Category Archives: -Other EVs-

5 Things You Should Know About Alternative-Fuel Vehicles

If you’re making an effort to go green, it’s time to consider an alternative-fuel vehicle. This one, simple change will help you lower greenhouse gas emissions, save on fuel costs, and qualify for tax breaks. Before you take the plunge and buy a brand new Tesla, do some research to help you determine the best vehicle for your lifestyle. In June of 2017, CarMax teamed with CleanTechnica to find out more about the people who drive alternative-fuel vehicles. Their survey resulted in a whopping 2,300 responses, and we’ve sifted through the data to answer these 5 frequently asked questions.

  1. Who buys alternative-fuel vehicles?

You may think that all hybrid owners are millennial hipsters with ironic t-shirts and Bernie Sanders bumper stickers. However, the reality is quite different. The average hybrid-owner is a 30-year-old male from the east coast with a bachelor’s degree. The truth may be surprising, but you can’t argue with the numbers:

  • 88% of alternative-fuel vehicle owners are more than 30-years-old.
  • 70% of the responses came from people with bachelor’s degree or higher
  • 26% of the responses came from the pacific coast

  1. Why do people buy hybrid and electric vehicles?

For many people, alternative-fuel vehicles have less to do with environmental concerns and more to do with practical considerations. More than half of the survey’s respondents report spending less than $100 per year on vehicle maintenance. In addition, more than 60% of the respondents expect to own their vehicle for more than 4 years. Last, but not least, some cities offer tax credits and HOV lane perks to drivers with hybrid or electric vehicles. Here are the details:

  • 29% purchased their vehicle to save money
  • 38% purchased their vehicle to save the environment
  • 29% purchased their vehicle for another reason
  1. How far can a person drive without recharging?

Range anxiety is one big reason why people hesitate to purchase alternative-fuel vehicles. Fortunately, these fears are (mostly) unfounded. Less than a quarter of all survey respondents have driven their vehicle until running ran out of fuel. On the other hand, nearly half of survey’s respondents have never driven more than 100 miles on a single charge. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 42% have a second non-electric vehicle for long trips
  • 14% have driven until they ran out of fuel and charge
  • 48% have never driven more than 100 miles on a single charge

  1. How do people charge their vehicles?

Charging stations are another other major hesitation among alternative-fuel vehicle owners. However, the survey results contradict this basic assumption. More than three quarters of the respondents own a vehicle with some sort of plug-in functionality. See for yourself:

  • 85% own a plug-in or all-electric vehicle
  • 84% of these people charge their vehicles in their home
  • 56% say it’s convenient to use a public charging station

  1. What are the most popular alternative-fuel vehicles?

The alternative fuel craze is really taking off. Since 2001, CarMax has sold nearly 100,000 electric and hybrid cars in the U.S. According to their survey, more than 75% of the respondents have owned their vehicle for two years or less. In addition, nearly two thirds of these vehicles were purchased by first-time alternative-fuel vehicle owners. That said, the top five most popular alternative-fuel vehicles are as follows:

We left the most important statistic for last. The CarMax survey also asked respondents whether or not they would recommend a hybrid vehicle to a friend or family member. On a scale of one to five, the average response was 4.8. I guess it’s true what they say–once you go green, you never go back.

The 1,000 hp VOLAR-e All Wheel Drive Electric Supercar

Batman music is an appropriate theme for something I could imagine in Bruce Wayne’s, you know, bat-garage.

From MotorAuthority.com:

Spanish industrial design firm Applus Idiada has formally presented a new electric race car concept called the Volar-e.

The Volar-e is one of the most powerful electric cars ever built and was showcased for the first time at a special event at the Circuit de Catalunya just outside of Barcelona, Spain, earlier today.

Its makers claim the car delivers a combined output of 1,000 horsepower and 737 pound-feet of torque, from a total of four electric motors powered by a lithium-ion battery.

The battery, which is made up of 10 individual cells, has its own rating of 38 kilowatt-hours and is said to take between 15 and 20 minutes to charge using a special fast-charging system. To help maintain charge, a regenerative system also features, helping to top up the batteries during breaking.

The technology behind the Volar-e was developed by Applus Idiada in collaboration with another firm specializing in high-performance electrics, Croatia’s Rimac Automobili, which recently unveiled its own 1,088-horsepower electric car.

Applus Idiada says the Volar-e will accelerate to 62 mph from rest in just 3.4 seconds and reach a governed top speed of 186 mph. Perhaps not surprisingly, the company hasn’t mentioned any range, as driving electric cars in race conditions is a sure way to deplete the batteries in a matter of minutes.

