The month of June saw the sales of Nissan reach a moderately acceptable level considering the fact that they did not reach the heights they set in May. Nevertheless, Nissan was still able to post the highest level of hybrid car sales in the market. Nissan reported to have sold an estimated 2,347 Nissan Leafs. This is a remarkable feat in the eyes of the management at Nissan. This figure was only 770 shy off the high figures that were reported in May. It is encouraging to note that this number was an increase by about 5.5 percent over last year’s June results.
The June sales reported by Nissan mean that the company has been able to make sales of up to 12,673 since it started this line of vehicles. This further increased the gap between the other car manufacturers in the market such as the Chevrolet Volt and other major electric car manufacturers. This is also the 16th consecutive month where Leaf has continued to post record sales. This means that the deliveries of Leaf have increased by more than a third over the same period last year.
Chevrolet has not been able to record as much success in the industry as Nissan. Chevrolet still remained a third down in their June sales. The encouraging thing is that their sales have been relatively consistent over the months. Their Volt 2014 by June had sold a total of about 8,600 cars and over the past 43 months, they have been able to sell over 63 thousand vehicles. This is encouraging because it shows some signs of consistency in their market share. Chevrolet started offering the Spark EV in its plug-in car production line. Though there have not been reports of this additional feature improving the Chevrolet sales, the company remains optimistic that it will help improve the sales strength in the next few years.
Another electric car in the market that consumers should be watching out for is the BMW i3. The company recorded improved sales levels from the month of May. An estimated 38 cars were sold into the market. This was an improvement of 22 units from the previous month. This means that the company has so far sold about 694 cars this year.
These figures point towards a market that is continual adoption of greener cars in the market. With the increased environmental awareness and the rising cost of energy, the demand for green cars has been projected to keep increasing. The companies investing in green cars are also bound to benefit from their investment in research in this field.
July 25, 2014
The Supreme Court in California recently made a ruling that would appease many fans pushing for the adoption of greener cars in the transport industry. The California Supreme Court decided to decline an appeal made by the oil and ethanol production companies to amend the Low Carbon Fuel Standards (LCFS). This means that the LCFS has once again overcome one big stumbling block in their quest to advocate for the adoption of cleaner fuels in state trucks and cars. With the increasing level of climate change and the greenhouse effect that is being felt in the world, there is a justifiable course to have such measures taken. Oil and ethanol companies contribute to a great amount of greenhouse effect in the world.
LCFS has developed performance based standards that help regulate and check the standards of fuel that is distributed in the state of California. This ensures that the fuel is green from the time of production to the time that the fuel is used. These standards were developed back in 2007 and were signed by Arnold Schwarzenegger who was the governor of California at the time. These standards were developed to mostly try reducing the level of carbon produced by motor vehicles into the atmosphere by 10 per cent by the year 2020. This vision seems to be firmly on course to succeed with this court ruling.
The oil and ethanol companies have so far found alternative greener sources of energy in an attempt to comply with these standards. These companies have been able to develop and sell more biofuels and natural gas used in many cars around the region. It is interesting to note that the state of Washington also adopted the standard in the past few months. These standards were brought in an attempt to reduce the cost of climate change problems by about 10 billion by 2020.
The big oil and ethanol producers moved to court to argue that the standards placed unconstitutional burden on the out of state fuel producers. The companies demanded a review on the standards to loosen the demands placed on them. The Supreme Court however declined their application and referred the case back to the district court for trial. Though the war is still far from over, there is high hope that the LCFS is going to still emerge victorious. Their victory will also mean that there will be increased demand for hybrid cars, which are considered more environmentally friendly and more fuel efficient than their gasoline counterparts.
July 25, 2014
Investors are increasingly looking onto technology as an enabler for their business. The advancement of the mobile technology has allowed for investors to start looking at the possibilities of having a mobile solution to help drive their investments. Billions of dollars are currently being invested in the ‘connected vehicle.’ Investors see this as the next big digital playing ground. Most people around the world still don’t have much information about what it will mean to have a connected vehicle.
Central to this technology is having an embedded connectivity solution that allows humble network-accessible SIM cards to gain access to the Internet from a vehicle at any time and from any location around the world. Most of the vehicle manufacturers now believe that the advent of smartphones is going to revolutionize the transport industry. Giant strides have already been made towards using technology to make vehicles more fuel efficient, and safe.
Connectivity will involve automating the manner in which emergency services are accessed in the event of an accident. Under a new legislation to be introduced by the European Union, all cars will be fitted with an eCall device. This technology will work in such a way that when the vehicle is involved in an accident, the car will automatically contact the nearest hospital and report the incident. The exact location of the vehicle will also be sent automatically to the hospital.
