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April 25 2017

17:45
2018 Ford Focus Electric
17:16
2018 Ford F-150
16:18
Amazon working on self-driving tech, but it's not ready for prime time
15:40

Chevy Bolt EV Has Saved 175,000 Gallons of Gas in Only The First Few Months

The Chevrolet Bolt EV is only just rolling out to dealers across the country, but Chevrolet says it’s already managed to save 175,000 gallons of gasoline.

That’s compared to an average 26 mpg car, and fuel savings for the gas-engine-free electric car come fast, in direct proportion to miles traveled. Through April 2, Chevrolet says 4,570,300 Bolt miles have been covered.

At that rate, expects gazillions of gallons to be saved after a couple years or so, as thus far the Bolt EV is only being delivered in California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Washington and Virginia. By summer 2017 it is to be available nationwide.

SEE ALSO: 2017 Chevrolet Bolt Review – First Drive

The Bolt EV is EPA rated at 238 miles range, and after federal tax credit may net for below $30,000, with state subsidies also potentially available.

Chevrolet says the average Bolt EV owner drives approximately 53 miles per day proving a practical solution with range to spare.

“Our early Bolt EV customers are proving the crossover’s functionality, flexibility and long-range capabilities on a daily basis,” said Steve Majoros, director of marketing, Chevrolet cars and crossovers. “Chevrolet committed to delivering a game-changing vehicle and we’ve done just that. As we continue our national rollout of the Bolt EV, we’re making electric driving accessible to even more drivers.”

One driver even managed to squeeze out 310 miles, notes Chevrolet, though this is not typical.

Actually, that in theory ought not to raise eyebrows so much, as in Europe, the identical rebadged Opel Ampera-e is rated for 310 miles (500 km).

Most people know Europe’s NEDC standard is unrealistically optimistic however, so a real, carefully driven, 310 mile drive on a single charge is not bad at all.

In more common experience, the Bolt has proven to be good for its EPA range, though as always, “your mileage will vary.”

The post Chevy Bolt EV Has Saved 175,000 Gallons of Gas in Only The First Few Months appeared first on HybridCars.com.

15:31
Uber sued for unleashing 'Hell' on Lyft drivers
14:41
Supreme Court confirms that new GM can be sued for old GM's ignition switches
14:30
Ride-share wars, Jaguar XF Sportbrake, Used Tesla resale: What’s New @ The Car Connection
04:04

Toyota And Honda Key Players In Japan’s Move To Lead in Fuel Cells and Hydrogen

Japan is counting on hydrogen and fuel cells to cut carbon emissions and oil imports – and Toyota and Honda are going along for the ride.

The Japanese government aims to see 800,000 fuel cell vehicles on its roads by 2030, being fueled by a national network of 900 hydrogen stations. That would shoot up from about 1,700 fuel cell vehicles and less than 100 hydrogen stations in place now.

The country’s grand vision, which was launched in a 2014 blueprint, ties into a much larger transformation that would include mini hydrogen production plants at homes and businesses, a carbon-free hydrogen manufacturing process, and eventual cost reduction in vehicle and fuel prices. If things move along fast enough, it could make Japan look impressive at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

The nation imports nearly all of its oil from other countries, and would like that dependency to disappear. There’s also several sources to extract hydrogen from domestic fuels like natural gas, coal, biomass, solar or wind power, nuclear power, and hydroelectric stations.

Japan could become the world’s epicenter of hydrogen and fuel cells.

“This is where Japan is different from other countries,” said Hiroshi Katayama, deputy director for advanced energy systems at Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the government agency heading the drive. “I think Japan is in the lead.”

Toyota and Honda see mass production of these new alternative powertrains as significant as the role they played bringing hybrid cars to the global market in the early 2000s. If Japan’s national campaign takes off, it could nudge out competitors like Hyundai and other manufacturers working on fuel cell vehicles, specifically Daimler, General Motors, Nissan, and BMW.

It could also mean taking big losses, especially if their production facilities scale up to make several thousand fuel cell cars a year and they aren’t sold at a profitable level.

