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15

Sep

Venetian and Palazzo EVSE Stations

Author: stanhanel
Comments: 0

The Las Vegas Sands Corporation has installed electric vehicle supply equipment on its properties in Las Vegas and has offered free electrons to electric vehicle drivers who visit their resorts.

The company first installed three Tesla Motors high-power charging stations within the valet parking garage of the Palazzo Las Vegas resort. These can recharge the Tesla Motors Roadster and the new 2012 Model S.

Tesla Motors high-power charging stations at the Palazzo Las Vegas resort valet parking garage.

Tesla Motors high-power electric vehicle supply equipment

During August 2012, the Venetian Las Vegas resort added two SAE J1772 Level 2 EVSE to its facility. The two GE Durastations are located on the sixth floor of the self-parking garage near the elevators. They can be used to recharge the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf, Fisker Karma, Mitusbishi i-MiEV, Toyota PHV, Toyota RAV4 Electric, Ford Focus EV, Ford C-Max Energi, Ford Fusion Energi, or any other eletric vehicle that uses this automotive industry standard connector set.

Sixth floor location of EVSE at Venetian resort near elevators

Plugging in at the Venetian Las Vegas

Visitors can browse the Grand Canal Shoppes while they are waiting for their electric car’s battery pack to recharge.

Posted by Stan Hanel, Outreach Coordinator, Nevada Electric Vehicle Accelerator

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12

Sep

MGM Resorts International Las Vegas EVSE Sites

Author: stanhanel
Comments: 0

Over 35 million people visit the Las Vegas region every year to partake in business conventions, entertainment, fine dining, gaming, and other tourist activities. Some of those visitors from nearby California and Arizona will be driving electric cars.

Several of the resorts in the Nevada gaming industry have been out in front to meet the needs of these clients as well as help build up local infrastructure by proving electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) at no cost to visitors on their properties.

Partnerships between the gaming industry, local government agencies, electric car dealerships, and energy provider NV Energy have resulted in good coverage of the Las Vegas Valley region with EVSE infrastructure, as seen on the Google locator map below. The main traffic corridors of Las Vegas Blvd. on “The Strip” and Main Street in the downtown area are populated with many public EVSE sites from the Shoppes at Mandalay Place to the North Las Vegas City Hall parking lot.

As part of this blog, the Nevada Electric Vehicle Accelerator would like to profile the different EVSE installed by its participating task force members

One EVSE provider from the business community is MGM Resorts International, who led the way to establish recharging sites on three of its properties in the summer of 2011. All of the electric vehicle supply equipment meets standard SAE J1772 Level 2 specifications. These locations include the Shoppes at Mandalay Place, Crystals in the CityCenter complex, and a corporate office on Frank Sinatra Blvd.

1. The Shoppes at Mandalay Place
Address: 3930 South Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89119

The valet parking garage for the Shoppes at Mandalay Place is located midway between the Mandalay Bay and Luxor resorts. There are two SAE J1772 Level 2 EVSE at this site as well as a 110 VAC outlet rated at 15 Amps, that can provide Level 1 recharging or be used for any non-standard electric vehicle port.

2. Crystals Boutique Shops at CityCenter
Address: 3720 South Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89119

3. MGM Mirage Design Group
Address: 4802 Frank Sinatra Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89158

Posted by Stan Hanel, Outreach Coordinator, Nevada Electric Vehicle Accelerator

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23

Aug

Fisker Automotive Turning the Corner?

Author: stanhanel
Comments: 0

During August 2012, Fisker Automotive made another management change to bring in an experienced leader to help with production problems that have slowed the ramp up of the plug-in Fisker Karma model.   The company has also been in the midst of  plans to introduce next-generation models like the mid-price Atlantic sedan, the crossover Surf, and a convertible Sunset sports car.  The company must bring these vehicles online while also starting up production within a new factory in Delaware to replace its current production line overseas in Finland.

“New isn’t easy”, said co-founder and original CEO Henrik Fisker during a recent video at a TEDx Conference, staged at Chapman University:  http://www.tedxchapmanu.com/talks/

The Karma has initially sold well by generating $100 million in revenues during the first four months of 2012 at a price tag of $103,000 to $120,000 each.   The Karma includes powerful performance from two rear-wheel drive electric motors that provide a whopping 981 lb.-ft of combined torque that can accelerate this sleek and heavier vehicle from 0 to 60 mph in just 7.9 seconds. The plug-in electric car can travel 40 miles in electric-only mode before a backup gasoline generator turns on automatically to continue generating electricity for the battery pack and electric motor.  Total range is 300 miles before one or both of the fuel sources need to be replenished.  A paddle shifter on the steering wheel allows the driver to toggle between “Sport” and “Eco” modes to choose between performance or optimum range.  The ride is low to the ground but with lots of viewing area and a nice long profile.  Extra large wheels give the Karma a powerful look as well as adding speed.

