Saturday, April 30, 2011

Geely McCar hides electric trike inside its hybrid or EV body - VIDEO

Here is a very novel concept from Geely:

Most U.S. Consumers Want to Buy an Electric Vehicle - E Source Study Finds 85 Percent Are Ready to Purchase


PRESS RELEASE

Plug-in electric vehicles may just be entering the market, but most U.S. consumers are ready to buy them. E Source recently analyzed data from the Nielsen Energy Survey and found that 85 percent of U.S. consumers say they would purchase a battery-driven car either right away (3 percent), when their current car needed replacement (57 percent), or when the technology is proven and it becomes more mainstream (25 percent). The caveat is that consumers strongly prefer (58 percent) plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) versions such as the Chevrolet Volt. PHEVs have greater range than electric-only cars like the Nissan Leaf and only 8 percent of consumers prefer them. "We are seeing a substantial willingness for drivers to move to plug-in electric vehicles, but only if the manufacturers can provide the easy extended range of travel that Americans are used to," says Bill LeBlanc, senior advisor at E Source.

E Source also reports that younger drivers are more willing than older drivers to purchase the electric-only cars, and people who describe themselves as liberals are similarly more inclined to desire the all-electric cars than those classified as conservatives. "We see that all ages and all political mindsets like the plug-in hybrid vehicles equally," says LeBlanc. "But when it comes to the all-electric car, it appears to be seen as more of a 'green' purchase, rather than as a practical upgrade to a more-efficient vehicle."

Another factor that E Source looked at was how far people drive each day and how that affects their desire for a plug-in electric vehicle. Daily driving habits don't seem to affect desire for the all-electric vehicle; however, desire for the PHEV grows as people spend more time in their cars. "Overall, the survey supports the existence of a huge untapped market for electric vehicles that can be charged at night at home. People seem very ready to move to the next generation of cars and dramatically decrease the frequency of their visits to the gas station," reports LeBlanc.

The E Source study examined other variables, including home ownership, type of home, household size, annual income, gender, age, marital status, and ethnicity. More information about the study can be found at www.esource.com/Residential_Energy-Use_2011.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Honda Announces the Plan to Build Solar Hydrogen Station on Grounds of Saitama Prefect. Office, FCX Clarity Used in Electric Vehicle Testing Program


PRESS RELEASE

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today announced its plan to build a Solar Hydrogen Station on the grounds of the Saitama Prefectural Office and introduce an electric power outlet equipped FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle within the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012. The initiative is part of the Electric Vehicle Testing Program for Honda's next-generation personal mobility products, in which Honda and Saitama Prefecture are currently collaborating. In a further initiative, Honda will equip the FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle with an outlet to function as a 10kW or higher power source, the approximate equivalent of the power required by 2 households*. Since the FCX Clarity uses a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to produce power with zero CO2 emissions, with its new outlet the vehicle will be able to serve as a zero-emission mobile electric generator.

In March 2009, Honda and Saitama Prefecture concluded an agreement to collaborate on environmental issues. Based on this agreement, since December 2010, Honda has been implementing an Electric Vehicle Testing Program in Saitama that features advanced electromotive technology and communications and telematics to help realize a low-carbon mobility society in the future.

Within this program, the Saitama Prefectural Office Solar Hydrogen Station will represent the hydrogen-powered society of the future, while the specially equipped FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle will refuel at the solar powered station and serve as both a vehicle and a high-capacity electric generator. This setup will allow Honda to do extensive testing on the technological capabilities and operational requirements of the Solar Hydrogen Station in a real-world urban environment.

To help replace fossil fuels, reduce emissions and combat climate change, Honda has been a leader in the ongoing development of fuel cells, which it views as the ultimate clean power source. Representing the hydrogen-powered society of the future and producing zero CO2 emissions during operation, the FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle became available for lease in the US in July 2008 and in Japan in November of the same year. Also believing it crucial to eliminate CO2 emissions during the production, storage and supply of hydrogen fuel, in January 2010 at the Los Angeles Center of Honda R&D Americas, Inc., Honda began experimental operation of a compact, quiet and low-cost next-generation Solar Hydrogen Station for household use.

* Based on the calculation that an average household uses approximately 5kW of electricity

BYD reports plug-in fleet test results; rapid charging not diminishing capacity

E6
BYD all-electric e6 Taxi in service in Shenzhen. Click to enlarge.

In conjunction with the one-year anniversary of its all-electric vehicle Taxi fleet test, BYD announced high-level results of several pilots of its plug-in electric vehicles—the F3DM, e6 and eBUS-12—in fleet testing across the world.

In total, BYD plug-ins have accumulated more than 1.769 million all-electric miles (2.847 million km) and have seen no diminished range or capacity due to rapid-charging. BYD vehicles are estimated to have already saved $360,000 in fuel costs and more than 2.776 million lbs (1.26 million kg) of carbon-dioxide.

50 of BYD’s e6, five-seat crossover vehicles, each with a range of more than 160 miles (300 km) and a top speed of 88 mph (140 km/h), have been in service at Shenzhen-based Pengcheng Electric Taxi Company since 29 April 2010. The Shenzhen e6 Taxi fleet has now accumulated ~1,730,000 all-electric miles (2.77 million kilometers). The distance traveled for single fleet vehicles has reached ~63,000 miles each (>100,000 km).

250 more eTaxis are being delivered to the International University in Shenzhen before August this year. According to collected data, the per-car-fuel-savings is more than $1,167 per Taxi per month (driving an average of 400 km per day). BYD’s all-electric Taxis are expected to help Shenzhen avoid about 133 lbs (or 60.4 kg) of carbon-dioxide emissions per day per taxi. This is an equivalent of 2,425,060 lbs (or 1.1M kg) of carbon-dioxide pollution saved by this fleet in the first year.

BYD said that the most important finding in the e6 fleet testing was that there has been no noticeable energy drop—both driving range and battery performance has been stable in rapid-charging conditions over the 1.73M miles tested.

The results of the e6 fleet, which was continuously rapid charged in 20-30 minutes, provide a proven track record for its Iron-Phosphate battery technology, BYD said.

BYD also reported on its F3DM fleet which BYD launched in its first US tests at the Housing Authority of Los Angeles (HACLA). The F3DM can travel more than 40 miles (64 km) all-electric but can be engaged to act as a Hybrid-Electric (HEV) to extend its range up to 300 miles (483 km). The HACLA fleet has now accumulated ~10,430 miles (16,785 km) all-electric and 14,430 total miles (23,223 km); 4,000 fuel-driven miles when extended range was necessary.

The fleet is achieving an equivalent of 88 mpg (2.67 L/100km) and BYD estimates the per-car-savings—even netting out EV charging and electricity costs—is ~70%. BYD’s dual-mode cars are expected to save HACLA about 37 lbs (16.8 kg) of carbon-dioxide per-day-per-auto when driven to the EV range.

In China, BYD launched an all-electric bus fleet with the eBUS-12 in Shenzhen and Changsha, China in January 2011. These fleets have already accumulated 28,802 all-electric miles (46,380 km) while undergoing a 3-hour-charge of the 324 kWh FE battery. An example of the per-eBUS-savings for Shenzhen’s Bus Line 202 (driving only 200 km per day) is about $2,833 monthly per eBUS. 300 more buses will be delivered to Shenzhen in August of this year. BYD’s all-electric eBUSes save about 708 lbs (322 kg) in carbon-dioxide emissions per eBUS per day.


Source: Green Car Congress

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Daimler’s car-sharing service car2go expands to Canada

Daimler’s car-sharing service car2go is expanding into Canada with the announcement that Vancouver, British Columbia, is the first Canadian city selected to launch its innovative mobility service. A newly created company, car2go Canada Ltd., a subsidiary of Daimler North America Corporation, will also be located in Vancouver.

First launched in Ulm, Germany three years ago, car2go was successfully rolled out a year later in North America in Austin, Texas. To date, a total of more than 35,000 customers have joined the car2go program in Ulm and Austin. There have been more than 600,000 fully automated rental transactions, averaging between 10 and 60 minutes.

car2go was also recently introduced in Hamburg, Germany, and becomes operational in Amsterdam in the Netherlands at the end of 2011.

car2go uses a “free-floating” model of car sharing, where cars are available throughout the city and can be accessed “on-demand” or reserved up to 24 hours in advance. car2go members can use car2go smartphone apps, the car2go website or a telephone hotline to find the nearest vehicle within the 47-square-kilometer Vancouver pickup and drop-off area which consists of the following quadrant: the south border follows 41st Avenue to the north border which follows the Burrard Inlet. The east border is Nanaimo Street and the west border is Alma Street.

