Filed under: New Products for Hybrids

Pricing and Details of Kia Niro 2017 Hybrid Crossover

20160913_Kia_Niro_0022017s Kia Niro, unveiled almost a year ago is finally available for sale. This model is the first dedicated hybrid car by Kia, with the Korean automaker taking an unusual move to describe the new model. The Niro is referred to as a crossover, despite lacking all-wheel drive and having a significantly low ground clearance. Its outlook is more like that of a conventional wagon and less of a real utility vehicle. Pricing of this 2017 Niro model starts at $23,800, which is inclusive of a mandatory destination charge of $895. For the mentioned price, a customer can own the base model, the FE, which is among the five trim levels launched.

The higher-end models include the Touring, LX and the EX. A special edition will also be available to commemorate the beginning of the production phase. The FE will have standard equipment that includes a rearview camera, alloy wheels, Apple CarPlay and a 7-inch touch screen display. The fuel economy returned by the FE model is slightly better compared to that of other Niro variants. Its city rating is 52 mps, highway rating of 49 mpg and a combined rating of 50 mpg. The EX and LX models have a city rating of 51 mpg, highway rating of 46 mpg and a combined rating of 49 mpg. Details on the EPA ratings for the launch edition have not yet been revealed.

The LX model’s starting price is $24,095 with additional features being roof rails, push-button start and rear combination lamps using LED technology. Additional features of the EX model include leather-wrapped steering wheel, cloth-and-leather seats, fog lights, LED headlights, power-folding exterior mirrors, as well as other driver-assistance features. Its starting price is $26,595.  At $28,895, the cost of the Launch Edition is slightly less than that of the highest-priced Touring model. Some of the distinguishing features of the Launch Edition include a metallic grille and 18-inch alloy wheels. Extra convenience features include a touch screen navigation system, driver’s seat 10-way power, and an audio system by Harman Kardon comprising of 8 speakers.

The starting price for the Touring trim level of $30,545, offers additional features like park assist, power sunroof, heated steering wheel and both ventilated and heated seats. A similar powertrain is used by all Niro models, and the power train comprises of a 4-cylinder engine of 1.6 liters and a dual-clutch transmission of 6-speed. The combined horsepower generated by the electric motor and gasoline engine is 139 with the front wheels’ torque being 195 pound-feet.

Leave a Comment February 3, 2017

America Records the Best Plug-in Car Sales

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

The first plug-in car was introduced in the United States six year ago and since their introduction, the 2016 sales were the highest. At the top of the list of the achievements, plug-in electric car sales totaled 157,181 last year. This was an all-time high, a figure that went up by 37.6% from 2015s sales that were 114,248. Sales for 2014 were 123,347, 24.7% less than the 2016 sales. The previous highest sales records had been those of 2014. Hence, 157,181 is such a healthy number to add to 570,187 cumulative total number of plug-in electric cars sold in the United States since 2008.

Monthly Breakdown

Monthly analysis shows that the strong results were largely contributed by December sales. The month recorded an all-time highest of 23,288 plug-in electric car sales. This was up from the former record held by September 2016 of 16,069 sales. Consequently, the market share for 2016 rose to 0.90%, with battery electric comprising of 0.48% and plug-in hybrids contributing to 0.42%. This was a huge improvement from the year 2015 where the market share for plug-in electric vehicle was 0.66% and 0.75% in 2014. As predicted, the market share for December 2016 hit the highest record of 1.39%. Plug-in hybrid comprised of 0.78%, while the battery electrics contributed to 0.61%. September, the prior-record month had 1.12% market share for plug-in electric vehicles.

What’s Selling?

