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Archive for the ‘Toyota’ Category

EV Industry: Charing Station Trends in the United States

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Charging Station Trends in the United States

Though some of the most accessible and first fully electric cars have began to arrive in the United States in late 2011, the turn to hybrid plug-in and all electric vehicles has created the need for a system of charging station access. If you don’t know a lot about electric vehicles, or EVs, it helps to know that they have what is known as a “range”. This is a figure that indicates the number of miles that the EV can operate in between full charges. Hybrid plug-ins vehicles also have their electric capabilities or ranges too, and this is the reason behind the need for charging station access around the country.

What is so interesting is that it is retail stores that are really moving things forward by opting to install stations for consumers to use as they do their shopping or errands. The average charging station is going to be able to supply power to cars, scooters, and bikes that require batteries, but they will vary in terms of fees or prices.

For example, the world-famous Mall of America in Minnesota has a charging station system that asks for three dollars per hour in order to charge the batteries while other stations ask for nothing in return. The owners of the fee-less stations usually understand that a customer is not going to be in their store or shop long enough to take the full charge and they believe that this is simply a service to clients and the environment.

Industry experts feel that the days of free charging station access are numbered simply because the shift to hybrid and fully electric vehicles is inevitable. With changing efficiency standards being required by the United States government (capped at more than 50 MPG by 2025) it is going to be impossible for most manufacturers to avoid the use of battery systems. This means that increasing demands for charging stations will begin to arise very quickly, and the option for free charges will disappear just as quickly.

For now, there are literally hundreds of stations popping up all over the country. The most unique of them was unveiled in Bethesda, MD in 2011. This is a totally green station that uses solar panels, GPS tracking of the sun, and clean supplies to provide drivers with free charges. The owner is a real estate developer who decided to his “bit” for the environment by making the green solar charging station available in a heavy commuting region.

Sears to offer the Evatran Plugless Power Wireless Electric Car Charger

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Sears to offer EV customers the Evatran Plugless Power Wireless Electric Car Charger!

2012 Electric Cars Unplugged

If the idea of inserting a plug to your vehicle every time you need to charge up is a pain, here’s promising news: Sears has connected with Evatran to sell the wireless

Evatran's Plugless Power

charging systems for residential and commercial use. The Evatran system, known as Plugless Power, means that you could simply drive to your office or home garage and jump from the vehicle without needing to worry that you simply didn’t remember to hook it up.  This of course might not be among life’s large problems but getting a vehicle that will not go is worse than getting an iPad that is not juiced up, so you shouldn’t be too quick to laugh about this.

Installation will be handled by Sears Home Services that has been setting up home appliances and electronics for many years.

“Sears is very excited to announce this agreement with Evatran to support the installation and servicing of these stations. We look forward to being one of the leaders in this growing industry,” said Stu Reed, SVP and President, Home Services at Sears Holdings.

The companies say the benefits of the Sears-Evatran agreement includes:

  • Simplified Purchasing: Evatran will offer Plugless Power systems with optional basic or standard home installation wrapped into the purchase price of the equipment; this full price may be included in the vehicle purchase or lease at the time of sale.
  • Pre-Installation Site Visits: Site visits, as necessary to quote non-standard and commercial installations, will be completed in advance of installations.
  • Timely Installation: Sears will receive automatic notification of a customer’s installation request; Sears will contact the customer within one business day of equipment purchase to schedule home installation.
  • Convenient Additional Services: Sears will offer ongoing service and maintenance to Plugless Power owners.

Sears installation network technicians will be trained and certified on the wireless charging systems and will work with Evatran to structure a comprehensive launch plan for aftermarket systems throughout 2012, the companies said.

Product offerings will initially focus on Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf models but Sears and Evatran said they will quickly expand to include additional electric vehicles. Installation will be offered with the sale of each Plugless Power system and priced based on the customer’s home and current electrical service. Sears will also offer commercial installation for electric vehicle fleet owners and managers.

Aftermarket systems will be available for installation starting in 2012 for Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt models. A specific geographic rollout plan will be announced next year with final installation pricing for basic and standard home installations.

News from the Electric Vehicle Market

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

In late 2011 or early 2012 Ford’s first completely electric version of their famous “Electric Vehicle Market” will arrive in United States markets. This is a vehicle that is generating a lot of interest because it is quite likely to be among the first of the brands or models that is used in a broad manner by a huge portion of the population. This car is going to appear first in California and New York and then spread out across the country before being released in Europe. This is great news for those hoping to some day see the electric vehicle, or EV, market go totally main stream.