Members can drive the car when and where they want, and then they can simply leave it in any available “permit only” on-street parking spot in downtown or residential neighborhoods within the defined business area, or in one of the specially marked car2go parking spaces. In essence, every trip is a one-way rental, with no need to return to the location where the driver picked up the vehicle.

car2go charges customers only for the actual use of the vehicle, with rental periods as short as a per-minute basis. The rental prices in Vancouver are C$0.35 per minute, C$12.99 per hour and C$65.99 CAD per day which includes fuel, parking, mileage, insurance, maintenance, cleaning, GPS navigation and a 24/7 hotline customer support.

The smart “car2go edition” vehicles, developed in collaboration by car2go and smart in Germany, are the first series-produced automobiles designed and manufactured specifically for car sharing. Every car2go vehicle is outfitted with a solar roof and telematics hardware, including an onboard computer with a touch screen with radio and GPS controls. The smart “car2go edition” vehicles for Vancouver are provided by Mercedes- Benz Canada and its Vancouver Retail Group.

A network of 225 smart “car2go edition” vehicles will be available to Vancouver car2go members as of June 2011. Starting today until 29 May 2011, Vancouver residents can pre-register for their car2go membership without having to pay the registration fee (a C$35 value) at www.car2govancouver.com using Promo Code: VAN, or in person at the car2go office at 45 Water Street in the Gastown area of downtown Vancouver.

car2go conducted a trial assessment of its service in Vancouver from June 2010 to March 2011 with select test users.


Source: Green Car Congress

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Honda Civic Natural Gas, gets a world premiere in New York


PRESS RELEASE

America's only manufacturer-built natural gas passenger car provides a stylish and viable alternative to gasoline and electric vehicles

TORRANCE, Calif., April 20, 2011 – The all-new 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas leverages the style and refinement of the Civic Sedan with the wide-ranging environmental and historical operational cost advantages of a vehicle run exclusively on compressed natural gas (CNG).

"The Civic Natural Gas builds on the company's 15-year legacy of offering viable, alternative fuel-powered vehicles by adding popular features and expanding its retail availability," said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "Inherently clean-burning natural gas has a proven track record as an extremely low-emission, domestically produced transportation fuel. The new Civic Natural Gas makes it even more convenient to tap into this desirable and abundant resource."

The Civic Natural Gas (formerly named Civic GX) has been offered to fleet customers nationwide since the 1998 model year. Since 2005 it has also been marketed to retail customers starting in California, and then later in New York, Utah and Oklahoma. For 2012, the Civic Natural Gas is poised to broaden retail access as it becomes available nationwide through qualified Honda dealers.

Multiple benefits exist to using natural gas as a vehicle fuel. From a value standpoint, natural gas has historically cost about 30-percent less per gasoline-gallon-equivalent compared to gasoline when purchased at public fueling stations. As an alternative fuel vehicle with extremely low smog-forming emissions, the Civic Natural Gas currently qualifies for a state-issued decal allowing single-occupant access to high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) "carpool" lanes in California and several other states.

For 2012, the Civic Natural Gas receives enhanced feature content found in the other all-new Civic models. The new "intelligent" Multi-Information Display (i-MID) provides a convenient platform for integration of vehicle information and compatible personal electronics with a driver-oriented 5-inch color LCD display and intuitive steering wheel controls. Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® for compatible mobile phones and a USB audio interface for compatible music players are also standard.

For the first time ever, the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation with voice recognition and FM Traffic is available in the Civic Natural Gas. The navigation system database uniquely includes retail fueling locations for CNG.

A CNG-version of the same 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine found in the Civic Sedan and Coupe models powers the Civic Natural Gas. A 5-speed automatic transmission is standard equipment. The Civic Natural Gas has a Honda-estimated city/highway/combined fuel economy rating of 27/38/31 miles per gallon (gasoline-gallon equivalent). Compared to the 2011 model, city fuel economy improves by 12.5 percent, and highway fuel economy is up by 5.5 percent. The Civic Natural Gas includes Honda's ECO Assist™ technology, an innovation that can enhance efficient vehicle operation at the touch of a button while also providing visual feedback to promote and confirm an efficient driving style.

The Civic Natural Gas engine incorporates unique features to operate exclusively on CNG. The compression ratio increases to 12.7:1, compared to 10.6:1 in the Civci Sedan's gasoline-powered engine. Exclusive fuel injectors, intake and exhaust valves, and valve seats accommodate the unique properties of natural gas. Stronger connecting rods and special pistons are used in consideration of the higher compression ratio.

The Civic Natural Gas has its 3600 p.s.i. fuel tank located between the rear wheels. The safety-engineered aluminum-lined composite fuel tank can contain the gasoline-gallon equivalent (GGE) of 7.8 gallons of gasoline when filled to 3600 p.s.i. with CNG.

Designed with a sleek windshield rake, a sweeping roofline and a new interpretation of the previous model's "one-motion" profile, the lines of the 2012 Civic Natural Gas suggest a sophisticated and athletic appearance. A low and wide stance contributes to a distinctive visual presence, while thinner A-pillars stretch further toward the front of the vehicle than before to improve visibility and the perception of interior space. The C-pillars also stretch further toward the rear of the vehicle compared to the previous generation to better complete the flowing one-motion appearance. Aerodynamic features such as flat under-body construction and functional aerodynamic strakes in front of the tires help to increase fuel-efficiency.

The redesigned interior offers more style with new functionality and new features. An intuitive "two-tier" layout prioritizes frequently referenced instruments like the speedometer up high in the driver's line of sight with less frequently referenced information positioned down lower. The i-MID can present audio information including album artwork, custom vehicle settings, and personal wallpaper backgrounds. A four-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system is standard, and it can stream music wirelessly via a Bluetooth connection with a compatible player, or via a wired USB connection. A Bluetooth HandsFreeLink system offers convenient device pairing and lets the driver make calls using pre-assigned voice tags and steering wheel controls.

Building on the successful packaging of the previous generation, the passenger volume of 94.7 cubic feet increases by 3.7 cubic feet, and gains have also been made in front shoulder room (+2.9 inches).

The 2012 Civic embraces Honda's tradition of making its vehicles fun to drive by continuing to use a fully independent suspension design, a premium and exceptional feature in the entry compact segment. The front MacPherson strut and rear multi-link suspensions are tuned for sporty driving fun, yet provide refined ride comfort.

For safety, a wide variety of standard equipment includes Honda's exclusive Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure for enhanced frontal collision energy management and vehicle-to-vehicle crash compatibility. ACE enhances frontal collision energy management through a network of load bearing structures in the front of the vehicle. Standard safety equipment includes VSA that integrates with the new Motion-Adaptive EPS system; dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags; front side airbags with occupant position detection system (OPDS); side curtain airbags; and a 4-channel anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist.

The Civic Natural Gas engine produces almost zero smog-forming emissions and is the cleanest internal-combustion vehicle certified by the EPA (Tier-II, Bin-2 and ILEV certification as of August 2010). It is also recognized by the state of California as an Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) by meeting SULEV standards and maintaining its emissions durability for at least 150,000 miles or 15 Years. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) named the 2011 Civic GX "America's Greenest Vehicle" for the eighth time in its Green Book® ranking of environmentally responsible vehicles.

All Civic Natural Gas models are produced at Honda Manufacturing of Indiana (HMIN) from domestic and globally sourced parts. The 2012 Honda Civic is covered by a 3-year/36,000-mile new car limited Warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain limited warranty, and a 5-year/unlimited-mile corrosion limited warranty.


1. Nationwide, in states that have sufficient CNG stations within close proximity to authorized Civic Natural Gas dealers.
2. Preliminary mileage estimates determined by Honda. Final EPA mileage estimates not available at the time of printing. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.

Better Place, China Southern Grid Sign Strategic Agreement Centered on Battery Switch Model

PRESS RELEASE

Guangzhou Municipal Government Signs Agreement to Aid New Partnership

At a signing ceremony today in Israel with officials from Guangzhou, Better Place announced a strategic agreement with China Southern Power Grid Co. (CSG), the world’s eighth largest utility according to the Fortune Global 500. The agreement, which focuses on joint electric car and infrastructure projects in CSG’s service areas, will further advance electric cars with switchable batteries in China. The agreement calls for the companies to open a battery switch station and joint education center in Guangzhou before the end of the year, while working to formalize a joint-venture partnership.

