Video: This is what happens when you drive your Nissan Leaf beyond empty

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Fully Discharged Nissan Leaf Battery Test

If you see an AAA truck bringing someone a can of extra gas, it's rarely a big deal, but when an EV driver runs out of charge, people pay attention. Whether its a writer for The New York Times or hardcore Tesla fans, people are curious about this newfangled technology and the things that could go wrong.

"I don't know what the opposite of range anxiety is. Range annoyance?" - Robert Llewellyn

Well, few people have more fun with their EV than Robert Llewellyn, the actor (best known for Red Dwarf) and star of his own pro-EV show Fully Charged. And he's good at educating people on the EVs as well. In the latest episode, he tries something in his first-gen Leaf that he's never done before: drive until the battery is completely empty. When the car just keeps on going well beyond the official range estimate, Llewellyn gets frustrated. "I don't know what the opposite of range anxiety is," he says. "Range annoyance?" After 91 miles, he finally comes to a stop. Watch the video below.

In the end, all Llewellyn needed to do to get up and running again was to get towed home and plug in. A few hours later, he was ready to go, this time with his range estimate at 93 miles. Compare that with the dangers to your gas engine if you run out of gas and you might wonder why so many people worry about an EVs range.

Continue reading This is what happens when you drive your Nissan Leaf beyond empty

This is what happens when you drive your Nissan Leaf beyond empty originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 19:56:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Motorsports: Jay Penske’s Dragon Racing signs Jérôme d’Ambrosio for Formula E

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Jerome d'Ambrosio

When it comes to open-wheel racing, there are few names as big as Penske. But while Roger may not be fielding a team in the new Formula E championship, his son Jay is. The media mogul runs his own Dragon Racing team in the IndyCar Series, and will be competing in the electric racing series this season as well.

The LA-based team previously announced Mike Conway, an accomplished IndyCar racer, to drive one of its cars, and has now confirmed Jérôme d'Ambrosio to drive the other.

Like Conway, d'Ambrosio successfully worked his way up the single-seater ladder, but instead of hitting America's ovals, the Belgian driver followed in the footsteps of Jacky Ickx into Formula One. He drove for Marussia/Virgin Racing in 2011 then switched to Lotus as its reserve/test driver before signing with Bentley for the Blancpain Endurance Series.

The announcement leaves just three seats left open - one with Andretti Autosport and two with China Racing - for the inaugural Formula E championship that kicks off in Beijing on September 13.

Continue reading Jay Penske's Dragon Racing signs Jérôme d'Ambrosio for Formula E

Jay Penske's Dragon Racing signs Jérôme d'Ambrosio for Formula E originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:04:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Opel CEO talks new EV, will likely be fresh face for Chevy, too

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Opel Ampera

The rumored demise of the Opel Ampera has been confirmed, but there's good news, too. Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann has been busy Tweeting information about the brand's next plug-in vehicle, admitting that the Ampera is on the way out but that plug-in vehicles are here to stay. His Tweets, in full, read:

After the eventual run-out of the current generation Ampera, we'll introduce a successor product in the electric vehicle segment. Our next electric vehicle will be part of our massive product offensive - with 27 new vehicles in the 2014-2018 time frame. We see eMobility as important part of the mobility of tomorrow and we will continue to drive down costs & deliver affordability.

As we learned earlier this week, the Ampera will not be refreshed when the current Chevy Volt is updated, most likely because of slow sales. Opel sold just 332 Amperas in the first five months of 2014. For now, General Motors is still building Amperas in Michigan for export to Europe.

So, what might this new EV mean for the General Motors plug-in fleet? Official spokespeople are being quiet, but we think it's safe to say the new EV Neumann is talking about is not simply a rebadged Chevy Spark EV. This is the first official word about an entirely new EV, and we expect it will come to both the Chevrolet and Opel brands.

