Sunday, January 31, 2010

BMW Set To Lease Active E Electric Car in U.S. Test Program





BMW Concept E







Apparently, the Mini E is doing well and the leases have been extended for those fortunate enough to have one. Now, BMW would like to continue with another electric vehicle, this one being more upscale than the Mini Cooper E.

From Edmunds.com:
Following on its just-extended test program for the prototype Mini E electric car, BMW plans to offer a limited number of its Active E electric cars (left) for lease in the U.S., according to a report in an industry journal.

The car, based on the BMW 1 Series, was unveiled last week during the 2010 North American International Auto Show's press preview days. It is a four-seat coupe that will use an advanced rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack to store energy for a 170-horsepower electric motor. Maximum range on a single charge is about 100 miles, BMW says.

Klaus Draeger, a BMW board member, told Automotive News that a limited number of the cars will be leased to customers in Europe and the U.S. next year to help the automaker gather field data as it prepares to launch a retail EV - no word as to which BMW it will be based on - in the 2014-15 model year time frame.

He didn't provide pricing or terms for an Active E Lease program.

BMW apparently is pleased with the response to its lease program for the Mini E, whose 450 U.S. test drivers just got word that the program, initially scheduled to expire early this year, has been extended indefinitely.

Draeger said in the interview that Mini E customers have told BMW the are satisfied with the car's 100-mile range and with the ability to charge the batteries at home and, in some instances, at work (Edmunds.com - whose driving staff generally would like to see a lot more than 100 miles of range - is one of the lessees and has a charger installed in its parking garage).

Tesla To Stop Production Of Its Roadster Model


On the heels of our previous post comes this shocking news.

From Gas2.0:

Come 2011, Tesla Motors plans to stop selling its famed roadster. Why? Because no one will build it.

Deep within the Securities and Exchange Commission paperwork Tesla filed ahead of its IPO was the announcement. The two-seater–and its souped up Roadster Sport sibling–will end production next year. If there is a replacement, it won’t be available until 2013…at the earliest.

“We do not plan to sell our current generation Tesla Roadster after 2011 due to planned tooling changes at a supplier for the Tesla Roadster,” the company wrote in the filing. The Roadster is currently built by Lotus.

Tesla’s Model S is one thing keeping the Roadster on the back burner. That model hit production in 2012 using the $465 million it just secured from the Department of Energy. Essentially, Tesla will have no cars to sell and therefore no revenue coming in for a full year.

Scary since the Roadster is the car that put Tesla on the map. Hopefully nothing goes wrong with the Model S.


Saturday, January 30, 2010



Tesla's Roadster



U.S. electric sports car maker Tesla Motors filed for an initial public offering of up to $100 million, aiming to cash in on growing investor interest in battery-powered vehicles and green technology.

The IPO filing on Friday from the six-year-old start-up, best known for its $109,000 all-electric Roadster, represents a landmark in the resurgence of electric car technology that most carmakers until recently had dismissed as impractical.

Tesla's IPO, with underwriters including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank Securities, should generate enthusiasm for IPOs generally, analysts said.

"People are going to be watching this one move through the pipeline," said Matt Therian, analyst with Connecticut-based IPO research firm Renaissance Capital. "It's probably a good sign for the IPO market."

Ben Holmes, founder of Morningnotes.com, said an IPO is sometimes the best form of advertising, especially if the deal is successful, for companies like Tesla.

"Venture-backed deals were kind of derailed and this might be what we call a bell cow -- a deal that's so steady and so well-done and so impressive it brings other deals to market that were waiting," he said.

Reuters reported in November that Tesla was preparing to file for an IPO.

In the nine months ended Sept. 30, Tesla said, it lost $31.5 million, down from a loss of $57.3 million in the same period a year earlier. Revenue jumped to $93.4 million from $580,000.

The company said it would continue to post losses until it begins making "significant" deliveries of the Model S, which is not expected to launch until 2012.

Tesla, in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing, did not provide details on IPO pricing or its timing.

Competing with established automakers

Tesla will compete with established carmakers such as Ford, General Motors and Nissan Motor Co., all of which are racing to launch electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Tesla is a small player with a high-end market and limited production, but hopes the Model S electric sedan will broaden its potential market.

It has received about 2,000 reservations for the car, which is being designed as a four-door, five-passenger premium sedan with an additional third row with two rear-facing child seats. It has a base price of $49,900.

The appetite for IPOs has picked up since mid-September this year, with a robust pace of new filings.

Tesla's IPO would follow the successful debut of lithium-ion battery maker A123 Systems Inc., whose shares rallied 50 percent on their first day of trading on Sept. 25.

The company, named after scientist and inventor Nikola Tesla, said in the filing it had sold 937 Roadsters in 18 countries since it was founded.

Chairman Elon Musk has often expressed a desire to take his company public and had previously targeted late 2008 or 2009, but financial market turmoil after Lehman Brothers collapsed in late 2008 virtually shut down the IPO market.

Musk, an entrepreneur who made hundreds of millions as co-founder of online payments service PayPal and whose current ventures include space exploration company SpaceX, makes a base salary of just $33,280 a year, according to the filing.

But he took $175,000 in reimbursements from Tesla for using his private jet.

Tensions between shareholders, regulators and company executives over perceptions of inflated salaries for managers have risen in the recession. But Tesla's filing showed that Musk had used his own plane without compensation since 2009's second quarter.

"From time to time, Elon Musk uses his private airplane for Tesla business travel. Beginning in the second quarter of 2009, we agreed to pay for certain third-party operation expenses incurred in connection with the use of Mr. Musk's private plane," the filing read.

"These operation expenses include fuel charges, landing fees and other related expenses. Through December 31, 2009, we paid approximately $175,000 for such expenses. Prior to the second quarter of 2009, Mr. Musk paid for such business travel expenses without reimbursement."

Tesla's investors include Google Inc. founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

Others include Daimler AG; Abu Dhabi-based Aabar Investments, which owns a Daimler stake; and venture capital funds Draper Fisher Jurvetson, DraperValor Equity Partners, Technology Partners, The Westly Group and Compass Venture Partners.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

DOE Gives Nissan $1.4 Billion to Support Production of LEAF and Batteries

US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced that the Department of Energy has closed a $1.4 billion loan agreement with Nissan North America, Inc. The loan will support the modification of Nissan’s Smyrna, Tenn., manufacturing plant to produce the all-electric Nissan LEAF and the lithium-ion battery packs to power them.

Modification of the Smyrna manufacturing plant, which will begin later this year, includes a new battery plant and changes in the existing structure for electric-vehicle assembly. When fully operational, the vehicle assembly plant will have the capacity to build 150,000 Nissan LEAF electric cars per year, and the new plant will have an annual capacity of 200,000 battery packs.

The loan, which originated through the Department’s loan guarantee program office, was issued as part of the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program, a $25-billion program authorized by Congress as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. (Earlier post.)

Nissan is also laying the groundwork in developing an infrastructure in the US to support electric vehicles. Nissan has formed more than a dozen partnerships in the United States, in markets including State of Tennessee, the State of Oregon, Sonoma County and San Diego in California, Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz., Washington DC, Seattle, Raleigh, N.C., and with Houston-based Reliant Energy.

