Sunday, October 31, 2010

Nissan Leaf Versus a Classic Ford Mustang. 0 to 60

2011 Nissan Leaf Electric Vehicle

I’m not sure who was the first car reviewer or company to test their cars based on their acceleration from 0-60 mph, but it has since become the standard of the world. Nothing is more important to speed enthusiasts like myself than those first few seconds after takeoff. It doesn’t just have to do with the thrill though, as 0-60 mph can be a good gauge of a car’s highway merging ability. We all hate getting stuck behind the guy who proceeds up the on-ramp with all the speed of a Model-T.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; electric cars can, and should be fast. So it does not surprise me to hear that the Nissan Leaf can apparently go from 0-60 mph in just 7 seconds.

Nissan’s little electric car isn’t exactly built for speed, but rather commuting. That said, electric motors can deliver 100% of its peak torque at 0 rpm. That means from the moment you touch the gas pedal, all the power the car has is right there, ready to go. Even for a humble commuter like the Leaf, that is quite a bit of torque on tap. Going from 0-60 mph in just 7 seconds, as Green Car Advisor’s Jack O’Dell did, is a very respectable performance. He also tested out the top speed, which he says is a bit north of Nissan’s official 90 mph estimate (he got to about 92 mph).

Compare it to some other cars fuel efficient cars, and you’ll see what I mean. The Chevy Volt takes about 9-seconds, the Toyota Prius takes about 10 seconds, and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV takes almost 12 seconds to reach 60 mph. On the other end of the spectrum, the Nissan 370Z takes about 5 seconds, the Maxima takes about 6 seconds, and the Nissan Versa (upon which the Leaf is based) takes 9.5 seconds to reach 60 mph. So really, the Leaf is on the “faster” side of the 0-60 gauntlet, though I wouldn’t quite call it fast (especially since I haven’t had any seat time). Generally, anything that gets to 60 mph in 6 seconds or less has good performance, so the Leaf is right on the cusp.

As I was going down the 0-60 mph list though, I noticed most of the cars in this range are rather…boring. Why not compare it to something a little less sophisticated, yet a whole lot more exciting? Yes, I’d like to line up a Nissan Leaf against a 1967 Ford Mustang GT with the 390 V8 engine. I am a muscle car nut through and through, but I’d put my money on the Leaf, because it took the ’67 Mustang GT about 7.5 seconds to reach 60 mph according to multiple Internet sources. Ya, those original muscle cars weren’t that fast…they just felt fast. I should know, I own a 1969 Mercury Cougar (the “gentleman’s Mustang”.)

Yeah, I went there. The Nissan Leaf is faster than a ’67 Mustang. Anybody want to loan me a ’67 Mustang and a Leaf to prove it?

Source: Gas2.0

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Introducing the Russian CNG Hybrid Vehicles

Just 6 months and $210 million into the project, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov and truck manufacturer Onexim group unveiled the designs for their new natural gas hybrid cars … and (woo-hoo!) they look nothing like a Ladas!

The 2-door looks ... pretty sharp, actually!

Prokhorov is planning to show two prototypes next month, utilizing a significant amount of domestic (to Russia) parts and know-how to produce the natural gas/electric hybrid. The cars are expected to weigh about 1,500 lbs and achieve about 100 km (62 mi) per gallon of gas. Prokhorov’s claims that either version of his upcoming “City Car” will be able to transport four adults at speeds of up to 120 kmh (74 mph) and sell for the equivalent of 12 – 14,000 USD.

NOTE: rear-mounted electric motor ??

No word on batteries or drive-train, but the car’s backers claim their design is “modular” enough to be adapted to different exteriors. “A single platform allows us to bridge the gap between engineers and car designers,” wrote Prokhorov on his blog. Only time will tell if this exciting CNG hybrid project lives up to Prokhorov’s lofty ambitions.

Production is expected to begin in 2012.

Source: Gas2.0

Singapore’s A*STAR funding 8 new projects for advanced automotive technology; wireless charging for EVs

Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) announced the funding of eight new projects under its Capabilities for Automotive Research (A*CAR) consortium, bringing the total value to S$17.5 million (US$13.5 million) for the consortium’s 10 research projects jointly selected with industry partners to tackle current challenges in the automotive industry.

Among the pre-competitive core research projects include:

  • Wireless Charging for Electric Vehicles (EVs). EV owners will no longer need to drive down to specific charging stations, as every parking lot can be made into a charging station using near-field radio frequency (RF) communications.

  • High performance ternary polymer composite materials. This new, higher strength plastic material made of nanofiller can replace glass fibers used widely in cars today. Lighter cars will mean driving down fuel consumption. With every 10% reduction in weight in cars, there would be an average savings in fuel of 6%.

  • Wear-resistant, heat reflective and self-cleaning material for automotive body. The new nanocomposite material, with its multi-coating layer, is not only wear- and chemical-resistant; it is also able to clean itself through photo-catalysis. It will also reflect heat from the cars to keep cars cool, and reduce the energy consumption by air-conditioning in cars.

  • High performance, lead-free composite solders for harsh environment. In the light of increasing functional requirement and ever-stricter service requirement of automotive electronic components, a new generation of composite solders will be developed with superior performance to meet the harsh automotive environment. These will replace the tin-lead solders, extensively used in the automotive industry as interconnect materials, which pose serious environmental problems.

  • Smart Beam Scanning for Dual Modes Vehicular Radar. Aimed at providing a 360-degree sensing system, this project will help drivers/cars to avoid collision with other vehicles and humans, enable drivers to overtake other cars and change lanes safely, as well as park the cars neatly. The project is developing both hardware and software for millimeter-wave Short Range Radar (SRR) and Long Range Radar (LRR) in vehicles.

The A*CAR consortium, founded in 2008 with founding members Bosch, Infineon Technologies, and Dou Yee, is now joined by eight new members: global automotive industry players Toyota Tsusho, GP Batteries, and Anshan Kingpowers Advanced Materials; ST Kinetics; and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) Addvalue Technologies, CEI Contract Manufacturing and Infowave.

Source: Green Car Congress

Friday, October 29, 2010

GE Plans to Order “Tens of Thousands” of EVs

In a speech in London, General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt said that the company will order “tens of thousands” of electric vehicles in about a week. Immelt did not specify a total or identify suppliers.

Immelt said half of GE’s sales force of about 45,000 will drive electric vehicles. The Fairfield, Connecticut-based company also has a vehicle-leasing division through its GE Capital finance unit. Financial terms and other details about the order aren’t yet being disclosed, GE said.

GE is investing $10 billion over the next five years in clean energy across its business lines, including power-transmission software and so-called smart-grid technologies. Its products include lithium-ion batteries for cars and trucks via a venture with A123 Systems Inc. and sodium-based batteries for use in large vehicles such as locomotives.

Source: Bloomberg

German Electric Audi A2 Sets Record

The Converted Audi A2 All Electric Vehicle

An electric car developed by a German company Tuesday set what organizers said is a world record when it drove 375 miles without recharging its battery.

Mirko Hannemann, 27, drove the yellow and purple all-electric Audi A2 in seven hours from Munich to Berlin, where he arrived Tuesday morning.

German Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle, who jumped inside for a quick drive in the courtyard of his ministry, called Hannemann's trip a technological quantum leap.

"No other electric car has gone to such a distance," he said.

Japanese scientists drove a 1-person electric car more than 600 miles around a track, but that was at 25 miles per hour and with a vehicle that was basically all battery.

"Today, we have shown what everyday cars can do," said Hannemann, the chief brain behind DBM Energy, a startup from Berlin that developed the powerful battery pack that made the long trip possible.

Consumers have so far been put off by the short driving range of electric cars, usually at between 60 and 100 miles, and by the cost and size of the batteries.

The four-seat Audi A2, funded by German utility lekker Energie and the German Economy Ministry, has all features of a regular car, including a fully usable trunk.

Hannemann drove the 375 miles at 55 miles per hour on average, had the heat on and was able to whisk around a few more miles in the city.

