Eco Cars

start-stop-techology-fuel-saving-hypermilingEveryone driving a car in the 21st Century will agree with you that there is great need for us to go green. Environmentalists have been fighting for the government and people to implement laws that will help reduce the amount of toxic gases that are released into the air. The facts on the ground are that the world population is growing at a much faster rate than the resources that are supporting it. This is especially evident in the motor vehicle industry. The number of vehicles on the roads is increasing at a faster rate than the amount of the resources, fuel that can support these vehicles. This has been the main cause behind the high cost of fuel that has been witnessed in most parts of the world. For many years now, the car has been seen as the source of the main problem of pollution in the world. In 2006 for instance, the transport industry in London alone produced about 9.6 tons of poisonous carbon dioxide gas. This is surprisingly equivalent to the weight of over 200 Titanics!

It is pleasant to note that car manufacturing companies have responded well to this realization. These companies have started investing in cutting-edge technology that is reducing the amount of fossil fuel consumed and reducing the amount of waste emissions that are being produced. It is impressive to note that it would take at most, 300 modern hybrid cars to produce the same amount of emission that the Ford Fiesta manufactured in 1976 did. This is very impressive! This makes us wonder about what has happened between then and now.

On top of the technological advancements that have been introduced in the form of electric cars and hybrid cars, there has been advancement in the ‘eco trim’ technologies. These are little changes in technology such as having low resistance tires and start-stop technologies in engines. These have proven that they can go a long way in making a difference in the environment. The start-stop technology has been very useful in significantly reducing the fuel mileage in most of the cars in the market.

These technologies have proven that they can deliver the same great driving experience while reducing the amount of toxic wastes that they emit into the environment. With all of the car manufacturers trying to beat each other producing the best green cars, it has become a matter of choosing which car to take. This is because a majority of the modern cars are now in the green car category. The car that you buy today is definitely greener than the car you are replacing.


Leave a Comment October 17, 2014

Implications of the New Mileage Standards

2012HondaCivicHybridNew standards on fuel mileage were recently announced for cars to adhere to by 2025. This has caused most of the car manufacturers to devote more of their resources to improving the efficiency of their vehicles. The release of these standards have also resulted in a change of the consumer trends around the country. This is because consumers are increasingly becoming conscious about the effects that that their cars have on the environment.

Start-Stop Technology

This is a new technology that will help further improve the mileage of vehicles. This is because the technology shuts off the engine of the vehicle whenever the vehicle stops. This technology is already being tested in hybrid vehicles around the United States and the results have so far been encouraging. Industry stakeholders expect that at least 40 percent of vehicles in the United States will be fitted with this technology by 2017. This technology has been proven to increase the fuel efficiency of a car by about 12%. Ford expects to offer this technology in the Focus line of vehicles for an additional cost starting in 2014. Many other manufacturers such as Kia, Honda and Hyundai are already putting in plans to roll out cars using this technology.

Carbon Fiber Bodies

The weight of the car is directly proportional to the amount of fuel that it has to consume. This means that the heavier the vehicle is the lower the fuel mileage. Car manufacturing companies are already investing heavily on developing lighter car parts. One of the materials that has shown great promise in reducing the weight of cars is carbon fiber. On top of the fact that carbon fiber is lighter than steel, it is encouraging to note that it is stronger than steel. Carbon fiber has been used in a few sports cars and race cars already. The use has however been very limited so far. Considering the level of stress that these vehicles have to be driven at, it means that they provide a very good benchmark for the evaluation of this kind of material.

There have been significant focus on the improvement in the production techniques of carbon fiber. This has resulted in the increased use of carbon fiber in the manufacture of motor vehicle bodies and parts. The slow uptake of this material being used in car manufacture means that the vehicles we have in the market are also improving step by step over time. Some of the top manufacturers in the market who are increasingly adopting this technology include BMW, Lamborghini, and GM.


Leave a Comment October 17, 2014

Hybrid Cars 101

Accord_Hybrids_San_AntonioWhoever is living in the 21st century has at some point in their lives heard about hybrid car technology. These cars have grown so fast in terms of popularity such that they are now a must-have line of cars for most of the major car manufacturers. Despite this buzz about the hybrid car technology, it is sad to note that most people do not fully understand what this technology actually is. Most people still associate hybrid cars to affluent people in society because of their high cost of acquisition. These are the basic facts you need to know about hybrid cars.

Why are hybrid car popularity levels increasing?

The major competitor to the hybrid cars in terms of their levels of emissions is the electric cars. Although the electric cars have zero emissions, they cannot drive as fast or as far as hybrid cars. Most of the hybrid car fanatics will say that the hybrid technology gives them the best of both worlds. They are able to enjoy the high speeds that are associated with the gasoline-powered vehicles while also enjoying the low toxic gas emissions that are associated with the plug-in electric cars.

