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Green Fleet Roundup: Fisker Karma, BMW ActiveE, Nissan Leaf

Fisker Automotive has issued a voluntary recall of its Karma (pictured) following a roadside fire in one of the luxury plug-in hybrids this month. According to the company, a cooling fan overheated and started the fire. Fisker says its investigation determined the fire wasn’t caused by the lithium-ion battery pack, new technology components, engine component packaging or exhaust routing. This is the third time Fisker has recalled the Karma; earlier problems involved the car’s entertainment system and battery packs.

BMW ActiveE drivers can now purchase renewable energy certificates (RECs) from Green Mountain Energy Company to cover the estimated electricity required to charge their vehicles. ActiveE drivers can pay $48 and offset 9,900 lbs. of CO2 during the course of their two-year lease, the companies said. Additionally, drivers can install solar panels on their homes for a discount of about 35 percent through the Green Mountain partnership. Currently 700 ActiveEs are deployed across five states.

Nissan will increase the Leaf’s driving range by about 25 percent and offer a second, cheaper model by the end of the year, Inside EVs reports. The blog cites a Japanese report that says the Nissan Leaf’s range will be expanding to exceed 250km, or 155 miles, and that the automaker is going to offer a second model of the Leaf with less range for ¥2.5 million ($31,700) after subsidy.

GE researchers, Ford Motor Company and the University of Michigan are working to develop a smart, miniaturized sensing system that can extend the life of EV car batteries. Today’s sensors on EVs and plug-in hybrid vehicles measure the health of the battery by looking at factors such as its temperature, voltage and current, which provides a limited understanding of the battery’s operation. The goal of the three-year, $3.1 million program is to demonstrate a working sensor system in an actual EV.

A Midwest meat packaging company has placed an order with Aura Systems to retrofit 20 existing Thermo King-based diesel engines for large refrigeration trailers with electric systems, and provide 15 tractors with 18 kW AuraGen generators. AuraGen says its refrigeration trailer system reduces fuel consumption during transit from more than 1 gallon per hour to 0.2 gallons per hour.

Photo Credit: Fisker Automotive

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