Saturday, June 30, 2012

All-Electric 2013 Honda Fit EV Begins Leasing July 20 in California and Oregon EPA-rated at 118 MPGe, the Honda Fit EV will lease for $389 a month


Honda today announced the all-new 2013 Honda Fit EV will be available for lease beginning July 20, 2012, with a three-year lease price of $389 per month. The 2013 Honda Fit EV is the latest in Honda's diverse and growing range of alternative-fuel vehicles, and received the highest fuel-efficiency rating ever given by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with an adjusted combined mile-per-gallon-equivalency rating of 118 MPGe(1).

The Fit EV will be available for lease-only in key markets in Oregon and California, after which availability will expand to six East Coast markets in early 2013. The Fit EV's three-year lease price of $389 per month computes to a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $36,625.

Honda is the only automaker to offer such a diverse range of alternative fuel vehicles, which includes the Honda FCX Clarity fuel-cell electric vehicle, multiple gas-electric hybrid models and America's only mass-produced natural gas vehicle, the Honda Civic Natural Gas.

"No other automaker on the planet is more deeply committed to produce and deliver more energy-efficient and sustainable transportation solutions than Honda," said Steven Center, vice president of the American Honda Environmental Business Development Office. "The 2013 Honda Fit EV is the latest example of this commitment."

Based on the popular five-door, five-passenger Fit and Fit Sport, the 100-percent electric Fit EV features a 20-kilowatt-hour (kWh) Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) battery and a compact 92-kilowatt (123 horsepower) AC synchronous electric motor that generates 189 ft-lb of torque. This efficient powertrain is teamed to a chassis with a fully-independent suspension and a driver-selectable 3-mode drive system adapted from the CR-Z Sport Hybrid. The result is a fun-to-drive EV with a class-leading EPA combined city/highway estimated driving range rating of 82-miles(1).

 An onboard charger allows the vehicle to be plugged into any household-type 120-volt or available 240-volt AC power supply. When connected to a 240-volt circuit, the Fit EV battery can be recharged in less than three hours from a low charge indicator illumination point.(2) When connected to an outlet, charging can be started or stopped with an included Fit EV interactive remote control, through an available smartphone application, or through the internet on a personal computer.

Customers interested in leasing or learning more about the Fit EV are encouraged to sign up at

Fit EV Summary
20-kWh Li-Ion battery
Maintenance-free 92-kW AC synchronous electric motor
MPGe ratings(1) of 132/105/118 city/highway/combined
EPA combined city/highway estimated driving range rating of 82-miles(1)
3-mode drive system (Econ, Normal, Sport)
Regenerative braking system
Included 120-volt portable charging cable
240-volt charge capability
Standard Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System
Interactive Remote Control
Available free smartphone app
15-inch alloy wheels
Unique aerodynamic body details
Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure
Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®)
Passenger volume, 89.3 cu-ft.
Cargo volume, rear seat up/down: 12.0/49.4 cu-ft.
Body Length x Width x Height: 162.0 x 67.7 x 62.2 in.
Wheelbase: 98.4 in.
Fit EV Firsts
First use of next-gen Honda Bio-Fabric seat material
First Honda model to use new HondaLink EV™ telematics
First Fit model to feature multi-link rear suspension
First Fit model to use lightweight aluminum front subframe


The electric motor drives the Fit EV through a high-efficiency coaxial gearbox with a single forward ratio. The 3-Mode Drive System's ECON mode can help the driver improve range from the NORMAL mode, while in the SPORT mode, improved responsiveness adds to the Fit EV's fun-to-drive nature. In all modes, a new regenerative braking system returns energy to the battery pack during deceleration and braking. Additionally, a driver-selectable "B" mode optimizes the rate of regenerative braking.

The onboard charger allows the vehicle to be plugged into any household-type 120-volt or available 240-volt AC power supply. When connected to a household 120-volt power supply with the included portable charging cable, the Fit EV can be fully recharged in less than 15 hours. With a suitable 240-volt AC Level 2 supply connected to the Fit EV's standard onboard double-power 6.6 kW charger, the charge time from low-charge indicator illumination is less than three hours. A 240-volt charging station is available for customer purchase through Leviton, Honda's preferred electric charging equipment supplier.

An interactive remote control with a range of up to 100 feet can also control charging and operation of the climate control system when the Fit EV is connected to a power supply. To allow charging at the lowest available electricity rates, charge scheduling can be set via the Multi-Information Display (MID) or by an available free Fit EV smartphone app.


The compact Fit EV shares its essential design and engineering features with the gasoline-powered Fit and Fit Sport, and has aerodynamic upgrades and unique styling cues that set it apart. The unit-body utilizes 56-percent high-strength steel that maximizes stiffness without adding unnecessary weight.

The Fit EV's 162.0-inch overall length belies an extraordinary amount of interior space, and the 98.4-inch wheelbase pushes the wheels toward the edges of the body envelope, resulting in a remarkable blend of ride quality and handling agility. The 58.5-inch front/57.6-inch rear track adds both cornering stability and interior roominess.

Aerodynamic innovations include a revised and more efficient front end, grille area and lower fascia. Along the body sides, the rocker panels now feature aggressive air-control shapes behind the front wheels as well as ahead of the rear wheels. The rear spoiler and lower fascia have been redesigned to further reduce aerodynamic drag.


The Fit EV's smooth ride, nimble handling and connected-to-the-road feel starts with its rigid steel unit body, enabling precise handling and body control. The MacPherson strut front suspension has been optimized and the Fit's H-shaped torsion beam rear suspension has been replaced with a rear multi-link system. The Fit EV's Li-Ion battery pack is packaged beneath the floor of the vehicle, preserving the Fit's outstanding interior space.

An electrically power-assisted hydraulic braking system utilizes 11.1-inch ventilated front discs and 8.7-inch rear drums, along with a new electric servo braking system that helps to recharge the lithium-ion battery pack while the vehicle is coasting or braking. Electric Power Steering (EPS) is standard.

The Fit EV is equipped with low rolling-resistance P185/60R15 all-season tires with 15x6.0-inch, five-lug aluminum alloy wheels. A flat tire repair kit eliminates the need for a spare tire, allowing extra room for the under-floor Li-Ion battery pack, and roadside assistance comes standard with the Fit EV for the length of the lease.


The Fit EV has a roomy five-passenger interior offering a high level of comfort and remarkable versatility. Seating features include a manual tilt and telescope steering wheel, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, and a new version of Honda's Bio-Fabric seat material.

Helping drivers to operate the vehicle more efficiently is new analog and digital instrumentation, which displays the vehicle's energy use, the lithium-ion battery pack's state of charge, and estimated remaining driving range. An ECO scoring system lets drivers know how efficiently they're operating the vehicle, and other indicators show the energy used by the climate control system and other systems.

The FIT EV is well equipped with a standard six-speaker 160-watt audio system that includes a USB(3) audio interface and Bluetooth®(4) HandsFreeLink®. In addition, a standard Voice-Activated Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System includes the locations of public EV recharging stations, as well as a graphic depiction of estimated driving range.


The new Fit EV offers a broad range of standard active and passive safety features designed to help protect not only its occupants, but also pedestrians and the occupants of other vehicles. Standard active safety features include Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with traction control, a 4-channel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist, and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).

An Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure helps make the vehicle highly effective at absorbing and dispersing the energy of a frontal crash, while daytime running lights (DRL) and a pedestrian injury mitigation design in the front of the vehicle further improve safety. The 2013 Fit EV is expected to receive an Overall Vehicle Score of 5 Stars in NHTSA's New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) tests, and a Top Safety Pick by the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Honda Financial Services Lease

The new Fit EV is available exclusively on a 36-month closed-end lease for $389 per month (plus tax, $0 cap cost reduction). This lease payment price includes the cost reduction for the available $7,500 federal EV tax credit. The first month's payment plus tax and license fees are due at lease signing, and the lease allows up to 12,000 miles-per-year. Lease payment includes roadside assistance, routine maintenance and navigation Point of Interest updates. There will be no purchase option at lease end, and customers are responsible for insurance(5). Customers interested in leasing the Fit EV can begin the process at, which provides an EV Readiness Assessment to determine if they are a good candidate for a Fit EV lease.

Manufacturing and Warranty

The Fit EV is manufactured by Honda at the New Model Center in Tochigi, Japan, the same facility that manufactures the FCX Clarity fuel-cell electric vehicle. It is covered by a 3-year/36,000-mile Limited Vehicle Warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty, and a 5-year/unlimited-mile Corrosion Limited Warranty. The Fit EV Lithium-Ion Battery Warranty is in addition to Limited Warranty and continues for the duration of the lease of the vehicle.

Honda Environmental Leadership

Besides producing the Fit EV, Honda has developed numerous technologies to improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions. Honda has also led the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) rankings of overall vehicle environmental performance since 2000, and a Honda vehicle has topped the list of America's greenest vehicles, from the America Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), for 11 consecutive years.

In 2006, Honda became the first automaker to announce voluntary CO2 emissions reduction targets for its global fleet of automobile, powersports and power equipment products and its global network of manufacturing plants. Today, the company is striving for even greater reductions in CO2 emissions that contribute to global climate change, while also working to minimize waste, water use and the total environmental footprint of its operations worldwide.

Connect with Honda:
Media Newsroom (for journalists):
Fit EV (for consumers):
Fit EV on Facebook
Honda on Google+
(1) 132/105/118 city/highway/combined miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent (MPGe) rating; 82 mile combined (city/highway) driving range rating (adjusted). Ratings determined by U.S. EPA. Your MPGe and range will vary depending on driving conditions, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, battery age/condition, and other factors. For additional information about EPA ratings, visit
(2) From low-charge indicator illumination point to full charge
(3) The USB Audio Interface is used for direct connection to and control of some current digital audio players and other USB devices that contain MP3, WMA or AAC music files. Some USB devices with security software and digital rights-protected files may not work. See your Honda dealer for details.
(4) The Bluetooth® word mark and logos are owned by the Bluetooth SIG, Inc., and any such use of such marks by Honda Motor Co., Ltd., is under license.
(5) Subject to limited availability through October 2014 in designated market regions on approved credit through American Honda Finance Corp. Closed end lease for 2013 Honda Fit EV for well-qualified lessees meeting specific use and operation requirements. Not all applicants will qualify. No purchase option at lease end. MSRP $37,415 (includes destination). Excludes tax, title, license, registration, options and insurance. Zero capitalized cost reduction. Total monthly payments $14,004.00. Lessee responsible for non-routine maintenance, excessive wear/tear and up to $0.20/mi. over 12,000 mi./yr. Lease includes collision coverage, routine maintenance, roadside assistance and navigation system updates.

Ford C-Max Hybrid will get 47 mpg, better than Toyota Prius V


  • Ford further grows customers' power of choice, offering eight U.S. vehicles that deliver 40 mpg or more – double its number versus 2011 and more than any other full-line automaker
  • The company is tripling electrified vehicle production capacity by 2013, growing its range to six vehicles; all-new C-MAX Hybrid expected to achieve 47 mpg certification – at least 3 mpg better than Toyota Prius v with more performance and technology
  • Ford grows annual EcoBoost® production to nearly 1.6 million engines globally by 2013 – almost 100,000 engines above its original target; new Taurus with 2.0-liter EcoBoost is EPA-certified at best-in-class 32 mpg and Ford confirms 1.0-liter EcoBoost for U.S. small car next year
  • Ford further accelerates global platform consolidation plans, delivering the industry's freshest full-line product portfolio in the U.S. this year and beyond; globally, Ford plans to have the youngest portfolio of passenger vehicles for the next five consecutive years
DEARBORN, Mich., June 26, 2012 – Ford is delivering more fuel-efficient vehicle choices in 2012 than ever before and a fresher new vehicle lineup than any full-line automaker in the U.S.

"Customers are starting to see the true benefits of our One Ford plan," said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas. "With more new vehicle options and an even broader range of fuel-efficient cars, utilities and trucks, Ford is delivering real power of choice for millions of consumers who are paying more attention than ever to what happens at the pump – no matter what the price."

Ford is offering eight vehicles that deliver 40 mpg or better by year-end – double its number versus 2011 and more than any other full-line automaker. In fact, Ford's eight-vehicle tally is more than the number of 40-mpg-or-better vehicles Toyota and General Motors offer combined.

Ford also is tripling its electrified vehicle production capacity by 2013, growing its electrified vehicle lineup to six models – including the all-new C-MAX Hybrid. The compact hybrid utility vehicle, which arrives this fall, is expected to achieve 47 mpg, at least 3 mpg better than Toyota Prius v with more performance and technology.

Ford plans for 10 to 25 percent of its global sales to be electrified vehicles (hybrids, plug-in hybrids and full electric vehicles) by 2020, and continues to find ways to make more affordable, high-volume, internal-combustion engines even more fuel efficient.

Ford has invested record amounts in its powertrains and new vehicles since launching its Blueprint for Sustainability. Since 2007, the company has improved fuel economy in its vehicles in all key segments, including:

  • Small cars: Focus has improved its highway fuel economy 21 percent between 2007 and the 2012 model's 40 mpg
  • Midsize cars: The gas-engine-powered all-new Fusion is projected to be 28 percent more fuel efficient than its 2007 counterpart when it goes on sale this fall
  • Full-size cars: The new 2.0-liter EcoBoost® Taurus, now EPA-certified at 32 mpg highway, is 27 percent more fuel efficient than the 2007 Ford Five Hundred
  • Sports cars: Mustang maintains its unbeaten balance of power and fuel economy with a 24 percent fuel economy improvement
  • Utilities: The new EcoBoost-powered Escape delivers a 32 percent improvement in fuel economy compared to the previous V6 Escape, while Explorer has reinvented modern full-size SUVs, fueled largely by its 40-percent fuel economy improvement to 28 mpg highway for the 2.0-liter EcoBoost compared to the previous model's V6
  • Trucks: F-150 improves 21 percent versus five years ago to 23 mpg city
Fuel-efficient EcoBoost powertrains are now a mainstay in Ford's lineup. In fact, Ford's annual EcoBoost production grows to nearly 1.6 million engines globally by 2013 – surpassing the company's original target for that time frame.

A 1.0-liter EcoBoost – Ford's smallest, quietest engine ever – arrives in one of Ford's U.S. small cars next year. Already on sale in the European Focus, the 1.0-liter engine was named the 2012 International Engine of the Year this month.

Additional 1.6-, 2.0- and 3.5-liter EcoBoost engines are already available on Escape, Explorer, Edge, F-150, Flex, Focus ST, Fusion, Police Interceptor sedan and utility vehicles, and Taurus.

