Archives – March, 2015

A Review of Mercedes C350 Plug-in Hybrid

06-07_Mercedes-Benz_C350The most economical and tax-efficient cars money can buy are the plug-in hybrids, which have even outshone the pure electric cars. However, these cars are still costly compared to diesel and petrol-powered alternatives. The prices are expected to tumble with Mercedes planning to launch ten of them by the year 2017. The Mercedes C350 will have a familiar feel. It’s pretty much a no-compromise car, based on the C-Class sedan. However, the trunk capacity is low because of the 100 kg lithium-ion battery. The C-Class sedan’s truck capacity has been reduced from 480 to 335 liters, while that of the Estate has reduced from 490 to 350 liters.

Both versions of the Mercedes C35O have an air-suspension fitting that helps in coping with the demands of additional weight of 200kg that is added to the curb weight by the entire system. The interior part of the car has not changed much. The new C-Class that was launched last year was greatly improved compared to its predecessor. Similar materials are used for both versions and they have excellent fitting and finishing. Another feature is an exclusive trim for both car versions. They also have air-con system for cooling or pre-heating the car, thanks to electric power that is independent.

The only feature that serves as a hint to the fact that the car will be a state-of-the-art drivetrain is an eco meter that is situated at the instrument binnacle’s bottom section, as well as the central tablet’s flow screen. The cars under skin has an 80 bhp electric motor augmenting a 2-liter 208 bhp petrol engine, sitting in between the transmission and the main unit. The total torque is 600 Nm, while the system power totals to 275 bhp. The torque and power in question is substantially high for such a sports car. In E-mode, a range of 19.2 miles and speed of 80 mph are delivered by the electric motors and batteries. The Mercedes C350 has two major driving modes. Battery power alone is used in the E-mode to give a limited range. The second mode is the E-Save mode, which saves electric charge for later use. The new car’s ride is quite better compared to the average C-Class vehicle. The tail has an additional 100kg that makes it capable of jumping over normal bumps. The drive systems offer the comfort, economy, sport+ and the sport modes. The comfort mode is preferred for Mercedes C350. The two sport modes have brake energy recuperation. Again, the best setting for braking is the Comfort mode.



Leave a Comment March 28, 2015

Toyota’s Latest Hybrid Lineup at the 2015 Atlanta International Auto Show

imagesThere are plans for Toyota Motor to make an expansion of the portfolio for its green cars. The automaker intends to showcase novel hybrid cars at the Atlanta International Auto Show later this week. The show is scheduled to take place from 25th to 29th March, at the Georgia World Congress Center. The exhibit area for this automaker is around twenty-thousand feet squared and the vehicles to be showcased include 30 Scion and Toyota models. The company’s wide hybrid car range will also be revealed and it will include Prius v enhancements, as well as the portfolio for Prius c. As of now, the best-selling car globally is the Toyota Prius, which has also been a major generator of revenue for Toyota Motors. Prius has been in existence for 18 years and was the first hybrid car to enter the market. It has gradually gained popularity as green car model across the world.

Craig Scott, The Advanced Technologies Group’s national manager at Toyota Motors said that the impact that Toyota has on the global automotive industry will be clearly illustrated at this year’s car lineup in Atlanta. He further said that visitors will be given an opportunity to get a preview of advanced technologies powering the next car generation. He said that Toyota proudly holds the title of sustainable mobility leader. At the Atlanta Auto Show, Toyota Motors will have a number of experts who will shed light on the benefits associated with clean energy cars such as electric, plug-in hybrids, and hydrogen-fueled cars. The world’s first hydrogen-fueled car, Toyota Mirai, was launched in December 2014, by Toyota Motors. A report published by the Pr News Wire said that the most striking Toyota vehicles will be displayed at the Auto show and these include the updated models of Sienna and the Yaris, as well as the novel 2015 Camry. The Scion lineup will comprise of the Scion FR-S and the revamped Scion tC. Toyota Motors’ Scion model mainly serves the North Americans.

PR Newswire further revealed that visitors would have a chance to drive novel Toyota car models such as the RAV4, Corolla, and the Prius across the Georgia World Congress Center. The ride would also be available for all car fans. On Tuesday, the stock of Toyota Motors traded down 0.55% and closed at 144.52 dollars. The stock has risen to 14.78 % since the beginning of the year.




