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EV, Hybrid Owners Swapping Green Rides for SUVs

Improved fuel efficiency of SUVs helping to draw green model owners.

by on Apr.22, 2016

If you're driving one of these now, the odds are better than ever your previous vehicle was a hybrid or an EV.

All of those new SUVs trundling down America’s roadways may have more in common than what meets the eye. With increasing frequency, those new sport-ute owners are former EV or hybrid devotees.

A new study from Edmunds.com shows that just 27.5% of all hybrids and electric vehicles traded in this year were swapped for another like model. It’s a substantive drop from the 38.5% from 2015.

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And the vehicle they’re most likely to replace their gas sipper for? Yup, an SUV. Edmunds found that a hybrid or electric trade-in is more likely to go toward the purchase of a ute 33.8% more often than another hybrid or EV. (more…)

Gen-2 Chevy Volt’s EV Range Jumps to 53 Miles

Updated model also gets performance boost, fifth seat.

by on Aug.04, 2015

The 2016 Chevrolet Volt will get a 40% boost in its battery-only range.

The second-generation Chevrolet Volt will deliver 40% more range in battery mode than the original version of the plug-in hybrid, the maker announced today.

At 53 miles per charge, the compact sedan will permit buyers to commute or run even more errands without using any gas, General Motors officials have suggested. They also hope to increase the appeal of the 2016 Chevrolet Volt by offering better performance and more interior space, the new plug-in now capable of seating five, rather than four like the original model.

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“We listened to our customers,” Volt chief engineer Andrew Farah said ahead of a news conference at the annual Management Briefing Seminars, in Traverse City, Michigan. “They were very clear when they told us that they wanted more range, and a fun driving experience behind the wheel. We are confident that the 2016 Volt delivers both.”

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Hybrid, Battery-Car Sales Slumped in First Half of 2015

Demand shifts from small, efficient, to big and powerful.

by on Jul.02, 2015

Honda Civic Hybrid production ended last month.

At the beginning of 2014, when fuel prices seemed headed for new record highs, U.S. shoppers couldn’t drive off fast enough with small cars and alternative-power vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius and Nissan Leaf.

But with fuel costs down by at least $1 a gallon across the country, manufacturers have been struggling to sell those same, high-mileage vehicles. That’s forced them to stack up new incentives on the hood and, in some cases, slash production.

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That poses a challenge for the industry as it faces new fuel economy mandates for 2016 – with even tougher targets phasing in from now until 2025. Even so, automakers show little sign of retreating from the aggressive plans they’ve put in place to introduce new battery-based vehicles and other clean alternatives.

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Green Car Purchasers More Likely to Pay with Green

Buyers used cash more often for alternative fuel vehicle, study shows.

by on Apr.22, 2015

The Toyota Prius was the most registered green car last year, according to Experian.

If you’re looking to buy a green vehicle, it appears you’re more likely to simply drop a bunch of green to do it, according to a recent study.

Buyers of alternative fuel vehicles last year were more likely to pay cash for their EV or hybrid than those purchasing a vehicle with a traditional internal combustion engine, said Experian Automotive.

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Sales of those vehicles have been in the decline through the first quarter of this year, but those buying them are pretty much a sure thing for automakers. More than 18% of consumers that purchased a “Green” vehicle paid in cash, compared to 15.2% of those that purchased a gas-powered vehicle, the company said. (more…)

Ford Plans to Take on Toyota Prius with New Hybrid Line

New “dedicated” hybrid line expected to debut in 2019.

by on Aug.22, 2014

Ford will take dead aim at the segment leader, the Toyota Prius, with its new "dedicated" hybrid.

Already one of the most ambitious players in the battery-based vehicle market, Ford Motor Co. wants to take a run at hybrid market leader Toyota with a new gasoline-electric model it will launch in 2018, according to a new report.

The as yet-unnamed model will be directly targeted at the Toyota Prius, the world’s most popular hybrid-electric vehicle, and will use a dedicated design, unlike other Ford hybrids that are pitched as optional alternatives in conventional vehicles.

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A report by the Reuters news service says the new model will be produced in a plant near Detroit, likely the factory in Wayne, Michigan that currently produces a mix of other Ford battery-cars, including the Focus EV, and the C-Max, which is offered in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid configurations in the U.S.

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Despite Fires, Range Issues EV Sales Continue to Rise

Year-to-date sales have blown past all of 2012 results.

by on Oct.24, 2013

BMW is already considering increasing production levels on its new i3. Global electric vehicles sales are up significantly this year.

Despite the concerns including range anxiety and battery fires, sales of both plug in hybrids and battery electric vehicles have increased significantly.

