Filed under: Electric Cars

Chevrolet Bolt: An Electric Vehicle for Anyone

Chevrolet_Bolt_WAS_2017_1538General Motors has touted the Chevy Bolt as an electric car for everyone. This car is not only for the tech savvy or early adopters. It is not only recommended for the residents of California, where there is a higher level of acceptance for electric cars. The aim of General Motors is to make people think that the Chevy Bolt is a mainstream vehicle that happens to be an electric car. Considering its range and price, this car is clearly for any person who can drive. This information was provided by Chevrolet’s marketing and advertising manager, Kathy Belsic. Ms. Belsic further added that this vehicle is not only a great electric vehicle, but it is simply a great vehicle.

GM went on the record as being the first carmaker to produce a reasonably priced battery-powered vehicle with a range exceeding 200 miles per charge. The Chevy Bolt electric car gives an electric range of 238 miles and sells for less than $30,000 inclusive of federal sales tax. This tax is around $7,500, with a possibility of state incentives like $2,500 dollars in California. In December, the first 579 cars were delivered to Oregon and California. The Chevy Bolt is manufactured at the General Motors’ Assembly plant located in Orion Township, in Michigan. However, the residents of Michigan many be in the last lot of getting the vehicle. The customers from Michigan can place their orders starting from July when General Motors plans to open national ordering for its small crossover. Kathy Belsic noted that the Chevy Bolt that will be ordered in July will be delivered to customers in late August or September.

Bolt deliveries have been added by this Detroit automaker in Massachusetts, Maryland, as well as Virginia. The crossover is anticipated to get to dealerships in New Jersey and New York in March. Dealers from other states may continue to get the car in September. Chevy Bolt will also be sold in Canada, Mexico and South Korea. The automaker said that its first deliveries were focused on the electric cars’ key markets, while at the same time taking dealer-readiness into consideration. The car will be offered by approximately 40% of 3,100 Chevrolet dealers nationally. Kathy Balsic noted that an average American would drive around forty miles per day. This means that the Bolt electric car would give numerous driving days before it needs to be recharged. It is clear that electric vehicles are now gaining popularity, with more people realizing their numerous benefits.

 

Leave a Comment February 16, 2017

A Glance at the Nissan Note E-Power Hybrid Car

Image via autoevolution

Image via autoevolution

This year marks 20 years since the first hybrid car entered the US market with the Toyota Prius. It is thus, an appropriate time to get a rethink of the original technology that would move us in a cleaner direction. The e-Power version of the Nissan Note fits the bill. This car is neither a pure electric nor a hybrid car. It is in between the two types of vehicles. It is not a kind of hybrid car that has ever been produced in the past. The industry refers to the e-Power as a series hybrid, implying that it can be used for all purposes and intents. The car falls into the electric category because it operates via an electric motor. This motor is responsible for driving the front wheels.

The car also has a three-cylinder, gasoline engine with a capacity of 1.2 liters that serves the role of generating battery charge. The engine does not play any part in driving the wheels, a concept that is entirely new. A comparison between the e-Power and the Nissan Leaf electric car will reveal the uniqueness of this powertrain. The electric motor or e-Power has 40kW, whose potency is half that of Leaf’s. The battery pack of e-Power is a twentieth the Leaf’s size, in a vehicle tipping the scales at 1220 kgs, 109 hp and a torque of 254 Nm are produced. According to Nissan, the vehicle is capable of achieving 80 mpg. Contrary to comparable cars such as BMW i3, Nissan e-Power lacks a plug-in facility.

The model has been tested on the roads surrounding Nissan’s world headquarters and the results are exemplary. Once the starter button is pressed, no sound is produced, just like a typical electric car. Similar to the Leaf, Nissan e-Power provides smooth and instant acceleration. With the engine, motor, and inverter located at the lower side of the chassis, the e-Power experiences minimal body roll, especially in the corners. It has great stability even at highway speeds. Just like the Nissan Leaf, the e-Power’s steering is precise and well-weighted, with a minimal understeer. The working of regenerative brakes is effortless as they play the role of charging the batteries when decelerating. The brake pedal is progressively firm and rigid. Another feature concerning the e-Power is that it is capable of being driven using a single pedal. In D or normal modes, the regenerative brakes of e-Power run almost similarly to a normal gasoline vehicle’s brake feel. According to a commentator, ten years from now, every new vehicle will somehow be electrified.

