Tag: EVs

By on October 19, 2017

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric, Image: Steph Willems

Governments big and small can issue far-off bans on gasoline and diesel all they want, but in the here and now, no one’s stopping you from taking home a Ford F-350 crew cab for family hauling duties. There’s no shadowy apparatchik barring the front door at the local Dodge dealership, preventing you from signing on the dotted line for that 392 Scat Pack or Hellcat.

Choice, glorious choice, awaits us all. Enjoy it while you can. For now, only the number of coins in our pockets (and maybe our parking situation) can keep those automotive love affairs at bay.

So, is it any wonder few people buy an electric car? The future’s electric, CEOs tell us, but high prices, low ranges, and a fledgling recharging network means EV ownership was mainly — at least until the Chevrolet Bolt came along — the domain of those dropping big bucks on Mr. Musk’s long-range wondercars. Destitute, but still achingly green? A used Nissan Leaf can haul your butt across town for a price rapidly approaching $0.

Is there room in this lopsided landscape for a new Hyundai with no exhaust pipe, a price lower than the competition, and a body that doesn’t scream “status”? If there is, can you live with it? (Read More…)

By on October 15, 2017

LG Chem Electric Vehicle Battery Production

South Korea’s LG Chem is planning to open the largest lithium-ion battery factory in Europe to aide the continent’s automotive industry as it prepares its much-hyped shift toward EV production. According to LG, construction of the battery plant — located in Wrocław, Poland — is set to begin immediately and batteries should be ready for slotting into vehicles before the end of next year.

In a an announcement, the company said the plant would have a production capacity of 100,000 batteries per year for EVs that can run up to 199 miles once charged. Previous estimates were more conservative but, with German automakers promising widespread electrification, LG saw no reason for half measures.

“We will turn the Poland EV battery plant into a mecca of battery production for electric vehicles around the world,” said company president UB Lee. “As LG Chem’s Poland EV battery plant is the first large-scale automotive lithium battery production plant in Europe, it will play the role of vitalizing the electric vehicle industry across the whole of Europe. We will put all our efforts into making the plant into a main production hub for EV batteries.” (Read More…)

By on October 12, 2017

Volkswagen Truck & Bus launching trial projects for digital truck platoons

Having already dropped itself into an ocean of electric car R&D, Volkswagen is now making plans to develop battery-powered commercial vehicles aimed at servicing urban areas where public officials are having night terrors about air quality.

Jürgen Stackmann, VW’s board member responsible for sales and marketing, promised the company would be at “full steam” on EV production and development by 2020. That includes a battery-only option for “all styles and body types” by 2030, according to Stackmann. But the brand wants to have something similar on the table for trucks and buses before then.

Volkswagen Truck & Bus is investing 1.4 billion euros ($1.7 billion) into new electric drivetrains for use in both medium and heavy-duty distribution transport and city buses. While that development will go toward European vehicles initially, VW and strategic partner Navistar will use the “e-drivetrain” platform on U.S.-based electric trucks from 2019 onwards.  (Read More…)

By on October 5, 2017

MITSUBISHI e-EVOLUTION CONCEPT

Mitsubishi gets a lot of mileage out of its defunct nameplates, but it remains steadfast in its unwillingness to provide enthusiasts with the car they’ve been asking for.

You remember the Lancer Evolution. It’s the car you saw Tommi Mäkinen use to win four consecutive WRC driver’s titles in the late 1990s. It’s the car you clocked the most hours in with your favorite automotive-themed video game. Maybe it was even a car you owned and used to embarrass vehicles well outside of its price range.

That rally-ready sedan is dead now. However, Mitsubishi is taking the Evolution name and adhering it to a fantastical new prototype. Called the e-Evolution, the automaker is serving up a recipe similar to the Eclipse Cross: Borrow a name from a retired model and slap it on an ultra-modern crossover. The difference here is that the new Eclipse is a real automobile while the e-Evolution is a self-indulgent exhibition of semi-real technologies.  (Read More…)

By on October 4, 2017

2011-audi-r8-42-spyder-shifter-photo-416617-s-1280x782Yesterday, Steph Willems penned a little Question of the Day about the manual transmission. In it, he asked what would have to occur to get you, the buying public, back into the manual transmission in a large-scale way.

