Category: Electric Vehicles

By on October 19, 2017

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric, Image: Steph Willems

Governments big and small can issue far-off bans on gasoline and diesel all they want, but in the here and now, no one’s stopping you from taking home a Ford F-350 crew cab for family hauling duties. There’s no shadowy apparatchik barring the front door at the local Dodge dealership, preventing you from signing on the dotted line for that 392 Scat Pack or Hellcat.

Choice, glorious choice, awaits us all. Enjoy it while you can. For now, only the number of coins in our pockets (and maybe our parking situation) can keep those automotive love affairs at bay.

So, is it any wonder few people buy an electric car? The future’s electric, CEOs tell us, but high prices, low ranges, and a fledgling recharging network means EV ownership was mainly — at least until the Chevrolet Bolt came along — the domain of those dropping big bucks on Mr. Musk’s long-range wondercars. Destitute, but still achingly green? A used Nissan Leaf can haul your butt across town for a price rapidly approaching $0.

Is there room in this lopsided landscape for a new Hyundai with no exhaust pipe, a price lower than the competition, and a body that doesn’t scream “status”? If there is, can you live with it? Read More >

By on October 18, 2017

2016 Nissan Leaf, Image: Nissan

Over the past twenty or so years, I have come to firmly believe that the largest problem facing humanity is lack of consciousness. Sounds trite, doesn’t it?

But I’m not talking about “mindfulness” or “caring” or any of that New Age woo-woo. What I mean by “consciousness” is the same thing that Douglas Hofstadter means: the ability to temporarily step outside the actions you are performing, or the thoughts you are having, and consider them from a distance, as a whole. If you can’t do that — if you are unable or unwilling to occasionally evaluate your behavior, your preconceptions, and your desires as if they belonged to someone else — then you are truly no more intelligent than a dog or a computer program or a hurricane.

The conscious individual periodically steps out outside his situation so he can consider whether what he is doing makes any sense whatsoever. You can think of it as “the state of stuckness,” as Robert Pirsig did, or you can call it a “strange loop” as Hofstadter does, but you should learn how to do it. Without that consciousness, you will always be the victim of your environment and whatever information you consume. Lack of consciousness makes people susceptible to everything from autonomous-car crashes to investment bubbles to conspiracy theories.

In this day and age, one of the biggest pitfalls facing the unconscious among us is susceptibility to so-called “fake news,” which I will define here as any news that reinforces our beliefs and cherished ideas but which cannot stand up to even a modest bit of examination. Fake news is the processed sugar of brainfood and, just like processed sugar, we consume it because it makes us feel good in the short term. (Believe me, I know.) What follows is the story of a particularly tempting morsel of processed sugar. Call it a funnel cake, maybe, one that was eagerly consumed everywhere from The Drive to CBS News.

Read More >

By on October 15, 2017

LG Chem Electric Vehicle Battery Production

South Korea’s LG Chem is planning to open the largest lithium-ion battery factory in Europe to aide the continent’s automotive industry as it prepares its much-hyped shift toward EV production. According to LG, construction of the battery plant — located in Wrocław, Poland — is set to begin immediately and batteries should be ready for slotting into vehicles before the end of next year.

In a an announcement, the company said the plant would have a production capacity of 100,000 batteries per year for EVs that can run up to 199 miles once charged. Previous estimates were more conservative but, with German automakers promising widespread electrification, LG saw no reason for half measures.

“We will turn the Poland EV battery plant into a mecca of battery production for electric vehicles around the world,” said company president UB Lee. “As LG Chem’s Poland EV battery plant is the first large-scale automotive lithium battery production plant in Europe, it will play the role of vitalizing the electric vehicle industry across the whole of Europe. We will put all our efforts into making the plant into a main production hub for EV batteries.” Read More >

By on October 14, 2017

tesla factory fremont, Image: Tesla Motors

Tesla employees jockeying for scarce parking spaces outside the company’s Fremont, California assembly plant and Palo Alto headquarters could soon find it easier to locate a spot.

The electric automaker reportedly laid off hundreds of workers this week — a move that comes at an particularly stressful time for the company and its employees. At just 260 units, third-quarter production of the long-awaited Model 3 sedan fell far short of predictions, with CEO Elon Musk blaming production bottlenecks for the slow trickle of highly sought-after vehicles.

