London Mayor Pushes For Electric Vehicles

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has laid out plans to have 100,000 electric vehicles by 2025 and 25,000 charging stations in London by 2015. The plan calls for putting charging stations on main roads, retail and work places, parking garages and train stations.  The mayor’s plan also calls for 20% of new parking spaces and new building developments to have charging points and excludes electric vehicles from congestion pricing in London’s center.

The plan will cost about $90 million and is expected to be funded by a mixture of public and private sources.  It will be helped by recent efforts of the national government which earmarked about $370 million in January for consumer incentives for buying electric vehicles for anywhere in the UK.  The incentive is about $3,000 per vehicle. Learn more

Golf Car Manufacturers In the Rough

Bloomberg News reports on the current difficulties golf car manufacturers are facing. The industry is dominated by Club Car and E-Z Go which account for nearly all the fleet sales to golf courses. Besides the recession, these companies have also been dealing with pre-existing negative trends of declining golf course construction and fewer rounds played. The former is in part a market response to record course construction in the preceding years. Some courses are turning to refurbished rather than new vehicles to lower costs.

According to the story the manufacturers have reduced their work forces by about 3% and Club Car states that “orders for new carts have fallen by as much as 20 percent.”

I have started conducting some dealer interviews for a new version of our market study covering small, task-oriented vehicles like golf cars, NEVs and utility vehicles and have identified similar themes. In addition, some dealers told me that some courses are extending by a year the leases for their existing fleets. They also report that the once tight supply of used vehicle has now swung in the opposite direction. While golf course driven demand is not likely to improve in the short term, my interviews indicate that the utility vehicle and NEV markets will provide some growth.

Boshart EV’s Prototype Tersus Electric Truck

Boshart Tersus

Boshart Tersus

The Boshart Tersus is an electric powered general utility truck that can carry up to four people and is designed for closed campus and private property environments. What I find interesting about the Tersus is that it looks more like a typical gas powered truck.

The truck has a top speed of 25 mph and a payload capacity of 1,000 lbs. It uses a 72 volt system that powers a 28Kw AC motor and can be charged to 80% in one hour using a fast charger. A standard charger will recharge the AGM battery pack in six hours. I contacted the company and they told me that the vehicle is not available yet and didn’t provide a timetable or estimated price.

The company is also planning a heavy duty electric utility truck for 2010 that will have a payload of 3,000 lbs. Learn more:

Update: I received some more information from the company.  the vehicle can be purchased directly from Boshart Engineering and costs from $20,000 to $26,000 depending on options.  The vehicles has 220 ah capacity AGM battery pack and operates on a 72 volt system.

Taxis: A Niche Market For LSVs

Over the past few months I have seen a number of stories about LSVs being used as taxis in various cities across the country and see this use of LSVs as growing niche market.  One example is Chicago’s pilot project.

Sometimes the taxi service is being offered for free and generates revenue from on vehicle advertising.  In other instances, a government agency may be offering the service as a form of public transportation and as a “green” demonstration project.  Not surprising, they have also faced some opposition from existing taxi services.  Aware of potential conflicts with existing taxis and limited to lower speed roads, the LSV taxis are often allowed to operate in only restricted geographical areas.  There have also been instances where concerns about LSV safety in a mixed vehicle use environment or existing laws have prohibited businesses from operating LSV taxi services.

This story from Tampa, FL is an interesting example of how one operator avoided existing taxi regulations by not charging for the service and operating only on advertising and tips.

MSV Law Speeds Through Texas Legislature

According to reports, a bill that will allow NEVs to operate at speeds up to 35 mph on roads with speed limits of up to 45 mph is moving through the Texas legislature.  The bill was passed unaminously by the Transportation Committee and is expected to pass and become effective in May or June of this year.  Learn more:

G-Wiz Will Li-Ion LSVs Be Available Soon?

The UK’s best selling electric vehicle, Reva G-Wiz, will shortly be available with a Li-ion battery pack according to the vehicle’s retailer GoinGreen. The city car with a top speed of 51 mph will also have an off-board fast-charger. The new setup will be available in May of this year offer a number of advantages according to the company including:

  • Range increase from 48 to 75 miles
  • Fast-charging off-board – 90% in 1 hr and complete in 1.5 hrs
  • Regular charging reduced to 6 hrs
  • 20% less energy required for charging
  • Lighter weight (15% less) and better acceleration

The vehicle will be priced at £15,795 ($23,300)

Learn more:

Comment: Since this city car is only one step above an LSV and has a price point not that far above higher end LSVs can Li-ion battery packs be that far behind for LSVs? We reported earlier that Dynasty was looking into this possibility. This may become even more likely as states pass more MSV laws and allow for greater functionality in these vehicles. -Mcesare.

Yamaha To Recall & Suspend Sale Of Rhino Utility Vehicles

Yamaha Rhino 660 without doors installed

Yamaha Rhino 660 without doors installed

Yesterday, Yamaha, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a voluntary recall and suspension of sales of their popular Rhino utility vehicle so dealers can make appropriate repairs.  The action affects all the Rhino 450, 660 and 700 models sold since the fall of 2003.  Consumers are urged not to use the vehicles until repairs have been made.

According to the CPSC:

CPSC staff has investigated more than 50 incidents involving 46 driver and passenger deaths in these two Rhino models. More than two-thirds of the cases involved rollovers and many involved unbelted occupants. Of the rollover-related deaths and hundreds of reported injuries, some of which were serious, many appear to involve turns at relatively low speeds and on level terrain.

The recall involves an estimated 145,000 vehicles:  120,000 of the model 450 and 660 Rhinos  and  25,000 of the model 700.

Repairs to the vehicles are designed to improve handling and reduce the chances of rollover and include inserting a spacer on the rear wheels and removing a rear anti-sway bar.  Additional hand holds and half doors will also be installed, if they have not been already.  Yamaha can be reached at 800-962-7926 or

Learn more:  CPSC