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Hyundai Aiming for #2 in Green Vehicle Market

Korean maker and partner Kia will launch 26 “eco” models by 2020.

by on May.25, 2016

The Hyundai Ioniq will be offered with hybrid, plug-in and EV versions.

Hyundai has big plans for the “eco” market, with the maker planning to introduce 26 new hybrid, plug-in, battery-electric and fuel-cell  vehicles between now and 2020, a blitz that begins with this year’s launch of the new Ioniq model.

The challenge, said the head of the Korean carmaker’s green car program, will be winning over motorists who’ve so far shown a reluctance to buy battery and hydrogen cars in large numbers. But, facing increasingly stringent emissions and mileage mandates, Hyundai – and its rivals – have no choice but to bring cleaner, more energy-efficient products to market, said executive Byung Ki Ahn.

Plug In!

“We’re making a serious effort to be the number two producer of EVs and fuel-cell vehicles,” said Ahn, the director of the Eco-Vehicle Performance Development Group for Hyundai and partner Kia. “I don’t think we can beat Toyota right away.”

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Hyundai Blitzing Market with 26 Green Machines

Korean maker aims to rival Toyota in alternative powertrain technology.

by on Apr.05, 2016

The Hyundai Ioniq makes its debut at the NY Auto Show. Hybrid, plug-in and EV versions will be offered.

When Hyundai pulled the wraps off its new Ioniq model last month, it offered three different alternative flavors: a conventional hybrid, a plug-in and a pure battery-electric version. But that’s just the beginning of the Korean carmaker’s green car push.

Within the next four years, Hyundai Motor Group – including both the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands – intends to flood the market with 26 green machines, including both battery and hydrogen-powered models.

Power Up!

The move is a risky one, especially in light of current, low gas prices that could stay depressed for several more years. But if Hyundai can pull it off, only Toyota would offer more models using alternative powertrain technology.

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First Look: Kia Optima Hybrid

Korea’s smaller maker enters the battery world.

by on Nov.18, 2010

Kia's first hybrid goes with higher-power, lighter-weight lithium batteries.

Kia is making its belated entry into electric propulsion with the launch of its first gas-electric model, the 2011 Optima Hybrid, at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The new model, similar in underlying technology to the new Sonata hybrid sold by Korean sibling Hyundai, is expected to push the fuel efficiency of the midsize sedan to more than 40 mpg.

Tom Loveless, Kia vice president of sales, said while the hybrid market is small, “it’s a growing segment. The interest in alternative powertrains is continuing to grow,” he said.

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Kia’s first-ever hybrid in the U.S. will attract those looking for a striking and well-equipped sedan that does not sacrifice style, comfort, performance or value for fuel efficiency, Loveless said.

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Enterprise To Begin Renting Nissan Leaf

100 battery cars will be offered in eight cities.

by on Jul.28, 2010

You'll soon be able to Leaf an Enterprise Rent-a-Car lot driving Nissan's new battery car.

The first chance many potential customers will get to drive the new Nissan Leaf battery-electric vehicle could come at an Enterprise Rent-a-Car lot.

The company plans to begin offering 100 Leafs for rent, starting next January, shortly after the debut of the BEV, which is targeted to go to fleet markets first, then follow up with retail sales in late 2011.  Enterprise says it will start with eight markets, including Los Angeles, generally seen as the country’s most battery car-friendly city.

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The rental firm hasn’t yet set a price for a daily rental of the Leaf, though a spokeswoman hinted it will likely be higher than a similar-sized gasoline-powered vehicle.  But that applies to the compact Nissan sedan itself.

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First Look: 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

Claiming mileage crown in U.S. luxury market.

by on Mar.31, 2010

Lincoln's first hybrid is also being billed as the most fuel-efficient luxury car in North America.

Looking to build its position among high-mileage makers, Ford Motor Co. has been rolling out a variety of green products, and the latest entry into its line-up promises to give its high-line Lincoln brand bragging rights as the most fuel-efficient luxury car in America.

The marque’s first gas-electric model, the 2011 Lincoln MKZ, promises to deliver 41 miles per gallon in the EPA’s City cycle, a full 6 mpg more than its closest competitor, the Lexus HS250h.  The Lincoln also can operate in battery-only mode at speeds up to 47 miles per hour, compared with 25 mph for the Lexus in EV mode.

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“Lincoln’s hallmarks are design, technology and comfort. Now, Lincoln also delivers the best fuel efficiency of any luxury sedan in America,” Mark Fields, Ford’s president of The Americas, declared in a press release.

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Wirelessly Charged Electric Vehicle Runs in Seoul

Previous attempts at removing the power plug have failed.

by on Mar.18, 2010

The OLEV is powered by electricity from an electrical charging strip 5 cm under the road.

A wirelessly charged electric vehicle went into service  last week at the Seoul Grand Park in Gwacheon, traversing a 2.2 kilometer-long circular route through the zoo.

Known as on-line electric vehicle (OLEV), the jitney is  powered by electricity from an electrical charging strip planted about 5 cm under the road surface, with a 13 cm gap between the road surface and the vehicle.

It is in pilot operation at the theme park, replacing diesel powered shuttle trains that ran on diesel fuel.

The OLEV, developed by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), is charged wirelessly over a 400-meter long stretch of electrical strip. A special electrical strip creates a magnetic field that generates magnetic force, which is sent wirelessly to the vehicle and converted into electricity.

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Wireless!

Similar vehicle demonstrations from other companies have failed in the United States and elsewhere.

