Filed under: Electric Cars

Exploring the Best Cars

512px-Toyota_Prius_V_Hybrid_car_launchIt is essential to explore the best cars so as to figure out whether now is the best time to purchase a hybrid or electric car. With the Formula E in full effect, the future of driving seems to be geared towards electric cars. While the days of gasoline-fuel powered engines may be numbered, is it really the best time to shift to electric cars? With respect to pure electric cars, the selection is not huge at the moment. However, these cars have a range that is good for daily use. Leading the field is Tesla’s model S whose drive is all-wheel. Other brands known for making pure electric cars at reasonable prices include Ford, Nissan, VW, BMW, and Renault.

When making a decision on whether to go or not to go electric, most people will consider charging times, range, power, and price. Regarding price, the VW e-Gold is the most expensive, followed by BMW’s i3, Kia’s Soul, Nissan’s Leaf and the Renault Zoe. With respect to plug-in hybrids, Toyota Prius tops by having a dual-drive system. The plug-in hybrids have now gained popularity with a majority of drivers choosing the Prius. Over the past few years, the market has further grown with the manufacture of plug-in hybrid cars that allow for home charging. In this way, drivers may see no need to utilize the fuel engines and rather reserve that for driving long distances. A major advantage of plug-in hybrid cars is that their range is extended. Some of the popular plug-in hybrids include Mitsubishi’s PGEV GX3h, Ford’s Titanium Hybrid and Toyota’s Prius Plug-in Hybrid.

With respect to range, the Ford Mondeo Titanium hybrid leads with an impressive range of 967 miles, while BMW’s i3 follows closely with a range of 930 miles. While the Toyota Prius can go up to 700 miles in a single journey, it loses solely on electric with only 15 miles range on charge. Just like pure electrics, the plug-in electric cars offer a charge of up to 80% in 30 minutes. Upgrading a home charger for rapid charging would cost the driver, though doing so would reduce the time needed for full charging to only three hours. It is evident that there is a positive future for electric and hybrid cars. There has been a cropping up of charging infrastructure countrywide. Thanks to fast chargers, it is now possible to drive pure electric cars for long journeys. This means that choosing to buy an electric or hybrid car right now is not as risky as it was some years back.



Leave a Comment May 8, 2015

The 2016 Chevrolet Volt and Cost Speculation

Chevy_Volt_(4374735485)Prior to its launch this summer, General Motors has promoted the superiority of the 2016 Chevrolet Volt. The automaker started by displaying the car’s specifications online, but was skeptical about revealing the price. It is unclear whether General Motors will price this new model effectively. Cost is a rather sensitive issue and this is especially true with GM and its extended-range electric car. Talk has been that the 2016 Volt might retail below $30,000, and this was prior to the December 2010 launch of the original 2011 model. The speculation later proved to be unrealistic, especially when an almost $40,000 sticker price was placed on the compact Chevrolet.

Following the leads of Nissan and other automakers in the year 2014, the price of Volt dropped to just less than $35,000. A major question now is the price tag that will be placed on the 2016 Chevrolet Volt. In an interview, Andrew Farah, the lead Volt engineer did not specify the price of the new Volt. A goal of whittling off $10,000 had been put as per the previous reports. This is however yet to be confirmed. While GM gauges excitement, touts benefits and refines the last details of the 2016 Chevy Volt, the company has been noticeably quiet about the pricing details. A decent starting point of $29,995 has been suggested by the speculators on Some have suggested a low of $27,995 and a fair price of $39,995, as well.

The question of price may be solved between June and July when General Motors will make the official announcement that everyone has been waiting for. The automaker plans to give a price to alternative-energy products as per to what is thought to be worthy. For the 2011 Volt, many people were given a jolt starting price of $40,000. The sales never took off as predicted, combined with politicized backlash and other factors. Therefore, the initial forecast of 45,000 U.S. sales by GM was altered by the end of the year 2011 to fit the supply versus demand.

According to GM, the 2016 Chevy Volt will be a mainstream vehicle. The outgoing lame duck Volt sold a total of 18,805 units in 2014, with 23,094 Volts sold in 2013 while and 23,461 in the year 2012. The automaker claims that this model with have a broader appeal. It will not only market it more cleverly, but also give sufficient support to its dealers. Analysts have projected that about 24,300 Volt units will be sold for the first year.