To take a look at where it stands, Automotive News published sales data from the global three automakers offering production-level fuel cell passenger cars.

Since launching the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell (called ix35 outside the U.S.) in 2013, the company has sold 782 vehicles. Europe has been the largest market with 430 units sold, followed by North America at 203, the home market of South Korea at 148, and one ix35 sold in another market.

Toyota launched the Mirai in 2014 with 1,600 sold so far in Japan, 1,300 in the U.S., and 100 in Europe. The total comes to 3,000 sold.

Honda started selling the Clarity Fuel Cell last year, with 217 sold so far. That breaks out to 140 units sold in Japan and 77 in the U.S.

Earlier this month during the New York International Auto Show, the company unveiled all-electric and plug-in hybrid variations of the Clarity.

The challenges being faced by Toyota and Honda are similar to other alternative powertrains on the global market. It also shows the level of investment governments and corporate partners in Japan, South Korea, the U.S., and Europe are needing to make for the fuel cell technology to become broadly accepted.

More capital and know-how must be invested to reduce the technological limits, the relatively high purchase price of the vehicles, regulatory structures, and how to break through consumer reluctance.

“This is a very challenging goal,” said Yoshikazu Tanaka, chief engineer of the Mirai fuel cell sedan. “But we need to keep pushing ourselves toward the ambitious creation of a hydrogen society.”

Government and industry are working together with generous subsidies and commitment from companies to support the Japanese government’s plan. The government is funding hundreds of millions of dollars into hydrogen stations, covering as much as two-thirds the cost of each fueling station. The cost of the hydrogen used to fuel up is also reduced for consumers through government subsidies.

The national government gives out about $17,960 in subsidies for buyers of fuel cell vehicles. Local governments also contribute, with Tokyo giving out another $8,980 to buyers.

Consumers need to be educated about the incentives beyond the $64,972 sticker price (including a consumption tax) for a Mirai in Japan. In the U.S., it sells for $57,585, including shipping, before incentives.

The Japanese government wants to provide all the support it can to meet lofty targets. The national plan wants to see 40,000 fuel cell vehicles in operation by 2020, then 200,000 by 2025 and then a giant leap up to 800,000 by 2030.

SEE ALSO:  Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car Drivers Can Fuel Up at ‘Toilet-to-Tank Filling Station’ in Japan

Toyota’s experience with hybrids has been much different. It took nine years after the launch of the Prius in the Japanese market during 1997 to reach the 500,000 hybrid vehicles sold mark. That covered global sales, multiple Toyota and Lexus hybrid models, and the lack of a new fueling infrastructure required by other alternative powertrains.

Beyond the heavy duty fuel cell truck Toyota is testing out in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the company hasn’t talked about launching other new fuel cell passenger cars.

Toyota acknowledges that multiple models and much higher production output will have to be put in place for targets to be met in Japan.

“To achieve that goal, we will have to sell 30,000 to 40,000 units of FCVs per year, from 2020 to 2030,” Tanaka said. “I don’t think we’ll be able to achieve the target with only the Mirai.”

Automotive News

The post Toyota And Honda Key Players In Japan’s Move To Lead in Fuel Cells and Hydrogen appeared first on HybridCars.com.

April 24 2017

22:30
2017 Nissan Rogue Sport costs $22,360 to start, Darwin may be proud
20:18

Tesla Expanding Supercharger Network To Handle Model 3 Influx

Tesla has updated its plans to expand its Supercharger and related public charging infrastructure in anticipation of its Model 3.

The Model 3 is due to start in production July on an expedited timeline to become its volume production car, and with the pending flood of new cars, the automaker wants to avoid crowding and long lines at public charging spots.

With its Model 3’s reveal last year, the company had already said it would build out the network, but a recent blog post now outlines a scenario of Supercharger stations with “several dozen” charging units each and “customer centers” and more charging locations than originally forecast.

Rendering of Tesla expanded Supercharger with “customer centers.”

In updating everyone on its progress, Tesla’s post added this to its prior announcement it would double Superchargers available to 7,000 and quadruple “Destination Chargers” to 15,000 units by the end of 2017.

