Filed under: Electric Cars
The global sales of light-duty electric vehicles went past the 1.5 million mark in May, with a further increase expected in the future. Taking into account the entire plug-in car fleet from the year 2004, the actual count may be close to one million, five hundred and ten thousand units through May. Approximately 45,000 are likely to be sold in June. This means that this month, the count may hit 1.555 million. A remarkable fact is that it took more than ten years for the global tally to reach 1.28 million. About 220,000 plug-in electric cars were sold just between January and May.
In May 2014, about 500,000 electric cars were reported, while in September 2015, about one million plug-in electric cars were reported. The growth rate is higher compared to that of hybrid cars. This is because plug-in electrics are built on a foundation set by the initial electrified vehicles. The market is however quite small since the number of light duty cars on the current roads across the globe is approximately one billion.
China is this year’s highest selling and fastest growing market. In terms of cumulative sales, however, the United States is still the leader. Between January and May, about 82,713 units were purchased in China exclusive of imported plug-in cars like those from BMW and Tesla. About 51,893 units were purchased by the U.S with smaller players accounting for the remaining sales. Notable purchasers include the U.K, Norway, Japan, and France. In 2014, California’s sales surpassed those of China, and since March about 205,369 units.
From a statistical perspective, when beginning from scratch, it is not surprising to note comparatively huge percentage increases. Plug-in electric cars just came out of the infancy stage based on automotive standards. The good news is that regardless of the cheap gas prices, low consumer enthusiasm, and pushback from many sources, things seem to be moving toward the right direction.
The models and makes of battery electric and plug-in hybrid cars have increased across the globe. The selection in Europe alone is two times that of the United States. To further help things, a battery electric car that will cost less than forty thousand dollars with a range of more than two hundred miles is scheduled for release this year. Different car manufacturers have promised to release new models. Plug-in hybrid cars are seen as an excellent way of improving fuel emission scores and adhere to regulation standards. Hence, the sales of PEVs have proven to increase over time with a strong foothold being set.
June 30, 2016
The first division at BMW is striving hard to create a sports car i8 model that can act as a secret prototype and remain powered by a battery. This is a move that is anticipated to result in increased efficiency such that the earlier coupe model can transition from being a plug-in hybrid into a fully electric car in the future. Autocar, which is one of the leading British publications when it comes to matters of automobiles, affirms that the i8 electric model is being placed under scrutiny where the division of its fiber structure that it made from carbon can be used in developing an i8 model that is superior when it comes to fuelling. Further, the improvement of the BMW i8 model is also expected to include a center tunnel that is wider than normal.
This means that the resulting structure can have the potential of enabling the replacement of fuel tanks that contain hydrogen gas. Moreover, this space can also be beneficial as it can provide additional room for batteries running the car. This concept has been born out of the fact that the space within the center tunnel that is now wider can allow more batteries to be placed as opposed to the gas tanks. This idea has also been supported by experts working for the BMW Company as well. It is through this same automobile transformation that the new i8 prototype can be powered using alternate means where the batteries replace the contemporary use of gas. Through this approach, the BMW i8 model can become fully electric since the batteries can be charged at any moment. This in turn increases the horsepower where the usual value of 268hp can be raised to almost 357hp.
The upgrading of the BMW i8 prototype can also be enhanced by placing the batteries at strategic points such that the internal speed of the vehicle also reaches an all-time high. The fact that the BMW car model is known to have engines that have a combustion ability that is high, means that elevating them to become fully electric can also add value to its efficiency and performance. The testing of this improved BMW i8 prototype is currently going on in Germany along some of the well-known streets in Munich. The results are meant to evaluate the level of e-safety based on the reinforcements that have already been made. These changes to the powertrain are speculated to result in an automobile whose horsepower will be boosted significantly.
June 30, 2016
The current non-plug in hybrid car market had a wide range of models available, though there is still a lot of room for improving selection. The same can be said even with the plug-in electric cars. There are some cars that are likely to garner widespread acceptance and trigger competitors to catch up. Here are some of the concepts worth considering are:
Chevrolet’s Equinox Plug-in Electric Car
This would be a practical plug-in car that can comfortably accommodate five people, and has great winter traction. Additionally, this car should have a high efficiency without taking the position of a green halo. It would be something sensible to consumers. The EV range of this car would be 37 miles and on gas, 37 mpg, with a retail price of $34,995.
