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Jeep Electrified – SUV Maker Adding EVs, Plug-Ins

Battery-based Jeeps “under active development.”

by on Jun.24, 2016

The Jeep Renegade could be one of the first models electrified, a plug in the Chinese market.

Today’s battery-based vehicles tend to be small sedans, coupes and hatchbacks. But that’s beginning to change with high-end products like the Tesla Model S and, more recently, the Model X.

Tesla will soon have some challengers in the battery-electric SUV market including Audi, set to debut an all-electric ute in 2018. And Jeep is getting ready to weigh in, as well, according to brand boss Michael Manley.

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While Fiat Chrysler’s SUV division isn’t ready to release specific plans, Manley told TheDetroitBureau.com that new battery-based products are “under active development,” and other company sources indicate they aren’t very far from launch.

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Gen-2 Chevy Volt’s EV Range Jumps to 53 Miles

Updated model also gets performance boost, fifth seat.

by on Aug.04, 2015

The 2016 Chevrolet Volt will get a 40% boost in its battery-only range.

The second-generation Chevrolet Volt will deliver 40% more range in battery mode than the original version of the plug-in hybrid, the maker announced today.

At 53 miles per charge, the compact sedan will permit buyers to commute or run even more errands without using any gas, General Motors officials have suggested. They also hope to increase the appeal of the 2016 Chevrolet Volt by offering better performance and more interior space, the new plug-in now capable of seating five, rather than four like the original model.

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“We listened to our customers,” Volt chief engineer Andrew Farah said ahead of a news conference at the annual Management Briefing Seminars, in Traverse City, Michigan. “They were very clear when they told us that they wanted more range, and a fun driving experience behind the wheel. We are confident that the 2016 Volt delivers both.”

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Hybrid, Battery-Car Sales Slumped in First Half of 2015

Demand shifts from small, efficient, to big and powerful.

by on Jul.02, 2015

Honda Civic Hybrid production ended last month.

At the beginning of 2014, when fuel prices seemed headed for new record highs, U.S. shoppers couldn’t drive off fast enough with small cars and alternative-power vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius and Nissan Leaf.

But with fuel costs down by at least $1 a gallon across the country, manufacturers have been struggling to sell those same, high-mileage vehicles. That’s forced them to stack up new incentives on the hood and, in some cases, slash production.

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That poses a challenge for the industry as it faces new fuel economy mandates for 2016 – with even tougher targets phasing in from now until 2025. Even so, automakers show little sign of retreating from the aggressive plans they’ve put in place to introduce new battery-based vehicles and other clean alternatives.

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Ford Cuts Shift, 700 Jobs, at Key Michigan Plant

Cutbacks spread as American motorists shift from small cars to SUVs.

by on Apr.24, 2015

The Ford Focus has been losing momentum despite receiving some updates for 2015.

Weak passenger car sales have prompted Ford Motor Co. to eliminate a shift at a Michigan assembly line that builds compact and battery vehicles, including the Focus and Focus EV.

With gasoline prices dropping to their lowest level in years, demand for SUVs has been rising while prompting a sharp slide in sales of smaller and alternative-fuel vehicles, like this built at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan. The announcement, which will impact 700 Ford workers, comes on top of General Motors’ decision to temporarily idle production of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid at a plant nearby.

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“Ford will be working to redeploy affected hourly employees (affected by the cuts) and they will be considered first for southeast Michigan opportunities as they become available,” the automaker said in a statement.

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GM Slashes Price of Chevy Spark EV

Maker is the latest to try price cut to boost sluggish sales.

by on Apr.15, 2015

The Chevy Spark can launch to 60 in 8 sec.

General Motors is slashing the price of its slow-selling Chevrolet Spark battery-electric vehicle in a bid to boost demand.

It’s the latest in a string of price cuts by automakers struggling to build interest in plug-based vehicles, and the announcement comes just days after GM confirmed it will next month shut down production of its Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid due to lack of demand. It will re-launch production with the second-generation Volt that was introduced at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year.

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“Chevrolet is committed to making EV driving more accessible, affordable and fun” Steve Majoros, director of Chevrolet Car and Crossover Marketing, said in a statement. “Spark EV customers will benefit from an impressive blend of technology, capability and low cost of ownership, now at an even more impressive price.”

