Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ford Focus Electric won't be offered with battery-lease option

Ford’s forthcoming electric Focus will be sold in the same way as a conventional car, meaning its battery pack will be included as standard.

Ford’s UK managing director Nigel Sharp said the company would not consider leasing the Focus’s lithium-ion battery pack separately to sale: “We’re waiting to see how the market reacts to other electric cars, but we are sure leasing batteries is not the way to go, even if it would bring the initial price down," he said. "The Focus must be sold as a conventional car would be."

The electric Focus is the flagship of its five-strong fleet of alternatively fueled cars and a significant all-electric rival to the Nissan Leaf, which also has the battery pack included in its purchase price.

The Focus’s electric motor is powered by a 28kWh lithium ion battery, giving a top speed of 84mph. A standard full recharge from a 240V outlet will take three to four hours — half the time of the Nissan Leaf — and Ford is targeting a range of 100 miles.

Source: Autocar

Fisker May Use Dedicated 3-Cylinder Engine as Range Extender

SoCal start-up Fisker has just completed its first production car (in Finland), but already they are talking about future cars. One idea; use of a dedicated, 3-cylinder range extender rather than the 4-cylinder EcoTec car engine currently under the hood.

The Fisker Karma is a plug-in hybrid with a GM-sourced turbocharged 4-cylinder engine operating as the range extender. Using an already-built production engine has saved Fisker countless millions that would come with designing their own engine. But since this gas engine is optimized for driving a car, rather than operating as a generator, it isn’t the perfect system. Perhaps the biggest issue is weight; the GM EcoTec engine weighs in at 360 pounds, not exactly a featherweight.

Fisker seems to think that a dedicated 3-cylinder range extender could shave at least 100 pounds off of that number, and any weight savings for the hefty Fisker would be a boon for both performance and range. Lotus has developed a dedicated, 1.2 liter 3-cylinder range extender that could be just what Fisker is looking for, and it weights just 124 pounds. There’s money to be made in the range-extending engine business it would appear.

Source: Gas2.0

Ryder orders more than 200 heavy-duty natural gas trucks as part of SANBAG project

- Orders more than 200 heavy-duty natural gas trucks as part of a project estimated to displace 1.5 million gallons of diesel fuel with 100% domestically produced natural gas and reduce more than 9.2 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year -

MIAMI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ryder System, Inc. (NYSE: R), a leader in commercial transportation and supply chain management solutions, today announced that it reached a key milestone in a major alternative fuel initiative with the order of 202 heavy-duty natural gas vehicles. The vehicle order is part of Ryder’s agreement with the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) to launch a groundbreaking heavy-duty natural gas truck rental and leasing project in Southern California. Ryder will begin taking delivery of the vehicles in April, and expects to have the full order integrated into its fleet by September. Ryder will also begin work this month to upgrade the first of three existing maintenance facilities in its network to be properly equipped for the indoor servicing of natural gas vehicles and will soon commence construction of two natural gas fueling stations.

“We are proud to play a role in an important project in which each partner has made a contribution. This project confirms SANBAG’s commitment to creative problem solving and enhancing the quality of life for our residents.”

In addition to reducing emissions, businesses that incorporate natural gas vehicles in their fleet have the opportunity to realize additional cost savings because natural gas fuel prices are significantly lower than diesel fuel prices, which are currently on the rise.

“We are excited about taking these first important steps to kick off what is proving to be one of the most innovative and large-scale commercial natural gas truck projects in North America,” stated Robert Sanchez, President of Global Fleet Management Solutions for Ryder. “This project reinforces our ongoing commitment to deliver environmentally-sound and cost-effective transportation solutions, while serving as a model for how to successfully implement alternative fuel programs in large commercial truck operations.”

“This project is a great illustration of the potential for success when the right project partners assemble and work as a team,” said SANBAG President and San Bernardino County First District Supervisor, Brad Mitzelfelt. “We are proud to play a role in an important project in which each partner has made a contribution. This project confirms SANBAG’s commitment to creative problem solving and enhancing the quality of life for our residents.”

About the Project

The SANBAG project, awarded to Ryder in April 2010, is being conducted in partnership with the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) Clean Cities Coalition. It is intended to increase the use of domestically produced alternative fuels and reduce emissions by bolstering the existing regional infrastructure in Southern California. When fully implemented, the project will displace more than 1.5 million gallons of diesel annually with 100 percent domestically produced low-carbon natural gas. The project will contribute to the maintenance and creation of more than 400 U.S. green automotive jobs located in regions of the country that have been the hardest hit by the recent economic downturn. Based on estimates using California’s Carl Moyer program guidelines, the project will reduce more than 9.2 million pounds (4,195 metric tons) of greenhouse gas emissions per year, more than 131 tons of nitrogen oxide emissions annually, and completely eliminate 2.65 tons of diesel particulate emissions from local neighborhoods.

The $38.7 million project will be funded as part of a joint public/private industry partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy, the California Energy Commission, and Ryder. $19.3 million of the total project funding will be provided by state and federal sources, including $9.95 million from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuel and Advanced Vehicles Pilot Program funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), and $9.3 million via the California Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel & Vehicle Technology Program. Demonstrating Ryder’s strategic commitment to alternative fuels, the Company is also committing $19.4 million of its own capital into the project.

Vehicle Configurations

Ryder worked extensively with its OEM partners to determine the right vehicle mix and configurations to meet the needs and applications of customers in the Southern California market. The order includes 182 Freightliner M2-112 tractors, featuring the Cummins ISL-G engine, in both single-axle and tandem-axle day cab configurations. This represents the largest single heavy-duty natural gas truck order for Freightliner in North America. The balance of the order will include a mix of other unit configurations supplied from a variety of manufacturers. The trucks will be equipped with either liquefied or compressed natural gas (LNG and CNG) on-board fuel storage systems.

All 202 vehicles will be equipped with RydeSmart®, Ryder’s proprietary GPS fleet location, tracking, and vehicle performance management system. The RydeSmart® onboard telematics technology continuously monitors each vehicle’s location, mileage and speed, as well as other performance and diagnostic data. That information is communicated every 15 minutes and on-demand, as necessary, via a dedicated and secure cellular connection to fleet operators’ desktops. Using this depth of real-time fleet information and visibility down to individual vehicles, fleet operators can make a quantum leap in saving labor, time and money, while improving productivity and customer satisfaction. More information about RydeSmart® can be found at

These ultra low-emission trucks will be deployed into Ryder’s Southern California operations network, where Ryder’s 1,200 customers will be able to access them through short-term rentals, long-term leases, or through Ryder’s dedicated logistics services.


As part of Ryder’s agreement with SANBAG, the Company will also maintain the vehicles at three strategically located maintenance shops in Rancho Dominguez, Orange, and Fontana. The upgrade of the first facility in Rancho Dominguez will begin this month and is expected to be completed and ready to service natural gas vehicles in April. A number of important steps are required to ensure the facility will meet stringent industry and government safety standards for natural gas vehicle maintenance. These include upgrades of shop electrical and lighting systems, as well as the installation of enhanced air handling and ventilation systems and natural gas refueling stations. Ryder’s professional maintenance technicians are also receiving extensive, specialized training on the maintenance and repair of heavy-duty natural gas vehicles.

Technical and administrative support for this project is being managed by Gladstein, Neandross and Associates, an environmental consulting firm that is widely recognized throughout the United States for its expertise on air quality issues, alternative fuel vehicles, and infrastructure and energy projects.