The battery, based on what DBM Energy calls the KOLIBRI AlphaPolymer Technology, comes with 97 percent efficiency and can be charged at virtually every socket. Plugged into a high-voltage direct-current source, the battery can be fully loaded within 6 minutes, Hannemann said.

"This is a great success," said Andreas Goerdeler of the German Economy Ministry. "We are in a fierce global competition and this proves that we're technological leaders."

Eager to reduce the dependency on imported oil and cut carbon dioxide emissions from road traffic, the German government last year said it wants to have 1 million electric cars cruise its highways by 2020.

Germany's powerful car industry has been criticized for being a tad late to the electric car game, with rivals from France and mainly Asia one to two years ahead when it comes to launching serial production.

To speed up this process, the German government has earmarked around $700 million for sustainable mobility research and development, including programs to develop the charging station infrastructure and boost battery technology, an area of expertise that has long belonged to Asia. Berlin supported Hannemann's record project with $380,000.

The young inventor hopes that his battery pack can challenge the Asian dominance. Key will be if it's affordable.

Hannemann couldn't give an exact price for his battery -- he said that was dependent on scaling effects -- but vowed it wouldn't just be more powerful, but in the end also cheaper than conventional lithium ion batteries.

A logistics company has put the DBM Energy battery packs into their forklifts, which are now running 28-hour shifts without recharging.

Hannemann hopes that the world record attracts more industry investors to launch mass-scale production of batteries to be put in future German-made electric cars.

"We are open for talks with the car sector," he said.

Asked when his company would be able to launch large-scale production, Hannemann replied: "Optimistically? Now."

Source: UPI

Thursday, October 28, 2010

J.D. Power forecasts hybrid- and battery-electric vehicles will represent 7.3% of global auto sales in 2020

Here is a bleak forecast from J.D. Power:

J.D. Power forecast of hybrid-, plug-in hybrid- and battery-electric vehicle global sales through 2020. Click to enlarge.

A new report from J.D. Power and Associates estimates combined global sales of hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) will total 5.2 million units in 2020, or some 7.3% of the 70.9 million passenger vehicles forecasted to be sold worldwide by that year. Global HEV, PHEV and BEV sales in 2010 are forecasted to total 954,500 vehicles, or 2.2% of the 44.7 million vehicles projected to be sold through the end of 2010.

The report, titled “Drive Green 2020: More Hope than Reality” considers various factors affecting the future potential for “green” vehicles in the world’s largest automotive markets. These factors include market trends, regulatory environment, consumer sentiment and technology development in these markets.

Interest in HEVs and BEVs is driven by a dramatic reduction in or elimination of tailpipe emissions, and the increased fuel economy of these vehicle types helps reduce the world’s dependence on oil. The drawback to these technologies is that fossil fuels (principally oil and coal) are still used to produce the electricity that powers these vehicles, thereby eliminating some of the potential gains. Therefore, it is not clear whether there would be a substantial reduction in emissions by switching to these new powertrain technologies. In addition to questions about dependence on oil and reduction in emissions, battery packs are prohibitively expensive to manufacture on a large scale, and the disposal of depleted battery packs presents yet another environmental challenge. Perhaps most importantly, there are major hurdles that must be overcome regarding battery-based vehicles to ensure consumer acceptance.

—“Drive Green 2020: More Hope than Reality”

According to the report, it will be difficult to convince large numbers of consumers to switch from conventionally powered passenger vehicles to HEVs and BEVs. A consumer migration to alternative powertrain technologies will most likely require either one of the following scenarios, or some combination of these scenarios:

  • A significant increase in the global price of petroleum-based fuels by 2020;
  • A substantial breakthrough in green technologies that would reduce costs and improve consumer confidence; and/or
  • A coordinated government policy to encourage consumers to purchase these vehicles.

Based on currently available information, J.D. Power concluded that none of these scenarios are likely during the next 10 years.

While considerable interest exists among governments, media and environmentalists in promoting HEVs and BEVs, consumers will ultimately decide whether these vehicles are commercially successful or not. Based on our research of consumer attitudes toward these technologies—and barring significant changes to public policy, including tax incentives and higher fuel economy standards—we don’t anticipate a mass migration to green vehicles in the coming decade.

—John Humphrey, senior vice president of automotive operations at J.D. Power and Associates
A different take
Oliver Hazimeh, partner and head of the global e-Mobility practice at PRTM, a global management consulting firm, has a different perspective on the prospects for electrified transportation.
PRTM believes that it’s not a matter of if—but how fast and to what extent—different electrified vehicles will be adopted as we approach an electrification tipping point.
PRTM estimates that there are different degrees of electrification with different penetration rates, i.e. by 2020 PRTM estimates that EVs will have a 4-5% adoption rate; plug in hybrid electric vehicles will be at 5-6%; and hybrid electric vehicles will reach 20%.

Breakdown of Global HEV and BEV Sales by 2020. Of the 5.2 million HEVs, PHEVs and BEVs forecasted to be sold worldwide in 2020, some 3.9 million units (about 5.5% of the market) are expected to be HEVs and PHEVs according to the J.D. Power and Associates global forecast numbers for the third-quarter of 2010. The leading markets are the United States (1.7 million units), Europe (977,000 units), and Japan (875,000 units). China is expected to sell fewer than 100,000 HEVs in 2020.

Of the 1.3 million BEVs projected to be sold worldwide in 2020 (about 1.8% of the market), sales in Europe will account for 742,000 units; sales in China will account for 332,000 units; and the United States and Japan should each account for sales of approximately 100,000 BEVs in 2020.

Consumer interest in alternative powertrains, pre- and post introduction of price premium. Click to enlarge.

Consumers. While consumers have a variety of concerns about HEVs and BEVs, J.D. Power said, more important are the personal financial implications of deciding to purchase an alternative-energy vehicle. While many consumers around the world say they are interested in HEVs and BEVs for the expected fuel savings and positive environmental impact they provide, their interest declines significantly when they learn of the price premium that comes with purchasing these vehicles.

While most consumers say they want to create a smaller personal carbon footprint, research shows this consideration carries relatively low weight in the vehicle purchase decision.

—“Drive Green 2020: More Hope than Reality”

The overall cost of ownership of HEVs and BEVs over the life of the vehicle is also not entirely clear to consumers, and there is still much confusion about how long one would have to own such a vehicle to realize cost savings on fuel, compared with a vehicle powered by a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE). The resale value of HEVs and BEVs, as well as the cost of replacing depleted battery packs, are other financial considerations that weigh heavily on consumers’ minds.

Finally, the report says, it is clear from research in the world’s largest automotive markets that buyers of hybrid and electric vehicles occupy a unique demographic niche. Buyers of HEVs and BEVs are generally older, more highly educated (possessing a postgraduate degree), high-income individuals who have a deep interest in technology, or who like to be among the early adopters of any new technology product. As a result, it is not clear that HEVs and BEVs will appeal to the general population.

Government Regulations. While the governments of the world’s largest automotive-producing nations have schedules in place for improving fuel economy and reducing exhaust emissions, there is little consensus about the timing or manner in which these objectives are to be achieved. Some governments are promoting HEVs, others are focusing on BEVs, and still others are considering additional options.

According to Humphrey, the lack of consistency in regulations across markets is causing global automakers to hedge their options by seeking alliances and technology-sharing agreements. The heavy fixed costs associated with developing multiple powertrain options simultaneously are prohibitively expensive. When combined with the projected lower sales volumes of these products, collaboration between auto companies is almost a necessity to control costs and remain competitive.

One unpredictable aspect of the 2020 outlook is how markets would be affected if more stringent and consistent legislation is adopted that supports specific technologies. In particular, China has the ability to move quickly, invest heavily in the development of one specific propulsion technology, and mandate fuel economy or emissions standards that could favor a particular technology or require a minimum sales penetration level for vehicles with a designated technology. Given the size and growth rate of the Chinese auto market, such a coordinated regulatory environment might allow Chinese companies to achieve economies of scale and drive down the cost of alternative-energy vehicles.

