Archives – December 12, 2014

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.


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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.



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