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Posts Tagged ‘electric vehicles’

New Consortium Aims to Help EV Owners ROEV More Freely

Taking down the barriers to battery-car ownership.

by on Nov.20, 2015

"This is the future of EV charging in the U.S.," says BMW's Rob Healey.

There are three key factors limiting broader consumer acceptance of battery-electric vehicles, according to most analysts: their high price, limited range and the lack of a readily available charging network.

A new consortium, announced at this week’s L.A. Auto Show, could help resolve the latter issue. Dubbed ROEV, short for Roaming for Electric Vehicle charging, the new venture aims to make it easier for owners of battery-based vehicles to plug in wherever they go. It will let them access the vast majority of public charge stations without having to sign up with a variety of different service providers.

Get Charged Up!

The goal is to “make sure every station is capable of serving every vehicle out there,” explained Brendan Jones, a vice president of NRG EVgo, one of the partners in the new charging consortium. “ROEV is reducing the barrier (to EVs by letting) people know they can charge anywhere.”


GM – LG Chem Find New Way to Work Together to Bring Chevy Bolt to Market

Traditional OE-supplier approach "unsuitable and unsustainable."

by on Oct.20, 2015

Lower battery costs will let GM price the Chevy Bolt around $35,000 before federal incentives.

Often criticized for the way it hammers price cuts out of its suppliers, General Motors is taking a very different approach in the development of its first long-range battery-electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Bolt. In a joint news conference with Korea’s LG Corp., GM officials outlined a new strategy putting a premium on partnership.

The new approach could be a blueprint for the future, suggested Mark Reuss, GM’s global product development director. It may also help LG become a major force in the emerging electric vehicle market, rather than just being relegated to supplying batteries to carmakers like GM.


“GM used to act more like a dictator than a customer,” said Reuss, during a tour of the electric vehicle operations at the maker’s suburban Detroit technical center.  That approach, primarily focused on squeezing out costs, is “unsuitable and unsustainable,” Reuss added.


From Vacuums to Electric Vehicles? Dyson Buys Promising US Battery Start-Up

British firm plans to build major new battery plant.

by on Oct.20, 2015

No suck-up; James Dyson is best known for the vacuum and appliance company bearing his name.

Best known for its costly but powerful vacuum cleaners, British appliance manufacturer Dyson Ltd. has snapped up a promising Michigan-based battery start-up pioneering a new form of lithium-ion technology it claims can deliver twice the power of current battery chemistry.

A spin-off of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor-based Sakti3 has been developing so-called solid-state lithium-ion technology, proponents believe could improve reliability and, if used in an automobile, greatly increase vehicle range and performance.

Charging Ahead!

Dyson not only plans to use Sakti3 technology in its conventional product lines, such as cordless vacuums, but could find new business opportunities, the company founder, James Dyson said. And with the British firm now planning to spend as much as $1 billion to set up a battery plant using Sakti3 chemistry, that is fueling speculation Dyson might offer the technology to the electric vehicle market.


Toyota Aims to Virtually Eliminate Gas-Powered Cars by 2050

Japanese giant focusing on fuel-cell vehicles and hybrids, but not EVs.

by on Oct.14, 2015

Toyota has so far sold just 350 of its Mirai fuel-cell vehicles, but sees major growth ahead.

Toyota Motor Co. wants to virtually eliminate gasoline-powered vehicles from its fleet by 2050, and is betting that hydrogen cars, rather than electric vehicles, will be the long-term answer.

The Japanese maker recently introduced the Mirai, its first retail fuel-cell vehicle, and though sales have so far been measured in the hundreds, the target is to reach 30,000 annually by 2020, and reach even higher in the years beyond.

A number of other automakers are experimenting with hydrogen power; Hyundai already offers a fuel-cell version of its Tucson SUV, and Honda will launch a retail model next year. But most competitors are focusing on a mixed model of green vehicles, with a heavy emphasis on battery-based models, Toyota remains skeptical about the long-term role of electric vehicle technology.


“When we first announced the Mirai, we said we were at the start of the age of hydrogen,” Kiyotaka Ise, a senior managing officer for Toyota Motor Corp., told reporters in Tokyo. “The figure we’ve announced today is ambitious, but it needs to be to keep the ball rolling.”


Toyota Reveals Prius Tech Details

Higher efficiency, updated suspension, controversial design.

by on Oct.13, 2015

The 2016 Toyota Prius.

Five weeks after unveiling the 2016 Toyota Prius at a splashy Las Vegas event, the Japanese maker is finally filling in some of the critical details about the new hybrid-electric vehicle.

Among other things, Toyota claims the drivetrain on the 2016 Prius is significantly more efficient than the outgoing model. And buyers will not have a choice of either conventional nickel-metal hydride batteries or a more advanced lithium-ion pack. Improved aerodynamics and weight-saving measures are expected to deliver as much as 10% fuel economy.

Your Guide to the Hottest New Products!

Toyota also is offering a bit closer look at the structure of the 2016 Prius, including details of its new independent rear suspension which is intended to improve the ride and handling of the fourth-generation hatchback.


