Chevrolet Volt vs. Nissan Leaf

By dancurranjr On December 24th, 2010

The plug-in hybrid 2011 Chevrolet Volt and the all-electric 2011 Nissan Leaf both arrive in dealer showrooms in fall 2010.  Both have been making headlines for months.  Will they both be winners or will one leave the other in the dust?

Let’s compare the two.

Price to buy —  Both vehicles quality for a $7,500 tax rebate

Nissan Leaf — $32,780

Chevrolet Volt – $41,000

Leasing cost —

Nissan Leaf – $349 a month for 36 months, with $2,000 down

Chevrolet Volt – $350 a month for 36 months, with $2,500 down

Leasing avoids sticker shock, and also avoids owning if the technology does not live up to its promise by the time the lease is up.  Notice, I am not using the word ‘lemon’.

Size —

Nissan Leaf – four passenger compact

Chevrolet Volt – four passenger mid-size.  According to the New York Times, the Volt has less head and leg room than the $17,000 Chevrolet Cruze

Fuel mileage and range —

Nissan Volt — has a range of just under 100 miles before it needs recharging

Chevrolet Volt — also can travel about 40 miles on pure electric power, but extended range gas engine provides up to 500 miles.  The Volt requires premium gas, which detracts from fuel savings,

Recharging —  Both vehicles can be charged overnight on a standard 120-volt outlet, in four to six hours on a heavy duty 240-volt

Diesel-Hybrids Make a Clean Sweep

By dancurranjr On December 23rd, 2010

With a 60 mph top speed and scores of electric motors powering a variety of functions, the Allianz 4000 hybrid sweeper could be coming to a city near you.

Currently seeing action only in New York, the Allianz hybrid sweeper features a 6.7-liter Cummins diesel supplemented by two 12-volt li-ion batteries and an advanced electric-traction drive system. Allianz estimates that their new 4000 hybrid delivers a 40 percent fuel savings over a diesel-only sweeper.

Allianz’ sales manager, Chad Bormann, points out that these sweepers are not like ordinary light trucks, since sweepers need to propel themselves and spin their brooms at the same time, their differentials are built to run at a constant speed regardless, of how fast the sweeper itself travels. Bormann explains that the hybrid system gives Allianz’ new 4000 “the ability to operate using a smaller single diesel engine running at lower RPMs.

This alone creates savings against any street sweeper that requires an auxiliary engine in conjunction with the chassis engine to drive and operate the sweep functions. The fuel savings are extreme and the carbon footprint minimal considering that street sweepers are operated for long shifts daily all over the world.”

Pricing has yet to be set, but Bormann believes purchase price will play a very small role in a city’s decision to purchase and run the new hybrid sweepers. With environmental concerns and reduced oil-dependency being such hot topics in recent elections, he may be right!

SOURCE: Reuters

Cadillac SRX Crossover Plug-In Hybrid Under Development

By dancurranjr On December 23rd, 2010

According to US reports, GM’s luxury car faculty, Cadillac, could be about to bring out a new plug-in hybrid luxury SUV using technology also seen on the Chevrolet Volt. The car in question is expected to be based on the Cadillac SRX Crossover concept first unveiled at the Detroit motor show in 2008.

Reports say GM internal sources have confirmed production for the new model and say it will use some of the technology from the Volt to help keep development costs down. The car is also said to be based on a since scrapped project which started in 2008, based on a Buick vehicle.

A Cadillac hybrid SUV would provide the market with a rival to Toyota’s luxury off-road hybrid Lexus RX vehicles, although the Cadillac version will have the upper hand since it will be a plug-in hybrid using range-extending technology. GM does see Toyota as its main competitor in terms of sales though.

If the project does go ahead, it will be the first range-extending, plug-in hybrid luxury SUV on the market. Speculators say it certainly could take some of the Prius sales away from Toyota in the future.

Since the plans haven’t officially been made public, a release date is yet to be estimated. We’ll keep you updated though.

SOURCE: CarAdvice

BYD Begins Electric Hybrid Tests in Los Angeles

By dancurranjr On December 22nd, 2010

The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) and BYD Motors Inc. announced the launch of a break-through electric vehicle fleet today. The agreement was signed and BYD vehicles were put into service at HACLA Offices, 2600 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles.

