April 22nd, 2016 § Comments Off on Sadly: No 200-mile electric car in Ford’s immediate future § permalink
DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. has no immediate plans to chase General Motors, Nissan and Tesla in the electric car range race.
Kevin Layden, Ford’s director of electrification programs and engineering, said the 100-mile range coming this fall in the 2017 Focus Electric — up from the 2016 model’s 76 miles — is enough distance to cover the daily commute of most drivers.
Speaking on the sidelines of the SAE World Congress last week here, Layden said keeping the car’s range at 100 miles will help rein in weight and cost. The lower range enables the use of a smaller, lighter and less expensive battery pack, Layden said.
But during a panel discussion last week on the future of electric cars, several speakers said a range of at least 200 miles is needed to alleviate consumers’ range anxiety about battery-powered cars.
“I think right now with the launch of the Focus Electric at 100 miles, it is going to satisfy a big chunk of the population,” said Layden. “It’s going to be really affordable and a step up from where we are now.”
This fall, GM will launch the Chevrolet Bolt hatchback, a compact electric car that GM says will go at least 200 miles on a single charge, while Tesla is promising its Model 3 compact sedan will be able to drive 215 miles on a charge. And Nissan plans to launch a redesigned Leaf in 2018 with a promised 200-mile range.
In December, Ford committed $4.5 billion to rejuvenate its electrified vehicle lineup.
From : http://www.autonews.com/article/20160418/OEM05/304189970/no-200-mile-electric-car-in-fords-immediate-future
April 21st, 2016 § Comments Off on Renault to double electric car range by 2020 § permalink
Renault is planning to double the distance its electric vehicles can travel per charge by 2020, thanks to more efficient batteries with higher energy densities, according to Eric Feunteun, Renault’s head of EV.
This comes as the brand plans to sell two tiers of electric cars: affordable models with limited range and more expensive versions that can travel further on each charge.
“If you ask somebody on the street, ‘do you want a larger battery and greater range?’, the answer is, of course, ‘yes'”, said Feunteun. “But then, when you move from emotion to facts and they have the choice between 100 miles and 200 miles with a different price, then probably the reaction of people is getting more rational,” he continued. Consequently, Renault expects to have two solutions: to satisfy drivers after the greatest range or the lowest price.
With four electric models already on offer – the Zoe, Twizy and Kangoo EV (plus the non-UK Fluence saloon) – the company is looking to develop these models rather than introduce new ones.
“We have the widest range of [electric] cars, so our focus now is more on improving those cars – the features themselves, the range, charging and costs,” Feunteun claimed. “We have with our four cars strong assets and we’d rather put our energy and technology into improving those four cars than just trying another project.”
Renault, meanwhile, is to recall 999 Zoe EVs in the UK manufactured before 6 October 2014 to correct “the small possibility” of the front wheel arch liner causing damage to the front brake hose.
From : http://www.businesscar.co.uk/news/2016/renault-to-double-electric-car-range-by-2020
April 5th, 2016 § Comments Off on And so it begins: Affordable Tesla announced “Accelerating Sustainable Transport” § permalink
Model 3 combines real world range, performance, safety and spaciousness into a premium sedan that only Tesla can build. Our most affordable car yet, Model 3 achieves 215 miles of range per charge while starting at only 35,000 USD before incentives. Model 3 is designed to attain the highest safety ratings in every category.
You can even make your reservation in the UK with a £1,000 deposit – for a $35,000 USD however.
Comparing figures of US vs UK Model S prices, one could guesstimate that Model 3 Final UK price could be within 35k mark, thereabouts.
My advise? Buy Tesla Shares. They have indeed gone strength to strength, and looking back 3 years ago, i should have taken my own medicine and gone into it when i though it was sensible. i still do. Im in not position to offer financial advise, but merely opinion. And with 20/20 hindsight, its as good as any.
Now, back to the serious fact, as of April 2016, I’m still with a single car in my household and its a Renault Twizy. My next “all electric car” is nowhere to be found. I was thinking BMW i3, but now with the announcement of Model 3… im… at a loss. nothing else could do, surely. I must get this one.
Time will tell, i should really start putting pennies in that bank account, or shares 😉
March 17th, 2016 § Comments Off on Renault twizy door struts replaced. Now scissor doors spring up! § permalink
It’s been a short-long-time coming to get this fixed up. But it’s was a relatively straight forward process, once you know what you’re facing and what’s wrong and where, as well as having aplenty video-evidence examples of this issue.
