Here’s How To Improve Plug-In Electric Car Sales In U.S.

MAY 21 2015 BY MARK KANE 36

2016 Chevrolet Volt

2016 Chevrolet Volt

The National Research Council released a report titled Overcoming Barriers to Deployment of Plug-in Electric Vehicles. According to the study, the main hurdles standing in the way of improving market adoption of EVs are cost, battery performances and inadequate consumer information.

How do we address these problems?

“Developing less expensive, better performing batteries is essential to reducing overall vehicle cost, and a market strategy is needed to create awareness and overcome customer uncertainty.”

There are recommendations in the report that could be beneficial.

Charging. NCR found that the most important charging location is the driver’s home, followed by workplace, and only then charging points around cities and least important on interstates. The government should ease the installation of home and workplaces charging points:

“The report says that local governments should streamline permitting processes and adopt building codes that require new construction to be capable of supporting future charging installations, and should encourage workplaces to consider investments in charging infrastructure.”

Charging standards. The second part in press release is on eliminating the proliferation of incompatible plugs, which we believe will be harder to do. First, one standard would need to be picked up and then imposed.

A universally accepted method of payment probably would be easier, but we must remember that the gas station business model does not work well for charging stations.

Funny thing is that there still is a need for more research to determine how much public infrastructure is needed and where it should be:

“Through regulatory action, the federal government should eliminate the proliferation of incompatible plugs and ensure that all drivers can charge their vehicles and pay at all public charging stations using a universally accepted method, just as conventional vehicles can be refueled at any gas station.  But the report recommends that the federal government refrain from additional direct investment in the installation of public charging infrastructure until more research has been done to understand the role of public infrastructure in encouraging broader adoption and use of plug-in electric vehicles.  Specifically, the government should fund research to determine how much public infrastructure is needed and where it should be sited to persuade more people to purchase and use such vehicles.  It should also continue to invest in fundamental and applied research to expedite the development of low-cost, high-performance batteries to increase the all-electric range and reduce vehicle cost.”

Incentives need to continue. The Tax Credit should be converted to point-of-sale rebate.

“Existing federal financial incentives to purchase plug-in electric vehicles should continue beyond the current production volume limit, the report says.  The federal government should consider converting the federal income tax credit offered to purchasers of plug-in electric vehicles into a point-of-sale rebate, and should work with state governments to adopt a policy in which plug-in vehicles remain free from special roadway or registration surcharges for a limited time.  The government should re-evaluate the case for incentives after a suitable period, considering advancements in vehicle technology and progress in reducing production costs, total costs of ownership, and vehicle emissions.”

Here are more recommendations from the report via Green Car Congress:

“The report issues a number of recommendations across a range of areas; together, these are:

  • As the United States encourages the adoption of PEVs, it should continue to pursue in parallel the production of US electricity from increasingly lower carbon sources.
  • The federal government and proactive states should use their incentives and regulatory powers to (1) eliminate the proliferation of plugs and communication protocols for DC fast chargers and (2) ensure that all PEV drivers can charge their vehicles and pay at all public charging stations using a universally accepted payment method just as any ICE vehicle can be fueled at any gasoline station.
  • To provide accurate consumer information and awareness, the federal government should make use of its Ad Council program, particularly in key geographic markets, to provide accurate information about federal tax credits and other incentives, the value proposition of PEV ownership, and who could usefully own a PEV.
  • The federal government should continue to sponsor fundamental and applied research to facilitate and expedite the development of lower cost, higher performing vehicle batteries. Stable funding is critical and should focus on improving energy density and addressing durability and safety.
  • The federal government should fund research to understand the role of public charging infrastructure (as compared with home and workplace charging) in encouraging PEV adoption and use.
  • Federal and state governments should adopt a PEV innovation policy where PEVs remain free from special roadway or registration surcharges for a limited time to encourage their adoption.
  • Local governments should streamline permitting and adopt building codes that require new construction to be capable of supporting future charging installations.
  • Local governments should engage with and encourage workplaces to consider investments in charging infrastructure and provide information about best practices.
  • The federal government should refrain from additional direct investment in the installation of public charging infrastructure pending an evaluation of the relationship between the availability of public charging and PEV adoption or use.
  • To ensure that adopters of PEVs have incentives to charge vehicles at times when the cost of supplying energy is low, the federal government should propose that state regulatory commissions offer PEV owners the option of purchasing electricity under time-of-use or real-time pricing.
  • Federal financial incentives to purchase PEVs should continue to be provided beyond the current production volume limit as manufacturers and consumers experiment with and learn about the new technology. The federal government should re-evaluate the case for incentives after a suitable period, such as 5 years. Its re-evaluation should consider advancements in vehicle technology and progress in reducing production costs, total costs of ownership, and emissions of PEVs, HEVs, and ICE vehicles.
  • Given the research on effectiveness of purchase incentives, the federal government should consider converting the tax credit to a point-of-sale rebate.
  • Given the sparse research on incentives other than financial purchase incentives, research should be conducted on the variety of consumer incentives that are (or have been) offered by states and local governments to determine which, if any, have proven effective in promoting PEV deployment. “

