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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Hybrid / Green

BMW Special Sneak Preview On November 9

On: Thu, Nov 3, 2011 at 4:16PM | By: Peter C Sessler

BMW Special Sneak Preview On November 9 test 2

BMW will host a special sneak-preview event to unveil for the first time in North America what it considers to be the cars of the future: the BMW i3 and BMW i8 concept vehicles. These concepts represent the first purpose-built electric and electric-hybrid vehicles to be made primarily of carbon fiber when they become available in 2013 and 2014, respectively. The unveiling will take place in New York City on Wednesday, November 9th at 11 AM (EST) at Center 548 (548 West 22nd Street between 10th & 11th Avenues).

Tesla To Launch Non-Lotus 'Roadster II' In 2014

On: Tue, Nov 1, 2011 at 1:14PM | By: Chris Weiss

Tesla To Launch Non-Lotus 'Roadster II' test 2

When the Tesla Roadster debuted, it opened a new chapter in automotive history. While the $110,000 Roadster was never a commercial success—Tesla actually lost money on every one sold—it really opened the eyes of automakers, analysts, and the general public in terms of the potential of electric vehicles. Not only was the Roadster emissions-free, it was a sexy, performance-oriented sports coupe, an entirely different animal from the awkwardly shaped electric city car. What was not to like?

Well, the expensive price tag and impractical nature of a two-seat convertible coupled with extensive R&D costs were among the reasons that the Roadster was an instant icon but an unsuccessful product. The Roadster was simply a foothold for Tesla, which will help it launch a variety of less expensive, more practical EVs over the next few years. But it won't abandon its Roadster roots.

Audi E-tron Spyder Out In The California Sun (Video)

On: Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 2:33PM | By: Chris Weiss

Audi E-tron Spyder Out In The California Sun test 2

If you had to scout the perfect location for filming a plug-in sports convertible, it would most certainly be California. Not only is the Golden State a permanent launch pad for all cars electric, it's a sunny state with beautiful vistas of all kinds—kind of the ultimate spot to take an open-top e-roadster. And if you had to select a spot within the large state of California, you couldn't do much better than Malibu, a scenic coastal utopia.

Well, Audi follows that very logic and recently released a video of the e-tron Spyder tackling the coastal hillsides of Malibu.

Review: 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

On: Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 11:23AM | By: Mary McRae

2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid test 2

On the subject of hybrids you are thought to simply have two options: You can buy a Toyota Prius - a hard-core, 50-mpg hybrid with trendy styling and a utilitarian interior - otherwise you will pay more and get less-spectacular mileage in a more leisurely sedan, like a Ford Fusion or Toyota Camry hybrid. Hyundai joins the second group with the first hybrid, which is based on the Sonata sedan.

So what is it that will make the Sonata Hybrid stand out from the Camry and Fusion hybrids? It features a more advanced battery pack, better mileage on the highway, a traditional six-speed automatic transmission … and it looks cool, too! Overall, the strategy works well. It's flashy enough to shout “hybrid,” additionally it provides a feeling of cool, not of smugness.


Honda LA Debuts: CR-V And Fit EV

On: Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 10:22AM | By: Chris Weiss

Honda LA Debuts: CR-V And Fit EV test 2

Honda has two new production vehicle debuts in store for the 2011 LA Auto Show, both of which are quite interesting in their own right. The company announced that it will debut the 2013 Fit EV, Honda's first fully electric car, and the 2012 CR-V at the show.

The Fit EV is definitely the more interesting of the two from where I'm sitting. It isn't exactly revolutionary, and specs-wise actually falls below the Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus EV, but it will provide another electric-car option and should be attractive to Honda customers already driving a Fit or CR-Z hybrid. The car combines the Fit's layout with a three-mode driving system used on the CR-Z. It offers an EPA-estimated range of 70 miles (just below the Leaf's EPA-rated 73 miles) and a top speed around 90 mph.

Nissan Building A Plug-In Hybrid

On: Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 9:09AM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan Building A Plug-In Hybrid test 2

When Nissan confirmed that it's developing its own hybrid powertrain earlier this month, there were two ways of thinking about a potential plug-in hybrid. On the one hand, it would only make sense to merge the pure hybrid system with the all-electric powertrain of the Leaf to develop a plug-in system that's greener than the Altima Hybrid, but farther-driving than the Leaf. On the other hand, since Nissan was the first major automaker to commit to an electric vehicle, and because the Leaf has had a strong sales start, handily outpacing the Chevy Volt, maybe it would make more sense to focus all R&D efforts on all-electric technology, which offers the greatest long-term potential for clean vehicles.

