Electric Vehicles: The Dream of the Young

While many people seem to have varying options about electric vehicles, the younger generation seems to be excited about the prospect of cars running on electricity. No matter what kind of car it is they approve of having all electric cars. Electric vehicles do have many benefits such as great fuel mileage and great efficiency, and this seems to be a great point to many young people.

Why the Fascination?

Since electric vehicles seem to run silently and be an innovative vehicle, it seems to have beaten out the older days of engines that shook the ground with their rumblings. Today it seems that silence is more important and leaves quiet time for thinking. Today’s young people seem to have a fascination with a style that allows quietness and uniqueness instead of conformity.

Just Thinking…

If young people enjoy these electric vehicles so much then perhaps it is time to start catering to them. Today many companies are creating electric cars for kids. These types of vehicles are very popular and even parents seem to enjoy what they have to offer. Electric vehicles for kids are far beyond the light foot powered kid cars of yester years!

The Issue of Weight and Safety

Among adults one concern that many people have with electric vehicles surrounds the issues of safety and weight. Various countries have electric vehicles of various models that are being used but most of them fail when it comes to passing safety tests in America. While the batteries in electric vehicles do add some weight to the vehicles, the electric cars are still quite light, which of course does make them more efficient.

One electric vehicle that was made by Chrysler a few years ago was actually not much more than a golfing car that had been re-worked. There was a lot of marketing done for the vehicle but many seemed disinterested in this product. Although the product really did not sell, the company did meet certain goals that it found important.

Driving around town usually results in traveling slower, and many times electric vehicles are great for these lower speeds. In the future, there may be electric vehicles that weight more, and then perhaps they will be able to meet the safety standards of the United States. Although it has not happened yet, one can still hope. In spite of the disadvantages, many young people are still interested in electric vehicles and perhaps in the future there will be greater success with these vehicles in America.

Electric Vehicles – Growing Presence on European Roads

With the cost of fuel skyrocketing around the world, and more consumers becoming conscious of the negative impact cars have on the environment, car manufacturers focus their production efforts on new full-electric vehicles as well as new hybrid models. Ford Motor Company has had development plans in the works for environmentally friendly vehicles to be increasingly prevalent on the roads for years-particularly in North America. As one of the many initiatives Ford is currently taking in the quest to provide the public with more fuel-efficient alternatives for vehicles, the company is promising to introduce five full-electric and hybrid vehicle models in Europe by the year 2013. This plan is part of Ford’s global electric vehicles plan. Electric and hybrid vehicles will greatly reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions as well as reduce fossil fuel consumption.

While protecting the environment should be at the forefront of what people look for in purchasing a new vehicle, the hybrid car movement is still rather new, and the full-electric vehicle is still somewhat of an abstract concept to many consumers. According to a survey done by consumer reports, price, range and overall performance are generally top considerations for most consumers in the market when buying a new vehicle. Another consideration for people who would possibly consider buying an electric vehicle, is the accessibility of electric charging stations-people are more likely to buy, if they know it would be easy to “charge up” the vehicle conveniently. Ford, however, has a vision to bring a wide range of top performing fuel-efficient, “green” vehicles to millions.

John Fleming, Chairman and CEO, Ford of Europe and Executive Vice President of Global Manufacturing and Labour Affairs, stated in a press release, “These new advanced technology models are key to Ford’s commitment to delivering a portfolio of alternative power train vehicles globally and to European customers in the next few years,”

The first full-electric car to be launched as part of Ford’s agenda is the Transit Connect Electric. This vehicle is a compact van, commonly used for workers that need to carry excessive cargo. The idea is that electric charging stations will be housed at the workplace for employees to charge-up before going on their route of daily work tasks. This full-electric vehicle was featured at the New York Auto Show in 2010. It is said to have a 40 KW, 300-volt Siemens electric motor, and a lithium-ion battery to power the vehicle for an estimated 120,000 miles total. With an 80-mile range, the Transit Connect Electric vehicle is said to be a “smooth, quiet ride” by a test driver. When connected to a 240-volt outlet, the vehicle would take six to eight hours to be fully charged.