Source: NRC via Green Car Congress

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36 Comments on "Here’s How To Improve Plug-In Electric Car Sales In U.S."

newest oldest most voted

All top down approach. No creativity here. Doesn’t help with behavior change. Mass market adoption requires solutions that are easy for consumers to understand and compare, and provide less risk for change. We’re still low on the new product adoption curve.

jmollard

Agreed. I my mind Tesla is helping with this, at least I improving perceptions. They are showing what is possible, even though still unaffordable. But that will come too. I’d say Tesla’s first EVs are a far cry better than the first cell phone examples that came to market. Twenty years later, who doesn’t own a useful smart phone?

jmollard

Although I don’t mean to say that all the points in this article are not valid or valuable. Having gone through the exercise of purchasing an EV which took me several years, these approaches would’ve helped me along the way.

Speculawyer

The Tesla Roadster is nice but it had plenty of problems:
-Transmission debacle
-late
-overbudget
-Very small such that large people won’t buy it sold it off

Incompatible with all the DC fast-chargers including Tesla’s Superchargers.

Ocean Railroader

I keep getting criticized for my idea of buying a EV in that everyone keeps saying I will be stuck on the side of the highway when I can’t charge it up or run out of range.

If you think about it EV’s right now are where cars are in 1915. In that Gas stations were rare and they liked to break down a lot.

Joshua Burstyn

I think that is a fairly common viewpoint but frankly even with 0 miles remaining on the dial of most of today’s EVs you can find an emergency 120v outlet somewhere. Besides Mr. Broder (a known EV-phobe) I haven’t heard of anyone truly getting stranded. Inconvenienced perhaps due to slow charging, but not stranded.

I also disagree with your characterization of frequent breakdowns. At the very least my reality includes times when colleagues with ICE vehicles were unable to make their trip whereas our Model S powered on and drove as if there was nothing special about the day’s monsoon rain or < -20c temperature.

Mister G

CARBON TAX CARBON TAX CARBON TAX

AddLightness
I think this second generation of EV/PHEVs coming out is the perfect time to throttle up the advertising and education of these vehicles. There is significant sacrafices that must be made with most 1st gen vehicles, including my 2013 Leaf. I tell people about the car every chance I get, and they seem genuinely interested. Secondly, access and installation of home charging need to be improved. Nissan dealers in my area were unable to provide any help with this so I had to research everything and make all the calls myself. Thirdly dealers new nothing about available State incentives for electric vehicle or charger purchases. I did all the research myself and talked with the State to ensure I got the incentives. Finally, I have to schedule my maintenance around a specific employee’s availablility at the dealer because he’s the only one that can do it. Also the finance guy was not even educated on all of the available incentives from NISSAN on the purchase or lease of a Leaf. I had to make him call corporate to confirm all of the information that I told him to get the incentives. As serious as Nissan is about EVs, there are… Read more »
Murrysville EV

Agreed on all points.

I installed my own L2 charger for about $850 including all the parts, back in 2012. Nissan wanted to charge me $2k minimum for someone else to do it.

Like you, I find the Nissan dealer to be fairly clueless about the car they sold me, here in the EV wilderness of western PA.

ricegf

Exactly that. My local Nissan dealer called in their “Leaf Expert”, and he ended up asking me a lot of questions since I had actually done my research.

I ended up buying a gently used (<10,000 mile) 2012 Leaf SL from Denver (where the batteries stay cool) with CHAdeMO from CarMax for under $14k. They were equally clueless, but at least admitted it up front!

They made the process fun, at least, but what I really wanted was a Leaf-specific dealer. Elon is right, and the Texas legislature dead wrong.

Londo Bell

WHY OH WHY THERE IS NO MANDATORY EARTH OR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE / ECOLOGICAL EDUCATION FOR OUR KIDS (elementary / middle / high schools + college) is WELL BEYOND CONVENTIONAL WISDOM.

The current curriculum lumps all science as a whole, so it’s quite difficult for kids to take interest of those subjects.

