Archive for the ‘epa’ Tag

Nissan Leaf Vs. Ford Focus Electric: Compare Cars

Suppose you want to enjoy all the benefits of a battery-electric car–the smooth, quiet ride, the strong torque from a stop, and the very low cost per mile–but don’t necessarily want people to point at your car because it’s unusual looking.

That might be enough reason to consider the Ford Focus Electric rather than the Nissan Leaf, which is by far the best-selling battery-electric car sold in North America.

The two cars offer somewhat different answers to the same question: What should a compact electric hatchback look like?

The Ford Focus Electric is all but identical to the conventional Focus five-door hatchback. Even the different frontal appearance it pioneered was adopted for the gasoline models this year, so now you really have to look carefully to tell an electric Focus from the regular one. Exterior differences amount only to a couple of door badges, and a charge-port door on the left-front fender.

The Nissan Leaf, on the other hand, is a dedicated design with distinctive styling–no grille up front and lengthy clear headlight units that stretch far back along the fender line and are are topped with aerodynamic fins. It’s an unusual and, to many, polarizing look.

One is a car whose design says, “Hey, I’m electric!” The other hides its plug-in running gear in an utterly conventional body shared with a gasoline compact.

The Leaf was designed from the start as a battery electric car, with its lithium-ion battery designed into the floorpan and the area under the rear seat. The Focus design was retrofitted for battery power, and so it’s heavier and less optimized than the Leaf.

Still, the two cars are fairly close EPA ratings for range and efficiency. The Nissan Leaf has been boosted to 84 miles of range, with a rating of 99 MPGe (miles-per-gallon equivalent). Based on the distance it will travel electrically on the amount of energy contained in 1 gallon of gasoline.

The Focus Electric does just slightly better on both counts, with a rated 76 miles of range and a 105 MPGe rating. It also retains the good roadholding and fun driving experience of the stock Focus, and its 107-kilowatt (143-horsepower) motor is more powerful than the Leaf’s 80-kW (107-hp)–though the Focus Electric is also heavier. Both cars fit 6.6-kilowatt chargers (the very lowest-end model of the Leaf makes do with a slower 3.3-kW charger).

Ford’s electric Focus has a couple of drawbacks compared to the Leaf. First, it has no DC quick-charging ability, unlike the Leaf. At specially equipped charging sites, quick charging brings the battery pack to 80 percent of capacity in about half an hour–against four or five hours on a standard 240-Volt Level 2 charger for each car.

Second, the Focus Electric’s battery, charger, and onboard electronics greatly reduce available load space. The first 2011 and 2012 Leafs had chargers that stretched across the cargo bay between the strut towers, but the car was re-engineered for 2013 and ever since, Leafs have had cargo space roughly similar to that of conventional hatchbacks.

The Ford Focus Electric is built in Wayne, Michigan, on the same assembly lines as gasoline Focus models. U.S. Leaf models are produced in Smyrna, Tennessee, and powered by U.S.-fabricated lithium-ion cells as well.

If you’re considering either car, there’s another factor you should know: Nissan sells the Leaf throughout the country, and it has now sold roughly 75,000 of them in the U.S. Ford only sells the Focus Electric in selected states, and anecdotal reports indicate that in some of those locations, buyers will have to work hard even to get one that’s theoretically available. Over the last three years, Ford has sold no more than 4,500 Focus Electrics–not even a tenth of the Leaf’s total sales.

The base-level Nissan Leaf S model now starts at $29,860, with fully equipped models reaching toward the $40,000 mark. The Focus Electric has had its price cut twice, and now starts at $29,995. Both of those numbers are before any Federal, state, or local incentives, and both cars qualify for a $7,500 Federal income-tax credit and a $2,500 California state purchase rebate. Both Ford and Nissan have also offered $199-a-month lease deals for these models, which take advantage of the Federal credit to lower the monthly payments.

In the end, buyers need to decide if they want a low-volume, pretty-much invisible electric car, or a more distinctive design that’s sold in much higher numbers. Thus far, the market seems to prefer the latter–but if Ford ever decides to get serious about battery-powered cars, it’s cut its teeth on the Focus Electric and produced a perfectly good electric car in the process.

