Filed under: Electric Cars
Have you finally decided to switch from a gasoline-powered to a plug-in hybrid or electric car? Over the past few years, green cars have seen an increase in popularity as more people are realizing their numerous benefits. Each model year, car manufacturers have been increasing their offerings of cost-friendly and fun electric and plug-in hybrid cars. While buyers are clearly interested in the new vehicles, the new fuel efficacy regulations set under the leadership of President Obama have had a major impact in the industry. The rules have given automakers a basis for stepping up the production of less consumptive cars that can compete in cost with conventional gasoline-powered vehicles.
Additionally, consumers can save almost $8,000 in tax incentives, and probably a much higher figure from their state. The availability of such incentives has substantially lowered the costs involved in purchasing a plug-in hybrid or electric car. It means that it is extremely easy to opt out of gasoline and go for an electric car. A perfect case is Ford’s revamped C-Max Energi, a popular plug-in hybrid car with a range of about 500 miles and a 19-mile range when driving in a fully electric mode. This car’s retail price doesn’t exceed $28,000.
Not to be left behind, GM’s Chevrolet is also releasing several plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles that will be sold to consumers at reasonable prices. Chevy’s Spark electric has a range exceeding eighty miles per charge and its retail price is $19,000 dollars. The enthusiasts of the Chevrolet brand interested in a ride with more torque and engine power can settle for the Volt with a gasoline driving range of approximately 380 miles and 38 miles on all-electric driving. Its price tag has been estimated to not exceed $27,000.
Meanwhile, German car manufacturers continue to showcase their creativity in the electric vehicle sphere. The fully electric BMW i3 electric vehicle shoots from 0 to 60 within seven seconds, despite its not-so-attractive look. The fully electric i3 version retails for approximately $35,000 and its range is 81 miles per charge. However, owners have the option of adding a small-sized back up engine for an extra cost of $4,000, which would transform the car to a plug-in hybrid and give it a range of 150 miles. Let’s not forget Tesla’s Model 3 that is yet to be launched next year with its impressive range of 215 miles.
Hence, plug-in hybrid and electric cars are the future cars that should be embraced widely.
May 27, 2016
Hyundai plans to make use of a hybrid technology utilized in its new Ioniq in other models in a span of four years. The i30 hatchback has been set to be launched in the year 2017 and Hyundai has claimed that this new generation car will benefit from the electrical powertrains of Ioniq. Other models within this range will also get plug-in hybrid and hybrid models as the carmaker struggles to meet the new emission regulations formulated.
The Ioniq was officially revealed during the Geneva Motor Show that was held in March. The Ioniq set a new trend by having three types of electric powertrains within a single body shell. They will include a hybrid, electric version, and a plug-in version. The new entrant will strongly compete with the Toyota Prius and the Nissan Leaf in terms of range. The Ioniq will most likely steal the sales from Nissan’s Leaf that has a range of 107 miles on a full charge, whereas the Ioniq EV has an estimated 155 mile range.
The three models of Ioniq, as well as it’s the automaker’s hydrogen powered SUV still haven’t managed to meet the average carbon dioxide emission targets set. By the year 2021, all cars will have to meet the 95g/km emission standard. This is one of the key reasons why Hyundai is planning to release new models based on its new hybrid technology.
Additionally, the novel hybrid technology by Hyundai will be offered to more mainstream car models to meet the needs of different customers. One such example is the Toyota Prius, which has a repackaged hybrid powertrain in the form of a modernized Auris Hybrid. According to an interview with Auto Express, Product Marketing Manager at Hyundai, Dennis Elsweier, emphasized the need to have an appropriate powertrain for its car line-up for 2020 to 2021. He further added that with the Ioniq, there are three different electrified powertrains while with the ix35, there is the use of fuel-cell technology. This presents a toolbox that can be used as a reference for future developments.