For information and ongoing updates about the project, please visit


SANBAG is the council of governments and transportation planning agency for San Bernardino County. SANBAG is responsible for cooperative regional planning and furthering an efficient multi-modal transportation system countywide. SANBAG serves the two million residents of San Bernardino County. SANBAG supports freeway construction projects, regional and local road improvements, commuter rail and bus transit, freeway service patrol, ridesharing and congestion management efforts. SANBAG administers Measure I, the half-cent transportation sales tax approved by county voters in 1989 and again in 2004. For more information on SANBAG, visit

About SCAG

The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is the nation's largest metropolitan planning organization, representing six counties, 190 cities and more than 19 million residents. SCAG undertakes a variety of planning and policy initiatives to encourage a more sustainable Southern California now and in the future. For more information about SCAG projects, plans, services and initiatives, visit

About Ryder

Ryder is a FORTUNE 500® commercial transportation, logistics and supply chain management solutions company. Ryder’s stock (NYSE:R) is a component of the Dow Jones Transportation Average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. Inbound Logistics magazine has recognized Ryder as the top third party logistics provider and included Ryder in its 2010 “50 Green Partners” listing. Ryder also ranked 114 out of the top 500 U.S. companies and sixth in its industry sector in the 2010 Newsweek Green Rankings. Security Magazine has named Ryder one of the top companies for security practices in the transportation, logistics, supply chain, and warehousing sector. Ryder is a proud member of the American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program, supporting national and local disaster preparedness and response efforts. For more information on Ryder System, Inc., visit

Kia unveils Naimo electric vehicle concept at Seoul

The Naimo electric concept. Click to enlarge.

Kia staged the world premiere of the Naimo electric concept car at the Seoul Motor Show. Taking its name from the Korean word “Ne-mo”, meaning “square shape”, the Naimo electric crossover utility vehicle (CUV) is the third electric vehicle design to be unveiled by Kia Motors Corporation in a year.

Power comes from a PMSM (Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor) electric motor with a maximum output of 80 kW (107 hp) and maximum torque of 280 N·m (207 lb-ft), enabling Naimo to reach a top speed of 150 km/h (93 mph). A twin-pack 27 kWh battery is located under the trunk floor and uses LiPoly (Lithium Ion Polymer) technology.

Equipped with this battery, Naimo provides a driving range of 200 km (124 miles) on a single charge. To enhance range, the showcar is fitted with special low-drag 20-inch diameter alloy wheels.

Under a quick recharging cycle (50 kW) the Naimo’s battery can be recharged to 80% of its capacity within 25 minutes. Under the normal cycle (3.3 kW), 100% power is attained after five and a half hours.

Kia’s design team also made use of innovative technology features to give the car a premium feel and to ensure the car’s exterior remained uncluttered. For example, Naimo has no traditional wiper blade on the windscreen—instead it employs a high-intensity air jet at the base of the windscreen that performs an air wiper function. Conventional door mirrors have also been replaced with miniature cameras installed in the A-pillars.

The concept car has no B-pillars and features rear-hinged rear doors to maximize easy access to the cabin, and a three-way split opening trunk, allows versatile access to the load bay for varying luggage sizes.

Naimo will join Kia’s test fleet of hybrid, electric and fuel-cell vehicles being driven in widely varying conditions to develop future production models with zero or significantly reduced emissions.

Also appearing on Kia’s Seoul Motor Show stand will be the Venga and POP electric concepts unveiled by Kia last year at major international motor shows in Europe: the Venga at Geneva and the POP at Paris.

The Venga EV concept car was the same size as Kia’s regular B-segment MPV and features an electric powertrain placed within the existing engine bay and a twin-pack 24 kWh battery located under the trunk floor.

Source: Green Car Congress

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Computer Industry Executive Appointed as President of Ener1, Inc. and CEO of Ener1's Advanced Battery Manufacturing Subsidiary EnerDel

Ener1, Inc. has appointed Christopher L. Cowger, formerly a corporate vice president and general manager for the semiconductor giant Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), as president. He will also hold the role of chief executive officer of Ener1's lithium-ion battery systems subsidiary EnerDel, Inc., which he will run from the subsidiary's main office in Indianapolis.

Cowger previously held executive management and P&L responsibility for AMD's multi-billion-dollar regional business covering North, Central and South America since 2009. Before AMD he spent ten years at the multinational information technology leader Dell, Inc., last serving as vice president and general manager of its global consumer software and peripherals division. Cowger, 40, started his career in various engineering capacities at General Motors Corporation after receiving a degree in electrical engineering from Duke University. He also earned graduate degrees in electrical engineering and business administration from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"In Chris we have an exceptionally talented and innovative business leader with the sales, marketing and operations capability to help take our company to the next level," said Ener1 Chairman and CEO Charles Gassenheimer. "While rising quickly through three of the most important manufacturers of our times, he has demonstrated an ability to imbue an organization with a razor-sharp customer focus perfectly suited for Ener1's commitment to delivering the precise technology solution for every client in each of our three business verticals."

New York-headquartered Ener1 is a leading global maker of lithium-ion energy storage systems for transportation, electrical grid and industrial applications. EnerDel operates three production facilities in the State of Indiana, which forms part of Ener1's global corporate footprint that includes Korea, Japan, China and Russia. In addition to targeting the growing global market for passenger electric and hybrid vehicles, Ener1 is pioneering the development of medium- and heavy-duty systems for electrification of trucks and buses, as well as lithium-ion-based grid storage, particularly in emerging markets. The positions of president at Ener1 and CEO at EnerDel, which Cowger will hold, were previously unfilled.

"After helping propel matured global leaders in computers and microprocessors to higher levels of profitable growth, the chance to lead a company with an entirely new technology that can make a major contribution to society and that is clearly on the cusp of breakthrough success is exhilarating for me," said Cowger. "An opportunity like this rarely rings twice in a lifetime and I am honored to take it on with the energy and commitment its uniqueness merits."

About Ener1, Inc.

Ener1, Inc. is a publicly traded (Nasdaq:HEV - News) energy technology company that develops compact, lithium-ion-powered battery solutions for the transportation, utility grid storage and industrial markets. Headquartered in New York City, the company has more than 700 employees with manufacturing locations in the United States and Korea. Ener1 also develops commercial fuel cell products, nanotechnology-based materials and manufacturing processes.

Obama sets goal of reducing US oil imports by 1/3 by 2025; domestic and Western Hemisphere production, natural gas, biofuels, electric vehicles, fleet

Warning that “there are no quick fixes” and that “we will keep on being a victim to shifts in the oil market until we get serious about a long-term policy for secure, affordable energy”, US President Barack Obama announced a goal of cutting US oil imports by one-third by 2025 from the 2008 level of 11 million barrels of oil per day. Obama was delivering a speech on energy policy at Georgetown University.

Meeting the goal of cutting US oil dependence depends largely on two things, Obama said: finding and producing more oil at home, and reducing dependence on oil with cleaner alternative fuels and greater efficiency. While he noted that imported oil will remain an important part of the US energy portfolio for quite some time, Obama pointed to the potential to partner with countries such as Canada, Mexico, and Brazil (i.e., an emphasis on regional and Western Hemisphere sources) “which recently discovered significant new oil reserves, and with whom we can share American technology and know-how”.

Increasing US oil supply. Obama noted that last year, US oil production reached its highest level since 2003 and that for the first time in more than a decade, imported oil accounted for less than half the liquid fuel consumed. To increase domestic supply, Obama said:

  • The Administration is encouraging offshore oil exploration and production—as long as it’s safe and responsible. He said that the Administration has already approved 39 new shallow water permits, and an additional 7 deepwater permits in recently weeks. For onshore drilling, the Administration approved more than two permits last year for every new well drilled.

  • The Administration is pushing the oil industry to produce on leases already held. A newly released Department of the Interior (DOI) report shows that more than 70% of the tens of millions of offshore acres under lease are inactive, neither producing nor currently subject to approved or pending exploration or development plans. This includes almost 24 million inactive leased acres in the Gulf of Mexico, which potentially could hold more than 11 billion barrels of oil and 50 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

    For onshore leases, the review found that approximately 45% of all leases and approximately 57% of all leased acres are inactive. That means that out of a total of over 38 million leased onshore acres, almost 22 million leased onshore acres that are not being used.

That’s why part of our plan is to provide new and better incentives that promote rapid, responsible development of these resources. We’re also exploring and assessing new frontiers for oil and gas development from Alaska to the Mid- and South Atlantic.

