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Due To Popular Demand, Volt Market Will Be Expanded In 2011

It seems that Chevrolet has plans of introducing their Volt model in all 50 states by the end of this year. The U.S. president of Chevrolet Marketing, Rick Scheidt said that “this is the right thing to do for our customers and our dealers who are seeing increased traffic onto their showroom floors.”

Up until now, the Volt has been delivered to clients living in the Washington D.C. area, New York, Texas, New Jersey, California and Connecticut. Pretty soon, Chevrolet will start shipping the car in Michigan. Starting with the third quarter of this year, the Volt will be available to the citizens living in: Oregon, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

As we previously mentioned in earlier posts, the 2011 Chevrolet Volt comes with a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery and an electric motor that outputs 149 hp (151 PS / 111 kW) and 273 lb-ft (368 Nm) of torque. These figures allow the car to reach 60 mph in less than 9 seconds, onto a top speed of 100 mph.

The Volt is capable of running on electric mode for 35 miles and with the conventional 1.4-liter petrol engine it can do 344 miles.

Recently, General Motors withdrew their loan application from the United States Department of Energy. The $14.4 billion would have been used by the automaker to start making more fuel efficient cars, but GM said that finances have improved last year and they won’t need that loan after all.

Here are some of the most important awards won by the Volt:

a)      2011 North American Car of the Year;

b)      Motor Trend 2011 Car of the Year;

c)      Green Car Journal 2011 Green Car of the Year;

d)      Car and Driver 10 Best for 2011;

e)      Ward’s AutoWorld 10 Best Engines for 2011;

f)       AUTOMOBILE Magazine 2011 Automobile of the Year;

g)     2010 Breakthrough Technology, by Popular Mechanics.

Volvo V60 Hybrid Announced

Volvo V60 Hybrid

The Swedish automaker Volvo announced this week that it will be unveiling the hybrid version of the curvy V60 station wagon model this year in March at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show. The Volvo S60 Hybrid will feature a 5-cylinder 2.4-liter D5 turbo diesel power unit for the front axle and an electric motor in the back.

The engine will output 215 hp and 440 Nm of torque while the ERAD – Electric Rear Axle Drive will churn an addition number of 70 ponies. The V60 Hybrid will receive the necessary electricity from the 12 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The engine will be linked to a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

This hybrid model from Volvo will be able to have a 150 mpg fuel consumption level and will do 50 g/km of CO2 emissions. The Swedish officials over at Volvo said that the car will be able to offer a 32 miles range when running only on electricity.

We will have more information about the Volvo V60 Hybrid after its official debut on March 1st at Geneva Auto Show where the Swedish automaker will offer all the relevant details about this hybrid station wagon that combines practicality with efficiency making it a very interesting model for a certain target of car buyers.

Top 10 EV Manufacturers In 2011

Think is another EV manufacturer and they have been selling their City model in Europe for a couple of years now. The company is planning on introducing the City onto the United States market in late 2011 / early 2012.

Chrysler managed to deliver approximately 40,000 units of their GEM 25-mph LEV – light electric vehicles and these are found in university towns, fleets as well as retirement communities. The net cost for this car is under the $10,000 with the federal and local tax reductions and cuts. Due to the significant growth of EVs and charging stations, sales of the model might increase. Next year in the United States, the Fiat 500 EV will be available at a price of about $35,000.

BYD is another important player in the world of hybrid and electrical cars and it is at the moment selling its E6 battery-electric car along with a plug-in hybrid in China, the second largest automotive market in the world. The plug-in hybrid version for the US will most likely be a freeway-speed electric price leader this year while the E6 will be more expensive and will offer a respectable 250 electric range.

Accenture estimates that more than 1.5 million EVs will be sold in the US by 2015 and more than 10 million units by 2020. The single electric utilities have scenarios for charging more than one million EVs in their own service area in 10 years and with the significant investment in renewable energy in 30 states of the US, these utilities will focus on night-time charging with wind, geothermal and hydropower.

