The Minicab MiEV, one of eight plug-in vehicles that Mitsubishi intends to launch by the end of 2015, is now available to order in Japan. The Minicab MiEV is an electric commercial van that’s offered with a choice of either a 10.5 kWh or a 16.0 kWh Toshiba-supplied battery pack. Mitsubishi says that the 10.5 kWh version of the Minicab MiEV can be purchased for approximately 1,700,000 yen ($20,621 U.S. at the current exchange rate), while the 16.0 kWh version rings up at 2,050,000 yen ($24,867 U.S.)
Powered by Toshiba’s SCiB lithium-ion battery technology, the Minicab MiEV boasts a range of 100 kilometers (62 miles) with the 10 kWh pack and 150 km (93 miles) with the optional 16 kWh unit. Apparently, Mitsubishi was drawn to Toshiba’s SCiB tech for its low cost, long life expectancy and quick-charging capability. The Japanese automaker aims to sell or lease 10,000 of the electrified Minicabs per year in its home market. The commercial electric van is slated to hit dealerships in Japan toward the end of 2011.
DETROIT — The Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf got top safety ratings in some of the first-ever tests of electric cars by an insurer-funded research group.
Both cars earned top scores for front, side and rear-impact crashes and for rollover crash protection, according to results released Tuesday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
While both the Leaf and Volt are classified as small cars, the institute said their heavy battery packs put their weight closer to large sedans. The Volt, for example, weighs 3,760 pounds, which is close to the weight of the Chevrolet Impala. The Leaf weighs 3,370 pounds, which is similar to a Nissan Altima midsize car. That extra mass helps protect their occupants, since heavier cars are less likely to be pushed around in a crash.
The Leaf runs solely on battery power and has a range of around 100 miles. The Volt can go around 40 miles on an electric charge before a small gas engine kicks in.
The institute said it was the first time it has tested road-worthy plug-in cars. Two golf cart-like electric vehicles, the Gem e2 and Wheego Whip, were tested for research purposes but performed poorly in side-impact tests, the group said. But those cars run at very low speeds and aren’t required to meet federal safety standards.
The federal government hasn’t yet released crash-test results for the Volt and Leaf.
“What powers the wheels is different, but the level of safety for the Volt and Leaf is as high as any of our other top crash test performers,” said Joe Nolan, the institute’s chief administrative officer.
The institute, which is funded by insurance companies, buys the cars it tests directly from dealers.
CAMPBELL, Calif., April 25, 2011 Coulomb Technologies, the leading electric vehicle (EV) charging solutions provider, today announced new advancements to the ChargePoint® Network–the industry’s first charging station reservation system designed for EV drivers. The ChargePoint Network now makes available the ease, when planning a road trip, to select a destination, get driving directions and reserve a charging station, all from an online browser: http://www.mychargepoint.net/find-stations.php. This new system allows EV drivers the convenience of ensuring their desired fueling destination will always be available when they arrive. ChargePoint search results also reflect actual “real-time” status of any available charging station on the ChargePoint Network.
“Part of the EV owner experience is planning where you will charge and, planning the miles you will travel,” said Richard Lowenthal, founder and CTO at Coulomb. “If you are certain you can charge at your destination, it effectively doubles the range of your vehicle since you don’t need to cover the round trip with just one charge. It also means that a 100-mile vehicle can cover a 100-mile diameter metropolitan area, like the San Francisco or Los Angeles regions. I need to know in advance that a station and EV parking place is waiting and available for me at the mall, or the theater or at a meeting location. This feature is especially important to station owners who want to ensure that an EV driver will spend time at their business.”
Reservations as easy as 1, 2, 3
“Our stations are one of the few pubic stations in downtown Washington DC, and they are getting busier as more EVs appear on the road,” said Robert Reisteter of Hines, the property manager of Columbia Square. “Having the capability to make any of our stations reservable, provides us with a new unique feature to attract EV drivers to our parking garage.”
Through the ChargePoint Network, station owners can provide a distinctive new service, attract new customers and generate new revenue from EV charging. The ChargePoint Network is:
The ChargePoint Network gives all EV drivers easy-to-use unique services including: real-time status and location of unoccupied charging stations, tracking and reporting greenhouse gas and gasoline savings, and charging status notification, all by SMS, email or smart phone (iPhone and Blackberry) applications. Coulomb’s ChargePoint Network is open to all drivers of plug-in vehicles and all manufacturers of electric vehicle charging stations.
Nissan is planning to finally introduce its cold weather package for the electric LEAF, presenting a solution—similar to that taken by the Chevy Volt—to the vexing problem of reduced range when the heater is running.
After his keynote address at the New York Auto Show, Nissan’s chairman of the Americas, Carlos Tavares, denied that the package—which includes heated seats, a duct to direct warmth to the back seat, temperature management for the battery pack, a heated steering wheel and heated mirror—was a response to LEAF customers reporting reduced range of 20 percent or more with the heater running. Indeed, Nissan initially described the system last year, but did not put a price on it or make it available on the early cars.
Tavares didn’t announce a price for the cold weather package, but he did say it will be standard on cars headed for chillier states, and optional elsewhere. Tavares said that Nissan had gotten “no specific complaints so far” about the loss of range in cold weather, which seems odd because a lot of people have complained about it to me. Presumably, the system will be able to reduce the output of the power-robbing electric heater and compensate by heating the seats, wheel and mirror. The Volt has an “eco” mode that works similarly, but some reviewers have complained that it leaves them with warm hands and hindquarters—and cold everywhere else.
The cold weather performance issue has been trumpeted as a sleeping giant for automakers. Now that spring is upon us, they have a bit of a breather to get some quick fixes in place. Because next winter will be here before you know it.
These days if you want to be sustainable, you could install solar panels on your roof, drive an electric vehicle or any other similar alternative. If you drive an electric vehicle, you occasionaly have to charge your vehicle and park it like any other car. Sure, they are a joy to ride for all day long, but some folks got to work as well.
If you park your electric vehicle at a charging location, it seems odd to get a parking fine for it, even though you exceeded the official time limit to use it. There seem to be counter-productive elements here; on one side the government wants to promote sustainable mobility, on the other hand they are limiting the access people get to the utilities like the charging infrastructure. Make up your mind please. 🙂
NEW YORK (April 21, 2011) – Today, at the New York International Auto Show, the 100-percent electric, zero-emission Nissan LEAF was named 2011 World Car of the Year, edging out the BMW 5-Series and the Audi A8 for the top spot. Today’s award is the latest in a string of accolades for the world’s first affordable mass-market, all-electric vehicle for the global market, which was also named European Car of the Year. read more