Winter Survival Guide for a Hybrid Car Owner

imagesIt has always been said that a little bit of preparation and diligence can work wonders for the future. Therefore, it is necessary to prepare you hybrid car for the hardships of winter. One of the activities that a hybrid car owner should remember to do during winter is to block the hybrid car’s front intake grille. This will not cause overheating because colder air rushes into the engine bay as the vehicle moves forward. By blocking the grille, a hybrid car driver can offset the unavoidable fuel economy loss during cold months. The gas engine temperature range of 60 to 90 degrees is required for optimal performance on the Prius and Civic hybrid. When temperatures drop to below freezing, a longer time is required for the engine to attain optimal range. Therefore, blocking the front grille is beneficial in achieving optimal performance of a hybrid car during winter.

Another important aspect is for hybrid car owners to make use of an engine block heater, which is a valuable accessory that hybrid car owners should consider purchasing, especially if they live in areas where temperatures reach below freezing. Most heaters comprise of a small heating element inserted into a special port. The heating element functions by heating up the car’s engine coolant and thereby keeping the whole engine block at a temperature that is much higher compared to ambient temperature. When operated at a household voltage of 110V, most engine block heaters give a power rating of about 400 watts. It is vital for the block heater to be plugged in when the car is parked. This will allow the engine to attain the required operational temperature within a short time, hence, lowering vehicle emissions and benefiting fuel economy. Other additional benefits of using an engine block heater in colder climates include reducing the need to perform warm-up idling and reduce wear and tear on engine components.

The tires should also be taken care of during winter. For great fuel economy during the cold months, the tire’s pressures should be kept high. This is mainly because the internal air pressure effect on the tire is reduced in colder temperatures, which makes them run flatter. You certainly do not want to neglect air pressure in the colder months since a flatter running tire induces more friction on the road surface. To maintain proper air pressure, it is essential to use a good digital tire pressure gauge on a regular basis. Additionally, installing and using a direct form of a Tpms system is also helpful. These are just a few things that a hybrid car owner should take note of during winter months to help keep their vehicle in top running condition.

 

Leave a Comment December 12, 2014

Netherlands Reports Constantly High Electric and Hybrid Car Sales

512px-Mitsubishi_Electric_CarOf the total number of car sales in Netherlands in the first three quarters of 2014, hybrid or electric cars accounted for 4.3%. The number was even higher in the last quarter of 2013; 15%. According to Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, who published the report, the high electric car sales in Netherlands are mainly as a result of fiscal measures. Electric vehicles are not manufactured in Netherlands. For this reason Roland Berger made a comparison between the Dutch sales figures and figures of primary electric vehicle manufacturing nations such as France, Germany, U.S., Japan, Italy South Korea and China. Of the mentioned countries, France sold the highest percentage of hybrid and electric cars.

Netherlands sold 14,282 electric and hybrid cars in the last quarter of 2013. The Mitsubishi Outlander was the best-selling car, with sales totaling 8,039. Japan is the major manufacturer of most hybrid and electric cars sold in Netherlands. Other popular brands are the Nissan Leaf and the Toyota Prius. The biggest producers of electric and hybrid cars worldwide are the United States and Japan. The biggest car battery manufacturer is Japan with a 60% share. Netherlands has set a goal of having 200,000 electric and hybrid cars on the road by the year 2020. Currently, there are 70,000 such cars, which accounts for about 1% of the total.

The fiscal advantages of hybrid and electric cars in the Netherlands were reduced after 1st January 2014. This resulted in still healthy, but slower sales. Roland Berger has stated that the Netherlands has an attractive electric and hybrid cars’ market, thanks to the “e-mobility,” which has in the past few years being strongly supported by lawmakers. Since 2013, the number of charging stations for plug-in hybrid and electric cars has doubled.

Last week, Fastned, a leading provider of fast-charging electric cars in the Netherlands made an announcement that the European Union had donated €2 million subsidy to aid in building 94 plug-in charging stations in the Netherlands and Germany. The stations will be an addition to the already existing 155 locations within four countries. Currently, Fastned has 18 active fast charging stations along Netherlands’ highways. The company has been adding a new station on a weekly basis.