Teach those subject as a mean of understanding daily life, just as the neceesity

Londo Bell

WHY OH WHY THERE IS NO MANDATORY EARTH OR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE / ECOLOGICAL EDUCATION FOR OUR KIDS (elementary / middle / high schools + college) is WELL BEYOND CONVENTIONAL WISDOM.

The current curriculum lumps all science as a whole, so it’s quite difficult for kids to take interest of those subjects.

Teach those subject as a mean of understanding daily life, just as the necessity of Math and language…

Mister G

In Polk county Florida, my 3rd grade son is learning about global warming, green house effect, sea level rise, and CO2 emissions from consumption of fossil fuels. There is hope for the future. Buy Tesla stock and make some money 10 years from now.

Ocean Railroader

They have to raise the range of the cars to 120 miles on a charger. Along with that they need to build a quick charger every five to ten miles on all major highways.

As if now we have nothing but low range and for me Tesla doesn’t exist. Not to mention the Tesla superchargers are very rare still.

Also I have checked plug share every day to wait for a route of quick chargers to open up across New Jersey and North Carolina. And we have only had two new ones open up in the last five weeks.

At the same time this has happened several quick chargers have been ripped out off the map on plug share and yet the website still lists them even though they are gone.

HVACman

re: charger standards. Funny thing – when it comes to automotive technical standards, the SAE has been the world’s standard-bearer. The SAE L1 and L2 charger protocols and hardware standards that are now ubiquitous are representative.

Yet the Japanese mfgrs(and Nissan) elected to not participate in the SAE process for L3, going instead with a proprietary Japanese standard. Tesla had its own unique perspective on “standards”.

So now the SAE, in following the sometimes tedious process required to develop that universal standard, is continuously harangued by what critics call a “Frankenplug”.

Despite the early gains of the Chademo Japaneses-specific protocol and Tesla SC’s, I’m glad GM, BMW, Ford, and much of the rest of the world’s automotive manufacturers are sticking with the standard protocol development process and working through the SAE to dial in and promote the SAE L3 standards.

Their EV products with L3 Combo charging capability in the next few of years will become a larger and larger share of the market. Those who ignore or bypass the SAE standard for their products for short-term gain will do so at their long-term peril.

A friendly reminder that Nissan designed the LEAF in 2008/10. Work on SAE DC standard did not start till 2011, with US draft published in 2013. Not accepted as a IEC standard till 2014.

Note: while the iMiEV with 16 kWh battery hit the global market in 2009/10; it had a CHAdeMO DC port. The Volt also with a 16 kWh battery, released in late 2010 does not have a DC port. A layer released Outlander PHEV also contains a DC port. Clearly the inclusion of DC ports on PEVs is manufacture driven; not standards driven.

pk

Missing here is advertising. Based on my personal experience, very few of the unwashed masses know anything about EVs, be it BEV,EREV,PHEV.

Here in Ontario there’s basically an instant rebate of $8,500 (depends on the battery size). So why isn’t the Ontario gov’t advertising the advantages of EVs and the incentives available to consumers?

In fact when is the last time I saw a TV ad for the Leaf/Volt/Tesla?

ricegf

Tesla has a backlog. Why would they advertise? What they need is a really big factory to speed up producion of batteries. Oh, wait…

Agree on the others, though. We’re awash in used Leafs, but I’ve yet to see them advertised.

FSJ

I think they have their charging priorities wrong. It should be home, then interstate. The only reason you would ever need workplace or errands charging is if your battery is way too small. The Tesla is proof.

Mike I

Workplace charging can be a substitute for home charging in situations where you don’t have control over the area where you park. For example, a person who lives in an apartment and can’t convince the landlord to install charging stations or outlets can get by with workplace charging and occasional use of fast chargers in the city. However, I agree that the user experience when you have exclusive use of a home charging station is far better.

Speculawyer

Sure. But governments really need to start pushing apartment places to install chargers or at least allow EV fans to install chargers themselves.

Bob

+1

Mark C

I agree with your one – two on chargers. But with shorter range EVs we have now, some chargers along those arteries that lead from a small town to the interstate two cities away, they’ll need some help as well.

I live 44 miles from my favorite weekend entertainment destination. At least twice a month I make that commute on a weekend. There is two substantial hills, one to go up each direction. In poor weather, an affordable EV would be VERY challenged to make that round trip without charging in the middle. That city has one DCFC, donated by Nissan and put in the middle of the government business section of the city. I may check to see the accessibility one day, but I’m really holding out for one of the expected 150 – 200 mile range “affordable” EV’s that may be on the horizon. Until then, my Prius will have to fill my needs.

