The Truth About Cars » Electric Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 04 Jul 2015 15:51:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Electric Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/electric-vehicles-2/ Nissan, Toyota, Honda Team to Build Fuel-Cell Infrastructure in Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-toyota-honda-team-build-fuel-cell-infrastructure-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-toyota-honda-team-build-fuel-cell-infrastructure-japan/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1106169 According to Toyota, three Japanese automakers — Honda, Toyota and Nissan — are working together to build hydrogen fuel stations around for future fuel-cell cars. The program, which will subsidize fueling stations up to 11 million yen ($89,500) per year for each station, is meant to boost the nation’s infrastructure for hydrogen-powered cars. The agreement […]

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According to Toyota, three Japanese automakers — Honda, Toyota and Nissan — are working together to build hydrogen fuel stations around for future fuel-cell cars.

The program, which will subsidize fueling stations up to 11 million yen ($89,500) per year for each station, is meant to boost the nation’s infrastructure for hydrogen-powered cars.

The agreement was formed in February between the large automakers, but began accepting applications July 1.

The program also boosts “awareness” of the FCVs by offering incentives for stations to stay open longer and offer more services.

A similar alliance between automakers in the U.S. could boost FCV participation rates, but maybe we can’t have nice things.

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Sales of EVs, Hybrids Slumping After Gas Prices Dip http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/sales-evs-hybrids-slumping-gas-prices-dip/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/sales-evs-hybrids-slumping-gas-prices-dip/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 16:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1105913 Sales figures from automakers this week show slumping sales of electric vehicles and hybrids nationwide as gas prices drop and tax incentives dry up. According to the Detroit News, sales from EV makers such as Nissan and Chevrolet have slowed down significantly — more than 30 percent for the Volt and 12 percent for the Leaf […]

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Atlanta Police Nissan Leaf

Sales figures from automakers this week show slumping sales of electric vehicles and hybrids nationwide as gas prices drop and tax incentives dry up.

According to the Detroit News, sales from EV makers such as Nissan and Chevrolet have slowed down significantly — more than 30 percent for the Volt and 12 percent for the Leaf — last month, and both models may end up down significantly for the sales year.

Hybrid carmakers such as Ford and Honda are also reporting slow sales for their cars. Ford reported that its hybrid sales were down 29 percent over the last five months, and Honda reported a 15-percent drop in June.

Industry analysts say the slowdown could be a result of the lowest gas prices in five years, and a adjustment of states’ EV incentives. Recently, the California Air Resources Board unveiled a tiered incentive program that would adjust rebates based on income. A study showed that more than one in four EV buyers in California earned more than $200,000 a year, but still received the full benefit during the second quarter of 2015. More than three-quarters of EV buyers made more than $99,000. Georgia will end its incentives.

None of this has slowed down automakers’ production of EVs, however.

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Silent but Violent: Watch Rhys Millen’s All-Electric Run Up Pikes Peak http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/silent-but-violent-watch-rhys-millens-record-run-up-pikes-peak/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/silent-but-violent-watch-rhys-millens-record-run-up-pikes-peak/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 18:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1104865 All-around fast driver and New Zealander Rhys Millen had roughly 20 miles of experience behind the wheel of his Latvian-made eO electric race car before Sunday’s race. That apparently didn’t matter as he piloted the first electric car to an overall win at the 93rd running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on Sunday. Millen’s […]

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All-around fast driver and New Zealander Rhys Millen had roughly 20 miles of experience behind the wheel of his Latvian-made eO electric race car before Sunday’s race.

That apparently didn’t matter as he piloted the first electric car to an overall win at the 93rd running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on Sunday.

Millen’s 9:07.222 final mark was a long ways from Sebastian Loeb’s incredible, insane and probably-never-coming-down 8:13.878, but it’s interesting to note that Millen’s qualifying time was some 30 seconds off of Loeb’s pace, and his electron-powered 1,368 horsepower car should only get faster toward the top.

Millen said during qualifying that there was “20 percent” in the car that he wasn’t using, and adjusting to the car’s pace would ultimately be the deciding factor on how quickly he could run up to the finish line at more than 14,000 feet.

Awful conditions at the top hampered this year’s race and underscored that the road to the top, which covers nearly 13 miles and more than 4,000 feet of elevation change, is a constantly changing racetrack.

It can’t be missed that this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb was tragically marked by the death of 39-year-old motorcyclist Carl Sorensen during Thursday’s practice session.

Japanese veteran racer Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima — who is 64 years old and infinitely cooler than most people his age — finished second in his Rimac E-Runner.

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Electric cars taking the top two positions is significant for motorsports, better for the automotive industry and could signal an era that the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is the new ‘Ring. 

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Used Tesla Values Could Be a Bubble Waiting to Burst http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/used-tesla-values-could-be-a-bubble-waiting-to-burst/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/used-tesla-values-could-be-a-bubble-waiting-to-burst/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1104801 The National Automobile Dealers Association new electric vehicle retention list released last week has a tasty little tidbit in its roundup of value retention rates. Tesla’s Model S, which topped the 3-year value retention rate list for EVs in the new list, also sported a better value rate for most cars on a similar list released last year for all […]

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Tesla Model S Center Stage

The National Automobile Dealers Association new electric vehicle retention list released last week has a tasty little tidbit in its roundup of value retention rates.

