Archives – September, 2014

Overview of the Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid

mitsubishi-outlander-plug-in-hybrid--uk-version_100480201_lThe Mitsubishi Outlander plug in hybrid car is still not in the American market. This has been caused by a series of debates that have come up and pushed the release date to the fall of 2015. This is almost two years after it was released in Japan and about one full year after it was released for sale in Europe. The availability of the car in Europe makes it much easier to get the ratings and user reviews of the car.

The Outlander was designed originally to be used purely on electric power. This means that the car has the same impression as the regular car to consumers. The look of the car may not be as striking as most would expect. The car has a dark-grey metallic paintwork with attractively brushed alloy wheels finishing. Most people actually think that this is a ‘handsome’ model.

The inside of the car is a similar story. While most of the high end cars in the market come with leather seats and sun roofs that give the cabin a lift, the design of the Outlander took a slightly different direction. The design is unremarkable and it is simple and clear enough. This tends to give a sense of tranquility that avoids confusion or offense. It is also interesting to note the absence of the tachometer. This has been replaced by a charge assistance “swingometer.” This is a joystick shaped drive selector that contains more options that make it possible to get access to the touchscreen display, as well as the smaller displays in the gauge cluster.

The rear wheels of this vehicle come with a 60 kW electric motor. This gives the vehicle four-wheel drive capabilities The official records for the car are an acceleration of 0-60 mph within an 11 seconds time frame.

The vehicle has a12 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that is situated below the passenger compartment at the center of the car. This means that there is more trunk space in this model compared to the gasoline powered vehicle alternatives. The charging rate for the car is also reasonable. The car can be charged from 220-240V within five hours.

When the driver reaches higher speeds quickly, the car automatically switches over to the parallel hybrid mode. This means that the engine of the car provides most of the power while the electric component provides little assistance. The level of assistance is dependent on the strength of the acceleration.


1 Comment September 26, 2014

Guide for 2014 and 2015 Hybrid Cars

2014-toyota-prius-c_100445683_lJust about 10 years ago, there were only about four brands of hybrid cars in the American market. Today, the number has tremendously grown. One of the original hybrid cars in the market was the Toyota Prius. At the time, the most fuel-efficient car in the market was the original Honda Insight. The Prius swiftly overtook this position and took up the mantle of being the most fuel-efficient vehicle in the market. This sparked competition from most of the other car manufacturers and they quickly started to divert some of their resources into developing and rolling out their own version of hybrid cars. Honda for instance, released their first Civic hybrid in 2004 to counter competition from the Toyota Prius. Ford also released their version of the hybrid car through the Ford Escape hybrid car, which was also released in 2004.

This is a simple guide to the hybrid cars that are currently in the market. This only contains hybrid cars. Pure electric cars of course, don’t have concerns about fuel savings since they do not use any gasoline.

Compacts and Small Cars

The Toyota Prius C is top of the list in this category of hybrid vehicles. The car has a combined mpg of 50 and a very impressive city rating of 53 mpg. Consumers who are very concerned about fuel savings in the city would be very happy with this vehicle.

Next on the list is the classy CT 200h manufactured by Lexus. Most critics say that it is a Prius in a different body. The vehicle has a slightly lower mpg of about 42 mpg combined. The major advantage of this vehicle is the fact that it has some extra prestige that some of the buyers in the market are always looking for. The vehicle also comes at a relatively high-end price. This means that despite the favorable mileage, it is not a vehicle for people with a small car buying budget.

Third on the list is the 2014 Honda Insight. Despite the big name, the vehicle does not carry the prestige associated with it. However, the vehicle manages to use the same 42 mpg combined mileage. The car has a city mileage of about 41. This is a cheaper alternative to the above cars. They are not very many in the market so if you would like to grab one for yourself you don’t have much time!

Another other good option is the sporty Honda CR-Z. The car has a combined mpg of 37. This is also a good option for low-end buyers.


1 Comment September 26, 2014

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.


1 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

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