Entries in Electric Vehicles (4)


Even Electric Cars Are No Safe Haven from High Gas Prices

Nissan Motor Co(NEW YORK) -- While oil and gas prices have been pushed higher by unrest in the Middle East, consumers have not yet run to the newest electric vehicles on the market.  President Obama has said he hopes to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015, in part to decrease American dependency on foreign oil.

An electric vehicle can allow consumers to purchase less gas and decrease our dependency on oil, but the cost savings vary both by consumer and by car.

Because both electric and hybrid vehicles are more expensive than most other vehicles, they may not give you any savings over a conventional car, said Eric Evarts, associate autos editor with Consumer Reports.

The Chevrolet Volt and Nissan LEAF, both released in December, are the most recent additions to the mainstream electric car market.  Both have gasoline engines, but only to supplement their electric motors.  Drivers plug them in to recharge their batteries while they're parked.

The Chevy Volt car has a base price of $40,280, while the Nissan LEAF can cost from $32,780 to $33,720, according to  Chevrolet's website touts a $32,780 price after a maximum $7,500 federal tax credit.  Similarly, Nissan says you'll pay $25,280 after those tax savings.

"They're not going to save money buying these cars," Evarts said about drivers who may purchase these two latest electric vehicles.  "With gas and electricity expenses as they are, you're not going to pay them off any time soon."

General Motors, parent company of Chevrolet, announced this week that it sold just 281 Volt cars in February, down from 321 in January.  Nissan sold 67 LEAF cars in February, down from 87 in January.  In December, Nissan sold 19 LEAF vehicles while GM sold 326 Volts.

Evarts said one reason these electric cars are not flying out of showrooms just yet is that there are less expensive cars, similar in size to the Volt and LEAF, that have good fuel efficiency.  He points to the Toyota Prius, a hybrid vehicle, as a possible fit for drivers with longer commutes.

"The Prius has more cargo, is likely more reliable with better mileage than the Volt on gas," said Everts, "and it costs half as much." 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US in Midst of Largest Rollout of Electric Infrastructure in Its History

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The country is in the midst of the largest rollout ever of electric cars and the infrastructure needed to support them, as officials hope the country begins to ditch the pump and, instead, plug in.

The goal is to put more than 13,000 electric-drive vehicles and 20,000 chargers in more than 20 cities across the country in the next few years.

As part of the rollout, ECOtality North America was awarded a $99.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to embark on an the EV project to help electrify the country.

Officially launched on Oct. 1, 2009 and lasting approximately 36 months, the project will deploy nearly 15,000 charging stations in 16 cities in six states -- Oregon, Washington, California, Arizona, Tennessee and Texas -- and the District of Columbia.  Nissan North America and General Motors/Chevrolet are partners in the EV Project.

Smaller projects also are going up around the country.  Better Place, a company that builds battery-swapping stations to replace car batteries in less time than it takes to fill your tank up with gas, is in the planning stages to roll out infrastructure in the states of California and Hawaii.

President Obama has set a goal of having a million EVs on the road by 2015.  Right now, buyers can enjoy a $7,500 federal tax credit if they buy one.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


GM, Chrysler to Add 2,000 Engineering Jobs Collectively

Photo Courtesy - Bill Pugliano/Getty Images(HAMTRAMCK, Mich.) -- General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC both announced on Tuesday plans to hire a combined total of 2,000 engineers to their staff.

General Motors said it will hire 1,000 engineers and researchers in Michigan to help in its expansion and development of electric vehicles.  The additional workers will bump up the automaker's team of electric-vehicle engineers to about 3,000.

Chrysler said it will also add 1,000 engineers and high-tech workers to assist in the development of its small and midsize cars.

GM's workforce expansion will occur during the next two years, with initial hiring beginning immediately.  Chrysler will begin adding its new employees during the next four months.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Nissan Dealerships to Install Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Photo Courtesy - PRNewsFoto | Nissan North America(FRANKLIN, TN) -- Select Nissan dealerships across the country will soon be among the first in the nation to add electric vehicle (EV) charging stations to dealership operations. 

This new feature will be available for new owners of the Nissan LEAF, which is set to roll out in select U.S. markets beginning in December.  Nissan is preparing to open EV charging stations at more than 150 dealerships in target markets in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and Tennessee by January 2011.

"We're proud to have strong partners in our dealer group who, like Nissan, are investing in affordable, sustainable mobility," said Brian Carolin, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Nissan North America. 

Twenty thousand U.S. consumers have already reserved the Nissan LEAF since reservations opened April 20.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio