By on March 29, 2017

eq concept mercedes-benz

After a Wednesday announcement stating it had failed to cut fleet emissions for the first time since 2007, Daimler has promised to expand its electric vehicle program and shorten the timeline. However, the automaker isn’t willing to shoulder all the blame for not being green enough. Consumer trends have shifted strongly toward larger, less efficient crossovers and SUVs in recent years. Daimler knows this better than anyone with global sales of the Mercedes-Benz GLA, GLC, and GLE gradually replacing its more-stagnant sedan deliveries.

Still, Europe has set very specific emissions requirements and the German company has fallen behind. It’s time to make amends by publicly promising new electrified models and a corporate goal closer to the state-sponsored pollution target.  (Read More…)

By on March 19, 2017

hk-h600

If you don’t remember Hybrid Kinetic Group, that’s because it nearly vanished from western news after promising to build a 1.5 billion dollar factory in Alabama for its $300,000 hybrid-electric. That factory, planned in 2009, ended up being unable to secure financing after receiving some state-sponsored help to get the ball rolling. It’s a similar story to what happened to a company, ran by the former CEO of China’s Brilliance Auto, in Mississippi and the contemporary situation with Faraday Future in Nevada. In the case of Hybrid Kinetic, the firm managed to secure some visas and financial aid from Alabama before pulling out of the United States in 2011 — presumably never to be heard from again.

However, earlier this month, HK made an appearance at the Geneva International Motor Show with a car that it now says it fully anticipates selling on the American market. The sedan is the result of a 68 million dollar deal with Italian design house Pininfarina to assist the Chinese company in producing a handsome and — more importantly — real electric luxury vehicle for the global marketplace.  (Read More…)

By on March 15, 2017

Lucid Air

Lucid Motors’ production EV turned out to be a much more reasonable entry than anyone expected. The media buzz was that LM’s Air would be a super-sedan offering up to 1,000 horsepower and a 400 mile range — a real Tesla killer. With a 1,000 horses and instantaneous torque, it would actually shame just about everything else on the road, regardless of how it was powered. However, as is so often the case with EV startups, the reality is significantly more nuanced than the hype.

That doesn’t mean Lucid can’t be a massive thorn in Tesla’s side, though. Looking over the freshly released details of the Air reveals a highly competitive base model (on paper) and, since this is the base model, there remains room for that ludicrously powerful and extravagantly priced car we were promised.

In the interim, consumers will just have to be satisfied with a much more affordable unit, but it still outdoes the base model Tesla in terms of power, range, and price.  (Read More…)

By on March 13, 2017

xc40 concept

Though its debut will lag that of Chevrolet’s Bolt and the Tesla Model 3, Volvo’s first entry into the world of all-electric vehicles looks to be right on par with the current generation’s maximum range and requisite financial investment. Starting between $35,000 and $40,000 when it debuts in 2019, the Swedish EV should be capable of at least 250 miles between charges.

Away from the main stage of the Geneva International Motor Show, CEO of Volvo America Lex Kerssemakers indicated to journalists that the standards set by the Bolt would be the benchmark. “That’s what I put in as the prerequisite for the United States,” Kerssemakers said. “If I want to make a point in the United States, if I want to make volumes, that’s what I believe I need.” (Read More…)

By on March 11, 2017

volkswagen i.d. buzz concept

If your life goals for the near future include recreating the Summer of Love, there’s some far-out news arriving from Volkswagen. Public reaction to the automaker’s electric I.D. Buzz concept proved positive enough to give executives confidence in European and American demand for the reborn Microbus.

Unfortunately for latter-day hippies and retirement-age flower children, their enthusiasm for this out-of-sight green machine won’t be enough for VW to start production. It seems that the model’s future hinges not on the Counter Culture Revolution, but the Cultural Revolution. (Read More…)

By on March 9, 2017

john goodenough the truth about cars
One of the factors holding back widespread acceptance of electric vehicles has been the development of battery storage. Until now, there has been nothing analogous for batteries to the computing industry’s Moore’s Law, which has seen integrated circuits become significantly more powerful, faster, and cheaper with each generation. While there have been incremental improvements in energy density — the primary drawback to battery power — a number of promising new battery technologies have not panned out.

Now, a research team headed by John Goodenough, whose 1980 invention of a cobalt-oxide cathode made powerful lithium-ion batteries possible, has announced the development of a solid-state battery cell that not only has the potential (no pun intended) to store three times as much power as a conventional lithium-ion cell, but also replaces the cells’ liquid electrolytes with a glass compound. That would eliminate the fire and explosion hazard known to Li-ion power packs. (Read More…)

By on March 1, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Automakers have promised us a near future filled with all the electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles we could ever want and, of course, time will tell whether that dream sinks or swims.

Key to keeping the electric momentum going is a combination of growing demand, which automakers are banking on in the future, and steadily declining production costs. A company getting into the EV game might be willing to lose money on a niche vehicle, but not an entire fleet.

