While there is no doubt that electric cars receive more publicity than they ever have before, there is growing concern that the sector may be losing momentum in the short
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Over the last couple of days a number of observers have suggested that Nissan is looking to move away from the pure electric car market in favour of the hybrid
Despite the fact that the European economy is certainly under a cloud, the European Union has today come out in favour of electric vehicles and also suggested a large increase
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While there is no doubt that electric cars receive more publicity than they ever have before, there is growing concern that the sector may be losing momentum in the short to medium term. As a consequence governments and car manufacturers around the world are now looking at new ideas to kickstart the revolution and attract the attention of consumers across the globe. So what will kickstart the electric car revolution?
Time and time again the issue of journey capacity is never far from the headlines and when you bear in mind the vast majority of electric vehicles today can do no more than 100 miles per full charge, this concern is justified. However, many motorists seem to forget that on average very few of us will do in excess of 80 miles per day, therefore one charge per day will be more than enough to cover our average journey.
It is perhaps the use of electric vehicles within the business arena and for leisure time, where we will on average travel more than 80 miles per day, which is perhaps foremost in the minds of consumers at the moment.
Increased journey capacity
There is no doubt that great progress has been made with regards to journey capacity for electric vehicles but there is also no doubt that further progress needs to be made. The Nissan Leaf will be updated and re-released in 2013 with an extended journey capacity approaching 140 miles per charge. This has been achieved by using the latest battery technology, improved aerodynamics as well as efficiencies with regards to the electric engine itself.
If we can get towards the 200 miles journey capacity per full charge then we are certainly in a different ballpark and this would open up a whole new market for electric cars. Until we get there the chances are that many consumers will, rightly or wrongly, be concerned about reduced journey capacity and more importantly the lack of electric car charging stations around the world.
Despite the fact that the cost of electric vehicles is significantly greater than that of more traditional vehicles this is perhaps not the major problem in the eyes of consumers. Those who have traditional fuel vehicles will never likely be more than just a few miles away from a garage or petrol station where they can refuel and extend their journey capacity. The same cannot be said with regards to the electric charging station networks available at the moment which are at best few and far between. Will this change?
Finally governments and car manufacturers around the world are now coming together to create a viable investment programme for charging stations around the globe. This will likely see hundreds if not thousands of electric car charging stations introduced over the next few years which will take away one of the headaches which is concerning consumers.
Whichever angle you look at the electric car market there is no doubt that the public relations situation has been a disaster for many years now. Indeed the stigma of the earlier electric car market still hangs over the much improved sector like a bad smell. We need investment in public relations, we need good news from the industry and we need to see savings set out in a very simple format so that consumers can understand what they are buying into and what they can expect to save. Until the message is received loud and clear by consumers across the UK and across the world what chance does the industry have?
While the electric car market today is very different to that of 20 years ago or even 10 years ago, there is still much work to be done and indeed changing public opinion will not be easy and it will not be cheap. Governments, car manufacturers and green campaigners have all come together to applaud the potential for eco-friendly travel but for some reason consumers have not yet grasped this potential.
The next couple of years will be vitally important to the electric car market, the next couple of years should see with the worldwide economy improve and funds become available to consumers. It will be interesting to see whether this stabilisation of the worldwide economy will lead to better sales in the electric car market and indeed more interest in general.
That Toyota is renowned for its hybrid electric vehicle leadership is an understatement. Toyota sells more hybrid models than all its competitors combined, having sold more than 4 million units to date as of 2012. Its Prius line is synonymous with hybrids, but other models, including the Toyota Camry and Avalon also offer hybrid variations. Camry is the best selling midsize sedan in America and the Camry Hybrid further adds to this model’s class leading accomplishments, by delivering the expected quality and value in a fuel efficient package.
Completely redesigned in 2012, the Toyota Camry Hybrid is a five-passenger front-wheel drive sedan that is sold in LE and XLE trim levels. It is powered by a 2.5-liter four cylinder engine that is paired with a continuously variable transmission. An electric motor provides energy for around town driving. The gas engine is rated at 156 horsepower and 156 foot-pounds of torque. Combined, 200 horsepower is achieved.
Fuel efficiency is the hallmark of all hybrid models and the Toyota Camry Hybrid does not disappoint. The Hybrid LE model is rated at 43 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway. The Hybrid LXE, equipped with larger wheels and tires, achieves 40 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. These numbers clearly outstrip nearly every small gas car on the road while delivering family size driving and comfort.
The Toyota Camry Hybrid sits on a 109.3-inch wheelbase and is 189.2 inches long. It is 71.7 inches wide by 57.9 inches tall. Its ground clearance measures 6.1 inches. Front track comes in at 62.4 inches to a rear track of 62 inches.
