Archives – February, 2014

The Myths of Electric Cars Debunked

Judging from the sales records released by Tesla Motors, electric cars are definitely taking off. More and more people are beginning to realize the many advantages and merits of owning an electric car. Several myths have been speculated concerning these cars. It is essential for people to know the truth concerning electric cars rather than dwelling on the misleading myths.

One of the myths is that a driver cannot go far in an electric vehicle. The fact is that electric cars have the potential of going between fifty to eighty miles. Although this is not a good distance, it is above average for a fair number of people. Recently, Tesla chose its Model S to go for a road trip to New York from Los Angeles. This was more like an experiment to test the car’s mileage. The trip took about 76 hours inclusive of the charging time. The distance from Los Angeles to New York is approximately 2,760 miles. It is essential to take note that the key is not the distance which the can go but rather the efficiency of charging the car. It has thus been proven that it is extremely easy to charge electric cars.

Another myth concerning electric cars is that there are a few charge points and charging takes a lot of time. A full charge generally takes about four hours and can be done conveniently during the evening. As electric cars become more popular, charging stations will become more common. If you happen to have a Tesla Model S and you pull up at one of their stations, you can get a full charge in 75 minutes, or get a completely new battery pack installed in less than 2 minutes. The first and only nation that deployed countrywide network coverage for charging was Estonia.

A third myth about electric cars is the fact that their batteries are non-recyclable and toxic. The batteries of Tesla, as well as other producers’ contain metal oxides of lithium. The batteries are not only non-toxic, but also last long. They die after approximately ten years. The company has plans of recycling as many batteries as it can. The automaker has no plan of land-filling the batteries. In the website, the company has provided details on how it utilizes the materials.

Electric cars are gradually taking off in Japan, China and United States. Britain is also trying to follow suit. Some months back, the UK government backed Tesla CEO Elon Musk whose key objective was helping with the green agenda. It is thus hoped that in the near future electric cars will be adopted worldwide.


Leave a Comment February 27, 2014

Hybrid Cars May Help Consumers Save Money in the Long Run

There are so many buyers who portray skepticism when it comes to buying a hybrid car. The film “Who Killed the Electric Car?” that was released in 2006, stirred confusion about why the government and the auto industry were reluctant to embrace electric cars. The film also raised questions among skeptical consumers as to whether the electric cars were really worth the money and trouble.

According to President Obama’s speech on 18th February, the government’s excuses will no longer work. The president stated that by helping the environment, drivers also get to cut costs. In his speech, Obama said that America produces more oil at home compared to what is bought from other nations for the first time in almost twenty years. He further added that carbon pollution, which plays a big role in climate change, has decreased. One of the key reasons for the decrease in pollution is the fact that Americans have been committed and dedicated towards the manufacture of new trucks and cars that have better mileage. This not only saves money, but it also cuts down on environmental pollution. It also leads to creation of novel technological advances in America.

The fuel efficiency standards of American trucks and cars were stuck in neutral for decades. There have been severe impacts on the weather because of carbon pollution going unchecked. For this reason, the president has worked with auto workers, automakers, as well as environmental advocates to formulate a policy that would increase gas mileage while at the same time decrease pollution caused by greenhouse gases for all new trucks and cars sold in America.

One of the leading industries to sell hybrid cars in bulk is Toyota. In March last year, the company sold hybrid vehicles totally to 5.125 million. According to Auto Trader, the total sales were evenly split between plug-in hybrids and electric cars. Sales increased in 2013 by 84 percent to more than 96,000 units. It was also confirmed that about 60 percent of all hybrid sales in 2013 were accounted for by Toyota. This is mainly because of the popular models like Camry Hybrid, Highlander Hybrid and Prius.

According to GM Specialist and Cadillac Sales representative for Grossinger, Will Gordon, hybrids are a key to making this world a better place in the future. Hybrid vehicles not only help people to save money, but they also help drivers get better mileage. It is therefore evident that hybrid vehicles are an investment that is worthy.




