Thursday, December 31, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Happy New year everyone!

We believe that 2010 is the year for alternate energy vehicles to abound and prosper. There will be many new electric and plug-in electric vehicles that will make their debut in 2010 such as the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf. Hang on to your hats and keep checking this website for the very latest. The year promises to be a boon for customers who want to make a difference and want to stick it to the oil companies.

GMAC to Receive $3.79 Billion More in Bailout Funds


When will the bailouts end? More importantly, why are we continuing to throw good money after bad? Reckless, to say the least.

From Automotive News:

GMAC Financial Services said today it will get $3.79 billion in additional aid from the U.S. government, on top of the $12.5 billion already received since December 2008.

GMAC, in a statement released late this afternoon, said that with the infusion it achieved the capital levels required by the Federal Reserve to meet the company's "worse-than-expected economic scenario."

GMAC said the $3.79 billion cash infusion was less than the $5.6 billion originally expected by the Fed in May 2009 because of lower-than-expected losses related to the General Motors Co. bankruptcy proceedings, which concluded in July.

As part of the latest bailout, the government also increased its equity stake in GMAC from 35.4 percent to about 56.3 percent, the statement said.

One person told the Wall Street Journal today that the measure has been crafted to return the company to profitability in the first quarter of 2010.

GMAC provides financing to GM and Chrysler dealerships and customers -- and its stability is crucial to keeping financial pipelines open for those dealerships.

The new capital will likely allow GMAC to avert placing its ailing mortgage unit, Residential Capital LLC, or ResCap, into bankruptcy, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

"As we have previously stated, GMAC has been conducting a strategic review of its business and evaluating options to address the challenges at ResCap and the mortgage operations," said GMAC spokeswoman Gina Proia in an e-mail statement.

"Critical objectives in the process would be to take actions that position GMAC for improved financial performance and to repay the U.S. government," she said.

GMAC did not detail any specific actions.

The U.S. Treasury confirmed Nov. 9 that it was discussing the need for additional assistance with GMAC. Then on Nov. 16, the company replaced CEO Alvaro de Molina with financial industry veteran Michael Carpenter.

It could take several years before the company can repay the U.S. government and sell the government's stake to private investors.

As part of its original debt restructuring a year ago, GM and private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP were forced to reduce their respective 49 percent and 51 percent stakes in GMAC.

With the latest moves, GMAC said Cerberus' stake will be 14.9 percent, third party investors will own 12.2 percent, an independent trustee for GM will own 9.9 percent and a GM affiliate will own 6.7 percent.

GM sold a controlling stake in GMAC to Cerberus in 2006.

GMAC has scheduled a conference call for 4 p.m. on Tuesday to discuss the latest bailout.

Carpenter, in a statement, said the latest actions would help the company strengthen its business -- particularly its auto finance operations.

"By protecting the financial performance and strength of our core automotive finance operations, we expect to increase the pace at which we can fully repay the U.S. taxpayer," he said. "These actions will also allow GMAC to pursue strategic alternatives for ResCap and the mortgage business."

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Jay Leno's Test Drive Of The Chevy Volt

Here is a video of Jay Leno as he gets a good look at the Chevy Volt. His first impressions were very positive.


Green Garage: 2011 Chevy Volt

Chief Engineer Andrew Farah brings Chevy's breakthrough electric hybrid vehicle, the 2011 Volt to Big Dog Garage.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Introducing The Zotye Zero Emission Electric SUV















It seems the Chinese are leaving the rest of the world in the dust as it pertains to alternate energy vehicles. Here is yet another, with goodish range and hopefully we will see a good MSRP to boot.


Max Speed: 110 kMPH
Range: 200 KM (125 miles)
Front Wheel Drive
27 KW DC Motor
320 Volt Lithium Iron Battery Pack
Charge time 6-8 hours

- All other expected amenities such as A/C, power steering, power brakes, power windows, DVD, GPS, rear window defogger and aluminum wheels




Sunday, December 27, 2009

Another Look At The 2010 Tazarri Zero






The 2010 Tazzari Zero









This could be an extremely successful urban electric vehicle, which can be driven on roads with posted speed limits up to 55 mph. With an 88 mile range, the Tazarrii Zero is an excellent commuter choice.

From newcarpark.com:

Electric cars are in and it seems that the Tazzari Zero is one of the vehicles leading the pack into the 21st century. The 2010 Tazzari Zero is already set to make its way into the North America car market from Italy, where the vehicles are made.

Here are just some of the new features offered through the Tazzari Zero line. First of all, the vehicle has a lithium-ion battery that will run the vehicle for 88 miles, and can charge up completely in over 6.5 hours. The vehicle uses a rear-wheel-drive motor and it produces zero emissions. That’s right, none whatsoever. The vehicle has a max speed of 56 miles per hour.

The 2010 Tazzari Zero also is not very long. Running only 2.88 meters in length, 1.55 meters in width and 1.4 meters in height, it is a compact vehicle. This is a small and compact car that is not meant to carry things, including more than two people, but it is great for someone who just needs something more than a scooter but less than a sedan to get around the city without having to pay for gas.

As well, the vehicle has a radio/CD/MP3 player inside, leather steering wheel, fog lamps, air conditioning, LED tail lights and a sun roof that can be removed.

This is a typical electric vehicle that is going to appeal to a certain market of people who do not mind having a smaller car. Others will not like the limited size, especially if they are driving around a lot of big trucks. Either way, the 2010 Tazzari Zero is a step up with electric cars, getting a longer drive on a shorter charge, and it can be expected that the technology of the 2010 Tazzari Zero will be used in electric cars of the future.

It is a very attractive car, despite its size, so do not be surprised if you see the vehicle moving along the road next to you. You may even want to take a second look at this wonderful vehicle that is small in size but big in the way it helps the environment with no emissions.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas To All


HO HO HO and Merry Christmas to all our readers! We hope you and yours have a safe and blessed Christmas.

We will take the day off tomorrow and then return on the 26th.

Again, Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Nissan Leaf - Spurring On The Green Car Revolution?






The Game Changing 2010 Nissan Leaf







The Nissan Leaf is a new car coming that many feel will be one of the best green cars of the next decade. In fact, Time Magazine has already picked the Nissan Leaf as one of the best inventions of 2009 and it is expected that the 2010 Nissan Leaf will be a huge seller. Based off of the Nissan Tiida, this all-electric drive train has 110 horsepower and 210 pound-feet in torque.

The 2010 Nissan Leaf uses a lithium-ion battery pack that allows it to have a range of 100 miles on the battery depending on whether it is running in the city or on the highway.

