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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Hybrid / Green

EPA Rates Tesla Model S Range

On: Mon, May 14, 2012 at 4:11PM | By: Chris Weiss

EPA Rates Tesla Model S Range test 2

Tesla will begin Model S deliveries next month, a little earlier than initially planned. The EPA has tested and rated the model, keeping Tesla at its untouchable pinnacle in terms of EV range.

When tested by way of the EPA's new stricter 5-cycle testing, which adds cold-weather with heater, hot-weather with air conditioner and high-speed driving to its 2-cycle testing, the EPA stamps a 265-mile rating on the top-tier Model S, only about 12 percent lower than Tesla's 300-mile claim. Considering ratings of cars like the Nissan Leaf take a hit of nearly a third when tested by the EPA, that's not bad at all. Further, when tested under the 2-cycle procedure that the Roadster was judged by, the Model S exceeds Tesla's estimates, earning 320 miles of range.

The Fiat 500 Goes Electric...And Underwhelms

On: Mon, May 14, 2012 at 12:58PM | By: Chris Weiss

The Fiat 500 Goes Electric...And Underwhelms test 2

We have the Fiat 500; the 500 L is on its way; and the 500 X is possible. However, we haven't heard much recent news on the 500 E - at least not from Fiat. The minicar makes so much sense as the lightweight home of an all-electric powertrain, one German company had to build it before Fiat.

Hamburg-based electric vehicle manufacturer and Fiat commercial vehicle supplier Karabag has equipped a 500 with a small lithium-polymer-powered drivetrain that puts out 37 hp. The motor has an unusual source: a Linde electric forklift. With a 62-mile range and 65 mph top speed, the car isn't all that practical for anything other than city driving. Since it's a German endeavor, though, we anticipate that European city centers are exactly what it was built for.

OUCH! Toyota RAV4 EV Starts Over $50K

On: Thu, May 10, 2012 at 12:30PM | By: Chris Weiss

Toyota RAV4 EV test 2

As promised, Toyota debuted its RAV4 EV at the 2012 Electric Vehicles Symposium this week. If you were awaiting the RAV4 EV with high hopes that it would give you an intriguing electric option with more space and utility than the tiny city cars that currently carry electric powertrains, you had better have a decent bank account. The RAV4 EV will start at $50,610 (including delivery) when it goes on sale this summer.

Given the high premium demanded by electric vehicles, we're not entirely surprised at the high price of the RAV4 EV. Still, that price looks much more Lexus than Toyota and is more than double the price of the gas-powered RAV4. Toyota doesn't even mention an all-wheel-drive option, so while the RAV4 EV may be the "only all-electric SUV on the market," it won't really be a proper SUV and won't have the same utility or all-conditions driving capability. It's basically another "twice the price for half the car" EV.

Fuel Economy Drops For New Cars In April

On: Wed, May 9, 2012 at 4:12PM | By: Chris Weiss

Fuel Economy Drops For New Cars In April test 2

Last month, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute reported that the average fuel economy for new cars had broken 24 MPG for the first time. The 24 MPG figure didn't last long, though, as April's average dropped right back down to the same level as it was in February.

Despite the fact that some key hybrids increased twofold from April 2010, overall fuel economy still dipped to 23.9 MPG from 24.1 MPG in March. UMTRI cites a reprieve in gas-price increases in late April as a possible explanation. Prior to April, fuel economy had been on the rise all year - from 23.6 MPG in January to 23.9 MPG in February to 24.1 MPG in March.


Volkswagen Considering An Up! Crossover

On: Wed, May 9, 2012 at 1:47PM | By: Chris Weiss

Volkswagen Considering An Up! Crossover test 2

Based upon the strong reaction that its up! production models and concepts have inspired, Volkswagen appears ready to expand its green city car line. It's currently considering an up! crossover based upon the cross up! concept it showed in Frankfurt.

It's no surprise that Volkswagen is considering expanding the up! line. It has been showing up! concepts at nearly every major auto show of late - including a quartet at this year's Geneva Motor Show. Meanwhile, the up! production car, which launched in Europe recently, has won some major accolades, including World Car of the Year.

Ford Considers Making Car Components Out Of Recycled Money

On: Tue, May 8, 2012 at 12:35PM | By: Chris Weiss

Ford Considers Making Car Components Out Of Recycled Money test 2

Cars made out of money may sound too ostentatious for even a rap video, but Ford has some truer intentions than first impressions may give. The automaker said this month that it's looking into using recycled US currency in certain vehicle components.