Beyond the target of 2021, there is a possibility of Hyundai adding a hydrogen fuel-celled technology that was utilized in IX35 to Ioniq to give a 4th powertrain. The carmaker’s future developments will depend on customer acceptance and infrastructure growth. Elsweier said that the infrastructure is vital when looking at fuel-cell technology. A similar technology is applicable to electric cars. Currently, infrastructure is a limiting factor, though we can still consider the customer perspective or the benefits to get from using fuel-cell technology on a wide scale basis. Based on the information, it is clear that Hyundai is on its way to broadening its hybrid car range.
May 27, 2016
Audi has made it clear that it plans to introduce a type of new electrified car each year, and this will start a few years from now. Rupert Stadler, the automaker’s CEO stated that beginning in the year 2018, the company will introduce a different electrified vehicle every year. He said this during an Annual General Meeting of Audi that was held at its Ingolstadt, Germany, headquarters. Aside from minimizing its average carbon output by its fleet, Audi’s plan could be in reaction to the scandal of diesel emissions that revolved around the Volkswagen Group as well as other car manufacturers.
The American president of the automaker, Scott Keogh had previously stated to Autoblog that at least one in every four models of Audi cars will be an electric one by the year 2025. This plan needs to begin with the highly anticipated pure electric car crossover whose basis should be the concept of E-Tron Quattro. This concept was shown for the first time at the 2015’s Frankfurt Motor Show. According to Audi’s expectations, the crossover’s range would be approximately 310 miles, which is a substantially high range in comparison to other models by the automaker.
With the information currently available, it is not yet clear what market niche or classes are to be targeted by the planned electric vehicles. Also, there is no official information on whether the said cars will be pure electric, hybrids, extended-range electric or plug-in hybrid cars. There is a high possibility that these new electric cars will be a blend of the mentioned types. They will most likely differ in terms of class and price to suit the variable market or consumers. This means that there will be something for everyone, both middle and high-price customers.
On a similar note, the major competitor of Audi, BMW, is employing the same strategy. Just like Audi, this automaker has announced its plan to introduce at least one electric car each year beginning in the year 2018. The anticipated iNext electric car is expected to be officially launched in 2021, with a promise of having a semi-autonomous driving mode. BMW has also made predictions that by 2025, it will have a fleet of fully autonomous cars.
Additionally, Audi made an announcement stating that its next A8 flagship is expected to officially debut this coming year. The A8 is expected to have the provision of autonomous driving at high speeds of up to thirty-seven miles per hour. All we can do now is to wait and see whether these two automakers will keep their promises.
May 20, 2016
Automakers have continually increased their offerings with each new release of models. The offerings in question is with respect to price whereby the automakers are producing affordable and fun plug-in hybrids, as well as electric cars. While consumers are obviously interested in these new vehicles, this year has seen legislation of stringent fuel-efficiency standards for cars. For this reason, automakers have been forced to step up in the manufacture of vehicles that consume less fuel and still compete with their diesel and gasoline counterparts. Additionally, purchasers of new green cars can receive up to $7,500 in incentives for federal tax. The incentives are given for the sole purpose of lowering the costs of buying plug-in hybrids and electric cars. This means that a consumer will find it cheaper or easier to give up gasoline.
The new sporty, fully electric model by Tesla, the Model 3, can cover up to 215 miles on a single charge with consumers having to pay a maximum of $30,000 after rebates of federal tax. This new model is expected to exit its California-based production lines in the year 2017. Consumers should be glad since the release of this new car is just around the corner.
Another case example is the redesigned C-Max Energi by Ford, which is a plug-in car that gives drivers a maximum range of 500 miles. This is in addition to an all-electric driving range of 19 miles and a cost of less than $28,000, inclusive of federal tax rebates. General Motors has not been left behind as its Chevrolet brand plans to come up with numerous affordable plug-in hybrid and electric cars. There is the Spark electric car that will have a range of up to 80 miles on a single charge. For this car, consumers will part with less than $19,000. Chevrolet fans searching for a torquier ride and beefier engine can choose the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid car that has a range of 380 miles and electric range of 38 miles. This car will retail for less than $27,000.
While the mentioned options are great for those who need to purchase a car immediately, the people willing to hold on till next year should wait for the Tesla Model 3. This all-electric sedan will have a range of 215 miles and a retail price of $35,000. This means that a consumer will pay approximately $27,500, factoring in the tax rebates. Tesla hopes the Model 3 will be the “It” electric car considering its sporty and stylish appearance.