But let’s be honest—it’s not the long-term solution to our energy challenge. America holds only about two percent of the world’s proven oil reserves. And even if we drilled every drop of oil out of every one of those reserves, it still wouldn’t be enough to meet our long-term needs. All of this means one thing: the only way for America’s energy supply to be truly secure is by permanently reducing our dependence on oil. We have to find ways to boost our efficiency so that we use less oil. We have to discover and produce cleaner, renewable sources of energy with less of the carbon pollution that threatens our climate. And we have to do it quickly.

—President Obama

New sources of energy. The President pointed to US natural gas as one of the options for new sources of energy.

Another substitute for oil that holds tremendous promise is renewable biofuels—not just ethanol, but biofuels made from things like switchgrass, wood chips, and biomass. If anyone doubts the potential of these fuels, consider Brazil. Already, more than half—half—of Brazil’s vehicles can run on biofuels. And just last week, our Air Force used an advanced biofuel blend to fly an F-22 Raptor faster than the speed of sound. In fact, the Air Force is aiming to get half of its domestic jet fuel from alternative sources by 2016. And I’m directing the Navy and the Departments of Energy and Agriculture to work with the private sector to create advanced biofuels that can power not just fighter jets, but trucks and commercial airliners.

So there’s no reason we shouldn’t be using these renewable fuels throughout America. That’s why we’re investing in things like fueling stations and research into the next generation of biofuels. Over the next two years, we’ll help entrepreneurs break ground on four next-generation biorefineries—each with a capacity of more than 20 million gallons per year. And going forward, we should look for ways to reform biofuels incentives to make sure they meet today’s challenges and save taxpayers money.

—President Obama

The President also emphasized the need to reduce consumption of oil through increased fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks, an pointed to the upcoming first round of efficiency standards for heavy-duty trucks and the second round of CAFE new CAFE standards for light-duty vehicles.

To achieve our oil goal, the federal government will lead by example. The fleet of cars and trucks we use in the federal government is one of the largest in the country. That’s why we’ve already doubled the number of alternative vehicles in the federal fleet, and that’s why, today, I am directing agencies to purchase 100% alternative fuel, hybrid, or electric vehicles by 2015. And going forward, we’ll partner with private companies that want to upgrade their large fleets.

—President Obama

To leverage the existing work being done on developing electric vehicles and a supporting infrastructure, Obama said that the government needed to offer more powerful incentives to consumers, and to reward communities that pave the way for adoption of these vehicles.

The President also emphasized the need for cleaner, renewable sources of electricity, and said that while today two-fifths of US electricity comes from clean energy sources, including nuclear, he thought that could be doubled.

That’s why, in my State of the Union Address, I called for a new Clean Energy Standard for America: by 2035, 80 percent of our electricity will come from an array of clean energy sources, from renewables like wind and solar to efficient natural gas to clean coal and nuclear power.

Now, in light of ongoing events in Japan, I want to say another word about nuclear power. America gets one-fifth of our electricity from nuclear energy. It has important potential for increasing our electricity without adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. But I’m determined to ensure that it’s safe. That’s why I’ve requested a comprehensive safety review by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to make sure that all of our existing nuclear energy facilities are safe. We’ll incorporate those conclusions and lessons from Japan in designing and building the next generation of plants. And my Administration is leading global discussions towards a new international framework in which all countries operate their nuclear plants without spreading dangerous nuclear materials and technology.

—President Obama

Source: Green Car Congress

Fully Charged gets exclusive ride in the Delta E4 Coupe - VIDEO

Here is a video that lets you take a ride in the Delta E4 coupe. Originally made for the X-Prize competition, this is one sweet ride and since there are only five of them, this is about as close as we are going to get!

SIM-Drive EV has range of 333 km (207 miles) on JC08

SIM-Drive Corp., a spin-off from Keio University, unveiled electric vehicle capable of traveling 333 km (207 miles) on a fully charged battery on the JC08 cycle.

In January 2010, SIM-Drive announced that 34 companies and municipalities, including automakers Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Isuzu Motors Ltd., were forming a consortium to develop a new electric car prototype, with mass-market sales being the end goal.

The SIM-LEI has in-wheel motors and can seat up to four. It runs on lithium ion batteries made by Toshiba Corp. that have a capacity of 24.9 kWh, roughly the same as EV batteries on the market. The vehicle can accelerate from zero to 100 kph in 4.8 seconds, a performance equal to that of high-end sports cars, according to SIM-Drive.

The start-up aims to commercialize the vehicle in 2013 through its development partners.

Source: Nikkei

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Electric cars - the vehicles of the future? 1967

Here is an old video of a 1967 Ford Comuta all electric runabout. The car has two small electric motors in the rear wheels and is run by four 12 volt batteries. Obviously not intended for the freeway, this car was destined for city errands and the like. It is unfortunate that so many of these vehicles never made it and died without much fuss.

Saft Develops New Lithium Ion Modules For Puegeot e-Vivacity electric Scooter

Saft has developed new modules of lithium-ion batteries for Peugeot’ latest scooter, the e-Vivacity.

By integrating two Saft lithium-ion battery modules each developing 1 kWh, Peugeot Scooters has been able to provide its latest model with total power of 3 kW at 6,000rpm and 60 km (37 miles) of range assuming a constant speed of 45 km/h (30 mph). After equipping the 3,000 first generation Peugeot electric scooters, the new Saft batteries take up less than half the space, and weigh less than half as much as their predecessors.

The batteries can be fully recharged at least 1,000 times without any deterioration in their performance. They have been designed to last at least ten years and allow the e-Vivacity to clock up 40,000 km (25,000 miles) and reach the same top speed as equivalent two-wheel vehicles equipped with 50 cm3 combustion engines.

The battery modules designed and manufactured by Saft are equipped with an electronic battery management system developed using the international IEC 61508 standard risk reduction procedure and thereby ensuring an optimal level of safety for the battery system.

A complete recharge requires between five and eight hours depending on whether the vehicle is equipped with one or two chargers; if with two, then 80% of the full charge can be obtained in just three hours. Partial charges do not affect the batteries’ useful life.

Source: Green Car Congress

Original Rollout of Think City EV's to MSRP at $41,695

Think City
Think City – Click above for high-res image gallery

Back in November of 2010, we reported that, come mid-2011, the electric Think City will hit the U.S. market at a price that's "just below $34,000 before incentives." While that price tag may still be accurate, that's not what the first 100 Think Cities will sell for. You see, Think's "below $34,000" price is just a "target" that the automaker aims to hit when the City launches at normal retail, but the first 100 Cities are burdened with a heftier $41,695 sticker price.

Think told Plugin Cars that the $41,695 price is only for the low-volume run of cars that the automaker is shipping out to fleets and select individuals. It is not the price at which the Think City will sell for when production ramps up and the general public gets a crack at buying it. Making matters even more confusing, Think told Plugin Cars that for buyers in Indianapolis, the City's current transaction price is $30,050.65. Apparently, that includes state sales tax and available state rebates, but not the $7,500 federal tax credit. So, what's the City's actual, official MSRP? That's still unknown.

Source: Autoblog Green

600 Nissan Leafs arrive at Port of Long Beach; more than 5,000 have been made

Luna Spirit

The Luna Spirit, loaded with 600 Nissan LEAF's, left Japan less than a day before the earthquake and tsunami devastated the island nation.

On March 18, Nissan stated that more than 1,500 Nissan LEAF vehicles were either in transit from Japan or at port in the U.S. This number includes the shipment of more than 600 Nissan LEAFS which left port in Japan on March 10, the day before the earthquake.

The arrival of the “Luna Spirit”, one of Nissan’s fleet of vehicle carrying ships—now docked and ready to be unloaded in Long Beach, Calif.—is a major breakthrough for electric cars in the United States. These 1,500 cars are the first major delivery of LEAFs to the U.S. and will put an order of magnitude more LEAFs on American roadways.

