Filed under: Electric Cars

Unveiling the Kia Niro, a Hybrid Crossover

640px-2010_Kia_Soul_BaseKia’s Niro happens to be the automaker’s very first hybrid model. It will probably enter the market later this summer to compete with Toyota Prius, Nissan Qashqai, among other big names. Kia Niro, a petrol-electric hybrid car model debuted at the motor show held in Chicago. Just like the Toyota Prius, the hybrid powertrain of Niro is a parallel system. This means that it is possible to do a shuffling between electric and petrol power without the driver’s input. Regarding the dimensions, the model in question falls between the Soul and Sportage, two of the currently existing Kia models. It also has a wheelbase of 2700 mm.

The car’s interior is characterized by a raised seating position the same as that of Soul and a minimalist design of a cabin similar to several other modern hybrids. The boot space coupled with rear seats has a capacity of 450-500 liters. The introduction of Niro will be based on the EcoDynamics sub brand of Kia, a name appearing on most of its frugal models.

Only one engine version will be available. At its power supply heart is a four-cylinder petrol engine with a capacity of 1.6 liters producing 102 bhp. The engine has been specifically engineered to be used in hybrid cars. The second source of power is an electric motor of 42 bhp that is mounted on the transmission. Both motors work in tandem to generate a torque of 195 lb. ft. and 144 bhp. There is a six-speed dual-clutch transmission that feeds power to the front wheels. The ratification of carbon dioxide emissions and fuel economy is not yet official. However, the automaker’s engineers have a target of 89g/km of carbon dioxide output. Although this doesn’t match up to the current Toyota Prius, its credibility is still high for a crossover.

The car has been scheduled to make its debut in the United Kingdom by the end of this year. In due time, details concerning the car’s kit levels will be revealed. This hybrid version that was revealed during Chicago’s motor show used the latest model of Kia’s telematics and infotainment system. This system also features a 7-inch touch-screen like the new Sportage. The crossover body design of the Niro could give it a competitive advantage. The location of the battery powering the car’s electric motor is below the car’s rear seats. This maximizes the space of cabin. Following the trend of the others in the line-up of Kia, Niro’s technology suite includes cruise control, blind spot detection, independent emergency braking and lane departure warning.



Leave a Comment February 26, 2016

Ford Set to Increase Electric Car Production

2013_Nissan_Leaf_2012_LA_ShowFollowing the trends of General Motors and Tesla, Ford is planning to invest about 4.5 billion dollars in manufacturing electric cars. A major setback has been the high costs, which have led to relatively slow progress in development of next generation batteries. This means that the automaker will have to convince its consumers to embrace electric cars. So far, no encouragement has been offered to Ford by Wall Street considering the fact that the automaker’s stock experienced a third consecutive low last month. This was regardless of the fact that it had made its plan clear to invest in electric cars.

According to Ford’s director of electrification programs, Kevin Layden, the costs of batteries are not reducing at a favorable rate. While we are yet to see any breakthroughs, engineers and scientists are trying their best to find ways of minimizing lithium-ion battery costs by up to twenty percent. The objective will be lowering the cost and weight of electric cars while at the same time improving their power.

The improvements mentioned coupled with other forms of amendments will be vital to actualizing the plans of Ford’s CEO, Mark Fields, to produce 13 brand new plug-in hybrid and electric cars in four years time. By 2020, Fields hopes that forty percent of all the nameplates associated with Ford will have an option for electric power. This will be up from the current 13 percent. Although the prices of fuel are lower than they’ve been for quite a while, automakers are still boosting their green car production following the intense government pressure put on them to increase fuel economy and reduce emissions. The heightened concern about the issue of global warming also pushes forward the agenda of green car production.

Some of the primary barriers that Ford will have to overcome in order to attract investors to the electric car project include the high costs of labor and worries concerning sales in the South American market. The car manufacturer remains positive and hopeful that these are just stepping stones towards ultimate success. It is believed that the next generation of electric cars will bring in high profits. This will be possible when the costs of batteries, as well manufacturing costs are lowered.

Ford plans to follow the example of other electric manufacturing company leaders such as Nissan, General Motors and Tesla. These automakers have consistently produced electric cars that have been successful and highly profitable. It is evident that green cars such as electric and hybrid cars are the cars of a sustainable future.


