Thursday, December 29, 2011

CODA goes green

CODA Holdings announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show that production of its self-named flagship sedan has begun for next year.

Inspired by the Chinese mid-class Saibao sedan, the CODA is built by China’s Harbin HF Automobile Industry Group (Hafei), and then sent off to California for final assembly.

CODA is a privately owned, Los Angeles-based company that produces low-speed, short-run electric vehicles (EVs) for government use. Thanks to a private funding worth about $300 million, the company ventured out to produce an affordable, mainstream EV with a greater range than any car currently available on the market.

Consumers can get the car at a starting price of US$39,000, but a California rebate worth $2,500 and federal tax credits amounting to $7,500 would make the price more attractive.

CODA is committed to reduce costs and pass the savings on to consumers, said CEO Phil Murtaugh. The company also hopes to sell 14,000 EVs in the US and aspires of eventual worldwide distribution.

The CODA boasts an electric drivetrain that offers twice as fast charging times than the Nissan LEAF’s, as well as a driving range of up to 240 km on a single full charge. The car is even more powerful with 134hp and 221 lb-ft of torque. The CODA also comes with a 36 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which stores 50 percent more energy than the LEAF’s.

For the original article, click here.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Alberta biofuels gets investment from government

Alberta-based Kyoto Fuels Corporation will get an investment from the federal government worth up to $31.14 million over six years through the ecoENERGY for Biofuels program.

Kyoto Fuels will generate up to 66 million litres of biodiesel every year, converted from animal fat or cooking or vegetable oil. The firm plans to sell the product to diesel producers in the northwestern United States and Western Canada.

Greenhouse gas emissions from biodiesel can be reduced up to 80 percent over regular diesel, said the government.

Canada is spending up to $1.5 billion via the ecoENERGY for Biofuels program over a period of nine years to generate jobs in the clean energy sector and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Current regulations require a 2 percent in heating oil and diesel fuel and 5 percent renewable fuel content.

For the original article, click here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Nissan Leaf available to all Canadians

Canadians living within the area of the 27 certified Nissan Leaf dealers throughout the country can now have access to the all-electric Leaf.

Before, reservations were limited only to those who had signed up on Nissan’s website.

The first 40 2011 Nissan Leafs were taken in the first few minutes that registration officially opened. A total of 350 model year 2012 cars were available earlier this fall.

“The feedback we’ve received from Nissan Leaf owners in Canada has been incredible, with many sharing their journey and experience through social media,” said Judy Wheeler, marketing director for Nissan Canada. “As more people live with and share their experience of all-electric mobility, particularly with the Nissan Leaf, more and more Canadians will consider this an exciting option for their next vehicle. Opening reservations to the broader public is an important step in the roll-out of the car in Canada.”

As end-November, more than 110 Leaf vehicles have been shipped to Canadian customers, with over 20,000 units sold worldwide. The Leaf wears a starting price tag of $38,395 and can qualify for provincial rebates of $8,500, $8,000 and $5,000 in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia, respectively.

Online reservations can be made at Nissan for customers living within the vicinity of a certified Leaf dealer. To obtain a reservation, Nissan requires a reservation fee worth $99, fully refundable.

Read the original article here.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

smart for-us concept to be unveiled at Detroit

It looks like this is another redefinition and reinvention of small cars from smart.

The smart for-us is the newest in a long lineup of unconventional smart concepts that includes the ForSpeed, the crossblade and the crosstown.

The for-us is unique in the sense that its rear cargo area can accept two smart ebikes. The tailboard of the rear bed opens up, thus allowing easy access to the cargo floor. Another interesting thing is that it can recharge the ebikes, thanks to a 55kW magneto-electric motor.

Compared to the production fortwo, the for-us is longer and wider, yet it retains the roomy for-two cabin. This could be the most versatile go-anywhere car; you can pull out the ebikes once the roads run out!

The for-us concept is set to be unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2012.

For the original article, click here.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Daimler tests inductive charging

Is it possible to charge an electric vehicle without plugging it in? Well, Daimler AG will just show that as it embarks on a project that will test inductive charging in real-world conditions.

Under this project, a special charging coil will be fitted in a Mercedes-Benz A-Class E-Cell and will be placed over another charging coil in the ground to start the charging process automatically. The car is set for deployment in March in Berlin.

