Wednesday, 16 April 2014

UK: 9,000 public charge points and 8,500 pure electric vehicles. Next: grid management

From With the uptake of electric vehicles steadily increasing, grid operators have to face the challenge of making the power networks plug-in car ready before too many drivers choose to go green.
Since 2006, about 8,500 fully electric vehicles have been registered in the UK together with 125,270 hybrid cars, making up less than a half a per cent of all cars on British roads.
However, according to available data, the number of drivers opting for a vehicle with extremely low emissions is growing every year and with the widespread governmental incentives in place, the trend could be expected to continue. Between July and September 2013, 1,210 new ultra-low emission vehicles were registered in the UK for the first time – about 23 per cent more than during the same period one year earlier.
Alongside the electric vehicle fleet the network of electric vehicle chargers is expanding, which at the end of 2013 consisted of nearly 9,000 publicly funded charging points across the UK.
These chargers have been largely lying idle most of the time so far, but experts have already warned that unless users are strictly disciplined to charge their vehicles overnight, the electric vehicle revolution could put a strain on the electric power grid, potentially causing local power outages during peak demand hours.
“So far, the number of electric vehicles on the roads is really negligible, but it is expected to increase,” says Michael Clark, programme director of the Low Carbon London project at UK Power Networks. “Once we get to a double-figure percentage market share of electric vehicles, they may become a problem. Electric vehicles tend to be connected to low voltage networks and it is this impact that we are investigating before it becomes a constraint on distribution networks.”

Going green a challenge

Getting the grid plug-in car ready is an increasingly pressing issue. The UK government has committed to source ten per cent of UK transport energy from renewables by 2020 and estimates suggest that by 2030 electric and hybrid vehicles could make up to 25 per cent of all cars on the UK roads. By that time, half of the transformers closest to homes and business might be in a need of an urgent overhaul – unless a cheaper, possibly software-based solution is found.
Together with Imperial College London, electric vehicle charging infrastructure developer POD Point and Scottish company Smarter Grid Solutions, UK Power Networks launched a pilot study evaluating the possibility of using a smart grid management system to deal with the excessive load from electric vehicle charging points.
“To deal with the excessive demand for electricity, you can either lay new cables and re-equip sub-stations with extra switches – which obviously costs a lot of money and is rather disruptive – or you can try to manage all those charging points through a smart grid management system,” says Alan Gooding, Smarter Grid Solutions' Commercial Director and Co-Founder.

Smart solution

The study, part of UK Power Networks’ Low Carbon London project, involves 50 charging stations in central London – an area with generally high power consumption.
“What we have installed is software that monitors in real time, on the level of sub-seconds, the electricity flow through parts of the London network and when the electricity network becomes congested or under stress, the software asks the electricity charging stations to reduce their consumption,” explains Gooding.
Smarter Grid Solution’s Active Network Management system has previously been used to integrate larger local energy generation systems, such as solar installations, wind turbines and combined heat and power (CHP) generation facilities, into congested electricity networks. The smart network management system consists of five platforms managing data exchange between the system and the grid, performing calculations and implementing measures to reduce the load on the grid in real time.
“We are doing all this in conjunction with the electric vehicle charging infrastructure so that any of those vehicles that still require a charge gets the charge. It’s kind of an intelligent system.”

Not cutting drivers short

Gooding says the system has been designed to disconnect the charging points from the grid for such short periods of time that the drivers shouldn’t notice any difference in the total charging time of their vehicles.
“The system has been designed to have no noticeable impact on the users of the charging stations. It takes into account when people are expecting to come back to their car and be charged,” Gooding explains, adding that the system is fully automated, not requiring any additional operational overhead.
The trial has been underway since December 2013 and UK Power Networks expect to have first results available by the end of 2014.
“It’s only a trial. We have to wait for the results to see whether it’s actually working the way we expect and decide whether it’s something a network operator should be doing,” says Clark.
As part of the Low Carbon London project, UK Power Networks has been testing various approaches to make the grid ready for the decarbonisation revolution. Experts have warned that not only the growing number of electric vehicles but also the increasing share of wind and solar installations with their unpredictable and fluctuating energy generation present the biggest challenge the UK power grid has faced since its construction in the 1930s.

