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Michigan Gov. signs 'anti-Tesla' bill, but says rules could change

  • Video
    Michigan Gov. signs 'anti-Tesla' bill, but says rules could change
  • Translogic
    Translogic 161: Detroit bike culture explored
  • Official
    Ford Focus Electric gets $6,000 price drop, now starts at $29,995
  • Meet Tecnicar Lavinia, Italy's first electric supercar
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Nissan edges out Tesla for most ZEV credits sold in California

2014 Numbers Show New Companies On Top, Bottom Of List

Posted Oct 21st 2014 7:58PM

Nissan Leaf

When it comes to California zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) credits last year, Nissan was selling and Mercedes-Benz was buying. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) put out its ZEV-credits numbers for the year that ended September 30, which is why we now know that Nissan, maker of the battery-electric Leaf, transferred 663.6 ZEV credits out of its account last year. That just edged out the 650.195 credits that Tesla sold. Chrysler's Fiat affiliate was a distant third, but its limited-production Fiat 500E was still able to generate some ZEV credits and then transfer out 235.2 of them. We don't know how much the buyers paid for these credits, since those details are kept private. It's an ever-changing rulebook over at CARB, anyway.

On the flip side, Mercedes-Benz had to buy 663.6 ZEV credits in order to comply with clean vehicle-sales mandates in the most populous US state, indicative of the German automaker's gas-guzzling tendencies. Honda has cars that get better fuel economy than your average Benz, but its plug-in vehicles represent just a fraction of total sales and so it had to shell out for 542.5 ZEV credits. Chrysler-Fiat basically tread water, since the 237.8 ZEV credits it required for compliance canceled out gains on the other side of the ledger. Those Dodge Ram pickup trucks don't exactly help matters. Last year, Tesla sold the most ZEV credits while GM purchased the most.

Overall, Californians bought about 3.5 million vehicles for the year that ended September 30, including 38,000 battery-electric vehicles, 30,000 plug-in hybrids and 570,000 conventional hybrids. The longstanding ZEV program means that California now has more than 100,000 ZEVs on its roads. Read this for more details on ZEV credit transfers in California.
Related Gallery2013 Nissan Leaf
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Recharge Wrap-up: Tesla will sell Model S on Alibaba in China, Wrightspeed electrifies garbage trucks

Hillside Leisure Makes RV From Nissan e-NV200

Posted Oct 21st 2014 5:59PM

tesla model s

Tesla will sell cars in China using Alibaba's Tmall website. Customers will be able to use the Chinese shopping site to place an $8,200 deposit toward a Model S. Tmall will feature 18 preconfigured versions for customers to choose from, which won't offer quite the level of customization as Tesla's US site. Bloomberg's Jamie Butters calls it a "defensive move" on Tesla's part, and still expects the company to sell cars in China the traditional way. Watch the video at Bloomberg or read more at Bidness Etc.

Tesla co-founder Ian Wright's company Wrightspeed is converting garbage trucks to EVs. The same brand that created the exciting X1 EV is making trash collection much cleaner. "Garbage trucks are the perfect driving cycle for us: they get two or three miles per gallon, drive 130 miles a day with 1,000 hard stops that chew on the brakes," says Wright. The system puts an electric motor at each of the truck's drive wheels, and includes an on-board generator that runs on diesel or natural gas to extend driving range. Read more at Xconomy.

British company Hillside Leisure is converting the Nissan e-NV200 into a camper van. The electric RV, called the DalburyE, debuted at the UK's Motorhome and Caravan Show in Birmingham. It sleeps up to four people, and features a pop-up roof, a gas stove, fridge, sink and other amenities. It's a great way to take full advantage of an RV park's electrical outlet to charge the van while camping in it. Read more at Transport Evolved, and see more photos at Hillside Liesure's blog.
Related GalleryTesla Model S
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News Source: Bloomberg, Bidness Etc, Xconomy, Transport Evolved

Image Credit: Tesla

Michigan Gov. signs 'anti-Tesla' bill, but says rules could change

One More State Goes Against Tesla's Direct Sales Model

Posted Oct 21st 2014 2:43PM

Governor Snyder Michigan Anti-Tesla Bill Screen Grab

Don't look for a Tesla store in Detroit anytime soon. Even though the company says a Motor City service center is "Coming Soon," another hurdle was placed in the company's way today when Governor Rick Snyder signed House Bill 5606 into law. The law was introduced by State Representative Aric Nesbitt, who said it is not "anti-Tesla at all." Still, 5606 does clarify and strengthen the state's laws against an automaker selling vehicles directly to consumers, which is why Tesla called on its supporters last week to ask Snyder not to sign the bill into law. That didn't work.

