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.
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!”
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.
The automotive industry is a global business that is constantly evolving and growing, and we here at AutoGuide know it can be hard to keep up sometimes. So here is a summary of the top stories you may have missed this week:
Zipcar, the nations largest car sharing service, is teaming up with Honda to provide customers with the latest in fuel saving cars and EVs.
All Zipcar customers, known as Zipsters, will have access to Honda’s Insight hybrid, the new CR-V and the all electric Fit EV come this fall. The Accord plug-in hybrid will be added to the stable beginning in early 2013.
Zipcar’s urban presence has driven up the demand for fuel efficient small vehicles which make more sense in the city, and Honda is answering the demand, also spurred by the fact that Zipcar customers have consistently rated Honda vehicles as the most favored cars in the fleet.
“As the car sharing market leader, Zipcar is the best choice for us to showcase our newest energy-efficient transportation technologies, given the strength of their brand, their tech-savvy, conscious and connected members and the geographic reach of their operations,” said Steven Center, the vice president of the Environmental Business Development Office at American Honda.
Zipcar was the first car sharing company in the US to adopt electric vehicles to its roster, and is now expanding on its fuel efficient choices to make sure that they stay current with the the latest market trends.
Honda took the first major step in its Honda Electric Vehicle Demonstration Program by delivering the first 2013 Fit EV to the city of Torrance, California.
The program will set up the retail market launch of the Fit EV to customers in California and Oregon starting this summer. Over the past year, the city of Torrance and Honda has been working together to gather input from local residents about potential recharging station locations and held numerous public awareness events with the Fit EV. The city of Torrance will also receive a Honda plug-in hybrid for additional testing at a later date.
“This is an exciting day as we take another important step toward Honda’s comprehensive vision for reducing CO2 emissions while at the same time advancing our relationship with the city of Torrance,” said Steve Center, vice president of the Environmental Business Development Office at American Honda. “Honda has a long history with electric vehicles starting with the introduction of our first battery-electric car, the EV Plus, nearly 15 years ago. With Honda’s extensive experience and the real-world feedback from the city of Torrance, we will be even more prepared for the further customer adoption of electric vehicles.”
The Honda Fit EV will have a 123 city-mile per charge (76-mile range combined adjusted city/highway), powered by a 20-kWh lithium-ion battery and 92 kW coaxial electric motor. The Fit EV can be fully recharged in as little as three hours when connected to a 240-volt circuit.
Honda will also be testing the Fit EV with Google and Stanford University in order to receive real-world feedback on the new electric vehicle.
Ahead of the recent Tokyo Motor Show, Honda invited a group of journalists out to its Twin Ring Motegi race track facility for an information download on its future engines and transmissions, as well as a chance to get behind the wheel of some of the new products.
Unfortunately, seat time was too minimal for even a first-drive style piece of each of the vehicles present. Still, we thought we’d share our impressions of cars that ranged from high-tech prototypes to models we’ll never see.
Read the complete story below:
The Honda Fit EV just made its World Debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show and we want to take this opportunity to tell Nissan that it needs to watch its mirrors. Promising a range close to the Leaf Leaf (123 miles vs 138 for the Leaf), and a price of just $36,625, the new Fit EV offers virtually all of the benefits of the Nissan, but with a platform that has already proven to be versatile and fun.
Honda will initially offer the Fit EV on three-year lease plans for around $399/month and plans to find around 1,100 takers in those first three years. We don’t think that is an unrealistic expectation at all. The electric Fit joins natural gas, fuel cell and hybrids in the Honda lineup, making it one of the most diverse lineups in terms of alternative energy sources.
Honda will begin leasing the Fit EV to customers in select California and Oregon markets next summer, and will expand to six East Coast markets in early 2013.
Gallery: 2013 Honda Fit FV
Honda has confirmed two world premieres for the 2011 LA Auto Show, with production versions of both the 2012 CR-V and 2013 Fit EV planned.
Previewed in the concept (above) Honda is promising more dramatic styling with its latest version of the popular CR-V crossover. Also promised are added features and improved fuel economy. Leaked specs have revealed that the standard model will continue to be powered by a 2.4-liter engine with slightly less horsepower at 175-hp, but slightly more torque at 170 lb-ft. A larger 2.5-liter 4-cylinder is also expected to be offered with 201-hp and 177 lb-ft of torque.
As for the Fit EV, if Honda stays true to the concept, it will get an electric motor powering the front wheels and a lithium-ion battery pack with a 70 mile range. Power is expected to be similar to that of a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with a 6-hour recharge.
GALLERY: 2012 Honda CR-V Concept
GALLERY: Honda Fit EV Concept
See AutoGuide’s complete LA Auto Show preview here, with coverage starting November 16th.