Toyota, the Japanese car maker made the announcement of having sold over eight million hybrid cars across the world. This was announced 20 years after the automaker’s first hybrid car concept was presented. Toyota’s first hybrid concept, Prius, was introduced in the year 1995 during the Tokyo Motor Show. A challenge that was faced by the initial prototype was that of going over 1,600 feet. The brand managed to reveal the first commercial hybrid car two years later. This car had both an electric and a combustion engine. Prior to being released worldwide in the year 2000, Toyota’s Prius was initially sold solely in Japan.
The symbolic one million hybrid car sales were achieved in 2007. The sales increased steadily annually until they reached the eight million mark. In Japan, almost 3.9 million vehicles were sold, in Europe, about 930,000, in North America, 2.8 million cars were sold and a little more than 440,000 cars in other parts of the world. These numbers are inclusive of Lexus model sales. Lexus is the high-end division of the Toyota brand. The most popular car model that has sold over 3.5 million units globally is the Prius. Toyota has been active in developing novel solutions for hybrid cars. Hence, it has shown commitment in development of alternative options.
During the Paris Motor show in the year 2014, Toyota released a vehicle powered by fuel cell. Since then, the car has transformed to the hydrogen-fueled Mirai with over a 300 mile range and zero carbon dioxide emissions. The vehicle, which was launched in 2014 in Japan, will soon enter the United States market, as well as specific countries in Europe. These countries include Germany, U.K. and Denmark. Toyota is also designing other types of fuel cell cars for SUVs or crossovers. A perfect occasion for showcasing Toyota’s 4th generation Prius is the Frankfurt Motor show to be held later in the year.
One of the benefits associated with hybrid technology utilized by Toyota is lowered emissions. Toyota’s hybrid vehicles do not give out evaporative emissions that usually come out from the fuel and tank lines. The driving performance of Toyota’s hybrid cars is also high. Some of the features of the Toyota car system include electric power that is more efficient and a high output motor that results in high drive power. The system can also manage better optimization of energy. The bottom line is that by purchasing a Toyota hybrid car, you get the best fuel economy, smooth and powerful response, as well as outstanding acceleration.
August 28, 2015
The popularity and prices of used cars has been increasing over the last few years. This is contrary to the conventional thought that the only cars that can have an increasing value are the collectible cars. According to Edmunds.com, the 2015s second quarter was marked by a 7.6 % increase in the prices of used cars. The average high price reached during this period is $18,800. While this fact makes it difficult to hunt for used-car bargains, there are some used-car segments that tend to move towards the opposite trend in terms of pricing. Hybrids and electric cars are among the segments in question. Bad market forces have led to the battering of hybrid and electric car prices.
According to the Electric Vehicle Retention Report Card issued by NADA Used Car Guide, the value of some plug-in and hybrid cars that have been used for two years has dropped in the last few months. Only the cheapest of such cars returned more than 20% of their original value after 3 years. These days, some of the best or highest deals can be obtained from full electric cars such as Ford’s Focus Electric and Nissan Leaf. Such cars cost as low as $10,000. Although the original prices of electric vehicles may be higher, their used counterparts are priced similarly. Motorists who commute daily might in fact save money through used electric cars.
From the economic perspective, used-car values in the market are largely determined by the demand and supply. The demand for most cars on roads has considerably softened with low gasoline prices. Additionally, low-mileage models that are 2 to 3 years old are coming back to the auto market. Wall Street Journal reported that in 2014, there was leasing of 85% of Nissan’s Leaf. The residual values of vehicles are ending up having prices that are lower than originally projected. Although this news is bad for leasing industries, it is good news for shoppers who are budget-minded. Such shoppers include those who think that the prices of gas are still too high or those who are ecologically oriented. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average mileage of Nissan Leaf is eighty four miles on a 100% charge. Its combined highway/city driving is approximately 114 miles per gallon. A major advantage of electric and hybrid cars is that they have battery packs that are sure to last for eight years or go for 100,000 miles. This implies that a model that has been used for three years would still have coverage of five years left.
