Efforts to develop natural-gas powered cars are being phased out by Honda, which plans to now focus on the production of electric and hybrid cars. A next generation, double motor hybrid system is being developed by the automaker, and the system will be featured in a novel Accord Hybrid set to be launched by 2018. Honda will also release a fuel-cell vehicle with an all-new design next year. This information was given by the Executive President of American Honda Motor Co., John Mendel, at a conference held earlier this week. Mendel added that also in the works are a new battery-electric, a new plug-in hybrid car and a three-motor hybrid system. He however, failed to give further details concerning the developments in question.
Mendel said that an extensive new generation of electrified vehicles expected to yield significant sales, are under development. The battery-electric car, fuel-cell vehicles, as well as plug-in hybrids will become Honda’s mainstream, volume pillar. The automaker will cease the sale of natural-gas powered models of the Civic Hybrid and Civic this year. This move comes after Honda withdrew the sale of Accord Plug-in Hybrids in the United States. The Civic Hybrid will be dropped partly because the company plans to redesign the 2016 Civic to have a range of more than 40 mpg. Honda has tried to commercialize natural-gas vehicles since 1998, but a great barrier has been the lack of a fueling infrastructure. Mendel said that the infrastructure just wasn’t as convenient as petrol even though it was improved. About 16,000 natural-gas vehicles were sold by the company, mostly to commercial and taxi fleets.
The combined United States light-vehicle sales of Acura and Honda brands as of 2015 are likely to reach a high record. The previous combined best with sales of 1.55 million was recorded in 2007. In 2014, the sales totaled to 1.54 million. The Honda brand U.S. sales through May increased to 547,044 vehicles, a 0.6 % increase. The total sales of Acura increased by 7.2%, and totaled to 71,560 vehicles. The uni-body platform of the new generation Honda Ridgeline will be the same as that of the Odyssey minivan and Pilot Crossover. Similarly, it will have a V-6 engine with a 3.5–liter capacity and an automatic transmission of nine-speeds. The Ridgeline pickup that it set to arrive next year will have a truck look that will be more traditional.
June 26, 2015
Pundits started writing obituaries for green cars as gas prices fell this year. It was said that electric and hybrid vehicles would not save enough money on fuel to cater for the high up-front prices with $2-a-gallon gas. However, that is actually not the case. The personal finance of green cars is better than skeptics believe, even with today’s gas prices. May’s U.S. auto-sales reports serve as the latest evidence. According to this report, green cars’ sales for the month went up by 24% and a 10-year-high annual rate of 17.8 million was the reported overall vehicle sales. It is evident that the movement for green cars is still moving forward.
Buying a hybrid car is one of the most financially important decisions that a person can make. A basic flaw suffered by articles and studies arguing otherwise is that of making assumptions concerning the way people budget. It is up to automakers to fix much of the remainder of the shift by further lowering the prices of hybrids, especially with respect to getting leasing deals that are more aggressive. If you analyze the way most people buy cars, you will find that hybrids do save money, and right way. It is the manufacturers’ fault when such cars do not save money and a thrifty shopper has the option of checking elsewhere.
This basic question is mentioned in an April study of first quarter sales by Edmunds.com. In the study, the average savings from hybrids are compared to the price difference between hybrids and their gas-powered counterparts and goes further to divide the savings per month to the higher price. The study’s conclusion is that for a Toyota Camry Hybrid, the payback period can be as long as ten years in comparison to a conventional hybrid that cannot last for that long. To buy electric and hybrid vehicles, people do not make an extra down payment. Normally, about 85 percent of novel cars purchased are financed and the additional money is directed to the payment. Taking this into consideration, you will find that hybrid car drivers actually save money on gas.
Some automakers such as Hyundai are making the smart move of paying attention to market cues. There is about $ 1,400 price spread, which has helped in preserving the savings per month. With such a spread, a driver buying gas at $2.50 per gallon, there is a less than $25 extra payment and about $30 gas savings.
