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Consumers choose fuel efficient normal vehicles over EVs and hybrids

Despite the fact that gas prices are at record levels in many parts of the country, the sales of electric vehicles are still falling. Many consumers are staying away from electric vehicles due to the relatively high cost of entry and range anxiety (in the case of the Nissan Leaf).
Two of the most popular electric vehicles in the country are the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf. The Volt isn't a traditional electric vehicle; rather it's an extended range hybrid that runs on battery power and features a generator to recharge the battery for extended driving. GM says that in the month of April 2012 1,462 Volts were sold, which represents 200% increase from April of 2011 when 493 were sold.
April was the second best month for retail sales of Volt cars since it launched in 2010. Interestingly, the good month for Volt sales comes not long after GM suspended production of the car due to soft demand.

Chevrolet Volt sales are up.
While sales of the Volt were up, the Nissan Leaf saw sales fall 35% with only 370 units sold. Nissan hopes to sell 20,000 Leaf EVs this year, and will have to sell over 2200 monthly to meet that goal.
While electric vehicle sales are down, Ford has a booming business with its fuel-efficient EcoBoost-powered vehicles. Ford has announced that it has started a third shift at the Cleveland plant that builds EcoBoost engines.
The addition of a third shift to the engine building plant will add 250 jobs. However, most of those positions will be filled by employees that are transferring from a different Cleveland engine plant that will be placed on idle later this week.

The 2013 Ford Fusion will offer two EcoBoost four-cylinder engine options.
"Our engine plant in Cleveland is the first and only facility in North America to produce EcoBoost engines, and we are tripling production capacity to meet customers' growing needs for fuel-efficient engines," said Ford Americas President Mark Fields during a celebration with employees at the plant Tuesday. "EcoBoost engines are a key part of our plan to give customers the power of choice — from EcoBoost-powered vehicles and hybrids, to plug-in hybrids and full electrics."
Ford's EcoBoost engine has found its way the under the hood of everything from full-sized trucks to small economy vehicles. EcoBoost engines use a smaller displacement engine with turbochargers for increased power and fuel efficiency. 

Sources: Detroit News, Detroit News

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EcoBoost problems
By macawvet on 5/2/2012 9:22:09 PM , Rating: 2
I drove an F150 EcoBoost back to back with the 6.2L V8. I live in Albuquerque, and at least at our altitude (that saps about 25% of engine power), the turbo was noticeably more powerful! While seriously considering the turbo F150, I found page after page of problems with the engine! Apparently there is a problem with the turbo wastegate control causing a rapid pulsing of power around 45 MPH, and also coking around the valves. Neither has a fix yet. From what I was reading, the valve stems are never exposed to the detergents in gasoline so that they are developing deposits from the tiny amounts of combustion products leaking past the valve seals (causing premature wear) similar to Audi's and other direct injected motors. In Europe, apparently the engines periodically perform a maintenance procedure that causes high heat at the valve stems that burn this coke off, but that in the USA our emission regulations don't allow them to do this. Fuel economy, especially when towing, has been disappointing as well in all of the EcoBoost vehicles, although highway cruising MPG is impressive. As soon as there is a fix I'll be in line to put my money down, but until then I'll wait. Kind of like the exploding Mustang transmissions from bad bolts in the force plate-- Ford needs to spend less money advertising on American Idol and more money fixing their product failures (*cough* myfordtouch *cough*).

RE: EcoBoost problems
By sprockkets on 5/2/2012 10:04:05 PM , Rating: 2
Well I'll take the first point, but the second had more to do with Getrag and their china factory not making good transmissions, AFAIK. Getrag is supposed to be one of the best makers of manual transmissions.

RE: EcoBoost problems
By Samus on 5/3/2012 12:09:01 PM , Rating: 2
My Getrag MTX285 in my SVT Focus is a piece of crap, and it's made in Germany and was (shortly) used in the Mini Cooper S. I preferred the 5 speed in my old Mazda Protege much more, and the Tremec T5 in my Mustang has solid feel and drivability as well.

The syncros aren't beefy enough, the dual-mass flywheel concept is a joke for a car this light that isn't even Diesel, the transmission mount (not Ford's design) is the same style of many VW's, a stupid dog-bone that's bushing constantly wear almost annually, and overall the transmission is overcomplicated and a nightmare to work on. I've had to replace almost every exterior component, from axle seals to shift linkages.

Getrag can die. German's know a thing or two about gears, but when it comes to putting them in a case it's all down-hill.

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