As Read on: http://www.thecarconnection.com/news/1075247_nissan-leaf-vs-ford-focus-electric-compare-cars?fbfanpage

Advertisements

Esquire: Ram top truck

Esquire magazine has named the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, America’s most fuel-efficient pickup, its Truck of the Year, considering efficiency, functionality, versatility, safety, value, and style.

The Ram 1500 diesel earned a 28 mpg rating from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the best highway-cycle test result ever achieved by a full-size, half-ton pickup — and exceeded the highway rating for the top-ranked small pickup. The previous half-ton fuel efficiency record had been set by the Ram 1500 V-6, at 25 mpg highway.

“This is where the truck tide turns: a full-sized American pickup with a just-big-enough diesel V-6—the only one of its kind,” Esquire magazine noted. “You get the fuel economy of a small engine, the pulling power of a larger one and the grumble of a working-class diesel.”

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/12/esquire-ram-top-truck

Nissan Group becomes No. 1 full-line manufacturer in EPA’s annual fuel economy review

– Nissan Group takes lead as most fuel efficient full-line automaker with largest year-over-year improvement among any automotive manufacturer

– Lightweight engineering strategy, improved aerodynamics and efficient transmissions drive fuel economy improvements

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nissan Group is the most fuel efficient full-line automaker in the United States, according to the 2014 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “Trends” Report. Nissan’s fleet-wide fuel economy rating of 26.2 combined1 mpg was highest among all full-line automakers in the annual report, which is the authoritative reference on new light-duty vehicle carbon dioxide emissions, fuel economy and powertrain technology trends in the United States.

Nissan’s 26.2 combined mpg rating, based on 2013 model-year Nissan and Infiniti vehicles, marks a 2.1 combined mpg (8.7 percent) improvement over 2012 model-year Nissan and Infiniti vehicles, the largest year-over-year gain among all manufacturers. The 26.2 combined mpg mark is 4.4 percent more efficient than the No. 2 spot and exceeds the full-line automaker industry average (manufacturers offering vehicles for sale in every product segment) of 23.3 combined mpg by 12.4 percent.

As a full-line automobile manufacturer, Nissan sells passenger cars, SUVs, CUVs, mid-size and full-size pickup trucks, compact and full-size vans, a taxi, vehicles with V-8 engines, a 545-horsepower supercar, luxury hybrid vehicles, and a zero-emissions plug-in battery electric vehicle – a range of products to meet consumer needs across the full spectrum of product segments.2

“Reaching this point is a direct result of a dedicated company-wide effort to scrutinize every aspect of each new model to extract the most fuel efficiency possible,” said Pierre Loing, vice president, Product Planning, Nissan North America. “Our engineers and designers have worked hard to get us here, and we look to continuously improve fuel efficiency of our models to face the challenges of future regulations while surpassing customer expectations.”

The realization of this accomplishment came in part due to the introduction of three all-new fuel-efficient models for the 2013 model year – Altima, Pathfinder and Sentra.  These models each brought a significant improvement in fuel efficiency to the marketplace compared to their predecessors. Average combined fuel economy for the 2013 Altima sedan improved 4 mpg or 14.8 percent. The most fuel-efficient 2013 Sentra model improved from 30 mpg to 34 mpg combined, or just over 13 percent compared to the model it replaced. The 2013 Pathfinder SUV saw the largest gains, with an almost 30-percent year-over-year improvement and a combined fuel economy of 22 mpg4.

Fuel economy improvements are attributed to several key engineering advancements such as reduced powertrain friction, improved aerodynamics and the use of efficient Xtronic transmissions. Nissan also employs an engineering lightweight strategy to all new models to significantly reduce vehicle curb weight – a key factor to improving fleet fuel economy. Nissan reduced the weight of the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder by 500 pounds, the 2013 Nissan Sentra by 150 pounds and 80 pounds for the 2013 Nissan Altima.