Meanwhile, the exact nature of the fired employees is the subject of some debate. Read More >

By on October 12, 2017

Volkswagen Truck & Bus launching trial projects for digital truck platoons

Having already dropped itself into an ocean of electric car R&D, Volkswagen is now making plans to develop battery-powered commercial vehicles aimed at servicing urban areas where public officials are having night terrors about air quality.

Jürgen Stackmann, VW’s board member responsible for sales and marketing, promised the company would be at “full steam” on EV production and development by 2020. That includes a battery-only option for “all styles and body types” by 2030, according to Stackmann. But the brand wants to have something similar on the table for trucks and buses before then.

Volkswagen Truck & Bus is investing 1.4 billion euros ($1.7 billion) into new electric drivetrains for use in both medium and heavy-duty distribution transport and city buses. While that development will go toward European vehicles initially, VW and strategic partner Navistar will use the “e-drivetrain” platform on U.S.-based electric trucks from 2019 onwards.  Read More >

By on October 11, 2017

chinese-bmw-i3

German luxury automaker BMW is seeking to establish a joint venture with China’s Great Wall Motor. The prospective deal focuses specifically on electric vehicles, according to sources familiar with the matter. A cooperative relationship with Great Wall would be BMW’s second in the world’s largest auto market – and a necessary one, as China forces all foreign automakers to team up with local partners in order to do business within the country.

Great Wall Motor Co. is China’s largest SUV maker by volume, and witnessed a nearly 20-percent rise in its share price on Wednesday after Asian media outlets reported it was in talks to partner with BMW. Read More >

By on October 7, 2017

tesla model 3

It’s been of week of bad PR and reports that should have Tesla investors tugging their collars and thinking twice, though in Teslaland these well-publicised issues only propel the automaker’s stock even higher.

The company’s electric big rig (aka the Tesla Semi), rumored to have a range of 200 to 300 miles, won’t see the light of day until November 16th, CEO Elon Musk claims. That’s two months after the initial reveal date, which was subsequently pushed back until late October.

The larger problem facing the company is the slow ramp-up of Model 3 production, which kicked off in July, but only resulted in only 220 deliveries by the end of September. The company forecasted 1,500 Model 3s in the month of September, with an expected production rate of 5,000 vehicles per week by the end of the year. Blame the slow trickle of cars on a “manufacturing bottleneck issue,” the company said in a statement.

As Musk attempts to soothe fears, a new report claims the automaker was hand-building parts away from the assembly line even as the high-tech facility was supposed to be cranking out Model 3s at a steady clip. Tesla is not happy about this report. Read More >

By on October 5, 2017

img_20171004_155036

What is it about these wacky new-school post-enthusiast autowriters? Prior to last week, I thought that Wayne “50 percent of the time I am an automotive journalist” Gerdes of CleanMPG was probably the loosest screw in the business, what with the drafting at 70 mph and letting a Ranger run wild through a subdivision with the engine off. It didn’t help my estimation of Wayne’s sanity that the payoffs he received for risking life and limb in the service of advertorial content were so Mickey Mouse. Why risk running over an animal or child just to save a few pennies on fuel and/or pick up a couple grand from an automaker?

Electek‘s Fred Lambert is playing for slightly higher stakes, as we revealed in last week’s piece on his double life as “impartial” electric car journalist and compensated Tesla referrer. In fact, since we ran the article Fred managed to get his eighth referral, entitling him to a second $7,200 Tesla Powerwall and bringing the total potential take for his advocacy into the $30,000 range. And while he never found the time to return my e-mails or engage with me regarding his behavior, when Automotive News decided to put him on blast he didn’t hesitate to start getting ugly with young Katie Burke about what he perceived as a “non-story.”

Nor did he think twice about implying that he would kill a Ford employee — a threat he retracted and blamed on his phone.

Read More >

By on October 4, 2017

tesla factory fremont, Image: Tesla Motors

Yesterday, we mentioned how Tesla was behind schedule with its everyman Model 3 — delivering only 220 units to the half-million reservation holders since the start of production in late July. While we knew it would get off to a slow start, CEO Elon Musk previously assured the public that production would increase exponentially through the end of the year by way of a “production hell” trial by fire.

Musk claimed there should be “zero concern” about Tesla achieving a production rate of 10,000 cars a week before the end of next year. But many wondered if that was even possible. Despite Tesla making serious strides to increase production volume this year, we remained dubious that the proposed numbers were even feasible for a fledgeling automaker.

