Inside these posts: Electric cars

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Exelon, others take industry clean-up in own hands

A group of utility executives who once lobbied Congress to cap greenhouse-gas emissions say they are now pressing ahead with their own efforts to clean up the industry.

“We’re making our own destiny,” said Chris Gould, vice president of corporate strategy for Exelon Corp. in Chicago, the nation’s largest owner of nuclear-power plants and one of the biggest backers of the failed “cap and trade” legislation. Get the full story »

Nissan Leaf to get equivalent of 99 mpg

The Nissan Leaf, a 100 percent electric car is test driven at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show. (AP/Damian Dovarganes, file)

Nissan’s new electric car, the Leaf, will get the equivalent of 99 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving, based on government testing.

Nissan says the Environmental Protection Agency’s fuel efficiency window sticker will estimate that the electric car will get the equivalent of 106 mpg in city driving and 92 mpg on the highway. Get the full story »

Free parking for electric vehicles in Oak Park

Beginning next year, electric vehicle owners park for free in the Village of Oak Park. An ordinance, passed this week by the Oak Park Village Board of Trustees, also gives plug-in vehicle owners free parking at meters and in Village lots and garages as well as Village vehicle stickers at no charge.

“We realize that this step is largely symbolic at this time, given that all-electric vehicles are just beginning to become available,” said Village Manager Tom Barwin. Get the full story »

Citing strong demand, GM steps up Volt production

A model stands next to Chevrolet's new Volt at the Orange County Auto Show on Oct. 7, 2010. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

General Motors is stepping up production of its new Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle to try to meet “huge demand,” a top executive said on Tuesday.

Speaking at an event where the Volt was named Motor Trend magazine’s 2011 Car of the Year, GM product chief Tom Stephens said: “If you look at where we were originally, in terms of what we thought the volume would be, we have stepped it up.”

Stephens declined to give a new production forecast. Most recently, GM, the world’s No. 2 automaker, had said it planned to build 10,000 Volts in 2011 and 45,000 in 2012. Get the full story »

Nissan aims for 500K electric cars by 2013

The chief executive of Nissan Motor Co. says the automaker’s alliance with Renault could produce 500,000 electric vehicles a year globally by 2013. Get the full story »

Chicago among first to get Ford Focus electric car

Ford has chosen Chicago as one of the initial markets for its electric Focus, due to hit showrooms late next year.

Ford based the rollout markets on commuting patterns and hybrid purchase trends, among other criteria. The other first markets are Atlanta; Austin and Houston, Texas; Boston; Chicago; Denver; Detroit; Los Angeles; San Francisco; San Diego; New York; Orlando, Fla.; Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.; Portland, Ore.; Raleigh/Durham, N.C.; Richmond, Va.; Seattle; and Washington, D.C.

The Focus Electric will be powered by a 23 kWh lithium-ion battery with a system that uses a liquid heating and cooling system to maximize battery life and driving range. Get the full story »

GE to buy 25,000 electric cars, including GM Volts

A 2011 Chevrolet Volt charges at a station in Rochester, Mich., , October 10, 2010. (Rashaun Rucker/Detroit Free Press/MCT)

General Electric Co. plans to buy 25,000 electric vehicles from makers including General Motors over the next five years, in a move it said could spark demand for the charging equipment it sells.

The largest U.S. conglomerate aims to swap out half its fleet of 30,000 cars — used by sales people and technicians, for instance — with electric vehicles and to start shifting customers who lease fleets of vehicles over as well.

GE, which over the past five years has made a major push into green businesses, said Thursday it hopes the move will speed acceptance of electric cars by getting more of them on road more quickly and prompting investment in the equipment that users will need to charge them. Get the full story »

Profit soars at Honda, Mazda on sales growth

Japanese automakers Honda and Mazda posted hefty profits despite a strengthening yen as the global recovery and government incentives for green cars drove sales higher.

Autos would get up to 62 mpg under U.S. plan

Automakers would be required to nearly double fleet efficiency to 62 miles per gallon by 2025 under the most ambitious scenario of a U.S. government outlook on fuel economy and emissions released on Friday.

Gasoline and electric hybrid vehicles and electric cars would play a crucial role in meeting the top range targets, according to the preliminary assessment presented to industry as a starting point for developing fuel standards for 2017 cars and light trucks, including SUVs, pickups and vans. Get the full story »

ICC to utilities: Are you ready for plug-in vehicles?

The Illinois Commerce Commission has asked the state’s three major electric utilities to assess the impact that plug-in vehicles could have on ratepayers.

With the first major plug-in vehicle rollouts scheduled for next month, it is still unclear how much ratepayers in Illinois will pay to charge those vehicles or what upgrades will be needed to the state’s electrical infrastructure. The ICC said Wednesday that utilities have been asked to report back by December about the vehicles’ potential impact in a white paper that will guide a new statewide committee established to prepare for the vehicles. Get the full story »

BMW exec: Alt-fuel cars to stay niche

Ask Jim O’Donnell, president and chief executive of BMW North America, about the automaker’s plans for alt-fuel vehicles, and he assures that the  luxury nameplate will be there — with the 5-Series passenger cars and X3 crossover front and center.

But he also is convinced that hybrids, electrics and any combination will remain niche markets rather than supplant internal combustion for autos for some time.

“The price of gas in Newark (N.J.) was $2.38 a gallon when I left to come here this morning,” said O’Donnell, in town for the BMW Golf Championship this week at Cog Hill in Lemont. “Without a substantial increase in that, the U.S. market is not going to turn to alternative fuel vehicles.” Get the full story »

Toyota delays U.S. Prius production 6 years

Toyota Motor Corp. has pushed back plans to build its Prius in the United States by as much as six years, with a top executive saying U.S. production is likely to start only when the best-selling hybrid is remodelled. Get the full story »

Honda to sell electric plug-in hybrid by 2012

Honda Motor Co plans to launch a plug-in hybrid and battery electric model in 2012 as part of its strategy to push to the front of a race by global automakers to develop more fuel-efficient cars. Japan’s No.2 automaker was one of the world’s only car makers to offer gasoline-electric cars during the past decade but has begun looking like a laggard without a “strong” hybrid or concrete plans to mass-produce pure electric cars. Get the full story »

Tesla IPO gets unexpected charge

Shares of Tesla Motors Inc. climbed in their trading debut after the electric car maker’s expanded initial public offering raised more money than expected.

Tesla’s performance was a feat in a sour market that has forced many companies looking to raise funds through IPOs to accept lower prices to get deals done. Get the full story »