Archives – March, 2016

Toyota Unleashes its Prius Prime Plug-in Car at New York’s Auto Show

Toyota_Prius_HybridThree new vehicles were unveiled by Toyota during New York’s Auto show that was held earlier this month. One of the key highlights was the new Prius Prime hybrid plug-in, which is the automaker’s first new Prius since 2014. The other two cars that were unveiled are the 86 sports vehicle and an upgraded model of Toyota’s Highlander SUV. The new Highlander version has a new engine, more aggressive grille and a novel transmission. Although the Highlander has a high likelihood of outselling the Prius Prime, the show’s highlight was still the plug-in Prius’ return.

All Electric Range of 22 Miles

The release of Prime plug-in is a clear indication that Toyota is committed to adding to its lineup of Prius hybrids even at this time when the prices of gas is still low. The automaker has projected that the Prius Prime’s mileage will be higher when compared to its previous plug-in cars. It will have at least 120 more miles per gallon in comparison to the other plug-in hybrids. This is equivalent to about 26 percent increase from its predecessor. According to Toyota, the new Prius Prime will have the capacity to cover up to 22 miles when fully charged before switching to the gasoline engine. On a fully electric mode, the car can go for speeds of 84 mph.

An electric range of 22 miles means that more than half of the American population can drive to work then back home without having to rely on gasoline. For the people who are able to charge their cars at work, the figure increases to 80 percent. Those who commute longer miles can depend on a hybrid system deemed to be the most fuel efficient in the auto industry. The Prius Prime will run on a battery pack of 8.8 kilowatts when in electric mode. Additionally, it will feature Toyota’s drive system based on a dual-motor generator. Such a system utilizes both the generator and electric motor as the driving force.

A major question is whether the unveiled Prius Prime will turn out to be a fan favorite. Later this year, Chevrolet plans to put its Bolt electric vehicle on sale. The new Bolt will have a battery with a capacity of 60 kilowatts and a projected mileage of 200 MPGe per a single charge. Its price tag after the addition of tax credits will be 30,000 dollars. Other notable competitors of the Prius Prime are the siblings of Ford Energi, the Fusion and C-max, which will have an electric range of 19 miles.





Leave a Comment March 31, 2016

Hyundai Ioniq Debuts in New York

Ioniq_Rear_SideThe official introduction of the Hyundai Ioniq to the United States market took place during the New York motor show. This car that has an electric powertrain and will start its sales with the 2017 model with a battery electric and hybrid models in this year’s fourth quarter. Early next year, the 2018 plug-in version of the hybrid will follow. According to Hyundai, the revealing of these three green cars in Geneva earlier this month was a significant milestone. The car will compete with Toyota and other big manufacturers in the auto industry. Hyundai would have spent a lot of money if it had chosen to develop the three cars separately. Hence, billions were saved in terms of development costs with the Ioniq.

Moving into the Hybrid Market

All the three variants of Ioniq share major specifications such as the use of high strength steel and aluminum, which cuts the total curb weight. The use of the two metals is also seen as a way of attaining maximum mpg. These inaugural vehicles are a clear representation of Hyundai’s new model line and are expected to remain relevant throughout the next decade. Creature comforts are also anticipated for the cars. Other details included are the Android Auto and CarPlay, TET display, advanced safety features and wireless smart phone charging. The safety department has features such as Lane Departure Warning, Automated Emergency Braking, Cross-Traffic Alert and Blind Spot Detection.

The Toyota Prius was used to benchmark the Ioniq Hybrid and Hyundai has projected a United States EPA rating of 57 to 58 mpg. This figure isn’t official, but if it is so, the car will surpass even the Eco version from Japan. It will take the top spot in the United States market cars in terms of mpg. The plug-in Ioniq is based on the powertrain of a hybrid car but has an additional lithium-ion battery of 8.9-kilowatt-hours that allows emission-free driving. According to Hyundai’s Product Planning manager, the EV range offered will be between 25 to 30 miles. The European rating is at 32 miles.

May Surpass Prius in Mileage

With respect to its competitiveness, the Ioniq trio can be likened to an electrified version of a jack-of-all trades. All the three versions have promised high performance and efficiency. The car has also been projected to surpass the 2016 Toyota’s Prius in terms of mileage with variations in highway and city efficiency. The plug-in hybrid variant also surpasses 2017’s Prius Prime in terms of mileage. These are just estimates since the official EPA-certified figures have not yet been released by Hyundai and Toyota.


