Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fantastic $36,000 Lexus Hybrid Outdrives Prius: Monish.P.M

Fantastic $36,000 Lexus Hybrid Outdrives Prius: Monish.p.m

It may be a Lexus, but you can’t call it luxurious.
Lexus’s five-door, hybrid hatchback, the CT 200h suffers from an identity crisis. No wonder, given its two distinct personalities.
When many people think of a hybrid they picture the Prius. The car nearly constitutes its own brand -- you hardly have to mention that it comes from the Toyota Motor Company. The Prius stands for an age of pragmatism where technology rules over passion.
Nobody would call the Prius a joyful ride; rather its appeal comes from beating the average fuel mileage of 51 city, 48 highway. Consider it an extremely well-executed appliance. (New Prius models are coming, including a bigger wagon version, the V, and an all-electric plug-in.)
Toyota also owns Lexus, whose customers tend to relish their luxury. Vehicles like the $113,000 LS Hybrid sedan focus on indulgence -- the thrill of driving is secondary to the feel of leather. It even has an automated system that helps parallel park the car.
Which makes the 200h all the more confounding. It falls well short of prestige, yet drives way better than a Prius. The 200h’s base price is $29,995, making it the least expensive Lexus. As tested, my Premium model, with options, was $36,725.
Yet I’ve seen Lego sets with less plastic inside, and I was underwhelmed by the busy exterior. While the designers eschewed the weird hump-back of the Prius, they substituted a number of bulges, creases and sloping angles, especially in the rear. Part boy racer, part European hatch. Not so pretty.

Street Wars

Gas mileage falls short of the Prius, but is still fairly fantastic at 43 city, 40 highway. Using the same technology as the Prius, the CT is a full hybrid and can drive up to a mile on battery power alone, without the gas engine switching on.
The 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and electric drive motor have a combined 134 horsepower. Drivers can choose just how fully or thriftily to dole out that power, selecting drive modes of EV, eco, normal and sport. Since all the systems are handled electronically, throttle response is dictated by that selection.
The all-battery setting, or EV mode, mostly thwarted me. Even in city driving, I over-accelerated beyond its 28-mph threshold, which kicks the gasoline engine back on. Eco mode slows everything down, allowing only tepid response from the gas pedal.
I imagine this would work quite well around a sleepy island like Martha’s Vineyard off-season, but on the isle of Manhattan it means you’ll be overtaken and boxed out. It’s war out there.

Power Punch

Normal mode suffices. In sport mode, however, the electric motor lends an extra power punch off the line. Which is when the 200h suddenly becomes a bit more interesting -- and perplexing.
Sure, it takes almost 10 seconds to attain 60 mph, so this little hatch isn’t fast, but it pops off the line easily. It’s got a small footprint in every sense, making it easy to flit through traffic and swing into tight parking spaces.
The Mini Cooper rules supreme to many urban dwellers, but the fact that I averaged more than 40 mph, even in the densest traffic, gave the 200h an edge. Around town, it’s almost deceitfully sporty.
(If you want to be less sneaky, you can opt for the F Sport package, which doesn’t improve speed per se, but gets revised suspension tuning, dark alloy wheels and a bigger rear spoiler.)

Plastic Dash

Steering is good, with an appropriate sense of heft at highway speeds and lightness while pulling out of parking spots. The brakes are regenerative, meaning they recapture kinetic energy, but Lexus has made them feel confident and, well, normal.
The $1,100 premium audio package, with 10 speakers, made a pleasure of dawdling in traffic, and the leather seats are the most comfortable I’ve experienced since my all-time-favorite, the buckets in the BMW 7 Series.
Which is where things start unraveling. The interior is otherwise just not up to Lexus quality standards. Most of the dashboard and door siding are the hard plastic you’d find on any economy box -- making the lovely leather-wrapped steering wheel seem out of place.
The center console is overly busy, with a raft of buttons, dials and the small drive selector. The mouse-like controller that operates the navigation system looks like it was glued onto the console.
The navigation screen itself is small with fuzzy graphics. Systems on the latest Kia and Hyundai models are nicer -- and many of those cars are less expensive. Bringing us to the gas mileage. Hyundai has four models that are getting 40 mpg, only one of which is a hybrid.
The CT’s rear seats are tiny and the luggage space scant. I wouldn’t dare invite three friends on a long drive for fear of whining.
On Manhattan streets, though, I’d ditch the Mini Cooper for this ultimate urban runabout.

The 2011 Lexus CT 200h At a Glance

Engine: 1.8-liter four-cylinder and electric drive motor
with combined 134 horsepower.
Transmission: Continuously variable.
Speed: 0 to 60 mph in 9.8 seconds.
Gas mileage per gallon: 43 city; 40 highway.
Price as tested: $36,725.
Best feature: Surprise! It’s sporty.
Worst feature: Short on Lexus luxury; big on plastic.
Target buyer: The urbanite who needs a runabout.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Peugeot to bring hybrid car to China

Peugeot to bring hybrid car to China

Keep your eyes on this year’s Shanghai Motor Show, where Peugeot will offer the world premiere of a petrol hybrid concept crossover.

The vehicle was developed by the China Tech Centre in Shanghai and will sit alongside the launch of a new Peugeot 508 for the Chinese market. Peugeot is aiming to introduce at least one new model per year in China over the coming years as it looks to rubber-stamp its presence in the country.

According to Peugeot, the launch of the 508 in the Chinese market is important for a number of reasons.
Firstly, one in every two 508 saloon cars will be manufactured and sold in China for a provisional sales volume of 65,000 units in the country over a full year; and secondly, it contributes to Peugeot’s global strategy of enhancing both its model range and quality after launching the Peugeot 3008 in the country and delivering the Peugeot RCZ on May 20.

Now Peugeot has set an ambitious goal of selling 200,000 cars in China this year.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Some Facts About Hybrid Cars In The Early Twenty-First Century

Some Facts About Hybrid Cars In The Early Twenty-First Century

You would almost certainly be surprised to hear that hybrid cars have been with us since the very earliest days of automotive history, but you will not be astonished to be told that the technology has come on in leaps and bounds for the last ten years. In fact, the technology in hybrid cars has reached the level where fuel consumption in a hybrid can be half that of in a conventional internal combustion engine only car.

Half or even less than half under some circumstances like driving in town, especially in heavy traffic. In fact, while a hybrid is either cruising on electric or stopping and starting in thick traffic, there will be no consumption of petrol or diesel whatsoever, which means that you are driving ‘without cost’.
I put without cost in parentheses because a hybrid vehicle is still considerably dearer than a car with a traditional engine. However, even given the added price of a hybrid vehicle, you can save that excess cost over the average life time of the vehicle because of the saving on fuel. Obviously, the higher the cost of fuel, the sooner you will recover your extra initial outlay on the cost of the hybrid.

