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  1. Ford announced yesterday a massive investment for electric and hybrid vehicles. Mark Fields, CEO of Ford says the company plans on spending $4.5 billion by 2020 to bring out 13 electric and hybrid models, increasing the current percentage of electric and hybrid models from 13 to 40 percent. Now this announcement comes at an interesting time as sales of electric and hybrid vehicles are dropping due to low gas prices. According to Autodata Corp, sales of Ford's hybrids through November dropped 25 percent to 59,301 vehicles. The Nissan Leaf saw sales drop 41 percent through November. “Certainly, the gas prices that we’re seeing right now don’t help the electric-vehicle sales. We’ve got a lot to do to inform and educate the customer about the advantages of not just the battery-electric vehicles, but plug-in hybrids in particular and hybrids,” said Raj Nair, Ford's product development chief. But Ford is looking to the future with this investment as stricter emission standards are coming. “We’re going to see more and more companies invest in electrified vehicles because at the moment there’s some very stringent 2025 emission standards. The way to get there is using electrification. It’s a significant investment, but it’s the way the industry is moving forward,” said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at AutoTrader.com. Source: Bloomberg
  2. What you see before you is the Nissan IDS concept. This is the automaker's vision for the future of autonomous driving and electric vehicles. The exterior looks like a Nissan Leaf after spending too much time in the wind tunnel with smooth lines to help keep drag at a minimum. The front end shares the same design as seen on the new Murano. A key design point done on the IDS are the tires position very close to corners of the body. This allows for more interior space. There's also a number of lights and displays throughout the vehicle that are aimed at pedestrians and other vehicles to help awareness and intentions of the IDS. The interior reflects that IDS is an autonomous vehicle as it change that layout based on two different drive modes. Manual Drive has all of the seats facing forward. The steering wheel is surrounded by various gauges. A heads-up display shows key information and speed. Nissan's Intelligent Driving system will still provide assistance in certain situations such as avoidance maneuvers. Piloted Drive sees the steering wheel fold away and a large flat screen come out. Seats can rotate slightly inward for easier conversation. One item that Nissan is keeping quiet on is the electric powertrain. All we know is that a 60 kWh battery provides the power for the motor. Source: Nissan Press Release is on Page 2 Nissan IDS Concept: Nissan's vision for the future of EVs and autonomous driving TOKYO – Today at the Tokyo Motor Show 2015, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. unveiled a concept vehicle that embodies Nissan's vision of the future of autonomous driving and zero-emission EVs: the Nissan IDS Concept. Presenting at the show, Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn said: "Nissan's forthcoming technologies will revolutionize the relationship between car and driver, and future mobility." After leading the development and expansion of EV technology, Nissan once again stands at the forefront of automotive technology. By integrating advanced vehicle control and safety technologies with cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI), Nissan is among the leaders developing practical, real-world applications of autonomous drive technology. In August 2013, Ghosn said that by 2020 Nissan plans to equip innovative autonomous drive technology on multiple vehicles. Progress is well on track to achieve this goal. Nissan Intelligent Driving is Nissan's concept of autonomous drive technology and represents what Nissan believes next-generation vehicles should be. "Nissan Intelligent Driving improves a driver's ability to see, think and react. It compensates for human error, which causes more than 90 percent of all car accidents. As a result, time spent behind the wheel is safer, cleaner, more efficient and more fun," continued Ghosn. The Nissan IDS experience Some have compared a future with autonomous drive to living in a world of conveyer belts that simply ferry people from point A to B, but the Nissan IDS Concept promises a very different vision of tomorrow. Even when the driver selects Piloted Drive and turns over driving to the vehicle, the car's performance — from accelerating to braking to cornering — imitates the driver's own style and preferences. In Manual Drive mode, the driver has control. The linear acceleration and cornering are pure and exhilarating. Yet behind the scenes, the Nissan IDS Concept continues to provide assistance. Sensors continually monitor conditions and assistance is available even while the driver is in control. In the event of imminent danger, Nissan IDS Concept will assist the driver in taking evasive action. In addition to learning, the Nissan IDS Concept's AI communicates like an attentive partner. From information concerning traffic conditions, the driver's schedule to personal interests, Nissan IDS Concept's AI has what is needed to help create a driving experience that is comfortable, enjoyable and safe. Design — Together, we ride "A key point behind the Nissan IDS Concept is communication. For autonomous drive to become reality, as a society we have to consider not only communication between car and driver but also between cars and people. The Nissan IDS Concept's design embodies Nissan's vision of autonomous drive as expressed in the phrase together, we ride," says Mitsunori Morita, Design Director. Two interiors enable two ways for the driver to enjoy the experience Together, we ride is clearly demonstrated in the interior design. "The Nissan IDS Concept has different interiors depending on whether the driver opts for Piloted Drive or Manual Drive. This was something that we thought was absolutely necessary to express our idea of autonomous drive," says Morita. Even though it is a hatchback, the Nissan IDS Concept's long wheelbase enables comfortable seating space for four adults. But the cabin becomes even more spacious when the driver selects Piloted Drive. In this mode, the steering wheel recedes into the center of the instrument panel and a large flat screen comes out. Various driving-related operations are handled by AI, voice and gestures from the driver. The interior, which is comprised of natural materials such as mesh leather, is illuminated by soft light. All four seats rotate slightly inward, facilitating easier conversation. It's like relaxing in a living room. When the driver selects Manual Drive, the roomy interior transforms to put the driver in control. All seats face forward. The steering wheel, which takes styling cues from reins for horse riding, appears along with driving meters and a heads-up display that shows route and other driving information. Interior lighting switches to blue, stimulating the ability to concentrate. Nissan's use of hollow-structure A-pillars helps ensure excellent visibility by reducing blind spots and also contributes to the feeling of open space. "In every situation, it is about giving the driver more choices and greater control. And the driver will remain the focus of our technology development efforts," Ghosn said at the show. The transformation to Manual Drive can be carried out with ease through a switch between the front seats called the PD Commander. This is the only control the driver can physically operate when the car is in Piloted Drive: when the driver is ready to take over driving, a physical action should initiate the change. Exterior design — communication that creates confidence and harmony For autonomous drive to be widely accepted, people need to fully trust the technology. Through its innovative communication capabilities, the Nissan IDS Concept promotes confidence and a sense of harmony for those outside the car as well. Various exterior lights and displays convey to pedestrians and others the car's awareness of its surroundings and signals its intentions. The car's side body line, for example, is actually an LED that Nissan calls the Intention Indicator. When pedestrians or cyclists are nearby, the strip shines white, signaling that the car is aware of them. Another electronic display, which faces outside from the instrument panel, can flash messages such as "After you" to pedestrians. This natural, harmonious system of communication signals a new future with cars. Advanced aerodynamic performance for greater driving range Design Director Mitsunori Morita says: "By the time Nissan Intelligent Driving technology is available on production cars, EVs will be able to go great distances on a single charge. Getting to this point will, of course, require the further evolution of batteries, but aerodynamic performance is also very important. We incorporated our most advanced aerodynamic technology in the design of the Nissan IDS Concept." The height of the full carbon fiber body was constrained to 1,380 mm, sharply minimizing aerodynamic drag (Cd). Positioning the tires close to the corners of the body maximizes interior space while enabling a wrap-around cabin design. Nissan selected large-diameter wheels for high-performance and sportiness, but used very thin 175-size tires to minimize air and roll resistance. The wheels have a layered design suggestive of thin fins that create tiny vortexes of air flow on the wheel's surface. This design further contributes to smooth air flow. The icicle pattern on the Nissan IDS Concept's grille symbolizes a pure and clean design — perfect for an EV. Shaped like a stack of ice blocks, the grille pattern appears transparent. The car's bluish satin silver body color heightens the impression of a comfortable and secure cabin space. Highly evolved EV technology for long-distance driving At Nissan's annual shareholders meeting in June, Executive Vice President Hideyuki Sakamoto said: "Our zero emission strategy centers on EVs. We are pursuing improved electric powertrain technologies, such as motors, batteries and inverters, which will enable us to mass produce and market EVs that equal or surpass the convenience of gasoline-powered cars." The Nissan IDS Concept is fitted with a high-capacity 60 kWh battery, and thanks to its outstanding aerodynamics, low stance, flowing form and reduced weight due to its full-carbon-fiber body, the vehicle is designed to also meet the need to drive long distances. Other technologies on the Nissan IDS Concept include Piloted Park that can be operated by smartphone or tablet, and wireless charging technologies. Through these, the driver can leave parking and charging to the car. Nissan's targets — Zero traffic fatalities and zero emissions In order for our car-based society to be sustainable, complex issues ranging from sustainable energy supplies to climate change, air pollution and traffic safety must be addressed. At Nissan, we have set zero fatalities and zero emissions as aspirational targets in our mission to help create a sustainable car-based society. Over 90 percent of traffic accidents are caused by human error. Nissan IDS Concept's extensive system of sensors and AI are designed to provide enhanced safety performance compared to a human driver. This technology brings us a step closer to the goal of zero traffic fatalities. EVs produce no CO2 emissions and their batteries can store energy from renewable sources and turn it into electricity for homes and buildings. As the number of EVs increases, entire communities will be able to harness their power as part of a sustainable energy plan. Then, as EVs come to play a central role in energy supply, we will come that much closer to becoming a zero-emission society. Nissan believes that the Nissan IDS Concept will evolve into a leading innovation for next generation mobility and our quest for making these "two zeroes" a reality. Featuring Nissan's most advanced safety, driving-control and EV technology — all taken to a new level by AI — the Nissan IDS Concept is a compelling showcase of a promising future.
