Archives – January, 2016

Mercedes’ Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles Expected to Attain 60 or more Mile Range

-98759406-1435678383969Mercedes has plans of introducing ten plug-in hybrid vehicles in the United States market by December, 2017. All ten cars are expected to have a great all-electric range of at least 20 miles. According to the R&D chief of Mercedes, the company anticipates the 60 mile barrier to be exceeded with the next generation of plug-in vehicles. In the automobile industry a generation is basically five years.

Chevrolet Volt’s second generation has a mileage range of 60 miles already. If the remarks made by Weber are to be relied upon, Mercedes will have to wait until the year 2022 to have performance that is equal to that of 2017 Chevy Volt. Weber emphasized the company is working towards bringing the ten plug-in cars into the United States market by next year. Weber further added that it will not be the end of plug-in hybrid car production. The company plans to also work on extending its range on the basis of battery development. The company is working towards coming up with plug-in hybrid cars that will be based on S-technology, which will play a role in range extension. The thirty to fifty kilometer hurdle will be overcome by the next generation car that may enter the market in 2017. The generation that will follow will exceed the eighty to a hundred kilometer hurdle since they will be pure electric vehicles.

Mercedes automobile company is also working towards producing a fully electric sedan whose size will be the intermediate of S Class and E Class. It has been speculated that the car might be introduced in the year 2018. The automaker has also been rumored to be in the process of producing a car fueled by hydrogen cells. Weber has said that it is a sensible thing to develop electric, fuel cell and plug-in hybrid cars. This is because such vehicles are either partly or fully driven by electricity. From the component perspective, all electric car versions, as well as the plug-in cars have a combination of batteries and electric motors. These components are applicable to more than one car.

The mentioned aspect is the basis of the newly released Hyundai Ioniq where buyers will have a chance to choose from plug-in, battery electric and hybrid cars. It is expected that all the Ioniq versions will enter the market by September 2016. The 80 mile range offerings made by Mercedes will enter the market in four or more year’s time.



Leave a Comment January 29, 2016

The Most Fuel-Efficient Minivan Introduced by Chrysler

maxresdefaultChrysler is a company that invented a minivan more than thirty years ago and has a clear picture of its customers. The automaker has given its plug-in variant the name Pacifica Hybrid. The term “hybrid” may slightly confuse people used to electrified vehicles. The car’s electric range is 30 miles and 80 mpg, makes it is a plug-in vehicle. The Pacifica hybrid has clearly outdone all its competitors within a similar market niche. The car’s image and positioning is geared towards people with loads of stuff to carry. The name has been coined from a crossover of Chrysler’s recent history. Its release date has been projected to be the end of this year. The 80 mpg city range is the average efficiency of the electric powertrain.

Pacifica hybrid has the capacity to cover 30 miles gas free, just like a fully electric vehicle would to prolong standard gas usage. The 30-mile range of Pacific makes it the second-highest rated plug-in hybrid car in America with respect to range. The Chevrolet Volt is the leading vehicle in terms of range. Hyundai is yet to release its 2016’s Sonata plug-in, a hybrid sedan whose electric range will be higher than that of Ford’s Fusion Energi. The battery size of these vehicles is 9.8 and 7.6 kwh. Chrysler’s 16 kWh battery is comparable to that of 2011-2012 Chevrolet Volt. This makes it eligible for the whole $7,500 federal tax break whose basis is the size of battery. This is something that cannot be claimed by Hyundai and Ford.

Though the fuel efficiency details by the EPA have not yet been released, they have said that the numbers provided by Chrysler are likely to be achieved. The battery’s charging time is a few hours utilizing a current of 240 volt. However, the car can still function regardless of whether it is charged or not charged. The obvious goal is recharging and relying on a battery as much as possible. If this is the case, the car’s all electric range of 30 miles would imply that there would never be the need for gas for daily driving errands. According to governmental studies, 75 percent of drivers reveal a maximum of 40 miles on a daily basis. Chrysler said that its large-sized minivan that is based on a novel global architecture is a perfect car to transform into a plug-in hybrid. Up to now, there are only a few large-sized cars with the capacity to run in all electric or partially electric modes.



