Hybrid-powered vehicles that are cost efficient too

To have an affordable hybrid car is now a great way to reduce your impact on the environment while saving money on a daily basis for yourself – owning a car that combines a classic engine with an electrical powered one gives you versatility and breaks the dependence on oil. Luckily, these wonderful machines have been on the market long enough to give you plenty of options to choose from without breaking the bank.

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  1. Honda Civic Hybrid

Honda Civic Hybrid uses the electrical and gas engines simultaneously while driving, so technically it is not a full hybrid, but combining the two efficiently gives you reduced consumption. The two engines are sandwiched together and work as one, the Honda efficiently recharging its battery while driving on gas. Overall, The Civic is reliable and efficient if you don’t have speed in mind. This car will not go fast, but it will definitely help you reduce the costs and impact on the environment at an affordable price.

  • Price: $25,555
  • Miles per gallon city: 44
  • Miles per gallon highway: 47

 

  1. Toyota Prius Liftback

Toyota exceeds expectations even more with the Prius Liftback, maximizing the fuel economy levels and efficiency. The improvements are given by the reduced size and weights of the hybrid components and the increased cargo space achieved by moving the battery beneath the front seat. It is also so quiet that, when operating on the electric engine alone, the Prius Liftback emits a low warning tone that alerts pedestrians and cyclists of its approach.

  • Price: $25,025
  • Miles per gallon city: 51
  • Miles per gallon highway: 48

 

  1. Ford C-MAX

The Ford C-MAX is a spacious car, especially for a hybrid, that balances the pretty large size with a low consumption meant to rival its competitors on the market. The improvements made by Ford to the previous model include a more aerodynamic shape, more horsepower which allows you to reach a reasonable speed and comfortable, good quality interior.

  • Price: $24,995
  • Miles per gallon city: 42
  • Miles per gallon highway: 37

Ford C-Max

 

  1. Honda CR-Z

Honda CR-Z is the sporty car of our selection, aiming to appeal to motorists who want to feel a bit of excitement while keeping the advantages of a hybrid. While some may argue that the car is not as sporty as it looks, it has a feature that allows you to boost the speed temporarily with assistance from the electric engine only.This two-seater car is happily combining sportiness with eco friendliness and you can have a lot of fun driving it, as long as you keep in mind that it is not a sports car per se.

  • Price: $20,965
  • Miles per gallon city: 36
  • Miles per gallon highway: 39

 

  1. Toyota Prius c

We saved one of the best for last, as the Prius stands in its own category on the hybrid market and the c model is the least expensive hybrid you can find at this moment. It is a roomy car that does not accelerate much but offers one of the best mpg on the market. One of the ways Toyota made this price possible was to use less sophisticated materials for the interior, which will be noticeable when compared to its rivals. However, the interior is spacious, suitable for families with dogs or large grocery trips.If you are interested in reducing fuel consumption (whether it is for economic or ecological purposes) and you don’t necessarily want a car that goes fast, the Toyota Prius c is one of the best options you have.

  • Price: $19,905
  • Miles per gallon city: 53
  • Miles per gallon highway: 46

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Believe it or not, hybrid-powered vehicles can be cost-efficient too. The secret is to invest smart. Before spending any money, settle on some priorities. What are you looking for in a car? Do you want a fast ride, family ride, or are you looking for speed and high performance? Regardless of your choice, it is fundamental to have a budget first. Hustle and do your research properly before anything else, and then you can decide. Look under the hood, check Porsche wheels or any other parts that you’re familiar with, and make the most of your investment.

 

 

 

New Battery Technology will transform the Electric Car Market

Imagine a future where electric cars are normal. Petrol and diesel pumps will be a thing of the past and instead fuel stations will simply be recharging points. There will be far less pollution resulting in better health and fitness levels in the population. There will also be far less noise, with the quiet, serene hum of the electric car all you can hear. There are of course many people who already drive electric vehicles. The Tesla, Toyota Prius and Nissan Leaf are all examples of cars that have either electric or hybrid technology and they are already being driven about the roads.

 

Porsche 2016 NAIAS

If the vision is so good however, why don’t we all have electric cars? Are we missing out on a perfect reality already, simply because we are all too lazy to make the switch?In reality, there are still several problems with electric car technology. First and foremost is the battery technology.

The future of car battery technology

Batteries on the market today are so big that they take up much of the car. The Tesla Model S, for example, has a battery pack that is 1.2m wide and yet it will only last about 300 miles (482km) before it needs to be plugged in and recharged again. Recharging is a bit of a pain also and takes a long time. Filling the tank up with petrol and then being able to use the car straight away seems, for many of us, a much better deal.

However, we are at the dawn of a new age when it comes to battery technology, the key thing that is holding the electric vehicle market back. Researchers from the MIT and from Peking University in China have suggested the industry moves towards a new kind of lithium oxygen batteries that are up to 15 times more efficient than current batteries.

What’s the problem at the moment?

