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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)

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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Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


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