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What Makes a City Smart?

The outlines of an autonomous car, 2017 (Photo by Automobile Italia) Creative Commons License via Flickr.

The outlines of an autonomous car, 2017 (Photo by Automobile Italia) Creative Commons License via Flickr.

By Sunny Lewis

NEW YORK, New York, October 2, 2018 (Maximpact.com News) – By 2050 cities are forecast to be inhabited by 6.5 billion people, and making cities smarter to accommodate the population boom is on the minds of transportation experts around the world.

Intelligent traffic management systems, connected and autonomous electric vehicles, ride-hailing services, parking apps and all-electric public transit and commercial fleets promise benefits such as less congestion, improved access to transit and better air quality.

Cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) will serve as the foundation for vehicles to communicate with each other and everything around them, providing 360º non-line-of-sight awareness and a higher level of predictability for enhanced road safety and autonomous driving.

Smart City creation is dependent on the same technologies underlying the Internet of Things (Iot).

The IoT is expected to transform mobility with more ride-sharing, less road congestion and greater mobility for the disabled. Commercial fleets can run at non-peak hours, and autonomous vehicles operating through the IoT will use roads more efficiently, giving commuters more free time.

“Code is the new concrete for 21st century cities and we need a digital infrastructure to share data and create safer and more sustainable streets,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, a former commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation in the Bloomberg administration, and an advisor on transportation and urban issues.

Sadik-Khan supports the SharedStreets platform first funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies and developed by the National Association of City Transportation Officials and the Open Transport Partnership.

SharedStreets is a neutral, anonymous clearinghouse for data collected by transportation providers, private companies and government agencies. It is a hub for data analysis, traffic planning, street design and development of new technologies for a smarter future.

“The SharedStreets platform offers cities and private sector players a powerful new data sharing tool to make that future possible,” says Sadik-Khan.

C40 Cities estimates that the global smart city market is expected to grow to $1.6 trillion within the next three years. But it will take citizen engagement, data sharing, and collaborations of all kinds, whether city-city, city-state, city-federal or public-private.

From Australia, Zoe Eather, host of The Smart City Podcast  and founding member of Smart Cities Council Emerging Innovators, says, “Smart will look different in different places, different projects and from different perspectives, but essentially we need to co-create a shared vision. A vision that is Smart, a vision where we focus on what the community wants/needs/desires and a vision where we utilize the most relevant and appropriate technology to enable this. We do this to make cities, spaces and places more accessible, livable and just cool places to be.”

Smart City Events This Fall Worldwide

  • Smart Cities Week is happening October 2-4 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC, organized by the Smart Cities Council.

This year’s theme is Collaboration: the cornerstone of the smart city.

Tracks this year include: Re-imagining transportation, Enlightened financing, The smart workforce, Data for civic good, and Smart infrastructure. All five tracks include sessions highlighting collaborations between city and city, city and state, city and federal, and public-private.

Jesse Berst, founder and chairman, Smart Cities Council, has explained smart cities this way, “You’re not really a Smart City until you’ve made all the aspects of urban life smart and you’ve interconnected them all. We’re not there yet; in each of those individual silos there are wonderful examples, but we haven’t put it all together. It’ll be 20 or 30 years and it’ll be an ongoing journey.”

Washington is not the only Smart Cities Week the Council is hosting. Smart Cities Week Silicon Valley took place May 7-9 in Santa Clara, California, attended by mayors from across the USA. A workshop on using the science of wellbeing to guide the evolution of a smart city was one of the most popular as participants learned how cities can leverage the power of data to improve livability, workability and sustainability.

  • On October 3-4 the TU-Automotive West Coast Conference is scheduled for San Jose, California in Silicon Valley. The event is organized by KNect365, a division of Informa, a multinational events and publishing company based in London, UK.

Public-private data partnerships are on the agenda, as is a workshop titled, Edge v Cloud: Processing the Data Hoard, which focuses on the transfer of data to make real-time decisions in connected and autonomous vehicles.

There’s a lot of interest in a workshop called, Blockchain: From Hype to Application, which will explore what Blockchain is and what this technology brings when applied to connected cars and mobility solutions.

Participants will learn how Blockchain allows the creation of digital ledgers with un-tamperable data, increasing transparency, security and preventing counterfeits by techniques such as putting tags in products.