In my Renault twizy ownership case, it was the doors this time, which caused discomfort. It was initially a “hunch” where, during my recent servicing back in the fall of 2015, I did point out the doors being sluggish opening up, – forcing me often to push them up forcefully when getting out of twizy – or pull them up, again, forcefully when trying to get in.
Fast forward through our London winter, with average low temperatures and we have a significant further degradation in the door opening mechanism – gas struts which push the doors open (and indeed more sluggish in colder weather) – which deteriorated to the point of lifting the door(s) a mere inch, when the door mechanism was released-open.
Last time, Renault service tech merely advised that “it opens, sorta, it works. Let us know only [when] if it gets worse.” That was then. This is now.
YouTube video here.
Good news is. It’s all fixed. Under warranty. Free.
Following the comprehensive forum discussion and discovery of similar like-for-like cases on Twizyowners.com forum.
Turns out I’m not alone. Glad there are some alternatives out there to DIY remedy the fault as well which are quite affordable.
Luckily for me, it didn’t have to come to that, nor testing my DIY skills (phew..) – repairs done under warranty.
I have shared those videos with the Renault service team – made quite a few – to avoid being turned around again.
So, again. Good news: my Renault twizy door issue was resolved under warranty (for free).
Just collected the twizy, still cold and the doors aren’t exactly flying up, but they do work a LOT better than before and a lot springy!
Meanwhile, here is some snap of Renault’s work
March 15th, 2016 § Comments Off on Baby steps: Affordability of Electric Cars Expected to Increase Rapidly § permalink
By 2022 it may be possible to buy an electric vehicle for the same amount as a vehicle powered by a traditional petrol or diesel engine, according to a report published by Bloomberg Business this month.
At the moment the biggest barrier to wider EV adoption is arguably their high asking price. And with infrastructural improvements and technological upgrades, this type of eco-friendly vehicle is becoming more practical by the day, leaving the upfront cost as an enduring issue.
But if analysts are accurate in their predictions, it could be just six years before the choice between EVs and other cars is not affected by such considerations.
The main reason that EVs are comparatively costly today is that the batteries required to power them still put a significant burden on the total expense of the vehicle. But the report points out that battery prices have fallen by just over a third in the past 12 months and are likely to continue to tumble as demand rises and the technology involved in manufacturing them improves.
In 2015 there was a 60 per cent increase in the number of EVs sold internationally. And within 25 years they are expected to account for 35 per cent of the market as a whole.
This suggests that petrol- and diesel-powered cars will still be in the majority by 2040, or hybrids will account for the rest of the market. But ultimately it seems like complete EV dominance is only a matter of time.
Today less than a single percentage point of the new car market is made up of EVs. But as battery prices slide southwards, the predictions made in the report suggest that a major up-tick in sales is just around the corner.
While this is great news for drivers who want to reduce the harmful emissions their motoring activities produce without feeling the sting in their wallets, there are other economic considerations involved with the rise of EVs.
Specifically, it is the industries built around supplying the fossil fuels that power current cars which are likely to suffer. And analysts believe that by 2023 the need for oil will have dropped by up to two million barrels per day.
For companies and indeed entire countries which rely on the demand for oil to survive and thrive, this could be a significant issue. Some are even warning of a looming crisis which will come if steps are not taken today to ensure that the falling need for oil is balanced by investment in other areas.
At the other end of the spectrum, there are expectations surrounding the rise in EV ownership in terms of how this will impact the electricity infrastructure of the UK and other developed nations. With more people charging up their cars at home or while parked elsewhere, the demand for power will only increase.
Globally the amount of power drawn annually by EVs could be equal to a tenth of all electricity generated around the world in 2015. This annual total of 1900 terrawatt-hours of consumption is not likely to be hit until 2040, but it gives an indication of the scale of the challenge that electricity providers are going to face.
This will no doubt lead to debates about the resources which are consumed in order to provide the electricity to charge EVs. Because getting rid of a petrol-guzzling car only to replace it with an EV that plugs into a mains connection supplied by a power station that burns coal will seem like a less than perfect solution to many motorists.
Questions about the mining processes and economic impact of extracting the minerals required to build the batteries which are found within EVs also exist. But in the long term there is no doubt that vehicles must shift away from a reliance on fossil fuels, since non-renewable resources are necessarily limited and unsustainable.
