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. Mon, 30 Mar 2015 22:01:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 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 is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. 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/ Edmunds: Millennials Savvier Car Shoppers Via Mobile Technology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/edmunds-millennials-savvier-car-shoppers-via-mobile-technology/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/edmunds-millennials-savvier-car-shoppers-via-mobile-technology/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1032593 According to a study, Millennials not only prefer to shop for cars via mobile devices, but also at the dealership. Per Edmunds, who commissioned the study earlier this year, 73 percent of Millennials aged 18 to 34 proclaim to be more knowledgeable about the car-buying process than their parents, while over half “actively advise their […]

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Millennials In The Back Of A Subaru BRAT

According to a study, Millennials not only prefer to shop for cars via mobile devices, but also at the dealership.

Per Edmunds, who commissioned the study earlier this year, 73 percent of Millennials aged 18 to 34 proclaim to be more knowledgeable about the car-buying process than their parents, while over half “actively advise their friends and family” on the process, compared to 37 percent of older Americans.

The study says this is due to the generation’s profieciency with mobile devices in researching the vehicles of their choice prior to purchase, from reading reviews and researching prices, to tracking down models for sale. Eighty percent of Millennials were found to have used such tactics for at least one shopping task.

Meanwhile, 64 percent stated they “valued the in-dealership experience” of face-to-face interaction with dealers, and 96 percent said that it was important to test-drive a vehicle before purchase. Purchases skew towards the used market, where 78 percent of Millennials go for their purchases, 72 percent have considered EVs or hybrids, and 66 percent hope to one day own a car that does all the driving for them.

Regarding technology, while smartphone integration and Wi-Fi are important, such features rank behind price, fuel economy and performance.

The study consisted of two surveys conducted in January and March of 2015, with 1,500 and 1,000 adults between 18 and 34 years of age who made a vehicle purchase within the previous three months polled.

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Tesla Remedying Sales, Range Anxiety Woes In China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-remedying-sales-range-anxiety-woes-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-remedying-sales-range-anxiety-woes-china/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 12:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1032577 Tesla hasn’t had the best time in China as of late, a situation the automaker is looking to remedy as quickly as possible. Bloomberg reports Tesla’s Q4 2014 sales were “unexpectedly weak,” according to CEO Elon Musk. Musk went on to place the blame on the Chinese market sales force, who he deemed not only […]

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tesla-china-charger-620x350

Tesla hasn’t had the best time in China as of late, a situation the automaker is looking to remedy as quickly as possible.

Bloomberg reports Tesla’s Q4 2014 sales were “unexpectedly weak,” according to CEO Elon Musk. Musk went on to place the blame on the Chinese market sales force, who he deemed not only inept, but discouraged would-be owners by warning of the difficulties of charging electric vehicles in China. Speculators who ordered — but never purchased — vehicles, range anxiety among consumers, and Tesla’s misreading of the market also contributed to the automaker’s woes in the market.

Since then, Tesla has made some strides into rectifying the situation. In one example, new “executive rear seats” — a $2,000 option wrapped in leather and equipped with two zone heaters — were made available as a result of learning that rich Chinese customers prefer to be chauffeured over taking the wheel themselves. The option arrived as quick as it had due to the automaker’s direct-sales model, according to China sales training chief Dan Hsu.

Other actions meant to bolster Tesla’s standing in the market include: lobbying cities to order vehicles, then adding them to programs meant to bring consumers into EVs and PHEVs, side-stepping the lottery/auction process prevalent in China; providing and installing home-charging systems in consumer’s homes for free; introducing more “destination chargers” alongside its Supercharger network — over 1,000 are online so far; and mobile charging connectors for the times when an owner needs to charge no matter where they are.

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Reithofer: Government Programs Key To BMW i3 Success http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/reithofer-government-programs-key-bmw-i3-success/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/reithofer-government-programs-key-bmw-i3-success/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 11:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028841 BMW’s i3’s success is helped by a number of government incentives in a few of the automaker’s key markets, according to CEO Norbert Reithofer. According to Automotive News Europe, Reithofer said that sales figures for the i3 are connected to political initiatives toward electric mobility, adding that when those initiatives are there, “the registration figures […]

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2015 BMW i3 Range Extender Exterior-007

BMW’s i3’s success is helped by a number of government incentives in a few of the automaker’s key markets, according to CEO Norbert Reithofer.

According to Automotive News Europe, Reithofer said that sales figures for the i3 are connected to political initiatives toward electric mobility, adding that when those initiatives are there, “the registration figures for the BMW i3 soar.”

The CEO cited Norway as an example, where the government not only has a charging infrastructure where owners can park and recharge for free, but does not levy sales or registration taxes on EVs. Those incentives have helped BMW move 2,000 i3s in 2014.

Meanwhile, significant financial subsidies in the United States, as well as privileges such as use of dedicated HOV lanes, led to sales of 3,000 units in California alone, a figure that is half of all i3s sold in the U.S.

Other incentives include looser licensing restrictions in Shanghai, circulation tax exemptions for 10 years from date of first registration in Germany, and company car tax exemptions for life in France.

