June 19, 2019

  • Commentary on Electric Vehicle adoption in NZ превод на български
     
    Price is no longer a barrier to electric vehicle (EV) adoption.  In fact, in New Zealand I would argue that price is now a driver for EV adoption if you are willing to look at the numbers.

    For city driving, it now makes obvious sense to replace your petrol powered vehicle with an EV.  If you are driving a petrol powered car an average of 70 km per day, 6 days a week, then depending on your vehicle's fuel efficiency, its easy to be spending $50-100 per week on gas (in NZ petrol is currently around $2.30 per litre).

    As well as this obvious saving, you will also be saving the wasted time and effort of going to a service station each week when the petrol tank needs topping up (with an EV, you just top up at home each night).

    With some second hand EV's from Japan now available for less than $NZ 10,000, savings on petrol can very quickly pay this back (I'll let you do the sums).  Plus if you are buying this EV instead of an equivalent petrol powered car, the savings are immediate.

    EV - no need for weekly visits to the service station.
    Driving without the concern for the high cost of fuel, driving without the concern for the stinky butt smoke emanating from the rear of your car, driving without the concern of the upcoming or overdue oil change!!? A return to driving just for the fun of it, what's not to like.
  • Testing the generic Modbus Device plugin превод на български
     
    One of the cool plugins recently being tested for SolarNode is called "Modbus Device", it allows admins to add new hardware that supports the Modbus RTU and TCP protocols. Check out this link that describes using the Modbus Device plugin to talk to a thermopile pyranometer.  It's a pretty quick and easy process in terms of supporting a new industrial scientific instrument.

    Pyranometer - measures irradiance (W/m2)
    We see this device as extremely relevant to tracking solar array performance. Knowing quantitatively how a pyranometer is measuring sunlight near a PV array means that you have a metric for what you should expect from the array in terms of kilowatt-hours (kWh) generated. We expect to be able to use these irradiance figures as an input to SolarQuant (our non-linear energy data analysis engine) and then to inform admins as to whether actual performance is stacking up.  That means extracting more value from your solar array!

    Automating this process is what is going to count - check back here for an update on SolarQuant development, there are more interesting developments coming up soon....

June 18, 2019

  • Powerful Electric Cargo Trike Approved for European Markets превод на български
     

    The RadBurro Electric Cargo Trike from LEVA-EU Member Rad Power Bikes received L2e-U type-approval and makes its European debut at two events in June.

    UTRECHT, NETHERLANDS – There is a new mobility solution available in Europe – the RadBurro Electric Cargo Trike designed by Rad Power Bikes. The RadBurro is one if not thé first to be Whole Vehicle Type Approved under the L2e-U category, allowing for 1,500-watts of clean electric power instead of the standard 250-watts. The power, combined with a long-range battery, large carrying capacity, and maneuverable frame with flatbed, truck bed and cargo box configurations, makes the RadBurro adaptable for a variety of industries.

    Rad Power Bikes, a global direct to consumer ebike company with a European headquarters in Utrecht, the Netherlands, showcased the RadBurro at the International Cargo Bike Festival in Groningen on 14-16 June and at City Transport & Traffic Innovation (CiTTI) Exhibition in Milton Keynes on 18-19 June.

    “We built the RadBurro to be a realistic, versatile, and affordable last-mile alternative that can help solve many of the transportation challenges that businesses and government programs face today,” said Teun Kruijff, European Commercial Specialist for Rad Power Bikes. “This type-approval means we can bring a powerful, proven solution to customers across Europe who are working to improve their operations and eliminate their carbon emissions.”

    The RadBurro first launched in North America in 2018 and is currently deployed by food companies, facility managers, urban cargo haulers, government and municipal organizations, and more.

    RadBurro Specs

    MSRP starting at €6,199 (includes shipping; excludes VAT)

    Pre-orders available now with fulfillment in August

    • 1,500W geared electric motor with 200Nm of torque and 35km/h top speed
    • 5Ah (2.52kWh) hot-swappable battery
    • 65-130+km range per charge, eliminating “range anxiety”
    • Adaptable into three configurations:
    • Flatbed (124 cm x 84 cm)
    • Truck bed (124 cm x 84cm x 30 cm)
    • Cargo box (standard size: 134 cm x 84 cm x 119 cm; XL size: 142 cm x 84 cm x 138 cm)
    • Power at the rider’s feet or fingertips:
    • On-demand twist-grip throttle
    • Five levels of intelligent pedal assistance
    • Integrated safety lights, tail lights, brake lights and turn signals
    • Equipped with rear view mirrors, steering lock, and horn
    • Motorcycle grade wheels, tires, and suspension fork

    Built for Business Fleet

    The RadBurro is one of three powerful solutions offered through Rad Power Bikes’ dedicated Commercial Division. Their fleet also includes the RadRhino Electric Fat Tire Bike and RadWagon Electric Cargo Bike, which are L1e-A category vehicles equipped with 750-watt motors, pedal assistance, on-demand throttle, and 40-72+km range per charge.

  • News: Honda E Reservations Open (EU only) превод на български
     

    The Cute Four-Door Urban EV Draws 31,000 Hand-raisers

    Honda said there were serious about getting its Urban EV into consumer hands. Now named the Honda E, the compact electric has garnered 31,000 advance deposits across Europe, Honda announced this week. The company also dropped more details of the production specs for those expecting delivery before the end of the year.

    2020 Honda E
    Big screen and a little wood, but not much else

    The Honda E is a part of Honda’s drive to fully electrify (i.e., add electric components, not necessarily full electric) its European fleet by 2025. The minimalist rear-wheel drive car is built on a skateboard chassis with perfect 50-50 weight distribution. It carries a 35.5 kilowatt-hour battery that can be charged at either Level 1 or 2 chargers or via a CCS2 connection at DC fast-chargers (which will deliver an 80 percent charge in 30 minutes). Fully charged, the E will deliver 125 miles of range. 

    Inside, the Honda E is not quite Model 3 basic, but close. A little tasteful real wood trim, a few touchscreens, and you’re good to go. Video cameras replace side mirrors (which may hang up U.S. introduction). 

    1973 Honda Civic
    Reaching back to these roots

    Honda portrays the E as the spiritual successor to the Civic, the core model of the brand. It will have one body style and only five exterior colors. From the specs it sounds like it has the blend of functionality and performance that has been that marque’s hallmark since it began in 1972.

    Below is our most recent story when the Honda E was just a prototype 

    When I saw the two-door Honda Urban EV Concept at last year’s Frankfurt auto show, I thought it was more adorable than a puppy cuddled up on a rug in front of a fireplace. Now, five month’s later, Honda has taken the wraps off the Honda e Prototype at the Geneva Motor Show.

    Honda e Prototype
    Almost ready for production

    What you see is about 95 percent of what the full production car will look like when deliveries are made in early 2020.

    The Honda e Prototype is a little bit larger than the Urban EV Concept and the two large suicide doors are gone, replaced with four conventional doors and a rear hatch, but it’s still a li’l cutie. Inspired by the original Honda Civic, it has a modern-retro look, with minimal detailing and a sporty stance. Its round headlights with LED technology sit within a piano-black surround, an effect that is repeated at the rear of the car.

    Honda has put the charging port in the middle of the hood, so that it’s easily reached regardless of the side of the charger you park. However,,the side mirror cameras and flush, pop-out door handles are unlikely to make it through to the production car.

    Minimalist Interior

    Honda e Prototype
    Not much to see here

    The bench seat in the Urban concept has been replaced with conventional seats and moved to the second row. As such, there is only seating for four people inside. The dash is dominated by a bank of digital screens; two 12.3-inch displays sit side by side and provide access to a suite of in-car apps and media functions. Seamless smartphone connectivity, voice-operated systems and all manner of information about the driver’s journey and driving style are available. A smaller digital readout replaces conventional instruments.

    Buttons offering shortcuts to popular features are placed on the two-spoke steering wheel. There’s no gearlever. Instead, buttons for Drive, Reverse and Park are conveniently placed by the driver’s knee.

    Little Drivetrain Information

    As for the electric drivetrain, Honda is only giving the basics for now. A single electric motor drives the rear wheels, and driving range is expected to come in at around 120 miles based on the European drive cycle. Using the quoted range as a guide, it indicates a battery capacity of around 30 kilowatt-hours.

    Honda e Prototype
    The cutie may not make it here

    Pricing has not been revealed, but expect it to be pricey at around $30,000. In addition to Europe, Honda also intends to do a limited production run for Japan, but as of right now, the company doesn’t have plans to bring its city-oriented EV to the US market.

    Related Stories You Might Enjoy—Honda’s Electrified Hardware

    Road Test: 2019 Honda Insight Hybrid

    News: Honda Fit EV Returning in 2020

    Road Test: 2019 Honda Clarity PHEV

    Flash Drive: 2017 Honda Clarity EV

    News: Honda Takes Wraps Off Sport EV Concept

    First Drive: 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell Electric

    Follow Clean Fleet Report on Facebook or Twitter. Sign up for our newsletter on the upper right-hand portion of this page (or find it here) to keep up with all the latest news and reviews.

June 17, 2019

  • Forget 400-Mile Electric Cars, Bring On Affordable 200-Mile EVs превод на български
     

    We need more affordable EVs like the 226-mile, $30,000 Nissan LEAF Plus.

    The pro-Tesla blogosphere champions nearly everything that Elon Musk claims is fantastic and ground-breaking. But Musk’s announcement earlier this month—that Tesla will soon offer EVs with 400 miles of range—landed with a thud.