They will learn to use Blockchain’s decentralization properties, how a network of nodes opens up to third parties and new services, and the benefits of running in totally decentralized ways.

  • On October 16-17, the ADAS and Autonomous Vehicles USA Conference is taking place at the Suburban Collection Showplace, a convention and expo center in Novi, Michigan, 20 miles west-northwest of Metro Detroit.

ADAS stands for advanced driver-assistance systems, and the event will focus on “the here and now of self-driving technology,” organizers say.

  • At the end of October, for three days, October 29-31, the Smart Cities Council is hosting Smart Cities Week Australia, in Sydney. The event will be filled with boardroom discussions on the smart state, cybersecurity, digital built environment and innovation districts; masterclasses on building your IoT strategy, creating public places and spaces of the future and engaging in next generation utilities; a showcase stage for innovators; and a research forum bringing government, academia and industry together to explore the role of research in accelerating smart cities.
  •  Smart Cities Summit is planned for October 29-30 in Atlanta, Georgia. This event, too, is organized by KNect365.

For the first time, Smart Cities Summit will be co-located with Internet of Things (IoT) events – both Industrial IoT World and the IoT Blockchain Summit, to provide more opportunities for shared learning and networking.

The Summit will explore 10 steps to smart city readiness; public-private partnerships, sustainable infrastructure, 5G, and ecomobility. Speakers will share insights on new disruptive technologies, innovation procurement and bringing together small and large cities to build on collaboration.

The event will focus on what makes a city more livable, sustainable, resilient, inclusive and smarter with a focus on people. It is intended to reinforce the smart community all over the world.

Five main topics are on the agenda: Digital Transformation, Urban Environment, Mobility, Governance and Finance, and Inclusive and Sharing Cities.

The Smart Mobility Congress, the International Integrated Water Cycle Show (Iwater), the Circular Economy European Summit and the Sharing Cities Summit will be held in parallel to the SCEWC, creating synergies between the co-located events.

“It’s the place to find ways together with cities to accelerate the deployment of smart city projects,” says Ralf Nejedl, senior vice president B2B Europe, Deutsche Telekom.

Smart City Explorations

“With the emergence of shared autonomous mobility, connected infrastructure, and smart city technologies, the prospects for an urban intermodal transportation ecosystem that is faster, cheaper, cleaner, and safer appear to be just over the horizon,” writes Doug Peeples, a Portland, Oregon-based writer, on the Smart Cities Council website.

Cities throughout the world have many approaches to integrated mobility:

In September 2016, New York City advanced to phases 2 and 3 of the Connected Vehicle Pilot program managed by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office, a national effort to deploy, test, and activate mobile and roadside technologies and enable multiple connected vehicle applications.

Phase 2 was a 20-month period to design, build, and test the wireless in-vehicle, mobile device, and roadside technologies. Phase 3 is an 18-month evaluation period where the effectiveness of the deployment will be tested. Both phases are being carried out on a $18.6 million award from the U.S. DOT under the Obama Administration.

Columbus, Ohio, winner of the U.S. DOT’s Smart City Challenge, will build a Smart Columbus Operating System to provide near-real-time data on traffic conditions throughout the city. The city will later expand the system to all smart city operations and services.

Singapore’s Intelligent Transport System keeps tabs on traffic congestion charges and electronic road pricing and monitors traffic with road sensors and GPS apps in taxis, and sends the information to a control center that relays that information to travelers.

Residents of Helsinki, Finland can use Whim, a Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) app, that allows them to plan their trips and pay for their rides – be it a bike, train, taxi, bus or car share.

The city of Cascais, Portugal, a popular travel destination, offers a similar service for residents and visitors. Several cities and private sector operators are looking at ways to adopt MaaS to their unique circumstances.

The city of Olympia, Washington, in April launched new parking management software and technology to make it easier for citizens to pay for parking permits and apply for them. The city is phasing in a Pay-by-Phone system that will allow payment by smart phone at city parking meters and notify users when the meter is about to expire so they can add time remotely.

The city of Dallas, Texas, is exploring ways to integrate smart technologies into street rehabilitation projects that could include smart-powered lanes to provide in-road charging for electric vehicles. Other options are traffic controls that regulate traffic lights according to traffic flow and LED street lights equipped with multiple sensors.

Chicago and AT&T have been working together on approaches and technologies to make the city more connected, smarter, livable and manageable. Chicago was one of the first cities selected for the smart cities program the company launched last year.

