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. Tue, 03 Mar 2015 19:34:09 +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/ 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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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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Tesla’s Q4 2014 Sees $108M Loss Despite Strong Demand For S, X http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/teslas-q4-2014-sees-108m-loss-despite-strong-demand-s-x/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/teslas-q4-2014-sees-108m-loss-despite-strong-demand-s-x/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 00:05:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=997306 Tesla’s Q4 2014 didn’t go so well despite strong demand for its Model S, losing $108 million in earnings over the quarter. The Wall Street Journal reports the automaker has 10,000 booked orders for the premium EV sedan, as well as 20,000 for the Model X crossover now expected to hit the showrooms in Q3 […]

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Tesla’s Q4 2014 didn’t go so well despite strong demand for its Model S, losing $108 million in earnings over the quarter.

The Wall Street Journal reports the automaker has 10,000 booked orders for the premium EV sedan, as well as 20,000 for the Model X crossover now expected to hit the showrooms in Q3 2015. However, the loss is attributed to both a lag between production and fulfillment of the Model S P85D, and a strong dollar.

Sales in Q4 2014 fared better than in Q4 2013, with 9,834 units sold over 6,892. The sales figure also bests Q3 2014’s results, when 7,785 vehicles left the showroom. Overall deliveries for the outgoing fiscal year amounted to 32,733 — short of the 33,000 Tesla hoped to move that year — with 55,000 global sales projected for the upcoming year.

Q4 2014 revenue jumped to $956.6 million over the previous year’s $615 million, while operating expenses almost doubled over the same period, hitting $336.5 million. Capital spending for the upcoming year is expected to hit $1.5 billion, divided between Gigafactory investments, production increases, readying the Model X for production, and sales and service. Cash supply dropped from $2.4 billion in Q3 2014 to $1.9 billion in Q4.

As for the stock price, Tesla shares closed at $212.80 Wednesday, having recovered from CEO Elon Musk’s comments in January about Chinese sales and when his company would become profitable; the stock price then fell to $177.22. That said, it’s still lower than the peak of $291.42 achieved last September.

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Volkswagen To Invest $10M In EV Charging Infrastructure Through 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/volkswagen-invest-10m-ev-charging-infrastructure-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/volkswagen-invest-10m-ev-charging-infrastructure-2016/#comments Wed, 11 Feb 2015 13:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=996626 Hoping to encourage federal investment, Volkswagen is putting up $10 million for EV charging stations to be ready by 2016. Part of that investment includes the previously announced partnership with BMW and Chargepoint to install 100 DC Fast Chargers on the East and West coasts of the United States, where no two stations will be […]

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Hoping to encourage federal investment, Volkswagen is putting up $10 million for EV charging stations to be ready by 2016.

Part of that investment includes the previously announced partnership with BMW and Chargepoint to install 100 DC Fast Chargers on the East and West coasts of the United States, where no two stations will be further than 50 miles apart to better facilitate increased use of EVs.

That said, Volkswagen of America vice president of product marketing and strategy Jörg Sommer would like to see “Federal financing support for establishing fast charging networks in urban areas and interstate corridors” alongside the support automakers and other companies are already putting into place. Sommer adds that he’d like for state and federal agencies to adopt greater numbers of EVs and PHEVs into their fleets, as well as more congressional support of “the mid-term review of the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulation to extend the multiplier credits for plug-in vehicles beyond MY21.”

The $10 million investment is part of a so-called “holistic approach to e-mobility” surrounding the automaker’s 2015 e-Golf, which also includes providing customers with the opportunity to install solar and home charging systems from partners SunPower and Bosch.