The bill passed the Michigan legislative chambers with overwhelming support last week (106-1 in the House, 38-0 in the Senate) and Snyder said that his team's research found it "doesn't change current law at all." He nonetheless thought it was worth signing, and you can watch him explain why in the video below. He also mentions a letter he attached to the bill saying he's open to future discussions regarding direct vehicle sales. He does not mention his campaign support from numerous auto dealers.

We have asked Tesla for a comment on this latest development and will let you know when we hear back. Last week, the California automaker called the legislation "harmful to consumers."

News Source: Gov. Rick Snyder

Georgia EV advocates ready to stand up for tax incentives

Posted Oct 21st 2014 2:01PM

General Motors New Jobs

Like the University of Georgia and its punchy Bulldog mascot, Georgia's electric-vehicle advocates are about to get a little more pugilistic, says the Atlanta Business Chronicle. That's because, for the second straight year, some state politicos may look to end Georgia's electric-vehicle subsidy. Count the EV Club of the South among those looking to take up the fight.

The issue at hand is Georgia's $5,000 state tax credit for plug-in vehicles. That figure, among the highest in the country, has helped spur EV sales in Atlanta, especially given the relatively low EV incentives in neighboring states like Tennessee and South Carolina. In order to keep the status quo, EV advocates plan to ratchet up their fight during next year's legislative session. Some Georgia lawmakers proposed a law earlier this year saying that the aggregate EV incentives over the course of a year would be capped at $10 million. That would mean that the incentives would stop once 2,000 EVs were sold in a particular year. But the vote on HB 257 was never taken, as Georgia legislators ran out of time during the session. That sound you just heard was EV advocates saying a Nelson-from-The Simpsons-like "Hah, hah!"

Georgia EV supporters are getting it from all sides. This summer, the Georgia Automobile Dealers Association stepped up its efforts to try to revoke Tesla Motors' dealer license, joining a bunch of other states looking to maintain the no-direct-automaker-to-customer vehicle sales status quo. Tesla wants to triple its dealer count in the Atlanta area (to three).

News Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle

Image Credit: David Goldman / AP

EPA to scrutinize auto fuel economy tests, issue revised guidelines

Posted Oct 21st 2014 11:15AM

EPA Proposes Changes To Ethanol Mandate In Gasoline

Following the lowering of estimated fuel economy figures from companies like Ford, Hyundai, Kia and even a handful of Mercedes-Benz sedans in the recent past, the Environmental Protection Agency is cracking down by mandating new mileage testing procedures by the end of the year, after first considering some changes months ago. The improved evaluations should make the numbers that buyers see on the window sticker of a vehicle closer to what they experience in the real world.

The most significant alteration is issuing specific protocols governing the coast-down test, according to Automotive News. The examination gathers data on things like drag, rolling resistance and drivetrain friction as a vehicle cruises from 80 miles per hour to a complete stop. That information is then used to program dynamometers for further driving analyses, but currently, the exact procedure varies by company. Inaccurate figures from the assessment were reportedly responsible for Hyundai and Kia's fuel economy mark down and one of the changes for the Ford C-Max.

The other big change closes a loophole that allows automakers to test the fuel economy for a single model and then apply it to others with the same powertrain and weight class. This is the same issue that forced Ford to re-rate the C-Max in 2013.

According to Automotive News, the agency is also planning to continue with successful policies like auditing the fuel economy of more models to make sure they match manufacturers' ratings. It may also force companies to double-check mileage results from pre-production examples against the final version of a vehicle.

News Source: Automotive News - sub. req.