Leave a Comment February 12, 2016

The Growing Popularity of Hybrid Cars Boosts Sales

2012_Toyota_Prius_v_--_03-21-2012It seems the automotive companies are going greener now more than ever following the recent release of Tesla Model X and the plans to produce Model 3, and not forgetting Chevrolet’s announcement of Bolt hatchback production. Although there have been setbacks in the production and marketing of fully electric cars, the industry has a wide range of SUVs, crossovers and hybrid cars. The hybrid family further extends with Chrysler’s announcement of its plan to produce the Pacifica Hybrid. These half-electric, half-gas category of vehicles have been known to have high mileage. Additionally, the cost of operating and maintaining them is relatively low.

The primary demerit associated with fully electric cars is that they are relatively costly. For instance, the models present in the United States market cost between $23,800 to $80,000. For this reason, there has been a biased preference towards hybrid cars. One of the cheapest hybrids to operate is Toyota’s Prius Eco. The starting price for this Toyota model is about $24,700, a cost that is slightly more than Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV, the cheapest fully electric car. The range of Prius Eco in the city is 58 mpg while the range for the highway is 53 mpg. This implies that the average range is 56 mpg. The cost of running the Prius is about $500 on an annual basis, undercutting electric car cost by $100. Contrary to electric car owners, Prius owners and other hybrid car owners do not stress about looking for a place for charging their cars. This is because hybrid cars also have a gasoline engine in addition to electric motors.

The technology behind hybrid cars will continue advancing just like electric car technology. Electric cars are deemed to be fun and comfortable just like their gasoline-powered counterparts. It has been proven by Tesla’s P90D that has a torque of 713 lb-ft and a horsepower of 762. Electric cars will be available and affordable to the common man when the Chevrolet Bolt and Model 3 enter the market. The practicability of electric car ownership will increase with a close to $30,000 price tag and a range of 200 miles on a charge. Currently, Nissan Leaf is the market leader with a starting price of less than $30,000 and a range of 107 miles when fully charged. The range of a standard gasoline-fueled vehicle is approximately 300 miles. Hence, although electric cars are clearly the cars of the future, hybrids are currently leading the park in terms of sales.


Leave a Comment February 12, 2016

All-Electric versus Plug-in Hybrid Cars

Nissan_Leaf_001The first primary plug-in electric car manufacturer entered the Unites States market half a decade ago. It is quite unclear whether a pure electric car or a plug-in hybrid car would be more sensible. Answering such a question can be likened to aiming at a moving target, as technology and market products are ever evolving. It makes more sense to briefly highlight the benefits that can be attained from both types of vehicles.

Firstly, the invention of plug-in hybrid cars and electric cars is a step towards doing away with environmentally unfriendly gasoline and petroleum. The powertrains of plug-in electric cars run on highly efficient electric motors, consequently minimizing or eliminating the need for petroleum. The plug-in grid is continually getting better as electric plug-in locations are becoming more numerous.

In general terms, plug-in hybrid cars refer to hybrid cars with larger-sized batteries coupled with connection to a grid. More energy is stored to allow the car to run solely on electricity for longer periods. Although the technological approaches may differ, the basic idea of a hybrid is partly electric range that has a gasoline as backup. All-electric cars on the other hand utilize traction motors and battery without internal combustion. Just like plug-in hybrids, these cars also have a grid connection or a renewable electricity source.

The Unites States alone has about 26 plug-in electric cars in the market, out of a total of 50 cars globally. Plug-in trucks are not yet available. High end SUVs are only a few and a single minivan will be out later in the year. Of the 26 cars mentioned, 12 of them are battery electric cars while the remaining fifteen are plug-in hybrids. Others that have already been manufactured and exited the market include Honda Fit electric car, Honda’s Accord plug-in and Toyota’s RAV4 electric car.

With respect to price, plug-in cars tend to be more costly compared to their conventional counterparts. This is based on the fact that there is payback in different other ways including minimal costs of operation and maintenance, as well as additional environmental benefits. The single most fundamental reason to own plug-in hybrid cars is that a driver has the choice of using it as part-time fully-electric car. The extended range is another key benefit of these cars. Electric vehicles are beneficial since the cost of operating them is less than that of gasoline cars. Also, there is extremely reduced, to no emissions at the electric cars’ tailpipes, making them environmental friendly.



