Archive for the ‘Electric Vehicles’ Category

When Should We Declare Fossil Fuels Dead?

September 29th, 2015

Tesla Supercharger

Kimbal Musk is the brother of Elon, the billionaire founder and CEO of Tesla Motors. He serves on the board of Tesla and is an advocate for finding new ways of powering, and feeding, our world.

My wife and I had the opportunity this weekend to meet with Kimbal in Las Vegas along with Bill Nye, the famous science guy.

Both were adamant that the time has come to change the world and move away from fossil fuels. I’ve been slow to get on board with that idea, but I finally think that they are correct. Automakers and consumers are starting to realize it, too.

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Blitzkrieg? German Automakers Prepare to Test Tesla’s Might

September 16th, 2015


During World War II a blitzkrieg was a German military tactic designed to create disorganization in enemies through short, fierce military campaigns. It’s also been referred to as a “lightning war.”

We’re all friends now, of course, but can the term be applied to what the German automakers want to do to Tesla, the scrappy American automaker?

Tesla, as everyone knows, continues to do the impossible by shattering expectations of what a car company should be. Unlike established automakers, it doesn’t have a dealer network, it sells only electric cars, and its best-selling car is only 3 years old.

Yet the Model S is hands-down the most popular electric car in the world.

Can the German juggernauts stop it?

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Tesla Model S Turns Dial to Eleven, Breaks Consumer Reports’ Scale

September 1st, 2015


Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors have been building cars in this country for over 100 years. During that time they have produced vehicles deserving of tremendous praise as well as vehicles that are better off forgotten.

Consumer Reports, the American magazine that reviews everything from cars to stereo equipment, has been doing its thing since 1936.

In all that time, never has an American automaker produced a vehicle CR found to be perfect.

Tesla, the American maker of electric cars, sold its first Model S in 2012. That’s just three short years ago and about 100 years after the Big Three automakers got their starts.

You’ve probably heard the news by now, but the newest Model S just scored a 103 on the CR scale that, until now, only went to 100. The 80-year-old magazine has called the vehicle the best car it has ever tested.

This is quite the embarrassment to every other automaker on the planet and will undoubtedly be a major source of pride for Tesla.

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Once You Go Electric…

August 13th, 2015


We’ve all heard the horror stories of electric-car owners getting stranded after venturing too far from home.

Sometimes they simply misjudge how much power they have, and sometimes the gauge on the car provides inaccurate information.

Whatever the reason, many new owners of electric cars have found themselves on the side of the road with a car that’s as useful to drive as a cantaloupe.

The car club AAA even got into mobile charging to help stranded motorists and provide some peace of mind for EV owners.

Our post on that topic said,

AAA’s new mobile charging trucks will be able to provide 15 minutes of charge, which should give EVs 3 to 15 miles of range, which, in all honesty, will probably just leave motorists stranded 3 to 15 miles farther down the road.

Now that electric cars have been on the market for a few years, has anything changed?

According to 9 out of 10 drivers, the answer is “Yes.”

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Should Gas Engines Be Banned?

August 10th, 2015
Smoggy L.A.

Would electric vehicles solve LA’s smog problem?

A few years ago we discussed the idea that V8 engines should be outlawed. Of course that never happened, and the idea itself is just a symbol of the direction the auto industry could go.

However, that 2009 article foreshadowed the rise of turbocharged engines and the declining need for a V8. Why get a fuel-thirsty 8-cylinder when a boosted V6 can provide better fuel economy and similar hauling capability?

The idea of outright banning V8 motors is ridiculous. It is possible that the market will slowly erode demand for the V8, but certain groups of buyers will always keep at least a small demand going.

Even the most fuel-efficient gas motors cause pollution, though, and at least one decision-maker in an influential state wants to push things even further.

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Electric Cars Grabbing Headlines, Changing Lives

July 24th, 2015

Porsche Pajun small sedan

Would anyone have guessed in 2005 that auto headlines midway through 2015 would focus so heavily on electric vehicles? From Tesla to Porsche and from upstarts to downfalls, electric cars are succeeding, failing, creating controversy, and setting records everywhere we look.

We recently covered the news about the fast-depreciating Nissan Leaf, and we’ve covered the rise of Tesla in these virtual pages since the Roadster was just a baby.

We’ve also seen the fall of Fisker, Coda, Aptera, and many more hopeful EV makers that never sold more than a handful of vehicles before going belly-up.

Here are some of the more interesting headlines from the last week or so regarding the best (and worst) in the EV world. If there’s any doubt that electric cars are here to stay, these stories might change some minds.

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Leaf Loses Nearly Half Its Value, Other Electrics Follow Suit

July 22nd, 2015

2013 Nissan Leaf

All cars depreciate, but few have sunk in value as much or as quickly as the 2013 Nissan Leaf.

Low fuel prices have suppressed the sales of electric cars and created a glut of new ones on the market. That alone is enough to bring prices down, but there’s another force at work that has devastated used values of the Leaf and other electrics.

If you’ve ever considered a new or used electric car, now is the time to get in the market and find one of the best deals out there.

First, though, we should look at why prices have dropped so much.

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Tesla Prepares for Ludicrous Speed

July 20th, 2015
Prepare ship for Ludicrous Speed!

Prepare ship for Ludicrous Speed!

I wish I could call up my best friend from high school and tell him that Ludicrous Speed is real.

We spent a good portion of our teenage years in front of a television watching the Mel Brooks classic comedy Spaceballs.

In it, Rick Moranis plays the villain Dark Helmet and needs to chase after the good guys. He doesn’t think light speed will be fast enough, so he skips it, passing over the next-fastest Ridiculous speed and heading straight to Ludicrous speed.

Naturally, hilarity ensues.

Now we have news that Tesla, the same folks responsible for bringing us Insane Mode on the Model S P85D, will create its own version of Ludicrous speed.

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The Car That Eliminates Traffic Jams

July 13th, 2015


Sometimes the beginning of major change happens with one simple “a-ha” moment.

I had one over the weekend, which I’ll describe a little later. But first, here’s what led to my moment of clarity.

While in San Francisco I had the opportunity to drive a Commuter Cars Tango T600 through heavy traffic into the city and back to the suburbs. The entire trip was about 50 miles.

The T600 is about as wide as a Honda Goldwing motorcycle, weighs as much as a Subaru Outback, has the rollover threshold of a Porsche 911, has four times as many side impact protection bars in its doors as a Volvo, and has quicker acceleration to 60-mph than most stock Ferraris.

No kidding.

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You Could Be Closer Than You Think to Driving an Electric Car

June 17th, 2015

Tesla Model X Falcon doors

Let’s take a few minutes to talk about Tesla, because things at the electric automaker are about to get seriously supercharged.

Bad puns aside, electric cars are becoming more accepted in the U.S. and around the world, and Tesla is a big reason why.

With immediate plans to get into the crossover and small sedan markets, the Tesla logo could soon be found in driveways across America. With at least one model priced near a loaded Honda Accord, perhaps one of those driveways could be yours.

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