Filed under: Electric Cars

Volkswagen’s Plan to Focus More on Electric Cars

VW_e-Golf_LA_Auto_Show_2013Volkswagen’s boss gave a detailed sketch on how the automaker plans to transform and focus more on the production of electric cars. It also plans to shift its focus to provision of services such as vehicle-sharing as it aims at getting past the recent scandal on emission tests cheating. Matthias Mueller said during a recent annual conference that the company’s primary task will be to recall and fix all vehicles that were implicated in the cheating scandal. It will ensure that this is done until all the vehicles are back in order. He further emphasized that the car business of Volkswagen is still fundamentally sound and gave a detailed plan that emphasizes on creation of zero-emission cars and provision of digital services.

The company’s plan also includes the formation of a legally autonomous firm that will play the role of promoting the business in terms of its mobility services. This will be inclusive of things such as car-sharing and ride-sharing applications. Mueller also said that this automaker will have electric vehicles as one of its novel hallmarks with a target of producing twenty new models by the year 2020. In the past, Volkswagen focused on promoting diesel technology that has since suffered a major blow. This blow came about when it became evident that the engines of Volkswagen car models could not meet the standards governing the U.S. emissions without cheating.

The company admitted to the use of an engine application that made the emissions control inactive when the cars were not under test. Although the disabling of these controls led to improved mileage and performance, it implied that the cars spewed much more than the legally acceptable levels of pollutants. Mr. Mueller once again gave his heartfelt apology for the scandal during a yearly news conference that was recently held in Germany. He acknowledged the fact that they had betrayed the trust that many people had in Volkswagen.

The company incurred a net loss in the year 2015 after setting aside a sum of money for the scandal costs. According to analysts, there will be significantly higher final costs. Part of the funds reserved for the scandal will be used for fixing or purchasing back diesels that had rigged software. Currently, the company is trying to work out an agreement with the United States authorities at a San Francisco-based federal court. If a settlement is reached, up to half a million out of about 600,000 defective cars will be bought back by Volkswagen.


Leave a Comment May 6, 2016

What to Know Before Buying an Electric Car

Rear_Tesla_Model_3_trimmedHundred thousands of potential buyers have already signed up to pre-order Tesla’s Model 3, a highly anticipated electric car. This car’s tag price has been estimated to be $35,000 and intends to deliver at least 200 miles per single charge. However, before rushing out to buy an electric car or reserve your Tesla Model 3, there are some considerations that you should weigh carefully.

Firstly, you need to decide whether you want a hybrid or an electric car. Sometimes, these terms have been used interchangeably, overlooking the fact they are completely different with different powertrains. Typically, electric cars solely use electric motors for powering the wheels without the need for a petrol engine. Hybrid cars and plug-in hybrids use a combination of both electric motor and engine to give power. Electric cars are also referred to as all-electric or battery electric cars. A major limitation of owning an electric car is the difficulty in finding a charging spot on the road. Plug-ins and hybrids are an excellent way of lessening carbon dioxide emission without worrying about charge exhaustion because these cars have gas engines as backups if the battery is exhausted.

You also need to have clear information concerning the battery of an electric car. The energy used to run an electric car is usually contained in batteries, which require regular charging. These batteries have the tendency of substantially adding to the overall weight and cost of the car. The term battery size when referred to with electric cars means the power of the battery and not its physical measurements. This battery power is expressed in kilowatt-hours (kWh) and has a significant impact on the range. A car that has a high kWh can go a long distance.

With respect to battery type, most hybrid and electric cars currently sold in the market utilize lithium ion batteries. This form of battery is popular for providing an appropriate weight-energy balance. Battery warranty is also a vital aspect to consider and this is usually presented in the form of a powertrain warranty, inclusive of a rechargeable battery. With the cost of replacement batteries increasing to about $6,000, it is necessary for a potential buyer to have knowledge of the battery warranty length.

Finally, it is important for you to know how you are planning to charge your electric car both at home and at your workplace. Note that there are pre-installed battery chargers in an electric car. You should find out the electric service capabilities currently installed at your workplace or for your home before making the commitment to an all-electric car.


