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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Hybrid / Green

Nissan Offers the Same 8-Year, 100,000-Mile Battery Warranty As GM

On: Fri, Jul 30, 2010 at 9:35AM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan Offers the Same 8-Year, 100,000-Mile Battery Warranty As GM test 1-1

Last week, GM announced that it would offer an 8-year, 100,000-mile warranty on the lithium-ion batteries that power its upcoming Chevy Volt range-extending electric vehicle. Not to be outdone, Nissan this week matched GM's industry-leading battery warranty on the lithium-ion batteries in its upcoming Leaf electric vehicle. The two vehicles are set to compete for their share of the mainstream electric vehicle market beginning later this year.

Also announced this week, the Chevy Volt will cost over $7,000 more than the Nissan Leaf when it hits the market in November. The Volt will carry a base price of $41,000 while the Leaf bases at $32,780. Volt and Leaf buyers will be eligible for federal tax credits, cutting costs by as much as $7,500.

While the Volt will cost more, Chevy plans to offer a leasing option that is nearly identical to the Leaf's $349/month option. Chevy's lease agreement will cost $350/month over 36 months. Chevy will require $2,500 down, while the Nissan Leaf's 36-month lease requires $1,995.

Porsche Confirms 918 Spyder Hybrid

On: Thu, Jul 29, 2010 at 10:07AM | By: Chris Weiss

Porsche Confirms 918 Spyder Hybrid test 1-1

After months of indications that it would produce the 918 Spyder Hybrid, Porsche confirmed the hybrid coupe for limited series production. The Geneva Motor Show concept will be built in Porsche's Zuffenhausen plant and will supplant the Carrera GT as Porsche's flagship sports car, showing the world that hybrid powertrains can do more than just cut emissions.

Porsche arguably upstaged the entire 2010 Geneva Motor Show when it unveiled the 918 Spyder Hybrid the evening preceding the official start of the show. Easily one of the most fascinating concepts at the show, everything about the hybrid supercar was intriguing. Performance figures were impressive: 3.2 seconds to 62 mph, 198 mph top speed, and the fastest Porsche around Nurburgring with a lap time under 7:30. Porsche's fuel economy claims were equally lofty: 78 mpg in the European cycle and 70 grams of CO2 per kilometer. By all indicators, the 918 Spyder rang the opening bell on a new generation of supercars capable of producing heavyweight power and performance figures while drastically cutting pollution.

In its concept form, the 918 combines the RS Spyder's 500-hp 3.4-liter V8 engine with electric motors mounted on the front and rear axles. Battery power for the motors comes from a mid-mounted lithium-ion battery pack. All told, the coupe pulls 718 horses out of its powertrain, with a seven-speed PDK transmission handling shifting duties.

Enterprise to Rent Out Nissan Leafs in Eight Cities

On: Thu, Jul 29, 2010 at 9:16AM | By: Chris Weiss

Enterprise to Rent Out Nissan Leafs in Eight Cities  test 1-1

Want to get some on-road testing time behind the wheel of an electric vehicle without committing to buying one? Nissan and Enterprise announced this week that you'll get just that opportunity beginning this January. The Japanese automaker is selling a fleet of 500 Leaf electric vehicles to Enterprise Rent-A-Car. The rental company will distribute the EVs to eight separate locations, allowing car renters the opportunity to give the new electric car an extended test run.

Enterprise, which owns Enterprise, Alamo, and National car rental brands, will introduce the Nissan Leaf models to the Seattle, Portland, Oregon, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Tucson, Nashville, and Knoxville markets this winter. It's not yet clear if there will be a premium for Leaf rentals, but Enterprise does offer hybrid vehicles at an increased rental price over gas-powered models so electric vehicles are expected to be priced similarly.

The move by Enterprise seems like a positive one all around: consumers in the cities included will have the opportunity to try Nissan's electric vehicle, Nissan will familiarize the market with EV technology, and Enterprise will make a visible move toward embracing clean technology.

Porsche Developing New Hybrids and Electrics For Next Year

On: Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 10:18AM | By: Chris Weiss

Porsche Developing New Hybrids and Electrics For Next Year  test 1-1

Like its parent company Volkswagen, Porsche is hard at work on a new generation of hybrid and electric vehicles that will begin making their way to the market in 2011. The Stuttgart automaker unveiled the Cayenne S Hybrid at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show and announced this week that a Panamera S Hybrid will share a powertrain with the Cayenne model and launch shortly after it. The company is also deep in the works on an electric vehicle, with testing set to begin next year.

The hybrid powertrain that underpins the Panamera S Hybrid will be the same supercharged 333-hp 3.0-liter V6 and 47-hp electric motor pairing that was detailed for the 2011 Cayenne S Hybrid. That powertrain promises to boost efficiency by 20 percent in the Cayenne and offer all-electric driving.

Porsche came out with its hybrid flags flying this past March in Geneva, offering a look at three hybrid vehicles and concepts. The first was the Cayenne S Hybrid, and the other two were the 918 Spyder Hybrid and the 911 GT3 R Hybrid.

The race-specific 911 GT3 R Hybrid features a pairing of two front-axle-mounted 82-hp electric motors and a flywheel generator, which gathers energy from braking and powers the motors when accelerating. This combination teams with a 480-hp rear-mounted flat-6.


GM Announces Price of Chevy Volt

On: Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 9:42AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

GM Announces Price of Chevy Volt  test 1-1

GM has finally announced the official price for the Chevy Volt, the first extended range electric vehicle to be mass produced by GM.  A brand new Volt will cost buyers $41,000 MRSP, compared to its number one competitor, the Nissan Leaf selling for a little over $32,000.  After the $7,500 tax credit, the bottom line price drops to a much more realistic $33,500 (but the Nissan Leaf’s price will go down proportionally, as well).

Ford Prices Hybrid Lincoln MKZ Hybrid the Same as Gas Version

On: Fri, Jul 23, 2010 at 10:02AM | By: Chris Weiss

Ford Prices Hybrid Lincoln MKZ Hybrid the Same as Gas Version test 1-1

Ford Motor Company announced the pricing on the 2011 Lincoln MKZ sedan today, and the company says that it will "make history" by offering the hybrid sedan at the same $35,180 base price as the gas-powered Lincoln MKZ. Lincoln will be the first luxury automaker to offer a hybrid at the same price as its gas-based sibling. Ford demonstrates its commitment to hybrid vehicles, and consumers have one more reason to carefully consider a greener means of transportation.

Ford calls the MKZ Hybrid "America's most fuel-efficient luxury sedan," a midsize sedan that delivers an EPA-certified 41 mpg. The car uses Ford's second-generation hybrid technology, which centers around a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle I-4 hybrid engine, an engine that earned recognition as one of Ward's 2010 "10 Best Engines." The car delivers fuel economy of 41 mpg on highways and 36 in the city while offering 191 hp. It is capable of driving at speeds up to 47 mph on all-electric propulsion.

The V6-powered MKZ offers 18/27 mpg while delivering 263. 

The MKZ Hybrid offers a variety of green features, including SmartGuage with EcoGuide, a technological display system that helps drivers to maximize their fuel efficiency, and eco-friendly wood trim. Premium features include the Lincoln Sync vehicle Bluetooth communications and entertainment system, memory seat function, heated/cooled front seats, and keyless entry.

Bill to Electrify Half of U.S. Auto Fleet Passes Senate Committee

On: Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 9:46AM | By: Chris Weiss

Bill to Electrify Half of U.S. Auto Fleet Passes Senate Committee  test 1-1

An electric vehicle bill sponsored by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today in a vote of 19 to 4. Called the "Promoting Electric Vehicles Act of 2010," the bill aims to provide the financial incentives necessary to turn half of the vehicles on U.S. roadways into plug-ins by 2030. While easily passing out of committee, the bill faces an uncertain future with the current Senate term winding down toward an August recess and November elections.

Democrats are considering combining the bill with a greater package of energy and climate legislation to be presented on the Senate floor. They're hoping to push that legislation through the Senate in the near future, before recesses in mid-August and November interrupt their plans.

Volkswagen Plans Leading Role in Hybrid/EV Market

On: Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 9:18AM | By: Chris Weiss

VW E-Up! Concept  test 2

Look around the U.S. market today, and you won't see a single Volkswagen hybrid or electric vehicle. You'll have to wait until later this year for that, when the 2011 Touareg hybrid becomes available. While Volkswagen AG has battled with Toyota for the title of world's largest car maker in recent months, it has lagged well behind Toyota and other manufacturers in terms of hybrids and electric vehicles. VW plans to remedy that situation with a barrage of hybrid and electric launches over the next three years, hoping to become a leader in the green auto market.

"I am deeply convinced Volkswagen will play a key role in electrifying the automotive world," VW CEO Martin Winterkorn said at a press conference yesterday. He spoke at VW's Electronics Research Laboratory in Palo Alto, CA, where he was for a 2011 Jetta launch event.