Tesla’s Model S, which topped the 3-year value retention rate list for EVs in the new list, also sported a better value rate for most cars on a similar list released last year for all segments, including mid-size luxury cars. That includes BMW.

But the news may not be all good, all the time.

According to the most recent NADA study, Tesla’s Model S retains 57.2 percent of its original value after three years based on dealer trade-in values. That figure is tops among mid-size luxury sedans, including BMW’s 5-series, in a study conducted last year.

Also noted in the 2015 study, there is a significant cliff after three years when most EV manufacturers’ powertrain warranties expire, meaning there’s good chance that the Model S’s value plummets after that.

The 2014 study by NADA (which examined all segments – including EVs) was comprised of only the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf — the only two cars that had been on the market for three years by the time the study was conducted. The Volt and Leaf retained 41.6 percent and 38.2 percent of their values respectively, due partly to price drops from their manufacturers and increasing competition in the segment. The 2015 study had worse news for Volts and Leafs on trade-in: those values dropped to 31.3 and 25.3 percent respectively.

As Tesla prepares to release their Model X, there’s no doubt quite a few Model S owners will be looking to replace their sedans. This could trigger a market saturated with Model S’s (or is it “Models S”?) at or nearing the end of their warranty lives — and it’ll likely have legitimate competition in the near future as well, further driving down retained values.

Tesla Model X Teaser

It’s no secret that Tesla has no significant cash flow, hasn’t turned a profit for more than one fiscal quarter in five years, and probably won’t have a cash-positive year until 2020.

That all could mean the bottom falling out for Tesla Model S values soon. Or not.

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Tesla Model 3 Full Production Beginning 2018 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/tesla-model-3-full-production-beginning-2018/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/tesla-model-3-full-production-beginning-2018/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 15:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1097769 The Tesla Model 3 duo will seem like vaporware for a while longer, as full production of the low-cost EVs won’t start until 2018. During a presentation by Chief Technical Officer J.B. Straubel at last week’s U.S. Energy Information Conference, Business Insider says a slide — page 23, if you’re wondering — showing how the […]

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Tesla Repair Bay With Superchargers

The Tesla Model 3 duo will seem like vaporware for a while longer, as full production of the low-cost EVs won’t start until 2018.

During a presentation by Chief Technical Officer J.B. Straubel at last week’s U.S. Energy Information Conference, Business Insider says a slide — page 23, if you’re wondering — showing how the price gap between ICE and electric vehicles will close as battery costs improve also noted the Model 3 was planned for 2018.

The date given looked like Tesla was pushing back the $35,000 pair’s concept and deliveries in 2016 and 2017, respectively, but the automaker’s representatives later explained to Bloomberg’s Cory Johnson — who tweeted the information about the slide — the 2018 date was for full production; initial production is still a go for 2017.

The presentation comes on the heels of the news the Model 3 won’t be one model, but two: a sedan and a crossover, both starting at $35,000, both able to cover 200 miles on one charge.

(Photo credit: Tesla/Facebook)

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Toyota Prius SUV Reportedly Under Development http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/toyota-prius-suv-reportedly-under-development/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/toyota-prius-suv-reportedly-under-development/#comments Mon, 22 Jun 2015 19:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1097417 The Toyota Prius can be had in compact, wagon and original recipe, but there may soon be another addition to the family: an SUV. The Prius SUV would be developed via its partnership with Mazda, and would likely be a production-ready version of the C-HR Concept from last year’s Paris Auto Show, AutoGuide writes. The […]

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Toyota-C-HR-Concept-3

The Toyota Prius can be had in compact, wagon and original recipe, but there may soon be another addition to the family: an SUV.

The Prius SUV would be developed via its partnership with Mazda, and would likely be a production-ready version of the C-HR Concept from last year’s Paris Auto Show, AutoGuide writes.

The partnership between the two automakers allows for powertrain technologies to be exchanged regarding new models. Thus, one idea for the SUV would be Mazda’s 1.5-liter SkyActiv diesel for a hybrid-diesel variant, as well as one without electric motors for European markets. Mazda, meanwhile, would use Toyota’s technology to bring its first EV to market, set to meet the ZEV standards set for 2018 by California’s government.

(Photo credit: Mike Schlee/AutoGuide)

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Chart Of The Day: The Discontinued Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid Was All Kinds Of Rare http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/chart-day-discontinued-honda-accord-plug-hybrid-kinds-rare/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/chart-day-discontinued-honda-accord-plug-hybrid-kinds-rare/#comments Wed, 17 Jun 2015 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1093281 You thought you saw one once, didn’t you? A hint of blue trim was visible in the distance; some unique badging, as well. But then when you Googled the images at home later, you realized that no, the front fascia was too normal. You saw the ninth-generation Honda Accord’s hybrid model, not the plug-in hybrid. […]

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Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid Sales Chart

You thought you saw one once, didn’t you? A hint of blue trim was visible in the distance; some unique badging, as well.

But then when you Googled the images at home later, you realized that no, the front fascia was too normal. You saw the ninth-generation Honda Accord’s hybrid model, not the plug-in hybrid.

Indeed, spotting a Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid is now statistically not all that different from catching a glimpse of a Porsche 918 Spyder. You roar ahead, trying to get a closer look, but it’s already pulled into Jerry Seinfeld’s exclusive parking garage. Or in the case of the Plug-In Hybrid, a Honda executive’s enclosed charging station.