This marks the third loan arrangement agreement signed by DOE with an advanced technology vehicle manufacturer. In September 2009, DOE signed its first loan agreement for $5.9 billion to Ford Motor Company. Last week, DOE also signed a $465-million loan agreement with Tesla Motors, which will be used to build manufacturing facilities in California for electric power-trains and Tesla’s Model S electric sedan. (Earlier post.)

The DOE has also signed a conditional commitment with Fisker Automotive to build plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Tenneco, Inc. became the first advanced technology component manufacturer to obtain a conditional commitment from DOE in October of last year. (Earlier post.)

Nissan, along with its Alliance partner, Renault, is so far the only major automaker committed to mass marketing all-electric vehicles on a global scale. Nissan LEAF, a five-passenger sedan, will be available for private and fleet customers. It is being launched in the US, Japan and Europe in December 2010.


Source: Green Car Congress

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

GM Finds Last Minute Buyer in Spyker for SAAB

General Motors and Spyker Cars NV today that they have reached a binding agreement on the purchase of Saab Automobile AB.

As part of the agreement, Spyker intends to form a new company, Saab Spyker Automobiles, which will carry the Saab brand forward. The sale will be subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of applicable regulatory, governmental and court approvals. Other terms and conditions specific to the sale will be disclosed “in due time”, GM said.

The Swedish government is at present reviewing the transaction and the related request for guarantees of a Saab Automobile loan that has been requested from the European Investment Bank. Assuming quick action, the transaction is expected to close in mid-February, and previously announced wind down activities at Saab will be immediately suspended, pending the close of the transaction.

Throughout the negotiations, GM has always had the hope to find a solution for Saab that would avoid a wind down of the brand. We’ve worked with many parties over the past year, including governments and investors, and I’m very pleased that we could come to such a good conclusion, one that preserves jobs in Sweden and elsewhere. GM will continue to support Saab and Spyker on their way forward.

—Nick Reilly, president, GM Europe



Source: Green Car Congress





Monday, January 25, 2010

Mitsubishi To Increase Production of iMiEV's


Mitsubishi iMiEV


Mitsubishi Motors Corp. will increase production of the i-MiEV electric car to 8,500 units in fiscal 2010, up by nearly 20 percent from the planned volume, as orders far outstrip its expectations.

The automaker will also move full-scale production of the i-MiEV a year ahead to fiscal 2012, with over 30,000 units to be built every year.

The i-MiEV -- the world's first mass-produced electric vehicle -- has sold 1,650 units since it was put on sale to corporate customers in July last year. Boosted by growing environmental awareness and the government's support for eco-friendly vehicles, Mitsubishi Motors expect that it will receive a rush of orders for private i-MiEV sales, which begin in April.

The automaker is also planning a left-hand drive model for October, aimed at foreign markets. An agreement has already been struck with PSA Peugeot Citroen for over 2,000 units, which will be rebadged and sold by the French automaker. Mitsubishi will also start exporting i-MiEV cars to the United States in fiscal 2011, leading to a further increase in production.

"Following the production hike, we want to reduce the price of the car to around 2 million yen in several years, which is about the same as gasoline vehicles," said a top company official.


Source: Mainichi Daily News

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Yamaha Motor Plans To Introduce Electric Scooters Overseas


TOKYO, Jan 22, 2010 (Asia In Focus via COMTEX) --

YAMAHA MOTOR CO. (TSE:7272) plans to introduce an electric scooter overseas in coming years and may begin producing the vehicles abroad as well. The automaker will release its newly developed EC-03 in Japan this summer.

* But in the next year or two, it aims to introduce it in Taiwan, where the local government is planning a program to help popularize electric scooters, and in Europe, where progress is being made in preparing a charging infrastructure for electric cars that could also be used by scooters.

* The EC-03 has a lightweight aluminum frame and utilizes compact, large-capacity lithium ion batteries. It can be charged at home using a built-in plug.

For full details on (YAMHF) YAMHF. (YAMHF) has Short Term PowerRatings at TradingMarkets. Details on (YAMHF) Short Term PowerRatings is available at This Link.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Martin Eberhard, Tesla Co-Founder, Joins Volkswagen of America



Volkswagen e-Up Electric Car





According to AutoblogGreen, ousted Tesla co-founder Martin Eberhard has confirmed he is indeed working on Volkswagen of America’s EV lineup.

The rumor was first reported back in March of 2009 by a Tesla employee who remains anonymous. Since then, Eberhard’s defamation/breach of contract suit against the company has ended. The dispute was with Tesla’s major financial backer and current CEO, Elon Musk.

Eberhard declined to provide any real details other than saying, ” my interests have not changed a lot.” He will be working in VW’s Palo Alto location, not far from where Tesla plans to relocate this year.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

ZAP, Jonway Partner to Target China Electric SUV Market

Press Release:

Companies Agree to Develop, Manufacture and Market Electric Compact SUVs and Other Vehicles in China for Worldwide Distribution

US electric vehicle pioneer ZAP (OTCBB: ZAAP) and China auto manufacturer Zhejiang Jonway Automobile Co. Ltd. announced a commercial agreement to produce electric sport utility vehicles (SUVs), cars and other electric vehicles in China for domestic and global distribution.

ZAP and Jonway partnered on the production of the 5-door Jonway A380 SUV, integrating the latest AC propulsion and lithium battery system technologies to produce a high performance mid-range electric vehicle (EV) that ZAP intends to offer to the fleet market in China. Jonway currently manufactures several thousand units per month of its A380 compact SUV in 3- and 5-door models and is expanding its product line with new model sedans and other automobiles.

The agreement with Jonway is part of a multi-phase business plan ZAP is implementing to target the China electric vehicle market. ZAP chose the Jonway partnership in part because last year Jonway produced one of the first vehicles made in China to meet international standards of quality, including ISO 9000, China Compulsory Certification (CCC) and most recently passing certification for import to the European Union. The Taizhou-based automaker markets and sells vehicles in China through a network of over 600 auto dealerships. Jonway has the capacity to produce up to 50,000 vehicles per year currently at its facilities in Taizhou with capacity and support from the government to expand as the business scales.

ZAP and Jonway believe the partnership will leverage ZAP's long-standing history in electric vehicles, experience in systems integration and worldwide sales for a broad range of EVs. Under the exclusive agreement, ZAP and Jonway take the electric drive systems designed by ZAP and integrate them into the reengineered EV SUV that will be produced by Jonway. ZAP will perform research and development of the core technology in Santa Rosa, California and license the technology for this partnership. ZAP and Jonway will jointly market and sell electric vehicles in China, North America and Europe to broaden market reach.

In 2009, China overtook the United States as the world's largest automobile market with sales increasing 46 percent from 2008 to 13.6 million vehicles in 2009, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

ZAP hopes to leverage a stimulus from the government for plug-in forms of transportation. The Chinese State Council General Office announced that it intends to raise its annual production capacity to 500,000 all-electric cars, hybrids and buses by the end of 2011. To stimulate the growth, China's Economic Construction Department has put in place a 60,000 RMB, approximately US$8,800, manufacturers subsidy per electric vehicle produced and sold in China.

