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.
Savin' Money at the Pump
Toyota’s Prius has become the go-to vehicle for people looking to save money at the gas pump. Sure, it looks like an alien science project gone wrong and its driving dynamics are less fun than a trip to the ER, but this car’s groundbreaking combination of high technology, phenomenal fuel economy and unimpeachable reliability have made it a perennial favorite.
Maximizing Fuel Efficiency with Hatchback Versatility
Want the versatility of a hatchback but hate stopping at the gas station? AutoGuide‘s Top 10 list of the most fuel efficient hatchbacks available on today’s market will certainly appeal to you.
With the growth of the electric vehicle and hybrid market, it’s no surprise to see the list being dominated by electrified vehicles. The list uses data from theU.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to determine rank.
So what tops the list? Read on and find out.
Electric vehicles face many hurdles compared to their conventional, internal-combustion-powered counterparts. Consumers are generally unfamiliar with them plus they have range-related issues, but that’s not all; pricing is also a problem for new-vehicle shoppers.
Arguably electric cars are the future of the automotive industry. They promise smooth, quiet, pollution-free driving, but are they ready for primetime? If recent news is any indicator, the answer is a resounding “NO!”
Vehicles don’t try to race around the course as quickly as possible at the Montreal Green Rally.
The Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf initiated a whole new movement in the auto industry. With the realization that an all-electric vehicle can be useful in everyday driving situations thanks to a large battery and more efficient fast charging technology, automakers are hopping on the electric vehicle bandwagon.
“Overall automakers want to be prepared,” says Devin Lindsay, an automotive powertrain analyst from IHS Automotive. “EVs are another tool for automakers to reach out to consumers” he says, mentioning that automakers are taking EVs seriously, rather than just putting a bunch of batteries and motors in an existing product.
It’s interesting to see how automakers make electric cars from the ground up to use only electric propulsion. For example Tesla and Cadillac are all making vehicles that will exclusively be used with an electric powertrain. Others are modifying their current successful vehicles to EVs. Lets take a look at the different EVs that will be arriving soon (or are already here), and learn a bit about the new technology behind it.
Those anxiously awaiting for Ford‘s first electric car will be pleased to know the American automaker hopes to have its EV available nationwide by the end of this year.
The Focus Electric will launch in California, New York, and New Jersey first and later this summer we will see it expand to 14 other states including Texas, Washington, and Virginia. According to Ford, there will be four phases of rollout in total with the third phase opening up another nine states including Hawaii, New Mexico, and Ohio. The final phase will bring the new EV to the rest of America to enjoy emissions-free driving.
Only select dealerships will have the Focus Electric on hand initially, as the American automaker requires each dealer to have at least two onsite charging stations as well as highly-specialized training, and one Focus Electric in stock at all times for demonstration purposes.
Priced from $39,200, the Focus Electric packs 143-hp with a 23 kWh lithium-ion battery and is currently America’s most fuel-efficient, five-passenger vehicle with a 110 MPGe rating in the city. Ford also likes to brag that its Focus can be charged in nearly half the time of its competitor, the Nissan Leaf.
“Ford is giving customers the power of choice for leading fuel economy regardless of what type of vehicle or powertrain technology they choose,” said Eric Kuehn, chief nameplate engineer, Focus Electric.
Ford Focus Electric Launch Map
On April 28, the Ford Focus electric will lead the pack as the Richmond 400 NASCAR race pace car — the first all electric car to do so.
NASCAR is clearly a sport where fuel economy isn’t a major concern, so Ford wants to educate the fans on how their EV technology works. ”Ford research shows the majority of Americans would consider buying an electric vehicle but do not yet understand the different technologies,” said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas.
Ford research shows that 67 percent of Ford race fans are likely to buy a Ford product, so debuting the Focus Electric at the track might help tip the scales in favor of hybrids among people who would be likely to write them off. The automaker can also claim the first hybrid to ever run as pace car at a NASCAR race, leading the pack in 2008.
The Focus electric is rated by the company at 110-mpge city and a 105-mpge combined rating, giving it a six mile-per-gallon equivalent advantage over the Nissan Leaf making it the most efficient all electric vehicle on the market.
Watch the Richmond 400 on April 28 to see the Ford Focus Electric pace car in action.
Ford recently announced the EPA fuel efficiency rating for its electric Focus model. Since it doesn’t burn any gasoline, the number isn’t in miles per gallon (MPG), but was given as miles per gallon gasoline equivalent, or MPGe. A new term to the automotive lexicon, it’s worth exploring exactly what MPGe means and how an MPGe rating is determined, especially as the number of electric cars and plug-in electric hybrids on the roads continues to increase.
Powered by a 23kWh-capacity lithium ion battery, the Focus Electric has its battery temperature managed by a liquid-cooling system and is 25 to 30 percent smaller and 50 percent lighter than a standard nickel-metal hydride battery. Ford claims that the Focus Electric can be charged in four hours while connected to a 240-volt source.
The front-wheel drive EV has an electric motor with 141-hp and can get around 110-MPGe in the city and 99-MPGe on the highway. The EPA estimates that the Focus Electric will get up to 76 miles on a single charge, giving it a slight three mile advantage over the Nissan Leaf.
But the technology in the Focus Electric is what has people buzzing. It will come equipped with an updated version of the MyFord Touch instrument cluster that is easily paired to the MyFord Mobile app that is available for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry devices. Users will be able to remotely view their vehicle’s current battery state, percentage of capacity, and estimated driving range. In addition, the app will allow owners to schedule charging for later or even tell the system to immediately charge. Best yet, there is a fail safe built into the app to inform owners if the car isn’t charging when it’s supposed to be or is unplugged for some strange reason.