The next car in Ford’s electric vehicle line up for its global electric vehicles plan will be the Ford Focus Electric, coming out in 2012. This vehicle will be powered 100 percent by lithium-ion batteries. The result of an all-battery powered vehicle is zero emissions. The range reaches 100 miles, and with a 220-volt outlet, takes six to eight hours to reach a full charge. The car will also have a handy interface which tells the driver specific details about the battery charge and range. The Focus is a compact electric vehicle with a modern exterior.

“Ford is committed to help lead the way to find creative solutions and ensure that electrified vehicles can deliver benefits to our customers, the environment and our business around the globe in a sustainable way,” stated Nancy Gioia, Ford Director of Global Electrification.

Ford will then launch two versions of the C-MAX-a hybrid-electric version and a plug-in hybrid-electric version-in 2013. The C-MAX will be the first hybrid-electric vehicle model launched in Europe, and the first model to utilize Ford’s new 1.6-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine. The traditional gas-fuelled C-MAX is a seven-seat vehicle that was launched in North America for the 2011 model year. A smaller version will be developed for the hybrid-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric versions releasing in Europe. The Ford plant in Valencia, Spain will be building the vehicles, which will be for the European market only. Fleming said, “The Hybrid-Electric and Plug-In Hybrid-Electric derivatives of the all-new Ford C-MAX are great news for the Valencia plant and region, for Spain, and for Ford customers across Europe.”

The last remaining hybrid-electric vehicle due to launch by 2013 is still yet to be determined. However, the launch of all five hybrid and electric vehicles have caused much hype since Ford originally announced its plan.

Buy Aftermarket Auto Parts Online and Save!

The internet has proven itself over and over again to be a great source for comparative shoppers looking to save money. The newest internet opportunity to saving your valuable dollars is on costly truck and car repairs. Auto repair savings has historically been limited to the Do it Yourselfer or the backyard mechanic – ultimately the savings came in the form of labor. Thankfully, those days are over, as more individuals are utilizing the internet to source and purchase the auto parts they need online and then bringing them to a local garage or backyard mechanic have them installed. The internet provides bumper to bumper coverage of virtually any and all truck and car parts and can offer significant savings over the local auto parts store. I have heard of savings of over 70% on some aftermarket parts. If you take the old standard calculation of car repair costs into consideration (50% parts + 50% labor) the overall savings could be as high as 35%.

Let’s take a typical 4 wheel brake job as an example. The vehicle I used was a 2001 Chevy Cavalier – 2.4 litre engine with front disc brakes and rear drums. I made a few calls to local auto parts stores (I purposely avoided dealerships and OEM parts to generate a better price comparison). I did not include calipers.

I was able to source front semi-metallic brake pads, front rotors, rear brake drums, rear brake shoes and new brake hardware online for $101.40 which included shipping and any and all applicable taxes – delivered to my door! The same brake parts (I specifically did not select any parts they classified as “Premium” level parts) from a local auto parts store came in at $345.47. To be honest I was a little shocked by the fact that I could save over 70% on aftermarket brake parts. I thought a 70% savings would be specific to parts that were normally “dealer” specific.

Couple of other things to take into consideration, I have heard that garages are starting to charge a higher hourly rate if you bring in your own parts, a corking fee if you will. Not unusual as they typically mark up auto parts that they purchase for you by at least 20%. The overall extra cost to you however is minimal as they usually receive a garage discount from the auto part store.

Another important consideration is to make sure you purchase the right auto parts online – determining with 100% accuracy which auto part fits your vehicle can be very difficult. Most online stores offer toll free numbers and friendly knowledgeable staff that will cross reference your vehicle to ensure you get the right parts. You don’t want to end up with parts you can’t use and have to potentially ship back at your expense (some online stores also charge a re-stocking fee). Another option is to contact a dealer to confirm the part numbers you need before you go online to purchase. Dealerships can use your VIN # and provide another level of accuracy when it comes to identifying the right part for the right vehicle.

