Category: Electric vehicles

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.

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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

cmax

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.

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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 >

By on July 14, 2015

NB_23Tesla2.jpg

All power is not created equal.

That’s one of many takeaways from a comprehensive study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, one of the nation’s prominent think tanks.

The paper focused on the relative impact of green-energy cars, concluding that an electric car in New Jersey doesn’t have the same environmental impact as an electric car in California.

The initial reaction has been largely surface-deep: electric cars on the East Coast and in the South are powered by “dirty energy” and aren’t as clean as their gas-powered counterparts. That much is a quasi-fair assessment — the source for the electric cars’ power should be considered when it comes to ultimately determining their environmental impacts.

The study, however, is a larger look at the federal subsidies offered on electric cars.

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By on May 13, 2015

AIRPod-car.jpg.662x0_q70_crop-scale

Though I don’t watch broadcast or cable television much anymore, I like the idea of the ABC’s Shark Tank. Actually, when I still had cable, I watched the original Canadian version of the show, Dragon’s Den, since Windsor, Ontario’s CBC affiliate station is generally part of Detroit area cable bundling. As a tinkerer, inventor and small business owner, the idea of a show premised on pitching your business idea to possible angels is appealing to me. However, while all of the “sharks” undoubtedly have been more successful entrepreneurs than I have been, sometimes they make investments that just don’t make sense to me.

On last Friday’s show, one of the potential investors, Robert Herjavec, pledged $5 million in funding to a startup named Zero Pollution Motors to start building cars propelled by compressed air. ZPM says that they will start building the cars in Hawaii sometime later this year.

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By on March 9, 2015

Obligatory XKCD

You’d think that, after all these years, I’d have a tougher skin for people who say stupid things on the Internet. And I’m pretty good about that, but now that I own a Tesla, it strangely gets under my skin when people write ill-informed drivel about the car. Here at TTAC, we’re all about well-informed drivel. It’s a subtle distinction, but we’re proud of it. Anyway, here’s a bit of unfortunately typical writing, found on a random Internet chat board (not TTAC, because the B&B would never stoop to this). All grammar and spelling have been left untouched.

Tesla interior is junk far away from luxury. BMW 335i has better interior design, and 550i in whole different league. Road noise, cheap panels, flimsy speaker grille, seat comfort, ceiling height, sound quality (premium sound!!) all materials that tesla uses belong to 20$K Honda. So rest of money goes into battery price.

Let’s break this down, shall we?

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