Leave a Comment January 29, 2016

Tesla’s Model S as 2015’s Best-Selling Plug-in Vehicle in the World

15_Tesla_Model_SAll eyes were set on Tesla to see whether it would meet its sales target of 50,000-52000 units across the globe. Although it failed to meet the target in question, Model S emerged as the best plug-in electric vehicle in terms of sales globally. It clearly outsold all the other plug-in vehicles from well-known automobile companies. For the 2015 calendar year, Model S garnered a total of 50,366 sales, emerging as the topmost selling PEV. In the second place was Nissan Leaf with approximately 43,000 units sold globally for the year 2015. Cumulatively, Model S was ranked second with sales amounting to 107,148 since its launch in the year 2012. Nissan Leaf was cumulative best in terms of sales in first place.

The sales of Tesla Model S in 2015 showed a remarkable increase from 2014 where 31,655 units were sold. In 2014, Model S was the second-best selling plug-in hybrid car. Basically, Model S has shockingly defied all odds and is continually setting new records. Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV was the third best-seller with approximately 39,000 units sold in 2015. These sales are credited to the automaker’s overseas market since it is not yet available in the United States. Fourth in line was BYD Qin plug-in hybrid version, which sold about 31,898 units in China alone in 2015. The fifth best seller was BMW’s i3 that sold about 24,057 units across the globe in 2015. These figures were released by Mario R. Duran, sales tracker.

Generally, the global market took in approximately 500,000 plug-in electric vehicles in the year 2015, implying that 10% was accounted for by Tesla. To date, the biggest plug-in electric car market is the Unites States, the home country. Since Model S was launched, the U.S has accounted for around 60% of its total sales. The second is Norway with about 9.4 percent. Other notable countries include Canada, Netherlands, China, Denmark, Switzerland and Germany.

By 2015’s fourth quarter, Tesla was still lagging behind with sales of just about 33,151 units worldwide. From 1st September to 31st December, the automaker had sold about 17,400 more vehicles, 208 of which were Model X. Currently, Model S also hopes to sell high units this year and has demonstrated that the plug-in car market has been greatly rewarding. Chevrolet and Nissan are also trying their best to regain their prowess, despite the fact that their sales were slightly low last year. Basically, Model S is the plug in to beat.



Leave a Comment January 21, 2016

Chrysler’s 2017 Pacifica Plug-in: A Promising Car

Chrysler-Pacifica-2Although Chrysler has been perceived to be a late entrant into the plug-in hybrid market, it has unveiled its newest plug-in car, the Pacifica, which is quite impressive. Chrysler introduced the minivan more than thirty years ago and has since then made tremendous efforts in improving the MPG scores of its fleet in addition to promoting brand image. The plug-in hybrid car in question is set to officially debut later this year alongside revisions to the conventionally-powered model. Plug-in Pacifica is distinguished by a battery with a capacity of 16-kwh situated beneath the floor of the second row of seats. This battery takes about two hours to fully recharge with a current of 240 V. The model also has an exceptional powertrain revolving around an Atkinson Cycle Pentastar with a capacity of 3.6 liters.

The efficiency of the car in the city on all-electric mode is approximately 80 MPGe, though the hybrid mode or combined gas and electric mode are still unknown. A new feature is a variable transmission that uses a double electric motor system that drives the wheels at the front. A key difference between Pacifica hybrid and other electrification schemes is that the Pacifica utilizes a one-way clutch that makes it possible for the motor to drive the wheels via sending torque. This function is dependent on the car’s driving conditions. Chrysler has noted that the outcome of these alterations and improvements include refinement, enhanced component packaging, and increased efficiency.

Whatever the case, it is essential to improve MPG by including features such as handed pistons in the Atkinson engine. Such features increase the compression ratio to 12.5.1, consequently improving the thermodynamic efficiency. Elimination of a power steering pump and the alternator allows for reworking of the accessory drive and front cover of the engine. Chrysler has also promised minimization of internal friction as well as improvements on fuel injection and ignition.

About 16 years ago, Chrysler had the name Pacifica in its lexicon though the automaker has since then renamed its minivan as well as the conventional counterpart. It is also important to keep in mind that this is the first plug-in version of the minivan with a 30 mile range, making it an excellent PHEV. Its 16-kwh battery is clearly more powerful compared to Hyundai Sonata’s 9.8-kwh and a range of 27 miles. Currently, 2016’s Chevrolet Volt is the highest rated plug-in vehicle with a range of 53 miles. With its Pacifica plug-in, Chrysler has beaten its competitors. Pricing details will be announced later.