AT&T and Chicago will field test smart transit shelters that include free WiFi, digital displays that track and update bus arrival times and intelligent lighting. Smart kiosks will offer USB charging ports and touch screens that provide travel, weather and public safety information. For the pilot, three bus shelters and five kiosks will be installed around the city.

RUGGEDISED is a smart city project funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. It brings together three lighthouse cities: Rotterdam, Netherlands; Glasgow, Scotland; and Umeå, Sweden and three follower cities: Brno, Czech Republic; Gdansk, Poland; and Parma, Italy to test, implement and accelerate the smart city model across Europe.

Working in partnership with businesses and research centers, these six cities will demonstrate how to combine  information and communications technology (ICT), ecomobility and energy solutions to design smart, resilient cities.

“In order for urban data platforms to progress, cities must bridge this gap and have a clear vision about how to take the platform beyond just making data sources available, by connecting data sources with app developers and enabling the creation and exchange of value on the platform,” says Dr. Haydee Sheombar, research consultant and coach at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM).

Data from 34 European cities’ urban data platforms have been gathered and analyzed on the stage of development, the vision behind these platforms, the design of business and technology, implementation barriers and accelerators, and the platforms’ use and impact.

Each urban data platform exploits modern digital technologies to integrate data flows within and across city systems. They make data resources accessible to participants in a city’s ecosystem.

“Both technical and social contracts are crucial,” says RSM MSc student Denis Ceric, who researched citizen engagement in urban platforms in Rotterdam, Munich, and Barcelona. He says that before cities can encourage citizen engagement, their urban data platforms must first define the role of citizens and their understanding of ideas such as data ownership and privacy.

Connected vehicles communicate with each other and everything around them such as traffic lights, road signs and wearables. (Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Transportation) Public domain.

Connected vehicles communicate with each other and everything around them such as traffic lights, road signs and wearables. (Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Transportation) Public domain.

Mobility Providers Share Critical Data

Ford Motor Company and the ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft have made an unprecedented commitment to SharedStreets, a new data platform that makes it easier for the private sector to work with cities and leverage data to improve urban mobility.

The data sets pledged by the companies will provide the public and private sectors with new tools to manage curb space in order to reduce congestion and emissions that cause climate change; improve the efficiency of city streets by making it easier for everyone to get around; and save lives by preventing traffic crashes.

The public-private partnership is the result of a collaboration with NACTO, the Open Transport Partnership and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the consortium behind the innovative SharedStreets data platform.

This collaborative effort to build 21st-century streets was announced by Jim Hackett, Ford CEO; Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber, and John Zimmer, Co-founder and President of Lyft, on September 26 at the second annual Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York City.

The partnership gives mayors unparalleled access to road traffic data, allowing them to make better planning and investment decisions as shared and autonomous mobility arrive in their cities.

The agreement also fills a long-missing link for mobility companies by providing a common standard for sharing data across all cities, where local requirements vary widely.

Launched earlier this year with funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies, SharedStreets is a universal data language for sharing information about city streets and a launching pad for public-private collaboration to manage streets, reduce traffic deaths, and prepare cities for the unprecedented technological advancement emerging in cities.

Already operating in over 30 cities around the world, the SharedStreets platform and this new partnership will provide city leaders with far-reaching new instruments for managing transportation networks.

Under the new partnership, Uber and Lyft will release vehicle speed data from cities around the world. With this data, cities can identify exactly where people are speeding or driving dangerously, so that they can redesign streets and save lives.

Uber will include this speed data in an update of its open-source Kepler.gl tool, providing cities everywhere with innovative new tools for data visualization and information sharing.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for business and government to work together to rethink transportation,” said Hackett. “Collaborating through initiatives such as Shared Streets will enable us to use vehicles, road systems and data together to create a new roadmap for mobility. We are working toward a future where all cities are smart and curb space is actively managed, increasing efficiency and safety, while reducing driver stress and pollution.”

For the first time, the SharedStreets platform overcomes long-standing legal, regulatory and technological barriers between the public and private sectors by converting today’s ad hoc, disparate transportation data sources into a mutually readable, shared, global standard.

“The private and public sectors need to come together and collaborate on ways to create smarter, safer and more efficient transportation systems,” said Uber’s Khosrowshahi. “It’s the responsibility of companies like ours to step up and support cities in every way we can – whether that’s through data sharing, urban planning research, funding for nonprofits, or even through the introduction of new and more efficient forms of transportation like electric bicycles.”