In terms of the design of the vehicles, hybrid cars have a much better and diverse design compared to electric cars. The hybrid cars are also very good for drivers who mostly drive around the city. This is because at lower speeds, the vehicle resorts to electric power. This enables the driver to save on the fuel that would have been wasted while being held in traffic.

Plug-In Hybrids

Just like electric cars, there are some hybrid car varieties that can be plugged in to an external power source that charges the battery of the vehicle. This is usually in the high-end versions of hybrid cars and they are advantageous for people who are mostly driving in the city. This means that the vehicle can easily switch to the combustion engine when the electric power of the vehicle runs low. This is a big add-on for the electric vehicle.

Top Reasons Why Hybrid Cars Are Better Than Normal Cars

The biggest reason is the savings on fuel. Hybrid cars save between 15%-30% compared to a majority of the normal cars in the market.

There are less tax implications on hybrid cars, as well. Cars are taxed depending on their Co2 emission levels. With most of the new hybrids in the market emitting less than 100g/km you may be paying zero tax!


Leave a Comment October 10, 2014

Basics of Hybrid Cars

HybridHybrid car technology has grown since the invention of the Toyota Prius hybrid car. This was the first car running on the hybrid technology to be introduced into the market. The huge success of the Toyota Prius set a benchmark for other car manufacturers to start venturing into this technology. Today, most of the major car manufacturing companies have already rolled out their own versions of the hybrid car. However, these cars are still retailing at a higher price compared to conventional gasoline or diesel powered vehicles. The problem however, is that most people around the world still don’t know much about this technology. If you are one of those people who do not know much about the hybrid car technology, this would be a great starting point for you to get some overview information.

In terms of environmental conservation, the electric cars are the best. This is because these cars have zero emissions. This means that these cars would appeal very much to the environmentally savvy car owners. The problem comes in the speed and design of these cars. Manufacturers of this type of car are yet to discover the best technology that allows them to get the power for high speed, while keeping the design consideration intact. The advantage with the hybrid cars is that they combine both gasoline fuel and electric power and this helps create the feeling of being environmentally conscious while not compromising on the speed and the design of the car.

What is a Hybrid Car?

A hybrid car is a vehicle that makes use of at least two sources of power in order to move. There are many types of hybrid cars depending on the sources of power. For instance, there are diesel-electric hybrids, gasoline-electric hybrids, and there are plans to have bio gas-electric hybrid cars in the market. The power from the engine part of the vehicle is used for acceleration and moving the car in higher speeds. The power from the electric part of the vehicle is used power the vehicle at lower speeds and also helps support the vehicle during acceleration.

How the Battery Holds Charge in the Hybrid

The good thing about having a hybrid car is that you don’t have to keep recharging the battery regularly. This is because the battery is charged whenever you are on the move. This means that you don’t have to worry about manually charging you battery. The energy generated from the braking system also helps charge the battery.


Leave a Comment October 10, 2014

What You Stand to Save with Hybrid Cars

hybridcar240wHybrid car technology is quickly gaining popularity in most parts of the world. This is mostly because of the perceived relatively low cost of ownership. These are some of the other cost related factors that you should consider when making the decision on whether or not to purchase that hybrid car from the showroom.

Loan Discounts

In this modern age, it is relatively cheaper to finance a hybrid car than to finance the gasoline-powered alternatives. There are a number of banks and credit unions around the world that now offer preferential loan rates and credit terms for the purchase of hybrid cars. A good example of one of such financial institution is the Meriwest Credit Union in the Greater Bay area in Arizona. The credit union offers a discounted rate of 0.25% for loans used to purchase used or new hybrid cars in the market. This means that you can easily get a good loan deal and purchase that dream hybrid car.

Repair Costs and Brakes

According to most of the reports circulating about hybrid cars, hybrid car owners should not expect to incur higher maintenance costs compared to their gasoline-powered vehicle counterparts. Most hybrid cars come with a standard three year, 36,00 miles warranty on top of a special hybrid technology warranty. There are also reduced chances for brake replacement in the hybrid car technology. The hybrid car brakes have been known to last three times as long as those of conventional gasoline-powered vehicles do.

Resale Value

It is interesting to note that the resale value for most hybrid cars in the market is high compared to gasoline-powered alternatives. This is partly because of the low depreciation rate of these vehicles. A very good case to elaborate this point is the Toyota Prius.

Gas Savings

One of the most obvious reasons most people purchase hybrid cars is the gas savings that are associated with this vehicle. With the ever increasing cost of energy, people are constantly looking for ways to reduce their dependence on gasoline or where possible completely eliminate their dependence on this form of energy. With the increase in the cost of fuel, the real-dollar value of the hybrid car is likely to increase in equal proportion.