However, the Karma’s rollout had been hampered by problems with the lithium-ion battery pack from A123Systems, as well as a coolant hose clamp problem.  These issues required two recalls for modifications.  Ongoing software glitches with the car’s operating system have also required several new versions and upgrades to customer cars by local dealerships.   A recent fire involving a customer’s Fisker Karma also is undergoing investigation.  To top it off, the slow progress and failure to ramp up the follow-up Fisker Atlantic model, along with its proposed Delaware production facility, have frozen U.S. government loan money that was conditional upon meeting production and performance objectives.

To resolve these issues, Fisker’s financial backers have stepped up to fill the money gap and make personnel changes.  Ray Lane, managing partner at Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers has been the primary financier for early rounds of funding towards this “green” automotive venture.  He is continuing to raise $300 million from investors to finance another round that would continue the growth of Fisker Automotive and its Delaware facility.

Lane also hired Tony Posawatz, the former executive line manager for the GM Chevrolet Volt, to join the company in August as CEO, replacing Tom Lasorda.  Posawatz has first-hand experience with similar issues involving the Fisker Karma electric vehicle extended range (EVer) technology.  Posawatz enjoyed a thirty-year career at GM, working as a lead engineer on the early EV1 electric car.  He then shepherded the plug-in Chevy Volt from concept car through all stages of manufacturing, marketing and distribution while being promoted to product line executive manager for the Volt at GM.  The Chevy Volt also uses a gasoline generator to provide backup range to its electric motor propulsion range.  The extended range electric vehicle technology of the GM Chevy Volt has been named Voltec, instead of EVer.

The Volt also went through its share of glitches and bad publicity related to the macro-economic need for government intervention to save the company, earlier mismanagement of the GM EV1 electric car during the 1990s, and its status as a “political football” during the GOP presidential primary season, blamed in part on a fire at the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) warehouse two weeks after crash testing.  After an early recall to reinforce the vehicle’s battery pack compartment, GM and the Chevrolet Volt have since put up respectable sales numbers during 2012.  The plug-in Chevy Volt still has a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA after the recall modification was completed.

Silicon Valley startup Tesla Motors has also struggled with similar problems while rolling out its two-seat electric Roadster and next generation all-electric Model S.  Co-founder and CEO Elon Musk used much of his own money along with the funds of fellow investors while painfully battling supply and design problems that occurred with the early Roadster.  Like the Fisker Karma, much of the vehicle was originally built on a Lotus factory production line in Europe and then shipped to a U.S. service facility in California for final integration of the electric drive train.  The rollout of the next-generation Model S along with its  factory in Fremont, California have also been met with delays and financial setbacks in meeting the deadlines and requirements for a U.S. government loan.  Reminders of one previous government loan failure is just down the road on Highway 880 where an empty Solyndra factory building is still awaiting a new occupant.

However, the recent release of the Model S in June 2012 has been met with good performance reviews from automotive writers, as did the Chevy Volt when it was first released and voted Motor Trend Car of the Year during 2010.

Ray Lane and Tony Posawatz are determined to see that the sexy designs of the Fisker Karma, the mid-price Atlantic with its second generation drive train, the crossover Surf and a convertible Sunset sports car all continue to achieve good performance and glowing reviews while Fisker Automotive strives to compete in the worldwide auto industry.

The design of the Karma and its follow-up models are stunning.  Co-founder Henrik Fisker is a wonderful artist,  dedicated to bringing back style and “Eco-chic” to the automotive industry.

Let’s hope that Tony Posawatz’s hands-on experience, combined with Ray Lane’s financial wizardry, and the rest of the Fisker team can shake off the company’s recent glitches while continuing to meet new challenges and turn this difficult corner.