June 26, 2015
Hybrid and electric cars are among the best cars that drivers need to take a look at when deciding on a car to buy, given their impressive mileage and fuel-efficiency. One of the best electric cars is the BMW i3, which has been said to be a game-changer model. The BMW i3 is not only appealing, but it is also an electric car that is highly drivable. In terms of performance, the car is exemplary and performs just the way it was meant to perform. A real insight into what the future will be is shown by the fact that this electric car has a zero-emissions motor. Hence, it is a great way of minimizing environmental pollution.
Another model worth mentioning is the Vauxhall Ampera, which is similar to the Chevrolet Volt. The Ampera has a suitably futuristic outlook and an 85 bhp power. The petrol engine has a capacity of 1.4 liters and this is coupled with an electric motor of 148 bhp. The theoretical fuel economy provided by this car is around 235 mpg and 27 g/km carbon dioxide emissions. Hence, driving and running the Ampera is easy and cheap respectively.
Another model that is in the top five is Mitsubishi’s Outlander plug-in electric vehicle. The Outlander PHEV, the world’s first plug-in hybrid SUV, has reported high sales, not only in the United States, but also in the UK. The headline figures of 148 mpg and 44g/km are the main attraction for buyers. Additionally, at the car’s disposal is a combined 204 bhp. The car’s price is also reasonable, considering its great mileage and efficiency. The refined Outlander PHEV is popular among drivers covering large mileages regularly.
The BMW i8 also make it to the list of the top five best hybrid and electric cars. This is a hybrid SUV that is fun to drive. Powered by a three-cylinder engine, the i8 is a real sports car. It also has an electric motor, which gives a total of 231 bhp enabling a time of 4.4-second 0-62 mph.
Finally, it is also worth to mention Tesla’s Model S, which is a groundbreaking vehicle. Model S is all-electric saloon car with highly innovative battery technology. This car can attain a range of 220-250 miles and is fitted with an all-electric powertrain and rear-wheel drive. If its 3-4 second 0-62 mph sprint time is not tested, the car can even go up to a range of 300 miles. Having mentioned the five cars, it is clearly evident that hybrid and electric cars are the best and are gradually gaining popularity.
June 19, 2015
Hybrids and plug-in hybrids were considered to be ugly mutts, until the gorgeous Tesla Model S came along. Toyota also came up with its Prius hybrid with the main aim of promoting environmental consciousness. Currently, several automakers have followed suit and launched different hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. Among the new breeds are the Hyundai Sonata hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. Barely distinguishable from their conventionally powered counterparts, Hyundai Sonata plug-in hybrid and many other hybrid cars are attractive, lush midsize cars. The key features distinguishing these cars from their conventional gasoline-powered counterparts include some additional badging, charging ports and other minor changes.
One of the key benefits of owning the Hyundai Sonata hybrid or plug-in hybrid is that their gas mileage is impressive. It has been projected that the hybrid alone will have a city rate of 40 mpg, a highway rate of 44 mpg and an overall rate of 42 mpg. If these estimates are true, these car’s mileage will be ten percent better compared to previous Hyundai’s Sonata hybrid and almost similar to that of Prius’ second generation. No ratings have been given yet for the new 2016 Sonata hybrid. However, Hyundai has said that the car is expected to have approximately 93 MPGe. With respect to the power plant, the new plug-in hybrid will have a horsepower of 145 and a four-cylinder engine holding 2 liters, in addition to an electric motor of 38 kilowatt. The car’s top speed at electric-only mode will be about 75 mph coupled with a transmission of six-speed.
With respect to the battery, the car comes with a beefier lithium-polymer battery, with peppier electric motors. The capacity will be 13% more compared to the previous version. To create additional space in the boot, it tucks under the trunk floor. This also allows for folding down of the rear seats for cargo. In terms of aerodynamics, the car is even more slippery in the wind owed to changing the design of the front and back of Sonata. The drag coefficient is 0.24, which makes Sonata similar to Tesla’s all-electric Model S. It is clear that the Sonata hybrid will have quite a number of improvements. The plug-in version will be Hyundai’s first of the kind for the automaker and they have said that initial sales will be made only in Oregon and California, then later on in New York, as well as other East Coast states. The ability of the car to run 24 miles on electric power only is its chief attraction.