“We are keen to find out how the inductive charging process proves in daily use,” said Herbert Kohler, head of e-drive and future mobility. “We have already demonstrated the essential feasibility of the technology. The experience in day-to-day use will now provide important pointers for the further course of development. A number of technical and financial issues also need to be resolved before we can really assess the marketability of this technology.”

This project is part of a bigger project that includes an energy-efficient house designed to produce more electricity than it uses. The excess electricity will be utilized to recharge the EV. A four-member family will live at the house for 15 months and use several EVs to demonstrate and explore how electric mobility and a new generation of buildings can interact in everyday life. The vehicles will include a Smart ebike, a second-generation Smart Fortwo Electric Drive and the A-Class E-Cell.

To read the original article, click here.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

2013 Dart to debut at North American International Auto Show

The 2013 Dodge Dart compact sedan will make its worldwide debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this coming January.

The all-new Dart will be made available with an option of three engines: a Tigershark MultiArt 2.4-litre, turbocharged MultiAir 1.4-litre, and a “Tigershark” 2.0-litre engine, with three transmissions also available.

Features on this new vehicle include a signature split-crosshair grille, dual exhaust as well as full-width LED taillights adapted from the Dodge Charger.

To be built at Chrysler’s plant in Belvidere, Illinois, the 2013 Dart is the first vehicle of Chrysler Group that is based on Fiat architecture and adapted from the Alfa Romeo Giulietta.

For the original article, click here.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

CAA unveils new smartphone app

Canadians can now request roadside assistance, plan a trip with TripTik and search for exclusive member savings thanks to a new, all-in-one smartphone application launched by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA).

This easy-to-use application, launched for the Android, iPhone and Blackberry, can be downloaded for free and is available in French and English. Non-CAA members can also access this app.

Thanks to this innovation, users can easily find exclusive member savings at more than 100,000 partner locations across the US and Canada. Users can also request for CAA Roadside Assistance without the need to place a call, get instant battery quotes, locate auto repair shops approved by the CAA and access automotive and insurance information. CAA members and non-members can also use the application to locate AAA/CAA-approved restaurants, lodging, campgrounds, attractions and events.

For the original article, click here.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Latest recall affects Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet Volt might be affected by the latest recall issued by Transport Canada.

Certain units were accidentally programmed with inaccurate theft protection calibration files and daytime running lamp (DRL) during assembly.

This flaw could enable motorists to turn off the DRL while driving, and could also allow non-dealership staff to program a replacement ignition key.

Dealers will need to reprogram the body control module.

The recall will affect a total of 39 2012 Chevrolet Volt.

Click here to read the original article.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

New plant to produce 'green' gasoline

Sundrop Fuels has acquired a land located near Alexandria, Louisiana, where it would build its first production facility that will produce the world’s first renewable, ready-to-use “green” gasoline from sustainable forest waste and hydrogen from clean-burning natural gas.

According to the Colorado-based company, the new plant will be able to produce 50 million gallons a year.

The plant, which will cost between US$450 and $500 million, will be partly funded via the sale of tax-exempt Private Activity Bonds. These do not involve any financial obligation from local or state authorities.

The state of Louisiana has also offered the company with performance-based incentives for the plant, which will likely provide 150 jobs and have a substantial economic effect in the area.

As a “drop-in” bio fuel, it can directly replace petroleum fuels. It is also designed to cost less than or as much as petroleum-based transportation fuels.

Sundrop Fuels will convert cellulosic feedstock into synthetic gas using a gasification process. The synthetic gas will then be converted into bio-based “green gasoline” that can be distributed via existing fuel distribution infrastructure.

To view the original article, click here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Electric Mitsubishi hits Canada

Canadians will soon have access to the 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV, which will be available for sale at dealerships in the coming few weeks.

Presently, there are about 43 i-MiEVs in test fleets throughout Canada, which help to determine information on charging systems, batteries and how the vehicle will integrate with the electric grid.

The i-MiEV is a four passenger subcompact hatchback with a top speed of 130kph and a range of up to 155km. The base model will start at $32,998, while the Premium Package will command a starting price of $35,998.