For more information about Fisker Automotive, the Karma and its new upcoming models, visit the company’s website at:  www.fiskerautomotive.com

To test drive a Fisker Karma in southern Nevada, contact Paul Jarrett at the Gaudin Fisker dealership:

7200 W. Sahara Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89117   Tel:  (702) 284-7000    Email:: pjarrett@jplv.net

Posted by Stan Hanel, Outreach Coordinator, Nevada Electric Vehicle Accelerator

 

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08

Aug

National Clean Energy Summit 5.0

Author: stanhanel
Comments: 0

On August 7th, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) teamed with John Podesta from the Center for American Progress to host National Clean Energy Summit 5.0, the fifth annual gathering of leaders from government, business, academia, and non-profit organizations to focus on new ways to develop renewable energy within the U.S. as well as the state of Nevada.  The event was staged at the Bellagio Resort.  Speakers included former President Bill Clinton, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley, Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Jon Wellinghoff, MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren, Tesla Motors Chairman and CEO Elon Musk, FedEx Chairman Frederick Smith, American Filmmaker Chris Paine, and UNLV President Neil Smatresk.

The event also included an interesting exhibit hall with three plug-in electric vehicles on display: a plug-in Toyota Prius PHV with a Leviton SAE Level 2 EVSE station, a Tesla Motors Model S, and a Volkswagen e-Golf.

Toyota Prius PHV

Plug-in Toyota Prius PHV with Leviton EVSE

Tesla Motors Model S

Tesla Motors Model S

Tesla Motors has developed its own proprietary electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE)  that allow the car to be charged from AC or DC electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) power sources.

Tesla Model S EVSE charging port

Because the Tesla Motors Model S can use an 85 kilowatt-hour battery pack for a 300-mile range, it would take many times longer to recharge that vehicle compared to the 24 kilowatt-hour battery pack of a Nissan Leaf.  Tesla Motors engineers decided to create their own high power recharging technology.  However, their EVSE cable also uses several adaptors to accommodate automotive industry standard SAE J1772 Level 1 and Level 2 EVSE equipment that can be used in addition to the company’s proprietary charging equipment.

Tesla Motors EVSE and adaptors

On the input side of the cable assembly, NEMA standard plugs for both 120 VAC and 240 VAC are available.   The NEMA 14-50 adaptor is suitable for most KOA campgrounds that have 240 VAC/50 Amp EVSE at campground sites that are also used by recreational vehicles.

If a Tesla Model S owner would like to recharge the car’s batteries off the more ubiquitous SAE J1772 Level 2 EVSE in the public domain as well assome  private residential dwellings,  there is also an adapter that meets the standard SAE J1772-2009 specifications for AC Level 1 and Level 2 power ranges, including extra data pins for the “pilot” and “proximity” signals required.

Tesla Motors EVSE adaptor for SAE AC Level 1 and Level 2 connectors

Tesla Motors EVSE adaptor for SAE AC Level 1 and Level 2 (back end)

The back end of the adaptor plugs into the existing Tesla Motors Model S recharging port shown above.  The front end of the adaptor provides a female socket that can now mate with the standard SAE J1772 male plug that is available from the SAE J1772 EVSE.

Tesla Motors is planning to release specifications for its “Supercharger” technology in the near future that can recharge an 85 kilowatt-hour battery pack for the Model S in just 45 minutes.

Volkswagen e-Golf

Volkswagen e-Golf all-electric car with range of 93 miles.

Volkswagen was also displaying its first entry into the plug-in electric car market with a battery-powered Golf that is scheduled for production during the 2014 model year.  40 test cars have been built and are being evalutated by Volkswagen employees as their daily drivers.

Volkswagen e-Golf electric car with GE Wattstation EVSE

The Volkswagen e-Golf has a range of about 93 miles before its 26.5 kilowatt-hour battery pack needs to be recharged.  It will compete against the Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus EV, GM Spark, Fiat 500 EV, KIA Ray, and CODA sedan within the battery-powered EV market by 2014.

 

Posted by Stan Hanel, Outreach Coordinator, Nevada Electric Vehicle Accelerator

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08

Aug

Bob Lutz, the Chevy Volt and VIA Motors VTRUX

Author: stanhanel
Comments: 0

 

Bob Lutz was profiled in the documentary, “Revenge of the Electric Car”, as Mr. Detroit.  The storied automotive career of this former Marine pilot includes high-level achievements and executive positions at all the major U.S. manufacturers.  During the 1960s and early 1970s, he worked for GM Europe before switching to BMW where he worked on the 3-series model cars.  After three years, he joined Ford Motor Company as a vice-president, where he initiated development of the Ford Explorer.  As President of Chrysler in 1988, he worked with his automotive designers to develop the Dodge Viper, an updated version of the Shelby Cobra.  While at Chrysler, he also became President and Chief of Operations, managing all the company’s car and truck sales  and manufacturing facilities worldwide.