Perhaps you are thinking that hybrid vehicle manufacturers are profiteering on the backs of car drivers who would like to do their bit for the environment. Well, you would not be alone in thinking that, yet the cost of developing hybrid technology was and still is costly and someone has to account it.
That is you and me, the end-users. Well, that is standard, but in some countries, the government has stepped in to subsidize individuals who purchase a hybrid vehicle, because governments all over the world are under an oath to reduce their country’s carbon footprint.
That means that now is as good a time as any to buy a hybrid vehicle.
There are other reasons why a hybrid is costly though. The hybrid actually has two engines. A hybrid has a traditional engine run on traditional fuels, yet it also has an electric engine which runs off costly batteries. It is not that you have to replace the batteries as with a radio. The batteries are costly because they are very heavy duty rechargeable units.
The technology for recharging these batteries is also ground-breaking. The car uses traditional alternators to recharge them but it also uses braking power to recharge them too. Not just that but the car’s on board computer switches between the two motors automatically, depending on the quantity of power that is needed by the driver.
Keep an eye on the hybrid car market because prices are declining and together with subsidies, the time to buy a hybrid car might come sooner than you imagine.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Honda recalls 37,000 Civic Hybrid cars in US

Honda recalls 37,000 Civic Hybrid cars in US

In the latest defect recall to hit Japanese automakers, Honda said Thursday it will recall nearly 37,000 Civic Hybrids in the United States.Honda said a faulty converter in the hybrid control system could lead to the engine stalling and malfunction of the headlights.
No injuries or accidents have been reported in relation to the problem, which affects 2006 and 2007 models.
It comes two weeks after Honda said it was recalling nearly 700,000 vehicles worldwide due to defective parts that could stall the engine and cause problems restarting in certain models.
Honda has now recalled more than four million vehicles since February 2010 over a range of different issues, while Nissan has pulled around 3.5 million in the same period.
Toyota became mired in crisis when it recalled nearly nine million vehicles between late 2009 and February last year due to brake and accelerator defects linked to deadly accidents that tarnished its image of reliability.
As criticism mounted of its slow response and bureaucratic inflexibility, Toyota tightened its recall policy and has pulled around 16 million units since late 2009 over a range of issues.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

'Air hybrid' cars would be cheaper than electric hybrids, claims researcher

'Air hybrid' cars would be cheaper than electric hybrids, claims researcher

Storing energy as compressed air rather than in batteries would reduce the cost of green hybrid cars, say researchers in Sweden
Electric cars and electric hybrid cars already make use of brake energy to power a generator that charges the batteries. However, according to Per Tunestål, a researcher in Combustion Engines at Lund University in Sweden, air hybrids, or pneumatic hybrids as they are also known, would be much cheaper to manufacture.
"The technology is fully realistic. I was recently contacted by a vehicle manufacturer in India which wanted to start making air hybrids," he says.
The technology is particularly attractive for jerky and slow driving, for example for buses in urban traffic.
"My simulations show that buses in cities could reduce their fuel consumption by 60%," says Sasa Trajkovic, a doctoral student in Combustion Engines at Lund University who recently defended a thesis on the subject.
Trajkovic also calculated that 48% of the brake energy, which is compressed and saved in a small air tank connected to the engine, could be reused later. This means that the degree of reuse for air hybrids could match that of today's electric hybrids. The engine does not require any expensive materials and is therefore cheap to manufacture. It also takes up much less space than an electric hybrid engine. The method works with petrol, natural gas and diesel.
The idea of air hybrids was initially hit upon by Ford in the 1990s, but the American car company quickly shelved the plans because it lacked the necessary technology to move forward with the project. Today, research on air hybrids is conducted at ETH in Switzerland, Orléans in France and Lund University in Sweden. One company that intends to invest in engines with air hybrid technology is the American Scuderi. However, their only results so far have been from simulations, not from experiments.
"This is the first time anyone has done experiments in an actual engine," says Trajkovic. "The research so far has only been theoretical. In addition, we have used data that means we get credible driving cycle results, for example data from the driving patterns of buses in New York."
The researchers in Lund hope that the next step will be to convert their research results from a single cylinder to a complete, multi-cylinder engine. They would thus be able to move the concept one step closer to a real vehicle.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hybrid Cars are Charging their Batteries for Another Big Jump

Hybrid Cars are Charging their Batteries for Another Big Jump

As many of us have seen in recent weeks, the price of gasoline has continued to rise. Reminders of the 2007 crisis are popping up across the United States. Wednesday February 23, 2011 marked the first time the price of oil hit $100 dollars a barrel since 2008. This upsurge in price is largely due to civil unrest in the home country of the United States’ main oil contract with Nymex, based in Libya.
The rise in Nymex futures disrupts a gasoline market that had somewhat stabilized since the dramatic days of $5 a gallon. A positive result of past high gas prices was that many people made the switch to alternative energy vehicles. However, since the prices have decreased and stabilized, it seems that most are feeling comfortable staying with their current gas-guzzler. The return of higher gas prices may yield a shift back to energy conscious vehicles.

Since their introduction into the market, hybrid vehicle sales have showed a strong correlation to the price of gas. In early 2007 when gas prices reached over $3 a barrel, hybrid sales saw a dramatic increase as well. This increase continued until gas prices began drop in 2008. Finally, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 2009 the average price per gallon was $2.35 in 2009.

As gas prices fell so did the sale of Hybrid cars. According to Ward’s Automotive Yearbook, 2009 Hybrid sales were down close to 20% since their 2007 peak. These sales numbers, while still good, reflect a direct correlation to the prices of gasoline. That being said, it is also important to point out that the struggling economy, along with other factors influenced the sales of hybrids.

However, these are different economic times. The economy is recovering and gas prices are projected to continue to rise. The Energy Information Association (EIA) is projecting the price of WTI crude oil to average about $93 per barrel in 2011, which is $14 higher than last year. To put that into perspective, EIA’s 2011 per gallon projection averages around $3.15, 37 cents higher than 2010.

With the average in 2012 continuing its climb up to $3.20 cent per gallon and the economy on the upswing, it seems that Hybrids are poised for another surge.
Despite their efficiency, Hybrids are not the only alternative energy source vehicles on the market. Cars like the Chevy Volt, are utilizing technology to produce an incredibly cleaner automobile. In the coming years new models of electric cars will be introduced into the market and may even out-sell the hybrids.

We all know the environmental importance of these vehicles. Hybrid cars can reduce harmful emissions by 90% of a normal vehicle. Electric vehicles reduce harmful emissions by 100%. Not only will this help the environment, but also it will help reduce our nations dependence on foreign oil. As gas prices rise, whether you are trying to save the planet or save some money, alternative energy vehicles are here to stay.


