Chevy’s 2016 Malibu Hybrid Might Give the Prius a Run for Its Money

Chevrolet_Malibu_Hybrid_DCToyota’s Prius has been the leading hybrid vehicle across the globe since 1997. In October last year, Prius’ global sales hit seven million. This year’s New York International Auto show was marked by the release of the new Chevy Malibu Hybrid, which is deemed to be a strong competitor to the Prius. Chevrolet has projected that an EPA of 48 City/45 highway MPG will be delivered by the Malibu. This is a bit close to the standard Prius Hatchback’s 51/48 MPG. The Malibu has adopted the Volt’s Voltec technology, though it has a smaller battery (1.5 kWh) and larger engine (1.8 liter). Although the new Malibu hybrid is incapable of charging using a plug, it has the ability of cruising on electric power alone for a mile up to 55 MPH. The regenerative system of the new hybrid is similar to that of the Volt. The fact that there is shared technology implies that there was little reinvention involved in model development, resulting in an increase in consumer savings. Chevy’s Malibu will be the first car from this automaker to utilize Exhaust-Gas Heat Recovery for warming the engine and cabin, resulting in fasting heating and a fuel economy that is more consistent.

Despite the fact that Chevy’s Malibu will give Toyota’s Prius a run for its money, it is not a Prius clone. The 2015 Malibu hybrid is 15-inches longer compared to the standard Prius Hatchback and more than 8-inches longer compared to Prius V. The 2016 model is longer by a few inches and lighter by about 300 pounds. The size of the 2016 model is comparable to that of Camry Hybrid whose range is at 40/38 MPG. Additionally, the new version has a sharper look compared to the Prius. For those consumers who are not impressed by Toyota’s uniqueness, the Malibu offers comfort and shape familiarity. When it comes to performance, Prius has 98 horsepower, while the new Malibu hybrid gives 182 horsepower. While the Malibu is best suited for sport, the Prius and Volt are tuned for economy. There is a solid lineup of safety and entertainment features in the 2015 Prius, while the new version of Malibu hybrid has improved on that by having a pedestrian alert that is camera enabled, as well as a blind spot monitoring. Another interesting feature of the Malibu Hybrid is Teen Driver System that gives parents the ability for setting an acceptable speed. When the parameters are exceeded, the system will alert parents.




Leave a Comment April 18, 2015

The Essence of Hybrid Cars in 2015

Toyota_Prius_HybridAlthough hybrid cars have been in existence for many years, they have not been embraced fully by consumers. Gasoline fueled cars are still common with their promise of minimal fuel consumption. Conventional hybrid cars are less popular despite having small electric motors to help in propulsion under minimal speed situations. This is because although such cars have additional technological features and promise increased fuel economy, only a few people are able to utilize them to their maximum potential. Hybrid cars may prove as economical as the normal gasoline fueled cars, unless one spends their entire driving life in congested cities. Additionally, hybrid vehicles are more costly compared to the regular gasoline fueled cars.

Therefore, a question to ponder on is why hybrid cars should matter in the year 2015. One of the key reasons is with respect to environmental issues. Diesel engines have been known to cause immense environmental pollution. After over a hundred years of carbon dioxide emissions to the environment, their negative effects on human health are finally being witnessed. Over the last few years, diesel cars have gained popularity because of affordable rates of tax. However, such cars have a likelihood of being shelved soon, with big cities planning to put a ban on cars that pollute the environment the most. Hybrid cars are associated with low carbon dioxide emissions because of their capacity to go for limited time by solely using battery power without releasing hazardous emissions to the environment.

Criticisms on hybrid cars are often based on the fact they have low electric range and the fact that the fuel economy claimed can only be realized by drivers observing a specific behavior set. These concerns have been countered by car manufacturers with the launch of plug-in hybrid cars. Hybrid cars like Volvo X60 and the Audi A3 e-tron have a setup that is similar to that of conventional hybrids. However, they have larger-sized battery packs that have shown to improve the range of electric driving. The majority of the models have the ability to travel up to thirty miles using electric power alone. In this way, most of the emission-free advantages of an electric car are offered.

Drivers who are used to short journeys may not need to use fuel at all since it is possible to hook up plug-in hybrids to the mains and fully charge them within a few hours. Some governments are also offering grants to plug-in hybrid and electric car buyers. This means that such cars could be an option that is more cost effective than initially imagined.