Image Credit: Joe Raedle / Getty Images

2015 Green Car Of The Year finalists announced, run alt-fuel gamut

Short List Includes Audi A3 TDI, BMW i3, Chevy Impala Bi-Fuel, Honda Fit, VW Golf

Posted Oct 21st 2014 10:00AM

VW e-golf 2015 Green Car of the Year Finalist

The 2015 edition of the Green Car of the Year award is following right in the footsteps of previous years with a variety of alt-fuel powertrains making the just-announced finalists list. You've got your plug-in vehicle (the BMW i3), your compressed natural gas (the Chevy Impala Bi-Fuel), your high-efficiency diesel (the Audi A3 TDI), your 40+ mile-per-gallon gas engine (the Honda Fit) and, finally, a car that can do a little bit of everything (the VW Golf).

The Golf is available – at least in some parts of the US – with three different powertrains: a 2.0-liter diesel, a gasoline engine and all-electric drive. The Impala can burn either natural gas or gasoline in its 3.6-liter engine. The A3 is an efficiency champ, able to get 73.5 mpg on some European tests. The i3 can be a pure electric vehicle or come with a short range extending engine. And the Fit brings 41 miles to the gallon in a practical, affordable package.

The GCOY award is announced every year at the Los Angeles Auto Show by Green Car Journal. The committee doesn't just take the fuel-saving technology into account, but also a vehicle's "availability to the mass market." Last year, the Honda Accord Hybrid/Plug-In Hybrid won top honors, following up on wins from the Ford Fusion models (plug-in hybrid and hybrid) for 2013, the Honda Civic Natural Gas for 2012 and the Chevrolet Volt for 2011.

News Source: Green Car Journal

New BMW i3-like Visio.M EV concept uses lightweight resin

Replacing Glass With Plastic Has Its Benefits

Posted Oct 21st 2014 7:52AM

SABIC, BMW, Technical University of Munich and Daimler's EV Concept

It's not a new version of the BMW i3, but an updated version of a lightweight concept car from SABIC, BMW, the Technical University of Munich, Daimler and others does bear a certain resemblance to the well-designed plug-in city car. From the black "glass" in the hatch to the angled line tail lights to the up-and-down window line, you can see a sort of family resemblance (see an i3 comparison photo here). And, of course, they both have an electric powertrain.

But the changes made to the new lightweight urban electric concept vehicle is more of an exercise in what's possible rather than a way to evolve the i3 and i8 into a broader i family of vehicles. Even so, what we see here is interesting, since SABIC found all sorts of new ways to take weight out of the car as part of the Visio.M (Visionary Mobility) project, which was first announced in 2012.

Let's start with the window material, which as you might guess from the quotation marks above, is not made of glass but is instead SABIC's Lexan polycarbonate (PC) resin plastic. The lower weight (the PC helps shed about 29 pounds) adds two miles of range while the PC resin has better thermal conductivity compared to glass and so does even more because the HVAC system can be more efficient. According to SABIC's computational fluid dynamics analysis, an extra 9-10 miles of range, in fact. Without the battery, this concept weighs just 992 pounds. Remember, BMW already made a lot of weight-reduction measures in the i3 thanks to carbon fiber reinforced plastic, so to make the "glass" lighter would only help boost efficiencies on a production vehicle that uses a resin like this. Read more below.

News Source: SABIC

Watch Alta RedShift perform on the track, pose for our camera

Electric Motorcycle Speeds Around Dirt, Asphalt Tracks

Posted Oct 20th 2014 8:00PM

Alta RedShift SM

If you've read our post about the newly revealed RedShift from newly renamed Alta Motors, you might have gotten the sense that some of us here at AutoblogGreen are a bit taken with this bike(s) – it comes in both motocross and supermoto flavors. If so, you'd be correct. So taken, in fact, that one of us spent some eight hours driving to the AIMExpo in Orlando, FL and back, to have a first-hand look. To be fair, there were some other electric motorcycles we hoped to see in the metal, and people with whom we wanted to shake hands, but really, the RedShift was our primary motivator.

For the launch, the company only released a handful of photos, but we took our trusty Pentax and this writer's rusty shooting skills and tried to capture the sense of what it's like to see these machines in person. You can judge the results for yourselves in the attached gallery.

What's better than looking at a motorcycle on its stand? Seeing it in action. Though initially unavailable at the launch, Alta has now released footage of its test mule taking flight (literally) and tearing up a pair on tracks – one dirt, one asphalt. It's a bit brief and we can't hear the helical gears whir or the high-RPM motor whine, but we are left with the sense that this is one capable bike.

While we look forward to hearing the various views of reviewers, and perhaps even grasping the handle bars ourselves, for now we'll have to content ourselves with the video that awaits your eyes below.

