2018 Hyundai IONIQ Electric Limited: An Autoganic Delight

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

My perspective on alternative energy sources is quite simple. I absolutely love electric vehicles (EV) and the potential they have for impacting and reducing human reliance on crude oil. Global Warming is not a myth folks so we have to absolutely do all we can to sustain Mother Earth’s future by righting many of the wrongs committed through pollution. Therefore, I become enamored when automotive brands like Hyundai commit to resolutions that help rectify the quandary by way vehicles running off our electrical grid such as the 2018 IONIQ Electric Limited we recently tested.

Our midsize sedan came in a Symphony Air Silver exterior hue and black on black interior which was rather roomy and designed with recycled and ecologically-sensitive materials. In the backrow the kids had all the legroom needed for their daily antics without complaints and the headroom for my 6’ frame was more than adequate. Moreover, to reduce battery usage, Hyundai’s climate control system can be switched to ‘Driver only’ mode. [Read more…]

2017 Kia Niro: A New Hybrid Hero

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

I’m sure by now most of you have seen the Melissa McCarthy ad spot with Kia’s new hybrid crossover dubbed “Hero’s Journey” where the comedic actress attempts to the save the eco-friendly attributes of the planet while using the vehicle’s key features. Whether you find it amusing or not the underlying theme is that Kia has introduced another green machine to the marketplace for individuals looking to reduce their carbon footprint. With an introductory price of $22,890, fuel economy of 52 city MPG, and a 595-mile range the Niro FE may just be my new hybrid hero! [Read more…]

2017 Toyota Prius Prime: Green Mobility Defined

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If you don’t believe in Global Warning and the erratic climate changes it produces then you must be living on Mars. I took note yet again when my leaves began falling in early August which was quite frightening. Who would have thought I’d be raking in the summer? Yes, the auto industry and every other major production sector that utilizes Earth’s great resources also contribute to this degrading phenomenon in some fashion or form. So the goal is to become a minimalist and engineer products that are healthier for the planet such as green vehicles whether they are hybrid, electric or hydrogen.

With an official EPA estimate of 133 MPGe the new 2017 Toyota Prius Prime set the bar high for competitors to step up their e-mobility game. During a media event in Ojai, CA I was able to experience the front-wheel drive Prius family which includes the Prime Plus, Prime Premium and Prime Advanced. Its powerful name alone — Prime — is enough to attract attention. Maybe it’s my love for the Transformers and their fearless leader Optimus Prime who could probably use an EV upgrade. Prime represents the best of what Toyota has to offer green and is their most efficient hybrid powertrain. With 55 city mpg, 53 highway mpg and an estimated 640-mile range the latest Prius will far exceed your expectations. Also, the plug-in hybrid’s 25-mile electric range (up to 84 mph) is up from 22. This means you can make your daily, local runs without burning any fuel at all. Of course I would like to see this stretched out to at least 50 miles of electric range in the near future.

With a stable totaling 13 hybrid models between Toyota and Lexus, the Japanese auto manufacturer has a whopping 70% chunk of the industry segment. For almost two decades Toyota has been leading the charge and revolutionizing the hybrid market with the Prius brand. That’s pretty major and convincing for potential consumers looking to make the switch.

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The poplar Prius looks and feels like something different and eco-conscious. For the 2017 model Toyota has lowered it by 1”, widened it by .6” and lengthened it by 4.2” over the Prius Plug-in while increasing torsional rigidity by 60% over the 2016 Prius Liftback. However, the Prime is heavier and drives less dynamic even though weight savings were achieved by reducing the size of the power control unit and optimizing the battery which can now be charged faster through regular home 120v outlets (less than 5.5 hours). With public level 2 charging or other 240v sources your Prime will be fully energized in about 2 hours. In addition, the Charge MGT System lets owners set specific charging times.

Engineered with Hybrid Synergy Drive the Prius is now empowered with Dual Motor Drive for increased EV range. Furthermore, the battery charges from regenerative braking. The 121-horsepower hybrid system consists of a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine, larger Lithium-Ion battery (moved up front), an electric motor and the electronically controlled continuously variable transmission. Three drive modes consist of the EV default mode, the HV hybrid mode and EV Auto which switches between the two to optimize efficiency.

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With some of the styling emulating the Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle, the LED headlamps specifically, the Prime is more aggressive than ever. Of course this Trekky design theme has alienated many but if I’m going “auto 2.0” I definitely want my ride to play and look the part. You get 15” wheels, patterned acrylic grille overlay, carbon-fiber-reinforced-polymer rear hatch, heated and folding mirrors, LED taillights and dual-wave rear glass to help reduce drag. Though, the rear window still obstructs the full view which forces you to utilize the integrated backup camera.

