Filed under: Electric Cars
Owners or drivers of Focus Electric, Fusion Energy, and C-MAX Energi electric cars can now obtain information concerning their vehicle’s statistics using their wristwatches. Owners of Apple and Android smartwatches who also drive Ford plug-in hybrid or electric vehicles can unlock their car’s doors, check battery charge status, or find their car in case they have forgotten where the car was parked. Locating their car will just be a matter of checking using the newly launched MyFord Mobile application for smartwatches.
Regardless of the fact that the entry of Ford into the plug-in hybrid and electric vehicle market has not been aired as much as that of electric vehicles’ golden child, Tesla Motors, the offerings of Ford are suited to a standard green car driver. Ford is popular among both the middle and lower class vehicle owners. Additionally, the company has an exceptionally large commercial support network and larger service. Even with minimal coverage, Ford has the possibility of reaching a much bigger plug-in hybrid and electric vehicle customer base. Ford has a huge customer base despite the fact that its vehicles do not have the ludicrous modes, as well as brand cachet enjoyed by Tesla owners.
Life is becoming quite convenient for the owner of Ford hybrid and electric cars, particularly with regard to close monitoring of their car, as well as locating the closest charging station. This is because the newly launched smartwatch application will enable drivers to gain access to several vehicle functions just from the wrist. Some of the functions that will be offered by the Ford application include finding out the approximate range of battery charge that is currently used by the car. Through the application, drivers will also get notification when the car’s charge is full. Initiation of the car’s interior preconditioning will also be possible, and this includes remote heating or cooling.
Using the application, the drivers can also access their driving score, which is often in miles/gallon, breaking efficiency, trip miles or the length of time that the car moves in electric mode. The application is able to clearly pinpoint the location of the car, in addition to providing directions back to the car. The electric vehicle charging station that is closest to the vehicle can also be located using the application. The new applications have been designed in such a way that they are well suited to both square and round smartwatch faces. The application targets both new buyers and existing vehicle owners.
October 2, 2015
The likelihood of production of an electric car by Apple has been increasing over the last few months. According to inside sources, an electric car is currently under production and its shipping date has been scheduled for 2019. Automotive News, one of the most knowledgeable sources regarding the program, has reported that Apple Inc. plans to have an electric car team comprising of 600 employees. The source has also referred to the project has a committed one. However, it is still not clear 2019 is the time when Apple will deliver the electric car to consumers or it is the deadline time for approval of engineer teams.
Apple electric car production has not yet been officially verified by the CEO and other executive representatives. According to Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple Inc., there are a number of things to consider in the production process. He further emphasized the importance of putting their energies into some of the considerations in question. Cook gave out this information during the Late Show interview by Stephen Colbert. Meanwhile, it has been speculated that Apple Inc. is busy and discreetly coming up with an automotive group. Earlier in the year, Apple hired an independent tech specialist, Megan McClain, who used to work at Volkswagen. McClain was hired by Apple to work as an engineer for mechanical design. Last month, the company also hired Jamie Carlson, who previously worked for Tesla as a firmware manager and engineer. Other new Apple employees with automotive skills include a researcher involved in automated driving tasks and an engineer specializing in computer vision software.
A number of meetings that have been held recently seem to be linked to the project by Apple. In May 2014, some Apple officials started deliberating on the use of GoMentum Station. According to the Guardian the station is approximately 2,100 acres situated close to San Francisco and previously served as a naval base. It is now being converted to autonomous vehicles’ testing ground. A confirmation was also given by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), claiming that a meeting was held with officials from Apple last month. The main agenda of the meeting was reviewing the regulations of autonomous vehicles by the DMV. The DMV went on to state that further details concerning the matter in question could not be disclosed. Apple is not the only technological corporation that has shown the possibility of producing an electric car. Google executives have recently geared efforts towards that direction as well.
