Filed under: Electric Cars
Volkswagen has made clear of its intention to reveal its first battery electric vehicle next month at the Paris auto show. Herbert Diess, the automaker’s chairman responded to an interview published at Industry and Economic Week magazine. He said that the electric car model in question will have an exterior design and dimensions similar to those of the Golf. The major difference between the two cars is that the new battery electric vehicle will offer a slightly larger interior space that is comparable to that of Passat.
In terms of size, the 2019 electric vehicle has been likened to Hyundai’s Ioniq electric car planned for this year. The size will also be slightly similar to that of Tesla’s Model 3, whose debut has been planned for the end of this year. Diess further added that the vehicle is dubbed as “near-production prototype” and it may be launched either at the end of 2018 or beginning of 2019. A small crossover will then be launched after the new electric vehicle. This crossover will be the production model and coupe of the concept of BUDD-e minivan.
Autocar, a United Kingdom publication confirmed that the new vehicle will have a range of 310 miles or 500 km with a 15 minute charge time. The cost will be less than that of a traditional diesel or gasoline powered car. This information was officially given by Matthias Muller, the CEO of Volkswagen Group. Muller’s confirmation could fit to the newly implemented European Driving Cycle that has is more lenient compared to the EPA rating. Additionally, the new system doesn’t actually translate to the real-world range, but instead gives a likelihood of 250 miles. A senior engineer who has knowledge about the development and research plans of Volkswagen told Autocar that the new car will be a major hit. The technology to be utilized is cutting-edge and the price will be affordable for most average motorists.
Autocar further reported that the new electric car is the only one of its kind to utilize the automaker’s novel MEB architecture. This technology was specifically invented to be used for electric vehicles. Volkswagen has made efforts to significantly increase the electric range of its cars via incorporating high-performance batteries and compact electric motors. Additional reports speculate that the company plans to set up a battery factory or battery production plant. The new electric car is part of Volkswagen ambition of producing twenty plug-in or electric cars by the year 2020. It is in response to the recent emissions scandal.
September 2, 2016
A few years ago, hybrid cars were viewed as the motor industry’s future. With intense calls to minimize the use of fuel-emitting traditional motors as well as increasing prices of gas, hybrid cars were clearly an attractive choice. The number of people purchasing the cars and investing in them also increased. Fast forwarding to 2016, it is undeniably clear that things have changed in the auto industry. Among the notable changes is the falling prices of cars. Hence, this poses a major question as to whether investing in hybrid vehicles is still worth it.
When the prices of gas stumbled the previous year, calls were made that electric and hybrid vehicles could not compete with gasoline powered cars. This is because a gallon of gas was priced at $2 in comparison to hybrid cars whose upfront cost was high. However, the low gas prices seem to have had a contrary effect to the green vehicle purchasing trend. Since the gas prices fell, more people chose to purchase hybrid cars. Hybrid car manufacturers overcompensated the low gas prices with discounts on the upfront prices of their cars. Last year, the sales of green cars hit a historical high of 17.8 million.
Another persuading factor is the role that the owners of hybrid cars are playing in conserving the planet. This premise only isn’t sufficient enough to convince a person to purchase a green car. Hence, so as to increase their financial viability, manufacturers are forced to give huge discounts on these hybrid cars. A major challenge and issue that has been raised is concerning their size. Research indicates that more purchasers are opting for larger cars such as people carriers and SUVs.
One of the most prominent names when it comes to hybrid cars is Toyota, famed for its Prius model. The automaker has gained so much popularity that it doesn’t have to put a lot of effort to attract customers. The automaker doesn’t have a plan of changing its strategy any time soon. According to its spokesperson, the company believes that its high bargaining power will play a role in making its prices stick. This is absolutely true since more than fifty percent of hybrid owners would settle for a Toyota model or its Lexus counterpart. These two companies have garnered a sufficient market and can comfortably sell models without enticing new customers. Generally, hybrid vehicles are a worthy investment with most manufacturers giving incredible savings. With the current market instability, one cannot predict when the prices of gas will increase again.
