Vehicle Electrification - June 26, 2013 - (Page 4)

Keeping the faith amid the first EV price war The world isn’t exactly beating a path to electric passenger vehicles, as engineers working on those programs are painfully aware. As the second half of 2013 begins, consider the following news items from June: • A survey of German drivers by the ADAC automobile association showed that they are becoming increasingly skeptical about EVs and that their expectations of the technology had been reduced significantly. • Recent launches of Ford’s Focus EV and the Honda Fit EV would be termed disasters based on their first-year sales rates, if the cars were conventionally powered mainstream products. • General Motors slapped aggressive new deals of up to $4000 on its Chevrolet Volt to try to charge-up sales. In similar moves, Fiat, Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Toyota slashed prices and juiced up their incentives in what has become the first price war of the modern EV era. • Chevy jumped in with bargainbasement pricing on its 2014 Spark EV directly at launch, prompting a GM truck engineer to quip, “Thankfully, Silverado sales are strong.” • Daimler is reviewing options for its Li-Tec battery-cell joint venture 4 June 26, 2013 Foreword Lindsay Brooke SAE Senior Editor with Evonik. Sale of the venture would underscore the slow demand for EVs. Despite generous subsidies and media exposure, sales of electric cars in the U.S. and Europe remain far below expectations. Among the many factors continuing to suppress them is the industry’s success in wringing greater efficiency out of gas-powered cars and trucks, and hybrids. As Steve Poulos, GM’s Global Chief Engineer for vehicle electrification systems, commented to me recently, “Once you own a vehicle that gets 50 mpg, it feels like it’s almost free. At 50 mpg I don’t think most people care what the powertrain is.” (Poulos talks about GM’s next-gen eAssist system on page 21.) So, the more efficient combustion-engined vehicles become, the tougher it will be for EV penetration to grow without purchase subsidies. The early adopters among the EV fan base have already bought their electric cars. Now it’s up to the market and good old competition to drive sales into the mainstream. That’s no simple task. Keep in mind the OEMs will build zero-emission vehicles because they need them for regulatory compliance. For the short term at least Ad Index TE Connectivity cover dSPACE inc 3 Resource Links Sales Force Contact Us Archives SAE Board of Directors SAE Membership SAE International Vehicle Electrification,® June 26, 2013, Volume 4, Number 3. SAE International Vehicle Electrification (ISSN 2159-4279) is published 6 times a year by SAE International.® SAE International is not responsible for the accuracy of information in the editorial, articles, and advertising sections of this publication. Readers should independently evaluate the accuracy of any statement in the editorial, articles, and advertising sections of this publication that are important to him/her and rely on his/her independent evaluation. For permission to use content in other media, contact copyright@sae. org. To purchase reprints, contact Copyright © 2013 by SAE International. The SAE International Vehicle Electrification title and logo are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and feature articles are indexed and included in the SAE Digital Library. For additional information, free demos are available at www. SAE Vehicle Electrification

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vehicle Electrification - June 26, 2013

Vehicle Electrification - June 26, 2013
Tech Report
Electrifying, fast, quiet—and usually dirty
Next-gen eAssist aims at cost reduction
Upcoming from the editors

Vehicle Electrification - June 26, 2013