Judging from the situation in the Netherlands, it can be presumed that electric and hybrid car sales are likely to increase in the near future. These cars are gradually gaining popularity and will soon replace the conventional gasoline-fueled cars.

 

 

Leave a Comment December 12, 2014

Winterization of Your Hybrid Car’s Exterior

carProvision of extra protection for your hybrid car during winter is necessary for maintaining not only the paint, but also the glass and the wheels. The effects of ice and snow, as well as the scrapping involved when removing them is rough on your car. Here are some of the products and procedures that can be helpful to your hybrid car in wintertime.

With respect to paint, it is essential to use a quality sealant or wax in combination with appropriate maintenance. This will increase the longevity of the paint even through the cold months. A paint sealant should be your best bet for winter paint protection since it has a tendency to not only last long, but it also needs few reapplications. Paints with acrylic-based formulas are the most preferable. For those who opt to balance gloss and durability, such paint options are also available. They give a long-lasting protection and a finish that is attractive and high gloss. Coating is the ultimate means of protecting your paint through the cold months.

Just like paint, it is vital to protect the wheels and tires of your hybrid car in wintertime. A protective wax for the wheels should be used to prevent adhesion of brake dust. To maintain a high level of protection, regular reapplications are needed. The best protection possible for your hybrid car wheels can be provided by a product such as a nano-based ceramic glass coating. This coating will not only keep the wheels clean, but also protected. Additionally, it can last a noticeably long time. Application of the coating is straightforward and simple. Tire protection is achieved in two ways. The first way is by making sure that the rubber is kept supple in very cold temperatures so that it does not crack. The second way is making sure to properly inflate your hybrid car tires.

The windshield and wipers are other exterior parts that need to be protected during winter months. The windshield should be kept frost-free and clean. A high-quality wash additive needs to be added to the windshield washer fluid to protect it from freezing. A quality ice scraper is also a necessity for every driver in snow-prone areas. The scraper should have the ability to remove all types of snow, frost and ice from windows and the windshield. Finally, it is advisable to consider purchasing a car cover if you have to park your hybrid vehicle outside during the cold months. The cover should protect your car against impact and moisture.

 

Leave a Comment December 5, 2014

Some Gift Ideas for Hybrid Vehicle Drivers

imagesAs Christmas is around the corner, most people are searching for gift ideas. Others have done most of the gift shopping and are waiting for the last-minute rush. Well, if you need to buy a present for yourself or one of your favorite hybrid-car drivers, here are some ideas for you.

One of the gift ideas is a t-shirt such as the Keep Calm and Drive On t-shirt whose price ranges from $20. This is especially appropriate for hybrid car drivers with a sense of humor. The t-shirt can also be gifted in combination with an Internet meme. Wearing such a t-shirt is a good way for hybrid car drivers to let the world know that they have no worries concerning their combustible battery pack. It is also a fun way for a driver to tell the world how to drive safely and avoid careless accidents.

Another gift idea to consider this Christmas is an automotive computer like those from ScanGauge that go for around $125. This gift is especially recommended for hybrid car drivers with an obsession of keeping track on the range at which their cars can move. The gauge works as a 3-in-1 automotive computer once it is plugged into the on-board diagnostic port on all hybrid cars made in the last fifteen or so years. It offers a diagnostic scan tool, multifunction trip computer, as well as various digital gauges. This computer can also display maximum, average and trip fuel economy instantaneously. All these are displayed in three significant digits. This means that it is more accurate compared to other built-in computers. In addition to offering calculation features, this gauge can help drivers to get better mileage per gallon.

Another gift idea worth mentioning is the engine block heater, which sells for around $60. It is well known that short trips, particularly in wintertime cause additional strain to a vehicle engine, which wears the engine and reduces gas mileage. The engine block heater is usually used during cold conditions because it helps in keeping the engine block, as well as the engine oil warm. The heaters are also useful in preventing the engines from freezing and facilitating cold-starting. Additionally, they help in reducing the time required to warm-up the engine, minimize emissions and improve fuel efficiency. Every hybrid vehicle produced over the past decade has a specific black heater that drivers should invest in or buy as a gift this holiday season. These are just a few of the great hybrid car accessories available for yourself or your favorite hybrid driver.