Leave a Comment February 11, 2017

Making a Shift to Electric Cars

Nissan_Leaf_(MSP15)The majority of automakers are developing or selling hybrid and electric car models. Even Ferrari’s supercar makers have a plan of fitting a hybrid power train on every new vehicle by the year 2019. The goal is to have approximately half a million electric vehicles on the roads before the end of this year. Currently, the best-selling electric vehicle in the world is the Nissan Leaf. Last year, at least 180,000 units of the model were sold. The Leaf is a fully electric car without a hybrid gas engine and range-extender. There are several variations of the model with the costs ranging from $26,000 to $33,000, before receiving a governmental rebate.

Several prospective customers considering a move to the electric vehicle market usually have worries of the battery not carrying them far enough. However, this should not be an issue. Most of the current electric car owners have reported not suffering from range anxiety since they started using their vehicles. One of the questions that most people ask themselves is why they should move to electric vehicles. An excellent response is that electric cars are undoubtedly the vehicles of the future. Fully electric cars offer a green solution to driving around town as they have no greenhouse emissions. Operating an electric car is not only cheaper, but also quieter in comparison to other vehicles on the road. Most drivers find driving an electric vehicle to be easier in comparison to other options. There is instant power regardless of whether one is from a standstill or in motion.

A great option to consider when shifting to electric cars is the Nissan Leaf. This model is not only affordable, but it has great technology. An especially useful feature is a smart phone application connected to the vehicle to give stats, efficiency, as well as driving information. This application is a perfect example of the Leaf’s advanced technology. The model also had a wide range of optional extras to take advantage of. For instance, there is a feature for preheating the vehicle during cold periods. Hence, while other drivers are busy getting rid of frost from the windshield, a Nissan Leaf driver can just begin driving the car.

Although there are several electric vehicles currently sold, the Nissan Leaf is clearly the most appropriate and affordable option for most people. The driving style of this model is smooth and fun. It is clearly a perfect car for city driving and range is not an issue of concern. Hence, people exploring the electric market should consider this great model. Other cars to consider in the electric car market is the BMW i3, Tesla Model S, Chevrolet Bolt EV, Ford Focus electric, and several others.

 

Leave a Comment February 3, 2017

Global Plug-in Car Sales Hit the Two-Millionth Mark

CalCars_Plug_in_100+_June_2006At the beginning of this decade, plug-in electric car sales were almost zero and it is amazing that the global count is now slightly above two million units. To be more specific, the figure through the end of last year was approximately 2,032,000 passenger cars, including light-duty plug-in electric vehicle vans. Excluded from this figure is heavy duty plug-ins, as well as other light-duty electric cars or commercial plug-ins. The numbers would definitely fluff up slightly if the mentioned cars are included. Nevertheless, there has been a measurable progress for the types of cars driven by consumers.

Petroleum has been dominating for more than a century, with up to 1.4 billion gas motor cars being driven on global roads. This means that two million plug-in electric cars would make up only 0.15% of the total cars in the world. However, this percentage has increased from 1.10% in the year 2015. Therefore, while plug-in electric cars are still few, advocates of green cars might still consider the glass to be half full. Basically, this is just the beginning with 2016 being the year that major car manufacturers committed to producing plug-in electric cars. These manufacturers promised that in the next 8 years, 15-25% of their total sales will be accounted for by plug-in electric vehicles. Other automakers have also set the goals of advancing this market.

The half-full glass scenario is justifiable since the plug-in electric vehicle market was not there until six years ago. The current decade is when the mainstream car manufacturers started to shift from conventional powered vehicles to computer-powered plug-in electric and hybrid cars that use electric motors and lithium-ion batteries. About 1,720 plug-in passenger car sales were recorded across the globe. The figure then increased to 6,560 in 2010. After that 118, 690 plug-ins were sold in 2012, 192,010 in 2013 and in 2014, 325,090 cars were sold. In 2015, 550,570 units were sold while in 2016, 775,000 plug-in electric car units were sold globally. China, the United States, and Europe are the top markets. China and Europe’s plug-in electric vehicle market share is about 1% with the United States’ share being about 0.9%. For the initial years of this decade, the United States was leading in plug-in electric vehicle sales. In November and December of 2016, the U.S. PEV market share went above 1% with December’s share being the highest at 1.39%. More than 250,000 units in the U.S are in the state of California. California alone surpassed the whole of China in the year 2014 in terms of PEV sales.