As if Honda dealers haven’t had a hard enough time stocking Accord Hybrids, the Accord Plug-In Hybrid was so rarely built that only 1,030 have been sold in the United States since the car arrived in January 2013. That’s an average of 36 sales per month. No wonder Honda is, wait for it, pulling the plug

Yes, the current version of the Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid is done for. Only fifteen have left showrooms over the course of the last three months. We’re now some 20 months removed from the Plug-In’s best ever month of 71 sales. After reporting 526 Plug-In sales in 2013, volume slid 15% to 449 units last year. Year-to-date, the Accord PHEV is down 64% to just 55 units.

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Meanwhile, May 2015 turned out to be the non-Plug-In Accord Hybrid’s best month in a year with 1,463 sales, equal to 4.5% of the overall Accord lineup’s volume last month. In 2014, for every Accord PHEV sold, American Honda sold 31 copies of the Accord Hybrid. Over the course of its 29 months, the Plug-In accounted for just 0.12% of all U.S. Accord sales.

Total Accord sales are down 16% so far this year, which makes it America’s fifth-best-selling car, down from third at this stage of 2014.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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Straubel: Tesla Model 3 Hitting Showrooms In Sedan, Crossover Variants http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/straubel-tesla-model-3-hitting-showrooms-in-sedan-crossover-variants/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/straubel-tesla-model-3-hitting-showrooms-in-sedan-crossover-variants/#comments Tue, 16 Jun 2015 14:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1093257 Tesla dropped a bombshell at a conference in Washington Monday, when Chief Technical Officer J.B. Straubel said the Model 3 would be two separate models. Per Straubel, not only would there be a sedan to take home, but a crossover Model 3, as well, Wall Street Journal reports, complimenting the Model S and upcoming X […]

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Tesla Model S Center Stage

Tesla dropped a bombshell at a conference in Washington Monday, when Chief Technical Officer J.B. Straubel said the Model 3 would be two separate models.

Per Straubel, not only would there be a sedan to take home, but a crossover Model 3, as well, Wall Street Journal reports, complimenting the Model S and upcoming X at the entry-level starting price of $35,000. Both models are due in 2017, and will give owners 200 miles to enjoy the silence with every charge. No other details were given at this time.

Meanwhile, Straubel says Tesla is working on new models set to come after the Model 3 — no details were given here, either — and reiterated CEO Elon Musk’s statement of selling 500,000 units annually by 2020, adding there would be 1 million Teslas on the road around the world by then, as well.

The announcement comes on the heels of the automaker receiving a secured revolving credit line of up to $750 million in an agreement with Bank of America, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo. The line of credit is meant to give Tesla some breathing space as it prepares to launch the long-awaited Model X, expected to hit showrooms this fall barring (yet) another delay.

[Photo credit: Tesla/Facebook]

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Nissan Taking On Tesla Powerwall With Recycling Approach http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nissan-taking-on-tesla-powerwall-with-recycling-approach/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nissan-taking-on-tesla-powerwall-with-recycling-approach/#comments Mon, 15 Jun 2015 18:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1092769 Nissan is looking to take on Tesla et al in the stationary energy storage game with their own battery solution. However, unlike the Silicon Valley based electric car manufacturer and ZEV credit printing press, the Japanese automaker is looking to take a much greener approach. Instead of building fresh batteries for commercial stationary applications, Nissan will […]

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2015 Nissan LEAF battery pack

Nissan is looking to take on Tesla et al in the stationary energy storage game with their own battery solution. However, unlike the Silicon Valley based electric car manufacturer and ZEV credit printing press, the Japanese automaker is looking to take a much greener approach.

Instead of building fresh batteries for commercial stationary applications, Nissan will instead reuse lithium-ion batteries from the LEAF with partner Green Charge Networks.

The first application “will be installed at a Nissan facility this summer, where multiple Nissan LEAF batteries will be configured to offset peak electricity demand,” said Nissan in a statement released today.

Since the batteries can be offered at a significant savings over newer counterparts from competitors, Nissan hopes customers in regions without incentive programs will see them as a cost-effective option.

“A lithium-ion battery from a Nissan LEAF still holds a great deal of value as energy storage, even after it is removed from the vehicle, so Nissan expects to be able to reuse a majority of LEAF battery packs in non-automotive applications,” said Brad Smith, director of Nissan’s 4R Energy business.

 

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General Motors Announcing Entry Into Stationary Energy Storage Next Week http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-announcing-entry-into-stationary-energy-storage-next-week/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-announcing-entry-into-stationary-energy-storage-next-week/#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 14:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1090601 Forging a different path than rival Tesla, General Motors will announce its entry into the stationary energy storage market next Tuesday. While Tesla plans to bring energy storage to the home and office with its Powerwall system — consisting of new battery packs linked to solar power — GM will instead extend the economic life […]

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2016 Chevrolet Volt battery

Forging a different path than rival Tesla, General Motors will announce its entry into the stationary energy storage market next Tuesday.

While Tesla plans to bring energy storage to the home and office with its Powerwall system — consisting of new battery packs linked to solar power — GM will instead extend the economic life of its EV and PHEV packs once they can no longer fulfill their service in automotive applications, Reuters reports.

As early as 2012, GM had the emerging storage market in mind when it paired with Swiss engineering group Advanced Auto Batteries to develop a stationary pack composed of five used Chevrolet Volt batteries. The resulting modular unit was good for two hours of power as needed by three to five average U.S. homes.