“Better Place has conducted extensive research and testing on its battery-switch technology combined with managed charging, which takes into account the attributes and needs of the electric grid as the electric-car industry grows rapidly in China”

Underscoring Guangzhou’s support for the Better Place-CSG cooperation, Executive Vice Mayor Wu Yimin today signed an agreement with Better Place Founder and CEO Shai Agassi that calls for the Municipal Government of Guangzhou to assist Better Place and CSG in their efforts to create a supply chain hub and electric car network in China’s third largest city and home to CSG. The Guangzhou accord calls for the municipal government to encourage local car manufacturers, such as Guangzhou Automobile Industry Group, to produce electric cars with switchable batteries. It also calls for the city to promote electric-car adoption in fleet segments including public-sector vehicles and private-sector fleets such as taxis.

“China Southern Grid is an important partner in a huge market that is moving quickly toward the mass-market development of electric cars and is embracing battery switch as the primary means of range extension,” Agassi commented. “Our collaboration with China Southern and the support of the Guangzhou government open the door to new opportunities for switchable-battery electric cars made by Chinese manufacturers for the domestic and export markets.”

“Better Place has conducted extensive research and testing on its battery-switch technology combined with managed charging, which takes into account the attributes and needs of the electric grid as the electric-car industry grows rapidly in China,” said China Southern Grid Chairman Zhao Jianguo. “We believe that networked infrastructure is critical to enable broad adoption and focusing on charging alone would be too costly and time-consuming. The battery-switch model may become mainstream in China and our joint visitor center and battery switch demonstration project with Better Place will help promote electric-car adoption in China by allowing potential customers to experience this innovative solution.”

“Electric cars present a great opportunity for China and are critical to achieve a low carbon economy. We will support this rapidly growing industry by encouraging production of electric cars in the region and promoting adoption in fleets,” said Wu Yimin, Executive Vice Mayor of Guangzhou. “The cooperation between China Southern Grid and Better Place is a strategic step, and both companies will have our full support. We are pleased to host the joint education center, the first of its kind in China, later this year.”

The Better Place-CSG agreement calls for the companies to jointly engage relevant Chinese government bodies and other stakeholders, secure governmental policy support, and promote technical standards, where appropriate, to further accelerate China’s rapidly-growing, electric-car industry. The companies will develop in phases the joint education center to host government and industry delegations and educate Chinese consumers about the benefits of going electric. The center will include interactive exhibits, meeting facilities, electric cars that visitors can test drive, and an automated battery switch station. The facility is slated to open before the end of year in central Guangzhou. Better Place currently operates similar centers near Tel Aviv, Copenhagen, and Toronto, hosting nearly 100,000 visitors per year.

As CSG and Better Place further develop their relationship, the companies also are looking at the potential for a joint commercial operation based on a switchable-battery, network-operator model. Their pilot projects and other joint activities will explore the benefits that switchable-battery electric cars and the networked infrastructure that supports them can deliver to the electric grid in CSG’s service area, which spans five provinces, one million square kilometers, and 230 million people in Southern China.

CSG, which ranks number 156 on the Fortune Global 500 list of the world’s largest corporations, is part of the Electric Vehicle Industry Alliance led by China’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, or SASAC. The Chinese government created the alliance of state-owned auto, battery, electric, and oil companies with the ultimate goal of building internationally competitive electric-car brands. The Chinese government has declared the electric-car industry one of seven strategic emerging sectors, stated its intent for China to become the world's largest developer and manufacturer of electric cars, and offered strong support in the form of investment and incentives as the country seeks to leapfrog combustion-engine technology and reduce a growing dependence on oil.

Agassi added, “We are in advanced discussions with a number of Chinese automakers to partner around our open network solution and we will share our selection of preferred partners with the market once a final decision is made.”

By the end of the year, Better Place will have battery switch stations under deployment in countries on four continents, including the U.S., Europe, Australia and now China. The deployments form the basis of a growing network for making electric cars more affordable, convenient and sustainable than today’s cars with internal combustion engines. The Better Place model also offers governments around the world a solution for reducing dependence on oil and its harmful contributions to global climate change and local pollution while growing domestic green jobs.

About Better Place

Better Place, the world’s leading electric car services provider, is accelerating the global transition to sustainable transportation. Better Place is building the infrastructure and intelligent network to deliver a range of services to drivers, enable widespread adoption of electric cars, and optimize energy use. The Better Place network addresses historical limitations to adoption by providing unlimited driving range in a convenient and accessible manner. The company works with all parts of the transportation ecosystem, including automakers, battery suppliers, energy companies, and the public sector, to create a compelling solution. Based in California and privately held, Better Place has operating companies in Israel, Denmark, and Australia. More information is available at www.betterplace.com.

J.D. Power sees hybrid and EV share below 10% of US market through 2016 despite rising fuel prices

Jdp
Percentages for overall consideration of alternative powertrains (definitely would / probably would). Data: J.D. Power. Click to enlarge.

Growth of alternative powertrain vehicles sales will be limited by consumer concerns about costs as well as functionality, according to the newly-released J.D. Power and Associates 2011 US Green Automotive Study. With a rapid increase in the number of alternative powertrain vehicle models projected for the next several years, automakers will be fighting over the relatively few consumers who are willing to pay to “drive green”, according to the report.

The inaugural study examines attitudes of US consumers toward four primary alternative powertrain technologies: hybrid electric vehicles; clean diesel engines; plug-in hybrid electric vehicles; and battery electric vehicles. The study gauges consumer consideration rates of these powertrain types for their next new vehicle purchase and explores specific perceived benefits and concerns that factor into the decision-making process. Percentages for overall consideration (definitely would / probably would) were:

  • Hybrid electric vehicles: 51%
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles: 37%
  • Diesel engine vehicles: 31%
  • Battery electric vehicles: 26%

By the end of 2016, J.D. Power and Associates expects there will be 159 hybrid and electric vehicle models available for purchase in the US market— a significant increase from 31 hybrid and electric models in 2009. However, J.D. Power also sees hybrid and electric vehicle share of the US market to remain below 10% through 2016.

While consumers often cite saving money on fuel as the primary benefit of owning an alternative powertrain vehicle, the reality for many is that the initial cost of these vehicles is too high, even as fuel prices in the United States approach record levels. Reduced expenditure on fuel is the predominant benefit cited by considerers for each of the primary alternative powertrain technologies examined in the study.

Alternative powertrains face an array of challenges as they attempt to gain widespread acceptance in the market. It is the financial issues that most often resonate with consumers, whether it is the higher price of the vehicle itself, the cost to fuel or charge the vehicle, or the fear of higher maintenance costs. The bottom line is that most consumers want to be green, but not if there is a significant personal cost to them.

—Mike VanNieuwkuyk, executive director of global vehicle research at J.D. Power and Associates

Although the environmental benefits of these alternative powertrain vehicles are recognized, they are mentioned far less frequently than saving money on fuel. For example, 75% of consumers who indicate they would consider a hybrid electric vehicle cite lower fuel costs as a main benefit. In contrast, 50% cite “better for the environment” as a main benefit of these vehicles.

Consumers who are not considering an alternative powertrain vehicle also recognize the fuel-cost savings these vehicles can offer. However, they cite significant perceived or actual impediments to ownership in addition to purchase price, including driving range, increased maintenance costs and compromised vehicle performance. These consumers are far more likely to switch into a more fuel-efficient vehicle powered by a traditional internal combustion engine than an alternative powertrain vehicle.

According to VanNieuwkuyk, concern about the purchase price of alternative powertrain vehicles—particularly for hybrid electric vehicles—has become even more of an issue in 2011. At the end of 2010, tax credits from the Energy Policy Act of 2005 were phased out.

Hybrid electric vehicles have been available in the automotive market for more than 10 years, and consumer awareness and understanding of them has grown during that time. As concerns about the functionality and performance of hybrid vehicles have abated, vehicle price has become more prevalent as the primary purchase impediment. Without a tax credit to offset the price premium, consumers must absorb all of this additional cost. Furthermore, aggressive government subsidies are unlikely to be sustainable over the long term. Ultimately, the true cost of the technology needs to come down substantially.

— Mike VanNieuwkuyk

Although there are also significant price premiums for battery electric vehicles, functional concerns are more likely to limit consideration rates for this powertrain. Driving range and the availability of charging sites away from home are the two concerns cited most often by those not considering this powertrain. This “range anxiety” contributes to the lowest consideration levels of the primary alternative powertrain technologies.

For clean diesel engines, fuel prices and availability—factors largely out of the control of vehicle manufacturers—have long been impediments to acceptance of the technology. Furthermore, negative perceptions of older diesel-powered vehicles continue to affect perceptions of clean diesel vehicles, as concerns about emissions and exhaust odor are mentioned frequently.

Advocates of clean diesel engines tend to be some of the most vocal among consumers who tout the benefits of their chosen technology. However, this consumer group is relatively small. Clean diesel technology continues to struggle not only against concerns about cost and perceived fuel availability, but also against the lingering perception that diesel is ‘dirty.’