British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec have announced subsidies towards the purchase of EVs at $5,000, $7,769 and $8,231, respectively. B.C. will also offer a rebate worth up to $500 on the purchase of an Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment (EVSE) system, while Quebec will offer a 50 percent subsidy towards the purchase and installation of a home charger to up to $1,000.

Click here for the original article.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Take the stress out of car crash with a new iPhone app

Motorists can now take some of the stress out of a car collision thanks to a new iPhone application that provides them with all the necessary information, tools and tips they need in case of a crash.

Unveiled by CARSTAR Automotive Canada, the Unhappen My Accident application can be downloaded from CARSTAR or from the Apple iTunes App store. This free application stores essential crash and driver information like emergency contact, vehicle and insurance details.

There is also a button that displays the steps to be taken after a crash, such as taking pictures of the damage, recording crash details and finding the nearest CARSTAR location for necessary repairs. The iPhone app also offers 24/7 access to an experienced operator who can answer any questions and guide motorists through the process.

“In our experience at CARSTAR, we know that even the most seasoned drivers can become flustered in an accident situation,” said Lisa Mercanti-Ladd, AVP of marketing and client services.

“But the Unhappen My Accident app can be particularly useful to parents of young drivers. It can help mitigate many of the accident pitfalls young drivers commonly face, usually as a result of panic and inexperience, and potentially minimize the cost and aggravation for the driver, their family and insurance company,” she added.

For every application download, CARSTAR will donate a dollar to a total of up to $10,000 to Cystic Fibrosis Canada.

Click here for the original article.

Honda Civic Natural Gas named Green Car of the Year

The 2012 Green Car of the Year, awarded by Green Car Journal, goes to......Honda Civic Natural Gas!

The fifth generation of the model, the 2012 Civic Natural Gas is the only assembly-line produced natural gas passenger car for sale in the US. This brand new model is also the cleanest running internal combustion car certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

It was in 1998 when the model was first introduced for fleets. Currently, it is available in selected markets in the US.

The Green Car Journal 2012 Green Car of the Year award was conferred at the recently concluded Los Angeles Auto Show.

For the original article, click here.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Honda 2013 Fit EV hits market next year

Honda’s all-new 2013 Fit EV, which debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show, will be offered for lease in selected markets in Oregon and California next year, announced the Japanese carmaker. It will then reach six east coast markets in early 2013.

The Fit EV will begin at US$36,625 with a monthly lease price of about $399. While the carmaker will watch market acceptance, it expects that early volume will stand at about 1,100 cars over the following three years.

“The Fit EV is the next critical step in Honda’s portfolio approach to alternative-fuelled vehicles,” said John Mendel, executive vice-president of sales at American Honda Motor Company. “There is no other automaker on the planet whose spirit is more deeply invested in the effort to realize a cleaner, more energy-efficient and ultimately more sustainable transportation future than Honda.”

The electric vehicle offers a driving range of around 198 km on one charge. It is powered by a 20 kWh lithium-ion battery and a 92 kW coaxial electric motor. Thanks to a three-mode electric drive system derived from the CR-Z Sport Hybrid, motorists can choose from Sport, Normal and Econ.

For the original article, click here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

General Motors to debut 2013 Chevrolet Spark at Los Angeles Auto Show

General Motor is very excited to debut the all-new 2013 Chevrolet Spark at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday.

The mini car is slightly different from the one that is already marketed abroad; its tail is stretched longer, the headlights sport a unique shape, and the nose was modified.

Available in nine body colors, the Spark boasts customizable interior – an obvious sign that it will target young audience.

The 2013 Chevrolet Spark is powered by a 1.2L 4-cylinder engine rated at 81 lb-ft of torque and 85 HP.

Standard features on the Spark, which will hit stores in mid 2012, include five-speed manual gearbox, 10 airbags, power windows and 15” wheels.

Click here to read the original article.

Monday, November 14, 2011

What’s with Honda’s mystery electric sports car?

The all-new electric sports car unveiled by Honda has made car enthusiasts throughout the world scratch their heads.

Honda’s “Small Sports EV Concept” is an open-top two seater car that offers a view on what next-generation plug-in performance vehicle could look like.

Honda executives, however, have provided few details about the new car. This prompted speculations as to where it may fit in the future line-up of the Japanese carmaker.

