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Expert panel report finds achieving 1M plug-in vehicles in US by 2015 would require concentrated action to overcome barriers

4 February 2011

A new study sponsored by Indiana University concludes that President Obama’s vision of one million plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) on US roads by 2015 will require concentrated efforts action from all stakeholders— the auto industry, federal government, the scientific community, and consumers—to be realized.

The report, Plug-In Electric Vehicles: A Practical Plan for Progress, examines public policies toward PEVs, taking into account the promise and limitations of PEVs, recent improvements in battery technology, market dynamics, and the proliferation of policies around the world that promote the use of PEVs. The focus is primarily near term (i.e., 2011-25), recognizing that the transportation electrification process will evolve in stages based on the learning that occurs in the years and decades ahead.

Bill Ford on the prospects for EVs
At a media dinner at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last month, Ford Motor Executive Chairman Bill Ford made some observations on the prospects for electric vehicles:
“...Here we are today now, embarking upon something which is very different for our industry. It’s of course way too early to tell what the acceptance is going to be and I think anybody who would try to give you projection in terms of 10 years, x percent of our fleet is going to be electric, I think they’d all be just throwing darts.
“We don’t know [about market acceptance], but one thing we do know is the technology is ready for prime time. These vehicles are fun to drive—you don’t have to give up anything to drive them. That was always the tradeoff with prior green efforts.
“If you asked anybody out there “Are you an environmentalist?” they would all say “yes” and then you say OK, what are you willing to give up for it and the group would start to dwindle rather quickly if you asked them to give up size, utility, features or pay more. So now finally we have the technology to deliver everything to customers and with things like plugins you don’t have the range anxiety so that does kind of relieve most of the tradeoffs, certainly.
“...We do need a national energy policy. Because [Ford] can provide the hardware, but ultimately, our country has to decide is this where we really want to go and if so, how are we going to really develop the smart grid in a way that works and allows the utilities to actually speak to each other and trade power, ubiquity of charging and all those things... that’s something that in its very early days, but its something I believe we need to do as a nation to get on with it. ”

The report represents the views of the Transport Electrification Panel (TEP), a group of experts from multiple disciplines and organizations commissioned by the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs (IU SPEA). TEP’s work has been supported by a team of graduate students and faculty from IU SPEA, but the findings and recommendations in this report are strictly those of TEP.

President Obama’s dream is appealing and it may be achievable, but there are big barriers to overcome before the mass commercialization of electric vehicles will occur.

—John D. Graham, dean of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IU

The chairman of the IU panel, former Ford Motor Co. executive Gurminder Bedi, stressed that “a successful national program for electric vehicles will require an unusual degree of cooperation between industry and government, and a clear focus on the needs and concerns of consumers.

The 13-member panel made 10 major findings and 8 recommendations. The findings include:

  • The US PEV Industry in the Global Market. Virtually all major vehicle manufacturers and several start-up companies are offering—or are planning to offer soon—a PEV for sale in the US market. PEV offerings have also been announced throughout Europe and Asia. While US automakers are working on PEVs, the US electric vehicle industry lags behind other regions—particularly Asia—in the areas of battery manufacturing, supply chain development, and raw materials production. PEVs may never dominate the mass vehicle market, but it is possible—some experts say likely—that they will capture a significant share (5-15%) of the market over the next 15 to 20 years.

  • Policy Instruments. Recent public policies in the United States and other countries have improved the prospects for initial commercialization of PEVs. These policies include generous tax credits for consumers and producers, new regulations of vehicle manufacturers, special access to high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes and city parking, loan guarantees and subsidies for companies in the PEV industry, grants for recharging infrastructure, and federal R&D support for more advanced battery technologies.

  • National Goal of One Million Plug-In Electric Vehicles. The production intentions of automakers are currently insufficient to meet the 1-million PEV unit 2015 goal, and even the current plans for production volume may not be met. Automakers could ramp up PEV production if consumer demand proves to be larger than expected. However, consumer demand for PEVs is quite uncertain and, barring another global spike in oil prices, may be limited to a minor percentage of new vehicle purchasers (e.g., early technology adopters and relatively affluent urban consumers interested in a “green” commuter car).