Source: Green Car Congress

New Chevrolet Volt Commercial

Have a look and tell us what you think.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Introducing the Peugeot EX1 Electric Sports Car

The Peugeot EX1 EV

The EX1 prototype serves as a concept for future electric cars, Peugeot says.

The two-seat EX1 roadster is on display at Peugeot's showroom on the Champs-Elysees in Paris until Nov. 14.

“The EX1 shows that we can do many things with electric cars,” a Peugeot spokesman said. “It shows how far we can go.”

Peugeot has no plans to produce an electric sports car “for the time being.” However, the spokesman said Peugeot could still one day make a production EV sports car.

The EX1 runs on a high-output lithium-ion battery pack that Peugeot said enables the car to offer record-breaking performance.

The prototype has a top speed of 260kph (about 162 mph) and can accelerate from zero to 100 kph in less than 3.58 seconds. The car is thus in the same speed category as Porsche's 918 Spyder hybrid concept, the Peugeot spokesman said.

Porsche says its 918 Spyder can accelerate from a 0 to 100 kph in just under 3.2 seconds and has a faster top speed of 320kph.

The EX1 has four-wheel drive with a separate electric motor on the front and back axle like the company's upcoming Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4, which will be the world's first diesel-electric hybrid upon launch next year.

Each EX1 motor has a peak output of 125 kW, for a total horsepower of 340.

The body is composed of a carbon composite material intended to optimize both weight and rigidity for speed performance.

The concept's body incorporates Peugeot's new stylistic design codes, first seen on the SR1 concept car that debuted earlier this year, with a “floating” front grille and flowing body contours.

The doors' aluminum detailing is similar to the recently launched Peugeot RCZ coupe and BB1 electric urban concept vehicle.

The EX1 was designed to offer a lower center of gravity with a 900mm (35.4 inches) height, while its width is 1770mm.

Source: Automotive News

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Introducing the Nissan Fuga Hybrid Luxury Sedan


YOKOHAMA (October 26, 2010) - Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. today announced the launch of the new Nissan Fuga Hybrid luxury sedan, which goes on sale November 2nd at Nissan dealers nationwide in Japan.

Nissan Fuga Hybrid

Nissan Fuga Hybrid

Since its launch in November 2009, the current generation Fuga luxury sedan has been acclaimed by customers for its beautiful dynamic design, spacious and comfortable interior, advanced performance and safety technologies, and its responsive, exhilarating driving experience. The new Fuga Hybrid builds on those features, adopting Nissan's original one-motor two-clutch parallel hybrid system named 'Intelligent Dual Clutch Control,' which combines a number of advanced environmental technologies. The new Nissan Fuga Hybrid achieves fuel economy of 19.0 km/L (10-15 mode) - comparable to that of a compact car, while also providing the direct feel and exhilarating driving performance of a luxury vehicle.

The Fuga Hybrid's 'Intelligent Dual Clutch Control' system connects the high-response electric motor and the 3.5-liter VQ35HR V6 engine directly to the transmission, without the use of a traditional torque converter. This simple, highly efficient and lightweight hybrid system contributes to fuel efficiency. In addition, since one of the two clutches completely disconnects the motor from the engine, quiet and highly efficient EV mode driving is realized. Compared to traditional hybrid systems, the electric motor driving range is expanded for high-speed driving (up to over 100km/h on a level highway) and the EV mode is frequently applied, helping the Fuga Hybrid achieve best-in-class fuel economy.

The compact, high-output lithium-ion battery is able to charge/discharge quickly. This contributes to high-speed, precise control of the electric motor and optimum clutch control, which both enable luxury driving with smooth shift quality and sharp, direct acceleration response. The Fuga Hybrid's new electronic 7-speed hybrid transmission with manual shift mode features optimized shift performance according to the motor's output characteristics. This combines with the updated 3.5-liter VQ35HR engine with higher efficiency to provide smooth and sustained acceleration.

Also contributing to the Fuga Hybrid's outstanding sport performance feel are the use of double-piston shock absorbers, and the first-ever application of both the advanced Electro-hydraulic Power Steering system and Electric Driven Intelligent Brake system, providing both high quality riding comfort and sophisticated, exhilarating driving.

The Nissan Fuga Hybrid VIP Package for executives adopts special features, such as power reclining rear seats, a built-in control switch in the rear center armrest, and an electrically operated rear window sunshade. Also offered is the Premium Interior Package, designed to provide an open, high-quality feeling with the extensive use of special materials, including semi-aniline leather with soft-to-the-touch and natural textures. Combined with the Comfort Suspension, the new Nissan flagship car creates exceptional levels of cabin comfort.

Along with its performance, technology and comfort, the new Nissan Fuga Hybrid achieves a 25% improvement in fuel economy over 2010 standards and SU-LEV certification, emitting 75% less exhaust compared to 2005 standards. This luxury sedan also qualifies for the 'next-generation vehicle' tax break provided through Japan's 'tax system to promote the diffusion of environmentally friendly vehicles,' *1 thereby fully exempting it from the automobile acquisition tax and automobile weight tax.

Also, in fiscal year 2010, Nissan introduces its two-pillar strategy to reduce CO2 emissions: 'Zero Emissions' and 'PURE DRIVE'. 'PURE DRIVE' vehicles are designed to achieve top-of-class fuel economy for mass-produced vehicles by equipping them with optimal next-generation eco- technologies, such as Idling Stop, Clean Diesel and Hybrid engines. The new Nissan Fuga Hybrid is the third in the series of 'PURE DRIVE' vehicles to be introduced in Japan.

● Exterior

  • 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with chrome color coating
  • Available in a choice of seven body colors, including a new Eternal Snow White (a special Titanium Metallic color with Scratch Shield)

● Mechanism and equipment

  • Nissan original one-motor two-clutch parallel hybrid system, 'Intelligent Dual Clutch Control'
  • High-output lithium-ion battery with a quick charge/discharge function
  • Advanced 'HM34' electric motor with maximum power output of 50kW(68PS) and maximum torque of 270N・m(27.5kgf・m)
  • Special engine for hybrid 'VQ35HR' with maximum power of 225kW(306PS)/6800rpm and maximum torque of 350N・m(35.7kgf・m)/5000rpm)
  • Electronic 7-speed hybrid transmission with manual shift mode
  • Safety Shield Package with Intelligent Control Assist (Distance Control Assist), Intelligent Cruise Control, FCW (Forward Collision Warning), Intelligent Brake Assist/Emergency Brake Operated Pre-crash Front Seat Belts, LDP (Lane Departure Prevention)/LDW (Lane Departure Warning), VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control including TCS), and ECO-pedal)
  • Electro-hydraulic Power Steering system, which drives the pump by electric motor to generate hydraulic pressure
  • Electric Driven Intelligent Brake, with applied electric type booster
  • Regenerative braking system
  • World's first adoption*2 of an opposite direction driving warning system, which gives the driver audio and visual warnings when the vehicle detects that it is going in the opposite direction on highways based on the vehicle driving information (vehicle speed, GPS location, map information in the car navigation system)
  • 'Approaching Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians' (AVSP) system, which makes sound from the start of the vehicle until the vehicle speed reaches 30km/h and when it slows to under 25km/h; it also generates an intermittent sound when the vehicle is in reverse
  • Double-piston shock absorbers, which utilize a double-piston structure to help control damping force according to vibration frequency from the road surface
  • 'Forest AC' air conditioning system, with an electric compressor used to operate the air conditioner while the engine is not in motion

● Eco-Drive Support Function

  • Special meter display for the Nissan Fuga Hybrid which shows various information, including operating conditions of the hybrid system (Energy Monitor), battery remaining capacity, Accelerator Guide, ECO-drive Indicator and a liquid-crystal odometer/twin trip meter (with an EV mode travel distance display function)
  • CARWINGS Navigation System, which can simultaneously show Energy Monitor, the average/instant fuel economy and the map on the monitor (HDD system with a terrestrial digital TV tuner)

Price range: 5,775,000 yen to 6,300,000 yen, including consumption tax

Daimler Trucks North America and Walmart develop hybrid-electric Class 8 Cascadia

Hybrid electric Cascadia. Click to enlarge.

