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, 29 Sep 2014 16:40:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 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 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/ California Planning EV Charging-Friendly Building Codes For 2015 – 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/california-planning-ev-charging-friendly-building-codes-2015-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/california-planning-ev-charging-friendly-building-codes-2015-2016/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 11:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921193 Should you one day find yourself heading off to make a new life in California, and you own a plug-in vehicle, your home or apartment will already have the minimum infrastructure needed to install a charging port. The Long Tail Pipe reports the California Building Code is set to receive an update sometime between 2015 […]

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Should you one day find yourself heading off to make a new life in California, and you own a plug-in vehicle, your home or apartment will already have the minimum infrastructure needed to install a charging port.

The Long Tail Pipe reports the California Building Code is set to receive an update sometime between 2015 and 2016, mandating new housing and parking lots must at least have “the conduit and electrical system calculations required to prepare for charging stations.” This would not only knock down installation costs — current installations require extensive work as far as wiring and upgrades are concerned, with a price tag to match — but could help spur greater adoption of electric cars and motorcycles.

Though installation would be made easier with the standards in consideration, charging could still be a pain. In a study b the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development, grid operator California ISO proclaimed the grid could handle the increase in load so long as the ports are limited to 40 amp charging capacity. The fear is that were the amps to be doubled without upgrades to local transformers, the grid could overload.

The trade-off in limiting amps to maintain grid integrity is longer charging times, which could be made longer when longer-range EVs and their 60-plus kWh packs arrive sometime in 2017. The Long Tail Pipe says 40 amp would deliver times of 10 hours or greater to bring the packs to full. Though the study suggests 120-volt charging, the draft building code makes no mention of using that particular method.

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NEVS Lays Off 200 In Reorganization Plan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/nevs-lays-200-reorganization-plan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/nevs-lays-200-reorganization-plan/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 10:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921169 With the Saab name reclaimed by the mothership, a host of financial problems, and no product beyond a 10-year-old platform, what else is left for National Electric Vehicle Sweden to do? If you said, “Tap out,” then you just might see that hand pounding the mat rather quickly. Reuters reports the automaker has laid off […]

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With the Saab name reclaimed by the mothership, a host of financial problems, and no product beyond a 10-year-old platform, what else is left for National Electric Vehicle Sweden to do? If you said, “Tap out,” then you just might see that hand pounding the mat rather quickly.

Reuters reports the automaker has laid off 200 workers due to a lack of work as of late, work that likely won’t be coming anytime soon. NEVS says the move was part of its reorganization plan that will be presented at a creditors’ meeting October 8.

Originally, the workers were retained since production ceased in May 2014 in the hope that financing would soon come its way to restart work immediately. The remaining staff will keep the factory in good condition should NEVS secure the needed financing to resume assembly.

At present, the automaker owes kr400 million ($56 million USD) to its creditors, and is allegedly in talks with two unknown firms — speculation says Mahindra is one of them — to gain a financial jumpstart for an electric variant of the 9-3, currently in the prototype phase.

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German Government Unveils Bill To Spur ZEV Adoption http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/german-government-unveils-bill-spur-zev-adoption/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/german-government-unveils-bill-spur-zev-adoption/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 11:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=918418 Should you happen to call Germany home and are shopping for a car, the government would like to offer you free parking, tax exemptions for 10 years, and bus-lane privileges if you purchase an EV, FCV or PHEV. Bloomberg reports the bill, known in English as the Electric Mobility Act, would bestow those incentives through […]

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Should you happen to call Germany home and are shopping for a car, the government would like to offer you free parking, tax exemptions for 10 years, and bus-lane privileges if you purchase an EV, FCV or PHEV.

Bloomberg reports the bill, known in English as the Electric Mobility Act, would bestow those incentives through the municipalities on drivers who go green in a move meant to bolster demand for such vehicles. The German government has a goal of 1 million EVs by 2020, both to further prove the nation’s engineering might, and to meet tightening greenhouse gas emission regs.

Getting there will likely become easier over the next few months. According to industry group VDA, 17 electric models from BMW, Smart and Mercedes will enter showrooms by the end of 2014, with 12 more coming out of the factories in 2015.

The Electric Mobility Act will come into force by the spring of 2015.

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Goldman Sachs: Tesla Needs $6B In Capital To Meet “Disruptive” Growth http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/goldman-sachs-tesla-needs-6b-capital-meet-disruptive-growth/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/goldman-sachs-tesla-needs-6b-capital-meet-disruptive-growth/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 10:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=918314 According to the financial overlords of Goldman Sachs, Tesla would need an $6 billion in capital within the next 11 years should its products become truly disruptive to the automotive industry. Per Bloomberg, Goldman Sachs analyst Patrick Archambault delivered that number to his employer’s clients Wednesday, based on what he believes would be needed should […]

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Tesla HQ

According to the financial overlords of Goldman Sachs, Tesla would need an $6 billion in capital within the next 11 years should its products become truly disruptive to the automotive industry.

Per Bloomberg, Goldman Sachs analyst Patrick Archambault delivered that number to his employer’s clients Wednesday, based on what he believes would be needed should Tesla’s electric lineup prove as popular as the iPhone 6 or Model T. The proclamation knocked the automaker’s shares down 1.7 percent to $259.32 on the trading floor in New York at the final bell.

