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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

JATO Dynamics: 2016 will be record year for plug-ins with global sales in excess of 700K units; China to begin dominating the market

November 18, 2015

A new white paper from JATO Dynamics, the UK-based supplier of automotive business intelligence, projects, based on its partner LMC Automotive’s forecasts, that the global market for plug-in vehicles (plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles) will reach record sales in excess of 700,000 units next year thanks to strong growth in China, Europe and the US. This will be followed by strong annual growth, according to the report.

Global electric passenger car sales totalled 280,000 units in 2014, representing growth of 43% compared with 2013; total global passenger car sales that year were 72 million units. The report projects annual EV sales in Europe of 500,000 units by 2019. By 2022, the Chinese market is expected to account for half of global sales—almost 1.5 million units a year. The forecast for 2025 sees more than 5.5 million electric vehicles being sold worldwide.

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Propel Fuels reports strong consumer adoption of renewable diesel in SoCal; retail sales up 300% over biodiesel

Propel launched Diesel HPR across Southern California in August 2015, and consumer adoption of the fuel has risen 300% compared to its former biodiesel product (B20). (Earlier post.) Utilizing Neste’s NEXBTL renewable diesel, Propel’s Diesel HPR is a low-carbon, drop-in renewable fuel that meets the ASTM D-976 petroleum diesel specifications for use in diesel engines, while offering drivers better performance and lower emissions.

Performance features include a 75 cetane rating, 40 percent higher than regular diesel. Diesel HPR provides cleaner and more efficient combustion for more power and a smoother ride at a cost similar to or lower than petroleum diesel.

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Ford EcoBoost US sales up 46% year-to-date; tracking to top 1 million in US in 2015 for 1st time

November 11, 2015

Year-to-date, total sales of EcoBoost-powered Ford vehicles are up 46%; F-150, Escape and Fusion are the top-selling EcoBoost-powered Ford vehicles. Ford expects 2015 will be the first year in which EcoBoost-equipped vehicles in the United States exceed 1 million sales.

For 2015, EcoBoost is available on every non-hybrid light-duty passenger vehicle in Ford’s US lineup. The technology combines smaller engines with turbocharging, direct injection and variable valve timing—as well as Ford’s proprietary EcoBoost engine management software—to deliver improved fuel efficiency along with performance. Ford’s global EcoBoost engine family now includes the 1.0-liter three-cylinder; 1.5-liter, 1.6-liter, 2.0-liter and 2.3-liter four-cylinder engines; and the powerful 2.7-liter and 3.5-liter V6 engines. A Lincoln-exclusive 3.0-liter V6 debuts in 2016.

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Euro NCAP introducing new test for autonomous emergency braking

November 10, 2015

European safety organisation Euro NCAP is introducing a new test that will check how well vehicles autonomously detect and prevent collisions with pedestrians. With new vehicles offering more autonomous driver assist systems, Euro NCAP’s Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) Pedestrian tests will make it simpler for consumers and manufacturers to find out which systems work best.

Euro NCAP will test vehicles’ response to pedestrians in simulations of the three most common urban scenarios: adults walking and running into the vehicle’s path and a child stepping out from behind a parked car. To earn a good score in the test, vehicles should be able to prevent collisions with specially developed pedestrian dummies at speeds of up to 40 km/h (25mph). At more challenging speeds of 40-60 km/h (25-37mph), the tests aim to reduce the collision speed to less than 40 km/h, making the impact more survivable.

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Tesla Q3 revenue up 10% year-on-year, losses widen; robust production outlook

November 04, 2015

Tesla Motors reported total GAAP revenue of $937 million in Q3 2015, up 10% from the prior year. Total Q3 non-GAAP revenue was $1.24 billion for the quarter, up nearly 33% from a year ago. Losses for the quarter widened to $230 million, an increase over the $75-million loss in Q3 2014.

Tesla delivered 11,603 vehicles in Q3, slightly above its earlier guidance. GAAP automotive revenue in Q3 was $853 million, up 6.7%. For its non-GAAP accounting, Tesla recorded a net increase of $307 million in deferred revenue as a result of lease accounting, bringing the figure the company calculates as its non-GAAP automotive revenue to $1.16 billion.