Speaking of Germany, where 2,000 i3s were sold in 2014, Reithofer said his country’s government needs to “pick up the pace” in pushing electric mobility. Germany wants 1 million EVs on its roads by 2020, and has plans to offer additional incentives to achieve its goal.

In the meantime, BMW will introduce its DriveNow car-sharing service this spring, beginning in London. San Francisco will be the first U.S. city in the program by May, while the German cities of Hamburg, Berlin and Munich will join in July. The program is meant to help boost acceptance of electrification, and widening the tech’s appeal among younger drivers.

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DeltaWing Entering GT, Eyeing Future Showroom Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/deltawing-entering-gt-eyeing-future-showroom-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/deltawing-entering-gt-eyeing-future-showroom-debut/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 10:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1027369 Coming soon to a track near you, DeltaWing will bring its signature design to the GT class, and eyes set on the showroom down the road. The latest racing variant is expected to demonstrate on the track “that with far less horsepower than many of today’s best sports cars, a two-seat performance car based on […]

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DeltaWing GT race car concept chassis

Coming soon to a track near you, DeltaWing will bring its signature design to the GT class, and eyes set on the showroom down the road.

The latest racing variant is expected to demonstrate on the track “that with far less horsepower than many of today’s best sports cars, a two-seat performance car based on the DeltaWing® architecture would deliver the same performance, yet with previously unimagined fuel economy and efficiency.”

The GT will, like the DWC13 Coupe campaigned by DeltaWing Racing Cars, be a coupe using weight distribution to its advantage, thanks to its narrow nose and wide backside putting 30 percent up front, the rest in back. The project won’t interfere with the team and its efforts in IMSA’s TUDOR series.

Meanwhile, that same basic design forms the basis for two- and four-passenger prototypes that could lead to a road-legal version of the DeltaWing. Preliminary data suggests the design would net “an unadjusted EPA fuel economy rating of nearly 74 mpg Highway and over 57 mpg combined rating,” adding that if one could buy a DeltaWing from the showroom today, they would have a vehicle that was not only the most fuel efficient conventionally powered vehicle in the United States, but would also meet the 2025 54.5 mpg standard. The ratings are for a DeltaWing powered by a 138-horsepower 1.4-liter engine placed in the four-passenger variant.

Aside from traditional ICEs, the company says the prototype could be fitted with hybrid, diesel, CNG, hydrogen and electric power, with results ranging from better range for diesel, EV and FCV versions, to a 42 percent reduction in emissions for gasoline models.

DeltaWing GT race car - early concept 1 DeltaWing GT race car - early concept 2 DeltaWing GT race car concept chassis DeltaWing common chassis

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Richard Branson Setting Sights On Tesla With Possible Virgin EV http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/richard-branson-setting-sights-tesla-possible-virgin-ev/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/richard-branson-setting-sights-tesla-possible-virgin-ev/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 10:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025697 Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson has tackled everything from space and music, to airlines and MVNOs. Now, he has his sights on Tesla. Bloomberg reports Branson explained his motive for his Virgin Racing subsidiary’s involvement in Formula E when the he and and the team were in Miami last weekend: We have teams of people […]

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Richard Branson, his Virgin Racing Formula E team, and the Miami Dolphin Cheerleaders

Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson has tackled everything from space and music, to airlines and MVNOs. Now, he has his sights on Tesla.

Bloomberg reports Branson explained his motive for his Virgin Racing subsidiary’s involvement in Formula E when the he and and the team were in Miami last weekend:

We have teams of people working on electric cars. So you never know — you may find Virgin competing with the Tesla in the car business as we do in the space business. We will see what happens.

Virgin Engineering is among the few companies working on electric vehicles, which include Nissan, Audi and Apple. However, Branson concedes that Tesla is the one leading the way, proclaiming the company’s cars “as sexy as any other car on the road today.”

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Vincent Bollore Bringing ‘Superior’ EV Tech, Car-Sharing Service To US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/vincent-bollore-bringing-superior-ev-tech-car-sharing-service-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/vincent-bollore-bringing-superior-ev-tech-car-sharing-service-us-market/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 14:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025009 EV consumers in France and beyond needn’t wait months for a Tesla Model S, thanks to Vincent Bollore’s Autolib service and Bluecar EVs. Bloomberg reports the Bollore Group founder and chairman created Autolib to put EV fans behind the wheel of one of his Pininfarina-designed Bluecars for the equivalent of 20 cents per minute. Though […]

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Vincent Bollore with his Bluecars in Paris

EV consumers in France and beyond needn’t wait months for a Tesla Model S, thanks to Vincent Bollore’s Autolib service and Bluecar EVs.

Bloomberg reports the Bollore Group founder and chairman created Autolib to put EV fans behind the wheel of one of his Pininfarina-designed Bluecars for the equivalent of 20 cents per minute. Though the cars aren’t as premium as a Model S, Bollore says it’s the electrical systems powering the Bluecar that matter, proclaiming them to be “far superior” to Tesla’s efforts.