Leave a Comment March 28, 2015

Electric Cars’ Real Carbon Footprint

leafThe world still has to gear its effort towards making electric cars more environmentally friendly since this will enable it to meet the set climate goals. This was what was concluded in a paper published by the University of Toronto in March. The paper claims that there is a need for nations to minimize the intensity of carbon generated by electric power. This will enable electric transport, as well as other infrastructure to serve as an effective climate change combating strategy. To illustrate this perspective, think of a Nissan Leaf running on electric energy. The greenhouse gas emissions released by the car are determined by the way through which electricity was generated. The carbon emissions are minimal if the car is charged on geothermal or solar power.

A car changed on coal-generated electricity is bad or even worse for the environment. A road map for climate-friendly cars was created by Climate Central in the year 2013 and it clearly showed that electric cars are among the most environmentally friendly vehicles in the United States. The paper further gives emissions thresholds that will be help not only governments, but also consumers to understand if the push for electrification of other transportation modes will be beneficial for the climate. For electric vehicles to have a significant impact on the climate, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted to the environment should not exceed 600 tons for a Gigawatt of electricity per hour. This is equivalent to the electric power required to serve approximately 100 homes annually.

The paper’s author, professor Christopher Kennedy said that he had gone over several studies that had considered electrification over the years. This entails using electric power as an alternative to fossil fuels technology. He said that a region, city or state with carbon intensity of less than 600 tons needs to have electric cars. The international goal has been to keep global warming to a minimum of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 2 degrees Centigrade by the year 2010. To achieve this goal it will be necessary for countries to cut their emissions of electric power to less than 600 tons. To minimize further global warming, all nations must act fast after the year 2020 to minimize the carbon intensity by more than 90 percent by the year 2050.

The 600 ton target has already been met in countries such as Iceland, Canada, United States and other European nations. The carbon intensity in Iceland is essentially zero because of the country’s reliance on geothermal and hydro power.


Leave a Comment March 20, 2015

Toyota Prius Still Leading in Hybrid Car Sales

2012_Toyota_Prius_c_--_05-23-2012_2In February, a total of 27,038 hybrid cars were bought by Americans. Out of the total sales, 64% of the cars were linked to Toyota Motors, with the Prius leading. The success of competitors is continually being blocked by Toyota Prius, one of the oldest modern hybrid cars. Hybrid Cars published a report that showed that the total sales of Prius Liftback were 7,080, which accounted for 26% of all the hybrid cars sold. The Prius C with 2,701 sales was the second best-selling hybrid cars. This represented 10% of the hybrid market. The Toyota Prius V with 1,850 sales was the fifth best-selling car, representing 7% of the total number of hybrid cars sold.

There is at least one hybrid car model for every car manufacturer. Unfortunately, the sales of such cars have continually declined because of the gasoline powered alternative. While there is a terrible market for hybrid cars, the success of Toyota even worsens the situation. The hybrids’ pitch is solely based on the advantage of fuel economy. This is in support of the claim that hybrids are environmentally friendly cars. American buyers are clearly not in agreement with this claim. This coupled with the low market share accounts for the ever declining and low hybrid cars sales. The only car manufacturer that posted modest hybrid sales beyond Toyota is Ford. However, the sales were still insignificant. About 2,416 Fusion hybrids were sold by the company, making 9% of the total hybrid market. Last month, the total number of cars and light trucks sold by Ford amounted to 179,693.

As far as the sales of hybrid cars are concerned, marketing muscle does not have an impact. None of the car companies including Kia, Honda Motor, Subaru and Buick, posted a total of sales amounting to 1,000 cars in February. The Toyota Prius was first introduced around the globe in the year 2000. Since its inception, Toyota has claimed that almost 5 million sales have been made. It is impossible to tell whether the high sales are attributed to Toyota’s quality or the automaker’s place as one of the largest three car companies in the world. However, there is often an advantage that comes with being the first entrant into the market. The Toyota Prius is a perfect example to support this claim. It seems there is no other company but Toyota that has a likelihood of staying on top of the hybrid car sales market.