By the end of this year the competition in the electric / hybrid car segment will be very intense and the above 10 mentioned manufacturers will be the most important market share leaders, at least for this year. It is a very tough deal to create these electric cars and one example of this difficulty comes from Tesla Motors as they had to postpone the launch of their Roadster model for 2 years and the product model is 700 pounds heavier in comparison with what they planned originally.

2012 will be even more competitive as Honda will start rolling up their own lineup of both hybrid and electric cars, some based on their current models while others brand new.

This year we will see 250 Smart ForTwo ED on the United States highways as they will undergo some serious tests.  All of these cars feature Tesla battery packs and the production model will be launched in 2013.

Volkswagen is currently planning on lowering the weight of their models in order to make them more fuel efficient. Their Concept Up model has a curb weight of just over 1,500 pounds, but there are slim chances that we will see a production model soon.

All things considered, these upcoming years seem to be very interesting for the automotive industry as more and more car makers will start rolling out vehicles that are very efficient and nature-friendly. Hopefully, as technology will progress, the price tags for these hybrids and EVs will be lowered.

Source: CleanFeetReport.com

2013 Chrysler 300 Hybrid Gets The Green Light

2011 Chrysler 300

Despite the fact that the Chrysler Aspen Hybrid was almost a failure, CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed that the automaker will not give up on the idea of making gasoline-electric cars. In a discussion with Automotive News, he said that the 300 Hybrid model will be launched in 2013. Although the info regarding this announcement are limited, we can tell you that this hybrid version will most likely carry the standard V6 3.6-liter Pentastar or the powerful V8 HEMI 5.7-liter engine.

Nothing is official at the moment, but the 2013 Chrysler 300 Hybrid will most likely get the HEMI engine as it is more suitable for a two-mode hybrid system which was jointly developed with BMW, Daimler and General Motors for the HEMI.

In that interview, Marchionne also said that in 2013 a new 7-seat Jeep Wagoneer luxury sport utility vehicle (SUV) will be launched based on the platform used for the Dodge Durango and the Jeep Grand Cherokee. In addition, the company will most likely drop one of its two minivans, either the Chrysler Town & Country or the Dodge Grand Caravan. He said that the one that will be dropped will be replaced by “a people mover of some kind.”

Source: AutoNews.com

2012 Audi A6 Launched

2012 Audi A6

Audi decided to roll out the big guns at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show and presented the 2012 A6 model in all its glory, along with the hybrid version. Following the design lines of its bigger brother, the A8, the mid-range sedan is without any doubt a very beautiful car. Measuring 16.14 ft long and 6.14 ft wide, but only 4.79 ft high, it has the best sporty proportions in this segment. The dynamic overall look of the car was created by the prominent lines on the flank, the sweeping roofline and the long engine hood. In my opinion, it is one of the best looking cars launched at Detroit, along with Hyundai’s Veloster three-door coupe. Personally I like the hybrid’s color better than the red of the regular model, but it is only a matter of taste.

The 2012 A6 will be available with two gas engines and three diesel power units. The fuel consumption through the entire model line has decreased to max 19% in comparison with the outgoing generation. One of the most interesting engines would have to be the 2.0 TDI (linked to a manual gearbox) which will do 48 mpg (4.9 L / 100 km) and emit only 129g CO2 km. The engines available for the new A6 develop between 177 hp (130 kW) and 300 hp (220 kW), all of them benefiting from the Start/Stop function, thermal management concept and energy recovery system.

2012 Audi A6

Regarding the drivertains available, customers will have to choose from one of the following: 6-speed manual gearbox, continuously variable multitronic and the all-new Sporty S tronic. Depending on the selection of the power unit, the 2012 A6 is available with either a front wheel drive or with the proprietary Quattro permanent all-wheel drive. For the top-of-the-line power units, the German manufacturer will offer an optional sport differential.

The 3.0 TDI engine is capable of outputting 245 hp and 368.78 lb-ft of torque between 1,400 and 3,250 revs. 0-60 mph is done in only 6.1 seconds, onto a limited top speed of 155 mph. The most powerful gasoline engine will be the 3.0 TFSI V6 that will output 300 hp and 324 lb-ft of torque. It will need only 5,5 seconds to reach 60 mph and to speed will be 155 mph. The car will do 26 mpg and emit 190g of CO2.

