AeroVironment, a Monrovia-based provider of unmanned drones and quick-charge systems for electric vehicles, has been selected by Volvo Cars to develop the company’s first custom global EV charging station.
Wall-mounted charger will charge EVs up to three times as fast
The wall-mounted charger will enable drivers to charge their vehicles up to three times faster than is possible with a standard cordset.
AV’s new charger will be aligned with the Volvo XC90 and a growing line of Volvo Cars’ plug-in hybrid vehicles.
“This is our first global deal we’ve been able to announce,” said Ken Karklin, vice president and general manager of efficient energy systems for AV. “We’ll be shipping chargers overseas to China and Europe. They’re all intended to be hardwired, which means they will need to be installed by a technician.”
The time line from concept to product launch is expected to take about two years. Karklin said additional account management employees will likely be hired to help handle the new contract.
Figures from Clean Technica show that U.S. electric car sales had another record month in December and also reached a record market share in the nation. But they still represent a tiny fraction of the industry’s overall sales.
Fully electric and plug-in hybrid electric car sales hit 19,133 in December and totaled 144,455 for 2016. That put the EV market share among all passenger cars at just 1.13 percent in December and at 0.82 percent for 2016 as a whole.
The Tesla Model S accounted for about 4,000 of December’s EV and hybrid sales, followed by the Chevy Bolt (3,691), Tesla Model X (1,900), Nissan Leaf (1,899) and the Toyota Prius PHEV (1,641). Clean Technica figures show that just 204 Volvo XC90 T8 PHEVs were sold in December, placing it 14th in the mix of overall EV sales.
Karklin said EV and hybrid prices have remained relatively high because of high battery costs and a low production volume of vehicles.
But that dynamic is shifting.
“The cost of the lithium EV battery packs has dropped by over 70 percent,” he said. “The real trigger for increased sales will happen when compact EV cars reach price parity with similar fuel combustion vehicles, and I think that will happen in about five years.”
Figures from Green Car Reports show that current EV prices aren’t exactly cheap.
The 2017 BMW i3, for example, is priced at $43,395, while the new Chevrolet Bolt EV goes for $37,495. The Fiatt 5005 runs $32,780 and the Ford Focus Electric is priced at $29,995.
A report published last year by Bloomberg New Energy Finance and noted by Wired figures that EV will soon cost less than their gas-hogging counterparts.
“By 2022,” the report says, “the unsubsidized total cost of ownership of BEVs (battery electric vehicles) will fall below that of an internal combustion engine vehicle.” The report projects an increasing rate of adoption that will result in global sales of 41 million— 25 percent of total market share — by 2040.
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