Plug-in Cars News Roundup

By · November 10, 2012

C-Max Energi

Ford will more than triple its plug-in certified dealership network to accomodate the release of the C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrids/.

Each week, we try to bring you not just news but a range of insights relating to plug-ins. At the end of the week though, there are inevitably some stories left over that we think are important but didn't get a chance to cover. Here are a few that caught our eye from last week:

More Bad Fisker Headlines

It was learned this week that in addition to the 17 Karmas that were burnt beyond recognition by fire during superstorm Sandy, Fisker lost a total of 300 vehicles to storm damage. Assuming that the roughly $35 million worth of lost vehicles were fully insured, losing a 300-vehicle shipment is, at the least, a major delivery setback.

Fisker is also engaged in some legal sparring with A123 systems, which supplies battery packs for the Karma and is yet to complete a 2,000-unit recall stemming from flaws to the A123-designed pack. Earlier this week it was reported that A123 Systems had filed a motion to release it of its obligations to Fisker as it enters bankruptcy. The carmaker has filed a counter-motion, claiming that the move would “severely harm Fisker.”

[Via Green Car Congress]

EVs Come in Handy During an Emergency

The New York Times Wheels Blog told the story of two Tri-State Area EV drivers who used their cars to their advantage during the recent storm. As gasoline became difficult to impossible to find in many parts of the area, Tom Moloughney and his BMW ActiveE were able to dodge the long lines and empty pumps thanks to electric drive and a natural gas generator. Meanwhile, Frank Streng of Northern Westchester County used his Nissan LEAF as his primary power source at home by charging it at a public charger in an area that had power.

Ford Triples Certified EV Dealerships

With the release of the C-Max Energi, Ford is stepping up its sales efforts with plug-ins, adding an additional 700 dealerships certified to sell the Energi and the limited-volume Focus EV. By next year, when the Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid joins its lineup, Ford will have electric drive certified sales staffs in all 50 states.

[Via Auto News]

Ford EV+ System Adjusts Powertrain to Your Driving Habits

Part of Ford’s SmartGauge system, the new EV+ feature learns drivers’ frequent destinations and adjusts the powertrain of Ford PHEVs to maximize electric range. “We know from our research that hybrid drivers want to drive as often as they can in electric-only mode, especially near their home or frequently visited locations,” said Ford’s Kevin Layden. “This is one of the first examples of how we’re looking to make the car smarter, by leveraging on board data to provide features and services that add value to the driving experience.”

[Via Green Car Congress]

Aerovironment Milestone

Charge station manufacturer Aerovironment recently celebrated its 10,000th home charger installation, according to Autoblog Green. The website also says that Aerovironment has completed a deal to become the preferred charge station provider for Fiat as it introduces its 500E. Aerovironment already has similar deals in place with Nissan and BMW.


· · 5 years ago

Yup, never have to be stuck in a gas line. Saw on the news that my Gov Andrew Cuomo finally agreed with me that my electric utility is incompetent (British owned National Grid) due to having lights off for 2 weeks straight on Long Island, and he's claiming he's considering pulling their franchise. I just hope as punishment he forces them to lower their ridiculous rates.
Glad to see neighbor is helping neighbor there.. If you wait for outside help, you
are going to be waiting a long time. Neighbors have to band together with local churches to get hot meals to the people and also water for those in need.

· · 5 years ago

Congratulations to Aerovironment (and also GE Durastations) for making reliable chargers. Every one I've tested of those two brands I haven't heard of any car having any problems with either of them.

There was one posting of a guy who said a RAV4 ev wont work with a Nissan charger, but Nissan Chargers are rebranded Aerovironments. And they are on the approved compatibility list.

Anyone know what is going on there?

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

There are 13,845 EV charging stations in USA and is rapidly increasing. Hope more Plugins will appear especially with C-Max being launched and the upcoming Fusion & Accord Plugins.

· PAT (not verified) · 5 years ago

Great job Ford. Wish much success to your new line up of EV.

· Jesse Gurr (not verified) · 5 years ago

RAV4 EV 1st gen or 2nd gen? 1st gen RAV4 EV had like a paddle connector. Totally different.

· · 5 years ago

Toyota Prius Plug-in: The Ultimate Survival Vehicle???

Toyota now offers the ability for the Prius to act as a gasoline powered electrical generator. This recently released for the Prius and Prius Plug-In:
It cost just under $800 for the Prius and just under $1,200 for the Plug-In. System is rated at 1.5kW and 100V.

Just park your Prius run an extension cord from it into your house to power stuff (your refrig every few hours, lights for a few hours at nite, etc). Power would come from the hybrid/plug-in battery first (could be parked inside garage) or from engine acting as a generator (parked outdoors due to exhaust emissions).

The Prius Plug-In holds 4.4kWh in its battery pack (acc to, so that in itself would last awhile (up to 4 days for an average *Japanese* home acc to, before needing to use the gasoline engine to generate electricity. Not sure if that 4 days is full-time, or only minimal, emergency use.