The cash rich telecommunication companies who will be able to afford these services will roll this new technology into the high-end market. This is because such solutions are initially expected to be expensive and expensive solutions are usually expected to yield equally expensive products. Eventually, a majority of the connectivity software is expected to be installed in the more cost efficient vehicles that interface with the Internet. There is also the possibility that the mobile services providers will try to control the market price, but the price will definitely level up in the long run.
The growing number of budget eco-friendly hybrid cars being sold around the world is expected to have a big influence on this technology. This will help in the elimination of the contract based technology to allow users to use their own SIM cards. This means that it’s now a matter of time before cars will be sold coupled with connectivity equipment.
The smartphone app culture is also infiltrating the market at a very fast rate. There are applications for doing everything from finding parking to finding your favourite restaurant. This will make the future car a smarter car, which will definitely be an exciting achievement.
July 18, 2014
The Volvo XC90 is set for an official release later sometime towards the end of this year and there is already a lot of excitement about this car. The vehicle is set to offer a combination of clean operation and power to its users. This is a 4-wheel drive car with a seating capacity of up to seven people. The car is loaded with a 400-horsepower engine with recorded carbon dioxide emissions of up to 60 g/km. This is the first SUV in the market with such a low emission of CO2 in the market.
The major competition for the XC90 will be the recently released Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, which has about 161 horsepower and has carbon dioxide emissions of about 44 g/km. The XC90 makes no compromises between the power and the CO2 emissions. With the XC90 you will be able to enjoy high engine power while maintaining low carbon dioxide emissions. This would definitely be great news for consumers who are interested in environmental conservation, but would like to have an elegant car at the same time.
This new model gives its users a number of Drive-E engine options that are very unique in the sense that they all have four-cylinder engines. This engine design also contains a family of intelligent petrol and diesel engines that provides very exciting levels of driveability and fuel economy. Volvo has devised a technology that allows for a four-cylinder engine to provide all the driving needs associated with a relatively larger engine. The Drive E engine technology will also be introduced into the other vehicle brands manufactured by Volvo over the course of time.
All of the new XC90 to be rolled into the market will be labelled with the badge T8 and will all be plug in hybrid cars. The car works in a manner that the driver only uses the default hybrid mode while driving. The car has a two-litre engine and a four-cylinder supercharged Drive E engine that comes into play when the airflow around the car increases.
Another fascinating fact about the car is the fact the driver can easily switch between the emission free city driving and the combined capacity of petrol and electric motor mode. The pure electric power mode has a driving range of about 25 miles. The combined capacity mode provides an output of about 400 horsepower and 640 Nm of torque.
It will also be of interest to note that the Volvo XC90 is good in class fuel consumption with a combined mileage of 47 mpg.
July 18, 2014
Hyundai recently rolled out their hydrogen fuel-cell hybrid cars and other companies such as Toyota and Honda are likely to follow suit within the coming years. The first vehicle within this category was released in May 2014 and Toyota has made clear its intentions to bring to market its own version of hydrogen-powered vehicles to selected dealerships in California around the same time next year. The Honda FCEV concept displayed during the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show and it is expected to launch sometime in 2016.
These fuel cell cars are going to be offered only in the state of California and the plan is to have a massive market rollout even if it is not profitable in the short run. This is a common strategy used in market penetration. There is however a new incentive to motivate motor vehicle manufacturers to venture into this line of business and offer hydrogen vehicles. The state of California is putting policies in place that give preferential treatment to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. This is because these vehicles meet the state requirement for zero-pollution emission vehicles.
The state put in place rules that credit ratings depending on the emissions that these cars produce. Hydrogen powered automakers earn more points compared to most gasoline powered vehicle manufacturers. This is because they earn extra points for every emission free car that they roll out into the road. Hydrogen powered vehicles also get more points because of their range and the higher speed of refuelling that they have compared to battery-powered vehicles. The next step will be to create the public awareness on why these cars should exist. This knowledge will enable consumers to get an understanding on why these cars are in the market and why the manufacturers and the state in general are advocating for their adoption.
The major car manufacturing companies such as Honda, Hyundai, and Toyota have been strongly advocating for the adoption of the hydrogen fuel cells as the best source of green energy. These companies argue that electric cars have not been well received into the market and as such, they may not be able to meet the needs and uses of American drivers. It is encouraging to note that the state of California is also of the same opinion because if the efforts that have been seen on the ground. When this policy comes into full effect, the state will have set a great example for most of the other states in the country.
