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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Hybrid / Green

Top Gear Runs Out Of Juice In Nissan Leaf

On: Thu, May 19, 2011 at 9:53AM | By: Chris Weiss


Top Gear's Clarkson, May runs out of power in Nissan LEAF test 2

BBC television series Top Gear is just not having any luck with electric cars lately. Not only does it have to deal with the lawsuit smacked down on it by Tesla Motors, but it ran out of battery power once again. This time it was in a Nissan Leaf.

Jeremy Clarkson and James May were outed when they rolled up to the University of Lincoln looking for a place to plug in. And by rolled, we mean they rolled the powerless car by way of good, old fashioned elbow grease.


Not-So-Smart Fourtwo?

On: Tue, May 17, 2011 at 1:31PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Smart Fourtwo EV test 2

Technology for the most part is good. Technology is also fun, to some extent, but it does have its drawbacks. Sometimes, on the way to making something truly special, there are a lot of... not so innovative... innovations. The laserdisc player, the eight-track, video phones, Charlie Sheen, car stereo remotes, they all had high buy-in costs and low returns in terms of usability and entertainment. Most of these non-comedians eventually led to actual useful results in modern day life, but we had to go through a bit of a technological adolescence that was more infamous than famous.  

Right now, America is going through a similar period with automobiles. Before we can get to true freedom from oil, we have to get past this time of awkward growth. We know we can't survive on gasoline much longer, and ideally electric cars are the way we are going. We can see glimpses of the future with cars like the new Porsche 918 Hybrid and Mercedes SLS AMG E-Cell on the high end, as well as the Prius, Volt, and Leaf on the low end of the price spectrum.


Google And Ford Team Up On Fuel Economy Optimization Software

On: Mon, May 16, 2011 at 5:45PM | By: Chris Weiss


Google And Ford Team Up On Fuel Economy Optimization Software test 2

One of the cited advantages of the self-driving cars being developed by Google is fuel economy. By governing vehicle functionality by intelligent, inflexible software rather than leaving it to the proclivities of imperfect man, Google believes that it can push optimal miles-per-gallon from every vehicle.

While the world waits for Google to perfect its autonomous car, Google has teamed with Ford for a sort of interim fuel-savings technology. The platform is called Google Prediction API and, if all goes according to plan, will be equipped to Fords of the future.


Google Wants To Test Self-Driven Cars In Nevada

On: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 5:44PM | By: Chris Weiss


Google Wants To Test Self-Driven Cars In Nevada  test 2

When you're the state with the second highest percentage of public land in the union, you make a natural testing bed for any initiative that could wreak havoc on the general public. Take a look at a map of Nevada and you'll see how public land and dangerous testing come together in the numerous mysterious military installations that occupy its barren lands. Area 51 is just the tip of the iceberg.

Indeed, some 80 percent of Nevada is owned and operated by the federal government, giving it the highest percentage of federally owned land in the United States. The state is all casino resorts on its borders, but lots of open, desolate lands filling up its interior.


 

Best Buy May Start Selling Electric Cars

On: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 2:00PM | By: Chris Weiss


Best Buy May Start Selling Electric Cars  test 2

With advent of electric vehicles, the electronic and automotive industries have moved closer than ever. Electric vehicles are now just large, battery-powered electronics. Best Buy has slowly been wedging its way into the electric vehicle market, providing an alternative to automotive dealerships. Presently, Best Buy's automotive presence is limited to electric bikes by manufacturers like Brammo and charging station installation for hardware from Ford and Mitsubishi. But the electronics giant is considering getting into actual electric car sales.


Toyota Moving Toward Making the Prius Plug-In-Only...Or Not

On: Thu, May 12, 2011 at 5:40PM | By: Chris Weiss


Toyota Moving Toward Making the Prius Plug-In-Only...Or Not  test 2

The 50-mpg Toyota Prius is already a tour de force, leading the green-vehicle market for years. Toyota is looking ahead to the next generation of Prii to make the successful model even more efficient.

