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Unplugged Performance sweetens the look of your Tesla Model S for around $6,000

  • Official
    Unplugged Performance sweetens the look of your Tesla Model S for around $6,000
  • Report
    Japan offering $20,000 incentives for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles
  • Report
    Tesla halts production to prep for Model X
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    Opel dropping Ampera, the European Chevy Volt, because of weak sales
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Recharge Wrap-up: Lexus CT 200h is NWAPA's favorite hybrid, "No Charge to Charge" in LA

97 Percent Of New Chevy Malibus Have Stop-Start; California Schools Gets EV Buses

Posted Jul 24th 2014 9:56AM

lexus ct 200h

The Northwest Automotive Press Association (NWAPA) has given the Lexus CT 200h its Favorite Hybrid title. It named the compact luxury hybrid its favorite of 2014 at its Drive Revolution in Portland (where it also named the new Volkswagen Golf TDI the Northwest Green Car of the Year). According to NWAPA president Nik Miles, the CT 200h earned the honor for "impressive combination of state-of-the-art small car luxury and hybrid technology." For 2014, the Lexus CT200h got an updated front end, including the spindle grille we've been seeing on new Lexus vehicles, plus a redesigned steering wheel and sliding sun visors. Read more in the press release below.

Chevrolet credits the Malibu for helping make stop-start mainstream. Chevrolet started including stop-start technology standard in Malibus equipped with the four-cylinder engine. Chevy has sold about 83,000 of that model, so 97 percent of 2014 and 2015 Malibu sales include stop-start. Now, that technology has made its way into the 2015 Impala. With drivers idling an average of 16 minutes a day, stop-start can significantly reduce harmful emissions and save fuel. According to Navigant Research, we can expect annual sales of cars equipped with stop-start technology to surpass 55 million by 2022. Read more in the press release below.

Nissan Leaf customers in Los Angeles will get access to free charging beginning August 15. Nissan is extending its "No Charge to Charge" promotion to LA, which will allow customers to charge at public charging stations at no cost. Leaf customers - including those who bought or leased their car from the participating dealerships on or after July 1 - will get an EZ-Charge card, allowing them to use ChargePoint, Blink, CarCharging, AeroVironment and NRG eVgo chargers for free. Rapid chargers can charge the Leaf's battery to 80 percent in 30 minutes. Nissan plans to offer the "No Charge to Charge" in at least 14 more markets in the US, bringing the total to 25, within the next year. See the press release below for more details.

California will get six all-electric school buses for three school districts as part of a demonstration program. The California Energy Commission awarded a grant of $1.4 million for the program to National Strategies LLC; this is in addition to a $2.2-million grant from the South Coast Air Quality Management District. The EV buses use vehicle-to-grid technology, allowing them to sell energy back to the grid when it is needed. They are also equipped with vehicle-to-building tech, which can provide power during an outage or disaster. The six emissions-free buses will be used in Torrance, Kings Canyon and Napa Valley Unified School Districts to evaluate their performance. Learn more in the video below.

News Source: Lexus, Chevrolet, Nissan, @evschoolbus

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Chris McGraw / AOL

Porsche announces four flavors of updated Cayenne

Posted Jul 24th 2014 3:20AM

2015 Porsche Cayenne Turbo

The new Macan may be getting all the attention lately, but Porsche hasn't forgotten about its larger crossover – the one that put it on the map in 2002 and on the road to profitability, with over half a million sold so far. So to keep the Cayenne at the top of its game, Porsche has announced several key upgrades for the 2015.

For starters, Porsche has updated the Cayenne's appearance with new front- and rear-end styling. The front bumper, fenders and hood are entirely new, with air fins flanking the nose to direct air into the intercoolers (each model now being artificially aspirated), and new bi-xenon headlamps and daytime running LEDs on every model but the Turbo, which goes all-LED. Around back there's also new taillights, tailgate handle, lower rear fascia and exhaust pipes. Meanwhile the interior has been upgraded with a 918-derived sport steering wheel and reformed rear seats with available ventilation.

The bigger news is under the engine bay, where Porsche is offering four choices. The base model is gone as the range starts with the Cayenne Diesel, followed by the Cayenne S, the new Cayenne S E-Hybrid and the top-of-the-line Cayenne Turbo. The Diesel model carries over the same 3.0-liter turbo diesel with 240 horsepower. The Cayenne S however packs a 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 that's similar to the one found in the Macan Turbo and packs the same 406 lb-ft of torque but more power at 420 hp, 20 more than either its little brother or the model it replaces to reach 62 mph in 5.2 seconds.

