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Archive for the ‘green cars’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell

Man-made climate change is a hot topic and, regardless of your beliefs about the effect of man-made emissions on the global climate, it’s inevitable that the internal combustion engine will eventually be all but wiped out of existence. With various world governments committing to an all-out ban of non-electric vehicles, automakers aren’t slowing down the process either, with just about every major manufacturer having jumped on the alternative fuels wagon in one way or another in recent years. Mercedes, for example, is following Toyota’s lead and looking to hydrogen as a viable solution to combat emissions and has already proven its viability with cars like the B-Class F-CELL and the Citaro FuelCELL-Hybrid – two vehicles that have logged more than seven million miles in test runs. Now, Mercedes has introduced the GLC F-Cell, the world’s first plug-in fuel-cell vehicle. As such, the GLC F-Cell promises as much as 301 miles from just 9.7 pounds of hydrogen and the 13.8-kWh battery. And, it does so while producing around 200 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque– more than enough to get you up to speed.

With hydrogen availability expanding, that’s certainly good news, but we’re not there quite yet. Outside of the electric and hydrogen powertrain, the GLC F-Cell also sports its own unique look in comparison to the ICE-powered GLC-Class, so it will even stand out in the crowd. Now, it may not have that internal combustion engine or even the 241 horsepower afforded by the standard model’s 2.0-liter, but it will still please all of you purists out there as it does have all of the Mercedes DNA that you’ve come to love and find it impossible to live without. So, now that the GLC F-Cell has made its official debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show, let’s take a good look at it and see what it’s all about.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell.

PostHeaderIcon Here’s Why Mercedes Is Doing the Right Thing with the Hydrogen GLC F-Cell

Hybrid and all-electric cars are slowly integrating among conventional production vehicles, but automakers still have some challenges to overcome. While hybrids are still relying on gasoline to work, electric cars still need better range and larger refill networks. Sure, we have quite a few capable EVs, like everything Tesla makes, the Chevy Bolt, and the new Nissan Leaf, but range can still be an issue in large countries and most continents outside the United States. But this is where Mercedes’ new solution, the hydrogen hybrid, comes in.

Unveiled at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, the company’s latest F-Cell model is built around the GLC crossover, and it’s slated to go into production. And unlike other green attempts, this vehicle pairs plug-in battery power with hydrogen fuel cells for what could become the most sustainable zero-emissions solution. It’s not yet ready to hit dealerships, mostly because there’s no hydrogen infrastructure, but the Germans have a plan, and this project could become feasible in five to six years. So why do I think that hydrogen power is a better solution that electricity?

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Hybrid All The Things

In case you didn’t hear, Mercedes-Benz just released the world’s very first hybrid hydrogen car. Dubbed the GLC F-Cell, the technology involved is mighty impressive indeed – in addition to a traditional fuel cell power source, which converts hydrogen into electricity and water vapor, the GLC F-Cell comes equipped with a large plug-in lithium-ion battery pack that adds another 30 miles of all-electric range when fully charged. Working in concert, the two power sources aim to complement one another by offering both the quick-fill convenience of hydrogen with the long-range capabilities of a hybrid system. It makes a lot of sense, even if H2 power is still a longs ways off from widespread adoption, and given the industry-wide tendency towards ever-greater numbers of hybrid offerings, it got us thinking – is there anything that wouldn’t benefit from hybridization?

Naturally, given the association hybrids enjoy with green sensibilities, sports cars might seem like an odd segment for the application of hybrid technology – at least until you read up on the McLaren P1, Porsche 918 Spyder, and Ferrari LaFerrari. The Mercedes-AMG Project One is another, more-recent example of hybrid power used in the name of speed.

Indeed, hybrid systems seem to do just about everything better – they go farther, go faster, and go more efficiently, all good stuff. However, no technology is perfect, and these systems still have their disadvantages. For starters, they add weight, and a lot of it. Those batteries and electric motors aren’t exactly trivial when it comes to extra mass. Secondly, they add a good deal of complication as well, which means more stuff to break or go wrong, which can be a problem when shooting for affordability.

However, in terms of power performance and efficiency and greenness, hybrids are just better. And with more automakers throwing their hat into the hybrid ring, we can bet there will be significant advances in terms of weight reduction and simplification. Indeed, like early production turbocharged engines, hybrids are looking more and more like a panacea for many of the industry’s ills.