Naturally, the appearance of fleets of electric vehicles indicates that the country has the infrastructure ready to support them…right? Sadly, the United States is out of sync in terms of its capabilities for supporting electric vehicle usage and the appearance of actual electric cars or trucks.

Consider the most substantial factor for any electric vehicle – the energy supplies it requires. This is something that most often comes from a home-based charging station, but this is an issue that will have to change. Most of the vehicles will run from 50 to 120 miles on a single charge, but that is not adequate to the needs of most daily drivers. This has always been one of the reasons behind the wild popularity of the Tesla EVs with their 245 mile capacity on a single charge, but with a $100k price tag it is not likely that average drivers will be able to enjoy this, and so a better infrastructure of charging stations is essential.

In 2008, the City of Chicago began creating esthetically pleasing and totally functional solar charging stations that remain free of the public utility grids, but this is not the preferred approach. That is why so many news stories featured the inaugural use of a single Solar Charging Pole that began operating in Bethesda, MD in July of 2011. The pole utilizes a “tracking solar” array that relies on GPS guidance to keep it continually aligned with the sun. By doing this, it provides around 45% more energy than standard or “fixed” panels.

This is the sort of readily available support that most EV drivers will require and is what needs to begin appearing as the thousands of brand new and totally electric cars start to appear on American roads and highways.

A Solid Look at Compressed Natural Gas

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

The need for an alternative to gasoline and diesel has certainly been made clear over the past couple of decades.  Presidents and legislators alike have promised to funnel money into funds to help find alternative fuels, and car manufacturers are working tirelessly to create vehicle that do not require these fuels.  One proposed solution that is gaining a fair amount of popularity in the automotive world is compressed natural gas.  While this is still a fossil fuel that can emit greenhouse gases, it is considerably greener than its predecessors, does not increase carbon concentrations in the atmosphere, and can even be produced from landfills and wastewater.

It is already possible to convert vehicles to compressed natural gas, and surprisingly, many transit companies have already done so.  Many states even offer rebates and tax incentives to companies operating large fleets of vehicles who are willing to convert the fleets to use this newer, cleaner source of energy.  Arkansas, for example, just put $2.2 million into a fund that is available until December 2011 for companies looking to convert their fleets. The money is available to fleets belonging to public entities as well as any private fleet that operates ten or more vehicles, as long as at least four of them are converted.

Within the week since Arkansas made the announcement that they would be providing these monies, they have received numerous calls expressing interest.  Because the money is first come, first served, the state is hoping that many will take advantage of the program quickly.  Rebates will cover half of the cost of purchase, up to $25,000, provided the equipment installed is certified by the EPA and meets all of their requirements.

So, what is stopping companies throughout Arkansas from taking advantage of the money immediately?  The best guess is that it is likely logistics.  Finding the right place to have a conversion installed and finding a ready source of compressed natural gas that can be used as needed is not yet as easy as many public vehicles need it to be.  The move towards more eco-friendly vehicles is certainly picking up steam, but until there are reliable sources of alternative fuels or charging stations for electric cars, many motorists are still going to have to wonder how they will venture far from home without the need to drive significantly out of their way to refuel.  The good news, however, is that governments and alternative energy companies everywhere are working to address that even as we speak.

A Little Known Worldwide Phenomenon: Natural Gas Powers Cars

Unlike using solar energy to power cars, this is still very underground as far as green movements go. Yet, nonetheless, it’s making an impact worldwide; using compressed natural gas (CNG) to power cars is a green phenomenon. But how does it work? Can a fossil fuel really be green? These and other questions permeate the mystery behind natural gas as a fuel for cars.

What is natural gas?

Natural gas is a byproduct of oil drilling. It can be obtained from petroleum reservoirs as a multi-component gas. It consists of about 90% methane and 10% other gaseous hydrocarbons. It is refined and compressed into tanks or cylinders to be used in cars and other market uses. CNG is nothing new to commercial fleet operators. Honda has been selling the gas for over eighty years. UPS is a notable buyer.

How does it work?

Engines in natural gas cars are similar to conventional gasoline engines. They are, however, fitted with custom engine modifications or add-ons that allow it to run on natural gas. Engines can be built to run on natural gas or, in some cases, gasoline engines can be converted to utilize the gas. The engine works similarly to a gasoline engine. It uses pistons (spark plugs) to generate motion using fuel combustion. However, natural gas varies in its flammability, volume, and ignitability.

Natural gas is also stored in the car in a similar manner to conventional gas, usually in the rear of the car. The natural gas fuel tank contains cylinders which hold the gas under around 3,000 pounds of pressure to conserve space. The cylinders are protected from impact with metal buffers.