News Source: Vimeo

Video proof that LaFerrari has a pure electric mode

Posted Oct 20th 2014 6:59PM

Ferrari LaFerrari

Typically, a hybrid car, with its gas engine and an electric motor/battery pack is able to run on both forms of propulsion independently of each other. That means you can sip gas, run on pure electricity or some variation there of. The Ferrari LaFerrari is not like other hybrids.

See, the successor to the Enzo has batteries, an electric motor and a great, thumping V12 engine, but unlike its rivals from McLaren and Porsche, it has no standalone electric mode. That's been Ferrari's party line since day one. But have the Italians been exaggerating a bit? Judging by this video, it seems like a real possibility.

The video comes from what we're guessing is a European track day. It shows a black LaFerrari stealthily sailing through a tunnel on pure electric power, which it shouldn't be able to do, before its 789-horsepower V12 fires to life.

So, what does this tell us? Well, it's quite obvious that you can drive a LaFerrari on nothing but electric power. As for why Ferrari doesn't advertise this fact, we're inclined to agree with the folks at Jalopnik, who uncovered the video. It's more than likely that the hypercar's EV range is so pitifully low that Maranello doesn't see it as worth mentioning.

What do you think? Does an EV mode for a 949-horsepower, 205-mph hypercar even matter? Should Ferrari include it as an actual, driver-accessible item, even if the range is low? Have your say in Comments.

News Source: CarloDelucis via YouTube, Jalopnik

Recharge Wrap-up: Detroit Electric teaser video, Nissan Leaf is Good Housekeeping "Tried and Tested"

New Ethanol Plant Capable Of 25 Million Gallons Annually; Chevrolet Bi-Fuel Impala Runs On Garbage And Sewage

Posted Oct 20th 2014 5:29PM

detroit electric sp:01

Detroit Electric has a new teaser video and has updated its brand in preparation of the introduction of the SP:01. The refreshed logo uses a blue and white color palette, and the company has also given its website a new look. The teaser video, which gives a sneak peek at the exterior of the SP:01, shows the car taking form in the midst of an electrical storm. Watch the video or learn more in the press release below.

Abengoa is celebrating the grand opening of a commercial scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Hugoton, KS. When running at full scale, the refinery will produce up to 25 million gallons of ethanol a year. The plant will also generate enough electricity to power itself and put some back into the grid. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz was on hand for the dedication, saying, "Every gallon of cellulosic ethanol produced and used to fuel our vehicles reduces the impact of harmful greenhouse gas emissions by greater than 60 percent as compared to conventional gasoline." Learn more at Energy.gov.

Good Housekeeping has named the Nissan Leaf one of its "Tried and Tested" vehicles. The magazine called the Leaf SL its top "Roomy Electric" vehicle in its November issue. The magazine's research institute evaluated the EV based on track and road driving, ergonomics and convenience features. Good Housekeeping made note of the car's "impressive" range, but according to Nissan's Fred Diaz, "the real beauty of the Nissan Leaf is that it's roomy and, best of all, fun to drive." Read more in the press release below.

Quasar Energy Group produces compressed natural gas from sewage and garbage. It uses things like grains leftover from brewing Budweiser, food waste from a baseball stadium and sewage sludge to produce the gas through anaerobic digestion. The compressed gas can then be used to power cars like Chevrolet's Bi-fuel Impala, which goes on sale later this year. Chevrolet likens the situation to the Delorean time machine in the Back To The Future movie series, which uses garbage to fuel its fusion generator. Watch the video and read the press release below to learn more.

News Source: Detroit Electric, Nissan, US Department of Energy, Chevrolet

Image Credit: Detroit Electric

Porsche 918 Spyder already almost sold out?

Posted Oct 20th 2014 4:01PM

Porsche 918 Spyder

Still planning on getting your hands on a Porsche 918 Spyder? You'd better act quickly, because word has it that the hybrid hypercar is nearly sold out.

While Porsche has reportedly only delivered a little over 30 of the 918 examples of the Spyder it plans to manufacture in total, Automotive News says that production is sold out through late March or early April – just a few months shy of when production is set to wrap in July.