From 1998 to 2002, he served as CEO of Exide Technologies, the world’s largest manufacturer of lead-acid batteries.  This interesting YouTube video showcases his insight into how automation can be used to bring down the cost of battery production at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=yKqE55GJVYE

During 2001, he was tapped by GM CEO Rick Wagoner to help the struggling company by assuming a position as Vice Chairman of Global Product Development.  His responsibilites were to revamp the design of GM vehicles to become more competitive in the consumer marketplace.  He attempted to do this by giving back more decision-making power to the design engineers in the company, rather than the manufacturing and process engineers, who were more concerned about number of units than styling or design.  The changes in this production strategy were realized during the unveiling of 2010 models of the Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Equinox, Cadillac SRX, and the Chevy Volt.

Although a skeptic about climate change and global warming, Lutz was quoted in 2008 as saying that “the electrification of the automotive industry is inevitable”.  He saw production of the Chevy Volt as a means to bring back the technology innovations of the GM EV1 to compete with the success of Toyota’s hybrid Prius models that were based on that company’s Synergy parallel gasoline-electric power train.  By bringing back plug-in battery recharging technology, the Volt’s extended range electric vehicle power train can drive the wheels of the car through its electric motor almost all the time.  The onboard gasoline engine is used primarily as a generator to make electricity once the 16 kilowatt-hour battery pack becomes discharged after traveling about 40 miles.  The generator continues to supply the battery pack for another 240 miles.  This feature was intended to solve some of the range anxiety that new car buyers felt about electric vehicle platforms like the earlier EV1.

After helping guide GM through bankruptcy protection and reorganization, Lutz retired from the company in 2009.

VIA Motors

Bob Lutz is now working with a start-up company called VIA Motors that is scaling up the Chevy Volt extended range electric vehicle (E-REV) technology to drive larger pickup trucks and vans.  The VTRUX models use a larger 24 kilowatt-hour battery pack as well as larger drive train components:  http://www.viamotors.com/powertrain/

VTRUX Battery Pack Also Functions as Auxiliary Power Source

VIA Motors VTRUX SAE J1772 AC recharging port and AC outlets for operating power tools and appliances off battery pack and inverter at remote locations where there is no electricity.

A side panel port at the rear passenger side of  the truck or van has a standard SAE J1772 port to recharge its battery pack but it also includes two standard NEMA AC electrical outlets that can be used to operate power tools at remote construction sites where there are no available sources of electricity.  These outlets can also provide backup power for home appliances or for other instruments used by emergency rescue vehicles.

A video from a visit by Bob Lutz with the VIA Motors VTRUX  to “Jay  Leno’s Garage” is available from YouTube at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5STy6HRZEQ

More information about VIA Motors can be found at the company’s website at:  www.viamotors.com

 

Posted by Stan Hanel, Outreach Coordinator, Nevada Electric Vehicle Accelerator

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31

Jul

Upcoming NEVA EVents

Author: NVAadmin
Comments: 1

NEVA will be helping stage or participate in several public events related to electric vehicles and infrastructure over the next few months.  Here is a look at the calendar for August and September.

AUGUST

August 6th — REVENGE OF THE ELECTRIC CAR documentary screening at University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Science and Technology Building Auditorium.  An electric car display is planned from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM.  Screening of the documentary will commence at 7:30 PM, followed by a question and answer session with documentary director Chris Paine.

August 7th — National Clean Energy Summit 5.0  This is the fifth consecutive year that Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) has teamed with John Podesta from the Center for American Progress to stage a national summit to discuss renewable energy, business development and public policy.  This year’s gathering of speakers at the Bellagio Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip includes former President Bill Clinton, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley, Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Jon Wellinghoff, Tesla Motors Chairman and CEO Elon Musk, FedEx CEO Frederick Smith, MGM Mirage International CEO Jim Murren, and UNLV President Neil Smatresk.

August 15th — Statewide NEVA webinar conference from 8 AM to 9 AM.  This bi-monthly web conference allows all NEVA participants an opportunity to gather together on one conference call and find out the latest electric vehicle and electric vehicle supply equipment infrastructure news within the state of Nevada.  At least one guest speaker is usually invited to present to this group.  This month it will be Ford Motor Company representatives with the latest information about their EV product lines.