Ford’s F-150 Plug-in Electric Truck
This truck should have an EV range of about 38 miles and a gas range of 31 mpg with a retail price of $39,995. Ford is an automaker that is known for its superior powertrain engineering coupled with patents with Toyota. The automaker has also shown willingness to come up with aluminium-body innovations and engines with a downsized turbo. So, Ford has no reason for not taking upgrading its best-selling truck in America. This model can sell approximately 700,000 units per year. Consumers will find it to be utilitarian and important for commercial applications requiring light duty.
Although Tesla had made clear of its intentions to produce a fully electric pickup, no other automaker plans to do so. This is a great opportunity for Ford to take advantage of its market position and produce an electric truck with a great EV range. This will come handy for daily gas-free driving. It is still unclear whether Ford has such a plan. However, spy photos in April showed what seemed to be a test mule for the F-150 with a powertrain of a plug-in hybrid. Reports indicate that the automaker might produce it as early as the year 2020. Only time will tell.
Well, the sky should be the limit since these are simply a few ideas that automakers need to consider. Currently, there are regulations pushing for the minimization of fuel consumption in different product selections. Green cars have been shown to have numerous merits in terms of cost saving, especially on gas. Automakers need to build assembly lines, link up with suppliers, as well as conduct extensive testing and R & D. This will ensure that they produce cars that sell and that are preferred by consumers.
June 24, 2016
It is challenging to sell hybrid cars, especially when the prices of gas are down. The price of SUVs is further driven up by electric motors. For this reason, consumers are not willing to spend extra money on purchasing an efficient car that might take several years to pay back the premium. Fortunately, there are hybrid cars that offer the best value.
Toyota’s RAV4 Hybrid Car
Only the Toyota Prius has better sales compared to RAV4 in this hybrid car segment. This crossover vehicle has a range of approximately 33 miles per gallon. This is much higher than the Limited Model’s 25 miles per gallon. In the hybrid model, there is no compromising on the traction. The premium, which is around $700, can be paid back within two or less years.
Ford’s Fusion Hybrid Titanium
If there’s any limitation with the 2016 edition of Ford Fusion, then it is regarding its interior. With the Titanium editions, customers won’t face this problem. This model comes with a leather interior. While a Titanium model offers 26 miles per gallon, the hybrid Titanium offers 42 miles per gallon. The price difference between these two versions is less than $200.
Toyota’s Prius Two
Considering the fact that Prius doesn’t have a non-hybrid model, the Camry LE model whose retail price is around $23,070 was chosen by fueleconomy.gov. This car can get a combination mileage of 28 miles per gallon. For an additional $1,130, consumers interested in better fuel economy can go for the Prius Two, which retails at $24,400. This car offers 52 miles per gallon and repaying the premium takes only two years.
Lincoln’s MKZ Hybrid
This car’s sweet spot is its fuel economy of 40 per gallon. What’s interesting is that consumers don’t have to pay a premium. Moreover, consumers get to save $585 on gasoline every year. The decision is a no-brainer with the revamped 2017 MKZ. The exterior of this car is worth more than a luxury brand.
Buick’s LaCrosse eAssist
While this car might be deemed as a mild hybrid version, be sure to get a significant upgrade with respect to fuel economy. It promises 29 miles per gallon in comparison to a standard model offering 22 miles per gallon. Although this car doesn’t appear in Buick’s list of models, it can be found at the add-on section for the edition of 24-liter, four-cylinder. You can save up to $385 annually by choosing this economical model.
June 24, 2016
Electric cars are globally acknowledged to have the potential of surpassing the clichéd claims surrounding them. The government of United States and other international governments recognize the fact that these cars not only have environmental benefits, but they have also proved to promote economic stability, improve national security, as well as improved health for generations to come. It is unfortunate that some consumers still lack adequate information regarding some of the basic facts that make electric cars attractive.
One of the facts concerning electric and plug-in electric vehicles is that they minimize oil use. These cars clearly reduce the use of petroleum or oil by radically eliminating dependence on diesel fuel or gasoline. This is the main reason why the U.S government and governments in Asia, Europe and many more regions are on board. The governments are laying emphasis on the wide adoption of electric and plug-ins instead of gasoline-fueled cars. Even in Saudi Arabia, PEVs are recognized as effective in reducing oil consumption.