According to battery lifecycle management chief Pablo Valencia, the automaker’s development of a given pack includes secondary uses:

In many cases, when an EV battery has reached the end of its life in an automotive application, only 30 percent or less of its life has been used. This leaves a tremendous amount of life that can be applied to other applications like powering a structure before the battery is recycled.

The market back when Valencia made those comments delivered $200 million in total profit by the end of 2012. As more competitors jump into the game, however, research firm IHS CERA says end-of-year profits could climb as high as $19 billion by 2017.

GM’s announcement will be made during the second day of AAB’s AABC conference at the Marriott inside the Renaissance Center in Detroit.

[Photo credit: Chevrolet]

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Tesla Model X Coming In 3-4 Months… Allegedly http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/tesla-model-x-coming-in-3-4-months-allegedly/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/tesla-model-x-coming-in-3-4-months-allegedly/#comments Wed, 10 Jun 2015 20:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1089225 X may finally give it to consumers: The Tesla Model X is set to hit showrooms within three to four months, per CEO Elon Musk. The deliveries are keeping in line with the timeline Tesla set up for the $70,000 electric crossover, Bloomberg says, coming almost a year after the original 2014 deadline passed. Musk […]

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Tesla Model X Teaser

X may finally give it to consumers: The Tesla Model X is set to hit showrooms within three to four months, per CEO Elon Musk.

The deliveries are keeping in line with the timeline Tesla set up for the $70,000 electric crossover, Bloomberg says, coming almost a year after the original 2014 deadline passed. Musk told attendees at the company’s annual shareholders meeting Tuesday the Model X would be “a better SUV than the Model S is a sedan,” adding he was driving the most recent prototype assembled.

Over half of the X’s potential owners — some of whom have been waiting three years to bring one home — are predominantly women based on current orders, contrasting with the mostly male consumer base for both the S and the discontinued Roadster, and keeping on-trend with the overall popularity of crossovers among female consumers.

The Model X will have the all-electric game to itself for a few years before other competitors arrive to play. Both Audi and BMW have announced plans to build electric crossovers of its own, with the former arriving first in 2018 after a debuting a concept version during the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show in September.

[Photo credit: Tesla/Facebook]

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Musk: No Interest In Tesla Battery Swap Facility From Consumers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/musk-no-interest-in-tesla-battery-swap-facility-from-consumers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/musk-no-interest-in-tesla-battery-swap-facility-from-consumers/#comments Wed, 10 Jun 2015 19:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1089113 How many Tesla owners have paid a visit to the automaker’s sole battery-swap station in the world? Not enough to keep the experiment going. During Tesla’s annual shareholders meeting Tuesday, CEO Elon Musk responded to a question regarding accessibility to the facility on the grounds of the automaker’s Supercharger station in Harris Ranch, Calif. between […]

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Tesla Model S Near The Manhattan Bridge

How many Tesla owners have paid a visit to the automaker’s sole battery-swap station in the world? Not enough to keep the experiment going.

During Tesla’s annual shareholders meeting Tuesday, CEO Elon Musk responded to a question regarding accessibility to the facility on the grounds of the automaker’s Supercharger station in Harris Ranch, Calif. between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The answer, Autoblog reports, may be a sign Musk won’t commit to another such facility ever again:

It’s just, people don’t care about pack swap. The Superchargers are fast enough that if you’re driving from LA to San Francisco, and you start a trip at 9 a.m., by the time you get to, say, noon, you want to stop, and you want to stretch your legs, hit the restroom, grab a bite to eat, grab a coffee, and be on your way, and by that time, the car is charged and ready to go, and it’s free. So, it’s like, why would you do the pack swap? It doesn’t make much sense.

The swap program was originally a pilot involving 200 invited owners in the area. Of those, Musk says only four or five went through the process, and only once. He adds the program was extended to all Tesla owners, but believes few will ever take up the offer.

In addition to its original intent, the swap facility also served as a California ZEV credit booster for the automaker. With the low turnout, however, Tesla won’t be gaining much in the way of those credits prior to 2018, when the scheme is set to change again.

[Photo credit: Tesla/Facebook]

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Renault Testing Canadian Waters With Limited Kangoo EV Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/renault-testing-canadian-waters-with-limited-kangoo-ev-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/renault-testing-canadian-waters-with-limited-kangoo-ev-sales/#comments Wed, 10 Jun 2015 18:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1089049 Renault is testing the waters for a full return to the Canadian market via the limited introduction of its Kangoo Z.E. EV. The announcement of Kangoo Z.E.’s arrival follows an announcement made last week regarding the Twizy city EV’s own introduction through partner Azra Network, La Press reports. Once approved by Transport Canada, Renault will […]

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Renault Kangoo Z.E. Recharges At A Construction Site

Renault is testing the waters for a full return to the Canadian market via the limited introduction of its Kangoo Z.E. EV.

The announcement of Kangoo Z.E.’s arrival follows an announcement made last week regarding the Twizy city EV’s own introduction through partner Azra Network, La Press reports.

Once approved by Transport Canada, Renault will bring over up to 1,000 Kangoo Z.E. EVs for a two-year period per the terms of the compliance waiver. This move would give Renault an opportunity to see if it would be worth bringing its EV products in line with the Canadian and U.S. standards.