Leave a Comment February 27, 2014

Hybrid Sales in Japan Surpass US Sales

In June 2009, 22,292 Toyota Prius cars were sold in Japan compared to 12,998 cars in the United States. The sale of Toyota Prius combined with the sales of 8,782 Honda from the novel Honda Insight were adequate to make the country one of the biggest markets for the world’s gas-electric hybrid vehicles. In June of the same year, the total sales of hybrid cars in the United States amounted to 26,205 units.

According to an alternative transportation analyst at Booz Allen Hamilton, Reid Heffner, the Japanese market has the right combination of factors to increase the sale of hybrid cars. These factors include government incentives, new products and gas prices. The excitement concerning new products for hybrids is expected to subside with time. It is however, essential to acknowledge the fact that the government of Japan has developed the right policy measures such as exemption of taxes for hybrids and increased levy for gasoline powered cars. This is contrary to the United States where hybrid tax has not been exempted. Therefore, there if a durable financial advantage for hybrid cars in Japan compared to non-hybrid cars.

An analyst of an auto consulting company CSM, Yoshiaki Kawano said that purchases are boosted by tax incentives. Customers who order a Toyota Prius car in Japan have to wait for almost 7 months for the car to be delivered. Toyota was therefore forced to find a means of meeting the high demand. One of the ways they did so was moving employees from different factory areas to its facility in Tsutsumi, Aichi. This is the facility that builds the Toyota Prius. In addition to this, the company has implemented overtime in its work shifts so as to produce at least 50,000 Toyota Prius cars per month.

According to data released by R.L. Polk and Co., which is involved in tracking novel car registrations, Japan sold only one hybrid car for every 4.3 hybrids sold in the United States in the year 2006. The ratio was cut into fifty percent in the first two months of the year 2006. In June the same year, earlier reports indicated that Japan sales were more than the United States sales.

The United States governmental policy on fuel-efficient cars’ incentives has shifted to plug-in cars for the next generation. The incentives became available in late 2010. There is likely to be more competition in the global race for greener cars considering bigger incentives and larger investments in other Asian countries such as China and South Korea.


Leave a Comment February 20, 2014

Honda’s Plan to Introduce ‘62’mpg Odyssey Hybrid

Honda has made an announcement concerning its intention to introduce a hybrid model of Odyssey. The new version has the possibility of cutting the rate of fuel consumption by fifty percent, that is, from 31 to about 62 mpg. The Japanese automaker said the same thing to Australian journalists. The actual figures used by the automaker and journalists were 3.8 liters per kilometer for a hybrid car in comparison to 7.6 liters per kilometer for non-hybrid car.

The mentioned figures compute to 31 miles per gallon for the normal Odyssey compared to 62 miles per gallon for the hybrid version. It is hoped that the new hybrid will be extremely fuel-efficient and would benefit long distance drivers. The 2014 Odyssey in the United States has been rated to cover about 22 miles per gallon. The new hybrid would therefore be huge even if a Hybrid Odyssey measured into the high 30s or even the low 40s.

Currently, the hybridization process is not yet under development. Only the proposals have been forwarded for the Japanese market. Unlike Estima and Toyota hybrids that were launched in Michigan last summer, Odyssey is both a Japanese and United States model. Therefore, people who are in dire need of a big and efficient hybrid model should hope for the success of the proposed model. The news of the Odyssey hybrid came following a mention of a fifth generation Odyssey by journalists.

Japan has a Toyota Tarago, whose hybrid version is available. The country also has a car known as Toyota Alphard. Both vehicles have hybrid versions. The hybrid versions were introduced following the high demand and increasing need for fuel-efficient and greener cars. Some of the issues that need to be addressed when introducing new hybrid car versions include finding an appropriate place for storing the hybrid battery. The place should not hurt weight distribution and should also not impede space.

The Honda powertrain leader of the project, Takashi Shinchi said that it is essential to consider all the options of where the battery could be placed. He also emphasized the need to consider weight distribution. In this case, it would be considered whether the battery would be best positioned in the rear or forward area. All factors will be kept in mind when picking the most suitable position to place the battery.

According to Chris Martin, Honda spokesman, Honda is looking at the potential for hybridizing larger vehicles. Some of the larger hybrids in the United States include Toyota’s Highlander and Nissan’s Pathfinder. Larger hybrids for Honda are not available yet.