The technology involves lithium metal polymer batteries, developed by Bollore’s Blue Solutions. The batteries, which don’t need liquid electrolytes to store power, are not only lighter in weight than lithium-ion packs, but can be charged up to 3,000 times, and are stable at temps up to 338 F. No one else has gone for the technology thus far, however; Bollore invested €3 billion ($3.2 billion) over three years to develop the EVs and the battery technology now in use by his ventures.

Meanwhile, the billionaire has plans to bring Autolib and Bluecars to the United States, opening the first branch in Indianapolis this June, with Los Angeles a possible second U.S. candidate down the road. Bollore hopes to have 500 cars and 200 stations throughout the city — chosen for its strong car culture and varying weather conditions — by the end of this year.

Back home, Autolib has 3,000 Bluecars and 900 stations in service, with around 70,000 customers paying a €120 ($130 USD) annual fee to drive the EVs; 500 more cars and 200 more stations are expected to come online in 2015.

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Tesla Battery Swap Pilot Status Tied To California ZEV Credits http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-battery-swap-pilot-status-tied-california-zev-credits/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-battery-swap-pilot-status-tied-california-zev-credits/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 12:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023929 Tesla’s battery swap pilot program in Harris Ranch, Calif. may never leave the pilot phase, thanks to how California handles ZEV credits. The Los Angeles Times reports Tesla earned $66 million in Q4 2014 from selling credits to automakers needing to offset their carbon footprints. Each credit was the result of the Model S’ classification […]

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Tesla Harris Ranch California Battery Swap House Entrance

Tesla’s battery swap pilot program in Harris Ranch, Calif. may never leave the pilot phase, thanks to how California handles ZEV credits.

The Los Angeles Times reports Tesla earned $66 million in Q4 2014 from selling credits to automakers needing to offset their carbon footprints. Each credit was the result of the Model S’ classification as a Type 4 or Type 5 (based on battery size) vehicle by the California Air Resources Board — Type 5 involving vehicles with a range of 300 miles and can be refueled in less than 15 minutes — Tesla earning five to nine credits for every S sold as a result of the classification.

However, the sedan was knocked down to a Type 3 after CARB restructured its system for MY 2014 and beyond, basing earnings on “actual fueling events” regarding the fast-refueling credit. Thus, every S sold now earns Tesla four credits, except when it comes time to swap the battery pack. There, one S can have its pack swapped 25 times, with the credit applied to a total of 25 vehicles — up to nine credits per vehicle — as long as the other 24 are capable of quick refueling. Thus, Tesla’s credit-earning plan — and the profits from each sale — remain unchanged.

That said, the ZEV credit scheme will change again in 2018, with fast-refueling credits dropped for range assessment.

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Aikawa: Updated Mitsubishi Lancer Shelved For SUVs, Electrification http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/aikawa-updated-mitsubishi-lancer-shelved-suvs-electrification/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/aikawa-updated-mitsubishi-lancer-shelved-suvs-electrification/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 11:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023049 Get used to seeing this Mitsubishi Lancer for a long time to come, as the automaker has shelved its updates to its iconic sedan. According to CarAdvice.com.au, Mitsubishi president and COO Tetsuro Aikawa explained at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show the reasons behind the decision not to update the Lancer or its other sedans: While […]

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Get used to seeing this Mitsubishi Lancer for a long time to come, as the automaker has shelved its updates to its iconic sedan.

According to CarAdvice.com.au, Mitsubishi president and COO Tetsuro Aikawa explained at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show the reasons behind the decision not to update the Lancer or its other sedans:

While I’m the president probably no introduction of the next-generation Lancer… we will continue to sell current Lancer.

There are two reasons for that. One of the reasons is because, concerning the investment on development, we’d like to concentrate on SUV, PHEVs and EVs. That’s one reason.

The second reason is because sedan, in the world, is a very high competition at the moment and it’s very difficult to come up with a profit.

As for the Evo, the badge may be worn by a PHEV SUV with enough firepower to earn the honor to take up where the Lancer Evo will leave off this year.

The decision to freeze sedan development follows a failed attempt to partner with Renault for C- and D-segment vehicles, which Aikawa says was not “a win-win scenario” for either party.

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Uber, BYD Sign Deal To Test EV Fleet In Chicago http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/uber-byd-sign-deal-test-ev-fleet-chicago/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/uber-byd-sign-deal-test-ev-fleet-chicago/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 10:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023025 Chicago Uber customers are the first to take a ride in a Chinese-made EV, thanks to a deal between BYD and the transportation network company. Reuters reports the deal involves a test fleet of 25 BYD e6 EVs made available through Chicago-based Green Wheels USA, a concern that sells EVs and hybrids as well as […]

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byd-e6

Chicago Uber customers are the first to take a ride in a Chinese-made EV, thanks to a deal between BYD and the transportation network company.

Reuters reports the deal involves a test fleet of 25 BYD e6 EVs made available through Chicago-based Green Wheels USA, a concern that sells EVs and hybrids as well as charging stations. UberX drivers can lease from the fleet — which could expand to around 200 by year’s end — for $200/week, allowing them to drive the e6 during their shift before returning the vehicle to Green Wheels for recharging; lease-to-own and traditional leasing programs are also available.