Leave a Comment May 6, 2016

The Key Merits of the Chevy Bolt over Tesla’s Model 3

Chevrolet_Bolt_NAIS_2016The recent era has been flooded with electric cars, with the second-generation versions selling for a fair price and having outstanding performance. First up, there is the 2017’s Chevrolet Bolt, which has been projected to have a range exceeding 200 miles with a sticker price of approximately $37,500 before incentives. A comparable car with the same price range and a sleeker design is Tesla’s Model 3 whose pre-orders have exceeded 325,000. Nissan also has the novel Leaf that is deemed to offer Chevy Bolt and Tesla a run for their money.

The Bolt has a number of advantages over Tesla’s Model 3 and one of the merits is regarding its design. The Bolt’s design is perfect and slightly similar to that of Chevy Sonic in addition to a few frills. This is contrary to Model 3 whose design is comparable to that of BMW’s 3-series. Owners of the Chevy Bolt will also be able to charge their cars at home. The car’s 200-plus miles in terms of range imply that the standard daily drives will resolve minimal range anxiety.

Another advantage of the Bolt is that it will be available sooner and this is evident after GM fast tracked the car’s development from the concept stage to production phase. The fast tracking was done using fifty five test mules coupled with a thousand engineers. The spec sheet adopted by Bolt is the very same one that Tesla has been hoping to attain for more than ten years. This may be inclusive of the vision and design brought to the table by Tesla. Hence, Bolt is clearly a step ahead in terms of production and market availability.

It is also worth noting that the Chevy Bolt is well sorted. All the processes that take place at the factory, as well as the huge engineer pool are a clear indication of an investment in product development. In the field of plug-in vehicles, GM is famed for producing up to 100,000 plug-in electric cars that have been marketed over the last five years. All these plug-in electric cars have clearly achieved an exemplary track record. GM said that the lessons that have been learned are being passed onto the Chevy Bolt.

Another advantage is the Bolt’s good utility. The car is has adequate room for five passengers, a flat floor, as well as a tall ceiling. Finally, the Chevy Bolt has front wheel drive that is not only better, but also more capable compared to that of the Model 3.


Leave a Comment April 15, 2016

Spied Road Testing Ford’s F-150 Plug-in

23921807926_f88d395fff_oThere is a possibility that Ford may be planning to introduce a new hybrid model, the F-150 pickup, which will be both a truck and a plug-in car. This information was received from a spy photographer that happened to have snapped some copyrighted snaps of a partly camouflaged F-150. According to the photographer, the car’s engine shut down at 35 mph after which an electric hybrid powertrain took over. A further giveaway was the fact that there was a filler door at the side front fender of the passenger’s seat. The fender was at the exact location of a charge port instead of a gas inlet.

For quite some time, Ford executives have made it clear that the automaker has plans of releasing F-150 hybrid before the year 2020. Back in 2011, Ford partnered with Toyota, with the relationship ending in 2013. Previously, the efforts of Ford got in the way of Toyota with the patented system of both companies’ architecture being developed independently in mid 2000s. The current full hybrids, C-Max and the Fusion by Ford have technical similarities to Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive.

While the global best-selling hybrid car is the Prius, F-150 happens to be the best-selling car in America, albeit that it is a truck. Ford’s 10-speed might be incorporated in the hybrid variant rather than a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The truck’s primary intention will be that of load hauling and towing. A few years ago, Ford attempted to use aluminum bodies. If the automaker decides to electrify its hugely successful truck, it would be essential for it to adhere to specific minimum criteria necessary for the actual duty.

Assuming that Ford’s plan comes to pass, enthusiasts are highly likely to welcome it. Currently, there are no hybrid pickups in the United States market. The ones available are commercialized fleet cars that cannot be bought by the general public. These cars have been claimed to have up to 100 mpg through the electric assist and an EV range of more than 40 miles.

A truck’s underbody would be ideal for stowing traction batteries, as well as additional hardware of a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. For this reason, advocates of electrification have asserted that major manufacturers need to do what VIA Motors has done with their electric vehicles if they want to save more fuel. Ford is yet to confirm its specific plans regarding the rumored F-150. However, if the photographer’s information is anything to go by, the automaker is clearly ahead of its hybridization deadline that was set to 2020. The plug-in capability will serve as an additional bonus.