October 2, 2015
The number of luxury electric vehicles has been increasing over the last few years. There have been reports that Volkswagen’s Porsche and Daimler’s Mercedes will join BMW and Tesla in the segment of luxury electric cars. There are currently three electric car models by Mercedes, joining Unites States-based Tesla in the luxury electric car industry. Tesla achieved immense success with creation of a definitive electric automobile. Additionally, Tesla has been a primary competitor to Audi and Porsche in terms of sales. This has been the case even in nations like Switzerland and Germany, where there is no subsidizing of electric vehicles. Therefore, launching e-tron Quattro and Mission E in 2018 will be attempts by Audi and Porsche respectively, to maintain existing customers via competition with Tesla’s offers.
Luxury automakers have come to the realization that a superior driving experience is offered by electric vehicles as long as the people’s needs are being met adequately. On full charge, novel luxury electric cars can cover a minimum of 400 kilometers. Industry experts have said that the Model S by Tesla already outsells Audi A8 and Porsche Panamera. It is expected that the model in question will outperform plug-in hybrid cars, implying that some manufacturers may cease producing hybrid electric cars.
This year, Tesla Model S has been the top-selling electric car in Canada, having sold 1,132 cars since January. These sales are almost double those of Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf combined. On an international basis, Nissan Leaf is the best seller. Immense benefits to Tesla are realized from subsidies. Electric car subsidies in the Unites States have notably aided in driving the newly-launched electric vehicle programs. Battery-only electric vehicles receive a total of $ 7,500 in federal tax credits. This is in addition to a possibility of other subsidies from the state. California, which makes up almost 50% of the national electric car sales, has around $2,500 electric car rebates available. That subsidy increases to $4,000 for low-income customers. The rebate for high-income Californians was eliminated two months ago.
The automakers have always been the major parties benefiting from the subsidies. These automakers are given a minimum number of plug-in hybrid and electric cars that they have to sell. Tax credits will be beneficial in helping the automakers sell electric cars while at the same time cutting the costs of production. Consequently, they can have a competitive advantage over gasoline-fueled cars. The mere fact that the superiority of electric cars is higher than that of gasoline cars implies that without subsidies, the sales will slow down, but not stop.
September 25, 2015
Lexus had released details concerning its new 2016 model of the RX 450h, a hybrid car that will have more space and horsepower. The automaker is currently in the series’ fourth generation. It has been six years since the hybrid model in question was launched. The RX 450h for 2016 will have a power boost, as well as a bigger interior and better handling. The combined power rating for this new version is 308 horsepower, which is up from 295 horsepower for the previous year. This is hugely accounted for by a new V6 engine with a capacity of 3.5 liters. The current engine has a compression ratio that is higher than that of the previous one. The 2016 version’s Atkinson-cycle engine’s horsepower increased to 259 from 245 at six thousand rpm. There is also an increase in torque to 247 from 234 pounds-feet.
The standard RX’s drive is front wheel and the hybrid version had front wheels powered by an electric motor of 165 horsepower. An upgrade to all-wheel drive adds 67 horsepower to the rear wheels. The new hybrid car’s battery is still the same; made of nickel metal with 37-kilowatt energy. However, the battery pack is shorter than the previous pack by one inch.
According to Lexus, this novel set up is one of the most advanced changes to the drive system of Lexus Hybrid. The automaker also made it clear that there have been enhancement and reengineering of the primary components, as well as the control system. This has been done so as to deliver better fuel economy, excellence performance, as well as low emissions. Such enhancements are deemed to satisfy even the most demanding driving enthusiast.
In terms of the car’s exterior, RX 450h has been altered in several ways. The length of the new car has increased by 4.7 inches, while all the sides have been increased by half an inch. There has also been a rise in ground clearance to 8.2 inches. The additional inches not only give extra room to passengers, but they have also increased the total car’s weight by 88 pounds. The current weight of the new RX 450h is approximately 4,740 pounds. Other novel features that have been listed by Lexus include a hybrid system that is lighter and efficient, enhanced control and performance due to pre-loaded differential, high energy efficiency, thanks to the evolution of the power control unit’s design and motor cooling by a transmission oil cooler. Generally, the new car has sharper dynamics and is more powerful.
