Posted by: jmtoriel | March 25, 2015

Shifting Back To Green at Vancouver’s 2015 Auto Show

If you ever needed proof that incentives can engage the local auto industry in offering more green vehicles, go visit the 95th Vancouver International Auto Show this week.

It’s already been a great week for those seeking a cleaner, quieter and more efficient mode of travel to curb BC’s largest GHG emitting sector footprint — transportation.

Firstly, the Scrap-It Program announced plans to give B.C. residents a rebate when they trade in a car made on or before 2000 for one of 11 different kinds of electric vehicles. This was shortly followed by the reinstating of the CEV for BC (Clean Energy Vehicles) Program for rebates of $5000 on the purchase of plug-in hybrid or fully electric vehicles beginning April 1st.

When combined with new SCRAP-IT program incentives, total savings could be up to $8,250 for an electric vehicle.

For those with range anxiety anxiety (not a typo), an additional $1.59 million is also being invested in charging infrastructure. Additionally, there is a $1 million for incentives for commercial fleet purchases of clean energy vehicles and $500,000 for research, training, and public outreach on clean energy transportation technology.

EVs typically cost about 1/4 more than conventional vehicles but can save drivers about 3/4 on their fuel and maintenance costs, which adds up to over $1,600 per year in our 95% renewable and electricity cheap grid. The incentives will narrow the price gap and encourage more BCers to purchase these cars.

Now, back to the car show.

The king-maker

The king-maker

The Media Preview Day started with an endorsement of green cars by Blair Qualey, President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC, who announced Automobile Journalists Association of Canada’s first Green Car of the Year award (the winner was prominently featured as a teaser at Kia’s display in last year’s VIAS). It went to the new kid on the block of EVs, the Kia Soul EV (shown in the featured image above).

Toyota kicked things off with a blast from the past on their legacy of conventional hybrids, with the latest Camry Hybrid and Prius Plug-in featured with high rigeur. But the greatest pomp and ceremony went to their acclaimed fuel cell 2016 prototype, the Mirai. An error of judgement by the upper management or a bit of naval gazing to a regrettable lack of technological advancement in league with the big all-electric players, I’d say please exit stage left…

Mirai or Mirage?...

Mirai or Mirage?…

Honda is still focussed on fuel efficiency with their ever-popular FIT, Pilot and HR-V. The FIT that does come in a leasable electric powertrain in compliance-friendly California, but haven’t made the regional investment elsewhere — a shame as this would be a token towards greater affordability in the plug-in offerings.

GM has improved their impressive “next-generation” Chevy VOLT with an extended extended range of 80km, a lighter (and more powerful) battery pack and a more curvy design. Kudos to these improvements, but where’s the Spark EV?? Cadillac’s ELR has a similar plug-in powertrain for the luxury compact coupe market.

The German manufacturers were well-tuned and in-step with BMW and Mini impressively featured as top contenders in the field of design and engineering with the i3 and i8 series which will soon expand to the 5 and throughout the fleet.

BMW i8 and i3

BMW i8 and i3

Perhaps my favourite new addition to the plug-ins available was the Audi A3 Sportsback e-Tron — a welcome new model that will surely impress the sporty driver types. 

A3 Sportsback e-Tron

A3 Sportsback e-Tron

Mercedes-Benz proudly showed off their smart EV with some clever display graphics of charging maps in Vancouver. They touted the smart as being the most affordable plug-in option available on the market — true that.

Notice the EV charging maps on display

Notice the EV charging maps on display

Most likeable of the German cars award goes to VW which got the “2015 North American Car of the Year” for the Golf and have a new Beetle Classic and the Golf Sportswagon 2.0 TDI,BUT NO eGolf!!!! This is a most anticipated vehicle that would do very well in BC — perhaps next year…

The Nissan LEAF and Ford Focus are ever present and deserve recognition as top contenders for the upcoming rebate program.

Ford Focus EV

Ford Focus EV

IMG_4416

The Infinity Q50 Hybrid deserves a mention with its 50kW electric motor AWD drivetrain for 360 HP.

The insides of a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

The insides of a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

The EVs' EV

The EVs’ EV

Mitsubishi‘s  Outlander is a great PHEV with a cool display of its inner workings. The iMiEV is a pure electric classic that offers a great entry vehicle for the all-electric seeker — not much improvements to the original though. 

Subaru is aiming high with a very cool concept that looks more realistic than most and given great prominence at their display. Here’s hoping it becomes an addition to BC’s roads.

Subaru VIZIV 2 Concept

Subaru VIZIV 2 Concept

Besides the above mentioned “Green Car of the Year”Kia Soul EV, the Optima Hybrid will surely make some sales given the more affordable price tags and sensible designs. Not sure why Hyundai is investing in fuel cell technology, but the Tuscon blué drive is a nice looking car.

Lastly, we all know what’s under this cover, right?..

Mystery TESLA

Mystery TESLA

The most desirable EV on the market — if you can afford it. The P85D. All accounts say it’s INSANE!

Speaking of insane, here’s an all electric monster truck!! Enjoy the show car lovers.

Yep, it's electric!

Yep, it’s electric!

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