What do you think?

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes Launches First Production Hydrogen Hybrid With GLC F-Cell

The latest crop of green alternative passenger vehicles is making the rounds at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, and Mercedes is getting in on the action with a brand-new hybrid SUV. It’s called the GLC F-Cell, and it’s touted as the world’s very first production-ready hydrogen hybrid vehicle. Flying the German automaker’s EQ Power banner, also known as the go-to branding for Merc’s various green solutions, the GLC F-Cell is essentially an SUV that combines plug-in all-electric battery power with hydrogen fuel cell power. The marriage of these two alternative power sources hopes to find a synergy whereby benefits are maximized and disadvantages are minimized, combining the quick refill times of hydrogen power and the long-range capability of electrified assistance, all without the traditional explodey dino juice normally associated with “typical” hybrid vehicles.

The new SUV is part of the latest Mercedes product strategy to produce 10 new battery-electric models by the year 2022. The GLC F-Cell is also a modern addition to the Mercedes CASE strategy, an acronym that stands for, Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Services, and Electric. And while the SUV has yet to show anything terribly noteworthy in terms of connected, autonomous, or sharing features, the novel hybrid stuff is more than worthy of the attention of anyone interested in powertrain technology development. Read on for the specs and details.

Continue reading to learn more about the GLC F-Cell.

PostHeaderIcon The Mercedes S-Class Family Grows with the Addition of the S 560 e Plug-in Hybrid

When the W222, sixth-gen Mercedes S-Class came to the market in 2013, it sat in a niche that was completely void of any real competition. But, after just a few years that changed, with long-time rival BMW introducing the new 7 Series and GM’s luxury division, Cadillac, introducing the full-size CT6 to the market. The S-Class was already competitive enough to hold its own in the full-size luxury segment and was even praised for its superior ride quality, seemingly effortless acceleration, and all of that fancy tech that brought it one step closer to being a true-to-life spaceship on wheels. With the new E-Class coming before this mid-cycle update, Merc had a lot of new tech on its hands, and you certainly can’t have a lesser model sporting better features, so this was the icing on the cake and triggered Mercedes to revamp the S-Class in time for 2018. Now that we’re approaching the holiday season and the new year, Mercedes saw fit to introduce the newest member of the S-Class family: The S 560 e – a plug-in hybrid that promises to be a huge improvement over the outgoing model.

So, now that we’re looking at the facelifted S-Class hybrid, it’s important to note that it also comes with a new name. Previously known as the S550 Plug-in Hybrid, the 2018 model will now go by the nomenclature of S560 e Plug-in Hybrid. Highlights of the facelifted model include an increase in system output of more than 50 horsepower, increased all-electric range thanks to a revised battery, relocated electric components, and increased luggage room in the rear. An ECO assist feature will help you drive more efficiently, while pre-entry climate control will have the temperature just right before you even sit down inside the vehicle. I guess that’s pretty commendable and right in line with what you should expect for a car of this stature. With that said, let’s take a closer look at what kind of improvements the revised hybrid brings to the market. Something tells me, you might want to consider trading in that old plug-in for a new one, but we’ll see.

PostHeaderIcon Tesla Comes Through for its Customers as they Scramble to get out of Harm’s Way

Now, there’s no denying that after Hurricane Harvey kicked the hell out of Texas, it was a ridiculous for Mother Nature to rape all of Florida too, but sure enough, it happened anyway. Originally deemed the most powerful storm ever recorded, Irma was larger than the state of Florida itself and has left a path of destruction as it made its way from the Atlantic toward the sunshine state. It decimated a few smaller islands and kicked Cuba’s ass a bit too before crossing directly over the Florida Keys and wrecking the West coast of the Florida peninsula. As Irma made its deadly approach toward the land of oranges, evacuation orders were issued and panic set in – not so much so that looters didn’t take their chances, of course, but we’ll leave that story for another time. In the end, the last few days before Irma made landfall in Florida were chaotic, to say the least.

