Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Panasonic Group confirms it will supply Li-ion batteries for Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid

The Panasonic Group will supply the lithium-ion batteries for Toyota Motor Corporation’s Prius Plug-in Hybrid. (Earlier post.) This will be the first time for the Panasonic Group to supply its lithium-ion batteries for a mass production plug-in hybrid vehicle.

Li-ion cell for Prius PHV. Click to enlarge.

Given the growing public concern for conserving the environment and escalating oil prices, the demand for rechargeable batteries for eco-friendly vehicles is expected to grow rapidly. In response to this, the Panasonic Group is enhancing its development abilities and strengthening its business for rechargeable batteries for vehicles.

The Panasonic Group is already supplying nickel-metal hydride batteries and systems for hybrid vehicles to a number of automobile makers globally and is also carrying out joint development of lithium-ion battery systems for hybrid vehicles with other car manufacturers.

The Panasonic Group intends to accelerate the development and commercialization of high performance rechargeable batteries for vehicles and further expand its rechargeable battery business globally.

Honda premieres EV-STER next-generation electric small sports concept

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. is unveiling the EV-STER, a next-generation electric small sports concept model, at the 42nd Tokyo Motor Show 2011.

The adoption of carbon materials made it possible to reduce the vehicle weight contributing to the vehicle’s high driving performance and range of approximately 160km. The new concept model, which features twin-lever steering, enables the driver to make his/her own adjustments to some vehicle characteristics such as motor output and suspension settings.

The instrument panel includes the vehicle information display as well as a network display used for the audio and navigation systems and also for internet access.

The concept is equipped with a 10 kWh battery pack with maximum output of 58 kW.

Am_tm1111127H 2

VW stages world premiere of Cross Coupé AWD plug-in hybrid compact SUV at Tokyo show

Cross Coupé plug-in hybrid concept. Click to enlarge.

At the Tokyo Motor Show, Volkswagen is showcasing its concept of an SUV of the future: the Cross Coupé all-wheel-drive (AWD) plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) shows how Volkswagen designers could envisage a crossover between a four-door coupé and a compact SUV.

The Cross Coupé concept is based on Volkswagen’s new modular transverse matrix (MQB, modularen Querbaukasten) platform—the first such model to be publicly shown. (In 2010, Volkswagen said that the MQB would be available in 2012, the technical foundation for more than 30 models in the group A0, A and B segments.) The four-seat SUV is powered by two electric motors, one front and one rear, and a direct injection turbo gasoline engine (TSI); the all-electric range is up to 45 kilometers (28 miles).

Under the hood is a 110 kW (148 hp) TSI gasoline engine delivering maximum torque of 210 N·m (155 lb-ft) and an electric motor with an output of 40 kW and 180 N·m (133 lb-ft) of torque. Together or individually these two power the front axle. If the Cross Coupé is to be used in all-wheel drive or pure electric power mode, the rear motor cuts in. This has been integrated as a co-axial drive unit into the rear axle layout and drives the rear wheels. This second electric motor generates up to 85 kW and develops torque of 270 N·m (199 lb-ft). The overall output of the system (gasoline engine + battery) is a maximum of 195 kW (261 hp).

In this all-wheel drive system with “electric drive shaft”, power is supplied to the rear electric motor by the one at the front, which during this phase acts as a generator powered by the TSI engine. In the Cross Coupé the flow of electrical energy thus replaces the conventional transfer of power by means of a drive shaft.

The center tunnel, usually the place for the drive shaft, houses the 8-module, 9.8 kWh lithium-ion battery (tunnel battery) on the Cross Coupé. The low position of the battery and the general layout of the drive systems give the vehicle a very low center of gravity and facilitates a balanced spread of axle loading. Although equipped with the all-round qualities of an SUV, the concept car therefore demonstrates the dynamic handling of a coupé, Volkswagen says.

An electronic power control module, operating at around 370 volts and integrated into the engine compartment, manages the flow of high-voltage energy from and to the battery and to the electric motors. Meanwhile, the Cross Coupé’s low voltage electrical system is supplied with the necessary 12 volts through a DC/DC converter. The electric drive system causes no space restrictions in the vehicle’s interior. The battery gets charged either via external electricity sources (230-volt connection) or—in motion—via the TSI engine and battery regeneration (both front and rear axles).

Both electric motors boost the gasoline engine (TSI) during acceleration; they can also power the concept car on its own for a distance of up to 45 kilometers, depending on conditions. Here, by opening the clutch, the TSI gets disconnected from the drive-train and switched off. The clutch on the gearbox side, however, remains closed and the seven-speed DSG thus remains connected.

Whenever the Cross Coupé’s brakes are applied, both electric motors act as a generator, utilizing the braking energy to charge the battery (battery regeneration). The driver can (via another button next to the gear lever) also consciously charge the battery from the TSI engine—for instance, in order to have sufficient electric power to drive later in a regulated zone preserved exclusively for zero-emission electric vehicles. At all times, the current electric range and the Cross Coupé’s overall range are displayed on the instrument panel. The engine controller regulates all energy flow and drive management tasks taking into account the minute-by-minute demands for power made by the driver.

Based on the amount of drive (for instance, loss of traction on the front axle) or through the driver consciously switching to all-wheel or electric mode, the second electric motor integrated with the rear axle engages it in an instant. In general there are three driving modes available to the driver: City (eco-mode with minimal fuel consumption), Sport (dynamic driving) and Offroad (permanent all-wheel drive).

Cross Coupé drivers can themselves also choose to drive relatively long distances on pure electric power (as long as the battery has enough charge). To do so the driver presses the relevant driving mode button on the center console next to the gear lever. As soon as the TSI needs to be brought back into play due to the battery’s level of charge or any other parameters, the engine starts up and engages with the drive train.

In the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) the TSI engine’s fuel consumption is 2.7 liters per 100 km (87.1 mpg US), equating to CO2 emissions of 62 g/km. With a fuel tank capacity of 55 litres, the theoretical range in hybrid mode is 815 kilometers (506 miles). Adding in the electric range, the Cross Coupé can do 855 km (531 miles) without stopping for fuel.

The Cross Coupé accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 7 seconds and has a top speed of 201 km/h (125 mph). If forward propulsion is being provided solely by the electric motors, the top speed is regulated down to 120 km/h (75 mph). Both the consumption figures and driving performance are positively influenced by the Cross Coupé’s aerodynamic properties. The aerodynamics built into the design and the very low overall height (for an SUV) produce a drag coefficient of 0.329.

