Filed under: Electric Cars

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

Game Changing Features of the BMW i DC Fast Charger

bmw-i-dc-fast-charger-6One of the most pressing concerns among most hybrid car drivers in the market is the power of their batteries. The ability of their battery power to last as long as possible is what brings in the cost saving features of this technology. With the rising cost of fossil generated fuel, hybrid cars have been on the rise and this is the trend that is likely to fuel the growth of the hybrid car technology.

The BMW i DC charger looks like a blue box on a pole, but the truth of the matter is that this technology offers much more value than the low cost SAE Combo charger that is currently in the market. The company projects that this box is likely to bring in more people into the hybrid market. They believe the DC charging technology is the technology that is going to illuminate the future of hybrid car technology.

The current business strategy of the i DC charger is to get as many i DC chargers out in the market. The company is not in the business of selling the chargers. The main reason for having as many chargers as possible out in the market is to give support for the consumers who will be purchasing the hybrid cars that need this form of energy.

The first of these new boxes will be rolled out at selected 285 dealers in the United States. Most of these dealers already installed the cables and infrastructure that would be needed in supporting the boxes. The installation of the boxes will also be easier for those who did not have the set up ready because you do not need concrete for the wall unit. The SAE combo connector costs are also significantly cheaper compared to the competing plugs in the market such as the ChadeMO.

Some of the drawbacks of the BMW I DC charger compared to the traditional full sized DC chargers are that the alternative charger allows a maximum charge of up to 80% in 20 minutes. The BMW can only achieve this in about 30 minutes. The good news for the EV drivers out there in the market is that with the SAE Combo cars, they can use a ChargePoint card at the BMW charge stations. BMW has been in talks with both GM and VW regarding where to install the charge stations in the United States in a manner that will minimize on duplication of efforts in the whole process.


Leave a Comment August 28, 2014

The New Rolls Royce Hybrid

Rolls-Royce_102EX_EV-668Most of the car manufactures around the world are beginning to realize that more and more people are preferring hybrid cars. Most of the hybrid cars in the market have so far been the medium prices cars that a majority of people with moderate income are able to afford. Luxury car manufacturers are starting to enter the hybrid market because they realize that there will be a demand for these vehicles. It is for this reason that luxury car manufacturer Rolls-Royce recently announced that their new models for 2016 and 2017 will involve some form of electrification in their powertrain departments. The development program for this new model is already in place and it is expected to be ready for the market by mid 2016.

According to the company, the car will be built on the success of the Phantom Wrath and Ghost. The company intends to continue with its bold shape and graceful styling that has allowed them to captivate and keep their fair share of the market from various regions around the world.

According to the chief executive officer of Rolls Royce, this move opens an exciting new chapter in the great story of Rolls Royce. The company plans on introducing an exciting and contemporary version of a pinnacle drop head touring car. This will introduce even more differentiation between men and women concerning Rolls-Royce ownership.

Competitors such as the Bentley are also putting up plans for their own version of the hybrid because they definitely would not want to be left behind in the technological revolution that is quickly taking shape. BMW has also been in the mix in developing their version of gasoline-electric hybrid cars. This shows why Rolls-Royce has invested so many resources into ensuring that their high-end version of the hybrid car will be rolled into the market within the estimated timeframe.

According to the chairman of the Rolls-Royce company, the announcement of the new hybrid model will help build on the success of their current models. The introduction of this technology will also play a key role in fulfilling the commitment by the company to ensuring that their stakeholders are able to enjoy long term and sustainable growth. This new car is currently undergoing a series of rigorous prototype testing as it undergoes the various stages of the development cycle. As soon at all of the development stages are completed, the car will be ready to be introduced to enthusiastic consumers. We look forward to having this technology in our roads in the near future.


Leave a Comment August 22, 2014

Demystifying Top Excuses to Wait t Buy a Hybrid

ostrich-313For a while now, hybrid cars have started to dominate the market. Part of their successful uptake has been caused by the increased environmental awareness and the ever-increasing cost of energy. As you start planning for your new car, the hybrid option may be a very good fuel-efficient option. The following are some of the top excuses that you may find yourself trying to come up with and some of the counterpoints that suggest why purchasing that hybrid car would be the best choice you can make.

1. Hybrid cars have good mileage, but I am waiting for further improvements that are very likely to come in a year or two.

The shape and weight of the car bears a significant influence over the amount of power consumed by the vehicle. The hybrid technology improves fuel economy by spreading the energy consumed by the vehicle over several loads during the driving cycle. This helps in avoiding fuel burn when it is not needed by the vehicle. Additional comfort and safety features that are often included in the vehicle are often responsible for the increase in the weight of the car. This results in poor gas mileage. This means that unless we dramatically change the shape and weight of our vehicles the gas mileage is not likely to change by any significant margin.

2. Hybrid cars are great but expensive; I am waiting for the prices to drop.

The battery of the hybrid car is what significantly increases the cost of the hybrid cars. Hybrid car manufacturing companies are continually doing research on reducing the cost of these batteries. With the ever-increasing cost of energy, the cost of fuel is likely to offset the premium that you pay for owning a hybrid car.

