~~~ Hybrid Cars Newsletter: Issue No. 0059 ~~~
Moderator: Bradley Berman [[email protected]]

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IN THIS ISSUE:

Bay Area’s First Green Car Expo Set for Oct. 9
Green Drive Expo, the Bay Area’s first consumer eco-car expo, will feature exhibits, ride-and-drives, public programs and an unprecedented opportunity for owners of unique green car creations to show off their work and express their desire for change. Put it on your calendar.

The List of Six New Toyota Hybrids in 2012: Our Predictions
Six new Toyota hybrid vehicles by the end of 2012. And a plug-in Prius, small EV, and RAV4 EV. Is Toyota back in the game?

Expert: Expect More Than 100 Hybrid and EV Models in U.S. by 2015
Auto industry forecaster Alan Baum sees a rapid expansion of the hybrid and EV market. By 2015, expect 50 conventional hybrids, more than 30 pure electric cars, nearly 20 plug-in hybrids, and a handful of fuel cell vehicles.

New Study: 74 MPG by 2035 Is Feasible, Without Plugging In
A University of Michigan Auto Researcher says it’s possible to triple automobile fuel economy —without plugging them in. John DeCicco shows how new fleet efficiency can reach 52 MPG by 2025 and 74 MPG by 2035.

Civic Hybrid Owners Disappointed with Battery Software Fix
Last month, Honda finally acknowledged a problem with the batteries of the Honda Civic Hybrid by issuing a “technical service bulletin.” As the first set of Honda Civic Hybrids receive the software update, the results reported in our forums are mixed.

Nissan Reveals Pricing For LEAF Options: DC Fast Charger Extra, Unless You Live in Initial Launch Market
We recently got a nice peek into what the pricing sheet for the Nissan LEAF will look like. See the full list of costs, charges, and options.

Putting Thought into Putting Gas in the Chevy Volt
When your car needs a gas fill-up only a few times a year, you have to make sure that your gas doesn’t get stale or increase emissions. Here’s how the Volt takes care of the concern.

Defending the Plug-in Car; Anti-EV Rhetoric Attains High Crescendo
A recent anti-electric car opinion piece in the Detroit News gave us a chance to dispel the persistent myths about electric cars.

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Greetings, Hybrid & Electric Car Enthusiasts,
The economy remains sluggish and gas prices remain relatively low. But the macro-economic conditions aren’t slowing down the green car movement. The number of hybrids and electric cars on U.S. roads will grow from 23 today to 108—just in the next four years. Environmentalists are pushing for 60-mpg fuel efficiency average—that’s right, average—by 2025. Researchers are showing that we can take it to 75 mpg by 2035—not even including electric cars. The big remaining questions are about the pace of change: How fast and how big? Will it be evolutionary or revolutionary? Incremental improvements in gas engines or a massive shift to electric propulsion? This issue of our newsletter provides a snapshot of how it looks today. Enjoy.

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Bay Area’s First Green Car Expo Set for Oct. 9
https://www.hybridcars.com/news/bay-area-first-green-car-expo-set-oct-9-28527.html

Green Drive Expo, the Bay Area’s first consumer eco-car expo, will take place on Oct. 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The location is the waterfront Craneway Pavilion in Richmond—a renovated 1931 Ford Motor Company assembly plant, which used to produce Model Ts and As, and now sports a 1-megawatt solar array and stunning views of the San Francisco skyline.

Attendees will be offered free public test drives of prototypes of Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid and other hybrid and electric cars. Ford, Mitsubishi, Nissan, and Think will display their latest green vehicles. Auto company representatives will be on hand to discuss future products, and there will be a full day of public programs—hosted by HybridCars.com and PluginCars.com. (I’ll be there, so come by and say hello.) In many ways, the most exciting part of the show will be owners showing off their vehicles and discussing the issues with one another.

At this year’s Madison, Wisc. event, which took place in July, David Taylor won the “MPG Challenge,” racking up an unbelievable 763 miles to the gallon in his 2008 Toyota Prius, modified to run on a home-grown 10 kWh lithium ion battery pack.

