Archives – November, 2015

Overview of Plug-in Hybrids: Toyota’s Plug-in Prius and Chevy Volt

640px-2012_Toyota_Prius_plug-in_hyrid_--_07-14-2012Depending on one’s driving habits, plug-in hybrids may be the best alternative to an all-electric and gasoline-fueled vehicle. Some of the benefits to enjoy by owning a plug-in hybrid car include low emissions and economical advantage. For instance, when driving a plug-in hybrid in California, a driver doesn’t have to worry about getting stranded because of lacking a place for recharging their car. All that a driver is obliged to do is finding a nearby gas station to quickly refuel the car and continue with the journey. Just like fully-electric cars, the major limitation of plug-in hybrid cars is the current battery technology state. It is also necessary to keep in mind that recharging an electric car’s battery takes much longer than refueling using gasoline. Storing enough charge that would allow long-distance driving would require a large and heavy battery. This is clearly evident in Tesla’s Model S, which has a battery pack occupying a large part of the car’s chassis. Having such a large battery pack allows Model S to have a driving range of more than 200 miles.

If gas refueling capability were to be added to Tesla, then it would necessitate fitting of an engine for internal combustion, gas tanks and several other parts related to the engine. This would in turn add significantly to the vehicle’s weight and complexity. Nevertheless, more and more automakers are introducing plug-in hybrid cars to the market and it is clear that such cars are becoming better as time goes by. One of the most popular plug-in cars is the Toyota’s plug-in Prius, whose price is slightly higher than that of the standard Prius. The Prius plug-in uses both the electric and gasoline mode. On a full charge, the car’s all-electric mode can go for nine miles prior to reverting back to the gasoline mode. Regenerative braking is a positive attribute of plug-ins, which enables the car to replenish its battery under specific conditions consequently extending its all-electric mode range.

In comparison to the Toyota Prius plug-in, the Chevrolet Volt that is also a plug-in can go for a further distance. Although choosing the Chevy Volt to Toyota Prius would be an obvious decision, there are other things that need to be considered. In the gasoline operation mode, the Prius’ range is about 50 mpg, while that of the Chevy Volt is less by 10 mpg. Also, premium gasoline is utilized in the 1st generation Volt while the Toyota Prius plug in uses regular gasoline.


Leave a Comment November 27, 2015

A Low-Emission Strategy Launched By Audi for Its A3 E-Tron

512px-Audi_e-tronAccording to Audi, their entire fleet will be electrified by around the year 2025. Additionally, the e-tron designation of Audi will have four novel electrified versions that are yet to be launched. Out of the four models, two are battery electric cars and the other two are plug-in hybrid cars. Audi further added that by 2025, the rest of its hybrid models will be available in 48-volt hybrid version. The electrification process by Audi is systematically being driven forward, as it was announced early this week. The inroads are set to be transformed into broad front model range by the novel mild hybrid versions in question. The main aim of Audi is to release all new hybrid versions with the technology in question within the next ten years. The e-tron fleet will be the exception.

The A3 Sportback is one of the leading versions of e-tron. The car is also the one of the first plug-in hybrid cars by Audi. Virtually all of the nearly 280 dealers of Audi are set to make deliveries of the company’s 2016 plug-in hybrids. Each of the dealers also plans to set up four charging points, which was part of the contract made for e-tron line sale. According to America’s Audi president, Scott Keogh, a fundamental model that would push the company into selling electrified vehicles is e-tron’s A3 Sportback. Through the model, dealers are given a chance to offer training services to sale representatives on the means or ways to sell a car such as a battery electric or a plug-in hybrid electric car while at the same time giving an opportunity to the service department to come up with specialists of electrified powertrains.

Keogh said that transitioning from the e-tron to numerous other cars with more volume necessitates perfect and seamless operations. Getting the infrastructure right is also a fundamental aspect to take into consideration. Currently, plug-in sales have been projected to be approximately five thousand on an annual basis. This figure was released by Keogh early this week. The automaker has also made it clear that in the next ten years, a quarter of its car sales are likely to comprise of battery electric and the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. There are other additional electric models including Q 7 e-tron, which is a plug-in comprising of a diesel engine. This e-tron model is set to be produced mid next year. An e-tron Quattro that is fully electric is also set to be released in 2018.


