January 22, 2019

  • Bafang and MTB Olympic Champion Bart Brentjens forge development and sponsorship partnership превод на български
     

     Together they will develop a victory-ready E-MTB for the American Eagle brand, to compete in the newly-formed UCI electric mountain bike racing class. And in the run-up to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Bafangs become team sponsor for one of the world’s most successful Elite XC teams.

    Wijchen, Netherlands / Suzhou, China, January 2019 – Bafang is marking the start of the 2019 MTB racing season by becoming the first ever manufacturer of pedelec drive systems to sponsor the UCI World Cup. What’s more, they are doing so at the very highest level: the ‘CST sandd. Bafang Mountainbike Racing Team’ is truly world class when it comes to wins, podium places and Championship titles.

    This level of performance is simply a continuation of the example set to the team, which was founded in 2008, by its captain Bart Brentjens (Netherlands), first with his World Championship title (1995 in Kirchzarten, Germany), but above all with his Gold Medal victory in MTB at the Olympic Games of 1996 in Atlanta, USA.

    More than just a sponsorship

    Bafang’s commitment extends well beyond simple sports sponsorship. The e-bike drive system specialists based in Suzhou (China), have agreed an intensive development collaboration with Bart Brentjens’ MTB brand American Eagle, with the aim of producing an E-MTB capable of competing at the highest level – tuned and ready to race in the World Championships for the new ‘E-Mountain Bike’ class, which was recently announced by cycle sport’s world governing body, the UCI. The Championships will be contested in late August 2019 in Mont St. Anne, Canada.

    Demonstrating Bart Brentjens’ total commitment to this project is the fact that an additional development engineer has already joined his team: Kjell van den Boogert (Netherlands). But driving technical innovations is just one of his duties; as a former UCI World Championships Junior rider he will also compete himself in the 2019 E-MTB race season.

    Bafang M500 – the super-powerful mid motor

    A key element in Bafang and American Eagle’s future racing success is the M500 drive system. Its nominal power rating of 250 watts reflects the universal legal limit for pedelecs, but with its impressive 95 Newton metres of torque, the key factor when it comes to dynamic ride performance, it leaves most of its competitors far behind.

  • Detroit Auto Show: Nissan/Infiniti Concept Cars Hint at Future EVs превод на български
     

    Something New Lies Underneath

    At the 2019 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, both Nissan and Infiniti brands previewed a pair of all-electric concept vehicles that provide a glimpse of the company’s next BEVs and strategies.

    Infiniti is going All Electric

    Infiniti presented the QX Inspiration concept, a battery electric midsize SUV built on Nissan’s new BEV platform.  Infiniti’s president, Christian Meunier, announced that by 2025 Infiniti plans to offer only electric or hybrid vehicles, with the first vehicles due in 2021.  

    Infiniti QX Inspiration

    The Infiniti QX Inspiration welcomes you in

    The QX Inspiration envisions a long-range dual motor all-wheel drive SUV with high-level autonomous driving capabilities. While Infiniti provided no details, the focus of the QX was to show Infiniti’s new design language for its electric vehicles, with the new face of future Infiniti vehicles without a grill and an aggressive cab-forward stance with a tight greenhouse.

    Purposely designed as a BEV, the interior has a fully flat floor, rather than a BEV conversion of an existing internal combustion engine platform. The QX rides on a 112-inch wheelbase with the dual electric motors and the battery packed low in the body for enhanced center of gravity and superior handling.  Overall, the concept is 183-inches long.  The Infiniti QX Inspiration doors are the center opening “suicide doors,” with a wide pillarless entry and front seats that rotate 30 degrees outwards, making for easier ingress and egress.

    With the drivetrain and battery pack below the floor, the spacious interior allows for a lounge-like space and a nod to the day when self-driving technology makes the traditional driver-passenger relationship more intimate and welcoming.

    Infiniti has been struggling to find its niche in the market over the last few years.  It had high hopes for its recently updated QX30, a CUV based on the Mercedes GLA platform, squarely aimed at American’s thirst for all things CUV/SUV.  But the QX30 has been met with a tepid response, and overall Infiniti’s sales are down almost 3 percent year over year.  The move to a portfolio of electric and hybrid vehicles is an attempt to grow the marque by appealing to a new generation of millennial buyers that value experience, technology, and uniqueness.

    Nissan looks beyond the Leaf

    The Nissan Leaf bootstrapped the move to battery electric vehicles almost 10 years ago.  Since then the Leaf has sold more than 300,000 copies worldwide.  But the design of the current Leaf is dated and conservative compared to its rival BEVs.

    Nissan IMs concept

    Nissan shows what the Leaf may become

    At NAIAS, Nissan presented a concept of what the next generation Leaf could be as well as the platform that all Nissan and Infiniti BEVs will be built on in the next couple of years.

    The Nissan IMs is the company’s vision of a next-generation sports sedan, building on Nissan’s previous BEV concepts—the Nissan IDs and IMX models.  The design is similar to the Infiniti QX Inspiration, but instead of a CUV, it is a high-performance sedan.  The cabin features a B-pillar-less interior space with center-opening “suicide doors” and an air suspension that can raise and lower the vehicle depending on its driving mode. The chassis is designed to set the drive motor(s) and battery pack low in the car, contributing to a better center of gravity that will enhance handling.

    The interior layout is unique with a “2+1+2” seating architecture, including a pivoting front seats and a rear seat that offers either three across seating or, with the outboard rear seats folded, a “Premier Seat” in the rear center.  This layout is a nod to executive or ridesharing travel.

    As with all of Nissan’s BEV concepts, the Nissan Intelligent Mobility technology is an integral part of the design.  The IMs includes full connectivity and Nissan’s highest levels of safety and autonomous drive systems.

    Unlike the QX Inspiration concept, Nissan provided more information on the platform for its next generation BEVs.

    Nissan IMs concept

    A versatile interior that takes advantage of EV & AV

    Nissan IMs concept specs

    Nissan IMs concept specs

    The IMs is built on a 114-inch wheelbase vs. 112-inch for the QX Inspiration (and 106 inches for the current Leaf) and has all-wheel drive with front and rear electric motors delivering 483 horsepower (360 kilowatts) and 590 pounds-feet (800 Newton-meters) of torque.  The IMs has a 115-kilowatt-hour battery with a 380-mile estimated range. There was no announcement the battery’s thermal management system.

    Based on air dampeners, the electronically controlled suspension can automatically adapt to road conditions and driving mode.  Both the Nissan and Infiniti concepts ride on massive 22-inch wheels.

    The exterior follows Nissan’s current “Vmotion” design language, but without a grill.  Wing cameras replace traditional rear-view mirrors. While most concept vehicles never see the light of day, the IMs seems to be based on substantial engineering work, so much that Nissan has a detailed list of specifications for the sedan.

    What the QX Inspiration and the IMs say about future Nissan electric vehicles

    These two concepts describe a strikingly similar BEV platform, one that is a thoroughly modern “skateboard” that can be adapted to serve multiple vehicle “Top Hats” including SUVs, sedans, hatchbacks and, most likely, truck, vans and even two-seater sports cars.  Considering Nissan’s current ICE vehicle portfolio, any of those could have a BEV version using the platform that is the basis for these two concept vehicles.  Just like Volkswagen’s MEB modular electric vehicle platform, it is conceivable that Nissan’s EV platform could do the same with the capability to offer different wheelbase and tracks as well as being able to accommodate several traction battery and motor sizes in two-wheel and all-wheel drive configurations.  A modular platform will allow Nissan to leverage its worldwide manufacturing resources to produce different models on the same manufacturing lines just as they currently do with ICE vehicles.

     

    Nissan IMs concept

    Nissan’s painting an increasingly electrified path that continues to show an emotional element

    The next generation Leaf, as well as Infiniti’s first BEV, are due in 2021, which will line up perfectly with this new platform.  With the next wave of BEVs set to start arriving that year, this new platform will be critical for Nissan and Infiniti in the coming years.