Leave a Comment January 28, 2017

The Green Car Roundup in 2017’s Detroit Auto Show

hqdefaultThe Detroit 2017 Auto show marked the launch of several new green cars, some of which will be highlighted.

2018 Camry Hybrid that is More Efficient

For the critics of Toyota’s styling such as that of Mirai fuel cell car, and the 2016 Prius, the redesigned Camry lineup should make them happy. The lineup includes a hybrid model that has fuel efficiency comparable to that of Prius. This is great for a vehicle whose powertrain of 2.5 liters was updated in 2012. It is also good for a car whose 40/41 mpg needed to undergo an improvement alongside newcomers such as Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid of 46 mpg and Honda Accord Hybrid with 48 mpg. The EPA rating for the Camry is expected to be 50/54 mpg.

Audi’s Q8 Plug-in Hybrid

This Audi model will officially be available for sale next year and it has been postulated to be sleek, powerful and energy efficient. It has a turbocharged battery capacity of 3.0 liters with a rating of 37.3 miles in electric range. While the United States EPA rating would add sobriety to the above figures, the electric range would probably range in the 20s, which is OK as per the current standards. This SUV offers a cool ride and can go from zero to a hundred km/h within 5.4 seconds, with its top speed being 155.3 mph.

Volkswagen’s I.D. Buzz Concept

This is a neo-retro model of Volkswagen’s classic bus with style. Its EPA-rating ranges between 200 and 270 miles and it has a dedicated electric vehicle platform. It is a concept for now, though the Volkswagen Group has promised to produce thirty electric vehicles by the year 2025. This concept could serve as a precursor to producing upcoming cars. Under this car, there is a lithium-ion battery pack of 110-kWh that easily fits into a wheelbase of 129 inches. This concept uses an electric motor of 200 horsepower for each wheel set. The total horsepower amounts to 370, which is sufficient to push the car from zero to sixty mph within five seconds.

Purpose-Built Honda Hybrid

This 2018 truck as revealed as Honda’s hybrid-only model. A notable fact about Honda is that its trucks are slightly different from those produced by other automakers. However, it made the right decision by dedicating itself to a hybrid platform that may give a mileage exceeding 40 mpg. It is still a mystery as to why the automaker has not hybridized its popular models like HR-V and the CR-V.

Leave a Comment January 21, 2017

America Records the Best Plug-in Car Sales

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

The first plug-in car was introduced in the United States six year ago and since their introduction, the 2016 sales were the highest. At the top of the list of the achievements, plug-in electric car sales totaled 157,181 last year. This was an all-time high, a figure that went up by 37.6% from 2015s sales that were 114,248. Sales for 2014 were 123,347, 24.7% less than the 2016 sales. The previous highest sales records had been those of 2014. Hence, 157,181 is such a healthy number to add to 570,187 cumulative total number of plug-in electric cars sold in the United States since 2008.

Monthly Breakdown

Monthly analysis shows that the strong results were largely contributed by December sales. The month recorded an all-time highest of 23,288 plug-in electric car sales. This was up from the former record held by September 2016 of 16,069 sales. Consequently, the market share for 2016 rose to 0.90%, with battery electric comprising of 0.48% and plug-in hybrids contributing to 0.42%. This was a huge improvement from the year 2015 where the market share for plug-in electric vehicle was 0.66% and 0.75% in 2014. As predicted, the market share for December 2016 hit the highest record of 1.39%. Plug-in hybrid comprised of 0.78%, while the battery electrics contributed to 0.61%. September, the prior-record month had 1.12% market share for plug-in electric vehicles.

What’s Selling?

Regarding the best sellers, Tesla’s Model S was at the top of the list for a second consecutive year. There were 29,156 units of Model S delivered, with about 5,300 accounting for December only. The model outdid the revamped Chevrolet Volt, whose December sales were 3,691 adding up to a total of 24,739 units for 2016. At the third place was Tesla’s Model X, which recorded 18,028 sales, with December sales being about 3,300 units. This clearly shows the strength that Tesla has, regardless of having higher prices for its vehicles in comparison to other models. Ford’s Fusion Energi took the fourth place with its yearly sales totaling 15,938 units. Nissan Leaf recorded 14,006 sales. Overall cumulative figures show that Chevy Volt is at the top with a total of 113,489 units. These units are close to 10,000 more compared to the Leaf, with both cars introduced in 2010. Currently, there are 17 plug-in hybrid and 13 battery electric cars sold in the United States. This is in comparison to hybrid electric cars, which are 33. The year 2016 also saw remarkable sales in conventional crossovers, SUVs, and trucks.