That's pretty impressive for a car with a base price of almost $850,000, especially one requiring a $200,000 deposit just to get your name on the list. Still, that sum is significantly less than its competitors get for the McLaren P1 or LaFerrari, both of which sell for over a million (if you can actually get on one at that price), though in fairness, production of each is limited to less than half of the 918 Spyder.

News Source: Automotive News - sub. req.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL

Translogic 161: Detroit bike culture explored

Posted Oct 20th 2014 12:31PM

Detroit Bikes

Detroit is known as the Motor City due to its rich automotive history and deep affinity for cars. So, what are all these people-powered, two-wheeled wonders doing everywhere?

Bike culture has taken over Detroit, from group rides that attract massive crowds to new manufacturing in old factories. Translogic host Jonathon Buckley heads to the D to investigate the trend, meeting with the head of assembly at Detroit Bikes, chatting up the co-founders of Detroit Slow Roll and taking a cruise with the East Side Riders.

Join us for this new episode of Translogic as we see how Detroit's motorized past may be contributing to its pedal-powered present.

Ford Focus Electric gets $6,000 price drop, now starts at $29,995

Is It Now Ready To Compete With Top Seller Nissan Leaf?

Posted Oct 20th 2014 11:30AM

2015 Ford Focus Electric

In early 2013, the Nissan Leaf shed a massive $6,500 from its $35,200 base price to offer a new starting price of $28,800. Since then, we have seen numerous other plug-in vehicles get smaller price tags, from the Honda Fit EV (lower lease price) to the Chevrolet Volt (around $5,000 lower) to the Mitsubishi i (a $6,130 drop). Last year, Ford lowered the $39,200 price of the Focus Electric by around $4,000, but that hasn't been enough to get the Ford EV to really compete, saleswise, with other plug-in vehicles on the market.

But wait, as they say, there's more. This past weekend, Ford lopped another $6,000 from the price of both the 2014 model year Focus EVs currently on dealer lots as well as the redesigned 2015 models that are now rolling out (they're basically the same car, minus some appearance changes). Ford spokesman Aaron Miller confirmed to AutoblogGreen that the Focus EV will now start at $29,995 and said that reducing the price should make the Blue Oval's only pure EV competitive. "We hope by reducing the price we're giving consumers another reason to consider it," he said.

Through the end of September 2014, Ford has sold just 1,534 Focus EVs in the US (the model sold 1,335 in the first nine months of 2013). For comparison's sake, the Nissan Leaf starts at $29,010 and sells around 3,000 units a month in the US. Miller notes that the Focus EV has been selling the best on the West Coast, and is also doing well on the East Coast. After that, he said Atlanta and the Great Lakes area also see decent sales of model's admittedly small pie. We can only assume that offering the EV for under $30,000 will make that pie somewhat bigger.
Related Gallery2015 Ford Focus EV
2015 Ford Focus EV2015 Ford Focus EV2015 Ford Focus EV2015 Ford Focus EV2015 Ford Focus EV2015 Ford Focus EV2015 Ford Focus EV2015 Ford Focus EV

News Source: Ford via Left Lane News

EV buyers not exactly happy with dealership experience

UC Davis Finds Room For Improvement

Posted Oct 20th 2014 10:33AM

Autos Hybrid Electric Boom

If Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk was an I-told-you-so type of guy, here's his chance to do so. It turns out that plug-in vehicle buyers are generally less satisfied with their dealership experience than conventional-vehicle buyers. And the dealers themselves don't like the process much, either. So says a study from the University of California, Davis.

The report cited 43 interviews with automakers and dealers that sell in California as well as the JD Power 2013 Sales Satisfaction Index. The study found customer-satisfaction scores to be "much lower" for plug-in vehicle buyers than others. Maybe that's because the dealers themselves are less patient and find that selling plug-ins are more time-consuming, labor-intensive and stressful. And that's just getting the car out the door. More complications arise when dealing with the federal tax incentives issue.

Of course, Tesla scored well, relative to the other dealerships. And all that gives more credence to the company's insistence on selling its vehicles directly to customers and without a third-party dealership network. Representatives of some of these dealership groups have been lobbying against the prospect of Tesla getting direct-sales rights. Michigan is the latest battleground between Tesla and pro-dealership entities. See below for an abstract on the UC Davis report and then read more here.

News Source: UC Davis via Green Car Congress, Green Car Reports

Image Credit: David Zalubowski / AP

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