About Jonway

Jonway is the trade name of Zhejiang Jonway Automobile Co., Ltd., an automobile manufacturer based in Taizhou, Zhejiang, China that currently produces two SUV models, the A380 3-door and the A380 5-door configurations. Zhejiang Jonway Auto is a subsidiary of Jonway Group, which has been a leader in the manufacturing of motorcycles, ATVs and related products for more than 20 years. In 2009, the Company sold more than 120,000 vehicles internationally in the European Union and the United States and has a capacity to build up to 400,000 vehicles annually. The Company recently began producing electric motorcycles and related vehicles. Jonway Group and its subsidiaries also produce motor parts, light building materials, air-compressors and plastic components while managing a portfolio of real estate holdings. Jonway Group owns several manufacturing subsidiaries throughout China with a total manufacturing space of 57.3 hectares employing more than 1,000 personnel.

About ZAP

ZAP is one of the world's oldest electric vehicle providers, having delivered over 117,000 of a broad range of vehicles to more than 75 countries since 1994. ZAP supplies electric trucks and vans to military, government and corporate fleets and is an innovator of electric motorcycles, scooters and ATVs. The Santa Rosa, California based company offers some of the only electric city-speed cars and trucks in production today and is leveraging its accrued technology know-how in developing a cost effective high-speed electric car called the ZAP Alias. For further information visit http://www.zapworld.com.

Safe Harbor Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned that such forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, continued acceptance of ZAP's products, increased levels of competition, new products and technological changes, ZAP's dependence upon third-party suppliers, intellectual property rights and other risks detailed from time to time in the ZAP's periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Image Available: http://www2.marketwire.com/mw/frame_mw?attachid=1158269

Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada, a Division of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, and Hydro-Québec Partner in Canada's Largest Electric Vehicle Project

Source: Mitsubishi Press Release

Ambitious undertaking will put up to 50 i-MiEV all-electric cars on Boucherville roads

Tokyo, January 15, 2010 - Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) announced an unprecedented collaboration by its Canadian unit Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada Inc. (MMSCAN) and Hydro-Québec that will put up to 50 zero-emission all-electric i-MiEV passenger cars on the streets of the City of Boucherville, an independent municipality and a suburb of Montreal, in the largest Canadian project ever fielded to integrate, test, and evaluate all-electric vehicles on urban streets under real-world conditions.

Announced also at the Montreal International Auto Show, the pilot program will expose fleet drivers from Boucherville, Hydro Québec, and other approved companies to the Mitsubishi i-MiEV all electric minicar, in both fall and winter urban conditions.

"We are very proud to be leading the way to a greener and more sustainable future by developing environment-friendly vehicles, fueled by clean, renewable energy," said Koji Soga, president and CEO of MMSCAN. "Mitsubishi Motors is a leader in electric car development and the i-MiEV represents the pinnacle of our green technologies. In the same sense, Hydro-Québec and the City of Boucherville are demonstrating their environmental leadership by participating in this unique initiative."

Hydro-Québec President and CEO Thierry Vandal said that the project is a vital element in the company's commitment to environmental stewardship. "Hydro-Québec is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by playing a key role in the electrification of transportation. This trial is designed to study the vehicles' charging behaviour, driving experience as well as overall driver satisfaction. It will also allow Hydro-Québec to evaluate the challenges involved in integrating electric vehicles into its grid."

"This is a truly exciting project for the City of Boucherville," said Boucherville Mayor Jean Martel. "We look forward to participating alongside our leading local businesses to help Hydro-Québec and Mitsubishi gather meaningful data."

About Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada
Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada Inc. is committed to green technologies and Mitsubishi Motors
Japan, is a world leader in electric car research and development. For further information, visit www.mitsubishi-motors-pr.ca

About Hydro-Québec
Hydro-Québec generates, transmits and distributes electricity. Its sole shareholder is the Québec government. It uses mainly renewable generating options, in particular hydropower, and supports the development of wind energy through purchases from independent power producers. It also conducts research in energy-related fields, such as energy efficiency. For more information on Hydro-Québec, please visit www.hydroQuébec.com or for details on its electric transportation plans, visit www.hydroQuébec.com/electrification-transport

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Drive Electric Cars Video

Here is a short video promoting the use of electric vehicles, encouraging everyone to get off petroleum fired automobiles.

Monday, January 18, 2010

GM's CEO, Ed Whitacre Announces Volt Will Sell In the Low 30's


Here is shocking news to be sure. It was originally speculated that the Volt's MSRP would be $40,000, reduced to $32,500 when factoring in the US Federal tax break. Now, GM is stating the Volt will retail in the low $30's which would put the cost to customers around $25,000. If this is the case, then it opens the vehicle to a much, much broader market. We may be tempted to purchase one if it can be had for $25,000.

From GM-Volt.com:

The Chevrolet Volt will be an expensive car to produce. Cutting edge technology and large proprietary lithium-ion battery packs make up the lion’s share of cost. Another speculated element of cost is factoring in the possibility of some degree of warranty-required battery replacements.

Long one of the most talked about Volt topics is what its price will be when it arrives later this year.

In the very early days of 2007, GM vice-chairman Bob Lutz had mentioned a goal of under $30,000. Eventually that target appeared to be moved higher, though never official confirmed by GM.

Along the way, the federal government passed legislation that will give initial Volt buyers a $7500 tax credit , and more recent media speculation has put the price closer to $40,000.

However, there have been new reports that GM may surpise the world with a lower number.

Also, though GM has plans to take the cost out in coming generations, it is often reported that the automaker will have to take a loss on each car of the first generation.

Now in an exclusive interview with GM-Volt.com, CEO Ed Whitacre speaks frankly on how much the Volt will be priced at, and for the first time ever says GM will actually be able to make money selling them.

He was asked whether it was true that GM will lose money on every Volt they sell.

“We’re not in business to lose money,” he said. “We did enough of that already.”

The Volt “is going to sell in the low 30s,” said Whitacre. “We’ll get a margin on that.”

GM Plans To MAke Electric Motors To Join Their Battery Manufacturing





The Sleek 2010 Chevy Volt








GM already assembles the Lithium Ion battery packs for their upcoming Volt and now they are announcing the manufacturing of the electric motors. The last piece of the puzzle will be the electronics that control the works. Once they make these components, they will control the everything needed to produce electric vehicles.

From USA Today:

General Motors plans to announce in Washington later this month that it will build or operate a U.S. factory to make electric motors to power electrified autos.

GM last week built the first lithium-ion battery pack for its Chevrolet Volt electric sedan at a newly opened GM factory in Brownstown Township, Mich. Volt is to go into production in December. After batteries, electric motors are "the second leg of the stool," Tom Stephens, GM vice chairman in charge of global product operations, said in an interview with USA TODAY at the Detroit auto show Tuesday.

The "third leg" supporting electric-car production will be the electronics that control the way the batteries interact with the motors, Stephens said. He did not say if GM also will build those electronic systems, but implied that it would: "Electric motors, batteries, power-control electronics -- you need core expertise in those."

He also noted that a company needs such expertise to carefully shop for a supplier for those components.

Stephens said the motor factory will be in the USA. But he declined to say more about the factory until the announcement in Washington later this month.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The New Ford Focus And An EV Model Coming In 2011

Ford Motor Company seems to be the only auto manufacturer of the "Big Three" headed in the right direction. Their sales are up, they continue to produce quality cars and trucks and now they are showcasing the future, which looks even brighter.

The 2012 Ford Focus is a great looking car, packed with amenities and a reasonable price tag. The only thing that could trip up this car is its model name, Focus. In the past, the Focus has been a relatively bare bones, economical compact but the 2012 model aspires to greater heights. The new Focus tries to mimic a mid-size European sedan with all the accouterments. We predict this model will be a big seller for Ford.