“Lyft is in a unique position to drive positive change within our cities, and we take that responsibility seriously” said Lyft’s Zimmer. “We look forward to collaborating with regulators to expand affordable mobility options, taking cars off the road and reducing congestion, and ultimately reshaping cities around people – not cars.”

In addition to launching the new tools and partnerships, NACTO, representing 74 cities and transit agencies across North America, and global cities from Paris to Melbourne, formally endorsed the data sharing policies of SharedStreets, committing to working collaboratively with the private sector.

Michael Bloomberg said, “Ride-share and auto companies have been gathering an enormous amount of data on transportation and traffic. Now, cities will be able use it to find new ways to manage congestion, reduce carbon emissions, prevent traffic crashes, and prepare for the arrival of autonomous vehicles.”

5G, the Key to Smart Cities

Fast download speeds are the start; the fifth-generation wireless network can put smart city transformation into overdrive.

The next big leap in telecommunications, 5G performance targets include high data rate, reduced latency, energy saving, cost reduction, higher system capacity and massive device connectivity.

T-Mobile US has plans to build 5G networks in 30 cities this year and launch those commercially in 2019.

In Sweden, the RUGGEDISED Lighthouse city of Umeå has been chosen as the country’s first 5G city. Erasmus University will be the first 5G university in Europe.

5G technology can manage large amounts of data in new and more advanced ways. It gives extremely fast connections with very low delay and improved security compared to what current networks can offer, at a lower cost with reduced energy consumption.

“5G is a big leap in wireless communications that will open up a world in which everything can communicate with each other,” says Channa Seneviratne, executive director of network infrastructure engineering at Telstra, Australia’s largest telecommunications company.

Seneviratne says 5G is fundamental to autonomous vehicles because, “AVs will be able to connect with everything around them such as traffic lights, road signs and wearables, and make better safety decisions as a result.”

Seneviratne says 5G networks will “bring the smart city to life.”


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Innovative Cars for a Better World

An artist's rendition of how the Ford connected car of the future will use Qualcomm technology to connected with everything. (Image courtesy Ford Motor Company Inc. (Posted for media use)

An artist’s rendition of how the Ford connected car of the future will use Qualcomm technology to connected with everything. (Image courtesy Ford Motor Company Inc. (Posted for media use)

By Sunny Lewis

LAS VEGAS, Nevada, January 11, 2018 (Maximpact.com News) – With cars that can read a driver’s mind, and cars equipped with Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology, automakers from around the world are not waiting for this year’s auto shows to roll out their latest high-tech advances. They’re showcasing the technology behind their connected, electric vehicles at the first big show of 2018, the Consumer Electronics Show, now known as CES.

Nissan, Ford and Kia are among the automakers recognized for breakthrough technologies at CES in Las Vegas, the four-day exhibition, January 9-12, which has attracted more than 184,000 industry professionals, including more than 58,000 from outside the United States.

CES aspires to jump-start the future of innovation. The show features technologies from more than 3,900 companies, including some 900 startups, that organizers say will change the lives of people around the world.

The 2018 electric Nissan LEAF was named one of 30 “Best of Innovation” winners at this year’s CES, presented by the Consumer Technology Association.

The 2018 LEAF won the CES Best of Innovation award for Vehicle Intelligence and Self-Driving Technology and is also a CES honoree for Tech for a Better World.

Judged by a panel of independent industrial designers, engineers and members of the trade media, the CES Innovation Award entries are selected for outstanding design and engineering in consumer electronics products across 28 categories. They are evaluated on their engineering, aesthetic and design qualities, intended use and user value, unique or novel features and how the design and innovation of the product compares to other products in the marketplace.

“This award recognizes products and technologies that benefit people and the planet, so it is fitting that the new LEAF has been honored,” said Daniele Schillaci, Nissan’s executive vice president for global marketing and sales, zero-emission vehicles and battery business.

“It is more than just a car. It is the icon of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, our vision to move people to a better world,” he said.

With technology that reads a driver’s brain waves, Nissan is giving visitors to CES 2018 a glimpse of its vision for the future of mobility – more autonomy, more electrification and more connectivity.

Nissan’s pioneering Brain-to-Vehicle (B2V) technology interprets signals from the driver’s brain to assist with driving and to help the vehicle’s autonomous and manual systems learn from the driver. Nissan says the technology offers shorter reaction times and systems that adapt to maximize driving pleasure.