    Electrek, the enthusiast website, responded to the news by stating what is obvious to any experienced EV driver: “Two-hundred miles of range is more than enough for well over 95 percent of the population, especially when combined with expansive quick charging networks like Tesla’s Superchargers.” The site explained that, except for the few rare long-distance commuters, EVs beyond 200 miles are mostly superfluous.

    read more

  • Registrations of electric motorcycles, mopeds and quadricycles up by 71% in the EU превод на български
     

    Source: ACEM – EU combined registrations of electric mopeds, motorcycles and quadricycles reached 14,251 units during the first three months of 2019. This represents a substantial increase of 71.2% compared to the registration levels of the first three months of 2018 (8,326 units). Most of the electric L-category vehicles registered in the first three months of 2019 are mopeds (11,258), followed by motorcycles (2,295 units).

    The largest European markets in terms of volume were France, where combined registrations of mopeds, motorcycles and quadricycles totaled 4,407 units (+105% on a year-on-year basis), followed by Belgium (2 627 vehicles, +78.5%), Netherlands (2 598 vehicles, +52.6%), Spain (1,632 vehicles, +28%) and Italy (901 vehicles, +49,2%).

    It should be noted that the category of electric mopeds also includes speed-pedelecs, i.e. electric bicycles with pedal assistance up to 45 km/h.

    (Photo by Harley-Davidson on Unsplash)

June 16, 2019

  • Road Test: 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus 62 kWh превод на български
     

    EV Pioneer Is Competitive Again

    The Nissan Leaf is a true pioneer—the car that brought all-electric vehicles mainstream when it was introduced in 2010 as an 2011 model. It’s the best-selling EV ever (for now), with nearly 400,000 sold worldwide (130,000+ in the U.S.).

    2019 Nissan Leaf Plus 62 kWh
    It looks like last year, but now goes like this year’s competition

    However, as competitors appeared, the venerable Leaf showed its largest flaw—lack of range. The 2018 model partially remedied that with a larger 40-kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery that pushed range up to 150 miles, but it wasn’t until the 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus arrived that the Chevrolet, Hyundai, Kia, Tesla and other EVs got real competition.

    The 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus boasts a new 62-kWh battery, with up to 226 miles of range in the base S Plus model. Its larger 160-kilowatt (kW) motor produces 214 horsepower and 250 pounds-feet of torque—a 45 percent improvement—and good for 50-75 mph sprint that’s nearly 13 percent faster.

    2019 Nissan Leaf Plus 62 kWh
    Bigger battery now feeds a bigger motor

    The new higher-density battery is virtually the same size as the older, less powerful one, so passenger and cargo capacity are unaffected. You can carry 23.6 cubic feet of stuff with ease.

    Features That Stand Out

    Two features stand out in the new models. One is Pro-Pilot, which combines adaptive cruise control with a lane-positioning feature. While not actual autonomy, it does make long trips easier and is a starting point for the true autonomous cars of the future.

    2019 Nissan Leaf Plus 62 kWh
    The button that initiates advanced driving

    The other exciting tech feature is e-Pedal. It provides regenerative braking to not only charge the battery, but slow down, too, just by lifting your foot off the accelerator. The Leaf can slow down to almost a complete stop with just one pedal. Once you get used to this, you’ll never go back.

    The Leaf Plus comes in three levels—S, SV, and SL. All are mechanically the same; with each trim level the feature list grows longer as the price rises.

    The S model gets slightly better range—226 miles vs. 216—likely due to lower weight. The SV Plus adds 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, a heated steering wheel, NissanConnect with Navigation and smart-phone connections (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), upgraded audio and some of Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility technology.

    The SL brings in LED headlights and daytime running lights, heated outside mirrors with integrated turn signals, leather-appointed seats, an eight-way power driver’s seat, and Bose premium seven-speaker audio. You also get a host of the worthwhile safety features, including blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, the Intelligent Around View Monitor and more.

    Second Generation Style

    The new Leaf, introduced as a 2018 model, gave the car a thorough style update inside and out, while retaining the same basic structure. You can see carryover pieces in the unique windshield pillars and interior door panels, but the front and rear body sections and the rest of the interior are brought stunningly up to date. The new dash, part of the “gliding wing” design language, offers a larger 8.0-inch center screen with all the easy-to-use features of a smart phone.

    2019 Nissan Leaf Plus 62 kWh
    Now with styling that puts it in the family

    The first-gen Leaf’s styling was meant to stand out, but today’s car is a bit more angular and wears the corporate V-Motion grille, with blue 3D mesh (blue means “clean” in car design language, not green). The taillamps are now horizontal, creating a harder edge compared to the softly integrated vertical ones in gen one. The odd headlamps are swapped for more conventional units.

    My test car, an SL Plus, wore optional white and black two-tone paint ($695). Kick plates ($130) were the only other option. The sticker, with shipping, came to $44,270. As a result of its sales success, the Leaf no longer qualifies for the full $7,500 Federal tax break, but legislation hopefully will extend that program. Base S Plus models start at $37,445, including shipping, while the base Leaf S starts at just $29,990 plus shipping.

    The Competition

    You may ask why Nissan didn’t just replace the 40 kWh-battery, 150-mile-range standard Leaf with the new one. The answer is contained in the above paragraph. Since 150 miles is plenty of range for most people, the standard Leaf offers a significantly less expensive EV choice compared to other EVs—by thousands of dollars. With remaining tax breaks and rebates, it can become a very affordable way to go electric.

    2019 Nissan Leaf Plus 62 kWh
    A more conventional dash and a near-luxury ambiance

    The new Leaf feels smooth and powerful. Its seats are more comfortable than the ones in the Bolt EV. Quality is high, offering a near-luxury ambiance found in cars like the Jaguar I-Pace. I was surprised that my top-level Leaf Plus didn’t have a telescoping steering wheel, but otherwise it felt loaded.

    However, things are changing fast in the world of electric transportation. With the Leaf Plus, Nissan is keeping up with the competitors, but not surpassing them. It’ll be interesting to see what the pioneer brings out for its next act—a EV crossover, perhaps?

    Related Stories You Might Enjoy—The Long-Range EV Competition

    Clean Fleet Report has looked at the 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus before—by taking it on an almost 500-mile to challenge its long-distance potential. Those miles are recounted here.

    Road Test: 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV

    Road Test: 2019 Kia Niro EV (John’s view)

    Road Test: 2019 Kia Niro EV (Gary’s view)

    Road Test: 2019 Kia Niro EV (Steve’s view)

    Road Test: 2019 Hyundai Kona EV (Gary’s view)

    Road Test: 2019 Hyundai Kona EV (Steve’s view)

    Flash Drive: Tesla Model 3

    Make sure to opt-in to the Clean Fleet Report newsletter (top right of page) to be notified of all new stories and vehicle reviews.

    Disclosure:

    Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

    Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.

June 15, 2019

  • Road Test: 2019 Nissan Leaf 40 kWh превод на български
     

    A Best Buy for a BEV with a Big Asterisk

    It’s been a long road for the Nissan Leaf. Introduced in 2011, the Leaf was the first mass-market all-electric vehicle and, despite other EV upstarts making gains, the best-selling electric car in history with more than 450,000 sold worldwide. It’s won about every award for green automobiles, including the World Green Car award twice.

    2019 Nissan Leaf 40kWh
    The 40 kWh Leaf is back

    In 2018, Nissan delivered a fully updated and improved Leaf that included a new 40 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery architecture with more power, more exceptional durability, and range. We tested a 2018 Leaf to see how it did on a 526-mile round trip drive, and while the results were mixed, overall we felt it was an enjoyable and quality vehicle .

    A Great Car Carries On

    For 2019, the Nissan Leaf 40 kWh continued with no obvious changes, but with many small changes that are a fact-of-life with cars today. Even though cars look the same, and may cost the same or less, there are usually hundreds of small improvements that enhance the overall quality or tweaks that improve the driving experience. The 2019 Nissan Leaf is no exception. The range is unchanged with an EPA rating of 150 miles, and it’s the best BEV available for under $30,000.  

    We wanted to see how the 2019 version of the 40kWh Leaf stacked up to the 2018 Leaf, so we asked Nissan to provide us with the newest version to check it out. They obliged and delivered a Leaf SL complete with ProPilot Assist to our door.

    2019 Nissan Leaf 40kWh
    Inside the 2019 Leaf carries on with little change

    It’s hard to see any differences between the interior and exterior of a 2018 and 2019 Leaf. The interior of the Leaf is still one of the most spacious ones available for a mid-priced BEV and leads the pack when it comes to cargo space.

    The conventional dashboard and controls remain untouched from 2018. Many enjoyed the quirky interior dash of the original Leaf over the newer one, but it is functional with an extensive amount of information available to the driver. The seats in the Leaf are built around Nissan’s “Zero-G” seat architecture and are adjustable enough to be very comfortable for a wide range of driver and passenger sizes. The 2019 Leaf is also one of the quietest BEVs on the market today with interior cabin noise of only 62 dB at 65 mph. That is Rolls Royce quiet, better than other BEVs costing twice as much. Improved door sealing, Michelin LRR tires, excellent aerodynamics and extra cabin insulation keep road and wind noise at a minimum.

    2019 Nissan Leaf 40kWh
    The Leaf is the space captain

    In 2018 Nissan introduced two new driving aids for the Leaf—e-pedal, and ProPilot Assist. The e-Pedal allows for one pedal driving by integrating motor regeneration, friction brakes and front safety systems to manage braking and acceleration. It’s been described as like driving a golf cart and doesn’t take any time at all to master.

