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Published on September 25th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan

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Nissan Replies to Arizona Leaf Owners, Chevy Volt Outselling Over 50% of Cars, Tesla Launches Solar-Powered Superchargers, Bieber Gives Fisker Karma to Sean Kingston (& More Clean Car News)

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September 25th, 2012 by Zachary Shahan
 
 
chevy volt 2013The Chevy Volt is outselling over 50% of cars on the market. The Volt is one of Fox News’ favorite things to pick on (despite it essentially winning European Car of the Year), but that isn’t stopping people from buying it up, according to a recent study. While the Volt might not be hitting is overly ambitious sales targets, with 13,497 sales through August, it’s still outperforming the majority of auto options. Of course, you won’t hear this from the majority of media outlets.

From Audi: electric superchargers are the future. “Once the province of sports cars only, automakers are now turning to turbochargers as a cost-effective way of providing both performance and efficiency. Audi is going even further, working on a line of electronically-assisted turbochargers that will do away with “turbo lag,” curing one of the most common gripes with turbo setups.”

Nissan has replied to the Arizona Leaf owners who think their batteries are dying too fast, and their answers seem to be respectable. Basically, the batteries in these Leafs are where they are expected to be based on usage and climate. One thing to note, however, is that the battery life will degrade quite a bit rather fast, but then do so much more slowly over the following years.


 
Toyota to double its hybrid output in 2012, bringing it up to 1.2 million hybrids. From Nikkei: “Batteries and motors for hybrids can be used in electric vehicles or in a coming generation of fuel-cell cars. Toyota thus believes that lowering costs for such key components through mass production will give it an edge in developing environmentally friendly vehicles.”

Tesla has launched a pretty amazing little supercharger network that uses solar power. “Telsa insists that these Superchargers will always generate more power than is needed, resulting in the extra energy going back into the grid.” Pretty sweet. But here’s the big deal: “The 85 kWh battery of the Tesla Model S can be fully charged in about an hour from a Supercharger, while 30 minutes of charging will provide 3 hours of driving.” That’s a lot better than anything else out there.

Toshiba & Honda are teaming up to jointly perform a demonstration project of smart home systems. “Since April 2012, as a part of the E-KIZUNA Project run by the city of Saitama, Honda has been conducting demonstration testing using two smart home system equipped houses built on land adjacent to Saitama University. A third demonstration house, which will be completed before the end of the next fiscal year (ending March 31, 2014), will be equipped with home energy management systems (HEMS) of both Toshiba and Honda.”

mercedes battery electric vanMercedes is bring us (or, someone) a new battery-electric van. “Mercedes-Benz will start selling a passenger version of its Vito E-CELL utility vehicles in Europe after unveiling a battery-electric Sprinter van at the International Motor Show in Hanover, Germany. The Vito E-CELL Crewbus, which the Daimler AG division calls the world’s first seven-seat mass-produced battery-electric vehicle, has a single-charge range of about 80 miles and top speed of about 55 miles per hour. The vehicle will be available for four-year, 50,000-mile leases in more than 15 countries throughout Europe, including Finland, Spain and the UK.”

Honda planning 3 hybrids and more ICEs in the coming 5 years. Not exactly leading the way on clean cars, but at least it’s planning more hybrids. “Honda CEO Takanobu Ito recently gave a speech outlining where the company will be headed over the next five years, with hybrid electric vehicles playing a major role…. Honda will use three different hybrid systems, Ito said.”

Nissan has decided to drop its plans for a big rollout of an electric version of the iQ microcar. “Announced way back in 2010, the Toyota/Scion eQ was to be Toyota’s full-fledged effort at selling an electric city car.” But with sales of the Nissan Leaf not exactly going as planned, it has decided to wait a bit on that one. We’ll see if it comes back to it down the road.

Delta Electronics is rolling out some high-efficiency EV charging options for the Ishavsveien Charging Network in Norway. “Delta offers two DC Quick Chargers that provide 50-500V DC / 50kW output power with among the world’s highest efficiency. The first stretch of the Ishavsveien charging network will service the E6 road between Oslo and the Swedish border, and will feature universal charging stations with Delta’s EV charging solutions for all the EVs available on the market today.”

Sister site Gas2 helped (sort of) the “Electric Cowboy” set a new world record for electric motorcycles under 150 kg. “Last week, Brandon managed to set a new record of 101.652 mph over a one-mile run, and 102.281 kph over the kilometer. The runs were recognized by both the American Motorcycle Association and the International Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme, respectively.” Head on over to Gas2 to find out more, including how it helped Brandon out.

Electric vehicles can save us a ton of money on fuel, yet another study finds. “As California drivers struggle with gasoline prices well over $4 a gallon, and a cumulative $60 billion was spent on gasoline during the past year alone, a new economic research report” has revealed. “The report, commissioned by CalETC, shows that plug-in electric cars can create nearly 100,000 California jobs and provide a powerful local economic stimulus that will benefit people of all incomes whether they drive electric cars or not.”

It seems that Sean Kingston had a bit of good karma, as friend Justin Bieber has gifted the singer his own Fisker Karma. “When you’re best friends with one of the biggest artists in the world, you know what I’m saying, you get all different types of gifts, and this is one of them,” Jamaican-American Sean Kingston says. Not that Bieber didn’t like the car — Kingston says the young heartthrob is planning to get the new Fisker (the Fisker Atlantic, presumably).