Insurance Discounts

There are a number of insurance companies that have started giving discounted insurance rates for hybrid car owners in some areas in the United States. This sure is a good deal since it is likely to reduce significantly the cost of ownership for your hybrid car.


Leave a Comment October 3, 2014

Do You Really Save Money on Your Electric Car?

Bay Area Plans Major Expansion Of Electric Vehicle Charging StationsThe fact of the matter is that most people around the world hate that the prices of gasoline have been increasing by the day. The invention of hybrid cars and electric cars was meant to address this growing concern among most road users. However, do you really save on cost when you use an plug in car or is the cost transferred to other aspects such as maintenance and acquisition costs.

With the missing link between the cost that the commuters have to pay for fuel and the nature of electric cars, we take a look at the real cost of hybrid cars in the market.

Beyond Pump Prices

To be able to come to a viable conclusion lets take a look at the two types of competitive cars in the market. First, let us consider the Ford electric family and the gasoline-powered alternatives of the car such as the Focus.

The electric Ford Focus comes at a cost of $39,995, while the gasoline powered alternative costs $24,495. There is no need for battery replacement for the gasoline-powered vehicle, but you may be required to replace the battery for the electric car at a cost of about $13,500. The gasoline-powered vehicle needs major engine repair costs that come up to about $4,899. Electric cars do not require this. The fuel cost for the gasoline powered vehicle over 8 years is about $16,222, while the total fuel costs for the electric car comes to about $5,000.Using these figures, the total cost for the gasoline powered vehicle comes to $45,616 while the total cost for the electric car is about $58,562.

So overall, the hybrid car is not as cheap as most people would have expected.

Lessons from This

The high cost of the hybrid and electric cars puts them at a spending disadvantage for the buyers. This is because the buyers can never make up the ground from the cheaper gasoline powered vehicles.

The maintenance cost of the vehicle is an important factor to consider. You need to know what will be subject to maintenance and how much it is going to cost you.

The cost of fuel also adds up. It is important to consider the fuel costs over a significant amount of time, as in our case, 8 years.

Because of how new these vehicles are in the market, the maintenance cost for hybrid vehicles has still not been well established. This technology is still being improved by the day. The efficiency is also improving by the day.


Leave a Comment October 3, 2014

Overview of the Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid

mitsubishi-outlander-plug-in-hybrid--uk-version_100480201_lThe Mitsubishi Outlander plug in hybrid car is still not in the American market. This has been caused by a series of debates that have come up and pushed the release date to the fall of 2015. This is almost two years after it was released in Japan and about one full year after it was released for sale in Europe. The availability of the car in Europe makes it much easier to get the ratings and user reviews of the car.

The Outlander was designed originally to be used purely on electric power. This means that the car has the same impression as the regular car to consumers. The look of the car may not be as striking as most would expect. The car has a dark-grey metallic paintwork with attractively brushed alloy wheels finishing. Most people actually think that this is a ‘handsome’ model.

The inside of the car is a similar story. While most of the high end cars in the market come with leather seats and sun roofs that give the cabin a lift, the design of the Outlander took a slightly different direction. The design is unremarkable and it is simple and clear enough. This tends to give a sense of tranquility that avoids confusion or offense. It is also interesting to note the absence of the tachometer. This has been replaced by a charge assistance “swingometer.” This is a joystick shaped drive selector that contains more options that make it possible to get access to the touchscreen display, as well as the smaller displays in the gauge cluster.

The rear wheels of this vehicle come with a 60 kW electric motor. This gives the vehicle four-wheel drive capabilities The official records for the car are an acceleration of 0-60 mph within an 11 seconds time frame.

The vehicle has a12 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that is situated below the passenger compartment at the center of the car. This means that there is more trunk space in this model compared to the gasoline powered vehicle alternatives. The charging rate for the car is also reasonable. The car can be charged from 220-240V within five hours.

When the driver reaches higher speeds quickly, the car automatically switches over to the parallel hybrid mode. This means that the engine of the car provides most of the power while the electric component provides little assistance. The level of assistance is dependent on the strength of the acceleration.


Leave a Comment September 26, 2014

Guide for 2014 and 2015 Hybrid Cars

2014-toyota-prius-c_100445683_lJust about 10 years ago, there were only about four brands of hybrid cars in the American market. Today, the number has tremendously grown. One of the original hybrid cars in the market was the Toyota Prius. At the time, the most fuel-efficient car in the market was the original Honda Insight. The Prius swiftly overtook this position and took up the mantle of being the most fuel-efficient vehicle in the market. This sparked competition from most of the other car manufacturers and they quickly started to divert some of their resources into developing and rolling out their own version of hybrid cars. Honda for instance, released their first Civic hybrid in 2004 to counter competition from the Toyota Prius. Ford also released their version of the hybrid car through the Ford Escape hybrid car, which was also released in 2004.