May 20, 2016
Tesla introduced its Powerwall product for energy storage, Tesla Energy, which has already started working on the first phase of United States’ home installations. This unit of 6.4 kilowatt hours functions in storing electricity derived from a solar system, as well as providing backup in cases of power outages. It comprises of a lithium-ion battery, stands at 4-feet tall and weighs about 214 pounds, with a single unit retailing for approximately $3,000. Tesla started the installation process focusing only on specific pilot customers then gradually advanced to regular home installations. It also ramped up its production volume as the general reception increased. North America was one of the initial markets to get the Powerwalls alongside Germany and Australia.
The Powerwalls and Powerpacks that Tesla applies in utilities and businesses are manufactured at the Gigafactory used for battery production. This factory is located close to Reno, Nevada. These two products are a part of the energy production unit of Tesla. In this year’s first quarter, Powerwalls exceeding 2,500 were delivered by Tesla Energy. About 100 Powerpacks were produced in Asia, North America, Africa, and Europe, according to a letter that Tesla addressed to its shareholders. The Chief Technology Officer, JB Straubel said that things are beginning to ramp up during an interview conducted at the Gigafactory. He further added that the installations are gradually spreading to different regions across the globe.
It is essential for Powerwalls to be hooked up and installed by trained and qualified technicians. This is to ensure that all the regulations set by the municipal councils are met. It is possible for the costs to quickly add up, which has led to fueling of a certain degree of skepticism regarding the viability of clients that buy these Powerwalls. A trend that has played a huge role in enhancing Powerwalls’ economic appeal is the fact that some states are starting to phase out net metering. This act of phasing out increases the attractiveness of energy storage. On the other hand, the appeal in many other states has gone down because of net-metering policies. Such policies allow solar customers from the residential areas to market the extra solar energy back to the utilities.
According to Bloomberg New Energy analyst, Yayoi Sekine, the picture is gradually changing across numerous markets. Changes are slowly being made to net-metering regulations, as well as implementation of the time-of-use rates. Such changes will result in improvement of energy storage systems among residents not only now, but also in the future.
May 13, 2016
Bentley, a British luxury automaker is planning to add electric cars in its future lineup. The company is set to launch a plug-in hybrid car model of the Bentayga later this year or early next year. This automaker is seriously considering producing a package of a fully electric drivetrain. The driving force includes mileage standards as well as compliance with stringent global emissions. There is also the pressure to include a novel zero-emission models in its fleet.
There has been stiff competition in the market of luxury sports car as more and more carmakers are opting to go green. A recent addition is Aston Martin, which has plans to produce a battery-powered model of the Rapide. This is a clear demonstration of the growing level of competitiveness in the luxury electric vehicle market.
The electric car anticipated to be launched by Bentley is the EXP10 Speed Six production version, whose concept was displayed at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. The car’s design was an invention of Luc Donckerwolke, the styling chief. It is smaller in size compared to Bentley’s Continental FT. Its production will also be higher in level compared to other Bentley models. This means that the audience reached will be larger than the current market served by Bentley.
CEO Wolfgang Durheimer made it clear that he is interested in producing a second sports utility car as an addition to the current line-up, after the Bentayga. In the case whereby a second, smaller SUV gets to be produced after corporate approval, it is likely to have a downsized building base. It will also be grounded on the modular architecture that was designed for Bentayga. A similar platform will be applicable also for the Porsche Cayenne’s next-generation. This will be along with an alternative to the Audi Q7 from Volkswagen family’s sister companies.
As mentioned above, the current emission standard is the key driving force, as well as subsidies and regulations in the markets. Bentley’s CEO in the United States sales arm, Michael Winkler, the standards are high across all global markets. Some places such as London are thinking of coming up with regulations that may not allow people to enter the city in a vehicle that is not electrified. In China, hefty incentives are given to electric cars. In major cities such as Bangkok and Shanghai, electric cars are not required to comply with restrictions regarding the vehicle numbers allowed to be registered. This clearly shows that electric cars are the trend that all automakers should adopt.