While EcoBoost offers up to a 15 percent reduction in CO2 versus larger-displacement, non-turbocharged engines, this technology can also save customers money on fuel. During a 7.5-year ownership period, for instance:
  • All-new Ford Escape 2.0-liter EcoBoost buyers could save $2,245, the equivalent of 6.1 months of fuel, compared to Toyota RAV4 V6
  • 2013 Ford Taurus 3.5-liter EcoBoost buyers could save $2,090, the equivalent of 10 months of eating out for an average family, compared to the Chrysler 300C
  • All-new Ford Fusion 1.6-liter EcoBoost buyers could save $1,650, the equivalent of more than three months of groceries, compared to a Toyota Camry four-cylinder owner's fuel use
"Whether you are talking about new technologies, engines or vehicles themselves, customers increasingly are looking for good value," said Raj Nair, group vice president, Global Product Development. "Customers are telling us Ford is delivering what they truly want – including the newest vehicles to choose from in America."

Ford has the freshest new lineup of passenger and commercial vehicles in the U.S. industry – surpassing Honda, Toyota and Hyundai, according to the recent 2012 Bank of America Merrill Lynch "Car Wars" study.

This is just the beginning, Nair said. Globally, Ford plans to have the youngest portfolio of passenger vehicles for the next five consecutive years.

Ford's move to truly global platforms enables the company to create more new models for customers more quickly.

In 2011, the company had 22 distinct vehicle platforms in use around the world. That number drops to 10 by 2017, ahead of One Ford plan goals. Five of these will be manufactured in at least more than one region.

By 2016, 80 percent of Ford's planned 8 million vehicles will be based on the five global platforms.

"Even better new vehicles, faster – that is what we are committed to deliver for our customers," Nair said.

Tesla owner gives top 10 11 reasons why he loves his Model S

Konstantin Othmer loves his Tesla Model S. The serial entrepreneur was one of the lucky few who took delivery last Friday at the car's official launch and as such, he is one of just a handful of people who have had more then a mere ten minutes behind the wheel.

He has spent that time well. Besides giving rides to friends and family, he's also taken the opportunity to share with the world at large what it is, exactly, that he likes about his new all-electric ride in an entertaining video.

We won't give it all away, but will say that he does touch on a couple of our favorite themes. No gas needed, along with lots of performance. Enough performance, in fact, that his camera person (understandably) let's out an expletive or two during some acceleration demonstrations. Luckily for those at work or sensitive to such coarse outbursts, he's just put up a family-friendly version.

We've seen initial media impressions of the Model S, as well as those from reservation holders. Now, scroll below and see what an owner makes of America's first electric performance sedan.

Source: Autoblog Green

Green Automotive to acquire Liberty Electric Cars

US-based Green Automotive Company has signed an agreement to acquire UK-based Liberty Electric Cars Limited. Liberty Electric Cars is a electric vehicle design, engineering and manufacturing company. 

Green Automotive will purchase all of the issued and outstanding stock of Liberty Electric Cars Ltd. and its subsidiary LEC 2, Limited, in exchange for 39,172,178 shares of Green Automotive Company common stock.
Liberty, through its E-Tech division, is involved in research programs for developing next-generation EV solutions, many in partnership with Tier 1 automotive manufacturers. These include:
  • The “Deliver” project in which Liberty is working with Volkswagen, Fiat and Michelin to develop a pure electric commercial vehicle.
  • The “Motore” project in which Liberty is partnered with Cranfield University, Rolls Royce Electric Machines and Protean aims to develop a rare-earth-free electric motor technology.
Liberty’s engineers have invented and IP-protected innovative electric vehicle (EV) drive train technologies, that can be employed in a wide variety of vehicle platforms (trucks, buses, 4x4, SUV, MPV and pickup trucks) as reveled in its flagship technology demonstrator, the Liberty E-Range—a battery-electric Range Rover.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Five Forgotten Electric Cars: Do YOU Remember Them?

Amidst a throng of new launches over the past few years and a host of new models to come, some electric cars from days gone by have disappeared into obscurity.
Some are surprisingly recent, others have been dead for years, but all are easily forgotten. Unless you own one, of course...
Ford Ranger EV
The biggest gains can be made with the least efficient vehicles, and though the Ranger has never been as gas-guzzling as its bigger F-Series siblings, an electric version is certainly as clean as it's ever got. It wasn't alone either--several companies experimented briefly with electric pickups.
Made between 1998 and 2003, only a handful were ever sold, and the rest were leased. Sadly, like the more well-known GM EV1, many were crushed at the end of the lease period, so we expect only a small proportion remain.
Corbin Sparrow
If you've forgotten this one, it might be that your memory has blocked it, as it might a tragic event in your past. That's one way of saying the Corbin Sparrow isn't as easy on the eye as its ornithological namesake. In fact, it looks more like something you might find at the bottom of the sea.
With only a single seat and three wheels it's less conventional than most EVs, but despite its relatively small 20-40 mile range, the lightweight Sparrow is still reasonably efficient, with an MPG-equivalent figure of 162. Since 2005 the Sparrow has been produced by Myers Motors, and a successor is expected to follow some time this year.
Think City
This one may be more familiar to long-term readers of GreenCarReports, as we were writing about the Think regularly as recently as a year or two ago. Since then however, the car has disappeared into obscurity after Think went bankrupt.
More recently, unregistered Thinks were being sold off dealer lots for well under list, but even then the relatively high prices put the car nearly in line with cars like the Nissan Leaf. And that was always the Think's problem--competing with the big guys, with an expensive niche product.
We've actually featured the Comuta-Car fairly recently, when a pristine, low-mileage example came up for sale. Designed and built in the 1970s its quirky styling now seems quite endearing, even if it's never really been a practical daily method of transport.
If the Comuta-Car has been forgotten you can thank its age. Plenty of small electric car manufacturers have come and go throughout the 20th Century, and only a handful make enough of an impression to etch themselves on the public consciousness. Perhaps one day, the Comuta-Car will be looked back on fondly as a worthy attempt at electric transport?...
Lightning GT
Here's one even we keep forgetting about. At least, we did until actor, television presenter and one-time GreenCarReports contributor Robert Llewellyn covered the electric supercar in his latest Fully Charged video.
News from Lightning has been almost as quiet as the electric motor that powers it, but it's good to see the ambitious British company still bubbling along, with big plans for the GT. It's still a good-looking car, one that really might inspire the next generation of gearheads to accept electric vehicles as something to get excited about.

Source: Green Car Reports

Gavin Newsom takes a look at the Tesla Model S with Elon Musk

Want a private tour of the Tesla Model S? Try being California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, who is also the host of The Gavin Newsom Show.

All that Current TV is releasing so far is a brief clip of Newsom talking with Tesla CEO Elon Musk, mostly getting a tour of the car's huge touchscreen. What's perhaps most enlightening about this video (available below) is that this is intended for a broad audience, and so we can sort of make assumptions about how the Model S is going to infiltrate the broader culture. The touch screen is "like an iPad" and charging is "no big deal" because of the big lithium-ion battery pack and the ability to charge at home. When you're out and about (and Tesla actually builds some), you can charge the pack in an hour with at SuperCharger Musk makes it all sound so easy. Thus, like the Roadster (and the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt and others) before it, the Model S will help shift public opinion on electric vehicles. As we've seen, all the early reviews make it sound like a spectacular hit; we'll see if this trend continues.

Newsom will broadcast a full interview with Musk, Peter Diamandis (who was behind the Automotive X Prize) and journalist Paul Ingrassia Friday night at 11 p.m. Eastern on Current. We're guessing they'll talk cars, space ships and more.