    ProPilot Assist is Nissan’s Level 2 autonomous driving suite, much like Autopilot for the Tesla. It includes adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, blind-spot-assist and forward collision emergency braking, to name a few. For 2019, ProPilot has been improved with better lane keeping assist, and the adaptive cruise control can better cope with heavy traffic situations. For example, in the 2018 version, ProPilot Assist could get confused if a motorcyclist who was lane splitting would drive by too fast or too close. This would cause the Leaf to start to accelerate to match the speed of the motorcycle only to jam on the brakes once the bike had passed to avoid hitting the car in front. For 2019, that behavior has been fixed. How the adaptive cruise control accelerates and slows down in traffic is more refined, and arguably in the top five L2 systems available today.

    Under the Hood and Under the Floor

    In 2018, the Leaf received a new, more powerful 110-kilowatt AC synchronous electric motor with 147 horsepower, up 37 percent over the previous model, and more torque, up 26 percent at 236 pounds-feet. This gives the 40kWh Leaf a 0-60 time of around 7.4 seconds compared to the 9.0-10 seconds of previous versions. This motor remains unchanged for 2019 and is a very smooth and compliant powertrain. The transmission also remains as a single-speed reducer gear driving the front wheels. This entire powertrain system remains unchanged for 2019.

    2019 Nissan Leaf 40kWh
    Under the hood the solid 2018 motor remains in same

    In 2018, the big news for the Leaf was a new battery pack with a capacity of 40 kWh (the real value was around 39.5 kWh, and only 37 or less was available). The battery was also much more powerful than previous versions with output power now at 110kW vs. 80kW in the earlier cars.

    That extra power carried over to 2019 unchanged, with the new battery chemistry, structure, and module layout. Earlier versions of the Leaf’s battery used a lithium manganese oxide cathode material in a spinel structure. The new 40 kWh battery uses a lithium nickel cobalt manganese oxide cathode in a layered structure. The battery still has 192 cells, but the module layout of the 40kWh battery is new with 24 modules of eight cells each vs. 48 modules of four cells each in the older 24 and 30 kWh batteries.

    An issue raised by some 2018 Leaf owners is that the pack seems to run hotter than previous versions of the Leaf battery, and there was a concern that the new battery may be more prone to degradation than the earlier versions of the 24 and 30 kWh batteries. This seemed counter-intuitive, that the leading manufacturer of BEVs would make a less reliable version of their battery, so we reached out to Nissan for clarification. We spoke with Owen Thunes, who is Nissan’s senior manager for powertrain management and who has been involved with the Leaf’s battery and motor development since its earliest days.

    2019 Nissan Leaf 40kWh
    Nissan says the Leaf can handle the heat

    When asked about why the new battery seemed to run hotter than previous versions and Thunes said “One thing that you should be aware of is that the power throughput into the 40kWh car is much higher than in previous vehicles. You’re actually putting in more energy in a shorter amount of time than you do in the 30kWh or 24kWh battery that preceded it. Consequently, it’s a much larger energy transfer in the same or less time, so the input load to a thermal mass is higher. If you treat the battery as a thermal mass, there’s going to be a higher load input. So consequently, it may register as more of a temperature gain to the battery itself. But the battery itself is designed to manage it. From a chemistry point of view, it’s built for that.”

    Thunes went on to say “The bottom line is that the chemistry and the construction of the 40kWh battery are designed so that it can handle this extra power and the extra heat that was generated by it without any concern for damage to the battery because it’s too hot. The car will actively manage itself to make sure that it’s safe, and it will limit as needed to protect the batteries both from short-term and longer-term concern. There’s also another difference between the 40kWh battery and the older batteries that preceded it, which is that the number of cells per module is changed to eight in the 40kWh battery. The 24 and 30kWh batteries have four cells per module with 48 modules total, but the 40kWh has eight cells in each module, with only 24 modules.”

    The temperature gauge of the Leaf is like most other mid-range cars—a simple presentation with a region in the middle that is its normal range. When asked to specify the actual numerical temperature range it represented, Nissan deferred to answer, but in the owner’s manual, there is a hint that this range is between 30 degrees and 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

    2019 Nissan Leaf 40kWh
    Out of sight, some major changes upgrade the battery pack

    We asked if the Leaf limits power to the motor as the car gets into or past the upper edge of the normal range, and Thunes responded: “The deeper you get toward the red, the more active the engagement. It affects both the charge side and the discharge side. But there’s a lot of margin especially on the discharge side and actual driving performance feeling in the lower end of the red to be very difficult to detect any particular concern. But as you get to the far end of the red, it will get potentially more restricted as the car is taking care of itself and will automatically manage the load on the battery.”

    The Asterisk: *Is the 40-kWh Leaf right for you?

    This is more of a philosophical question than an empirical one. The general Leaf community seems to have embraced the Leaf wholeheartedly, but are divided.

    Those who say Yes cite these positives:

    • -Price
    • -Reliability
    • -Decent range
    • -Comfort
    • -Safety
    • -Charge primarily at home with occasional public charging
    • -Great for occasional overnight road trips of under 200 miles in each direction

    Those who say No tend to cite these negatives:

    • -Unsure about battery cooling
    • -Takes too long to charge
    • -Suspicious about battery reliability
    • -Not enough places to charge
    • -Not enough range

    How the car is used plays a major role in the equation. If the Leaf is used for commuting or just general use, and the average driving is less than 150 miles per day, the responses tend to be positive.

    If the Leaf is used as part of a person’s job or profession, such as outside sales, service, support or delivery, and the Leaf is driven on an unpredictable schedule or route with daily driving of 150 miles or more at speeds that are with traffic, but above the speed limit, the response is less favorable.

    If the vehicle is used as a ride-share vehicle, a service that is paid on a piece-rate basis, or a job where being idle while charging is money lost and daily driving demands easily exceed 150 miles, the answer is very unfavorable. Another common characteristic for those with an unfavorable response is the reliance almost exclusively on public charging.

    2019 Nissan Leaf 40kWh
    The 40 kWh Leaf has a place, but it’s not for everyone or every job

    We agree with drivers whose job is on the road all day and driving long, unpredictable distances dusk to dawn. The 40 kWh Leaf is not the best choice, and they would be better served in a long-range BEV like a Tesla Model 3 or a PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) like a Toyota Prius Prime. If you fit this second category, then this Leaf is not for you. Driving this Leaf will set up a hot mess that will leave you frustrated and angry.

    But if you fit into the first category, which is what most people do who are looking for a value-priced BEV, then the Leaf 40kWh is an excellent choice. The author of this review is one of those in the first category, who has been driving a 2018 Leaf SL for more than a year with zero issues, zero warranty claims and zero costs for charging. 

    For 2019, the 40 kWh Leaf pricing in the US is:

    • $29,990 for the S
    • $32,600 for the SV
    • $36,600 for the SL
    • $895 for destination and handling for all models.

    Related Stories You Might Enjoy—Looking Beyond the Leaf

    Road Trip: 2018 Nissan Leaf

    For Comparison, Road Trip: 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus

    Flash Drive: Tesla Model 3 Long Range

    Road Test: 2018 Toyota Prius Prime

    Road Test: 2019 Chevrolet Bolt

    Road Test: 2019 Kia Niro

    Road Test: 2019 Hyundai Kona

    Make sure to opt-in to the Clean Fleet Reportnewsletter (top right of page) to be notified of all new stories and vehicle reviews.

    Disclosure:

    Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

    Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.

June 14, 2019

  • Changing the World - By Changing How We Think превод на български
     
    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and Edward Markey have proposed the Green New Deal to address our CLIMATE CRISIS - and also a broad number of other problems; all of which are interrelated and interdependent.

    IF we do not react to the FACTS WE KNOW - and continue to keep coasting along on burning fossil fuels - then we are FUCT.

    Of course the world isn't going to end because of catastrophic climate change, but life as we know it very well could end, because of climate changes and all the OTHER damaging things we are doing. Already we are seeing a massive number of extinctions.

    We need to do what Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and Sen Edward Markey propose in the Green New Deal as soon as possible, to address our climate crisis.

    List of OTHER things we are doing that is causing massive damage:
    * Killing life in the soil with artificial fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides - the soil is the basis of most life on the planet, and we are totally dependent on it
    * Causing massive soil erosion by laying the soil bare and using chemicals (see above) - this harms its ability to absorb and clean water
    * Overusing water and depleting aquifers
    * chemical pollution including mercury, dioxins, lead, MBTE
    * over-fishing
    * factory farming - in addition to soil damage and water overuse, and poisons, and adding GHG - this causes huge health problems, because of processed foods, overuse of sweeteners, loss of many nutrients due to poor soil health. Case in point: tomatoes are grown so they don't get crushed at the bottom of a dump truck - NOT for their flavor and nutrients from fully ripening
    * plastic pollution
    * clear cutting forests
    * plowing under grasslands
    * creating super weeds and having chemical-dependent crops
    * creating vast monocultures - agriculture, lawns
    * indiscriminate use of insecticides - there is at least a 70% drop in flying insects
    * injecting poisons into the ground with fracking
    * paving over vast areas of land and buildings - reduces the land available for the water cycle, and kills life in that soil

    Our use of artificial nitrogen fertilizer (made from natural gas) is not only killing the soil, and poisoning the water, and causing dead zones in the ocean - it ends up as nitrous oxide, which is about 8X stronger a greenhouse gas as methane.

    The tundra is melting - at a quicker rate than we thought. This is releasing carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide.