Though Tesla CEO Elon Musk plans to sell a minimum of 500,000 units per year down the road, Archambault claims the capital needed would push annual production from 1.8 million to 3.2 million units by 2025. Other projects, such as the upcoming Gigafactory battery pack plant in Reno, Nev., would also need some of the projected $6 billion in additional capital. He adds that most of the $6 billion would be distributed from 2017 through 2025.

Meanwhile, Tesla has not given its own forecast for capital spending, according to representative Simon Sproule.

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Report: Gigafactory Battery Cost As Low As $165/kWh By 2025 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/report-gigafactory-battery-cost-low-165kwh-2025/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/report-gigafactory-battery-cost-low-165kwh-2025/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 11:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=916850 One of the main goals of Tesla’s Gigafactory is to bring down battery pack costs to just under $100 per kilowatt-hour within 10 years. That goal may be harder to achieve, however, according to one skeptic. Charged Electric Vehicles reports Dr. Menahem Anderman of Advanaced Automotive Batteries recently released a report (one that few, especially […]

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One of the main goals of Tesla’s Gigafactory is to bring down battery pack costs to just under $100 per kilowatt-hour within 10 years. That goal may be harder to achieve, however, according to one skeptic.

Charged Electric Vehicles reports Dr. Menahem Anderman of Advanaced Automotive Batteries recently released a report (one that few, especially TTAC, are willing to pay $2,800 to read in full) about Tesla’s battery tech and its role in the grand scheme of electrification.

In particular, Anderman expresses his doubts that Tesla can actually bring down pack costs to below $100/kWh before 2025:

Our assessment shows that pack pricing for the 2025 time scale could be as low as $167/kWh… Pack cost much below $200/kWh is unlikely before 2020.

Further, he doesn’t believe the automaker can also bring a $35,000 EV to market by 2017, proclaiming the upcoming Model 3′s price tag “will be in the range of $50k-80k,” and that the Gigafactory’s use of solar power is “mostly for image and political reasons.”

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Ian James Corlett’s ElectroPorsche: From Beater To Electrifying Showstopper http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ian-james-corletts-electroporsche-from-beater-to-electrifying-showstopper/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ian-james-corletts-electroporsche-from-beater-to-electrifying-showstopper/#comments Sat, 20 Sep 2014 13:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909898 [AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story is one I've been pursuing since a couple of days before returning to TTAC on the back of the Bumpasaurus Rex last October. As today is my 36th birthday, this is my gift to you, dearest B&B. - CA] Meet Ian James Corlett and his 1966 Porsche 912. Corlett calls Vancouver, […]

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1966 Porsche 912 EV 16

[AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story is one I've been pursuing since a couple of days before returning to TTAC on the back of the Bumpasaurus Rex last October. As today is my 36th birthday, this is my gift to you, dearest B&B. - CA]

Meet Ian James Corlett and his 1966 Porsche 912. Corlett calls Vancouver, B.C. his home, where he works in the entertainment industry as a voice actor, director, producer, author and musician; his son and daughter, Phillip and Claire, also work in the industry as voice actors in their own right.

As for his 912, it may appear to be no more than a beautifully restored vintage Porsche, but as you’ll soon discover, there’s more than meets the eye with this particular sports car.

All photos provided by Ian James Corlett, Brendan McAleer and Wikipedia.

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“I didn’t start with the notion of electrifying a Porsche,” said Corlett. “I was gonna do an old VW Beetle, mostly because I love Beetles, and it was one of the first cars I ever had. But the electric kits and the conversions were relatively available, and lots of people had done them. So, I thought, ‘Well, that’s good, because the geometry works and it’s easy to bolt in an electric motor onto the existing transmission. So, that’s what I’ll do!’”

Corlett’s interest in all things electric began years ago during one of his “reverse midlife crisis” phases, when he happened upon a Vespa scooter whose engine lived up to its Italian heritage. Preferring to ride over working on the Vespa during the few sunny days Vancouver received in a given year, he turned to a since-defunct scooter shop in Seattle for help. There, Corlett obtained a 10-inch hub motor and custom components for the Vespa, then made the switch to electric power back home.

Another reason for going electric: To escape the leasing cycle, and to reconnect with the idea of ownership. Corlett grew up interested in European and Japanese vehicles, finding U.S.-made models of the 1970s and 1980s too big, heavy and brutal to his liking. His first cars included the aforementioned Beetle, his mother’s 1969 Datsun, a Honda Accord — his first new car — two Volkswagen Cabriolets with a Jetta in between, and ultimately, the first of many Porsche 911s.

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Though he owned his vehicles through his first 911 — a 1994 993 model — outright, the leasing bug would soon sting him and his wallet:

Somebody introduced me to this wizard of leasing, and they said, ‘No. Actually, people just don’t realize that leasing is all about the differential between what a car is going to be worth in a couple of years, and what you paid for it. You’re only really paying for that difference.’

With the then-low depreciation rates of Porsche’s offering in mind, and the leasing guru’s flexibility in setting up the contract, Corlett found leasing was less expensive than regular car payments at the time. However, the first lease was like “the drug dealer offering [a new customer] the first one for free,” with the second and third leases as easy as the first.

Alas, the rates would soon climb, Porsche began expanding its lineup, and residual values were falling hard. After the sixth 911, Corlett was quitting leasing for good, preferring to own his cars again, as well as use the money that would have gone into a new lease toward his children’s private school tuition and other fiscal responsibilities.