Why recycled money? We conclude mostly because it makes a helluva publicity stunt. Not only can Ford play the green (in more ways than one) card, but it gets a rather unique, headline-making story that's about quirky enough for the front page of Yahoo! News.

Ford Announces Focus Electric Launch Details

On: Mon, May 7, 2012 at 5:29PM | By: Chris Weiss

Focus Electric Launch Details test 2

Ever since we found out about the $40,000 price tag, we have kind of written the Focus Electric off. It combines the high price of the Chevy Volt with the low range of the Nissan Leaf - not exactly a promising vehicle. But, the car is set to launch in the coming weeks, and Ford has released some new details about that launch.

The "details" of the launch don't do the courtesy of giving exact dates, leaving things to general time frames like "spring" and "summer." What they do provide is a time line of which markets will get the Focus Electric first.

Hybrid Sales Leap In April

On: Fri, May 4, 2012 at 10:04AM | By: Chris Weiss

Hybrid Sales Leap In April test 2

Gas prices are not expected to abate for another month or so. In the meantime, greener cars continue to enjoy a small renaissance. Sales of several prominent hybrids experienced 100 percent leaps last month.

According to Inside Line, sales of Toyota's market-defining hybrid vehicles led a strong month for hybrids in general with a 125 percent leap from April 2010. Toyota sold 32,593 hybrids in all last month and 25,168 Prius models. Toyota's luxury arm Lexus reported a more modest gain of 18 percent for hybrids like the CT-200h.

Dodge Dart Aero To Hit 40 MPG

On: Thu, May 3, 2012 at 12:20PM | By: Chris Weiss

Dodge Dart Aero To Hit 40 MPG test 2

Most media attention when it comes to greener vehicles is on powertrains - electric motors, alternative fuels, smaller gas engines, turbocharging, etc. But that's only one of the ways to make a car that's lighter on the pump and wallet. Another way is by going aero. Dodge shows us what that strategy has to offer with the new Dart Aero compact four-door.

To be fair, the bulk of the Dart Aero's environmental ambitions are reached by way of an efficient 1.4-liter MultiAir turbo four-cylinder from Fiat. That engine delivers 27/39 mpg city/highway when equipped to the standard Dodge Dart with a six-speed manual transmission. But because it's painfully close to the alluring 40 mpg mark achieved by some competitors, Dodge decided to develop an Aero package that will push the model's fuel efficiency to "at least 41 mpg."

IBM's 500-Mile EV Lithium Air Technology (Video)

On: Wed, May 2, 2012 at 10:00AM | By: Chris Weiss

IBM's 500-Mile EV Lithium Air Technology test 2

Imagine a world where an electric vehicle could travel just as far as a gas vehicle. There'd be no more range anxiety, no more excuses for right wing talk show hosts to knock the electric vehicle industry, and no more reason to ever pay another dime for a tank of gas, assuming that such an EV was affordable. The player that produces battery technology capable of giving the EV that type of range is going to be quite wealthy and popular. Could it be IBM? The once-household name in technology shows its lithium-air technology.

IBM began its research in 2009 and recently demonstrated the charge and recharge chemistry of its lithium-air technology in the lab. The technology replaces the heavy metal oxides used in current generation batteries with oxygen pulled from the air. This makes the batteries much lighter and delivers a high energy density, according to the company. IBM believes that the technology could produce a family sized car capable of traveling 500 miles per charge - that's an electric vehicle that drives way past range anxiety.

Toyota RAV4 EV To Debut At EV Symposium In May

On: Tue, May 1, 2012 at 10:01AM | By: Chris Weiss

Toyota RAV4 EV To Debut At EV Symposium In May test 2

In a short media advisory this week, Toyota announced that it will debut the 2013 RAV4 EV at the 2012 Electric Vehicle Symposium next week. The RAV4 EV will add a bit more size and utility to the fledgling EV market.

The new RAV4 EV will look much different from the original RAV4 EV, which Toyota launched all the way back in 1997. Toyota received help from Tesla with the powertrain underpinning the upcoming RAV4 electric. Toyota says that powertrain offers about 100 miles of range and acceleration comparable to the V-6 RAV4. The RAV4 EV is supposed to hit the market sometime this year, and we expect Toyota should give more details during next week's press conference.