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Renault Eolab is a hyperefficient, conventional-looking answer to VW's XL1 [w/video]

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    Renault Eolab is a hyperefficient, conventional-looking answer to VW's XL1 [w/video]
  • Report
    Nissan not shuttering Leaf EV battery plants, at least not yet
  • Teased
    Toyota previews new C-HR crossover concept bound for Paris
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    How to charge up your BMW i3 with a Honda
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Recharge Wrap-up: Free chargers for Canadian ELR buyers, Renovo gets funding for EV supercar

Chevrolet Express Van Offers Renewable Fuel Options; Renault To Build Fluence ZE In China; Germany Lifts Uber Ban

Posted Sep 18th 2014 8:00AM

renovo coupe ev supercar

Chevrolet offers versions of its Express passenger van with B20 biodiesel and E85 capability. Customers can buy the van with the Duramax turbodiesel V8, which is compatible with the 20-percent biodiesel blend. There is also a FlexFuel V8, which can use the 85-percent ethanol gasoline blend. It's a great option for shuttling the whole soccer team to practice using renewable fuels. Read more at Domestic Fuels.

Early buyers of the Cadillac ELR in Canada will get a 240-volt charger installed at their home for free. It should help convince some buyers to adopt the range extended luxury EV. Cadillac's Chief Marketing Officer Uwe Ellinghaus says, "Professional installation of the fastest home-charging unit is a natural way to mark the introduction of ELR to the luxury market." Read more in the press release below.

Renovo has received venture capital funding from California-based True Ventures to build its Coupe electric supercar. The impressive EV, with its 500 horsepower and 1,000 pound-feet of torque, is an inspiring vehicle built by a promising company, according to its financial backers. Toni Schneider of True Ventures says that Renovo has "created incredibly advanced technology and a beautiful machine that is well positioned to disrupt the automotive market." Read more in the press release below.

Renault says it will build its Fluence ZE electric car in China for an unnamed brand, pending government approval. Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn announced the plan at a test drive event in France on Monday. Renault has a partnership with Dongfeng Motors to build and sell its cars in China. Read more at Reuters.

Germany has lifted its ban on Uber. While the German court believes the ride-hailing service is operating illegally without proper licensing for drivers, it says Taxi Deutschland waited too long to file the case against Uber. The taxi association plans to appeal the decision soon. See more in the video below, and read more at The New York Times.

A new report from UC Davis claims that a global expansion of public transit could save 1,700 megatons of carbon dioxide yearly and over $100 trillion by 2050. A "high-shift scenario" would be necessary, wherein governments invest in rail and clean buses, expand biking and walking infrastructure and shift focus away from projects that encourage car use. This shift to public transit would especially be important in the US, China and India. Read more in the press release below.
Related GalleryRenovo Coupe EV Supercar
Renovo Coupe EV SupercarRenovo Coupe EV SupercarRenovo Coupe EV SupercarRenovo Coupe EV SupercarRenovo Coupe EV SupercarRenovo Coupe EV Supercar

News Source: Domestic Fuel, Cadillac, Renovo Motors, Reuters, New York Times, UC Davis

Image Credit: Renovo Motors

This guy sold his Camaro to buy a Smart EV, and loves it

Making The Shift To EV Can Be Hella Fun

Posted Sep 17th 2014 6:57PM

Mk II Chevy Camaro SS

The Dead Milkmen will be very displeased. Stephen Grinwis has decided to explain to Clean Technica why he sold his Chevrolet Camaro for – get this – a Smart ED electric vehicle. We can already hear the Milkmen, performers of the 1985 punk masterpiece Bitchin' Camaro, crying in their Stoney's Extra Stout.

But green is green, and this case, the man said he was going broke driving the Camaro by spending $550 a month on gas and shredding his $3,000 set of tires. His Smart ED costs him about $20 a month worth of electricity, and the maintenance costs are way lower. Grinwis also claims the Smart ED is more fun because he can floor it off the line without garnering any police attention. He also says lots of folks ask him about the car, perhaps because he's always zipping a full speed. He boasts of having an eco-driving rate in the ED of under 20 percent, making us wonder if his single-charge range is about the length of a driveway.

Grinwis is somewhat of a rare breed, in that just 1,390 Smart EDs were sold in the US through July (Smart, a division of Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler, still hasn't submitted its August numbers to AutoblogGreen). Through August, General Motors sold about 65,000 Camaros. And they're still bitchin'.

