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GE electric vehicle charging stations across the nation are beginning to accept PayPal and smart phone payments in addition to the smart card, key and dongle payments they had already been taking.

To use a smart phone to unlock a GE charging station, electric vehicle drivers have got to have the free smart phone application Wattstation Connect. This app verifies who the consumer is, where he or she is and then charge the user’s phone account. The app can also let drivers pay via a PayPal account.  

Wattstation Connect more than just help electric car drivers pay for their charging. It also locates available charging stations. To help drivers better understand how they can access and use GE changing stations, GE has set up a companion website that consumers can use to learn more.

Electric vehicles will not become the go to mode of transportation until they become more convenient. One of the biggest hurdles they face is the difficulty of charging them.

A Japanese company believes that it has just the idea and technology to overcome this barrier: wireless charging through a vehicle’s tires. The way the EVER project (Electric Vehicle on Electrified Roadway) will work is that electric vehicles will drive along roads that have been fitted with wireless car charging technology that will in turn charge to cars as they roll along. The charge will come up from beneath the roads’ surfaces.

Though this technology is still in the better-keep-fingers-crossed stage, some sparks of happiness have already been struck. First of all, it is rather efficient losing less than 20% of its transmitted power in the charging process.

Godzilla, subway train car in hand, said that he doubts that he’ll support any program that electrifies the roads he makes a living out crushing.

Long one of the more favorite of the electric and/or hybrid vehicles, the Prius has a lengthy track run of pleasing owners and impressing critics. However, that successful stretch may be nearing its end, for the new Prius C failed to receive a recommendation from Consumer Reports. The publication that knows all things quality and pricing says that though the subcompact hatchback has “excellent” fuel economy, its ride is “noisy” and “harsh.”

Overall, the Prius C, with a 53 out of 100, scored one fewer points than did its top competitor, the Honda Insight. Talking about its score and why the Prius C failed to get a recommendation, Consumer Reports wrote on its website, “We can’t recommend the Prius C because it scores too low in our tests. Its harsh ride, noisy engine and cabin, and slow acceleration make it feel more like an econobox than a sophisticated hybrid.” Though, it must be noted that the magazine was not wholly negative about the Toyota Prius C. “We do expect it to have very good reliability,” it also wrote on its website.

Green Battery Start-Ups Running out of Power

Though car battery start-ups were granted close to $1.3 billion in U.S. grants to open at least nine factories, the industry and its government funding plants continues to not create jobs nor produce batteries.

These grants, given out by the Obama administration since 2009, were part of a six-year campaign to produce one million electric and plug-in hybrids, the current tally total sits at a paltry 50,000 cars. This lack of success is clearly visible at the green-energy battery plants whose construction in Florida, Pennsylvania and Michigan was funded by the grants. Less than one-third of the projected number of employees these factories would create have in fact been created. So far, the funding that was given to companies such as Fisker Automotive Inc. has not been an effective use of anyone’s dollars.

Thanks to AutoLoansFlorida.com for this tip.

2012′s 11 Most Fuel-Efficient Sedans

With fuel economy being at the forefront in the minds of car shoppers these days, carmakers are working hard at producing models featuring high MPG ratings. To help consumers navigate the crowded auto vehicle market, the ladies and lads down at Edmunds has compiled a list of the most fuel-efficient sedans of the year using numbers sourced from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The top fuel-efficient sedans of 2012 are the Honda Civic Hybrid with city/highway/combined ratings of 44/44/44; the Toyota Camry Hybrid with city/highway/combined ratings of 43/39/41; Ford Fusion Hybrid, 41/36/39; Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, 41/36/39; Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, 35/40/37; Kia Optima Hybrid, 35/40/37; Lexus HS 250h, 35/34/35; Volkswagen Passat Diesel, 31/43/35; Hyundai Accent, 30/40/34; Kia Rio, 30/40/34; and Volkswagen Jetta Diesel, 30/42/34.

Do Fisker Failures Equal Democrat Failure?