Some says the concept will replace the S2000, while others suggest it is a new interpretation of the NSX. Others claim it is a rival to the Porsche Boxster, while some indicates that it could rival BMW’s forthcoming i8 hybrid supercar.

The carmaker has said little about the car, just saying that it is “fun to drive while achieving excellent environmental performance”.

The concept’s styling features some cues from the Civic Type R and the CR-Z hybrid hatch, which will be released domestically in the next few weeks. They include an aggressive front-end design with oversized intakes, broad tail-light assembly and sleek, slim headlights.

Click here to read the original article.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Charging station recharges Nissan LEAF in less than 30 minutes

Electric vehicles will become more accessible thanks to an all-new, affordable quick-charge station that will be launched by Nissan North America (NNA), in cooperation with Sumitomo Corporation.

The DC fast charger will set you back a reasonable $9,900, which is one-third of the purchase price of comparable products now offered in the market.

You can choose from an outdoor or indoor version, which both utilize a 480V electric current. Both versions will take less than 30 minutes to recharge the Nissan LEAF’s batteries to up to 80 percent.

The quick-charge station will first be offered in the US.

Thousands of these chargers are expected to be installed throughout the country, said Brian Carolin, vice president for sales and marketing at NNA. This will allow EVs like the Nissan LEAF to go farther distances.

For the original article, click here.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Honda to reveal three EVs at Tokyo Motor Show

EV enthusiasts should look forward to the Tokyo Motor Show, as Honda will be using this event to showcase its three concepts that will catapult the public into a future where electric cars rule.

The carmaker is set to reveal the AC-X plug-in-hybrid, which combines fuel-efficiency and performance and is ideal for both short trips around the town and long-distance driving. Depending on the mood, motorists can choose from two modes, allowing them to take a relaxed or aggressive approach.

The Micro Commuter Concept is an urban vehicle that comes with a detachable battery, which can be utilized as a source of energy for everyday activities.

The Small Sports EV Concept, on the other hand, will reportedly provide an idea of what future products from Honda will look like.

In addition to these three concepts, the carmaker will also reveal some other two-, three- and four-wheeled cars that represent Honda’s future as a supplier of eco-friendly transport solutions throughout the world.

To read the original article, click here.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Honda electric Fit kicks off demonstration testing

Honda has started demonstration testing of its electric Fit in China, in association with the city government of Guangzhou.

The EVs are set to be driven in a real-world transportation setting in Guangzhou to prove the practical convenience of electric vehicles. The demonstration testing also aims to determine the technological issues that have to be dealt with to realize the widespread use of EVs in the future. The results of the Electric vehicle range verification and other essential information will serve as basis for proposals on charging infrastructure.

The demonstration FIT EV is powered by a lithium-ion battery, which recharges in not more than six hours with a 220V power supply and with a range of over 150km.

For the original article, click here.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Smart wraps up plugged-in tour

Smart Canada has just concluded its National Smart Plugged-in Tour with the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive. It is also giving motorists a chance to take home a 2013 model of the electric vehicle.

The tour kicked off in Victoria, B.C. on June 17 and wrapped up in Sherbrooke, Quebec, after heading to the east coast and returning to Quebec to drop by at each Smart Center throughout Canada.

Thanks to the tour, Canadians had the chance to test-drive the EV. Over 2,000 test-drives were taken over 8,000 km.

Interested in Facebook updates from Smart Canada? Visit the networking site until December 31 and get a chance to own a 2013 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive Cabriolet.

The Fortwo Electric Drive, which utilizes a lithium-ion battery, will hit stores in 2012.

Click here to read the original article.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Nissan teams up with Nova Scotia on EVs

Zero-emission cars will soon be introduced in the province of Nova Scotia, thanks to an agreement signed by the province, Nova Scotia Power and Nissan Canada.

The three partners inked the memorandum of understanding based upon a mutual agreement that electric vehicles (EVs) are among the best solutions to lessen carbon dioxide emissions from cars, said the carmaker.

“This announcement adds the province of Nova Scotia and Nova Scotia Power to a growing list of like-minded partners equally as committed as Nissan to promote and encourage the adoption of zero-emission vehicles as a way to combat climate change. As a manufacturer, we provide innovative vehicles that Canadians love and want to drive, but our partners play an important role in helping build the infrastructure support for electric vehicles that will make a roll-out of the Nissan Leaf and other electric vehicles in Nova Scotia possible.”