—Mike VanNieuwkuyk

Implications for Automakers. Overall, the study reveals interest in alternative powertrain vehicles among a majority of consumers, with perceptions of green vehicles being largely positive. However, converting this interest into actual sales will require concerted efforts to improve the technology and infrastructure and reduce the cost to consumers.

The 2011 US Green Automotive Study combines information and insight from J.D. Power’s primary consumer research, social media intelligence, forecasting and transactional sales data. The primary research includes a study of more than 4,000 consumers who indicate they will be in the market for a new vehicle within the next one to five years. The study was fielded in February 2011.


Source: Green Car Congress

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tony Posawatz Talks Chevy Volt and Future Price Cuts, We Hope

Last week at the EDTA conference we had opportunity to sit down with Vehicle Line Director for the Chevrolet Volt, Tony Posawatz, to discuss myriad issues including future cost cutting.

Posawatz said his days start at 5 a.m. and the Chevrolet Volt is keeping him even more busy now that it is in production. When we caught up with him around 6 p.m., he was still on the go, manning the Volt display, energetically engaging visitors and industry peers.

As we were talking, a man came up smiling, shook hands all around, and greeted Posawatz.

He was a leader from Delphi automotive components, Posawatz explained.


Costs for this car will come down, but that doesn’t mean it will be cheapened.

“So, we’re seeking he and his team to develop us a lot of good, highly efficient, low-cost components for the future.” Posawatz said with humor in his voice.

“We’ll get it,” came the reply with a grin.

“See, and he is committed,” Posawatz said to laughter.

As we had already been discussing the car, I could not help but take the bait and open up the broader question.

“Is that how you are going to cut the cost for the Volt,” I asked.

“We have a lot of ways, lot of ways to cut the cost,” Posawatz said.

I replied everyone is curious because a couple weeks ago GM’s Vice President of Global R&D, Alan Taub, stated unequivocally that GM was “on track” to meet a target. So, how would GM get production costs down? Would it consider stripping the Volt, making it cheaper somehow?

“None of that,” Posawatz said, “But I just told the last gentleman: like any new technology, whether it be the $4,000 cell phone, plasma screen TV, you know, computer storage – they all have their costs. It’s no different from the first high-volume battery.”


Tony Posawatz is also co-chairman of EDTA’s board of directors. Manning the booth, he entertained one and all.

In a nutshell, Posawatz said Volt supply contracts were made when GM’s credibility was at a low point. To some, the Volt was possibly another experimental car with no guarantees.

“So some of the original cost we have is cost that is probably higher than it needs to be because the suppliers were either reluctant to enter the business, there was no competition for it, or there was no assured high volume,” Posawatz said, “Some of those things have changed.”

Earlier that day, Posawatz had told a breakout session audience his theme centered around the Bob Dylan lyrics: “The times, they are a-changin.’” While he was referring to GM’s overall involvement in the EV industry, it seemed clear this theme was resonating deeper into contributory aspects, including the Volt’s production cost.

“As we increase our volume, contractual relationships will change with higher volume price comes down,” Posawatz said. “As we resource [battery] cells and they no longer come from Korea, and they are going to come across the state from Holland, Michigan, do you know how much money is reduced?”

After the Holland plant is up and running, he said, a major part of the Volt’s cost will come down, without stripping any quality out of the car. This will happen after GM is sure its domestic plant can reliably produce LG Chem’s “secret recipe” for its batteries.

“So, some time in 2012, we haven’t’ stated the date, they are on track to build their plant, upgrade their facilities, their capacity,” Posawatz said, “But that’s just one example where I don’t think shipping the cells across state versus from Korea with duties, tariffs, special refrigerant – expensive refrigerant – and temperature control [will cost nearly as much].”


EDTA had a test drive set up for the present, and thus far only Volt. In the background is the convention center where the conference was held.

“Can you put a dollar amount on it,” I asked.

“No, no, we’re staying away from that. Posawatz said. “I know Alan quoted a dollar amount.”

“No, he actually didn’t and he didn’t answer specifically,” I said of a question whether it was a $10,000 target set by GM CEO Dan Akerson.

“Oh, OK,” he said, “I thought he quoted that, but we have thousands of dollars that will come out of the car.”

“’On track’ implies $10,000,” I added, “but he didn’t state it.”

“Well again that’s speculation as to what the ultimate target is, but we feel very good that some of these enablers that I identified and levers that I indicated [will have their effect],” he said, “I challenge people to be able to see if they know where the cost comes out because so much of it is commercial.”

“Another thing,” I replied, “is some are saying even if you do reduce production cost, you’ll just say ‘great, we’ll just keep that as profit,’ and keep selling the car at the same MSRP assuming the market bears that. Would you do that?”

“I think we have a lot of options in the future,” Posawatz said, “I think that the possibility of having a broader price range in the Volt is highly likely including lower price points to start off – especially if you want to have greater volume.”

Would you ever sell the Volt for $35,000,” I asked.

“We’ll see how that all plays out in the future. We don’t make those kinds of pricing decisions now,” he said, “Then again the simple fact is the Volt in 2011 comes with nav[igation] standard. Future cars won’t have nav standard. It comes with the Bose Energy Efficient Sound System standard. It comes with so much stuff loaded into the car; the five years of OnStar.”


Current models are loaded. There will likely be versions made available with fewer options. This plus other cost savings will give Chevrolet the option to price the Volt lower.

“What’s going to change when you get your U.S.-made engine on line,” I asked.

“Not much. Effectively it’s another example of a cost reduction,” he said, because it will be another major component now made in-state, without international shipping fees.

“We feel very, very good about where we’re going, and its not like this is a new plan,” Posawatz said, “This is the plan all along to work the cost out. Some of the contacts were set up frankly because our first year volume was low.”

In his outgoing, engaging manner, Posawatz commented on those who have tried to research GM’s initial Volt production cost.

“This is why we laugh a little about people who claim they know what the cost of the car is,” he said, “OK, that may be the cost for the first 10,000 cars, but it is not [the cost for] the lion’s share of the cars that we will produce at high volume for mass market.”


Source: GM-Volt.com

Mitsubishi i Beats the Pack to a Sub $30K Price Point

With a sticker price of just $29,990 (before a $7500 federal tax rebate) Mitsubishi will sell you a brand-new, Mitsubishi i SE, complete with 66 hp highway-legal electric motor, premium sound system, a gussied-up interior (below), and more – which means Mitsu’s i comes in at several thousand dollars less than even the base Nissan Leaf.

Mitsubishi i SE interior.

Want to spend even less on your EV? Mistubishi will sell you their base model i for $27,990 with all the same ZEV goodness and (claimed) 85 mile range as the more upscale SE.

As before, the i’s marketing still seems to target fleets, but at just over $20K to retail clients, Mitsubishi may just convince a few potential Leaf and Volt buyers to buy their just-as-green, for much less green.

Let’s hope this “more for less” approach continues as Mitsubishi moves from the rally/race heritage of its past towards a more dedicated green focus by 2015.



Source: Gas2.0

Polaris to buy Global Electric Motorcars LLC (GEM) from Chrysler

Gem
The GEM e2 two-passenger vehicle features six 12-volt flooded electrolyte batteries and a range of up to 35 miles on a charge. Click to enlarge.

Polaris Industries Inc. will acquire low-speed electric vehicle manufacturer Global Electric Motorcars LLC (GEM), a wholly-owned Fargo, N.D.-based subsidiary of Chrysler Group LLC.

GEM is a recognized leader within the low-speed vehicle market, with approximately $30 million in sales during the 2010 calendar year. Since the company was established in 1998, it has placed more than 45,000 electric-powered vehicles on the road worldwide. GEM has developed business-to-business sales expertise within the fleet and government vehicle markets, and has core competencies in make-to-order vehicle fulfillment and mobile service support.

GEM cars are used by local, state and national government agencies, resorts, master-planned communities, universities, medical and corporate campuses, as well as by sports teams, taxi-shuttle services and individual consumers.

The six GEM passenger and utility models are legal on most streets with posted speeds of 35 mph or less. GEM cars are eligible for incentives and tax credits from clean-air districts and other governmental agencies. To date, GEM cars have driven more than 450 million emission-free miles.

GEM provides Polaris with an established position in the low-emission small vehicle market and supports Polaris’ strategy of penetrating on-road market segments poised for growth. We are excited about the outlook for growth within this market space, and are looking forward to developing even stronger growth prospects for the GEM business.