The future grid

In the framework of the £28m Low Carbon London project, running from January 2011 to December 2014, UK Power Networks has investigated various low carbon technologies that could in the future change the face of London’s power grid.
“One of the approaches we have been testing to reduce peak demand loads is local energy generation for, for example, big office buildings – we have been testing novel commercial arrangements which provide a contracted service for buildings to ‘turn down’ their demand altering the use of systems such as heating and cooling,” says Clark, who believes the way forward is not only in the smarter grid but also in smarter or better informed users.
“We have already trialled this approach, providing users with incentives similar to mobile phone operators offering considerably cheaper off-peak tariffs and it has been working very well,” he says.
It’s quite likely electric car users will be intrigued by such incentives allowing them to fill the ‘electrical tanks’ of their cars fully up and pay just a couple of pounds. And if not, the smart grid management system will prevent those environmentally friendly vehicles from wreaking havoc with the wider city grid.Share on print

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Mitsubishi Boss: Electric vehicles 'will beat petrol cars' Electric cars will be so affordable and have such a long range between re-charges that petrol cars will not be able to compete in the next generation of cars, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation president Osamu Masuko predicts.

He said car and battery manufacturers were working on a seven-fold increase in battery capacity, increasing potential car driving ranges to more than 1000km, and major reductions to battery cost, one 20th of 2009 prices, that would drive the growth in electric cars.

“Once these things are achieved, the petrol engine can't compete,” he said, adding: “In 10 years time, we might see a dramatic change.”
He likened the rise of EVs to that of mobile phones, which had had a major impact on old style land-line telephones.
“The world is changing, and it is definitely advancing, this battery technology,” he said.

Mr Matsuko said the lithium-ion batteries for an electric car in 2009 cost as much as a Toyota Yaris, but had more than halved since.

He said the Japanese government had a target to reduce the cost of batteries for cars to one 20th of the price of the 2009 variety, and with seven fold capacity.

A 2009 electric car could travel 150km, he said, meaning the EV of the future should do more than 1000km.

Mr Masuko said Mitsubishi would not be able to meet future fuel consumption and emissions regulations in the United States, Europe and China if it did not introduce electric and PHEV cars into its mix.
He said car companies who failed to meet the regulations would have to pay penalties.
“Paying penalities is not realistic,” he said.

Mr Masuko said the fact that China – along with Bolivia and Chile – controlled one of the few sources of raw lithium for the making of current batteries was a concern, meaning the product was often used as a political bargaining tool.

However, Kazakstan supplies were now coming on stream, reducing the risk of supply instability, he said.
In the longer term, new battery substances possibly would further reduce the reliance on Chinese lithium, he said.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

IPCC report: world must urgently switch to clean sources of energy UN panel's third report explains how global dependence on fossil fuels must end in order to avoid catastrophic climate change

Clean energy will have to at least treble in output and dominate world energy supplies by 2050 in order to avoid catastrophic climate change, a UN report is set to conclude on Sunday.

The report produced by hundreds of experts and backed by almost 200 world governments, will detail the dramatic transformation required of the entire globe's power system, including ending centuries of coal, oil and gas supremacy.

Currently fossil fuels provide more than 80% of all energy but the urgent need to cut planet-warming carbon emissions means this must fall to as little as a third of present levels in coming decades, according to a leaked draft of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report seen by the Guardian.

There is heavy emphasis on renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, and cutting energy waste, which together need hundreds of billions of dollars of investment a year.

But despite the scale of the challenge, the draft report is upbeat: "Since [2007], many renewable energy technologies have substantially advanced in terms of performance and cost and a growing number have achieved technical and economic maturity, making renewable energy a fast growing category in energy supply," the report says.