2012 Audi A6 Hybrid

Later on, Audi will be introducing the A6 Hybrid which will be the second hybrid model after the Q5 hybrid Quattro. It will feature a 2.0 TFSI 211 hp engine that will work close in hand with the electric motor, capable of outputting 45 hp and 155 lb-ft of torque. The compact lithium-ion battery will be installed in the crash-protected area of the luggage compartment and will be capable of providing 1.3 kWh of nominal power, generating 39 kW.

The hybrid version of the A6 will be able reach 62 mph running only on electric mode and on a constant speed of 37 mph, it will have a range of 3 km. It will need 7.3 seconds for the 0-60 mph sprint, onto a top speed of 147 mph. The car will do 37 mpg and its CO2 emissions stand at 142 g / km.

As standard, the 2012 Audi A6 will come with MMI radio complete with a generous 6.5-inch monitor, adaptive brake light, tire pressure monitoring system, start-stop button, front center armrest,  two-zone air conditioning system, alloy wheels and Audi’s pre sense basic system. As far as safety is concerned, the car packs two front side and head airbags along with four belt tensioners plus Audi’s head restraint system.

2012 Audi A6 Hybrid

Some of the most important optional features of the A6 include: the jaw-dropping 1,300-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system, TV module, digital radio tuner, Bose surround sound, Bluetooth car phone and others as well. In addition, the A6 can be fitted with xenon plus LED headlights with LED taillights, plus adaptive light with the headlight range control.

The car will be available for sale in a couple of weeks at a base price of 38,500 Euros (in Germany).

Detroit 2011 – Toyota Prius V

Toyota Prius V

In the last decade Toyota managed to sell almost one million units of their very popular Prius hybrids and with the introduction of the Prius V, the Japanese automaker hopes that this trend will go on in the future, hopefully even better than before. The car has all the good stuff from the regular Prius but it does however offer something more than that: the 38 inches of leg room in the back, the 34.3 cubic feet of space for all your belongings and the a fuel economy that not many cars can have, make it a very interesting car despite its rather dull exterior appearance.

In comparison with the original Prius, the V is 5 inches longer and a whole inch wider. Due to the fact that it has the same 1.8-liter 4-cylinder hybrid power unit, it will not be able to do reach that magic number of 50 miles per gallon efficiency like its little brother. However, it will do 42 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway which can’t be done by most of the cars in this segment. The engine is capable of outputting 98 hp at 5,200 rpm and 105 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm. The electric motor can produce 80 hp and 153 lb ft. The hybrid system net power is 134 hp.

Toyota Prius V

A premiere for a Toyota model will be the Panoramic View moonroof with power retractable sun shades that will not only provide an open and bright atmosphere in the cabin of the Prius, but it is also 40% less heavy in comparison to traditional glass roofs that have the same size. In the front, the instrument panel controls as well as the single-dial AC control along with the center-installed digital combination meter, provide a very user-friendly command and intuitive approach. Silver trim was used for the driving mode selection, the electronic shift lever as well as for the parking switch and the Push Button Start.

Similar with the outgoing generation of the Prius, the new model will sport four driving modes, as follows: normal, power, eco and EV) that are able to satisfy a wide variety of driver preferences and road conditions. Other worth-mentioning features that come as standard on the Prius V include: HAC – Hill Start Assist Control, back-up camera, electronic shift lever and a smart key system with push button start. As far as the optional features are concerned, customers can choose from one of the following: Advanced Parking Guidance System, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with a Pre-Collision System and LED headlamps.

Toyota Prius V

Regarding the safety features of the Prius V, the car comes with seven airbags, an energy-absorbing structure with impact beams, leg absorption pads and cross members. In addition, it features a high-strength cabin and both the driver and front passenger seats have a design that minimizes the whiplash injury that might occur during an accident. Similar with the rest of the lineup of the Japanese automaker, the Prius V will feature as standard the proprietary Star Safety System that includes the following: smart stop technology brake-override system, brake assist, EBD – Electronic Brake-force Distribution, ABS, traction control and VSC – Vehicle Stability Control.