Daimler Trucks North America LLC (DTNA) and Walmart have collaborated to build the first hybrid electric Freightliner Cascadia. This truck also marks the beginning of a long-term strategic partnership between DTNA and Walmart to develop innovative, green technologies.

Developed based on a Walmart spec’d truck, the 72-inch raised-roof Detroit Diesel DD15-equipped Cascadia features a parallel hybrid system based on an electrically-driven second drive axle. The system uses an advanced lithium-ion-based energy storage and advanced electronic control algorithms that were developed in collaboration with the Daimler Trucks Global Hybrid Center in Japan.

With this hybrid system, the conventional drivetrain remains completely intact, allowing for high system reliability from the very beginning. In addition, initial assessments of fuel efficiency further indicate the potential of this technology.

Long-time customer Walmart will work closely with DTNA engineers to create new products that will ultimately serve as a roadmap to future innovations. Walmart has explored other Class 8 hybrid options. (Earlier post.)

The new advanced engineering partnership with Walmart highlights our commitment to green technologies as well as our desire to work closely with core customers to continue developing alternative fuel vehicles. We look forward to seeing what else this joint venture will result in, and to providing Walmart and all of our customers with the right tools that will positively impact their bottom line.

—Mark Lampert, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Daimler Trucks North America

DTNA already offers products powered by alternative technologies, including the Freightliner Business Class M2 106 Hybrid (earlier post), and the Freightliner Business Class M2 112 natural gas lineup.

Source: Green Car Congress

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Nissan Leaf EV Production - VIDEO

Have a look at the Nissan Leaf on the production line:

Bosch Solar Energy showcasing solar-operated electric bike at Solar Power International 2010

Bosch Solar Energy, Bosch’s newest division, will present a new e-bike concept that combines at the upcoming Solar Power International 2010 (27-29 Oct) in Los Angeles that teams its high-performance thin-film solar modules with a new type of drive system for Bosch e-bikes.

Bosch Solar e-bike concept. Click to enlarge.

These e-bikes make it easier for their riders to pedal: the electric motor kicks in to help riders on uphill stretches, for example. The UL 1703-certified, thin-film Bosch Solar Module ┬Ám-Si plus NA1110 modules can charge the bike’s 8Ah lithium-ion battery in two and a half hours.

Based on amorphous and microcrystalline silicon, the thin-film modules carry a 25-year performance guarantee (90 % up to 12 years, 80 % up to 25 years).

Source: Green Car Congress

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ford Focus Electric Car To be Delayed Until 2012

Ford Motor Co. said today it plans a gradual rollout of its all-electric Ford Focus — with most of the initial production occurring in 2012, not 2011.

"We had always said 2011, which we'll still do, but I think you'll see more of the concentrated volume in 2012," said Sue Cischke, Ford's group vice president for sustainability, environment and safety engineering. "Right now, we're getting ready to provide a little bit slower entry."

She declined to reveal how many would be on the roads in 2011, saying only "some" fully electric vehicles would be on the roads next year.

Cischke spoke to reporters on the sidelines of an electric vehicle event in Washington.

Cischke predicted the initial volume of the electric Ford Focus would be in the range of General Motors Co.'s Chevrolet Volt — which will be 10,000 to 15,000 in the first year — and Nissan all-electric Leaf, which plans 20,000 U.S. sales in the first year.

"I think it's going to be somewhere between the two when we first start out," said Cischke, adding that Ford can boost production if demand warrants. "Certainly, if it was very popular, we'd be able to get more batteries and do what we need to do."

The all-electric Focus will have a range of 100 miles on a single charge.

The 100 mile-range electric Focus range is necessary because battery life degrades over time and because that range is shorter under certain circumstances, especially in colder weather.

"You need to have some margin there," Cischke said.

She predicted initially more electric vehicle sales would take place in Southern and warm weather states like California — along with college towns across the country.

"The Northern states are going to be more of a challenge — just because of the cold weather," she said.

She also took note of the recent controversy in which some have labeled the Volt — a vehicle that can get up to 25 to 50 miles on battery power — a plug-in hybrid because at certain speeds the gasoline motor provides some forward momentum to the wheels.

Most times when in use, the gas engine recharges the battery to run the vehicle on electricity.

Cischke said the Volt "is basically a plug-in hybrid."

Ford will be closely watching Nissan and GM's experience with electric vehicles.

"We'll learn from what they are doing and how they are marketing it," Cischke said.

Ford has begun limited production of its electric Transit Connect van with an 80-mile range. The automaker also plans a plug-in hybrid in 2012 — along with two new hybrids in 2012.

Cischke said by the end of this year Ford will have "a few" electric Transit Connect vans on the roads. She said production of the van will ramp up in the first half of 2012.

"We have a portfolio of solutions, so we're not wedded to one technology. We have all those technologies, so we'll be able to understand what the public really needs and what do they want," Cischke said.

Source: Detroit News

Friday, October 22, 2010

Nissan Leaf Produvtion Rollout Begins at Oppama Plant

2011 Nissan Leaf EV

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. has started production at its Oppama facility for the all-new 100% electric, zero-emission Nissan LEAF, which is slated to go on sale in December in Japan and the United States, and from early 2011, in select markets in Europe. In November, the company will begin exports to the United States, followed by shipments to Europe in December.

Nissan LEAF will be produced at the Oppama Plant along with gasoline-engined models such as Nissan Juke and Nissan Cube. Part of the assembly line has been modified to mount the 24 kWh battery packs at the stage of production where fuel tanks are traditionally installed, and motors and inverters are mounted at the point where engines are installed in gasoline-powered vehicles.

Nissan LEAF’s lithium-ion battery modules are manufactured at the Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC) operation in Zama, Japan, which is a joint-venture of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and NEC Corporation. The battery module, which contains 4 battery cells, are assembled at Zama and then shipped to the Nissan Oppama facility, where 48 of them are assembled into the electric car’s battery pack.

Sites for future production of Nissan EVs include Smyrna, Tennessee, in the United States and Sunderland, England, in the UK.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mazda says new Mazda2 model to get 70 mog

The Smart and Sassy Mazda 2

Mazda Motor Corp (7261.T) said on Wednesday its next Mazda2/Demio subcompact would get fuel economy of 30 km/litre (70 mpg) without the help of an electric motor, likely making it the most fuel-efficient gasoline car on the road.

The vehicle will be launched in Japan in the first half of 2011 as the first product to be equipped with Mazda's next-generation gasoline and diesel engine and transmission technology, dubbed SKYACTIV.

Mazda is aiming to improve fuel economy on its cars by 30 percent by 2015 compared with 2008 levels by introducing the SKYACTIV technology on all of its cars by around 2016. It plans to build on its current technologies to eventually develop hybrids, plug-in hybrids and pure electric cars beyond 2015.

Japanese minivehicle maker Daihatsu Motor Co (7262.T) has also said it aims to develop a gasoline car that achieves fuel economy of 30 km/litre -- equivalent to what the "mild" hybrid version of Honda Motor Co's (7267.T) new Fit subcompact gets.

"I promise that we will offer the Demio at a lower price than a hybrid of the same segment," Chief Executive Officer Takashi Yamanouchi told a news conference, declining to elaborate.

Honda's Fit hybrid, which went on sale this month in Japan, starts at 1.59 million yen ($19,480).

While Mazda has no hybrid system of its own, it is seen as among the most advanced automakers in internal combustion engine and weight reduction technology.

Mazda said its new direct injection gasoline engine achieves big mileage improvements mainly due to the world's highest engine compression ratio.


Regarding news that Ford Motor Co (F.N) is planning to sell most of its 11 percent stake in Mazda, worth just over $500 million, Yamanouchi repeated Mazda's official statement that their strategic relationship remained intact.

A source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters at the weekend that top shareholder Ford may sell the stake in Mazda by the end of the year. Ford and Mazda have not confirmed the plan.

