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August 2014

Dear Wheego Enthusiast:
In this issue:
In this issue:
  • National Drive Electric Week Coming Up
  • Electric Car Batteries: What Happens to Them After Coming Out of the Car?
  • Three EV-related Bills New to CA
National Drive Electric Week Coming Up

Mark your calendar! National Drive Electric Week is September 15-21, 2014. What started in 2011 as National Plug In Day has been expanded to include a full week of activities across the country to raise awareness of electric vehicles. This is a great opportunity for you to meet fellow EV enthusiasts in your area. The Drive Electric website includes this description of the week: “Each event is led by local plug-in drivers and advocates and typically includes some combination of EV parades, ride-and-drives, electric tailgate parties, press conferences, award ceremonies, informational booths, and more. Plug In AmericaSierra Club, and the Electric Auto Association serve as the national team providing support to the events throughout the country. We are pleased to partner with the many other organizations and individuals working to bring National Drive Electric Week to communities across the country.”
Visit Drive Electric to get involved!  

Wheego at a Plug In Day showcase in Atlanta

Electric-Car Batteries: What Happens To Them After Coming Out Of The Car?

The following is excerpted from an article by John Voelcker in Green Car Reports.
It's one of the recurring questions asked by electric-car skeptics: Yeah, but what about all those battery packs? Won't they just end up in landfills? We know already that the 12-Volt lead-acid car battery appears to be the most-recycled consumer good in the world--though that's largely for safety reasons, as lead is far more toxic than the materials in lithium-ion batteries. More recently, hybrid car-makers have had programs to take back and safely dispose of used or damaged high-voltage battery packs for 15 years. Those nickel-metal-hydride cells contain precious metals with a known recycling value. But for the much higher-capacity lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars, the answers may be slightly different.

Lithium-ion battery pack for 2011Chevrolet Volt

A new report from the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University in California suggests that 20 years hence, there may be 1.3 million to 6.7 million used battery packs from electric cars. According to the report, as covered in Recycling International (via ChargedEVs), roughly 85 percent of those could be suitable for "post-vehicle use," with the remaining 15 percent likely damaged beyond repair.
There may not be a business model in recycling them, however: The materials in a lithium-ion battery pack are relatively inexpensive, and even with technological breakthroughs, the report estimates that only 20 percent of the cost of recycling could be recouped by selling the recovered materials.
Instead, the value will lie in secondary uses--depending, of course, on what value the market assigns to a used pack. The report suggests that while this area is "less well-defined," repurposing the packs for other uses could be economical at a cost of $83 to $114 per kilowatt-hour.
The average U.S. home uses 32 kWh a day, so a battery pack that may have 16 kWh of usable capacity left could power the home for a substantial portion of its day. And forward-looking electric utilities are considering the opportunities to decouple such homes from the grid temporarily during periods of peak demand, reducing the utility's peak load.
One thing is certain, however: every maker of plug-in electric cars will have a program to take back used or damaged battery packs. Some of them will see the value in repairing them--replacing defective modules and putting them back into stock as remanufactured parts--while others may set up separate businesses to sell them for secondary uses. Which means it's only a matter of time until a "black market" emerges. Psst, buddy: Wanna buy a used electric-car battery?

Three EV-related Bills Coming Up in CA
Excerpted from an article by Jerry Hirsch for the LA Times
A bill that would phase out rebates for the wealthy who buy plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles passed the Assembly and could join two related bills on their way to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk.
One of the other bills would increase the number of carpool-lane permits for solo drivers using plug-in hybrid cars. The third bill would prohibit landlords from stopping renters from installing electric car chargers as long as the tenant pays for installation.
Brown has until the end of September to sign the bills.
All are meant to advance the California Air Resources Board's goal of getting 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles onto the state's roads by 2025 — more than 15 times the number now. The board also has a target that 15% of all new vehicle sales within the state will be zero-emission vehicles by 2025.
The key measure, SB 1275 by Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), goes back to the Senate to approve changes the Assembly made before going to Brown. The bill would instruct California's Air Resources Board to determine a household income level at which the clean-vehicle rebate — $2,500 for an electric car — would be phased out. More than 72,000 Californians already have received electric car rebates amounting to more than $151 million, according to the Center for Sustainable Energy, which administers the program for the Air Resources Board. Nearly four-fifths of the state's clean-vehicle rebates have gone to households earning $100,000 or more annually, according to a state survey of buyers. Nearly half of those getting rebates for Tesla's premium electric sedan earned at least $300,000.
 About 14,500 others have bought eligible cars and filed for the rebates but have yet to be paid by the state. The De León bill would divert future funds to less-affluent buyers and would set aside other money to subsidize the purchase of zero-emission vehicles by low-income consumers.
The bill has the support of environmental groups.
"This bill will make electric cars and car-sharing opportunities affordable to working families," said Vien Truong, environmental equity director for the Greenlining Institute. "It will also let low-income families cash in their clunkers and use that voucher with clean-car rebates or for car-sharing programs and public transportation."
De León's bill also would provide other incentives for low-income earners to migrate to electric cars and plug-in hybrids. A family of four with an annual household income of $53,000 could bundle state incentives toward the purchase of a cleaner vehicle. The family could get $1,500 for retiring a high-polluting vehicle, along with the existing $2,500 rebate for buying an electric car.
Low-income families also could qualify for an additional $3,000 incentive for a clean-air vehicle. The incentive could be even larger for a buyer who lives in a neighborhood with poor air quality.
Alternately, residents could retire an older car, without buying a new one, and get $3,000 to pay for public transit passes or a car-sharing program membership.
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The Wheego Team
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