NEVs On The Increase In Hawaii

A recent story reports that Hawaii currently has 268 registered taxable electric vehicles in use. Approximately 250 of the vehicles are NEVs and the remaining are highway capable vehicles.  In the last year the total number of electric vehicle grew 51% which works out to be about 90 vehicles.  The state government has established a goal of using clean energy for 70% of the transportation needs.  Since it is an island, Hawaii is a good fit for NEVs and other electrics because of the shorter travel distances required, a mild climate which improves battery performance and a less expansive area for building out EV charging infrastructure.  Learn more:

Kandi Technologies Receives Large EV Order For Italy

Kandi Technologies has received a purchase order from Share corporation of Italy for 1,000 electric vehicles.  Share was founded in 2010 to reinforce and develop new industrial and commercial activities, including the marketing of electric cars with zero emissions.  This EV order fits into the plans of the Rome city government to introduce more EVs into the city to reduce pollution and protect ancient sites.  Kandi’s management expects the Italian market to serve as a launching point for further expansion into Europe.  Learn more:

Charging Infrastructure News

EV Solar Charging Station

EV solar charging station at Brooklyn Bridge Park

A Solar Charging Station Grows In Brooklyn – Brooklyn Bridge Park recently became home to the city’s first solar powered electric vehicle charging station.  The station was developed and donated by the Beautiful Earth Group, a renewable energy developer based in Brooklyn, and uses two recycled shipping containers stacked on top of one another and 24 photovoltaic panels.  The station will be used by the park’s fleet of four electric vehicles which include two GEM LSVs and two Toro utility vehicles.  The charging stations fits with the park’s sustainability efforts and will also be incorporated into educational programs for children.  Learn more:

Plugless Power wireless charging station from Evtran

Google Testing Wireless Charging Station – Google is testing wireless EV charging technology developed by Evtran of Virginia.  Called Plugless Power, the recharging station will be used to power up one of Google’s NEVs that are used in the company’s vehicle sharing program for employees.  The vehicle had to be retrofitted to work with the charger which works on the principle of induction similar to electric transformers except that the transformer is split between the charger and the vehicle.  Evtran is looking for additional corporate or municipal NEV fleets to field test their product.  Learn more:

Some Solar Powered LSVs Operating Totally Off The Grid

All American LSV

Cruise Car All American LSV with solar panel

Cruise Car management is reporting that some of their All American solar powered LSV customers are able to operate their vehicles completely off the grid.  Customers are driving up to ten miles per day on just solar power alone and some have not had to use an external power source since purchasing their vehicles.

These reports provide more evidence that the STOV market continues to be sliced up into many sub-segments which are being satisfied by vehicles with a particular set of features and functionality.  In this case the question is how large is the potential market for vehicles that can exclusively or predominately operate on solar power.

In the future we can anticipate an attempt to increase the solar power generated by these vehicles through larger solar panels, new photovoltaic technology and innovative placement of photovoltaic material on vehicles.  As the range improves this sub-segment can grow incrementally.

It will be interesting to see if the market for fully functional electric vehicles like the Leaf and Volt can similarly develop based on range specific use.  While some critics of electric vehicles seem to believe in an all or nothing approach when it comes to electric vehicle range, I think the STOV market demonstrates that there are niche markets based on the specific range needs of customers.  In both markets, instead of producing a “perfect” vehicle in terms of range from the start, there exists the possibility to incrementally grow the market as technology and vehicle range improves.  Learn more:

Garia Wins “Honourable Mention” In The Red Hot Design Award

From the press release:

Among 4,433 entries from approximately 1,700 companies from 60 countries, The Garia has been awarded with an ’Honourable Mention’ in the Red Dot Design Award 2011. The jury of highly respected experts grants this recognition to products with especially refined detail solutions.

“As always, our jury cast a very careful eye over the products submitted. Design quality has asserted itself clearly in the judging process, with genuine and new creative solutions also being rewarded. Both of these criteria are not just yardsticks for good design, but also for the potential for success on the market. This potential is increased several times over by the targeted use of our renowned design award”, says Professor Dr. Peter Zec, the initiator of the Red Dot Design Award.