Nissan's award-winning 2018 electric LEAF in Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo courtesy Nissan) Posted for media use

Nissan’s award-winning 2018 electric LEAF in Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo courtesy Nissan) Posted for media use

The 2018 LEAF combines the excitement of 100 percent electric driving with advanced technologies such as ProPILOT Assist, e-Pedal and enhanced connectivity.

ProPILOT Assist is the foundation for the autonomous vehicles of the future, helping drivers maintain lane control, navigate stop-and-go traffic, maintain a set vehicle speed and maintain a set distance to the vehicle ahead – all with simple two-button operation.

“Nissan continues to democratize technology, bringing our most advanced systems to our highest volume models, rather than reserving them for our most expensive vehicles,” said Michael Bunce, vice president, Product Planning, Nissan North America, Inc.

Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett took the CES stage for the opening keynote to share his ideas for creating “the living street” and promoted a human-centered path for smartening our cities.

“It’s not about cities getting smarter, it’s about humans having a better day,” he said.

Ford introduced its new Transformation Mobility Cloud, an open platform designed to simplify the flow of data in support of transportation systems from vehicles and bicycles to mass transit.

As the automotive industry prepares for advancements towards 5G, Ford and Qualcomm Technologies plan to explore a next-generation telematics platform featuring Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology.

Using direct communication mode, C-V2X is designed to allow vehicles to directly communicate with other vehicles, pedestrian devices, and roadside infrastructure, such as traffic signs and construction zones, without the involvement of a cellular network, or cellular network subscription, facilitating the development and delivery of smart, connected transportation throughout the world.

“This relationship with Ford is part of a leading effort in the automotive industry in accelerating the adoption of Cellular-V2X into production vehicles and provide for enhanced safety, driver assistance and support for autonomous driving,” said Nakul Duggal, vice president of product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “Connectivity is the cornerstone for innovation in vehicles.”

For Mercedes-Benz, Las Vegas was the final stop of the “Intelligent World Drive,” with which the German automaker tested automated drive functions on all five continents.

On the last stages in California and Nevada, the Mercedes-Benz test vehicle collected U.S.-specific information for the further development of its driver assistance systems. The automated test drives in the greater Los Angeles area, and then to CES, focused on the assessment of driving behavior in dense city traffic and on highways.

The Mercedes-Benz stand at CES offers the world premiere of the intuitive and intelligent multimedia system MBUX – Mercedes-Benz User Experience. This system can learn, can be individualized and adapts to suit the user.

“With the new MBUX generation, we are transporting our user interface design into the digital world,” says Gorden Wagener, chief design officer at Mercedes-Benz parent company, Daimler AG. “We are thus transferring intelligent technology into an emotional overall experience.”

The Korean automaker Kia is showcasing interactive exhibits that allow visitors to experience Kia’s developing autonomous drive technologies through a Virtual Reality simulator, while experiencing a Vehicle to Everything (V2X) diorama demonstrating how cars could connect with other vehicles and the urban environment.

At CES, Kia is debuting the Niro EV Concept, powered by a next-generation electric vehicle powertrain with a real-time connection established between Las Vegas and Seoul, Korea. The 5G connection enables users to stream contents reliably into the car, linked to the exhibit’s infotainment system.

Dr. Woong-chul Yang, vice chairman and head of Kia’s R&D Center, said, “Boundless for all is Kia’s future vision – where everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the infinite value that future mobility will bring. This is Kia’s manifesto for its role as a mass mobility provider in the future.”

Kia plans to commercialize Level 4 autonomous driving technology, with ‘Smart City’ autonomous vehicle testing due to begin in 2021.

By 2025, Dr. Yang says Kia will adopt connected car technologies across every vehicle segment, and aims to make every single model a connected car by 2030.

Kia will introduce 16 new advanced powertrain vehicles by 2025, including a range of new hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, as well as a new fuel-cell electric vehicle in 2020.

An automotive-related award-winning innovation is the world’s first touchscreen with a 3D surface, by the German automotive manufacturing company Continental AG.

The company won the CES 2018 Best of Innovation Award in the “In-Vehicle Audio/Video” for its state of the art design and breakthrough technology.

The innovative 3D touch surface display can be operated intuitively, increasing safety. The 3D elements allow  finger guidance that users can actually feel.