The Luna is just one of five ships that brought LEAFs from Japan to the US in March of 2011. The other ships are the Andromeda Spirit, the Bergamot Ace, the Hoegh Inchon, and the United Spirit. Together these ships are bringing more than 1,500 Nissan Leafs to America.

The Luna Spirit left Japan less than a day before the earthquake and tsunami devastated the island nation. This was enough time for the Luna to reach deep water before the tsunami caught up with her. There in the open ocean the tsunami would be traveling at 500 MPH. This high-speed massive energy wave harmlessly passed under the ship. The only visible sign at the surface was a three-inch wave.

After the vehicles are unloaded, these cars will be delivered to their waiting pre-order customers. According to the Japan Automobile Dealers Association (JADA), as of February 2011, only 173 LEAFs had been delivered to the U.S.

This delivery will still leave plenty of folks with pre-orders still unsatisfied. However, with this delivery, Nissan will cross multiple milestones. The Toyota RAV4 EV was one of the most beloved EVs of the EV1-era of vehicles; only 328 RAV4 EVs were sold to the public. Tesla has produced a total of 1,200 of its wicked fast Roadsters. But now, production of the LEAF has surpassed both of these iconic electric vehicles.

Along with the prior 3,657 LEAF sales (mostly in Japan), this puts the LEAF over the 5,000 production mark—and makes the LEAF one of the highest volume production electric vehicles in history. And Nissan is just getting started.

Nissan LEAF

With the latest shipment, the Nissan LEAF will begin to make electric cara a more common sight on American roads.

Japan will be dealing with the impacts of the disaster for some time. In a March 20 press release, Nissan reported that they have resumed production of the LEAF in Oppama, Japan. However, rolling blackouts and supply chain issues will hamper production for some time.

If you are one of the lucky people scheduled to receive your LEAF this spring, then you only have weeks to wait. For the rest of the pre-order customers, the Japanese people are strong and resilient—the nation will rebuild and recover.

Source: Plug In Cars

Monday, March 28, 2011

Regulated Voltage Control in Chevy Cruze contributes up to 1.5% improvement in fuel economy

A patented General Motors technology called Regulated Voltage Control (RVC contributes up to a 1.5% improvement in fuel economy in the Chevrolet Cruze.

RVC. Click to enlarge.

With RVC, the power that runs from the alternator to the battery is reduced from 14 volts to 12.8 volts under normal driving conditions. This allows the alternator to focus the power on the vehicle’s electrical loads and avoid charging the battery with current it doesn’t need.

When the voltage to the battery is reduced, the demand on the alternator is reduced. That in turn reduces the alternator’s pull on the engine, allowing the engine to run more efficiently. With the engine running more efficiently, fuel economy is improved.

When the battery is in a high state of charge, regulated voltage control extends to supplying some of the power to handle the load created by vehicle electronics, such as the radio. The sharing further reduces the electrical demands on the alternator and the engine helping to gain further engine efficiencies.

When the battery charge drops below a pre-determined level, the alternator automatically knows to route the necessary voltage to recharge the battery. This regenerative recharging automatically occurs when the vehicle is decelerating. So even though the battery is handling more of the vehicle’s electrical load, it will remain at a high state of charge.

Source: Green Car Congress

Top Four Fuel Efficient Hybrid Vehicles for 2011

top hybrid cars

The prices of the gas are going up like never before and there is no sign of it slowing down in near future. Does that mean you should panic and go all out to buy a hybrid car? If the prices are nearing to $4 a gallon, people do look out for alternatives and want to get rid of their gas guzzlers. Well, if you are planning to go for a hybrid or electric car then do so for its environmental benefits but not for saving the money on gas prices as it might not save you any of it.

Let us have a look at the top 5 fuel efficient cars in 2011 that you should go for buying not just for money but its environmental benefits.

1. 2011 Toyota Prius 1.8L 4-cyl. Hybrid engine, Automatic
2011 Toyota Prius is going to give you best mileage. According to EPA estimates 2011 prius is going to give you an impressive 51 mpg for city drive, 48 mpg for highway and 50 mpg for combined.

2011 Prius has everything you want in a car from great fuel economy, competitive price, lots of add on features to hatchback utility. The new Prius is better than its previous models where its aerodynamic drag is reduced and looks sleek and sporty. The new version gives more power and better fuel economy in addition to better suspension and improved steering. Look out for the plug in version for the car in near future as Toyota is facing tough competition from Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt, the best future competitor for Prius.

2. 2011 Lexus CT 200h
As per the estimates by EPA 2011 Lexus CT 200h is going to give 43 mpg for city drive, 42 mpg for highway and 40 mpg for combined.

2011 Lexus CT 200h has more to offer then just better fuel efficiency. The car has 1.8 L 4 cylinder engine, with 650V electric motor system which together gives 134 HP. The car is stylish and is fun to drive with lots of refinements. In addition you would get good and comfortable seats, a very impressive cargo space and a versatile layout.

3. 2011 Honda Civic Hybrid
As per the estimates by EPA 2011 Lexus CT 200h is going to give 40 mpg for city drive, 43 mpg for highway and 41 mpg for combined.

2011 Honda Civic Hybrid is very similar to Toyota Prius when it comes to looks and mechanically very similar to Honda Civic Sedan. In spite of its similarity the very efficient Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system works great in boosting its fuel economy to impressive levels. The car has 1.3 L, 4 cylinder engine which gives 93HP which is assisted by 20HP electric motor and a pack of batteries located in the rear of the car.

4. 2011 Honda Insight Hybrid
According to EPA estimates 2011 Honda Insight is going to give you an impressive 40 mpg for city drive, 41 mpg for highway and 43 mpg for combined.

2011 Honda Insight Hybrid is a mix of Honda Fit’s front end, Honda Civic Hybrid’s Integrated Motor Assist which makes it a mild hybrid car. It has 1.3 L, 4 cylinder VTEC engine assisted by electric motor system. Together they make 98HP which gives 123 pound-feet of torque.

Source: Newcarpark

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mercedes-Benz names Tracey Matura general manager of Smart USA

Tracey Matura

Mercedes-Benz USA on Tuesday named Tracey Matura general manager for the Smart brand in the United States effective July 1.

Matura, 48, will manage distribution, sales and marketing activities for the brand, Mercedes said in a statement.

Matura began her career with Mercedes as corporate counsel before being promoted in 2000 to general counsel. In 2006, she was named general manager of strategic retail development. She helped develop Mercedes' performance-based margin system and helped implement the automaker's ongoing Autohaus dealership improvement program.

Mercedes is scheduled to take over Smart distribution from Penske Automotive Group Inc. by midyear and will run Smart as a division, similar to the way it manages its Sprinter commercial vehicle unit. Matura replaces President Jill Lajdziak, who will remain with Penske.

Matura was chosen as one of Automotive News' 2010 "100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry."

How Will Tragedies in Japan Dampen Electric Vehicle Enthusiam?

2011 Nissan Leaf
2011 Nissan Leaf - Click above for high-res image gallery

We've already seen the panic here in the U.S. as activists and analysts question our nuclear infrastructure, and Congress considers a re-examination of our existing facilities. These new fears about nuclear power have everything to do with the events unfolding at Japan's Fukushima power plant, and Automotive News wonders if that trepidation could dampen the prospects of electric vehicles as well.

Plans in Europe call for about 1 million EVs on the road by 2020, and a lot that push centers around increasing the number of nuclear power plants to feed these vehicles. Let's face it, an EV that's charged via electricity generated at an oil or coal-burning plant doesn't do much to decrease our reliance on fossil fuels, so nuclear makes a lot of sense. And as costly and time-consuming as it is to erect a nuclear facility, it's likely easier and less expensive than relying on solar, wind or hydro-electric energy sources.

So what does all this have to do with electric vehicles? If the events unfolding in Japan lead governments to question the safety and viability of nuclear power, then new plants will be slow to come online. If car buyers know that their EV is likely burning the same CO2-emitting fossil fuels as their neighbor's internal combustion engine, what's the point of paying more for something that's just as dirty, more expensive and not as easy to fuel up?