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Though his search began with numerous old Beetles, Corlett took to the idea of converting a 912 to electric power after his attempt to buy a converted 912 from an aerospace engineer in the Phoenix area on eBay ended with a last-second loss to a higher bidder; converting a 911 of similar vintage was a bridge too far in his mind. This new journey would end outside of the desert city, where Corlett snagged a 1966 beater with rust galore — thanks to its previous life outside of Arizona — instead of a hoped-for “very dry, desert car.”

“It was really a two-step process,” he explained. “We needed to restore the car, and then fit it and measure it for the electric components.”

The restoration proved to be daunting for Corlett’s electric dream. Opting to perform both steps in Phoenix — the labor costs were lower than in Canada — he left the 912 with a restorer who turned out to be as nightmarish as the vehicle itself upon media-blasting by the following restorer, Arizona Street Customs, months later.

The project ultimately took three years, though Corlett admitted that “it shouldn’t have taken three years,” citing a change in focus toward a move to a new house in Vancouver, as well as project-related issues:

One of the huge delays, as an example, was the batteries. We ordered $15,000 worth of batteries, and they had to come from China. We just made a wrong choice on who the supplier was. That was eight months of waiting, because the guy would sell large amounts of batteries in containers. He waited for a container to be full before he would fulfill his order from China and ship to the U.S. That’s just big, long delay for no good reason.

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Since coming home to Vancouver late last year, the 912 has been making the rounds at events throughout the area, such as the Luxury Supercar Weekend at VanDusen Botanical Garden, and the Key West Ford Shine & Show in New Westminster, B.C., where Corlett took home trophies in the best special interest and unfinished categories. He says he enjoys being able to take part in any event that allows him to show off his masterpiece in the brief window of sunny days between June and October.

The reaction to such a conversion? “I have had nothing but jaw-drops and great comments,” he proclaimed. “Now, that’s to my face. I’m sure there are people that feel differently. I’ve been really surprised by some of the Porsche people — and I know a lot of them in town — some of them that are just hardcore, real Porsche fanatics.”

One in particular, his mechanic — a “very abrasive guy of German heritage” who’s “not too fond of electric cars, period” — enthusiastically approved of the 912 during a shakedown following a suspension adjustment, allaying Corlett’s fears of taking a classic Porsche and transforming it into a vintage EV. Nonetheless, he’s very happy with the overall response his car is receiving.

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Registration and insurance for a unique vehicle like this was easier to obtain than one might imagine. The most difficult part was importation from the U.S. to Canada, though this was waved away by declaring the 912 as just a restored vintage vehicle. Once at home, registration was simply a matter of switching the “G” — for gasoline — to “E” — for electric — on the paperwork.

Finally, though the 912 has standard insurance at present, it may soon have coverage better suited for its unique features, which would provide the benefit of being insured and appraised properly.

Range testing is ongoing as far as long drives are concerned, having gone as far south as Corlett’s P.O. Box in nearby Blaine, Wash., as well some handling issues that need to be resolved before taking it 9/10ths. In the meantime, he switches between the 912 and his 2011 BMW 135i, the latter his daily driver. His reasoning for the BMW is the same as the 911s before: the ability to go from the school and the studio during the week, to the track during the weekends when not piloting or showing the 912 EV.

As far as future electrification is concerned, an experience with the Tesla Model S has Corlett thinking of an EV suitable for his family’s needs. As the premium sedan is too large, he says the Kia Soul EV will likely fulfill the role, if only because the Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive won’t be in Canada anytime soon.

By the way, he still has the electric Vespa, and he aims to have both it and the 912 out on the road to praise the sun next year.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 1966 Porsche 912 EV 02 1966 Porsche 912 EV 03 1966 Porsche 912 EV 04 1966 Porsche 912 EV 05 1966 Porsche 912 EV 06 1966 Porsche 912 EV 07 1966 Porsche 912 EV 08 1966 Porsche 912 EV 09 1966 Porsche 912 EV 10 1966 Porsche 912 EV 11 1966 Porsche 912 EV 12 1966 Porsche 912 EV 13 1966 Porsche 912 EV 14 1966 Porsche 912 EV 15 1966 Porsche 912 EV 16 1966 Porsche 912 EV 17 1966 Porsche 912 EV 18 1966 Porsche 912 EV 20 1966 Porsche 912 EV 21 1966 Porsche 912 EV 22 1966 Porsche 912 EV 23 1966 Porsche 912 EV Spec Sheet

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Tesla Appeals NJ Franchise Statute, May Win Via Legislation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/tesla-appeals-nj-franchise-statute-may-win-via-legislation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/tesla-appeals-nj-franchise-statute-may-win-via-legislation/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 11:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=915130 Months after the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission forced Tesla to stop directly selling its vehicles to the public, the automaker’s appeal moves closer to its day in court. Automotive News reports the appeal, made in March of 2014, proclaims that Tesla has a right to sell its cars with its business model, as the […]

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Tesla Model S Burnout

Months after the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission forced Tesla to stop directly selling its vehicles to the public, the automaker’s appeal moves closer to its day in court.

Automotive News reports the appeal, made in March of 2014, proclaims that Tesla has a right to sell its cars with its business model, as the state’s franchise statute does not apply to the automaker — no franchise agreements were ever made — the MVC overstepped its bounds by enforcing the statute, and the statute itself violates the state’s constitution in part.

