At the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, South Korean automaker CT&T unveiled two new electric vehicles on Tuesday, both which are scheduled to go into production in the second quarter of this year.
While the vehicles are not approved for regular roadway driving in the States, and are classified as low-speed vehicles (LSV) by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, they offer a variety of advantages, such as energy-efficiency, less pollution and a much quieter ride, unlike gasoline-powered vehicles.
While low-speed electrics have smaller, less-expensive batteries and can be good vehicles for specific uses, they are still costly to own, no thanks to the expense of the battery.
Curt Westlake, marketing director for CT&T, said at Tuesday’s unveiling:
“Until the battery technologies get to the point where batteries are affordable, full-speed electrics are going to be expensive.”
On Tuesday at the auto show, CT&T offered up a sharp looking, very light blue 2-seat roadster, known as the C Square. While Westlake wouldn’t talk price, he did reveal that the C Square has a top speed of 93 mph and can travel 155 miles on a single charge, getting its’ power from a lithium-polymer battery pack. Joe White, the company’s chief operating officer in America, has stated publicly that the C Square will set you back roughly $50,000 - or less than half the price of the electric Tesla Roadster. Click here for short video.
The second CT&T vehicle is the eZone Plus, a 2-seat car specifically designed for drivers to run about in larger cities downtown. The eZone Plus can reach speeds up to 45 mph with a range of 75 miles. Reps for CT&T say plans to design and build a 4-door version are in the works.]]>
The Washington Auto Show and Green Car Journal will be hosting the third annual Green Car Summit on Monday, January 25.
The 2010 Green Car Summit will launch the first of the show’s two Public Policy Days that unite policy makers with international media and industry leaders. The Green Car Summit’s location on Capitol Hill facilitates reaching key Members of Congress and their staff, along with high-level government and industry officials and prominent members of the Washington media circuit.
Says Ron Cogan, Editor and Publisher of the Green Car Journal and GreenCar.com:
“We are at a critical time in the history of the motor vehicle, with decisions made today influencing the direction of the auto industry for many years to come. While there is significant support in Washington for a new generation of vehicles operating on electric drive and low carbon fuels, and growing evidence that auto manufacturers are moving in that direction, important questions remain regarding how to get there in realistic ways.”
The Green Car Summit will be held at the Capitol in the Cannon Building on January 25, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
photo courtesy: Washington Auto Show]]>
The Crayola colored Kandi COCO, an all electric, plug-in low speed vehicle that can be driven on streets with speed limits under 35 MPH, is receiving $4,435 in Federal tax credits, while the state of Oklahoma has kicked in an additional tax credit of 50% of the sales price, or $5,299. The Kandi COCO has a retail price of about $10,995, so if you buy one in Oklahoma before December 31, 2009, it can be yours for almost a steal – or about $865.00.
While you can’t drive it on the highway, and it doesn’t go over 45 miles per hour, it’s being compared to the smart fortwo in the states, which I find interesting since the only thing I can truly find comparable might be the size and the amount of time it takes to fully charge. The COCO goes 40-60 miles on one charge and takes about 5-6 hours to fully charge using a 110 volt.
There are some distinct advantageous though, as they’re no doubt great for people who own motor homes and want the flexibility of having a small car in tow. I think those who live in retirement communities might also find these little gems handy to scoot around in, too. They could probably be useful on college campuses, as well as film studios and practically anywhere transportation is needed in a smaller, less congested traffic area.
For less than the cost of a big screen TV, you can own a brand new set of wheels. Imagine a Kandi COCO under the Christmas tree this year – or not.]]>
At the 2009 LA Auto Show, Volkswagen has plans to unveil its’ new concept car, the VW UP! Lite, a combination of Volkswagen’s TDI Clean Diesel engine, an advanced electric motor, and a seven-speed Direct Shift Gearbox.
The Up! Lite, which is said to get up to 70 mpg on the highway, and has room for four adults, will be on display through December 13, 2009, in the South Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center.
The Volkswagen Up! Lite has an all-new hybrid power train, which consists of an 0.8-liter, two-cylinder TDI Clean Diesel engine, and an electric motor that acts as the vehicle’s starter, alternator, and E-drive unit.
According to the press release, the 0.8L engine produces 51 horsepower and up to 88 lbs.-ft. of torque. The electric motor, with its 13 additional horsepower, can be used to boost the TDI engine when needed, provide valuable regenerative braking, and even propel the Up! Lite on its own. The seven-speed DSG transmission ensures the driver has access to the full power range whenever needed, and allows for a 0 to 60 mph run of 12 seconds, a top speed of 100 mph, and the exceptional fuel economy rating of 70 mpg.
