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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Reports

The Reality About Electric Recharging Stations

On: Tue, Jul 20, 2010 at 2:50PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

The Reality About Electric Recharging Stations test 1-1

Manufacturers of electric cars would like to make the public believe that the infrastructure for charging electric vehicles is already in place, and that charging at home will not be a problem. The truth is that if car owners don’t have a special connector they will wait for long periods of time to recharge.

Although it’s true that electric charging stations do exist, particularly in select cities that were chosen to be the first to launch some of the electric models, they are not as prevalent as automakers may want us to think.

For apartment dwellers, plugging in will be very difficult; even finding a standard 110 outlet is not so easy for those in multi-family houses.

What many would-be electric car owners may not know is that it could take over 24 hours to charge their new EVs, particularly using a standard 110-volt outlet for power.

The Wall Street Journal published a recent article that described how difficult it is for the average home owner to cut through the bureaucracy in order to get the upgraded 220 charging stations installed in their residences. It can currently take many weeks for a city to issue the permits needed to supply the fast charger that will reduce the recharging time to between 4 and 8 hours for most models of electric vehicles. The price for the electric charging stations can be another hurdle, at $1,200 for a home charging station, to several thousand dollars for the fast charging posts.

2011 Ford Edge Offers Top Fuel Economy and Power

On: Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 9:45AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

2011 Ford Edge Offers Top Fuel Economy and Power test 1-1

Ford has done it again! Designed a car with great fuel economy that doesn’t feel like having squirrels running on a wheel powering the engine! The  2011 Ford Edge SEL and Limited (front-wheel drive) offer an estimated 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. Best in its class for fuel economy as well as power, the standard engine is a 3.5-liter V6 with as much as 285 hp, more power than most V6 contenders.

The 2011 model Edge has been improved by 1 mpg better city and 2 mpg better highway driving with even more power than its predecessor; 20 more hp than the 2010 Edge.

According to Ford’s website, the chief engineer of the new Edge was quoted as saying, “Providing class-leading fuel economy and power are two of many examples of the improved attributes customers will find in the 2011 Edge; the new Edge demonstrates how a refresh at Ford is much more than just a few tweaks. It’s reworking all the elements, adding more content and improving the look and feel of the vehicle.”

Tesla and Toyota Announce Electric RAV4 for 2012

On: Sun, Jul 18, 2010 at 11:38AM | By: Chris Weiss

Tesla and Toyota Announce Electric RAV4 for 2012  test 1-1

In May, Tesla and Toyota announced a partnership toward the production of electric vehicles. As part of the deal, Toyota invested $50 million in Tesla, and Tesla took the reins of Toyota's former NUMMI plant in California. Rumors have indicated that the first fruits of their labor would be an electric version of Toyota's RAV4, and today the companies announced that a deal has been signed toward that end. Tesla has provided Toyota with a prototype and the companies are currently in the process of testing and improving the design.

The electrified RAV4 will be built on the traditional RAV4 platform, but fitted with a Tesla electric drivetrain. Tesla uses a 3-phase AC induction motor and 56 kWh in its Roadster. The motor puts out 288 hp and 295 lb-ft, which is enough to drive the Lotus-based Roadster to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds. The companies did not announce specifics of the electric RAV4's drivetrain, but Tesla is currently working on delivering a prototype fleet to Toyota for advanced evaluation and testing.

The electric RAV4 is tentatively scheduled for a 2012 production schedule in the United States.Tesla representatives indicated that the RAV4s may join the Model S sedan for production at the NUMMI plant. The companies are investigating other possible markets for sale around the world.

The RAV4 was said to be an obvious choice due to its size and flexibility. The model was actually made an electric vehicle by Toyota itself more than a decade ago. The RAV4 EV was sold between 1997 to 2003, and close to 1,500 models made it to U.S. roadways. More than half of them are still in service, including ones owned by notable celebrities like Tom Hanks. The original electric RAV4 featured a 27 kWh nickel-metal-hydride battery pack that delivered a range of 100 miles per charge and top speed around 78 mph. Sales of the vehicle were disappointing at the time, but Toyota was able to funnel some of the technology into future vehicles like the Prius.

Toyota Complaints Drop Drastically

On: Sat, Jul 17, 2010 at 9:53PM | By: Chris Weiss

Toyota Complaints Drop Drastically  test 1-1

It's been a long time in the making, but there is some good news for Toyota, if only in the short term. According to Reuters, complaints about unintended acceleration have dropped significantly, as media focus has shifted away from Toyota's safety problems. The drop in complaints and media scrutiny should help Toyota rebound and earn back consumer trust and respect after an embarrassing year of major safety recalls, bad press, and fines for inaction.