According to EV sales manager Vincent Square, it would four to five years for volume to be sufficient enough to merit building products specifically for the Canadian market, and hopes the waiver will be enough to put the automaker on the path back to a market vacated by the French automakers in 1991.

Should Renault’s two-pronged attack not pan out as hoped, however, the automaker plans to have an after-sales network for the EVs and their owners.

[Photo credit: Renault]

[H/T: Jonathan Roy/Twitter]

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BMW Rumored To Be Working On US-Built Tesla Model X Rival http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/bmw-rumored-to-be-working-on-us-built-tesla-model-x-rival/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/bmw-rumored-to-be-working-on-us-built-tesla-model-x-rival/#comments Tue, 09 Jun 2015 15:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1088137 Should rumors of BMW’s latest plans be true, there will soon be another electric SUV rival to the Tesla Model X on the market. According to a report from German newspaper WirtschaftsWoche, BMW is looking to enter the electric SUV/crossover game with a rival to the upcoming Model X, Automotive News says. The entrant would […]

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2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e

Should rumors of BMW’s latest plans be true, there will soon be another electric SUV rival to the Tesla Model X on the market.

According to a report from German newspaper WirtschaftsWoche, BMW is looking to enter the electric SUV/crossover game with a rival to the upcoming Model X, Automotive News says. The entrant would be assembled in Spartanburg, S.C., home of the X Series line of crossovers and SUVs, pending board approval.

However, said SUV would not be an X waiting to give it to the Model X, but a new member of the i Series, forming a triad with the i3 city car and i8 PHEV sports car; the latter two are assembled in Leipzig, Germany.

When asked by Automotive News if the report was true, a BMW representative said it was all “speculation.” If the story does hold up, though, don’t expect to see the new entry right away. According to Evercore ISI global automotive research chief Arndt Ellinghorst, the earliest such a vehicle would hit showrooms would be in 2018.

The i Series SUV would also be the second possible rival to Tesla’s offering, with Audi entering the game in 2018 with its own all-electric SUV; said SUV is set to arrive in concept form at this year’s Frankfurt Auto Show.

[Photo credit: BMW]

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Nissan Leaf Sales Expected To Fall Steeply This Summer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nissan-leaf-sales-expected-to-fall-steeply-this-summer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nissan-leaf-sales-expected-to-fall-steeply-this-summer/#comments Mon, 08 Jun 2015 18:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1087705 Like the leaves in autumn, sales of the Nissan Leaf are falling amid a flurry of changes coming to the EV this summer. Nissan expects to see sales of its EV to steeply drop off in July, when the Georgia’s $5,000 tax credit rides off into the sunset, Automotive News reports. There’s also an oncoming […]

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Nissan Leaf

Like the leaves in autumn, sales of the Nissan Leaf are falling amid a flurry of changes coming to the EV this summer.

Nissan expects to see sales of its EV to steeply drop off in July, when the Georgia’s $5,000 tax credit rides off into the sunset, Automotive News reports. There’s also an oncoming wave of Leafs whose leases are ending, bringing diminished resale values with it. The automaker is fighting back with a $5,000 credit toward buying the cars when said leases expire, though Nissan senior vice president for U.S. sales Fred Diaz says he doesn’t expect the program “to completely turn things around.”

Another issue affecting sales is the ongoing low fuel prices at the pump: at a national average of $2.750 per AAA — around a dollar below what it was at this time in 2014 — consumers are turning towards trucks and SUVs, leaving more efficient offerings like the Leaf and Toyota Prius on the table. While sales of the EV are down 26 percent during the first five months of this year, Nissan’s truck sales rose 17 percent over the same period.

Though Diaz acknowledges fuel prices are hurting Leaf sales, he says they won’t compare to the end of Georgia’s tax credit, which has helped make the EV a huge hit for Nissan in the state. Diaz also admits he nor his company have an idea as to how severe said decline would be once it began.

Despite falling sales, however, Nissan plans to mine for sales gold elsewhere, such as with its “No Charge to Charge” program introduced in Denver in June. The program allows new Leaf owners to charge their cars for free at public fast-charge stations during the first two years of ownership, as is already in place in 16 markets thus far.

There’s also word the automaker will increase the range of the Leaf from 84 miles to 105 miles with a new battery pack for the 2016 model. Said model is due in showrooms around the end of summer or the start of fall.

[Photo credit: Nissan]

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Renault Twizzy Arriving In Canada Pending Approval http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/renault-twizzy-arriving-in-canada-pending-approval/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/renault-twizzy-arriving-in-canada-pending-approval/#comments Mon, 01 Jun 2015 21:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1081537 Canadian B&B, get ready: The Renault Twizzy EV is coming to your shores at last. Renault has chosen Azra Network in Terrebonne, Quebec to distribute the Twizzy pending approval by Transport Canada, Le Soleil reports. Once approved, Azra will sell the EV online for delivery or pickup at its headquarters, and establish service centers for […]

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renault-twizy-M09eph1-design-gallery-007.jpg.ximg.l_12_m.smart

Canadian B&B, get ready: The Renault Twizzy EV is coming to your shores at last.

Renault has chosen Azra Network in Terrebonne, Quebec to distribute the Twizzy pending approval by Transport Canada, Le Soleil reports. Once approved, Azra will sell the EV online for delivery or pickup at its headquarters, and establish service centers for any repair work needed down the road.

