Archives – October, 2016

Comparing Plug-in Cars and Regular Hybrids

bmw_330e_f30_rearOne of the key advantages of plug-in hybrids is that charging the battery allows one to travel for a long distance without emissions. Currently, plug-in hybrid vehicles are eligible for federal tax credits, as well as subsidies. Hence, the government covers part of the car’s purchasing cost. Despite the mentioned advantages, plug-in hybrids cost more than the regular hybrid cars. The cost increase is because of its higher and more powerful capacity, as well as an advanced battery. There is also additional equipment necessary for charging the vehicle from the main. The manufacturing costs may also be higher compared to those of a standard hybrid car. Basically, the additional complexity and technology of plug-in hybrid cars make them more costly in comparison to regular hybrids.

It is essential to keep in mind that for you to use hybrid plug-ins facilities, you have to access parking that is close to a fast-charger or mains supply. Daytime or overnight charging may be tricky for those who find it hard to park outside their offices or homes.  Another difference between the two forms of vehicles is in terms of range. Customers need to be aware of the distance that plug-in hybrid cars can cover before choosing to purchase one. The electric range differs from one vehicle to another. However, by charging your car during the day or overnight, you can be sure of driving further compared to regular hybrid cars.

As an example, BMW 330e plug-in car’s electric range is approximately 25 miles, which is sufficient to cover most morning commutes. In the higher-speed portions of the journey, the petrol engine is available to boost the battery. Low emissions are especially valued in situations such as congested areas or traffic jams, where only electric power will be used for driving. The Toyota Prius is a perfect example to illustrate the difference between a plug-in and a regular hybrid. The all-electric range of the standard Prius hybrid is 0.6 miles, which does not sound a lot. However, this car is mainly used to make low-speed journeys where traffic is heavy. The electric motor of this car is used nearly 70 percent of the entire driving time.

Toyota introduced the Prius plug-in hybrid with the sole intention of further reducing vehicles’ dependence on the petrol engine. This plug-in hybrid’s range is 15 miles with a facility to allow charging of the battery pack. The charging process takes approximately 90 minutes. The 2017 version of the plug-in hybrid will even have an extended electric range of 31 miles.


Leave a Comment October 28, 2016

Cool Aspects about 2017’s Toyota Prius Prime

toyota_prius_iv_-_frontansicht_19-_september_2015_frankfurtThe Prius Prime by Toyota is set to enter the dealership market next month as one of the premier products within the Prius line. This car will be an upgrade of the 2012-2015 plug-in hybrids, with an all-electric capability and a battery of 8.8 kWh. The original plugin in question garnered mixed reviews since its electric range was quite short. While the vehicle was only sold in about fifteen states in the U.S., it was still able to rise as the third best seller worldwide. Toyota established its reputation when it launched the Prius in Japan 1997 and then in the United States in 2000.

One of the key merits of the new Prius Prime is its likelihood of having the highest energy efficiency available. Toyota has maximized the Prime’s electrical energy efficiency, which happens to be higher than other all-electric and plug-in hybrids in the U.S. market. It will have a rating of 133 MPGe, which is much higher than that of its predecessor at 95 MPGe. Currently, the highest rated pure electric car is the much anticipated Hyundai Ioniq. The Ioniq electric car has been projected to have 125 MPGe, just a little higher than BMW i3’s 124 MPGe.

Another aspect concerning the new Prius Prime is that its electric range is better than promised. When Toyota confirmed the production of Prime, it said that the expected electric-only range was 22 miles. However, it has been confirmed that the rating given by the EPA for the vehicle is 25 miles. The high range is accounted for by its efficient MPGe powertrain. In the plug-in hybrid sphere, Ford energies have an electric range of 19-20 miles, while Kia Optima and Hyundai Sonata have an average range of 27 miles. This clearly shows that every additional mile matters. Among the gas-electric vehicles, only the Chevrolet Volt outdoes the Prius Prime with a range of 53 miles.

It is exciting that the new Toyota Prius comes with a new design with a refined formula. The new car’s length has been increased by 6.5 inches and its width by 0.6 inches. The interior is also roomier compared to the previous Prius. The Prime’s handling will also be superior, thanks to the new architecture utilized to include two wishbone rear suspensions. Finally, the Prius Prime has a standard starting price. According to Toyota, the price falls within the normal Prius range. Plug-in car buyers can also enjoy a federal tax credit of $4,500, in addition to possible state subsidies.


