Filed under: Electric Cars
China boldly made an announcement four years ago concerning its plan to produce five hundred thousand new energy cars on an annual basis. It further added that the sales were to account for 5 percent of the total sales of passenger cars. China’s new energy cars include hydrogen-fuel-cell cars and plug-in cars. The manufacture of lithium-based electric car batteries turned out to be tougher than the manufacture of cell phone batteries. The Chinese government is aware that its original goals could not be achieved.
According to the most current policy, which was issued in September, ten thousand new energy cars are to be sold in each of the megacities by the year 2015. The sales goal was five thousand cars for the smaller cities. Regardless of the downshifts of the sale targets for electric vehicles, the central government of China still holds the dream of being the powerhouse for new energy vehicles. The automotive industry division director, Qian Minghua, said that it was essential to let the market play its role under the guidance of the central government. Since there were still a lot of pending issues, Minghua admitted that the journey would be a long, winding road.
Beijing also plans to subsidize electric cars. Since Chinese customers rarely buy plug-in electric cars, their prices are quite high and their driving range is short. According to the latest subsidy policy for electric cars, fleets are subsidized more heavily and for longer time periods compared to passenger vehicles.
Another observation worth noting is that of local governments taking a practical move to learn more on the way consumers use electric cars. The Shanghai International Auto City is situated on the outskirts of Shanghai and a district that hosts a large Volkswagen plant, as well as numerous car supplier centers. It is also the central point of the electric vehicle zone or demonstration area that seeks the best intercity integration, as well as new energy cars.
At the electric vehicle zone, there is an electric rental plan, electric car sharing, as well as an electric car service center capable of importing electric vehicles without going through several custom procedures. To date, about eighty thousand people have attempted using electric vehicles. This is according to the new energy department’s project manager, Lucas Cao. The electric vehicle zone also plays the role of surveying those who take driving tests and give them advice according to their vehicle likes, dislikes and intents. From the above information, it is clear that China is taking practical strides toward becoming an electric vehicle powerhouse.
November 8, 2013
Chris Roberts, a Belleville man, made lemonade out of a lemon. He took a non-operational 1985 Renault Alliance DL convertible, and changed it to a fully operational electric car. Robert is a 38-year old infrastructure specialist who lives in Ameren, Illinois. His normal duties include supporting the operations personnel in the implementation of advanced metering infrastructure for the utility. He works at the Collinsville office, and commutes in his new electric car. There are a number of reasons why he chose to use the ’85 Renault car.
One of the key reasons why Roberts chose the ’85 Renault car is its convenience. He said that he had owned the car until 2006 following the breaking of the second of its riming belts. He added that his family had a Renault history. This means that he knew the car inside and out since he had used it for a long time. He further added that he took almost three years to work on the conversion to an electric car. This entailed putting the car parts together in the garage. He purchased all the components, including batteries, and put them together. The technical details of this process have been presented at a website, www.evalbum.com/4745.
Roberts claims that the car was manufactured in Kenosha and was a joint venture with American Motors Company, although it carries a French nameplate. The car had numerous problems. After putting a new timing belt in the car in Saint Louis, the car could only make it to Belleville where a new timing belt snapped. As it later turned out, the broken timing belt interfered with a large part of the engine. Breaking of the belt is one of the most common problems faced by car mechanics. This is what promoted Roberts to junk the engine and go electric.
When Robert was younger, his father, an electrician by profession had helped him in working on cars. Roberts said that his dad assembled a circuit that runs all the dashboard’s original gauges. There is an electric plug inside the gas cap flap. The plug will perfectly fit a regular 220-volt dryer outlet. A 100-foot extension cord would also be needed.
Roberts has driven the electric car for almost 500 miles. Connections, settings, and adjustments are still being made. Roberts is still trying to figure out the high end of the electric car’s range on a single electric charge. He approximates the range to be between forty to fifty miles. A recharge would take three to four hours and two passengers are held by the car.