  • Market Drivers. Four market factors, each of which can be influenced by public policy, present the greatest potential for altering the competitive position of PEVs in the vehicle market: (1) energy prices; (2) battery characteristics (safety, reliability, and production costs); (3) the availability of convenient and affordable recharging infrastructure; and (4) the pace of progress with PEVs compared to competing technologies, such as refinements to the internal combustion engine, conventional hybrids, advanced biofuels, natural gas vehicles, and fuel cell vehicles.

  • Early Adopters vs. Mainstream Car Buyers. One key reason that mass commercialization of PEVs may proceed slowly over the next decade is that mainstream retail purchasers of new vehicles differ from the relatively small number of enthusiastic “early adopters.” Mainstream car buyers are careful about investing in new technologies that are not fully understood. There are a variety of uncertainties about exactly how much money will be saved by PEVs (savings depend on uncertain forecasts of fuel and electricity prices), how reliable and safe the batteries will be, how convenient and costly it will be to recharge a PEV, how easy it will be to have the vehicle serviced, and how difficult it will be to resell the vehicle. Although proponents of PEVs are making progress in resolving these uncertainties, consumers will ask many questions before purchasing a PEV and will wait to hear from others who choose to experiment with a PEV.

  • The Need for “Truth in Advertising.” Initial consumer experiences with PEVs—their real-world driving range, cost, safety, reliability, and ease of recharging and resale—will exert a significant influence over mainstream consumers’ perceptions of PEVs. If customer expectations are inflated (by automakers, dealers, power companies, environmental groups, and/or government officials) relative to what is actually experienced, the reputational damage to the technology could be significant and possibly irreparable. News stories are already describing the “hype” associated with the campaign for PEVs.

  • BEVs vs. PHEVS. Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) have some clear advantages over (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) PHEVs: they offer greater potential for energy security benefits by eliminating the vehicle’s use of petroleum; they have no tailpipe emissions; they eliminate the complexity and cost of the internal combustion engine; and the electric drive system is relatively simple to design, produce, and service. However, the obstacles to mass commercialization of BEVs are even greater than the obstacles for PHEVs.

    Given the high cost of battery production, a BEV that approaches affordability (with generous tax credits) has a driving range of about 70-100 miles on a full charge. The battery pack takes a long time to fully recharge (usually overnight), and even using an expensive commercial recharger takes considerably longer than refilling a standard gasoline tank.

    Although typical daily travel patterns in the United States lie well within the 100-mile range, most vehicle purchasers desire a full-function vehicle that can meet their predictable peak travel demands (i.e., their longest trips, such as weekend and holiday road trips). With its battery pack complemented by a small gasoline or diesel engine, a PHEV can make use of the existing refueling infrastructure to achieve driving ranges of 300 miles by featuring conventional refueling capabilities in addition to recharging the battery. An affordable BEV cannot match this range or speed of refueling, so BEVs may not achieve mass commercialization until there are breakthroughs in battery technology, though they may succeed in niche markets such as commuter vehicles for affluent multi-vehicle households or urban pick-up and delivery vehicles.

  • Recharging Infrastructure. Both PHEVs and BEVs are designed with the intention of using residential recharging as the primary refueling method, but BEVs also depend on the emergence of some recharging stations in the community. The obstacles to residential recharging are less challenging than community recharging, but more imperative to overcome. The biggest barriers to residential recharging are faced by those consumers who would otherwise find PEVs most attractive: urban dwellers with short commutes, who often lack garages or convenient access to an electrical outlet.

    Additionally, most municipal regulations and permitting processes are not yet designed with PEVs in mind and present a bureaucratic obstacle to the timely and efficient installation of residential recharging units. Workplace recharging will also be helpful and is already sponsored by some employers, but will occur less frequently than residential recharging. Retail outlets may have commercial incentives to install recharging facilities if sufficient demand develops, but the short-term need for community recharging is limited, installation remains expensive, and bureaucratic and technological obstacles persist.