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Comparison: 2013 Tesla P85 vs. 2015 Tesla P85D http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/comparison-2013-tesla-p85-vs-2015-tesla-p85d/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/comparison-2013-tesla-p85-vs-2015-tesla-p85d/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 17:32:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=995426 I’ve got a buddy who was once a titan of industry, a computer geek in the C-suite who never forgot his roots. Let’s call him Professor Zorkmid. He never needs to work another day in his life, but he enjoys hanging out with students, telling grand tales of his adventures in the Great Underground Empire, […]

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Tesla charging

I’ve got a buddy who was once a titan of industry, a computer geek in the C-suite who never forgot his roots. Let’s call him Professor Zorkmid. He never needs to work another day in his life, but he enjoys hanging out with students, telling grand tales of his adventures in the Great Underground Empire, swinging his sword at trolls and making his way through the maze of twisty corporate passages, all alike.

Two years ago, Zorkmid was planning to upgrade his C6 Corvette Convertible to a C7, but then he developed a fancy for the Tesla. Being a rational fellow, he developed spreadsheets with detailed cost models, agonizing over whether it was worth the extra bump for the P85+ (a tighter sport suspension on crappy Houston roads?), the larger 21″ wheels (more opportunity for curb rash?), or the panoramic glass roof (versus the pounding summer heat). The catalyst for him was the August 2013 refresh, when Tesla added parking sensors and made a handful of other small tweaks to the car. He took delivery later on in the year, and fell in love with the car.

Fast forward to the recent announcement of the P85D and Tesla’s various “AutoPilot” features. Zorkmid was sitting in my office, going back and forth about the relative costs and benefits of the new P85D. The extra performance? Certainly desirable. The extra features like the AutoPilot? Seriously beneficial for his commute to campus from his white house, out in a distant field. Sure, it’s got the latest Frobozz technologies, but are you willing to eat the first-year depreciation? He had to think about that. Because if you want to sell it, I might want to buy it. And that’s what leads us to this TTAC exclusive comparison of two Teslas.

Two Teslas (front)

First, since everybody else is writing articles about the 0-60 launch of the P85D, I thought it would be worth chiming in. Yes it’s fast. Yes it’s brutally fast. And if you’re faced with the choice between the 2015 S85(-D or not) and the 2015 P85D (they got rid of the P85 non-D), then that extra oomph is going to be a big selling point, assuming price is no object. If your budget however, like mine, is finite, I highly recommend you find yourself another Zorkmid willing to eat the first-year depreciation, because the regular P85 is still very, very fast, and one of them can be yours for 80% of the original sale price.

This is the place where the buff books would start waxing poetic about the “well-controlled oversteer driving at 9/10ths into an off-camber sweeper” and other such nonsense. I’m totally unqualified to write that sort of prose, but hopefully we’ll be able to get Jack Baruth down here at some point to do the honors. Instead, once I’ve had the car long enough, I hope to bring to TTAC discussions with data. Kilowatt-hours. Operating costs. Integration with SpaceX’s Merlin engines. That sort of thing.

Tesla AutoPilot cruise control

Tesla rolls out its new software to all of its cars, which is a great thing, but old cars don’t get new hardware features. Here’s a dashboard photo showing several new things that require the AutoPilot hardware. You can see that the Tesla’s forward-facing camera recognized a speed limit sign and displayed it front-and-center for a few seconds. That eventually goes away, but notice where the blue arc on the left turns grey? That indicates how much you’re going above the posted speed. Likewise, if you’ve got the adaptive cruise control on and something gets in your way, there’s a line left behind so you know where the car’s going to accelerate to if and when the slowpoke in front of you gets out of the way. Tesla has also implemented a lane departure warning feature (it makes an unhappy buzz at you if you drift toward the lane lines without signaling), but the real “auto pilot” goodness is still to come in some future update at an unspecified time.

Tesla 19" wheels

Aside from the rear badge, there isn’t much to help you tell these cars apart from the outside. Zorkmid’s new car (on the right) has the “turbine” wheels (which might improve mileage by a tiny percentage) and red brake calipers (whoopie!). Mine, on the left, has curb rash (my fault, not his). Okay, that’s fine and all, but what are all the other differences between these cars? Ever wonder how Tesla has improved all the little details in the past two years? Here we go. Cue the split-screen graphics. (Click for larger versions.)