It also highlights that the benefits of clean energy, particularly in reducing deadly air pollution and providing secure energy supplies, "outweigh the adverse side effects". The IPCC report is the last part of a trilogy compiled by thousands of the world's most eminent scientists which gives the most definitive account of climate change to date.

The first report, released in September, showed climate change was "unequivocally" caused by human activity and prompted Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, to say: "The heat is on. Now we must act."

The second, published in March, warned that the impact of global warming, from extreme weather to reduced food production, posed a grave threat to humanity and could lead to wars and mass migration. The International Energy Agency said the IPCC's work showed "the urgent need of enabling a global transition to clean energy systems".

The report will address how to avert the worst dangers by cutting carbon emissions, which have been rising despite the global recession of 2007-08.

Nuclear power is cited among the low-carbon energy sources needed, but the draft report warns it "has been declining since 1993" and faces concerns about "safety, nuclear weapon proliferation risks, waste management security as well as financial and regulatory risks".

Another way to produce low-carbon energy is to burn fossil fuels but capture and bury the carbon emissions.

The IPCC experts note that, unlike renewable energy, this technology "has not yet been applied at a large, commercial scale".

The draft report concludes that increasing carbon emissions are due to rising coal use, along with increasing demand for energy from the world's growing population. But it notes that policies implemented to cut carbon emissions will also cut the value of fossil fuel reserves, particularly for coal. It also says increased use of gas could cut emissions in the "short term", if it replaces coal.

China's vast coal burning represents a huge challenge but a new analysis from Greenpeace, published on Friday, suggests it may have reached a turning point. "The range of coal caps and anti-smog measures put in place by the Chinese authorities could see the country cut its carbon emissions by more than twice the UK's annual footprint by 2020, making it possible for global carbon levels to peak before climate change spirals out of control," said Li Shuo, Greenpeace East Asia's climate and energy campaigner.

Over half a trillion dollars a year are spent subsidising fossil fuels – six times more than spent supporting renewable energy – and US president Barack Obama and other leaders have pledged to phase these out. The draft IPCC report states this could be done without harming the poor: "Many countries have reformed their tax and budget systems to reduce fuel subsidies, that actually accrue to the relatively wealthy, and used other mechanisms that are more targeted to the poor."

Friday, 11 April 2014

UK: My Electric Avenue UK's first road of electric vehicles created in Marlow
Residents in Marlow have become the first of 11 neighbourhoods and workplaces to take delivery of their Nissan Leafs as part of the £9 million ‘My Electric Avenue’ trial.
The trial looks at how best to manage the electricity network when a large number of EVs charge in the same street at the same time.
It is being led by EA Technology and hosted by Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution (SSEPD) and aims to avoid the need to dig up the roads to install higher capacity electric cables.
Nine neighbours in Marlow are now receiving delivery of their all-electric Nissan Leafs to use over the next 18 months.
The other ‘residential clusters’ are in Chineham, Chiswick, Lyndhurst, South Gosforth and Wylam, with two more based in South Shields.
There are two ‘workplace-based clusters’: Slough Borough Council and Your Homes Newcastle
The project has exceeded Ofgem’s recruitment and customer engagement targets, by achieving 111 signed lease contracts overall in the technical trials when 100 were required; recruiting eight  clusters with 10 people in each when seven  clusters of 10 were required; and recruiting 11 clusters overall in the technical trials when 10 clusters in total were required.
Recruitment for the trials has been successful due to ‘cluster champions’ in local communities taking up the challenge of recruiting their neighbours through leaflet dropping, door knocking, and even holding community coffee mornings to drum up support.
Although the technical trials are now fully subscribed, My Electric Avenue’s social trials are still open for business.
The social trials are designed to complement the information gathered during the technical trials and participants can lease a new 100% electric Nissan Leaf at a specially negotiated rate for 18 months.
Applicants can be individuals or groups and there’s no requirement to have any technology installed in the home.
Spaces in the social trials are limited and so the cars will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