Source: Autoblog Green

Mitsubishi i gets four stars from NHTSA; leases start at $249 a month

Hmmm, 12 fewer miles of range or $40 more bucks a month?

That's the simplified argument new EV customers now face following Mitsubishi's decision to start making its i electric vehicle available for lease. The Japanese automaker, which introduced what's known as the i-MiEV overseas to the U.S. late last year, reached an agreement for Ally Financial to offer the i for as low as $249 a month. That's $40 less than lease payments for the Nissan Leaf.

Through Ally, which also has a lease program with General Motors for the Chevrolet Volt starting at $369 a month (some say that makes the car a great bargain), Mitsubishi drivers would pay a $3,498 down payment at the beginning of the 36-month lease, which values the car at its $30,675 MSRP. Earlier this month, Nissan dropped the lease payments for its all-electric Leaf to as low as $289 a month from $349, though it extended the lease term to 39 months and boosted the down payment by $1,000, to $2,999.

In related news, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given the i four stars (out of five). The break-down is four stars for front impacts and rollovers, three on side impacts. We've got crash test videos below. Two other plug-ins, the Volt and the Leaf, both got five stars overall.

The Mitsubishi i is rated by the EPA to go about 62 miles on a single charge, compared to 74 miles for the Leaf. Mitsubishi has sold 300 i's through the first five months of the year, including a monthly-record 85 in May.

Source: Autoblog Green

Thursday, June 28, 2012

DOE's Steven Chu says $25,000, 140-mile electric car might be here in 10 years

Apparently, Mr. Chu is clueless. We had 140 mile range EV's in 1997 with the EV1 and now he says we have to wait until 2022 to buy one for $25,000? Something wrong with that picture. If the NiMH batteries in the EV1 could have been perfected over the past 15 years we would have the 140 mile, $25,000 car today.

Here's some non-news: the Department of Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, supports plug-in vehicles. Want proof? Click here, here or here. Want to know how he can still get headlines? By saying that electric cars that offer twice the range of the Nissan Leaf (so, around 140 miles) while costing $25,000, "is a very real price that we can maybe achieve in a decade." Chu made the statement in a DOE workshop in Dearborn, MI last week.

Is Chu being too ambitious and positive here? Hard to know for sure, but he's been even further out there before. In 2011, he said, "To buy a car that will cost $20,000 to $25,000 without a subsidy where you can go 350 miles is our goal" possibly by 2017.

Chu also admitted in Dearborn that plug-in vehicles are too expensive today, calling out the Leaf for being $10,000 too much for many buyers. Plug In Cars reports that the tone of the speech "suggests that [Chu] believes that plug-in cars with relatively smaller batteries, and a back-up gas engine on board to extend range, might be a more feasible way to bring down costs." The West Coast Energy Secretary Tesla Motors' Elon Musk has other ideas.

Source: Autoblog Green

Mitsubishi Electric Automotive America adds full testing capability for start-stop micro-hybrid systems

Mitsubishi Electric Automotive America, Inc. (MEAA) has completed construction of a testing lab for the growing start-stop micro-hybrid systems market. In the new lab, located at its Northville, Mich., research and development center, Mitsubishi Electric will be able to test as many as 10 engines simultaneously, ranging from one liter to 15 liters, for both automotive and heavy-duty/off-road applications.
The lab can test multiple fuel types, including gasoline and diesel, 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
As with any new technology, having a testing facility close to where products are being developed is important for our customers who are working on these start-stop systems whose number in the market place are growing. This new lab for North American customers allows us to conduct multiple tests with many different OEM requirements.
This lab helps us expand our global testing capabilities by using the exact same equipment that is available at our test and development facility in Japan, ensuring consistency in approach while eliminating potential testing discrepancies.
—Clint McDermott, manager of research and development, Mitsubishi Electric Automotive America
Start-stop systems are designed to automatically shut down the engine when the vehicle is stopped, such as at a light or in heavy traffic, and seamlessly restart the engine immediately when accelerating from a stopped position. This reduces the amount of time the engine spends idling, cuts fuel consumption by up to 10% and reduces tail pipe emissions.
One of 10 engine test stations located at Mitsubishi Electric Automotive America’s research and development center in Northville, Mich. Source: MEAA. Click to enlarge.
Starters for new automotive start-stop systems must be durable and robust, requiring more than 300,000 starts compared to approximately 30,000 for a traditional starter. As a result, it takes longer to complete the testing on these systems, which makes testing 24/7 on 10 different stations advantageous.
Mitsubishi Electric’s new lab will run these start-stop systems beyond their designed limits to ensure that they effectively meet the durability, reliability and structural integrity required. New test controllers at each of the 10 stations incorporate integrated feedback and recording, and can handle complex start patterns.
Mitsubishi Electric makes the starters for the start-stop systems and provides system design support in collaboration with OEM customers.

 Source: Green Car Congress

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tesla's Elon Musk: most new cars will be electric by 2032, no matter who's in White House

Twenty years ago, Car and Drive wrote about "the emergence of the minivan as the new family car." If you believe Elon Musk, twenty years from now will be a lot more fun.

Flush with the success of the first production Model S deliveries, the Tesla Motors founder said most new vehicles will be battery-electric by 2032, and that the age of EV majority rule could come sooner than that, Reuters reports. Specifically, he said, "In 20 years more than half of new cars manufactured will be fully electric."

Musk, whose company plans to deliver 5,000 of the Model S battery-electric sedans this year, said in a press conference that he feels "quite safe in that bet," according to the wire service. Earlier this month, Musk forecast Tesla vehicle sales of 20,000 units for next year. The Model S base model starts at about $57,000, or about $50,000 less than the base price of the Tesla Roadster convertible that debuted in 2008. Venture-capital executive and Tesla investor Steve Jurvetson received the first production Model S, while Musk received the second, Reuters said. Nissan, which introduced its battery-electric Leaf to the U.S. in late 2010, has estimated that as many as 10 percent of new cars will be battery electric by 2020.

Meanwhile, speaking to BusinessWeek, Musk said that the advance of the electric vehicles will continue no matter who's in the White House. "Romney [winning] would have a minor impact. There's such momentum behind electric vehicles, and Model S is going to ensure that that happens."

Last week, the EPA give the Model S a miles-per-gallon-equivalent rating of 89, putting it 29 MPGe behind the Honda Fit EV – which has the highest rating among all U.S. cars – and 10 MPGe behind the Leaf. Tesla has estimated the single-charge range of the Model S to be 265 miles, which would be the longest of any production EV.

