Report: Chevy and Renault Lead Plug-In Vehicle Charge

By · November 20, 2012

Pike pulse report grid

According to the latest Pike Pulse report, Chevrolet and Renault lead the plug-in vehicle segment thanks to high ratings in strategy and execution.

The latest report from Pike Research, “Pike Pulse Report: Plug-In Electric Vehicles,” rated automakers on 12 criteria for strategy and execution, including: vision, go-to market strategy, partners, product strategy and roadmap, geographic reach, market share, sales and marketing, product performance, product quality and reliability, pricing, product portfolio and staying power. Pike Research said Chevy and Renault lead a group of 16 automakers in the plug-in vehicle segment. Pike's study concluded that both Toyota and Nissan are strong contenders in the segment and that Ford is vying to move into one of the top spots.

Why are Chevy and Renault on top? According to the report, the Chevy Volt model has performed strongly, and the company has a mix of battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in forthcoming model years. In addition, Renault has successfully launched several Z.E.-branded vehicles, including the Fluence, Twizy, and Kangoo, proving that it has the ability to bring unique vehicles to market and find a niche.

“The early adopter market for PEVs is being driven largely by lower operating costs and the desire for zero emissions driving. These two key factors are not proving to be as effective as expected, though, and PEVs remain a small niche in the overall automobile market. For all of the manufacturers included in this Pike Pulse report, vehicle cost remains a huge hurdle for greater adoption, and the success stories will be those automakers who take advantage of technology advances to lower the price premiums of their vehicles.”

Dave Hurst, Pike Research senior analyst

Once again, it seems that cost remains a major factor.

Pike evaluated 16 of the leading plug-in electric vehicle manufacturers. Using its methodology, automakers are profiled, rated, and ranked with the goal of providing industry participants with an objective assessment of these manufacturers’ relative strengths and weaknesses in the plug-in vehicle segment.


· · 5 years ago

After the GM EV1 debacle, its good that GM is finally coming out with several EV's as the Market permits. I'm interested in the forthcoming Cadillac ETS. If the Luxury segment can be "converted", then EV sales will balloon.

· · 5 years ago

@Bill Howland,

Interesting perspective on the Cadillac. Although, I suppose that's similar to Tesla's start-at-the-top approach. It's hard to find real volume in that segment, though. There could be an initial burst of "converts", but that's not sustainable. I tend to agree that cost is a major factor.

Another is perceived lack of utility. Hopefully with Tesla rolling out their superchargers, and the SAE spec approved, we might see some forward movement on fast charging. I contacted NYSERDA about their plans to sponsor charging infrastructure in NYS. Their official stance is they want to let the market decide on a standard, but when it does they have a budget for infrastructure along major interstate routes.

· · 5 years ago

@Brian Schwerdt

I can only speak for myself, but I've never needed nor wanted a fast charger. I just need a guaranteed level 2 charger to get another 20-40 miles when the capacity of my battery just isn't quite far enough... I was planning a Trip to Elmira (Horseheads), but I wasn't convinced the Nissan Dealer would let me charge there. I have no problem arriving back home with a dead battery... I just don't want the reverse.

New York State could do something really cheap if they wanted to. They have all those nice rest stops with multimillion dollar facilities all over the place. There are so many of those GE DuraStations around the country (if all the photos are to be believed), and they are so expensive (the RFID card ones are the only one's I've seen, and so far they're not requiring it - the juice is free to the driver), around $3500 that there must be a federal grant to put them in anyway. Since they're typically located in the back next to the fuse box, it wouldn't cost anything to install ONE single, or ONE double unit at every stop. This is all I'd need to be confident about making an intrastate trip.

Trips to nearby states like Pennsylvania where they have much much smaller and cheaper "JOHNS" with only 200, 300 or 400 amp single phase services, could probably also take a single or double unit with no real wiring change. Again, I don't even think they would have to pay anything for the single or double model DuraStation.

· · 5 years ago

Just checked GE on the WEB. For British use, then make either 16 amp 240 volt single phase units , or 32 amp 3 phase 400 volt durastations,probably for all the Rolls Royce EV's and BMW's (and all the other German Makes) EV's and Renault EV's that can utilize 3 phase. That's 22,170 watts, assuming the car is 1.0 pf.

I have no idea why the DuraStations here are 30, and not 32. The NEC would easily allow 32. I guess whatever.. They do work. Anyone who knows if anyone has actually BOUGHT a DuraStation without a Federal Gov't Grant? They are so price I doubt it. But they are one of the nicest EVSE's, other than having a cheap car connector cord (3#10's, 1 - #18). Hummmmm I think I just answered my own question. Its the 10 gauge cord that is prohibiting anything over 30... OK!

· · 5 years ago

In the mean time, we are still as ever waiting for an affordable electric car equipped with a small serial range extender. The Audi A1 e-Tron was a good possibility but they decided not to put it on the market. A big mistake because that is a clear perfect solution where the generator take little space and cost but allow a smaller battery without the need for fast charge. It also provide flexibility in fuel type either electricity or gasoline or E85. Another advantage is the potential to act as a generator in case of offsite power need or blackouts. Finally in cold weather it is an opportunity for an efficient cogeneration of cabin heat as well as extra electricity. As a perfect solution the Audi e-Tron architecture is likely to make a comeback either at Audi or at another car manufacturer. A winning solution is never left aside for long when need strikes.