—Scott Wine, Polaris chief executive officer

With annual 2010 sales of US$1.991 billion, Polaris designs, engineers, manufactures and markets off-road vehicles (ORVs), including all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and the Polaris RANGER Side X Side vehicles, snowmobiles and Victory motorcycles for recreational and utility use and has recently introduced a new on-road electric powered neighborhood vehicle.

The agreement to acquire GEM will officially close within the next 60 days once Polaris secures the required state sales certifications to sell GEM products. During this interim period, since Polaris will not yet have officially acquired GEM, operations will proceed as usual and Polaris will continue to learn and understand the GEM business through information exchange.

Following this interim period, Polaris will be in a position to outline specific plans for the GEM business.


Source: Green Car Congress

Monday, April 25, 2011

General Motors designs new turbo-diesel engine to be used first in Indian market


PRESS RELEASE

* 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine to have best-in-class fuel efficiency and performance for its size
* General Motors Torino Engineering Center development team was supported by GM India Engineering
* Production begins in Talegaon, India in June 2011
* First application to be the Chevrolet Beat for India market

Torino, Italy -- A multinational team led by GM's Torino Engineering Center and supported by engineers from GM India today announced that production of a 1.0-liter three-cylinder diesel engine will start in June 2011. The diesel expertise of the GM's Torino engineers has resulted in an engine that is expected to enhance GM's competitiveness in the Indian market.

"The exclusive design leveraged the capabilities of dozens of Torino-based diesel engineers to deliver what is expected to be a leader for its size in performance and fuel efficiency for the Indian market," said Stefano Caprio, the 1.0-liter engine global program manager and chief engineer. "Contributing to the great fuel economy is an innovative, lightweight three-cylinder design."

The new compact engine will also be the peak torque leader for its displacement in the Indian market (140 Nm @ 1,750 rpm) and low-end peak torque leader for its displacement worldwide at 100 Nm @ 1,250 rpm.

GM Torino and GM India Engineering collaborated closely to design in specific regional features and content requirements. Features of the engine include an iron block, aluminum DOHC cylinder head, lifetime maintenance-free timing chain, centrifugal blowby separator filter for lower oil consumption, low-noise timing gears, a balancer shaft for state-of-the-art NVH and a precisely sized waste-gated turbocharger.

The 1.0-liter turbo-diesel engine will be manufactured at GM India's Talegaon plant in Maharashtra and will be launched on the Chevrolet Beat in the second half of 2011.

"GM India President & Managing Director Karl Slym said, "This new state-of-the-art turbo-diesel engine will enhance the competitiveness of our Chevrolet line-up in the Indian market. The addition of diesel options to our portfolio will continue to improve our sales volume and market share," Slym added.

About GM Engineering Center in Torino: the GM Engineering Center in Torino was established in 2005 with 80 employees. In September 2008, the center moved into its new Politecnico facility, making GM the first automotive company to become a physical part of a university campus. The collaboration brings strength to engineering research and development. The center engineers and develops diesel engines, controls and advanced propulsion systems. It currently employs more than 500 people.

About General Motors India: General Motors India has completed 16 years of operation in India. GM India started its journey in 1996 and now offers products under the Chevrolet brand, which was introduced in India in 2003. Chevrolet had already emerged as one of the fastest growing automotive nameplates in India. GM India produces the Chevrolet Captiva, Chevrolet Optra, Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Aveo, Chevrolet Aveo U-VA, Chevrolet Spark, Chevrolet Beat and Chevrolet Tavera for sale in India and operates state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Halol, Gujarat and in Talegaon, Maharashtra

‪Spirra 2011: Hand making a high performance sportscar‬

Introducing the hand crafted Spirra 2011 EV...enjoy:

BMW North America CEO Claims EV's WIll Not Work for 90% of Populace

BMW Active E
BMW Active E – Click above for high-res image gallery

Starting this fall, German automaker BMW will lease approximately 700 of its 1 Series-based ActiveE electric coupes for $499 a month. The lease is for 24 months, with $2,250 due at signing, and will be available in six markets in the U.S.: the New York metropolitan area, Boston, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego and Los Angeles. Reservations for the battery-powered Bimmer kick off this summer.

Despite that, BMW North America chairman and chief executive officer, Jim O'Donnell, told the Detroit News that he's "far more optimistic" about diesel vehicles boosting the automaker's U.S. market share than electric vehicles (EVs) and added that the U.S. government should cancel its $7,500 tax credit for electrified autos:
I believe in a free economy. I think we should abolish all tax credits. What they are doing is putting a bet on technology, which is not appropriate. As a taxpayer, I am not sure this is the right way to go.
But that's not all that O'Donnell had to say. The CEO continued on, reportedly telling the Detroit News that:
[EVs] won't work for most people. For at least 90 percent and maybe more of the population, [an EV] won't work [at the current battery range].
Ouch. Harsh words for sure. Does this mean that the i3, BMW's upcoming electric vehicle, is being set up to fail?



Source: AutoBlog Green

Hybrid Cars achieves 68.7 mpg in 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid

2012 Honda Civic Hybrid

2012 Honda Civic Hybrid

Yuuji Fujiki

Yuuji Fujiki, chief engineer for Honda’a IMA hybrid system, holding the battery pack used in the 2012 Civic Hybrid. (Photos: Brad Berman, All rights reserved.)

The new 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid, using a lithium ion battery for the first time, increased its average EPA fuel economy rating from 41 mpg to 44 mpg. The new model is rated at 44 in both city and highway driving. HybridCars.com, using hypermiling techniques, achieved the upper limit of what any driver should ever expect for fuel efficiency—a score of 68.7 mpg on a 10-mile course of mostly country lanes and some highway driving, with four or five stoplights along the way.

The improvement in fuel economy solidifies the Civic Hybrid’s second-place position for fuel economy among cars that don’t plug into the grid. The 44-mpg average moves the Civic slightly closer to the Prius’s 50-mpg level, and edges out the 42-mpg Lexus CT 200h. Honda makes the claim that the Civic Hybrid becomes the most fuel-efficient sedan—meaning it’s not a hatchback—on U.S. roads.

The all-new, ninth-generation 2012 Honda Civic arrives at dealers nationwide starting today. The MSRP for the Civic Hybrid begins at $24,050, and tops out at $26,750 for the package with leather, XM radio and leather.

Like other new Civic models—there are now five different versions, including the HF high fuel-effeciency non-hybrid model—the 2012 Civic Hybrid gains new features and sleeker styling.

Bigger Engine Means More Electric Power

In addition to the shift to lithium ion batteries, the 2012 Honda Civic uses a larger 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine. “We changed the displacement from 1.3 to 1.5 liters,” said Yuuji Fujiki, chief engineer for Honda’a IMA hybrid system, in an exclusive interview with HybridCars.com. “But the fuel consumption rate is the same as current model.” Fujiki explained that the larger displacement allows the engine to run at lower RPMs, which in turn allows for more frequent use of the electric motor and produces a quieter ride.

2012 Honda Civic Hybrid

The rear seat of the 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid is cut away to show placement of the lithium ion battery pack.

The Civic Hybrid’s lithium ion batteries are 30 percent smaller than the previous nickel-metal-hydride batteries—thereby granting more cargo space than the previous model.

Fujiki expained how every aspect of the hybrid system’s design was tweaked for optimal efficiency—such as the motor that increases output from 15 kW to 20 kW, uses more coils and widely spaced magnets, and employs plastic spacers to better manage temperature.

In addition to more frequent use of idle-stop, the engine valves are sometime deactivated to cut off fuel, even when the engine is turning. Honda refers to this as EV mode, although Fujiki admitted that it’s not a true all-electric condition. “It’s not electrical only,” he said. “The fuel system is stopped, but there is a mechanical drag.” Fujiki said that, at maximum output, this “no-fuel” mode could last up to 79 seconds.

All About Balance

The focus of Honda engineers was on total vehicle efficiency—evidenced by a remarkable 44-mpg average using a single-motor system that’s less expensive and complex than the Toyota two-motor approach. “We had to strike a balance between engine friction, motor output, and how to use the battery,” said Fujiki. “That balance is going to determine the overall efficiency.”

2012 Honda Civic Hybrid

Honda's IMA hybrid system, shown with the transmission removed for easier viewing.

Our interview with Fujiki helped us win the MPG challenge, which was established by Honda for journalists attending the media preview for the 2012 Civic earlier this month in Washington, DC. His advice—to accelerate in a steady manner to about 45 miles per hour and stay at this speed for as much of the 10-mile course as possible—was the key to achieving the winning 68.7 mpg score. Fujiki also advised not to use the neutral gear when coasting.

“Don’t use neutral, because when idling, fuel is injected,” he said. “Keep it in Drive, so the engine can judge that you’re decelerating, and get into fuel-cut mode and so you can take advantage of regenerative braking.”