At 4,345 mm, the concept car being shown in Tokyo is longer than a Golf and shorter than a Tiguan. The width of 1,868 mm and height of 1,523 mm also come exactly in between these two. In terms of its dimensions, the Cross Coupé is therefore a vehicle in the A segment. At 2,630 mm, the concept car has what in relation to its overall length is a very long wheelbase (52 mm longer than the Golf and 26 mm longer than the Tiguan). The bodywork overhangs (855 mm at the front and 860 mm at the back) are correspondingly short.

Source: Green Car Congress

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Electric Cadillac ELR Probably Destined For Front Wheel Drive

We follow plug-in cars pretty closely here, and occasionally we manage to break stories.

One was the production green light for the Cadillac Converj electric car concept, confirmed by GM as the Cadillac ELR coupe just six days later.

So when we see an article that's ... let's say implausible ... it's hard not to write a rebuttal.

Yesterday, in the widely followed trade journal Automotive News, product editor Rick Kranz penned a piece suggesting that the Cadillac ELR would have rear-wheel drive, which he calls a "game changer" for the electric Caddy coupe. (It's subscription only, so you may not be able to read the linked piece--sorry.)

The Cadillac ELR is essentially a higher-margin vehicle using the Voltec extended-range electric vehicle platform that sits under the Chevrolet Volt. The front wheels of the Volt are powered by its 111-kilowatt (149-horsepower) electric traction motor. Always have been.

Kranz believes that to be distinctive and to resonate with the Cadillac brand, the ELR electric coupe should have rear-wheel drive.

He notes that the upcoming Cadillac ATS compact sport sedan will ride on an all-new rear-wheel drive platform, code-named "Alpha." That architecture is designed to be used underneath future Cadillac CTS and Chevrolet Camaro models too.

2012 Chevrolet Volt

2012 Chevrolet Volt

Now, we're all in favor of rear-wheel drive plug-in and electric vehicles--and they certainly exist. Consider the Tesla Roadster, the 2012 Fisker Karma, and next year's Tesla Model S all-electric sedan, for instance.

But the idea that GM would create an entirely new, rear-wheel drive compact electric-drive platform is highly, highly unlikely. Right now, it has exactly one platform--its "global compact," or Delta architecture--that's been designed to accommodate the 400-pound T-shaped lithium-ion battery pack that stores energy in the Volt.

The crossbar of that T sits essentially between the rear wheels of the Volt--right where a differential and axle shafts would have to be located.

Kranz nods to the packaging issues, but suggests the pack could be raised over the rear axle. And he highlights a Cadillac description of the car as a "2 + 2" rather than a four-seat coupe.

Volt Battery Pack

Volt Battery Pack

He suggests that's "a signal that the battery pack will be eating up some of the rear-passenger space so the ELR can be offered as a rear-drive coupe."

We were sufficiently startled by this notion that we contacted our inside source at GM, who laughed out loud at the notion that the company plans to create a variation of the Alpha platform to accommodate a Voltec extended-range electric powertrain.

Then we got into the reasons why that won't happen:

  • A rear-wheel drive extended-range electric platform would require far more engineering resources than GM has available right now
  • GM wants to keep the pack as low and as central in the car as possible to achieve NHTSA five-star crash ratings for its plug-in vehicles
  • Mounting the battery pack above the axle would raise the center of gravity so high that any rear-drive handling advantages would disappear
  • The Voltec unit (including drive motor, generator, clutches, planetary gear set, and final drive) would need to be heavily reworked to allow a power takeoff for a driveshaft

All of these hurdles mean you can rest assured that the production version of the 2014 Cadillac ELR will remain a front-wheel drive plug-in coupe. Its mission is simply to boost the sale price on a few of the very pricey Voltec vehicles, to push that project closer to profitability.

We're still eager to drive it ....

Source: Green Car Reports

Toyota starts taking orders for soon-to-be-launched Prius PHV plug-in hybrid in Japan; targeting 35,000-40,000 units per year

Prius PHV S. Click to enlarge.

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has begun taking orders through Toyota dealers around Japan for the Prius PHV (plug-in hybrid). TMC will launch the vehicle in Japan on 30 January 2012. The Prius PHV will be sold by all Toyota, Toyopet, Toyota Corolla and Netz dealers in Japan; the sales target in Japan is 35,000 to 40,000 units per year.

With its new high-capacity lithium-ion battery fully charged, the Prius PHV’s EV-mode cruising range is 26.4 km (16.4 miles), and PHV fuel efficiency is 61.0 km/L (143 mpg US, 1.64 L/100km), calculated from combined EV and HV driving modes. The vehicle’s electric power consumption rate is 8.74 km/kWh. All cruising range and fuel efficiency figures here are based on the JC08 Japanese test cycle and verified by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan (MLIT).

With the goal of accelerating the wide use of electric vehicles, TMC’s development of the new Prius PHV focused on three areas: 1) high environmental performance, 2) product value and ease of use and 3) affordability. Prices (including consumption tax) start at ¥3,200,000 (US$41,000) for the entry-level S grade and run up to ¥4,200,000 (US$53,800) for the G grade with leather option.

To help provide more enjoyable and eco-conscious use of the Prius PHV, the vehicle comes standard with a new service called PHV Drive Support, which is centered on a function that connects the vehicle and owner via the Internet. Five types of services are packaged and provided free of charge to Prius PHV owners for three years. These include a service that enables remote checking through smartphones of remaining battery power and charging station locations, and allows free use of chargers (G-Station) installed at Toyota dealers and other locations.

Plug-in Hybrid System Specifications
Engine Type 2ZR-FXE
Displacement 1,797 cc
Maximum engine output 73 kW (98 hp)/
5,200 rpm
Maximum engine torque 142 N-m (105 lb-ft)/
4,000 rpm
Maximum motor output 60 kW (80 hp)
Maximum motor torque 207 N-m (153 lb-ft)
System maximum output 100 kW (134 hp)
Battery type / capacity Lithium-ion, 4.4 kWh

The Prius PHV features the Toyota Hybrid System II (1.8-liter gasoline engine, electric motor and reduction gear) coupled with a high capacity, new 4.4 kWh lithium-ion battery. The vehicle is also equipped with a high-efficiency on-board charger capable of charging to full in approximately 90 minutes at AC 200 V (180 minutes at AC 100 V).