2030:" a huge amount of oil - and no buyers" Solar power will slowly squeeze the revenues of petro-rentier regimes in Russia, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. They will have to find a new business model, or fade into decline
Solar power has won the global argument. Photovoltaic energy is already so cheap that it competes with oil, diesel and liquefied natural gas in much of Asia without subsidies.
Roughly 29pc of electricity capacity added in America last year came from solar, rising to 100pc even in Massachusetts and Vermont. "More solar has been installed in the US in the past 18 months than in 30 years," says the US Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). California's subsidy pot is drying up but new solar has hardly missed a beat.
The technology is improving so fast - helped by the US military - that it has achieved a virtuous circle. Michael Parker and Flora Chang, at Sanford Bernstein, say we entering a new order of "global energy deflation" that must ineluctably erode the viability of oil, gas and the fossil fuel nexus over time. In the 1980s solar development was stopped in its tracks by the slump in oil prices. By now it has surely crossed the threshold irreversibly.
The ratchet effect of energy deflation may be imperceptible at first since solar makes up just 0.17pc of the world's $5 trillion energy market, or 3pc of its electricity. The trend does not preclude cyclical oil booms along the way. Nor does it obviate the need for shale fracking as a stop-gap, for national security reasons or in Britain's case to curb a shocking current account deficit of 5.4pc of GDP.
But the technology momentum goes only one way. "Eventually solar will become so large that there will be consequences everywhere," they said. This remarkable overthrow of everything we take for granted in world energy politics may occur within "the better part of a decade".
If the hypothesis is broadly correct, solar will slowly squeeze the revenues of petro-rentier regimes in Russia, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, among others. Many already need oil prices near $100 a barrel to cover their welfare budgets and military spending. They will have to find a new business model, or fade into decline.
The Saudis are themselves betting on solar, investing more than $100bn in 41 gigawatts (GW) of capacity, enough to cover 30pc of their power needs by 2030 rather than burning fossil fuel needed for exports. Most of the Gulf states have comparable plans. That will mean more crude - ceteris paribus - washing into a deflating global energy market.
Clean Energy Trends says new solar installations overtook wind turbines worldwide last year with an extra 36.5GW. China alone accounted for a third. Wind is still ahead with 2.5 times old capacity but the "solar sorpasso" will be reached in 2021 as photovoltaic (PV) costs keep falling.
The US National Renewable Energy Laboratory says scientists can now capture 31.1pc of the sun's energy with a 111-V Solar Cell, a world record but soon to be beaten again no doubt. This will find its way briskly into routine use. Wind cannot keep pace. It is static by comparison, a regional niche at best.
A McKinsey study said the average cost of installed solar power in the US across all sectors has dropped to $2.59 from more than $6 a watt in 2010. It expects this fall to $2.30 by next year and $1.60 by 2020. This will put solar within "striking distance" of coal and gas, it said.
Solar cell prices have already collapsed so far that other "soft costs" now make up 64pc of residential solar installation in the US. Germany has shown that this too can be slashed, partly by sheer scale.
It is hard to keep up with the cascade of research papers emerging from brain-trusts in North America, Europe and Japan, so many brimming with optimism. The University of Buffalo has developed a nanoscale microchip able to capture a "rainbow" of wavelengths and absorb far more light. A team at Oxford is pioneering use of perovskite, an abundant material that is cheaper than silicon and produces 40pc more voltage.