Leave a Comment March 31, 2016

The New Toyota’s Prius Plug-in is Released

640px-Toyota_-_Prius_Plug-in_HYBRIDMany people, especially green car lovers are wondering how the new Prius Plug-in will compete in the current market. Well, this question will be answered very soon as this vehicle is set to be released on 23rd March. The first showcasing of the car will be at an auto show to be held in New York. Toyota has given very limited information and details concerning the new plug-in hybrid and it seems the automaker intends to maintain the suspense till the actual release date. Toyota gave a brief statement saying limits should be put in the rearview as the reveal is yet to be made.

In the previous decade, Toyota declined to come up with a Prius plug-in hybrid model. The automaker chose to wait until virtually all its standard Prius owners converted. In 2012, it incorporated a battery of 4.4-kilowatt-hours within its hatch area to push its plug-in toward the mid-lifecycle of its third generation. According to the EPA, this model has a good electric range of six miles and a combinational 11 miles for electric and gas. Drivers could achieve additional mileage and Toyota has initially thought the car had the capability of attaining 14 miles electric range, with an assumption of a substantially tame drive.

The hybrid version of the Prius plug-in had a better-combined range of 50 mpg and its small-sized battery saved cost while increasing the space within the cargo area. Advocates of the Prius plug-in claimed that the car delivered virtually all benefits that could be offered by Toyota’s evolved 3rd generation Prius. This was clearly evident in its high sales. Among the plug-in electric car sales, the Prius plug-in was among the three leading vehicles in terms of sales in 2014. The car’s sales were also remarkable in the United States, regardless of the fact that its market was limited.

Some reports indicate that the anticipated plug-in Prius will have an electric range of between 30-35 miles. We will find out whether this figure is accurate as the new car is revealed. At this stage, Toyota may choose to give an approximate value of the car’s EPA number. Underlying this vehicle is Prius’ 4th generation, which happens to be the most fuel-efficient car ever by Toyota. Its handling is also the sportiest. The car has 52 mpg for a majority of its trims, with the Eco trim getting 56 mpg. The new Prius Plug-in is expected to hit a similar target in terms of sustaining charge in the hybrid mode. The two variants will also be set apart by exceptional styling details.



Leave a Comment March 24, 2016

Why You Should Invest in Hybrid Cars

Toyota_Prius_(IV)_–_Frontansicht,_19._September_2015,_FrankfurtTesting regimen and air quality concerns imply that many car owners are moving away from gasoline fuel to search for cleaner options. Manufacturers are under a lot of pressure to produce cars with lower carbon dioxide emissions and better efficiency. Although small-sized petrol turbos are still popular, it is evident that the popularity of hybrids is increasing at a fast rate.

Hybrid technology is not an entirely new phenomenon since these vehicles entered the market more than a decade ago. Prius’ 1st generation entered the United Kingdom showrooms in the year 2000 following the arrival of MK4. It is, therefore, fair enough to say that hybrid technology is truly reliable. Although a few manufacturers are yet to catch up, a wide range of green cars is available on the market.

Proven Reliability

Regardless of the fact that hybrid technology has proved to be dependable and worthwhile, several potential purchasers are still skeptical. This is because they believe these cars are costly and their drivetrain is complex. They also hold the assumption that these cars are not reliable. However, Toyota has disputed such claims. The automaker said that the hybrid system increases the durability of the tires, pads and brake discs. Most potential buyers are also concerned about the cars’ battery pack, which they have likened to a ticking time bomb. They assume the battery can easily fail and is expensive to replace. Honda has however disputed these claims and stated that reliability is not a major issue with hybrid cars.

A Toyota spokesman said that there is rarely the need to replace hybrid components under the specified warranty. These components are designed in such a way that they can last the entered car’s life. The spokesman further confirmed that the hybrid technology works and is reliable. There are still MK1 Prius’ that are still working, meaning that the durability of the battery is not an issue.

Even for the second-hand hybrid car market, nothing is there to worry about. Most of these cars have batteries that are still under their respective warranties. The length of these warranties varies from one automaker to another. While the car’s warranty depends on the manufacturer, the hybrid technology warranty can last up to 8 years. It is highly unlikely for one to replace the entire battery pack of a second-hand hybrid. Perhaps what may need replacement are the dead cells within the car, and this would further cut costs. Even after using a hybrid car for 10 years, 80 percent efficiency can still be expected. Hence, you should invest in a hybrid car today.

