We’re currently on our way in the i3 from Northampton to Surrey, to visit relatives for New Year’s Eve. It seems like most of the few CCS charge points operated by Ecotricity at motorway services are offline today.
I have therefore planned to charge at public charge points near our destination. However, since we always stop at Toddington services going south for the toilets anyway, I thought I’d try an AC charge here (Toddington has no CCS/DC cable).
The i3, of course, does its slow charging on AC (alternating current) like all electric cars and its rapid charging on DC (direct current) like all electric cars except the Renault ZOE. However, the new i3 (the ’94ah’) has a trick up its sleeve – it can ‘medium charge’ on 3 phase AC (a feature shared only with the Tesla).
After about 10 minutes of mucking about with the Ecotricity app on my ‘phone it finally loaded, and the car started charging from the Type 2 cable (intended for rapid charging a ZOE). About quarter of an hour later, when we were ready to leave, we had taken on 2.5kWh of electricity. 2.5kWh in 14 minutes equates to about 11 kW charging power, which is what the i3 can theoretically achieve so it’s encouraging to see it working in a real situation.
Having said that, we only gained about 10 miles of range (so about 40 miles per hour). That’s certainly better than nothing, but doesn’t compete with true DC rapid charging where that’s available.
Speculation about the future of transportation, like common flu, appears to be contagious. Not a week goes by without another celebrity, business guru or executive predicting that future of transportation is electric.
That, you may say, is probable and not newsworthy. What is newsworthy is that many of the same people are predicting that the transition is likely to be at a pace much faster than many had expected.
In July 2016, for example, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson was quoted as saying that he suspected that 15 years from now every car on the road would be electric. Chances are that he made up the number – 15 years – without giving it much thought. One can also assume that he was talking about new cars sold in 15 years, not all cars on the road.
That, of course, is what makes Branson Branson. He was talking to CNN at a Formula E race, which he was attending to support the Virgin Racing team. He said,
“Formula E is pushing the boundaries forward into what will be the future. Fifteen years from now, I suspect every car on the road will be electric.”
He went on to elaborate:
“If governments set the ground rules — and they sometimes have to be brave and set positive ground rules — and for instance said, ‘more than 50% of cars must be battery-driven in 10 years and 100% in 15 years,’ we could make that happen. It will be great fun and really challenging to do. The cars would be much more efficient… and battery technology will get better and better.”
“The stone age came to an end, not for lack of stones, and the oil age will end, but not for lack of oil” (Sheikh Yamani OPEC co-founder and former Saudi Arabian oil minister)
Electricity companies around the world will begin to go bankrupt by 2018, even while they generate profits. It sounds absurd doesn’t it? However, hear me out.
By now everyone has read the headlines. “Tesla Powerwall changes everything, electricity death spiral, energy storage revolution, the Kodak moment for electricity etc.” This was the hype of 2015.
In 2016, reality set in, many households realised a $A17,999 5kW SolarEdge system with a 7kWh Tesla Powerwall would take about 17 years to pay back. These were sobering figures considering most equipment warranties are only 10-12 years. However, in just 2 years this payback equation will be radically different. It will rock the very foundations of modern society, creating and destroying fortunes across the planet.
The car of the future will be electric, connected and, eventually, self-driving. But where does that leave the car industry of the future? In a series of articles this month, Heard on the Street takes a look at how investors should approach the biggest technological disruption the car industry has faced in decades.
Battery-powered electric cars outsold gasoline ones at the dawn of the automotive age. In a decade or so they may well do so again. Investors need to watch out they don’t get caught on the wrong side of history.
Precisely when electric cars leave their current luxury or green-tech niches and—after many false starts—enter the mainstream depends above all on relative cost. On that front, electric vehicles have momentum.
The plummeting cost of batteries is key. The growth of mobile computing has driven massive investment in the area, improving the range of electric cars while reducing their cost. Mercedes-maker Daimler thinks the production cost of engine and battery technology might reach parity in 2025. But the tipping point for consumers, who also factor in subsidies and running costs, will be earlier.
CEO Masamichi Kogai said the company would introduce zero-emission vehicles as standards tighten in the U.S.
TOKYO—The chief executive of Mazda Motor Corp. said the company plans to start selling electric vehicles in 2019, joining rivals at home that face tightening emission standards abroad.
“We’ve set the goal at 2019 to accommodate the ZEV regulations in North America,”
Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai said in a group interview, referring to rules in California and some other states that mandate rising sales of zero-emission vehicles.
Nissan Motor Co. has sold its Leaf electric vehicle since 2010 and Toyota Motor Corp. said this month it wanted to get itself ready for commercializing electric cars.
Mr. Kogai said Mazda would add original features to its electric cars to differentiate itself. He said engineers were looking at ways to keep the cars running longer when the battery was nearly dead.
Mazda and Toyota last year said they would build a long-term partnership on car technology. Representatives from the two companies said collaboration on electric vehicles was an option but nothing was decided. Mr. Kogai said they weren’t considering a capital tie-up.