By on March 26, 2012

A123 Systems will be replacing battery packs built at their Livonia, Michigan plant that contain prismatic cells – the same type used in the Fisker Karma. The recall is estimated to cost A123 about $55 million. The defective batteries are linked to the recent problems experienced by Fisker Karma owners, according to A123 CEO David Vieau.

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By on March 20, 2012
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Consumer Reports has their Fisker Karma back from the dealership, and has finally been able to get their driving impressions. The folks at CR are apparently being cautious with their new six-figure sports sedan, for fear that another breakdown could happen far from home, rather than within their compound.

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By on March 15, 2012

Geely has chosen their battery technology partner for their new plug-in hybrid vehicle, and their supplier, A123 Systems Inc., may not be a familiar name to everyone, but their wares have been used by other vehicles like the Fisker Karma.

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By on March 14, 2012


The Fisker Karma that broke down shortly after Consumer Reports took delivery is up and running again, thanks to a new battery pack replaced under warranty.

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By on March 7, 2012

The Mitsubishi Outlander, a vehicle nobody cared about, is now sort of interesting, thanks to the addition of a Plug-in Hybrid system that is also compatible with the vehicle’s 4WD system.

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By on July 20, 2011

Truth seeking is difficult considering the controversy, misinformation and flat-out lies surrounding the Chevrolet Volt. But this is a product with set attributes, some are better or worse than our collective expectations.  The performance reminds me of live music: everyone has an opinion as to how much it rocked.  And the Chevrolet Volt is Jimi Hendrix on wheels: an American likely to influence popular culture for decades after leaving the limelight.  But more importantly, like the influences of jazz and blues in Jimi’s work, the Volt combines Detroit’s future with memorable elements of the past.  It’s true.
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By on July 19, 2011

Toyota may not be making pure EVs widely available next year as some outlets are reporting, but it will start offering a different kind of plug-in car in 2012. We’ve already heard about Toyota’s experiments with a bi-directional charger that could serve as a backup power source for your home in an emergency, but Toyota is taking the car-as-powerplant theme a bit farther next year, as Automotive News [sub] reports

Next year, Toyota Motor Corp. will start offering AC electric outlets as an option on its popular Prius hybrid so drivers can plug in household appliances — from computers to refrigerators.

The idea was born from watching victims of Japan’s March 11 earthquake using the Toyota Estima hybrid van as a source of emergency electricity when the power was knocked out.

It is the only Toyota model currently offering a standard AC outlet.

But Toyota wants to add them to the Prius next year and eventually across the hybrid lineup. One hitch: It will be offered only in Japan initially. Concerns about different voltages and safety regulations are keeping the technology off export models at least at the start.

Toyota may be only offering the system in Japan at first, but this step offers a fascinating insight: clearly Toyota believes consumers would rather take electricity out of their cars than put it back in. It’s a new interpretation of the plug-in concept and one that, as a blogger who’s always looking for on-the-go laptop power, I can certainly appreciate.

By on June 13, 2011

In the market to buy a condo in Tokyo? If you buy the right one, it will come with a car. Starting in spring 2012, Toyota plans to launch a condominium-based car-sharing program in collaboration with Japanese real estate developers. (Read More…)

By on May 9, 2011

If everything goes according to what The Nikkei [sub] has heard on the grapevine sake circuit, Toyota will deliver a plug-in Prius hybrid by 2014. A plug-in with an interesting twist … (Read More…)

By on April 3, 2010

On April 1, new federal fuel economy CAFE standards went into effect. By 2016, new cars should get 35 mpg or thereabouts. The true number remains an exercise in abstract algebra. Says Consumer Reports: “The new standards require different fuel economy averages for each manufacturer and for each type of vehicle (such as small, midsized, and large sedans or SUVs).” There are plenty of loopholes and offsets. Extra credit for cars that take E85 Ethanol, for instance. And here is another huge loophole: (Read More…)

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