  • Battery Innovation. There are promising prospects for advancements in battery technology that improve performance and reduce costs, and breakthroughs in advanced battery chemistries remain a distinct possibility. Significant cost reductions in battery technology have already been achieved. Additional battery R&D may achieve even greater cost reductions, perhaps more significant than the cost reductions expected through economies of scale and “learning by doing” in the production process. While refinements of lithium-ion battery technology may prove sufficient for mass commercialization of PHEVs, a new type of energy storage will likely be required so that BEVs can satisfy the cost and range preferences of mainstream consumers.

  • Environmental Impacts. A comprehensive environmental evaluation of PEVs must consider the fact that production of electricity will generate risks to the environment that will vary in nature and magnitudes depending on the source of power. The potential impacts of PEVs on climate change are of particular concern. Given the current mix of electricity sources in the United States, use of a PEV will emit far fewer greenhouse gases than the current average gasoline engine, but may not be better than HEVs that do not need to be recharged.

    As long as electricity production depends heavily on high-carbon energy sources, the net effect of PEVs on greenhouse gases will be limited and will vary by region. As electricity production shifts to lower carbon-emitting sources, the environmental promise of PEVs will be enhanced significantly.

The recommendations include:

  • Technology-Neutral Policies. Policymakers should generally pursue energy security and environmental goals through technology-neutral policies, thereby allowing the marketplace for fuels and vehicles to determine which technologies are superior. The following fuel-saving policy instruments are typically considered technology-neutral: a gasoline tax; a national fuel efficiency standard that allows manufacturers to trade compliance credits; and a “feebate” incentive system for fuel efficiency, where buyers of high-mileage cars are awarded a rebate while buyers of low-mileage cars pay a fee.

    Some technology-specific policies are needed to allow emerging technologies to compete with mature technologies. If technology-neutral policies are not adopted, perhaps due to political opposition, and instead technology-specific policies are enacted, they should be designed to be as cost-effective as possible. Before any policies are enacted that might seem to promote PEVs specifically, the benefits of fleet electrification need to be compared to those from competing technologies.

    Given the technological and market unknowns, the report said, it may be wise for policymakers and businesses to invest in a mix of emerging technologies (non-PEVs and PEVs) until R&D and real-world experience establish which technologies are superior in specific applications. Any targeted public assistance for PEVs should be limited in both duration and production volumes. These programs should also be monitored and evaluated regularly to ensure accountability and effectiveness.

  • National Demonstration of PEVs. A federally supported, national PEV demonstration program should be implemented to help overcome the information barriers faced by the PEV industry today. A de facto demonstration is already underway as private and governmental efforts prepare target communities for PEVs. Yet these efforts have not been combined and coordinated in a focused national program aimed at “learning by doing.” In order to resolve uncertainties about PEVs, it is crucial that the demonstrations gather data from consumers, dealers, manufacturers, utilities, retailers, and municipalities. Without key data, the opportunity to learn about the real-world experience with PEVs—successes, burdens, and mistakes—will be foregone, and unnecessary public uncertainty, confusion, and debate will continue.

  • Global Leadership Position in Technology, Manufacturing, and Public Policy. The US automotive, battery, and electric power industries, in collaboration with the US government and universities, should seek to establish a global leadership position in electric mobility, especially in advanced energy storage technologies and production of batteries and related components.

  • International Collaboration. Although the focus should be on advancing US leadership and competitiveness, there is also a need for some international collaboration.

  • Cost-Effective Consumer Incentive Programs. For investors in emerging technologies, there can be a “valley of death” between the market acceptance of early adopters and widespread commercialization. Without some public assistance through this valley, emerging technologies with long-term promise may be discarded prematurely. In this regard, PHEVs may be closer than BEVs to overcoming the valley, since the current energy storage capabilities for BEVs are inadequate. In addition to the existing consumer incentives, the report recommends as targeted, cost-effective measures: government and commercial fleet purchases; PEV access to HOV lanes and parking in congested urban areas; battery warranty adjustments or guarantees; and targeted public information programs to dispel myths and reduce confusion.