Leave a Comment April 15, 2016

Why Electric Cars Will Shape the World’s Future

Tesla_Model_X_vin0002_trimmedPrior to Tesla Model 3’s revelation, the company CEO, Elon Musk shed light on why people should choose electric cars. Musk said that the new car is projected to explode the global sales of Tesla from just more than 50,000 the previous year to as around 500,000 cars by the end of the decade. If this figure is reached, the planet would benefit greatly since electric cars are clearly the cars of the future. The goal of producing electric cars is a matter of humanity’s life and death. Tesla’s main reason for making electric cars is to speed up the transition to a form of transport that is sustainable. Sustainability is extremely important for the world’s future.

Although several facts could have come to play, Musk’s citation started with the general observation that the world’s carbon dioxide levels were a record high at 403.5 ppm. This figure has been gradually rising over the past few years. The last time such a high carbon dioxide concentration was recorded globally happens to be 11 million years ago. Humanity does not want to revisit such a state. The mean global temperatures have increased steadily because of the high levels of greenhouse gases.

Approximately 70% of the total petroleum utilized in the United States is accounted for by the transportation sector. Additionally, cars associated with greenhouse gas emissions are extremely important. It would therefore make a huge difference if the shift to sustainable transport is accelerated. Beyond global warming, it is evident that toxic gases are released by combustion cars. Musk cited a study that was conducted at MIT revealing that around 53 million people die annually from inhaling toxic emissions. Hence, Musk concluded that a vehicle spewing toxic gases is definitely harmful to your health.

Musk said that Tesla’s plan of producing electric cars could help solve the problems highlighted. The plan in question was to show that electric vehicles could manage the low volume, high-priced Roadster. The Model S whose starting price in 2007 ranged from $55,000-$68,000 dollars was produced. This was closely followed by Model X, which was produced in response to consumers’ preference for SUVs. Model X was thus built on the basis of the Model S platform. And now there is the Model 3, which has been unveiled this week. The new Model 3 has been projected to be attained by a greater majority of the population. It will be produced by the end of next year. Based on Tesla’s trend, it is clear that the future is geared toward electric car production.


Leave a Comment April 8, 2016

Toyota Unleashes its Prius Prime Plug-in Car at New York’s Auto Show

Toyota_Prius_HybridThree new vehicles were unveiled by Toyota during New York’s Auto show that was held earlier this month. One of the key highlights was the new Prius Prime hybrid plug-in, which is the automaker’s first new Prius since 2014. The other two cars that were unveiled are the 86 sports vehicle and an upgraded model of Toyota’s Highlander SUV. The new Highlander version has a new engine, more aggressive grille and a novel transmission. Although the Highlander has a high likelihood of outselling the Prius Prime, the show’s highlight was still the plug-in Prius’ return.

All Electric Range of 22 Miles

The release of Prime plug-in is a clear indication that Toyota is committed to adding to its lineup of Prius hybrids even at this time when the prices of gas is still low. The automaker has projected that the Prius Prime’s mileage will be higher when compared to its previous plug-in cars. It will have at least 120 more miles per gallon in comparison to the other plug-in hybrids. This is equivalent to about 26 percent increase from its predecessor. According to Toyota, the new Prius Prime will have the capacity to cover up to 22 miles when fully charged before switching to the gasoline engine. On a fully electric mode, the car can go for speeds of 84 mph.

An electric range of 22 miles means that more than half of the American population can drive to work then back home without having to rely on gasoline. For the people who are able to charge their cars at work, the figure increases to 80 percent. Those who commute longer miles can depend on a hybrid system deemed to be the most fuel efficient in the auto industry. The Prius Prime will run on a battery pack of 8.8 kilowatts when in electric mode. Additionally, it will feature Toyota’s drive system based on a dual-motor generator. Such a system utilizes both the generator and electric motor as the driving force.

A major question is whether the unveiled Prius Prime will turn out to be a fan favorite. Later this year, Chevrolet plans to put its Bolt electric vehicle on sale. The new Bolt will have a battery with a capacity of 60 kilowatts and a projected mileage of 200 MPGe per a single charge. Its price tag after the addition of tax credits will be 30,000 dollars. Other notable competitors of the Prius Prime are the siblings of Ford Energi, the Fusion and C-max, which will have an electric range of 19 miles.





