Filed under: Electric Cars
Although Chrysler has been perceived to be a late entrant into the plug-in hybrid market, it has unveiled its newest plug-in car, the Pacifica, which is quite impressive. Chrysler introduced the minivan more than thirty years ago and has since then made tremendous efforts in improving the MPG scores of its fleet in addition to promoting brand image. The plug-in hybrid car in question is set to officially debut later this year alongside revisions to the conventionally-powered model. Plug-in Pacifica is distinguished by a battery with a capacity of 16-kwh situated beneath the floor of the second row of seats. This battery takes about two hours to fully recharge with a current of 240 V. The model also has an exceptional powertrain revolving around an Atkinson Cycle Pentastar with a capacity of 3.6 liters.
The efficiency of the car in the city on all-electric mode is approximately 80 MPGe, though the hybrid mode or combined gas and electric mode are still unknown. A new feature is a variable transmission that uses a double electric motor system that drives the wheels at the front. A key difference between Pacifica hybrid and other electrification schemes is that the Pacifica utilizes a one-way clutch that makes it possible for the motor to drive the wheels via sending torque. This function is dependent on the car’s driving conditions. Chrysler has noted that the outcome of these alterations and improvements include refinement, enhanced component packaging, and increased efficiency.
Whatever the case, it is essential to improve MPG by including features such as handed pistons in the Atkinson engine. Such features increase the compression ratio to 12.5.1, consequently improving the thermodynamic efficiency. Elimination of a power steering pump and the alternator allows for reworking of the accessory drive and front cover of the engine. Chrysler has also promised minimization of internal friction as well as improvements on fuel injection and ignition.
About 16 years ago, Chrysler had the name Pacifica in its lexicon though the automaker has since then renamed its minivan as well as the conventional counterpart. It is also important to keep in mind that this is the first plug-in version of the minivan with a 30 mile range, making it an excellent PHEV. Its 16-kwh battery is clearly more powerful compared to Hyundai Sonata’s 9.8-kwh and a range of 27 miles. Currently, 2016’s Chevrolet Volt is the highest rated plug-in vehicle with a range of 53 miles. With its Pacifica plug-in, Chrysler has beaten its competitors. Pricing details will be announced later.
January 21, 2016
The highly anticipated 2017’s Chevy Bolt was introduced at Las Vegas’ Consumer Electronics Show. Mary Barra, the CEO gave a speech and officially presented the more than 200-mile range electric vehicle. Chevy Bolt is one of the cheaper higher range electric cars. Barra further acknowledged the fact that many companies have plans of manufacturing electric cars. The Chevy Bolt fulfils the promise of delivering a long range electric car at a quite affordable cost. According to GM, production is set to begin prior to the end of the year and the anticipated price will be around $37,500 before federal tax and additional incentives are applied. The Bolt is a 5-passenger, five-door hatchback with fold down rear seating.
Barra failed to give the exact specification of the extra miles that would be covered within the range of driving. These details will be revealed much later. The car has an in-floor battery that a driver will be able to charge up to 80 percent within an hour. The battery capacity was also not specified, and this is often estimated using electrical efficiency. Additional details are likely to be revealed at the International Auto Show that will be held in North America later in the month. There is a high probability that Bolt’s sales strategy will target regional driving or local commuting.
Chevy Bolt’s concept was formally announced at NAIAS last year. When speculations went around concerning its production approval, majority of the observers made the assumption that the model will be released in 2018. Others had doubts on whether the target price could be achieved. Some critics also expected that the set range of 200 miles would work under great conditions instead of the EPA sticker estimate that was more conservative. While cars are normally made from parts derived from a wide range of suppliers, GM chose to source most of the primary components of Bolt from South Korea’s LG conglomerate. It did this in exchange for a deal to lower the costs of the battery cell.
The 2017 Bolt has a rear camera capable of feeding live videos to a built-in display at the rear view mirror. This allows for a wider angle of viewing behind the vehicle in comparison to a standard mirror. A surround vision is provided by another camera to give a “bird’s eye view” especially during parking and driving at low speed. Alterations have also been made to the system used for navigation, which makes it possible for a driver to know driving routes capable of improving electric vehicle efficiency. Additionally, the screen can display the available charging stations. The Orion Assembly, one of GM’s plants will be the building location.
