Auto Tax Credits For Eco-Friendly Hybrid Cars

By dancurranjr On May 25th, 2009

irsAuto tax incentives for Hybrid cars and electric vehicles are being phased out later in 2009. However, there could be new tax credits for these eco-friendly cars. The whole purpose of these tax deductions is to reduce the amount of carbon emissions, which provide cleaner air quality.

The tax incentives started with the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which replaces the clean-fuel burning deduction with a tax credit. A tax credit is subtracted directly from the total amount of federal tax owed, thus reducing or even eliminating the taxpayer’s tax obligation. The tax credit for hybrid vehicles applies to electric vehicles purchased or placed in service on or after January 1, 2006.

The credit is only available to the original purchaser of a new qualifying vehicle. If a qualifying vehicle is leased to a consumer, the leasing company may claim the credit. The Hybrid vehicle must also have a drive train powered by both an internal combustion engine and a rechargeable battery.

This is a list of some of the models, which qualify, including the amount for the tax credit:

  • Chrysler Aspen Hybrid – $2,200
  • Dodge Durango Hybrid – $2,200
  • Ford Escape Hybrid 2WD – $3,000
  • Ford Escape Hybrid 4WD – $1,950
  • Mazda Tribute Hybrid 2WD – $3,000
  • Mazda Tribute Hybrid 4WD – $1,950
  • Mercury Mariner Hybrid 2WD – $3,000
  • Mercury Mariner Hybrid 4WD – $1,950
  • Nissan Altima Hybrid – $2,350

This is not a complete list and there might be another wave of tax credits for all-electric vehicles. Most automakers, including Ford, General Motors, Honda, and Toyota are already building new prototypes. These prototypes will enter the market in late 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Critics of the Energy Policy Act and the recent tax credits say the government should do more to help convert gasoline powered automobiles to Hybrid and electric solutions. For example, the government is already phasing out the tax credits during the economic recession. The critics feel that the tax credits should be extended for at least another 24 months.

The tax credits started with a $7,500 deduction which actually helped the new Hybrids gain respect and awareness. However, consumers can still save fuel costs as most of the new Hybrids can travel up to 50 miles without using a single drop of gasoline. As gas prices rise, drivers can switch the vehicle from gas to electric power for shorter travel rides.

NYPD Get Mean, Green Hybrid Machines

By dancurranjr On May 10th, 2009

Hybrid Cars 2NYPD Green?

The Police Department rolled out 40 new alternative-fuel vehicles Thursday to be added to its 2,400-car fleet. The Nissan Altima hybrids will be deployed across the city – from congested midtown Manhattan to sprawling Staten Island.

The new cars cost $25,391 each, about $1,500 more than the Chevrolet Impalas that are widely used throughout the department.

Mayor Bloomberg pointed out that Altimas get more than double the gas mileage of the traditional squad cars.

“There’s every reason to believe that they will quickly more than cover the initial cost,” said Bloomberg at a news conference at Police Headquarters.

The city will pay for the cars in part with $1 million from an intra-agency energy conservation steering committee, Bloomberg said. The department is expected to buy 172 vehicles, police said.

The NYPD already has hybrids in its parking enforcement fleet and 10 green SUVs used by duty captains for marked patrol.

“Over the years, the Police Department has embraced technology in many ways,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

“What we’re looking to do is take advantage of technology as far as vehicle fuel efficiency is concerned, as long as it doesn’t compromise officer safety or performance.”

The vehicles – 18 marked and 22 unmarked – are part of the city’s plan to reduce energy consumption in government buildings and operations by 30% over the next eight years.

Bloomberg said the city is trying to take the lead on going green.

“If we can do it, we think it’ll be a good example for everyone,” he said.

SOURCE: NY Daily News

Nissan Hybrid Joins Alliance To Build Nissan Zero Emission Hybrids

By dancurranjr On April 30th, 2009

nissan-ultima-hybridNissan Motor Co., Ltd has announced plans to partner with the nation’s largest energy research center to help build zero emission hybrids in 2010. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) will play a key role in developing new hybrid technologies. The car maker is working with other partners that also share the belief in future electric vehicles.

“Nissan, through the Renault-Nissan Alliance, has committed to being a global leader in zero-emission vehicles,” Dominique Thormann, senior vice president, administration and finance, Nissan North America, said in a statement. “Nissan in Tennessee is working with partners that share in the belief that the introduction and expansion of electric vehicles is one of the best solutions to reducing CO2 emissions. It’s only through collaborative efforts such as this that we can make zero-emission mobility a reality,” Thormann said.

The first introduction of Nissan zero-emission vehicles will be in 2010 with a mass global market available in 2012. The automaker has been working on a new EV Prototype model which has been part of a coast-to-coast tour. The automobile uses a lithium-ion battery pack and a zero-emission electric motor.

Nissan will be part of the Deparment of Energy’s largest multi-purpose research lab to participate in a hybrid project.

As part of the ORNL, this does separate Nissan from other hybrid car manufacturers. The partnership is a $400 million research lab which develops energy-related projects. The current project is to develop an eco-friendly vehicle that produces zero emissions as well as longer battery life breakthrough technologies.
Nissan Joins Hybrid Electric Car Network

TVA is the nation’s largest public power supplier which is helping to lead the way in research into making a new transportation infrastructure. The power system will be a complete electric car charging network. The infrastructure is made up of solar energy and other natural resources.

