Aston Martin Rapide: Another 800 Horsepower Electric Car. Think it’s a “Tesla Killer”?

August 23rd, 2015 § Comments Off on Aston Martin Rapide: Another 800 Horsepower Electric Car. Think it’s a “Tesla Killer”? § permalink

The Aston Martin Rapide is an incredible vehicle. It’s arguably one of the most impressive sedans in the world, up there with the Mercedes S65 AMG, the Porsche Panamera Turbo S, and the finest Bentleys and Rolls Royces. Its two rear doors were added without compromising the integrity of its looks or shape; it’s literally an Aston for the whole family. It has a creamy V12 producing over 550 horsepower, but its velvety demeanor takes precedent over all-out track performance.

It’s every inch an Aston. But it’s aging, and the British marque has big plans for revitalizing the Rapide nameplate — it wants to take a page from Tesla’s playbook, and make an electric model that’s capable of 800 horsepower and is focused more intently on the track and less about dropping the kids off at prep school.

Tesla model S

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2016 Chevy Volt Is Quieter, Handles Better, Says Latest Teaser Video

January 4th, 2015 § Comments Off on 2016 Chevy Volt Is Quieter, Handles Better, Says Latest Teaser Video § permalink

As General Motors works to stoke interest ahead of its 2015 Detroit Auto Show debut, the 2016 Chevrolet Volt is getting more teasers than a Hollywood blockbuster.

While the last video confirmed that the new Volt can do something virtually every car can do–drive on snow–this one highlights some even more basic features.

Namely, that the 2016 Volt is quieter and handles better than the current model–something that automakers aim for with every redesign.

That assessment comes from GM product chief Mark Reuss, who took the wheel for this short video.

Chief engineer Andrew Farah with camouflaged 2016 Chevrolet Volt prototypeChief engineer Andrew Farah with camouflaged 2016 Chevrolet Volt prototypeReuss previously appeared in a video showing off the Volt’s variable regenerative braking. Along with the video above, that makes four released so far under the hashtag #NextGenVolt.
The teases started back in August, when GM released a carefully-edited photo of the new Volt’s back end and badging.

Then in October, the company released a photo of a fully-camouflaged prototype Volt–and discussed the technique for camouflaging test vehicles driven on public roads.

Roughly a month later at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, a photo of the Volt’s partially uncovered front end was released after an owner preview event.
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt will be formally unveiled Monday, January 12, at the Detroit Auto Show.

From http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1095964_2016-chevrolet-volt-to-add-on-demand-regenerative-braking

What the Future Holds: Car Makers’ #EV Commitments, a Brand-by-Brand Review

October 6th, 2014 § Comments Off on What the Future Holds: Car Makers’ #EV Commitments, a Brand-by-Brand Review § permalink

Every electric vehicle purchase is a vote of confidence in the companies helping to wean the world from a petro-based transportation infrastructure. Obviously, a vehicle’s features—its style, handling and range—are essential for making a good decision. But for many EV buyers, the level of commitment an automaker makes toward the electric car future is another important consideration.

To help you better understand the company behind the car, we offer these brief assessments of how much EV street cred each of the major automotive companies deserve.

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USA: Confirmed: 2015 Chevrolet Volt Has Larger Battery, Drivers May See More Range

July 27th, 2014 § Comments Off on USA: Confirmed: 2015 Chevrolet Volt Has Larger Battery, Drivers May See More Range § permalink

INSIDEEVS recently exclusively broke the news that the 2015 Chevrolet Volt came with something a little unexpected. A larger capacity battery.

New Chevrolet Volt Owners Say Their Cars Have More Range? Real Or Imagined?

Specifically, a 17.1 kWh pack versus the 16.5 kWh found in 2014.

And while the EPA range figures that GM has submitted for 2015 are identical between this year and last, many new Volt owners are reporting a slight increase in range – real or imagined?

We felt that this new development needed a little solid clarification from GM.

A) Was the lithium battery pack actually increased for 2015? Or was that a typo of some kind?
B) Was this extra battery capacity used as a reserve buffer to extend life?
C) Would this extra battery capacity result in any real world changes?
We spoke to Kevin M. Kelly who is the Manager of Electrification Technology Communications and he confirmed to us that the battery had increased in size, and that drivers could expect to see some range improvements.

“We did make an engineering change in the battery cell used in the 2015 Chevrolet Volt, which resulted in an overall storage capacity increase from 16.5 to 17.1 kWh.

This is a part of our effort for continuous improvement. As a result of this change, we would expect that some customers may see a slight improvement in overall EV range.”

This is the second time the Volt’s battery has been increased since its debut in late 2010. The 2013 model year Chevrolet Volt had its battery capacity increased from 16 kWh to 16.5 kWh, which translated to an extra 3 miles of range (up to 38) and 4 more MPGe.