“The BYD ‘Dual-Mode’ vehicles resolve any ‘range anxiety’ that consumers might have driving an all-electric vehicle. The F3DM can be treated as an all-electric because gasoline is never required – users can drive all-electric all the time”

“We are ecstatic to partner with BYD to test this fantastic EV fleet technology – not only will these electric vehicles reduce fuel costs significantly, but it will reduce direct-emissions by almost 37 lbs of CO2 per car, traveling less than 40 miles per day!” said HACLA President and CEO, Rudolf C. Montiel. “With BYD’s technology, I believe we will accomplish great things for the environment and demonstrate the lowest-cost fleet program in the United States.”

The F3DM (Dual Mode) sedans used in HACLA fleets can travel by electricity for 40 to 60 miles. An important attribute of the Dual-Mode vehicle is that the users have the ability to manually switch the vehicle to stay in all-electric vehicle or “EV mode” just like a conventional battery-electric vehicles (BEV) throughout the life of the car. However, if there is a requirement to go farther than 60 miles in a given day, the vehicle can be manually switched to plug-in-hybrid electric or “PHEV mode”, where a 1.0L gasoline engine can be engaged to extend the range another 300+ miles while charging the batteries. “The BYD ‘Dual-Mode’ vehicles resolve any ‘range anxiety’ that consumers might have driving an all-electric vehicle. The F3DM can be treated as an all-electric because gasoline is never required – users can drive all-electric all the time,” stated Micheal Austin, Vice President of BYD America.

“As a leader in the affordable housing industry, HACLA continues to implement innovative technology to reduce cost as a sustainable solution to helping the environment,” said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “I commend HACLA and hope that its example will lead others to make environmentally conscious decisions.”

The F3DM comes with an onboard overnight-charger which charges vehicles in less than 7 hours, allowing HACLA to simply install standard 220VAC outlets as you would for a home clothes dryer in their EV fleet parking areas. “Part of the appeal of this EV is the fact that we don’t need any special EV charging pedestals or equipment to charge, its all standard – that kept our initial launch costs in control and shortened our pay-back times,” said Mr. Montiel. BYD is also in discussions with HACLA to integrate solar power to charge an Energy Storage Station (ESS) during the day that could then discharge later during the EV fleet charging hours.

“BYD is pleased to partner with HACLA and Rudolf Montiel to integrate EVs and potentially renewable energy to charge them – he is a visionary leader and a great friend to City of LA and to the environment,” said Mr. Austin.

“The HACLA is the second largest authority of its kind in the United States, serving more than 100,000 residents, and takes seriously its obligation of leadership both environmentally and fiscally” said Mr. Montiel. “This test partnership demonstrates our strong commitment to reducing the City’s carbon footprint and HACLA’s cost.”

Introducing the Lexus CT Hybrid

By dancurranjr On December 22nd, 2010

Lexus is going to try to sell the CT as a value proposition. “For just $1,000 more than the cost of a non-luxury hybrid, buyers can indulge in a CT 200h with our proven Lexus Hybrid Drive technology,” said Mark Templin, group vice president and general manager, Lexus Division. He says Lexus hybrids currently make up 90% of all luxury hybrid sales in the U.S.

Hybrid Namplate

Let’s break down that name. The “ES” portion is obvious enough, as is the appended “h,” which is attached to the end of every Lexus hybrid nameplate. We can safely assume that the “300″ in between—like the digits in other Lexus hybrids—refers to a faux engine displacement. Fearless prediction: an ES300h would use a four-cylinder engine paired with Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system. This could either be a straight swiping of the
Low Cost Of Entry

In some ways it’s not surprising that the Lexus CT 200h bears such a low cost of entry. The vehicle is clearly youth-oriented, in a way that only the brand’s IS sedan, coupe and convertible have been up until this time, and its small dimensions would also seem to suggest a more affordable sticker. However, the CT 200h is a hybrid, and in the luxury world gasoline / electric automobiles are almost always saddled with higher than average price tags. Not only that, but the CT 200h is also positioned as a hybrid that offers an engaging, even sporty driving experience, qualities that frequently command a premium. This combination of affordability, enthusiast-oriented design and hybrid drivetrain serve to mark the Lexus CT 200h as a unique player in the eco-luxury segment.


However, seeing as it’s the power that Lexus is boasting about, we pretty much have to focus on how the new engine improves the LS 460. Umm, it doesn’t, actually. It’s still as great as ever, not noticeably any quicker, and as quiet and pampering as you’d expect. Maybe the six-and-a-half second sprint to 100kph should mean something to me, but I spent all my time with the LS 460 as any normal owner would; wafting about at quarter-throttle and nodding off at every traffic light. I did like the ‘eco mode’ feature, but that’s always been there, and even with it on you hardly save any fuel shoving a 1,945kg heap of steel down the highway.