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EVs not very popular in Europe

2012 Tesla Roadster

It seems that electric vehicles are not very popular in Europe and one example is United Kingdom where during the third quarter of this year only 308 units have been sold through the government’s grant scheme. Ever since the beginning of this year, a subsidy of up to 5,000 pounds has been available for UK customers who wanted to buy an EV, but not a lot of people have taken advantage of that. In the first quarter of this year in UK automakers have sold only 465 cars while in Q2 they delivered 215 cars.

This means that sales have gone down even with that considerable discount so UK buyers are reluctant to move away from the traditional conventional-powered cars. This situation is applicable not only in the United Kingdom, but across the entire continent as a study conducted by JATO Dynamics has shown that the number of people buying EVs is very low even in those countries in which the subsidies offered can reach a whopping 18,000 pounds.

In the first half of this year, only 85 EVs were sold in Belgium, even though there’s a 10,907 Euros (9,496 pounds) subsidy applicable. Another relevant example would have to be Norway where over the same period people bought 850 electric cars, in a country where there’s an impressive 17,524 Euros (15,526 pounds) incentive. In Denmark there is a 20,588 Euros (17,294 pounds) subsidy but even so there were only 238 cars sold so far.

Source: Auto Express

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Android app to Learn of your Driving Pattern – from BMW

The Android market is constantly growing and BMW could not have ignored its usefulness. So, the German car maker created the BMW Evolve app for its BMW ActiveE electric vehicle. The app is quite interesting, as it analyzes the driver’s pattern while being behind the wheel and determines whether the car will be able or not to adapt to driving habits of each.

The process is simple: download the app, launch, tap and drive to analyze driving patterns, log into a dedicated website (BMWActivateTheFuture.com) and submit the results over to BMW. And then you can definitely say that you brought your contribution to the future of all-electric cars.

In other words, improving performance is for the moment in our hands. So, let’s take advantage, I say!

[Source: Market.android]

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Zap-Map for Electric Cars

The fans of electric vehicles do not have to worry anymore about where they can charge their cars. Next Green Car has launched Zap-Map, a comprehensive map showing 752 charging points in UK.

“We were constantly researching on-street charge points for our visitors and trying to find an up-to-date list but we found that the data was fragmented or out of date, so we decided to build one ourselves.”

said Dr. Ben Lane of Next Green Car.

We believe the map is of great use, especially because you can find all the charging points from your route in a single source. Additionally, it shows not only the type of charger (slow, fast, rapid), but also the prices and other details about how to access the charging station. For the moment, most of the locations registered on the map are with slow or standard charge, with up to 27 rapid chargers, which means that you can charge 80% your car in 30 minutes. Coincidentally or not, 26 of 27 chargers are Nissan dealerships.

For the next period, Next Green Car hopes to increase the number of charging locations on the map and stay up-to-date, as new charging points are build.

What do you think: would you like to have such a map for you?

[Source: Nextgreencar]

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Electric Vehicles: Sharing Is Caring

Xatori is a Silicon Valley software company that plans on creating a network of electric car enthusiasts who are willing to make their household power outlets and home charges available for EV drivers that need to “fill up” their battery or who find themselves out of range of the very few available charging stations.

Yesterday, the company released a free iPhone application dubbed PlugShare that allows drivers and outlet owners detect and offer electricity. EV drivers can insert their destination in order to find out if there are any available shared outlets or public charging stations in the nearby vicinity or along their route.

The people that are willing to share their electricity have to indicate what sort of outlet / charger they have, how to gain access to it and their preferred method of contact. Taking into consideration that most of the outlets are situated in locked garages or otherwise behind closed doors, the software company expects plug sharers will ask EV drivers to schedule a time to charge by calling or sending an SMS.

Xatori believes that a full charge can take even up to 18 hours on a standard 110V household outlet; most drivers will choose to plug in their cars for about an hour or so, in order to extend the driving range by a few miles. They admit that this situation will change as more EVs will be launched and owners will install so-called Level 2 home chargers that will cut the charging times but consume significantly more electricity.

In my opinion, this will never work because how many among us are willing to share our homes to some strangers? Plus, I am not willing to pay more for my electricity bill so that a complete stranger recharges the batteries of his EV.

Source: green.blogs.nytimes

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Ben Collins Will Race EVs

Ben Collins

For those of you that haven’t heard of Ben Collins, he was the least-known man on the most popular automotive TV show. Also known as the Stig, he decided to do a little bit of EV racing after he left Top Gear. He will participate in the newly introduced EVCup which was created entirely for electric vehicles. The cars that will participate in the competition will be modified THINK City EVs for the City EV class and also modified Westfield iRacers for the Sports EV class.