One by one, the seemingly intractable obstacles are being conquered. Israel's Ecoppia has just begun using robots to clean the panels of its Ketura Sun park in the Negev desert without the use of water, until now a big constraint. It is beautifully simple. Soft microfibers sweep away 99pc of the dust each night with the help of airflows.
Professor Michael Aziz, at Harvard University, is developing a flow-battery with funding from the US Advanced Research Projects Agency over the next three years that promises to cut the cost of energy storage by two-thirds below the latest vanadium batteries used in Japan.
He said the technology gives us a "fighting chance" to overcome the curse of intermittency from wind and solar power, which both spike and drop off in bursts. "I foresee a future where we can vastly cut down on fossil fuel use."
Even thermal solar is coming of age, driven for now by use of molten salts to store heat and release power hours later. California opened the world's biggest solar thermal park in February in the Mojave desert - the Ivanpah project, co-owned by Google and BrightSource Energy - able to produce power for almost 100,000 homes by reflecting sunlight from 170,000 mirrors onto boilers that generate electricity from steam. Ivanpah still relies on subsidies but a new SunPower project in Chile will go naked, selling 70 megawatts into the spot market.
Deutsche Bank say there are already 19 regional markets around the world that have achieved "grid parity", meaning that PV solar panels can match or undercut local electricity prices without subsidy: California, Chile, Australia, Turkey, Israel, Germany, Japan, Italy, Spain and Greece, for residential power, as well as Mexico and China for industrial power.
This will spread as battery storage costs - often a spin-off from electric car ventures - keep dropping. Sanford Bernstein says it may not be long before home energy storage is cheap enough to lure households away from the grid en masse across the world.
Utilities that fail to adapt fast will face "disaster". Solar competes directly. Each year it is supplying a bigger chunk of peak power needs in the middle of the day when air conditioners and factories are both at full throttle. "Demand during what was one of the most profitable times of the day disappears," said the report. They cannot raise prices to claw back lost income. That would merely accelerate what they most fear. They are trapped.
Michael Liebreich, from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, says we can already discern the moment of "peak fossil fuels" around 2030, the tipping point when the world starts using less coal, oil and gas in absolute terms, but because they cannot compete, not because they are running out.
This is a remarkable twist of history. Just six years ago we faced an oil shock with crude trading at $148. The rise of "Chindia" and the sudden inclusion of 2bn consumers into the affluent world seemed to be taxing resources to breaking point. Now we can imagine how China will fuel its future fleet of 400m vehicles. Many may be electric, charged by PV modules.
For Germany it is a bitter-sweet vindication. The country sank €100bn into feed-in tariffs or in solar companies that blazed the trail, did us all a favour, and mostly went bankrupt, displaced by copy-cat competitors in China. The Germans have the world's biggest solar infrastructure, but latecomers can now tap futuristic technology.
For Britain it offers a reprieve after 20 years of energy drift. Yet the possibility of global energy deflation raises a quandary: should the country lock into more nuclear power stations with strike-prices fixed for 35 years? Should it spend £100bn on offshore wind when imported LNG might be cheaper long hence?
For the world it portends a once-in-a-century upset of the geostrategic order. Sheikh Ahmed-Zaki Yamani, the veteran Saudi oil minister, saw the writing on the wall long ago. "Thirty years from now there will be a huge amount of oil - and no buyers. Oil will be left in the ground. The Stone Age came to an end, not because we had a lack of stones, and the oil age will come to an end not because we have a lack of oil," he told The Telegraph in 2000. Wise old owl.

