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Tesla Hits 10,000 In Sales For First Quarter Of 2015

Tesla sold more than 10,000 electric car models in the first three months of this year which is a 55% increase on the same period in 2014. According to the company’s founder, Elon Musk, Tesla is altering the way it announces performance details to avoid the inaccurate sources of information used by other companies to provide details of vehicle sales.

The number of vehicle deliveries will be published by Tesla within three days of the end of the quarter which is far quicker than normal business practice. Despite this rise in sales, it is far below the level of gas models. For example, General Motors sells as many vehicles in America in a day as Tesla sells around the world in three months.

Share Price

The share price of Tesla has actually fallen 14% in 2015 as investors showed concern about the departure of two top sales executives from China as sales figures in that country fell well short of the original target. Additionally, Tesla will need another rise in sales to hit its target of 55,000 models sold in the world during 2015.

Musk’s fortunes won’t depend on the success of Tesla since he is worth almost £8 billion according to Forbes. The South African entrepreneur has other projects in mind; for example, he is planning to spend around £700 million on the launch of 700 satellites which will give Internet access to the billions of people who are currently without.

Musk has a track record of success going back to when he was 12 years of age and sold his first video game called Blastar. He is also responsible for creating the online company which ultimately became PayPal. He now lives in California and pledged to donate $10 million towards artificial intelligence research.

Musk has tried to put on a brave face regarding Tesla’s performance in China and the company is working on new upgrades and models. An example of this is hands-free steering on its Model S sedan which is expected to see the light of day by the middle of 2015, a full year ahead of everyone else.

Tesla is set to reveal a new product on April 30 but have confirmed that it would not be a new car. Back in February, Musk spoke about a new home battery so there is a strong possibility that this will be the new release.

Solar Powered Electric Car Charging Station Tested At Piraeus University

The Piraeus University of Applied Sciences has recently launched the first solar powered electric car charging station in Greece; this innovation guarantees 100% green energy. The charging point only uses solar power which gets turned into electricity which in turn charges EV batteries. It is the first step on the road to becoming independent from the main electricity grid. Though it is a promising innovation, it is still only in its test phase where it is being used for training and research.

Truly Clean Energy

Professor Ioannis Kaldelis is part of the department responsible for the plan and he said the goal is to create a charging station that uses only renewable energy sources. The end result is that electric cars finally run on “truly green energy.” Kaldelis pointed out that at present, Greece’s electricity is created mainly from imported natural gas and lignite.
He stated that creating the station was easy as it involved the use of 3 KW photovoltaic panels which generate enough power to charge an EV in winter and two electric cars in summer when there is more sun. At the station, motorists can fill their batteries or charge their car directly at the charging point.

piraeus university electric car charging station

Piraeus University 100% solar electric car charging station. Image source: Google

Giorgos Spyropoulos came up with the idea for the station which is located outside the Elaionas Campus and it was built by him and a team of students, both undergraduate and postgraduate. It is funded by a number of private companies and the University.

According to Kaldelis, a charging station such as this one can be created in 14 days when red tape is set aside and he admitted that the idea came about because of the rise in prominence of electric cars. He also said that it was the perfect transport solution on small Greek islands as a fully charged vehicle can travel 100-150km on a single charge. This is more than enough for tourists to travel around on a daily basis.

Costs

Kaldelis also said that these charging points could be mass produced for around €20,000 each. The trouble is, electric cars are hardly used in Greece; there are only 60 on the roads at present. Part of the reason is cost; the cheapest models are €20,000 while many EVs can cost as much as €60,000, far beyond the price of gas models.

Yet the Greek public need to be persuaded and long-term savings can be a way of doing so. It can cost as little as €1 for every 100km of use because charging is so cheap. While it can take 7-8 hours to fully charge a vehicle, there are systems available that halve the waiting time; the problem is, they cost €3,000.

Electric Car Subsidies To Be Reviewed In Norway After Sales Skyrocket

The entire purpose of providing motorists with grants for electric cars is to increase the sale of these low carbon emissions vehicles. However, it appears as if the Norwegian Government has overdone it with the generosity of its incentives. Its subsidy program has been so successful that Norway is now the largest users of electric cars on the planet. The problem is, the massive grants have eaten into the Government’s budget to the point where the aforementioned incentives are to be reviewed.