Air traffic was a nightmare, leaving us to question how air traffic control even managed to prevent disaster, and the highways were jammed up like Satan himself was birthing from the bowels of the earth. Gas prices skyrocketed, and so did the price of bottled water as everyone tried to take advantage of the situation, claiming supply and demand as the reasoning for price gouging. Meanwhile, Tesla took a different approach and helped out its customers as they struggled to evacuate.

So, while some local businesses showed their ugly side by hiking prices like the apocalypse was coming, Tesla decided it would remove the range limiter on its lesser Model S and Model X vehicles in Florida, effectively giving owners an extra 30 to 40 miles, according to Electrek. And, it was all thanks to one owner who reached out to Tesla saying he needed just an extra 30 miles to get out of his mandatory evacuation zone. So, once Tesla heard from this customer, it decided that other Tesla owners might need the same, and temporarily unlocked the extra range via an over-the-air update. The update was effective on all 60D models of the Model S and X, which were sold with 75 kWh batteries that were limited with the option to unlock their full potential at a later time – something that would cost owners between $4,500 and $9,000 depending on the vehicle and time of the update. Keep in mind that this isn’t a permanent upgrade, and it will expire, but it certainly served an important purpose and has proven that not all automakers are greedy and self-absorbed. Keep reading to learn more.

PostHeaderIcon Jaguar E-Type Zero

Back in March of 1961, Jaguar unveiled the E-Type, and it wasn’t long before the world fell in love with its long hoodline, curvaceous hips, and sonorous 3.8-liter six-cylinder soundtrack. Enzo Ferrari, a man with no shortage of good looking metal at his disposal, remarked that it was the “most beautiful car ever made,” and in the more than half century that followed its release, the E-Type has remained a mainstay of automotive splendor for enthusiasts across the globe. These days, the E-Type has served as the basis for a variety of special editions and reimaginings, but now, JLR is taking its iconic two-door into uncharted water. Say hello to the E-Type Zero, an all-electric iteration that promises the same distinctive driving experience as the original, but with no gasoline involved.

Scheduled for presentation at the Jaguar Land Rover Tech Fest on September 8th, the E-Type Zero was restored and converted by Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works in Coventry, which, JLR points out, isn’t far from “where the [original] E-Type was born.” Based on a 1.5 Series Roadster from 1968, the Zero is an almost completely all-original spec, except for the powertrain, obviously. “Our aim with E-Type Zero is to future-proof classic car ownership,” says Tim Hanning, Director at Jaguar Land Rover Classic. “We’re looking forward to the reaction of our clients as we investigate bringing this concept to market.” That’s right, folks – a production iteration could be in the works. Read on for the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the Jaguar E-Type Zero.

PostHeaderIcon Bollinger Motors Bringing Four-Door Version of B1 Electric SUV

Bollinger Motors sent shockwaves through the auto industry in July when it debuted its prototype all-electric utility vehicle, the B1. That two-door version boasted a promising range of 200 miles, a towing capacity of 6,100 pounds, and a 0-to-60 mph time of only 4.5 seconds – all wrapped in an aluminum body and riding on a four-wheel independent suspension system with 4WD. Well, now Bollinger has announced it will also make a four-door version of the B1.

Robert Bollinger, the CEO of the start-up automaker and designer of the B1, says the four-door version will be nine inches longer than the two-door B1, yet will otherwise offer the same range, weight capacities, and off-road capabilities. What changes is the ease of getting into the rear bucket seats and the additional six cubic feet of cargo volume, pushing its overall cargo volume to 101 cubic feet. Of course, the four-door B1’s breakover angle will be less, but only drops to 33 to 31 degrees. The 56-degree approach and 53-degree departure angles will remain the same.

Two electric motor choices are available: a 60 kWh and a 100 kWh option. As expected, the impressive range and 0-to-60 mph specs are set with the 100 kWh motor option. Official pricing hasn’t been announced, but Bollinger is shooting for an MSRP of $60,000 for the two-door, 60 kWh B1. Opting for the 100 kWh version is said to be another $8,000. Expect pricing to be slightly more expensive for the four-door variant, perhaps starting around $70,000 for the 60 kWh model. As for availability, Bollinger is still solidifying a production deal with a third party (rumored to be AM General). Should that work out, the B1 could begin selling in early 2019.

