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Electric cars are still a tough sell with consumers, but plug-in hybrids are starting to get more bites as people warm to the idea of the highly-efficient cars.
Among the many things going on at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) during the course of a year, there is the very messy task of crashing car after car after car.
Canadians have it pretty easy. They get free healthcare, dirt-cheap college tuition and now free taxi rides…
Thanks to its electric drive train and direct drive transmission system, the Nissan Leaf is supposed to be able to go just as fast in reverse as it can in forward, something the company plans to prove at Goodwood by attempting to take the record for driving the fastest mile — in reverse.
Toyota continues to enjoy success with its Prius family of models, as its plug-in hybrid sold 1,654 units in the month of April.
The sales figure trumps its main competitors, the Chevrolet Volt (1,462 sold) and the Nissan Leaf (370 sold) making it the most popular plug-in vehicle last month in America. It’s no huge surprise that the plug-in variant of the Prius is selling well compared to its counterparts, considering how well-known the Prius moniker has become over the years.
Last month the Japanese automaker also saw the highest sales total for its Prius models ever for the month of April, moving a combined figure of 25,168 units across all its model variants. In total, Toyota sold 30,126 hybrids while its luxury division Lexus moved a respectable 2,467. Compared to April 2011, Toyota’s hybrid sales saw a huge jump of 124.6 percent, but it’s worth noting that April 2011 was also after the disastrous tsunami that hindered vehicle production.
“Thanks to continued strong sales of Camry and Prius family, Toyota was America’s number one retail brand for the second straight month,” said Bob Carter, general manager of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. “With consumer confidence improving, we expect to see sustained industry growth in the months ahead.”
In its continued effort to spread the message of the all-electric Leaf, Nissan has partnered up with Fleet Forum and is providing five vehicles for a year for free.
Fleet Forum manages vehicle fleets for foreign aids and charitable organizations, such as Red Cross and the UN World Food Programme, and will take the Leaf EVs from Nissan and distribute them among five of their charities.
The charities that will benefit from this program this year are: United Nations World Food Programme, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees, Islamic Relief, and the United Nations Logistics Base.
This program will not only show the viability of electric vehicles in different applications around the world, but also reduce the environmental impact and reduce costs.
“This is an excellent example of learning through demonstration,” says Paul Jansen, Executive Director of Fleet Forum. “Through this programme these different organisations can see for themselves how electric vehicles can be used to help achieve their objectives. From a Fleet Forum point-of-view we’re happy to facilitate this as a way of increasing efficiency and reducing pollution.”
Jansen goes on to say, “The partnership with Nissan fits perfectly with Fleet Forum’s commitment to offer our members practical knowledge and experience of transport-related products and services. The participating members will benefit directly, but in the end all members will benefit. Together with Nissan we will gather and analyze the test data. We will build knowledge regarding electric driving, and we can advise our members how to maximize the best use of electric vehicles. Fleet Forum promotes electric driving because this is a very constructive way of reducing the environmental impact of the operational activities of Fleet Forum members.”
The first two cars will be handed over to the chosen organizations in a ceremony in Geneva. These cars will be used in Switzerland.
The Leaf is one of the few all-electric vehicles on sale anywhere in the world. It has a range of just over 100-miles on a full-charge and sells for a base price of $35,200.
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.
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.
Now that Nissan has had its Leaf on the market for some time, the Japanese automaker has been able to gather some customer feedback to upgrade its electric vehicle.
Nissan plans on debuting a new, upgraded Leaf at the end of this year, adding leather seats, darker interior option, and a more efficient heating system. While it may not seem like major upgrades, it’s nice to know that automakers still listen to their customers and implement quick changes to their vehicles.
Last year, Nissan sold 9,700 Leafs in the U.S. and currently the Leaf is on track to double that figure this year. And why didn’t the Leaf have a leather option from the get go? Simple, the Japanese automaker thought it’d make more sense going with the whole “green recycled materials” theme. But customers have been telling them otherwise, saying they not only want a leather, but an option for a darker interior shade.
Along with the darker and leather interior options, Nissan has gone and tweaked their heater to make it more efficient. The current Leaf’s range has been known to suffer drastically in cold weather when the heater is on. Mark Perry, director of product and advanced planning for Nissan America, said that the new heater is “much, much more efficient” and should have a 20-25 mile improvement over the current model in cold-weather conditions.
No pricing was announced on the 2013 Nissan Leaf.
[Source: Detroit News]
Toyota is the brand to beat when it comes to hybrid vehicles, and the recently launched Prius c subcompact helps reinforce that trend.
According to Toyota, the Prius c, which launched on March 12, has sold 1,201 in its first three days on the market, making it one of the company’s fastest selling vehicles.
In just three days, the Prius c outsold the February sales of the Volt, and Leaf, which sold 1,023, and 478 respectively.
The fact that gas prices in the US could hit $4.00 a gallon as early as memorial day certainly make the Prius c a shining beacon of hope for drivers who hope to save some money at the pump with the 53 mpg fuel economy rating. The under $19,000 price tag doesn’t hurt either.
As a whole, the Prius family of vehicles (the Prius, Prius c and Prius v) sold almost 10,000 units during the first half of March.
You can check out our review of the Prius c right here