Monday, February 21, 2011

BMW launches new electric/hybrid brand

BMW launches new electric/hybrid brand
The German luxury carmaker BMW unveiled on Monday its long-awaited new brand, BMW i, with two new models to be equipped with electric and hybrid drive systems from 2013.
The group is also creating a venture capital unit to offer mobility services such as car sharing and navigation systems.
"This is BMW i - Born Electric," a statement quoted sales director Ian Robertson as saying as the group presented the BMW i3 electric car for city use and the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid for those seeking a more powerful vehicle.
The group added that it had created a New York-based venture capital unit to "significantly expand its range of mobility services over the years ahead," with an initial investment that is to total $100 million (73 million euros).
The vehicles are to be built at BMW's plant in Leipzig, eastern Germany, which will benefit from an investment of 400 million euros and create 800 jobs, the statement said.
Auto analysts said the company announced little that was completely new, but were interested in BMW's marketing strategy and the combination of an electric powertrain, aluminum chassis and carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) body.
BMW said in November that it would invest more than 500 million euros with a new partner, SGL Carbon, to launch the lightweight i3 city car.
"The decisive point will be the price," which was not revealed, said auto expert Stefan Bratzel from the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, western Germany.
"If it is too expensive it won't be a big success I would say," he told AFP.
BMW i Ventures will work with the mobile telephone application My City Way meanwhile to provide services such as car-sharing, route planning and local information like the location of parking places.
"Mobility requirements are changing in rapidly expanding megacities," Robertson explained.
The initial roll-out is planned for 40 US cities and 40 others worldwide, including BMW's home of Munich, southern Germany.
Christophe Stuermer at IHS Global Insight called this "the big field of experimenting and guesswork that the auto industry is working on at the moment."
He also noted that "there seems to be a strategy behind the fact that they (BMW) are making the sub-brand so weak, a single letter."
"They want to set it apart just a little bit," but "at the same time, will make sure that the BMW umbrella brand is always mentioned," Stuermer noted.
BMW already has a premium line of small cars in its Mini brand, and the IHS analyst said the new brand will "certainly be a challenge communications-wise for the Mini people," who could well incorporate electric systems in the future.
BMW will face a lot of competition with experience in the electric and hybrid car market, as Nissan of Japan is set to introduce its Leaf model in December.
Nissan's French partner Renault is to sell the Zoe version from mid-2012, while Peugeot-Citroen are betting clients will go for a long-term rental scheme offered with their Ion and C-Zero models.
Daimler plans to launch an electric Smart ForTwo car in Europe early next year and is working with the Chinese company Build Your Dreams (BYD) on a concept for the Chinese market.
VW, the biggest European carmaker is gearing up for the launch of an electric Golf and is also working on several hybrid models.
Chevrolet's Volt model is already on the road, as is the Toyota Prius, the first widely distributed hybrid vehicle.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

New full hybrid model of Porsche’s coming at Geneva Motor Show

 New full hybrid model of  Porsche’s coming at Geneva Motor Show

Statement from Porsche indicates they are in the process of building a hybrid vehicle that would mark a bold new step for the company into the eco-friendly segment of cars and would conform to the “Porsche Intelligent Performance” philosophy. Details about the car are quite less as the company is not letting much of it out at the moment. The only fact that has been obtained is that the car would be in line with the Cannyne S Hybrid which was a successful model indeed.
It seems most probable that the car would be a hybrid version of the Panamera four door coupe which had been discussed in late January. That was the time that Porsche had announced their lookout for a diesel powered Cayenne for the US and that it would be followed by a diesel and gasoline electric hybrid Panamera variant as well.
It can therefore be derived that the Hybrid would have a similar power unit like the SUV which is a combination of a 3.0 liter supercharged V6 gasoline engine that delivers 333 HP along with a 47 HP or 34 Kw electric motor. The combined power output would then be 380 HP or 279 KW and 580 Nm or 428 Lb-ft of peak torque.
There would also be the 918 RSR hybrid racing car concept and hardcore Cayman R up on display at the Geneva Motor Show event as well as the 911 Black Edition and Boxster S Black Edition which are all recent introduction models.

 New full hybrid model of  Porsche’s coming at Geneva Motor Show

Sunday, February 13, 2011

U.S. Army Displays Hybrid Combat Vehicles at Chicago Auto Show

U.S. Army Displays Hybrid Combat Vehicles at Chicago Auto Show
Two hybrid-powered combat vehicles that offer both fuel economy and stealth are on display at the U.S. Army booth at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show, which opened its 10-day run today.
The Quantum Technologies Clandestine Extended Range Vehicle, CERV, and the Future Tactical Truck System, FTTS, represent the Army's next generation joint light tactical vehicles and high performance light duty off-road hybrid trucks.
Capable of carrying three soldiers with gear, the CERV will be used for special operations-type missions requiring stealth, reconnaissance, surveillance, targeting, search and rescue, and field rescues.
With a second generation advanced all-wheel-drive diesel hybrid electric power-train, designers say the CERV reduces fuel consumption by 25 percent, thus reducing the number of resupply vehicles needed during military operations.
Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc., a publicly traded company based in Irvine, California, said Wednesday that the CERV's Q-Force hybrid drive system has been optimized for use with an efficient diesel (JP8) engine.
The CERV has a 600-mile driving range using the external fuel tanks and has a maximum towing capacity of up to 5,000 pounds.
The combat vehicle is configured to maintain speeds of 80 miles per hour (129 km/h), climb 60 percent grades, ford 30 inches (76 centimeters) of water, and perform other unique military requirements - all while using up to 25 percent less fuel than conventional vehicles of comparable size.

Quantum's portfolio of technologies includes electronic controls, hybrid electric drive systems, hydrogen storage and metering systems, and alternative fuel technologies that enable fuel efficient, low emission hybrid, plug-in hybrid electric, fuel cell, and natural gas and aerospace vehicles.
The hybrid Future Tactical Truck System was designed to replace the existing wheeled vehicle fleet that proved unable to keep up with current combat operational tempo due to its cumbersome logistical footprint, poor deployability in C-130 aircraft and poor fuel economy, the Army said in a statement Thursday.
Foremost in the design of the FTTS was fuel efficiency, since experts determined that 70 percent of battlefield logistics involves providing fuel.
Fuel can cost run from $30 per gallon when delivered by truck and up to $400 a gallon when delivered by helicopters, the Army said. The FTTS's hybrid-electric power train doubles the driving range of existing vehicles from 300 to 600 miles.
The new Army trucks also will decrease the number of vehicles required to move cargo, equipment and personnel. Fewer trucks means fewer mechanics are needed and fewer tools are required since the advanced software and sensors of the Future Tactical Truck System enhances its reliability. In addition to these military hybrids, 27 hybrid cars built for civilians are on display at the Chicago Auto Show. Some allow the vehicle to be driven for short distances on electric power alone and others use the electric motor as an assist to make the gas engine more efficient.
Four battery powered vehicles are on the floor - the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan LEAF - as well as two new electrics from Ford.
The Ford Transit Connect Electric is a front-wheel drive van powered by a 74-horsepower electric motor and a 28-kilowatt-hour battery pack. Ford claims a range of 80 miles (50 km), a top speed of 75 mph (120 kph), and a charge time of six to eight hours on a 240-volt circuit.
The Ford 2012 Focus Electric is also on view although not yet on sale at dealerships. This electric car is set to be launched in 19 markets in late 2011. With a 100 mile range, the top speed will be 84 mph (136 kph). A full recharge using a 240 volt charger will only take three to four hours, about half the time it takes to charge the Nissan LEAF.
This year marks the 103rd edition of the Chicago Auto Show. First staged in 1901, the Chicago Auto Show is the largest auto show in North America and has been held more times than any other auto exposition on the continent.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Air hybrid vehicles could halve fuel consumption in future

