Browsing articles tagged with " plug in"
Feb 9, 2012
Chris Salamone

Prius Plug-In Posts Potent MPGe

Since Toyota Motor Corp. announced plans to develop a Prius Plug-In Hybrid, industry analysts have speculated time and time again how the company’s top gun hybrid would perform with a plug-in system – especially relative to other electric-trend automakers General Motors and Nissan. To appease the media community, Toyota released an initial MPGe estimate back in September of 2011 which projected an average of 49 mpg during hybrid mode and, more importantly, 87 MPGe with frequent battery charging.

At first blush industry competitors might have looked down on 87 MPGe. The Nissan Leaf is currently rated at 99 MPGe, without using an ounce of gasoline. And even the Chevy Volt, an American whale by comparison, delivers a strong showing at 94 MPGe. But unlike other automakers, Toyota chose to remain modest about the Prius Plug-In’s potential.

The company now expects the rechargeable Prius to be capable of at least 95 MPGe, which effectively attaches a sinking anchor onto the pricey, less-efficient Volt and Nissan’s range anxiety-inducing Leaf.

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Feb 1, 2012
Chris Weiss

Chevy Volt Owners Could Get Renewable Charging With Innovative OnStar App

Chevy Volt owners clearly care about the environment or they wouldn’t be coughing up a big premium for series-hybrid technology. GM may give these owners even more power to clean up their commutes by launching a unique renewable-energy program for OnStar.

With the proposed system being developed in conjunction with Google, OnStar would receive a signal from PJM Interconnection showing the available renewably-sourced energy within the grid. PJM Interconnection is a regional electricity transmission organization (RTO) that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in more than a dozen eastern states.

The information would be uploaded to OnStar’s Advanced Telematics Operating Management System (ATOMS), where OnStar could use it to automatically match up charging Volts with renewable energy. A mobile app would let owners know when renewable energy is available.

“In the near future customers will have a real signal of demand for renewable energy,” said Nick Pudar, OnStar vice president of planning and business development. “As customers configure their Volts to favor renewable energy for their charging cycle, this real demand signal will influence utilities to tap into renewable sources.”

The system is still in the prototype stages and may or may not become commercially available. If it does, GM says that Volt owners will need only sign up to opt in. OnStar will take care of the rest.

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Jan 27, 2012
Chris Salamone

GM Acknowledges Rough Volt Publicity, Launches New Ad To Bolster Sales

For the next month GM will air a commercial which aims right to the heart of the matter, suggesting the Volt is a car “America had no choice but to build” and implying the car’s automotive nuts and bolts make up the very fabric of Detroit. If this all sounds a bit desperate, that’s because the Volt needs a lifeline. GM just recently publically acknowledged that sales of the Volt have been dramatically hurt by recent negative publicity. Concerns ranging from battery safety, design, and price have popped up everywhere and often.

The Volt has become something of a media-induced tumor, made even more noxious because of GM’s otherwise financially successful 2011. Which effectively means the new Volt “Morning in Hamtramck” ad represents a critical attempt by the company to salvage the Volt’s sinking reputation.

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Jan 5, 2012
Chris Weiss

Fisker Karma Models Recalled For Fire Hazard

It’s been a tough couple of months for plug-in hybrids. In November, the NHTSA opened up an investigation of the Chevy Volt’s battery after a test model caught fire at the agency’s facility. With that investigation still pending, the market’s other series hybrid–the Fisker Karma–has battery fire problems of its own. Fisker has recalled 2012 Karma models built between July 1 and November 3 in order to repair a problem with the lithium-ion batteries.

Fisker has identified a problem caused by incorrect positioning of hose clamps within the Karma’s high-voltage lithium-ion battery. If left uncorrected, the misaligned clamps could allow coolant to leak from the hoses, creating a potential short circuit and fire hazard.

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Dec 28, 2011
Chris Weiss

Toyota Teases New Plug-In Hybrid Concept

Toyota will debut a new plug-in hybrid concept at the 2012 North American International Auto Show next month. The automaker has released a teaser picture of what it calls the NS4.

Toyota has given absolutely no information on the design of the concept. The press release accompanying the teaser photo is but one paragraph and describes the NS4 as an “advanced plug-in hybrid concept.”

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Dec 8, 2011
Chris Weiss

Cadillac ELR Will Be FWD, Not RWD

Over the summer, GM confirmed that it will be building a production car based on the Cadillac Converj concept. The ELR will essentially be a luxury Volt. Some murmurs recently indicated that one of the factors that will distinguish it from the Volt is a rear-wheel drive platform. No way, says a GM source.

Auto News released a report indicating that the ELR should use a RWD platform to properly differentiate itself from the Chevy Volt. The logic was that if GM really wanted to build a luxury car based on Volt technology, it would need to provide a very strong argument for the extra money involved in buying a Caddy over a Chevy. That argument should include RWD, according to AN’s Rick Kranz.

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