Thursday, January 29, 2009

Multi-nation survey reports consumers want electric cars. Now.

A large survey, 4000 people in eight countries, has discovered what many of us have been saying all along. There is an existing market for electric vehicles, especially among those who can afford the extra cost of limited-production new technology vehicles. The only problem? There are no cars for sale. A Business Week blog reports on the survey by the Munich based consultants Bain & Co.
“Consumers would be buying now if there were products,” says Gregor Matthies, a Munich-based partner at Bain who specializes in the auto industry.
For years BMW disparaged electric cars, and poured money into liquid hydrogen ICE vehicles and promoted them ad nauseum. I drove one of those, and although luxurious (it's a $100,000 7-series before the hydrogen,) it was lumbering and slower off the line than my RAV4 EV.

Yet it took BMW less than one year to make an electric car. A friend called me while behind the wheel of the MINI E last night and it is, not surprisingly, a hoot to drive. After the onslaught of advertising for the doomed Hydrogen 7, we've yet to see much in the way of promotion for the eminently buildable and marketable electric MINI. Is this limited, one year, lease-only release testing the waters? Or merely a way to meet ZEV mandate obligations?

Norway stimulates economy and electric cars with 5000 chargers

As a part of the new government economic stimulus plan, Norway will be getting a "forest" of charging stations for electric vehicles. The Scandinavian nation, which is home to Th!nk, today has about 2500 EVs on the road. The plan is to quickly install 5000 charge points, reports Richard, the founder of the website Electricaid. Electricaid was created late last year to explore ways to help save Th!nk. The site has quickly grown to hundreds of members worldwide.

An infrastructure development proposal such as this would be most welcome here in the US. The short-term stimulative effect of preparing America's cities, highways and byways with wiring, hiring electricians and other workers, would be significant. And it would leave the country ready to receive the cars that will help us achieve our greenhouse gas reduction goals.