Leave a Comment May 8, 2015

Low Hybrid and Electric Car Sales as Gasoline Prices Remain Down

2010_red_Ford_Fusion_frontAlthough the 45th anniversary of Earth Day was marked the other day, so far the hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric carmakers have no reason for celebration. The sales of hybrids such as the Toyota Prius have gone down by 15.6 % for the first quarter of 2015 in comparison to the previous year totals. Sixty-six percent of the United States market for hybrid vehicles is accounted for by the different Toyota Prius models, as well as the Avalon and Camry hybrids. The only hybrid car that showed a slight increase in sales (4.6%) in the first quarter is the Prius V Compact wagon. The worse thing is that the hybrid and electric cars are being traded in at a higher rate as the prices of gasoline remains low. Edmunds claimed that approximately 22 percent of car owners who have chosen to trade in their electric and hybrid cars have bought a novel SUV. This is almost two times the rate seen three years ago (11.9%).

The electric and hybrid car trade-ins that have gone toward the purchase of another alternative fuel car so far are only at 45%. According to Edmunds, the loyalty rates among alternative-fuel car owners for the first time had gone below 50 percent. The story is clearly explained by the math. In October 2012, the average cost of gasoline per gallon was $4.67 and it was projected that it would take five years to recover the price difference between a Camry Hybrid and a gasoline-fueled Camry. The payback period rises to ten years at a national average price of $2.27 per gallon. There is even a greater difference for electric vehicles such as the GM’s Chevy Spark, the Nissan Leaf and Ford Motor’s Ford Focus electric vehicle. For the first three months of 2015, the sales of Nissan Leaf are down 21.2 % year-over-year, while those of Focus electric vehicle are down by about 9 percent. A 31% jump in sales was reported by the Chevy Spark with a total of only 151 units.

Plug-in hybrid cars such as the Ford C-Max Energy and the Chevrolet Volt reported low quarter sales of 1.5% and 48% respectively. The Ford Fusion Energi is the best-selling car in this group with March sales of 837 units. Compared with the first quarter of 2014, the sales have gone down by 15.6%. In the first quarter, GM’s Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid saw a 73% increase in sales. It sold 311 units compared to 2014’s 180 units.


Leave a Comment May 1, 2015

Nearly Full Details and Specs for 2016 Volt Released by Chevy

2016_Chevrolet_Volt_NAIAS_2015_trimmedGeneral Motors has just released the full details for the 2016 Chevrolet Volt. These are inclusive of the main equipment, specifications, and upgrades. The car’s price range is the only detail missing. All this information was listed by GM in an ordering guideline of 25 pages that is available online. However, the automaker is currently not accepting orders for the Volt. The 2016 Volt is characterized by two trim levels. The 2LT Hatchback, has been used as the base model and has fewer trim options and colors. The basic Volt is far from meager irrespective of the fact that it does not include perks such as automatic parking assist and wireless charging for devices.

Much of the Volt has been upgraded and Chevrolet decided to make this move so the hatchback could be positioned as a premium vehicle. The standard equipment for the vehicle includes two additional airbags and a Wi-Fi Hotspot. The base model also has a rear vision camera, which is an upgrade on 2015 Volt. A new standard for the 2016 is the Regen on Demand, which allows drivers to have more capacity to control energy regeneration. This is done using a paddle-style switch that is fixed on the car’s steering wheel. There is a new feature on the charging system, which is connected to the vehicle’s GPS to allow smarter charging. The feature will give car owners the freedom of setting their charging preferences solely for charging their vehicles at home. The vehicle would then adjust automatically to the setting chosen when at home on the basis of GPS data. With the new Volt, car owners will charge their cars in public easily and the charging flexibility will be greater.

The upgraded 2LZ trim also has a set of eight Bose speakers for premium sound in addition to wireless charging and automatic parking assist. The comfort package comprises of a heated steering wheel, heated mirrors and heated front seats. The blind zone alert, automatic high beam headlights, forward collision alert and a sensor are other driver assist features that can be added to the upgraded Chevrolet Volt.

According to the specifications sheet, there has been an all round increment increase on the new Volt, with the wheelbase increasing by almost half an inch, the sides increasing by 0.8 inches and the length increasing by 3.3 inches. However, these additional inches do not reflect on the inside to give more passenger space. In terms of weight, the new Volt will be lighter by 243 pounds and have a 3, 543 pounds curb weight.