Source: Autoblog Green

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid - 40 MPG and So Much More

Toyota's remorseless drive to maintain its largest-by-far share of the global hybrid vehicle market continues apace.
The latest vehicle to add a hybrid variant is the all-new 2013 Toyota Avalon, the large, luxurious, mid-size front-wheel drive sedan sold only in North America.
The 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid follows the model set by its competitors the Buick LaCrosse and Lincoln MKZ by offering either a hybrid four-cylinder powertrain and a more powerful non-hybrid V-6 alternative.
The new luxury sedan will set a new bar for fuel efficiency, though: Toyota says the EPA will give the 2013 Avalon Hybrid a combined rating of 40 mpg.
That's 1 mpg higher than the outgoing 2012 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, and far higher than the mild-hybrid Buick LaCrosse with eAssist, which is rated at 29 mpg.
The new hybrid Avalon model uses a 154-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine tuned to run on the more efficient Atkinson cycle, paired to the latest generation of Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system.
That hybrid-electric power unit contains two motor-generators that can add additional torque to complement the engine output, recharge the battery pack using regenerative braking, and power the car away from rest up to speeds of 25 mph under light-load conditions for up to 1 mile.
2013 Toyota Avalon2013 Toyota Avalon
Total powertrain output is 200 horsepower, and the driver can select among three drive modes--EV, Eco, and Sport--as well as the standard mode. "EV" mode lets the driver direct the car to operate only electrically, when quiet operation is desired.
Eco dials down the performance and the heating and ventilation, for better fuel efficiency. Sport does the opposite, allowing faster acceleration and quicker steering response when sportier performance is needed.
The engine and hybrid package is similar to that used in hybrid versions of the new 2012 Toyota Camry, which are rated at 41 mpg combined for the Camry Hybrid LE model and 40 mpg combined for the Camry Hybrid XLE.
Befitting the Avalon's role as the largest and most muffled model in the Toyota lineup, the company notes that it has a new, quieter design for the fan that blows cooling air over the nickel-metal-hydride battery pack located at the front of the trunk floor.
The hybrid transaxle also incorporates a new flywheel-damper that smooths the engagement of the engine when it is switched on.
The other engine for the 2013 Avalon is a 268-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 paired to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Dimensionally, the new Avalon is slightly smaller in length, width, and height than the 2012 model it replaces. It sits on the same 111-inch wheelbase, and Toyota has shaved a bit more than 100 pounds from the car compared to its predecessor--which should help fuel efficiency.
The 2013 Toyota Avalon is built in Georgetown, Kentucky; the full lineup of new Avalons will go on sale later this year.

Source: Green Car Reports

Tesla Model S reviews are in: it's a bona fide, unbelievable smash hit

At the big launch event Friday for the Tesla Model S, invited journalists were able to get just a few precious moments behind the wheel. The drives were far too short, everyone agreed (most were just 10 minutes long), but people made the best of it, including our companions over at Engadget, where Myriam Joire says, "you don't have to be a car nut to appreciate all the innovation and technology that's gone into Tesla's sophomore vehicle." She continues, "So what's it like to drive the Model S? In a word: amazing. ... The Model S is surprisingly nimble for such a large and heavy automobile, and it doesn't sacrifice ride quality for the sake of dynamics – it handled rough roads with composure and just the right amount of stiffness." Our favorite bit is this one: "Acceleration is where the Model S shines. The electric motor dishes out gobs of linear, head-snapping torque, quickly propelling you past the speed limit – you've been warned."

We're working on getting some real Autoblog seat time, but for now we look at other first impressions from around the internet, which are universally positive, something that's darn hard to come by in this day and age:

  • Motor Trend calls it, "an out-of-this-world sedan that happens to be electric" and adds that, "after a walk through the factory, a visit to a dealer showroom, and an hour-and-a-half spent driving the car on a mix of roads, my eyes are wide and my jaw has dropped."
  • CNet says that upon, "seeing a straight road ahead I ... let the pedal meet the floor. The Model S felt like a freight train, with inexorable acceleration pushing forward without a break. There were no power peaks – it was all torque all the time."
  • GigaOm says, "The low center of gravity, smooth ride, and lack of vibration were pretty amazing."
  • Yahoo! News reports that, "the Tesla Model S successfully challenges a century of assumptions about what a great car can be" and that, "from behind the wheel of the Tesla Model S, you feel you're driving the future, instead of burning increasingly limited gallons of the past."
  • Our old friend Damon Lavrinc, now at Wired, says, "if our brief seat time is any indication, Tesla hasn't just delivered a functional, all-electric sedan – it's made a luxury EV that can outpace and outclass the stalwarts of the premium sports sedan segment, while changing the perceptions of electric mobility. It's also a complete hoot to drive."
  • USA Today makes it simple: "There's no other way to put it: Tesla's Model S luxury sedan is spectacular."
What you read there, in other words, is a paradigm being shifted.

Source: Autoblog Green

2013 Ford Taurus EPA-certified at 32 mpg highway with new 2.0L EcoBoost engine

The EPA has certified the 2013 Ford Taurus with the new 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine at 32 mpg (7.35 L/100km) highway. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost helps Taurus deliver a 26 mpg (9.05 L/100km) combined EPA rating.
All three engine options for the 2013 model have now been certified at 25 mpg (9.41 L/100km) or higher in EPA highway estimates.
The Taurus base 3.5-liter V6 engine also has been updated for 2013 with twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT), adding 25 horsepower plus 1 mpg city and 2 mpg highway in EPA estimates, compared to the previous Taurus base V6.
The 2013 Taurus SHO (Super High Output) high-performance sport sedan continues to feature a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine producing 365 hp (272 kW) and 350 lb-ft (475 N·m) of torque, while still delivering 25 mpg on the highway.
Each Taurus powertrain features additional technologies to help conserve fuel, such as:
  • Low-tension front-end accessory drive belt
  • Smart battery management
  • Aggressive deceleration fuel shutoff
  • Variable-displacement air conditioning compressor
  • Reduced friction lubricants
  • Electric power-assisted steering (EPAS)
All new Taurus models now come with EPAS, helping improve steering response by rigidly mounting the steering rack to the subframe. The EPAS system allows for a high degree of tuning by Ford vehicle dynamics engineers to optimize steering feel, plus it saves fuel and provides drivers with enhanced feedback.
Additionally, fuel economy in the 2013 Taurus is enhanced by an Active Grille Shutter System. Positioned between the grille opening and radiator, the shutters are controlled by the engine’s control module. Shutter slats automatically open and close to maintain the ideal operating temperatures and optimize vehicle aerodynamics.
The 2013 Taurus range is built at Ford’s Chicago Assembly facility and will begin arriving in dealerships later this summer.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Independent testing shows 21.2% reduction in fuel consumption with XL Hybrids retrofit system