    [See image gallery at www.cleanfleetreport.com] Related Stories You Might Enjoy—Nissan/Infiniti EV Stories

    News: Infiniti Q Inspiration (last year’s Detroit concept)

    CES News: 2019 Nissan Leaf Goes the Distance

    News: Nissan IMx Electric Is Two Years Away

    News: Nissan IMx Electric CUV 1 of 8 New EVs

    News Nissan IMx Crossover EV at Tokyo Motor Show

January 21, 2019

  • How to Find the Right Affordable Electric Car превод на български
     

    Searching for a Used EV on a Limited Budget

    Electric vehicles are the future, because they contribute much less to global warming and climate change than gasoline-only models. Many are on sale today, but at just over two percent of the U.S. market in 2018, they are still not the choice of most drivers. (Note: They are more popular in California and in some foreign countries.)

    If you want to try an electric car, but have a limited budget, exploring the used EV market is the way to go. I have some recommendations below, along with an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of EVs, and an explanation of the different types.

    EV Advantages and Disadvantages

    Pure electric cars are clean and quiet, need nearly zero service, cost less to run, and provide great acceleration, but there are some disadvantages at the moment.

    2017 Nissan Leaf

    Pure-electric EVs are great, but they are not for everyone

    First, all-electric cars are not available in all sizes and models. There are no all-electric pickup trucks (yet—it looks like they’re coming soon from old and new companies), for example, and handsome all-electric sedans are pretty much limited to Tesla (there are some nice plug-in hybrids, though).

    Second, electric cars tend to be more expensive, partly because of the cost of batteries and having fewer units over which to spread development costs. This should change significantly in the next few years.

    Third—and this is the deal breaker for many folks—electric cars have range limitations and charging the battery is still less convenient than pulling into a handy gas station.

    Four Kinds of Electric Vehicles

    Your car has to work for your lifestyle. There are four types of electrified vehicles, and which one you pick should match what you plan to do with it.

    A hybrid combines of a gasoline engine and an electric motor to improve fuel economy. The motor has a small battery that uses electricity that’s generated when you slow down or brake. The Toyota Prius is the poster child, although there are many others, including hybrid versions of familiar vehicles. Hybrids can get more than 50 miles per gallon, which is a big improvement over any regular gasoline car. You don’t have to do anything special with a hybrid—just fill it up with gas and drive it. But you do it less often. Hybrids don’t plug in, so they rely on their gasoline engine for basic propulsion. They come in a variety of configurations covering almost all vehicles styles.

    2017 Volkswagen e-Golf

    The electric member of the Golf family could be a good way to get into EVs

    Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) are just that—they have plugs and have a larger battery than hybrids, so you can charge them up and use only electricity for a limited range, anywhere from 11 to more than 50 miles. They still work like hybrids. If you’re commuting and running around town, you may not use gasoline at all on a particular day. But—if you jump on the freeway you can drive across country without a thought. For some people, this is ideal. The downside is that you still have to pay for gasoline-car maintenance and you are carrying both powertrains around all the time. If you don’t plug the car in, it still acts like a regular hybrid, but if you do, you’ll get to drive on electrons part of the time. The pioneering Chevrolet Volt is a good example and offers up to 53 miles of electric range. There are many PHEVs on the market today, covering most vehicle applications.

    Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) run on their battery only. You have to plug them in to drive them. They vary in range, and the newest ones can get more than 300 miles on a charge. You can charge them using household 120-volt current (very slow) or Level 2 (240-volts) at home or at charging stations (it takes hours to charge) or “fast charging,” which can take less than an hour to fill the battery. BEVs work best when you’re not planning to travel long intercity distances regularly. Charging networks are growing, but most users normally charge at home or at work, which means never going to a gas station. Technological advances and range increases are in the works. The most popular new BEVs are sedans—the Tesla Model 3, Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Bolt EV.

    2017 Toyota Mirai

    Fuel cell electric cars are new on the market–and present some challenges

    The fourth kind of EV is the fuel-cell vehicle, which creates its own electricity using compressed hydrogen gas as a fuel. This works, but there are drawbacks: hydrogen stations are few and far between, the fuel itself is expensive (although some manufacturers subsidize it) and is energy-intensive to produce. Fuel cell cars are only available where stations are located, which is basically urban areas of California. Today, there are only three vehicle choices in the marketplace—two sedans and one crossover. If you live near a hydrogen station and like the looks of the vehicles, you may be able to swing a lease deal on a Honda Clarity, Toyota Mirai or the brand-new Hyundai Nexo. I found one 2017 Toyota Mirai priced under $20,000 (and a few under $25,000), but at this point I recommend investing in one of the three other EV types.

    Recommendations

    If you are OK with driving locally and can borrow or rent another car for that once-a-year 2,000-mile trip, get a pure EV. If you want to drive electric for commuting and local errands but be able to take off and go to the mountains or visit your children in the next state every month, opt for a plug-in hybrid. If you want to do something about the climate crisis, but live in an apartment and don’t have any charging at work, try a hybrid. Hybrids take half a car off the road, which is still a lot.

    Notes: Below are my top four picks in each category for affordable used BEVs, PHEVs, and hybrids. They are listed alphabetically in each section, not in order of preference. This is not an exclusive list. Feel free to consider any electric vehicle if it meets your needs and budget. Prices vary depending on mileage, condition, and what the seller is asking. I capped it at $20,000, but there are many cars for much less. There are also some great choices for significantly more. My research is based on looking on cars.com for the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve shown miles per gallon (MPG) for hybrids, since range isn’t an issue (but fuel economy is).

    Pure EV Options

    The newest BEVs tend to have longer ranges, but lower-priced older EVs have ranges around 100 miles or less. We’ve included links to our tests of some of these models; tests were done on new models.

    Nissan Leaf

    Body style: hatchback

    Battery range: 73-107 miles (depending on year—new 2018 model has 150)

    Price Range: $6,481 – $16.998 (2011-16)

    Summary: EV pioneer, biggest seller, large dealer network, plenty to choose from, polarizing styling

     ___

    Fiat 500e

    Body style: compact hatchback

    Battery range: 87 miles

    Price range: $8,275 – $16,500 (2015-17 models)

    Summary: Cute, fun, retro feel, may become orphans someday

     ___

    Used hybrids, plug-in hybrids, EVs

    The Kia Soul EV’s shape isn’t for everyone, but it does work well

    Kia Soul EV

    Body style: hatchback (box)

    Battery range: 93 miles

    Price range: $12,030 – $16,792 (2015-16)

    Summary: Roomy, slightly better range than others, boxy styling isn’t for everyone

     ___

    Volkswagen e-Golf

    Body style: hatchback

    Battery range: 83 miles

    Price range: $12,500 – $16,988 (2015-16)

    Summary: All the goodness of a Golf, but electric; 2017 model upped range to 125 (but is $20,000+)

    ____

    Plug-In Hybrids

    Electric range is small, but you can go anywhere with gasoline

    Chevrolet Volt

    Body Style: hatchback

    Battery range: 32-53 miles electric-only, 380-420 total

    Price range: $6,999 – $19,998 (2012-16)

    Summary: PHEV pioneer, biggest plugin EV range, 2016 and later models offer fresh styling and greater range, only four-passenger seating

     ___

    Used hybrids, plug-in hybrids, EVs

    The Ford C-Max Hybrid offers a plug-in hybrid with some versatility

    Ford C-Max Energi

    Body style: tall hatchback

    Battery range: 21 miles electric-only, 570 total

    Price range: $9,800 – $18,991 (2013-17)

    Summary: Spacious family car, European design, non-plug-in hybrid version also available

     ___

    Honda Accord PHEV

    Body style: midsize sedan

    Battery range: 13 miles electric-only, 570 total

    Price range: $15.681 – $19,991(2014 only)

    Summary: Popular and award-winning, PHEV version is rare (2014 model only), see Hybrid

     ____

    Toyota Prius Plug-in

    Body Style: hatchback

    Battery range: 11 miles electric-only, 540 total

    Price range:  $9.000 – $19,492 (2012-15)

    Summary: Prius virtues, plus some all-electric capacity, most other PHEVs have greater electric-only range, but lower mpg when in hybrid mode (Note: new Prius Prime has greater electric range but is $20,000+)

    ____

    Hybrids

    Showing mpg rather than range—more important for a hybrid

    Ford Fusion Hybrid

    Body style: midsize sedan

    EPA MPG: 42 combined

    Price range: $9,355 – $19,025 (2010-18)