· · 5 years ago


Anyone who wants your type of vehicle buys a VOLT which I did since it is the closest to your description. I have to use Premium fuel, but then you can't have everything. So far the Via trucks thing has the offsite power option, but I have yet to find out how much they charge for it.

Chinese portable generators are getting so inexpensive they almost give them away, and for much lower cost than the V2H option would be I'm sure.

However, that would be a nice option for the current Level I input, Level II output battery pack style chargers where you plug into a 110 volt plug all day, then charge your EV at a level II rate. Its not currently offered but a nice option would be to use the fully charged unit as 20 kwh of backup power. THIS could be offered as an option that would be cheaper than even the Chinese Generators, along with being much quieter and safer. Might be all you need as long as the Mains comes back on soon enough.

· · 5 years ago


Some people assume a pure serial range extender would be much less expensive than the Volt series/parallel drivetrain. The difference between a pure series and Voltec drivetrain is one planetary gearset and three small clutches (These clutches are not at all like the clutch in manual transmission. These clutches are more like the clutches in a conventional automatic transmission) The extra cost is probably between $500 to $1000.

Another misconception about the Volt, in my opinion, is the ICE in the Volt is too big. When the Volt operates in charge sustaining mode the Volt is not much different than a conventional hybrid. The Volt weighs approximately 3800 pounds and has a 1.4 liter engine. The Honda Insight hybrid weighs 2800 pounds and has a 1.3 liter ICE. If the ICE in the Volt were oversized there would be no need for mountain mode.

· · 5 years ago


The problem here is lack of options. Years ago you could get a ford or chevy model with a 3 on the tree and dinky 6 cylinder, all the way up to a TurboHydramatic and Big v-8 with all kinds of engines and transmissions in between.

I need a 20 hp 1 cylinder engine in the Volt, nothing more ever. For people with Lead feet, this isn't enough, but that's not me. They say with Roboticised, Flexible production lines, changes these days are no problem. But there seems to be much much less diversity, not more these days.

It will be interesting if GM shoots itself in the foot when the Great Brains decide what the Typical Luxury Car owner wants, in the Cadillac ETS. Here's one suggestion off the bat: Stop trying to be a BMW and cool it with the dumb meaningless alphabet soup names. I WANT A BIG BATTERY. Apparently the only reason the volt has a useable sized (11-16 kwh whatever u want to size it), was due to the engineering teams being redfaced by Bob Lutz. Unfortunately, he ain't there no more.

· · 5 years ago

@Bill Howland

Yes, we all have different needs. I have a friend who live less than five miles from work. He would like a BEV that has 10-15 miles of range and he can't understand why big automotive companies don't offer such a car.

· · 5 years ago


You make valid points, but you make the same ones over and over. How about commenting on the actual article instead of yet another comment about how your perfect car doesn't exist (yet).

@Bill Howland,

It doesn't sound like you travel far very often. If level 2 works for you, that's great. I don't think they make any sense on the thruway, though. They would only really be useable by PHEVs/EREVs since no BEV driver will sit at a rest stop for 3-4 hours. I really firmly believe NYS should go with fast chargers along the thruway, one or two at every rest stop. Of course I know this won't happen overnight, but within this decade it's possible. NYSERDA has some money set aside, but they're waiting for the market to pick a winner. Compare that to CA/OR/WA, where they've already put in dozens of CHAdeMO chargers along I-5. It's a perfect example of how the SAE/CHAdeMO debate is currently slowing down EV adoption.

I personally take a lot of long trips (250-300 miles) towards NYC or New England. A lot of those miles are on the thruway. Currently I drive an Insight, but we are painfully close to EVs that can handle these long trips for me. A Model S plus a single super charger in Albany would allow me to cover those miles, but it's really expensive. On the other hand, a 100-highway-mile BEV with fast charging available at every rest stop would also allow me to make the trips.

I guess, like all of us here, I project the solution that would fit my own needs, and long for someone to build it. (see also Priusmaniac and smilthjim1961's friend).

· · 5 years ago

How much is your friend ready to pay for his 10-15 mile BEV? Even more important though is; how many other people are willing to pay as much as he is for this car?
Having been lucky enough to have been involved with 2 different completely new industries as they went from concept to reality and then through commoditization, I see several key attributes that are required to make it. The first is that there has to be money to work with.
Traditionally, this requires a "killer-application" or "anchor" for which a lot of people with money are willing to spend. For the PC, the "killer-application" was the word processor. This was the tool that companies were willing to pay thousands of dollars for in order to make their employees more productive. For the telephone, and later, the cellphone, it was voice communications. Once the prices came down, of course, secondary applications such as datacomms followed but few of them would have driven the infrastructure buildout and cost reductions.
The question to me is; What is the killer application for EVs?
Tesla is pursuing the performance aspect. GM and Nissan appear to be trying for the mid-size sedan or compact hatchback with ~30 mile daily range. Mitsubishi, Think, and Smart are looking for the urban micro-car.
Which one(s) will work? Who knows. There are, of course, many other factors that will determine success and failure besides just choosing the right first product to pursue. We can argue all day but only history will prove what is right.

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