Filed under: Electric Cars

Implications of the New Mileage Standards

2012HondaCivicHybridNew standards on fuel mileage were recently announced for cars to adhere to by 2025. This has caused most of the car manufacturers to devote more of their resources to improving the efficiency of their vehicles. The release of these standards have also resulted in a change of the consumer trends around the country. This is because consumers are increasingly becoming conscious about the effects that that their cars have on the environment.

Start-Stop Technology

This is a new technology that will help further improve the mileage of vehicles. This is because the technology shuts off the engine of the vehicle whenever the vehicle stops. This technology is already being tested in hybrid vehicles around the United States and the results have so far been encouraging. Industry stakeholders expect that at least 40 percent of vehicles in the United States will be fitted with this technology by 2017. This technology has been proven to increase the fuel efficiency of a car by about 12%. Ford expects to offer this technology in the Focus line of vehicles for an additional cost starting in 2014. Many other manufacturers such as Kia, Honda and Hyundai are already putting in plans to roll out cars using this technology.

Carbon Fiber Bodies

The weight of the car is directly proportional to the amount of fuel that it has to consume. This means that the heavier the vehicle is the lower the fuel mileage. Car manufacturing companies are already investing heavily on developing lighter car parts. One of the materials that has shown great promise in reducing the weight of cars is carbon fiber. On top of the fact that carbon fiber is lighter than steel, it is encouraging to note that it is stronger than steel. Carbon fiber has been used in a few sports cars and race cars already. The use has however been very limited so far. Considering the level of stress that these vehicles have to be driven at, it means that they provide a very good benchmark for the evaluation of this kind of material.

There have been significant focus on the improvement in the production techniques of carbon fiber. This has resulted in the increased use of carbon fiber in the manufacture of motor vehicle bodies and parts. The slow uptake of this material being used in car manufacture means that the vehicles we have in the market are also improving step by step over time. Some of the top manufacturers in the market who are increasingly adopting this technology include BMW, Lamborghini, and GM.


Leave a Comment October 17, 2014

Hybrid Cars 101

Accord_Hybrids_San_AntonioWhoever is living in the 21st century has at some point in their lives heard about hybrid car technology. These cars have grown so fast in terms of popularity such that they are now a must-have line of cars for most of the major car manufacturers. Despite this buzz about the hybrid car technology, it is sad to note that most people do not fully understand what this technology actually is. Most people still associate hybrid cars to affluent people in society because of their high cost of acquisition. These are the basic facts you need to know about hybrid cars.

Why are hybrid car popularity levels increasing?

The major competitor to the hybrid cars in terms of their levels of emissions is the electric cars. Although the electric cars have zero emissions, they cannot drive as fast or as far as hybrid cars. Most of the hybrid car fanatics will say that the hybrid technology gives them the best of both worlds. They are able to enjoy the high speeds that are associated with the gasoline-powered vehicles while also enjoying the low toxic gas emissions that are associated with the plug-in electric cars.

In terms of the design of the vehicles, hybrid cars have a much better and diverse design compared to electric cars. The hybrid cars are also very good for drivers who mostly drive around the city. This is because at lower speeds, the vehicle resorts to electric power. This enables the driver to save on the fuel that would have been wasted while being held in traffic.

Plug-In Hybrids

Just like electric cars, there are some hybrid car varieties that can be plugged in to an external power source that charges the battery of the vehicle. This is usually in the high-end versions of hybrid cars and they are advantageous for people who are mostly driving in the city. This means that the vehicle can easily switch to the combustion engine when the electric power of the vehicle runs low. This is a big add-on for the electric vehicle.

Top Reasons Why Hybrid Cars Are Better Than Normal Cars

The biggest reason is the savings on fuel. Hybrid cars save between 15%-30% compared to a majority of the normal cars in the market.

There are less tax implications on hybrid cars, as well. Cars are taxed depending on their Co2 emission levels. With most of the new hybrids in the market emitting less than 100g/km you may be paying zero tax!


Leave a Comment October 10, 2014

Basics of Hybrid Cars

HybridHybrid car technology has grown since the invention of the Toyota Prius hybrid car. This was the first car running on the hybrid technology to be introduced into the market. The huge success of the Toyota Prius set a benchmark for other car manufacturers to start venturing into this technology. Today, most of the major car manufacturing companies have already rolled out their own versions of the hybrid car. However, these cars are still retailing at a higher price compared to conventional gasoline or diesel powered vehicles. The problem however, is that most people around the world still don’t know much about this technology. If you are one of those people who do not know much about the hybrid car technology, this would be a great starting point for you to get some overview information.