Tesla turn signals

In 2013, Tesla had the cruise control stalk on top and the turn signal stalk below. This messed me up for a few weeks but I’m used to it now. They fixed this in their newer cars, which has of course caused Zorkmid no end of cognitive dissonance.

Tesla front seats

The new Tesla “sport” seats have noticeably larger side bolsters. They feel great. The old ones are fine as well, although other reviewers have complained about them. If you’re seriously planning to track your car, then yeah, you want the sport seats, but you can totally live your life without them.

Tesla rear seats

But the rear seats? Oy vey. Those overstuffed bolster bumps aren’t going to help in any meaningful way if you’re hauling ass, but they’re sure going to be annoying if you’re trying to get a slightly oversized kid booster seat to fit in the back. Still, can you live with it? Maybe, but here’s the bigger problem with the new rear seats:

Tesla rear visibility

Those new rear seats chew up a ton of the space in your rear view mirror, and the headrests don’t fold down. Apparently this is also true for the “version 2″ regular seats, whereas I apparently have the “version 1″ regular seats. I’m sure there’s a safety reason for the huge headrests, but unless Tesla implements the Volvo flip-down thing, there’s a safety cost now, with the rearview mirror giving you a lot less information. So maybe you think this is just micro nit-picking? Isn’t that what TTAC is all about? Anyway, here’s another interesting point of comparison.

Tesla interior roof

Zorkmid originally got the solid roof (paying extra for the Alcantara headliner) but he decided to spring for the glass roof on his new ride. This photo gives you an idea of just how much tinting is included with the roof, but the jury’s still out on how much extra heat the car will accumulate on hot summer days. While I’m here, I’ll also call your attention to the seat belts. Notice anything missing? Yup, you can’t adjust the shoulder height. I was really hoping they’d have fixed this in the 2015 so I could somehow retrofit it to my 2013. Alas, my seatbelt will continue to not fit quite right.

Tesla window controls

Diving deeper into the minutae, you might notice that the newer Teslas have a new mirror button. This lets you fold the mirrors in with the push of the button. They’ll even automatically fold when you turn the car off. There’s no such feature on my 2013 mirrors, which can at least be manually flipped in and out; a retrofit is apparently available if you really want it. (Another cool trick of the newest Tesla: the battery charging door will automatically close itself after you remove the charger cable.)

Tesla center console decking

Tesla apparently decided to make the formerly optional “yacht decking” between the front seats into a standard feature. Zorkmid prefers the carpeted deck in my car. I can see the style benefits of the new approach, but my real problem is that there’s precisely one enclosed storage location: the glove compartment. That’s it. The big center console doesn’t open. There are no map pockets (okay, a tiny pocket on the front-edge of the driver’s seat on my 2013, gone from the new 2015). My daughter even complained that there’s nowhere to in the back seat to store her stuff. I will note, for the sake of journalistic completion, that Tesla does offer an “executive rear seating” option. That replaces the three-across rear bench with two nice bucket seats and an arm-rest (with enclosed compartment!) between.

Tesla dash cover

This shot shows you the wood dash versus the carbon fiber dash. I think they’re both very attractive, but I’m not sure I would have been willing to pay extra for either of them. You’ll also notice that Tesla changed one of the leather dashboard panels to be fuzzy Alcantara instead. Either way, you don’t want to leave this car out in the heat on a daily basis. My old BMW Z3 had a leather-wrapped dashboard that had to be repaired three times in the seven years I owned it, since I had to park it in the hot sun every day and the leather eventually shrank and pulled up from the edges. (And yes, I used a sun shield on the front window and I garaged it at night.) I’m now paying extra to park my car in an underground lot, so I can avoid spending the money on replacing my Tesla’s dashboard later on. This works for me, but it’s not an option for everybody.

Tesla frunks

Moving on, here’s a view of the “frunk” of the two Teslas. You’ll notice that the front motor and its associated machinery render the frunk into more of a curiosity than a functional storage space. With RWD comes a much bigger frunk. That said, you’re not going to use the frunk on a daily basis on either car, largely because they really blew it on the way the frunk latches.

