Green Cars

Toyota expands Prius lineup to three hybrid models

Toyota expands Prius lineup to three hybrid models Earlier this year when Toyota inked a partnership with Tesla to develop plug-in cars, many thought that it would be the end of the line for their hybrid technology found in their wildly successful Prius. Fear not, drivers with range anxiety! Toyota is looking to spin off the Prius as a sub-brand of sorts with two new hybrid models by the end of 2012.

Chevy Volt’s new road trip aided by gas and social media

Chevy Volt’s new road trip aided by gas and social media While Chevy has chucked their old advertising methods to the wayside when it comes to the Volt, they’ve still had some issues. They’ve had to battle Nissan’s Leaf spot with a polar bear that lit up the blogosphere, some still question the Volt’s $41,000 list price, and there were accusations that a few dealers inflated the car’s price to make a quick buck. In the coming months Chevy will intensify their goal to get people to take a peek at the gas enabled Volt with a twelve city road trip called the Unplugged Tour.

GM gets it right by asking bloggers to review Chevrolet Volt in daily use

GM gets it right by asking bloggers to review Chevrolet Volt in daily use GM has endured a winding road on its way back to profitability, and it seems the company is embracing the social web when it comes to the Chevrolet Volt. The company is running a 3 month test with 15 individuals it has picked for technology and electric car moguls and calling the team a Customer Advisory Board. Each member will receive a production Chevrolet Volt and provide feedback back to GM. That’s a good move for a couple of reasons.

It has the potential to provide legitimacy to GM’s claims on reliability and fuel efficiency with the Chevrolet Volt. Some of those selected have extensive experience in the industry and who have opinions developed by long term participation, while others are newer to the electric vehicle enthusiast scene.

Mini’s electric scooter combines smartphone tech & sex appeal

Mini’s electric scooter combines smartphone tech & sex appeal Scooters have long been an option for urban dwellers looking for an inexpensive way to get around a city. Their fuel economy rates are much better than a traditional car and it’s a lot easier to find a parking space. Mini and their parent company BMW are taking the scooter to the next level by combining English style with smartphone technology to create the Mini Scooter E Concept that will be unveiled next week at the Paris Auto Show.

Chevrolet Volt batteries may be recycled into next gen smart grids

Chevrolet Volt batteries may be recycled into next gen smart grids Nothing is certain yet, but GM is exploring options when it comes to the lithium-ion batteries packed into the 2010 Chevrolet Volts. Each battery is capable of holding up to 16-kWh of electricity and creating some sort of shelter and connectivity to the grid for those would provide large scale energy storage.

GM warrantees the battery in the Volt for 8 years, so drivers certainly don’t need to worry about that part going bad for a large part of the vehicle’s lifespan. But eventually cars break down, and lithium-ion batteries take a long time to decompose – consequently GM is seeking to extend the product lifecycle of its batteries beyond the car.

Used hybrid cars starting to compete on economic value, finally!

Used hybrid cars starting to compete on economic value, finally! Many drivers have conflicted feelings when considering a hybrid car purchase because two sides of their brains are not in agreement. One side may point out the ecological advantage that superb gas mileage provides while the other side may note that the purchase price premium take too long to make up in gas savings. The good news? That scale is changing a little, at least in the used hybrid car market.

Compare a traditional combustion engine used car to a hybrid used car and you’ll invariably see a higher price tag on the hybrid, but the difference is becoming more digestible and instead of taking a decade or more to make up the price difference in gas savings, some hybrids are starting to reciprocate after 5 years.

China plays hardball with hybrid and plug-in car companies

China plays hardball with hybrid and plug-in companies China is now the world’s largest car market with a growing middle class that makes it a prime location for electric and hybrid carmakers to set up shop. However, companies may not be so eager to show off their green cars due to new maneuvers by the government that may force foreign companies to share their technology with Chinese firms.

Under current government guidelines, foreign companies that make gasoline powered cars in the country have to set up a partnership with a Chinese firm. The cooperative gives the foreign carmaker a 50% stake in the venture and they retain the rights to the technology used in their cars.

GM snaps up a piece of innovative battery manufacturer Sakti3

GM snaps up a piece of innovative battery manufacturer Sakti3 GM hasn’t been shy in their wish to become a dominant force when it comes to hybrid and plug-in cars. Besides showing off the Volt, they’ve created financial relationships with companies like Bright Automotive that develop electric vans. Now GM’s investment arm has sunk $3.2m in Sakti3, a Michigan company that’s developing sold-state lithium-ion batteries that will extend the range of electric cars.

Uneven electric car rebates give Nissan Leaf edge over Volt

Uneven electric car rebates give Nissan Leaf edge over Volt Electric car manufactures, like it or not, depend heavily on political policies and funding to grow not only their electric vehicles, but also the electric car revolution. The relative newness of the industry combined with the already heavily established gasoline-powered car make it difficult for an inexpensive transition to emission-free transportation. Thus, the need for big bucks from Uncle Sam.

For cars like the Chevy Volt, Toyota Prius and Nissan Leaf, government funding, in the initial adoption of the electric and hybrid vehicle market, make expensive alternatives more affordable and more of a reality.

As the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt get ready to release their electric vehicles, a little extra assistance goes a long way in giving one manufacturer the edge over the other.

Scion iQ entering uncertain market as Smart ForTwo sales decline

Scion iQ entering uncertain market as Smart ForTwo sales decline Daimler AG can’t be incredibly happy about the sales performance of the Smart ForTwo recently, especially because the number sold this year will likely dip below last year’s numbers. That makes the playing field interesting for Toyota who is planning on debuting the Scion iQ in early 2011, which is another microcar with a couple of twists.

One of the biggest differences is passenger seats. The Scion iQ comes with seating for 4 people inside the cabin, which may make it more marketable for people who want a little more flexibility than the Smart ForTwo’s 2 person limit. The second generation of the Smart ForTwo came out in 2007 and dealers are wanting more flexibility in customization plus a model for more passengers. Daimler is expected to deliver a facelift still in 2010 but it remains to be seen if that can reverse the downward trend.