January 14, 2016
Although the hybrid and electric car sales have remained constant in the past year, automakers have gone ahead to manufacture novel battery-powered cars for the market. Many vehicle companies are shifting their focus towards electric car production for international markets. These automakers include General Motors that has already unveiled the pre-production version of the highly anticipated Chevrolet Bolt. Mary Barra, the chief executive of GM said that the Bolt represented a huge step towards car electrification, considering its costs and capability of covering about 200 miles when fully charged. The Chevy Bolt is clearly the first electric vehicle to crack the standard code due to its long range and affordability. This information was revealed through a speech given by Barra at a recent motor show.
The Bolt is likely to enter the market this year and its sticker price will be around $30,000 with government incentives totaling to about $7,500. Despite the affordable price and long range of Bolt, it is still unclear whether consumers will continue to take advantage of the low gas prices to purchase large cars. However, GM has high hopes that its new entry to the market will be a hit. Consumers are starting to realize the value of owning electric and hybrid cars over gasoline-powered cars. The Nissan Leaf is currently the leading all-electric car in terms of sales, while the Toyota Prius leads in the hybrid category. Generally, hybrid and electric cars account for approximately 2% of America’s car market. Luxury carmakers such as the BMW also introduced a novel electric car last year. Tesla’s lineup is also expanding to include Model X, a fully electric sport-utility vehicle.
There has been mixed success for GM with the Volt plug-in, whose battery power is enhanced by a small-sized gasoline engine to extend the driving range. Barra acknowledged GM’s commitment towards electrification. Other notable figures at GM said that the Chevy Bolt could alter the perception of consumers towards fully electric vehicles as solely for commuting purposes and other minor trips. Pam Fletcher, the chief engineer for GM’s electric cars said that a range exceeding 150 miles is likely to increase buyer consideration. We are eager to see how consumers and the market in general will embrace the Chevrolet Bolt, particularly in the current cheap gas era. Other carmakers that will showcase electric car models during the International CES include Volkswagen whose electric microbus concept version was unveiled earlier this week. Audi gave additional details concerning its electric sports utility vehicle, the e-Tron.
January 14, 2016
After making a confirmation regarding its Ioniq hybrid production, Hyundai released teaser images of the model. Images from reliable spy photographers have also been released to further ascertain the car’s production. The Ioniq will be the first car in the world with plug-in hybrid, hybrid and fully electric powertrain options. It has been announced that the model’s initial debut will be in March at the Geneva’s Motor Show. Prior to its official debut, there has been speculation that people will first get to see the car at South Korea’s distinctive reveal event.
The official images released by the automaker gives an overview of the interior as well as the exterior design. These designs are for the production model. According to Hyundai, the exterior of the car has been designed in such a manner that it offers top-class aerodynamic performance. This is clearly demonstrated by the slippery shaped green family car. The images further show that the Ioniq model is sedan-shaped and has a shoulder-line that rises towards the back. It also has a roofline that is coupe-like and a small-sized back window. Although it is expected that the car would be a hatchback just like Toyota’s Prius, the spy images seem to show 4-door sedan model with a boot opening.
The car’s interior image gives an illusion of a cabin that is somehow similar to the Tucson in terms of design. However, the Ioniq differs from the Tucson in that its feel is more futuristic and has a digital dash. According to the claims made by Hyundai, the entire Ioniq car has been made using materials that are eco-friendly. The basis of the novel Ioniq is a platform uniquely designed to accommodate lithium-ion batteries. These batteries will play the fundamental role of saving fuel in hybrid car models with a petrol engine of 1.6 liter capacity. The batteries will also serve as a power source for electric motors driving the wheels.
It is hoped that Hyundai’s Ioniq model will first enter the market or be sold late next year under hybrid and electric guises. The plug-in hybrid versions will follow much later. The name Ioniq is derived from the world ion, which refers to an atom that is electrically-charged, and ‘unique’. According to the R&D boss of Hyundai, Woong-Chui Yang, the company’s vision for mobility in the future is based on choice through provision of a wide range of powertrains to suit the varied lifestyles of customers. This will be done without overlooking driving enjoyment and design.
