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.

Helpful Maintenance Tips For Your Hybrid Car To Keep It In Great Shape

At one juncture or another, it is important to know the answers to the fundamental questions before driving yourself into the technicalities. Most of us have similar issues on hybrid vehicles such as: Are hybrid cars expensive to maintain? Are their batteries costly to replace? Is it safe to drive a hybrid car? And many other similar questions.

Hence, if you have these kinds of questions in your mind, this article will answer most of your queries as well as give you helpful tips on how you can maintain a hybrid car.

The Basics Of A Hybrid Car

Hybrid cars are a little bit different from the regular cars when we start comparing their routine maintenance. Apart from the systems that monitor and control the additional electric drive motor and the onboard batteries, the routine maintenance for hybrid cars is a little more lock step with your dad’s Oldsmobile. Follow my regular car maintenance schedule to ensure you have all of the basic covered.

Full hybrid cars are uniquely designed, since they can shut off the internal combustion engine and move using the electric motor under particular conditions such as the light cruising and low-speed maneuvering. So the hybrid engine does not operate as hard by minimizing wear and tear. Also, hybrid cars regularly use regenerative braking systems that can both reduce wear on the brake’s components as well as charge the batteries.

Hence, What Is The Difference?

The train varies due to the way that their internal combustion engine, the transmission, and the electric drive motor are joined to operate more or less as a whole. One component that can affect the functioning of the others is the malfunctioning part. Critical troubleshooting, repair as well as diagnosis of this system is recommended to be dealt with by a professional.

 Maintenance tip:

You can inspect your transmission fluid, replace the spark plugs as well as air and fuel filters. However, delving much deeper needs specialized training.

Sophisticated Electronics

The complex electronic modules responsible for powering the electric drive engine for both regenerative braking as well as propulsion can produce a plenty amount of heat; hence, they regularly have their devoted cooling systems.

Your battery control module controls both the discharge and charge rates and the state of charge of the whole bank. These systems will use both heating and cooling systems to work consistently under most conditions.


Maintenance tip:

When engaging into the regular maintenance on your engine cooling system, always remember to take a look at the individual hoses, clamps, and pipes as well as the additional filters which might be utilized for the engine and battery heating/cooling system.

Be Safe: Beware the Orange

Hybrid vehicles are equipped with dual voltage systems. However, the electrical system a safe standard 12-volts, the drive engine and the related components use more than 100 volts. Your safety threshold is low; hence, an electrical shock having as little as 50 volts can be critical.

Your cables are wrapped in an orange casing to warn the operator as well as the technician of these high voltage circuits. The system should be depowered to maintain as well as repair these components in a safe way. This task is preferred to be performed by some experienced technicians.


A regular car needs a remarkably little maintenance which is one of its greatest attractions. On the other hand, a hybrid vehicle combines a regular engine with an electric motor; so a hybrid car requires more maintenance than the electric car. Before you decide on purchasing either of the two vehicles, it is important to know the kind of maintenance a particular kind of car requires.

Author  Bio

Stella Grant

My name is Stella Grant . I am the founder of Speedfinal.com . Automotive is my passion, and I’m looking forward to sharing it with everyone.

Tesla Model 3 First Impressions

Marques Brownlee, YouTube tech reviewer extraordinaire, had the chance to do a short test drive of the Tesla Model 3. He already owns a Tesla Model S, so he provides a pretty reserved review of Tesla’s new affordable option.

Marques praises Tesla for retaining the spirit of their brand in the minimalist Model 3, but expresses concerns about how everything is controlled on the 15 inch touchscreen, even the glove box. Judging by the top voted YouTube comments, this is a shared worry among the general population:

“Everything is simple” (Needs software to open the glove compartment)
That monitor goes out for any reason, I mean, it’s a single point of failure. Doesn’t seem safe at all. I could be wrong. Please tell me I’m wrong.
Putting everything on the touchscreen with no physical buttons and a speedometer in front of the driver is a big mistake IMHO.What happens when the screen fails for some reason,you are totally screwed!! You don’t know what the hell is going on ! Epic fail !
Even though Tesla has likely made plenty of safety measures to prevent any sort of problem with touchscreen malfunctions, popular perceptions can influence whether or not the Tesla Model 3 will be adopted by the masses.  So I hope Tesla shows more ride alongs and tutorials on navigating the touchscreen, as well as reassuring electric car novices that a car can be safely operated without physical buttons and a traditional dashboard.
Marques also talks about options like colors, wheels, and automation packages.  $5000 will get you semi automation with self parking, lane holding, and speed changing autopilot.  For $5000 more you can basically just tell your car where to go from point A to point B, which is full-automation.  The safety sensors will be on the base model with no extra charge.  This brings up an interesting issue as to why the software is so expensive when the hardware is standard, as it isn’t physical, but digital script that could be copied and distributed, or even pirated.  However, I’m not sure if anyone is daring or stupid enough to trust their lives to bootleg PirateBay Uber.
As a successful YouTuber who already owns a Model S, Marques Brownlee represents the middle class Tesla owner, whereas most of his viewers seem to be younger people, highschoolers and young adults.  To him, it seems the Model 3 is kind of meh, to his audience, the Model 3 is hardly “affordable”.  In fact it’s about the same price as a C class Mercedes, so many could consider Elon Musk’s idea of an affordable people’s car rather condescending.  So Tesla has to find a way to manage these views as the hype train slows down in the next couple years, though they have time to think about before their supply can match the unprecedented initial demand.