    The ocean is warming, so it will start to release the gases it has been absorbing - so most of our carbon dioxide emissions will be released in a very short period of time. It will also release oxygen. It could become a source of hydrogen sulfide.

    Methane clathrates that are frozen on the Arctic ocean floor will melt at some point.
    We must act to change how we are doing things - by changing HOW WE THINK.

June 13, 2019

  • And the winner is … Qwic … again! превод на български
     

    This year again, LEVA-EU Member QWIC is in a winning mood. The Dutch manufacturer of e-bikes has several winning models on top of a variety of positive test reports. Qwic is not only succesful in the Netherlands and Belgium but also receives a warm welcome in Germany, where no less than 7 of their electric bicycles won prizes.

    The performance Series for instance has won several awards in Germany. For both magazines ElektroRad and RadTouren the new Performance MD11 is the big winner. This sporty model was not only the test winner but also received the quality label “buying recommendation“. The MD11 is a very harmonious touring bike: frame, components, gearing system and controls fit seamlessly together.

    The Permormance MA11 was another hit both in the Netherlands and Germany. In their annual bicycle test, the Dutch newspaper “Algemeen Dagblad” labelled the bike “Very Good” and ElektroRad as “Good”.

    The Premium MN7 receives good grades for the second year in a row. The Algemeen Blad rates the bike “Very good” in their annual test, which made him second in the category “city bike with a price ranging from € 1,500 to € 2,499“. The good rating is thanks to  its neat finish, powerful support and silent motor. No less than 90% of the testers recommend this bike.

    The Premium MN8, the more luxurious version of the MN7, has also won prizes for the second year in a row. Extra Energy, a German organization that has been testing electric bikes independently since 1992, choose the Premium MN8s electric bike in the “Classic” category as the winner of the test.
    This year, QWIC has added the Premium MN8 Belt with belt drive to the collection: a successful newcomer. Both the Algemeen Dagblad and the ANWB have awarded this high-quality e-bike with a great assessment (AD: Very Good, ANWB: 4 out of 5 stars).

    QWIC has also launched a new electric folding bike. The Compact MN7 is  compact folding bike with a strong mid-engine offering optimum comfort, according to ElektroBike. The Compact MN7 has thus received the “Buying recommendation” from the German ElektroBike. The Algemeen Dagblad rates the Compact MN7 rated “Very Good” and the German magazine Focus with a “Good“.

  • LEVA-EU E-Bike Dealer Trip is on, don’t miss out! превод на български
     

    The first LEVA-EU E-Bike Dealer Trip to China is definitely on. More than half of the available seats are booked already, so if you are interested to join, you better register sooner rather than later.

    Little by little the programme is also shaping up. We can now confirm factory visits to Bafang (motors) and Phylion (batteries) in Suzhou and to TAILG (LEVs), Dahon ((e)folding bikes) and Worldpower (batteries) in Shenzhen, whilst we are still talking to a few more factories.

    The Trip will combine business with pleasure, offering sufficient time to explore and enjoy Chinese culture and cuisine in Suzhou and Hongkong. Also, the Trip is a unique opportunity to meet colleagues from different parts of Europe and exchange ideas with them on the e-bike business.

    The LEVA-EU E-Bike Dealer Trip is also an excellent opportunity for distributors who want to incentivize their dealers. By engaging in this Trip together with their dealers, they will undoubtedly strengthen their relationship.

    LEVA-EU organizes this E-Bike Dealer Trip 2019 in cooperation with the Dutch information platform Nieuwsfiets.nu. Managing Director, Arnauld Hackmann, has a long experience in organizing study trips to the Far East. Furthermore, the Trip takes place at a time when business is usually quiet, from 3rd till 10th November.

    The Trip is almost all-inclusive: flights (A’Dam – Hongkong), all transport in China, hotels, meals, … The trip to and from Amsterdam is the only thing participants have to arrange for themselves. The LEVA-EU E-Bike Dealer Trip is very competitively priced at € 2,175 per person, staying in a double room. LEVA-EU members enjoy a 10% discount. The Trip qualifies as a tax deductible cost.

    Interested dealers and their suppliers can book here: https://leva-eu.com/register-here-fore-the-leva-eu-e-bike-dealer-trip-2019/

June 12, 2019

June 11, 2019

  • RAPEX Warnings превод на български
     

    The Rapid Exchange of Information System is the EU rapid alert system for unsafe consumer products and the measures taken by the member states to deal with that safety problem. The Commission publishes a weekly overview of RAPEX notifications. Below you will find notifications relating to light, electric vehicles. To consult the full details of a notification on the Commission’s website, just click on the week.

     

    Week 21 Brand Type
    Product:

    Electric scooter

    CITYBUG Model: Citybug 2SD

    Risk: Electric shock, injuries

    The protection against access to live parts, the electrical insulation and the clearance and creepage distances are insufficient. This can lead to an electric shock.

    Moreover, the ‘thumb throttle’ control may be blocked and not return completely to its initial position. The user might consequently lose control over the electric scooter, leading to injuries.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European standard EN 60335.

    Measures taken by economic operators: Withdrawal of the product from the market (By: Importer)

    Week 15 Brand Type
    Product: Electric bicycle Enik Name: Foldable electric bicycle: Jet 20’’

    Risk: burns, fire

    The product has insufficient resistance to moisture. Water may therefore come into contact with live parts, leading to electric shock or fire.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European standard EN 60335-1.

    Week 14 Brand Type
    Product: Electric bicycle E-Road Name: Foldable electric bicycle: Jet 20’’

    Risk: burns, fire

    The product has insufficient resistance to moisture. Water may therefore come into contact with live parts, leading to electric shock or fire.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European standard EN 60335-1.

    Week 13 Brand Type
    Product: Hoverboard E-Road Name: Reference: BR1000CCHBS

    Risk: burns, fire

    The charging circuit of the product has no cut-off switch. The battery can consequently overcharge and overheat which may lead to a fire or burns.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standards EN 62133 and EN 60335-1.

    Week 12 Brand Type
    Product: Hoverboard Shenzhen Yongle Tong Electronic  Name: Scooter: No model number Power charger: YLT-42-2000

    Risk: burns, fire

    The charging circuit of the product has no cut-off switch. The battery can consequently overcharge and overheat which may lead to a fire or burns.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standards EN 62133 and EN 60335-1.

      Razor Name: Hovertrax 2.0 Power charger: HK-AD-360A100-EU

    Risk: burns, fire

    The charging circuit of the product has no cut-off switch. The battery can consequently overcharge and overheat which may lead to a fire or burns.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standards EN 62133 and EN 60335-1.

      Unknown Name: R2 Two Wheel Self Balancing Electric Scooter

    Scooter: no model on product (P65A on outer box) Power charger: ZH-42-2000

    Risk: burns, fire

    The charging circuit of the product has no cut-off switch. The battery can consequently overcharge and overheat which may lead to a fire or burns.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standards EN 62133 and EN 60335-1.

      Shenzhen Hyleton Technology Name: Smart Balance Wheel, Scooter: Item 1148-3 on package; Power charger: HLT-180-4201500

    Risk: burns, fire

    The charging circuit of the product has no cut-off switch. The battery can consequently overcharge and overheat which may lead to a fire or burns.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standards EN 62133 and EN 60335-1.

      Lucas Electronics, Shenzhen Hyleton Technology Name: High quality smart balance scooter Type: Power charger: HLT-180-4202000

    Risk: burns, fire

    The charging circuit of the product has no cut-off switch. The battery can consequently overcharge and overheat which may lead to a fire or burns.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standards EN 62133 and EN 60335-1.

      Unknown Name: Scooter: minions print on hoverboard Power charger: YLT-42-2000

    Risk: burns, fire

    The charging circuit of the product has no cut-off switch. The battery can consequently overcharge and overheat which may lead to a fire or burns.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standards EN 62133 and EN 60335-1.

      Unknown Name: Scooter: Smart balance wheel: Power charger: HLT-180-4201500

    Risk: burns, fire

    The charging circuit of the product has no cut-off switch. The battery can consequently overcharge and overheat which may lead to a fire or burns.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standards EN 62133 and EN 60335-1.

      Unknown Name: Smart drifting scooter: Power charger: JY-420150

    Risk: burns, fire

    The charging circuit of the product has no cut-off switch. The battery can consequently overcharge and overheat which may lead to a fire or burns.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standards EN 62133 and EN 60335-1.

      Shenzhen Gojusin Name: Off-road Board: Power charger: GJS150-4200150

    Risk: burns, fire

    The charging circuit of the product has no cut-off switch. The battery can consequently overcharge and overheat which may lead to a fire or burns.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standards EN 62133 and EN 60335-1.

      Alfa Smart Wave/Shenz ZYT Name: Smart Balance Wheel: Power charger: ZYT-208

    Risk: burns, fire

    The charging circuit of the product has no cut-off switch. The battery can consequently overcharge and overheat which may lead to a fire or burns.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standards EN 62133 and EN 60335-1.

      RIDD/Shenzhen hyleton Name: Hover Urban: Scooter: RDD HB65BU: Power charger: HLT-180-4201500

    Risk: burns, fire

    The charging circuit of the product has no cut-off switch. The battery can consequently overcharge and overheat which may lead to a fire or burns.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standards EN 62133 and EN 60335-1.

      VINZ Hoverboards/Shenzhen Name: Smart balance wheel: Power charger: HLT-180-4201500

    Risk: burns, fire

    The charging circuit of the product has no cut-off switch. The battery can consequently overcharge and overheat which may lead to a fire or burns.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standards EN 62133 and EN 60335-1.