Another noteworthy point is that PEVs are less costly to operate in comparison to gasoline cars. The electric motors of such cars utilize less energy while providing higher efficiency. Although the cost of electricity differs across the country, plug-ins operates even with $2 a gallon gas with an efficiency that is sufficient enough to reduce costs by half. The trick is getting a plug-in hybrid that has adequate electric range to cater to driving needs.
Another positive fact is that recharging a plug-in electric car can take place even from a normal home outlet. The usual household outlet of 120 volts can be used for plugging in any plug-in electric vehicle. You should however, note that some cars such as Nissan Leaf can take up to 24 hours to fully recharge an empty battery. Tesla’s Model S may take even a longer time. Despite the length of charging, a fact is that the charging is a possible from home.
In comparison to standard gasoline-powered cars, plug-in electric cars minimize climate emissions. They are cleaner to operate compared to internal combustion cars. This implies that their lifetime operation, manufacture, as well as consumer use produces fewer carbon dioxide emissions. Currently, a majority of the major car manufacturers offer consumers with at least one plug-in electric car. Virtually all states have at least a few plug-in electric cars from the main car manufacturers available. The U.S now has 14 plug-in hybrids available for sale and about thirteen battery electric vehicles. Some of the manufacturers with PEVs in the market include Chevrolet, Audi, Fiat, Hyundai, Ford, Kia, and many more.
June 17, 2016
A cheaper version of Tesla’s Model S is set to have a starting price of $67,200 inclusive of $1,200 as doc and destination fees. This announcement was made this week with first deliveries expected in July. Tesla plans to bring back the specification of 60-kWh to the Model S, which will be a rear-wheel-drive of the 60 model. The other version is the 60D all-wheel drive that will retail for $72,200 inclusive of the mentioned fees. Tesla’s move is in response to consumer requests for lower price points.
The two trim levels are expected to have a battery pack with a capacity of 75-kWh. Tesla further added that owners will be offered additional range for $9,000 and a service fee of $500. Two months ago, Model S incorporated a base level of 70-kWh as a replacement to the previous 60-kWh pack. The online ordering page currently doesn’t include the 70, or the 70D versions. These changes have been made after the recent shuffling of the specifications sheet for a vehicle with a range of up to 90 kWh.
During its introduction in 2012, Tesla had the plan of introducing a 40 kWh version along with a battery option of 60-kWh. This version’s starting price was set at $57,400 inclusive of fees and without federal tax credit considered. After only about four thousand pre-orders, the automaker cancelled that model. Tesla cut the version and decided to offer consumers a version having a battery pack of 60-kWh. Recently, Tesla has also aesthetically refreshed its underlying car and chassis, with customers showing a keen interest. The strategy used by Tesla to maintain customer interest includes shifting options and configurations, as well as giving over-the-air updates.
Following the introduction of more power, all-wheel drive, and other features, the already costly vehicle could have a price ranging from $70,000 to more than $150,000. This price is much higher than the once teased $50,000 for the vehicle, which could have a range of up to 300 miles. As the situation is, it is expected that the Model S 60 will have a range of 210 miles and its speed is estimated to be 130 mph. The stats have not yet been released for the 60D version. Tesla further added that making comparison of any electric car price to a gasoline-fueled car, the ownership cost, as well as annual fuel savings should also be considered.
June 17, 2016
BMW has taken a bold step of changing its division “I” into a center for developing self-driving cars. This unit was previously famed for the production of lightweight electric cars. The automaker’s next all-electric vehicle will be released in the year 2021, which will be a significantly later period compared to competitors like Tesla. Tesla is set to release the much awaited Model 3 next year, while Audi and Porsche are currently working to release fully electric cars in 2019. BMW changed the trend following the low sales of its battery-powered vehicle, the i3. This is in contrast to Tesla whose Model 3 already has at least 370,000 pre-orders.
The lackluster sales prompted the automaker to change the focus of the “I” division to autonomous driving from the development of electric vehicles. This project has been dubbed as the i Next project. The revamp also comes following the defections of several high level staff members. A Chinese car start-up poached BMW’s “I” Powertrain Team Manager, Dirk Abendroth, the Engineering Division Vice President, Carsten Breitfeld, and the “I” Product Management Vice President, Henrik Wenders.
As a component of the self-driving push, the automaker is employing people with expertise in artificial intelligence and machine learning. It is also trying to integrate the roles of the current computer-driven aid systems such as emergency braking, cruise control, automatic parking, and lane-keeping support.
