Recharge Wrap-up: No fast charger funding from GM, Tesla Model X buyer's guide

Renault at Formula E Paris ePrix; EV sales growing in Europe

General Motors does not plan to fund any CCS fast-charging infrastructure to go along with the launch of the Chevrolet Bolt. Other automakers – Audi, BMW, Nissan, Volkswagen and, of course, Tesla - are investing in the deployment of fast chargers to aid the mobility of their EV customers. With the debut of the Chevy Bolt, which has an option for a CCS fast-charging port, Green Car Reports asked a panel of GM executives if it had similar plans. "We are not actively working on providing infrastructure [for the Bolt EV]," says GM CEO Mary Barra. Read more at Green Car Reports.

Teslarati has put together a buyer's guide for the Tesla Model X. If you're considering taking the plunge and buying the new, luxury, electric SUV, there are a number of things to take into account that first-time Tesla or EV buyers may not have had to consider before – on top of the usual tough choices any car buyer faces. The guide breaks down the options into categories of pricing, battery, and performance, performance extras, seating, more options, tow/hitch options, and final options (yes, that's a lot of options). It also includes how to find the hidden 72-amp onboard charger upgrade, if that's something you want to consider. Check it out at Teslarati.

Renault is an official partner of the 2015/2016 Formula E Paris ePrix. The race takes place around the Hôtel des Invalides monument on April 23, and Renault will have a strong presence for the race weekend. The automaker will have its ZE range on display at the ePrix's e-village throughout the event. Renault e.dams won the 2014/2015 Teams' championship title, and is at the top of the standings for 2015/2016. Read more from Renault.

EV sales are on the rise in Europe, a trend that's expected to continue according to analysts. Thanks in large part to regulatory measures, electrified vehicle sales (including mild hybrids) are predicted to grow 433 percent to 2.2 million units by 2021. EV sales grew 82.2 percent in the year leading up to September 2015. "It's no secret that the internal combustion engine is expected to be the predominant powertrain in the near term, but increased acceptance of [ alternative fuel vehicle] technology, particularly pure electrification, should not be ignored," says PwC Global Automotive Leader Rick Hanna. Read more in the press release below.

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Electric Vehicle Sales on the Rise in Europe, Continued Growth Expected According to PwC Analysis

Technology advancement, elimination of incentives and looming emission regulations are changing the alternative fuel landscape

DETROIT, Jan. 13, 2016 ― While alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) – including hybrids and pure electric – are gaining consumer acceptance in the European Union (EU), even in the face of decreased fuel prices, these reduced emission offerings are still a comparatively low percentage of overall vehicle sales in this critical market.

Numerous factors – regulatory being one of the most prominent – are behind an impressive outlook from PwC's Autofacts group, which estimates pure electric, plug-in mild and full hybrids growing 433 percent to 2.2 million units sold by 2021.

"It's no secret that the internal combustion engine is expected to be the predominant powertrain in the near term, but increased acceptance of AFV technology, particularly pure electrification, should not be ignored," said Rick Hanna, Global Automotive Leader, PwC. "The fact that some European consumers are migrating from hybrids to pure electric indicates a growing comfort level with the state of the technology; a dynamic that will serve OEMs and suppliers well as the AFV market matures in the coming years."

Pure electric and plug-in hybrids vehicle sales grew 82.2 percent from September 2014 to September 2015, as opposed to mild and full hybrids which increased 22 percent during the same period. The significant EV growth can be attributed to several factors, according to PwC, including consumer desire for more emission-friendly vehicles, the maturation of pure electric technologies and their positive perception among consumers, and continued government incentives.

In terms of specific countries, Norway leads the way in AFV sales, accounting for 24,855 new vehicle registrations, followed by the U.K. at 20,966 registrations, a 138 percent increase through September. Germany, the largest vehicle market in the EU, increased AFV new vehicle registrations by nearly 15,000.

Mild and full hybrids specifically represent the largest share of the EU AFV market, but their growth has slowed compared to pure electric sales. France increased mild and full hybrid sales 35.2 percent through September, but many countries had decreased sales for these vehicles. The Netherlands saw sales decrease nearly 20 percent, a shift, in part, due to technology improvements making hybrid plug-ins more accessible.

In 2016, however, PwC forecasts a reduction in plug-in hybrid sales in Europe as many of the current government subsidies are being eliminated. In the U.K., for example, the ₤5,000 government (approximately $5,500 USD) grant created in 2011 will soon reach its limit of 50,000 participants. And, in the Netherlands, the government will end a tax break for alternative-fuel company cars that will increase the tax rate on these vehicles to 25 percent from its current 7 percent.

In terms of specific vehicles, while the No. 1 selling AFV was a plug-in hybrid, the remaining four of the top five sellers were EVs. EV production is expected to increase with the introduction of new models such as the VW Polo EV and the Mini EV as well as continued growth of existing models such as the Tesla Model S, the Nissan Leaf, Bollore Bluecar and the VW e-Golf.

What remains a challenge for OEMs in Europe is the ability to introduce AFVs at the lower price points consumers are looking for. Case in point is the Renault Zoe EV, which is comparable to the Renault Clio traditional powertrain. Zoe EVs only sold 11,000 units while the Clio reached nearly 300,000 in sales. This dynamic, however, is reversed in the premium segment where the Tesla S Model was the second largest selling vehicle in the upper premium segment.

For more information about PwC's Autofacts Analyst Note, download the January issue at or download the Autofacts app.

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