On another Fisker note, the electric car company noted yesterday that “the company’s flagship Karma sedan already surpasses its 2025 fuel economy target under Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards – recently finalized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)…. For a vehicle of the Karma’s size, the fuel economy target for 2025 is 45.6 MPG. Current NHTSA methodology – notably different than the EPA label – assumes the Karma will drive half its miles on gasoline and half on electricity and takes into account the energy consumption of both, giving the Karma an equivalent fuel economy of 47.3 MPG.”

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About the Author

spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as the director/chief editor. Otherwise, he's probably enthusiastically fulfilling his duties as the director/editor of Solar Love, EV Obsession, Planetsave, or Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and wind energy expert. If you would like him to speak at a related conference or event, connect with him via social media. You can connect with Zach on any popular social networking site you like. Links to all of his main social media profiles are on ZacharyShahan.com.



  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stan-Stein/1756064509 Stan Stein

    Being in the renewable power industry, I am always happy to see progress being made towards the independence from foreign fossil fuel for pertoleum based propulsion systems……however……because most of the reserves of lithium are foreign, we are simply not addressing THAT part of the issue.
    If we were to put a pencil to it, it would be a no brainer, that between the cost of an EV battery, the cost of charges over it’s lifetime, the federal tax credits for buying an EV…all MORE than add up to what a home size fuel cell recharge unit would be. One company os in the $10,000 range already. With that kind of a price tag, you can easily see what I’m taking about…..the price of a volt, at $40K, is more than $10k over what the price of a fuel cell car would be…..there’s your difference right there…..then, if you trade the $2. per day for a charge, that’s $60 per month, or $720 per year….certainly enough for replacing the membrane in the fuel cell charger when it’s required….in what?….between 3-4 yrs with the low volume of one car usage?
    We need to remember, that electricity doesn’t pop out of thin air….well, unless you have a windmill…..or solar…so for every 3 EVs, it’s like adding another household’s power consumption to the grid……and just where’s THAT power going to come from?
    If there are going to be something like 50,000 EVs, eventually in most states by about 2020, that’s about 25 more MWs of power they will have to get……not to mention the humungous consumption of lithium, and the disposal crisis waiting to happen at the end of the battery’s lifetime.
    Fuel cell cars need to be put on the front burner….NOW.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Recently a pro-fuel cell vehicle (FCEV) enthusiast worked out the numbers for the amount of electricity lost starting with clean electricity, cracking water into hydrogen, compressing or liquefying the hydrogen, distributing it and using it in a FCEV.

      Best case, a FCEV uses 1.4x as much electricity per unit of movement more than does an EV.

      Then. A hydrogen FCEV transportation would require hundreds of billions (trillions?) of dollars worth of infrastructure to be built. Think of replacing every gas station pump with a hydrogen pump, but more of them since it takes longer to fill hydrogen tanks and range is less than with gasoline. Think of replacing all our refineries with ‘water crackers’ and building a fleet of hydrogen delivery trucks.

      The electric grid is already in place. We have enough spare generation and transmission capacity to charge over 70% of all American cars if they suddenly turned into EVs. Our grid is designed to stay up during peak-peak demand hours. That means that we have a lot of unused generation during off-peak hours.

      All that we need to make EVs work for everyone in terms
      of infrastructure is “reachable” outlets for the 40% who do not currently park close to an outlet and some rapid chargers along our main travel routes. We’re now installing those needed public slow and rapid charge outlets, thousands are in place.

      Now, do you think we’ll spend hundreds of billions on infrastructure, build 1.4x more generation capacity and pay 1.4x as much per mile to drive in order to use FCEV?

      Well, pay more than 1.4x per mile since we’ll have to cover the cost of hydro infrastructure.

      Or will we use the infrastructure we already have, just build it up some more, avoid building 40% more generation and drive for 40+% less per mile and go with EVs?

      • http://cleantechnica.com/ Zachary Shahan

        The sad thing is, despite the huge infrastructure costs and inefficiency, i could see us making such a dumb move. But don’t think it’s likely — hope not.

        • Bob_Wallace

          I think we’re going to see signficantly better EV batteries soon. The *lithiated manganese oxide-based
          **Electrovaya batteries that Chrysler has been testing apparently have about 120% more energy denisity of lithium-ion batteries currently in use.*
          Electrovaya batteries apparently heat up a bit when being rapidly charged so using them might require an active cooling system but that wouldn’t hurt range because the system would run only when the vehicle was charging off the grid. (Might be a small weight range penaltiy.)

          120% extra range puts us in the neighborhood of an EV that can be driven all day (500 miles) with only two charging stops.

          Seems to me that if EVs reach “adequate range” and the price comes down to about that of ICEVs then they will become the dominate cars sold. I can’t see how hydrogen could force its way into the market since they wouldn’t offer any advantages over EVs, would cost more to fuel, and would require hundreds of billions of infrastructure investment.

    • Anne

      What the fuel cell advocates usually forget is that hydrogen can not be mined somewhere.

      It can be produced from methane. This is a process that a) still depends on a finite fossil resource, introducing it’s own collection of environmental ‘challenges’ (eg. fracking) and b) still releases considerable amounts of CO2.

      Or it can be produced by electrolysis. But the overall efficiency of that process (electricity –> hydrogen –> electricity) is quite low. About half the km’s per kWh as compared to a battery electric vehicle. Renewable electricity is in short supply already, we can not afford the luxury of spending it in such a wasteful process.

      There is a reason that this much hyped ‘hydrogen economy’ is on the back burner.

      • http://cleantechnica.com/ Zachary Shahan

        Thanks for those points, Anne. Very succinct and sharp.

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