Tag Archives: ev

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.

Tesla Motors to use Panasonic Batteries

In a recent press release, Panasonic and Tesla Motors announced they will collaborate to develop the next generation of batteries for electric vehicles.  Panasonic is the world’s largest producer of Lithium-ion battery cells and Tesla is the only current manufacturer of a highway capable EV.


Tesla and Panasonic Collaborate to Develop Next-Generation Battery Cell Technology

SAN CARLOS, Calif. – (Business Wire) Tesla Motors and Panasonic today announced that they will collaborate to develop next-generation battery cells for electric vehicles.

Tesla, the only carmaker producing highway-capable electric vehicles, will use Panasonic’s battery cells in their newest battery packs. The cells are comprised of Nickel-based Lithium ion chemistry, the highest energy density battery cells in production today, preferred by Tesla for EV applications because of their high capacity, light weight, durability, and long life.

“Our collaboration with Panasonic will accelerate the development of next generation EV cells, enabling Tesla to further improve our battery pack performance,” said JB Straubel, Tesla’s Chief Technology Officer. “Combining Tesla’s rigorous cell testing and understanding of EV requirements with Panasonic’s cutting-edge battery technology will result in custom cells optimized for use in EVs.”

Panasonic is the world’s leading battery cell manufacturer and a diverse supplier to the global automotive industry.

“Being selected by Tesla to provide cells for their current and next- generation EV battery pack is a tremendous validation of Panasonic’s nickel-based chemistry and the extensive investments Panasonic continues to make in lithium ion R&D and production,” said Naoto Noguchi, President of Panasonic Energy Company.

Panasonic is one of the world’s largest producers of Lithium-ion battery cells. Furthermore, Panasonic is the global leader in lithium-ion cell technology, and is midway through a 3-year USD$1 billion investment in lithium-ion battery cell R&D and production facilities. The first of the new facilities in Suminoe, Japan will begin production in April 2010.

Tesla’s current battery strategy incorporates proprietary packaging using cells from multiple battery suppliers. This new cell will also be compatible with other cell form factors to enable the continuation of Tesla’s strategy of using cells from multiple suppliers. Tesla has already delivered more than 900 cars to customers in North America and Europe.

About Tesla

Tesla’s goal is to produce increasingly affordable cars to mainstream buyers – relentlessly driving down the cost of EVs. San Carlos, Calif.-based Tesla sells cars online and has delivered nearly 900 Roadsters to customers in North America and Europe. In addition to South Florida, Tesla has showrooms in California’s Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Boulder, London Munich and Monaco.

The Tesla Roadster is faster than an Audi R8 yet is six times as efficient as conventional sports cars. With an EPA-estimated range of 244 miles per charge, it costs less than $5 to charge.

Electric Car Sound Debate

For 30 years, engineers have been working on making cars quiet, so the criticism that electric cars are, in fact, too quiet, seem foolish. And in my humble opinion, it is completely ridiculous, kind of like this article I just read about a UK politician’s idea to put cowbells on electric cars to make them more safe.

Most modern, four cylinder vehicles are virtually inaudible at low speeds. And at constant speeds of 30-60 mph, the most audible noise of a modern sedan is the tires rolling against the pavement and wind resistance.  Granted, at idle and extremely low speeds, an electric vehicle is basically silent compared to an internal combustion engine.  However, you cannot even notice the discrepancy unless you are within five feet of the car to begin with.

Anyway, take a listen to the Fisker Karma in action and tell me that the electric vehicle doesn’t make any noise:

Pretty similar to a jet engine spooling up. This is a perfectly acceptable amount of sound. The whole premise of a car being “too quiet” is ridiculous. Electric cars are inaudible because they are efficient. Less heat, friction, moving parts, and noise means less energy is wasted turning the wheels.

Electric Cars Highlight Tokyo Auto Show

Below is The Auto Channel’s coverage of the 2009 Tokyo Auto Show. Unique, compact electric cars were the focus of the event.  First up in the video is the Mazda Kiyora, which actually is not an electric vehicle at all, but is propelled by a Mazda SKY-G highly-efficient 1.3 liter direct injection gasoline engine. It must have been included by mistake, but is nevertheless, a very low-consumption vehicle. The Toyota FT-EV is indeed an electric vehicle that gets 60 miles on a charge and can reach speeds of up to 70 mph. It’s so short, it looks like you could park it perpendicular on the street. The Nissan Leaf, further along than the other concept vehicles, should get you 100 miles on a charge and 87 mph on the highway. The Land Glider is another tilting EV that gets 60 miles on a charge and only achieves a top speed of 40 mph, so irrelevant in other words.

Wireless Electricity could open many doors for Electric Cars

This is a neat video I came across today describing wireless electricity technology. The basic premise behind it is that you can start with an electricity conducting item that creates a magnetic field and transfers its power wirelessly to a charging item. So the speaker, Eric Giler, explains its potential applications: recharging cell phones and powering TVs without cords. About 6 minutes into the presentation he notes possible applications for electric vehicles.

Interesting. At around 6 minutes he describes mats in electric car owner garages that could charge the vehicles without the hassle of plugging them in. This example really does not do justice to what this technology could potentially do for electric vehicle infrastructure. A couple things I thought of off the top of my head:

-Charging mats at stop lights in gridlocked cities like New York. Electric taxis could potentially never need to be recharged or refueled. I’m sure a lot of cab drivers would really appreciate that.
-Solar powered parking lots that wirelessly power electric vehicles. Go to the cafe for the free wifi internet and electric power.

What ideas would you guys come up with? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.

Source: TED

Obama announces grant for Purdue electric vehicle program

Source: Purdue University
On August 5th, President Obama announced that Purdue University will receive a $6.1 million grant to develop degree and training programs for electric vehicles.

Purdue will partner with Notre Dame University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Ivy Tech Community College, Purdue University Calumet and Indiana University Northwest to develop the program. The goal is to educate and train the work force needed to design, manufacture and maintain advanced electric vehicles and the associated infrastructure.

The Indiana Advanced Electric Vehicle Training and Education Consortium will develop certificate and associate degree programs for vehicle technicians, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs for electric vehicle design and manufacturing engineers, and a certificate program in electric vehicle safety for emergency responders. It also will develop an outreach program to secondary schools and a Web site to provide information on electric vehicles to the general public.

Obama announced the grant during a speech in Elkhart. The government is handing out a total of $2.4 billion in grants to 48 projects in 20 states. He said Indiana is the second largest recipient of grant funding.