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July 2010

Dear Wheego Enthusiast:
Welcome to our newest dealer, Jim Ellis Automotive in
Atlanta, Georgia!



 

It’s time to reserve your LiFe – if you haven't already done so, visit
wheego.net to choose your color and options and make your $100
deposit! Cars begin shipping to reservation holders in late September.


Senate panel approves $3.6B for electric vehicles


The Senate Energy Committee last week approved the “Promoting
Electric Vehicles Act of 2010,” which seeks, among other incentives, to
raise the Federal Tax Credit on EVs from $7,500 to $10,000. We will
keep you posted as the bill moves to Congress. Following is an article
from the Detroit News outlining the proposal.


David Shepardson / Detroit News Washington Bureau, July 21, 2010


Washington-- The Senate Energy Committee has approved a $3.6 billion bill
to boost electric vehicles. The bill approved on a 19-4 vote this morning is a
scaled-back version of an $11 billion bill first proposed in May. But its fate is
still in doubt as Senate Democrats are debating whether to include new
electric vehicle funding as part of an energy bill they hope to approve before
Congress goes home next month.

Separately, the committee approved a bill introduced by Sen. Debbie
Stabenow, D-Lansing, that would extend the $25 billion retooling loan
program for advanced technology vehicles. But the Senate hasn't yet said
how much more it might add to the program.

The Stabenow measure expands the eligibility of vehicle technologies that
would qualify for the program, including natural gas vehicles. It would also
urge the Energy Department to carry out research programs for advanced
technologies for vehicles, and to study whether the federal government
could convert thousands of government vehicles to natural gas power.
The Stabenow measure would also make medium- and heavy-duty trucks
eligible for the program. The bill approved by the Energy Committee, which
was authored by U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., seeks to promote the
deployment of plug-in electric vehicles through a series of "deployment
communities."

The Promoting Electric Vehicle Act of 2010, would extend and expand national
incentives to accelerate the introduction of electric vehicles. "Passing this
legislation will strengthen our national security and improve the air we
breathe, while relying on our abundant and diverse electricity supply to
fuel our cars," Dorgan said. "We are now one step closer to dramatically
reducing our dangerous dependence on foreign oil that hurts our economy,
helps our enemies and puts our security at risk. Domestic petroleum will
always be an important part of our country's energy strategy, but we also
must invest in alternative energy approaches including electric cars."
The bill would create "deployment communities" across the country, where
targeted incentive programs for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure
systems would help demonstrate rapid market penetration and determine
what best practices would be helpful for nationwide deployment of electric
vehicles.

Dorgan wants to electrify half its cars and trucks by 2030, which if achieved,
would cut U.S. demand for oil by about one-third. Advocates of electric
vehicles praised the vote.

"Republicans and Democrats have taken another critical step toward finally
ending our nation's dangerous dependence on oil," said Robbie Diamond,
president of the Electrification Coalition.

Congress has already set aside billions of dollars to boost electric vehicles,
including $2.4 billion in grants for electric vehicle and battery research. It
also approved a $7,500 tax credit for purchasing electric vehicles.

dshepardson@detnews.com




Wheego On Parade
Bruce Sharp drove his Wheego Whip in Utah’s 3rd largest parade, the
Bountiful Handcart Days:




Ask McQ
This month’s question for Wheego CEO Mike McQuary is:
 
Q: “Chevy is touting their Volt as offering ‘Peace of mind’. What do you
say to that?”


McQ: “I think it's a pretty cheap shot for Chevrolet to infer that "range
anxiety" or what I like to call "OA" (Odometer Anxiety) is a good reason to
buy a Volt Hybrid instead of a purely electric car. So let's review.
 
First off everyone needs to be reminded that the Chevy Volt is not an electric
car. It is a Generation 2 Hybrid- it has an exhaust system that puts out
carbon monoxide, it has an (albeit small) internal combustion engine, and
you fill it with gasoline. It certainly is not 'peace of mind' for anyone who
worries about climate change or ending our dependency on foreign oil. So
if America is addicted to foreign oil, then the Chevy Volt is the equivalent of
trading a heroin addiction for a methadone addiction. If you are going to
kick the habit of oil addiction, you need to be all-electric. Tesla, Wheego
and Nissan are committed to real change.
 
