Posts Tagged ‘electric cars’

Tesla Model S P85D Arrives in Detroit for NAIAS


While many people were expecting the Model X to makes its debut during this year’s North American International Auto Show, it is nowhere to be found. However, what they did bring to the show is the 691 horsepower Model S P85D that we are looking at in the flesh for the first time. Turns out, since the P85D looks just like the old P85, I have basically seen one before.

One new feature on the Model S is the new Rear Executive Seating option available for $2,000, although technically it’s $5,500 since it requires the $3,500 Premium Interior Package. This option removes the 5th seat and provides two roomier heavily bolstered rear seats essentially converting the Model S into a 2+2. The middle seat is replaced with an armrest and a pair of cupholders. There were rumblings of a longer wheelbase model to be built for the Chinese market, but for now it looks like this new executive seating option will have to do for those that get driven around. We’ve included lots of pictures of the seats in our gallery so check them out later.

Detail wise, the P85D gets its power from a pair of electric motors. There is a 221 horsepower motor up front and a bigger 470 horsepower driving the rear wheels. Together they rocket the Model S from 0-60 in just 3.2 seconds compared to 5.2 seconds on the 85D which uses two identical motors front and back that each deliver 188 horsepower.

While we were hoping to see the new Model X, or even some news on the upcoming Model 3 which is already getting some competition with the announcement of the Chevy Bolt Concept which is promising similar range at a slightly lower price point. Will the Tesla brand be enough to convince buyers to go with the Model 3? Will consumers even want budget EVs with gas prices so low?

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Chevy Bolt To Fight Against Tesla EV Dominance


As part of a two hit combo aimed at taking down Tesla Motors, Chevy has unveiled a more direct competitor to Tesla’s (future) offerings. We’ve told you about Chevy’s next generation 2016 Volt, but here at the 2015 NAIAS, the Chevy Bolt concept was also unveiled. The Bolt EV concept is a essentially a slightly larger, and much longer range version of the Volt in a body that looks more like the Spark aimed squarely at the Tesla.

“The Bolt EV concept is a game-changing electric vehicle designed for attainability, not exclusivity,” said General Motors CEO Mary Barra. “Chevrolet believes electrification is a pillar of future transportation and needs to be affordable for a wider segment of customers.”

With a target price of $30,000 and a 200 mile electrical range, the Bolt will definitely take care of the exclusivity (an obvious dig at Tesla) issue for long range electrical vehicles. Chevrolet plans to sell the Bolt in all 50 states and other global markets and not just in regions and locales with heavy incentives.

Design wise, the Bolt EC pushes the definitions of a crossover. While smaller than most, by pushing the axles to the extreme front and rear, the interior space is maximized to provide a roomy environment for four people. Vented rear fenders and light weight materials help to maximize range. A frosted glass panoramic roof and wrap around rear window help to further give the interior that open airy feeling. The center console, mounted to the front seats appears to be floating under the main dash. On the dash, a large 10″ touch screen provides access to most of the vehicle’s systems (there are hardly any physical buttons in the vehicle). Owners are also able to use their own smartphones as keys to the system, using presumably NFC.

Check out our extensive gallery of the new Chevy Bolt EV Concept from the 2015 North American International Auto Show.

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Next Generation 2016 Chevy Volt Unveiled in Detroit

After offering a sneak peek at the next generation Chevy Volt at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Chevrolet has now officially unveiled the new EV here in Detroit at the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) at their high-tech booth adorned with 20 foot tall transparent display screens.

The new Chevy Volt gets a slight makeover on the front end, the split-grille from the older model has been broken up into two distinct grilles with the Chevy badge making its new home inside the smaller top grille. The larger lower grille features active grille shutters that close during higher speeds. The LED fog lights have been rotated 90 degrees and now resemble a pair of fangs (or whiskers depending on how you see this car).

We saw in Vegas how the new Volt looked, so what is different under the hood? Before we start let’s recap some of the current generation Volt specs. Armed with a 1.4L four-cylinder engine and electric motor the current Volt can make it 38 miles on all-electric power before the gas engine powers up giving it a total range of 375+ miles.

The new 2016 Chevy Volt gets a slightly bigger 1.5L four-cylinder gas engine. The electrical propulsion system has been updated to a two motor based system delivering nnearly 20% stronger acceleration down low (0 – 48 km/h). The new drive unit sheds 100 pounds off the new Volt. The battery has also been upgraded to a 18.4 kWh unit that not only provides a longer all-electric range of 50 miles (38 miles on current gen Volt), but also sheds another 21 pounds. The new overall range is expected to be more than 400 miles (about 20 miles more than the existing Volt). 0-60 times have been reduced to 8.4 seconds.

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Venturi Launches Updated America Electric Buggy

A couple years ago Venturi launched their all electric buggy called the America at the 2012 Paris Motor Show and now two years later at the same show they have brought an updated America boasting even more power.