Leave a Comment January 21, 2016

Pre-Production Version of 2017 Chevrolet Bolt

Chevrolet_Bolt_Concept_(rear)_NAIAS_2015The highly anticipated 2017’s Chevy Bolt was introduced at Las Vegas’ Consumer Electronics Show. Mary Barra, the CEO gave a speech and officially presented the more than 200-mile range electric vehicle. Chevy Bolt is one of the cheaper higher range electric cars. Barra further acknowledged the fact that many companies have plans of manufacturing electric cars. The Chevy Bolt fulfils the promise of delivering a long range electric car at a quite affordable cost. According to GM, production is set to begin prior to the end of the year and the anticipated price will be around $37,500 before federal tax and additional incentives are applied. The Bolt is a 5-passenger, five-door hatchback with fold down rear seating.

Barra failed to give the exact specification of the extra miles that would be covered within the range of driving. These details will be revealed much later. The car has an in-floor battery that a driver will be able to charge up to 80 percent within an hour. The battery capacity was also not specified, and this is often estimated using electrical efficiency. Additional details are likely to be revealed at the International Auto Show that will be held in North America later in the month. There is a high probability that Bolt’s sales strategy will target regional driving or local commuting.

Chevy Bolt’s concept was formally announced at NAIAS last year. When speculations went around concerning its production approval, majority of the observers made the assumption that the model will be released in 2018. Others had doubts on whether the target price could be achieved. Some critics also expected that the set range of 200 miles would work under great conditions instead of the EPA sticker estimate that was more conservative. While cars are normally made from parts derived from a wide range of suppliers, GM chose to source most of the primary components of Bolt from South Korea’s LG conglomerate. It did this in exchange for a deal to lower the costs of the battery cell.

The 2017 Bolt has a rear camera capable of feeding live videos to a built-in display at the rear view mirror. This allows for a wider angle of viewing behind the vehicle in comparison to a standard mirror. A surround vision is provided by another camera to give a “bird’s eye view” especially during parking and driving at low speed. Alterations have also been made to the system used for navigation, which makes it possible for a driver to know driving routes capable of improving electric vehicle efficiency. Additionally, the screen can display the available charging stations. The Orion Assembly, one of GM’s plants will be the building location.




Leave a Comment January 14, 2016

Carmakers Focus More on Electric Vehicles

640px-Audi_e-tron_(Edit1)Although the hybrid and electric car sales have remained constant in the past year, automakers have gone ahead to manufacture novel battery-powered cars for the market. Many vehicle companies are shifting their focus towards electric car production for international markets. These automakers include General Motors that has already unveiled the pre-production version of the highly anticipated Chevrolet Bolt. Mary Barra, the chief executive of GM said that the Bolt represented a huge step towards car electrification, considering its costs and capability of covering about 200 miles when fully charged. The Chevy Bolt is clearly the first electric vehicle to crack the standard code due to its long range and affordability. This information was revealed through a speech given by Barra at a recent motor show.

The Bolt is likely to enter the market this year and its sticker price will be around $30,000 with government incentives totaling to about $7,500. Despite the affordable price and long range of Bolt, it is still unclear whether consumers will continue to take advantage of the low gas prices to purchase large cars. However, GM has high hopes that its new entry to the market will be a hit. Consumers are starting to realize the value of owning electric and hybrid cars over gasoline-powered cars. The Nissan Leaf is currently the leading all-electric car in terms of sales, while the Toyota Prius leads in the hybrid category. Generally, hybrid and electric cars account for approximately 2% of America’s car market. Luxury carmakers such as the BMW also introduced a novel electric car last year. Tesla’s lineup is also expanding to include Model X, a fully electric sport-utility vehicle.

There has been mixed success for GM with the Volt plug-in, whose battery power is enhanced by a small-sized gasoline engine to extend the driving range. Barra acknowledged GM’s commitment towards electrification. Other notable figures at GM said that the Chevy Bolt could alter the perception of consumers towards fully electric vehicles as solely for commuting purposes and other minor trips. Pam Fletcher, the chief engineer for GM’s electric cars said that a range exceeding 150 miles is likely to increase buyer consideration. We are eager to see how consumers and the market in general will embrace the Chevrolet Bolt, particularly in the current cheap gas era. Other carmakers that will showcase electric car models during the International CES include Volkswagen whose electric microbus concept version was unveiled earlier this week. Audi gave additional details concerning its electric sports utility vehicle, the e-Tron.



