European Auto Lobby Demands More EV Charging Stations for Hundredth Time

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) is demanding the EU install more electric vehicle charging stations in a letter co-signed with Transport & Environment (T&E) and the European Consumer Organization (BEUC). This marks the hundredth time (rough estimate) an auto lobbying entity has tried to pressure the government into spending a fortune to drastically alter the European infrastructure to support the planned glut of EVs.

But it might be a fair request. Regulatory actions have effectively forced the industry into a corner and it now seems giddy at the prospect of an electrified world. The only real downside is that the charging infrastructure and power grids aren’t ready. ACEA estimates that the EU will need to build one million public charging points by 2024, with hopes of seeing three million installed before 2030.

Let’s see how feasible that is before it’s tried in our neck of the woods.

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Debatably Affordable Porsche Taycan 4S Launches Next Spring

While Porsche’s Taycan has been praised as unquestionably worthy of the Porsche name, it’s also subject to the brand’s (ahem) aggressive pricing structure. Gone are the days when you can purchase a basement-level Porsche 944 for the modern equivalent of $20,000. The cheapest model currently occupying the automaker’s portfolio is the 718, which sets you back 57 grand before you’ve added a single option.

When the Taycan debuted as Porsche’s first purely electric vehicle a number of weeks back, the model’s $150,900 (before destination) MSRP was expected. Porsche rolled out the higher-end “Turbo” trims first, with promises of more budget-minded models to follow. That car arrived today, and it costs $105,150.

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More Space, Less Filling: 2019 Kia Niro EV

The electric vehicle onslaught from Kia continues with the introduction of its 2019 Kia Niro EV. A far larger battery than the Niro PHEV and fast-charge capability conspire to give owners more time behind the wheel and less time juicing up.

We suppose one of the goals of Kia’s Niro EV is to offer an all-electric alternative to those not enamored by the Soul EV’s inspired-by-a-toaster styling cues. After, all both share a lot when it comes to their powertrains.

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Pure Electric Soul: 2020 Kia Soul EV

Along with the high-volume version which debuted at the L.A. Auto Show this week, Kia has dropped an all-electric, battery-powered Soul EV.

Compared to the old car, its battery has doubled in capacity, while the electric motor now spits out nearly 300 lb-ft of torque. And, like its conventionally powered brother, the works of it are wrapped up in a snappy new set of duds.

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Piston Slap: Truly a Re-volting Notion?

Jason writes:

Dear Sajeev,

This isn’t so much a Piston Slap question, but rather a “what would Sajeev do (WWSD)?”

My father recently approached me and said that he and my mother are interested in getting a pre-owned electric to replace one of their aging cars. My father drives a 2009 Hyundai Sonata GLS (w/ popular pkg) with 65k on the odometer and my mother drives a 2008 Honda Civic EX Sedan with 85k. Both cars are close in age and miles, however, the Honda bests the Hyundai in resale value, hands down. Whatever they end up selling, my dad will keep to drive as an everyday car and my mom will get the electric. My dad is adamant about selling the Hyundai due to some shortcomings like the interior build quality (dashboard makes noises during hot climate) and the fuel tank has an odd evaporation issue where it forces the car not fill properly. However, I’m more for selling the Civic because the Sonata overall is a quieter and plush car for someone his age. In the past, he has complained the Civic is too low and I see him struggle to get in and out of my stock ILX. It’s a tough decision for us because both cars were purchased brand new and if you saw them today, you’d think they qualify as certified pre-owned vehicles.

The second question is the car they intend to purchase. My mom really likes the look and shape of the Nissan Leaf, but I introduced the Chevy Volt as an alternative and she approves. Both are completely different from one another but are a few thousands a part on the certified pre-owned market. My mother has a few years left until retirement and commutes (30 miles round-trip) for work, so both cars will suit her current and future lifestyle.

I know it might sound crazy to you (and readers) to sell any Asian car in such prime of their lives to get an electric car, but my parents are aging and at the end of the day, it’s whatever makes them happy that matters to me. So which makes more sense, selling the Sonata or Civic? Leaf or Volt? Or are we crazy and just keep the set up as is?

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Junkyard Find: 2007 ZENN Electric

Between the release of Who Killed the Electric Car and the availability of real-world-capable full-electric vehicles for reasonable prices, golf-cart-esque electric LSVs (Low Speed Vehicles) sold in sufficient quantities that you might spot one humming down your street on a short journey.

Now that electric cars have become, you know, cars, machines like the ZENN Electric seem like amusing relics of a distant past. Here’s an ’07 ZENN, spotted in a Northern California pull-it-yourself yard last month.

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2018 Nissan Leaf SL First Drive - Powering Back From Obsolescence

The previous-generation all-electric Nissan Leaf (technically “LEAF,” but that acronym sends my MacBook Air into a snit befitting Peter Frampton), with toenail clippings for headlights and a face only a mother could slug, has historically done very well for itself, selling well over 100,000 units in America since its introduction eight long model years ago.

For 2018, the Japanese automaker set out to prove an all-electric car doesn’t have to look like a science experiment. In the past, new models were denoted by the holy trinity of longer, lower, and wider. In the EV sphere, that trio takes the form of longer (range), lower (charge times), and wider (infotainment screens).

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Volvo's First Electric Model Will Roll Out With a Minimum 250-mile Range

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.”