The XL Hybrids system in place. Click to enlarge.
Testing at an independent EPA-certified vehicle laboratory showed a 21.2% reduction in fuel consumption achieved with XL Hybrids’ aftermarket hybrid electric powertrain on a light-duty cargo van on the UDDS cycle (urban conditions). The company had been targeting a 20% reduction.
The tests were conducted on a light-duty chassis dynamometer test cell featuring a twin-roll Clayton dynamometer. The testing process compares fuel economy performance from the vehicle in its original condition with the performance using XL Hybrids’ charge-sustaining hybrid system. The test was completed using a Chevrolet 2500 Express cargo van fitted with the original equipment manufacturer’s 4.8L engine and 6-speed transmission.
XL Hybrids’ hybrid electric powertrain is a low-cost, low-risk, bolt-on, post-transmission parallel hybrid technology designed for Class 1–3 commercial vehicles that integrates seamlessly with the conventional internal combustion engine and transmission. The current 2012 powertrain consists of a 2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, a 40 kW (53 hp) electric motor and a proprietary hybrid control system that operate with the OEM internal combustion engine and automatic transmission.
Integration of the XL Hybrids (XLH) system is right at the tail housing of the transmission. XLH removes the stock tail housing, and replaces it with the XL system with integrated electric motor. There is no removal of major components of the OEM powertrain, notes Justin Ashton, co-founder and vice president of business development.
What’s unique about our system is that it’s bolt-on—we don’t have to modify the ECU or the TCU. Our hybrid controller connects to the CAN; our controller is read-only. We listen to CAN, collect signals. That totally gets around the problem of having to create a whole new set of controls for the engine and transmission. It also doesn’t necessitate a recertification of the vehicle for safety, emissions.
The underlying internal combustion engine is unaffected because of how we integrate with the vehicle. We don’t touch the warranty. Our own components have a 3 year, 75,000 mile hybrid system warranty.
—Justin Ashton
This year, the company will release between 30 to 50 fleet trials, Ashton told Green Car Congress, using the 2012 system. XLH engineers have already designed the next-generation release, in which the battery pack is downsized to 1.5 kWh, Ashton said. Both the 2.0 kWh and 1.5 kWh packs were in essence “off-the-shelf”—i.e., already developed for an OEM and sold worldwide, to reduce XLH’s engineering costs.
The current 2.0 kWh pack sits inside the vehicle; the 1.5 kWh pack is intended to fit between the frame rails.
From a higher-level perspective, what’s important to customer is the benefits of fuel consumption reduction, as opposed to what the technology is. OEMs can get higher mpg improvements by using different architectures. Our focus has always been from day one to be cost-effective. We rely on customer interest for the ROI threshold. They’ve told us if you can get this to an under 5-year payback, then we can talk.
—Justin Ashton
The planed price for production in 2013 for the full release system is starting under $8,000 including installation, Ashton said, with fleet discounts beyond that. The system is designed to be installed in about 4 hours, faster at a commercial upfitter.
In May, XL Hybrids signed an agreement with Henley Transmission Services, LLC, the largest franchise holder of AAMCO automotive service centers, to certify AAMCO technicians to install and service XL Hybrids’ hybrid-electric conversions.
XL Hybrids was founded by MIT alumni and is based in Boston.

Understanding the Volt’s extended range mode

By George Bower
In order to understand extended range mode, one must also understand engine maps. The Volt’s engine map looks approximately like this:

Notice the term “SFC” or “specific fuel consumption.” The units of SFC are grams/hr of fuel flow per KW of output (g/kwh). Simply put, SFC is cycle efficiency. The conversion is: (g/kwhX.0119=1/cycle eta).
As you can see from the map, SFC is a function of where you are operating on the map. The Volt’s unique powertrain allows it to operate along a line of peak efficiency. This “operating line” is also shown on the engine map in yellow.
The engine map makes more sense if we cross plot it along its operating line. HP and SFC as a function of engine speed are presented below:

We can learn a lot from this plot. First, we see the engine’s “sweet spot” which occurs at 2,200 rpm. The Volt doesn’t operate exclusively at this one sweet spot as many different power levels are required throughout its operating envelope.
To see some of these operating points, road loads (for a flat road) are overlaid on the map. Note that at 70-75 mph the road load is right on the sweet spot.
Now notice what is happening at 50 mph: Bad SFC. So what is the Volt to do? How should it be programmed to operate at this condition?
There are two options:
1) Run in series mode and charge the battery with the ICE on its sweet spot, or
2) Run with power split engaged AND charge the battery. (Then after charging the battery to the top of its window shut the ICE off and run on the battery for a few miles.)
As it turns out, the Volt chooses option 2. This operating mode has been observed by our own GM-Volt forum expert, saghost (Walter) using the Dashdaq data acquisition device.
Over the years I developed a simplified math model of the Volt. This math model’s core is equations for road load, equations that describe the speed relationship and torque split of the planetary gear set, and also the engine map we have just discussed.
Using this math model, I get a solution for condition 2 (above) which looks like this:

Note at this condition:
1) Power Split is engaged and we are delivering power directly to the wheels from the ICE AND at the same time we are charging the battery.
2) The ICE is operating at its sweet spot.
3) MGB is stopped.
Walter has a nickname for this condition. He calls it “Virtual 6th Gear”
As an old gear head, I think that’s a pretty appropriate term.
Don’t you?
Cheers Volt Heads!!!!


Peugeot introduces third HYbrid4 model, the 508 sedan; 65 mpg US

Peugeot has applied its HYbrid4 technology (earlier post) to the third body style in the Peugeot model range: the 508 sedan. The full diesel hybrid reduces CO2 emissions to 95 g/km.
508 HYbrid4 HY4 Berline. Click to enlarge.
HYbrid4 designates the hybridization of a diesel engine (2.0 liter HDi FAP 120 kW / 163 bhp) with an rear-axle-mounted electric motor offering a maximum power output of 27 kW (37 bhp).
The 508 hybrid offers:
  • Maximum power of 147 kW (200 hp);
  • 4 wheel drive;
  • 4 driving modes (Auto, ZEV, Sport, 4WD) including the 100% electric ZEV mode;
  • 95 g/km CO2 for 3.6 l/100 km (65 mpg US) on the combined cycle.

Source: Green Car Congress

Elektromotive JV aims to create UK’s biggest pay-as-you-go electric vehicle recharging network with 10,000 charge points

Elektromotive Limited aims to create the UK’s largest pay-as-you-go, “open source” network of public access charging stations for EVs, based upon the development of its pay-by-phone technology.
The initiative comes as the result of a new joint venture with Charge your Car (North) Ltd. The new company—Charge Your Car Limited—will expand the existing Charge your Car (North) Ltd network located predominantly across North east England, and incorporate other regional networks and stand-alone units under the well-established Charge Your Car brand. The goal is to create a recharging network with 10,000 public access pay-as-you-go charge points located across the UK.
To accelerate expansion, the national network will be “open source”, meaning that charge points produced by any manufacturer can be included on the network, provided they use the industry-standard Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP). (Earlier post.) Elektromotive, which has an installed base of more than 3,000 charge points,Ú is developing second-generation back office technology and a new user interface. The joint venture will create a marketplace that connects charge point owners to EV drivers.
For the EV driver, the development and expansion of the Charge Your Car network means it will become much easier to gain ready access to charging points across the UK, and do so without the need to pay a monthly subscription. It also means that they can locate and pay for the use of any Charge Your Car charge point using their mobile phone or smartphone.
Charge point owners will be able to improve awareness and usage of their charge points by joining the Charge Your Car network—benefiting from the shared branding and ongoing promotion, as well as the integrated billing, management and reporting facilities. It is intended that the joint venture will establish a fully-managed marketplace that generates sustainable revenues for charge-point owners, reducing or eliminating the reliance on public-sector subsidies.
Currently, Charge your Car (North) Ltd is the operator of the Charge Your Car electric vehicle recharging network with 400 publicly accessible charge points located predominantly in the North East of England.
While operating the new joint venture, Elektromotive will continue in its role as a charge point manufacturer and infrastructure solutions provider for private and public sector organisations worldwide.
Charge your Car (North) Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gateshead College and operates the existing Charge your Car network. The network was launched in 2010 as the North East’s Plugged in Places project funded by One North East, OLEV and regional partners.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

How to Drift the Renault Twizy - VIDEO

By all accounts, the Renault Twizy is a surprisingly entertaining vehicle to drive. With its very low center of gravity, firm suspension and wheels at the extreme corners, it can whip around turns with extraordinary confidence. What happens though, if all its grip goes away? Will it drift?

