Good news! ChargePoint has put together its annual list of EV Friendly regions and we’re happy to report that Detroit has made it to seventh place!It’s not entirely clear how ChargePoint makes that determination, but it’s great to see the Motor City recognized as an EV leader. It's no time to rest on our laurels, though. There’s still plenty of work to do to keep the EV market growing, and no reason we shouldn’t aspire to move up the list next year.
In other news, Ann Arbor startup Sakti3 has pulled in a 15 million dollar investment from Dyson to use their battery technology in cordless vacuums and other devices. That will be the first commercial application of Sakti3’s product, and a significant boost as it continues to develop battery technologies for EV use.
On the other side of the country, Miami saw a lot of EV action, hosting the Formula E’s first stop in the United States, and almost every journalist writing about it decided to point out that the all-electric road race was much quieter than your typical road race. In an ironic twist, that trademark EV quietness is actually turning into a bit of a pain for GM.
The company is recalling Volt models in order to install a software fix that will keep drivers from leaving the vehicle running, something that’s easy to do when there isn’t any engine noise. It becomes a carbon-monoxide risk when the gas engine kicks in to re-charge the battery, so the recall will install a program that “will limit the amount of time a vehicle can be left idling in the "on" or "run" position.”
As we move further into 2015, automakers continue to develop EV options, with news swirling about the 2016 Chevy Spark and a possible new Ford EV model.
Chevrolet will unveil the new Spark in early April at the New York Auto show and there are reports that Ford is making a car tocompete with Chevy’s 200-mile Bolt. However, the company’s PR team has thrown some cold water on that rumor with a statement that calls it “not accurate.” Whether that means it’s false, or just partly false, remains to be seen.
And perhaps we’ll see more EV’s purchased by the federal government, now that President Obama has issued an Executive Order to cut the fed’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2025. That’s a good step forward, and something we’d like to see our state and local governments commit to, as we’ve seen in cities like Indianapolis. Governor Snyder made brief mention of the need to support alternative fueled vehicles in his recent Energy Message laying out his vision for state energy policy. Perhaps we can help him make that a reality!
Until next time,
Climate & Energy Program Director
The Ecology Center