Filed under: Hybrid Events

Toyota to Share Its Hybrid Technology with Major Competitors

toyota_prius_plug-in_hybrid_-_paris_motor_show_2016_01Toyota has made quite a number of remarkable decisions over the past half year concerning its present, as well as future vehicle technologies. After opposing the battery-electric cars for several years, the automaker has finally made a commitment to launch one by the year 2020. Now, Toyota has made the decision to share its hybrid technology with other automakers. This decision was announced in the last two weeks as a part of the company’s power train strategies. The move by the automaker marks an evident change of course.

Since the launch of the Prius Hybrid in 1997 in Japan, the automaker has been known to fiercely guard and protect its hybrid-electric technology. A few licensing deals have been signed including one with Nissan for an Altima hybrid (2007-2011 models) that have been sold in the United States. Toyota also signed a deal with Mazda for the Mazda 3 compact hybrid that was sold solely in Japan. A notable aspect concerning those deals is that they were not only limited, but also fairly low-volume. According to the description given in a report by Reuters, Toyota has a plan of working with the suppliers at an early stage to allow standardization of components and make it easy for other automakers to utilize its hybrid technology.

The fourth generation of Toyota Prius was launched last year. The car’s drive is considerably better, while its fuel-efficiency is also better compared to the previous versions. Unfortunately, the sales seem to have lagged, probably due to factors such as continued cheap gasoline, a change in consumer preferences, and the model’s extreme styling. Toyota also made a shocking decision in its 2017’s Prius Prime, which is the most recent plug-in hybrid. The latest technology defaults the vehicle to run only in the electric mode when the battery charge is still present. This is contrary to a majority of other plug-in hybrid cars except the Chevrolet Volt.

There has been an increased understanding of the advantages of fully-electric propulsion by Toyota. The strategy of sharing the hybrid technology would be of a long-term nature. Changes will be made to technical standards and parts specifications, with most of them being invisible to buyers. The suppliers of Toyota have been known to produce technology that can only be utilized by Toyota. As the simple battery-electric cars gradually gain market popularity, they have a high likelihood of surpassing the continually low market penetration of hybrid cars. Either way, consumers should get ready for more hybrid cars utilizing the Toyota technology. The company is trying to match up to its competitors including Tesla and General Motors.


Leave a Comment December 30, 2016

Lucid Motors to Reveal an Air Electric Sedan Car in 2019

Courtesy of

Reports indicate that that Lucid Air will have the capacity to cover up to four hundred miles on a single charge. The key question is the length of time or period it would take for the car to be produced and sold. This startup electric vehicle manufacturer, formerly known as Atieva, made an  announcement last week concerning its plans to produce an Air sedan. It further revealed an interesting photo gallery of the vehicle in question. Now, Lucid Motors hopes that deliveries will begin in early 2019. Production is set to start in 2018 at the new assembly plant worth $700 million in Casa Grande, Arizona. The plant will break ground early next year. Lucid’s Global Manufacturing Director, Brian Barron, confirmed the above information during an interview with Automotive News, adding that the timeline was quite aggressive.

Baron spent around twenty years working for one of the most popular automaker models, the BMW. Because of his vast experience, Lucid Motors believes in Barron to lead and ensure that the Lucid Air sedan is delivered within the set timeline. One of the challenges that Lucid faces is that of introducing a car manufacturing plant to the community for the very first time. Currently, the startup is working collaboratively with community colleges around the area of Casa Grande to not only train, but also hire and certify workers who would enhance production. Barron said that when BMW was established in South Carolina, the region had no automotive industry. Textile industries were the most common.

The state of Arizona has transformed from farming and mining and has become attractive to external investors. The popularity of the location has further increased because of its close proximity to interstate highways linked to the West Coast’s major ports, flight and rail routes. Lucid is trying as much as it can to streamline the process. A positive move is to have a third party that would handle the part of the assembly inside the plant. Currently, Lucid is facing a historic challenge that is usually encountered by startup car manufacturers. The automaker has to grab the interest and attention of the market, followed by manufacturing of the vehicles within a timeframe that is realistic, at a reasonable cost. The company has to set up a factory within a short time. Additionally, Lucid Motors has to compete with major car manufacturers such as Tesla Motors, as well as other startups such as Faraday Future, Karma Automotive and Fisker Inc. The automaker plans to roll out 255 units in 2019.

