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By on May 2, 2011

Now it doesn’t matter how far you have to go in your electric vehicle or mobility scooter, if you run out of juice you’re set for the night. Just hop into your “QTVan,” brew up some fresh tea, switch on the telly and wait for your battery to charge up. Of course, the QTVan is actually a bit of viral marketing for Britain’s Environmental Transport Association, which is using the micro-camper to sell mobility scooter insurance. Still, its an idea to keep an eye on…

By on May 2, 2011

Drew writes:

Dear Truth-sayers…

I’ve finally made it. I have the capability to buy a German sports sedan. But does that mean I should?

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By on May 2, 2011

Did I mention that I got my first traffic ticket in almost five years the other day? It was in New York, and it was for looking down at the Droid phone in my hand at a red light. The cop walked right off the sidewalk to ticket me. That’s the crummy part about the city: it’s tough to duck the cops when they’re sneaking around on foot.

At least he saved me from certain death from holding a phone while operating a motor vehicle (at a stoplight), right? I mean, everybody knows it’s not possible to drive and hold something at the same time. Or is it? Perhaps I’ll send a copy of this video along with my $150…

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By on May 2, 2011

Chrysler’s Q1 conference call is just beginning, and though you can’t listen in unless you’re registered media, you can download the slide set here [PDF] and the press release here. Besides, I’ll be updating this post with the latest as it happens, so why bother? Marchionne is just noting that Chrysler’s $116m Q1 profit is the first since 2009, although he seems more excited about “modified operating profit” of $477m, and free cash flow of other $2.526b.

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By on May 2, 2011

Editor’s Note: The text of the “Transportation Opportunity Act” with section-by-section analysis can be downloaded in PDF format here [courtesy: bna.com]

The White House last week began circulating its legislative proposal for transportation reauthorization that included provisions to add toll booths to existing freeways and impose a tax for every mile driven. The “Transportation Opportunities Act” for the first time gave the Obama administration’s full approval to the concept of an added charge on drivers for the use of roads throughout the country, including on existing, untolled freeways in major metropolitan areas.

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By on May 2, 2011


Are there any 124 Spiders still driving on American streets, or is every single one sitting in a back yard or driveway, waiting for steel prices to rise high enough to trigger the final tow-truck ride to The Crusher? Read More >

By on May 1, 2011

George Orwell’s warning, that “the first victim of war is the truth,” apparently applies equally to trade wars. On Friday, Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow (both D-MI) wrote the United States Trade Representative to express their concern over “reported draft regulations” of China’s New Energy Vehicle plan, noting

We are concerned that these draft regulations continue China’s long history of breaking international trade rules.

Given that the ongoing low-level trade war between the US and China, this was a predictable bit of saber-rattling. But if Levin and Stabenow’s political motivations are easy to understand, the logic that leads them to believe China’s New Energy Vehicle plan is a violation of international trade rules is not. Meanwhile, neither the Senators nor the USTR appear not to have heard about another, more serious possible trade issue arising from China’s headlong dash towards electric vehicles. Sounds like a job for The Truth About Cars…

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By on May 1, 2011

Volkswagen was all grins when litigating hedgies lost the first round in court in the U.S. (it’s on appeal) and when the public prosecutor in Stuttgart dropped some of the  investigation into former Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking and former CFO Holger Härter (only to add new angles.)  Until the matters are cleared, Volkswagen and Porsche officially are not married, unofficially, they share all available beds.

Now, a new lawsuit causes frozen faces and acid reflux at the very top of Volkswagen: German investment funds intend to involve prominent supervisory board members of Volkswagen AG in a billion dollar court case. Read More >

By on May 1, 2011

It was the good old days. The Summer of 2007. I had become one of the top buyers at a nearby discount parts store, and several others nearby wanted my business. At this point I was buying all my parts for my cars at ‘cost’ plus 10%. But that didn’t matter. Like the sub-prime world, the store managers were paid bonuses based on their volume of sales. Who needed profit when you could make it up with volume? Well, it took about a year for the guys up the chain of command to figure that out.

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By on May 1, 2011

1903 Columbus Electric Model 1000 on display at the 2011 SAE World Congress. From the collection of Peter Fawcett.

Photos courtesy of Cars In Depth

The theme of this year’s SAE World Congress was “Charging Forward Together”. In case you haven’t noticed the electrification of the automobile industry, to make the phrase even more obvious the logo includes an electric plug. Keeping with that theme the automotive engineers’ professional association put a couple of early electric cars on display, a 1915 Detroit Electric and a 1903 Columbus Electric.
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