Weekly Electromobility News

Toyota Recalls All of Its Mirai Fuel Cell Sedans; smart Will Only Sell Electric Cars in North America; Buemi Won Formula E Race in Buenos Aires and Got a Hat-trick in Titles

 

Toyota Recalls All of Its Mirai Fuel Cell Sedans

According to Reuters, Toyota announced on Wednesday that all of its Mirai were being recalled for fuel cell output voltage problems. Under “unique driving conditions”, the voltage from the boost converter can possibly go above maximum voltage. During the recall, the software will be updated free of charge and the process will be around half an hour.

There are roughly 2,840 Mirai FCVs on the road worldwide, from the start of sales late last year.

smart Will Only Sell Electric Cars in North America

According to Green Car Reports, Mercedes-Benz USA in a letter to its dealers announced that the smart brand would only sell electric models in the US and Canada starting from the 2018 model year.

Currently, 2016 smart Fortwo Electric Coupe sells for $19,990 before government incentives, which is the first electric car below $20,000 in the US. The convertible Electric Cabriolet has a MSRP of $22,990.

Last year, Daimler announced that all of 2017 smart models would have the all-electric option, including fortwo, fortwo Cabrio and forfour.

Buemi Won Formula E Race in Buenos Aires and Got a Hat-trick in Titles

According to Formula E, Formula E’s 3rd race of the season took place in Buenos Aires on Feb. 18. Renault e.dams driver Sebastien Buemi finished with the first place again, making a hat-trick winning streak on all 3 races so far. Now Buemi became the first drive in Formula E history to obtain three race titles in a row. TECHEETAH’s Jean-Eric Vergne and ABT Audi’s Lucas di Grassi are the 2nd and 3rd places respectively.

The Buenos Aires ePrix also made history with two self-driving “DevBot” electric race cars running in a “Roborace”. Formula E hopes that it will grow into a 10-car race and each team makes its own software.

Weekly Electromobility News

California Resumes EV Rebates and Green HOV Decal Issuance; smart Goes Electric for all of its 2017 Models; China New Energy Car Market Growth Stays Strong

 

California Resumes EV Rebates and Green HOV Decal Issuance

According to Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, $133 million was approved by the state on Sept 14, to continue funding the rebate project. The fund will be used to cover applications on the waiting list since June 11 as well as new applications in FY2016-17. The qualified applications are expected to start receiving rebate checks in December.

Moreover, according to California DMV, the state removed the 85,000 limit on Green HOV Decals on Sept 13. The green decals allow plug-in hybrids to use carpool lane during rush hours. The applicants on the waiting list since December 2015 and new applicants will receive the decal. The application fee was raised to $22 from the previous $8. The green decals expire on Jan 1, 2019.

smart Goes Electric for all of its 2017 Models

According to TechCrunch, Daimler’s smart will make all-electric an option to all of its 2017 lineup, including fortwo, fortwo Cabrio and forfour.

These electric cars can run 99 miles (EP rating) on a single charge. fortwo Electric Drive will arrive in spring 2017 and the fortwo Cabrio will be available later in the summer. smart will introduce its EVs at Paris Motor Show in October.

Current, 2016 smart fortwo Electric Coupe is available. MSRP starts at $19,990 before incentives. Leasing is as low as $139/month.

China New Energy Car Market Growth Stays Strong

According to Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China (MIIT) , the new energy car August sales in China are 38 thousand units, an increase of 92.2% from last year. Specifically, all-electric car sales are 28 thousand units (106.4% increase) and plug-in hybrid sales are 10 thousand units (61.0% increase).

Up to August this year, total new energy car sales in China are 245 thousand units, an increase of 115.6% from last year.

In addition, from January to August, the total car sales in China are 16.7 million units.

2016 smart Fortwo Electric Coupe Priced Below $20,000 Before Incentives

The MSRP of 2016 smart Fortwo Electric Coupe from Daimler starts at $19,990.  It should be the first electric car in the US selling for less than $20,000. The actual cost can be only around $10,000 after government incentives – There is $7,500 federal tax credit as well as rebate from state government available (e.g., California offers $2,500 rebate for buying an all-electric car). Besides, the buyers can enjoy low driving cost and may have carpool lane access and/or tolls exemption.

(smart Fortwo Electric Coupe. Credit: Daimler)

(smart Fortwo Electric Coupe. Credit: Daimler)

(smart Fortwo Electric Coupe. Credit: Daimler)
(smart Fortwo Electric Coupe. Credit: Daimler)

The all-electric car can run for 76 miles (city), 59 miles (highway) and 68 miles (combined) on a single charge. The MPGe is rated at 122 (city), 93 (highway) and 107 (combined), which is lowered than EVs like BMW i3, Chevy Spark EV, Fiat 500e and Nissan Leaf, but higher than Ford Focus Electric and Tesla Model S. The battery pack is 17.6 kWh. 0-60 MPH acceleration takes 11.5 seconds. Top speed is 78 mph.

There also is a convertible version Electric Cabriolet as well. The MSPR is $3,000 higher at $22,990, than the Electric Coupe.

(smart Fortwo Electric Cabriolet. Credit: Daimler)
(smart Fortwo Electric Cabriolet. Credit: Daimler)

Right now, smart Fortwo electric cars are available in California, but not yet in places like Rhode Island and Georgia where state governments also offer incentives.

In 2015, 1,387 units of smart Fortwo electric cars were sold in the US, ranked at 14th place among different all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars. The leaders include Tesla Model S (25,700 units), Nissan LEAF (17,269 units) and Chevy Volt (15,393 units). The price for the 2015 model was over $25,000 before incentives though. Therefore, there is reason to believe the 2016 sales should see big increase.

Apparently, Daimler is confident with the future of its electric cars. The company is spending $543 million on its second battery pack factory. It is right next to Deutsche ACCUmotive – Daimler’s first battery pack factory. This new plant will be up and running in mid 2017 and is expected to triple battery production area. Battery packs produced will be supplied to Daimler’s smart and Mercedes-Benz brands.

Mercedes-Benz has two electric cars on sale in the US right now – the all-electric B250e and the plug-in hybrid S550e. The brand plans to roll out 4 all-electric models around 2018. (Please see our previous post on Summary on Electric Vehicles at 2016 Detroit Auto Show).

Besides smart Fortwo Electric Coupe, there are other electric cars with attractive price as well. Mitsubishi i-MiEV Electric has a MSRP of $22,995 before incentives. Chevy Spark Electric’s MSRP is $25,995.