Our tip of the cap to GM for their commitment to improving the Chevy Volt over time!

20140716-160622-57982907.jpg

USA: Confirmed: 2015 Chevrolet Volt Has Larger Battery, Drivers May See More Range

July 16th, 2014 § Comments Off on USA: Confirmed: 2015 Chevrolet Volt Has Larger Battery, Drivers May See More Range § permalink

INSIDEEVS recently exclusively broke the news that the 2015 Chevrolet Volt came with something a little unexpected. A larger capacity battery.

New Chevrolet Volt Owners Say Their Cars Have More Range? Real Or Imagined?

Specifically, a 17.1 kWh pack versus the 16.5 kWh found in 2014.

And while the EPA range figures that GM has submitted for 2015 are identical between this year and last, many new Volt owners are reporting a slight increase in range – real or imagined?

We felt that this new development needed a little solid clarification from GM.

A) Was the lithium battery pack actually increased for 2015? Or was that a typo of some kind?
B) Was this extra battery capacity used as a reserve buffer to extend life?
C) Would this extra battery capacity result in any real world changes?
We spoke to Kevin M. Kelly who is the Manager of Electrification Technology Communications and he confirmed to us that the battery had increased in size, and that drivers could expect to see some range improvements.

“We did make an engineering change in the battery cell used in the 2015 Chevrolet Volt, which resulted in an overall storage capacity increase from 16.5 to 17.1 kWh.

This is a part of our effort for continuous improvement. As a result of this change, we would expect that some customers may see a slight improvement in overall EV range.”

This is the second time the Volt’s battery has been increased since its debut in late 2010. The 2013 model year Chevrolet Volt had its battery capacity increased from 16 kWh to 16.5 kWh, which translated to an extra 3 miles of range (up to 38) and 4 more MPGe.

Our tip of the cap to GM for their commitment to improving the Chevy Volt over time!

20140716-160622-57982907.jpg

USA: GM’s Mark Reuss: Next-gen Chevy Volt will be “thousands of dollars” cheaper (2013)

January 17th, 2013 § Comments Off on USA: GM’s Mark Reuss: Next-gen Chevy Volt will be “thousands of dollars” cheaper (2013) § permalink

Following the news of the massive price drop for the Nissan Leaf, hearing GM North America President Mark Reuss tell the media that GM will take out “thousands of dollars” from the next-generation Chevrolet Volt isn##Q##t exactly a surprise. In fact, we##Q##ve known for a long time that plug-in cars will get cheaper and cheaper as the technology evolved. It##Q##s just nice to hear a GM bigwig sing it loudly for the press.

Speaking at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit this week, Reuss said that the reduced costs will be the result of better battery pack design and better electric motors. This will help the next Volt, obviously, but Reuss went further and said, “We will see the day when we have an affordable electric car that offers 300 miles of range with all the comfort and utility of a conventional vehicle.”

The Volt sold a total of 23,461 units in 2012, despite taking a political shellacking during the presidential campaign (and before). Reuss said the plug-in hybrid is “going to sell even more, and the next generation will be even better.” We don##Q##t know yet exactly what it##Q##s going to look like, but we have heard it will be “a little more monochromatic, a little more road-hugging.”

GM##Q##s plug-in vehicle strategy includes not only updating the Volt but also the all-electric Chevy Spark and the just-revealed (in production form) Cadillac ELR. All told, GM is getting ready to sell 500,000 electrified vehicles by 2017, but that number includes non-plug-in vehicles like those with eAssist. If prices keep dropping the way Reuss implies, 500,000 shouldn##Q##t be too high a hurdle.

How to buy a Used Electric Car. Is done wisely, best savings. Good luck.

November 24th, 2012 § Comments Off on How to buy a Used Electric Car. Is done wisely, best savings. Good luck. § permalink

At first glance, it may seem odd to see an article about how to buy a used electric car when new electric cars are in limited supply with pretty much the Tesla Roadster and Nissan Leaf the only electric vehicles consumers can buy as of mid-December 2010.

But all that is set to change with the arrival of 2011. Major car manufacturers are poised to pounce into the electric vehicle market with the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt already accumulating awards – and they##Q##re not even widely available yet.

Guess what? As soon as they roll off the dealer##Q##s lot, they officially become used cars. CNW Research of Bradenton, Ore., says typically 6 to 8% of new car buyers experience remorse about their purchase decision in the first month after buying a new car. That means within less than a year there are probably going to be used electric vehicles on the market.

