2017 Rogue Hybrid has Compact Battery

2017 Nissan Rogue SV Hybrid with all-wheel-drive kicks up the mileage.

By Carguy Keith Turner

The Family Car traveled to Northern California’s Apple Hill to test the family-friendly Nissan Rogue SV Hybrid, featuring a gasoline-electric system that saves fuel without sacrificing power.

The Rogue hybrid features an advanced, inline 4-cylinder gas engine and a compact lithium-ion battery to produce 176 horsepower that gets a combined fuel mileage of 33 miles per gallon.

Because the battery is so compact, the Rogue Hybrid maintains a flat rear floor for easy passenger access while still providing plenty of cargo space.

Available Rogue Hybrid safety technology includes Navigation with 7-inch touch-screen display, bird’s eye view Monitor, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Forward Emergency Braking.

Base price for the Nissan Rogue SV Hybrid is $26,240 for front-wheel drive, and $27,590 for the all-wheel-drive model.

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Greener Detroit Auto Show Starts 2017

Affordable EVs that top two hundred miles of range on a charge are not just coming soon, they’ve arrived. At least one has.

GM will make its new Chevy Bolt, with its 238 mile range, available in all 50 states. So, if you’re interested in owning a Bolt, check with your local dealer and fact check Chevy’s assertion of availability. We welcome your comments to this video.

Though California has many EVs for its residents to choose from in 2017, due to its regulation requiring all automakers who sell vehicles in the state to provide a small percentage of zero emission or alternative fueled vehicles, the news from the greener Detroit auto show (the North American International Auto Show, NAIAS) is that the rest of the country and the world will be getting EVs with over 200 miles of range two years from now.

Mercedes Benz will begin making their all-electric EQ SUV in their Bremen, Germany factory beginning in 2019.

Volkswagen will also begin building their electric ID van that same year. Concept versions of both vehicles were at the NAIAS this year, heralding their future availability.

And Volvo is also on the record committing to bringing out their electric vehicle line-up in 2019.

Add these to EVs from other makers, such as the EV segment leading Nissan Leaf, the Smart EV, and BMW i3 and others, and you see why Bill Ford predicts a zero emission future for vehicles, and why Elon Musk says all cars will be electric.

Beyond electric vehicles, the 2017 NAIAS showcased self driving cars and the technology that makes them work. In February, Nissan will conduct its first real-world tests of self driving Leafs. And Volvo has such confidence in its autonomous vehicle tech that at the Detroit show it presented a self-driving V90 to a Swedish family.

Downstairs from the main hall filled with major automakers, an entire hall was filled with parts manufacturers and software coders angling for their share of the autonomous vehicle market.

No wonder the visionaries at the show have started to envision a future with autonomous electric vehicles that is emission free and moving toward zero traffic-related fatalities.

Helped into existence by current autonomous vehicle testing by Google, Uber and Apple, the age of the self-driving car has dawned on the roadways of the U.S. and Europe. We all await the full light of this new day for mobility, when even a blind person will be able to get around alone by vehicle in perfect safety.

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Toward Zero Emissions and Zero Fatalities

Your car will be driving you sooner than you think. If you want it to, that is.

Sharing of autonomous vehicles will rapidly grow in popularity. And trends will continue that will someday soon offer humans enhanced mobility with zero emissions and zero vehicle accident related fatalities.

Visionaries such as Bill Ford, Michael Bloomberg, and Jeremy Rifkin, are among those in this video who spoke about such things, and other subjects, to a large audience at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit’s Joe Lewis Arena.

The Family Car Cousins were there for you, soaking in near future predictions from the visionaries, which they all have based upon present day realities.

It’s worth remembering what Bill Ford notes in the video, that new technologies have been coming into our lives much quicker than pundits for them have predicted.

That’s the reason we started this YouTube video article with the statement that your car will be driving you sooner than you think. However, a big question hanging over statements made in the video is, what do you think about being driven by your car, rather than driving it?