"We have an agreement to continue our strategic partnership with Ford. Therefore, we are not thinking at all of forming an alliance with companies other than Ford," Yamanouchi said.

"In any case, under any circumstances we believe it is important to maintain the Mazda brand."

Despite their wide-ranging cooperation, Mazda and Ford have gone their separate ways in developing cleaner vehicles. Mazda in March turned to Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) for help in developing its first hybrid car.

Mazda shares rose 1.4 percent on Wednesday, outperforming a drop in other Japanese auto stocks and the benchmark Nikkei average's .N225 1.7 percent fall.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How Far Will the Nissan Leaf Travel in Various Situations?

Nissan has released the following predictions of range as compared to driving conditions:

depending on the conditions, when your battery is new your range may vary anywhere from 138 - 62 miles. range is most affected by:

Climate control – the more extreme the temperature is outside, the more energy used to heat or cool the cabin.

Speed – higher speeds require much more energy to overcome air resistance.

Driving style – smooth acceleration and deceleration will extend range while aggressive acceleration and deceleration will decrease range.

Cargo and topography – heavy cargo and driving up steep long inclines will reduce range.

there are an infinite number of range scenarios*, based on many variables. here are just a few, starting with the EPA LA4 test cycle:

EPA LA4 test cycle: 100 miles

The Nissan LEAF has been tested under the EPA Urban Dynamometer Driving Schedule, a laboratory test commonly called the LA4 test cycle, which represents city driving conditions. Top speed is 56.7 mph and average speed is 19.59 mph. Ambient temperature can vary from 68 - 86 degrees. Climate control is off. The Nissan LEAF easily achieved 100 miles.

Ideal driving conditions: 138 miles

Speed: Constant 38 mph

Temperature: 68 degrees

Climate control: Off

Driving on a flat road at a constant 38 mph means less air resistance, and therefore less energy use. And at 68 degrees, there's no need for climate control, extending the range even further. The result: a range boost up to 138 miles.

Suburban driving on a nice day: 105 miles

Speed: Average 24 mph

Temperature: 72 degrees

Climate control: Off

The average speed in this scenario is 24 mph; common when commuting and running errands. The ambient temperature is 72 degrees and the climate control is off. Not using the air conditioner and driving at slower speeds mean less energy use and a little extra range.

Highway driving in the summer: 70 miles

Speed: Average 55 mph

Temperature: 95 degrees

Climate control: On

Averaging 55 mph on the highway, in 95 degree weather, with the air conditioning on high may produce range figures like this. Higher speeds require more energy to overcome air resistance. Running the air conditioner means energy that could be used to increase range instead goes to cooling the car.

Cross-town commute on a hot day: 68 miles

Speed: Average 49 mph

Temperature: 110 degrees

Climate control: On

Driving from a rural area into the city at an average 49 mph with the a/c on high may produce this range. Under these conditions, climate control combined with higher-speed driving produces increased energy consumption, hence the effect on range.

Winter, urban stop-and-go, traffic jam: 62 miles

Speed: Average 15 mph

Temperature: 14 degrees

Climate control: On

Though the average speed is only 15 mph with stop-and-go traffic, the 14-degree temperature means the heater is doing a lot of work so you spend considerable time and energy heating your car rather than moving forward. Despite these conditions, it would still take more than 4 hours to run out of charge!

DISCLAIMER *All above scenarios based on new battery life. Estimated range based upon specific variables studied through computer simulations.

Introducing the Electric RaceAbout EV - X Prize contender - VIDEO

Here is a video of the RaceAbout Electric Vehicle, Powered by a 33 kilowatt-hour lithium-titanate battery pack, the RaceAbout features all-wheel drive, a carbon fiber monocoque, and a recharge time of just 10 minutes.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

City of Los Angeles Builds Out New Electric Vehicle Charging Stations at Key Transit Locations

Nissan Leaf Takes a Charge

The California Energy Commission recently announced EV Connect, a leading provider of electric vehicle infrastructure solutions (EVISs) and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) will be conducting a pilot program to assess the integration of PEVs into the transportation network and consumer behavior and ridership patterns.

“We are looking forward to the success of this pilot effort, which will encourage drivers of plug-in electric vehicles to use Metro while charging their vehicles at our transit stations”

"This project will bring the city of Los Angeles closer to achieving its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 35 percent below 1990 levels by 2030," said Energy Commissioner Anthony Eggert. "The Energy Commission is proud to be a part of this first-of-its-kind PEV infrastructure rollout with EV Connect and Metro."

This pilot project aims to understand the viability of a PEV-transit network and establish best practices that optimize the consumer experience while reducing the carbon footprint of Los Angeles. The transportation sector alone accounts for 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the State of California, six percent higher than the national average. Completion of this project and its potential as a major transit component will further reduce priority air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions in the City and County of Los Angeles.

“We are looking forward to the success of this pilot effort, which will encourage drivers of plug-in electric vehicles to use Metro while charging their vehicles at our transit stations,” said Metro Board Chair and Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe. “At Metro we demonstrate best practices in sustainability with over 2,500 clean air buses along with a commitment in building all new transit facilities to LEED standards. This project is another example of how Metro is protecting the environment.”

EV infrastructure will be integrated at strategic points at the end of the system, such as Canoga and Sierra Madre, as well as at heavy traffic locations such as Union Station and Universal City. One objective of the study is to understand if the integration of EV charging solutions into Metro’s system will enhance the transit experience for patrons and attract others to consider charge and ride in their daily commutes.

“This is the first study of its kind to analyze the integration of EV solutions into a transit network,” said Jordan Ramer, CEO of EV Connect. “The data procured from this study will establish industry benchmarks on charge and ride commuters which will help shape the future of multi modal transportation."

About EV Connect, Inc.

EV Connect, an EV industry veteran and visionary, delivers best of breed electric vehicle infrastructure solutions (EVISs), applying its deep expertise to help OEMs design, engineer, install and maintain EV infrastructures. EV Connect is working to unify charging technologies in order to build a seamless Electric Superhighway. Based in Huntington Beach, California, EV Connect is driving EV adoption forward for commercial customers and EV industry partners alike. For more information please visit

About the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is unique among the nation’s transportation agencies, serving as the regional transportation planner and coordinator, designer, builder, operator, and funding partner for Los Angeles County. Metro’s core mission is to ensure the continuous improvement of an efficient and effective transportation system for Los Angeles County. Metro has emerged as a leader in advancing and implementing sustainability initiatives and has received national recognition for its unique approach to solving sustainable transportation related issues. Please visit for more information.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:

China Set To Make One Million electric Cars by 2020

China's output of electric vehicles is expected to reach 1 million units by 2020, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday, citing a senior government official.

This figure would undoubtedly include vehicles produced by foreign automakers. Toyota Motor Corp., said only last month that it will mass-produce an EV in China for the domestic market starting as early as 2012 through its joint venture with China FAW Group Corp.

Likewise, Nissan said last month that it was in talks with its Chinese partner, Dongfeng Motor Group, about sharing some of its cutting-edge electric car technology.

Green vehicles are key for the development of China's auto industry as tailpipe emissions already account for 70 percent of the air pollution in major Chinese cities, Wan Gang, Minister of Science and Technology, was quoted as saying. He did not project the country's overall vehicle output by 2020.

Beijing launched a pilot program in June to hand out rebates to electric and hybrid car buyers as it stepped up its efforts to cut emissions. The maximum subsidy for an electric-car buyer is 60,000 yuan ($9,036).

It is also subsidizing fleet operators in 25 cities to promote the use of clean-energy models in the country's public transportation system.

Over the next 10 year, the Chinese government will spend more than 100 billion yuan ($15 billion) to subsidize its fledgling green-vehicle industry, state media said, citing a draft plan, which will be released later this year or early 2011.

Wan added that an estimated 8.5 billion yuan ($1.2 billion) has been channeled into the green car industry from the capital market so far. The fund would help build up the country's battery output, which will be capable of supplying 150,000 electric vehicles by October 2011.

