Filed under: Electric Cars

Motor Trend Awards Chevrolet Bolt the Car of the Year Title

chevrolet_bolt_concept_front_naias_2015Despite the fact that there are a few weeks remaining before Chevrolet Bolt enters dealerships, Motor Trend announced that it was the ultimate winner for the Vehicle of the Year Award. This is the first time a fully electric car has won the prestigious award. The ceremony marked the beginning of the yearly LA Auto Show held in Los Angeles. The award was received by the Electric Vehicle Chief of General Motors, Pam Fletcher, and Alan Batey, the North American Toyota president. Other finalists acknowledged during the 2017 awards include Cadillac CT6, Audi A4, Jaguar XE, Genesis G90, Chrysler Pacifica, Tesla’s Model S 60/75, Volvo S90 and Porsche 91.

Motor Trend recognized the Bolt because of a number of features offered by the model. One of the key aspects is the car’s EPA rating that has been confirmed to be 238 miles/charge. This is close to triple the range offered by the majority of pure electric cars currently on the market, with the exception of Tesla’s Model X and Model S. These two models have longer ranges, however, Model 3, which isn’t set to hit the market for a year, and will be considerably more expensive than the Bolt. The Bolt was also recognized because of its low retail price, considering its good range. Its base price is $37,495 excluding a federal tax credit of $7,500, as well as the numerous state incentives available, bringing the drive off cost to an affordable $30,000 or less.

Even if the Bolt did not have a battery propulsion system giving a long range, it would still be a great contender for the award. This is according to the jury of Motor Trend, which claims that this world-class small vehicle offers quietness, smoothness, and an electric motor that offers an instant-on torque. The ride is not only sporty and firm, but the road noise transmitted is well damped.

In other categories of the award, the new model of Mercedes-Benz, GLC, was named as the sports utility vehicle of the year. The winning truck per Motor Trend was the newly revamped Ford’s Super Duty.  Motor Trend has also acknowledged plug-in car winners in the past, with Tesla’s Model S taking the vehicle of the year trophy three years ago (2013). The top honor was given to Chevrolet Volt in the year 2011.

Similar awards to be held in North America named the Bolt as one of the three finalists. Trophies for the award in question will be given in January. An award organized by Green Car Journal named 2017 Bolt Green Car of the Year. Hence, Chevy Bolt is clearly a new winning entrant.


Leave a Comment November 25, 2016

Toyota Creates a Sub-Company to Boost Electric Car Production

toyota_coms_single-person_electric_car_10470066394Toyota made an official announcement confirming its plans to set up a sub-company to be responsible for the development of electric cars. This startup is will commence work next month. The new venture isn’t a major reassignment of assets as the team has only four people, with each person drawn from a different Toyota group branch. The automaker believes that this simple manpower should lead to development of fast-selling products. The group will make use of the technical knowledge of the whole Toyota group. According to Akio Toyoda, Toyota’s president, the speed will be embraced by the sub-company in its work approach. Toyota is currently focused on fuel-cell cars but has created this team to focus on electric vehicles. It is following the steps of Mira, since EVs are currently as viable as other mainstream vehicles.

While fuel-cell vehicles have a competitive advantage in terms of fuelling and the range offered, limited hydrogen infrastructure implies that electric cars are still better in terms of the rates of adoption. For instance, the United Kingdom has less than ten hydrogen filling stations. On the contrary, there are thousands of charging points for electric vehicles. Toyota has maintained that it will continue supporting the production of fuel-cell cars alongside electric car development. The official details concerning platforms, timeline or powertrains have not yet been given. However, according to a last week’s report by Nikkei, Toyota plans to produce an electric vehicle with a range of 186 miles by 2020. The report further claimed that the first Toyota EV is likely to borrow Prius’ platform in order to save time and lower development costs.

Toyota has hinted that its next Aygo car could have an electric powertrain. This will be part of the automaker’s swing towards fully electric Toyotas. From 2020, Toyota will be producing new pure electric car models. The current Aygo model is manufactured alongside the Citroen C1 and Peugeot 108 at the same factory. A majority of mechanical components are shared by the three models. By doing so, the manufacturer hopes to generate cash in a market area with extremely tight margins. Johan van Zyl, the CEO and president of the European Toyota branch said that while hybrid cars are being targeted in every market sector, the A-segment may need a different strategy. The automaker has always maintained that powertrain technologies utilized should not necessarily compete with each other. Instead, the automaker focuses on the use of the technology best suited for each application. There is an anticipated evolution of plug-in hybrid, pure electric, fuel-cell and hybrid vehicles. The future will clearly have electric cars as part of the technological spectrum offered by Toyota.