Leave a Comment February 20, 2014

The Possibility of Flywheel Technology Driving Out Battery from Hybrid Cars

Batteries are not only problematic to dispose of, but they are also intensive to make. The answer could lie in flywheel technology, referred to as Kers in Formula One World. Hybrid cars are a nod to green motoring and are halfway battery between a fully-electric Nissan Leaf and the traditional gas motor. While hybrid vehicles can retain a traditional diesel engine, they also have the ability to draw in kinetic energy from the braking motion of the car. They then use that kinetic energy for powering an extra electric motor.

The manufacture of batteries is an energy-intensive process, and more than 50kg can be added to a vehicle’s mass by the weight of a battery. This implies increased usage of fuel. It is however, essential to acknowledge the fact that hybrids still cover more miles compared to traditional versions of a similar model. The issue of fuel efficiency also comes about. Every time a hybrid system is used, one is going from kinetic energy to electric energy to chemical energy, and back again. Kinetic energy, which in normal cases is lost in the form of heat during breaking, is translated to electric energy. This conversion is mediated by a generator used for charging the battery. The losses incurred during conversion are unavoidable. Moreover, environmental problems arise as a result of battery disposal.

Batteries are not the only means of storing kinetic energy. It is possible to make hybrid cars with flywheels in place of batteries. In such a case, a flywheel is spun by the kinetic energy recovered during braking. The energy recovered is then preserved in a spinning wheel prior to being released during acceleration. The energy amount stored in a flywheel depends on the mass, as well as the rate, at which the flywheel is rotating. An 80bph boost has been provided by prototypes.

In comparison to batteries, flywheels give the possibility of improved efficiency of fuel. This is by maintaining energy in mechanical form instead of transitioning through mechanical, electrical and chemical states. A characteristic of flywheels is that they are light in weight. A typical flywheel will weight six to eight kilograms. Also, in terms of disposal, flywheels do not present several problems or issues. The use of flywheels evidently sounds promising. The big question is whether hybrids with flywheels could be in competition with the battery hybrids. A major demerit of flywheels is that there energy density is lower than that of batteries. This means that the rate at which flywheels can release energy is higher compared to that of batteries.


1 Comment February 13, 2014

Hybrid Car Sales are on the Rise

Since the onset of the great recession in the United States, many people are seeking means of downsizing, cutting cost and conserving. This could account for the major rise in sales of cars that are more fuel-efficient and smaller in size. By cutting car costs, a big reduction in monthly bills can be achieved. This is the most likely reason why the sales of hybrid cars have increased by 7.6 percent within one year. Hybrids are normal, fuel efficient cars that use electric batteries as a supplement to gas engines. These cars are also characterized by two motors, which are gasoline and electric powered motors.

Hybrid cars have been found to be gasoline efficient with an average of 48 to 60 miles per gallon. Although other cars considered to be fuel efficient can go up to 36 miles per gallon, their costs are much lower compared to the costs of hybrid cars. The cost of a typical hybrid car ranges from $19,000 to $25,000. A typical fuel efficient gas vehicle such as Honda Civic ranges from $14,000 to $17,000. A key question that arises is why a person should choose a hybrid car over a traditional gasoline powered car.

In hybrid cars, more fuel is saved by the electric motor compared to the gasoline motor. When a car is in idle mode, an electric motor does not use any energy. Therefore, an electric motor would normally turn off when the car is idle. This means that they would utilize less fuel compared to gasoline motors when the car is moving at a low speed. Gasoline motors perform better than electric motors at high speeds. Additionally, gas motors would deliver a high level of power. The electric motor is great during rush hour go and stop traffic. The gas motor kicks in at higher speeds so that it can provide additional power when needed.

Hybrid cars provide great reduction in emissions, therefore minimizing greenhouse gases. They make a huge dent in the city where pollution and smog is worst, in terms of their carbon contribution when the electric motor is operational. Driving a hybrid car would result in cutting emissions by twenty-five to thirty-five percent. This is even applicable to gas powered vehicles that are most fuel-efficient. Another advantage of hybrid cars is that the batteries are automatically charged when the gas motors turn on. This means that one would not be left stranded and searching for a charge for an electric car.