Leave a Comment December 30, 2016

Electric Cars as Finalists in the Green Car Annual Awards

2016-03-01_geneva_motor_show_1067One of the key themes for the award finalists that were announced this week was electrification. Five finalists were confirmed by the Green Car Journal. Four of the models are available as plug-in hybrid versions, while one is a fully-electric car. The nominees for the 2017 model year are the Chevy Bolt, BMW’S 330e, Kia Optima, Toyota Prius Prime and Chrysler Pacifica. The award was officially founded in 2005 and since the,n an increasing list of models has been chosen by its judges’ panel. According to Green Car Journal, this reflects the car’s industry’s increasing efforts to produce new cars with improved environmental impact and higher efficiency.

This year’s finalists are a clear representation of the momentum being experienced by electrification in the vehicle industry. This is according to the journal’s Publisher and Editor, Ron Cogan. Electrification is an important technology for manufacturers regardless of whether they are dealing with plug-in hybrid, hybrid, all-electric or two or more powertrains in combination with traditional gasoline engines. It is essential technology, not only for the present, but also future high-efficiency car models. BMW has been acknowledged for launching the 330e to add to its current plug-in lineup. According to a report by Green Car Journal, the car’s electric motor in combination with a 4-cylinder engine gives a total of a 248 horsepower system output and a torque of 310 pounds-feet.

The Chevy Bolt follows another Chevrolet model that was nominated last year, the second-generation Chevy Volt, which emerged the winner. The Bolt is recognized as the first plug-in hybrid car to have a driving range exceeding 200 miles. It also has technological features to personalize and enhance the driving experience. Fiat Chrysler was nominated and acknowledged for being the first plug-in electric car to enter the market. The first-ever minivan class plug-in hybrid was Chrysler’s Pacifica. The judges acknowledged Chrysler’s efficiency of 80 MPGe and an electric driving range of 30 miles. It’s total driving range is 530 miles.

Kia is in the list owed to the addition of a plug-in hybrid and hybrid systems by adding the 2017 Outlook to its lineup. An electric motor, as well as a 2-liter gas engine is used to power both model variations. The plug-in hybrid’s battery pack is larger than that of the standard hybrid. Toyota is also a finalist, thanks to its efforts in unveiling the new Prius Prime to serve as a replacement for its Prius Plug-in. The range of the 2017 model is double that of the initial plug-in hybrid. The winning model will be known on 17th November.


Leave a Comment November 18, 2016

Electric Car Owners Promised Free Charging

nissan_leaf_got_thirstyAt least one hundred cities across the United States will participate in the Drive Electric Week that is held nationally on a yearly basis. The event will take place between the 10th and 18th September and will comprise of several local gatherings celebrating and promoting electric vehicles. The charging network of EVgo has the plan of being part of the festivities and playing a major role. All the members attending Electric Week will have the opportunity to charge their electric cars free of charge. It will be essential to have a legal EVgo charging card in order to charge your vehicle at any given network. There will be approximately one thousand charging sites that will be available across more than fifty metropolitan markets.

The tally is inclusive of roughly seven hundred sites offering DC fast charging. They will also include charging stations that comply to both Combined Charging Standard and CHAdeMO standard. EVgo separated from its mother company, NRG, earlier this year. NRG was under the ownership of the charging network. In May, the autonomous EVgo secured a major investment from Vision Ridge Partners while continuing to get some funds from NRG. The major reason for spinning off EVgo as a major effort by NRG was to lower costs, as well as shift the focus to generation of electricity.

As an independent entity, EVgo is still committed to expanding the infrastructure of electric vehicle charging and courting new customers. The best way to achieve this mission is participating in the Drive Electric Week to be held nationally. This event officially began in the year 2011 and was then dubbed as National Plug-in Day. It is still run by Electric Auto Association, the Sierra Club and many more local groups. Organizers hope to have about two hundred and twenty three events spanning across Denmark, United States, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Italy, Croatia and Canada. Some of the events to be highlighted include test drives, electric vehicle rallies, as well as information sessions that cover important topics.

The website for the Drive Electric Week contains the entire list of all the events to be covered. You can search specific events for your city or region using ZIP codes. If you own a charging card as well as an electric car, you should consider making the trip to attend one of the events within your region. It will give you a platform for chatting with other electric car enthusiasts, as well as getting a free charge.