Admission is $10 at the door, or you can register for free admission by using this discount code: HYBRIDCARS on this page:
http://greendriveexpo.com/greendriveexpocoupon

Read more:
https://www.hybridcars.com/news/bay-area-first-green-car-expo-set-oct-9-28527.html

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The List of Six New Toyota Hybrids in 2012: Our Predictions
https://www.hybridcars.com/news/list-six-new-toyota-hybrids-2012-our-predictions-28590.html

According to announcements made last week by Toyota Executive Vice President Takeshi Uchiyamada, the company plans to introduce six new hybrid vehicles by the end of 2012. Two of the new hybrids would be Toyota vehicles and two would be Lexus luxury models.

The company did not spell out which models would be offered as hybrids—so we’ll make our predictions. Actually, it’s not too hard to figure out where the hybrid gaps are in the Toyota line-up.

RAV4 Hybrid – Toyota has been selling the Highlander Hybrid mid-size SUV for several years. But where’s the crossover hybrid? Since 2004, the company has allowed Ford to have top-mpg bragging rights for SUVs with its 32-mpg Escape Hybrid. Toyota has committed to an all-electric version of the RAV4—developed in partnership with Tesla—by around 2012. A conventional hybrid version, with mileage in the mid- to high-30s, makes good sense. Perhaps it will be branded with a Prius badge.

Toyota Sienna Hybrid – Green-leaning sensible family folk have been screaming for a hybrid minivan for years. It appears that Honda will step forward with a hybrid Odyssey in the next couple of years. Could Toyota be far behind?

See our other predictions here:
https://www.hybridcars.com/news/list-six-new-toyota-hybrids-2012-our-predictions-28590.html

Or learn about pricing for the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid here:
http://www.plugincars.com/toyota-sell-plug-prius-starting-spring-2012-estimates-3-5k-premium-over-base-prius-73014.html

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Expert: Expect More Than 100 Hybrid and EV Models in U.S. by 2015
https://www.hybridcars.com/news/expert-expect-more-100-hybrid-and-ev-models-us-2015-28579.html

The one consistent truth in automotive sales forecasting is that all forecasts are wrong. The size of the market for emerging technologies, like hybrids and electric cars, is even trickier to forecast. That’s partly because car companies, governments, and environmentalists like to publish and promote rosy scenarios based on market goals, rather than concrete plans.

But when you take a hard look at concrete plans for specific electric-drive vehicles in the next five years, you see a burgeoning market with more than 50 conventional hybrids, more than 30 pure electric cars, nearly 20 plug-in hybrids, and a handful of fuel cell vehicles. Those numbers come from Alan Baum, a Michigan-based auto industry analyst who has been running auto market forecasts since the 1980s.

“My forecast is model-by-model and bottom up. Most of the other forecasts are based on assumptions, and work top down,” Baum said. “It’s not that I’m smarter. It’s an outgrowth of my work on the broad automotive market for a long time.” Baum, who recently left The Planning Edge to form his own market analysis firm, also looks at supplier orders, plant capacity, volume planning, and macroeconomic conditions such fuel prices, interest rates, and government regulations.

Baum is predicting a whopping 108 electric-drive vehicles by model year 2015. That’s up from 22 grid-free hybrids and one electric car, the Tesla Roadster, in production today. There will be 27 new model introductions for the model year 2011 alone—effectively doubling the number of hybrids and plug-ins in a single year. Baum believes that the 2011 U.S. line-up will add 13 conventional hybrids, 3 plug-in hybrids, and 11 battery electric cars. By the model year 2015, the new car market is predicted to have 108 electric-drive models. Nearly half of them will be conventional hybrids, but there will also be 18 plug-in hybrids, 32 EVs, and 6 fuel-cell electric cars. Many of these models have been announced, but just as many have not yet been unveiled.

Baum groups conventional hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electric cars into a single “electric vehicle forecast.” He sees the biggest growth in conventional hybrids, and believes that pure electric cars will only strengthen the market for standard hybrids. “Consumers will look at EVs and plug-in hybrids and say, ‘That’s kind of out there. If that works, then maybe it’s time for a conventional hybrid, available in many more models, and with no need to worry about range or infrastructure.’”

Learn more:
https://www.hybridcars.com/news/expert-expect-more-100-hybrid-and-ev-models-us-2015-28579.html

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New Study: 74 MPG by 2035 Is Feasible, Without Plugging In
https://www.hybridcars.com/environment/new-study-74-mpg-2035-feasible-without-plugging-28514.html

In a new study released earlier this month, John DeCicco (who has been a contributor to HybridCars.com) shows that optimizing internal combustion engines plus rising adoption of “grid-free hybrids” will enable new fleet efficiency to reach 52 MPG by 2025 and 74 MPG by 2035.

