The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project operated by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has exhausted the funding for zero emission vehicle rebates. Over 27 months the project doled out over $11 million for rebates on close to 2,000 vehicles. The rebates ranged from $1,500 to $5,000 depending on the type of zero emission vehicle eligible – ranging from an electric motorcycle or NEV to highway capable passenger cars. CARB is proposing an expansion of the program by increasing funding to $15 million for 2011-12 and cutting the maximum rebate in half to $2,500 to allow a greater number of rebates.
Pike Research predicts that the number of NEVs on the road worldwide will grow from 479,000 in 2011 to 695,000 by 2017. This represents a 45% increase in total over the trend period and a compounded annual growth rate of 6.6%. North America will remain the largest NEV market with the Asia Pacific region the second largest. During that period, annual NEV sales will rise from 37,000 vehicles to nearly 55,000 units by 2017 with the North American market accounting for 45% of sales or approximately 25,000 units in 2017. Fleet sales are predicted to remain the leading market for NEVs. The report had to take into account some of the different definitions or lack thereof for neighborhood electric vehicles across regions and countries. Learn more: Greencarcongress.com
The De Vere hotel and resort group based in the UK recently completed an order with Club Car for 227 electric vehicles. The order includes 203 Precedent i2 golf cars plus a range of turf utility vehicles and Café Express mobile refreshment vehicles. The De Vere real estate portfolio consists of 11 golf properties and 16 courses. Club Car management points to deal as a sign of continuing growth in the demand for golf cars in the European golf market where historically the number of golfers that want to ride golf cars has been a minority. Learn more: Todaysgolfer.co.uk
Polaris Industries, which recently acquired Global Electric Motorcars, will be closing GEM’s manufacturing facility and offices by the end of the year. GEM’s operations will be integrated into Polaris’ Spirit Lake, IA manufacturing plant, product development facilities in Wyoming and corporate headquarters in Medina, MN. Some of the 80 people now employed at the Fargo location have been offered jobs at these new locations. Learn more: Startribune.com
Australian Market – Polaris introduced their Ranger Diesel utility vehicle in the Australian market not too long ago. Reports are that New Zealand and the Australian outback serve as a testing ground for some of the companies vehicle prototypes. International sales have been a significant growth area for Polaris UTVs and other vehicles as well. Learn more: Ferret.com.au
GEM Acquisition – In a recent interview Polaris CEO Scott Wine discussed the company’s recent GEM acquisition. Commenting on the potential GEM under the Polaris umbrella he stated “…if you think about Polaris’ ability to drive innovative design and performance, we really like what we can do with the GEM technology and brand.” He also remarked that they view the GEM as a vehicle for the electric city car/commuter car market, which they expect to grow “significantly faster” than GDP.
What’s interesting is that historically the majority of GEM sales have been to parks, colleges and other commercial customers. If Polaris is looking to push more into the commuter market they could add some muscle to lobbying efforts to push NHTSA to develop a medium speed vehicle standard, which they have resisted to date. Learn more: Dealernews.com
An auto tuning company, Rinspeed, debuted their BamBoo Concept Electric Vehicle at the recent Geneva Motor Show. The European-based company was showcasing technologies for the NEV market. The BamBoo features…
….a 54kW electric motor and enough battery capacity to give it a 104 km (65 mi.) range. The German made high-torque motor can accelerate the 1,090Kg vehicle to a top speed of 120 km/h. This lightweight vehicle features a steel chassis with horizontal shock absorbers with a sturdy composite body and extensive use of polymer plastic materials. The BamBoo sits on 17″ AEZ three-spoke billet aluminum wheels and eco-friendly Goodyear “EfficientGrip” energy-saving tires.
While not likely to ever be put into production, the vehicle’s styling continues to point to a movement in some parts of the NEV market away from the golf car look and more towards the styling of highway capable vehicles. In addition, the effort shows that Rinspeed, which usually works with companies such as Porsche and BMW, sees potential in the NEV market. Learn more: Golfcartcityonline.com
Some recent news stories point to the impact of gas prices on the STOV market as local governments try to reduce fuel costs by turning to electric vehicles. In some cases capital expenditures are reduced as well when these vehicles replace pickup trucks or highway capable cars. The cost effectiveness of these vehicles, in part, explains why the UTV market is significantly outpacing growth in the overall US economy.
One story comes from the Chicago area where the Naperville Park District is trying to manage a potential $30,000 budget shortfall driven by fuel costs. One of several responses by the district’s management is to purchase electric utility vehicles. Napervillesun.suntimes.com
In upstate New York the police department in the town of Rome are testing two Polaris EV LSVs. The electric UTVs, based on the popular gas-powered Ranger, are street-legal and will be tested for everyday use by patrolmen over a two to three week period. Besides cutting fuel costs, which can be substantial given the round the clock use of police vehicles, the police captain also noted the stealth nature of the vehicles. The Polaris vehicles were chosen for testing over vehicles such as the Chevy Volt and other electric UTVs from Bad Boy Buggies and Ruff and Tuff. Learn more: Romeobserver.com
Highlighting some of the many applications for small, task-oriented vehicles
Park Patrol & Emergency Response – Cramerton, NC police received a Gator utility vehicle as a donation from a local community group for use on the Carolina Thread Trail. With much of the park area inaccessible to cars, the utility vehicle will be used for regular police patrols and is outfitted with medical equipment for first responders to use in emergencies. Learn more: GastonGazzette.com
Stetson University's Miles Electric Vehicle
Sustainable Campus Patrol – In an effort to reduce their carbon footprint, Stetson University recently replaced a SUV used for campus security with a Miles electric vehicle. The LSV cost $13,000. The university expects to add more electric vehicles to their fleet in the future. Learn more: News-journalonline.com
GreenGo Tek Electric of Michigan has won a contract to supply the state of South Carolina with ten all electric vans. The E-Dyne passenger vans are LSVs. The contract could potentially include the purchase of ten additional vans in an optional second year.
The E-Dyne van is powered by either a 6-kW (8-horsepower) or an optional 25-kW (33.5-hp) electric motor and comes packing a 72-volt or an optional 96-volt absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery pack. Top speed for the E-Dyne is listed at 25 miles per hour and total range is a quaint 40 miles. The E-Dyne can be configured as an eight-seat passenger van or a two-seat cargo van.