    Summary: You can get a nearly new car for under $20K!, Fusion and C-Max share drivetrains

    Used hybrids, plug-in hybrids, EVs

    The Prius has been popular so many used models are out there

     

    Honda Accord Hybrid

    Body style: midsize sedan

    EPA MPG: 47 Combined

    Price range: $15,550 – $18,998 (2015)

    Summary: Popular vehicle, 2017 hybrid available for $22-25,000

    -___

    Kia Optima Hybrid

    Body style: midsize sedan

    EPA MPG: 36

    Price range: $8,995 – $18,990 (2013-17)

    Summary: Nice looking and driving. Not as high mpg as some others, though

     ___

    Toyota Prius

    Body style: hatchback

    EPA MPG: 50

    Price range: $9,399 – $19.989 (2010-2017)

    Summary: The original hybrid, lots to choose from, watch for different levels of equipment when buying

January 19, 2019

  • Tech: Wards Names Top 10 Engines+ превод на български
     

    It’s Not Just Engines, But Propulsion Systems

    The automotive trade magazine Wards has been picking the 10 best powerplants created by automakers for 25 years, but things changed this year. The awardees have morphed during the two and half decades, but going forward the award itself is changing to become the “10 Best Engines & Propulsion Systems.” The change acknowledges the more prominent role of fuel cell stacks and battery-powered electric motors.

    Hyundai Nexo FCEV

    New technologies like fuel cell electric propulsion systems have joined the “engine” awards

    “I never thought I’d live to see the day when a fuel-cell car and a battery EV would make the list the same year as two burly V8s and a sophisticated four-cylinder engine with variable compression,” commented WardsAuto editor Drew Winter.

    The field has gotten very diverse, showing both the innovation of new technology as well as the robust progress of traditional internal combustion engines. Here are the 2019 winners listed alphabetically by the brand of vehicle in which it is marketed:

    • BMW X5’s 3.0-liter double overhead cam (DOHC) turbocharged inline-six (I6)
    • Chevrolet Silverado’s 6.2-liter overhead valve (OHV) V8 with Dynamic Fuel Management cylinder deactivation
    • Ford Mustang GT’s 5.0-liter DOHC V8
    • Ford F-150’s 3.0-liter DOHC turbodiesel V6
    • Honda Accord Hybrid’s 2.0-liter DOHC Atkinson-cycle i-VTEC four-cylinder
    • Hyundai Nexo’s 120-kilowatt-hour (kW) fuel cell electric propulsion system
    • Hyundai Kona EV’s 150-kW electric propulsion system
    • Infiniti QX50’s 2.0-liter DOHC variable compression (VC) turbocharged four-cylinder
    • Lexus UX 250h’s 3.0-liter DOHC Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder hybrid system
    • Ram 1500’s 3.6-liter DOHC Pentastar eTorque mild hybrid V6

    This lineup if reflective of two somewhat conflicting trends in the American automotive marketplace—the shift to trucks and the move to alternative powertrains.

    2019 6.2L V-8 DFM VVT DI (L87) for Chevrolet Silverado

    GM’s big V8 shows the robustness of the ICE

    All but two of the propulsion systems are found in trucks or SUVs. Half of the systems feature hybrid or full-electric drive. Also note that four major regions of automotive production are recognized—the U.S., Europe, Japan and Korea. We wouldn’t be surprised to see some Chinese propulsion systems appearing in coming years; many parts on existing award-winners already come from there.  

    We’ve driven quite a few of these vehicles during the past year and concur with Wards that the advances in powertrains are creating the best of both worlds—offering alternative propulsion as well as very sophisticated internal combustion engines that offer efficiency along with unparalleled power. It’s an amazing time and we’re glad to see Wards catching up with it not only in its award selections, but its name as well.

    Related Stories You May Enjoy—The Award Winners

    Flash Drive: Delphi & Tule Teach an Engine to Dance

    Silicon Valley Invades Your Engine

    Flash Drive: 2018 Ford Mustang GT

    5 Things to Know about the Ford F-150 Power Stroke Diesel

    Road Test: 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid

    News: 2019 Hyundai Nexo

    News: 2019 Hyundai Kona EV

    Flash Drive: 2019 Infiniti QX50

    Tech: Engine Variable Compression Gamechanger

    News: Lexus UX Debuts

    Tech: 2019 Ram 1500 Hybrid

January 18, 2019

  • European Commission imposes up to 79.3% combined anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on e-bike imports from China превод на български
     

    Following the announcement in the EU Official Journal, Annick Roetynck, manager of LEVA-EU stated:

    This is a deeply regrettable Commission decision, which goes directly against all the efforts of that very same Commission to achieve the EU’s climate goals. What’s more, it is also punishing the European citizens by limiting the offer of electric bicycles, which are bound to increase in price, just as European citizens start to embrace light electric mobility. The duties also have a devastating impact on a large number of European SMEs, whose livelihoods depend on the assembly e-bikes in China. Since there are not enough assembly facilities outside China readily available, many of these companies are now confronted with existential problems for which they have had no time to anticipate in their business planning. For the companies in the United Kingdom, this comes on top of the turmoil resulting from Brexit.

    Although the duties only apply to complete e-bikes, they also complicate import of component parts for those companies that are trying to organize assembly in Europe. For several decades there have been 48.5% anti-circumvention duties on a number of essential bicycle components such as frames, forks, wheels, etc. imported from China. These duties do not apply if the components are not used for conventional bicycles but for electric bicycles. Customs’ authorities in many member states are not well informed on this exemption. They go against European rules by demanding payment of anti-circumvention duties for these parts. LEVA-EU is working hard to assist members who are confronted with this problem in their discussions with the customs’ authorities. Nevertheless, many of these companies feel “punished” twice by the European Commission. 

    The other reason for them to feel punished by the duties is because they are unfounded, protectionist, unfair, and absurd. The Commission has failed to prove injury to the plaintiffs, whilst these have been steadily thriving for years on end. The Commission’s decisive argument for these measures is the mere fact that EU Industry’s profitability should increase with 0.9% (!). To that end, the Commission is willing to sacrifice dozens of European SMEs for the benefit of just a few big players.

    E-bikes represent a win-win situation: they are a sustainable means of transport, their use contributes to a healthy lifestyle and decreases carbon emissions. The Commission’s duties go against all of this and result in a zero sum game in which the European citizen is the big loser.

    LEVA-EU and the Collective of European Importers of Electric Bicycles want to thank all the decision-makers and MEPs who supported us and understood the severity of the situation. We will continue to fight this unjust measure.”

  • Company Update превод на български
     

    This morning, the following email was sent to all Tesla employees:

    As we all experienced first-hand, last year was the most challenging in Tesla’s history. However, thanks to your efforts, 2018 was also the most successful year in Tesla’s history: we delivered almost as many cars as we did in all of 2017 in the last quarter alone and nearly as many cars last year as we did in all the prior years of Tesla’s existence combined! Model 3 also became the best-selling premium vehicle of 2018 in the US. This is truly remarkable and something that few thought possible just a short time ago.

    Undefined

January 17, 2019

  • Detroit Auto Show: Ford F-150 Electric Pickup Coming превод на български
     

    Ford To Add To Its “Juggernaut” F-Series Truck Lineup

    It’s been known for sometime that Ford plans to launch the hybrid F-150 in 2020 that will be built at Ford’s Rouge Complex in Dearborn, Michigan. That’s part of a plan to spend $11 billion on electrified vehicles over the next few years to bring 16 battery-electric vehicles and 24 hybrids to the market.

    Ford F-150 EV

    Ford plans to take its best-seller full electric

    Now there’s more F-150 electrified news. “We’re going to be electrifying the F-Series — battery electric and hybrid,” Jim Farley, Ford president of global markets, said Wednesday during a presentation at the Deutsche Bank Global Automotive Conference that followed the Detroit Auto Show.

    In framing the company’s redesign, Farley said a move toward all-electric and hybrid would “futureproof” the billion-dollar F-Series franchise, which he called a “global juggernaut.”

    Juggernaut indeed! Ford sold more than one million F-Series trucks globally in 2018.

    Playing Catch Up

    Ford has been dragging its feet when it comes to EVs. The Focus Electric five-door hatchback, the automaker’s sole full EV, was introduced as a 2012 model, has sold fewer that 10,000 units.