The 2010 Nissan Leaf uses a front-mounted electric motor that drives the wheels and can reach a top speed of 87 miles per hour, which is much better than other electric vehicles. The vehicle can also be charged to 80 percent of its capacity in only 30 minutes using the quick battery charger. One amazing thing about the 2010 Nissan Leaf is the fact that it can be charged on a 110/220 AC current if need be.

The 2010 Nissan Leaf will also have a very advanced information technology system that allows it to be connected to a global data center that provides you with support, information and entertainment 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The display in the car also provides you with all the information you need, including the remaining power and nearby charging stations available to you.

Forget about remote starters, you can even use your cell phone to turn on the air conditioning of the vehicle, reset the charging functions, or to start the heater, even if the vehicle is not running.

Needless to say, the 2010 Nissan Leaf is a revolutionary car that is going to be remembered as one of the best cars of the 2010s. With great mileage, quick charging and a high top speed, this is a vehicle that will be selling fast. That is good; considering the world needs a drop in emissions and the 2010 Nissan Leaf provides that on an individual basis.


Source: Newcarpark.com

Chevy Volt Takes A Hot Lap At Dodger Stadium

A Chevrolet produced video of Andrew Farrah burning some rubber with the Chevy Volt.

Enjoy!

Chrysler Set To Unveil Their Fiat 500 EV Concept

Chrysler Group LLC, the U.S. automaker run by Italy’s Fiat SpA, will debut a battery-powered version of the Fiat 500 subcompact at the Detroit auto show, two people familiar with the matter said.

Chrysler’s decision on whether to put the car into production is unknown, said the people, who declined to be identified because the details aren’t public. Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said last month the company plans to produce about 56,000 electric vehicles annually by 2014, and Chrysler may base its initial model on the Fiat Doblo van.

A Chrysler model based on Fiat’s Lancia Delta hatchback also will be displayed at next month’s show, three people familiar with the matter said last week. The cars signal how Fiat’s designs will be incorporated into Chrysler’s lineup to help end losses after the Auburn Hills, Michigan-based company left bankruptcy.

“It would make perfect sense,” said Michael Robinet, an analyst with CSM Worldwide Inc. in Northville, Michigan. “That would be a natural evolution.”

An electric Fiat 500 gives Chrysler a competitor to Bayerische Motoren Werke AG’s Mini-E electric car. BMW began leasing a limited run of Mini Cooper plug-in electric cars this year.

Gualberto Ranieri, a Chrysler spokesman, declined to comment. The company isn’t listed on the Web site of the North American International Auto Show as having a news conference planned to discuss either vehicle.

Changed Strategy

Chrysler, under a new five-year business plan, backed off of the strategy set under previous owner Cerberus Capital Management LP to create a full lineup of electric vehicles, the first of which would have been for sale at the end of 2010.

The 500, Turin-based Fiat’s second-most popular vehicle in Europe behind the Panda small hatchback, will go on sale in the U.S. late in 2010 or in January 2011, Marchionne has said. He has said the 500 will be sold as a convertible and as the Abarth performance version in addition to the standard model.

Marchionne said last week the Fiat 500 will be built in Mexico at a plant capable of producing more than 100,000 cars. About half the volume would be exported to South America, he said.

Fiat owns 20 percent of Chrysler and can raise its stake to 35 percent by achieving certain performance milestones, such as building a fuel-efficient engine in the U.S. The company’s five- year plan calls for having designs from Fiat account for more than half of global sales by 2014.

Fiat rose 7 cents to 10.33 euros at 4:42 p.m. in Milan. The shares have more than doubled this year.


Source: Bloomberg

Monday, December 21, 2009

Introducing the Alfa Romeo LPG Powered MiTo





The Alfa Romeo LPG MiTo







Here is yet another great alternate energy vehicle. The hits keep coming!

From newcarpark.com:

The Alfa Romero MiTo is already an incredibly popular brand of car in Europe, but the Alfa Romeo LPG-powered MiTo may take that popularity to a whole new level. Powered by liquid petroleum gas, which is a hydrocarbon fuel that emits 19 percent less carbon dioxide than oil, the new model seems to be the answer to many environmentalist’s dreams. The dual-fueled LPG model has a 1.4 liter engine and thanks to the LPG-fuel feature, it benefits from being tax exempt in most European countries.

The LPG-fuel model reduces carbon dioxide emissions down to an amazing 131 g/km, while at the same time keeping the sexy look and speed that made the other models so popular. The Alfa Romeo LPG-Powered MiTo has 120 horsepower and can reach 100 km/hr in only 8.8 seconds.

What makes this vehicle so amazing is that it can run, non-stop, for an unbelievable 1,200 kilometers thanks to the 39-liter LPG reservoir that sits in the spare tire well. Not too bad for a vehicle that has the top speed of 198 kilometers per hour!

Currently priced at Euro13,900, but keep in mind that the vehicle is tax-exempt because it is environmentally-friendly and helps to fight global warming. The LPG model was made in conjunction with Landi Renzo, which is a company located out of Italy that produces autogas and compressed natural gas kits for cars.

The Alfa Romero LPG-powered MiTo is helping to break apart the image that to have an environmentally-friendly vehicle, you need to drive a van powered by manure. The world is changing and car manufacturers in Japan and Europe are seeing this. Now vehicles that are both sexy and fast can be environmentally-friendly as well. The Alfa Romero LPG-powered MiTo does not sacrifice anything in order to be environmentally-friendly.

Hopefully manufacturers elsewhere in the world, especially the United States, can see the example that the Alfa Romero LPG-powered MiTo has set and learn from it.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Another Idea For EV Sales / Marketing








Opel Ampera Interior








Here is an interesting idea for automakers who will be selling EV's. Actually, it is a very good idea, which means the automakers will NOT implement it!

From Autoblog.com:

Let's say you're a good-sized auto manufacturer about to release an all-electric car with around 100 miles worth of range and you want it to gain market acceptance (and market share) as quickly as possible. After years of planning and engineering, you have a vehicle that's attractive, safe and offers superior performance to its gas-powered equivalent. Your surveys and focus groups are telling you that a profitable percentage of consumers would pay extra for a superior ownership experience which is what, for the most part, you are ready to offer. There is really only one bad-apple issue that may need special attention to ensure the whole bunch doesn't get spoiled: range anxiety of the long trip kind.

Potential road-tripping consumers of your LEAF / i MiEV / Focus EV are worried they may find themselves on a dark desert highway without cool wind in their hair and without a charge in their batteries. Yes, the vast majority of trips taken are well within the range limits of your product and opportunity-charging stations are being installed in their thousands over the next few years, but it's not enough. A few times a year, many Americans want to take their car on a trip that involves driving a few hundred miles and, until batteries are greatly improved, that can't be done in a BEV.