August 28, 2015
According to a survey, 94% of drivers of plug-in hybrid cars and 92% of drivers of battery-electric cars would opt to buy another plug-in car and not a gasoline-powered one. About 9 out of ten owners of electric cars said that they would not wish to revert to or buy a gasoline-powered car. The survey in question was conducted by Ford. The results were inclusive of responses gathered from approximately ten thousand drivers of plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles. Most of the drivers opted to buy a second plug-in hybrid instead of trading it with a gasoline-fueled car. According to the Electric Car Technology and Infrastructure manager at Ford, Stephanie Janczak, it means that most drivers preferred battery electric vehicles. Stephanie said this in an interview that was conducted recently with CleanTechnica.
While a majority of the current drivers of all-electric cars preferred to maintain that car type, owners of plug-in hybrid cars showed more inclination towards purchasing an all-electric car. Some of the main reasons that were cited by drivers who wished to stay electric were a preference for clean technology and driving experience. The survey also revealed that the correlation between ownership of an electric car and the use of renewable energy was strong. Ford noted that about 83% of the drivers that were surveyed said they would opt to install solar panels if they didn’t have them already in their homes. The carbon footprint of a car is further reduced by the use of home solar arrays for car changing.
The clear correlation between ownership of an electric car and use of home solar was underscored by Ford’s Janczak. This relationship was first established in a survey conducted three years ago among California’s electric car drivers. Other fundamental parts of owning an electric car include the Smartphone applications. Ford’s survey showed that these applications were used by respondents mainly to monitor the battery levels, charging status, as well as setting climate control. Smartphone features that were most requested include apps for locating charging stations, paying for charging, letting drivers reserve, providing car-health reports and indicating charging time. Most of the households in the United States had two or more cars. Approximately 90% of owners of electric cars had a second car and this second car was most likely a gasoline-powered one. The gasoline-powered cars were mainly used when travelling for long trips that were expected to exceed the standard range of the current electric car. The main question that stems from this finding is whether current gasoline-car owners would ditch these cars if future electric cars’ range is boosted.
August 21, 2015
Ford C Max Energi PHEV
Residents of Los Angeles neighborhoods with low-income will get the opportunity to enjoy the full benefits offered by hybrid and electric cars. This is following the launch of a car-sharing program that is funded by a state grant worth 1.6 million dollars. This was announced about two weeks ago. This grant, which was given to Los Angeles city, is set to fund the program for three years and within this time, residents of south, east and central neighborhoods of LA will get to share 100 hybrid and electric vehicles. The neighborhoods will also see the installation and maintenance of charging stations and the main goal will be to serve about seven thousand car-sharers.
The funding was announced by Pro Tempore Kevin De Leon, the Senate President who authored the project, in collaboration with advocacy organizations’ representatives and city officials in MacArthur. Launching of part of the program will be done in the same venue. The senate president emphasized the need to fight climate change and smog so that the residents’ kids could inhale clean air and this necessitates coming up with transportation forms that do not depend on contaminant fossil fuels. He further added that the pilot program for the electric car-sharing project was an indication of what was to come in the future. It is a representation of a form of change in behavior, infrastructure and policy, which is greatly needed.
The revenue obtained from the efforts of the state is the driving force of the car-sharing project. Reducing air pollution via cap-and–trade is under Assembly bill AB32, whereby companies like oil refineries obtain allowances or permits to delay the need to minimize the emission of greenhouse gasses. Dwindling supplies leads to a rise in the cost of the mentioned permits, making pollution less cost-effective with time. De Leon also authored another bill, Senate bill SB 535, directing 25% of cap-and-trade revenues to programs s to help in cleaning the air in areas that have higher levels of poverty and higher pollution levels. About 969 million dollars revenue had been brought by the state as per the end of last year. The revenue in question was from auctions of cap-and-trade. By mid next year, this revenue has been projected to increase to about 5.5 billion dollars. The electric vehicle-sharing project is just a tip of the iceberg, considering the fact that numerous plans are underway to enable low and average-income families in California to gain access to not only electric cars, but also clean-emission cars.
