Filed under: Lifestyle

Lucid Reveals a New Luxury Sedan

Lucid Air - CNET

Lucid Air – CNET

Lucid Motors unveiled its much anticipated electric vehicle with a projected range of more than 400 miles. The car’s acceleration is also high, and it intends to exceed any model that Tesla plans to offer. The luxury sedan in question will give the experience of a luxury jet. Additionally, it will ooze an air of sophistication and elegance, considering its state-of-the-art self-driving capabilities, aircraft-style seating, and high-resolution computer displays. The company hopes that production will start in 2018 at Arizona’s $700 million factory. The pricing will be comparable to that of Tesla Model S. Its 1000 horsepower electric car variant will have a starting price of about $100,000. Next in line will be an electric vehicle with a retail price of $65,000.

Lucid comprises of 300 employees, as the core team aims to improve on the key features present in Tesla’s Model X or S. It also plans to emphasize on creating an interior that is more traditionally luxurious compared to Tesla’s minimalist style. Chief Technical Officer of Lucid, Peter Rawlinson, was previously the lead engineer in Tesla’s Model S development. Derek Jenkins, the design’s vice president was formerly the leader of Mazda’s design center in North America. We are yet to see how this automaker will keep up with the strong competition from Tesla, which is better-established. It will also be forced to battle electric cars having a range of 200-300 miles from major automakers.

The Lucid Air will set a new standard on the performance of the luxury electric vehicles. For instance, it will have a unique two-seat design that allows the seats to recline up to fifty-five degrees. It will also have air suspension design allowing the inversion of the normal engineering to bring the springs nearer to the wheels. Many design themes will also incorporate natural materials, such as textured woven and leather fabrics. Other notable features are 29-speaker audio systems, optional glass and active noise cancellation. The car will also have focused microphones for passengers to use the car’s language voice system. This feature will improve the accuracy of infotainment and navigation requests in the same way as Apple’s Siri.

Recently, the company made an announcement of its collaboration with Samsung’s SDI to produce battery cells with high-power density and energy. The Director of Lucid’s battery technology, Albert Liu, said that Lucid Air will utilize battery cells that offer resilience when charging at high-speeds so as to reduce loss of energy capacity over the car’s lifetime.

Leave a Comment December 23, 2016

General Motors’ Plan to Produce Autonomous Chevrolet Bolt

chevrolet-boltGeneral Motors has a plan of taking advantage of the new self-driving auto law implemented in Michigan. With the production of Chevy Bolt, GM will be the first car manufacturer to produce autonomous cars. According to Mary Barra, the CEO of GM, the automaker is set to immediately start conducting tests for the self-driving Chevy Bolts within the Detroit area. The testing in question is expected to begin as early as January 2017. Doug Parks, the vice president of General Motors said that the automaker has already started testing around 40 autonomous Bolts in Scottsdale, Arizona, and San Francisco. The test runs in Michigan will be on a larger scale compared to the ones currently going on.

The automaker is set to utilize Michigan’s self-driving vehicle policy, as well as current severe weather conditions that take place in Michigan. Mary Barra said that the main objective is to make sure that the autonomous cars produced can be driven safely in all roads and weather conditions. A few days ago, Rick Snyder, the Michigan governor, signed legislation that gave automakers, as well as technology partners, a go-ahead to implement, test, and market autonomous cars in the state. The policy covers more than what has been enacted in other states. It allows for the removal of brake pedals and steering wheels. It also gives companies the permission to provide ride-hailing options with their autonomous cars.

Assembling of the autonomous Bolts will be held at the General Motors plant situated in Orion Township. Non-autonomous fully-electric Chevy Bolts are produced within the same plant along with Chevrolet Sonic subcompact vehicle. The workers of GM will incorporate some of the Chevy Bolt’s sensors, Lidar (radar that uses light rather than sound), and cameras, as well as test out other autonomous technology. So far, testing has been been done only on private roads located a mile from the General Motors technical center. Barra stated that the automaker will open up testing to nearby roads followed by expansion throughout Detroit.