If Fisker is known for much of anything, it is most likely its failure to produce working electric vehicles. Though the American company has a history of making grand promises and enticing us with beautiful concept cars, it has thus far not been able to make good on its boasts. Some of its failures have been fantastic and taken place on grand stages. The $107,850 Fisker Karma that the Consumer Reports purchased famously broke down on the publication before they were able to test the thing, and Fisker is under NHTSA investigation for a garage fire in Sugar Land, TX.

These types of missteps do not go unnoticed. They have forced the Department of Energy to at least momentarily stop loaning funds to Fisker. So far, DoE has given close to $200 million of the $529 million it has promised the carmaker. Also, the beautiful, non-running cars have caught the attention of the Republican Party.

Talking about how these types of green energy failures shine a bad light on the Obama administration, Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said, “President Obama’s failed investments in companies like Solyndra, Fisker and Ener1 are a constant reminder to the American people that this president does not understand how the economy works, does not understand the appropriate role for government and does not have any ideas to get America working again.”

Time and a national election will only tell how accurate Williams’ thought is.

The mayor of Windsor, Ontario has sent a letter of intent to China’s BYD Motors, a bus-making company, for the purchase of up to ten buses. If Mayor Eddie Francis’s letter bears fruit, Windsor will become the first city in North American to use these all-electric long-range buses. BYD Motors has already piloted a public transportation program in Helsinki, Finland.

The bus manufacturer is pleased with the letter and hopes that it is just the first step in a long successful journey across the continent. Talking about this dream, BYD Motors President Stella Li said, “One of our primary goals was to position Windsor among the first cities in North America to pioneer the efficient use of electric buses within its public transit authority and to establish Windsor as a hub for the development, manufacture and commercialization of energy products including electric buses.”

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VW Fox BlueMotion Headed to Brazil

Volkswagen’s diminutive Fox continues to do big business in its home country, Brazil. This is in stark contrast to its performance in Europe where it has been overtaken by the Up!.

The 2013 model year of the VW Fox is the most fuel-efficient one thus far and proudly sports a BlueMotion badge, the sign that it is indeed a VW fuel-saving vehicle. The newest model, with a new grille, bumper and underbody, is more aerodynamic than any of its predecessors. Buyers in Brazil will receive a car with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder eight-valve engine that can run on either gasoline or ethanol. This latter fuel is common in the meat-loving nation.

Being a fuel-efficient vehicle, the fox is not so quick, though relatively fast. It takes more than 10 seconds to reach 62 miles per hour and has a top speed of 114 mph. A three-door Fox will have a starting price of $19,521, while the five-door will start at $20,356.

A group of devoted green car drivers celebrated the recent Earth Date by winding a path through the streets of Manhattan creating the outline of a giant “E” pattern.

The “E” design, the brainchild of Danish artist Jacob Fuglsang Mikkelsen, had the drivers taking an hour-long journey that ended in Central Park. The “E” is clearly visible in the GPS tracing map of the artistic trip. In honor of Earth Day, identical “E” art was driven by green vehicles at the same time in seven cities including Santiago, Chile; Dakar, Sengal; Yokohama, Japan; and Bangalore, India.

The green convoy in New York consisted of an electric Nissan Leaf, a 2012 Zero S electric motorcycle, a Via Motors plug-in hybrid Chevy Silverado pickup truck, a 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, a Prius C subcompact hatchback, a Prius V mid-size wagon, a Camry Hybrid mid-size sedan, a Highlander Hybrid mid-size crossover utility, a Volkswagen Golf and a man-powered rickshaw.

[Thanks to the team @ Buy Here Pay Here Car Lots NY for the tip.]

Is Thomas Edison the Father of the Electric Car?

An online exhibit put on by the National Museum of American History makes the case that Thomas Edison is one of the fathers of the electric car, if not the actual father. 

Made up of a series of photos and weighty and informative captions, the exhibit shows the electric vehicle that Edison designed in 1900 that was powered by “an entirely new battery chemistry to improve the range of electric automotives, locomotives, and trucks.”

For around a full decade, the inventor worked at improving the alkaline batteries that powered his vehicles until 1910 when he finally admitted that gasoline-powered cars had won the (first) battle.

Now we’ve got to wonder what he would think to learn that electric vehicles often pollute worse than hybrids!

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