Archives – December, 2015

BMW’s i6 Electric Car May Follow the i5 Crossover

11-09-04-iaa-by-RalfR-228So far BMW is the leading German car manufacturer with respect to the sale of battery-electric vehicles. All the three German automakers are planning to launch plug-in hybrid models for a majority of their lineup in five years time. For the past two years, BMW has been marketing its i3 hatchback in substantially huge volumes. Recently, there have been numerous speculations regarding the release of the next set of battery-electric cars by BMW, amidst other car manufacturers such as Porsche and Audi announcing their plans to manufacture electric cars through the year 2018. There is a high likelihood that the BMW model in question will be referred to as the i5, which may arrive in late 2017 or early 2018.

The reports concerning the kind of vehicle the BMW i5 will be have been slightly conflicting, though most reports indicate that it will be a small-sized, all electric crossover larger than the current i3. It has also been speculated that the car will be a sedan, plug-in hybrid. According to Now Automobile, a fully electric sedan will follow BMW’s 2018 i5. The magazine further adds that the new sedan will be about the same size as the current 3-series by BMW and may be referred to as the i6. If the magazine’s reports are to go by, the contradictory speculations concerning a small-sized electric sedan would be neatly resolved.

The basis of BMW i6 will be a component of a flat floor that is specifically made for electric vehicles and comprises of numerous carbon-fiber pieces and bits. This information was revealed further in the reports by the magazine. There will be a minimum of two motors in the electric sedan, and perhaps up to four motors. Additionally, novel all lithium-polymer cells may be utilized by the sedan in the battery pack. The i6 model in question is likely to enter production in mid 2020 as suggested by Automobile, implying that it will be a 2021 car model. This is interesting considering the fact that by the year 2010 BMW will have an updated plug-in hybrid range from the current 15-20 miles. This means that the range of i6 will be two times or higher than the current one. It is clearly evident that the future of BMW gears towards electrification. However, with respect to range, much will not be seen till the arrival of i5 in the next few years. As from 2021 it will be interesting to watch the sales’ balance between fully electric and eDrive plug-in cars.

 

Leave a Comment December 31, 2015

Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles Expected in 2016

Chevrolet_Bolt_Concept_(front)_NAIAS_2015The Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt entered the plug-in vehicle market almost six years ago, and other cars have followed suit while others are yet to enter the market. According to the current alternative energy cars’ list published in HybridCars.com, the total number of battery electric cars is 12, while hybrid electric cars are 11. The numbers are slightly differed from those reported last year where there were 9 plug-in electric cars and 13 battery electric cars. The current market share for plug-in hybrid electric cars is approximately 0.24% in comparison to last year’s 0.34%. Battery electric cars current market share is 0.41% while for the previous year was 0.39%.

One of the vehicles to expect this coming year is Kia’s 2016 Optima plug-in, which has some clear similarities to Hyundai’s Sonata plug-in. It is basically, a plug-in form of the recently redesigned Kia Optima hybrid. Kia’s Optima plug-in car’s battery is the same as that of Hyundai’s and has a capacity of 9.8 kwh. This implies that its electric vehicle range of 27 miles is the second highest. This vehicle has been said to enter the market mid next year to aim towards Kia’s plan of becoming one of the leading manufacturers of hydrogen fuel, plug-in hybrid and hybrid cars. Its powertrain of 2.0 liters is also similar to Hyundai’s.

2017’s Chevrolet Bolt is another vehicle to expect this coming year. This vehicle will have a range of about 200 miles and its price will be around 30,000 dollars. The price of this vehicle coupled with its specifications makes it a significant plug-in vehicle to look forward to. To address the issue of range, the Chevy Bolt gives a range that is two times that of other electric vehicles within the same price range. Its major competitor is Tesla Model S with 70 kwh. Bolt evidently presents a major leap forward, regardless of the fact that it may not be fully satisfactory to those demanding more. Automakers are using plug-in electrification as a way of improving the emission scores and mpg of their fleet. Some of the honorable mentions that are likely to enter this market include BMW’s 3 and 7 series, Audi’s A4 plug-in hybrid electric car, Volkswagen’s Passat and Mercedes’ E-Class. Although Ford is already through with the production of its Fusion Energi, it has announced its intention to release the plug-in hybrid car’s next generation. Tesla’s Model X is also worth mentioning, with bulk deliveries expect to begin in 2016.

