Filed under: Electric Cars

Tesla Upgrades Battery Protection

From extensive research on what most consumers would prefer Tesla to improve on, most users preferred to have an improvement on the armor of the vehicle. The good news is that Tesla recently announced that they had taken steps towards implementing this. The electric sedans that are produced now by the company come equipped with a triple-shield aluminium and titanium shield. These are designed in a way that makes it easy to protect the under body and prevent puncturing of the underside and precipitate fires. Despite the vehicle being under investigation earlier for its failure to prevent battery fires, the transportation agency eventually dropped their charges after the release of this upgrade.

This new shield has been reported to deflect a wide range of objects in the artificially controlled simulations that have been conducted on the car. One of the most notable tests carried out on the Tesla was letting it run over a spear implanted on the road and the body did not display any sparks during the contact. Other objects used in the test include concrete blocks, and an automotive alternator, all of which were deflected from the vehicle.

The vehicle boasts of triple shield architecture. The first layer of the shield is a rounded hollow bar that is made from aluminium. This is meant to completely deflect objects with the magnitude of a three ball trailer. The next layer in the shield is a high strength titanium plate that protects the front under body components. These two layers alone are enough to deflect 80% of the objects that come into contact with the vehicle most of the time.

The third shield is the solid aluminium extrusion that further absorbs the impact energy and gives an additional layer of protection. This layer was added to take care of the rare debris that often remains intact after contact. In general, these shields have about 0.1% impact on the range of the car and have no effect on the ride or handling of the car. Further tests carried out indicated that the additional protection does not have any effect on the drag or lift of the car.

Despite the blown out headline coverage that suggested that the Model S was not safe, the company states that the chances of Model S actually catching fire are 1 in 8000. This is five times lower the chances of an average gasoline powered car catching fire. This means that we can comfortably say that the car is by far safer than most of the gas powered cars running along our roads.


Leave a Comment April 6, 2014

Overview of the 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid

Ford’s Fusion Hybrid was redesigned last year with minor updates being made this year. The car has seen a significant gain in market shares against the popular Toyota. Ford Fusion has continued to gain popularity regardless of a few controversies concerning its potential to attain its approximate mileage rating. In 2013, Fusion Hybrid was ranked number three best selling hybrid car in the United States. Its key competitors are the Prius Liftback and the Toyota Camry Hybrid. The car sales went up last year and were at 164 percent.

A less expensive “S” trim level was introduced this year by Ford, and this new model’s price starts at $26,270. This is in comparison to the previous year when the entry point was at $27,200. Other models that are also available are the Titanium model and an SE. There are some other modifications that have been made for the 2014 Ford Fusion. One of the key changes is with respect to external color options. There is the Sunset and the Dark Side. Another change is inflatable rear seat belts that are in-house designed. It is therefore evident that the 2014 Ford Fusion is quite unique and slightly different from the previous versions.

With respect to the full hybrid description, the 2014 Ford Fusion has a hybrid system that has an engine of 2.0 liter Atkinson-cycle. The engine is combined with an electric motor. The approximate horsepower delivered by the gas engine is 141, while the torque is at 129 pounds feet square. The system output in total is at 188 horsepower. This output is sufficient enough to drive the car to 60 miles per hour in about 7.3 seconds via eCVT transmission. The all-electric would run up to 85 miles per hour at small intervals.

Another modification worth noting is an upgrade in the car’s software. With the software update, the car can attain 47 miles per hour. Despite the mentioned claims, Internet users have given mixed responses. Some have claimed that the car cannot attain the mentioned mileage, while others have claimed that it can. The average miles per hour that have been confirmed are 39-41. It is suspected that the car can achieve more.

The Ford Fusion has a strong build quality, attractive styling, and reasonable space. The wheelbase is 112.2-inches and the overall length is 191.8 inches. The diameter wheels, which are optional measure 18 inches. The internal part of the car has instrument features that keep the driver’s apprised. It is thus clear that the Fusion Hybrid is worth buying.



Leave a Comment March 6, 2014

The 2014 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid

The 2014 Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid is similar to the previous year’s version, with the exception of a price cut. This means that the 2014 version is much cheaper compared to the previous year’s versions of plug-in hybrid by Toyota. Both the “Advanced” and “Base” variants of the 2014 Prius plug-in have significantly decreased. The base plug-in hybrid electric car has a starting price of $29,995, exclusive of handling and destination fees. This cost is less by $2,010, which computes to 6.3 percent less compared to the previous plug-in which cost $32,000.

The advanced plug-in hybrid now sells at $34,905. It has been reduced by $4,620, which computes to a 11.7 percent reduction. Despite the persistent talks on introducing a new plug-in car in 2012, the Toyota Prius plug-in vehicle is available in only fifteen states. The fans of Prius are anticipating a potential car upgrade. The upgrade will include an increase in the electric car range. It will also provide for a more sporty appearance, as well as wireless charging. Having been in on the ground floor of the hybrid market, Toyota is highly credible. In terms of sales, the Toyota plug-in hybrid electric vehicle was ranked fourth last year in the category of plug-in cars, including plug-in hybrids and all-electric cars.

With respect to the powertrain, Toyota plug-in hybrid has a 98 horsepower base engine. The engine holds a maximum volume of 1.8 liters and is associated with double electric motor. One of the motors is 80 horsepower, and plays the role of powering the transaxle. The second motor is much smaller in size and functions as a source of electric power to regenerate the battery. Additionally, it functions in starting the engine. The entire system has a combined output of 134 horsepower. This is similar to the Liftback model.

One of the key features that distinguishes the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle from the normal Toyota Prius is a lithium-ion battery that is 4.4 kwh. This is different from a regular Prius that has a nickel-metal hydride pack that is 1.3 kwh. It takes about three hours to charge a depleted battery through 120 volts charging. It is possible to cut the time by half through the use of a charger of 240 volts. It is also essential to acknowledge the fact that the Toyota plug-in hybrid electric vehicle has three modes that can be selected by the driver. These are Eco, Sport, and EV.



Leave a Comment March 6, 2014

The Myths of Electric Cars Debunked

Judging from the sales records released by Tesla Motors, electric cars are definitely taking off. More and more people are beginning to realize the many advantages and merits of owning an electric car. Several myths have been speculated concerning these cars. It is essential for people to know the truth concerning electric cars rather than dwelling on the misleading myths.

One of the myths is that a driver cannot go far in an electric vehicle. The fact is that electric cars have the potential of going between fifty to eighty miles. Although this is not a good distance, it is above average for a fair number of people. Recently, Tesla chose its Model S to go for a road trip to New York from Los Angeles. This was more like an experiment to test the car’s mileage. The trip took about 76 hours inclusive of the charging time. The distance from Los Angeles to New York is approximately 2,760 miles. It is essential to take note that the key is not the distance which the can go but rather the efficiency of charging the car. It has thus been proven that it is extremely easy to charge electric cars.

Another myth concerning electric cars is that there are a few charge points and charging takes a lot of time. A full charge generally takes about four hours and can be done conveniently during the evening. As electric cars become more popular, charging stations will become more common. If you happen to have a Tesla Model S and you pull up at one of their stations, you can get a full charge in 75 minutes, or get a completely new battery pack installed in less than 2 minutes. The first and only nation that deployed countrywide network coverage for charging was Estonia.

A third myth about electric cars is the fact that their batteries are non-recyclable and toxic. The batteries of Tesla, as well as other producers’ contain metal oxides of lithium. The batteries are not only non-toxic, but also last long. They die after approximately ten years. The company has plans of recycling as many batteries as it can. The automaker has no plan of land-filling the batteries. In the website, the company has provided details on how it utilizes the materials.

Electric cars are gradually taking off in Japan, China and United States. Britain is also trying to follow suit. Some months back, the UK government backed Tesla CEO Elon Musk whose key objective was helping with the green agenda. It is thus hoped that in the near future electric cars will be adopted worldwide.


Leave a Comment February 27, 2014

Hybrid Cars May Help Consumers Save Money in the Long Run

There are so many buyers who portray skepticism when it comes to buying a hybrid car. The film “Who Killed the Electric Car?” that was released in 2006, stirred confusion about why the government and the auto industry were reluctant to embrace electric cars. The film also raised questions among skeptical consumers as to whether the electric cars were really worth the money and trouble.

According to President Obama’s speech on 18th February, the government’s excuses will no longer work. The president stated that by helping the environment, drivers also get to cut costs. In his speech, Obama said that America produces more oil at home compared to what is bought from other nations for the first time in almost twenty years. He further added that carbon pollution, which plays a big role in climate change, has decreased. One of the key reasons for the decrease in pollution is the fact that Americans have been committed and dedicated towards the manufacture of new trucks and cars that have better mileage. This not only saves money, but it also cuts down on environmental pollution. It also leads to creation of novel technological advances in America.

The fuel efficiency standards of American trucks and cars were stuck in neutral for decades. There have been severe impacts on the weather because of carbon pollution going unchecked. For this reason, the president has worked with auto workers, automakers, as well as environmental advocates to formulate a policy that would increase gas mileage while at the same time decrease pollution caused by greenhouse gases for all new trucks and cars sold in America.

One of the leading industries to sell hybrid cars in bulk is Toyota. In March last year, the company sold hybrid vehicles totally to 5.125 million. According to Auto Trader, the total sales were evenly split between plug-in hybrids and electric cars. Sales increased in 2013 by 84 percent to more than 96,000 units. It was also confirmed that about 60 percent of all hybrid sales in 2013 were accounted for by Toyota. This is mainly because of the popular models like Camry Hybrid, Highlander Hybrid and Prius.

According to GM Specialist and Cadillac Sales representative for Grossinger, Will Gordon, hybrids are a key to making this world a better place in the future. Hybrid vehicles not only help people to save money, but they also help drivers get better mileage. It is therefore evident that hybrid vehicles are an investment that is worthy.




Leave a Comment February 27, 2014

The Possibility of Flywheel Technology Driving Out Battery from Hybrid Cars

Batteries are not only problematic to dispose of, but they are also intensive to make. The answer could lie in flywheel technology, referred to as Kers in Formula One World. Hybrid cars are a nod to green motoring and are halfway battery between a fully-electric Nissan Leaf and the traditional gas motor. While hybrid vehicles can retain a traditional diesel engine, they also have the ability to draw in kinetic energy from the braking motion of the car. They then use that kinetic energy for powering an extra electric motor.

The manufacture of batteries is an energy-intensive process, and more than 50kg can be added to a vehicle’s mass by the weight of a battery. This implies increased usage of fuel. It is however, essential to acknowledge the fact that hybrids still cover more miles compared to traditional versions of a similar model. The issue of fuel efficiency also comes about. Every time a hybrid system is used, one is going from kinetic energy to electric energy to chemical energy, and back again. Kinetic energy, which in normal cases is lost in the form of heat during breaking, is translated to electric energy. This conversion is mediated by a generator used for charging the battery. The losses incurred during conversion are unavoidable. Moreover, environmental problems arise as a result of battery disposal.

Batteries are not the only means of storing kinetic energy. It is possible to make hybrid cars with flywheels in place of batteries. In such a case, a flywheel is spun by the kinetic energy recovered during braking. The energy recovered is then preserved in a spinning wheel prior to being released during acceleration. The energy amount stored in a flywheel depends on the mass, as well as the rate, at which the flywheel is rotating. An 80bph boost has been provided by prototypes.

In comparison to batteries, flywheels give the possibility of improved efficiency of fuel. This is by maintaining energy in mechanical form instead of transitioning through mechanical, electrical and chemical states. A characteristic of flywheels is that they are light in weight. A typical flywheel will weight six to eight kilograms. Also, in terms of disposal, flywheels do not present several problems or issues. The use of flywheels evidently sounds promising. The big question is whether hybrids with flywheels could be in competition with the battery hybrids. A major demerit of flywheels is that there energy density is lower than that of batteries. This means that the rate at which flywheels can release energy is higher compared to that of batteries.


Leave a Comment February 13, 2014

Why You Should Think of Buying an Electric Car

If you are thinking of buying a new vehicle, an all-electric version should be considered as a leading option. Many people are discouraged from investing in hybrid and electric cars because of the high costs associated with them. What they fail to understand is that the cost is worth it considering the many advantages associated with electric vehicles. Many people lack adequate information and facts concerning electric cars. According to a national survey conducted by a union of scientists, it is clear that about twenty five percent of households in America could not afford electric cars. For such families, owning such a car would deter them from fulfilling their driving needs.

Despite the fact that many people are unsure of what to expect with electric cars, others have claimed that electric vehicles are quite running, fun and considerably high tech. It is also essential to add that electric vehicles offer the advantage of instant torque. Drivers have also noted that they offer regenerative banking and smooth acceleration. Electric vehicle owners have also claimed that driving an electric vehicle is more fun compared to driving a gasoline-powered car. From the reviews of electric car owners, it is evident that electric vehicles are a worthwhile investment.

By driving or owning an electric car, a driver has something to gain directly. Some of the benefits include saving money. On a long-term basis, buying an electric car would save money on fuel. This is mainly because such vehicles have a good mileage. This means that one can cover long distances using less fuel.

Another fact worth mentioning is that a person who owns an electric vehicle tends to indirectly benefit alongside other societal members. For instance, there are health and environmental benefits reaped from driving an electric car. Air pollution has been one of the complaints aired in relation to driving gasoline-fueled vehicles. The gas emissions not only pollute the environment, but they are also detrimental to health. Driving electric cars prevents emission of such fumes.

Buying an electric vehicle is a sign of taking responsibility. For example, an electric car owner would not be considered cheap, but environmentally responsible. Everyone has a role to play in society. Choosing to buy an electric car may be the first step towards taking responsibility for your own health, as well as the health of general society. Owning an electric car is like showing reliance on renewable, domestic and clean energy. Consequently, this promotes a long term economic, environmental and societal health.



Leave a Comment February 6, 2014

A Review of Toyota’s Camry Hybrid in India

One of the latest advancements that Toyota has made is its entrance into the niche hybrids’ market in India. For this reason, a lot is anticipated from this automaker. The price of Toyota Camry is about Rs. 2,975,000. This is a reasonable price, considering the fact that hybrid cars are more costly compared to conventional gasoline-powered vehicles.

With respect to its design, Toyota’s Camry Hybrid is not only fuel-efficient, but is also eco-friendly. It is an environmental-friendly version of the well-known luxury sedan. With the controversy revolving around global warming and emission of greenhouse gases, it is essential for drivers to consider owning eco-friendly cars. Toyota Camry hybrid is one of the perfect choices that would serve the purpose.

Compared to the normal Camry, the hybrid version has a few embellishments and improvements. Since the original model is quite pleasing to the eye, the additional embellishments in the hybrid version only serve to enhance road presence. There are remarkable changes in the design of the front-end parts. The hybrid version has chrome infested fog lamps, headlamps that have been redesigned, front bumper that features a wider air dam and a new radiator grille. Changes have also been made on the wheels. The hybrid version has 17-inch wheels, which are much bigger, compared to the original Camry. It is quite hard to distinguish the rear end of the two versions because there is not much difference. Generally, in terms of aesthetics, the hybrid version of Camry is more rounded and it is premium.

It is also essential to evaluate the Camry Hybrid in terms of performance. One of the notable features about the hybrid version is that it has two propulsion sources. One of the sources is a VVT-I petrol engine that is 2.5 Liters while the other source of propulsion is in the form of an electric motor. The car’s petrol engine produces power amounting to 160PS. In reality, it is possible to drive the car solely on electric r power. However, in this state, it can only cover short distances of up to 40km per hour after which the petrol engine takes over.

The performance of Camry Hybrid is fairly good with both motors working. While the feedback offered by the steering is decent, it is definitely not as good as that offered by other cars of a similar price range. Hence, the handling is not inspiring. Another drawback is the fact that the car has only one gearbox, which apparently reacts slowly. There are a few options to choose from when purchasing hybrid vehicles in India.




Leave a Comment February 6, 2014

The Eco-Friendly Car of the Year Title Goes to…

The 2013 Nissan Leaf has been named as the eco-friendly car of the year by is a website for consumers whose aim is to assist ordinary consumers select the right car based on their specific needs and preferences. Other cars that were competing for the title include the Volkswagen Jetta Sportswagen TDI and Chevrolet Volt. This announcement was made to by Joe Wiesenfelder, the executive editor of According to Joe, Nissan Leaf is not only accessible, but there are also many available and it has started providing some answers to the limitations that discourage people from purchasing it.

The two major limitations that often keep people from purchasing Nissan Leaf are with respect to its charging rate and price. The 2013 Nissan Leaf actually costs almost six thousand dollars less than the 2012 Nissan Leaf. This reduction in price was attained by shifting production locally. The production of the 2013 Nissan Leaf took place in a U.S. plant located in Smyrna, Tennessee. Price reduction also followed the downgrading of the base model features. In terms of charging rate, majority of the 2013 Nissan Leaf cars utilize an on-board charger that is much faster. Prior to the year 2013, Nissan Leaf had a 3.3 kilowatts charger, which translates to the addition of ten to twelve miles per hour of charging. The charger is now 6.6 kilowatts, except for the rock bottom trim option. In this case, the number of miles per hour of charging is doubled from twenty to twenty-five.

That upgrade has helped Nissan Leaf per gain popularity with mainstream purchasers. This is an essential upgrade that has enabled a greater number of purchasers to easily access Nissan Leaf. The CEO said that the sales might have been better if that feature were available in earlier Nissan Leaf features. Currently, the roads have sufficient Nissan Leafs. Apparently, the cost of owning such a car is low coupled with the fact that they have proven to be reliable.

One of the main reasons why Leaf outdid Volt is with regard to evolution. Evolution is a key aspect for any vehicle. Unfortunately, there has not been much evolution for Chevrolet Volt over the years. It is common for auto companies to redesign their car models every three to four years. This means that new versions of Volt and Leaf are yet to be released. Since its inception, the changes made to Nissan Leaf have been more dramatic and greater compared to those of the Chevrolet Volt.



Leave a Comment January 27, 2014

Etiquette of Charging Electric Vehicles

There are specific rules to keep in mind when charging an electric vehicle. These rules are what collectively refer to charging etiquette. In this article, some of the major rules to keep in mind will be highlighted.

One of the key rules is for electric vehicle charging spots to be strictly for electric vehicles. This means that internal combustion cars should not park in charging spots meant for electric or plug-in vehicles. This rule needs to be strictly adhered to regardless of whether the parking lot is free or crowded. Even when the charging spot is infrequently used, it should still be strictly for electric vehicles.

Another rule to keep in mind is that of charging an electric vehicle only out of necessity. If a driver does not need charge, he or she should not charge the vehicle. Rather, the charging spot should be left free for an electric vehicle driver whose car might need charging. Additionally, it is essential to avoid the habit of leaving nasty notes. There are some instances where an electric vehicle driver may need to leave a note. For instance, when an electric vehicle charging spot has been occupied by a conventional engine car, a note may be left. In this case, the note should not be nasty. Rather, it needs to be calm and written using a polite language. A polite note has a positive impact in that it is likely to convince offenders not to repeat the offence.

Another rule to keep in mind is that asking for a charge is okay. For instance, if an electric vehicle charging spot is in use, a driver can park next to the vehicle and leave a note requesting the owner to plug in his or her car once the session has ended. A driver who happens to get such a note should honor the request. When leaving a note, it is recommended that a person leave a contact name and mobile phone number.

An important rule is never to unplug a plug-in hybrid vehicle. Even owners of vehicle such as Nissan Leaf should not not unplug a plug in car such as Chevy Volt simply because there are back-up gas engines. Unplugging should only be done when the charging session has finished. In such a case, it is advisable for the driver unplugging the charger to write a note giving an explanation for his or her action. Such a note should not only be full of gratitude, but it should also have contact details.


Leave a Comment January 27, 2014

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