Electric Car Insider - Analysis and Commentary on the Electric Car Industry

EVs have a powerful competitive advantage. Raving Fans.

Posted 09.05.2016 in Articles by Editor

There's something that distinguishes electric vehicles from every other segment of the automobile industry. A powerful force that has driven annual YoY growth between 60-100% every year for the past five years. A competitive advantage that has seen several of the vehicles receive the highest driver and reviewer satisfaction reports ever measured. Raving Fans.

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Nissan Leaf

Posted 05.23.2016 in Articles by Editor

Nissan strengthened its position as the manufacturer of the top selling mainstream battery electric vehicle with the announcement that the 2016 Leaf SV and SL models will have 107 miles of range after upgrading to a higher-capacity battery. The new 30kWh battery pack uses improved chemistry that increases power density without taking up more space.



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Pacific Coast SunTrail Route: Scenic Highway 1 Made Accessible to Electric Cars

Posted 05.23.2016 in Articles by Editor

To adventurers familiar with the beauty of the central and northern California coast, the drive along Highway 1 is one of the most attractive road trips in the United States. It is the kind of journey that is so enjoyable, people often consider the drive to be the main event, as much as time spent at one of the idyllic destinations along the route.

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Utility Programs for EVs: Save 25-35% with Special Rates For Electric Vehicle Owners

Posted 05.23.2016 in Articles by Editor

Unless, like me, you get a shock every time you open your electric bill, you probably don’t think all that much about your local utility. It's one of those services that have become so reliable that most people take it for granted, like the sun rising every morning. Thanks to special rates from utilities, electric vehicle owners could save between 25-35% on their electricity bills.

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Electric Car Sharing: Drive Before You Buy or Drive Without Buying

Posted 05.23.2016 in Articles by Editor

Before purchasing an electric vehicle, it’s a good idea to get a few hours, or better yet a few days, behind the wheel. A quick test drive at a local dealership is really not enough time to make sure the electric car that catches your eye is also a good fit for your driving patterns and lifestyle.

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Leaf Vs. Volt: Who's the Green Champion?

Posted 05.22.2016 in Articles by Editor

For the last five years, the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid and the all-electric Nissan Leaf have been the two best-selling mainstream electric vehicles in the U.S. By the end of November, the Leaf had sold nearly 16,000 units while the Volt has sold close to 13,500. 2016 sees a totally redesigned Volt hitting showrooms. And even though the Leaf won't change its appearance, Nissan will be offering an extended range version. The 2016 Leaf will offer 107 miles of all-electric mileage. The new Volt improves its EV range and will be able to go 53 miles without ever needing to burn any fossil fuel. When the gasoline engine kicks in on the second generation Volt, it offers better fuel efficiency with an estimated 42 MPG.

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Electric Bicycle Mid Drive Motors

Posted 02.01.2016 in Articles by Editor

It wasn’t long ago that anyone who was looking knew you had a mid-drive motor on your electric bike. The coffee can hanging off the bottom bracket was a dead give away. Today though, mid-drive motors have become more elegant in their design. And with the growing number of mid-drive system manufacturers designing systems for use by bicycle manufacturers and DIYers, mid-drives are showing up on more and more electric bikes. Part of the appeal of mid-drive systems is their natural feel.

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EVs Produce Fewer Emissions Throughout Lifecycle

Posted 02.01.2016 in Articles by Editor

The argument that EVs powered from the grid aren't really any more eco-friendly than internal combustion engines burning fossil fuels continues to be debunked. Studies by the Union of Concerned Scientists, the University of Minnesota, and Carnegie Melon University all show EVs produce fewer emissions than gasoline-burning cars throughout the lifecycle.

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Electric Bicycle Hub Drive Motors

Posted 01.25.2016 in Articles by Editor

Early in the development of electric bikes, the rear-wheel hub motor was the undisputed champ. Hub motors were the most effective, easily implemented, and least-expensive route to take when a rider or e-bike manufacturer installed an electric drive system. Over the last few years, mid-drive motors have become a viable alternative to hub drives, but the majority of electric bicycles still use hub drives. Part of the beauty of hub drive systems is that they are completely separate from the rest of the bike’s drivetrain. Because hub motors are easily integrated into bicycle designs, you can find these drive systems on all kinds of bikes: urban commuters, cargo bikes, tricycles, pedicabs, recumbents.