Leave a Comment April 18, 2015

The Impact that Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Have on Car Insurance Quotes

electric carMany hybrid car drivers choose greener cars over a gasoline-powered car for lifestyle reasons rather than economics. Driver should however, keep in mind that choosing one of the hybrid vehicles could have an impact on car insurance quotes. The cost of insuring a hybrid car is generally higher than that of insuring a gasoline-fueled car. This is according to a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the year 2008. However, in most cases, the difference was small. A key reason noted for the difference in question is the fact that the cost of repairing and replacing a hybrid vehicle is higher than that of conventional gasoline-powered cars.

The national Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a study in 2009, whose findings indicated that hybrid cars had a high likelihood of getting into accidents that involve pedestrians and bicycles. This is presumably because such cars are quieter in comparison to other conventional vehicles. Furthermore, hybrid cars are smaller in size and for this reason, the damage resulting from accidents tend to be extensive and therefore have a high cost of repair. These and several other factors influence the amount of money that drivers need to pay for insurance of electric and hybrid vehicles.

Availability of discounts is another aspect to take note of when it comes to insurance of electric and hybrid cars. Lower rates are usually given by a few auto insurance giants to green car drivers. For instance, hybrid and other alternative-fuel cars are given a 10% discount by Travelers and Farmers. Additionally, other common discounts such as multicar and good driver are also given. It is however, essential to take note of the fact that only a few states offer Farmers discount. Safety matters also play a role in insurance costs. Although electric and hybrid vehicles have a tendency of getting into more pedestrian accidents, such accidents occur at minimal speeds. A new study has shown that hybrid car models are safer compared to conventional car models. This is because hybrid and electric cars are heavier. The safer the vehicle, the lower the vehicle’s insurance quote.

It all boils down to the fact that electric and hybrid vehicles are an excellent way of minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and saving money on gasoline. However, the high costs of repairing them, as well as some safety issues may slightly increase the cost of insuring such cars. There are several advantages of choosing an electric or hybrid vehicle over conventional gasoline cars. Drivers should just remember to consider the insurance costs.




Leave a Comment April 10, 2015

Toyota Camry Hybrid as One of the Best Family Cars

'12_Toyota_Camry_Hybrid_(MIAS_'12)For 2015, the Toyota Camry Hybrid gets better with an exterior styling that is more appealing, an improved ride, an upgraded exterior and a much quieter passenger cabin. The changes are more than anticipated for a mid-cycle refresh of an average sized sedan that has come just three years following the launch of the current generation Camry Hybrid. The Camry Hybrid will be better placed against stylish competitors like the Ford Fusion and the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid sedans. According to Consumer Reports, Camry Hybrid has been listed as one of the recommended buys. The reports have further indicated that the predicted reliability of the Camry is above average.

The government crash testing awarded the 2015 Camry Hybrid a five-star rating. Some of the safety features available in all Camry Hybrid cars include ten air bags. Drivers and front passengers would be well positioned in their seats by the knee air bags in cases of a frontal crash. Additionally, the car has air bags mounted on the rear seats to work in side crashes with side curtain air bags. Standard equipment is a rearview camera. With a $27, 615 starting manufacturer’s retail price that is inclusive of destination charges, the cost of the 2015 Camry Hybrid features a 156-horsepower gasoline engine with four cylinders and a hybrid powertrain of 200 horsepower. The engine power transmission is continuously variable.

The starting retail price for a 2015 Sonata Hybrid is $26, 825 inclusive of the destination charge. The Sonata Hybrid has 199 horsepower and an automatic transmission of six speeds. It has an engine with four cylinders generating 159 horses independently. A 2015 Fusion Hybrid’s starting price including the destination charge is $26, 910, a price that is also lower than the starting retail price for Camry Hybrid. The revamping made by Toyota for all Camry cars has been of great benefit to the Camry Hybrid for 2015.

The Hybrid Synergy Drive system by Toyota remains the same as that of the 2014 Camry Hybrid car. This is the main reason behind the unchanged fuel economy since the year 2014. Among all the gasoline-electric hybrid sedans in the United States market, Toyota Camry Hybrid ranks third with respect to fuel economy. It offers 39 mph on highways and 43 mpg in city driving according to mileage ratings by the federal government. It seems Toyota has perfected the art of transitioning smoothly between gasoline engine and electric power. Transitions were generally seamless in the test Camry Hybrid.


