Ford of Europe CEO Jim Farley believes evermore costly emission control technology could eventually make cars unaffordable for most consumers
Vehicle emission regulators in Europe “need to consider affordability, or risk creating an elitist industry where cars are only attainable by the wealthy.” — Farley told the Financial Times
The obvious conclusion to draw from Ford’s position is that FUELS must become several orders of magnitude cleaner. And with today’s technology, that is entirely possible.
(1)In South Africa, SASOL has been taking the dirtiest grade of coal (brown coal) and turning it into one of the cleanest burning fuels on the planet since 1950.
Cars in South Africa only require minimal emission controls due to the extremely clean burning petrol which has a minimum blend of 30% CTL fuel (Coal-to-Liquids)
During hot summer days with their higher pollution levels (from coal-fired power plants, from marine shipping and from rail) SASOL simply increases the CTL percentage in its fuel — neatly countering the air quality problem in South African cities.
It should be said that CTL blended fuel is easier on petrol powered engines than conventional petrol.
(2) Brazil uses biofuel sourced from sugar cane and now that they are collecting the bagasse (stems, leaves, roots) of the sugar cane, instead of burning it in the fields, it is a quantum leap forward for the environment.
Ethanol from sugar cane dramatically lowers CO2 tailpipe emissions compared to conventional petrol, and the next growing season ‘eats’ every bit of the CO2 that was produced and then comes out of those Brazilian tailpipes. (Two crops per year in Brazil, growing plants eat a lot of CO2)
It parallels the normal CO2 recycling of Earth ecosystems.
Again it is the case that ethanol blended fuel from sugarcane is easier on petrol powered engines than conventional petrol.
Yet again! It is the case that biofuel fuel blends are easier on petrol powered engines than conventional petrol.
Until all cars are electric vehicles (or in later decades when Hydrogen fuelled vehicles become economically viable) all of our effort should be going into making fuels cleaner and dropping some emission controls for petrol cars — except for the obvious, like Crankcase Ventilation (CCV) and those that serve to lower emissions during engine warm-up.
Petrol powered cars are here to stay whether some like it or not. But we need to put the focus on making vehicle fuels cleaner as we’ve long ago reached the point of diminishing returns on vehicle emission controls.
As the world begins to transition away from conventionally sourced petroleum to power our transportation network (cars, trucks, trains, ships, and even aircraft) two main contenders have won favour from investors and the public — Electric powered Vehicles (EV’s) and Hydrogen powered Vehicles (HEV).
Both show great promise, but at this point in time they report different results. There is no doubt that the EV has charged well ahead of its nemesis the HEV, but Toyota and Hyundai are making rapid progress on their Hydrogen powered vehicle programmes.
Electric Vehicles are called EV, while Hydrogen powered vehicles are called HEV (Hydrogen Electric Vehicle) — as both use electricity to power the vehicle, but source the onboard electricity via different methods.
Both EV’s and HEV’s produce electrical power to power an electric motor, which is what drives the car. EV’s get their electricity from the batteries in the car, while Hydrogen powered vehicles get their electricity from passing Hydrogen and Oxygen through a fuel cell (while also utilizing a much smaller battery pack) to power the vehicle.
The battle between the two is going to ‘sharpen’ over the next few years, making for a fascinating story for technology buffs and for those interested in a cleaner environment.
This Electric vs Hydrogen infographic is a ‘snapshot in time’ detailing the (today) differences between Electric Vehicles and Hydrogen powered vehicles.
The following are electric cars that are for sale today in the US or are supposed to be for sale at some point in 2015.
The first prices listed are base prices before the federal tax credit, and in parenthesis are prices after the federal tax credit (normally $7,500, but often less than that if the cars aren’t 100% electric cars).
Other tax credits and rebates potentially available in your city or state (such as the $2,500 California EV rebate or $5,000 Georgia EV tax credit) are not included.
Range and MPGe/MPG data come from the EPA.
Check these electric cars out and go test drive some this weekend!
The BMW i3 is BMW’s first 100%-electric car built electric from the ground up. It is part of BMW’s “born electric” i series. It’s price puts it somewhat in the middle of the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model S.