  3. Automobile magazine has a couple of juicy rumors concerning Jaguar. First is Jaguar and its sister brand Land Rover working on a new inline-six to take the place of the somewhat old V6 the two brand use. The new six-cylinder will be derived from the new Ingenium engine family. The inline-six will be 3.0L, feature turbocharging, and come in diesel and gasoline forms. Power is expected to range from 275 to 500 horsepower. Expect to see this new engine in late 2017. The other rumor deals with an electric crossover. Possibly named E-Pace, the electric crossover will be slightly smaller the F-Pace and feature a number of aerodynamic aids to cut through the wind. No information was provided on power figures. Source: Automobile
  4. A couple months back, we reported that Aston Martin is working on electric version of the Rapide to deal with stricter emission standards and increased competition from the Tesla Model S. Today, we get our first glimpse at what that might look like. The RapidE concept may look like your standard Rapide on the outside - aside from the somewhat goofy graphics. But underneath is where a new electric powertrain developed with Williams Advanced Engineering. Now technical details on the RapidE concept are non-existent. But Autocar was able to gleam some powertrain information on a possible production model from CEO Andy Palmer. The first model will produce around 550 horsepower - a similar number to the current Rapide - and have an overall range of 200 Miles. The second model will be super-performance version with an electric motor on each wheel. Total output is expected to be around 800 to 1000 horsepower. Along with the debut of the RapidE concept, Aston Martin announced a new deal with Chinese investment firm ChinaEquity to explore the possibility of putting the RapidE concept into production. If its given the green light, we could be seeing a production model in about two years time. “We see luxury electric vehicles as an intrinsic part of our future product portfolio and welcome ChinaEquity into the next phase of study for the project development. The exciting RapidE concept tangibly demonstrates the capability and ambition of Aston Martin towards developing low- and zero-emission sports cars," said Palmer in a statement. Source: Aston Martin, Autocar http://youtu.be/uPHWfahHRi8 Press Release is on Page 2 Aston Martin Unveils Electric Concept Rapide During State Visit World debut of Aston Martin full electric RapidE concept Chinese investors engaged in study towards first all-electric Aston Martin Aston Martin and ChinaEquity to explore concept’s production potential 21 October 2015, Gaydon: Aston Martin is today showcasing a fully electric concept of its Rapide S four-door sports saloon outside Lancaster House in London – the venue for a meeting between Their Royal Highnesses Prince William, Duke of Cambridge; Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and President of The People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping. The new RapidE concept has been developed in collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering at its facility in Grove, Oxfordshire. It is on display today in support of a creative summit organised by the British government’s successful GREAT campaign to showcase the best of what the UK has to offer and encourage people to visit, do business, invest and study in this country. Aston Martin CEO, Dr Andy Palmer, said: “We see luxury electric vehicles as an intrinsic part of our future product portfolio and welcome ChinaEquity into the next phase of study for the project development. “The exciting RapidE concept tangibly demonstrates the capability and ambition of Aston Martin towards developing low- and zero-emission sports cars.” During the Lancaster House event, Aston Martin and Chinese investment group, ChinaEquity, announced an agreement to explore the development of a production version of the RapidE concept. If successful, the new luxury sports car would be constructed at Aston Martin’s global HQ in Gaydon, Warwickshire, and could be brought to market in around two years. On the signing of this agreement, Chairman Chaoyong Wang of ChinaEquity said, "We are delighted that Aston Martin not only provides a high performance driving experience to customers, but also show’s their social responsibility by showcasing a new generation of electric car with zero emissions. We are excited to participate in the development of the RapidE and to make a contribution to Sino-British clean energy and green environmental strategy. We feel confident that there are significant opportunities for electric cars in China and the world." Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Rt Hon Oliver Letwin MP who has supported the development of the project said: “Aston Martin is an iconic British brand, and I welcome their agreement today with ChinaEquity. It is a great example of British and Chinese businesses working together to develop links and bring benefits to the UK economy. It also demonstrates how a collaboration between the UK and China can develop the innovative low emission solutions needed to tackle the pressing global issue of air quality.”
  5. With all the news surrounding Tesla fighters, it seems we have forgotten about the competitors to the Toyota Prius. But luckily Hyundai has been working on such a vehicle to take on the Prius. A fresh set of spy shots have come in of their Prius fighter this week. Now the shots show Hyundai taking some design ideas from the current Prius in terms of exterior styling. We also have the first shots of the interior which boasts a different gauge cluster complete with Eco/Power gauge. Autoblog says recent rumors have Hyundai's new hybrid being based on the next-generation Elantra and use a medium-sized lithium-polymer battery pack that could offer 38 miles of electric power. The gas engine will possibly be a 1.6L four-cylinder. But there is another twist to this story. A source tells Green Car Reports that Hyundai will offer a electric-only version of their Prius fighter sometime after the regular model is launched. A Hyundai spokesman declined to comment on the rumor. Source: Autoblog, Green Car Reports
  6. Aston Martin is readying their own electric vehicle. Speaking with Automotive News at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Aston CEO Andy Palmer revealed that the British sports car maker will be launching an all-electric version of its four-door Rapide in the next two years. The emphasis on electric cars for Aston Martin is being driven by two key factors; emissions and competition from the Tesla Model S. “If you want to keep making V-12 engines, then you’ve got to do something at the opposite end of the spectrum,” said Palmer. This is important in markets in China where emission standards are becoming stricter for V8 and V12 engines. Also, Aston Martin is going on the offensive. Palmer points to the Tesla Model S and says there is an opportunity for a sexy and powerful electric car to sit above the P90 D, Tesla's most powerful model. “What Tesla clearly shows you is we haven’t hit the ceiling in terms of price. But I think it’s hard, though not impossible, for them as a relatively new brand to keep pushing up and to go into that super premier area,” said Palmer. Palmer did give some details of what he hopes for the electric Rapide: 800 horsepower, all-wheel drive, a range of 200 Miles, and a pricetag around $200,000 to $250,000. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  7. Within the next year and a half, a new BMW 3-Series will be revealed. There will be gas, diesel, hybrid, and the possibility of an all-electric version. Auto Express reports the German automaker is working on a 3-Series electric that will take on the upcoming Tesla Model 3. The next 3-Series will use BMW's CLAR (Cluster Architecture) which not only brings forth carbon fiber for certain parts of the vehicle, but it was designed with electric vehicles in mind. Auto Express says the model will use a 90 kWh battery capable of delivering a range of 300 miles. Expect to see the 3-Series EV sometime in 2020. Source: Auto Express
  8. Bentley is considering whether or not they should offer an electric powertrain for their flagship sedan, the Mulsanne. Hans Holzgartner, product and marketing manager for the Mulsanne told Autocar part of the reason for this comes down to Chinese lawmakers possibly passing legislation banning all vehicles except EVs in certain cities. “At the moment, the indication is that full electric will be the only way that you’ll get into some of the cities in China. I wouldn’t say we’re discounting [hybrid engines] completely, but it looks like if you don’t have a full electric drive, even some of the hybrid drives just won’t get into some cities in China,” said Holzgartner. Similar legislation is being considered in other European countries, causing Bentley to put the idea of electric powertrains as a possible high priority item. But why the Mulsanne? Why not one of their small and 'lighter' models? Holzgartner explained that adding an electric powertrain into the Mulsanne would improve some of the key traits such providing a quiet ride. “With a Mulsanne-sized car, it’s all about torque anyway,” he added. “The delivery characteristics of electric drive — loads of bottom-end torque, almost silent delivery, very smooth — they all fit," said Holzhartner. “Our challenge is to make something that’s as interesting to drive as a current Bentley, because while a Mulsanne will be driven in almost silent mode even with a petrol engine, if you’ve got a Mulsanne Speed you’ll want to let rip every so often. That’s going to be the challenge: creating something that can be fun as well.” Source: Autocar
  9. Honda is getting serious with its green cred as they have announced an updated Accord Hybrid for 2017 and two more models joining the Clarity Fuel Cell in the U.S. We'll begin with the 2017 Accord Hybrid. The model took a break for the 2016 model year as Honda updated the Accord lineup with a revised look and new tech. But the Hybrid as a 2017 model with all of the changes seen on the 2016 model - updated exterior and the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The big news is with the Accord Hybrid's powertrain. The 2017 model uses the next-generation of Honda's two-motor hybrid system with a revised 2.0L i-VTEC Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine, a more compact electric motor, and improved electronics. The changes increase horsepower from 196 to 212. Fuel economy figures for the 2017 Accord Hybrid stand at 49 City/47 Highway/48 Combined. These numbers are slightly different from the 2015 model which boasted 50 City/45 Highway47 Combined. This is due to Honda having to certify the fuel economy numbers under new, stricter EPA drive-cycle test requirements for 2017. Standard equipment includes a backup camera, remote start, and Honda Sensing (suite of safety tech such as collision avoidance braking, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, etc). Higher trims get a new 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; heated rear seats, and front and rear parking sensors. Pricing hasn't been announced, but Honda says the 2017 Accord Hybrid will be arriving at dealers towards the end of spring. Honda Clarity To Get Two New Members Honda hasn't even started selling the Clarity Fuel Cell in the U.S. (specifically California), but they have announced two new variations of it. For 2017, Honda will offer a fully electric and a plug-in hybrid version. Details are scarce on both models, but Honda says the Clarity EV will be sold in California first before moving to other markets. The Clarity plug-in hybrid will be sold in all 50 states and offer 40 miles of electric-only range. Source: Honda Press Releases are on Page 2 The Best Gets Better: More Powerful, Fuel Efficient and Technologically Advanced 2017 Accord Hybrid Launching this Spring Apr 21, 2016 - TORRANCE, Calif. Next-generation two-motor hybrid powertrain expected to receive class-leading EPA fuel economy ratings; including 49 mpg city Most powerful and refined midsize hybrid sedan with 212 total combined horsepower Honda Sensing™ safety and driver-assistive technologies standard Doubled production capacity for expected sales increase Honda will bolster its Accord lineup with the launch of the 2017 Accord Hybrid this spring, featuring a more powerful and efficient second-generation two-motor hybrid powertrain that has the highest EPA fuel economy ratings of any midsize hybrid sedan and delivers the most power. With improved production methods and supplies of hybrid components, Honda is anticipating significant growth in sales of Accord Hybrid and is targeting annual sales to be more than double its previous best of just under 14,000 vehicles in 2014. "The new Honda Accord Hybrid is the ultimate Accord – the most refined, technologically sophisticated and, of course, most fuel efficient in the lineup," said John Mendel, Executive Vice President of the American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "With Accord already America's most popular car three years running and the best-selling midsize car to younger buyers, we think this new hybrid model will add considerable momentum for the Honda brand." In addition to its more powerful and fuel efficient hybrid powertrain, the 2017 Accord Hybrid carries the substantial upgrades made to the entire Accord lineup for model year 2016. This includes the latest technology Honda has to offer, including the available Display Audio with Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™, and the Honda Sensing™ suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies, to be offered as standard equipment on all new 2017 Accord Hybrids. Hybrid-exclusive design features include a special aluminum hood and wheels, blue highlighted LED headlights and taillights and "Hybrid" exterior badging. A more compact hybrid battery pack increases trunk capacity to a midsize hybrid class-leading 13.5 cu.