Tesla Model 3 Launch Event in 5 Minutes

On July 28th, 2017 Tesla CEO Elon Musk delivered the first 30 Tesla Model 3s at an emotional handover event. The $35,000 electric car delivers on the promise Elon Musk made 14 years ago, to deliver an affordable, mass production electric vehicle to the world.

The Tesla Model 3 has an interior like no car you’ve seen before. Tesla went for a simplified dashboard that focuses on the central display unit. This is better suited for autonomous drive mode, when people will be able to watch movies and other media.

Tesla’s Model 3 design takes aspects the company learned from the Model X to give more headroom to rear seat passengers. The high hatchback and large rear window give the space more room and visibility.

Tesla intends to make the Tesla Model 3 the safest in the world, as well as expand the Tesla charging network 3 fold by next year.

The major hangup with the Model 3 right now is production. If you order the compact electric vehicle today, you will have to wait until late 2018 at the earliest to receive your car. Elon Musk assures customers that his company is grateful for its early adopters and Tesla will continue to support Model S, X, and 3 buyers who took the risk to embrace their innovative company.

BMW i3 REX Range Extender Explained

What is a range extender? Is the BMW i3 a hybrid? In this video Alex on Autos tries to explain one of the least understood cars on sale in America.

The BMW i3 has two versions, the all electric battery version, and another, less well known, battery electric range extended hybrid. In a range extended hybrid, you get a cetrain amount of electric drive, let’s say 60 miles, and then at 60 miles, before the battery runs completely dry, a small ICE engine starts up and powers an alternator to resupply the battery with electricity. Therefore, the range extended hybrid has a gasoline engine and a plug, but the gasoline engine never directly powers the wheels.

The BMW i3 REX is a little different though because it was born from the California zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) mandate. To simplify it, by 2025, 25% of all vehicles sold in California must be “zero emissions vehicles”. But to add flexibility, California allows manufacturers to sell hybrids that are not technically ZEVs as credits towards that goal. The BMW i3 REX is technically classified in California as a BEVx, and that gives it the full amount of ZEV credits even though it has a gasoline engine on board.

The BMW i3 REX is the first of its kind to be classified as a BEVx. It is different from a Prius Prime or Chevy Volt because it has at least a 75 mile range, a range comparable to some other affordable BEV options on the market. When the battery of the REX gets to 6.5% the BMW moped engine quietly turns on to maintain the battery at 6.5% but not replenish it more than that. This is a 2 cylinder 35 hp engine so it cannot do much more. Therefore, the i3 REX is an extremely low emissions vehicle, less than plug in hybrids with larger motors as much as 175 hp.

Sounds a little scary if you are on an ascending highway at 60 mph and the only hope you have of getting to your destination is a little 2 stroke, but Alex on Autos reviews what it actually feels like to be almost out of juice in the BMW i3 REX.

Features & Specs

Drive system
AC Synchronous Electric Motor with integrated power electronics, charger and generator mode for recuperation
eDrive Motor Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
170 @ 4800
eDrive Motor Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)
184 @ 0
2-cylinder gasoline Range Extender
HV battery type
Total Battery Capacity / Cell Capacity
33 kWh / 94 Ah
Max AC Charging Power (kW)
Type of transmission
single speed automatic
Automatic gear ratios (:1)
Coefficient drag
Acceleration 0–35 mph1
Acceleration 0-60 mph1
Top speed2
93 mph
Fuel Consumption
Total Range (mi)
Up to 205
Fuel Tank Capacity (gallons)
Charging Time – Level 2 – 0-100% (hr)
Charging Time – DC 50kW – 0-80% (hr)
Wheels and tires
Tire type
Wheel Dimensions (in)
19 x 5.0 front, 19 x 5.5 rear
Tire Dimensions (mm)
155/70 front, 175/60 rear
Exterior Dimensions
Doors / Seats
Length / Width / Height (in)
157.4 / 69.9 / 62.9
Ground Clearance (in)
Curb Weight – Automatic transmission (lbs)
Weight distribution, front/rear – Automatic transmission (%)
44.0 / 56.0
Interior Dimensions
Headroom (in)
Legroom, front/rear (in)
40.5 / 31.9
Shoulder room, front/rear (in)
53.6 / 49.2
Cargo Capacity (cu ft)
9.2 – 38.8

Autonomous Vehicles & The Trolley Problem

Right now, Tesla Motors is already shipping electric cars with very advanced autonomous drive software. Soon Apple will also have an electric car well-equipped, primarily purposed for safe, automatic commutes. These technological developments could potentially save millions of lives from human error accidents. But with the imminent arrival of autonomous vehicles, many people have started worrying about the safety and ethics of this new technology, especially when an issue arises to do with choice. In this piece, we’ll delve into the issue of the “Trolley Problem” and how AVs will deal with this and whether all manufacturers have the same stance.

Trolley Problem
Trolley Problem by SELECT CAR LEASING.