  • Support for Recharging Infrastructure. Private investments in recharging infrastructure may prove to be too small to support adequate demonstrations due to high initial costs for recharging infrastructure, few “first mover” advantages, relatively low energy prices in the United States, long payback periods, and uncertainty about the volume of future PEVs on the road.

    Significant public funding of recharging infrastructure has already been appropriated, and it is not yet clear whether more funding is necessary. As additional public cost-sharing of recharging is provided, the cost-effectiveness criterion suggests that the highest priority should be residential recharging, followed by stations at workplaces and then community stations. Excessive spending on community stations may result in severely underutilized infrastructure, which can damage public support for PEVs.

  • Modernizing the Electric Power System. Even a partial shift from petroleum to electricity as a transportation fuel will have ramifications for the operation and growth of the electric power system. Detailed knowledge of the power grid is required to ensure that outages are avoided.

    To optimize the benefits of electrification, public policies should be adopted to: accelerate “smart grid” research, standards, and implementation; expand the availability of lower electricity prices during off-peak periods to enhance consumers’ willingness to charge their vehicles at night, and include continuous time-of-use pricing adjustments where acceptable; increase the availability of metering, recharging, and vehicle technologies that will enable these time-of-use adjustments to electricity prices; and encourage or require enhanced efficiency and the movement toward a cleaner power generation system in order to reduce upstream emissions associated with PEVs in the form of greenhouse gases and conventional pollutants.

  • Long-Term R&D Commitments. Lithium-ion batteries may never have adequate energy density to independently power a household’s primary multi-purpose vehicle. Although there have been significant improvements in battery technology since the 1990s, policymakers should consider a large increase in federal R&D investments into innovative battery chemistries, prototyping, and manufacturing processes.

    Sustained investment in R&D, including both public and private funds, is crucial as the United States seeks to establish a leadership position in the growing global market for advanced battery technologies and related components. The potential spillover benefits in the economy from R&D and manufacturing leadership deserve serious consideration by policymakers, even though public R&D decisions will be made in a troubled federal fiscal situation.

    In order to determine the appropriate scale of R&D expansion, the expected payoffs from long-term R&D investments in energy storage techniques should be compared to the anticipated payoffs from R&D investments in other advanced fuels and propulsion systems.

Commenting on both the release of the report as well as President Obama’s 1-million unit goal for 2015, as re-iterated in the State of the Union address, Oliver Hazimeh, partner and head of the global e-Mobility practice at global management consulting firm PRTM said:

An increasing number of US consumers are now considering the purchase of an electric vehicle, a trend reflected in President Obama’s goal to have 1 million alternative energy vehicles on US roads by 2015. Thoughtful studies like that announced...by Indiana University, as well as the Electrification Coalition’s Fleet Electrification Roadmap and original Electrification Roadmap, developed in collaboration with PRTM, reinforce the need for new public and private partnerships as well as a strong consumer focus to overcome barriers to mass EV commercialization. While skeptics remain, we see first-hand the many initiatives currently underway by public and private organizations alike, which will brings costs down, enable a ramp in manufacturing, and make EVs increasingly attractive-particularly to segments like commercial fleets where business models are based on high utilization rates, predictable routes, central parking.

Through our ongoing work with OEMs and others across the transportation value chain, it’s also evident that there is a renewed focus on technology innovation that will extend the benefits of EVs well beyond environmental friendliness, making them even more attractive to the larger consumer audience. We believe that current and emerging innovations—in areas like vehicle performance, connectivity and real-time environmental monitoring, will provide an easy, fun EV driving experience, and create a cool factor that will further escalate demand among a mass consumer audience. These initiatives are optimistic reminders that 1 million EVs by 2015 is a realistic goal—one that carries with it additional benefits for the US, including high quality jobs growth as well as an opportunity to showcase technology innovation to the rest of the world.

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February 4, 2011 in Batteries, Electric (Battery), Hybrids, Plug-ins, Policy | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack (0)

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Many Asian countries like China, Japan, South Korea, China etc will build and use electrified vehicles in very large numbers much more quickly than USA/Canada/Australia because:

1) there is a much greater overall potential demand.
2) they are use to smaller, quieter vehicles.
3) they are not so convinced that bigger and noisier is better.
3) they have lesser access to crude oil and alternative fuels.