Here are the steps you need to take before buying a used electric car:

  • Determine which is best for you: Let##Q##s look at the Chevrolet Volt vs. the Nissan Leaf. The Leaf is a pure electric car and has a range of about 100 miles (depending on conditions and driving habits.) The Chevrolet Volt is an electric vehicle with a backup gas engine. The two combined will deliver about 300 miles. The Volt will work better as a primary vehicle while the Leaf works best as a second, commuter car.
  • Where Are You Driving It: This is not so much a question of distance but of location. Do you like to go hiking regularly? Well, if you run out of juice in the woods, you can##Q##t walk to an electrical outlet for a can of power. Also, relatives you visit are only going to have outlets that provide a trickle charge.
  • Call the New Car Dealer: Say, for example, you##Q##re looking to buy a used Nissan Leaf. See if you can get on a waiting list for a used one. Enterprising dealers should have them. The dealer may require a small deposit (say £00). It##Q##s your call if you think that##Q##s worthwhile.
  • Do your price research: This is a fairly nascent area because residual values are just now being set for electric vehicles by Black Book, a company that predicts new car values in three years. Consult Edmunds.com and KBB.com and split the difference. Keep in mind that owners of new electric cars got huge tax credits from the government. Used car electric vehicles are not going to get government handouts.
  • Look at where you live: Don##Q##t be surprised but some people actually buy used cars and then don##Q##t have the proper place to park them every night (i.e. SUVs too wide for their garages). You will need a place to plug in your electric vehicle every evening. You might be out of luck if you live in an apartment building until public charging stations become more prevalent.
  • Determine the Warranty: There is no word yet if electric vehicles are going to be part of certified pre-owned programs, but they probably are. See what coverage is extended to your vehicle once it is bought used. Batteries on hybrid vehicles, for example, have warranties of at least 8 years and 100,000 miles (whichever comes first).
  • Info about batteries in used electric vehicles: heat is harder on the longevity of a battery than cold – something to consider when buying a used electric vehicle in Phoenix, Ariz., vs. Portland, Maine;the battery in the Chevrolet Volt has about a 10-year shelf life, but that doesn##Q##t mean it##Q##s going to fail on its 10th anniversary – it will lose capacity as it ages; and, both age and the number of cycles the battery are put through make a difference. Just because a used electric vehicle has low mileage doesn##Q##t mean the battery is going to last longer.
  • Get Ready To Be Disappointed: Electric vehicles will have problems in the first generation. It##Q##s a new technology being mass produced for the public (for the first time since the beginning of the 20th century). Things are bound to go wrong with electric vehicles until the problems are worked out. That##Q##s why the warranty is going to be so important.
  • Rent One: Hertz is going to be renting electric vehicles. Check out the Hertz website for availability. It will give you a taste of what it##Q##s like to live with an electric vehicle for a weekend before you make the plunge and buy a used electric vehicle.
  • Get To Know an Existing Owner: This is common with owners of classic cars. They are always getting approached by people who want to buy their cars. Do you know somebody who owns an electric vehicle? Tell them you will buy the car at the Kelley Blue Book private sale value (assuming it passes inspection) plus 5%. Yes, I##Q##m encouraging you to pay above book value but it might be necessary until 2015 if you really have your heart set on a used electric vehicle.

One last piece of advice: remember you still have to follow all the normal steps when it comes to buying a used electric car. Make sure you test drive it. Get it inspected. Obtain a vehicle history, too. Used electric cars are just like other used cars.

Nissan Leaf to Get 25-Mile Range Boost in Cold Weather Due to New Heater Design

November 22nd, 2012 § Comments Off on Nissan Leaf to Get 25-Mile Range Boost in Cold Weather Due to New Heater Design § permalink

2013 Nissan Leaf to see up to a 25-mile range boost in cold weather

Since the Chevrolet Volt has been getting the bulk of the attention — and criticism — in recent months, it##Q##s rather easy to overlook the Nissan Leaf. The Leaf, unlike the Volt, is a pure electric vehicle and doesn##Q##t have a gasoline engine/generator to fall back on once its battery pack is depleted.

The Leaf currently has an EPA rating of 99 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) and an EPA driving range of 73 miles, although Nissan still says that the Leaf can travel up to 100 miles depending on the driving conditions. The company is now reporting that the observed range of the 2013 Leaf will increase in at least one environmental condition that traditionally saps power from electric vehicles: cold weather.


Nissan Leaf

Nissan says that 2013 model year Leafs will have a more efficient heating system that will reduce energy consumption. As a result, drivers will see coldweather driving range increase by 20 to 25 miles according to The Detroit NewsMark Perry, Nissans##Q## director of product and advanced planning, says that it##Q##s currently unclear if the EPA ratings for the Leaf will change as a result, but the mileage boost drivers would see will be there nonetheless.

Nissan sold 9,674 Leafs for all of 2011 compared to just 7,671 for the Chevrolet Volt. However, Toyota recently kicked sand in both GM and Nissan##Q##s face. Toyota reported that it sold more of its fresh Prius C hybrids (1,201 units) in three days than the number of Volts or Leafs sold for the entire month of February.

The Nissan Leaf will face some more “pure electric” competition this fall from the Ford Focus Electric.


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