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Clean Air Cash: Financial Incentives for Driving Zero Emission Electric Cars

Posted 01.18.2016 in Articles by Editor

Besides the fantastic gift you give to the planet by driving a zero emissions electric vehicle there are many rebates, incentives and perks given by states and municipalities. Many people ask where is the best place to drive and own an electric car? The answer is it depends on what kind of rebate your prefer and what kind of driving you do.

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Eyeballing It: Tips on Installing Your HOV Stickers

Posted 01.18.2016 in Articles by Editor

Are you one of those gifted types that can freehand a long, level, straight line with one smooth effortless stroke of a paintbrush? Not me. I need all the help I can get to keep things straight around here. So when it came to adorning each of our EVs with California HOV stickers, I had to resort to tricks that I learned through net wisdom and from a couple of friends that are graphic artists.

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E-Bike Adventures Across the Sahara, Mongolia & Iceland

Posted 01.18.2016 in Articles by Editor

Susanne Brusch travelled from the high steppes of Mongolia to the mountains and desert in Morocco to the volcanoes and glaciers in Iceland. As founder of Pedelec Adventures, she is an international adventurer and electric bicycle evangelist. A photographer, writer and speaker, she develops, organizes and leads e-bike adventures.

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Electric Motorcycle Road Trip: Coast to coast on a Vetter fairing Zero motorcycle with Terry Hershner

Posted 01.18.2016 in Articles by Editor

When Terry Hershner set out on his 2,450 mile coast-to-coast motorcycle trip in June 2013, most people thought he was out to set a time and distance record. But he was really out to change people's minds. The idea that an electric vehicle of any kind, especially a motorcycle, is capable of long distance trips is not accepted wisdom. In fact, some people told Hershner the coast-to-coast ride was impossible.

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Beefy Bikes

Posted 01.18.2016 in Articles by Editor

An entirely new class of two wheel vehicle has burst on the scene over the last few years, with design cues taken from the sketchpads where superheros are born. Like the action heroes that have a mild side, most of these bikes can switch personalities on demand, from road legal urbanites to high power offroaders. But are these brawny but lean rock-hoppers souped up BMX bikes or stripped down off-road motorcycles?

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Generating Solar Power Without A Rooftop

Posted 01.18.2016 in Articles by Editor

Generating solar power with rooftop photovoltaic panels is increasingly popular among homeowners. But not all homeowners or renters are able to add solar to their residence. According to ClearPath.org only 22% of US homes are at present capable of adding meaningful solar energy resources to their property. That leaves a large number of people who are unable to join the solar power revolution for a number of reasons: they rent, they own as part of a multi-family dwelling, their residence is blanketed in too much shade, their roof is too old, their home isn't oriented properly, or any combination of these.

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Tesla Model S P90D with Ludicrous Mode is the Fastest Sedan Ever

Posted 01.18.2016 in Articles by Editor

The top-level performance sedan from Tesla, the Model S P90D with Ludicrous Mode, is faster from 0-60 MPH than all other street cars except two: the $845k Porsche 918 Spyder and the $1.4m Ferrari LaFerrari. Motor Trend published an article in October 2015 about the Model S P90D that opens with an uncommon amount of hyperbole: “Stop what you’re doing right now. Stop texting. Get off YouTube, close Facebook, and pause for a moment so you can truly appreciate the times we’re living in, a world where if you have the means you can go out and buy an American-made, 762-hp, all-wheel-drive electric car that’s as capable of driving itself as it is smoking supercars off the line. That car is the new Ludicrous-enhanced 2015 Tesla Model S P90D.”

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Department of Defense Calls Climate Change a Present Security Threat

Posted 01.18.2016 in Articles by Editor

According to a July 2015 Department of Defense report, the “DoD recognizes the reality of climate change and the significant risk it poses to U.S. interests globally.” Climate change increases the risk of instability and conflict overseas, and has implications for the DoD on operations, personnel, installations, and the stability, development, and human security of other nations. This current report states that the Department of Defense sees climate change as a present security threat, not strictly a long-term risk.

