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Volkswagen Looks Toward an Electric Future

June 20th, 2016

VW-Electric-Bus

Volkswagen’s emissions scandal may have killed diesel-fueled cars in the U.S. forever.

Prior to September of 2015, cars with diesel engines were on the rise in the United States. Long popular in Europe, the fuel was on the verge of overcoming the stigma of its dirty past and even rivaled hybrid technology as a clean, efficient alternative to gasoline.

Volkswagen led that charge with its Clean Diesel marketing campaign and its promise of efficient, environmentally friendly sedans and SUVs.

Then it all came crashing down when the story broke that VW had cheated on emissions tests and the engines were, in fact, heavy polluters.

The fallout of the scandal is still ongoing and VW hasn’t sold a new diesel automobile in the States in over nine months. The company may not sell one here ever again.

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Mercedes-Benz Addressing All Threats, Both Foreign and Electric

June 16th, 2016
The new look of electric Mercedes-Benz? This the Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile concept.

The new look of electric Mercedes-Benz?

By the end of 2015, Mercedes-Benz had fallen behind its competition in U.S. sales. While in catch-up mode, the company steered into the passing lane, floored the gas pedal, and is accelerating fast.

Sales of BMW and Lexus vehicles both surpassed Mercedes at the end of last year. To make matters worse, there are some who would say the company also lags behind Audi and Tesla when it comes to innovation and technology.

So far this year, though, Mercedes-Benz is on pace to outsell both BMW and Lexus. Through May, Mercedes holds a roughly 20,000-vehicle lead over each. Mercedes also has plans to further distance itself from Audi and Tesla by introducing new vehicles to snag some of their sales.

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Buyers Want Used Cars That Will Last a Decade

June 2nd, 2016

1970_ford_bronco-pic-52750-640x480There’s an interesting quirk happening in used car buying that could affect new car sales for years to come. Almost half of all buyers want the car they buy to last at least 10 years.

The survey from AutoMD.com showed the majority of buyers are thinking pre-owned, or what we mortals would call used cars, crossovers, SUVs, and pickups. Price was the most important factor, but so was making sure the car would last a decade.

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Hyundai Diving Into EVs with 26 New Models

May 26th, 2016
2017 Ioniq HEV

2017 Ioniq HEV

The year 2020 could become a major turning point for electric vehicles in this country.

Aston Martin, Audi, Ford, GM, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Volkswagen, and Volvo are some of the major automakers with plans to introduce at least one all-electric vehicle by the end of the decade. Newcomers Faraday Future, Apple, and maybe even Dyson (yes, the vacuum company) are rumored to be working on electric vehicles as well.

We’re on the cusp of an electric revolution in the auto world, but the cars won’t replace gasoline-fueled cars until people stop caring about electric range. That’s getting easier to comprehend, as Tesla and GM will both produce affordable EVs with a 200-mile range.

Looks like we can include Hyundai on that list now, too.

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Cadillac ELR Gets the Ax, Chevy Bolt Prepares for Domination

May 24th, 2016

2014_Cadillac_ELR

Automakers, please note: The future of electric cars doesn’t include $76,000 luxury vehicles that look fast but go slow.

That seems like common sense, right?

A Cadillac that looks like the one pictured here should wrap its occupants in opulence while also delivering tooth-rattling performance.

This is the Cadillac ELR, though, a vehicle that brought everything to the table except performance. Like the 2005 Ford Thunderbird, this Caddy has failed to find a long-term home because it didn’t deliver on the promises made by its seductive design.

Production of the ELR has come to an abrupt end after just two years on the market.

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Is Anyone Aware That Tesla Will Revive the Roadster?

May 23rd, 2016

Tesla_Roadster

Perhaps people have forgotten that the Tesla Roadster is what started it all.

The innovative electric supercar stunned the auto world all the way back in 2008 and remained in production into 2012. The car, which used the body of a Lotus Elise and Tesla’s own electric drivetrain, carried a $109,000 base price and could accelerate from 0-60 in under 4 seconds. Tesla produced about 2,400 copies of the car before discontinuing it to focus efforts on the Model S sedan.

The Model S, of course, became wildly popular and quickly erased memories of the Roadster. Then the Model X hype was followed by a massive number of pre-orders for the Model 3, and the Roadster suddenly felt like ancient history.

Maybe that’s why no one has reacted to news that the Roadster is making a comeback.

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Ford to Compete With Tesla, Chevy, for Long-Range EV Customers

May 2nd, 2016

ford_Focus_electric

Chevrolet will very likely be the first to get a 200-mile $30,000 electric car to market. The company’s Bolt will go into production this fall, followed a year (or so) later by the Tesla Model 3.

Ford has, thus far, shown no interest in a long-range EV, even saying earlier this month that a 100-mile range is plenty. Ford has increased the range of the 2017 Focus Electric from 76 miles to 100, and has said that’s as far as the company plans to go due to the increased costs of larger battery packs. Ford’s electrification guru, Kevin Layden, said,

I think right now with the launch of the Focus Electric at 100 miles, it is going to satisfy a big chunk of the population. It’s going to be really affordable and a step up from where we are now.

Ford CEO Mark Fields seems to have other plans.

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Can Cars Drive Better Than People? Elon Musk Says Yes

April 27th, 2016

tesla-autopilot

This is a topic that’s come up before, but it’s becoming more and more relevant as time goes on. We’re talking about autonomous and semi-autonomous driving.

First, let me recount a quick conversation with my wife yesterday morning as she drove to work:

Wife: “I may be becoming too comfortable in the abilities of my car.”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Wife: “I don’t even have my feet on the pedals. I’m vaguely aware that the car in front of me is slowing down, but I don’t even move my feet. I assume the car will stop for me.”

Me: “You know, that’s meant to be a safety feature that stops for you if you aren’t able. You’re not supposed to rely on it like that. Please don’t do that.”

Wife: “But it always works, and I don’t have to think about it.”

Her car is equipped with adaptive cruise control which does indeed slow down and even stop to accomodate traffic ahead. However, my lovely wife uses it all the time, whether cruising at 70 down the Interstate or in stop-and-go traffic on city arterials. Is she right to rely on her car?

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says yes.

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Faraday Teases its Mysterious Future

April 8th, 2016

faraday-future-teaser

Mysterious car company Faraday Future hasn’t done much to shine light on its product plans or promote itself as the next up-and-coming electric car brand for the masses.

Since unveiling the raucous (and highly impractical) FFZERO1 supercar concept at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Faraday has released approximately zero product-related press releases or updates on the status of development. No one knows when, or if, the company will release a vehicle for sale or what type of vehicle it will be.

The absence of marketing is in fact great marketing. Nothing generates interest in a product like billions of dollars of mysterious investments and only the promise to “redefine our relationship with the automobile.”

We may have finally gotten a hint, though, of what’s coming next for Faraday.

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Are Electric Cars Bad for the Environment?

April 6th, 2016

nissan-leaf-rear

Drive behind an electric car and you’ll notice there are no tailpipes. That’s obvious, because electric vehicles don’t create any emissions and have no need for an exhaust system.

Since electric cars don’t create any pollution, they are a great choice for people who want to contribute to a greener Earth by reducing their carbon footprint.

There’s a caveat, though, to electric cars. They don’t create any emissions while driving, but they consume a large amount of electricity that is often produced in ways far more harmful to the planet than the emissions of a regular car.

How do you know if your EV is good for the planet? Read on.

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