Report: California renters may soon install EV chargers at home

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volt charging station

Electric-vehicle charging stations. They may not just for the landed gentry anymore. At least in the Golden State.

California lawmakers have passed a bill that would enable residential and commercial tenants to install electric-vehicle charging stations, provided that they foot the bill, according to Charged EVs. If passed into a law, Assembly Bill 2565 would make it harder for landlords to enact lease provisions that would prevent tenants from buying and installing such stations. Governor Brown has until the end of September to sign the bill, and there's another EV-friendly bill crossing his desk as well, the Charge Ahead California Initiative (State Bill 1275).

Green vehicle advocates like ChargePoint chief technology officer Richard Lowenthal have been lobbying for California lawmakers to pass laws that will help speed up EV charging station deployment. Lowenthal, in an op-ed in Capitol Weekly, estimated that the ratio of EVs to charging ports grew to eight-to-one from seven-to-one during last year alone. That's good, but the National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that the state will require at least one million charging stations by the end of the decade, while state lawmakers continue to cling to its goal of having 1.5 million zero-emissions vehicles on California's roads by 2025.

For those keeping track, California is home to about 1,900 publicly accessible charging stations with about 5,400 charging outlets, according to the US Department of Energy. More than one in five US charging stations are in California.

California renters may soon install EV chargers at home originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Mon, 01 Sep 2014 14:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Two Wheels: Sales of electric motorcycles, scooters will reach 55 million in next decade

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Harley-Davidson's Project Livewire electric motorcycle

Current and future electric motorcycle and e-scooter makers are hoping that global sales of the two-wheeled plug-ins take off as quickly as their electric-powered bikes. Numbers collected by Navigant Research should give those companies a bit of hope. The research firm says the e-motorcycle and e-scooter market is ready to surge as component prices drop while gas prices continue to rise.

Navigant says about 55 million plug-in two-wheelers will be sold within the next decade. And while China now accounts for all but two percent of global e-cycle and e-scooter sales, demand is expected to pick up in other regions, i.e., North America and Europe. That spells good news for both existing e-bike makers like Brammo and future purveyors like Harley-Davidson. In June, Harley announced its first electric motorcycle called the Livewire. Harley started showcasing a concept version of the bike at 30 dealers along Route 66 this summer.

It looks like Brammo wants to make a chunk of those 55 million unit sales happen sooner than later. The Oregon-based electric motorcycle maker just started a late-summer promotion that cut prices across the board. Prices on Brammo's Empulse and Enertia lines were cut by anywhere from $4,000 to $6,995. Take a look at Navigant's press release below.

Continue reading Sales of electric motorcycles, scooters will reach 55 million in next decade

Sales of electric motorcycles, scooters will reach 55 million in next decade originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Mon, 01 Sep 2014 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: This Labor Day, low gas prices mean more cars on the road [w/video]

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Consumer Prices

It's not hard to understand, when gas prices go up, Americans sometimes drive less on national holidays. This year, though gas prices are lower than they have been right before Labor Day since 2010, and that means the American Automobile Association (AAA) is predicting that the number of people taking a road trip of more than 50 miles is expected to rise compared to last year. AAA says that 35 million people will make a 50+ mile trip this year, the highest number since 2008 and up 1.3 percent from 2013. There's a video report on this increase available below.

The average price of gas in the US this past Monday was $3.45 a gallon. Not only is that the lowest price it's been on the Monday before Labor Day in four years, it's also 25 cents lower than it was in the end of June and a dime lower than it was a year ago. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) says that the main reason for the drop is lower crude oil prices from the North Sea. As always, global worries about places like the middle east affect the crude oil price, and the EIA says that the market has a "perception of reduced risk for Iraqi oil exports as well as reports of increasing Libyan oil exports" that is helping to keep prices low.

Continue reading This Labor Day, low gas prices mean more cars on the road [w/video]

This Labor Day, low gas prices mean more cars on the road [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Sun, 31 Aug 2014 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Ford hybrid sales rebound following MPG controversy

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Ford C-Max Hybrid

Ford hybrid customers apparently have very short memories. With two EPA fuel economy reratings in the last year, sales of the C-Max, Fusion Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ haven't been too terribly dented, Ward's Auto reports.

