Wed Dec 11 2013 13:36:32 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
Honda will use Accord Plug-in for vehicle-to-grid demonstration project.
Honda is joining a pre-existing vehicle-to-grid (V2G) demonstration project involving the University of Delaware and NRG Energy. Honda will use one of its Accord Plug-in Hybrid models as a back-up grid-power source when conventional power supply drops and demand surges. NRG Energy started funding its testing system with the university earlier this year.
In order to participate, Honda is installing a bi-directional on-board charger in the Accord PHEV. The test is part of a broader effort by automakers and other entities to explore how plug-in vehicles can help regulate the grid something that will become more common as renewable energy sources become more common.
Nissan has been running similar demonstration with its all-electric Leaf. Recently, Nissan tested its "Vehicle-To-Building" system in Japan, which involved a half-dozen Leaf vehicles powering an office building during peak demand, then having the cars re-juiced when electricity costs go down. In 2011, Nissan also started getting results from its "Leaf-to-Home" system, which uses the EV to power a house during blackouts.
Wed Dec 11 2013 13:38:05 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
Six Nissan Leaf EVs power an office in Japan.
At least now we know the answer to that age-old joke, "How many Nissan Leafs does it take to power an office building?" The answer is a tidy half-dozen.
The Japanese automaker has been testing its "Vehicle-To-Building" system, in which the building pulls juice from the cars during the peak-use hours when power is most expensive, and then shoots back some power when the grid prices drop. Nissan says the system is set up to ensure the cars are fully charged by the end of the workday. If you leave work early? That may be a different situation.
The company started testing the system at its Nissan Advanced Technology Center in Atsugi City, Japan, in July, and found that the cars allow the building to cut peak-hour electricity use by 2.5 percent. Annualized, that means savings of about a half-million yen (about $4,800 US) in electricity costs.
Nissan is also working on a "Leaf-to-Home" power-backup system, in which the car can be used as a residential-power backup source in order to reduce peak hour use and provide power in a blackout. That system was first unveiled in the summer of 2011 at a house built in front of Nissan's global headquarters.
Thu Oct 31 2013 20:35:18 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
Panasonic Will Expand Battery Cell Supply For Tesla's Rising Production.
Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] and technology company Panasonic have been working together for several years now, and that relationship is set to expand as Tesla seeks to meet its future battery needs.
The two companies have reached an agreement for future automotive-grade lithium-ion battery supply, Panasonic now set to supply nearly 2 billion cells to Tesla over a four-year period.
Panasonic has been supplying cells since the days of the Tesla Roadster, but the electric car company's increasing sales and wider product plan mean battery supply has to meet their increasing demand.
The new agreement ensures both the Tesla Model S, and upcoming models like the Model X crossover, will receive a steady supply of cells for years to come. Tesla's press release reveals that customers have driven over 130 million miles so far, with thousands of vehicles now on the roads.
The benefits are reciprocal of course--back in 2009, Panasonic bought a $30 million stake in Tesla. That's an important cash injection in the early years of a business, and has helped Tesla Motors to get to the position it's in today--selling cars and making headlines.
Both companies will continue to work together to develop the next-generation of lithium-ion cells, improving the potential of electric vehicles and expanding the market. Tesla and Panasonic's cells already boast the highest energy density of any cells on the market, contributing to the class-leading 265-mile EPA-rated range of the 85 kWh Model S.
"We look forward to strengthening our relationship with Panasonic," said Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk of the new deal, adding, "I’m confident that this partnership will continue to be an integral part of Tesla’s success for years to come."
Tue Oct 15 2013 17:01:23 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
The Tesla Model S Is So Safe It Broke the Crash-Testing Gear.
The Tesla Model S may be the safest vehicle ever tested by the feds. So safe, in fact, that according to the automaker, the all-electric sedan broke the testing equipment at an independent commercial facility.
Most cars get five stars in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s frontal crash protection test and four stars for side impact protection. But the Model S aced them all: front, side, pole, and rollover. And Tesla adds in its announcement that during a previous roof crush test used during validation, the machine failed while applying more than 4 G’s of pressure — the same as stacking four of the electric sedans on top of the car without the roof breaking.
When NHTSA added up all the scores, it totaled a combined five stars across the board — one of the highest ever recorded for a production vehicle.
The reason for the insanely high marks isn’t just the stiff structure, but the electric drivetrain. With no engine up front taking up valuable crumple zone space, Tesla’s engineers were able to maximize the amount of sacrificial space, and with the battery mounted oh-so-low in the floor, that increases rigidity around the occupants. The rear crash test — particularly important given the rear-facing child jump seats — was another high score, with no “permanently disabling injury to the third row occupants” thanks in part to what Tesla calls a “double bumper” to absorb additional impact.
And before you ask, the lithium-ion battery handled it all with aplomb, with no leakage or fire.
