A new electric vehicle prototype weights half the average weight of a conventional electric vehicle.
Designed and built by Japanese manufacturing firm, Teijin, the new concept weighs just 437kg, much less than a smart fortwo at 750kg. The PU_PA EV (as in 'pupa electric vehicle,' a reference to metamorphosis) is designed to embody the firms [...]
A new electric vehicle prototype weights half the average weight of a conventional electric vehicle.
Even with Toyota’s unintended acceleration issues, it really should come as no surprise that the Toyota Prius tops the sales charts once again. The perennial best-selling hybrid has kept its perch near the top of the leader-board for years. Just days ago, we reported that the Prius was the best-selling hybrid vehicle in the U.S. for the month of March, no surprise there. Now comes word that the Prius is the best selling car in Japan for the same month.
The Prius is not only the best-selling hybrid in Japan, it’s the best-selling vehicle, period. March numbers show that the Toyota Prius has now accrued 277,485 sales in a twelve-month period. The Prius has held onto that top spot in Japan for 11 months now, no small feat. High sales of the Prius are partly attributed to large government incentives given to purchasers of fuel efficient vehicles in Japan.
Trailing behind the Prius in second place is the Honda Fit. This small-sized offering also offers up strong fuel economy and a competitive price. Still, the Fit trails the Prius by a wide margin in sales in the last twelve months only racking up 173,154 units sold. In fact, the Prius is so popular in Japan that the waiting list stands at a reported six months right now!
[Source: Detroit News]
Report: Prius tops Japan’s March sales list, wait time back up to six months originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Tue, 06 Apr 2010 17:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
The City of London Corporation has become one of the first local authorities to benefit from the Department for Transport's (DfT) Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Programme (LVCVPP), after it took delivery of an all-electric van.
The van produced by Allied Electric, is a battery-powered adapted Peugeot Boxer, capable of travelling over 100 miles and can [...]
Passenger cars and light-duty trucks will be subjected to stringent new emission standards in the near future. Heavy-duty vehicles are not being left out of the mix and will have their own regulations intended to slowly lead to cleaner vehicles delivering goods across the nation. That’s a good thing.
However, there is dispute over how best to achieve the goal of cleaning up the nation’s fleet of heavy-duty vehicles. On one hand, the Environmental Protection Agency believes that regulating emissions is the best way to clean up the notoriously dirty vehicles. On the other hand, research shows that a fuel tax may be the best answer.
A report released by the National Research Council (NRC) concludes that a fuel tax is is the simplest, most efficient way to reach clean air goals. The study finds that, while regulations on future heavy-duty vehicles is certainly beneficial, the regulations will have virtually no impact on the hundreds of thousands of old, inefficient heavy-duty vehicles that are likely to remain on our roads for decades.
The NRC study shows that a fuel tax would force companies to be efficient in planning routes, delivering items and driving in a manner that conserves fuel. The fuel tax would also affect all heavy-duty vehicles, no matter how old or outdated. Another reason for the NRC to suggest a fuel tax rather than strong regulations is cost. The NRC report shows that new, efficient, high-tech diesel engines costs on average $23,000 more than gasoline engines. In an industry where profit margins are slim, footing this additional upfront cost is not easy and it’s argued that since a fuel tax is spread out through the life of the vehicle, the costs are easier to cope with. Whether it’s a fuel tax or stringent regulations, one thing is certain, the nation’s fleet of dirty, workhorses will have to clean up their act soon.
Report suggests fuel tax better than higher mpg standards for heavy duty vehicles originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Mon, 05 Apr 2010 19:47:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Just a few months ago (in early December 2009), the “World’s Most Exclusive Golf Cart” was the new Garia vehicle that is priced $17,499 or 13,999 Euros, plus tax and delivery. Now, though, we know that even this absurd price for an all-electric golf cart can be nearly tripled thanks to the new Garia Soleil de Minuit limited edition. The golf cart for the insane will be unveiled at the Top Marques Monaco 2010 starting April 15. How much will the new Soleil de Minuit cost? A smooth $52,000 or €39,000. Yes, that’s $52,000.