All three vehicles saw sales dips following the August 2013 rerating, although sales of the MKZ Hybrid had begun to rebound as early as November of that year. C-Max sales, meanwhile, took slightly longer, with sales on a steadily improving course as early as February of this year.

The second rerating, in June of this year, has had an even smaller effect on the Blue Oval's hybrids. The C-Max has actually been subject to a sales increase, while both the MKZ and Fusion saw minor sales drops (less than 400 units between the two in the month following the rerating).

That seems to be peanuts according to Ford spokesman Aaron Miller, who told Ward's the company hasn't really seen a negative downturn.

Part of this, Miller claims, is due to Ford's goodwill payments to owners of affected vehicles, which ranged from $325 to $550 in the first case and $150 to $1,050 in the second case, depending on whether the customer leased or financed their vehicle.

"Our marketing team reported that current owners of those (affected) vehicles did not become dissatisfied," Miller told Ward's Auto. "I believe that the goodwill payments made to our customers helped a lot."

Ford's hybrid sales are actually up 2.5 percent through July, which is below the industry average of 2.9 percent. All things considered, though, that's certainly not as bad as it could be.

Ford hybrid sales rebound following MPG controversy originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 31 Aug 2014 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Read This: There are ways to sneak Tesla Model S into Russia for just 6.5M rubles

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Dmitry Grishin Tesla Model S

Tesla Fever has extended far and wide, winning over critics and everyday enthusiasts alike. The company is rapidly expanding its efforts both in its home market and abroad, but for some of its wealthy fans, that move isn't happening quite fast enough.

Dmitry Grishin is one such enthusiast. The 35-year-old multi-millionaire founder of Russia's Mail.ru is a big fan of Elon Musk's operation, so much so, in fact, that he's decided not to wait for sales to begin in the Russian Federation. Instead, he's gone off on his own and simply imported a Model S to get around Moscow.

The acquisition was not easy, as detailed by The Verge, and Grishin's car isn't quite as full-featured as a Model S sold in America - he's forced to use his phone's data connection rather than the car's . But, Grishin clearly has no regrets, spending a total of $180,000 to bring the EV to Moscow. In fact, Grishin has gone so far as to say he'd invest in the American EV manufacturer, if it hastened the brand's arrival in the motherland.

Head over to The Verge and check out the full profile on what must be on of Russia's biggest Tesla fans and his acquisition of the Model S.

There are ways to sneak Tesla Model S into Russia for just 6.5M rubles originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 30 Aug 2014 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Audi recalling 70k TDI models worldwide over braking problem [UPDATE]

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Audi A7 TDI

Audi is issuing a recall covering some 70,000 vehicles worldwide, due to problems with their brake boosters. According to Automotive News Europe, diesel-powered examples of the A4, A5, A6, A7 and Q7 are all being called back due to this issue.

The report indicates that while the brakes in these vehicles still function, the enhancing power from the booster may fail due to a possible leaky membrane.

All of the affected vehicles are powered by the 3.0-liter TDI turbodiesel V6, and were built between March and December of 2012. It is unclear as of this writing how many of these vehicles are in the States, though remember, US customers are not privy to 3.0 TDI examples of the A4 or A5. Autoblog has reached out to Audi for specific numbers, and we'll update this space when we hear more.

UPDATE: Audi spokesperson Mark Dahncke confirmed that this recall affects 1,814 vehicles in the United States - all 2013 model year Q7 TDI vehicles built between June 5 and November 29, 2012.

Audi recalling 70k TDI models worldwide over braking problem [UPDATE] originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 30 Aug 2014 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Tesla Model S rentals in the UK are crazy expensive

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Tesla Model S

The bad news about trying to rent a Tesla Model S electric vehicle in the UK for a day is that it will run you about $580. The good news? You get 200 free miles worth of driving. The good news? Considering British fuel prices of about $9 a gallon and fact that the average fuel economy in the UK is around 38 miles per gallon, you're at least getting around $45 worth of travel for your $580. And you're doing it in one of the most popular EVs around.

UK-based EVision is offering right-hand drive Model S to motoring enthusiasts at a starting rate of about $100 an hour (with a three-hour minimum, of course), reports Transport Evolved. That jumps to $580 for the full day. And for a week of pretending that you're James Bond in your sparkling Model S, the car will run about $3,300. And you though rental rates for London flats were expensive.

