By on August 3, 2016

Tesla Model S 85D, Image: © 2016 David Marek/The Truth About Cars

The Tesla Model S is neither new nor surprising anymore. When the electric sedan entered the market in 2012, it shattered perceptions of electric cars and proved electric motoring viable.

Since then, Tesla has established itself as the go-to brand for geeks and early adopters. We’ve driven the Tesla Model S before, so there’s no need to talk about its most obvious features. But recent events make this a great time to talk about its second-most-important feature: Autopilot.

Is Tesla’s autonomous system any good? Can it be dangerous? How far is it from being truly autonomous? And, besides that, how did the Model S improve over the last few years?
(Read More…)

By on June 17, 2016

2016 Ford Focus EV Front 3/4, Image: © 2016 Jeff Voth/The Truth About Cars

The debate about the relative merits of electric vehicles is certain to be ongoing for years to come. For some, it represents the new frontier in automotive engineering and design. Electric powered vehicles for the masses; no more oil taken from the ground and clean air for all. It’s an interesting concept, but I am not fully convinced at this time in history to throw all my gasoline-powered chips in that pile and call.

Companies such as Tesla have made significant waves in the industry and I do think they’ll continue to experience success going forward. In my opinion, Elon Musk is a true automotive pioneer in the same vein as Karl Benz and Henry Ford. I don’t dispute the idea of EV’s for all; I just see a balance between gasoline, diesel, electric and possibly hydrogen-powered vehicles as a better alternative; at least for now.

It appears Ford is hedging its bets on this combination as well. I recently had the chance to test drive the 2016 Ford Focus EV for a week. In short, I was very impressed for the most part. It was comfortable, quick to accelerate, looks un-EV-like and turned a surprising number of heads, which to me is always a good thing.

But is it a car I would buy? On that question, I am keeping my cards to close to my chest.

(Read More…)

By on May 22, 2016

2015 BMW i3 Range Extender, Image: © 2015 Alex L. Dykes/The Truth About Cars

Owners of BMW i3s equipped with optional range extenders — read: two-cylinder engine that generates electricity — are suing the automaker for an issue that could leave those drivers going slow in the fast lane.

According to Green Car Reports, the BMW i3 REx will drop down to 45 miles per hour under certain conditions, which some owners believe is a safety issue.

(Read More…)

By on May 17, 2016

Tesla Model 3 Unveil, Image: Tesla Motors

As the owner of a 2013 Tesla Model S P85 and occasional TTAC writer, I have my opinions on the Model 3. Many commenters thought Tesla’s business model of starting at the high-end and working its way down market was crazy, but Elon Musk had the right idea: use the cash flow from high-end car manufacturing to ramp up your engineering chops and supplier relationships so you can push prices down to eventually make a mainstream product.

That’s exactly what Tesla is doing and the plan seems to be working brilliantly — but there’s a catch: managing the engineering “complexity budget.”

(Read More…)

By on March 10, 2016

Honda FCX Clarity At Shell Hydrogen Fuel Pump

The world needs to be saved, but who wants to spend more money doing it?

That, cash lands on Takata-plagued dealers, Tesla takes to the track, BMW wants you in and out fast, and Volkswagen dreams of slaying the Prius … after the break!

(Read More…)

By on February 20, 2016

2016 Chevrolet Volt w/ Alex Dykes, © 2016 The Truth About Cars

This weekend, Alex dropped a bonus video review of the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Volt for us to enjoy. Unfortunately, he’s also been too busy building sheds to do a full review, so this is all we’ve got.

(It’s okay, though. The best work happens in a shed.)

Want to check it out? Hit up the video after jump.

(Read More…)

By on February 1, 2016

2015 Nissan Leaf

Electric vehicles aren’t rollin’ coal anymore — or, at least, not nearly as much as they used to.

Reuters reports coal-fired electricity generation is now at a 35-year low in the U.S., and November 2015 was the fifth month in a row more natural gas than coal was used to produce electricity.

That’s not all. From Reuters:

With just one month of data missing in 2015, some analysts think power companies may have burned more gas than coal for the full year for the first time in history.

Oh, and guess what’s dirtier than natural gas when burned? You bet: gasoline.

(Read More…)

By on January 6, 2016

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

General Motors CEO — and Chairwoman! — Mary Barra unveiled on Wednesday the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The compact electric car had already broken cover earlier in the day (oops), but the first look at Chevrolet’s “production” electric car raised more questions than it gave answers.

According to Barra, the car will be produced sometime late this year and sell for around $30,000 after tax incentives. The Bolt will run for 200 miles, either on a charge that will take “overnight” for a full battery, or one hour to 80 percent using a DC fast charger.

It’s unclear when and where it will go on sale, or what its batteries are made of. Oh well, at least we can talk about its “gamification!”

(Read More…)

By on December 7, 2015

IONIQ image

Hyundai announced Monday it would bring back silliness to car names and make the world’s first hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicle available in the same body, catering decadently to an individual’s fondness for electrons.

The Ioniq — which sounds like it’s spelled — will be unveiled January in South Korea and later next year in Geneva and New York. It will go on sale next year.

According to the automaker, Ioniq is the type of car people have been asking for: a model named after slightly obfuscated common words to fit with an over-stretched marketing philosophy rather than alphanumeric letters and symbols that require no creativity whatsoever. (God, I miss the Integra.) (Read More…)

By on October 23, 2015

The future vision of car intelligence and electrification

“The future vision of car intelligence and electrification.”

That was the entire press release provided by Nissan along with the above photo. That’s it. That’s all.

So, let the wild speculation begin. Is this the next-generation Nissan Leaf? Or is it a life orb that will ship us off to fight to the death in some futuristic panopticon? Who knows?!?! It could be at least one of those things.

(Read More…)

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