Much of the focus is on passenger vehicles.
However the change may come more quickly and completely in delivery vehicles with regular, predictable routes.
Here is the CEO, in an hour long audio:
http://www.zshare.net/audio/8530124592d04630/

Some takeaways:
Costs in the last year have been reduced from around $150k to a point where they are only $25k-30 more than a conventional truck.
If you buy outright this money will be recouped in 3 years, if you lease then the price of the least plus electric saves you money against the lease plus petrol from day 1.
Since you don't have a ready heat source in an engine there is some extra engineering needed to provide air conditioning etc.
They give the maintenance savings as around 75-80% of diesel.
The first maintenance recommended is after 50,000 miles when the oil in the two-speed gearbox needs changing.
Typically trucks are taken off the road when their maintenance on engines etc gets too high.
The engine on an electric vehicle lasts virtually forever, and the truck will come off the road when the body rots away.

They think that nanostructured batteries will allow a 250 mile range and 5 minute recharge within 3-5 years.

Commercial pressures may dictate a very fast and complete change.
I don't know how many of this class of vehicle are sold a year in the US, but the numbers must be substantial.

"While US automakers are working on PEVs, the US electric vehicle industry lags behind other regions—particularly Asia—in the areas of battery manufacturing, supply chain development, and raw materials production."

Not really true since two of three highway-capable passenger PEVs are manufactured in the US. And the Nissan Leaf has already showed signs of thermal problems with its air cooled battery. Where US lags is in ESS manufacturing. That is being addressed by bringing battery production in-house at both GM and Ford. And by supporting US battery R&D with domestic manufacturing.

Overall this is a positive report that demonstrates the critical mass of attention (a key) being given to electrification of transport in the US and eventually around the world.

Tesla began the movement. GM has followed. Nissan is trying to catch up. Toyota is partnered with Tesla. China and India provide only cheap labor at this point, and that will become less important as total resource cost is considered and domestic job demand grows.

@Reel:
'And the Nissan Leaf has already showed signs of thermal problems with its air cooled battery.'

Sources? References? Apart from the CEO of Tesla endlessly banging on, that is.
However, your bias is anyway clear from this statement:
'Nissan is trying to catch up.'

In what parallel universe?

In THIS parallel universe:

Nissan Leaf Delays to Continue:

"Initial production has been slowed so that the automaker can “get it absolutely perfect and make sure there’s no perception the car isn’t ready for market,” Nissan’s chief U.S. spokesman, David Reuter."

http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/01/24/2031673/nissan-leaf-delays-to-continue.html

Tom Moloughney writes about his MiniE's performance suffering significantly at operating temps above 105F and below 40F. GCC comments have suggested Nissan has made a business decision to replace failing batteries rather than engineer active thermal conditioning.

http://www.plugincars.com/no-active-thermal-management-did-nissan-make-right-call.html

"Nissan's director of product planning for the U.S. Mark Perry responded by saying:

We don't need thermal management for the U.S., but we are looking at the technology for Dubai and other locations like that.... We've gone on the record saying that the pack has a 70 to 80 percent capacity after 10 years.

http://green.autoblog.com/2010/01/25/is-the-nissan-leaf-battery-pack-under-engineered/

Point being that ANY car company can make poor decisions - not just US ones. And my bias is only that these first EREVs and EVs be damn good so the whole sector does not get a bum rap.

The hybrid plug-in conversion could be a key element to achieve the 1 million vehicles goal. There are over 1 million hybrids in US today. It could be over 3 millions by 2015. 33% conversion rate will lead to 1 million PHEVs. Some startup companies like Enginer, Inc (www.enginer.us) offers PHEV Add-On kit as low as $1995. It improves fuel economy by 40-100% in city driving.

Its impossible because most normal people wait till the 3rd or 4th gen of a pricy product before they jump in and only do so if its going along very well indeed IN THIER AREA.

