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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Hybrid / Green

Tesla Model S Scores 89 MPG-e rating

On: Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 2:43PM | By: Chris Weiss


Tesla Model S Scores 89 MPG-e rating test 2

Tesla has begun deliveries of the Model S. About a month ago, we saw the EPA's official range rating for the Model S. This week, we get the full picture, as the EPA has released the fuel economy rating.

The EPA rates the Tesla at 89 mpg-e, which is lower than most other EVs on the market - the Mitsubishi i leads the way with 112 mpg-e; the Ford Focus Electric comes in at 105 mpg-e; and the Nissan Leaf sits at 99. Of course, none of the competitors can hit 60 mph in 5.6 seconds (4.4 seconds in the Performance trim). The Model S gets 88 mpg-e in the city and 90 mpg-e on the highway.

As we learned last month, the largest battery pack that Tesla will offer has enough capacity to send a driver out for up to 265 miles of cruising. That's just an average, and Tesla believes that drivers will be able to get more than 450 miles with just the right conditions (though they'd have to turtle along at residential speeds to do so).


BMW Opens Its First i Store, Shows Updated i3 Concept

On: Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 9:20AM | By: Chris Weiss


BMW Opens Its First i Store, Shows Updated i3 Concept test 2

Because electric vehicles have one foot (or set of wheels) in the technology sector and the other in the automotive sector, electric automakers like Tesla (which actually hired a former Apple retail exec) have taken inspiration from tech companies (particularly Apple) in redefining the consumer experience. Instead of the stereotypical big car lot on the side of the highway, Tesla and co. use small, interactive, slickly designed urban showrooms to highlight their cars. The latest example is BMW's new i Store, which opened this month on Park Lane in London.

BMW says that its network of i Stores will be part of a restructured sales strategy. The multi-channel approach, which will be available in selected markets (read: wealthy cities), will include a mobile sales team, a Customer Interaction Centre (CIC) and an Internet sales hub. Customers can utilize one of the channels or switch between them at any point in the process.


Plug-ins Go 4WD With Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

On: Thu, Jun 21, 2012 at 2:45PM | By: Chris Weiss


Plug-ins Go 4WD With Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV test 2

Mitsubishi announced this week that it will unveil the 2014 Outlander PHEV at the Paris Motor Show in September. The automaker calls the model the "first permanent 4WD electric car in series production."

Living in the mountains, I've discovered two things about vehicles: I need four-wheel drive for snow and dirt roads, and SUVs with four-wheel drive tend to get terrible gas mileage. I've been waiting patiently for an electric or plug-in hybrid with all/four-wheel drive. I thought it was going to be the Toyota Rav 4 Electric, but Toyota sticks with two-wheel. It looks like the Outlander PHEV will finally fill the void.


Next-Gen Chevy Volt To Get More Powerful Turbo Engine

On: Thu, Jun 21, 2012 at 11:56AM | By: Chris Weiss


Next-Gen Chevy Volt To Get More Powerful Turbo Engine test 2

The 2013 Chevy Volt is in line for a boost in range, but if you really want to see the Volt's performance soar, you'll have to wait a couple years. When the Volt is revamped sometime after 2014, it will get a bigger 2.0-liter turbo gas engine.

According to a source consulted by InsideEVs, the next Volt will use a 2.0-liter turbo engine that could be worth as much as 270-hp. That's quite a jump in power from the current Volt's 89-hp 1.4-liter range extender.


 

Chevy Selling More Volts Than Corvettes

On: Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 2:11PM | By: Chris Weiss


Chevy Selling More Volts Than Corvettes test 2

The Chevy Volt hasn't been a top seller at GM, but it is outselling one icon in its second year on the market. We're close to halfway through the year, and the Volt has a comfortable lead over the Chevy Corvette.

Last year, Chevy sold around 13,200 Corvettes, not too far from double the 7,641 Volts that it sold. This year, however, the Volt has come from behind (not that it's really a competition) to outsell the Corvette. Through the first five months of the year, Chevy has delivered 7,057 Volts to dealers and 5,547 Corvettes. Since those are dealer delivery numbers and not actual sales, some of those Volts (and Corvettes) are certainly sitting at dealerships, so the number of actual customers may look different. Still, it's not a bad feat for the hybrid.