Air hybrid vehicles could halve fuel consumption in future
Researchers in Sweden are exploring air hybrid automobiles as possible alternatives to electric hybrid cars, claiming they could halve fuel consumption by using the energy generated from vehicle brakes.
The new system saves the energy in the form of compressed air, which can then provide extra power to the engine when the car is started.
While electric cars and electric hybrid cars already make use of brake energy to power a generator that charges the batteries, Per Tunestal, a Lund University researcher, said that his ‘air hybrids’ would be much cheaper to manufacture.
“The technology is fully realistic. I was recently contacted by a vehicle manufacturer in India which wanted to start making air hybrids,” said Tunestal.
The technology is particularly suitable for jerky and slow driving, such as buses in urban traffic.
Simulations have shown it can cut buses' fuel consumption in urban areas by up to 60%.
The researchers also calculated that 48% of the brake energy, which is compressed and saved in a small air tank connected to the engine, could be reused later.
They said the engine would take up much less space than an electric hybrid engine, and would work with petrol, natural gas and diesel.
The Lund researchers have worked with the Swedish company Cargine, which supplies valve control systems.
Ford initially hit upon the idea of air hybrids in the 1990s, but the American car company quickly shelved the plans because it lacked the necessary technology to move forward with the project.
“This is the first time anyone has done experiments in an actual engine. The research so far has only been theoretical. In addition, we have used data that means we get credible driving cycle results, for example data from the driving patterns of buses in New York,” said doctoral student Sasa Trajkovic.
The next step is to progress from a single cylinder to a complete, multi-cylinder engine, moving the design closer to a real vehicle.
Air hybrid vehicles could halve fuel consumption in future

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Toyota Said to Build New Compact Hybrid Model at New Northern Japan Plant

Toyota Said to Build New Compact Hybrid Model at New Northern Japan Plant

Toyota Motor Corp. will build a new compact hybrid model at a plant in northern Japan as it reorganizes domestic production, a person familiar with the company’s plans said.
Central Motor Co., an assembly unit of Toyota, will produce the model at a plant in Ohira, Miyagi prefecture, according to the person, who declined to be identified as the plans are private. The carmaker showed a compact version of the Prius hybrid at the Detroit auto show last month.
The automaker, based in Toyota City, is shifting production from its main manufacturing area as the strong yen hurts earnings from exports. Lower labor costs relative to Aichi prefecture, Toyota’s primary domestic production hub, and a nearby port may make Miyagi, about 370 kilometers (230 miles) north of Tokyo, more attractive for exports.
Toyota spokesman Keisuke Kirimoto declined to comment on whether the company will build hybrids in Miyagi.
Toyota plans to begin selling a “city-centric” compact version of the Prius hybrid in the U.S. in the first half of next year. The car was first shown as the Prius c concept model at the Detroit auto show last month.
President Akio Toyoda has said the company will maintain domestic production of about 3 million cars. Toyota built 3.2 million cars in Japan last fiscal year out of 7.3 million units worldwide.
While cars may eventually be shipped out of the Port of Sendai, which is 28 kilometers from the Ohira plant, they will be exported from the Port of Nagoya in Aichi until production reaches sufficient volume, the person familiar with Toyota’s plans said.

Toyota Said to Build New Compact Hybrid Model at New Northern Japan Plant

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Volkswagen Up to Get Diesel Hybrid from XL1 Concept, Target 95-MPG

Volkswagen Up to Get Diesel Hybrid from XL1 Concept, Target 95-MPG

At the recent Qatar Motor Show, Volkswagen proudly showed off the XL1 Prototype, which according to its maker can manage 260-mpg. While the XL1 might not be headed to production per say, VW is working on a more conventional car that will cost only pennies to run.

The Up mini-car concept has been around for a few years already and it seems that a production version is about to get launched. According to reports, the Up e-motion will get the same powertrain as the XL1 Prototype, but since it is a bigger vehicle, will manage a much more modest 95-mpg. The powertrain in question is a 0.8-liter, two-cylinder diesel motor which produces just 47-hp. However, a 26-hp electric motor will also kick in to give the car extra performance while also allowing it to give better mileage. While most hybrids make use of a CVT gearbox, the Up will get a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The exact specifications are being kept under wraps by VW, but expect to see this model get the official unveiling at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.
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Jamaicans slow to plug in

Jamaicans slow to plug in

Even with skyrocketing fuel prices and the acknowledgement of the need for cheaper and renewable alternative energy sources, most Jamaicans are not warming up to the idea of owning hybrids or electric cars.
"They [hybrids and electric cars] are indeed better for the environment as they reduce environmental pollution, but Jamaicans, like most people, are afraid of the unknown," said Claudia Goldson-Rae, former race-car driver. "They [Jamaicans] would have to see how the cars operate over a long period before becoming interested."
Goldson-Rae - the first female to take the chequered flag at Dover Raceway, St Ann, at the opening of the venue in 1989 - said despite the snail's pace at which motorists generally tend to think about such vehicles, she feels the 'plug-ins' could eventually make their way on the racing circuit.
Promotion is key
"That would have to happen with proper promotion," she said. "If one of the well-known racers, such as a David Summerbell or a Peter Rae, decided to become the spokesman for the cause. That's when the racing public would begin to take notice."
Corporate Area gas retailer Donovan G. Brown said while the environmental benefits of hybrids and electric cars are well known, the cost to set up the 'plug-ins' would be a hurdle.
"There are a lot of things to consider as recharging stations at the fuel outlets and at home would be costly to set up," said the proprietor of LG Brown Service Station. "In addition, the costs associated with the importation of the vehicles would be great."
However, importers of Toyota's flagship hybrid vehicle, Prius, said prospective owners receive huge discounts.
"Buyers of the Prius receive a 63 per cent off the usual duty rates," said Tom Conner, parts manager at the Spanish Town Road-based Toyota Jamaica Ltd.
Conner said so far his company has sold four units and the persons who have bought them are quite knowledgeable about them.
"The 2011 Prius comes well appointed and costs $4.5 million," Conner said. He said, however, more basic units would be arriving in the island soon.
"The fact that it operates on both fuel and electric means the savings are enormous." The parts manager explained that a Prius owner who lives in Mandeville drove to Negril, on to Montego Bay, then to Port Antonio and back to Mandeville and still had fuel in his car.
Twenty-year taxi operator Paul Allen said he was not opposed to trying the hybrids or electric cars.
"I would try them," he said. "But this does not mean I would trade in my '95 Toyota Sprinter for them.
"Remember, we're used to regular things. We would have to see it work. But I would try it," he added.