August 26, 2016
While it has not been confirmed yet, preliminary reports indicate that Ford’s fully electric 2017’s Focus will have a higher mileage. Increasing the battery size translates to an increase in range by up to one hundred miles per charge. The specification sheet shows that the new battery will be a lithium ion pack of 33.5 kWh from the previous version of 23 kWh. This means that the energy storage capacity will increase by 46 percent. Although the range figure has not yet been issued by Ford concerning its Focus Electric, the EPA rating for the 2016 version is 76 miles with a battery of 23 kWh. Considering the increase in battery size percentage, it is highly likely that the 2017 version will go up to a range of 110 miles per charge.
With the range in question, the new Focus Electric car will directly compete with same-sized fully electric models. It will however be clearly below 2017’s Chevrolet Volt and the yet to be released Tesla’s Model 3. Hyundai’s Ioniq electric car has been projected to go for approximately 110 miles on a single charge. The SV and SL versions of Nissan Leaf have a rating of 107 miles on a single charge. This is the least range for now since Nissan has reported that a new model with a substantially higher range will be released soon. Ford has also hinted about its plan to increase the fast charging capacity of its Focus Electric.
According to Inside EVs, additional changes will be implemented in Ford’s 2017 C-Max plug-in hybrid car. It seems the car will get some amendments similar to those applied to Fusion Energi in the United States. It appears the car’s exterior design will be similar to that of the current version in North America. The front fascia will be slightly refreshed and this will give it a look that is slightly different from that in European market versions. The trim edition dubbed as “SEL” will now be replaced with “SE” as the base level. The sticker price for the SE level may be lower compared to that of SEL edition.
A few tech and exterior changes will also be made for C-Max Energi. The plug-in hybrid and hybrid versions of C-Max have reported low sales over the past few years. Ford plans to increase electric car production in future, and these cars may serve as a perfect replacement. A good example is Model E, which will be available in both compact utility vehicle and car versions.
August 26, 2016
BMW has introduced a plug-in hybrid model to fall into the 7 series category. The series in question is known for adopting a body structure initially designed for i-Series car models. This new 740e xDrive has a performance driven by the drive system of a plug-in hybrid. Its engine capacity is four cylinder coupled with a Turbo technology of BMW TwinPower. Additionally, there is an electric motor and a Steptronic transmission of 8-speeds that helps the car to achieve a 322 horsepower system output.
BMW embraced and utilized the lessons obtained from the i-Series mainly by emphasizing on what is dubbed as the “intelligent lightweight design.” This design’s main aspect is the use of a carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic. The i technologies of BMW have also played a key role in shaping the contents of the electric motor, lithium-ion battery, and power electronics of the 740e model. Customers can also take advantage of the charging services offered for the i8 and i3 models. Great examples of the services in question are the ChargeNow and BMW’s I Charging Station, which can be used for home charging or along a trip.
The model has the all-wheel drive system of BMW for distributing the total power between the rear and front wheels. The iPerformance of 740e xDrive has the capacity to be driven to 75 mph in the fully electric mode. According to a report by BMW, the official mileage rating of EPA is 14 miles for the fully electric range and 64 MPGe as the combined range. The eDrive technology of BMW that has been utilized by the new 740e plug-in car has been estimated to have greenhouse gas emissions that are approximately 30% lower compared to those of gasoline-fuelled 740i over the car’s full lifecycle. This emission information was officially given by BMW.
BMW’s 740e 2017 model is currently under production and has been said to hit the United States dealerships later this month. The car’s starting cost is about $89,100 in addition to $995 to cater for handling and destination. This is partly a move by BMW to promote sustainability by releasing electrified car models along with its i-Series fleet. 2017’s 740e model will join the X5 40e plug-in, which was released in 2015. The model has constantly attained fairly high sales since its launch. The July listing on the HybridCar Dashboard ranked it as the 4th top seller among plug-in hybrids. In the United States, 649 units were sold in July.
