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Automobile Industry

Thursday
Jul192012

NYS Governor To Install Hundreds Of New Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Statewide

With high and unpredictable gas prices becoming a constant in New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo has set plans in motion to install about 325 new electric vehicle charging stations across the state.

Electric vehicle charging stations. Photo courtesy of inhabitat.com.

Cuomo has awarded $4.4 million in state funding to be distributed among 10 facilitators – comprising of companies, municipalities, and state-operated power and transportation authorities – to make the installations.

“With New Yorkers facing higher prices at the pump, the state is stepping up to make owning an electric vehicle an affordable and convenient option,” said Cuomo.

The governor’s office hopes that an infrastructure of electric charging stations will help reduce oil reliance in the state and promote the sale of electric cars, trucks, and other vehicles.

Transportation currently makes up about three-fourths of New York State’s oil consumption, and nearly 40 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The state’s electric vehicle charging station project is part of a joint effort by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the U.S. Department of Energy.

The NYSERDA is also planning to manage a $10 million fund that will offer vouchers of up to $20,000 per vehicle for the purchase of electric commercial trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds.

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Wednesday
May162012

Nissan LEAF Pilot Program Taxi Cabs Expected To Appear On New York City Streets Next Month

As part of New York City’s Taxi of Tomorrow program, next month Nissan will be working with the city and taxi owners on a pilot program to study the use of electric vehicles as taxis.

Nissan LEAF NYC Taxi Cab. Photo courtesy of auto.sanook.com.

Nissan will provide six fully-electric LEAFs and charging stations at no cost to taxi owners or the city to test the electrified taxi fleet.

These cars will be put into normal taxi service (with existing taxicab medallions) and allow Nissan, the city, the taxi industry, and riders to see how electric vehicles work as taxis.

Each fleet participant will receive two LEAF vehicles to use with one medallion. Each LEAF will only be used during a single shift, so while one vehicle is in service, the other will be charging to maintain fleet operating time.

Nissan told participants at the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission that the distance they drive on a single charge will depend on several factors including: weather, accessories, and driving habits.

Nissan told drivers, “This means that you will need to stop mid-shift to recharge the battery, and depending on the charging station this can take anywhere from fifteen to several hours.”

Depending on conditions, the LEAF can have a driving range of between 62 to 138 miles on a single charge.

To find a charging station, Nissan said that every LEAF comes equipped with a technology called CARWINGS, which is an in-car telematics system that will show information including the battery power and charging stations. It will also allow the driver to download a charge point app that will show nationwide charging stations.

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Friday
Apr132012

Volkswagen Showcasing New Green Car Models On 'Think Blue' U.S. Road Trip Tour

After years on the eco-sidelines, Volkswagen is definitely trying to make up for lost time. The company has just kicked off its Think Blue road trip touring the country trying to get the word out about its new fuel efficient hybrid and electric car models.

Jetta Hybrid. Photo courtesy of Volkswagen.

Gearing toward environmentally friendly consumers, the tour will stop at outdoor community events and conferences around the country, including cycling competitions, outdoor music festivals, environmental summits, and public policy conferences.

The company says that “the current tour schedule spans more than 12 cities in ten states from coast to coast, with additional stops likely to be added in coming weeks.”

The first three events will take place on the West Coast from April to May, including:

Traveling in a 53-foot trailer decorated with Think Blue imagery, and pulled by a high efficiency cab, Volkswagen will showcase a number of its newest fuel efficient vehicles, including the 2013 Jetta Hybrid and the E-Golf prototype.

The Jetta Hybrid made its debut earlier this year at the North American International Auto Show. Some of the new Jetta’s stats include:

  • 0-60 mph in under 9.0 seconds.
  • An average fuel economy of 35 mpg.
  • A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
  • A four-cylinder engine that produces 150 horsepower and 184 foot-pounds of torque from 1,400 rpm.

The Jetta Hybrid can also be driven in pure electric mode at speeds of up to 44 mph for up to 1.2 miles, depending on driving conditions. The Jetta will also have a regenerative braking system, which is becoming increasingly common on hybrids and electric vehicles today.

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Tuesday
Mar132012

UK Charging Ahead With Rebate Incentives and Expanded Infrastructure For Electric Vehicles

An expanded plug-in car van grant has been announced for the United Kingdom by Transport Secretary Justine Greening and Business Minister Mark Prisk in a joint statement.

Azure Dynamics Transit Connect Electric Van now eligible new United Kingdom plug-in car van grant. Photo courtesy of autocarinterior.com.

Van buyers will be able to receive 20 percent – up to £8,000 – off the cost of the first wave of eligible plug-in van models.

The first seven vans to be made eligible for the grants are:

  • Azure Dynamics – Transit Connect Electric
  • Daimler Mercedes-Benz – Vito E-Cell
  • Faam – ECOMILE
  • Faam – JOLLY 2000
  • Mia-electric – Mia U
  • Smith Electric – Smith Edison variants  SE2 and SE3
  • Renault – Kangoo ZE variants Kangoo VAN ZE, Kangoo Van Maxi ZE, and Kangoo Van Maxi Crew ZE

Encouraging a switch to electric vehicles, especially in the commercial sector, Prisk said, “Business that run electric vans can benefit by reducing refueling costs; becoming exempt from the van benefit charge; attracting capital allowance concessions; and also receiving a 100 percent discount for the congestion charge in London.”

To be eligible for the grants, the vans will have to meet performance criteria to ensure safety, range, and emissions standards. Consumers, both business and private will receive the discount at the point of purchase, according to the government.

The van grant is an extension of the current plug-in car grant, which offers 25 percent – up to £5,000 – to motorists buying a new plug-in car. Ministers have reconfirmed that there is funding secured for this grant until 2015.

Greening announced separately that the Mia Electric (Mia and Mia L models) are now also eligible for the plug-in car grant, which is a consumer grant of up to £5,000.

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Tuesday
Jan172012

BMW Gearing Up For New i3 Full Electric Model Designed Especially For Urban Commuting

BMW has begun the process of bringing together the channels that will bring the Model i3 to mass production for the consumer market.

BMW i3 exterior view. Image courtesy of BMW.

Promoted by the company as being “specifically developed for use in an urban environment,” the BMW i3 concept car has been built to run purely on electric power with an electric motor over the rear axle that can generate an output of 125 kW/170 hp and a torque of 250 Nm (184 lb-ft) from a standstill position.

As far as speed, the concept car can go from 0-60 km/h (37 mph) in under four seconds and 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in under eight seconds.

Also among the specs, the company says that the single-speed gearbox provides “optimal power transmission to the rear wheels and accelerates” the car to an electrically governed speed 150 km/h (93 mph) without loss of power.

As for the physical size of the motor, the company says, “The space requirements of the electric motor used in the BMW i3 Concept have been reduced by 40 percent compared with the motor used in the MINI E. This compact drive unit is mounted over the rear axle, together with the power electronics, transmission and differential, and does not intrude on the interior.”

In addition, a newly developed technology in the industry has also been incorporated into the car’s accelerator pedal.

As the company explains, “After the driver eases up on the accelerator, the electric motor acts as a generator, converting the kinetic energy into electricity, which is then fed back into the battery.”

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