The first KAIST OLEV was built and the electrical strips were laid in January. Numerous safety evaluations and test runs to improve efficiency have been conducted since then.   (more…)

First Drive: 2010 Nissan Leaf

Will consumers plug into battery powered 5-seater?

by on Nov.13, 2009

Nissan rolls out a prototype of the 2011 Leaf battery-electric vehicle to launch its 22-city "Zero Emissions Tour."

Nissan rolls out a prototype of the 2011 Leaf battery-electric vehicle to launch its 22-city "Zero Emissions Tour," before next year's introduction.

Every so often, the fate of an automaker winds up riding on a single new product.  For Nissan, the new Leaf could be exactly one of those vehicles.

No, if the little 5-seat sedan, set to roll into showrooms next year, fails to attract enough buyers, the Japanese automaker won’t go broke.  But Nissan’s corporate pride and image clearly have been wed to the success of the battery-electric vehicle, or BEV.

Long the also-ran in terms of bringing environmentally-friendly products to market, Nissan hopes to leapfrog leaders like Toyota and Honda, who it contends are taking only halfway measures, focusing on hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles that continue to burn petroleum and produce global warming emissions.  Nissan is going all the way, with Leaf – and three other BEVs it’s developing – which will eliminate tailpipe emissions entirely.

No Charge!

No Charge!

While “electrification” has become an industry buzzword, Nissan’s faith in battery technology puts it far out on a limb, with Leaf.  So, we jumped at a chance to take the new electric sedan for a spin – in this case, a moderately short one around a special course set up next to Dodge Stadium, in Los Angeles, where the Japanese maker is kicking off a 22-city “Zero Emission Tour” that will lead up to next year’s formal introduction.

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Tesla Reveals Coupe-Like EV Model S Sedan

Silicon Valley start-up claims 300 mile range, 45-minute charges for 7-seater.

by on Mar.27, 2009

Silicon Valley start-up Tesla Motors promises to deliver a 7-seat family sedan with huge storage, 300-mile range and 45-minute charges by 2011.

Silicon Valley start-up Tesla Motors promises to deliver a 7-seat family sedan with huge storage, 300-mile range and 45-minute charges by 2011.

Could the battery car finally be ready to replace the conventional, gasoline-powered automobile?

The Silicon Valley start-up, Tesla Motors, is betting its latest offering could come a lot closer to achieving that green-minded goal, by addressing some of the traditional shortfalls of the electric vehicle: limited range, long charging times, limited functionality, quirky styling and high cost.

Tesla CEO and Internet gazillionaire Elon Musk has revealed his battery-powered Holy Grail to a series of potential customers, and TheDetroitBureau.com has the inside story on the new Model S, which Musk suggests, “will likely be the world’s first, mass-produced, highway-capable EV.”

Whether Tesla can deliver is anything but certain.  Despite the deep pockets of its founder, the company is struggling to come up with the money needed to build an assembly plant.  It had to delay the launch of its Roadster due to nagging technical issues.  And even an online news conference, intended to help launch the Model S, was crippled by technical problems.  But that didn’t smother CEO Musk’s enthusiasm.

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First Drive: Think City EV

Ready to Plug-n-Play.

by on Mar.25, 2009

Will the little City get American motorists to TH!NK more positively about battery-electric vehicles?

Will the City get American motorists to TH!NK more positively about battery-electric vehicles?

We’ve been reading – and writing – a lot about “electrification,” lately, especially here on TheDetroitBureau.com.  To hear the proponents, everyone from General Motors’ retiring car czar, Bob Lutz, all the way up to President Barack Obama, batteries are the future of the auto industry.

Sure, as our new review of the third-generation Toyota Prius suggests, the hybrid-electric vehicle is quickly coming of age.  The latest gasoline-electric technology is nearly seamless and, for many – though clearly not all – American motorists, hybrids are a sound choice.  We’ll have to wait to see if the even more advanced plug-in hybrids, like Chevrolet’s much-heralded Volt, will be equally enticing.  Certainly, there’s a tremendous appeal to the idea of being able to run your daily commute solely on battery power, while still having a gasoline engine to fall back on should you need to make some detours.

But is there a real future for a car with nothing but a battery and a motor under its hood?  That is, arguably, the ultimate goal of the electrified automobile.  Forget gasoline, diesel, ethanol, used cooking grease, or whatever else you might otherwise need to tank up with.  Simply find a plug, charge up and go.

Reality caught up with concept, back in the early 1980s, when California regulators tried to force the first Zero-Emission Vehicles, or ZEVs, down the throat of a reluctant auto industry and a skeptical public.  Back then, the only way to meet the mandate was with the relatively inefficient batteries of the day, heavy lead-acid packs that hadn’t changed much since the legendary Thomas Edison tried to design a better battery for Henry Ford’s wife, Clara, who preferred her clean electric runabout to Henry’s smoky Model T.

California rescinded the original ZEV mandate in a messy politicized process, though their persistence in promoting clean air and better mileage has encouraged automakers and battery manufacturers alike to keep looking for solutions, and the Nickel-Metal Hydride chemistry used in the Prius and other current hybrids is far more efficient than older lead-acid batteries.  Next up, we’ll be getting cars powered by the same, basic Lithium-Ion, or LIon, technology that we find in most modern cellphones and laptop computers.  If the original GM EV1 had used LIon technology, some estimate it could have gone from 50 miles range to somewhere between 150 to more than 200 per charge.

We’ll soon find out, as an assortment of manufacturers are rushing a new generation of battery-electric vehicles to market.  The Silicon Valley start-up, Tesla Motors, has already weighed in, though its $100,000 Roadster will only find a home with the most affluent of green-minded motorists.  Nissan plans to weigh in, by 2011, with a more mainstream BEV.  And others will follow – many of them non-traditional players, like Tesla, who see an opportunity to enter the normally closed automotive market, and a small wannabe named THINK.

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