“We started 2017 with over 5,000 Superchargers globally and by the end of this year, Tesla will double that number to total more than 10,000 Superchargers and 15,000 Destination Charging connectors around the world,” said Tesla. “In North America, we’ll increase the number of Superchargers by 150 percent, and in California alone we’ll add more than 1,000 Superchargers. We’re moving full speed on site selection and many sites will soon enter construction to open in advance of the summer travel season.”

Solar arrays supplement the massive current demands in this rendering.

The company now has more than 5.400 Superchargers and 9,000 Destination Charging locations, so in short, its expansion is nearly commensurate with the expansion of vehicle production.

Last year Tesla sold fewer than 80,000 units worldwide. By end of 2018, with Model 3 and other vehicles in full swing, the company predicts more than a five fold-increase to 500,000.
Not surprisingly, California will be a focal point.

“In North America, we’ll increase the number of Superchargers by 150 percent, and in California alone we’ll add more than 1,000 Superchargers. We’re moving full speed on site selection and many sites will soon enter construction to open in advance of the summer travel season,” said Tesla. “Toward that goal, Tesla will build larger sites along our busiest travel routes that will accommodate several dozen Teslas Supercharging simultaneously. In addition, many sites will be built further off the highway to allow local Tesla drivers to charge quickly when needed, with the goal of making charging ubiquitous in urban centers.”

As a caveat to it all, Tesla says despite expectations of public charging demand, the first resort is home charging.

As always, the most convenient way to charge is to plug in overnight where you park. However, to better serve the needs of owners who are traveling or those who don’t have access to reliable home charging, we will continue to aggressively expand our public charging networks.

With cars that achieve more than 200-300 miles range, local driving is typically workable without need for topping off at a public charger.

Tesla

The post Tesla Expanding Supercharger Network To Handle Model 3 Influx appeared first on HybridCars.com.

19:28

Rural EV Owners Deal with Charger Disparity

It’s no surprise to anyone that gas stations are fewer and further in between in rural areas.

So it shouldn’t be shocking that the same holds true for electric-vehicle charging stations. There’s one big difference, however – most EVs have shorter ranges than vehicles fueled by gasoline or diesel.

The Denver Post chronicles the struggles of EV owners who live in places like the Adirondack Mountains in New York, or in remote parts of Canada.

SEE ALSO: VW Reveals Nationwide EV Charging Plans

It’s not just running out of range that worries EV drivers – it’s also finding something to do to keep themselves occupied while charging, in the event that they do find a charging station – or plug in to an outlet at a friend’s house.

The lack of charging stations is one problem, and the effects of mountainous terrain and cold weather, in some cases at least, on battery range is another.

SEE ALSO: VW Reveals Tesla-like EV Charging Plans

“When we really go anywhere, I have a whole list of phone numbers of friends who live all over the Adirondacks,” one owner told the Post while her car was charging. “So that at a moment’s notice I can call somebody and be like, ‘Hi, I’m going to pull into your driveway. And do you have an outdoor electrical outlet?’”

Including hybrids, there are more than 600,000 electrified vehicles on the road in the U.S. and Canada, at least according to ChargePoint, a company that operates and manages charging stations. There are more than 18,000 charging stations currently in use, with a total of about 48,000 outlets.

But charging stations aren’t distributed evenly across the land – most are clumped together in California and along the parts of the East Coast that have the greatest population density. Other population centers in the Midwest also claim more charging stations that parts of the country that consist of wide-open spaces.

Still, as EVs and plug-in hybrids gain more of a foothold in the market, more charging stations are opening up. Some EVs also offer greater range – the Tesla Model S has long offered range comparable to that of some gasoline-fueled vehicles. The Model S isn’t cheap, but more-affordable offerings from Chevrolet and Tesla – the Bolt and Model 3, respectively – are on the way to market, and they promise longer ranges than currently available EVs at similar price points.

That should make life easier for EV enthusiasts and buyers who live outside of large population centers. Perhaps there will be less of a need for backup plans in the near future.

The Denver Post

The post Rural EV Owners Deal with Charger Disparity appeared first on HybridCars.com.