September 18, 2015
The launch of 2016’s Chevy Volt is just around the corner. While the new Volt will have the virtues of its predecessor, it has managed to address some of the vehicle’s vices. One of the aspects addressed is the range, whereby the new Chevrolet Volt will have a higher electric range of 53 miles. It will also have a higher fuel efficiency of 42 mpg, thanks to an engine that has range-extending capability. It is also worth noting that the new Volt is faster, smoother, quieter, and has a better physical outlook. Hence, current Volt owners should consider it an upgrade. The 2016 Volt is a an electric car that is not only fantastic, but also gives a total range exceeding 400 miles for one out of ten trips that the car can make solely on battery power.
What analysts are worried about is the ability of General Motors to give a clear description of the Volt. This entails the ability of GM to explain why Volt needs to be considered a better alternative to other plug-in cars. The automaker also needs to explain how the 2016 Volt combines the advantages of an all-electric drive and the security offered by range-extending engine in times of need. There was inconsistency with respect to the sale and marketing of Volt’s first generation. This marketing was primarily based on mileage and was sporadic. GM needs to come up with thoughtful, smart, effective and memorable marketing if it intends to keep the sales of 2016’s Volt at the top. One media outlet that played a fundamental role in driving the sales of the 2016 Volts that were produced earlier this year is Green Car Reports. The media outlet dedicated two days to researching two different Chevy Volts and comparing them to the 2015 models.
The new 2016 Volt has expounded on the positive aspects of the previous version, though Chevrolet executives have said that the car’s design was chosen according to the preferences of Volt owners. There are some minor details such as a compartment housing a charging cord. This means that when owners need to recharge their plug-in car on the road, they do not need to unpack the luggage or cargo carried. The new Chevrolet Volt has a crisper, more aggressive and more angular design, contrary to a slab-sided look of the previous Volt. The color of the Volt released for specification purposes is a metallic blue.
September 11, 2015
The presentation of Toyota’s 2016 Prius is expected to take place in Las Vegas next week. However, it is quite unclear whether the actual specs were revealed this summer. In July, some pictures were posted from an automotive website in Taiwan, claiming that they were representative images of Prius PHEV and the 2016 Prius. However, the PHEV will not be revealed next week. Although the authenticity of the images was questionable, their circulation around the United State was fast. This circulation was picked by other minor and major automotive sites. According to the specs noted in the Taiwanese site, the new Prius has an increased range of about 94 mpg.
The report indicated that the new Prius has a higher efficiency compared to the previous versions. This may be accounted for by several improvements made to the powertrain architecture. It has a 4-cylinder gasoline engine of approximately 105 horsepower with a capacity of 1.8 liters. There is also a water pump that functions in retuning the Atkinson cycle. To help in increasing fuel efficiency, there is an exhaust system for heat recovery, which also reduces the time it takes for the engine to warm up. The car’s electric motor has 90 horsepower with a lithium-ion battery, though the specifications have not been given. The horsepower of the total system has been reported to be more than that of the current model. It has been estimated to be about 145-150, compared to 134 horsepower for the 2015 Prius.
The dimensions of the 2016 Prius are larger compared to the current models’ dimensions (4480 x 1745 x 1490mm). With respect to styling, the 2016 Prius had cues that are almost the same as those of Mirai FCV, as well as the current Prius Liftback. According to the CEO of Toyota North America, the 2016 Prius is better and more dynamic compared to the current model. It has also been reported that the goal of the design was to have a higher sporting appeal. In terms of curb weight, the 2016 Prius is weighs less than the 2015 Prius. The accuracy of the mentioned specifications will be revealed next week. From a reliable source, it has been reported that Prius information will be dribbled out by Toyota in the fall. Such ceremonies are usually done on a single evening and then attendees fly or drive home afterwards. What is unclear is the extent or amount of info that will be revealed to the media. Unfortunately, no media drive has been scheduled by Toyota.
