AD #2113 – Renault Tests Charging an EV While Driving, Volvo’s Puzzling Sales, Do Hybrids Have a Future?

May 19th, 2017 at 11:44am

Runtime: 7:03

To watch this episode on YouTube click here.

- Volvo’s Puzzling Sales
- Renault Tests Charging an EV While Driving
- Nissan Teases New LEAF
- Mercedes Enters U.S. Home Battery Market
- VW Gives the Up! More Power
- Do Hybrids Have a Future?

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23 Comments to “AD #2113 – Renault Tests Charging an EV While Driving, Volvo’s Puzzling Sales, Do Hybrids Have a Future?”

  1. WineGeek Says:

    Sean I think Volvo has a couple of problems. The first is their advertising doesn’t say anything. They were always the “safe car” company. If you watch the new Volvo ads they don’t give the consumer a reason to purchase. They don’t talk about the particular vehicle they are promoting, they don’t talk about how safe the vehicles are, they don’t say anything other than Volvo and show some lifestyle images. This doesn’t offer any differentiation between Volvo and any other car in the market at any price level.

    Now, if you take this poor marketing program and combine it with prices that are about 20%+ more than the same models were in the past you might see why the sales are falling. When the XC90 was introduced there was a lot of buzz and I am sure the early adopters didn’t want to miss the boat. These early adopters found that the product wasn’t quite ready. The engine is noisy and thrashes a lot, there were a lot of QC problems and technology problems making the ownership experience less than satisfying. Word gets around very quickly…

    Just a few thoughts that may reflect on the Volvo sales drop.

  2. BobD Says:

    Another impact on hybrids sales is that some states are now starting to charge an additional fee for them as a revenue stream for road maintenance. The “theory” being that hybrids get better fuel economy, so they don’t pay their “fair share” at the gas pumps, so let’s ding them (ignoring the other positive social aspects of a vehicle that get better fuel economy). Indiana will start charging in July a $50/year registration fee for any vehicle with a hybrid powertrain, and $150/year for pure EV.

  3. XA351GT Says:

    I’m surprised Nissan is turning over a new leaf considering how poorly the current one sells. The charge time range anxiety will be the Achilles heel of EVs along with the price which at the moment makes them a non starter for most people.

  4. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If more states pursue anti-environmental policies like Indiana, it will hurt hybrid sales, but for now, I think hybrids have a bright future. They are the no-compromise solution to low operating costs. In CR’s city tests, a Prius gets twice the mpg of similar size conventional cars, like Civic, and all you do is put gas in them and drive. A Prius gets 80% better city mileage than a Civic in the EPA city test.

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    3 The current Leaf has been around for 8 model years, so by today’s standards, it is overdo for a next generation. The new one will no doubt be better, and, presumably, the battery cooling issues of the current one will be addressed.

  6. Lex Says:

    Why doesn’t VW bring back the Corrado and a CUV variant to be called the Corrado X. That was a sporty, sexy looking vehicles which could also be offered in a EV variant called the Corrado E.
    If VW does produce them I want the first one of each in dark blue!

  7. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I will mimic WineGeek, and reiterate from some of my earlier posts; once the early adopters of the new XC-90 found numerous quality problems, which included electrical gremlins, word got out, and sales have lagged since. I don’t know if the Volvo was ‘rushed’ into the market or not, but it surely was not up to speed at launch. It seems that the ’17′s are fairing better, but once bad news spread, it is hard to reverse the initial reviews.

  8. JWH Says:

    #4 – I don’t consider Indiana’s policy anti-environmental. It’s a fairly decent equivalent to what we pay at the gas pump in fuel taxes that are allegedly to cover road maintenance. I do believe that hybrid or EV vehicles have an equivalent wear impact on the roads as our internal combustion vehicles, & they should pay their fair share. Have a good weekend.

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #8 It’s anti-environmental, in that it discourages people from buying more efficient vehicles. I certainly see your point, though, in that gas tax is supposed to pay for roads.

    As far as overall environmental friendliness of EV’s, they help clean up the air in cities, but those used in Indiana are burning mostly coal, so are contributing greenhouse gas emissions.

  10. GM Veteran Says:

    There is more to the Volvo sales story than AD is revealing. If you dig a little deeper, the picture becomes more clear. Volvo set a new worldwide sales record in each of the last 3 years. They are building as many XC90′s as they can, and could sell more if they had more production. To address that, a new plant is just about to start production in China and will build XC90′s, and perhaps other models as well. The CEO is projecting another new sales record for 2017.