PostHeaderIcon The New 2018 Nissan Leaf Might Be The Best Replacement for the VW TDI

Last night Nissan finally unveiled the all-new 2018 Leaf, and it’s a massive improvement over the old car. The biggest news for EV fans will be the new 150-mile range. That’s nearly double what the original Leaf launched with. It’s even easier on your wallet with a starting price under $30,000, making it nearly $700 cheaper than the current model. But the best improvement is the all-new electric motor. The old car made a useable, but unimpressive 107 horsepower and 187 pound-feet of torque. But the new 2018 car makes 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, and that is more amazing than you realize.

Let us put those power numbers into perspective. The Volkswagen 2.0L TDI engine, the best “performance” fuel-economy engine on the market before the Dieselgate scandal destroyed everything, produces 150 horsepower and 238 pounds of twist.

Nissan just made a viable alternative to scorned TDI buyers.

True, the TDI had some other advantages like a massive 600+ mile range before needing to be refueled, but on a pure day-to-day performance perspective, the new Leaf might work. If you bought a TDI to make your daily commute, and you still want something that is good for the environment while providing the same level of thrust, maybe you should call your Nissan Dealer.

Yes, we do know that other alternatives like the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3 have even more power and performance, but those cars also have much higher price tags. We aren’t sure about you, but we feel like people buying $26k Volkswagen’s might not be able to afford the $38,000 asking price of a Bolt.

But what do you guys think? Is the new Nissan Leaf good enough to be a real competitor in the market now? And if you are a former TDI owner, please let us now, and be sure to give us your thoughts on this new car.

PostHeaderIcon Detroit Electric Still Has A Pulse, Or So It Claims

Believe it or not, but Detroit Electric is still alive and kicking. I won’t hate on anyone thinking otherwise because even I thought the company had long hit the dirt. But it’s apparently not true. The company is headed to the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicles event in the U.K. next week and it’s bringing an announcement of some kind that points towards its future as an EV company. This should be interesting.

The company was coy on details when it announced its intentions, but it seems that it’s now on a far better financial footing than where it was in the past. At least that’s the picture Chief Technical Officer and Company Director, Richie Frost, tried to paint when he said that the company has “secured the solid financial foundation to embark on our business plan.” More to that, Frost added that the company is actually embarking on a major recruiting drive with plans to fill its ranks with anywhere from 150 to 200 new employees. For sure, it’s a revealing development that puts to light a different perspective on what the company’s status is at the moment and moving forward. Whether this new-found optimism lasts is an entirely different matter. After all, this is the same company that promised to launch the SP:01 electric sports car three years ago and then added an electric SUV and an electric sedan to its plans two years ago. Nothing’s come out of it so it’s going to be interesting to see if the “solid financial foundation” Frost is talking about has legitimate legs to it.

Continue after the jump to read the full story

PostHeaderIcon We Need More EV Performance Cars

In case you missed it, BMW just released details on the updated 2018 i3,
and the big headline isn’t the tweaked exterior styling or new interior color schemes. For any reader of this website, the most important part of the refresh is the addition of the i3s, a slightly sportier iteration of the all-electric eco-box bearing a little more power (up 184 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque compared to the regular i3’s 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque) as well as a lowered, stiffer suspension, and more aesthetic aggression. While not exactly a game changer, it’s a good sign of things to come. You see, the world needs more EV performance, and even the greenest of EV revolutionaries should be pushing for more battery-powered speed machines.

“Why’s that?” you might ask. “I thought it was all about efficiency and hypermiling and responsible commuting with that crowd.” While all these things are indeed important in the EV community, a focus on speed brings with it all kinds of benefits. For starters, faster EVs naturally lead to further battery development. If you’re constantly on the go pedal, you’re gonna be draining the battery mighty quick, which means there’s further incentive to stuff more range into every pack. This is doubly so in something like an EV racing series, which is a natural progression when you’ve got tons of popular performance cars out on the road. Indeed, it’s something we’re already seeing with the Tesla Model S, which has thus far challenged the gas-burning competition at the drag strip and Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, and even gained its own racing series with Electric GT. The point is this – racing is good for the breed, no matter the end goal.