Leave a Comment February 5, 2016

Why Electric Car Purchasers Love Electric Cars

Chevrolet_Spark_M150_China_2012-04-15Electric cars are currently among the top ranked vehicles in the green car list. There are numerous reasons that have been cited by buyers regarding their preference for electric vehicles. When respondents were asked about their favorite thing regarding electric cars, most gave the climate and quality of air benefits. Other respondents were also not in support of the oil industry. This implies that they consider the gasoline or petroleum industry non-progressive. Great acceleration and instant torque is another reason for purchasing electric cars. Convenience when charging at home and the ability to drive such cars on sunshine are also great reasons. Financial savings is also a beneficial aspect of owning an electric car.

The responses are in line with the initial profile of electric vehicle pioneers. These early electric car adopters were inclined towards electric cars because of their role in combating global warming, minimizing pollution and lowering oil dependence. Although the mentioned reasons should be the major ones for purchasing electric cars, majority of people would not purchase green cars such as electric vehicles unless the experience is good and they are able to save money. Instant torque is a key benefit that might drive increased adoption of electric cars among the general population. The convenience brought about by home charging might also convince potential buyers to invest in electric cars. Fuel savings, as well as financial peaks associated with electric cars should also not be overlooked.

Instant torque is what makes a simple low cost Chevrolet Spark electric vehicle more desirable than Ferrari’s 458 Italia. A Spark owner and enthusiast would have a greater driving experience, considering the smart electric driving offered. Instant torque can be a lot fun, and this is especially realized during the initial electric car first drive. A greater acceleration makes it extremely easy for drivers merging onto highways, roundabouts or avoiding a dangerous turn. This benefit can be appreciated by anyone ranging from an adventurous teenager to a cautious old lady.

Any person who has owned an electric car would appreciate the convenience of charging it at home. Instead of driving to a gas station, getting out to pump gas, paying and getting back to the car and finally on road are far outweighed by pulling into a home garage and plugging in the car. All that an electric car driver has to do is spend just a few second to plug in a car once they arrive home and then a few minutes unplugging when leaving the house. This makes charging extremely simple and convenient.



Leave a Comment February 5, 2016

Mercedes’ Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles Expected to Attain 60 or more Mile Range

-98759406-1435678383969Mercedes has plans of introducing ten plug-in hybrid vehicles in the United States market by December, 2017. All ten cars are expected to have a great all-electric range of at least 20 miles. According to the R&D chief of Mercedes, the company anticipates the 60 mile barrier to be exceeded with the next generation of plug-in vehicles. In the automobile industry a generation is basically five years.

Chevrolet Volt’s second generation has a mileage range of 60 miles already. If the remarks made by Weber are to be relied upon, Mercedes will have to wait until the year 2022 to have performance that is equal to that of 2017 Chevy Volt. Weber emphasized the company is working towards bringing the ten plug-in cars into the United States market by next year. Weber further added that it will not be the end of plug-in hybrid car production. The company plans to also work on extending its range on the basis of battery development. The company is working towards coming up with plug-in hybrid cars that will be based on S-technology, which will play a role in range extension. The thirty to fifty kilometer hurdle will be overcome by the next generation car that may enter the market in 2017. The generation that will follow will exceed the eighty to a hundred kilometer hurdle since they will be pure electric vehicles.

Mercedes automobile company is also working towards producing a fully electric sedan whose size will be the intermediate of S Class and E Class. It has been speculated that the car might be introduced in the year 2018. The automaker has also been rumored to be in the process of producing a car fueled by hydrogen cells. Weber has said that it is a sensible thing to develop electric, fuel cell and plug-in hybrid cars. This is because such vehicles are either partly or fully driven by electricity. From the component perspective, all electric car versions, as well as the plug-in cars have a combination of batteries and electric motors. These components are applicable to more than one car.

The mentioned aspect is the basis of the newly released Hyundai Ioniq where buyers will have a chance to choose from plug-in, battery electric and hybrid cars. It is expected that all the Ioniq versions will enter the market by September 2016. The 80 mile range offerings made by Mercedes will enter the market in four or more year’s time.



