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Aggressive new Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Concept-S coming to Paris

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Budget watchdog warns Tesla Gigafactory fight could be 'race to the bottom'

Massive Tax Breaks Could Be Used For Something Other Than Corporate Benefits

Posted Sep 2nd 2014 6:55PM

Tesla Gigafactory finalist states

How desperate are the states in the US Southwest for a Tesla Gigafactory? Maybe a little too desperate, according to the California Budget Project. CBP says that the five states that are vying for the new big battery plant from Tesla and Panasonic are really in a "a race to the bottom from which no real winner may emerge." The CBP issued an open letter to leaders in those states that called for "greater openness in the process, strong accountability measures, and cooperation – not competition – among the states."

Basically, what CBP is saying is that Tesla is trying to get too good a deal from whichever of the five states (Texas, Nevada, New Mexico, California or Arizona) will be picked for the Gigafactory to be built (well, the first one, at least). We have known for a long time that these states are fighting amongst themselves, and the CBP says that even though the Gigafactory is "undoubtedly a valuable source of economic growth for its eventual home state," since the public bidding process starts at $500 million in subsidies, the five states 'have more to gain from cooperation than from competition." After all, Tesla has made it clear that it needs the Gigafacatory to make its cheaper EV a reality, so CBP is suggesting that the states communicate with each other so that no one offers too many tax breaks in the "harmful pattern of one state 'winning' a high-profile competition." The $500 million could be better spent on other things, CBP argues, and wonders if Tesla would be "receptive to a multi-state dialogue." Your Houston News notes that Tesla is asking the states "not to discuss their offers, and states aren't talking."

Tesla did not have anything more to add to AutoblogGreen, but the company has said that an official announcement on the location of the first Gigafactory is coming toward the end of this year. For now, you can read CBP's open letter in full below.

2015 Toyota Camry priced at $22,970*, Hybrid at $26,790*

Posted Sep 2nd 2014 5:00PM

2015 Toyota Camry

We last saw the heavily revised 2015 Toyota Camry at the New York Auto Show earlier this year. Now, it's finally time for the best-selling car in the US to hit the roads in late September, and Toyota is announcing how much the updated model actually costs.

The basic Camry LE rings up for $22,970 (*not including a $825 delivery, processing and handling fee). That's up slightly from the base price of $22,425 for the 2014.5 LE, but the updated sedan has some 2,000 new parts, while also being 1.8 inches longer and boasting a 0.4-inch wider track. The rest of the trim levels include the SE for $23,840, sporty new XSE for $26,150 and XLE at $26,150. Opting for the V6 is the XSE and XLE bumps pricing to $31,370.

Separately, the Camry Hybrid gets its own LE, SE and XLE trims. The LE starts at $26,790 with a standard, power driver's seat and 4.2-inch information display. The SE for $27,995 gets an improved interior and the XLE at $29,980 has leather, heated front seats, LED running lights and more.

Powertrains carry over with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and six-speed automatic available on all non-hybrid models and a 3.5-liter V6 with a six-speed auto optional for the XSE and XLE. The Camry Hybrid maintains its 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder and CVT.

Despite the slight price jump, even base LE models get features like an eight-way power driver's seat and heated outside mirrors. The SE also adds a 4.2-inch multi-information display and direct tire pressure monitor system.

Jumping up to the XSE adds leather, heated front seats and a power passenger seat, and the top XLE features Ultrasuede seat inserts. Both of these also get LED running lights and Toyota's Entune Audio Plus multimedia system. V6 models also have full LED headlights, Smart Key and navigation on a seven-inch infotainment system. Scroll down for all of the details about the updated Camry in the press release below.

News Source: Toyota

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Drew Phillips, Brandon Turkus / AOL

Uber banned across Germany

Posted Sep 2nd 2014 4:25PM

Barcelona Cabs Strike Against Uber Taxi App

A German court has issued a nationwide ban on Uber, the increasingly popular, taxi-replacing, ride-hailing app. The ban will run until later this year until the "legality" of the service can be determined, The New York Times' Bits blog reports.

