This week we attended the New England Motor Press Association (NEMPA)’s panel discussion on the future of green vehicle technology, California’s Zero Emission Vehicle mandate, and mass-market adoption of these technologies. It was a terrific, fruitful discussion. Two 4-person panels brought together expertise and opinions from automakers, energy research groups, electric utilities, and state politicians as they discussed the industry’s current strategies and what needs to change to increase the desirability and sales of Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs).
A few years ago the idea of buying an $80,000+ electric car that had limited range, few places to refuel, and no dealer network was a laughable proposition. To top it all off, the company that wanted to sell the car had very little automotive design or manufacturing experience.
Around the same time, one of the world’s top automakers had plans for a new electric car that promised to be affordable, good looking, and easy to take on a road trip anywhere roads exist without worrying about running out of range.
Like we even have to say it.
Don’t jump back into an SUV just yet!
If you drive an electric car or a hybrid, you might be tempted by low gas prices to make the leap back into an SUV or crossover. It happens every time there’s a fluctuation in fuel prices; they rise, and people flock to hybrids. They sink, and people migrate back to the big rigs.
Americans are a fickle breed, and we have a hard time looking at the long-term picture. With gas prices currently well under $3 per gallon in most of the country, the great transition back to SUVs is already in place.
According to CNN, so far this year only 45 percent of people who traded in an environmentally friendly hybrid car purchased another. That means 55 percent of folks went back to gas, and many of those were SUV purchases.
The logic makes sense, but whatever happened to the days when someone made a decision and stuck with it for a while?
We now have proof that almost any car can pass the 200,000-mile mark.
Earlier this week we were a little put off by a list of cars likely to last 200,000 miles that included only Toyota and Honda vehicles. We posted a response on our blog asking for help in proving that claim wrong. We know we have a dedicated group of proud drivers as readers, because we heard from dozens of folks who have proudly taken their vehicles most of the way to the quarter-million-mile mark and beyond.
Keep reading for some examples of cars that have effortlessly travelled hundreds of thousands of miles. Can you guess how many wear a Toyota badge?
The cars of the future won’t fly. They will be road-going turbocharged gas-powered cars.
Well, in the immediate future, anyway.
As government restrictions on emissions and fuel economy get more stringent, automakers continue to accommodate by implementing turbochargers on vehicles that are traditionally naturally aspirated.
The mile markers fly by, one every 100 seconds or so. Adrenaline rushes through your body as quickly as the wind passes through your hair.
You know you’re breaking the law, but you want to see how long you can get away with it. The rumble of the gas-fueled engine growls under the hood, and you can feel the sound in your chest as you push the accelerator pedal a little deeper into the floor.
No, the car isn’t stolen, and you’re not a suspect escaping from a grisly crime.
You’re just driving.
And driving is illegal.
Being in Geneva right now would be a lot like being at the birth of the universe and witnessing the unveiling of the first stars.
It’d be completely exhilarating, awe-inspiring, and something you couldn’t wait to tell the people back home.
The Geneva Motor Show always has surprises. It’s the place automakers like to shock the industry and show the world what they are best at creating. This year had some expected surprises, if there is such a thing, but at least a couple of debuts left us wondering how soon they could reach production. Bentley and Aston Martin especially stole the show, but Lamborghini and Koenigsegg delivered cars unlike anything the world has ever seen.
Gas prices in my area are inching up again after getting into the dollar-and-a-half-per-gallon range. Today, prices at my local pump sit at around $2.15.
That’s still a far cry from the $4.75 I was paying not long ago, but not nearly high enough to make me consider giving up gas and going electric.
The consensus is similar for consumers across the nation, as electric cars haven’t made much of a dent in sales so far this year. The price premium on new electric cars just doesn’t make the investment worth it.
What about the used market, though?
There’s a wide range of EVs available used now and some of them just might offer the savings that budget shoppers desire.
Tesla is winning, big time.
Part of that success is because it has gone completely unchallenged in its chosen market. If someone is in the market for an electric luxury sedan, they have nowhere else to look.
Tesla identified that market and built a car no one else in the world would build. The result? Total domination with the Model S and plans to overtake more car markets.
But there’s another side effect from success:
I know, I know. We talk a lot about the fuel that powers our cars on these pages.
We complain about high gas prices, we get cautiously excited about low prices, we wonder if governments should increase taxes on fossil fuels, and we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of alternative-fuel vehicles.
The question always comes back to this: environmental effects. Fossil fuels are damaging to pump out of the earth, and they pollute the atmosphere when burned. Electric-powered cars don’t emit any gasses when driving, but the production of the electricity that charges them can be harmful.
Hydrogen is, theoretically, clean from all angles. A new filling station in California could change the game on how we think about fueling our cars.