Dear Wheego Enthusiast,
In This Issue:
- China a Lifeline for EV Makers
- What's the Best City for Electric Cars in the U.S.?
- New Incentives for EVs
China a Lifeline for EV Makers
Excerpted from an Automotive News article by Alysha Webb. Read the full story here.
In 2013, Mike McQuary, CEO of Wheego Electric Cars, was in a bind. The maker of small electric vehicles needed expansion funds. But with high-profile electrified vehicle makers like Fisker and Coda struggling, the appetite in the U.S. for investing in electrified vehicle makers was slight.
Since he was visiting China regularly to work with suppliers, McQuary made an appointment with GSR Ventures, a venture capital company based in Beijing. It was a good move. GSR now helps fund Wheego.
"They have a long-term view of the new-energy sector and EVs in particular," McQuary says of his Chinese investor.
Despite early optimism in the U.S., the market for EVs and the technology that goes into them never has really taken off. In 2015, U.S. sales of plug-in hybrids and EVs actually dropped 5.2 percent to 116,099 units, according to Inside EVs. Government support for the sector has remained tepid. That has left companies that bet on steady growth in demand for electrified vehicles struggling to survive. In China, however, the government remains committed to growing plug-in hybrid and EV production and sales. That has given Chinese investors and Chinese companies the confidence to sink millions of dollars into U.S. companies with electrification technology.
Often, Chinese investors want to focus on the China market. GSR was "happy to invest in us as long as we turned our eyes to China," McQuary says. Though it has dealers and sales in the U.S., the Atlanta-based company now focuses on selling its small EVs -- used by municipal governments, at airports and as delivery vehicles -- in China.
He can't discuss sales volume or where the vehicles are manufactured, McQuary says. But the company is still in business, which it might not have been without the Chinese investment.
"China seemed like a much bigger chance for Wheego to be a big success," he says. "The subsidies they offer over there, and the government support and pressure for EVs to be successful, really trumps what they are doing in the U.S."
What’s the Best City for Electric Cars in the U.S.?
Excerpted from an article by Stephen Edelstein for GreenCar Reports.
Read the full article here.
Since modern electric cars went on sale in volume five years ago, some cities have been more eager to promote them than others. Officials in those cities find electric cars attractive for their ability to reduce pollution, among other reasons.
And those officials do everything from expanding charging infrastructure to implementing incentives like free parking in order to get more electric cars' on their cities streets.
But which city does it the best?
Researchers at the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs recently compiled a list of the most electric-car-friendly U.S. cities
(via Charged EVs
, was at the top of that list, which includes 36 cities.
The city has a generous network of charging stations, including a block of parking spaces reserved for plug-in cars that is known as Electric Avenue. It also streamlined the process for installing home charging stations. And Portland's policies are backed by a state government that's also enthusiastic about electric cars. Oregon is the only state to have appointed an Electric Car Czar, and it participates in the West Coast Electric Highway project to create a network of charging stations linking the West Coast states. The state also offers tax credits for the purchase of charging stations, including a $750 credit for individuals, and a credit for businesses that covers 35 percent of the cost of a station.
Portland was followed by Washington, D.C., Baltimore, New York City, and Denver on the Indiana University list. Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Austin, and San Francisco rounded out the top 10.
Cities were ranked based on factors like the availability of purchase incentives, charging-station density, and perks like free parking or solo carpool-lane access. Four of the top six cities also offer time-of-use electricity rates, while others provide at least some free parking.
Nashville—the largest city near Nissan's U.S. headquarters—offers free parking in its downtown area, while Honolulu exempts electric-car drivers from all parking fees.
New Incentives for EVs
Many cities and states are trying to make next year’s “best place for an EV” list. Check out these recent initiatives:
- Massachusetts is working on a bill allowing EVs in the HOV lane… and fining gas-guzzlers parked in EV spots.
- New York City is exploring the addition of city-owned charging stations.
- Seattle has announced a Drive Clean Seattle program aimed at improving EV infrastructure.
- Maine is cooperating with Quebec to build a charging network.
- Minnesota is working on rebates of up to $2500 for an EV purchase or lease