In addition, the Prius V will be one of the first Toyotas that will come equipped with the Entune entertainment system that offers support for mobile applications, along with the possibility to access useful information about weather, gas prices and others as well. This system will be combined with the standard display audio system that offers HD radio (with iTunes), XM radio, iPod support and Bluetooth.

Initial Review: 2012 Infiniti M35h

2012 Infiniti M35h

The Infinity M35h (Nissan Fuga Hybrid in Japan) is the company’s first hybrid of the 21st century. Back in 1999, the company launched the Tino hybrid, following Toyota into the hybrid automotive era. Although it had a lithium-ion battery pack which put Nissan ahead of rival Toyota, the Tino was made in only 100 units which was just a splash in the ocean and the model was not relevant enough in order to put the company on the hybrid car map. Later on, Nissan borrowed Toyota’s technology and made a hybrid version of the Altima which was a stopgas measure.

Design-wise, there are no differences between the standard Infiniti M, except for the chrome-coated 18-inch alloy rims. The car will rival with the BMW 5-Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, once it will be available at dealerships starting with this spring. It will be Infiniti’s first production hybrid car. The model is fitted with Nissan’s 3.5-liter engine as well as one electric motor / two-clutch parallel hybrid system that the company refers to as “intelligent dual clutch control.” This system is clever enough to combine a significant number of environmental technologies. Both the V6 engine and the electric motor are linked to a 7-speed electronic transmission that has a manual shift mode for old-fashioned drivers.

The concept is similar to the one found in the Cayenne Hybrid from Porsche, but Nissan did not implement a torque converter which means that although it can provide better fuel economy figures, it will also produce more noticeable shift shock. Initially the company wanted to use the V6 3.6-liter power unit for the M Hybrid, but after searching for the optimal combination between fuel economy and power, they chose the 3.5-liter engine.

2012 Infiniti M35h

Once you start the engine of the car you basically won’t hear a thing, similar to most of the modern hybrids. The car packs enough power comparable with a V8 engine as the 302 hp / 258 pound-feet of torque @ 5,000 rpm offered by the V6 along with the 67 hp / 200 pound-feet of the electric motor, allow it to reach 60 mph in only 5.5 seconds which is quicker than most of the large V8-powered sedans. The car is almost quiet like a Lexus but feels like a true Infiniti – refined yet very sporty.

The Infiniti M35h offers a pleasurable drive thanks to its double wishbone suspension with four-wheel active steering. With almost perfect weight distribution and a highly rigid chassis, the car is a delight to drive. Although it may sound like a bold statement, the M35h is the most fun to drive in the hybrid class.

2012 Infiniti M35h

Similar with the all of the electric and hybrids cars available at the moment, the car is equipped with the AVSP– Approaching Vehicles Sound for Pedestrians feature that sounds from takeoff until the car reaches 20 mph in order to alert hearing impaired people as well as children when the car is running in EV mode. Other worth-mentioning features are the Bose 10-way sound system and the “forest air” climate control system.

The car will do 25 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, according to manufacturer estimates and the CO2 emissions stand at 0.72/mile (estimates). The estimated base price for the 2012 Infiniti M35h is $53,000.

Top 10 Releases In 2010 Part 2

In the first part of the article we presented the Volkswagen Golf GTI, the Porsche Boxster / Cayman, Mazda 3, Mazda Miata and the Cadillac CTS / CTS-V. In the second part we will be reviewing the remaining five cars from our top. We start with the Ford Fusion Hybrid and see where the rest of the top takes us.

Ford Fusion Hybrid

Ford Fusion Hybrid

Although it might come as a surprise for many of you, the Fusion Hybrid from Ford is by far the most advanced car in our top 10. With the electric power engaged, the car is able to reach a respectable to speed of 47 mph. The powertrain of this hybrid is not only compact but very refined, you can barely hear it. As far as the in-car entertainment is concerned, the Fusion Hybrid is packed with the Sirius Travel Link that offers info regarding traffic, sports, and weather and movie times. The car was designed in order to keep the distraction level of the driver to a minimum as all the computer functions are voice controlled. The car is great fun to drive and something new in comparison to what you are accustomed to. The handling, the ride are all strong points of the Ford. The car is equipped with a 2.5-liter inline-4 DOHC 16-valve conventional engine that is capable of producing 156 hp and 136 lb-ft. Being a hybrid; it also features a AC permanent-magnet synchronous electric motor that offers 106 hp and 166 lb-ft. The transmission of the Fusion Hybrid is a continuously variable automatic type. The base price for the car is $28,350. According to the EPA ratings, the car will do 41 mpg city / 36 mpg highway, one of the best in its class as far as fuel efficiency.