In terms of environmental conservation, the electric cars are the best. This is because these cars have zero emissions. This means that these cars would appeal very much to the environmentally savvy car owners. The problem comes in the speed and design of these cars. Manufacturers of this type of car are yet to discover the best technology that allows them to get the power for high speed, while keeping the design consideration intact. The advantage with the hybrid cars is that they combine both gasoline fuel and electric power and this helps create the feeling of being environmentally conscious while not compromising on the speed and the design of the car.

What is a Hybrid Car?

A hybrid car is a vehicle that makes use of at least two sources of power in order to move. There are many types of hybrid cars depending on the sources of power. For instance, there are diesel-electric hybrids, gasoline-electric hybrids, and there are plans to have bio gas-electric hybrid cars in the market. The power from the engine part of the vehicle is used for acceleration and moving the car in higher speeds. The power from the electric part of the vehicle is used power the vehicle at lower speeds and also helps support the vehicle during acceleration.

How the Battery Holds Charge in the Hybrid

The good thing about having a hybrid car is that you don’t have to keep recharging the battery regularly. This is because the battery is charged whenever you are on the move. This means that you don’t have to worry about manually charging you battery. The energy generated from the braking system also helps charge the battery.


Leave a Comment October 10, 2014

What You Stand to Save with Hybrid Cars

hybridcar240wHybrid car technology is quickly gaining popularity in most parts of the world. This is mostly because of the perceived relatively low cost of ownership. These are some of the other cost related factors that you should consider when making the decision on whether or not to purchase that hybrid car from the showroom.

Loan Discounts

In this modern age, it is relatively cheaper to finance a hybrid car than to finance the gasoline-powered alternatives. There are a number of banks and credit unions around the world that now offer preferential loan rates and credit terms for the purchase of hybrid cars. A good example of one of such financial institution is the Meriwest Credit Union in the Greater Bay area in Arizona. The credit union offers a discounted rate of 0.25% for loans used to purchase used or new hybrid cars in the market. This means that you can easily get a good loan deal and purchase that dream hybrid car.

Repair Costs and Brakes

According to most of the reports circulating about hybrid cars, hybrid car owners should not expect to incur higher maintenance costs compared to their gasoline-powered vehicle counterparts. Most hybrid cars come with a standard three year, 36,00 miles warranty on top of a special hybrid technology warranty. There are also reduced chances for brake replacement in the hybrid car technology. The hybrid car brakes have been known to last three times as long as those of conventional gasoline-powered vehicles do.

Resale Value

It is interesting to note that the resale value for most hybrid cars in the market is high compared to gasoline-powered alternatives. This is partly because of the low depreciation rate of these vehicles. A very good case to elaborate this point is the Toyota Prius.

Gas Savings

One of the most obvious reasons most people purchase hybrid cars is the gas savings that are associated with this vehicle. With the ever increasing cost of energy, people are constantly looking for ways to reduce their dependence on gasoline or where possible completely eliminate their dependence on this form of energy. With the increase in the cost of fuel, the real-dollar value of the hybrid car is likely to increase in equal proportion.

Insurance Discounts

There are a number of insurance companies that have started giving discounted insurance rates for hybrid car owners in some areas in the United States. This sure is a good deal since it is likely to reduce significantly the cost of ownership for your hybrid car.


Leave a Comment October 3, 2014

Do You Really Save Money on Your Electric Car?

Bay Area Plans Major Expansion Of Electric Vehicle Charging StationsThe fact of the matter is that most people around the world hate that the prices of gasoline have been increasing by the day. The invention of hybrid cars and electric cars was meant to address this growing concern among most road users. However, do you really save on cost when you use an plug in car or is the cost transferred to other aspects such as maintenance and acquisition costs.

With the missing link between the cost that the commuters have to pay for fuel and the nature of electric cars, we take a look at the real cost of hybrid cars in the market.

Beyond Pump Prices

To be able to come to a viable conclusion lets take a look at the two types of competitive cars in the market. First, let us consider the Ford electric family and the gasoline-powered alternatives of the car such as the Focus.

The electric Ford Focus comes at a cost of $39,995, while the gasoline powered alternative costs $24,495. There is no need for battery replacement for the gasoline-powered vehicle, but you may be required to replace the battery for the electric car at a cost of about $13,500. The gasoline-powered vehicle needs major engine repair costs that come up to about $4,899. Electric cars do not require this. The fuel cost for the gasoline powered vehicle over 8 years is about $16,222, while the total fuel costs for the electric car comes to about $5,000.Using these figures, the total cost for the gasoline powered vehicle comes to $45,616 while the total cost for the electric car is about $58,562.

So overall, the hybrid car is not as cheap as most people would have expected.

Lessons from This

The high cost of the hybrid and electric cars puts them at a spending disadvantage for the buyers. This is because the buyers can never make up the ground from the cheaper gasoline powered vehicles.

The maintenance cost of the vehicle is an important factor to consider. You need to know what will be subject to maintenance and how much it is going to cost you.