Jamaicans slow to plug in

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hybrids add buzz to St. Louis Auto Show

Hybrids add buzz to St. Louis Auto Show 

Sure, those sleek, sporty Corvettes drew second looks and the row of Camaros were magnets for muscle-car aficionados who strolled through Chevrolet's display space at the St. Louis Auto Show. But just as many car enthusiasts — if not more — gathered midday Thursday around the $41,000 Chevy Volt, the automaker's new entry into the electric car market. With a $7,500 federal tax credit, the car begins to approach affordability for consumers looking to shed their own oil dependence.
"It's been overwhelming," said Tricia Opper, a Chevrolet product specialist.
Within the next year or so, St. Louis can expect to see at least two electric vehicles — the Volt and the Nissan Leaf, which has a suggested list price of $25,280 to $26,580 after the tax credit. Chevrolet and Nissan have 2011 models of their electric cars on display at the auto show.
Attendees can get behind the wheel of a Volt — or a handful of hybrids — this week at the EcoCity area inside America's Center. EcoCity features a small track and other environmental-friendly booths.
Larry Kinder of Lily Pad EV of Overland Park, Kan., said his company is the Kansas and Missouri distributor of Coulomb Electric Vehicle Charging Stations, which the company hopes will serve future electric car owners.
"These charging stations will just become furniture in parking lots, along the street, on light poles, shopping centers, theaters, restaurants, in parking garages," Kinder said. "Everybody will charge at home at night. They'll drive to work, plug in. Drive to shopping centers, plug in. And off they go."
Kinder, who is on a list to get one of the first Nissan Leafs in Kansas City, possibly by this summer, said the demand for electric cars is being fed by an auto industry trying to claw its way out of a slump and the heavier emphasis on sustainability and oil independence.
Other automakers are getting their electrics to market, too, he said. An electric Ford Focus will debut later this year, and Toyota will have a plug-in Prius and Rav4.
Karl Brauer, senior analyst said the rush to meet higher fuel-efficiency requirements has spawned research and development in electric and hybrid cars. Soaring gas prices woke people up as well, Brauer said in an telephone interview. Despite the noise around hybrids and electrics, he said, domestic sales of perennial favorite trucks and SUVs have surged dramatically in the past six months.
Ron Jackson of unincorporated St. Louis County drove the Chevy Volt two laps around the EcoCity track and was impressed with the ride. But he won't likely buy one.
"There are only two reasons I wouldn't do it," Jackson said "It's very expensive. You start in at $41,000 before you do anything to it. And the second thing is I am a Harley rider, and I tow my Harley. You cannot tow with it."
Nissan officials were busy answering consumer questions about the 2011 Leaf on Thursday during the first day of the show. Most wanted to know about the charging system and the battery range, said Aric Shimkus, a Nissan representative, who predicted the Leaf will begin appearing in St. Louis by early 2012.
The distance a car can roam before recharging its lithium ion battery varies, he said, and can reach 130 miles.
Chris Adelmann, executive vice president of the St. Louis Auto Dealers Association and the auto show, said eco-friendly driving is a distinct industry trend.
"Is the market out there right now in St Louis? No," Adelmann said. "Because they don't have the charging stations set up yet. Now they are working on getting those put in businesses and stuff like that so people can start buying cars like the Volt and the Nissan Leaf and some of the others that are coming out."
About 400,000 people attend the auto show each year, Adelmann said, and he expects attendance to exceed that this year with the first year of the EcoCity.
He predicted many will want to see the 2011 Bugatti Veyron on display. The $2.5 million supersport is capable of reaching a top speed of 267 mph.
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Electric car that can be recharged by pedal power

Electric car that can be recharged by pedal power

Chinese engineers have developed China's first "human-electric" hybrid vehicle , allowing userstocharge it by pedalling as they drive along . The vehicle , developed by researchers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University , can carry two people and luggage .

Pedal energy is reclaimed and charges the battery . It can be driven in electric-only mode or pedal plus electric power , Shanghai Daily reported . Unlike existing Twike electric cars in operation in Europe , the vehicle can be recharged anytime as it has an "intelligent battery" .

>Twike drivers can only recharge the vehicle through braking or moving down a slope . The intelligent battery , developed in Shanghai , also allows users to gauge consumption . "If drivers are stuck in a traffic jam with the air-conditioning on , their car would soon run out of power ," Jay Lee, President of the Advanced Industrial Technology Research Institute was quoted as saying . 

Electric car that can be recharged by pedal power

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Porsche 918 RSR To Promote Virtues of Hybrids

Porsche 918 RSR To Promote Virtues of Hybrids
According to Porsche's head of Motorsport, Hartmut Kristen, the 918 RSR will be as much a marketing tool as a technological test bed.

"A Porsche is about emotion and passion," he told Inside Line. "We want to get our customers excited about the possibilities provided by hybrid technology. Until now, the Toyota Prius was the hybrid, and we need to change perceptions. In the long term we have to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. This is not just about climate change; it's also about protecting the world's oil reserves."
Porsche is currently developing two hybrids: a Prius-style battery system for use in road cars and a flywheel accumulator solution for racing. The former will be used in the 918 Spyder supercar, which will debut next year. The latter, developed in association with the Williams F1 team, debuted on the 911 GT3 R Hybrid and features in the 918 RSR.
"A flywheel solution works in a racecar because of the highly dynamic driving conditions," says Kristen. "You're collecting and discharging energy in fractions of a second. The flywheel allows us to collect more kinetic energy than a battery but you need to keep a pump running to maintain a vacuum in the system if you want to retain the energy, so it's not a good solution for the road."

According to Kristen, the main issue is not how you store the energy, but how you discharge it. "We're trying to learn as much as possible about how you merge two different power systems together. We need to develop the controls and systems to make the best use of the technology. Porsche is not about making components; our core competency is building cars but we need to understand what we need from the components we source."
The 918 RSR is currently a showcar and is not fully functional. Nor would it currently comply with the regulations for any of the major sports car series. "We wanted to excite our customers and to raise the appetite of the regulation makers for changing the rules," says Kristen.
One potential solution would be to introduce a one-make championship for the 911 GT3 R Hybrid or the 918. "The technology is currently too young and expensive," reckons Kristen, "but in the future it might be feasible. It is possible to imagine a Porsche Supercup series being run with hybrid cars."

Porsche 918 RSR To Promote Virtues of Hybrids
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Porsche 918 RSR debuts at 2011 NAIAS

Porsche 918 RSR debuts at 2011 NAIAS

After being absent from the Detroit Auto Show for the past four years Porsche has come back with a vengeance unveiling one of the baddest hybrid racecars in existence!

