Archives – February, 2016

Unveiling the Kia Niro, a Hybrid Crossover

640px-2010_Kia_Soul_BaseKia’s Niro happens to be the automaker’s very first hybrid model. It will probably enter the market later this summer to compete with Toyota Prius, Nissan Qashqai, among other big names. Kia Niro, a petrol-electric hybrid car model debuted at the motor show held in Chicago. Just like the Toyota Prius, the hybrid powertrain of Niro is a parallel system. This means that it is possible to do a shuffling between electric and petrol power without the driver’s input. Regarding the dimensions, the model in question falls between the Soul and Sportage, two of the currently existing Kia models. It also has a wheelbase of 2700 mm.

The car’s interior is characterized by a raised seating position the same as that of Soul and a minimalist design of a cabin similar to several other modern hybrids. The boot space coupled with rear seats has a capacity of 450-500 liters. The introduction of Niro will be based on the EcoDynamics sub brand of Kia, a name appearing on most of its frugal models.

Only one engine version will be available. At its power supply heart is a four-cylinder petrol engine with a capacity of 1.6 liters producing 102 bhp. The engine has been specifically engineered to be used in hybrid cars. The second source of power is an electric motor of 42 bhp that is mounted on the transmission. Both motors work in tandem to generate a torque of 195 lb. ft. and 144 bhp. There is a six-speed dual-clutch transmission that feeds power to the front wheels. The ratification of carbon dioxide emissions and fuel economy is not yet official. However, the automaker’s engineers have a target of 89g/km of carbon dioxide output. Although this doesn’t match up to the current Toyota Prius, its credibility is still high for a crossover.

The car has been scheduled to make its debut in the United Kingdom by the end of this year. In due time, details concerning the car’s kit levels will be revealed. This hybrid version that was revealed during Chicago’s motor show used the latest model of Kia’s telematics and infotainment system. This system also features a 7-inch touch-screen like the new Sportage. The crossover body design of the Niro could give it a competitive advantage. The location of the battery powering the car’s electric motor is below the car’s rear seats. This maximizes the space of cabin. Following the trend of the others in the line-up of Kia, Niro’s technology suite includes cruise control, blind spot detection, independent emergency braking and lane departure warning.



Leave a Comment February 26, 2016

Aston Martin to Co-Develop an Electric Car with a Chinese Firm

Cadillac_CT6_front_viewAston Martin and a Chinese company, LeEco, have made a deal to develop a luxury electric car. This is a clear indication of China’s emergence as a key force with respect to production of electric cars. Aston is the popular British carmaker that is well known for building the James Bond’s car choice. The company made an announcement earlier this week that an agreement had been settled upon with LeEco, a Beijing-based technological firm, to produce an electric car dubbed as RapidE by the year 2018. The founder and current head of LeEco is Yueting Jia, the billionaire also famed for Faraday Future, an electric car start-up in Los Angeles. A joint statement by Aston-LeEco illustrates that the impact of the joint effort could be the manufacture of a Faraday Future car as well.

The company is committed toward building smart, electric, socialized and connected cars. This is according to the Global Vice Chairman of Electric Car Systems Creation Division, Ding Lei. Lei said that their target is the highest possible standard in the automobile industry with respect to R&D, design and electric car manufacturing. LeEco was previously called Letv, and has famed itself for beginning as a video-streaming firm. It offers integrated ecosystem spanning over TVs, smartphones, sports, transportation, entertainment, film and much more. On its webpage, LeEco has made clear its intention to make the electric powetrain of this car. This is according to Mathew Clarke, Aston’s spokesman. At the Consumer Electronics Show that was held in Las Vegas in January, a concept electric vehicle having LeEco components was displayed.

The Aston-LeEco partnership is a clear indication that Chinese companies are beginning to offer cars with low-tech parts, as well as cutting-edge and high-tech cars. This is a perfect example that Chinese firms can now provide technology for cars and this is not only applicable to China, but also other parts of the world. Recently, an announcement by General Motors showed that the automaker is planning to import two of its popular crossover car models from China-based factories. The two crossovers are Buick Envision and Cadillac CT6 plug-in hybrid model. Additionally, BYD, a Chinese automaker has opened a plant in Lancaster, Calif., where it plans to produce electric business. China’s expansion into electric car development is correlated with the increase the country’s green car sales. The sales of all-electric, plug-in hybrids and other alternative energy cars went up by 184% in 2015’s third quarter. It is also worth mentioning that the cars emerging from Chinese factories are first rate.