    Ford Mach 1 EV

    Ford’s not afraid to look back (in names) while moving into the future

    But Ford is trying to catch up. An unnamed “Mustang-inspired” battery electric SUV is due to hit the market in 2020. That vehicle is expected to have a 300-mile range, according to Ford’s top officials. It will be a performance-oriented SUV. It doesn’t have a name yet, though it was initially rumored to bear the Mach 1 badge.

    Also, Lincoln, Ford’s premium car brand, announced that it is making an electric car based on the Mustang-inspired SUV EV.

    Ford officials didn’t offer a timeline for the battery-electric F-150 or provide any details, but when it does arrive, it most likely will have competitors. Tesla continues to talk up its future pickup, and upstart Rivian revealed its entry at last year’s Los Angeles Auto Show. It is said to have a 400-mile driving range, towing capacity up to 11,000 pounds and a price range between about $70,000 and $90,000.

    Pickup trucks with the instant torque of electric power? Bring ’em on!

    Related Stories You Might Enjoy—Ford’s Electification Moves

    News: Ford F-Vision—An electric, Autonomous Semi

    Interview: Ford Electrifies-Sedans Need Not Apply

    News: Ford Does the Electric Slide

    News: Ford To Resurrect Mach 1 Nameplate for EV

    Interview: Ford’s Electrified Future

    Road Test: 2016 Ford Focus Electric

    News: Ford F-150 Hybrid Confirmed

    Road Test: 2014 Ford Focus Electric

    First Drive: 2013 Ford Focus Electric

  • Motor Vehicle Insurance Directive: LEVA-EU asks EP to exclude certain LEVs превод на български
     

    The European institutions are currently reviewing the Motor Vehicle Insurance Directive. This is relevant to the sector of light, electric vehicles because this Directive stipulates which vehicles are subject to a special motor vehicle insurance.

    So far, there was a clause in the Directive, which gave the member states the authority to exclude certain vehicles from the motor vehicle insurance directive. In the majority of the member states this clause was used to exclude electric bicycles with motor power up to 250W and assistance up to 25 km/h. In a number of member states, other light, electric vehicles such as scooters, self-balancing vehicles, electric hoverboards, etc. were also excluded on the basis of this clause.

    All this may now be jeopardized because the European Commission believes that a larger variety of vehicles should be included. They have proposed a text to the European Parliament (EP), to which the EP has developed a number of amendments. These amendments will be voted in the IMCO Parliamentary Committee on Tuesday 22 January.

    Two amendments are aimed at excluding all vehicles that are excluded from Regulation 168/2013 from this insurance, two other amendments are rather aimed at making these vehicles also subject to the Motor Vehicle Insurance Directive.

    In anticipation of the vote on Tuesday,  LEVA-EU has sent a statement to all members of the IMCO Committee. LEVA-EU requests them to approve the amendments aimed at excluding those vehicles that are excluded from Regulation 168/2013 as well as L1e-A category vehicles. The latter are already severely obstructed by an aberration in technical legislation and would be further hampered if they were made subject to a motor vehicle insurance. LEVA-EU also requests the MEPs to vote against the two amendments aiming at enlarging the scope of the Motor Vehicle Insurance Directive.

    LEVA-EU will continue to monitor this issue very closely and will continue to discuss this with the European authorities with a view to obtain the best outcome for the European LEV-Sector.

    For further information, please contact LEVA-EU Manger, Annick Roetynck, email leva-eu@telenet.be, tel. +32 9 233 60 05.

  • New QWIC brochure 2019 превод на български
     

    LEVA-EU member Qwic introduces a few  new e-bike models this year. Last year, they have once again experienced strong growth and they intend to make 2019 even more successful. In the  QWIC brochure 2019 below, you can check out the complete  collection we for this year.

    Qwic wants to take the next step in 2019. They will do this by means of an expansion of their range of luxury e-bikes and by the addition of a completely new Urban Series. This series contains bicycles between € 1,500 and € 2,000 and should attract  an even wider audience. The Qwic speed pedelec, which was launched in 2018, will also plays an important role in this.

    The entire collection will be exhibited at the Qwic stands during the forthcoming trade fairs. The first show for Qwic is Velofollies in Kortrijk (B), followed by E-Bike Xperience in Utrecht (NL) early February

    Click here for the 2019 brochure!

  • Detroit Auto Show: VW Picks Chattanooga For U.S. EV Production превод на български
     

    $800 Million Investment, 1,000 Jobs, Production Begins In 2022

     Last September, Volkswagen said it was looking for a location in the US to build electric vehicles. The German automaker already had an assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, that was opened in 2011, but the company said that didn’t mean that’s where its new EV factory would be located. That said, it was no real surprise when VW announced this week at the Detroit Auto Show that it would expand its plant in Chattanooga to build electric vehicles in the U.S. Production is expected to start in 2022.

    VW US EV Plant

    VW’s existing U.S. plant will grow to take on EVs

    “The US is one of the most important locations for us and producing electric cars in Chattanooga is a key part of our growth strategy in North America,” said Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen AG. “The management team, led by Scott Keogh, is committed to continuing to increase our market share in the coming years. Together with our ongoing investments and this increase in local production, we are strengthening the foundation for sustainable growth of the Volkswagen brand in the US.”

    VW said it will invest $800 million in the Tennessee plant to add an EV assembly line. The factory will employ 1,000 new workers as well as leading to many more jobs in the area for suppliers. Perhaps VW’s “ongoing investment” remark referred to SK Innovation, which last week reported it will spend $5 billion on a battery factory outside Atlanta, Georgia. Coincidentally, it expects that facility, only 118 miles from the VW plant, to be in full operation by 2022.

    The First Electric VW

    Volkswagen of America’s first electric vehicle to roll out the doors in Chattanooga will be the I.D. Crozz crossover, built off VW’s new, EV-specific MEB platform. That car’s MEB platform will spawn several more electric vehicles, including one called the I.D. Buzz, a “multi-purpose EV” based on the I.D. Buzz microbus concept. (Think VW’s much-loved vintage vans.)

    VW US EV Plant

    VW’s EVs will be made in America

    While VW plans to build the I.D. Crozz in Chattanooga, overseas plants coming online in 2020 means U.S. customers should be able to buy the crossover that year, ahead of American production. In addition to Chattanooga, Volkswagen is building the first dedicated EV production facility in Zwickau, Germany, starting production by the end of 2019. Volkswagen will also add EV-production at facilities in Anting and Foshan, in China, in 2020, and in the German cities of Emden and Hanover by 2022.

    VW forecasts that it will sell 150,000 EVs worldwide by 2020, and it expects that number to grow dramatically in short order. By 2025, VW says it will build 1 million electric vehicles each year. China is currently the world’s largest market for EVs, followed by the United States.

    Related Stories You Might Enjoy—VW’s Electric March

    News: Hints of an Entry-Level VW EV

    News: Volkswaen I.D. Buzz Cargo Concept

    News: VW EV Onslaught to Begin in 2020

    News: VW Introduces I.D. Crozz

    News: VW Microbus Returns as an Electric

January 16, 2019

  • Detroit Auto Show: Cadillac Reveals Electric SUV, To Lead GM EV Push превод на български
     

    The First Of 10 Or More New Electric Vehicles from General Motors

    In an investor conference call last Friday, General Motors announced that Cadillac will become the “lead electric vehicle brand” and get a vehicle based on the automaker’s BEV3 platform. That global electric vehicle platform will provide the underpinnings for the yet-to-be-named Cadillac EV’s expected launch in 2021 and be the basis for 10 or more vehicles.

    A Big Surprise

    Two nights later, on the eve of the Detroit Auto Show, during a media event to introduce the 2020 Cadillac XT6, a three-row crossover utility vehicle, Cadillac surprised the media with a first look at an upcoming electric crossover SUV, perhaps the first of many electric vehicles to come for the marque. Everyone expected to see an EV unveiled soon, just not this soon.

    Cadillac EV

    It’s only a rendering, but it looks ready to go

    Presented in renderings, the EV’s name and specific details regarding its powertrain and range will be revealed closer to an also yet-unspecified launch window. Cadillac president Steve Carlisle said the battery-powered utility would be the first vehicle derived from GM’s future dedicated electric-vehicle platform.