August 19, 2016
Toyota made an announcement regarding its decision to add new safety equipment to its Yaris hatchback and Prius hybrid for the model year 2017. Meanwhile, a new entrant to the automaker’s lineup is the Scion iA, which is an award winner and a top safety pick by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. The model in question will now be referred to as the Yaris iA though it will not have the new safety gear. One of its current features is a pre-collision warning.
After undergoing a complete redesign last year, Toyota Prius will enter a new year with a Safety Sense package that will be applicable to all models. This includes pre-collision warning, adaptive cruise control, automated high-beam headlights, as well as lane-departure system to help to bring the car to its original lane. Additional technological features imply that the resultant Prius is more expensive, with the price increasing by as much as $515 for 2017’s Prius. Model two to four will be the expensive ones while Four Touring and Three Touring trims will be $45 less.
On a similar note, 2017’s Yaris hatchbacks currently have Toyota’s Safety Sense C that is inclusive of features such as automated high-beams, pre-collision warning, as well as the lane-departure alerts. These additions mean that the average cost of the model will increase by $355. This information was officially stated by Toyota. The entry cost is likely to increase by up to $380 for the Yaris models that will have four-speed automated transmission. The increase will be $330 for Yaris SE model.
Addition of Toyota’s badge to iA will increase the price of the subcompact sedan by $250. Similar to the previous year, the only option available for the car is the six-speed automated transmission. The rest of the extra features like the push-button start, touchscreen infotainment system, rear view camera and the alloy wheels are all standard features for all models.
While customers may opt for the 2016’s Scion iA model as an alternative to 2017’s Toyota Yaris in order to save $250, it is advisable for those who yearn for Yaris hatchback or Prius hybrid to wait till the model year 2017. The extra safety equipment incorporated in the new models is clearly worth the price increases. Safety is an essential feature that shouldn’t be compromised when purchasing a vehicle.
August 19, 2016
Many people do not have a clear picture of what plug-in hybrids are and the benefits associated with these vehicles. Non-plug in hybrids such as Toyota’s Prius models requires gasoline to function, with the electric motor serving as a temporary helper. A plug-in hybrid on the other hand refers to a hybrid car that has a larger-sized battery to allow pure electric driving for a specific distance. In other words, PHEVs are part-time hybrids and part-time electric vehicles. The electric aspect of the car is dependent on the all-electric range of the plug-in hybrid. The range in question is based on the size of the battery in kilowatt-hours.
One of the merits of plug-ins that many consumers in the U.S. might not know much about is that there is no need to have or hire an electrician. Some people have the wrong idea that that there is special charging equipment that has to be installed. Contrary to pure electric cars that have large-sized batteries, PHEVs normally require the standard household outlet of 120 volts. That’s the same voltage your washing machine uses. The package comes with a special charging apparatus and cord.
The second advantage is convenience. A plug-in runs on electricity or gas and you can charge the battery at home. However, if you don’t manage to charge, the car can function just fine using the gasoline engine in the hybrid mode. These cars are great since drivers aren’t obliged to wait for them to charge as is the case with battery electric cars. Additionally, they can also be used when one wants to cover longer trips.
Another benefit worth noting is that plug-in cars have a hundred percent battery usage. Battery electric vehicles on the contrary have a limitation in terms of the battery range that can be used. For a driver to get to the next charging point, they have to keep a buffer. For PHEVs, drivers are free to utilize all the usable energy without worrying about getting stranded. Models such as Chevrolet Bolt have proved that they can accomplish better EV mileage compared to fully electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf.
Finally, PHEVs guarantee a satisfying driving experience. Driving and handling is just like other standard cars with great torque and in electric mode, they aren’t noisy. The drive is smooth, with some drivers terming it as addictive. The electric driving experience of PHEVs is certainly better than that of a regular hybrid car. Although hybrids are quiet as well, it is slightly harder to accelerate with a gas engine.