Improvements in system efficiency, a reduction in body weight, and the adoption of low rolling-resistance tires have resulted in an electric power consumption rate of 8.74 km/kWh. When fully charged, the Prius PHV’s EV range is 3 km longer (approximately 13% better) than the 23.4 km achieved by its forebear.

PHV fuel efficiency is 61.0 km/L, calculated from combined EV and HV driving modes, with only 38 g/km of CO2 emissions. The HV mode fuel efficiency, after the battery has been depleted, still maintains an efficiency of 31.6 km/L (74.3 mpg US, 3.16 L/100km).

Toyota established environmental goals at the start of the development phase so that environmental impact could be reduced in a well-balanced way. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was carried out to reduce the total amount of CO2 emissions and other air pollutants, not just in the driving phase, but also throughout the entire life cycle of the vehicle from production to disposal (approximately 43% lower compared to gasoline-powered vehicles of the same class, approximately 9% lower compared to the base Prius). When using electricity generated from renewable energy such as solar or wind power, CO2 emissions can be further reduced.

The EV mode can be maintained up to 100 km/h (62 mph). When battery power depletes beyond a certain level, the vehicle transitions to HV mode. Sound-absorbing and soundproofing materials for reducing road and engine noise have been optimally positioned, and measures have also been implemented to reduce wind noise, achieving superbly quiet operation.

In addition to the standard drive mode, the driver is able to select a number of other modes including Eco Drive Mode, Power Mode. This, in addition to the EV and HV modes, give the driver the freedom to choose the most appropriate driving style for any given situation.

To support enjoyable and eco-conscious use of the Prius PHV, the Prius PHV comes standard with PHV Drive Support, which packages the following five services and is provided free of charge to all Prius PHV owners for three years:

  • Owner’s navigator: A service used through a smartphone, tablet PC or personal computer, to support learning of how to effectively use the vehicle.

  • eConnect: Allows the user to check, with a smartphone, vehicle status (battery power and EV range) and locations of nearby charging stations via the Toyota Smart Center (TSC). This service also provides ESPO, an eco-drive support system that displays user fuel-efficiency records and comparisons to other Prius PHVs in Japan. Additionally, a maker-optional navigation system enables remote operation through smartphones of the vehicle’s air conditioner and charging system.

  • Toyota Friend: A proprietary social networking service that provides charging and service reminders via “tweet”-like alerts. It also enables communication amongst Prius PHV users.

  • Battery care and checking: Based on battery usage information sent to the Toyota Smart Center, dealers can provide Prius PHV users with advice on how to better use the vehicle’s battery.

  • Charging service: Prius PHV users can use charging stations (G-Station) installed at Toyota dealers in Japan free of charge for an hour.

TMC is aware that managing household supply and demand of electricity will be important to help electric vehicles, including the Prius PHV, gain widespread use. To this end, TMC has been developing products for safe and efficient charging. Toyota Housing Corporation, a group company, will start sales of charging outlets, wall-mounted chargers and pole-type chargers for home use in January 2012. It will also launch the “H2V Manager” next January, a tool to support home-based charging that optimally controls the charging of vehicles based on the home’s electricity consumption.

Source: Green Car Congress

Mitsubishi MiEV Minicab - VIDEO

Mitsubishi MiEV Minicab in motion:

Mitsubishi Motors to Launch New MINICAB-MiEV Commercial Electric Vehicle in Jap


Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) announced that it will launch the new MINICAB-MiEV*1 minicar-class commercial electric vehicle (EV)-the second product in its next-generation EV lineup-on December 8, 2011 at dealerships throughout Japan. Depending on specification the new model will carry a pre-incentive manufacturer's recommended retail price (MSRP) of between \2,400,000 and \2,971,000, consumption tax included.

*1: Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle

Derived from the MINICAB Van minicar-class commercial vehicle, the MINICAB-MiEV has been developed maximizing the technologies and knowhow gained from the development of the i-MiEV in delivering the superior environmental performance inherent to an EV, together with the high levels of operating economy, payload capacity, drivability and reliability demanded of a commercial vehicle.

The MINICAB-MiEV will come with a choice of two sizes of drive battery to allow the customer to choose the cruising range best suited to his or her needs. The CD 10.5 kWh battery version provides a cruising range of 100 km (at JC08 mode) on a single charge, while the CD 16.0 kWh version takes this up to 150 km. MMC has set prices at an accessible level: with the application of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry's eco-car subsidy, the final cost to the consumer for the CD 10.6 kWh and CD 16.0 kWh battery versions will be reduced to \1,730,000 and \2,020,000 respectively. As with the i-MiEV, the MINICAB-MiEV will be sold on a maintenance lease, credit or cash basis.

When MMC started sales of the i-MiEV new-generation EV in the Japanese market in July 2009 it was the first auto manufacturer to offer a truly "ultimate eco-car" that fully addresses issues facing our society today including environmental pollution, global warming and exhaustion of petroleum-based energy supplies. Since then MMC has sold some 5,000 units in Japan and has shipped a total of about 17,000 units (as of October 31, 2011), including units supplied to PSA Peugeot Citroën. As a leading manufacturer of EVs, MMC is confident that as it expands its lineup of EV models it will serve as pioneers on the path toward quickly making possible a low-carbon society.

1. MINICAB-MiEV Product Features
The new MINICAB-MiEV is derived from the CD model in the MINICAB series of minicar-class commercial vehicles. Powered by the same drive battery and motor drivetrain already well proven in the i-MiEV, the new model offers payload capacity on a par with the MINICAB CD, as well as a cruising range that is ample for the requirements of a minicar-class commercial vehicle. The new MINICAB-MiEV also provides outstanding operating economy at an accessible price. MINICAB-MiEV provides a level of all-round performance that is well above that of conventional minicar-class commercial vehicles as its electric motor drivetrain delivers superior environmental performance and outstanding power and its whisper-quiet driving make for a pleasant and comfortable operating environment.

1) Environmental performance
The MINICAB-MiEV is a "zero-emissions vehicle" (zero drive-time emissions) and so is the ideal type of vehicle for transporting foodstuffs, fresh flowers and other sensitive cargo, or for delivery/collection work in areas normally inaccessible to a gasoline-powered vehicle (within facilities, in an environmentally protected area, etc.).