November 1, 2013
When the mystery of boiling of fluids in the form of micro-channels was unveiled by scientists, formulas and models that can be used to cool high-power electronic gadgets was cracked. The high-power electronics in question include hybrid and electric cars, computers, aircraft, and several other devices. According to Suresh Garimella of Purdue University, Mechanical Engineering department, if a liquid is set in cooling system, it is possible to analyze the amount of fluid removed rather than heating the liquid to a temperature that is less than the boiling point.
Liquids that are boiled in tiny channels would behave differently from those boiled in large cooling systems. Spherical bubbles are not formed when liquid is boiled in the tiniest channels. Instead, a long continuous oblong slug or liquid annulus is created in liquid form. The influence of the liquid’s boiling behavior is determined by each channel’s cross sectional area. The innovative cooling system that makes use of the smallest channels can also be employed in electric and hybrid cars. The cooling system can help in preventing such devices from overheating. Some of the devices susceptible to overheating include high-power and bipolar transistors that are often fitted in green and clean electric and hybrid cars. Chips are required when accelerating a car from zero to 60 mph in ten or less seconds. These chips play a vital role in driving of electric motors, as well as switching large power amounts to electric coils from the battery pack. Electric motors function as generators when braking the car and this leads to production of power for recharging battery packs. It has been proven that high-power gadgets produce an amount of heat that is four times that produced by normal computer chips.
Researchers have discovered that a dielectric liquid can be used in electric and hybrid cars. This is a fluid that does not conduct electricity and can be directly used in circuits where they do not cause electric shots. Micro-channels were also directly engraved on silicon chips’ tops. Since both the chip and channels are made of silicon, expansion from heating does not cause a significant difference. With the cooling channels between each chip, it is extremely easy for the chips to be arranged on top of each other. The benefits of high-speed camera have also been utilized by researchers to capture the circulating fluid’s behavior. Researchers aimed at testing a broad range of channel sizes. Generally, the system is effective for cooling electric controls in hybrid and electric vehicles.
November 1, 2013
There has been an ongoing price competition between plug-in vehicle makers. The war continued last week when Toyota made an announcement of its intention to reduce the prices of its 2014 Prius Plug-in car. The same case is applicable to the 2013 plug-in models. There are no new features or technological aspects in the Prius plug-in version of the United States market. The affordability of the car model is determined by the model that a consumer chooses. Eventually, it emerges that there is a general reduction on the 2013 prices by 2, 010 dollars for a similar car. Consumers who order the 2014 Prius plug-in in advance will managed to save about 4, 620 dollars in comparison to the 2013 models.
Following the price reduction, the pre-incentive costs for the Prius Plug-in base model hybrid prior to destination is 29,990 dollars. The price for the Prius Plug-in Hybrid Advanced is 34,905 prior to destination. The same rebates and tax credits should be expected since none of the cars has been altered from the 2014 model year. Also, perks such as the solo driver access of Californian HOV-lane are to remain. A major question that arises is whether the price cuts of Toyota are sufficiently big to give them a competitive advantage in the market. Lately, the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid vehicle sales have been dropping, partly because of competitive pricing of 2014 Chevrolet Volt and 2013 Ford C-Max Energi plug-in cars. Although each car’s base model examples are more costly compared to 2014 Prius plug-in hybrid price cut, they give an electric range of 38 and 21 miles respectively. Therefore, they have surpassed the 11 miles of electric vehicle range offered by the Prius Plug-in Hybrid.
California Prius Plug-in owners can apply for the state-offered green HOV sticker program, which would tremendously lower commuting times for those willing to purchase Prius plug-in. This is mainly because of the low emissions and plug-in status of the car. The Prius Plug-in is the ultimate choice for a person in need of HOV lane access to take less commuting time in the morning bit for some reason, do not want to plug in daily. This is because the car has a 1-8 liter gasoline engine that has a much higher efficiency compared to the Volt and C-Max Energi. However, for real fans of electric vehicles, the price cut by Toyota will probably trigger the need to momentarily examine rival vehicles with higher plug-in capabilities.
