Posts Tagged ‘prius’
It seems like we’ve been waiting forever for electric cars to come along, but after more false starts than you’ll see at the London Olympics this year, it looks like the electric car is finally here to stay.
Now, we need to start with some boring terminology: a true electric car (EV, for Electric Vehicle) has no petrol engine as backup, so you are reliant on the batteries having enough charge to get you to where you need to go. the Nissan Leaf is the best-known (and best) electric car currently on sale.
A regular hybrid uses an electric motor and/or a petrol motor, depending on the circumstances. You don’t plug it into a wall socket as the batteries charge while you are driving. a typical journey, even a short one, will use both electric and petrol power to drive the wheels. the Toyota Prius is the most popular and best-known hybrid on sale around the world.
A plug-in hybrid, range-extending electric car, is technically more of a fancy hybrid than a true EV although it drives more like an EV than a regular hybrid. in practice it might be a huge difference or none at all, depending on how you use the car. a range-extender, or plug-in hybrid as it’s more commonly known, has a petrol engine which can be used to power the electric motor once the batteries have drained, but the petrol engine does not directly drive the wheels*. the Vauxhall Ampera/Chevrolet Volt twins are the leading example of this type of car, and they claim an urban fuel consumption of 300mpg (yep, that’s three hundred. not a typo)
A car running on an electric motor is usually very quiet (eerie silence or a distant hum instead of a clearly audible petrol engine) and smooth (no vibrations from engine or gearbox). the response from the car away from rest is both immediate and powerful, as electric motors generate huge amounts of torque instantly. They’re quiet from the outside to, to such an extent that the EU is considering making audible warnings compulsory in the future as pedestrians simply won’t hear an electric car coming.
In terms of exciting handling, electric cars are usually not brilliant, it must be said. they tend to be very heavy and usually run tyres & wheels more beneficial for economy than handling. but as a commuter vehicle around town, they are zippy and efficient. plus they generate less noise, heat and pollution into the street so a traffic jam of Nissan Leafs in the city would be a lot more pleasant for passing pedestrians.
The batteries on a typical electric car only give it enough range for a few miles (although a true EV will have a bigger battery pack as it doesn’t have to fit a petrol engine & fuel tank as well), so the cars use various means to charge the battery while driving. usually this involves converting kinetic energy from coasting and braking to electric energy to store in the batteries. the Fisker Karma even has solar cells in its roof to charge the batteries as well.
However, a longer journey will inevitably mean that the batteries are drained. in a fully electric car that means you have to stop and charge the batteries, so hopefully you parked near a power socket somewhere and have several hours to find something else to do. in a hybrid, the petrol engine will start up to provide the power. in a regular hybrid like a Prius, the car effectively becomes an ordinary petrol car, albeit with a fairly underpowered engine pushing a heavy car around so it’s not swift. in a ‘range extender’ like the Ampera/Volt, the petrol engine provides energy to the electric motor to drive the wheels, which is more efficient in both performance and economy. Depending on how you’re driving, any spare energy from the petrol engine can be used to charge up the batteries again, so the car may switch back to electric power once charging is complete.
So what does this mean in the real world?
Well, how much of the following driving do you do? We’re assuming here that the batteries are fully charged when you set off.
Short trips (
Hybrid car sales are on fire in Canada.
Toyota Canada released its official April sales numbers, and hybrid sales are up 266.4 percent when compared with April 2011, for a total of 1,931 hybrid vehicles sold.
The Prius family itself accounted for the lion’s share of the sales with 1,422 units, up 471 percent for its best-ever month. Toyota Canada sold 556 of the Prius c in its first full month of sales, accounting for one-third of Toyota subcompact car sales. A total of 884 units of the Prius c have already been sold since it became available mid-March. The Prius v accounted for 479 sales.
The Camry Hybrid was also strong with 421 units sold, up 153.6 percent from April 2011. The Camry Hybrid stands at an impressive 1,259 units year to date (YTD), or 196.2 percent better than last year YTD.
Lexus hybrid sales are steady, with 188 units of the CT 200h going out the door, up 1.6 percent for the models’ best-ever April. In general, Lexus’ hybrid luxury models represented 18.8 percent of all Lexus vehicles sold in April.
Americans are buying record numbers of hybrid and electric cars as gas prices climb and new models arrive in showrooms, giving the vehicles their greatest share yet of the U.S. auto market.
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Consumers bought a record 52,000 gas-electric hybrids and all-electric cars in March, up from 34,000 during the same month last year.
The two categories combined made up 3.64 percent of total U.S. sales, their highest monthly market share ever, according to Ward’s AutoInfoBank. the previous high was 3.56 percent in July 2009, when the Cash for Clunkers program encouraged people to trade in old gas guzzlers for more fuel-efficient cars.
And while their share of the market remains small, it’s a big leap from the start of the year, when hybrids andelectrics made up 2.38 percent of new car sales.