Of course, the model we are most interested in is Ford's Focus EV, which has been seen on the Jay Leno show. If Ford packs the EV model with adequate batteries and range, it too will be a success.

From Gas2.0:

There were surprisingly few unveils at this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and even fewer thrills. The AWD turbocharged Buick GS concept and electric Fiat 500 not withstanding though, perhaps the best looking car to come out of Detroit is the 2012 Ford Focus.

Based on the Blue Oval’s “One Ford” global platform sharing idea, the 2012 Focus will share over 80% of its components with European models. Even better, an electric model of the Focus should hit showrooms sometime in 2011.

What separates the new Focus from previous iterations is just how bold and muscular the car looks. For a small car, it looks big in either sedan or hatchback versions. It has an aggressive stance and flared wheel wells too, further enhancing its already strong looks. It really helps the Focus stand out from the increasingly-crowded small car segment.

The interior has become even more refined though, and looks quite snazzy when compared to the old Focus interior. Plus Ford is pushing its Sync connectivity system pretty hard, working to integrate it further into cars while also eventually offering iPhone-like applications. Ford is bringing the premium “Titanium” level package to America, which many European customers choose. This puts the price of the Focus into the $20,000 range and offers things like upgraded seats and sound system.

For engines, the 2012 Focus will debut with a 2.0 liter, 155 horsepower direct-injection engine. No word on exact fuel efficiency expectations, but it should be awfully close to 40 mpg on the highway. Ford is looking to go backwards. There is also hope that Ford will bring its 300 horsepower RS edition to the states, adding a level of performance to the Focus not seen since the short-lived SVT version hit the streets. No word on when the Focus will get an EcoBoost engine… but it damn sure better.

As for the Electric Focus, which got some public exposure on Jay Leno’s short-lived primetime show, that too is on the way. It should hit showrooms sometime next year, with an expected range of 80-100 miles. But that is all we know for now. Suffice it to say, I am very excited about the Focus and the possibilities that lay ahead.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Chevy Volt Versus Nissan Leaf Versus BYD e6




The 2010 Chevy Volt






It will not be long (less than one year) until US car buyers will have viable alternate energy options in showrooms. Chevrolet's Volt, Nissan's Leaf and BYD's (Build Your Dreams) e6 will all appear in November, or thereabouts. The e6 and Leaf are both all electric while the Volt is a plug-in hybrid electric with a gasoline generator to extend its range.

Some advocates claim the Volt is the best solution since the car eliminates range anxiety because it can still use gasoline, which we find on every street corner. The Volt can then be the family's primary vehicle and driven cross-country, if necessary. The Volt will have an all-electric range of 40 miles which analysts contend meets the daily driving needs of 60 to 70 percent of American commuters. If GM had chosen an all-electric range of 60 to 80 miles, then that percentage would have been closer to 95. The cost of Lithium ion battery packs obviously was a factor in GM's range consideration. If they had chosen NiMH batteries instead, then the range could have been increased easily, since the Volt will only be able to access half of the 16 kWh Li ion pack.

Carlos Ghosn, Nissan's CEO, is a huge advocate of the electric vehicle and has eschewed other hybrid technologies, favoring the all-electric drive train. The Nissan Leaf makes its debut later this year and boasts a 100 mile range. Critics claim this range is too small and that buyers will not be able to overcome the range anxiety associated with this car. We feel the Leaf is going to make a great commuter car, especially if there is an option for the owner to charge it up while at work. What the Leaf will not be able to do is make long journeys without making lengthy stops in order to recharge. Does this make the Leaf a family's second car, used for commuting to work and weekend errands? Would you consider purchasing the Leaf?

Finally, we have the BYD e6 that comes to us from China. This is a sporty looking crossover style vehicle with a 200 mile range and a top speed of 86 or so miles per hour. The car will seat five and batteries are included. It is unclear yet how the Leaf will handle battery purchase, but they are leaning towards a lease, meaning that the owner will never be rid of payments. BYD is a company whose parent is a battery manufacturer, thus paving the way for a lower cost battery pack. The e6 meets the commuting needs of nearly every American and with a 200 mile range the car can be a family's primary vehicle. The e6 could even be used for vacations, as long you properly plan for recharging stops. One of the bigger questions remaining for the Chinese offering is whether the quality will measure up to US standards.

Here are speculative prices for the three alternate energy cars:

Chevy Volt - $40,000 with the $7,500 Federal Tax discount = $32,500

Nissan Leaf - $28,000 to $30,000 - $7,500 = $20,500 to $22,000

BYD e6 - $30,000 - $7,500 = $22,500

Bear in mind that the Leaf pricing does NOT include the battery lease, which we hear is going to run $150 per month.

The BYD e6 is the clear winner as far as performance and pricing are concerned but will most consumers even consider the all electric car? How many customers are going to pony up the additional 10 grand to buy a Chevy Volt? Finally, which of the three would you purchase?

BYD e6:

http://media.tinmoi.vn/2009/05/31/byd_e6_450.jpg

Nissan Leaf:

http://www.carsuk.net/wp-content/gallery/nissan-leaf-ev/nissan-leaf-ev-1.jpg

U.S. Postal Service Delivering Green, Looking At Alternate Energy Delivery Systems








The All-Electric Three-Wheeled T3 Delivery Vehicle









The US Postal Service is the ideal candidate for implementing fleet-wide alternate energy vehicles. Think about all the little gasoline driven white vans you see in your neighborhood delivering the mail. These trucks/vans rarely drive more than 35 mph and less than 40 miles, which makes them perfect for electric propulsion. After the shift, they can be returned to the post office and plugged in overnight. Also, we now see the implementation of electric T3's, which are three wheeled vehicles that have very low costs in terms of dollars per mile driven. Let's hope that the Postal Service can make the switch and lead the world in implementing an alternate energy fleet.

From Gas2.0:

If you’re going to deliver half the world’s mail, you might as well do it with fuel-efficient vehicles, and, of course, deliver it on foot in as many communities around the country as you can.

While stymied by financial losses ($3.8 billion in 2008), the US Postal Service continues to commit resources and practice innovation when it comes to adopting fuel efficient delivery vehicles. After all, they had an all-electric delivery vehicle on the road – in 1899 (manufactured by the Winton Company).

Today, three-wheel electric vehicles, called T3s (seen to the left), are being tested as possible replacements for traditional gasoline delivery vehicles in Florida, California, Texas and Arizona. The T3 has a range of 40 miles, a maximum speed of 12 mph and a load capacity of 450 pounds. Powered by two rechargeable modules, the T3 has zero tailpipe emissions and costs 4 cents a mile to operate.

The U.S. Postal Service has also purchased all-electric two-ton step Solectria CitiVans from Solectria Corporation (now Azure Dynamics) for use in New York City. The CitiVans feature a 125kW/165 hp Solectria AC induction motor and single-speed automatic direct-drive with regenerative braking. The CitiVan has a range of 40 miles and top speed of 60 mph. It’s quite an improvement from my Seabring-Vanguard CitiCar.

To keep up with the pace of change, as of August of 2009, the US Postal Service started testing the Azure Dynamics’ Balance Hybrid Electric two-ton step van in Long Island, New York. The Balance Hybrid Electric vehicle uses a drive system for Ford’s E-450 chassis with a Morgan Olson body.