Right now the situation at the Fukushima power plant is dire, but if the situation gets worse, the future of nuclear power, and possibly even EVs, could be just as bleak.

Source: Autoblog Green

Saturday, March 26, 2011

First Solar Powered EV Charging Station Opens At Brooklyn Bridge Park

The newly expanded Brooklyn Bridge Park keeps getting better and better. More and more waterfront property is being turned into beautiful grass and boardwalk promenades, and now it will be home to a solar-powered electric vehicle charging station in New York City, generously donated by Brooklyn-based Beautiful Earth Group (BE). The solar-powered station is the first of its kind in the Big Apple and one of only a few in the whole world.

Presented as a gift from BE, the station is totally off the grid and will use only solar power to charge EVs. Brookyln Bridge Park will use the station to power its electric service vehicles, which were purchased versus over gasoline-powered vehicles as per the park’s dedication to sustainability. The station will also save the park $200,000 in gasoline costs, as well as prevent 530 tons of carbon dioxide emissions that would have been a bi-product of gasoline powered maintenance vehicles.

The station itself was made from two recycled steel shipping containers (from a New York vendor), with photovoltaic panels lining the roof, and thus gathering enough solar power and transferring it to battery packs within the station. It can then charge five of the park’s electric service vehicles, an electric car and even a small home, yielding 5.6 kilowatts of power. The station is also modular, meaning it can be easily moved to another location, which BE hopes will spur other parks and companies to jump on the clean energy bandwagon. BE originally used the station for its own purposes before donating it to the park.

The station is only one of the sustainability efforts of the Brooklyn Bridge Park, which also takes pride in reusing architectural salvage, planting of native species, and efforts in creating marine habitats, as well as utilizing rainwater. The BE charging station at Brooklyn Bridge Park as also part of Bloomberg’s PlaNYC, which is an effort to reduce New York City’s carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030.

More lush grass to sit on with gorgeous Manhattan views, and now an innovative renewable energy station- the Brooklyn Bridge Park is quickly becoming the green destination of New York City!

Source: Inhabitat

A Novel 3-D Structure Allows Batteries to Charge Quickly And Still Retain Capacity

The batteries in Illinois professor Paul Braun's lab look like any others, but they pack a surprise inside.

Braun's group developed a three-dimensional nanostructure for battery cathodes that allows for dramatically faster charging and discharging without sacrificing energy storage capacity. The researchers' findings will be published in the March 20 advance online edition of the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Aside from quick-charge consumer electronics, batteries that can store a lot of energy, release it fast and recharge quickly are desirable for electric vehicles, medical devices, lasers and military applications.

"This system that we have gives you capacitor-like power with battery-like energy," said Braun, a professor of materials science and engineering. "Most capacitors store very little energy. They can release it very fast, but they can't hold much. Most batteries store a reasonably large amount of energy, but they can't provide or receive energy rapidly. This does both."

The performance of typical lithium-ion (Li-ion) or nickel metal hydride (NiMH) rechargeable batteries degrades significantly when they are rapidly charged or discharged. Making the active material in the battery a thin film allows for very fast charging and discharging, but reduces the capacity to nearly zero because the active material lacks volume to store energy.

Braun's group wraps a thin film into three-dimensional structure, achieving both high active volume (high capacity) and large current. They have demonstrated battery electrodes that can charge or discharge in a few seconds, 10 to 100 times faster than equivalent bulk electrodes, yet can perform normally in existing devices.

This kind of performance could lead to phones that charge in seconds or laptops that charge in minutes, as well as high-power lasers and defibrillators that don't need time to power up before or between pulses.

Braun is particularly optimistic for the batteries' potential in electric vehicles. Battery life and recharging time are major limitations of electric vehicles. Long-distance road trips can be their own form of start-and-stop driving if the battery only lasts for 100 miles and then requires an hour to recharge.

"If you had the ability to charge rapidly, instead of taking hours to charge the vehicle you could potentially have vehicles that would charge in similar times as needed to refuel a car with gasoline," Braun said. "If you had five-minute charge capability, you would think of this the same way you do an internal combustion engine. You would just pull up to a charging station and fill up."

All of the processes the group used are also used at large scales in industry so the technique could be scaled up for manufacturing.

They key to the group's novel 3-D structure is self-assembly. They begin by coating a surface with tiny spheres, packing them tightly together to form a lattice. Trying to create such a uniform lattice by other means is time-consuming and impractical, but the inexpensive spheres settle into place automatically.

Then the researchers fill the space between and around the spheres with metal. The spheres are melted or dissolved, leaving a porous 3-D metal scaffolding, like a sponge. Next, a process called electropolishing uniformly etches away the surface of the scaffold to enlarge the pores and make an open framework. Finally, the researchers coat the frame with a thin film of the active material.

The result is a bicontinuous electrode structure with small interconnects, so the lithium ions can move rapidly; a thin-film active material, so the diffusion kinetics are rapid; and a metal framework with good electrical conductivity.

The group demonstrated both NiMH and Li-ion batteries, but the structure is general, so any battery material that can be deposited on the metal frame could be used.

"We like that it's very universal, so if someone comes up with a better battery chemistry, this concept applies," said Braun, who is also affiliated with the Materials Research Laboratory and the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at Illinois. "This is not linked to one very specific kind of battery, but rather it's a new paradigm in thinking about a battery in three dimensions for enhancing properties."

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory and the Department of Energy supported this work. Visiting scholar Huigang Zhang and former graduate student Xindi Yu were co-authors of the paper.

Source: Science Daily

AT&T to Roll Out 101 CNG Chevrolet Express Cargo Vans Into Fleet

AT&T is putting 101 Chevrolet Express Cargo 2500 vans powered by low-emissions compressed natural gas into its customer service fleet.

Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana CNG storage tanks. Click to enlarge.

The vans get gasoline-equivalent fuel economy of 11 mpg city and 16 mpg highway. Fuel tank capacity ranges from 15.8 to 23 gasoline-equivalent gallons.

Each Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana CNG van is covered by GM’s three-year, 36,000 mile new vehicle limited warranty and five-year, 100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty, and meets all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) emission certification requirements.

The CNG option is available for order on Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana 2500 and 3500 Cargo vans.

Source: Green Car Congress

Friday, March 25, 2011

Job One Finally Rolls Off The Line For Fisker Karma PHEV

It seems like its been a decade since Fisker first introduced the world to its super-sexy plug-in hybrid, the Karma (though it’s only just over three years.) Finally though, the first Karma is complete, with more to come.

The Fisker Karma was first introduced in January of 2008 at the Detroit Auto Show. We’ve seen countless images, teasers, and even a sexy little video that made me want more, and finally the first cars are rolling off the assembly line of Valmet Automotive’s plant in Uusikaupunki, Finland. It will take another month or so for the first cars to be delivered, and Fisker hopes to delivery around 7,000 of the $88,000 sedans, in order to ensure quality. While these first vehicles will be built in Finland, Fisker purchased an old GM plant in Delaware for $20 million where they can build up to 100,000 cars a year, including the Karma and an as-yet-unnamed cheaper sedan codenamed “Project Nina.” Seems expensive, but I think Tesla Roadster sales have proven that people will pay a premium for high technology automobiles.

The Karma’s plug-in hybrid system uses a General Motors-soured 2.4 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine to power four electric motors that delivers over 400 horsepower and over 900 ft-lbs of torque. That’s enough to motivate the two-ton sedan from 0-60 mph in under six seconds and deliver “an annual average” of 100 mpg. The 20 kWh lithium-ion nanophosphate battery can propel the Karma for up to 50 miles on electricity alone (though I’m sure that drops in cold weather) and can be recharged in six to eight hours from a 220 volt outlet.

This has been a long time coming, and the Karma is at the top of the list of cars-I’d-give-up-beer-but-not-bacon-for. Never giving up bacon (and there’s always whiskey!)