Honda Accord

Honda Accord Sedan

Honda Accord Coupe

The 2.4-liter standard engine of the Accord is surprisingly very quick, offering plenty of performance for a car from this class. The automatic gearbox never draws attention to itself and works just as you might expected. If you don’t like the sedan version, maybe the coupe draws your attention with its sleek exterior looks and the powerful V6 engine capable of producing 271 hp, more than enough for most of us. With this engine, the Accord Coupe is able to do the 0-60 mph sprint in 5.6 seconds. The base price of the sedan version is $21,765 while the coupe can be yours for $30,015 with the entry-level trim. The transmissions available for the Accord include the 5 or 6-speed manual and the modern 5-speed automatic gearbox. According to the EPA ratings, the car will do 17-22 mpg city / 25-31 mpg highway.

Honda Fit

Honda Fit

Why another Honda? The Fit is very fun to drive, quite affordable and the cockpit will invade you with high quality materials that you will only find in more expensive cars of the upper segment. Not only it has a very reasonable price, but also it is very cheap to operate, making it a very wise decision for budget-minded drivers. The 117 hp 1.5-liter power unit isn’t something to brag about, but it is quite enough for the Fit. If you want a car from the upper segment and cannot afford it, the Honda Fit is the perfect “imitation” of a more expensive car. The 117 hp power unit can be fitted with the following transmissions: standard 5-speed manual, 5-speed automatic with manumatic shifting and 5-speed automatic for a more relaxing drive. According to the EPA ratings, the Honda Fit does 27-28 mpg city / 33-35 mpg highway.

Audi S4

Audi S4

A top without at least one car from Germany would not be fair, wouldn’t it? When it was first introduced in 2004, the Audi S4 was equipped with a V8 engine, but for the 2010 model, it lost 2 cylinders, however this does not mean that the car is underpowered. On the contrary, the supercharged V6 packs 333 hp which is only 7 hp less in comparison to the V8 power unit. If you want extreme driving pleasures, go for the $1100 torque-vectoring rear differential, which makes the Audi S4 an oversteering titan. In a recent test, the Audi S4 performed better than the BMW 335i, although it weighs about 400 pounds more and offers just about the same performance figures. The engine of the car is linked to a 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual or a standard 6-speed manual gearbox. The base price for the 2010 Audi S4 is $46,725. According to the EPA ratings, the S4 will do 18 mpg city / 27-28 mpg highway.

BMW 3-Series / M3

BMW 3-Series

BMW M3

Another German car, this time the BMW 3-Series / M3. You can go for the 328i model that packs 230 hp and will do 30+ mpg on the highway or for the more powerful M3 variant, a car that is equipped with a remarkable V8 engine that is capable of outputting 414 hp @ 8400 rpm. The M3 needs only about 4 seconds to do the 0-60 mph sprint. The 3-Series is a very comprehensive range, the car is offered with a coupe, sedan, wagon, four-door M3 configuration plus a folding-hardtop convertible for summer days. The base price for the 3-Series is $33,675 while the M3 has a starting price of $69,025. The engines can be fitted with one of the following transmissions: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic with manumatic shifting and a modern 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox. According to the EPA ratings, the BMW 3-Series will do 13-23 mpg city / 20-36 mpg highway.

Other cars that didn’t made it into our top include the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the beautiful Nissan 370Z, Chevrolet Camaro, Porsche 911 Carrera, Hyundai Genesis Coupe and the Lexus IS Convertible.

Picking out any of these cars from our top is a good idea as they all combine the most important ingredients of a car: fun to drive, comfy interior, a bundle of safety features and more than decent powertrains, especially for the sportier cars like the M3 or the S4.