That said, the case may not need to see the light of day, as two bills in the state senate would allow Tesla to continue doing business its way, with some limits. The first would give the automaker four stores to itself — two of which are already in operation — with any more to be franchised. Two service facilities would also be required of Tesla were the bill to pass. The second bill would update the franchise statute.

Both bills are expected to be voted upon by late September at the earliest.

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IRS Plug-In Vehicle Credit Cap Data Lacking Accuracy, Detail http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/irs-plug-vehicle-credit-cap-data-lacking-accuracy-detail/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/irs-plug-vehicle-credit-cap-data-lacking-accuracy-detail/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 10:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=915098 In 2008, Congress passed a tax bill that would provide a credit of up to $7,500 for customers who purchase plug-in vehicles as a way to encourage adoption of cleaner vehicles. The credit would last in full for the first 200,000 units an automaker sold, then phased out over the course of 12 months. The […]

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A general view of the Internal Revenue Service Building in Washington

In 2008, Congress passed a tax bill that would provide a credit of up to $7,500 for customers who purchase plug-in vehicles as a way to encourage adoption of cleaner vehicles. The credit would last in full for the first 200,000 units an automaker sold, then phased out over the course of 12 months.

The problem? The agency responsible for handling the credit, the Internal Revenue Service, has no clue as to where things stand as far as that cap is concerned, despite every automaker that sells a plug-in model reporting the figures every quarter, as required by law.

AutoblogGreen reports that despite the fact that no automaker has yet to hit the cap, the IRS website meant to help consumers in their decision as to whether or not to purchase a plug-in vehicle is as dysfunctional as the legislative branch that passed the tax credit in the first place.

From the vehicles listed on the site — only six out of 24 vehicles from various manufacturers are listed — to the reported number of vehicles sold not matching up with what the automakers send to the agency per quarter, the IRS is dropping the ball on consumers who might want a plug-in in part because of the credit. This lack of attention to detail could knock new owners upside the head when the credit they thought they were going to receive ends up being less than desired.

When asked why the current situation exists, along with how the IRS receives and interprets its data regarding the credit cap, a representative stated that for a model to be listed on the site, a waiver must be submitted to the agency by the automaker in question. Both Chevrolet and Tesla, however, would beg to differ, as best explained by Tesla representative Liz Jarvis-Shean:

We’re compliant with reporting our quarterly US sales to the IRS and submit this information to the IRS shortly after each quarter’s close. One would assume that if Model S owners were having issues with this, you’d have heard about it.

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Dongfeng Nissan Launches Leaf-Based Venucia e30 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/dongfeng-nissan-launches-leaf-based-venucia-e30/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/dongfeng-nissan-launches-leaf-based-venucia-e30/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 10:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=912650 After 3.1 million miles of pilot testing, Dongfeng Nissan last week launched its version of the Leaf for the Chinese EV market, the Venucia e30. Prior to the official launch, around 300 of the ¥267,800 ($43,460 USD) e30s went through a quality and safety pilot program in Guangzhou, Xiangyang and Dalian, logging 3.1 million “failure-free” […]

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After 3.1 million miles of pilot testing, Dongfeng Nissan last week launched its version of the Leaf for the Chinese EV market, the Venucia e30.

Prior to the official launch, around 300 of the ¥267,800 ($43,460 USD) e30s went through a quality and safety pilot program in Guangzhou, Xiangyang and Dalian, logging 3.1 million “failure-free” miles in so doing. Six more cities — Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Tianjin and Hangzhou — join the original three locations as part of the initial launch before sales go nationwide next year.

As for what consumers will get out of the reworked original EV for the masses, the e30 is expected to deliver up to 35 miles in range after using the quick-charge option, with normal charging also available. In addition, the EV comes with government subsidies, as well as lower running costs of 85 percent compared to similar gasoline models.

Though it remains to be seen how well the e30 hits it off with the Chinese public, the Leaf is doing well for itself as of late, with Nissan selling 3,186 units in the United States last month, and year-to-year U.S. sales jumping 34 percent to 18,841 units.

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Tesla Model X Has 20,000 Reservations, More To Come http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/tesla-model-x-20000-reservations-come/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/tesla-model-x-20000-reservations-come/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 11:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=911057 Despite attempts to discourage would-be owners from reserving a copy of the upcoming Model X, Tesla has some 20,000 customers on its waiting list for the gullwinged SUEV. Gas 2 reports a total of 20,159 reservations have been made thus far since 2012, 12,000 of which were made through March of this year. Out of […]

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Despite attempts to discourage would-be owners from reserving a copy of the upcoming Model X, Tesla has some 20,000 customers on its waiting list for the gullwinged SUEV.

Gas 2 reports a total of 20,159 reservations have been made thus far since 2012, 12,000 of which were made through March of this year. Out of those figures, around 14,000 belong to customers in the United States, while Europe and the Asia Pacific hold just 25 percent.

That said, it may be a long wait. The assembly line, currently going through upgrades to assemble 3,000 vehicles per week, must be shared with the Model S. The publication says that if the split were 50/50, it would take Tesla over a year to clear the backlog that could hit 25,000 by the time production begins early next year.

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2015 Kia Soul EV Coming To US With $33K Price Tag http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2015-kia-soul-ev-coming-us-33k-price-tag/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2015-kia-soul-ev-coming-us-33k-price-tag/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 10:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=911033 Looking for an EV that doesn’t cost Tesla money or resemble a jelly bean? Then Kia might just have what you need with its electrified version of the Soul when it arrives in showrooms later this year. AutoblogGreen reports the compact EV — the South Korean automaker’s first such mass-market offering — will enter showrooms […]

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2015 Kia Soul EV

Looking for an EV that doesn’t cost Tesla money or resemble a jelly bean? Then Kia might just have what you need with its electrified version of the Soul when it arrives in showrooms later this year.