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Kia Motors America expands Soul EV availability to four additional states; 10 total

October 07, 2015

Following the launch of the Soul EV (earlier post) late last year in California, along with sales beginning in Georgia, Texas, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii earlier this year, Kia Motors America (KMA) is expanding availability of its fully charged urban runabout into four new states: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Maryland. KMA’s announcement will bring the total number of states selling the Soul EV to 10.

Nineteen Kia dealers will be certified to sell and service the Soul EV across these four states, and customers will have access to charging stations installed at these facilities. The Soul EV will be sold in eight New York dealerships, six New Jersey dealerships, three Maryland dealerships, and two Connecticut dealerships. From January through September, KMA has sold 727 units of the Soul EV, according to the monthly compilation by

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Q3 Roland Berger E-Mobility Index finds stagnant sales, lack of concepts to persuade customers to go electric

September 14, 2015

The latest E-Mobility Index from Roland Berger and Forschungsgesellschaft Kraftfahrwesen mbH Aachen (fka) for the third quarter of 2015 finds that the market share of electric vehicles in the seven leading automotive nations—Germany, France, Italy, the USA, Japan, China and South Korea—remains stubbornly low. “The major growth impetus that would anchor e-mobility in the seven leading automotive nations long term is still nowhere to be seen,” the report states.

While insufficient battery range is a part of the reason, more importantly there is a lack of specific concepts that can persuade customers to buy an electric car, the report finds. The index regularly compares the relative competitive standings of the top seven automotive nations in the electromobility segment based on three indicators: technology, industry and market. Key takeaways from this latest analysis include:

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IHS cuts 2015 light vehicle sales forecast in China to 23.4 million; deeper cut for 2016

September 11, 2015

IHS revised downward its forecast for light vehicle sales in China, projecting a decline of 3 to 4 percent from previous estimates for 2015. IHS Automotive has reduced its full year 2015 light vehicle sales forecast for China to 23.4 million units, reflecting a growth rate over 2014 of just 1.4 percent, compared with its previous forecast of 4.4 percent year-over-year growth.

Recent sales data—when combined with the slump in the Purchasing Manager’s Index and currency devaluation in early August, as well as the summer stock market rout—suggests a significant rebound in light vehicle sales is unlikely in the coming months. However, sales activity may not be as negative as current media reports suggest, according to IHS.

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Ford survey in Europe finds SUVs highly desired by Millenials; projected acceleration of SUV boom

September 08, 2015

A new survey sponsored by Ford Motor Company in Europe found that SUVs are highly desired by Millennials (ages 17-34), suggesting that Europe’s SUV boom is poised to accelerate as the generation reaches prime new-car-buying age.

Ford is showing the European-specification Ford Edge large SUV for the first time at Frankfurt Motor Show next week. Starting with the launch of the Edge early next year, Ford plans to introduce five new vehicles in the next three years that will compete in the SUV and crossover space. In addition Ford will introduce updated versions of the EcoSport small SUV and Kuga mid-sized SUV this year. As a result, Ford is targeting sales of 200,000 SUVs in Europe by 2016—a 200% increase compared with 2013.

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Ford Car Buying Trends 2015 shows increasing demand for semi-autonomous driving technologies in Europe

August 26, 2015

European drivers are showing an increasing appetite for semi-autonomous driving technologies, according to a new Ford Motor Company study on buying trends in Europe. Ford Car Buying Trends 2015, a study of new car buying habits in 22 countries across Europe, highlights regional trends and national differences.

The study shows significant increases in the number of cars with technologies that help drivers to park, avoid collisions, and maintain set speeds and distances from vehicles ahead. Among the results:

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Tesla posts record deliveries in Q2; hedges a bit on full year outloook

August 06, 2015

Tesla Motors delivered 11,532 vehicles in the second quarter of 2015, and produced a record 12,807 vehicles, exceeding plan (12,500 units) while improving efficiency, according to the company’s quarterly letter to shareholders. This represents a 15% sequential increase in production and a 46% increase from a year ago. Total GAAP revenue was $955 million (+24% year-on-year) for the quarter, while non-GAAP revenue was $1.20 billion (+40%). Net GAAP loss was $184 million (almost triple the $62-million loss in Q2 2014); non-GAAP net loss was $60.2 million (an almost 4x increase). Total Q2 gross margin was 22.3% on a GAAP basis and 23.4% on a non-GAAP basis.

