Filed under: Electric Cars
In February, a total of 27,038 hybrid cars were bought by Americans. Out of the total sales, 64% of the cars were linked to Toyota Motors, with the Prius leading. The success of competitors is continually being blocked by Toyota Prius, one of the oldest modern hybrid cars. Hybrid Cars published a report that showed that the total sales of Prius Liftback were 7,080, which accounted for 26% of all the hybrid cars sold. The Prius C with 2,701 sales was the second best-selling hybrid cars. This represented 10% of the hybrid market. The Toyota Prius V with 1,850 sales was the fifth best-selling car, representing 7% of the total number of hybrid cars sold.
There is at least one hybrid car model for every car manufacturer. Unfortunately, the sales of such cars have continually declined because of the gasoline powered alternative. While there is a terrible market for hybrid cars, the success of Toyota even worsens the situation. The hybrids’ pitch is solely based on the advantage of fuel economy. This is in support of the claim that hybrids are environmentally friendly cars. American buyers are clearly not in agreement with this claim. This coupled with the low market share accounts for the ever declining and low hybrid cars sales. The only car manufacturer that posted modest hybrid sales beyond Toyota is Ford. However, the sales were still insignificant. About 2,416 Fusion hybrids were sold by the company, making 9% of the total hybrid market. Last month, the total number of cars and light trucks sold by Ford amounted to 179,693.
As far as the sales of hybrid cars are concerned, marketing muscle does not have an impact. None of the car companies including Kia, Honda Motor, Subaru and Buick, posted a total of sales amounting to 1,000 cars in February. The Toyota Prius was first introduced around the globe in the year 2000. Since its inception, Toyota has claimed that almost 5 million sales have been made. It is impossible to tell whether the high sales are attributed to Toyota’s quality or the automaker’s place as one of the largest three car companies in the world. However, there is often an advantage that comes with being the first entrant into the market. The Toyota Prius is a perfect example to support this claim. It seems there is no other company but Toyota that has a likelihood of staying on top of the hybrid car sales market.
March 20, 2015
Apple is working on a new product, an electric car, a move that could pose more competition for Tesla Motors. The news concerning this new project was revealed in the Wall Street Journal on 13th February. This new project by Apple has been given the nickname, Titan. Currently, there are numerous people working to ensure that this communication company releases its first automobile. According to Mike Ramsey and Daisuke Wakabayashi, Journal reporters, the new electric car will be downscaled and will be similar to a mini-van, contrary to Tesla’s Model S.
Model S is one of the most sought-after cars by Tesla, currently on the market. In the realm of electric vehicles, it is classified as a luxury car. At a price of around $70,000, most of the average car buyers consider Tesla cars costly. Apple’s intention is to play within the same price range. The company has partly delved into the automobile realm with the release of “CarPlay” in the year 2014. With “CarPlay” drivers are given a means through which to connect their phones to cars. This makes it easier for them to make or receive calls while driving.
Besides its intention to manufacture an electric car, Apple has not provided further details concerning the price and design of the car in question. Any public statements concerning the interior or exterior of the design have not been made. The company only stated that the car will have the physical outlook of a mini-van. Any announcements on the base price of the car have not been made yet. It is therefore unclear whether the figure will be a reflection of the current price of Tesla’s car or will be lower than the current price. However, a quote from a former board member of Apple, Mickey Drexler, was included in the Business Insider on 14th Feb. concerning the vision of the late Steve Jobs on future products by Apple. Drexler told Business Insider that if Ste Jobs were alive, he would have designed an iCar. He further added that there is a great opportunity for cars to employ a cool design.
The electric car market has been in existence for a while now. Back in 2013, Nissan released its initial model of Nissan Leaf. However, new electric car models were released this year by Nissan along with other automobile companies such as BMW and Ford. The release date for Tesla’s Model X vehicle has been pushed back to later in the year or even next year.