Leave a Comment November 25, 2016

Electric Cars as Finalists in the Green Car Annual Awards

2016-03-01_geneva_motor_show_1067One of the key themes for the award finalists that were announced this week was electrification. Five finalists were confirmed by the Green Car Journal. Four of the models are available as plug-in hybrid versions, while one is a fully-electric car. The nominees for the 2017 model year are the Chevy Bolt, BMW’S 330e, Kia Optima, Toyota Prius Prime and Chrysler Pacifica. The award was officially founded in 2005 and since the,n an increasing list of models has been chosen by its judges’ panel. According to Green Car Journal, this reflects the car’s industry’s increasing efforts to produce new cars with improved environmental impact and higher efficiency.

This year’s finalists are a clear representation of the momentum being experienced by electrification in the vehicle industry. This is according to the journal’s Publisher and Editor, Ron Cogan. Electrification is an important technology for manufacturers regardless of whether they are dealing with plug-in hybrid, hybrid, all-electric or two or more powertrains in combination with traditional gasoline engines. It is essential technology, not only for the present, but also future high-efficiency car models. BMW has been acknowledged for launching the 330e to add to its current plug-in lineup. According to a report by Green Car Journal, the car’s electric motor in combination with a 4-cylinder engine gives a total of a 248 horsepower system output and a torque of 310 pounds-feet.

The Chevy Bolt follows another Chevrolet model that was nominated last year, the second-generation Chevy Volt, which emerged the winner. The Bolt is recognized as the first plug-in hybrid car to have a driving range exceeding 200 miles. It also has technological features to personalize and enhance the driving experience. Fiat Chrysler was nominated and acknowledged for being the first plug-in electric car to enter the market. The first-ever minivan class plug-in hybrid was Chrysler’s Pacifica. The judges acknowledged Chrysler’s efficiency of 80 MPGe and an electric driving range of 30 miles. It’s total driving range is 530 miles.

Kia is in the list owed to the addition of a plug-in hybrid and hybrid systems by adding the 2017 Outlook to its lineup. An electric motor, as well as a 2-liter gas engine is used to power both model variations. The plug-in hybrid’s battery pack is larger than that of the standard hybrid. Toyota is also a finalist, thanks to its efforts in unveiling the new Prius Prime to serve as a replacement for its Prius Plug-in. The range of the 2017 model is double that of the initial plug-in hybrid. The winning model will be known on 17th November.


Leave a Comment November 18, 2016

Why You Should Purchase the 2017 Toyota’s Prius Prime

toyota_prius_iv_-_heckansicht_19-_september_2015_frankfurtThe first shipment of the Toyota Prius Prime is now in the United States on its way to dealers. It is part of the national “soft launch” rollout with the new plug-in having a higher level of competitiveness compared to its predecessor. The 2012-2015 version of Toyota Prius Plug-in was recognized for its battery of 4.4 kWh and EPA-rated range of 11 miles for combined electric and gas power. The sales of this version are in fifteen U.S. states with the pre-subsidy pricing ranging from $30,000 to $40,000.

With the new Prime, the battery size has been doubled to 8.8 kWh, while the electric only range has been increased to 25 miles. The EV-only speed has been increased from 62 to 84 mph. Its electric drive efficiency of 95 MPGe is higher than the old plug-in. The fuel efficiency is also higher in comparison to that of its predecessor. Although the Prime’s speed is almost the same as that of the old plug-in, it clearly handles much better. Additionally, it qualifies for a higher tax credit compared to the previous model. For a new entrant, it is cheaper and economical. Hence, it is aggressive considering the fact that most plug-ins often require a premium, usually offset by incentives such as tax credits.

The 133 MPGe of the Prius Prime is higher than that of every other plug-in hybrid or all-electric car in the United States market. Toyota has also added that its range of 25 miles should serve more than 50% of all the daily traveling needs of all drivers. Having said the above, success isn’t a guarantee, especially at this time when gas is cheap and vehicles are competitive. One of the key competitors is the Toyota Prius Liftback, which is currently the best-selling green vehicle globally. Judging from the specifications sheet, both the Prime and the Liftback have a similar underlying hybrid vehicle of 1.8 liter. Toyota says that in terms of range, the Prime is a clear topper.

Ford’s C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi are other competitors worth mentioning. The Energi is the whiz kid of technology within the Fusion lineup. The C-Max Energi has similar hybrid powertrain of 2 liters. Although, the EPA numbers for 2017 haven’t been give, it’s 2016 rating was 88 MPGe with the hybrid mode rating being 38 mpg. This is in comparison to the Fusion’s 2017 rating of 97 MPGe and a hybrid mode rating of 42 mpg. Despite a stiff competition, the Prius Prime is a worthy choice.