June 19, 2015
Over the past few decades, it has been noted that oil and fuel prices rule the world. Hence, it is imperative for those who want to survive in the automotive business world to offer a fuel economy that is decent. This fact has forced virtually all automakers to meet the extra mileage target for every new model released. This is also a major reason why many people are choosing hybrid vehicles and why there has been an increased interest in the 2015 Sonata hybrid by Hyundai. This hybrid car will be on roads next year and Hyundai plans to use it as a replacement for the current gasoline-fueled version. This car’s Eco version has the intention of offering a cheaper solution to people interested in a mid-sized sedan car with a better fuel-efficiency.
A 1.6 litre turbocharged engine will be used to propel the Sonata Hybrid. The engine will also have an automatic transmission with a 7-speed dual-clutch. Sonata’s range over urban roads and highways will be extended by 4 and 3 mpg respectively, thanks to the mentioned power train. Therefore, 38/48 mpg is the total mileage figure of Sonata Hybrid next year. To make its first ever appearance in the Hyundai lineup is the 7-speed gearbox. For its power based gear changing, Sonata Hybrid takes an edge over Veloster’s 6-speed dual-clutch. Over the hydraulic actuation, this is a considerable upgrade. On the contrary, the suspension is similar to that of the current version. This means that there is no sacrificing the high driving quality for increased fuel economy.
The opening price of this green car is $24,085 and considering Hyundai’s pricing hierarchy, this figure is respectable. There is a slightly smaller price tag of $21,960 for the base model, which also has few features. On the other hand, the car’s hybrid version has several features including rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot detection system, pushbutton ignition, leather wrapped seats and steering wheel. It also features a proximity key, heated front seats, power based trunk opening, dimming rear view mirror, more chrome over the outer end, 8.0”-display for infotainment system with Blue Link, automatic climate control that is dual-zone, and many more. Another tale that we leave for the moment is how ready the buyers section will be for this car. However, one thing that is for sure is that the car will be worth whatever price will be paid for it. The Sonata Hybrid is set to meet all the requirements and needs of customers in the smartest way possible.
June 12, 2015
The charge is fading for most hybrid and electric cars regardless of the fact that Tesla Motors still has a buzz. Hybrid and electric cars are in less demand with gasoline costs still well below a year earlier. Though there has been a rebound of pump prices from the July to January plunge, a May poll by financial firm Stifel showed that only about 3% of consumers would choose to purchase an electric car. This was less than the 45 %figure that was reported in February. Meanwhile, consumers who would go for hybrids were 24% in comparison to 31% that was reported in February.
There is a different range for hybrid loyalty, with results showing that those who traded electric and hybrid vehicles for a new SUV made up 22%. Edmund.com, an auto site, conducted a survey and presented the mentioned results. Three years ago, the percentage of the number of people trading hybrid and electric vehicles for an SUV was at 11.9%. About 45% of consumers who opted to trade in electric or hybrid cars bought a different alternative-fuel car. In 2012, more than 60% traded in their electric and hybrid cars for alternative-fuel cars. Automakers have been cranking out electric and hybrid cars to meet government emission and fuel-efficiency mandates despite the high costs of their alt-vehicle programs. They are also doing so as not to lag behind in case of technological advancement.
The market share for electric and hybrid cars from January through May was just at 2.8% in comparison to 3.5% market share that was reported last year. The peak year of 2013 saw a 3.7% market share. These figures were presented by the industry analysis director at Edmunds.com, Jessica Caldwell. According to Jessica, there was this belief that plug-in and electric cars might experience hockey-stick-like growth once they came into the market and people got used to the infrastructure and technology. However, this has not been the experience, as the sales of hybrid cars are falling and going in reverse.
In North America, 2, 400 units of the pricey Tesla electric Model S were sold in May. This figure was given by a sales analysis of plug-in cars by InsdeEVs.com. The monthly Tally of Tesla is usually unavailable and it is expected that the second quarter sales figures will be available in July. There were 2, 104 units sold by the electric Nissan Leaf, while 1,618 units were sold by GM’s Chevrolet Volt and 727 units were sold by Toyota for the Prius PHV.