Leave a Comment September 16, 2016

Volvo Believes that the Sales of Hybrid Cars Will Surpass Diesel Car Sales

2016_Volvo_S90_Inscription_frAccording to Hakan Samuelsson, Volvo’s president, hybrid car sales may catch up and even surpass those of diesel car models soon. Samuelsson said this while responding to journalists at the new 40-series concepts show organized by the automaker. He said that there will be a cost crossover between hybrid and diesel as early as two years from now. Future diesels are expected to be more complex, and will require more after-treatment. This means that they will be more costly compared to the current models. Owners of diesel cars may be required to refill fluids more frequently. Moreover, the market car share has a likelihood of going down with many people switching to hybrids.

The automaker has ensured that its hybrid cars will be equally profitable even if the market share of diesel cars goes down. With respect to the consumers’ running costs, a suggestion given by Samuelsson is opting for a hybrid Volvo with a double engine.

A major question emerging is whether this marks the end of diesel powered cars. Well, Volvo says that this is not the end, since significant sales are still expected for diesel car models. Peter Mertens, the chief of R&D claims that the automaker still has plans of manufacturing more diesel cars in the next few years. These cars will have four cylinders on the higher end, with the company not planning to have a three-cylinder diesel car any time soon. The company is still questioning whether doing so would be a wonderful idea. Despite this, it is clear that hybrids would be adopted more by all the big car manufacturers.

As for electric vehicles, Volvo plans to produce a battery-electric car model in the year 2019. This model is highly likely to be a variant of Volvo’s 90-series fleet currently available (V90, X90 or S90). The next car to be launched will be a smaller-sized electric car model that will be based on the CMA platform. Mertens said that the automaker strongly believes that electrification is set to begin with so many models in line for future production. Volvo believes production of electric cars is a perfect strategy as the decade’s end draws near. This is also in line with the intense push towards the adoption of green cars that are environmentally friendly.

Leave a Comment June 3, 2016

Toyota Unleashes its Prius Prime Plug-in Car at New York’s Auto Show

Toyota_Prius_HybridThree new vehicles were unveiled by Toyota during New York’s Auto show that was held earlier this month. One of the key highlights was the new Prius Prime hybrid plug-in, which is the automaker’s first new Prius since 2014. The other two cars that were unveiled are the 86 sports vehicle and an upgraded model of Toyota’s Highlander SUV. The new Highlander version has a new engine, more aggressive grille and a novel transmission. Although the Highlander has a high likelihood of outselling the Prius Prime, the show’s highlight was still the plug-in Prius’ return.

All Electric Range of 22 Miles

The release of Prime plug-in is a clear indication that Toyota is committed to adding to its lineup of Prius hybrids even at this time when the prices of gas is still low. The automaker has projected that the Prius Prime’s mileage will be higher when compared to its previous plug-in cars. It will have at least 120 more miles per gallon in comparison to the other plug-in hybrids. This is equivalent to about 26 percent increase from its predecessor. According to Toyota, the new Prius Prime will have the capacity to cover up to 22 miles when fully charged before switching to the gasoline engine. On a fully electric mode, the car can go for speeds of 84 mph.

An electric range of 22 miles means that more than half of the American population can drive to work then back home without having to rely on gasoline. For the people who are able to charge their cars at work, the figure increases to 80 percent. Those who commute longer miles can depend on a hybrid system deemed to be the most fuel efficient in the auto industry. The Prius Prime will run on a battery pack of 8.8 kilowatts when in electric mode. Additionally, it will feature Toyota’s drive system based on a dual-motor generator. Such a system utilizes both the generator and electric motor as the driving force.

A major question is whether the unveiled Prius Prime will turn out to be a fan favorite. Later this year, Chevrolet plans to put its Bolt electric vehicle on sale. The new Bolt will have a battery with a capacity of 60 kilowatts and a projected mileage of 200 MPGe per a single charge. Its price tag after the addition of tax credits will be 30,000 dollars. Other notable competitors of the Prius Prime are the siblings of Ford Energi, the Fusion and C-max, which will have an electric range of 19 miles.