GM has, of course, opted to overcome this obstacle by placing a gas engine in the vehicle to act as a personal mobile generator which, though a bit of a kludge, is a decent short-term fix. For those haters of the whole gasoline paradigm though, it's akin to driving around with a lawyer in your back seat (or if you prefer, your trunk) on the off chance you may actually need his/her/its advice one day. We believe we have another approach that may not only be greeted enthusiastically by your customers but also allow you an opportunity to introduce the electric experience to more members of the driving public: Free rental cars. Hit the jump for the details.


No, we're not crazy. Consider how much more attractive your vehicle is if, through a strategic partnership with a national rental chain, your customer can have their long trip worries assuaged by the availability of a gas vehicle for 10 days a year for the first three years of ownership. Comparable size, doorstep delivery with a day's notice with no hassle. In exchange for premium service from your partner, you can supply discounted electrics exclusively for their chain and split a bit of marketing. They get to tout a unique product that should command a slightly higher rental rate while more people have an opportunity to try your product for a few days. Sounds like win-win, no?

Now, there is no doubt the strategy could be tweaked and improved. It could be a low-cost option instead of included in the base vehicle purchase price, or you may want to offer 2 weeks over 2 years arrangement instead of 30 days over 3. The details are between you, your marketing department and your accounting staff. We're just throwing out the raw idea for you to chew on, no charge. If you're reading this and would like to suggest improvements to the plan or just want to inform us we're delusional, hit us up in the comments below.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

BYD To Display their e6 and F3DM Models At Detroit Auto Show






The BYD e6 Crossover










The Chinese are beating the US to the marketplace with their all electric e6 and the plug-in hybrid F3DM. The F3DM is a hybrid that travels 62 miles before the generator kicks in, much like the Chevy Volt. Better yet, the car is to appear in US showrooms this coming May. If the price is close to the Chinese price of $21K, it will be a hit.

From Edmunds.com:

Three months after announcing its plan to sell an all-electric plug-in crossover - the e6, pictured - in the U.S. next year, China's BYD Auto announced today that it will display that vehicle and the company's F3DM dual-mode plug-in hybrid sedan at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month.

Both vehicles are slated to go on sale in the U.S. in May 2010.

This won't be the first time the F3DM has appeared at the NAIAS, also known as the Detroit Auto Show. The world's first mass-produced plug-in hybrid electric vehicle attended the 2009 NAIAS held last January, looking awfully smart between leggy models on a well-lit stage while elsewhere in the convention hall GM representatives could only talk about the PHEV they were working on, the Chevrolet Volt, which was still nearly two years away from entering production.

The F3DM can travel 62 miles using only batteries. After that, a 1.0-liter all-aluminum gasoline engine comes on to generate electricity for the vehicle's battery pack. That makes it an extended-range electric vehicle, just like the upcoming Volt, which GM officials say can travel up to 40 miles in all-electric mode before its gas-fueled generator kicks in.

The midsize F3DM sells for about $21,700 in China, where it went on sale in December 2008. The U.S. price hasn't been announced. The Volt is scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. in December 2010 and cost about $40,000.

According to BYD's Website, the e6: can receive a quick charge (presumably from a 220/240-volt outlet) to 50 percent capacity in just 10 minutes; is capable of accelerating from zero to 60 miles an hour in 8 seconds; has a top speed of 100 mph; and can travel 249 miles on a single charge.

The Website also says that four power offerings are planned for the e6: 75 kilowatts (101 horsepower), 75+40 kilowatts (101+54 horsepower), 160 kilowatts (215 horsepower) and 160+40 kilowatts (215+54 horsepower). The "+" signs indicate the presence of two electric motors.

The five-seat e6 is expected to sell for about $40,000 in the U.S.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Federal Report Proclaims Plug-In Hybrids Won’t Help For Decades






The Upcoming Prius Plug-In Hybid Vehicle










One has to wonder how these reports get written. Is someone from the Auto Industry behind this tripe? Plug-in hybrid vehicles, if used properly, can greatly reduce consumption of oil by consumers. If individuals will plug in their cars overnight and then use as much of the electric range as possible, then their gasoline usage would be a fraction of what it is currently. A 40 mile PHEV like the Chevy Volt could conceivable obviate the need for ANY gasoline for a great number of commuters.

From Gas2.0:

According to an analysis conducted by the National Research Council and partly funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the roll-out of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) to the U.S. market will be too slow to have any real effect on our greenhouse gas emissions or oil addiction until at least the 2030s.

The report says that even with huge amounts of federal funding in the form of incentives, subsidies and tax breaks, battery costs will stay too high for the start of widespread PHEV adoption before 2020. The report also concludes that the added cost of manufacturing a PHEV over a conventional vehicle in 2010 will range from a $6,300 premium for a 10 mile all-electric range (PHEV-10) to an $18,000 premium for a 40 mile all-electric range (PHEV-40). Those numbers seem to make sense considering the Chevy Volt is expected to retail for $40,000 before tax breaks.

If gasoline prices stay below $4.00 per gallon, the analysis indicates that PHEV-40s won’t be cost-competitive before 2040 while PHEV-10s may reach cost competitiveness by 2030. Indeed, this seems to be the conventional wisdom within the automotive sector right now, with GMs Vice Chairman for Global Product Development, Bob Lutz, remarking at the LA Auto Show just a couple of weeks ago that without increasing the gas tax to artificially raise fuel prices, there will be no pressure on the consumer to buy plug-in vehicles.

Of course, the report points out that all of their conclusions are in lieu of some kind of unexpected battery technology development or some kind of unexpected market pressure. In the end, the report concludes that PHEVs will have very little effect on consumption of oil before 2030 because there will be too few of them in the national fleet—even at the report’s best case growth scenario of 40 million PHEVs on the road by then.

“A PHEV-10 is expected to use about 20 percent less gasoline than an equivalent hybrid electric vehicle, saving about 70 gallons in 15,000 miles. Forty million PHEV-10s would save a total of about 0.2 million barrels of oil per day. The current light-duty vehicle fleet uses about 9 million barrels per day. PHEV-40s will consume about 55 percent less gasoline than equivalent HEVs, saving more than 200 gallons of gasoline per year per vehicle.”

-TRANSITIONS TO ALTERNATIVE TRANSPORTATION TECHNOLOGIES—PLUG-IN HYBRID ELECTRIC VEHICLES, National Research Council, 2009

The report also concludes, as I’ve said in the past, that “It is not clear what technology or combination of technologies⎯batteries, hydrogen, or biofuels—will be most effective in reducing the nation’s oil dependency to levels that may be necessary in the long run. It is clear, however, that a portfolio approach will enable the greatest reduction in oil use.”

