Friday, August 31, 2012

Cadillac ELR (The Upscale Volt) to Hit Dealerships in 2013

One common knock against the Chevy Volt is its high price, coming in at a whopping $40,000 (give or take) before tax credits. If only GM had launched the Volt as a Cadillac, people might complain less.

The Luxury Hybrid For American Tastes

The Chevy Volt is GM’s freshman effort at building a plug-in hybrid, and the company is reportedly set to break its sales record this month…though the Volt factory is also going offline for 4 weeks. It is still an up-or-down car, though a Cadillac version could be just what the doctor ordered.

Details are short, though it was revealed that Cadillac will also be getting a new CTS sedan, as well as an all-new Escalade. That pretty much cancels out any environmental good the plug-in hybrid ELR could do, though the $60,000 price point could mean that GM might actually start profiting off of its Voltec technology.

So Much Potential, So Much Profit?

That said, rumors are also swirling that an all-new Volt on an all-new platform is just a few more years out. The new, unnamed platform will no doubt have the Voltec architecture worked into it, which should save weight and give the Volt/ELR a longer range than its current 35-mile rating. Rumors are also swirling that the Cadillac ELR could get 20-inch rims and, even better, rear-wheel driveYet we may not have to wait too much longer for such improvements. The ELR will reportedly wear an evolved version of the Volt’s current drivetrain. That could mean a more-efficient gas generator, more powerful electric motors, and more efficiency from front to back.

But I think the biggest difference will be that Cadillac badge. After all, if you’re going to spend that much money on a hybrid, shouldn’t it be a little more prestigious than a Chevy?

Source: Gas2.0

EnerDel Secures Second Order to Supply Lithium-Ion Battery Pack for Volvo's C30 Electric Car


Company Delivers Advanced Lithium-ion Battery Systems for Buses, Trucks, Trains and Cars.

We're pleased that we've been able to work with Volvo to deliver one of the best electric vehicles on the road today. The experience we've gained enables us to deliver an exceptional lithium-ion battery system for myriad transportation applications.
Indianapolis, Ind. (PRWEB) August 27, 2012

EnerDel, Inc., a leading manufacturer of advanced lithium-ion batteries and energy storage systems, today announced it received a second supply order from Volvo Car Corporation to manufacture its 24 kWh, lithium-ion battery pack to power Volvo's C30 Electric car. EnerDel was initially selected by Volvo as its battery supplier for the Volvo C30 Electric back in September 2009 when the car was announced as part of Volvo's "Drive-E Towards Zero" strategy.

EnerDel will start manufacturing the additional multi-million-dollar order at the beginning of September with an expected final delivery slated for 2013. The split-pack design (tunnel and tank) that EnerDel designed, with integration support from Volvo's engineering team, will again be manufactured to Volvo's exacting specifications.

"Volvo's C30 Electric has won praise throughout the automotive industry for its focus on safety and performance. In fact, it is still one of the only vehicle manufacturers to understand the need to position the battery away from the car's crumple zones to ensure the same level of safety as a traditional car," stated CEO David Roberts, EnerDel, Inc. "We're pleased that we've been able to work with Volvo to deliver one of the best electric vehicles on the road today. The experience we've gained with vehicle electrification enables us to deliver an exceptional product for myriad transportation applications, including buses, trains, trucks and cars."

The Volvo C30 Electric has won multiple awards for its safety and performance, including the recent "Green Car of the Year" award at the 4th China New Energy Mobility Summit. During the summit, Volvo delivered 15 C30 Electric cars to the City of Shanghai for a pioneering open road test-drive project.

About EnerDel
EnerDel, Inc. is a privately-held company headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind. It manufactures advanced, lithium-ion batteries and energy storage systems for electric utility, transportation and industrial applications. The company's prismatic cell design and modular stacking architecture combine to provide customers with production-ready solutions that address their power and energy storage needs. For additional information, visit

Honda begins lease sales of Fit EV in Japan

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has begun lease sales of the Fit EV (earlier post) to local governments and businesses in Japan. Honda plans to lease approximately 200 units of the Fit EV in the next two years, mostly to local governments and businesses.
The Fit EV development team adopted two key words—“Fun” and “Mottainai” (no waste)—and strived to 1) create a vehicle with greater range requiring less battery capacity, 2) further pursue motor drive performance, and 3) eliminate any waste of time during battery charging and other areas.
To achieve these points, Honda adopted a basic package of the Fit with its compact body size and occupant comfort and planned the maximization of the energy efficiency of EV. As a result, the Fit EV has achieved the current best AC energy consumption rate of 106 Wh/km and one-charge mileage of 225 km (140 miles) in JC08 mode.

