Electric Cars: Thriving in an Artificial Market?

2017 Chevrolet Bolt


Are electric cars being force-fed to an unwilling American public? Through the first 11 months of 2016, Americans have purchased about 130,000 electric vehicles. That sounds pretty impressive, until you compare that to the nearly 16 million cars sold in the U.S. so far this year.

While it feels like electric cars are gaining traction here, the truth is that they account for only a tiny fraction of total sales and hold a minuscule portion of market share.

So why are automakers continually announcing plans for new electric cars and touting them as the future of American transportation?

Because California says so.

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Donald Trump’s Presidency Won’t Impact Car-Buying Decisions for EV Shoppers

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV


Concerns about America’s future have run rampant since the night of November 8th, 2016. Suddenly, we’ve come to see our own social-media-driven bubbles, the emergence and impact of fake news, and how easy it is to accept what we already believe while adopting blinders for anything else. Questions have arisen regarding how the American government will amend laws surrounding health care, taxation, and even the auto industry.

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Luxury Without Leather: Will Vegan Cars Gain Popularity?

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Do a Google search for “vegan car” and the first result is likely to involve Tesla. The company is the first luxury automaker to offer a 100 percent animal-free vehicle. That, of course, means no leather seats, no leather steering wheel, no leather gear shifter, and no animal products in the glue that holds everything together.

Luxury cars have become synonymous with leather, but for people who are compassionate about the treatment of animals, the idea of leather can be repulsive. It’s a growing community of folks but the world’s most prominent automakers have yet to conform to their wishes and build cars that are truly animal-free.

One writer spent at least four months trying to sort out which cars use animal products and which don’t. His results are surprising because so few vehicles are completely free of animal skins or byproducts.

How likely is that to change?

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Should Your Car Disable Your Phone?

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Like many other Americans yesterday, my family spent a good portion of time in the car traveling between family gatherings. Our travels were uneventful, aside from the occasional debate about what song to play. (One kid wanted Charlie Puth while another voted for Nirvana and yet another was set on Tribe Society. Thank goodness for affordable iPods.)

As the driver, I naturally kept my hands off my phone. From the high throne of my Land Cruiser, though, I could see neighboring drivers with faces buried in the soft glow of their smartphones.

Distracted driving is a major problem, and now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hopes to take another step to do something about it.

The NHTSA has released voluntary guidelines to shut down apps on phones while a person is sitting behind the steering wheel.

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The Trouble with Self-Driving Cars: It’s the Drivers, Not the Cars

Angry driver shouting in his car

Picture yourself circling a crowded Market Basket parking lot. You see one empty spot ahead, but by the looks of it, there’s another car angling toward the same space. Your choices are simple: Politely take the high road and yield the vacancy to the other driver, or press on ahead, disregarding the feelings of your fellow motorist, and grab that parking spot while you still can.

Regardless of what they’d do in reality, I imagine most readers would profess their virtue while choosing the former. But what if you didn’t have to worry about insulting another driver? What if you only had to worry about offending an unemotional, soulless computer?

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Volkswagen TDI Buyback: What You Need to Know

If you bought or leased a Volkswagen TDI on or before September 15, 2015, you are probably eligible to receive a buyback offer from Volkswagen.

The buyback comes as compensation for the hassle of driving a car affected by the biggest scandal in automotive history. 2009-2015 Volkswagens and Audis equipped with the 2.0-liter diesel engine are eligible for a buyback of roughly $12,400-$44,000, depending on the year and model of the car.

Buybacks started this month and, as of October 18, about 340,000 people have signed up to accept the offer. This opens up the question:

What will happen to the hundreds of thousands of cars that Volkswagen buys back?

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What Are the Most Inaccurate Numbers on the Window Sticker?

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Virtually everything on the Monroney sticker can be negotiated.

The Monroney, better known simply as the window sticker that adorns all new cars for sale, tells vital information about the vehicle, its engine size, trim level, installed options, and, of course, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP).

The listed price is typically a starting point for negotiation, and the sticker will tell buyers of any added market adjustments or unnecessary options.

There’s one number, though, that isn’t negotiable and has a long reputation of not even being accurate:

The EPA estimated fuel economy.

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Is Subaru Flying Too Close to the Sun?

XV Crosstrek Zoom

In Greek mythology, Icarus attempted to flee the Island of Crete using wings made of feathers and wax. Despite Daedalus’s warnings, Icarus flew higher and higher until the heat of the sun melted the wax binding his wings, and he fell from the sky. The story warns against hubris, arrogance, and how care and precaution remain paramount when moving onward and upward. Thousands of years after the story of Icarus was first told, is Subaru now threatening to fly too high?

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Tired of Gas? Find Relief with These Alternative Fuels

Gas may be cheap these days, but untethering from the local Citgo is still an attractive idea. For many, electricity is the obvious choice when opting out of gas cars. Tesla continues to be the dominant and popular choice in this realm, although Chevrolet is preparing to launch the all-electric Bolt (and its 200-mile range) before the end of 2016, and the Nissan Leaf, Kia Soul EV, and Ford Focus Electric, among others, are currently available at more reasonable prices than the higher-end Tesla cars.

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Audi Accused of Emission Software Cheat… Again

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Audi delivered more than 17,700 vehicles in October as the German automaker hit its 70th straight month of sales increases.

The fastest-selling Audis are the A4 sedan and Q7 SUV, while the smaller Q3 is building some serious momentum.

Audi is a success story in America and is one of the top luxury brands sold here, in spite of being part of Volkswagen’s now-infamous diesel emission scandal last year.

If Audi can weather one emission-related scam, can it possibly escape two unscathed? Looks like we’re about to find out.

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