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

Why You Need to Care About Hybrid Cars

bmw-i3-2013-07-29-01-1375106786 The climate change and greenhouse effect that has been witnessed in most parts of the world has mostly been attributed to the use of fossil fuels. The use of fossil fuels has also been named as the biggest cause for the increase in the acidity of oceans among harmful environmental effects.

Even for the people who don’t care much about the on-going campaigns about a greener planet in many parts of the world, there are a number of benefits that come with the increased use of green cars. There are a number of hybrid car models that are relatively cheaper to run compared to their non-hybrid counterparts. For instance, the engineers at EV have been working tirelessly to ensure that the EVs on the roads are relatively quieter and lighter over time. The whole of the front area of the car will be a crumple zone that serves to increase the safety of the driver in the event of a collision.

The pure electric cars and the plug-ins are usually relatively more expensive. This is a sad reality because it eliminates the cost-saving benefits of the hybrid car technology. It is good to put into consideration that there are federal tax credits of up to $7500 in the United States for the purchase of a number of EVs and plug-in hybrids in the country. For instance, the Nissan Leaf usually costs about $30,000, but the price can drop to about $20,000 after putting into consideration all of the federal tax rebates that come with the car. According to the research done by the scientists at Nissan, hybrid car drivers can save up to $4000 in gasoline costs over a period of four years. This reduces the effective price of this vehicle to about $16,000. It is still hard to estimate the cost of maintenance for this vehicle because there are still not enough of them in the market to give a fair view of the actual picture on the ground.

As hybrid cars keep increasing in the market, it is expected that the prices of the batteries and the cost of maintenance will continue to fall. This means that the hybrid cars are likely to get more affordable to the mid-income population over time. Some of the recent discoveries such as the lithium anode advances will eventually be rolled out into the market. This will significantly reduce on the weight and cost of the vehicles. The significant improvements shown in the hybrid-car technology has been made possible because of the competition, rebates and regulations that have helped motivate most of the car makers to invest more on innovation and create better and more effective designs.

 

Leave a Comment September 12, 2014

Hunting for Your Charging Station

Fast-chargers-at-motorway-services_4Most of the electric-gasoline hybrid car owners have admitted to having difficulties in locating convenient charging stations near their area. This can be more like looking for a needle in a haystack, especially when you are running low on power. Most people experience what we call “charging anxiety.” This is the fear that you will arrive at your destination and find that there are no charging points or the charging points at the location have broken down. When you are in a place that is not very familiar to you, it usually brings about the feeling of wanting to leave your house for an urgent appointment yet you cannot find your keys. This feeling of being trapped is what gets people looking for charging stations whenever they are somewhere new.

Even more aggravating is the fact that most people responsible for staffing parking facilities are not aware of the existence of charging stations in their vicinity. In cases where the attendants actually know that the charging stations exist, you will mostly get a very vague answer like, “somewhere on the second floor” or “I don’t think we have them.” It is very rare to find someone who will give you specific instructions such as, “Go take a left turn on isle H then go straight ahead until you find a big blue box.”

It is puzzling to note that it is very easy for people to give you the directions to the nearest petrol station than for someone to give you directions to a charging station. Because of their relatively different physical design it gets even more difficult to identify them once you are at their location. It is not surprising to find a car circling a charging station without knowing that they are actually at the charging station. All of the databases for charging stations usually list the presence of the charging stations, but when your power is almost running out, all you want is to get in and charge your battery and you may not really have the chance to power up.

In extreme cases, some people have taken to social media as they try to locate these power stations. In some cases, they have been forced to limp away as they opt to look for alternative charging stations. Having an almost invisible charging station is not only a problem for hybrid car owners, but also the hybrid car manufacturers because it reduces their market penetration and reduces their popularity.

 

Leave a Comment September 12, 2014

Top Facts about the Future of Hybrid Cars

VOLT_BATTERYThe world is increasingly adopting the hybrid car technology. The drive and increase in demand has been pushed by the increasing environmental awareness by the general population. The increasing cost of fuel has also played a significant part in getting many car owners to adopt hybrid car technology.

Most of the forefront supporters of electrification of the automobile industry say that the motor vehicle industry in the United States accounts for over 70% of all of the oil consumption in the United States. It is also surprising to note that the industry accounts for over 30% of the greenhouse gas emissions recorded in the country.

Despite this alarmingly high numbers, there is still some hope for the future. There are a number of positive drivers in place that are sure to ensure that the number of electrified vehicles in the future will be relatively higher compared to the gasoline powered counterparts.

For automakers to stay in business, they will need to make significant advancements in cleaning up in their fleets and electrification provides an ideal way of doing this. In the future, it means that automobile companies will have to introduce more hybrid and electric cars in their product portfolio. The less gasoline they are willing to use, the easier it is for them to improve on their average mpg scores. This means that there will be more pressure for alternatives such as plug-in hybrids, and all electric vehicles so that they can boost their capabilities and push efforts for even further improvements to meet the expectations of consumers and regulatory agencies.