Ford Launches MyFord Mobile App For Focus Electric

On: Mon, Jun 18, 2012 at 2:22PM | By: Chris Weiss


Ford Launches MyFord Mobile App For Focus Electric test 2

It's not really an electric car unless it comes with a smartphone app for battery charging. Ford launched the MyFord Mobile app earlier this week, offering Focus Electric owners a mobile platform for monitoring and controlling battery charging.

Focus Electric deliveries started a couple of weeks ago, and the first owners can now download the mobile app from the iTunes store. The app connects with the car via an AT&T wireless module and allows remote access to battery charge information and other features. When the Focus Electric is plugged in, value-mode charging works with the Microsoft cloud to check local utility rates and activate charging when prices drop, helping to save owners money. Ford calls the technology an industry first.


A123 Systems Announces New Lithium Ion Technology

On: Mon, Jun 18, 2012 at 11:28AM | By: Chris Weiss


A123 Systems Announces New Lithium Ion Technology test 2

It seems advisable for A123 Systems to focus on fine-tuning its current generation battery technology (read: make sure it works), but it's already looking ahead to the next generation of lithium-ion technology. The battery company that supplies packs to automakers including Fisker and Chevy says that its Nanophosphate EXT will improve operation in extreme temperature ranges.

Outside of more electric range, one of the first 'must haves' for electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid consumers would certainly have to be lower prices. A123 Systems implies that Nanophosphate EXT can give them just that by eliminating expensive thermal management hardware.


2013 Chevy Volt Gets Bigger Battery And Range Boost

On: Fri, Jun 15, 2012 at 12:34PM | By: Chris Weiss


2013 Chevy Volt Gets Bigger Battery And Range Boost test 2

The Chevy Volt is really giving the Nissan Leaf a run for its money. For the 2012 model, its price inched ever closer, and now another important figure is creeping up on Nissan. The 2013 Volt will use a re-engineered lithium-ion battery to increase both electric-only range and overall fuel economy.

The new Volt, which will hit dealerships in August, adds three miles to its zero-emissions range for a total of 38 miles. In terms of overall efficiency, the new Volt boasts a 98 mpg-e figure, up from 94 mpg-e. The new Volt can travel a total of 380 miles on a full charge/full tank of gas, according to GM.


No Price Change On 2013 Chevy Volt

On: Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 12:50PM | By: Chris Weiss


No Price Change On 2013 Chevy Volt test 2

Chevy is doing a lot of talking about the 2013 Volt. We already saw that Volt buyers will get a little more efficiency with the new model. Of course, that left us wondering: How much will that increased range (and other updates) cost? The answer is - nothing. Chevy says that pricing on the 2013 Volt will remain steady.

According to Inside Line, GM confirmed that pricing on the 2013 Volt won't increase. Of course, it also said that pricing won't decrease, so there won't be a drop like the one between 2011 and 2012 models. The price will sit at the same $39,995 mark as the 2012 Volt.


Kia Optima Makes World-Record Road Trip (Video)

On: Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 3:23PM | By: Chris Weiss


Kia Optima Makes World-Record Road Trip test 2

Last year, Kia Motors set out to earn itself a world record. As you might anticipate, the Korean automaker was ill-equipped to take a stab at any type of speed record, but with its 2011 Optima Hybrid, it made a record-breaking road trip across the continental United States. A new commercial highlights the feat.

The specific goal that Kia went for was the lowest fuel consumption for a car. It didn't quite stake an unqualified claim for lowest fuel consumption for a hybrid - a Toyota Auris Hybrid averaged better in 2010, but it set a record of its own: "lowest fuel consumption in a hybrid gasoline vehicle, while driving through all 48 adjoining U.S. states."


Chevy Volt Selling Out In California

On: Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 1:35PM | By: Chris Weiss


Chevy Volt Selling Out In California test 2

The Chevy Volt hasn't exactly been GM's bestseller since hitting dealerships in December 2010. The plug-in hybrid found its way to fewer than 7,700 homes last year, well short of the 10,000 that GM had aimed for. While consumers may be warming to the car, it's selling slowly enough that GM stopped production several times and plans another stoppage in the summer.

Overall US sales may be slow, but residents of the country's leader in all things eco-vehicle (that's California) have been quite eager to get their hands on the Volt.  A few in-state advantages have combined to make the Chevy Volt quite attractive to Californians.