Leave a Comment February 26, 2016

Toyota’s Legacy of the Prius Being the World’s Most Successful Line of Hybrid Car

Marché_Saint-Quentin_à_Paris_le_17_juillet_2015_-_16The newest entrant into the list of most successful hybrid car line is 2016 Toyota Prius. Contrary to its predecessors, the 2016 Prius happens to be quite attractive looking. The car has the appearance of a standard sedan rather than a mere scientific experiment. This is according to a Los Angeles Times’ report. Recently, the 2016’s Toyota Prius Four was launched, making things much better. The global roads are now filled with non-traditional powetrain cars since the official launch of Toyota’s original Prius.

Virtually all popular car manufacturers have at least one type of hybrid car line in the market. These hybrid car lines include plug-in Chevy Volts and Nissan Leafs, battery-electric Tesla, as well as hydrogen fuel powered Mirai, just to mention but a few. Similar to the predecessors, the Prius Four has been linked with slight visibility issues. The topmost line of model has features and amenities to account for the price variations between Prius Four’s $30,000 price tag and Prius Two’s price tag of $24,000.

Despite some unfavorable comments from a few critics, it is clear that the Prius Four has become by far one of the most successful lines of hybrid vehicles. Although it might not be the cutting-edge or chic car it was at some point, it is definitely a hybrid car with the most road tests. People who have had a chance to test-drive the Prius have found it to be extremely engaging with respect to the driving dynamics. This 2016 Prius version has already entered the United States and Japanese markets. Its development was based on Toyota News Global Architecture, which is a platform that features a lowered gravity center and stiffer torsion rigidity. The brake feel is also greatly improved, thanks to a novel hydraulic booster and a new rear suspension.

Toyota’s main objective was for the general population to have the feel of a redesigned fuel-sipper in the 2016 Toyota Prius. A commercial dabbed as ‘Heck on Wheels’ featured during the Super Bowl clearly illustrating the high-efficiency metal of the new Toyota Prius. A guy named Todd was also featured in the commercial and he was shown driving through hard rock using the 2016 Toyota Prius. It is also worth noting that there is a re-engineered horsepower for the 2016 Prius with an Atkinson-cycle of 1.8 liter capacity. At the mills, there is a pair of electric motors to give a total of 71 horsepower. The fuel efficiency of this hybrid car is also substantial.


Leave a Comment February 19, 2016

Car Seat Check for Toyota’s 2016 Avalon Hybrid

hqdefaultAccording to, the year 2016 was marked by the redesigning and update of the Toyota full-size sedan Avalon. It involved minor changes to exterior styling, as well as other standard equipment. A car seat check was carried out to test the Avalon Hybrid version associated with leather seats. The rear legroom space offered by this hybrid car is the same as that of its non-hybrid counterpart. This means that there is enough room to accommodate two child-safety seats. A slight shortcoming for the Avalon hybrid is a latch connection that is quite complicated.

To answer the question of the number of car seats that can perfectly be accommodated in the 2nd row, the test revealed that two seats fit perfectly. However, even three sets can fit the row and this would depend on the brand type and seat configuration. There are quite a number of aspects to be liked with respect to the car. One of them being that the rear shelf has three tether anchors. These anchors are not only clearly visible, but connecting them was also easy. Once the head restraint was removed, there was a good fit with the front-facing convertible.

Additionally, there are stable bases holding the buckles of outboard seats. For this reason, kids can grasp them easily. Once the head restraint was removed, there was a perfect fitting between the booster and the bolstered seat. To fit the infant facing towards the rear side or the convertible seats, it was unnecessary to adjust the front passenger seat.

The setting of the dual latch anchors is high up the cushions at the backseat, which complicated connection. There is also stiff leather upholstery, which further complicates access. The people who carried out the car seat checks also struggled to locate and make a connection to anchors. This was for both the convertible ones and the infant connectors. In terms of the grading scale, the car gets an A grade for having adequate room to accommodate both the child and the car seat. There is no impact on the legroom of front-passenger or the driver. Finding and connecting to tether anchors and the latch is also extremely easy. There were no fit problems concerning seat contouring or head restraint. A grade B was assigned for having adequate room and a single connection or fit issue. Generally, the car is efficient and worth your money.