Uber has announced that it would appeal the decision, which only affects the budget UberPop service, and maintain its operations in the country, even though its employees – not, interestingly, its freelance drivers – could be arrested for violating the Frankfurt court's injunction. The company's luxury minded Uber Black service, which is more akin to a chauffeured livery service rather than a cab, is not affected by the court ruling.

The court claims that some of the Uber pilots were lacking the proper permits and insurance necessary to work as a cabbie. The company is currently facing a 250,000-euro fine (about $330,000 at today's rates), a figure that's only set to increase if the company continues to violate the German ban.

The latest complaint was brought by trade body Taxi Deutschland, whose chairman, Dieter Schlenker, compared the start-up's business model to a "locust."

"Uber operates with billions of cash from Goldman Sachs and Google, wraps itself up to look like a start-up and sells itself as the saviour of the new economy," Schlenker said, according to NYT.

As for Uber? "You cannot put the brakes on progress," the company said in a statement.

News Source: The New York Times' Bits

Image Credit: David Ramos / Getty Images

Recharge Wrap-up: Toyota allowed to inspect own hydrogen tanks, Telsa tour reveals expansion

Mahindra Reva e2o Gets Premium Variant

Posted Sep 2nd 2014 2:14PM

toyota hydrogen fcv

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Ministry has certified Toyota to self-inspect its high-pressure hydrogen tanks. The approval allows more freedom in production timing, as outside inspectors previously had to be on site during the manufacture of hydrogen tanks for vehicle prototypes. Toyota has passed the stringent standards to become a registered manufacturer of the 700-bar hydrogen tanks, which the company will use in its upcoming fuel cell vehicle (FCV). With the improved efficiency this certification allows in the manufacturing process, Toyota believes it will help to lower the cost of the FCV. Read more in the press release below.

A look inside Telsa's fremont Factory shows thriving activity and increased capacity. Analyst Trip Chowdhry, in a rare tour of the factory, describes a bustling facility capable of producing the Model X and Model III alongside the Model S. A part of the floor labeled "Driver Assist" suggests to Teslarati that Tesla is researching a self-driving car. Chowdhry reports that the factory lobby was "busy with European suppliers and Asian suppliers." He also found an energized workforce and culture similar to Silicon Valley startups. Read more at International Business Times.

Mahindra has introduced a premium version of the e2o electric car, made in partnership with Reva. The car features a range of almost 75 miles, power steering, infotainment, rear-view parking camera, driver information display and an emergency power reserve feature, called REVive, offering an extra five miles of range activated through a smartphone. Mahindra also launched a program called "Goodbye Fuel, Hello Electric" in which customers pay to use the e2o by the mile. Learn more at The Indian Express.

Tesla, China Unicom setting up 400-station charging network in China

TSLA Stock Climbs To Record High

Posted Sep 2nd 2014 11:59AM

Tesla Model S

Tesla and China United Network Communications Corp. are working on something big. Like 400 public chargers in 120 cities big. These are not going to be Supercharger fast chargers that the California automaker is installing across the US and Europe, but don't worry, the two companies are going to install 20 Superchargers there. As with the Supercharger network, Tesla EV drivers will be able to juice up their cars for free at the 400 stations and the new Superchargers.

The deal will work like this, according to Bloomberg: Tesla supplies the charging station parts and China Unicom provides the land. Laying the groundwork for easier electric vehicle charging is important, since Model S EVs are already selling well in China and CEO Elon Musk has said that the company expects sales there to reach the same level as in the US perhaps by 2015. Tesla and all plug-in vehicle sellers will benefit if China's plan to invest $16 billion on more charging stations comes to fruition.

China Unicom is the second-biggest mobile phone company in China, which may help explain why TSLA stock jumped to a record high after the announcement and is climbing again today. As of this writing, the stock is just over $283, up $13.55 (5.02 percent) from last week.