3. Hybrid Technology is unproven, I am waiting for it to become more stable before I invest in a hybrid car

The first hybrid car was introduced into the market in 1997 in Japan. The first hybrid car in the United States was introduced in 2000. This is certainly a lot of real world testing on this vehicle technology. These cars have proven to have the best batteries in the market. It is comforting to note that hybrid cars come with a 10-year warrantee for your peace of mind. Most of the major car manufactures from Porsche to Volvo have started venturing into the hybrid car technology. Money and many other resources are being invested in improving the hybrid car technology because the whole world is slowly moving towards it.


Leave a Comment August 14, 2014

Toxicity of Hybrid Batteries

582872464_3f61f753fd_zThe past decade has seen an increase in the number of hybrid cars in the market in many parts of the world. The increased uptake of the hybrid car technology can be attributed to the increasing level of environmental awareness and government efforts. Governments are passing legislation that is meant to encourage hybrid cars because of their low environmental pollution rate and low energy consumption rate. However, there are some concerns starting to arise concerning the hybrid technology. Some people are starting to get worried that the hybrid car euphoria is starting to turn into a toxic nightmare because of the harmful nickel and hydride that are found in hybrid car vehicles. These compounds often end up in landfills that result in nasty corrosive substances.

There has been very little argument that lead is extremely toxic. This is because studies have proven that prolonged exposure to lead can cause brain and kidney damage, hearing loss, and learning disabilities among children. The auto industry uses a large amount of lead in the manufacture of their batteries every year. This lead is either recycled or released into the environment. This released lead can be very dangerous to the living population and the relevant stakeholders are increasingly raising concerns over a viable solution to help curb this problem.

Lead is cheap and this makes it difficult to find the best most viable replacement to be used in the manufacture of batteries. The introduction of the hybrid cars in the market seems to have reignited the lead debate. This is because the hybrid technology has moved towards making cars more electric and less mechanical. This has resulted in the impression that lead is heavy and thus research into alternative lighter material is being carried out.

The most popular metals used in the manufacture of batteries in order of popularity are lead, nickel and lithium. Research on all of these metals has shown that lead has the most pervasive effect on the environment compared to the other metals. Lithium has been proven to be the least harmful to the environment. The severity of lithium, is however also dependent on the type of material that is used together with it. The use of lithium with cobalt is the most problematic. The effect is also dependent on the recycling technology that is in place at the time.

Nickel is not as dangerous as lead, but it is considered to be dangerous because it is a possible carcinogen. There are also challenges about fully recycling the nickel that is used in hybrid car batteries.



Leave a Comment August 7, 2014

Plug in Electric Cars Sales in June

LeafThe month of June saw the sales of Nissan reach a moderately acceptable level considering the fact that they did not reach the heights they set in May. Nevertheless, Nissan was still able to post the highest level of hybrid car sales in the market. Nissan reported to have sold an estimated 2,347 Nissan Leafs. This is a remarkable feat in the eyes of the management at Nissan. This figure was only 770 shy off the high figures that were reported in May. It is encouraging to note that this number was an increase by about 5.5 percent over last year’s June results.

The June sales reported by Nissan mean that the company has been able to make sales of up to 12,673 since it started this line of vehicles. This further increased the gap between the other car manufacturers in the market such as the Chevrolet Volt and other major electric car manufacturers. This is also the 16th consecutive month where Leaf has continued to post record sales. This means that the deliveries of Leaf have increased by more than a third over the same period last year.

Chevrolet has not been able to record as much success in the industry as Nissan. Chevrolet still remained a third down in their June sales. The encouraging thing is that their sales have been relatively consistent over the months. Their Volt 2014 by June had sold a total of about 8,600 cars and over the past 43 months, they have been able to sell over 63 thousand vehicles. This is encouraging because it shows some signs of consistency in their market share. Chevrolet started offering the Spark EV in its plug-in car production line. Though there have not been reports of this additional feature improving the Chevrolet sales, the company remains optimistic that it will help improve the sales strength in the next few years.

Another electric car in the market that consumers should be watching out for is the BMW i3. The company recorded improved sales levels from the month of May. An estimated 38 cars were sold into the market. This was an improvement of 22 units from the previous month. This means that the company has so far sold about 694 cars this year.

These figures point towards a market that is continual adoption of greener cars in the market. With the increased environmental awareness and the rising cost of energy, the demand for green cars has been projected to keep increasing. The companies investing in green cars are also bound to benefit from their investment in research in this field.


Leave a Comment July 25, 2014

California Pushing Hydrogen Compliance Cars Over Electric

2014-hyundai-tucson-fuel-cell-at-hyundai-headquarters-fountain-valley-ca_100448493_lHyundai recently rolled out their hydrogen fuel-cell hybrid cars and other companies such as Toyota and Honda are likely to follow suit within the coming years. The first vehicle within this category was released in May 2014 and Toyota has made clear its intentions to bring to market its own version of hydrogen-powered vehicles to selected dealerships in California around the same time next year. The Honda FCEV concept displayed during the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show and it is expected to launch sometime in 2016.

