Electric cars, to many, appear a truly modern innovation – one enabled by rapid advances in battery technology, motors, controllers and thermal management systems.
Freezing air has descended upon my city. Those leisurely mornings of heading out to the car in shorts and a T-shirt have been replaced by scraping windshields free of frost.
I love my electric Nissan Leaf, because I can start and warm it up using an app on my phone while I stay toasty warm inside the house. My Subaru Legacy actually requires me to go outside and start the motor with a key.
This week I needed the Legacy, because my errands required more range than the Leaf could provide. That meant I had to brave the cold, trek outside, and start the Subaru so it would be warm for my family.
When I got back inside, my wife, who was getting ready in the upstairs bathroom, asked why the car was so loud.
“Because it has a gas motor,” I said.
Needless to say, we have become accustomed to driving electric.
We’ve been hoping the next electric car might be a Tesla Model 3, but with production problems pushing back availability of the car, we, like thousands of other drivers, may have to look elsewhere. Continue reading >>>
I thought adaptive cruise control was the coolest thing ever. Simply set the cruise to 70 miles per hour, and the car does the rest, even slowing down to match traffic when speeds drop.
I first experienced adaptive cruise control in 2014, and now, just three years later, we have automakers talking about “level 5” autonomy.
What is level 5? It means a car can control itself in all situations and doesn’t need a driver for anything. We’re not there yet, but some powerful and influential automakers are on the path to making it happen. Before level 5 cars arrive, lower priced cars will receive levels of autonomy that make my adaptive cruise look like technology straight out of 1999. Continue reading >>>
One of the benefits of owning an electric car is not needing to buy gasoline. The cost savings add up year after year, even when you include the cost of electrons to recharge the batteries.
Two of the biggest concerns since the advent of hybrid and EV technology are electric range and potential cost of replacing battery packs.
Range anxiety has mostly been solved as EV range steadily increases to over 200 miles per charge. Replacing battery packs has, so far, proven to be a non-issue, but it’s bound to become one as the earliest EVs continue to age. How much should people expect to pay once the inevitable happens?
About half of what the car cost new, at least according to Chevrolet. Continue reading >>>
For almost a year I’ve driven an electric Nissan Leaf and there’s just one thing keeping it from being perfect.
Well, no. There are a lot of things keeping the Leaf from being perfect. Considering that it’s a $30,000 car, you’d think it would have power seats, door and steering wheel mounted controls that light up at night, and mirrors in the visors that light up. It doesn’t have any of those features and the interior is slathered in cheap plastic and ultra thin fabric wrapped around the door handles.
The Leaf does have plenty going for it, though. The heated seats and heated steering wheel are invaluable. The car has plenty of storage space and the 30-kwh battery pack offers an electric range that’s more than capable of managing commutes and daily errands.
My one wish for the Leaf is all-wheel drive, but one customizer is about to prove that the Leaf may not need it. Continue reading >>>
Tesla launched its Roadster a few years earlier, but for all intents and purposes, the United States’ age of electric vehicles (EVs) began with the Nissan Leaf in 2011. The market for electric vehicles has come a long way in 10 years, and now shoppers can buy an EV from any number of companies, from the Kia Soul EV to the BMW i3, and from a Tesla Model X to the Chevrolet Bolt. Continue reading >>>
What comes to mind when you hear the term “car battery”? Fifteen years ago, the answer would have been quite obvious. But lately the idea of what a car battery entails has shifted away from that essential-but-oft-forgotten black box under the hood to state-of-the-art propulsion systems of the near future. When talking about batteries, we focus less on volts and more on kilowatt-hours and MPGe. We’ve mentioned batteries a lot lately, specifically in regards to the Chevrolet Bolt, GM’s potentially game-changing affordable all-electric vehicle. But when we talk about the Bolt’s 238 miles of battery range, how is that different from talking about the battery at the end of your jumper cables?
Automakers are on the verge of revving up their electric-vehicle production efforts. Global demand is certainly growing: countries around the world are planning markets in which 100% of vehicles sold will be completely emissions-free. Norway is probably the most prominent example, having declared a 2020 deadline for 100% EV and Fuel Cell adoption. Most auto manufacturers are therefore also moving in that direction, though their timetables aren’t quite as aggressive as Norway’s. Hyundai has promised 8 plug-in hybrids and 2 all-electric models in the next 4-5 years, Volkswagen AG has pledged to offer a plug-in version of every model in its lineup by 2025, and Honda wants fully electric cars to account for two-thirds of its total sales by 2030. So within 5, 10, or 15 years, buyers can expect most new cars being produced to be battery-powered.
As we noted Wednesday, muscle cars sold very well in 2014 and 2015, which we took as a sign the car business was healthy. But the first 7 months of 2016 saw Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger sales drop by 5.5% year over year while the redesigned Chevrolet Camaro’s sales dropped by 15.4%. What’s the problem?