 

Leave a Comment December 5, 2014

Winterization Tips for Your Electric Car

imagesIt is essential to know what it takes to winterize an electric car and maintain good performance in the cold. Some of the tips that can be applied in winter-proofing an electric vehicle will be highlighted in this article. One of the key tips is winterizing your electric car batteries. The batteries are the major cause of electric car suffering during cold weather. During the cold season, the battery range can drop to 5-10 miles from the normal 30-35 miles. Cold results in slowing down of the chemical processes taking place inside a battery. Consequently, the battery fails to take charge they way it does in warmer conditions.

To winter-proof an electric car battery pack, drivers are advised to keep driving during winter for the batteries to be maintained in the charge and discharge mode. Charging is also recommended as it warms up your electric vehicle battery. It is usually enough to just have a large battery bank coupled with insulation and garaging. Insulation can be done using cheap Styrofoam that is easy to find. A fluffy fiberglass can also be utilized for insulation. Some people also prefer to use a heat tape or heating pads under car insulation. Keeping an electric vehicle in an insulated garage may also be helpful during the winter.

Winterization of non-battery electric vehicle components is another aspect to keep in mind. This will help in maintaining the efficiency of an electric vehicle. To keep things moving in the cold, it is advisable to lubricate the transmission, as well as wheel bearings using winter-appropriate artificial materials. This results in increased battery power. The tire inflation also makes a major difference during winter. Several appliances in a car glide smoothly during summer when the liquid is loose and free. During the winter, the liquid’s viscosity lowers and turning the wheel takes a lot of battery energy. Fortunately, there are several companies that manufacture vehicle lubricants that remain runny at all rimes, even during the cold season.

Keeping yourself warm is also fundamental. An electric car by itself will not generate excess heat to keep the driver warm. Other options must be considered. Some people may just wear coats, thermals and whatever they can to survive without utilizing battery energy or cabin heat. An alternative to consider is installation of a ceramic heater that will keep cold off the vehicle or cabin. This ceramic heater is either powered by an auxiliary battery or a battery pack that uses a DC/DC converter.

 

Leave a Comment November 28, 2014

Why You Should Buy Lamborghini’s Hybrid Asterion this Holiday Season

Lamborghini_Asterion_-_2014_Paris_Motor_Show_01It is clearly evident that the flavor of the month right now isn’t a V12 engine that releases carbon dioxide emission that is enough to choke your average polar bear. Why not gift yourself or a loved one with a worthwhile hybrid car that is environmentally friendly? Right now, most of the automakers are considering various means of minimizing dangerous emissions and improving the fuel economy. They are doing so while at the same time maintaining performance figures that will excite teenage schoolboys. The Asterion hybrid is one of the choices to think of, owed to its features that will be highlighted below.

A key feature of the Asterion is its V10 engine with 607 bhp with a volume of 5.2 liters. This engine is the same as that of the Huracan. Additionally, this hybrid car’s performance has been boosted significantly by its three powerful electric motors. It has 907 bhp as the total output. Surprisingly, the car can move around solely on electricity for approximately 30 or more miles. The automakers have also revealed that when both the electric and gas engine motors are running, the Asterion can achieve 282 miles per gallon. The car is more economical compared to a family hatchback and its speed is comparable to that of a Ferrari.

From a complete standstill, the hybrid Asterion can hit 185 miles per hour and rocket to 62 miles per hour in just three or less seconds. The catch however, is that in real world, this figure may not be achievable. You are essentially driving on a 5.2-litre V10 as soon as the batteries run out of juice. The second catch is that it might cost a fortune if you desperately require one. However, it may eventually be worth the investment.

It is clear that designers opted for a softer approach with the hybrid Asterion. This is because the objective of Lamborghini was the creation of a sophisticated cruiser instead of a mad, track-day demon. For a driver to have a fantastic view of the road, the car seats are not only cosseted, but also set higher in the cabin. The ride is also set up in such a way that the driver’s comfort is assured. The driver gets to enjoy handy gadgets inside the cabin. The exterior of the car is associated with legendary Miura elements, which are not bad at all. Some of the gadgets include a trendy TFT display located at the back of the car’s steering wheel. There is also a tablet device that serves in controlling most of the hybrid vehicle’s functions.