      Lenv/Dong Guan Aoi EI Name: Hoverboard: Power charger: AO 08294155DD1

    Risk: burns, fire

    The charging circuit of the product has no cut-off switch. The battery can consequently overcharge and overheat which may lead to a fire or burns.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standards EN 62133 and EN 60335-1.

      Unknown Name: Scooter: R2: Power charger: ZH-42-2000

    Risk: burns, fire

    The charging circuit of the product has no cut-off switch. The battery can consequently overcharge and overheat which may lead to a fire or burns.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standards EN 62133 and EN 60335-1.

    Week 10 Brand Type
    Product: Hoverboard Smolt & Co Name: Smolt board 8.0 Classic V2 – Type 420020

    Risk: burns, fire

    The product has insufficient resistance to moisture. Water may therefore come into contact with live parts, leading to electric shock or fire.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European standard EN 60335-1.

    SWHEELS Name: Smart Balance Board – Scooter: S1 Power Charger: JN-84W-420200

    Risk: burns, fire

    The charging circuit of the product has no cut-off switch. The battery can consequently overcharge and overheat which may lead to a fire or burns.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standards EN 62133 and EN 60335-1.

    The Scootershop Name: Unknown

    Risk:  burns, fire

    The charging circuit of the product has no cut-off switch. The battery can consequently overcharge and overheat which may lead to a fire or burns.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standards EN 62133 and EN 60335-1.

    Electric Scooter Name: Unknown

    Risk: burns, fire

    The charging circuit of the product has no cut-off switch. The battery can consequently overcharge and overheat which may lead to a fire or burns.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standards EN 62133 and EN 60335-1.

    MP Man

     

    Name: unknown, Type: GYROPODE G1

    Risk: burns, fire

    The charging circuit of the product has no cut-off switch. The battery can consequently overcharge and overheat which may lead to a fire or burns.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standards EN 62133 and EN 60335-1.

    Week 7 Brand Type
    Product: Hoverboard Unknown

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Name: Smart Balance Wheel, scooter: V7, power charger: HLT-180-4202000

    Risk: burns, fire

    The charging circuit of the product has no cut-off switch. The battery can consequently overcharge and overheat which may lead to a fire or burns.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standards EN 62133 and EN 60335-1.

      Hakal

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Name: Glideboard, Smart balance board, power charger: YC 36

    Risk: burns, fire

    The charging circuit of the product has no cut-off switch. The battery can consequently overcharge and overheat which may lead to a fire or burns.

    Furthermore, the plastic housing of the hoverboard can easily catch fire.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standards EN 62133 and EN 60335-1.

      CDTS

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Name: Electrical gyropod, model: BS-2,5

    Risk: electric shock, fire

    The product has insufficient resistance to moisture and water may therefore come into contact with live parts.
    This could lead to an electric shock or fire.The discharge voltage of the connector pins of the charger is too high and could lead to an electric shock while the user is (un)plugging the supply unit.
    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standard EN 60335-1.
    Product: electric scooter IKEA

     

     

     

     

     

    Name: Pendla, art. No. 10395275

    Risk: injuries

    The foot board of the scooter is not sufficiently strong.

    It could break while the scooter is in use, causing the user to fall.
    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive

    Week 5 Brand Type
    Product: Hoverboard Goclever Name: City Board SUV – Hoverboard, CBLSSBEU, black with LG battery

    Risk: burns, fire

    The charging circuit of the product has no cut-off switch. The battery can consequently overcharge and overheat which may lead to a fire or burns.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standards EN 62133 and EN 60335-1.

      Denver

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Name: Balance scooter, scooter: DBO-6501 White MK2, power charger: JY-420150

    Risk: burns, fire

    The charging circuit of the product has no cut-off switch. The battery can consequently overcharge and overheat which may lead to a fire or burns.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standards EN 62133 and EN 60335-1.

    Week 3 Brand Type
    Product: Hoverboard IO Hawk Name: Hoverboard, 925-IO-Hawk 1

    Risk: burns, fire

    The charging circuit of the product has no cut-off switch. The battery can consequently overcharge and overheat which may lead to a fire or burns.

    Furthermore, the plastic housing of the hoverboard can easily catch fire

    The internal electric wiring of the hoverboard is in contact with sharp edges which may damage the isolation.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standards EN 62133 and EN 60335-1.

      Cool & Fun Name: Electric Hoverboard, EL-ES01 (JD-6.5)

    Risk: burns, fire

    The charging circuit of the product has no cut-off switch. The battery can consequently overcharge and overheat which may lead to a fire or burns.

    Furthermore, the plastic housing of the hoverboard can easily catch fire

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standards EN 62133 and EN 60335-1.

    Week 2 Celect Name: Smart balance wheel, CELS6-0-RED

    Risk: burns, fire

    The charging circuit of the product has no cut-off switch. The battery can consequently overcharge and overheat which may lead to a fire or burns.

    Furthermore, the plastic housing of the hoverboard can easily catch fire

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standards EN 62133 and EN 60335

      Doc Green Name: Smart balance wheel, CELS6-0-RED

    Risk: burns, fire

    The charging circuit of the product has no cut-off switch. The battery can consequently overcharge and overheat which may lead to a fire or burns.

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standards EN 62133 and EN 60335-1.

      Smarty Casablanca Name: Electric Balance Scooter, art. Nr. 1178011

    Risk: burns, fire

    The charging circuit of the product has no cut-off switch. The battery can consequently overcharge and overheat which may lead to a fire or burns.

    Furthermore, the plastic housing of the hoverboard can easily catch fire

    The product does not comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive and the relevant European Standards EN 62133 and EN 60335

     

June 10, 2019

  • News: Toyota and Subaru To Jointly Develop EVs превод на български
     

    Japanese Companies Expand Working Relationship       

    Battery electric vehicles are more expensive to develop and produce than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. That’s a fact reinforced by Tesla’s ongoing deficits and the reluctant (but huge) investments major automakers are making to move to EVs. How do you tackle these challenges? Work together to share costs. Toyota, one of the world’s largest automakers, and Subaru, one of the smaller ones, this week announced they will work together on a new EV platform.

    Toyota & Subaru already have one collaborative plug-in project

    That’s not all that Toyota moved on last week as the company also announced it was partnering with Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. (CATL) of China, the world’s largest automotive battery maker, in order to diversify its supply chain for those future EVs. The wide-ranging partnership will also include BYD of China and Toshiba and GS Yuasa of Japan, three major players in the battery space.

    In sum those moves position Toyota to be able to compete with the ambitions of Volkswagen and other automakers who have laid out aggressive plans of electrification. Several of the battery companies Toyota is working with also work with other auto companies.

    More Toyota-Subarus

    The EV collaboration with Subaru, in which Toyota has a 16 percent ownership stake, is an extension of the two companies existing working relationship, which has produced the Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86 sports car and some of the components for the recently introduced Subaru Crosstrek plug-in hybrid.

    Toyota & Subaru plan a family of jointly developed EVs

    This new project will develop a EV-dedicated platform for midsize and large vehicles that will incorporate Subaru’s all-wheel drive technology with Toyota’s electrification technologies. The first product is expected to be a compact SUV that each company will market under their own brands.

    Toyota’s looking beyond this JV to other EV projects

    As Toyota and Subaru noted in their joint release, this is all about speed to market and developing products for different markets. The platform will be able to accommodate C-segment (compact) and D-segment (midsize) sedans and SUVs as well as variations on those basic models.  Subaru’s electrification efforts will be subsumed within this joint project while it appears that Toyota, because of its size, will be pursuing other projects for smaller EVs that may appeal primarily to Asian markets. In total, they represent a substantial increase in Toyota’s attention to the battery electric vehicle market. In the past the company has indicated it felt fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) were the preferred zero emission technology, and they continue to pursue projects with that technology.

    This platform will underpin a variety of future EVs

    Make sure to opt-in to the Clean Fleet Report newsletter (top right of page) to be notified of all new stories and vehicle reviews.

    Related Stories You Might Enjoy—Toyota-Subaru JV Vehicles & Toyota Technology Ventures

    Road Test: 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

    Road Test: 2018 Toyota 86

    News: Toyota Fuel Cell Heavy-Duty Trucks

    Road Test: 2019 Toyota Mirai FCEV  

June 09, 2019

  • Personal: Chevy Bolt EV Mysteriously Loses Half its Range превод на български
     

    Suddenly Let Down By My Great Car

    Since I got my Chevrolet Bolt EV on January 8, 2017, I’ve been a big fan. It’s been totally reliable, delivering 200+ miles of range and handling all kinds of loads, all while being fun to drive. And, I love the way it looks, including the Kinetic Blue paint on the outside and the white-and-gray interior. I appreciate the regeneration setting that enables one-pedal driving. I enjoy not visiting gas stations. I’ve spent time and energy promoting the car on my business cards and in many posts to my personal blog and stories on Clean Fleet Report.

    Chevrolet Bolt
    Suddenly, only 100 miles of range

    But over the last few months, my Bolt let me down. Nothing broke and it drove fine, but when I charged it, it said it was full with only 100 miles of range.

    It all started after I took my car in for its first service. Unlike gasoline-powered cars, EVs need very little attention, so my car had never been back to the dealership in more than two years. The only required service was a tire rotation. However, I accepted a new job that would move me away from the Chevy dealer in Redwood City, CA, where I leased the car, so I decided to take it in for a checkup while I had the chance.

    There was nothing to fix, of course, and they performed the tire rotation for free. I let them replace the cabin air filter (they did charge me for that),  They also ran a couple of battery system updates. Notably, they fixed one tiny annoyance—my bird’s eye camera had always shown the left side at an angle—and I appreciated the effort they made, including ordering a new part.