2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Pricing Revealed

2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

The recently launched 2011 Hyundai Sonata received a positive feedback and made it to the final list of the North American Car of the Year award. In addition to the naturally aspirated turbocharged models, the Sonata is available with a more eco-friendly powertrain, a hybrid that is capable of doing 35 mpg city / 40 mpg highway. Sales will commence in January, 2011 and the basic price for the car will be $25,795 (without the $750 in destination charges).

Except this more efficient and friendly to the nature powertrain, the Sonata Hybrid will feature LED taillights, LED tail lamps, iPod / USB connectivity, automatic headlamp control, Bluetooth and fog lights. For $5,000 more, customers can get the premium package which consists of an Infinity premium sound system, HD radio, a rear backup camera, satellite navigation, 17-inch alloy wheels and panoramic sunroof.

2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

In comparison to its most important American rival, the Ford Fusion Hybrid, the Sonata is $3,000 cheaper but the Ford’s advantage is that the Fusion will do 41 mpg on the highway. The Hyundai is powered by a 2.4-litre Atkinson Cycle 4-cylinder power unit and features a HSG – Hybrid starter-generator. Equipped with a 270V lithium polymer battery, the Sonata’s engine is linked to a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

Some of the most important safety features of the car include the electronic stability control with traction control system (TCS).  As standard, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is offered with anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist. Other standard features include the 4.2-inch TFT multi-function trip computer that has a hybrid technology display; dual automatic temperature control; remote keyless entry, alarm and immobilizer; tilt & telescopic steering wheel with audio and cruise controls; heated mirrors; automatic light control and solar control glass.

Vauxhall Ampera UK Pricing Published

Vauxhall Ampera

At the beginning of this week Vauxhall announced the pricing for the Ampera model in the United Kingdom, prior to 2012 when this E-REV = Extended-Range Electric Vehicle will be on sale. Running only on batteries, the Ampera is capable of a range up to 50 miles and along with the conventional engine, the range goes up by 310 miles, reaching a total of 360.

The basic price for the 2012 Vauxhall Ampera is 28,995 pounds. The advantages of purchasing the car consist of not having to pay the 5% company car taxation, the TFL congestion charge or the Vehicle Excise Duty payments. In addition, the car benefits from a 5,000 pound reduction offered by the Plug-In Car Grant program.

Vauxhall Ampera

According to the press release published by Vahuxall, the Ampera is the only real-world electric automobile solution for a family. In order to fully charge the batteries of the car you will have to wait for about 4 hours via a household 240v electricity socket with an average cost of approximately 1 pound (depending on the applied tariff). Driving the car within the 50 miles range guaranteed by the electric motor will save you money both on the short and long run.

The car will be available for sale in showrooms in the first months of 2012 with a price of 28,995 pounds, after all of the reductions. Once we will have more details regarding the trim levels available for the car, we will publish them as soon as possible as this is one of the most interesting cars that will be launched in 2012, along with its main rival, the European version of the Chevrolet Volt, which will be available at dealerships in November 2011.

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EV Sales Will Reach 20% by 2016 In UK

Nissan Leaf

According to Steve Holliday who is the CEO of the National Grid Plc, the electric cars will make up 20% of the United Kingdom’s automobile sales by 2016 thanks to the fact that drivers will be taking advantage of the lower fuel costs and the government subsidies. Holliday believes that by 2020, United Kingdom will have a million electric vehicles on the road. This number will be possible if one in five cars sold in the United Kingdom from 2016 will be electric.

UK, similar with other European countries, is using subsidies in order to promote EV so that the carbon dioxide emission levels will reduce in the future. From January 2011, an electric car buyer will save up to $7,795 (5,000 pounds). The same money will be saved by people that purchase plug-in hybrid vehicles. About 8.8 million pounds have been earmarked in order to sustain the development of a national recharging network which by 2013 will have about 11,000 plug-in points, in comparison to this moment when there approximately 300.

Within the next few weeks, United Kingdom will start selling the first two electric cars – the Nissan Leaf, and the Mitsubishi iMiEV. The cars will have a basic price of about 29,000 pounds and can be charged using the standard household plug.