October 24, 2013
According to Fusion Energi owners, this plug in car is wonderful and has proved to have numerous advantages. They claim that the hybrid Fusion plug-in vehicle can help in saving the planet. The car’s design is also great, and is built in accordance to global standards. It is not only technologically marvelous, but its pricing is also fair. Owners further add that they drive for approximately two hundred miles without using any gas.
This defense comes amidst critical reviews from Brad Berman of PluginCars.com. According to Berman, the appeal of Fusion Energi is restricted by the diminished trunk size. The car’s trunk size was reduced to create room for its battery pack. However, Fusion Energi owners claim that the trunk size is not a deal killer. Most of the people who own this car have other vehicles that have ample capacity for handling cargo. Also, most of them may prefer to travel alone in order to maximize the rear seat that that can be folded down. Basically, the owners of Fusion Energi think that the trunk’s small size is an issue that can be managed. The owners love the car to an extent that they consider it the market best in terms of battery power.
Although the Chevy Volt may have a wider range of all-electric cars compared to Fusion Energi, the latter has more benefits. Fusion Energi is an electric-only car that is workable and almost luxurious. It saves gas, energy, and money. Judging from most reviews, it is clear that gas saving is a determining aspect in the buying decision. Seventy-five percent of reviewers have also said to have bought the car because of its technology and styling. It is interesting that all the respondents are men who are techno-geeks. Many view global warming as a reality and has been largely caused by human activities. Hence, they hold the opinion that investing in hybrid and electric vehicles such as Fusion Energi is the surest way to attaining a clean environment and at least contributing to lessening global warming.
It is essential to acknowledge the fact that the car has impressive technology. With the car, you can drive through dashboard-scored efficiently on increasing speed, cruising and braking. The car has lane monitoring and collision systems that are extremely helpful and effective. The car comes with an application that can automatically detect the car’s charge status, as well as its location. It is clear that the Fusion Energi plug-in car is worth giving a test drive.
October 17, 2013
In 2009, Chrysler’s Italian owner, Fiat, proposed a strategic plan with the aim of saving the company. The CEO of Fiat, Sergio Marchionne went straight away to discontinuing the plug-in vehicle program for Chrysler. According to his statement in March, 2002, the electric vehicles’ economics were not feasible. He further added that Fiat was likely to lose over ten thousand dollars per unit from its electric vehicle version. This year, the fortunes of Chrysler look promising and the company has decided to re-commercialize its electric vehicle program. The company’s recruitment site is currently seeking to recruit engineers specializing in battery management and electrified power development fields.
Before Fiat took over the company, Chrysler had plans of electrifying the whole band of its car models including the range-extended Jeep Patriot, Dodge Circuit electric vehicle, Concept city car, and the plug-in minivan. The mentioned plug-in cars were cancelled by Fiat before they could even get to the showroom. This is because the vehicles were thought to be pageantry concept car that lacked adequate development for support. However, a few Chrysler minivans and plug-in hybrid Doge trucks materialized as a part of a corporate test fleet. The fleet was funded by the energy department program that allocated it 123 million dollars.
Chrysler wants to show people that the idea of electric vehicles was on the table all along, despite its virtually complete termination of plug-in programs. The only programs that have been linked to this automaker since 2009 are the plug-in test fleet and the tepid efforts by Fiat to sell Fiat 500e, an all-electric car in California. These efforts are aimed at satisfying the state’s mandates of zero emissions. According to the powertrain spokesman of Chrysler, Eric Mayne, Chrysler has all along maintained its need for electrification so as to comply with the standards and regulations. Hence, the company has kept this plan in mind during its hiring process. Mayne further added that Chrysler plans to adopt electrification technologies starting with start-stop and proceeding to electric vehicles.
Currently, Chrysler has not portrayed keenness concerning the specifics. This means that we are not likely to see plug-in vehicles from the company soon. Unfortunately, this is more like a missed opportunity. While many buyers may have been enticed by Chrysler’s offerings of its fleet of plug-ins a few years earlier, this may not be the case now. The challenging part for Chrysler now is not manufacturing the plug-in vehicles, but catching up with the evolution that has been witnessed in plug-in technology within the last five years. It has to compete with market leaders such as Toyota, Nissan, Ford, Tesla, and General Motors.