Regarding the best sellers, Tesla’s Model S was at the top of the list for a second consecutive year. There were 29,156 units of Model S delivered, with about 5,300 accounting for December only. The model outdid the revamped Chevrolet Volt, whose December sales were 3,691 adding up to a total of 24,739 units for 2016. At the third place was Tesla’s Model X, which recorded 18,028 sales, with December sales being about 3,300 units. This clearly shows the strength that Tesla has, regardless of having higher prices for its vehicles in comparison to other models. Ford’s Fusion Energi took the fourth place with its yearly sales totaling 15,938 units. Nissan Leaf recorded 14,006 sales. Overall cumulative figures show that Chevy Volt is at the top with a total of 113,489 units. These units are close to 10,000 more compared to the Leaf, with both cars introduced in 2010. Currently, there are 17 plug-in hybrid and 13 battery electric cars sold in the United States. This is in comparison to hybrid electric cars, which are 33. The year 2016 also saw remarkable sales in conventional crossovers, SUVs, and trucks.

Leave a Comment January 20, 2017

Ford’s Big Bet on Electric Cars as It Invests in the U.S. Plant

2016_A&M–Commerce_Homecoming_Parade_03_(Pres._Emer._Keith_McFarland_and_Nancy)The first few days of 2017 have been significant to Ford Motor Co. A lot of attention has particularly been geared towards the company’s move to opt against setting up a Mexico manufacturing plant worth more than a billion dollars. Instead, Ford plans to invest about $700 million in its Michigan plant, which will help in creating jobs for 700 Americans. Though it might seem that the decision was prompted by some high-profile individuals, this is not the case. The reason behind the change of plans is Ford’s independent analysis of the company’s business imperatives.

However, it would also be essential to consider other news related to Ford. Earlier in the week, Ford gave details concerning its increasing commitment to producing electric cars. It particularly emphasized expanding its offerings in the coming years. One of the notable moves is the automaker’s plan to produce a small electric SUV. This SUV will have an approximate range of about 300 miles. This information concerning the car was obtained from a press release issued by the company. The designing of the new SUV will take place from the ground up, contrary to utilizing an existing car platform. Ford’s electric vehicle champion and Purchasing Vice President, Hau Thai-Tang, gave information on the automaker’s new approach through a telephone interview.

Thai-Tang explained that this was the very first time that the automaker had optimized a full-battery electric car’s architecture. This would give the company the opportunity to give consumers the full merits of an electric car. The benefits will be in terms of the car’s engineering configuration and the vehicle packaging. It will also provide occupants with an optimized experience. In addition to developing a fully electric SUV, Ford also plans to launch a number of hybrid electric cars in by the year 2022. These cars will help in showcasing the clear advantages of electrification, which go beyond fuel-efficiency merits.

Three iconic sub-brands will specifically receive the hybrid treatment. Hybrid versions will be added to both F-150 pickup truck and Mustang lines. A plug-in hybrid will be incorporated into the company’s commercial car sector. In Mustang’s case, the addition of the hybrid technology is expected to help the company in showcasing both the low-end torque and performance. For the hybrid F-150, capability will be showcased and the Transit’s role will be enhancing productivity. Productivity, capability and performance are the attributes that define the major benefits of electrification other than fuel efficiency.

Leave a Comment January 13, 2017

The Next Leaf Confirmed at CES by Nissan’s CEO

'16_Nissan_Leaf_(MIAS_'16)According to a statement made by Carlos Ghosn, Nissan CEO, a second-generation Nissan Leaf is set to be produced in the next few years. He however, did not give additional information about the date, driving range or model year. Nissan managed to develop a lithium-ion battery of 60-kWh as per the suggestions made during 2015’s Tokyo Motor Show regarding the concept vehicle reveal. In January 2015, Ghosn further stated that the automaker was developing a battery with a range of 200 miles. Recently, a Renault electric vehicle, ZOE, was introduced and stated to have a 186 mile range.