"That would be a big step for the electric vehicle industry," Wan was quoted as saying.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Chevrolet Volt Production Could Jump to 60,000 Units per Year in 2012

Consumer demand for the Chevrolet Volt is so strong that General Motors Co. is planning to boost early production of the highly anticipated plug-in vehicle, which rolls into showrooms later this year.

Some dealers are reporting that they have orders and deposits for more Volts than GM has allocated for them.


Sales manager Matt Stevens said Vic Canever Chevrolet in Fenton is getting one Volt, scheduled to arrive in March when GM begins delivering the extended-range electric vehicle to Michigan dealers.

But there are eight people on Stevens' waiting list.

"We've been taking orders, putting names on a list," since GM unveiled the Volt nearly four years ago, said Stevens, who isn't sure how many more the dealership will get.

"Hopefully," he said, "it will be enough so everyone gets one."

Doug Parks, global vehicle line executive for the Volt, said Thursday that GM will build "10,000 or 15,000" of the extended-range electric vehicles next year, up to 5,000 more than previously announced, and could build 60,000 or more by 2012.

Parks spoke on the sidelines of a Detroit conference, "The Business of Plugging In."

Tony DiSalle, marketing director for the Volt, said GM is "hearing from dealers that many have significantly more demand than allocation."

DiSalle wouldn't say how many dealers expect to sell out, or disclose the number of Volts pre-ordered since the automaker began taking orders in July.

Each of the 633 dealers participating in the Volt's seven-market launch will receive a limited number of vehicles in the first year, said Dick Trost, a Volt marketing manager who oversees dealer relations.

Most will get a few, but some dealers could receive as many as 30. GM is allocating the Volts to dealers based on estimates the automaker has made about demand in specific markets.

The Volt initially will be sold in Michigan, California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Texas and Washington, D.C., before a national rollout 12 to 18 months later.

In Sterling Heights, Buff Whelan Chevrolet has already sold out its allocation of Volts, said general sales manager Tom Bechtell. The dealership has taken deposits for nine Volts but will get six in March. All Volts are being sold at the $41,000 sticker price, he said.

The 2012 model year Volt arrives in July 2011, Bechtell said, and isn't expected to be much different from the 2011 model.

In other parts of the country, reports of Volt price mark-ups have surfaced. One California dealership tried to list the car $20,000 above its sticker price. By law, GM can't tell dealers what to charge, only suggest a price.

Volts will be exported

GM's Parks said the automaker could build up to 60,000 Volts in 2012, up from 45,000 announced in July, a figure that had already been raised from 30,000.

"Starting in '12, we'll be at this max rate of 60,000," Parks said. GM hopes to sell every model it builds that year and could boost capacity further in 2012 or 2013.

"If we think this thing is crazy higher volume than we thought, we have the ability to increase volume and crank that up," Parks said.

GM also disclosed it plans to export 5,000 Volts next year to Canada and other markets.

The Volt will begin rolling off the assembly line at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck factory on Nov. 10, with sales expected to begin a month later, GM Vice Chairman Tom Stephens told The Detroit News this week.

GM began building pre-production Volts in March.

The planned production increases come as GM is in daily talks with the Environmental Protection Agency to finalize the performance ratings that will appear on the Volt's window sticker.

"Within a month, this will be done," Parks said.

GM prints the stickers at the plant and could get approval as late as the day before production begins.

Parks disclosed that the Volt is getting fuel economy in the "mid- to high 30s" when operating in gasoline-only mode, which is when the Volt's battery is being charged by a generator powered by a small gas engine.

Parks expects the EPA will set the expected electric-only range for the Volt "somewhere in the middle of this 25- to 50-" mile range that GM has announced.

He said it's possible the figure will be below the 40-mile range GM had long advertised.

"We're kind of hoping we'll over deliver," Parks said.

It's not clear yet what figures the EPA will assign on the vehicle's gasoline-only range.

Separately, Nancy Gioia, Ford Motor Co.'s director of global electrification, said both the Volt and the electric Nissan Leaf will have "a questionable residual value" because batteries degrade over time.

"I predict this market (for electric vehicles) is going to be fits and starts, ups and downs," she said in remarks at "The Business of Plugging In" conference. "It will not be a smooth adaptation."

"This is a marathon of 50 years to change the fuel source diversity," she said. "This is not going to happen overnight."

Price may get better

Parks acknowledged the residual value, also known as the resale value, of used Volts was an issue. The question is the worth of the battery packs after three years, and whether they would have a second life in another use.

"It is really the $64,000 question," he said. "We just don't know."

Parks acknowledged the initial $41,000 Volt price is a "pretty steep number," but he noted that the price comes down with a $7,500 tax credit.

"Our business model for the Volt is not finalized yet," he said. "We need to continue to make that (price) better as we go forward."

Parks, who is commuting to and from work in a Volt, said both GM's North American chief Mark Reuss and marketing chief Joel Ewanick are driving Volts.

Occasionally, he joked, there's a wait to use one of the charging stations outside GM's Renaissance Center headquarters.

Source: Detroit News

AVL Presenting Fuel Cell Commuter at Expo Shanghai 2010

AVL is presenting an electric vehicle with a fuel cell range extender at the Austria Tec Week within the scope of Expo Shanghai 2010. AVL says that the substantial advantage of the AVL Fuel Cell Commuter (AVL FCC) is its continuous availability due to the significantly reduced charging time: refueling with hydrogen only takes a few minutes, while charging a battery takes a few hours.

The AVL Fuel Cell Commuter. Click to enlarge.

This technology in the AVL FCC is the result of a research project conducted in conjunction with Tongji University, which is supported with financial means from the climate fund.

AVL recently opened an advanced battery laboratory with testing equipment, simulators and associated automation systems at the AVL Shanghai Tech Center, taking another step towards electrification of the powertrain. AVL said the laboratory will enable it increasingly to offer customers services directly on site.

AVL has been engaged in business activities in China for more than three decades. The first project with a Chinese customer started in 1974 and in 1987 the first AVL office opened in Beijing. At present, AVL in China has around 250 employees.

Source: Green Car Congress

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Chevrolet Volt Media Drive Challenge - More than 40 miles on battery alone the norm

The challenge was simple for attendees of the Chevrolet Volt media drive in Southeastern Michigan this week – drive from the airport to the hotel and see if you could drive the entire 40-plus miles route before the battery was depleted and switched into extended-range mode.

For most of the week, Jeff Sabatini of AOL Autos held the high water mark with 47.5 all-electric miles driven and 9 electric miles still showing on the battery gauge for an estimated 56.5 miles.

But yesterday, new leaders in the clubhouse emerged as electric vehicle advocate and Autoblog Green columnist Chelsea Sexton and blogger Tamara Warren reached the hotel in 45.8 miles with 12 electric miles remaining for an estimated total of 57.8 battery-powered miles.

In fact, every driver or pair of drivers this week has achieved greater than 40 miles of gas-free travels, with only the team from Motor Week slipping below at a very respectable 36.9 miles.

As we all know, the Volt’s all-electric range will typically vary between 25-50 miles depending on temperature, terrain, driver technique and battery life, and the results from the drives this week illustrate a couple important points.

First, even with mixed driving styles and conditions, all but one of the drives back to the hotel achieved greater than 40 miles.

And second, driving technique is very important to your all-electric range with a 20-plus mile gap between first and last place thus far.

Check out the full list of results below (adjusted EV miles take into account number of passengers):


Mitsubishi Motors and Yamato Collaborate on Prototype Electric Delivery Van

Mitsubishi Motors (MMC) and Yamato Transport Co Ltd are field testing an electric delivery van prototype, which is based on MMC’s Minicab Van commercial light van, and is equipped with the motor and battery used in the i-MiEV.

The prototype electric van. Click to enlarge.

Yamato Transport is deploying the EV prototype in its delivery center in Tokyo. The two companies will collect data from the operation of the vehicle for analysis. Based on the results, Yamato may consider employing a commercial electric light van. The company fleet comprises about 45,000 vehicles including 4,659 hybrid electric vehicles.

