Volkswagen – It’s Simple

by Ernie Hernandez on September 27, 2015


Turn the emissions control systems on

Much has been reported in recent days about the Volkswagen emissions control scandal. Little has been said about what to do about it. It’s simple – turn the emissions control systems on.

Having read many reports about the situation, it is clear now that Volkswagen has emissions control systems in place on their diesel engine vehicles that, when operating, place these vehicles in compliance with emissions regulations. What Volkswagen has chosen to do, at least since the 2009 model year on several diesel engine model vehicles, is to turn these emissions controls off when being driven by consumers, and turn these controls on when being tested for their emissions. Volkswagen has employed emissions defeat devices before in the United States, dating back to the origination of emissions control systems in 1973 models. In both instances, these were not unintentional errors but deliberate actions taken to sidestep regulations.

In a statement Volkswagen CEO of the Volkswagen brand Herbert Diess said “We are working at full speed on a technical solution.” It seems they already have a technical solution – turn the emissions control systems on.

The problem with this is that the emissions control systems are turned off while consumers are driving to achieve other goals such as better fuel economy and performance. VW rightly fears that their customers won’t like their vehicles performance or fuel economy with these systems restored to proper operation which is why they are now looking for a “technical solution.” In other words, what they should have done in the first place – develop a system that could control emissions and still provide the customer with the performance and fuel economy they desire. VW has sold over 11 million vehicles globally with this defeat system in place.

Perhaps it’s time for Volkswagen to come up with another name for its TDI technology other than the Clean Diesel they’ve used in the past. Perhaps you can provide some assistance with that.



2016 LEAF gets 107 mile EPA range, new battery warranty

by Ernie Hernandez on September 10, 2015

2016 Nissan LEAF

New larger battery increases range, price

Nissan has announced the release of the 2016 LEAF with a 30 kilowatt hour battery as standard equipment in the SV and SL models, providing an EPA rated mileage of 107. The S model continues with the 24 kilowatt hour, 84 mile EPA range battery.

“The new battery offers more advantages than just the 27 percent increase in driving range – it also offers improved battery performance,” said Andrew Speaker, director, Nissan EV Sales & Marketing, Nissan North America, Inc. “Nissan has been a leading developer of lithium-ion battery technology for more than 20 years. The new LEAF battery is a great example of how rather than just increasing battery capacity, we’ve achieved a balance between capacity, packaging, durability and affordability.”

More than just words from a corporate executive, the new larger battery offers improvements other than just the range increase. The larger capacity cells add just 46 pounds, one indication of the improved chemistry and higher power density of the cells. In addition, the new cells fit inside the existing battery case. Another way that Nissan saved weight was to double the number of cells per module. The total number of cells remained the same (192), but in half the number of modules fitted to the case. The 24 kilowatt hour battery housed four cells per module, while each larger module now holds eight cells. Improvements were made to both the cell structure and the electrode material. In a perfect world, this would have been the battery introduced in the LEAF in 2010. Alas, it’s not a perfect world.

As important as the improved range is better battery life. The new 30 kilowatt hour battery comes with an eight year, 100,000 mile capacity warranty as part of the New Electric Vehicle Limited Warranty. The current pack which continues in the S trim level offers a five year, 60,000 mile capacity warranty. In each case, Nissan’s warranty provides that Nissan will protect against battery capacity loss below nine bars of capacity as shown on the vehicle’s battery capacity level gauge for the stated time.

2016 Nissan LEAF

In other improvements, the S trim level now receives a five inch color display, streaming audio via Bluetooth and hands-free text messaging assistance with no increase in price. The Charge Package remains optional on the S, which includes the 6.6 kilowatt charger and quick charge port.