Leave a Comment February 19, 2016

Ford Set to Increase Electric Car Production

2013_Nissan_Leaf_2012_LA_ShowFollowing the trends of General Motors and Tesla, Ford is planning to invest about 4.5 billion dollars in manufacturing electric cars. A major setback has been the high costs, which have led to relatively slow progress in development of next generation batteries. This means that the automaker will have to convince its consumers to embrace electric cars. So far, no encouragement has been offered to Ford by Wall Street considering the fact that the automaker’s stock experienced a third consecutive low last month. This was regardless of the fact that it had made its plan clear to invest in electric cars.

According to Ford’s director of electrification programs, Kevin Layden, the costs of batteries are not reducing at a favorable rate. While we are yet to see any breakthroughs, engineers and scientists are trying their best to find ways of minimizing lithium-ion battery costs by up to twenty percent. The objective will be lowering the cost and weight of electric cars while at the same time improving their power.

The improvements mentioned coupled with other forms of amendments will be vital to actualizing the plans of Ford’s CEO, Mark Fields, to produce 13 brand new plug-in hybrid and electric cars in four years time. By 2020, Fields hopes that forty percent of all the nameplates associated with Ford will have an option for electric power. This will be up from the current 13 percent. Although the prices of fuel are lower than they’ve been for quite a while, automakers are still boosting their green car production following the intense government pressure put on them to increase fuel economy and reduce emissions. The heightened concern about the issue of global warming also pushes forward the agenda of green car production.

Some of the primary barriers that Ford will have to overcome in order to attract investors to the electric car project include the high costs of labor and worries concerning sales in the South American market. The car manufacturer remains positive and hopeful that these are just stepping stones towards ultimate success. It is believed that the next generation of electric cars will bring in high profits. This will be possible when the costs of batteries, as well manufacturing costs are lowered.

Ford plans to follow the example of other electric manufacturing company leaders such as Nissan, General Motors and Tesla. These automakers have consistently produced electric cars that have been successful and highly profitable. It is evident that green cars such as electric and hybrid cars are the cars of a sustainable future.


Leave a Comment February 12, 2016

The Growing Popularity of Hybrid Cars Boosts Sales

2012_Toyota_Prius_v_--_03-21-2012It seems the automotive companies are going greener now more than ever following the recent release of Tesla Model X and the plans to produce Model 3, and not forgetting Chevrolet’s announcement of Bolt hatchback production. Although there have been setbacks in the production and marketing of fully electric cars, the industry has a wide range of SUVs, crossovers and hybrid cars. The hybrid family further extends with Chrysler’s announcement of its plan to produce the Pacifica Hybrid. These half-electric, half-gas category of vehicles have been known to have high mileage. Additionally, the cost of operating and maintaining them is relatively low.

The primary demerit associated with fully electric cars is that they are relatively costly. For instance, the models present in the United States market cost between $23,800 to $80,000. For this reason, there has been a biased preference towards hybrid cars. One of the cheapest hybrids to operate is Toyota’s Prius Eco. The starting price for this Toyota model is about $24,700, a cost that is slightly more than Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV, the cheapest fully electric car. The range of Prius Eco in the city is 58 mpg while the range for the highway is 53 mpg. This implies that the average range is 56 mpg. The cost of running the Prius is about $500 on an annual basis, undercutting electric car cost by $100. Contrary to electric car owners, Prius owners and other hybrid car owners do not stress about looking for a place for charging their cars. This is because hybrid cars also have a gasoline engine in addition to electric motors.

The technology behind hybrid cars will continue advancing just like electric car technology. Electric cars are deemed to be fun and comfortable just like their gasoline-powered counterparts. It has been proven by Tesla’s P90D that has a torque of 713 lb-ft and a horsepower of 762. Electric cars will be available and affordable to the common man when the Chevrolet Bolt and Model 3 enter the market. The practicability of electric car ownership will increase with a close to $30,000 price tag and a range of 200 miles on a charge. Currently, Nissan Leaf is the market leader with a starting price of less than $30,000 and a range of 107 miles when fully charged. The range of a standard gasoline-fueled vehicle is approximately 300 miles. Hence, although electric cars are clearly the cars of the future, hybrids are currently leading the park in terms of sales.