Currently, although lithium-oxygen batteries are used in the industry, they require a reaction that involves carbon dioxide and water in addition to oxygen. When a battery is running it takes in air which causes a reaction to take place and then there is a need for an outflow so that the battery can recharge. This requires the battery to be very large and results in the charging process being quite long and tedious.

Porsche 2016 NAIAS

How do the researchers solve the problem?

The researchers have come up with a method which means that oxygen does not ever have to revert to a gas in the charging process. This means that there is no need for a two way flow in the charging system and so the battery size needn’t be so large. Instead, oxygen transforms directly within the enclosed battery. In the current system, most of the energy is wasted as heat, due to the chemical reaction resulting in carbon dioxide and water. This results in the batteries being far less efficient than their potential. In the new system the heat is not generated to such an extent and so the batteries can run for much longer.

No risk of overcharging

Because there is no risk of overheating and because it is an internal reactive process, there is no risk that the batteries will overcharge. The research team experimented with overcharging and found that there was almost no risk of this happening.

Conclusion – the future is bright

It seems that the future for the electric car is much brighter thanks to this new battery technology. The researchers aim to get it out to the real world within a number of months so that manufacturers can move the technology forwards. Once this happens, it is only a matter of time before the electric car can manage long journeys without the need to recharge. A future with electric car technology seeming normal now looks far more likely.

2016 Ford GT

Today’s top car manufacturers are striving for perfection. Just look at Porsche Boxster parts or at the newest Tesla. It’s only normal for things to get better with every year that goes by. However, even if these two are currently at the top, it doesn’t mean that less known manufacturers won’t come to the surface. Because they will, and their batteries might be more ground-breaking.

On the Volkswagen I.D.

You know, I really don’t want to drive anymore.  I used to love it,  as a teenager drag racing my hunk of junk hand-me-down Saab like it was a souped up ’69 Mustang, I had a lot of fun behind the wheel.  But now that I’m older, I really just want to get from point B to point A, safely, quickly, with the least amount of distractions.  With the introduction of ride sharing services like Uber, autonomous drive technology, and better public transit in many places, driving is sort of becoming a pastime, rather than a necessity.  I never thought I would say this, but I’m all for it.  I would love to just plop down in my car, check the news, prepare for work, learn a new language, and boom, be at point B, without looking up from my iPhone.

American drivers spend an average of more than 17,600 minutes behind the wheel each year, according to a new survey. -AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

Let’s get out my calculator here.  That is about 48 minutes a day that we spend concentrating, worrying, stressing, and reacting to whatever the road throws our way.  I never really noticed how much I don’t want to be driving until one day I was chauffeuring my wife and father in law, in my father in law’s car, through a busy, foreign super metropolis.

Which bring me to the Volkwagon I.D., VW’s first foray into the electric vehicle market.  The car has an expected release date in 2020 and has specs that seem pretty optimistic right now.  It will be an affordable all-electric hatchback priced at about $30,000.  The range, 375 miles per charge, is truly astounding at that price point. The I.D. has a 168 HP electric motor which is pretty strong for the small hatchback that it is and the instant torque that electric motors are capable of.  The I.D. will be equipped with hardware for autonomous driving called I.D. pilot mode.  But VW says the full-autopilot feature won’t be completely ready until 2025.

The I.D. represents that fact that major manufacturers are starting to take innovative  automotive seriously.  So it is great to hear that VW has finally loosened it’s grip on the diesel passenger car, and is making an effort to participate in the all-electric drive market. But something tells me that they might be late to the autonomous drive market by 2025, with many major players like Uber, Hyundai, Tesla and more already putting autonomous vehicles on asphalt.

The Volkswagen I.D. is an exciting prospect as and affordable everyday electric driver with autonomous capability.  Let’s hope it won’t be too late for VW to take advantage of of revolutionary transportation technology will be moving very fast before 2025.

On the Renault TREZOR Electric GT

I guess we can call this the “jewelry box” car.  That is the term that the Renault spokesman used to explain how the supercar opens up for the driver to hop in.

You can check out the 2016 Paris Motor Show reveal here:

I have a couple of qualms about the “jewelry box” style entry. First, if you were to get in a minor fender bender, that might affect this very large door that must move extremely precisely to function properly.  Second, unless you are just some well-practiced  good old boy who prefers jumping into your getaway car through your driverside window, getting into your TREZOR is awkward, unclean (shoes on the seat), and maybe downright impossible for the less limber driving enthusiast.

Because of these issues, I can almost guarantee the most distinguishing feature about this car, the “door”, will probably not come to fruition in the production model of this concept.  However, the overall design is very nice and the specs are encouraging.  The Trezor was derived from Renault’s Formula E team (e.dams) with racing aspirations.  The Trezor has 350 HP and a peak torque of 280 NM, which propels the coupe to 100 kph in under 4 seconds.  The Trezor will also include automatic drive that will be activated by pulling the wheel outward to make it widescreen style.

Not too much is known about the specifics of the drivetrain, but evidently the Trezor is rear-wheel drive with the battery and luggage compartment in the front.

