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Archive for the ‘Electric Vehicles’ Category

Will Tesla’s New Lease Attract More Customers?

August 22nd, 2016

2016-tesla-model-x

Believe it or not, you can still buy a new car in the United States for under $14,000. The least expensive option on the market is the $11,990 Nissan Versa, a car that Car and Driver says, “has insultingly flimsy materials” along with a 109-hp 1.6-liter engine that makes for slow acceleration but gives reasonably good fuel efficiency.

Most of us opt to buy more car than what the Versa has to offer, but that ultra-low price is appealing to budget-conscious shoppers. If the Versa is too “flimsy,” buyers can step up to something like the $14,000 Ford Fiesta.

Once the car is purchased, it can be driven for many years with no further finance costs, which is one of the benefits of buying a car outright.

A 24-month finance term on a $14,000 car, at 3.11 percent interest, is about $600. For the same price you could drive one of the most desirable luxury cars on the market: An all-electric Tesla.

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Electric Motors Without the Equations

August 19th, 2016

Nissan Leaf Cutaway

Earlier this year, Bloomberg published an interesting article on the future of electric vehicles in relation to oil demand. It points out that global EV sales increased 60% in 2015, the same rate of growth seen by the Ford Model T in its early years. Though EVs still only command about 0.1% of the worldwide auto market—and the current glut of cheap oil has kept many people behind the wheels of their favorite crossovers and trucks—more affordable batteries, growing cultural acceptance, and the looming threat of global warming will most likely only improve EV sales from here on out. Bloomberg itself predicts “the 2020s will be the decade of the electric car,” anticipating that at some point EV demand will surpass even demand for oil.

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Changes Coming for Popular Nissan Juke, Leaf

August 1st, 2016

Nissan_Juke

Electric cars shouldn’t look like electric cars if they are to go mainstream.

Tesla figured that out early, while other automakers, especially BMW and Nissan, made their electric cars look more and more… electric.

The BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf are perhaps the “most electric” looking of today’s electric cars.m BMW shows no signs of easing up on its polarizing styling, while Nissan, known for pushing the limits of good design taste, will soon unveil all-new looks for the Leaf and a slightly tamed-down design for the soon-to-be-hybrid Juke.

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More on Tesla: Why Part Deux Will Work

July 28th, 2016

2016 Tesla Model X

Last week, Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, unveiled his Master Plan, Part Deux, on his website. It lays out his plans for where his futuristic company will go in the next decade.

Now there are those of you out there who are wondering about his Master Plan, Part One, which included the following goals:

  • Create a low-volume car, which would necessarily be expensive;
  • Use that money to develop a medium-volume car at a lower price;
  • Use that money to create an affordable, high-volume car; and
  • Provide solar power.
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Apple Car Could Hit Roads in 2021

July 28th, 2016

apple car

It appears that, contrary to some rumors and speculation, Faraday Future is not Apple in disguise.

In recent weeks Faraday has hired a former Toyota executive to lead exterior design, while the Nevada treasurer began to question how the upstart electric carmaker will finance a $1 billion factory and deliver on its promise to help turn Nevada into an electric-vehicle production hub. (Tesla, of course, is building its Gigafactory there.)

Nevada has reason to be concerned, because the state has promised tax benefits and infrastructure improvements. Faraday’s failure would be a giant gambling loss for Nevada, a possibility that would seem less likely if Apple had control of the reins.

The Apple plan, meanwhile, seems to be delayed.

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Tesla, Autopilot, and the Future of Self-Driving Cars

July 26th, 2016

Tesla AutoPilot

From the first press release outlining Tesla’s Autopilot technology, potential customers have wondered how the system works, what its limitations are, and whether it will be welcomed or shunned. Since Joshua Brown’s fatal crash while using Autopilot in a Tesla Model S, these questions have grown larger and more pointed. Without a doubt, popular opinion has shifted toward negativity. But should it?

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Tesla’s Master Plan, Part Deux: Anticipating a New World

July 25th, 2016

Tesla-Model-X-Tesla-Roadster

Ten years ago, Tesla CEO Elon Musk showed the world his plan to grow his electric car company into an international powerhouse. In his original master plan, posted in 2006, Musk summarized his ambitions by saying Tesla would:

  1. Build a sports car
  2. Use that money to build an affordable car
  3. Use that money to build an even more affordable car
  4. While doing the above, also provide zero-emission electric-power generation options

Mission accomplished.

With 2016 upon us, Musk has published his new master plan. It’s equally ambitious, if not more so, and includes some bombshells that give clues to Mr. Musk’s intentions to change our world for the better.

Perhaps the best idea in Musk’s “Master Plan, Part Deux,” is for an electric semi truck. Shocking, right?

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What the New CAFE Standards Mean for Auto Buyers

July 20th, 2016

White House Infographic, fuel economy standards

There has been a lot of news this week regarding the Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration issuing new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. The reports seem to suggest the government has gone lax on the issue of fuel economy because most Americans don’t seem to care about it.

One analyst, however, suggests the opposite may be true. Stephanie Brinley, a senior analyst at IHS Automotive, read the entire 1217-page midterm report that discussed the standards (something probably 99 percent of journalists didn’t do, including me).

She wrote in Forbes, “The (CAFE) standard and NHTSA projected figures for the 2025 model year targets, however, have now been revealed as a projection rather than a legal requirement. The report is supportive of the progress and direction of the existing standards. The agencies believe automakers can meet the challenge, and that consumers want it.”

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Acura NSX to Add Electric, Gas, and Convertible Versions

July 15th, 2016

acura-nsx

The Honda NSX, known in America as an Acura, began life over 25 years ago as a lower-priced and mechanically reliable alternative to the V8-powered Ferrari supercars.

Introduced in 1990, the NSX became the world’s first mass-produced car to feature an all-aluminum body and was powered by an aluminum 3.0-liter V6 engine, which featured Honda’s VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) system, along with a choice between a 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic transmission.

The NSX became a spectacular success and remained in production until 2005. Fans mourned the loss of their Japanese supercar and eagerly watched the headlines in anticipation of its return.

As of this year, the NSX is not only back with a vengeance, but it will likely launch an entire platform of supercar goodness.

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Could Now Be a Good Time to Buy a Tesla?

July 14th, 2016

2015 Tesla Model S

Tesla has seen a lot of time in the news during the past couple of weeks over crashes involving its Autopilot system. Low gas prices also might be hurting its business plan, and there are some growing questions about reliability. This all begs the question: is now the right time to think about buying a Tesla? The answer is a qualified “maybe,” because the decision essentially comes down to how much risk you’re willing to assume.

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