Leave a Comment April 24, 2015

Chevrolet Unveils the Bolt EV as its New Electric Car

Chevrolet_Bolt_Concept_(front)_NAIAS_2015General Motors Company recently made an announcement concerning its new pure electric vehicle that will boast a range of more than 200 miles. The new car will be marketed across the U.S and will be referred to as Bolt EV. According to an emailed statement by the company, the name Bolt EV has quickly been linked to Chevrolet since being unveiled three months ago. Therefore, when the vehicle goes into production, the name will be used. By unveiling the Bolt EV, Chevrolet has shown its commitment and strides towards electrification. The name is also well suited for this electric vehicle that is game-changing and made for attainability rather than exclusivity. Criticisms had been raised with respect to the name being closely related to Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid car by Chevy.

The Bolt concept was first shown by GM at the Detroit’s North American International Auto Show in January and at the Chicago Auto Show a month later. In Chicago, GM made a confirmation of building a five-passenger car in Orion Township at the carmaker’s Orion Assembly plant. According to Michael Albano, Chevrolet spokesman, the final decision to use the name Bolt EV was made by GM about a month ago. In an email, Albano said that the confirmation was reached following consultation with dealers and customers. Most of the customers felt that the name was suitable and its connection to the Volt was viewed positively. Alan Batey, the GM present in North America said in February that the automaker was still debating on whether to or not to go with the name Bolt. He further added that GM may not come up with the decision this year. This is because some people claimed that the name was confusing.

GM and Chevrolet officials have not yet given the exact production date for the vehicle. The only information given is that the vehicle is on “fast track production.” An industry forecasting and analysis firm, LMC Automotive, projects the Bolt to be built later next year and enter the market in 2017. GM produces a high of 20,000 and a low of 30,000 vehicles on an annual basis. The new Bolt will serve as a replacement for the Chevy Spark EV and will have double the range. It has been estimated to cost around 30,000 dollars following a federal tax credit of 7,500 dollars. According to GM, 160-million dollars will be invested in purchasing the equipment and tools needed for manufacturing the future vehicles.


Leave a Comment April 24, 2015

Chevy’s 2016 Malibu Hybrid Might Give the Prius a Run for Its Money

Chevrolet_Malibu_Hybrid_DCToyota’s Prius has been the leading hybrid vehicle across the globe since 1997. In October last year, Prius’ global sales hit seven million. This year’s New York International Auto show was marked by the release of the new Chevy Malibu Hybrid, which is deemed to be a strong competitor to the Prius. Chevrolet has projected that an EPA of 48 City/45 highway MPG will be delivered by the Malibu. This is a bit close to the standard Prius Hatchback’s 51/48 MPG. The Malibu has adopted the Volt’s Voltec technology, though it has a smaller battery (1.5 kWh) and larger engine (1.8 liter). Although the new Malibu hybrid is incapable of charging using a plug, it has the ability of cruising on electric power alone for a mile up to 55 MPH. The regenerative system of the new hybrid is similar to that of the Volt. The fact that there is shared technology implies that there was little reinvention involved in model development, resulting in an increase in consumer savings. Chevy’s Malibu will be the first car from this automaker to utilize Exhaust-Gas Heat Recovery for warming the engine and cabin, resulting in fasting heating and a fuel economy that is more consistent.

Despite the fact that Chevy’s Malibu will give Toyota’s Prius a run for its money, it is not a Prius clone. The 2015 Malibu hybrid is 15-inches longer compared to the standard Prius Hatchback and more than 8-inches longer compared to Prius V. The 2016 model is longer by a few inches and lighter by about 300 pounds. The size of the 2016 model is comparable to that of Camry Hybrid whose range is at 40/38 MPG. Additionally, the new version has a sharper look compared to the Prius. For those consumers who are not impressed by Toyota’s uniqueness, the Malibu offers comfort and shape familiarity. When it comes to performance, Prius has 98 horsepower, while the new Malibu hybrid gives 182 horsepower. While the Malibu is best suited for sport, the Prius and Volt are tuned for economy. There is a solid lineup of safety and entertainment features in the 2015 Prius, while the new version of Malibu hybrid has improved on that by having a pedestrian alert that is camera enabled, as well as a blind spot monitoring. Another interesting feature of the Malibu Hybrid is Teen Driver System that gives parents the ability for setting an acceptable speed. When the parameters are exceeded, the system will alert parents.