SV and SL continue with standard navigation, but the seven inch touch screen improves to a multi-touch display with better graphics, similar to those found in Nissan’s upscale Maxima and Murano. In addition, SV and SL now update charging screen information every time the car starts and continues with updates every twelve miles. Another convenience improvement is the addition of what Nissan calls one-shot destination entry. With a touch of the voice recognition button on the steering wheel, just say “1234 Main Street, San Diego, California” and the navigation system will plot your new destination and route. The multi-touch display allows pinch and zoom functionality similar to a smart phone display when in map mode. The new screen also offers the ability to swipe left and right among three home screens with personally selected or customized shortcut icons when in menu mode. These customized icons provide the ability to find a coffee shop, or other personalized destination category, with the touch of the icon. The SV and SL have one option package available – the Premium Package which includes the four-camera around view monitor and a seven speaker Bose audio system.

2016 Nissan LEAF

The 2016 LEAF comes in three new exterior colors – Deep Blue Pearl, Coulis Red and Forged Bronze.

Pricing for the S trim level remains the same at $29,010 plus destination charge. The SV goes from $32,100 to $34,200 and the SL goes from $35,120 to $36,790. Nissan has not announced the release date for the new 2016 LEAF, but expect to see it before the end of the year.

2016 Nissan LEAF



Free Advance Reader Copy of The Electric Car

September 6, 2015

Update: This offer has now expired. Thanks to all of you who requested the advance reader copy. Look for ebook publication on Amazon soon. With National Drive Electric Week almost upon us, what better time than now to publish my new ebook – The Electric Car: Is an Electric Car Right for You? As my […]

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Innovative use of used EV batteries

August 1, 2015
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FreeWire Technologies develops mobile EV charging One concern of the relatively new EV industry is what is going to be done with used EV batteries. California based FreeWire Technologies, one of hopefully many more to come, has a creative solution. When an electric vehicle (EV) battery produces only 70 percent of its original capability due […]

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Stopgap larger battery 2016 LEAF due this fall

May 31, 2015
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2016 LEAF to bridge gap to LEAF 2.0 [UPDATE 6/13/2015] I have confirmation that Nissan’s upper two trim levels will use the new technology battery cells in the current battery modules. Nissan will not confirm the range, but it’s a safe bet that range will improve to at least 105 epa-rated miles. *** It seems […]

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Look for Monster Tajima at Pike’s Peak in Rimac electric race car

May 26, 2015
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Potential record setting combination I’ve written about Rimac before (found here). Founded five years ago, Rimac hasn’t run out of money yet, and they build a wicked fast electric vehicle (EV) concept. Now, according to their new YouTube video (found here), it looks like they are teaming with the also wicked fast Monster Tajima to […]

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Tennessee, Connecticut offer EV incentives

May 25, 2015
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States encourage EV ownership Connecticut EV buyers will for the first time qualify for rebates up to $3,000. Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell and Toyota Mirai will also qualify for the maximum rebate. Hybrids or EVs with a seven to eighteen kilowatt hour battery qualify for $1,500, while smaller battery hybrids are eligible for $750. Tennessee, […]

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The Electric Car book

May 24, 2015
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Looking for beta readers for my new electric car book I have just completed my new e-book The Electric Car – Is an Electric Car Right for You? After fretting over it for the past four years, I think it’s time that I finally stopped fretting, and got to publishing. I am looking for fifteen […]

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Let’s talk about battery degradation

May 9, 2015

Battery degradation isn’t that big of a deal for many [UPDATE: Here’s a link to an article (found here) about a LEAF in the UK that went 100,000 miles in under two years with no degradation.] First, a definition. Electric vehicle (EV) battery degradation is when the battery loses capacity over time. If you’ve ever […]

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Nissan to launch autonomous car in Japan in 2016

April 3, 2015
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Ghosn confirms at NYIAS Nissan, having agreed on a five year development partnership with NASA on the development of autonomous vehicles, has confirmed that their first market to have the vehicle will be Japan next year according to comments by Carlos Ghosn, Nissan CEO, at the New York International Auto Show. There is a very sound […]

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