July 11, 2014
Most car buyers in the market today are very cautious about the gas mileage of the cars they are shopping for. This can be attributed to the ever-increasing cost of fuel and the increasing awareness about environmental pollution. Most focus gradually, shifting towards the adoption of hybrid cars that try to strike a balance between the two. As a buyer looking to cut down your gas mileage you can look at the latest hybrid car models or even the latest electric car in the market, such as the Nissan Leaf. Below are some of the most efficient compact cars in the market today.
1. Honda Civic HF
These vehicles boast of a combined mileage of 35 mpg, with 31 mpg in the city and 41 mpg in the highway. The 2014 Honda tops the list for its high mileage, as well as its desirability. The vehicle trades its economy figures with the Corolla LE Eco, but beats it in terms of its better city figure. The vehicle goes for approximately $20,730, which is relatively more expensive compared to the Corolla of the same calibre.
2. 2014 Toyota Corolla LE Eco
The vehicle boasts of a combined mileage of 25 mpg, with 30 mpg in the city and 42 mpg in the highway. Just like the Honda, the Corolla LE Eco uses a 1.8 litre four-cylinder gasoline engine that is able to provide continuous energy transmission to maximize on the economy. Just like the Honda, this is a very interesting vehicle to drive and comes at an approximate cost of about $19,900.
3. The 2014 Mazda 3
This one comes with a combined mileage of 34 mpg, with 30 mpg and 41 mpg in the city and highway respectively. The Mazda 3 boasts of the new 3’s chassis, which is definitely a driving experience you would love to have. This however, doesn’t come at the expense of fuel efficiency, as it is common in most car designs. The manual transmission design is usually better since it comes with even higher gas mileage.
This one records a combined gas mileage of 34 mpg, with 30 mpg in the city and 40 mpg in the highway. This model is relatively dull compared to the Mazda 3. The vehicle is designed to give a peppy low-down response while giving priority to the fuel economy. The car comes at a cost of approximately $18,000.
July 11, 2014
Toyota has for a long time been investing in Lithium Air batteries as a possible candidate for future electric cars. This is because of their high density, stability, and low weight. However, the company does not expect to move into commercial production for on these batteries for another 15 years. They have found an alternative power source that could rival the Lithium Air batteries. These are new solid state lithium ion batteries. The future strongly seems to be headed in this direction because of the major advantages that this technology has when compared to what is currently in the market.
According to reports by the Green Car Congress, the prototype cells that were released by Toyota had a density of 400 Wh/L. This rating is lower than those recorded by the Lithium Air battery prototype. However, the positive news is that there is still time for further development of this type of battery. With time, these batteries are likely to beat all competition in the market.
Solid state batteries use a solid electrolyte in place of the traditional liquid electrolyte that is used n conventional cars. This brings up a number of advantages such as the elimination of risk of electrolyte leakage and improved thermal stability of the solid electrolyte. Researchers have also discovered that solid state batteries are able to maintain a longer life cycle and have improved packaging efficiency compared to other batteries in the market. The packaging efficiency is as a result of their cell design that makes it possible for in-series stacking and bi-polar structures. This greatly reduces the dead space that is usually found between cells. It is also easier for the designers to improve the battery density for certain size of batteries.
One of the limitations that solid state drives had in the past is the high transfer resistance between the cathode and the solid state electrolyte. Researchers have recently devised a way of working around this limitation. This is through the use of sulphide-based electrolytes. The prototype from Toyota for the solid state battery is currently very undeveloped since it can only power a small scooter bike . The good news is that the scooter can move and serves a perfect example of how this technology can change the future. In the meantime, more research is being invested in this technology to ensure that it defines the next generation of cutting edge power. The solid state batteries and the Lithium Air batteries will certainly define the future of the lithium ion batteries.
July 4, 2014
The concept of capacitors in the industry had just been introduced and it us unbelievable how this technology has brought about a revolution in the motor vehicle industry. This technology has further been improved by making it smaller and more efficient, sufficient to be referred to as a super capacitor. The concept of super capacitors is now being applied in the manufacture of some hybrid car models in the market. The concept of super capacitors has mostly been pushed by Toyota. This has made most of the industry stakeholders the impression that the future of the Toyota Prius is indeed bright.
Toyota is most likely to apply the electric motor technology that has been used in the Le Mans Toyota motor vehicles such as the TS040. This technology is definitely going to be used in future versions of hybrid cars to be rolled into the market.
Super capacitors are very commonly used in racecars. This is because they are very effective in storing energy generated by the vehicle when it is braking and quickly redistributes it when the vehicle is accelerating. Stakeholders at Toyota expect to roll out this technology in the Prius hybrid within the next five years.