     “While I can’t divulge all of our secrets,” Carlisle told assembled media, “I can tell you it will be sold globally and will arrive as the vanguard of the product wave that follows our current three-year product assault.”

    Even though driving range of the upcoming electric crossover wasn’t revealed, GM CEO Mary Barra recently said the company has determined that the sweet spot for range is 300 miles, and company president Mark Reuss, who most recently headed product development, said that is the target for all the company’s upcoming electric vehicles.

    A Versitile Vehicle Platform

    The BEV3 platform, GM said, will allow the company “to respond quickly to customer preferences with a relatively short design and development lead time” due to its flexibility and variability. Cadillac is expected to benefit from the various body styles that can easily and quickly be spun off the basic architecture, which is similar in concept to the GM Autonomy “skateboard” chassis it debuted in 2002.

    The underpingings can accommodate front-, rear-, or all-wheel drive configurations, and the battery system output can be varied depending on the specific vehicle and the needs of its buyers. The platform can support a variety of battery sizes through an “ice-tray” like battery pack that can be filled with as many or as few battery cells as the automaker wants.

    Classic Cadillac Styling

    The renderings show an attractive, angular, upright vehicle that stretches some of Cadillac’s styling cues. Unlike other all-electric vehicles with a blunt front end, there’s a giant trapezoid grille at the front, with a glowing logo. The headlights are thin horizontal slits; the daytime running lights are tall and vertical in what design chief Andrew Smith said will be the new face of Cadillac.

    Cadillac EV

    Two years away, the Cadillac EV will join a crowded field

    Inside the five-passenger electric SUV is a square steering wheel that retracts into the dashboard to herald the eventual age of fully autonomous driving (which GM’s Cruise division is working on). A digital screen extends across the entire dash and large screens on the backs of the front seats can entertain those in the second row. Like most concept vehicles, many of the razzle dazzle features won’t make it to the production model

    Plenty Of Competitors

    This will be the first pure-electric vehicle for Cadillac, which has had the CT6 and ELR plug-in hybrids. Chevrolet has the Bolt EV, which consumers have been slow to embrace. Sales fell 23 percent in 2018 to 18,019.

    While some are saying this Cadillac EV is a Tesla Model X fighter, an EV crossover would also match up well against other luxury brands’ new electric offerings, such as Audi’s E-tron, Mercedes-Benz’s EQC, BMW’s iNext and Jaguar’s I-Pace.

    Carlisle credited Tesla for popularizing electric vehicles and making everyone else up their game. Across its lineup, Cadillac will introduce six new vehicles in the next three years, one of which will be this unnamed electric crossover SUV.

    Sign up (over to the upper right corner of this page) for our newsletter to keep up on all Clean Fleet Report news.

  • Interview: UPS Looks Toward an Electric Fleet превод на български
     

    Scott Phillippi’s ‘Rolling Laboratory’ Leaves Behind Fossil Fuels

    UPS manages a fleet that includes more than 1,000 electric and hybrid electric vehicles, as part of its “Rolling Laboratory” of approximately 9,300 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. Moving from diesel to electricity is one way the company is working toward its goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But the shift to electric-power brings with it the need to address an increase in charging capacity. To be an effective strategy, UPS, along with other commercial fleet operators, is evaluating whether the savings on fuel and maintenance offsets the initial higher cost of buying electric trucks today.

    UPS Electric Trucks

    More electric trucks are coming into the UPS fleet

    To look into the many factors involved in moving to electric fleet vehicles, UPS partnered with GreenBiz and recently published a white paper called “Curve Ahead: The Future of Fleet Electrification.” It highlights the top motivators for and barriers to fleet electrification and discusses strategies for overcoming those barriers and accelerating the electrification process.

    Per the white paper, the primary motivator for electrifying fleets is to achieve sustainability goals, as reported by 83 percent of research responders. Other reasons include a lower cost of ownership, financial incentives and the need to respond to policy changes. However, the top barriers today are limited product availability, high purchase price and the lack of charging infrastructure in survey responders’ facilities.

    Opportunities & Challenges Ahead

    At the recent VERGE Conference and Expo in Oakland, California, I spoke with Scott Phillippi, UPS’s senior director of maintenance and engineering–International Operations. Phillippi oversees fleets globally for UPS, and is a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and a board member of Calstart and Clean Cities.

    Phillippi sees both opportunities and challenges ahead. While electrification is desirable, there are also some impediments—and it won’t work for every application.

    UPS electric trucks

    In Europe UPS has tested mass EV charging schemes

    “Electric vehicles are cool and are a hot topic, but  they are not yet ideal  for long-distance hauls,” he says. “But it could be applicable for a 300-mile semi.”

    As part of its ongoing research, UPS has ordered 125 Tesla semi tractors. When they are delivered, the company will integrate them into its “rolling laboratory” of vehicles and assess the results. UPS is also planning to test some of Thor’s electric medium-duty delivery trucks.

    UPS has successfully run the Smart Grids project in London, which worked on solutions to mass-charging of a large EV fleet.

    “With careful management, we were able to create efficiencies to allow charging of 170 vehicles instead of the 65 we originally planned for,” said Phillippi.

    Sometimes Only Small Changes Are Needed

    One of UPS’s findings from continued testing is that some trucks only need partial charges to complete a route.

    Managing charging for electric fleets is a big hurdle to future adoption, which UPS is working to solve.

     “With our wide range of vehicle applications, we haven’t found the one perfect solution yet,” Phillippi said. “However, we have more than 300 electric vehicles in the fleet right now—most of these are retrofitted from diesel vehicles—the experience gained has helped UPS determine what works best.”

    UPS electric, NCG trucks

    UPS is looking for solutions–and trying all the alternatives

    It’s a matter of building the right business case—combining sustainability with good business choices.

    “We are actively seeking solutions, but there is a lack of choices, and not enough data yet,” said Phillippi. “It’s not an emotional decision, but a mathematical, business one.”

    UPS has committed that by 2020, 25 percent of its vehicles purchased annually will be alternative fuel or advanced technology vehicles. They currently are running more than 5,200 NG (natural gas) vehicles, accounting for eight million miles a week. Per Phillippi, they are using RNG (renewable natural gas) where possible.

    Phillippi understands electric vehicles, as a former Nissan Leaf owner who now drives a Tesla Model 3 (Performance model). With his personal leadership, combined with the technical advances and greater range of options in the future, UPS should be able to upgrade its fleet to make an impact on sustainability.

    “A global solution is on the horizon,” said Phillippi. “We will take a collaborative approach, getting input from the business and other stakeholders—everyone’s point of view.”

    More UPS Insights from a VERGE Panel

    Tamara Barker, UPS’s Chief Sustainability Officer and VP of Environmental Affairs, spoke at a VERGE panel called “Why Early Adopters are Electrifying Commercial Fleets.”

    “The issues for UPS’s fleet are the same as they are for car customers–charging infrastructure and range,” she said.

    UPS Electric trucks

    Talking electrification at VERGE

    Barker says UPS will have to work with the electricity utilities, too.

    “Running new wiring to power an EV (electric vehicle) fleet means collaborating with utilities to lower costs,” Barker said. “We need a Smart Grid and one centralized system based on vehicle need.”

    Some of UPS’s routes are not yet suited for an EV’s limited range. UPS operates in more than 220 countries and territories, and Barker and Phillippi agree—there’s no single solution that will work for all cases.

    Barker believes UPS should work on bringing in medium-duty vehicles first.

    “We’re looking for the right situations–high density, fewer miles and appropriate routes,” she said.

    Between thoughtful leadership, serious research and testing, UPS is on the way to evolving its fleet.

    Related Stories You Might Enjoy—More Verge & UPS News

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    Verge 2018: A Business Approach to Sustainable Transport

    News: UPS Tests Cargo eBikes in Seattle

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January 15, 2019

  • Tesla монтира антипаркинг устройства с QR код на Supercharger парко места в Китай превод на български
     

    В този блог: Не веднъж сме обмисляли как да се ограничи достъпът на ДВГ коли до места за зареждане, но ето че в Tesla преминаха към действия по въпроса.