 

Leave a Comment December 31, 2015

Faraday Future Inc. Electric Car Investment

opt_1B-01Faraday Future, a Chinese-based electric automobile company has made the announcement of their intention to build a one-billion dollar manufacturing plant that will be based in Las Vegas. This plan was revealed through a letter that was sent by the company to Nevada officials. Nevada was chosen over other states following intense discussions that incorporated a financial development team in Nevada. The step to build the manufacturing plant comes just when the state allowed key tax incentives. Associated Press obtained the letter, which was signed by a Chinese investor, Jia Yueting. The investor’s style is comparable to that of the late Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs. Faraday hopes that as of 2017 one vehicle model will be available to the market.

The officials of Nevada have scheduled a conference where major highlights will be formally announcing the agreement and bringing the manufacturing plant to the Northern part of Las Vegas. Tax incentives required to fully seal the deal would necessitate authorization from the lawmakers of Nevada. The same lawmakers gave an approval to an incentive package of 1.3 billion dollars in last year’s special session that saw the securing of Tesla’s huge battery factory in Reno. Brian Sandoval, a republican governor held a meeting with representatives of Faraday in China and will have to summon Nevada lawmakers. These lawmakers will meet for a special session that will result in finalization of the agreement.

So far, a few details have been offered by Faraday and the vision of revolutionizing transportation has also been communicated. According to Stacy Morris, Faraday spokeswoman, mobile devices have changed the lives of people and unfortunately, the automobile industry has not caught up. The vehicle still gives a feeling of disconnect. An automobile company analyst said that Faraday will provide access to Internet as well as updates, taking a leaf from Tesla and other traditional car manufacturers.

Faraday Future’s startup has approximately 500 employees and its executive talent has been poached from Tesla. Additionally, the name has been coined from Michael Faraday, a scientist whose inventions in the 1800s laid a basis for the current electric motor. In the race of landing the factory, Nevada led finalists Louisiana, Georgia and California. The company expects that about 4,500 jobs will be created at the manufacturing plant. This will be a true representation of North Las Vegas’ boon, and the city currently has approximately 220,000 residents. This is according to one of the members of the economical development team, Steve Hill.

 

 

Leave a Comment December 24, 2015

America’s Family Sedans Most Fuel-efficient

640px-2013_Ford_Fusion_Hybrid_lateral_logoOver the past years, family sedans have increasingly become fuel efficient. The rating is usually assigned by the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States for a minimum range of 40 mpg. For instance, when driving a C-Max Energi or Ford Fusion while using maximum electric energy, the daily mean energy used is determined by the driving distance. The same case is applicable for the 2016 Chevrolet Volt with an EV range of 53 miles. Considering the fact that this is a compact model car, its size is smaller than that of most cars. Most of the family sedans considered as fuel efficient are either large or midsized, and can accommodate five passengers comfortably.

One of the most fuel efficient family sedans is Hyundai’s 2016 Sonata plug-in whose city mileage is 38 mpg, highway mileage of 41 mpg and a combined mileage of 40 mpg. This car is one of the highest mileage rated cars as per EPA accounting. It has an engine with a capacity of 2 liters and its battery is larger than that of other plug in hybrids. It has an electric range of 27 miles, which is second to Volt. This mid-sized sedan has a roomy front-wheel-drive and respectable power.

Another family sedan leading in the fuel-efficiency category is Ford’s 2016 C-Max Hybrid with a city range is 42 mpg, highway range is 37 mpg and a combined range of 40 mpg. It is often that the C-Max has been categorized among the sedans since it is a hatchback vehicle. It has a large interior space and a 2.0 liter battery pack that supplies power to the front wheels. A few years ago, the C-Max was considered Ford’s response to Toyota’s Prius. It was then positioned as a faster, larger and fun vehicle.

Toyota’s Camry hybrid is yet another fuel-efficient family sedan car with a city range of 43 mpg, a highway range of 41 mpg and a combined range of 42 mpg. Currently, this is America’s highest selling sedan. It utilizes the hybrid synergy drive of Toyota and a gas-electric format with a capacity of 2 liters. Although the car uses its 2012 powertrain, it was given an upgrade in 2015. The car is slightly down as per EPA ratings because of its high levels of equipment and consequently a high curb weight.

The highest ranked family sedan is Ford’s Fusion hybrid, which is enjoyable, competent and spacious with a high mpg rating. It has a city range of 44 mpg, a highway range of 41 mpg and a combined range of 42 mpg.

