Blog Update

Just a quick update to let you know I have not forgotten this blog, but, I admit, neglected it. I do tweet (mostly re-tweet) on cars (and other subjects of personal interest), mainly EVs, and you can see these on my twitter feed at the bottom of this blog, no twitter account needed. Or just go here: https://twitter.com/benji888578. I do plan on posting my own explanation of EV terms, without the marketing B.S. I see all too often…recent news has caught my attention that they are still at it, so, I will be writing soon on the subject of electric cars and what all-electric is, and how some call their not-all-electric cars all-electric. It has created some confusion for consumers, I hope to clear this up soon, along with explaining EV acronyms and terminology.

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On The Road App Update

Alright, so, with this update I also bring an update to a blog post from a year ago (posted Feb 2, 2013), where I shared a few of my favorite on-the-road apps. I found that “Rest Area Finder” was not being kept up to date and searched and tried out a couple different apps, I found “Road Ahead” to be a good one for when you are on an Interstate Highway, as it will show you what’s at the exits ahead of you. It has some other ways you can use it also. (This one is free, I’ve heard good things about “Road Ninja” also, but, not a free app). “Trucker Path” is a good one if you’re just looking for a bathroom or gas station, it brings up a map and pins the nearby truck stops, gas stations and rest areas, click on it and it shows how far it is.
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For those with EVs, or considering one, I have a few apps below, plugincars.com has a news app available “PlugIn Cars” (via Recargo, Inc). Three apps for finding alternative fuel, “Alt Fuel” is the new one from the gov. that will help you find not only charging stations for electric cars, but also biodiesel or other alternate fuels. I’ve included two electric charger finding apps that I think are kept up to date, “Plug Share” and “EVSE Locator”.
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Correct tire pressure helps maintain your fuel economy or range and is good for your car, check it once a month, or, at the very least, at season changes…sometimes, when the weather changes or severe weather, can cause your tires to lose pressure. I found an app that helps you adjust for seasonal conditions, you put in the expected low and high temps for the next few weeks along with the proper psi for your car, and it tells you what psi you should have depending on what temperature your tires are. Tire Pressure Correction or “TP Setter”.
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Lastly, a newish app you may find useful for finding local eateries, “ScoutMob“, has a limited number of cities they cover, but, if you live in or will be visiting one of those cities, it appears to be a good way of finding something local and unique over finding your favorite chain:
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As far as I can recall, all of these iOS apps are free. (Sorry, I don’t know if any are available on other platforms.)
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Please, if you don’t have bluetooth for your phone in your vehicle, remember your hands-free device before you go on the road. If you have an iPhone, it came with a headset (that’s not just headphones, it has a mic too), at least use this. Also, if using any of these apps on the go, please hand your device to someone else, pull over or at least use a windshield or other mount so you are not holding your phone while driving. 🙂
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Road Ahead
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Trucker Path
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Plugin Cars (EV news)
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EVSE Locator
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PlugShare
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Alt Fuel (other fuel types, not just electric)
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ScoutMob

EV Lease Price War Coming This Summer

Note: These cars are mainly available/to be available in California, some also in Oregon and/or other states as well. Check the car maker websites for availability. Also, before leasing a car, be sure to check the fine print for such things as mileage limitations, taxes may be different on a lease in your city/state, and such, just be sure you’ll actually be getting a deal that works for you.

Finally there is some competition among EVs! (…at least in the state of California). These all-electric cars are available now or due out this year (most by summer season), and most are offering a lease option of $199/month. Some have special lease deals that are not offered nationally, but depends on dealership. Some are available in Oregon and/or other states also, (or will be in more states at some future time). This is partly because of a California law that stipulates car makers offer a certain percentage of EVs in that state, and partly due to the fact that Electric Cars will be the standard of the future globally (mark my words).

