Memorial Day Sales: Zero Glitz and Big Deals says Edmunds.com

BY GERRY MILES

We’re used to lots of balloons, clowns and the big, tall 12-foot single color thing that waves all over the place to attract the attention of would-be car shoppers are dealerships.

Over this coming Memorial Day Weekend, there should be ZERO GLITZ AND GLITTER, according to Edmunds.com analysts and plenty of bargains all around from many of the automakers.

0% Financing Galore:

0% financing is huge this month. Edmunds.com analysts estimate that about 1/3 of all new vehicles have some sort of 0% promotion happening – and that’s even true for some of the small SUVs that are the hottest vehicle segment on the market right now.

Here are some examples:

  • Most Ford vehicles (including Escape Focus, Fusion, and outgoing non-aluminum F-150)
  • Many Nissan vehicles including Rogue and Versa
  • Most Toyota vehicles (including Camry, Corolla, RAV4)
  • Many Green vehicles including Volt, Leaf, Prius

$199 Leases:

There are a ton of these available, including on Buick, Chevy, Honda, Hyundai, Jeep, Subaru and VW models. More info here:

http://www.edmunds.com/car-leasing/monthly-199-lease-deals.html

Crazy EV Lease:

Chevrolet Spark EV has a $139 Lease with $0 Due at Signing. This is an EV car payment that may be less than your cell phone bill!

http://www.chevrolet.com/spark-ev-electric-vehicle.html

Interested in getting one of these great deals but now sure how to do all your research in time? The consumer advice experts at Edmunds.com offer a simple three-day shopping plan that makes it easy for you to do all your homework and bring home a new car before the deals run out:

http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/three-day-shopping-plan-for-holiday-weekends.html

VW sets e-Golf price at $35,445; on sale in November

2015 VW e-Golf

2015 VW e-Golf

  • The most versatile Electric Vehicle in its class goes on sale in November, priced at $35,445 for the fully equipped SEL Premium model
  • Drivetrain consists of 24.2 kWh lithium-ion battery and an electric motor with 199 pound-feet of torque; 7.2 kW onboard charger is standard
  • Standard fast charging capability allows 80 percent battery charge within 30 minutes
  • First U.S.-market Volkswagen to be fitted with all-LED headlights

Herndon, VA  — Volkswagen of America, Inc., announced pricing for its 2015 e-Golf, the brand’s first fully electric, zero tailpipe emissions vehicle for the U.S. market. Joining Volkswagen’s extensive Golf family of versatile, sporty hatchbacks, the e-Golf starts at $35,445 (plus $820 destination and delivery) for the SEL Premium model.

Built on the Golf’s sporty Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) platform, and powered by a compact electric motor and lithium-ion battery (built in-house at Volkswagen’s Braunschweig facility), the e-Golf follows the Golf’s “fun-to-drive, yet practical” formula, with all of the benefits of an electric vehicle.

Additionally, Volkswagen is further improving the ownership experience with a groundbreaking and holistic approach to e-Mobility. Volkswagen has announced a collaboration with 3Degrees®, a renewable energy services provider, to invest in carbon reduction projects to help offset the emissions created from production, distribution and charging of the e-Golf for up to approximately 36,000 miles of driving. Charging solutions from Bosch® and Chargepoint®, along with a new Roadside Assistance program and the VW Car-Net® e-Golf app are designed to make owning the e-Golf a thoroughly reassuring, rewarding and enjoyable experience.

The key features, benefits and standard equipment of the e-Golf are:

  • Combined Charging System (CCS) allows 80 percent battery charge within 30 mins
  • Standard 7.2kW onboard charger
  • Avg. range 70 – 90 miles, depending on driving style, and charging behavior
  • Class-leading 199 lb-ft of torque, with 115 horsepower
  • Largest interior space in a compact EV—an impressive 93.5 cubic feet, same volume as Golf
  • Versatile cargo area, with 22.8 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats; 52.7 cubic feet with seats folded
  • Three driving profiles designed to preserve energy (“Normal”, “Eco”, and “Eco+”)
  • Three driver-selectable regenerative braking levels
  • 5.8-inch touchscreen navigation system and infotainment center
  • Bluetooth® technology
  • SiriusXM® Satellite Radio
  • Automatic Post-Collision Braking system
  • Leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • LED headlights
  • Bespoke 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels
  • Keyless access
  • Heatable front seats
  • Rearview camera; and front and rear Park Distance Control
  • The e-Golf will go on sale in select states in November 2014.
2015 e-Golf Pricing
Model Price Features
e-Golf SEL Premium $35,445 115 hp, 199 lb-ft electric motor, 1-speed transmission, 24.2 kWh lithium-ion battery; 7.2kW onboard charger; DC fast charging (SAE Combined Charging System); 3 driver-selectable regeneration modes; 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels; front and rear disc brakes; electric parking brake; ESC; XDS® Cross Differential system; electrically heated windshield; power adjustable and heatable exterior mirrors; rear window wiper and washer system; heated front washer nozzles; LED headlights with dynamic headlight range adjustment and LED DRLs; body color exterior mirror caps, moldings, door handles and bumpers; front center armrest; front and rear carpeted floormats; comfort seats; V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces w/ front manual lumbar support; tilt and telescope steering column; split folding rear seats with center armrest and pass-through; heatable front seats; Climatronic® automatic dual-zone A/C; power windows w/ one-touch up/down on all windows; Keyless access; cruise control; leather-wrapped handbrake, shifter knob, and multifunction steering wheel; LED reading lights; touchscreen radio/navigation system w/8 speakers, CD, MDI with iPod® integration, Bluetooth® connectivity, and SiriusXM® Satellite Radio; VW Car-Net® connected services; front and rear Park Distance Control; rearview camera; dual front airbags, driver and front passenger, front side airbags, Side Curtain Protection® system for front and rear passengers; Automatic Post-Collision Braking System
Destination $820 All prices exclude destination

2014 BMW i3 priced at $45,200

BMW i3

BMW i3

Woodcliff Lake, N.J. –The born electric BMW i3 represents a new era of electromobility. It is like no other car the world has ever seen. It offers visionary design, a ground-breaking vehicle architecture, dynamic performance and innovative connectivity. No other car represents such a holistic approach to sustainability throughout the value chain. The BMW i3 will go on sale in the US market in the second quarter of 2014. The battery electric model will have a base MSRP of $41,350, before any federal or state incentives, and before Destination & Handling fee (currently $925).  The range-extender model will have a starting MSRP of $45,200. Again, this is before any federal or state incentives, and before Destination & Handling fee.

The new all-electric BMW i3 is a landmark in BMW’s mission to provide a completely sustainable, electric vehicle that still stays true to the Ultimate Driving Machine moniker. The BMW i3 is the first product of the new BMW i sub-brand, and is a truly purpose built electric car. It’s a new era for electro mobility at BMW.

The vehicle concept behind the BMW i3 was designed from the outset to incorporate an all-electric drive system. This has numerous advantages over “conversion” vehicles, in which the original combustion engine is swapped for an electric motor. The engineers can design whatever works best, in terms of construction, dimensions and configuration of the electric drive system’s components. The car’s development is dictated by the characteristics designed into the car by the development team and not by the constraints imposed by a pre-existing vehicle design. For example, the space in a conversion vehicle set aside for the fuel tank or exhaust system cannot be used. In the BMW i3 there is no need for this kind of compromise.

This leads to the LifeDrive architecture concept, which was purpose-built specifically for the BMW i3. It is comprised of two modules; the Life Module, and the Drive Module. Think of the Life Module as the passenger cabin, or greenhouse. It is the first-ever mass produced Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) passenger cell in the automotive business, and is a big factor in the cars efficiency. Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic is equally as strong as steel, while being 50% lighter, and 30% lighter than aluminum. The result is an electric car that weighs about 2,700 lbs (preliminary US figures).

Due to the lightweight, high tensile strength of CFRP, the passenger cell has added protection, and the battery has less work to do, which allows for the use of a smaller, lighter battery that saves even more weight, reduces charging time and increases range. The light weight design of the Life Module also lowers the BMW i3’s center of gravity, making it a more engaging and dynamic car to drive.

The Drive Module, which is constructed out of 100% aluminum, consists of the 22-kWh, 450 lb. lithium-ion battery, electric drive train, MacPherson strut and 5-link rear  suspension system and structural and crash components. The battery mounted in the rear, close to the drive wheels, gives impressive performance characteristics while also providing better traction.

Another benefit of the LifeDrive architecture concept is that there is no space-consuming transmission tunnel running through the center of the car, like in most internal combustion powered cars, because of the separate Drive Module. This gives the BMW i3 the interior space of the BMW 3 Series, while only having the footprint of the much smaller BMW 1 Series.

Even the vehicle’s key is sustainably manufactured. The source material of the new bio-polymer key is based on castor oil pressed from castor seeds. The owner’s manual is also made from renewable resources.