    Това се случва след като в щатите се наредиха случаи големи пикапи да блокират преднамерено места за зареждане на Supercharger станции и явно компанията търси начини за неутрализиране на този проблем.

  • CES News: 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus Goes the Distance превод на български
     

    New Battery Pack Puts Leaf in 200-mile Club

    The Nissan Leaf is the world’s best-selling BEV with almost 400,000 sold since 2010. But Nissan hasn’t been resting on their laurels, instead, continuously improving the Leaf, and has now released what is the best Leaf—as in the one with the ability to go the farthest—so far–the 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus (also known as the Leaf e+ in other markets).

    2019 Nissan Leaf Plus

    Nissan is trying to leave the short-range EVs behind

    The big news announced at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is that the Leaf Plus increases its battery capacity 55 percent to 62 kWh, and its EPA range on a single charge is now approximately 50 percent more than the 40-kWh Leaf at 226 miles (385 kilometers). This puts the Leaf in the 200+ mile club.

    The Leaf Plus will be hitting markets worldwide in the spring of 2019 and builds on the recent release of the second-generation 40-kilowatt-hour (kWh) Leaf introduced last year that will continue to be available.

    It is possible that the Leaf Plus EPA mileage rating might be lowballing its actual range. The 40-kWh Leaf has an EPA range of 151 miles, but owners routinely report achieving ranges of 165 to 175 miles. If this hidden range carries over to the Leaf Plus, potential ranges of 260 miles are possible.

    More Power

    2019 Nissan Leaf Plus

    Nissan also adds more power under the hood

    Along with more range, the Leaf Plus gets a more powerful 214 horsepower (hp, or 160 kW) electric motor with 250-pounds-feet (340 Nm) of torque vs. 147 hp (110 kW) and 236-pounds-feet (320 Nm) in the 40-kWh version. With this added power, we can expect the Leaf Plus to hit mid-six-second 0-60 times.

    With a bigger battery comes more demands for better fast charging. The Leaf Plus continues with the CHAdeMO system, but its power has increased from 50 kW to 70 kW (100-kW peak).

    Nissan’s 62-kWh battery exposed

    There was a collective sigh of relief with the long overdue announcement of the Leaf Plus and its 62-kWh battery. More than three years ago this battery was first revealed by Nissan, but then disappeared from view. While Nissan has been silent on the details of the delay, the company’s efforts to sell its battery manufacturing subsidiary Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC) to a Chinese investment group–and the subsequent collapse of that deal—may have been a factor in the delay. Nissan still owns AESC and manufactures both the 40-kWh and now the 62-kWh batteries for the U.S. market in its Smyrna, Tennessee, factory.

    2019 Nissan Leaf Plus

    The motor-battery connection

    The new 62-kWh battery fits into the existing Leaf chassis with no modifications to the floor plan. The battery pack is slightly taller than the 40-kWh version and to accommodate the height, Nissan raised the suspension of the Leaf Plus .02 inches for clearance. The pack is slightly heavier, with the vehicle gaining about 300 pounds. A new flexible laser welding technology allows for more compact cell modules. The new pack has three different module shapes, each with a different number of cells (12, 21, 27 cells) where the previous battery has only one module size with eight cells. The new arrangement allows for 55 percent more battery capacity as the 40-kWh battery in the same space.

    The new pack’s cells are laminated, and there are 288 of them vs. 192 in the 40-kWh pack. The chemistry is more heat tolerant, with a nickel manganese cobalt cathode, a graphite anode and an improved lithium electrolyte. Nissan continues to stick with passively air cooling for the bigger battery. With the continued improvement and tweaking of the cell chemistry since 2013, they feel that the service life and durability of the battery and its ability to operate at higher temperatures will be sufficient, such that active cooling systems, along with their increased complexity, weight and cost, are not necessary. It appears that the multiyear development and testing of the 62-kWh design have given Nissan that confidence. To back that, Nissan continues to offer its eight-year/100,000-mile as standard on all Leaf models.

    Real Fast Charging

    The Leaf Plus is now capable of charging at around 70-kW with a peak of 100-kW and allows the 62-kWh Leaf Plus to achieve 80-percent charging times similar to the 40-kWh Leaf. This increased charging speed also helps the battery pack run cooler during charging sessions and increases its durability. The net effect mitigates performance and capacity loss over years and many charging cycles.

    2019 Nissan Leaf Plus

    Charging with the Leaf Plus is faster

    A criticism of the 40-kWh Leaf was that it mimicked the Chevy Bolt with an aggressive charging slowdown to manage pack heat buildup. Nissan’s continued real-world testing found that such a conservative charging strategy was not necessary and has since updated the charging profiles on the 40-kWh Leaf so that the charging time is significantly less. That more aggressive charging profile along with the ability to use higher power charging stations should allow quicker charging turnarounds and cut time for long distance travel with the Leaf Plus.

    Last year, Clean Fleet Report took a 2018 40-kWh Leaf on a 500+-mile road trip in California from Monterey on the coast to the Sierras and Lake Tahoe and back. We found it to be a vehicle more than capable of freeway and mountain driving. While we only briefly experienced the charging slowdown that some have noted, we can hardly wait to drive the same route with a Leaf Plus and report what we found.

    L2 Autonomous Features Standard

    The Leaf Plus now includes standard Pro-Pilot Assist semi-autonomous Level 2 driving support. Pro-Pilot Assist continues to be an option on the 40-kWh Leaf.

    2019 Nissan Leaf Plus

    The interior may look the same, but software updates are now OTA

    ProPILOT is an advanced driving assistance technology that works on single-lane driving. A ‘hands-on, eyes-on’ system, it allows the car to stop, restart and stay centered in its lane in higher-speed cruising and lower-speed congested traffic scenarios. The technology is designed to reduce driving stress and fatigue, enhancing driver confidence behind the wheel.

    Pro-Pilot Assist works with Leaf Plus’s other safety features including Intelligent Lane Intervention, lane departure warning, Intelligent Emergency Braking, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert and Intelligent Around View Monitor with moving object detection.

    In the cockpit, the instruments and displays are updated with a new interface that includes a larger 8.0-inch display with better smartphone integration. Software updates are now over the air (OTA).

    Both the 40-kWh and 62-kWh cars are available in S, SV and SL trim levels. Pricing for the Plus has not been announced yet for the US market, but expect a $4-$6,000 premium for the Leaf Plus compared to the old Leaf. Nissan is all about value and maintaining its lead in the low-priced BEV market. The 40-kWh Leaf S will continue to lead that game with pricing under $30,000 and it would not be surprising if they deliver a 62-kWh Leaf S Plus for under $35,000 or less.

    The exterior and interior appointments of the Lear Plus carry over from the Leaf; the only indication that it is a Plus model is a small badge on the rear hatch.

    Leaf Plus will be a winner

    Clean Fleet Report thinks that there will be significant worldwide demand for the Leaf Plus despite the upcoming competition from Kia, Hyundai, VW, Tesla and others. The Leaf pioneered the affordable BEV market and has stayed relevant because of Nissan’s continued improvements over the last nine years. The Leaf’s quality is the standard for the industry. It’s not uncommon for owners to report never having an issue with their vehicles other than replacing tires and wipers. Early cars had problems with the traction battery degrading, but Nissan solved that issue and stepped up confidence with a battery warranty that became the industry standard. The fact that there is increasing competition in the BEV space is excellent news and shows the worldwide conversion from internal combustion to electromotive propulsion is irreversibly in motion and has reached the tipping point. If Nissan had not risked being first, would that have happened?

    2019 Nissan Leaf Plus

    The only clue the new Leaf is in the 200+ club

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January 14, 2019

  • Personal: Two Years with My Chevrolet Bolt EV превод на български
     

    A Happy Life with GM’s EV

    [Originally posted on Steve’s personal blog—SteveGoesGreen on Jan. 9]

    Today marks two years of my life spent with my Bolt EV. It’s been a great ride, so far since that rainy January 8, 2017, when I took delivery.

    At this juncture, the three things that stand out for me are:

    1. It’s done exactly what I wanted, with virtually no problems
    2. Time has flown
    3. I really do love my car

    As a longtime automotive writer (27 years), I approached Bolt ownership as a very long-term test. I remembered my wonderful three-month test of a Fiat 500e in the first quarter of 2016, and assumed that I’d take an analytical approach once my new car arrived.