U.S. Volt sales record expected this month; Holden preparing for Volts as well

A couple days ago General Motors said it would idle the Detroit-Hamtramck plant where Volts are exclusively built, prompting some critics to again weigh in on perceived low sales numbers, but GM still expects to set a new sales high this month.
We’ll know soon enough for the month ending tomorrow, but yesterday GM’s Volt Communications Representative Michelle Malcho confirmed reports “while it’s still too early to tell how the numbers will go,” the company’s August Volt sales will beat its previous record by around 10 percent or more.
“All I can say for certain is that it will be over 2,500 at this point,” Malcho said.
Holden Volt
Yes, that’s Volt – a Holden-badged one shuttling execs through the Australian GM division’s headquarters lobby. When the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly line re-starts after Oct. 12, it will be ready for fourth-quarter production of Volts for down under.

The present Volt sales record was set in March at 2,289 units, and this was a high-water mark above the 1,849 second-place set last month in July – and a good sized jump above the sub-2,000 unit per month numbers logged this year.
For your review, the numbers of Volts sold from the end of last year through this are: December: 1,529; January: 603, February: 1,023; March: 2,289; April: 1,429; May: 1,680, June: 1,760, July 1,849.
Malcho told us the other day the Volt was seeing “month-over-month increases, and indeed this is true this month and then some. We asked if GM thus expected to have month-over month sales the rest of the year?
“We should continue to see sales as we have for the past few months,” she said, but it’s “hard to tell if we will see progressive growth at this time.”
Malcho also told the Detroit News GM is especially seeing sales momentum in key markets – California, Michigan, Illinois and Florida.
She noted also this being the Volt’s second year, it will beat the historic second year for the first-generation Toyota Prius. The Prius sold 15,600 units in all of 2001, but two-thirds of the way through the year, the Volt will exceed 13,300 units through August, with four more months to add to that number.
Critics have however repeatedly pointed out previous sales goals far exceeding the present numbers as proof that the Volt is a failure.
It is true that GM was optimistic in early projections, and the Volt has sold fewer than were first forecast, but the car is leading the plug-in electric category, and scoring consistent numbers.
It also recently sold more units in one month than a favorite of GM’s stable, the Corvette, but no one seems to lambaste that car’s sales nearly so much as they do the Volt’s. But then we’ve covered some of the reasons why this is so, before. /p>
Actually – and just to update the critics – since the beginning of this year GM ceased making round-number sales predictions, and says it will “match supply to demand,” and this it has done
Malcho said the Detroit-Hamtramck plant “built ahead” Volt inventories to prevent shortages.
We asked if this therefore meant GM expected to probably have no shortages at the dealer level.
“We shouldn’t have any shortages,” she said. “A few dealers based on allocation may not have as much of a selection as they would like, but we have enough inventory.”
And speaking of dealers that will have supply, the Volt assembly line will begin producing Holden Volts beginning the fourth quarter of this year. From Nov. 1 onwards, Holden’s 49 Volt dealers will begin selling the Australian versions of the Volt for $59,995 AUD.
The Australian GM division has been running advertisements, generating interest for the greenplug-in car, and has said it will be “a new kind of flagship for Holden.”
We shall see how sales go down under where they pay more for cars than we do, and at least for certain is this will be another pocket of demand to add to the global cars being exported – for now – from Detroit.
The Volt is also sold as an Opel Ampera in Europe and Vauxhall Ampera in the UK. Everywhere the plug-in GM been made available, reports of steadily growing interest have followed, even if it has not, as critics like to point out, completely knocked it out of the park (yet).


Thursday, August 30, 2012

235-mpg 2014 VW XL1 Caught in Spy Photos

Volkswagen may have refused to sign just-announced U.S. efficiency mandates in protest to alleged discriminatory practices, but its Euro-market 235 mpg XL1 diesel plug-in hybrid caught road testing is partial proof VW does not intend to be left behind.
2013-Volkswagen-XL1Work on precursors to the (sub) 1-liter XL1 dates back to 2002.

You may have seen this 2-seater around when it was showcased and test driven at the 2011 Qatar Motor Show and where at the time the prototype was said to deliver 261 mpg (0.9 l/100 km) on the European test cycle.

The current version shot by spy photographers is based around the same 800-cc, twin-cylinder turbodiesel delivering 48 horsepower and 88 pound-feet torque plus a 30 horsepower electric motor and seven-speed DSG transmission.
Performance is said to be in the neighborhood of 0-62 mph in 11.9 seconds, and top speed is limited to 99 mph. All electric range is estimated at 24 miles.

Its rear wheels – shown exposed in testing – ought to have aerodynamic shrouds back in place when the car built with carbon fiber reinforced polymer on the MQB platform is launched in Germany as a limited-production offering in 2013.
The show version – a third generation effort – had measured at 153-inches long, 66-inches wide, 45-inches high, and weight was around 1,753 pounds.