These fuel cell cars are going to be offered only in the state of California and the plan is to have a massive market rollout even if it is not profitable in the short run. This is a common strategy used in market penetration. There is however a new incentive to motivate motor vehicle manufacturers to venture into this line of business and offer hydrogen vehicles. The state of California is putting policies in place that give preferential treatment to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. This is because these vehicles meet the state requirement for zero-pollution emission vehicles.

The state put in place rules that credit ratings depending on the emissions that these cars produce. Hydrogen powered automakers earn more points compared to most gasoline powered vehicle manufacturers. This is because they earn extra points for every emission free car that they roll out into the road. Hydrogen powered vehicles also get more points because of their range and the higher speed of refuelling that they have compared to battery-powered vehicles. The next step will be to create the public awareness on why these cars should exist. This knowledge will enable consumers to get an understanding on why these cars are in the market and why the manufacturers and the state in general are advocating for their adoption.

The major car manufacturing companies such as Honda, Hyundai, and Toyota have been strongly advocating for the adoption of the hydrogen fuel cells as the best source of green energy. These companies argue that electric cars have not been well received into the market and as such, they may not be able to meet the needs and uses of American drivers. It is encouraging to note that the state of California is also of the same opinion because if the efforts that have been seen on the ground. When this policy comes into full effect, the state will have set a great example for most of the other states in the country.


Leave a Comment July 11, 2014

Toyota Researching Solid State Batteries

toyota-solid-state-battery-prototype_100470262_lToyota has for a long time been investing in Lithium Air batteries as a possible candidate for future electric cars. This is because of their high density, stability, and low weight. However, the company does not expect to move into commercial production for on these batteries for another 15 years. They have found an alternative power source that could rival the Lithium Air batteries. These are new solid state lithium ion batteries. The future strongly seems to be headed in this direction because of the major advantages that this technology has when compared to what is currently in the market.

According to reports by the Green Car Congress, the prototype cells that were released by Toyota had a density of 400 Wh/L. This rating is lower than those recorded by the Lithium Air battery prototype. However, the positive news is that there is still time for further development of this type of battery. With time, these batteries are likely to beat all competition in the market.

Solid state batteries use a solid electrolyte in place of the traditional liquid electrolyte that is used n conventional cars. This brings up a number of advantages such as the elimination of risk of electrolyte leakage and improved thermal stability of the solid electrolyte. Researchers have also discovered that solid state batteries are able to maintain a longer life cycle and have improved packaging efficiency compared to other batteries in the market. The packaging efficiency is as a result of their cell design that makes it possible for in-series stacking and bi-polar structures. This greatly reduces the dead space that is usually found between cells. It is also easier for the designers to improve the battery density for certain size of batteries.

One of the limitations that solid state drives had in the past is the high transfer resistance between the cathode and the solid state electrolyte. Researchers have recently devised a way of working around this limitation. This is through the use of sulphide-based electrolytes. The prototype from Toyota for the solid state battery is currently very undeveloped since it can only power a small scooter bike . The good news is that the scooter can move and serves a perfect example of how this technology can change the future. In the meantime, more research is being invested in this technology to ensure that it defines the next generation of cutting edge power. The solid state batteries and the Lithium Air batteries will certainly define the future of the lithium ion batteries.



Leave a Comment July 4, 2014

Toyota’s Le Mans Racer to Improve the Toyota Prius Hybrid Cars

800px-Toyota_TS30-Hybrid-Le_Mans_2013The concept of capacitors in the industry had just been introduced and it us unbelievable how this technology has brought about a revolution in the motor vehicle industry. This technology has further been improved by making it smaller and more efficient, sufficient to be referred to as a super capacitor. The concept of super capacitors is now being applied in the manufacture of some hybrid car models in the market. The concept of super capacitors has mostly been pushed by Toyota. This has made most of the industry stakeholders the impression that the future of the Toyota Prius is indeed bright.

Toyota is most likely to apply the electric motor technology that has been used in the Le Mans Toyota motor vehicles such as the TS040. This technology is definitely going to be used in future versions of hybrid cars to be rolled into the market.

Super capacitors are very commonly used in racecars. This is because they are very effective in storing energy generated by the vehicle when it is braking and quickly redistributes it when the vehicle is accelerating. Stakeholders at Toyota expect to roll out this technology in the Prius hybrid within the next five years.

The Toyota spokeswoman, Amanda Rice, recently stated that the Le Mans racer car provides a perfect lab environment for the hybrid vehicle and component development. The superconductor technology that is used in super capacitors, with its discharge and charging capability provides the possibility for developing a car for the mass market. This means that the Toyota Prius of the future will have relatively smaller electric motors with increased power density and thermal efficiency. This is sure to be a market leader in the future.

This year, Toyota entered two car models into the Le Mans race. One of the vehicles was doing very well and had even secured itself the pole position before quitting the race after 15 hours. The reason cited for the quitting was an electrical fault. The race was eventually won by Audi. This was the 13th time that the car has won in the French car endurance competition. Despite the disappointment by Toyota, the race has provided a great platform for further improvements to be made on its technologies. With the application of superconductor technology in less stressful normal-car conditions, it is sure going to be a great success story for Toyota.


Leave a Comment July 4, 2014

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