Tag: Green cars

By on January 17, 2019

Today’s Rare Ride is a fairly elaborate concept. A project that came a long way but was not to be, in a case of much ventured and little gained.

It’s the Jaguar C-X75, from 2015.

(Read More…)

By on December 26, 2018

It’s that special holiday time of year again. For a few short weeks, people go out of their way to be nice to others, and to wish one another the best in the upcoming new year. While the niceness still abounds, we want to know which car manufacturer receives your well-wishes for the future.

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By on July 16, 2018

2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

I may be an avowed sedan stan, but I do get the appeal of crossovers. Especially small ones. Credit/blame me for being an urbanite, I guess, but I understand the appeal of a hatchback vehicle that can swallow cargo, be street-parked with ease, and has good visibility due to a tall ride height.

Sure, crossovers may not be my cup of tea. But I get why so many of my neighbors drive one.

Which is to say, I liked the 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid more than I expected I would.

That’s in part because the RAV4 seems to stand for “generic yet reliable and popular crossover.” Odd, angular styling hasn’t helped it stand out much from the crowd.

Crossovers are meant to convey people and cargo about town with ease, and that’s the RAV4’s specialty. Looks aside, it blends because it’s supposed to.

(Read More…)

By on February 19, 2018

2007 ZENN Electric in California wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
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. (Read More…)

By on January 24, 2018

Image: 1993 Jeep Grand WagoneerBack in December, Matthew Guy penned an interesting QOTD post soliciting your picks for the most outrageous new car introduction. In the case of the new-for-1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Bob Lutz drove Chrysler’s new (and important) SUV up a set of stairs at Cobo Hall and through a plate glass window. History revealed the hype to be justified: the Grand Cherokee became an instant success, finding its way into suburban middle-class driveways across America.

Sometimes, though, the new product doesn’t live up to the manufacturer’s hype before introduction. Let’s talk disappointment.

(Read More…)

By on December 11, 2017

2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid

Later this week you’ll be reading about my exploits in a couple of alternative energy vehicles — the next-generation Nissan Leaf and Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid. Yes, dear reader, even this truck-loving rural boy can understand the need for companies to develop machines that don’t burn dead dinosaurs.

Surrounded by plug-in hybrids, battery-electric vehicles, and even a couple of hydrogen fuel cell cars, it got me thinking – what’s the most likely bet as the power source of the future?

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By on November 29, 2017

Image: 2019 Infiniti QX50 VC Turbo Engine

At this week’s L.A. Auto Show and Traffic Negotiation Event, Infiniti will reveal the next generation QX50 — an overdue replacement for the aged model formerly known as the EX35. While the introduction of a crossover that’s losing its V6 and rear-wheel-drive platform wouldn’t normally interest me, the model’s new engine does.

Today we’re going to discuss variable displacement and the future of internal combustion engines. Fly or flop, what say you?

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By on November 13, 2017

Image: 2002 Toyota RAV4 EVThe first-generation Toyota RAV4 arrived on the market at the beginning of the compact crossover boom. While almost all first-generation models had four cylinders under the hood, there were exceptions. If you were fortunate enough to live in the People’s Republic of California, you could pony up for the electric version and show all your neighbors how conscientious you were. But that’s only part of the story.

The rise and fall of the RAV4 EV is an interesting historical aside, because it shows you exactly what corporate treachery can do.

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By on November 11, 2017

It’s a near-silent swan song for a duo of electrified Ford models. The Ford C-Max, which debuted in late 2012 in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid form, hit its sales peak during its first full year on the market, declining every year since.

As Ford Motor Company shakes up its U.S. production landscape — ironically, to bolster production of trucks and SUVs — the ungainly-looking C-Max is on its way to the cemetery. The automaker has confirmed the ceasing of production of the C-Max Plug-in, with the Hybrid variant to follow in the middle of next year. (Read More…)

By on October 18, 2017

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Outside of perhaps its front styling – especially the slightly bug-eyed headlamps and the pinched grille – the Kia Niro doesn’t really stand out in a crowd.

It’s quiet, thanks to a hybrid powertrain. It’s compact in length and height. It has a driving experience that isn’t memorable in ways good or bad.

And none of that preceding paragraph is meant as an insult.

(Read More…)

By on October 5, 2017

bullitt mustang

For the 2017 model year, Ford decided to discontinue the color green in the Mustang’s paint palette. Called “Guard,” the tone was a faintly metallic deep green and it was as savory to the eyes as it was rare to see on the street. Fortunately, the automaker is returning the hue to its pony car for 2018. However, it looks like it will only be available on a special edition model known as the “Bullitt” — meaning Steve McQueen’s green machine is also making a return to the lineup.

While not the same 1968 Ford Mustang 390 GT fastback from the titular film, Ford has twice offered homage editions of contemporary models. The first movie-inspired Mustang arrived in 2001, with a second launching in 2008.

Earlier this year, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson posted a video highlighting his role as Ford’s new brand ambassador, with sketches of the current-generation green Mustang adorned with Bullitt-like trappings seen in the background. It was a clever publicity stunt and we figured it was just a matter of time before the automaker made an announcement.  (Read More…)

By on July 7, 2016

Car exhaust (Image: JT/Flickr)

Halfway through its mandate to have 15.4 percent of the state’s vehicles generate zero emissions by 2025, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is now considering changing its requirements.

The problem is too many credits handed out to green car manufacturers, who then sell them to dirtier automakers to bolster their standing with CARB, Bloomberg reports. (Read More…)

By on May 20, 2016

2016 Cadillac ELR, Image: Cadillac

In the first paragraph of Car And Driver’s first full test of the 2014 Cadillac ELR, K.C. Colwell wrote, “The ELR’s entry price is nearly double that of the Volt.”

By paragraph two of the New York Times first ELR review, the Grey Lady called it, “bracingly expensive.”

AutoGuide called the ELR, “Surprisingly good, disappointingly expensive.”

Money undeniably played a big role in bringing the Cadillac ELR’s short life to an end. We knew months ago that the ELR wouldn’t make it through to a second-generation. Now we know that production of the Cadillac ELR, only 29 months after launching in December 2013, has come to an end. (Read More…)

By on October 10, 2014

15 - Electric 1988 Ford Ranger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinI’ve just driven a couple of modern electric cars, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and the Tesla Model S, and they’re real cars. Actually, the i-MiEV is a perfectly serviceable short-distance commuter and the Model S is the best street car I’ve ever driven, but I was ready to hate both of them a lot, because all my previous experience with EVs had involved growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970s and hearing a lot of eat-yer-vegetables talk from earnest green types about how electric cars are good for you, when in fact those cars sucked stringwart-covered pangolin nodules. Then, of course, there are all the flake-O electric conversions from the 1980-2000 era that I’ve seen, a fair number of which appear in self-service wrecking yards as long-abandoned EV conversions are towed out of back yards and driveways. In this series, we’ve seen this EVolve Electrics 1995 Geo Metro and this 1988 Chevrolet Sprint Electric Sport, and there have been others too stripped to be worth photographing. Today we’re going to look at a California-based Ford Ranger that still has just about all its electric running gear. (Read More…)

By on January 23, 2014

Speaking at the Washington (D.C.) Auto Show, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said on Wednesday that part of reviving the dormant Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program may involve making suppliers as well as automakers eligible for the more than $15 billion allocated for the ATVM program that was never loaned out. The program stalled 2011 after the high profile failures of two loan recipients, Fisker Automotive and Vehicle Production Group. Of the other three recipients of ATVM loans, Tesla repaid its loan early and Ford and Nissan continue to pay down their debts on schedule. (Read More…)

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