California-based Tesla started delivering the Model S to the UK in June. The model is priced at about $84,000 and Tesla said at the time that more than 3,400 Model S vehicles had been sold in Europe during the first four months of the year. Those figures were helped by Tesla's decision to reduce the price of the Model S on the continent because of the strengthening Euro.

Tesla Model S rentals in the UK are crazy expensive originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Fri, 29 Aug 2014 19:54:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: NEVS’ reorganization plan approved after all?

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SWEDEN-AUTO-COMPANY-SAAB

What a difference a day makes. Thursday, we reported that current Saab parent National Electric Vehicle Sweden had its application for creditor protection denied by the Swedish court for being "vague and completely undocumented." But NEVS was back in court on Friday, and this time the application was granted. However, the story continued to get weirder as defense contractor Saab AB allegedly revoked NEVS' rights to use the Saab name.

NEVS did put out a brief press release confirming the court decision saying: "The District court of Vänersborg, Sweden, today August 29 approved the application for reorganization from National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB." The company allegedly has over 90 creditors, and according to Reuters, it owes them roughly 400 million Swedish krona ($57.56 million). The business says that it is in negotiations with two, unnamed companies to get additional funding.

Also, according to Reuters, Saab AB, best known for making fighter planes, has revoked NEVS' rights to the Saab brand name because the company's application for creditor protection gave the defense contractor that right. When NEVS bought Saab, it only acquired the automaker's physical assets, and had to negotiate for the rights to use the name.

Autoblog reached out to NEVS to better understand what all of this means for the company moving forward. We'll update this story, if we hear back. Scroll down to read the entire, two-sentence press release from NEVS about the court's decision.

Continue reading NEVS' reorganization plan approved after all?

NEVS' reorganization plan approved after all? originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 29 Aug 2014 17:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Spy Shots: Lutz’s Fisker-based WM Destino caught in Death Valley testing with changes

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WM Destino Spy Shots

New spy shots make it look like Bob Lutz's idea to convert the Fisker Karma into a fire-breathing sports sedan called the Destino might not be vaporware after all. Two of them were recently spotted testing in Death Valley sporting changes that make them appear closer than ever to actually going on sale.

The idea behind the Destino was always fantastic. Take the Karma (already a great-looking sedan), ditch its powertrain and drop in the supercharged 6.2-liter V8 from the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. However, since we first saw the concept at the 2013 Detroit auto show, there hasn't been much solid news about its actual production.

These test cars sport a number of changes indicating that development is still ongoing. Most notably, there are new heat extractors flanking both sides of its bulging hood. That big V8 obviously needs cool air to breathe, and they should help. Plus, the louvers give the Destino a bit of extra menace from the front.

The interior shots show the Fisker covered in Alcantara with some carbon fiber trim, and the transmission tunnel is slightly reworked and fitted with a new gearshift. These photos obviously show an automatic, but a manual is likely possible.

One final change for the Destino is less obvious, and that's its new name. VL Automotive and WM Greentech Automotive recently merged, which gives the sedan the new name of the WM Destino. When it does hit the road, prices are rumored to be around $200,000 to put this supercharged creation in your garage.

Lutz's Fisker-based WM Destino caught in Death Valley testing with changes originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 29 Aug 2014 14:14:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Renault 141-mpg concept car coming to Paris. For real this time

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FRANCE EARNS RENAULT

Summer is winding down and, in the automotive industry, that means the auto show season is about to ramp up. The Paris Motor Show is just over a month away, and we're starting to get hints about what Renault is going to bring: a hyper-efficient concept vehicle.

Autocar is reporting that an "experimental engineering" concept will make an appearance in Paris, one that will get 141 miles per gallon vehicle. Why 141 mpg? Because that's the level set by the French government for car companies to reach by 2020. 141 mpg is the equivalent of 1.67 liters per 100 kilometers, if you're keeping track in European units. What technology Renault will use to get to 141 mpg was not disclosed.

Of course, a 141-mpg Renault was promised for the Geneva Motor Show this spring, but that didn't happen. Perhaps the fact that a totally new platform is being used, along with the "dramatic weight reduction and a dramatic aerodynamic improvement" that was needed (according to Renault's design boss Laurens van den Acker), held things up.

Renault 141-mpg concept car coming to Paris. For real this time originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Fri, 29 Aug 2014 12:47:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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