 

 

Leave a Comment November 28, 2014

Nissan Makes Car Recalls

nissanCar manufacturers are increasingly becoming conscious about the quality of cars that they sell to their customers. It is for this reason that Nissan, one of the biggest car manufacturers in the world, recalled over 6000 of their Infinity hybrid cars. This is after the company discovered a fault in the acceleration system of the car. According to the company, the fault was caused by a bug in the software system. The company posted a comprehensive report about the problem on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.

Nissan critics have hit the company hard on the recall. Most of them claim that the problem was not a surprise. According to Kyle Bazemore, a spokesperson for Infinity Media, the company intentionally ignored the fault in the system. This is because the company did not put in adequate measures to ensure that the fault was eliminated before the car went into commercial production. According to Kyle, the vehicle is able to pull out of the exit fail-safe mode and this leads to continued acceleration, although this can be overcome by the normal application of the brakes in the car. The possibility of this happening was discovered during numerous lab tests that were done by the company; however, the company chose not to act on the problem. Rather than taking the appropriate action, the company chose to go ahead and release the cars into the market as scheduled. It is therefore inaccurate to state that the fault in the system was unforeseen.

Car owners have also been complaining about these cars. One of these car owners recently told the car safety agency that this car was simply a menace in the roads. According to a complaint filed by the owner in the company website, the car feels like it is accelerating on its own. The owner further claims that he made numerous complaints to the car dealer and was told that the problem was not replicated in other vehicles. It is sad to note that more drivers have experienced the same problem. The dealers had resorted to telling concerned car owners that this is a normal hybrid car problem. However, in truth, it is a problem with the car and the manufacturer.

According to Nissan, the company learned about the fault in July and was able to trace the problem down to a programming error. The company finally made the decision to do the recall in September and it is still ongoing.

 

 

 

Leave a Comment November 21, 2014

The New Battery Driven BMW

bmwBMW has made a significant investment in green cars. This has been caused by the ever-increasing demand for green cars around the world. One such investment by the company has been in the BMW i3 model. This is an all-electric car. The company made an effort to make this model stand out from the rest of their cars in the market. The following are some of the features that make this car stand out from the rest made by the company and most of the other car manufacturers, as well.

The BMW i3 feels as different as the exterior of the car looks. The dashboard of the car is made out of eucalyptus; the design was apparently inspired by well-known furniture and architectural designers Charles and Ray Eames. Just like most of their modern furniture designs, the seats of the car are more comfortable than they actually look. This gives the car an extra elegant look and feel while driving the car.

The first drive in the car is an amazing experience all together. When you lift off the accelerator, you can feel the immediate effect caused by the regenerative braking of the car. You need to learn how to maintain some little acceleration even when you are slowing down to avoid any uncomfortable bumping that may result from abrupt braking. The car has very strong regen brakes that help makes driving feel like a one pedal affair. There has been some slight problem as a result of this feature. When you reduce the speed of the car slowly, the brake lights sometimes stay dark. This may confuse some road users.

The steering system of the car is quick and precise. The car has a relatively shorter wheelbase and this means that the car is able to maneuver easily through traffic. The car gives that feel of driving from a double decker mini cooper.

The i3 is definitely not the fastest car in the market. The acceleration of the car, however, is immediate and this can be very addictive for drivers. The car has a zero to 60 acceleration in 6.5 seconds according to tests. The car is able to pull with power of up to 93 miles per hour.

The BMW i3 has a stiff suspension. This is true because the car has an optional 20-inch tire. When combined with its high seats, rigid structure and a stiff suspension, the car experiences a smooth rocking motion when driving over an uneven road.