Shortly before Ghosn’s speech, Nissan’s Vice-President of Advanced Engineering and Research, Takao Asami said told reporters that the next Nissan Leaf would have a range of more than 200 miles. He further added that the automaker had the plans of introducing a charge rate of 150 kilowatts. Asami noted that Nissan was considering developing batteries of different sizes and different driving ranges for North America, Europe and Asia. The keynote address by Ghosn revolved around the upcoming connected and autonomous vehicle technology. The model is set to have the ProPilot technology that enables the functionality of an autonomous drive for highway driving. For the connected vehicles, Ghosn said that NASA introduced the artificial intelligent technology that is currently referred to as Seamless Autonomous Mobility.

The technology in question plays a crucial role in bridging the gap between the roads populated by human drivers and those filled with autonomous traffic. Ghosn also noted that Nissan has diverse types of electrified technology that includes a series hybrid, the e-Power. The power required by the e-Note’s wheels is provided by an electric motor, which generates electricity from a battery pack. A gasoline engine is used for charging the battery pack. Hence, the car’s fuel economy is comparable to that of hybrid vehicles, though the driving is similar to that of electric cars. The big question is regarding the exact date that the new Nissan Leaf is set to be revealed to the general public. Reports indicate that this new vehicle may be available as early as this coming week. Consumers may get the opportunity to see the car for the very first time during Detroit’s auto show. Alternatively, the waiting period may extend till Tokyo’s Motor show that is scheduled for October. Regardless of this uncertainty regarding the actual release date, the full details of the car should be expected any time from now.

Leave a Comment January 13, 2017

Toyota’s 2017 Prius Prime versus Chevrolet’s 2017 Volt

Tech Times

Tech Times

The new Chevy Volt and the Prius Prime are plug-in hybrids with high-volume. They slightly differ in the terms of energy efficiency. The Prius Prime is Toyota’s new plug-in model of the best-selling and most popular hybrid car worldwide. The Chevy Volt, which was officially launched last year and is an improved version of the initial range-extended electric vehicle. Both cars are now major competitors in the ever expanding market for plug-in vehicles and the key question is how they match up.

One of the key similarities between the two is that both are compact cars, five-door hatchbacks. Although they have aerodynamic designs, their executions are very different. Of the two cars, the Prius Prime by Toyota is the newer. From the viewpoint of most onlookers, the Prime is an improved version of the standard Prius hybrid. The Prius plug-in has a front end that is not only new, but also more aggressive. Its taillights are also horizontal and not as vertical as those of the original Prius. Most of the models also have a touch-screen display comparable to that of a tablet. The Chevy Volt, which is currently in its 2nd year, is still a low sleek car with a racy shape and a good-looking interior.

While the Chevy Volt can accommodate five passengers, the Prius is a four-seater. Despite offering a fifth position for a seat, the fifth person in the Volt has to perch on the padded battery hump . Hence, the Volt is best suited for short trips if you’re carrying 5 people. The powertrain of the Prius has an output of 121 horsepower combined with an APA rating of 25 miles. This range should be delivered in most cases. Its battery pack is 8.8 kilowatt per hour and is situated under the load bay and rear seat. With a horsepower of 149 and a range rating of 53 miles, the Volt is clearly quicker compared to the Prius Prime. The ultimate winner on fuel economy is the Prius Prime, however, with a combined rating of 54 mpg in comparison to Chevy Volt’s 42 mpg.

Driving the new Prius feels better compared to its predecessor. It feels more like a normal car and less like a Prius. If there is any battery capacity available, the default mode of the Prime is all-electric. This is contrary to the first Prius plug-in whose electric capability was limited. Since its default is all electric, the driving experience of the Prius Prime is now similar to that of Chevy Volt. There is enough power up to speeds of 75 mph.


Leave a Comment December 2, 2016

A Review of Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

maxresdefaultThe hybrid range of Toyota can be likened to a bird variety because there is a particular one that is seen everywhere. The common hybrid in question is the Prius, which for some reason makes the less common ones more interesting. The RAV4 is an exciting hybrid crossover, which has a sporty relative, the C-HR that isn’t available in the US yet. From the first glance, it is quite hard to identify the attractive features of this car, considering its more aggressive and boxier styling. Initial drive tests indicate that the RAV4 is generally a nice car. For the progressives, the hybrid cars now offer more than just a good image, especially the new ones.