Buyers were drawn by new models like the Toyota Prius C subcompact, the Prius V wagon and Camry hybrid. Gas prices near or above $4 per gallon added to the cars’ attraction.
David Martin, a Denver software engineer, estimates he’ll save at least $150 per month on gas with his new Chevrolet Volt compared with the 2010 Acura TSX he replaced. Martin expects gas prices to stay high, a factor that heavily influenced his purchase.
"As the cost of gasoline rises, my future savings can only increase," he said.
Stronger sales of the Volt and the Nissan Leaf were a positive sign for electric car makers. the two vehicles have struggled to gain acceptance from buyers worried about how far they can drive on a battery charge.
Another concern: Volt maker General Motors Co. had to change the car’s charging system because its batteries caught fire after government crash tests.
GM sold just 7,671 Volts last year, below its goal of 10,000. but in March, it set a new monthly record of 2,289 for the Volt, an electric car with a small backup gas engine. Sales of the all-electric Leaf nearly doubled to 579.
The Volt got a boost from California’s decision to make it eligible for high-occupancy vehicle lanes. Starting March 1, buyers with a low-emissions Volt could use the HOV lane and get a $1,500 state tax credit on top of a $7,500 federal tax credit. GM said a quarter of the Volts it sold last month were sold in California.
Edward Ang, of Cupertino, Calif., has been planning to buy a Volt since GM first announced it would make thecar, but he waited until it qualified for the HOV sticker. he bought a Volt last month and now makes his 10-mile commute without using any gas. he used to drive a 2004 Prius.
"I made a promise to myself that if they bring it to market, I will get one," said Ang, an engineering manager.
Gas prices helped sales. the nationwide average for a gallon of gas jumped 19 cents in March, from $3.73 to $3.92, and it crossed the $4 mark in California even earlier. the $4 mark was a significant psychological milestone for some buyers, said Paul Lacy, who forecasts sales trends for consulting firm IHS Automotive.
2012 Lexus LF-LC Concept
There are two types of concept cars unveiled at auto shows: the never-intended-for-production exercises in automotive design excellence, and the fully-working, almost-ready-for-production cars that you can expect to see at a dealer in some form or other within a few years.
Unfortunately, the Lexus LF-LC Concept Hybrid Sports Coupe is the former, although we wish it were the latter.
Unveiled yesterday at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, the four-seat sports car combines a front-engine, rear-wheel drive performance gasoline engine with what Lexus calls its Advanced Lexus Hybrid Drive.
While the Lexus LF-LC Concept might feature a hybrid drivetrain with origins in the hum-drum Toyota Prius, the LF-LC is anything but boring.
With its large, aggressive grille, large wheels and sweeping hood, you’d be forgiven for mistaking the LF-LC for just another sports coupe.
But Lexus promises the LF-LC is anything but, offering “a rewarding driving experience that is also kinder to the environment.”
Given that the Lexus LF-LF Concept Hybrid was born at Lexus Caltry design studio in Newport Beach, California, we’re also not surprised that the LF-LC features a full panoramic glass roof, enabling occupants to worship the sunlight without the negative effects of open-top driving.
That’s not all, we also love the concept’s 12.3-inch LCD screens, center touch-screen control board and fully digital dash. In this concept, Lexus has managed to combine premium luxury with the latest in tech chic without overwhelming driver or passengers.
Sadly, Lexus has no plans to bring the LF-LC to market, but we still think it’s one impressive car that proves without a shadow of doubt, that hybrids are finally sexy.
Now, to put that in perspective just a bit, the Prius actually debuted eleven years ago, so it’s taken a while to gain traction. In amazing news, however, more than ninety-seven percent of the Prius vehicles sold since 2000 are actually still on the road today!
What does that prove? well, firstly it proves that there really are millions of people who would want to by a hybrid or electric vehicle (and that number is growing, globally). it also proves that the Prius is just as durable and reliable as a conventional car.
Here’s another statistic that you’ll love: Since 2000, the Prius being on the road has saved 881 million gallons of gas and 12.4 million tons of CO2 emissions.
And while the Prius is the grand-daddy of electric cars, it’s not your only option. Remember that there is, of course, the Nissan Leaf as well as the Urbee and a whole slew of new and exciting non-fossil fuel or reduced fossil-fuel vehicles.
Though, surprisingly, some of the most eco friendly vehicles available today in terms of total impact on the planet are neither hybrid nor electric vehicles. In fact, before you make your next purchasing decision on a car, you may want to think about things from a complete three hundred and sixty degree perspective.
And if you’re not in a position to go buy a new hybrid or electric car right now, there are ways that you can make your existing non-hybrid car more eco friendly!
Now that you’re done reading up on eco friendly car choices, take a moment to like tiny Green Bubble on Facebook for more hybrid and electric vehicle updates.