Chevrolet dealers started selling non-autonomous Bolts in Oregon and California this week. The market will be expanded to Virginia, Massachusetts, and New York in early next year. Around mid next year, the Bolt will have spread nationwide. General Motors has been conducting road testing for self-driving cars for many years, and now it has become a significant push by car manufacturers, technology companies, and auto suppliers to increase the popularity of autonomous cars on the United States roads. Tesla Model X and Model S equipped with full autonomy hardware are under production. The anticipated Model 3 will also have it.

 

Leave a Comment December 23, 2016

It May Cost you Less to Drive a Climate-Friendly Vehicle

14_chevrolet_volt_mias_14Several people believe that low-emission cars such as electric and hybrid vehicles are more costly compared to other alternatives. However, a novel study proved that green cars are actually a better option when the costs of maintenance and operation are added to a car’s buying price. The trucks and cars usually driven account for at least 20 percent of all the greenhouse gas emissions countrywide. The worrying rates of environmental pollution prompted an energy scientist, Jessika Trancik, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to investigate the issue of vehicle emissions. The first question asked during the investigation was how cars and personal vehicles related to climate targets.

Trancik and her colleagues were interested in finding out the number and type of cars in the United States that are both climate-friendly and cost-efficient. The findings of their study were published online this week accompanied with a paper in Environmental Science and Technology journal. The results were interesting concerning the ultimate cost of green cars. Trancik said that consumers don’t have to spend a lot for green cars or lowest-emitting cars. The findings further revealed that some vehicles currently on the market, a majority of battery electric and hybrids already comply with the world emission goals that the United States has promised to meet within in the next 14 years. The cars in questions include models such as Chevy Volt, Ford’s Focus Electric, Toyota Prius, BMW i3, Tesla Model 3 and Nissan Leaf.

The study showed that a standard vehicle sold has more emissions than the 2030 target by about 50 percent. This means that there is evidently a disconnection between the type of vehicles bought and where we hope to be by 2030. For instance, falling at the other side of the chart is the Chevy Suburban, whose lifetime costs are high, while its emissions are more than the American average. There is also a wide gap with respect to the 2050 goals. This is according to Chris Gearhart, who plays the role of directing transportation research in Colorado’s Laboratory for National Renewable Energy. Chris says that his motivation is the belief that eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation industry is a key priority. He further added that Trancik’s study is interesting since it clearly illustrates the impact that individual choices have. He believes that even an average person can afford or own a Tesla. Currently, United States’ vehicles emit greenhouse gases that are sufficient to fill at least seven hundred thousand Empire State Buildings. This situation can change if people embrace green cars such as electric and hybrid vehicles.

Leave a Comment October 7, 2016

The Best Electric, Hybrid, and Fuel-efficient Vehicles for September 2016

16_hyundai_sonata_hybrid1Surveying the best deals out there on electric, hybrid, fuel-efficient and diesel cars is a necessity. Car dealers and makers are looking forward to moving the inventory of the remaining 2016 cars considering the fact that 2017 versions are entering the market in large numbers. Starting with the hybrid cars, Toyota’s 2016 Prius has had several incentives since its entry into the market. With 2017 models entering dealerships, Toyota has decided to cuts the rates of lease on 2016 Prius by twenty percent. This information was given by CarsDirect. The cut lowers the lease to about $199 per month for three years. The offer’s expiry date is 3rd October. The 2017 models are also displacing Hyundai’s 2016 Sonata hybrid.

For plug-in hybrid models, Hyundai’s 2016 Sonata has also received increased incentives. Hyundai is giving a bonus of $3,500, as well as a conquest bonus of $1,500 through 30th September. These bonuses translate to $2,500 and $1,500 increase, respectively. Ford’s 2017 Fusion Energi has undergone a fresh transformation and update, with numerous changes including an increased electric range. The range went up to 22 miles from 20 miles. The refurbished model is also a wonderful deal, with a lease rate being $219 per month for a period of three years. This offer is there until 3rd October and is inclusive of $1,999 as the down payment, as well as 10,500 miles annual mileage allowance.

