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Posts Tagged ‘electric cars’

Tesla: From Underdog to Insane Mode

May 14th, 2015

tesla-model-s-p85d

A few years ago the idea of buying an $80,000+ electric car that had limited range, few places to refuel, and no dealer network was a laughable proposition. To top it all off, the company that wanted to sell the car had very little automotive design or manufacturing experience.

Around the same time, one of the world’s top automakers had plans for a new electric car that promised to be affordable, good looking, and easy to take on a road trip anywhere roads exist without worrying about running out of range.

The winner?

Like we even have to say it.

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Time to Trade the Hybrid for an SUV?

April 23rd, 2015

2015 Jeep Renegade

Don’t jump back into an SUV just yet!

If you drive an electric car or a hybrid, you might be tempted by low gas prices to make the leap back into an SUV or crossover. It happens every time there’s a fluctuation in fuel prices; they rise, and people flock to hybrids. They sink, and people migrate back to the big rigs.

Americans are a fickle breed, and we have a hard time looking at the long-term picture. With gas prices currently well under $3 per gallon in most of the country, the great transition back to SUVs is already in place.

According to CNN, so far this year only 45 percent of people who traded in an environmentally friendly hybrid car purchased another. That means 55 percent of folks went back to gas, and many of those were SUV purchases.

The logic makes sense, but whatever happened to the days when someone made a decision and stuck with it for a while?

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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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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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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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Cadillac ELR: Biggest Car Flop Ever?

May 15th, 2014

2014 Cadillac ELR

Ahhhh, karma.

It’s proving to me that maybe Americans can hope not to go down in history as the arrogant materialistic egomaniacs for which we are gaining a reputation.

Even American advertisers advertising to American consumers seem to believe all we care about is working every day of our life and ignoring our families so we can buy expensive cars.

Okay, maybe that’s a generalization, but at least one car company took that approach to sell a new model, and wouldn’t you know it, that model now looks to be on track to go down in history as one of the biggest automotive flops of all time.

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Here Comes Tesla’s Competition

March 28th, 2014

Commuter Cars Tango and George Clooney

When you think of electric cars, the first maker to come to mind is probably Tesla. The company has done an amazing job branding itself as the leader in vehicles powered by electrons. With sexy car designs, lots of media coverage and a personable-yet-eccentric CEO, Tesla has become the gold standard in electric vehicles.

That doesn’t mean Tesla is alone, though.

Other carmakers build and sell vehicles that use alternative fuels, and there’s no way the legacy automakers are going to sit down and watch Tesla silently drive into the sunset with all the cash.

From the big boys to some small guys with big ideas, it seems EVs are here to stay. Keep reading for some interesting competitors Tesla may face.

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Tesla’s “Gigafactory” Could Change the Future

February 27th, 2014

Tesla Gigafactory

Today we will discuss an important theme: the future.

In the film Back to the Future 2, Marty McFly travels from 1985 to 2015 and encounters a future he didn’t expect, only to return to a present he never knew.

That’s on my mind today, because I’m watching the antics of crazy old scientist Doc Brown with my family while reading about a young brilliant entrepreneur and his plans for the future. Doc Brown needed 1.21 gigawatts to power his DeLorean, while this modern-day man plans a “Gigafactory” that could change the auto industry as we know it.

What is a Gigafactory? Read on, with no worry that you’ll learn too much about the future and cause a chain reaction that could unravel the very fabric of the space-time continuum and destroy the entire universe! This time, the future seems set.

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