My Blog List

Sunday, August 28, 2011

“Practical, stylish, and highly reliable, the ix20 offers spacious and flexible family transport at a very competitive price.”

The Hyundai ix20 is a stylish new addition to the mini MPV segment, and is a generously equipped and practical small car that's hard to fault. Build quality is on a par with Japanese rivals like the Toyota Versoand Nissan Note. With seating for five, there's plenty of space inside, and a sliding rear bench and big boot makes it a great choice for busy families. Quiet and comfortable on the motorway, the ix20 is easy to drive. Hyundai's unlimited five-year warranty means ownership is a hassle free experience. There's lots of equipment fitted as standard across the three trim levels. Both the 1.4-litre engines get Stop 
& Start technology to improve fuel economy and give class-leading emissions figures, making it very cheap to run.

Drive (With a six speed gearbox, the diesel is better for longer journeys)
There are three engines available – a 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol and a 1.4-litre diesel. The 1.4-litre engines both come with 89bhp, the petrol is nippy around town, but thanks to an additional 83Nm of torque and a six-speed gearbox, the diesel is better for longer journeys, but has to be worked quite hard to make progress. The 123bhp 1.6-litre is only available with a four-speed automatic gearbox, and can’t match the class-leading fuel economy of the smaller engines. The ix20 has plenty of grip and corners well, but isn’t quite as poised as some rivals. The steering is light enough to make it easy to manoeuvre but isn’t as direct or accurate as rivals like the Nissan Note, and it feels like a big car to park.
Reliability (The neat interior is well built and sturdy)
The ix20 has yet to be crash tested, but the i20 hatchback on which this car is based scored a maximum five Euro NCAP stars overall, performing well for both adult and child protection. An electronic stability program is fitted to all models, as are anti-lock brakes, twin front airbags and Isofix child seat mountings. There is also a hill-start assist that gently applies the brakes when stopped on an incline, preventing the car from rolling back. The neat interior is well built and sturdy, and the materials used all give a reassuring air of quality.Hyundai has a growing reputation for reliability and the i30 hatchback was the overall winner of the 2010's Driver Power Survey. 
Practicality (The wide, flat loading bay makes loading bigger items easy)
The 440-litre boot is above average size for this kind of car, and what's more, it swells to an impressive 1,486 litres when the back seats are folded flat. The wide, flat loading bay makes loading bigger items easy, and the rear seats slide independently from each other, allowing you to adjust the amount of space in the back. The glovebox is large and there are plenty of storage spaces dotted around the dash. The boot can be also be split in two via a handy dividing panel, and the wide-opening doors make it simple to get in and out. 
Value for money (Even entry level ‘Classic’ models get air-conditioning, and traction control)
The ix20 is one of the best value mini MPVs around, undercutting rivals like theVauxhall Meriva, and offering more equipment as standard. Even entry level ‘Classic’ models get air-conditioning, and traction control. For an extra £1,100, the mid-range Active adds 16-inch alloy wheels, leather steering wheel, all round electric windows and reversing sensors and Bluetooth to the extensive kit list. Top spec Style models get a panoramic glass sunroof, front fog lights and folding door mirrors. The diesel and petrol engines are similarly powered, but there's a £1,400 premium on the more efficient 1.4-litre CRDi. Thanks to the superb warranty, resale values should be strong across the range.
Running costs

The Hyundai ix20's 1.6-litre petrol automatic is the most expensive to run, but even that offers 43.6mpg and emissions of 154g/km - that means it falls into Road Tax Band G, which costs £155 a year. Lowest running costs come with the 1.4-litre diesel with ISG, it returns a massive 65.7mpg and 114g/km, so Road Tax costs only £30 per year. The other petrol engine falls in the middle of these two, so none of them will be costly to run. Across the range, insurance is around two groups lower than major competitors, making the ix20 one of the most affordable cars of this type.