While I’m ultimately a firm believer in all-electric personal transportation, this unprecedneted extraction from our singular dependence on oil we’re currently at the start of will need all the help it can get—which means diversifying our transportation portfolio as much as possible in the beginning. If this means helping these fledgling technologies to compete against the established order, then I’m all for that as well. And even if plug-ins don’t have a huge impact for a couple of decades, we have to start somewhere. The time for hedging has long since passed.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation ecoFRED Motorhome Chassis Ready for Production



The Freightliner ecoFRED Hybrid Motorhome Chassis




Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation ecoFREDTM Motorhome Chassis Ready for Production

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Dec. 3, 2009 - ecoFREDTM, the RV industry's first hybrid-electric Class A motorhome chassis, is now available for order. Introduced in December 2008 by Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) as a prototype, ecoFRED provides improved fuel economy while also reducing engine emissions.

Equipped with the Eaton® hybrid-electric system, ecoFRED is unlike any other chassis available in the RV market today. Powered by the Cummins® ISB 6.7-liter engine with up to 300 hp and an Eaton automated manual transmission, ecoFRED provides increased torque for better acceleration, contributing to a superior performance that has become synonymous with the FCCC brand.

"We are pleased that ecoFRED is ready for production," said Jonathan Randall, director of sales and marketing for FCCC. "ecoFRED offers reduced exhaust emissions, leading toward a cleaner environment, requires less fuel to operate and has an improved brake life, all of which contribute to better overall performance and a reduced operational cost for our customers."

ecoFRED, so named because of its increased fuel economy and ecological/ environmental benefits, offers significantly less brake wear due to regenerative braking, leading to lower replacement costs. The chassis also boasts of better acceleration and increased towing capacity, operating similar to driving an automatic transmission.
ecoFRED has increased towing capacity with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 27,000 lbs. and a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 37,000 lbs. This enables travelers to carry more weight in the coach storage compartments or tow a heavier or additional vehicle.

FCCC engineers also designed ecoFRED to offer a best-in-class 55-degree wheel cut to better travel and navigate through tight spatial constraints. Similar to the popular FRED (Front Engine Diesel) chassis, ecoFRED does not have an engine hump or "dog house" typically found on a gas chassis. The result is a flat floor and more room in the driver cockpit, contributing to driver comfort and easier entry and egress from the seats to the back of the motorhome.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Myers Motors Taking Pre-Orders For NMG Two-Seater, Potentially As Low As $22,495.50






The Myers Motors NMG For Two








Myers Motors unveiled the NMG2 (or whatever its final name will be) back in September, and the company is already prepared to take pre-orders for the two-seat electric trike. The car's base price is $29,995 but, if a thousand people drop $250 on a pre-order, the price for everyone will drop by $5,000 (actually, for every 200 people who pre-order, Myers can get volume discounts and so will drop the price by $1,000). Myers will wait until June 5, 2010 to see how many pre-orders they have and set the final price then. Throw in an estimated Federal tax credit of $2,499.50, and Myers says the best possible price will be $22,495.50.

Of course, this is a vehicle and so there will be options. The only information on these released thus far are two upgraded battery packs. The base vehicle ships will a 60-mile li-ion pack, but 80-mile and 100-mile packs will also be available for $2,500 and $5,000 respectively. Myers says that more information will be made available later.

Source: Autobloggreen

Toyota Announces Their Plug-In Prius, Targeted For Select Markets And Limited Roll-Out

No idea why Toyota is playing this so conservatively. Obviously, the company has the technology to deliver electric vehicles, as evidenced by their RAV 4 EV's, which are still going strong. Introducing the plug-in variant of the the Prius should be a no brainer and should be introduced world wide, but Toyota states it will be another two years, before "tens of thousands" will be built. Big whoop.

From Green Car Congress:

Tmcphv
The all-electric range of the Prius Plug-In (23 km) will cover more than 50% of distances driven by single cars each day in Japan, according to Toyota. Click to enlarge.

In Tokyo, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) formally announced the introduction of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid—the plug-in version of the third-generation Prius gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle—into key markets. Approximately 600 units will be introduced in Japan, the United States, and Europe over the first half of 2010, for use by governments and businesses. The plug-in made its North American debut at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show. (Earlier post.)

At the announcement, TMC called plug-in hybrid vehicles a highly suitable environmentally considerate option to diversify transportation energy sources. TMC said it is therefore actively encouraging market introduction and aiding understanding of the vehicle type. To promote the soonest widespread use of PHEVs, TMC will analyze feedback regarding the initial release of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, with an aim to begin sales in the tens of thousands of units to the general public in two years.

Prius Plug-In Performance Specs (Japan)
Gasoline-electric hybrid fuel efficiency 30.6 km/L (72 mpg US)
(76 g/km CO2)
Plug-in hybrid fuel efficiency 57.0 km/L (134 mpg US)
(41 g/km CO2)
Electricity efficiency 6.57 km/kWh (152 Wh/km)
EV mode cruising range 23.4 km (14.5 miles)
Battery charging power consumption 3.56 kWh
Emissions reduction level under 2005 standards 75% or greater

In Japan, TMC will lease approximately 230 units to government ministries; local governments selected for the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s EV & PHV Towns program; corporations such as electric power companies; and other entities. In the United States, approximately 150 units will be provided to government agencies, corporations, universities and research agencies for use in a demonstration program aimed at collecting driving data and spurring the development of battery-charging infrastructure.

In Europe, TMC will lease approximately 200 units, with approximately 100 going to the City of Strasbourg, France. The Prius Plug-in Hybrid will also be introduced in the United Kingdom and Portugal, with the company also considering 10 other European countries, including Germany and the Netherlands, along with countries in other regions, such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The Prius Plug-in Hybrid is the first vehicle produced by TMC to be propelled by a lithium-ion battery, a 345.6V, 5.2 kWh pack. Due to the battery’s expanded capacity, the vehicle has an extended electric-vehicle driving range of 23.4 km (14.5 miles) in the Japanese JC08 cycle. Maximum speed in EV mode is 100 km/h (62 mph).

Verifications and rules that gauge the performance of a PHV differ from region to region. In Japan, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid has an average fuel efficiency of 57 km/L (134 mpg US, 1.75 L/100km) and CO2 emissions of 41 g/km under specified driving conditions combining driving performance both as an EV and as a HV. (Results are based on the JC08 Japanese test cycle and verified by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan.)