January 7, 2016
A local gathering that was attended by NRG Energy’s, Scott Fisher provided highlights of the major benefits or value of electric car ownership. It is clear that owning a car such as a Nissan Leaf would save the owner some money. The cost of running such a vehicle of the same make would amount to a yearly average savings of 600 dollars. This amount is clearly less compared to ownership of a gasoline-fueled vehicle. It is also worth noting that maintaining an electric car is less costly and less frequent in comparison to gasoline-fueled car. Mr. Fisher asserted that that electricity is produced by the state at a substantially cheap rate utilizing a combination of natural gas, coal and renewables, and this is beneficial to local owners of electric cars.
Mr. Fisher further noted that there are numerous developments in place to enhance the convenience of electric car ownership. A good example of such a development is the fact that the number of car manufacturers that produce electric cars is gradually increasing. Recently, BMW joined Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, Ford and Tesla’s numerous options. Soon, Volvo and Audi are expected to follow suit. China has made clear its intention to build a California plant worth one billion dollars to manufacturer Tesla’s competitor with respect to sales in the United States and China. China is currently the global leader in emission of carbon dioxide and poisonous air, and hence, efforts are directed towards producing electric cars.
Considering China’s push towards becoming the leading producer of solar panels, we can expect the investment and effort put in green car production. Interestingly, Apple has the plan of venturing into the electric car market along with its devotees across the globe. Another development is that soon there will be increased mileage in Nissan and Ford models. While most owners are content with the current mileage of 70-100 miles, it is evident that a higher range will attract more drivers. A third development worth mentioning is the fact that the number of electric car charging stations is increasing rapidly. These stations are widely spread in shopping centers, urban localities, at schools, parking lots and along highways. It is therefore not uncommon to find a car such as Nissan Leaf parked overnight and not plugged to an electric source. In such a case, the car owner may opt to recharge the vehicle at the work premises. Depending on company policies, charging a vehicle at the work place further minimizes the owner’s cost.
January 7, 2016
So far BMW is the leading German car manufacturer with respect to the sale of battery-electric vehicles. All the three German automakers are planning to launch plug-in hybrid models for a majority of their lineup in five years time. For the past two years, BMW has been marketing its i3 hatchback in substantially huge volumes. Recently, there have been numerous speculations regarding the release of the next set of battery-electric cars by BMW, amidst other car manufacturers such as Porsche and Audi announcing their plans to manufacture electric cars through the year 2018. There is a high likelihood that the BMW model in question will be referred to as the i5, which may arrive in late 2017 or early 2018.
The reports concerning the kind of vehicle the BMW i5 will be have been slightly conflicting, though most reports indicate that it will be a small-sized, all electric crossover larger than the current i3. It has also been speculated that the car will be a sedan, plug-in hybrid. According to Now Automobile, a fully electric sedan will follow BMW’s 2018 i5. The magazine further adds that the new sedan will be about the same size as the current 3-series by BMW and may be referred to as the i6. If the magazine’s reports are to go by, the contradictory speculations concerning a small-sized electric sedan would be neatly resolved.
The basis of BMW i6 will be a component of a flat floor that is specifically made for electric vehicles and comprises of numerous carbon-fiber pieces and bits. This information was revealed further in the reports by the magazine. There will be a minimum of two motors in the electric sedan, and perhaps up to four motors. Additionally, novel all lithium-polymer cells may be utilized by the sedan in the battery pack. The i6 model in question is likely to enter production in mid 2020 as suggested by Automobile, implying that it will be a 2021 car model. This is interesting considering the fact that by the year 2010 BMW will have an updated plug-in hybrid range from the current 15-20 miles. This means that the range of i6 will be two times or higher than the current one. It is clearly evident that the future of BMW gears towards electrification. However, with respect to range, much will not be seen till the arrival of i5 in the next few years. As from 2021 it will be interesting to watch the sales’ balance between fully electric and eDrive plug-in cars.