That price leaves us little choice but to believe Garia’s claim that the Soleil de Minuit is “the most expensive golf car ever made by a manufacturer.” What would possibly make someone interested in this way-overpriced monster? Well, it’s made at Valmet Automotive, which is where the Porsche Cayman, Porsche Boxster and Think City are made. Aside from the pedigree, the cart:
features carbon roof, one-of custom paint tailored to enhance all design features on The Garia, two-colored hand-stitched luxury seats, alcantara roof lining and numerous hand-made details to create a truly unique luxury golf car.
Of course, there’s also a built-in refrigerator and the ability to have the cart painted whatever color you want, you know, to match your other cars. We’d get ours in Grey Poupon yellow.
Garia announces Soleil de Minuit limited edition golf cart - and you thought $17,500 was expensive originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Mon, 05 Apr 2010 17:18:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
The US Department of Transportation, along with the US Environmental Protection Agency, have announced increasingly stringent fuel economy standards as part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Corporate Average Fuel Economy programme and the Clean Air Act for 2012-2016.
The standards outline the following:
- Car makers must improve fleet-wide fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas [...]
Writing on the AltEnergyStocks site, John Peterson tries to make the case that plug-in vehicles are a bad investment for automakers and are unlikely to be profitable anytime in the foreseeable future, certainly not before they are obsolete. Considering the issue purely from a business case perspective, Peterson is very likely correct, at least for the first generation or two. Cars like the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt will almost certainly be money losers for the lifecycle of the first-generation models (for its part, Nissan says they will make a profit off of the Leaf, though it isn’t going into details). However, without the creation of money-losing first-generation models, it would be hard to get to subsequent iterations with improved technology, lower manufacturing costs and higher volumes, thus bringing the costs down.
Peterson also argues that battery makers are overvalued and at “nosebleed” levels, and specifically mentions A123 Systems and Ener1. While both companies may well be overvalued based on their current stock prices - $13.67 for A123 and $4.40 for Ener1 - from where we sit, these hardly qualify as nosebleed and are well below their peaks of the past year. Both of those companies also have new battery plants opening this year, not 2012 and beyond as Peterson says in his article.
In general, it’s certainly hard to make a viable economic case for first-generation plug-in vehicles based on fuel savings and cost of the vehicles, but if batteries are ever going to progress, this is a step that needs to be taken. It may well turn out that plug-in vehicles never turn out to be the best solution, but if no one tries, it won’t ever be known.
Can plug-in vehicles make any money before they become outmoded? originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Sun, 04 Apr 2010 17:09:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
No doubt about it, the Porsche 918 Sypder was both one of the biggest surprises of the Geneva Motor Show and one of its most memorable vehicles. No surprise, then, that the German automaker has signaled its desire to put the hybrid sportscar into production. Porsche is once again hinting at its production goals for the 918 Spyder with its latest advertising campaign, calling the sportscar “The future of motorsport and series production.” Doesn’t get much more straightforward than that, eh? To go along with the new round of marketing, Porsche has released a new video that offers a bit more information about its showstopper, which you can find after the break.
In addition, there’s a second video highlighting Porsche’s new 911 GT3 R Hybrid, which managed an impressive sixth-place finish in its racing debut last weekend. Wanna see for yourself? Click past the break to watch both videos from Porsche.
Video: Porsche highlights Intelligent Performance of 918 Spyder, 911 GT3 R Hybrid originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Sat, 03 Apr 2010 17:24:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
While the Kia hamsters won the big cheese Most Effective Automotive Ad title in Nielsen’s fourth annual Automotive Advertising Awards this year, handed out during the New York Auto Show, it was Ford’s ad for its hybrid vehicles that won for Green Ad of the Year. Nielsen asked a panel of 2.5 million television viewers to find out which ads were the most effective, especially in creating something memorable.