Globally, Model S orders increased following the launch of 85D (earlier post) and 70D (earlier post). In the US, Q2 Model S orders grew almost 30% year-over-year. In Europe, Q2 Model S orders grew more than 50% year-over-year, despite two price increases in the past six months. In Asia, Q2 Model S orders nearly doubled from last quarter, helped by the initial success of a revised China strategy. Encouraged by this improvement, Tesla is increasing its investments in China by planning to grow this year from one to five retail stores located in high foot traffic areas.

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Total alternative fuel vehicle reg in Europe up 17.4% in Q2 2015, EVs up 53%; EVs up 78.4% for H1

August 03, 2015

In the second quarter of 2015, total alternative fuel vehicle registrations in the EU increased (+17.4%), totalling 143,595, according to figures from the ACEA. Of these, electric vehicle (EV) registrations—Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) + Plug‐in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) + Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs)—significantly grew (+53.0%), rising from 18,024 units in Q2 2014 to 27,575 units in Q2 2015.

Demand for new hybrid vehicles (HEV) also increased (+22.6%), totalling 53,443 units. 62,577 new passenger cars in the second quarter (+3.0%) were powered by propane and natural gas.

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ICCT study assesses EV promotion and uptake in top 25 metropolitan areas in US

July 30, 2015

A new study by a team at the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has found that the top metropolitan markets in the US for electric vehicles tend to be characterized by a combination of relatively progressive promotional activities; more extensive charging infrastructure per capita; greater consumer incentives; and a broader range of available models.

The newly published white paper—Assessment of Leading Electric Vehicle Promotion Activities in United States Cities, surveys actions being taken by state and local governments and public utilities to facilitate electric vehicle deployment in the 25 most populous US metropolitan areas, which together represent more than 42% of the population; 46% of auto sales; 67% of new electric vehicle registrations; and 53% of the public electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the US as of 2014.

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ICCT: ongoing cost reductions in full- and mild-hybrid systems could bring them into consumer mainstream by 2025

July 24, 2015

According to a new technology briefing paper on hybrid system technologies by John German at the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), the costs of full-function hybrid systems are likely to drop to half the cost of their 2010 counterparts before 2025.

Combined with the development of mild-hybrid systems (belt-alternator or 48-volt system)s—which will likely provide one-half to two-thirds the fuel-efficiency benefits of full-function hybrids at less than half the cost—these levels of cost reductions could put both those technologies into the consumer mainstream by 2025, at least from a cost of technology point of view, German suggests.

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SFU researchers find promise for plug-in vehicles in Canada, but need for increased supply and policy support

July 16, 2015

New work by a team at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Canada has found that more than one-third of Canadian buyers want a plug-in vehicle (PEV), with the majority of those (89—93%) wanting a plug-in hybrid rather than a pure electric vehicle. However, less than 1% of vehicle sales in Canada are electric because of low consumer awareness and limited vehicle choice.

With the current supply of PEVs in Canada (7 models), the future PEV new market share is not likely to exceed 4—5% by 2030, according to the report; increasing supply (to 56 models) could increase market share to over 20% by 2030.

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Navigant forecasts global annual sales of LDVs of 122.6M by 2035, up 38% from 2015

July 06, 2015

In a new report, Navigant Research forecasts global annual sales of light duty vehicles will reach 122.6 million by 2035, up 38% from a projected 88.8 million this year, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.6%. Navigant Research expects the number of LDVs in use on roads worldwide to grow by 57.1% from 2015 to 2035 to almost 1.9 billion units.

Navigant expects sales of conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles will fall significantly over the forecast period, experiencing a CAGR of -6.6%. As a result, the share of vehicles in use that are conventional ICE vehicles will fall from more than 91% in 2015 to under 40% by 2035. Navigant expects ICE vehicles will be replaced by start-stop vehicles (SSVs), which will grow from representing more than 4% of vehicles in use in 2015 to nearly 49% in 2035. Hybrids (HEVs) are expected to account for nearly 3%, while PHEVs (plug-in hybrids), BEVs (battery-electric vehicles), NGVs (natural gas vehicles), PAGVs (propane autogas vehicles), and FCV (fuel cell vehicles) s together are projected to add up to more than 9% of the LDVs in use in 2035.