Inside, the Camry Hybrid offers 38.8 inches of head room up front to 38.1 inches in the rear. Front leg room measures 41.6 inches to 38.9 inches in the rear. Hip room measures an identical 54.5 inches front and rear. Shoulder room comes in at 58 inches up front to 56.6 inches in the rear. Total interior volume is 115.8 cubic feet and includes its 13.1 cubic foot trunk.
Standard features include cloth seating surfaces, a height adjustable driver’s seat and front bucket sets. A split-folding bench seat holds three people in the back. Power accessories include power windows and door locks. This model is outfitted with a clock, a trip computer, cruise control, front and rear upholders, a front console with storage, door pockets, front seat storage, power steering, a 12-volt outlet and a tilt and telescopic steering wheel.
The Camry Hybrid is equipped with six-speaker audio system that features a single CD player with a CD MP3 playback stereo. A USB connection, audio input and iPod integration are standard. Bluetooth connectivity is standard.
Choose the Hybrid XLE model and its standard features include an 8-way power driver seat with lumbar support, rear ventilation ducts, heated side mirrors and available remote engine start. Other accessories available include power tit and slide moonroof, a navigation system and a leather package.
Are there any gas additives that you can use to improve gas mileage? Well the answer is yes! there seems to be quite a few products on the market that are advertised claiming to be able to give you gas mileage improvements, however they are not all as good as one another and not all of them will give you enough of a fuel saving to actually cover the cost of the product. And as most people do not even take the time to work out how much of a saving they are making compared to how much they are paying for the additive it’s a bit of a job to tell just how good they are economically speaking.
One of the chemical additives that is said to improve gas mileage is Acetone. This seems to help thin the surface tension that is normally found in gasoline. It seems that once the Acetone has thinned the surface tension then the gasoline will burn much more efficiently and with more power and wasting less energy which will then improve gas mileage. Only a couple of ounces of pure Acetone per every 10 gallons of gasoline are needed. However there seems to be a bit of a drawback with using acetone as over a period of time it can cause perishing on rubber hoses and can also be damaging to electrical components. So it would not be advisable to use Acetone for a long period of time.
Another interesting product that is said to give you gas mileage improvements of up to 30% is a thing called MPG-caps (or capsules). MPG caps have been said to not only improve your gas mileage but to also significantly cut down on harmful exhaust emissions and even reduce knocking and pinging in the engine giving a much smoother ride overall. MPG-caps are claimed to be an organic engine conditioner that will improve your engines combustion and so give better fuel economy. For the best results you should use two caps for the first two tanks of gasoline then just one cap at every fill up to maintain the full benefits of the product.
One of the better and more trusted gas additives you can use to improve gas mileage is simply one of the many fuel injector cleaners available on the market. These obviously do exactly what they say and improve you fuel economy by cleaning out any fuel injectors that have become partially clogged or dirty. A dirty fuel injector could seriously cut down your gas mileage especially if left unchecked for a long period.
While all of the above products are said to able to get more MPG from your engine I have always been a bit sceptical about just putting any old thing I read about into my gas tank without knowing the long term effects and subsequent damage it may be doing to my engine. There are still some old fashioned but very effective ways to get more MPG and improve your fuel economy without any of the risks. Some of these are just common sense like using the right octane grade of fuel specified for your vehicle. Making sure that your car is serviced regularly and kept in good condition is a very effective way of making sure that you are getting the best gas mileage as an engine in good condition is far more economical on fuel than a worn one.
So it seems that yes there are quite a few different gas additives you can use to improve gas mileage, some are obviously better than others and some should be used with caution. Whatever type of additive you are thinking of using it is always best to do your homework and find out as much about them as you can. Alternatively talk to a qualified mechanic as the can give you sound advice. Lastly if you are serious about making gas mileage improvements check out the link at the end of this article.
An automobile mechanic is a lot like a doctor – people come to them all day with their complaints and the mechanic has to figure out what the problem is and fix them. But while the human body is admittedly complex, it has remained essentially unchanged over thousands of years while car designs are updated with each passing season. The increasing complexity and sophistication of modern machines has made the automotive technician one of the more technically demanding trades. The job requires more preparation than ever before.