Tesla frunk latch

The old latch is exceptionally finicky. You have to mostly close the frunk, slowly and carefully, then place one palm on each side and apply a solid push. You get a really unpleasant sound and the frunk latches. (Apparently, many owners trying to slam it shut, like you’d do for every other car hood in the history of car hoods, would sometimes miss the latch point and deform the aluminum hood — an expensive mistake.) For the newer Tesla, they replaced the two hooks with one, which does yield a smoother latch action, but it’s still not something you’re going to want to slam shut. Hopefully they’ll eventually make it a push-button motorized thing, just like the tailgate.

Tesla sunshade vanity mirrors

Lastly, I want to point out some of the dumb things that make you think “surely there’s an automotive supplier who can do this properly for an entirely modest amount of money”. Our first example is the vanity mirror cover. On the right, you might notice the right hinge is busted. Zorkmid reports it’s already been replaced once. They’re broken like this on both sides despite very infrequent use. This repair will be on the list for my next scheduled maintenance. On the left, you can see a modest redesign of the hinge mechanism. Maybe it’s better now? I hope so. Also, there’s this:

Tesla key

The Tesla keyfob normally stays in your pocket, but you want to keep it on your keychain, right? On the right, you can see how I solved this problem: with a cheap plastic tie-wrap. You can’t otherwise thread a standard metal keyring through the hole in a Tesla keyfob. Newer Teslas include the leather keyfob pouch, on the left, and there are a variety of third-party pouches as well. But really, a keyfob you can’t put on a standard keyring?

Summarizing things: the 2015 Tesla P85D is a stupendously fast and fun car. If you’ve got the bucks and you’re ready to spend them, fire away! If you don’t have the bucks, there are a whole bunch of Tesla early adopters looking to upgrade. So long as you don’t feel you need the newest features, now’s the time to be gunning for a used P85.

I’ve been trying to understand why Tesla doesn’t offer the P85 (non-D) any more, since there’s a pretty big hole in their product line between the S85/S85D and the P85D. My theory: “soak the rich”. Tesla is steering buyers like Zorkmid toward their highest-dollar highest-spec car. Assuming they’re running the production line flat out, why not use it to make the variant that generates the most profit, never mind the most buzz in the news with its outrageous performance? If/when demand softens on the P85D, they can always reintroduce the P85 RWD version.

Side note: When you own a fast Tesla, all your friends want to experience the launch. My daughter and her friends (9-10 years old) all love it. My daughter even once asked me, “daddy, why don’t you do that more often?” Anybody who’s concerned that the children of the future won’t care about fast cars because they’ll instead be glued to their brain-implanted smartphones while droning around in 25mph self-driving Googlemobiles… Don’t worry. Teenagers will definitely continue to be attracted to fast cars. Which reminds me… Dear Mr. Musk: I’ll still have this Tesla when it’s time for my daughter to get her driver’s license. I’d like a software hack please to “detune” it so she doesn’t do anything too stupid. (Ditto for those evil joyriding car valets.)

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Sources: Three Challenges Behind Tesla Model X Delay http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/sources-three-challenges-behind-tesla-model-x-delay/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/sources-three-challenges-behind-tesla-model-x-delay/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 11:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=995282 The oft-delayed Tesla Model X is currently set for a Q3 2015 launch, two years after it was originally supposed to enter showrooms. How did this happen? Green Car Reports offers three reasons for the gull-winged crossover’s delay from its anonymous sources, the first being the bane of all electric vehicles, range. Tesla had hoped […]

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Tesla Model X

The oft-delayed Tesla Model X is currently set for a Q3 2015 launch, two years after it was originally supposed to enter showrooms. How did this happen?

Green Car Reports offers three reasons for the gull-winged crossover’s delay from its anonymous sources, the first being the bane of all electric vehicles, range. Tesla had hoped to pull 250 miles from the 85-kWh model by using side-view cameras in lieu of door mirrors. However, doing so would require some changes to safety standards, standards that are currently under-study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. With nothing on the horizon, the automaker will have to find those miles elsewhere for now.