Regarding the electric cars, Nissan’s 2016 Leaf has significant incentives that were introduced two months ago extending to September. Hence, you can still lease this model for $199 per month for a period of 36 months including 12,000 miles per annum. Additionally, the base S model doesn’t require a down payment. The Leaf S also utilizes a battery pack of 24-kilowatt-hour with a range of 84 miles. The offer is also valid until 3rd October. Chevy Spark electric vehicle is yet another great deal for September. Buyers can lease it for $139 a month for three years.  They don’t have to give a down payment for this model with the offer including a 10,000 miles yearly allowance. This offer’s expiry date is 30th September. Some of the best fuel-efficient gasoline vehicles for this month include Honda’s Fit hatchback, which had 0.9% APR financing for three years. According to CarsDirect, dealers in some regions are also offering discounts. Another heavily discounted model that buyers should consider is Chevrolet’s 2016 Sonic.

Leave a Comment September 23, 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

Quick Sales for Used Electric Cars

While new electric car sales have remained relatively stagnant, the sale of used electric vehicles are gradually increasing. The lowered prices of such cars account for the increased attractiveness to consumers. Used electric vehicles are clearly moving much faster compared to the standard gasoline-fueled vehicles. These findings were obtained from a study highlighted at iSeeCars.com website. This study considered the time that these used cars remained on dealer lots. About 2.2 million used vehicles were included in this study. The vehicles were less than 3-years old with the sale period being January to May, 2016. Among the ten top-selling used vehicles, two of them were hybrids, two battery-electric cars, and a plug-in vehicle.

Also, the average costs of these vehicles reduced faster compared to the prices of gasoline-fueled vehicles. Over the study period, the average time that electric cars remained on market was 29.2 days with the price dropping by 15.2 percent in comparison to the same time in 2015. Comparatively, gasoline-fueled cars remained on dealership lots for approximately 42.5 days with the prices dropping by only one percent. For plug-in hybrids, the price decrease was 5.1 percent with the average time they remained on the market being 40.7 days. Hybrid cars stayed on market for an average of 38.2 sales and their prices went down by 3.7 percent compared to last year.

The fastest used-car seller was Toyota’s Prius plug in, which stayed on market for an average of 19.7 days. Within the same period last year, the Prius remained under dealership for approximately 38.1 days. This is a clear indication that the demand of the car has increased. Most of Prius sales were recorded in California, despite the fact that it no longer distributes green stickers granting authorization for solo carpool-lane use to plug-ins or hybrids. This information was confirmed by Phong Ly, the CEO of iSeeCars.com. The access to high-occupancy car lane has for a long time attracted California residents who have to tolerate jammed rush-hour highways.

Several years down the line, a study conducted to investigate the importance of carpool-lane stickers on used hybrids indicated that around $1,500 was added to the sticker alone to the car’s overall value. A comparable second-hand model that lacked this sticker was cheaper. The second and third best second-hand car sellers were Nissan’s Leaf and Tesla’s Model S, which stayed for about 24.3 days and 26.1 days respectively on market. The 7th and 8th fastest sellers were Lexus’ CT 200h and Toyota’s Highlander. The lower costs of these cars indicate that it is the best time to purchased used hybrid, electric or plug-in hybrids.

 

Leave a Comment July 15, 2016

Plug-in Cars as the Best Second-hand Car Bargains

640px-Toyota_PHEV_Tokyo_09_2008_(1)You have probably been eyeing a newly launched plug-in hybrid or battery electric car only to be turned off by its price. If so, it would be great to consider exploring your options in the market for used cars. The cost of electric and hybrid, as well as plug-in cars that have been used for 1-3 years has gone down over the last few years. This has made them the best and hottest selling deals around. The approximate price of a new electric vehicle goes down by $3,830 annually with a used vehicle. On the contrary, the traditional gasoline vehicles have dropped by just $242 over the same period. This figure was reported in a study conducted by iSeeCars.com, a second-hand car aggregator.