Leave a Comment October 28, 2016

Toyota Prius Prime on Gas Savings

toyota_prius_hybridFirst of all, the Prius Prime has proven to achieve impressive mileage figures very easily. This new plug-in model of Prius has been projected to cover up to 25 miles using battery energy only. This exceeds two times the electric power range of the previous Prius plug-in.  In addition, the Prime will remain in electric power mode at 84 mph. These are the numbers Toyota has released.

Toyota also revealed that Prius Prime will have the highest miles-per gallon rating at 133 MPGe. This rating is given by the government in an effort to help customers to know the amount of energy consumed by an electric or hybrid car. Chevrolet Volt hybrid has been given a rating of 106 MPGe, BMW i3 electric car at 111 MPGe, while Tesla’s Model S has a rating of 99 MPGe. Whichever way you view it, the fact is that the owners of Prius Prime will visit gas stations less often. Regardless of whether you choose to plug in the car at night or not to plug in, Prius Prime’s highway range is at 53 mpg, while its city driving rate is at 55 mpg. The overall range while driving in the hybrid mode is 54 mpg.

It is quite clear that the numbers are by far exemplary, which makes Prius Prime a great alternative to other models such as Tesla’s fully electric car for people intending to be ecological. Another advantage is that the Prius Prime is cheaper with respect to its purchase price and the cost of gas. Estimates provided by Toyota show that this new plug-in car will cover 640 miles in between fill ups. This is quite impressive for a vehicle that has a gas tank with a capacity of only 11.3 gallons.

For now, the major competitor of Prius Prime will not be Tesla, but rather the Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid vehicle as well. At a starting cost of $27,100, the Prime’s price is significantly lower that Chevrolet’s $33,320. However, the Volt clearly outshines the Prime with its electric-only range of 53. The extra high-tech touches that Prius Prime has are worth noting. These include an 11-inch centrally placed screen, with a vertical orientation resembling a tablet computer. This screen is the same as that present in a Tesla. In a nutshell the Prius Prime is a car worth purchasing if you consider its reliable nameplate, impressive gas mileage and not forgetting its respectable starting price.


Leave a Comment October 21, 2016

New Hybrid and Electric Vehicles on the Way

20160317_hyundai_ioniq_2Although the prices of gas are low, car manufacturers are still introducing new hybrid and electric vehicles. The interest in fuel efficient and alternative energy cars is high. Automakers such as Volkswagen, Hyundai, Toyota, and Tesla have intensified the development of cars that pollute less and utilize less fossil fuel. Fuel efficiency is one of the topmost factors that most buyers consider. Prices are going down while at the same time practicality is increasing. Most people were shocked when Chevrolet released its Bolt electric car with a range of 238 miles for $37,495. Chrysler also plans to reveal its Pacifica minivan that has promised a range of 30 miles when driving without gasoline. Other alt-fuel, hybrid and electric cars about to enter the market are highlighted below.

Chevrolet Bolt

Experts have predicted that this new Chevy model will be in high demand and could outshine the upcoming Tesla model. It has a lithium-ion battery that is expected to deliver an EPA range rating of 238 miles. Although the Bolt is a small hatchback, its cargo and passenger space is surprisingly more than enough. The starting price after incentives is less than $30,000.

Acura NSX

This is an eco-friendly super car with a wheel drive system that is synchronized to a V6 gasoline engine. The engine is linked to three electric motors that play the role of turning different wheels. This model takes about 4.4 seconds to jump from 0 to 60 mph. Its combined highway and city driving is 21 mpg.

Kia Niro

Although the Niro looks like a sports utility car, it will only have a front-wheel drive. Its drivetrain has a 1.6 litre engine that gives 146 horsepower in total. There is also an electric motor that is connected to a dual-clutch transmission of six-speeds. The sales will start in 2017.

Hyundai Ioniq

Hyundai will introduce a group of compact hatchbacks, which is highly likely to challenge the status of Toyota Prius. The Hyundai powertrain lineup is set to feature a plug-in hybrid, fully-electric model, and a hybrid car. Official figures of the fuel economy, range and price will be released closer to the date when the dealers will receive the Ioniq. Sales of the electric and hybrid version are expected to begin later this year. The plug-in will be available for sale early next year.

Other models on the way include Chevrolet’s Equinox and Cruze, Porsche Panamera, Tesla’s Model 3, Toyota’s Prius Prime and Highlander, and 2016 Volvo S90.