News Source: Clean Technica

Image Credit: JoeBenjamin/Flickr

Nissan ZEOD RC on track and from behind the wheel

Posted Sep 17th 2014 5:01PM

Nissan Zeod RC takes on the Top Gear test track

The Nissan ZEOD RC hybrid racecar has had mixed success in its competition life. It was invented to do a completely electric, high-speed lap at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which it was able to do in practice. However, when the big event actually came, the car lasted less than an hour before it had to bow out with transmission issues. Nissan hasn't completely given up on its experiment, though. The experience (and possibly some of the tech) is going to help with the GT-R LM racer next year, and now the ZEOD is getting its chance to see how it handles the Top Gear test track.

Unfortunately, it's not The Stig piloting the ZEOD; instead, the magazine's motoring editor Ollie Marriage is the lucky man for the job. The car's sharp shape seems to be a good metaphor for how it handles because it just seems to dart around the track. Its tiny, turbocharged 1.5-liter engine with 400 horsepower and two electric motors put out a claimed 750 horsepower, and that seems like plenty for the relatively short Top Gear course.

As usual of Top Gear, the cinematography here is fantastic, and a second video shows off a single lap of the course from around the car. It's amazing to watch, especially with its big screen constantly showing the camera view out of the rear. Scroll down to see both.

News Source: Top Gear via YouTube [1], [2]

Audi scores first CA autonomous car permit

Posted Sep 17th 2014 3:45PM

Audi Connect Autonomous Driving

Audi apparently knows how to get to the front of a line when it comes to driverless vehicles. The German automaker had the honor of being the very first company to receive one of California's new autonomous vehicle driving permits. It was a perfect followup to it being among the earliest ones to get a similar permit in Nevada a few years ago.

Getting the California permit is a big deal for the automaker because the state is also home to Audi's Electronics Research Lab. Among its current projects, Audi is working on the human-machine interface to communicate whether the person or vehicle is actually controlling the driving. All of this hard work is building toward offering autonomous motoring in freeway conditions in the next five years, Audi claims.

Obviously, autonomous vehicles from companies like Google have been testing in California for a while, but the new permits are meant to safeguard public safety when testing the driverless cars in public. The new rules include things like always having a person able to take control and more stringent standards like registering each autonomous car and the eligible drivers with the state. Any models testing on public roads also have to carry at least $5 million in insurance in case of injury, death or property damage.

Audi has been toiling away at getting autonomous technology to work for years now. In addition to the Nevada testing, it recently showed off its Traffic Jam Assistant, and the company's driverless TTS made it up Pikes Peak in 2010. Scroll down to read about its latest step forward with the next-gen tech.

News Source: Audi

ETC

Blink, CarCharging Group catching flack for EV charging price hike

Online Petition Says Per-kWh Charging Is Not The Right Move

Posted Sep 17th 2014 1:45PM

blink Syracuse

Joe Dugandzic of Phoenix, AZ doesn't like to see the cost for driving his EV increase. So much so that he started a petition against a recent price hike by CarCharging Group, Inc. (which owns Blink) asking the company to reverse the increase.

The change represents "a price increase of more than 200 percent."

The hike is somewhat hidden in the change to how Blink charges users for battery juice in some locations. The company used to charge people by the time they spent connected to the EVSE or, in the case of DC Fast Chargers, a flat rate. Starting earlier this month, though, some Blink chargers went to a price-per-kWh rate (state laws don't permit this type of charge in all areas), and the resulting change, Dugandzic says, amounts to "a price increase of more than 200 percent for users of Blink Level 2 commercial charging stations."

Dugandzic's petition says that, "the hidden price increase included in the new pricing model is a bad decision for the battery-electric vehicle industry" because potential EV drivers will shy away from the new technology. Also, he feels like CarCharging Group is taking "advantage of current and new EV drivers who do not have the ability to charge their vehicles at home using their own power, such as myself." Dugandzic believes that, "it is up to companies such as CarCharging, to do everything possible to help hasten the transition to electric vehicles, instead of seeking profits during these early years." The killer point? "For many drivers, it is now more expensive for them to charge their highly-efficient electric vehicles than to fuel a 40+ mpg gasoline vehicle," Dugandzic says.

