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February 2016

Dear Wheego Enthusiast,
In This Issue:
  • Electric Auto Association Annual Meeting This Saturday
  • How Many EVs Does California Buy? One-Third to One-Half of All of ‘Em
  • Avista Wants to Install 265 EV Charging Stations in Eastern Washington
  • The Virtuous Cycle Between Driverless Cars, EVs and Car-Sharing Services 
Electric Auto Association Annual Meeting This Saturday
On Saturday, February 27th, the Electric Auto Association will hold its annual General Members meeting in Palo Alto, California. Meet fellow enthusiasts, review last year’s activities, and help plan upcoming events. For more information, visit the Electric Auto Association website.
How Many Electric Cars Does California Buy? One-Third to One-Half of All of ‘Em
Excerpted from an article by Stephen Edelstein for Green Car Reports

It's no secret that California is considerably more enthusiastic about electric cars than the rest of the nation. Policies put in place to promote plug-in cars--and a population willing to embrace new technology--make the Golden State the friendliest place for electric cars in the nation.
But how do California electric-car sales actually compare to those of the rest of the country?
Just over five years after the first modern electric cars went on sales in large numbers, California accounts for one-third to one-half of U.S. plug-in electric car sales, according to data from the California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative advocacy group. California accounted for about 55 percent of plug-in car sales in January 2016, with 3,692 sales in the state out of a national total of 6,713. Since January 2011, the California PEV Collaborative estimates 407,378 plug-in electric cars were sold in the U.S.--with 184,657 of those sold in California.
 Given California's aggressive electric-car policies, it's not surprising such a large portion of plug-in vehicles are sold there. For one, California is by far the largest state in the U.S. with a zero-emission vehicle mandate that requires automakers to sell electric cars within its borders. (Other states have adopted its mandate, but the Golden State pioneered it.) This has led to a range of "compliance cars" built solely to comply with the law.
California also has a robust electric-car incentive program. It previously offered rebates of $2,500 for new battery-electric cars and $1,500 for plug-in hybrids, but beginning in March, the amount will vary depending on the buyer's income.
Buyers of battery-electric cars can also still get "white stickers" that allow solo access to carpool lanes. A 2015 UCLA study found that this perk alone may have led to the purchase of more than 24,000 plug-in electric cars and hybrids in the metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, and San Francisco from 2010 through 2013.
But California officials are pushing for even greater electric-car adoption.
Governor Jerry Brown has called for cutting petroleum use in vehicles on California roads in half by 2030--a goal that was later turned into legislation. While California leads the nation in electric-car sales, however, it will need to boost its current sales significantly to meet that target.

Avista Wants to Install 265 EV Charging Stations in Eastern Washington

Washington State local power company Avista outlines a plan to install EV charging stations. Excerpted from an article by Nicholas Deshais for The Spokesman-Review.
Avista has asked state regulators to approve a two-year pilot program that would greatly expand the use of electric vehicles     
 in Eastern Washington, installing 265 charging stations in homes, workplaces and public locations. In a document filed with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission last month, Avista laid out its reasons for the program, which include environmental benefits, fuel cost savings and vehicle performance.
“An Avista EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment) program is key to enabling great electric vehicle adoption that results in benefits to all customers,” the document reads. “A comprehensive EVSE program aligns with state policy goals to achieve societal benefits, is responsive to customers, and addresses critical adoption barriers.”
The utility company expects the program to cost nearly $3.1 million to install. The company aims to place charging stations in 120 homes, 100 workplaces and 45 public locations. Seven of the public locations would have fast-charging DC stations, which can fill a battery in 15 to 20 minutes.
Electrifying the transportation sector aligns with goals of the NW Energy Coalition, Gov. Jay Inslee and the state’s Transportation Department, which recently released the Washington State Electric Vehicle Action Plan. That plan calls for 50,000 electric vehicles in the state by 2020, a goal Inslee has reiterated. Currently, about 12,000 electric vehicles are registered in Washington.

The Virtuous Cycle Between Driverless Cars, EVs And Car-Sharing Services

Excerpted from an article by Chunka Mui for Forbes
Numerous players are jockeying for position at the confluence of driverless cars, electric vehicles and car sharing. At first glance, the three are distinct business categories with unique technical, strategic and market challenges. A virtuous cycle, however, links them. Each has the potential to reinforce the others and, together, massively disrupt the technology and business of personal mobility. Ultimately, such reinforcement might mean the difference between lackluster adoption and breakout success.
Driverless Cars And Car Sharing Services
Driverless cars could significantly reduce the cost of car-sharing services like Uber and Lyft by eliminating the largest operational cost—the human driver. As Travis Kalanick has said:
The reason Uber could be expensive is because you’re not just paying for the car — you’re paying for the other dude in the car. When there’s no other dude in the car, the cost of taking an Uber anywhere becomes cheaper than owning a vehicle.
Several studies, including one by Larry Burns and William Jordon and another by Rutt Bridges, estimate that driverless taxis could operate at as little as 20% of the cost of individual car ownership.
Emilio Frazzoli, Rick Zhang and their colleagues at MIT and Stanford have shown that driverless cars could further reduce cost of car sharing services by enabling intelligent coordination to minimize congestion, keep the driverless fleet in balance and better serve anticipated demand.

These advantages leave ample room for driverless-car-enabled business models that give significant savings to passengers (over individual ownership and driving) while enabling hefty profits to service providers. Thus, both Uber and Lyft openly talk about a day when they shift from being intermediaries for individually-owned-and-human-driven cars to providing mobility services with company-owned driverless cars.

Aggressive adoption by mobility services would jumpstart and accelerate the spread of driverless cars. Such services would be able to pay far more for driverless cars than what consumers might otherwise be willing. Some industry insiders estimate that mobility service business models could sustain driverless cars costing as much as $250,000-300,000.

Consumer adoption would be minimal at such price points but mobility services could buy millions of them. The study by Burns and Jordon, for example, estimated that 25,000 driverless cars would be needed to serve a small city like Ann Arbor, MI. For reference, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 228 cities in the U.S. larger than Ann Arbor.

Mobility Services And Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles are generally cheaper to build, maintain and operate, so mobility services would have a natural preference for them. If such services could coordinate across an entire fleet, they could sidestep typical consumer concerns about electric cars’ battery range and charging station availability. That is because most taxi rides are well within current electric vehicle ranges. Cars could be dispatched according to customer destination, battery life, recharging needs and so on.

Since most trips involve only one or two passengers, mobility services could further reduce car and energy cost by assembling fleets of mostly smaller cars.

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The Wheego Team
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