Furthermore, new EV performance cars also help to expand the segment, drawing in new customers and challenging preconceptions of what an EV “should” be. Just look at what Tesla did with the Model S. Now there’s proof EV’s can be quick, sexy, and luxurious, and additional performance EV’s would bring in even more of the traditional gearhead audience.

As they say, winning is winning, even if it’s by way of electrons rather than dino juice. We need more EV performance cars.

PostHeaderIcon BMW Unveils 2018 i3 and i3s

BMW just dropped details on the revamped i3 ahead of its official debut in September. Updates include a new look and a wider stance, breaking a bit from the upright boxy look used before. Full LED headlights keep the road lit, while Melbourne Red Metallic and Imperial Blue Metallic were added to the exterior paint options. Inside is the iDrive 6 infotainment platform, while Giga Brown Natural Leather and Carum Spice Grey Cloth can be had for the upholstery. A full suite of safety systems keeps it appropriately techy.

Underneath is a lithium-ion battery and electric motor, which together produce as much as 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque through a single-speed transmission. The sprint from 0-to-60 mph takes 7.2 seconds, with top speed clocked at 93 mph. If you’re looking for more go, the new i3s might fit the bill. Outside, the styling gets a bit more aggressive, with 20-inch wheels and a lower, stiffer suspension. More importantly, the s gets additional electric ponies – up to 184 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque total. Flat out, the i3s can hit 60 mph in 6.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 100 mph. Like the regular i3, the i3s can also come equipped with a two-cylinder range extender if desired, adding almost 90 miles thanks to gasoline. Look for the i3 and i3s to debut in the metal at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month. Expect exact pricing and further details at that time.

PostHeaderIcon BMW Unveils 2018 i3 and i3s

BMW just dropped details on the revamped i3 ahead of its official debut in September. Updates include a new look and a wider stance, breaking a bit from the upright boxy look used before. Full LED headlights keep the road lit, while Melbourne Red Metallic and Imperial Blue Metallic were added to the exterior paint options. Inside is the iDrive 6 infotainment platform, while Giga Brown Natural Leather and Carum Spice Grey Cloth can be had for the upholstery. A full suite of safety systems keeps it appropriately techy.

Underneath is a lithium-ion battery and electric motor, which together produce as much as 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque through a single-speed transmission. The sprint from 0-to-60 mph takes 7.2 seconds, with top speed clocked at 93 mph. If you’re looking for more go, the new i3s might fit the bill. Outside, the styling gets a bit more aggressive, with 20-inch wheels and a lower, stiffer suspension. More importantly, the s gets additional electric ponies – up to 184 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque total. Flat out, the i3s can hit 60 mph in 6.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 100 mph. Like the regular i3, the i3s can also come equipped with a two-cylinder range extender if desired, adding almost 90 miles thanks to gasoline. Look for the i3 and i3s to debut in the metal at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month. Expect exact pricing and further details at that time.

PostHeaderIcon Highs & Lows: 2017 BMW i8

The BMW i8 isn’t new, but it’s my first time behind the wheel. Luckily, I got more than some quick test-drive around the block, I spent a keep getting to know BMW’s spaceship for the streets. Like anything with a split personality, the i8 falls under that old saying, “jack of all trades; master of none.” Some call it a supercar. Others call it a dolled up BMW i3 with an overly complicated design and a hybrid powertrain that sips fuel but guzzles expendable monthly income with hefty payments. Yeah, the i8 has some interesting attributes, and that’s what I’m here to explore.

My tester is a 2017 model with only 1,800 or so miles on the odometer. It’s coated in “Sophisto Grey with BMW i Blue” and fitted with the mid-grade and $2,000 Giga World trim package. Only one option is present: the Laserlight headlights, which cost a hefty $6,300. The $995 destination fee is the only other added cost. Still, that pushes the $143,400 i8 past a $153,000 purchase price. Needless to say, the i8 ain’t cheap. But neither is its technology. BMW somehow squeezes 357 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque from a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder and a pair of electric motors. The chassis is made of lightweight aluminum and the body shell is constructed of carbon fiber reinforced plastic. It has two transmissions, AWD, and a combined EPA rating of 76 MPGe. Still, the i8 isn’t perfect. Living with it for a week has uncovered some notable annoyances that a potential i8 owner should definitely know exist.

Continue reading for the highs and low of the BMW i8.