Source: Gas2.0

Taking the Chevy Volt For a Few Laps Around Laguna Seca - VIDEO

Here is a video of the Chevy Volt trying to be a race car at Laguna Seca!

Norwegian Post becomes first European customer for Transit Connect Electric van with 20-unit purchase; targeting 30% reduction in CO2 by 2015

Norwegian Post Ford Transit Connect Electric. Copyright: Norwegian Post. Click to enlarge.

Norway Post has signed a contract to purchase 20 Transit Connect Electric vehicles, with an option to order more vehicles in the future. Norwegian Post is the largest provider of mail and logistics services and the biggest employer in Norway; the organization is targeting a 30% reduction in its CO2 emissions by 2015.

With a 28 kWh battery pack from Johnson Controls-Saft, Transit Connect Electric has a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph) and a range of up to 130 km (80 miles) on a full charge. Ford and Azure are introducing the Transit Connect Electric in summer 2011.

The Norwegian Post will be an environmental leader in the mail and logistics industry by taking advantage of the latest technology available. In signing a contract for delivery of the new Ford Transit Connect Electric, the Norwegian Post is taking an important step towards its goal of reducing 150.000 tonnes of CO2 annually.

—Dag Mejdell, CEO Norwegian Post

Transit Connect Electric offers a cargo volume of 3.8 m3 and a payload of 500 kg. It can be recharged using standard European 220/240-volt outlets in approximately eight hours.

The Azure Force Drive system includes a liquid-cooled Siemens 3-phase AC induction motor, 300V nominal, that delivers 158 N·m continuous and 235 N·m (peak); a Borg-Warner 31-03 single speed transmission with gear ratio of 8.28:1; an Azure Dynamics inverter; and a 3.3 kW charger. The 28 kWh battery pack comprises 16 modules (192 cells).

Transit Connect Electric builds on an existing relationship between Ford and Azure Dynamics and battery supplier Johnson Controls-Saft. Glider units are shipped from the Ford Otosan manufacturing facility in Kocaeli, Turkey, directly to an Azure-contracted up-fitter for final assembly. The completed Transit Connect Electric vehicles are then sold by Azure Dynamics through a specially-created network of dealerships. The European Transit Connect Electric will be badged with both the Ford Blue Oval and Azure’s Force Drive logo.

Norwegian Post. With its plan to reduce CO2 emissions by 30% by the end of 2015, Norwegian Post will meet the targets set in the Norwegian parliament’s Climate Settlement.

Norwegian Post has identified 10 specific areas in which CO2 cuts can be made. These measures cover a wide range, from the use of electric cars to the optimization of driving routes.

80% of the mail distributed in Norway is sent by train when possible. In Trondheim city center, Norwegian Post is introducing mail distribution with alternative vehicles such as bicycles and trolleys.

By 2015, Norway Post aims to replace 1,300 fossil-fuel cars with electric cars and other alternative vehicles.

Source: Green Car Congress

Daihatsu to price new minicar below $10K; most fuel efficient car in Japan, excluding hybrids

Daihatsu Motor Co. will sell its new minivehicle to be released this summer for less than ¥800,000 (US$9,900).

The Toyota Motor Corp. group firm had earlier indicated a price below 1 million yen, but opted to make the e:S car even more affordable to better compete with its main rivals: hybrids and electric vehicles. Chairman Kousuke Shiramizu revealed these plans in a speech in Kitakyushu.

At less than 800,000 yen, the e:S will cost about half as much as Honda Motor Co.’s basic Fit Hybrid subcompact, which is priced at 1.59 million yen. Its 30km per liter [70.6 mpg US, 3.33 L/100km] fuel economy, as measured under a new national standard to be introduced next month, makes it the most fuel-efficient car in Japan, excluding hybrids.

Source: Nikkei

Thursday, March 24, 2011

USABC awards $8M advanced battery technology contract to A123 Systems

The United States Advanced Battery Consortium LLC (USABC), an advanced research collaboration among Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Company and General Motors, has awarded an $8-million advanced battery development contract with A123 Systems Inc.

The competitively bid contract award is co-funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and includes a 50% cost-share by A123 Systems.

USABC Requirements at End of Life for LEESS PAHEV. Click to enlarge.

USABC awarded the 24-month contract to A123 to continue developing its Nanophosphate lithium-ion battery systems to meet USABC’s target application for a Power-Assist Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PAHEV) Low-Energy Energy Storage System (LEESS). The new LEESS requirements call for a smaller, lighter, lower-cost battery cell with higher regenerative power capability, lower energy and improved cold-crank capability.

USABC is a subsidiary of the United States Council for Automotive Research LLC (USCAR). Enabled by a cooperative agreement with the US Department of Energy (DOE), USABC’s mission is to develop electrochemical energy storage technologies that support commercialization of electric, hybrid electric and fuel cell vehicles. As such, USABC has developed mid- and long-term goals to guide its projects and measure its progress.

The new contract with A123 Systems is the company’s third development contract with USABC. In 2006, USCAR announced a $15 million, 36-month battery development contract with A123 to develop its Nanophosphate battery technology. A second $12.5 million technology development contract for plug-in hybrid electric applications was announced in 2008.

Source: Green Car Congress

Say What? I Can Lease the Volvo C30 EV for $2100 a Month?

volvo c30 electric
Volvo C30 Electric – Click above for high-res image gallery

A trial fleet of around 400 Volvo C30 Electrics is coming, and anyone who wants one had better have an awful big piggy bank. Speaking at a media launch near Indianapolis, IN today, the president of Volvo Car Special Vehicles, Lennart Stegland, said that, while the final price for the car hasn't been set, Volvo will not sell the EV, but instead offer the car through a three-year lease for around 1,500 Euros. Per month.

1,500 Euros comes out to about $2,129.85 at today's exchange rates, so if you stick it out for the full 36 months, you get to spend $76,674 to not buy a car. Even worse, Stegland said that Volvo will lose money on the deal. Ouch. Developing electric vehicles for mass production (which, on Volvo's schedule, will happen sometime around 2013 or so) is more than mildly expensive.

Sure, for the three years you drive the C30 Electric, you'll probably be quite happy with the car. We certainly were when we drove it last fall and fell for it again in Indiana today (our full write up is coming soon). To convince EV skeptics, Volvo is pushing its traditional safety message pretty hard with the C30 Electric, and we're sure the car is as safe as can be. We'll see how powerful this argument is when a hundred C30 Electrics come to the U.S. in the first quarter of 2012. An official lease price hasn't been set but, as much as we like it, it'll be hard to justify two-large a month for four-seat hatch.

Source: Autoblog Green

The Infiniti M35h Hybrid Electric Vehicle

Here is a promotional video from Infiniti touting their Hybrid M35h:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Microsoft's MURS will help plug-in vehicle drivers find the cheapest charging stations

When it comes to looking for the best prices for electricity to charge your plug-in vehicle, Microsoft wants to be at the top of the search results. The desktop and internet application company wants to be the data source for all things utility by creating a national database of tariff and rate plan information. The Microsoft Utility Rate Service (MURS) will be available via subscriptions to government agencies, power providers, auto makers, and EV charging equipment companies.

Microsoft's Director of Business Development Warren Dent, in a meeting with organizations involved in EV infrastructure in Portland, Oregon, explained that the company intends to have utility rate data available for 17 metropolitan areas, with all but three (Detroit, Denver, and Chicago) located in coastal states. It's not a coincidence that these areas closely align with Ford's electric vehicle launch schedule.

Ford is relying on Microsoft's service for its "value charging" program that will enable EV owners to program their vehicles to charge based on when utility rates are lowest.

When the service is complete, pricing data would be relayed from the utility to Microsoft to Ford's data operations to Ford vehicles. Customers would be able to program vehicle charging via the onboard computer or a mobile application.

