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Posts Tagged ‘extended-range electric vehicles’

EV Buyers Tend to Be Younger, More Affluent Than Hybrid Owners

One in five battery-car owners has income topping $175,000.

by on Apr.22, 2014

The high cost of the Tesla Model S has raised the average income for all EV buyers.

Motorists who purchase battery-electric vehicles tend to be younger and more affluent than drivers who buy more conventional hybrid vehicles, according to a new study.

That’s in line with other studies that have found the Tesla Model S has become one of the most popular products among motorists in the nation’s wealthiest zip codes.

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“At first glance, one would imagine that consumers purchasing either a hybrid or electric vehicle would be nearly identical; both are environmentally conscious, are of similar ages and have higher income levels,” said Melinda Zabritski, senior director for Experian Automotive. But the data tracking firm found surprising differences.


Sales of Plug-Based Vehicles Doubled in 2013

Segment approaches 100,000 sales for first time.

by on Jan.06, 2014

The Chevy Volt was the market's best-selling plug-based vehicle in 2013 - though sales were down from 2012.

For the first time ever, sales of plug-based vehicles came within a hairsbreadth of hitting the 100,000 mark last year, jumping by 84% year-over-year as a flood of new products came to market.

Conventional hybrid vehicles scored a more modest but still strong 15% increase in demand last year, reaching an all-time record of nearly 500,000 sales.  Together, all battery-based vehicles still captured less than 4% of the total U.S. new vehicle market, however, less than the total number of F-Series pickups Ford Motor Co. sold for just the first 11 months of 2013.

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Nonetheless, advocates contend that the numbers show a growing interest in battery-based vehicles, something that’s backed up by several recent surveys showing more American motorists are considering the technology as a viable alternative.

They have a growing list to choose from, a total of 16 different plug-based offerings reaching U.S. showrooms last year.  With yet more new battery-based vehicles coming this year, the consensus is that sales of plug-based vehicles – both plug-in hybrids and pure battery-electric vehicles, or PHEVs and BEVs – will smash through the 100,000 mark in the coming year, though the segment is likely to remain a small niche for the foreseeable future.


Cadillac’s New ELR Spotted in Camouflage

Plug-in to debut at Detroit Auto Show.

by on Jan.08, 2013

There's a Cadillac ELR under the camouflage - seen during tests on the back roads of Southern California.

With somewhere close to 60 new products set to debut at the Detroit Auto Show next week, manufacturers are looking for ways to get their own new products to stand out from the crowd, and has received – and posted a number of teasers and preview images in recent days.

One of the more intriguing shots to land in our e-mailbox comes from Cadillac.  The image you see here may bring to mind some of MC Escher’s surrealist works – or perhaps an inkblot test – but under the camouflage is the all-new Caddy ELR plug-in hybrid set to debut at Detroit’s Cobo Center next week.

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The maker has been keeping an equally tight wrap on details, giving just the vaguest outline of what the ELR will bring to the market – and how it will differ from the current Chevrolet Volt plug-in.

“Cadillac customers are going to enjoy the unique features ELR will bring to the market. We’re going to change the way people think about luxury and electrification,” Chris Thomason, ELR’s chief engineer, hints.


Detroit Plant Will Build New Cadillac ELR Plug-In

Luxury version will get better performance, more features.

by on Oct.16, 2012

Cadillac will get an upscale cousin of the Chevy Volt with next year's launch of the new ELR plug-in.

General Motors will invest $35 million in a Detroit assembly plant so it can begin production of the new Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid about this time next year.

The ELR will be a luxury version of the more mainstream Chevrolet Volt and the European Opel Ampera. Though the maker didn’t reveal specific details, the Cadillac plug-in is expected to not only feature a more luxurious interior but also an upgrade to its battery-based driveline that will deliver improved performance and possibly enhanced range.

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“The ELR will be in a class by itself, further proof of our commitment to electric vehicles and advanced technology,” Mark Reuss, president of General Motors North America, said during an industry trade conference. “People will instantly recognize it as a Cadillac by its distinctive, signature look and true-to-concept exterior design.”


Fisker Delaying Atlantic Plug-in Launch By Full Year

Leaked Documents show target price of “$50,000 to $60,000.”

by on May.16, 2012

The Fisker Atlantic at its NY debut last month.

Plagued by a cash shortage and struggling to find alternative funding sources in case it can’t free up a frozen government loan, California battery-car start-up Fisker Automotive is telling prospective investors it plans to delay by about a year the launch of its second product line.

The Fisker Atlantic is now expected to reach market sometime in mid-2014 according to leaked company documents that fell into the hands of the Inside EVs website.  The struggling maker intends to move ahead with production at an old General Motors plant in Delaware despite sending signals that it might be looking for an alternative, lower-cost production site.

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During a media preview prior to the New York Auto Show last month, Fisker declined to discuss specific details about the new extended-range electric vehicle.  It would only hint that the new model would come in at “a much lower price point” than the current, $103,000 Fisker Karma.

But Fisker now is telling investors that it expects to price the Atlantic – until recently known by the codename Project Nina – somewhere in the $50,000 to $60,000 range.  It will target the plug-in hybrid against the likes of the BMW 3- and 5-Series, Audi A4 and A5 and Mercedes-Benz C- and E-Class models.


Fisker Offers Official Look at New Atlantic Plug-In

But details, including production timing, remain elusive.

by on Apr.04, 2012

The first official pic of the Fisker Atlantic plug-in hybrid.