Leave a Comment November 27, 2015

A Record High in Plug-in Hybrid Cars Sale in September

2013_Nissan_Leaf_in_front_of_the_Royal_Palace_in_OsloThe cheap gas prices and declining sale of popular electric cars did not deter consumers from purchasing more than 46,000 plug-in electric cars in September. The record made was an all-time high with the United States cumulatively leading as the highest consumer in September. Through August, the U.S. alone sold over 363,000 units out of slightly more than a million plug-in electric vehicles. However during the 2015 calendar year, Europe and China surpassed the United States in terms of sales. Basically, despite the fact that there is still a small market for plug-in cars, the record set in September clearly indicated that there is global progress. In 2011 when the manufacturing phase of plug-in electric cars began in earnest, around 45,000 units were sold worldwide. In 2012, about 53,394 units were sold in the United States alone. The worldwide number of PEVs sold in September is also more than that recorded in September 2014.

The numbers have further been propped by China, which has purchased at least 250,000 units between 2011 and September 2015. This year alone, China has purchased more than fifty percent of the mentioned total, which translates to vehicles exceeding 136,000, inclusive of heavy-duty commercial vehicles. While there have been elusive sales figures in China, it has been approximated that around 93,000 units of passenger plug-in electrics have been purchased through September. On the other side, 81,675 passenger plug-in electrics were purchased in the United States through September. In September alone, 9,742 vehicles were bought in the United States. Therefore, on the assumption that about 10,000 units will be purchased monthly, it might purchases around 110,000 units by the end of the year. Though the mentioned figure could actually be higher or lower, as only time will tell.

Perhaps the reason why plug-in electric cars attract a higher demographic of people is that drivers may drive without necessarily using gas. Therefore, considering such a case, the prices of gas would be a minor factor since it doesn’t matter for some plug-in electric car drivers. Plug-in supporters need to rejoice since there has been a tightening of emission regulations across the world. For this reason, electrification has been viewed as the best options. Additionally, choices are getting better and becoming more widespread. The market is currently getting stronger with more than a million plug-in electric cars being driven worldwide. It has been almost five years since the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt were launched and consumers are gradually catching on and embracing these green cars.




Leave a Comment November 20, 2015

Electric Car Ownership by an Average American

BMW_i3_(14558229206)When considering the best electric vehicle for an average American, it is essential to keep in mind that each American household would own an average of just above two vehicles. This implies that even households that have one electric car will most likely have a second vehicle to use for long-distance journeys or trips. However, an electric car such as BMW i8, Kia Soul, Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen e-Gold can be used regularly for short-distance drives. The question that arises is whether a single electric car would actually be enough for an average American using it on a daily basis. Keeping in mind that virtually all the trips made are below fifty miles and about 70 miles can be driven almost every day, it can be concluded that a range of more than 70 miles is more than adequate for the daily needs of an American consumer.

With respect to the cost, a new car in United States costs approximately $31,000. However, many people do not prefer to purchase new cars. Either way, a new Chevrolet Spark electric vehicle, Volkswagen e-Golf, and Mitsubishi’s I-MiEV have a price tag that is less than that of a standard new electric car. The second-hand version of the mentioned models is even cheaper and a better alternative for an average American. Focusing on used cars, all electric cars except Tesla have depreciated more compared to their gasoline counterparts. An average American currently has the surety of getting a better deal on used or second-hand electric cars.

Regarding what the best vehicle options are for an average American, preferences have a role to play. The purchasing decision also depends on aesthetics and issues like design and interior space. However, some aspects such as the onboard charger’s size and fast-charging capability are also quite essential with respect to electric cars. Only a few electric cars have fast-charging features while some of them are associated with an onboard charger of only 3.3 kW. Some of the electric vehicles that lack the capability for fast-charging include the Mercedes’ B-Class, Ford Focus, and Fiat 500e. Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV and Chevrolet’s Spark electric vehicle are the electric cars that have a fast-charging capability. Hence, these leaves out popular cars like Kia Soul, BMW i3, Volkswagen e-Gold and the Nissan Leaf. Based on price and mileage, the BMW i3 would be the best option for an average American. The Nissan Leaf and Kia Soul EV are best options for those in need of more seating and space.