Leave a Comment February 12, 2016

All-Electric versus Plug-in Hybrid Cars

Nissan_Leaf_001The first primary plug-in electric car manufacturer entered the Unites States market half a decade ago. It is quite unclear whether a pure electric car or a plug-in hybrid car would be more sensible. Answering such a question can be likened to aiming at a moving target, as technology and market products are ever evolving. It makes more sense to briefly highlight the benefits that can be attained from both types of vehicles.

Firstly, the invention of plug-in hybrid cars and electric cars is a step towards doing away with environmentally unfriendly gasoline and petroleum. The powertrains of plug-in electric cars run on highly efficient electric motors, consequently minimizing or eliminating the need for petroleum. The plug-in grid is continually getting better as electric plug-in locations are becoming more numerous.

In general terms, plug-in hybrid cars refer to hybrid cars with larger-sized batteries coupled with connection to a grid. More energy is stored to allow the car to run solely on electricity for longer periods. Although the technological approaches may differ, the basic idea of a hybrid is partly electric range that has a gasoline as backup. All-electric cars on the other hand utilize traction motors and battery without internal combustion. Just like plug-in hybrids, these cars also have a grid connection or a renewable electricity source.

The Unites States alone has about 26 plug-in electric cars in the market, out of a total of 50 cars globally. Plug-in trucks are not yet available. High end SUVs are only a few and a single minivan will be out later in the year. Of the 26 cars mentioned, 12 of them are battery electric cars while the remaining fifteen are plug-in hybrids. Others that have already been manufactured and exited the market include Honda Fit electric car, Honda’s Accord plug-in and Toyota’s RAV4 electric car.

With respect to price, plug-in cars tend to be more costly compared to their conventional counterparts. This is based on the fact that there is payback in different other ways including minimal costs of operation and maintenance, as well as additional environmental benefits. The single most fundamental reason to own plug-in hybrid cars is that a driver has the choice of using it as part-time fully-electric car. The extended range is another key benefit of these cars. Electric vehicles are beneficial since the cost of operating them is less than that of gasoline cars. Also, there is extremely reduced, to no emissions at the electric cars’ tailpipes, making them environmental friendly.



Leave a Comment February 5, 2016

Why Electric Car Purchasers Love Electric Cars

Chevrolet_Spark_M150_China_2012-04-15Electric cars are currently among the top ranked vehicles in the green car list. There are numerous reasons that have been cited by buyers regarding their preference for electric vehicles. When respondents were asked about their favorite thing regarding electric cars, most gave the climate and quality of air benefits. Other respondents were also not in support of the oil industry. This implies that they consider the gasoline or petroleum industry non-progressive. Great acceleration and instant torque is another reason for purchasing electric cars. Convenience when charging at home and the ability to drive such cars on sunshine are also great reasons. Financial savings is also a beneficial aspect of owning an electric car.

The responses are in line with the initial profile of electric vehicle pioneers. These early electric car adopters were inclined towards electric cars because of their role in combating global warming, minimizing pollution and lowering oil dependence. Although the mentioned reasons should be the major ones for purchasing electric cars, majority of people would not purchase green cars such as electric vehicles unless the experience is good and they are able to save money. Instant torque is a key benefit that might drive increased adoption of electric cars among the general population. The convenience brought about by home charging might also convince potential buyers to invest in electric cars. Fuel savings, as well as financial peaks associated with electric cars should also not be overlooked.

Instant torque is what makes a simple low cost Chevrolet Spark electric vehicle more desirable than Ferrari’s 458 Italia. A Spark owner and enthusiast would have a greater driving experience, considering the smart electric driving offered. Instant torque can be a lot fun, and this is especially realized during the initial electric car first drive. A greater acceleration makes it extremely easy for drivers merging onto highways, roundabouts or avoiding a dangerous turn. This benefit can be appreciated by anyone ranging from an adventurous teenager to a cautious old lady.

Any person who has owned an electric car would appreciate the convenience of charging it at home. Instead of driving to a gas station, getting out to pump gas, paying and getting back to the car and finally on road are far outweighed by pulling into a home garage and plugging in the car. All that an electric car driver has to do is spend just a few second to plug in a car once they arrive home and then a few minutes unplugging when leaving the house. This makes charging extremely simple and convenient.



Leave a Comment February 5, 2016

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