Filed under: Electric Cars

Overview of Plug-in Hybrids: Toyota’s Plug-in Prius and Chevy Volt

640px-2012_Toyota_Prius_plug-in_hyrid_--_07-14-2012Depending on one’s driving habits, plug-in hybrids may be the best alternative to an all-electric and gasoline-fueled vehicle. Some of the benefits to enjoy by owning a plug-in hybrid car include low emissions and economical advantage. For instance, when driving a plug-in hybrid in California, a driver doesn’t have to worry about getting stranded because of lacking a place for recharging their car. All that a driver is obliged to do is finding a nearby gas station to quickly refuel the car and continue with the journey. Just like fully-electric cars, the major limitation of plug-in hybrid cars is the current battery technology state. It is also necessary to keep in mind that recharging an electric car’s battery takes much longer than refueling using gasoline. Storing enough charge that would allow long-distance driving would require a large and heavy battery. This is clearly evident in Tesla’s Model S, which has a battery pack occupying a large part of the car’s chassis. Having such a large battery pack allows Model S to have a driving range of more than 200 miles.

If gas refueling capability were to be added to Tesla, then it would necessitate fitting of an engine for internal combustion, gas tanks and several other parts related to the engine. This would in turn add significantly to the vehicle’s weight and complexity. Nevertheless, more and more automakers are introducing plug-in hybrid cars to the market and it is clear that such cars are becoming better as time goes by. One of the most popular plug-in cars is the Toyota’s plug-in Prius, whose price is slightly higher than that of the standard Prius. The Prius plug-in uses both the electric and gasoline mode. On a full charge, the car’s all-electric mode can go for nine miles prior to reverting back to the gasoline mode. Regenerative braking is a positive attribute of plug-ins, which enables the car to replenish its battery under specific conditions consequently extending its all-electric mode range.

In comparison to the Toyota Prius plug-in, the Chevrolet Volt that is also a plug-in can go for a further distance. Although choosing the Chevy Volt to Toyota Prius would be an obvious decision, there are other things that need to be considered. In the gasoline operation mode, the Prius’ range is about 50 mpg, while that of the Chevy Volt is less by 10 mpg. Also, premium gasoline is utilized in the 1st generation Volt while the Toyota Prius plug in uses regular gasoline.


Leave a Comment November 27, 2015

A Low-Emission Strategy Launched By Audi for Its A3 E-Tron

512px-Audi_e-tronAccording to Audi, their entire fleet will be electrified by around the year 2025. Additionally, the e-tron designation of Audi will have four novel electrified versions that are yet to be launched. Out of the four models, two are battery electric cars and the other two are plug-in hybrid cars. Audi further added that by 2025, the rest of its hybrid models will be available in 48-volt hybrid version. The electrification process by Audi is systematically being driven forward, as it was announced early this week. The inroads are set to be transformed into broad front model range by the novel mild hybrid versions in question. The main aim of Audi is to release all new hybrid versions with the technology in question within the next ten years. The e-tron fleet will be the exception.

The A3 Sportback is one of the leading versions of e-tron. The car is also the one of the first plug-in hybrid cars by Audi. Virtually all of the nearly 280 dealers of Audi are set to make deliveries of the company’s 2016 plug-in hybrids. Each of the dealers also plans to set up four charging points, which was part of the contract made for e-tron line sale. According to America’s Audi president, Scott Keogh, a fundamental model that would push the company into selling electrified vehicles is e-tron’s A3 Sportback. Through the model, dealers are given a chance to offer training services to sale representatives on the means or ways to sell a car such as a battery electric or a plug-in hybrid electric car while at the same time giving an opportunity to the service department to come up with specialists of electrified powertrains.

Keogh said that transitioning from the e-tron to numerous other cars with more volume necessitates perfect and seamless operations. Getting the infrastructure right is also a fundamental aspect to take into consideration. Currently, plug-in sales have been projected to be approximately five thousand on an annual basis. This figure was released by Keogh early this week. The automaker has also made it clear that in the next ten years, a quarter of its car sales are likely to comprise of battery electric and the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. There are other additional electric models including Q 7 e-tron, which is a plug-in comprising of a diesel engine. This e-tron model is set to be produced mid next year. An e-tron Quattro that is fully electric is also set to be released in 2018.