Leave a Comment March 31, 2016

Hyundai Ioniq Debuts in New York

Ioniq_Rear_SideThe official introduction of the Hyundai Ioniq to the United States market took place during the New York motor show. This car that has an electric powertrain and will start its sales with the 2017 model with a battery electric and hybrid models in this year’s fourth quarter. Early next year, the 2018 plug-in version of the hybrid will follow. According to Hyundai, the revealing of these three green cars in Geneva earlier this month was a significant milestone. The car will compete with Toyota and other big manufacturers in the auto industry. Hyundai would have spent a lot of money if it had chosen to develop the three cars separately. Hence, billions were saved in terms of development costs with the Ioniq.

Moving into the Hybrid Market

All the three variants of Ioniq share major specifications such as the use of high strength steel and aluminum, which cuts the total curb weight. The use of the two metals is also seen as a way of attaining maximum mpg. These inaugural vehicles are a clear representation of Hyundai’s new model line and are expected to remain relevant throughout the next decade. Creature comforts are also anticipated for the cars. Other details included are the Android Auto and CarPlay, TET display, advanced safety features and wireless smart phone charging. The safety department has features such as Lane Departure Warning, Automated Emergency Braking, Cross-Traffic Alert and Blind Spot Detection.

The Toyota Prius was used to benchmark the Ioniq Hybrid and Hyundai has projected a United States EPA rating of 57 to 58 mpg. This figure isn’t official, but if it is so, the car will surpass even the Eco version from Japan. It will take the top spot in the United States market cars in terms of mpg. The plug-in Ioniq is based on the powertrain of a hybrid car but has an additional lithium-ion battery of 8.9-kilowatt-hours that allows emission-free driving. According to Hyundai’s Product Planning manager, the EV range offered will be between 25 to 30 miles. The European rating is at 32 miles.

May Surpass Prius in Mileage

With respect to its competitiveness, the Ioniq trio can be likened to an electrified version of a jack-of-all trades. All the three versions have promised high performance and efficiency. The car has also been projected to surpass the 2016 Toyota’s Prius in terms of mileage with variations in highway and city efficiency. The plug-in hybrid variant also surpasses 2017’s Prius Prime in terms of mileage. These are just estimates since the official EPA-certified figures have not yet been released by Hyundai and Toyota.


Leave a Comment March 31, 2016

BMW’s i5 Extended Range Electric Vehicle Confirmed

BMW-i3-Electric_Drive_unit1The BMW i8 and i3 cars are now sure of getting a mate. Henrick Wenders, the BMW iproduct line boss confirmed that the i5 will officially enter the market. However, the full details of the yet to be released i5 have not been fully confirmed yet. Just like the i3, the BMW i5 is set to have a combustion engine with an extended electric range. This clearly means that the i5 is a range-extended version of the electric car and not a hybrid. The i5 drive unit is shown here.

The range will be a key limiting factor as well as an anxiety source for green cars in the coming years. Green cars will be fully adopted once they have a range that is similar or comparable to that in an internal-combustion engine. For this reason, BMW plans to go on offering range-extenders even in its future cars. This will be offered as an option to address various needs of its customers. Wenders insinuated that consumers opted for a range-extender for their i3 REx so as to address range anxiety. Most of those purchasers found out they actually did not need to use the extender that often. Wenders expects that the i5 will be a popular car among consumers because of the range-extender provision.

Wenders admitted to having held numerous internal discussions, and his attempts to always represent customers. For this reason, he has often advocated for maximum range. However, from an engineering outlook, it is vital to be extremely careful. The automaker has to provide consumers with a battery that has a high longevity. The drive-train and battery should also make sense in terms of carbon dioxide investment. Just like the i3, there will be small upgrades for the i5 over time, following the continual development of battery technology. Wenders confirmed that the carbon footprint will play a huge role for the i5 as well as other future models of the i class.

BMW is aware of its inherent rivalry with Tesla. To address the issue, Wenders said that he was highly subjective and was convinced that there was an emotional connection between BMW and its audience. He further added that the automaker is not focused on building a different brand with a different portfolio. This would be like talking about a different company, which might be seen as an autonomous competitor of Tesla. Wenders said that they are a sub-brand and a section of a thriving quality automaker. He concluded with the statement that BMW’s strength is its innovation and its ability to come up with new designs using new materials.