Well, Nissan is going the safer route, admitting to Reuters that it will launch a plug-in within four years.

British Charger Company Says Public Chargers Not For Range Extending

On: Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 11:16AM | By: Chris Weiss

British Charger Company Says Public Chargers Not For Range Extending test 2

Right now, limited range and the fear of getting stranded by a drained battery—a fear that's colloquially called 'range anxiety'—are the biggest factors hampering the viability of electric vehicles. A car is a means of getting from point A to point B, after all, so if your point A to point B is often, or even occasionally, longer than the 100 miles or so that current generation electric vehicles offer, an EV really isn't a sound option.

In the US and abroad, municipalities and EV charging companies are working to address this issue by installing charging stations. After all, a gas powertrain doesn't have enough range for some longer trips, but, thanks to the fact that there are gas stations in towns and on roadways across the world, this isn't an issue for gas-vehicle drivers. So, once electric charging stations are as diffuse as gas stations, the EV will be viable for everyone, right?

Not so fast, says a U.K.-based Polar Network, an electric charging manufacturer that's been building level 2 charging stations in the U.K. Charging stations are meant to top your juice off, not fully recharge and boost your range.

GM Prepares To Launch Chevy EN-V

On: Fri, Oct 21, 2011 at 11:41AM | By: Chris Weiss

GM Prepares To Launch Chevy EN-V test 2

I remember the sheer shock and anger I felt when one of GM's first moves after securing public bailout money in 2009 was revealing the P.U.M.A electric pod concept. I could hardly believe that GM chose to partner with Segway—not exactly a successful powerhouse in the transportation segment—for a concept after just getting billions of dollars in public funding. And the vehicle they released was so damn ridiculous that it actually made the Segway look cool.

Since that time, the GM-Segway team-up has only gotten more ridiculous, moving from a lightweight, open-air design to a big, awkward, fully enclosed pile of not-selling-many. And again I'm filled with shock and a little anger knowing that GM, still a company beholden to the American public, is moving ahead with plans of building this thing. In fact, it has given the EN-V a home in the Chevy line.

Fisker Karma Gets EPA Rated And Gives Us A Few More Reasons Not To Buy It

On: Fri, Oct 21, 2011 at 9:28AM | By: Chris Weiss

Fisker Karma Gets EPA Rated And Gives Us A Few More Reasons Not To Buy It test 2

Poor Fisker. Once a highly respectable name in cutting edge green car innovation, the auto start-up is now left trying to peddle an overpriced plug-in that was basically out of date before it was ever available. Two or three years (and several production delays and price increases) ago, a $97,000 plug-in sports-luxury hybrid with 400 hp might have seemed like a really attractive alternative to the Tesla Roadster. But with the equally sporty, cleaner, Tesla Model S ($57,000 to $77,000) preparing to hit the market next year, the Karma just looks like a last-generation green car arriving to the market way too late.

And its final clearance toward that market arrival isn't helping. The EPA tested the car and the finalized numbers fall well short of Fisker's own projections, making the Karma look even more clunky and outdated.

Nissan Debuts Hybrid Technology

On: Thu, Oct 20, 2011 at 11:05AM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan Debuts Hybrid Technology test 2

Nissan may be a leader in terms of electric vehicles, but it's lagged behind the competition in terms of hybrid technology. It debuted the Altima Hybrid in 2007, but chose to just borrow Toyota technology instead of developing its own. The Altima Hybrid has been Nissan's only hybrid offering and was recently canceled from its 2012 lineup. While Toyota and Honda offer cars like the Prius, Fit and CR-X, Nissan is essentially hybrid-less.

Well, Nissan announced its very own hybrid system last week, and it intends to bring it to the US market within about two years.

Chevy And Nissan Benefit From Plug-In Buzz

On: Wed, Oct 19, 2011 at 9:10AM | By: Chris Weiss

Chevy And Nissan Benefit From Plug-In Buzz test 2

Both the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf hit the market nearly a year ago. The country's two cleanest cars have been in a sales race, with both hoping to reach around 10,000 sales or so by the end of the year. Chevy benefited from a stronger start, but Nissan picked up, passed Chevy by and hasn't looked back.

The sales rivalry has caused a war of PR spin, but there's one thing that executives at both Nissan and Chevy can agree on: plug-in vehicles have been good for brand image and business.