Another issue is the rear “falcon” doors. While keeping the elements out has been solved, side-impact protection and structural issues remain. With expectations of safety to be equal to the Model S, the doors would need strong interlocking beams to protect the rear passengers, at the expense of increased weight and possible consumption of precious interior space. In turn, the doors’ torsion springs have to better spread the weight through the narrow spine of the aluminum roof, lest warpage occur. The automaker may end up using more expensive titanium to get that it needs out of that part of the crossover.

Finally, the dual-motor powertrain has to be able to tow “a trailer with a couple of motorcycles or personal watercraft.” Doing so would require extensive cooling measures to ensure the electric motors can sustain the output needed to two for miles/hours on end, which means foregoing the glycol-coolant system in the Model S P85D for refrigerant to actively remove the heat.

While Tesla claims the Model X is “on track for a Q3 launch,” Green Car Reports‘ sources point to production beginning as late as 18 to 24 months from now, a timeframe that would overlap the low-cost Model 3’s projected production start.

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Washington State Looking To Encourage EV Adoption Via Legislation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/washington-state-looking-encourage-ev-adoption-via-legislation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/washington-state-looking-encourage-ev-adoption-via-legislation/#comments Mon, 09 Feb 2015 15:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=994898 Legislators in the state of Washington have a slate of bills in mind that would encourage more EV adoption in order to help reduce air pollution. Autoblog reports one bill would create a “statewide electric vehicle infrastructure bank” that would be used to fund new charging stations throughout Washington. The bank would be funded via […]

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Tesla Model S + Space X Under the Space Needle in Seattle

Legislators in the state of Washington have a slate of bills in mind that would encourage more EV adoption in order to help reduce air pollution.

Autoblog reports one bill would create a “statewide electric vehicle infrastructure bank” that would be used to fund new charging stations throughout Washington. The bank would be funded via a $100 annual fee for EV registrations, as well as a change to sales-tax exemptions for such vehicles via a bill that would renew them through July 2021. The exemption would cover the first $45,000 of an EV’s purchase price, so those buying a Nissan Leaf or a Chevrolet Bolt would be just fine, while those buying a Tesla Model S or X would pay the sales tax.

Other bills in the running include a requirement of all cities in Snohomish, King, Pierce and Thurston counties to allow charging stations in nearly all land zoning categories; incentive programs for builders to add such stations to their projects; and utility compliance credits for those who buy new EV chargers.

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Credit Suisse Picks Tesla As One Of Its Favorites For 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/credit-suisse-picks-tesla-one-favorites-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/credit-suisse-picks-tesla-one-favorites-2015/#comments Mon, 09 Feb 2015 13:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=994858 Looking for new stock to add to your portfolio in 2015? Credit Suisse has one for your consideration: Tesla. Bidness Etc reports the investment firm’s analyst picked the Californian EV automaker as its one of its favorites in the Auto and Auto Parts Industry category. Dan Galves, who led the investment research on Tesla, says […]

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2013 Tesla Model S P85 Fishing boat

Looking for new stock to add to your portfolio in 2015? Credit Suisse has one for your consideration: Tesla.

Bidness Etc reports the investment firm’s analyst picked the Californian EV automaker as its one of its favorites in the Auto and Auto Parts Industry category. Dan Galves, who led the investment research on Tesla, says the automaker’s biggest selling point for the medium term is its Gigafactory and lithium-battery pack technology. He and his fellow analysts believe the main goal of the factory — to reduce production costs — is probable, with parity compared to coventionally powered vehicles to come by 2017.

Credit Suisse also projects the Model X — when it finally does arrive — “will be a potential positive catalyst in the process of slowly shifting the industry toward EVs.” Increased production volume visibility during H2 2015 is also expected to provide a view of the automaker’s EBIT margin potential, with the firm bestowing an Outperform rating and a $325 price target on the stock.