February 12th, 2016 § Comments Off on Electric-only Opel Ampera: Charged up and almost ready to go § permalink
As From: http://www.techradar.com/news/car-tech/opel-s-ampera-e-affordable-electric-car-arriving-in-2017-1314749
General Motor’s European division, Opel (which is in turn the parent company of Vauxhall), has announced plans for an “affordable” five-seat electric car in 2017.The Ampera-e, as it will be known, will be based on the US Chevrolet Bolt, and the company expects the car to have a longer range than previous electric cars.
As we mentioned in our review, The Bolt can do 200 miles on one charge, whereas rival Nissan Leaf (which arguably leads the affordable EV field at the moment) can only manage 155 miles, despite having a larger battery.
The announcement was made by GM Chief Executive Mary Barra, who was speaking in Germany. According to Reuters, she said:
“Like its twin, the Chevrolet Bolt EV, the Ampera-e promises to transform the electric vehicle market in Europe as the first EV that combines long range at an affordable price.”
The expectation is that the new vehicle will offer more boot space compared to other EVs too – by storing the batteries under the seats. And while there are no other details just yet, looking at what the Bolt is capable of, we can make some educated guesses.
For example, the Bolt can be plugged into a normal power socket and will charge up in just over 9 hours – so we can probably expect similar. AutoCar notes that the Bolt is capable of doing 0-60mph in just 7 seconds.
2017 looks set to be a busy year for electric cars, as the “affordable” Tesla 3 will also be going on sale too.
January 23rd, 2016 § Comments Off on The UK went crazy for electric vehicles and hybrids in 2015 § permalink
2015 was a big year for electric and hybrid cars and now we have the stats to prove it. New figures released by Go Ultra Low show that 28,000 ultra-low emissions vehicles (ULEVs) were registered last year – more than the combined total of the previous five years. What’s more, the growth of plug-in hybrids in 2015 was almost double what it was the previous year, with 14,532 sold. That’s a 94% increase on 2014.
“The UK has one of the fastest growing ultra-low emission vehicle markets in the world and these record figures show more and more people across the country are enjoying the benefits of this cheap-to-run and green technology,” said transport minister Andrew Jones. “British drivers have a wider choice of vehicles than ever before and we have increased our support for plug-in vehicles to £600 million over the next five years to cut emissions, create jobs and support our cutting-edge industries.”
So what’s driving the growth? Although Jones may credit the increase to government incentives, much of it is down to the car manufacturers themselves. There are now around 30 sustainable vehicles available in the UK, with more on the way.
The hybrid EV split
Hybrid vehicles have proved to be a popular stepping-stone for environmentally conscious consumers who aren’t quite ready for a fully electric vehicle. Last year, plug-in hybrid vehicles were the most widespread type of ULEV sold, with 18,254 registrations – a 137% increase on 2014.
Fully electric vehicle sales also increased, going up by 48% with 9,934 registrations, and that’s arguably the most important statistic. In the last year, EVs have come of age, with new refined versions of the Nissan Leaf and Renault ZOE demonstrating that electric vehicles can be affordable, sophisticated and sustainable.
At the same time, high-end cars such as the BMW i3 and the Tesla Model S have become more commonplace, demonstrating growth at both ends of the price range. However, figures show that the majority of purchases came from South East England, suggesting that a disproportionate amount of customers live around London. While that’s still positive, it shows that owners are grouped around cities, meaning issues such as range and charging availability are still worries. If sustainable transport is to truly take off, we’ll need to see the rest of the country improve its charging infrastructure.
As for the future? I predict we’ll continue to see exponential growth in 2016. Electric vehicles and hybrids are no longer a niche cornered by Tesla and Toyota. Every major manufacturer has a sustainable roadmap, and that means there’ll be more ULEVs to choose from in 2016. With the Tesla Model 3, Chevrolet Bolt, and ULEVs from the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes in the pipeline, this year will be crucial for sustainable transport.
November 6th, 2015 § Comments Off on Nissan’s 60-kWh, 200-Mile Battery Pack: What We Know So Far § permalink
Will the next-generation 2018 Nissan Leaf offer an option that could provide 200 miles of more of real-world driving range?
Based on the concept car and prototype battery pack that officially bowed this past week, coinciding with the Tokyo Motor Show, it’s increasingly likely.
One of them is that it points to how a new generation of vehicles with autonomous-drive modes might look—and function with pedestrians, normally driven cars, and the immediate surroundings.
With the concept Nissan also dropped some hints about a potential styling direction for the next-generation Leaf electric car.
Furthermore, the concept officially threw in a 60-kWh battery—which, if it’s affordable enough, could be the key to stay competitive against a raft of rivals including the Chevy Bolt, and Tesla Model 3.