PostHeaderIcon Highs & Lows: 2017 BMW i8

The BMW i8 isn’t new, but it’s my first time behind the wheel. Luckily, I got more than some quick test-drive around the block, I spent a keep getting to know BMW’s spaceship for the streets. Like anything with a split personality, the i8 falls under that old saying, “jack of all trades; master of none.” Some call it a supercar. Others call it a dolled up BMW i3 with an overly complicated design and a hybrid powertrain that sips fuel but guzzles expendable monthly income with hefty payments. Yeah, the i8 has some interesting attributes, and that’s what I’m here to explore.

My tester is a 2017 model with only 1,800 or so miles on the odometer. It’s coated in “Sophisto Grey with BMW i Blue” and fitted with the mid-grade and $2,000 Giga World trim package. Only one option is present: the Laserlight headlights, which cost a hefty $6,300. The $995 destination fee is the only other added cost. Still, that pushes the $143,400 i8 past a $153,000 purchase price. Needless to say, the i8 ain’t cheap. But neither is its technology. BMW somehow squeezes 357 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque from a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder and a pair of electric motors. The chassis is made of lightweight aluminum and the body shell is constructed of carbon fiber reinforced plastic. It has two transmissions, AWD, and a combined EPA rating of 76 MPGe. Still, the i8 isn’t perfect. Living with it for a week has uncovered some notable annoyances that a potential i8 owner should definitely know exist.

Continue reading for the highs and low of the BMW i8.

PostHeaderIcon Hyundai Next-Gen Fuel Cell SUV

Some automakers are dead set on battery-powered cars being the way of the future, but others – like Hyundai – are leaning more toward hydrogen powered cars like the Next-Gen Fuel Cell SUV you see here. It’s not Hyundai’s first foray into the very limited hydrogen niche, but it will serve as the brand’s second hydrogen-powered model next to the Tucson Fuel Cell (known as ix35 in markets outside the U.S.) Dubbed as a preview for a production model, it is said to be a huge improvement over the current Tucson Fuel Cell, offering up more power, more reliability, more efficiency, and more range for every fill- up. As a near-production-ready concept, this SUV delivers 160 horsepower, an improvement of 26 ponies over the Tucson, and even offers better cold-start ability with reliable starting occurring in temperatures as low as 22 degrees Fahrenheit (-30 C) and it does all of this while boasting a unique look in comparison to the rest of Hyundai’s SUV lineup.

That’s right, the upcoming FCEV SUV isn’t based directly on the Tucson or the Santa Fe, so it’s a true-to-life standalone model. Well, unless Hyundai wants to get lazy and use it as the basis for either of those models down the line. It does sport some cues from the new Hyundai Sonata and Elantra on the outside, but under the metal, it’s busting at the seams with updated hydrogen technology. The biggest problem is the lack of hydrogen infrastructure in most areas, which is why the Tucson FCEV is limited to areas like California where there are some filling stations. But, the upcoming production FCEV is shooting for a range of about 800 km or nearly 500 miles – that should be more than enough to ease the pain associated with anxiety over the availability of hydrogen.

With that said, let’s dive on in a take a good look at this concept and talk about what we can expect from the upcoming production model.

PostHeaderIcon Did Elon Musk Trick Us into Believing the Tesla Model 3 is Affordable?

Ever since Elon Musk told the world about his intentions of making the Model 3, he has marketed it and boasted it as an affordable mass-market vehicle, even claiming that it would be a car just about anyone could get into. It was a long time coming, but on July 28th, the first Model 3s were delivered in a big handover party in Australia. Tesla’s main homepage also live streamed the festivities. As part of that handover party, we finally got the long-awaited word on specifications as well as official pricing. Now, at a glance, the Model 3 does look pretty affordable – it’s an EV sedan that in base form will cost you $35,000 and offer a range of 220 miles. That’s not bad, and it’s on par with cars like the Nissan Leaf and pretty close to the Chevy Bolt EV. No big deal, right? Well, there is, because the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt EV both have more amenities inside without such a bland look, and the options for the Model 3 could make it quite the expensive little car.