AutoblogGreen reports the compact EV — the South Korean automaker’s first such mass-market offering — will enter showrooms with a base MSRP of $33,700 before the $7,500 federal tax rebate is applied. The price of admission places the Soul EV above the Nissan Leaf ($28,980), but just below the Volkswagen e-Golf ($35,445).

The base model — dubbed Base — brings a 6.6kW on-board charger and an “exclusive” HVAC system designed to maintain the vehicle’s 93-mile range “by minimizing energy draw.” The UVO eServices system, which provides in-car and — via the UVO app — smartphone info on range and were to pull over for a charge, comes standard. Other amenities available include Bluetooth, rear-camera display, cruise control and power windows.

Meanwhile, the top-of-the-line + — or Plus — model adds heated leather-trimmed seats, fog lights and power-folding mirrors, all for a starting price of $35,700 MSRP pre-rebate.

For those who would rather lease, Kia is offering an introductory $249/month rate for 36 months on the Soul EV Base with $1,999 down. Either way, the crossover will only be available in a few California markets, with expansion planned down the road.

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California Dominates US Plug-In Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/california-dominates-us-plug-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/california-dominates-us-plug-market/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 12:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=910058 A shock that may come to no one among the B&B, California leads the way in sales of plug-ins with just over 100,000 units sold in the past four years. Bloomberg reports the figures, accounting for 40 percent of the plug-in market, were compiled by the California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative from data gathered between […]

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2013 Ford C-MAX Energi Plug-In Hybrid, Exterior, Charging Plug, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

A shock that may come to no one among the B&B, California leads the way in sales of plug-ins with just over 100,000 units sold in the past four years.

Bloomberg reports the figures, accounting for 40 percent of the plug-in market, were compiled by the California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative from data gathered between December 2010 and August 2014 by the California Air Resources Board, Hybridcars.com and Baum & Associates. Baum also reported overall U.S. sales checked-in at around 250,000 units over the same period.

Though California has 40 percent of the plug-in market covered — thanks in part to legislation pushing automakers to bring more ZEVs to market — the milestone is a long way from the goal of 1.5 million plug-in vehicles by 2025, let alone the Obama administration’s target of 1 million such units by the end of 2015.

As for the present, Baum & Associates founder Alan Baum — who says 300,000 total units will hit the road by the end of this year — believes California’s stake in the market will likely shrink “as certain mass-market models that were initially sold only in state are introduced more broadly across the country.”

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Tesla, Toyota May Develop New Project Within Three Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/tesla-toyota-may-develop-new-project-within-three-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/tesla-toyota-may-develop-new-project-within-three-years/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 12:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909122 Though Toyota and Tesla have, to paraphrase Fleetwood Mac, gone their own way while their RAV4 EV project draws to a close, Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he sees his company working with Toyota in two to three years’ time. Automotive News says Musk made the proclamation during a ceremony for the first Model S […]

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Tesla Toyota RAV4 EV

Though Toyota and Tesla have, to paraphrase Fleetwood Mac, gone their own way while their RAV4 EV project draws to a close, Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he sees his company working with Toyota in two to three years’ time.

Automotive News says Musk made the proclamation during a ceremony for the first Model S sedans delivered in Japan Monday, stating the project “would probably be something significant, maybe on a much higher volume level.” He added that Tesla loved working with Toyota, and held great respect for the automaker.

When the gesture was brought up with Toyota, however, representative Dion Corbett said the automaker had “nothing to say.” This is likely in part due to recent comments between the two companies over their respective paths toward a greener future; Toyota sees EVs as impractical, Tesla believes FCVs are for fools.

The RAV4 EV joint venture is expected to end once the last of the 2,500 crossovers are sold by the end of the year; Toyota has sold 2,130 RAV4 EVs through August 2014.

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Tesla Gigafactory May Land In Nevada http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/tesla-gigafactory-may-land-nevada/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/tesla-gigafactory-may-land-nevada/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 10:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=906057 After months of wondering as to where Tesla’s massive Gigafactory would end up, an answer could come as soon as 4 p.m. Mountain, when Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and the automaker plan to hold a joint press conference in Carson City. AutoblogGreen reports the location for the 6,500-strong battery factory will likely be Reno, though […]

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Tesla Gigafactory

After months of wondering as to where Tesla’s massive Gigafactory would end up, an answer could come as soon as 4 p.m. Mountain, when Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and the automaker plan to hold a joint press conference in Carson City.

AutoblogGreen reports the location for the 6,500-strong battery factory will likely be Reno, though Tesla hasn’t said much as of this writing. Four other states were in contention to be the Gigafactory’s host: California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

Local ABC affiliate KOLO-TV — which has live-streaming news, if you wish to tune in later this afternoon — adds that the factory will be placed in the city’s Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, where 3.5 million cubic yards of earth were moved in less than four weeks to establish a pad for a large structure, all under the project name Project Tiger.

Once up and running, the Gigafactory will supply packs for as many as 500,000 vehicles annually by 2020, including the upcoming $35,000 Model 3 due around 2017. Project cost is projected at $5 billion, with the host state expected to chip in $500 million in the form of massive tax breaks.