Although a Nissan official told us that 60 kWh isn’t a hard-and-fast capacity number, the approximate size is something that the automaker plans to offer in the next several years.
And that pack isn’t just concept-car fantasy. It exists (pictured above), developed internally by Nissan, and they’re calling the pack a working prototype, aimed at providing a 500-km (300-mile) range in the very generous European or Japanese driving cycles.
In all, it’s quite different than the currently available 24-kWh pack in the Leaf or its upgraded 30-kWh pack that’s going to be available beginning in a few months. The latter will offer an EPA-rated 107 miles.
At least for now, any claims that the automaker is planning to move to an external supplier are premature.
Lithium-ion battery pack of 2011 Nissan Leaf, showing cells assembled into modules
This past week, at the Nissan Technical Center at Atsugi, Japan, we were about to learn more about this pack from some of the team overseeing its development. Here are some key points of this next-gen, 200-mile battery:
The prototype moves from a nickel manganese cathode to a nickel manganese cobalt one. The anode remains made of graphite, and the electrolyte remains a lithium compound.
Flexible pack structure.
The current Leaf battery uses four cells per module (with 48 modules in the entire 24-kWh pack)—a structure that allows a uniform height and shape for the pack. But this one moves to a multiple-cell configuration; Nissan will be able to adjust the number of cell stacks (and thus height) depending on packaging and capacity demands. An official said that they were conservative with the number of cells per stack in the original battery design, but with essentially no failures or issues, they’re fine perhaps dramatically increasing that number.
Engineers have made an effort to reduce impedance, through the increased quantity of cells and a revised electrode material. This allows longer charging at maximum current—and will potentially allow faster-rate 100-kW charging versus the current 50-kW. Higher voltage is under discussion.
More weight, but a lot more power density. Using the 24-kWh pack as a baseline, Nissan says that the new 60-kWh pack weighs just 220 pounds more. So with that older pack weighing in the vicinity of 660 pounds, that ups overall weight to nearly 900 pounds. It’s impressive, considering the gain in kWh per pound.
Nissan made the original Leaf battery pack completely air-cooled, and while there were some early, isolated issues in very hot climates like Arizona, those seem to be largely solved today. Liquid cooling isn’t being considered for an entirely new, larger-capacity battery—at least in this prototype form. Forced-air cooling isn’t likely either.
Increased state-of-charge range.
That’s thanks to a wider voltage range—which runs at about 2.5 to 4.15 volts in the current battery.
Longer service life.
Nissan has revised the electrode material and optimized the lithium electrolyte (it won’t say how in either case), with the net effect being less of a performance drop over years and hundreds of charge cycles. Suppressed lithium corrosion will help durability, too. One of several charts we saw but were instructed not to publish, if to scale, suggested that instead of a standard capacity degradation to 80 percent after five years, it now might be 90 percent.
September 25th, 2015 § Comments Off on The cheaper battery: Bosch invents new electric car battery to double mileage § permalink
German electronics firm Bosch says it will have a solid state battery on the market by 2020 that will double the range of electric cars at half the cost of today’s batteries.
Today the cheapest electric cars, which cost around $30,000, typically have a range of less than 100 miles.
Once commercialised, this new battery could give affordable electric cars a range of over 200 miles per charge – and at a lower price.
The acceleration in the development of this new battery comes with Bosch’s acquisition of Californian startup Seeo, which already has sample cells of this battery.
According to Seeo, they have come up with a new way to make lithium batteries without a liquid electrolyte. The batteries need no cooling system and won’t catch on fire the way a traditional lithium ion battery can. They are also significantly lighter and cost less to manufacture, compared to the battery in a Tesla Model S, for instance, which weighs 1,200 pounds and costs $12,000. » Read the rest of this entry «
March 18th, 2015 § Comments Off on Wow: Best Green Cars in 2015 New Electric Vehicles Hitting the U.S. Market § permalink
Electric cars aren’t only green; they’re also a ton of fun to drive. The growing market includes dozens of models, with new ones joining the club every year. We’ve rounded up eight of the new battery-electric cars that will hit the U.S. market in 2015/16. Our list just covers battery electrics rather than conventional hybrids or fuel-cell vehicles (which aren’t exactly in the same league).
Prices noted below do not include electric vehicle incentives like the $7,500 federal tax credit, the $2,500 California ZEV rebate, or other state or local incentives. Be sure to check to find out which incentives are available in your area, to get the lowest available price. » Read the rest of this entry «