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Archive for the ‘Electric Vehicles’ Category

Who Would Be Better Off If GM Bought Tesla?

December 30th, 2013

Model_S

Can you imagine a Buick Model S, a Cadillac Model X, or maybe a Chevy Roadster?

A mashup between General Motors and Tesla might seem far-fetched, but at least one analyst of the automotive industry thinks a GM purchase of the electric automaker not only makes sense, but could happen in 2014.

If such a transaction did take place, the possibilities are intriguing to say the least. Would GM keep the brand and run Tesla just as another arm in its empire, or would it simply use the technology in its existing brands and kill off the Tesla brand?

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El Diablo: Miata Style

December 23rd, 2013

2001 Mazda Miata MX5

An average car will run a quarter-mile drag race in 15–16 seconds. That’s not a blistering pace, but it’s just enough to give a slight rush while accelerating up an on-ramp before settling into a steady stream of 65-mile-an-hour commuters.

The Mazda Miata, while relatively sporty and fun to drive, typically falls somewhere within that average time in stock, off-the-showroom-floor form. It’s nothing spectacular, and it won’t win many drag races, but the time is good enough to warrant the designation of “sports car.”

Barely.

A quick quarter-mile time in the Miata might fall somewhere in the 11–13-second range. When that stock speed just isn’t fast enough, upgrades can be applied, and the Miata, like any car, can become a drag racer.

An extreme case would be taking a Miata, stripping it completely of its powertrain, and replacing it with a source of power sure to embarrass even the most seasoned of racers.

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The Most Promising Cars of 2014 (So Far)

December 13th, 2013
2014 BMW M3

Photo courtesy of The Telegraph

It’s that wonderful time of year again: Snow is on the ground, holiday music fills the air, and automakers have started revealing all the fantastic cars that will be in people’s driveways come the new year. Although 2013 saw some fantastic cars come our way—cars like the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette, 2014 Cadillac CTS and 2014 Mazda3—we can’t help but look at 2014 with wide eyes, as some of the most promising cars many makers have turned out in generations sit just beyond the horizon.

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Car Lists, Car Minded, Cars Coming Soon, Domestic Cars, Electric Vehicles, Exotic Cars, Foreign Cars, General Chat, Trucks & SUVs

How to Go Electric for the First Time

December 5th, 2013

2013 Nissan Leaf

What’ll it be:

A new Nissan Leaf for less than $25,000, a new Chevy Volt for around $37,000, a new Cadillac ELR for $76,000, a new Tesla Model S for upwards of $80,000 or maybe the new BMW i3 or i8 or Mercedes-Benz B-Class electric?

A growing number of used electrics are also hitting the market. Prices for those range from the high teens to $400,000. (More on that later.)

How’s a car shopper supposed to decide the best course of action to go electric for the first time?

Read on, friends, for the answer awaits.

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Relax, It Was a Run-of-the-Mill Car Fire

October 3rd, 2013

Tesla Model S fire

If a Ford catches on fire, people assume it was an accident, and the incident barely registers a blip on the radar of car blogs and news sites. The company’s stock certainly feels no repercussions.

If a Tesla catches on fire, the news media explodes like a Fisker battery pack, and the stock takes a significant hit.

Why the difference?

Because people are looking for the downfall of Tesla. They anticipate one problem sitting just under the surface, unseen, until it erupts in a ball of flames for the world see.

Those people thought it finally happened when a Tesla Model S caught fire in a sleepy suburb of Seattle.

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Could GM Build a Better Tesla?

September 20th, 2013

Tesla Model S

The article posted at CNN Money made me chuckle.

It opened with these lines, which should make you laugh, too:

GM says it wants to develop a car that can match Tesla’s 200-mile range for less than half the price.

The goal was laid-out Monday as the company announced a $20 million investment in its battery lab in Warren, Mich. But the company didn’t give a specific time frame for achieving it.

GM’s car would go 200 miles between charges and cost $30,000.

It seems as though that’s exactly what the Volt was supposed to do… which is only where the humor begins.

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Should Cars Be Banned in Downtown Areas?

September 18th, 2013

electric-vehicle-network-green-motoring-big

How does the future of driving look to you?

More specifically, how does the future of driving in big cities look to you? In the coming years and decades, there’s no question that the face of driving in large, congested cities will change. The clogged streets of New York City and the infamous standstills of Los Angeles will most likely not look the way they do today.

As small city cars begin to infiltrate the roads and public transportation options persuade people away from vehicles, it’s pretty certain that city driving will change over the years.

One country, in fact, wants to ban gas-powered cars from cities altogether.

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Tesla Could Change How Cars Are Sold

August 23rd, 2013

Tesla Model S

The dealer franchise system has worked for selling cars in the United States for nearly as long as there have been cars in the United States.

By requiring new vehicles to be sold through private dealers not associated with the automakers, the market has been able to determine fair prices based on the MSRP. That’s been mostly good for consumers, at least the ones educated enough to research and negotiate a fair price.

It’s also allowed dealers to make gobs of money by acting as the middlemen between automakers and consumers.

Tesla thinks that model should change.

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Here Comes the Tesla Supercharger Network

May 31st, 2013

Tesla Supercharger fast-charging system for electric cars

“Tesla needed to solve the problem of long-distance travel and we can’t wait for others to agree with our strategy. If we wait for some sort of consensus, it’s going to take too long. We just need to get going and other manufacturers can either copy us or join us.”

In the world of high-powered auto executives, you can probably guess that quote comes from the guy who also owns a company that builds spaceships. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, founder of PayPal, and owner of SpaceX, isn’t a guy to wait around and hope technology adapts to his product. No, Musk would rather adapt and invent technology to support his product.

In this case, the technology seems simple on the surface: recharging the electric vehicles that Tesla builds.

The problem is a current lack of North American infrastructure to provide a network that could support a cross-country trip. But why wait for that infrastructure, when you can just build your own?

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Small, Safe, Narrow and Harrowingly Fast: It’s Time to Tango

May 22nd, 2013

TangosSharingFwyLaneCropped

Before shoes were invented, two guys were walking through the mountains of Tibet. One man turned to the other and said, “I sure wish we could cover the world with leather.”

The other guy paused, looked at his friend, and said, “Or we could just cover our feet.”

It’s a common story, with many variations, but you get the idea.

Rick Woodbury, founder of Commuter Cars and maker of the Tango electric car, wants to apply that logic that to automobiles and change the way the world drives.

I had an opportunity to meet with Rick yesterday and ask him a few questions about the fastest urban car in the world. His company has been around for many years and has seen some success, but a potential deal looms that could catapult his company into the mainstream.

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