The interior is made using high quality renewable sources and recycled materials. The BMW i3 has the Next Premium interior, which blends sustainable resources with a premium feel for the same interior quality as the BMW 5 Series Sedan. 25% of the plastics in the interior and 25% of the thermoplastic parts on the exterior are made from either recycled materials or renewable sources.

According to studies carried out as part of BMW’s Project i, involving more than 1,000 participants and conducted over some 12.5 million miles, it was revealed that the average daily distance covered was around 30 miles. The BMW i3 will be able to travel 80 to 100 miles on a single charge. This can be increased by up to approximately 12% in ECO PRO mode and by the same amount again in ECO PRO+ mode. It is able to recharge in only 3 hours with the use of a 220V Level 2, 32-amp J1772 charger.  The SAE DC Combo Fast Charging, which charges the BMW i3 up to 80% in 20 minutes, and 100% in 30, can be had as an option.

In order to reduce range anxiety, a rear-mounted 650cc, 34 hp, two-cylinder, gasoline-powered Range Extender generator is available, which roughly doubles the vehicle’s range. When the battery gets to a certain level, the Range Extender starts and maintains the battery’s current state of charge. The Range Extender never directly drives the vehicle’s wheels. The Range Extender adds roughly 330 lbs. to the vehicle curb weight and has a fuel capacity of 2.4 gallons.

Since 1999 according to the DOE, average gasoline prices in America have increased from approximately $1.136 to $3.618, or about a 218%. In the same time, the pricing of electricity has increased from 6.6 cents to 9.9 cents, a change of only 50%, making electricity a far more attractive commodity from a pricing standpoint.

BMW i3 Quick-Reference Highlights.

  • Pricing (before federal or local incentives) starts at $41,350; $45,200 for Range Extender model. Destination & Handling Fee not included.
  • On Sale: Q2 of 2014 in the USA.
  • Preliminary Dimensions (subject to change for US models):
    • Length: 157.4”
    • Width: 69.9”
    • Height: 62.1”
    • Wheelbase: 101.2”
    • Turning Circle: 32.4 feet
    • Curb Weight (DIN) 2,635 lbs.  (2,899 lbs. for i3 with Range Extender)
    • BMW’s 360 Electric electro mobility services:
      • Home Charging
      • Public Charging
      • Assistance Services
      • Flexible Mobility.
      • BMW Navigation is standard.

 Driving.

  • 170-hp, 184 lb-ft hybrid-synchronous electric motor with max. revs of 11,400 rpm.
  • 80-100 mile real-world EV range.
  • 22-kWh lithium-ion battery, which weighs 450 lbs.
  • 650cc gas powered Range Extender optional; holds charge, doesn’t power wheels.
  • 0-30mph in 3.5 seconds, 0-60mph in approximately 7.2 seconds (preliminary).
  • Top speed of 93 mph, electronically limited to preserve efficiency.
  • BMW’s signature, near-perfect 50-50 weight distribution.
  • Ultra-tight turning radius (32.3 ft), which is ideal for city driving.
  • Macpherson strut front and 5-link rear suspension set up.
  • Single Pedal Driving Concept with Brake Energy Regeneration, which feeds power back into battery.
  • 3 drive modes: Comfort, ECO PRO and ECO PRO+.
  • 3 hour 220 V @32 amps charging time.
  • Optional SAE DC Combo Fast Charging allows for 80% charge in 20mins; 100% in 30 mins.

Chassis and Body.

  • Purpose built construction. World’s first mass-produced CFRP-constructed electric vehicle.
  • Built on innovative LifeDrive architecture composed of two parts: Life Module and Drive Module.
  • Life Module is essentially the cabin, constructed from Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP).
  • Drive Module is where all of the powertrain components are housed.
  • Drive Module is made from 100% aluminum.
  • Magnesium cross-member for instrument panel saves 20% weight vs. steel.
  • BMW 1 Series external footprint with BMW 3 Series interior space.
  • LED headlights and taillights (standard in US market).
  • Weighs in at roughly 2,700 lbs.
  • No space-consuming transmission tunnel dividing car’s interior.
  • Pillar-less design with rear coach doors allow for easy entry and exit to rear seats.
  • Driver-oriented super-ergonomic controls.
  • Three vehicle Worlds (trim levels): Mega (standard in US), Giga, and Tera.
  • Standard 19-inch light alloy wheels with unique 155/70 all-season tires. 20-inch light alloy wheels optional.
  • No transmission tunnel and low console allows for Slide-through Experience, which benefits urban driving by the ability to exit from the passenger side.