-ft. Combining the next generation of Honda's two-motor hybrid system with an ultra-efficient 2.0-liter i-VTEC Atkinson Cycle engine, the 2017 Accord Hybrid powertrain will achieve peak combined output of 212 horsepower, the highest of any midsize hybrid sedan and up 16 horsepower over the 2015 Accord Hybrid. EPA fuel economy ratings of 49/47/48 (city/highway/combined)1 put the Accord Hybrid at the top of the class for ratings, making it the most powerful and fuel efficient midsize hybrid sedan in America. These EPA fuel economy ratings are based on new, more stringent ratings requirements enacted by the U.S. EPA for the 2017 model year. Based on the new requirements, Honda estimates the 2015 Accord Hybrid ratings would be 48/45/47 (actually rated at 50/45/47 under the previous method), indicating a +1/+2/+1 increase for the 2017 model over the previous version. The Accord Hybrid's two-motor hybrid powertrain takes an elegant and innovative approach to hybrid power, eliminating the need for a conventional mechanical transmission. The Accord Hybrid's powertrain seamlessly transitions between three operations: EV Drive – using its electric propulsion motor and lithium ion battery pack drives the front wheels for short distances under light loads (with the engine turned off) Hybrid Drive – the electric propulsion motor drives the front wheels while the gasoline engine powers a second motor/generator to supplement electrical current drawn from the battery pack Engine Drive – using a lock-up clutch mechanism to connect the engine and propulsion motor, the front wheels are driven by both the motor and gasoline engine. With its next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure and Honda Sensing™ technology, the 2017 Accord is anticipated to receive the highest available crash safety rating from the U.S. government – a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score from the NHTSA – and a similar top rating of TOP SAFETY PICK+ from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The 2017 Accord Hybrid will be available in three trims – Hybrid, Hybrid EX-L and Hybrid Touring – and all grades will feature increased levels of standard and available equipment. New standard features include a wide angle rearview camera, remote engine start and Honda Sensing™, which includes Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS™), Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Forward Collision Warning (FCW). Available new features on upper trims include a 7-inch Display Audio touchscreen with Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlayâ compatibility, heated rear seats, and front and rear parking sensors. The Accord has been named a Car and Driver magazine "10Best" an unprecedented 30 times and has been the most popular car in America with retail car buyers for three consecutive years.2 The Accord is on track to earn a fourth straight year as America's most popular car with sales up 12.3 percent through the first three months of 2016. Accord also is the most popular midsize car with Millennials and has been #1 with under-35-year-olds for four consecutive years and leads all other cars in America, except Honda's own Civic, in sales to under under-35 car buyers since 2010.3 The 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid will make its first public appearance at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Calif., as part of the aquarium's Earth Day weekend celebrations on April 23-24. Honda Takes Bold Step with Honda Clarity Series; Fuel Cell, Battery Electric and Plug-In Hybrid Variants to Leverage Common Platform Apr 21, 2016 - DETROIT Clarity Fuel Cell gets two electrified siblings – the Clarity Electric and the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid – both launching in 2017 New trio of Clarity vehicles provide unparalleled choices to customers through three different electric powertrain options All Clarity vehicles will offer spacious, five-passenger seating, premium features and interior appointments; consumers can learn more at http://www.automobiles.honda.com/Clarity DETROIT – Honda today announced that the upcoming Clarity Fuel Cell will be joined by two additional variants, the Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, launching in the U.S. in 2017. The addition of two new Clarity vehicles, based on the same platform underpinning the new Clarity Fuel Cell, makes Clarity the first vehicle in the industry to offer fuel cell, electric and plug-in hybrid technology on one model platform, offering Honda customers an expanded array of electrified vehicle choices to suit their individual tastes and driving needs. Following the U.S. launch of the Clarity Fuel Cell in late 2016, the Clarity Electric will go on-sale in 2017. The Clarity Electric will be the first affordable, midsize, five-passenger battery electric vehicle (BEV) to offer premium content and features. The third vehicle in the Clarity series, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, will launch in all 50 states later in 2017 and will be the volume leader in the series, seamlessly combining an all-electric driving range in excess of 40 miles with a hyper-efficient gasoline-hybrid extended range mode. With elegant exterior styling, the Clarity series of vehicles will also offer spacious interiors outfitted with premium, environmentally-responsible materials and thoughtful, stylish design cues. The Clarity series will also feature advanced technologies, including Display Audio with Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™ as well as standard Honda Sensing™ safety and driver-assistive technology. "The Honda Clarity Series will provide customers with a well-equipped, premium, midsize vehicle with range of ultra low-carbon powertrain options to suit their lifestyle needs," said John Mendel, executive vice president, Automobile Division, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "This Honda trio of dedicated, advanced technology vehicles, along with the expanded application of two- and three-motor hybrid systems to our core models, represents a strong commitment to Honda's future and will help create a new volume pillar for electrified vehicle sales." All of the Clarity models will leverage the platform that has enabled the Clarity Fuel Cell's low, wide and aerodynamic proportions and spacious five-passenger cabin. This shared platform strategy also enables flexibility in responding to infrastructure and market developments, and the ability to provide customers nationwide with an ultra-low carbon vehicle that meets their lifestyle needs while expanding the market for Honda advanced technology products. The first of the Clarity Series to launch will be the Clarity Fuel Cell, Honda's most technologically advanced vehicle ever, slated to begin deliveries to customers in select California markets in late 2016. The Clarity Fuel Cell will have a targeted monthly lease price of under $500. Technological innovations to the Clarity Fuel Cell include a fuel cell stack that is 33 percent more compact than its predecessor with a 60 percent increase in power density compared to the outgoing Honda FCX Clarity. The more compact fuel cell and integrated powertrain, comparable in size to a V-6 engine, now fit entirely under the hood of the car, allowing for a more spacious cabin with seating for five adult passengers. The new Clarity Fuel Cell will feature an anticipated U.S. EPA driving range in excess of 300 miles, with a refueling time of approximately three to five minutes, roughly equivalent to customers' experience with gasoline refueling. In addition to the Clarity series, a reengineered 2017 Accord Hybrid will go on-sale this spring, delivering both top-of-class power and fuel efficiency in a midsize hybrid sedan, as Honda seeks to grow sales of electrified vehicles – hybrids, plug-in hybrids, battery electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles. On a global basis, Honda is aiming to have electrified vehicles account for two-thirds of its vehicles sales around 2030. Customers interested in the Clarity vehicles are encouraged to visit http://www.automobiles.honda.com/Clarity where they can receive more information and sign up for the opportunity to become a Clarity Fuel Cell customer.
  10. Last month, Hyundai introduced the world to the new Ioniq. What makes this vehicle unique is how it can accommodate a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric powertrain without making any drastic changes to the vehicle. This is due a new platform built for hybrid and electric vehicles. Hyundai only provided details on the hybrid model at the time. But today, the Korean automaker revealed details on the plug-in and EV models before their debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month. The Ioniq Plug-In comes with the same 1.6L four-cylinder (104 horsepower and 108 pound-feet of torque), but features a 60 horsepower electric motor and larger 9.3 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery. Hyundai hasn't divulged total output of the system, but does say it will have a range of 31 Miles on electric power. The Ioniq EV features an electric motor producing 118 horsepower, and a 28 kWh battery. Top speed is said to be 103 mph and overall range is estimated to be 155 Miles. We'll have even more details, including a possible release date when Hyundai brings the Ioniq to the New York Auto Show later in March. Source: Hyundai Press Release is on Page 2 All-New Hyundai IONIQ line-up electrifies Geneva Motor Show World’s first vehicle platform with three electrified powertrains offers low- to zero-emission mobility accessible to everyone Innovative IONIQ delivers uncompromised driving experience and design Unveiling of the IONIQ line-up at the Geneva Motor Show is available live stream: media, enthusiasts and fans worldwide can be part of the experience February 24, 2016 - At the Geneva Motor Show 2016, Hyundai Motor is introducing the All-New Hyundai IONIQ line-up consisting of: IONIQ Hybrid, IONIQ Electric and IONIQ Plug-in. As the world’s first model offering three electrified powertrains, IONIQ will make low-to zero-emission mobility accessible to everyone. This new approach delivers an uncompromised design and driving experience through innovative technology, latest connectivity and safety technologies. The All-New Hyundai IONIQ is an important milestone of Hyundai Motor’s sustainability strategy, bringing to life the brand’s new thinking through new innovative technologies and extending the company’s product range to support further organic sales growth in Europe and other markets. “IONIQ is an important step forward for our brand in Europe. We are bringing a unique new approach to e-mobility, without compromising on design, driving pleasure and new connectivity features. And we’re making it accessible to more customers by further extending our product line-up,” said Jochen Sengpiehl, Vice President Marketing at Hyundai Motor Europe. The IONIQ Hybrid and IONIQ Plug-in both feature the new Kappa 1.6 GDI, direct injection petrol, four-cylinder engine with a class-leading thermal efficiency of 40 percent, delivering 105 PS and 147 Nm of torque. The engine has been tailored to the hybrid application and is combined with the directly responding, smooth shifting six-speed double clutch transmission – differentiating the IONIQ from its competitors with a more dynamic driving experience. The mated electric motor enables pure electric driving and delivers instant torque as the chassis with rear multi-link suspension greatly enhancing driving dynamics. The IONIQ Hybrid’s electric motor delivers 32 kW (43.5 PS) with maximum torque of 170 Nm, powered by a lithium-ion-polymer battery with 1.56 kWh capacity positioned under the rear seats. In combination with the 1.6-GDI engine, IONIQ Hybrid offers a system output of 103.6 kW (141 PS) and up to 265 Nm of torque accelerating to a top speed of 185 km/h with targeted CO2 emissions as low as 79 g/km (combined). Drivers choosing the IONIQ Plug-in can safely rely on over 50 kilometres of estimated pure electric driving range powered by the potent 8.9 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery. The 45kW (61 PS) electric motor together with the 1.6 GDI four-cylinder Kappa engine targets CO2 emissions as low as 32 g/km. The IONIQ Electric offers pure e-mobility through a 28 kWh lithium-ion-polymer battery for an estimated range of over 250 km. The instantly available maximum torque of 295 Nm is delivered by the electric motor with maximum output of 88 kW (120 PS) through the single-speed reducer transmission accelerating the car up to 165 km/h. The IONIQ line-up provides an enhanced customer experience inside through state-of-the art connectivity features like Android Auto, Apple Car Play as well as Tom Tom live services and wireless charging of your smartphone. Furthermore, the driving experience becomes digital through the 7-inch TFT instrument cluster displaying all key driver information. A holistic and innovative safety package including Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist System, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Smart Cruise Control ensures high safety levels for drivers and passengers alike. All versions feature the sleek aerodynamic silhouette with a class-leading Cd value of 0.24 that complements the soft lines and surfaces tracing the All-New IONIQ’s outline. A fluid exterior shape and natural air flow channels emphasize the aerodynamic body lines and volumes. Blue accents in the IONIQ Hybrid and IONIQ Plug-in emphasize specific elements on the exterior and completing a seamless design in the interior. The IONIQ Electric features exclusive copper coloured accents, creating an impression that electricity flows through the car’s interior inspired by the trait of copper being a conductor for electricity. “With our pioneering ix35 Fuel Cell electric vehicle and several hybrid and plug-in hybrid models sold around the world, Hyundai Motor already has a proven capability in electrified powertrains. Now, with the launch of our first dedicated model, we are taking the lead as the only car manufacturer with hybrid, electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell vehicles in production,” said Thomas A. Schmid, Chief Operating Officer at Hyundai Motor Europe. The All-New Hyundai IONIQ Line-up will celebrate its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show on March 1 during the Hyundai Press Conference at 10:30 CET on the Hyundai stand (No. 1040).