 

 

Leave a Comment December 24, 2015

A Review of Toyota’s 2016 RAV4 Hybrid

640px-Toyota_RAV4_II_20090830_frontToyota’s 1994 RAV4 marked the automaker’s crossover to compact SUV models. Since its inception, RAV4 has been recording high sales, although its sales in America were highest during the first 2 years. The yearly sales leadership was taken over by Honda CR-V by 1998. Honda CR-v was launched in 1997 and has been leading in sales, with an exception of five years when Ford Escape took over. Toyota decided to upgrade its 4th generation RAV4, introduced two years ago. A novel SE model has been incorporated, in addition to a number of exterior and exterior changes. The RAV4 line is also associated with a hybrid power, creating an 8th hybrid product by Toyota (inclusive of 4 Prius variants).

The 2016 RAV4 has a front end that has a slightly higher hood line, pseudo-skid plate and a grille that is more unified. The general overview is a wider-looking, higher and truck-like outlook, which is still appealing to many consumers. The rear end of the vehicle has a more distinct bumper with minimal black cladding. The interior has a number of changes such as an instrument cluster, which gives an info display of 4.2-inches between the tachometer and the speedometer. Door panels and the dash have softer surfaces and warm interior colors of Nutmeg and Cinnamon.

The most interesting news that Toyota had to offer was the introduction of a hybrid version, available in two RAV4 trim levels, the Limited and XLE. The powertrain is the same as that of the Lexus NX300h; this means that the RAV4 is the basis of the NX. RAV4 hybrids are all-wheel drive, implying that 150 hp comes from a capacity of 2.5 liters, as well as an electric motor of 141-hp connected to CVT automatic. The front wheels are powered by this combination. There is also an electric motor of 67 hp that powers the car’s rear wheels. The system in question is referred to as AWD-I, which gives the car a high flexibility degree. With most of such systems, the front wheels are functional at most times. However, Toyota has maintained that the system considers driver demands as well as the position of the steering wheel prior to engaging the rear wheels and the wheel spin. Although a short drive test was unable to ascertain the mileage claims, it is clear that Toyota’s new RAV4 hybrid is a refined car with an exemplary powertrain. Its acceleration is not only linear but also enough for both drag and short racing. It is generally a capable and comfortable hybrid car.

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Comment December 18, 2015

Tesla’s Model S as November’s Second-Best-Selling Hybrid Car

15_Tesla_Model_SIn November, approximately 3,100 units of Model S were delivered by Tesla in the United States. Among hybrid cars, the only other model that sold more cars was the Toyota Prius. The total units sold for Prius were about 8,287. Therefore, other than the Prius, no other regular hybrid or plug-in car performed better than Model S in terms of sales. The sales in question have been estimated for the California automobile company, which has led to slightly different estimates for Tesla’s Model S. Prius C hybrid was the second-best selling electric car in America with about 2,601 units sold in November. Model S clearly surpassed these sales.

With Volkswagen currently affected by the diesel scandal, other cars such as Jetta TDI that might have competed with Model S were not selling, and among the green passenger cars, Tesla was easily the second-seller. Model S car by Tesla is for sure a phenomenon considering its starting price of mid $70s to the current price that has almost doubled. The results of November further add to the phenomenal nature of Model S, which has been rated as the leading car among all the plug-in electric cars for 2015. Tesla’s sales of 3,100 units in November were clearly higher than those of the other two plug-in vehicles in America’s top three. The Nissan Leaf was the second-best with a sale of 1,054 units, while the third-best was the Chevrolet Volt with a total of 1,980 units.

The Volt and the Leaf have been experiencing a decline in sales over the past few years with the Leaf declining by 41.2% and the Volt reducing by 23.3% compared to the previous year’s sales. On the other hand, Model S sales went up by approximately 56.3%. Since the beginning of the year, Model S has sold more than 22,900 units in the United States. The previously best-selling Leaf has sold about 15,922 units and Chevy Volt sold about 13, 279 units. The Volt has however shown signs of acceleration with the delivery of 2nd generation 2016 models in eleven states of U.S.

Tesla’s Model S was introduced in 2012 while the Volt and Leaf were launched in 2010. However, Tesla has managed to bring along an Autopilot, all-wheel drive, and very fast speed options in addition to other upgrades. The main goal of Tesla for 2015 is to achieve a global sales range of 50,000-52,000 units. With 33, 174 sales reported at the end of the third quarter and October sales were approximately 3,500 units.