Inside, the Prius receives major updates starting with the sporty, redesigned and heated seats that are now lower to the floor. My Magnetic Gray Metallic Prime Advanced model had the 8-way power adjustable driver seat and Moonstone SofTex trim which also outlined the multifunction steering wheel. The base model features the Entune Premium audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite with the 7” touch-screen, but both the Premium and Advanced follow the Testla route with the massive 11.6” iPad-like HD multimedia screen. It’s the largest display for Toyota and can be swiped and pinched and will always show the map on the top half of the screen no matter what menu you select. The Advanced receives the Entune Premium JBL Audio system with 10 GreenEdge speakers. I’m also fond of Qi-compatible wireless smartphone charging but unfortunately the iPhone 6 doesn’t support that technology.

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Safety is a top priority with Toyota Safety Sense available in 18 Toyota models. It includes an array of safety systems from Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist to Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Then you receive the Star Safety System with Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Traction control and Smart Stop Technology to name a few.

With a variety of hues to decide from such as Blizzard Pearl, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Classic Silver Metallic, Hypersonic Red, Titanium Glow or Blue Magnetism, Prius Prime pricing is $27,100 for the Prime Plus, $28,800 for the Prime Premium and $33,100 for Prime Advanced. Your carbon impact on society will always be measured by the foods you consume to the clothes you wear to the cars you drive. It’s the reason why I’m a vegan and choose any assortment of EVs over tradition. Expect the plug-in hybrid to go on sale late 2016.

 

 

 

The New 2017 BMW i3 (94 Ah)

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BMW announced that BMW i will offer a new model range of its compact electric car, the BMW i3 and from the 2017 model year will be offering a new version with more than 50% increased battery capacity. The 2017 BMW i3 (94 Ah) has a capacity of 33 kilowatt hours (kWh) thanks to the higher energy density of the lithium ion cells. The BMW i team worked to ensure that the battery dimensions remain unchanged while still offering a significant range increase. Even in everyday conditions 2, the new Battery Electric BMW i3, in varying weather conditions and with the air conditioning or heating turned on, a range of up to 114 miles combined1 (hwy/city) is possible as shown by independent BMW testing cycles3. The driving performance figures of the 170 hp AC synchronous electric motor remain virtually unchanged. The motor propels the BMW i3 from 0 to 60 mph in just over 7 seconds. This makes the BMW i3 both the sportiest and most efficient electric vehicle in its segment with an expected EPA electricity consumption of 27 kWh/100mi.

2017 BMW i3 (94Ah)

In addition to the Battery Electric BMW i3, the Range Extender model will also feature the 94 Ah battery. When equipped with the Range Extender, if the driver requires additional range, the 2-cylinder gasoline engine is switched on once the battery is depleted to 6.5% state of charge and keeps the charge level of the battery constant while driving and provides an additional range thanks to a 25% larger fuel tank (2.4 gallons). With the introduction of the BMW i3 (94 Ah), BMW i now also offers a new BMW Home Charger Connect, a residential charging station designed for comfortable and fast home charging featuring additional connected functions.

Pricing for the 2017 BMW i3 (94 Ah) will be released closer to market launch.

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BMW Concept X5 Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle: Clean Energy

BMW Concept X5 Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle_ChargingKimatni D. Rawlins

Look around and take heed to your environmental surroundings. Pay close attention to weather patterns and ocean toxicity. What about the air we breathe and the water we drink? It is no coincidence that snow fell on the Eastern Seaboard in late April. Global Warming or Global Cooling will continue to take its toll if humans treat Planet Earth as if it’s a temporary home. Well, at least we know there are corporate conscious companies like BMW making a difference to decrease pollution and the need for petroleum by way of their Concept X5 Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (X5 PHEV). Clean energy anyone? [Read more…]

2014-2015 Ford Focus Electric: The Future is Now

2014 Ford Focus Electric My Shots 021SHERYLL ALEXANDER

Before I had road tested the 2014 Ford Focus Electric (the 2015 Ford Focus Electric was recently announced but won’t be available until summer), I was a huge Nissan Leaf fan. And while the Leaf is a cool EV (and cheaper), this green auto expert has switched her answer to this question: “What’s your favorite electric car?” Now I can say with confidence: Ford Focus Electric.

If you really are considering getting off the petro dollar for good by purchasing a hot, new five-seater EV, the real question should be: “Do I go with the 2014 or wait for the newly-launched 2015 Focus Electric model?” Yes, on a week-long road test of a surprisingly fast and good-looking seafoam green 2014 Ford Focus Electric, I discovered the EV of my sustainable transportation dreams. Although Ford has not yet released all of its 2015 Focus Electric specs, the updated exterior is certainly more bold than the 2014 with its restyled hood, grille and trunk. However, I was perfectly happy with my 2014 model. I really grew to love the low-slung, yet eye-catching contemporary design of the vehicle most especially from its toothy-grilled burnished chrome grille. [Read more…]