Leave a Comment October 21, 2016

A Review of Hyundai Ioniq Electric Vehicle

20160317_hyundai_ioniq_1Having enjoyed the hybrid version of Ioniq, it makes sense to test-drive the electric model. The Ioniq electric version completely eliminates the gas engine. While Ioniq hybrid directly competes with Toyota Prius, the competitors of the electric version include models such as BMW i3, Kia Soul and Nissan Leaf. Buyers interested in an electric vehicle will consider all the mentioned models including the newest one in the list. Luckily, Ioniq happens to be among the best electric cars in the market. While it has its limitations, it has a high capability of outshining its main competitors.

Most buyers in the United States and even the UK market have not yet fully embraced electric vehicles. The electric range of cars such as the Ioniq is still meager, which gives drivers the feeling of driving on an almost empty fuel tank all the time. This short range works only when commuting for short distances with charging along the way. In such a case, the vehicle’s range of 174 miles should be sufficient. This range is slightly higher than that of the Nissan Leaf, which offers 155 miles. With a lithium-ion polymer battery, the Ioniq’s electric motor has the ability to generate a torque of 295 Nm, which is present in the Sport mode. The Eco and Normal modes help in reserving torque, consequently boosting the range. Other tricks that drivers can enjoy include regenerative braking, an aerodynamic body and a unique system for climate control.

The electric model of Ioniq slightly differs from the hybrid version. In the place of a grille, there is a large plastic panel that aids circulating air in a more efficient manner. The same function is also achieved by the car’s odd-looking wheels. Unluckily, Ioniq doesn’t have the same quirkiness as that of Toyota’s Prius. Instead, it has the look of a traditional petrol vehicle, though it isn’t offensive. It is more impressive on the inside with materials that have a good feel. Its cabin has copper-colored accents to give a fresh appeal. The inside is more upmarket in comparison to the Leaf. Driving it is more like the Leaf, with the electric motor providing an instant response. Off the line, the car is less aggressive compared to other electric vehicles, though it is more powerful when starting off. At minimal speeds, Ioniq electric car is just the best, with a sense of refinement and ease of driving in the city. Hence, the Ioniq appears to be better than its competitors in terms of range and a more mature feel.


Leave a Comment October 14, 2016

The 2017 Version of Prius Prime has the Best Electric Range and MPGe

imgresAccording to a report by the EPA, 2017’s Prius Prime plug-in hybrid has the highest rating in terms of fuel economy at 133 MPGe. Its electric range has also surpassed the initial estimate by approximately 25 miles, while the hybrid mode is at 54 mpg. Next year’s model rating has not yet been released by the feds. This means that the estimates presented here are from a press release that Toyota filed. The United States Energy Department stated that at a combined MPGe of 25 miles, Hyundai Ioniq offers the topmost miles per gallon, therefore Toyota’s press release means that 133 MPGe represents a combined rating.

The Prime’s MPGe will be 26% higher than its predecessor, the 2012 to 2015 version of Prius Plug-in.  This is accounted for by a two times larger battery capacity of 8.8kWh, as well as a hybrid system that is improved. In the fully electric mode, the vehicle allows drivers to achieve a mileage of 84 mph without having to turn on the gas engine. Toyota further added that in the hybrid mode, Prius Prime will outsmart its competitors with a combined range of 54 mpg. The EPA estimates are 53 for the highway and 55 for the city rating. This is in comparison to 56 mpg rating of Prius Two Eco and 52 mpg rating of Liftback hybrid. Toyota also asserts that Prius Prime is set to offer the furthest range when running on both the battery power and gasoline engine. Toyota said that the car will cover approximately 640 miles as projected by EPA.

The engineering design also plays a role in giving the Prius Prime a competitive edge. This arises from the fact that all the models of Prius are manufactured on the basis of TNGA or The New Global Architecture, which is characterized by an independent rear suspension with a double-wishbone. Toyota says it will be comparable to some of the popular sport sedans. Thanks to its unique suspension tuning, the Prius Prime will have an improved stance on curves. Test drive results further proved that the vehicle’s suspension is composed and has a better handle. Its tires are capable rather than sticky like summer rubbers. The general verdict is that Prius Prime is more comfortable and a better handler compared to its predecessor. Another improvement worth noting regarding Toyota’s new model is more luggage space. This comes from a design of a trailing-arm, which gives an estimate of 19.8 cu. ft. as well as functional rear seatbacks.