Leave a Comment March 31, 2016

The New Toyota’s Prius Plug-in is Released

640px-Toyota_-_Prius_Plug-in_HYBRIDMany people, especially green car lovers are wondering how the new Prius Plug-in will compete in the current market. Well, this question will be answered very soon as this vehicle is set to be released on 23rd March. The first showcasing of the car will be at an auto show to be held in New York. Toyota has given very limited information and details concerning the new plug-in hybrid and it seems the automaker intends to maintain the suspense till the actual release date. Toyota gave a brief statement saying limits should be put in the rearview as the reveal is yet to be made.

In the previous decade, Toyota declined to come up with a Prius plug-in hybrid model. The automaker chose to wait until virtually all its standard Prius owners converted. In 2012, it incorporated a battery of 4.4-kilowatt-hours within its hatch area to push its plug-in toward the mid-lifecycle of its third generation. According to the EPA, this model has a good electric range of six miles and a combinational 11 miles for electric and gas. Drivers could achieve additional mileage and Toyota has initially thought the car had the capability of attaining 14 miles electric range, with an assumption of a substantially tame drive.

The hybrid version of the Prius plug-in had a better-combined range of 50 mpg and its small-sized battery saved cost while increasing the space within the cargo area. Advocates of the Prius plug-in claimed that the car delivered virtually all benefits that could be offered by Toyota’s evolved 3rd generation Prius. This was clearly evident in its high sales. Among the plug-in electric car sales, the Prius plug-in was among the three leading vehicles in terms of sales in 2014. The car’s sales were also remarkable in the United States, regardless of the fact that its market was limited.

Some reports indicate that the anticipated plug-in Prius will have an electric range of between 30-35 miles. We will find out whether this figure is accurate as the new car is revealed. At this stage, Toyota may choose to give an approximate value of the car’s EPA number. Underlying this vehicle is Prius’ 4th generation, which happens to be the most fuel-efficient car ever by Toyota. Its handling is also the sportiest. The car has 52 mpg for a majority of its trims, with the Eco trim getting 56 mpg. The new Prius Plug-in is expected to hit a similar target in terms of sustaining charge in the hybrid mode. The two variants will also be set apart by exceptional styling details.



Leave a Comment March 24, 2016

Some of the Plug-in Hybrids Expected to Hit the Market This Year

BMW_eDrive_auf_der_IAA_2015It has been five years since the extended-range Chevrolet Volt was launched. Dozens of plug-ins have been produced since then and entered the United States market. This year, another dozen of these are further expected. Plug-in hybrid cars are a good solution to petroleum dependence, emission of greenhouse gases and range anxiety. These cars have a unique powertrain architecture and run partly on electric power. When the battery is exhausted, a combustion engine comes into play. Morphing of the car to a standard gas-burner is normally in the hybrid mode.

Chrysler’s Pacifica Hybrid

Chrysler has introduced the very first hybrid minivan in the country. This is also a plug-in version of the hybrid minivan, a first of its kind. This car can comfortably accommodate seven passengers and has a range of 30 miles. Its battery is 16 kwh. Based on the size of battery, this plug-in hybrid car by Chrysler will be eligible for up to $7,500 of federal government tax credit. The car’s selling price has not yet been announced.

BMW’s 330e

The 330e is the first plug-in hybrid sedan by BMW and is built upon the legacy that began by the automaker’s ActiveHybrid3 about ten years ago. The expectations of this series with respect to sporting are guaranteed. This car has a battery of 7.6 kwh and an estimated range of 22 miles. The starting price of this car is $44,695 and the car has been approximated to enter the market in June.

BMW’s 740e

This car has a similarity with BMW’s X5 with respect to its powertain of a 2-liter capacity and an eight-speed transmission. The combination of electric motors gives a total of 321 horsepower system output. This car is expected to reach dealers by October this year.

Mercedes-Benz’s E350e

This car was introduced in Detroit last month as one of the remodelled E-class lineup. Its plug-in hybrid version is a bit fetching in terms of its style, which has been adopted based on the S-Class. Its EV range is estimated at 19 miles while the total horsepower produced from the electric motor and gas engine is 286. The torque is approximately 406 pounds-feet. According to Mercedes, the car’s acceleration ranges from 0 to 62 mph within 6.2 seconds. The starting price has not yet been announced. Though the car has not yet been listed in the automaker’s consumer website, it has been estimated to hit the market by May.