December 31, 2015
The Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt entered the plug-in vehicle market almost six years ago, and other cars have followed suit while others are yet to enter the market. According to the current alternative energy cars’ list published in HybridCars.com, the total number of battery electric cars is 12, while hybrid electric cars are 11. The numbers are slightly differed from those reported last year where there were 9 plug-in electric cars and 13 battery electric cars. The current market share for plug-in hybrid electric cars is approximately 0.24% in comparison to last year’s 0.34%. Battery electric cars current market share is 0.41% while for the previous year was 0.39%.
One of the vehicles to expect this coming year is Kia’s 2016 Optima plug-in, which has some clear similarities to Hyundai’s Sonata plug-in. It is basically, a plug-in form of the recently redesigned Kia Optima hybrid. Kia’s Optima plug-in car’s battery is the same as that of Hyundai’s and has a capacity of 9.8 kwh. This implies that its electric vehicle range of 27 miles is the second highest. This vehicle has been said to enter the market mid next year to aim towards Kia’s plan of becoming one of the leading manufacturers of hydrogen fuel, plug-in hybrid and hybrid cars. Its powertrain of 2.0 liters is also similar to Hyundai’s.
2017’s Chevrolet Bolt is another vehicle to expect this coming year. This vehicle will have a range of about 200 miles and its price will be around 30,000 dollars. The price of this vehicle coupled with its specifications makes it a significant plug-in vehicle to look forward to. To address the issue of range, the Chevy Bolt gives a range that is two times that of other electric vehicles within the same price range. Its major competitor is Tesla Model S with 70 kwh. Bolt evidently presents a major leap forward, regardless of the fact that it may not be fully satisfactory to those demanding more. Automakers are using plug-in electrification as a way of improving the emission scores and mpg of their fleet. Some of the honorable mentions that are likely to enter this market include BMW’s 3 and 7 series, Audi’s A4 plug-in hybrid electric car, Volkswagen’s Passat and Mercedes’ E-Class. Although Ford is already through with the production of its Fusion Energi, it has announced its intention to release the plug-in hybrid car’s next generation. Tesla’s Model X is also worth mentioning, with bulk deliveries expect to begin in 2016.
December 31, 2015
Faraday Future, a Chinese-based electric automobile company has made the announcement of their intention to build a one-billion dollar manufacturing plant that will be based in Las Vegas. This plan was revealed through a letter that was sent by the company to Nevada officials. Nevada was chosen over other states following intense discussions that incorporated a financial development team in Nevada. The step to build the manufacturing plant comes just when the state allowed key tax incentives. Associated Press obtained the letter, which was signed by a Chinese investor, Jia Yueting. The investor’s style is comparable to that of the late Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs. Faraday hopes that as of 2017 one vehicle model will be available to the market.
The officials of Nevada have scheduled a conference where major highlights will be formally announcing the agreement and bringing the manufacturing plant to the Northern part of Las Vegas. Tax incentives required to fully seal the deal would necessitate authorization from the lawmakers of Nevada. The same lawmakers gave an approval to an incentive package of 1.3 billion dollars in last year’s special session that saw the securing of Tesla’s huge battery factory in Reno. Brian Sandoval, a republican governor held a meeting with representatives of Faraday in China and will have to summon Nevada lawmakers. These lawmakers will meet for a special session that will result in finalization of the agreement.
So far, a few details have been offered by Faraday and the vision of revolutionizing transportation has also been communicated. According to Stacy Morris, Faraday spokeswoman, mobile devices have changed the lives of people and unfortunately, the automobile industry has not caught up. The vehicle still gives a feeling of disconnect. An automobile company analyst said that Faraday will provide access to Internet as well as updates, taking a leaf from Tesla and other traditional car manufacturers.
Faraday Future’s startup has approximately 500 employees and its executive talent has been poached from Tesla. Additionally, the name has been coined from Michael Faraday, a scientist whose inventions in the 1800s laid a basis for the current electric motor. In the race of landing the factory, Nevada led finalists Louisiana, Georgia and California. The company expects that about 4,500 jobs will be created at the manufacturing plant. This will be a true representation of North Las Vegas’ boon, and the city currently has approximately 220,000 residents. This is according to one of the members of the economical development team, Steve Hill.