“USPS is the only federal agency with a dedicated Office of Sustainability,” said Scott Harrison, CEO of Azure Dynamics. “The organization has demonstrated its strong commitment to sustainability by publicly stating its goal of decreasing petroleum usage by 20% over the next five years while also lessening its environmental impact. Our Azure Balance Hybrid Electric can be instrumental in helping USPS achieve these goals.”

The U.S. Postal Service also operates the largest civilian fleet of alternative fuel-capable vehicles (43,000), mostly flexfuel vehicles capable of burning E85 (okay, it’s hardly perfect given our current understanding of the benefits of burning ethanol, but such steps are better than doing nothing). The USPS is experimenting with hydrogen vehicles, too.

Truth be told, their “fleet of feet” of USPS carriers making their rounds door-to-door remains one of the most ecologically sound ways of getting the mail through. The challenge here, however, is managing labor costs on almost 10,000 mail delivery routes every day. Mail is also delivered by bicycle in some parts of Arizona and Florida.

The U.S. Postal Service, an independent federal agency, serves as the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation, 149 million residences, businesses and Post Office Boxes, six days a week. It has 34,000 retail locations and relies on the sale of postage, products and services, not tax dollars, to pay for operating expenses. In a separate post, I’ll explore why this may be contributing to the challenges that now face the agency, exacerbated by the fact that more people twitter and e-mail these days than send a hand-written note or signed Christmas card.

Historically, the U.S. Postal Service has championed new modes of transportation in its ongoing effort to provide reliable and universal mail delivery. Yet, the U.S. Postal Service has a big impact on the health of our planet with the largest civilian vehicle fleet in the world: nearly 220,000 vehicles traveling more than 1.2 billion miles a year.

Given all the challenges facing the long term financial viability of the U.S. Postal Service, further complicated by climate change and rising energy costs, there may come a time where some deliveries may once again be made by horse or, perhaps, not at all on certain days of the week – the ultimate in reducing both energy use and carbon emissions.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A123 Systems Signs Multi-Year Li-ion Battery System Supply Agreement With Fisker Automotive, Intends to Invest Up To $23M in Fisker

A123 Systems scored big with this contract with Fisker. Let's hope their battery packs exceed expectations.

From Green Car Congress:

A123 Systems has entered a battery supply agreement with Fisker Automotive to supply battery systems for the Fisker Karma Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV). The Karma—an extended-range electric vehicle—is scheduled to be launched in late 2010.

Fisker had signed a letter of intent for a potential long-term battery supply agreement with Ener1’s EnerDel in May 2009 (earlier post), and Fisker CEO Henrik Fisker had said in December 2009 at the LA Auto Show that the company would announce a battery supplier by the end of the year. Yesterday, Ener1 filed a form 8-K (Report of unscheduled material events or corporate changes) with the SEC stating that the two companies had ceased discussions with respect to the feasibility of a business relationship concerning the Fisker Karma vehicle program.

The multi-year agreement provides that A123 is the selected battery system supplier for the Fisker Karma. A123 plans to manufacture the cells and systems at its Livonia, Mich. facility with production slated to commence later this year.

Under the new agreement, A123 Systems will also collaborate on Fisker’s Project Nina platform—its next-generation of lower-cost plug-in hybrids—with the intent of having A123 supply batteries for that vehicle based on meeting the automaker’s performance and delivery requirements. Project Nina is expected to launch in 2012.

Fisker Automotive selected A123 because of the company’s ability to meet our performance needs and rapidly scale to our production volume. Fisker is committed to developing environmentally friendly cars that don’t sacrifice style or performance. A123’s technology will ensure the Karma delivers.

—Henrik Fisker, Chief Executive Officer of Fisker Automotive

The Fisker Karma is expected to have a range of 50 full-electric miles on a charge and a total range of 300 miles with an on-board generator turned by a 2.0L direct injection Ecotec gasoline engine from GM (earlier post). The Karma features 403 hp (300 kW) and is designed to go from 0 to 60 mph in about six seconds, reaching a top speed of 125 mph (201 km/h).

In September 2009, the US Department of Energy awarded a $528.7-million conditional loan to Fisker Automotive for the development of two lines of plug-in hybrids—the Karma and the new Project Nina vehicle—by 2016. (Earlier post.)

Investment. In addition to entering into the supply agreement, A123 also announced its intent to invest up to $23 million in Fisker Automotive’s current funding round in order to establish a strategic relationship with the car company.

The contemplated investment would consist of $13 million in cash and $10 million in A123 common stock and would be subject to the completion of certain terms and conditions. This investment would closely align the interests of both companies in delivering innovative technologies for safe and reliable PHEVs. This investment would also allow Fisker Automotive and A123 to work closely together to optimize the performance of future vehicles, they said.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

GM's Bob Lutz Discusses Upcoming Plug-In Hybrids







Bob Lutz Being Interviewed Aside The Chevy Cruze








More GM news form NAIAS. Let's just hope that they actually deliver the goods and not more words.

From Detroit News:

General Motors still plans to build a plug-in hybrid but probably not until 2011 at the earliest, the company's vice chairman said today.

The first plug-in may be a GMC Terrain or Chevrolet Equinox said Bob Lutz, GM's vice chairman.

GM showed off a concept plug-in hybrid Cadillac XTS platinum at the North American International Auto Show today.

He said the automaker will build a plug-in hybrid before it brings the Cadillac plug-in concept to market.

"There will be others that will launch before this," Lutz told reporters on the sidelines. Another GM official said the plug-in may not arrive until 2012.

GM's plug-in hybrid had a rocky road. GM announced in January 2008 it would build a Saturn Vue plug-in hybrid, but scrapped those plans last year when it decided to kill the Saturn brand.

Then in August, GM said it would build a yet-to-be-named Buick plug-in crossover vehicle. Eight days later, after negative reviews from customers, however, GM reversed course and canceled the Buick plug-in.

"That technology can and will be moved to something else. Think possibly Equinox or Terrain, but we're not ready to announce that or say when it's coming out," Lutz said. "One thing's for sure: We will have a wide array of plug-in hybrids."

Those vehicles figure into GM's plans to meet new fuel efficiency standards by 2016.

GM is launching its extended range Chevrolet Volt, which will travel up to 40 miles on electric power. But the plug-in vehicle uses different technology.

Lutz noted that the Volt, and other electric vehicles, requires mild weather for full range. Lutz said that on a cold day of around freezing, "you are going to see 28 or 30 miles" of range.

On a pure electric vehicle, drivers will have "to consult a temperature versus distance chart before you drive or you are going to be stuck," Lutz said.

GM explained its decision last year to kill the Buick plug-in.

"We were all struck by the consistency of the criticism," GM's vice chairman for global product development Tom Stephens wrote on a company blog last year. "It didn't fit the premium characteristics that customers have come to expect from Buick."

GM has said it plans to deliver 70 plug-in vehicles to the Energy Department for fleet testing in early 2011. It's unclear if the automaker still plans to do so. A GM spokesman didn't immediately now.

In an interview this week, Stephens said the plug-in would help boost fuel efficiency, especially during the first 25 miles of operation.

But automakers are still struggling to sell hybrids -- let alone more expensive plug-in hybrids expected in the coming years. In 2009, hybrids accounted for just 3 percent of U.S. auto sales.

