Recharge Wrap-Up: Tesla gets positive analysis from Credit Suisse, iPhone key for Model S

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

tesla model s

Credit Suisse analysts are bullish on Tesla. The group gives the electric car company's stock an "outperform" rating with a target price of $325. For its continued success, Credit Suisse cites the vehicles' superior technology, in turn offering more torque, roominess and reliability. Says analyst Dan Galves said of Tesla's competition with ICEs, "If Tesla can get to cost-parity with Internal Combustion vehicles and still offer $1,400 to $2,500 per year fuel savings to the consumer, it won't be a fair fight." Read more at Yahoo Finance or at Business Insider.

In other Tesla news, Tesla Model S owners will be able to unlock and start their car using an iPhone. The Tesla app is adding this functionality soon, perhaps with the update to iOS 8. It's not yet clear how this function will work, but it's one more innovative convenience feature that Model S owners can enjoy. That means drivers will have less to carry in their pockets or purses when they go for a drive. Read more at 9 to 5 Mac.

CarCharging Group has remotely lowered the amperage on some of its residential users' Blink charging stations to 24 amps. This will slow down the charging time for affected customers with 6.6-kilowatt charging by about 15 percent. The company cited safety reasons for the move, with concerns about overheating. The amperage reduction is temporary, until CarCharging is able to provide replacement parts for the chargers. Some are concerned about the delayed action, as well as the fact that the reduction was handled without owner permission. Read more at Plugin Cars.

Ford is halting test drives and sales of certain C-Max hybrid and Focus models due to a safety concern. Cars made during a single week this month at a Michigan factory may not have enough ball bearings in the steering gear assembly, which could lead to loss of control. None of the affected cars have been sold, Ford says, and about 50 units are currently at dealerships. Just over 600 will need to be recalled. Dealerships have been notified of the problem. Read more at Reuters and the The Detroit News.

A new EPA report shows that urban air in the US is becoming less toxic since the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. The report shows a 66-percent reduction in benzene, almost 60 percent reduction in mercury from man-made sources, 84 percent less lead and more. "This report gives everyone fighting for clean air a lot to be proud of," said EPA administrator Gina McCarthy, "because for more than 40 years we have been protecting Americans - preventing illness and improving our quality of life by cutting air pollution - all while the economy has more than tripled." The EPA expects 80 percent more reductions in airborne toxins from cars by 2030 thanks to cleaner vehicles. Read more in the press release, below.

Volkswagen's Chatanooga Assembly Plant has received the EPA's Region 4 Rain Catcher award. The LEED certified facility was honored for its stormwater management infrastructure and practices, such as collecting it for use in its cooling tower and toilets. Read more in the press release, below.

Continue reading Recharge Wrap-Up: Tesla gets positive analysis from Credit Suisse, iPhone key for Model S

Recharge Wrap-Up: Tesla gets positive analysis from Credit Suisse, iPhone key for Model S originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Fri, 22 Aug 2014 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Official: NEVS Saab EV prototype on display, with top speed of just 75 mph

Filed under: ,

 National Electric Vehicle Sweden Saab EV

National Electric Vehicle Sweden Saab EVNational Electric Vehicle Sweden, the Saab-owning Swedish holding company that is in turn owned by Chinese investors, has some problems (i.e., no cash). But that isn't stopping NEVS from showing off a prototype Saab 9-3 Electric Vehicle this week.

But wait, you might be saying, didn't NEVS already start production of a 9-3 EV? Yes, indeed, and the vehicle displayed this week was indeed built at the Saab plant in Trollhättan in May as one of those early pilot builds. A modified Saab 9-3 Aero Sedan, the EV has had the lithium-ion battery pack jammed under the floor, so all of the cargo and passenger space of the gas-powered 9-3 remains available. "The starting point for our development of the Electric Vehicle project was to maintain all the good attributes and characteristics," said NEVS' vice president of engineering and product development, Stig Nodin in a statement. You can find the press release below.