Last week, the number of electric cars in Norway exceeded the 50,000 mark, a figure that wasn’t supposed to be reached until 2018. This has happened due to Government schemes including the cutting of taxes and inclusion of benefits for EV drivers such as free recharging stations, bus lane use and an exemption from parking fees and tolls.

During 2015, 20% of all vehicles sold have been of the electric variety and Norway accounts for approximately 33% of all EVs sold in Europe despite its tiny population in relation to the rest of the continent. According to the finance ministry, the review’s outcome will be announced in May when a revised budget is due.

Will Incentives Be Cut?

The existing scheme has been offered to motorists for the last three years but it faced criticism due to the immense increase in the sales of the Tesla Model S. This is deemed to be a ‘luxury’ model and the Norwegian Government’s budget was hit to the tune of an estimated 4 billion crowns ($510 million).

The Tesla Model S retails for around $70,000 though this can rise to $100,000 depending on ‘extras’. Despite the high price, it made up 3% of Norway’s vehicle sales in 2014 and critics said this was a sign that subsidies should not be given to wealthy EV buyers. Other electric car models such as the e-Golf and Nissan Leaf have also risen since the scheme started.

According to the Norwegian Electric Car Association, the fact that Norway leads the world in EVs on the road is not enough since only 2% of vehicles being driven on the nation’s roads are electric cars.

A major benefit of the scheme is the significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions produced by Norway as a combination of more EVs and an increasing reliance on hydropower for electricity helps the nation meet its goal of reducing emission levels in 2030. Norway’s goal is to ensure emission levels are 40% less in that year when compared to the 1990 levels.
Norway is also the largest producer of oil and gas in Western Europe as it produces 3.7 million barrels of oil equivalents daily while the nation’s offshore energy sector accounts for 20% of its economy.

Richard Branson Hints At Creation Of Virgin Electric Car To Compete With Google & Tesla

According to the billionaire founder of Virgin, Richard Branson, he has teams of people working on the creation of an electric car. While he was coy when it came to details, he did hint at a battle between Virgin and Tesla in the electric car business. Branson spoke while he was in attendance at the Formula E Championship where he was supporting the Virgin Racing team.

It is believed that the Virgin electric car in production will be capable of hitting 160mph and could be able to go from 0-60mph in an incredible 3 seconds. Such a move would result in a fascinating competition between Branson and the founder of Tesla, Elon Musk. While Branson refused to give too much away regarding the project, he did have time to pay Musk a compliment. According to Branson, Tesla vehicles are as sexy as any other vehicle on the road right now.

Tesla Motors first came to prominence with the release of its Roadster model which became the first electric car in serial production for sale in America. In the following seven years, Tesla expanded beyond the U.S into Britain and Asia. Other corporate giants hinting at entering the great electric car race include Apple and Google. However, Apple’s vehicle is unlikely to be seen until 2020 while there is no news on a release date for Google’s self-driving electric car.

Rural Companies In Warwickshire Asked To Enrol In Electric Car Scheme

In Warwickshire, there is a new incentive for rural businesses to begin using electric cars. Any company that signs up for a new scheme will receive a £2,000 grant from the county council as a means of reducing the cost of leasing an EV; firms that get involved will also be given free access to a charging point.

According to Jim Cherry of Taste of the Country, it is a good deal for small businesses in the area since electric cars are cheap to maintain which means his firm has saved money. Greenwatt Technology is the company looking to sign firms up to the new scheme and its Director, Mike Woollcott, outlined the fact that transport in rural areas was a growing concern.

Dundee Council Leads Electric Car Fleet

Dundee Council has more electric cars than any other local authority in the United Kingdom. With 38 environmentally friendly vehicles being used by the Council, they are top of the tables in comparison to other local authorities.

Dundee Council Electric Car Charging

A Dundee Council owned electric car charging.

In second place in South Lanarkshire Council with 24 vehicles. According to a report by Intelligent Car Leasing, the UK Government has a total of 531 electric cars.

In October 2014 Dundee Council announced plans to expand their use of electric cars. Environment Convener Craig Melville commended the move, saying “This is another important step in our commitment to environmentally-friendly transport”.