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California ZEV Democratization Initiative Passes State Assembly http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/california-zev-democratization-initiative-passes-state-assembly/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/california-zev-democratization-initiative-passes-state-assembly/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 12:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=903226 Remember when we reported on an initiative to bring ZEV credits and incentives to low-income residents in California? The initiative is two steps away from becoming law. Autoblog Green reports California State Bill 1275 — otherwise known as the Charge Ahead California Initiative — passed the California Assembly 46 to 23 Wednesday, and is expected […]

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Charge-Ahead-California

Remember when we reported on an initiative to bring ZEV credits and incentives to low-income residents in California? The initiative is two steps away from becoming law.

Autoblog Green reports California State Bill 1275 — otherwise known as the Charge Ahead California Initiative — passed the California Assembly 46 to 23 Wednesday, and is expected to pass through the state’s senate shortly before signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.

The initiative, sponsored by State Senator Kevin de León of Los Angeles, amends the focus of the state’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project toward middle- and low-income residents by implementing an income cap on ZEV credits. Further, a minimum of $2,500 would be given said residents exchanging an older vehicle for a ZEV such as the Tesla Model S or the upcoming Toyota Mirai, with an additional $1,500 for the act of retirement itself.

The ultimate goals of the initiative are to reduce credits over the long-term as clean technology becomes widespread, while also boosting the population of ZEVs to 1 million by 2023.

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France To Provide $22,000 Subsidy For Diesel Drivers Who Switch To EVs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/france-provide-22000-subsidy-diesel-drivers-switch-evs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/france-provide-22000-subsidy-diesel-drivers-switch-evs/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 14:27:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=897386 While France already offers a subsidy of $8,400 for consumers who purchase a new electric vehicle, a proposed piece of legislation would see that figure expand for drivers of diesel cars, bringing the total subsidy to a staggering $22,000. The bill, proposed by Segolene Royal (France’s minister for ecology, sustainable development and energy, and a one-time […]

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While France already offers a subsidy of $8,400 for consumers who purchase a new electric vehicle, a proposed piece of legislation would see that figure expand for drivers of diesel cars, bringing the total subsidy to a staggering $22,000.

The bill, proposed by Segolene Royal (France’s minister for ecology, sustainable development and energy, and a one-time Presidential candidate) would provide enhanced subsidies for drivers of diesel-powered cars, according to the International Business Times

With diesel cars being extremely popular in France, the bill would likely give drivers an incentive to scrap their oil-burner in favor of a new electric vehicle – and how convenient it is that French automaker Renault currently offers a range of EVs to suit every purse and purpose.

Although the Twizy is a niche city car, Renault’s Zoe and Kangoo EVs neatly cover the compact hatchback and commercial van markets, both of which are important segments and commonly powered by diesel engines. If a diesel driver took full advantage of the available subsidies – which, under the plan, would amount to an extra 10,000 euros on top of the 6,300 euros already available -, then a 20,700 euro Renault Zoe would cost just 4,400 euros.

While the program is undoubtedly cloaked in environmental benefits, the real gain here is for Renault, and France’s new car market. It’s hard to imagine that legions of diesel car owners wouldn’t be compelled to make the switch to a 4,400 euro new car, even with the limitations that come with owning an EV. Year to date, EV sales are down 12 percent in France, with Renault sales down 6 percent. This move should reverse things tout de suite.

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Report: Hydrogen Gaining Ground On Electricity Within Four Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/report-hydrogen-gaining-ground-electricity-within-four-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/report-hydrogen-gaining-ground-electricity-within-four-years/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 11:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=893978 Though EVs currently hold the high ground in the zero-emission vehicle market, a new report claims those vehicles will be giving ground to hydrogen in the near future. According to The Detroit News, the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis says a number of factors are coming together to push hydrogen […]

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Though EVs currently hold the high ground in the zero-emission vehicle market, a new report claims those vehicles will be giving ground to hydrogen in the near future.

According to The Detroit News, the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis says a number of factors are coming together to push hydrogen to the forefront over electricity, including: investments in infrastructure; falling R&D costs for both vehicles and station equipment; and major automakers throwing their weight behind fuel cells. UC Davis professor and director of Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways Joan Ogden explains:

We seem to be tantalizingly close to the beginning of a hydrogen transition. The next three to four years will be critical for determining whether hydrogen vehicles are just a few years behind electric vehicles, rather than decades.

Other factors include natural gas-based hydrogen production, various consumer incentives from federal and local governments, and large investments in R&D. However, Ogden cautions that adoption of hydrogen as a viable source of transportation may take some time due to low confidence in the fuel at the present.

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California Bill Aims To Democratize EVs Among Low, Mid-Income Residents http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/california-bill-aims-to-democratize-evs-among-low-mid-income-residents/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/california-bill-aims-to-democratize-evs-among-low-mid-income-residents/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 11:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=889674 California’s low- and mid-income residents may soon be able to board the EV train with help from a bill now working its way through the state’s legislature. The Los Angeles Times reports California Senate Bill 1275, sponsored by Sen. Kevin de Léon of Los Angeles, would mandate the California Air Resource Board to place an […]

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California’s low- and mid-income residents may soon be able to board the EV train with help from a bill now working its way through the state’s legislature.

The Los Angeles Times reports California Senate Bill 1275, sponsored by Sen. Kevin de Léon of Los Angeles, would mandate the California Air Resource Board to place an income cap on rebate and incentive eligibility, democratizing electric vehicles in so doing.