The new Cayenne S E-Hybrid makes Porsche the world's only car manufacturer to offer three plug-in hybrid models.

Porsche has also ported over the powertrain from the Panamera S E-Hybrid to make what Porsche refers to as "the first plug-in hybrid in the premium SUV segment" and, along with the 918 Spyder, make it (almost unbelievably) "the world's only car manufacturer to offer three plug-in hybrid models" (unless, of course, you count the Opel/Vauxhall Ampera as separate from the Chevy Volt and Cadillac ELR). The system mates a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 with 333 hp to an electric motor with 95 hp to give it a combined output of 416 hp (more than the diesel and almost as much as the S) to propel it to 62 in 5.4 seconds, hit an all-electric top speed of 78 mph and an all-out top speed of 151 mph – offering a substantial improvement over the previous Cayenne S Hybrid.

Those in search of all-out performance at whatever cost, however, will be most intrigued by the Cayenne Turbo that carries over the same 4.8-liter twin-turbo V8 but now with 520 hp and 553 lb-ft. That's just about half-way to the power output of the outgoing Turbo S and just as much torque, for a 0-62 time of 4.2 seconds (4.1 with the optional Sport Chrono package) – which ought to make enthusiasts (at least those not turned off entirely by the notion of a Porsche crossover) miss the GTS and Turbo S a little bit less until those new versions arrive as well.

Pricing starts at $61,700 for the Cayenne Diesel, $74,100 for the Cayenne S, $76,400 for the Cayenne S E-Hybrid and a whopping $113,600 for the top-of-the-line Cayenne Turbo – representing an increase of a few grand for each, before the $995 destination charge. Scope out the full details in the press release below.
Related Gallery2015 Porsche Cayenne
2015 Porsche Cayenne2015 Porsche Cayenne2015 Porsche Cayenne2015 Porsche Cayenne2015 Porsche Cayenne2015 Porsche Cayenne2015 Porsche Cayenne2015 Porsche Cayenne

News Source: Porsche

This is what happens when you drive your Nissan Leaf beyond empty

Robert Llewellyn Gets Fully Discharged For Science

Posted Jul 23rd 2014 7:56PM

Fully Discharged Nissan Leaf Battery Test

If you see an AAA truck bringing someone a can of extra gas, it's rarely a big deal, but when an EV driver runs out of charge, people pay attention. Whether its a writer for The New York Times or hardcore Tesla fans, people are curious about this newfangled technology and the things that could go wrong.

"I don't know what the opposite of range anxiety is. Range annoyance?" – Robert Llewellyn

Well, few people have more fun with their EV than Robert Llewellyn, the actor (best known for Red Dwarf) and star of his own pro-EV show Fully Charged. And he's good at educating people on the EVs as well. In the latest episode, he tries something in his first-gen Leaf that he's never done before: drive until the battery is completely empty. When the car just keeps on going well beyond the official range estimate, Llewellyn gets frustrated. "I don't know what the opposite of range anxiety is," he says. "Range annoyance?" After 91 miles, he finally comes to a stop. Watch the video below.

In the end, all Llewellyn needed to do to get up and running again was to get towed home and plug in. A few hours later, he was ready to go, this time with his range estimate at 93 miles. Compare that with the dangers to your gas engine if you run out of gas and you might wonder why so many people worry about an EVs range.

News Source: Fully Charged via YouTube

Jay Penske's Dragon Racing signs Jérôme d'Ambrosio for Formula E

Posted Jul 23rd 2014 6:04PM

Jerome d'Ambrosio

When it comes to open-wheel racing, there are few names as big as Penske. But while Roger may not be fielding a team in the new Formula E championship, his son Jay is. The media mogul runs his own Dragon Racing team in the IndyCar Series, and will be competing in the electric racing series this season as well.

The LA-based team previously announced Mike Conway, an accomplished IndyCar racer, to drive one of its cars, and has now confirmed Jérôme d'Ambrosio to drive the other.

Like Conway, d'Ambrosio successfully worked his way up the single-seater ladder, but instead of hitting America's ovals, the Belgian driver followed in the footsteps of Jacky Ickx into Formula One. He drove for Marussia/Virgin Racing in 2011 then switched to Lotus as its reserve/test driver before signing with Bentley for the Blancpain Endurance Series.