  11. Mercedes-Benz is in the process of bringing out the new S-Class Coupe and working on a S-Class Plug-In Hybrid. But is there room for a pure electric S-Class? According to Dr Uwe Ernstberger, the head of Mercedes-Benz's large cars, it could happen. Ernstberger told Top Gear that a fully electric S-Class isn't a good fit for the time being, "a complete electric car will be done in the future." The big hurdle for this? The batteries. "We have to work on the capacities of the batteries to get a better package in the car. Because you do not want to lose all the comfort features of an S-Class for transporting a battery only," Ernstberger said. For now, those who want a bit of green in the S-Class will have to wait for the plug-in model, due out next year. Source: Top Gear William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  12. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com November 2, 2013 TheDetroitBureau.com had the chance to talk with the Vice President of Global Cadillac, Bob Ferguson. During their conversation, Ferguson said there is the possibility of offering a larger and more luxurious electric vehicle. “We’re bullish on this technology," said Ferguson. He went onto say "This will lead to a progression of (battery-based) cars for Cadillac." General Motors is hoping that Cadillac's first electric vehicle, the ELR, becomes a success, especially in the Northeast and West Coast. This would make the case for this new model a bit easier. The report says this new model would likely use the powertrain from the next-generation Volt. Ferguson also talked about the Elmiraj concept. He said the vehicle is garnering more and more support at GM, but the management isn't quite sold yet. Cadillac is trying to work up a business case that will be presented to them. Source: TheDetroitBureau.com William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  13. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com August 7, 2013 Bob Lee, head of Fiat and Chrysler global Powertrain said that the company will not be investing in electrified powertrains till consumers are willing to pay for it. He said this at the 2013 CAR Management Briefing’s Advanced Powertrain Forum this week. Lee explained that consumers aren't willing to pony up the money to cost of battery packs, electric motors and chargers that hybrids and electric vehicles are saddle with. He said that it might take up to ten years before consumers are willing to pay for the tech. "Many customers want to reduce C02, but they aren't willing to change their lifestyle or pay the cost -- yet," said Lee. In the meantime, Chrysler will focus on developing more diesel and turbocharged engines to help improve fuel economy. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  14. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com July 29, 2013 For the past few years on the automotive auto show circuit, BMW has been showing off two concept vehicles that previews a new sub-brand; the i3 electric vehicle and i8 plug-in hybrid. Today in New York City, BMW pulled the covers off the first production vehicle of their new i sub-brand, the i3. The BMW i3 is definitely a different type of vehicle from the Munich automaker. Built on what BMW calls the LifeDrive architecture, the i3 comes in two parts. First is the Life Module which is the i3's body. The Life Module is made out of carbon fiber reinforced plastic which contributes to the i3's curb weight of around 2,700 pounds. The second part of the LifeDrive architecture is the Drive Module. Using an aluminum chassis as a base, the Drive Module includes a 22-kilowatt, 450-pound lithium ion battery mounted in the middle of the vehicle and a rear-mounted electric motor that provides 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The run to 60 MPH takes about seven seconds and reaches a top speed of 93 MPH. BMW says the i3's range is somewhere between 80 to 100 miles. Recharging takes about 3 hours when using the standard charger and 30 minutes when using SAE DC Combo Fast Charger. Those who have a case of range anxiety will be happy to hear that BMW will offer a 650cc two-cylinder engine as a range extender. The i3 will start at $42,275 (includes a $925 destination charge) before incentives. The i3 arrives at dealers next spring. Source: BMW William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 Worldwide debut of the all-new BMW i3. The Ultimate Driving Machine in a new era of Individual Urban Mobility Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – EMBARGO: July 29, 2013 08:30 Eastern Time. . . BMW today introduced the all-new BMW i3 electric car, constructed in a revolutionary way from next-generation materials. The BMW i3 will go on sale in the US market in the second quarter of 2014, and starts with a base MSRP of $41,350, before any federal or state incentives, and before Destination & Handling fee (currently $925). Contents: 1. Highlights & Quick-References: The All-New BMW i3. 2. The Ultimate Driving Machine: Driving Dynamics Worthy of BMW. 3. The Future of Urban Mobility 4. Design. Aesthetic Appeal with Elegant, Renewable Interior. 5. Explore the Worlds (Vehicle Trim Levels). 6. BMW ConnectedDrive. Mobility services and new driver assistance. 7. 360 Electric. Support and Convenience for Electric Mobility. 8. Safety: Always a true BMW. 1. Highlights: The All-New BMW i3: The new all-electric BMW i3 is a landmark in BMW’s mission to provide a completely sustainable, electric vehicle that still stays true to the Ultimate Driving Machine moniker. The BMW i3 is the first product of the new BMW i sub-brand, and is a truly purpose built electric car. It’s a new era for electro mobility at BMW. The vehicle concept behind the BMW i3 was designed from the outset to incorporate an all-electric drive system. This has numerous advantages over “conversion” vehicles, in which the original combustion engine is swapped for an electric motor. The engineers can design whatever works best, in terms of construction, dimensions and configuration of the electric drive system’s components. The car’s development is dictated by the characteristics designed into the car by the development team and not by the constraints imposed by a pre-existing vehicle design. For example, the space in a conversion vehicle set aside for the fuel tank or exhaust system cannot be used. In the BMW i3 there is no need for this kind of compromise. This leads to the LifeDrive architecture concept, which was purpose-built specifically for the BMW i3. It is comprised of two modules; the Life Module, and the Drive Module. Think of the Life Module as the passenger cabin, or greenhouse. It is the first-ever mass produced Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) passenger cell in the automotive business, and is a big factor in the cars efficiency. Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic is equally as strong as steel, while being 50% lighter, and 30% lighter than aluminum. The result is an electric car that weighs about 2,700 lbs (preliminary US figures). Due to the lightweight, high tensile strength of CFRP, the passenger cell has added protection, and the battery has less work to do, which allows for the use of a smaller, lighter battery that saves even more weight, reduces charging time and increases range. The light weight design of the Life Module also lowers the BMW i3’s center of gravity, making it a more engaging and dynamic car to drive. The Drive Module, which is constructed out of 100% aluminum, consists of the 22-kWh, 450 lb. lithium-ion battery, electric drive train, MacPherson strut and 5-link rear suspension system and structural and crash components. The battery mounted in the rear, close to the drive wheels, gives impressive performance characteristics while also providing better traction. Another benefit of the LifeDrive architecture concept is that there is no space-consuming transmission tunnel running through the center of the car, like in most internal combustion powered cars, because of the separate Drive Module. This gives the BMW i3 the interior space of the BMW 3 Series, while only having the footprint of the much smaller BMW 1 Series. Even the vehicle’s key is sustainably manufactured. The source material of the new bio-polymer key is based on castor oil pressed from castor seeds. The owner’s manual is also made from renewable resources. The interior is made using high quality renewable sources and recycled materials. The BMW i3 has the Next Premium interior, which blends sustainable resources with a premium feel for the same interior quality as the BMW 5 Series Sedan. 25% of the plastics in the interior and 25% of the thermoplastic parts on the exterior are made from either recycled materials or renewable sources. According to studies carried out as part of BMW’s Project i, involving more than 1,000 participants and conducted over some 12.5 million miles, it was revealed that the average daily distance covered was around 30 miles. The BMW i3 will be able to travel 80 to 100 miles on a single charge. This can be increased by up to approximately 12% in ECO PRO mode and by the same amount again in ECO PRO+ mode. It is able to recharge in only 3 hours with the use of a 220V Level 2, 32-amp J1772 charger. The SAE DC Combo Fast Charging, which charges the BMW i3 up to 80% in 20 minutes, and 100% in 30, can be had as an option. In order to reduce range anxiety, a rear-mounted 650cc, 34 hp, two-cylinder, gasoline-powered Range Extender generator is available, which roughly doubles the vehicle’s range. When the battery gets to a certain level, the Range Extender starts and maintains the battery’s current state of charge. The Range Extender never directly drives the vehicle’s wheels. The Range Extender adds roughly 330 lbs. to the vehicle curb weight and has a fuel capacity of 2.4 gallons. Since 1999 according to the DOE, average gasoline prices in America have increased from approximately $1.136 to $3.618, or about a 218%. In the same time, the pricing of electricity has increased from 6.6 cents to 9.9 cents, a change of only 50%, making electricity a far more attractive commodity from a pricing standpoint. BMW i3 Quick-Reference Highlights. Pricing (before federal or local incentives) starts at $41,350; $45,200 for Range Extender model. Destination & Handling Fee not included. On Sale: Q2 of 2014 in the USA. BMW’s 360 Electric electro mobility services. BMW i Remote app, which connects with the car. BMW Navigation is standard. BMW Intelligent Emergency Call (‘eCall”), Anti theft alarm and Rear Parking Distance Control are standard. Driving. 170-hp, 184 lb-ft hybrid-synchronous electric motor with max. revs of 11,400 rpm. 80-100 mile real-world EV range. 22-kWh lithium-ion battery, which weighs 450 lbs. 650cc gasoline powered Range Extender optional; holds charge, doesn’t power wheels. 0-30mph in 3.5 seconds, 0-60mph in approximately 7.0 seconds (preliminary). Top speed of 93 mph, electronically limited to preserve efficiency. BMW’s signature, near-perfect 50-50 weight distribution. Ultra-tight turning radius (32.3 ft), which is ideal for city driving. Macpherson strut front and 5-link rear suspension set up. Single Pedal Driving Concept with Brake Energy Regeneration, which feeds power back into battery. 3 drive modes: Comfort, ECO PRO and ECO PRO+. 3 hour 220 V @32 amps charging time. Optional SAE DC Combo Fast Charging allows for 80% charge in 20mins; 100% in 30 mins. Chassis and Body. Purpose built construction. World’s first mass-produced CFRP-constructed electric vehicle. Built on innovative LifeDrive architecture composed of two parts: Life Module and Drive Module. Life Module is essentially the cabin, constructed from Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP). Drive Module is where all of the powertrain components are housed. Drive Module is made from 100% aluminum. Magnesium cross-member for instrument panel saves 20% weight vs. steel. BMW 1 Series external footprint with BMW 3 Series interior space. Adaptive Full LED headlights and LED taillights (standard in US market). Weighs in at roughly 2,700 lbs. No space-consuming transmission tunnel dividing car’s interior. Pillar-less design with rear coach doors allow for easy entry and exit to rear seats. Driver-oriented super-ergonomic controls. Three vehicle Worlds (trim levels): Mega (standard in US), Giga, and Tera. Standard 19-inch light alloy wheels with unique 155/70 all-season tires. 