Opel CEO talks new EV, will likely be fresh face for Chevy, too originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Recharge Wrap-up: VW Golf TDI wins green car award, DC buses might go electric

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2015 volkswagen golf tdi

The 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI has won the award for 2014 Northwest Green Car or the Year. The distinction comes from the Northwest Automotive Press Association during its Drive Revolution event in Portland. Co-chairman of the event, Jeff Zurschmeide, says, "Volkswagen has led the diesel passenger car market for years, and the Golf TDI proves that they're likely to stay on top for a while." The 2015 Golf TDI has 10 more horsepower than the outgoing model, while improving fuel economy thanks to a new engine. It also has a base price $3,000 lower than the 2014 Golf TDI. Read more in the press release below.

The BMW i8 gets its laser high-beam headlights from lighting company Osram. The laser lights use half the energy of their LED counterparts, according to BMW, which is important when one is trying to get every last bit of range out of the car's battery. The laser high beams can also reach about twice as far as LED lighting. Because of their brightness, they won't be available on cars sold in the US. In laser-equipped i8s, the laser high beams will not work below 60 kilometers per hour, nor when other lights are detected in front of the vehicle. Head to Automotive News Europe to read more.

Renault has delivered a fleet of 30 Kangoo ZEs to Uruguay's government-owned power company, UTE. The electric fleet will allow the company to reduce its CO2 emissions by 36 metric tons, says Renault. 84 percent of Uruguay's electricity comes from renewable sources, with a goal of 90 percent on the horizon. Uruguay aims to get a third of its electricity from wind farms by 2016, meaning these Kangoo ZEs will be powered in no small part by renewable energy. For Renault, "This order is a further sign of the interest in the region for electric vehicles," according to Denis Barbier, Renault's senior vice president, citing previous deliveries in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia. Read more in the press release at Renault's website.

Washington DC's "Circulator" bus routes may go electric. Some of the diesel buses, which were first put to work in 2003, are nearing the end of their life cycle, and DC sees an opportunity to make the switch to something a little greener. "Electric has not been a viable option in previous procurements, but now it is," says Will Handsfield, Georgetown Business Improvement District's transportation director. Handsfield is concerned about air quality, and says he also appreciates the long-term stability of electric rates compared to diesel. Stakeholders have already invited Proterra to come to DC to showcase its 77-passenger electric bus. Learn more in an article from Think Progress.

The EV Roadmap conference is happening in Portland, Oregon from July 23 to July 25. In addition to the various speakers discussing electric vehicles and their future, Portland State University's Electric Avenue will get a new SAE Combo DC Fast Charger, the first of its kind in the state. There is also an available Urban Mobility Electric Bike Tour and a Columbia Gorge Electric Vehicle Tour. Go to the event website to learn more, or to register for events.

Continue reading Recharge Wrap-up: VW Golf TDI wins green car award, DC buses might go electric

Recharge Wrap-up: VW Golf TDI wins green car award, DC buses might go electric originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: China decrees 30 percent of new government vehicles will plug in

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China Politics

Maybe Warren Buffett's bet on Chinese electric-vehicle maker BYD will pay off after all. That's because the Chinese government just made a commitment to buy lots of advanced-powertrain vehicles through its government-vehicle system in an effort to address the notorious pollution problem in China's largest cities, the Associated Press says, citing China's Xinhua News Agency.

China is committing to have at least 30 percent of its new government vehicles to be either plug-in vehicles, including battery electrics and plug-in hybrids, or zero-emissons vehicles like hydrogen fuel-cell and solar-powered vehicles. That 30-percent rate will run from this year to 2016, after which it will go higher. Heady stuff for the world's largest vehicle market.

In 2012, the China State Council passed the New Energy Automobile Industry Development Plan, which set a goal of having a half-million electric vehicle's on the country's roads by the end of 2015 and 5 million in China by the end of the decade. China's progress so far on that goal? Not great. Last year, there were fewer than 7,000 electric passenger vehicles sold in China.

Regardless, BYD cut a deal in March to sell 1,200 electric buses to the city of Dalian, China. And things got better from there, as BYD said in May that the city of Hangzhou ordered 2,000 buses as well as 1,000 electric e6 taxis.

China decrees 30 percent of new government vehicles will plug in originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:55:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Unplugged Performance sweetens the look of your Tesla Model S for around $6,000

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Tesla Model S with Unplugged Performance Tuner Kit

Tesla electric vehicles are no strangers to the tuner set. Saleen is working on a modified Model S. Brabus once offered neon for your Roadster. And new we find a number of body panel upgrades for the Model S from Unplugged Performance.