 

Leave a Comment December 18, 2015

Experts Get to Drive one of the Hottest Hybrid Cars; the 2016 Toyota Prius

maxresdefaultAlthough Toyota Prius has been in the market for more than fifteen years, an aesthetic renovation is finally being given to it. It is hard to miss a Toyota Prius on streets, particularly in California. Though the Prius’ design is slightly blocky and bland, it has the reputation of being fuel-economical, reliable and versatile. Prius is not only the best-selling hybrid car in the automobile industry, but it has become a popular vehicle among subscribers as per Consumer Reports. The gas-electric vehicles’ brand name has a high likelihood of attracting a new group of consumers, considering the 4th generation launch of Toyota Prius. The yet to be launched Prius will have an edgier design compared to its predecessor.

The car has a wedgy shape, a beltline that rises and lights that are small and angular. In comparison to its predecessor, the new Prius is wider and lower. Despite these changes, the car can still be recognized as the 4th generation of Prius, the best-selling hybrid car in the world. This information was revealed by Detroit Free Press’ auto critic, Mark Pelan. Toyota’s New Global Architecture is the basis of Prius’ updated outlook. The architecture in question is a car platform created by the automobile for cost reduction and enhancing the car’s efficiency and dynamics. In fact, the new Camry and the Prius share a similar platform or basis on which both are manufactured.

Although there is an electric motor in the new Prius, the gasoline engine will still do most of the work. The Prius-san comes to play graciously and silently once the battery is completely charged. This feature is impressive and makes a driver feel good. This effect is just temporary since even in perfect conditions, all that a driver should expect is about a mule of all-electric driving. This clearly reminds us the Toyota Prius remains a hybrid and not an electric car. The gas engine of the 2016’s Prius has a capacity of 1.8 liters coupled with double electric motor to give a combined horsepower of 121. In comparison to last year’s Prius model that had a horsepower of 134, the 2016 Prius may appear underpowered. However, this is because of a Japanese-derived calculation that considers the 71 horses produced by an electric motor and 95hp accounted for by the engine. The starting price of the new Prius model ranges from $25,000 to $30,000. The 2016 Prius definitely has a better design and performance.

 

Leave a Comment December 10, 2015

Audi to Launch a Gas Electric-Hybrid Vehicle in 2017

imgresAudi has chosen to focus on the production of petrol-electric hybrid cars instead of completely electric cars. A petrol-electric hybrid car has a powertrain that gives great horsepower without compromising on comfort and fuel efficiency. Electric cars have been known to have low mileage while cars with petrol engines are not only outdated, but gasoline cost and maintenance are high. To break this cycle, Tesla produced completely electric cars, which include SUVs. Hence, the automobile set a novel benchmark for other car manufacturers. Also, Audi has made the choice of taking a new route, as other automobile companies are trying to outsmart Tesla.

Audi is attempting to produce mild plug-in and hybrid vehicles as a way of moving away from diesel vehicles. Currently, the parent company, Volkswagen has been linked to a major diesel emission controversy. The scandal in question has made it hard for the manufacturers under Volkswagen’s wing. While it is quite tough to manufacture diesel cars that are emission free, manufacturers can produce hybrid cars that are both fuel-efficient and emission free. To make this possible, Audi plans to adopt a technology known as Integrated Starter Generator (ISG). This technology allows a car manufacturer to produce large-sized electric motors offering more torque in comparison to conventional car models. Additionally the technology enables gasoline engines to produce increased horsepower. It increases the efficiency of electric cars.

The new car range by Audi will provide 65 mpg, thanks to the ISG system incorporated with 12V motor. The car manufacturer hopes to win on energy saving and costing concepts. However, the actual numbers will be clear once the cars are in market. There is a possibility for Audi to launch the cars in question in 2017. Some concepts may be showcased next year at popular car expos. There have also been plans for the company to produce electronics of 48V utilizing the ISG technology. The concept of RS5 has already been showcased. Under their sleeve are three variable forms of suspension concept models. The new models will incorporate new specifications and features such as planetary gears, anti-roll bar systems, as well as components to allow car charging when the motion is swift. Although everything seems perfect on paper, we have to wait for a whole year to ascertain whether the claims made by Audi are a reality. It is clearly evident that all car manufacturers are making strides towards the production of cars that will offer efficiency coupled with comfort.