20-inch light alloy wheels optional. No transmission tunnel and low console allows for Slide-through Experience, which benefits urban driving by the ability to exit from the passenger side. Sustainability. Made with sustainable, renewable materials. Instrument panel surround and door trim use fibers from Kenaf plant. Carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) roof panel is made partially with recycled CFRP from manufacturing process of other components 25% of plastic used in interior comprised of recycled materials. Dashboard wood trim crafted from responsibly-forested eucalyptus. CFRP components are sustainably produced in Moses Lake, WA, USA, where the factory uses hydroelectric power. The Leipzig, Germany assembly plant uses wind-generated electricity. Olive-leaf extract is used to tan interior leather surfaces. 2. The Ultimate Drive Machine®. BMW makes the Ultimate Driving Machine, and that holds true for the BMW i3. The hybrid synchronous electric motor, which weighs only 110 lbs., is developed and produced specially by the BMW Group for use in the BMW i3, with maximum revs of 11,400 rpm, generates an output of 170 hp and outputs maximum torque of 184 lb-ft on tap from the moment the car pulls away. That’s propels the 2,700 lb car from 0-30mph in 3.5 seconds, 0-60mph in approximately 7.2 seconds, and to an electronically limited top speed of 93 mph (preliminary USA figures). Much like engine braking with a manual transmission, but even more effective, the accelerator pedal also acts as a brake when the driver lifts off the accelerator. The BMW i3 features Brake Energy Regeneration, which, when the driver lifts off, the motor acts as a generator and converts the kinetic energy into electricity, which is fed back into the battery for a range gain. This Regeneration is speed-sensitive, which means that the car “coasts” for added efficiency at high speeds, and generates the strong braking effect at lower speeds. The BMW i3’s accelerator pedal has a distinct “neutral” position. Rather than switching straight to energy Regeneration when the driver eases off the accelerator, the electric motor uses zero torque control to separate from the drivetrain and deploy only the available kinetic energy for propulsion. In this mode, the BMW i3 cruises using virtually no energy at all. This is another way anticipatory driving can preserve energy and increase the car’s range. The impressive electric motor, small turning circle of 32.3 feet, – a major benefit to driving in the city – BMW’s near-perfect 50-50 weight distribution, precise electric power steering and the stable suspension set-up help to make the i3 as satisfying to drive as every other BMW. The BMW i3’s tires are a unique 155/70/19 size on 19-inch light-alloy wheels, but the contact patch is the same of that of a more conventional 16-inch tire. To improve efficiency, they have low rolling resistance, and the narrow section width is a key factor in the BMW i3’s super-tight turning radius. The BMW i3 uses the BMW eDrive rear-wheel drive powertrain previously found on the BMW ActiveE. eDrive offers driving dynamics worthy of the Ultimate Driving Machine name and offers zero tailpipe emission driving. Beyond the traditional immediacy of response offered by electric motors when pulling away, power development in the BMW i3 also remains unbroken through higher speeds. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a single-speed transmission, allowing the BMW i3 to accelerate with an uninterrupted flow of power up to its top speed. 3. City Friendly: The Future of Urban Mobility. The BMW i3 marks the introduction of a new type of megacity vehicle. Its small size allows it to easily maneuver and park on city streets, while the car’s short front and rear overhangs make parking in tight spaces much easier. Its sharp turning radius and nimble handling are the perfect match for city driving. In the front, the Slide Through Experience allows the driver to slide through the car and exit on the passenger side, to avoid exiting into a busy city street. This is made possible because of the absence of the transmission tunnel. The coach doors make getting into and out of the car much more practical by eliminating the B pillar and creating one large opening to enter and exit. Not having to fill up on gas is a big advantage while living in the city due to the lack of gas stations. Since electricity is so readily available, recharging is possible almost anywhere, and practically gives the BMW i3 unlimited range due to being able to charge at any and every stop. Emission-free driving is also a plus in the city. Cities are so congested with cars idling at red lights or stop and go traffic, so having a car that runs on electricity that doesn’t pollute is another way that the BMW i3 benefits the environment, and its owner. On a similar note, the navigation system can take traffic conditions into consideration and help route around any areas of large congestion, which is a huge benefit when living in a city with a lot of traffic. It can help maximize efficiency and cut down commute times in order to save you time. The same navigation system also remembers the owners driving style and can judge by that and the amount of charge left if a route is too long or if a recharge is necessary for the return journey. 4. Design: Aesthetic Appeal with Elegant, Renewable Interior. The BMW i3 is stretching the definitive envelope of what a conventional car can be and how it should look. Its striking appearance is unique to the BMW i sub-brand while still remaining unmistakably a BMW. Black Band. The front end has a clear and simple design. BMW’s iconic kidney grilles headlines the front end with the BMW i blue background. Under the kidney grille, silver layers sculpt the front apron. Contrasting black surfaces identify the functional load compartment under the hood and air inlets. Aerodynamic Air Curtains give an aggressive appearance to the BMW i3, while also helping to increase the range by minimizing air resistance and drag. U-shaped, LED headlights, give a fresh take on the BMW light design and give the car character. At the rear end, the large rear window gives great visibility and easy access to the trunk. The roof lines are optimized to give as much interior space as possible. The LED U-shaped taillights are housed in the rear window and appear to be floating there. Stream flow. The rear diffuser is the lowest point on the car and lends to its aerodynamics. Outlined in blue (not available with Solar Orange Metallic exterior color), the diffuser is shaped to show the BMW i3’s powerful stance. Thanks to its LifeDrive architecture, the BMW i3 is a new canvas for BMW interior designers. There is no center tunnel taking up space, which creates an open, roomy cabin. The front and rear bench seats allow for easy movement inside the vehicle and even allow the driver to exit through the passenger door if necessary. All driving controls are ergonomically placed for easy access to the driver. The instrument panel stretches through the whole interior from the air vents next to the steering wheel to just before the passenger door. It encompasses the radio and climate controls as well. The freestanding steering column is a distinctive element in the light interior. All of the driving controls, such as the instrument cluster, start/stop button and gear shift selector can be found there. The interior, which is put together using a technique known as layering, – which is the utilization of space through the structuring of lines and surfaces into layers – features Next Premium. It is made of high quality renewable raw materials, in the name of sustainability. The driver’s seat is located in a semi-command driving position, set-up higher for a better view of the road. Certain parts of the instrument panel and door panels are made using southern Asia’s Kenaf plant natural fibers to save about 10% weight, while the interior leather is tanned using a natural process that uses olive leaf extract to provide protection against fading and wear while giving a unique look. Using a magnesium supporting structure for the instrument panel saves weight in two ways. Superior material attributes over conventional sheet steel results in a weight reduction of 20%. Also, the high composite rigidity of the magnesium supporting structure allows a reduction in components and lowers weight by a further 10%. The wood trim used in the dashboard is crafted from eucalyptus which is grown in Europe and certified as 100% sourced from responsible forestry. As the eucalyptus ages, it darkens and changes color. The location of the crafting was selected carefully to ensure short delivery routes to the production stages. The Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP), which is produced near Moses Lake, Washington, is made primarily with the use of hydroelectric power, harvested nearby. This is done to minimize the effect that BMW i3 production has on the environment. Since more than 10% of the carbon fiber needed to manufacture the BMW i3 is made from recycled materials, it is another way the BMW i3 is completely sustainable. The roof is made of CFRP scraps to help recycle left over material from other parts. 5. Explore the World: Vehicle Trim Levels. Due to the unfamiliarity of electric mobility technology in the United States, buying an EV can be a daunting experience for the average customer. BMW sought to make this process as simple as possible in the new BMW i3. The BMW i3 comes in three different worlds: Mega, Giga and Tera, all of which come equipped with a very high level of standard equipment. The base Mega World comes standard with 19-inch extra-efficient forged aluminum wheels, BMW Navigation, BMW ConnectedDrive with eCall, the BMW i Remote, an alarm, 7.4 kW on board charger and LED headlights, DRLs and tail lights. The interior is donned in bright, lightweight Sensatec and sustainable cloth, which is made from recycled materials. It also features a leather trimmed steering wheel and grained dash trim. The next level, Giga World, has all the features of the Mega World but with the addition of distinct Giga-specific 19-inch wheels and an interior wrapped in leather and wool cloth. A universal garage door opener is included for easy access to the i3’s BMW i Charging Station, which is usually mounted in the garage. It also has Comfort Access, a sunroof, and satellite radio. The leather-trimmed steering wears contrasting stitching to give a classy, sporty look. The top-of-the-line Tera World, adds unique 19-inch wheels, a luxurious full leather, olive leaf-tanned interior, with textile accents and contrasting stitching, and anthracite floors mats. Available for every world is the Technology and Driving assist, and the Parking assist packages. The Technology and Driving Assist package adds a host of convenience and safety technologies to the BMW i3. It includes the wide-screen Navigation Professional with advanced real-time traffic and the new touch pad, Traffic Jam Assist, BMW Assist with Enhanced Bluetooth and USB with BMW Apps, Online Information services, Deceleration Assistant, ACC Stop & Go, Speed Limit info, BMW ConnectedDrive services, Forward Collision Warning, Pedestrian Protection and City Collision Mitigation. The Parking Assist package is ideal for living in the city and includes a rearview camera, Park Assistant, which helps take advantage of tight parallel parking opportunities, and Front Auto Park Distance Control. The BMW i3 full options list for USA will be released Fall 2013. 