HEVs | TheDetroitBureau.com
Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Posts Tagged ‘HEVs’

First Look: Volvo C30 Battery Car

Volvo testing compact battery-electric commuter car.

by on Jan.07, 2010

Volvo's battery-electric C30 will begin fleet testing this year, but no date has been set for retail sales.

At first glance, you might not pay much attention to the seemingly familiar Volvo C30 as it rolls by.  But the unexpected absence of sound should be a clue that something is not quite as familiar as it first might seem.

That’s because the Swedish import’s conventional gasoline engine has been replaced by a small electric drivetrain.  The C30 battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, is, for now, just one of a small fleet of prototypes, but if the until now secret development program pans out, it could bring Volvo’s entry into the small but fast-growing battery commuter car segment.

“The Volvo C30 is the first model we will try out with electric power,” explains Lennart Stegland, Director of Volvo Cars Special Vehicles.  “This car’s excellent properties in city traffic and its relatively low weight make it particularly suitable, since electric cars are primarily expected to be used in and around cities and for daily commuting,”

http://www.thedetroitbureau.com/about/subscribe

Stay Plugged In!

While the automaker isn’t revealing all the details, yet, it appears the C30 BEV will use about 24 kWh of lithium-ion batteries, enough to give it a range of about 150 kilometers, or 94 miles, per charge.  The relatively light and compact C30 should be able to accelerate from 0 to 100 kmh (0 to 62.5 mph) in “less than 11 seconds,” according to a corporate news release.  Top speed is limited to 130 kmh (about 81 mph).

(more…)

First Drive: 2011 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid

Green…but still mean.

by on Sep.01, 2009

The 2011 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid is expected to deliver about 28% better mileage than the standard Cayenne V-6, but will match the performance of the SUV with a big V-8.

The Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid is expected to deliver about 28% better mileage than the standard Cayenne V-6, but will match the performance of the SUV with a big V-8.

The Porsche Cayenne has always struck some folks as a bit of an oxymoron, but the German maker has arguably done as good a job as any manufacturing putting the “sport” back in sport-utility vehicle.  Now, however, Porsche is going a step further, and with the upcoming launch of its 2011 Cayenne S Hybrid, it hopes to prove that an SUV can be mean and green.

Though the hybrid-electric vehicle, or HEV, is still about a year away from production, we were given a chance to log some miles when Dr. Michael Leiters, the project’s program manager, rolled into town with one of his first prototypes.

Free subscriptions!

We're Hot Too!

At first glance, you’d not spot anything different about the 2011 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid – not unless you’d parked on a scale, where it would weigh in about 400 pounds more than the base Cayenne V-6.  Considering all that the carmaker has packed into the various nooks and crannies of the big ute, that’s not as much as you might expect.

(more…)

First Drive: 2010 Honda Insight

Hybrid on a budget.

by on Aug.24, 2009

The original hybrid was a teardrop-shaped two-seater. With the launch of the 2010 Honda Insight, the automaker adopts a more conventional four-door design that's still distinctive as a hybrid-only model.

The original hybrid was a teardrop-shaped two-seater. With the launch of the 2010 Honda Insight, the automaker adopts a more conventional four-door design that's still distinctive as a hybrid-only model.

The original, 2000 Honda Insight was the first hybrid-electric vehicle to reach North American shores and it was certainly no trouble to spot it rolling down the road, thanks to its unusual, teardrop-shaped aluminum body.  But the 2-seat design had limited functionality for most Americans and despite its incredible mileage, it quickly slipped in the sales charts and was pulled from the market in 2006.

There were high expectations when the Japanese maker announced plans to launch a new hybrid using the Insight name, and that it would be affordable, distinctive and, this time, for more functional than the original.

Free to Subscribe!

Free to Subscribe!

There’s no question the 2010 Honda Insight lives up to the first two goals, while also delivering solid fuel economy.  But after spending a week behind the wheel, TheDetroitBureau.com found some serious drawbacks to the design that potential buyers should be clearly aware of before signing on the proverbial dotted line.

(more…)

Spy Shot: 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Hyundai finally readying a gas-elecric

by on Jul.31, 2009

Late to the party, the Korean carmaker intends to finally get into the gasoline-electric market with the launch of the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, captured here by our spy photographers.

Late to the party, the Korean carmaker intends to finally get into the gasoline-electric market with the launch of the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, captured here by our spy photographers.

The Sonata, codenamed “YF,” was penned at Hyundai’s design studio in Irvine, CA. We were told there was heated debate in the boardroom over the styling direction of the new Sonata. The final design sports a much sleeker, coupe-like roofline.