--Allen Childs, head of Nissan Canada

Under the agreement, Nissan will sell 10 Leafs to Nova Scotia Power for its ShareReady Electric Vehicle scheme. The program aims to gather information to better understand the effects of the use of EVs in Nova Scotia province.

Click here to read to original article.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Best New Small Car awards go to...Accent, Elantra

Hyundai has another two awards to be proud of; the Accent and the Elantra have won Canadian Car of the Year awards in the Best New Small Car Under $21,000 and Best New Small Car Over $21,000 categories, respectively.

Members of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), which conferred the awards, have spent a week test-driving 2012 car models to determine the winners.

To qualify for the awards, a car must be all-new or largely redesigned. AJAC members drove the cars in a back-to-back testing, all on the same day and on the same tracks.

The winners in respective categories will be evaluated, with the overall Utility Vehicle of the Year and Canadian Car of the Year winners to be named at the Canadian International Auto Show in February next year.

Here are the other winners in their respective categories:

Best New Family Car Under $30,000: Kia Optima

Best New Family Car Over $30,000: Kia Optima Hybrid

Best New Luxury Car: Mercedes-Benz C-Class C350 4Matic Sedan

Best New Sports/Performance Car Under $50,000: Hyundai Veloster

Best New Sports/Performance Car Over $50,000: BMW 1 Series M Coupe

Best New Prestige Car Over $75,000: Mercedes-Benz S-Class S350 BlueTEC 4Matic

Best New SUV/CUV Under $35,000: Dodge Journey

Best New SUV/CUV $35,000-$60,000: Volkswagen Touareg TDI

Best New SUV/CUV Over $60,000: BMW X3

Click here for the original article.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Large-scale EV car sharing fleet launched in Amsterdam

Starting on November 24, 300 units of Smart Fortwo Electric Drive cars will be offered in Amsterdam for on-demand mobility, without motorists needing to drop them off at a fixed rental station. This is made possible thanks to the launch of Daimler’s Car2go program, one of the first large-scale, all-electric vehicle car-sharing fleets in the world.

According to Daimler, vehicle recharging will not be compulsory after every rental, as the range of Smart is eight to 10 times higher than a rental’s normal operating distance. Amsterdam also now has over 250 charging stations within the city.

This launch will pave the way for a new pricing structure for Car2go for Amsterdam, as well as for current and future locations across Europe.

Amsterdam, which only uses energy from renewable sources, is the first European city with an all-electric fleet and the fifth city with a Car2go service worldwide.

Car2go programs are also available in Vancouver, Canada, in Austin, Texas, and in German cities of Hamburg and Ulm.

For the original article, click here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Peugeot, BMW join forces on EVs

Peugeot Citroën and BMW are moving forward on a joint project for electric vehicles.

It has been a year after the two companies inked a memorandum of agreement, and now they are launching the BMW Peugeot Citroën Electrification, leading to the creation of essential conditions for the fast implementations of common goals. Production of hybrid components needed for the electrification of the car models of both carmakers is also scheduled to commence in 2015.

Here’s what Wolfgang Güllich, chairman of the managing board of the joint venture, said about this:

“The BMW Group and PSA Peugeot Citroën are following a joint path with clear and ambitious goals. We want our company to be one of the leading suppliers in the field of electric powertrains over the next years.”

The two firms are putting in over €100 million in the joint venture. About 400 employees will work at Munich’s new Research and Development Center by the end of this year, most of whom are engineers who are specializing in electronics and electro-mobility. Upon the completion of ramp-up, about 250 employees will be working at a facility in Mulhouse, France, where the hybrid components will be designed.

The joint venture will include the development and production of all essential parts for electric powertrains, which include high-voltage batteries, power electronics, electric motors, generators, energy management software and loading units.

Thanks to an open technology platform, the venture will also be able to integrate suppliers into the purchasing and development process, as well as sell the hybrid parts it manufactures to third parties.

Click here to read the original article.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Nissan aims to lead green car segment

Nissan Motor Co. has set its sights high on green cars, aiming to become the world’s number one in this segment.

