Now that Toyota’s Prius Plug-in Hybrid has been officially announced, we can begin the comparisons with the other plug-in electric vehicle with an extended driving range, the Chevrolet Volt. The underlying question is which is more important to consumers: electric driving range, or total vehicle fuel efficiency?
Even without the additional hardware, vehicles can make money from the grid simply by speeding or slowing the rates at which the batteries are charged. While not full vehicle-to-grid, EVs can play a role today in ancillary services such as frequency or voltage regulation with the right systems in place.
In early December, General Motors loaned a pre-production Chevy Volt to James Woolsey. The former CIA director—who served under Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1995—promptly slapped a bumper sticker on the car, reading “Bin Laden Hates This Car.” He draws a direct line between his range-extended electric car, energy security, and the vulnerability of Saudi Arabia to a popular uprising. "You want to destroy OPEC’S monopoly over oil—and the only way to destroy that is to destroy oil’s monopoly over transportation," said Woolsey.
February 22 marked two months since the December 2010 delivery of my Chevy Volt, number 24 off the assembly line. Once this marvelous vehicle had reached 1,291 miles on the odometer—1,212 miles since I got it—I experienced what car owners all over the world endure far more often: for the first time, I had to visit a gas station. I found this a bittersweet experience.
As Tom Moloughney (our resident Mini E driver) wrote a few days ago, BMW is starting to share some of the first specific details about the BMW ActiveE. The electric rear-wheel drive 1-series will provide 170 horsepower and max torque of 184 lb-ft. of torque, while storing 32 kWh of energy in three separate blocks to provide 100 miles of range. The car will have Level 2 charger (at 6.6 kW) with the use of a J772 connector. Now, a new BMW ActiveE website is offering information about efficiency on the electric Bimmer.
New to EVs? Start here
What Is An Electric Car?
Before we get going, let's establish basic definitions.
A Quick Guide to Plug-in Hybrids
Some plug-in cars have back-up engines to extend driving range.
Electric Cars Pros and Cons
EVs are a great solution for most people. But not everybody.
Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
Federal and Local Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
Eight Factors Determining Total Cost of Ownership of an Electric Car
EVs get bad rap as expensive. Until you look at TCO.
Quick Guide to Buying Your First Home EV Charger
You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.
Electric Car Utility Rate Plans: Top Five Rules
With the right utility plan, electric fuel can be dirt cheap.
The Ultimate Guide to Electric Car Charging Networks
If you plan to charge in public, you'll want to sign up for charging network membership (or two).
Eight Rules of Electric Vehicle Charging Etiquette
Thou shalt charge only when necessary. And other rules to live by.