RENEW Wisconsin Electric Vehicle Blog: 2019 Preview: More than a Dozen Electric Cars Coming Soon

RENEW Wisconsin Electric Vehicle Blog: 2019 Preview: More than a Dozen Electric Cars Coming Soon

Back in October I wrote a blog, Momentum is Building, about the hundreds of new electric cars that will hit the market in the next few years. Then, in the last blog I talked about how the market for electric cars in the US is exploding, up 80% from 2017. The result? Lots of electric cars coming to market in 2019.

Now, we have a preview of cars that will arrive in 2019. I read almost a dozen articles that previewed the 2019 electric car market. Here is my summary, thanks in large part to Green Car Reports.

2019 Electric Car Preview

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric
When: Any day
Range: 258 miles
Price: $37,495
What’s cool: Finalist in Green Car Reports’ Best Car to Buy competition for 2019.

2019 Kia Niro EV
When: Expected in February
Range: 239 miles
Price: $38,000
What’s cool: Completes the line-up of ecofriendly Niro models by joining the hybrid and PHEV models.

2019 Nissan Leaf Plus
When: Spring 2019
Range: 226 miles
Price: ~$30,000
What’s cool: Improved acceleration and faster charging means this isn’t your typical Leaf

2019 Audi e-tron quattro
When: Second quarter 2019
Range: 248 miles
Price: $75,795
What’s cool: Another electric SUV!

2020 Porsche Taycan
When: Late 2019
Range: 300 miles
Price: $90,000
What’s cool: Can receive 240 miles of charge in only 10 minutes

Additionally, the 2019 Volkswagen ID will arrive in late 2019, but it’s only slated to appear in Europe.

Ford will also have a 2020 electric SUV, which is rumored to have a 300-mile range. More details could be announced in 2019, though the vehicle is not likely to be available for purchase before 2020.

Other models that may be out by the end of the year include: The 2020 Kia Soul EV, 2020 BMW iX3, 2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC, 2020 Polestar 2 and 2020 Mini Cooper Electric. Details are scant so far, but I’ll keep you updated if I hear more about pricing, range, or if/when they’ll be available in the US.

My Analysis: We’re moving in the right direction 

Folks who have been waiting for an electric SUV or another option for an electric car should be extremely excited by these new options! The Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3 now have real competition from several vehicles with comparable range and prices, like the Kona, Niro, and Leaf Plus.

My concern is the lack of lower priced options. However, if the Leaf Plus does end up coming in near $30,000, then prices are moving in the right direction. Still, that’s a fairly expensive car. Electric vehicles need to be accessible to the average car buyer in order to reach market penetration. We aren’t quite there yet, but I’m hopeful we will be soon.

As first and second-generation electric car drivers swap their ride for one of these new options, it will put more used electric vehicles into the market.  These cars will have a lower upfront price, making them more accessible for the average car buyer. More on this topic in a future blog post.

Until then, head to your local dealer and test drive some electric vehicles. Let me know how it goes!

RENEW Wisconsin Electric Vehicle Blog: Record Breaking 2018

RENEW Wisconsin Electric Vehicle Blog: Record Breaking 2018

2018 was a year of tremendous growth in the electric vehicle market. We saw new electric cars released (and one of our favorites get cancelled), two manufacturers hit the 200,000-vehicle tax credit cap, and across the county we hit record sales numbers. A few highlights include:

It’s safe to say the electric vehicle market is officially on the rise. We ended the year with 361,307 electric cars sold across the country, making up 6% of all passenger car sales!

2 Manufacturers Hit Tax Credit Cap

Tesla and GM have both sold over 200,000 electric vehicles. A great start down the adoption curve for electric cars, but also a signal that customers won’t receive their full tax credit on these cars any more.

After a manufacturer has sold 200,000 electric vehicles, the consumer tax incentive is reduced for that manufacturer’s vehicles. The full tax credit, $7500, remains for the rest of the quarter in which they hit the cap, plus the next quarter. After that, the tax credit is halved for 6 months, then halved again for the next 6 months, before expiring entirely.

Tesla hit the 200,000-vehicle cap in July, 2018 so their tax credit went from the full $7,500 to $3750 on January 1. From July 1 to the end of the year it’s halved again, to $1,875. Tesla buyers won’t see any tax credit in 2020.

GM hit the 200,000 mark in December, 2019 due to their all-electric Chevy Bolt and popular, although discontinued, plug-in hybrid, the Chevy Volt. GM vehicles can receive the full credit until March 31st. From April 1 to September 30 buyers will get the halved credit of $3750, and then $1875 until March 31st 2020.