The Chief Executive Officer of iSeeCars.com said that the used vehicle market may have finally reached its sweet spot with the prices having dropped enough to increase the desirability of these cars. The general population is currently inclined towards second hand vehicles. The lease incentives given by automakers have been lucrative, which has further contributed to the rising figure of used plug-in cars. It implies that the majority of the second-hand plug-in cars in the market qualify for the used car programs offered by automakers. This further makes the deal better.

For instance, the price of a used Nissan Leaf is about half of the original retail price of $30,000. This price is inclusive of a federal rebate incentive of $7,500. A study incorporating more than 2.2 million close-to-new vehicles gave the estimate retail price of a second-hand Leaf as $12,533. The study also reported that out of the ten fastest selling second-hand cars, five of them are plug-in hybrid or electric car models. Toyota Prius was stated as the fastest mover with a sale made in less than 20 days. This is twice the selling speed of a standard second-hand vehicle.

The second fastest seller is Nissan’s Leaf electric vehicle, which took around 24 days to sell. The third seller is Tesla’s Model S that took about 26 days to sell. Other notable fast movers are Lexus CT200H and Toyota’s Highlander Hybrid. The findings obtained are a clear indication that the green car market is gaining popularity. Many people are now choosing green cars instead of traditional gasoline cars. Consumers willing to jump onto the plug-in, electric or hybrid bandwagon have a chance to purchase one at an affordable cost. Used green cars are evidently a great option.

 

Leave a Comment July 8, 2016

Why You Should Invest in Hybrid Cars

Toyota_Prius_(IV)_–_Frontansicht,_19._September_2015,_FrankfurtTesting regimen and air quality concerns imply that many car owners are moving away from gasoline fuel to search for cleaner options. Manufacturers are under a lot of pressure to produce cars with lower carbon dioxide emissions and better efficiency. Although small-sized petrol turbos are still popular, it is evident that the popularity of hybrids is increasing at a fast rate.

Hybrid technology is not an entirely new phenomenon since these vehicles entered the market more than a decade ago. Prius’ 1st generation entered the United Kingdom showrooms in the year 2000 following the arrival of MK4. It is, therefore, fair enough to say that hybrid technology is truly reliable. Although a few manufacturers are yet to catch up, a wide range of green cars is available on the market.

Proven Reliability

Regardless of the fact that hybrid technology has proved to be dependable and worthwhile, several potential purchasers are still skeptical. This is because they believe these cars are costly and their drivetrain is complex. They also hold the assumption that these cars are not reliable. However, Toyota has disputed such claims. The automaker said that the hybrid system increases the durability of the tires, pads and brake discs. Most potential buyers are also concerned about the cars’ battery pack, which they have likened to a ticking time bomb. They assume the battery can easily fail and is expensive to replace. Honda has however disputed these claims and stated that reliability is not a major issue with hybrid cars.

A Toyota spokesman said that there is rarely the need to replace hybrid components under the specified warranty. These components are designed in such a way that they can last the entered car’s life. The spokesman further confirmed that the hybrid technology works and is reliable. There are still MK1 Prius’ that are still working, meaning that the durability of the battery is not an issue.

Even for the second-hand hybrid car market, nothing is there to worry about. Most of these cars have batteries that are still under their respective warranties. The length of these warranties varies from one automaker to another. While the car’s warranty depends on the manufacturer, the hybrid technology warranty can last up to 8 years. It is highly unlikely for one to replace the entire battery pack of a second-hand hybrid. Perhaps what may need replacement are the dead cells within the car, and this would further cut costs. Even after using a hybrid car for 10 years, 80 percent efficiency can still be expected. Hence, you should invest in a hybrid car today.

Leave a Comment March 24, 2016

Carmakers Focus More on Electric Vehicles

640px-Audi_e-tron_(Edit1)Although the hybrid and electric car sales have remained constant in the past year, automakers have gone ahead to manufacture novel battery-powered cars for the market. Many vehicle companies are shifting their focus towards electric car production for international markets. These automakers include General Motors that has already unveiled the pre-production version of the highly anticipated Chevrolet Bolt. Mary Barra, the chief executive of GM said that the Bolt represented a huge step towards car electrification, considering its costs and capability of covering about 200 miles when fully charged. The Chevy Bolt is clearly the first electric vehicle to crack the standard code due to its long range and affordability. This information was revealed through a speech given by Barra at a recent motor show.

