Japan’s Modi Corp Unveils Do-It-Yourself EV – Pius

Modi Corp, a Japan-based company that prototypes vehicles, announced that it has developed a built-it-yourself micro electric vehicle (EV).

The EV, “Pius,” is a single-seater and can be registered as a class-1 motorized bicycle in Japan. The company expects that the EV will be used as an educational tool for learning the basic functions and structure of EV. It is scheduled to be released in or after the spring of 2013.

Modi aims to sell the Pius to educational institutions such as universities, colleges of technology and car mechanics’ schools. Also, it offers a service of embedding components that its customers use for research and development in the EV so that they can use the vehicle for the evaluation of the components. The price of the EV has not been decided yet.

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Subaru plans to raise it’s brand’s fuel efficiency 30 percent by 2015

Subaru plans to introduce turbocharging, new transmissions, and hybrid drivetrains in a bid to boost its fleetwide fuel efficiency 30 percent between 2010 and 2015.

The technology blitz also includes a new, lightweight vehicle platform that will be introduced by 2015 and will replace the platform now used for all Subaru nameplates.

Motohisa Miyawaki, head of product planning and engineering, said there will be one full model change each year from 2012 through 2015 on top of this year’s introduction of the XV small crossover in Japan and next year’s debut of the BRZ sporty car.

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Japan quake delays production of Nissan Leaf in US

Nissan Motor Co 7201.T may have to delay U.S. production of its Leaf electric car as a result of the March 11 earthquake that rocked northern Japan, an executive said on Monday.

After the earthquake, "every operation stopped," said Hideaki Watanabe, Nissan vice president for zero-emission vehicles. "All the resources were put in place to restore Japan.

"As a result, the Japanese automaker halted its efforts to plan for the U.S. production of the Leaf, he said. He declined to say how long the delay could last.

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EV’s prove their mettle in Disaster Struck Japan

WITH deep-tread tires and ample ground clearance, a rugged 4-wheel-drive Hummer or Jeep might seem the best choice for navigating through the wrecked cities of northeastern Japan. The areas pummeled by the earthquake and tsunami in March would surely be inhospitable for an electric vehicle.Yet in the days and weeks after the horrific one-two punch of natural disasters, wispy battery-electric cars — engineered for lightness and equipped with tires designed for minimal rolling resistance — proved their mettle.These welterweight sedans, including models from Mitsubishi and Nissan, turned out to be the vehicles that got through — not because of any special ability to claw their way over mountains of debris, but because they were able to “refuel” at common electrical outlets.

Read the rest of the story: After Disaster Hit Japan, Electric Cars Stepped Up.

Japan vending machines to charge electric cars

Ten Japanese companies said Monday they plan to install electric vehicle chargers at the sites of beverage vending machines across Japan in a cost-cutting tie-up.

The consortium includes Forking Co., a major vending machine operator, and Panasonic Electric Works which will develop and produce electric vehicle chargers with rivals.

Forking has business ties with companies which own a combined 1.2 million vending machines across Japan, or about a half of the national total, company official Reiko Kobayashi said.

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Nissan Unable to Meet Leaf Demand and Expects Delays

The Nissan Leaf is the first mass-market electric vehicle available for purchase. The only problem is that so far, delivery is taking a lot longer than expected, and it isn’t expected to get better any time soon.

Through January, Nissan managed to deliver just over 1,100 cars, and 981 of those were to customers in Japan. With 27,000 pre-orders to fill worldwide, Nissan hopes to increase production of the Leaf to 4,000 vehicles per-month and deliver 10,000 Leaf electric vehicles by the end of their fiscal year, March 31st.

Read the rest of the story: Nissan Unable to Meet Leaf Demand; Delays to Continues.

Honda’s take on the PHEV Motor System

Honda Motor Co Ltd disclosed the details of the electric vehicle (EV) and plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) that it will start testing in Japan.

The PHEV is based on Honda’s "Inspire" sedan. The company combined an in-line four-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine with a displacement of 2.0L, two motors and a lithium-ion (Li-ion) rechargeable battery. One of the motors has a maximum output of 120kW and is used to drive the vehicle and regenerate energy. The other is used as a generator that can generate about 100kW of electricity.

The most distinctive feature of the PHEV is its two-motor system, which is different from the one equipped in Toyota Motor Corp’s PHEV and can independently operate the engine and the motors. As a result, it becomes possible to drive the vehicle (1) as an EV only by electricity, (2) as a hybrid vehicle by using the engine and the motors and (3) as a gasoline vehicle by using only the engine.

Read the rest of the story: Honda’s PHEV Has Different Motor System From Toyota’s.

Nissan rolls out Leaf electric car in Japan

Nissan showed off its Leaf electric car Friday, trumpeting its zero-emission technology and practicality with video of the hatchback zipping through snow and water.

The car, among the world’s first mass-market electric vehicles, is already sold out until March 2011 because of limited production capacity.

There have been 6,000 orders in Japan and 20,000 in the US. It arrives in Europe next year.

"This day has finally arrived,” a grinning Nissan Motor Co. Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga said, before posing for photographs with Japanese customers who had placed orders for the Leaf. "The curtains are about to rise for a new era in the auto industry.”

Shiga said the Leaf will sell in Japan for 3.76 million yen ($45,000) but with a 780,000 yen ($9,000) government green incentive the price will come down to 2.98 million yen ($35,000).

The manufacturer’s suggested retail price in the US is $33,600.

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Toyota to sell plug-in hybrid in US, Europe, Japan targeting 2012

Toyota is planning to sell a plug-in hybrid car in the U.S., Japan and Europe in 2012, targeting sales of 50,000 vehicles a year at 3 million yen ($36,000) each without subsidies, as the automaker strengthens its green lineup to keep pace with growing competition.

Toyota Motor Corp. Executive Vice President Takeshi Uchiyamada said Thursday that Toyota is also planning to sell an electric vehicle in 2012 and not just in the U.S. as it had said before, but in Japan and Europe too. Sales in China are also being considered, he told reporters.

But he said electric vehicles will be mainly for short commutes for some time and gasoline-electric hybrids will remain the standard for green cars because drivers won’t have to worry about running out of electricity on the road.

His comments show how Toyota, the world’s biggest automaker, is banking on hybrids, which switch between a gasoline engine and an electric motor, after the success of its top-selling Prius hybrid.

A plug-in hybrid is cleaner than a regular hybrid because it travels longer as a zero-emission electric vehicle.

"Toyota is working on developing hybrid technology as the core technology of the future," Uchiyamada said at a Tokyo showroom.

He was at pains to show Toyota isn’t lagging in electric car technology, although acknowledged it had fallen behind Japanese rivals Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. in bringing them to market.

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Nissan shows off two-seat concept electric vehicle

Nissan has unveiled a two-seat electric vehicle resembling a go-cart that isn’t ready for sale but spotlights the automaker’s ambitions to be the leader in zero-emission cars.

News photo

Conceptualize: Nissan Motor Co.’s two-seat electric vehicle Nissan New Mobility CONCEPT is shown in a computer rendering. AP PHOTO

Nissan Motor Co. is planning to produce 250,000 electric vehicles a year, starting with the Leaf, which is set for delivery in Japan and the U.S. in December and next year in Europe.

Its alliance partner, Renault SA of France, plans to produce another 250,000 EVs a year.

The two companies together will produce 500,000 batteries for EVs a year, said Nissan, which makes batteries with electronics maker NEC Corp.

"We don’t want EVs to be a niche product," Corporate Vice President Hideaki Watanabe told reporters at the company’s Yokohama headquarters.

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