AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Electric car manufacturers are quick to point out that the current range offered by their vehicles is more than enough to satisfy the driving needs of the majority of Americans. In fact, according to Nissan the average daily commute is just 29 miles. And yet consumers demand significantly more before they will view an EV as a viable alternative to a gasoline-powered vehicle.
The BEV, which isn’t named yet, will share underpinnings with the Nissan Leaf, but with more emphasis on power and aggressive styling.
“It was designed to be a luxury vehicle first and an electric vehicle second,” Infiniti marketing manager Sam Chung told The Detroit Bureau.
As Nissan’s second electric-only car, it underscores the value placed on such vehicles by the automaker. While ideas surrounding the car’s styling are little more than speculation, we’re wondering how much the Emerg-E concept that debuted in Geneva earlier this month might come into play.
Infiniti’s BEV will, however, adopt the mid-cycle changes headed for the Leaf. Those include an improved electric cabin heater that will be less taxing on the car’s battery, improving range and cold weather driving. The update will also bring an improved battery with better range, though the same principles apply to BEVs as do gasoline engines: the more output, the poorer the range.
Given that, it seems like the better battery will at least make it into the car if not as an even beefier version, but that coupled with a performance-first attitude suggests the vehicle’s range will probably be compromised.
Still, the new BEV will adopt an updated 6 kw charger, over the current-generation Leaf’s 3 kw charger, which will offer improved charging times, both to new Leaf customers and those interested in the more luxurious Infiniti.
We’ll be reporting live from New York next month, so check back for more details as they become available.
Having left Japan just one day before the tsunami-inducing earthquake wreaked havoc, a large shipment of Nissan LEAF Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) has just arrived in Long Beach, Calif.
Nissan’s Luna Spirit vehicle-carrying transport ship was safely on the open ocean when a 500 MPH wave passed under it, at about 3-inches high.
About a week after the tsunami, Nissan announced more than 1,500 LEAFs were either in transit or in a U.S. port.
With the estimated 1,500 new BEVs now in the U.S., this will be make possible the first substantial delivery of LEAFs to the U.S. which at this juncture have had less than stellar sales.
Short supply has been said to be the primary reason why a waiting list of about 2,000 U.S. pre-orders remains unfilled.
In January, Nissan reported 87 LEAFS delivered, and in the 10-percent shorter month of February, just 67 LEAFS were sold. In all, just 173 LEAFS have been delivered to the U.S. according to the Japan Auto Dealers Association (JADA).
This U.S. allotment plus 3,657 LEAF sales primarily in Japan will mean over 5,000 LEAFs will have been produced. This makes it one of the highest production BEVs yet produced. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has previously stated that plug-in vehicles will account for a quarter of Nissan’s sales by 2020, and the LEAF represents the first step towards that goal.
Ford plug-in hybrid likely to cost far less than the Volt
At a technology briefing held today at Ford’s Advance Engineering Center in Dearborn, MI, company representatives gave a sneak peak at the automaker’s green plans. The lineup includes official introduction plans for both a battery electric vehicle and Ford’s first plug-in hybrid (PHEV).
The PHEV will arrive in 2011 and Ford has said it will debut in a C-Class (compact) platform. While rumors have suggested this could be a new Lincoln model, Sue Cischke, Ford Group VP for Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering, all but laid those to rest by commenting that in order to keep costs low, the different powertrain options will be rolled out using the same platform. In other words… look for a Focus plug-in hybrid in 2011.
Ford has decided to go the same route as Toyota when it comes to plug-in hybrid technology, having their plug-in hybrid operate in essentially the same way as a conventional hybrid with a mixture of gasoline and electric power used to move the car. This is different from the formula used by Chevy and the upcoming Volt, which uses gasoline to power the electric motor, which powers the car. Ford didn’t discuss pricing, but did say that their system allows for a much smaller battery. As a result, the battery will be much less expensive, meaning the Ford PHEV, is likely to cost significantly less than the Volt’s targeted $40,000 price point. The Ford PHEV will use a lithium-ion unit.
As for the battery electric vehicle (BEV), it will be just that… a vehicle, a not a car. While an electric Focus is due in 2011, next year Ford will debut an electric version of its new Transit Connect utility truck. Ford representatives acknowledged the problems of launching BEV’s on a large scale and Cischke did say that BEV’s would need the help of government incentives in order to break into the marketplace. Another major problem in getting electric cars into the marketplace is that electric stations need to be created, and while cost certainly is an issue, the larger problem is that Ford’s aroach to the U.S. market is national, while electricity providers are regional.
Ford is expected to debut the all new Focus at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show in January and we expect to hear more about the introduction of its first plug-in hybrid then or shortly thereafter. AutoGuide’s Detroit Auto Show coverage begins January 11th.