The Japan-based manufacturer of the Leaf electric vehicle recently unveiled its six-year strategy, planning to develop a plug-in hybrid by March 2017 and cutting C02 emissions by about 20 percent for each car compared with the levels in 2005. Nissan also aims to boost its vehicles’ fuel efficiency by 35 percent compared with 2005.

Carlos Ghosn, CEO and President of Nissan, believes that being ecological can give them a competitive advantage allowing them to stand out as good corporate citizens.

"More consumers are demanding products in line with their values, including cars and trucks with a lower carbon footprint. At the same time, we are using technology to make our factories greener and more efficient," said Ghosn.

The company was working on another type of zero-emissions car, a fuel cell and on other forms of environmental technology like clean diesels.

To date, electric vehicles are still a niche market. Around 16,600 Leaf vehicles worldwide were sold since Nissan offered them in December last year.

Competition within the EVs sector, however, is expected to see intense competition as other carmakers like Toyota enter the segment.

Read the original article here.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Chrysler will be forced to make more hybrid vehicles

Sergio Marchionne, CEO and president of the Chrysler Group and Fiat, has openly expressed his skepticism about hybrids. However, he will be forced to change his stance soon.

The Obama government will soon adopt new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, which according to Marchionne will make hybrids inevitable.

This program will force car manufacturers to cut their whole fleet’s standard consumption to 6.63 liters for every 100 kilometers by 2016 on the average. Come 2025, this figure will further fall to 4.32.

This may pose a challenge for Chrysler, as only a single hybrid model of the Chrysler 300 is now being developed for 2013.

Other than hybrids, majority of the big Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep products including pickups and SUV will soon feature diesel engines in North America, beginning with the Jeep Grand Cherokee over two years.

Click here to view the original article.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

2012 Fiat 500 gets Top Safety Pick designation

The 2012 Fiat 500 has something to be proud of! The US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has just named the car a “Top Safety Pick.”

To be given the designation, a car must feature standard electronic stability control and obtain the top “good” ratings in front, rear, rollover and side impact evaluations.

This designation applies to Fiat 500s created after July this year, when the structure of the driver’s seat was modified to boost occupant safety in rear-end and frontal crashes.

The Fiat 500 joins Ford Fiesta as the only minicars to be named “Top Safety Pick,” said the IIHS.

For the original article, click here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

GM developing technology that generates wireless “safety net”

Here’s a new innovation from General Motors: a new technology that could warn motorists in advance to possibly driving scenarios. The technology mainly creates a wireless “safety net” using small portable devices, which are intended to collect information from infrastructure and other vehicles to alert drivers on hard-braking motorists, stalled or slow vehicles, sharp curves, slippery roads and upcoming intersection and stop signs.

According to a research conducted by the National Highway Safety Administration, the technology, called vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication systems, could help prevent about 81 percent of all car crashes in the United States.

Here's what Don Grimm, senior researcher for Perception and Vehicle Control Systems group at GM, can say about this innovation:

“These safety systems could provide a significant leap in automotive safety, but their effectiveness goes up dramatically as more people use them. By putting the technology into portable devices, we could make this potentially life-saving technology widely available and more affordable.”

The technology is being tested on a GPS unit-sized transponder and a smartphone app that can be connected to the display unit of the vehicle. Bicyclists and pedestrians alike could also use the smartphones for downloading a special app to inform motorists about their locations.

View the original article here.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

GM working on next generation EN-V

The next-generation EN-V concept vehicle proved to be a hit at last year’s Shanghai World Expo, and now, General Motors is working on this personal mobility design.

The EN-V, short for Electric Networked-Vehicle, represents the company’s vision to satisfy the increasing demand for secure, connected, zero-emissions personal transportation and could take part in pilot demonstration programs in cities worldwide to determine its real-world practicality.

Future EN-V concepts will also sport a Chevrolet badge, said GM.

“For 100 years, the Chevrolet brand has been focused on making advanced technology that improves customers’ lives (and is) accessible and affordable, and the Chevrolet EN-V will continue that tradition. By 2030, more than 60 per cent of the world’s eight billion people will live in urban areas. The Chevrolet EN-V represents a possible solution for global customers living in markets where alternative transportation solutions are needed.”

-- Chris Perry, vice president of global Chevrolet marketing and strategy.