So, let’s talk about that a little more. At $35,000 you get the most basic vehicle ever to be labeled as an entry-level model.
This thing has no instrument cluster, no head-up display, and no real character inside. Of course, that 15-inch display provides all of the information you might need and controls all major functions of the interior, but it’s basic. The cabin is only attractive because it’s different, and to be honest, it even looks a little cheap. But hey; it’s a cheap EV, so that’s to be expected. You’re not going to get wood trim, a personal chauffeur, and a gorgeous blonde to go along with the car with a price tag like that. If you’re buying a $120,000 Porsche, then maybe you should negotiate for some extras. The question is, how many people will really settle for the base model? Would you really want to, knowing you only get 220 miles of range? I mean, let’s get real, it doesn’t even come with Tesla’s biggest selling point: Enhanced AutoPilot.
So, is it affordable? Well, keep reading to see for yourself.

PostHeaderIcon Toyota Partners With Mazda to Develop EVs

Toyota and Mazda just announced a new partnership wherein the Japanese automakers will jointly develop electric vehicles. The partnership also includes a forthcoming $1.6 billion assembly plant at an as of yet unannounced location, with production scheduled to ramp up by the year 2021. The plant will create upwards of 300,000 vehicles annually and employ roughly 4,000 U.S. workers, prompting a Tweet from President Trump, who praised the announcement as a “great investment in American manufacturing.” The plant will initially build models of the Toyota Corolla and a new Mazda SUV, with the possibility for EVs sometime in the future. The partnership includes a 5 percent stake in Mazda for Toyota and a 0.25 percent stake in Toyota for Mazda, with the possibility for expansion in the future. Toyota and Mazda will also work together in developing infotainment tech and autonomous driving tech.

The partnership is framed as a major step forward for EV development for both companies. “There will be new rivals appearing – Apple, Google – these are IT companies, we also need to compete with them, too,” said Toyota President Akio Toyoda, according to Reuters. “What’s different from the past is that there are no nautical charts for us to follow. It’s without precedent,” he added with regards to EV tech and alternative vehicle power sources. Without a doubt, this new partnership marks further expansion of the EV segment as a whole and the expectation of widespread EV adoption in the near future.

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PostHeaderIcon The Tesla Model 3 Is Designed For Fully Autonomous Operation, So Where Are The Robo Chauffeurs?

Tesla is finally rolling out the Model 3, kicking off production with a “handover” party wherein company CEO and star boy extraordinaire Elon Musk gave us the skinny on the new sedan’s specs. In addition to learning about important numbers like range per charge and 0-to-60 mph times (310 miles and 5.1 seconds respectively for the top-trim Long Range model), Musk let slip this little nugget regarding Tesla’s self-driving aspirations: “Every Tesla being produced right now – the Model 3, the Model S, the Model X – has all the hardware necessary for full autonomy.” That means visual cameras, radar, ultrasonic sensors, and a whole lot of computing power as well. However, the Model 3 still requires a human pilot in the driver’s seat, so what gives?

The answer can be found buried deep in the Model 3 press release, following a $3,000 price tag for the Full Self-Driving Capability package: “This feature is dependent upon extensive software validation and regulatory approval, which may vary by jurisdiction.” Read on for a translation of what that really means, and a prediction of when your car will ferry you around sans inputs.

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PostHeaderIcon Maserati Is Going Hybrid in 2019

Founded in late 2014, the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles alliance isn’t doing particularly well, despite initial high hopes and what appeared to be a solid five-year production plan. With Jeep reported to do better than the entire group, FCA needs to act fast if it wants to keep up with the likes of GM, Toyota, and the Volkswagen Group or even avoid facing a second bankruptcy. Company CEO Sergio Marchionne is well aware of that and devised a new five-year plan that revolves around launching a host of plug-in hybrid vehicles. This is far from surprising, but interestingly enough, Marchionne wants Maserati to lead this offensive with full electrification from 2019 onward.

The Italian boss didn’t have much info to share, but it seems that the plan is for all Maserati vehicles launched in 2019 and beyond to plug-in hybrid or all-electric drivetrains. “When it completes the development of its next two models, it will effectively switch all of its portfolio to electrification,” he told journalists. “As these products come up for renewal post 2019, it will start launching vehicles which are all-electric and which embody, I think, what will be considered state of the art technology.” In addition to that, more than half the FCA fleet will be electrified in some way by 2022.

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