Leave a Comment January 29, 2016

The Most Fuel-Efficient Minivan Introduced by Chrysler

maxresdefaultChrysler is a company that invented a minivan more than thirty years ago and has a clear picture of its customers. The automaker has given its plug-in variant the name Pacifica Hybrid. The term “hybrid” may slightly confuse people used to electrified vehicles. The car’s electric range is 30 miles and 80 mpg, makes it is a plug-in vehicle. The Pacifica hybrid has clearly outdone all its competitors within a similar market niche. The car’s image and positioning is geared towards people with loads of stuff to carry. The name has been coined from a crossover of Chrysler’s recent history. Its release date has been projected to be the end of this year. The 80 mpg city range is the average efficiency of the electric powertrain.

Pacifica hybrid has the capacity to cover 30 miles gas free, just like a fully electric vehicle would to prolong standard gas usage. The 30-mile range of Pacific makes it the second-highest rated plug-in hybrid car in America with respect to range. The Chevrolet Volt is the leading vehicle in terms of range. Hyundai is yet to release its 2016’s Sonata plug-in, a hybrid sedan whose electric range will be higher than that of Ford’s Fusion Energi. The battery size of these vehicles is 9.8 and 7.6 kwh. Chrysler’s 16 kWh battery is comparable to that of 2011-2012 Chevrolet Volt. This makes it eligible for the whole $7,500 federal tax break whose basis is the size of battery. This is something that cannot be claimed by Hyundai and Ford.

Though the fuel efficiency details by the EPA have not yet been released, they have said that the numbers provided by Chrysler are likely to be achieved. The battery’s charging time is a few hours utilizing a current of 240 volt. However, the car can still function regardless of whether it is charged or not charged. The obvious goal is recharging and relying on a battery as much as possible. If this is the case, the car’s all electric range of 30 miles would imply that there would never be the need for gas for daily driving errands. According to governmental studies, 75 percent of drivers reveal a maximum of 40 miles on a daily basis. Chrysler said that its large-sized minivan that is based on a novel global architecture is a perfect car to transform into a plug-in hybrid. Up to now, there are only a few large-sized cars with the capacity to run in all electric or partially electric modes.



Leave a Comment January 29, 2016

Tesla’s Model S as 2015’s Best-Selling Plug-in Vehicle in the World

15_Tesla_Model_SAll eyes were set on Tesla to see whether it would meet its sales target of 50,000-52000 units across the globe. Although it failed to meet the target in question, Model S emerged as the best plug-in electric vehicle in terms of sales globally. It clearly outsold all the other plug-in vehicles from well-known automobile companies. For the 2015 calendar year, Model S garnered a total of 50,366 sales, emerging as the topmost selling PEV. In the second place was Nissan Leaf with approximately 43,000 units sold globally for the year 2015. Cumulatively, Model S was ranked second with sales amounting to 107,148 since its launch in the year 2012. Nissan Leaf was cumulative best in terms of sales in first place.

The sales of Tesla Model S in 2015 showed a remarkable increase from 2014 where 31,655 units were sold. In 2014, Model S was the second-best selling plug-in hybrid car. Basically, Model S has shockingly defied all odds and is continually setting new records. Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV was the third best-seller with approximately 39,000 units sold in 2015. These sales are credited to the automaker’s overseas market since it is not yet available in the United States. Fourth in line was BYD Qin plug-in hybrid version, which sold about 31,898 units in China alone in 2015. The fifth best seller was BMW’s i3 that sold about 24,057 units across the globe in 2015. These figures were released by Mario R. Duran, sales tracker.

Generally, the global market took in approximately 500,000 plug-in electric vehicles in the year 2015, implying that 10% was accounted for by Tesla. To date, the biggest plug-in electric car market is the Unites States, the home country. Since Model S was launched, the U.S has accounted for around 60% of its total sales. The second is Norway with about 9.4 percent. Other notable countries include Canada, Netherlands, China, Denmark, Switzerland and Germany.

By 2015’s fourth quarter, Tesla was still lagging behind with sales of just about 33,151 units worldwide. From 1st September to 31st December, the automaker had sold about 17,400 more vehicles, 208 of which were Model X. Currently, Model S also hopes to sell high units this year and has demonstrated that the plug-in car market has been greatly rewarding. Chevrolet and Nissan are also trying their best to regain their prowess, despite the fact that their sales were slightly low last year. Basically, Model S is the plug in to beat.