2) Economy
Being derived from the low cost/high performance MINICAB Van and employing most of the same major EV components as the i-MiEV allows Mitsubishi Motors to sell the MINICAB-MiEV at an accessible price. In addition, with the application of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry's "Subsidies for measures designed to promote introduction of clean energy vehicles," the CD 10.5 kWh version comes with an attractive price tag starting at \1,730,000.
Commercial vehicles are usually owned longer and cover longer cumulative mileages than family cars; so the MINICAB-MiEV also offers possible advantages over a comparable gasoline-powered in terms of total operating cost, including the price of the vehicle, because the main running cost is just that of the comparatively inexpensive electricity used to charge its battery. Further, because the MINICAB-MiEV can be charged at the business or at home it eliminates the need to make separate journeys to gasoline stations.

3) Payload capacity
The MINICAB-MiEV sports the same outstanding packaging as the i-MiEV where the high-capacity drive battery is located under the floor and the motor, inverter and other EV components are located under the cargo compartment. The result is cargo compartment space and payload capacity (350 kg with two occupants) which are on a par with the MINICAB CD, therefore delivering the high levels of utility required in a commercial vehicle.

4) Driving performance
The MINICAB-MiEV leverages the electric motor's inherent characteristic of generating maximum torque as soon as the vehicle starts to move off to enable stress-free gutsy performance even when fully-loaded.
In addition, because of the EV's inherently quiet operation, the MINICAB-MiEV makes the ideal commercial vehicle for delivery work early in the morning or late at night in residential districts. The lack of vibration also makes it well suited to transporting delicate goods. The stress-free and very quiet performance are complemented further by excellent ride comfort and all this helps to reduce fatigue in full-time drivers who are behind the wheel for many hours a day.

5) Reliability
The MINICAB-MiEV uses the same drive battery, motor and other major components that have been well-proven in the i-MiEV and also shares the advanced MiEV OS integrated vehicle management system. Constantly monitoring the charge remaining in the battery while at the same time regulating the regenerative braking system, the MiEV OS operates to ensure smooth and powerful off-the-line performance. The system contributes to pleasant, safe and reassuring vehicle operation while optimizing and saving energy use.

2. Product Overview (Main changes over MINICAB CD base model)

MINICAB-MiEV specifications (2-seater with high-roof model)

1) Major components

The MINICAB MiEV shares the following components with the i-MiEV: drive battery, motor, inverter, on-board charger, air-conditioner and rear suspension.
The MINICAB MiEV uses the same 10.5 kWh and 16.0 kWh lithium-ion drive batteries as the i-MiEV, and these provide a cruising range ample for normal minicar-class commercial vehicle use.
The MINICAB MiEV uses the same compact, lightweight and high-efficiency Y4F1 motor as the i-MiEV but with its motive performance tailored to the vehicle's presumed use as a minicar-class commercial vehicle. The motor generates maximum off-the-line torque and provides gutsy performance even when the car is fully loaded. The regenerative braking system can use the motor as a generator during braking and store the recovered kinetic energy as electricity in the drive battery.

2) Interior (controls and displays)

As on the i-MiEV, the driver can use the drive selector to choose from three modes: "D," "Eco," and "B." This allows him or her to choose between normal operation, lower output/energy-saving operation, and operation in which the regenerative brake bias is increased.
The MINICAB-MiEV uses the i-MiEV's combination instrument cluster which houses Digital Speedometer, Power Meter, Drive Battery Residual Charge Indicator and Available Range displays.

3) Safety features

All models are fitted with ABS and TCL (traction control) as standard.
The advanced MiEV OS vehicle management system constantly monitors the state of the drive battery. In the event of a collision, electricity leak or a fault occurring, the system cuts off the high-voltage circuitry from the drive battery to protect the safety of occupants and rescue teams.
All models are fitted as standard with a vehicle-approaching alert system which, at vehicle speeds of approximately 25 km/h or less, emits an audible warning to alert pedestrians to the approach of the vehicle.

4) Other features

For regular charging purposes The MINICAB-MiEV comes standard with a 200V AC (15 amp) cable that fits outdoor sockets used for EV battery charging. A 100V AC (10 amp) cable and a Quick Charging Connector are available as factory-supplied options.
The MINICAB-MiEV comes in a choice of three body colors: White Solid, Cool Silver Metallic and Titanium Grey Metallic. Exclusive decals (for the body sides and tailgate) which accent the advanced nature of EVs are available as factory-supplied options.
The MINICAB-MiEV is available with the Exceed Package exterior and interior upgrade kit which includes a chrome-finish front grille, color-keyed door mirror and front and rear seat upholstery using fabric cloth as a factory option.

3. Sales information
1) Sales target: 4,000 units (December 2011 through March 2012)
2) Available at: All Mitsubishi Motors affiliated dealerships in Japan
3) MSRP: (Prices do not include recycling fee, insurance, taxes other than consumption tax or registration costs)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ghosn says the world will want 500,000 Renault-Nissan electric cars a year by 2020

The way Carlos Ghosn repeatedly touts the benefits of electric vehicles, you'd think he knows something the rest of the industry doesn't. For now, it appears he's right, since sales of the Nissan Leaf continue to be constrained by supply and not demand. What makes the Renault-Nissan CEO endlessly interesting is that he doesn't back off of his stance no matter what's happening in the world. The best response to the earthquake in Japan? EVs. A competitive automotive industry? EVs. Giving the customers what they want? You get the picture.

Speaking with Automotive News recently, Ghosn made it clear that his. Some interesting tidbits include that Ghosn doesn't expect U.S. production of the Leaf (in Smyrna, TN) will lower the price at all, it'll just help Nissan move toward what it wants, "which is a sustainable model without support from the government." He sees global demand for his companies' EVs to reach 500,000 a year globally by 2020. As he pushes forwards to that goal, he's also looking as hybrids (like the Altima hybrid) in the near term, saying Nissan will have "very significant" gas-electric market share by 2015, but one that "could be smaller than electric [market share]."

Source: Autoblog Green

GM Builds on Battery Safety to Ensure Confidence in Chevrolet Volt


Customer safety, satisfaction remain highest priority
Volt owners offered alternative GM vehicle loans for peace of mind
Senior GM engineering team to work with NHTSA on possible changes

DETROIT - General Motors announced Monday initiatives for customer satisfaction and battery safety research to ensure ongoing confidence in the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle.