The “Christopher Leaves” ad features the driver, we’re assuming named Christopher, suggesting the green leaves in the hybrid dash should really show something a little more representative of what the fuel efficiency means to the owner. Interested in idea? The ad is only 17 seconds long, and you can watch it after the jump.
New York 2010: Ford wins “Green Ad of the Year” with ka-ching hybrid ad originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Fri, 02 Apr 2010 19:43:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Daimler is currently working on a new hybrid vehicle engine that the company calls a transmission-integrated electric engine. As the name suggests, the setup puts the electric engine (motor) into the automatic transmission.
According to Daimler, the setup is good to power levels of more than 15 kilowatts and the integrated setup could boost performance of the company’s hybrid vehicles while also reducing fuel consumption. By containing the vast majority of the hybrid powertrain components within the transmission, the system could be utilized across vehicle platforms with relative ease.
The automaker will invest $56 million into its Berlin factory to convert a portion of the plant to work on development and production of the transmission-integrated electric engine for future Mercedes-Benz hybrid vehicles. Follow the jump for more information.
Daimler working on new transmission-integrated electric motor for hybrid vehicles originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Fri, 02 Apr 2010 17:18:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
There was a lot of justified excitement on these pages when Nissan announced the $32,780 price for the Leaf ($25,280 after federal tax credits). Considering the impact this price will have on the plug-in vehicle industry as a whole, we wanted to go around the virtual horn and see what other plug-in vehicle automakers and advocates think about this price. Here are the responses, and we’ll add more as people get back to us.
First, Kim Adelman, of Plug-In Conversions Corporation, who told AutoblogGreen that:
Nissan has done a great thing. This will make it much easier for more people to experience all electric driving. Same feeling and excitement as when I first ordered my Toyota Rav4-EV in 2001. It’s only a decade later! I hope this puts productive pressure on the other car companies.
Plug In America members are also wildly excited about the price, with Paul Scott writing that, Nissan’s announcement:
No doubt sent shivers down the spines of Toyota and Honda, not to mention GM execs. They now have to compete at a much lower price point if they want to play the game in which Nissan is writing the rules.
Mitsubishi North America’s product communications manager, Maurice “Moe” Durand, told AutoblogGreen that the i-MiEV is not launching until the end of 2011 in the U.S. and the price has not yet been set, but that Mitsubishi “is very much aware of Nissan’s pricing.” Over on the Mini E team, Richard Steinberg, BMW’s manager of electric vehicle operations and strategy, told us that:
To be honest, the MSRP was quite reasonable. I thought that was appropriate for the technology. What is really going to draw the headlines, of course, was the $369 per month lease with two grand down. That is really an attractive payment. What I don’t really understand is what happens when the federal tax credit runs down.
The Mini E, which customers are leasing now, is not eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit; the Leaf is. For the record, those credits phase out for each manufacturer:
once cumulative sales of qualified vehicles reach 200,000 vehicles. The phase-out period begins two calendar quarters after the first date in which a manufacturer’s sales reach the cumulative sales maximum after December 31, 2009. The credit is reduced to 50 percent of the total value for the first two calendar quarters of the phase-out period and then to 25 percent for the third and forth calendar quarters before being phased out entirely thereafter.
Read the details here.
Gallery: New York 2010: Nissan Leaf
Plug-in vehicle industry responds to Nissan Leaf’s low price originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Thu, 01 Apr 2010 19:49:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Take a look at the all-new Kia Optima – it is the Korean car maker's replacement for the Magentis.
Built on an entirely new platform, the car will be launched across several markets, with the UK expected to see the Optima during 2011.
Designed at Kia's studios in Frankfurt, Germany and Irvine, California, the all-new Optima [...]