Side cameras stand in place of traditional outside mirrors and 18-inch carbon fiber and aluminum wheels give it a sports car-like look. In the cabin, there’s a touch screen and hand motion sensors for climate controls, Internet connection, telephone, multimedia playback, and more. Also on tap are three cameras that replace the rearview mirror, while a folding rear seat means extra storage space.
The more I see and hear about the UP!, the more I think I really like it, and while it’s a concept car, I hope it becomes available in the near future. It looks like a sharp little car that’s built for fun – and functionality!
What do readers think?]]>
A total of 58 vehicles were in the running for the Car and Driver “10 Best” list and all of the contenders were put through a week of testing, judged on three forms of criteria:
1. How well they performed their intended mission
2. How engaging and fun they were to drive
3. How much value they delivered
In addition to being fun to drive, the Fusion Hybrid offers an EPA estimated rating of 41 mpg in the city and the ability to travel more than 700 miles on a single tank of gas.
Despite the slump in the overall auto industry, sales of the Fusion Hybrid are impressive, accounting for almost 20 percent of total Fusion retail sales. Perhaps even more significant, more than 60 percent of Fusion Hybrid sales have been to customers coming from import brands - mostly Toyota and Honda.]]>
Zero Motorcycles recently announced that its all-electric Zero S will be on display during this year’s WIRED Store in New York City from November 21 through December 27.
This is WIRED magazine’s fifth annual holiday store, which features all the latest cutting-edge products.
A Zero S will be featured in a special green section curated by Entourage star Adrian Grenier and Peter Glatzer of SHFT.COM.
The Zero S, which was developed to be aggressive in urban environments, integrates revolutionary technology with innovative motorcycle design. Instant acceleration and a lightweight design combine to form a power-to-weight ratio that increases the motorcycle’s range and handling abilities.
Those interested in going for a demo ride on a Zero S in New York can schedule it using Zero’s website at http://www.zeromotorcycles.com/locator/.
The WIRED Store is located at 415 West 13th Street between 9th Avenue and Washington Street in Manhattan’s Meatpacking/Highline District.
Hours are from 12pm to 9pm Wednesday through Sunday, and closed Monday and Tuesday.
You can also visit the WIRED Store on line by visiting http://www.wired.com/wiredstore.
For more information on Zero Motorcycles, visit http://www.zeromotorcycles.com.]]>
Calling all college students - Nissan wants you!
On Monday, Nissan announced the launch of the Nissan LEAF Zero Emissions Student Competition, which allows university and college students to express how the Nissan LEAF has inspired their outlook towards a zero-emissions future.
Winners receive a $500 scholarship.
The contest kicks off at the University of Southern California campus, which is the first university stop on the Nissan LEAF Zero Emissions Tour.
Those interested in participating can visit Nissan’s Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/nissan) and click on the Green 2010 tab. One student from each of the participating universities will be selected as a winner based on the creativity, relevance to the theme and originality of their entry response. The winning students – which will be named at the end of the Nissan LEAF Zero Emissions Tour - will receive a $500 scholarship.
The nationwide tour, which began in Los Angeles, will make stops in 22 cities, in 11 states, the District of Columbia, and Vancouver, Canada, offering the opportunity for everyone to learn more about Nissan LEAF and the benefits of zero-emission driving.
Tour details can be found at www.nissanusa.com/leaf-electric-car.
The Nissan LEAF Zero Emissions Student Competition is open to all students attending one of the participating universities in the Nissan LEAF Zero Emissions Tour. For a list of participating universities, full contest details, rules and eligibility requirements please click on the Green 2010 tab on Nissan’s Facebook page.
More information on the Nissan LEAF and zero-emission mobility can be found at www.nissanusa.com/leaf-electric-car and www.nissan-zeroemission.com.]]>
The plant will support Fisker Automotive’s Project NINA, the development and build of an affordable, family-oriented plug-in hybrid sedan costing about $39,900 after federal tax credits.
Production is scheduled to begin in late 2012. Fisker Automotive anticipates Project NINA will ultimately create or support 2,000 factory jobs and more than 3,000 vendor and supplier jobs by 2014, as production ramps up to full capacity of 75,000-100,000 vehicles per year. More than half will be exported, the largest percentage of any domestic manufacturer.
Fisker Automotive has signed a letter of intent with Motors Liquidation Co. (MLC), formerly known as General Motors Corporation, to purchase the Wilmington plant for $18 million after a four month evaluation period. An additional $175 million will be spent to refurbish and retool the factory over the next three years with funding coming from the conditional loan of $528.7M, which the Department of Energy awarded the company in September.
