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Better Late Than Never: Chevy Volt Sales Finally Hit 100,000 Mark

Tesla Model S outselling Volt despite rising sales.

by on Aug.01, 2016

Chevy hit a milestone: it recently took an order for the 100,000th Volt.

Chevrolet is marking an important milestone, General Motors’ biggest brand taking an order for the 100,000th Volt plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle.

The Chevy Volt has been one of the world’s top-selling plug-based vehicles ever since its launch in December 2010, but tempering any celebration is the fact that the Volt hasn’t come close to meeting the brand’s once-ambitious sales targets. At one point, GM officials were hoping to deliver as many as 40,000 of the vehicles annually in the U.S. alone.

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“Not only is the Volt a class-creator, it serves as the foundation of a Chevrolet electric family that will soon add the first long-range, affordable EV available to customers across the U.S., the Chevrolet Bolt EV,” said Steve Majoros, director of marketing, Chevrolet Cars and Crossovers, in a statement. (more…)

Nissan Considering Extended-Range Hybrid

But despite reports, high-mileage model not locked down for production.

by on Dec.14, 2015

A Nissan E-REV could use a production version of the Sway concept first shown in Geneva.

Nissan is giving serious thought to bringing to market an extended-range electric vehicle, or E-REV. But despite widespread reports, the battery-based vehicle is not yet locked down for production.

Rumors began flying after an Australian publication interviewed Yoshi Shimoida, the deputy general manager of Nissan’s EV and HEV engineering unit. He told Motoring magazine the Japanese maker is working on “something like” the BMW i3 REx, an extended range version of the Bavarian maker’s electric city car.

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Shimoida also stressed that this would be an entirely new model, and not a modified version of the Nissan Leaf – which is expected to offer a much longer-range battery when a second-generation model comes to market in the next couple years.


BMW Speeds Up the Roll-out of its New Plug-In Line-up

Getting a first drive of the new 2-Series Active Tourer eDrive.

by on Jul.01, 2015

This PHEV version of the new 2-Series Active Tourer will be one of four BMW plug-ins coming to market in the months ahead.

For BMW, 2016 is going to be the year of the PHEV. Forget low fuel prices the Bavarians are convinced plug-ins are here to stay, and they’re rolling out and assortment of new models that pick up on the technology first introduced with the exotic BMW i8.

In a matter of months, we’ll see four plug-based models, including versions of the X5, 2 Series Active Tourer, 3 Series and 7 Series.

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Why now? There are all sorts of reasons. For one thing, few expect today’s low fuel prices to last, even in the United States. And tough new emissions and mileage standards will be phasing in over the next decade, making it difficult for luxury manufacturers to remain on the market without adopting cleaner and more efficient powertrain technologies.


Fisker Karma Set for Revival

But will be renamed Elux Karma.

by on Apr.06, 2015

A new version of the Fisker Karma - now renamed Elux Karma - is set to debut this month.

After a spectacular, billion-dollar meltdown, Fisker Automotive is set for a revival – more or less.

The once-promising California start-up crashed and burned and was purchased out of bankruptcy by China’s Wanxiang Group which hoped to relaunch the plug-in hybrid Fisker Karma. The Chinese company is teasing the turnaround of what will now be known as the Elux Karma.


Proclaiming “It’s On,” Wanxiang is promising to show off its version of the Karma sometime later this month — possibly at the upcoming Shanghai Motor Show. Other details are scarce, though a report by the China Daily suggests the reborn plug-in sports car will make it back into showrooms in mid-2016 at a price tag of around $135,000.


Pricing Wars: Plug-in Hybrid, EV Prices Dropping

Makers cutting lease payments on vehicles.

by on Mar.26, 2015

BMW recently cut the lease price on its electric i3 model to $239 a month. The maker isn't alone in reducing prices.

Gas prices aren’t the only prices dropping these days. Automakers are cutting prices on their electric vehicles.

Despite strong sales early on, BMW recently announced buyers can lease an i3 for as low as $239 a month. However, just after that, Honda put out a new $199 lease for its Fit EV subcompact. The new lease price is a $60 a month cut from its previous offer of $259 a month.