Wed Mar 27 2013 19:42:20 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
The Volkswagen XL1 just debuted in Geneva and claims a range of 261 mpg, with a curb weight of about 1,750 pounds. Its coefficient of drag is extremely low at 0.189. It's powered by a 47-hp, two-cylinder turbodiesel paired with a 27-hp electric motor. VW says it will make 250 examples with a price near $100,000.
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Wed Mar 20 2013 16:09:03 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
Obama calls for spending $2 billion in oil lease revenues on clean vehicles
President Obama wants to know how many clean cars $2 billion can buy. In an announcement expected later today, the President is expected to ask Congress to use $2 billion that the government has raised from allowing oil and gas exploration in the Outer Continental Shelf to fund clean energy transportation. That means plug-in vehicles, better batteries, biofuels and compressed natural gas vehicles.
Obama will reportedly make the announcement at Argonne National Laboratory, a site already known for automotive innovation, including the development of an omnivorous engine and, with General Motors, improved batteries. The President previously mentioned taking oil and gas money and putting it into an "Energy Security Trust" fund in his State of the Union speech last month. The money would come from offshore oil drilling leases and would be spread out over 10 years. There would not be any expansion of offshore drilling (or a change in the administration's position on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) to raise the money. The end goal, as we've heard so many times before, is to "protect American families from spikes in gas prices and allow us to run our cars and trucks on electricity or homegrown fuels," according to White House documents.
Of course, just because the President asks for something doesn't mean Congress will go along. As the The Detroit News notes, the President asked for $650 million for battery and vehicle research last year but Congress only approved $330 million. Also, there are still many billions of Department of Energy loan money left over from the $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan (ATVMP).
Wed Mar 20 2013 16:12:54 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
EPA finds 2012 fuel economy was highest ever, 23.8 mpg
The average fuel economy for a new car in the US made a record single-year jump, according to new data from the US Environmental Protection Agency. Fleetwide fuel economy rose a record 1.4 miles per gallon to an all-time high of 23.8 mpg, the EPA says. During the past five years, average new-vehicle fuel economy went up 16 percent while emissions decreased 13 percent. Check out the EPA's press release below and find further information here.
The numbers reflect the fact that the number of US hybrid and diesel models has doubled in the last five years, thanks to automakers expanding their line-ups. Last year, alt-fuel vehicle sales jumped 63 percent to more than 540,000 vehicles, while plug-in vehicle sales roughly tripled to about 50,000 vehicles.
The EPA report echoes similar findings from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), which earlier this year said fleetwide fuel-economy advanced 1.3 miles per gallon to a record 23.8 MPG. And UMTRI said in a separate report early last month that January's average new-vehicle fuel economy continued to increase to a monthly record of 24.5 miles per gallon.
David Friedman, the senior engineer and deputy director of the Union of Concerned Scientists' Clean Vehicles program, said in a statement that the progress is good, but more needs to be done. "With high gas prices the new norm, the average model year 2011 vehicle will cost its owners almost as much to fill up over its lifetime as it did to purchase it," he said. "Consumers need more options to shield themselves from the high cost of gasoline."
Wed Mar 20 2013 16:16:50 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg laid out a big goal for NYC during his 12th and final State of City address – add 10,000 public parking spots reserved for electric vehicles with 2,000 of them offering charging stations. Today, the city only has 100 public charging stations in place, and 120 stations for the city's fleet of EVs. Only 30 more government stations would be added under the mayor's proposal.
Wed Mar 20 2013 16:22:11 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
The 2014 Chevy Spark EV, to be unveiled at the LA Auto Show, is shaping up to be a very fast electric car, that will be the first to support the SAE DC Fast Charging system, which will give it a 20 minute recharge time.
Fri Mar 08 2013 21:25:11 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
On this episode of Wide Open Throttle, Jessi Lang reports from the Tesla facility on the day of the long-awaited rollout of the Model S, the world's first premium all-electric sedan and the car on which the company's future now depends. Then, Motor Trend Technical Director Frank Markus gets exclusive one-on-one time with Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Chief Designer Franz Von Holzhausen as he tours the Tesla factory and finally gets behind the wheel of the car that Tesla is hoping will galvanize the world's transition from internal combustion engines to electric mobility.
Wide Open Throttle appears every Thursday on the new Motor Trend channel.
Fri Mar 01 2013 19:14:47 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
On this episode of Head 2 Head, it's the battle of the hybrids as Jonny Lieberman pits the 2012 Toyota Prius V against Ford's 2013 C-MAX Hybrid SEL. There is a lot going on with these cars so to help break down the technical information, so Jonny also talks with Motor Trend's hybrid guru Kim Reynolds about the Ford / Toyota rivalry & the controversy surrounding their hybrid technologies.
Head 2 Head appears every other Wednesday on the new Motor Trend channel.
Fri Feb 22 2013 19:38:24 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
For anybody who hasn't already heard of them, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) is a bold and innovative think tank based in Aspen CO who lay out innovative strategies and technologies for reducing our dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels. Great reading on what is possible if we all start thinking about saving the environment!