Tesla made for a record-setting December

In December, 49,900 electric vehicles were sold – 10% of passenger car sales that month! 50% of those sales were thanks to the Tesla Model 3. Tesla pushed hard for customers to order their car before the end of the year because of the tax credit deadline. They went so far as to keep stores open until midnight on New Year’s Eve to get as many customers into inventoried vehicles as possible.

What it means for 2019

2019 is an excellent year to go electric, especially if you have your eye on a Tesla or GM model and want to capitalize on the tax credits. Manufacturers have been pushing to extend the tax credits, though with limited success. Their reason being that it’s unfair to penalize the manufacturers that are first to market by reducing the consumer incentive to purchase their vehicles. And I agree – why punish the innovators?  I’m expecting to see more activity around the subject in 2019.

There are also a number of new electric vehicles coming to market. Hopefully we’ll see more SUV and truck options hit the streets in the next few months. From Kia and Hyundai, to BMW and newcomers like Rivian and Faraday Future, it’s shaping up to be an exciting year for electric car debuts.

In the next blog, I’ll do roundup of new models that will be available in 2019.

We Energies Pilot Programs

We Energies Pilot Programs

Just before the holidays, We Energies received approval from the Public Service Commission to begin two new renewable energy pilot programs.

The first is called the Dedicated Renewable Energy Resource program and would allow commercial, industrial, and local government customers to access large-scale renewable energy projects.  The projects would allow larger customers to meet their sustainability and renewable energy goals, while potentially saving money, and We Energies could supply up to 150 megawatts of existing customer load with renewable energy through this program.  The program would also allow an unlimited amount of new load to be served with renewable energy through this program.

The second program, called Solar Now, would enable We Energies to lease roof or ground space from customers.  We Energies would own the solar projects, and pay lease payments to the host customers.  The program could build up to 35 megawatts of solar.  RENEW Members had various opinions about this program, which were reflected in our comments filed with the PSC.

We will keep you apprised as these programs roll out.

Big year for renewables ahead!

Big year for renewables ahead!

Home-grown renewable electricity is poised for a big breakout this year.  Two solar projects large enough to replace fossil-fuel power plants are making headway, while utilities in Wisconsin have made stronger renewable energy commitments.  At the same time an accelerating number of nonprofit organizations, businesses, and citizens are turning to renewable energy for their own use.

Hearings are set this month for the Badger Hollow Solar Farm in Iowa County and the Two Creeks solar project in Manitowoc and Kewaunee Counties.  The Public Service Commission will likely decide whether to approve of the two projects in mid-March.  The utilities Wisconsin Public Service (based in Green Bay) and Madison Gas & Electric plan to acquire 300 megawatts of  generation capacity from these plants, enough to power over 70,000 average Wisconsin households. If the two projects are approved, the utilities will be able to reduce their fossil-fuel emissions while increasing supplies of renewable power in their energy generation mix.

Take action to support the Badger Hollow Solar Farm today!

We expect another wave of large solar power plants to follow soon after the PSC issues decisions on Badger Hollow and Two Creeks.

Wisconsin electric providers are driving this transition to renewable energy through their recently announced plans to scale back carbon emissions.

WI Utility Commitments to Reduce Carbon Emissions and Increase Renewable Energy

WEC (WE Energies and Wisc. Public Service)
1.1  million + 440,000
7% WE
7.8% WPS
80% CO2 reduction by 2050
Alliant (WI Power and Light)
29% renewables by 2024
80% CO2 reduction by 2050
Dairyland Power
PPAs for 98 MW Wind (2017), 20 MW solar (2016), 80 MW Iowa Wind (2016)
Xcel Energy
28% (systemwide)
80% CO2 reduction by 2030
100% CO2 reduction by 2050
WPPI Energy
PPAs for 132 MW wind (2018) and 99 MW solar (2020)
Madison Gas and Electric
30% renewables by 2030
80% CO2 reduction by 2050

How can you help accelerate clean energy?Increasingly, businesses and nonprofit organizations are also committing to renewable energy.  Solar for Good, the grant program managed by RENEW Wisconsin to support non-profits going solar, announced its most successful round of funding ever in 2018.   The program’s Fall 2018 round announced that 36 organizations have been allocated $445,000 in grants which will lead to $4.5 million in solar investment in Wisconsin.  At the same time major businesses are committing to clean energy.  On January 3, 2019, Advocate Aurora Health committed to 100% renewable energy by 2030 for its 27 hospitals and 500+ outpatient sites in Wisconsin and Illinois.

This tremendous momentum would not be possible without RENEW members and supporters of clean energy from all across Wisconsin.  One important thing you can do is to help us ensure the Badger Hollow Solar Farm is approved.  A strong showing of public support will help this project, which needs approval by the Public Service Commission.

Please support the Badger Hollow Solar Farm by adding your name as a supporter here.

Happy New Year!