Despite looking a bit bulky, the BMW i3 is the lightest electric car on the market, thanks to its carbon fiber body. It’s a smooth & sweet drive. Compared to BMW’s overall sales, the i3 is selling very well, making it clear that BMW is one of the auto-manufacturing pioneers in the electric vehicle space. Read my full BMW i3 review here.
Chevy Spark EV
The Chevy Spark EV is a low-priced 100%-electric car that has gotten good reviews (compared to its gasoline cousin, that is) but is only available in a few markets. The Chevy Spark EV was the first car on the market that could use the SAE Combo Fast Charging system.
Ford Focus Electric
The Ford Focus Electric is Ford’s only 100%-electric car has long been overpriced and simply unable to compete with competitors like the Nissan Leaf. It has long been priced considerably higher than the Nissan Leaf — which is also more widely available — but Ford finally knocked the price down by several thousand dollars in recent months… but with very little broadcasting of the price drop. Needless to say, it still isn’t selling nearly as well as the Leaf.
The Fiat 500e has gotten great reviews. However, the head of Fiat apparently hates electric cars (I know, crazy) and is only producing the 500e in extremely limited quantities for a couple of states (basically, because it has to in order to sell cars in California).
Hopefully the cute electric car will someday soon be available to a broader market. With its relatively low price, good reviews, and cool styling, it could give some of the top-selling electric cars on the market a run for their market.
Kia Soul EV
The Kia Soul EV is a snazzy electric vehicle with a bit more space on the inside than the average car, and a clear youngster appeal. With good specs and a decent price, the Soul EV could sell well… if Kia really tries to sell it.
Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric
The Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric is an extremely close competitor to the BMW i3, and is a first-offering from Mercedes in this department. It has Tesla’s interior, and reviewers have been split between it and the BMW i3, with some preferring the i3 and some preferring the B-Class Electric. One of my friends recently bought the B-Class Electric and reviewed it for us here.
The Mitsubishi i (aka Mitsubishi i-MiEV) is one of the most basic electric cars on the market, but also one of the cheapest. As noted below, the Citröen C-Zero, Peugeot iOn, and Mitsubishi i all have essentially the same design but serve different markets.
The Nissan Leaf is seemingly the most competitive electric car on the market. It is the world’s best-selling electric car, and sales have only been increasing (thanks to falling prices and word of mouth). After test driving several EVs myself, I have to say that it would be hard to beat the Nissan Leaf for the money… unless you have enough money to dump on a higher-end EV, like the Tesla Model S, Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric, or BMW i3. Read my full Nissan Leaf review here.
The Renault Twizy is a cute and fun little two-seater that comes in at a super affordable price. With just two seats, it’s clearly not a “family car,” but it is a ton of fun to drive and very adequate for most driving needs.
Despite (or because of) its small size, the Twizy was the 10th-best-selling electric car in Europe and 15th-best-selling electric car in the world in 2013.
The smart electric drive could be the cheapest electric car on the US market… if you don’t own or lease it for very long.
However, due to an $80/month battery rental, the price rises to about the same as a 2014 Mitsubishi i within 3 years (note that the Mitsubishi i seats 4, while the smart electric drive seats two). Within about 6 years, the smart electric drive is about the same price as a 5-seat and much more plush Nissan Leaf.
The Tesla Model S is widely regarded as not just the best electric car on the market, but the best car of any type on the mass market (see here, here, here, here, and here for just a few examples).
So, for many people, if they can afford a $70,000–$120,000 car, the Model S is as good as it gets.
This car has flipped the electric car and overall auto world on its head in many respects.
It is a top-selling luxury/performance car, and it was the 2nd- or 3rd-best-selling electric car worldwide in 2013, despite its high price tag. All the while, it was production-limited rather than demand-limited.
The Volkswagen e-Golf is VW’s second electric car, following close behind the VW e-Up! Clearly, it’s an electric version of VW’s extremely popular Golf model.
The e-Golf is one of the closest competitors to the world-leading Nissan LEAF, so it could potentially see very big sales numbers. However, its significantly higher price is certainly keeping sales down a lot, so VW will have to change that if it actually wants to sell this car. Read our VW e-Golf review here.
The BMW i8 is BMW’s second i-series car. It’s one of the most expensive cars on the market — actually, the most expensive on the mass market today.
It comes with a ton of style and great acceleration (0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds only trails the Tesla Model S P85D’s 3.2 seconds amongst electric cars). It’s hard not to covet this beauty.