Leave a Comment March 24, 2016

BMW’s i5 Extended Range Electric Vehicle Confirmed

BMW-i3-Electric_Drive_unit1The BMW i8 and i3 cars are now sure of getting a mate. Henrick Wenders, the BMW iproduct line boss confirmed that the i5 will officially enter the market. However, the full details of the yet to be released i5 have not been fully confirmed yet. Just like the i3, the BMW i5 is set to have a combustion engine with an extended electric range. This clearly means that the i5 is a range-extended version of the electric car and not a hybrid. The i5 drive unit is shown here.

The range will be a key limiting factor as well as an anxiety source for green cars in the coming years. Green cars will be fully adopted once they have a range that is similar or comparable to that in an internal-combustion engine. For this reason, BMW plans to go on offering range-extenders even in its future cars. This will be offered as an option to address various needs of its customers. Wenders insinuated that consumers opted for a range-extender for their i3 REx so as to address range anxiety. Most of those purchasers found out they actually did not need to use the extender that often. Wenders expects that the i5 will be a popular car among consumers because of the range-extender provision.

Wenders admitted to having held numerous internal discussions, and his attempts to always represent customers. For this reason, he has often advocated for maximum range. However, from an engineering outlook, it is vital to be extremely careful. The automaker has to provide consumers with a battery that has a high longevity. The drive-train and battery should also make sense in terms of carbon dioxide investment. Just like the i3, there will be small upgrades for the i5 over time, following the continual development of battery technology. Wenders confirmed that the carbon footprint will play a huge role for the i5 as well as other future models of the i class.

BMW is aware of its inherent rivalry with Tesla. To address the issue, Wenders said that he was highly subjective and was convinced that there was an emotional connection between BMW and its audience. He further added that the automaker is not focused on building a different brand with a different portfolio. This would be like talking about a different company, which might be seen as an autonomous competitor of Tesla. Wenders said that they are a sub-brand and a section of a thriving quality automaker. He concluded with the statement that BMW’s strength is its innovation and its ability to come up with new designs using new materials.


Leave a Comment March 17, 2016

Volkswagen XL3 to Give Prius a Run for Its Money

'15_Volkswagen_Golf_Sportwagen_(MIAS_'15)Volkswagen is set to release a major rival for Toyota’s Prius as it was seen in exclusive images released. The car will be called Volkswagen XL3 with Volkswagen planning to increase its fleet of electrified vehicles by 2020. Despite encountering huge criticism concerning the manner in which it is dealing with the Dieselgate scandal, Volkswagen’s comeback plan is to invest in hybrid ads for all-electric cars. As part of this plan, the automaker will extend its current line-up of electric vehicles to incorporate an independent model to join the fully electric Gold and hybrid Passat.

Dr. Herbert Diess, the head of Volkswagen Passenger Cars, spoke during an exclusive interview with Auto Express. He stated that the company has a commitment to hybrid and electric cars based on the standard MQB (shared modular construction for transverse, front-wheel drive, front-engined vehicles) chassis. This chassis is what is used in making conventional VW cars such as the Passat and Golf. He added that the company has a plan of shifting to a new platform designed solely for electrification. He further said that it would be worthwhile to consider adopting a new architecture that would make it possible to do away with the technical components associated with the combustion engine. This will also help in creating room in the interior section of the vehicle.

For a fully-electric vehicle, you can get exterior dimensions that are a size bigger. This means that for a length similar to that of Golf, the interior space would be that of a Passat. The new electric platform for Volkwagen will probably be referred to as the Modular Electric platform, or MEB. It is expected that this platform will have a high compatibility with the MQB. This will allow electric cars to be manufactured on similar lines to combustion engine cars.

XL3’s electric motor has been projected to produce approximately 30 bhp with a lower version of Volkswagen’s turbocharged petrol engine with a capacity of 1.4 liter. To save more fuel, it will feature a cylinder deactivation system. The battery is expected to be relatively modest and the electric range will be a few miles. The overall fuel consumption will exceed 94 mpg, which translates 3 liters for every 10 kilometers.

Beyond a hybrid car, Volkswagen also has future plans to produce a fully electric car. Mathiam Muller, Volksagen Grouo boss has given strong hints concerning the project’s technical targets. By 2020, cars having full electric ranges exceeding 500 km will be extremely feasible. Charging such cars will take a few minutes. On a long term basis, electric cars would be less costly compared to cars using internal combustion engines.