We’re hearing that the hybrid model of the Sonata, shown here, will use lithium polymer batteries instead of the often discussed lithium-ion. The polymer batteries are said to be more durable and cheaper to make. Besides obvious clues (our quick sneak-peek under the hood and small exhaust pipe) – this test group consisted of Hyundai’s well-known hybrid battery specialists, and the Sonatas were tested alongside a variety of competitive hybrids.

Your spy shot source!

Your spy shot source!

While the regular Sonata should start production for the U.S in the summer of 2010, the hybrid model should follow sometime in 2011 – likely as a 2012 model.

More pictures can be found at www.LeftLaneNews.com

Brenda Priddy & Company

First Drive: 2010 Toyota Prius

It’s hard to argue with success.

by on Mar.24, 2009

The 2010 Toyota Prius.  Long the world's best-selling hybrid, but there are storm clouds gathering as the hybrid market collapses.

The 2010 Toyota Prius. Long the world's best-selling hybrid, but there are storm clouds gathering as the hybrid market collapses.

It’s hard to argue with success, and since making its American debut, in 1999, the Toyota Prius has been unquestionably the most successful offering in the fast-growing hybrid segment. This time, last year, the Japanese automaker could barely keep up with demand. In an industry where dealers normally keep an average 50 to 60 days worth of inventory on hand, Toyota retailers were averaging something closer to five hours.

Demand was growing so fast that the Japanese maker scrapped plans to produce its Highlander SUV at an all-new plant, in Mississippi, opting instead to build more of the distinctive, 4-door hybrids. Not a bad idea considering dealers were readily demanding – and receiving premiums that could run several thousand dollars over sticker for each Prius they could cajole out of the factory.

But something’s happened, in recent months. Prius sales, which topped 20,000, last June, have plunged to barely 6,000 a month since the beginning of the year. That new plant, down South? The mega-million-dollar project has been put on hold. Sure, the recession has a lot to do with it, and so does the plunge in fuel prices, which are now averaging less than half their mid-2008 peak. Further complicating matters: the arrival of an array of new hybrid-electric vehicles, or HEVs, ranging from the Ford Fusion to Honda’s completely-redesigned Insight, which is hitting showrooms at a rock-bottom $20,000.

Don’t expect Toyota to walk away from the Prius, as it celebrates its 10th anniversary, here in the United States. Far from it.  But the Japanese maker – which has been hit unexpectedly hard by the recession – is keeping its corporate fingers crossed as it launches the third-generation Prius hybrid, which will roll into dealer showrooms this spring. (more…)

Obama Plugs Electrification with Taxpayer Funds

The President visits an EV center, and hypes battery power on the Tonight Show.

by on Mar.20, 2009

Pres. Barack Obama visits CA EV test center, where he announced $2.4 bil program to support battery car development.

President Obama visiting a California electric vehicle test center. He announced a $2.4 billion program to support battery car development.

The nascent battery-car industry is about to get charged up with your money. During a visit to Southern California, President Barack Obama not only lent his support to the proposed electrification of the automobile – but also announced $2.4 billion in grants for the development of the underlying technologies.

The Department of Energy program will help fund research and development work on motors and related systems, but the vast bulk of the money will go to promote the development of a U.S. high-performance battery infrastructure. It is unknown how this program will differ from the failed “Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles” initiative of the 1990s,which spent billions of dollars of taxpayer money on developing the systems for green vehicles at Chrysler, Ford and General Motors that never appeared.

Appearing at a Southern California Edison facility used to test prototype battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, the president noted that the grant program should help meet his goal of putting one million plug-in vehicles on the road by 2015, a stunning number given current sales rates, the state of the economy and previous consumer acceptance of electric cars.

On Thursday night, during an appearance on the Tonight Show, President Obama added that the administration wants to stop ceding dominance to other countries in the rush to electrify. Currently, there is only one facility in the entire country which can produce lithium-ion cells, while other operations simply package batteries produced overseas, mostly in China, Japan and South Korea. In fact, it was the exclusion of the Japanese from participating in the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles that spurred the Japanese government to help Toyota develop its innovative hybrid car, Prius, and its battery industry.

During his various appearances on Thursday, the President made numerous references to the American auto industry and its importance to the nation.  At the Edison facility, he appeared to signal the direction his administration will take when it comes time to decide on the additional aid requests from General Motors and Chrysler.

“Even as our American automakers are undergoing a painful recalibration, they are retooling and re-imagining themselves into an industry that can compete and win, because millions of jobs depend on it,” said Obama. (more…)