Leave a Comment November 27, 2015

A Record High in Plug-in Hybrid Cars Sale in September

2013_Nissan_Leaf_in_front_of_the_Royal_Palace_in_OsloThe cheap gas prices and declining sale of popular electric cars did not deter consumers from purchasing more than 46,000 plug-in electric cars in September. The record made was an all-time high with the United States cumulatively leading as the highest consumer in September. Through August, the U.S. alone sold over 363,000 units out of slightly more than a million plug-in electric vehicles. However during the 2015 calendar year, Europe and China surpassed the United States in terms of sales. Basically, despite the fact that there is still a small market for plug-in cars, the record set in September clearly indicated that there is global progress. In 2011 when the manufacturing phase of plug-in electric cars began in earnest, around 45,000 units were sold worldwide. In 2012, about 53,394 units were sold in the United States alone. The worldwide number of PEVs sold in September is also more than that recorded in September 2014.

The numbers have further been propped by China, which has purchased at least 250,000 units between 2011 and September 2015. This year alone, China has purchased more than fifty percent of the mentioned total, which translates to vehicles exceeding 136,000, inclusive of heavy-duty commercial vehicles. While there have been elusive sales figures in China, it has been approximated that around 93,000 units of passenger plug-in electrics have been purchased through September. On the other side, 81,675 passenger plug-in electrics were purchased in the United States through September. In September alone, 9,742 vehicles were bought in the United States. Therefore, on the assumption that about 10,000 units will be purchased monthly, it might purchases around 110,000 units by the end of the year. Though the mentioned figure could actually be higher or lower, as only time will tell.

Perhaps the reason why plug-in electric cars attract a higher demographic of people is that drivers may drive without necessarily using gas. Therefore, considering such a case, the prices of gas would be a minor factor since it doesn’t matter for some plug-in electric car drivers. Plug-in supporters need to rejoice since there has been a tightening of emission regulations across the world. For this reason, electrification has been viewed as the best options. Additionally, choices are getting better and becoming more widespread. The market is currently getting stronger with more than a million plug-in electric cars being driven worldwide. It has been almost five years since the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt were launched and consumers are gradually catching on and embracing these green cars.




Leave a Comment November 20, 2015

Electric Car Ownership by an Average American

BMW_i3_(14558229206)When considering the best electric vehicle for an average American, it is essential to keep in mind that each American household would own an average of just above two vehicles. This implies that even households that have one electric car will most likely have a second vehicle to use for long-distance journeys or trips. However, an electric car such as BMW i8, Kia Soul, Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen e-Gold can be used regularly for short-distance drives. The question that arises is whether a single electric car would actually be enough for an average American using it on a daily basis. Keeping in mind that virtually all the trips made are below fifty miles and about 70 miles can be driven almost every day, it can be concluded that a range of more than 70 miles is more than adequate for the daily needs of an American consumer.

With respect to the cost, a new car in United States costs approximately $31,000. However, many people do not prefer to purchase new cars. Either way, a new Chevrolet Spark electric vehicle, Volkswagen e-Golf, and Mitsubishi’s I-MiEV have a price tag that is less than that of a standard new electric car. The second-hand version of the mentioned models is even cheaper and a better alternative for an average American. Focusing on used cars, all electric cars except Tesla have depreciated more compared to their gasoline counterparts. An average American currently has the surety of getting a better deal on used or second-hand electric cars.

Regarding what the best vehicle options are for an average American, preferences have a role to play. The purchasing decision also depends on aesthetics and issues like design and interior space. However, some aspects such as the onboard charger’s size and fast-charging capability are also quite essential with respect to electric cars. Only a few electric cars have fast-charging features while some of them are associated with an onboard charger of only 3.3 kW. Some of the electric vehicles that lack the capability for fast-charging include the Mercedes’ B-Class, Ford Focus, and Fiat 500e. Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV and Chevrolet’s Spark electric vehicle are the electric cars that have a fast-charging capability. Hence, these leaves out popular cars like Kia Soul, BMW i3, Volkswagen e-Gold and the Nissan Leaf. Based on price and mileage, the BMW i3 would be the best option for an average American. The Nissan Leaf and Kia Soul EV are best options for those in need of more seating and space.