Leave a Comment October 14, 2016

Porsche’s New Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Car Revealed at Paris Motor Show

640px-porsche_panamera_hybrid_4During the recently held Paris Motor Show, Porsche unveiled its new Panamera hybrid with a high performance level. The new model also proved to have a superior drivetrain with minimal carbon dioxide emissions. According to Porsche, its hybrid lineup that is inclusive of the 919 Le Mans and 918 Spyder is clear proof that there is more meaning to the term hybrid than just environmental and economical sustainability. The term can also mean enhanced performance. Another faster hybrid version is under production, though the official details haven’t been revealed.

The new Porsche Panamera functions in the same way as the 918 whereby the electric motor kicks in once the driver pushes the accelerator. The electric motor generates a total power of 134 bhp, while the V6 engine generates 321 bhp. The previous model of the Panamera hybrid required depression of the pedal to at least eighty percent for maximum thrust to be provided by the powertrain. Contrary to the majority of hybrid cars that have continuously variable gearboxes, this new version of the Panamera hybrid has a dual-clutch (PDK) with eight-speeds. This serves as a replacement to the torque converter to give better efficiency and faster response time. The 2018 version is reported to do 0 to 60 in 4.6 seconds and reach a maximum speed of 87 mph using just electric mode.

There will be many driving modes for this new hybrid model. The Panamera hybrid will begin in the fully electric mode, though drivers can opt for the E-hold, which is beneficial in maintaining the current battery charge level. The E-Charge mode is used for recharging the batteries and the Hybrid Auto mode allows the vehicle to select a power source independently. The new Panamera hybrid can cover up to 31 miles solely on electric power. This means that electric power alone is sufficient to traverse numerous cities with no exhaust emissions released. There is the normal complement of Sport Plus and Sport driving options, which give ultimate performance instead of efficiency.

Additionally, the new hybrid car enjoys similar merits obtained from the upgrades incorporated in the standard car. It implies that there is an improved interior integrating touch-sensitive buttons, minimal divisive styling, and substantially improved comfort and refinement. Following its official reveal during the recent motor show, orders have already been received. Initial deliveries are anticipated to begin next year in April. The automaker is yet to offer official information regarding the car’s pricing. The key question is whether the hybrid Panamera as gas great and efficient as the traditional engine-powered vehicles. Consumers are yet to get a feel of the vehicle and only time will tell.

Leave a Comment October 7, 2016

It May Cost you Less to Drive a Climate-Friendly Vehicle

14_chevrolet_volt_mias_14Several people believe that low-emission cars such as electric and hybrid vehicles are more costly compared to other alternatives. However, a novel study proved that green cars are actually a better option when the costs of maintenance and operation are added to a car’s buying price. The trucks and cars usually driven account for at least 20 percent of all the greenhouse gas emissions countrywide. The worrying rates of environmental pollution prompted an energy scientist, Jessika Trancik, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to investigate the issue of vehicle emissions. The first question asked during the investigation was how cars and personal vehicles related to climate targets.

Trancik and her colleagues were interested in finding out the number and type of cars in the United States that are both climate-friendly and cost-efficient. The findings of their study were published online this week accompanied with a paper in Environmental Science and Technology journal. The results were interesting concerning the ultimate cost of green cars. Trancik said that consumers don’t have to spend a lot for green cars or lowest-emitting cars. The findings further revealed that some vehicles currently on the market, a majority of battery electric and hybrids already comply with the world emission goals that the United States has promised to meet within in the next 14 years. The cars in questions include models such as Chevy Volt, Ford’s Focus Electric, Toyota Prius, BMW i3, Tesla Model 3 and Nissan Leaf.

The study showed that a standard vehicle sold has more emissions than the 2030 target by about 50 percent. This means that there is evidently a disconnection between the type of vehicles bought and where we hope to be by 2030. For instance, falling at the other side of the chart is the Chevy Suburban, whose lifetime costs are high, while its emissions are more than the American average. There is also a wide gap with respect to the 2050 goals. This is according to Chris Gearhart, who plays the role of directing transportation research in Colorado’s Laboratory for National Renewable Energy. Chris says that his motivation is the belief that eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation industry is a key priority. He further added that Trancik’s study is interesting since it clearly illustrates the impact that individual choices have. He believes that even an average person can afford or own a Tesla. Currently, United States’ vehicles emit greenhouse gases that are sufficient to fill at least seven hundred thousand Empire State Buildings. This situation can change if people embrace green cars such as electric and hybrid vehicles.

Leave a Comment October 7, 2016

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