Leave a Comment March 17, 2016

First Drive Review for the BMW 330e Plug-in Hybrid

BMW_E90_front_20090301It has been projected that soon one out of every ten BMW 3 series will be having powertrains operating in hybrid mode. Officials at this German automaker have shown confidence that a substantial number of purchasers prefer the recent petrol-electric model. This model will enter the market later this year. BMW is yet to confirm the volume aspirations because discussions are still being held with value forecasters. However, officials expect the car’s total sales to account for at least 5 percent.

Last year alone, at least 23,000 of the sedan version were sold. This version happens to be an integral part of BMW. The hybrid version will be one of the core models to account for a more than ten percent share soon. During a recent launch event, Mark Costello, one of the BMW’s product managers, said that the new car is attractive due to its high electric drive range, practicality, and the total operating economy. These are some of the advantages that this plug-in hybrid has over its competitors.

With an additional 40 hp, Mercedes-Benz has an acceleration that is slightly faster. The EV range of the BMW 330e can reach 25 miles, which is better in comparison to the previous 19 miles. Its boot space is 370 liters in comparison with the standard 340 liters. Additionally, the new 3e series has a lower rate of fuel consumption. Its advantage in the corporate sector cannot be overlooked. The carbon dioxide emission status has been retained at 50g/km. This status is irrespective of wheel options and the trim level. The car’s price tag will also be considerably lower. All these factors combined is a clear indication that this new entrant will create a huge impact.

The BMW 330e plug-in hybrid will not only win conquest business, but it is also expected to strongly compete with the current BMW 320ED. It will be up to the fleet users to decide the version that suits them best. The type of use will be reflected in purchase decisions. For high motorway mileage, the most efficient choice is still diesel. However, BMW strongly believes that hybrids will define the future. Hybrid cars are the best, especially in maximizing fuel savings and using as much electricity as possible. The 330E’s weight distribution is neutral, consequently giving it good road holding capability, stability and balanced handling that surpasses its major competitors. A top speed of 75 mph is given using electric drive while a wide range of options are available in terms of operating mode to give efficient mobility.


Leave a Comment March 11, 2016

The Reason 2016’s Toyota Prius Deserves to be the Globe’s Most Attractive Energy Vehicle

Toyota_Prius_(IV)_–_Heckansicht,_19._September_2015,_FrankfurtLast fall, photos of the 4th generation Toyota Prius Liftback started appearing online. Based on a highly relevant criteria, this car could be one of the globe’s most attractive vehicles. Many are wondering how attractive this car is. The attractiveness is with respect to being pocket-friendly. Critics have often raised concerns regarding the aesthetics of the Prius. Most find its look to be quite plain. Regardless of this fact, it has been projected that more people would purchase this car in comparison to any other.

So many people buy a Toyota Prius in fact, it has recently been considered an independent sub-brand. Since the new model officially entered the market in January, already 18,600 Prius sales have been booked by Toyota. These bookings are inclusive of leftovers, as well as the 2016 model. These units are 3,000 more than those recorded by Chevrolet for its Volt last year in all 12 months. By March, Toyota would have surpassed the sales predicted by Chevy for the whole year.

Volt is not the only car surpassed by Toyota. Every green car out there has been crushed by Toyota with respect to market acceptance. The Prius beats virtually all green cars manufactured by companies like Ford, Honda, Kia, Hyundai, BMW, Volkswagen, Lexus, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Infiniti, Nissan, Volbo, Tesla, Nissan, and others. Last year, 114,000 Prius Liftback units were sold in the United States. This year, it is expected that 130,000 units will be sold, and 143,000 units in 2017. These projections were given by an analyst, Alan Baum. Since its launch in Japan in 1997, Toyota Prius has sold approximately 3.5 million units across the world in about 90 markets. Considering its proven record and the present rate of plug-in car growth, Prius’ dominance may continue a bit longer.

Generally, the design of the 2016 Prius is a slight improvement from the previous Liftback version. Some of the design inspirations are from Mirai’s Fuel Cell car. The aerodynamic coefficient of the new Prius is comparable to that of Tesla’s Model S, which equals 0.24. The vehicle is also based on the New Global Architecture by Toyota. This technology increases the chassis stiffness in addition to making it sportier. The total MPG for a combination of five trims is 52, while for Eco trim it offers 56 mpg. Based on this information, it is evident that the Toyota Prius is a car of the people and its sales will continue increasing.