Beginning in September of 2009, Toyota announced a string of major recalls that affected an eventual 10 million vehicles in total. Two major recalls were made due to unintended acceleration problems. Floor mats and sticking accelerator pedals were cited as the causes of the unintended acceleration, but the media questioned whether there wasn't a greater issue with the electronic throttle-control system.

So far, both Toyota and NHTSA testing has failed to reveal any problems outside of the floor mats and sticking accelerator pedals. The NHTSA is still involved in a thorough review of the recalls and it's likely to be months before it wraps up its investigation and present its findings. Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that initial findings by the NHTSA have indicated that a percentage of unintended acceleration complaints were due to driver error and were not caused by vehicle deficincies.


U.S. Auto Brands On The Rise According to New J.D. Power Survey

On: Fri, Jul 16, 2010 at 11:11AM | By: Chris Weiss

The Ford Edge test 2

It's been a rough few years for the American automobile industry, no matter how you cut it. However, it appears that the Detroit Big 3 are benefiting from refocused efforts and the image problems of companies abroad. A new survey from J.D. Power and Associates indicates that American car buyers are actually the most satisfied car consumers in the country.

The Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study (APEAL) asked 76,000 respondents during February through May about their experience with new vehicles purchased within 90 days. No short-form, like or dislike format, the survey grilled respondents about more than 80 different vehicle criteria to garner a comprehensive look at how drivers felt about their automobiles. The data was then compounded to put together a numeric score on a scale that rises to 1,000.

For the first time in 13 years, American cars were actually triumphant over Asian and European models. Overall, American brands averaged 787 points, which was 13 points higher than imports. This represents a large jump from last year, in which American brands earned a collective 776 and lagged five points behind imports. America's gains were driven largely by new and redesigned models from Ford and GM.

Toyota May Not Be Entirely At Fault in Unintended Acceleration

On: Thu, Jul 15, 2010 at 9:50AM | By: Chris Weiss

2011 Toyota Avalon  test 2

The United States Department of Transportation has been rigorously analyzing paperwork and equipment relating to Toyota's unintended accleration problems, issues that have caused the recall of more than eight million vehicles, beginning last year. While the National Highway Transportation Safety Authority (NHTSA) has already slapped Toyota with a $16.4 million fine, and may still add more fines to that total, a recent report in the Wall Street Journal indicates that the agency is finding that Toyota is not the only party to blame in the acceleration woes. In at least a portion of the complaints, driver error has been found to be the cause of the issue.

In an intensive analysis of dozens of vehicle data recorders taken from Toyota models involved in sudden acceleration incidents, the NHTSA has found that many of them recorded the throttle being fully open and the brakes being disengaged at the time of crashing. This shows that the drivers involved were punching the accelerator, but not stepping on the brakes at all.

The problem of sudden acceleration, which has been linked to both floor mats and defective, sticking accelerator pedals in individual recalls, has been that cars reportedly accelerated even when the brakes were pressed. However, in these newly uncovered incidents, it would appear that the drivers mistakenly hit the accelerator rather than the brakes.

Driver error has also been cited as the cause of some high profile acceleration incidents, including one in New York and one in the San Diego area.

Maserati To Introduce Smaller, Cheaper Sedan

On: Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 10:36AM | By: Chris Weiss

2010 Maserati Quattroporte  test 2

Maserati is set to appeal to a broader market, albeit still limited and exclusive, with a smaller, less expensive sedan positioned underneath its Quattroporte. The midsize sport luxury sedan will compete with the likes of the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes CL, and Cadillac CTS when it debuts in 2014. The car will help to broaden Maserati's appeal and visibility in the market, and provide a new sales dynamic for the brand.

Maserati currently offers sport and luxury cars under three models: the GranCabrio, the GranTurismo, and the Quattroporte. The first two are two-doors while the Quattroporte is Maserati's answer to the sedan market. There are three trims of Quattroporte, comprising the base, S, and Sport GT S variants. Each features a V8 powerplant. Output and performance rise up to 440 hp, a top speed of 177 mph and a 5.1-second dash to 62 mph for the Sport GT S. The line bases at over $120,000 and the Quattoporte competes with the likes of the Mercedes S-Class, Porsche Panamera, and Audi S8.

Subaru Recall Blues

On: Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 2:03PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Subaru Recall Blues test 1-1

Auto manufacturers have been issuing more and more recalls over the past few years. The regularity of recall notices may be a sign that a specific vehicle may have some issues with safety or reliablilty. Subaru has certainly had more recalls for the 2010 year model than in the past.