Leave a Comment February 13, 2014

Why You Should Think of Buying an Electric Car

If you are thinking of buying a new vehicle, an all-electric version should be considered as a leading option. Many people are discouraged from investing in hybrid and electric cars because of the high costs associated with them. What they fail to understand is that the cost is worth it considering the many advantages associated with electric vehicles. Many people lack adequate information and facts concerning electric cars. According to a national survey conducted by a union of scientists, it is clear that about twenty five percent of households in America could not afford electric cars. For such families, owning such a car would deter them from fulfilling their driving needs.

Despite the fact that many people are unsure of what to expect with electric cars, others have claimed that electric vehicles are quite running, fun and considerably high tech. It is also essential to add that electric vehicles offer the advantage of instant torque. Drivers have also noted that they offer regenerative banking and smooth acceleration. Electric vehicle owners have also claimed that driving an electric vehicle is more fun compared to driving a gasoline-powered car. From the reviews of electric car owners, it is evident that electric vehicles are a worthwhile investment.

By driving or owning an electric car, a driver has something to gain directly. Some of the benefits include saving money. On a long-term basis, buying an electric car would save money on fuel. This is mainly because such vehicles have a good mileage. This means that one can cover long distances using less fuel.

Another fact worth mentioning is that a person who owns an electric vehicle tends to indirectly benefit alongside other societal members. For instance, there are health and environmental benefits reaped from driving an electric car. Air pollution has been one of the complaints aired in relation to driving gasoline-fueled vehicles. The gas emissions not only pollute the environment, but they are also detrimental to health. Driving electric cars prevents emission of such fumes.

Buying an electric vehicle is a sign of taking responsibility. For example, an electric car owner would not be considered cheap, but environmentally responsible. Everyone has a role to play in society. Choosing to buy an electric car may be the first step towards taking responsibility for your own health, as well as the health of general society. Owning an electric car is like showing reliance on renewable, domestic and clean energy. Consequently, this promotes a long term economic, environmental and societal health.



Leave a Comment February 6, 2014

A Review of Toyota’s Camry Hybrid in India

One of the latest advancements that Toyota has made is its entrance into the niche hybrids’ market in India. For this reason, a lot is anticipated from this automaker. The price of Toyota Camry is about Rs. 2,975,000. This is a reasonable price, considering the fact that hybrid cars are more costly compared to conventional gasoline-powered vehicles.

With respect to its design, Toyota’s Camry Hybrid is not only fuel-efficient, but is also eco-friendly. It is an environmental-friendly version of the well-known luxury sedan. With the controversy revolving around global warming and emission of greenhouse gases, it is essential for drivers to consider owning eco-friendly cars. Toyota Camry hybrid is one of the perfect choices that would serve the purpose.

Compared to the normal Camry, the hybrid version has a few embellishments and improvements. Since the original model is quite pleasing to the eye, the additional embellishments in the hybrid version only serve to enhance road presence. There are remarkable changes in the design of the front-end parts. The hybrid version has chrome infested fog lamps, headlamps that have been redesigned, front bumper that features a wider air dam and a new radiator grille. Changes have also been made on the wheels. The hybrid version has 17-inch wheels, which are much bigger, compared to the original Camry. It is quite hard to distinguish the rear end of the two versions because there is not much difference. Generally, in terms of aesthetics, the hybrid version of Camry is more rounded and it is premium.

It is also essential to evaluate the Camry Hybrid in terms of performance. One of the notable features about the hybrid version is that it has two propulsion sources. One of the sources is a VVT-I petrol engine that is 2.5 Liters while the other source of propulsion is in the form of an electric motor. The car’s petrol engine produces power amounting to 160PS. In reality, it is possible to drive the car solely on electric r power. However, in this state, it can only cover short distances of up to 40km per hour after which the petrol engine takes over.

The performance of Camry Hybrid is fairly good with both motors working. While the feedback offered by the steering is decent, it is definitely not as good as that offered by other cars of a similar price range. Hence, the handling is not inspiring. Another drawback is the fact that the car has only one gearbox, which apparently reacts slowly. There are a few options to choose from when purchasing hybrid vehicles in India.




Leave a Comment February 6, 2014

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