Ford Motor Company recently unveiled its Lincoln MKZ Hybrid at the New York Auto Show. The vehicle will become the brand’s first entry into the luxury hybrid vehicle segment, a segment dominated by Lexus products. For Ford, the move to enter the segment may be risky and sales volume could be quite low. With Ford entering the segment, how will General Motors respond? According to Don Butler, a Cadillac marketer, the brand is not concerned with the MKZ Hybrid’s introduction and the vehicle’s unveiling will have no impact on Cadillac’s current alternative powertrain plans. As Butler said in an interview with Ward’s Auto:
We don’t want to do a hybrid just to do a hybrid. And we don’t want to just take something and put another badge on it and say, ‘There’s our hybrid.’ It needs to be purpose-driven. We need to do what makes sense for Cadillac and its brand. You can expect alternative powertrains in Cadillac’s not-so-distant future. It’s not like we are moving away.
Of course, if Cadillac did want to respond to the MKZ Hybrid, they could simply put the green light back on for the Cadillac Converj concept. The Converj, using powertrain components from the Chevrolet Volt, could come to market quickly and be ready to take on the MKZ. The Converj would utilize the advanced extended range setup as opposed to the Lincoln’s more traditional hybrid powertrain and would likely cost significantly more, but the added benefits of the Voltec system could lure potential MKZ buyers to the Cadillac brand. Hint to Cadillac, build the Converj!
[Source: Ward's Auto]
Cadillac not concerned with Lincoln MKZ hybrid launch, Converj status unchanged originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Thu, 01 Apr 2010 16:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
The Ford Lincoln brand will reveal its first ever hybrid car as part of the New York International Auto Show.
The 2011 MKZ Hybrid is expected to deliver at least 41mpg in the city and tops its nearest competitor – the 2010 Lexus HS250h – by 6mpg, while still providing room for one more passenger and [...]
With all of the reveals and partnership announcements here at the New York Auto Show the most important thing we’ve heard is a number: $25,280. That’s the price that Nissan said yesterday it will sell the Leaf for when it goes on sale later this year (full production starts in 2011), and it’s much lower than rumors we’ve heard from competitors in the plug-in vehicle space. We sat down with Mark Perry, Nissan’s director of product planning, to talk about this price - how it came to be, what the reaction has been, etc. - because we’re pretty sure readers would like to know more details about Nissan’s strategy.
Perry was all smiles when he talked about how Nissan got to the $32,780 price - of course, the headline is that this turns into $25,280 after $7,500 worth of federal tax credits - and we understand why. He told us that this price is the result, in part, of 17 years of work Nissan has done on lithium-ion batteries. By doing everything in-house for so many years, Nissan doesn’t need to charge the customer for battery research like other companies that are freshly bursting into the electric vehicle (EV) market and are just now figuring out how to make EVs that work. Plus, by spreading the R&D over many years, selling the Leaf for just under $33,000 allows the company to make a profit off the car.
Of course, the Leaf does not exist in a vacuum, and Perry said that the $33k was most definitely based on market factors. Government incentives played a role in setting the price, Perry said, as did estimating what other companies will price their plug-in vehicles at. Considering we don’t know for sure yet what cars like the Chevrolet Volt or the Ford Focus Electric will be, we can’t say yet how Nissan’s announcement will impact those MSRPs. Still, we assume there was a lot of hand-wringing in offices that didn’t belong to Nissan. There was a lot more to our talk, so go ahead and take a listen after the jump.
Gallery: New York 2010: Nissan Leaf
New York 2010: The inside story of the Nissan Leaf price originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Wed, 31 Mar 2010 19:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Super-light electric concept revealed
- Report: Prius tops Japan's March sales list, wait ...
- London library benefits from electric van
- Report suggests fuel tax better than higher mpg st...
- Garia announces Soleil de Minuit limited edition g...
- Fuel economy standards established
- Can plug-in vehicles make any money before they be...
- Video: Porsche highlights Intelligent Performance ...
- New York 2010: Ford wins "Green Ad of the Year" wi...
- Daimler working on new transmission-integrated ele...
- Plug-in vehicle industry responds to Nissan Leaf's...
- Kia D-Segment Hybrid set for 2011
- Cadillac not concerned with Lincoln MKZ hybrid lau...
- Ford to introduce Lincoln hybrid
- New York 2010: The inside story of the Nissan Leaf...
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