The initiatives follow six months of research and testing in the United States with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration designed to induce electric vehicle battery failure after severe crash situations.

The agency advised GM on Friday that it would open a preliminary evaluation of Volt battery assemblies after NHTSA test results caused electrical fires up to three weeks after an initial vehicle New Car Assessment Program side pole crash test.

Mark Reuss, president, GM North America, said the company would take every precaution to assure the driving public of GM's commitment to the safety of the Volt being handled after a severe incident and the total satisfaction of everyone who owned one.

"The Volt is a five-star safety car. Even though no customer has experienced in the real world what was identified in this latest testing of post-crash situations, we're taking critical steps to ensure customer satisfaction and safety," Reuss said.

"Our customers' peace of mind is too important to us for there to be any concern or any worry. This technology should inspire confidence and pride, not raise any concern or doubt.

"The question is about how to deal with the battery days and weeks after a severe crash, making it a matter of interest not just for the Volt, but for our industry as we continue to advance the pursuit of electric vehicles."

Senior GM engineering investigation team

Mary Barra, senior vice president, Global Product Development, said GM had established a senior engineering team to develop changes to eliminate concern of potential post-crash electrical fires and work with industry to ensure appropriate electric vehicle protocols were in place. Barra said such electrical fires had not occurred on public roads and NHTSA was not investigating any such potential imminent failure on the roads.

"GM and the agency's focus and research continue to be on the performance, handling, storage and disposal of batteries after a crash or other significant event," she said.

"We're working with NHTSA so we all have an understanding about these risks and how they can be avoided in the future. This isn't just a Volt issue. We're already leading a joint electric vehicle activity with Society of Automotive Engineers and other automotive companies to address new issues, such as this protocol of depowering batteries after a severe crash."

Barra said the team would continue to work closely with NHTSA, suppliers, dealers and manufacturing teams to initiate any necessary changes as soon as possible.

Volt owner loan program

Reuss said GM would establish a Volt owner satisfaction program. Any Volt owner concerned about safety can contact his or her Volt advisor to arrange for a free GM vehicle loan until resolution of the issue.

"A vehicle loan program of this nature is well beyond the norm for a preliminary investigation, and it underlines our commitment to the vehicle and its owners," he said. "These steps are the right ones to take regardless of any immediate impact on our operations."

Launched in late 2010, the Chevrolet Volt has won more than 30 awards in the United States and other markets. The Volt achieved a five-star NCAP overall vehicle score for safety by the NHTSA and is a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. GM carried out more than 1 million test miles in vehicle development.

General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM's brands include Chevrolet and Cadillac, as well as Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at

GM Executive Confirms 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Plug-In Hybrid

The Chevrolet Cruze compact sedan is an important car for General Motors.

It's hugely outselling its lackluster predecessor, the Chevy Cobalt, and the EPA rates the special Cruze Eco model at 42 mpg in the highway cycle, giving it gas-mileage bragging rights.

Plug-in hybrid to join diesel model

But Chevrolet has big plans for future Cruze models. Now we learn that among them are a plug-in hybrid version that could debut as soon as 2014, following the 2013 Cruze clean-diesel model that was confirmed by CEO Dan Akerson in July.

Ten days ago, toward the end of the Los Angeles Auto Show media preview, GM executive Jim Federico told Australia's Go-Auto site: "The plug-in Cruze has a place and it will be a hybrid."

2011 Chevrolet Cruze

2011 Chevrolet Cruze

Federico's full title is Executive Director, Group Vehicle Line Executive/Vehicle Chief Engineer for Global Compact, Small, Mini and Electric Vehicles. In other words, he's a man who knows the product plan.

“Plug-in Cruze doesn’t make Volt redundant at all," Federico told Go-Auto. "Plug-in Cruze would have a different powertrain. Plug-in hybrids use both the engine and motor all the time.”

Paralleling the plug-in Prius

And that's the reason for the plug-in Cruze: It won't be a range-extended electric vehicle like the 2012 Chevrolet Volt, powered solely by an electric motor that gets its energy either from a lithium-ion battery pack or a gasoline-powered generator once the pack is depleted.

Instead, the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Plug-In Hybrid will use a conventional hybrid drivetrain, paired with a larger battery pack that can also be plugged in to recharge it.

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, production model

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, production model

This setup is very similar to the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid that hits dealerships next March. That car has a 5.2-kiilowatt-hour battery pack (versus the 1.4 kWh of a standard Prius) and delivers 9 to 13 miles of electric range--though its engine may switch on at any time regardless of remaining range.

Next-generation Two-Mode

The plug-in hybrid Cruze will use a front-wheel drive adaptation of GM's large and costly Two-Mode Hybrid system, which is currently offered only in full-size sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks.

A front-wheel drive adaptation of the current Two-Mode system was originally intended for a 2010 Saturn Vue plug-in hybrid model. When Saturn was killed during the GM bankruptcy, it was briefly destined for the 'Vuick,' a re-badged version of the Vue that was swiftly killed.

For awhile, it looked like it would land in the Cadillac SRX luxury compact crossover. But that program was killed in May, for reasons of added weight and sub-par performance. The Cruze plug-in hybrid represents a fresh start with the next generation of the system.

Many green options = product churn?

What to make of a plug-in hybrid Cruze model? It certainly shows GM moving forward on multiple fronts to offer a range of green technologies that meet the differing needs of its customers.

The 2013 Cruze diesel, for example, may be the best option for buyers who rack up lots of miles at freeway speeds, when diesels can be most efficient. A plug-in hybrid Cruze, on the other hand, may be better for frequent stop-and-go traffic and drivers who do lots of short trips.

Chevrolet Cruze EV, test fleet in South Korea, October 2010

Chevrolet Cruze EV, test fleet in South Korea, October 2010

And just for the record, GM has tested a fleet of all-electric Cruze EV sedans in Korea as well.

But we chatted with a GM insider who suggested that if the Cruze plug-in is really planned for a 2014 launch, it indicates that the near-term product range is continuing to change. That's not always such a good thing.

This past Summer, CFO Dan Ammann said the company's product plan needed to settle down and solidify to reduce the amount of money wasted in frequent changes of direction.

