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Posts Tagged ‘EV’

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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Owning Electric Cars Could Get Easier

June 12th, 2014

Tesla Supercharger

The biggest challenge in owning an electric car is getting it recharged. Charging a battery takes a lot longer than filling a gas tank, and there are far fewer places to recharge than refuel.

For the people who use electric cars just to commute from home to work and back, recharging every night at home is enough.

For people who want to use their electric vehicles as replacements for gas-powered cars, EVs just haven’t proven useful enough to convince people to jump ship.

Elon Musk, the infamous Tesla CEO, wants to change that.

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Electric Cars Take Another Financial Hit

January 6th, 2014

2014 Chevy Spark

As time passes, I’m finding fewer reasons to buy an electric car.

While EVs are slowly gaining popularity, a nationwide charging infrastructure is barely in its infancy. That’s strike one against electrics. Even so, electric cars are proving themselves as commuters while saving owners a bundle on gas costs. Things should be looking up for this new chapter in automotive history.

There’s a problem, though. For the first owners of a new electric car, the finances just don’t add up. And it’s getting worse.

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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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2013 FIAT 500E: The Electric You Want But Probably Can’t Have

April 15th, 2013

2013 FIAT 500E

Disclaimer:

Reading about the car in this post will make you want it. The price is ridiculously low, and it uses no gas, creates zero emissions and has a decent range. It even comes with a program allowing buyers the use of larger, gas-powered cars when needed.

This car, the FIAT 500E, is about as perfect as electric cars get, at least so far. It even comes with dedicated support and customer service designed to mostly eliminate any worry about running out of juice somewhere away from home.

The one drawback? You probably can’t get one. The FIAT 500E is for residents of one state, and one state only.

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Should Electric Vehicles Make Noise at Low Speeds?

January 9th, 2013

2012 Nissan Leaf

Imagine walking toward the entrance of your local grocery store when, as you pass the row of parked cars, you hear the clip-clop of an approaching horse.

Surprised, you stand still and wait, not wanting to get run over by a Clydesdale.

But instead of a majestic animal, a diminutive Nissan Leaf glides by, emanating the sound of hooves on pavement.

It seems ridiculous, but something similar could soon become law.

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Cars Coming Soon: Ford C-Max Energi

December 20th, 2012

2013 Ford C-MAX Energi

I’ve never been excited about an electric car. Ever.

I don’t even like electric golf carts or those little shuttles that sneak up on unsuspecting travelers in airports. Put a gas engine in those things and watch folks get out of the way!

As I’ve said here many times, my problems with electric vehicles stem from their limited range, outrageous cost and, most of all, the misguided notion that fueling a car with coal-produced electricity is any better than efficiently using gasoline. Not to mention the toxicity of making, and disposing of, the battery packs.

With all that said, the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi could be a car that begins to change the minds of people like me.

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Can Charging Mats Sever the EV Cord?

July 18th, 2012

Nissan Leaf charging

Remember when you were a kid and all you wanted for your birthday was a remote-controlled car?

When the day finally arrived, your heart raced as you ripped open the wrapping paper and saw the gleaming red car under the clear plastic of the box. You, at long last, were the proud owner of a real remote-controlled car.

After tearing open the packaging and having your dad free the car of its inner restraints, a horrible realization occurred. Your car wasn’t a real remote-controlled car, it was tethered with a wire from the remote to the car. What fun is that?

The disappointment was intense, and you hung your head as you followed the car through the kitchen, maneuvering it around adults’ feet, trying to keep the wire free.

Now you’re all grown up and have finally purchased the electric car you always wanted, only to suffer the familiar disappointment of realizing you can’t go far without attaching a wire.

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The 6 Best Ways to Beat Range Anxiety

February 10th, 2012

Nissan Leaf at a charger

Range anxiety is treatable.

While I’m not sold on the serious need for electric vehicles, I acknowledge that we’re likely to see more gas-less motor cars swishing through our cities in the coming years.

I see three big problems with EVs:

  1. They have an extremely limited range (which varies according to many factors, including temperature, traffic conditions and speed).
  2. There is no mass infrastructure to recharge them.
  3. The electricity they use still must be produced somehow. (Coal? Nuclear?)

Infrastructure can be built and more nuclear plants can go live to pump more electricity into our failing grid. But there’s not much that can be done to change the fact that batteries in electric cars will empty much faster than they recharge. So how can you deal with the anxiety of not making it home once you venture out in your new electric car? Keep reading, friends.

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Could AAA Be the Cure for EV Range Anxiety?

January 4th, 2012

AAA electric vehicle charging truck

Yesterday the always intellectual jgoods again made his case for the abolition of tax credits for electric cars and alternative fuels. He’s right about that. He’s also right that the best way to spur the growth of alternate fuel is with higher gas prices.

That’s not what I’m writing about today, though.

For EVs to work in this world they have to, you know, work. Forget tax credits and gas prices, people have to be able to get in their cars, drive 300-400 miles, stop for 10 minutes to refuel, whether with electrons or fossilized dinosaurs, and get back on the road.

In gas-powered cars, there’s no excuse for running out of fuel, because the next filling station is always close. In EVs, range anxiety is a huge issue, so much so that the few on U.S. roads are used as city commuters and rarely venture more than 10 miles from home. Any further and there’s a serious risk of ending up on the side of a highway watching gas-powered brethren happily motor toward home.

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