The Porsche 918 RSR has an ultra light weight carbon fiber-reinforced plastic monocoque exterior, minimalistic highly functional interior.... and a flywheel accumulator. What the heck is a flywheel accumulator you may ask? This high tech device is positioned next to the driver's seat and collects energy when the car breaks. This energy can then in turn be converted to a 160 HP burst of speed with the touch of a button! Coupled together with the 563 horsepower V8 engine there are two front wheel drive electric motors powered by the flywheel accumulator that produce an unbelievable total of 767 horsepower!

The flywheel accumulator technology first appeared on Porsche's 911 GT3 R Hybrid. The device gains its charge when the two electric motors on the front axle reverse their function during the braking processes and operate as generators. The driver can then unleash the stored power by simply pressing a button! Now that's hybrid technology put to a good use.

If you can, come down to Cobo Hall in Detroit, Michigan to get a first had look at the Porsche 918 RSR in person.You can check the photos here too

Porsche 918 RSR debuts at 2011 NAIAS

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First Images: Toyota Unveils Entire Line of Prius Hybrids

First Images: Toyota Unveils Entire Line of Prius Hybrids

After years of study and speculation, Toyota today unveiled two new Prius vehicles at the 2011 Detroit auto show. By the time all the curtains were opened, four Prius models were displayed on stage: the familiar 50-mpg hatchback model; the Prius plug-in demo version with the same shape; a new larger model that goes on sale this year; and a small city concept Prius that promises to offer the best price and highest mpg of any hybrid on the market.

"The Prius V, which stands for versatility, looks a lot like a Prius, but it has an extended roofline, giving it nearly 60 percent more cargo room than the existing Prius," said Doug Coleman, Toyota's Prius product manager, in an interview with "That's more than many small SUVs." Coleman said that Toyota has been studying the idea of a larger Prius for a number of years, and decided that it was the right time to introduce the model.

Toyota estimates that the Prius V will be rated at 42 mpg in the city, and 38 on the highway. The powertrain for the Prius V is nearly identical to the one used in the current Prius model. Prius V features will include a panoramic moonroof and Toyota's new Entune multimedia system.

"Consumers have told Toyota that they love the idea of the Prius-high fuel-efficiency, low emissions, advanced technology-but the vehicle selling today doesn't fit their lifestyle and needs," Coleman said. These consumers want more versatility, comfort and luxury. The final product is a segment-buster that has been difficult to describe by consumers in Toyota research. "They were perplexed. Some called it a wagon. Some called it a crossover. Some called it a hatchback. We said it's really not any of those things." Coleman said the EPA is going to classify it as a midsize station wagon. "That doesn't do it justice. It's not a crossover, because it doesn't have a high enough ride. And it's not a minivan certainly, because it's not going to have sliding doors. It has seating for five."

Does this mean that Toyota will not build a full-size hybrid minivan in the future? Not at all, according to Coleman. "We're not there." Coleman said Toyota continues to study how to address the engineering challenge of building a hybrid minivan with the features, cost, and convenience that consumers say they want. He showed interest in Ford's announcement in Detroit about its upcoming C-Max hybrid and plug-in microvan.

Coming Soon: The World's First Compact Hybrid

Toyota will follow its push of the Prius model to a larger more spacious format in the other smaller direction with a compact hybrid. "The Prius C concept is an inspiration for us to build a future vehicle coming in the first half of 2012 that would be the most value-oriented vehicle of the Prius family, and have the highest mileage of any cordless hybrid," Coleman said. He said it will be oriented toward young singles and couples, but more maneuverable and affordable.

First Images: Toyota Unveils Entire Line of Prius Hybrids

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Monday, January 10, 2011

2012 Honda Civic Concepts Revealed In Detroit

2012 Honda Civic Concepts Revealed In Detroit

We have not been hearing much exciting news from Honda this past couple of years mainly because they were kinda overshadowed by the dominating Korean brands, and also becasue they didn’t make a single amazing car recently! But they’re coming back fighting with the new generation Civic Coupe and Sedan previewed here.

At 2011 NAIAS the Japanese car maker revealed near production versions of Honda Civic Si Concept coupe and Civic Concept sedan, providing the first official glimpse at the styling direction of the all-new, ninth-generation 2012 model set to go on sale in spring 2011. Both cars has the same familiar profile, but get a new distinctive face.

The diverse vehicle range includes a sedan and a coupe with conventional gasoline models, two sporty “Si” performance versions, along with one hybrid and a natural gas alternative-fuel variant. Collectively the depth of the Civic line offers a compelling balance between fuel economy, low emissions and fun-to-drive performance unlike any other vehicle in the industry.

Between the two the Civic sedan looks nicer to us since it is sporty and elegant. But the coupe looks too like a Scion from the side and that tapered rear roofline doesn’t float our boat! The Civic Concept sedan takes on a sophisticated presence with a front grille defined by crisp lines and a solid bar that integrates a chrome Honda emblem.

Both concepts sit on 19-inch wheels which are not likely to be available for the production version as well, at least not as standard.

While all of the engines for the new Civic family benefit from Intelligent Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (i-VTEC) technology for maximum efficiency, there’s also a hybrid version planned with the latest generation of the compact and lightweight Integrated Motor Assist™ (IMA™) gasoline-electric powertrain like the one in the CR-Z.

Additionally, Honda is expanding retail sales of the natural gas-powered Civic GX model, which is the only OEM-built, dedicated CNG passenger car assembled in America. The increased availability of the Civic GX helps bring inherently clean-burning natural gas technology to an even broader audience while also supporting diversity in transportation energy resources.

Prius Ranks As Japan's Top-Selling Car In 2010

Prius Ranks As Japan's Top-Selling Car In 2010
Toyota's Prius hybrid ranked as Japan's top-selling car in 2010 with annual sales hitting an all-time high, bucking the fallout from a series of massive global recalls, an auto industry group said Tuesday.

Toyota Motor Corp. sold a record 315,669 Prius cars in its home market last year, up 51 percent from 2009, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said.

The world's No. 1 automaker has recalled more than 11 million vehicles worldwide, including the Prius, since late 2009 due to acceleration and braking problems.

But Japanese sales of the gasoline-electric hybrid Prius soared to an all-time high last year thanks to government subsidies and tax breaks for eco-friendly cars, the association said.

"The Prius was hugely popular among consumers. Its sales were boosted by subsidies and tax breaks for green cars," said association spokesman Michiro Saito. Japan doled out government subsidies for eco-friendly cars like the Prius from April 2009 to September 2010.

The government will keep tax breaks aimed at boosting demand for green cars until April 2012.

Prius sales last year broke Japan's annual sales record for a single model. The previous record was 300,008 units by Toyota's Corolla in 1990.

The Prius hybrid went on sale for the first time in 1997, beating rivals as the first mass-produced hybrid car with over two million sold worldwide at the end of November last year, according to Toyota.

