Green Cars

Ford charges into the electric car market with the new Focus

Ford charges into the electric car market with the new Focus As American automakers make a comeback in Detroit, they are looking to green tech more than ever to set their cars apart. Ford has already rolled out their electric Transit Connect, but they hope to crack the consumer market with their new Focus Electric which has some serious technology that will challenge EVs like Nissan’s Leaf.

Venerable Toyota Prius may not be enough to pierce company’s recall woes

Venerable Toyota Prius may not be enough to pierce company’s recall woesIn many circles, the Toyota Prius is synonymous with the words “hybrid car”. It’s the first option people think of when they consider that class of vehicle, and with good reason. Toyota has built a reliable car with excellent gas mileage that accommodates almost all of the same lifestyles a traditional combustion engine car would. Cars like the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan LEAF certainly are innovative in their approach, but for the biggest benefit require ready access to a power outlet for charging. Normally the golden halo that surrounds the Prius would be enough in its own right to bolster Toyota’s sales but that’s not happening -- so what’s the problem?

Billionaire brings dirt cheap hybrid cars to Russia

Billionaire brings dirt cheap hybrid cars to Russia When you think of Russia a few things come to mind like Communism and caviar, but certainly not cars. The country has a long history of weird cars looked more like tanks and some of them were even built in the same factory as the legendary AK-47. Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov hopes that his new hybrid car called the ë-mobile or “Yo” can be the Toyota Prius of the country formerly known as the Soviet Union.

Will China export reductions wither Nissan LEAF on the vine?

Will China export reductions wither Nissan LEAF on the vine?With the roll-out of the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt, 2011 could be a banner year for electric cars. But the current battery technology for EV’s requires rare earth metals, and China controls the supply. Recent moves by China to limit the export of rare earth metals could derail the market growth of EV’s – both to the detriment of the US economy and the environment.

The enthusiasm over the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt, and the anticipation for models from other manufacturers such as Ford’s Electric Focus and Mitsubishi i-MiEV, shows that a lot of consumers are ready to embrace electric cars. Even at a price tag of $41,000 for the Volt, GM plans to increase production from 10,000 cars in 2011 to 45,000 in 2012. While the era of the internal combustion engine isn’t quite over, the interest in EV’s in a growing phenomenon.

Ford sensibly upgrading ALL its cars with start-stop engine common in hybrids

Ford sensibly upgrading ALL its cars with start-stop engine common in hybridsThe average consumer has a finite amount of resources he or she can allocate to the purchase of a new car. Ford’s latest move toward installing start-stop engines on all of its vehicles indicates the company understands that reality. Hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius and Ford Fusion hybrid certainly can pay off their price premium in the long term but the amount of cash consumers have available up front can make those options unrealistic.

But, that doesn’t mean concepts common in hybrid cars won’t work in more traditional combustion engine vehicle, as Ford is proving. Ford’s start-stop technology will be available in North America starting in 2012 according to a company press release. Great news, but what benefit will drivers see?

China wants to tame traffic in Beijing with new license law

China wants to tame traffic in Beijing with new license law As the Chinese economy grows, a new breed of middle class has emerged in the nation. Their increased buying power has given them access to items that were previously out of reach for many including the dream of buying a car. With this boom comes increased traffic and congestion in the capital, issues that the city hoped to curtail with a new license law which sent car sales in the city spiraling out of control and shocked Chinese automakers.

Chevy Volt silent no more: legislation requires EV vroom

Chevy Volt silent no more: Legislation requires EV vroomOne of the greatest joys of teenage drivers is to rev the engine of their cars, the loudness of the rumble of the motor a measure of the coolness they feel. But, without a motor, electric cars like the Chevy Volt or Nissan Leaf make no purring sound. The lack of engine noise is not merely an aesthetic defect to the teenage driver; it also is a safety concern for the blind as well as the distracted who may not know a car is swishing inches by them at 30 mph. To address this issue, recently passed legislation will require the Chevy Volt to get some vroom.

In a rare display of nonpartisanship, both the Senate and the House approved the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act, which now goes to the President’s desk for his signature. The act requires the Secretary of Transportation to establish standards and performance requirements for a means to alert pedestrians that an EV is operating nearby. The act gives a year and a half for the sound requirements to be developed.

Millennials don’t want cars, so Zipcar may defeat Toyota Prius and Chevy Volt

Millennials don’t want cars, so Zipcar may defeat Toyota Prius and Chevy VoltOnce, owning a car was the pinnacle of success in a young person’s life. It was a sign that an individual had wealth enough that they could sponsor independent transportation at their leisure. And although that perception certainly still exists, its influence isn’t as potent especially when looking at it from a Millennial’s point of view. Zipcar is capitalizing on that shift in perspective by offering a short term car rental or “car sharing” service, but recently it seems the company needs more money.

Chevy Volt’s green halo is bursting from new Gulf oil leak recycling program

Chevy Volt’s green halo is bursting from new Gulf oil leak recycling programGM heralds the Chevrolet Volt regularly as its answer to consumer demand for fuel efficient, green vehicles. The technology that powers the Chevrolet Volt is making its way into several other car models, making them gas sippers, and in the process GM paints itself in a pure green limelight. The company isn’t stopping there though; instead it’s taking what otherwise might be complete waste from the Gulf oil leak and transforming it into parts for its flagship green car.

While we certainly would be better off if we could erase the the natural resources wasted and pollution created by the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, at this point the only option is to move forward and deal with the mess. GM is taking that challenge head on, and doing it a way that could assist while also turning a profit. That’s a potent combination, but how do they do it?

Paris is the city of light, love, and electric cars

Paris is the city of light, love, and electric cars Paris has always been known as one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world due to its place in fashion, food, and even tourism. But big cities come with big traffic problems and a new plan may reduce the city’s carbon emissions through cheap electric car rentals.

After finding success with a bike rental program called Vélib', the city hopes to build a similar program for residents that feel that public transportation doesn’t meet their needs. Instead of choosing electric and hybrid headliners such as the Leaf or Prius, the city chose the bug like Blue Car made by French firm Bolloré, to supply them with a a reasonably priced electric car.