March 13, 2015
Plug-in electric vehicle sales are usually slower in winter compared to warmer months. It seems February was not an exception. Most of the leading plug-in hybrid and battery-electric car models reported sales that were almost a similar level to January sales. December 2014 saw the highest level of sales with a total of approximately 118,500 plug-in electric vehicles sold. A few more months may be needed for a new surge in sales to be attained. The total number of Nissan Leafs delivered in February was 1,198 in comparison to 1,070, delivered in January. Hence, there was a 12 percent increase in the level of Nissan Leaf sales from January to February. January saw the lowest Nissan Leaf numbers being delivered in close to two years.
Only a total of 693 Chevrolet Volts were delivered in February compared to 542 in January. Since December, a total of 74, 592 Volts have been delivered in the United States. There is a high possibility that the highest-total sales crown that the Volt has held for close to two and a half years will be lost next month. The new 2016 version of Chevrolet Volt will enter the market later this year. BMW i3 electric car sales went back to four-figures. A total of 1,089 BMW i3 electric cars were delivered in February. This figure was for a combination of the two versions of the electric car in question. Since the car went on sale the middle of last year, February marked the second-highest total sales.
As usual, Tesla Motors did not reveal a report indicating their monthly sales. This means that there is no official information on the number of Tesla’s Model S car sales. Last month, the company announced its fourth-quarter results, which were lower than anticipated. This decline has prompted analyst to investigate the automaker’s balance sheet. Some analysts have come to the conclusion that Tesla is currently manufacturing more cars to add to the U.S. outlets’ stock. The company is further building new cars as per customer order.
With respect to plug-in hybrid cars, the sales of Toyota Prius are still low. In February, a total of 397 Toyota Prius hybrid cars were delivered in comparison to 401, which were delivered in January. An all-new model that is set to debut this fall will replace the current 2015 version of Prius Liftback. Mercedes-Benz B-Class sales totaled 240 cars in January. This number dropped to 109 in February. Since the Mercedes hatchback went on sale last July, Mercedes has now sold a total of 1,123 of the cars.
March 13, 2015
It is evident that in the near future a majority of vehicles will become hybrids. The hybrid technology has become a necessity following stricter emission laws and oil running out. Virtually all automakers have hybrid cars as part of their lineups. This implies that there has been a gradual replacement of internal combustion engines. There are major differences between hybrid cars and the traditional internal combustion engine vehicles. Consumers should know why they need to purchase a hybrid car and not the gasoline fueled vehicles.
The vehicles differ with respect to emissions or economy. It is clearly known that hybrid vehicles have an advantage over diesel or gasoline powered cars in terms of emissions and fuel economy. One of the primary reasons for inventing hybrid technology was to minimize fuel emissions. It is however, important to take note of the fact that diesel and gasoline cars are becoming better in terms of efficiency. For example, the BMW M3 is not only faster, but it also has more power and its fuel economy is better. Having said that, hybrid cars still lead. BMW i8 is not only faster than M3 but its emissions are almost zero. This is a clear indication that hybrid cars will still outshine their gasoline counterparts no matter how efficient and advanced the gasoline vehicles become.
With respect to performance and power, gasoline cars are generally better performers compared to hybrids. However, this is not a restriction to hybrid technology. Typically, hybrid cars are slower because their major objective is the economical nature of the cars. For example, although a Chevrolet Volt is not exciting, fast or fun, it is extremely fuel efficient. The primary goal of Volt is achieving fuel efficiency. Weight is another reason why hybrid cars are not usually very fast. The heavy weight is accounted for by the batteries and electric motors. When combined with a fuel-saving small engine, hybrid cars become a bit slow.
The cars differ in terms of value and cost. Hybrid cars are generally more costly than diesel or gasoline fueled cars. The high cost arises because these cars have electric motors and batteries, in addition to engine and transmission cost. This means that for the cost to come down to a more affordable level, more and more stuff has to be taken out of the car. This should not be an issue because in the near future, hybrids will be more affordable and usable, with the coming battery technology and technological inventions in lightweight product production.
