Blend a sportscar, an SUV, a minivan and drop in a 4 wheel drive zero emission electric drive-train and you have the Model X by Tesla. Production of Model X is scheduled for late 2013, with deliveries expected in early 2014.
With six months of sales under their belts, which is coming out on top when it comes to sales in the plug-in EV battle?
Apparently the Nissan Leaf has the lead with 3,875 sold LEAFs so far in 2011 while Chevy has 2,745 Volts sold.
Granted they are different cars targeting different consumers with some overlap (see our Leaf vs Volt comparison article) and the Volt costs a pretty $8,000 more. To put it further into perspective, neither is even close to the Prius and hybrid vehicle sales figures- but that may change with time. › Continue reading
It’s so exciting to have affordable full electric highway legal cars back on the market! Brings me back to the mid 90′s all over again. This time we have some choices with Chevrolet launching the Volt right around the same time the Nissan brings out the Leaf. While they are both electric cars, they are targeting very different markets with very different strengths. Lets break it down and see the important specs of each.
Going for the commuter and road trip crowd, Chevy is betting people will go for a all purpose car offering the most flexibility. It has a gasoline engine onboard to extend the range to 340 miles, but unlike the current hybrids, it will run exclusively on the electric engine for the first 35 miles.
Targeting the commuter crowd and those with garages (for recharging), Nissan is betting on an expanding electric car infrastructure to provide recharging stations in the future. This car relies fully on its batteries for its longer all electric range, but also needs a longer charge time. However, if your daily commute is less than 15 miles both ways, it will last you all week before it needs a recharge, or just top it off every night.
The side by side:
|Chevy Volt||Nissan Leaf|
|Range (all electric):||40 mi||100 mi|
(empty to full charge)
|10 hrs on 110v
4 hrs on 240v
|20 hrs on 110v
7 hrs on 240v
|Power:||111 kW (150 hp)||80 kW (110 hp)|
|Top Speed:||100 mph||90 mph|
|Warranty:||Basic: 3 yr/36,000 mi
Powertrain: 5 yr/60,000 mi
Battery: 8 yr/100,000 mi
|Basic: 3 yr/36,000 mi
Powertrain: 5 yr/60,000 mi
Battery: 8 yr/100,000 mi
|Price:||$41,000 ($33,500 after tax credit)||$32,780 ($25,280 after tax credit)|
As some of you know, I work for a lab run by the Department of Energy. I get the opportunity to not only witness exciting research that furthers tomorrow’s sustainable lifestyles, but also to see the changes the federal government is making to make their sites as ‘green’ as possible. Current government regulations stipulate that “each agency shall reduce annual petroleum consumption by two percent each year from a FY 2005 baseline through FY 2020″. That might not sound like much, but that adds up to an over 20% decrease in petroleum over the next ten years! That’s a fantastic step in the right direction.
Federal institutions with more than 20 vehicles have also been told to “acquire Electric Vehicles (EVs) to replace gasoline vehicles in locations near facilities and parking structures with electric outlets, and High Efficiency Vehicles (HEVs) in areas with limited alternative refueling, or as appropriate”. In my lab, this translates to replacing all retired vehicles with electric, hybrid or alternately fueled vehicles, and phasing some vehicles out earlier than planned. We were even able to trade in some of our new Ford and Chevy trucks for brand new hybrids for a moderate fee. More electric outlets for vehicles have been added throughout the site as well. My favorite part of the recent changes: the bike trend. More and more the federal institutions are making bicycles a part of their Federal Fleet. Around my lab, we’ve been acquiring bicycles for employees making trips to other buildings or job sites across our 426 acre campus. At first, a few employees complained when the vehicles weren’t available and we handed them a bicycle helmet and a key to the bike rack, but it’s catching on. People not only enjoy doing good for the environment, but enjoy getting off their butts and exercising during their workday.
I am currently undergoing the search for a beautiful new (or used) car for myself. As daunting as the search can be, there are a lot of great facts about hybrid-electric vehicles that I’ve found during the process. Luckily, as the importance of protecting our environment becomes apparent, the amount of research and production of green technologies increase. Rising energy consumption is what drives the worlds ecological footprint, and income and population growth are the forces increasing greenhouse gas production. A large industry for green technology exists within hybrid and electric vehicles, just as the growing industry for Bio Fuel, Bio Diesel, FlexFuel and alternative fuels exists. “Green technologies are the master key to the future of the automobile,” says Thomas Weber, head of research and development for Mercedes-Benz. Now, the federal government has created a 2.4 billion dollar Recovery Act in order to provide subsidies for electric battery factories and continued research. These subsidies will help car manufacturers meet the new emission standards enacted last year by the Obama administration. By 2016 automakers must achieve 35.5 mpg. This is an increase from the current standard of 27.5 mpg. “Hybrids are less than 3% of the market and they’ve been less than 3% for years,” says Rebecca Lindland, and analyst with the research firm HIS Global Insight. This means that about 97% of the vehicles sold in the United States in recent years were powered by gasoline, not electricity.
With the reduction of fuel consumption, car manufacturers focusing on the green consumer market have a new worry. Not surprisingly, car batteries simply don’t last quite as long in electric cars as car batteries did in the typical internal combustion engine cars. This fact, though incomparable to many other features of an electric car, is daunting for many an average consumer. In turn, it’s served as an obstacle to increase in sales in what may well be the future of cars.
For every market problem, there is generally a solution though. Either in clever marketing, research and development, or a combination of the two. And GM will be making use of both as it attempts to assuage consumer fears through a generous 8 year / 100,000 mile warranty. Only a short while back, GM became the first US automaker to run a battery pack plant, which is still building prototypes. And now, they’re already offering a warranty which applies to the popular Chevy Volt‘s battery. A warranty that the relevant GM press release accurately highlights as “the automotive industry’s longest, most comprehensive battery warranty for an electric vehicle.” › Continue reading
Starting at $49,900 the new Tesla Model S electric sedan is not only comparable with many German automobiles, it is styled like a much more expensive car. With lines that hint at Austin Martin, Jaguar, Audi S models and Maseratis, this car is got it going on!
The stats are pretty impressive too and reflect the milestones in electric car technologies. A 300-mile range, 45-minute fast charge capability and the ability to charge from any outlet, all with a 0-to-60 time of 5.5-seconds plus it even seats seven (although I’m not really sure where the other 2 people fit)
› Continue reading
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