The Prius Plug-in Hybrid features the Toyota Hybrid System (THS) II Plug-in, based on the THS II hybrid system used for the Prius, with a new, battery-charging system to facilitate efficient charging of the vehicle’s lithium-ion battery from an external power source.

Special selectable screens that display information for PHEV operation have been added to the Prius-base car navigation system and the Eco-Drive Monitor. The screens display information to assist EV-mode driving (using battery power only), as well as provide an enjoyable way to check battery-charge level and resulting fuel consumption.

  • Energy Monitor Screen displays possible in EV mode driving range.

  • EV-Drive Indicator on the Hybrid System Indicator Screen also indicates possible EV cruising range; driver notified of potential accelerator use with current battery charge level, thus supporting environmentally friendly driving through use of EV mode.

  • Electric Vehicle Cruising Ratio Screen—exclusive to Prius Plug-in Hybrid—displays difference between driving in EV mode (using battery power only) and driving in HV mode (using both gasoline engine and battery power).

Hybrid System Specifications
System THS II Plug-in (with motor speed reduction device)
Engine 1.8L gasoline 2ZR –FXE (high-expansion ratio)
Maximum output 73 kW (98 hp)/5,200 rpm
Maximum torque 142 N·m (105 lb-ft)/4,000 rpm
Motor 3JM (permanent magnet)
Maximum output 60 kW (80 hp)
Maximum torque 207 N·m (153 lb-ft)
Drive battery Lithium-ion
Capacity 5.2 kWh
Rated voltage 345.6 V
Charging time Approx. 180 minutes (AC100 V)
Approx. 100 minutes (AC200 V)
System maximum output 100 kW (134 hp)
System voltage Max. 650 V
EV mode maximum speed approx. 100 km/h (62 mph)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Closer Look At EEStor, the Capacitor Company

EEStor is a company based in Cedar Park, Texas, United States that claims to have developed a revolutionary new type of capacitor for electricity storage, which EEStor calls the 'Electrical Energy Storage Unit' (EESU). EEStor claims the EESU can store far more electrical energy than any other type of capacitor, and that it could be used to propel a small car for about 300 miles. This potential for making electric vehicles fully competitive with gasoline-powered vehicles has created much interest, although the company's claims have yet to be verified. EEStor's CEO and president is Richard Weir, who is also a co-inventor named on two of the company's patents.

EEStor's proposed future product would be a ceramic-based unit fabricated with integrated-circuit techniques. The technology, described in EEStor's patent, involves sintering very small grains of coated barium titanate powder into a bulk ceramic. The process is intended to eliminate the pore space left by sintering. Barium titanate crystals have an extremely high permittivity; however, voids allow current to arc through the dielectric (voltage breakdown), causing the capacitor to self-discharge. By eliminating the voids, EEStor intends to make the bulk ceramic have properties similar to those of individual barium titanate crystals. To keep costs down, the sintering is proposed to occur at low temperatures, enabling the manufacturer to use aluminum electrodes instead of more expensive nickel or platinum electrodes.

The technical specifications of the EESU would be, according to:


Prototype /
Low Volume
LightEVs
Estimate
Mass
Production
Energy density (Wh/l) 606 700 1513
Specific energy (Wh/kg) 273 450 682
Price ($ USD/kWh) $61 n/a $40

The following is how the EESU is claimed to compare to other electrochemical batteries used for electric cars


Ceramic EESU NiMH Lead-acid(Gel) Lithium-ion
Weight (kg/lbs) 135/300 780/1716 1660/3646 340/752
Volume (litres/cubic inches) 74.5/4541 293/17,881 705/43,045 93.5/5697
Discharge rate 0.02%/30 Days 5%/30 Days 1%/30 Days 1%/30 Days
EV Charging time (full) - 100% charge 3-6 min >3.0 hr 3-15 hr >3.0 hr
Life Reduced with deep cycle use none very high high very high
Hazardous Materials none yes yes yes
Temperature vs. effect on energy storage negligible high very high high

The claims made of the EESU are:

  • Nontoxic and non-hazardous
  • Non-explosive
  • For a 52 kWh unit, an initial production price of $3,200, falling to $2,100 with mass production is projected. This is half the price per stored watt-hour of lead-acid batteries, and potentially cheap enough to use to store grid power at off-peak times for on-peak use, and to buffer the output from intermittent power sources such as wind farms.
  • No degradation from charge/discharge cycles
  • 4-6 minute charge time for a 336 pound (152 kg), 2005 cubic inch (33 L), 52 kilowatt hour (187 MJ), 31 farad, 3500 volt unit, assuming sufficient cooling of the cables.
  • The unit will come equipped with a built in Buck-boost converter (DC-DC voltage converter) to provide the proper input/output voltage
  • A self-discharge rate of 0.1% per month

The company appears to be proceeding with development.

The capacitance of the device described in the patent is 30.693 farads. To achieve such a high energy density the capacitor has a very high breakdown voltage and uses an operating voltage of 3,475 V. In the absence of dielectric saturation the formula for stored energy of a capacitor is

\mbox{E} = \dfrac{\mbox{1}}{\mbox{2}}\mbox{C}\mbox{V}^2

which gives a total energy storage of 185.31 MJ or 51.48 kWHours.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Public Electric Car Trials Begin in UK West Midlands with 25 Mitsubishi i-MiEVs

From Green Car Congress:

Cabled
i-MiEVs for the CABLED trials. Click to enlarge.

The first stage of a Government-supported UK-wide project to trial electric and ultra low emission vehicles began Saturday in the West Midlands with the keys to 25 Mitsubishi i-MiEVs (Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle) being handed over to independent drivers. The project, managed by the CABLED (Coventry and Birmingham Low Emission Vehicle Demonstrators) consortium, is worth £15 million (US$24 million) and will trial 110 vehicles on the roads of Birmingham and Coventry.

UK-wide, 340 vehicles are being tested using funding from the Technology Strategy Board. As well as being the largest, CABLED is the first consortium to begin vehicle trials and has recently gained further public backing thanks to £2.5 million (US$4 million) funding awarded by Advantage West Midlands (one of nine Regional Development Agencies in the UK).

i-MiEV Quick Specs
  • 300V, 16 kWh Li-ion pack
  • 47 kW/180N·m max motor
  • Single-speed reduction gear transmission
  • Power consumption (10-15 cycle) = 125 Wh/km
  • Range (10-15 cycle) = 160 km (99 mi)
  • 200V, 15A charge = 7 hours
  • 200V, 3-phase (50 kW) charge = 30 min. for 80%
  • The CABLED consortium was confirmed in June as one of eight successful teams in the £25 million Technology Strategy Board Ultra Low Emission Vehicle Demonstrator Competition. The consortium brings together the expertise of 13 West Midlands-based organizations within the engineering, automotive manufacturing, academic, public and infrastructure sectors, and is led by global engineering consultancy Arup.