In response, CarCharging's vice president of marketing and public relations, Suzanne Tamargo, sent AutoblogGreen a statement that basically says that different EVs charge at different rates and the new rates are more fair. They're also what's required to stay in business. You can read the full thing below, but the key line is this: "We simply cannot afford to make the mistakes made by other companies, including ECOtality, the former owner of the Blink stations, and continue to charge fees that are well below our costs." If you'd like to sign the petition, you can do so here.

News Source: Change.org, CarCharging Group

Image Credit: runJMrun / Flickr

Recharge Wrap-up: BMW i3 goes against Mercedes B-Class ED, Tesla good for business

EVs Get Cleaner; Zipcar In Paris; MIT's Nav System Eases Congestion

Posted Sep 17th 2014 10:29AM

mercedes-benz b-class electric drive

Car and Driver has published a comparison test pitting the 2014 BMW i3 against the 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-class Electric Drive. The test not only measured the quality of the driving experience, but also all the quantitative details that are especially important when looking at electric vehicles. For instance, the Benz's real-world MPGe surpassed its own rating, but it still couldn't match the BMW. The B-Class, though, won in the range department. We won't spoil all the results, or Car and Driver's overall pick, but you can head over to the article to find out for yourself.

Tesla's expanding business, including the Gigafactory being built in Reno, NV, is encouraging growth in the locales and associated businesses. Some of Tesla's suppliers are talking of relocation, wanting to be close to the action stirred up by the electric automaker's expansion. It makes good business sense to be in the same neighborhood as Tesla. "We can react quickly, and our engineers are constantly working with Tesla," says Futuris General Manager Sam Coughlin. Brookings Institute fellow Jennifer Vey says, "The land around Tesla is being redeveloped and reimagined. It's a mash-up of an anchor campus, startups, housing and transit, in a physically compact area where companies can cluster and connect." Read more at San Jose Mercury News.

EVs are doing even more to reduce energy use clean up the air, according to new analysis from the Union of Concerned Scientists. According to findings, 60 percent of Americans now live in areas where EVs do more to reduce emissions than hybrids, up from 45 percent in 2012. Average electricity use is now 0.325 kWh per mile, down five percent from 2011. EV performance - in terms of mileage and emissions - is improving compared to traditional fuel vehicles, based on the sources of electricity in various regions. Read more from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Zipcar's carsharing network has launched in Paris. Zipcar is expanding across Europe, and has already established itself in Austria, Spain and the UK. According to Zipcar France's General Manager Etienne Hermite, "In a highly populated city, Zipcar's model has been proven to remove up to 15 personally owned vehicles from the road for each Zipcar in service, reducing parking demand, congestion and emissions." Zipcar European President Massimo Marsili hopes that most Parisians will eventually be just a short walk from a Zipcar. The company also announced partnerships with Opel and Peugeot at its Paris launch. Read more in the press release, below.

The RoadRunner navigation system earned a best-paper award at Intelligent Transportation Systems World Congress. Developed by researchers at MIT, RoadRunner directs drivers around congested roadways in a way similar to Singapore's toll system for congested areas. RoadRunner caps capacity for any certain zone, assigning tokens to cars in the area. When that capacity is met, cars are routed around the zone. Cars leaving the zone put a token up for grabs for another vehicle trying to navigate through the same area. The developers offer various ways the system could be deployed with or without including tolls. Read more in the press release below.

News Source: Car and Driver, San Jose Mercury News, Union of Concerned Scientists, Zipcar, MIT

Image Credit: Mercedes-Benz, i3: Sebastian Blanco / AOL

GreenTech Auto restarting production later this year

Posted Sep 17th 2014 8:00AM

GreenTech Auto's MyCar

Will the rubber really hit the road for GreenTech Automotive (GTA) this year? The company said "yes" last week after announcing that it finished building its factory in Tunica, MS. With that done, the company's low-speed neighborhood-electric vehicles (NEV) will start production by the end of 2014. In the meantime, the company is shipping its stuff over from a temporary factory in Horn Lake, MS, about 30 miles away.

GTA broke ground on the factory early this year and is prepping two models. One is an NEV called MyCar that has a single-charge range of about 65 miles. The other is the G2 battery-electric sedan. And, while no word is out on when the latter will see the light of day, MyCar is slated to start production this year.

GTA was founded in 2009 by Terry McAuliffe, who invested about $20 million in the company. He left GTA in 2012 and is now governor of Virginia. The latest wrinkle with the company is that it merged with VL Automotive this spring. VL is the company that had planned to take Fisker Karma bodies and bolt them on a frame with a V8 engine. Fun stuff, but a far cry from a little-bitty electric vehicle. Check out GTA's press release below.

