Archive for the ‘General’ Category


May 05

Which Saves More Gasoline? Toyota Prius or Chevrolet Volt?


The hybrid Toyota Prius is famous for saving fuel and the extended-range electric Chevrolet Volt is touted in that department as well, but which is a better tool for the job?

Obviously there are many considerations that go into buying a car, but since saving fuel is a prime reason for these models’ existence, can it be said their fuel-saving effectiveness is reflected in their popularity?

Last year both cars were all-new revised models, and although inexpensive gasoline has led many consumers to trucks and SUVs, among buyers of this class of vehicle who still care, the Prius soundly trounces the Volt.

Even though Prius sales disappointed last year and were 13 percent down, Toyota sold four of its Liftback hybrids for every Volt delivered in its best year ever, and this was despite the Volt being a better gas miser.

In 2016 Toyota reported 98,863 Prius Liftback sales and it was the best-selling electrified car by a large margin. The Volt sold 24,739 and was the best-selling plug-in hybrid. Source: December 2016 Dashboard.

How is it better? The Volt does what no non-plug-in hybrid can do and that’s run on electricity for a large portion of miles of emissions and gas-free driving.

Among full-range/power plug-in hybrids, the Volt has the biggest battery available enabling an EPA-rated 53 miles of electric range making it a part-time EV and a 42 mpg hybrid the rest of the time.

As of last July – the latest report Chevrolet supplied citing GM OnStar telematics data – 90 percent of Volt trips were gas free, and of all miles traveled, 60 percent were gas free. In other words, among Volt drivers monitored by GM in the real world, they traveled 40 percent of their miles burning gas, and 60 percent on the battery gas free.

The Volt’s 18.4-kWh lithium-ion battery is capable of delivering an EPA-estimated 53 all-electric miles. Studies show average daily trips are under 40 miles for 75 percent of all drivers.

What’s more, the vast majority of those Volts were first-generation with range of 35 or 38 miles rather than the 53 miles of the 2016/17 Volt.

So, even though the Prius is rated 52 mpg – 56 mpg for the Two Eco trim, which comprises 5.5 percent of sales – it winds up using more gas and emitting more greenhouse gases in many cases than the Volt – new style and even first-generation style.

Actually, this a complex question we’re trying to simplify based on averaged assumptions and your actual results may vary. Any way you slice it, however, including when considering the EPA’s “utility factor” which calculates an effective 77 MPGe, odds are good for the Volt.

Putting A Finer Point on Things

One elemental way of looking at the question of gas usage is by nationally averaged EPA figures folded in with GM data.

Based on 15,000 miles per year which the EPA anticipates, a Chevy Volt that averages 40 percent fuel usage actually only burns gas for 6,000 of those 15,000 miles.

At 42 mpg, that’s 143 gallons of gas used annually. Assuming the $2.39 national average price today of regular gasoline, that’s $342 per year on fuel.

As for a 52 mpg Prius, it burns gas for all 15,000 of those 15,000 miles, consuming 288 gallons, or $688 worth per year.

What about greenhouse emissions? The Prius emits 171 g/mile while the Volt puffs out a scant 51g/mile. Further, this 51 g/mile is by the EPA using the Utility Factor to calculate this number. Without upstream emissions, the Volt would emit 0g per mile so the 51g is based on the per-mile UF gasoline used and it’s non-upstream CO2 emissions. This said, the Volt’s advantage is reduced if factoring upstream emissions. Assuming grid energy, the EPA figures the national average at 200 g/mile for Volt, and the Prius is at 205 g/mile. The EPA provides an online calculator to narrow down by zip code emissions by car model for your local grid. Source:

Of course the Volt owner would need to use electricity for the EV miles, and unless “free” charging was available – such as at an employer’s or as excess from solar – the electric bill would need to also be factored.

The EPA figures .12 cents per kWh as the national average. No doubt your cost may be higher or lower, but going with that, 9,000 EV miles at 31 kWh per 100 miles equals 2,790 kWh. At .12 cents per kWh, that’s $335 electricity plus $342 gas for $677 total Volt energy costs versus the Prius’ $688 for gas.