    Less than 1% of the vehicles registered every year in the UK are electric and most of these are currently used in London. We think that by 2020, low carbon cars will be commercially viable, and it’s important that we start to understand the public’s reaction and provide the necessary infrastructure to prepare for this.

    Today’s launch is a landmark occasion for the UK automotive industry, and this project will begin to examine the points where the vehicles meet the built environment—energy generation, battery charging and driver behavior. This is an important first step on our roads to a low-carbon future.

    —Neil Butcher, Arup’s project leader of the CABLED consortium

    Drivers selected for the trials of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and 85 other vehicles in the Midlands trials were chosen through an application process led by Coventry University. The other five manufacturers that will roll out vehicles in 2010, include:

    • smart ed (40 battery electric cars)
    • Tata Indica (25 electric cars)
    • Microcab (10 hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles)
    • Land Rover Range_e (5 plug in hybrid vehicles)
    • LTI (5 electric taxis)

    All six automakers contributing vehicles are members of the CABLED consortium. Electricity providers E.ON are delivering charging points for the trial with assistance from the city councils of Birmingham and Coventry.

    Three of the Midland’s leading universities play a major role in the scheme with Coventry University undertaking the selection process of drivers, Aston University analysing vehicle usage data and the University of Birmingham contributing access and expertise gained from its hydrogen fuelling station, which is currently one of the very few of its kind in UK. A new hydrogen station is planned for Coventry University.

    The West Midlands has the largest of the UK’s regional automotive clusters, delivering 28% of output in the UK. It represents just more than 1,500 companies, employs around 115,000 people and generates an annual turnover of £13 billion (US$21 billion).

    Friday, December 11, 2009

    Tesla Motors To Take Roadster On A Road Show

    Tesla is utilizing a rolling road show to market their Roadster. They are also trying to prove that this car obviates "range anxiety" and will hopefully allay potential customer's fear of running out of "fuel". Their destination is the North American Auto Show in Detroit scheduled for early January 2010.

    From Tesla Motors:

    On December 17th, a group of 16 Tesla employees will begin a 2,700+ mile road trip in a Tesla Roadster Sport.

    We’re driving Roadster #750 from Los Angeles to Detroit for this year’s North American International Auto Show to prove that the Roadster is tough, durable and range anxiety is for the weak.

    Our electric sports car goes from 0 to 60 in 3.7 seconds and can travel 244 miles on a single charge. The Roadster is ready to take on any and all weather conditions – it looks just as good with mud on the tires as it does on the showroom floor.

    Skeptical? We’re coming to your
    hometown to prove it.

    Date Destination Miles
    December 17 Palm Springs 140
    December 18 Phoenix 250
    December 19 Tucson 121
    December 20 Deming 211
    December 21 El Paso 110
    December 22 Ft. Stockton 241
    December 23 San Antonio 313
    December 24 Layover Day
    December 25 Layover Day
    December 26 Austin 73
    December 27 Ft. Worth 187
    December 28 Dallas 40
    December 29 Oklahoma City 203
    December 30 Tulsa 106
    December 31 Springfield 180
    January 1 Layover Day
    January 2 Layover Day
    January 3 St. Louis 230
    January 4 Effingham 104
    January 5 Champaign 184
    January 6 Chicago 136
    January 7 Grand Rapids 177
    January 8 Detroit 157

    Thursday, December 10, 2009

    Alameda County Selects ElectroDrive for Conversion of Dodge Dakota to EREV

    From Green Car Congress:

    The County of Alameda recently entered into a partnership with ElectraDrive for a pilot conversion of one of its fleet Dodge Dakotas to extended-range electric drive. The vehicle is expected to enter road-testing around the middle of 2010.

    The project is funded in part by a grant from the Greenlight Initiative of the California State Automobile Association.

    ElectraDrive, a San Francisco based company, is developing three plug-in electric drivetrains for introduction in 2010 and 2011: Add-on Electric Drive; Pure EV; and Extended-Range EV (EREV). Products are targeted at pickups, vans, SUVs and large sedans.

    ElectraDrive is preparing to accept prepayments and reservations for its Add-on Electric Drive for light trucks, beginning in January 2010.

    Introducing The eRUF Stormster Electric SUV


    eRUF Stormster All-Electric SUV




    This particular vehicle looks very promising. It satisfies America's craving for an SUV and also provides alternate energy propulsion. With more than 100 miles of range, it should satisfy the overwhelming majority of commuters. Let's hope that it makes it to production post haste.

    RUF Automobile GmbH unveiled the Stormster, an electric SUV based on the Porsche Cayenne, for the European Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, (COP 15). The Stormster is driven by a Siemens electric motor, with 270 kW (367 bhp) as in the eRUF sports car. The lithium-ion battery pack is supplied by Li-Tec Battery GmbH.

    The total weight is 2,670 kg which makes it capable of reaching 100 km/h in 10 seconds. The top speed is 150 km/h, being able to reach a range of 200 km at one charge.

    RUF introduced the first electric sports car (eRUF) from Germany in October 2008. During the Geneva Motor Show, in March 2009, RUF further presented an evolution of the first eRUF, widely known as “Greenster”.


    Source: Green Car Congress

    Wednesday, December 9, 2009

    Hyundai To Produce Diesel Hybrid Car in 2011


    The Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group plans to add a diesel hybrid to its liquefied petroleum gas and gasoline hybrid offerings.

    The nation’s largest carmaker said that it would commercialize a hybrid edition for one of its diesel models, at a forum on clean diesel held at the National Assembly, Monday. “Commercialization will be established around 2011,” said Kim Hae-jin, Hyundai-Kia’s managing director.

    When it comes to green cars, the carmaker said its focus would be on diesel hybrids rather than electric vehicles in the short term. “Electric cars will be produced in 2011 as well, but it will take five or six more years to churn them out. So the company will concentrate more on diesel hybrid models,” Kim said.

    Hyundai has released hybrid editions of the Avante and Forte sedans, and plans a hybrid version of its Sonata gasoline sedan.


    Source: Korean Times

    Tuesday, December 8, 2009

    Tazzari Launches Zero EV


    The Tazzari Zero EV


    Looking for another electric vehicle option? The Tazzari Group will soon deliver its new ZERO car with a distribution network already present in all major European countries and in the US.