    A Drop in Range

    I then started my new job in late February, which cut my daily driving from 36 miles to about four. I also tested some new EVs from the fleet, so the Bolt sat a bit. When I started driving it regularly again, I discovered that when I charged up the battery, it topped out at around 100 miles, instead of the normal 200+ it had been doing since I brought it home the first time. After a couple of instances of this, I decided to take it back to the dealer to get it looked at.

    They reported there was nothing wrong, and said they had reset something and told me that if I didn’t use my heater, it would improve the range. This struck me, frankly, as silly. I had ALWAYS used the climate system, summer and winter, for more than two years, and had never seen 100 miles of total range. Running the climate system reduces the range by only about eight miles. I drove the car some more, gamely trying to go without the climate system just to test it, but the battery still topped out at 100 miles.

    I contacted the media people at GM/Chevrolet with my plight and decided to try the dealership nearest to my home–F.H. Dailey in San Leandro, CA, to see if they could come up with something. The short answer—nope. Same recommendation—don’t use the heat or A/C. They suggested that I run it through a couple of charging cycles to reset the range.

    Chevrolet Bolt
    The drop in range didn’t really limit me, except to make me charge more often and pass on long trips

    But the story doesn’t end there. The next day—about 24 hours after I picked up my car—I got a call from the dealership. After consulting with GM’s tech experts, they decided that it was probably a bad cell in the battery, and asked me to bring my car in again to do more tests.

    So, the following Monday, I drove my car to F.H Dailey, arriving around 7:35 a.m. I checked it in with the same person, service advisor Fatima Rios, and then waited around a half hour for a shuttle ride home. This time, with GM’s tech people in the loop, they came up with a different diagnosis: Replace the battery! So, they ordered it—and I felt vindicated.

    The dealers’ service departments were missing something, and the first one telling me to put a band aid on it felt disrespectful. The second dealer’s conclusion, when I knew there was a real problem, meant I had to push back, and they listened.

    Lessons Learned

    Through this experience, I was reminded that a 100-mile range is actually enough for most people. I learned this from my three-month test of my cute little blue Fiat 500e, which had only 80 to 90 miles. The few times I’ve actually needed the range to visit my granddaughters have been handy, but mainly it means you don’t have to charge as often, and you don’t have to worry about range. There were only two times last year when I knew that the Bolt wouldn’t be able to handle a long trip, so I used another vehicle in one case and flew in the other.

    So, on a Thursday morning, I drove my Bolt EV down to the dealership to receive its new battery. It turned out it had to spend an extra few days away from home—the battery was delayed and didn’t arrive until Friday. On Friday they did most of the work, and Tuesday I got a call from Fatima mid-afternoon saying that the surgery was a success, it was all charged up, and I could pick it up.

    I drove the white Chevrolet Cruze they rented me (at no charge) down to the dealership. I was greeted by Fatima, who by now was my friend. She, and F. H. Dailey in general, took good care of me, and I now recommend visiting them if you’re shopping for a new Chevy. They have dozens of Bolt EVs in a rainbow of colors lined up and waiting for your test drive.

    Battery replacement isn’t cheap, but as a warranty repair, it didn’t cost me a dime. Neither did the rental car.

    Chevrolet Bolt
    Back to normal

    I got into my Bolt, adjusted the seat that they had moved, and pushed the start button. And there it was—260 miles of range. My car was restored.

June 08, 2019

June 07, 2019

June 06, 2019

  • VW ще инсталира 36,000 зарядни станции в Европа до 2025 превод на български
     

    Volkswagen Group обяви намеренията си за значително разширяване на инвестициите на компанията в инфраструктурата за зареждане на електрически автомобили, като до 2025 г. планира да инсталира 36,000 точки за зареждане в Европа.

  • Road Test: 2019 Hyundai Kona EV превод на български
     

    The Leader in the Next Wave of Affordable EVs       

    So, 2019 will be remembered as the year that battery electric vehicles became mainstream with choices available from several manufacturers, offering options that have become legitimate alternatives to traditional internal combustion engine vehicles. Compromises with price, range, charging and features are finally becoming a thing of the past. Prices and range are becoming competitive with conventional cars, public charging infrastructure continues to come online at a furious pace, and the features of EVs are highlighting the unique advantages of owning and operating them.

    2019 Hyundai Kona EV
    Leader of the revolution

    The 2019 Hyundai Kona EV is a perfect example of this revolution. The Kona is a CUV (Compact Utility Vehicle) that offers a competitive price (with federal tax credits an entry price of under $30,000) and an EPA-rated range of 258 miles or more under real-world driving. The Kona has industry-standard charging for use at home or on the road and has class-leading safety and convenience features that are on par with conventional luxury CUVs.

    The Kona EV is part of a Hyundai-Kia family of CUVs that was designed with conventional, hybrid and electric powertrains in mind. This strategy allows Hyundai to leverage the costs of manufacturing the Kona over a much broader base than just one vehicle and gives Hyundai the flexibility to match supply with demand. And if our time with the Kona EV is any indication, the market is going to be strong for the EV version.

    Where Does the Kona Fit?

    Overall the 2019 Hyundai Kona EV is about the same size as the Lexus UX, Toyota RAV4, and the Chevy Bolt. It is shorter than the Nissan Leaf and has less cargo space, but its passenger space feels quite roomy despite it being a small crossover. It’s essentially a five-door hatchback reimagined for the 21st-century compact crossover buyer.

    2019 Hyundai Kona EV
    Kona’s huge torque launches it like yesterday’s supercars

    Powered by a 201 horsepower permanent magnet motor that has 290 pounds-feet of torque driven through a single-speed transmission, the Kona is front-wheel drive only. That gives the Kona EV plenty of grunt that gets it from 0-60 in 6.4 seconds. Consider that it wasn’t that long ago that that sort of performance was considered to be supercar territory. With the Kona EV’s instant torque, it certainly can feel like a supercar.

    The Kona’s 64 kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery pack sits under the floor and offers an EPA range of 258 miles. The Kona is currently the leader of the pack for mid-sized and priced EVs, but that is a moving target, with the other mid-priced EV manufacturers offering to compete EVs that are in the same general range.

    The 2019 Hyundai Kona EV uses the emerging industry standard SAE Combo Charging System (CCS) for DC fast-charging. The Kona is equipped with a 7.2 kW onboard Level 2 charger for home or destination charging and a 100 kW DC fast charger connection. The 7.2 kW onboard charger can fully replenish the battery in about nine hours, and the CCS connection can do the same in between 50 and 75 minutes depending on the speed of the DCFC unit. CCS is the fastest-growing charging standard in the world (the main competitor is Japanese CHAdeMO system); while Tesla’s proprietary charging standard has an early lead, the number of public CCS chargers coming online is quickly outnumbering the Tesla system.

    The Kona’s Got the Goods

    The Kona is well equipped with creature comforts and technology features.  The front and rear seating is comfortable, with eight-way seats designed for Americans in either cloth or leather, depending on the trim. The rear seating may be a bit tight for some, but generally, it is on par with the Kona EV’s competitors. The Kona’s interior is comfortable but seemed noisy especially in the rear of the vehicle. The low rolling resistance tires and lack of rear chassis sound deadening in the wheel wells is suspect for the excess noise. Cargo capacity for the Kona EV is average for a CUV at 19.2 cubic feet, which is perfect for carrying a couple of bags of groceries, but not much more.

    2019 Hyundai Kona EV
    Interior trim can take the Kona from plain Jane to near-luxury

    Large 7.0 or 8.0-inch displays for the driver and infotainment provide excellent, clear, easy-to-see access to controls and information. On the Ultimate trim, a retractable head-up display (HUD) offers a variety of speed, direction and safety information directly in the driver’s line of sight. An available 315-watt Infinity audio system, combined with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay Sirius XM, HD radio and USB 3.0 inputs, has excellent sound and can be paired with just about any audio source. The Kona supports Hyundai’s latest Blue Link LTE hotspot connectivity and wireless charging for smart devices.

    2019 Hyundai Kona EV
    It’s a grocery-getter only–unless you fold down the rear seat

    Hyundai’s “Smart Sense” safety suite is standard on the Kona EV. This includes forward-collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping and blind-spot assists, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance and automated high beams. Adaptive cruise control with stop and go capabilities is available. With the adaptive cruise control, the Kona is a Level 2 autonomous safety assist system like those from Tesla, Nissan, GM and the others, and is very competent and on par with the current top-tier safety systems.

    Out on the Range

    Testing the range was high on the list, so with 257 miles of range indicated, we took off from San Jose for a trip up to Napa Valley and back. We drove with traffic at about 65-70 mph for a round trip of 235 miles. When we got back home, the Kona still had 20 miles left with an average miles/kWh of 3.8. The official EPA economy rating for the Kona is 132 city/108 highway/120 combined MPGe.

    2019 Hyundai Kona EV
    The back seat’s tight, which is typical of this class of vehicle

    The drive was very comfortable except for the tire and road noise, and we never experienced range anxiety. While not every community has the benefit of an EV charger on every corner, it has become the norm in Northern California. The saying “As California goes, so goes the world” may be applicable here. If anything, our range drive was perfectly normal and routine, boring even. If EVs are to become mainstream across the land, “boring” is a good thing to be.

    The Hyundai Kona EV is a very competent, well-engineered electric CUV, but for those wanting a closer look, it may be tricky at first. Hyundai is being very conservative in making the Kona EV available in showrooms. Initially, it is only available in California and zero-emission focused states along the west and east coasts. Hyundai will eventually offer the Kona EV in all 50 states, and in the meantime, it is rumored that it can be special-ordered in areas where it is not initially available.