Leave a Comment November 20, 2015

General Motors Gives Details Concerning its Yet-to-be Released Pure Electric Car

Chevrolet_Bolt_Concept_(front)_NAIAS_2015General Motors automobile company has recently geared more effort towards the production of electric cars. Early this week GM announced its intention to form a close partnership with LG in producing electric motors, batteries, as well as additional components for the upcoming Chevrolet Bolt electric car. The Chevy Bolt will have the capacity to cover a mileage exceeding 200 miles using single charge. The production phase is deemed to begin later next year. Currently, the automaker has the Spark electric vehicle has its pure-electric vehicle. On a single charge, the Spark can only cover approximately 80 miles. The Bolt electric car was first unveiled by GM as a concept vehicle in January. The automaker officially confirmed its intention to produce the vehicle in February at the Michigan Orion plant.

The projected price of the Bolt electric vehicle is around $30,000. This means that its direct competitor will be the expected Model 3 by Tesla. Model 3 will be among one of Tesla’s first cars to be available to the mass market. According to a statement made by Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, the price tag for Model 3 is expected to range from $35,000 and the production will begin in the next two years. The range of Model 3 is expected to be the same as that of Tesla’s Model S that can cover approximately 250 miles. Musk further added that for Tesla to begin the production of its electric vehicle, the Gigafactory, a Nevada-based battery factory has to begin its production first, probably in 2017.

GM may outdo Tesla considering the fact that the Chevy Bolt electric car is set to enter the production phase mid next year. While Tesla would earn points for steering the revolution or changes that have been seen in plug-in electric cars, the technology actually emerged in 1990s with General Motors being the major pioneer. However, GM stepped aside from the electric vehicle business due to low profitability. GM hopes to return into the electric car market with the release of its novel Bolt electric vehicle. According to information obtained from the General Motors website, the Chevy Bolt has a number of semi-autonomous features such as a technology that allows for automatic parking and retrieval. This feature will make it possible for car owners to get out of the vehicle and get the car and control the car’s parking using an application. It has also been confirmed that 80% of Bolt’s battery can be charged within 45 minutes.


Leave a Comment November 6, 2015

Ways to Cut Costs when Driving an Electric or Hybrid Car

Ford_C_Max_Energi_PHEV_with_badging_WAS_2011_897The good news for those considering switching to a hybrid or electric car from the traditional gasoline cars is that money can be saved in the long run. Although initial purchasing price would definitely be higher than that of a gasoline model, there are ways that can help in cutting the costs. One of the suggested ways is purchasing a second-hand or used hybrid/electric car. Regardless of whether one intends to purchase a used or new car, it is fundamental to consider the best available deals. Buying a used car means that the owner does not have to sacrifice the car features and some reasonable amount of money can also be saved. From a monetary perspective, buying a used car is a sensible thing to do.

It is also advisable for people to conduct thorough research prior to buying a hybrid or electric car. Thousands of dollars can be saved on a car purchase by doing an extensive research and selecting the most appropriate model. Buyers can easily make comparisons between the hybrid car costs versus the cost of a non-hybrid car of a similar manufacturer. In this way, a buyer can know whether purchasing a used or new hybrid car would save money. Taking advantage of the incentives available is also necessary when one has the intention of cutting the costs of hybrid car ownership. There are special incentives that are often given to purchasers of new electric and hybrid cars, and this results in savings. Hybrid car owners can get incentives that can add up to $7,500 in federal incentives and $2,500 in state incentives.

It is also recommended to keep track of the prices of gas. Electric and hybrid car owners should be aware that cheaper prices of gas mean cheaper prices for electric and hybrid cars. The primary advantage of owning an electric or hybrid car is saving on gas. A further drop in the prices of gas translates to a continual fall in electric and hybrid car prices. Therefore, gas prices should be utilized as a tool for bargaining when buying a used or new hybrid or electric car. Owners of plug-in hybrid car are advised to maintain the battery at a full-charge state so that maximum electricity can be used. Finally, those planning to keep an electric or hybrid car for a long time are advised to consider leasing it instead of buying it. Just like conventional gasoline models, the value of electric and hybrid cars has been known to depreciate quickly.


