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Archive for the ‘Electric Vehicles’ Category

Gas Now at $1.99: Credit the Electrics?

January 2nd, 2015

Gas below $2/gallon!

Well look at this, friends: Gas prices are now below $2 per gallon.

Back in 2010, we could have looked ahead to 2015 and wondered how close we’d be to $5 per gallon or more.

Last time we paid this low a price for gasoline, Bill Clinton ran the country, and music came on shiny round discs.

That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it seems accurate as far as I can remember.

Gas selling at $1.99 per gallon in my area brings back memories of listening to Vanilla Ice, rolling in my 5.0 and putting $10 in my tank to nearly fill it.

Should gas really be this cheap, or should the government step in and increase prices to encourage people to drive more efficient vehicles?

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Want to Go Green? Drive With Gas!

December 31st, 2014

2013_nissan_leaf

As I become more of a proponent of electric vehicles, I forget that I was once firmly against them.

It took me a long time to hop on the EV bandwagon, because I wasn’t convinced the problems of limited range, questionable cold-weather reliability and the lack of charging infrastructure could be overcome.

As the years passed I’ve become more convinced that electric cars have a place. They certainly aren’t replacements for the family road-trip vehicle, but they are perfectly suitable vehicles for commuting back and forth to work.

My biggest problem with electric cars, though, remains unaddressed.

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World’s Weirdest, and Coolest, Vehicle Conversion?

December 29th, 2014

stretchla

So you think you know someone. You can be married to a woman and share life’s most intimate moments, and then, one random Sunday morning, she can say this:

“You should look up my friend Otmar and his zip-together Volkswagen bus.”

Ummm…. what?

I replied, “Who is this friend you speak of and why have I never heard about said zip-together bus?”

She said he’s a long-time family friend and that she has physically laid eyes on this bus. I promptly asked Google for more information and found what I believe to be the weirdest, and possibly coolest, conversion project I’ve ever heard of: The Stretchla.

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Battle of the Microcar: Elio Versus Tango

December 22nd, 2014

Elio

Gas prices continue to fall, and guys like me, who lumber through town in big SUVs that swallow fuel as quickly as we suck down carmel macchiatos, are smiling, because fill-ups have gone from almost $90 to just over $50.

Saving money at the pump makes us happy, and we spend the saved money on extra macchiatos.

Yes, even macho SUV-driving guys drink macchiatos. We may not like to admit it, but we’re also interested in microcars. Why? Because sometimes we just don’t need the capability and room that giant utes offer. Sometimes we just want to drive to work quickly and cheaply.

A few microcars are hitting the market to fill that need. Two of them in particular are addressing the need for tiny driving in drastically different ways.

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Dubuc Motors: Canada’s Cousin to Tesla?

December 11th, 2014

Dubuc Tomahawk

Have you ever heard of Dubuc Motors?

No. Of course you haven’t. There’s no reason why you, an average citizen of the world, would know about an obscure Canadian automaker that hasn’t produced a vehicle for sale in any mass market.

Then again, there was a time when you hadn’t heard of Tesla Motors, either.

Dubuc thinks it has a car that could rival the American electric automaker’s and is on the verge of “something huge.”

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Are New Hydrogen Cars Better Than Electrics?

November 18th, 2014

Honda FCV concept

If cars ran on water, the price of H2O would probably jump to $4 per gallon, and filling our tanks wouldn’t be any less expensive than using gasoline. The good part, though, would be that we’d have an unending supply, and we could drive forever without polluting our environment.

Cars powered by water won’t ever happen, but cars powered by hydrogen, which emit only water, are happening already.

Much like electric cars, hydrogen-powered cars aren’t very practical, because there is no refueling infrastructure in place. Unlike electric cars, fueling up involves filling a tank with compressed gas, which can take a matter of minutes rather than hours.

Toyota and Honda are both big proponents of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, but owning one certainly won’t be cheap.

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Our 10 Favorite EVs

October 17th, 2014

2011 Chevrolet Volt

There’s been quite a bit of debate as to where electric cars will fit into the consumer car market in the next few years. Tesla’s recent announcement of their P85D shows that electric cars are starting to infiltrate even the ranks of performance vehicles. Although there have been a number of additions to the EV category in recent years, a lot of people still question the practicality of transitioning to a purely electric vehicle. Battery charge times and driving range on a single charge certainly leave a lot to be desired. These are legitimate concerns, but automakers are making strides in addressing them. With the addition of home charging stations, charge time drops drastically, and more public charging stations will certainly help extend the EV’s range. And of course Tesla is making waves with its 30-second-swappable batteries.

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The EV That Won’t Look Like an EV

October 10th, 2014

nissan-leaf-2017

If you want your “green” car to stand out, it should resemble something green. That’s why designers of the Nissan Leaf, an all-electric vehicle, designed it to look like a lizard.

Well, that’s the only explanation I can come up with to justify the Leaf’s bulging eyeballs and arched back.

Don’t get me wrong here, I love the Leaf. My in-laws own one and have traversed over 30,000 gas-free miles in it, while getting stranded away from home only a handful of times.

The Leaf is the world’s top-selling electric car because it’s the EV most similar to its juice-drinking cousins.

That design, though, just has to go.

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Get Your Half-Price Tesla! Eventually

October 8th, 2014

Tesla Model S dealer

Remember when Tesla CEO Elon Musk personally guaranteed the resale value of the Model S to be 50 percent of its original value after three years?

That guarantee allowed the company to offer a lease with payments as low as $1,500 a month.

Today a 2014 60kWh Model S with a 208-mile range starts at just over $75,000 and leases for about $932 per month. With the first Teslas now a few years old, can they be picked up for half price? Are we now in the age of the $35,000 used Tesla?

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Which of These Electric Cars Couldn’t Go Up a Hill?

September 26th, 2014
Hint: It wasn't this one

Hint: It wasn’t this one

There are some things all cars should be able to do:

  1. Go
  2. Stop
  3. Make it up a hill

Pretty basic, right? The only car I’ve ever driven that struggled to make it up a hill was a 1987 Subaru GL. That car, for whatever reason, barely had enough power to drive over the added elevation of stripes in a parking lot.

I mention this because last weekend I attended an electric car show and managed to take an up close and personal look at some of the EVs currently on American roads. All were impressive.

One couldn’t make it up a hill.

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