Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Brief History of Electric Cars

While many people believe that electric cars are a fairly new invention, the electric vehicle or EV has been around for nearly two centuries. The first EV dates back to the 1830s. Several different models were built across Europe and America. Several versions were created as batteries improved. By the late 1880s, UK and France supported major development of electric vehicles. Camille Jenatzy of Belgium invented the fastest EV, which was clocked at 100 km per hour. Switzerland, which lacked the natural fossil resources of other nations, also supported the electrification on its railway system, reducing its dependence on foreign resources and helping to advance the technology even further.
In America, the first electric car was not developed until the late 1800s. The first EV of note was a wagon that held up to six passengers. William Morrison and A.L. Ryker designed this vehicle, and it is considered to be the first practical electric vehicle. Innovations in electric cars rapidly increased by the early 1900s. By the turn of the century, America was quite prosperous, and automobiles of all kinds were becoming much more popular. The first hybrid electric motor/combustion engine was made in 1916. These vehicles had an advantage over their competitors for a number of reasons. They were less noisy, and they did not have the smell and vibration associated with gar-powered vehicles.
EV's were quite successful in America through the 1920s. However, by the late 1920s and early 1930s, gasoline had begun to dominate the market. With the discovery of crude oil in Oklahoma and Texas and the development of the improved road infrastructure in America, gas-powered automobiles became much more affordable and popular. They could also now travel much farther and faster than their competitors. By the late 1930s, American electric cars had practically disappeared.
By the 1960s and 70s, the notion of alternative fueled vehicles and foreign oil independence became more known, but there was not much available on the market until the 1990s. With clean air legislation being passed by American government, a few major automobile manufacturers began announcing that they would be introducing some electric models into their lineup. Since the early 2000s, interest in electric and hybrid cars has increased. Automakers have slowly been moving away from fuel inefficient vehicles.
Since the end of the first decade of the 2000s, more manufacturers have been introducing entirely electric cars. Due to the increase in the cost of gasoline and the growing awareness of the importance of environmental consciousness, EV's have become far more popular, and it is likely that they will become even more popular in the near future.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

4 Benefits of Driving a Hybrid

Hybrid vehicles are becoming increasingly popular and this trend can be linked to the governments higher standards for fuel economy. The Obama Administration has already finalized regulations that will require automotive manufacturers to produce vehicles that can achieve at least 55 miles per gallon. Hybrid vehicles are often confused with electric vehicles, which is a honest mistake because just like electric cars hybrids can run completely off electricity stored in batteries. The difference is that as the name suggests, hybrid vehicles have a gasoline engine as well as an electric motor that can propel the vehicle. Lets take a look at some benefits of driving a hybrid, like anything else there are pros and cons but this article will only focus on benefits created from driving a hybrid vehicle.

Increased driving ranges: This is one of the most convenient benefits especially if your schedule is busy and time is precious to you. On average most gasoline vehicles range from 350 miles to 500 miles per fill up. Currently some hybrids can be driven up to 600 miles between fill ups.

Tax credits: Hybrid vehicles are no doubt more expensive than conventional automobiles and this is why the government issues tax credits to people who buy hybrid vehicles. There are many resources on the internet related to tax credits for hybrid vehicles that are out dated and the easiest way to verify if a vehicle is eligible or not is to go directly to the IRS website.

Reduces carbon footprint: If your environmentally conscious this is what you have waited for! Not only do you have a fuel-efficient gasoline engine but your vehicle can get you where you need to go with zero tailpipe emissions which im sure your aware of means less greenhouse gases being created.

Less money spent on fuel: Sure you can argue that number this is a repeat of number one but seriously the biggest benefit of owning a hybrid is that they use less fuel. Cost vs benefit calculators that allow buyers to get a better grasp on just how long it would take to see any real savings and the answer is the second you start driving a hybrid your fuel expense will decrease.

Hybrid vehicles are just one alternative that vehicle purchasers have when choosing a new automobile and currently there are thousands of individuals who have decided to spend their money on hybrid technology. Hybrids only make up a small percentage of sales even though they offer many benefits but its safe to say that alternative fuel vehicles will continue to increase in popularity

A History of Hybrid Cars
As people become more environmentally conscious, gas prices begin to soar, and independence of foreign oil becomes more of a concern, hybrid cars become more and more popular. A hybrid automobile is defined as a vehicle that uses more than one source of fuel. Many of these vehicles use a combination of a typical gas powered internal combustion engine with an electric motor. While these vehicles were quite rare historically, they have only recently become more popular. Many automobile manufacturers now offer a variety of models that use this technology. While these vehicles still rely on gas, they can greatly reduce the amount of fuel used.
When automobiles were still in their infancy around the turn of the century, there were actually quite a bit of electric powered vehicles on the road. At that point, gas-powered vehicles did not dominate the roads in the way that they do now. Hybrid cars did not develop until about one hundred years later, at the beginning of the 21st century. While the first known model was developed in the 1960s, they did not become available until the end of the 20th century. The very first hybrid vehicle was introduced in 1900. It was initially an electric only vehicle, but a gas-powered engine was added to the automobile soon after, making it the first hybrid automobile.
The idea for this kind of double powered vehicle reemerged multiple times over the following decade. These electric and gas powered cars are well known for their better fuel efficiency and their ability to prevent environmentally friendly driving. These vehicles are built much in the same way as conventional gas powered automobiles, but the battery is much more prominent. These batteries are rechargeable, and they are used to power the electric engines that are installed into these vehicles.
While they do still rely on fuel to run, hybrid cars are certainly a step in the right direction. Since electric motors do not use any energy and typically only operate at slower speeds, this can greatly reduce your use of gasoline, particularly if you are only driving below 40 miles per hour.
The battery also charges while the car is running, meaning you don't have to worry about doing any charging yourself. While these vehicles can be a bit expensive, the prices are getting more affordable. Plus, you may be eligible for a tax incentive, and you may find that your savings in gas money will make the investment worth the cost.