“Our latest display solution combines three elements: design, safety and user experience. The 3D surface not only allows for exciting design, but it also ensures that drivers can operate the various functions without having to take their eyes off the road,” said Dr. Frank Rabe, head of the Instrumentation & Driver HMI business unit at Continental.

“The CES Innovation Awards honor technologies for the very highest standards of design and engineering prowess, so we are absolutely delighted to have received this award,” said Rabe.

But other breakthrough technologies also are being recognized as CES Innovation Award winners , such as: Siren Diabetic Socks made with miniature temperature sensors embedded into the fabric to help people with diabetes know when their feet are injured; the Samsung’s consumer micro LED TV; Aipoly’s Autonomous Store Platform, an automated convenience store; BUDDY, the first companion robot for the whole family; a 3D camera; Dell’s Ocean-Bound Plastics Packaging Program; NUVIZ, the first integrated head-up display for motorcyclists; and the EZVIZ Lookout Smart Door Viewer, that provides secure viewing of who is knocking at your door from anywhere through an app rather than having to physically walk up to the door to see who’s there.


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Demand for Electric Cars Hits New Highs

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Charging a Nissan LEAF in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (Photo courtesy Heijmans)

By Sunny Lewis

PALO ALTO, California, April 14, 2016 (Maximpact.com News) – Luxury electric automaker Tesla unveiled its latest model at a March 31 event, and demand was so strong for the $35,000 Tesla Model 3 that within the week 325,000 would-be customers purchased preorders at US$1,000 each.

The preorder offering raised US$14 billion, tweeted Tesla founder, chairman, CEO and product architect Elon Musk. He will use funds to finish building an enormous lithium-ion battery factory near Reno, Nevada and begin Model 3 production at the Tesla assembly plant in Fremont, California.

Everyone will have to be patient though – production of the Model 3 is not scheduled to begin until the second half of 2017.

The sheer number of Model 3 orders amazed many people including “EV World” publisher Bill Moore, who wrote to his newsletter subscribers, “The market’s not only ‘spoken,’ it bloody ROARED.”

“Fifteen years ago, some three years after I launched EV World,” wrote Moore, “there were maybe 5,000 OEM-built electric cars on the road in the United States; and roughly a comparable number in Europe, mainly in France.”

Now, he compared, “In just seven days time, Tesla now has pre-orders and $1000 deposits for more than 30 times the number of all the electric cars in the world back just over a decade and a half ago.”

Tesla Model 3s are revealed to an admiring crowd, March 31, 2016 (video courtesy Tesla Motors)

As of March 31, Tesla Motors had sold nearly 125,000 electric cars worldwide since delivery of its first Tesla Roadster in 2008.

The current world leader in zero-emission mobility, the Renault-Nissan Alliance, sold its 250,000th electric vehicle – a white Renault ZOE – in June 2015.

The 250,000th owner is Yves Nivelle, a computer engineer from Bordeaux, who traded in his 21-year-old diesel car for the subcompact Renault ZOE.

Nivelle bought his EV after the French government introduced an environmental bonus in April 2015 to allow owners of older, polluting diesel cars to trade them in and get a rebate of €10,000 on a new electric vehicle.

“The government’s environmental bonus was a big factor in my decision to get an EV,” Nivelle said. “But I have to say, I was convinced the first time I drove the car. It’s a real pleasure to drive and it feels good to do my part for the environment.”

Watch a video  of Nivelle getting into his historic Renault ZOE at the dealership. Renault Nissan Bordeaux

In addition to the LEAF, Nissan also makes the e-NV200 van, which has been on sale in Europe and Japan since 2014. In addition to the ZOE, Renault also sells the Renault Kangoo Z.E van, the SM3 Z.E. sedan and the Twizy, a two-seater urban commuter vehicle.

“Demand for our electric vehicles continues to grow thanks to government incentives and the expanding charging infrastructure,” said Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, formed in 1999.

“The positive response of our customers is also driving demand. These vehicles enjoy some of the highest levels of satisfaction rates from our customers around the world,” Ghosn said.

As public fast-charging infrastructure proliferates so that a nearly full charge is possible in less than half an hour at many locations, and electric vehicle batteries offer ranges up to 250 miles on a single charge, public acceptance of EVs grows stronger.