Leave a Comment January 21, 2016

Chrysler’s 2017 Pacifica Plug-in: A Promising Car

Chrysler-Pacifica-2Although Chrysler has been perceived to be a late entrant into the plug-in hybrid market, it has unveiled its newest plug-in car, the Pacifica, which is quite impressive. Chrysler introduced the minivan more than thirty years ago and has since then made tremendous efforts in improving the MPG scores of its fleet in addition to promoting brand image. The plug-in hybrid car in question is set to officially debut later this year alongside revisions to the conventionally-powered model. Plug-in Pacifica is distinguished by a battery with a capacity of 16-kwh situated beneath the floor of the second row of seats. This battery takes about two hours to fully recharge with a current of 240 V. The model also has an exceptional powertrain revolving around an Atkinson Cycle Pentastar with a capacity of 3.6 liters.

The efficiency of the car in the city on all-electric mode is approximately 80 MPGe, though the hybrid mode or combined gas and electric mode are still unknown. A new feature is a variable transmission that uses a double electric motor system that drives the wheels at the front. A key difference between Pacifica hybrid and other electrification schemes is that the Pacifica utilizes a one-way clutch that makes it possible for the motor to drive the wheels via sending torque. This function is dependent on the car’s driving conditions. Chrysler has noted that the outcome of these alterations and improvements include refinement, enhanced component packaging, and increased efficiency.

Whatever the case, it is essential to improve MPG by including features such as handed pistons in the Atkinson engine. Such features increase the compression ratio to 12.5.1, consequently improving the thermodynamic efficiency. Elimination of a power steering pump and the alternator allows for reworking of the accessory drive and front cover of the engine. Chrysler has also promised minimization of internal friction as well as improvements on fuel injection and ignition.

About 16 years ago, Chrysler had the name Pacifica in its lexicon though the automaker has since then renamed its minivan as well as the conventional counterpart. It is also important to keep in mind that this is the first plug-in version of the minivan with a 30 mile range, making it an excellent PHEV. Its 16-kwh battery is clearly more powerful compared to Hyundai Sonata’s 9.8-kwh and a range of 27 miles. Currently, 2016’s Chevrolet Volt is the highest rated plug-in vehicle with a range of 53 miles. With its Pacifica plug-in, Chrysler has beaten its competitors. Pricing details will be announced later.


Leave a Comment January 21, 2016

Pre-Production Version of 2017 Chevrolet Bolt

Chevrolet_Bolt_Concept_(rear)_NAIAS_2015The highly anticipated 2017’s Chevy Bolt was introduced at Las Vegas’ Consumer Electronics Show. Mary Barra, the CEO gave a speech and officially presented the more than 200-mile range electric vehicle. Chevy Bolt is one of the cheaper higher range electric cars. Barra further acknowledged the fact that many companies have plans of manufacturing electric cars. The Chevy Bolt fulfils the promise of delivering a long range electric car at a quite affordable cost. According to GM, production is set to begin prior to the end of the year and the anticipated price will be around $37,500 before federal tax and additional incentives are applied. The Bolt is a 5-passenger, five-door hatchback with fold down rear seating.

Barra failed to give the exact specification of the extra miles that would be covered within the range of driving. These details will be revealed much later. The car has an in-floor battery that a driver will be able to charge up to 80 percent within an hour. The battery capacity was also not specified, and this is often estimated using electrical efficiency. Additional details are likely to be revealed at the International Auto Show that will be held in North America later in the month. There is a high probability that Bolt’s sales strategy will target regional driving or local commuting.

Chevy Bolt’s concept was formally announced at NAIAS last year. When speculations went around concerning its production approval, majority of the observers made the assumption that the model will be released in 2018. Others had doubts on whether the target price could be achieved. Some critics also expected that the set range of 200 miles would work under great conditions instead of the EPA sticker estimate that was more conservative. While cars are normally made from parts derived from a wide range of suppliers, GM chose to source most of the primary components of Bolt from South Korea’s LG conglomerate. It did this in exchange for a deal to lower the costs of the battery cell.

The 2017 Bolt has a rear camera capable of feeding live videos to a built-in display at the rear view mirror. This allows for a wider angle of viewing behind the vehicle in comparison to a standard mirror. A surround vision is provided by another camera to give a “bird’s eye view” especially during parking and driving at low speed. Alterations have also been made to the system used for navigation, which makes it possible for a driver to know driving routes capable of improving electric vehicle efficiency. Additionally, the screen can display the available charging stations. The Orion Assembly, one of GM’s plants will be the building location.




Leave a Comment January 14, 2016

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