The announcement leaves just three seats left open – one with Andretti Autosport and two with China Racing – for the inaugural Formula E championship that kicks off in Beijing on September 13.

News Source: Formula E

Opel CEO talks new EV, will likely be fresh face for Chevy, too

Posted Jul 23rd 2014 3:58PM

Opel Ampera

The rumored demise of the Opel Ampera has been confirmed, but there's good news, too. Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann has been busy Tweeting information about the brand's next plug-in vehicle, admitting that the Ampera is on the way out but that plug-in vehicles are here to stay. His Tweets, in full, read:

After the eventual run-out of the current generation Ampera, we'll introduce a successor product in the electric vehicle segment. Our next electric vehicle will be part of our massive product offensive – with 27 new vehicles in the 2014-2018 time frame. We see eMobility as important part of the mobility of tomorrow and we will continue to drive down costs & deliver affordability.

As we learned earlier this week, the Ampera will not be refreshed when the current Chevy Volt is updated, most likely because of slow sales. Opel sold just 332 Amperas in the first five months of 2014. For now, General Motors is still building Amperas in Michigan for export to Europe.

So, what might this new EV mean for the General Motors plug-in fleet? Official spokespeople are being quiet, but we think it's safe to say the new EV Neumann is talking about is not simply a rebadged Chevy Spark EV. This is the first official word about an entirely new EV, and we expect it will come to both the Chevrolet and Opel brands.
Related GalleryOpel Ampera
Opel AmperaOpel AmperaOpel AmperaOpel AmperaOpel AmperaOpel AmperaOpel AmperaOpel Ampera

News Source: Karl-Thomas Neumann via Twitter

Recharge Wrap-up: VW Golf TDI wins green car award, DC buses might go electric

BMW i8's Laser Headlight Supplier Revealed; Renault Delivers Kangoo ZE Fleet To Uruguay

Posted Jul 23rd 2014 2:03PM

2015 volkswagen golf tdi

The 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI has won the award for 2014 Northwest Green Car or the Year. The distinction comes from the Northwest Automotive Press Association during its Drive Revolution event in Portland. Co-chairman of the event, Jeff Zurschmeide, says, "Volkswagen has led the diesel passenger car market for years, and the Golf TDI proves that they're likely to stay on top for a while." The 2015 Golf TDI has 10 more horsepower than the outgoing model, while improving fuel economy thanks to a new engine. It also has a base price $3,000 lower than the 2014 Golf TDI. Read more in the press release below.

The BMW i8 gets its laser high-beam headlights from lighting company Osram. The laser lights use half the energy of their LED counterparts, according to BMW, which is important when one is trying to get every last bit of range out of the car's battery. The laser high beams can also reach about twice as far as LED lighting. Because of their brightness, they won't be available on cars sold in the US. In laser-equipped i8s, the laser high beams will not work below 60 kilometers per hour, nor when other lights are detected in front of the vehicle. Head to Automotive News Europe to read more.

Renault has delivered a fleet of 30 Kangoo ZEs to Uruguay's government-owned power company, UTE. The electric fleet will allow the company to reduce its CO2 emissions by 36 metric tons, says Renault. 84 percent of Uruguay's electricity comes from renewable sources, with a goal of 90 percent on the horizon. Uruguay aims to get a third of its electricity from wind farms by 2016, meaning these Kangoo ZEs will be powered in no small part by renewable energy. For Renault, "This order is a further sign of the interest in the region for electric vehicles," according to Denis Barbier, Renault's senior vice president, citing previous deliveries in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia. Read more in the press release at Renault's website.

Washington DC's "Circulator" bus routes may go electric. Some of the diesel buses, which were first put to work in 2003, are nearing the end of their life cycle, and DC sees an opportunity to make the switch to something a little greener. "Electric has not been a viable option in previous procurements, but now it is," says Will Handsfield, Georgetown Business Improvement District's transportation director. Handsfield is concerned about air quality, and says he also appreciates the long-term stability of electric rates compared to diesel. Stakeholders have already invited Proterra to come to DC to showcase its 77-passenger electric bus. Learn more in an article from Think Progress.