Prius Ranks As Japan's Top-Selling Car In 2010

Crashed C30 Electric on Display at NAIAS

Crashed C30 Electric on Display at NAIAS

And now we can safely say we've seen it all... Perhaps for the first time in the history of the automotive industry, a crashed vehicle will take its rightful place under the spotlight of a major auto show, amidst the glamour and shine of brand new vehicles.

Swedish manufacturer Volvo, because it is behind it all, tries to remind us that it once was (and probably still is) the king of safety systems in cars by bringing to the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit the remnants of a crash tested C30 electric vehicle.

Of course, the display is not meant to show what was crushed, but what remained intact following the frontal crash tests at 40 mph (64 km/h): batteries and cables. Or, if you ask anyone in the industry, the most important elements of an electric car, aside for the passenger cell, of course.

"The test produced exactly the results we expected. The C30 Electric offers the very same high safety level as a C30 with a combustion engine,” said Jan Ivarsson, Volvo senior manager for Safety Strategy & Requirements.

“The front deformed and distributed the crash energy as we expected. Both the batteries and the cables that are part of the electric system remained entirely intact after the collision," relates Jan Ivarsson.

The Volvo C30 Electric comes powered by a lithium-ion battery and can be charged from a regular power socket. The batteries take eight hours to recharge, providing for a driving range of 150 km (93 miles). The range is enough, according to Volvo's research, for about 90 percent of commuters in Europe. Testing of the model begins this year in the US as well.

Crashed C30 Electric on Display at NAIAS

The future e-car that beats traffic

The future e-car that beats traffic

Fed up with traffic jams and lack of parking spaces? Just cheer up, for scientists claim to have designed an electric car which can beat traffic congestion and even capable of parking itself.

According to its developers, the two-seat Electric- Networked Vehicle (EN-V) is designed to alleviate those common driver concerns and also address environmental issues, energy consumption and affordability.

And, amazingly one doesn't even need to be in the driving seat to achieve all this. The EN-V from General Motors can rotate 360 degrees and be driven in manual mode with a driver - or without, the 'Daily Mail' reported.

The GM car, recently unveiled at the Las Vegas Convention Center, runs on battery power for 25 miles on a charge, with top speeds of 25 miles-per-hour.

"This vehicle is going to be increasingly needed in the markets where we hope to grow our business. It's really a step up from a bike. We think it will be less expensive than a car but more practical to move around in,"said Chris Borroni -Bird, GM's director of advance vehicle concepts.

Electric cars are better for travelling short-distances and air quality in crowded cities, he said.

And GM has equipped the EN-V with specialised technology developed by its OnStar subsidiary that allows it to talk to other cars, anticipate dangers and scan blocks for available parking spaces. All this will help avoid congestion, Borroni-Bird said, because accidents and people circling for parking often cause major traffic holdups in big cities.

The only downside to this pint-sized vehicle is its inability to withstand a collusion with a full-sized vehicle, say its designers. Cities could, however, create EN-V-only lanes, or create enclosed areas solely used by the vehicle.

The future e-car that beats traffic

Ford Supercharges Electric Vehicle Plan, Unveiling New C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid Products

Ford will launch C-MAX Energi, its first-ever production plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, and C-MAX Hybrid, a full hybrid variant, in North America in 2012 and Europe in 2013

Both versions of the five-passenger multi-activity vehicle will leverage the company's global C-car platform, critically acclaimed powersplit hybrid architecture, next-generation driver information features and advanced, lighter and smaller lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery systems

C-MAX Hybrid is targeted to deliver better miles per gallon than Ford Fusion Hybrid, the most fuel-efficient sedan in America

C-MAX Energi targets more than 500 miles (800 kilometers) of driving range using the battery and engine, more than any other plug-in or extended-range vehicle. It also targets AT-PZEV status and delivers better charge-sustaining fuel economy than Chevrolet Volt

Ford today revealed two next-generation hybrid vehicles – including its first production plug-in hybrid electric vehicle – at the 2011 North American International Auto Show, bringing consumers more choice, versatility and style for high-mileage family-friendly vehicles.

Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid and C-MAX Hybrid are based on the new Ford C-MAX five-passenger multi-activity vehicle, and each will offer high mileage and low emissions as well as distinctive body design and a flexible interior. The plug-in hybrid and third-generation full hybrid leverage Ford's global C-car platform, acclaimed powersplit architecture, next-generation driver information features and advanced lithium-ion battery systems.

"C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid will be perfect for families looking to maximize their hybrid car experience," said Nancy Gioia, Ford director of Global Electrification. "Thanks to the versatile interior, these cars are going to appeal to environmentally conscious consumers who need room to grow."

C-MAX Hybrid is targeted to deliver better fuel economy than the 41 mpg Ford Fusion Hybrid, the most fuel-efficient sedan in America today. It builds on the success of the critically acclaimed powersplit architecture Ford uses in its current hybrids, allowing it to operate in fuel-saving electric mode beyond 47 mph.

Both the C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid models will be built alongside the all-new 2012 Ford Focus and Focus Electric at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. The plant's production is powered in part by one of the largest solar energy generator systems in the state. The C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid vehicles sold in Europe in 2013 will be built at Ford's plant in Valencia, Spain, starting in 2013.

The plug-in advantage

Targeted to achieve AT-PZEV (Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle) status, C-MAX Energi provides maximum fuel efficiency by pairing a high-voltage lithium-ion battery and electric traction motor with a high-efficiency Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine. This allows it to run in electric mode before using the gasoline engine.
C-MAX Energi will offer more than 500 miles (800 kilometers) of overall driving range using the battery and engine – more than any other plug-in or extended-range electric vehicle. C-MAX Energi delivers better charge-sustaining fuel economy than Chevrolet Volt.
In general, plug-in hybrid vehicles offer several benefits, including:
Electric driving range, perfect for emissions-free and silent city driving
Potential consumer savings on energy and fuel costs thanks to improved fuel efficiency over a standard hybrid
Reduced dependency on petroleum and increased energy independence
Reduced environmental impact through reductions in greenhouse gas emissions
Increased use of electricity from renewable energy sources (e.g. wind and solar), where available, for vehicle recharging

"A plug-in hybrid owner may make fewer trips to the pump to refuel because of its all-electric mode capability," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford vice president of Global Product Development. "Conveniently, they'll be able to recharge their plug-in hybrid at home overnight. And they'll never have to think about the vehicle's electric range, because the plug-in hybrid seamlessly shifts to fuel power when needed."

The development of Ford's first-ever production plug-in hybrid leverages more than 200,000 miles of road testing conducted in collaboration with a coalition of 10 utility companies, the U.S. Department of Energy, the New York State Energy Research and Development Administration and the Electric Power Research Institute.

Getting charged up

C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid will use advanced lithium-ion battery systems developed and assembled in-house by Ford in Michigan. Each system is smartly designed to maximize use of common, high-quality components, such as control board hardware that has proven field performance in Ford's current, critically acclaimed hybrid vehicles.

