Every once in a while, we all fall foul of car trouble. No matter who you are, or what you do, one day you’ll find yourself stranded on the hard shoulder of the A361 staring at your sorry looking vehicle as cars whizz past you, their drivers rolling their eyes and tutting in your general direction. You’ll know there and then that it is time to buy a new car… but what to buy? We all have different needs from our cars. Some of us simply need a way to get from A to B, but others have a much more complicated situation to overcome…
When Tesla started selling cars, CEO Elon Musk probably didn’t think his little company would eventually cause Porsche to completely restructure itself.
But it’s starting to happen.
As demand for Tesla cars continues to grow, other automakers are wondering how they can grab a piece of the action and divert some of the dollars from that demand into their own bank accounts. Continue reading >>>
We can’t seem to escape news about Tesla lately. The company is dominating headlines on auto blogs and news websites across the Internet. If the story isn’t about a new innovation, idea, or product from Tesla, it’s about another car company trying to beat Tesla at its own game.
Never, in my lifetime at least, has one automaker demanded so much attention and inspired so much competition.
Here’s a rundown of stories, from this week alone, showing Tesla’s dominance over the automotive news cycle: 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.
Over the past few decades, competing automakers in Europe and Asia have developed their own reputations for superiority. German cars have become synonymous with luxury and precision, while Italian cars deliver excitement and emotion. Sweden’s Volvos offer the best in safety, and England provides sumptuous style. Across the Pacific, the major Japanese automakers have built their reputation on reliability and longevity, while Kia and Hyundai of Korea now provide top-flight quality at great value. While foreign automakers tend to focus their approaches in ways that bear out these specific reputations, America remains a bastion of variety.
We love cars, but find the fact that it took almost 1.6 million U.S. motor-vehicle fatalities to make wearing a seat belt mandatory in America troubling. Happily, annual fatalities have declined fairly steadily since their early-‘70s peak, despite the fact that Americans now drive well over one and a half times the number of miles they did then, often while using a smartphone. And with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) testing and rating vehicles for safety and crashworthiness, we have to admit it’s getting better.
Smartphones can, of course, pose huge risks to drivers, so much so that NHTSA partnered with the U.S. Department of Transportation to create the distraction.gov website, and “distracted driving” now has its own Wikipedia entry. But the connectivity and processing power of smartphones can also be used to help drivers avoid accidents and to make sure authorities get alerted quickly and with all the information they’ll need to respond to an accident. And those capabilities will definitely be required for any future “self-driving,” “autonomous,” or Autopilot-equipped cars. As we learned at NEMPA/MIT’s recent panel on the intersection of technology and design, a whole new world of car safety and driver-assistance technologies is available–and evolving–so we’re going to take a look at some of the more important and effective new tech.
Memorial Day is a time for remembrance and an opportunity to honor the men and women who lost their lives serving in the armed forces, but for many it’s also the symbolic start of summer. The upside: many Americans will be enjoying cookouts, baseball games, and getaways during the long memorial weekend. The downside: anyone residing in a major urban area will become all too familiar with the harsh realities of miles-long traffic jams that all started because that guy couldn’t be bothered to merge properly.
Tesla made some serious waves last week when it debuted its Model 3 electric car. These weren’t your “gently lapping the shoreline” waves, either. Think “Laird Hamilton monstrous big-time waves.” We’re a data-driven, internet-focused company, so to demonstrate this point, we ran some basic Google searches. “Chevrolet Bolt” (the Model 3’s most direct competitor, and a car set to beat it to market by almost 2 years) returned 2.3 million results. “Nissan Leaf” (by and large the most popular electric car currently on sale) yields 4.9 million results. “Tesla Model 3?” 90.4 million results. So yeah… tidal waves.
Electric cars solve a lot of problems. They don’t pollute, they can be recharged at home overnight, and they save owners money by eliminating the need for gasoline.
The trouble is, electric cars could end up being remembered as the right cars that happened at the wrong time.
The quality, reliability, comfort, and driving range of electric vehicles are better than ever before. They offer a gas-free way to commute to work and the peace-of-mind of driving on clean energy.
What EVs don’t have is the right timing. Gas prices are still hovering around $2 per gallon, so it’s hard for car buyers to justify the added cost and limited range when compared to a gas-powered car.
For an electric car to succeed in an era of cheap gas, it needs to have something special. Keep reading for the electric cars that should thrive regardless of gas prices.