The EV Roadmap conference is happening in Portland, Oregon from July 23 to July 25. In addition to the various speakers discussing electric vehicles and their future, Portland State University's Electric Avenue will get a new SAE Combo DC Fast Charger, the first of its kind in the state. There is also an available Urban Mobility Electric Bike Tour and a Columbia Gorge Electric Vehicle Tour. Go to the event website to learn more, or to register for events.
Related Gallery2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI
2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI

News Source: Volkswagen, Automotive News Europe, Renault, Think Progress, EV Roadmap 7

Image Credit: Volkswagen

China decrees 30 percent of new government vehicles will plug in

Posted Jul 23rd 2014 11:55AM

China Politics

Maybe Warren Buffett's bet on Chinese electric-vehicle maker BYD will pay off after all. That's because the Chinese government just made a commitment to buy lots of advanced-powertrain vehicles through its government-vehicle system in an effort to address the notorious pollution problem in China's largest cities, the Associated Press says, citing China's Xinhua News Agency.

China is committing to have at least 30 percent of its new government vehicles to be either plug-in vehicles, including battery electrics and plug-in hybrids, or zero-emissons vehicles like hydrogen fuel-cell and solar-powered vehicles. That 30-percent rate will run from this year to 2016, after which it will go higher. Heady stuff for the world's largest vehicle market.

In 2012, the China State Council passed the New Energy Automobile Industry Development Plan, which set a goal of having a half-million electric vehicle's on the country's roads by the end of 2015 and 5 million in China by the end of the decade. China's progress so far on that goal? Not great. Last year, there were fewer than 7,000 electric passenger vehicles sold in China.

Regardless, BYD cut a deal in March to sell 1,200 electric buses to the city of Dalian, China. And things got better from there, as BYD said in May that the city of Hangzhou ordered 2,000 buses as well as 1,000 electric e6 taxis.

News Source: Associated Press

Image Credit: Andy Wong / AP

Unplugged Performance sweetens the look of your Tesla Model S for around $6,000

Posted Jul 23rd 2014 9:59AM

Tesla Model S with Unplugged Performance Tuner Kit

Tesla electric vehicles are no strangers to the tuner set. Saleen is working on a modified Model S. Brabus once offered neon for your Roadster. And new we find a number of body panel upgrades for the Model S from Unplugged Performance.

Unplugged Performance has its offices right by the Tesla's Supercharger in Hawthorne, CA, and sales manager Mark Borushko told AutoblogGreen that Tesla employees often express their appreciation for what UP has done to change the look of the Model S. The upgrade parts are made in the US and were designed in-house by an ex-Ferrari guy, Borushko said.

What upgrades are there? There's the front spoiler and diffuser (starting at $995), the rear spoiler and diffuser ($1,550), trunk spoiler ($895), side skirts ($1,450) and the Complete Front Fascia System ($1,000). Those prices are all for the unpainted parts. Add a few hundred bucks to each to upgrade to matching paint colors or carbon fiber parts. Borushko said that in the year that Unplugged Performance has been around, they've sold about 30 kits – meaning one of everything – worldwide. There are people who just buy just the trunk spoiler, for example, he said, but about 90 percent of UP's customers opt for the full kit. Borushko said UP will have to see if there's interest in a kit for the Model X, but there likely will be.

Unplugged Performance is a part of Bulletproof Automotive, which offers upgrades for all sorts of vehicles. The Unplugged Performance phone number is the same as the one for Tesla Everything, so we're pretty sure someone over there is a big Model S fan.

News Source: Unplugged Performance via Teslarati

When trouble hits, Portland will turn to bikes for disaster relief

Posted Jul 23rd 2014 7:55AM

Disaster relief trials/Cargo Bike Fest

Forget FEMA. Portland, Oregon's relief – if and when the Big One hits – might just come in the form of an army of bike riders. Most likely fueled by caffeine rations.

The city recently conducted its Disaster Relieve Trials program, which involved rounding up a group of about 40 riders and sending them out on regular bikes, cargo bikes and electric-powered bikes, Oregon Live says. For the drill, which simulated a major Cascadia Subduction Zone that shut down the city's transportation systems, the riders were directed to a 40-mile course, carrying items such as food, water and emergency supplies. You can see the trial heroes in action in Oregon Live's three-minute video here.

Modern plug-in vehicles can also assist in a disaster situation, but we like Portland's attitude here. While bikes aren't traditionally associated with emergency response systems, the fact that two-wheelers could be a major cog in Portland's emergency system should come as no surprise. The city's been incredibly bike friendly for a long time, going as far as painting "blue box" bike-safety areas at a bunch of intersections back in 2008. Today, more than six percent of Portland's commuters make their commute via bike. While that doesn't sound terribly high, it's actually the highest among the 70 largest US cities, according to the League of American Bicyclists, and is 10 times the national average. Minneapolis comes it at second place with 4.5 percent of its commuters using bikes. In other words, Portland residents should be in good hands when the going gets tough.