The Twizy45 will be the sole model sold in Canada, though its maximum speed will drop from 45 kph to 40 kph in order to meet the nation’s low-speed vehicle standards. Range is 120 kilometers per charge, with recharging to take three hours on a 240-volt setup. Price of admission is expected to be $16,000 CDN, with $1,000 off via tax credits.

Aside from becoming a distributor of the Renault Twizzy, Azra Network operates a private network of charging stations 240- and 400-volt chargers, and recently sold 600 stations as part of Quebec’s Branché au travail program.

[H/T: Jonathan Roy/Twitter]

[Photo credit: Renault]

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2016 Nissan Leaf Expected To Receive Larger Battery, Small Range Boost http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2016-nissan-leaf-expected-to-receive-larger-battery-small-range-boost/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2016-nissan-leaf-expected-to-receive-larger-battery-small-range-boost/#comments Mon, 01 Jun 2015 20:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1081489 Consumers looking for a new Nissan Leaf may soon have the option for a better battery with improved range on certain trims. Right now, the best anyone can do is the 24-kWh battery good for 84 miles of travel on a single charge, Inside EVs reports. However, the 2016 model may see a 30-kWh battery […]

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2015 Nissan LEAF

Consumers looking for a new Nissan Leaf may soon have the option for a better battery with improved range on certain trims.

Right now, the best anyone can do is the 24-kWh battery good for 84 miles of travel on a single charge, Inside EVs reports. However, the 2016 model may see a 30-kWh battery delivering power to the SV and SL trims; the base S would keep the 24-kWh pack. The publication estimates range would come between 105 and 110 miles per charge.

The pack is likely a stopgap measure for Nissan as it prepares the second-gen Leaf for its showroom debut in Q2 2017, though the automaker remains silent on the subject thus far. The new EV is expected to deliver a range of 180-200 miles, while its styling will be more conventional than its current eco-trendy looks.

Price of admission for the 2016 model is expected to remain the same as now, beginning at over $29,000 for the S trim. Three new colors will also be available — Forged Bronze, Coulis Red, Deep Blue Pearl — while Morningsky Blue and Cayenne Red are dropped from the palette.

[Photo credit: Nissan]

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Chevrolet Bolt Trademark Application Active Once Again http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/chevrolet-bolt-trademark-application-active-once-again/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/chevrolet-bolt-trademark-application-active-once-again/#comments Mon, 01 Jun 2015 14:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1081033 Last week, we reported on the second suspension of Chevrolet’s trademark application for the Bolt nameplate. Said application is now active once again. According to Chevrolet spokeswoman Annalisa Bluhm, who contacted us this morning regarding the trademarking process for its low-cost, 200-mile EV: Chevrolet has been working closely with the USPT on Bolt trademark. Our […]

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2015 Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept all electric vehicle – front ex

Last week, we reported on the second suspension of Chevrolet’s trademark application for the Bolt nameplate. Said application is now active once again.

According to Chevrolet spokeswoman Annalisa Bluhm, who contacted us this morning regarding the trademarking process for its low-cost, 200-mile EV:

Chevrolet has been working closely with the USPT on Bolt trademark. Our legal staff has consent from Yamaha to use the Bolt name. According to our legal team, our USPT application is back to active status.

The most recent suspension came about when a custom sleeper cab company in Indiana applied to protect its name, Bolt Custom Trucks. Though the email addressed only the first suspension by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office — Yamaha had reserved Bolt for motorcycles and related parts prior to the brand’s application — it would appear the second suspension involving the builder was resolved, as well.

[Photo credit: Chevrolet]

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General Motors Bolt Trademark Application Suspended Again http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/general-motors-bolt-trademark-application-suspended-again/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/general-motors-bolt-trademark-application-suspended-again/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 19:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1078146 For the second time since applying for the name, General Motors has seen its trademark application suspended for the Chevrolet Bolt. The application for the Bolt nameplate was originally suspended by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office when it was learned Yamaha already held the trademark for its motorcycles and related parts, AutoGuide reports. GM […]

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2015 Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept all electric vehicle – rear ext

For the second time since applying for the name, General Motors has seen its trademark application suspended for the Chevrolet Bolt.

The application for the Bolt nameplate was originally suspended by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office when it was learned Yamaha already held the trademark for its motorcycles and related parts, AutoGuide reports. GM and Yamaha came to terms to allow the former to use the name for its EV, only for the second suspension to occur soon after.

The cause behind the recent snag comes from Bolt Custom Trucks in Fort Wayne, Ind. The custom sleeper cab builder applied to protect the name before GM, with owner Brian Callan not being aware his company’s application was now in the way of the automaker being able to call its EV “Bolt.”

Whatever name it does end up wearing, the low-cost EV is set to hit showrooms 16 months from now barring delays. Even with said potential delays, the Bolt is expected to leave the assembly line ahead of its competitor, the Tesla Model 3, entering showrooms with a $30,000 starting price and a 200-mile range.

[Source: Chevrolet]

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Sales Of The Aging Electrics You Know Best Are Predictably Falling Fast http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/sales-aging-electrics-know-best-predictably-falling-fast/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/sales-aging-electrics-know-best-predictably-falling-fast/#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 14:17:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072482 We’re accustomed to seeing outdated sports cars stumble as they age. They’re as capable as they were when launched, of course, but demand for the cars often decreases rapidly. Those who were interested in the stylistic proposition already bought one. Those who saw them as paragons of performance encounter newer models with a greater dynamic portfolio. […]

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Nissan creates "World's Cleanest Car" Ð a zero emissions Nissa

We’re accustomed to seeing outdated sports cars stumble as they age.

