Archives – April, 2016

The Honda Accord is Back and Revamped for 2017

hqdefaultRegardless of their superior engineering, Honda’s hybrid cars have never been seen as serious competitors to Toyota’s Prius. However, the very first Honda hybrid, the Insight, outdid the Prius in the year 1999 in terms of sales in the United States. However, Toyota has continued to be the kind in hybrid sales. The original Honda hybrid car had a three-cylinder gas engine and a small-sized motor-generator. In 2014 and 2015, the Accord hybrids entered the U.S. market and had a cylinder engine of 2-liter capacity. They also had two motor-generators that could provide gas-only, electric-only, or electric propulsion and mixed gas.

The new 2017’s Honda Accord will be launched this spring and will be available in all the 50 states of the U.S. This mid-sized four-door car has numerous driveline changes aimed at improving performance and mileage. While the starting price has not yet been stated, hints indicate that there will be a slight increase from 2015’s Accord’s base price of $30,140. Contrary to previous times, there will not be any plug-in version since Honda has a plan of offering a special, dedicated plug-in vehicle.

Honda says the new car will have a dual hybrid system with a four-cylinder engine with a capacity of 2 liters. The system is linked to the first motor generator through a computer-monitored clutch while the second generator is connected directly to the car’s differential. Fully electric mode through the second motor is enabled by disengaging the clutch. When the charge of the battery is finished, the engine is cranked by the first motor, which then generates the electric power to be used by the second motor.

While only limited engineering details have been released by Honda, it has been stated that the new Accord will incorporate a battery pack made from lithium ion as well as an improved version of the two-motor driveline. Changes have also been made to the Atkinson-cycle cylinder engine to increase the total system output to 212 horsepower. These details were revealed by Ryan Hary, Honda’s project manager. The mileage ratings have shown a slight improvement to 45 mpg highway drive, 48 mpg city drive and combined mileage of 47 mpg. Honda plans to deliver up to 28,000 Accord hybrid cars per year, which is twice the number achieved by the previous edition. Some of its direct competitors will be the hybrid versions of Ford Fusion, the Camry, Kia Optima, Chevrolet Malibu, and the Hyundai Sonata. Some facelifts were done to Accord for 2016 and this entails different upgrades to the new hybrid. It is clear that this is a car to watch out for this spring.


Leave a Comment April 29, 2016

An Easy Guide to Hybrid Vehicles

Hybrid_modesBy now, virtually everyone knows that hybrid cars achieve exemplary gas mileage using electric energy. However, only a few understand how the advanced powertrains of these cars work and whether they save costs. Well, it is important to know that hybrids differ from standard cars in that they utilize two powertrains; one is a gasoline engine and one is an electric motor. The power of the electric motor is provided by a battery pack. For several decades, cars powered by electricity have been the future’s vision. In the 1990s, the development of electrically powered vehicles stopped and then hybrid cars emerged. The hybrid cars promised a compromise between the pros and cons of both gasoline and electric powertrains.

Electric motors have a high efficiency when it comes to acceleration, contrary to the internal-combustion engine cars, and contrary to popular belief. Hence, they produce maximum power. However, batteries that have sufficient energy to provide power for long-distance driving are heavy, bulky and expensive. Recent advancements in battery technology have led to the introduction of new electric vehicles to the market. Unfortunately, electric products are of limited range, and currently, hybrid cars are the best deal for both electric and gasoline cars.

Regarding the hybrid technologies, there is a blend of the power originating from the gas engine and that of the batteries and the electric motor. The two powertrains are combined in various ways to determine the car’s efficiency. Full hybrids tend to be the best in terms of gas mileage. The newer plug-in cars allow the driver to use even less gas by driving solely as electric vehicles for a limited distance.

A majority of the full hybrids make use of parallel designs whereby either an electric motor or gas engine alone is used for driving the wheels. Alternatively, the two can work together. Hybrids can also be associated with series configurations, which mean that the wheels are solely driven by the electric motor with the gas engine serving simply as the generator to give electric power when the battery is exhausted. Examples of hybrid cars that use this system include the Chevrolet Volt and BMW i3.

Another type of hybrid car is the plug-in hybrid, which can easily be recharged to operate as an electric car for a while. They usually have an initial electric range of 10-35 before they can switch to standard hybrid operation. These cars are either series or full hybrid versions, with some parallel versions acting as series versions under specific conditions or when it is beneficial.