This pathway is significant because it puts the controls into the vehicle itself and cuts out EV charging equipment companies, who are looking to develop their own services in partnership with smart grid service providers. Obviously, the vehicle needs to be plugged in to charge, but the vehicle would send the signal to the charging equipment to start or stop. Automaker will take a variety of approaches as to how much intelligence they will put in the vehicles.Microsoft does not have any interest in interfacing directly with consumers. As with Ford, MURS subscribers will use their own branding to interact with the public, according to Dent.Microsoft is partnering with one to three utilities in each region to get access to the data, including many of the largest in the country, including Duke Energy, Xcel Energy, and Portland General Electric.

Microsoft wants to be a leader in providing services to utilities and their customers, and is leveraging the company's Azure Marketplace DataMarket database infrastructure. The managing of EVs is seen as a driving force for establishing a platform for what will be a huge opportunity in smart grid data services. As examples, Pike Research estimates that investment in information technology for managing electric vehicles will reach $371 million annually in 2015, while smart grid data analytics services revenue will top $1.1 billion.

Microsoft is creating its own standards for storing and sharing utility data in an industry where standardization hasn't been necessary since utilities in Texas have not needed to have software or communications equipment that speaks the same language as that in Oregon or Illinois. With this early investment and development work, Microsoft may be temporarily pulling ahead of companies such as IBM, Accenture, SAP, Oracle and yes, Google, which also want a large slice of the energy information services pie. But they are sure to have company before long.

Source: Reuters

Ford Teams With AT&T to Wirelessly Connect New Ford Focus Electric

  • Ford Electric Vehicle Owners Will Have Ability to Remotely Monitor, Engage and Control Vehicle Settings via Information Collected over the AT&T Wireless Network
  • Ford Motor Company to use AT&T wireless network to connect new Ford Focus Electric
  • Wireless connection enables vehicle owners to control vehicle settings when away from the car - all part of a strategic approach to make Ford electric car ownership simple, easy and engaging
  • MyFord Mobile, Ford's exclusive app powered by MapQuest data, will be accessible through a smartphone or secure website
  • Embedded wireless connection and dedicated app includes the ability for the owner to monitor and control vehicle charge settings, plan single- or multiple-stop journeys, locate charging stations, pre-heat or cool the car

DALLAS and DEARBORN, Mich., March 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Ford Motor Company and AT&T* today announced an agreement to wirelessly connect the Ford Focus Electric, Ford's first all-electric passenger car. Announced in January at the 2011 International CES, the new Focus Electric enters production at the Michigan Assembly Plant in late 2011.

Through the new MyFord Mobile smartphone app, using the embedded AT&T wireless connection, Ford Focus Electric vehicle owners will have the ability to send and receive data about their car providing command and control of vehicle settings while away from it.

"Ford has been at the forefront of developing market leading telematics and infotainment services for its vehicles and we're thrilled to be a part of this exciting and significant next step with the upcoming Focus Electric," said Glenn Lurie, president of emerging devices, resale and partnerships, AT&T. "Connecting consumers directly to their electric vehicles in this new and innovative way is going to drive innovative and exciting levels of interaction."

MyFord Mobile technology provides Focus Electric owners in North America with a powerful tool to stay connected, monitor and control their vehicle. Through a smartphone app or secure website, MyFord Mobile invites Focus Electric owners to plan trips, monitor the vehicle's state of charge, receive various alerts for vehicle charging, as well as provides several other features designed to simplify the electric vehicle ownership experience.

"With a wireless connection, we're putting battery charge and vehicle range information, along with an interactive, data-driven trip planning app, directly at the fingertips of our customers," said Ed Pleet, product and business manager for Ford Connected Services. "This technology will keep drivers connected to vital information, enhancing their electric car ownership experience. The AT&T network is an important part of this equation and we're pleased to have AT&T on board."

MyFord Mobile will connect through the AT&T network, allowing the car to communicate off-board through standard wireless technology. From an internet connected mobile phone or computer, owners can:

Find current and projected state of charge information including estimated range and the amount of charge time necessary for additional distances
Program vehicle charging with utility input, allowing the car to start charging immediately or when electricity prices are lowest with the value charging feature, powered by Microsoft
Features powered by MapQuest available on the MyFord smartphone app:
  • Locate charging stations and get the destination sent to the vehicle
  • Know if the vehicle can reach a specific charge station from its current location with the current charge level
  • Create a journey with multiple stops, and determine the likelihood that the car has adequate charge for the full journey
  • Find the car by creating a route from a mobile phone to the vehicle
  • Receive alerts if the vehicle isn't charging when it's scheduled to, or if charging stops unexpectedly due to a power outage, plug removal or other event
  • Receive alerts during recharge when the vehicle has reached a particular preset charge level or has the ability to reach a particular destination
  • Engage remote vehicle preconditioning, using grid power to heat or cool the vehicle interior
  • Remotely lock/unlock doors
  • Use the built-in GPS system to locate the car
  • Download performance and system data
  • Fun ways of understanding your driver behavior, with ratings from 'Zen' to 'Zippy'
  • Receive information personalized to the driver, depending on which key the driver used

How the system works

At launch, the MyFord Mobile app will be available for most major smartphones, along with a mobile web application for compatibility with any phone supporting HTML-5 browser-based access, or feature phones with WAP 2.0-supported browsers. The feature also is accessible via a secure Ford website.

Owners will use the smartphone to communicate with a cloud-based highly secure server, which stores information provided by the embedded wireless module in Focus Electric. Using a cloud-based architecture ensures users will have up-to-the-minute access to information through the AT&T wireless network

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

The 1947 Tama All-Electric Automobile, Precursor to the Nissan Leaf - VIDEO

Today we’re looking at the 1947 Tama: a four seat, two door electric vehicle which is considered by many to be Nissan’s oldest electric car. It had a 36 volt lead-acid battery pack and a top speed of about 22 mph but boasted a range of 60 miles. Nissan brought out the old EV to take a spin on the Nissan Leaf course.

Need A Rental Car? Try the Nissan Leaf At Santa Monica Enterprise

Enterprise Rent-A-Car now offers customers the Nissan LEAF electric vehicle (EV) for daily and weekly rental at its 1702 Santa Monica Blvd. rental location in Santa Monica, California. Enterprise also has installed a charging station at the same location through Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) manufacturer ClipperCreek.

We’re making the Nissan LEAF available to local customers who are simply curious about the EV driving experience, those who are considering buying an EV, and those who want a fuel-efficient car rental option. It’s part of our ongoing commitment to be a leader in the electrification of the car rental and transportation industries.

—Greg Tabak, director of business sales in Southern California for Enterprise Holdings

Enterprise recently announced plans to add 500 Nissan LEAF EVs at select locations throughout its neighborhood network and through its WeCar car-sharing program throughout this year. In addition, Enterprise earlier this year became the first to offer rentals of Chevrolet Volt extended-range EVs to customers at its Ontario, Calif., rental location.

With more than 5,500 offices located within 15 miles of 90% of the US population, Enterprise Rent-A-Car offers a wide variety of car leasing, vanpooling, car sharing and hourly rental programs.

Source: Green Car Congress

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fisker Karma production finally gets underway

Start-up electric-vehicle maker Fisker Automotive confirms Job One today of its Karma sports sedan at Valmet Automotive in Finland, saying the plan is to ramp up slowly to avoid any hiccups on the $100,000 EV.

“The cars coming down the line, as from today, are full-production specification and build, but at the moment are very limited in quantity as we ensure full quality,” says Roger Ormisher, a spokesman for the Irvine, CA-based auto maker.

Ormisher provides no additional details but says in an email to Ward’s the initial units are bound for Fisker’s retail network in the U.S. and Europe as demonstrator models. The Karma will start arriving in the driveways of buyers who put down deposits in June and July, and all of those orders are expected to be filled by October.

An extended-range EV, the 4-passenger Karma features a 20-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and pair of 150-kW electric motors displacing a combined equivalent 403 hp. The battery pack will propel the car about 50 miles (80 km) before a 260-hp turbocharged 2.0L gasoline engine takes over for another 250 miles (402 km) of range.