Advantages

  • Natural gas cars are considerably less expensive to run than gasoline-powered cars. On average, natural gas costs 30% less than gasoline. Furthermore, it is possible to refuel your car at home using your household natural gas line.
  • Natural gas, although it is a hydrocarbon, burns much cleaner than conventional gasoline. In fact, natural gas vehicles can reduce carbon monoxide emissions by 90%.
  • Safety is also a notable advantage for natural gas vehicles. They are considered safer because of the reinforced fuel tanks which makes them more resistant to leaks and punctures.

Disadvantages

  • One disadvantage for natural gas cars is smaller passenger space due to that large, reinforced fuel tank. And while they burn cleaner, natural gas cars have less fuel efficiency than gasoline cars.
  • Secondly, while it burns much cleaner, natural gas is a fossil fuel and a non-renewable resource.
  • Another issue, for now, with natural gas is the lack of fueling stations for fill-up. If you do not have natural gas running to your home, it is often not feasible to own a natural gas vehicle.

Nonetheless, natural gas is a readily available, domestic resource that could easily make a huge difference in greenhouse gas emissions. There are over 8 million natural gas cars in use worldwide. In 2006, Honda introduced the Civic GX, its first natural gas vehicle. Popular Science did a year-long study of the car, creating an excellent resource for information on natural gas cars and their day-to-day function.

Tesla to partner with Toytoa to build the all electric RAV4 in Ontario

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

Toyota Motors is expected to start building electric models of its RAV4 sport utility vehicle in Woodstock, Ontario, in partnership with Tesla Motors, according to the Toronto Star on Thursday.

Palo Alto-based Tesla Motors Inc Latest from The Business Journals Tesla, Toyota to build electric Rav4 in Canada. (NASDAQ:TSLA) is known for manufacturing the all-electric Roadster sports car. The company reportedly “built the prototype electric RAV4 at its own facility in Menlo Park,” according Clean Break.

The Star reported: “The two governments are contributing about $141 million to Toyota for a series of upgrades at plants in Cambridge and Woodstock worth a total of $545 million under the name Project Green Light. Toyota will allocate some of the government money to drive the RAV4 venture but has not revealed the amount or overall cost of that specific electric program.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in the company’s second quarter earnings call that there could be an “order of magnitude larger deal” with Toyota underway, without providing additional other details.

Massachusetts new EV charging station, 142 new stations

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

Masha Traber would prefer to use her electric scooter to tool around the Lexington area for work during the summer, but because of its short range and lack of charging stations, she often has to resort to using her car for longer trips.

So she was the ideal audience for an event state officials held yesterday on Lexington’s Battle Green to debut the new electric vehicle charging stations to be installed around the state, including three in her town.

“I’m totally excited about the new stations because they will expand my ability to ride to Cambridge,’’ Traber said.

Massachusetts officials hope the new charging outlets, 142 stations in 25 communities statewide, will not only make driving more convenient for existing electric-vehicle owners, but will compel other consumers to help the environment by buying them, too.

Most of the stations will be in common commuter or traveler spots - downtown parking areas or garages, MBTA lots, schools, businesses, or shopping malls - and will be owned and operated by municipalities on public land, and by property owners on private land, who will set rates for recharging.

The charging stations are chest-high boxes that can be placed in front of a parking space. The new Chevrolet Volt takes four to five hours to fully charge at these stations and has a 40-mile range.

Many of the stations will be part of ChargePoint Network, run by California-based station maker Coulomb Technologies Inc. and partially funded by the Department of Energy. Continue reading “Massachusetts new EV charging station, 142 new stations” »

Michigans A123 lithium-ion battery coating plant visit from U.S. Energy Secretary Chu

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu visited Michigan on Monday to support the state’s development of electric car batteries and the growth of clean-energy jobs. A123 Systems, which makes lithium-ion batteries for the transportation, electric grid and commercial markets, received a $249 million grant to open its Livonia and Romulus electric vehicle battery plants.

After touring A123 Systems’ new lithium-ion battery coating plant in Romulus, Chu spoke of the growing demand for fuel-efficient vehicles and said the United States needs to create — not import — the necessary technologies. He said the Obama administration is supporting the development of electric vehicle batteries and components through the Recovery Act, which has provided about $2 billion in grants to advanced battery manufacturing.

“A123′s success is a great example of how we are working with industries to create jobs, strengthen our manufacturing industry and help our auto companies to keep in the global market,” Chu said.