An all-electric vehicle offering more than 200 miles of range per charge for an affordable price in the neighborhood of US$30,000 – that’s what a growing segment of the driving public wants and an increasing number of automakers are answering that demand.

There are more than 20 models of electric vehicles on the market today, including, among others, the Chinese BYD e6, the Chevrolet Spark EV, Fiat 500e, Kia Soul EV, India’s Mahindra Reva e2o, all Mercedes B-class cars, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the Smart EV, Volvo’s XC90 T8 and the VW e-Golf.

Across the industry, at least 24 newly announced electric vehicle models are expected to be on the market before 2019.

General Motors will have the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV for sale late this year; it offers 200 miles of range for about $30,000 after the federal government rebate.

GM head Mary Barra believes a real “revolution” is underway. She told the World Economic Forum annual meeting in January that soon petrol-fueled cars will be “a thing of the past.”

“In the auto industry, the revolution is being driven by the convergence of connectivity, electrification and changing customer needs,” Barra said. “It is allowing automakers like GM to develop dramatically cleaner, safer, smarter and more energy-efficient vehicles for customers in every market around the world.”

Ford delivered its first Focus E in 2011, but now has fallen behind. The 2017 Ford Focus Electric will have just 100 miles of range, according a Ford media presentation in Dearborn, Michigan last December.

But Ford will add DC fast charging to the car, so it can recharge to 80 percent of battery capacity in 30 minutes at a growing network of Combined Charging System sites in the USA and Europe.

Many other companies are jumping into the strengthening EV market.

At the 2016 Geneva International Motor Show, Hyundai Motor introduced the IONIQ – the world’s first model with three distinct electrified powertrains: the IONIQ Hybrid, the IONIQ Plug-in and the IONIQ Electric.

German automaker Audi is preparing its international production network to make autonomous cars, electric cars and hydrogen fuel cell cars.

Production of the first all-electric SUV from Audi will begin in Brussels in 2018, the company says. It will offer a range of more than 250 miles on a single charge. In a decade, the company projects, 25 percent of Audi’s sales will be electric vehicles.

As production increases, the market grows, especially in India and China.

India’s Minister of State for Power, Coal, and New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal wants to make every car on India’s roads an electric vehicle by 2030.

“We have created a working group under the leadership of Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, who is good at coming up with large scale programs. Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, and I are members of this group,” Goyal told a conference of Indian youth in late March.

Goyal suggested that drivers could buy bare bones electric cars with no money down. The buyers could pay for their EVs over time from the savings realized by not having to purchase fuel.

In China, electric car sales surged to 220,000 in 2015, surpassing the United States to rank first worldwide, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

BYD, which stands for Build Your Dream, sold more EVs than any other Chinese company in 2015. CAAM projects sales of 300,000 EVs in China this year.

Unveiling the Tesla Model 3, Musk addressed the underlying reason behind the rapidly electrifying auto industry.

“Why are we doing this? Why are we making electric cars? Why does it matter?” he asked.

“It’s very important to accelerate the transition to sustainable transport. It’s really important for the future of the world,” he answered his own question.

Musk is concerned about climate change. He pointed to the record high CO2 concentration in the atmosphere: as of March 2016 – 403.5 parts per million – and climbing.

“The last time there was this concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was 11 million years ago, when primates first started walking upright,” he told the crowd at the unveiling event, many of them owners of earlier and much more costly Teslas.

Tesla founder, chairman and CEO at the unveiling of the Tesla Model 3. (From video courtesy Tesla Motors)

Musk pointed to the Earth’s steadily rising temperature. He pointed to the fact that 53,000 people a year die in the United States alone from exposure to automobile emissions.

Musk is not alone in his concerns. And research shows that the growing popularity of electric vehicles can indeed help avert climate change.

In September 2015 the California-based Electric Power Research Institute and the U.S. nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) jointly released a study finding that widespread adoption of electric transportation, including the off-road sector, could lead to substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.

The report, “Environmental Assessment of a Full Electric Transportation Portfolio,” projects emissions through 2050 and air quality impacts in 2030.

It finds that greenhouse gas emissions from light-duty vehicles could drop as much as 64 percent below today’s levels as drivers abandon internal combustion engines in favor of electrics.

“This research points to the importance of two fundamental and parallel trends in energy and the environment,” said EPRI President and CEO Mike Howard. “First is the continuing decarbonization of the electricity sector and second is the electrification of energy use in transportation and industry.”