A lightweight chassis and body panels using optimized aluminum material helps the Karma sprint to 60 mph (97 km/h) in as little as 5.9 seconds when using the electric and internal-combustion engine power modes in combination. Top speed is 125 mph (201 km/h).

The Karma joins the Chevy Volt EREV, Nissan Leaf EV, Tesla Roadster EV and Mitsubishi i-MiEV as the first roadworthy entries in the budding global segment.

Contract vehicle-maker Valmet will build the Karma, but a second, more-affordable plug-in EV currently code-named “Nina” will be produced at an assembly plant in Wilmington, DE, that Fisker recently bought from General Motors.

Fisker CEO Henrik Fisker expects to build up 100,000 EVs annually once the Delaware plants hits full production by 2014.

Source: Ward's Auto

General Motors plans 2nd shift for Detroit-Hamtramck plant to ramp up Chevrolet Volt production

General Motors plans to add a second shift worth as many as 1,000 jobs to its Detroit-Hamtramck plant late this year, as the automaker prepares to ramp up production of its Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric car.

Current plans have second-shift workers arriving for training late this year and starting production in earnest in early 2012, plant manager Teri Quigley told the Free Press Tuesday on the sidelines of an event recognizing the facility as a Michigan Clean Corporate Citizen.

The timing for adding the shift could change as GM continues to weigh its Volt production schedule amid rising oil prices.

GM is seeking to build more than 25,000 Volts this year, up from the original target of about 10,000, CEO Dan Akerson has said, as the automaker prepares to battle higher gas prices and make money on the Volt. Executives are debating a decision to produce 120,000 Volts annually starting next year, well above the current estimate of 45,000.

The Detroit-Hamtramck plant, which is also slated to help the Fairfax, Kan., factory build the next-generation Chevrolet Malibu when it debuts next year, is expected to stop producing the aged Buick Lucerne and Cadillac DTS sedans this year.

Jobs working on Detroit-Hamtramck's second shift would go first to any laid-off U.S. workers, who currently number about 2,500. Plant leadership told the Free Press in October the factory currently needs 900 to 1,000 people per shift, although GM spokesman Chris Lee said it’s too early to tell how many employees will make up the second shift.

With current production levels and design, each Volt costs $40,000 to build, not including development costs, Steve Rattner, former head of the Obama administration's auto task force, wrote in his recent book.

The car's suggested retail price is $41,000, minus at least $7,500 in federal and state tax credits.

Akerson has said he hopes the Volt will be profitable within three years.

Along with adding the second shift, the Volt factory plans to use solar panels to start supplementing some of the plant's electricity usage, said Frank Moultrie, chairman of Detroit-Hamtramck's UAW Local 22.

That effort should begin in 2011, Quigley said.

The Clean Corporate Citizen award, given by Michigan's Department of Natural Resources and Environment, rewards facilities that have shown a pattern of environmental stewardship. CCCs get regulatory benefits, such as expedited permits.

The Volt plant is GM's seventh CCC facility. Ford has five, and Chrysler has one.

Source: FreePress

Chevrolet unveils Colorado diesel show truck for global debut at Bangkok show

Chevrolet revealed the Colorado Show Truck in advance of the Bangkok International Auto Show, where it is making its global public debut. The concept previews the next-generation Colorado midsize pickup truck; the Colorado goes on sale in Thailand later this year.

Thailand is the world’s-largest market for midsize pickups, so this was the perfect location in which to unveil our new Colorado.

—Susan Docherty, vice president, GMIO Sales, Marketing and Aftersales
Colorado show truck. Click to enlarge.

The show truck features an extended-cab body atop a high-stance AWD chassis and rides on large, 20-inch wheels and off-road tires. Power comes from a 2.8L turbo-diesel engine, which produces a broad torque band for cargo and towing capability.

While the new Colorado was developed within GM’s global product development organization, engineers took careful steps to ensure it would meet local market needs. Roberto Rempel, GM’s global vehicle chief engineer, lived in Thailand for several months during the truck’s development, immersing himself in the market and observing how the Thai people use their trucks and the road conditions they experience.

More details about the production model will be released later in the year.

Source: Green Car Congress

Monday, March 21, 2011

Volvo C30 Electric Driving in the Arctic Winter - VIDEO

Here is a video of the Volvo C30 Electric in the Arctic where it is being reported that range is reduced by 50%. Doesn't sound as if this car is ready for the northern climes.

Wanna Make Two Statements at Once? Plunk Down $900 Grand for the 500 HP Plug-In Hybrid Porsche 918 Spyder

The latest rendering of Porsche’s plug-in hybrid 918 Spyder super sports car. Click to enlarge.

Porsche has begun taking orders for the 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid drive super sports car, first debuted as a concept at the Geneva Motor Show in 2010, even as production development proceeds.

The 918 Spyder is estimated to consume 3.0 L/100 km (78 mpg US) based on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) (ECE-R 101), equating to CO2 emissions of 70 g/km (112 g/mile). All-electric range is approximately 25 km (16 miles) in the NEDC. EPA fuel economy figures or estimates will be announced just before the first customer cars begin arriving in the United States near the end of 2013.

Its V8 engine delivers more than 368 kW (500 hp), assisted by two electric motors contributing a total of at least 160 kW (218 hp). The 918 Spyder is available for immediate order priced from €645,000 (US$915,000), subject to VAT and country-specific charges. US base manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $845,000 (excluding destination and handling charges).

Porsche is limiting production of the two-seater to no more than 918 units; production will begin in the same sequence in which orders are received. Production of the 918 Spyder is scheduled to commence on 18 September 2013 (i.e., 9/18); delivery of the initial vehicles will begin in November 2013.

The design is derived from the Carrera GT and Porsche 917 sports car as well as the RS Spyder and is very closely modelled on the 2010 concept car. Unlike the concept car, however, the production version of the two-seater, based on a carbon fibre-reinforced plastic monocoque, features a manual roof system with removable roof panels that can be stowed in the front luggage compartment.

The engine in the plug-in hybrid system is a high-revving V8 engine with a displacement exceeding 4.0 liters. The mid-engine power unit is based on the racing engine of the Porsche RS Spyder, which achieved multiple victories in the Michelin Green X Challenge in the American Le Mans Series, the Le Mans Series and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Power transmission to the rear wheels is by means of a compact, seven gear Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK). This is complemented by the two electric motors—one each on the front and rear axle. This configuration offers an innovative, variable all-wheel drive with independent control of the propulsion force on both axles.

The energy storage unit is a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery that can be charged from a conventional domestic power socket. The charging time depends on the country-specific grid network, being approximately three hours in Germany, for example, or seven hours at 110V/10A in the United States. A quick charging option is planned to reduce charging time yet further.

The plug-in sports car accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in a maximum of 3.2 seconds and has a top speed of more than 320 km/h (199 mph). That means the Spyder will be able to manage a lap of the Nürburgring Nordschleife in less than seven minutes and 30 seconds, trumping the Porsche Carrera GT, which needs seven minutes and 32 seconds. The top speed on purely electric power is 150 km/h (94 mph).

To shorten the time the customer has to wait for the 918 Spyder, Porsche is offering everyone placing an order the exclusive opportunity to acquire a 911 Turbo S “Edition 918 Spyder”, also limited to no more than 918 units. Visually, both inside and out, the special edition is inspired by the 918 Spyder’s characteristic individual features. Both the technology and basic equipment of the new 911 Turbo S Edition 918 Spyder are based on the 530 hp (295 kW) 911 Turbo S.

The 911 Turbo S Edition 918 Spyder is being offered to coincide with the commencement of sales of the 918 Spyder with deliveries starting in June 2011. The Coupé version of the special edition costs €173,241 (US$246,000) in Germany and €184,546 (US$262,000) as a Cabriolet, including VAT and country-specific equipment items respectively.

Source: Green Car Congress