Leave a Comment April 29, 2016

Lexus Celebrates One Million Hybrid Car Sales Globally

Lexus_LC_500h_unveiled_at_Geneva_Motor_Show_2016_(IMG_2858)Lexus made an announcement that more than one million hybrid cars have been sold since the launch of the first luxury hybrid car in the world, the RX 400h in 2005. This news is quite welcome considering the current world that focuses of eco-friendly based living, giving humans a lot to smile about. The news also gives a glimpse of the future. Lately, the sales of electric and hybrid cars have been steadily increasing. More people are realizing the benefits that these green cars can offer in terms of efficiency and saving fuel.

As of the culmination of the previous month, Lexus made approximately one million and six hundred sales of hybrid cars within a time span of 11 years. To mark this milestone, Lexus delivered a brand new NX 300h to one of its loyal customers in Milan, Italy. This shows yet another automaker using events like hybrid sales to sell and promote their cars and products. This is a good venture since the future is heading towards hybridization and electrification of cars.

Lexus stated that its core car technology is the hybrid system, which has proven to aid in reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. At the same time the technology gives users an amazing and enjoyable driving experience. The carmaker’s 2050 environment goals are extremely ambitious and for the goals to be achieved, the popularity of hybrids globally will play a huge role. Currently, there are 10 hybrid models manufactured by Lexus, with the automaker promising to produce more. Lexus International President, Tokuo Fukuichi said that he was pleased that more than a million customers across the globe trusted and put their faith in the carmaker’s hybrid line-up.

The lucky customer who was gifted by the automaker said that it was his first Lexus car. He had gone in to purchase and ended up the millionth buyer, so he received the car as a gift in commemoration of the event. He had chosen the brand because of the high value associated with it. He noted that upon seeing the novel NX 300h Lexus, its design captured him. He was also enthusiastic about the car’s hybrid technology. Earlier this year, the latest hybrid model by Lexus, LC 500h, was launched. This new car has the hybrid technology of a new generation of performance and this system is referred to as Multi Stage System. This system expounds on hybrid advantages through the delivery of more acceleration, greater power, higher efficiency and traction. The car will officially enter the market in the spring of next year. There is no other luxury car manufacturer that matches up to the breadth and depth of Lexus in terms of efficiency and refined cars.


Leave a Comment April 22, 2016

Comparing the Toyota Prius Prime and Hyundai’s Ioniq Plug-in

Hyundai_Ioniq_01For a long time, Toyota has been the world’s top-selling gas-electric vehicle. This may no longer be the case when Hyundai’s Ioniq is launched in the United States later in the year. The new release will compete against the standard Prius hybrid and the recently launched Prime plug-in. The Ioniq will be the first car in the world to have a third battery electric powertrain. There are a number of similarities and contrasts between the Prime and Ioniq.

In terms of design, a major similarity is that the cars have hatchbacks, front-wheel and aerodynamics. The Ioniq can accommodate five passengers just like the previous Prius plug-in as well as the current Prius. The Toyota Prime on the other hand can only accommodate four passengers, which saves weight. Both cars will have a similar coefficient of drag, which has been estimated at 0.24. The interior space will be similar for both with slight variations here and there. Toyota Prius has a design emulating that of the base Prius, while the Ioniq has been thought to be easier on eyes.

Regarding the powertrain, both vehicles are plug-in hybrid cars with a system based on ultra-efficient Atkinson cycle. While the GDI unit of Hyundai is 1.6 liters, Toyota’s unit is 1.8 liters. The thermal efficiency of both cars is approximately 40%, and this is an accomplishment set by Toyota three years ago. Neither manufacturer has given a specific EPA number, though Toyota said that the Prime could have a figure similar to that of its non-plug-in counterpart. The Prime could have around 52 mpg, while Ioniq could have around 56 mpg. The EPA will most likely exceed 51 mpg for both vehicles.

Another comparison is with respect to electric range following the doubling of the traction battery by Toyota to offer a capacity of 8.8 kWh compared to Hyundai’s 8.9 kWh. The miles projected by Toyota before the ultimate EPA certifications are a 22 miles range. Hyundai’s projected range is between 25 and 29 miles. Assuming the miles presented are to be trusted, it is clear that Hyundai has a better EV range compared to Toyota. In terms of performance, both cars have promised to offer an amazing experience. This is considering Toyota’s New Global Architecture, as well as the independent suspension. Hyundai has also promised to enhance Ioniq’s performance through its novel dedicated platform. Given the information above, Hyundai is clearly a big competitor for Toyota Prius Prime.