It’s not just the leases prices. Heading into this year, Ford announced it was cutting the price of its Focus battery electric vehicle as well: by $6,000. The new starting price is $29,995 before any federal, state or local incentives are applied, which can cut the final price as much as $7,500. It was the second time the automaker cut the price on the Focus. It cut it $4,000 in 2013 hoping to drive sales then. (more…)

Volvo Reveals “Twin Engine” XC90 T8

Plug-in SUV balances performance, fuel efficiency.

by on Dec.08, 2014

The Volvo XC90's plug-in drive will allow it to launch from 0 to 62 in 5.9 seconds - and yield 25 miles on battery power alone.

Volvo is out to prove that an SUV can be environmentally friendly – and still be a lot of fun to drive.

The maker is offering a first look at the new XC90 T8, a plug-in version of its next-generation SUV that it expects to deliver high fuel economy, low emissions and near sports car-like performance, with 0 to 100 kmh (0 to 62 mph) launch times of just 5.9 seconds.

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“The XC90 T8 is a plug-in electric car, hybrid car and high-performance car rolled into one,” explains R&D chief Peter Mertens. “The Drive-E engines already offer highly competitive performance versus the competition. The T8 takes it further into a leading position.”


Michigan to Become GM’s Global Electric Vehicle Center

CEO Barra to offer up some details of next Chevy Volt project.

by on Oct.28, 2014

GM CEO Mary Barra will meet with Detroit's business leaders and outline plans for Michigan.

(This story has been updated with additional comments by GM CEO Mary Barra.)

While GM isn’t expected to reveal its next-generation Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid until next January, the automaker’s CEO Mary Barra said today.

Among other things, the maker plans to invest $300 million in its home state of Michigan by year-end, a chunk of that cash going to set up the Warren Transmission Plant to produce the next-gen Volt’s plug-in drivetrain. Virtually all key powertrain components, from Volt’s batteries to its gasoline “range-extender” engine, will be built in Michigan going forward.

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“Our investments in the Chevy Volt and Michigan signify our commitment to lead the industry in technology and innovation,” CEO Barra told the Detroit Economic Club.

The remake of the Chevrolet Volt is scheduled to debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, marking the first major update to the so-called extended-range electric vehicle since it went on sale late in 2009.


GM to Reveal “All-New” Chevrolet Volt at 2015 Detroit Auto Show

New look, better tech, possibly lower price tag, among likely changes.

by on Aug.07, 2014

Chevrolet offers a tease of the 2016 Volt plug-in hybrid it will unveil at the next Detroit Auto Show.

General Motors will reveal an “all-new” version of its Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid vehicle at the Detroit Auto Show next January, a senior Chevy official confirmed during a speech at an industry confab.

The new model is expected to remain true to its original mission, which is to provide a way for motorists to not only improve their fuel  economy but operate entirely on battery power for much of their day-to-day driving.

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But there are likely to be significant changes to the next-generation Chevy Volt, nonetheless, and various sources tell that the new version will not only get a redesign inside and out, but longer battery range and improvements in performance. Perhaps most importantly, GM will aim to reduce the price of the plug-in hybrid to improve its competitors and reverse weakening demand.


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.


VW Shows Sporty Fun Can Also Be Enviro-Friendly with Golf GTE

Plug-in hatch set to debut in Geneva next month.

by on Feb.21, 2014

The new VW Golf GTE is the more enviro-friendly sibling of the sporty GTI hot hatch.

If you equate the word, “sporty,” with “gas-guzzling,” Volkswagen is out to prove you wrong with the upcoming launch of the new Golf GTE.

The “E,” of course, is the giveaway, this plug-in hybrid-electric hatchback set to make its world debut at next month’s Geneva Motor Show.  According to VW, the new model will deliver as much as 31 miles in all-electric mode and using the European rating system gets an estimated 157 miles per gallon.

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But it also can pump out 201 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, enough to defy the traditional image of a hybrid by launching from 0 to 100 kmh (0 to 62.5 mph) in just 7.6 seconds. It can hit a top speed of 135 mph, and will even reach 81 mph in battery mode – though you’ll expect that to cut your range substantially.