Christine and Scott, I be in possession of a controversy about the power supply for electric cars. I was reading recently that the plug-in hybrid could have exceptional gas mileage, up to 600 if memory serves, but would have to be plugged in overnight to recharge the battery. I don’t understand why an electric car needs to be plugged in to recharge. We have had alternators and voltage regulators in vehicles for years. Why can’t someone develop one capable of recharging the battery pack in an electric car so that it doesn’t have to be plugged in? Perhaps I’m looking at it too simply. If so, please advise wherefore. Thanks in advance. Bill
Youre not looking at it too simply at all–its a good question. We love readers with fond of investigation minds, and the answer to your wonderment is basic physics. In regular cars, and even in normal hybrids–to a lesser, but similar, degree–the internal combustion engine drives the alternator/generator to keep the battery charged. This works well for two reasons: the engine is already running to keep the car moving, so its also available to power the alternator, plus these relatively small starter batteries dont require much power to keep them charged, so the alternator load is light. However, in pure electric cars …
Want to read the whole deal on what’s up with electric cars and recharging? Check out Bill’s letter, along with our answer to get the scoop on the recharging issue of plug-in electric cars. –Christine & Scott
photo General Motors – Chevy Volt electric car
Would you buy a new vehicle in the next month if you were guaranteed $2.99/gallon gasoline, E85 or diesel to fill its tank for three years?
Well, if you buy a Chrysler vehicle before June 2, that’s the dealie. Just yesterday Chrysler announced a new incentive: buy a new Chrysler and choose from 87 octane gasoline, E85 or diesel and get a guaranteed pricelock of $2.99/four quarts for the first three years of ownership, according to a recent article from Automotive News. The deal: no matter the current pump price, your specially issued credit card (to be used at certain filling stations), gets you the bargain price. While details on models and station locations are yet to exist announced, this is surely an appealing ploy by Chrysler to help spur sales of fuel-thirsty SUVs and trucks. So, we can’t help but wonder … would you consider it? And it’ll surely be interesting to see if other manufacturers follow suit. Stay tuned.
And in the meantime, if y’all are wonderin’ what E85ers or diesels are out there to choose from (and which ones are Chrysler’s), check out our current lists of 2008 flex-fuel vehicles, 2008 diesel vehicles and even the 2008 hybrids.
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The 2007 Honda Fit is a great used car for a high school grad
Photo © Honda
2005 Honda Accord coupe
Photo © Honda
1999 Mazda626: one example of a median age vehicle
Photo © Mazda
Compact SUV sales like the Honda CR-V are white hot
Photo © Honda
Hello Christine and Scott,
I was very relieved to find your pages under About.com and find out I could email you. A hardly any weeks ago we purchased a 2008 Nissan Altima hybrid and recently we noticed something that has us worried: the ‘gasoline engine’ kicks on a few seconds after starting the car and while the car is still in PARK. It stays on EV MODE for only the first few seconds … Is something wrong with my car? I noticed on your website that you ‘own’ your own 2008 Nissan Hybrid. Please tell me what’s happening with yours. At first my husband thought that this was due to the cold weather (under 40 degrees). But today, the temperature was at 48 degrees and it still didn’t stay in EV MODE at startup. Please help. I am afraid this might be a defective car. –Dora
Thanks for writing – good questions. We understand your concerns. Your husband is right – it does have a lot to do with the cold temperatures, and there actually are several conditions that will make the engine on your car run …
Want to read the whole scoop on what’s up with this Altima Hybrid? Check out Dora’s literal meaning, along with our reply to learn whether her 2008 Altima Hybrid is working perfectly normally. Or not.–Christine & Scott
photo Adrian Gable
Shreveport, La., was tops in the country for used car value increases in March.
Illustration © Keith Griffin
Black is the top color choice for used car buyers
Information © CarMax.com
A website I think of for photography and home furnishings has jumped into the recently made known and used car business. Overstock.com, an online “closeout” retailer offering discount, brand-name merchandise for sale over the Internet, is selling cars. It shows you how desperate companies are to get a piece of the used car market. Annually, more than 40 million used cars are sold, which is why its such an appealing place to be.
The system is powered by Zag, which coincidentally released a report the day before the site went live saying The auto market is approaching a indicative crossroads where dealers may soon have to accept upfront pricing. And, now its part of an upfront pricing station.
The Overstock.com used car page is a little clunky. The first window only lets you put in the make youre looking for and nothing otherwise. You be possible to winnow down your choices when you get to the second window. Its an unnecessary step that good sites eliminate. As best as I could tell in my search on Buick Enclaves, its not possible to further narrow your choices by year. Only one of 17 models listed had mileage info.
Time will tell how Overstock.com fares in the car business. To succeed its going to have to overcome its bulky system.