The Bolt is likely to enter the market this year and its sticker price will be around $30,000 with government incentives totaling to about $7,500. Despite the affordable price and long range of Bolt, it is still unclear whether consumers will continue to take advantage of the low gas prices to purchase large cars. However, GM has high hopes that its new entry to the market will be a hit. Consumers are starting to realize the value of owning electric and hybrid cars over gasoline-powered cars. The Nissan Leaf is currently the leading all-electric car in terms of sales, while the Toyota Prius leads in the hybrid category. Generally, hybrid and electric cars account for approximately 2% of America’s car market. Luxury carmakers such as the BMW also introduced a novel electric car last year. Tesla’s lineup is also expanding to include Model X, a fully electric sport-utility vehicle.

There has been mixed success for GM with the Volt plug-in, whose battery power is enhanced by a small-sized gasoline engine to extend the driving range. Barra acknowledged GM’s commitment towards electrification. Other notable figures at GM said that the Chevy Bolt could alter the perception of consumers towards fully electric vehicles as solely for commuting purposes and other minor trips. Pam Fletcher, the chief engineer for GM’s electric cars said that a range exceeding 150 miles is likely to increase buyer consideration. We are eager to see how consumers and the market in general will embrace the Chevrolet Bolt, particularly in the current cheap gas era. Other carmakers that will showcase electric car models during the International CES include Volkswagen whose electric microbus concept version was unveiled earlier this week. Audi gave additional details concerning its electric sports utility vehicle, the e-Tron.

 

 

Leave a Comment January 14, 2016

Increased Adoption and Overview of Electric and Hybrid Cars

PB141796Recently, the number of legislative policies aimed at curbing detrimental emissions has increased. This is to make sure that there is cleaner air and less environmental damage in future caused by vehicle emissions. Similarly, huge efforts have been directed towards minimizing the dependence on declining oil reserves. These dynamics are a clear indication of a move from automobiles utilizing combustion engines towards utilization of electric and hybrid cars.

Validity of Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Although automobile manufacturers have often doubted the validity of electric and hybrid cars, such cars are now gaining major acceptance worldwide. According to prediction firm Freedonia, an industry analyst, the sales of electric and hybrid vehicles worldwide will double by 2018. Japan is currently the leader with 20% of its yearly car sales being accounted for by electric and hybrid cars. Other top-sellers include North America and Europe. There are different types of hybrid and electric vehicles currently in the market. These include full hybrids, mild hybrids, micro hybrids, electric vehicles, and plug-in hybrids. The wide range available is a clear indication of the importance and huge popularity that hybrids and electric cars have garnered.

Improvements to Vehicle Efficiency

Some of the ways that have been used to address the issue of carbon emissions include the betterment of thermal management and air management systems in combustion engines. This has led to downsizing of engines to a certain degree. The next fundamental step aimed at minimizing carbon dioxide emissions involves increasing the usage of hybridization and electrification. This not only minimizes the engine load, but it also optimizes the efficiency of the combustion engine.

To improve energy efficiency, automobile manufacturers are searching for means through which the engine can be downsized even further to minimize carbon emissions. For a long time, turbos have been fundamental in optimizing the efficiency level of traditional combustion engines. Turbos make use of exhaust gas compressed at high temperatures, which drives a cold side circuit followed by air intake compression for the second combustion cycle. Full hybrids utilize electric motors of 70 and 40kW. The electric motor and the combustion engine work in tandem.

Some well-known full hybrid cars have the capacity of minimizing carbon emissions by as high as 35% in comparison to combustion engine cars. Electric motors need to operate the entire time the car’s engine is operational. This necessitates the use of large-sized, heavy, and costly battery packs to give the voltage needed to run electric motors. For mild hybrids, the electric motor alone cannot propel the vehicle, but serves to provide extra support.

 

 

Leave a Comment October 30, 2015

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