March 6, 2015
It is interesting that Apple, a tech giant and not a carmaker, has been a most talked about company in the automobile industry. Numerous sources have given reports concerning Apple Inc. and the company’s intention to enter the automotive realm. While earlier reports speculated that Apple was planning to gradually diversify into car production, novel reports have indicated that Apple is in fact in the process of electric vehicle development. The possible vehicle has a great compatibility with independent technologies. It now seems that Apple intends for the car to be produced by the year 2020.
Although, numerous accounts have suggested that Apple might launch its first electric car by 2020, most of the reports in question are off record, and this makes it hard to differentiate between false conjecture and the industry secrets. Bloomberg News released such a report and it claimed that almost 200 employees of Apple are currently working on technologies like batteries and robotics for the electric car project. There are other stories that have also linked Apple with automobile technology and one such example is a novel lawsuit. The lawsuit claimed that the company has been outsourcing engineers from manufacturers of batteries. Vehicles of Apple registered vans were spotted in San Francisco and Hawaii. The question remains whether Apple is working upon this autonomous technology.
Funding will not be a major problem, if there are plans to research and develop such a huge project. The company had about $178 million dollars in cash in the last quarter and it also seems that Tim Cook, the company’s CEO is finding ways for redirecting the money rather than giving it back to shareholders. Two analysts working with Barclays, Brian Johnson and Ben Reitz wrote a letter to investors noting that as a new entrant to the auto market, Apple would have some advantages. Among the major advantages is the company’s potential to utilize multiple devices like phones and tablets in the car.
One name that frequently resurfaces when talking about Apple and its electric car project is Tesla. Analysts are still wondering if both companies will be competitors for the electric vehicle market. While some claim that the companies will compete, others think that the two companies will merge. One entrepreneur and investor, Jason Calacanis opines that there will be a partnership forming in eighteen month’s time. He has predicted that Tesla will be bought by Apple for about $75 billion. On the other hand, a Creative Strategies’ analyst thinks that the two companies are likely to remain separate entities.
March 6, 2015
The Toyota Prius was for a time one of the leading alternative-energy statements. Although there was a sales decline over the past years, this will be rectified in the car’s fourth generation. Despite the fact that there was an 11% decline in sales in 2014, 123,000 units were still delivered with respect to fleet and consumer purchases. This implies that despite being overshadowed by plug-in models such as Chevrolet’s Volt, Nissan Leaf and Model S by Tesla, Prius sales were almost double the combined total of the mentioned models. Generally, the sales rate of hybrid cars in the United States had gone down by 1% within the last three years. This is mainly because of improved conventional options and inexpensive gasoline.
Toyota is therefore putting a lot of effort into coming up with a novel liftback, hoping to make it special. There are also plans to develop a plug-in version that is improved. Toyota however, hopes to expand its market dominance of Hybrid Synergy Drive with the new Liftback. Currently, the automaker’s hybrid cars make up 70% of the United States market. Perhaps Toyota has become its own success’ victim since it has to work extra hard to overshadow its competitors. This is a good thing for the potential buyer though. The photos of the new Prius Liftback have not been officially shown by Toyota. Some of the design cues might be coined from the CH-R Concept.
One of the primary expectations for the new Prius is two battery options. Toyota has been known to be a company that is somewhat conservative. Toyota’s Senior Managing Officer of Powertrain, Koei Saga, said that there is a potential for an improved Prius of a base level and that will have a li-ion battery. Although it has not been confirmed, this could imply that the Liftback variants would have two different mpg ratings. It has also been speculated that the new Prius will have a mpg of more than 55. Toyota has previously stated that one of its goals is to develop a model that is more than the current 50 mpg. Coming up with such a model will increase Toyota’s competitive edge, especially with respect to models like the faster Ford C-Max hybrid car.
Part of Toyota’s plan entails a novel hybrid system and its engine that is thermally efficient. The automaker hopes that the fuel efficiency of its hybrid cars such as Prius will be improved. Another possible option for the new Toyota Prius is an all-wheel drive. Although Prius is a car with front-wheel drive, drivers have always appreciated extra traction.