August 21, 2015
Example of a plug-in electric hybrid.
Catching a glimpse of a fancy Tesla model on the road may be a new experience for many, but it is essential to keep in mind that these cars are not really new. Electric cars emerged way back in the 1980s and they have gradually gained popularity and can now be spotted on virtually all roads across the country. The first electric car that could utilize rechargeable batteries was created in 1884 by Thomas Parker. In the 1930s, electric cars disappeared from the market as they were replaced by their gasoline counterparts that were cheaper with better efficiency. A surge in electric car interest was again experienced in the 1980s and 90s as the U.S government raised concerns regarding environmental pollution caused by gasoline powered cars. For this reason, electric cars are now the best option to drivers who are concerned with conserving the environment, as well as saving on fuel.
Electric cars differ from gasoline cars in that they make use of electric engines while gasoline cars use gasoline engines. Another notable difference is with respect to the battery. The central component of an electric car comprises of a battery in combination with an electric motor, as well as the motor’s controller. The battery plays the role of supplying power to the controller. Electric cars can be powered by two forms of motors. These are the direct current and the alternating current. Nikola Tesla was the one who invented the alternating current, while Thomas Edison invented the direct current. The two types of motors differ in terms of voltage needed to operate them. The voltage needed for a direct-current motor ranges from 92-192 volts. The alternating-current motor on the other hand needs a voltage of 240 volts coupled with a battery pack of 300 volts.
In terms of cost, direct-current motors are less costly, but have some limitations including overheating and insufficient acceleration. Alternating-current motors on the other hand are not only less expensive, but implementing them into cars is also easier. They make use of regenerative braking that allows for power delivery to the battery when the brakes are used. One of the major challenges facing the electric vehicle industry is regarding battery power. Lead-acid batteries have numerous flaws. For this reason, other batteries such as nickel-metal hydride have been introduced. This battery has been found to be more long-lasting compared to a lead-acid battery. Other batteries used include the sodium battery, which us non-toxic, and the lithium-ion battery that is commonly sold in many electronics.
August 14, 2015
Lexus’ 2015 NX is the automaker’s first crossover SUV and is a clear indication that the company has finally overcome the challenge of style that it has been facing. NX is a visually attractive car with L-finesse family design and a spindle grill. Viewed from any angle, this car has an edgy design, coupled with assorted folds, sharp creases, swoopy roofline and wheel arches that are pronounced. These features have made this hybrid car a standout among its competition. Some of the major competitors in question include Audi, Acura, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Infiniti, Lincoln, and Volvo. Most of the mentioned competitors have been making compact SUVs for many years and it is shocking that Lexus waited such a long time to produce one.
There are two major NX models that have joined the bandwagon. The first model is NX 200t, which has a four-cylinder engine with a capacity of 2 liters. There is also NX 300h, which is a hybrid model and this adds up to a total of six hybrids by Lexus. Both models are sold in either all-wheel or the front-wheel drive. With respect to pricing, the NX 300h front drive is priced at $39,720, including destination charges of $925. The starting price for all-wheel drive is $41,310. The NX hybrid is almost similarly sized the same as the R4V4 by Toyota. Both cars share around 10% of their structural components. The Lexus version however, differs from R4V4 by having moving parts with low friction and components with high rigidity. To separate coil springs from the dampers, Lexus NX has a rear suspension with a trailing arm. The suspension also plays the role of optimizing stability, agility, as well as ride comfort.
The overall verdict indicates that NX is an impressive hybrid car. However, in terms of fuel economy, the much hyped turbocharged engine of 200t may fail to match up to its competition. However, the 300h model manages to overcome the mentioned challenges, thus offering one of the best fuel economies for such a small-sized crossover. The performance delivered by this model also outshines that of its competitors. The car’s powertrain is a combination of dual-electric motor generators. One of the generators has the ability to solely power the car or help the engine in case extra power is required. The second generator plays the role of recharging the battery. Both the motor and the engine produce a total output of 194 horsepower.