    2019 Hyundai Kona EV
    It may be scarce at first, but Hyundai promises more are coming

    Pricing for the 2019 Hyundai Kona EV ranges from $36,950 for the SEL to $44,900 for the Ultimate. Also, all trim levels have a $1,045 destination and handling charge.

    The Kona EV does qualify for the full federal tax credit of $7,500 and any state, local, or utility rebates or credits available.

    The Kona EV is the current benchmark for a well-equipped, reasonably-priced EV vehicle. It’s the car being measured today against its competitors, like the Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf Plus, Kia Niro (a sister car) and even the Tesla Model 3. But as the EV market continues to develop and mature, with new models continuing to be introduced, who knows who will be top dog tomorrow.

    Make sure to opt-in to the Clean Fleet Report newsletter (top right of page) to be notified of all new stories and vehicle reviews.

    Related Stories You Might Enjoy—The Long Range EV Competition

    In order to give you the best perspective on the many vehicles available, Clean Fleet Reporthas a variety of contributors. When possible, we will offer you multiple perspectives on a given vehicle. This comes under SRO-Second Road Test Opinion. We hope you’ll enjoy these diverse views–some are just below—and let us know what you think in comments below or at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.

    Road Test: 2019 Hyundai Kona EV (Steve’s view)

    Road Test: 2019 Chevrolet Bolt

    Road Trip: 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus

    Road Test: 2019 Kia Niro (Gary’s view)

    Road Test: 2019 Kia Niro (Steve’s view)

    Road Test: 2019 Kia Niro (John’s view)

    News: $35,000 Tesla Model 3 On Sale

    Flash Drive: Tesla Model 3 Long Range

    Disclosure:

    Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

    Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.

June 05, 2019

  • Germany allows e-scooters (PLEVs) on public roads превод на български
     

    The German Federal Parliament (Bundesrat) has adopted an amended proposal of the government aimed at allowing e-scooters on public roads. To date, German law forbids the use of these scooters on public roads. The new law will enable them to circulate on roads and cycle paths, while they will still remain forbidden on pavements and pedestrian-only areas. Where there are cycle paths or lanes, the scooters must use these. If there is no specific cycling infrastructure they must go on the road.

    There are some further requirements for the use of the scooters.  Users must be 14 or over. Wearing a helmet is not compulsory, but insurance is.  Users prove they have undertaken an insurance by means of a sticker on their e-scooter.

    As for technical requirements, the e-scooters must be equipped with brakes and lights. Their maximum speed is limited at 20 km/h.

    With all this, the Federal Parliament has advised the government to amend the adopted text with a view to allowing e-scooters, just like cyclists, to go both ways in one-way streets.

    As for other Personal Light Electric Vehicles, Germany has decided to do further research on the road safety aspects of PLEVs without a handlebar, such as electric hoverboards and monowheels. The decision on whether to allow these on public roads will probably take another few years.

    E-scooters are not allowed on German public roads just yet, that will only happen when the approved text is published in the German official journal.

    By setting the speed limit at 20 km/h, Germany has gone against the harmonization efforts undertaken by CEN TC 354. This “Committee for the transportation of persons and goods and related facilities and not subject to type-approval for on-road use” has a draft standard on the table, which is only waiting for the approval of the member states. This draft FprEN 17128 sets out a maximum speed of 25 km/h.

    In a recent update of the national traffic code, Belgium has done the opposite. Where until recently, it had a speed limit of 18 km/h for so-called “locomotive devices” (in Dutch: voortbewegingstoestellen, in French: engin de déplacement motorisé), the law has now been revised in favour of a 25 km/h speed limit. In Belgium all types of PLEVs excluded from type-approval are allowed on public roads, i.e. self-balancing, e-scooters, electric hoverboards, monowheels, etc. They don’t require a helmet or an insurance. See also https://bit.ly/2HVYzzV

  • News: Pickup Electrification a Hot Topic in U.S. превод на български
     

    GM/Ford Battle Over Rivian; Tesla Teases Pickup News

    Pickup trucks are a unique American phenomenon. While working trucks are found all over the world, nowhere are they best-sellers like in the U.S., where the top three sales spots are occupied by vehicles named F-150, Ram and Silverado. Those three pickup nameplates (out of 12 total pickups and more than 300 total models for sale) accounted for more than 11 percent of the total sales during the first four months of 2019.

    Rivian RIT electric pickup
    This is not the face of the new F-150; Ford’s interested in what’s underneath

    Conventional wisdom says pickup buyers are conservative and resistant to change and new technology, but that bit of consensus thinking is being challenged. During the past month Ford announced it was investing $500 million into a partnership with Rivian, a Michigan-based company that has already developed a prototype all-electric pickup and SUV. That investment followed on a larger one from Amazon and edged out General Motors, which was also widely reported to have been considering a similar investment. Ford said it would use Rivian’s skateboard EV platform to accelerate the Blue Oval’s electric pickup plans.

    2019 Ford Ranger
    Before the full-electrics arrive we may see a hybrid Ranger

    Rivian’s pickup is due to hit the market late next year (2020) with a starting price of $69,000, three battery choices and up to 400 miles of range. It’s aggressively marketing itself as a real pickup with power and off-road capabilities. Ford’s Rivian investment release indicated that a previously announced electric F-150 may come to market without Rivian technology. Ford’s midsize pickup, the Ranger, is rumored to be planning to offer a hybrid option in 2020, following the lead of the Explorer SUV. GM earlier said it would also develop its own electric version of its pickup line, but has been vague about details, other than a hint that it might debut as a GMC.    

    Another Tesla Tease

    When Elon Musk introduced his Semi Class 8 truck, he flashed an image of pickup version of the big truck. Another teaser went out at the end of the Model Y announcement. Musk was talking about the pickup again last week as he tweeted that it would be better than both the best-selling Ford F-150 and a Porsche 911 sports car.

    Tesla electric pickup
    This was all Elon revealed of Tesla’s coming pickup

    Musk also said that the starting price for the Tesla pickup would be less than $50,000, Assuming that’s a stripped model (as seen with the Model 3), that would seem to be a fair price for such a truck. For anyone who hasn’t shopped the pickup market lately (and Clean Fleet Report has some road tests coming that will get you up to date), that’s a moderate price for a well-equipped pickup. Many models run much higher, even though basic work trucks still start under $30,000. The range of the truck could be up to 500 miles, but no indication of what it will actually look like when it’s revealed later this year.

    It’s clear the pickup market is going to see some electric models–soon. We’ll follow the action and see what kind of impact they have.

    Related Stories You Might Enjoy—Real Pickups You Can Buy & Future Trucks

    Road Test: 2019 Ford Ranger

    Ford: Electric F-150 Coming

    News: GM Hints of Future Electric Pickup

    News: Tesla Semi Reveal in 2017

  • Volkswagen ID.R sets new electric record on the Nürburgring превод на български
     

    Volkswagen has achieved another milestone in electro-mobility: The ID.R, powered by two electric motors, lapped the Nürburgring-Nordschleife in 6:05.336 minutes – faster than any electric vehicle before it. Romain Dumas (F) beat the previous record set by Peter Dumbreck (GB, NIO EP9) in 2017 by 40.564 seconds. With an average speed of 204.96 km/h, the ID.R once again underlined the impressive performance capabilities of Volkswagen’s electric drive. This 500 kW (680 PS) emission-free race car is the racing flagship of the future fully electric ID. product family from Volkswagen.

    “The Nordschleife of the Nürburgring is not only the world’s most demanding race track, it is also the ultimate test for production vehicles,” says Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Group. “The ID.R has mastered this challenge with great distinction and has completed the fastest emission-free lap of all time. As further proof of its impressive performance capabilities, Volkswagen’s e-mobility can now proudly call itself ‘Nürburgring-approved’. I congratulate the team from Volkswagen Motorsport and driver Romain Dumas on the third record for the ID.R”

    Within just twelve months, Volkswagen Motorsport has already set three track records with the ID.R. On 24 June 2018, Romain Dumas achieved the absolute track record of 7:57.148 minutes at the renowned Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (USA). Just three weeks later, he achieved a new best time for electric cars of 43.86 seconds at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in southern England. The new record on the legendary Nordschleife has now been added to this successful run.

    For Romain Dumas, who is a four-time winner of the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring, the record lap with the ID.R is another highlight on his favourite track. “To be a record-holder on the Nordschleife makes me unbelievably proud,” says Dumas. “For me, this is the best and most difficult race track in the world. I want to thank the team at Volkswagen Motorsport, who have once again done a fantastic job. The ID.R was perfectly prepared for the Nordschleife and it was so much fun to experience the blistering acceleration and rapid cornering speeds.”

    With the e-record on the Nordschleife, Volkswagen has once again demonstrated the enormous performance capabilities that come with electric mobility. “This impressive success story is the result of meticulous preparation by our engineers, the flawless work by the whole team during testing and of course a perfect driving performance by Romain Dumas,” says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets.

    To prepare for the Nürburgring Nordschleife challenge, in just five months Volkswagen Motorsport gave the ID.R a complete makeover compared to the record outings on Pikes Peak and in Goodwood. “For this evolved version of the ID.R, the aerodynamic configuration was more strongly adapted to the highest possible speed, rather than maximum downforce,” explains François-Xavier Demaison, Technical Director. “With extensive test laps in the simulator and on the race track, we adapted the ID.R to the unique conditions of the Nordschleife, focussing mainly on chassis tuning, energy management and optimal choice of tyres for the record attempt.”