Fiat 500e There is no order to this list, except first. This one I list first because, with this 80+ mile range car, you can lease for $199/mo., and you also get free car rentals, so that takes care of your infrequent long-trips for business/vacation. See article: http://cars.chicagotribune.com/fuel-efficient/news/chi-fiat-500e-enterprise-20130412 Edmunds road test: http://www.edmunds.com/fiat/500e/2013/road-test.html

Fiat’s 500e website: http://www.fiatusa.com/en/2013/500e/

 

 

Nissan Leaf $199/month lease available. Nissan also offers free rental cars for your family vacation/other long travel, though, more limited than the 500e rental car program. Leaf website: http://www.nissanusa.com/electric-cars/leaf/

(See previous post “2013 Luxo-Sport Sedans, Leaf, Rav4 EV & More”, posted May 3rd, for a couple vids on this car)

 

The Honda Fit EV is one of the most viable EVs on the market today, in that, although it shares it’s platform with the gas version of the Fit, they raised the car a bit and put the battery underneath instead of taking up trunk space, and it is otherwise quite competitive with the other EVs listed here. 80+ mile range and the shortest charge time w/240-volt charging station at home. It’s available for lease (lease-only, not purchase), and, (as I write this), they JUST reduced their lease price (Starting June 1st) to $259/month. That might seem a bit more than the $199 the others have announced, however, the lease price for the Fit EV includes insurance and maintenance, unlimited miles, and, (unlike the others), for Californians, this one also qualifies for a $2500 CVRP rebate. (When I started writing this earlier, that price was $389 w/12,000 mile yearly limit.) Even though they don’t offer free car rentals for your long trips, this seems like it might be the best value of all EVs listed here. The fight is on even as I write this! http://colbytrudeau.com/2013/05/29/honda-fit-ev-lease-price-reduced/  Translogic: http://translogic.aolautos.com/2012/07/09/translogic-106-honda-fit-ev/

Honda Fit EV Website: http://automobiles.honda.com/fit-ev/ (The following videos are from last year, but still apply)

 

 

I have to mention the Smart Electric Drive, previously a car-share only vehicle, currently you can buy for $25K (after incentives) or lease it for $199/month. Web: http://www.smartusa.com/models/electric-drive/overview.aspx

 

There is one more car coming with a $199/month lease this summer, but first, I have to say something. I have a particular animosity toward GM for the way they handled things in the past with the EV-1, and also, (and especially), how they have really confused the market (got in people’s heads) with the way they have marketed the PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid gas/Electric Vehicle) they call the Chevy “Volt”, by calling it an “extended range” electric, which, I have to say, it is not. It is plain and simply, a plug-in HYBRID gas/electric vehicle, whose main drive is an electric motor with a LIMITED RANGE. Once the battery is depleted (about 35 miles) they keep you tied to Big Oil by keeping the electric motor powered by the gas-combustion engine, (they call it a “generator” because, rather than directly powering the drivetrain, it supposedly powers the battery when it is depleted. It is a gas combustion engine. Period.). I think they want you to think, by calling it a generator, that it is a small thing, something like a lawn-mower engine, but, it is a full-fledged 1.4 liter, 4 cylinder gas-combustion engine, make no mistake, (gas, oil, spark plugs, radiator, drive belt, etc, all that comes with a gasoline engine, NOT found on an all-electric car.). Also, note, once the battery is done, this car only gets 37 MPG at best (I’ll talk about “MPGe” in some later post also). …I took a test drive in a “Volt”, so I know that they are very adamant about it being a generator and not an engine. I also recall the first ad or brochure for this car talking about how the “electric car is not dead”, and how, TWO years after the first “Volt” was made available, this one older lady drove it for 12,000 miles without using any gas at all (please take note, that is, 12,000 miles over a TWO YEAR PERIOD, the average american drives 15,000 miles in ONE YEAR, so this is someone who only drove it 6,000 miles PER YEAR, …who does that? Obviously this person only drove it on electric on purpose and then either drove their other car or got a ride or was a retired homebody. Marketing. Period.) In any case, it is obvious from the moment you go to the page on their website for the “Volt” that they are playing off your concept of “Range Anxiety”, by telling you that it has gas for backup/extended range. Marketing B.S. at it’s best. They quelch your “range anxiety” with gasoline. This is not how you quelch range anxiety, it has just the opposite effect, reinforces it by showing you that gas is still the answer to range anxiety, but I’ll save that for another day. So, this is why I don’t appreciate the “Volt” being compared with all-electric cars because it is a PHEV, …yes it has the furthest EV (battery only) range of PHEVs currently out there, but, Hybrid it is. In any case, GM does have a new all-electric vehicle which, to me, shows they have the technology (and could have done this a few years ago):