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France Encouraging Diesel Drivers To Go Electric Via €10K Incentive http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/france-encouraging-diesel-drivers-go-electric-via-10k-incentive/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/france-encouraging-diesel-drivers-go-electric-via-10k-incentive/#comments Fri, 06 Feb 2015 15:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=994258 Starting in April, France will encourage diesel drivers to replace their oil burners with electric power through an incentive up to €10,000 ($11,422 USD). Automotive News Europe the incentive would help “convince buyers to try an electric car,” per a Renault representative. The automaker’s Zoe would leave the showroom with a price of €12,400 ($14,203) […]

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Renault-ZOE-Leclerc-Brittany

Starting in April, France will encourage diesel drivers to replace their oil burners with electric power through an incentive up to €10,000 ($11,422 USD).

Automotive News Europe the incentive would help “convince buyers to try an electric car,” per a Renault representative. The automaker’s Zoe would leave the showroom with a price of €12,400 ($14,203) instead of €22,400 ($25,658), while its partner Nissan would see a drop from €18,090 ($21,650) to €14,390 ($16,483).

France Energy Minister Ségolène Royal says the nation “must eliminate old diesel cars that are more than 13 years old and have no filters,” adding that measures will make diesel “harder and harder” to use overall.

One measure in particular would align diesel taxes with those of gasoline. The alignment would help reduce smog, according to Royal, stating that “60 percent of the French population breathes air that isn’t healthy.”

At present, 80 percent of all French drivers move about with diesel power, though new-diesel sales have declined over the past two years, from 73 percent of all new cars to 64 percent.

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Schmidt: Western Europe EV, PHEV Sales Stalling Through Decade http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/schmidt-western-europe-ev-phev-sales-stalling-decade/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/schmidt-western-europe-ev-phev-sales-stalling-decade/#comments Fri, 06 Feb 2015 13:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=994226 EV and PHEV manufacturers may have fared well in Western Europe last year, but further gains in the market aren’t likely for some time to come. Forbes reports sales in Western Europe climbed 51.7 percent in 2014 to 58,582 EVs and PHEVs, gaining an overall market share of 0.49 percent according to Automotive Industry Data. […]

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Tesla_Model_S_delivery_to_Høyres_Nikolai_Astrup_in_Norway

EV and PHEV manufacturers may have fared well in Western Europe last year, but further gains in the market aren’t likely for some time to come.

Forbes reports sales in Western Europe climbed 51.7 percent in 2014 to 58,582 EVs and PHEVs, gaining an overall market share of 0.49 percent according to Automotive Industry Data. Editor Peter Schmidt, however, warns that this may be the peak of such sales for the next five years:

Effectively, you have no detectable, genuine underlying consumer demand from private individuals. To make things worse, looking ahead at the next couple of years, I would say this is a scary time for electric car makers, chiefly because as the price of oil continues to hover around levels inconceivable a year ago and with fuel prices falling month by month, those people who had thought about buying an electric car may give up when they look at motoring expenses.

Per AID‘s figures, the Nissan Leaf took gold with 14,354 units sold in 2014, with the Renault Zoe winning silver with 10,885 units, and the Tesla Model S in a close third with 8,698 units. BMW and Volkswagen fill out the rest of the standings, with 8,290 i3s and 8,461 E-Ups and E-Golfs sold. Schmidt says those numbers don’t point to a “detectable genuine underlining consumer demand,” with Norway being the sole exception. There, 18,090 EVs and PHEVs took 12.5 percent of the country’s overall market last year, thanks to tax credits that make such vehicles equally as attractive as gasoline- and diesel-fueled models.

He adds that cheap oil “has tempted a rethink” among consumers as far as seeking out such vehicles are concerned, especially among those in the United States, where fuel is cheaper than in Western Europe already. Schmidt believes the lower prices at the pump would hold back the EV/PHEV market for the remainder of the decade, leading to major financial losses among the manufacturers who went all-in on EVs and PHEVs.