News Source: Oregon Live

Image Credit: Periwinklekog / Flickr

Japan offering $20,000 incentives for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles

Posted Jul 22nd 2014 7:57PM

That tailwind Toyota may be feeling in Japan won't be from a stiff breeze off the northern Pacific Ocean. The Japanese automaker is getting ready to start selling its first production hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle in its native country next year. And the government is ponying up real big in incentives, Reuters says.

The Japanese government will provide incentives worth about $20,000 per fuel-cell vehicle, Reuters reports, citing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. That sort of government money will bring Toyota's first hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle to the customer at under $50,000. Just so we're clear, Japan's incentives for battery-electric vehicles top out at about $8,500. That sound you hear is a bunch of Nissan executives tearing their hair out.

Last month, Toyota said the price for the fuel-cell sedan would be about $69,000 in Japan, and while the company hasn't priced it for US consumption, the word's out that the car may be in the $50,000 range stateside. The fuel-cell sedan, which has a full-tank range of about 300 miles, goes on sale in Japan next April and will start sales in Europe and the US next summer. Honda is also debuting its first production fuel-cell vehicle next year, so Toyota's got company among automakers who are probably all raising a glass and saying "kampai" to the Japanese government right about now.
Related GalleryToyota FCV Reveal
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News Source: Reuters, Automotive News-subs.req.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Jonathon Ramsey / AOL

Seoul moves to ban Uber, create own app

Posted Jul 22nd 2014 6:01PM

Barcelona Cabs Strike Against Uber Taxi App

The ridesharing service Uber promises to connect people needing a lift with drivers offering one, and it appears to be pretty useful. After all, you can use it to summon Optimus Prime. For many cab drivers around the world, though, the app is basically the bane of their existence. The French passed a law mandating wait times before pickups in January, and 30,000 European cabbies staged a mass protest in June. The latest group hoping to ban Uber is the government of Seoul, South Korea.

The government in the South Korean capital city claims that the app is illegal because the vehicles shuttling users around aren't registered as taxis, according to the Wall Street Journal's Korea Realtime blog. The attempted ban is only the latest shot across the bow of Uber in Seoul. Officials fined a driver 1 million won ($974) for picking up passengers using the service in April. The authorities say that an alternative is on the way in December that would allow clients to hail legal cabs from their smartphones.

"Comments like these show Seoul is in danger of remaining trapped in the past and getting left behind by the global 'sharing economy' movement," said Uber in a statement to the WSJ. Other locales facing how to cope with the influx of the service's users have instituted driver limits and implemented background checks.

News Source: Wall Street Journal Korea Realtime

Image Credit: David Ramos / Getty Images

Recharge Wrap-up: Nissan Leaf in Puerto Rico, BMW i3 REx tax-free in NJ, BC2BC cancelled

US and China Sign MOU On EVs, Energy

Posted Jul 22nd 2014 4:00PM

nissan leaf

Envia Systems will develop battery technology for United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC), a subsidiary of the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR). The $7.7 million contract, co-funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE), involves a 36-month development program focusing on high-energy cathode and anode material for lithium-ion batteries and pouch cells for electric vehicles. The goal, of course, is to create better energy storage for less money in an effort to make commercial EVs more efficient and affordable. For the DOE, this also equates to energy security, energy independence and national security. Read more in the press release at the bottom of the page.

The US and China have agreed to work together more closely on EVs, energy and climate issues. US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz went to Beijing for the sixth US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue to meet with leaders. While there, Moniz and Wu Xinxiong of China's National Energy Administration (NEA) signed a memorandum of understanding allowing the DOE and NEA to share information regarding oil reserves. The groups will meet yearly to learn more about how each other manages petroleum stockpiles and policy. Moniz also met with Minister Miao Wei of the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and signed an MOU to cooperate on electric vehicles and "related technologies," including the "inter-operability of electric vehicles." Read more at the Energy Department website.