Leave a Comment November 18, 2016

2016’s Best Hybrid Cars

hyundai_ioniq_03Hybrid cars fall into three categories, conventional, range-extender and the plug-in hybrids. Conventional hybrid cars are easy to drive since they operate just like normal cars. These cars mostly use a combustion engine. The range-extender hybrid cars use an electric drive with small engines used for battery charging. Plug-in hybrids fall in between the two classes. Although these cars need to be charged, drivers can opt to use either the diesel engine or all-electric mode when the batteries are low. For short commutes, it’s possible to last for quite a while without the use of petrol. Some of the best hybrid cars according to critics’ recommendations are mentioned below.

Toyota Prius

Toyota’s Prius is currently in its 4th generation and it is still among the highly established mass-production hybrids. The newest model has a design that is more eye-catching and flamboyant in comparison to its predecessors. Additionally, it has a new battery and motor technology that enhances its efficiency. Buyers are exempted from congestion and tax charges.

Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in

This plug-in hybrid electric car is popular because of its quiet style of driving coupled with a high sports utility car driving position. According to Auto Express, this vehicle is sensible for people interested in comfort, space, as well as reduced company-vehicle tax bills. It utilizes a petrol engine of 2 liters combined with dual-electric motors and a generator. Mitsubishi has claimed that its Outlander will have 148 mpg fuel economy and 44g/km carbon dioxide emissions.

BMW’S i3 Range Extender

This is a small-sized and fashionable electric vehicle that may come with a double-cylinder petrol engine to become a range extender. Instead of playing the role of propulsion, the small-sized engine’s is only used for charging the batteries, which then powers the electric drivetrain. Its retail price is reasonable since it qualifies for full government grants.

Hyundai Ioniq

It is among the most recent hybrid cars to enter the market. It also marks Hyundai’s initial effort to manufacture a car utilizing battery technology. It also becomes the very first vehicle with a chance of being a plug-in hybrid, fully-electric or having a conventional hybrid powertrain. Its major competitor is the Prius with a competitive advantage in terms of price. Auto Express has noted that it is more comfortable to drive the Ioniq in comparison to the Prius because it has a proper gearbox. From the perspectives of refinement and comfort, coupled with a roomy trunk and sufficient passenger space, the Ioniq is clearly a spacious and comfortable family vehicle.


Leave a Comment November 4, 2016

Honda Set to Increase its Green Car Sales

217 Honda Clarity sedan

2017 Honda Clarity sedan

Honda has announced that it is now ready to increase its hybrid car sales and achieve at least two-thirds of the United States volume by 2030. Takahiro Hachigo, the automaker’s CEO said that he wants Acura and Honda to account for more than 60 percent of green cars sold in the United States in the next 14 years. Such green cars include plug-ins, traditional hybrids, electric vehicles, and fuel cell cars. This percentage translates to at least a million electrified cars sold by Honda Motor Company on an annual basis. The figure is based on the carmaker’s current volume.

Achieving this goal will be a major leap considering the fact that it has only sold 1,329 hybrids in the United States in this year’s first half. Honda is well known for outshining Toyota in introducing the first hybrid car to the United States, the Insight in 1999. The company currently has only four electric car models. These are Acura RLX sedan, Honda Accord Hybrid, the Acura NSX sports vehicle, as well as the last batch of its CRZ-hybrid that is set for discontinuation. The low sales volume has forced Honda to discontinue the production of Insight, CR-Z and Civic hybrids. Honda recently introduced the Fit electric vehicle and Accord plug-in hybrid to the United States market. A new hybrid crossover, the Acura MDX hybrid is set to be released soon. According to a report by Automotive News, the electric push by Honda will be initiated by 2017’s Honda Accord Hybrid car whose photos were recently released.

While Honda’s 2030 global vision has been made clear, the automaker believes that the United States will play a fundamental role in making it a reality. The CEO said that penetration into the United States market should be more than the world’s two-thirds. For the United States, plug-ins will also be deployed as core vehicles, as well as electrified technology. Hence, the ratio will be higher compared to other parts of the world. Plug-in hybrids will be introduced as part of meeting the set emission standards. The United States rollout starts with a plug-in sedan planned to arrive next year. Honda’s CEO further added that the sedan will be one of the trio of the Clarity line of green vehicles. The other two are a fully-electric and fuel-cell sedan Clarity. By the end of 2020, a Civic hybrid and probably a CR-V hybrid crossover may be produced. We just have to wait and see whether Honda will achieve its goal.

Leave a Comment November 4, 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

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