The li-ion pack comes from Beijing National Battery Technology (which is owned by the same company that owns NEVS) and can offer a range of about 120 miles, NEVS says. The prototype also has a 100-kW electric motor that offers 140 horsepower that provides a 0-60 miles per hour time of 10 seconds and a top speed of just 75 miles per hour. That's unlikely to be fast enough to outrun Saab's creditors, but NEVS says that the prototype is here "to serve as a reference for specification of coming production model(s)," so let's hope the speed number can be increased while the range at least stays the same.

Continue reading NEVS Saab EV prototype on display, with top speed of just 75 mph

NEVS Saab EV prototype on display, with top speed of just 75 mph originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Fri, 22 Aug 2014 18:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Report: Ram pickups to keep it steel through 2020

Filed under: , ,

Ram 1500

One of the hottest topics in the industry these days is automakers' expanding use of aluminum, especially for vehicle bodies and platforms. While the lightweight metal has historically been the preserve of premium brands and sports cars, Ford shocked the industry when it announced that its 2015 F-150 would go aluminum-intensive for its new generation. As it turns out, the material change doesn't even mean a big jump in the prices for most of its trims. Possibly in reaction to the big change, General Motors is said to be using the lightweight metal in its next-gen trucks, too. That only leaves Ram as an open question among the domestics, and at least for now, the company is apparently in no hurry to push tin.

According to Reuters speaking with two, unnamed insiders, the Ram 1500 isn't getting an aluminum infusion until sometime after 2020. That's not to say the truck is going to be stagnant for the next half-decade or more, of course. According to Ram's five-year plan, there's a refresh for the 1500 coming in 2015 and much bigger changes on the way in 2017. Those same sources tell Reuters that further revisions aren't expected until at least 2021, which is when the aluminum could be added.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne hasn't minced words about his thoughts on using the lightweight metal in pickups. "I have better use of aluminum in this house than a pickup truck," he said in May. Having said that, Marchionne was clear that if the material turns out to be revolutionary in the segment, the company would be willing to follow.

Depending on how successfully Ford and GM make the transition to aluminum, Ram could possibly gain a short-term advantage. There are rumors of a shortage of the metal in the early years as automakers begin using it more and producers ramp up supply. If that actually happens, the brand could find itself in a good position by sticking with steel.

Ram pickups to keep it steel through 2020 originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 22 Aug 2014 15:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Video: Toyota FCV puts hydrogen fuel cell twist on ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Filed under: ,

Toyota Julie Hamp Hydrogen Fuel Cell #icebucketchallenge

You've probably seen your fair share of Ice Bucket Challenge videos online this week, which are meant to raise money to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often called "Lou Gehrig's Disease." Hopefully, you've seen ours. We've watched a lot of these videos, but haven't seen one that makes an alt-fuel point quite like a new video from Toyota.

Julie Hamp, the CCO of Toyota North America, lost a sister-in-law to ALS last year, so for her the cause is personal. Instead of just dumping icy-cold water on her head, Hamp uses water from the FCV fuel cell vehicle parked next to her. Because, of course, a hydrogen fuel cell car emits nothing but water vapor.

Toyota didn't run a lot of hydrogen through the car to collect water, it just got enough to top off the ice bucket. Using the water emissions from a hydrogen vehicle in a creative way is not a new trick. Two years ago, the California Fuel Cell Partnership made the point that you can drink the emissions (just like Mercedes-Benz did earlier this year), but admitted that "fuel cells produce about the same amount of water as gasoline vehicle - about 1/3 cup for a full day of driving." Still, for a good cause, we'll accept the mix of tap water and "emissions."

Check out the video below, if you haven't had enough already.

Continue reading Toyota FCV puts hydrogen fuel cell twist on ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Toyota FCV puts hydrogen fuel cell twist on ALS Ice Bucket Challenge originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Fri, 22 Aug 2014 14:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Report: Volkswagen considering a four-door, four-seat XL1

Filed under: , , ,

Volkswagen XL1, front three-quarter view.

According to a report in Autocar, Volkswagen might have more in mind for the XL1 than mining it for advances to grace the next-generation Golf. Aiming to fight the Honda FCEV due for public consumption next year, we're told VW executives have put a four-door, four-seater version of the XL1 - it could be called XL2 - on the drawing board. The impetus is said to come from the top, with VW Group chairman Ferdinand Piëch intent on staying in the deep end of "super-efficent vehicles."