Six-Percent Hybrid Take-Rate

The new Civic HF sedan, positioned between the Civic LX and Civic EX, is rated for 41 miles per gallon on the highway and 29 in the city. It is equipped with a 5-speed automatic transmission, exclusive 15-inch lightweight alloy wheels and aerodynamic enhancements under the body, and a rear spoiler. It does not use any hybrid drivetrain technology or idle-stop features. Driving in exactly in the same manner in the HF as we did in the Civic Hybrid, we achieved 46 mpg on the 10-mile course. The MSRP for the 5-Speed Automatic HF model begins at $19,455.

All Civic models, except for the Si, now feature an “econ” button allowing drivers to maximize efficiency on demand.

2012 Honda Civic Hybrid

Consumers will recognize the Civic’s raked windshield, wide stance and other styling features that do not dramatically depart from the current model. The hybrid hLinkas a unique grille design with blue accents. Special five-spoke alloy wheels, a decklid spoiler and LED brake lights further differentiate the Civic Hybrid from other Civic models. The interior of the Civic Hybrid uses exclusive seat fabric and unique door panel covers. The hybrid offers a range of standard and available audio and navigation technologies.

Honda expects to sell a total of 260,000 Civics in a year—with about 6 percent coming from the hybrid’s sales, and another 2 -3 percent from the HF model. That means about 1,300 sales of the hybrid per month—a fraction of Prius sales. Honda executives admitted that the company’s hybrids were primarily targeted at other global markets, such as Japan.


Source: Hybrid Cars

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Going Pump Free: Volt Owners Go 1,000 Miles Between Fill-Ups


PRESS RELEASE

Chevrolet Volt owners made fewer trips to the gas station in March, going an average of 30 days – or nearly a month – between fill-ups. In fact, some Volt owners say they are challenging themselves to see how fuel-efficient they can be by tracking how far and how long they can go without buying gasoline.

"Volt owners drove an average of 800 miles between fill-ups since the Volt launched in December, and in March they averaged 1,000 miles," said Cristi Landy, Volt marketing director. "When the majority of miles driven are electrically, gas usage decreases significantly."

"I am surprised how infrequently I go to the gas station. It's become a game to achieve as many miles as I can in EV mode," said Steve Wojtanek, a Volt buyer in Boca Raton, Fla. "I have made it my goal to drive as efficiently as possible and I am seeing the results, with more than 3,417 miles under my belt – of which 2,225 are EV miles." A Volt owner since December, Wojtanek is averaging 122 miles per gallon and visiting the gas station about once a month.

"On April 11, I had to buy gas for the first time since filling up on Jan. 9," said Volt owner Gary Davis of Greenville, S.C. "In my Volt I've driven 4,600 miles on 8.4 gallons of gas. That's an impressive 547 mpg that I am achieving with my Volt."

"Today in the U.S., 80 percent of drivers commute fewer than 40 miles a day, making the Chevy Volt a great daily driver," said Landy. "We're hearing from customers like Steve Wojtanek and Gary Davis, who are seeing great daily results."

The Chevrolet Volt is an electric vehicle with extended-range capability. On a fully charged battery and tank of gas, the Volt has a total driving range of up to 379 miles. Because the Volt can use gasoline to create its own electricity in extended-range mode, long trips are possible. Typical electric driving range is 25-50 miles depending on temperature, terrain, driving technique and battery age. When the Volt's battery runs low, a gas-powered engine-generator seamlessly engages to extend the driving range until the vehicle can be recharged.

About Chevrolet

Founded in Detroit in 1911, Chevrolet celebrates its centennial as a global automotive brand with annual sales of about 4.25 million vehicles in more than 140 countries. Chevrolet provides consumers with fuel-efficient, safe and reliable vehicles that deliver high quality, expressive design, spirited performance and value. The Chevrolet portfolio includes iconic performance cars such as Corvette and Camaro; dependable, long-lasting pickups and SUVs such as Silverado and Suburban; and award-winning passenger cars and crossovers such as Spark, Cruze, Malibu, Equinox and Traverse. Chevrolet also offers "gas-friendly to gas-free" solutions including Cruze Eco and Volt. Cruze Eco offers 42 mpg highway while Volt offers 35 miles of electric, gasoline-free driving and an additional 344 miles of extended range. Most new Chevrolet models offer OnStar safety, security and convenience technologies including OnStar Hands-Free Calling, Automatic Crash Response and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown. More information regarding Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com

LA Mayor Villaraigosa Announces Electric Vehicle Pilot Program


PRESS RELEASE

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, LADWP General Manager Ron Nichols, and environmental leaders announced today an LADWP pilot program that will provide rebates of up to $2,000 to the first 1,000 LADWP customers for home chargers and installation costs for their electric vehicles.

"Los Angeles is leading the nation in cleaner, greener transportation solutions," Mayor Villaraigosa said. "By offering significant rebates for home electric chargers, we hope to make electric cars more cost-effective than gasoline powered vehicles for Angelenos."

Yesterday, the Board of Water and Power Commissioners approved the Electric Vehicle Home Charger Rebate Program – Charge Up LA – to ease the financial burden for residents who want to install a rapid (Level 2) charger at their home for qualifying electric vehicles. Beginning May 1, 2011, the LADWP's goal is to stprovide rebates for 3,000 to 5,000 EV home chargers.

The LADWP will track the EV charging patterns to ascertain where to allocate resources for potential energy growth. By monitoring charging patterns, the LADWP can guard against straining the grid.

As gas prices continue to rise, EVs could become a better economic value for LADWP customers. Compared to regular gas-powered vehicles, the "fuel" cost of an EV is about equal to $1 per gallon.

The range of the rebate will depend on the type of charger and the related equipment installed by the customer. To qualify for the rebate, customers must participate in LADWP's Residential Time-of-Use Rate, which provides a significant discount for electrical use during "off-peak" hours-weeknights and anytime on weekends.

During these "off peak" hours, EV owners will not only save money – they will take advantage of renewable energy from wind power. By charging at night – the peak hours of wind power and production – owners will maximize renewable wind power and will also ease the strain on the electric grid.

"We expect most of our customers to charge their electric vehicles at night and the result is a double win for the environment," General Manager Ron Nichols said. "We generate electricity with renewable wind power, and we store that renewable energy in car batteries that then powers Angeleno's cars during the day."

The rebate program is part of an overall strategy by the City to ensure that Los Angeles is EV ready. At the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, the Mayor announced a program to help residential customers within the City of Los Angeles go from permit to plug-in for home electric vehicle chargers under 7 days, provided the customer's electrical system can support the charging requirements.

Components of LADWP's EV strategy include:

EV Infrastructure: LADWP will upgrade the 86 existing City of Los Angeles owned public chargers. LADWP plans to invest in additional new public chargers after existing ones are upgraded. LADWP will also encourage private owners of older style chargers to upgrade to the new standards.

Data Sharing: LADWP is coordinating with major EV charger vendors to share data regarding EV purchases and driving patterns that will help determine locations for new chargers. LADWP is also developing a standard agreement with charger vendors to meet conditions of the U.S. Department of Energy's "The EV Project," aimed at bringing more federal grant funds to the city.

Public Information: LADWP has established a website, www.ladwp.com/EV, for comprehensive one-stop information on the rebate program, installation and permits, rate discount and meter options.

Regional Collaboration: LADWP is collaborating with regional agencies, industry, various jurisdictions and other electric utilities to foster a seamless driving experience throughout the region.

Power Grid Upgrades: EV driving patterns and charging data will be used to help forecast and prepare the electric grid for energy growth related to EVs. The information will also support LADWP's Smart Grid Demonstration Project.

EV Discount: LADWP offers a 2.5 cent per kilowatt-hour (kWh) discount to residential customers who charge their EVs during off-peak hours when demand for energy is lowest (nights and weekends). The discount is available to customers on LADWP's Residential Time-of-Use Rate, who already benefit from reduced rates during off-peak hours.

Customer Service: A team of LADWP Customer Service Representatives has been trained to answer questions and assist customers with the charger installation process. For direct assistance, customers may call 1-866-484-0433 or email PluginLA@ladwp.com.

To download an application or for the EV Home Charger Rebate and other information, visit www.ladwp.com/EV.

This is the Mayor's latest initiative to transition Los Angeles away from relying on dirty diesel to be the cleanest, greenest City in the country. In March, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted to ratify a new pilot program to add 30 electric buses to the fleet. After a careful evaluation of whether electric buses do in fact save money and are more efficient, the city will implement the program on a larger scale – setting a national precedent.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

GM to participate in Shanghai EV International Pilot City Partnership


General Motors signed a letter of intent to participate in the Shanghai EV International Pilot City Partnership during the 2011 International Forum on Electric Vehicle Pilot City and Industrial Development.