Winterkorn plans to back up this broad statement with a steady stream of hybrid and electric car releases. Following the recent debut of the hybrid Touareg, VW will launch a hybrid Jetta in 2012 and a Golf and Passat in 2013. In terms of EVs, Volkswagen will launch an E-Golf and E-Up! in 2013. An electric Jetta is also planned. 

Other brands within Volkswagen AG will also be introducing electrics and hybrids over the coming years, as well, including the Audi e-tron, Audi Q5 Hybrid, Porsche Cayenne Hybrid and, possibly, the Porsche 918 Spyder Hybrid.

Porsche To Campaign GT3 Hybrid at Petit Le Mans

On: Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 2:10PM | By: John Welch

Porsche To Campaign GT3 Hybrid at Petit Le Mans test 1-1

Those wacky Germans, always brewing up some crazy scheme for world sports car racing domination. The list is enormous, Porsche 917, Audi Quattro, BMW CSL, Audi R8, Sauber Mercedes, Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR, just a few dominant German cars on a list of hundreds. The ubiguitous Porsche 911, in various forms, occupying the top seed on that list.

The newest Porsche nut-case 911 is the GT3 R Hybrid. Using a flywheel-based system to capture energy from braking, this car is equipped with a "push to pass" button that releases stored energy whenever the driver feels like bruising an ego or two. The system was developed byt the Williams F1 team, starting life as the KERS system for their 2009 open wheeler. After recieving significantly more development, the system is capable of metering out extra power automatically, or at wide open throttle; the possiblities are endless.

The 911 GT3 R Hybrid was raced in the Nurburing 24 hour race this year, and led for 11 hours. With two hours remaing the car suffered a mechinal problem unrelated to the Hybrid machinery. A header fell off or something.

Though pleased with the pace of the GT3 R Hybrid at the N24, Porsche was not satisfied with the result. Just to make double sure that they hadn't built a time bomb, the team ran their own 24 hour race at Paul Ricard a month later. Paul Ricard HTTT is located in the south of France. HTTT stands for High Tech Test Track. The French dig aliteration apparently . . .

The Reality About Electric Recharging Stations

On: Tue, Jul 20, 2010 at 2:50PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

The Reality About Electric Recharging Stations test 1-1

Manufacturers of electric cars would like to make the public believe that the infrastructure for charging electric vehicles is already in place, and that charging at home will not be a problem. The truth is that if car owners don’t have a special connector they will wait for long periods of time to recharge.

Although it’s true that electric charging stations do exist, particularly in select cities that were chosen to be the first to launch some of the electric models, they are not as prevalent as automakers may want us to think.

For apartment dwellers, plugging in will be very difficult; even finding a standard 110 outlet is not so easy for those in multi-family houses.

What many would-be electric car owners may not know is that it could take over 24 hours to charge their new EVs, particularly using a standard 110-volt outlet for power.

The Wall Street Journal published a recent article that described how difficult it is for the average home owner to cut through the bureaucracy in order to get the upgraded 220 charging stations installed in their residences. It can currently take many weeks for a city to issue the permits needed to supply the fast charger that will reduce the recharging time to between 4 and 8 hours for most models of electric vehicles. The price for the electric charging stations can be another hurdle, at $1,200 for a home charging station, to several thousand dollars for the fast charging posts.

Honda Will Launch Electric Plug-in for 2013

On: Tue, Jul 20, 2010 at 10:52AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Honda Will Launch Electric Plug-in for 2013 test 1-1

Just like many other automakers, Honda has seen its share of problems in the past year, but according to a recent Reuters report, the company will introduce both a plug-in hybrid and an electric car for the 2013 model year as part of Honda’s restructure plan to create more competitive pricing and fuel economy at the same time.

The electric car will be offered in the U.S. market at first, with competitors such as the 2011 Nissan Leaf. Then by 2013, Honda plans to have at least five hybrids on the market.

Currently Honda offers several hybrid models, the 2010 Civic Hybrid sedan and the Insight dedicated hybrid hatchback. The 2011 CR-Z hybrid two-seater sports car will arrive in the summer of 2010. A fourth model will be a hybrid version of the Fit subcompact, but no details have  been announced yet regarding the fifth hybrid model that Honda plans to launch.

Honda is taking into consideration plans to manufacture the Insight in one of its U.S. plants to reduce costs so it can lower the price in order to be more competitive in the market place.