Although this new type of competition wasn’t able to round up more than 20 electric supercars for the first season, the truth of the matter is that there aren’t many robust examples as you might have expected. The top speed of the aforementioned Sports EV class will be 115 mph which is just about the same in the Spec Miata racing. Even slow cars can be a lot of fun so why shouldn’t EVs fit in this category?

Think City racer

Collin affirmed that motorsports is probably the best crucible for testing and developing new automotive technology, regardless of how many horsepower are available under the hood. I for one totally agree with him because it is not all about the power of the car, there are other things maybe just as important that will have a tremendous effect in the future.

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Saab ePower EV prototype revealed

Saab ePower EV prototype revealed

After confirming a few weeks ago that it will launch a private test fleet of electric vehicles, based on the 9-3 model, Swedish company Saab has officially revealed its EV prototype: the Saab ePower.

The model, as you can see above, is based on the 9-3 Combi (Wagon), and will see 70 units be deployed onto Swedish roads at the beginning of next year, part of the aforementioned test fleet.

The Saab ePower uses a 35.5 kWh lithium ion battery pack, which powers a 184 HP electric motor. The range is estimated at 124 miles, and the battery can be charged in around six hours. The performance of the ePower is pretty decent, with 0 to 62 mph in 8.5 seconds, and a top speed of 93 mph.

Don’t expect to see a production ready Saab EV anytime soon though, as the technologies on the ePower will just be used to make the current models more fuel efficient.


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Kia reportedly planning electric crossover in 2013

Toyota and Tesla are partnering up to launch a special RAV4 electric crossover around 2012, but this doesn’t mean other companies aren’t also planning similar things.

According to a new Reuters report, Hyundai and Kia have some big plans in terms of electric vehicles for the next few years. According to it, the companies want to produce 2,500 EVs by 2012. While Hyundai will no doubt build some of its early concepts, Kia will do much of the grunt work.

Reuters says that the South Korean company will launch an electric crossover by 2013. It will first be offered to government agencies as part of a test fleet, but Kia is confident it will launch it on the global market soon after that.

No exact details are known, not even what type of batteries it will use, the newer, more expensive lithium ion or the older, but less efficient nickel-metal hydride.

Still, expect more electric vehicles to appear from both companies, as they are partners with the South Korean government in a new strategy to have 20% of the nation’s passenger vehicles be electric by 2020.


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20 Audi A1 e-tron prototypes hit the streets of Munich

Audi wants to keep on with its electric and hybrid research, and has just announced that it will roll out a test fleet of 20 Audi A1 e-tron prototypes.

In case you forgot, the extended range electric vehicle was revealed at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, boasting a 100 HP electric motor, which can keep the vehicle running for around 31 miles, and a rotary Wankel engine, designed to kick in when the lithium ion battery pack doesn’t have enough juice to keep powering the motor. This can add up to 123 miles to the range, meaning a total of 155 miles for the A1 e-tron.

The 20 prototypes will be rolled out around the streets of Munich, and are partly funded by the German Transportation Ministry. The federal authority will also invest in building nearly 200 electric charging stations around the city, in order to create an infrastructure capable of supporting electric vehicles.


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Chevrolet Volt will use maintenance mode to keep gas and engine from deteriorating

Chevrolet Volt will use maintenance mode to keep gas and engine from deteriorating

The Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle will use a motor to power itself, and a 1.4-liter range extending internal combustion engine if the batteries run out of juice after 40 miles.

But what happens when you average drive takes less than that and you end up not using the IC engine or the gas from the tank? Chevrolet engineers thought of this situation, and have installed a few systems to alert the driver to take the car past its electric only range, so that the gasoline and the engine will be used in order to prevent aging or deterioration.

If the driver doesn’t do that, the Volt will enter a special maintenance mode, where the IC engine will be used. This will consume some of the gasoline in the tank and keep the fluids going in the engine bay.

It’s also worth pointing out that the Volt has a special pressurized gas tank, which keep the fuel from evaporating as fast as a regular one. This means that the gas will last longer and won’t age that fast.

The Chevrolet Volt is scheduled to appear in certain territories in November, and will be rolled out across the USA next year.