Leave a Comment April 10, 2015

Are Hybrid or Electric Cars a Risk to Pedestrians?

pg-1-blind-1-rexGreen hybrid or electric vehicles are riskier to pedestrians compared to conventional gasoline-fueled cars. This is according to the Guide Dogs charity report released this week. The report found that pedestrians have a forty percent chance of being run over or hit by a silent electric or hybrid car in comparison to a car with a diesel or petrol engine. The number of injuries caused has been gradually increasing as the number of green cars increase following the Government tax breaks for eco-friendly vehicles. The report said that between 2012 and 2013 there was 54% increase in pedestrian injuries in accidents involving silent cars. The charity’s major concern is about guide dog owners, as well as their animals, that are especially at a high risk of getting hit by quiet vehicles that cannot be heard coming. Therefore, the charity calls for adoption of laws that would make it compulsory for all hybrid and electric vehicles to have noise generating systems.

Currently, the government is gearing its efforts and money towards increasing the number of silent vehicles on roads. While, the charity is in support of increasing the number of environmental friendly cars, there is a need to consider the safety of pedestrians. A survey conducted by YouGov showed that at least 75% percent of the population are of the opinion that hybrid cars made roads risky for partially-sighted or blind pedestrians. A similar number also thought that silent green vehicles were risky to children and older people. Hybrid and electric cars powered by electricity move quietly and may surprise pedestrians expecting to hear a vehicle approaching. Independent companies and car manufacturers have been working on a number of sound generators to minimize accident risk. Most of the sound generators in question include fixed speakers working in the direction of vehicle movement to minimize risks to people not on roads.

The sounds generated range from whining, quaking, to rumbling of petrol or diesel engines. It is hoped that by the year 2021, such artificial generators will be present in hybrid and electric cars, but before this is achieved, there will be more risks on the road. Legislation should emphasize on not only fitting the noise-generators, but also ensuring that they are switched on at all times. One Paralympic Sprinter, Libby Clegg, who supports the charity’s campaign, said that when you cannot hear a silent electric and hybrid car, it is extremely terrifying. Miss Clegg said that millions of blind people would be protected from the rising safety hazard by ensuring that all silent cars have fitted sound generating systems.


Leave a Comment April 3, 2015

The Merits and Demerits of Electric Cars

Tesla_Roadster_electric_car_DSC_0160Virtually everything in life has its advantages and disadvantages and the same case applies to electric cars. One of the pros of using electric cars is that they can be recharged easily at home. Electric car drivers are not obliged to go to a gas station, since all they need to do is find a plug and insert into a charging inlet. Charging this way is not only convenient, but also time-saving. It would only take around fifteen minutes to fully charge an electric car. Although this may be tricky for drivers residing in apartments and condos, there has been a gradual improvement in access to workplace and multi-family charging.

Another advantage of electric cars is that they are fast and quiet. It would only require one battery-powered car ride to actually comprehend the higher quality of ride of electric cars compared to gasoline-powered cars. Electric cars are not only very quiet, but also very smooth. Riding in an electric car makes a regular car appear outdated and chunky. Most drivers are surprised by the fact that electric cars offer a high torque. The power is immediately delivered to the wheel once a driver steps on the accelerator and this provides an exciting driving experience.

Operating an electric car is cheaper compared to a gasoline car. This is because electricity is cheap and ubiquitous is most parts of the world. Owed to the electric cars’ considerable efficiency in comparison to gasoline-powered cars, the cost of fueling an electric vehicle per mile is around a third or a quarter than of gasoline. Maintenance costs are further reduced since electric cars neither have exhaust systems nor require oil changes. Maintaining an electric car will only necessitate rotating the car tires and keeping them well inflated. Another plus of electric cars is that they do not release tailpipe emissions. This means that the environmental impact of electric cars is smaller than that of conventional gasoline-powered cars.

Despite the mentioned pros, electric cars have a disadvantage of limited range. The range of most affordable electric cars is approximately 80 to 100 miles, which is quite low. The refueling time is also long and this is yet another con of electric cars. It is thus recommendable for electric car drivers to plug in overnight. Another disadvantage of electric cars is their high cost. Most of them currently cost between 30, 000 to 40, 000 dollars. This implies that electric cars are considerably more costly compared to small or average-sized gasoline powered cars.