December 24, 2015
Over the past years, family sedans have increasingly become fuel efficient. The rating is usually assigned by the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States for a minimum range of 40 mpg. For instance, when driving a C-Max Energi or Ford Fusion while using maximum electric energy, the daily mean energy used is determined by the driving distance. The same case is applicable for the 2016 Chevrolet Volt with an EV range of 53 miles. Considering the fact that this is a compact model car, its size is smaller than that of most cars. Most of the family sedans considered as fuel efficient are either large or midsized, and can accommodate five passengers comfortably.
One of the most fuel efficient family sedans is Hyundai’s 2016 Sonata plug-in whose city mileage is 38 mpg, highway mileage of 41 mpg and a combined mileage of 40 mpg. This car is one of the highest mileage rated cars as per EPA accounting. It has an engine with a capacity of 2 liters and its battery is larger than that of other plug in hybrids. It has an electric range of 27 miles, which is second to Volt. This mid-sized sedan has a roomy front-wheel-drive and respectable power.
Another family sedan leading in the fuel-efficiency category is Ford’s 2016 C-Max Hybrid with a city range is 42 mpg, highway range is 37 mpg and a combined range of 40 mpg. It is often that the C-Max has been categorized among the sedans since it is a hatchback vehicle. It has a large interior space and a 2.0 liter battery pack that supplies power to the front wheels. A few years ago, the C-Max was considered Ford’s response to Toyota’s Prius. It was then positioned as a faster, larger and fun vehicle.
Toyota’s Camry hybrid is yet another fuel-efficient family sedan car with a city range of 43 mpg, a highway range of 41 mpg and a combined range of 42 mpg. Currently, this is America’s highest selling sedan. It utilizes the hybrid synergy drive of Toyota and a gas-electric format with a capacity of 2 liters. Although the car uses its 2012 powertrain, it was given an upgrade in 2015. The car is slightly down as per EPA ratings because of its high levels of equipment and consequently a high curb weight.
The highest ranked family sedan is Ford’s Fusion hybrid, which is enjoyable, competent and spacious with a high mpg rating. It has a city range of 44 mpg, a highway range of 41 mpg and a combined range of 42 mpg.
December 24, 2015
In November, approximately 3,100 units of Model S were delivered by Tesla in the United States. Among hybrid cars, the only other model that sold more cars was the Toyota Prius. The total units sold for Prius were about 8,287. Therefore, other than the Prius, no other regular hybrid or plug-in car performed better than Model S in terms of sales. The sales in question have been estimated for the California automobile company, which has led to slightly different estimates for Tesla’s Model S. Prius C hybrid was the second-best selling electric car in America with about 2,601 units sold in November. Model S clearly surpassed these sales.
With Volkswagen currently affected by the diesel scandal, other cars such as Jetta TDI that might have competed with Model S were not selling, and among the green passenger cars, Tesla was easily the second-seller. Model S car by Tesla is for sure a phenomenon considering its starting price of mid $70s to the current price that has almost doubled. The results of November further add to the phenomenal nature of Model S, which has been rated as the leading car among all the plug-in electric cars for 2015. Tesla’s sales of 3,100 units in November were clearly higher than those of the other two plug-in vehicles in America’s top three. The Nissan Leaf was the second-best with a sale of 1,054 units, while the third-best was the Chevrolet Volt with a total of 1,980 units.
The Volt and the Leaf have been experiencing a decline in sales over the past few years with the Leaf declining by 41.2% and the Volt reducing by 23.3% compared to the previous year’s sales. On the other hand, Model S sales went up by approximately 56.3%. Since the beginning of the year, Model S has sold more than 22,900 units in the United States. The previously best-selling Leaf has sold about 15,922 units and Chevy Volt sold about 13, 279 units. The Volt has however shown signs of acceleration with the delivery of 2nd generation 2016 models in eleven states of U.S.
Tesla’s Model S was introduced in 2012 while the Volt and Leaf were launched in 2010. However, Tesla has managed to bring along an Autopilot, all-wheel drive, and very fast speed options in addition to other upgrades. The main goal of Tesla for 2015 is to achieve a global sales range of 50,000-52,000 units. With 33, 174 sales reported at the end of the third quarter and October sales were approximately 3,500 units.
December 18, 2015