Designed and developed in Denmark, The Garia is a complete reinvention of the traditional golf cart. It is developed according to the user’s needs with a wide range of user-friendly features such as an extra large cabin with a comfortable and car-like driving position, an innovative easy-access golf bag holder, a new type of director selector and a digital cluster. Other features for improved convenience and usability include a built-in refrigerator, storage options integrated in the design and an onboard charger.

“We set out to build the world’s best golf car and based many of the design improvements on in-depth usability research, and with this prestigious recognition I truly believe that we have succeeded in our efforts”, says Mr. Anders Lynge, designer of The Garia.

Along with hundreds of other prize-winning product designs, The Garia will be on display from 5 July to 1 August 2011 in the exhibition “Design on stage – winners red dot award: product design 2011” in the red dot design museum at the world heritage site of the Zeche Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen. With in excess of 1,500 products spread over an area of more than 4,000 m2, the Red Dot Design Museum houses the largest permanent exhibition of contemporary design worldwide.

Learn more:

John Deere Gator 825i Review

Farm Industry News recently published a generally favorable review of the new John Deere Gator 825i.  Not surprisingly, the review is based on the vehicle’s performance in an agriculture setting.  What I like about the review is that it evaluates the vehicle based on application specific performance e.g. straddling 30 in. corn rows.  The author suggested the vehicle would be a good alternative to a used pickup truck.  Here is a quick summary of the review.

Some of the good:

  • Engine
  • Instrumentation/gauges
  • Underside protection
  • Build, Ride & Handling
  • Cargo box & organizer
  • Winch
  • Lighting

Needs improvement:

  • No power steering
  • Position of steering wheel
  • Position of shift and parking brake levers
  • Operation of parking brake
  • Air intake for clutch
  • Downhill braking

Learn more:

Oklahoma EV Tax Credit Update

While the modern day version of the Oklahoma Land Rush ended in 2009, the legal dust related to the electric vehicle tax credits is still settling nearly two years later.  In early March an administrative law judge in the state issued a ruling allowing purchasers of Tomberlin LSVs in 2009 to receive income tax credits.  The Oklahoma Tax Commission is reviewing the decision.  Learn more:

Bad Boy Buggies Production Moves To Georgia

Production of the recently acquired Bad Boy Buggies has moved to E-Z-GO’s manufacturing facilities in Augusta, GA from Natchez, MS.  The same facilities are used to produce E-Z-GO’s Cushman line of industrial vehicles as well as E-Z-GO golf cars, utility vehicles and LSVs.  The move is not a surprise since Bad Boy Buggies previously has had some quality issues and E-Z-GO is known for their manufacturing prowess.  The Augusta plant was

..named one of Industry Week magazine’s top 10 plants in North America in 2009, and also received the Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence, often called “the Nobel Prize of manufacturing,” that same year. The facility is ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified, meaning that it has world-class procedures for manufacturing and environmental protection.

The new location also offers better supply and distribution logistics.  Learn more:

RMD Technologies Takes First Order For Their Electric UTV

RMD Technologies UTE

RMD Technologies Utility Terrain Electric (UTE) Vehicle

RMD Technologies recently announced that they had received their first order for their Utility Terrain Electric (UTE) vehicle.  The five vehicle order came from a rental company in Las Vegas where the vehicles will be rented to tourists on an hourly basis for driving around the Vegas Strip.  The UTE is classified as a low speed vehicle.  Originally started as an electronics recycling services business, RMD Technologies has branched out into alternative energy vehicles and uses a high percentage of recycled materials in their vehicles.  Learn more:

GGT Electric Looking For University Partners

GGT Electric recently announced that they are looking to partner with two US universities for the research and development of electric trucks, electric cars and electric delivery vans.  The Milford, MI based electric vehicle manufacturer is conducting a nationwide search and is considering universities with existing expertise or the willingness to develop expertise in electric vehicles.  According to CEO Ray Leduc,

GGT’s future partners will search for improvements in the electric vehicle drive train space in the areas of low voltage motors, controllers, batteries and battery management systems.

Learn more: