Filed under: Electric Cars

Faraday Future Inc. Electric Car Investment

opt_1B-01Faraday 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.

 

 

Leave a Comment December 24, 2015

America’s Family Sedans Most Fuel-efficient

640px-2013_Ford_Fusion_Hybrid_lateral_logoOver 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.

 

 

Leave a Comment December 24, 2015

Tesla’s Model S as November’s Second-Best-Selling Hybrid Car

15_Tesla_Model_SIn 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.

 

Leave a Comment December 18, 2015

Do Hybrid Car Drivers Really Save Money?

14_Porsche_Cayenne_GTS_(8942387263)Hybrid cars are those that utilize two motor types, an internal combustion and an electric motor. An internal combustion motor uses a combination on fuel and air to give driving force. An overview of different green cars shows that a petrol/electric car is one that utilizes a petrol engine and an electric motor, which is powered by a battery. A diesel/electric is similar to a petrol/electric one, but utilizes a diesel engine. This is typically common among large cars such as Sports Range hybrid car. Plug-in hybrids are those cars that have batteries capable of being recharged using an external source of power. Panamera and Porsche Cayenne hybrids are examples of plug-in hybrid cars.

A major question that arises with respect to hybrid cars is whether they are sensible in terms of costs. The answer to the question is dependent on the driver’s situation since every car owner tends to have specific outliers and uncommon factors. It is therefore necessary to have the knowledge of some hybrid car basics, which can be modified by a driver according to their own situation.

Currently, hybrids are more costly than non-hybrids at purchase, but running them may cost less. Therefore from a monetary perspective, a driver needs to figure out the period that will be required for the lower running costs to recoup the capital cost. A similar calculation would be applicable when determining whether to go for a diesel or petrol car. Hybrid cars may end up not necessarily be more costly. One of the automakers leading in hybrid car production, Toyota, has said that the technology of Hybrid Synergy Drive would be applied in its entire fleet in the future.

More hybrid cars are likely to be seen considering the ever stricter emission regulations as well as enhancing hybrid technology. The recent Tokyo Motor Show clearly demonstrated that all car manufacturers are focusing on electric cars, hybrids and alternative sources of power. Such an investment will be accompanied by lower prices and improved efficiency and range. The hybrid technology is even being embraced by off-roaders. All that is needed is for global governments to provide more clean car’s incentives like lower registration, lower tax, and reduced or free parking.

Although the starting cost of a hybrid car is high, after around five to seven years, it will pay for itself in terms of fuel. More savings are attained if a driver does a lot of city driving. A greater annual mileage translates to greater savings. Other factors to consider include resale, capital costs, servicing, brakes, insurance, parking and registration.

 

Leave a Comment December 4, 2015

A Review of 2016 Toyota Prius

TNGA_platform_in_Toyota_Prius_2016_at_the_Tokyo_Motor_Show_2015Prius is a green car, whose brand name and look has contributed greatly to its effectiveness and success. Contrary to a decade ago, hybrid cars are currently manufactured by almost all the automakers. Therefore, Toyota Prius has to push the envelope so that it can shine. The novel 4th generation Prius is expected to enter the global market next year. Its price will almost be the same as that of the current model starting price at around $ 32,490. The first impressions of the model following a test drive are extremely positive. Toyota’s 2016 Prius has improvements in virtually all aspects. For starters, there is a more efficient powertrain, which has been said to utilize less gas.

A brief drive of less than six laps recorded a powertrain efficiency of 5.3L/100km. This is in comparison to the current Prius whose efficiency reading was 7.4L/100km. Although this comparison is not scientific, it is evident that the new Prius uses less fuel compared to its predecessor. The improvement in fuel efficiency is as a result of an aerodynamics’ improvement, a hybrid system that is smarter and an upgraded variable transmission. The hybrid system of the new Prius comprises of an electric motor that is 20% lighter, a battery that is faster charging and smaller and a power control unit that has been updated. The new Prius is clearly an advanced version with a battery offering a prolonged fully electric mode. The battery version in question is the Lithium-ion version.

Either way, both versions have improved battery packs whose positions have been shifted to the rear seat from the trunk. Consequently, the cargo space has been increased by 10%. The trunk capacity is currently 502 liters. In terms of performance, it is quite challenging to distinguish between the old and the new Prius. However, the new Prius has an updated engine with a capacity of 1797cc, and the engine generates 142Nm and 72kW. The electric motor accounts for the 53kW. One thing that was noted about the testing track is that there were a number of turns and twists as well as a section that was slalom, which encouraged spirited driving. This was an indication that the car’s driving dynamics were improved. The comfort of the ride was enough, although less supple compared to that of the novel Mirai hydrogen vehicle tested on the same track. The 2016 Prius is also quieter compared to its predecessor.

 

Leave a Comment December 4, 2015

Overview of Plug-in Hybrids: Toyota’s Plug-in Prius and Chevy Volt

640px-2012_Toyota_Prius_plug-in_hyrid_--_07-14-2012Depending on one’s driving habits, plug-in hybrids may be the best alternative to an all-electric and gasoline-fueled vehicle. Some of the benefits to enjoy by owning a plug-in hybrid car include low emissions and economical advantage. For instance, when driving a plug-in hybrid in California, a driver doesn’t have to worry about getting stranded because of lacking a place for recharging their car. All that a driver is obliged to do is finding a nearby gas station to quickly refuel the car and continue with the journey. Just like fully-electric cars, the major limitation of plug-in hybrid cars is the current battery technology state. It is also necessary to keep in mind that recharging an electric car’s battery takes much longer than refueling using gasoline. Storing enough charge that would allow long-distance driving would require a large and heavy battery. This is clearly evident in Tesla’s Model S, which has a battery pack occupying a large part of the car’s chassis. Having such a large battery pack allows Model S to have a driving range of more than 200 miles.

If gas refueling capability were to be added to Tesla, then it would necessitate fitting of an engine for internal combustion, gas tanks and several other parts related to the engine. This would in turn add significantly to the vehicle’s weight and complexity. Nevertheless, more and more automakers are introducing plug-in hybrid cars to the market and it is clear that such cars are becoming better as time goes by. One of the most popular plug-in cars is the Toyota’s plug-in Prius, whose price is slightly higher than that of the standard Prius. The Prius plug-in uses both the electric and gasoline mode. On a full charge, the car’s all-electric mode can go for nine miles prior to reverting back to the gasoline mode. Regenerative braking is a positive attribute of plug-ins, which enables the car to replenish its battery under specific conditions consequently extending its all-electric mode range.

In comparison to the Toyota Prius plug-in, the Chevrolet Volt that is also a plug-in can go for a further distance. Although choosing the Chevy Volt to Toyota Prius would be an obvious decision, there are other things that need to be considered. In the gasoline operation mode, the Prius’ range is about 50 mpg, while that of the Chevy Volt is less by 10 mpg. Also, premium gasoline is utilized in the 1st generation Volt while the Toyota Prius plug in uses regular gasoline.

 

Leave a Comment November 27, 2015

A Low-Emission Strategy Launched By Audi for Its A3 E-Tron

512px-Audi_e-tronAccording to Audi, their entire fleet will be electrified by around the year 2025. Additionally, the e-tron designation of Audi will have four novel electrified versions that are yet to be launched. Out of the four models, two are battery electric cars and the other two are plug-in hybrid cars. Audi further added that by 2025, the rest of its hybrid models will be available in 48-volt hybrid version. The electrification process by Audi is systematically being driven forward, as it was announced early this week. The inroads are set to be transformed into broad front model range by the novel mild hybrid versions in question. The main aim of Audi is to release all new hybrid versions with the technology in question within the next ten years. The e-tron fleet will be the exception.

The A3 Sportback is one of the leading versions of e-tron. The car is also the one of the first plug-in hybrid cars by Audi. Virtually all of the nearly 280 dealers of Audi are set to make deliveries of the company’s 2016 plug-in hybrids. Each of the dealers also plans to set up four charging points, which was part of the contract made for e-tron line sale. According to America’s Audi president, Scott Keogh, a fundamental model that would push the company into selling electrified vehicles is e-tron’s A3 Sportback. Through the model, dealers are given a chance to offer training services to sale representatives on the means or ways to sell a car such as a battery electric or a plug-in hybrid electric car while at the same time giving an opportunity to the service department to come up with specialists of electrified powertrains.

Keogh said that transitioning from the e-tron to numerous other cars with more volume necessitates perfect and seamless operations. Getting the infrastructure right is also a fundamental aspect to take into consideration. Currently, plug-in sales have been projected to be approximately five thousand on an annual basis. This figure was released by Keogh early this week. The automaker has also made it clear that in the next ten years, a quarter of its car sales are likely to comprise of battery electric and the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. There are other additional electric models including Q 7 e-tron, which is a plug-in comprising of a diesel engine. This e-tron model is set to be produced mid next year. An e-tron Quattro that is fully electric is also set to be released in 2018.

 

Leave a Comment November 27, 2015

A Record High in Plug-in Hybrid Cars Sale in September

2013_Nissan_Leaf_in_front_of_the_Royal_Palace_in_OsloThe cheap gas prices and declining sale of popular electric cars did not deter consumers from purchasing more than 46,000 plug-in electric cars in September. The record made was an all-time high with the United States cumulatively leading as the highest consumer in September. Through August, the U.S. alone sold over 363,000 units out of slightly more than a million plug-in electric vehicles. However during the 2015 calendar year, Europe and China surpassed the United States in terms of sales. Basically, despite the fact that there is still a small market for plug-in cars, the record set in September clearly indicated that there is global progress. In 2011 when the manufacturing phase of plug-in electric cars began in earnest, around 45,000 units were sold worldwide. In 2012, about 53,394 units were sold in the United States alone. The worldwide number of PEVs sold in September is also more than that recorded in September 2014.

The numbers have further been propped by China, which has purchased at least 250,000 units between 2011 and September 2015. This year alone, China has purchased more than fifty percent of the mentioned total, which translates to vehicles exceeding 136,000, inclusive of heavy-duty commercial vehicles. While there have been elusive sales figures in China, it has been approximated that around 93,000 units of passenger plug-in electrics have been purchased through September. On the other side, 81,675 passenger plug-in electrics were purchased in the United States through September. In September alone, 9,742 vehicles were bought in the United States. Therefore, on the assumption that about 10,000 units will be purchased monthly, it might purchases around 110,000 units by the end of the year. Though the mentioned figure could actually be higher or lower, as only time will tell.

Perhaps the reason why plug-in electric cars attract a higher demographic of people is that drivers may drive without necessarily using gas. Therefore, considering such a case, the prices of gas would be a minor factor since it doesn’t matter for some plug-in electric car drivers. Plug-in supporters need to rejoice since there has been a tightening of emission regulations across the world. For this reason, electrification has been viewed as the best options. Additionally, choices are getting better and becoming more widespread. The market is currently getting stronger with more than a million plug-in electric cars being driven worldwide. It has been almost five years since the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt were launched and consumers are gradually catching on and embracing these green cars.

 

 

 

Leave a Comment November 20, 2015

Electric Car Ownership by an Average American

BMW_i3_(14558229206)When considering the best electric vehicle for an average American, it is essential to keep in mind that each American household would own an average of just above two vehicles. This implies that even households that have one electric car will most likely have a second vehicle to use for long-distance journeys or trips. However, an electric car such as BMW i8, Kia Soul, Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen e-Gold can be used regularly for short-distance drives. The question that arises is whether a single electric car would actually be enough for an average American using it on a daily basis. Keeping in mind that virtually all the trips made are below fifty miles and about 70 miles can be driven almost every day, it can be concluded that a range of more than 70 miles is more than adequate for the daily needs of an American consumer.

With respect to the cost, a new car in United States costs approximately $31,000. However, many people do not prefer to purchase new cars. Either way, a new Chevrolet Spark electric vehicle, Volkswagen e-Golf, and Mitsubishi’s I-MiEV have a price tag that is less than that of a standard new electric car. The second-hand version of the mentioned models is even cheaper and a better alternative for an average American. Focusing on used cars, all electric cars except Tesla have depreciated more compared to their gasoline counterparts. An average American currently has the surety of getting a better deal on used or second-hand electric cars.

Regarding what the best vehicle options are for an average American, preferences have a role to play. The purchasing decision also depends on aesthetics and issues like design and interior space. However, some aspects such as the onboard charger’s size and fast-charging capability are also quite essential with respect to electric cars. Only a few electric cars have fast-charging features while some of them are associated with an onboard charger of only 3.3 kW. Some of the electric vehicles that lack the capability for fast-charging include the Mercedes’ B-Class, Ford Focus, and Fiat 500e. Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV and Chevrolet’s Spark electric vehicle are the electric cars that have a fast-charging capability. Hence, these leaves out popular cars like Kia Soul, BMW i3, Volkswagen e-Gold and the Nissan Leaf. Based on price and mileage, the BMW i3 would be the best option for an average American. The Nissan Leaf and Kia Soul EV are best options for those in need of more seating and space.

 

Leave a Comment November 20, 2015

General Motors Gives Details Concerning its Yet-to-be Released Pure Electric Car

Chevrolet_Bolt_Concept_(front)_NAIAS_2015General Motors automobile company has recently geared more effort towards the production of electric cars. Early this week GM announced its intention to form a close partnership with LG in producing electric motors, batteries, as well as additional components for the upcoming Chevrolet Bolt electric car. The Chevy Bolt will have the capacity to cover a mileage exceeding 200 miles using single charge. The production phase is deemed to begin later next year. Currently, the automaker has the Spark electric vehicle has its pure-electric vehicle. On a single charge, the Spark can only cover approximately 80 miles. The Bolt electric car was first unveiled by GM as a concept vehicle in January. The automaker officially confirmed its intention to produce the vehicle in February at the Michigan Orion plant.

The projected price of the Bolt electric vehicle is around $30,000. This means that its direct competitor will be the expected Model 3 by Tesla. Model 3 will be among one of Tesla’s first cars to be available to the mass market. According to a statement made by Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, the price tag for Model 3 is expected to range from $35,000 and the production will begin in the next two years. The range of Model 3 is expected to be the same as that of Tesla’s Model S that can cover approximately 250 miles. Musk further added that for Tesla to begin the production of its electric vehicle, the Gigafactory, a Nevada-based battery factory has to begin its production first, probably in 2017.

GM may outdo Tesla considering the fact that the Chevy Bolt electric car is set to enter the production phase mid next year. While Tesla would earn points for steering the revolution or changes that have been seen in plug-in electric cars, the technology actually emerged in 1990s with General Motors being the major pioneer. However, GM stepped aside from the electric vehicle business due to low profitability. GM hopes to return into the electric car market with the release of its novel Bolt electric vehicle. According to information obtained from the General Motors website, the Chevy Bolt has a number of semi-autonomous features such as a technology that allows for automatic parking and retrieval. This feature will make it possible for car owners to get out of the vehicle and get the car and control the car’s parking using an application. It has also been confirmed that 80% of Bolt’s battery can be charged within 45 minutes.

 

Leave a Comment November 6, 2015

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