Hyundai Elantra - What the Auto Press Says

The 2011 Hyundai Elantra ranks 1 out of 33 Affordable Small Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of 16 published reviews and test drives of the Hyundai Elantra, and our analysis of reliability and safety data.
Hyundai updated the Elantra for 2011, and now this car offers a complete package: great performance, exceptional fuel economy ratings, impressive features and jazzy exterior styling.
Hyundai changed almost every aspect of the Elantra for 2011, and reviewers say that the Elantra is no longer overshadowed by top affordable small cars like the Honda CivicFord Fiesta and Chevrolet Cruze. How did the Elantra go from a car that was good, but forgettable, to a compact that competes with the best?
Hyundai updated the Elantra’s exterior styling to match the Hyundai Sonata’s fluidic sculpture design. Not only is the 2011 Elantra attractive, but it looks expensive, despite its $14,830 base price. Although it’s fitted with some hard interior plastics, overall, the Elantra’s interior is nice too. It’s spacious enough for large passengers and offers a wide range of optional interior features that includes navigation, a rear view camera and heated leather back seats -- a first among affordable small cars.
While reviewers don’t label the Elantra “fun-to-drive” like the Mazda3 orHonda Fit, the 2011 Hyundai Elantra makes a great daily driver. It has precise steering, accurate braking and it’s modestly powered engine has class competitive fuel economy ratings of 29/40 mpg city/highway. "You won't mistake the Elantra for a Volkswagen GTI or a BMW 3-series from behind the wheel, but as a practical commuter, there's not much to complain about,” says AUTOMOBILE Magazine. “And that's what this type of car is about -- comfortable, economical, and practical. Right now, it's without question at the top of its class, and until the next Ford Focus goes on sale, we have no doubt that it'll remain there."
Other Cars to Consider
Reviewers compare the 2011 Hyundai Elantra to the Honda Civic, the Chevrolet Cruze, the Kia Forte and theFord Fiesta -- all of which are very similar to the Elantra in terms of daily driving capabilities.
The Honda Civic is a favorite in terms of practicality. It’s affordably priced at $15,805, reliable and has a generous trunk, but it’s becoming archaic in a class that’s spicing things up with higher fuel economy ratings, more standard tech features and unique exterior styling. The Civic has lower fuel economy ratings -- it only gets a maximum of 26/36 mpg city/highway -- but there is one reason to choose it over the Elantra: reliability. Hyundai may offer the most comprehensive warranties, but as a brand, it doesn’t have the reliability reputation that Honda does. If you want the most trustworthy daily commuter, get a Civic.
The Kia Forte challenges the Elantra in terms of standard interior features and price. The base sedan starts at $14,995 and has SIRIUS Satellite Radio, USB and auxiliary input jacks, Bluetooth connectivity and steering wheel mounted audio controls. It also has a long warranty. It’s powertrain warranty lasts for ten years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first.
If you’re looking at the Elantra, take a peek at the Chevrolet Cruze, too. Starting at $16,275, it’s more expensive than the Elantra, but it has standard air conditioning. But to match the Elantra’s fuel economy ratings, you have to get the Eco model, which starts at $18,175, making the Elantra more affordable even after you add air conditioning for a total of $17,080. The Ford Fiesta is similar to the Cruze. It’s spacious, looks good and has a quality interior, and like the Cruze, you have to upgrade to the Fiesta SE to get fuel economy ratings of 29/40 mpg city/highway. Prices for those models start at $14,320. This price is still a lot cheaper than the Cruze or Elantra, so if you’re on a budget, the Fiesta is a good option. However, if you’re an adult who doesn’t want exterior that looks like it’s designed for a college student or teenager, the Elantra is a better choice.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Electric Car Batteries: Lead or Lithium?

electric car batteries 1Which electric car batteries do you need for your conversion or NEV? Let's wade through the information and misinformation about electric car batteries for a minute, and you can decide for yourself what batteries you want. There are good arguments on all sides.
I keep hearing really smart-sounding guys on the discussion lists and forums say that you'll never have a really good electric car until lithium batteries become available. The major automakers keep saying that they'd offer electric cars if they could get a better battery. They make it sound like lead batteries are only good for grandma's golf cart.

electric car batteries 2In "Build Your Own Electric Vehicle",Seth Leitman says lead-acid batterieswork just fine for an electric car."Contrary to those who say you'll need a different type of battery before EVs are suitable at all," he writes, "today's conventional lead-acid batteries of the deep-discharge variety are perfectly adequate for your EV conversion." (p.177)
What? Lead batteries are the best electric car batteries for the money? Let's find out.

What's good about lead(acid) EV batteries?

  • They're cheap(ish).
    A 120v system will need 20 6v batteries, and they'll cost you 100-150 USD each; that's 2K-3K. If you splurge and get the best AGM battery technology money can buy, it still isn't going to cost you more than 5K for a lead-acid battery pack. If you treat them right, they'll last several years. Lithium? You'd better have an extra 16-20K to spend on your conversion.
  • They're available everywhere.
    You can get your lead acid batteries locally from a golf cart battery dealer, which saves you the shipping costs. Batteries are heavy and contain metals that are usually toxic, one way or another, and that translates into expensive shipping.
    • They're peppy.
      You can get on the freeway, you can race, you can get liftoff with lead acid electric car batteries; ) There's no reason that lead is any less of a car-propellant than lithium. The only thing that lithium offers, with all its expense, is that it weighs less. (Okay, okay, and lithium has more cycle lives. Theoretically.)
    • They're safe.
      Setting aside the issue of high-voltage safety practices for a minute, lead acid batteries are relatively safe no matter what you do to them. They can leak sulfuric acid in a crash, they can vent flammable gases when they are charged, but they are generally considered to be pretty safe batteries.
      Lithium has a reputation for being a little more excitable; maybe you've seen the laptop batteries bursting into flames on the barbecue videos? it's important to keep a careful eye on them to make sure they're not shorting or overcharging. LiFePO4, or lithium iron phosphate, are considered to be safe electric car batteries.