Chevrolet Volt

Of course every new car has its pros and cons.Here is a brief review of my 2012 Chevrolet Volt:

The Volt will never win a beauty contest, but compared to the current electric offerings that aren't named Tesla, the Volt is a good-looking machine. The roofline is low and sleek thanks to a steeply sloped rear hatch which helps to offset the giant slabs of vertical metal posing as door. Seriously those doors look about one and a half times too tall due to their flatness. This verticalness also makes the 17" wheels look much too small for the rest of the vehicle. I think 18" or 19" wheels would look much better, but those would carry a weight penalty. The front of the Volt is appropriately aggressive and the LED daytime running lamps makes sure it fits in with today's most prolific styling trend. The rear of the Volt is a kammback design that sacrifices style for aerodynamic efficiency and is more Prius than Shelby Daytona.
Black plastic everywhere! The doors are made of hard textured plastic and so is the dash. Lest I forget the center console is also made of the stuff and almost every other piece of trim. Speaking of center consoles, the middle of the Volt is dominated with a large center tunnel that conceals the large battery living underneath the car. The tunnel results in a console that extends to the rear seats and makes this vehicle strictly a four person affair. While the plastics are mostly hard they seem to be put together well.
Finally the part of the Volt that makes it unique from almost every other car available on the market today. Without going into too much technical detail, the Volt is a combination of an electric and gas-powered vehicle. A large 10.4 kWh battery powers electric motors to propel the vehicle. When the battery runs low a gasoline engine engages to assist in moving the vehicle. This system works seamlessly and in most instances it hard to notice when the Volt has transitioned from fully electric to gas assisted modes.
  • RIDE:
The Volt is by far the quietest and smoothest vehicle I have ever driven. When I press the accelerator in electric mode, there is near silence as the vehicle quickly gains speed. The first time I drove a Volt the lack of engine noise while accelerating seemed almost un-natural. Yet at the same time it was a calm and peaceful realization that moving quickly didn't necessarily require moving loudly. While cruising at highway speeds there is some wind noise, but is on par with most entry-level luxury vehicles.
The Chevrolet Volt and cars of its type are the future. Let's face it, fuel economy standards will continue to rise as will the regulation of emissions. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing if it spurs more innovative and exciting vehicles and drivetrains. I don't think economical and fun are mutually exclusive ideas. The Volt is far from a sports car, yet it is entertaining in its own ways. The near silent driving experience, smooth acceleration and highly efficient drivetrain help to pave the way for interesting and exciting vehicles.

C7 Corvette Stingray Another Generation

The C7 Corvette Stingray is definitely one of this year's hotly anticipated sports cars. The C7 stands for Seventh Generation Corvette, from its core to the last DNA of its composite bodywork. The Stingray delivers stunning looks, performance, exceptional handling, and comfort, along with exceptional pricing.
The Corvette Stingray has more road grip, better braking, and it takes the pleasure of driving to a whole new level. On the track, around the figure eight, the Stingray handles better than its predecessor resulting in impressive lap times.
As far as acceleration using the launch control, you really need not to. Best acceleration can be achieved without it. The large rotors and sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sport ZP tires lead to a very impressive stopping distance. The Corvette Stingray has a special drive mode selector that allows you to change between five modes.
The five modes are Weather, Economic, Touring, and Sport / Track. Switching between these modes can be achieved while driving, and the car is set up in an instant. It is absolutely fascinating, the level of technology in this car.
The LT1 6.2 liter V8 engine produces 460 horsepower and 465 lbs-ft of torque. The engine is still a pushrod design for better low-end torque and weight reduction. When Economy Mode is activated, it shuts down four cylinders to save fuel.
This allows the Stingray to hit almost 30 MPG.
The C7 also comes with an all new seven speed manual gearbox with rev-matching mode that can be turned on or off from the steering-mounted paddles, which is also used for the automatic manual transmission. The first three gears of the manual transmission are shorter to deliver quicker initial acceleration. The great power to weight ratio of the C7 enables it to go from zero to sixty in just 3.8 seconds.
In regards to the handling, the new Corvette Stingray has a ton of grip at both ends. The adjustable steering communicates really well when you want it to and fades away when you do not.
The chassis absorbs changes of input from the road and driver without an issue, unlike a lot of high performance cars which do not give you much feedback until reaching their limit.
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