Archives – March 3, 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.



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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.



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