Tag Archives: electric vehicle

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 2017 Chevrolet Bolt Review and Road Test

America’s largest automaker, GM, is manufacturing its most affordable, consumer friendly electric vehicle since the GM EV1. Better equipped than the Nissan Leaf and cheaper than the BMW i3, the 2017 Chevy Bolt packs a 60 kilowatt hour lithium ion battery that has an EPA estimated range of 238 miles on a charge. While Car and Driver observed a 190 mile highway range, that should still be more than enough for anybody’s expected and unexpected daily driving needs. This tiny four door hatchback has the type of mass appeal that GM hopes will make it a major player in the electric automotive market. The Bolt will have to compete with the highly anticipated Tesla Model 3, Elon Musk’s “Model T” of sorts, an affordable Tesla for Joe Sixpack, and Jill Sixpack.


The Bolt starts at $37,495, but a $7500 federal tax credit will put the price under $30,000. Further, climate minded municipalities might have extra incentives to push that price down as well. If you want all the trimmings, you can get the Bolt Premier with a starting price of $41,780. It adds leather, heated front and rear seats, roof rails, a 360-degree-view camera system, a rearview camera mirror, rear parking sensors, and blind-spot monitoring. Options included an upgraded Bose stereo, wireless phone charging, and two USB ports in the rear for $485, and a Driver Assistance package with forward-collision alert with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, and automatic high-beams for $495.

The Bolt has a lot of pop on the road. The instant electric torque accelerates the Bolt from zero to 60 mph in 6.5 sec. The top speed is limited to 93 mph.

Other than that the Chevy Bolt is very similar to your average compact hatchback. Test drivers have mentioned it is quite cramped inside, with a lot of plastic trim. But you do get a state of the art infotainment system and heads up display, which adds to the futuristic experience. Overall, if you are really inclined to get of petroleum for your transportation needs, the Bolt is a great option that is now in the feasibility price range for many of us.

The BMW i8: Even Hybrid Cars Can Look And Sound Great!

BMW have built some fantastic vehicles in the past, and it looks like a trend that’s set to continue well into the future. The German firm is taking an active interest in alternative fuel technologies. One of the most notable examples of hybrid technology is the BMW i8.

If you’ve not heard of that model before, let me tell you more about it. It’s a hybrid sports car that’s powered by electric motors and a small three-cylinder engine. Of course, the only downside is that it’s one of the world’s most expensive sports cars!

Still, if money is no object and you’d like to drive a stylish, high-performance and eco-friendly car, the BMW i8 is for you!

Image Credit

It looks futuristic – in a good way

I don’t know about you but have you ever noticed just how weird today’s hybrid cars look? Car manufacturers associate hybrid vehicles as ones that should look futuristic. I get that car makers want to think outside the box when it comes to styling.

But some cars are just too out there. Toyota Prius, I’m looking at you!

The fantastic thing about the BMW i8 is that it too seems futuristic – but in a GOOD way! The contours of the vehicle match the front and rear ends well. It doesn’t look like a car Homer Simpson would have designed!

It uses lots of carbon fibre

We all know that car batteries weigh a lot. The heaviest are the ones that get used for electric and hybrid vehicles.

That’s not a good thing when you’re trying to design a fast hybrid sports car! To overcome this problem, BMW have used lots of carbon fibre. It’s 50% lighter than steel and 30% lighter than aluminium. But it’s just as strong as both metals.

The door architecture is amazing

When you open the doors on the BMW i8, one thing you will notice is that it uses “dihedral doors.” Or, as the guys at Thames Motor Group put it, gullwing doors! They are the kind of doors you might see on cars like Lamborghinis and even the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.

They swing upwards when opened. You might think that it’s not possible to do that, given how heavy car doors are. But BMW claim that the doors are 50% lighter than conventional ones.

It’s a good performance sports car

The car boasts 0-60 mph speeds of just 4.3 seconds. And the eDrive system boasts a total power output of 231 brake horsepower. It doesn’t sound like much, given that cars like the BMW M4 have more power.

But you need to bear in mind this car is lightweight. The power to weight ratio is different in the BMW i8.

Why 2015 Is A Good Year To Buy An Electric Car

Car drivers are always looking for ways to cut down on their motoring costs. Some might drive slower than usual to conserve fuel. While others will opt for public transport where possible to complete their journeys.

 

When buying a car, consumers have many choices. For example, they could buy petrol or diesel cars. They might even choose a hybrid vehicle. But did you know that electric vehicles are steadily rising in popularity?