This is a simple guide to the hybrid cars that are currently in the market. This only contains hybrid cars. Pure electric cars of course, don’t have concerns about fuel savings since they do not use any gasoline.

Compacts and Small Cars

The Toyota Prius C is top of the list in this category of hybrid vehicles. The car has a combined mpg of 50 and a very impressive city rating of 53 mpg. Consumers who are very concerned about fuel savings in the city would be very happy with this vehicle.

Next on the list is the classy CT 200h manufactured by Lexus. Most critics say that it is a Prius in a different body. The vehicle has a slightly lower mpg of about 42 mpg combined. The major advantage of this vehicle is the fact that it has some extra prestige that some of the buyers in the market are always looking for. The vehicle also comes at a relatively high-end price. This means that despite the favorable mileage, it is not a vehicle for people with a small car buying budget.

Third on the list is the 2014 Honda Insight. Despite the big name, the vehicle does not carry the prestige associated with it. However, the vehicle manages to use the same 42 mpg combined mileage. The car has a city mileage of about 41. This is a cheaper alternative to the above cars. They are not very many in the market so if you would like to grab one for yourself you don’t have much time!

Another other good option is the sporty Honda CR-Z. The car has a combined mpg of 37. This is also a good option for low-end buyers.


Leave a Comment September 26, 2014

Guide for Electric car Charging Networks

av-fast-chargerWhen it comes to fueling up cars, the owners of gasoline powered vehicles have a big advantage because they can easily drive into a gas station and fuel up. There are virtually over 100,000 gas stations around the United States. This means that there is very little chance for the owner of a gasoline powered vehicle to run into the risk of running out of fuel compared to their hybrid and electric car counterparts. Although most of the charging for electric cars, usually takes place at home during the night, there is still some need to have some public charging stations for the long distance drivers and those who are not near their homes.

For EV driers who often require to charge in public, it is important to have some knowledge on a number of charging networks that usually offer electric fuel on the go. These networks usually operate independently of each other and offer different quality of services. It is important for the owner to understand how most of these compare to each other and how they differentiate themselves from the public.

Cost Factors

Cost is very often a defining consideration for most of the owners. There are three common payment options that are available for the drivers,

i.            Pay as you go

ii.            Monthly Subscription

iii.            Free

Of course given the chance most people would rush for the free option. But it is important to first carefully study the various cost models based on their cost for a charge to determine which model makes the best sense for you. The rule of the thumb is to do careful planning so that you avoid as much as possible public charging unless it is under unavoidable circumstances.

High Level Recommendations

You first need to examine the regular routes that you use and your favorite destinations. With this you can easily identify the any charging networks that may be along any of your routes. This will help you prepare to use any of them whenever you run out of charge for your vehicles. You can use station finding tools such as PlugShare to find some of these networks.

If you are living would like to take advantage of the free charging option, there are a number of free charging stations. You can also use the PlugShare tool to locate these stations as well. There are over 2,000 charging stations in the country that are free and it would be very exciting to try them out. You may even find one that is along your route.


Leave a Comment September 19, 2014

Electric Charging Etiquette

plug-close-6201. EV Spots are for EVs

It is absolutely disrespectful for a gasoline-powered vehicle to park at a charging station that is designed for a plug-in hybrid vehicle. Despite the fact that most of these stations are never that easy to identify, it would be much better if the driver is ready to move out when they are asked to. This should be a strict rule. Regardless of how full the parking area is, the charging station should always be free for any incoming plug-in hybrid car. Some of the charging stations are not used very frequently, but they need to be left free for the right vehicles to have easy access.

2. Only charge when it is necessary.

It is sometimes tempting to have your car charged even when it is almost full. This is often because of the fear that there is some chance for running out of power. It is better that you leave the charging spot free so that another car that is in more need can make use of the station.

3. It is fine to ask for a charge.

If you drive into a charging station and find that there is another car that is using the station, it is perfectly okay to leave a note for the other driver to plug in your car when they are done charging their car. The reverse also applies. If you are charging your car and another car drops you a note to plug in their car after your session is done you should honor the request. Of course, if the charging station requires some fee, you are not under any obligation to pay for the other driver. It is however, not bad to show such a kind gesture. You may receive a similar gesture sometime in the future if you leave your name and contact details.

4. Safety first.

It is important to maintain high levels of safety while using charging stations. This not only protects you, but also protects the other users of the charging stations. This means that you should handle the charging cord with care. Carefully wrap the cord around the holder and tuck it in after you are done using it. This will ensure that people don’t trip over it or drive over it by accident.

5. Don’t unplug hybrid cars.

If you are a pure electric car owner, you have no right to unplug a hybrid car as it is charging simply because they have a back-up source of power. Everyone has equal rights to use a charging station.


Leave a Comment September 19, 2014

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