    Chevrolet Bolt

    Steve and his “love”

    What I’ve found is that unlike the standard week-long evaluation, living with a car for years makes it really “yours.” I now have to deal with dust on the dashboard, used Kleenex in the cupholder, and cleaning the light gray and white leather seats. But as an EV, the car has needed exactly zero maintenance. I’m planning to take it in soon for belated tire rotation and a general inspection.

    The main reason to have an electric car of my own was to truly experience life with one. I assumed that if I was going to prescribe switching to EVs to my readers, I had better “walk the walk” and not just “talk the talk.” It’s easy to have a car for a week and give it a glowing report, but this was meant to be a long-term relationship.

    The Plan When it Began

    I leased my Kinetic Blue Bolt for three years at 10K miles a year, assuming that there’d be better choices down the line and also that that number of miles made sense with my periodic testing. As it turns out, I hit 20,000 miles on December 27 on my way home from work. Perfect.

    I’ve tested 34 hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric, and fuel-cell vehicles since my Bolt arrived. I always use my car as a comparison vehicle. Is it as easy to drive? How are the seats? How much range is available? How does the regenerative braking work? Especially these last two questions are crucial for electric vehicles.

    Chevrolet Bolt

    The Bolt has enough range to take me everywhere I’ve wanted to go

    Regarding range, my Bolt’s EPA 238 miles of range eliminates most of the problems that early Leaf drivers experienced, with around 80 miles available. I only experienced a couple of times where I couldn’t use my car and instead opted for an alternative. In one case, I had to attend a chamber music workshop last summer that was 300 miles away, with few charging stations of any kind on the way. I opted for a gasoline-powered test car.

    Recently, I drove my car for a few days without a recharge and I found myself with 50 miles range. Based on that, I chose to go to a nearer destination than I originally intended because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to charge up where I was headed and make it home. Oddly, it was at a shopping center that had no charging stations. Seemed odd, since they are often located there. Easy access to charging is still an issue for EV drivers, although it is improving. Many more stations are coming here in California and elsewhere. I normally can do fine charging at work or at home.

    Regenerative braking is the way that hybrids like the Toyota Prius get their electric power, since they have no plugs. For EVs, it’s a way to extend range, and also enables one-pedal driving. When I put my Bolt into “L” mode (instead of “D”) using the shift lever, I can press down on the accelerator to move forward and release it to slow down. With the Bolt, you can literally come to a complete stop in this mode. I’ve honed my skills to where I can see a red light ahead and ease off on the pedal and arrive right at the line without touching the brake pedal. You can imagine how long my brake pads should last!

    Some cars have adjustable amounts of regeneration, and some release the regen at a few miles per hour, necessitating the brake. But my Bolt lets me stop on a dime.

    Calculating the Key Trips

    One requirement for getting an EV was I had to be able to travel the 85 miles each way to my granddaughters and back without having to charge. With 238 miles, this is no sweat, but I’ve noticed that in colder winter weather, my car’s range goes down a bit. It’s now closer to 200, and that means it’s a little dicier. On Christmas day, I arrived at my family destination with about a half battery of charge left. Just to be safe, I plugged into my son’s household current (level 1 – 120 volts) and partially refilled the battery overnight.

    Chevrolet Bolt

    A functional back beat and storage for gear top off Bolt’s features

    During the two years, most of my charging has happened at work, at the row of ChargePoint chargers. It takes a couple to several hours to fill the battery, depending on how much it’s depleted. I sometimes just skip charging, since there’s plenty there, but it’s nice to keep it topped up. Starting in April, I’ll charge at home drawing electricity from my new solar panels.

    I’ve gotten the official 238 miles of charge that the EPA gives the Bolt, but in colder temperatures, or if I’ve driven on the freeway a lot, it averages more like 200 or so, which is normally plenty. Right now, it’s saying about 185 or 190 when it’s “full,” so I’m going to have my dealer check it when they look over the car at it’s “two-year inspection.” Of course, there will be no oil change or radiator flush (there aren’t any). They’ll rotate the tires, which is an overdue service (at no charge).

    The Bolt has cost me zero dollars or time in maintenance. The electricity I’ve bought at work costs less than half the price of gasoline. I’ve also saved half off my bridge tolls by getting my stickers to drive in the carpool lane alone ($22/year). Just before the new year, I stuck new red ones over the original white ones, so I can continue saving time and money. The stickers last until January 1, 2022.

    Spreading the Word

    With my own EV, I’ve participated in and written about a bunch of electric car events, including a couple I hosted at my office for National Drive Electric Week. These events give prospective owners a chance to sample EVs without salespeople or pressure. We usually let the people ride in and sometimes, even drive our cars so they can understand how great EVs are. I’ll be doing more company things this year, looking toward the first annual Drive Electric Earth Day events.

    Chevrolet Bolt

    It started in a Chevy showroom two years ago

    Some people tell me that they’re waiting for an EV that looks like a “regular car” before they’ll consider one. I agree that the Bolt is proportioned like the Nissan Leaf hatchback–the pioneer–and the odd-looking BMW i3. As for me, I really like the way the Bolt looks, and my affection for it has grown over the years. When I see another one drive by, I holler, “Bolty!”

    But manufacturers have a whole fleet of new EVs coming in the next few years that will make choosing an EV easy. The Hyundai Kona small crossover EV should be on sale now. I’ve driven the gas version and seen the EV at the auto show, and it’s the kind of small, usable car I like. It’s compact, but unlike the Bolt, it’s a crossover, not a tall hatchback (a fine but important distinction), with an EPA-rated 258 miles of range and a lower price. It should make a big impact.

    The Tesla Model 3 has been the big EV star in 2018, selling a whopping 145,846 cars, which dwarfs EV sales by the other companies and is a big number for almost any luxury model. Maybe it’s the Tesla magic, or the fact that it looks like an attractive sedan. It’s more expensive than a Bolt, but that doesn’t seem to have prevented it from proliferating.

    What I Like About the Bolt

    My car’s hatchback configuration has proven to be exactly what I need to carry my musical gear. An upright bass slides right in. I even found a way to carry the big bass plus two bass guitars, an amplifier, and my cords, cables, stands, etc. When not hauling gear, there is plenty of room for two adults in the back (and room for a kid in the middle, if necessary).

    Chevrolet Bolt

    I charge at work and home, but can use a growing charging network

    The low window line up front gives the Bolt a spacious feel, as does my car’s light gray and white interior. I chose the brighter dash, seats and doors when I placed my order without knowing exactly what it would look like. The car I saw at the auto show that year had the black and dark gray interior, which I believe is the standard one. The only downside is the tendency of the light gray upper dash panel to reflect in the windshield, but with polarized sunglasses, it’s never a worry.

    Electric cars have great torque, and my little car can really take off when I step on it. I rarely push it, as it’s a waste of battery charge, but accelerating up an on ramp is fun. The 6.3-second zero-to-60 time is equivalent to a sporty Volkswagen GTI. With 900+ pounds of battery below the floor, the Bolt boasts a low center of gravity, which means stability in curves.

    What’s Next

    I now have a year to enjoy the Bolt before it’s time to turn it in. What should I do? I know there are lots of new cars on the way from VW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, Volvo and others. The Hyundai Kona and Kia Niro crossovers are compelling (and affordable), as is the third-generation Kia Soul (if you like boxes). GM may have another all-electric available in a year–the concept images look impressive. The Mini EV is due by year’s end, too. Further upscale, the all-new Mercedes EQC–the first of the brand’s new EQ lineup of electrics–was introduced today at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

    Should I see what kind of a deal I can get to just buy the Bolt? I have time to think about it.

    Hyundai Koan EV

    Next year will see more choices, like the new Hyundai Kona crossover

    I never expected to drive a Chevrolet, frankly. Although my family had Chevys when I was growing up, including a few Corvairs, I always owned old VWs and new Hondas and Toyotas. Domestic vehicles didn’t have high quality years ago, although I did try the first year Saturn. The good news is, today the domestic brands have quality parity with the leaders. Other than a couple of minor electric glitches (that didn’t affect driving) and one loose plastic clip in the rear cargo area, the Bolt has been rock solid.