Leave a Comment November 20, 2015

Toyota Mirai’s Official Market Entrance

Toyota_MIRAI_(JPD10)_frontAbout 2000 preorders have already been made for Toyota’s Mirai hydrogen-fueled car. The car is currently available for sale in specific California markets. Toyota hopes to meet about 50% of the orders for model year 2016. According to the communications representative for Toyota, Jana Hartline, the United States has been allotted just below one thousand Mirai sedans through mid year 2017. Out of necessity, Toyota will be forced to exclude buyers who are not within the area covered by fueling infrastructure. For instance, a potential purchaser in Fresno will not get a Mirai since the area does not yet have hydrogen stations.

Although some electric vehicle fans have made allegations that Toyota overstated the interest, the major point is there are consumers who would purchase the Toyota Mirai if it were available to them. The actual number of sales of Mirai will be available later; however, Toyota’s reports are regarding a positive reception regardless of minimal fueling stations. A few months ago, the automobile company started a portal for placing online orders. By the end of 2017, the company’s goal is to make 3,000 Mirais. Currently, the company is working with the slightly below one thousand Mirais allocated.

At this juncture, the degree of flexibility that may accompany Toyota’s supply is unknown. However, the production was tripled in Japan last year when the interest was more than conservation projections. Though firm deliveries dates have not yet been announced by the automaker, it is expected that the first Mirais will be handed over to California buyers this month. Mirai was launched a week following the release of 35-year environmental goals by Toyota. The automaker made the decision of challenging itself to minimize carbon dioxide emissions up to 90% by 2050. Contrary to other automobile companies that seem to hugely invest in a few low emission car categories, Toyota plans to embrace several types of technology.

Yoshikazu Tanaka, Mirai’s Chief engineer explained further that Toyota aims at promoting the production of next-generation cars that will have zero or low carbon dioxide emissions. These include plug-in hybrid, fuel-cell, and hybrid vehicles. The spread of the cars will further be accelerated by the automobile company. A comparison of battery electric vehicle to a fuel cell vehicle has revealed that the Mirai can go to further on a single charge compared to most battery-electric vehicles. Toyota is searching for ways of putting up more hydrogen stations countrywide.


Leave a Comment November 13, 2015

A 40-Mile Range to be Offered by Honda’s 2018 Plug-In Hybrid

2014_Honda_Accord_Plug-In_Hybrid_Sedan_trimmedHonda has the plan of unveiling its production version of the 2018 the automobile’s hydrogen fuel-cell car at the Motor show that will be held in Tokyo this week. Approximately two years following the actual entrance of the car into the market, Honda also plans to launch a plug-in hybrid vehicle that has already been confirmed to utilize the underpinnings that are the same as those of Honda’s fuel-cell car. The automaker made a commitment during the Detroit Auto Show that was held in January, to produce both a battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. However, in the meantime Honda has not given further details concerning the two models in question.

A sound hypothesis that Autoblog Green has come up with is that the three models are expected to be a similar car’s variants. Honda did a test track on the plug-in hybrid and fuel-cell car test mule and came up with the conclusion that the same underpinnings will be used by both cars. As previously stated by Honda, the fuel-cell stack of the car is so small that it can perfectly fit beneath the hood. This is due to the fact that in comparison to the previous stack, the current stack is about 33% smaller. The lithium-ion battery position has also been altered and is at the underside of the floor instead of the trunk. There are also double hydrogen trunks with one of the trunks being on the underside of the back seat and the second one situated behind the front seat. A similar platform will be utilized by Honda for the yet to be released plug-in hybrid car, regardless of the fact that the packaging requirements are different.

Consequently, Honda will manage to save costs across both car models and probably in the yet to be produced fully electric car as well. Honda has not yet confirmed whether the platform will have some similarities to its Accord, however, the size is approximately the same. The Accord model name may also be dropped by the upcoming plug-in hybrid car, although it is still unclear on the name that will be given to it. This implies that the new plug-in vehicle by Honda will boast approximately 40 miles range. Another goal for the new plug-in is allowing the electric-only mode to operate at high speeds. For the Accord, the electric-only mode had a limited range of 80 mph. The clutch and dual motor configuration are the features that the new plug-in will have in common with the current Accord plug-in.