6. BMW ConnectedDrive. Mobility services and new driver assistance systems. BMW ConnectedDrive is the interface between the customer, their car, 360 Electric, and the Premium Mobility Service. Connected mobility is the embodiment of an individual, sustainable, efficient and convenient form of urban mobility. It is a crucial part of the BMW i and urban lifestyle. An embedded SIM card in the BMW i3 is the key that unlocks the BMW ConnectedDrive services, available to the new electric model. A feature of BMW ConnectedDrive is BMW i Navigation, which can search for a nearby charging station, which should give the driver piece of mind, knowing that there is a station nearby. It can also give a real world range estimate and visualization of the estimate with the SpiderMap, Real Time Traffic Information and plan a route that avoids the traffic as best as possible. The customer has access to personal assistance from a BMW ConnectedDrive agent at any time of the day or night. Concierge Service can help answer almost any of the driver’s questions. They can recommend restaurants, give information on destinations or guide the driver to the nearest charging station, among other things. In the unfortunate situation when an accident occurs, Intelligent Emergency Call (“eCall”) sends information like location, number of front-seat occupants, and even crash severity data to the BMW ConnectedDrive Call Center, which quickly informs the appropriate 911-dispatch center. BMW ConnectedDrive can also connect directly with your iPhone with an original Apple cable that connects to the car and built-in BMW Apps. The optionally available Driving Assistant Plus for the BMW i3 comprises Collision Warning with brake priming function, which is activated at speeds up to about 35 mph (60 km/h) and is able to respond to both moving and stationary vehicles ahead, as well as to pedestrians. It also comes with Active Cruise Control including Stop & Go function. In addition to visual and audible warnings, the system is capable of braking the vehicle by itself, if required, with up to maximum stopping power. The Parking Assistant can also be found on the option list and performs the steering maneuvers at the same time as controlling accelerator, brake and gear selection, enabling fully automated parallel parking. Another handy optional extra is the Traffic Jam Assistant that allows drivers to delegate the tasks of pulling away, braking and steering to keep the vehicle in lane. Meanwhile, the Speed Limit Info system is also offered. 7. 360 Electric: Support and Convenience for Electric Mobility. Electric cars differ drastically from their gas-powered counterparts, and the 360 Electric features further that differential. All of the 360 Electric features help to ensure convenient electro mobility in most situations. If the BMW i3 buyer has a private parking space at their home, BMW i will offer a home charging station, which includes a BMW i charging station for convenient charging. They will even send a representative to install it to any specific need. 360 Electric will also help with public charging by locating the nearest station. As part of 360 Electric, the BMW i Remote app links to your car and can monitor its battery level, charging status and other charging-related functions, such as heating and air conditioning. The app can also give the cars location, lock or unlock the doors, honk the horn, or flash the lights. Before driving away in the BMW i3, it is recommended to precondition that battery to the preferred operating temperature of between 60 - 70 degrees Fahrenheit to optimize range. Battery temperature may be monitored through the iDrive system. The battery liquid cooling system keeps the battery at the ideal operating temperature which increases performance and life expectancy. Battery condition is controlled and operated in harmony by the intelligent energy management system. This, combined with Brake Energy Regeneration system extends the vehicle’s range while enhancing its performance. The Range Assistant is engaged both for route planning and during journeys already under way. Topographical mapping technology helps find the most efficient route to your destination by calculating distance, elevation and other factors, in order to get the best range from your BMW i3. If the destination is beyond the cars range, it can suggest switching to ECO PRO or ECO PRO+ to get more from the battery’s charge. In the unlikely circumstance of a breakdown, the BMW Assist Safety Plan provides contact with a Response Specialist at the touch of a button. BMW Assist also introduces Navigation services specially-developed to enhance electric mobility alongside familiar features including the Concierge Services information facility and the intelligent BMW Assist eCall. Moreover, drivers may use the BMW i Remote app to share information with their car using a smartphone. The pedestrian navigation function guides the driver from parking place to their final destination and back. 8. Safety: Always a true BMW. From an efficiency standpoint, the body of the BMW i3 needs to be not only strong but, above all, light. However, from a safety point of view, it has to be not only light but, above all, strong. This apparent conflict of interests highlights the engineers’ pioneering work in developing the vehicle architecture of the BMW i3. Here, there is no contradiction between lightweight construction and safety. Quite the opposite, in fact: the LifeDrive concept of the BMW i3, with its combination of aluminum and carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP), is on a par with other structures and even performs better in some areas of crash testing despite its lightweight design. The use of CFRP essentially allows the construction of extremely lightweight bodies. Moreover, CFRP possesses an impressive ability to absorb energy and is extremely damage-tolerant. CFRP is the lightest material that can be used in the construction of car bodies without compromising on safety. The LifeDrive concept is based around two horizontally separate independent modules. The Drive module – the aluminum chassis – gives the car its high-strength foundations and integrates the battery and drive system into a single structure. The Life module, meanwhile, consists principally of a high-strength and extremely lightweight passenger compartment made from CFRP. With this innovative concept, the BMW Group takes the combination of lightweight design, vehicle architecture and crash safety to an entirely new dimension. LifeDrive module offers tremendous safety. The crash requirements in automotive manufacture are very strict. Numerous impact criteria stipulated by the stringent guidelines of global consumer protection organizations and legislators have to be taken into account. During the development of the BMW i3 concept, there was close consultation with the international crash test institutes on the innovative car body and safety concept of the BMW i models. The high-strength passenger compartment teams up with the intelligent distribution of forces within the LifeDrive module to provide the cornerstones for optimum occupant protection. Even after the structurally-debilitating offset front crash at 64 km/h (40 mph), the extremely rigid material maintains an intact survival space for passengers. The crash-activated aluminum structures at the front and rear end of the Drive module provide additional safety, so that less body deformation occurs compared with comparable steel bodies. Furthermore, the “cocoon effect” of the CFRP car body ensures that the doors can be opened without any problem and the interior remains largely free of any intrusions. Even rescue scenarios have been worked through and checked. In standard cutting tests, the process of rescuing occupants from a BMW i3 involved in an accident was comparable to that for a conventional vehicle. In some respects, indeed, it was more straightforward since the lighter components can be more easily cut than high-strength steels, for example. Impressive rigidity, combined with its ability to absorb an enormous amount of energy, makes CFRP extremely damage-tolerant. Even at high impact speeds it displays barely any deformation. As in a Formula One cockpit, this exceptionally stiff material provides an extremely strong survival space. Furthermore, the body remains intact in a front or rear-on impact, and the doors still open without a problem after a crash. In its dry, resin-free state CFRP can be worked almost like a textile, and as such allows a high degree of flexibility in how it is shaped. The composite only gains its rigid, final form after the resin injected into the lattice has hardened. This makes it at least as durable as steel, but it is much more lightweight. The high tear resistance along the length of the fibers also allows CFRP components to be given a high-strength design by following their direction of loading. To this end, the fibers are arranged within the component according to their load characteristics. By overlaying the fiber alignment, components can also be strengthened against load in several different directions. In this way, the components can be given a significantly more efficient and effective design than is possible with any other material that is equally durable in all directions – such as metal. This, in turn, allows further reductions in terms of both material use and weight, leading to another new wave of savings potential. The lower accelerated mass in the event of a crash means that energy-absorbing structures can be scaled back, cutting the weight of the vehicle. Superior protection in a side impact. The ability of CFRP to absorb energy is truly extraordinary. Pole impacts and side-on collisions both highlight the impressive safety-enhancing properties of CFRP. Despite the heavy, in some cases concentrated forces, the material barely sustains a dent, and passengers enjoy nearly unbeatable protection. All of which makes CFRP perfectly suited for use in a vehicle’s flanks, where every centimeter of undamaged interior is invaluable. However, there are limits to what CFRP can endure. If the forces applied go beyond the limits of the material’s strength, the composite of fibers breaks up into its individual components in a controlled process. In the Euro NCAP side impact test, in which a pole strikes the side of the vehicle dead-center at 32 km/h (20 mph), the carbon fiber composite also demonstrates its extraordinary energy-absorbing capacity. The Life module absorbs the entire impact with minimal deformation, guaranteeing optimum passenger protection. Even as CFRP dissipates energy, danger to passengers or other road users is substantially mitigated. The best of both worlds: combining aluminum and CFRP. The new Drive module has also been carefully designed and structured with these exacting crash requirements in mind. Crash-active aluminum structures in the front and rear sections of the vehicle provide additional safety. In a front or rear-on collision, these absorb a large proportion of the energy generated. The battery, meanwhile, is mounted in the underbody section of the car to give it the best possible degree of protection. Statistically, this is the area that absorbs the least energy in the event of a crash, and the vehicle shows barely any deformation here as a result. Moreover, positioning the battery in the underbody allows the BMW Group development engineers to give the vehicle an ideal low center of gravity, which makes it extremely agile and unlikely to roll over. The high-voltage battery also benefits from the excellent deformation properties of the CFRP Life module. In the side crash test, the pole does not penetrate as far as the battery. The mix of materials used and the intelligent power distribution in the LifeDrive module ensure that the high-voltage battery is optimally protected even in the side sill area. All in all, the high-strength CFRP passenger cell teams up with the intelligent distribution of forces in the LifeDrive module to lay the foundations for optimum occupant protection. Post-crash notification. In the unfortunate situation when an accident occurs, Intelligent Emergency Call (“eCall”) sends information like location, number of front-seat occupants, and even crash severity data to the BMW ConnectedDrive Call Center, which quickly informs the appropriate 911-dispatch center. Lithium-ion batteries are safe even in the event of a fire. Safety is a key criterion in the development of the BMW i models. A range of systems and measures have been implemented in the vehicle that ensure safety in normal operation and in the event of accidental fires. The high-voltage system is designed to cope with accidents beyond the legal requirements, with the high-voltage battery including features that ensure its safe reaction even in situations such as this. The latest series of tests conducted by the renowned DEKRA E-Mobility Competence Center were extremely extensive – ranging from how a car might catch fire, how the flames might spread and what would be required to extinguish the fire, to the pollution caused by run-off of the water used for fighting the fire. The experts concluded that electric and hybrid cars with lithium-ion drive system batteries are at least as safe as vehicles with conventional drive systems in the event of fire. To ensure maximum safety in such a crash scenario, the high-voltage battery is disconnected from the high-voltage system and the connected components discharged when the passenger restraint systems are triggered. This safely prevents the possibility of a short circuit, which could lead to electric shocks or cause a fire.