Image via Flickr

 

There is much debate over whether it’s a good idea to buy an electric vehicle or not. It turns out that 2015 is an excellent year to buy one. Want to know why? Check out the reasons below:

 

Road taxes are rising

 

In many countries, vehicles get taxed according to the carbon emissions their engines produce. That means if you drive around in a V8 gas guzzler, you can expect to pay a small fortune to drive it on public roads.

To curb high-emissions vehicles, many governments increase the price of road tax on an annual basis. So when you drive a car that has no tailpipe emissions, what happens then? Simple – you pay nothing!

 

It’s no secret that some countries tax cars by engine size rather than emissions. But since electric cars don’t have a conventional combustion engine, there’s no tax to pay.

 

The public charging point infrastructure is growing

 

I was chatting to a salesman from pentagon-group.co.uk the other day. He was telling me how many of the world’s major governments are pushing for more public charging stations. I agreed with him, as I have noticed how there are more public charging stations for electric cars.

 

For example, last week I took a trip down to my local Ikea store and noticed some new parking spaces got installed just for electric cars! Even in shopping mall car parks more dedicated electric car parking spaces are getting installed.

 

There are financial incentives

 

Did you know that you can often receive significant discounts by buying an electric vehicle? For a start, the price you pay to your local car dealer will be lower than the list price. That’s because you are usually eligible for a government grant towards the cost of new electric cars.

 

Some car manufacturers also offer deal-sweeteners too. For instance, let’s say that you want to spend less time charging your electric vehicle at home. You would usually use an ordinary power socket. Some car makers install fast-charging stations at the homes of customers for free!

 

Others might charge a small, nominal fee towards the cost of your home charging station. And they opt for cover the rest of the installation cost. If you decide to sell your home and move elsewhere, you will need to pay for the facility at your new property.


But having a fast charging station at your existing home can increase the value of your property. The extra money you make from your house sale would more than cover the installation cost at your new home!

Will the BYD E6 Finally Become a Reality?

BYD Auto has been a hot topic for green geeks and business savvy investors for the past few years.  We started writing about them in 2008, pronouncing them the “sleeping giant” of China. There was strong interest from investors like Warren Buffet, and Portland, Oregon wanted to establish a BYD headquarters in their city. Several setbacks and slow starts later, BYD is still very much in a morning stupor.

The good news is in the technical details of BYD’s E6 crossover.  BYD’s Fe battery gives the E6 a range of 186 miles per charge and the vehicle’s top speed of 87 MPH makes it highway capable.  BYD touts their Fe lithium iron phosphate battery as fully recyclable and quick charging.  they claim the battery can be fully charged in as little at 40 minutes.  Field testing of their all-electric crossover E6 began in 2010, and sales to the general public in China have only just begun in October of 2011.    Lackluster sales and lack of a charging infrastructure have delayed BYD’s electric takeover in the United States.  In January 2011 BYD announced that the American version will be more powerful than the Chinese version, and it will have a 60 kwh battery pack with a 160 kW electric motor, capable of reaching 60 MPH in less than 8 seconds.  The Chinese company plans to be able to sell the e in America for $35,000, before any government incentives.

BYD e6 Specifications graphic:

Unfortunately for excited electric car fans in America, BYD announced last October that there will be an 18 month delay of retail sales in the United States due to inadequate charging infrastructure. So it doesn’t look like we will see the all-electric e6 or range extended hybrid F3DM and F6DM until at least 2013. These types of setbacks are all too common in revolutionary industries such as electric vehicle manufacturing. It will take time for BYD to integrate but I’m confident they will do so in the future.

Lola-Drayson B12/69EV: The First Electric Le Mans Supercar

Lola and Drayson Racing are working together to create the first all-electric Le Mans race car. Their primary goal, however, is to showcase the electric vehicle’s potential in single lap time trial results. They intend to charge the car through inductive charging and there is no word on any quick stop methods of recharging necessary to compete in longer races.

The electric Le Mans Prototype (LMP) will have 850 horsepower and reach top speeds of over 200 mph. Power for the all electric drivetrain is stored in a new generation of highly advanced Lithium Nanophosphate® battery cells made exclusively by A123 Systems. Each wheel will be powered by four axial flux Oxford YASA motors. The car will have a single gear, which is common for electric vehicles.  On the exterior, the car will look like any of the other LMP, but the team hopes the electric drivetrain will prove superior in single lap time trials.

For more info, check out the Lola Group Q&A.