Category: Electric vehicles

By on October 21, 2016

Fisker Hype Machine w/ Comments, Image Source: Fisker Inc.

Whenever you hear the words online reputation management, two underhanded marketing activities should immediately come to mind.

The first: fake reviews. There are agencies that exist solely to place fake reviews on sites like Yelp, DealerRater, and Google Reviews to increase a business’s overall rating. For a great example of this, see Bark M.’s piece on Orlando Kia West.

The second reputation management tactic is to, again, hire an agency to place comments from fake readers in article comments that cover topics related to a particular business.

It’s this second tactic we are going to discuss today.

Fisker is no stranger to controversy and bad press. However, much of the automotive press is more than willing — more than happy, even — to give Henrik and his new company a “get out of jail free” card as it covers the new Fisker Inc. Yet, a small subset of the media exists to find the real story behind the press release and we’re more than willing to offer up the bad news with the good.

Fisker or another actor (who we’ll get to in a moment) is trying to make those professional opinions irrelevant by any means necessary. And they’re using — wait for it — an Indian online reputation management company to lift its own corporate profile and wage a proxy war against Karma Automotive, the same company Henrik founded as Fisker Automotive in 2007.

Read More >

By on October 12, 2016

Sondors Electric Trike, Image: Sondors

Last year, Storm Sondors, a Malibu-based entrepreneur, used an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign to launch a very basic $499 electric bicycle. He’s since sold 15,000 of his Asian-made electric bikes.

Buoyed by that success, Mr. Sondors has announced the creation of the Sondors Electric Car Company, which he says will sell an electric-powered, aluminum-bodied, three-passenger, enclosed reverse trike with a variety of battery pack options that offer 50 to 200 miles of range.

The Sondors electric trike is supposed to have a starting price of $10,000 and will be called the Model Sondors, more likely a nod to Tesla than to Henry Ford.

The folks over at think the Model Sondors is everything the proposed Elio is not. I agree with that statement, though not in the same way as Gas2go’s Steve Hanley. Read More >

By on September 8, 2016

Karma Revero, Image: Karma Automotive

Just a few short moments ago, I was converted.

No, not by electric drivetrains or other alternative sources of transportation fairy dust.

I was converted by the four men in charge of the Fisker Karma’s resurrection — now called the Karma Revero — into believing the company’s viability as a future going concern.

Read More >

By on July 18, 2016

3rd Generation Toyota Prius HEV Battery, Image: Toyota

Many industry reporters and enthusiasts attached stigma to early mass market hybrids because of the unknown reliability of their batteries. Potential owners worried that a failed battery would stick them with an expensive, out-of-warranty repair bill.

The first generation of hybrid vehicles hit the streets right around the turn of the century, right at the same time the domestic market was in love with SUVs. Anecdotes abounded about how dangerous and expensive hybrids would be to fix and maintain. Now that they’ve been on the road for over a decade, data shows — for the most part — there was no reason to fear these electrified fuel sippers.

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By on June 14, 2016

Tesla Supercharger With Model S At Tesla Dealership

The stuck cork that was the Model X has finally cleared its supply hurdles, causing Tesla production to hit a new high at the automaker’s Fremont, California factory.

With assembly of that model speeded up, Tesla recently hit a production rate of 2,000 vehicle per week, a knowledgeable source told Electrek — a figure that’s still way off the company’s goal of building half a million units per year within the next 18 months or so. Read More >

By on June 5, 2016

Occupied Norwegian TV Show, Image: Yellow Bird

Elon Musk tweeted his joy when a Norwegian paper announced a proposed ban of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles in the nordic country by 2025.

The proposal itself is built upon good intentions. By eliminating sales of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles, tailpipe emissions will slowly reduce. The country is famously energy independent, thanks to massive offshore oil reserves, which can be converted into hydrogen or used to generate electricity. And electric vehicles are increasingly popular in the country thanks to massive incentives funded by oil exports.

The proposal has me wondering about something else entirely: could the fossil-fuel-vehicle ban have serious political ramifications in Europe? Norwegian serial drama Okkupert — Occupied in English — might have some answers.

Read More >

By on May 17, 2016

Tesla Model 3 Unveil, Image: Tesla Motors

As the owner of a 2013 Tesla Model S P85 and occasional TTAC writer, I have my opinions on the Model 3. Many commenters thought Tesla’s business model of starting at the high-end and working its way down market was crazy, but Elon Musk had the right idea: use the cash flow from high-end car manufacturing to ramp up your engineering chops and supplier relationships so you can push prices down to eventually make a mainstream product.

That’s exactly what Tesla is doing and the plan seems to be working brilliantly — but there’s a catch: managing the engineering “complexity budget.”

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By on April 22, 2016


Thirty-three months ago, I announced the addition of a long-term C-Max to our “fleet” with much Sturn und Drang about how I’d be keeping you comprehensively updated on the ownership experience and whatnot.

Well, I’m sure none of you noticed, but I never wrote about the thing again. Why? Well, there wasn’t anything about which to write! My baby-momma got a steady 42 miles per gallon, never had a single mechanical issue, loved the car to death, and became a total Jonestown convert to the C-Max way of life.

It’s now time to replace that C-Max. I suggested an Accord Hybrid. My son suggested a used AMG SLS Black Series. Her new husband suggested keeping the C-Max and getting a faster motorcycle for him instead — possibly a Hayabusa, who knows. All of these were good ideas. But she decided she wanted another C-Max, so we started running the numbers … and as they say on Buzzfeed, you won’t believe what happened next!

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By on March 29, 2016

BYD ebus-12 electric bus badge, Images: © Kamil Kaluski/The Truth About Cars

“I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but EVs are great,” John Beltz Snyder boldly writes in the opening sentence of Autoblog’s “More research shows why EVs are awesome” article.

For more than 15 years, when not writing about cars, I’ve worked in the public transportation sector. With the exception of the two years I spent as an automotive test engineer, I’ve worked on bus and rail projects in engineering and managerial roles.

Mr. Synder, Autoblog’s resident electric-car guru, states a study published by the Indian Institute of Science shows how much money electric buses save over conventional diesel buses. He continues, in a somewhat non sequitur way, to claim that “switching to an EV is about as big of a difference a single individual can make without giving up driving altogether.”

Needless to say, the Autoblog article, and the study it referenced, is of great interest to me. Unfortunately, it misses the benchmark of the cavalierly claimed awesomeness.

Read More >

By on September 11, 2015

2015 Nissan Leaf

My enthusiasm for Nissan’s dirt-cheap Leaf in Colorado is well documented. Here in the Centennial State, we have 100 ways to make a 2015 Nissan Leaf affordable for poor journalists like me — thank you, Beer Baron Governor.

For me, the specter of a brand-new car for less than $10,000 is too good to pass up — and even good enough to delay my quest for the best Alfa Romeo Milano in the U.S. That even felt weird to type.

So on Thursday afternoon, I packed up the girlfriend, my expectations for a rock-bottom priced Nissan Leaf and hit the local dealership for a rendezvous with the least-expensive new car in America.  Read More >

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