    The rapid rise in US sales of the new XC90 last year was a result of high demand and front-loaded supply to the US market, known to be a very strong market for SUV’s. As demand was building in other world markets, the supply had to be evened out and the US got less inventory. The new plant in China will help. I think if you look at the incentive levels and inventory days supply for the XC90, you will see that there are good reasons for the sales decline in the US market that have nothing to do with vehicle quality or demand. Since Volvo is a global company, it helps to look beyond the borders of our home market when analyzing sales and profitability.
    For more, read this article:

  11. John McElroy Says:

    #10. GM Veteran: actually Volvo XC90 sales are down worldwide. They were down 21% in April and are down 11.6% YTD. Here’s a link to Volvo’s numbers:

  12. Dan Turnpaugh Says:

    As an resident of Indiana we need the tax dollars to fix roads and bridges, for all the fans of hybrids there are places they get to recharge batteries for free while shopping, etc. nobody pays for my gasoline.

  13. GM Veteran Says:

    #11. John, I checked out the sales chart and you are right, but it also ties right in with my sales/inventory theory. Each plant that builds the XC90 also builds the all-new XC60. Sales of the new XC60 are up nearly as much as the XC90 is down, mainly because its a new model and they are building a lot of them, at the expense of the XC90. The new plant in China will help to address the shortage of XC90 inventory, currently sitting at only 58 days supply in the US. Volvo is a growing brand, experiencing the periodic production constraints that go with that growth. As the new plant comes online, I think XC90 sales will recover within the next 6 months and Volvo will set another overall sales record in 2017. With two hot SUV’s and another new one coming soon, how can they miss?

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    12 I’ll be contributing gas tax to Indiana in a couple days with my Corvette and other vehicles.

    My hybrid will stay in Florida, but if in Indiana, I wouldn’t get free electricity. It burns gas.

  15. Bob Wilson Says:

    We replaced two Prius hybrids last year with a BMW i3-REx and Prius Prime, both with dynamic cruise control and collision avoidance.

    The plug-in hybrids give the efficiency of an EV in town and long legs of a gas car. The Prime gave 55.7 MPG on a 1200 mile trip to drive home and the BMW 168 hp, rear wheel drive is a delight. The only weaknesses are the BMW has motorcycle gas range before refueling on the highway and the Prime encourages use of free chargers when doing multiple errands in town. Both have gas when chargers are few and far between.

    Both provide excellent value for what are now $20k cars.

    Bob Wilson

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    15 I would have gotten a prime, even though I wouldn’t have a place to plug in while in Florida, because it apparently gets the same mpg as a regular prius on gas only, except they don’t sell them here. Actually, you get better mileage on the highway than I do, but I probably drive too fast.

    Are there any aftermarket “big gas tanks” for the i3 REx? I’d think there would be a market, if there is a place to put it. I suspect that car is mainly used on plug-in power, though.

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I just drove about 600 miles on I-95, I-10, and I-75. I saw 4 Tesla S’s, twice as many as I’ve seen before in one day. Two were near Daytona, one near Palm Bay, and one in southern Georgia on I-75. The thing that stood out, was that all were running in probably the bottom quartile of speed. Would they need to do that to safely make it between “superchargers” on a highway trip?

  18. Bob Wilson Says:

    #16 asked,”Are there any aftermarket “big gas tanks” for the i3 REx?” That is one of my retirement projects. I already have a 2 gallon auxiliary tank that fits in the frunk. More about this later.

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #18 Good luck with your project. There should be a market for it.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Ford Motor Is Replacing Mark Fields as C.E.O.

  21. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Good article Kit,thanks.It looks like regular cars are being replaced by cuv/suv.That’s what the people want,that’s what they get.I wonder if it continue to boil down to cuv’s/suv’s/pickups only?

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I just drove from Cape Canaveral, FL, to Kokomo, IN, and it seemed like 3/4 of the vehicles on the interstates were SUV/CUV’s, and empty pickups. I was driving my Corvette, which doesn’t get Prius mpg, but it would be an economy car at 80 mph, compared to most of what I saw on the road.

  23. Marshall Says:

    Not surprised that XC90 sales peaked and are now dropping. I followed a users forum on the latest generation XC90. People who bought the vehicle and had it a while reported so many electrical gremlins and build issues. I’ve always felt that the X90 was rushed to market early, before the engineers had enough to fully develop the vehicle.