Sustainability.

  • Made with sustainable, renewable materials.
    • Instrument panel surround and door trim use fibers from Kenaf plant.
    • Carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) roof panel is made partially with recycled CFRP from manufacturing process of other components
    • 25% of plastic used in interior comprised of recycled materials.
    • Dashboard wood trim crafted from responsibly-forested eucalyptus.
    • CFRP components are sustainably produced in Moses Lake, WA, USA, where the factory uses hydroelectric power.
    • The Leipzig, Germany assembly plant uses wind-generated electricity.
    • Olive-leaf extract is used to tan interior leather surfaces.

Volvo’s Drive-E powertrains offer power, efficiency

The new Drive-E gasoline engine. Volvo Cars' new Drive-E range of powertrains takes efficient driving pleasure to a new dimension in which the number of cylinders is no longer important to describe power and drivability. The first three engines from the two-litre, four-cylinder Drive-E powertrain family will be launched in autumn 2013. The diesel version features world-first i-Art technology, and the most powerful petrol version comes with a class-leading combination of a compressor and a turbocharger. (Volvo photo)

The new Drive-E gasoline engine. Volvo Cars’ new Drive-E range of powertrains takes efficient driving pleasure to a new dimension in which the number of cylinders is no longer important to describe power and drivability. The first three engines from the two-litre, four-cylinder Drive-E powertrain family will be launched in autumn 2013. The diesel version features world-first i-Art technology, and the most powerful petrol version comes with a class-leading combination of a compressor and a turbocharger. (Volvo photo)

BY GERRY MILES

 “The launch of our new Drive-E powertrains is an important step in Volvo’s product investment plan that will result in a stronger, more competitive position in the marketplace,” said Volvo Cars of North America President and CEO John Maloney. “A great deal of research went into learning how our customers drive and these highly efficient, low-emission engines were designed to provide greater customer choice while retaining the performance attributes our customers expect.”

Drive-E is now Volvo’s ecological moniker for all innovations reducing environmental impact from sustainable, efficient and clean manufacturing process, recyclable materials, low-emission powertrains.

Powertrains Deliver Efficient Power

Drive-E powertrains are said to deliver what was previously thought possible from 6 or 8 cylinders motors. The engines can be used later in electric vehicle purposing or hybrid applications.

The engineers dropped the overall weight 100 pounds, which they say also lowers emissions while raising economy, depending upon the engine from 13 to 26 percent. Exact numbers have not be released yet.

The Drive-E engine range consists of just two 4-cylinder engines, one common rail diesel and one direct-injected gasoline version, that replaces 8 engine architectures across three three platforms. Both the diesel and the gasoline versions share the same architecture.

 Two gasoline Drive-E engines will be offered in the US:

  • a 240-horsepower version
  • a high performance 302-horsepower version.

In the United States, Volvo will continue to offer its current lineup of AWD powertrains, along with Drive-E. As a result, U.S. customers can choose between the new engines and some current engines until Volvo transitions solely to Drive-E.

Drive-E Powertrain Range:

T6

4 cylinders

2.0 Liter

Turbocharged and supercharged

302 HP

295 pound-feet

FWD

T5

4 cylinders

2.0 Liter

Turbocharged

240 HP

258 pound-feet

FWD

Technical Features

The new engine family reflects thoughtful design features to maximize the engine’s efficiency, as well as provide dynamic drivability and performance. Drive-E powertrains offer many technical features:

  • Friction reduction: Friction-reduction measures have been employed throughout the engine, including ball bearings on the camshaft, high-speed continuous variable valve timing and intelligent heat management with a fully variable electric water pump.
  • Start-Stop and Brake Regeneration: All Drive-E engines feature start-stop and brake regeneration. The technology uses brake pressure measurement to trigger when to stop and start the engine. The start/stop system is programmed to shut down the engine immediately when the car reaches a standstill. An electric pump keeps oil pressure up while the engine is stopped.
  • Turbo Only or Turbo and Supercharger: Using the supercharger to boost the low end torque gives the gas-powered 302-horsepower T6 engine a big, naturally aspirated feel. The mechanically linked compressor functions immediately at low revs, while the turbocharger kicks in when the airflow builds up.
  • 8-speed gearbox: To deliver the desired responsive, smooth and fuel-efficient drivability, the engines are teamed either with a new eight-speed automatic gearbox tuned for improved efficiency.