GreenCarReports reached out to GM representatives for comments on Federico's assertion and the idea of a 2014 Chevrolet Cruze plug-in hybrid model. We had not received any responses by the time this article was published; we'll add any information we may get from GM as it arrives.

Source: Green Car Reports

2012 Toyota Prius V And Plug-In Make Green Car Reports Best Buy in Coming Year

Ask pretty much any car buyer about green cars or hybrids and, chances are, that person will likely mention the Toyota Prius sooner or later.

Until this year, though, the Prius has been a single model: a subcompact four-door sedan from 2000 through 2003, and then two generations of mid-size five-door hatchback after that, one from 2004 through 2009, and the current version starting in 2010.

Now, for the first time, the iconic Prius is expanding from a single model into a line of models. And we've named both of the new 2012 Prius models together as a pair to be one of six nominees for the GreenCarReports Best Car To Buy 2012 award.

2012 Toyota Prius V station wagon, Half Moon Bay, CA, May 2011

2012 Toyota Prius V station wagon, Half Moon Bay, CA, May 2011

Prius V wagon

The first of the two new models, now on sale at dealers, is the 2012 Toyota Prius V wagon. Taller, longer, and with more load space than the original Prius hatchback, the 2012 Prius V seems likely to be a popular addition to the lineup.

Mechanically, it's pretty much the same as the standard Prius hatchback. But while from some angles it looks like a tall hatchback, the rear is clearly a wagon--and the greater load space with the rear seats folded down clinches it.

For the record, the hatchback and wagon models don't share a single body panel--but Toyota's stylists have cleverly made the Prius V look every inch a Prius nonetheless. And inside, they've dispensed with the striking but impractical "flying buttress" console for a more conventional lower tray that improve storage and access considerably.

And the greater space carries only a minor penalty in fuel economy. The EPA rates the 2012 Toyota Prius V at 42 mpg combined gas mileage, versus the 50-mpg rating for the lighter, more aerodynamic hatchback model.

There are three trim levels of the 2012 Prius V: They're priced at $27,160 (Prius V Two), $27,925 (Prius V Three), and $30,750 (Prius V Five), all including destination.

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid

Prius Plug-In Hybrid

The second new Prius, which will arrive early next year, is the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid. It's the first Toyota model with a plug sold in this country in a decade, and it will likely be made in much greater volumes than the 2002 Toyota RAV4 EV that was the last Toyota that could be recharged from the electric grid.

You can think of the 2012 Prius Plug-In as a conventional Prius with a larger battery pack that plugs into the grid to recharge, as well as being charged by engine overrun and regenerative braking.

Unlike the range-extended electric Chevrolet Volt, however, the plug-in Prius will switch on its engine whenever more power is needed, even if the pack still has miles remaining on it. All-electric range is somewhere between 9 and 13 miles, depending on terrain, temperature, and a score of other factors.

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid

But for green buyers who are nervous about an all-battery car like the Nissan Leaf, and skeptical about the range-extended electric Volt, the 2012 Prius Plug-In Hybrid may be the gentlest, easiest, simplest way to go electric.

Recharging takes only about 3 hours on 120-Volt household current, and unless you're traveling cross country, a normal mix of suburban errands may end up with the Prius plug-in running fully half its miles on electricity. The base price is $32,760, including destination, and most buyers will qualify for a $2,500 Federal tax credit.

The EPA hasn't yet rated the gas mileage of the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, but it'll clearly be higher than the Prius hatchback's 50 mpg rating. We'd expect it to be at least 60 mpg, perhaps higher.

Toyota will offer the Prius Plug-In Hybrid in 14 states at launch: California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia. Next year, the company will make it available nationwide.

Tomorrow, we'll describe the last of our six nominees for the Best Car To Buy 2012 award, and on Monday, we'll reveal the winner.

Source: Green Car Reports

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Another Look at the 2012 Mitsubishi-i - US Spec

Last year, the only volume battery electric car on sale in the U.S. was the Nissan Leaf. But for 2012, there's a new electric vehicle in town: the 2012 Mitsubishi 'i'.

The egg-shaped minicar is Mitsubishi's first plug-in offering, but it's actually been around longer than the Leaf, with tens of thousands sold in Asia and Europe under the name "i-MiEV". Initial U.S. sales markets are California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii.

Though it's remarkably small, the 2012 'i' seats four full-sized adults comfortably. Its 16-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack (one-third smaller than the Leaf's) powers a 49-kilowatt (66-horsepower) electric motor driving the rear wheels.

The EPA rates the 2012 Mitsubishi 'i' as having a range of 62 miles, lower than the Leaf's 73 miles. But the Mitsubishi electric car gets a slightly higher efficiency rate of 112 "MPG-e," an equivalency rate that equates the energy used to power the car with that in an equivalent number of gallons of gasoline.

This means the 'i' uses its stored electric energy more economically than any other vehicle on sale in the U.S.--an esoteric distinction, given how cheap electricity is, but one that its maker is touting nonetheless.

2012 Mitsubishi i - First Drive, U.S.-spec MiEV

2012 Mitsubishi i - First Drive, U.S.-spec MiEV

Like the Leaf, the 'i' offers an optional DC quick-charging port that provides an 80-percent battery recharge in about half an hour. While those quick-charge stations are quite rare at the moment, expect to see more of them installed in the early-launch locations for both electric cars (largely the West Coast and some east-coast locations).

The 2012 Mitsubishi 'i' and the Nissan Leaf may be the first two battery electric cars to go on sale in the U.S., but over the next few years, they'll be joined by many others: this year, the Ford Focus Electric and, later, perhaps the Tesla Model S all-electric luxury sport sedan.

As a small and perennially struggling maker, Mitsubishi is making a big gamble on introducing an electric car. But for what it is, the 'i' is a creditable entry. It's nimble to drive, if hardly the quickest car on the road, and its minimal exterior dimensions hide a remarkable amount of space inside.

2012 Mitsubishi i - First Drive, U.S.-spec MiEV

2012 Mitsubishi i - First Drive, U.S.-spec MiEV

We think the 2012 Mitsubishi 'i' is ideally suited to a role as a second or third car, a commuter vehicle, or an urban runabout. You might not want to drive it cross-country, but its limited range would make that a challenge anyway.