Mitsubishi iMiEV

The SMMT – Society of Motor Manufacturers and Trades in United Kingdom said that in 2009 there were 31 million vehicles in the country and the average daily distance traveled by a driver is about 25 miles and the length of a single trip is 8.6 miles.

Holliday said that the National Grid high-voltage electricity transmission is able to face the demand of one million electric vehicles, but “penetration up and above that becomes a real issue.” He also mentioned that the local distribution networks in London for example might have problems of balancing their grids if electric car owners plug in their vehicles at the same time.

According to a SMMT report, the cost of fully charging an EV like the LEAF (which has a 100 miles range) could cost about 96 pence and take between 6 to 8 hours. A Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst by the name of Albert Cheung wrote in an e-mail that “depending on how fast it charges, an electric vehicle can draw as much power as a house. So if half a dozen neighbors plug in electric vehicles on the same street, it could push the local transformer over its rated capacity.”

The United Kingdom government is offering other incentives in order to encourage the purchase of electric vehicles, by eliminating the demand of paying the 8 pound / day congestion charge and in some neighborhoods, electric car owners have the possibility to park for free.

Another SMTT report says that the total fuel costs of a normal conventional car that is driven 10,000 miles per year over a period of three years are approximately 2,767 pounds in comparison to only 756 pounds needed for an electric vehicle that is used over the same amount of time.

By 2014, the European emissions standards will be taking effect which means that all new cars must cut their nitrogen-oxide emissions by 56% (for diesel engines). This will most likely lead to an increase in popularity of hybrid and electric cars. At the moment there are very few cars that comply with the requirements of the Euro 6 regulations. According to HIS, the introduction of the Euro 6 rules will most likely help the electric / hybrid cars share rise across the Europe to 13% by 2020. Today the hybrid / electric cars share is approximately 0.1%.

To keep up with these new changes in regulations and standards; BMW, PSA Peugeot Citroen and Dailmer are at the moment developing hybrid and electric cars to fulfill the future environmental regulations and at the same time, increase sales with new and attractive cars that are not only eco-friendly, but also cheaper to use.

Toyota Fixes Heat Risk Problems For Prius Hybrid

2006 Toyota Prius

The Toyota Motor Corporation will pay serious money to fix approximately 378,000 Prius cars in the United States because of a coolant pump glitch which might cause overheating issues or losses of power. The models affected by this problem are the ones manufactured between 2004 and 2007. Toyota said that it did not receive any sort of reports of injuries or accidents from this problem with the pump that circulates coolant for the hybrid system of the Prius. John Hanson, the Toyota spokesman, said that the company will be replacing the pumps on the Prius hybrids that were sold outside of the United States.

The most important car manufacturers (including Toyota), conduct such repair campaigns which are separate from the safety recalls filled with United States regulators in such situations in which they can find out that an defect does not present any type of safety risk. The Japanese manufacturer affirmed that the design of the electric water pump permits air bubbles to enter the system which slows the coolant circulation and permits the heating up of the components. This situation when the components heat up might trigger a warning light and if left unattended, the car could overheat and fall into a “fail-safe” mode, in which the power of the engine is reduced, according to Toyota. The automaker said that they will start notifying Prius owners next week.

2006 Toyota Prius

Hanson said that starting with 2008; Toyota used a different pump design for the car and uses a different type of pump for other hybrid models. Toyota told its dealers that the largest numbers of cars that have this type of problem are in California, where there are approximately 107,500 units. The Japanese manufacturer will cover all expenses (including the $100 in labor per car).

Since November 2009, Toyota recalled 15.4 million vehicles across the world, including the 11 million cars in the United States.

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Mitsubishi Planning A 2013 Plug-In Hybrid

Mitsubishi Px-MiEV

The head of Mitsubishi’s electric vehicle business recently affirmed that the company is planning on introducing a plug-in sport utility vehicle in 2013. The car will be similar with the Px-MiEV concept automobile that was exposed at the Tokyo Auto Show back in 2009, according to the senior executive officer at Mitsubishi Motor Corp. global electric vehicle business Yoshikazu Nakamura. He also affirmed that the car is in its latest stages of development.