So, at today’s low gas prices, the Volt may make a negligible difference in dollars, but it does save more in gasoline volume.

This article focuses on the Prius Liftback because it is by far the best-selling electrified car, but the plug-in Prius Prime should be mentioned. Its 25-miles range and pricing within the Liftback’s realm make it a strong alternative. Its sales actually lag the Volt’s, but are still improving as the new car rolls out this year.

Meanwhile, on the big picture level, the Prius does actually save more gas.

How so? On a fleet basis, as some enthusiasts are quick to observe, Toyota’s resounding popularity, lower up-front cost, time on the market and other factors mean far more are sold, and each one displaces a 26 mpg average car.

The 98,863 “Prii” sold during 2016, assuming each travels 15,000 annual miles, would use approximately 28.5 million gallons per year.

This also assumes 52 mpg – and considering 5.5 percent are the 56 mpg Two Eco, this number would be less but since 94.5 percent are the 52 mpg variety, we’ll assume 100 percent in the interest of simplicity for what is already a hypothetical scenario.

So, if one imagines 98,863 average 26 mpg cars – with half the mpg of the Prius, these would burn 57 million gallons of gas, and the Prius theoretically saves at least 28.5 million gallons.

Of course these numbers are hypothetical, and not all Prius models sold in 2016 were the new fourth-generation 2016 variety. Some were the 50 mpg leftover generation-three model, but this is a gauge just for comparison’s sake.

With stiffer TNGA global platform and independent rear suspension, the new Prius actually corners flatter and with greater poise. Toyota took journalists to an autocross course and pitted the former Prius against the new one. There is a noticeable difference. The Volt is quicker though – 8.4 seconds est. to 60, and 2.6 seconds to 30. Prius gets to 60 in about 10 secs.

And the same truth would apply for the Volt, as it also was in a transition year to generation two, so older 37-mpg leftovers would have skewed the numbers. This year however far more of the new vehicles will be sold, and assumptions should otherwise carry forward.

So, of the 24,739 Volts sold last year, assuming 6,000 miles (out of 15,000) of gas-burning hybrid mode at 42 mpg, they would use just 3.5 million gallons of gas.

Compared to 24,739 conventional 26 mpg cars, which would use 14.3 million gallons, the Volt would save 10.8 million gallons. If four times as many Volts had been sold to match the Prius’ sales volume, they would have saved 43.2 million theoretical gallons to the Prius’ 28.5 million gallons.

Therefore the Volt only saves less gas on an overall basis because it sells less, but per car it saves much more.

Another Way to Slice it

If you think that was at all complicated, the EPA is from the government, and they are here to help.

The feds calculate a formula called Utility Factor which is not commonly published at the EPA’s comparison site and this can provide another perspective.

SEE ALSO: 2016 Toyota Prius Review – Video

The Utility Factor for the 2016/17 Volt is 0.76 and its overall MPGe when that Utility Factor is used to calculate a mix of gas and electricity use is 77 MPGe.

In short, the Utility Factor for the 2016/2017 Volt projects that 24 percent (1.0 – 0.76) of miles use gas so out of 100 miles, 24 would use gas at 42 mpg.

This in turn means 24 divided by 42 is .57 gallons per 100 miles, whereas a 52-mpg Prius would always use gas, and come to 1.92 gallons in 100 miles.

SEE ALSO: 2017 Chevy Volt Review – Video

Of course, the Utility Factor is a general-purpose projection of long term overall gas versus electric use for a PHEV with a certain EV range and is not really making predictions for a one-way 100 mile trip segment.

It makes for an interesting number though: not counting the electricity used, the Volt would need .57 gallons to drive 100 miles and achieve an effective 175 mpg.

Thousands of “MPG”

Another fringe source of data are the fun folks who try to outdo each other over at That’s a site that tracks Volt owners who register their cars and submit their OnStar data on EV miles, gas miles, total miles, etc.

The present mpg leader, brownvolt in British Columbia, is showing 88,516 “mpg” for a 2014 Volt. Below that superlative number is LaMesa Volt with 15,689 mpg.

If you are a little fuzzy on math, 15,689 mpg is better than 52 mpg for the Prius, but before you retort, we’ll do it for you and say these are skewed numbers.