Leave a Comment January 20, 2017

Ford’s Big Bet on Electric Cars as It Invests in the U.S. Plant

2016_A&M–Commerce_Homecoming_Parade_03_(Pres._Emer._Keith_McFarland_and_Nancy)The first few days of 2017 have been significant to Ford Motor Co. A lot of attention has particularly been geared towards the company’s move to opt against setting up a Mexico manufacturing plant worth more than a billion dollars. Instead, Ford plans to invest about $700 million in its Michigan plant, which will help in creating jobs for 700 Americans. Though it might seem that the decision was prompted by some high-profile individuals, this is not the case. The reason behind the change of plans is Ford’s independent analysis of the company’s business imperatives.

However, it would also be essential to consider other news related to Ford. Earlier in the week, Ford gave details concerning its increasing commitment to producing electric cars. It particularly emphasized expanding its offerings in the coming years. One of the notable moves is the automaker’s plan to produce a small electric SUV. This SUV will have an approximate range of about 300 miles. This information concerning the car was obtained from a press release issued by the company. The designing of the new SUV will take place from the ground up, contrary to utilizing an existing car platform. Ford’s electric vehicle champion and Purchasing Vice President, Hau Thai-Tang, gave information on the automaker’s new approach through a telephone interview.

Thai-Tang explained that this was the very first time that the automaker had optimized a full-battery electric car’s architecture. This would give the company the opportunity to give consumers the full merits of an electric car. The benefits will be in terms of the car’s engineering configuration and the vehicle packaging. It will also provide occupants with an optimized experience. In addition to developing a fully electric SUV, Ford also plans to launch a number of hybrid electric cars in by the year 2022. These cars will help in showcasing the clear advantages of electrification, which go beyond fuel-efficiency merits.

Three iconic sub-brands will specifically receive the hybrid treatment. Hybrid versions will be added to both F-150 pickup truck and Mustang lines. A plug-in hybrid will be incorporated into the company’s commercial car sector. In Mustang’s case, the addition of the hybrid technology is expected to help the company in showcasing both the low-end torque and performance. For the hybrid F-150, capability will be showcased and the Transit’s role will be enhancing productivity. Productivity, capability and performance are the attributes that define the major benefits of electrification other than fuel efficiency.

Leave a Comment January 13, 2017

The Next Leaf Confirmed at CES by Nissan’s CEO

'16_Nissan_Leaf_(MIAS_'16)According to a statement made by Carlos Ghosn, Nissan CEO, a second-generation Nissan Leaf is set to be produced in the next few years. He however, did not give additional information about the date, driving range or model year. Nissan managed to develop a lithium-ion battery of 60-kWh as per the suggestions made during 2015’s Tokyo Motor Show regarding the concept vehicle reveal. In January 2015, Ghosn further stated that the automaker was developing a battery with a range of 200 miles. Recently, a Renault electric vehicle, ZOE, was introduced and stated to have a 186 mile range.

Shortly before Ghosn’s speech, Nissan’s Vice-President of Advanced Engineering and Research, Takao Asami said told reporters that the next Nissan Leaf would have a range of more than 200 miles. He further added that the automaker had the plans of introducing a charge rate of 150 kilowatts. Asami noted that Nissan was considering developing batteries of different sizes and different driving ranges for North America, Europe and Asia. The keynote address by Ghosn revolved around the upcoming connected and autonomous vehicle technology. The model is set to have the ProPilot technology that enables the functionality of an autonomous drive for highway driving. For the connected vehicles, Ghosn said that NASA introduced the artificial intelligent technology that is currently referred to as Seamless Autonomous Mobility.

The technology in question plays a crucial role in bridging the gap between the roads populated by human drivers and those filled with autonomous traffic. Ghosn also noted that Nissan has diverse types of electrified technology that includes a series hybrid, the e-Power. The power required by the e-Note’s wheels is provided by an electric motor, which generates electricity from a battery pack. A gasoline engine is used for charging the battery pack. Hence, the car’s fuel economy is comparable to that of hybrid vehicles, though the driving is similar to that of electric cars. The big question is regarding the exact date that the new Nissan Leaf is set to be revealed to the general public. Reports indicate that this new vehicle may be available as early as this coming week. Consumers may get the opportunity to see the car for the very first time during Detroit’s auto show. Alternatively, the waiting period may extend till Tokyo’s Motor show that is scheduled for October. Regardless of this uncertainty regarding the actual release date, the full details of the car should be expected any time from now.