Speculawyer

Thank you, Captain Obvious!

Speculawyer

I was being snarky but these are all pretty good suggestions and I hope the right people hear about them and heed them.

ricegf

I disagree on not pushing for consistent fast charge coverage across the Interstate system, though. Get those deployed now!

Incentives to provide dual CHAdeMO / CCS EVSE every 25 miles or so would make medium range trips practical in today’s EVs, and long range trips in 2017 EVs. This would even benefit Tesla owners, with their very nice CHAdeMO adapter – though Tesla gets it already.

Mike

yep – they miss the most obvious fact that L2 only works when you have lots of time.
L3 is the real enabler, but they rate interstate charging as the lowest priority, but at least one manufacturer (Tesla) has proved that not to be the case.
Also disagree that government should be playing any part in setting standards – they cannot react fast enough and end up enforcing policies that constrain innovation, right at the time when we need most innovation.
If the gov gets involved now, we can kiss widespread EV market goodbye.

Speculawyer

Of course, unless you don’t sleep, you do have lots of time to get a full charge every day using L2.

Why is government finding directed to auto manufactures at lowering cost, but almost no finding at reducing cost of charging hardware and increasing universal access?

eg:
“Developing less expensive, better performing DC EVSE is essential to reducing overall charging station cost, and a market strategy is needed to create awareness and overcome customer uncertainty.”

It’s not the EVs that are failing in the field … rather the single point DC QC stations that are the “weakest link”. These single point failures create the greatest anxiety and uncertainty to EV usage.

The 90% of charging at home and at the workplace is very reliable; however the 10% of charging needed at public locations has many uncertainly and reliability issues. Blocked charging infrastructure, broken access models, and charging queues are major hurtles needing better solutions.

Zim

With EV’s, if it takes more than 20 minutes for a half charge or an hour for a full charge, forget about it. You’ll never see mass adoption.

With PHEV’s it’s different since you have the flexibility to recharge the battery or not. The only impediment to PHEV adoption is the cost.

Scott Franco, the greedy republican

“Here’s How To Improve Plug-In Electric Car Sales In U.S.”

Step 1. Stop calling them “plug-in electric cars”.

Murrysville EV

1. The mfrs ought to be more transparent about battery degradation over time, and the effects of climate on range.

Leaf sales would drop dramatically if people knew how sensitive the battery is to low temperatures.

2. Resale value. Tesla has wisely addressed this. But my 12 Leaf will have lost 65% of its MSRP at trade-in time, which is why I’ll never buy out the lease.

ricegf

Good points.

1. Did you read the article on the Leaf taxi that just passed 100,000 miles with 12 battery bars, even though they routinely fast charge? They’re buying more, given the huge savings they’ve seen on gas and maintenance.

Extreme temperature is a problem still, but that goes to battery chemistry research that was high on the list of priorities.

2. Resale value ignores the effect of tax credits and state rebates, but even then it’s still higher than ICE. But that’s driven by the rapid advance of technology. I believe the problem will resolve itself once the tech settles out.

Mister G

Extend and increase EV incentives and pay for it with a carbon tax.

Just_Chris

Free shag with every purchase?

http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=&url=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FFile%3AMicrocarbo_melanoleucos_Austins_Ferry_3.jpg&ei=CVxeVeyzA4TLmAW7zYHwAQ&bvm=bv.93990622,d.dGY&psig=AFQjCNGSvnSbAfCu4KI0Rg9vAn5-s-vSeQ&ust=1432333705397246

To be honest I think, we are now at the point where there is no silver bullet. It is clear that there is a market for EV’s and enough places in the world where we see greater adoption than the 0.5-1% market share average.

IMO I think we are now at the point where we should start to increase tax on fuel, if we increased every ones fuel (petrol/Diesel) bill by 60%, EV and low emission vehicle sales would jump. I think subsidies are a good way to get things moving but there comes a point where those programs get too expensive. IMO, if you had 10 times as many EV’s on the road then a lot of the infrastructure would self sustain. If 10% of apartment buyers had an EV, apartments would offer charging or loose 10% of the market if it is 0.5% of apartment buyers there is little incentive.

Steven

In my area, there are specific obstacles. First, to put a charging ped in front of my house requires a zoning variance. Second, but equally important, my development has no garages, driveways, or reserved parking spaces.

So, even if I jump through the hoops to get a charger, there’s nothing I can do to prevent being ICEed, short of laying down in the spot in front of my house.

And the nearest accessible charger is only 20 minutes out of my way.