Li-ion battery packs offer a number of advantages over the nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) batteries that power today's hybrid vehicles. In general, they are 25 to 30 percent smaller and 50 percent lighter, which makes them easier to package in a vehicle, and can be tuned to increase power to boost acceleration or to increase energy to extend driving distance.

While C-MAX Hybrid will operate much like today's hybrid vehicles, C-MAX Energi will benefit from daily charging to maximize its all-electric range. Thanks to the efficiencies of its right-sized battery system, the plug-in hybrid easily recharges 100 percent overnight on a 120-volt outlet.

A full charge in CMAX Energi allows owners to increase their driving significantly in all-electric mode and drastically reduce their use of the on-board fuel engine.
On start-up, C-MAX Energi will operate in charge-depletion mode, providing electric driving range. When the battery has been depleted or certain conditions are met, it switches to charge-sustaining hybrid mode for continued optimal fuel efficiency.
Ford worked with a supplier to provide an industry-standard five-point plug for C-MAX Energi (and new Focus Electric) that is ergonomically comfortable to hold as well as durably and distinctively designed. The plug handle uses a matte-finished black rubber for a comfortable, non-slip grip and the plug head is shielded with a glossy white hard plastic to protect the electronics. The Ford Blue Oval trademark helps make the device immediately recognizable.
When the cord set connector is plugged into the vehicle's charge port, which is located conveniently between the driver's door and front wheel well, it activates a light ring that loops around the port twice in acknowledgement of connectivity. The light ring then illuminates in quadrants as the vehicle charges. Flashing quadrants represent charge in progress and solid-lit quadrants show stages of charge completion. When the entire ring is solidly lit, the vehicle is fully charged.

Smarter interface

C-MAX Energi owners will have access to a suite of driver information systems – on-board and off-board – designed to help them manage the recharge process, manage the most eco-friendly route on-board, remotely control their vehicle's charge and preconditioning settings, monitor battery state of charge and maximize energy efficiency to extend use of electric mode. C-MAX Hybrid owners also will benefit from the on-board features.
Among these tools is a unique execution of MyFord Touch™ driver connect technology, especially for electrified driving. It offers exceptional configurability of vehicle information, including fuel level, battery power level, and average and instant miles per gallon.
The cluster's new MyView feature allows drivers to access even more vehicle data such as the electrical demands of vehicle accessories, including air conditioning, which influences fuel economy and the electric driving range of the C-MAX Energi.

The Brake Coach feature helps to educate drivers to optimize their use of the regenerative brakes to recapture kinetic energy and send it back to the battery, also reducing wear on the brakes.

Long-term fuel efficiency can be displayed in two ways – either as a traditional chart or using an innovative display that shows a growing leafy vine on the right side of the cluster. The more efficient a customer is, the more lush and beautiful the leaves and vines become, creating a unique visual reward for the driver's efforts.
To reinforce the message, at the end of each trip a display screen provides distance driven, miles gained through regenerative braking, fuel consumed (average and total) and a regenerative braking score.

New MyFord Mobile

Off-board, C-MAX Energi owners in North America can maintain constant contact with the car anywhere they have mobile phone or web access using the Ford-developed MyFord Mobile.
MyFord Mobile enables access to a secure Ford website and smartphone/feature phone app to get instant vehicle status information, perform key functions remotely, monitor the car's state of charge and current range, get various alerts including when the vehicle requires charging, remotely program charge settings and download vehicle data for analysis.
The feature also allows the owner to program the vehicle to use electricity from the grid to heat or cool the battery and cabin while plugged in. For example, during hot summer months, owners can preprogram the car the evening before to be fully charged – and fully cooled to a particular temperature – by a certain time the following morning. Users can also locate the vehicle with GPS, remotely start the vehicle, and remotely lock and unlock the car doors.
Working with MapQuest®, MyFord Mobile can communicate charge station and other points of interest to C-MAX Energi using SYNC's Traffic, Directions and Information (TDI) service. Turn-by-turn guidance is provided by the in-car map-based Navigation System. Drivers can also get up-to-date charging station information in their vehicle directly through SYNC TDI simply by connecting to SYNC Services.

Value charging, powered by Microsoft

Using the value charging feature, powered by Microsoft, C-MAX Energi owners in North America will be able to optimize their home's energy use and vehicle recharging practices. Value charging allows Ford customers to reduce their electricity costs by taking advantage of off-peak or reduced rates from their utility without a complicated set-up process.
"Although C-MAX Energi owners won't have to plug in, by doing so they'll get the benefits of driving in electric mode for longer distances; that can mean fewer trips to the gas station and less emissions when driving," said Sherif Marakby, director of Ford's hybrid and electric programs. "That's why we'll be providing C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid owners with a user-friendly interface and tools like value charging that will help them get the most out of the vehicle's electric mode capability."

Proven powersplit technology

C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid build on the success of the critically acclaimed powersplit architecture Ford uses in its current hybrids, including the Ford Fusion Hybrid, winner of the 2010 MOTOR TREND Car of the Year® award.

In a powersplit hybrid, the electric motor and gasoline-powered engine can work together or separately to maximize efficiency. The engine also can operate independently of vehicle speed, charging the batteries or providing power to the wheels as needed. The motor alone can provide sufficient power to the wheels in low-speed, low-load conditions, and work with the engine at higher speeds.

While this system enables the current Fusion Hybrid to operate in fuel-saving electric mode up to 47 mph, Ford is targeting higher electric operating speeds for C-MAX Hybrid and even more capability for C-MAX Energi, which will have the advantage of additional battery power.
Ford's global C-car strategy
C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid are two of at least 10 new models or derivatives that Ford will launch around the world based on its new global C-car platform – Ford's first truly global One Ford platform.
Ford's new generation of C-segment vehicles will be sold in more than 120 markets and will account for more than 2 million units annually. The C-segment accounts for one in four cars sold worldwide today and, in conjunction with the B-segment, is expected to rise to 50 percent of all cars sold globally by 2013.

The all-new C-MAX lineup also introduces a number of advanced new technologies to the compact multi-activity vehicle class. More often found only on larger or more premium cars, these technologies are focused on enhanced comfort, safety and sustainability, including the availability of new and powerful, yet highly fuel-efficient, low-CO2 Ford EcoBoost™ gas engines.
The previous European C-MAX established a reputation for providing a balance of enjoyable driving dynamics and impressive comfort. The all-new model is set to take that performance to a new level, giving drivers a class-leading combination of responsive, sporty handling and overall refinement approaching the standards usually associated with larger, luxury vehicles.

C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid are two of five electrified vehicles that Ford will bring to the North American market during the next two years. In addition, the Ford Transit Connect Electric small commercial van, built in collaboration with Azure Dynamics, began initial production at the end of 2010, and Focus Electric will launch in late 2011. A second next-generation hybrid electric vehicle will be announced later and available in North America and Europe in 2012.