Bottom-line, there are significant savings available online for auto parts. The days when the only way to save money on auto repairs was to do it yourself or hire the local backyard mechanic are gone.

Electric Vehicle Connectors

Green is no longer just a color; it’s a movement rooted in environmentalism and sustainability. As people around the world have realized that we need to protect the planet if we want it to stay healthy and beautiful for future generations, more and more products have entered the market to push the green movement forward. Electric cars are one of those developments, giving consumers the choice to be more environmentally friendly in their everyday transportation. Although most Americans own and use gas-powered cars, electric vehicles are growing in popularity and as their technology progresses, they will become even more convenient and appreciated. Electric vehicle connectors are an integral part of this new form of transportation; the cars need them to power up. But before we get into specifics, let’s look at the basics of electric vehicles.

Electric vehicles are a type of automobile that uses one or more electric motors or traction motors for propulsion. Unlike gas-powered cars, they are fueled by electricity, which can come from a variety of sources (fossil fuels and nuclear power, but also renewable sources like tidal, solar, and wind power). They require less maintenance because they don’t have as many parts as traditional vehicles, and they offer tax benefits. Electric vehicles are also easy to charge at home, run on renewable energy, and emit no pollution from their tailpipes. There are many benefits to owning an electric car, but like most things, they come with disadvantages too. Electric vehicles can take several hours to charge and aren’t able to last on long road trips. They will also increase the demand for electricity and there are very few models currently available.

Charging up an electric vehicle is easy, but it will require some patience. The most convenient (but also expensive) option would be to purchase a charging station for home use. If you charge your car overnight, it will always be ready for the morning commute.

To make the process of charging an electric car more convenient, national societies and commissions work together to establish industry standards for electric vehicle connectors. The common connector for the United States is the J1772 combo plug, which was chosen by the Society of Automotive Engineers. It allows for AC and DC charging, is 43mm in diameter, and contains five pins. Designed for single phase electrical systems with 120 V or 240 V, electric vehicle connectors use a 1 kHz square wave at +/- 12 volts on the pilot pin (to detect the vehicle, communicate the maximum allowable current, and control the charging process). These connectors will often be located outside, so it is important that they are able to withstand environmental concerns like wind, rain, and heat. They are also equipped with many safety features like shock protection, connector pins located on the inside (so humans have no physical access), and pins that have zero voltage when not in use.

Technological advancements and growing popularity are helping consumers see electric vehicles as a viable alternative to their gas-guzzling automobiles, but it will take a while longer for them to truly compete. Right now, electric cars are just a great alternative for environmentally conscious drivers looking to make a change.

Aftermarket Auto Parts Vs Used OEM Auto Parts Vs Brand New Discounted Parts

Alright! The worst thing has happened to your car and that worn out / damaged part needs a replacement. What is the first thing that comes to your mind?

I am sure it would be, “how do I get a replacement part that fulfills the need at the lowest possible price?” And believe me; most sensible people would think the same way.

Let’s face it; nobody likes to spend big bucks on car repairs and part replacements. In fact, if given a choice, nobody would even want to be in a situation where his/her car needs a repair or a replacement part.

This is basic human nature and we all exhibit it. As far as I am concerned, I would rather spend extra money on a fancy car stereo than go for a costly replacement auto part. I would any day prefer the cheapest possible repair or part replacement that does the job and so would you unless you are a celebrity and money sticks to you like a shadow.

So what are the options you can consider if your vehicle needs a replacement part?

In the current market scenario, we have 3 major options namely:

  • Aftermarket Parts
  • Used OEM Parts
  • Brand New Discounted Parts

Let’s discuss the pros and cons of each so that we can make a decision.