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Ford Latest to Cut EV Pricing as Battery-Car Market Struggles

Maker trims $6,000 from price tag of Focus Electric.

by on Oct.21, 2014

Ford has so far sold only 1,500 Focus Electric vehicles this year - less than 1% of total Focus sales.

With battery-car sales lagging expectations, automakers have been slashing prices in a bid to spur demand. The latest to announce a big discount is Ford Motor Co., which will trim the MSRP on its Focus Electric model by $6,000.

That’s on top of the $4,000 discount the Detroit maker took on the compact battery-electric vehicle a year ago. Originally introduced in January 2011 at $39,995, buyers now can plug in a Ford Focus Electric for just $29,995 – plus delivery charges and the usual fees and taxes.

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Ford is by no means alone. With rare exception, automakers have been cutting prices of both plug-in and pure battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, models in a bid to boost sluggish sales. And with gas prices now near or below $3 a gallon in much of the U.S., industry analysts suggest it will be even more difficult to convince buyers to opt for vehicles that plug in rather than tank up.

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Racers, Plug in Your Engines!

Teams get ready for first Formula E battery-car race.

by on Sep.05, 2014

Formula E racers run a simulation of the first race scheduled to take place in Beijing.

It’s taken several years of planning and engineering and months of simulations and dry runs, but if all goes according to schedule, proponents of electric propulsion will get their chance, a week from now, to prove that battery cars really can play in the same league as conventional gas-powered vehicles.

August 13th will bring the inaugural race for Formula E, a new motor sports series that is being billed as the electric equivalent of Formula One, the world’s most popular racing series. Indeed, the cars that will be racing in Beijing next weekend look quite similar to those used on the F1 circuit.

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While they won’t quite hit the same top speeds, the Formula E race cars will be reasonably quick, and expected to reach as much as 140 mph – though they’ll do it in near silence, rather than the deafening screams that mark a traditional race track.

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Ford Plans to Take on Toyota Prius with New Hybrid Line

New “dedicated” hybrid line expected to debut in 2019.

by on Aug.22, 2014

Ford will take dead aim at the segment leader, the Toyota Prius, with its new "dedicated" hybrid.

Already one of the most ambitious players in the battery-based vehicle market, Ford Motor Co. wants to take a run at hybrid market leader Toyota with a new gasoline-electric model it will launch in 2018, according to a new report.

The as yet-unnamed model will be directly targeted at the Toyota Prius, the world’s most popular hybrid-electric vehicle, and will use a dedicated design, unlike other Ford hybrids that are pitched as optional alternatives in conventional vehicles.

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A report by the Reuters news service says the new model will be produced in a plant near Detroit, likely the factory in Wayne, Michigan that currently produces a mix of other Ford battery-cars, including the Focus EV, and the C-Max, which is offered in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid configurations in the U.S.

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Pickups Lose Momentum in June, While Plug-Based Vehicles Charge Ahead

June’s winners and some losers.

by on Jul.02, 2014

Ford's F-150 - the new Tremor model shown here - lost momentum but remained #1.

The U.S. auto market showed some unexpected energy in June, but a closer look reveals some surprises behind the numbers.

Pickups have given the market much of its momentum in recent months, but the long-time industry leading Ford F-Series slumped an unexpected 11% for the month – while still leaving a big gap between itself and second-place Chevrolet Silverado. The Ram pickup gained nearly 12% for June, but couldn’t quite overcome the third-place Toyota Camry, which was up 13.4%.

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The market saw a jump in demand for small and high-mileage offerings. The Toyota Prius, for example, was 17th on the June list, while the maker also landed in the seventh spot with its latest-generation Corolla compact.

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Nissan Becomes First to Sell 100,000 Electric Vehicles

Nissan Leaf now market’s battery best-seller.

by on Jan.21, 2014

British dentist Dr. Brett Garner bought the 100,000th Nissan Leaf at the urging of his wife.

Nissan has crossed a significant threshold becoming the first manufacturer to ever sell 100,000 plug-based vehicles.

Just over three years after launching the Nissan Leaf, the maker delivered the milestone battery sedan to a dentist in the British community of Fareham, about two hours southwest of London.

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“I have chosen my Nissan Leaf because I am very interested in its running costs,” said Dr. Brett Garner, a father of three. “The cost of ownership such as maintenance, insurance and charging also convinced my wife. She had the experience of driving 500 miles in a borrowed LEAF and the low cost was remarkable. So she was converted and insisted that we had a Leaf.”

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