They’re as capable as they were when launched, of course, but demand for the cars often decreases rapidly. Those who were interested in the stylistic proposition already bought one. Those who saw them as paragons of performance encounter newer models with a greater dynamic portfolio.

Consider the Scion FR-S, sales of which plunged 23% in its second full year in the United States; sales of which declined 29% in the first four months of 2015.

Perhaps exacerbated by falling fuel prices, the sharp downturn in sales of two particularly famous, unconventionally powered hatchbacks is vaguely reminiscent of a sports car nameplate’s yo-yoing. A Camry-like ability to sustain demand right up until the new model arrives in dealers? Not for the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt.

Granted, the Volt’s decline began before old age. Launched during the same month, December 2010, as the Leaf, the Volt volume ramped up much more rapidly. 2,029 copies of the electric-plus-range-extended Volt were sold in the United States during the car’s first five months, compared with 1,044 Leafs.

Volt vs. Leaf sales chart

Yet by March 2013, when the Volt was 28 months into its first-generation, year-over-year volume plunged 35%. That began a three-month streak of decline for the Volt. In calendar year 2013, Volt sales decreased by less than 2%; declining in seven of twelve months.

Looking back from April 2015’s 42% year-over-year decline, Volt volume has decreased in the United States in nine consecutive months, in twelve of the last 16 months, and in 19 of the last 26 months.

2011 Chevrolet Volt

The Leaf’s downturn is much more recent. After posting annual increases in each of its first four years – including a 130% jump in 2013 and a 34% increase last year – Leaf volume has declined in each of 2015’s first four months.

The 15% drop in January resulted in just 1,070 Leaf sales, the lowest total for the all-electric Nissan in two years. February sales fell 16%. March volume plunged 38%, a drop of 690 sales. In April, Leaf sales slid sharply once again, with a 26% decline measuring a loss of 535 sales. Preceding this four-month streak was a 23-month-long span in which Leaf sales consistently improved on a year-over-year basis.

Many electric cars are ultra-low-volume portions of a high-volume vehicle’s lineup. Tesla infamously doesn’t release detailed monthly sales reports. (HybridCars.com estimates 6,800 Model S sales in the U.S. through the first four months of 2015, a 26% improvement.) The Model S, while never fully replaced during its near three-year lifespan to date, is markedly different from the Leaf and Volt in the sense that Tesla constantly provides significant updates to the car and the Model S lineup. Predictably, during its phasing-out, U.S. sales of the first Toyota Prius Plug-In, a vehicle which posted an annual peak of 13,263 units just last year, is down 66% to 1,699 sales.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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Audi Introducing EV Crossover In 2018, Q8 Flagship SUV In 2019 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/audi-introducing-ev-crossover-in-2018-q8-flagship-suv-in-2019/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/audi-introducing-ev-crossover-in-2018-q8-flagship-suv-in-2019/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 19:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1073122 Audi is set to launch a new flagship SUV in 2019, as well as an EV crossover in 2018, both part of the automaker’s 2020 model expansion plan. The 2019 Q8 and yet-to-be-named EV will help reinforce Audi’s place in the Chinese and U.S. auto markets, with the aim of beating BMW and keeping Mercedes-Benz […]

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Audi Q7

Audi is set to launch a new flagship SUV in 2019, as well as an EV crossover in 2018, both part of the automaker’s 2020 model expansion plan.

The 2019 Q8 and yet-to-be-named EV will help reinforce Audi’s place in the Chinese and U.S. auto markets, with the aim of beating BMW and keeping Mercedes-Benz at bay, Automotive News Europe reports. The Q8 will share its platform with the Q7 and feature styling similar to the BMW X6, while the EV will likely be based upon the Q5 and boast a 310-mile range.

By the time the two vehicles hit the market, Audi will have to face down increased competition from the likes of Bentley, Maserati, Jaguar and Tesla, the former three gunning for the high-end luxury SUV market with their respective models — Bentayga, Levante and F-Pace — while Tesla will be waiting for the EV with its own, the Model X.

Prior to their debuts, the automaker will introduce a new Q7 and TT this year, followed by the Q1 subcompact crossover in 2016. The overall plan is to have 60 models available for sale around the world by 2020, up from 52 right now.

[Source: Audi]

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Marchionne: AWD Minivan Will Lose Stow ‘N Go or Gain Electric Motor http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/marchionne-awd-minivan-will-lose-stow-n-go-or-gain-electric-motor/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/marchionne-awd-minivan-will-lose-stow-n-go-or-gain-electric-motor/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 17:45:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072338 Move over, Toyota. You won’t be the only automaker hocking an all-wheel drive minivan when the new Town & Country arrives next year. According to Sergio Marchionne, the next minivan will get all-wheel drive, but something’s gotta give. Packaging constraints as they are, and the Town & Country’s features as they are, the next generation […]

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2015 Chrysler Town & Country

Move over, Toyota. You won’t be the only automaker hocking an all-wheel drive minivan when the new Town & Country arrives next year.

According to Sergio Marchionne, the next minivan will get all-wheel drive, but something’s gotta give.