    What's NOT so good about lead electric car batteries?

    electric car batteries 3
    • They're heavy.
      That's it, really. All the other things you've heard pretty much boil down to this. When you hear about lead's lower energy density than other battery chemistries like lithium, it's easy for our brain to form a picture of a SLUG that can barely get away from a stoplight at 2 mph before it needs a charge again, but that's not reality. The energy density issue only means that an adequate number of batteries will weigh more.What this means in practice is that you'll need to choose between extra batteries or the ability to carry more passengers. If my observations of freeway traffic are any indication, you didn't really want the passengers anyway.
    • Fewer cycle lives.
      They don't have the same number of theoretical cycle lives as other battery chemistries. I say theoretical because cycle lives depend on your application, and...dirty little matter what kind of battery you've got, "battricide" happens quite a bit (that means human error - charging? Temperature? Too deep discharge, too often? - causing premature battery death; ).

    And what do our NEDRA electric drag racers say about electric car batteries?

    electric car batteries 4Their cars say "lead". Mike Willmon, current president of NEDRA, put deep-cycle lead acid (Hawker 12v) batteries in his "El Pinto Loco". John Wayland, owner of the "White Zombie", also uses Hawker 12v batteries. Rod Wilde uses Exide 12v in his "Gone Postal" racing van.

Who cares who KILLED electric cars...
where can I GET one??

auto smog
They're SOO cute, the little zippy electric cars you see in the news all the time. But where ARE they?
If you're like me...
You've been watching the air turn browner and browner every year.It breaks your heart that your asthmatic ten-year-old is stuck in the house all summer because of the air quality.
You know it's mostly because of car exhaust, but there's no other way to get to work, school, errands, and daycare... you feel GUILTY as you fill the gas tank (again).
And lay down fifty bucks. Fifty bucks!!?? Are you kidding? Coulda gotten my hair done AND left a fat tip for that price...oh, well. And as you leave the gas station, you wonder how much it's going to cost you NEXT time, and know that whatever it is, you've got no other choice but to pay it.
gas pump blues
In other words...

.. you're PINNED to the PUMP.

If you've ever felt PINNED to the PUMP because there were no other (sensible) choices out there...
...or are there?

C'mon in. Time to take another look at electric cars. They're more alive than ever!

Electrical cars are for girls

What kinds of electric car motors are the most popular? There are a lot of electric motors out there, but just a few make up the majority of the motors being used in electric cars. When people choose a motor for their car, they're balancing factors like cost, availability, and the "do it yourself factor" - the confidence that they can get all these expensive gizmos installed and not just wind up with a project scattered all over the garage...a well-known cause of marital discord!

Electric Motors

An electric motor converts electrical energy into mechanical energy.
Most electric motors operate through the interaction of magnetic fields and current-carrying conductors to generate force. The reverse process, producing electrical energy from mechanical energy, is done by generators such as an alternator or a dynamo; some electric motors can also be used as generators, for example, a traction motor on a vehicle may perfom both tasks. . Electric motors and generators are commonly referred to as electric machines.
Electric motors are found in applications as diverse as industrial fans, blowers and pumps, machine tools, household appliances, power tools, and disk drives. They may be powered by direct current (e.g., a battery powered portable device or motor vehicle), or by alternating current from a central electrical distribution grid or inverter. The smallest motors may be found in electric wristwatches. Medium-size motors of highly standardized dimensions and characteristics provide convenient mechanical power for industrial uses. The very largest electric motors are used for propulsion of ships, pipeline compressors, and water pumps with ratings in the millions of watts. Electric motors may be classified by the source of electric power, by their internal construction, by their application, or by the type of motion they give.
The physical principle of production of mechanical force by the interactions of an electric current and a magnetic field was known as early as 1821. Electric motors of increasing efficiency were constructed throughout the 19th century, but commercial exploitation of electric motors on a large scale required efficient electrical generators and electrical distribution networks.
Some devices convert electricity into motion but do not generate usable mechanical power as a primary objective and so are not generally referred to as electric motors. For example, magnetic solenoids and loudspeakers are usually described as actuators and transducers, respectively, instead of motors. Some electric motors are used to produce torque or force.

List of car brands

             This list of automobile makers tries to show every car/automobile marque/brand ever used; some are manufacturing companies in their own right, and others are subsidiary companies or products of badge engineering. The list is sorted by continent and then country, but note that globalisation makes some of these distinctions of historical relevance only.
            Main article: list of countries by automobile production