February 27, 2015
Tesla’s Model S P85D, with almost 1-g of acceleration, long range and a blistering 0-60 time is undoubtedly one of the leading luxury electric cars in the current market. Additionally, it is one of the fastest sedans on sale and this has raised serious concerns from competitors such as Audi, Porsche and Jaguar. Even the BMW with its i3 electric car and i8 plug-in car is also scared. Like other car manufacturers, BMW is rumored to have plans of coming up with a luxury plug-in. This automaker is getting ready to develop a full-sized plug-in hybrid car on the 5-series platform. The new model is expected to have approximately 400 kilowatts as the total power output. It will have an electric motor that will produce 152 kilowatts and a gasoline engine of 245 horsepower. The rear end of the car will have an electric motor of 70 kilowatt.
At present, BMW has referred to the car in question as the P18 Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle project. The car will be designed in such a way that it will primarily operate using electric power for a longer distance. The range in electric mode is projected to be at 80 miles. Gasoline operation will only occur at speeds of more than 40 mph when necessary. The car will have an unspecified battery that will be situated at the down center while the engine will be fitted next to a large electric motor. Under the rear seats, there will be a small fuel tank. Unlike the Model S, this new model by BMW will not have an uninterrupted cabin. The new model has a high likelihood of entering the market as the BMW i7 or i5; a sports sedan of low emission that will have an adaptive drivetrain. Some of the most likely target markets include North American, Chinese and European markets.
Consequently, the new model will have a more conventional design and outlook compared to BMW i8 or i3. However, there will be a few similar light construction materials so as to comply with the strict emission standards. This car is definitely set to be a major competitor or even overshadow the Tesla S model. Some of the concerns that might be raised concerning the new BMW model include range and performance. However, the new version’s 80-mile range on pure electric power is much lower than that offered by Tesla’s model S and its performance of 0-60 miles per hour is also lower than Tesla’s.
February 27, 2015
An electric car battery is a product that can play a major role in creating novel industries. The battery is designed in such a way that it can power an electric car for 200 to 300 miles on a single charge. A battery that has the potential to compete and even completely replace a car’s combustion engine does not exist yet. However, if a battery of such caliber could be devised, it might turn to multibillion dollar market in the first few years of its existence. This is according to LeVine, Quartz’s Washington correspondent. Such a battery could result in a great improvement in energy security. Such a battery could also lower the effect on climate change since less exhaust will be released into the environment. The U.S. and several other nations are gearing their efforts towards developing such an electric car battery.
The interest in the electric car battery prompted LeVine to go to one of the Energy Department’s laboratories, the Argonne National Laboratory. He was allowed to fully access the Battery Department for about two years, a period which he emerged with an interesting book titled, “The Powerhouse: Inside the Invention of a Battery to Save the World.” The battery now depends on the national labs of the government for essential scientific research following the winnowing or closure of several America’s corporate laboratories. Therefore, it was an Argonne scientist who was the mastermind behind the invention of battery chemistry that led to a great improvement of electric cars’ performance. The chemistry in question is Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt, NMC. A specific NMC version is used for the Chevrolet Volt, as well as Nissan Leafs’ next generation. A major drawback that has been that only 40 miles are covered by the Volt on pure battery energy alone prior to switching to the gasoline fueled engine.
LeVine’s book revolves around the effort that it will take to invent a new battery capable of achieving five times the current mileage. Stability has always been a major issue with electric car batteries. Therefore, this new battery researched by LeVine should maintain its stability and be affordable. The effort was labeled NMC 2.0 by Argonne’s scientists. As much as these scientists have made forward strides numerous times, they always discover problems. An example of such a problem is referred to as voltage fade, which is a serious instability that could make an electric car battery unusable.
Just as he pushed for solar innovation, President Obama pushed for battery innovation. This led to the invention of Envia and Solyndra. It is thus clear that financing efforts for battery invention is industrial policy form.