Automakers are also trying to get better efficiency from their internal combustion engines. We expect them to roll out 8-9 or even 10-speed transmission technologies.

The zero emissions feature of the electric cars will come in very handy because there is no technology that can beat that in the near future. This will greatly affect fuel cell electric vehicles since there will be greater pressure for them to improve their effectiveness.

Battery powered vehicles will benefit from their regulated grid since it will be required to become cleaner. Despite the fact that there has been a greater push for the adoption of renewable sources of energy such as geothermal power and hydroelectric power, the adoption of electric and hybrid car technology will play a significant part in environmental campaigns. The world is continually pushing for it and electric vehicles will make more sense at time moves forward.

 

 

 

Leave a Comment September 5, 2014

Positives from Hybrid Cars Technology

Nissan_LeafThere are many positives that we can draw from hybrid car technology. Research and experience shows that electric cars alone convert more than 80% of their energy supply to usable propulsion power. Gasoline powered vehicles have a conversion rate of about 20%. This is relatively low considering the fact that there has been an increased push for the world to adopt more environmentally friendly sources of energy. The hybrid cars have a higher conversion rate and since these are relatively more affordable compared to the pure electric vehicles, these offer a viable option for the mid-income people.

The best gasoline powered engines in the market, in most cases, consume relatively more energy and usually produce more heat than required. The only thing that has been holding back the adoption of the electric vehicles in the market is the fact that electric vehicles work efficiently with limited energy storage batteries.

At this point in the development stage of electric car technology, it does not make much sense, because of the weight of the batteries and short travel distance. However, the tipping point will be achieved when someone makes improvements on the technological equation.

Most of the automakers in the market are increasingly making improvements on the energy storage of their vehicles. Some of the vehicles to be introduced in the near future, such as the next generation EVs like the Nissan Leaf may have energy storage capabilities of up to 180 miles. This may come from improvements in the chemistry of the vehicles.

Consumers are increasingly demanding higher ranges. It is for this reason that established companies such as Tesla are determined on building a 200-mile range EV that will be sold at a price closer to that of the Leaf. It is also encouraging to know that improvements in technology such as advancements in super capacitor technology will play a significant role. These are technologies that are nearing their commercial readiness. There has been some very promising research in the pipeline for the lithium air, solid-state batteries, and aluminum air batteries. Advanced military and aerospace players are already using this because the technology has better energy density compared to the lithium-ion alternatives.

A good example is the Israel-base Phinergy that showcased its aluminum-air battery and the efficiency that comes with the technology. The company formed a partnership with a Fortune 500 giant, Alcoa, and has been working on advancing this technology. This technology will sure go a long way in improving the hybrid car technology for the future.

 

Leave a Comment September 5, 2014

Game Changing Features of the BMW i DC Fast Charger

bmw-i-dc-fast-charger-6One of the most pressing concerns among most hybrid car drivers in the market is the power of their batteries. The ability of their battery power to last as long as possible is what brings in the cost saving features of this technology. With the rising cost of fossil generated fuel, hybrid cars have been on the rise and this is the trend that is likely to fuel the growth of the hybrid car technology.

The BMW i DC charger looks like a blue box on a pole, but the truth of the matter is that this technology offers much more value than the low cost SAE Combo charger that is currently in the market. The company projects that this box is likely to bring in more people into the hybrid market. They believe the DC charging technology is the technology that is going to illuminate the future of hybrid car technology.

The current business strategy of the i DC charger is to get as many i DC chargers out in the market. The company is not in the business of selling the chargers. The main reason for having as many chargers as possible out in the market is to give support for the consumers who will be purchasing the hybrid cars that need this form of energy.

The first of these new boxes will be rolled out at selected 285 dealers in the United States. Most of these dealers already installed the cables and infrastructure that would be needed in supporting the boxes. The installation of the boxes will also be easier for those who did not have the set up ready because you do not need concrete for the wall unit. The SAE combo connector costs are also significantly cheaper compared to the competing plugs in the market such as the ChadeMO.

Some of the drawbacks of the BMW I DC charger compared to the traditional full sized DC chargers are that the alternative charger allows a maximum charge of up to 80% in 20 minutes. The BMW can only achieve this in about 30 minutes. The good news for the EV drivers out there in the market is that with the SAE Combo cars, they can use a ChargePoint card at the BMW charge stations. BMW has been in talks with both GM and VW regarding where to install the charge stations in the United States in a manner that will minimize on duplication of efforts in the whole process.

 

Leave a Comment August 28, 2014

Insight into the 2016 Chevy Volt

2016-Chevrolet-Volt-TeaserThe new Chevy Volt is expected to be making its way into showrooms early next year and bits and pieces about the exciting new car are already leaking into the media. The most exciting feature about the new Chevy Volt is the fact that it will have better fuel economy and efficiency compared to all of the earlier versions of the car. According to the company vice president, the current Volt has a mileage of about 98MPG and 37 MPG on premium fuel. The car has also been reported to have a 38-mile electric-only range. It is not yet clear how exactly the efficiency of the car will be improved, but we definitely expect the car to be lighter than the older version. There will be better aerodynamics and improvement in the powertrain.