VW XL1 Concept XL1 concept photo from 2011.
The limited-production XL1 ought to be seen as early as some time in late 2012, and inside and out it appears to be staying close to the concept.
Given the “261” and “235” mpg numbers are based on the European cycle, it may wind up with somewhere between 150 mpg and 200 mpg on the EPA cycle. If it does, this will be quite a feat all by itself, although the formula to break beyond current limits looks feasible: a tiny fuel sipper, extremely low weight and aerodynamic drag coefficient of only 0.186 will perhaps triple the 50 mpg offered by a Toyota Prius, exceed also 95 MPGe for the plug-in Prius, and set a new standard for hybrids.

2015 Chevy Volt will get new GM platform

Think of it as a recharge for the best-selling plug-in vehicle in the U.S.

The Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in, whose sales have been on the upswing this year, will be among General Motors models that will be included on a new vehicle platform for the 2015 model year, the New York Daily News reports, citing two people familiar with the process that declined to be identified.

The Volt will join models such as the Chevrolet Cruze and Equinox as well as the Opel Astra on the new platform. The first vehicles using it will be delivered in 2014 and about 2.5 million crossovers and compact sedans will get the new platform by 2018. GM declined to confirm such plans to the Daily News and company representatives didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from AutoblogGreen.

Sales for the 2012 Volt have gained momentum since GM temporarily halted production a few months ago to allow dealers to work down their inventory. Through July, GM sold 10,666 Volts in the U.S., more than triple year-earlier figures. Another production halt is scheduled for next month.

Source: Autoblog Green

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Been dreaming of an electric Hummer? Here you go

Over the years, there have been attempts to green up one of the world's most iconic gas guzzlers, from thefanciful to the conceptual to the ER-EV. Now, a car customizer across the pond is epitomizing this ultimate dichotomy by building a battery-electric Hummer.

Prindiville, which so far has specialized in revamping vehicles from BentleyBMWFerrariPorsche and, of course, Range Rover with carbon-fiber body parts, aerodynamic paneling, souped-up engines and other goodies, says its plug-in Hummers will be the UK's first customized EVs.

Granted, the "Hummer" in question appears to be a substantially shrunken version of the original, Ahnold-favored super SUV. Prindiville says the Hummer EV, which will first be made in a trial batch of 25 vehicles, will have a 60-mile single-charge range. And the car can be yours for about 25,000 British pounds, just under $40,000 U.S. at today's exchange rates. Plus, it's exempt from London's congestion charge. So you have that going for you.

Source: Autoblog Green

60 MPG Jaguar XJ_e Plug-In to Enter Future Car Challenge

The greenest Jaguar we've driven here on GreenCarReports is the European-market XF 2.2D, but the smooth, economical diesel certainly isn't the limit of what Jaguar can achieve.
Despite cutting a significantly larger figure on the road, the Jaguar XJ_e plug-in hybrid makes the fuel-sipping XF look like a positive gas-guzzler.
For that reason, it's the perfect car to enter the annual RAC Future Car Challenge, taking place in London this November.
The Future Car Challenge showcases the best ofgreen vehicle technology, with everything from hybrids and electric vehicles to fuel-cell cars taking part.
The Jaguar XJ_e swaps out the usual supercharged V-8s and V-6s for a specially developed 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine, 69 kW electric motor and 12.3 kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
That gasoline engine makes it a little different from the Range_e plug-in hybrid Range Rover Sport we drove earlier this year, which uses that model's 3.0-liter V-6 to supplement electric propulsion, rather than a small gasoline engine.
There's enough juice in the battery for a 25-mile all-electric range, but traditional Jaguar buyers are unlikely to be disappointed with the car's pace either--it'll top 150mph and reach 60mph in only 6.5 seconds.
Jaguar claims combined economy of 61.2 mpg and CO2 emissions of only 75 grams per kilometer--that's 70 percent less than the gasoline V-8 pumps out. It's more economical than that diesel XF too, which manages 43.5 mpg on the European combined cycle.
Jaguar Land Rover is beginning to take a serious look at tailpipe emissions, and aims to reduce emissions by tackling three main areas: Parasitic losses such as aerodynamics and rolling resistance; vehicle weight through advanced structures and lightweight materials; and propulsion--combustion efficiency, hybrid technology and electric propulsion.
The Future Car Challenge will be a very public platform on which to demonstrate the group's technology, and it'll allow Jaguar to demonstrate the XJ_e's capabilities in the real world.
The 2012 RAC Future Car Challenge takes place on the weekend of 3-4 November.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Zipcar and the City of Houston Launch First of Its Kind Municipal Electric Vehicle Car Sharing Program