These outliers on the fringes of fuelmiserhood essentially are using their Volts as pure EVs and avoiding the engine coming on at all costs.

That is, if a Volt has 38 or 53 mile range, they’re using them like EVs with 38-53 miles range most of the time. Intraday charging becomes a familiar practice for people in this category, among other tricks including draining the gas tank or tricking the computer before it forces the engine to burn gas to prevent it from going stale.

Other Considerations

If all you care about is saving gas, buy a Volt.

As noted however, there are other reasons why the Prius outsells it four-to-one.

Among these are the Prius is a midsized car with bigger rear seat and true five-passenger space compared to the Volt’s more-cramped rear seat and middle rear “seating position” good for children and good-natured adults who don’t mind. One of the better uses for the second-gen Volt’s middle seat position is for child booster or infant car seats where the middle position gives it the best protection during a collision.

Other pro-Prius factors include better resale value and a perceived-excellent reliability record (though the Volt also achieves relatively high marks), and other factors that go into a purchase.

Looks come into the equation too and while Toyota blames cheap gas, this may be one reason why the fourth-generation Prius, despite being a superior-handling car to the Prius it replaced, with better efficiency and more space as well, is down in sales.

Exterior styling is actually the top consideration for average consumer purchases – but these are both vehicles to appeal to your inner Mr. Spock.

Further, in some regions like the upper mid-west, coal-intensive grids make the “upstream emissions” worse for the Volt per mile than a Prius, so if that’s a consideration, an environmentalist would think twice.

Another variable in the equation is simply respect for brand recognition, and the Prius, frankly, has more of that among the progressive demographic being targeted by it and the Volt. It also starts in the mid 20s with no subsidies available, and may seem like an easier proposition to get into than a Volt starting in the mid 30s, and with up to $7,500 in federal tax credit plus potential state incentives.

Reports have it the Volt with incentives and possible discounting may be had within realm of the Prius, but realities are what they are.

In Sum

People often love to think of themselves as objective and logical, but many a car salesperson knows buyers often make emotional decisions with enough rational justification stirred in to make the part of their brain that likes to feel logical feel better.

Bottom line is either car can make sense and both the Prius and Volt have their fans, but the Prius has more.

Four-times more, in fact, if sales are an indicator, but if you’re buying a car to save gas, or in consideration of national security or CO2 emissions, perhaps a closer look at the Volt would be in order?


May 04

Toyota Prius Prime Outsells the Chevy Volt In April


Last month the Toyota Prius Prime mildly outsold the Chevrolet Volt for the first time, and eyes will be on whether this becomes a new trend.

The Toyota’s 1,819 sales in April eclipsed the Volt’s 1,807 April sales, and it has been trailing the Volt’s cumulative best-seller status this year as well.

Through April, Chevrolet reported 7,370 sales for the 53-mile e-range Volt, and the 25-mile e-range Prius with a plug has 6,165.

The gap between the two is separated by 1,205 sales which if one were to look at the mere 12 sales more the Prime did last month, they might think that closing the distance would be a long time coming.

However, variances between the two of 300-500 sales in a month are not uncommon. To date the Volt has led the Prime by that much each month, so it is the Volt’s game to lose, but lose it could.

“I think the Prime will sell more than the Volt on a monthly basis going forward,” said Michigan-based automotive analyst Alan Baum who assists with the monthly sales Dashboard.

Whether that means the Prime will be the best-selling PHEV in 2017 is still too early to conjecture overly much, but Baum says “without conviction,” he suspects it might.

As has been observed before the Prius Prime hits a sweet spot that helps it overshadow the fact it offers only 25 miles EV range next to the Volt’s 53.

Until now its sales have been blamed on it just rolling out, but according to Toyota media rep Sam Butto, the Prime is now available for delivery in all 50 states, as has been true of the Volt.

Toyota’s plug-in is also on the rise because it’s priced midway within the Prius Liftback’s mid-20s-low 30s pricing scheme, offers actually slightly better mpg in hybrid mode than most Liftbacks – 54 mpg vs 52, and may look better too.