September 11, 2015
The variety of electric cars available to consumers had been expanding as manufacturers continue launching new models. This week, Audi announced that its concept, the e-Tron Quattro car, a sport SUV that is all-electric, will be among the cars to debut in Frankfurt’s 2015 International Motor Show. The show in question is set to open September 17. The range of the car on full charge is expected to exceed 500 kilometers, which is equivalent to 310 miles. Audi states that 2018 as the year the vehicle is set to enter the production stage. The Quattro’s battery cells will be from Samsung SDI and LG Chem.
The driving range of Quattro will almost be the same as that of electric vehicles manufactured by Tesla. There is also an electric vehicle by GM, the Chevrolet Volt, with a range is about 200 miles. The shipment for Model X by Tesla is anticipated to start in the next coming weeks. It has been reported that there are already 20,000 pre-orders from people who paid $5,000 as a reserve fee. It was originally expected that the X model would be shipped in 2012. To increase the practicality of all-electric cars, it is critical for them to gain high driving ranges when charged. To cover 15,600 miles annually, it would be necessary to charge the car once a week and go for 300-mile range. For the car to cover 24,000 miles per annum, it would necessitate charging the car at an interval of every 4-5 days.
Audi utilizes 3 electric motors; two motors are situated in the car’s rear end, while one electric motor is situated at the car’s front axle. The car also makes use of mobile elements of aerodynamics and an underbody that is closed so that there is improvement of airflow and reduction of drag. This in turn helps in extension of the car’s range. Consumers have mixed feelings on the overall short range associated with electric vehicles. Drivers have raised concerns that they could get stuck at a strange place without a means of charging their cars. The success of sales will ultimately be affected by charging stations’ availability.
IHS Automotive, an analyst firm, has predicted that the market for electric vehicles chargers will rapidly grow across the globe. The market will rise to $12.7 million in the year 2020, from 1 million in the year 2014. Audi further added that chargers are important for long-term success of electric cars, even with an increase in driving ranges.
September 4, 2015
2016 Lincoln MKZ hybrid
Most consumers would prioritize fuel economy when shopping or purchasing a hybrid car. However, consumers interested in a complete package consider the car’s performance, as well as its safety. Hence, they would go for a hybrid sedan that is not only economical, but also with top safety qualifications and performance that is solid. It is senseless to overlook those aspects, considering the fact that there is a wide range of hybrid car models set to mark their market entry in 2016. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has already given a 5-star rating to about six hybrid car models.
One of the models is Lincoln’s MKZ hybrid. This hybrid car model is priced at approximately, $35,190, a range that is similar to that of its gasoline counterpart. This would make the purchasing decision much easier for consumers whose top priority is fuel economy. The car’s range is 41 mpg in the city. The car also has top safety specifications with a five-star rating for crash tests and 4-star rating for rollover and side tests.
Hyundai’s Sonata hybrid is yet another model that has been deemed to be one of the safest. Hyundai’s 2016 Sonata hybrid has a plug-in counterpart, as well as a gasoline counterpart that is priced at $26,000. The car’s range on highway driving is 44 mpg and 40 mpg in the city. Side crash and frontal tests had a rating of five stars, while rollover test had a four-star rating. Some of the safety recommendations given by the NHTSA include the addition of features warning on forward collision, as well as lane departure.
Volkswagen’s Jetta hybrid is has also been rated at the top in terms of safety. This hybrid car is priced at $31,120, a price that is higher than that of its diesel counterpart ($21,640) and standard model ($17,325). The highway range for Jetta hybrid is 48 mpg and drivers can access 150 horsepower. The rollover and frontal tests received five stars, while side-crash received a perfect 5-star rating.
Ford’s Fusion hybrid and Fusion Energy are also worth noting. For 2016, both of these cars were given a five-star rating with respect to their safety. The range of the standard hybrid in the city is 44 mpg, while that of the plug-in is 95 mpg.
Kia’s Optima hybrid is yet another safe model. The 2016 Optima model has been awarded a five-star rating in all 3 crash tests. Finally, there is Toyota’s Camry hybrid, which was awarded 5 stars for side crash testing and 4-stars for rollover and frontal tests.