    Yes, the interior isn’t luxurious, but I still appreciate its flowing design every day. The 10.2-inch center screen is great to work with. Apple CarPlay is sublime, as is the Bose sound in my upgraded audio system. The seats, which some buyers complained about, work fine for me.

    I’ll continue to write about my Bolt this year, and as 2019 winds down, I’ll share my thoughts about the future with you. Please continue to check here for stories about going green.

    You can sign up to get regular updates from Steve and other Clean Fleet Report writers in the upper right portion of this page.

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January 13, 2019

  • *Not a Flamethrower превод на български
     

    Last night, I got to play around with a Flamethrower! OK. The device itself is actually named NOT a Flamethrower… This was actually an odd promotional item by the Boring Company. I guess Elon Musk didn’t want the company to be boring, and issued these flamethrowers as a fun promotion. A friend of mine had […]

    The post *Not a Flamethrower appeared first on 300MPG.org.

January 12, 2019

  • Solar vs Snow! превод на български
     

    I love my solar panels, but how much power do they produce when covered with SNOW!? Since we’re now going into our SECOND winter with solar, let’s find out! First off, YES! Solar panels DO make more power when they are cleared of snow! As you can see in the first video, clearing the snow […]

    The post Solar vs Snow! appeared first on 300MPG.org.

January 11, 2019

January 10, 2019

  • December Electric Bill превод на български
     

    I just got my December electric bill! What will it be this month? December is notoriously cloudy in my area, and has the fewest hours of daylight of the year. Is this the electric bill I’ve been dreading? Let’s open it up! Unfortunately, I have to actually PAY an electric bill this month! I haven’t […]

    The post December Electric Bill appeared first on 300MPG.org.

  • CES News: Byton Shows Off New EV’s Production Interior превод на български
     

    Luxury EV with Four-foot Display Panel Arrives By End of Year

    The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has become the place where the tech world and the automotive world come together. This year that collaboration—or collision, depending on how you look at—was most evident when Chinese automaker Byton showed off the production version of its new EV’s interior.

    Byton M-Byte Interior

    Byton’s M-Byte is edging closer to production

    As the company has previewed in its concept version, the new M-Byte SUV’s most distinguishing feature is on its car-wide dash—a 49-inch long piece of touchscreen the company is now calling the Shared Experience Display (is that a SHED?). That electronic landscape is augmented by another display screen in the center of the steering wheel. The focus on what is known as the user interface is logical for Byton because another key tenant of the company’s cars (the SUV will be followed by a sedan then an MPV-multipurpose vehicle) is a focus on autonomous operation. The M-Byte, which is slated to start deliveries by the end of this year, will debut with Level 3 automation, where the car can drive on its own, but the driver is required to be ready to take over operation at any time.

    The midsize M-Byte SUV is slated to arrive before the end of 2019 in two versions—the base $45,000 rear-wheel drive model come with a 71-kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery and 250 miles of range. The topline all-wheel drive model will have a 95-kWh battery, 325 miles of range and a starting price of around $60,000. As with most of the new generation of luxury EVs, it is designed to accommodate DC fast-charging that facilitates quick reboots of the battery.

    The Smart Device Company

    Byton is positioning itself as a “premium smart EV” brand. It’s a branding message almost as long as its massive dashboard screen. This is a segment that I believe is going to become quite crowded in the coming years. I can’t think if any of the recently introduced or planned EVs that wouldn’t claim that same tag line.

    Byton M-Byte Interior

    Byton’s building prototypes and putting them on the road to test

    In spite of—or maybe these actions aren’t connected—the tech company-like rhetoric, Byton’s other announcements put it more in line with a traditional auto company. It has hundreds of prototypes of the M-Byte running around the world for testing. That—and an experienced automotive executive team that came from BMW and Nissan, among others—indicates that Byton appears to be serious about meeting its production timeline. If it can hold its aggressive pricing plans and high level of advanced technology, Byton may become a serious contender in the burgeoning premium EV market.

    Byton M-Byte interior

    When we say big screen…

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January 09, 2019

  • CES News: 2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 EV Makes US Debut превод на български
     

    Crossover Leads Assault on Tesla’s Electric Luxury Dominance

    Like Audi, BMW and Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz dropped out of next week’s Detroit auto show and chose instead to show off its new cars and latest whiz bang technology at the throng-filled 2019 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Featured was the U.S. debut of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4Matic all-electric crossover SUV. Mercedes says the electric SUV will have a 279-mile driving range. But that is based on the overly optimistic European NEDC standard.

    The all-wheel drive EQC will face off against Tesla’s Model X and Jaguar’s I-Pace, as well as forthcoming electric crossovers from BMW and Audi. Porsche has an all-electric crossover car on the way, also.

    Under the New Sheetmetal

    Power for the Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4Matic comes from two asynchronous electric motors; one placed at each axle for dual-motor all-wheel drive with a combined output of 402 horsepower and an enormous 564 pounds-feet of torque. While each motor unit includes a fixed-ratio transmission and differential, the two are not identical. The front is tuned for maximum efficiency at low and medium speeds, while the rear kicks in for extra sporting performance. Mercedes says 0-60 mph arrives in 4.9 seconds, while the top speed is an electronically-limited 112 mph.

    2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC

    On the outside the EQC looks like a regular SUV

    Drivers can select regenerative braking strength using two shift paddles on the back of the steering wheel. To optimize the trade-off between range and power, EQC drivers can select among five different drive modes: Comfort, Eco, Max Range, Sport, and Individual.

    Meanwhile, an 80-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack is housed in the floor. The EQC comes with a 7.4-kilowattt onboard charger, which allows it to plug in at a number of different charging sources. Mercedes doesn’t give estimates for charge time with 240-volt home chargers or a 110-volt outlet, but did say with the EQC’s standard DC fast-charging capability the battery can be charged from 10 percent up to 80 percent in around 40 minutes.

    It Looks Like A Regular Mercedes-Benz Crossover SUV

    In profile, the EQC doesn’t look too different from the mid-size GLC 300 crossover SUV. It sits on the same platform as the GLC 300, however it is about four inches longer at 187.4 inches. Unique front and rear ends help identify this as the battery-electric variant.

    The EQC receives a chrome grill with daytime running lights that are accompanied with an LED Light Band, which in low-light conditions will look almost like an uninterrupted light strip across the front of the car. Visually lowered, thanks to the black lower bumper trim, side trim and rear bumper trim, the EQC makes the most of its stance with a low roof spoiler. High-gloss aluminum trim strips frame the side windows, and there are 19- to 21-inch light alloy wheels, fitted flush with the wheel arches for aerodynamic performance.

    New Design for the EQC Interior

    As you’d expect, there’s an abundance of leather, aluminum and natural grain wood, though the automaker says it’s been given a special EQ distinction—a textile-like structure in metallic silver grey with rose-gold highlights. The cabin has a more avant-garde look than the traditional Mercedes. The dashboard is cut back compared to normal, with the upper section reduced down and using an asymmetrical wing profile.

    2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC

    The display inside just keeps going

    The shape is echoed elsewhere, while two 10.25-inch displays dominate the dashboard–one for the driver’s instrumentation, the other for the rest of the systems–controlled by a touchpad in the center console or by voice.

    The EQC is packed to the sunroof with features. Notable is a dedicated electric-vehicle-specific navigation system. It takes factors like current range, energy consumption, route topography and traffic, as well as available charging stations, into account to chart the most efficient course to a destination.

    Mercedes also uses the EQC to showcase its safety and assistance technology. There’s Active Brake Assist as standard, while the Driver Assistance Package adds evasive steering assist, Pre-Safe Plus for rear crashes, blind-spot assistance with warnings if you’re about to open the door into a car or cyclist, and more.

    EQC production will start this year in Germany, then it will spread to China and potentially to the company’s US plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Pricing for the 2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4Matic will be announced closer to its arrival at U.S. dealers in early 2020.

     

January 08, 2019

  • Electric Truck Camping превод на български
     

    Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of “For Sale” items popping up on Facebook, including one that intrigued me – an old-fashioned Truck Camper. This particular one was a 1971 model year, in overall good condition, and going for only $500. What would it take to build an ELECTRIC RV? As far as I’m concerned, […]

    The post Electric Truck Camping appeared first on 300MPG.org.