The EN-V is a two-seater electric urban mobility concept designed to tackle environmental issues and help lessen traffic congestion, parking, energy consumption and safety concenrs. The next-generation concept will come with new features including storage space, climate control as well as all-weather and road condition operation, while battery electric propulsion, autonomous driving capabilities and connectivity will be retained.

Seems like this is something we could really look forward to...

For the original article, click here.

Friday, October 14, 2011

All-electric Chevrolet Spark rolling out in 2013

Starting in 2013, car enthusiasts can look forward to a Chevrolet mini-car running completely on electricity, as the Detroit-based car manufacturer is planning to launch Spark EV.

The new model, which will become a new addition to the electric vehicle fleet of General Motors, will be offered in limited numbers in certain markets in the US such as California, as well as abroad, said Chevrolet.

Additional information on quantities and specific markets as well as on pricing will be announced in a later date, said General Motors.

According to Jim Federico, global vehicle chief engineer for EVs at Chevrolet, Spark EV will complement the 2013 Malibu Eco with eAssist (a new gas-electric hybrid technology that can improve a vehicle’s fuel economy) and the Volt extended-range EV.

Battery packs for the new model will come from battery manufacturer A123 Systems Inc.

For the original article, click here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tesla, Panasonic join forces on batteries

It was in 2009 and 2010 when electric vehicle maker Tesla first entered into a supply deal with Panasonic for automotive-grade lithium-ion battery cells. After a year, the two companies finalized the deal.

The deal covers enough battery cells to develop over 80,000 EVs over the next four years. It also guarantees that there will be sufficient cells available next year to meet the carmaker’s fulfillment of over 6,000 existing Model S reservations at the same time meeting its margin and cost targets.

The new deal builds on a multi-year partnership between the two firms to create next-generation battery cells and speed up the market expansion of EVs.

View the original article here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Is smart road technology the answer to traffic gridlock?

Edmonton is the first North American city to sign up for the “smart road technology” intended to alert motorists on traffic gridlock.

The state-of-the-art system of cameras and sensors is set to be installed along Yellowhead Trail, one of the busiest arteries in the city, in the coming years.

How does the technology work?

Sensors installed in the pavement will pick up on accidents and gridlock and then send warnings to drivers via overhead digital signs.

This alert system will help motorists avoid annoying bottleneck situations, said Brice Stephenson, manager of Transportation Operations in Edmonton.

“If there's a collision or construction, or some other problem, we can tell motorists to use other routes,” he said.

The smart traffic technology is a joint project among various companies including German traffic logistics company PTV and carmaker BMW.

These companies hope that they could eventually feed alerts into the GPS systems of vehicles.

However, this software has not come cheap for Edmonton, which has already spent nearly $10 million on the cameras and sensors. Another $2 million is expected to be incurred for the smart road software.

What do Edmontonians say about the technology?

Edmonton motorists have differing opinions about this software; some say it is a band aid solution for other road problems, while others claim it is just a waste of money.

The city is currently in the planning stage of a 30-year long program designed to ease gridlock and enhance safety on Yellowhead Trail, where around 80,000 cars travel every day.

Click here for the original post.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Like Nissan Leaf and help plant a tree

Are you a big fan of the Nissan Leaf? Then, like the electric vehicle on its Facebook page. By doing this, you are actually helping to plant about 12,500 trees in Canada through a new collaboration between the carmaker and Tree Canada.

The program officially kicked off this week, with both employees of the Tree Canada and Nissan Canada planting 50 trees in Moccasin Trail Park in Toronto.

This event also marks the beginning of the countrywide “We Dig Trees” competition, which is also found on the Facebook page of Leaf Nissan. Just like the page for you to qualify for a grand draw of either a six-day coast whale-watching excursion in Newfoundland, or a four-way west coast sailing adventure in British Columbia.

Tree Canada will provide the resources and tools needed to plant 12,500 trees from May to June 2012. Canadians can join the “We Dig Trees” until November 18, 2011, with the lucky winners to be announced on November 30. Visit Nissan Leaf to enter.

Click here to view the original article.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

What’s with the EV 2011 Conference and Trade Show?

