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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 sales of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles (PEVs) have not been as strong as many had hoped, and a new study from Pike Research shows that around 410,000 PEVs will be sold between 2011 and 2015, falling short of the million mark that the Obama administration wants.
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.
Along with concerns like range anxiety, many potential electric car buyers express concerns about high voltage electric shocks.
With the Nissan Leaf being an entirely new type of vehicle, before it came to market engineers sat down and postulated all the possible “what ifs” of things that could go wrong, making sure to test the electric car in new ways never even dreamed of before.
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.”
The all electric Nissan Leaf is trying to become a practical and viable option to compete with the gasoline engine, and Nissan is providing infrastructure to help make the transition smooth for consumers.
Partnering with the non-profit company Adopt a Charger, Nissan is sponsoring 15 EV chargers that are available for public use. There are two locations where the Nissan chargers can be found, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and in San Francisco at the Music Concourse Garage in Golden Gate Park. Both of these sites were reviewed before hand and selected thanks to their high concentration of EVs that visit every day.
Prices might be falling soon on the cost to produce electric vehicles, which means (hopefully) that the MSRP will fall soon as well.
A new report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows the cost of lithium ion batteries falling 14 percent over this time last year. Furthermore, prices took a 30 percent swan dive since 2009.
Gasoline-powered cars are slowly starting to look like pirates plundering the world for fuel and slashing environmental throats as they go. Thanks to that, the fair maiden electric vehicles with zero-emissions claims and low-cost fueling can easily float in on the smog cloud looking squeaky-clean. But are they?
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.