June 12, 2015
Nissan may be getting ready to debut a 30-kwh battery this fall before revealing its all-new second generation Leaf a year from now. The current 24-kwh, 84-mile EPA rated Leaf that was officially launched in December 2010, and refreshed for 2013, is the best cumulative seller globally and the best selling plug-in car in the United States. However, Nissan sales have slumped a bit as other electric vehicles in its class have been taking a share. The rumors that have been circulating this past week on MyNissanLeaf forum and reported by InsideEVs concerning the 2016′s Nissan Leaf range having not yet been officially confirmed by the Japanese automaker.
According to the Editor of InsideEVs, Jay Cole, the report came out two weeks ago and during this time he has been in communication with Nissan. He said however, that the automaker has not commented on the report. The only on-the-record comment said by Brain Brockman, Nissan’s Senior Manager of Communications, was that the company had not yet made any public announcement about the 2016 Nissan Leaf. Cole himself has shown immense support for the Leaf and has also raised his concerns on further hurting Leaf sales once a Superior Leaf is launched. The term that is usually used is sales cannibalization, something that is now being experienced by Chevrolet following the launch of the 2016 Chevrolet Volt. The release of the new Chevy Volt has led to the lowering of the 2015 Chevy Volt sales. Some of the would-be Leaf buyers have taken a pause, because of the prospect of the new 50-mile extended-range Volt. The simple psychological basis is that the sales of the present car may not increase when buyers hear that the newest product around the corner substantially outdoes the present one. Considering the fact that Nissan finished an 18-month record streak early this year, the question of sales and reports on the new Leaf becomes a dilemma.
As of now, the InsiderEVs claims that two Nissan dealers have confessed to seeing information concerning the 2016 Nissan leaf with the S Model base. They said that the model will retain the 24 kwh, while a 30kwh will be given to the SL and SV trims. Although the EPA range is not yet out, it has reasonably been estimated to be between 105 and 110 miles range. The car itself may be out by 2017′s second quarter. It may have a toned down mainstream appearance and even new colors. It thus seems that there is quite solid information concerning the 2016 Nissan Leaf.
June 5, 2015
According to Toyota, its 2016 Prius engine that delivers up to 40% thermal efficiency will be the most efficient yet. The automaker made this announcement during the Annual Spring Congress for Japan’s Society of Automotive Engineers that was held last week, while giving additional details concerning the engine. The company said that improvement of the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) limit from 21 to 28 percent is what will improve the engine’s efficiency. Following this boost, the 2016 Prius hybrid car’s engine will become a leader in terms of efficiency. This is in comparison to the previous two generations whose thermal efficiency was at 37 %. The current third generation has a 1.8-liter engine with an efficiency of 38.5%. Last year Toyota made clear of its intention to upgrade the fuel efficiency of its next generation of Prius by 15%. It therefore seems that Toyota has achieved its goal with the 2016 Prius.
Although a 40% thermal efficiency is a significant increase, Toyota had originally hoped for more. Toyota’s Koichi Nakata in 2011 said that the automaker’s hope was to reach a thermal efficiency of 45% for its hybrid cars. Some of the ways in which Toyota managed to achieve an additional 1.5% thermal efficiency as explained by Nikkei Technology Online include straightening the intake port, recirculating more exhaust gases and redesigning the shape of the piston. The heat capacity increases when the EGR limit and hence, the amount of cooled exhaust gas being circulated is increased. This in turn lowers the gas temperature in the cylinder. This prevents knocking and the cooling loss may reduce by up to 8% in comparison to the existing model. Toyota will increase combustion speed in order to increase the EGR limit. It is important to disturb airflow inside the cylinder to realize the high speed combustion. The tumble ratio, which is the ratio between the swirl flow in the piston movement direction and then in the axial direction, was increased by the company to 2.8 from 0.8. This method can easily disturb the airflow near the top dead center for the piston.
The tumble ratio is increased by straightening the lower side of the suction port to make the airflow a perpendicular vortex. According to estimates made by Toyota, the mean turbulent velocity of the gas inside a cylinder, in the compression stroke with a 2,000 rpm engine speed, can be increased to 3.4 m/s from 2.5 m/s. Additionally, the piston’s top face shape was changed by Toyota to allow easy disturbance of the airflow inside the cylinder.
