If I say “hybrid,” most people think: slow, efficient, awful-to-drive, Prius, tree-hugger, Democrat and California. Pretty much in that order. The people’s car company however is on a mission to change your word association. In 2011 VW crafted the ridiculously fast supercharged Touareg Hybrid. For 2013, the Germans have some new words for you to associate with “hybrid”: direct-injection, turbocharged, 7-speed, DSG and Jetta. Is this enough to sway Prius shoppers looking for a more engaging ride? More importantly: should you get the Jetta Hybrid or the Jetta TDI? VW tossed us the keys to a dark blue fuel-sipper to find out.
Canada’s government is seen as reluctant to tackle the issue of climate change. Concerned Canadians have even taken to discussing how putting a Canadian flag on one’s backpack may be dangerous because our lack of environmental leadership has diminished our standing in places like Europe. Or at least that’s what one eco-conscious party guest told me, in between agitating for more bike lanes and asking for a lift home.
Since motorists and drivers are low-hanging fruit without any kind of organized lobby, our Conservative government has decided to offer up the automobile as a sacrificial lamb in the PR temple by implementing CAFE-style standards on Canadian vehicles. As we all know, CAFE is a deeply flawed system that rewards the bad guys. So why would Canada, a land of small cars and high gas prices, do this?
Fisker is asking a bankruptcy judge to delay an asset sale related to beleaguered battery maker A123 Systems.
BYD had made lots of announcements of exporting cars to the free world, but none of them have panned out so far. Remember BYD’s plans to take over America? Now finally we have what Reuters calls BYD’s “first overseas deal.” BYD will ship 50 e6 electric taxis to London in the second quarter of 2013.
Tesla has officially launched their long-awaited “Supercharging” network last night to a star-studded crowd in Southern California. (We assume it was star-studded since our invitation got lost in the mail.) The EV network promises to enable Model S and Model X owners to charge 150 miles of range in 30 minutes. What about your Roadster? Sorry, you aren’t invited to this charging party. Have a Tesla and a LEAF? You’ll have to be satisfied with separate but equal charging facilities as the Tesla proprietary charging connector restricts access to Tesla shoppers only. Is this class warfare or do we parallel the computer industry where connectors come and go with the seasons?
Today, Toyota officially announced the launch of its second electric vehicle (after the electrified RAV4). Hundreds of reporters filled the big hall of the Universal Design Showcase of Tokyo’s MegaWeb, to witness the strangest product launch I have ever seen (and trust me, I have seen a few.)
Washington’s campaign to put you in an EV will cost the taxpayer $7.5 billion through 2019, and it’s all for nothing, says a report by the Congressional Budget Office. (Read More…)
The car industry is slowly getting healthy again (except in Europe.) Worldwide sales are up 6.8 percent so far, and it looks like 81 million units could be sold worldwide this year, as data by LMC Automotive show. This has the Worldwatch Institute up in arms. Basically, it wants us to buy fewer cars and drive them less. (Read More…)