The Cadillac ELR is a high-end, luxury, plug-in hybrid electric car that hit the market at the very end of 2013. In many respects, it is essentially a more luxurious Chevy Volt.
It is pretty. Though, its high price was hard to justify compared to other options on the table, so you can now find the car for a price much below its MSRP… as in, cuts of nearly $30,000.
Chevy Volt Plug-in
The Chevy Volt is one of the most widely acclaimed electric cars on the market. It is the top-selling electric car in the US to date.
In 2013, it was the 2nd-best-selling electric car in the world. Volt owners are known as Voltheads and were “the happiest drivers” in the US for two years running… before the Tesla Model S arrived (as per Consumer Reports owner satisfaction surveys).
Ford C-Max Energi
One of two cars in Ford’s Energi (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) lineup, the Ford C-Max Energi has quite good specs for someone who doesn’t drive very far on most days but wants to take very long trips fairly regularly. It’s also good for larger families, as it seats up to 5 people. Despite seating 5, it is cheaper than the Chevy Volt… until you factor in the federal tax credit.
The C-Max Energi is also the most efficient plug-in hybrid electric car on the market. As a result of all of this, the car has sold quite well. Despite only being available in the US, the C-Max Energi was the 8th-best-selling electric car in the world in 2013.
Ford Fusion Energi
Quite similar to the Ford C-Max Energi but with a few more bells & whistles, the Ford Fusion Energi has done quite well since its introduction in February 2013.
The Ford Fusion Energi certainly offers some competition to the Chevy Volt, the Toyota Prius Plug-in, and its sister, the C-Max Energi.
Importantly, for some people, it is larger than all three of these competitors. It has a bit less electric range than the Volt, but it has enough seats for five passengers.
(It has much more electric range than the Prius, and the same as the C-Max Energi — both of which seat 5.) And it is quite the looker.
Honda Accord PHEV
Coming in a bit higher in price than the Chevy Volt, Toyota Prius Plug-in, Ford C-Max Energi, and Ford Fusion Energi has certainly hurt the Honda Accord Plug-in‘s sales. However, limited availability has likely had an even stronger impact on those sales.
Furthermore, having just 13 miles of electric range doesn’t particularly excite would-be electric car buyers. The good news is that the Accord Plug-in is very efficient when using the electric motor. But, yeah, this is a compliance car.
Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid
Following the successful Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid (see below), Porsche launched the Cayenne S E-Hybrid at the end of 2014. The Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid can go from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.4 seconds, and has a top speed of 151 mph. I think “wicked” is the word for that.
Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid
The Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid is a plug-in hybrid electric sports car that is everything you’d expect — awesome. It can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in ~5 seconds.
The Panamera S E-Hybrid now accounts for nearly 10% of all Panamera sales.
Toyota Prius Plug-in
The Toyota Prius Plug-in was either the 2nd- or 3rd-best-selling electric car worldwide in 2013. Unfortunately, its electric range is just 11 miles, then the gas engine kicks in. The Prius PHEV is most likely aided by the strong, high-selling Prius brand.
It mainly competes with the Chevy Volt, Ford C-Max Energi, and Ford Fusion Energi, but it has more seats than the Volt and is almost $10,000 cheaper than the Fusion Energi. So, its closest competitor is probably the Ford C-Max Energi. This seems to be a good place in the EV spectrum, as both cars have been doing quite well. Of course, the C-Max Energi has 10 more miles of electric range, almost double the Prius PHEV’s 11 miles.
Either due to the increasing competition, people simply deciding they want more electric range, or Toyota cutting supply, sales of the Prius Plug-in fell off a lot toward the end of 2014.
Basic Electric Vehicle Information
Electric vehicles (EVs) run on electricity. Some EVs run on 100% electricity, while others (hybrid electric vehicles HEVs) run partly on electricity and partly on some other fuel (e.g., gas or diesel).
Vehicles that can at times run solely on electricity, and can be plugged in to charge their batteries, are called plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). 100% electric vehicles and PHEVs are clearly much better for the environment (and thus, humans) than their gasoline-powered cousins. Their fuel (electricity) is also much cheaper.
Originally published at EVobsession by Zachary Shahan. This article is posted here with the authour’s permission.