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On the Road to Autonomy at 2016 LA Auto Show

By Dean Adams Curtis

In the field of psychology, there is a branch called “developmental psychology. This branch of psychological thought is interested in how our brains develop understandings about, and reasoning behind, what is right and what is good. One stem within this branch is focused on moral psychology, which is particularly interested in how we develop on our road to autonomy, to our fully self-guided, autonomous, thoughtful adult selves.

In the field of automobile technology, thoughtful beings are rapidly steering we thoughtful adults (many of us vocally not-on-board-yet with full-auto autos) on the road to autonomy within fully self-guided cars.

So, let’s dig into the terms autonomy and autonomous a moment. As autonomous auto CONSUMERS, you are in control of what happens next. Analysts have been reporting for several years that autonomous vehicle tech is accelerating so rapidly that the main limitation to them now is driver acceptance.

From the beginning, “auto”mobiles have never been autonomous. Nor have they been “auto”matic. They have, however, offered humans more autonomy of movement. Autos provided freedom to move about towns and then to cruise the inevitable suburban landscape that automobiles facilitated. Autos also provided the freedom for autonomous individuals to get out of town, often to preserve their autonomy.

Discussions and displays at the 2016 LA Auto Show, revealed to TheFamilyCar and GreenFamilyCar correspondents that the autonomous vehicle age has already dawned.

Stare into the light of this new age for a moment. Imagine yourself driven to wherever you would like to go by your autonomous vehicle in the style and comfort to which we have become accustomed, more safely, speedily, and sustainably. Imagine that’s how all the other folks around you are travelling also. Terrified by the concept? Excited by it?

As we all try to wrap our real-road conditioned, car driver brains around whether autonomous vehicles are good, or right, for us, and for our roads, two important technology clusters, autonomous vehicle and electric vehicle technologies, will continue developing in parallel. And smart charging of autonomous EVs will most likely happen while both while they’re underway, as well as between uses.

Currently makers of vehicles with autonomous systems advise keeping both hands on the steering wheel. But, if the autonomous vehicle age is going to be truly desirable for consumers, it will need to offer more than vehicles that’re going to be wrestling control, or beeping annoyingly. For example, in the Chrysler Pacifica minivan that we test drove to and from the LA Auto Show, the lane-assist feature kept moving the steering wheel, providing an odd sensation that could diminish a driver’s sense of their own autonomy-over, control-over, the vehicle. Of course, just a little effort on the driver’s part turned the wheel in whatever direction the driver decided to go. And in the new Honda CRV, the lane assist doesn’t budge the wheel, but appears as a blinking and beeping circular warning light at the center of the dashboard cluster.

Revealing that we’re already into an autonomous electrical vehicle age, those auto-buyers fortunate enough to afford new high-end luxury vehicles are already benefiting from enhanced safety and convenience provided by automatic lane-keeping and collision avoidance, early-stages of the future’s autonomous auto guidance.  Tesla EV drivers today sometimes fold their arms on the freeway as they watch their vehicles do the steering, but they don’t do so on surface streets yet. Further, collision avoidance radar and LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), operating in conjunction with all-around car camera systems, and combined with maps (GIS, graphic information systems), are being observed in-action, in tests from San Francisco to Pittsburgh, PA, that are being conducted by various entities such as Google and Uber.

Also revealing is the Obama administration’s recent requirement on automakers to implement additional cyber-security on vehicles connected to the internet. Good thing. If we’re going to take our hands off the wheel, we want to do so secure that someone who wishes us ill, or who is just plain malicious, won’t throw our steering wheel to or fro.

It’s a brave new world that has such features as autonomous electric vehicles in it. If, using our autonomous thoughtful minds, we chose to rely on self-driving EVs in the future, we will save astronomically on the energy expended to take us from point A to point B in style and comfort, in safety and at a desirable speed, sustainably and autonomously. Who knows, in the future if you or I should suffer from a medical emergency in one of them, perhaps they’ll be able to drive us to the nearest hospital emergency room door.