The e6 program, part of the TNC’s overall financing program meant to put drivers into new or used vehicles through purchases or lease agreements, could help pave the way for BYD to bring all of its offerings to the U.S. market. So far, the automaker has only brought over electric buses and a limited number of e6s, the latter for pilot programs.

As for why the two companies teamed up, none would comment on the deal, which could expand to cover more cities should Chicago’s test run prove to be viable.

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Tesla Denies Gigafactory Delays, Axes 200 In China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-denies-gigafactory-delays-axes-200-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-denies-gigafactory-delays-axes-200-china/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 11:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1019426 Tesla may be denying delays in the construction of its Gigafactory, but the automaker’s not holding back on firing 200 employees in China due to poor sales. Autoblog reports the delay is due to a change in design plans for the $5-billion battery factory, with an online job posting by the International Brotherhood of Electrical […]

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Tesla may be denying delays in the construction of its Gigafactory, but the automaker’s not holding back on firing 200 employees in China due to poor sales.

Autoblog reports the delay is due to a change in design plans for the $5-billion battery factory, with an online job posting by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers mentioning the delay in construction. Tesla representative Alexis Georgeson denied the delay claims, while a rep for IBEW Local 401 declined to confirm or deny due to non-disclosure.

Meanwhile, AutoGuide says Tesla is laying off 30 percent of its employees in China, amounting to between 180 and 200 jobs. The automaker has had trouble as of late selling its wares in the emerging market, having moved 32,733 units in 2014 — short of the 35,000-unit, then 33,000-unit, sales target set for the year — and only 120 vehicles in January 2015. The company has not confirmed the report thus far.

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Ur-Turn: Tesla Haters Gotta Hate http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/ur-turn-tesla-haters-gotta-hate/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/ur-turn-tesla-haters-gotta-hate/#comments Mon, 09 Mar 2015 18:56:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1018642 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 […]

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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?

tesla-IMG_20150301_114354Interior is junk far away from luxury. BMW and Tesla both use lots of leather, including on the dashboard and doors. They both have options for nice wood inlays. BMW has optional brushed aluminum inlays. Tesla has optional carbon fiber inlays. Newer Teslas have optional sport seats that are very much in the same ballpark as typical BMW seats. About the only interior feature I’ll give to BMW is its optional “active ventilated seats”, offered on some higher-end models. Here in Texas, that’s a real feature, although Tesla does let you start the climate control remotely using their phone app. I used this on a recent Girl Scouts camping trip, wherein the temperatures dropped below freezing at night. It was great to hop into a car with a pre-heated cabin.

Interior design. Perhaps the original poster was unhappy with Tesla’s overuse of skeuomorphism (i.e., fake brushed metal, beveled edges, and bubbly buttons in the computer displays)? It’s hard to say. I come at design from a utilitarian perspective. Does the car let me do what I want to do, quickly and accurately? Common things should be fast with at most a quick glance. Uncommon things should be possible without training. After several months with the Tesla, I’d say they’re achieving this objective. The steering wheel buttons really do have most common things covered, such as changing the fan speed or skipping tracks, and the massive touchscreen makes it possible to dig in and tweak settings without going mad. BMW’s iDrive, no matter how many times they revise it, is still an embarrassment.

Road noise. There are several sources of noise in a typical car at speed: wind, tires, suspension, drivetrain, and screaming children. Electric drivetrains are insanely quiet, whereas BMW creates artificial drivetrain noise through the stereo system because … reasons. Wind and tire noise are largely the same between Tesla and any fancy German luxury sedan. I’ll modestly complain about suspension noise on the Tesla, though it’s not what you’d think. Like all good luxury cars, the Tesla’s suspension does its best to shave off the sharp insults from driving over crappy roads. What’s seemingly unique about the Tesla is what happens, even on the smoothest of perfect roads, when you hit a small bump, maybe a single pebble in the road. You get a muffled thud, basically a low frequency beat like you’d expect from a typical hip-hop album. This appears to be related, in part, to the “frunk” acting as a resonant chamber and in part to the large battery pack under the floor acting as a giant drum. Loading up the frunk with random luggage or boxes seems to help a lot. Since noticing this noise in my Tesla, I’ve paid close attention to other cars in which I’ll be riding, and the “thuds” tend to be less low-frequency boomy and have more high-frequency harmonics. I suspect this is because other cars have more irregular shapes to their floor (e.g., transmission tunnels). All that said, when you turn on the stereo, even at modest volume, you’ll never notice any of this. Pro-tip: you can hush the little ones by shouting “watch this” and slamming the go pedal. Buys you a few seconds of quiet.

tesla-IMG_20150111_123705Cheap panels and flimsy speaker grilles. They’re pretty much the same as you’d get anywhere. There are far fewer squeaks and rattles in my Tesla than in any other car I’ve ever owned. It’s clear that Tesla really sweated the details on NVH. And keep in mind, my car is 1.5 years old and has been a daily driver the whole time. It’s holding together quite well.

