Several months ago, Ford PR sent out a somewhat humorous press release about etiquette at public charging stations for Electric Vehicles, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. The point was that electric vehicles take longer to refuel than combustion vehicles. Cars that run on dino-juice can pull up to any gas station and refill the tank in around five minutes. Electric vehicle take much longer to recharge; anywhere between four and sixteen hours depending on the supply voltage and the state of charge. Such lengthy charging times require the EV drivers to plan ahead, and possibly plan trips around availability of charging stations.
Volkswagen has lifted the veil off of the latest iteration of the company’s ever-growing lineup of Up! city cars, the 2014 e-Up!, which made its debut earlier this week at the Annual Press and Investors Conference in the company’s hometown of Wolfsburg Germany.
Henrik Fisker, namesake and founder of plug-in hybrid auto manufacturer Fisker Automotive, has resigned from the company. Most recently, he has served Fisker as Executive Chairman, but he was previously the company’s CEO. We knew that Fisker has been struggling with one issue after another for the past few problematic years, but the company’s namesake and founder leaving cannot be good news.
Electric-vehicle manufacturer Tesla, seller of the expensive but well-regarded Model S sedan (and formerly seller of the Tesla Roadster), is still in its startup phase. Revenue is climbing sharply, but it’s not cheap to launch a new automobile brand and develop new cars, and that is showing in Tesla’s bottom line net income numbers. But, as the Wall Street Journal points out, one statement stood out in Tesla’s recent 10K filing raised a few eyebrows because of how much money Tesla made selling pollution credits to other manufacturers.
General Motors CEO Dan Akerson told attendees at the IHS CeraWeek conference in Houston this week that he is confident that his company is on track to meet aggressive fuel-economy requirements on schedule. In case you’ve forgotten, new CAFE rules agreed to by automakers and by California and other interested parties require fleet fuel economy to be 54.5 MPG by 2025. That’s just 11 model years from today. (It’s important to remember that 54.5 MPG for CAFE purposes is nowhere near that number in the real world; think more along the lines of about 35 MPG. Still a nice number, but not as eye-popping as 54.5 MPG). Continue Reading →
Any Manhattanite worth a grain of overpriced, designer salt understands the value of making an understated, classy entry into a crowded room. By that logic, when the opportunity arose to test the Ford Focus Electric — which wears the same sheetmetal as the gasoline-powered Focus hatchback but packs substantial, though invisible whizbangery under its skin — I vowed to remain impartial. Could it make a statement, albeit a quiet one? Continue Reading →
Over the past few years, General Motors has made some efforts to atone for its past sins, real or perceived. When we interviewed Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, he was candid about the way the company was operated in the past. After enduring withering criticism from the media for “killing” the electric car when it halted the EV1 program, then crushed most of the cars, GM created the Chevrolet Volt, which is now the best-selling electric car (depending on your definition of an electric car, of course). Now, might GM be trying to rectify a wrong that it was alleged to have done not recently, but as many as 60 years ago. I’m referring to the allegation that GM purchased municipal streetcar lines across the country, shut them down, and happily sold buses and cars to folks in those cities instead.
Last night, when my wife balked at the notion of me commandeering the remote for the next four or five hours to keep the TV tuned to CNN, rather than clearing out the DVR of our backlog of shows, I set up “election HQ” in my home office. I had my laptop screen open on my left flank to check state-by-state results, and my iPad streaming CNN’s election coverage on my right flank. [N.B. - John King is amazing. Wolf Blitzer really has a strange speaking style with his random pauses and breaths mid-sentence.] Front and center, I had WordPress open in a futile attempt to create some content amid myriad distractions.
If you’re like Autosavant writers, you’re pretty intrigued by the Scion iQ’s tiny footprint and impressive utilization of space. However, the iQ, like the Smart ForTwo and Chevrolet Spark, struggled to hit the magic 40-mpg mark — despite its size and weight. For 2013, Scion has a solution to appease consumers looking for a microcar with the frugality to match. Continue Reading →
Former green-energy darling A123 Systems filed for bankruptcy today. Though A123 has been struggling in several areas for the past few months, the speed of the filing has caught many observers by surprise. Just yesterday, A123 warned that it would have to default on several loan issues and that bankruptcy was a possibility, but less than a day later, that possibility became a reality.
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