August 12, 2016
A major milestone was marked in the United States last month with respect to plug-in electric vehicle sales. The milestone in question is the delivery of the 100,000th Chevy Volt. Volt became the first plug-in model to hit the 100,000th mark. The automaker celebrated this achievement with some fanfare and a press release. Both Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt were officially put on sale in late 2010, and for the most of five years, the Leaf surpassed the Volt in terms of total sales.
The second-generation Chevy Volt plug-in has been a well-received car and emerged the winner in 2016 Green Car Reports on the best cars to purchase. It topped the Leaf and has continued to flourish for ten consecutive months. In July, the sales of Volts reached 2,406, one of its best months since 2014 August. The total units sold for the seven months in 2016 are 12,214 and since 2010 December the grand total sales amount to 100,964. On the other hand, the Nissan Leaf made deliveries amounting to 1,063.
Since its launch, the Leaf has sold 96,447 units, implying that if it continues with the same pace it would cross the one hundred thousand line in October. Tesla’s Model S emerged as the third ranked selling electric vehicle in the Unites States. However, its manufacturer didn’t give details of the monthly sales. The quarterly sales breakdown details are also not available. The fourth-best is Toyota’s Prius plug-in with sales total exceeding 42,300. This plug-in car’s replacement is Prius Prime, scheduled to officially enter the market at the end of this year.
In the plug-in hybrid sector, Ford recorded the highest sales with its Energi versions. The Fusion and C-Max Energi have recorded higher sales compared to Nissan for several months. Contrary to the usual pattern, the sales of Fusion Energi dropped to 1,341 units, while those of C-Max were 755 deliveries. Both of the cars collectively recorded total sales amounting to 2,096. Ford and Chevy seem to have exchanged the lead with respect to plug-in vehicle sales this year for some time. Nissan has lagged behind.
BMW’s i3, planned for an update in 2017 recorded remarkable sales amounting to 1,479 units. This marked the highest sales in a month since July last year. Since its launch in the United States, i3 has sold 21,475 units. Volkswagen’s e-Golf made deliveries of 344 units in July, with a total of 1,799 units for seven months. Lower-volume cars include Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV and Mercedes’ 250e.
August 12, 2016
The push by federal regulations has forced automakers to focus more on the manufacture of new fully-electric cars. Unfortunately, consumers are still reluctant to buy electric car offerings because the prices of gas have remained fairly low. With the exception of Tesla’s Model S, the sales of electric car have gone down by eleven percent in 2016’s first half. Limited charging stations and range issues are the major demerits for electric car ownership. Despite the mentioned drawbacks, there are planned developments that would totally change the situation for the better.
One of the key developments is a federal initiative. The Transportation Department made an announcement about its plan to use about $4.5 billion to guarantee loans to create fast-charging stations across the nation. The plan also includes the creation of an automakers’ coalition, as well as the utilities to oversee this effort. This will allow for the incorporation of both local and state governments.
Another development that could spur electric car sales is the plan to produce long-range electrics that will be affordable to consumers. A perfect example is the Chevy Bolt, which will have an approximate range of 200 miles on full charge. Tesla’s Model S is the sole electric vehicle meeting the standard range mentioned, and it currently sells for $70,000. There is a high likelihood that the retail price of Chevy Bolt will be less than $40,000. In some regions, there will be $7,500 in the form of federal tax credit, as well as incentives from both the local and state governments. Tesla is set to begin the sale of Model 3 late next year at about a similar cost with a range of 215 miles. Extra range can be a great motivation for consumers, with a good example being the revamped 2016 Chevy Volt. This electric car that also features a gasoline engine as backup can cover approximately 53 miles before recharging.
Availability of used electric cars at a cheaper cost will also spark electric car sales. As the sales of new electric cars go down, those of used electric vehicles have gone up. A survey by iSeeCars.com revealed that a Nissan Leaf that is 1-3 years old retails at only $12,533 with a new one costing about $30,000. Proper computation of daily mileage requirement and buying a home charger will go a long way in ensuring that you save more on used electric cars. It is also advisable to reserve gasoline cars for long-distance trips.