Leave a Comment April 22, 2016

The Key Merits of the Chevy Bolt over Tesla’s Model 3

Chevrolet_Bolt_NAIS_2016The recent era has been flooded with electric cars, with the second-generation versions selling for a fair price and having outstanding performance. First up, there is the 2017’s Chevrolet Bolt, which has been projected to have a range exceeding 200 miles with a sticker price of approximately $37,500 before incentives. A comparable car with the same price range and a sleeker design is Tesla’s Model 3 whose pre-orders have exceeded 325,000. Nissan also has the novel Leaf that is deemed to offer Chevy Bolt and Tesla a run for their money.

The Bolt has a number of advantages over Tesla’s Model 3 and one of the merits is regarding its design. The Bolt’s design is perfect and slightly similar to that of Chevy Sonic in addition to a few frills. This is contrary to Model 3 whose design is comparable to that of BMW’s 3-series. Owners of the Chevy Bolt will also be able to charge their cars at home. The car’s 200-plus miles in terms of range imply that the standard daily drives will resolve minimal range anxiety.

Another advantage of the Bolt is that it will be available sooner and this is evident after GM fast tracked the car’s development from the concept stage to production phase. The fast tracking was done using fifty five test mules coupled with a thousand engineers. The spec sheet adopted by Bolt is the very same one that Tesla has been hoping to attain for more than ten years. This may be inclusive of the vision and design brought to the table by Tesla. Hence, Bolt is clearly a step ahead in terms of production and market availability.

It is also worth noting that the Chevy Bolt is well sorted. All the processes that take place at the factory, as well as the huge engineer pool are a clear indication of an investment in product development. In the field of plug-in vehicles, GM is famed for producing up to 100,000 plug-in electric cars that have been marketed over the last five years. All these plug-in electric cars have clearly achieved an exemplary track record. GM said that the lessons that have been learned are being passed onto the Chevy Bolt.

Another advantage is the Bolt’s good utility. The car is has adequate room for five passengers, a flat floor, as well as a tall ceiling. Finally, the Chevy Bolt has front wheel drive that is not only better, but also more capable compared to that of the Model 3.


Leave a Comment April 15, 2016

Spied Road Testing Ford’s F-150 Plug-in

23921807926_f88d395fff_oThere is a possibility that Ford may be planning to introduce a new hybrid model, the F-150 pickup, which will be both a truck and a plug-in car. This information was received from a spy photographer that happened to have snapped some copyrighted snaps of a partly camouflaged F-150. According to the photographer, the car’s engine shut down at 35 mph after which an electric hybrid powertrain took over. A further giveaway was the fact that there was a filler door at the side front fender of the passenger’s seat. The fender was at the exact location of a charge port instead of a gas inlet.

For quite some time, Ford executives have made it clear that the automaker has plans of releasing F-150 hybrid before the year 2020. Back in 2011, Ford partnered with Toyota, with the relationship ending in 2013. Previously, the efforts of Ford got in the way of Toyota with the patented system of both companies’ architecture being developed independently in mid 2000s. The current full hybrids, C-Max and the Fusion by Ford have technical similarities to Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive.

While the global best-selling hybrid car is the Prius, F-150 happens to be the best-selling car in America, albeit that it is a truck. Ford’s 10-speed might be incorporated in the hybrid variant rather than a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The truck’s primary intention will be that of load hauling and towing. A few years ago, Ford attempted to use aluminum bodies. If the automaker decides to electrify its hugely successful truck, it would be essential for it to adhere to specific minimum criteria necessary for the actual duty.

Assuming that Ford’s plan comes to pass, enthusiasts are highly likely to welcome it. Currently, there are no hybrid pickups in the United States market. The ones available are commercialized fleet cars that cannot be bought by the general public. These cars have been claimed to have up to 100 mpg through the electric assist and an EV range of more than 40 miles.

A truck’s underbody would be ideal for stowing traction batteries, as well as additional hardware of a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. For this reason, advocates of electrification have asserted that major manufacturers need to do what VIA Motors has done with their electric vehicles if they want to save more fuel. Ford is yet to confirm its specific plans regarding the rumored F-150. However, if the photographer’s information is anything to go by, the automaker is clearly ahead of its hybridization deadline that was set to 2020. The plug-in capability will serve as an additional bonus.


