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Archive for the ‘Electric Vehicles’ Category

Could Narrow Cars Solve Our Transportation Problems?

February 2nd, 2016

toyota_i-road

You’ll laugh the first time you see a narrow car on the road.

There aren’t many just yet, so unless you’re driving the streets of Japan, San Francisco, Los Angeles, or Seattle, your odds of seeing a narrow car are about the same as stumbling across a traveling fleet of motorized La-Z-Boys.

Narrow cars do exist, however, and it seems they might be starting to pick up steam, at least judging by media coverage for the last month or so.

The most famous narrow car in the news right now is the Toyota i-Road, a 3-wheel tandem 2-seater that is testing in Japan. It’s funny looking, but the i-Road, and cars like it, could shape the future of mobility.

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Have Electric Cars Already Beat Fuel Cell Vehicles?

January 29th, 2016

2017-Honda-Clarity-Fuel-Cell

The price of electric cars is quickly falling into the $30,000 range. The Nissan Leaf, the upcoming Chevy Bolt, and, presumably, next year’s Tesla Model 3, will all be available for about the price of the average new car.

Infrastructure for charging electric vehicles is becoming more common and people are getting used to their limited range. Part of the reason for less range-anxiety is because cars are going farther on a single charge and taking less time to recharge.

Amidst the looming mass-adaption of EVs by consumers around the country, another type of alternative-fuel vehicle is starting to hit the market.

But is it too late for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles?

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Tesla Model 3 or Chevy Bolt? No Contest!

January 25th, 2016

Tesla Model 3

Soon a $37,000, 200-mile electric vehicle will arrive on the market. The car could be the one that finally ushers in the era of the affordable, high-range, mass-produced electric car.

This car is well along in its development and will be available to purchase in the coming year.

The car’s designers made aerodynamics a top priority, so it slips effortlessly through the air. When in motion, wind flows around the vehicle from the headlamps to the rear wheels. The aluminum body and smooth proportions cut down on weight and drag to increase both range and acceleration. Plus, the bottom of the car is completely flat, since there aren’t any exhaust bits that need to be kept cool.

Yes, this car could be a game changer.

Oh, and Tesla is building one, too.

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Five Biggest Impacts from the 2016 Detroit Auto Show

January 15th, 2016

Last week I wrote about seven Detroit Auto Show debuts to watch. The only one I got remotely wrong was the 2017 Chrysler Town & Country, but that was only because FCA pulled a fast one and changed that vehicle’s name to the Chrysler Pacifica.

Here are the five vehicles that made the biggest impact at the North American International Auto Show, which runs through Jan. 24 at Detroit’s Cobo Hall.

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GM, Ford Invest in Industry Changing Technology

January 8th, 2016

GM-Lyft

The automotive industry could change more in the next five years than it did in the last 50.

Think about the last five decades. We’ve seen cars get bigger, faster, safer, and more fuel efficient, but we haven’t seen any radical changes in the way cars are built, marketed, sold, or driven. Our car culture is built on a fossil-fueled desire for personal transportation and the freedom to go wherever we please whenever we choose.

Things are changing, though. Ride-sharing programs are gaining in popularity and cars that can drive themselves don’t seem to be very far behind.

Here’s one of the surest signs of coming change: General Motors just placed a $500 million bet that ride sharing is the wave of the future.

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Cars That Will Set 2016 on Fire

January 1st, 2016

jaguar xe top

Welcome to 2016, friends.

If the Chinese did their calendar correctly, this would have been the year of the car. I mean, the year of the monkey is all well and good, but 2016 will be among the best in a long time as far as new car debuts go.

We’ll see the new Ford GT, as mentioned yesterday, in addition to a made-in-China Buick, as well as an untold number of surprises at upcoming auto shows.

There are a few cars, though, that aren’t available yet but should set the pace for excitement in 2016. Are you ready for these?

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The Corvette E-Ray: Coming Soon to a Charging Station Near You?

December 29th, 2015

2016 Corvette Stingray

It would be considered sacrilege to change some things in the auto industry.

Specifically, I’m thinking of things like the shape of the Porsche 911, the rear-wheel-drive Mustang, and the V8 Corvette. A 911 with a boxier shape, a front-wheel-drive ‘Stang, or a 4-cylinder Corvette just might be enough to throw the earth off its orbit and disrupt the threads that hold our society together.

It’s pretty safe to say that none of those things will ever happen, but a new trademark filing by General Motors has some Corvette purists wondering if their beloved American supercar will trade its fossil fuel power for a set of recharging electrons.

If you’re one of the people who doesn’t believe Chevy would ever mess with the formula that made the Corvette an American legend, you might want to sit down for this one:

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Will Gas-Powered Cars Rule for Another 25 Years?

December 28th, 2015
With electrics like this, how can they fail?

With electrics like this, how can they fail?

Electric cars are the transportation solution of the future, but that future might be farther away than we think.

There’s so much talk about automakers increasing the number of EVs in their fleets by 2020 that we might start believing an all-EV future is right around the corner. California has toyed with the idea of banning the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2030 and Norway has proposed eliminating new internal-combustion car sales by 2025.

Green Car Reports says,

If laws were passed tomorrow to limit the number of new internal-combustion cars, it would likely take almost two decades to bring half the overall fleet in that jurisdiction to electric propulsion.

No law outright banning operation of any vehicle with a tailpipe has been proposed anywhere, as far as we know, even in Norway.

Like it or not, we can be sure that gas-powered cars will account for our transportation needs for many decades to come.

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Saab Back From the Dead… Again?

December 24th, 2015

Saab_NEVS_9-3

Saab is the zombie of cars.

The company has a convoluted history that has put it among the walking dead since the turn of the century.

Saab was in its prime as an independent Swedish automaker from 1948 to 1989. That’s when it built some of the quirkiest (some might say coolest) automobiles the world has ever seen.

General Motors acquired a 50 percent stake in Saab in 1989, and 100 percent in 2000. Some say that’s when the slow death of Saab began. By 2008 it was clear that the GM/Saab experiment was failing, mostly because the behemoth automaker stripped Saab of its personality and replaced it with rebadged Malibus and Trailblazers.

In 2009, Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg announced plans to buy Saab, but that fell apart a few months later. In 2010, another supercar maker, Spyker, completed the purchase of Saab but then went bankrupt a year later.

In 2012, a Chinese consortium that went by the name of National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) purchased what was left of Saab with the intent of transforming the brand into a line of electric cars. Now we’re on the cusp of 2016 and it appears the once-dead Saab brand is lumbering back to life.

Sort of.

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What Will Faraday Future Build in Nevada?

December 22nd, 2015
Could Faraday Future build something like this?

Could Faraday Future build something like this?

There’s a carmaker investing a billion dollars in a new Nevada factory. This factory will employ 4,500 people and produce a new breed of electric car.

Sounds like Tesla, doesn’t it?

After all, Tesla recently broke ground on a $1.3 billion factory in Nevada to build batteries for its vehicles. But Tesla isn’t building this other factory. It’s being built by a company that has never released a vehicle and has never even produced a public concept.

How is that possible?

Frankly, I don’t know. But Faraday Future, the mysterious California automaker with funding from a Chinese billionaire, seems to have a plan.

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