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This is the Kodak Moment for the Auto Industry

Plug-In Drivers Not Missin' the Piston Electric vehicles are here to stay. Their market acceptance is currently small but growing...

Monday, December 26, 2011

More electric cars trickle to market

More electric cars trickle to market: "It's still early days for EVs, but they certainly seem to be off to a good start"

The Green Ford

2012 Ford Focus Electric
When you think about eco-friendly cars, what company comes to mind? It might be Toyota and their Prius, GM with their Volt, Nissan due to the Leaf, or even VW due to the Jetta TDI.

In 2012 Ford wants to capture their own part of this green mind-share. How are they going to get there? Ford is 4 years into a 20 year plan to increase fuel economy and electrify their vehicles. This plan includes a complete line of vehicle styles and drive-train options. Ford refers to this as "The Power of Choice".

Specifically in 2012, from Ford, you can expect to see:

  • Focus Electric with a rating of 100 MPGe (compared to 99MPGe of the Nissan Leaf)
  • C-Max Hybrid with a better MPG rating than the Prius V
  • C-Max Energi with a better MPGe rating than the Plug-In Prius in EV mode

Ford says this is just the first of many steps that we can expect to see as they continue to roll out their 20 year plan. In 2013 Ford expects to produce more than 100,000 plug-in vehicles.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Chevy Volt Does Not Play Well With Others

2011 Chevy Volt
I work at a major high tech company in the Silicon Forrest area of Oregon. As you might imagine, my coworkers are early adopters of nearly any new technology. Plug-in vehicles are no exception to this future-focused mentality.

In the decade that I have worked there, there have always been a few plug-in vehicles buzzing around the campus. These were either the odd 3-wheeler vehicle like the Gizmo or they were home conversions done by the too rare electrical engineer that can also turn a wrench.

Now that plug-in cars are for sale, there are many more than just the one or two EVs that had been around. To my employer's credit, they have installed charging stations to support their tech loving employees. They installed two charging stations that can charge two cars each, so four cars can be plugged in at once. However, there are about 14 plug-in cars on our campus.

As coworkers and as part of the EV community, we are willing to work together and share these precious charging spots. To facilitate this we have an email list and many of us have charging protocol cards on our dash. It has a paperclip that you can slide to indicate the time that your car can be unplugged and it has contact information so we can call each other to move cars when needed.

Usually, we don't need to move the cars. The EVSE cables are long enough to allow access to eight parking spots. Considering that on most days, most of us don't need to charge at work, this ratio of charging spots to EVs works well with the system of sharing that we have employed.

There is, however, one snag to our sharing scheme: The Chevy Volt. If you unplug a Volt without unlocking the car, the alarm will sound. This is true even if the charge is complete. To unplug it, this means that we have to call the Volt owner and have her unlock the car either by walking out to the parking lot or via her OnStar smartphone app.

Maybe it would be better to just disable the alarm temporarily, but according to her, unlocking the car is the only way to disable the unplug alarm.

Only one of the three Volt owners on campus charges at work. Ironically, since the Volt has a short EV range, relative to pure EVs, the Volt will need to be plugged in more often in order to avoid fuel use. This driver has a 30 mile one way commute. With a 60 miles daily commute, she is in the minority of people that drive more than 40 miles each day, so plugging in or not directly impacts her fuel use.

Unlocking your car when you are not there is an act of trust. It is one thing to extend this to a coworker while your car is in a parking lot with cameras. It would be another altogether to even consider this in a public parking area. This makes it nearly impossible to share a charging station.

I hope GM see the flaw in this design and creates a firmware upgrade that at least allows this to be user configurable.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Top Five Green-Car Stories Of 2011: MPGs, Electric Cars, And More

Top Five Green-Car Stories Of 2011: MPGs, Electric Cars, And More: " EPA--under the encouragement of the Obama White House, and with signoff from most if not all of the major automakers. (Auto dealers are still fighting the rules.)

The new corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) rules cover model years 2017 through 2025, and include rises of 3 percent per year for trucks and 5 percent for cars.

The result is that by 2025, the average vehicle will achieve 54.5 miles per gallon on its CAFE tests"

Feds Support Oregon's Electric Cars. Do we? | Blogtown, PDX

Feds Support Oregon's Electric Cars. Do we? | Blogtown, PDX: " the U.S. Department of Energy dropped $485,000 on Oregon electric vehicle (EV) projects and proliferation. Labeled "Energize Oregon", the recently funded plan has three main objectives: integrating the plethora of in-state EV efforts, develop an EV plan to explain these projects and help boost U.S.' goal to put 1 million EVs on the road by 2015."

Sunday, December 4, 2011

EVDrive Electric Motorcycle Now Available for Pre-Order

EVDrive has a simple design philosophy, "Make it electric AND make it better." With both their BMW and the motorcycle products, they took extensive measurements of the performance of the gas powered version and then made an electric one that met or exceed all the relevant performance specifications.
Reservations are now being taken for the first 50 electric motorcycles at wholesale prices to end users for these early production models.
The pre-orders are for high the performance e-Moto-CRF250R. It is not exactly a catchy name, but it out accelerates the gas model it was based on (the CRF250R). The EVDrive bike is more efficient in use of energy, whether it is locked in gas or electrons.
To place your reservation evdrive.com