Leave a Comment April 18, 2015

The Impact that Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Have on Car Insurance Quotes

electric carMany hybrid car drivers choose greener cars over a gasoline-powered car for lifestyle reasons rather than economics. Driver should however, keep in mind that choosing one of the hybrid vehicles could have an impact on car insurance quotes. The cost of insuring a hybrid car is generally higher than that of insuring a gasoline-fueled car. This is according to a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the year 2008. However, in most cases, the difference was small. A key reason noted for the difference in question is the fact that the cost of repairing and replacing a hybrid vehicle is higher than that of conventional gasoline-powered cars.

The national Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a study in 2009, whose findings indicated that hybrid cars had a high likelihood of getting into accidents that involve pedestrians and bicycles. This is presumably because such cars are quieter in comparison to other conventional vehicles. Furthermore, hybrid cars are smaller in size and for this reason, the damage resulting from accidents tend to be extensive and therefore have a high cost of repair. These and several other factors influence the amount of money that drivers need to pay for insurance of electric and hybrid vehicles.

Availability of discounts is another aspect to take note of when it comes to insurance of electric and hybrid cars. Lower rates are usually given by a few auto insurance giants to green car drivers. For instance, hybrid and other alternative-fuel cars are given a 10% discount by Travelers and Farmers. Additionally, other common discounts such as multicar and good driver are also given. It is however, essential to take note of the fact that only a few states offer Farmers discount. Safety matters also play a role in insurance costs. Although electric and hybrid vehicles have a tendency of getting into more pedestrian accidents, such accidents occur at minimal speeds. A new study has shown that hybrid car models are safer compared to conventional car models. This is because hybrid and electric cars are heavier. The safer the vehicle, the lower the vehicle’s insurance quote.

It all boils down to the fact that electric and hybrid vehicles are an excellent way of minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and saving money on gasoline. However, the high costs of repairing them, as well as some safety issues may slightly increase the cost of insuring such cars. There are several advantages of choosing an electric or hybrid vehicle over conventional gasoline cars. Drivers should just remember to consider the insurance costs.




Leave a Comment April 10, 2015

Are Hybrid or Electric Cars a Risk to Pedestrians?

pg-1-blind-1-rexGreen hybrid or electric vehicles are riskier to pedestrians compared to conventional gasoline-fueled cars. This is according to the Guide Dogs charity report released this week. The report found that pedestrians have a forty percent chance of being run over or hit by a silent electric or hybrid car in comparison to a car with a diesel or petrol engine. The number of injuries caused has been gradually increasing as the number of green cars increase following the Government tax breaks for eco-friendly vehicles. The report said that between 2012 and 2013 there was 54% increase in pedestrian injuries in accidents involving silent cars. The charity’s major concern is about guide dog owners, as well as their animals, that are especially at a high risk of getting hit by quiet vehicles that cannot be heard coming. Therefore, the charity calls for adoption of laws that would make it compulsory for all hybrid and electric vehicles to have noise generating systems.

Currently, the government is gearing its efforts and money towards increasing the number of silent vehicles on roads. While, the charity is in support of increasing the number of environmental friendly cars, there is a need to consider the safety of pedestrians. A survey conducted by YouGov showed that at least 75% percent of the population are of the opinion that hybrid cars made roads risky for partially-sighted or blind pedestrians. A similar number also thought that silent green vehicles were risky to children and older people. Hybrid and electric cars powered by electricity move quietly and may surprise pedestrians expecting to hear a vehicle approaching. Independent companies and car manufacturers have been working on a number of sound generators to minimize accident risk. Most of the sound generators in question include fixed speakers working in the direction of vehicle movement to minimize risks to people not on roads.

The sounds generated range from whining, quaking, to rumbling of petrol or diesel engines. It is hoped that by the year 2021, such artificial generators will be present in hybrid and electric cars, but before this is achieved, there will be more risks on the road. Legislation should emphasize on not only fitting the noise-generators, but also ensuring that they are switched on at all times. One Paralympic Sprinter, Libby Clegg, who supports the charity’s campaign, said that when you cannot hear a silent electric and hybrid car, it is extremely terrifying. Miss Clegg said that millions of blind people would be protected from the rising safety hazard by ensuring that all silent cars have fitted sound generating systems.