September 4, 2015
The popularity and prices of used cars has been increasing over the last few years. This is contrary to the conventional thought that the only cars that can have an increasing value are the collectible cars. According to Edmunds.com, the 2015s second quarter was marked by a 7.6 % increase in the prices of used cars. The average high price reached during this period is $18,800. While this fact makes it difficult to hunt for used-car bargains, there are some used-car segments that tend to move towards the opposite trend in terms of pricing. Hybrids and electric cars are among the segments in question. Bad market forces have led to the battering of hybrid and electric car prices.
According to the Electric Vehicle Retention Report Card issued by NADA Used Car Guide, the value of some plug-in and hybrid cars that have been used for two years has dropped in the last few months. Only the cheapest of such cars returned more than 20% of their original value after 3 years. These days, some of the best or highest deals can be obtained from full electric cars such as Ford’s Focus Electric and Nissan Leaf. Such cars cost as low as $10,000. Although the original prices of electric vehicles may be higher, their used counterparts are priced similarly. Motorists who commute daily might in fact save money through used electric cars.
From the economic perspective, used-car values in the market are largely determined by the demand and supply. The demand for most cars on roads has considerably softened with low gasoline prices. Additionally, low-mileage models that are 2 to 3 years old are coming back to the auto market. Wall Street Journal reported that in 2014, there was leasing of 85% of Nissan’s Leaf. The residual values of vehicles are ending up having prices that are lower than originally projected. Although this news is bad for leasing industries, it is good news for shoppers who are budget-minded. Such shoppers include those who think that the prices of gas are still too high or those who are ecologically oriented. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average mileage of Nissan Leaf is eighty four miles on a 100% charge. Its combined highway/city driving is approximately 114 miles per gallon. A major advantage of electric and hybrid cars is that they have battery packs that are sure to last for eight years or go for 100,000 miles. This implies that a model that has been used for three years would still have coverage of five years left.
August 28, 2015
According to a survey, 94% of drivers of plug-in hybrid cars and 92% of drivers of battery-electric cars would opt to buy another plug-in car and not a gasoline-powered one. About 9 out of ten owners of electric cars said that they would not wish to revert to or buy a gasoline-powered car. The survey in question was conducted by Ford. The results were inclusive of responses gathered from approximately ten thousand drivers of plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles. Most of the drivers opted to buy a second plug-in hybrid instead of trading it with a gasoline-fueled car. According to the Electric Car Technology and Infrastructure manager at Ford, Stephanie Janczak, it means that most drivers preferred battery electric vehicles. Stephanie said this in an interview that was conducted recently with CleanTechnica.
While a majority of the current drivers of all-electric cars preferred to maintain that car type, owners of plug-in hybrid cars showed more inclination towards purchasing an all-electric car. Some of the main reasons that were cited by drivers who wished to stay electric were a preference for clean technology and driving experience. The survey also revealed that the correlation between ownership of an electric car and the use of renewable energy was strong. Ford noted that about 83% of the drivers that were surveyed said they would opt to install solar panels if they didn’t have them already in their homes. The carbon footprint of a car is further reduced by the use of home solar arrays for car changing.
The clear correlation between ownership of an electric car and use of home solar was underscored by Ford’s Janczak. This relationship was first established in a survey conducted three years ago among California’s electric car drivers. Other fundamental parts of owning an electric car include the Smartphone applications. Ford’s survey showed that these applications were used by respondents mainly to monitor the battery levels, charging status, as well as setting climate control. Smartphone features that were most requested include apps for locating charging stations, paying for charging, letting drivers reserve, providing car-health reports and indicating charging time. Most of the households in the United States had two or more cars. Approximately 90% of owners of electric cars had a second car and this second car was most likely a gasoline-powered one. The gasoline-powered cars were mainly used when travelling for long trips that were expected to exceed the standard range of the current electric car. The main question that stems from this finding is whether current gasoline-car owners would ditch these cars if future electric cars’ range is boosted.
August 21, 2015