People are very careful with 20-30 grand of thier money. You arnt cvhanging that so tough noogies.

Reel:
Wow! What a hodge-podge of disparate and fairly unrelated points!
The Mini-E is not a Nissan, and AFAIK does not use the same battery.
You are simply assuming that the slow production of the Leaf is due to the battery, or it would be in no way relevant, and in particular to temperature issues.
I can't see how Nissan needing to adopt a different engineering solution for Dubai, and incidentally for cold climates too, says much about battery performance in more moderate climates.
ICE cars have to have adaptions for extreme conditions too.

Like you I can't be sure that all the choices Nissan have made are going to work out, but there seems no reason to think they won't at the moment.
It is always easy to over-engineer, so for instance Nissan could have stuck in an active temperature control solution, but they are focused on bringing electric cars to the masses and so far seem to be doing a remarkable job.

Davemart:

There is very little hard data on Li-Ion battery performance in EVs or EREVs. In fact, a reliable source at Tesla explained that a good part of Toyota's interest and investment in Tesla is to gain access to their battery performance database.

What we do know is batteries similar to the Leaf's underperform at temperature extremes. The Volt battery WITH temp controls discharges at a different rate in cold or very hot weather. Both Volt and Tesla's battery packs use thermal management and still performance suffers in the climate they're already in.

Does that performance loss affect the driver? Apparently not if you have 55kWh/230m AER like Tesla or a serial ICE like Volt. Will it affect the lower cost Leaf and driver? Time will tell. Nissan's CEO Ghosn made some decisions to bring his car to the US market at the same time as Volt. That has not worked out so far. Thus Nissan is trying to catch up.

However, I agree he has done a remarkable job of building a mass market EV in short time. And we wish ALL quality EV offerings good fortune going forward.

Hi Reel,
We don;t really have very significant differences. However we differ in our opinion of what constitutes a 'catch up' operation.
The GM Volt operation is tiny in comparison to Nissan/Renault's huge commitment to EV's, the multiple factories being set up, and even, for instance, the support from the French Government, where quasi-government organisations on their own are ordering 50,000 EV's
A couple of months in release dates in one particular country, the US, which due to low petrol prices is in my view very unlikely to be a pace setter in the electrification of transport is of minor import compared to this in my estimation.
The factories are being built to give Nissan the capability to build 150,000 EVs and 200,000 battery packs within two years in the US alone.
GM has nothing remotely on that scale.
For a broader picture it would perhaps be necessary even at the moment to compare how many Volt's GM has sold in Japan, as that is Nissan's main production focus at the moment.

Dave, IF the Leaf gains acceptance and does not have technical stumbles they MAY go forward with multiple plants. I am interested to see Nissan deliver 50k Leafs to any organization - government or private.

FYI GM's chief Ackerson has set in motion the plan to double Volt 2012 output to 120,000 units. GM realizes it has an award winner on hand and they are going to exploit that in North America and Europe (Opel Ampera.)

http://climateprogress.org/2011/01/26/gm-double-2012-production-capacity-for-chevrolet-volt-to-120000/

The GM Brownstown battery plant will be assembling packs for those Volts and next gen Voltec drive products.

Nissan/Renault are already building the plants both in the US and Europe - there is no 'may' about the construction activity taking place.
They also tell us that they have now overcome whatever the initial production problems were, and the plant in Japan is reaching full production levels.
GM in contrast made some vague noises about increasing production, but now deny that they plan to do so:
http://green.autoblog.com/2011/02/04/gm-confident-chevy-volt-will-lead-company-to-be-best-in-segment/
This has every sign of a ploy to keep the Government on board rather than a serious commitment to production.
The Volt really needs just about everything changing to go to large scale production, and they plan considerable alterations for Volt 11, including a different engine. High volume production would be very difficult to do economically for the present design of Volt, which is why they are looking at altering it quite a bit.

The Leaf was designed with high volume production in mind from the start, and all their costings were done on that basis.
I'm not sure why you give credence to all the statements emanating from GM, except those denying that they are really going to increase production, but disregard actual factory building by Nissan and Renault

"Tom Moloughney writes about his MiniE's performance suffering significantly at operating temps above 105F and below 40F."