  15. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com July 2, 2013 The California-only Fiat 500e has been a resounding success for the brand. So much so that according to Jason Stoicevich, president and CEO of the Fiat brand in North America says they have sold out the production run of the 500e for the remainder of the year. “We’re pretty much sold out for the year,” said Stoicevich. Source: Wards Auto William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  16. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com April 13, 2013 A new member joins the electric car family this week as Fiat has announced the pricing for their new 2013 Fiat 500e. With a $700 destination charge, the 500e begins at $33,200 in California (the only state where you can buy or lease one). However that price could drop to just a hair over $20,000 thanks to potential $7,500 federal tax credit, a $2,500 tax credit from California (only for the first year), and a number of rebates.Those who would like to lease a 500e can do a 36 month term for $199 per month (after putting $999 down payment). The 500e brings forth a range of 87 miles, and EPA fuel economy estimates of 122 City MPGe/108 Highway MPGe/116 Combined MPGe. The 500e also comes with the 500e Pass program for situations when owners need to travel farther than the EV’s range. Owners can head down to their nearest Enterprise and Alamo Rent-A-Car to pick up certain Chrysler products such as a Fiat 500, Dodge Dart, or Chrysler 200. Fiat says this program will offer owners “up to 12 days of alternative transportation each year for the first three years after the date of purchase.” Source: Fiat William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 FIAT Brand North America Helps Make it Easy for Consumers to Purchase or Lease All- new 2013 Fiat 500e The Fiat 500e launches in California with $199 a month lease payment for 36 months and $999 due at signing Fiat 500e Pass to provide 500e owners with alternative transportation 500e hotlines available in FIAT studios and after hours to access 500e experts FIATUSA.com matches consumers with a Fiat 500 model based on their daily commute Two retail distribution centers in California provide ample product choice and availability FIAT studios in California each equipped with four charging stations Standard navigation system shows driver locations of charging stations Standard smartphone app provides locations of charging stations throughout the state Auburn Hills, Mich. , Apr 13, 2013 - FIAT Brand North America is helping to make it easy for California residents to purchase or lease the all-new 2013 Fiat 500e when the electric vehicle (EV) goes on sale in the Golden State this summer. The FIAT brand's 500e retail plan addresses concerns that have typically prevented some consumers from purchasing or leasing EVs in the past, including initial purchase price, driving range, and the unfamiliarity with charging and operating an EV. "With unique Italian style, industry-best highway MPGe rating and class-leading combined driving range, we know we have a great car in our hands," said Tim Kuniskis Head of FIAT Brand North America. "Now our task is to simplify the customer's experience and make sure that people know how easy and affordable it can be to own our electric Cinquecento." If you thought that purchasing or leasing an EV would come with a hefty premium, think again. The 500e will be offered to California residents at launch with a $199 a month/$999 due at signing lease for 36 months, same as the current lease offer on a Fiat 500 Pop powered by a gas engine. The Fiat 500e is priced at $32,500 dollars MSRP. However, eligible California residents may be able to purchase the 500e for as low as $20,500, after federal credits, state incentives and FIAT rebates are included. That's about $200 less than the current starting price of a comparably-equipped Fiat 500 Lounge with a gas engine. Alternative Transportation Program Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) testing has indicated that, when fully charged, the Fiat 500e will travel about 87 miles, which is best-in-class and better than all U.S.-market all-electric vehicles produced by high-volume manufacturers. For those times when a 500e customer needs to drive beyond the vehicle's range or needs the carrying capability of a larger vehicle, the Fiat 500e retail plan provides an alternative transportation plan called the Fiat 500e Pass program. The FIAT brand and Enterprise Holdings, owner and operator of the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo Rent A Car, and National Car Rental brands, partnered on the Fiat 500e Pass program, which provides purchasers and lessees of a new 500e up to 12 days of alternate transportation each year for the first three years after the date of purchase. The Fiat 500e Pass program is offered by FIAT exclusively in the U.S. to 500e customers as a standard feature. Through the program 500e customers will have access to vehicles such as the gas- powered Fiat 500, the coming Fiat 500L, the all-new Dodge Dart or the Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan. In addition, customers will have the flexibility to upgrade to a larger vehicle such as a minivan or a pickup truck subject to terms of the program. "This innovative idea from the FIAT brand and Enterprise Holdings will provide purchasers of a new 500e with the opportunity to enjoy the exciting characteristics of this all-electric vehicle while giving them a flexible alternative in case they want to drive beyond the vehicle's range," said Kuniskis. "By addressing upfront the concerns and anxiety consumers may have about purchasing an electric vehicle, we are helping to make it easy and convenient to purchase or lease a Fiat 500e in the state of California." The program will be valid at any Enterprise, Alamo or National car rental location throughout the U.S. Enterprise has more than 6,200 locations in the U.S. making the use of the Fiat 500e Pass easy and convenient for FIAT's customers. When purchasers of a new 500e enroll in the Fiat 500e Pass program, Enterprise will provide them with an account number. For the first three years after purchase, each unique customer account will be allocated enough credits on the anniversary of their purchase date to cover the cost of 12 days of alternate transportation. The Fiat 500e Passes include unlimited mileage on eligible vehicles. The 500e owner only has to choose an eligible vehicle and the expense of the vehicle and the applicable taxes will be covered subject to the terms and conditions of the program. Customers may choose to upgrade to a larger vehicle by utilizing additional credits or by separately paying for the difference. A Fiat 500 that is right for you Recognizing that a fully-electric vehicle may not be practical for everyone, FIATUSA.com is providing a compatibility matching service to help consumers determine which Fiat 500 model is best for them. The website will analyze a customer's daily commute and driving habits and match them with the Fiat 500 model that is right for them. Each FIAT studio in California is equipped to answer any questions that consumers may have about this first fully-electric FIAT production vehicle. In addition to a well-trained sales and service staff, each studio will have a hotline linked to experts ready to answer consumer questions regarding the 500e, including the claim process for federal, state, and local tax credits, and a list of companies in California that offer incentives to their employees who purchase an electric vehicle. A dedicated 500e customer care number will be available for any questions that consumers and owners may have after FIAT studios have closed for the day. Two well-stocked retail distribution centers in California will provide customers with easy access to color and feature combinations that may not be available at their local studio, reducing wait time and the need for specials orders. Customers could have the exact 500e they want within hours, not weeks. Each FIAT studio in California will have four charging stations. When 500e owners leave their studio with their new 500e, they will have the security of a standard navigation system that provides them with locations of the nearest charging stations along their routes. Once they plot their route, the navigation system also depicts their driving range with a circle around their location. In addition to the in-vehicle navigation system, 500e owners also will get a Fiat 500e Smartphone App (compatible with iPhone and Android) that enables real-time vehicle status, manages charging, tracks the driver's energy use, locates the vehicle and nearby charging stations, plans and sends routes to the vehicle and provides text-message alerts.
  17. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com January 29, 2013 Originally retailing for $39,995, Ford is now listing the Focus Electric for $37,995. But that's not all! If you decide to do a three-year lease on a Focus Electric, Ford will offer up to $10,750 in discounts. An example three-year lease with 10,500 miles per year could cost a customer $285 per month, with $930 due at signing. Why is Ford offering these massive discounts on the Focus Electric? Slow sales. In 2012, Ford built 1,627 Focus Electrics. However, the company has only moved 685. "We certainly are not in a situation where we have to completely discount,, but we do have to respond to competitive pressures. We're not anywhere close to where Nissan has gone with the Leaf," said Ford spokesman Wes Sherwood. Ford is the latest automaker that is using discounts to help spur the sales of electric vehicles. Nissan offered huge incentives last year due to underwhelming sales. Source: The Detroit News William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  18. Scion has been called Toyota's experimental division as it allows Toyota to try new products and ideas (although it hasn't been used for this in a few years). Now with this, you would think Toyota would introduce some new hybrid or electric vehicle. But Green Car Reports reports that it will not likely happen anytime soon. Scion chief Doug Murtha tells Green Car Reports the brand is still maintaining its focus on providing vehicles for those under 35, a group that isn't quite ready to spend the cash for these type of powertrain technologies. “People think that this would have a lot of appeal with our target audience; and it absolutely does, and the environmental benefits are nice,” said Murtha. “But where it jumps the track is when we start talking about how much they might be willing to pay for a hybrid system: pretty much zero.” Source: Green Car Reports
  19. By G. David Felt Be for or against EV autos one cannot help but acknowledge that they are here to stay. California has long been one to push the industry in one direction or another. With change often came some interesting observations such as Tesla who has been funded and helped by government grants and yet for being in a state that pushed auto companies to build EV autos they lack a solid growing infrastructure for the Electric Highway in comparison to other states. Electric Highway Map Washington & Oregon Electric Highway Map California While Tesla has done wonders for pushing their own charging stations, what about support for non-Tesla EVs? This is where a quick study of the Electric Highway Map shows that Oregon and Washington State has surpassed California for making much of the state and the major highway usable for electric road trips. The map shows an easy to understand network of charge points for going on an EV road trip. I-5 is essentially the backbone of the EV highway on the west coast with the map showing the various supported state and federal highways with charging locations and type. California, while focused on San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego loves to show off that they have an electric system, much of it is still in a planned stage leaving really only Tesla with a solution of getting around long distance. The focus of the West Coast Green Highway project which is funded by Federal, state, city and business dollars is to give “Range Confidence” to those that choose to purchase an EV auto. This project is an extension of the Federal’s current and long-running EV Project which was funded in August 2009 and covers 9 states with chargers installed in Major cities and Metropolitan areas. The Chevrolet Volt and Nissan LEAF are partners in this long running project. Owners of these autos could apply and those that qualify could get a free residential charger at no cost. As of March 11 2013, the EV Project had met it currently funded goal for residential charging units and is no longer accepting applications. EV Drivers can still sign up and join in the monitoring project of the public charging units to help better understand the use, need, and type of chargers. Click to Enlarge Map via WestCoastGreenHighway.com The layout of charging stations show that most are 20 to 30 miles apart with some being 50 to 60 miles apart which would require one to carefully and efficiently plan their driving. The one item that this map does not show is topography. The Pacific Northwest is a mountainous area that is also home to strong winds of which both can and do affect range of these autos. Fortunately many will find that the West Coast Green Highway site covers all of North America with alternative Fueling station locators. The Electric Highway is a part of a broader effort by the Department of Transportation for Washington, Oregon, and California to expand the use of Natural Gas, Biodiesel, Ethanol, and Hydrogen options along the 1,350 miles of I-5 from the US border with Canada to the US border with Mexico. In a drive for those that wish to help reduce greenhouse gas, clean up the air we breathe and give mother earth a break, the West Coast Green Highway project is a solid step in the right direction supporting many alternative transportation fueling options.