Leave a Comment March 11, 2016

Some of the Plug-in Hybrids Expected to Hit the Market This Year

BMW_eDrive_auf_der_IAA_2015It has been five years since the extended-range Chevrolet Volt was launched. Dozens of plug-ins have been produced since then and entered the United States market. This year, another dozen of these are further expected. Plug-in hybrid cars are a good solution to petroleum dependence, emission of greenhouse gases and range anxiety. These cars have a unique powertrain architecture and run partly on electric power. When the battery is exhausted, a combustion engine comes into play. Morphing of the car to a standard gas-burner is normally in the hybrid mode.

Chrysler’s Pacifica Hybrid

Chrysler has introduced the very first hybrid minivan in the country. This is also a plug-in version of the hybrid minivan, a first of its kind. This car can comfortably accommodate seven passengers and has a range of 30 miles. Its battery is 16 kwh. Based on the size of battery, this plug-in hybrid car by Chrysler will be eligible for up to $7,500 of federal government tax credit. The car’s selling price has not yet been announced.

BMW’s 330e

The 330e is the first plug-in hybrid sedan by BMW and is built upon the legacy that began by the automaker’s ActiveHybrid3 about ten years ago. The expectations of this series with respect to sporting are guaranteed. This car has a battery of 7.6 kwh and an estimated range of 22 miles. The starting price of this car is $44,695 and the car has been approximated to enter the market in June.

BMW’s 740e

This car has a similarity with BMW’s X5 with respect to its powertain of a 2-liter capacity and an eight-speed transmission. The combination of electric motors gives a total of 321 horsepower system output. This car is expected to reach dealers by October this year.

Mercedes-Benz’s E350e

This car was introduced in Detroit last month as one of the remodelled E-class lineup. Its plug-in hybrid version is a bit fetching in terms of its style, which has been adopted based on the S-Class. Its EV range is estimated at 19 miles while the total horsepower produced from the electric motor and gas engine is 286. The torque is approximately 406 pounds-feet. According to Mercedes, the car’s acceleration ranges from 0 to 62 mph within 6.2 seconds. The starting price has not yet been announced. Though the car has not yet been listed in the automaker’s consumer website, it has been estimated to hit the market by May.

In addition to the mentioned cars, others expected to enter the market this year include Volvo’s S90 PHEV, Volkswagen’s Golf GTE, Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV, Kia’s Optima Plug-in, and Audi’s A3 e-tron.



Leave a Comment March 3, 2016

Honda’s CEO to Focus More on Electric Cars

'16_Honda_Civic_Sedan_(Galeries_D'Anjou)The main goal of Honda Motor Company is to focus more on the production of fully or partially electric cars. The automaker hopes that by the year 2030, these cars will account for almost 70% of total global sales. This decision was reached upon following the safety issues that clouded this major car manufacturer. The auto industry is gradually shifting to increased production of environmentally friendly vehicles. This trend has further been steered by the recent diesel-emissions scandal by Volkswagen. Volkswagen has ramped up its plan to introduce a number of electric cars to its current lines.

Five percent of the current sales by Honda are accounted for by the electrified powertrains with most of these being gas-electric hybrids. In March, the company will begin the lease of a fuel-celled sedan in addition to selling a small number of fully electric and plug-in hybrids in the United States market. According to Honda CEO, Takihiro Hachigo, there is a high likelihood for plug-ins and hybrids to account for 50% of Honda’s sales by the year 2030. The other electric cars will account for approximately 15% of the sales.

Mr. Hachigo was officially appointed as Honda’s CEO early last year following a series of safety concerns and recalls. These safety problems forced the automaker to do away with its target of releasing six million cars to the global market on an annual basis by March next year. Its aim has been to lower model variations as well as a platform that will allocate more time to the engineers for fine-tuning the technology. Record sales were posted by the company in 2015 in two of its largest markets, China and the United States. This also marked a 6% rise in global sales with 4.7 million cars being sold. Honda expects that the profits for this ending year will increase by 3% to generate $4.7 billion from car sales.

According to a car analyst at CLSA, Christopher Richter, the target set by Honda is ambitious and yet attainable. What it implies is that most of today’s gasoline vehicles will be transformed into hybrid cars. A new plug-in car by Honda will begin selling in North America by 2018. This is according to Mr. Hachigo. Honda engineers have said that in the past year the company focused more on resolving recalls in addition to meeting the almost-term sales targets. A number of recalls were suffered over the subcompact Fit hybrid with respect to its engine control program and other issues.



Leave a Comment March 3, 2016

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