EV Sales Surging In South Korea Electric vehicle sales are surging in South Korea, largely thanks to a number of relatively new subsidies, according to the most recent figures.

The growth is notable because EV sales within the economic powerhouse of a country had previously been somewhat tepid, not non-existent but not strong either. But, now, with the recent surge, South Korea is joining the fast growing number of countries where EVs are now somewhat mainstream.
With the (apparent) cracking of the market there’s the possibility of EV adoption speeding up in the region as a whole — perhaps spurring further competition with prominent neighbours, such as Japan and China?

With regard to subsidies, GreenCarReports provides more:
Trade journal Ward’s Auto notes that the country’s national Ministry of Transport provides a subsidy of 15 million won ($13,900) for purchase of a battery-electric car, and 10 provinces or cities offer further incentives that range from 3 million to 8 million won ($2,800 to $7,400).
Jeju, a beautiful semi-tropical island, offers the maximum 8-million-won local subsidy–for up to 500 vehicles a year–and intends to convert to entirely emission-free transport by 2030. The small island currently has about 300,000 vehicles, and offers a perfect driving environment for electric cars, with travel distances capped by its finite network of roads. It has already installed more than 500 240-Volt Level 2 charging stations, with more on the way.
 Something else to note about the South Korean market is the fact that consumers there buy almost exclusively cars made in the country. Part of the increase no doubt has to do with the growing levels of EV manufacturing taking place in the country.
On that note:
The low-volume Kia Ray battery-electric minicar has been offered to government agencies for several years, and the Kia Soul EV — unveiled in February at the Chicago Auto Show–will go on sale in its home market shortly.
In fact, even the former Renault Fluence ZE sedan that was created for the now-defunct Better Place program in Israel has found a new life (with a fixed battery pack that cannot be swapped) as the locally-built Samsung SM3.
Kia said it expects to sell 900 Soul EVs in Korea next year, and about 5,000 globally.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Nissan and Mahindra Reva tie-up? Electric vehicle technology is in the mainstream now. Whether its something as primal as an engine start stop mechanism, a proper fuel cell hybrid or a full fledged electric vehicle that runs on nothing, but battery power. We got to witness the widest array of electric vehicle technology at the 12th Biennial Auto Expo and Mahindra was on the forefront of it all. The Halo Electric sports car, Verito Electric or the Reva, all models showed how serious Mahindra is about electric vehicle technology. Now, according to certain reports, Nissan may tie up with Mahindra for the joint development of electric vehicles.

Mahindra Halo Electric

The collaboration, to which both companies are open, could be in the backend of the electric vehicle (EV) business and mainly in the area of charging infrastructure/technology. “Nissan is open to collaboration with other EV manufacturers in India, in particular for the charging network,” says Andy Palmer, chief planning officer and executive vice-president responsible for Zero Emission Vehicle Planning & Strategy, Nissan Motor Corporation, when asked if Nissan would be open for a tie-up with Mahindra Reva in the EV space.

Nissan Leaf

The two main hurdles electric vehicles face are the cost of making them (Models like the Mahindra E2O cost around Rs 9 lakh once on road) and providing/developing batteries that last long enough. Not to mention the setting up of charging station network. Nissan, which already has collaborations with Toyota, Mitsubishi and Honda in Japan, sees collaboration as a good way to build the EV business. “Charging infrastructure is one of the two prime movers for success of EVs,” adds Palmer. The other ‘prime mover’ is government incentive.

Mahindra Verito Electric

Dr Pawan Goenka, executive director, Mahindra & Mahindra and chairman, Mahindra Reva, also agrees with Palmer’s views on collaboration. In an interview with Autocar Professional, Dr Goenka said, “Yes, we are always open to talk to any OEM who wants to work with us and create the right kind of technology or infrastructure for electric vehicles. If Nissan is interested, we’ll be more than happy to talk to them.”

Number of EVs doubling every year

Treehugger reports that globally, electric car sales are growing a bit more than 100% p/a.

Many of us quite familiar with electric cars believe they will "disrupt" the automobile industry, replacing gasmobiles just as cell phones replaced landlines and smartphones replaced first-generation cell phones. Electric cars are simply much better... in numerous ways.

As manufacturing has gotten rolling and costs of lithium-ion batteries have fallen (quite sharply), overall costs for electric cars have dropped down to commercially competitive levels. In the US, you can now buy 11 plug-in electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars for under $30,000, which is less than the average new car now. There are similar stories in Europe, Japan, and China.

Furthermore, operating costs are several times lower than with gas- or diesel-powered cars, electric cars drive much more quietly and smoothly, and their acceleration is much greater. Then there are other things that appeal to many consumers: electric cars have zero tailpipe emissions, they help tremendously to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and they cut our addiction to oil, improving national energy security.

For these reasons and more, electric car registrations around the world have been growing by over 100% a year the past few years.

As you can see in the graph below, there were approximately 25,000 battery-electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and extended-range electric vehicles registered globally at the end of 2010, then approximately 80,000 at the end of 2011, then approximately 200,000 at the end of 2012, and then approximately 405,000 at the end of 2013.
Such growth is the sign of a disruptive technology. In my opinion, an electric vehicle revolution is just beginning.