19:26

Tesla Taking High Risks To Speed Up Model 3 Production

The stakes are high for Tesla as CEO Elon Musk pushes to start producing the high volume Model 3 in September by skipping traditional auto industry manufacturing practices.

Musk told investors on a call last month that the electric carmaker would skip the traditional “beta” production testing that other automakers use, to speed up assembly and rollout. One of the investors on the call revealed the comments on Reddit, Automotive News reported.

The Tesla CEO said the company would instead by using “advanced analytical techniques,” which refers to computer simulations, to jump forward in production tooling.

Musk is known for making grand claims about hitting launch dates and other targets that many times have missed the mark.

In February, he’d committed to launching production of the Model 3 by July. Hitting that mark and ramping up to volume production by September is a high-risk venture that steps over traditional auto industry practices. Other automakers start by testing out a cheaper prototype model to make sure parts and components fit and don’t cause unexpected problems.

With Tesla’s target of manufacturing and selling 500,000 vehicles a year by 2018, the cost of discovering unexpected problems could be staggering. The automaker is facing losses through potential recalls or warranty repairs.

“He’s pushing the envelope to see how much time and cost he can take out of the process,” said Ron Harbour, a manufacturing consultant at Oliver Wyman.

Investors in the company do buy into Musk’s promises and expect Tesla to hit its production targets. That’s helped the company’s stock soar 39 percent since January as the electric carmaker reinvents its identity in the market as a mass producer. Hitting the 500,000 mark would increase the company’s annual sales fivefold, which is critical for Tesla’s efforts to stop burning cash and to become profitable.

“It’s an experiment, certainly,” said Consumer Reports‘ Jake Fisher, who has been part of the publication’s extensive testing of Tesla’s Models S and X.

Tesla may be able to tap into its ability to fix problems quickly, “or it could be they have unsuspected problems they’ll have a hard time dealing with,” Fisher said.

Consumer Reports and others had taken Tesla to task for several problems being handed over to Model X owners.

Some of that problem had come from the electric carmaker using lower grade, disposable tools in the final phase of production. Known as “soft tooling,” going that cost-saving route complicated the Model X debut in 2015, according to a person familiar with the matter. Time had run out to resolve the errors thoroughly during the switch over to permanent production tooling, creating a set of challenges that had to be corrected after the product launch.

“Soft tooling did very little for the program and arguably hurt things,” said the source.

SEE ALSO:  Tesla Selling $2B in Stock to Enable Model 3 Production

After that crisis in 2015, Tesla acquired a Michigan tooling company that has speeded up manufacturing equipment for the car 30 percent faster than before and cheaper, the source said.

Another block in hitting its ambitious launch target could take place overseas. The company is still waiting to hear whether workers at Tesla Advanced Automation Germany will vote to go on strike for higher pay.

In late 2016, Tesla acquired German company Grohman Engineering, which was changed over to the new Tesla business unit name. That deal was made as part of the U.S. electric automaker’s strategy to speed up the development and production process for the Model 3.

Automotive News

The post Tesla Taking High Risks To Speed Up Model 3 Production appeared first on HybridCars.com.

16:21
2018 Volvo S90
15:01
The Waymo/Google vs. Uber/Otto battle is getting uglier (and way more complicated)
14:59

Watch Toyota’s Fuel Cell Tractor Trailer Drag Race a Diesel Semi

Toyota is proving that its new hydrogen fuel-cell powered big rig is not only clean, but also powerful.

The brand released video footage of its new truck, called Project Portal, drag racing a standard diesel-powered semi, both loaded to 35,000 pounds. As you can see in the video, it’s not even close, with Project Portal taking off from the diesel big rig.

That is thanks to its 670 horsepower and 1,325 lb-ft of torque, all of which can be put out instantly because Project Portal is powered by electricity, generated by that hydrogen fuel cell. The truck also doesn’t need to bother with a transmission, as it has a fixed ratio of 15.5:1, allowing it to pull up to 80,000 pounds at legal interstate speeds. That is very much unlike the diesel truck, which has to navigate through over a dozen gear ratios.