This year’s EV Conference and Trade Show was indeed full of big announcements concerning electric vehicles (EVs). The series of conferences, which happened in Toronto on September 26 to 28, also addressed several issues plaguing the industry.

As expected, the event became a platform for showcasing existing and future models. Attendees were treated to a varied display of cars, including the Smart Fortwo Electric, Ford Transit Connect Electric, Chevrolet Volt, Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV), Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

One of the huge announcements made at the event was “Building Canada’s Green Highway,” a dream for Canadians to travel with alternative energy running their cars. This aims to supplement petroleum stations now available with car electricity and the accompanying charging infrastructure.

Various hurdles that should be overcome before EVs go mass-market were also tackled in the event. One of the major issues around the development of EVs is the battery, which has failed to keep pace. Companies find it challenging to create smaller batteries though some are now working on denser, newer materials to place more energy into small-sized batteries.

The infrastructure needed for charging these batteries also poses a challenge. EVs will initially go to those who can charge them easily at home or work. This would probably rule out condo residents unless charging stations are installed. But together with making charging stations as widespread as gasoline stations, standardization is an important part of electric acceptability.

Here’s what Ian Forsyth, director of corporate planning for Nissan Canada, said about this.

“The receptacle on the car for charging is an SAE standard, that’s established, But the vehicle supply equipment, the interface between the car and the grid – those standards are not resolved. The cord, temperature resistance, the amperage rating of the unit itself, the waterproofness, other overload issues and all of those things are part of it.”

Click here for more of his statement.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Fiat re-enters Canada with stylish Fiat 500

After its lengthy absence in Canada, Fiat is making a comeback with the all-new Fiat 500.

Re-launched in Europe in 2004, the carmaker aims to combine affordability with Italian style in the all-new Fiat 500.

Powered by a 1.4 liter, 4-cylinder engine producing 101 HP, the 2012 Fiat 500 is available with a 5-speed standard transmission as standard. Spend additional $1,300 to get it with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Placing emphasis on safety, the Fiat 500 comes with seven standard airbags, four-wheel ABS brakes, electronic stability control, as well as an Active Head Restraints. All these features make the 500 a safe vehicle to drive.

Available in Pop, Sport and Lounge styles, the Fiat 500 gives you the most value for your money, with prices starting from $15,995 to $22,995 for top-of-the line models.

The 2012 Fiat 500 is indeed an attention getter thanks to its cute looks and smooth lines. You’ll surely stand out in the crowd with this nice little car.

For more details about this new model, click here.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

MINI’s model lineup to double in 10 years

MINI is now offering five different models (with the all-new Coupe as the most recent addition), and we can expect this number to double in the next 10 years.

At last week’s press launch of the Coupe in Nashville, TN, US brand head Jim McDowell suggested that five more members will be joining the MINI family within a decade.

The carmaker will soon release a production version of the Rocketman Concept and the Paceman Concept. However, there is no word yet on the other three models.

Nevertheless, we can surely expect a few surprises from the automaker...

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Does battery size matter for EVs?

Does the size of battery really affect the benefits of electric cars? Well, this is indeed the case according to a recent study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University researchers, who discovered that EVs equipped with smaller batteries are more effective in reducing societal costs for healthcare, environmental damages as well as oil consumption.

The study found that plug-in cars equipped with small batteries and HEVs (hybrid electric vehicles) that do not plug in can in fact lessen life cycle effects from air emissions. These types of cars also improve oil security at no extra or little cost, said associate professor of engineering Jeremy Michalek, who co-authored the report.

On the other hand, plug-in cars with bigger battery packs are costlier and may have lower or higher emissions than hybrid electric vehicles. This depends on when and where they are plugged in, added the report.

Here is a quote taken from the report:

“Current government policy provides larger subsidies for vehicles with larger battery packs, assuming that larger is better. While larger battery packs allow plug-in vehicles to drive longer distances on electric power instead of gasoline, they are also expensive and heavy, they are underutilized when the battery capacity is larger than needed for a typical trip, they require more charging infrastructure, and they produce more emissions during manufacturing.

--(Jeremy Michalek)

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides tax credits worth about US$7,500 for around 200,000 plug-in cars in the US. Since cars with bigger batteries come at a higher price, only a small number of them can qualify for subsidy, and this can lead to lower overall benefits, said Michalek.

For the original article, click here.