The unofficial consensus is the Prius Liftback hybrid is not easy on the eyes, but the Prime plug-in hybrid, the ostensible range topper, got slightly better styling for the same basic body for an overall more flattering look.

Exterior appearance is the top consideration among consumers in general, and the spec sheet for the Prime is alright too.

Baum also notes pent-up demand for the Prime remains among Toyota loyalists, and those who otherwise are bypassing the Chevy Volt. The former Prius Plug-in Hybrid, which had half the Prime’s 8.8-kWh battery size and effective range, was off the market a year and a half as Toyota developed the Prime.

So, it is riding that wave of demand for the Toyota-branded symbol of efficiency.

As for the Volt, there remains no question its powertrain does what people want from a plug-in hybrid better – it serves up twice the range and then some, and a foot to the floor won’t kick on the gas engine as it can in the Prius Prime.

However, in hybrid mode it gets just 42 mpg which affects its efficiency any time it’s not leaning on its superior EV range.

In the Volt’s favor is a middle back third “seating position” whereas Toyota chose to retrogress back to what the first-generation Volt was criticized for: a four passenger layout.

People also tend to like the looks of the Volt better, but alas, it is a compact car, and rear seating space is otherwise less than in the midsized Prius Prime.

The Volt is also more expensive: priced around $34,000 and up – about $6,000 more than the $28,000 and up Prime. A higher $7,500 federal tax credit helps the Volt close the gap between it and the Prime which gets a $4,500 federal credit.

Both cars have their benefits and drawbacks, the next eight months of the year will show what the market decides.


May 03

General Motors Says It Will Be First To Make Electric Cars Profitably


Nearly every automaker has electric cars in the works, but a top General Motors executive said yesterday it will be the first to sell them profitably.

“We know the customers would like to drive electric cars but are unwilling to pay any more for them,” said Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president for product development. “That’s why we’re going to be the first company to sell electric vehicles that people can afford at a profit.”

Reuss’ remarks followed similar sentiment from CEO Mary Barra to reporters in Flint, Mich., but they did not specify how soon the profitability would happen.

The key all-electric product GM now has is the 238-mile-range Chevy Bolt EV priced from $37,495. It is still rolling out across the entire U.S. through this summer, but as a global company, GM is planning more, including 10 plug-in vehicles in its biggest market in China.

According to the Detroit Bureau, Reuss said its plan to cut costs is relatively comprehensive and includes the components that have set back automakers until now from turning plug-in cars into a profit center.

“What we’ve been working to do is taking mass out. What that sets us up to do is have more efficient batteries because it doesn’t take as much power to [move] the vehicle,” Reuss said. “We own our own battery chemistry. We integrate the pack and we have our own electric motors. We own all that design.

“The integration piece of that is something no one else has,” he added, “You have to integrate the whole car. We feel really good about that.”


Another way in which battery costs would come down is by expansion of all-electric autonomous vehicles.

“if you can increase [usage] drive the operating cost you can open the door to ride sharing,” said Reuss.

Last month Chevrolet sold 1,229 Bolt EVs; a healthy number above March’s 978 that yet lags the sales rate of its extended-range electric Volt which is thoroughly rolled out to the U.S. The Volt sold 1,807, itself down from 2,132 in March.

Calendar year to date, the Bolt has sold 4,384 units, and the Volt has sold 7,370.

The Detroit Bureau,


May 02

Elon Musk Is At It Again With Another Wild Transportation Idea – Video


By Jason Siu

Sooner or later we’re going to have to take Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s wild ideas seriously.

In the automotive world, Musk is most known for running Tesla, an American automaker that has defied expectations to produce some of the most popular electric vehicles in the world. But Musk has several other ventures as well, with SpaceX being his most notable one. With that company, Musk seemingly defied all odds by not only landing a rocket at sea, but relaunching it and having it land successfully again. Some say that at the time Musk proposed the idea of reusing a rocket, it was very ambitious – but SpaceX has made it real.

For a while now, Musk has complained about how terrible traffic is in Los Angeles. At first, it seemed like he was joking about the idea of digging a tunnel just to make his commute easier because he was so sick of traffic. But then he posted pictures of a boring machine digging in the SpaceX parking lot and revealed his plans of creating a network with up to 30 levels of tunnels that could accommodate cars and trains. Cars would enter at street level, be transported down to the tunnels via an elevator and slide around on platforms to their destinations. It looks like a giant slot car track, and the whole process would be automated and would require minimal driver intervention.