 

 

Leave a Comment December 10, 2015

Do Hybrid Car Drivers Really Save Money?

14_Porsche_Cayenne_GTS_(8942387263)Hybrid cars are those that utilize two motor types, an internal combustion and an electric motor. An internal combustion motor uses a combination on fuel and air to give driving force. An overview of different green cars shows that a petrol/electric car is one that utilizes a petrol engine and an electric motor, which is powered by a battery. A diesel/electric is similar to a petrol/electric one, but utilizes a diesel engine. This is typically common among large cars such as Sports Range hybrid car. Plug-in hybrids are those cars that have batteries capable of being recharged using an external source of power. Panamera and Porsche Cayenne hybrids are examples of plug-in hybrid cars.

A major question that arises with respect to hybrid cars is whether they are sensible in terms of costs. The answer to the question is dependent on the driver’s situation since every car owner tends to have specific outliers and uncommon factors. It is therefore necessary to have the knowledge of some hybrid car basics, which can be modified by a driver according to their own situation.

Currently, hybrids are more costly than non-hybrids at purchase, but running them may cost less. Therefore from a monetary perspective, a driver needs to figure out the period that will be required for the lower running costs to recoup the capital cost. A similar calculation would be applicable when determining whether to go for a diesel or petrol car. Hybrid cars may end up not necessarily be more costly. One of the automakers leading in hybrid car production, Toyota, has said that the technology of Hybrid Synergy Drive would be applied in its entire fleet in the future.

More hybrid cars are likely to be seen considering the ever stricter emission regulations as well as enhancing hybrid technology. The recent Tokyo Motor Show clearly demonstrated that all car manufacturers are focusing on electric cars, hybrids and alternative sources of power. Such an investment will be accompanied by lower prices and improved efficiency and range. The hybrid technology is even being embraced by off-roaders. All that is needed is for global governments to provide more clean car’s incentives like lower registration, lower tax, and reduced or free parking.

Although the starting cost of a hybrid car is high, after around five to seven years, it will pay for itself in terms of fuel. More savings are attained if a driver does a lot of city driving. A greater annual mileage translates to greater savings. Other factors to consider include resale, capital costs, servicing, brakes, insurance, parking and registration.

 

Leave a Comment December 4, 2015

A Review of 2016 Toyota Prius

TNGA_platform_in_Toyota_Prius_2016_at_the_Tokyo_Motor_Show_2015Prius is a green car, whose brand name and look has contributed greatly to its effectiveness and success. Contrary to a decade ago, hybrid cars are currently manufactured by almost all the automakers. Therefore, Toyota Prius has to push the envelope so that it can shine. The novel 4th generation Prius is expected to enter the global market next year. Its price will almost be the same as that of the current model starting price at around $ 32,490. The first impressions of the model following a test drive are extremely positive. Toyota’s 2016 Prius has improvements in virtually all aspects. For starters, there is a more efficient powertrain, which has been said to utilize less gas.

A brief drive of less than six laps recorded a powertrain efficiency of 5.3L/100km. This is in comparison to the current Prius whose efficiency reading was 7.4L/100km. Although this comparison is not scientific, it is evident that the new Prius uses less fuel compared to its predecessor. The improvement in fuel efficiency is as a result of an aerodynamics’ improvement, a hybrid system that is smarter and an upgraded variable transmission. The hybrid system of the new Prius comprises of an electric motor that is 20% lighter, a battery that is faster charging and smaller and a power control unit that has been updated. The new Prius is clearly an advanced version with a battery offering a prolonged fully electric mode. The battery version in question is the Lithium-ion version.

Either way, both versions have improved battery packs whose positions have been shifted to the rear seat from the trunk. Consequently, the cargo space has been increased by 10%. The trunk capacity is currently 502 liters. In terms of performance, it is quite challenging to distinguish between the old and the new Prius. However, the new Prius has an updated engine with a capacity of 1797cc, and the engine generates 142Nm and 72kW. The electric motor accounts for the 53kW. One thing that was noted about the testing track is that there were a number of turns and twists as well as a section that was slalom, which encouraged spirited driving. This was an indication that the car’s driving dynamics were improved. The comfort of the ride was enough, although less supple compared to that of the novel Mirai hydrogen vehicle tested on the same track. The 2016 Prius is also quieter compared to its predecessor.

 

Leave a Comment December 4, 2015


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