June 5, 2015
Some of the improvements that were seen on the track before showing up in hybrid cars include better suspensions, disc brakes, aerodynamic spoilers, automatic transmissions, multi-valve engines, and tuned exhaust. According to two McGill research engineers, the hybrid technology that combines both gasoline and electric power has greatly gone from the street to the track. Since last year, cars have been using hybrid power units including powerful electric motors run from electricity-generating systems and high-performance gasoline engines. The two McGill engineers, Kieran Humphries and Diego Mascarella have shown great fascination in the current Formula 1 power units’ complex systems.
It is essential to keep in mind the goal and purpose of a hybrid car parked in the driveway differs from that of a formula 1 car on track racing. With a Prius, a driver’s goal is energy arbitrage and energy optimization. This means that sometimes the car can run on an electric motor and other times a combination of both the engine and electric motor. This gives either discharge battery or charging scenarios. The main goal here is lowering the fuel consumption. With a formula 1 car, the torque performance is what one is looking for. This performance is what enables a driver to overtake another car. It is very different in the Prius, since a driver does not necessarily need to overtake another car, but rather to ensure that the engine is operating at an efficient range. Basically, electric motors complement engines and thus ensure that they are operating at optimal efficiency points.
Humphries noted that cramming the biggest charge of fuel/air mixture into the C-6 engines’ combustion chambers is the main objective of the turbocharged F-1 engines. The Prius on the other hand runs an Atkinson cycle using the 98-horsepower engine, which gives better fuel efficiency by lowering compression. Another key difference is that there is a parallel architecture for the F-1 car with the electric motor attached to the engine while the Prius has its electric motor connected in a power-split configuration to the gear box.
The electric motor in an F-1 car can never run on its own. The car runs on either the engine plus more electric power or on the engine alone. An electric motor alone scenario never occurs. An advantage of formula-1 Cars is their energy recovery mode that allows electricity to be generated and stored when needed. Although the Prius is known for its regenerative braking, the F-1 car has the potential to recover different energy in various complex ways.
May 30, 2015
Hybrid car owners are rethinking their loyalty as gasoline becomes affordable. Hybrid and electric car owners are defecting to SUVs and other gasoline-fueled conventional models with bargain gasoline prices making an appearance. It seems there are limits as to how far the consumers are willing to go to purchase green vehicles. When gas prices soared in 2012, it could take as little as five years for a hybrid car to pay back its higher upfront costs. Now, it can take up to ten years or more to achieve that oft-calculated payback period. According to the director of industry analysis for Edmunds.com, Jessica Caldwell, even though saving the environment is a noble idea, it may be too expensive considering the low gas prices.
One of the Las Vegas consumers, Erik Tufteland prefers a 2014 Subaru Forester to a trusty 2015 Honda Civic Hybrid. Erik chose the Subaru because it is not only an all-wheel drive, but it can also go for snowboard trips. Erik also feared the possibility of having to replace the expensive battery of his Honda Civic. Erik said that his lifestyle changed after trading a hybrid car for a gasoline-powered car. He elaborated that while a hybrid car is perfect for around the city driving, it was a white-knuckle experience on mountain roads. He said however, that the 45 mpg economy of the Honda Civic is what he will greatly miss. Although he wished he still had the additional 12 mpg, he prefers the Subaru Forester. The costs of fuel are almost the same with the Subaru having an added advantage of functionality with respect to comfort, space and ability to go anywhere. He therefore believed that the Subaru was perfect for him.
Basically, at a trade-in time, about 55% of electric and hybrid car owners are defecting to a gasoline-fueled model. Since Edmunds.com started tracking such transactions in 2011, this is the lowest level of hybrid loyalty. Those switching to a conventional SUV are more than one in five. This is almost two times the rate that was reported in 2012. The rise in switching rate corresponds to the decreasing sales of hybrid and electric vehicles. The sales of electrified models went down to 2.7% of the market through April. Over the same period last year, the sales were at 3.4%. SUVs at the same time reported an increase in sales from 31.6% to 34.4%. It is thus clear that with the falling gas prices, consumers are opting for gasoline cars that are more capable and larger.
May 30, 2015