The Shanghai EV International Pilot City Partnership was organized by the Society of Automotive Engineers of China, the Jiading District Shanghai International Automobile City Management Committee Office and Tongji University. It will implement the EVI, which was jointly proposed by the governments of China and the United States at the Clean Energy Ministerial Meeting held in Washington, DC, on 19-20 July 2010.

GM will help promote the demonstration and commercialization of electric vehicles by sharing its latest advanced technology achievements and expertise, contributing to the development of electric vehicle infrastructure and standards, facilitating international exchanges and promoting electric vehicles.


Source: Green Car Congress

Mitsubishi i Looking at 85 Miles All Electric Range

mitsubishi i
Mitsubishi i – Click above for high-res image gallery

Mitsubishi's much delayed electric car for America, the Mitsubishi i, will be launched with demo units in November 2011 for phase 1 markets in the West Coast U.S., followed by the North East region in March 2012 and a nationwide launch in the fall of 2012. Along with the attractive price of $27,990 (just $20,490 after federal tax incentives) the bigger, heavier U.S. version will stretch the little Mitsubishi's battery capability and Mitsubishi's Chief Engineer for North American R&D, Dave Patterson, told AutoblogGreen that the vehicle's 85-mile rated range is "the best case scenario." Speaking at the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA) meetings in Washington DC this week, Patterson explained:

85 miles is the best case range scenario. It's better to put in a network of DC fast chargers in the right locations for our customers than to put in a lot more expensive batteries in our vehicle.

While it's not clear exactly how much the range will drop below 85 miles in real-world situations, the i's 16-kWh battery will have its work cut out to meet U.S. driver expectations. Mitsubishi hopes that partnerships with local communities and Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) partners will help roll out the necessary charging infrastructure to support sales. Looks like Google's new EV charger location app will come in handy.



Source: AutoBlog Green

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wheego delivers its first highway-speed electric car


PRESS RELEASE

Coinciding with Earth Day, WHEEGO ELECTRIC CARS, a U.S. manufacturer of all-electric cars, today delivered the first Wheego LiFe, a highway-speed 100% electric car.

"We are very proud of this car and the American spirit that it represents," said Mike McQuary, CEO of Wheego Electric Cars. "The delivery of our first Wheego LiFe electric car culminates four years of research and development, and is perfectly timed to support President Obama's Energy Plan. President Obama will direct Federal agencies to buy 100 percent alternative fuel vehicles by 2015, and is asking for a major increase in fuel economy for 2017-2025 model year automobiles. The Wheego LiFe is ready to help meet that demand: it is affordable, all-electric, and available across the country now."

The first owners of a Wheego LiFe are Asma and Kevin Henry, residents of the Virginia Highland neighborhood in Atlanta . Jimmy Ellis, VP and COO of Jim Ellis Automotive Dealerships, the first dealer in Georgia to deliver a full-speed electric car, presented the Henrys with their car at the Jim Ellis dealership at 5855 Peachtree Industrial Blvd, at 10:30 a.m. on April 22nd.

Kevin says buying a Wheego LiFe was his wife's idea. Asma, a freelance consultant in international assistance programs, is committed to protecting the environment and reducing fossil fuel consumption. She walks and bikes to neighborhood shops, prefers fresh air to conditioned air, and dries laundry in the back garden. She has more than a casual interest in zero-emission vehicles and clean air because she helps manage the charity Speranta Terrei, which supports patients in Moldova with the air-borne disease tuberculosis. Asma said, "We as individuals have to do our part so we can all breathe easier."

"Asma Henry's commitment to helping the environment, and to her charity are inspiring to us, and we are excited that she is the owner of the first Wheego LiFe," said McQuary.

The Wheego LiFe travels approximately 100 miles on a single charge and retails for $32,995. It qualifies for a $7,500 Federal tax credit, as well as many state incentives such as tax credits (up to $5,000 in Georgia ) and HOV lane access. The Wheego LiFe comes fully-equipped with driver and passenger airbags, anti-lock brakes, power windows and locks, and optional air conditioning. The 115V lithium battery pack can be charged from a standard 120V outlet, a 240V outlet or any of the J1772 standard charging stations being installed in public locations throughout the United States . It is available in red, white, blue, black, silver, and green. The Wheego LiFe is a two-seat subcompact car with fit, finish and features designed for today's environmentally-conscious commuters. The Wheego line of electric vehicles are sold through a nationwide dealer network; for an up-to-date list, visit the Wheego dealer listing at http://wheego.net/more/dealer-list/.

About Jim Ellis Auto Dealerships
Jim Ellis Wheego is the Atlanta-area dealer for Wheego Electric Cars. Jim Ellis is a family-owned business with twelve sales and service locations and almost 40 years experience in the Atlanta area. Jim Ellis was honored in 2008 as a candidate for Time Magazine's Dealer of the Year, and has won the Consumer's Choice award for Business Excellence for the past six years. For more information about Jim Ellis Auto Dealerships, visit the company website at www.jimellis.com.

About Wheego Electric Cars
Wheego Electric Cars is an innovation-driven and environmentally-conscious manufacturer of Electric Vehicles (EVs). Under the leadership of Mike McQuary, CEO and former MindSpring entrepreneur, Wheego Electric Cars has become a leader in the integration of advanced technology components. Wheego Electric Cars is one of the first EV companies to deliver affordable fully capable, street legal all-electric cars for everyday consumer use. The Wheego line of electric vehicles is emission-free, making them an ideal choice for consumers, fleets and businesses who want to reduce their carbon footprint. Wheego is headquartered in Atlanta , Georgia . The cars are assembled in Ontario , California .

For more information about Wheego, visit the company website at www.wheego.net. To inquire about dealership opportunities, email sales@wheego.net.

About Speranta Terrei
For more information about Speranta Terrei, visit http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/community-support-150-tuberculosis-patients-in-moldova

Panasonic to boost Li-ion battery output in China; looking for reductions in manufacturing expenses

The Nikkei reports that Panasonic Corp. will ramping up lithium-ion battery output in lower-cost China to reduce manufacturing expenses as much as 30%.

Panasonic hopes to retain the top position in the global market through cost cuts. Japanese companies once enjoyed an edge in development and mass production of these batteries, which are used to power mobile phones, laptop computers and other products. But with South Korean rivals now quickly catching up, Panasonic has decided to rely more on Chinese production as a way to stay on top.

Panasonic and Sanyo Electric Co., which became a 100% unit on April 1, had a combined 26% share of the worldwide lithium ion battery market in 2010. Panasonic plans to invest 20–30 billion yen [US$244–366 million] through 2012 to lift Chinese output by constructing a new plant and upgrading existing facilities there.

Panasonic currently has an output capacity of 120 million units per month, of which 80-90% are produced in Japan and the rest in China. Panasonic hopes to lift Chinas share to around 50% by 2015, according to the report. It aims to roughly triple sales of lithium ion batteries, including those for automobiles, from the fiscal 2009 level to 1 trillion yen (US$12.2 billion).


Source: Nikkei

Ford rolls out electrified vehicle plan at Shanghai show; new energy vehicle demonstration fleet

At Auto Shanghai 2011, Ford outlined its electrified vehicle plan in China with the Asian debut of the company’s latest electrified vehicles and a plan to have a demonstration fleet of new energy vehicles in the country early next year.

The debut of the Focus Electric, C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid and Fusion Hybrid at Auto Shanghai 2011 showcased Ford’s electrified vehicle portfolio. All three models exemplify Ford’s strategy that involves three types of electrified vehicles: Battery Electric Vehicles, Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles and Hybrid Electric Vehicles.

Ford will be making a demonstration fleet of new energy vehicles available in the country later this year. The Fusion Hybrid will be one of the vehicles in the trial fleet.


Source: Green Car Congress

New 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid Receives Li-Ion Battery Technology, takes style, comfort and technology to a higher level


PRESS RELEASE

04/20/2011 - TORRANCE, Calif.

The all-new 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid combines the sophistication of the Civic Sedan with the latest version of the Honda Integrated Motor Assist (IMA®) hybrid drivetrain.

Now with added features, new technology and the best EPA-estimated fuel economy of any sedan in the United States, the 2012 Civic Hybrid offers a higher fuel economy rating of 44/44/44 mpg1 city/highway/combined, up from 40/43/41 in the 2011 Civic Hybrid. Like other members of the Civic family, the 2012 Civic Hybrid gains new features and sleeker styling. Exclusive styling includes the front grill, headlights, taillights, wheels and side mirrors. The two available models are the Civic Hybrid with cloth seats and a Civic Hybrid with leather seating surfaces. Either version can be equipped with a navigation system.