The cost of fuel also adds up. It is important to consider the fuel costs over a significant amount of time, as in our case, 8 years.

Because of how new these vehicles are in the market, the maintenance cost for hybrid vehicles has still not been well established. This technology is still being improved by the day. The efficiency is also improving by the day.


Leave a Comment October 3, 2014

Guide for Electric car Charging Networks

av-fast-chargerWhen it comes to fueling up cars, the owners of gasoline powered vehicles have a big advantage because they can easily drive into a gas station and fuel up. There are virtually over 100,000 gas stations around the United States. This means that there is very little chance for the owner of a gasoline powered vehicle to run into the risk of running out of fuel compared to their hybrid and electric car counterparts. Although most of the charging for electric cars, usually takes place at home during the night, there is still some need to have some public charging stations for the long distance drivers and those who are not near their homes.

For EV driers who often require to charge in public, it is important to have some knowledge on a number of charging networks that usually offer electric fuel on the go. These networks usually operate independently of each other and offer different quality of services. It is important for the owner to understand how most of these compare to each other and how they differentiate themselves from the public.

Cost Factors

Cost is very often a defining consideration for most of the owners. There are three common payment options that are available for the drivers,

i.            Pay as you go

ii.            Monthly Subscription

iii.            Free

Of course given the chance most people would rush for the free option. But it is important to first carefully study the various cost models based on their cost for a charge to determine which model makes the best sense for you. The rule of the thumb is to do careful planning so that you avoid as much as possible public charging unless it is under unavoidable circumstances.

High Level Recommendations

You first need to examine the regular routes that you use and your favorite destinations. With this you can easily identify the any charging networks that may be along any of your routes. This will help you prepare to use any of them whenever you run out of charge for your vehicles. You can use station finding tools such as PlugShare to find some of these networks.

If you are living would like to take advantage of the free charging option, there are a number of free charging stations. You can also use the PlugShare tool to locate these stations as well. There are over 2,000 charging stations in the country that are free and it would be very exciting to try them out. You may even find one that is along your route.


Leave a Comment September 19, 2014

Electric Charging Etiquette

plug-close-6201. EV Spots are for EVs

It is absolutely disrespectful for a gasoline-powered vehicle to park at a charging station that is designed for a plug-in hybrid vehicle. Despite the fact that most of these stations are never that easy to identify, it would be much better if the driver is ready to move out when they are asked to. This should be a strict rule. Regardless of how full the parking area is, the charging station should always be free for any incoming plug-in hybrid car. Some of the charging stations are not used very frequently, but they need to be left free for the right vehicles to have easy access.

2. Only charge when it is necessary.

It is sometimes tempting to have your car charged even when it is almost full. This is often because of the fear that there is some chance for running out of power. It is better that you leave the charging spot free so that another car that is in more need can make use of the station.

3. It is fine to ask for a charge.

If you drive into a charging station and find that there is another car that is using the station, it is perfectly okay to leave a note for the other driver to plug in your car when they are done charging their car. The reverse also applies. If you are charging your car and another car drops you a note to plug in their car after your session is done you should honor the request. Of course, if the charging station requires some fee, you are not under any obligation to pay for the other driver. It is however, not bad to show such a kind gesture. You may receive a similar gesture sometime in the future if you leave your name and contact details.

4. Safety first.

It is important to maintain high levels of safety while using charging stations. This not only protects you, but also protects the other users of the charging stations. This means that you should handle the charging cord with care. Carefully wrap the cord around the holder and tuck it in after you are done using it. This will ensure that people don’t trip over it or drive over it by accident.

5. Don’t unplug hybrid cars.

If you are a pure electric car owner, you have no right to unplug a hybrid car as it is charging simply because they have a back-up source of power. Everyone has equal rights to use a charging station.


Leave a Comment September 19, 2014

Why You Need to Care About Hybrid Cars

bmw-i3-2013-07-29-01-1375106786 The climate change and greenhouse effect that has been witnessed in most parts of the world has mostly been attributed to the use of fossil fuels. The use of fossil fuels has also been named as the biggest cause for the increase in the acidity of oceans among harmful environmental effects.

Even for the people who don’t care much about the on-going campaigns about a greener planet in many parts of the world, there are a number of benefits that come with the increased use of green cars. There are a number of hybrid car models that are relatively cheaper to run compared to their non-hybrid counterparts. For instance, the engineers at EV have been working tirelessly to ensure that the EVs on the roads are relatively quieter and lighter over time. The whole of the front area of the car will be a crumple zone that serves to increase the safety of the driver in the event of a collision.