That sounds like science fiction, but now The Boring Company has shared a video of the vision and what it hopes it can one day successfully execute. Essentially, it would be a network of tunnels underneath Los Angeles that cars could use to avoid traffic on the surface. Like his other ideas, it may seem far-fetched, but if this becomes reality, it could change some lives forever. Sure, re-using a rocket doesn’t exactly impact normal people on a daily basis, but for those that live in Los Angeles, the idea of traveling up to 124 mph (200 km/h) underground without having to pay attention to the road would be a dream come true. Check out the video above.

This article originally appeared at


May 01

Automakers Want Their Say In How VW’s $200M California Settlement Is Spent


By Jon LeSage

Volkswagen’s competitors want to have their say in how the company spends $200 million in California through the diesel emissions cheating settlement.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is reviewing VW’s proposal on how the $200 million will be spent in the first 30 months on plug-in vehicle infrastructure and other zero emission vehicle projects.

Other automakers say VW is being given a competitive advantage overall. They’re also voicing concerns that the German automaker is choosing locations that already have many electric vehicles, with arguments being de that VW should be spurring market interest in other parts of the state.

Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai jointly filed a statement asking the state to direct a “significant portion” of the funds into hydrogen fueling stations. California’s commitment to have 100 hydrogen stations in place by 2020 is “not on track,” an issue of concern for these three makers of fuel cell vehicles.

VW last year settled with the federal government and California on a $2 billion investment in infrastructure and other projects, including public education and awareness programs. Out of that total, $800 million will be directed to California over 10 years in phases. It’s been part of the restitution, along with vehicle recalls, for the company’s admission to having installed cheating software in 580,000 diesel cars sold in the country with excess pollution.

One of the public comments to CARB came from environmental group Sierra Club, asking the automaker to “rethink its infrastructure proposal to include more investments in community-based charging in disadvantaged communities.”

Cleaning up air conditions in low-income, disadvantaged areas of California has been a priority in legislation being considered and passed in Sacramento. One of the points made has been how these communities tend to be concentrated in polluting areas near freeways, such as those living close to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach with thousands of heavy-duty trucks passing by each day.

VW’s California proposal focused on investing $120 million in more than 400 highway and local charging stations by 2019 in high-traffic areas. Other automakers are contesting the logic in that proposal and would prefer to see those chargers go into areas that have little EV traffic.

Ford “has reservations about having a key electrification driver dependent on and ultimately controlled by one automotive competitor.”

The Detroit automaker said VW should target areas where “demonstrated market interest does not already exist.”

BMW voiced concerns that its German competitor “should not be afforded an implicit comparative advantage through its ability to control day-to-day operations of consumer charging events” that could include waiting times, pricing, and billing.

The agreement made with California and the U.S. Justice Department does require Volkswagen to be brand-neutral in its public outreach. The charging stations will need to be equipped to provide access to all EVs.

CARB is reviewing the $200 million, 30-month plan for approval. Part of that review will be reading the 120 comments submitted, said CARB spokesman Dave Clegern.

SEE ALSO:  VW Reveals Nationwide EV Charging Plans

Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved VW’s initial $300 million spending plan for EV projects outside California. This phase will go through 2019, and will including installing 450 charging stations by that time.

The automaker will also spend $44 million on a “Green City” initiative to support future concepts. The company would like it to be based in Sacramento.

As part of its settlement, VW agreed last year to bring three new EV models to California by 2020. The agreement also included the target of VW selling an average of 5,000 EVs annually in the state through 2025.

In February, VW formed a new subsidiary, Electrify America LLC, to manage the $2 billion zero emission vehicle spend. The photo above, featuring a family charging a non-VW electric car, comes from its website.

Automotive News,


Apr 28

7 Compelling Electrified Vehicles At The Shanghai Auto Show


While European legislators are pushing for more electrified vehicles in their quest to cut CO2, and as Americans wonder whether President Trump will slow their progress, the newly crowned world’s largest market – China – is in it mostly for cleaner air.