August 5, 2016
More and more automakers are gearing toward an electrified future, with 2016 having its fair share. The plug-in electric car market in the United States essentially began in 2008 when Tesla produced its Roadster. Almost half a million plug-in electrics have been sold since 2008, with the U.S being the global market leader. There are developments and news that emerged this year that promise to speed up the transition to plug-in electric vehicles.
A key development is the nationwide Volt rollout for the year 2016/2017. Although the Chevy Volt was completely redesigned last year and launched in late 2015, earlier this year saw its nationwide rollout. This pioneer is clearly a unique invention that achieved the highest total national sales. It has an EV range of 53 miles, which is much higher compared to that of a standard plug-in hybrid. The new Volt also has a revamped powertrain architecture that is adds to the model’s relevancy. The architecture serves as the basis for development of more plug-in hybrids.
The unveiling of Tesla’s Model 3 is a significant event that has a positive impact on the plug-in electric market. There was a pile-up of at least 400,000 pre-orders for this 3rd generation Tesla model. While some people are skeptical and have raised concerns on how the car will fit the budget of many buyers, the proponents have argued that the model marks the beginning of battery electrification. The base price is $35,000 with the car promising a range of more than 215 miles.
Another development worth noting is the grand opening of the Gigafactory, which is scheduled for later this week. The factory was set up for the sole purpose of building batteries for Tesla’s Model 3. Currently, the structure will be used by test mules considering the fact that the official production of Model 3 is planned for late next year.
The rules of CAFE and their review have also sparked the plug-in market. It is now obligatory for United States car manufacturers to follow the stringent CO2 and mpg guidelines set under the law of Corporate Average Fuel Economy. The federal rules, in addition to California’s ZEV rules have pushed automakers into opting for plug-in cars to increase their product portfolio. Finally, the aftermath of Volkswagen diesel scandal also had an impact on the plug-in market. The automaker has promised to come clean and focus more on green car manufacture. Volkswagen has a plan of introducing three novel battery electric vehicles each year through the year 2025.
August 5, 2016
There are several types of hybrid cars available in the current market, in different body styles. These vehicles are a popular choice because of their fuel efficiency, coupled with low emissions. So, are hybrid cars a perfect option for you? For you to answer this question, you’ll need to consider a number of factors such as your financial situation, environmental priorities, and driving habits. Although the prices of gas are low today, they are subject to changing fast. Owning a hybrid car somewhat protects you from unexpected hikes in the prices of gas. This is a good reason to purchase a hybrid car when on a stringent budget.
Even in a scenario where the prices of gas don’t increase abruptly, you still manage to make savings on the costs of fuel when you drive a hybrid car. Your total gas savings increase when you drive for longer distances. The cost of the hybrid car itself is another factor to consider. For most hybrid cars, there is a premium that customers are required to pay, regardless of whether they are purchasing a compact vehicle or a large-sized SUV. This implies that you will need to save more money for the initial down payment. There is a possibility of facing huge monthly payments, as well as registration and insurance fees. It is therefore advisable to check and confirm these figures before purchasing a hybrid car.
Depending on your residence, governmental incentives are available for hybrid cars. This differs from one state to the other, as well as in various countries. Hence, you need to get accurate information from governmental offices concerning the incentives offered. Remember to also check the hybrid’s warranty and its relationship to the battery life. While some companies give lifetime warranties, others offer limited ones. If a battery fails after warranty period, clients will incur huge costs for replacement.
Another great reason for purchasing a hybrid car isn’t related to saving money. Rather, this car will help you to save time. In many regions, electric and hybrid car owners are allowed to utilize the carpool lane, regardless of the number of drivers. This is greatly beneficial to those with a rough commute. This saves time, a valuable asset in the current busy world. Purchasing a plug-in hybrid car means that you will get a parking space close to doors of office buildings, airports, and even malls. With a plug-in hybrid, you depend less on gasoline engine since the battery can be recharged from a station using electricity.
July 29, 2016