Unplugged Performance has its offices right by the Tesla's Supercharger in Hawthorne, CA, and sales manager Mark Borushko told AutoblogGreen that Tesla employees often express their appreciation for what UP has done to change the look of the Model S. The upgrade parts are made in the US and were designed in-house by an ex-Ferrari guy, Borushko said.

What upgrades are there? There's the front spoiler and diffuser (starting at $995), the rear spoiler and diffuser ($1,550), trunk spoiler ($895), side skirts ($1,450) and the Complete Front Fascia System ($1,000). Those prices are all for the unpainted parts. Add a few hundred bucks to each to upgrade to matching paint colors or carbon fiber parts. Borushko said that in the year that Unplugged Performance has been around, they've sold about 30 kits - meaning one of everything - worldwide. There are people who just buy just the trunk spoiler, for example, he said, but about 90 percent of UP's customers opt for the full kit. Borushko said UP will have to see if there's interest in a kit for the Model X, but there likely will be.

Unplugged Performance is a part of Bulletproof Automotive, which offers upgrades for all sorts of vehicles. The Unplugged Performance phone number is the same as the one for Tesla Everything, so we're pretty sure someone over there is a big Model S fan.

Unplugged Performance sweetens the look of your Tesla Model S for around $6,000 originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 09:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Two Wheels: When trouble hits, Portland will turn to bikes for disaster relief

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Disaster relief trials/Cargo Bike Fest

Forget FEMA. Portland, Oregon's relief - if and when the Big One hits - might just come in the form of an army of bike riders. Most likely fueled by caffeine rations.

The city recently conducted its Disaster Relieve Trials program, which involved rounding up a group of about 40 riders and sending them out on regular bikes, cargo bikes and electric-powered bikes, Oregon Live says. For the drill, which simulated a major Cascadia Subduction Zone that shut down the city's transportation systems, the riders were directed to a 40-mile course, carrying items such as food, water and emergency supplies. You can see the trial heroes in action in Oregon Live's three-minute video here.

Modern plug-in vehicles can also assist in a disaster situation, but we like Portland's attitude here. While bikes aren't traditionally associated with emergency response systems, the fact that two-wheelers could be a major cog in Portland's emergency system should come as no surprise. The city's been incredibly bike friendly for a long time, going as far as painting "blue box" bike-safety areas at a bunch of intersections back in 2008. Today, more than six percent of Portland's commuters make their commute via bike. While that doesn't sound terribly high, it's actually the highest among the 70 largest US cities, according to the League of American Bicyclists, and is 10 times the national average. Minneapolis comes it at second place with 4.5 percent of its commuters using bikes. In other words, Portland residents should be in good hands when the going gets tough.

When trouble hits, Portland will turn to bikes for disaster relief originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 07:55:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Japan offering $20,000 incentives for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles

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That tailwind Toyota may be feeling in Japan won't be from a stiff breeze off the northern Pacific Ocean. The Japanese automaker is getting ready to start selling its first production hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle in its native country next year. And the government is ponying up real big in incentives, Reuters says.

The Japanese government will provide incentives worth about $20,000 per fuel-cell vehicle, Reuters reports, citing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. That sort of government money will bring Toyota's first hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle to the customer at under $50,000. Just so we're clear, Japan's incentives for battery-electric vehicles top out at about $8,500. That sound you hear is a bunch of Nissan executives tearing their hair out.

Last month, Toyota said the price for the fuel-cell sedan would be about $69,000 in Japan, and while the company hasn't priced it for US consumption, the word's out that the car may be in the $50,000 range stateside. The fuel-cell sedan, which has a full-tank range of about 300 miles, goes on sale in Japan next April and will start sales in Europe and the US next summer. Honda is also debuting its first production fuel-cell vehicle next year, so Toyota's got company among automakers who are probably all raising a glass and saying "kampai" to the Japanese government right about now.