First Drive: 2016 Chevrolet Volt

More reasons to plug in as Chevy does a ground-up on its extended-range electric vehicle.

by on Oct.07, 2015

The 2016 Chevrolet Volt gets a new look, a new powertrain, and more range and power.

Few recent product launches have sparked more interest than the debut of the original Chevrolet Volt, the world’s first mass-market plug-in hybrid. But after an initial flurry of sales, demand has sharply slackened off. The question is whether Chevy can charge things back up as it launches an all-new version of what it prefers to call an “extended-range electric vehicle.”

Coming barely a half-decade after the debut of the original model, one might have expected this to be a modest, mid-cycle update. But the 2016 Chevrolet Volt is a ground-up makeover, something that’s apparent from the first quick glance. It becomes even more obvious when you slip inside and hit the Start button. About the only thing carried over is the goofy sound effect sequence that tells you it’s ready to roll.

Plug In!

By the numbers, there’s more to like: the 2016 Volt not only squeezes in another passenger but also squeezes out 40% more range on battery power alone – now an EPA-estimated 53 miles. By Chevy’s accounting, most owners are now likely to clock as much as 1,000 miles before they have to fill up the gas tank feeding the range-extending I-4 engine – which is also new on the ’16 model.


Battery Prices Tumbling Rapidly

EVs, plug-ins set to become more competitive.

by on Sep.18, 2015

The Audi e-tron Quattro SUV Concept will be followed by a production model around 2018.

Automakers normally go to great pains to promote their latest models. But when the new Fiat 500e was launched a couple years ago, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne asked potential buyers to steer clear, admitting, “We will lose $10,000 per vehicle.”

The primary reason? The high cost of the batteries used to power the 500e, lithium-ion technology running as much as $1,000 per kilowatt-hour at the beginning of the decade. For most of the battery-cars now on the market their onboard power packs account for the overwhelming share of the vehicle’s price tag – sometimes even more than what customers have actually been paying.

Power Up!

But battery prices finally appear to be heading down. While industry officials are generally reluctant to discuss such a competitive detail, observers believe many manufacturers are now paying about $400 per kWh, and during a conversation at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week, Audi’s R&D chief Ulrich Hackenberg told that the maker expects that to dip to $200, perhaps closer to $100 by decade’s end.


Nissan Bumps Up Battery Range of Leaf By 27%

Further improvements expected.

by on Sep.10, 2015

The 2016 Nissan Leaf will get up to 100 miles per charge using a larger battery pack.

The 2016 version of the Nissan Leaf will now be able to travel an estimated 107 miles between charges, a 27% increase over the original version of the battery-electric vehicle.

The Japanese maker is taking advantage of improvements in lithium-ion technology to squeeze a 30 kilowatt-hour battery into the 2016 model. Until now, the Nissan Leaf had used a 24 kWh pack. Nissan now claims to offer “best-in-class” range, and the numbers are better than such competitors as the Ford Focus EV that get less than 100 miles per charge. But it still lags well behind the much costlier Tesla Model S, as well as the 200-mile Bolt model Chevrolet is currently developing.

Charge Up!

“We know that to maintain that leadership, we must continue developing battery technology that strikes that ideal balance between capacity, packaging, durability and affordability,” said Andrew Speaker, director, Nissan Electric Vehicle Sales & Marketing.


British Road Project Could Eliminate Electric Vehicle Range Anxiety

Pilot project is building chargers into the road itself.

by on Aug.20, 2015

Eventually, British roads might add special lanes just for electric vehicles to recharge.

Imagine being able to drive as long as you’d like, the length of your trip limited only by the capacity of your bladder, not by the size of your fuel tank – or your battery.

A pilot project about to get underway in England could make it easy. The government-owned Highways England is launching an 18-month trial that eventually may help eliminate so-called “range anxiety,” making it possible for electric vehicles to charge while they drive, drawing power from the road itself.

Stay Charged Up!

It’s one of a variety of creative concepts that highway planners are studying. A Dutch company wants to replace conventional asphalt with interlocking, Lego-like blocks created from recycled soft drink bottles. A U.S. entrepreneur, meanwhile, wants to replace conventional pavement with blocks of glass, turning the road itself into a giant solar panel, generating power that perhaps could be used for recharging electric vehicles.


Acura Again Delays Return of NSX Supercar

Revisions to powertrain, body blamed.

by on Aug.19, 2015

Acura revealed the revised version of the new NSX at the Pebble Beach Concours.

If you’ve been waiting to get your hands on the reborn Acura NSX you will have to wait just a little bit longer.

The original end-of-year target for getting the supercar into showrooms has been pushed back to the first quarter of 2016, officials with the Honda luxury brand have confirmed. But that’s not all bad news. The extra time will give Acura an opportunity to improve the performance of the two-seater.

Your Reliable Source!

As it now stands, the production model will get a significant boost in performance compared to what was planned when the supposedly final, production version of the Acura NSX was unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show last January.