So following their logic, for real 'peace of mind' why not just hire a chase car
to follow you around? It makes as much sense to me as having a gasoline
engine on board and touting yourself as an environmentally conscious
alternative. "With their 'peace of mind' emphasis, the Chevy Volt is clearly
insinuating that the American public is not smart enough to plan and
manage their personal transportation around a fixed number of electric car
miles each charge. I think most Americans are smart enough, and care
enough about the environment, that they will put in the effort to not need
a set of gasoline powered, exhaust spewing training wheels on their car.
However some Americans may not be smart enough, or want to be
bothered enough to do this. To appeal to them, maybe Chevrolet should
switch their Volt advertising campaign to 'feeble of mind'!”
 
 
BNet’s Jim Motavalli looks into his crystal ball:
 

Slow Start, Gathering Tide:
EV Predictions for 2011

July 9, 2011, bNet.com


Why should predictions be restricted to the end of the year? I make them
all the time, and this is such an interesting crossroads for the auto industry
that I’d like to offer some now for 2011, right here in the dog days of summer:
 

1. A Slow Start.
Although Ford, Chevrolet, Tesla, Fisker, Coda, Nissan, Wheego, Think and
many more are preparing new battery and plug-in hybrid cars for late this
year and early next, a manufacturer that sells 10,000 of any of these cars
should count itself lucky. EVs are a really new concept for people, and there
will be a lot more tire-kicking than contract-signing.
 

2. Zip Code Rules.
As I reported earlier this week, sales will be concentratedin California.
But it’s more than that – early EVs for 2011 will be expensive, so they’ll be
heavily represented in certain affluent zip codes on both coasts. Praveen
Mandal
, president of charging company Coulomb, calls this “clustering.”
That is one of many challenges that utilities have to face as they try to
figure out how to build out the grid to accommodate EVs. Scott Simons
of the Detroit-area DTE Energy told me that his company is working
with automakers to try and identify those neighborhoods and beef up
infrastructure there with bigger substations and more.

3. Winners and Losers.
The entry market strongly favors established players, and they’ll be the ones
that will see the most action in 2011. Nissan, for example, has huge built-in
advantages in promoting its Leaf battery car. These include a name
recognition, a national dealer network and money to pay for TV advertising.
Chevrolet has the same for the Volt “range extender,” and Ford for its
electric version of the Focus. Newcomers like Think, Coda and Wheego
will have credible cars, but they’ll really have to be clever about the
guerrilla marketing and publicity to get their voices heard.

4. Subsidies Matter.
Many states are now offering tax incentives for EVs, but California rules with
a $5,000 cash rebate (that could run out quickly). By offsetting steep
purchase prices, these credits will really make a difference. A Nissan Leaf
for $20,000 instead of $32,000? Yes, but only in California. EV sales could
take off past 10,000 per carmaker if the feds pass pending legislation called
the Electric Vehicle Deployment Act of 2010, which has bipartisan support.
In the wake of President Obama’s appearance at the Smith Electric Vehicle
plant in Missouri this week, the Electrification Coalition’s Robbie Diamond
pointed out that Obama has said he would sign it, but “now is the time to
move that legislation forward.” The bill would give EV buyers in select
“deployment communities” incentives worth up to $10,000.
 

5. “Range Anxiety” Will Fade.
The fear that EVs will run out of juice halfway home will keep a lot of people
from buying them in the first half of 2011, but such nail biting will evaporate
in the third and fourth quarters. Few people really need more than 100 miles
of range –- they just think they do. Good word of mouth from EV early
adopters should clear that up.
 

6. Cities Will Lag in Setting up Charging Networks.
I went searching for a Manhattan-based EV plug-in, but found only one.
The bigger the city, the longer this will take, especially in the early days of
2011. Although EVs are really more city than suburban cars, charging them
will be a headache in New York, Chicago and other cities where space is at
a premium and most people live in apartments. Los Angeles? The city is
already set up for cars, and so gung-ho about EVs they’ll find a way to
get ‘em plugged in.

 

Become a Wheego fan on facebook – stay in touch!
 

 
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As always, we thank you for your support. Please email your questions
and suggestions to info@wheego.net.
 
 
Best Regards,
 
The Wheego Team
 
 
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