  20. Tesla isn't going to be the only automaker with an electric-only crossover. Audi announced this week they are planning to do an EV "sports activity vehicle" for early 2018. The announcement was made by Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi’s research and development boss during the brand's annual press conference. Hackenberg didn't go in much detail about the model, but did talk about certain items with Autocar. He revealed the model will use the MLB platform like the new Audi Q7 and feature design cues from the recent Audi Prologue concept car. Source: Audi, Autocar Image Source: Autocar Press Release is on Page 2 Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management at AUDI AG for Technical Development Speech to the Annual Press Conference 2015 Ladies and Gentlemen, 2014 was the year of technical milestones, tests and records. Think of the sportiest piloted car in the world, the Audi RS 7 concept, which lapped the Hockenheimring racetrack extremely dynamically without a driver – at up to 240 km/h. Another mega-success was our 13th victory in the world's most important endurance race. The Audi R18 e-tron quattro with diesel-hybrid drive triumphed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. 2014 – that was also 25 years of TDI technology. As strong evidence of the future viability of combustion engines, we showed the Audi RS 5 TDI concept – the fastest diesel ever timed on the Hockenheimring. For the first time, a high-performance model was powered by a fuel-efficient diesel engine with 283 kilowatts (385 horsepower). In terms of design, we laid down clear indications of a new direction last year. The Audi prologue is a signature car for our new design language. It combines esthetics with technology and is both progressive and highly emotive. Those are some examples of how we are shaping the mobility of the future with superior solutions. 2015 and after are years of technologies, products and customer enthusiasm. We will significantly accelerate our model initiative in 2015. Here are some highlights: The new Audi Q7* that we presented in Detroit in January is a benchmark for large premium SUVs – in terms of drivetrain, efficiency, weight, connectivity and space. Up to 325 kg lighter than its predecessor, CO2 champion in its class with just 149 g/km – that's efficiency in the top segment. At present, there is no other car in the world that offers more connectivity, infotainment and driver assistance. And it is the first automobile based on the second generation of our modular longitudinal platform (MLB 2). This applies to our second world premiere, too: The Audi Q7 e-tron quattro, that we presented in Geneva last week. It is the world's first plug-in hybrid with a diesel engine and quattro drive. It drives up to 56 kilometers purely on electric power and has best-in-class fuel consumption in the test cycle of just 1.7 liters per 100 km and it emits less than 50 grams of CO2 per km. It is therefore a clear demonstration of how we are consistently electrifying the drivetrains in our entire portfolio – and strengthening our overall efficiency. Also in Geneva, we presented three models of our new Audi R8 family – the Audi R8 V10*, the Audi R8 LMS for motorsport and the Audi R8 e-tron. That's "Vorsprung durch Technik" with full emphasis on sporty driving. The Audi R8, our sporty RS models, the sports-car icon Audi TT* and our traditionally excellent performance in motorsport all send the same message: Audi is about automotive sportiness, and quattro plays a substantial role. 35 years of quattro – that means: At present, we have more than 180 model versions with permanent all-wheel drive in all segments, from the Audi A1* small compact car to the Audi A8* large sedan. And more than six million quattro models sold since the first presentation in 1980. Audi is the leading premium all-wheel-drive brand and has the widest range of all-wheel-drive vehicles of all its direct competitors. Audi quattro continues to be our core technology. Our promise for the future: We will offer the unique sporty quattro driving experience also in the era of highly efficient and electric drive systems. Our automobiles will always carry the genuine Audi genes – sportiness, progressiveness and exclusiveness- and a lot of driving pleasure. And so, we enhance our development activities in innovative areas such as 1. Engines, efficiency and sustainability 2. Connectivity and piloted driving3. Design and lighting Since February 2014, Marc Lichte has been the Head of Audi design. With his team, he is working on a new design language that emphasizes our technology even more. We most recently gave a glimpse of this in Geneva: As you know, stylish station wagons have been called "Avant" at Audi for many years. The Audi prologue Avant continues this tradition with its dynamically stretched form. It is muscular and athletic and at the same time flowing and elegant. Already with the new Audi A4 and the Audi Q1, we will lay down new markers for emotive and precise design. The first products in Marc Lichte's design language will then be the new Audi A8, Audi A7 and Audi A6 models. From Marc Lichte now to lighting technology. In addition to its purely functional properties, light is a key feature of automobile esthetics. Our lighting innovations are leading. Exterior lighting is a car's signature. Interior lighting enhances the premium ambience. For the future of automobile lights we can say: They will get more dynamic and interactive, they will become a carrier of information. Information, communication and connectivity are dominant features of our lives already today. Our future is connected mobility. Connectivity in the car ensures that drivers and passengers experience more information, more safety and more comfort. Some examples: The Audi virtual cockpit, our fully digital combination instrument, premiered in 2014 in the new Audi TT. It's now going into the new Audi Q7 and Audi R8. Smartphones are now integrated through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. They are charged inductively – very conveniently and wirelessly in the Audi phone box. Also to be found in the new Audi Q7: the Audi tablet for the passengers' infotainment. It is a proprietary development by Audi and is the first tablet with full automotive compatibility. That means it fulfills all temperature and crash requirements – these are features that you don't find with ordinary tablets. In the Audi prologue, we are presenting a revolutionary operating concept: The entire front of the dashboard is a large touch display. Architecture, display and operating concept form a harmonic whole. At CES 2015, we demonstrated the Audi mobile key. You can lock and unlock the car with your smartphone or smartwatch and you can let it drive into or out of the garage. Near-field communication and the latest encryption technology make sure this convenience function will meet all security standards. Audi is the pioneer of piloted driving. Since 2010, we have set one technical milestone after the other. The latest highlight: In January, we drove in piloted mode with journalists on public roads through two states of the US and generated great interest. Our technology is ready for series production. The new Audi A8, which we plan to launch in 2017, will be the first model to make the transition from assisted to piloted driving. It has a traffic-jam pilot on board and offers piloted parking. The new Audi A8 therefore represents a paradigm shift. The prerequisites for piloted driving are radar, laser and ultrasound sensors as well as cameras in and at the outside of the car. This is how we generate a precise picture of the traffic situation. We therefore create a stable, redundant system that masters all situations in road traffic. With the Audi prologue piloted driving, we are today letting you have a look at artificial intelligence in the future car. The Audi prologue continues to learn with every kilometer it drives and saves its knowledge in a data cloud. In the future, our cars will continually compare their data with that in the cloud. We are already testing piloted driving in Germany, the United States and Asia. In this way, we are learning a lot about the behavior of our cars, our drivers and other road users in real road traffic. Our objective is for Audi drivers and other road users to experience the increase in safety and comfort that connected mobility offers. Connected cars are not only safer, but also more efficient, as they adjust their driving style to the current traffic conditions. In this way, they support our vision of CO2-neutral mobility. We achieve the biggest reduction in CO2 emissions by fully utilizing the potential of our combustion engines. Here are two latest examples of how our engines will become more efficient: Number 1: We will equip TDI engines as standard with an electrically driven compressor (EAV). The Audi RS 5 TDI concept car was the first high-performance car in which we showed this development in 2014. With the electrically driven compressor, we were able to reduce CO2 emissions by up to seven grams of CO2 per kilometer while significantly increasing performance. Example number 2: The predictive efficiency assistant (PEA) is in use in the new Audi Q7 for the first time. It combines data from the navigation system and sensors to let the car drive in an anticipatory manner. In test drives, this reduced fuel consumption by about ten percent. We are working to meet worldwide market-specific CO2 limits also by optimizing the total vehicle, for example with system-integrative lightweight construction as in the new Audi Q7. Plug-in hybrids, natural gas and battery-electric drive systems have a key role to play in achieving CO2 targets. The Audi A3 e-tron* as a plug-in hybrid and the Audi A3 g-tron* powered by natural gas were successfully launched on the market in 2014. Both of them already have successors: the electrified Audi Q7 and the future Audi A4 g-tron based on the second generation of the modular longitudinal platform (MLB 2). We plan to have a plug-in hybrid in every model series in the coming years. In 2014, we announced that we will produce our sportiest ambassador for electric mobility, the Audi R8 e-tron, to customer order in a tailor-made manufacturing process. The time has come. Its range is a good 450 kilometers in the fuel-consumption cycle. With its efficient drivetrain, the Audi R8 e-tron offers competitive and customer-focused long-range electric mobility. We have redesigned the battery's technology from its ground and achieved a new level of performance and energy density. Its fluid-cooled lithium-ion battery has a capacity of more than 90 kWh and is integrated into the Audi Space Frame structure of the car. We manufacture this battery at the Audi center of excellence for battery technology in the Ingolstadt area. This is a great proof for the engineering power of Audi. In addition, the Audi R8 e-tron continues to be our technology carrier for future electric cars. In early 2018, we will launch a battery-powered sports activity vehicle in the large premium segment with a range of more than 500 kilometers. It will have a new, very attractive design, which we are developing especially for the e-tron range and for battery-electric vehicles. This sports activity vehicle will be built on the second generation of the modular longitudinal platform. From the very beginning, this tool for optimal drivetrain diversity implementation has been designed for a broad variety of concepts. As an alternative to battery-electric drivetrains and with regard to the future of the automobile, we presented our concept for fuel-cell technology in November 2014. On board of a fuel-cell powered car, electric energy is generated by a synthesis of hydrogen and oxygen. In our Audi A7 h-tron quattro technology carrier, we demonstrated the viability of this concept. And, this technology is ready for series development. Only four weeks ago, we acquired a number of strategically important patents from Ballard Power Systems, Inc., a global leader in fuel cell technology. This will further strengthen both our broad patent portfolio and our competitive advantage in terms of fuel cell technology development. I would like to close with some personal remarks. When I came back to Audi in July 2013, I committed myself to change. Jointly with the Technical Development team, I focused on pushing "Vorsprung durch Technik" with innovations in a more consistent manner. Also, I put a lot of emphasis on a new impetus for the design of our products. Today, we may say: We are doing the right things AND we are doing them with enthusiasm. We fuse technology and design in a fundamentally new design language. We are leading with pioneering technologies for high-tech combustion engines and alternative drive systems, lightweight construction, lighting, driver assistance, connectivity and data management, as well as for piloted driving. In this way, we are shaping the future of the automobile with convincing products, and we are offering our customers a sporty, connected, comfortable and efficient premium driving experience. We invest extensively in our global development network, strengthening our team with additional experts, and systematically applying the module strategy. Furthermore, development synergies across the brands in the Group offer great benefits. All of that contributes to an overall positive balance sheet of the Technical Development division. "Vorsprung durch Technik" – that applies more than ever. You may expect a lot from us – now and in the future. Thank you for your kind attention.
  21. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com December 20, 2012 The Detroit Free Press reports electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt aren't garnering the same residual values as gas vehicles. The report cites data from Kelly Blue Book which estimates the 2012 Nissan Leaf will hold around 20% of its value after five years while a 2012 Nissan Sentra will hold around 30%. The 2012 Chevrolet Volt is predicted to hold around 30% while a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze will hold 38%. Auto Leasing Guide (ALG), another pricing service estimates the residual values of the Leaf and Volt about a point higher than KBB. Now, the residual value estimates don't take into account the $7,500 federal tax credit on EVs. When you do, the values for EVs and gas vehicles are similar. That's due people purchasing the EV at a lower price. Source: Detroit Free Press William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  22. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com November 19, 2012 Opel has put a halt on plans of doing an electric version of the new Adam, citing sticker shock if it was to go on sale. "It was a business decision. We could not charge the customer the price needed to make it work on the cost side," said Dieter Metz, chief engineer for the Adam. Documents obtained by Automotive News Europe last year showed the company was cancelling it due to "excessively high additional investments.” Automotive News Europe also reports that the Adam EV had reached the prototype stage with an Adam using components from the Chevrolet Spark EV. In other Adam news, Evo magazine is reporting that Opel is considering an OPC version of the Adam to take on the Fiat 500 Abarth and MINI Cooper S. Power would come from a 1.4L turbo four-cylinder mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. A source tells magazine that the horsepower rating could be around 180 HP. There will also be changes to the suspension, braking, and body. If given the green light, the Adam OPC could be shown as a concept at the Geneva Motor Show next March with a production model following sometime in 2014. Source: Automotive News Europe (Subscription Required), Evo Magazine William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  23. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com November 14, 2012 During an event in San Francisco, GM's product chief Mary Barra announced the company their green-car will focus on plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. "A major focus for GM's electrification strategy will center on the plug," said Barra. She went onto say that plug-ins offer "a unique opportunity to change the way people commute.” GM's original strategy for green cars included the development of different powertrains, including hybrids. That plan has proven to be too expensive and not efficient. "We need to make educated bets on which technologies hold the most potential for creating values for our customers and our company," said Barra. GM's mild-hybrid system, branded the eAssist system will be sticking around. GM is hoping by 2017 to sell 500,000 vehicles with some sort of electrification. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  24. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com October 1, 2012 Volkswagen apparently has been talking about what's coming down the pipeline. What Car? talked with Volkswagen board member Professor Ulrich Hackenberg where he revealed some surprises. For starters, Hackenburg revealed that the company would begin selling limited numbers of the XL1, a plug-in diesel hybrid that will get 313 MPG (European cycle). The XL1 has been seen testing over the past year or so, adding fuel to the fire. Hackenburg also revealed that electric variant of the UP would be coming out next year, followed by a Golf plug-in hybrid the year after. As for vehicles that will not be making a appearance, Hackenburg said the Bulli has been shelved due to lack of demand. Also being shown the door is the Bluesport Roadster. "The prognosis of two-seat sports cars isn't good at the moment, so it's unlikely", he said. Source: What Car? William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  25. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com September 24, 2012 2012 was supposed to be the year that Toyota would begin selling the electric version of the iQ minicar called the eQ. When it introduced the vehicle back in 2010 expected, Toyota said it planned to sell several thousand of the vehicles per year. "Two years later, there are many difficulties," said Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota's vice chairman and the engineer who oversees vehicle development. Now, Toyota is planning to only sell about 100 of the eQ vehicles in the United States and Japan in an extremely limited release. "The current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society's needs, whether it may be the distance the cars can run, or the costs, or how it takes a long time to charge," said Uchiyamada. Toyota said they are putting more emphasis on hybrid technology, expecting to introduce 21 hybrid models by 2015. Source: Reuters William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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