Source: Green Car Congress

Saturday, October 16, 2010

China's Minister of Science and Technology Predicts Annual Production For EV's to Reach 1 Million Units by 2020

China Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang said that the country’s annual production capacity for electric motor vehicles will reach 1 million units by 2020.

While extolling new energy cars, Wan said promotion of public transportation would also help to ease the problems caused by expanding car ownership in China. Public transport should also be the top priority for use of new energy automobiles in China, he said.

Twenty-five Chinese cities have jointed a pilot program co-sponsored in 2009 by Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Finance, National Development and Reform Commission, and Ministry of Industry and Information, to promote energy-efficient and new-energy vehicles. The project aimed to replace public transport vehicles with electric vehicles to support the development of electric vehicle industry, Wan said.

Wan said that a total of 8.5 billion yuan (US$1.28 billion) from the capital market has entered the electric car industry since the debut of the project in 2009.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Chevrolet Volt Propulsion Clarified - Engine Can Provide Motive Power Starting at 30 MPH

It just gets better and better. Previously we reported that the Volt would only let the gasoline engine couple to the drivetrain at speeds above 70 mph, which may or may not make sense. Today, we find that if the battery pack is depleted, the engine is allowed to drive the wheels at speeds beginning at 30 mph and upward.

We might understand why GM would choose to let the engine drive the wheels at greater speeds, since air friction begins to take a toll on velocity at this point, but why 30 mph? Why not keep things simple and just have the combustion engine crank a generator to provide electricity? Why so complicated?

Could it be that GM really has no desire to make electric cars but still wants to crank out oil fired ones and maintain the status quo? Not only is the Volt an expensive vehicle to begin with, its maintenance costs costs are going to be exorbitant. Heaven help the person who needs that expensive gearing fixed or replaced.

Chevrolet Volt Voltec Electric Drive Propulsion System

To say this vehicle is complicated is to be uttering the obvious. Take a look at this vehicle and try to understand the complexity. Mind boggling.

All Electric Three Wheeled Trike - EV

Josh Hadar has built a solar electric three-wheeler that will knock you on your ass — literally.

The New York artist has made a name for himself fashioning wildly ornate bicycles and motorized bikes as radical as they are beautiful. He’s back with a wild trike that has enough torque to throw you off the back. That’s exactly what happened the first time he fired it up.

“The first test ride was a virtual wheelie-fest that left its rider sprawled on the ground,” he said.

That kind of hooning, while fun, was a bit much. Hadar added an Alltrax programmable controller and tweaked the gear ratios to rein in the Mars Electric motor, which produces 4.8 kilowatts (6.4 horsepower) continuous and 15 kilowatts peak. Four 12-volt lead-acid batteries give the E-Trike a range of up to 30 miles. Hadar figures he could double the range with a lithium nano-phosphate battery pack.

Everything’s bolted to a carbon-steel frame. It rolls on a 20-inch front wheel with 26-inchers at the rear. The trike is 8.4 feet long — about the length of Smart car — and depending upon the gearing she’ll max out at 45 mph. That’s gotta be fun.

Power comes from a 750-watt array of six solar panels mounted on the roof of Hadar’s studio, making this black beauty totally green.

With as much as 20 horsepower on tap and a top speed of 45 mph, you know you want to ride it.

Carbon-steel frame is powder-coated gloss black. The E-Trike is the same length as a Smart but so much cooler.

A closer look at the electric drivetrain.

Source: Wired

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wheego Set to Unveil Full-Speed LiFe EV at LA Auto Show

Wheego Electric Cars will unveil the two-seat subcompact Wheego LiFe full-speed electric car to the public at the Los Angeles International Auto Show in November.

The full-speed Wheego LiFe travels approximately 100 miles (161 miles) on a single charge of a 20 kWh Li-ion battery pack and retails for $32,995. It qualifies for a $7,500 Federal tax credit, as well as many state tax incentives, including $5,000 in California.

The Wheego LiFe comes fully-equipped with driver and passenger airbags, anti-lock brakes, air conditioning, and power windows and locks. The 115V lithium battery pack can be charged from a standard 120V outlet, a 240V outlet or any J1772 standard charging stations.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Best Buy Set to Install Electric Car Charging Stations

Folks looking to get eco-friendly with an electric car—or at least put part of their carbon footprint out of sight over the hills—will soon have one more place they can drive their ultra-quiet vehicles: Ecotality has announced a deal with electronics retailer Best Buy (PDF) to install Blink EV charging stations at 12 Best Buy locations in Arizona, California, and Washington by March 2011. The pilot program is part of The EV Project, which is seeking to develop an infrastructure for supporting electric-only vehicles. The projects at Best Buy will analyze how EV customers use the charging stations and develop best practices for creating future EV infrastructure in a variety of locations.

“As the private sector will ultimately drive consumer electric vehicle adoption, our goal has been to establish a charging network that is conveniently placed in familiar places to meet consumers’ needs,” said Ecotality CEO Jonathan Read, in a statement. “In order for EV infrastructure to be a success, it is essential that private enterprises take an active role. Best Buy has shown true leadership as becoming a launch partner for The EV Project and exemplifies how corporate responsibility initiatives can directly benefit the customer experience, environment and society.”

The EV charging stations will roll out at Best Buy locations in Tuscon, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Seattle. The locations will take into account things like distance from other existing charging stations, proximity to interstates and other major routes, and population density. Electric cars might have their advantages, but one of them is not usually range: for instance, the Nissan Leaf can operate for about 80 to 100 miles between charges, meaning most residential users can’t go much further than 40 or 50 miles from home…unless they know where they can hook up to a charging station along the way. Nissan believes most people will want to charge their electric cars at home overnight, since a complete charge takes several hours, but Blink says its commercial chargers will be able to deliver a “meaningful” charge in as little as 15 minutes.

The commercial Blink Network EV chargers feature color touch screens and connect to a Web-based portal that shows a vehicles’s charge status, history, stats, and billing information, along with a bunch of payment options.

The EV Project, managed by Ecotality, hopes to install some 15,000 commercial and residential charging stations in 16 cities across six states.

Source: Digital Trends

Chevrolet Volt Open Road Test Drive

2011 Chevy Volt

As reported by Lyle Dennis from

I just returned from Detroit, having had my first chance ever to take the Volt on the open road for two days of extensive driving. On the first day, just after touching down, I got to drive a production Chevrolet Volt from the Detroit airport out to Rochester Michigan to the hotel journalists are staying for the Volt launch drive event. I was on the first wave of journalists with about a dozen others. There will be six waves in all each with about 20 reporters. Expect a persistent stream of Volt news over the next week or so. This event is considered the Chevrolet Volt media launch.

GM had nine final production Volts waiting for us to drive, which we did in pairs of two journalists along with one member of the Volt staff. It was set up as a contest to see who could get the most EV range. It will continue through the waves.

The distance of the drive was 45.9 miles, and I personally took the car for the first 20 with another reporter driving it the second half of the way. We began with a full battery.

This was the first time I was fully allowed to drive and operate the Volt extensively on public roads. For my part I chose to be careful with the pedal and brakes and to indulge in the pleasures of efficiency.

I found the car to be bright, technical and cheerful as always. The leather seats were comfortable and sturdy and the car was adequately spacious inside though not overly roomy. It was the first time I had seen a final-textured interior surface and found it was well done and gave forth a refined appeal.

On this first journey, I intentionally didn’t gun the car, I accelerated modestly, coasted once in a while, and often kicked into low gear to utilize motor braking. The car handled and glided smoothly, swiftly and silently with crisp, immediate and perky torque and a highly responsive throttle. It steered like it was floating on air.

When I started out the battery indicator showed 39 miles of range remained. The surprisingly warm temperature outside ranged from 78 to 83 degrees and so I had to use the air conditioning. I kept it at 76 degrees F and used the ECO mode HVAC setting at which the car was quite comfortable. I turned off the daytime running lights and didn’t use the radio.