Clearly, the leading EV manufacturer at the moment is Nissan (see graph at top), thanks to the world-leading Nissan LEAF. Though, GM/Opel and Toyota aren't too far behind. Furthermore, Tesla has seen fast growth and is still "supply limited" rather than "demand limited," meaning that it is still working to get its manufacturing output up to consumer demand. And it plans to ramp up production capacity enough by 2020 to be able to sell a much more affordable electric carwith similar specs to its highly acclaimed Model S.

BMW and VW have just recently jumped into the electric car scene and have some cars selling relatively well, so expect to see their position jump at the end of 2014.

Will 2014 registrations double again? I'm not sure, but they will certainly continue the industry's fast growth.

Opel BEV on its way to the US (Spark?) Much like in the United States with CARB, the EU has their own emission targets that all large auto makers must achieve.
With Ad Spots Like This How Did The Ampera Not Sell Better?
With Ad Spots Like This How Did The Ampera Not Sell Better?
According to a report by Automobilwoche on Sunday, General Motors plans to achieve those emission and fuel economy goals in part by introducing an inexpensive, fully electric compact car via their Opel brand no later than 2017.
This EV will be downstream from the poor selling Opel Ampera (~3,100 sold in Europe for 2013, good for 9th overall) which starts at around 38,000 euros ($52,000 USD),
The petrol version of this electric compact car would fit in as part of Opel’s new ‘city car’ offensive (below the Adam) - which is designed to be priced around 10,000 euros ($13,700 USD) and do battle with Volkswagen’s new Up subcompact.
Opel has yet to comment on those new developments, but we feel quite confident it is accurate.
Unfortunately for those looking for a new BEV offering from GM, it seems reasonable that the Chevrolet Spark EV - which was originally destined to fill the roll of ‘emissions savior’ for GM in Europethis year; and of which, has since been cancelled, is likely going to get the rebadging treatment as the Opel Spark EV.
Just looking at the stated timing of a new battery electric vehicle for Europe, the Chevrolet brand itself is scheduled to exit Europe by the end of next year, and the next generation Spark is expected to debut as the Opel Spark in early 2016.  So the Opel Spark EV all lines up fairly neatly in our minds.
However, on the positive side for those of us in the United States, it appears that the Chevrolet Spark EV will not strictly be a short-term, compliance offering from GM, but live on and get generational improvements..
Automobilwoche (via Reuters)

Tesla Model S convertible

Via Turns out there’s huge demand for a convertible Tesla Model S. Too bad Tesla Motors doesn’t offer one.

Newport Does Cadillac ELR Convertible Conversions Too

In steps Newport Convertible Engineering (NCE).

NCE is widely known for its convertible conversions. It offers this type of conversion on countless high-end automobiles, including the Tesla Model S.

According to NCE, it received an order from one investor in China for 100 Tesla Model S convertibles. That’s from one investor.

NCE anticipates demand for the convertible Model S being so high that it claims to have contacted Tesla Motors in an effort to secure an order for 5,000 units

“Newport Convertible Engineering has officially requested Tesla Motors in a joint effort to build another 5,000 Tesla Model S convertible for a worldwide demand. Announcement will be made in April 18 2014.”

NCE says that it’ll begin work on the 100 Tesla Model S convertibles this July. Those vehicles will all be shipped to China. The conversion will take place at 3 NCE sites, including California, Dubai and Barcelona.

NCE Does Porsche Panamera Convertible Conversions Too

As for price, NCE says it offer two versions of a convertible Tesla Model S:
Ragtop conversion priced at $29,000
Hard tonneau cover conversion priced at $49,000

Plus the cost of the donor Tesla Model S.

So far, there have been no completed conversions, so the only image of the convertible Tesla Model S is the photo-shopped image found atop this article.

Source: Car Scoops, NCE