February 20, 2015
One of the reasons why electric and hybrid cars are preferred by most people is their calm operation. Regulators have however, noted that this may pose a risk to pedestrians. Following this, numerous attempts have been made to incorporate noise-making devices into new electric and hybrid vehicles. The role of such devices is alerting unaware or blind pedestrians of approaching cars. In 2011, there was the signing of the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act into law for the sole purpose of attaining the mentioned objective. Implementation of the law has apparently stopped. The final ruling date for the proposed standards has been postponed until the end of this year by the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA). This implies that the proposed rule will be implemented in the year 2018.
The delay in question has further prolonged a debate that has been ongoing since the launch of the first hybrid cars more than ten years ago. Some groups, including the administration have raised numerous concerns following the rise of electric and hybrid cars. The administration has raised fears that pedestrians who are visually impaired or blind may be unaware of approaching cars in the absence of normal engine noises. In 2008, a conference was convened by NHTSA following the issue’s publicity. Two successive research studies were also conducted.
The first study was conducted in 2009 and it led to the finding that in comparison to conventional gasoline-fueled cars, electric and hybrid cars were twice as likely to cause pedestrian collision. The second study, conducted in 2011, led to the finding that there was a 35% higher probability of pedestrian collision in hybrid cars compared to conventional gasoline-fueled vehicles. In the first study, only data from twelve states was used. Additionally, the study included injuries from the year 2000, when hybrid cars were few on the roads. This was also ten years prior to the launch of the current electric cars’ generation. Nonetheless, there was the signing of Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act into law, with NHTSA gearing its efforts towards implementing it.
The rules proposed by the agency have been criticized by carmakers on the grounds of the sounds’ loudness. They have proposed for such devices to be put on cars that are quietest and not only on hybrid and electric cars. Some electric and hybrid drivers have also been reported to oppose the devices in question. This is because they like their cars to operate silently. A standard feature that has been provided by several electric car manufacturers is the alert noise.
February 13, 2015
The municipalities of Northern Colorado could financially benefit from electric and hybrid car technology. This could be the case if such municipalities are patient enough to reap the savings the technology brings. Although it is initially costly to purchase green vehicles, cities such as Fort Collins have claimed that this cost is eventually worth the payoff. Hybrid car’s on average cost between $3,000 and $4,000 more compared to a gasoline-fueled counterpart. An electric car may cost between $5,000 and $7,000 more. These figures were given by the Fort Collins Operation Services’ Assistant Director, Tracy Ochsner.
Electric and hybrid cars make just more than 5% of the street-legal fleet in Fort Collins. Based on lifetime costs of the vehicle, a Ford Fusion bought in 2012 by Fort Collins will be cheaper than its gasoline fueled counterpart bought by the city in the same year by $11, 460. A Nissan Leaf bought in 2013 by the same city will result to projected savings of $21,625 over the gasoline fueled Ford Fusion. Because of the mentioned savings, Ochsner noted that when the city plans to replace a city vehicle it considers an electric, hybrid or other fuel cars. Fort Collins government started buying hybrid cars in 2000 and currently, there are 37 hybrid cars. The city started buying electric vehicles in 2013 and currently owns seven.
Ochsner said that the city is always in search of vehicles that are fuel-efficient and that operate efficiently. In this way, money will not only be saved on fuel, but the city will depend less on foreign fuel. Emissions are completely eliminated or greatly reduced. The major goal of the city is minimizing greenhouse gases. Fuel-efficient cars can achieve this goal of minimizing greenhouse gases. There are seven fleet-specific charging spots in Fort Collins city. Three more charging stations will be put up this year. Another notable fact about the city is that all its cars are run to approximately 90,000 miles prior to putting them up for sale in an auction. A gasoline fueled car lasts 7 to 8 years in the city while a hybrid car lasts ten to twelve years. Electric cars last ten to fifteen years, partly because of battery limitations associated with an electric car’s mileage. Ochsner added that the city plans on buying more hybrid cars as there are many vehicles that need replacements. As battery ranges increase the distances covered in travel, additional pure-electric cars will be bought. Many of the hybrid and electric cars in question are for in-town and daily tasks.
February 13, 2015