As it stands, four-fifths of residents currently receiving the credits have an average annual income of $100,000 or more:

A $2,500 rebate to purchase an electric vehicle is not likely to matter to someone earning over $300,000 a year, but it does make a big difference to someone earning $60k a year. Every community deserves clean air, regardless of wealth.

On top of the $7,500 federal credit, low- and mid-income residents — who would be favored over high-income residents under the bill — would receive $2,500 for buying an EV, $1,500 for ditching a high-polluting vehicle, and $3,000 or more (depending on air quality of residence) for buying a clean-air vehicle. A $3,000 credit toward public transit passes or car-sharing memberships would also be available for those who give up their vehicles with no intention of replacement.

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Consumer Reports’ Long-Term Tesla Develops Reliability Blemishes http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/consumer-reports-long-term-tesla-develops-reliability-blemishes/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/consumer-reports-long-term-tesla-develops-reliability-blemishes/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 10:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=889626 Though the Tesla Model S is one of Consumer Reports’ recommended darlings, the premium EV garnered its share of reliability blemishes during long-term testing. Consumer Reports’ Gabe Shenhar says that over the 15,743 miles he and his colleagues have spent driving the Model S, a number of problems have popped up, including: Automatic retracting door […]

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Tesla Model S

Though the Tesla Model S is one of Consumer Reports’ recommended darlings, the premium EV garnered its share of reliability blemishes during long-term testing.

Consumer Reports’ Gabe Shenhar says that over the 15,743 miles he and his colleagues have spent driving the Model S, a number of problems have popped up, including:

  • Automatic retracting door handles “relucant to emerge from the coachwork”
  • A broken seat buckle in the third row seating section
  • Front trunk lid failing to release via touchscreen
  • Said screen going blank, blocking all access to the car’s functions

Shenhar noted every one of these problems were quickly remedied by the service center in Milford, Conn. or over-the-air from the mothership in California.

He concludes that the sedan’s reliability ranking may fall a bit when the publication’s related survey is examined in September, but only if other Model S owners have had similar problems occur with enough severity and frequency to merit a downgrade.

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Tesla-Toyota Relationship On Hold After Rocky RAV4 EV Program http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/tesla-toyota-relationship-hold-rocky-rav4-ev-program/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/tesla-toyota-relationship-hold-rocky-rav4-ev-program/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 11:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=884409 Just four years ago, Tesla and Toyota entered into a relationship where the former would supply battery packs for the latter’s RAV4 EV. In turn, Toyota invested $50 million in Tesla, and sold the NUMMI facility — which Toyota once shared with General Motors — for $42 million. Things have changed, in the sage words […]

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Elon Musk + Akio Toyoda

Just four years ago, Tesla and Toyota entered into a relationship where the former would supply battery packs for the latter’s RAV4 EV. In turn, Toyota invested $50 million in Tesla, and sold the NUMMI facility — which Toyota once shared with General Motors — for $42 million. Things have changed, in the sage words of Bob Dylan.

Bloomberg reports the relationship — coming to a close with the end with the RAV4 EV program and Toyota’s new focus on hydrogen — was marred early on when engineers for both automakers fought over the EV crossover’s parking brake and an enclosure that would protect its battery from the road. Further, proprietary issues between Tesla and Toyota regarding energy-capture systems strained development of the crossover’s own system.

With most of the 2,600 RAV4 EVs delivered, Toyota changed its focus on hydrogen, a technology Tesla CEO Elon Musk mockingly refers to as “fool cells” due to their complexity and high costs hindering any success hydrogen may have. In response, Toyota Motor Sales senior vice president Bob Carter proclaimed “competitors who dismiss fuel cells out of hand do so at their own peril,” and personally doesn’t care what Musk or other detractors think about the parent company’s new path.

While the partnership may be “on hold” for the time being, both companies are working with other automakers in separate projects, such as Toyota and BMW co-developing a sports car, and Tesla providing batteries for Daimler’s Mercedes B-Class EV.

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Report: Global Fuel Consumption To Decline 4 Percent By 2035 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/report-global-fuel-consumption-decline-4-percent-2035/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/report-global-fuel-consumption-decline-4-percent-2035/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 10:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=884393 Though peak oil usually refers to when production reaches the highest point it’ll ever see before coasting back down to the same level once experienced in the 1800s, a new report reveals a different oil peak will come in the next few years: the total product consumed worldwide. Autoblog Green says a report from Navigant […]

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Though peak oil usually refers to when production reaches the highest point it’ll ever see before coasting back down to the same level once experienced in the 1800s, a new report reveals a different oil peak will come in the next few years: the total product consumed worldwide.

Autoblog Green says a report from Navigant Research, titled “Transportation Forecast: Global Fuel Consumption,” claims worldwide consumption will begin to fall after 2021, where 367.3 billion gallons of fuel will be used that year. By 2035, the total fuel used then will have fallen 4 percent to 348.1 billion gallons.

The cause of this decline? Not peak oil, but a combination of alternative fuels and environmental concerns related to the use of petroleum, according to analyst Scott Shepherd:

The anticipated effects of climate change are driving international cooperation on mitigation efforts, including reducing oil consumption in the transportation sector. Markets for both vehicles and fuels have gradually begun to respond to these efforts, and alternative fuels -‑ including electricity, natural gas, and biodiesel ‑- are beginning to have an impact on global oil demand.