Leave a Comment April 3, 2015

A Review of Mercedes C350 Plug-in Hybrid

06-07_Mercedes-Benz_C350The most economical and tax-efficient cars money can buy are the plug-in hybrids, which have even outshone the pure electric cars. However, these cars are still costly compared to diesel and petrol-powered alternatives. The prices are expected to tumble with Mercedes planning to launch ten of them by the year 2017. The Mercedes C350 will have a familiar feel. It’s pretty much a no-compromise car, based on the C-Class sedan. However, the trunk capacity is low because of the 100 kg lithium-ion battery. The C-Class sedan’s truck capacity has been reduced from 480 to 335 liters, while that of the Estate has reduced from 490 to 350 liters.

Both versions of the Mercedes C35O have an air-suspension fitting that helps in coping with the demands of additional weight of 200kg that is added to the curb weight by the entire system. The interior part of the car has not changed much. The new C-Class that was launched last year was greatly improved compared to its predecessor. Similar materials are used for both versions and they have excellent fitting and finishing. Another feature is an exclusive trim for both car versions. They also have air-con system for cooling or pre-heating the car, thanks to electric power that is independent.

The only feature that serves as a hint to the fact that the car will be a state-of-the-art drivetrain is an eco meter that is situated at the instrument binnacle’s bottom section, as well as the central tablet’s flow screen. The cars under skin has an 80 bhp electric motor augmenting a 2-liter 208 bhp petrol engine, sitting in between the transmission and the main unit. The total torque is 600 Nm, while the system power totals to 275 bhp. The torque and power in question is substantially high for such a sports car. In E-mode, a range of 19.2 miles and speed of 80 mph are delivered by the electric motors and batteries. The Mercedes C350 has two major driving modes. Battery power alone is used in the E-mode to give a limited range. The second mode is the E-Save mode, which saves electric charge for later use. The new car’s ride is quite better compared to the average C-Class vehicle. The tail has an additional 100kg that makes it capable of jumping over normal bumps. The drive systems offer the comfort, economy, sport+ and the sport modes. The comfort mode is preferred for Mercedes C350. The two sport modes have brake energy recuperation. Again, the best setting for braking is the Comfort mode.



Leave a Comment March 28, 2015

Toyota’s Latest Hybrid Lineup at the 2015 Atlanta International Auto Show

imagesThere are plans for Toyota Motor to make an expansion of the portfolio for its green cars. The automaker intends to showcase novel hybrid cars at the Atlanta International Auto Show later this week. The show is scheduled to take place from 25th to 29th March, at the Georgia World Congress Center. The exhibit area for this automaker is around twenty-thousand feet squared and the vehicles to be showcased include 30 Scion and Toyota models. The company’s wide hybrid car range will also be revealed and it will include Prius v enhancements, as well as the portfolio for Prius c. As of now, the best-selling car globally is the Toyota Prius, which has also been a major generator of revenue for Toyota Motors. Prius has been in existence for 18 years and was the first hybrid car to enter the market. It has gradually gained popularity as green car model across the world.

Craig Scott, The Advanced Technologies Group’s national manager at Toyota Motors said that the impact that Toyota has on the global automotive industry will be clearly illustrated at this year’s car lineup in Atlanta. He further said that visitors will be given an opportunity to get a preview of advanced technologies powering the next car generation. He said that Toyota proudly holds the title of sustainable mobility leader. At the Atlanta Auto Show, Toyota Motors will have a number of experts who will shed light on the benefits associated with clean energy cars such as electric, plug-in hybrids, and hydrogen-fueled cars. The world’s first hydrogen-fueled car, Toyota Mirai, was launched in December 2014, by Toyota Motors. A report published by the Pr News Wire said that the most striking Toyota vehicles will be displayed at the Auto show and these include the updated models of Sienna and the Yaris, as well as the novel 2015 Camry. The Scion lineup will comprise of the Scion FR-S and the revamped Scion tC. Toyota Motors’ Scion model mainly serves the North Americans.