Still, the promises are out there, and the models are starting to roll out. The green tide, whether it ultimately makes electricity the dominant source of automotive propulsion or not, is spurring a different kind of green wave — but not for automakers. This wave is made of cold, hard cash, and it’s soaking careful investors. (Read More…)

By on February 27, 2017

Honda Clarity

No one likes worrying about running out of charged particles while driving through a sketchy neighborhood late at night. If you’re a green car aficionado and hold this fear above that of spiders, death and public speaking, you’d best look somewhere other than Honda for your next battery-powered vehicle.

A report states that the all-electric version of Honda’s upcoming Clarity, which will forever live in the technological shadow of its fuel cell-powered sibling, sports an embarrassingly short range.  (Read More…)

By on February 15, 2017

2017 IONIQ HEV

Once upon a time, Toyota’s Prius was the only real choice for anyone looking to get into a futuristic “hybrid” car. The microscopic Honda Insight, looking like a tear dropped from a poet’s eye, held two seats — and that’s no good for taking your friends to book club.

As technology did what it has been known to do (advance), other automakers picked up the torch, outfitting conventional family sedans with battery packs and Atkinson-cycle engines. The segment soon became more diverse, just in time to see the public’s enthusiasm for hybrids taper off.

Now, from Japan’s neighbor, comes a new Hyundai model — offered as a hybrid or electric, and with a plug-in on the way — that undercuts the world’s most recognizable hybrid in price. Your move, Toyota. (Read More…)

By on February 1, 2017

Kia Niro, Image: Kia Motors

Kia’s foray into the hybrid segment might be ill-timed, considering the current contraction of sales for its main rival, the Toyota Prius, but the Korean automaker is betting big on the Niro’s traditionally boxy shape bringing in would-be Prius buyers offended by origami-esque sheetmetal.

Still, with that two-box silhouette comes some preconceived notions — like all-wheel drive.

While you want it, and Kia Motors of America would surely love to give it to you, there are a host of reasons why Kia’s newest hybrid-only crossover doesn’t offer all-wheel drive and likely won’t anytime soon.

(Read More…)

By on January 31, 2017

2015 Chevrolet Spark EV

There might be more than a few empty chairs at the Chevrolet Spark EV’s funeral, as the diminutive electric didn’t exactly inflame the passions of the buying public.

The Detroit News reports that production of the electrified model ended this past summer, though General Motors only saw fit to mention it last week. Apparently, the fatal shot was fired by the Chevrolet Bolt, which began production in the fall. Two’s a crowd in the GM EV garage, it seems. (Read More…)

By on January 31, 2017

e-tron

Along with the rest of Volkswagen AG, Audi has made plans to invest heavily into electric vehicles. The company expects EVs to comprise 25 percent of its U.S. sales by 2025 and is devoting the e-tron moniker to an entire division of electrified models, with the first arriving next year.

Addressing the J.D. Power Summit at this year’s National Automobile Dealers Association Convention and Expo, Audi of America President Scott Keogh told salesmen to welcome the electric mobility market with open arms or learn to cope with an ambivalent future. However, jumping head-first into a relatively small market with a huge potential for growth isn’t without pitfalls, and it isn’t unwise for dealers to remain cautious. Still, with Audi planning to introduce three new BEVs within the United States by 2020 and Volkswagen Group hoping to have 30 battery-electric models out by the 2025, you can see why Keogh is pressing the issue.  (Read More…)

By on January 31, 2017

2017 Kia Niro - Blue

Kia’s new hybrid crossover, the Niro, should expect a sister model that dispenses with fossil fuel altogether.

A Kia official has implied that an all-electric version of the model is coming, joining a vehicle that arrives this spring in hybrid form, with a plug-in version on the way. By offering a Niro EV, Kia would have two electric crossover-style vehicles on the market — and plenty of green clout. (Read More…)

By on January 25, 2017

Girfalco Azkarra

The Canadian province of Quebec has a history of churning out offbeat, low-production speed machines. Blame the six months of winter or the intoxicating effects of pure maple syrup; whatever the reason, enterprising gearheads living in New England’s tuque have a habit of building their own cars.

From the Dubuc Tomahawk, an all-electric 2+2 promising 0-60 miles per hour in three seconds, to the sheep’s-head ugly (but fast) HTT Pléthore, there’s no shortage of cars being designed and built in La Belle Province. Now, another Quebec-based company, Girfalco, intends to increase that number with its new three-wheeled EV — the Azkarra.

(Read More…)

By on January 24, 2017

Faraday Future FF 91

When Faraday Future showcased its new car at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, everyone temporarily forgot the company was a structural and monetary dumpster fire. A large portion of that amnesia was the result of the extremely impressive presentation put on for the FF 91’s unveiling. Some of the visual effects used by Faraday in its presentations and propaganda marketing have been so impressive, it left me wondering who the company has trusted with those projects.

One company Faraday outsourced to was The Mill — a New York-based video production company that is suing Faraday for 1.8 million dollars over failure to pay it for a graphic presentation commissioned in September.

This is an exciting return to form for Faraday Future, which announced at CES that the construction of its Nevada factory — stalled due to similar payment issues — should continue shortly. (Read More…)

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