The plants are capable of producing batteries for about 20,000 to 30,000 vehicles a year. The company hopes to create about 15 percent of the world’s lithium-ion batteries used for transportation by 2015, said Jason Forcier, vice president of its Automotive Solutions Group. Continue reading “Michigans A123 lithium-ion battery coating plant visit from U.S. Energy Secretary Chu” »

Hyundai Enters the Hybrid Race

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

Just in time for the latest round of high gasoline prices (although they are dropping somewhat at the moment),

the gasoline-electric hybrid version of the redesigned Hyundai Sonata sedan has arrived.

The car is EPA rated at 35 mpg city/40 highway, which isn’t quite as high as the fuel economy of the best-selling hybrid, the Toyota Prius, officially 51 city/48 highway.

But also unlike the Prius, the Sonata hybrid has an almost identical gasoline-only version, which arrived last spring as an early 2011 model. This is a regular-looking car, not a vehicle that screams “hybrid” as it rolls down the road.

Prices of the Sonata and Prius hybrids are similar when configured the same. There is just one trim level for the Sonata, and the base price is $25,795 (plus $750 freight). Options can run the price into the low $30,000s, but those extras aren’t necessary to have a really nice hybrid sedan with ample room for five passengers and their luggage. Continue reading “Hyundai Enters the Hybrid Race” »

Toyota (TM) Plug-in’s and ALL Electric RAV4 showcased

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

Toyota’s eco-friendly autos are center stage at a Little Tokyo event this weekend showcasing new technologies and designs from Japan.

Visitors to the Little Tokyo Design Week area can peek inside the Prius Plug-in hybrid, the RAV4 EV battery-electric vehicle and the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Hybrid vehicle that are sitting in the plaza beside the Japanese American National Museum.

The Prius Plug-in will be able to run for 13 miles on power from its Lithium-ion battery, according to Toyota. More than 160 of the vehicles are already being driven in the U.S. as a demonstration program before sales start in earnest next year.

Toyota is working with Tesla on the electric RAV4, which is also expected to become available to buyers in 2012. Meanwhile, the automaker plans to spread more than 100 of its advanced fuel-cell vehicles around the country by 2013 through another demonstration program, with hopes of bringing the technology to market by 2015. 

The rest of the event, which lasts through Sunday, involves more than 15 steel storage containers acting as temporary exhibit space.

The Giant Robot retail chain has a makeshift gallery featuring products such as a “crunching dog” USB stick with a model canine doing sit-ups on the end. There’s a “Robot Box,” with various automatons and other machines. Representatives from USC, UCLA and SCI-Arc have their own boxes too.

Near the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, there’s an extended garden set up on stilts with tomatoes, carrots and beans.

BY Tiffany Hsu

Generation Y Auto buyers tracked brands and models bought in 2009 and 2010

Saturday, July 9th, 2011

A new study of Gen Y drivers’ preferences looks like more bad news for the Detroit automakers.

Auto pricing site TrueCar.com tracked both the brands and individual models bought in 2009 and 2010 by Generation Y shoppers (ages 18 to 27). The results should strike fear into the hearts of U.S. auto executives: Not a single brand from a domestic automaker made the Top 10 list.

Scion, a brand set up by Toyota Motor specifically aimed at young buyers, was No. 1. (See its Scion tC above right.) Mitsubishi, a name that barely registers with older shoppers, came in second. Some other brands among the top 10, such as Honda and Volkswagen, have a long record of youth appeal. But even the Korean corporate twins Hyundai and Kia, which have recorded surging sales in recent years, appear to have extended their appeal to young buyers as well as older ones.

Though Ford, Chrysler and the General Motors brands have enjoyed big sales gains this year, the TrueCar list portends some…………..
By Jerry Edgerton | CBS MoneyWatch

See Full Story on Yahoo Auto: http://autos.yahoo.com/news/trouble-for-detroit-gen-y%E2%80%99s-favorite-cars-are-foreign.html

Here is a closer look at TrueCar’s top brands and models:

Top Brands for Gen Y Buyers
(Ranked by percentage of buyers in Gen Y)
1. Scion — 21.2%
2. Mitsubishi — 20.3%
3. Mazda — 10.7%
4. Nissan — 9.8%
5. Volkswagen — 9.6%
6. Kia — 9.1%
7. Hyundai — 8.6%
8. Honda — 8.0%
9. Toyota — 7.6%
10. Subaru — 7.3%

About EVCARCO

EVCARCO (OTCBB: EVCA) (OTCQB: EVCA) (www.evcarco.com) is an publicly traded automotive group dedicated to deploying a franchised coast-to-coast network of environmentally friendly dealerships and vehicles. For More information about EVCARCO call 877-MYEVCAR (877.693.8227).

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