  • Nissan Leaf EVs and other plug-in electric hybrid vehicles to be outfitted with Zipcar's FastFleet® proprietary fleet sharing technology for use by city employees
  • Zipcar is the world's leading car sharing network with operations in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom. Zipcar offers more than 30 makes and models of self-service vehicles by the hour or day to residents and businesses looking for an alternative to the high costs and hassles of owning a car. (PRNewsFoto/Zipcar, Inc.)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Aug. 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Zipcar, Inc. (Nasdaq: ZIP), the world's leading car sharing network, today announced a new partnership with the City of Houston to launch a municipal electric vehicle (EV) fleet sharing program, called Houston Fleet Share. Through this program, 50 existing city-owned fleet vehicles – including 25 Nissan Leaf EVs – will be outfitted with Zipcar's FastFleet® proprietary fleet sharing technology for use by city employees across all departments.

This program is the first of its kind, funded by the State Energy Conservation Office American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (SECO-ARRA) Transportation Program (SEP), and is designed to help the City of Houston improve efficiency, promote sustainability and save money – all without sacrificing employee mobility.

The City of Houston currently has the third largest municipal hybrid fleet in the country, with approximately 50 percent of the City's nonspecialty, light-duty fleet having been replaced with hybrid vehicles. By deploying Zipcar's FastFleet car sharing platform in these and other vehicles, as well as implementing Zipcar's self-service online reservation and secure vehicle access system, the program is expected to help the City gain new efficiencies, improve utilization and reduce costs, while further reducing the environmental impacts of their fleet.

"Houston is setting the pace for sustainability efforts, and we are very proud to be working with Zipcar to launch the nation's first-ever municipal EV green fleet sharing program," said Mayor Annise Parker. "Although we've always been known as the oil capital of the world, we're gaining momentum on being the energy capital through programs like Houston Fleet Share and the Houston Drives Electric initiative."

"By utilizing Zipcar's technology to make our fleet usage more efficient, we will be able to further reduce emissions and cut back on fleet fuel consumption, helping save money while also having a positive impact on our environment," continued Mayor Parker.

"I would like to applaud Mayor Parker and the City of Houston for all the work they have done to make the city's municipal fleet one of the most sustainable in the country through their dedication to EVs and hybrid vehicles. We're excited to help make this program even more efficient with the addition of Zipcar technology into these vehicles," said Scott Griffith, Zipcar chairman and CEO. "By utilizing Zipcar's FastFleet technology through the new Fleet Share program, the City of Houston joins smart city governments focused on developing solutions to complex transportation challenges."

The City of Houston selected Zipcar as its fleet technology provider through a competitive bidding process.

By using Zipcar's FastFleet technology, the City of Houston will be able to design and configure its fleet footprint in real time for optimal utilization; manage hundreds of critical activities including preventive maintenance, fueling, billing, and fleet distribution; analyze usage and diagnostic data, automatically captured during every trip; and utilize Zipcar's robust, experience-driven analytics to stay on top of trends and in control of its fleet.

Zipcar's FastFleet technology has already been adopted through similar initiatives in Washington, D.C., Chicago and Boston. In 2009, Washington, D.C. became the first city to use Zipcar technology in their fleet, allowing fleet operators to eliminate cars, save money and reduce emissions. D.C. officials estimate that they save approximately $1 million per year using the technology.

In March 2011, the City of Chicago became the first city in the country to integrate both the use of Zipcar's FastFleet technology in their existing fleet and Z4B (Zipcar for Business), Zipcar's business transportation solution. According to the city's projections, the integrated program could save Chicago hundreds of thousands of dollars in transportation costs over the next several years.

In addition, the City of Boston launched the FleetHub program using Zipcar's FastFleet technology in February 2012, creating an interdepartmental fleet of vehicles for use by city employees. With a focus on fleet modernization and sustainability, the program will help the City dispose of older, under-utilized vehicles, while helping to modernize the fleet with alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles.

About Zipcar
Zipcar is the world's leading car-sharing network with more than 730,000 members and 11,000 vehicles located in major metropolitan areas and college campuses throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain and Austria. Zipcar offers more than 30 makes and models of self-service vehicles by the hour or day to residents and businesses looking for an alternative to the high costs and hassles of owning a car. More information is available at

About Zipcar's FastFleet® Technology
FastFleet is Zipcar's proprietary car sharing technology that enables fleet managers to save money, reduce risk and promote sustainability by leveraging the same technology that powers Zipcar's consumer fleet. The FastFleet program empowers client fleet administrators to determine the numbers, types and locations of vehicles, which are then equipped with Zipcar's in-vehicle technology, wirelessly linking them to a dedicated server. Utilizing FastFleet technology makes reserving and driving a vehicle a seamless process for employees, while providing significant benefits to fleet managers as well. More information is available at

Zipcar, FastFleet and the Zipcar logo are trademarks of Zipcar, Inc.