Tesla Looks To Conquer Australia & Has Plans For New Charging Network

Early in December 2014, Tesla finally began selling its electric vehicles in Australia with its first showroom officially opened in north Sydney by company founder Elon Musk. The first EV available from the Tesla range for Australian motorists is the Model S, a four-door sedan with an impressive 500km range.

Tesla also unveiled its two supercharger stations; one is in the Sydney showroom while the other is at Darling Harbour’s Star casino. These stations will allow electric drivers to fully charge their vehicles in 60 minutes and half charge it in 20 minutes. While it is not the first electric car on the Australian market, the Model S is certainly one of the most expensive at $117,000 AUD. Add in extras such as a dual motor to increase the range and power plus an amazing autopilot feature which has the ability to change lanes and steer autonomously and the price goes to $200,000AUD.

According to Heath Walker, the company spokesman in Australia, the vehicle’s 500km range and ability to accelerate from 0-100km in 3.4 seconds means it is well worth the price as it rivals high-performance vehicles in the same price bracket. Walker described the Tesla Model S as the fastest accelerating 4-door sedan that has ever been built.

A Lifestyle Statement

If you decide to purchase the Model S, bear in mind that you also have to pay the cost of installing the 40-amp single phase charger which is crucial for the smooth running of the vehicle. If you live in an older home, you may have to pay up to $1,000AUD for an electrical system upgrade that can power the Model S. In contrast, it is possible to plug the Nissan Leaf or Holden Volt into a regular household powerpoint and both vehicles are substantially cheaper than the Model S.

Tesla Super Charger Network

Tesla Super Charger Network. Source: Google Images

Supercharger Network

Tesla also announced plans to add eight superchargers across Australia in cities such as Canberra and Melbourne with more superchargers to be installed in Sydney in 2015. Tesla hopes to extend its network to Brisbane in 2016.

The company’s Gigafactory is scheduled to be opened in Nevada in 2017; this plant will create lithium ion batteries and this mass production should help reduce the price of Tesla models. Eventually, the company hopes to introduce the Model III in Australia for a slightly more affordable $60,000AUD which brings the price below the nation’s luxury car tax; this should make the Model III an appealing prospect.

UK-Based Pod Point Raises £1.2 Million For National Network Of Electric Car Chargers

Along with a lack of power, the issue of range is one of the biggest concerns raised by electric car drivers. Norway is the world’s #1 nation when it comes to driving EVs and in 2013, its Language Council added the word rekkeviddeangst to the Norwegian lexicon; it means ‘range anxiety’! There is a Formula E Championship which is a bit like Formula 1 but with electric cars. The trouble is, each driver needs two cars a race because of lack of range!

Range anxiety has been touted as the main reason why electric cars have not made the sales that were originally forecast. Manufacturers are trying to fix the problem; possible solutions include more powerful batteries and more charger points. Electric car companies are struggling to create better batteries and creating a national network of chargers is an endeavour so expensive that only Estonia has managed it to date and it is a relatively small country.

A New Solution?

Pod Point is a UK-based company and it hopes to find the solution to range anxiety by developing a national network of charging points. It is following a similar model created by Charge Point, an American firm. Both companies are cleverly not shelling out their own cash. Pod Point is looking to sell or lease hardware to organisations that can offer a charging station for a fee or for no charge depending on the preference of the buyer. For example, Sainsbury’s has installed over 170 chargers in its shops around the UK while Gatwick and Heathrow airports also have charging points sold by Pod Point.

Pod Point

Pod Point. Source: Google Images

Expansion

According to Erik Fairbairn, the CEO of Pod Point, the company model looks to install chargers in areas of high demand; chargers in public places where there is high traffic for example should help reduce the feeling of range anxiety experienced by EV drivers. With chargers close to areas where you will be parked, less time is spent worrying about whether you have enough power to get home or not.

Pod Point makes money from the hardware and from services. Pod Point software can be used to manage pricing while the company has an app which can be used to pay for charging your car. The company is in talks with the national grid where it is negotiating a deal to supply power to consumers at peak times. Fairbairn said the company can pause charging for up to a minute which allows utility companies to balance demand across the UK with the supply of power on the grid. Obviously, the company will charge a fee for this service.

