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Kia Readies Battery-Powered Soul

Will it be launched by the Eveready Hamsters?

by on Oct.02, 2013

Kia will reveal the battery version of the new 2014 Soul at one of the upcoming US auto shows.

Kia is preparing to roll out a battery-powered version of the latest-generation Soul crossover next year.

Michael Sprague, Kia’s vice president of marketing communication, would not say when the Korean company planned to put the new EV on sale nor when it would be unveiled, however.

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“We plan to make news at all four major auto shows, L.A., Detroit, Chicago and New York,” Sprague hinted. However, the Los Angeles Auto Show has gained a reputation in recent years as the place for launching “green” vehicles such as the battery-electric version of the Chevrolet Spark unveiled there last year.


California is Driving US Car Sales Rebound

Golden State buyers continue to overwhelmingly favor Asian brands.

by on Jan.25, 2013

With the addition of several new models, such as this Prius C, the Prius "family" comprised the best-selling nameplate in California last year.

The boom in auto sales gave the national economy a huge lift in 2012 and was critical in helping swing the industrial Midwest into Barack Obama’s camp during the 2012 presidential campaign.

But it turns out California — where gasoline prices were among the nation’s highest for much of the past year — was leading the boom in car sales. It was also at the cutting edge of the shift from conventional gasoline power to cleaner, higher mileage battery-based vehicles.  Significantly, the Toyota Prius became the state’s best-selling vehicle.

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But, as has been the case for a number of decades, foreign-owned brands, especially the Asians, topped the California sales charts, Kia, the increasingly stylish Korean carmaker, was the fastest growing brand, posting a 53% sales gain among California’s traditionally trend-conscious buyers.


California Regulators Want 1.4 Mil Zero-Emission Vehicles on Road

CARB wants to cut CO2 emissions on gas models by half.

by on Dec.13, 2011

New California rules would put as many as 1.4 million zero-emission vehicles, like this Mitsubishi battery car, on the road.

The California Air Resources Board has released a new set of policies aimed at cutting vehicle pollution, guarantee consumer access to clean fuels and “foster” the development of zero-emission car technology. The major changes in policies will apply to new vehicles sold through 2025.

The new plans includes the most significant changes to the Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEV) program in its 20-year history—requiring battery, fuel cell, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to account for 1.4 million new vehicle sales in the state between 2018 and 2025,pushing carmakers to increase the introduction of vehicles with alternative powertrain technology. The rules are certain to prove controversial.

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The Clean Fuels Outlet (CFO) rules would require oil companies to install hydrogen refueling stations as automakers ramp up sales of fuel cell vehicles, ensuring consumers have access to fuel for these vehicles. The CFO also requires California to study infrastructure needs for vehicles that recharge from the electric grid. By 2025, California’s plan calls for a 75% reduction in smog-forming emissions from new cars and light truck tailpipes, the near elimination of evaporative emissions, and a reduction in toxic particulate matter.


California Unplugs $5,000 Battery Car Rebate Program

Buyers still get access to car pool lanes, however.

by on Jul.21, 2011

California has run out of cash for its electric vehicle incentive program.

Cash-starved California has pulled the plug on a program that provided a significant financial incentive for buyers of approved electric cars, such as the Nissan Leaf.

California was one of more than a dozen states that have enacted some form of cash incentives meant to spur the sale of high-mileage advanced-propulsion vehicles.  But the program was limited by the Golden State’s financial problems.  Nonetheless, buyers will still get at least one other much sought-after perk: stickers providing access to the HOV, or High Occupancy Vehicle, lanes, which can mean a significantly faster commute for those traveling alone.

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The federal government’s $7,500 tax credit for battery car buyers will remain in effect and, in fact, covers a broader range of products, including the Chevrolet Volt. The General Motors plug-in hybrid did not qualify in California because it did not meet the narrow definition of a so-called partial-zero-emission vehicle, or P-ZEV.


California Likely to Dominate Battery Car Market, Says New Study

Texas, NY and Florida also expected to bring strong demand.

by on Feb.14, 2011

That driveway where the Nissan Leaf is parked is likely to be in California, says a new study.

While General Motors may be ready to move up the 50-state rollout of its new Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, a new study suggests that California and a handful of other states will dominate demand for battery cars.

In 2015, demand for advanced propulsion vehicles – which includes plug-ins, pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, as well hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicles – will reach nearly 35,000 a year in California, about as much as the next five states combined, forecasts the Center for Automotive Research, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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By that point, there will be an estimated 112,328 of these advanced propulsion vehicles registered in California, compared to 25,746 in Texas, the state projected to have the second-highest demand.

That’s no surprise considering the Golden State is already home to more hybrids, such as the Toyota Prius and Ford Escape Hybrid, than anyplace else.  There are currently 50 hybrids for every 10,000 California residents, about twice as many as any other state in the U.S.