In addition, Navigant acknowledges improvements to the traditional ICE and vehicles in general in fueling the eventual decline in global fuel consumption.

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Tesla Diffusing Demand For Model X Prior To Showroom Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/tesla-diffusing-demand-model-x-prior-showroom-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/tesla-diffusing-demand-model-x-prior-showroom-debut/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 10:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=883178 Interested in a Model X? Then you may be better off waiting until the EV SUV actually arrives next year before turning up in a Tesla showroom, or you may end up going home in a Model S instead. Autoblog Green reports CEO Elon Musk informed participants in Tesla’s Q2 2014 earnings call that the […]

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Interested in a Model X? Then you may be better off waiting until the EV SUV actually arrives next year before turning up in a Tesla showroom, or you may end up going home in a Model S instead.

Autoblog Green reports CEO Elon Musk informed participants in Tesla’s Q2 2014 earnings call that the automaker is actively steering customer demand away from the upcoming X, going so far as to convince showroom visitors who want to put their name on a (non-existent) wait list for the SUV to buy the S.

The “anti-sell” tactics are a part of Tesla’s strategy to create at-will demand for the X, citing complaints from Chinese customers who were “upset about waiting too long” before taking delivery of their electric sedans. Musk just doesn’t want U.S. consumers to begin forming iPhone-esque lines for the next big thing from his company. Not yet, anyway.

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Panasonic, Tesla Enter Into Gigafactory Agreement http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/panasonic-tesla-enter-gigafactory-agreement/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/panasonic-tesla-enter-gigafactory-agreement/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 20:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=877393 It’s official: Panasonic and Tesla have signed an agreement regarding their partnership involving the Gigafactory. In their joint press release, Tesla will be responsible for preparing, providing and managing the basics of the factory, while Panasonic will build and provide the cylindrical lithium-ion cells needed for Tesla’s battery packs, as well as any equipment Tesla […]

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Tesla Model S Test Drive At The Panasonic Center Tokyo

It’s official: Panasonic and Tesla have signed an agreement regarding their partnership involving the Gigafactory.

In their joint press release, Tesla will be responsible for preparing, providing and managing the basics of the factory, while Panasonic will build and provide the cylindrical lithium-ion cells needed for Tesla’s battery packs, as well as any equipment Tesla may need. Tesla will also continue to purchase cells from Panasonic’s factories in Japan to meet projected demand.

Tesla Chief Technical Officer J.B. Straubel said the Gigafactory “represents a fundamental change in the way large scale battery production can be realized,” especially when it comes to dramatically reducing the cost of energy storage “across a broad range of applications.” Panasonic Executive Vice President Yoshihiko Yamada added that the Gigafactory partnership would “accelerate the expansion of the electric vehicle market” once production of Panasonic batteries begin.

The Gigafactory is expected to produce 35 GWh of cells and 50 GWh of packs annually by 2020 for both electric vehicles and stationary applications, employing up to 6,500 to produce the batteries.

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Honda Fit EV, Insight Discontinued http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/honda-fit-ev-insight-discontinued/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/honda-fit-ev-insight-discontinued/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=876985 It’s official: the Honda Fit EV and Insight have been discontinued. Edmunds reports the Insight will cease production later this summer, while inventory will be available at dealerships through the end of 2014. Meanwhile, the Fit EV — of which 1,100 were ever going to be built for the United States market — will remain […]

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It’s official: the Honda Fit EV and Insight have been discontinued.

Edmunds reports the Insight will cease production later this summer, while inventory will be available at dealerships through the end of 2014. Meanwhile, the Fit EV — of which 1,100 were ever going to be built for the United States market — will remain in production until sometime this autumn, with Honda providing customer support through each vehicle’s lease period.

As for the future, representative Sage Marie said the automaker would focus on “a new generation of electromotive technologies,” such as the expanded use of its two-motor hybrid system found in both the Accord Hybrid and Accord Plug-In Hybrid. In addition, a decision will be announced regarding the FCX Clarity, especially with a successor — influenced by the FCEV from last year’s LA Auto Show — waiting in the wings.

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Icon Looks To Retro-Futurism With Helios Concept http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/icon-looks-retro-futurism-helios-concept/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/icon-looks-retro-futurism-helios-concept/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 10:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=876681 Known for improving upon Toyota Land Cruisers, Ford Broncos and Jeeps, Icon is looking to create a streamliner with a little help from Tesla. Jalopnik reports Helios, the project named after the Greek titan and personification of the sun (not a god of wind as originally published), will pull its looks from a mashup of […]

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Icon Helios

Known for improving upon Toyota Land Cruisers, Ford Broncos and Jeeps, Icon is looking to create a streamliner with a little help from Tesla.

Jalopnik reports Helios, the project named after the Greek titan and personification of the sun (not a god of wind as originally published), will pull its looks from a mashup of post-WWI aircraft, 1930s streamliners and an alternate history where airplanes influenced automotive design a decade before the 1950s.

The Tesla connection — if owner Johnathan Ward can make it happen — will come in the form of the Model X platform, whose selectable AWD and 380-mile range are key features in Ward’s retro-future vision.

Currently, the Helios exists solely on paper, though Ward already has an owner in mind once he and his crew are able to “move mountains” to build:

I’ve got a meeting with Ralph Lauren to talk about something else. He doesn’t know I plan on totally taking over the room and making him buy this car… Most of [his cars] suck to drive except for the McLaren. So… that’s my pitch.

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