Leave a Comment January 13, 2017

Focus Shifting to Used Electric Vehicle Market

2016_tesla_model_s_90d_hatchback_27201717953Since the electric car resurged less than ten years ago, the market for used electric vehicles has been down with the exception of the occasional deal. The main reason for the observed trend is that the market in question is still very small. However, things are changing as the market is becoming significantly more active. This is attributed to the ending of leases. It is therefore, advisable to focus attention in 2017 to the used electric vehicle market. Cars rarely stay on the lot when they are returned after their lease use if over and the car is returned to the dealership. More often than not, such cars are put on wholesale auctions so that other dealerships can acquire them.

Car dealers can access these wholesale inventories, which is a great way of knowing the amount of money paid and the manner in which the market is evolving. Considering the current costs of 2013 electric vehicles, timing is perfect since three-year leases will be ending by now, and it is evident that there is a significant drop in price at the level of wholesale. The selling prices of different used electric vehicles can be obtained from the auction sites. For example, the 2013’s Tesla Model S has a selling price of $31,000. An interesting fact about Tesla and its Model S is that contrary to other car manufacturers, Tesla has direct control of the majority of the second-hand vehicle market for its cars. This control is attributed to the automaker’s direct sales model. This is why it is hard to get the model anywhere else apart from the company. Currently, it is difficult to get a pre-owned certified Model S. To be fair, Tesla sells the model for less than fifty thousand dollars with a new warranty.

Since the real conditions of these cars are not clearly known, it is difficult to state whether the deals are so good. Regardless of this fact, consumers can still opt for a Model S for its affordable cost. Other models include the Fiat 500e, which sells for only $4,000. The starting price of a new Fiat model is about $31,800. These prices are really good for three-year old vehicles that have relatively low mileage. Although the prices have not gone down drastically, there is still a good reason for consumers to keep their eyes on next year’s used car market. The production and delivery of electric vehicles in high volumes started in 2013-2014. Hence, the used electric car supply will be significantly high this year and next year.

Leave a Comment January 6, 2017

Oregon Plans to Boost the Adoption of Electric Cars

_13_fiat_500eIt is evident that following numerous years of increasing electric vehicle sales, the utilities of electric cars are gearing toward establishing useful infrastructure. Two weeks ago, a utility in California, PG&E gave the approval for installing more than seven thousand plug-in cars charging stations. Oregon has now followed suit and confirmed its plan to enhance electrified transportation. It will do so by not only setting up new charging sites, but also educating the public on the advantages of electric vehicles, as well as boosting the purchases of electric buses. These plans were jointly filed by the Pacific Power and Portland General Electric (PGE).

Six public, electric-vehicle charging locations will be built by PGE in downtown Portland at the “Electric Avenue” site. Each of the sites will have around four standard charging stations in addition to a Level 2 connector of 240-Volt. PGE will also set up and run charging sites that will be used for electric buses operated by TriMet in Portland. Consequently, capital will be freed to allow boosting of electric bus purchases by the transit agency. Pacific Power will also install charging sites and lower specific electric rates, which will make electricity cheaper for fast-charging site operators.

A plan for Coal Transition and Clean Electricity was passed by Oregon last spring. The plan eliminates the use of coal by PGE and Pacific Power by the year 2030. It also requires the generation of fifty percent of the electricity from sources that are renewable by the year 2040. Both utilities plan to establish pilot programs that will help in conveying information on the best practices for demand response, car to grid technology and fleet electrification. The program will also involve offering financial help to consumers interested in innovative community-based car electrification ideas.

Both utility plans will also be involved in consumer education and outreach efforts to raise awareness on the merits of electric vehicles. According to the Executive Director of Drive Oregon advocacy group, Jeff Allen, the exciting bit is the consumer engagement component of these plans. A majority of Oregon residents are not aware of the fact that there are more than twenty electric car models that can be bought today. They are also unaware of the fact that they can lease six of the models for approximately $200 per month. Oregonians need to be educated on the benefits that they can reap from electric cars, as well as the fact that driving such cars is a fun-filled experience. They are worth purchasing and driving.

 

Leave a Comment January 6, 2017

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