Some of the big things that we still don’t know include information about the new gas propelled engine. According to Forbes, it will be reduced to a 1 liter, three-cylinder mill. This will be replacing the 1.4 liter, four-cylinder engine that is currently used in the present design. It will definitely not be of much surprise to find that the new Chevy will come with much more technology compared to previous versions.

GM recently announced that it would be changing its approach to marketing concerning the Volt. The company will be turning away from the mass-market mentality and will be focusing on the areas where there is a relatively higher popularity of the car. Some of these areas include the Northeast and the West coast.

There is also speculation that the new Volt will have an increased seating capacity. There will be an added seat at the back to increase the seating capacity to five. This is a feature that most of the current Volt owners would definitely love. However, there has been no official hint to indicate that this will be the case. We expect that battery of the new Volt to be the new 17.1 kWH version or even higher. This means that the company will seriously need to look into the repackaging structure and design. For instance, the company could try to eliminate the ridge that usually runs from between the two seats at the front of the car to the two rear seats. This will definitely have a significant effect on the weight of the car, as well as the battery positioning. The future of the new Chevy Volt definitely seems to be very bright.

 

Leave a Comment August 28, 2014

Meaning of Hybrid to Different People

Hyundai-Sonota-Hybrid-Feature-1213The number of hybrid cars is increasing by the day in the world market. It is, however, not surprising to find that many people around the world do not know a lot of things concerning the hybrid technology. However, this is not usually the case with gasoline-powered vehicles.

The hybrid car technology means many things to different people around the world. The obvious meaning of hybrid cars to most people around the world is that it is a vehicle designed to preserve the natural environment. The truth of the matter is that this is not all that the hybrid technology means. It goes far deeper than that. What we hear from most of the people purchasing hybrid cars is their desire to have a world where people work together to achieve a common objective. In this case, the objective is to make the world a better place through environmental conservation.

We asked a young woman who was still in college pursuing her education why she was considering buying a hybrid Civic Honda car. To her, the main reason that had pushed her to purchase a hybrid car is that it helped display her awareness about bigger issues existing in the world today that is beyond the grasp of most of the other students in the institution.

The girl went to a dealership with her dad to look for the car she was ready to purchase. The woman clearly had budget constraints because we gathered from her that she had worked all summer in a bid to save the funds that would enable her to buy her dream car. The car seller gave her an identical gasoline powered vehicle, but to our surprise, the woman turned it down saying that it was not what she wanted. The lady walked out of the dealership very upset because what the dealership was proposing to her as being the prospect of a good car was a big step down from her expectations.

The media is fond of making comparisons between the Toyota Corolla and a Prius or the Civic hybrid to the conventional one. These comparisons very often look logical, but in the minds of the consumers, the difference has not been able to come out as clearly as it should. The reaction of the girl on the suggestion that she should buy a conventional gasoline powered car shows that there is something else at work in the minds of people as they choose whether or not to purchase hybrid cars. In the end, the college girl worked out a lease arrangement with the dealer and was able to have her hybrid.

 

Leave a Comment August 22, 2014

The New Rolls Royce Hybrid

Rolls-Royce_102EX_EV-668Most of the car manufactures around the world are beginning to realize that more and more people are preferring hybrid cars. Most of the hybrid cars in the market have so far been the medium prices cars that a majority of people with moderate income are able to afford. Luxury car manufacturers are starting to enter the hybrid market because they realize that there will be a demand for these vehicles. It is for this reason that luxury car manufacturer Rolls-Royce recently announced that their new models for 2016 and 2017 will involve some form of electrification in their powertrain departments. The development program for this new model is already in place and it is expected to be ready for the market by mid 2016.

According to the company, the car will be built on the success of the Phantom Wrath and Ghost. The company intends to continue with its bold shape and graceful styling that has allowed them to captivate and keep their fair share of the market from various regions around the world.

According to the chief executive officer of Rolls Royce, this move opens an exciting new chapter in the great story of Rolls Royce. The company plans on introducing an exciting and contemporary version of a pinnacle drop head touring car. This will introduce even more differentiation between men and women concerning Rolls-Royce ownership.

Competitors such as the Bentley are also putting up plans for their own version of the hybrid because they definitely would not want to be left behind in the technological revolution that is quickly taking shape. BMW has also been in the mix in developing their version of gasoline-electric hybrid cars. This shows why Rolls-Royce has invested so many resources into ensuring that their high-end version of the hybrid car will be rolled into the market within the estimated timeframe.

According to the chairman of the Rolls-Royce company, the announcement of the new hybrid model will help build on the success of their current models. The introduction of this technology will also play a key role in fulfilling the commitment by the company to ensuring that their stakeholders are able to enjoy long term and sustainable growth. This new car is currently undergoing a series of rigorous prototype testing as it undergoes the various stages of the development cycle. As soon at all of the development stages are completed, the car will be ready to be introduced to enthusiastic consumers. We look forward to having this technology in our roads in the near future.

 

Leave a Comment August 22, 2014

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