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Study: US Better Off Funding EV Charging Infrastructure Over Tax Incentives http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/study-us-better-off-funding-ev-charging-infrastructure-tax-incentives/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/study-us-better-off-funding-ev-charging-infrastructure-tax-incentives/#comments Thu, 05 Feb 2015 14:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=994010 According to a new study, federal funding of EV charging infrastructure would do more to increase EV adoption rates than what tax credits do now. The National Science Foundation discovered that the total amount of credits dispersed between 2011 and 2013 came out to $1.05 billion, enough to build over 60,000 charging stations had the […]

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Tesla Supercharger Night Party

According to a new study, federal funding of EV charging infrastructure would do more to increase EV adoption rates than what tax credits do now.

The National Science Foundation discovered that the total amount of credits dispersed between 2011 and 2013 came out to $1.05 billion, enough to build over 60,000 charging stations had the subsidies gone towards such things; the figure is equal to half of all gas stations in the United States. In turn, an additional 60,000 stations would boost adoption rates to five times the current rate.

Another part of the study focused how EV and PHEV owners charged their vehicles, looking at ways to bring low-cost, more efficient charging to the home. Most owners use a standard 120-volt outlet for overnight charging, while direct-current charging boosts recharge rates four to six times above alternating-current charging, but at a cost of $15,000 to $25,000 for the equipment.

As for outside of the home, the NSF developed an intelligent charging system that would optimize charging costs at malls or parking garages, while managing the charging itself to reduce strain on the electric grid.

The study comes as the U.S. will likely fall short of the 1-million EV goal set by President Barack Obama for the end of 2015; just over 250,000 EVs have been sold in the U.S. since 2010.

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Federal EV, PHEV Tax Incentive May Increase To $10K http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/federal-ev-phev-tax-incentive-may-increase-10k/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/federal-ev-phev-tax-incentive-may-increase-10k/#comments Thu, 05 Feb 2015 13:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=993994 Is the $7,500 federal tax incentive not enough to consider owning a new green machine? If President Obama has his way, that figure could climb to $10,000. The Detroit News says the increased incentive for purchasing an EV or PHEV — part of Obama’s FY 2016 budget — is not only meant to make ownership […]

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2016 Chevrolet Volt

Is the $7,500 federal tax incentive not enough to consider owning a new green machine? If President Obama has his way, that figure could climb to $10,000.

The Detroit News says the increased incentive for purchasing an EV or PHEV — part of Obama’s FY 2016 budget — is not only meant to make ownership of such vehicles more alluring, but would be applied as an immediate rebate at the time of purchase. The new incentive would also bring other green vehicles into the fold, such as CNG vehicles.

Other proposals in the budget include a three-fold increase in funding for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and a one-time corporate foreign earnings tax to help fund road and other infrastructure projects over the next six years.

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Thwaite: Save Georgia’s EV Incentives From The Guillotine http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/thwaite-save-georgias-ev-incentives-guillotine/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/thwaite-save-georgias-ev-incentives-guillotine/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 13:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=993594 Plug In America vice president Michael Thwaite is making a call-to-arms to ensure Georgia’s EV incentives do not go quietly into the night. Per Thwaite, the main problem is a proposal by Georgia representative Chuck Martin of Alpharetta — known as House Bill 122 — that would “eliminate the state electric vehicle tax credits of […]

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Atlanta Police Nissan Leaf

Plug In America vice president Michael Thwaite is making a call-to-arms to ensure Georgia’s EV incentives do not go quietly into the night.

Per Thwaite, the main problem is a proposal by Georgia representative Chuck Martin of Alpharetta — known as House Bill 122 — that would “eliminate the state electric vehicle tax credits of $5,000,” a bill that Thwaite claims has 60 supporters on-board already.

He says that keeping the credit would also keep $2,242/year in Georgia, due to EVs — including the largest number of Nissan Leafs in a single state — recharging from an outlet as opposed to refueling at the pump; the state boasts one asphalt refinery and no oil-producing wells.