Lutz said most Americans still aren't interested in hybrids.

"Despite everything you read in the press and see on television, there's only 5 percent of the people that are really interested in hybrids or who are interested in paying a lot of extra money to have better fuel consumption," he said.

"It's an important 5 percent, but it's still only 5 percent."

Tesla Motors Chairman and CEO Elon Musk said he didn't agree with GM's Volt strategy.

"I think it would have been better for GM to do a pure electric car -- an EV2 essentially... but the Volt is still far better than not taking any step in that direction."

Tesla said it had a lease for a production facility to build its Model S, but Musk wouldn't disclose the location. He said the company would start production on the vehicle in 24 to 30 months. Last year, Telsa won a $465 million low-cost government loan to produce the model in the United States.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cadillac XTS Platinum Plug-In hybrid Concept - NAIAS

In case you are wondering, this car would have an 8 kWh lithium ion battery pack capable of 20 miles in EV only mode.

GM Press Release:

CADILLAC UNVEILS THE XTS PLATINUM CONCEPT

· A new study re-imagining the luxury sedan, showcasing the progression of the Cadillac Art and Science philosophy
· Designed from the inside out, featuring a new concept for the interface between the driver and the auto electronics
· Plug-in hybrid system is matched with a 3.6L V-6 and all-wheel drive for dynamic and efficient performance

DETROIT – Cadillac unveiled the XTS Platinum Concept at the 2010 North American International Auto Show, suggesting a new paradigm for the luxury sedan of the future. The concept showcases Cadillac’s emerging top-of-the-line Platinum series of models, emphasizing new expressions of luxury and technological features, including a plug-in hybrid propulsion system.

The XTS Platinum Concept was designed from the inside out, re-imagining the luxury sedan as a personal headquarters, built for efficiency, luxury and connectivity. The concept introduces a new approach to in-car electronics that improves the form and function of the car’s entertainment, navigation and information systems.

“The XTS Platinum concept is the next expression of Cadillac’s Art and Science execution philosophy, reflecting our drive to deliver the latest innovations in the most artful manner,” said Bryan Nesbitt, Cadillac general manager. “We envisioned this concept as an automotive personal headquarters, using advanced technology to enable new levels of connectivity and luxury.”

The XTS Platinum Concept uses Cadillac’s 3.6L V-6 Direct Injection gas engine, paired with a plug-in hybrid system. The plug-in technology enables the battery to fully charge from a standard electrical outlet, enabling pure electric propulsion in many driving situations, especially urban commutes in which fuel efficiency may double that of a conventional hybrid.

Traditional luxury sedans were defined by elegant interiors and Cadillac’s XTS Platinum Concept propels that formula into the future. It delivers new approaches to luxury within a design that combines fine craftsmanship with customer-driven innovation. Like the current Platinum Edition products, such as Escalade Platinum and the STS and DTS Platinum sedans, the interior is based on hand cut-and-sewn materials. The XTS Platinum Concept injects more contemporary forms and themes into the interior design, including the use of Organic Light-Emitting Diode (O-LED) displays in place of traditional gauges and screens.

The concept previews a new integration philosophy guiding the development of future models with respect to in-car electronics. The intent is to progress Cadillac’s intuitive in-car electronics systems, typified by the deployable touch-screen navigation system that has been highly acclaimed in the brand’s CTS and SRX product lines. The XTS Platinum Concept previews this strategy via the minimization of traditional buttons and switches. Designers blended the display screens into a flowing instrument panel. They call it a “dead front” design, because the panels appear black until the car is turned on and the screens illuminate. The instrument panel itself reflects the XTS Platinum’s other focus – uncompromising luxury and attention to detail on the interior.

“The Platinum distinction in Cadillac means the fullest extent of luxury and technology and we’ve tried to reach even further with this concept,” said Clay Dean, Cadillac design director. “Just as the technology pushes the boundaries of what a Cadillac can offer, so do the details that make the XTS Platinum Concept an uncompromising experience.”

The interior takes inspiration from nature, specifically the intricate layers of petals that combine to form an orchid. Cadillac designers translated that into a layered and detailed interior. Light cream is the cabin’s primary color and is contrasted with darker elements, such as the steering wheel and an overhead console motif that runs the length of interior’s roof. The console is made of a richly finished wood and houses lighting features.

Premium leather seats include a new style of automotive suede, with a laser-etched pattern. The patterned material adorns the center sections of the seats and accents the door trim. Thoughtfully detailed stitching is used throughout the interior, including the seats, instrument panel and door panels. Passengers in the spacious rear compartment of the XTS Platinum Concept also have access to the car’s connectivity feature, along with a range of infotainment choices.

“We never lost sight of the fact that a large luxury sedan needs to be spacious and accommodating,” said Dean. “Passengers will find generous headroom, legroom and knee space, along with the technology elements that make the drive more productive.”

A new proportion

The XTS Platinum Concept has a distinctive proportion that transcends the traditional aesthetic of luxury sedans and carries the brand’s Art and Science design in a more progressive manner. The unique proportion supports the “inside out” design priority, while creating a sleek profile that complements the car’s advanced technology elements and necessary aerodynamics.

“The XTS Platinum Concept design artfully conveys its focus on functionality through technology,” said Dean. “It is the antithesis of the conventional three-box sedan, suggesting the active evolution of Cadillac’s design language.”

A sweeping profile culminates in a short, high deck lid that meets the XTS Platinum Concept’s aerodynamic needs – including a rear spoiler mounted on the deck lid, incorporating the center high-mounted stop lamp. A high, sloping beltline gestures the vehicle forward, suggesting motion, while the fenders flare outward wrapping tightly around 20-inch wheels and tires. The wheel-to-body proportion was carefully tailored to visually communicate the car’s all-wheel-drive chassis.

Like the interior, the exterior elements are precisely tailored and elegantly detailed. Brushed billet aluminum trim is used selectively and the 20-inch, six-spoke wheels feature a machined aluminum face accented with bright inserts within the spokes. The wheels are wrapped with special Bridgestone tires that were created specifically for the XTS Platinum Concept.

Signature elements essential to Cadillac’s Art and Science design language include vertical headlamp and taillamps, with integrated light pipes and richly detailed lighting components. The headlamps feature light-emitting diode technology for bright illumination that requires less energy, as well as Cadillac’s Adaptive Forward Lighting technology, which turns the headlamps with the direction of the front wheels for greater visibility in turns.

Purposeful and efficient performance

The XTS Platinum concept’s plug-in hybrid electric propulsion system (PHEV) builds on the experience Cadillac has gained with the Escalade Hybrid and Escalade Platinum Hybrid flagship models. The plug-in capability boosts the car’s electric-only driving capability, offering additional battery energy capacity and enabling it to recharge from a standard external electrical outlet. The key benefit of external plug-in recharging is that in many situations – such as overnight parking – the battery can fully recharge in roughly five hours while the car is not in use. The plug-in system operates at maximum efficiency when operating on power the battery has drawn from the electric grid. In some conditions, such as urban commutes, drivers can experience efficiency that doubles that of conventional hybrids.

At higher speeds or when conditions demand it, such as brisk acceleration, a combination of engine power and electric power or engine power only, propels the vehicle. The combination of the Direct Injection V-6 engine and the PHEV system featuring fully electric variable drive provides a spirited driving experience. The system provides an estimated 350 horsepower (260 kW) and 295 lb.-ft. of torque (400 Nm).

Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) enables the XTS Platinum Concept to deliver superior road-holding performance while maintaining luxury car composure in “regular” driving conditions. It uses shocks controlled by advanced magneto-rheological technology, rather than mechanical valves, to greatly accelerate response time and precision.

MRC uses electronic sensors at all four wheels to literally “read the road” every millisecond, making constant adjustments to damping to create virtually instantaneous and extremely precise control of body motions.

An advanced, specially calibrated all-wheel-drive system ensures optimal traction in wet and slippery conditions, and helps deliver maximum traction while cornering. Four-wheel disc brakes, with four-channel ABS, StabiliTrak stability control and full-function traction control complete the drivetrain details.

“The XTS Platinum Concept was designed to deliver an engaging driving experience without compromising the functional features, space and comfort customers seek in a luxury car,” said Nesbitt. “It is a new vision of luxury that uses advanced technology to deliver functionality efficiently and rewardingly.”


Photography













BYD e6 At NAIAS - To Go On Sale In US Later This Year





The Crossover Styled BYD e6









If this electric vehicle can deliver the range as promised and comes in at a price point equal to or lower than the Volt, why wouldn't you buy one? Tell us. In two car families, an all-electric 200 mile range car makes a ton of sense and we can only hope BYD will deliver. Why settle for a 100 mile Nissan Leaf with a leased battery?

From Paultan.org:

Now here’s something quite worth looking at from BYD. This large hatchback is the BYD e6, and with a wheelbase of 2,830mm, its placed smack in the middle of the D-segment, making it about the same size as an Asian market Honda Odyssey. That should mean lots of space inside and a decent boot (not much of a rear overhang there), considering it is a 5 seater. I believe you can compare this to a Toyota Venza.

The e6 is an electric car, but what’s particularly amazing about it is that BYD claims a range of 330km (based on the spec sheet given at the NAIAS, there were also reports of 400km before this) before you have to get the e6 to a charger! That should solve any issues people have with electric car range.

Sure, it might still not be able to do cross-state journeys with completely no worries but the range is surely enough for regular daily commutes without even needed to recharge everyday. BYD themselves are a battery manufacturer so this must have helped them with the know-how of how to make an EV that’s ready for day-to-day needs.

The BYD e6 uses two electric motors. In this particular model, there is only a front motor and the front motor has a power and torque output of 101hp and 450Nm. Apparently there is also a version with a rear motor for all-wheel drive. The rear motor adds another 54hp to the total output. A higher-grade option has also been mentioned, upgrading the front motor to 215hp either in front-only or front+back (215+54) configuration.



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Sunday, January 10, 2010

GM CEO Announces Early Chevy Volt Release Date






GM CEO Ed Whitacre In A Chevy Volt







We may not even have to wait until November for the Chevy Volt. According to CEO Ed Whitacre, the car could be released this September or October. The lucky initial states will be California and Michigan as well as the District of Columbia. Looks like a road trip to Michigan is in our future.

From the Detroit Free Press:

Ed Whitacre, General Motors chairman and CEO, wants to bring the electric-drive Chevrolet Volt, which GM is betting can improve the automaker's image and ignite excitement for the company, out ahead of its planned November launch, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Whitacre, who took over as CEO about a month ago, alluded last week to his desire for the Volt to come out early.

"I wish it were on the market today. We're going to push as hard as we can to get this vehicle out there. It's a complicated process," he told the Free Press in a one-on-one interview last week.

While GM hasn't officially announced the Volt's base price, Whitacre said it likely will cost customers about $32,000, including tax breaks.

"This is a bold journey for us. We want to do this for the environment. ... We think this is part of the future for us," he said. "We're putting a lot at risk here, but we're going to do it."

Since taking over as CEO last month, Whitacre has pushed a lot of changes throughout the company, including a discussion about bringing out the Volt early in a limited fashion, so long as GM can ensure it's up to quality standards, according to two people familiar with the talks.

"It could be late September, October," a person familiar with the planning said.

The proposal is seen as a way to get additional customer feedback about the new vehicle before a big rollout.

The number of vehicles that could be sold early would be small.

"Our plans haven't changed. We plan to bring the Volt to market by the end of this year, but everything has to be right -- from engineering to bringing our vehicle and battery manufacturing facilities online," Rob Peterson, a GM spokesman, said in a statement.

Production at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant of early test versions of the Volt is slated to begin around April. Those vehicles will be used for further testing prior to the official production launch later in the year for customers.

GM says the Volt will be able to drive 40 miles on an electrical charge alone with an onboard generator producing electricity to power the vehicle after 40 miles. That generator will be powered by gasoline.

The company isn't planning a nationwide rollout of the Volts at first. Rather, it has said it will initially begin selling the vehicle in specific markets because it wants time to see how the cutting-edge product performs.

California has been identified as an initial market. Detroit and Washington, D.C., also are believed to be early markets.

In his interview with the Free Press, Whitacre talked about driving the Volt for the first time. "I was prepared for something like a golf cart. This is no golf cart," he said. "This is very powerful, a lot of acceleration, it feels really solid and it goes fast. It's a very impressive car."

In Texas, Whitacre's home state, he predicted the car will do "very well" in the metropolitan areas such as Dallas and Houston.

Meanwhile, Whitacre said he was looking forward to his first visit to the Detroit auto show, which begins Monday for the news media. In earlier comments to reporters, Whitacre seemed uncertain as what to expect.

"I asked the question ... 'Do we sell any cars at the auto show?' And nobody replied to that," he said.

But in his interview with the Free Press, Whitacre said that he understands the show is a great chance to highlight current and upcoming vehicles. "This is a new GM. I look forward to it," he said.

BMW Announces They Have An App For That

Not to be outdone by GM's recent Smartphone app announcement, BMW now unveils their own. These are very cool and we have downloaded the Onstar version to our Motorola Droid and it is a useful tool indeed. Now all we need are the actual cars to monitor!

YouTube video:


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Aggressive Alternate Energy Vehicle Plans For Peugot



Peugot SR1



Peugot has a very aggressive agenda for rolling out energy efficient vehicles, which cover the gamut from all electric to diesel hybrids. Let's wish them success as they attempt to change the landscape of today's auto lot.

From Green Car Congress:

Peugeot launched a comprehensive new Marque plan, with the objectives of moving up three places in the world car market by 2015 (it is currently in 10th place); establishing Peugeot as a benchmark for style; and becoming the leader in mobility services.

To achieve its goals, Peugeot is relying on a new products strategy that includes electric propulsion (the i0n i-MiEV-derived electric car) and E-Vivacity scooter from 2010; diesel hybrid in the 3008 from 2011 (earlier post); e-HDi (microhybrid) from 2011 on the entire diesel range; and a plug-in diesel hybrid in 2012. Peugeot said that it is also designing a vehicle which will embody all of the spirit of the BB1 concept car: 2.5m, 4 seats and 100% electric. (Earlier post.)

Peugeot said it will also target new markets. The Marque is investing in the Crossover, SUV, and MPV market by developing a special range of products for international markets. Due to this product offensive, in its core markets and in new markets, Peugeot will launch 14 new models worldwide between 2010 and 2012.

Included in its product strategy are:

  • Cleaner engines. Peugeot continues to improve engine efficiency with a downsizing strategy for its gasoline and HDi FAP diesel engines. The Marque is also developing a new 3-cylinder gasoline engine.