Chevy Spark EV is GM’s answer to the current all-electric EV market, starting in California & Oregon in June, although this appears to be a vehicle they plan to sell globally. Range is claimed around 80 miles. Note that the short charge time is not at home, but via SAE combo DC fast-charging stations yet to be available. The fastest charge time is 7 hours w/240 volt charging unit at home. This is one of the first vehicles with Siri eyes free connect. Web: http://www.chevrolet.com/spark-ev-electric-vehicle.html

See article: http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-chevy-spark-ev-lease-highlight-electric-car-price-war-20130522,0,3983957.story

I’m having difficulty finding an independent U.S. drive video for this car, once it is selling this summer I am sure I will find something and post it in a future blog, for now, here’s a preview vid:

 

Not currently offering $199/mo. leases, (but, could this change this summer?):

Ford Focus Electric This, IMO, is the second best looking car in this bunch, (Fiat’s 500e is the best looking, but a bit small). At one point in time this car had a $199/month lease program, but currently $284/month. Perhaps when the Chevy Spark starts showing up in show rooms this summer along with the 500e and Leaf going for $199/mo. leases, could Ford join in the EV lease war?

2013 Ford Focus Electric: http://www.ford.com/cars/focus/trim/electric/

 

 

Mitsubishi i-MiEV Currently $221/mo. lease listed on their website, though, I saw online, one dealership had been advertising $69/mo. back in January, but I don’t see this currently. ($221/mo. supposedly only until May 31st…maybe this means this summer will be $199?) This car has been around for a few years in Japan before coming to the US, and has not had the best reviews. http://www.mitsubishicars.com/MMNA/jsp/imiev/12/showroom/overview.do

 

Also worth mentioning:

Toyota’s only all-electric offering is the Scion iQ EV, but something you might only find in car-sharing circles, it has a range of up to 50 miles, so mainly a car to travel between sites for businesses/campuses, and will not likely be found in Scion showrooms. I only mention in case you’ve heard of it or seen it, and it would seem to fit into this category, but, it just does not, at least not at this time, unless Toyota develops it for next year. See: http://wot.motortrend.com/2013-scion-iq-ev-in-photos-scions-first-ev-is-officially-uncovered-277679.html and: http://www.toyota.com/esq/vehicles/electric-vehicle/2013-scion-iq-ev.html

{Correction: Toyota has one other all-electric EV (Rav4 EV), but it is a very limited production vehicle and not likely to have this type of lease.}

 

See also:

http://cars.chicagotribune.com/fuel-efficient/news/chi-automakers-ignite-electric-vehicle-interest-with-low-lease-rates-20130528

At some point I will list all EVs (or find a list and repost it), but, for now, this is about the EVs in a lease-affordability war.

(Note: When I use the term “EV”, I mean electric-only vehicles, that is, vehicles powered solely by a battery, charged by electricity). (One day I will also find that list of all the acronyms for cars and post it. 🙂

It’s Back To The Future For DeLorean Fans:

Electric DMC-12 coming next year!

August article from Green Car Reports:

http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1078459_electric-delorean-dmc-12-better-than-the-original-video

Just the “TUNED” video where Matt drives the prototype:

Mashable article w/slideshow from April’s NY Auto Show:

http://mashable.com/2012/04/09/electric-delorean/#58125The-Electric-DeLorean

DeLorean Motor Company’s page on the prototype and upcoming electric conversion, including an ABC video with the CEO:

http://delorean.com/2011/10/electric-delorean/

Epic EV (the company DMC is teaming up w/for the electric conversion): http://www.evepic.com

Dave Delman & Tom Neiland’s website on previous development of the electric DeLorean: http://electricdelorean.com

Original (gas fueled) DeLorean DMC-12:

New Build (restored w/new interior, supercharged engine), Pre-Owned, Parts:

The DeLorean product and name was purchased about 15 years ago. Check out their website for cars, parts, locations, online store, wallpaper for your phone (like the one below) & more:

http://delorean.com (for everything DeLorean, gas or electric)

DeLorean in Autumn

Image source: http://delorean.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/1106wall_1600_p.jpg