Sound quality? (premium sound!!) As I wrote in my Tesla vs. Jaguar comparison, the optional high-end Tesla sound system is seriously good stuff. The one time I heard the base sound system, however, I was unimpressed. If you’re going to buy a Tesla, pony up for the upgrade. My only real complaint is with the default Internet audio provider, Slacker. I’d much prefer some combination of Pandora and Google Music, but the only way to get those in a Tesla is through your phone’s Bluetooth.

Seat comfort / ceiling height. I’m 5’11” and I fit just fine; my car doesn’t have the panoramic glass ceiling, which adds even more headroom. The Tesla is a very large car, with plenty of room for grown adults in the back seat. The absence of a transmission tunnel is a huge win for your middle-seat passengers if you’re packing them in. In terms of comfort, I haven’t done any serious roadtripping yet in my Tesla, but the seat feels an awful lot like the standard you expect from luxury German cars: stiff but supportive.

Materials that tesla uses belong to 20$K Honda. The Model S is an aluminum car, putting it in the same league as an Audi A8. Aluminum is showing up all over the place, these days, including the new Ford F150. Aluminum is preferred for the strength you can get for a given amount of mass. The problem with aluminum is that it’s very, very expensive if you get into a collision. As an example, Motor Trend’s long-term Audi A8 had a $11,000 mishap with a road bollard. It’s just as bad for Tesla. Supposedly, the forthcoming “Model 3” will use steel. If you drive as poorly as this fellow constructs sentences, you’ll be wishing your Tesla used more steel, like a $20k Honda.

So rest of money goes into battery price. Indeed, Tesla is working on this “gigafactory” monster in the Nevada desert, to improve the worldwide capacity for lithium-ion cells, reducing their price, and affording legions of future gonzo Hunter S. Thompson wannabes the opportunity to tie together Nevada’s brothels, battery manufacturing, and gambling industries. And indeed, the battery system is where most of the complexity of the car lies, so it makes sense for them to invest in improvements. My Tesla leaves a puddle of water in my garage from its air conditioner running, hours after I get home, because it really, really wants to cool down the battery pack. Now if it could only cool down the hot heads on the Internet.

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Ford Readying Chevrolet Bolt Rival For Los Angeles Reveal http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/ford-readying-chevrolet-bolt-rival-los-angeles-reveal/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/ford-readying-chevrolet-bolt-rival-los-angeles-reveal/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 13:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1015938 Not one to be left in the dust, Ford is preparing a rival low-cost EV to go after the Chevrolet Bolt for a Los Angeles reveal this year. AutoGuide reports the plug-in EV would be a stand-alone model instead of a repurposed product like a Fiesta or Focus. Ford hopes to beat Chevrolet to the […]

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Not one to be left in the dust, Ford is preparing a rival low-cost EV to go after the Chevrolet Bolt for a Los Angeles reveal this year.

AutoGuide reports the plug-in EV would be a stand-alone model instead of a repurposed product like a Fiesta or Focus. Ford hopes to beat Chevrolet to the punch with a production version before the Bolt hits showrooms in 2017, though both vehicles would likely reach customers before Tesla’s low-cost Model 3 sees the light of day.

Though little else has been found on this project, a concept version of Ford’s Bolt is expected to bow at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show in November.

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Automakers Continue Support Of Electric Vehicles Despite Weak Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/automakers-continue-support-electric-vehicles-despite-weak-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/automakers-continue-support-electric-vehicles-despite-weak-sales/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 11:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1015890 Though sales of electric vehicles are still weak, automakers are not giving up on them over the long term. Reporting from the floor of the 2015 Geneva Auto Show, Autoblog says that technology is important to help automakers meet ever-stringent emissions standards, especially those in China, where heavy air pollution limits how many cars are […]

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Though sales of electric vehicles are still weak, automakers are not giving up on them over the long term.

Reporting from the floor of the 2015 Geneva Auto Show, Autoblog says that technology is important to help automakers meet ever-stringent emissions standards, especially those in China, where heavy air pollution limits how many cars are registered annually. BMW AG CEO Norbert Reithofer said as much when stating that his company cannot leave EVs like the i3 behind, proclaiming such vehicles would be in demand in the future.

Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche says hybrids were “truly attractive cars that represent the best of both worlds” as his and other companies cross the bridge toward a zero-emission future. However, Zetsche adds that the battery technology needed to get to the other side — long-lasting battery packs — are at least five years away.

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Geneva 2015: Aston Martin DBX Concept Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-aston-martin-dbx-concept-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-aston-martin-dbx-concept-revealed/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 10:30:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1012370 Not content to let Tesla have all the fun, the Aston Martin DBX Concept shows its take on an all-electric “high luxury GT” crossover. The design study uses inboard electric motors for each wheel to move the crossover along, each motor powered by lithium sulphur cells. Steering the DBX Concept is done via drive-by-wire, while […]

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Not content to let Tesla have all the fun, the Aston Martin DBX Concept shows its take on an all-electric “high luxury GT” crossover.

The design study uses inboard electric motors for each wheel to move the crossover along, each motor powered by lithium sulphur cells. Steering the DBX Concept is done via drive-by-wire, while braking and energy regeneration is handled via its KERS system.