August 14, 2015
Any person planning to purchase a car needs to take into consideration their budget, as well as the environmental implications of the car. The impact that green cars have on nature is less harmful. The car market has numerous options to cater to the convenience of the buyer. Cars that have been launched in the recent past are made in such a way that less carbon dioxide and fuel is released to the environment. Eco-friendly cars have been known to have high fuel efficiency. Owed to the fact that the prices of fuel have been increasing, a car that is fuel efficient will help drivers to save more money.
Electric and hybrid vehicles would definitely make a huge contribution in the green movement across the world. However, the market has a wide range of hybrid car models and this makes it hard for buyers to make the best choice. This necessitates the need for tips that would aid in influencing the process of making the decision. One of the key tips to keep in mind is that the decision to purchase should be determined by travelling frequency, mileage and the conditions of the road. A buyer needs to come up with a clear comparison based on fuel options available like electric, hybrid, natural gas and many more. It is also important to have a look at the amount of air pollution or greenhouse gases emitted by the car models. The rating given by EPA to govern such emissions ranges from 0 to 10 with 10 indicating minimum emissions and zero indicating highest emissions. Another aspect that needs to be considered is the car’s driving character. Such character varies, particularly in hybrid vehicles based on the model. It is recommended for buyers to take test-drives in different cars so that they can experience and know their performance on road.
It is also advisable to get information on the green car’s driver scores. These scores are normally available on a 0 to 5 scale. Buyers should choose models that have high drive scores since a high score is an indication that the car can be handled better and is also comfortable on roads. The buying process needs should also depend on the engine’s size and configuration. The car’s size, as well as its engine is the most important determinants of the overall price. The efficiency of smaller-sized cars has been found to be higher than that of SUVs or trucks. Preferences should also be given to models that offer sufficient space for maximum comfort.
August 7, 2015
Hybrid car sales appear to have stalled at a constant rate, with the prices of gas remaining fairly reasonable. This has necessitated automakers to provide more incentives on their different hybrid car models. Among the favorite hybrid car models is Toyota’s Avalon. This large sedan with 40 mpg was launched three years ago and in the last few months its incentives have gradually increased. CarsDirect gave a report indicating that there was a monthly lease of $319 as a July incentive. This was around $2,000 less the cost of the car that could cover a 12,000-mile range annually for a total of three years. With such a deal, it would be better to go for the sedan rather than a traditional gasoline version. This is possible when the benefits of fuel-economy are overlooked, considering the fact that Avalon Hybrid is associated with standard equipment that are of higher level.
For drivers interested in purchasing Avalon hybrid right now, $2,000 cash back is being offered by Toyota on all levels of trim. Specific buyers who are ‘well-qualified’ are also offered 0% financing by Toyota company. Another alternative given to buyers is that of getting an extra $500 off for using Toyota for the financing process. However, CarsDirect has noted that with this option, buyers may not get the best rates of interest. In 2013, Toyota Avalon was tested and it was found that it had a range of 40 mpg, which is great for a large-sized sedan with five seats. The rates given for Avalon Hybrid by the EPA are 39 mpg for highway drives and 40 mpg for city driving. The car was definitely a center of attraction when it was newly launched with buyers driving alternative cars looking around to see what was being offered by the Avalon.
Now the same shape has been adopted by Hyundai’s 2015 Sonata Hybrid following a redesigning. Despite this, Avalon Hybrid is still the winner since it is not only large and comfortable, but its fuel economy is also good. The performance of Avalon’s hybrid powertrain is almost the same as that of its V-6 counterpart. This is a clear indication that full benefits of fuel economy offered by hybrid technology are fully realized ignoring the at times it offers a bleak-driving experience. Although the Camry Hybrid by Toyota remains less costly, the interior has little space and the fuel efficiency is unlikely better than that of Avalon. According to a review by TheCarConnection, the range of Avalon is somehow the same as that of Lexus though Lexus is more expensive.