    If you don’t know the name Tazzari, it actually comprises several companies that operate primarily in engineering and aluminium casting. The ZERO, for example has a chassis that is a combination of structural castings and aluminium profiles, while the two-door saloon car itself weighs 882lbs without batteries – adding the pack increases the weight to 1,195lbs.

    The vehicle made its debut at the Bologna Motor Show over the weekend and features a 150Nm rear-wheel drive three-phase asynchronous motor. It is powered by a lithium-iron phosphate battery pack and has an estimated electricity consumption of 0.135kW/h per km. Its range in economy drive is 87 miles and it is can accelerate to 31mph in less than five seconds with a top speed of 56mph.

    The Tazzari ZERO has four driving modes: race for maximum power; economy which makes the most of the electric charge for a range of potentially 140km; standard, which offers a balance between performance and range; and rain, for adverse conditions.

    It features a standard 220V charger with a pack that can be recharged in nine hours. It has an optional 220V Multi-fast charger with three charging speeds that can replenish the pack in five, nine or 14 hours. Also available is an optional 380V Superfast charger that can recharge the pack to 80 per cent in just 50 minutes.


    Source: The Green Car Website

    Chevy Volt Test Drive

    Here is a video of Lyle Dennis' Chevy Volt Test Drive. The quiet parts of the video allow you to hear the car in "generator" mode.

    Monday, December 7, 2009

    GM Will Invest $336 Million For Volt Plant in Detroit




    The 2011 Chevy Volt





    General Motors plans to invest $336 million in a Detroit-area plant to produce its heavily anticipated Chevrolet Volt electric car beginning next year.

    Assembly of Volt prototype vehicles will begin in the spring at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, with the regular production scheduled for late 2010, GM said in a statement today.

    The plant currently employees about 1,200 workers, including 1,100 hourly workers represented by the UAW. GM said the investment brings the automaker's combined spending in Michigan related to the Chevy Volt plug-in car to $700 million.

    Now, if GM could only manufacture enough of the vehicles to meet initial demand we will have something.

    Sunday, December 6, 2009

    Opel Proclaims Need For a Minicar and Full EV

    Opel is laying out their future business strategy which includes a minicar and a full EV. Minicars as a rule do not sell well in the US but we are always hopeful for new EV's to hit the market.

    From Automotive News:

    A new minicar for Opel/Vauxhall is a "top priority," Nick Reilly, the carmaker's CEO said. Reilly also said the brand will consider launching an electric vehicle.

    Currently, Opel has no entry in Europe's fast-growing minicar segment to compete with cars such as the Ford Ka or Volkswagen's forthcoming Up.

    Reilly said there has been a structural change in customers' habits with more people downsizing to smaller cars.

    “In my view Opel needs a mini in today's market, that will be our top priority,” Reilly said on Saturday in a conference call with reporters.

    Reilly said Opel will look at introducing battery-powered electric cars in addition to the Opel Ampera plug-in hybrid, which will have a range-extending combustion engine.

    He said the Ampera, a sister model of the Chevreolt Volt, will initially be imported to Europe from the U.S. when it goes on sale in 2011, but eventually the Ampera will be built in Europe.

    He said Vauxhall's factory in Ellesmere Port, England, which builds the Astra, is a candidate for Ampera production “but there are others."

    In 2004, Opel unveiled the Trixx minicar concept at the Geneva auto show but the 3+1 seater never went into production because GM decided the Chevrolet Spark/Matiz would be its only entry in the segment

    Magna International Inc., which GM spurned as a bidder for Opel, had planned to give the brand a minicar in 2012, possibly with an electric-powered variant.

    Opel's smallest vehicle currently is the Agila small minivan, which is built by Suzuki in Hungary with its platform sibling, the Suzuki Splash.

    Saturday, December 5, 2009

    Introducing The Mitsubishi PX-MiEV: A Plug-In Hybrid SUV









    The Mitsubishi PX-MiEV SUV









    We consider this to be a mild hybrid and would rather see vehicles have the ability to run at full speed on electric power.

    From gas2.org:

    At the 2009 LA Auto Show, Mitsubishi’s President, Osamu Masuko, debuted the PX-MiEV concept in North America, saying the SUV “matches the needs of the North American market” and the company plans to “revamp the vehicle for release in North America by the year 2013.”

    The PX-MiEV is a mid-sized SUV concept the Mitsubishi initially debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show. The PX-MiEV uses an innovative system that relies on 2 electric motors—one on each axle—which act as the primary sources of propulsion for the vehicle. At low to “medium” speeds, the PX-MiEV runs on battery power alone, with only the front axle electric motor providing propulsion. When conditions get slick or icy outside, the PX-MiEV also powers up the rear electric motor to provide 4 wheel drive and enhanced traction.

    When the battery power is depleted at low speeds, the gas engine turns on and acts as a generator to provide electricity to the batteries. In this mode, the car can also choose between using one or both electric motors to provide extra traction when needed.

    At higher speeds, the gas engine functions in the same way it would in a parallel hybrid such as a Prius, providing an additional source of propulsion to the front wheels. However, unlike the Prius the PX-MiEV can also use the rear electric motor at high speeds to provide additional traction.

    The SUV is also set up to operate as a back up power supply for your house, providing electricity to power your household appliances from the battery store and then turning on the gas engine to act as a power generator after the available battery supply has diminished. Mitsubishi also touts the vehicle’s ability to power equipment during camping trips.

    Image Credits: Nick Chambers

    Friday, December 4, 2009

    Fisker Announces Updated Release Date For Karma







    Henrik Fisker Alongside His Karma









    Here is an update for the production release of the Fisker Karma.

    From Autobloggreen.com:

    Henrik Fisker provided an update on his eponymous car company here in LA today. No one but the hopelessly naive will be surprised to learn that production Karma's will not be hitting customers hands by the end of this month (as once promised). For a company that was only founded two years ago, to get an all-new design engineered and produced in 18 months is a near impossibility. The new target for the for the Karma sedan to hit dealers in the U.S. is September of 2010. Fisker has lined up 42 dealers in the U.S. to sell and service the Karma, along with three European distributors that will provide cars to about 100 dealers there.

    According to Fisker, the company has applied for over 50 patents on the technology in the Karma. The basic architecture of the Karma remains unchanged as a series hybrid / extended range EV with a 22 kWh battery pack and a 260 hp GM GTDI Ecotec four cylinder. The electric range is expected to be about 50 miles with a 0-60 time of six seconds. Delivery time is a little bit longer.

