If Passed, EV Tax Credit Expansion Would Help Used EV Sales

With the current tax credits about to run out for some automakers, congress is starting the process of possibly expanding the program and lifting the 200k vehicle cap. Not only would this draft bill help sell new EVs, but the bill would also expand the program to help with used electric vehicles. For those unfamiliar, the current EV tax credit program allows a reduction of up to $7500 in federal taxes owed, but only for the buyers of the first 200,000 electric vehicles from a manufacturer. Once the 200,000 sales are reached, the credit phases out over several quarters until it goes to zero. The manufacturer is never given funds by the federal government under this program, and the credit is not refundable (ex. the Earned Income Credit), so people who don't owe taxes or owe less than $7500 benefit less from the program. With GM, Tesla, and Nissan approaching the end of the tax credit, many are wondering whether it's a...
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What Makes More, EV Batteries or Storage Projects?

What Makes More, EV Batteries or Storage Projects?

A recent article from CNBC shows us an important struggle Tesla is going through. When they don't have enough battery cells, Tesla prioritizes vehicles over stationary storage, mostly because the vehicle business is more profitable. When batteries become more widely available, like they're starting to, then they try to do both businesses more. Tesla's large energy storage project in Australia. Image from Google Earth. While the report is mostly about Tesla, it does give us a broad variety of insight into the general state of the different industries that are starting to use large volumes of battery cells. Getting into building EVs is a much bigger challenge than starting a local solar install business, and thus the competition in both spaces is very different. When buying a solar system, many customers are purchasing power by the kWh, and are more able to shop around looking for different installers. Because of all this, battery systems and rooftop solar can't be sold for as much....
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Geotab Just Gave Us All A Massive Treasure Trove of Battery Data

Geotab Just Gave Us All A Massive Treasure Trove of Battery Data

While EV batteries have generally proven to do better than the oil companies would like us all to believe, there's still a lot of room for improvement (we're looking at you Nissan!). On the other hand, the EV community has largely stumbled in the dark over battery life. Until now, at least! Geotab just released data based on the observed real-world degradation of over 6,000 electric vehicles. The good news: EV batteries are generally doing pretty good. Based on the data, Geotab tells us that the "vast majority" of electric vehicle batteries will outlast the rest of the vehicle. If this continues to hold (and it should), electric vehicles are poised to really prove themselves over the next few years. The bad news: not all EVs are created equally. Some are doing far better than others, even when driven the same, used the same, and living in the same climates. As many LEAF owners already know, the biggest thing that's making...
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CleanTechnica EV Survey Data

CleanTechnica EV Survey Data

If you haven't noticed already, a lot of articles in this blog are about data different organizations, businesses, and governments are collecting. That's no coincidence. When it comes to making a good product, or more importantly, a product that matters, you have to sift through a lot of data and adjust accordingly going forward. Any entity that doesn't consider the data will get outmaneuvered by competitors who do. Information about batteries, vehicles, and other technological things does very little without data about the drivers and buyers of vehicles, and that's exactly what we see from CleanTechnica again in their latest report. When it came to seeing what electrified vehicle owners want to buy next, Tesla was basically the most popular. With the best ranges and best charging networks, that should be no surprise. Also popular (more than half also liked these), were the Kia Niro EV, Hyundai Kona EV, Nissan LEAF, Chevy Bolt, and Renault Zoe. When it comes to how much range...
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What We Will Be Doing Q1 of 2020

What We Will Be Doing Q1 of 2020

I hope you're as excited as I am about our CEO, John Bysinger's, recent announcement. In case you missed it, here's the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=848&v=oZ0TvnxK_OA&feature=emb_title For those of you who need a quick summary of his announcement, or a quick recap: One thing John said in his announcement really stood out: "How many of you get in your car, you push that 'on' button, and the first thing you do is look at your battery health gauge, and you wonder, 'Is today the day I'm going to lose another bar?'" he asked. "It is our job to help take that worry away from you." "You get to enjoy your car, and we take care of the worry for you, in a way that's affordable." Everybody at Fenix knows that there are a lot of people counting on us to deliver on that promise. That's the center of what Fenix is all about. At the same time, we also know that some of you count on your LEAF...
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World’s Biggest Battery is Making Big Money