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Bicycle Frame Tech

Posted 01.18.2016 in Articles by Editor

The backbone of every bike is its frame. Understanding the characteristics of the materials used in frame construction can help you decide which material will suite your riding habits and budget best. There are five common materials used in bicycle frame construction. Essentially, though, what you pay for is inversely proportional to the weight of your bike. The less it weighs, the more more you’ll pay.

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Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum

Posted 01.18.2016 in Articles by Editor

In January 2013 Roderick Wilde established the Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation with the intention of creating the world's first international electric vehicle museum. He describes the mission of the non-profit foundation as providing education of the history of electric vehicles from the nineteenth century up to the twenty first century: "We intend to build the world’s first International Electric Vehicle Museum and collect vehicles from around the world for display."

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Electrification a Pillar of Future Transportation: Chevy unveils 200 mile EV Bolt, 50+350 mile Volt

Posted 01.18.2016 in Articles by Editor

General Motors' CEO Mary Barra strode on stage at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit and made a series of bold statements about the company’s commitment to electric transportation which had the crowd, media and Internet buzzing. "Chevrolet believes electrification is a pillar of future transportation and needs to be affordable for a wider segment of customers." The message was reinforced by the reveal of the Bolt concept car – Chevrolet’s 200 mile all-electric-range EV, from inside a pillar-like cylinder lit up like a plasma lamp - or dare we say - Tesla coil.

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Electric Motorcycles Eligible for 10% Federal Tax Credit

Posted 01.18.2016 in Articles by Editor

As part of tax bill signed into law in December 2015, a 10% federal tax credit - up to $2,500 - will now be available for two- and three-wheel electric motorcycles. The federal tax credit will be applied retroactively for all sales made from January 1, 2015 and will last until the end of 2016. The tax credit is available on electric motorcycles, maxi-scooters and three-wheelers with a top speed of at least 45 MPH and with at least a 4 kWh battery pack.

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LEDs Save Energy and Money

Posted 01.18.2016 in Articles by Editor

Most drivers of electric vehicles are aware of the financial rewards of energy efficiency. Save energy, save money. This is the first in a series of articles about home energy efficiency strategies that, when used in conjunction with electric vehicles and solar, can dramatically reduce your energy use and increase your monthly savings. The effects can be synergistic. For example, lower total energy use means a potentially smaller investment in solar to meet your monthly power budget, or avoiding a panel upgrade if you have an older house and are near the total capacity of the panel when you install your EV charge station.

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Electric Personal Transportation Devices

Posted 09.05.2016 in Articles by Editor

When self-balancing electric personal transportation (PT) devices were introduced in 2001, they were enthusiastically heralded as the next big thing in personal transportation. While predictions of fundamentally changing human locomotion have fallen short, there continues to be a growing number of new PT devices that fill a niche no other type of vehicle can.

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Net Metering: A consumer incentive that poses potential problems for utilities

Posted 07.26.2016 in Articles by Editor

For residential solar systems, the majority of power is produced when people are not home to use it. From approximately 11 am – to 3 pm daylight savings time, the photovoltaic (PV) panels mounted on homes are producing their highest output. This middle-of-the-day time period is usually the time most people are out of the house and don't use a lot of energy. So when the system is producing the maximum output, customers aren't able to take advantage of the available production.

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Chevy Volt series hybrid explainer video

Posted 06.03.2016 in Articles by Editor

The Chevy Volt's drive system is unlike most other current commercially available electric hybrids. The Chevy Volt's "series" approach to gasoline-electric hybrid power gives the car tremendous flexibility. When fully charged, the Volt starts every trip on electric power. If the trip exceeds about 35 miles, the car's gas engine starts and spins a generator, which provides power to the motor that drives the wheels. There are two other drive modes.

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Gocycle: Lightweight electric bicycle a marvel of design

Posted 05.24.2016 in Articles by Editor

Riding the Gocycle G2 was one of the most eagerly anticipated test rides I’ve ever done. I have been searching for a small and light folding electric bike for years. Everything was too big, too heavy or both. I wanted a bike I could carry inside my car, so that when I went to the beach or a local park, I could take it with me without the hassle of a bike rack, both on the trip and when I wanted to lock it up. A lightweight folding bike is also great to use for trips on the trolley, can be more easily checked on commercial flights and can be easily stowed on a boat. The most stringent size and weight limitation was trying to find a bike that would fit into the very small cargo space of my two seat Diamond DA20 airplane.

