Auto manufacturers are utilizing advancements in key electric transportation technologies to make new car models. At least 34 new plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) models are projected to be released over the next four years – with 14 models in 2016 alone.
“Because of science, technology has become better, faster, smaller and cheaper,” Alabama Power’s Electric Transportation Manager Cedric Daniels said at the Energy 2016 Symposium at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center Nov. 9. “These innovations have been an important catalyst to auto manufacturers producing more electric vehicle models.”
Daniels said almost every auto-maker is coming out with a PEV in the next four years, including Ford, Mercedes, Hyundai, Chevrolet and Honda.
And consumers have begun to take note.
“Through the third quarter of this year, roughly 111,505 electric vehicles have been sold in the United States,” Daniels said. “That is more than in all of 2015.”
Daniels noted that improved performance and power of new models will be a major factor in more consumers deciding to make the switch to a PEV over the next few years.
“These cars are going to perform well and have a lot of power,” Daniels said. “More and more people will see that electrification really adds to the performance of a car.”
Improvements in battery technology give cars the ability to go more miles on a single charge, reducing consumers’ range anxiety, Daniels said.
“Chevrolet is releasing the very affordable Bolt EV late this year that can go 200 miles on a single charge,” Daniels said. “And Tesla already has over 400,000 deposits for their Model 3 that can go about 215 miles on a charge. As the price of batteries goes down and the number of miles they can go goes up, I think this will be a cornerstone of the EV market.”
As for the current state of the market, about 26,085 electric vehicles were registered in Alabama in 2015 – including battery electric vehicles (BEV), hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) and PEV models.
“About 80 percent of commuters in Alabama travel less than 40 miles each day,” said Daniels. “That means that almost 80 percent of Alabama Power customers can drive for a dollar or less a day, making this a cost-saving option for most customers that we hope to see adopted in the future.”
Daniels said the majority of PEV owners charge their cars overnight in their own garage.
“About 78 percent of PEV owners charge at their house on a 110-volt outlet,” Daniels said.
A 110-volt outlet can give a full charge for the 40-mile commuters over a span of six to eight hours, making the overnight charging option convenient.
“Workplace charging is the second most used option, with 12 percent of owners charging while they work and 10 percent using public charging stations,” Daniels said.
Energy 2016 Symposium
- Daniels breakout session on electric transportation was one of a variety of energy topics covered at the Energy 2016 Symposium Nov. 7-10.
- About 400 energy professionals from around the country attended the annual event to network and receive training.
- Topics covered include energy efficiency, renewable energy, water efficiency, financing/contracting, energy storage and sustainability.