This video has some nice design sketches that can answer some questions about the setup and inspiration of the vehicle.
A lot of people are excited about this unique addition into the electric supercar foray.  With it’s Renault Formula E pedigree, the Trezor Electric GT could be the most capable track tested electric car yet.

A New Fisker Vehicle Coming in 2017

This week, Henrik Fisker announced the formation of a new company, Fisker Inc., which will feature a luxury electric vehicle with a record breaking 400-plus mile electric range.  Fisker Inc. will include a battery division called Fisker Nanotech, a partnership with California based scientists and innovators.  They intend to use graphene technology to reduce battery recharge time and costs, while extending range and lifespan.

The original Fisker Karma was unveiled in 2008 and production began in 2011.  The car certainly was beautiful and seen as a rival at the time to Tesla Motors’ Roadster.  The Karma engine was mated with a generator to make it a range extended electric hybrid, otherwise known as a serial hybrid.  Meaning, much like Cheverolet’s Volt, the Karma was propelled by an electric drivetrain, but a GM motor would kick in to extend the range.  There was also a rooftop solar panel installed that could basically  power the accessories within the car, but did not do much in the way of extending the vehicle’s driving range.

Despite winning many awards and garnering a lot of optimism about electric vehicles, the Karma fell victim to a series of unfortunate events.  On April 14, 2008, Tesla filed a lawsuit against Fisker, claiming Henrik Fisker stole Tesla’s Model S hybrid technology.

The Karma was also involved in a slew of fire incidents ala the Samsung Note 7. 16 Karmas caught on fire during Hurricane Sandy while they were completely submerged in seawater.

Two other fire incidents involving Karmas are detailed in Wikipedia:

A Fisker Karma was involved in a home fire that also burned two other cars in Fort Bend County, Texas in May 2012. The chief fire investigator said the Karma was the origin of the fire that spread to the house, but the exact cause is still unknown. The plug-in electric car was not plugged in at the time the fire started and it was reported that the Karma’s battery was intact. The carmaker released a public statement saying that there was uncertainty and conflicting reports surrounding the event. Fisker Automotive also stated that the battery pack “does not appear to have been a contributing factor in this incident.”[71] The NHTSA is conducting a field inquiry of the incident, and is working with insurance adjusters and Fisker to determine the fire’s cause.[72]

A second fire incident took place in August 2012 when a Karma caught fire while stopped at a parking lot in Woodside, California.[73][74] According to Fisker engineers, the area of origin for the fire was determined to be outside the engine compartment, as the fire was located at the driver’s side front corner of the car. The evidence suggested that the ignition source was not the lithium-ion battery pack, new technology components or unique exhaust routing.[75] The investigation conducted by Fisker engineers and an independent fire expert concluded that the cause of the fire was a low temperature cooling fan located at the left front of the Karma, forward of the wheel. An internal fault caused the fan to fail, overheat and started a slow-burning fire. Fisker announced a recall to repair the faulty cooling fan unit.[65][76]

In 2013, Fisker’s bad luck continued when guitar hero, Carlos Santana, managed to hit a tree with his Karma after he fell asleep at the wheel. The Fisker Karma’s reputation had been irrevocably tarnished and now these amazing cars can be purchased at highly discounted prices on eBay.

Here’s hoping Fisker Inc. can renew the old rivalry with Tesla and get more people excited about innovative electric cars.

 

 

The Genovation GXE is the World’s Fastest Street Legal Electric Vehicle

And by fastest, we mean the top speed of the GXE is faster than any other electric car you can put on the road.  The folks over at Genovation gutted a 2006 Corvette ZO6 and dropped two, huge, in-line electric motors to give the all electric drivetrain 600 horsepower and 570 ft/lbs of torque.  It’s called a “dual stack” electric motor, with two motors on the same driveshaft. They recently took the super modified Vette for a spin at Kennedy Space center in Cape Canaveral, Florida in hopes of pushing their own land speed record to the max.  They succeeded in blowing past their previous world record of 186.8 mph to the new top speed of 205.6 mph.  The company plans to sell these modified Corvettes with about a 100 mile range for over $330,000.  A little steep, but maybe they can lower the price point in future projects, much like Tesla Motors did.

Genovation isn’t just a bunch of guys into modding and drag racing, but they have a large scale goal is to reduce our dependence on oil by investing in plug-in electric vehicles and hybrid technology.  Not only that, but the Maryland based company intends to use parts made of sustainable materials such  tires made from natural rubber infused with small amounts of orange peel oil, a byproduct of the beverage industry, for example.

We are studying the possibility of using composite materials made from natural, non-toxic and renewable products, such as soy-based resins rather than petrochemical resins and natural fibers made from basalt (derived from volcanic rock), jute, bamboo and burlap for trim pieces and body panels. Customers will have the option to order seat fabric made from wool. -Genovation’s About Us Page

Hopefully, Genovation will continue to push the limits of the electric automobile industry for the benefit of all involved and interested.

Here is a basic overview of their company and history:

The Story of Genovation Cars from Genovation Cars on Vimeo.