The Union of Concerned Scientists, a major promoter of electric vehicles, said sales of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs), including both plug-in hybrids and battery electrics, are up significantly compared with last year. More than 59,000 EVs were sold in the United States by the end of August — already surpassing EV sales for all of 2012.

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In addition, sales in California, where major manufacturers such as General Motors, Chrysler, Daimler AG and Honda, have focused their attention sales are more than double the rate of last year, representing 29% of U.S. plug-in vehicles sales. California is the one state with tough regulations that require carmakers to offer zero-emission EV’s as part of their fleet. (more…)

Hybrid and Battery Vehicle Sales Finally Gaining Momentum

But getting buyers back is a problem.

by on Apr.22, 2013

2013 Toyota Prius again dominated the hybrid and advance battery vehicle segment in 2012.

It’s Earth Day, and if you’re thinking about something more environmentally friendly when it’s next time to trade in, you’re not alone.  While sales of “green” cars are often linked to the rise and fall of fuel prices, there’s been a slow but unmistakable increase in demand, especially for hybrids and other battery vehicles which set an all-time record in 2012.

Products like the ever-popular Toyota Prius accounted for 3.1% of the overall U.S. new car market last year, reports data tracking service Experian Automotive, a 49% year-over-year jump from the 2.2% market share in 2011. The downside is that only about one in three hybrid owners buy another gas-electric model when they trade in, according to other industry reports.

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“Hybrid vehicle owners have long been perceived as environmentally conscience consumers,” said Melinda Zabritski, Experian’s director of automotive credit. “While they may have made the vehicle purchase due to caring for the environment, our research shows that hybrid owners are economically minded as well. Hybrid owners tend to have outstanding credit histories, which also has enabled them to obtain financing at lower rates than typical consumers.”

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JCI Buys Bankrupt Battery Maker A123

Maker rejects Chinese rescue bid.

by on Oct.17, 2012

A123 fell victim to slow battery car demand - and manufacturing problems.

A123 Systems Inc., the Waltham, Massachusetts firm that had promised to revolutionize the car business with its batter technology, has filed for bankruptcy protection and announced it was selling all of its automotive assets to Johnson Controls Inc. for approximately $125 million.

That move came as the fast-faltering A123 elected to nix an alternative deal with a Shanghai-based battery company, Shanghai Advanced Traction Battery Co., which was supposed to ease A123′s cash flow crisis – but which also created a political stir considering the U.S. firm’s outstanding government loans.

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The sale to JCI, one of the auto industry’s largest suppliers, should permit the now bankrupt battery maker to maintain deliveries to an assortment of automakers that includes the California start-up Fisker Automotive.

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Midsize Cars Dominating the Market

Camry tops sales charts, with Ford F-Series close behind – but hybrids are on a tear.

by on Sep.11, 2012

The Toyota Camry led the market for the first half.

If you’re wondering what impact rising fuel prices have had on automotive sales this year consider that the Toyota Camry has displaced the perennially best-selling Ford F-Series at the top of the chart.

So-called “midrange” cars dominated the market during the first half of the year, according to a new study of vehicle registrations by Experian Automotive.  In fact, five of the top 10 vehicles were midsize sedans, including not only Camry but the Ford Fusion and Nissan Altima.  There also were two compact sedans and a compact SUV.

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But don’t rule out big trucks. The F-Series is only a hairsbreadth behind Camry and could yet land as the nation’s best-seller for the full year, according to Experian, continuing a nearly three-decade-long domination.  Rounding out the top 10 was another full-size pickup, the Chevrolet Silverado. And while they didn’t come close to the top, hybrid vehicles definitely made some significant gains early in the year.

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A Third of American Motorists “Interested” in Hybrids

They look – but will they buy?

by on Aug.09, 2012

Americans are showing a growing interest in hybrids - at least in the polls.

Hybrid vehicles have landed on the radar of a growing number of American motorists, according to a new Harris Poll.  Nearly a third will consider buying one of the high-mileage vehicles and almost a quarter of those surveyed indicating they’re more interested in hybrids than just a year ago.

On the other hand, 59% of American motorists already expect to buy a conventionally powered vehicle the next time they’re in the market.  And, if history holds true in the near future, the vast majority of those who now seem to be open to hybrids will stick with more conventional technology, as well.

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Nonetheless, “This survey shows that automakers are starting to win over consumer confidence in hybrid vehicles, especially with younger drivers,” said Mike Chadsey, Vice President, Automotive Solutions Consultant, Harris Interactive. “While this appears to be driven in large part by personal economic needs to reduce fuel expenses, automakers seem to be making a strong case for the performance and reliability of hybrid vehicles compared to traditional options.”

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