“To push efficiency really far, it means a lot more hybrids than previous studies have indicated,” DeCicco said, in an interview with HybridCars.com. “Hybrids are going to rule the world, that is, if we want to be serious about reducing oil use and greenhouse gases.”

DeCicco questions the prevailing wisdom of public support for cars that use energy from the grid. “I’m not opposed to plugging in, but there’s no justification for massive subsidies,” DeCicco told us. “Let automakers and willing customers explore this on their own nickel. We ought to have policies that give us the biggest bang for the buck, and most efficiency can occur without plugging in.”

The key, according to DeCicco, is cost effectiveness over the entire fleet. DeCicco calls for a “revolution by evolution” in cars that rely on internal combustion engines. He points to a range of technologies, including turbocharging, gasoline direct-injection engines, low-emissions diesels, lightweight steel, and most of all hybrids. Looking at historical adoption rates for technologies such as front-wheel-drive or fuel injection—which zoomed from introduction to dominance in a couple of decades – DeCicco believes it’s realistic for hybrids to make up as much as 90 percent of our cars in about 20 years.

Get the details and download the study:
https://www.hybridcars.com/environment/new-study-74-mpg-2035-feasible-without-plugging-28514.html

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Your Support
Check out the Hybrid Cars Store for hybrid accessories:
http://store.hybridcars.com

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Civic Hybrid Owners Disappointed with Battery Software Fix
https://www.hybridcars.com/news/civic-hybrid-owners-disappointed-battery-software-fix-28450.html

In August, Honda finally acknowledged a problem with the batteries of the Honda Civic Hybrid by issuing a “technical service bulletin.” This comes after one year of complaints—more than 100 on the HybridCars.com forum alone—about diminished fuel economy and power after a year or two driving, especially in hot weather conditions. Drivers have also complained about a reduction in the battery’s ability to hold a charge.

To address the problem, Honda started to install a software update on Civic Hybrids (model years 2006 through 2008). Letters were mailed to more than 100,000 Civic Hybrid owners on July 30. According to the Los Angeles Times, only about 4 percent of the vehicles have received the software change through mid-August.

As the first set of Honda Civic Hybrids receive the software update, the results reported in our forums are mixed.

“My 2008 [Civic Hybrid] purchased new started having these problems about 6 months ago. Now Honda reprogrammed the software. Made it even worse.”

“I took my 2007 HCH with 38,000 miles to the dealer for the software update a week ago. Prior to the update, I had no problems or complaints with my car. I loved it. Just the right combination of mileage, 41-mpg average with adequate power. After this update my mileage has dropped to 35.5 average with a noticeable loss of power.”

Learn more:
https://www.hybridcars.com/news/civic-hybrid-owners-disappointed-battery-software-fix-28450.html

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Nissan Reveals Pricing For LEAF Options: DC Fast Charger Extra, Unless You Live in Initial Launch Market
http://www.plugincars.com/nissan-reveals-pricing-leaf-options-dc-fast-charger-extra-unless-you-live-initial-launch-market-6473

Ray Ishak, the EV leader and fleet sales manager for Campbell Nelson Nissan outside of Seattle, recently gave us a nice peek into the pricing sheet for the Nissan LEAF.

The pricing sheet gives would-be Nissan LEAF buyers some good insight and bargaining power by providing the invoice cost of both the base SV model ($31,393) and the upgraded SL model ($32,293). The ubiquitous destination and handling charge (at least for the Seattle market) comes to a rather standard $820. There are also a whole host of other options listed for the Seattle market including splash guards ($140), floor mats ($170; why the heck are these ALWAYS an optional item now), and a rather mysterious “recycling and organizational package” for $225.

One item that has caused an uproar on the internet after the revelation of options and costs is the fact that the DC quick charge port will be optional, cost an extra $700, is only available on the upgraded SL model, and cannot be added after purchase. To clarify this option, Mark Perry also told our writer Nick Chambers that the DC quick charge port will be available as a free add-on to some customers in the 5 initial launch markets of Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington and Tennessee. So, although most LEAF customers will need to pay extra for the DC fast charging option, a select few will get it for free.

