Whether you spend your time tooling around in-town or are venturing out on the open road, if you value paying as little as possible for each mile driven, then the Toyota Prius should be on your shopping list. Not many cars get the outstanding fuel economy of the Prius family.
Yes, you will pay a bit more for a hybrid versus a gasoline-powered car. But, if you are putting a lot of miles on your car or like the ability to cruise around town in pure electric mode like the plug-in version offers, then the additional initial expense will be worth it to you. The reliability of the Prius and being the market-leading hybrid should give you confidence that this car will be in your garage for many, many years.
One of the simplest ways to reduce vehicle fuel consumption is to shut off the engine when it is not being actively used. That’s where stop-start technology comes in, so get ready for its invasion.
The energy density of your fuel — whether it is electricity or gasoline/diesel — determines how far you can go on a “tank” but is measured on a per kilogram basis. As Elon Musk explained following a fire in one of his Tesla Model S cars, there is less potential “combustion” in a battery pack than in gasoline. But that is why electric cars have a shorter range than gasoline or diesel ones.
More than 12,000 customers have made reservations and $5,000 deposits for their new Tesla Model S. The first thousands of these all-electric cars being delivered have a 265-mile range (official EPA rating). In real world driving, the range is 300 miles if you stay below 55 miles per hour. This is not a plug-in hybrid. It is slightly amazing.
This city traffic is heavy and the parking space is tight. Like Luke Skywalker, I listen to “The Force” and I let go of the steering wheel. This 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid then parks itself. The Fusion Hybrid starts at $27,200 delivering 47 MPG, a $6,000 premium over the least expensive Fusion that delivers 26 MPG.
Globally, over 70GW of solar power is installed and over 250GW of wind energy. In the past five years, the U.S. has added more renewable energy than coal and nuclear power. Grid energy storage is forecasted to grow from $3 billion to $160 billion annually in the next five years.
I drove the car and talked to the Coda sales representatives extensively during the San Diego auto show. The Coda headquarters are in Los Angeles, the body and many components are Chinese, and their assembly is done in Benicia, California, less than an hour from Tesla’s new manufacturing site. I suspect that Coda is under capitalized.
Pike Research’s John Gartner forecasts that global sales of hybrid and electric cars will grow from 995,000 in 2011 to 2,870,000 in 2017. Half the hybrid cars and all of the EVs will use lithium battery packs by 2017. In fact, the latest hybrid cars from Ford, Buick, Honda, Hyundai and Kai use lithium batteries. In six years, cars with advanced batteries will triple and lithium automotive battery packs will grow over 100 fold.
The new Ford Fusion gives car owners unprecedented choice in powertrains and fuel economy. The Ford Fusion can be offered with an efficient EcoBoost engine or as a hybrid with better mileage than any midsized sedan or as a plug-in hybrid that allows many trips to use zero gasoline. Classic styling, smooth driving, and excellent fuel economy come together in this new five-passenger midsized sedan. Market research revealed that 2 out of 3 U.S. shoppers, before buying, consider a midsized sedan, SUV, or liftback.
The Renault-Nissan Alliance and Better Place have signed an agreement to create a mass market for electric vehicles in Israel, an excellent target market for 5 reasons: (1) sales tax exceeds 60 percent for gasoline vehicles, (2) gasoline costs over $6 per gallon, (3) most driving distances fit the range of electric vehicles, (4) the nation does not want to be dependent on foreign oil, and (5) electric vehicles have strong government support.
CODA is $39,995 for an electric car with a 50% larger lithium battery than offered by Nissan and Ford. My test drive of the new CODA showed that this new electric car is similar in handling and performance to the Nissan LEAF and Ford Focus Electric which I have also driven. CODA has at least 40 percent more electric range than the LEAF and Focus Electric which each have 24 kW lithium batteries in comparison to CODA’s 36 kW lithium iron phosphate battery. Battery size isn’t everything, but it’s a lot when driving an electric car 80 miles on the freeway and wondering if you will get home.
The 2013 Spark EV is Chevrolet’s new 100% battery-electric car. It is GM’s fourth electric car model that includes the Chevrolet Volt, the Opel Ampera, and the Cadillac ELR. The Nissan LEAF’s U.S. sales through September were about 27,500 — seven times higher than the Volt. Now GM fights back.
As electric and hybrid car competition intensifies, Nissan, GM, Toyota, and Ford are in a race to sell the most vehicles with lithium batteries. I have driven cars from each of these automakers that use lithium batteries. The cars performed beautifully and delivered great fuel economy. Nissan will be the first to sell 100,000 battery electric cars. GM will be the first to sell 100,000 plug-in hybrids. Ford is switching all hybrid models to lithium batteries. Toyota, with 3 million hybrids sold, is bringing out three new cars with lithium batteries.
The new Cadillac ELR will combine electric car driving with elegant styling and a luxury interior. GM is moving ahead with the dramatic luxury coupe, shown two years ago as the Cadillac Converj Concept. The Cadillac ELR will use the electric drive system of the popular Chevrolet Volt. Cadillac drivers will now be able to drive 30 to 40 miles on an electric charge from home, work, or charge stations, then go hundreds of added miles when the gasoline engine is engaged.
Ford is ready to give U.S. buyers of crossover SUVs record fuel-economy. Active families want more cargo flexibility and space. With high gas prices they also want over 40 MPG. The new 5-seat C-MAX Hybrid delivers. In 2012 it will compete head-to-head with the new larger Prius V crossover SUV. The Ford C-MAX Energi will challenge the Chevrolet Volt by supporting 5 passengers to the Volt’s 4 and by offering much more cargo flexibility.