The RAV4 is attractive, pearlised and high-riding with fancy details to spark the interest of admirers. This vehicle proves that you can have all-wheel drive, have a lot of power, and still be energy efficient.  It has impressive acceleration that can be felt by even the users of the sleek Toyota Prius. There is a serious-minded dash with a slight demerit being the descriptive graphics that are quite distracting. All the Toyota models have the start-stop system with the option of using either your tank or battery for maintenance of efficiency and performance. There are little green arrows indicating optimum speeds of efficiency while red arrows pointing the opposite direction would be present at higher speeds. Some people might find keeping track of the arrows to be too compelling. However, having such arrows can be a great thing since you’ll get to save energy while at the same time ensuring that nobody gets hurt.

Some might notice that the brakes are slightly wimpy and may fail to notice a nudge, however all models have emergency braking in case you get distracted. A noteworthy feature is a hatch closer with a push-button for the 70 cubic feet of cargo space. Regardless of the few challenges, driving a RAV4 hybrid is a fun experience. The model feels more costly that it actually is. This doesn’t mean that it gives an over the top extravagant feeling. The total output of the combined system is close to 200 bhp and it clearly shows. It is quite pleasurable to overtake, cruise and do anything on a motorway. Its highest speed is not dramatic. Although its emissions are not stunningly low, it clearly has a sustainable future. The car’s top speed is about 112 mph while the combined consumption of fuel is 55.4 mpg. Carbon dioxide emissions are at 188 grams per kilometer while its Eco rating is 7 out of 10.


Leave a Comment November 11, 2016

A Review of Porsche’s 2018 Panamera 4 E-Hybrid

porsche_panamera_hybrid_21Several people hold the notion that hybrid cars such as the Toyota Prius have a loveless and boring existence. Well, this isn’t the case with Porsche’s new Panamera hybrid car. There are several reasons why this car is considered an interesting choice for green car enthusiasts. For starters, the vehicle isn’t as ballistic as the P1, the 918 Spyder and the LaFerrari. It is a high-performance hybrid car that people are highly likely to purchase. It will be extremely affordable, which means that you don’t have to part with hundreds of thousands of dollars to get it, although the official price has not yet been confirmed by the automaker.

Contrary to the previous Panamera hybrid, this new 4 E-Hybrid will be an all-wheel-drive. It has a horsepower of 330, a twin-turbocharged 331 lb. with a capacity of 2.9 liters.  Its electric motor will be 100 Kw, producing a 462 HP combined output, with a torque of 516 lb-ft. All these features are linked to a dual-clutch gearbox of eight-speeds. According to Porsche, the new hybrid car will go from 0 to 60 within only 4.4 seconds. This speed is pretty fast when you consider the fact that the car’s weight is almost five thousand pounds.

Porsche’s 4 E-Hybrid has a standard Sport Chrono Package that will let drivers do various forms of performance activities with the vehicle. The V6 remains active in the Sport Plus and Sport modes. In the sport mode, there is maintenance of battery charge at a specific level that ensures that the e-boost capability is sufficient enough when needed. In the sport plus mode, the Panamera is goosed up to a top speed of 172 MPH. The battery is also recharged quickly when the vehicle is set in this mode. The mode also allows you to get the maximum performance level from the system.

Porsche further notes that there is electric power at all times, and this is an upgrade from the previous model. The previous Panamera required users to press the accelerator down so as to activate the E-Boost. For other, slower life situations, the new model has modes that allow drivers to save gas and increase efficiency. The car will begin in fully electric and has a range of approximately 31 miles before attaining a maximum speed at 80 mph. For the remaining part, the driver may choose various modes to balance out electric motor and gasoline engine. The mode chosen depends on whether one wants to charge the battery or save gas.