As of this writing, it’s blowing up the comment counts as everyone lists the particulars of how they hem and haw over the manual transmission. Shifting a vehicle yourself is romanticized and desirable; a bygone art to be treasured and maintained for future generations of drivers.

Except when it isn’t. What would force you from a manual transmission vehicle for the rest of your days?

(Read More…)

By on October 3, 2017

nismo-leaf

Nissan appears to be considering adorning the Leaf with a NISMO nameplate and appearance. Unveiled on Monday at Nissan’s Futures 3.0 event, the stock 2018 model provides improved performance, range, and less nerdy looks. However, Nissan wants further improve the Leaf’s image with a NISMO-trimmed variant.

Oh goodie.

While we get that economy models can morph into fun-to-drive little darlings, we also scrunched our noses at Toyota’s performance-enhanced GR Prius last month. Not every car can be the next GTI and, if automakers would like to build something that could be, they’ll have to provide us with more than a bodykit and a set of custom wheels.  (Read More…)

By on October 3, 2017

tesla-model-3-1-610x407

While the venerable Tesla Model S and X reached more customers than ever before in the last quarter, the hotly anticipated and far cheaper Model 3 stumbled out of the gate.

In a quarterly statement released yesterday, Tesla says just 260 Model 3s made it off the Fremont, California assembly line between the launch of production in late July and the end of September. Of that number, 220 made it to customer driveways. That’s not encouraging news for investors, nor for the model’s roughly half-million reservation holders, some of whom were told at launch not to expect their vehicle until the end of next year. (Read More…)

By on October 2, 2017

gm_all_electric_path_to_zero_emissions

Earlier today, General Motors announced it will introduce two new all-electric vehicles within the next 18 months, kicking off a push of at least 20 forthcoming EVs by 2023. At a press conference in Detroit, GM’s executive vice president of global product development, Mark Reuss, said the company is absolutely “committed to an all-electric future,” but stated “that future won’t happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles through no-compromise solutions that meet our customers’ needs.”

At the event, Reuss said the claims were the real deal. “These aren’t just words in a war of press releases,” he said. “We are far along in our plan to lead the way to that future world.”

Did you hear that, every other automaker that has claimed something identical in the last 12 months? General Motors is actually serious about all of this electric mobility talk.  (Read More…)

By on October 2, 2017

Toyota TNGA platform, Image: Toyota

Of all automakers, no company holds out hope for the gasoline engine’s longevity quite like Mazda. Not only does Mazda anticipate many decades of continued hydrocarbon-fueled driving, it’s also ensuring gas stays viable by inventing a new Skyactiv engine that (supposedly) uses much less of it. That motor, a first-of-its-kind gas compression ignition four-cylinder, debuts in 2019.

For now, Mazda’s North American lineup remains pure in terms of propulsion. The promised CX-5 diesel is taking its sweet time showing up, and neither a hybrid or EV can be found among the model ranks. That will soon change, but given Mazda’s size and finances, it won’t be a Mazda platform underpinning the next Mazda EV. (Read More…)

By on October 2, 2017

vintage diesel fuel pump

Diesel-powered passenger vehicle sales have fallen in Europe. Data from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) showed diesel’s year-over-year market share plummeting in the first half of 2017, sinking from 50.2 percent to 46.3 percent of all new car registrations in the EU.

Helped by negative publicity and governmental intervention, it’s the first time diesels have dipped below the 50 percent mark since 2009. ACEA’s figures indicate 152,323 fewer diesel cars sold so far in 2017, attributing some of the decline to a renewed interest in gasoline-powered vehicles. Of course, if you aren’t buying diesel, you don’t have a lot of other options.