Drive-E engines are prepared for future electrification from the start. Key components, such as the integrated starter generator, can be connected easily — and the compact size of the 4-cylinder engines means that the electric motor can be fitted in the front or rear of the vehicle. The battery pack will be located in the center of the car.

Ford lowers mpg figures on C-Max hybrid

Ford C-Max Hybrid

Ford C-Max Hybrid

From Edmunds.com
Earlier today Ford announced that it will reduce the stated fuel-economy rating of its C-Max Hybrid. Edmunds.com has been tracking this story closely ever since consumers on our forums complained late last year that the vehicle does not come close to the advertised 47 mpg.
Edmunds.com Green Car Analyst John O’Dell offers the following take:

“Ford wouldn’t take such a drastic step if it didn’t feel that it was absolutely necessary, even if it’s just a move to protect its image. Edmunds.com’s own testing found that the 47 mpg mark is achievable in the C-Max, but that was under controlled driving conditions. As we all know, our own driving styles rarely reflect the perfect behaviors needed to reach peak fuel economy. Additionally, hybrids perform best in slow, stop-and-go city traffic while for many people the daily drive is spent mostly on the freeways. These are two areas where the disconnect between EPA testing and real-world driving experiences come into play.”
Just last month Edmunds.com worked with KNBC in Los Angeles to test a C-Max Hybrid that one local couple claimed fell far short of its advertised gas mileage, and over the course of a 105-mile loop, Edmunds.com achieved a rate of over 50mpg. Watch more on this test at http://www.nbclosangeles.com/video/#!/on-air/as-seen-on/Hybrid-Owners-Find-Gas-Mileage-Isnt-As-Expected/215939001.
Edmunds.com offers more detail into why real world MPG doesn’t match EPA ratings at http://www.edmunds.com/fuel-economy/heres-why-real-world-mpg-doesnt-match-epa-ratings.html.

Chevy cuts Volt $5,000 to charge sales

2014 Chevrolet Volt

2014 Chevrolet Volt

BY GERRY MILES

Think of it as a $5,000 VAT Rebate. From Chevy. And General Motors.

Because, they say, so many owners are so satisfied with the Chevy Volt, GM is cutting the price $5,000 to $34,995 (which includes the $810 destination fee) for the 2014 model year.

If you now figure in the federal tax credits, which range up to $7,500 reflective of your income tax range, the Volt could cost as little as $27,495.

Chevy, naturally, says the downturn in price results from the aggregated knowledge base from producing the Volt, making things better, faster, cheaper and the like. Others say it’s due to slow sales and the value-added pitch is just that…an advertising ploy.

“We have made great strides in reducing costs as we gain experience with electric vehicles and their components,” Don Johnson, U.S. vice president, Chevrolet sales and service. “In fact, the Volt has seen an increase in battery range and the addition of creature comforts, such as a leather-wrapped steering wheel and MyLink, since its launch in 2010.”

Chevy’s Volt lags in sales with the Nissan Leaf, which dropped its price earlier in the year and outpaces the GM product, as Nicole Wakelin wrote earlier this year.

Volt owners who charge their car regularly typically drive 900 miles between fill-ups and visit the gas station about once a month. The 2014 Volt will continue to provide owners with impressive fuel economy of 98 MPGe (electric) and 35 city/40 highway on gasoline power without any need to change their daily driving habits while saving $900 in annual fuel costs. Chevy claims Volt owners have logged 364 million miles, including 225 million electric miles in their famed plug-in.

Chevy proudly crows over 70 percent of its buyers are conquest buyers – or new to GM – and they add, not surprisingly – Chevy’s PR words not mine – the Prius is the most commonly traded vehicle for a Volt. That is surprising because the Volt is much smaller in person than it appears in pictures, has less backseat and hatch space than a Prius. Perhaps folks don’t care about versatility and opt for only the mpgs. Who knew?

The Gold Coast is not surprisingly (my words) Volt’s largest market. Volt’s low emissions earn it a “sticker” for single-occupancy HOV lane access in California and New York.

The Chevrolet Volt allows gas-free driving for an EPA-estimated 38 miles, depending on terrain, driving techniques and temperature. The range-extending engine gives the Volt up to 380 total miles of total driving range.

Oh yeah: here’s the value part that’s hidden at the bottom of the PR sheet: Volt will come in 2 new colors: Ashen Gray Metallic and Brownstowne Metallic. And don’t overlook the leather-wrapped steering wheel.