Four adults can make use of both front and rear cargo spaces on their way to the countryside, while the driver and front passenger can view driving data via the concept’s HUD. LED exterior lighting, rearview cameras, and a black pearl ensemble enhanced with a micro-fine layer of chrome are some of the other features available.

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Geneva 2015: Audi R8 e-tron Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-audi-r8-e-tron-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-audi-r8-e-tron-revealed/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 07:26:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1011362 Briefly mentioned earlier, the spotlight now fully shines upon the Audi R8 e-tron at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show. The electric motors powering the R8 e-tron are capable of producing 456 horsepower and 679 lb-ft of torque, pushing the electric exotic from nil to 60 in 3.9 seconds. Top speed, as mentioned previously, will be […]

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Briefly mentioned earlier, the spotlight now fully shines upon the Audi R8 e-tron at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show.

The electric motors powering the R8 e-tron are capable of producing 456 horsepower and 679 lb-ft of torque, pushing the electric exotic from nil to 60 in 3.9 seconds. Top speed, as mentioned previously, will be limited to between 130.5 mph and 153.3 mph.

Though range was first stated to be 250 miles on a single charge, Audi says the R8 e-tron can go 276 miles before needing to recharge, an act that could take as little as two hours on a fast charge. The automaker also stated that the exotic is a test bed for a potential electric sedan meant to take on the Tesla Model S.

Price of admission has yet to be announced, but Audi says it will begin taking orders by late 2015.

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Geneva 2015: 2017 Audi R8 Debuts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-2017-audi-r8-debuts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-2017-audi-r8-debuts/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 19:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1010650 Christian Grey will have to move to Europe if he wants the new Audi R8 sooner than 2016. Otherwise, he’ll have to settle for seeing its debut in Geneva. While U.S. showrooms will be waiting until the 2017 model year for the R8 to arrive, those across the Atlantic can get theirs this summer for […]

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Christian Grey will have to move to Europe if he wants the new Audi R8 sooner than 2016. Otherwise, he’ll have to settle for seeing its debut in Geneva.

While U.S. showrooms will be waiting until the 2017 model year for the R8 to arrive, those across the Atlantic can get theirs this summer for the equivalent of $184,000 to $209,000, depending on features selected.

When it does arrive, however, V10 power will be the rule with two options: 540 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque, or 610 horses and 413 lb-ft of torque. Either way, the power will be funnelled through a seven-speed dual-clutch auto to an all-new Quattro system that can make the R8 either all FWD or all RWD depending on where demand is greatest.

Meanwhile, those who want more green power can opt for the e-tron version, whose 92-kWh battery pack gives the all-electric model a range 280 miles per charge, double that of the previous e-tron’s 140 miles. Speed will be limited to between 130.5 mph and 153.3 mph, and pricing is not yet known.

Other options include adaptive suspension, variable steering, 19- and 20-inch wheel choices, steel or carbon ceramic brakes, and a driver-focused interior.

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Georgia Bill To Eliminate EV Credits Gains Traction http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/georgia-bill-eliminate-ev-credits-gains-traction/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/georgia-bill-eliminate-ev-credits-gains-traction/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009290 The bill that would kill EV incentives in Georgia has taken a step closer to being voted upon by the state’s legislature. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Georgia House Bill 122, sponsored by Rep. Chuck Martin of Alpharetta, was thought to have been struck down by the House’s Ways and Means subcommittee last week, only to […]

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The bill that would kill EV incentives in Georgia has taken a step closer to being voted upon by the state’s legislature.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Georgia House Bill 122, sponsored by Rep. Chuck Martin of Alpharetta, was thought to have been struck down by the House’s Ways and Means subcommittee last week, only to be brought back to life by the same subcommittee under the circumstance that it was merely tabled.

A spokesperson for the House later explained that HB 122 — which would eliminate the $5,000 tax credit for those who buy or lease an EV like the Nissan Leaf — was treated as a tabled bill when it failed to receive the “do pass” recommendation in the subcommittee, thus allowing members to vote on the bill again.

The bill’s language is also on HB 170, a transportation projects bill that legislators hope will pull in $1 billion in new revenue per year for potential projects. The tax credit, meanwhile, would cost the state $628 million between 2016 and 2020, per official state estimates.

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Samsung SDI Buys Battery-Pack Business From Magna http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/samsung-sdi-buys-battery-pack-business-magna/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/samsung-sdi-buys-battery-pack-business-magna/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 14:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1007818 Digging further into the auto-parts game, Samsung SDI announced it would buy Magna International’s battery-pack business. Reuters reports the subsidiary of the South Korean chaebol, which makes packs for the BMW i3 and i8, is bringing the entirety of Magna subsidiary Magna Steyr’s battery-pack production unit into the fold, including all 264 employees, and production […]

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Digging further into the auto-parts game, Samsung SDI announced it would buy Magna International’s battery-pack business.

Reuters reports the subsidiary of the South Korean chaebol, which makes packs for the BMW i3 and i8, is bringing the entirety of Magna subsidiary Magna Steyr’s battery-pack production unit into the fold, including all 264 employees, and production and development sites.