SOURCE: NewsOxy

Review: 2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid

By dancurranjr On March 23rd, 2009

nissan-ultima-hybridAlthough Nissan has promised to offer battery/electric vehicles by next year, it’s still found time to occasionally tinker with gasoline/electric hybrids. That’s a good thing, as the 2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid is one of the most enjoyable hybrid sedans on the market.

This isn’t, of course, because the Altima Hybrid is at the cutting edge of hybrid technology. No, we enjoy Nissan’s entry in this segment simply because it doesn’t smack of being a hybrid first and foremost.

You won’t find a dozen giant hybrid emblems splattered across the exterior, nor will you see any blue-tinted headlamps, custom wheels, or splashy graphics. Apart from three small “Hybrid” emblems, Nissan has made this hybrid a dead ringer for the stock Altima.

The same is true for the Altima Hybrid’s suspension. We’ve long found this iteration of the Altima to be one of the better front-wheel-drive mid-size sedans, and the Altima Hybrid is no exception. Although it carries an extra 300 pounds versus a base Altima, the Hybrid feels no less sporty. We’re not fans of the nonexistent feedback offered by the electric power steering, but the Altima Hybrid feels taut, nimble, and planted in most switchbacks. It’s no four-door GT-R, but it feels downright exciting compared with the dowdy Toyota Camry Hybrid.

Nissan licensed most (if not all) of the Altima’s hybrid powertrain from Toyota, but the Altima Hybrid responds to throttle input in a manner most unlike a Camry. Goose the gas in the Camry, and you’ll hear its engine frantically rev while the CVT slowly winds the car up to speed. Do the same in the Altima, and you’re presented with a substantial wall of torque, courtesy of the 2.5-liter I-4 and a 105-kW (141-hp) electric motor working in combination.

Such a punch may suggest that the Altima Hybrid is tuned more for performance than ecology, but that’s not the case. Slow, fluid starts and a gentle application of the accelerator pedal can keep the Altima running off electricity at speeds up to 40 mph. It’s easy enough to kick the car into EV mode in parking garages and the like, but with some practice, the Altima can also silently cruise around congested downtown areas with ease.

Sadly, the ease of kicking the Altima Hybrid into EV mode doesn’t translate into impressive fuel economy numbers. Certainly, the 35/33 mpg city/highway EPA ratings are nothing to sneeze at, but they’re less than those posted by the new Ford Fusion Hybrid and the revised 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid. At times, we didn’t even see that – one staffer who piloted the car barely averaged 26 mpg on his weekend trip. We imagine, though, that both the long stretches of highway, coupled with the frigid Michigan winter, played a part in these lower-than-expected figures.

As much as we’d like to see Nissan work on increasing fuel economy even more, its engineers might better focus on a few other areas that deserve refinement. Although the suspension is decidedly sporty for this class, it also crashes over potholes, expansion joints, and broken surfaces in general. We also think some work could be done on the Altima Hybrid’s transition between gasoline and electric modes. You’ll feel the I-4 fire up in quite an abrupt manner, which isn’t the case on either the Camry or the Fusion.

Although this could be a near-perfect hybrid with just a bit of polishing, we doubt that Nissan will take the time to devote much more development work to the Altima Hybrid. As it stands, the car is sold in only eight states (California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont), and the company’s already expressed its interest in developing electric vehicles, not hybrids.

SOURCE: AutomobileMag

Find a Nissan Altima for sale in your area

NYPD To Debut Hybrid Police Cruisers

By dancurranjr On February 20th, 2009

nypdGetting arrested will soon be good for the environment.

The NYPD is trying out hybrids as patrol cars – starting with 40 “green” 2009 Nissan Altima sedans ready to hit the streets in the next two weeks, The Post has learned.

In a pilot program aimed at both saving fuel and reducing pollution, the department has shelled out $1.1 million so far to buy and outfit the new ecofriendly cars – built at the Japanese auto company’s plant in Smyrna, Tenn. – which run on combination gas-electric engines.

While the NYPD already uses some hybrid sedans and SUVs for parking enforcement and duty captains, this is the first time it’s putting green cars on the beat.

“We won’t know whether they are suitable for wider use until they are subjected to the NYPD’s demanding environment, which includes virtual 24-hour-a-day operation by multiple drivers,” said spokesman Paul Browne.

If it performs, the fuel-efficient hybrids may eventually replace the gas guzzlers that make up the current 3,254-vehicle patrol fleet of mostly Ford Crown Victorias and Chevy Impalas. Those get 16 to 18 mpg in the city – compared to 35 mpg expected from the Altimas.

To start, the NYPD has outfitted 18 hybrids as marked patrol cars, bringing the $21,500 base cost to $30,752 per car. Another 20 are unmarked ($25,595 each), and two are disguised as yellow cabs for anticrime work ($28,600 each).

Some cops doubt that the Altima, which meets California emission standards, is tough or safe enough.

“The NYPD can paint ’em, slap decals and lights and siren on ’em, but that still doesn’t make ’em police cars,” griped a blogger officer on a chat site.

The US News and World Report gave the Altima hybrid an overall score of 8 out of 10 – but a 9.9 for safety, based on crash and rollover tests, plus antilock brakes, traction and wheel stability control, and front, side and head-curtain airbags.

The NYPD also liked the midsize Altima’s “roominess,” Browne said. With a thick partition added between the front and rear of patrol cars, it makes a tight squeeze for prisoners and other back-seat passengers. Surprisingly, there are a few more inches of rear leg room in the Altima than the Impala, The Post found.

Source: NY Post