EV sales are up… a lot ~!

This is a good time to be in the business of selling electric vehicles.

Once moribund, sales of electric cars have more than doubled in the U.S.
during the first six months of 2013 compared to the same time period in
2012. Americans have purchased 41,447 of plug-in electric vehicles since
January. Thirty-six percent of all the electric cars on the road today have been
bought in the previous six months.

The sales figures mark a bold turnaround. It was only February when
President Obama backtracked from a stated goal of putting more than 1 million
electric cars on the road by 2015. While the recent sales surge won’t revive
those early hopes — EV sales still represent only 1.23 percent of the total
market — they are a firm sign of encouragement.

“It highlights the fact you can’t look at one month or two months of
data,” said Patrick Davis, director of the vehicle technology office at the
Department of Energy.

“It’s the nature of the vehicle market for growth to initially seem slow,”
he said. “As a matter of fact, through the years, when you look at the
introduction of new technologies, whether it’s front-wheel drive or airbags or
whatever, it happens slow at first and then sort of takes off. Growth
happens very quickly.”

In some areas of the country, the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle is selling
so well that dealerships are running out of inventory.

The automaker reported sales of 2,225 Leafs in June, more than quadruple
the 535 sold in the same month one year ago. Through the first half of 2013,
sales of the Leaf have jumped 214.6 percent.

The once-beleaguered Chevy Volt is selling even better. General Motors
sold 2,698 Volts in June, an increase of 59.2 percent compared to the same
month on year prior.

The growth is being driven by changes in both the automotive and consumer
camps. Manufacturers have rolled out four new models of plug-in electric
vehicles since last year, upping the total available to 13 models. Consumers
are gaining a better understanding -– and appreciation -– of the way
electric cars perform. And prices are declining. Nissan, for example, trimmed
the Leaf’s price by $6,000 earlier this year. Davis said the costs of the
battery technology that powers these cars has declined by 50 percent over the
past four years and expects a further drop.

While there have been well-documented concerns about the slow growth in
electric vehicle sales, EVs have actually been adopted by consumers faster
than hybrid cars were a decade ago.

In the first 30 months after the Toyota Prius debuted in 1999, cumulative
hybrid sales were approximately 50,000 units, according to an analysis done
by Argonne National Lab. In the first 30 months since plug-in electrics
were released in December 2010, cumulative sales have been approximately
112,724.

Stubbornly high gas prices have also contributed to the increase. Although
many oil industry experts predicted lower prices at the pump this summer,
the national average remains $3.67 per gallon Monday, according to AAA’s
daily fuel gauge report.

Earlier this year, the DOE unveiled the eGallon, a tool consumers can use
to compare the cost of fueling a vehicle with electricity to the cost of
fueling one with conventional gasoline. Rates vary by region because of the
different prices utility companies charge, but the national average price
for an e-gallon is $1.18.

“Consumers have a visceral connection to the price of gasoline,” Davis
said. “They are very sensitive and highly aware of it. Yet there was no
similar metric that could help them appreciate the difference with an electric
vehicle, and the eGallon does help consumers who are interested, because in
the decision process they have that comparative tool.”

Pete Bigelow is an associate editor at AOL Autos. He can be reached via
email at peter.bigelow@teamaol.com and followed on Twitter @PeterCBigelow.

Wind is spanking Nuclear’s @$$

That’s the assessment of executives and utility experts after the U.S. wind-energy industry went on a $25 billion growth binge in 2012, racing to qualify for a federal tax credit that was set to expire at year’s end.
The surge added a record 13,124 megawatts of wind turbines to the nation’s power grid, up 28 percent from 2011. The new wind farms increased financial pressure on traditional generators such as Dominion Resources (D) Inc. and Exelon Corp. in their operating regions. That’s because wind energy undercut power prices already driven to 10-year-lows by an abundance of natural gas.
“Right now, natural gas and wind power are more economic than nuclear power in the Midwestern electricity market,” Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center, a Chicago-based advocate of cleaner energy, said.
Wind-generated electricity supplied about 3.4 percent of U.S. demand in 2012 and the share is projected to jump to 4.2 percent in 2014, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The wind power boom has benefited consumers in regions where wind development is fastest, contributing to a 40 percent wholesale power-price plunge since 2008 in the Midwest, for example.
Google Inc. (GOOG) is investing $1 billion in wind and solar projects and Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings, Iowa’s largest utility owner, owns 6 percent of U.S. wind-energy capacity and has invested about $13 billion in renewable energy.
Tenfold Rise
U.S. wind installations have risen 10-fold since 2003 to 60,007 megawatts, attracting $120 billion investment that has produced new capacity equivalent to 14 nuclear power plants and enough to power 14.7 million homes, the AWEA, the industry group based in Washington, D.C., said in a Jan. 30 report.
Negative prices are starting to seep into a Southern California power hub and may become more frequent as state regulations mandate that 33 percent of its power come from renewable sources by 2020, Blaha said. “That extra amount is going to knock out about 15 percent” of energy filled by fossil fuels.

Solar and Wind use UP, Coal Down ! Hooray.

Energy flow charts that track the nation’s consumption of energy resources, released annually by the Laurence Livermore National Laboratory in California, show Americans used more natural gas, solar panels and wind turbines and less coal to generate electricity in 2012.
The rise in renewables is tied to both prices, with the cost of solar panels and wind turbines going down, and policy, including government incentives to installers of equipment or renewable energy targets in various states
Wind power saw the largest increase in 2012, with new wind farms coming online equipped with bigger, more-efficient turbines developed in response to government-sponsored incentives to invest in renewable energy, he said.
The majority of energy use in 2012 was for electricity generation, followed by transportation, industrial and residential consumption, the lab said.

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2013/07/18/Figures-show-Americans-turning-to-renewables-for-energy-needs/UPI-89311374187996/#ixzz2ZWTstj00