August's BC2BC all-electric vehicle rally, billed as the largest gathering of electric vehicles, has been cancelled. The event, which was to include a drive up the entire coast from Mexico to British Columbia with smaller events along the route, failed to bring in the needed sponsorship to hold the rally for its third year. A Facebook post from organizer Tony Williams also cited loss of venue and lack of support from automakers - "particularly Nissan and Tesla" - as hardships. The event was scheduled to take place August 9 through 17, with only battery electric vehicles invited to take part - no plug-in hybrids or range-extended vehicles. Williams said he'd only try a similar event in the future if sponsorship were provided up front. Read more at Green Car Reports.

The Nissan Leaf will finally go on sale in Puerto Rico. A new law called Act 81 provides a 100-percent excise tax exemption for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, which will save customers $7,070.76 that would otherwise have been added to the car's $33,480 price tag. Nissan has also worked with Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to expand the EV charging network on the island. These changes have made it feasible for Nissan and distributor Motorambar to sell the Leaf in Puerto Rico. The car was unveiled on the island at an event on July 15 at the Museum of Transportation in Guaynabo. See the Caribbean Business for more details.

The BMW i3 REx is now included in New Jersey's sales tax exemption for zero-emissions vehicles. Reversing an earlier decision, the range-extended version of the i3 is now included on the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's list of qualifying vehicles. The range extender is a $3,850 option for the BMW i3, but with the tax included, the base i3 REx would cost over $7,000 more than the dedicated EV. Now, customers can enjoy holding onto the $3,000+ tax, as well as the peace of mind of having the range extending generator handy if the battery runs low. Read more at Inside EVs.
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2013 Nissan Leaf2013 Nissan Leaf2013 Nissan Leaf2013 Nissan Leaf2013 Nissan Leaf2013 Nissan Leaf2013 Nissan Leaf2013 Nissan Leaf

News Source: USCAR,, Green Car Reports, Caribbean Business, BMW, Inside EVs

Image Credit: Nissan

Tesla halts production to prep for Model X

Posted Jul 22nd 2014 2:15PM

Tesla Model X

That darling of the electric car world, Tesla, is idling production at its factory in Fremont, CA, for the first time in order to expand the factory in preparation for its future Model X crossover. The $100-million renovation will add 25 robots and upgrades to the body shop and assembly line to support the new vehicle.

Since it will be offering two models simultaneously, Tesla will need to be able to keep up with the pace of demand. "This represents the single biggest investment in the plant since we really started operations and enables us for higher volumes," said Tesla spokesperson Simon Sproule to Bloomberg. The new robots will be able to boost production by 25 percent and will allow the automaker to build the Model S and Model X on the same assembly line. There won't be too much downtime at the California plant, though. The upgrades will be finished within the next two weeks.

With these factory updates, the Model X may finally get its electrically powered wheels on the road. The CUV has been delayed multiple times since its announcement. It was originally supposed to be on sale in early 2014, then later in the year, but now the latest news from Elon Musk places the crossover's launch in the second quarter of 2015.

Until the Model X is on sale, the renovations should also provide a nice lift in Model S assembly. In the company's first quarter financial report, Tesla said that it expected the sedan's production rate to grow from about 700 cars per week to 1,000 per week by the end of the year, with the expectation of selling a total of 35,000 of them in 2014. That should help quell demand in new markets like the UK and expansion in Europe.

News Source: Bloomberg

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Sebastian Blanco / AOL

Smart spotted testing new Brabus Fortwo

Posted Jul 22nd 2014 11:30AM

2015 Smart Fortwo Brabus prototype

By now AMG has produced versions of just about everything Mercedes makes, right down to the A-Class, CLA and GLA. But while even the smallest of Benzes have fallen under Affalterbach's knife, Daimler's performance division steers clear of the Smart brand and its products. For that, the German automaker collaborates with another legendary Silver Star tuner.

Brabus first worked its magic on the original Smart Fortwo in 2003, packing a warmed-over 700cc engine with 74 horsepower along with upgraded aero and rolling stock. The second-generation Brabus model took things further with a 101-hp 1.0-liter engine and other go-fast(er) goodies. And now that the new Fortwo is upon us, it looks like Brabus is at it again.

Spied with a camo wrap but no visible body cladding, the new Brabus city car is expected to pack more of a punch than its predecessors, with estimates ranging from 105 to 120 hp – which may not be much for most cars, but promises to transform the Smart into something more aggressive, especially when paired with a sportier suspension, dual exhaust and aero kit.

Expect the new Brabus Smart to debut sometime next year, after which it'll be interesting to see how it might square off against a future Renaultsport version of the Twingo with which the new Smart cars share their rear-engined underpinnings.

Image Credit: CarPix


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