Aftermarket Parts for a vehicle may be defined as auto parts made by a manufacturer other than the original vehicle manufacturer.

But that is not necessarily the correct definition as most vehicle manufacturers do not make all the parts themselves. They may ask a different company to manufacture a certain auto part for them. In that case, the first definition would not hold true.

I believe the following example would make the concept clear.

If you are fitting an Air Filter in your ABC car and that Air Filter is not manufactured, not considered a standard fitment (stock option) and not recommended by the ABC Company, it qualifies as an aftermarket part as far as ABC Company is concerned. In that case, all warranty from ABC Company for your ABC car is void.

That is not the only consequence of fitting aftermarket parts in your vehicle. These parts are not tested for compatibility with all makes and models of cars. As a result, an aftermarket part may not function properly in your car leading to unforeseen problems. For example, an aftermarket Air Filter can harm you car engine if it is not compatible with your car model resulting in low engine-efficiency or perhaps total engine damage.

Aftermarket parts don’t necessarily confirm to laws and regulations for quality and performance. For Example, aftermarket headlights may not confirm to the local regulations in your state or perhaps your aftermarket engine does not meet the emission standards in your state. It is imperative that you ascertain correct details and features of an aftermarket part before you purchase it.

Depending on factors like quality and brand-name, an aftermarket part can cost less, equal or more than a brand new OEM part.

A good quality aftermarket part manufactured by a company specializing in a particular domain qualifies as a performance enhancing auto part and usually costs more than what a brand new normal OEM part would. Unless you are willing to shell out money on car customization, you don’t need to tread that path.

One truth about aftermarket parts holds good even today; “use it at your own peril.”

Used OEM auto parts for a vehicle are manufactured by the same manufacturer that made the vehicle. The only factor being, these parts are not brand new. They have been used before, probably in another vehicle of the same make and somehow found their way to a scrap-yard or salvage-yard.

In this case, a fact that one should consider before purchasing a used auto part is that used parts from a certain ABC car most probably will fit only ABC cars of the same model and year as per company standards. This is because manufacturers might introduce slight changes or enhancements in auto part designs and specifications every year for any particular model.

Since all OEM auto parts from a particular car manufacturer are of the same quality and tested for optimum performance by the manufacturer, you don’t end up making any compromises on this front. Remember, this is not the case with aftermarket parts.

Used auto parts could be your best option in terms of cost-effectiveness and quality provided you select the correct auto part online and buy it from a recognized seller only. The advantage of buying from established sellers is that you get original quality tested parts at low prices and usually with no shipping charges.

The only worrying factor about used auto parts may be about their history. The part could be salvaged from a car that got destroyed in an accident or perhaps from a car that was scrapped after serving a lifetime. Then there are also some used auto parts available that were used by the original manufacturer for testing purposes.

Whatever be the history of the part, you can get a confirmation from the seller over the phone before buying. Major used auto-part dealers exercise quality control by maintaining a log about the condition and history of a particular auto part so that the customer knows about the exact age and origin of the part he/she is buying.

Moreover, vehicle’s manufacturer warranty does not get nullified if you install a used OEM part in your vehicle.

Used auto parts are the most cost effective out of all the three options since they cost just about one-third the price of brand new OEM auto parts.

Brand New Discounted Auto Parts probably don’t need any description. These are brand new auto parts sold at discount prices. Definitely a great option but these are not available everyday and at every store. In fact, they are available occasionally and at the sole discretion of the dealer. If you are lucky enough, you might find the part you need on discount but as is the case usually, the parts that are sold at a discount are the ones that have the least demand. Hence, if you desperately need a brand new replacement part for your car, you might have to wait till it is available at discount prices.

To conclude, you can choose any of these options depending on your need and suitability but please remember that in the case of repairs and part replacements, you should take a step only after weighing the pros and cons of each available option.

Happy Motoring!

James Rodham

www.QualityAutoParts.com