Martin’s last attempt to cap or eliminate state incentives for EVs came in 2014 through House Bill 257, which would cap the number of incentives to just 2,000 EVs/year. The bill was tabled when time ran out to vote upon it, though it could come up during the 2015 session of the Georgia General Assembly, which begins February 4.

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Wright: Tesla’s Camry ‘Not Possible’ Despite Ongoing Success http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/wright-teslas-camry-not-possible-despite-ongoing-success/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/wright-teslas-camry-not-possible-despite-ongoing-success/#comments Tue, 03 Feb 2015 12:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=992866 Tesla co-founder Ian Wright says that while he’s surprised by his old company’s success, the idea of a mass-market EV still doesn’t seem likely. During an interview with San Francisco Business Times about Wrightspeed’s relocation from San Jose to Alameda, Calif., Wright was pleased that Tesla “worked out… quite a lot better” than he originally […]

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Ian Wright

Tesla co-founder Ian Wright says that while he’s surprised by his old company’s success, the idea of a mass-market EV still doesn’t seem likely.

During an interview with San Francisco Business Times about Wrightspeed’s relocation from San Jose to Alameda, Calif., Wright was pleased that Tesla “worked out… quite a lot better” than he originally thought it would, praising the success of the Model S.

As for Tesla’s overall goal of building EVs “cheaper and cheaper and cheaper until they were outselling the Camry,” he still thinks that isn’t possible, having never been “on board” with the idea among co-founders Martin Eberhard and Mark Tarpenning.

As for his own company, which makes hybrid gas-electric turbine drivetrains for medium and heavy commercial vehicles like garbage and delivery trucks, Wright says there’s a $5 billion market in the United States for his drivetrains, $2 billion alone in garbage trucks. Clients such as FedEx and Ratto Group have installed Wrightspeed tech into their fleets in California, while the California Energy Commission bestowed his company with nearly $7 million in grants.

Speaking of funding, Wright is preparing an IPO in the event he does take his company public, hoping he might do better than when he sold his Tesla shares in 2010 prior to their astronomical appreciation.

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OEMs Delay Vehicle Alert Sounds For Pedestrians On EVs, Hybrids http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/oems-delay-vehicle-alert-sounds-pedestrians-evs-hybrids/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/oems-delay-vehicle-alert-sounds-pedestrians-evs-hybrids/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 14:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=992458 As quiet as electric vehicles and hybrids are, plans to make them noisy for the benefit of pedestrians et al have been delayed until 2018. Edmunds reports accidents involving pedestrians climbed 6 percent in 2012 over the previous year, totaling 76,000 injuries and 4,743 deaths. Though EVs and hybrids only account for less than 2 […]

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As quiet as electric vehicles and hybrids are, plans to make them noisy for the benefit of pedestrians et al have been delayed until 2018.

Edmunds reports accidents involving pedestrians climbed 6 percent in 2012 over the previous year, totaling 76,000 injuries and 4,743 deaths. Though EVs and hybrids only account for less than 2 percent of all vehicles traversing the United States, were they equipped with engine sound technology — and were the percentage to increase to a projected 4 percent in 2016 — the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 2,790 fewer accidents with pedestrians would result.

To help introduce the technology in all EVs and hybrids, Congress enacted the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act in January 2011, which mandates the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop standards for automakers to use in implementing “recognizable” sounds meant to alert pedestrians that a vehicle is approaching when the vehicle is moving down the road at 18 mph or less. The full power of the act would have come into play three years after the final rule is passed down, but delays in getting to that point — the result of comments by automakers and industry groups — have pushed the mandate to September 2018.

Meanwhile, a handful of automakers have moved ahead with implementing their versions of the safety system. Nissan has the Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians on its Leaf, while Chevrolet has a driver-operated noise onboard the Volt. However, the sounds don’t always resemble that of the ICE; Fisker’s Karma, for example, pulls its alert from Tron light-cycles and Motorola Droids, while the Kia Soul EV is waving its light saber in front of a field of crickets. Most manufacturers, though, are sitting out the PSEA until they know what the final rule will say on the matter.

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