China is also the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gasses, but its urban air quality index is such that images of citizens wearing face masks to protect their lungs have become a symbol of the burgeoning economic power.

To combat this paradigm, Chinese policymakers since last decade have been incentivizing consumers and manufacturers to shift toward “new energy vehicles.” By 2018 the government wants these plug-in hybrid and battery electric cars to comprise 8 percent market share, so it’s little wonder this year’s Shanghai Auto Show has quite the assortment of new models.

Only a few years ago the country was still a global laggard as the policies were not stimulating enough new sales. In just the past couple years, however, China has leapfrogged former world leaders – the U.S. and Europe – to become the biggest market with even more upside potential.

Last year China bought one third of a million plug-in passenger vehicles – about 43 percent of the world’s total.

But it’s still early in the global market, and what was unveiled at the show includes therefore concepts and production cars in the country that may become a new creativity zone for cars the rest of the world can also buy. Here are seven of note:

VW I.D. Crozz Concept

The future according to VW Group deemphasizes diesel, is autonomous, and all electric.

“If it was ever possible to make a 100 percent certain prediction of what the future will look like, it is achieved here,” said VW design chief, Klaus Bischoff.

Vital stats include 302 horsepower, 112 mph top speed, 311 miles range, and 80 percent recharge in 30 minutes with a 150 kW DC charger.

Thanks to VW’s cross-brand shared MEB platform with batteries in floor, and which allows designers to imagine virtually any shape on top, the vehicle is about the size of a Tiguan but has more interior space.

Unlike a Tiguan you may buy today, this one however can drive itself. Novel indeed is a steering wheel that retracts into the dashboard when switched to I.D. Pilot mode.

The crossover is the third I.D. concept from the now prolific plug-in carmaker attempting to make over its image after the diesel emissions scandal.

“By 2025, we want to have sales of pure electric vehicles up to one million units a year,” said Herbert Diess, VW’s chairman of the board. “The I.D. Crozz will play a key role in that. Production will start in 2020.”

Jeep Yuntu Concept

Jeep’s three-row, seven passenger re-imagination of the Grand Wagoneer is nice but you can’t have one.

That is, assuming you don’t live in China, as for now the luxury SUV – Yuntu translates roughly to “cloud map” – is aimed at the Chinese market.

“SUVs are the fastest-growing segment in China and the Jeep Yuntu Concept showcases the potential for the Jeep brand to keep expanding in the country,” said FCA in a statement. The Yuntu was built in partnership with Guangzhou Automotive Group (GAC), which produces Cherokees and Renegades for China.

Not quite reminiscent of your granddad’s Grand Wagoneer, it’s adorned inside with LCD screens and a full width LCD dash. Details include suicide doors, biometric starting sans key, and gesture controls facial recognition software to identify the owner and passengers.

Details are otherwise scarce on the powertrain, but range is reportedly 40 miles on the notoriously optimistic Chinese cycle.

Observers have said this is a Jeep that Americans could also groove on, but there are no plans announced for that at this time.

Audi e-tron Sportback Concept

Another built-from-the-ground-up EV concept using the MEB platform from the VW group, the AWD e-tron Sportback is the third EV in the works from the brand with the four rings.

A respectable 429 horsepower is on tap with an overboost feature that unleases 496 horses and 590 pounds-feet of instant torque for up to 10 seconds with a foot to the floor.

Zero-to-62 mph is estimated in 4.5 seconds, which is not quite as ludicrous as the fastest Tesla Model X, but Audi has touted the other attributes balancing out the long, high-riding EV.

A concept would not be complete without something really unique, and in the Sportback’s case, it’s electroluminescent paint on the seats and select door panels.

The surfaces add to the lighting with a soft glow in an interior with microfiber door inlays, and bamboo-derived material on the seats.

The production version is confirmed for 2019.

Buick Velite 5

The Chevy Volt lives again in China – reborn as a Buick – and no, it’s not called the Electra.

Named after a former concept car, the Velite 5 demonstrates that miles are shorter in China, as the powertrain rated 53 miles in the U.S. goes a whopping 72 in the Peoples’ Republic.