Its clever design, four-person capacity, and overall efficiency prompted us to name the 2012 'i' as one of our six nominees for the GreenCarReports Best Car To Buy 2012 award.

We've been describing each of the contenders, one per day, over the course of this week. Come Monday, we'll name the winner for 2012.

Source: Green Car Reports

Cadillac diesel back on the table

How would you feel about a Cadillac with a diesel engine? Those of you in America shouldn't bother answering that question, however – it's strictly for the Europeans. At the Los Angeles Auto Show, Cadillac's VP of marketing said that a diesel is "under consideration for vehicles sold outside the United States," with its U.S. chances going only so far as "a potential hedge." We've heard something like this since at least 2007 from the company. Is it for real this time?

When committing to the best fight against its rivals overseas, Cadillac's rep said, "if that means making the right powertrain choices, then those are the choices we will have to make." No mention was made of Opel's diesels or whether General Motors would choose to develop something new, but the German subsidiary has done well with oil-burners in the Insignia, and a trial of diesels in Caddys could help use up the allotment that Saab won't necessarily be needing.

Source: Autoblog Green

All-Electric on Two Wheels Only – Prozza Scooter and Motorcycle

prozza miletto li500

Electricity on four wheels, electricity on three wheels, and electricity on two wheels – all converge on the Tokyo Motor Show next month. One of the cuter additions is from a company called ProStaff, which started an all-electric bike racing team earlier this year.

ProStaff has a booth all to itself for its emission-free two-wheeled electric vehicles at the motor show, representing the theme of “Smart Mobility 2011.”

The more eccentric of the two vehicles on display at ProStaff’s booth is an electric scooter. The Prozza Miletto Li500 is an upgraded version of their previous electric scooter (the Prozza Miletto), with lithium ion batteries. It’s supposed to invoke a sense of stylish fun for the short-range commuter – and it’s definitely got that perky look.

ProStaff’s second contribution is the electric bike they sent to the TTzero race at the Isle of Man last June. The fully electric Prozza TT Zero-11 reached a top speed of 124mph (according to a camera mounted on the bike itself).

Never enough electric bikes and scooters, I say. Check out the gallery and bring ‘em on!

Source: Gas2.0

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Report: Toyota and BMW discussing broad partnership; diesel and hybrid technologies

The Nikkei reports that Toyota Motor Corp. is discussing a broad partnership with BMW AG, including procuring diesel engines. In August, Toyota announced a partnership with Ford to develop rear-wheel drive hybrid system for light trucks, among other technologies.

Under the proposed arrangement, BMW will provide diesel engines for Toyota’s passenger vehicles sold in Europe, most likely 2-liter versions for midsize cars. The start date and scale have yet to be decided. Toyota had hoped to expand its market share in Europe mainly with its hybrids, but it has struggled in a region where roughly 60% of passenger cars are powered by diesel engines. Its European sales fell by 9% to about 810,000 units in 2010, and it holds only a 4% share of the market.

...Meanwhile, BMW will be able to leverage the benefits of scale for diesel engines. The move is also seen helping the German automaker improve the competitiveness of its green vehicles. Having inked a deal in fall 2010 to jointly develop hybrid systems for subcompacts with France’s PSA Peugeot Citroen Group, it will be able to expand its lineup by working with Toyota.

Fisker says Karma will meet 15,000 production target for 2012

A raft of production delays slowed the arrival of the first Fisker Karma. Though the initial round of vehicles were finally delivered, the delays mean that Fisker will only ship 1,500 of the four door plug-in hybrids in 2011, well short of the original target of 7,000.

There has been an effort to turn Fisker into a scandal and these lower production numbers are enough to fan the flames. Fisker has received loans totaling $529 million from the Department of Energy, a number that puts the company within $6 million of the assistance lent to failed solar-panel maker Solyndra. Fisker's partners at A123 Systems have been forced to chop their earnings estimates for 2011, since fewer Karmas out the door means fewer A123 batteries sold. To some, it all has the look of failure.

However, Fisker Chairman Ray Lane says that the issues in 2011 were a combination of difficulties faced by any start up – such as problems with the electrical system that didn't appear until production was underway – and some one-off disasters. For example, a flood soaked the initial shipment of leather delivered for the car's interior, leaving Fisker with 250 vehicles that were ready to go, except for seats, dashboards, steering wheels and every other surface that needed to be covered in cowhide.

With the Freshman year drawing to a close, Lane is convinced that Fisker will hit its mark in 2012. According to Lane, Fisker still plans to meet projections of 15,000 Karmas delivered in 2012. A123 is taking a more cautious approach, projecting around 7,000 vehicles. Either number would actually be very good for a car that has a base price of $96,000. Even the 7,000-unit sales number would exceed the annual sales of such well-known $100k sedans as the Maserati Quattroporte or Audi R8. Those cars don't have any green chic, though, and that might make all the difference.

Source: Autoblog Green

T. Boone Pickens has a federal subsidy beef with the Koch brothers over natural gas, ethanol

Since the summer, natural gas supporter T. Boone Pickens (pictured) has been in an energy fight with the Koch brothers. Think of it as a battle of the conservative billionaires to see who can get more money from the federal government.

According to the Des Moines Register, Pickens has been working to encourage governmental support for natural gas vehicles. No surprise there, since Pickens believes it was given to us by God himself. The Koch brothers, on the other hand, have their hands out for a lot of ethanol subsidies even though they are often called Libertarian (or at the very least, deeply conservative). Pickens reportedly said recently that:

Koch Industries imports 61,000 barrels of OPEC oil a day to their Corpus Christi refinery. They're the third largest recipient of subsidies for ethanol, they're in the chemical business and the fertilizer business. So everything I do could affect them in some way. They're against me. I know Charles and David Koch. I asked them to talk to me about this subject; they would not do it. They would not return my phone calls. When I was one of their biggest customers in 2005, I heard from them and was entertained in their home in Wichita, but now (they) don't want to talk to me about it. They've gone and tried to peel off all the co-sponsors of the bill that they can. While they knocked out 14 I was getting 16. They spend a lot of money to do this. They're working for the Kochs, I'm working for America. I want an energy plan for America, they want an energy plan for the Koch's.