October 17, 2013
An electric version of the Kia Soul electric vehicle will be arriving in the United States in the year 2014 after months of speculation and sightings of test cars in the wild. Kia Soul confirmed that the United States buyers would be able to purchase an all-electric Soul Electric Vehicle next year, in a brief press statement. The South Korean carmaker has not yet released any specifications or pricing. This makes it hard to visualize where the electric version of Kia Soul will place in the marketplace. However, judging from the prototypes of Kia Soul Electric Vehicles seen out and about, it is clear that the car will have a standard quick charge. Just like the Mitsubishi and Nissan Leaf, the charge will have the capacity to recharge the Kia Soul electric vehicle from an empty state to an almost fully charged state within half an hour.
Previous speculations show that the specifications of Kia Soul electric will be similar to those of other small-sized electric vehicles. The vehicle will have a range of about one hundred miles per charge and a maximum speed of about 87 miles per hour and 0.62 miles in about 12 seconds. Kia Soul electric vehicles will have a redesigned body similar to that of their gasoline counterparts. Kia notes that this translates to a larger and quieter interior, a wider and longer wheelbase, and a slightly reduced height. The difference between Kia Soul electric vehicles and their gasoline counterparts is that the electric vehicles will have new styling cues. The automaker gave a hint that the cues will help in aerodynamics. Therefore, potential candidates include side-skirts, a modified grille and bumper, and maybe a uniquely-designed rear spoiler. The electric vehicle will probably be unique and different from existing electric vehicles like the Fiat 500e, Ford Focus Electric, and Nissan Leaf. Also, Kia added that the Soul electric vehicle will be recyclable by up to 85%.
More details about the Kia Soul electric vehicle will be unveiled in the major United States auto show in November, held in Los Angeles. According to Kia, only “select markets” will have the Soul electric vehicles. This implies that it is a limited-production vehicle and will be available only in California. Hyundai, Kia’s parent company, is expected to meet the regulations of California by manufacturing hydrogen-fuel cell cars instead of plug-in cars. It is evident that the Kia Soul electric car is a car to look out for.
October 10, 2013
Car sharing is a common practice in Europe. It is a “sharing economy” that allows individuals to join organizations in order to enjoy services such as parking and charging cars without purchasing the cars. This is similar to ownership versus access. A question that needs to be kept in mind is whether this practice is green. It sounds like an easy question with an easy answer: does EV sharing result in the use of less fuel compared to individuals driving their own gasoline cars? The answer to this question is not as obvious as it would seem, considering the situation with the Autolib Service in Paris.
Autolib services not only deal with cars seen on the streets. Autolib kiosks are common for providing subscription services, as well Autolib stations that serve the role of providing parking and charging services. Also, a number of facilities equipped with people to provide information exist. All facilities have a connection with the headquarters of Autolib, which houses a call center and several powerful computers to oversee an army of about two thousand cars.
It is also essential to note that diesel trucks are a component of Autolib services. The trucks are a common feature in Paris, playing the role of conveying their cars for maintenance services. Basically, Autolib is a big company with at least 500 personnel. Everyone is roughly informed about the efficacy of electric vehicles and the fact that they consume little energy. It is essential to justify the rate of energy consumption when evaluating the service quality. Assessment starts from the vehicles to the tiniest details.
There is a possibility that the vehicles may not be that environmental-friendly or green. Polymer cells of lithium are a key constituent of the Bollore Bluecar that is produced by Bollore and used by Autolib. These cells have been present for almost ten years. Although several European car manufacturers looked at them, none of them purchased any. They observed that these polymer cells have a negative feature in that they belong to the category of “warm cells.” This implies that they do not operate effectively at ambient heat. For this reason, it is crucial to keep the cells warm at all times.
An unplugged Bollore Bluecar has a battery that takes at most, three hours to fully charge. The current used for charging is drawn from the outlet. Considering the fact that approximately two thousand cars are plugged in, there is a great significance in the rate of energy consumption. It seems evident that electric car sharing may not be so green after all.