The sales of self-driving cars, where the driver doesn’t need to make an active input, are expected to gain momentum in 2020. This figure could increase to about 9 million by the year 2025. This information was given by analysts from the Exane BNP Paribas. China is the largest vehicle market in the world and this is where self-driving vehicles are likely to emerge and be adopted on a large-scale basis. The country is also fast at technology implementation. Last year alone, China sold more electric vehicles compared to a combination of all the global markets.
BMW also has a plan of expanding the reserving parking space areas for charging stations and electric cars using a mobile application. This market is still not consistent within different countries. The automaker already has Parkmobile and ParkNow, which are digital payment and parking services. Although Apple hasn’t made an official announcement regarding its plan to produce electric cars, there are still rumors regarding the issue. For instance, rumor has it that the company was conducting research on electric car changing last week. There have also been speculations that the company plans to begin developing autonomous vehicles.
June 10, 2016
If the indicators are right, Apple is searching for knowhow and intellectual property to develop its own charging network for electric cars. According to reports from Reuters, Apple has queried some charging industry companies in an effort to get information on how it can charge the electric cars it plans to introduce. As it is so far, more questions linger than answers. Reuter has suggested that there is a possibility that top executives and several experts who Apple contacted have made a non-disclosure deal. However, there are some cues and Linkedin profile searches that add up to the puzzle pieces.
It is clearly a puzzle, considering the fact that Apple hasn’t made any formal announcement concerning its rumored “Apple Car”. This car has even been said to be a not-so-well kept secret since last year. A major question is if Apple will be interested in a charging interface under proprietary, which will create a brand new standard in the face of existing ones from CHAdeMO, SAE, Tesla, and many more. The other alternative is trying to incorporate the existing standards.
It is also not clear if the wireless direct current charging system will be used, though Reuters has noted that Apple has employed at least four people with the expertise in charging technology. This means that there is the possibility of adopting either of the mentioned strategies. One individual from a construction and global engineering firm that has offered services to Apple noted that the corporation has to fit its design ethos and existing customers regardless of whatever it chooses to do. It won’t be surprising to make the assumption that Apple will have a fully electric car that will give consumers a seamless experience. Of significance importance will be the charging availability and infrastructure.
As expected, Apple didn’t say a word to Reuters when journalists inquired about its plan on electric cart production. Others have still raised concerns regarding sharing of too much information. Contrary to Tesla that made it seem like it was highly willing to share its store for intellectual property through patent sharing, Reuters got the notion of a potential Apple competitor.
The person who gave out this intimation also disregarded the speculation indication that Apple is in search of a solution that will enable its employees to charge cars easily. An insider rather intimated that the corporation is now focusing on producing a car. The car is under development with the hope of conferring a wonderful experience to its users. All we can now do is to wait and see.
June 3, 2016
According to Hakan Samuelsson, Volvo’s president, hybrid car sales may catch up and even surpass those of diesel car models soon. Samuelsson said this while responding to journalists at the new 40-series concepts show organized by the automaker. He said that there will be a cost crossover between hybrid and diesel as early as two years from now. Future diesels are expected to be more complex, and will require more after-treatment. This means that they will be more costly compared to the current models. Owners of diesel cars may be required to refill fluids more frequently. Moreover, the market car share has a likelihood of going down with many people switching to hybrids.
The automaker has ensured that its hybrid cars will be equally profitable even if the market share of diesel cars goes down. With respect to the consumers’ running costs, a suggestion given by Samuelsson is opting for a hybrid Volvo with a double engine.
A major question emerging is whether this marks the end of diesel powered cars. Well, Volvo says that this is not the end, since significant sales are still expected for diesel car models. Peter Mertens, the chief of R&D claims that the automaker still has plans of manufacturing more diesel cars in the next few years. These cars will have four cylinders on the higher end, with the company not planning to have a three-cylinder diesel car any time soon. The company is still questioning whether doing so would be a wonderful idea. Despite this, it is clear that hybrids would be adopted more by all the big car manufacturers.
As for electric vehicles, Volvo plans to produce a battery-electric car model in the year 2019. This model is highly likely to be a variant of Volvo’s 90-series fleet currently available (V90, X90 or S90). The next car to be launched will be a smaller-sized electric car model that will be based on the CMA platform. Mertens said that the automaker strongly believes that electrification is set to begin with so many models in line for future production. Volvo believes production of electric cars is a perfect strategy as the decade’s end draws near. This is also in line with the intense push towards the adoption of green cars that are environmentally friendly.
June 3, 2016
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