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GM Bolt’s Range Beats Tesla’s Best

bolt-greenfamilycarreview
by Dean Adams Curtis

It’s official. The EPA has awarded the Bolt, GM’s electric vehicle coming to dealer showrooms this fall, with a class-leading 238-mile range. That rating beats Tesla’s anticipated best by 23 miles. And Tesla will only achieve their 215-mile range when their Model 3 debuts in late 2017, a year after the GM Bolt’s arrival.

The Bolt will also apparently beat the Tesla Model 3 price-wise. The Model 3 is anticipated to cost three times what the Bolt will.

GreenFamilyCar caught up with the Bolt EV in Detroit at the last auto show, where it was heralded, but stationary. And darn it,  we missed the drive-down the California coast that GM threw for automotive journalists to show off the range-anxiety busting Bolt.

Therefore, we decided to discuss the Bolt now, sans test drive, to ask the question, is the Bolt the EV game-changer that GM execs say it is?

Using the above-noted Bolt EPA range as our jumping off point, we answer our question “Yes,” because when GM, the second largest vehicle manufacturer on the planet after Toyota, makes the highest mileage EV available, obviously it is a game changer.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s chat a bit about where the whole EV transition stands now.

To begin, let’s take one giant step back.

A hundred years ago, in the innovative early days of automotive history, EVs were favored by inventor Thomas Alva Edison, who powered up EV batteries on fleet delivery vehicles  in cities with electricity from his centralized electrical power plants. A hundred years back it was by no means a certainty that the gasoline-powered internal combustion engine would win the day and become our sole automotive propulsion system for a century.

Fast-forward from Edison’s EVs to 15 years ago, when GM began leasing their all-electric EV1 vehicles. They were a very expensive, very limited offering, very much the vehicle of Hollywood celebrities and a few selected others. Then GM killed the EV1, cancelling all the leases, and crushing almost all the cars.

Taking one giant step forward back to today, only a small fraction of the cars and trucks sold in the world are electric. Internal combustion engines powered by gasoline have dominated the roads since oil was discovered in abundance in America and liberated early auto users by offering the possibility of cross continental travel.

Where has that gotten us? A recent New York Times article noted, “The average car wastes about 80 percent of the gasoline put into it…an electric vehicle uses about 90 percent [of its electricity] to actually move the car.” And while gasoline-powered vehicles waste  an overwhelming percentage of their energy, they are simultaneously emitting harmful CO2 exhaust out their tailpipes into our shared atmosphere, helping to warm it.

Take one giant step forward, back to today. Remember we answered “Yes” when we asked ourselves if the Bolt was a game-changing EV.

Here’s an addendum. Sure, Tesla Model 3 purchasers will undoubtedly be able to match the GM Bolt’s range with the addition of a booster battery. But beyond that, something that Tesla’s founder Elon Musk has long hoped for, and that we and so many others have  looked forward to for so long, has finally happened. The race to produce mass market electric vehicles for the U.S. market is on. All the major automotive manufacturers will now need to compete with the range of the GM Bolt. And this will greatly reduce any anxiety YOU, the potential EV buyer, has when you get behind the wheel of your first EV.

Here’s The Wall Street Journal list of EV ranges:

GM Bolt = 238

Tesla Model S = 215

BMW i3 = 114

Nissan Leaf SV = 107

Fiat 500e = 84

VW e-Golf = 83

Ford Focus EV = 76

 

 

 

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Fiat 500e Electric Vehicle Keeps Winning Fans

Watch our Fiat 500e review in HD on TheFamilyCar YouTube channel.

When the Chief Executive Officer of a major auto manufacturer says that you shouldn’t buy an electric vehicle from his company, what should you do?

Ignore the advice, if you can, as the EV, the Fiat 500e, is an excellent electric vehicle, though unfortunately it is only for sale in California and Colorado.

