By on June 28, 2017

nissan leaf charging electric car

Federal tax credits for electric vehicles won’t last forever, especially under the Trump administration. While it’s difficult to quantify exactly how many people saw the $7,500 rebate as the deciding factor to “go green,” there is little doubt that it factored into the final purchasing choice of some buyers.

California has made the promotion of zero-emission vehicles a matter of great concern. With General Motors, Nissan, and Tesla all gradually approaching the 200,000-unit quota for vehicles eligible for the tax rebate, the state doesn’t want to see buyers lose purchasing incentives prematurely. With that, California is considering a bill that would provide discounts to EV shoppers at the time of purchase, essentially reducing the sticker price before the car even leaves the lot.  (Read More…)

By on June 26, 2017

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid (left) and Chrysler Pacifica (right) - Image: FCA

Despite being lauded for its high level of content, smooth ride, and all-electric range, Chrysler’s plug-in hybrid minivan has hit a large roadblock. After voluntarily recalling all Pacifica Hybrids due to a safety defect that could see the minivan go dark at inopportune times, it seems the assembly line has ground to a halt in Windsor, Ontario.

A recall earlier this month saw Fiat Chrysler Automobiles call back 1,368 vehicles in the U.S. and 309 in Canada following complaints of loss of propulsion. The issue reportedly stems from defective inverter diodes. While the wonky electrified powertrain hasn’t resulted in any crashes or injuries, electrified cars that suddenly stop sending current to the motor aren’t something customers or the automaker can tolerate.

It’s a serious stumble for FCA’s green halo car. (Read More…)

By on June 18, 2017

2017 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty, Image: FCA

It’s hard to hear the name Cummins and not immediately think of a Ram pickup struggling valiantly to pull a gnarled tree stump out of the unyielding earth. Certainly, the company’s diesel inline-six and V8 engines are to the truck world what Nike is to professional sports.

While Cummins’ fossil fuel-powered engines and power systems show no signs of becoming passé, a company ignores the future at its own peril. The green revolution is afoot, we’re told, and internal combustion power will one day occupy the niche currently inhabited by electric propulsion. With this in mind, Cummins has a plan. (Read More…)

By on February 3, 2017

Sometimes, a brand, person, or thing is forever tainted by an unfortunate occurrence.

Think of Anthony Perkins and the movie Psycho. Because a character can be played a little too well, the roles really didn’t pour in after that. The same goes for Ted Kennedy and a certain incident involving an Olds 88.

In the automotive world, few people bothered picking up a second-generation Chevrolet Corvair, despite the elimination of the previous generation’s wildly controversial — an potentially deadly — swing-axle rear suspension.

Stigma skews people’s perception, and Volkswagen, frankly, has had enough of it. So, in an effort to keep the name of its most fuel-efficient production vehicle clean, VW has dropped a certain fuel from a model that once knew nothing else. (Read More…)

By on December 10, 2016

Toyota Dynamic Force engine

(Update: Specifications for the 2.5-liter engine have been added.)

Dynamic Force. It sounds like the name of a military offensive from the early 2000s, but it’s also the name of Toyota’s next-generation gasoline powerplants.

The automaker has revealed the first of a slew of new engines that should power 60 percent of its vehicles within five years. Oh, and there’s new transmissions and hybrid components to go with them. (Read More…)

By on November 15, 2016

Car noise hearing

The U.S. Transportation Department has finalized rules that will require electric vehicles and hybrids to emit “alert sounds” at speeds below 18.6 miles per hour, to warn cyclists, pedestrians, and the blind of the approaching danger.

By adding noise to silent-running vehicles, the NHTSA and DOT hope to reduce the number of people currently being run over by EVs. Is this a big problem, you ask? Apparently it is — the regulator claims EVs are 19 percent more likely to strike human flesh.

(Read More…)

By on May 3, 2016

BMW i3 and i8

BMW’s electric car sub-brand is growing, thanks to new and upgraded models, but its management ranks are shrinking as executives flee to a Chinese startup.

Three top names, including the program’s head, were lured to China’s Future Mobility Corp. this year, Automotive News Europe reports, while sales dropped by nearly a quarter in the first three months of 2016.

Call it a case of “i” gotta go. (Read More…)

By on April 27, 2016

Porsche-918-Spyder

Two sides, two seemingly valid arguments. And in the middle, five $1.1 million cars.

Through the province’s Electric Vehicle Incentive Program, Ontario taxpayers helped lower the price of five Porsche 918 Spyders last year, according to Canada’s national broadcaster, leaving many wondering why their cash helped fund supercars for the ultra wealthy.

The program shaved just over $5,500 off the price of each $1.1 million hybrid Porsche — a limited edition model possessing 887 horsepower, with a top speed of 210 miles per hour.

One of those vehicles has since burned to the ground in a Toronto-area gas pump fire, which, for some, serves as a perfect metaphor for taxpayer-funded EV incentives. (Read More…)

By on March 14, 2016

Volvo XC90 eAxle (Image: GKN)

Front-wheel drive, four-cylinder cars have defined the automotive C-segment for decades, but maybe these automakers aren’t dreaming big enough.

That’s the message being sent by global technology supplier GKN Automotive, which really, really wants automakers to buy a lower-cost version of its eAxle for use in affordable compacts. GKN says the unit would allow the segment to more easily offer electric all-wheel drive and plug-in capability.

Developed by the GKN Driveline division, a high-end version of the eAxle exists in the BMW i8, Porsche 918 and Volvo XC90 T8 plug-in.

(Read More…)

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