 

SEPTEMBER

September 23rd — National Plug-in Day is a joint effort by the Sierra Club, Electric Auto Association and Plug-in America to stage a nationwide event in fifty cities that will introduce new drivers to electric cars.  The state of Nevada will host two of these gatherings, one in Las Vegas and one in Reno.  Visitors to each event will be encouraged to ride in or drive some of the newest electric cars available from local dealerships as well as learn about plug-in electric vehicle supply equipment and EV infrastructure development within the state.

For more information, visit the event website at:  http://www.pluginday.org

 

Posted by Stan Hanel, Outreach Coordinator, Nevada Electric Vehicle Accelerator

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27

Jul

Welcome to NEVA and “Revenge of the Electric Car”

Author: stanhanel
Comments: 0

Welcome to the new website and blog page of the Nevada Electric Vehicle Acccelerator, a non-profit task force founded in February 2011 to promote the use of electric vehicles and infrastructure within the state of Nevada.

“Revenge of the Electric Car” director Chris Paine talks with NEVA members Travis Johnson and Stan Hanel

On August 6th, NEVA participated in an electric car rally on the campus of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, to help support a local screening of the documentary Revenge of the Electric Car.

Director Chris Paine attended the event to answer questions and meet the local electric vehicle community.  On the following day, Paine spoke during the National Clean Energy Summit 5.0 at the Bellagio Hotel along with Elon Musk, CEO and Chairman of Tesla Motors, who was also featured in the documentary.

The “Revenge of the Electric Car” profiled four men, including Elon Musk as he attempted to make Tesla Motors into a credible automotive manufacturer by producing over 2,000 electric Roadster sports cars that were capable of both performance and range.  The battery pack in the Roadster allowed the two-seat sports car to travel a distance of 240 miles before it needed to be recharged.  The electric motor power train was also capable of quick acceleration from 0 to 60 miles per hour in under five seconds.

Musk and his team not only succeeded in bringing the Roadster to market, but by this year have also begun producing a follow-up Model S.  This new electric car has been designed to be one of the best performing automobiles in the world, at a lower cost than the Roadster and with a longer range of 300 miles.

The aluminum Model S rolling chassis is one of the main ingredients to a cost-effective design platform that is also easy to assemble by robots at the Tesla Motors factory in Fremont, California.

The electric motor, gearbox and electronics controller/inverter are all neatly integrated between the rear two wheels of the Model S, allowing plenty of room for storage and passenger space inside the body of the vehicle.

The relative simplicity of the vehicle design makes it easier to produce more of the its parts within the Tesla Motors factory in Fremont, California. Like Henry Ford before him, Musk and Tesla Motors have taken a hard look at factory automation and decided to employ even more advanced robotics technology on the factory floor.

Production targets are to make 5,000 units of the Model S by the end of 2012 and 20,000 vehicles each year after. The company needs to produce and sell 8,000 vehicles to break even on its first production rollout.

In 2014, Tesla Motors plans to produce the Model X crossover SUV, based on the same rolling chassis as the Model S. Elon Musk presented this new vehicle and his vision for the company during a February 2012 unveiling.

The Model X will add “falcon wing” vertical doors to the rear of the vehicle while also adding a second electric motor between the front wheels to give the Model X all-wheel drive. Model X acceleration in this crossover SUV is 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds, faster than most sports cars.

During National Clean Energy Summit 5.0 at the Bellagio Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, American filmaker Chris Paine introduced Elon Musk to the audience.  An archived video of Musk’s 15-minute presentation can be found at: http://new.livestream.com/accounts/1206539/events/1034074/videos/2562327

During his speech, he talked about the importance of the next six months to Tesla Motors in ramping up its production and becoming a profitable company with a strong gross margin on Model S sales.  If Tesla Motors can make money selling and producing both the Model S and Model X at 20,000 units a year each, this should lead the way to the company being able to realize its third generation of electric vehicles, priced at about $30,000 and produced in volumes of about 200,000 per year.  Successful achievements of these goals would grow production by another factor of 10 in about five years.

During November 2012, Tesla Motors received a unanimous vote of approval by Motor Trend editors, who awarded the Model S as “Car of the Year” for 2013:

For more information about Tesla Motors, visit the company’s website at:  www.teslamotors.com

Posted by Stan Hanel, Outreach Coordinator, Nevada Electric Vehicle Accelerator

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