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Navigant forecasts annual plug-in electric vehicle sales in N America to exceed 1.1M by 2024

May 27, 2015

In a new report, Navigant Research forecasts that North American plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) sales will exceed 1.1 million annually by 2024. The report, Electric Vehicle Geographic Forecasts, provides data and forecasts for LD PEV sales in North America, including US states, MSAs, and utility service territories and Canadian provinces and cities.

To date, North America is the strongest market for light duty (LD) plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), with more than 133,000 sold in 2014. Navigant forecasts the US will continue to be the largest market throughout the forecast period, with annual PEV sales in 2024 exceeding 860,000 in the conservative scenario and 1.2 million in the aggressive. Navigant Research estimates this market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of between 14.7% and 18.6% between 2015 and 2024.

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Tesla posts $154M GAAP loss, $45M non-GAAP loss in Q1 on record deliveries; confident in 55K total deliveries this year

May 07, 2015

In its Q1 2015 financial report, Tesla Motors said it produced 11,160 vehicles in Q1 (10% better than guidance, at an average of 1,000 cars per production week); delivered 10,045 (worldwide), a quarterly record; and posted a $154-million GAAP net loss (non-GAAP net loss of $45 million). The Q1 GAAP net loss was 43% greater than the Q4 2014 GAAP net loss and 210% greater than GAAP net loss in Q1 2014.

Tesla has begun breaking out the revenues and costs of its automotive business from its other activities—i.e., powertrain sales, service revenue, Tesla Energy (the new line of stationary energy storage systems) and pre-owned Tesla vehicle sales. Automotive revenue and related costs reflect activities related to the sale or lease of new vehicles including regulatory (e.g., ZEV) credits, data connectivity and Supercharging.

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Total natural gas vehicle sales in US down 6.5% in 2014 due to 34% drop in light-duty sales; medium- and heavy-duty up

March 29, 2015

In 2014, light-, medium-, and heavy-duty natural gas vehicle (NGV) production/sales in the US totaled just over 18,000 vehicles, down 6.5% from 2013, according to NGVAmerica’s 2014 NGV Production/Sales Report. The report is based on the organization’s annual survey of OEMs and approved aftermarket suppliers.

The heavy-duty market segment grew at a healthy pace, up 30% over 2013. The medium-duty market segment also grew steadily, up 24% over 2013. The light-duty segment fell 34% from 2013, mostly related to a drop in orders from the gas and oil exploration and production (E&P) sector.

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Tesla delivers mixed results with 4Q and full 2014 report

February 12, 2015

In its Q4 and full 2014 release on Wednesday, Tesla Motors reported mixed results. The company built 11,627 vehicles in Q4, achieving its production target of 35,000 Model S vehicles in 2014. However, deliveries slipped by about 1,400 vehicles due to a variety of factors.

In 2014, about 55% of new Model S vehicles were delivered into North America. While North American Model S orders grew year-on-year, deliveries were about flat as vehicles flowed into Asia/Pacific (APAC) markets to support the first year of deliveries there. The APAC region represented about 15% of Tesla deliveries for the year, and the remaining 30% of deliveries were to Europe, where delivery volume more than doubled from a year ago.

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IHS Automotive forecasts 88.6M unit global light vehicle market in 2015; 2.4% growth

February 03, 2015

IHS Automotive forecasts global automotive sales for 2015 to reach 88.6 million, an increase of 2.4% over 2014, continuing an unbroken five-year run of sales recovery and growth from the low point set in the depth of the Great Recession in 2009. However, a slowdown is being signaled with just two of the high-potential BRIC markets likely to see increased sales this year.

China will lead the sector’s volume growth, with particular strength in SUVs, though IHS expects the market to slow from 2014. The North American market will continue its upswing, though the pace differs by country. The size of the contraction of the Russian car market remains a significant wild card that will impact the European market throughout the year, according to the analysis, while other countries in the region continue to recover at a rate of 2.5 to 3%, helped by the European Central Bank’s (ECB) commitment to full-blown Quantitative Easing (QE).

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Lux Research: despite cheap oil, niche plug-in vehicle sales will be resilient; conventional hybrids to be hardest hit

February 02, 2015

The current plunge in oil prices will likely negatively affect plug-in and hybrid vehicle sales in the short term; automakers such as BMW are already warning of lower sales of plug-in vehicles given the market context. However, an analysis by Lux Research suggests that despite some decrease in sales, sales of plug-in vehicles will likely be resilient, and rebound as oil prices rise back to the prior higher levels over time.