As it turns out, they weren’t — and the company knew it.  Read More >

By on October 3, 2017

nismo-leaf

Nissan appears to be considering adorning the Leaf with a NISMO nameplate and appearance. Unveiled on Monday at Nissan’s Futures 3.0 event, the stock 2018 model provides improved performance, range, and less nerdy looks. However, Nissan wants further improve the Leaf’s image with a NISMO-trimmed variant.

Oh goodie.

While we get that economy models can morph into fun-to-drive little darlings, we also scrunched our noses at Toyota’s performance-enhanced GR Prius last month. Not every car can be the next GTI and, if automakers would like to build something that could be, they’ll have to provide us with more than a bodykit and a set of custom wheels.  Read More >

By on October 3, 2017

tesla-model-3-1-610x407

While the venerable Tesla Model S and X reached more customers than ever before in the last quarter, the hotly anticipated and far cheaper Model 3 stumbled out of the gate.

In a quarterly statement released yesterday, Tesla says just 260 Model 3s made it off the Fremont, California assembly line between the launch of production in late July and the end of September. Of that number, 220 made it to customer driveways. That’s not encouraging news for investors, nor for the model’s roughly half-million reservation holders, some of whom were told at launch not to expect their vehicle until the end of next year. Read More >

By on October 2, 2017

Toyota TNGA platform, Image: Toyota

Of all automakers, no company holds out hope for the gasoline engine’s longevity quite like Mazda. Not only does Mazda anticipate many decades of continued hydrocarbon-fueled driving, it’s also ensuring gas stays viable by inventing a new Skyactiv engine that (supposedly) uses much less of it. That motor, a first-of-its-kind gas compression ignition four-cylinder, debuts in 2019.

For now, Mazda’s North American lineup remains pure in terms of propulsion. The promised CX-5 diesel is taking its sweet time showing up, and neither a hybrid or EV can be found among the model ranks. That will soon change, but given Mazda’s size and finances, it won’t be a Mazda platform underpinning the next Mazda EV. Read More >

By on September 28, 2017

mitsubishi-outlander-phev-america-5

Even though North American Mitsubishi sales have ticked upward in recent years, the current decade has not been kind to the brand. Volume is roughly a quarter of what it was just 15 years ago and the bulk of those deliveries come from the Outlander and Outlander Sport.

When your entire existence hinges on a couple of models, you do what you can to keep them relevant. While plug-in hybrids aren’t exactly a massive sales draw, they’re gaining ground and Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV bests most of its EV competition in Europe. Naturally, the automaker deemed it worthy of coming to America (on the slowest boat imaginable).

We know this exciting news probably has you squirming in your chair, covering your mouth as you utter uncontrollable squeaks of joy. But hold on, we haven’t even told you about the price.  Read More >

By on September 27, 2017

Dyson vacuum

Herbert Hoover promised Americans a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage, but another man with a vacuum-associated name, James Dyson, wants to put electric cars in every parking spot.

Dyson, maker of strangely desirable vacuum cleaners and unsettlingly futuristic fans shaped like an elongated oval, wants to build you a car. Of course, we told you this last year, after the British government let slip that it was “funding Dyson to develop a new battery electric vehicle at their headquarters in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.”

The secretive UK-based company now claims you’ll see its new car in just three years. Read More >

By on September 26, 2017

Ford Focus Electric

California has been toying with the idea of banning internal combustion motors for a couple of years now. While the concept is gaining popularity across the globe, the ban itself is a bit misleading. Regions in favor of the idea aren’t really pursuing an outright ban on engines that burn gasoline; they’re trying to mandate electrification and reduce emissions via non-traditional powertrains.

In April of 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown announced, “If the federal government can’t get it right, we in California are going to take care of business.” With the Trump administration making strides to roll back regulatory efforts, it appears the state of California is ready to pop in some Bachman–Turner Overdrive and begin taking care of said business.  Read More >

Recent Comments

  • dukeisduke: I wish you the best, Tim. But, who will post sales numbers now?
  • FreedMike: If you want some prime Malaise Era Car Porn, check out “Mindhunter” on Netflix. Tons of...
  • Opus: Yellow?? Better described as baby-poop brown.
  • NeilM: Rasputin (wow, guess he really was that hard to kill) writes: “Have you or anyone you’ve known EVER had...
  • PrincipalDan: AWD and lots more sidewall on the tires – then the premise might make a little sense.

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States