By on May 24, 2017

Workhorse W-15

Earlier this month, we covered Workhorse’s finalization of the W-15 electric pickup for sale to fleet buyers and wondered if there would be any consumer demand for such a vehicle. Apparently, the Ohio-based Workhorse Group was also curious if it might have a role in the retail market, as it’s now considering offering a variant of the plug-in hybrid for regular sale.

Yesterday, Workhorse posted an invitation via Twitter for interested parties to visit its website and reserve a W-15 pickup. It’s already receive some positive feedback on the subject, but it’s not yet an outpouring of support — at least, nothing that would match the nearly 5,000 letters of intent is has received from businesses regarding the purchase of its fleet units.  (Read More…)

By on May 23, 2017

Tesla Supercharger

Chatty Tesla owners who compel their friends and family to consider buying a Model S or X are apparently behind the company’s U-Turn on paid Supercharger use.

At the beginning of the year, Tesla, in a bid to fund a doubling of its fast-charge network, withdrew a big perk from the purchase of one of its vehicles: free Supercharger use. No longer would new buyers be able to sail off in their new Tesla, confident in their ability to juice up at one of the 750-plus stations scattered across North America. Owners who purchased their vehicle prior to January 1st were grandfathered.

Supercharger hogs were also slapped with an “idling” fee, all in the hopes of freeing up space at the stations. While the pricing structure remains — new buyers receive 400 kWh of annual free charging with their purchase, after which a variable fee applies — there’s now a way to get unlimited free power. (Read More…)

By on May 22, 2017

2017 smart fortwo cabrio electric drive (Euro spec image)

Will anyone notice? Mercedes-Benz certainly hopes so, as it recently choose to ditch gasoline powerplants altogether and make the Smart sub-brand an all-electric affair.

The automaker announced pricing and specifications for its 2017 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive coupe and convertible today, billing the two-seater as one of the cheapest EVs you can buy. The droptop variant remains the only electric convertible you can get your hands on, should that be your thing.

While many scratch their heads and wonder why Smart continues to exist in North America, the automaker hopes to entice consumers with a lower starting price and added range. (Read More…)

By on May 22, 2017

2018 outback

With the exception of Mazda and — until its Outlander PHEV finally lands on U.S. shores — Mitsubishi, Subaru remains one of very few automakers to completely eschew electrified powertrains.

Despite lacking any fully electric, plug-in hybrid or hybrid model (the unloved Crosstrek Hybrid met a quiet death last year), Subaru’s U.S. customer base continues to expand at a rapid clip, but a gas-only strategy can’t survive forever. Environmental regulations the world over insist Subaru should follow the lead of its rivals and build something without pistons.

Well, Subaru plans to. However, unlike many of its rivals, the automaker has indicated it might take a different path towards this goal. (Read More…)

By on May 18, 2017

[Image: Nissan]

It won’t come with a minimum of 808 horsepower, nor will there be a crate to turn it into a dragster. However, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles raised the bar on how to intrigue fans (and annoy journalists) with its weekly pre-reveal teasers for the Dodge Challenger Demon, and who is Nissan to ignore FCA’s success?

The Japanese automaker has embarked on a summertime teaser campaign leading up to the unveiling of the next-generation Leaf “later this year.” Back in March, Nissan tweeted that the new Leaf would appear at a global launch event in September before going on sale before the end of the year.

So, what lies in store for the long-in-the-tooth electric’s replacement? (Read More…)

By on May 18, 2017

17FordEscape-Titanium_04_HR

Ford is admittedly behind its main rivals in terms of offering practical and purpose-built EVs but, when it finally comes to market in 2020, its first long-range electric should deliver what buyers want. When Ford announced its plans to launch an electrified crossover at January’s Consumer Electronics Show, the Chevrolet Bolt had already begun to lose its geek chic luster. However, we have to defer our judgement as Ford’s entry could eventually have an EV spec sheet that’ll make GM blush.

We’re beginning to get a better picture of the upcoming Ford — which I’m going to begin calling the E-CUV (electric crossover utility vehicle) since it doesn’t have an official name — now that the company’s chief technology officer Raj Nair has started loosening his lips. The upside is that it will be an affordable unit targeting everything the average consumer wants. The downside is that it’ll have competition early in its lifespan.  (Read More…)

By on May 17, 2017

Volvo D4

Volvo Cars is prepared to lower the curtain on diesel engines. Rising standards for nitrogen oxide emissions — and the cost associated with reducing them — has guided the automaker away from oil burners and into the loving arms of gasoline. “From today’s perspective, we will not develop any more new generation diesel engines,” CEO Hakan Samuelsson told Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

That is not to suggest Volvo won’t get some serious mileage out of its last batch of diesels, though. The automaker has no plans to abandon the motors outright, suggesting it could march onward with its current lineup for at least a few more years. Diesels would also help Volvo meet corporate fuel economy targets while it gets new super-economical electric powerplants ready for market.  (Read More…)

By on May 16, 2017

[Image: BYD]

For those of you not glued to the latest in Chinese electric car news, the BYD (Build Your Dreams) E6 was the best-selling electric vehicle in the world’s most populous country last year. Forget about Nissan or Tesla — BYD is the real electric stud overseas.