The company’s first car, the Fisker Karma, will be the world’s first production plug-in hybrid when it goes on sale this summer at retailers in the United States and Europe.]]>
If you are looking to buy a car and have to finance it, then the first thing that you should do is to make sure that you have the highest possible credit score available. You should begin the process about 6 months before you anticipate your car purchase. This is what specifically you should do.
1. Check your credit report - Every year, each individual is entitled to a copy of each of your credit report from the three major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. The place to get your free credit report is from the site www.annualcreditreport.com. The thing that you have to watch out for any errors (especially negative ones) on your report. It could be as innocent as an incorrect address. Or it could be a late payment that never actually happened. You should have them changed right away by writing to the credit bureaus.
One thing to be aware of is that there are many sites that offer you a “free credit report” (which you are entitled to anyway) and will bill you a monthly fee in return for “monitoring your credit reports”. Avoid these deals. The other thing to be aware of is that you can get your free credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com, but you will not be able to see your scores. To see your credit scores, you’ve got to buy them from the major credit bureaus. They is though one way to get a free score from TransUnion, and is to join this site called www.creditkarma.com. It is an ad supported site so you will just see more ads there. Then just buy the other two reports.
Improving your credit score - Once you know your credit scores and you have removed any incorrect but negative items from your credit report, the next step is to improve your credit score. To improve your credit score, you have to understand that certain things you do will impact your credit score.
Paying your bills on time - Paying your bills on time is very important. If you never had that problem, then make sure that you continue to pay your bills on time.
Debt Utilization Ratio - This is the ratio of how much debt you have versus how much credit lines are available to you. If you have $10,000 worth of credit lines and you are utilizing $9000, that would not look so good. But if you are only utilizing $3,000, then that is much better. As a rough guide, 30% is a reasonable debt utilization ratio.
Length of credit history - The length of your credit history is also very important. The longer your history of your credit card for example, the better it is than one you just got. So do not cancel your old credit cards.
Improving Your Debt Utilization Ratio - If your credit score needs improvement before you make that purchase, then one of the key things you have to focus on is to reduce your debt.
That could mean a few things. You might want to consider paying off more than your minimum credit card payment, or try to pay down some principal. Other things you may want to consider is asking your lender to reduce the interest rate on your loans. It could be on your credit card debt etc. If you are successful in that, you can use the savings you have to pay down debt. If you have credit card debt, one way to save on interest cost is to look for 0% balance transfer deals. There are lots of balance transfer credit cards with 0% APR offerings. That way, you can pay 0% interest for a certain period and use the savings to pay down principal.
What if you have no credit history? - What if you have no credit history? What if you are a new immigrant? Not to worry. A little bit of advance planning will help. The first thing you have to do is to build a credit history! One way to do it is to get a credit card. Though credit card issuers also look at one’s “history”, there are lots of credit cards for people with no credit history. If you are a student, most credit card issuers offer student credit cards with no annual fees even if you have no credit history.
What if I have just got out of bankruptcy? - Believe it or not, you could still get an auto loan after you have just emerged from a chapter 7 or 13. Certain dealers and brands will do that. You just have to ask and do your legwork and research. However, if you are not in a hurry, you can always rebuild your credit. One of the easiest ways to rebuild your credit is actually (yes, you’ve guessed it) to get a credit card. But most issuers will stay far away from you. What you want to get is a secured credit card.
Now up to this point, I’ve only mentioned getting credit cards to build a credit history. There are other means of doing this - like taking a personal loan. However, based on other people’s experiences, it is easier to get a line of credit with a credit card than a personal loan.
Conclusion - Buying a car is a major financial decision. If you intend to finance the car, then making sure your credit report and credit score is in tip top condition is crucial to getting the best rate for car loan. You should start working on your credit report about six month in advance of your purchase. In fact, try to do that a year in advance. That way, you will have time to improve your score if it is necessary.]]>
The 63rd annual IAA auto show begins on September 17 in Frankfurt, Germany. The 17th and 18th are trade days and then the show opens to the public from September 19 through September 27, 2009. Among the vehicles scheduled to be on display at the event is the new Mercedes-Benz Vision S500 Plug-in Hybrid.
“The Vision S 500 Plug-in HYBRID can drive for up to 30 kilometres solely on electricity and therefore without producing any local emissions. The efficient drive system combined with the CO2 bonus for the battery-electric driving mode enables the vehicle to achieve a certified consumption of only 3.2 litres of petrol per 100 kilometers.” Source: Daimler
This is approximately 73 miles per gallon. This is quite a bit more than the 50-mpg third generation Toyota Prius but far less than the estimated 100+ mpg rating that the Chevrolet Volt may be awarded.]]>