While vehicle manufacturers are building cars that last longer, they have simultaneously become more difficult to repair. To make cars safer, lighter and more fuel efficient, new materials such as high-strength steels, aluminum and steel-plastic have been added into vehicle bodies. Technicians can no longer assume they’re working with good old steel when they start cutting or welding. Today’s auto body shops feature fancy scanners, diagnostic software and lab scopes to assist the accuracy of the repair process. Modern mechanics need to diagnose sensor and computer glitches in addition to the continuous stream of new technology introduced by car makers that have to be quickly learned and mastered. Manufacturers once assumed that computerization which outputted problems to computer printouts would make repairs easier. Instead the opposite has occurred, with a variety of fuel injection systems, electric steering, variable transmission and valve timing, and sophisticated electronic systems throughout the machine requiring greater cross-function skill.
Indeed, many service technicians are going back to mechanic school to learn how to work safely on hybrid drive systems and other new technology. The best mechanics have a wide variety of integrated skills to navigate the labyrinths of tubes and wires in complex computerized electrical systems, fuel systems and refrigeration. One mechanic noted that “computers have become as much a part of the tool box as wrenches”. Most automotive technicians intern while still in repair school and then work full time at the same dealerships, regularly reading trade papers to keep on top of industry trends and changes. With more experience they advance into more specialized, higher-paying positions.
The concern about repair complexity expressed by the insurance and repair industries is filtering back gradually to the car makers. Vehicle designers must balance issues associated with ease of repair with the push towards lighter and more fuel efficient cars. General Motors began about five years ago assigning engineers from their service operation to work alongside designers and their engineers can now use a virtual hand and wrench with a digital screen to test how a new machine in the design stage will affect the mechanic’s repair time. As cars become more compact, fitting more complicated electronics into smaller spaces, the mechanic’s trade will continue to grow more challenging – but maybe that’s part of the fun. Diagnosing the problem with speed and accuracy isn’t easy but its often the mechanic’s favourite part of the job. To become a mechanic these days means gaining the training to adapt to rapidly changing technology.
Despite the fact that many people automatically assume that electric cars are new phenomenon, a quick glimpse at the history of electric vehicles was sure that they have been around for over 200 years. Yes, despite the fact that the electric vehicle is struggling to make it towards the mass market at this moment in time, it has in theory had over 200 years to try!
False dawns for the electric car market
There have been a number of false dawns for the electric car market over the last 200 years although many of these relate back to the strength of the oil industry. The latest failure in the 1990s saw General Motors accused of attempting to kill the electric car market with the infamous EV1 which was released in a blaze of glory yet ultimately crashed and burned.
This is perhaps one of the more striking visions of the electric car market which is still in the heads of many motorists around the world. The fact that the company the size of General Motors seemed willing, at least on the surface, to sacrifice a potentially lucrative electric car after allegedly coming under pressure from various government agencies and oil companies. While we never actually got to the bottom of the reason why the infamous EV1 was pulled from the marketplace, it certainly left a sour taste in the mouths of many motorists.
Is electric travel the future?
As we touched on above, despite the fact that EVs have been around in some shape or form for in excess of 200 years, there are still some uncertainty as to whether electric travel is the future. The reality is that as we look to save the environment, reduce emissions and also make driving vehicles more efficient, electric power is perhaps the best source of fuel available at this moment in time. There have been a number of other fuels suggested over the years although this moment in time no others have stepped forward to challenge electric cars.
There is now talk of mobile charging points, automatic charging points and even electric vehicles which will drive themselves on a tram network system. The reality is that despite the reluctance of many motorists to appreciate the fact that electric power is here to stay, systems are being put in place for the future and in many ways it seems only a matter of time before electric cars crack the mass market.
Past the point of no return
Over the last 10 years, since the GM EV1 debacle, governments around the world have invested billions upon billions of dollars of taxpayer’s money in the electric car industry. Many large automobile corporations around the world have also matched this significant investment and ultimately we are now passed the point of no return. Too much time, effort and money has been put into the electric vehicle market for it to fail wobble when it would be deemed a “success” remains to be seen.
There are many who will point at various aspects of the EV market such as limited journey capacity, limited charging network not to mention the cost of electric cars, these are all aspects which are being worked upon by the industry and have shown great improvement of late. Once electric car does get anywhere near to the mass market then we will likely see a significant reduction in the cost of electric vehicles although this will probably occur at the same time that governments around the world reduce the current financial incentives.
Time and time again the electric car industry has been “knocking at the door of success” only to be turned away for a variety of different reasons. However, it does seem that at this moment in time too much time, money and effort has been put into the industry for it to be allowed to fail once again.
A significant number of motorists will be surprised to learn that electric cars and other electric vehicles have been with us in some shape or form for in excess of 200 years. Technology has advanced dramatically, technology is still advancing and ultimately the electric car market is dragging itself towards the finishing line which will signal the start of a new movement towards the mass market.