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The Truth About China's Electric Vehicle Market

The recent Guangzhou Auto Show in China was a reflection of everything stereotypical about the Chinese car market: Chinese OEM clones of European vehicles, North American and European legacy platforms resurrected into new China-only models, wacky supercars from unknown Chinese OEMs, stretched European executive sedans, and weird electric vehicles.

The only major North American press headline from the show was bold: “ Five New Electric Cars from China, World’s Largest EV Market.” I never saw China as a leader in electric vehicles. However, green car publications like CleanTechnica have stated China is the world’s largest EV market for almost two years now.

What’s the real story behind China’s EV market? There’s both truth and lies in these headlines.

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TTAC News Round-up: New Salvo Hits Volkswagen, Korean Competition Looms, and Benz Big on Batteries

After seemingly using up its legal arsenal against Volkswagen, the U.S. is pulling its backup out of an ankle holster and taking another shot.

That, Kia and Hyundai might get a Korean competitor, Mercedes-Benz is feeling charged up, Audi is still a fuel cell fan, and Volvo wants to standardize EV recharging … after the break!

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2016 BMW I8 Review - The 'Affordable' Plug-In Supercar

“Looks like sex, goes like stink” is the usual supercar mantra, but BMW’s guru was humming a different tune when penning the i8.

You see, the i8 isn’t just a sexy car with “butterfly doors.” It’s also a production prototype of sorts styled after BMW’s 2009 Vision EfficientDynamics concept.

Most supercars have exotic engines with high cylinder counts and drink premium gasoline at an alarming rate. BMW’s mission with the i8 was to make an efficient supercar and at the same time production-test technologies that will trickle down to its higher volume cars over time.

The i8’s efficiency is the key to understanding this sexy German. The i8 isn’t the best handling supercar, or even the best handling BMW. Neither is it the fastest BMW, the most luxurious BMW, or (oddly enough) the most efficient BMW. Instead, the i8 delivers M235i like lateral grip, M4 like acceleration, fuel economy that bests the 320i by a few miles per gallon and lines so sexy I got a thumbs up from a passing F430.

This isn’t your average sports car.

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Faraday Future Has An Electric Car to Show Next Month At CES

Faraday Future, the other, other bespoke electric luxury carmaking startup said they’ll show off their concept for the “future of mobility” next month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The automaker’s website sports a clock counting down to 7 p.m. (Pacific) Jan. 4, 2016, for the automaker’s unveiling. The company has made several high-profile hires, including head of engineering Nick Sampson who helped Tesla design chassis for their cars, according to The Verge.

In an interview with the website, Sampson said the company expects to roughly double from 400 employees now and challenge other automakers soon. The company announced last month that its looking to invest $1 billion in a factory in California, Georgia, Louisiana or Nevada.

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2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Review - Fuel-Sipping Family Hauler (With Video)

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited

2.0-liter, DOHC I-4, CVVT, hybrid (Gas engine: 154 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm; 140 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm, Electric motor: 51 horsepower @ 1,770-2,000; 151 lb-ft @ 0-1,770 rpm)

6-speed automatic

Lithium polymer battery

40 city/44 highway/42 combined (Hybrid SE, EPA Rating, MPG)
39 city/43 highway/41 combined (Hybrid Limited, EPA Rating, MPG)

40.8 mpg (Observed, MPG)

Tested Options: Limited trim, Ultimate Package

Base Price:
$26,825*
As Tested:

$35,425*

* Prices include $825 destination charge.

Hyundai hit the styling ball out of the park with the last generation Sonata. The 2009 model was as dramatic and exciting as the previous models were drab and boring. Although the 2009 didn’t alter Hyundai’s value proposition, nor did it really break any new ground in the family car segment, the sexy curves were responsible for nearly doubling the Sonata’s sales from a middling 120,000 a year to well over 200,000. The design is widely credited for putting Hyundai firmly in the top 5 for midsized sedans and #8 on the car sales chart in general.

With the new seventh generation Sonata, Hyundai is working to prove that they are more than a one-hit wonder. The 2015 model launched their latest school of design and a new turbocharged “Eco” model that uses a 1.6L engine and a 7-speed dual clutch transmission to net 32 combined MPGs. Just one thing was missing in 2015: a hybrid model to compete with the big hitters from Ford, Honda and Toyota.

That’s where the 2016 Sonata Hybrid and the 2016 Sonata Plug-In come in.

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Drivers Hogging Electric Spaces in Illinois May Get Ticketed

An Illinois bill that would make it illegal to park a gasoline-powered car in an electric car charging spot is awaiting the governor’s signature, Green Car Reports writes.

The practice, also called ICE-ing, would net a $75-$100 ticket for the offending car owner in Illinois.

The electric vehicle charging spot would need to be clearly marked, the bill states. The bill would also make it legal to tow a car from an electric vehicle parking spot, whether in a public place or private garage.

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Capsule Review: Chevrolet Spark EV

There comes a moment when it’s time to try something new. Like switching to an iPhone after using a Nexus and promptly learning that the iPhone can bend. Or wearing a mechanical watch rather than a quartz watch, only for it to stop ticking after it was on a nightstand for the weekend. Moving to a house from an apartment and dealing with the perils of home ownership, such as property taxes, having to clean gutters, and the inability to have the building manager fix the broken kitchen faucet. My trying something new involved testing an electric vehicle for a week.

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  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.
  • Inside Looking Out Why not buy Bronco and call it Defender? Who will notice?