Not according to....Tom Moloughney:

"I have kept detailed logs of every trip I have made in the car for the entire 49,500 miles, so I know how temperature effects range. I’m not guessing or relying what someone else wrote about it. I’ve lived it. A 10 degree drop will affect my range by about 5% at most, and that’s once you get under 30 degrees."

http://www.plugincars.com/electric-car-owner-challenges-washington-post-ev-critic-106755.html

Generally a good, even-handed report, but I have two nits and a note.

The first nit is that it says that a PHEV "may" emit more GHGs than a HEV. While true it should be clarified that, in the US, a PHEV will on average emit about 25% less GHGs than a HEV but it will emit more GHGs in a few states, e.g., Indiana, with a high proportion of coal-generated electricity.

The second nit is the implication that "even a partial shift from petroleum to electricity as a transportation fuel", will require that the Electric Power System needs to be modernized to support EV charging. The Pacific Northwest National Lab issued a report in early 2007 that the existing grid can support a substantial shift to PHEVs:
"For the United States as a whole, 84% of U.S. cars, pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) could be supported by the existing infrastructure, although the local percentages vary by region."

http://energytech.pnl.gov/publications/pdf/PHEV_Feasibility_Analysis_Part1.pdf


As a note, the USPS is looking to replace it's 146,000 delivery vehicles, 90% of which travel less than 30 miles daily. This is an example of an excellent application for BEVs, but the economics and performance has to be there.

http://www.uspsoig.gov/FOIA_files/DA-WP-09-001.pdf

Hey Davemart:

nice to see you defending Nissan's Leaf product. We hope that in two years or so their factories will be complete and the Leaf will not have a reputation tarnished by production problems, over-commitment, and late deliveries. Early failures of new technologies can set that technology back in the public mind.

As for your claim that GM has "made some vague noises about increasing production, but now deny that they plan to do so." The link you cite has no such denial from GM - just the writer's speculation that engineers want to go slower than marketers - and this applies to ALL manufacturers - including Nissan.

We wish Mr. Ghosn the best luck in bringing the Leaf to mass market provided he does due diligence to assure the public they will not be stranded by failing batteries - especially in extreme (for EVs) climates.

@JRP3: A good cite. Apparently Mr. Moloughney is confused by his MINI-E experience and should be doubted. He contradicts himself in an article written months earlier:

"I have recorded battery temperatures as high as 119 degrees on my MINI-E and performance really suffers when the temperature gets above 105. In fact, the car refused to charge a few weeks ago because the batteries were too hot. Additionally in the winter, the range gets reduced by about 25% when the temperatures drop below 40 degrees. I have even had a few extreme instances on really cold days where the range was reduced by as much as 40%. Again, all this is acceptable for a prototype test car, but how will people react if this happens with the LEAF?``

http://www.plugincars.com/no-active-thermal-management-did-nissan-make-right-call.html

Hmmm... Maybe it`s just Tom BAloney;)

Its entirely likely when he reported that and then went in for regular servicing they swapped out his pack for a new one.

Its to be expected in a car with such a small pack with a high soc and stone age thermal management system.

You may be right wintermane. But pack performance in varied conditions is the reason GM took a LONG time testing its battery in deserts and on mountain tops.

And even WITH thermal management the Volt and Tesla lose AER in both hot and cold North American climates. As far as Maloughney goes... credibility fail.

I dont think it would take much to add liquid cooling to a LEAF (if Nissan decided its really needed), as long as you dont expect temperature control to a fraction of a degree.. just enough to take the edge off.

The aluminum cooling plates used in the Volt's battery are only 1/8" thick.. placing one of those in-between two modules should get the job done in Nissan's 48 module pack. The reliability decrease due to liquid cooling may be offset by the increased durability of the cells. It is worrysome that the LEAF has a prominent display for battery temperature.

Ironically, if Nissan goes to a bigger battery as promised may require the cooling package due to more drivers attempting long duration drives.. ie: its hard to get in trouble when you can only go about 50 miles away from your house.

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