Per Samsung SDI President and CEO Nameseong Cho, the move “will provide new momentum to expand our business and customer base,” including those in Europe, North America and China.

The value of the deal between the two parties was not made public, and the deal will be completed in Q1 2015 pending regulatory approval.

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A123 Systems Suing Apple, Ex-Employee For Poaching Engineers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/a123-systems-suing-apple-ex-employee-poaching-engineers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/a123-systems-suing-apple-ex-employee-poaching-engineers/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 13:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004514 Apple may or may not be building a car to battle Tesla, but the tech giant is in trouble with A123 Systems for poaching the latter’s employees. Autoblog reports the battery manufacturing is suing Apple in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, seeking a restraining order preliminary injunction against former employee Mujeeb Ijaz, who it believes […]

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A123 Battery Systems HQ

Apple may or may not be building a car to battle Tesla, but the tech giant is in trouble with A123 Systems for poaching the latter’s employees.

Autoblog reports the battery manufacturing is suing Apple in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, seeking a restraining order preliminary injunction against former employee Mujeeb Ijaz, who it believes is hiring away key employees to the tech giant:

It appears that Apple, with the assistance of defendant Ijaz, is systematically hiring away A123’s high tech PhD and engineering employees, thereby effectively shutting down various projects/programs at A123.

The suit follows speculation that Apple is entering the automotive space with its own EV, with a roster of former Tesla employees likely working on the project.

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Tesla Pushing For Direct Sales In Texas, Dealers Wanting A Shot To Sell http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/tesla-pushing-direct-sales-texas-dealers-wanting-shot-sell/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/tesla-pushing-direct-sales-texas-dealers-wanting-shot-sell/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 15:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004082 As Tesla gears up to tackle Texas’ direct-sales ban during the state’s 2015 legislative session, dealers are begging for a shot to sell the automaker’s EVs. The Texas Tribune reports several Texas dealerships have approached Tesla about selling its wares, claiming they would take on the risk of selling a niche premium EV if given […]

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As Tesla gears up to tackle Texas’ direct-sales ban during the state’s 2015 legislative session, dealers are begging for a shot to sell the automaker’s EVs.

The Texas Tribune reports several Texas dealerships have approached Tesla about selling its wares, claiming they would take on the risk of selling a niche premium EV if given the chance. According to Texas Automobile Dealers Association president Bill Wolters, those dealers were rebuffed:

This is such a unique situation in which Elon Musk doesn’t want to have competition from other makes.

Currently, Tesla has galleries in Austin, Dallas and Houston, where customers can see the Model S, but cannot buy the car directly from the gallery, turning to the company’s website to complete the process as a result.

While dealers believe the direct-sales ban gives consumers a chance to buy the car they want anywhere within Texas — instead of having to drive to a few select cities where automakers would focus their efforts if given the opportunity — Tesla says the ban threatens to undermine its success in the state. CEO Elon Musk adds that franchise dealers would ultimately fail in selling his company’s EVs, citing the traditional model’s main source of revenue — maintenance — as where the struggle would occur.

Meanwhile, Tesla is spending between $625,000 and $1.18 million on 21 lobbyists to persuade lawmakers in Austin to consider legislation that would allow for direct sales. No bills have come up regarding the issue thus far this session, through Rep. Eddie Rodriguez of Austin is working on a proposal that would grant the automaker and other EV-only manufacturers the right to sell directly to Texas consumers; a similar proposal by Rodriguez was rejected last year.

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Tesla Hitting Sales Roadblock In China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/tesla-hitting-sales-roadblock-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/tesla-hitting-sales-roadblock-china/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 16:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1003778 Tesla’s Apple aspirations may have its detractors, but the automaker’s ongoing problems in China are likely to do more harm than said detractors. Forbes reports Tesla’s China operations are closing 2014 on a down note, having brought over 444 units in December compared to 747 in November. Further, 45 percent of all Teslas have yet […]

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Tesla’s Apple aspirations may have its detractors, but the automaker’s ongoing problems in China are likely to do more harm than said detractors.

Forbes reports Tesla’s China operations are closing 2014 on a down note, having brought over 444 units in December compared to 747 in November. Further, 45 percent of all Teslas have yet to be registered with local authorities, and therefore, have yet to legally hit the road. The country also accounted for 15 percent of the automaker’s global sales in 2014.

The issue is the brand’s cachet with Chinese consumers, who bought the Model S because of its trendiness, not because it’s better for the environment. Thus, Tesla’s popularity will last as long as the next trendy vehicle from a competing luxury automaker.

CEO Elon Musk’s current solution? Fire or demote those “not on a clear path to positive long-term cash flow.” The publication says this approach will only “erode his power base and credibility,” aspects he needs to maintain if he intends to keep to the path of long-term sustainable growth and stability.