October 10, 2013
In conjunction with the London Press Club Ball, Nissan intends to reveal their new electric car, the Nissan Leaf. The event, scheduled for October, is expected to have a twist. In addition to launching their new model, Nissan and the partner London Press Club Ball will offer an auction for a year’s driving experience of the Nissan Leaf, with the proceeds of the highest bidder going to charity.
The event is taking place on 10 October this year in London’s Royal Courts of Justice’s Great Hall. According to Nissan, the company opted to sponsor the event that is currently regarded as an annual feature of the social calendar of the media fraternity. Some of the renowned media companies are expected to be represented by their chief executives, journalists, program makers and editors. The excitement does not end there, popular national newspaper firms, and TV companies will also be at the event.
Fun and Entertainment
Those in attendance of the auction will be treated to a host of fun and live entertainment. The flamboyant journalist and TV presenter, Kate Silverton, will be the host, ushering in star performances by former U.K. X-Factor contestant, Handerson Ella. The climax of the evening will be the bidding process, which will be overseen by Nick Ferrari, one of the popular celebrity auctioneers. Nissan also intends to thrill the VIP attendees by providing a fleet of Nissan Leaf that will shuttle them to the event.
A handsome Nissan reward awaits the winner of the auction. The winner will be a symbol of Nissan’s compliance with current technologies while enjoying a year’s driving of the unique Nissan Leaf electric car. Furthermore, the winner will also have a dedicated charging point fitted at his home or office.
A Word from the Chairman
The chairman of the London Press Club was thrilled to announce this years’ offer by Nissan to sponsor the event. According to the chairman, Nissan’s decision to launch the new brand will be a good example of evolutionally electric cars that goes hand-in-hand with the technological changes taking place within the media fraternity. In addition, the chairman was also optimistic that the unique design and features of the Nissan Leaf will attract a lot of bidders for the charity.
The finesse of Nissan’s model lies in the new Nissan Leaf electric car’s ability to charge to full capacity within four hours at a dedicated charging point. Opting for public chargers will guarantee at least 80% of the battery capacity within 30 minutes, further improving the expectation of this premium car.
September 27, 2013
A battery-powered Chevrolet Spark has a range of 82 miles. Although GM claims that this range is sufficient for the majority of daily commuters, the company is not stopping yet. According to GM’s electrification spokesperson, the company has been working for quite some time to come up with a next-generation battery technology. The goal of this new technology is to decrease the cost, while at the same time increasing the range. The spokesman further acknowledged the need to go further, regardless of the fact that GM’s research indicates that most commuters travel less than 40 miles daily.
Message from the Company’s Vice President
The Vice President of General Motors global product development, Doug Parks, said that the major aim of the company is to make an electric vehicle that is powered only by a battery. The vehicle should be able to travel at least two hundred miles on a full charge, and be available to customers for approximately 30,000 dollars. The automotive press perceived the announcement as a response to the ‘third-generation’ mass-market vehicle by Tesla Motors. The vehicle is scheduled to be presented in the next few years; however, neither General Motors nor Tesla Motors has given a specific timeline for the release of the mentioned electric vehicles.
The General Motors’ spokesperson said that the company has established the goal of developing a vehicle that can adhere to the desired criteria. However, the timing and other specifics have not yet been discussed. The spokesman further added that a key significant issue is the cost, particularly with respect to the car battery. The success of Tesla Motors with huge battery packs has prompted other automakers to consider the issue of vehicle range. For instance, with the Model S, some consumers have shown the willingness to pay more as long as they are assured of the stated three hundred miles per charge range. The big question for General Motors is whether it can achieve the two hundred mile goal.
Consumers’ Switch to Electric Cars
For consumers that prefer gas cars, a range of 200 miles could serve as a sweet spot to convince them to shift to electric cars. This is according to Navigant Research’s Research Director for smart transportation, John Gartner. Such vehicles would offer a great comfort degree because they would be comparable to gas vehicles. There is a huge difference made when buyers do not have to worry much about range considerations. Generally, it is clear that the switch to electric and hybrid cars should be embraced by the public because of the great benefits achieved.
September 27, 2013