August 7, 2015
After PSA boss Carlos Tavares was seen testing the 493 bhp car, it is clear that Peugeot Sport’s much discussed 308 R Hybrid looks closer to production than ever. Peugeot boss Maxime Picaa asserted at that the company was quite advanced with development during the unveiling of the concept car in Shanghai. He also hinted of the high possibility of the car’s production start. The big question that was raised is with regard to how the automaker was going to commercialize the hybrid car. The pricing or cost was also another question raised concerning the hybrid car that is yet to be produced.
The petrol-electric power train of the Peugeot 308 R Hybrid gives the engine of the Peugeot RCZ R coupe two electric motors. 493 bhp and 538 lb. ft. of torque is the combined result that is sent to the four wheels. Hence, the potential carbon dioxide emissions of the car are just 70 g/km, while the sprint time of 4.0 seconds can be achieved for 0-62 mph. The driving modes are Track, Hot Lap, and the ZEV. Out of the different modes, a petrol engine supplemented by the rear motor is what is used by the 296 bhp Road mode. Track cuts output to 395 bhp while Hot Lap maximizes the car’s power. The acceleration booster is the function of the front motor. The electric motors are solely used by the ZEV mode. No word has been given yet concerning the range of the car on electric power alone. However, on a fast charger, Peugeot claims a 45 minute full recharge.
To deal with the extra power, the 308 has surprisingly been substantially modified. In comparison to the standard car, front and rear tracks have both been widened by 80mm. The whole braking system has been upgraded and the wheels are 19-inch alloys with 235/35 R19 tires. The 308 R concept that was first seen at the Frankfurt motor show in 2013 is reprised by the two-tone exterior, though the blue and black paint of the hybrid car has glass particles that add shine. Four individual sports sets on the inside have fawn leather as upholstery and data is projected into the driver’s line of sight via a head-up display. Hybrid sports cars were cited by the head of Peugeot as the company’s future. So far, the company has spent a whole year developing the car, which has been deemed to be very drivable. The car will be the most powerful production Peugeot if and when it reaches the showrooms.
July 31, 2015
The hybrid model of Sonata has taken over regardless of the fact that the automaker’s average-sized sedan was set to be redesigned this year. An all-new Sonata hybrid will be released in 2016 and for even better fuel efficiency; a new plug-in hybrid version will be designed. The regular hybrid model was used to test for the efficiency of car sets. This hybrid model earns straight-A-grades, thanks to its open latch anchors and ample legroom. The car’s second row is fitted with two car seats.
What is liked about the car are the two latch anchor sets that have an easy usability. There are plastic covers located on top of these anchors and accessing them necessitates pushing back with the Latch. There is enough room for the back infant seat as well as convertible seats. To accommodate either child seat, there is no need to push forward the passenger seat. On the rear shelf, there are tether anchors that are not only clearly marked but also accessible. The convertible’s tether strap at the top can be connected easily without difficulties. The fitting of the booster on the somewhat curved seat is perfect. To make it easy for young ones to fasten up on their own, there are buckles with stable bases.
With respect to the grading scale, a model gets the highest grade for having enough room for both the child and car seats. The front-passenger or driver legroom is not affected. Additionally, finding and connecting to tether and latch anchors is extremely easy. Issues associated with seat contouring or head restraint are few to none. A car model gets a B-grade when it has plenty of space with a one or two issues related to fitting or connection. There may also be issues regarding gaining access to the third row. A C-grade is given to a model for its marginal room and difficulty in getting to other rows. A D-grade refers to insufficient room while an F-grade is awarded when the seats are unsafe and do not fit.
Editors Jennifer Newman and Jennifer Greiger of Cars.com are certified technicians specializing in installation of child safety seats. A Graco TurboBooster, a convertible seat from Britax Marathon and a Graco SnugRide are used by cars.com for the Car Seat Check. For drivers and passengers who are up to 6 foot tall, there is an option of adjusting the front seats. Behind the driver’s seat sits the booster while at the back of the seat of front passenger, there is convertible and infant seats.
July 31, 2015