The latest in recalls for Subaru is the Outback and Legacy models, being recalled due to faulty wiring behind the steering wheel; the wires were found to be at risk of cracking and breaking, which could interfere with the normal functioning of the steering wheel. If this happens, some vehicle functions with controls on the steering wheel—such as the horn, cruise and radio controls, paddle shifters, and even the driver's airbag, including problems with deployment of the air bag—could fail.

Approximately 74,000 Outback and Legacy models are thought to be affected by the faulty steering wheel wiring issue, models that were assembled between February 16, 2009 and April 12, 2010. Consumers who own one of the affected vehicles are asked to contact their local Subaru dealer; they will then be checked to see if they have the faulty steering roll connector; all Subaru Legacy and Outback models found to have the problem will be fixed at no cost. For more details on this latest recall contact NHTSA on 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153) or visit Safecar.gov

Chrysler Recalls 2010 Dodge Ram 1500, Jeep Liberty, and Dodge Nitro

On: Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 9:45AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Chrysler Recalls 2010 Dodge Ram 1500, Jeep Liberty, and Dodge Nitro test 1-1

Chrysler is the most recent player in the game of automotive recalls. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that Chrysler will be recalling some models of the 2010 Jeep Liberty, Jeep Wrangler, Dodge Nitro, and 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup.

Chrysler announced the numbers are 22,300 trucks and SUVs that have a potential braking problem.

According to the official NHTSA bulletin, those vehicles were built with a defective part that could cause a loss of braking ability that could result in potential accidents.

The fault lies in the end flare that sits between the master cylinder and the hydraulic control unit brake tube assembly. In certain affected models, the improperly formed part could allow brake fluid to drain out of the system, which could lead to a loss of braking capacity, putting the affected automobile at risk for a potential collision. 

The NHTSA bulletin does not indicate the number of vehicles affected, nor does it list production dates, so anyone who has a 2010 model should assume that their vehicle may be included in the recall.

Porsche 918 Spyder Hybrid To Start At 500,000 Euros

On: Mon, Jul 12, 2010 at 4:08PM | By: Chris Weiss

Porsche 918 Spyder Hybrid To Start At 500,000 Euros test 1-1

Today, the world has gotten a glimpse at what the future market of ultra-performance hybrid supercars will look like. In short, it's not cheap. While Porsche has yet to officially confirm the 918 Spyder Hybrid for production, a pair of loose-lipped, anonymous sources familiar with Porsche's plans indicate that Stuttgart has already received more than enough letters of interest to seriously consider production. The same sources indicate that Porsche plans on introducing the car at a price of €500,000 (app. $630,000). This figure represents Porsche's most expensive model ever, beating out the €453,000 Carrera GT.

Today's news comes from a Bloomberg report which states that Porsche has received 2,000 letters of interest for the 918 Spyder Hybrid. Shortly after Porsche wowed the auto world when it introduced the 918 concept at the Geneva Motor Show this past winter, Porsche CEO Michael Macht indicated that the company was excited about the possibility of seeing the model through to production. At the time, word was that Porsche wanted to get 1,000 sales pledges from buyers before proceeding with plans. While letters of interest are less serious and binding than actual pledges, the number shows that there is plenty of interest in the model.  Porsche has not committed one way or the other, but is expected to announce its intentions later this year.

2010 Brumos Porsche 250; Sports Car SlobberKnockers

On: Wed, Jul 7, 2010 at 3:05PM | By: John Welch

How did we get to this image? test 2

The Rolex Grand Am Series produces incredible racing action every time the Daytona Prototypes lay rubber to tarmac. This post contains an image gallery highlighting one of the many scraps that occured on track during the 2010 Brumos Porsche 250. Allow me to set the scene . . .

After a terrible beginning to the 2010 Rolex Series, the No.99 Gainsco/Bob Stallings Chevrolet Riley turned a scorching lap during qualifying to claim second starting position for the race. Second only to the No.10 Wayne Taylor/SunTrust Ford Dallara, a car also plauged by finishes not indicitive of the way they have run in the races this season, the Gainsco car found itself locked in a fierce contest of wills with it's primary rival, the No.01 Ganassi/TelMex BMW. The Ganassi machine, suffering from a little bit of ballast-bloat (BMW-powered DPs were saddled with a 75 lb. weight penalty after the race at Mid-Ohio two weeks ago), qualified a lowly fifth, rather unusual for the dominant Ganassi team.

The bit-players in this gallery include the No. 6 MSR Dallara, driven by Brian Frissell, as well as the No. 59 Brumos Porsche Riley. Both cars were in the hunt all day, with Frissell leading a significant portion of the race. We now know that Ganassi came out on top, but the result was anything but certain while these photos were being taken. Description of the action with each image; enjoy!