News Source: Bloomberg, Bloomberg

Aggressive new Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Concept-S coming to Paris

Key Words Are "Sporty And Sophisticated"

Posted Sep 2nd 2014 10:58AM

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Concept Paris 2014

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Concept for Paris 2014Already a hit in the rest of the world, the Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid is not coming to the US until late next year. That gives Mitsu plenty of time to upgrade the SUV to the next-generation model, and we might be getting a glimpse of what the US-speck Outlander PHEV will look like at the Paris Motor Show in early October. Take a look at the new "Sporty and Sophisticated" Outlander PHEV Concept-S that Mitsubishi is teasing in two dark images today.

Mitsubishi says that what's being teased here is simply part of a "special package" that "magnifies the Outlander PHEV's unique driving experience." But, the last time Mitsubishi showed off an Outlander PHEV concept – at the 2012 Paris show – the production model ended up looking quite a bit like the show version. With aggressive lines all over the front fascia and bold strokes across the rear, the new concept certainly looks a lot better than the current model. We don't expect all of this auto show pizazz to make the final cut, but we like the direction that Mitsubishi is going here, extending the design language from the Outlander XR PHEV and GC-PHEV concepts from last year's Tokyo show. We should know more when we get to Paris on October 2nd. Until then, click on the images to get a better view and check out Mitsubishi's press release below.

News Source: Mitsubishi

Kia Soul EV will plug into Sky DC fast chargers, EZ-Charge network

Posted Sep 2nd 2014 7:50AM

Kia Greenlots Charging Station

As Kia gets ready to introduce its first plug-in vehicle to the US market, the 2015 Soul EV, it is also prepping some infrastructure improvements. The company announced today that it is partnering with Greenlots and ABB on offering Greenlots' Sky Smart Charging DC fast chargers at some West Coast Kia dealerships. Greenlots president Brett Hauser told AutoblogGreen that the program will expand to the East Coast in the future.

While we don't yet know all of the monetary details quite yet – Kia says that "pricing structures and incentives" for the new EV will be coming later this month – but it appears that Soul EV buyers will be able to access the EZ-Charge network and there will also be something called a Kia ChargeUp card available. The CHAdeMO-compatible Soul EV is due to arrive in the third quarter of 2014 and the Korean company has high hopes for the car in the US. Take a closer look at the car in this video and read the announcement below.

Greenlots is a San Francisco-based company that is trying to make vehicle charging as easy and open as possible. Last year, it helped with the installation of 13 DC fast chargers in the greater Vancouver, BC area.

News Source: Greenlots, Kia

California renters may soon install EV chargers at home

AB 2565 Moves To Gov's Desk With Charge Ahead Bill

Posted Sep 1st 2014 2:45PM

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.

News Source: Charged EVs, Capitol Weekly

Image Credit: *lapin/Flickr

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

Posted Sep 1st 2014 8:00AM

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.
Related GalleryHarley-Davidson Livewire
Harley-Davidson LivewireHarley-Davidson LivewireHarley-Davidson LivewireHarley-Davidson LivewireHarley-Davidson LivewireHarley-Davidson LivewireHarley-Davidson LivewireHarley-Davidson Livewire

News Source: Navigant Research

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

Posted Aug 31st 2014 3:00PM

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.

News Source: US Energy Information Administration, American Automobile Association

Image Credit: Wilfredo Lee / AP

Ford hybrid sales rebound following MPG controversy

Posted Aug 31st 2014 1:00PM

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.

News Source: Ward's Auto

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

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

Posted Aug 30th 2014 5:00PM

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.

News Source: The Verge

Image Credit: Dmitry Grishin

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

Posted Aug 30th 2014 1:00PM

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.

Tesla Model S rentals in the UK are crazy expensive

Posted Aug 29th 2014 7:54PM

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.
Related GalleryTesla Model S: Quick Spin
Tesla Model S: Quick SpinTesla Model S: Quick SpinTesla Model S: Quick SpinTesla Model S: Quick SpinTesla Model S: Quick SpinTesla Model S: Quick SpinTesla Model S: Quick SpinTesla Model S: Quick Spin

News Source: Transport Evolved

Image Credit: 2014 AOL

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