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Toyota RAV4 EV to debut in LA this year, Prius PHEV arrives in 2012

Toyota RAV4 EV to debut in LA this year, Prius PHEV arrives in 2012

Toyota and Tesla announced a few months ago that they are planning to launch an all-electric vehicle, based on the popular RAV4 crossover.

The Toyota RAV4 EV has now been detailed by the Japanese company, which revealed that it will have a working prototype present at this year’s LA Auto Show. According to Toyota, this means that the electric crossover is still on track for a 2012 launch on the US market.

The company also decided to detail another one of its electric efforts, the Prius plug-in hybrid. According to Toyota, the car may also arrive on US shores in 2012. More specifically, people will get to see it in the second quarter, meaning late spring.

Toyota wants to sell over 20,000 Prius PHEVs in North America when it will launch the model, and will rival other cars like the Nissan Leaf EV or the Chevrolet Volt.


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Video: Nissan Leaf EV gets promoted with a polar bear

Nissan is really betting big on its Leaf all-electric vehicle, and has decided to release a brand new commercial, designed to tug on the heart strings of every eco-friendly person out there.

In the new ad called simply ‘Polar Bear’, Nissan shows just how a melting ice cap forces a polar bear to change its natural habitat, and reach a lovely suburban setting where an owner of a new Leaf resides.

The ad is very well done and definitely worth a watch. Check it out after the jump.

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BMW starts mysterious Dontblogaboutthis site, teases new hybrid/electric model

It seems that slow teasers that reveal parts of new cars are so 2009, as for the upcoming Paris Motor Show, BMW has taken viral marketing to a whole new level.

The German company recently launched a new website called DontBlogAboutThis, in which a special type of BMW 6 Series is showcased with stickers on it.

While the website only shows brief part of the car, there’s also a video showing the 6 Series in motion, but the distinct sound of an internal combustion engine is apparently absent. Also, as you can see below, it is equipped with special wheels as seen on hybrid or electric models.

Another photo was revealed afterwards, showcasing that we may be dealing with a very special type of BMW. While from the back it looks like a regular 6 Series, the front, as you can see above in a brightened version, appears to be that of the Vision EfficientDynamics hybrid show car.

Frankly, our guess is as good as yours. All will be revealed at the Paris Motor Show though. Hit the jump to see the two videos of this mysterious BMW in action.

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Nissan Leaf EV starts US tour on October 1st, you can schedule test drives now

Nissan is really pushing the Leaf electric vehicle with all its got. The company has already started promoting it through special reservations some time ago, and has even detailed the warranty plan and rollout schedule of the all-electric model.

Now, the Japanese company has announced that it will be taking the Nissan Leaf on a US tour, starting on October 1st. The Drive Electric Tour will begin at the AltCar Expo in Santa Monica, CA next month, and then go on tour all over the USA, ending up in Nashville, TN, at the end of March, 2011.

Those who are interesting in having a go in the new Nissan Leaf will be able to schedule test drives at the dedicated website launched by Nissan.


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Mitsubishi i-MiEV will get upgraded before it reaches the US in late 2011

The head of marketing and product planning for Mitsubishi North America, Gregory Adams, has revealed that when the i-MiEV electric city car will arrive on US shores, it will be thoroughly overhauled and enlarged to cater to American regulations and preferences.

The executive revealed that the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the Japanese carmaker’s big bet in terms of electric vehicles, will be in for quite a lot of changes before it will reach North America, in late 2011.

The US-spec i-MiEV will be larger, in order to accommodate more safety features, and have a revised interior with more options to make people see what they will spend more money on. According to previous reports, Mitsubishi wants a price of under $30,000, without the $7,500 federal tax credit. This will make it one of the cheapest all-electric models on the market, undercutting the upcoming Nissan Leaf.

Until the Mitsubishi i-MiEV hits the US market, the Japanese carmaker is focused on successfully launching it in Europe at the upcoming Paris Motor Show.


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Mobile charging stations for electric vehicles may appear in the future

Electric vehicles are soon going to become part of everyday life, as full pledge ones like the Nissan Leaf or extended-range ones like the Chevrolet Volt will be available for the large public.

This doesn’t mean that the infrastructure is up to par with the charging requirements these new models have. As such, the Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has come up with a new idea: mobile charging stations.

Basically, electric cars will connect to a general mainframe and inform it about the location where it is usually running out of power. These mobile charging stations will then be deployed in that area, in order to supply EVs with power. At night, the charging stations will fill up their own batteries, so as to not stress the power grid.

If these charging stations will become reliable enough, this might downright eliminate range anxiety for plenty of future EV owners.


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