Green Cars

GM chasing business in China with Chevrolet Volt

GM chasing business in China with Chevrolet Volt GM has business and political reasons for making the Chevrolet Volt a huge success and one way to pursue that is by expanding product reach. China is now the second largest economy in the world and as such it holds a strong allure for companies looking to pull in more profit amid recessions hitting other countries. GM isn’t waiting on that opportunity, it just announced the arrival of two Chevrolet Volts in China, which will act as shuttles for special guests to and from Shanghai’s Expo Park.

The Chevrolet Volt won’t be available for consumers in China until 2011, so this event is mainly for publicity which will create buzz and hopefully translates into product demand. It makes sense for GM to produce as many Chevrolet Volts as it can, in as many markets as possible now; before competitors build a vehicle that offers a similar value proposition.

Mitsubishi cuts i-MiEV’s price to stay competitive in EV market

Mitsubishi cuts i-MiEV’s price to stay competitive in EV market There’s no question that electric cars are the hot topic in the automotive industry. That market sector is getting crowded with entries like Chevy’s Volt, Nissan’s Leaf, and a possible entry coming out of a partnership between Toyota and Tesla. Mitsubishi is hoping that a £10,000 price cut on their all-electric i-MiEV will keep them ahead of the pack when it comes to sales in the UK.

2011 Chevrolet Cruze will change shape on the fly

2011 Chevrolet Cruze will change shape on the fly Let’s not get carried away, the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze won’t change from a car into a walking talking robot like in the Transformers movies, but it will make a few changes to its shape based on outside conditions. This belongs in the small-but-noteworthy innovations category -- changes that don’t require huge technology leaps but still lead to improvements in fuel efficiency.

Chevrolet has developed “an automatic air shutter system allows the car to change shape and cut through the air more smoothly” behind the front grille.  Basically those shutters are tightly closed when the vehicle is moving fast to make it more aerodynamic. When speed decreases, the shutters open more widely to cycle out hot engine air more efficiently.

Some dealers ripping off consumers that want a 2011 Chevy Volt

Some dealers ripping off consumers that want a 2011 Chevy Volt GM recently announced official pricing and production of the 2011 Chevy Volt and most of its dealers are scrambling to get as many as they can while consumer demand is so intense. Other dealers see an opportunity to price gouge, in one case about 1.5x the original price! This sort of behavior certainly creates negative buzz for GM, and the company isn’t happy with dealers who are considering such tactics.

Americans citizens and GM have an intimate relationship right now, whether everyone likes it or not, because loans financed with tax dollars saved the company from going under. That means price gouging at dealers almost becomes a slap in the face because consumers are paying a ridiculous price for a vehicle that was made possible because of community (government) funding.

GM's Bright Idea steps in to battle the Ford Transit Connect

GM's Bright Idea steps in to battle the Ford Transit Connect certainly not the most glamorous competition, but the looming release of the Ford Transit and the development of the new GM plug-in van, the Bright Idea, could mean big success for the winner of the electric van market.

Although the mainstream market is not necessarily ready for the EV revolution, the transition to hybrid cars, and more recently, the buzz of EV sedans and sports cars could mean more recognition and awareness of the growing availability of alternative energy solutions as it pertains to cars and other motor vehicles.

Not long ago, GM, Nissan, and Tesla were the few key players, or at least noticeable players, in the EV market. Now, as the industry and government look for more electric solutions, more car manufacturers are establishing plans for the development of not only sedans and sports cars, but vans and trucks too.

GM investing in electric cars beyond the Chevy Volt

GM investing in electric cars beyond the Chevy Volt The old GM was a huge company with diverse product offerings but it struggled to cohesively direct all of its parts toward a central goal; and it also had incurred an overwhelming amount of debt in the form of retirement commitments. With the government’s help, GM has shed a lot of weight and obligations, and now it’s focused on innovating at an accelerated pace. A new deal with startup Bright Automotive is one example, and it further develops GM’s plug-in hybrid portfolio.

Until now most of the new GM’s focus in the plug-in hybrid space has circled around the Chevy Volt, which has a lot of potential to serve the average driver without ever requiring gas during a typical work week. In its contract with Bright Automotive, GM has agreed to invest in return for a minority stake in the startup. Bright Automotive also gains access to much of GM’s technology which it hopes to use while developing a new plug-in hybrid commercial vehicle called IDEA.

Electric car subsidy program saved in Britain

Electric car subsidy program saved in Britain When a new coalition government took power last May, Prime Minister David Cameron made it clear that cuts were needed to control Britain’s budget. Traditional areas like police and emergency services have been trimmed and the entire UK Film Council was shut down. A decision to scrap a subsidy program to encourage the purchase of electric and “low-carbon” cars was saved with a little help from Nissan and Mitsubishi.

The subsidy program was created by the Labour government in 2009, and promised a 25% subsidy up to £5,000 (about $7,800) for people that purchase electric, plug-in hybrid or hydrogen fuel cell cars. It was thought that the plan could not only help the country hit their carbon targets, but also generate green jobs in the manufacturing sector.

Adoption of hybrid taxis in New York delayed by court ruling

Adoption of hybrid taxis in New York delayed by court ruling Yellow taxis are icons in New York City and appear on every street corner and frequently pop up in the movies. They may be a beloved form of transportation but they are often gas guzzling sedans that get horrible gas mileage. While many Americans are looking forward to hybrid and plug-in cars like the Volt or Leaf, it appears that New York City’s taxi owners don’t want to use green technology to transport passengers.

Ford’s Crown Victoria is the king of New York’s 13,401 taxis due to its reliability and roomy interior. The “Crown Vic” may offer a comfortable ride, but it only gets 12 to 14 mpg while traveling in the city. Each cab also averages 100,000 miles per year, a number that certainly contributes to carbon emissions.

The ultimate oxymoron: the $600,000 hybrid Porsche

The ultimate oxymoron: the $600,000 hybrid Porsche Globally, car manufacturers continue to spec out hybrid and EV vehicles, trying to determine if the capital investment is worth the byproduct in a fairly new, untapped market. Porsche, on the other hand, knowing its niche and its world class brand name, simply asked for 1,000 seriously interested car buyers to raise a hand to the possibility of a Porsche hybrid super car. Enough have responded, and as simple as that, the decision has been made to develop the Porsche 918 Spyder.

So what does it mean?

First, it means that Porsche will manufacture the concept car that blew away any sort of hybrid specs available on the mainstream market today and electrified consumers at the Geneva Motor Show.The car features a 500-horsepower V8 engine, a pair of electric motors, and a 78.4 mpg range.

GM wants to cool off drivers with green air conditioners

GM wants to cool off drivers with green air conditioners GM has been working hard to overcome the bad PR that surrounded their bailout by the US and Canadian governments. They’ve been especially keen to show off their green efforts such as the hybrid Chevy Volt and their “zero landfill” project. GM’s next green idea comes in the form of a greenhouse gas-friendly air conditioning unit.

If you purchased a car before the early 1990’s its air conditioning unit was most likely powered by Freon (R-12). Freon was great at giving drivers a comfortable environment but it was even better at spewing out greenhouse gases that were harmful to the ozone layer. That’s why the industry switched over to the less harmful R-134a in the mid 1990’s.