TORONTO, Ont. (February 10, 2016) – Climate change is a growing global concern, and the automotive industry is making significant strides to develop affordable, feasible vehicles that are powered by alternative energies.
Almost every day now we’re seeing announcements of new electric vehicles arriving very soon. Although they’ve been around for a while now – the Chevrolet Volt is now entering its 2nd Generation, and the Nissan Leaf, which has been around since 2012 will be all-new for the 2017 model year. Ford have the Fusion, Focus and C-Max plug in/hybrid models and don’t forget the leader of hybrid cars/SUV – Toyota, as well as Tesla, Kia and now Hyundai.
Stuttgart. When it comes to new registrations of electric cars in Germany the same name takes first place every year: smart fortwo electric drive. This is a hat trick for the battery-electric two-seater – for the third time in a row it has beaten all competitors with all-electric drive (without range extender). With more than 4700 new registrations since the first generation in 2007, the e-smart is Germany’s most successful electric car by far. It is also very popular among Daimler AG employees who have covered more than 1.5 million zero-emission kilometres to date within the framework of the electric mobility project “charge@work”.
The price of oil began its downward spiral in July of 2014. From the end of June it started falling from $100 barrel all the way down to $45 in and around the middle of January 2015, it’s now rebounded a little to $52. How have our gas prices fared over that period? Let’s do some number-crunching… At $100 per barrel we were in the $1.35-1.40/litre range for regular unleaded in Southern Ontario (add 17¢/litre for Super Unleaded). In the middle of December 2014 oil was around $77 per barrel and gas was around $1.20/ litre in Ontario. Oil fell to $45 around the beginning of February and our local gas stations had finally brought the price down to around 90-92¢/litre. Oil climbed to $52 over the past week (middle of February 2015) and gas immediately shot up to $1.02.
Fuel Economy in Cold Weather Cold weather and winter driving conditions can reduce your fuel economy significantly. Fuel economy tests show that, in short-trip city driving, a conventional gasoline car’s gas mileage is about 12% lower at -7°C (20°F) than it would be at 25°C (77°F). It can drop as much as 22% for very short trips (5-8 kms / 3-4 miles). The effect on hybrids is worse. Their fuel economy can drop about 31% to 34% under these conditions. Why is winter fuel economy lower? Cold weather affects your vehicle in more ways than you might expect:
Cold weather and winter driving conditions can reduce your fuel economy significantly. Fuel economy tests show that, in short-trip city driving, a conventional gasoline car’s gas mileage is about 12% lower at 20°F (6°C) than it would be at 77°F (25°C). It can drop as much as 22% for very short trips (3 to 4 miles). The effect on hybrid vehicles is worse. Their fuel economy can drop about 31% to 34% under winter conditions. These conclusions are based on an analysis by Oak Ridge National Laboratory comparing EPA Federal Test Procedure (FTP) results for 600 conventional vehicles and 14 hybrids under “normal” temperatures (around 77°F / 25°C) and cold-weather conditions (20°F / 6°C).
The All-New C-MAX is a great looking little city runabout that’s sure to stand out in a crowd. With the world striving to go green, manufacturers are forever trying to find a way to make vehicles more fuel-efficient. Each manufacturer has their own take on how to save the planet – for some it’s hydrogen, for others it’s diesel, hybrid, electric or combinations thereof. The C-MAX is a different animal – it straddles the realm between and EV and a hybrid. Its forté is that you can plug it in and run on electric-only for short trips around town – where the majority of pollutants are emitted in stop-and-go traffic. Unlike other EVs it has a real motor to extend its range, making the C-MAX far more desirable than your standard EV or hybrid.
BY RYAN WOLSTAT, TORONTO SUN The oldest, worst-polluting vehicles are exempt from emissions testing… TORONTO – At Cam’s Automotive Service in downtown Toronto, about 20 vehicles go through the Drive Clean test every day. It’s a busy shop. The bays are full, mechanics bend, squat and move around vehicles to the accompaniment of the banging and clanging sounds of a garage and the parking lot outside is jammed with cars.
[NOTE: this is U.S. information, but still relevant to Canadians] One of the knocks on hybrid vehicles is that it may take you several years to break even on the extra cost of the hybrid technology despite the money you’ll save on gasoline. That’s true. However, if you add that additional cost to your loan, rather than your down payment, you may never feel that initial financial “hit” that discourages some from purchasing a hybrid. Plus, you could save thousands during the time you own the vehicle. Fueleconomy.gov has developed a tool to help you decide if paying the extra cost of a hybrid makes good financial sense for you. It allows you to base your analysis on several factors, such as fuel costs in your area, the number of miles you drive each year, and how long you plan to keep the vehicle. It also allows you to calculate how much the extra hybrid cost will add to your total car loan and monthly payment.
~ 2011 Honda CR-Z hybrid In 2006 I had the opportunity to Road Test my first two hybrid vehicles – the Ford Escape and the Toyota Camry. I wasn’t sure what to expect, other than good gas mileage and a very quiet engine. That was a long time ago and hybrids have come a long way since then with numerous manufacturers throwing their hat into the fuel-savings ring. Each time I get the opportunity to drive a hybrid, my main goal is to learn if they actually sipped fuel as promised, or whether all the hype is just another game of smoke and mirrors that tree huggers have become so adept at feeding the general public by way of the media. I always get numerous questions come my way from friends, family and complete strangers. Most are somewhat confused about what exactly a hybrid is, and that got me to thinking – how many other people are confused about them? So, with my readers in mind, here is a brief explanation and summary of my experience …