Leave a Comment March 20, 2015

The New Electric Car by Apple Could be Tesla’s Key Competitor

Tesla_Roadster_electric_car_DSC_0160Apple is working on a new product, an electric car, a move that could pose more competition for Tesla Motors. The news concerning this new project was revealed in the Wall Street Journal on 13th February. This new project by Apple has been given the nickname, Titan. Currently, there are numerous people working to ensure that this communication company releases its first automobile. According to Mike Ramsey and Daisuke Wakabayashi, Journal reporters, the new electric car will be downscaled and will be similar to a mini-van, contrary to Tesla’s Model S.

Model S is one of the most sought-after cars by Tesla, currently on the market. In the realm of electric vehicles, it is classified as a luxury car. At a price of around $70,000, most of the average car buyers consider Tesla cars costly. Apple’s intention is to play within the same price range. The company has partly delved into the automobile realm with the release of “CarPlay” in the year 2014. With “CarPlay” drivers are given a means through which to connect their phones to cars. This makes it easier for them to make or receive calls while driving.

Besides its intention to manufacture an electric car, Apple has not provided further details concerning the price and design of the car in question. Any public statements concerning the interior or exterior of the design have not been made. The company only stated that the car will have the physical outlook of a mini-van. Any announcements on the base price of the car have not been made yet. It is therefore unclear whether the figure will be a reflection of the current price of Tesla’s car or will be lower than the current price. However, a quote from a former board member of Apple, Mickey Drexler, was included in the Business Insider on 14th Feb. concerning the vision of the late Steve Jobs on future products by Apple. Drexler told Business Insider that if Ste Jobs were alive, he would have designed an iCar. He further added that there is a great opportunity for cars to employ a cool design.

The electric car market has been in existence for a while now. Back in 2013, Nissan released its initial model of Nissan Leaf. However, new electric car models were released this year by Nissan along with other automobile companies such as BMW and Ford. The release date for Tesla’s Model X vehicle has been pushed back to later in the year or even next year.


Leave a Comment March 13, 2015

Plug-in Electric Car Sales Remain Constant in February

voltPlug-in electric vehicle sales are usually slower in winter compared to warmer months. It seems February was not an exception. Most of the leading plug-in hybrid and battery-electric car models reported sales that were almost a similar level to January sales. December 2014 saw the highest level of sales with a total of approximately 118,500 plug-in electric vehicles sold. A few more months may be needed for a new surge in sales to be attained. The total number of Nissan Leafs delivered in February was 1,198 in comparison to 1,070, delivered in January. Hence, there was a 12 percent increase in the level of Nissan Leaf sales from January to February. January saw the lowest Nissan Leaf numbers being delivered in close to two years.

Only a total of 693 Chevrolet Volts were delivered in February compared to 542 in January. Since December, a total of 74, 592 Volts have been delivered in the United States. There is a high possibility that the highest-total sales crown that the Volt has held for close to two and a half years will be lost next month. The new 2016 version of Chevrolet Volt will enter the market later this year. BMW i3 electric car sales went back to four-figures. A total of 1,089 BMW i3 electric cars were delivered in February. This figure was for a combination of the two versions of the electric car in question. Since the car went on sale the middle of last year, February marked the second-highest total sales.

As usual, Tesla Motors did not reveal a report indicating their monthly sales. This means that there is no official information on the number of Tesla’s Model S car sales. Last month, the company announced its fourth-quarter results, which were lower than anticipated. This decline has prompted analyst to investigate the automaker’s balance sheet. Some analysts have come to the conclusion that Tesla is currently manufacturing more cars to add to the U.S. outlets’ stock. The company is further building new cars as per customer order.

With respect to plug-in hybrid cars, the sales of Toyota Prius are still low. In February, a total of 397 Toyota Prius hybrid cars were delivered in comparison to 401, which were delivered in January. An all-new model that is set to debut this fall will replace the current 2015 version of Prius Liftback. Mercedes-Benz B-Class sales totaled 240 cars in January. This number dropped to 109 in February. Since the Mercedes hatchback went on sale last July, Mercedes has now sold a total of 1,123 of the cars.