Henrik Fisker, founder of the eponymous Fisker Automotive, was clearly searching for something new to reveal during an evening news conference the night before the formal opening of the 2012 New York Auto Show.  The problem is that much of what he had hoped to say – and then some – leaked out in the days leading up to the event.

The most important detail confirmed by the Danish designer-cum-automaker was that the second Fisker product line will be dubbed the Atlantic if it ever gets into production.  Make that “when” it gets to production, Fisker asserted, insisting that the California start-up’s problems locking down a Department of Energy loan it thought it already had will not stop its ambitious plans.

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Fisker belatedly reached market with the bigger and decidedly more expensive Karma earlier this year.  But problems bringing it to showrooms led the DoE to withdraw the loan after the company had only been able to draw down about 35% of it.  While new Chief Executive Officer Tom LaSorda is continuing discussions with the government, he told that Fisker Automotive is moving ahead with alternative plans to raise money privately to replace the DoE funds.


First Look: Infiniti Emerg-E

Shows battery cars can be Sex-E.

by on Feb.27, 2012

The Infiniti Emerg-E uses a mid-mounted range-extending drivetrain.

Who says battery cars have to be dull to downright boring? True, the Toyota Prius and Mitsubishi i likely won’t win design awards but the new Infiniti Emerg-E suggests that battery cars can be downright Sex-E.

The Infiniti concept is the latest in a string of concepts and production cars coming to the Geneva Motor Show next month that have already leaked out.

The luxury arm of Nissan Motor Co. has been hinting for some time that it plans to follow its bigger sibling and enter the electric vehicle market.  Exactly what role the Emerg-E will actually have in the Infiniti line-up remains to be seen but it’s certainly going to draw some attention with looks that are more than a little reminiscent of the new McLaren MP4-12C.

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But instead of a 600-horsepower small-block V-8, the Infiniti Emerg-E features a range-extended electric drivetrain.  Details are set to follow but if you look closely at the images here you’ll notice the mid-mounted gasoline engine side of that powertrain is clearly visible beneath the show car’s all-glass roof.


A Year Later: A Closer Look at the Chevrolet Volt

A great drive for a Chevy - but a price tag of a Cadillac.

by on Oct.17, 2011

With the Chevrolet Volt on the road nearly a year we decided to give it another close look.

It’s been a year since reported first driving the innovative Chevrolet Volt, the first fully developed gas-electric plug-in hybrid.  In the months since there has been a lot written about the Volt, its rivalry with the pure battery-electric Leaf and the slow market acceptance of battery vehicles.  So, we thought, it might be time to go back and take another look to see if that initial, positive review still held.

In a few words, I liked it. A lot. It neatly solves the problem of range anxiety suffered by pure electrics. The Volt switches back-and-forth effortlessly from stored electric juice to its 1.4-liter
Austrian-made gasoline engine. Altogether, it is a very pleasant, quiet, easily handling, smooth performing and riding car.

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The biggest problem I could discern was the nameplate. At a sticker price of nearly $44,000 as delivered from GM’s media test fleet and quipped with premium options of navigation system and sunroof—but before the federal tax credits — General Motors should have branded it a Cadillac.

Normally, new car buyers would not consider entering a Chevrolet dealership to cough up that kind of money, whereas they’d expect it at a Cadillac store. Still, whatever the brand name, this kind of car does not attract normal buyers, as witness the Toyota’s experience with the Prius. People don’t buy hybrids and electrics to save money on fuel costs. They do it because they like new, high-tech toys, because they want to help the environment, because they want to stick a thumb in the eye of Middle East (or Texas) oil barons, or just because they’re show-offs.


Fisker to Unveil Third Karma Variant in Frankfurt

Crossover-like model aims to expand appeal of $90,000 plug-in commuter car.

by on Aug.05, 2011

Fisker Automotive founder Henrik Fisker with his plug-in hybrid, the $87,900 Karma.

With sales of the new Karma battery car unofficially underway, California battery-car start Fisker Automotive will roll out an additional variant of the costly commuter car at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show.

The sleek combination of a sports car and a plug-in hybrid commuter car is initially being offered in hardtop form, with a convertible version soon to be added to the line.  A third body style, which sources say could be “loosely described” as a crossover vehicle, will follow.

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“It is a new variant and we will be showing it at Frankfurt,” Fisker spokesman Roger Ormischer confirmed to, though he declined to provide more specific details beyond noting, “We will be putting it on sale next year.”


Karma Set to Launch, Fisker Ready to Risk Everything

Production of Karma plug-in begins this month.

by on Mar.10, 2011

Henrik Fisker at his stand in Geneva.

More than three years after announcing plans to produce a high-performance plug-in hybrid, Danish designer-cum-entrepreneur Henrik Fisker is ready to put his money – and a half billion dollars of U.S. taxpayer cash – where his mouth is.

The sleek Fisker Karma coupe officially goes into production on March 21st, after several earlier delays.  How it fares could reveal whether the automotive market is open to new players, like Fisker Automotive, ready to challenge the traditional industry order by focusing on environmentally-friendly powertrain technology.

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These days, there are dozens of automotive wannabes hoping to cash in on the green movement.  They’ve collectively raised billions from investors and entrepreneurs who believe this is the first real opening since the U.S. automotive ranks began to dwindle during the Great Depression.  And some have been able to count on the help of the federal treasury, the Obama Administration approving billions of dollars in loans and grants intended to promote electric propulsion.

The situation “is similar to 100 years ago when we moved from the horse and buggy but the choice between steam, electric and gasoline wasn’t clear yet,” suggests Fisker, who first made a name for himself as a designer of high-performance sports cars like the Aston Martin DB9.