Think that’s cool enough? There’s more. The app will lock and unlock the Focus Electric’s doors, start the climate control system, and awards achievements based on how green-friendly the driver drives.
Future owners of the Focus Electric that want a 240-volt charging station in their home will have to shell out an additional $1,499 and can order one through their local Best Buy store.
Ford began production on its Focus Electric back in December 2011 and will begin appearing at dealerships in the first half of 2012 in select states (California, New York, and New Jersey). The American automaker hopes to have it in 19 markets across the U.S. before the end of 2012. The $39,200 MSRP does not include the $795 destination charge.
American automaker Ford has committed to increasing the fuel economy of its U.S. model lineup 20-percent by the year 2020. The Blue Oval is hoping to achieve this through electric vehicles, hybrids, and improvements to gasoline-powered vehicles.
The recently released Ford Focus EV is rated at 105-MPGe, making it the country’s most efficient five-passenger vehicle. And even though electric vehicle sales will just be a small portion of Ford’s overall sales in the year 2020, the technology from them will help improve Ford’s hybrid and gasoline-powered models.
Currently Ford is adding an automatic start/stop system to its Fusion models later this year and is contemplating a new hybrid system. In addition, Ford has already announced that it plans on expanding its EcoBoost engine lineup. But powertrain improvements won’t be the only thing on Ford’s plate to make fuel efficiency improvements, the American automaker is also looking to shave weight across their models – up to 700 lbs in some.
[Source: Detroit Free Press]
“Ford is giving customers the power of choice for leading fuel economy regardless of what type of vehicle or powertrain technology they choose,” said Eric Kuehn, chief nameplate engineer for the Focus Electric. “The Focus and Fusion are great examples of how we transformed our fleet of cars, utilities and trucks with leading fuel efficiency.”
The company’s first foray into all-electric vehicles achieves a stated 110-mpge city and a 105-mpge combined, giving a six mile-per-gallon equivalent advantage over the Leaf. It seems unlikely that those extra miles would come into play very often, though.
Range anxiety will probably be enough to keep most EV drivers reasonably far from exhausting their charge, or even testing the extra range claims that differentiates the Focus.
Instead, it really wins over the Leaf by offering more interior space, half the charging time and the chance to blend in with other cars if you don’t always want to brandish the green cars cause.
Ford is positioning itself to have a lineup of efficiency-minded cars with the 2013 Fusion getting a 1.6-liter EcoBoost with a projected 37-mpg highway consumption rating.
Ford says that will round out their lineup with 10 fuel-efficiency leaders across various segments. It’s important to note that the Focus beats Nissan but still isn’t the most efficient EV available. The Mitsubishi i-MiEV gets 112 mpge combined or 126 city.
UPDATE: The Focus Electric has a 76-mile range on a single charge.
Those heading to the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and/or the 2012 Detroit Auto Show may want to recycle their plastic bottles while at the convention center. Ford and Unifi will be collecting plastic water bottles constructed of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) from the two shows and will recycle them to make the Repreve seating material found in the EV.
Repreve is a mixture of post-industrial fiber waste and post-consumer waste such as the PET plastic water bottles. Apparently each Ford Focus Electric will use about 22 plastic bottles in its interior and Ford and Unifi hopes to help divert 2 million plastic bottles from landfills. According to Ford, right now, the Focus EV is approximately 90-percent recyclable, but they’re working on making that 100-percent.
Google is all about advancing technology in order to improve our world and lifestyle, and it appears that they also support any other company that’s pro-technology.
The massive search engine turned all-things technology firm was given the keys to the first Ford Focus electric vehicle off the assembly line.
It’ll be interesting to see if Google will be going domestic in continuing to develop their autonomous vehicle technology that’s currently taking place on Toyota‘s Prius. There’s probably a better chance that the electric Focus will be making its way as a Google Street View vehicle though, spying on us and taking unsuspecting photos without wasting a drip of gas or polluting our world.
The day that a fleet of self-driving electric vehicles with Google plastered across the side of them doesn’t seem so far off.
The Focus EV, says Ford, is expected to achieve a miles per gallon equivalent (mpge) rating of 100, besting the Nissan Leaf by a single digit. This would make it the most efficient model available in the US, were it not for the 126 mpge Mitsubishi i.
As a result of these new offerings, Ford says almost one third of its lineup now has a 40 mpg or higher model.
In addition, giving the Focus Electric an edge on the competition is a new charging system that allows the battery to be recharged in half the time of the Nissan Leaf, using a 240 volt outlet. Ford says this works out to roughly 30 miles per hour of charging.
The Focus Electric will get a new MyFord Touch system designed to work with electric vehicles and provide more information for drivers. In addition, a MyFord Mobile app will allow owners to charge their vehicle remotely and check on battery life, state-of-charge and more.
In addition to it’s eco-friendly nature, Ford is touting the Focus EV as a livable 5-seater, with “real driving enjoyment”.
At launch, the Focus Electric will be available in just California and the New York/New Jersey areas, and later in 2012 Ford will expand the launch markets to include: Atlanta; Austin and Houston, Texas; Boston; Chicago; Denver; Detroit; Los Angeles; San Francisco; San Diego; New York; Orlando, Fla.; Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.; Portland, Ore.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Richmond, Va.; Seattle; and Washington, D.C.