Leave a Comment March 13, 2015

Hybrid Cars versus Conventionally-Powered Cars

gas-electric-v6It is evident that in the near future a majority of vehicles will become hybrids. The hybrid technology has become a necessity following stricter emission laws and oil running out. Virtually all automakers have hybrid cars as part of their lineups. This implies that there has been a gradual replacement of internal combustion engines. There are major differences between hybrid cars and the traditional internal combustion engine vehicles. Consumers should know why they need to purchase a hybrid car and not the gasoline fueled vehicles.

The vehicles differ with respect to emissions or economy. It is clearly known that hybrid vehicles have an advantage over diesel or gasoline powered cars in terms of emissions and fuel economy. One of the primary reasons for inventing hybrid technology was to minimize fuel emissions. It is however, important to take note of the fact that diesel and gasoline cars are becoming better in terms of efficiency. For example, the BMW M3 is not only faster, but it also has more power and its fuel economy is better. Having said that, hybrid cars still lead. BMW i8 is not only faster than M3 but its emissions are almost zero. This is a clear indication that hybrid cars will still outshine their gasoline counterparts no matter how efficient and advanced the gasoline vehicles become.

With respect to performance and power, gasoline cars are generally better performers compared to hybrids. However, this is not a restriction to hybrid technology. Typically, hybrid cars are slower because their major objective is the economical nature of the cars. For example, although a Chevrolet Volt is not exciting, fast or fun, it is extremely fuel efficient. The primary goal of Volt is achieving fuel efficiency. Weight is another reason why hybrid cars are not usually very fast. The heavy weight is accounted for by the batteries and electric motors. When combined with a fuel-saving small engine, hybrid cars become a bit slow.

The cars differ in terms of value and cost. Hybrid cars are generally more costly than diesel or gasoline fueled cars. The high cost arises because these cars have electric motors and batteries, in addition to engine and transmission cost. This means that for the cost to come down to a more affordable level, more and more stuff has to be taken out of the car. This should not be an issue because in the near future, hybrids will be more affordable and usable, with the coming battery technology and technological inventions in lightweight product production.




Leave a Comment March 6, 2015

A Possible Electric Car by Apple

AppleCar-uk-app-developersIt is interesting that Apple, a tech giant and not a carmaker, has been a most talked about company in the automobile industry. Numerous sources have given reports concerning Apple Inc. and the company’s intention to enter the automotive realm. While earlier reports speculated that Apple was planning to gradually diversify into car production, novel reports have indicated that Apple is in fact in the process of electric vehicle development. The possible vehicle has a great compatibility with independent technologies. It now seems that Apple intends for the car to be produced by the year 2020.

Although, numerous accounts have suggested that Apple might launch its first electric car by 2020, most of the reports in question are off record, and this makes it hard to differentiate between false conjecture and the industry secrets. Bloomberg News released such a report and it claimed that almost 200 employees of Apple are currently working on technologies like batteries and robotics for the electric car project. There are other stories that have also linked Apple with automobile technology and one such example is a novel lawsuit. The lawsuit claimed that the company has been outsourcing engineers from manufacturers of batteries. Vehicles of Apple registered vans were spotted in San Francisco and Hawaii. The question remains whether Apple is working upon this autonomous technology.

Funding will not be a major problem, if there are plans to research and develop such a huge project. The company had about $178 million dollars in cash in the last quarter and it also seems that Tim Cook, the company’s CEO is finding ways for redirecting the money rather than giving it back to shareholders. Two analysts working with Barclays, Brian Johnson and Ben Reitz wrote a letter to investors noting that as a new entrant to the auto market, Apple would have some advantages. Among the major advantages is the company’s potential to utilize multiple devices like phones and tablets in the car.

One name that frequently resurfaces when talking about Apple and its electric car project is Tesla. Analysts are still wondering if both companies will be competitors for the electric vehicle market. While some claim that the companies will compete, others think that the two companies will merge. One entrepreneur and investor, Jason Calacanis opines that there will be a partnership forming in eighteen month’s time. He has predicted that Tesla will be bought by Apple for about $75 billion. On the other hand, a Creative Strategies’ analyst thinks that the two companies are likely to remain separate entities.




Leave a Comment March 6, 2015

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