Leave a Comment September 16, 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

Toyota Introduces New Price and Safety Equipment for its 2017 Yaris and Prius

Yaris_sedan_for_rentToyota made an announcement regarding its decision to add new safety equipment to its Yaris hatchback and Prius hybrid for the model year 2017. Meanwhile, a new entrant to the automaker’s lineup is the Scion iA, which is an award winner and a top safety pick by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. The model in question will now be referred to as the Yaris iA though it will not have the new safety gear. One of its current features is a pre-collision warning.

After undergoing a complete redesign last year, Toyota Prius will enter a new year with a Safety Sense package that will be applicable to all models. This includes pre-collision warning, adaptive cruise control, automated high-beam headlights, as well as lane-departure system to help to bring the car to its original lane. Additional technological features imply that the resultant Prius is more expensive, with the price increasing by as much as $515 for 2017’s Prius. Model two to four will be the expensive ones while Four Touring and Three Touring trims will be $45 less.

On a similar note, 2017’s Yaris hatchbacks currently have Toyota’s Safety Sense C that is inclusive of features such as automated high-beams, pre-collision warning, as well as the lane-departure alerts. These additions mean that the average cost of the model will increase by $355. This information was officially stated by Toyota. The entry cost is likely to increase by up to $380 for the Yaris models that will have four-speed automated transmission. The increase will be $330 for Yaris SE model.

Addition of Toyota’s badge to iA will increase the price of the subcompact sedan by $250. Similar to the previous year, the only option available for the car is the six-speed automated transmission. The rest of the extra features like the push-button start, touchscreen infotainment system, rear view camera and the alloy wheels are all standard features for all models.

While customers may opt for the 2016’s Scion iA model as an alternative to 2017’s Toyota Yaris in order to save $250, it is advisable for those who yearn for Yaris hatchback or Prius hybrid to wait till the model year 2017. The extra safety equipment incorporated in the new models is clearly worth the price increases. Safety is an essential feature that shouldn’t be compromised when purchasing a vehicle.



Leave a Comment August 19, 2016

Developments that Favor Electric Car Sales

Bolt_EV_2015_NAIASThe push by federal regulations has forced automakers to focus more on the manufacture of new fully-electric cars. Unfortunately, consumers are still reluctant to buy electric car offerings because the prices of gas have remained fairly low. With the exception of Tesla’s Model S, the sales of electric car have gone down by eleven percent in 2016’s first half. Limited charging stations and range issues are the major demerits for electric car ownership. Despite the mentioned drawbacks, there are planned developments that would totally change the situation for the better.

One of the key developments is a federal initiative. The Transportation Department made an announcement about its plan to use about $4.5 billion to guarantee loans to create fast-charging stations across the nation. The plan also includes the creation of an automakers’ coalition, as well as the utilities to oversee this effort. This will allow for the incorporation of both local and state governments.

Another development that could spur electric car sales is the plan to produce long-range electrics that will be affordable to consumers. A perfect example is the Chevy Bolt, which will have an approximate range of 200 miles on full charge. Tesla’s Model S is the sole electric vehicle meeting the standard range mentioned, and it currently sells for $70,000. There is a high likelihood that the retail price of Chevy Bolt will be less than $40,000. In some regions, there will be $7,500 in the form of federal tax credit, as well as incentives from both the local and state governments. Tesla is set to begin the sale of Model 3 late next year at about a similar cost with a range of 215 miles. Extra range can be a great motivation for consumers, with a good example being the revamped 2016 Chevy Volt. This electric car that also features a gasoline engine as backup can cover approximately 53 miles before recharging.

Availability of used electric cars at a cheaper cost will also spark electric car sales. As the sales of new electric cars go down, those of used electric vehicles have gone up. A survey by revealed that a Nissan Leaf that is 1-3 years old retails at only $12,533 with a new one costing about $30,000. Proper computation of daily mileage requirement and buying a home charger will go a long way in ensuring that you save more on used electric cars. It is also advisable to reserve gasoline cars for long-distance trips.


Leave a Comment August 5, 2016

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