Leave a Comment March 17, 2016

Volkswagen XL3 to Give Prius a Run for Its Money

'15_Volkswagen_Golf_Sportwagen_(MIAS_'15)Volkswagen is set to release a major rival for Toyota’s Prius as it was seen in exclusive images released. The car will be called Volkswagen XL3 with Volkswagen planning to increase its fleet of electrified vehicles by 2020. Despite encountering huge criticism concerning the manner in which it is dealing with the Dieselgate scandal, Volkswagen’s comeback plan is to invest in hybrid ads for all-electric cars. As part of this plan, the automaker will extend its current line-up of electric vehicles to incorporate an independent model to join the fully electric Gold and hybrid Passat.

Dr. Herbert Diess, the head of Volkswagen Passenger Cars, spoke during an exclusive interview with Auto Express. He stated that the company has a commitment to hybrid and electric cars based on the standard MQB (shared modular construction for transverse, front-wheel drive, front-engined vehicles) chassis. This chassis is what is used in making conventional VW cars such as the Passat and Golf. He added that the company has a plan of shifting to a new platform designed solely for electrification. He further said that it would be worthwhile to consider adopting a new architecture that would make it possible to do away with the technical components associated with the combustion engine. This will also help in creating room in the interior section of the vehicle.

For a fully-electric vehicle, you can get exterior dimensions that are a size bigger. This means that for a length similar to that of Golf, the interior space would be that of a Passat. The new electric platform for Volkwagen will probably be referred to as the Modular Electric platform, or MEB. It is expected that this platform will have a high compatibility with the MQB. This will allow electric cars to be manufactured on similar lines to combustion engine cars.

XL3’s electric motor has been projected to produce approximately 30 bhp with a lower version of Volkswagen’s turbocharged petrol engine with a capacity of 1.4 liter. To save more fuel, it will feature a cylinder deactivation system. The battery is expected to be relatively modest and the electric range will be a few miles. The overall fuel consumption will exceed 94 mpg, which translates 3 liters for every 10 kilometers.

Beyond a hybrid car, Volkswagen also has future plans to produce a fully electric car. Mathiam Muller, Volksagen Grouo boss has given strong hints concerning the project’s technical targets. By 2020, cars having full electric ranges exceeding 500 km will be extremely feasible. Charging such cars will take a few minutes. On a long term basis, electric cars would be less costly compared to cars using internal combustion engines.



Leave a Comment March 17, 2016

First Drive Review for the BMW 330e Plug-in Hybrid

BMW_E90_front_20090301It has been projected that soon one out of every ten BMW 3 series will be having powertrains operating in hybrid mode. Officials at this German automaker have shown confidence that a substantial number of purchasers prefer the recent petrol-electric model. This model will enter the market later this year. BMW is yet to confirm the volume aspirations because discussions are still being held with value forecasters. However, officials expect the car’s total sales to account for at least 5 percent.

Last year alone, at least 23,000 of the sedan version were sold. This version happens to be an integral part of BMW. The hybrid version will be one of the core models to account for a more than ten percent share soon. During a recent launch event, Mark Costello, one of the BMW’s product managers, said that the new car is attractive due to its high electric drive range, practicality, and the total operating economy. These are some of the advantages that this plug-in hybrid has over its competitors.

With an additional 40 hp, Mercedes-Benz has an acceleration that is slightly faster. The EV range of the BMW 330e can reach 25 miles, which is better in comparison to the previous 19 miles. Its boot space is 370 liters in comparison with the standard 340 liters. Additionally, the new 3e series has a lower rate of fuel consumption. Its advantage in the corporate sector cannot be overlooked. The carbon dioxide emission status has been retained at 50g/km. This status is irrespective of wheel options and the trim level. The car’s price tag will also be considerably lower. All these factors combined is a clear indication that this new entrant will create a huge impact.

The BMW 330e plug-in hybrid will not only win conquest business, but it is also expected to strongly compete with the current BMW 320ED. It will be up to the fleet users to decide the version that suits them best. The type of use will be reflected in purchase decisions. For high motorway mileage, the most efficient choice is still diesel. However, BMW strongly believes that hybrids will define the future. Hybrid cars are the best, especially in maximizing fuel savings and using as much electricity as possible. The 330E’s weight distribution is neutral, consequently giving it good road holding capability, stability and balanced handling that surpasses its major competitors. A top speed of 75 mph is given using electric drive while a wide range of options are available in terms of operating mode to give efficient mobility.


Leave a Comment March 11, 2016

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