World’s Biggest Battery is Making Big Money

The Hornsdale Power Reserve in southern Australia. Image by Google. A recent piece at Seeking Alpha explains that Tesla's giant installation of grid-connected batteries is doing very well financially. For those unfamiliar, the Hornsdale Power Reserve in southern Australia is a big bank of lithium-ion batteries located next to a large windfarm. The idea is to charge the batteries when power is plentiful and release the power back into the grid when extra power is needed. This is done in two ways: by giving big boosts of power (for 10 minutes) when there's a problem with the grid, and by load-shifting power under normal circumstances to help make renewables more reliable. While the Seeking Alpha post goes into great detail, the important thing is this: the world's biggest battery is not only doing well, but it's doing well in ways that people didn't predict. The battery is providing the services they expected when it was built, but also doing things unexpected, like allowing...
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A 150 mile EV–50 Years Ago

A 150 mile EV–50 Years Ago

It's easy to get caught up in the hype and feel like we are at the pinnacle of technology today. In many ways, it's true, but in others, we aren't moving along as fast as we might think. People familiar with old AMC cars, like the Pacer and the Gremlin, will recognize this right away. This car didn't make it to production, but it definitely inspired the style of cars that followed in in the years later. Background While AMC didn't have the deep pockets of the "Big 3" automakers, several developments pushed them to produce this prototype. First, air quality was getting downright lousy in major American cities. Smog, smoke, and other contaminants were getting to the point where kids couldn't go outside on some days. This was especially true in cities like Los Angeles that were designed around the automobile. Congestion and gridlock on major routes only made it worse, as cars would sit and pollute while going nowhere. This all led...
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Nikola’s Battery Claims Draw Skepticism

Nikola’s Battery Claims Draw Skepticism

A recent article in Forbes shows us that there's a lot of promise in battery technology, but big promises draw big skepticism. Double the density, less than half the weight, and at half the cost--that's what Nikola Motors' CEO Trevor Wilson promised to show us in the second half of 2020. Such battery cells would revolutionize the industry, but only after giving Nikola Motors a big edge over the competition. Wilson's claims weren't backed with much other information, but he did tells Forbes that the improvements came from eliminating costly metals such as nickel, cobalt and magnesium, use of a “free-standing electrode” and a “whole different type of chemical, with a lithium component.”  Understandably, battery experts are going to be skeptical of such claims. One said, "...it's safe to dismiss this out of hand." while others said it was unlikely, but possible with sulfur-based chemistries. Many scientists and companies are working on improved battery cell technology, and it surprised them to...
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Lithium-Ion Batteries Are Hitting a Tipping Point

Lithium-Ion Batteries Are Hitting a Tipping Point

A recent article in Forbes shows us that lithium-ion batteries are about to hit a major milestone, and it's going to transform more than the EV industry. Over the last 9 years, prices for lithium-ion batteries have dropped considerably already. In 2019 dollars, we've already gone from over $1100 per kWh of storage to only $156 today. That alone is a major factor in the increasing affordability of electric vehicles. Further, it makes it easier and cheaper to keep existing EVs around, as it's cheaper to restore the battery packs with newer cells that are not only better, but cheaper than what came with the car originally. The major tipping point happens at around $100/kWh, and that's projected to happen around 2023. However, the author does point out that even the Forbes data is probably behind the times. The writer says that his sources already are seeing prices pretty close to $100 today. Why is $100 important? Mostly because it's the point...
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All EV Batteries Aren’t Equally Clean

All EV Batteries Aren’t Equally Clean

Image from Wikimedia Commons (public domain). An important thing we like to keep in mind at Fēnix is that all batteries aren't the same. While a battery cell's ability to hold energy, charge fast, and last a long time get most of the press, there are other factors we have to keep in mind. One of the most important is where the battery's components come from. A recent piece in Greentech Media illustrates this well. While many like to focus on the cobalt and lithium mining in battery production, one of the most common components in battery cells is graphite, like you'd find in the common #2 pencil we all grew up with in school. While graphite is a great substitute for toxic lead in pencils, it has much more important properties in batteries. Graphite is very conductive, and its layered composition allows it to work very well with lithium ion to store energy. Greentech points out: This is the crux of the emissions issue:...
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