"The Civic Hybrid provides the advantages of hybrid technology while maintaining the look and feel of a familiar sedan," said John Mendel, executive vice president of sales for American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "The car's fuel economy rating can be summed up quite easily – 44 miles per gallon says it all."

For 2012, the Honda IMA system uses lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries, replacing the nickel-metal hydride batteries used in the previous two generations of Civic Hybrid. The gasoline engine is the primary source of power and the electric motor, positioned in-line between the engine and transmission, provides additional power and electricity regeneration capability.

The 2012 Civic Hybrid uses a larger 1.5-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine, up from 1.3 liters for improved mid-range torque, which incorporates extensive friction-reducing technologies for greater efficiency. It is connected to a lighter, larger and more powerful electric motor that provides up to 23 horsepower. Total combined horsepower for the gasoline engine and electric motor is 110 at 5500 rpm and torque is rated at 127 lb-ft. at 1000-3500 rpm.

During acceleration, the engine or the engine and electric motor together propel the vehicle. During cruising, the gasoline engine and/or the electric motor can propel the vehicle. During braking, the gasoline engine deactivates and the electric motor acts as a generator to replenish the battery pack. At a stop, the engine can shut off to save fuel and reduce emissions. The engine restarts the moment the brake pedal is released.

The battery pack, located behind the rear seatback, is used to capture and store electricity for the electric motor. The 20-kW lithium-ion battery is more powerful by 5 kW and lighter than the previous generation's battery. The IMA system's greater power and the battery's 35-percent increase in efficiency allow the Civic Hybrid to operate more frequently on the electric motor's power alone in certain low-speed cruising situations. A Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) helps maintain engine rpm for optimal efficiency while eliminating the "stepped" gear transitions associated with conventional transmissions.

Along with the rest of 2012 Civic line, the Civic Hybrid offers a new interpretation of the current Civic's "one-motion" mono-form shape. A sleekly raked windshield, wide stance and exclusive styling features give the Civic Hybrid a sophisticated, high-tech presence. In front, there is a unique hybrid grille design with blue accents, and within the sleek headlight assemblies are blue bulb covers that provide additional distinction. Special five-spoke alloy wheels, a decklid spoiler and LED brake lights further differentiate the Civic Hybrid from other Civic models.

The Civic Hybrid's interior features a fresh take on the previous-generation Civic's highly functional two-tier instrument layout. The design puts the most frequently referenced information up high and close to the driver's line of sight. The new intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID) is positioned in the upper tier and can present audio system information including album artwork. It can also display personal wallpaper backgrounds uploaded via the standard USB port. A unique feature of the Civic Hybrid's i-MID is a driver-feedback Eco Guide screen that monitors driving style and displays how it affects fuel efficiency. Together with the blue/green Eco Assist indicators located to the sides of the digital speedometer, the displays help drivers build awareness of and confirm fuel-efficient driving styles. The Civic Hybrid's i-MID contains an exclusive hybrid power-flow meter display in addition to the standard information screens.

The interior of the Civic Hybrid uses exclusive seat fabric and unique door panel covers for a distinctive appearance and feel. As with all Civics, high-quality materials are used throughout the cabin. Available leather-trimmed models include a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shift lever. Automatic climate control is standard on the Civic Hybrid, and the hybrid-style air conditioning compressor can continue to function on electric power when the engine is in idle-stop mode.

The Civic Hybrid offers a range of standard and available audio and navigation technologies. A 160-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with six speakers is standard and Civic Hybrid models equipped with the navigation system include XM Radio. The available Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™2 with voice recognition has a 6.5-inch touch screen within reach of both the driver and passenger. Turn-by-turn direction information appears on both the navigation screen and the i-MID, where it's convenient for the driver to see. The system features a new 16 GB flash memory database for quicker response time and has FM traffic. FM traffic is a no-fee service that shows freeway traffic information and incident data on the map display in participating metropolitan areas.

The standard Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® system enables Civic Hybrid owners to make and receive mobile phone calls using the vehicle's audio system and a compatible mobile phone. Audio streaming is also supported with compatible devices.

The Civic Hybrid embraces Honda's tradition of making its vehicles fun to drive by continuing to use a fully independent suspension design, a premium and exceptional feature in the entry compact segment. The front MacPherson strut and rear multi-link suspension is tuned for sporty driving fun, yet provides refined ride comfort. Ride and handling improvements are supported by a 10-percent more rigid unit-body structure resulting from enhanced structural designs and increased use of high-strength steel (55 percent compared to 50 percent on the previous model).

For safety, a wide variety of standard equipment includes Honda's exclusive Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure for enhanced frontal collision energy management and vehicle-to-vehicle crash compatibility. ACE enhances frontal collision energy management through a network of load bearing structures in the front of the vehicle. Standard safety equipment includes VSA that integrates with the new Motion Adaptive EPS system; dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags; front side airbags with occupant position detection system (OPDS); side curtain airbags; and a 4-channel anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist.

All Civic Hybrid models are produced and assembled in the Honda Motor Co., Ltd., Suzuka, Japan manufacturing facility. The 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid is covered by a 3-year/36,000-mile new car limited warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain limited warranty, and a 5-year/unlimited-mile corrosion limited warranty.

1 Based on 2012 EPA mileage estimates. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.

2 Third-party trademarks: The Bluetooth word mark and logos are owned by the Bluetooth SIG, Inc., and any use of such marks by Honda Motor Co., Ltd., is under license.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fuel Cell Vehicle Sales to Cross the 1 Million Mark in 2020


PRESS RELEASE

April 19, 2011

Fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) are part of the continuum of electric drive technologies, which are projected to capture an increasingly large share of the global passenger car and transit bus markets. For the passenger car market, fuel cells offer the benefits of zero emissions operation without the range and charging limitations of pure battery electric vehicles (BEVs). The fuel cell car market is now in the ramp-up phase to commercialization, anticipated by automakers to happen around 2015. According to a new report from Pike Research, commercial sales of FCVs will reach the key milestone of 1 million vehicles by 2020, with a cumulative 1.2 million vehicles sold by the end of that year.

"The fact that fuel cells for passenger cars are still being pursued may come as a surprise to casual observers of the clean vehicle technology arena," says senior analyst Lisa Jerram. "However, automakers such as Toyota, Daimler, GM, Honda, and Hyundai have all said that fuel cells are a critical piece of a complete clean vehicle portfolio. With fuel cells, they see the opportunity to offer a zero-emissions car with a 300-mile range in the larger vehicle platforms."

Jerram adds that, to meet the 2015 commercialization target, automakers will need to spend the next few years validating performance and reducing costs. Early adoption is likely to be focused in Japan, Germany, and California, where there is significant fueling infrastructure planned. Transit buses have also been used as a test bed for fuel cell technology, though they lag somewhat behind cars in the timeframe for commercial viability. Transit fuel cell buses offer zero emissions and low noise operation, as well as greater fuel efficiency than internal combustion engines. Pike Research's projections are for commercially viable transit buses to follow that of light-duty vehicles (LDVs), with this market more dependent on subsidies or incentives for adoption than the car market.

Pike Research's analysis indicates that, during the pre-commercialization period from 2010 to 2014, approximately 10,000 FCVs will be deployed. Following that phase, the firm forecasts that 57,000 FCVs will be sold in 2015, with sales volumes ramping to 390,000 vehicles annually by 2020. These figures represent a downgrade from Pike Research's previous FCV forecasts published in the first quarter of 2010.

Pike Research's report, "Fuel Cell Vehicles", analyzes opportunities and challenges in the development of commercially viable fuel cell cars, buses, and trucks. The report provides an examination of the key market drivers and barriers for FCV development in the face of competition from incumbent internal combustion engine vehicles and new plug-in electric vehicles. The report includes a status update on the progress of fuel cell R&D toward meeting commercial technical and cost targets for cars and buses. The report also covers key countries' policies promoting development and adoption of FCVs, strategies and plans of major industry players, and discussion of the vehicle segments and drivetrain configurations under development. The report forecasts global pre-commercial deployments of LDVs and buses through 2014, global commercial sales of LDVs and buses from 2015 through 2020, and potential revenue from fuel cell LDVs from 2015 through 2020. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm's website.

Pike Research is a market research and consulting firm that provides in-depth analysis of global clean technology markets. The company's research methodology combines supply-side industry analysis, end-user primary research and demand assessment, and deep examination of technology trends to provide a comprehensive view of the Smart Energy, Smart Grid, Smart Transportation, Smart Industry, and Smart Buildings sectors. For more information, visit www.pikeresearch.com or call +1.303.997.7609.