  • 100% Electric vehicles. Peugeot will initially launch the i0n in Europe into the private electric vehicle market from the end of 2010. Offering good response when starting off, excellent acceleration and a top speed of 130 km/h (81 mph), it is designed for the urban and suburban traffic of Europe’s large cities. Its Li-ion batteries give it a range of 130 km. They recharge fully in 6 hours via a household electrical socket or in 30 minutes with a rapid charging terminal.

    Peugeot will also offer a 100% electric light commercial vehicles (LCV) based on the Partner Origin, with a load capacity of 3 m3, from the spring of 2010.

  • Micro-hybrids. The e-HDi system will be widely introduced across the Marque’s models from the end of 2011. This technology reduces both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 15%.

  • Full Hybrid.The 3008 HYbrid4 will launch in the spring of 2011. Peugeot’s HYbrid4 technology uses a parallel architecture combining a diesel engine, electric motor, 6-speed electronically controlled manual gearbox (MCP) and a stop-start system. The 3008 HYbrid4 offers a reduction of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions on the order of 35%—3.8L/100 km (62 mpg US) and 99g of CO2/km. Peugeot says this will be the first diesel hybrid on the market and will be followed by other Peugeot HYbrid4 models.

  • HYbrid4 Plug-in. In 2012, Peugeot will introduce plug-in HYbrid4 technology for a further reduction in emissions levels: the target is less than 50 g of CO2/km and 2.0 L/100 km (118 mpg US).

This environmental strategy followed by the Marque also applies to its two- and three-wheeled vehicles.

  • Peugeot is proposing a power-assisted bicycle developed in partnership with Ultra Motor. Its electric motor is powered by a removable 36V Li-ion battery offering a range of 70 km.

  • The E-Vivacity, a 100% electric scooter with a power equivalent to that of a 50 cm3 machine features a Li-ion battery can be fully recharged in 4 hours and recharged to 80% capacity in 2 hours, offering a range from 80 to 100 kilometers (50 to 62 miles). The production model will be unveiled to the general public at the end of 2010 and will go on sale in 2011.

  • Peugeot Scooters, which provides a range of mopeds and scooters ranging from 50 to 500 cm3, is presenting two concepts. The HYbrid3 Evolution is a 3-wheel drive hybrid scooter with a naturally-aspirated engine at the rear combined with two electric motors housed in the two front wheels. It offers a CO emissions level of 48 g/km, or zero in electric-only mode.

Peugeot cycles. Peugeot is also back in bicycle market via a an exclusive worldwide partnership with Cycleurope, Europe’s leading bicycle manufacturer. Peugeot is introducing a new range of bicycles comprising four models: a racing bike, an urban cycle, a mountain bike and a hybrid. This range will be available from the spring of 2010 and new models will be added from September 2010.

The SR1 Hybrid Concept

Through the Peugeot SR1, the Marque is revealing the stylistic design trends for its future models. The concept car embodies the new world of Peugeot, reflected by the new Lion badge. The use of HYbrid4 technology allows the Peugeot SR1 to offer 230 kW (313 bhp) with emissions of 119 g/km of CO2 (0 in electric mode), 4 wheel drive and steering.

In the SR1, a 160 kW (218 bhp) 1.6-liter THP gasoline engine in the front is combined with a rear electric motor developing 70 kW (95 bhp). In electric only mode, the car becomes a ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle), while its combined cycle fuel consumption is 4.9 L/100 km (48 mpg US) or 119 g/km of CO2.

The Peugeot SR1 concept car will be unveiled to the general public at the next Geneva Motor Show, in March.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Chevy Volts Available Before November At A Price Meaningfully Less Than $







Ed Whitacre, Interim CEO Of GM








The CEO of General Motors has announced that there will be some Volts that hit the streets before this November. Are you saving up to buy one? We are looking forward to this car's debut and are hoping it will be available in our area at the outset. Fortunately, one of our vehicles is rather old and will need to be replaced and the Volt fits the bill nicely.

From GM-Volt.com:

Look out, a lot of good news here!

Ed Whitacre is GM’s new CEO, at least temporarily. The keen, sharp-witted Texas businessman is a man of few words but lots of action.

He attended and spoke at the Battery Plant unveiling, and spoke to reporters in the days before.

He was asked about whether car would be released prior to the November 2010 deadline.

“We’re going to put out some early and drive ‘em,” he said. “How early? I don’t know.”

Asked specifically if he was referring to putting those cars in the hands of consumers he said “Yeah,” but didn’t elaborate.

According to some reports he was referring to getting them to “high-profile citizens” and “image leaders,” and that it would be on a small scale.

Whitacre also hinted the Volt is just the beginning of vehicular electrification for GM.

“There’s a lot more to come,” he said.

“The Volt and the battery that powers it are part of a broader portfolio of vehicles and technologies that we’re developing to meet the countries energy and environmental goals,” he added.

Whitacre also conceeded GM hopes to build very large volumes of electric cars. ”It could be a lot if the vehicle is successful,” he told reporters after the event. “If it goes like we think, the sky’s the limit.”

And as if the idea of getting Volts early, and a broad Voltec portfolio isn’t good enough, executives are beginning to suggest a lower-than-expected price.

You will recall that I had been given a hint that the $40,000 price tag bandied about may actually be a decoy (see post).

Now GM VP Jon Lauckner told the Wall Street Journal the Volt could be notably less than $40,000.

“We have until this summer to figure that out,” he said.

According to reporter Sharon Terlap who interviewed Lauckner, she asked if he meant “like $500 less” and he replied, “No, that would not be meaningful enough.”

Introducing The Hyundai Blue-Will PHEV - Appearing At The NAIAS

Hyundai Press Release:

DETROIT, Jan. 11, 2010 - Following Hyundai's successful ascent to the top of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) report in December, the Blue-Will Plug-in Hybrid concept makes its U.S. debut at the 2010 North American International Auto.

  • Blue-Will is the first-ever plug-in hybrid from Hyundai
  • Four-seat sedan concept explores future design direction of compact cars
  • Features panoramic glass roof with solar cells for recharging batteries
  • Thermal generator converts hot exhaust gases into electricity

Blue-Will serves as a test bed of new ideas that range from roof-mounted solar cells to drive-by-wire steering, lithium polymer batteries and touch-screen controls. Blue-Will could see the road as a hybrid-only model, similar to the Toyota Prius in the future. Blue-Will promises an electric-only driving distance of up to 40 miles on a single charge and a fuel economy rating of more than 100 miles per gallon. Codenamed HND-4, the Blue-Will is the fourth in a series of highly innovative concept vehicles to come out of the Namyang Design Center.

"Blue-Will's bold character lines and innovative design language give the perfect expression to the advanced eco-friendly technologies found beneath the skin," said Oh Suk-Geun, executive vice president of design, Hyundai Motor Company. "At a time of rising concern about the environment and our energy future, Blue-Will demonstrates to eco-conscious car buyers everywhere that Hyundai has practical hybrid solutions that will appear on the next generation of vehicles."

Exterior

"Eco-sleek" was the core concept driving the design process. Its sweeping character lines and detailed form elevate this next-generation hybrid to an entirely new level. Blue-Will's slippery surface treatment extends to the underbody where a full-length cover has been applied to minimize aerodynamic drag while maximizing fuel economy.