May 13, 2016
Volkswagen’s boss gave a detailed sketch on how the automaker plans to transform and focus more on the production of electric cars. It also plans to shift its focus to provision of services such as vehicle-sharing as it aims at getting past the recent scandal on emission tests cheating. Matthias Mueller said during a recent annual conference that the company’s primary task will be to recall and fix all vehicles that were implicated in the cheating scandal. It will ensure that this is done until all the vehicles are back in order. He further emphasized that the car business of Volkswagen is still fundamentally sound and gave a detailed plan that emphasizes on creation of zero-emission cars and provision of digital services.
The company’s plan also includes the formation of a legally autonomous firm that will play the role of promoting the business in terms of its mobility services. This will be inclusive of things such as car-sharing and ride-sharing applications. Mueller also said that this automaker will have electric vehicles as one of its novel hallmarks with a target of producing twenty new models by the year 2020. In the past, Volkswagen focused on promoting diesel technology that has since suffered a major blow. This blow came about when it became evident that the engines of Volkswagen car models could not meet the standards governing the U.S. emissions without cheating.
The company admitted to the use of an engine application that made the emissions control inactive when the cars were not under test. Although the disabling of these controls led to improved mileage and performance, it implied that the cars spewed much more than the legally acceptable levels of pollutants. Mr. Mueller once again gave his heartfelt apology for the scandal during a yearly news conference that was recently held in Germany. He acknowledged the fact that they had betrayed the trust that many people had in Volkswagen.
The company incurred a net loss in the year 2015 after setting aside a sum of money for the scandal costs. According to analysts, there will be significantly higher final costs. Part of the funds reserved for the scandal will be used for fixing or purchasing back diesels that had rigged software. Currently, the company is trying to work out an agreement with the United States authorities at a San Francisco-based federal court. If a settlement is reached, up to half a million out of about 600,000 defective cars will be bought back by Volkswagen.
May 6, 2016
Hundred thousands of potential buyers have already signed up to pre-order Tesla’s Model 3, a highly anticipated electric car. This car’s tag price has been estimated to be $35,000 and intends to deliver at least 200 miles per single charge. However, before rushing out to buy an electric car or reserve your Tesla Model 3, there are some considerations that you should weigh carefully.
Firstly, you need to decide whether you want a hybrid or an electric car. Sometimes, these terms have been used interchangeably, overlooking the fact they are completely different with different powertrains. Typically, electric cars solely use electric motors for powering the wheels without the need for a petrol engine. Hybrid cars and plug-in hybrids use a combination of both electric motor and engine to give power. Electric cars are also referred to as all-electric or battery electric cars. A major limitation of owning an electric car is the difficulty in finding a charging spot on the road. Plug-ins and hybrids are an excellent way of lessening carbon dioxide emission without worrying about charge exhaustion because these cars have gas engines as backups if the battery is exhausted.
You also need to have clear information concerning the battery of an electric car. The energy used to run an electric car is usually contained in batteries, which require regular charging. These batteries have the tendency of substantially adding to the overall weight and cost of the car. The term battery size when referred to with electric cars means the power of the battery and not its physical measurements. This battery power is expressed in kilowatt-hours (kWh) and has a significant impact on the range. A car that has a high kWh can go a long distance.
With respect to battery type, most hybrid and electric cars currently sold in the market utilize lithium ion batteries. This form of battery is popular for providing an appropriate weight-energy balance. Battery warranty is also a vital aspect to consider and this is usually presented in the form of a powertrain warranty, inclusive of a rechargeable battery. With the cost of replacement batteries increasing to about $6,000, it is necessary for a potential buyer to have knowledge of the battery warranty length.
Finally, it is important for you to know how you are planning to charge your electric car both at home and at your workplace. Note that there are pre-installed battery chargers in an electric car. You should find out the electric service capabilities currently installed at your workplace or for your home before making the commitment to an all-electric car.
May 6, 2016
The 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.
April 15, 2016
There 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.
April 15, 2016