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Archive for the ‘Hybrid Cars’ Category

Can Ford “Excite and Delight” With Electric Cars by 2020?

December 16th, 2015

Ford_Focus_Electric

The odds are pretty good that you’ll purchase a plug-in electric or hybrid vehicle within the next four years.

Why am I so confident?

Here’s a short rundown of companies that have announced major plans for electric cars by 2020:

  • Tesla will be in production with the Model S, Model X, and Model 3
  • Porsche will be in production of the Mission E Concept
  • Volvo expects to add plug-in hybrid vehicles to its entire range
  • Audi says 25 percent of its range will eventually be electric
  • Nissan wants to rule the EV mass market

And now, Ford is investing $4.5 billion into electric vehicles so it’ll have 13 EV models by, you guessed it, 2020.

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A Quarter of All Audis to Be Electric Within 10 Years

December 1st, 2015

audi_a3_e-tron_sportback

The electric revolution got another dose of support late last week.

Considering how much media coverage electric cars get, a person would be forgiven for thinking EVs constitute a somewhat hefty portion of car sales. The truth, however, is that the market for plug-in electric cars in the United States is ridiculously small.

Through the first nine months of 2015, EVs accounted for only .62 percent of new car sales. Yes, the market share for electric cars is currently well below one percent.

That number should rise as more automakers provide more options and as the logistical issues of limited range and a lack of charging stations are addressed.

But who will step up and cater to such a small market?

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The Start/Stop Button: A Silent Killer?

November 30th, 2015

start-stop-bmw

A huge lawsuit against ten of the world’s largest automakers was quietly filed last summer.

The suit claims at least 13 people have died due to a major safety defect in automobiles made by BMW/MINI, Mercedes-Benz, FIAT/Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda/Acura, Hyundai/Kia, Nissan/Infiniti, Toyota/Lexus, and Volkswagen/Bentley.

The issue has nothing to do with airbags, faulty ignitions, or sudden unintended acceleration. The problem is with a system we all take for granted that no one thought could end up killing people.

The Start/Stop button.

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Faraday Future: An Automaker in Disguise?

November 19th, 2015
Who is behind Faraday Future?

Who is behind Faraday Future?

The first electric cars were invented in the 1880s but only began to quietly infiltrate the car market this decade. It has taken well over 100 years of fossil fuel usage, and one major diesel crisis, but electric cars are finally beginning their reign in the auto market.

Read through the history of electric cars and you’ll read about gas-electric hybrids, a Porsche electric, and the struggle to create better batteries at the turn of the 20th century. Electric technology was clean and the cars were easy to drive, yet electric technology gave way to gasoline and development in the electric field completely stopped for a long time. Today we’re picking up where electrics left off, albeit with a century of improved automotive technology behind us.

This time the world is ready for electrics. At least that’s the hope for a new electric automaker with deep pockets and ambitious dreams. The question is, who is it?

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Karma Automotive Comes Back With Swagger

November 18th, 2015

karma_2015_logo

It’s about time that a little shot of arrogance gets injected back into the auto industry.

There’s been a lot of apologizing lately, with the whole Volkswagen fiasco and an unending string of recalls. Where’s the company that comes in and unapologetically announces its wares and walks with an air of confidence while proudly showing the cars it knows you just have to have?

There’s only one currently doing that. Well, okay, maybe two. We could make the argument that Tesla fits into that description, but today our attention turns to another electric automaker. This one had an epic launch failure in recent years, but its new owners have revamped it into something it knows you want. And if you don’t want it?

This company has absolutely zero cares to give.

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Here Comes the $75,000 Honda

October 15th, 2015
2016 Acura NSX

2016 Acura NSX

Hondas are known for their practicality. Ask anyone to describe a Honda in one word, and you’ll get responses such as, “reliable,” “safe,” “comfortable,” and of course, “practical.”

Honda is one of those quiet innovators in the car world. While its cars indeed fit the above adjectives, Honda is perfectly capable of unleashing a true performance car upon the world when it feels so inclined.

The Honda/Acura NSX, naturally, is the prime example of such supercar prowess. The Civic Type-R and the old S2000 are other examples of what happens when stodgy old Honda decides to have some fun.

With the all-new hybrid-powered NSX ready to jump off the line, Honda might have a little something else special planned as well.

It probably won’t come cheap, though.

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New RX 350 Looks More Lamborghini Than Lexus

September 14th, 2015

2016_lexus_rx_350

If Lamborghini had made an SUV 10 years ago, this is what it might have looked like.

This isn’t a Lamborghini concept from the past, though. This is the modern, and surprising, incarnation of the Lexus RX, a vehicle not traditionally known for outrageous design.

There was a time in my life when I owned a 2004 Lexus RX 330, a vehicle more fitting for an aging real-estate agent than a young family man. It was a nice looking car, but quite staid and always seemed to smell like an old lady’s perfume inside.

This new RX should lead the way in bringing Lexus to a new generation, though that old-lady smell may never go away.

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Could One-Dollar Gas Be on the Horizon?

September 11th, 2015

2016 Chevrolet Volt pic-7085065711858782732-640x480

A post on our page yesterday introduced CarGurus readers to the 2016 Toyota Prius, a car that will get 55 miles per gallon and a new, more aggressive look.

Five years ago a car like this would have been considered a gift from the heavens, but today Toyota is trying its best to keep it relevant. The same can be said for the new Chevy Volt, which comes with 53 miles of electric range and a gas-powered engine good for a total of 430 miles.

Cars that use fuel sparingly find themselves in a tough market now that gas is well below $3 per gallon. The battle will only get harder if predictions of sub-$2 gas hold true.

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Demand Drops as New Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Volt Introduced

September 10th, 2015

2016 Toyota PriusThe 2016 Toyota Prius had its global debut Tuesday in Las Vegas. The main message at the premiere was not fuel economy. It was looks and handling.

Sure, almost every car in the world is sold on looks and handling, but that’s a huge change in direction for the most fuel-efficient car on the market that doesn’t have a plug. Toyota didn’t totally step away from that message. After all, it expects the Prius, when it goes on sale early in 2016, to get a combined 55 mpg.

It’s not a problem unique to the Prius, either. Fuel efficiency is an almost impossible selling point when the national price for gas is $2.39, according to AAA, which predicts prices could fall below $2. That’s great for us as consumers, but lousy for Toyota as it introduces its latest and greatest hybrid vehicle.

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Bad Timing for the New Prius, But Does It Matter?

June 30th, 2015

2015 Toyota Prius Five pic-5640244198888418979

Gas prices are low, hybrids have lost their luster, and competition is fierce for alternative-fuel cars. So now is a great time to introduce a hybrid, right?

There was a time when the Toyota Prius was the only option for buyers who wanted to advertise the fact that they love the environment. Celebrities and consumers alike proudly drove the efficient little soapboxes as a statement of being different.

Today things have changed, as relatively low gas prices and an influx of new hybrids, electrics, and diesels sit on dealer lots around the world while the Prius has lost favor among trendsetters.

Basically, the timing for an all-new Prius couldn’t be worse. You know who doesn’t care?

The all-new Prius.

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