That makes me wonder if you charged the Plug-In ahead of time, and you had a full tank, how long you could have minimal, emergency electricity in case like Katrina or Sandy, where you knew ahead of time that some S was about to HTF. If you had switched as many of your home lights over to L-Prize winning Phillips LED bulbs (60W of light for <10W of electricity), your electricity would go even farther.

If you plan on bugging out, wherever you drive, you've got a generator. Just grab your "bug out bag" (BOB), a 5 gallon can of extra gas, some 5 gallon containers of water, and you're good to go!

If you get the Prius Plug-In and if you suspected ahead of time that S may HTF (e.g., like w/the Rodney King verdict, hurricane Katrina, hurricane Sandy, Zimmerman verdict), you can fully charge the battery pack and choose NOT to use it at all when driving (it will then operate like a regular Prius hybrid). Then when you arrive at your home or retreat, you've got a rechargable battery pack charged 4.4kWh of energy with you too. You can drive using only electricity to be stealthy or to save gasoline if you have PV panels/wind gen. Best part is that until that day (or 2015 when their CA HOV decals expire), you get to use the HOV lanes, and the federal, state, and local governments helped subsidize your survival vehicle! (via incentives to buy plug-in hybrids)

If Toyota offered a Plug-In version of the Prius V (has cargo room larger than many small SUVs), with the roof top solar panel package (not currently offered on either the V or the Plug-in), that would be ideal: all the advantages mentioned above, plus more room for stuff, excellent for "car camping," and a mobile PV panel that goes w/you wherever you drive to help recharge your battery pack w/o using gasoline or electricity. (This assumes Toyota gives you the option to use its electricity to recharge the batteries instead powering interior ventilation -- just crack the windows open instead.) The Prius V appears to have a larger, flat roof, so it should be able to have a larger, more powerful photovoltaic panel.

I wonder if a small business owner could use the business expense deduction by saying it is a mobile emergency generator for his business???

· · 5 years ago

@John K,
A couple of other things that you could also add that a PHEV such as the PiP or Volt can do in disasters that makes them nearly the ultimate survival tool:
1) If stuck in disaster traffic such as happened as people were evacuating Houston as hurricane Ike approached in 2008, a PHEV's ability to edge along on battery, only starting its ICE when the battery SoC falls below some point enables it to avoid running out of gas like conventional ICE vehicles do.
2) The hybrid design allows the ICE to operate efficiently, even when the load is light since it only has to start the ICE when the battery gets low. One big problem in off-grid haphazard power situations such as remote military bases and NYC and NJ after hurricane Sandy ( is that generators operate very inefficiently if they aren't at their rated capacity. This means they are very wasteful of gasoline which is usually very scarce and precious in these situations as well. Using a PHEV will probably be more efficient and use less gasoline than running a stand-alone generator.

· · 5 years ago

Good points.

In re. Houston evac: even if running on ICE, as a hybrid, a Prius automatically shuts down its ICE every time you stop vs "normal" cars burning all that precious gas in stop and go traffic.

While the Volt may (or may not), be a superior generator, since that is primarily what its ICE is, it currently requires premium gasoline. In a crisis/emergency, the Prius is better since it runs on regular or better. As long as a station (or someone) has some gasoline, you can use it to drive or gen electricity.

Not sure what grade of fuel the new Ford Fusion Energi will need.

Of course, to optimize all this, ALL of the Prius' lights (interior and exterior), should be energy efficient LEDs (incl headlights).

With a big solar panel on its roof, Toyota should call the Prius V Plug-in w/generator option their "Power Wagon." :)

· · 5 years ago

@John K.
re: traditional hybrids. I always thought that Ford should make more with their "Escape" hybrid on this matter :-)

· Frank the Volt Owner (not verified) · 5 years ago

@John K. The Volt can also run on regular unleaded in a pinch - they recommend premium because we rarely use gasoline and it rides in the tank for months at a time. I believe that a PI Prius will use more gas than my Volt on my daily routine so regular unleaded is ok for it. We rarely use any gas at all and the lifetime MPG of my Volt is 200+, something that the PIP could not achieve on my routes.

· Frank the Volt Owner (not verified) · 5 years ago

@John K. The Volt can also run on regular unleaded in a pinch - they recommend premium because we rarely use gasoline and it rides in the tank for months at a time. I believe that a PI Prius will use more gas than my Volt on my daily routine so regular unleaded is ok for it. We rarely use any gas at all and the lifetime MPG of my Volt is 200+, something that the PIP could not achieve on my routes.

· · 5 years ago

"Not sure what grade of fuel the new Ford Fusion Energi will need."

The C-Max Energi uses 87 octane. The Fusion should be the same I would think...

· · 5 years ago

@Jesse Gurr

2nd Gen rav4ev

New to EVs? Start here

  1. Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
    A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
  2. Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
    Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
  3. Buying Your First Home EV Charger
    You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.