Autocar suspects the necessary changes could raise the weight of the car from 1,749 pounds to 2,068 pounds, which would make it four pounds less than the 2,072-pound Up! we drove a few years ago. Crucially, however, the mag thinks the extra capacity wouldn't change the two-seater's 310-mile-per-gallon rating, with tech tweaks and the aerodynamic benefit of a longer car offsetting the weight. Speculation is that the back seats would be staggered like the fronts in order to maintain the XL1's overall profile.

We recently heard about another XL1 variant that's gone off the radar entirely, the Ducati-engined XLR that we thought we'd see at the Geneva Motor Show and that was said to be going into production, so this one could go the same way. The biggest hurdle to making such an idea a reality, though, could be the price: the current XL1 costs 110,000 euros ($146,116). If VW really is going to compete with the Honda FCEV and the Toyota FCV - $70,000 in Japan - that might be where it wants to start.

Volkswagen considering a four-door, four-seat XL1 originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 22 Aug 2014 10:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Exclusive: Refuel 2014: the best way to spend a summer’s day in California

Filed under: , , , ,

Cars line up for Refuel parade lap at Laguna Seca

What's the best way to spend a summer day in California? If you're an electric vehicle enthusiast, there can only be one answer: the annual Refuel event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. This is the second year I've been fortunate enough to attend - thanks to an invitation from Speed Ventures, the outfit behind this battery-powered extravaganza - and both times it's rocked my socks.

This act of heresy is on par with the Pope refusing to enter the pearly gates.

I want to tell you all about the 2014 edition and what you might expect to experience should you attend next year, but first, this mea culpa: I am a disgrace to my profession. Having been offered the opportunity to drive a car from EV West around this iconic race track, I declined. This act of heresy is on par with the Pope refusing to enter the pearly gates, content to watch the faithful file in from the vantage point of purgatory.

I could have even just taken their awesome electrified BMW M3 for a few quick rips around the new autocross course, but I balked at that too. And for all this, I am sorry. So, very, very sorry.

Continue reading Refuel 2014: the best way to spend a summer's day in California

Refuel 2014: the best way to spend a summer's day in California originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Fri, 22 Aug 2014 10:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Read This: The plan is to drive an electric tuk tuk from India to London

Filed under: , ,

TO GO WITH AFP STORY Thailand-transport-

From space age electric tuk tuks to poo-powered tuk tuks, the idea of a cleaner ride is nothing new. Pictured above is yet another alt-energy tuk tuk, this one from a few years ago in Bangkok. The inventor of that solar-powered vehicle was Morakot Charnsomruad, who now sells the EVs through his company, Clean Fuel Energy.

But today we've got news of someone who wants to take all of these ideas of a renewable-energy tuk tuk and prove its worth. The New York Times profiles an electrical engineer from Bangalore, India, Naveen Rabelli, who wants to drive a solar-powered tuk tuk of his from India to London, UK. The more impressive part is that Rabelli converted the previously gas-powered Piaggio Ape tuk tuk with just $6,500. For that money, he's got a taxi that can go 50 miles on an eight-hour charge (16 from the solar panels). The problem? He thinks it'll cost $43,000 to get to the UK, so he's looking for sponsors who want to partner up for greener transportation. If everything goes right, the trip will commence in the summer of 2015. Read more in the Times.

The plan is to drive an electric tuk tuk from India to London originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Fri, 22 Aug 2014 08:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Video: Kia Soul EV ad campaign charges up with sexified hamsters

Filed under: , , , ,

Kia Soul EV Hamsters

It's official: Kia's adorable Soul-hawking Hamsters have crossed that line. It was one thing when they first hit the scene, and we got a small chuckle out of their trimmer looks for the refreshed, 2014 Soul. This, though, is too much.

This is Kia's latest commercial for the 2015 Soul EV, and it starts off typically enough. The hamsters seem to be tinkering in a laboratory attempting to modify a standard, gas-powered Kia. But then, some Weird Science-like trickery occurs and, well, the results are rather disturbing.