Chrysler Fiat is making the “e” version of their 500 for only one reason, to comply with California and Colorado legal mandates that each auto maker who sells cars or trucks in the states offer a percentage of zero emission vehicles.

The reason Chrysler Fiat’s CEO Sergio Marchionne doesn’t want you to buy his Fiat 500e, is because, according to him, each one that he sells costs the company $14,000.

Moving along now from Sergio, note that this EV review of the Fiat 500e benefits from the fact that six members of the greater GreenFamilyCar family have been inspired to lease the EV. One of these, our intrepid correspondent Michael Boehm, recently carpooled in his 500e with our editor Dean Adams Curtis to a meeting in downtown LA at the headquarters of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Our friends, their friends, coworkers and loved ones, who have gotten their EV fixes by leasing the Fiat 500e from a Fiat dealer in Santa Monica, along the Pacific Coast of Los Angeles, have become fans. Most Americans unfortunately don’t have this opportunity because their states have not yet required all automakers who sell vehicles in the state to make a percentage of their total sales be of zero-emission-vehicles. Thus, it follows that citizens in these states must acquiesce to Mr. Marchionne’s advice.

One lesson that can be learned from this six-person cluster of satisfied Fiat 500e consumers in the Santa Monica area of Southern California, is that there is strong demand for electric vehicles but some automakers are lagging behind in supplying them. Some seem to be foot-dragging due to their insistence on a level playing field, a national marketplace, charging infrastructure and other excuses, before they make earnest efforts to manufacture the EVs that we humans, Earth, and all her species need to help prevent catastrophic climate change.

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Hydrogen Vehicle Age Dawns at the 2015 LA Auto Show

By Dean Adams Curtis

Focusing first on the positive aspects of the 2015 Los Angles International Auto Show, we applaud the long-awaited dawn of the hydrogen vehicle age. Unveiled at the show were the 2016 Toyota Mirai, the 2016 Honda Clarity, and the 2016 Hyundai Tucson. These hydrogen fueled vehicles offer zero emissions, tremendously cool 300 mile  ranges and three minute fill-ups.

Thanks to forward-thinking western  U.S. politicians in California, Oregon and Washington, hydrogen vehicles can now pull into a network of fueling stations that have been built along the west coast. Now that this infrastructure has been built and the hydrogen vehicle age has dawned at the 2015 Los Angles International Auto Show, ever more zero emission hydrogen fueled vehicles will be fueling at these hydrogen filling stations.

Other positive news, two new electric vehicles were on display.  Audi revealed their 2016 A3 EV with “e-tron” drive, as well as their very nice near-future e-tron EV Quattro.

Electrification is inevitable,” an Audi representative said during their press conference.

The LA International Auto Show also revealed incremental steps forward that auto industry engineering and management teams can be proud of. Automakers showed off vehicles with engines boasting enhanced fuel economy, as well as new plug-in hybrids that offer longer ranges on electric only power. And enhanced safety innovations provided by collision avoidance and  lane change support were also announced.

A Connected Car Expo held in parallel with the 2015 LA auto show displayed Internet, Wi-Fi and satellite connectivity in vehicles, however signs of significant movement into the age of autonomous vehicles were not in evidence.

Yet collectively this year’s LA auto show, like last year’s, was more about fan dancing, jumping-in-place, exterior touch-ups, and balancing-in-place. All of these were on display at the press party prior to the start of the show and served as appropriate metaphors for the state of art in automotive design that was revealed. To make the next LA International Auto Show less of a fan-dance the auto industry will need to truly embrace the zero emission vehicle future, and race to reach it as soon as possible.

Hopefully, now that an international consensus on how to effectively deal with the accumulation of climate change causing greenhouse gases in our atmosphere has been signed in Paris, and Mother Nature is issuing clarion calls about the impacts of the warming, the world’s automotive giants will  fast-track their zero-emission and low-emission vehicles into production.

Perhaps we’ll witness this acceleration at the 2016 North American International Auto Show coming up in Detroit.

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