Leave a Comment April 3, 2015

The Merits and Demerits of Electric Cars

Tesla_Roadster_electric_car_DSC_0160Virtually everything in life has its advantages and disadvantages and the same case applies to electric cars. One of the pros of using electric cars is that they can be recharged easily at home. Electric car drivers are not obliged to go to a gas station, since all they need to do is find a plug and insert into a charging inlet. Charging this way is not only convenient, but also time-saving. It would only take around fifteen minutes to fully charge an electric car. Although this may be tricky for drivers residing in apartments and condos, there has been a gradual improvement in access to workplace and multi-family charging.

Another advantage of electric cars is that they are fast and quiet. It would only require one battery-powered car ride to actually comprehend the higher quality of ride of electric cars compared to gasoline-powered cars. Electric cars are not only very quiet, but also very smooth. Riding in an electric car makes a regular car appear outdated and chunky. Most drivers are surprised by the fact that electric cars offer a high torque. The power is immediately delivered to the wheel once a driver steps on the accelerator and this provides an exciting driving experience.

Operating an electric car is cheaper compared to a gasoline car. This is because electricity is cheap and ubiquitous is most parts of the world. Owed to the electric cars’ considerable efficiency in comparison to gasoline-powered cars, the cost of fueling an electric vehicle per mile is around a third or a quarter than of gasoline. Maintenance costs are further reduced since electric cars neither have exhaust systems nor require oil changes. Maintaining an electric car will only necessitate rotating the car tires and keeping them well inflated. Another plus of electric cars is that they do not release tailpipe emissions. This means that the environmental impact of electric cars is smaller than that of conventional gasoline-powered cars.

Despite the mentioned pros, electric cars have a disadvantage of limited range. The range of most affordable electric cars is approximately 80 to 100 miles, which is quite low. The refueling time is also long and this is yet another con of electric cars. It is thus recommendable for electric car drivers to plug in overnight. Another disadvantage of electric cars is their high cost. Most of them currently cost between 30, 000 to 40, 000 dollars. This implies that electric cars are considerably more costly compared to small or average-sized gasoline powered cars.



Leave a Comment April 3, 2015

A Review of Mercedes C350 Plug-in Hybrid

06-07_Mercedes-Benz_C350The most economical and tax-efficient cars money can buy are the plug-in hybrids, which have even outshone the pure electric cars. However, these cars are still costly compared to diesel and petrol-powered alternatives. The prices are expected to tumble with Mercedes planning to launch ten of them by the year 2017. The Mercedes C350 will have a familiar feel. It’s pretty much a no-compromise car, based on the C-Class sedan. However, the trunk capacity is low because of the 100 kg lithium-ion battery. The C-Class sedan’s truck capacity has been reduced from 480 to 335 liters, while that of the Estate has reduced from 490 to 350 liters.

Both versions of the Mercedes C35O have an air-suspension fitting that helps in coping with the demands of additional weight of 200kg that is added to the curb weight by the entire system. The interior part of the car has not changed much. The new C-Class that was launched last year was greatly improved compared to its predecessor. Similar materials are used for both versions and they have excellent fitting and finishing. Another feature is an exclusive trim for both car versions. They also have air-con system for cooling or pre-heating the car, thanks to electric power that is independent.

The only feature that serves as a hint to the fact that the car will be a state-of-the-art drivetrain is an eco meter that is situated at the instrument binnacle’s bottom section, as well as the central tablet’s flow screen. The cars under skin has an 80 bhp electric motor augmenting a 2-liter 208 bhp petrol engine, sitting in between the transmission and the main unit. The total torque is 600 Nm, while the system power totals to 275 bhp. The torque and power in question is substantially high for such a sports car. In E-mode, a range of 19.2 miles and speed of 80 mph are delivered by the electric motors and batteries. The Mercedes C350 has two major driving modes. Battery power alone is used in the E-mode to give a limited range. The second mode is the E-Save mode, which saves electric charge for later use. The new car’s ride is quite better compared to the average C-Class vehicle. The tail has an additional 100kg that makes it capable of jumping over normal bumps. The drive systems offer the comfort, economy, sport+ and the sport modes. The comfort mode is preferred for Mercedes C350. The two sport modes have brake energy recuperation. Again, the best setting for braking is the Comfort mode.



Leave a Comment March 28, 2015

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