Pod Point is still a relatively small company and has shipped 17,000 chargers; most of which are for private homes and internal business use with around 1,300 chargers available for public use. The company is hoping to expand and has raised £1.2 million on Seedrs which is a crowdfunding website and it believes more money will be invested before the campaign ends.

According to Fairbairn, investing in Pod Point is a good strategy because the company is profitable. Electric car sales increased almost 150% from January-October 2014 in the UK when compared to the same period in 2013. It will be interesting to see just how far Pod Point can take its goal of developing a national charging point network.

1,000 New Electric Car Charging Points To Be Made Available In The Hague

1,000 new charging points for EVs will be installed in The Hague as part of a bid to increase the level of electric car driving in the city. Residents of the Dutch city have really taken to the electric car revolution as the number of people opting for these vehicles has increased 800% over the last few years. At present, there are approximately 1,500 electric cars being used in The Hague.

Tom de Bruijn of the Traffic and the Environment department said that the increase in electric transport is significantly larger than expected with new applications for charging stations regularly coming into the city. He is happy because electric cars are clean, boost the economy and keep the noise level down.

The Hague had charging stations installed for the first time in 2012 and there are 300 in the city at present. The municipality is hoping for the creation of a profitable public charging station network within the next few years. Plans include the installation of charging points at 1,000 different locations within The Hague, the addition of 600 public spaces, eight fast charging points and an additional 350 charging stations in parking garages and car parks.

Electric Car Hire Scheme Begins In Northampton

The town of Northampton has joined the Green revolution by implementing a new scheme that allows motorists to hire electric cars in a similar manner to the way citizens hire bikes in the town’s Cycle CoNNect scheme. The town’s county council launched the electric car hire ‘E-car’ club in November 2014 and has three electric cars available for people to rent. It is hoped these zero emissions vehicles will prove popular. All you have to do is sign up and pay £45 for a day or £5.50 for an hour. You can pick them up and return the vehicles to the charging points located at Albion Palace.

Electric Car Hire Northampton

An electric car like this will be available to hire in Northampton. Source: Google Images

Excitement

Christopher Morris is the co-founder and managing director of E-Car, a company that also has schemes in towns such as Milton Keynes, and he said that the aim is to have a positive environmental effect while improving local mobility. Morris also noted that company research revealed a high level of public transport usage in Northampton. He believes town residents use up to 20% of their household income on transport and thinks the company scheme can have a positive impact on the town.

He went on to describe the partnerships the company has formed with the county council, British Gas and Royal & Derngate and mentioned the fact that the company is in discussions with other local businesses. He believes E-Car could bring up to 50 cars to the county of Northamptonshire over the next 12 months and described his excitement at what the company could achieve in the area.
Costs

E-Car uses Nissan Leaf electric cars which retail at around £15,500. They have a range of up to 100 miles on a single charge and can be charged at three-pin plugs in standard sockets in your house or at specified charging points. A full charge from your household socket will cost £2.50 and takes 3 hours. You will have to pay a fee of £50 to sign up for E-Car which can be done online or through the company’s app. You then receive a card which allows you to unplug the electric car and drive it. In order to be eligible for the scheme, you must be 19 years of age or over and have held a full driver’s license for a year.

Innovation

According to Michael Clarke, the cabinet minister for transport, highways and the environment for Northamptonshire County Council, the E-Car scheme is innovative and provides a cheap source of transport for shorter journeys. He said the council is dedicated to reducing the county’s carbon footprint and is keen to play a significant role in replacing traditional cars with vehicles that use renewable energy sources for fuel.

A council spokesman said that the Royal & Derngate theatre was ideal location for the scheme because it was near the town centre, bus station, train station and the new student accommodation at St. John’s. The spokesman also praised the theatre for being a key part of the project from the start. He concluded by saying there would hopefully be hubs in other accessible areas if the project is a success.

The Head of Energy Technology & Innovation at British Gas, Martin Orrill, described the scheme as a major milestone in creating a low carbon county. He said the company is a partner of Northamptonshire and is proud to play its part in a scheme with benefits such as reduced traffic noise, lower ownership costs, less congestion and better air quality. He said the charging point that has been installed is as simple to use as a mobile phone charger so motorists will find charging their cars to be a pleasant experience. He concluded by describing the scheme as an exciting new way to boost low carbon transport in Northamptonshire and said British Gas is delighted to support it.

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