Still, deliveries of “alternative” vehicles — which include hybrid, electric, and natural gas-powered automobiles — also rose by more than 35 percent. Those categories now account for 5.2 percent of Europe’s total auto sales.  (Read More…)

By on September 28, 2017

mitsubishi-outlander-phev-america-5

Even though North American Mitsubishi sales have ticked upward in recent years, the current decade has not been kind to the brand. Volume is roughly a quarter of what it was just 15 years ago and the bulk of those deliveries come from the Outlander and Outlander Sport.

When your entire existence hinges on a couple of models, you do what you can to keep them relevant. While plug-in hybrids aren’t exactly a massive sales draw, they’re gaining ground and Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV bests most of its EV competition in Europe. Naturally, the automaker deemed it worthy of coming to America (on the slowest boat imaginable).

We know this exciting news probably has you squirming in your chair, covering your mouth as you utter uncontrollable squeaks of joy. But hold on, we haven’t even told you about the price.  (Read More…)

By on September 27, 2017

eq concept mercedes-benz

Daimler has fired back after Telsa CEO Elon Musk returned to Twitter to speak his mind on the company’s decision to drop $1 billion into its Alabama plant. The investment is intended to aid production of a forthcoming electric SUV but, earlier this week, Musk said that wasn’t “a lot of money for a giant like Daimler/Mercedes. Wish they’d do more. Off by a zero.”

The following day, the Daimler responded over social media, suggesting Musk was “absolutely right” and pointed out that it’s actually investing over $10 billion, with only the first billion going into the assembly plant.

Whether you’re interested in electric vehicles or not, you have to admit these inter-automotive squabbles make the entire happening a lot more interesting. While cars themselves can be exciting, the corporate environment that facilitates their production is usually much less so. There’s also a chance that this type of good-natured clashing might result in a more competitive spirit — something we definitely would not mind seeing more of.  (Read More…)

By on September 27, 2017

Dyson vacuum

Herbert Hoover promised Americans a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage, but another man with a vacuum-associated name, James Dyson, wants to put electric cars in every parking spot.

Dyson, maker of strangely desirable vacuum cleaners and unsettlingly futuristic fans shaped like an elongated oval, wants to build you a car. Of course, we told you this last year, after the British government let slip that it was “funding Dyson to develop a new battery electric vehicle at their headquarters in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.”

The secretive UK-based company now claims you’ll see its new car in just three years. (Read More…)

By on September 24, 2017

hydrogen fueling

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in our universe and hydrogen-powered vehicles produce only a single emission: water. It’s no wonder a handful automakers have touted it as the next-step in “sustainable” transportation, because it looks great upon a cursory examination. But it hasn’t held up under increased scrutiny and numerous manufacturers have been highly critical of fuel cell cars.

Earlier this year, Jaguar Land Rover’s technical design director called hydrogen-powered vehicles a disaster in practical efficiency. Tesla Motors’ Elon Musk went even further, calling the technology “incredibly dumb.” More recently, VW Group also hinted that it thought there wasn’t going to be much of a future for fuel cells. Matthias Mueller’s address at the Frankfurt Auto Show was heavy on electrification and light on hydrogen, with Audi spearheading the technology.

Although, if president of Audi of America Scott Keogh is to be believed, it looks to be a rather dull spear they are using.  (Read More…)

By on September 16, 2017

2015 Mazda RX Vision Concept - Image: Mazda

Mazda recently announced the testing of its Skyactiv-X compression ignition engine, which promises to burn gasoline with diesel-like efficiency. If it hits its projected launch date of 2019, it will become the first mass-produced motor of its type and is likely to be showered with praise from environmentalists and enthusiasts alike.

However, as we progress deeper into the millennium, it’s becoming evident that more and more automakers are willing to embrace electricity as the next solution to efficiency. That makes Mazda a bit of an oddity, maybe even a dinosaur, and we were wondering when the company would give in to electrification. Especially since it has already partnered with Toyota to tighten its grasp on the technology.  (Read More…)

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