Leave a Comment April 15, 2016

Musk Unveils Tesla’s Model 3

Candy_Red_Tesla_Model_3_trimmedTesla’s Model 3 was revealed this week at its Los Angeles-based Hawthorne Design Studio. Three Model 3 sedans characterized by rounded roofs and other design elements typical of Model X and Model S were driven alongside Model 3 onto the stage. The new car by Tesla will have a starting price of $35,000. This information was revealed by CEO, Elon Musk, who further added that even the no-option models will be extremely nice. The EPA range for base models has been estimated to exceed 215 miles. All the Model 3 cars are fully equipped with autopilot semi-independent and supercharging capabilities.

According to Musk, by 2017, about 3,689 destination chargers and 3,608 superchargers will increase to 15,000 destination chargers and 7,200 superchargers. The year 2017 is also an important year for Tesla since it will mark the launch of Model 3 production version. Musk is fairly confident that the launching will actually take place next year and he said this with a laugh. At the same time, the car’s charging spots will expand, as well as the physical locations of Tesla, which will increase from the current 215 to 441. Model 3 will have adequate space to fit five adults and even a surfboard accommodating size of seven feet. The cargo capacity will be adequate for any given gas vehicle with similar external dimensions. The new car has been deemed to be extremely safe, and safety has been a key priority of Tesla automaker. In all categories, a five star rating is expected.

Tesla’s primary goal has been to radically minimize the global carbon dioxide as well as other emissions originating from oil-powered transportation. Musk observed that the Roadster was a key inspiration for the former vice chairman of GM, Bob Lutz to manufacture the Chevrolet Volt. The Nissan Leaf was built in response to the first car by Tesla and the Volt.

The goal that has been set by Tesla for Model 3 is approximately 500,000 vehicles in total by the year 2020. The former Toyota/GM Fremont, California plant has previously produced this huge number of cars. Musk’s presentation of Tesla’s Model 3 lasted for half an hour after which the people in attendance were given a chance to drive the car’s prototypes. Notably missing were the new car’s specifications as well as additional details. Musk promised to give a second presentation soon to reveal more details concerning the car. The presentation will be a bit closer to the actual launch date. Versions that will also be availed are of higher-power and faster speeds.


Leave a Comment April 8, 2016

Why Electric Cars Will Shape the World’s Future

Tesla_Model_X_vin0002_trimmedPrior to Tesla Model 3’s revelation, the company CEO, Elon Musk shed light on why people should choose electric cars. Musk said that the new car is projected to explode the global sales of Tesla from just more than 50,000 the previous year to as around 500,000 cars by the end of the decade. If this figure is reached, the planet would benefit greatly since electric cars are clearly the cars of the future. The goal of producing electric cars is a matter of humanity’s life and death. Tesla’s main reason for making electric cars is to speed up the transition to a form of transport that is sustainable. Sustainability is extremely important for the world’s future.

Although several facts could have come to play, Musk’s citation started with the general observation that the world’s carbon dioxide levels were a record high at 403.5 ppm. This figure has been gradually rising over the past few years. The last time such a high carbon dioxide concentration was recorded globally happens to be 11 million years ago. Humanity does not want to revisit such a state. The mean global temperatures have increased steadily because of the high levels of greenhouse gases.

Approximately 70% of the total petroleum utilized in the United States is accounted for by the transportation sector. Additionally, cars associated with greenhouse gas emissions are extremely important. It would therefore make a huge difference if the shift to sustainable transport is accelerated. Beyond global warming, it is evident that toxic gases are released by combustion cars. Musk cited a study that was conducted at MIT revealing that around 53 million people die annually from inhaling toxic emissions. Hence, Musk concluded that a vehicle spewing toxic gases is definitely harmful to your health.

Musk said that Tesla’s plan of producing electric cars could help solve the problems highlighted. The plan in question was to show that electric vehicles could manage the low volume, high-priced Roadster. The Model S whose starting price in 2007 ranged from $55,000-$68,000 dollars was produced. This was closely followed by Model X, which was produced in response to consumers’ preference for SUVs. Model X was thus built on the basis of the Model S platform. And now there is the Model 3, which has been unveiled this week. The new Model 3 has been projected to be attained by a greater majority of the population. It will be produced by the end of next year. Based on Tesla’s trend, it is clear that the future is geared toward electric car production.


Leave a Comment April 8, 2016

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