    Wednesday, December 2, 2009

    Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle On display At LA Auto Show

    Toyota is showing off its plug in variant of the much acclaimed Prius. There are plans for the vehicle to be built in the hundreds and then given to fleets and other companies to test drive and gather data. Absolutely no word on when the vehicle will be available to the consumers, which is truly maddening.

    Toyota claims that the batteries are expensive and have limitations and a limited shelf life and this is why they use such a small battery pack. Really? Toyota built the awesome RAV 4 EV in the late '90's with a 1000 pound NiMH battery pack that is still going strong today! What in the world are they talking about shelf life for? The Toyota Motor Company is truly a mystery to us. Just give us the option of plugging in our Prius!

    From Green Car Congress:

    Priusphv
    Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Demonstration Program Vehicle 002. Click to enlarge.

    The 2010 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid vehicle (PHV) made its North American debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Built specifically to support a global demonstration program that begins this month, the Prius PHV is based on the third-generation Prius. (Earlier post.)

    The vehicle expands Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive technology with the introduction of a first generation lithium-ion battery that enables all-electric operation at higher speeds and longer distances than the conventional Prius hybrid. When fully charged, the vehicle is targeted to achieve a maximum electric-only range of approximately 13 miles and will be capable of achieving highway speeds up to 60 mph in electric-only (charge-depleting) mode.

    “A lot of people are out there who believe that the batteries are done, that we can design essentially very large capacity batteries. The fact of the matter is that batteries are very expensive, with limitations on shelf life. So you design around the limitations. With a plug-in you get rid of range anxiety. If you do an EV with a 200-mile range, you have a long charge time, it's very expensive.”
    —Bill Reinert, National Mgr. Advanced Technologies Group. Toyota, at the Bloomberg Cars & Fuels conference 1 Dec.

    For longer distances, the Prius PHV reverts to charge sustaining mode and operates like a regular Prius. This ability to utilize all-electric power for short trips or hybrid power for longer drives alleviates the issue of limited cruising range encountered with pure electric vehicles.

    The battery powering the Prius PHV is the first lithium-ion drive-battery developed by Toyota and its joint venture battery production company, Panasonic Electric Vehicle Energy (PEVE). In early November, PEVE began producing the first of more than 500 lithium batteries on a dedicated assembly line at its Teiho production facility in Japan.

    This first-generation lithium battery has undergone more than three years of coordinated field testing in Japan, North America and Europe in a wide variety of climatic environments and driving conditions. Using approximately 150 conventional hybrids (mostly Prius), the field test vehicles logged well over a million combined miles. In the end, the battery was deemed both reliable and durable, confirming that it could indeed be used in conventional hybrid applications in the future, depending on further developments in cost reduction.

    Operating in a more severe charge-depleting mode in PHV operation, the battery’s overall performance in a broad range of vehicle-use applications will be evaluated.

    Beginning later this month, a total of 350 vehicles will begin delivery in Japan and Europe in support of model programs with business and government partners aimed at raising societal awareness of, and preparedness for, this important new technology.

    Beginning early next year, 150 vehicles will start arriving in the US, where they will be placed in regional clusters with select partners for market/consumer analysis and technical demonstration.

    On the consumer side, the US program will allow Toyota to gather real world vehicle-use feedback to better understand customer expectations for plug-in technology. On the technical side, the program aims to confirm, in a wide variety of real world applications, the overall performance of first-generation lithium-ion battery technology, while spurring the development of public-access charging station infrastructure.

    All vehicles will be equipped with data retrieval devices which will monitor activities such as how often the vehicle is charged and when; whether the batteries are depleted or being topped off during charging; trip duration, all-EV driving range, combined mpg and so on.

    In October, Toyota announced its first regional program partnership with Xcel Energy’s SmartGridCity program in Boulder, Colo. (Earlier post.) Ten PHVs will be placed with Boulder residents who will participate in an interdisciplinary research project coordinated by the University of Colorado at Boulder Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI), a new joint venture between the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the University of Colorado at Boulder.

    RASEI, Xcel Energy and TMS will use this program to gather data on vehicle performance and charging patterns, consumer behavior and preferences, as well as electric utility/customer interactions. The locale offers the additional benefit of monitoring high altitude, cold climate performance of Toyota’s first generation lithium-ion battery.

    Additional partners will be announced soon. Regional programs are currently slated for California, Washington D.C., New York, Oregon and Pennsylvania. Each placement scenario will have a variety of use cases to gain maximum input to vehicle performance and customer needs.

    To assist with customer education, Toyota has launched a PHV demonstration program website: www.priusphv.com.

    Mazda Announces It Will Build Three Mazda Demio EV's






    2011 Mazda 2 (Demios in Japan)







    Finally, Mazda is approaching the EV bandwagon and will build a whopping three EV proof of concept vehicles. Not many details have emerged yet.

    Mazda Demios to be Base Architecture for Electric Vehicle Test Project

    - Mazda to provide three Mazda Demios for the "Tsukuba Environmental Style Test Project" -

    HIROSHIMA, Japan-Mazda Motor Corporation will collaborate with Itochu Corporation and other companies in conjunction with Tsukuba City on a joint project to test a low-carbon transport system which uses clean energy. The Tsukuba Environmental Style Test Project is scheduled to commence in March 2010 in Tsukuba city, near Tokyo, Japan.

    The project aims to comprehensively assess a low-carbon energy network composed of electric vehicles (EVs), rapid chargers, fixed battery stations, solar panels and a car sharing service. Mazda will provide three Mazda Demios for conversion to EVs, and will assist in determining optimum vehicle specifications and evaluating vehicle performance.

    In order to provide all its customers with driving pleasure as well as superb environmental and safety performance, Mazda has adopted a policy to comprehensively improve its internal combustion engines and then progressively combine them with electric devices. This process includes the i-stop idling stop system, regenerative braking and hybrid systems. Through its participation in the Tsukuba Environmental Style Test Project, Mazda aims to further strengthen the base of its future R&D activities. Mazda's collaboration with various corporations and organizations will enable a broader knowledge base, including expertise related to EV infrastructure and the reuse of EV batteries. This will also benefit Mazda as it advances development of its electric drive technologies.

    Going forward, Mazda will proactively work toward the establishment of a sustainable society and the evolution of environmental and safety technology based on its long-term vision for technology development, Sustainable Zoom-Zoom, which was announced in 2007.

    About the Tsukuba Environmental Style Project

    1. Main initiatives of the Tsukuba Environmental Style Test Project (each initiative will be the first case in Japan)

    (1) Test the viability of reusing EV batteries in fixed battery stations

    - Develop a system to reuse EV batteries in fixed battery stations, including remote battery monitoring technology.

    (2)Test a model to optimally use renewable energy in EVs and in participating stores