Toyota Motor Manufacturing France to start gasoline-engined Yaris export to North America in 2013

As of May 2013, Toyota Motor Manufacturing France (TMMF) will start building its successful Toyota Yaris compact car for export to the US, Canada and Puerto Rico. The annual export volume is planned to be around 25,000 units.
Building the Yaris for customers across North America will represent an additional investment of €8 million at TMMF. This investment is required to build the car to the specific requirements of the new market, including the installation of a North American specific 1.5-liter gasoline engine, automatic transmission, differences in the rear bumper, as well as other items linked to specific local regulations. Only gasoline versions of Yaris will be exported to North America.
The export of one of our global models produced in Europe reinforces our commitment to European manufacturing in-line with our global vision which empowered us to take the lead in the development of small and medium sized cars. Building on 10 years of experience and accumulated knowhow, in addition to producing the full hybrid variant of the Toyota Yaris, the export of the conventional petrol Yaris to North America further endorses TMMF as a true global player within the Toyota organisation.
—Toyota Motor Europe President and CEO Didier Leroy
The current generation Toyota Yaris was launched in Europe in the summer of 2011, followed by the Toyota Yaris Hybrid in June 2012. Sales of the Yaris in Europe between January and May this year saw a year-on-year increase of 22%.

New York State, feds spending $4.4 million for 325 EV-charging stations


$4.4 Million Investment Creates New Jobs, Lowers Fossil Fuels, and Cuts Toxic Emissions

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $4.4 million has been awarded to ten companies, municipalities and other entities to enable more than 325 new electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations to be installed across New York State.

New York State's electric-vehicle charging stations are supported by a joint effort by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)'s Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Demonstration Program and the U.S. Department of Energy.

With high gas prices, EVs provide a fuel-efficient alternative to gas- and diesel-powered vehicles while helping reduce the nation and state's dependence on fossil fuels. A diverse infrastructure of EV charging stations will create new jobs and business opportunities across the state, as well as helping promote the sale of electric cars, trucks and other vehicles.

"With New Yorkers facing higher prices at the pump, the state is stepping up to make owning an electric vehicle an affordable and convenient option," Governor Cuomo said. "Creating an infrastructure to accommodate electric vehicles will create jobs and new economic development across the state, while reducing our carbon footprint and helping protect the environment."

New York's transportation sector has considerable potential for energy efficiency. Transportation makes up about three-fourths of the state's oil consumption, and nearly 40 percent of the state's greenhouse gas emissions.

Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA, said, "Electric vehicles offer a cleaner alternative to combustion engines, helping reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and the emission of greenhouse gases. NYSERDA supports the Governor's continued leadership in creating an electric-vehicle future in New York State, and advancing technology that will not only stimulate the economy but lessen our impact on the environment."

Last year, NYSERDA received a $1 million U.S. Department of Energy grant on behalf of the Transportation and Climate Initiative, a collaboration of the transportation, energy, and environment agencies of 11 Northeast states and Washington, DC to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. The goal of the initiative is to accelerate the introduction of EV charging stations throughout the Northeast making the region a hub for electric vehicles through public and private partnerships. President Barack Obama has called for 1 million plug-in vehicles to be on the street nationwide by 2015.

 U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said, "Sky-high gas prices and tight budgets have left many New Yorkers struggling at the pump, but there is hope in new technology, like electric cars, that can free us from our dependence on foreign oil. By finally making electric cars more accessible to the general public, we are taking a huge step towards giving consumers another viable and affordable transportation option, and I'm proud to have fought for money for this program from the U.S. Department of Energy."

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, "In this tough economy we need a do-it-all approach that expands our energy portfolio to provide middle class New Yorkers with relief at the pump. By creating an infrastructure for electric vehicles, we can cut energy costs, cut pollution to protect the air we breathe, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil which strengthens our national security."

U.S. Representative Eliot Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said, "America needs to end our dependence on foreign oil, and our reliance on such hostile nations as Iran and Venezuela to power our cars and homes. Alternative technologies exist, such as electric cars, and their widespread use will go a long way towards ending this reliance. I am the author of the Open Fuel Standard Act, (along with Rep. John Shimkus, R-IL) that would require 50 percent of new automobiles in 2014, 80 percent in 2016, and 95 percent in 2017, to operate on nonpetroleum fuels in addition to or instead of petroleum based fuels. Between electric cars and alternative fuels, we can eventually reach a point where we no longer have to put money in the coffers of our enemies."

U.S. Representative Paul Tonko, who is also the former President and CEO of NYSERDA, said, "Drivers across New York, and indeed the nation, are sick and tired of giving tax breaks to Big Oil companies while at the same time paying record prices at the pump. One competitive alternative is electric vehicles. I applaud Governor Cuomo for installing these new charging stations and for partnering with the federal government to advance clean energy technology, create jobs and provide drivers options they so urgently deserve."

NYSERDA will also be managing a $10 million fund that offers vouchers of up to $20,000 per vehicle for the purchase of EV commercial trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds.

EV charging station projects announced today include:

Access Technology Integration Inc. – Plans to install charging stations with innovative reservation and payment systems at seven locations around the Albany area, including St. Peter's Hospital, Albany-Rensselaer Train Station, Times Union Center, universities, supermarkets, and other locations. NYSERDA funding: $244,000.

Beam Charging LLC – Company will install a total of 28 charging stations, each one in a separate public parking garage around Manhattan, for the purpose of gathering data to determine how well such charging stations are used. $400,000.

Car Charging Group Inc. – Plans to install charging stations at up to 15 high-traffic locations in New York City, directed toward apartment dwellers who do not have parking at home. Sites would go in parking garages that are used primarily for monthly parking. NYSERDA funding: $200,000.

City of Rochester – Plans to install 24 charging stations at seven highly-visible and busy locations around the city, including municipal parking garages, City Hall, the Port of Rochester and the Rochester Public Market. NYSERDA funding: $228,000.

Coulomb Technologies Inc. – Partnering with National Grid, Coulomb will deploy 81 dual charging stations with Coulomb's ChargePoint software. The technology will demonstrate a web-based demand response program, a new low-cost installation method and a customized reservation system. NYSERDA funding: $1 million.

EV Connect Inc. – Plans to install EV charging stations at five Marriott hotels around New York State that make use of a unique reservation and payment system. Project would make it possible for overnight visitors to charge their vehicles while staying at a hotel. NYSERDA funding: $250,000.

Golub Corp. (Price Chopper Supermarkets) -- Plans to install 12 charging stations at four locations, each equipped with a weather canopy and lighting to make them visible. This is the first phase of an intended statewide rollout. NYSERDA funding: $325,000.

New York Port Authority – Plans to install seven experimental charging stations for fleet vehicles and public use that practice demand-response (aligning charging times with times of low power demands, reducing charging cost and impact during peak demand to the grid). NYSERDA funding: $720,000.

New York Power Authority –Plans to install 124 charging stations at train and bus stations, airports and municipal parking lots. Three sites would be powered in part through on-site solar power. NYSERDA funding: $989,000.

Plugin Stations Online – Plans to install charging stations at three apartment complexes in Albany, Rochester and Buffalo, as well as one at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy. NYSERDA funding: $64,000.

Another round of the program is currently underway with proposals due July 25, 2012. Visit PON 2301 - Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (ESVE) Demonstration and Support Program for more information.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Five Hybrid Concept Vehicles Compared and Wanted

Every now and then, we allow our thoughts to drift here at GreenCarReports.

Naturally, we're thinking forward rather than back, and often to the cars we might be driving around in five or ten years time.

We've compiled a list of five concept cars seen at auto shows over the last year or so. All are hybrids, and all showcase exciting new visions of styling and technology that could well hit the roads in the near future.

Hyundai i-Oniq

Given the meteoric rise of Korean brands Hyundai and Kia over the last few decades, it's only right that they should play a part in our future too. The i-Oniq concept car, revealed at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show back in March, is a sleek, two-door range-extended hybrid.