Leave a Comment January 14, 2016

Hyundai’s Ioniq Hybrid Car Set to Compete with the Prius

Hyundai_Hybrid_spyshot_01After making a confirmation regarding its Ioniq hybrid production, Hyundai released teaser images of the model. Images from reliable spy photographers have also been released to further ascertain the car’s production. The Ioniq will be the first car in the world with plug-in hybrid, hybrid and fully electric powertrain options. It has been announced that the model’s initial debut will be in March at the Geneva’s Motor Show. Prior to its official debut, there has been speculation that people will first get to see the car at South Korea’s distinctive reveal event.

The official images released by the automaker gives an overview of the interior as well as the exterior design. These designs are for the production model. According to Hyundai, the exterior of the car has been designed in such a manner that it offers top-class aerodynamic performance. This is clearly demonstrated by the slippery shaped green family car. The images further show that the Ioniq model is sedan-shaped and has a shoulder-line that rises towards the back. It also has a roofline that is coupe-like and a small-sized back window. Although it is expected that the car would be a hatchback just like Toyota’s Prius, the spy images seem to show 4-door sedan model with a boot opening.

The car’s interior image gives an illusion of a cabin that is somehow similar to the Tucson in terms of design. However, the Ioniq differs from the Tucson in that its feel is more futuristic and has a digital dash. According to the claims made by Hyundai, the entire Ioniq car has been made using materials that are eco-friendly. The basis of the novel Ioniq is a platform uniquely designed to accommodate lithium-ion batteries. These batteries will play the fundamental role of saving fuel in hybrid car models with a petrol engine of 1.6 liter capacity. The batteries will also serve as a power source for electric motors driving the wheels.

It is hoped that Hyundai’s Ioniq model will first enter the market or be sold late next year under hybrid and electric guises. The plug-in hybrid versions will follow much later. The name Ioniq is derived from the world ion, which refers to an atom that is electrically-charged, and ‘unique’. According to the R&D boss of Hyundai, Woong-Chui Yang, the company’s vision for mobility in the future is based on choice through provision of a wide range of powertrains to suit the varied lifestyles of customers. This will be done without overlooking driving enjoyment and design.


Leave a Comment January 7, 2016

The Actual Value of Owning an Electric Car

'12_Nissan_Leaf_(MIAS_'12)A local gathering that was attended by NRG Energy’s, Scott Fisher provided highlights of the major benefits or value of electric car ownership. It is clear that owning a car such as a Nissan Leaf would save the owner some money. The cost of running such a vehicle of the same make would amount to a yearly average savings of 600 dollars. This amount is clearly less compared to ownership of a gasoline-fueled vehicle. It is also worth noting that maintaining an electric car is less costly and less frequent in comparison to gasoline-fueled car. Mr. Fisher asserted that that electricity is produced by the state at a substantially cheap rate utilizing a combination of natural gas, coal and renewables, and this is beneficial to local owners of electric cars.

Mr. Fisher further noted that there are numerous developments in place to enhance the convenience of electric car ownership. A good example of such a development is the fact that the number of car manufacturers that produce electric cars is gradually increasing. Recently, BMW joined Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, Ford and Tesla’s numerous options. Soon, Volvo and Audi are expected to follow suit. China has made clear its intention to build a California plant worth one billion dollars to manufacturer Tesla’s competitor with respect to sales in the United States and China. China is currently the global leader in emission of carbon dioxide and poisonous air, and hence, efforts are directed towards producing electric cars.

Considering China’s push towards becoming the leading producer of solar panels, we can expect the investment and effort put in green car production. Interestingly, Apple has the plan of venturing into the electric car market along with its devotees across the globe. Another development is that soon there will be increased mileage in Nissan and Ford models. While most owners are content with the current mileage of 70-100 miles, it is evident that a higher range will attract more drivers. A third development worth mentioning is the fact that the number of electric car charging stations is increasing rapidly. These stations are widely spread in shopping centers, urban localities, at schools, parking lots and along highways. It is therefore not uncommon to find a car such as Nissan Leaf parked overnight and not plugged to an electric source. In such a case, the car owner may opt to recharge the vehicle at the work premises. Depending on company policies, charging a vehicle at the work place further minimizes the owner’s cost.


Leave a Comment January 7, 2016

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