn’t we? Between a powerful, single-cylinder engine that you don’t need a special motorcycle license to ride (in many states), a real 4-speed manual transmission, top-shelf suspension and brake hardware, and aggressive, 7/8 scale street-fighter styling, and nearly 100 MPG fuel economy rating, what’s not to love? On top of all that high-quality Honda goodness, the little Grom seems a blast to ride on the street.
But, how is it on a track?
If the video, above, is any indication, then the little Honda Grom is a blast to ride on a racetrack, too. The race above is part of an event Texas Mini GP, which consists of classes that cover everything from 50 cc singles to 150 cc multis … and which, frankly, I’m appalled that I’m only discovering now!
I’ve reached out to the Mini GP guys, so we’ll have more coverage of those festivities soon. Until then, everyone keep buying Honda Groms, and stay tuned.

Honda Grom at the Texas Mini GP

Honda Grom Racing

Source Imagesx481x, via Jalopnik.

Electric Smart, Renault Twingo Facing Weak Demand

Renault EVs Face Weak Demand

Despite the incredible adoption rate of all-electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S, makers of smaller EVs like the Smart Electric Drive and recently-updated Mitsubishi iMiEV are facing weak demand – which has led some people within Renault-Nissan to rethink the company’s strategy in re: an electric Renault Twingo.
“We’re not in a situation where the market has followed our forecasts,” Chief Performance Officer for Renault, Jerome Stoll said in an interview with Automotive News. “People haven’t yet reached the point where they feel the need to have an electric vehicle for full daily use. People need to feel that need to shift to electric models.”
That’s bad news for a company that wants to put more than 1.5 million EVs on the world’s roads by 2020. It’s also bad news forMercedes’ Smart brand and Mitsubishi, who are both planning to field their own versions of the recently-revealed Renault Twingo / upcoming Nissan Micra model.
Still, it’s not all bad news. Renault delivered more than 19,000 electric cars last year, on top of Nissan’s own strong Leaf sales, out of a total of 2.6 million Renault-branded cars and light commercial vehicles. The company, then, is still on track for its 2020 goal, even without the electric subcompacts. As for Smart and Mitsubishi, it looks like their dealers are giving them a different story, since they seem committed to developing their EVs.
We’ll have more on the next iMiEV and Smart Electric Drive models, of course, as the news develops. Stay tuned!

Source | Photos: Renault, via Automotive News, Europe.