In addition to the mentioned cars, others expected to enter the market this year include Volvo’s S90 PHEV, Volkswagen’s Golf GTE, Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV, Kia’s Optima Plug-in, and Audi’s A3 e-tron.



Leave a Comment March 3, 2016

The Actual Value of Owning an Electric Car

'12_Nissan_Leaf_(MIAS_'12)A local gathering that was attended by NRG Energy’s, Scott Fisher provided highlights of the major benefits or value of electric car ownership. It is clear that owning a car such as a Nissan Leaf would save the owner some money. The cost of running such a vehicle of the same make would amount to a yearly average savings of 600 dollars. This amount is clearly less compared to ownership of a gasoline-fueled vehicle. It is also worth noting that maintaining an electric car is less costly and less frequent in comparison to gasoline-fueled car. Mr. Fisher asserted that that electricity is produced by the state at a substantially cheap rate utilizing a combination of natural gas, coal and renewables, and this is beneficial to local owners of electric cars.

Mr. Fisher further noted that there are numerous developments in place to enhance the convenience of electric car ownership. A good example of such a development is the fact that the number of car manufacturers that produce electric cars is gradually increasing. Recently, BMW joined Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, Ford and Tesla’s numerous options. Soon, Volvo and Audi are expected to follow suit. China has made clear its intention to build a California plant worth one billion dollars to manufacturer Tesla’s competitor with respect to sales in the United States and China. China is currently the global leader in emission of carbon dioxide and poisonous air, and hence, efforts are directed towards producing electric cars.

Considering China’s push towards becoming the leading producer of solar panels, we can expect the investment and effort put in green car production. Interestingly, Apple has the plan of venturing into the electric car market along with its devotees across the globe. Another development is that soon there will be increased mileage in Nissan and Ford models. While most owners are content with the current mileage of 70-100 miles, it is evident that a higher range will attract more drivers. A third development worth mentioning is the fact that the number of electric car charging stations is increasing rapidly. These stations are widely spread in shopping centers, urban localities, at schools, parking lots and along highways. It is therefore not uncommon to find a car such as Nissan Leaf parked overnight and not plugged to an electric source. In such a case, the car owner may opt to recharge the vehicle at the work premises. Depending on company policies, charging a vehicle at the work place further minimizes the owner’s cost.


Leave a Comment January 7, 2016

BMW’s i6 Electric Car May Follow the i5 Crossover

11-09-04-iaa-by-RalfR-228So far BMW is the leading German car manufacturer with respect to the sale of battery-electric vehicles. All the three German automakers are planning to launch plug-in hybrid models for a majority of their lineup in five years time. For the past two years, BMW has been marketing its i3 hatchback in substantially huge volumes. Recently, there have been numerous speculations regarding the release of the next set of battery-electric cars by BMW, amidst other car manufacturers such as Porsche and Audi announcing their plans to manufacture electric cars through the year 2018. There is a high likelihood that the BMW model in question will be referred to as the i5, which may arrive in late 2017 or early 2018.

The reports concerning the kind of vehicle the BMW i5 will be have been slightly conflicting, though most reports indicate that it will be a small-sized, all electric crossover larger than the current i3. It has also been speculated that the car will be a sedan, plug-in hybrid. According to Now Automobile, a fully electric sedan will follow BMW’s 2018 i5. The magazine further adds that the new sedan will be about the same size as the current 3-series by BMW and may be referred to as the i6. If the magazine’s reports are to go by, the contradictory speculations concerning a small-sized electric sedan would be neatly resolved.

The basis of BMW i6 will be a component of a flat floor that is specifically made for electric vehicles and comprises of numerous carbon-fiber pieces and bits. This information was revealed further in the reports by the magazine. There will be a minimum of two motors in the electric sedan, and perhaps up to four motors. Additionally, novel all lithium-polymer cells may be utilized by the sedan in the battery pack. The i6 model in question is likely to enter production in mid 2020 as suggested by Automobile, implying that it will be a 2021 car model. This is interesting considering the fact that by the year 2010 BMW will have an updated plug-in hybrid range from the current 15-20 miles. This means that the range of i6 will be two times or higher than the current one. It is clearly evident that the future of BMW gears towards electrification. However, with respect to range, much will not be seen till the arrival of i5 in the next few years. As from 2021 it will be interesting to watch the sales’ balance between fully electric and eDrive plug-in cars.


Leave a Comment December 31, 2015

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