This past May, Charles Koch wrote an op-ed that claimed that Picken's call for natural gas to get subsidies "well-intentioned but misguided" even as it said that Kock didn't even want the ethanol subsidies he was collecting: "Because ethanol use is mandated, we were compelled to be in that business. We still oppose ethanol subsidies and mandates even though some of our businesses would benefit from them." A spokesman for the Koch brothers wrote to Congress in June that "We do not believe government should be picking 'winners and losers' in the marketplace." Well, of course you don't. Not once you're already winning.

Source: Autoblog Green

Friday, November 25, 2011

Mazda to begin deployment of i-ELOOP ultracapacitor-based regenerative braking system for passenger vehicles in 2012

Mazda’s ‘i-ELOOP’ regenerative braking system. Click to enlarge.

Mazda Motor Corporation has developed the first production passenger vehicle regenerative braking system that uses an ultracapacitor. The system, which Mazda calls ‘i-ELOOP’, will begin to appear in Mazda’s vehicles in 2012. In real-world driving conditions with frequent acceleration and braking, i-ELOOP improves fuel economy in stop-and-go driving conditions by approximately 10%, according to the company.

Compared to batteries, ultracapacitors can be charged and discharged rapidly and feature a very long cycle life. i-ELOOP converts the vehicle’s kinetic energy into electricity as it decelerates, and uses the electricity to power the climate control, audio system and numerous other electrical components.

The i-ELOOP system features a new 12-25V variable voltage alternator; a low-resistance electric double layer capacitor (EDLC) and a DC/DC converter. i-ELOOP starts to recover kinetic energy the moment the driver lifts off the accelerator pedal and the vehicle begins to decelerate. The variable voltage alternator generates electricity at up to 25V for maximum efficiency before sending it to the Electric Double Layer Capacitor (EDLC) for storage.

The ultracapacitor, which has been specially developed for use in a vehicle, can be fully charged in seconds. The DC/DC converter steps down the electricity from 25V to 12V before it is distributed directly to the vehicle’s electrical components. The system also charges the vehicle battery as necessary.

The name ‘i-ELOOP’ is an adaptation of “Intelligent Energy Loop” and represents Mazda’s intention to efficiently cycle energy in an intelligent way. ‘i-ELOOP’ also works in conjunction with Mazda’s ‘i-stop’ idling stop technology to extend the period that the engine can be shut off.

Source: Green Car Congress

Renault Twizy electrifies Colette


The Colette store in Paris is exhibiting Renault Twizy in a window display from December 5 to 10, 2011
In a world premiere, Colette customers can check out and reserve the most original of electric vehicles

The full-electric Renault Twizy is a true automotive art work and also a concentrate of innovation. The vehicle's tubular chassis and plastic body make it an authentic UDO, or "Unidentified Driving Object", worthy of the best science fiction films.

Yet Renault Twizy is a reality today. And what better ambassador than Colette, with its well-known penchant for "playful minimalism", for this revolution in design and zero-emission mobility?

Renault Twizy, the electric avant-garde

It looks like a toy and drives like a toy – but it isn't a toy. Twizy, developed by Renault Sport Technologies, is an amazing vehicle that combines the best of the car and the bicycle. It has all the agility and ease of a two-wheeler but boasts the safety, comfort and practicality of a four-wheeler. 100% electric and so 0% polluting, Twizy is the ideal solution for short urban trips.

With the acceleration of a 125 cc scooter, Twizy is a little racer with a velvet touch. It is completely silent and can be parked anywhere, even perpendicular to the sidewalk. Safety-wise it is equipped as standard with a driver's airbag, four-point seatbelts in the front and three-point belts in the back.

In open and semi-closed version alike, Twizy keeps you in touch with the outside world. And desperate searches for gas stations are over, as Twizy can be charged on a regular socket at home, in your parking space and in parking lots. It takes just three and a half hours for a full charge, bringing you 115 km range, more than enough for urban use.

Colette, the leading concept store

colette first opened its doors in March 1997 situated along 213 rue Saint-Honoré in Paris. Aimed at reinventing the concept of retail, the seven-hundred square-meter establishment, adopted the tag line "styledesignartfood" to the business.

Having since been internationally recognized as a fashion mecca which successfully redefines a unique blend of modernity and innovation with a twist, essentially, colette is a world of its own spotlighting 2 ultra-creative windows and in-store merchandising displays which alternate weekly, inspiring and educating clientele from all walks of life.

Spanning three levels, customers are invited to encounter the colette experience, that of which comprises a never ending assortment of high-tech chrome arts and luxe jewelry, a specialist music/dvd library, a rare and exclusive book and magazine collection, a second-to-none beauty counter, an art gallery, a superbly chic mix of fashion labels, and a downstairs water bar (for those who like to dine in between shopping stints!).

The e-shop presents everyday our new products, with our crush selection in the news section. Find all our news, events, and special projects and also our blog section. Follow virtually the everyday life of our store, this is the target of

The colette concept reflects is a mix of new or hard-to-find products from around the world, all of which cater to an ever evolving mix of genres and tastes alike. Customers consider colette as a visionary meeting point, an house which accommodates new labels, exclusives, limited-edition products and high-quality brands, from both the past and present. Always the same, Never the same. This is what defines colette.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

San Diego: Car2Go's Choice For First All-Electric Car Share Service, Gallery 1

The City of San Diego has become the first city in North America to offer an all-electric car sharing network, thanks to Car2Go.

A fleet of more than 300 all-electric Smart ForTwo Electric Drives were present at the November 18 launch event.

A subsiduary of Daimler North America Corporation, the owners of Smart, Car2Go will allow San Diego residents and visitors access to a widely available and affordable emissions-free driving option, with everything from insurance and parking to roadside assistance included the rental price.

The Smart ForTwo Electric Drive may not suit everyone but it's a fun little ride and more than up to the task of nipping through city streets. Charging points located across the region will make it easy to use and parking should never be a problem. The cars are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Car2Go has no return time or return location requirements so when you're done with the car you can drop it off anywhere within the operating area and the Car2Go team will handle the rest.

Registration with costs $35. You'll then pay $0.35 per minute for the car, with a maximum of $12.99 per hour and $65.99 per day, plus tax. There's a 150 mile limit per rental, with additional miles charged at 45 cents each plus tax.

Want to know where one of the Smarts is parked? Find it on the Car2Go map.

The company wants to see San Diego becoming a model for other cities around the world as a way of reducing emissions and alleviating congestion, giving electric mobility to residents whenever they need it.

Source: Green Car Reports