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Nissan: EV Charging Infrastructure Surpasses Fuel Stations In Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nissan-ev-charging-infrastructure-surpasses-fuel-stations-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nissan-ev-charging-infrastructure-surpasses-fuel-stations-japan/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 14:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1003682 Driving around Japan in your EV of choice? Range anxiety likely won’t be an issue, as the nation has more charging points than gas stations. Per The Japan Times, Nissan discovered the number of such points — including fast and home chargers — now total 40,000. In contrast, there are only 34,000 fuel stations for […]

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Driving around Japan in your EV of choice? Range anxiety likely won’t be an issue, as the nation has more charging points than gas stations.

Per The Japan Times, Nissan discovered the number of such points — including fast and home chargers — now total 40,000. In contrast, there are only 34,000 fuel stations for those in who prefer Rocket Bunnys and Rauh-Welts over Leafs and i3s. The differing figures show how quickly those points have sprung up, especially when it took decades for the oil industry to work its magic in Japan.

However, many of the 40,000 points are in the home, and therefore, not currently accessible to the motoring public. A possible remedy could come in the form of the emerging sharing economy — Airbnb, Car2Go, Uber et al — where homeowners would share their charging point with others for a small fee.

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Second-Gen Nissan Leaf Announcements Coming This Summer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/second-gen-nissan-leaf-announcements-coming-summer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/second-gen-nissan-leaf-announcements-coming-summer/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 12:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1003642 Wanting to know if the Nissan Leaf will look more conventional in its second iteration? Power and range more your concern? Can you wait until this summer? Autoblog reports news of the next-gen Leaf will likely come this summer, despite recent announcements from Chevrolet and Tesla regarding their own respective low-cost electric offerings piquing curiosity […]

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2013 Nissan Leaf. Photo courtesy Nissan.

Wanting to know if the Nissan Leaf will look more conventional in its second iteration? Power and range more your concern? Can you wait until this summer?

Autoblog reports news of the next-gen Leaf will likely come this summer, despite recent announcements from Chevrolet and Tesla regarding their own respective low-cost electric offerings piquing curiosity regarding Nissan’s EV.

The only statement to come thus far? Per Nissan North America corporate communications chief Brian Brockman during the 2015 Chicago Auto Show, “things are in the works.” He adds that the silent treatment until the weather warms up is out of concern for the potential of cannibalized pure EV sales, an issue no other automaker has to worry about.

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WSJ To Tesla: Cast Aside Corporate Welfare To Improve Image http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/wsj-tesla-cast-aside-corporate-welfare-improve-image/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/wsj-tesla-cast-aside-corporate-welfare-improve-image/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 14:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1002850 Despite its visions of having a valuation on par with Apple within a decade, Tesla’s subsistence on subsidies may be hard for some to swallow. The Wall Street Journal said as much in an opinion piece following Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s proclamation to grow his company 50 percent annually, with a stock valuation of $700 […]

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Despite its visions of having a valuation on par with Apple within a decade, Tesla’s subsistence on subsidies may be hard for some to swallow.

The Wall Street Journal said as much in an opinion piece following Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s proclamation to grow his company 50 percent annually, with a stock valuation of $700 billion to come in 10 years’ time; the company is currently valued at $27 billion. The publication points out that its $108 million loss in Q4 2014 — thought to be linked to delivery issues, a strong dollar and manufacturing issues — would have been much worse had it not taken $86 million from selling federal carbon credits that quarter.

Continuing with the train of thought, WSJ noted those credits were the result of Tesla’s lineup falling in line with federal and state fuel-efficiency and ZEV mandates, the surplus of said credits being sold to other automakers whose own lineups may be lacking in the green department. In 2014 alone, Tesla sold $216 million in credits, matching 7 percent of what the company sold in EVs.

Other points noted include the $1.5 billion in tax breaks bestowed upon the automaker in its native California and in Nevada, where its Gigafactory battery-pack production facility, as well as the $7,500 federal tax rebate consumers receive upon purchasing a Model S. The publication concluded by urging Musk to “turn off the taxpayer tap,” on the premise that by so doing, he and his company would gain more friends “for the long haul,” whomever they may be.

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Apple Rumored At Work On Titan EV Project http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/apple-rumored-work-titan-ev-project/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/apple-rumored-work-titan-ev-project/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1002074 Not about to let Google or Tesla tackle the automotive space without competition, Apple is rumored to be entering the game with its own EV project. Autoblog reports the project, dubbed Project Titan, is an EV resembling a minivan, and has several hundred Apple employees working to make the vehicle a reality. Vice president of […]

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Not about to let Google or Tesla tackle the automotive space without competition, Apple is rumored to be entering the game with its own EV project.

Autoblog reports the project, dubbed Project Titan, is an EV resembling a minivan, and has several hundred Apple employees working to make the vehicle a reality. Vice president of product design and former Ford engineer Steve Zadesky is said to be leading the project, while director of Mac systems engineering and former Mercedes-Benz R&D chief Johann Jungwirth is contributing his knowledge. Austrian supplier Magna Steyr has also been tapped by Apple execs to help guide the project along.

News of the rumored EV comes amid other rumors regarding the company’s poaching missions to Tesla — who allegedly have done the same to Apple in return — as well its desire to enter the autonomous vehicle market to one-up Google down the road.

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