See the complete pricing sheet:
http://www.plugincars.com/nissan-reveals-pricing-leaf-options-dc-fast-charger-extra-unless-you-live-initial-launch-market-6473

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Putting Thought into Putting Gas in the Chevy Volt
http://www.plugincars.com/putting-thought-putting-gas-chevy-volt-69473.html

If you own the Chevy Volt and drive less than 40 miles a day, then you will almost never have to visit a gas station. General Motors engineers took this into consideration when developing the gasoline storage system on the Volt. I recently had the chance to gas up the Volt, and learned just how much technology and computing power was applied to the refueling event. After all, when your car needs a gas fill-up only a few times a year, you have to make sure that storing gasoline for weeks or months won’t increase emissions.

To release the gas nozzle inlet, located on the rear passenger side, the driver pushes a small button on the driver’s door. The gas release button is a little hard to see at first, but it’s right above the electric charging inlet release button. (The charging inlet, where you juice up on electricity every day, is on the front driver-side of the car.)

When you hold and release the gas door button, you need to wait a moment. An indicator on the dash tells you to “wait to refuel.” That gives a vacuum pump enough time to evacuate the pressurized tank and pump the vapors into a carbon canister. The gas tank is otherwise completely sealed.

The Volt’s computer system is monitoring this activity—keeping track when the gas door opens and closes, how much time has passed, and how many EV miles you’ve driven since the gas engine was last called into action. If you open the gas door, but don’t put in any gas, the Volt knows. The car’s system is double-checking to make sure that new fuel has been added, because old stale gasoline is potentially bad for the system and bad for emissions. An outside temperature sensor is even keeping track of hot days to determine if the fuel might be cooking.

If you haven’t burned fuel for a while, the dashboard display will encourage you to burn some gas, by driving the vehicle beyond its 40 miles battery-supplied power. You can ignore the call to action, but after two warnings about the need to drive using some gasoline, the car will take matters into its own hands. The Volt will then start up the gas engine in order to burn off stale gasoline, circulate engine oil, and pressurize the engine system.

When the car completes this “engine and fuel maintenance mode,” it shuts down again, giving the reins solely back to the electric motor. At that point—for drivers who stay close to home—the gasoline is again left in reserve for days, weeks or months, until your next rare and infrequent trip to the pumps.

Complete article and user comments:
http://www.plugincars.com/putting-thought-putting-gas-chevy-volt-69473.html

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Defending the Plug-in Car; Anti-EV Rhetoric Attains High Crescendo
http://www.plugincars.com/defending-plug-car-anti-plug-rhetoric-attains-high-crescendo-70845.html

A recent anti-electric car opinion piece by Neil Winton on the Detroit News begins, “It’s nearly time to put up or shut up.” After reading the piece through several times, our writer Nick Chambers addressed the overarching points of his article and dissected them for your reading pleasure.

Here’s the first assertion by Mr. Winton: “The first evidence of battery-power reality will be an enormous increase in call outs for road side assistance as electric motors expire miles from home.”

Nick’s rebuttal: Essentially what Winton is saying here is that you, the electric car purchaser, are too stupid to even be able to communicate in grunts and gestures. He’s also showing an intriguing lack of understanding of how plug-ins work; I think he meant “as the batteries expire miles from home.”

Unless the driver of a plug-in car is completely unaware of the limitations of his or her vehicle and doesn’t ever look at the dashboard, this just won’t happen. It’s like saying that you’d willingly take your 300 mile range combustion-engined SUV on a 400-mile trip into the tundra of Siberia knowing that you would have no access to fuel. Who would do that? Nobody. It’d be stupid.

Luckily most people in Europe and the U.S. drive less than 40 miles a day, so the EV can handle 90 percent of your daily needs, and when it doesn’t you use your second car.

The other points asserted by Mr. Winton (and ripped up by Nick) relate to EVs not being capable of highway speeds; the silence of battery cars leading to more pedestrian deaths; the supposed higher cost of ownership for battery cars; electricity generation and distribution being less efficient than fossil fuel acquisition and distribution; and the classic criticism that EVs really aren’t green after all.

Full article:
http://www.plugincars.com/defending-plug-car-anti-plug-rhetoric-attains-high-crescendo-70845.html

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WRAP-UP
That’s all for now. We hope to continue the conversation with you at the Bay Area Green Drive Expo on Oct. 9. Don’t forget to get your free admission by using this discount code: HYBRIDCARS on this page:
http://greendriveexpo.com/greendriveexpocoupon

I’m serving as the Master of Ceremonies for the public program. Again, please come by and say hello. Until then…

Happy Driving,
Bradley Berman
[email protected]