Chinese electric car sales up 149%

In much the same way as we’ll soon have to stop reporting renewable energy production records because they’re coming too darned often, I might start having to ration out how often I talk about spikes in electric vehicle sales around the world. While a 170% growth rate in The Netherlands might be impressive, for example, I do have to remind myself that we’re still talking about a tiny fraction of cars in one tiny corner of the world.

But this next headline is kind of the opposite:

Business Green reports that sales of electric vehicles were up 149% in China in the first four months of the year. And China being China, that means an awful lot of cars—225,310 to be precise. (It’s not immediately clear to me whether this figure includes plug-in hybrids as well as pure battery electric vehicles.)

Given that China is aiming for 2 million electric vehicle sales a year by 2020, there’s still some work to be done. But if the city of Shenzhen’s fleet of 14,000 all-electric buses is anything to go by, markets can change incredibly fast over there once decision makers put their minds to it.

And with China continuing to add solar at faster-than-expected rates, this growth in electric vehicles couldn’t come at a better time. Not only will the grid they get their charge from be greener, but more cars plugging in might just help alleviate concerns about solar overcapacity and grid stability in the country.

In slightly less exciting news, also reported in the Business Green story was the fact that car sales overall were up 11.5% in April. I hope that doesn’t mean the Chinese e-bike boom is over…

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Dutch plug-in car sales up 170% in April

The Netherlands plans to ban gas cars by 2030. To do that, they are going to have to rapidly grow alternatives. While its famous bike culture and growing fleet of electric buses are TreeHugger preferences, it’s likely that plug-in cars are also going to play a role.

That’s why it’s encouraging to hear, via Jose Pontes over at Cleantechnica, that Dutch plug-in car sales were up a whopping 170% in April, compared to the same month the year before. True, that’s still only 973 cars, and plug-in models make up only 3.2% of the new car market in 2018 so far, but growth rates of well over 100%—if they can be sustained—have a habit of fairly rapidly transforming a market. (Just ask telephone utilities, or gas/diesel car proponents in Norway.)

Granted, over a quarter of the new sales were the new Nissan Leaf, so it’s possible this is a somewhat unrepresentative spike in sales. But nevertheless, it seems clear to me—both from similar headlines around the world, and from anecdotal conversations with my own social connections—that there’s a significant chunk of the population who are becoming aware of, and interested in, the significant benefits of driving electric. What I’m now looking for are those inflection points where the growth to come tips from simply impressive to transformational.

Once consumers start questioning the future resale value of diesel/gas cars, once gas stations start being fewer and farther between, once gas and diesel cars become socially (and even legally!) unacceptable in cities, and once charging stations at home, workplaces and along highways are ubiquitous, I suspect we may see another step change in the rate of adoption.

With 20% of Americans saying their next car will be electric, we’ll likely see similar growth rates over here too.

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US plug-in car sales post highest ever month in March

Market watchers and media analysts may be slamming Tesla for missing their 2,500-car-a-week production goals—but they are still churning out plug-in cars at an incredible rate. In doing so, they are almost single-handedly changing what the electric vehicle market looks like.

Inside EVs reports that March was a record-setting month for electric and plug-in vehicle sales in the US, with a whopping 26,373 plug-ins delivered. Compare that to 18,542 the year before, and it starts to feel like something big is going on.

Of course, it’s dangerous to read too much into any one month. New models and fluctuations in factory output can create significant statistical noise.

Tesla, for example, may finally be turning a corner on its production hell, and delivered 3,820 Model 3s, 3,375 Model S, and 2,825 Model X. That’s a lot of Teslas, and serves as a counterpoint to hyped stories that the car maker is facing imminent doom. Meanwhile the brand new Nissan Leaf saw 1,500 deliveries in March, compared to just 895 in February. That’s not surprising given these are so fresh off the factory floor, but it will be interesting to see whether sales grow from here—or if they plateau as people wait for longer range options to become available.

On a personal level, I was also interested to note that estimated Chrysler Pacifica eHybrid sales have been rising steadily this year from 375 in January, through 450 in February to 480 in March. Yes, that’s not exactly a huge number compared to the Leafs and the Model 3s of this world—but given the outsized impact of larger vehicles, I’m excited to see signs that electrification may be gaining traction in this segment too. My own family’s experiences with this vehicle have been overwhelmingly positive—and I know of three other families in our community who have taken the plunge and are loving (and telling others about) their purchase too.

I suspect that this is only the beginning. Plug-in car sales have been growing steadily for some time to come, but at some point they will really take off. Anecdotally at least, the number of people I know who ask about—and are interested in—plug-in cars, compared to the number of people who currently own one, suggest there’s plenty of room for the market to grow further.

Watch this space.

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Israeli town halts property sales after realizing most buyers were non-jews

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San Francisco Becomes Largest U.S. City To Ban Animal Fur Sales

By  Amanda Froelich Truth Theory

Go, San Francisco! Recently, supervisors voted unanimously to ban the sale of fur. As a result, the Californian city is now the largest in the U.S. to approve the prohibition. Animal activists and environmentalists cheered the development. Some said the ban is further evidence fo the city’s animal-loving credentials.

As USA Today reports, the ban will take effect January 1, 2019. It applies to apparel and accessories featuring real fur. These include coats, key chains, and gloves. On Tuesday, an amendment was added to allow furriers and other retailers to continue selling their inventory until January 1, 2020.

Said Wayne Hsiung, co-founder of animal rights network Direct Action Everywhere: “This historic act will usher in a new wave of animal rights legislation across the globe.” Others were not so pleased by the move. “It should be a citywide public vote, it shouldn’t be decided by the Board of Supervisors,” said Skip Pas, chief executive officer of West Coast Leather, which sells fur-trimmed items.

The fur ban legislation was supervised by Katy Tang. The activist also pushed to ban performances by exotic animals, as well as to forbid the sale of non-rescue cats and dogs from pet stores. “It is estimated that around the world some 50 million animals are slaughtered in gruesome ways so that we can wear their fur and look fashionable,” Tang told the San Francisco Chronicle. “My hope is that it will send a strong message to the rest of the world.”

“I am a huge animal rights advocate, and while in office I would like to use my legislative abilities to help those who can’t speak for themselves,” Tang added.

Approximately 50 clothing and accessory retailers in downtown San Francisco will be affected by the legislation. The chamber estimates that every year, San Francisco fur sales total at least $40 million. However, the city also says that if sales numbers are higher than its estimate, the prohibition is unlikely to cause harm to the local economy.

Benjamin Lin, 72, is the owner of B.B. Hawk, located in the South of Market neighborhood. In his showroom, one will find chinchilla, sable, fox, and mink. Because of the ban, he is considering keeping his current location but selling elsewhere, outside of San Francisco. “I cannot fight it,” he said of the ban. “I will not win. I do not have the energy and the money.”

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!

Source: USA Today, The Washington Post

Image Credit: Copyright: artman1 / 123RF Stock Photo

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