For now, Project Portal is being used by the Los Angeles port for short haul jobs in order to test its capabilities.

This article originally appeared at AutoGuide.com

The post Watch Toyota’s Fuel Cell Tractor Trailer Drag Race a Diesel Semi appeared first on HybridCars.com.

14:45

$2.3 million Mercedes-AMG Project One Is To Be An Ultimate Hybrid Hypercar

Additional details have surfaced about Mercedes-AMG’s new Project One hybrid hypercar ahead of its debut at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

AMG revealed some basic info about the Formula 1-inspired Project One earlier this year at the Detroit Auto Show, telling reporters it would deliver at least 1,000 horsepower and would be limited to just 275 units. The automaker also took the opportunity in Detroit to divulge details about its powertrain, which will consist of a 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 lifted right from Mercedes’ championship winning Formula 1 cars, numerous electric motors, and a lithium-ion battery pack.

This latest round of info on the Project One comes via Automobile, which spoke to one of the fortunate 275 people purchase one after they attended a briefing about the car. According to the unnamed buyer, the Project One will produce a peak output of 1,020 horsepower. About 748 horsepower will come from the 1.6-liter engine, which will redline at around 11,000 rpm, and another 408 horsepower will come via the electric drive system. There are to be four electric motors in total: Two powering the front wheels, one attached to the crankshaft to power the rear wheels and harvest energy under braking, and one to power the turbo compressor.

The powertrain will be nestled inside a car that weighs less than 2,900 pounds (1,315 kg), which will make it significantly lighter than hybrid hypercars already on the market. That weight figure apparently includes the lithium-ion battery pack, which will allow the hypercar to travel under electric power alone for as much as 30 miles (48 kilometers).

Pricing for the Mercedes-AMG Porject One will start at 2.17 million Euro (about $2.3 million) before tax. Mercedes hopes to sell around 250-275 examples of the car and is well on its way, with 225 units having been spoken for thus far.

Automobile

This article originally appeared at AutoGuide.com

The post $2.3 million Mercedes-AMG Project One Is To Be An Ultimate Hybrid Hypercar appeared first on HybridCars.com.

14:41
Study: Younger drivers don't want electric cars
14:30
Alfa Romeo Giulia, 1,500-hp Hennessey Dodge Demon, Britain's coal-free day: What’s New @ The Car Connection
11:22
2017 Ford GT preview
04:37

Study: American Interest in EVs is High but Not Translating to Sales

America may be a pickup truck country, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t interest in EVs.

At least, that’s according to the results of a new study from the American Automobile Association (AAA). The study shows that 30 million Americans say they’re likely to buy an EV, with millennials especially interested at one in five.

Gas prices may be hovering at 40-percent less than where they were five years ago, but the AAA says that hasn’t negatively impacted interest in EVs and hybrids. The study shows that 15 percent of Americans say they’d be interested in an EV as their next car – a number that’s not far off the number of respondents who say they’re interested in buying a pickup truck.

SEE ALSO: How Many Sub-$40,000 / 200-Mile Range EVs Might We See In 2017?

“With their lower ownership costs and compatibility with emerging autonomous technologies, electric vehicles are poised to be a key vehicle of the future,” said Jana Tidwell, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic, in a press release.

The interest in EVs isn’t turning into sales. According to the AAA, that’s because of range anxiety, even though the average American commute is 31 miles/46 minutes – which would be within the range of most EVs on the market. Still, 69 percent of respondents were concerned about the number of charging stations, and 68 percent expressed concern about running out of charge before they reached the end of their drive.

SEE ALSO: 4 European EVs That May Soon Give Tesla A Run For its Money

“Range anxiety stems from seeing gas stations, not charging stations, on every corner,” Tidwell said. “While electric vehicles may not yet fit every lifestyle, the number of charging stations has quadrupled over the last five years and battery ranges support average commutes.”

Perhaps the emergence of higher-range EVs at lower prices, such as the Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model 3, will change that. Clearly, if the study is correct, public attitudes will need to change to boost EV sales.

Green Car Reports

The post Study: American Interest in EVs is High but Not Translating to Sales appeared first on HybridCars.com.

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