Packaging constraints as they are, and the Town & Country’s features as they are, the next generation minivan can only bring all-wheel drive to fruition in one of two ways: ditch Stow ‘N Go to free up space under the passenger floor or implement a hybrid system with an electric motor driving the rear wheels. “It’s not that complicated. We’re exploring both,” said Marchionne, Automotive News reports.

Considering the popularity of Stow ‘N Go for Chrysler’s minivan twins, the latter option seems most likely, and it isn’t without precedent.

Starting with the second-generation Cube in Japan, Nissan offered a system called “e4WD” that sent power to the electrically-driven rear wheels when the front wheels slipped. It also eliminated the need for a center coupling and reduced parasitic loss typically associated with mechanical all-wheel drive systems.

The new Chrysler minivan will debut at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in January before heading off to dealers later the same year as a 2017 model.

[h/t AutoGuide]

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Direct Sales, Ride-Hailing Bills Among Those DOA In Texas House http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/direct-sales-ride-hailing-bills-among-those-doa-in-texas-house/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/direct-sales-ride-hailing-bills-among-those-doa-in-texas-house/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 18:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070898 Tesla and Uber are among those whose efforts were for nothing as a crucial deadline to win approval on the Texas House floor passed last week. The deadline was the last chance for House bills to win initial approval from the entire chamber, The Star-Telegram reports. Though said bills could be added onto other bills […]

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Uber Texas BBQ Pedicab

Tesla and Uber are among those whose efforts were for nothing as a crucial deadline to win approval on the Texas House floor passed last week.

The deadline was the last chance for House bills to win initial approval from the entire chamber, The Star-Telegram reports. Though said bills could be added onto other bills through the end of the legislative session June 1, “the funnel is only so large” to commit the necessary action, according to House Republican Caucus chair Rep. Tan Parker of Flower Mound.

One of the bills shut out by the deadline would have granted transportation network companies like Lyft and Uber statewide licenses to operate while stripping individual cities of their right to regulate their services. House Bill 2440, sponsored by Rep. Chris Paddie of Marshall, failed to receive a floor vote due to issues surrounding safety, wheelchair-access, and insurance.

Meanwhile, Tesla’s efforts to overturn the state’s ban on direct sales were thwarted for a second time since 2013. House Bill 1653 and Senate Bill 639 would have allowed automakers who’ve never sold their wares through a franchise dealership network to open and operated up to 12 stores in Texas. Neither bill drew a committee vote on their respective floors, with the blame directed at Tesla itself, according to Rep. Senfronia Thompson of Houston:

I can appreciate Tesla wanting to sell cars, but I think it would have been wiser if Mr. Tesla had sat down with the car dealers first.

[Photo credit: William Beutler/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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Tesla Seeking Candidates To Fill 30 Gigafactory Job Openings http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/tesla-seeking-candidates-to-fill-30-gigafactory-job-openings/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/tesla-seeking-candidates-to-fill-30-gigafactory-job-openings/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 19:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070194 Know someone looking for work? Tesla posted 30 job openings for its under-construction Gigafactory east of Reno, Nev. The openings come on the heels of the automaker hiring 12 employees in Q1 2015, Reno Gazette-Journal reports. The total salaries came to $314,000, carved from the investment of $80.6 million made to the $5-billion battery production […]

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gigafactory-aerial-1

Know someone looking for work? Tesla posted 30 job openings for its under-construction Gigafactory east of Reno, Nev.

The openings come on the heels of the automaker hiring 12 employees in Q1 2015, Reno Gazette-Journal reports. The total salaries came to $314,000, carved from the investment of $80.6 million made to the $5-billion battery production plant in the same period.

The positions Tesla is seeking to fill — as noted on its career site — include those in facility management, engineering, management and technology. Though wages weren’t disclosed on the aforementioned site, the newspaper notes Tesla’s original application called for a wage range between $22.79/hour and $51.83/hour to start.

[Image credit: Tesla]

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Consumer Reports Declares Tesla Model S P85D ‘Undrivable’ Due To Glitch http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/consumer-reports-declares-tesla-model-s-p85d-undrivable-due-to-glitch/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/consumer-reports-declares-tesla-model-s-p85d-undrivable-due-to-glitch/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 17:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070146 The thrill has gone for Consumer Reports‘ review team over the Tesla Model S, declaring the P85D “undrivable” in a new blog post. The publication said its tester was described as such due to issues with the automatic door handles, The Detroit Bureau writes. The handles were supposed to extend when someone with the vehicle’s […]

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Tesla Model S In Hero Blue

The thrill has gone for Consumer Reports‘ review team over the Tesla Model S, declaring the P85D “undrivable” in a new blog post.

The publication said its tester was described as such due to issues with the automatic door handles, The Detroit Bureau writes. The handles were supposed to extend when someone with the vehicle’s keys walked up to the car, failing to do so with the model in review.

With repeated attempts to enter the car in the traditional manner failing, one of the reviewers opened the front passenger door with a smartphone app to fire-up the EV. The success was short-lived, however, as the onboard electronics limited driving time to two minutes before shutting down.

Ultimately, CR called up customer service — which continues to receive high praise according to the publication’s reviewers — to haul the ailing P85D to the dealership for repairs. Despite the woes suffered prior to rectification, though, the publication continues to give the Model S a strong recommendation to its readership.

[Image credit: Tesla]

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