There are a number of big celebrities who have been spotted driving hybrid cars. Some of these top celebrities include the likes of Tom Hank, Sting, Tim Robbins, Meryl Streep, Cameron Diaz, Ed Beasley and Leonardo DeCaprio. However, with the popularity of hybrid cars increasing by the day, so are the numbers of hybrid car drivers. We look into recent research by a group of social scientists that seeks to categorize some of the common characteristics that these drivers have.
Hybrid car drivers have a relatively higher income compared to the usual car buyer. On average, the incomes of a majority of hybrid car drivers are about $100,000 a year compared to $85,000 earned by most of the average buyers. A study by Scarborough Research shows that about 42% of hybrid car drivers have an annual income of more than $100,000.
Hybrid car owners are often a few years older than the average car buyer is. These drivers have an average age of about 50, compared to the average age of 40 for owners of conventional gasoline powered vehicles. Research conducted by J.D. Power shows that only 2% of hybrid car owners are below the age of 24. Twenty-nine percent are between the ages of 45 and 54, and 33% of these drivers are over the age of 55.
Research also shows that hybrid car owners have a relatively higher level of education when compared to the rest of the car owners. The researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute also showed most hybrid car drivers expected the prices of fuel to increase at a rate faster than the number of people in the market. This shows how pessimistic this group of people is concerning the cost of fuel compared to other car owners in the market.
The Scarborough research made a lifestyle study on over 110,000 hybrid car owners in an effort to establish the relationship between their consumer behavior and political patterns. According to this research, the following are the major shared behavior characteristics of hybrid car owners:
- They love skiing, hiking, and yoga more
- About 14% of these identified themselves as Republicans, 38% were Democrats while 34% identified themselves as Independent.
- This group of people consumes more decaffeinated coffee organic food, and yogurt compared to most of the public.
- These owners have shown to have better than average tech savvy skills. More than 75% of them regularly use email. Over a third of them use their mobile phone to send text messages and take photographs. Their online traffic seems to be moving towards sites that offer news and information.
August 14, 2014
For a while now, hybrid cars have started to dominate the market. Part of their successful uptake has been caused by the increased environmental awareness and the ever-increasing cost of energy. As you start planning for your new car, the hybrid option may be a very good fuel-efficient option. The following are some of the top excuses that you may find yourself trying to come up with and some of the counterpoints that suggest why purchasing that hybrid car would be the best choice you can make.
1. Hybrid cars have good mileage, but I am waiting for further improvements that are very likely to come in a year or two.
The shape and weight of the car bears a significant influence over the amount of power consumed by the vehicle. The hybrid technology improves fuel economy by spreading the energy consumed by the vehicle over several loads during the driving cycle. This helps in avoiding fuel burn when it is not needed by the vehicle. Additional comfort and safety features that are often included in the vehicle are often responsible for the increase in the weight of the car. This results in poor gas mileage. This means that unless we dramatically change the shape and weight of our vehicles the gas mileage is not likely to change by any significant margin.
2. Hybrid cars are great but expensive; I am waiting for the prices to drop.
The battery of the hybrid car is what significantly increases the cost of the hybrid cars. Hybrid car manufacturing companies are continually doing research on reducing the cost of these batteries. With the ever-increasing cost of energy, the cost of fuel is likely to offset the premium that you pay for owning a hybrid car.
3. Hybrid Technology is unproven, I am waiting for it to become more stable before I invest in a hybrid car
The first hybrid car was introduced into the market in 1997 in Japan. The first hybrid car in the United States was introduced in 2000. This is certainly a lot of real world testing on this vehicle technology. These cars have proven to have the best batteries in the market. It is comforting to note that hybrid cars come with a 10-year warrantee for your peace of mind. Most of the major car manufactures from Porsche to Volvo have started venturing into the hybrid car technology. Money and many other resources are being invested in improving the hybrid car technology because the whole world is slowly moving towards it.
August 14, 2014
Back in the 1970s, the United States government introduced regulations around emission control technology, emissions of hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, and carbon monoxide from cars in the United States. As a result of this regulation, the harmful gas emission from cars in the country has decreased by over 60% over since then. This is very good news for the government and the environmentalists out there who are continually pushing for measures to be put in place to curb the ever-rising levels of environmental pollution. Despite all of this progress, the bad news is that there has been very little improvement in the air quality over this period. This is has been caused by a number of factors.
There has been an increase in the use of cars. This is because more people have the financial capability to purchase their own cars. Research shows that there has been an increase by over 150% in the vehicle miles traveled in the United States. There are currently about 200 million cars in the United States alone, while there are about 700 million cars in the whole world. If cars continue to increase in the same rate, there may be over one billion cars by 2025. This is a disaster waiting to happen. This is why there has been an increased focus on the manufacture of hybrid cars. This is because these cars have lower emissions and may help in curbing pollution.
Some of the factors that you should look at to get the true picture of the correlation between cars and the environment include the following:
- The most air polluting activity that a private citizen can participate in is driving a car
- By 2003, the American census showed that 1 of 3 people in the United States drive a car to work.
- Less than 5% of the population in the US use public transportation to move from one place to another.
- An average American spends about one hour of their day in a car and collectively, Americans spend over 8 billion hours a year in traffic.
Considering all of these driving trends and the effect that they have on the environment, you need to be conscious of the driving decisions that you make because this has a direct impact on the environment. The choice that you make on the type of car you buy is a vote on the manufacturer to continue making that car. You should therefore give more votes to manufacturers of hybrid and electric cars because you will be voting for reduced environmental pollution. This means that the future will be safer.
August 7, 2014
The past decade has seen an increase in the number of hybrid cars in the market in many parts of the world. The increased uptake of the hybrid car technology can be attributed to the increasing level of environmental awareness and government efforts. Governments are passing legislation that is meant to encourage hybrid cars because of their low environmental pollution rate and low energy consumption rate. However, there are some concerns starting to arise concerning the hybrid technology. Some people are starting to get worried that the hybrid car euphoria is starting to turn into a toxic nightmare because of the harmful nickel and hydride that are found in hybrid car vehicles. These compounds often end up in landfills that result in nasty corrosive substances.
There has been very little argument that lead is extremely toxic. This is because studies have proven that prolonged exposure to lead can cause brain and kidney damage, hearing loss, and learning disabilities among children. The auto industry uses a large amount of lead in the manufacture of their batteries every year. This lead is either recycled or released into the environment. This released lead can be very dangerous to the living population and the relevant stakeholders are increasingly raising concerns over a viable solution to help curb this problem.
Lead is cheap and this makes it difficult to find the best most viable replacement to be used in the manufacture of batteries. The introduction of the hybrid cars in the market seems to have reignited the lead debate. This is because the hybrid technology has moved towards making cars more electric and less mechanical. This has resulted in the impression that lead is heavy and thus research into alternative lighter material is being carried out.
The most popular metals used in the manufacture of batteries in order of popularity are lead, nickel and lithium. Research on all of these metals has shown that lead has the most pervasive effect on the environment compared to the other metals. Lithium has been proven to be the least harmful to the environment. The severity of lithium, is however also dependent on the type of material that is used together with it. The use of lithium with cobalt is the most problematic. The effect is also dependent on the recycling technology that is in place at the time.
Nickel is not as dangerous as lead, but it is considered to be dangerous because it is a possible carcinogen. There are also challenges about fully recycling the nickel that is used in hybrid car batteries.
August 7, 2014
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