 Though the styling evokes images of a huge engine under the hood, the concept uses a tiny 1.0-liter 3-cylinder unit, supplying power to a 107-horsepower electric motor when its 75-mile battery range is depleted. We're pretty confident that 75 miles would cover most of our day-to-day driving, but that little gasoline engine would provide a useful extra 360 miles.

And you know what? It looks pretty good too.

BMW i8

Increasingly the makers of the Ultimate Driving Machine are turning their attention to EfficientDynamics. High-mpg diesel engines are common in BMW's European lineup and increasingly filtering into the U.S, and the 1 Series-based ActiveE is a great little electric car.

It's the i8 that really excites us though. The plug-in hybrid i8 should reach 60mph in under 6 seconds and go on to 155mph, and the combination of three-cylinder gasoline engine and electric motors should make it the greenest BMW yet--save for the pure electric ActiveE and upcoming i3, of course.

Toyota FT-Bh

Shown at Geneva this year, the FT-Bh concept is Toyota's indication of what a future version of the 2012 Toyota Prius C or Yaris Hybrid might look like--and what its engineering might be under the skin.

For the FT-Bh, that means a 1.0-liter, twin-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine--think of it as half that of a Prius engine. It's unlikely the car would be too powerful, but with a curb weight of only 1,733 pounds it doesn't have a lot to haul either. Coupled with a drag coefficient of only 0.235, economy could be spectacular. Toyota is claiming up to 112 mpg for the concept, and that's before the car becomes a plug-in hybrid...

Acura NSX

The best news about the NSX is that Acura and Honda are actually going to make it--so in a few more years we could be driving this one for real. It'll use a mid-mounted V-6 engine supplying power to the rear wheels, and the front wheels will be powered by electric motors, as part of Acura's 'Super Hybrid All-Wheel Drive' system.

Acura wants to make an environmentally-responsible supercar, but it's sure to offer all the driving fun of the original NSX, still considered one of the first truly usable supercars. With its own small-capacity V-6, it was already ahead of the game as far as downsizing is concerned.

Infiniti Emerg-E

Like the Acura NSX, the Emerg-E really could hit the streets in its current form. Based on the same platform as the small-volume Lotus Evora 414E Hybrid, the chassis is light and the technology is high.

The Emerg-E uses a Lotus-designed 1.2-liter, 3-cylinder, 50-horsepower engine, but the real power comes from two electric motors producing a combined 402 horsepower and 738 pounds-feet of torque. Electric-only range would be around 30 miles, and the range-extending engine sips juice for another 270 miles.

So those are just five concepts we can't wait to drive, and that's without scratching the surface of electric cars too. What concept cars would you like to see on the roads? Let us know below.

Source: Green Car Reports

FedEx getting Amp'd delivery truck, could be first of 9,000

FedEx has been quite serious about adding electric vehicles to its fleet, saying in 2011 that it would more than double its number EV vehicles. Of course, all that meant was going from 19 to an expected 43, but it's the start of removing some tailpipes. Plus, with overall big green vehicle ambitions, FedEx

In some cases, going EV means using the Nissan NV200 EV prototype in London. In others, it means partnering with upstart Amp Motors to convert two 14,000-pound GVW trucks for FedEx to test in Washington, D.C. This proof of concept, all-electric step van could be a huge first step, as FedEx has said it hopes to convert 9,000 vehicles to EV power. Amp also has a contract with Navistar for a similar van project.

Steve Burns, Amp founder and president, sent an email to AutoblogGreen explaining why the company is interested in these sorts of delivery trucks:
As I know you are keenly aware, it has been a tough year for smaller EV companies (Aptera, Bright, Azure, Think) because the passenger EV market has been a bit slower to evolve than first thought. It is moving nicely, and is actually doing better than hybrids did in 2000 when they first came out, but it is proving to be a slow process to unwind 100 years of an oil based economy that is so tightly woven into the fabric of this great country.

To that end, we began to look for areas that might be more receptive to adapting EVs with our technology in the shorter term. Earlier adoption would provide both learnings and revenue while the passenger EV market to ramps up.

The two major factors that appear to influence EV adoption are:

1) Price
2) Limited Range

We looked for applications that got very poor gas mileage (so that the payback would be quicker) and traveled less than 100 miles per day so that range was not an issue. So, re-powering fleets that utilized larger vehicles for urban deliveries came into focus. And the clearest vehicles that emerged were the step vans used by the likes of FedEx, Navistar. The chassis and bodies on these types of vehicles are typically used for 20 years. So, removing the diesel based drivetrain and re-powering 10-year-old vehicles with all electric drivetrains looked to be the most cost effective manner to get tens of thousands of these vehicles converted from very dirty old style diesel to zero emission electrics. The key was to get the payback under 5 years. Preferably 4 years.

Our ML EV drivetrain pushes around a 5,000-pound vehicle spiritedly. So, the task of moving a 14,000-lb vehicle somewhat spiritedly was not too daunting of a task. So, essentially we utilized our dual Remy model model with large scale cells and our same control software/hardware and we had the formula and the price point. In other Amp news, the company's first dealer had a launch party recently and, says Burns, "we are about to sign up our second dealer who is one of the top Mercedes-Benz dealers in the country." 

Nissan launches LEAF “taxi” campaign in London

A fleet of zero-emission Nissan LEAFs will be driving around London on the 23rd and 24th June, offering free taxi rides. To grab a ride, all a prospective passenger has to do is send a Tweet that incorporates the hashtag “#6XCHEAPER” and their chosen destination. Nissan is also using the activity to gather consumer feedback on a potential taxi of the future.

The use of Twitter is an integral part of Nissan’s ambitious campaign, “The Big Turn On”, which is spreading the EV message via social media channels.
The #6XCHEAPER tag emphasizes that fueling an electric vehicle is six times cheaper in the UK than a similar sized gasoline car. Using off-peak electricity, Nissan estimates it costs just 1.75 pence in fuel to travel one mile in a Nissan LEAF, but more than 10 pence per mile in a conventional car. (Calculations are based on a national average of British Gas Economy 7 rates as at 12 January 2012, assuming 7 hours of charging overnight at the night rate and 1 hour in the daytime charged at the Tier-2 daytime rate. A 109 mile charge range, 95% charging efficiency.

A trip from central London to Heathrow Airport, for example, would cost the Nissan LEAF driver a mere 28 pence in electricity whereas the driver of a gasoline-powered car would be forking out £1.68 in fuel. A trip to Oxford—at approximately 60 miles, within the car’s range—would cost the Nissan LEAF driver less than £1 in fuel, but would cost the driver of a conventional car almost £6.

Because it produces zero emissions, Nissan LEAF is exempt from London’s congestion charge and attracts no annual vehicle excise duty.
The fleet of Nissan LEAF EVs will be based at their very own “taxi rank'” at the Truman Brewery, near Liverpool St Station and will be giving free rides to destinations across London—as far west as Turnham Green or to the O2 Arena in the east. The Nissan LEAF cabs will go south of the river as far as Clapham and as far north as Hampstead. They will be operating from 10am to 6pm on both Saturday and Sunday and driven by professional drivers from car service operator, Climate Cars.

All Tweets sent with the ‘#6XCHEAPER' hashtag will be monitored and winners of the free rides chosen at random to avoid queues. Each journey will be logged and passengers shown just how much they would save in fuel costs by going electric.