What may come as a surprise, however, is that the project received 50 percent of its funding from the European Commission, which says the aim of the project is to address the concerns of consumers who may be reluctant to purchase an electric car, such as limited driving range and long charging times.

The range of this vehicle is really going to be a determinant of whether the VOLAR-e can concept technology can be transferred to commercial use. It doesn’t really matter how fast an electric vehicle can charge and accelerate if it can only do one loop around the track before losing power. The design is beautiful, however the color scheme is definitely meant for a track car. Compare this to other super electric concept cars like the Eliica, the Ultimate Aero GT, and Venturi Volage.

Cambodia Unveils the Angkor EV 2013

Cambodia has unveiled a pretty cool looking little EV with scissor doors.  But with a top speed of 60 Km/hour (37 mph), it’s no Lamborghini Murciélago. The Angkor EV probably has a little pep accelerating to that top speed, but obviously there is no 0-60 time yet. The manufacturer claims the two-door can travel 300 km or 186 miles between charges, which is really not bad for a cheap little e-car.   At a price point of $10,000, it might be a solid economic choice for those that only do urban driving. But I must say, the doors are kind of funny way to pimp this affordable, eco-ride.

Cambodia’s Heng Development Company has branded the EV the  Angkor, after the Angkor Wat Hindu temple, and powerful Civilization world wonder if you are into Sid Meier’s strategy games. Below is a peek into Cambodian English news special, where you can see the Angkor EV’s scissor doors in action, while driving, oddly. Does anybody remember “ghost riding the whip?”

Sources:
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/2013010860664/Business/cambodia-launches-electric-car.html

Update on the Lightning GT

The Lighting GT was Great Britain’s answer to the Tesla Roadster in early development, and now the Model S in 2013. However with the current exchange rate the GT is going to set wealthy patrons back about a quarter of a million dollars or 150,000 British pounds. The electric supercar is hand built in Coventry, with 90% of the parts sourced from Great Britain. Right now, they are building 20 vehicles to the specifications of future owners.

The Lighting GT uses a unique battery technology, Lithium Titanate, with two different storage capacity configurations, 36 or 44 kWh, giving the vehicle a range of 120 or 150 miles. The batteries can be fully charged using a fast-charger in about 2.5 hours. The twin 150 kW electric motors power the back wheels, capable of pushing the supercar from 0-60 MPH in 4.5 seconds.

The body of the GT is made of carbon fiber with a lightweight aluminum honeycomb chassis. Interior and exterior are built to the specifications of the owner.  Like anything in life, you can let your imagination run wild, if you have the funds.

Pre-orders are available now.

Lightning GT interview

On the Skoda Octavia Green E Line

We’ve never mentioned the Czech Automaker, Skoda, before on this site, but there is a first time for everything.  Skoda is a fully owned subsidiary of Volkswagen. They currently manufactures the Skoda Octavia Green-tec model, which achieves 35 MPG from its 4 cylinder intercooled, turbocharged engine.  The Czech company is in the process of enhancing its status as a fuel efficient automaker by testing the Skoda Octavia Green E Line electric concept car in the Czech Republic government.  The electric vehicle technology will be available in mass  production as the Skoda Octavia Combi in 2014.  Below is a video of a test run with the concept:

Skoda is currently testing an electric fleet of vehicles based on the Skoda Octavia Combi because its modular design allows for easy installation of the lithium ion 26.5 kWh, 180 cell battery pack, electronic control unit, and the electric engine with its constant power of 60 kW and max power of 85 kW. The electric vehicle provides immediate, maximum torque of 270 Nm,  which gives the car enough power for sharp acceleration and a good amount of agility and responsiveness, which the driver will appreciate mainly in busy city traffic. The Octavia Green E Line accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in twelve seconds, and the car’s maximum speed is limited to 135 km/h.

Recently, the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade have begun deployment of the Skoda Octavia Green E Line test fleet.  This is the second Czech ministry to do so, after the Ministry of the Environment adopted a fleet of the electric vehicles.  The ministries use the Green E Lines for official trips of up to 150 km.

Skoda explains its recent strategy in a statement from their website:

ŠKODA’s activities in the field of electric mobility are an important element of its broad-based drive and fuel strategy. This includes is continuous refinement of its highly efficient TDI and TSI engines, for which ŠKODA AUTO is currently building a new power plant testing centre in Mladá Boleslav, which will also serve for testing drives using different fuel varieties.

The Fastest Electric Vehicles on Earth

Electric vehicles have full torque, all the time, with no transmission, clutch, oil pan, exhaust system,or  fuel tank to weigh it down, it is no wonder they are some of the fastest land objects on wheels. I was asked to include this speedy infographic on my website, and I was happy to oblige. Credit to carfinance24/7, interesting stuff.