The pure electric cars and the plug-ins are usually relatively more expensive. This is a sad reality because it eliminates the cost-saving benefits of the hybrid car technology. It is good to put into consideration that there are federal tax credits of up to $7500 in the United States for the purchase of a number of EVs and plug-in hybrids in the country. For instance, the Nissan Leaf usually costs about $30,000, but the price can drop to about $20,000 after putting into consideration all of the federal tax rebates that come with the car. According to the research done by the scientists at Nissan, hybrid car drivers can save up to $4000 in gasoline costs over a period of four years. This reduces the effective price of this vehicle to about $16,000. It is still hard to estimate the cost of maintenance for this vehicle because there are still not enough of them in the market to give a fair view of the actual picture on the ground.

As hybrid cars keep increasing in the market, it is expected that the prices of the batteries and the cost of maintenance will continue to fall. This means that the hybrid cars are likely to get more affordable to the mid-income population over time. Some of the recent discoveries such as the lithium anode advances will eventually be rolled out into the market. This will significantly reduce on the weight and cost of the vehicles. The significant improvements shown in the hybrid-car technology has been made possible because of the competition, rebates and regulations that have helped motivate most of the car makers to invest more on innovation and create better and more effective designs.


Leave a Comment September 12, 2014

Hunting for Your Charging Station

Fast-chargers-at-motorway-services_4Most of the electric-gasoline hybrid car owners have admitted to having difficulties in locating convenient charging stations near their area. This can be more like looking for a needle in a haystack, especially when you are running low on power. Most people experience what we call “charging anxiety.” This is the fear that you will arrive at your destination and find that there are no charging points or the charging points at the location have broken down. When you are in a place that is not very familiar to you, it usually brings about the feeling of wanting to leave your house for an urgent appointment yet you cannot find your keys. This feeling of being trapped is what gets people looking for charging stations whenever they are somewhere new.

Even more aggravating is the fact that most people responsible for staffing parking facilities are not aware of the existence of charging stations in their vicinity. In cases where the attendants actually know that the charging stations exist, you will mostly get a very vague answer like, “somewhere on the second floor” or “I don’t think we have them.” It is very rare to find someone who will give you specific instructions such as, “Go take a left turn on isle H then go straight ahead until you find a big blue box.”

It is puzzling to note that it is very easy for people to give you the directions to the nearest petrol station than for someone to give you directions to a charging station. Because of their relatively different physical design it gets even more difficult to identify them once you are at their location. It is not surprising to find a car circling a charging station without knowing that they are actually at the charging station. All of the databases for charging stations usually list the presence of the charging stations, but when your power is almost running out, all you want is to get in and charge your battery and you may not really have the chance to power up.

In extreme cases, some people have taken to social media as they try to locate these power stations. In some cases, they have been forced to limp away as they opt to look for alternative charging stations. Having an almost invisible charging station is not only a problem for hybrid car owners, but also the hybrid car manufacturers because it reduces their market penetration and reduces their popularity.


Leave a Comment September 12, 2014

Top Facts about the Future of Hybrid Cars

VOLT_BATTERYThe world is increasingly adopting the hybrid car technology. The drive and increase in demand has been pushed by the increasing environmental awareness by the general population. The increasing cost of fuel has also played a significant part in getting many car owners to adopt hybrid car technology.

Most of the forefront supporters of electrification of the automobile industry say that the motor vehicle industry in the United States accounts for over 70% of all of the oil consumption in the United States. It is also surprising to note that the industry accounts for over 30% of the greenhouse gas emissions recorded in the country.

Despite this alarmingly high numbers, there is still some hope for the future. There are a number of positive drivers in place that are sure to ensure that the number of electrified vehicles in the future will be relatively higher compared to the gasoline powered counterparts.

For automakers to stay in business, they will need to make significant advancements in cleaning up in their fleets and electrification provides an ideal way of doing this. In the future, it means that automobile companies will have to introduce more hybrid and electric cars in their product portfolio. The less gasoline they are willing to use, the easier it is for them to improve on their average mpg scores. This means that there will be more pressure for alternatives such as plug-in hybrids, and all electric vehicles so that they can boost their capabilities and push efforts for even further improvements to meet the expectations of consumers and regulatory agencies.

Automakers are also trying to get better efficiency from their internal combustion engines. We expect them to roll out 8-9 or even 10-speed transmission technologies.

The zero emissions feature of the electric cars will come in very handy because there is no technology that can beat that in the near future. This will greatly affect fuel cell electric vehicles since there will be greater pressure for them to improve their effectiveness.

Battery powered vehicles will benefit from their regulated grid since it will be required to become cleaner. Despite the fact that there has been a greater push for the adoption of renewable sources of energy such as geothermal power and hydroelectric power, the adoption of electric and hybrid car technology will play a significant part in environmental campaigns. The world is continually pushing for it and electric vehicles will make more sense at time moves forward.




Leave a Comment September 5, 2014

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