The Toyota spokeswoman, Amanda Rice, recently stated that the Le Mans racer car provides a perfect lab environment for the hybrid vehicle and component development. The superconductor technology that is used in super capacitors, with its discharge and charging capability provides the possibility for developing a car for the mass market. This means that the Toyota Prius of the future will have relatively smaller electric motors with increased power density and thermal efficiency. This is sure to be a market leader in the future.
This year, Toyota entered two car models into the Le Mans race. One of the vehicles was doing very well and had even secured itself the pole position before quitting the race after 15 hours. The reason cited for the quitting was an electrical fault. The race was eventually won by Audi. This was the 13th time that the car has won in the French car endurance competition. Despite the disappointment by Toyota, the race has provided a great platform for further improvements to be made on its technologies. With the application of superconductor technology in less stressful normal-car conditions, it is sure going to be a great success story for Toyota.
July 4, 2014
The Automobile Association of America (AAA) recently released the annual Green Car Guide for motor vehicle enthusiasts. The guide is a detailed 140-page document that gives an insight into what it means to be green, how to shop for green cars, what green cars are available in the market and even how to be a greener driver. It is therefore safe to say that the AAA is a trusted source when it comes to matters of green cars. AA A has established itself over time as the most credible and accurate source of information in the green car industry. The guide also takes an in-depth analysis of over 83 different types of green vehicles in the market. These usually range from high mileage gasoline vehicles to hybrid vehicles. According to the AAA, the most efficient green car in the market is the Tesla Model S.
There are two major baselines that are used to rank these vehicles to determine their level of “greenness.” These include the emissions of the vehicle together with the fuel economy of the car. In both categories, the Tesla was graded 10 out of 10. This is despite the vehicle having a battery capacity of 85-kWh. Other categories used in the evaluation of these vehicles include braking, visibility, ride quality, acceleration, interior size, luggage capacity, crash worthiness, slalom handling, interior noise, ease of entry and exit, and turning circle. It is interesting to note that the Tesla scored over 7 out of 10 points in all of the categories except the last four. This means that the rankings do not exclusively look at the greenest car, but the most all rounded car in the market. This is exactly what most consumers in the market are often looking for.
On top of the tests carried out to determine the greenest cars, the AAA also caries out research on the cost per point for the cars. According to the evaluations recorded by the AAA, the highest rank went to the gasoline powered Chevrolet Spark, which had one liter at $229 per point. It is disappointing to note that the Tesla was among the bottom five in this category with a value of $953 per point. This means that the best green car also come at a price to the consumer.
There are other evaluations out in the market also used to determine the best green cars. Other bodies such as the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) also release similar rankings regularly.
June 30, 2014
It is no doubt that the highest selling electric car in the market is currently the Nissan Leaf. This has been attributed to a number of factors; most importantly cost being one of them. The Nissan Leaf has managed to reduce its cost of acquisition by eliminating the active cooling system for its lithium-ion battery pack, which significantly reduces the cost of manufacture. The new design Nissan to be rolled into the market has a slightly different design than the conventional Leaf. This is because it makes use of the electric air conditioning of the vehicle to route cold air through the battery management system of the van when the management system of the car detects that it needs to do so. This bespoke cooling pack will be used during quick charging, which usually produces a lot of heat as the battery is recharged within a short time.
The system is also expected to increase the lifespan of the battery by wafting warm air over it. This helps in keeping the battery at the best operating temperature, which reduces discharging. This new battery design will be most helpful to taxis that are often on the road for up to 10 hours in a day and have to endure fast DC charging up to four times a daily.
The vehicle heating, ventilating and air-conditioning system has been used by other companies in the market in the design of their hybrid vehicles. Some of the top companies that have already tried out this technology include BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. It is interesting to note that this technology does stand in contrast with the design approach used in Leaf. The Leaf approach uses only passive conditioning, which means that the battery sheds heat by simply releasing it to the atmosphere.
There is some resistance to this technology from a small vocal group of Nissan Leaf owners in the hot climate areas such as Phoenix, Arizona where temperatures often reach as much as 160 F. These consumers are complaining that their batteries are losing their capacity quicker than expected. This has forced Nissan to rethink the chemical composition of their lithium-ion cell batteries to be able to tolerate higher temperatures. The rolling out of the thermally managed battery back with the e-NV200 has been seen by many as the solution to the problems that have been experienced thus far. The upgrade is expected to be applied on the larger pack sizes of batteries because these are the ones expected to be spending more time on the road. This means more utilization of their potential.
June 30, 2014