Leave a Comment November 6, 2015

Increased Adoption and Overview of Electric and Hybrid Cars

PB141796Recently, the number of legislative policies aimed at curbing detrimental emissions has increased. This is to make sure that there is cleaner air and less environmental damage in future caused by vehicle emissions. Similarly, huge efforts have been directed towards minimizing the dependence on declining oil reserves. These dynamics are a clear indication of a move from automobiles utilizing combustion engines towards utilization of electric and hybrid cars.

Validity of Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Although automobile manufacturers have often doubted the validity of electric and hybrid cars, such cars are now gaining major acceptance worldwide. According to prediction firm Freedonia, an industry analyst, the sales of electric and hybrid vehicles worldwide will double by 2018. Japan is currently the leader with 20% of its yearly car sales being accounted for by electric and hybrid cars. Other top-sellers include North America and Europe. There are different types of hybrid and electric vehicles currently in the market. These include full hybrids, mild hybrids, micro hybrids, electric vehicles, and plug-in hybrids. The wide range available is a clear indication of the importance and huge popularity that hybrids and electric cars have garnered.

Improvements to Vehicle Efficiency

Some of the ways that have been used to address the issue of carbon emissions include the betterment of thermal management and air management systems in combustion engines. This has led to downsizing of engines to a certain degree. The next fundamental step aimed at minimizing carbon dioxide emissions involves increasing the usage of hybridization and electrification. This not only minimizes the engine load, but it also optimizes the efficiency of the combustion engine.

To improve energy efficiency, automobile manufacturers are searching for means through which the engine can be downsized even further to minimize carbon emissions. For a long time, turbos have been fundamental in optimizing the efficiency level of traditional combustion engines. Turbos make use of exhaust gas compressed at high temperatures, which drives a cold side circuit followed by air intake compression for the second combustion cycle. Full hybrids utilize electric motors of 70 and 40kW. The electric motor and the combustion engine work in tandem.

Some well-known full hybrid cars have the capacity of minimizing carbon emissions by as high as 35% in comparison to combustion engine cars. Electric motors need to operate the entire time the car’s engine is operational. This necessitates the use of large-sized, heavy, and costly battery packs to give the voltage needed to run electric motors. For mild hybrids, the electric motor alone cannot propel the vehicle, but serves to provide extra support.



Leave a Comment October 30, 2015

First Drive Review of 2016’s Chevrolet Volt

2016_Chevrolet_Volt_NAIAS_2015The 2016 Chevrolet Volt is General Motors’ new version that has been trending recently. This car has the capacity of running 53 miles using battery power only, prior to the gasoline engine taking over. The gasoline engine has the ability to go for 420 miles in total. This new Chevy volt is clearly an eco-friendly car that is a lot of fun to drive. Perhaps competitors such as the Toyota Prius have been out-selling the Volt because only a few people truly understand what Chevy Volt can offer them, as well as its true value.

Piece of Art Powertrain

Volt’s powertrain is its primary distinguishing feature and some experts have often referred to it as a piece of art. By definition, the Volt has often been known to be a plug-in hybrid electric car (PHEV). However, Chevrolet has given a distinction to its Volt by terming it as an electric car with an extended range. Contrary to blended PHEVs, the Chevy Volt has the capacity of maintaining the e-zone until the battery charge depletes. Another unique aspect about the Chevy Volt is that it has an electric range of 53 miles, which is more than two times the next closest, 19 miles covered by Ford’s Energi.

Chevy Volt’s 53 miles is the combined range. According to EPA ratings, the car is capable of going for a city range of 57 miles and a highway range of 49 miles all-electric. The car’s efficiency is also high at 52 mpg for the highway, 43 mpg for the city and a combined efficiency of 42 mpg. The 2016’s Chevy Volt is definitely one of the leading cars currently, with the exception of the Cadillac ELR that is Volt-powered. The drive unit was redesigned for 2016’s Chevy Volt. This new car is lighter by 100 pounds and its earth magnets are now smaller by 40%.

Volt’s Inspiration

Some of the design inspirations for the new Chevy Volt are windblown sand and endurance athletes. While the car has maintained some generation one cues, it is evidently swoopy. Although the new Volt has the appearance of a sedan, it is actually a hatchback. The interior was given another facelift with the removal of feedback controls that were replaced with classy, functional buttons and knobs. There is also an 8-inch touchscreen with great resolution, among other functionalities and applications. Finally, Chevy Volt is a hybrid car is that highly effective in terms of saving gas. SAE presented findings of a study, which showed that it outdid other plug-in cars in the market.