The E6 is a conventional-looking four-door crossover (or tall hatch, if you prefer) offered in a number of markets, including the United States. However, here the E6 is marketed as an “electric taxi” and offered only to fleet buyers. A handful have arrived already, but the Berkshire Hathaway-backed automaker has larger plans for the U.S. (Read More…)

By on May 14, 2017

ep9 Nurburgring

Engineering a vehicle with the Nürburgring in mind doesn’t always produce the most enjoyable on-road driving experience, but it often results in one hell of a performance machine. The NIO EP9 electric supercar was already the fastest EV ever to grace the track, which is a feat in itself since the Tesla Model S proved itself incapable of maintaining full-trust for the duration of the 14-mile track. However, after taking another stab at it, the NIO is claiming the EP9 is now the fastest production vehicle ever to grace the track — gas or electric.

Under what NIO admitted to being perfect conditions, the EP9 completed the course in 6:45.90. That’s over 19 seconds quicker than its pervious lap time and 6 seconds quicker than the Lamborghini Huracan Performante’s. The EP9 also bested the Radical SR8LM, which is not globally street legal and only slightly more useful for daily-driving duties than the space shuttle.  (Read More…)

By on May 10, 2017

ff91

We’re not going to recap all of Faraday Future’s staffing issues, financial hurdles, or uncouth business practices. If you’ve visited this website within the last year, you already know the company has some serious problems to overcome.

Despite these hardships, Faraday remains convinced it’ll resume construction at its stalled factory site in Nevada and someday bring the FF91 to market. However, we haven’t seen much of the EV since the debut of the beta version at CES in January — and it was beginning to look like we never would.

Then, without much fanfare, a video of the electric crossover surfaced on the company’s YouTube page on Monday. The new video shows a decidedly less beta-looking vehicle than Faraday has previewed in the past. That doesn’t mean this is a production car, but it does seem to show what one might look like if FF can weather the storm.  (Read More…)

By on May 8, 2017

CCS Charging pic

Plug ‘n Drive sounds like the world’s less appetizing fast food restaurant but is, in actuality, a not-for-profit organization with a strict focus on encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles. It’s so committed, in fact, that it is opening a “Electric Vehicle Discovery Centre” near Toronto’s York University in order to provide the general populace free opportunities to pilot EVs.

Of course, you don’t just get to test drive electric vehicles — there is an agenda here. Plug ‘n Drive also wants to use the location as a base to educate people on how to get the most out of EV ownership, make a case for the environmental and economic benefits of electric transportation, and explain government programs like Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan. Think of it as an EV church, where the faithful can worship and and non-believers can be converted.  (Read More…)

By on May 5, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Atlas yellow front quarter on road

Volkswagen Group’s core brand has targeted an end to profit losses in the North America by the end of the decade, setting its break-even point for 2020. Central themes of the plan are dependent on cost cutting measures and higher-margin SUV models it believes will bring it back from emissions scandal purgatory. In its most recent announcement, VW continued to tout electric vehicles as an inevitable key focus by 2025, but hasn’t lifted the veil on all that entails.

In the short term, however, Volkswagen is promising the “biggest product offensive in its history,” with ten new models coming this year alone. In actuality the number is half that, as five of those vehicles are updated versions of existing models. The real number could be even smaller if VW is counting the Atlas/Teramont as separate vehicles; the same goes for the two wheelbases of the Tiguan. And, based on the information it provided us, that does appear to be the case.  (Read More…)

By on May 3, 2017

Delphi and Mobileye

Automotive supplier Delphi announced plans on Wednesday to spin off all operations tied to internal combustion engines and focus solely on electric propulsion and autonomous vehicles.

The move boosted share prices while underscoring the problems facing the industry’s old guard. That’s not to suggest that internal combustion engines are going to vanish anytime soon, but the investors who fund their development seem progressively less interested in backing them. An interesting choice, considering EV-maker Tesla is valued well above a traditional manufacturer like Ford — despite not being nearly as profitable.

Delphi says it will spin off its $4.5 billion powertrain division into a separate publicly traded company by early 2018 and is considering a new name.   (Read More…)

By on May 3, 2017

Workhorse W-15

Whether or not there is public demand for them, electric pickup trucks are on the way. Tesla is preparing one for market while another American company specializing in electric utility vans is doing the same. The Ohio-based Workhorse Group is putting the finishing touches on its W-15 pickup in the hopes that companies might want to add it to their fleet.

Workhorse already provides medium-duty vans to companies for ground delivery services, including the United States Postal Service, FedEx, and UPS. Its popular E-Gen platform mates to a traditional Morgan-Olson step-van body and uses a 60 kWh Panasonic battery pack, supplemented by a 647 cc internal combustion unit from BMW. The W-15 pickup promises to be a different animal but will remain targeted at Workhorse’s core of fleet-focused businesses.  (Read More…)

By on May 3, 2017

2017 Bolt

Profitability is right around the corner, but so far the sign marking the turn isn’t in sight. That seems to be the gist of comments made by Mark Reuss, General Motors’ executive vice president for product development, who recently claimed his company would be the first automaker to turn a profit selling cheaper electric vehicles.

Right now, the high cost of producing EVs makes it a money-losing proposition for automakers struggling to find an edge in the growing technology war. While Tesla might disagree with Reuss’ insinuation, the dedicated electric automaker has only ever posted a couple of slim quarterly profits, with revenue from its pricey EVs eaten up by expenditures elsewhere.

At a company like GM, piles of truck and SUV-generated cash allows for a model like the Chevrolet Bolt — a low-priced EV that beats the competition in range, but allegedly drains $8,000 to $9,000 from the company with each unit sold. That’s all going to change, said Reuss. (Read More…)

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