You'll need to watch yourself if you want to experience the horror. Take a look, and then head into Comments and let us know what you think.

Continue reading Kia Soul EV ad campaign charges up with sexified hamsters

Kia Soul EV ad campaign charges up with sexified hamsters originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 21 Aug 2014 18:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Report: New Ford dedicated hybrid due in 2018, will it fare better than C-Max?

Filed under: , ,

2013 Ford C-Max

Everyone likes to go after the champ. When it comes to fuel economy, that means taking on the Prius, which is something that automakers not named Toyota have been trying to do for years. Just because no one has been able to beat the Prius for fuel economy numbers isn't stopping them from trying. Hyundai was just caught with a potential Prius-fighter and now we have news that Ford is joining the party. Well, is going to join again.

The last time Ford said it was going to challenge the Prius, it didn't go quite as planned. The C-Max hybrid was heavily hyped as a Prius-beater and was originally rated at 47 miles per gallon. Of course, it later needed to be recalculated to just 40 mpg and sales tanked. So, it's back to the Blue Oval drawing board, according to Automotive News, which is reporting that Ford is readying a brand new gas-electric hybrid due in 2018 as a 2019 model year vehicle. A plug-in version is in the works, too, and the car will reportedly share a platform with the upcoming next-gen Focus and Escape models.

About those C-Max sales. They have not been stellar for the C-Max hybrid, which started strong but suffered when the reality of the lower fuel economy was realized. So far in 2014 (through the end of July), Ford has sold 11,685 gas-electric models and another 4,759 plug-in Energi versions. The trend for the standard C-Max is downward (from 20,125 during the same time frame in 2013) and upward for the plug-in version (2,915 in the first seven months of 2013).

New Ford dedicated hybrid due in 2018, will it fare better than C-Max? originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Thu, 21 Aug 2014 18:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Recharge Wrap-up: New and old Audis get greener, as does US electricity

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

audi tt

Audi has made environmental improvements to the its TT while boosting performance. The new TT sees an 11-percent reduction in emissions, and up to 14 percent more power. Audi says that each TT will save around 5.5 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions over its lifecycle. Additionally, the TT's manufacturing process has been cleaned up a bit, reducing emissions by about nine percent. Read more in the press release, below, or see Audi's lifecycle assessment here.

Speaking of greening up Audis, Al Swackhammer of Washington converted his 1960 Audi DKW 1000S to run on electric power. Swackhammer first fell in love with the Audi Ur-Quattro, became an enthusiast of Audi and Volkswagen cars, and has owned nothing else ever since. With his DKW, he combined his passion for the classic car with his responsibility to the environment. "I am pleased that I did this project," says the happy owner, "and I enjoy driving it very dearly." Meet the man and his beloved electric Audi DKW in the video below.

Toyota has chosen a sustainable design firm, Corgan, as the lead architect for its new North American headquarters. The new campus will be built in Plano, TX, and will be the workplace of about 4,000 Toyota employees. Corgan, who has already done 47 LEED certified projects, is already designing a temporary office for the site while it finishes the project. Toyota expects to begin working from the site in late 2016 or early 2017. Learn more in the press release below.

In July, all new electrical generating capacity in the US came from renewable sources. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's Office of Energy Projects' newest "Energy Infrastructure Update" report says new electric generation put into service last month came from wind (379 megawatts), solar (21 megawatts) and hydro (5 megawatts). So far this year, 53 percent of new energy generation capacity has come from various renewable sources, and none from coal or nuclear. Currently, renewable energy accounts for 16.3 percent of the US electric generation capacity, providing about 14 percent of actual electricity. Read more in the press release from the Sun Day Campaign below.

Continue reading Recharge Wrap-up: New and old Audis get greener, as does US electricity

Recharge Wrap-up: New and old Audis get greener, as does US electricity originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Categories

Tags

Other Green Topics

What’s a good Minivan or Hybrid for a family of 4/5?
  • What other ways is there to run Automobiles other then on oil and gasoline?
  • What’s the cost of gasoline powered energy?
  • What are the cost savings, if any, from buying and driving a hybrid SUV?
  • Are hybrid cars better for the environment than Gasoline vehicles?