PR Newswire further revealed that visitors would have a chance to drive novel Toyota car models such as the RAV4, Corolla, and the Prius across the Georgia World Congress Center. The ride would also be available for all car fans. On Tuesday, the stock of Toyota Motors traded down 0.55% and closed at 144.52 dollars. The stock has risen to 14.78 % since the beginning of the year.




Leave a Comment March 28, 2015

Electric Cars’ Real Carbon Footprint

leafThe world still has to gear its effort towards making electric cars more environmentally friendly since this will enable it to meet the set climate goals. This was what was concluded in a paper published by the University of Toronto in March. The paper claims that there is a need for nations to minimize the intensity of carbon generated by electric power. This will enable electric transport, as well as other infrastructure to serve as an effective climate change combating strategy. To illustrate this perspective, think of a Nissan Leaf running on electric energy. The greenhouse gas emissions released by the car are determined by the way through which electricity was generated. The carbon emissions are minimal if the car is charged on geothermal or solar power.

A car changed on coal-generated electricity is bad or even worse for the environment. A road map for climate-friendly cars was created by Climate Central in the year 2013 and it clearly showed that electric cars are among the most environmentally friendly vehicles in the United States. The paper further gives emissions thresholds that will be help not only governments, but also consumers to understand if the push for electrification of other transportation modes will be beneficial for the climate. For electric vehicles to have a significant impact on the climate, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted to the environment should not exceed 600 tons for a Gigawatt of electricity per hour. This is equivalent to the electric power required to serve approximately 100 homes annually.

The paper’s author, professor Christopher Kennedy said that he had gone over several studies that had considered electrification over the years. This entails using electric power as an alternative to fossil fuels technology. He said that a region, city or state with carbon intensity of less than 600 tons needs to have electric cars. The international goal has been to keep global warming to a minimum of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 2 degrees Centigrade by the year 2010. To achieve this goal it will be necessary for countries to cut their emissions of electric power to less than 600 tons. To minimize further global warming, all nations must act fast after the year 2020 to minimize the carbon intensity by more than 90 percent by the year 2050.

The 600 ton target has already been met in countries such as Iceland, Canada, United States and other European nations. The carbon intensity in Iceland is essentially zero because of the country’s reliance on geothermal and hydro power.


Leave a Comment March 20, 2015

Toyota Prius Still Leading in Hybrid Car Sales

2012_Toyota_Prius_c_--_05-23-2012_2In February, a total of 27,038 hybrid cars were bought by Americans. Out of the total sales, 64% of the cars were linked to Toyota Motors, with the Prius leading. The success of competitors is continually being blocked by Toyota Prius, one of the oldest modern hybrid cars. Hybrid Cars published a report that showed that the total sales of Prius Liftback were 7,080, which accounted for 26% of all the hybrid cars sold. The Prius C with 2,701 sales was the second best-selling hybrid cars. This represented 10% of the hybrid market. The Toyota Prius V with 1,850 sales was the fifth best-selling car, representing 7% of the total number of hybrid cars sold.

There is at least one hybrid car model for every car manufacturer. Unfortunately, the sales of such cars have continually declined because of the gasoline powered alternative. While there is a terrible market for hybrid cars, the success of Toyota even worsens the situation. The hybrids’ pitch is solely based on the advantage of fuel economy. This is in support of the claim that hybrids are environmentally friendly cars. American buyers are clearly not in agreement with this claim. This coupled with the low market share accounts for the ever declining and low hybrid cars sales. The only car manufacturer that posted modest hybrid sales beyond Toyota is Ford. However, the sales were still insignificant. About 2,416 Fusion hybrids were sold by the company, making 9% of the total hybrid market. Last month, the total number of cars and light trucks sold by Ford amounted to 179,693.

As far as the sales of hybrid cars are concerned, marketing muscle does not have an impact. None of the car companies including Kia, Honda Motor, Subaru and Buick, posted a total of sales amounting to 1,000 cars in February. The Toyota Prius was first introduced around the globe in the year 2000. Since its inception, Toyota has claimed that almost 5 million sales have been made. It is impossible to tell whether the high sales are attributed to Toyota’s quality or the automaker’s place as one of the largest three car companies in the world. However, there is often an advantage that comes with being the first entrant into the market. The Toyota Prius is a perfect example to support this claim. It seems there is no other company but Toyota that has a likelihood of staying on top of the hybrid car sales market.


Leave a Comment March 20, 2015

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