Leave a Comment November 13, 2015

General Motors Gives Details Concerning its Yet-to-be Released Pure Electric Car

Chevrolet_Bolt_Concept_(front)_NAIAS_2015General Motors automobile company has recently geared more effort towards the production of electric cars. Early this week GM announced its intention to form a close partnership with LG in producing electric motors, batteries, as well as additional components for the upcoming Chevrolet Bolt electric car. The Chevy Bolt will have the capacity to cover a mileage exceeding 200 miles using single charge. The production phase is deemed to begin later next year. Currently, the automaker has the Spark electric vehicle has its pure-electric vehicle. On a single charge, the Spark can only cover approximately 80 miles. The Bolt electric car was first unveiled by GM as a concept vehicle in January. The automaker officially confirmed its intention to produce the vehicle in February at the Michigan Orion plant.

The projected price of the Bolt electric vehicle is around $30,000. This means that its direct competitor will be the expected Model 3 by Tesla. Model 3 will be among one of Tesla’s first cars to be available to the mass market. According to a statement made by Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, the price tag for Model 3 is expected to range from $35,000 and the production will begin in the next two years. The range of Model 3 is expected to be the same as that of Tesla’s Model S that can cover approximately 250 miles. Musk further added that for Tesla to begin the production of its electric vehicle, the Gigafactory, a Nevada-based battery factory has to begin its production first, probably in 2017.

GM may outdo Tesla considering the fact that the Chevy Bolt electric car is set to enter the production phase mid next year. While Tesla would earn points for steering the revolution or changes that have been seen in plug-in electric cars, the technology actually emerged in 1990s with General Motors being the major pioneer. However, GM stepped aside from the electric vehicle business due to low profitability. GM hopes to return into the electric car market with the release of its novel Bolt electric vehicle. According to information obtained from the General Motors website, the Chevy Bolt has a number of semi-autonomous features such as a technology that allows for automatic parking and retrieval. This feature will make it possible for car owners to get out of the vehicle and get the car and control the car’s parking using an application. It has also been confirmed that 80% of Bolt’s battery can be charged within 45 minutes.


Leave a Comment November 6, 2015

Ways to Cut Costs when Driving an Electric or Hybrid Car

Ford_C_Max_Energi_PHEV_with_badging_WAS_2011_897The good news for those considering switching to a hybrid or electric car from the traditional gasoline cars is that money can be saved in the long run. Although initial purchasing price would definitely be higher than that of a gasoline model, there are ways that can help in cutting the costs. One of the suggested ways is purchasing a second-hand or used hybrid/electric car. Regardless of whether one intends to purchase a used or new car, it is fundamental to consider the best available deals. Buying a used car means that the owner does not have to sacrifice the car features and some reasonable amount of money can also be saved. From a monetary perspective, buying a used car is a sensible thing to do.

It is also advisable for people to conduct thorough research prior to buying a hybrid or electric car. Thousands of dollars can be saved on a car purchase by doing an extensive research and selecting the most appropriate model. Buyers can easily make comparisons between the hybrid car costs versus the cost of a non-hybrid car of a similar manufacturer. In this way, a buyer can know whether purchasing a used or new hybrid car would save money. Taking advantage of the incentives available is also necessary when one has the intention of cutting the costs of hybrid car ownership. There are special incentives that are often given to purchasers of new electric and hybrid cars, and this results in savings. Hybrid car owners can get incentives that can add up to $7,500 in federal incentives and $2,500 in state incentives.

It is also recommended to keep track of the prices of gas. Electric and hybrid car owners should be aware that cheaper prices of gas mean cheaper prices for electric and hybrid cars. The primary advantage of owning an electric or hybrid car is saving on gas. A further drop in the prices of gas translates to a continual fall in electric and hybrid car prices. Therefore, gas prices should be utilized as a tool for bargaining when buying a used or new hybrid or electric car. Owners of plug-in hybrid car are advised to maintain the battery at a full-charge state so that maximum electricity can be used. Finally, those planning to keep an electric or hybrid car for a long time are advised to consider leasing it instead of buying it. Just like conventional gasoline models, the value of electric and hybrid cars has been known to depreciate quickly.


Leave a Comment November 6, 2015

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