“Equipped with GM’s latest intelligent electric drive system, the Velite 5 offers up to 768 kilometers of range in extended-range mode,” said the automaker. “Its prioritized pure electric driving mode provides 116 kilometers [72 miles] of range, fulfilling consumers’ demand to commute with zero petroleum consumption and zero emissions.”

The car is otherwise the same as a U.S. market 53-mile estimated Chevy Volt in Buick trim. The Buick nameplate is considered upscale especially in China, and last year they bought five times as many as in the U.S., so China is the GM divisions’ biggest market.

A spec it gets above the U.S. is “A highly efficient automatic air-conditioning system filters out PM2.5 fine particulate matter and odors,” to tackle Chinese urban air quality.

Buick of China says this is its second model to wear the Buick Blue badge. How the rebadged Volt will do saleswise with the compact platform and tight back seat will remain to be seen in a country where automakers typically focus on back seat room and comforts.

The Velite 5 joins the LaCrosse hybrid electric vehicle launched last April.

“Two trim levels are being offered,” says Buick. “The 1.5GL is priced at RMB 265,800 ($33,368)and the 1.5GS is priced at RMB 295,800 ($37,724). Each is eligible for a subsidy of RMB 36,000 from SAIC-GM.”

There are no plans for the vehicle to come to the U.S.

Volvo CMA Platform

More than a car, Volvo’s Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) will be the basis of the brand’s first EV made in China and the platform from which it will spin off many models.

Volvo says the first model off the line will be in 2019, and plans for the Chinese controlled Swedish brand are for global exports.

“The decision to make its first electric car in China highlights the central role China will play in Volvo’s electrified future and underlines China’s growing sophistication as a manufacturing centre for the automotive industry,” said the company in a statement.

This news is recent, but the CMA has actually been known for a little while as it’s reportedly the underpinnings for Chinese auto giant Zhejiang Geely Holding Group’s startup brand Lynk & CO O3 concept compact sedan (pictured).

Also reveled at Shanghai, the hybrid 03 joins an 01 crossover, and a plug-in hybrid is planned by Geely whjch is the parent companty also of Volvo. Novel is sales will be online and a home delivery service will be available, as will a subscription model akin to smartphone app services.


What do you follow up with when you are a startup coming out of nowhere with the world’s fastest electric hypercar?

If you are NIO, and your 1-megawatt ES9 did 7:05 around the Nurburgring, you come up with an enviably sensible, all-electric family hauler, of course.

The SUV with three rows of seats rides on an 118-inch wheelbase. Length from bumper to bumper is 196 inches, and the entire body and chassis are made from aluminum to keep the weight low.

Few powertrain specs have been released, but the ES8 has front and rear electric motors for all-wheel drive and an active air suspension.

A swappable battery lets drivers change batteries instead of waiting hours for a recharge. The interior is elegant enough with the dashboard being dominated by a large tablet-like touchscreen, similar to what Tesla uses.

Assuming range is over 200, Americans waiting for the Mitsubishi 5-passenger Outlander PHEV would likely ditch that prospect for this assuming prices are in line.

NIO will launch the ES8 crossover at year’s end, deliveries are expected to begin in 2018, but so far, plans are only for China.

Honda CR-V Hybrid

A hybrid Honda CR-V has been rumored before, and the Japanese automaker picked Shanghai to announce what for now is a Chinese market crossover.

To be built by joint-venture partner Dongfen, then released after the middle of this year, the CR-V Hybrid is expected to utilize a dual-motor powertrain akin to what comes in the Accord Hybrid.

With the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid selling spectacularly in the U.S., and the Nissan Rogue Hybrid just ramping up, Honda otherwise knows it needs to fortify its hybrid assortment in North America, and has announced ambitious global plans for its product line to be two-thirds electrified by 2030.

Honda did not immediately announce the size of the dual motor powertrain in the pending Chinese-market CR-V Hybrid, or if it will come to the U.S.

It’s believed an eventual U.S. market CR-V Hybrid might push mpg in the upper 30s, even low 40s, which could be competitive with the other crossover SUVs now available .

No word yet has been given on a plug-in CR-V variant.