Japan offering $20,000 incentives for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 19:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Seoul moves to ban Uber, create own app

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Barcelona Cabs Strike Against Uber Taxi App

The ridesharing service Uber promises to connect people needing a lift with drivers offering one, and it appears to be pretty useful. After all, you can use it to summon Optimus Prime. For many cab drivers around the world, though, the app is basically the bane of their existence. The French passed a law mandating wait times before pickups in January, and 30,000 European cabbies staged a mass protest in June. The latest group hoping to ban Uber is the government of Seoul, South Korea.

The government in the South Korean capital city claims that the app is illegal because the vehicles shuttling users around aren't registered as taxis, according to the Wall Street Journal's Korea Realtime blog. The attempted ban is only the latest shot across the bow of Uber in Seoul. Officials fined a driver 1 million won ($974) for picking up passengers using the service in April. The authorities say that an alternative is on the way in December that would allow clients to hail legal cabs from their smartphones.

"Comments like these show Seoul is in danger of remaining trapped in the past and getting left behind by the global 'sharing economy' movement," said Uber in a statement to the WSJ. Other locales facing how to cope with the influx of the service's users have instituted driver limits and implemented background checks.

Seoul moves to ban Uber, create own app originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 18:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Recharge Wrap-up: Nissan Leaf in Puerto Rico, BMW i3 REx tax-free in NJ, BC2BC cancelled

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nissan leaf

Envia Systems will develop battery technology for United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC), a subsidiary of the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR). The $7.7 million contract, co-funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE), involves a 36-month development program focusing on high-energy cathode and anode material for lithium-ion batteries and pouch cells for electric vehicles. The goal, of course, is to create better energy storage for less money in an effort to make commercial EVs more efficient and affordable. For the DOE, this also equates to energy security, energy independence and national security. Read more in the press release at the bottom of the page.

The US and China have agreed to work together more closely on EVs, energy and climate issues. US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz went to Beijing for the sixth US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue to meet with leaders. While there, Moniz and Wu Xinxiong of China's National Energy Administration (NEA) signed a memorandum of understanding allowing the DOE and NEA to share information regarding oil reserves. The groups will meet yearly to learn more about how each other manages petroleum stockpiles and policy. Moniz also met with Minister Miao Wei of the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and signed an MOU to cooperate on electric vehicles and "related technologies," including the "inter-operability of electric vehicles." Read more at the Energy Department website.

August's BC2BC all-electric vehicle rally, billed as the largest gathering of electric vehicles, has been cancelled. The event, which was to include a drive up the entire coast from Mexico to British Columbia with smaller events along the route, failed to bring in the needed sponsorship to hold the rally for its third year. A Facebook post from organizer Tony Williams also cited loss of venue and lack of support from automakers - "particularly Nissan and Tesla" - as hardships. The event was scheduled to take place August 9 through 17, with only battery electric vehicles invited to take part - no plug-in hybrids or range-extended vehicles. Williams said he'd only try a similar event in the future if sponsorship were provided up front. Read more at Green Car Reports.

The Nissan Leaf will finally go on sale in Puerto Rico. A new law called Act 81 provides a 100-percent excise tax exemption for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, which will save customers $7,070.76 that would otherwise have been added to the car's $33,480 price tag. Nissan has also worked with Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to expand the EV charging network on the island. These changes have made it feasible for Nissan and distributor Motorambar to sell the Leaf in Puerto Rico. The car was unveiled on the island at an event on July 15 at the Museum of Transportation in Guaynabo. See the Caribbean Business for more details.

The BMW i3 REx is now included in New Jersey's sales tax exemption for zero-emissions vehicles. Reversing an earlier decision, the range-extended version of the i3 is now included on the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's list of qualifying vehicles. The range extender is a $3,850 option for the BMW i3, but with the tax included, the base i3 REx would cost over $7,000 more than the dedicated EV. Now, customers can enjoy holding onto the $3,000+ tax, as well as the peace of mind of having the range extending generator handy if the battery runs low. Read more at Inside EVs.

Continue reading Recharge Wrap-up: Nissan Leaf in Puerto Rico, BMW i3 REx tax-free in NJ, BC2BC cancelled

Recharge Wrap-up: Nissan Leaf in Puerto Rico, BMW i3 REx tax-free in NJ, BC2BC cancelled originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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