    The VW ID.R now holds the second fastest Nürburgring time ever recorded, the fastest being set by sister company Porsche with a modified LMP1 919 Hybrid EVO with a time of 5 minutes 19.55 seconds at an average speed of 233.8 km/h (145.3 mph) - almost 30 km/h faster than the ID.R.

    Where the 500 kW ID.R's top speed during the lap record peaked at 270 km/h, the 865 kW 919 EVO was able to regularly sustain speeds over 300 km/h with a peak of 370 km/h during his record-beating run.

June 04, 2019

June 03, 2019

June 01, 2019

  • Road Test: 2019 Kia Niro EV превод на български
     

    The Best of the Next Wave Affordable EVs                 

    This year (2019) will be remembered as the year that battery electric vehicles became mainstream, with choices available from several manufacturers, offering vehicles that have become legitimate alternatives to traditional internal combustion engine vehicles. Compromises with price, range, charging and features are finally becoming a thing of the past. Prices and range are becoming competitive with conventional cars; public charging infrastructure continues to come online at a furious pace; and EV features are highlighting the unique advantages of owning and operating them.

    2019 Kia Niro EV
    The perfect example of what’s happening in EVs

    The 2019 Kia Niro EV is a perfect example of this revolution. The Niro EV is a CUV (Compact Utility Vehicle) that offers a competitive price that starts at $38,500 and still qualifies for federal tax credits as well as state, local, utility and other rebates. These credits and rebates can lower the cost of the Niro to below to $30,000, depending on where you live. The Niro EV offers an EPA rated range of 239 miles or more under real-world driving. During our time with the Niro, it easily beat the EPA ratings with up to 261 miles of range. The Niro EV has industry-standard charging for use at home or on the road and has class-leading safety and convenience features that are on par with conventional luxury CUVs.

    The Niro EV is part of a family of Kia CUVs that was designed with conventional, hybrid, and electric powertrains in mind. This strategy allows Kia to leverage the costs of manufacturing the Niro over a much broader base than just one vehicle and gives Kia the flexibility to match supply with demand. If our time with the Niro EV is any indication, the market is going to be strong for the EV version.

    Sizing It Up

    Overall, the Niro is about the same size as the Lexus UX, Toyota RAV4, the Chevy Bolt and its cousin the Hyundai Kona. It is shorter than the Nissan Leaf and has less cargo space, but its passenger space feels quite roomy despite it being a small crossover. It’s actually a five-door hatchback reimagined for the 21st-century compact crossover buyer.

    2019 Kia Niro EV
    The Niro motor pumps out torque

    The Niro EV is powered by a 201-horsepower permanent magnet motor that has 290 pounds-feet of torque driven through a single-speed transmission powering the front wheels only. That gives the Niro EV plenty of grunt that gets it from 0-60 in 6.5 seconds. It wasn’t so long ago that sort of performance was considered to be supercar territory. With the Niro EV’s instant torque, it certainly can feel like a supercar.

    The 2019 Kia Niro EV has three driving modes: Eco, Normal and Sport. Each has a set of adjustable settings including regeneration, air conditioning and heating, in addition to throttle responsiveness and steering-assist change, depending on the drive mode. In Eco mode, the top speed can be limited as well.

    The Niro’s 64.0 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion liquid-cooled battery pack sits under the floor and offers an EPA range of 239 miles. The Niro is in the middle of the pack for mid-sized and priced EVs, bested only by its cousin the Hyundai Kona, but that is a moving target. Other mid-priced EV manufacturers competing with EVs are in the same general range of features and price. During our time with the Niro, it easily beat the EPA ratings with up to 261 miles of range.

    Charging Options

    The 2019 Kia Niro EV uses the emerging industry standard SAE Combo Charging System (CCS). The Niro is equipped with a 7.2-kilowatt (kW) onboard Level 2 (220v) charger for home or destination charging, and a 100-kW DC fast charger connection. The Niro allows the driver to set charging speeds, and what percentage to charge the battery from the multi-media display or a smartphone. The level of regeneration is also adjustable from paddle shifters or can be set to let the Niro decide what level of regeneration is best for the driving situation.

    2019 Kia Niro EV
    Charging options abound

    The 7.2-kW onboard charger can fully replenish the battery in about nine hours while the CCS connection can charge to about 80 percent in between 60 and 75 minutes, depending on the speed of the DCFC unit. Kia chose the CCS fast-charging standard, which is the fastest growing charging standard in the world. While Tesla’s proprietary charging standard has an early lead, the number of public CCS chargers coming online is quickly outnumbering the Tesla system. (The third fast-charging system is known as CHAdeMO, which is used by most Japanese automakers.)

    Of course, if you have the time, the Niro’s battery can be recharged in about 59 hours if the supplied Level 1 (120v) EVSE is used.

    All the Comforts You’d Expect

    The Niro EV is well-equipped with creature comforts and technology features. There are two trim levels available–the EX, which has an MSRP of $38,500 and the EX Premium at $44,000. The Premium has all of the features of the EX, but adds a power sunroof, LED headlights and taillights, an 8.0-inch Touch Screen Infotainment screen and a Harman Kardon sound system with a subwoofer. A wireless phone charger, mood lighting, and leather upholstery round out the upgrades.

    2019 Kia Niro EV
    Options can load up the Niro

    One option that is available on both trim levels of the Niro and is a must-have if you live in areas that have cooler seasons is the Cold Weather Package. This $1,080 package includes a battery heater, heated steering wheel and a cabin heat pump rather than a resistive electric heater. A heat pump can really improve range in cold weather and is recommended. Heated seats are standard on both trim levels.

    Regardless of the trim, large 7.0- or 8.0-inch displays for the driver and infotainment provide excellent, clear, easy-to-see access to controls and information. Niro audio systems offer Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Sirius XM, HD radio, Bluetooth and USB 3.0 inputs standard. The Niro’s audio systems have excellent sound and can be paired with just about any audio source. The Niro supports Kia’s latest UVO link LTE hotspot connectivity for smart devices.

    2019 Kia Niro EV
    As in most CUVs, storage can expand

    The front and rear seats are comfortable, with eight- or 10-way seats designed for Americans in either cloth or leather, depending on the trim. The rear seating for some may be a bit tight, but generally, it is on par with the Niro EV’s competitors. The Niro’s interior is comfortable, but the rear seat foot room is a bit tight because of the high-back seat cushion. The Niro EV is noticeably quieter than its cousin, the Kona. The Niro has extra sound deadening and is fitted with Michelin Primacy MXV4 17-inch tires, which do a great job in isolating the cabin from road noise. Cargo capacity for the Niro EV is average for a CUV at 19.2 cu. ft., which is perfect for carrying a couple of bags of groceries, but not much more.

    The Niro offers an extensive suite of active safety technology standard. This includes forward-collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, lane-departure and blind-spot assists, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance and automated high beams. Adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capabilities is standard. With the adaptive cruise control, the Niro is a near Level 2 autonomous safety assist system like those from Tesla, Nissan, GM, Hyundai and others, and is very competent and on par with the current top-tier safety systems. The only nitpick about the safety systems is that they get your attention with a loud non-adjustable beeping that can be annoying.

    A Summary—and a Challenge

    The 2019 Kia Niro EV is a very competent, well-engineered CU-EV, but getting a closer look may be tricky, initially. Kia is being very conservative in making the Niro EV available. Initially, it is only available in 12 states—California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, and Washington. Kia plans to offer the Niro EV in all 50 states eventually, and in the meantime, it is rumored that it can be special-ordered in areas where it is not initially available. 

    2019 Kia Niro EV
    The new EV benchmark

    Pricing for the Niro EV ranges from $38,500 for the EX to $44,000 for the EX Premium. Options are few with just the cold weather package at $1,080, a Premium Launch Package at $1,000 and a wireless phone package for the EX at $200. Both trim levels have a $1,045 destination and handling charge.

    The Niro EV does qualify for the full federal tax credit of $7,500, and any state, local, or utility rebates or credits available in your locale.

    The 2019 Kia Niro EV is the current top benchmark for a well-equipped, reasonably-priced EV, along with its cousin, the Hyundai Kona EV. The Niro and Kona are very similar and share many of their parts, but at the end of the day, the winner is the Niro, which has more sophistication, roominess and refinement.

    The Niro is the car that has become the standard that its competitors, like the Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf and even the Tesla Model 3 are being measured against.

    But as the EV market continues to develop and mature, with new models continuing to be introduced, who knows who will be top-dog tomorrow?

    [See image gallery at www.cleanfleetreport.com]

    Related Stories You Might Enjoy—the Long-Range EV Crowd

    In order to give you the best perspective on the many vehicles available, Clean Fleet Report has a variety of contributors. When possible, we will offer you multiple perspectives on a given vehicle. This comes under SRO-Second Road Test Opinion. We hope you’ll enjoy these diverse views–some are just below—and let us know what you think in comments below or at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.

    Road Test: 2019 Kia Niro EV (Steve’s view)

    Road Test: 2019 Chevrolet Bolt

    Road Test: 2019 Hyundai Kona EV

    Road Trip: 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus

    News: Tesla Model 3—the Biggest Story of the Year

    News: Tesla Model 3 $35,000 Version on Sale

    Flash Drive: Tesla Model 3 Long Range

    Make sure to opt-in to the Clean Fleet Report newsletter (top right of page) to be notified of all new stories and vehicle reviews.

    Disclosure:

    Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

    Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.

May 31, 2019