The Venturi America now packs 407 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque which translate into a 0-60 (actually 0-100km) time of 4.5 seconds and a 0-200km time of 14 seconds flat. Other changes for the new America include a slightly higher ride height and an updated electric powertrain. The 53kW lithium battery has enough capacity to provide a range of 250km on a single charge, which takes about 3 hours. For reference, the original Venturi America had just 300 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque.

Looking at the new America at the Venturi booth inside the Paris Motor Show, I assumed the fact that Venturi calls it an electric buggy and refers to it as an electric crossover on their literature that the America would be an all-wheel-drive vehicle but it turns out it is actually driven only by the rear wheels. This is even more confusing when you learn that the Venturi America actually packs a twin electric motor powertrain.

I’m really not sure what Venturi is thinking with the America, perhaps they couldn’t quite make an all-wheel-drive work without compromising too much range or they have something else up their sleeves. Either way, this is definitely a niche vehicle for those looking for something a little different. Venturi plans to build only 25 Americas each of which will be individually numbered.

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Mercedes-Benz Gives B-Class a Parisian Facelift

Just on the heels of the Paris Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz has given their B-class mini minivan (or large hatchback depending on where you stand) a small facelift. It’s been a few years now for the current second-generation B-class and it is falling behind with stiffening competition including some home grown competition in some markets with the A-class.

This facelift consists of the usual updates including a revised front end that modernizes the front end to look more similar to the CLA-Class. The bumper has been reshaped, and includes a grille that looks to also be borrowed from the CLA parts bin. The headlights and taillights have also been updated and now feature the new LED DRL look. For the first time on the B-Class, LED headlights are an available option. Optional 4MATIC AWD ensures the B-Class excels in all conditions, and KEYLESS-GO extends convenience by offering a push start and touch unlocking of the doors.

Continue Reading: More Details and Photo Gallery

Cadillac to debut ELR in Detroit at NAIAS

Cadillac will be showing off the new ELR Coupe at the North American International Auto Show next month in Detroit. Based off of the Converj concept shown at the 2009 NAIAS, the ELR Coupe will be powered by an electric drive unit, as well as a small 4 cylinder engine-generator when battery power runs low, much like the Chevy Volt.

The Cadillac ELR will be built at General Motor’s Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant right alongside the Volt. It is the only US automotive plant to mass manufacture extended range electric vehicles. The ELR Coupe will be the first 2 door car to be built at this plant since the 1999 Cadillac Eldorado.

“The ELR will be in a class by itself, further proof of our commitment to electric vehicles and advanced technology,” Reuss said in a keynote address at the SAE Convergence Conference in Detroit. “People will instantly recognize it as a Cadillac by its distinctive, signature look and true-to-concept exterior design.”

Production is scheduled to begin in late 2013

More pictures of the ELR Coupe

Chevrolet Adds Another EV to its fleet with Chevy Spark

The Chevrolet Spark micro-sub compact line has now been expanded with an all electric model. Chevrolet introduced the Spark EV to journalists today at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show. The Spark EV will be powered by a 130hp oil-cooled electric motor that delivers over 400 lb/ft of torque allowing it to accelerate from 0-6 in under 8 seconds and while that is still pretty slow its about 4 seconds quicker than the 84hp gas-sipping model.

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Shocker: Tesla S Beats Out Gas Burners for 2013 Motor Trend COTY

Motor Trend has announced that the Telsa Model S has been awarded its 2013 Car of the Year award beating out a wide field of offerings from automakers like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Porsche. To take the top honours, the Model S garnered a unanimous vote from the panel of Motor Trend judges–a first for the coveted award.

“Our aspiration with the Model S was to show that an electric car truly can be better than any gasoline car, which is a critical step towards the widespread adoption of sustainable transport,” said Elon Musk, Tesla Motors co-founder and CEO. “Nothing illustrates this more clearly than winning Motor Trend’s Car of the Year by unanimous decision against a field of exceptional competitors.”

While electric cars continue to be “image cars” in my opinion, Telsa is at least making cars that are exciting to see and drive. At least we know the future bodes well for Tesla, if not for the electric car.

Source: Tesla Motors

Magna plans e-car battery factories in EU, U.S.

Canadian car parts maker Magna International is seeking locations to produce batteries for electric cars, a rapidly growing business as carmakers try alternative power options, Magna’s boss said on Tuesday.
Magna co-Chief Executive Siegfried Wolf said at an event in Vienna that he had earmarked a $200-300 million investment for each of the two factories he is planning. One factory will be built in the European Union, one in the United States.

Quirky, 3-wheeled Aptera EV edges closer to launch

The space-age Aptera might look like something straight out of a futuristic cartoon, but executives at the California start-up behind the electric vehicle say its time is now.
Delivering on that promise might be tough.
The company, which delayed production plans because it could not find financing during the 2009 credit crisis, now says it will start production of the car next year.

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