The 4WD Px-MiEV was equipped with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that was linked to a hybrid system consisting of two electric motors (one for the front and the other for the back). Back in 2009 when it was unveiled, the officials at Mitsubishi stated that the car could run for 30 miles in the electric mode, before changing to the gas-electric mode.

The i-MiEV will be available in Hawaii and three West Coast states when the US sales will begin in November 2011. The U.S. name of the vehicle was changed by Mitsubishi from “i-MiEV” to the “i powered by MiEV”.  The “i” model will be available starting with 2012.

Nakamura affirmed that 43 Mitsubishi dealers located in Hawaii, Washingotn, Oregon and California will be selling the “i” in the first years of the United States sales. The Japanese manufacturer does not have a name for the car yet, but it will definitely carry the “MiEV” badge – “Mitsubishi innovative electric vehicle.”

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2012 Infinity M35h Hybrid Launched

2012 Infiniti M Hybrid

The 2012 Infinity M Hybrid made its public debut yesterday at the Los Angeles Auto Show and it will be the first hybrid sedan manufactured by Nissan Motors’ luxury division. The M35h will be available for sale in the next spring and will use a parallel hybrid system that will be combined with a 7-speed automatic transmission and a RWD.

The Infinity has a 3.5-liter V6 paired to a 50-kilowatt electric motor that give a combined power of 360 hp and a 258 pound-feet torque. In addition, the electric motor is capable of producing an additional 199 lb-ft of twist off the line for acceleration. The car will be able to reach 62 mph running only with the electric motor.

Although official figures regarding the fuel consumption are not available at the moment, Infiniti says that most likely the M Hybrid will do 25 miles per gallon in the city and 30 miles per gallon on the highway – 27 mpg combined. Although these figures sound very good if not excellent, they tend to pale in comparison to the 429 hp V8 5.0-liter direct-injected power plant developed by Hyundai that consumes only 26 mph on the highway. Of course, this is just the beginning of the electric motor era. In the future we will most likely see new innovations in this department.

2012 Infiniti M Hybrid

The 2012 Infiniti M Hybrid will come with the all-new proprietary Direct Response Hybrid system – a very advanced, one-motor / two-clutch parallel hybrid concept that will combine high-speed motor control technology with the powerful Lithium-ion battery that will allow the entire power to be delivered to the car’s 7-speed automatic gearbox.

The car will also benefit from an Electric Driven Intelligent Brake regenerative braking system plus a new Hybrid Electric Power Steering system which will make the process of driving the car very pleasant and natural at the same time. Other important features of the M Hybrid include: Active Trace Control, Blind Spot Intervention, Infiniti Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition, Blind Spot Warning and power sliding glass tinted moon roof.

Infiniti’s Vice President Ben Poore, affirmed that “Simply put, the Infiniti M Hybrid will be the most advanced performance luxury sedan hybrid in the market, delivering V8 power and 4-cylinder fuel efficiency.”

At the Los Angeles Auto Show, Infinity was named by the Automotive Lease Guide as the “Best Luxury Brand” and the QX56 model won the award for the “Best Luxury Fullsize Utility’”.

BMW and PSA Peugeot Citroen Group to cooperate on FWD hybrid vehicles

Is the automotive world as we know it coming to and end? After Aston Martin confirmed the production of the Toyota IQ based Cygnet now BMW is going FWD? Because today BMW and the PSA Peugeot Citroen Group announced a partnership for developing hybrid components for front-wheel-drive vehicles.

According to the press release, Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, and Philippe Varin, Chairman of the Managing Board of PSA Peugeot Citroën signed an agreement that will allow joint development, production and purchasing of components, which will lead to significant cost cuts and, most important, will standardise hybrid vehicles.

“This cooperation will deliver a major contribution towards a competitive cost structure in the field of electrification. It also represents another important step on the road to sustainable mobility,” said Reithofer.

“We are pleased to broaden our long-standing cooperation based on the strong relationship that exists between our two companies,” added Philippe Varin. “Combining both partners’ expertise in hybrid technologies will clearly create competitive advantage.”

No financial terms of the agreement were disclosed.

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