 

Leave a Comment November 21, 2014

Owning Hybrid Cars Can Cost Less

toyotaHybrid cars, as well as other green cars are often purchased at a higher price compared to conventional non-hybrid cars. This implies that the higher initial ownership cost may offset their improved efficiency. However, this is not the case always. At times, owning a hybrid car may be in fact cheaper in comparison to owning its gasoline counterpart. A research conducted by firm Vincentric showed that the ownership cost relies on choosing the most appropriate type of hybrid car. An analysis of the cost of ownership conducted by the firm led to the finding that about 33% of hybrid cars will save the drivers money.

There is a need to have a long-term view so as to determine cost savings. It was determined by Vincentric that an average of $2,895 can be saved by hybrid car owners in terms of fuel over a time span of five years. This may still not be adequate in a few cases. Although the fuel economy has significantly gotten better, the cost of some hybrid cars is still higher than that of comparable non-hybrid vehicles. This cost is so high that several years of fuel savings would be needed to offset the sticker price.

Vincentric reported that there are still a number of hybrid cars that can save money for their owners. Topping the list are the Toyota Avalon Hybrid and the Lexus Ct 200h, which have savings of $3,200 and $7,600, respectively. Other models that were shown to have a cost advantage in comparison to their gasoline counterparts are Hyundai Sonata, Audi Q5, Lexus ES 300h, Infiniti QX60, Toyota Camry and Lincoln MKZ hybrids. Even the Acura ILX mild hybrid, which has been discontinued, also showed a high cost advantage. It is essential to take note of the fact that some of the mentioned hybrids such as Infinity QX60 and Audi Q5 are rare and almost nonexistent at auto-dealers.

On average, the cost of owning a hybrid car in a time span of five years was found to be $1,445 more compared to non-hybrid car ownership. The gap is not expected to reduce any time soon. The competitive advantage of hybrid vehicles may be eroded by improved efficiency and lower prices of gas. Some of the factors that contribute to the current high competitive advantage for hybrid vehicles include the ability to provide single or double electric motors, assorted power electronics and a battery pack with a high voltage. Generally, it is convenient to own a hybrid car considering the many advantages it offers.

 

 

Leave a Comment November 14, 2014

Electric Cars Becoming More Popular

YAKUMO DIGITAL STILL CAMERAIt is clearly evident that the future is geared towards electric cars. It seems fuel powered engines are gradually being phased out. The big question is whether now this is the right time to adopt the electric car systems fully. The certainty of hybrid and electric cars gaining popularity in the future is being proven through the big car manufacturers increasingly creating new models to meet customer demand. Range is no longer a major issue, thanks to the gradual improvement in infrastructure. It is now not hard to imagine a future where a majority of the cars in the roads will be hybrid or electric cars.

Right now, pure electric cars do not have a huge selection but it has definitely improved. The range is also great for daily use. The electric cars’ prices in the United Kingdom are reasonable mainly because of governmental intervention in offering free tax and taking 5,000 Euros off the price. Drivers can even save more if the petrol costs are offset. Tesla tops at one end with the Model S, which is famed for its self-driving smarts and all-wheel drive and goes for approximately 50,000 Euros. The automaker’s latest model will be in the United Kingdom’s market in July 2015.Other renowned brands such as Ford, Nissan, VW, Renault and BMW are also making pure electric cars whose prices are affordable.

There are a few key numbers that most people will be juggling when going electric. These include charging time, range, power and price. With respect to price, Renault Zoe is the most affordable at 14,000 Euros, Nissan Leaf goes for 16,500 Euros, VW e-Golf goes for 26,000 Euros and finally BMW’s i3 is the most costly at 31,000 Euros. With respect to range, Nissan Leaf wins with a range of 124 miles. The charge is almost even for all cars, and it is around 80% in 30 minutes. The Nissan Leaf also tops in terms of power utilization.

Hybrid cars have existed for many years now, and Toyota Prius leads with a dual-drive system. Currently, they are extremely popular, with most drivers choosing the Prius. Recently, the hybrid market has grown, with such cars being flexible with respect to charging. This implies that drivers can charge their cars anywhere, even away from home. In this way, they may choose not to utilize the car’s fuel engine, which could be reserved for long-distance drives. It can thus be concluded that there is a positive future for hybrid machines and electric cars.

 

 

Leave a Comment November 14, 2014

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