Nissan expects continued improvements in future model years. Next year’s report will include the Rogue, which was completely redesigned for model year 2014 and achieves a capable combined average of 28 mpg – 3 mpg better than the model it replaced5. The trend will continue with future models like the all-new 2015 Murano and next-generation Maxima, as well as the upcoming all-new Titan full-size pickup truck. Murano features an ultra-low, sports-car-like .31 coefficient of drag, lower curb weight and efficiency improvements in its powertrain. Maxima and Titan will also feature improved efficiency without compromise to the customer.

For more on Nissan’s fuel efficient vehicle line-up, visit NissanNews.com/FuelEconomy. To view the entire EPA Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends Report, please visit http://www.epa.gov/fueleconomy/fetrends/1975-2014/420s14001.pdf.

Top 9 Most Fuel-Efficient Trucks for 2014

2014 truck of the year2 copy

For the past several years, the best-selling vehicle in the nation has been a pickup. It’s not difficult to understand why Americans love trucks. Pickups offer the kind of unassailable utility that makes them a natural fit for anyone who frequently hauls outsize cargo.

Certain trucks offer another benefit: outstanding fuel efficiency. The nine models shown offer the best gas mileage in the segment. Our list is shorter than the usual 10 due to a shrinking talent pool. GM’s hybrid trucks made appearances on last year’s list, but for 2014, GM has dropped these hybrids from its lineup.

Our list this year includes fuel-efficient gas-only models like the Nissan Frontier, Ram 1500 and Toyota Tacoma. Note that each model is allowed just one appearance on our list, for its most fuel-efficient powertrain.

Each vehicle’s ranking is determined by its Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) combined fuel economy rating. The EPA’s combined fuel economy rating is based on miles-per-gallon ratings for city and highway travel, using the following formula: 55 percent of city mpg rating plus 45 percent of highway mpg rating.

1. Toyota Tacoma — 23 mpg combined (21 city/25 highway) (tie)

1. Ram 1500 — 23 mpg combined (20 city/28 highway) (tie)

2. Nissan Frontier — 21 mpg combined (19 city/23 highway)

3. Chevrolet Silverado 1500 — 20 mpg combined (18 city/24 highway) (tie)

3. GMC Sierra 1500 — 20 mpg combined (18 city/24 highway) (tie)

4. Ford F-150 — 19 mpg combined (17 city/23 highway)

5. Honda Ridgeline — 17 mpg combined (15 city/21 highway) (tie)

5. Toyota Tundra — 17 mpg combined (16 city/20 highway) (tie)

6. Nissan Titan — 15 mpg combined (13 city/18 highway)

As read on: http://www.edmunds.com/car-reviews/top-10/top-9-most-fuel-efficient-trucks-for-2014.html?mktcat=nl-external_standard&kw=social_media+facebook&mktid=nl80059717

Nissan LEAF Earns Highest Safety Rating From Federal Government

The Nissan Leaf earned a top five-star rating in the federal government’s new, tougher crash test rating system. Under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s new rating system, all vehicles are given a single rating of one to five stars based on their scores in separate front and side impact tests as well as resistance to rollovers.

The Leaf earned four stars for occupant protection in front-end crashes, five stars for side crash protection and four stars for resistance to rolling over, resulting in the overall five-star score.

The Leaf is an electrically powered plug-in car. It can go about 70 miles on a charge, according to EPA estimates.

NHTSA used updated crash test regimen, introduced last year, which includes a new side crash test in which vehicles slide diagonally into a pole, mimicking a car skidding into a light post or tree.

General Motors’ Chevrolet Volt also recently earned a five-star NHTSA safety rating.

The Volt and the Nissan Leaf electric car were both recently given Top Safety Pick Awards by the privately funded Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Institute, which is financed by auto insurers, conducts a different set of crash tests from those conducted by the government. To earn a Top Safety Pick Award, a vehicle must earn top scores in all of the Institute’s tests.

As read on: http://www.clickondetroit.com/money/28661540/detail.html?treets=det&taf=de