The Prius Plug-In will launch around the world next year. That model will offer EV-only driving ability thanks to the high-performance lithium-ion battery that can be recharged directly from a standard 120V outlet. Toyota says that the car will be able to offer gas/electric range of up to 475 miles. While the plug-in version will be sold alongside the standard Prius, Japanese paper Nikkei reported this week that Toyota plans to make the plug-in powertrain the Prius standard by 2014.


Land Rover Launches Electric Defender

On: Wed, May 11, 2011 at 10:50AM | By: Chris Weiss


Land Rover Launches Electric Defender  test 2

Think you have range anxiety when it comes to well-serviced stretches of local highway? Imagine being stranded by a drained battery deep within the African savanna, leaving you among lions, hippos, and other fierce animals. Not to put a damper on Land Rover's new launch, but that's something that has to be in the back of your mind when it comes to the new Defender EV.

Designed specifically for use in South African game reserves, the Electric Defender Game Viewer Concept Vehicle was developed in conjunction with lithium-ion manufacturer Axeon and Barker Performance, a Land Rover specialist. The model trades out the usual 2.4-liter diesel engine for a 193-hp electric motor wired to a 28.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The combo promises about 55 miles of range.


Automakers Look To Shed Pounds

On: Wed, May 11, 2011 at 9:51AM | By: Chris Weiss


Automakers Look To Shed Pounds  test 2

It's no revelation that automakers around the world are looking to make more efficient vehicles. Fuel prices are rising something awful; government bodies in Europe and the United States are placing stricter regulations on automaker fleet emissions; and the market is quite warm and welcoming to more efficient cars.

Much of the automaker focus and media attention have been on smaller engines and greener powertrains. Electrics, hybrids, and other alternative powertrains have made for intriguing headlines, and smaller, more efficient gas engines have played their own less-lauded, utilitarian role.


Nissan Leaf Beats Chevy Volt in April Sales

On: Mon, May 9, 2011 at 7:23PM | By: Chris Weiss


Nissan Leaf Beats Chevy Volt in April Sales  test 2

April Leaf sales actually surpassed Nissan's expectations. It had anticipated selling about 900 models by the end of April, but exceeded that by more than 15 percent.

As to why the Leaf was able to gain so markedly on the Volt that remains unclear. Both vehicles' sales are quite modest when compared to higher volume gas vehicles (Nissan models like the Rogue and Sentra sold more than 8,000 and 9,000 units respectively), so the differences could be negligible. Green Car Reports says that part of the discrepancy could be related to the fact that Chevy decided to redirect certain Volt models to dealerships to be used as demo vehicles. These cars would have otherwise been sold to the public, and could have increased April's totals, though it's unclear how many sales were affected. Still, it seems significant that the Leaf nearly doubled its sales in just a month while the Volt slipped backwards.


The Latest Electric Bullet: Amarok P1 Electric Bike

On: Fri, May 6, 2011 at 1:17PM | By: Chris Weiss


Amarok P1 Electric Bike  test 2

In a way, motorcycles are the perfect vessel to develop electric powertrain technologies around. They are lightweight and use smaller engines, which mean less power is needed to drive the wheels and deliver speeds and ranges comparable to gas bikes. And if electric powertrains are good for one thing, it's less power and lower speeds. On the other hand, the heavy, bulky nature of lithium-ion batteries can make integrating an electric powertrain into the narrow, streamlined frame of a bike more difficult than plopping it somewhere in the chassis of a compact car.

Canadian company Amorak has the latest solution to integrating electric technology into the motorcycle. It's called the P1 and it looks pretty damn good.


Porsche Panamera Goes Diesel

On: Thu, May 5, 2011 at 4:40PM | By: Chris Weiss


orsche Panamera Goes Diesel  test 2

Since introducing the Panamera to the market in 2009, Porsche has been adding numerous variants to the Panamera line, most recently with the Panamera Hybrid in New York. Porsche added one more Panamera earlier this week, when it revealed the Panamera diesel. The latest Porsche four-door makes use of a 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel to add to the range and fuel economy of the Panamera line.