Leave a Comment October 23, 2015

Tesla’s Model S is One of the Top-Selling Plug-ins in America

14_Tesla_Model_SIt will be fundamental for Tesla to try hard to attain its annual sale goals, as the automaker’s Model S tops the sales list in the Unites States market. Virtually all best-selling plug-in vehicles except the BMW i3 saw a decline in sales in comparison to the previous year. Tesla’s Model S has been able to up its market by 48.6%. In the United States alone, a total of 17,700 units have been sold since last September. These sales are in comparison to those of Chevy Volt at 9,264 units and Nissan Leaf at 13,630. Tesla’s sales are higher than those of Nissan by 29.9% and 91.9 % higher than those of Chevrolet.

Model S Selling Well Despite Big Price Tag

Model S by Tesla is a luxury performance vehicle whose starting price is $76,000, a price that is two to four times higher than that of standard cars. It would seem that upscale consumers are more attracted to the car compared to down market consumers. While both Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf were launched in late 2010, the launching of Model S took place in June 2012. To maintain this excitement, Tesla introduced novel all-wheel drive models in 2014, as well as this year. Contrary to this, the 2015 products of the primary automakers appear stale. The sales of Chevy Volt have been going down as customers wait the launch of an advanced generation 2016. Leaf sales have also declined as people wait for the launch of a slightly redesigned 2016 model. The sales of BMW i3 have not been affected by the cheap gasoline. In fact, they have been up by 154.3 %, making it the highest increase.

Tesla S Selling Well Globally

Globally, Tesla delivered about 33,151 units through the third quarter. The sales have increased significantly, though the automaker’s goals were 66% higher than those set last year. The company projected to sell a minimum of 50,000 units through the third quarter, which it delivered. For the remaining part of the year, Tesla will need a huge stretch. A total of 16,849 sales are needed in the fourth quarter for the automaker to meets its end-year goal. These sales will be 45.6 % more than those attained in the third quarter. If the company’s sales for the fourth quarter will be comparable to those of the third quarter, approximately 45,000 units will have been sold by the end of the year. These sales will still be higher than those of the previous year. They will also be higher than those of any other plug-in electric vehicles.



Leave a Comment October 23, 2015

Comparing Hybrid Cars and Plug in Hybrid Cars


2015_Fusion_Energi_cornerEvery buyer in the market looking to purchase a car is often faced with the dilemma of which car best suits their needs. It is common knowledge that every car has its own advantages and disadvantages. Picking the best vehicle for your needs will definitely mean that you make compromises. You will most likely pick the vehicle that offers the least compromise. For those who would like to make a pick between hybrid cars and the plug-in hybrid cars, here is the ultimate guide for the pros and cons of both.

The Price

Considering the price factor, this seems to weigh in favor of hybrid cars. A good example here would be the Toyota Prius Liftback versus a plug-in hybrid car. The price for the Toyota Prius hybrid car is about $25,000, while the price for the plug-in hybrid alternative is about $32,000. The same goes for the other car models in the market such as the Ford Fusion and the Honda Accord.

Most of the vehicle manufacturers in the market today tend to nicely pack their options together and offer them as a package. This is because most of the things users demand from these vehicle tend to be sticky. This tends to raise prices.

The plug-in hybrids attract a wider range of federal tax credits and a number of state incentives. The benefits for the hybrid vehicle alternatives cannot compare to these.

It is also interesting to note that plug-in hybrid credits are usually dependent on the kilowatt-hours of the battery. The higher the kilowatt hour, the higher the incentives. By logic, it means that the plug-in hybrid players are likely to be getting more incentives compared to their counterparts.

There is now an option for leasing these vehicles that short term users can take advantage of. This option is usually very popular with plug-in hybrid cars. This minimizes the risk on the part of the consumer because you do not have to worry about hidden costs such as depreciation, upkeep, and battery replacements.

Choices Available

With regards to the choices available to the user, there are more hybrid cars in the market compared to the plug-in cars. Car dealers are more familiar with the features of hybrid cars compared to the plug-ins. It is also easier to get repair and maintenance services for hybrid cars.


Leave a Comment October 16, 2015

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