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Stationary Storage: Time shifting solar energy to meet peak demand

Posted 05.23.2016 in Articles by Editor

Like all product purchase decisions, the higher initial costs for a quality product may be offset by lower operating costs or longer life, so be careful to calculate and discuss total cost of ownership with your system designer



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Free Fuel - Public Charge points that don't charge (to fill up)

Posted 05.23.2016 in Articles by Editor

My dad was fond of saying “there ain't no such thing as a free lunch” whenever I was in a pickle as a result of some childhood foolishness. It's the only time I ever heard a college professor use “ain't” so I gathered he was trying to underscore the point. “How times change”, I have thought every time I plug in to one of the dozens of free public charge points scattered around my local area and throughout the state. Free fuel!

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Citizens Climate Lobby

Posted 05.23.2016 in Articles by Editor

Citizens Climate Lobby is a grassroots organization that empowers citizens to campaign for policies that use market driven mechanisms to address climate change. They propose a revenue neutral carbon tax whose proceeds are paid back to citizens in a way that encourages the use of renewable energy sources and discourages the use of fossil fuels. The organization's goal is to reduce carbon dioxide levels to 90% of 1990 levels by 2050.

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Solar Power 101

Posted 04.28.2016 in Articles by Editor

Having a powerplant in your house that can produce all the energy you need was once the stuff of science fiction. Today, the technology does exist that can create power without consuming any fossil fuel, is totally silent, has no moving parts, requires no maintenance (barring an occasional rain shower that washes of dust and pollen), and lasts more than 30 years. Even more intriguing, this residential powerplant technology produces its energy directly from the sun. By using the sun's energy, you can power all the electric modern conveniences from computers to entertainment devices to kitchen appliances to even your electric car.

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Solar Powered Parking

Posted 01.18.2016 in Articles by Editor

Powering your car on sunshine has been a persistent dream among electric car advocates. University of California San Diego physics professor Tom Murphy does a great job explaining why designing solar panels into a car is not a great idea is his online tutorial “Do the Math – A Solar Powered Car?” There is not enough surface area on your car, and the panels would add too much weight for the small amount of power produced. Professor Murphy also points out that putting solar panels on your residence and charging your car with the output can work out quite well.

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Out Of Their Garage Into Yours - Zero Electric Motorcycles

Posted 01.18.2016 in Articles by Editor

Zero Motorcycles are the guys in the garage that the big players need to worry about. Except now, they're no longer in a garage. With more than $60 million in venture funding from a variety of firms including Invus, they've got the capital needed to be a strong player. The talented team of motorcycle engineers and experienced powersports executives have overseen a rapid series of product improvements along with the participation of top-tier component suppliers. Zero is now positioned to be a disruptive force that could turn the motorcycle industry upside down.

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There's an App for that - Finding EV charge stations

Posted 01.18.2016 in Articles by Editor

Finding a charge station for an EV is usually really easy. Go out to your garage, pick up the coupler and plug it in. But for those infrequent occasions when you need to charge up during the day as you're out and about running errands, locating a charger takes more than just looking toward the nearest main intersection. Fortunately, there's an app for that.

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Getting 3.3 Million Zero Emission Vehicles On The Road

Posted 01.18.2016 in Articles by Editor

Eight US states, including Vermont, are committed to the goal of putting 3.3 million Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) on the road by 2025. Implementing this kind of ambitious plan is daunting. Karen Glitman knows what it takes to make these plans successful. Serving as Director of Transportation Efficiency for the Vermont Energy Efficiency Corporation (VEIC) from 2011 and recently named Director of Policy and Public Affairs, she administered Vermont’s pilot electric vehicle electric program in 2014.

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Chevy Volt: "Buy American" Means Buy American Fuel, Too

Posted 08.29.2014 in Articles by Editor

Smiling as you drive past the pumps is not just a matter of personal frugality, or of environmental consciousness, but a national economic and security imperative. The Chevy Volt will get you all the way across town and back home to the electricity socket, whose product is primarily domestically produced.

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