Within a few miles of driving my remaining range had actually climbed to 41. The roads were mostly flat and I drove at around 45 MPH, with minimal traffic and few stops.

After covering 19.2 miles the meter indicated I still had 31 miles of range remaining. Had I continued for the whole trip at that style of driving I would have easily passed 50 miles of range. Volt director Tony Posawatz in the car with me said I was “on track for more than 55 miles” of range. Tony said EV ranges beyond that (though he wouldn’t be specific) had been achieved by several engineers using captured test fleet vehicles.

The second driver, however was considerably more lead- footed and less careful about braking. By the time we arrived at our destination we had traversed 45.9 miles and the meter said we still had 3 miles left, for an effective 49 miles of EV range with our mixed driving styles. We came in tied for 3rd place in the field of the nine pairs of journalists. The winner of our wave arrived with 8 miles EV range remaining on his meter.

This real world test indicated there was little doubt one could easily regularly achieve 50 miles or more of electric range with little effort in an extremely efficient, super technological and fun-to-drive car. Achieving 40 miles of range will likely be the norm.

Soon I will share with you my second day if driving in which I covered over 150 miles on Michigan roads on both EV and extended range mode, and even hypermiled a bit.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Surprise, Chevrolet Volt Really is a Hybrid Vehicle

General Motors has been telling us since 2007 that the Volt would be a "range extended electric vehicle" but as it turns out, the combustion engine really can turn the wheels. As usual, GM has made the entire vehicle overly complex, which adds cost and requires more maintenance down the road, pun intended. The MSRP is nearly 10 thousand dollars more than the Nissan Leaf and preliminary reports indicate the Leaf has a better ride. Furthermore, there are drivers who had the EV1 in the past stating its ride was better than the Volt. How could this happen, since the EV1 was built 14 years ago? Surely automotive technology has advanced since then.

You will have to study the image above to understand what is going on but here is the skinny:

One electric motor drives the wheels at most speeds.

One electric motor kicks in for assistance at higher speeds.

The combustion engine comes on and locks to the outer ring gear at speeds greater than 70 moh, thus driving the wheels.

This last fact is what makes the Volt a hybrid rather than an electric vehicle, range extended or otherwise. We were told from the beginning that the range extender would merely kick on when the batteries were depleted to provide current to the motors though the generator, but obviously, it does more than that.

How does this make you feel? Are you irritated knowing that GM deceived us once again or is it really no big deal? How often do you drive at speeds greater than 70 mph? If you are on the highways much then the answer would be quite a lot of time.

Monday, October 11, 2010

CODA Automotive & Enterprise Rent-A-Car Help Accelerate the Adoption of All-Electric Cars With 100% Electric CODA Sedans

This will be the second car you can rent along with the Nissan Leaf. What a great way to try out a car before committing to the purchase.

Press Release:

CODA Automotive™, a California-based electric car and battery company, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car, today announced a planned program to introduce up to 100 all-electric CODA Sedans™ to car rental locations throughout 2011.

"The CODA's dependable, all-season range are a perfect match for the driving conditions found throughout Enterprise's neighborhood network of car rental locations," said Kevin Czinger, President and CEO, CODA Automotive. "Enterprise has demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainability and is aligned with our mission to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles."

The CODA Sedan™ will be the first mainstream all-electric sedan from an all-electric car company when it becomes available in the coming months. The car is designed to meet the day-to-day needs of more than 80% of Americans(i) with space for five passengers and a full-size trunk. CODA's innovative 33.8 kWh battery system with active thermal management will be the largest, most advanced system in its class, enabling a dependable, all- season 90 to 120 miles of range per charge.(ii) Fast and convenient charging will be achieved with help from a 6.6 kW on-board charger that is twice as fast as the standard charger used by our closest competition. A full charge requires about six hours to complete,(iii) and enough energy for a short, 40-mile commute will take under two hours.

"With the mystery surrounding electric vehicles, we think this vehicle will not only meet the needs of many of our customers, but will also help to 'lift the veil' on EVs for many of them and help them better understand the technology and why they might want to own one," said Lee Broughton, director of sustainability for Enterprise Holdings, which owns and operates Enterprise Rent-A-Car, along with the Alamo Rent A Car and National Car Rental brands. "Supporting alternative transportation options and partnering with companies at the forefront of the electrification movement like CODA Automotive is a key component of our long-term sustainability strategy."

Enterprise has more than 5,000 offices located within 15 miles of 90 percent of the U.S. population. So with the potential to rent each electric vehicle hundreds of times a year, Enterprise will be able to give customers an opportunity for an "extended" test drive, allowing them to experience the energy-saving technology right where they live and work.

The addition of the CODA electric vehicle is just one facet of the Enterprise's industry-leading environmental sustainability platform, that includes investment in alternative fuels, a fuel-efficient fleet, and an operational commitment to reduce energy use and energy cost by 20 percent over the next five years.

In addition to the partnership announced today, the two companies previously reached an agreement to provide services for CODA electric vehicle owners. As part of that agreement, Enterprise will provide courtesy transportation vehicles to CODA customers during service and maintenance periods. In addition to providing courtesy transportation support, CODA and Enterprise are discussing other innovative partnership opportunities to help accelerate the adoption of all-electric cars.

About CODA Automotive: Headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif., CODA Automotive™ is working to reduce dependence on oil and is leading the way to a cleaner future through advanced battery systems for its 100% electric car, other electric vehicle manufacturers and utility applications such as wind power storage. CODA is working in a smart, interdependent way with more than 30 leading global technology and manufacturing companies across four continents to quickly and efficiently bring electric drive technology to market. Through its exclusive battery system joint venture with Lishen Power Battery, Lio Energy Systems™, CODA is also a large-scale producer of power battery systems for transportation and utility applications. CODA is slated to begin limited deliveries of its all-electric car in the fourth quarter of this year (2010). The CODA Sedan™ is a five-passenger, mid-size car with full rear seating and trunk space that is designed to meet American drivers' daily transportation needs, without using an ounce of gasoline.

For more information, please visit, follow @CODAautomotive on Twitter at, or visit our Facebook page at

About Enterprise Rent-A-Car: Founded in 1957, Enterprise Rent-A-Car is an internationally recognized brand with more than 6,000 neighborhood and airport locations in the United States, Canada, the U.K., Ireland, and Germany. Known for exceptionally low rates and outstanding customer service, Enterprise was named to BusinessWeek's annual list of "Customer Service Champs" in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. Enterprise also has ranked highest in customer satisfaction among North American airport rentals in 10 of the past 11 years, according to J.D. Power and Associates Rental Car Satisfaction Study. Enterprise of North America also is part of a global strategic alliance with Europcar, creating the world's largest car rental network.

Enterprise Holdings, headquartered in St. Louis, owns and operates Enterprise Rent-A-Car and WeCar car-sharing through its regional subsidiaries. There are more than 5,000 Enterprise offices located within 15 miles of 90 percent of the U.S. population, and local customers are picked up at no extra cost. Enterprise launched car-sharing in 2007 as a natural extension of its business rental program and longtime focus on customized local service. With WeCar car-sharing technology, Enterprise offers a totally automated, membership-based and environmentally friendly transportation solution to local businesses, universities and government offices looking to enhance their fleet management operations and sustainability initiatives. To further minimize the environmental impact of car rentals, Enterprise not only offers customers the opportunity to offset carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, but also to rent a hybrid vehicle in more than 30 major markets. For more information about Enterprise, visit

(i) Source: "Transportation Energy Data Book: Edition 28-2009"

(ii) Up to 120 miles based on US06 (aggressive driving/high speed test) and LA4/UDDS (city driving) EPA tests. Like any electric vehicle, CODA's electric miles per charge will vary. Like all vehicles, electric vehicles are less efficient in extreme temperatures. In addition, personal driving style, heavy cargo loads and battery age will also affect vehicle performance.

(iii) The time necessary for a full charge can vary between five to seven hours, but takes an average of six hours.