In the likely case of only a gradual return to previous higher prices—which Lux calls the “cheap oil” scenario in its analysis—then electric vehicle (EV) sales will dip by 20% for a number of years, while plug-in hybrid (PHEV) sales will dip by about 14% during that same period, the research firm found. The forecast declines are relative to the other forecasted scenario, in which oil prices rebound much more quickly—the “stable oil” scenario.

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Nissan LEAF is best-selling electric car in Europe for fourth year in a row; 26% market share

January 19, 2015

European 2014 EV marketshare of top 5 OEMs. Data: Nissan. Click to enlarge.

The battery-electric Nissan LEAF has topped its own European sales record with a 33% increase in European sales in 2014 over the previous year, taking 26% of the burgeoning electric car market with 14,658 sales out of a total 56,393, according to figures from Nissan. Nissan and its partner Renault together accounted for a full 46% of the EV market in Europe in 2014.

This year the Nissan LEAF has been joined by an number of new entrants into the EV market and still emerged as the leader on a global, US and European basis. 2014 was the fourth year in a row that the electric family car has topped the electric vehicle sales charts in Europe.

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Scotiabank forecasts 4% growth in global auto market in 2015 to 74M units, led by China

January 09, 2015

2015 forecast share by region. Data: Scotiabank. Click to enlarge.

In its latest Global Auto Report, Scotiabank forecasts record global car sales in 2015, with the total market advancing 4% over 2014, reaching more than 74 million units. Global growth will mainly be driven by China, where Scotiabank expects auto demand to grow 7% in 2015 to 19.36 million units, up from an estimated 18.1 million units in 2014. Under the forecast, China will thus represent 26% of global auto sales in 2015.

Despite growing concerns about an economic slowdown in China, demand for new automobiles continues to be driven by rising vehicle ownership in tier 2 and 3 cities, especially for CUVs, which are advancing by 40% per annum, the report noted.

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European LEAF owners on average drive 50% more per year than European ICE average

Average miles driven by LEAF owners in European countries, compared to average ICE driver. Data: Nissan. Click to enlarge.

Based on telemetry data from its CarWings system, Nissan revealed that European owners of the battery-electric LEAF drive more than 50% further per year (10,307 miles, 16,588 km) than the European average for a traditional internal combustion-engined (ICE) vehicle (6,721 miles, 10,816 km).

Totals are based on data from Nissan’s Global Data Center (GDC) as of 30 September 2014. The average is generated form data gathered only from Nissan LEAF vehicles registered with CarWings, approximately 54% of total sales. Data used was gathered from 1 April 2014 to 30 September 2014.

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Study finds 2008 recession contributed to increase in age of US LDV fleet, slowing of emission reductions

December 29, 2014

The global economic recession of 2008—which severely depressed light-duty vehicle sales—resulted in an increase in the age of the light-duty vehicle fleet in the US that likely slowed the rate of decrease of fleet average emissions, according to a study by Gary Bishop and Donald Stedman at the University of Denver.

In general, on-road vehicle fleet emission factor increases are correlated with increasing age. Over the last two decades in the US, US owners have been keeping their vehicles longer as vehicle prices and reliability have increased, leading to a “slow and steady” increase in the average age of the registered US fleet from approximately 8.5 years old in 1995 to just over 11 years old in 2012, the authors note in their paper, published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

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Renault-Nissan Alliance has sold 200,000 EVs worldwide so far; 58% ZEV market share

November 26, 2014

The Renault-Nissan Alliance has passed the 200,000th electric vehicles sold mark and currently has a leading 58% market share for zero-emission cars (ZEVs) worldwide. Together, Renault and Nissan EVs have driven approximately 4 billion zero-emission kilometers (2.5 billion miles)—enough to circle the earth 100,000 times. Alliance EVs also represent 450 million kg of CO2 that has not been emitted while driving. (The zero-emission distance and CO2 data are based on a calculated average.)

Of those EVs, Japan-based Nissan has sold a cumulative 148,700 units worldwide since December 2010, when Nissan LEAF went on sale. The top markets for Nissan LEAF are the United States with about 67,000 sales since its launch; Japan with about 46,500 units; and Europe with about 31,000 units.

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