News Source: GreenTech Automotive, Automotive News - subs. req.

Renault Eolab is a hyperefficient, conventional-looking answer to VW's XL1 [w/video]

260 MPG Concept Coming To Paris

Posted Sep 16th 2014 6:29PM

Renault Eolab

Watch out Volkswagen, Renault has your number. Debuting at the Paris Motor Show in a few weeks, this Renault Eolab concept aims to match the German automaker's XL1 space pod's fuel economy – without its out-of-this-world styling and offbeat packaging. The VW, which gets its name from its ability to go 100 kilometers on one liter of fuel (about 260 miles per gallon), will no longer be the only vehicle able to be that miserly with fuel use, at least on paper.

The B-segment Eolab (we keep typing Ecolab, like the hygiene company) uses a combination of low weight thanks to materials like magnesium and aluminum, careful aerodynamics and an updated version of Renault's Z.E. [Zero Emission] hybrid gas-electric powertrain to be so frugal. In fact, the car weighs just 400 kilograms – 880 pounds – which is crazy light and means less energy is required to move it down the road. The battery part of the Eolab's PHEV powertrain will offer about 37 miles of range. In all, Renault says there are "100 new, realistic technological developments" in this showcar that could come to upcoming Renault vehicles.

Sadly, Renault is calling this cool concept "an innovative showcase with an environmental core" for now, but we'd love to try one in the real world. We're eager to learn more about this car, and we look forward to hearing Renault officials expound on how a car like this could be mass produced within the next 10 years. For now, we'll just take a look at the video below.
Related GalleryRenault Eolab
Renault EolabRenault EolabRenault EolabRenault EolabRenault EolabRenault EolabRenault EolabRenault Eolab

News Source: Renault

ETC

Elon Musk is Vanity Fair's number one 'disrupter'

Posted Sep 16th 2014 5:54PM



Elon Musk's leadership of Tesla Motors has transferred well to pop culture. In this case, the electric-vehicle maker's CEO has popped up as Number 1 on Vanity Fair's annual "disrupters" list. Musk jumped from No. 5 last year and for 2014 came in ahead of Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin; Apple's Tim Cook and Jonathan Ive; and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. Pretty healthy company.

Vanity Fair pegged Musk's net worth at $12.9 billion, thanks in part to Tesla's stock climbing up about 70 percent in the past year (despite a recent dip) and has surged by a factor of 16 since the initial public offering in 2010. It also can't hurt that Tesla scored about $1.2 billion in government incentives when it agreed earlier this month to build its gigafactory in Nevada. Additionally, Vanity Fair feted Musk for his involvement in both space-exploration company SpaceX and home solar-panel provider SolarCity and described Musk's marital status as "complicated." VF just loves that stuff.

Perhaps most impressive is the fact that Musk was the only auto executive to end up on either the publication's "disrupters" list or its "powers that be" list. The latter was headed by Fox's Rupert Murdoch, Walt Disney's Bog Iger and Comcast's Brian Roberts and Steve Burke. You can read Vanity Fair's write-up of Musk here.

Catching up with Chrysler's EV catch-up plan

Posted Sep 16th 2014 4:16PM

Fiat 500e

At your home or office? Those are the key words for how Chrysler and its Fiat affiliate want to narrow the plug-in vehicle sales gap between themselves and more plug-in-centric companies like Nissan and Ford, according Wards Auto. When the gap will narrow is anyone's guess.

The US automaker, long a laggard in electric-powertrain development, is working on an wireless, inductive charging system with Qualcomm and which could spur sales of plug-in vehicles for personal use. A wireless system would allow for hands-free charging for vehicles like the Fiat 500e, the company's only plug-in vehicle being sold to the public in the US as well as a plug-in hybrid minivan that's in the works for 2016.

On the business front, Chrysler is working with nonprofit NextEnergy on developing a reverse-power-flow system. That would allow for fleet-owning businesses to draw power from their plug-in vehicles' batteries during mid-day peak-energy times, when electricity rates are highest. Chrysler and NextEnergy ran a one-month test of a reverse-power-flow system with four Fiat 500e vehicles last year, and the companies found that they could cut power usage enough to save $1,200. Chrysler extrapolated those numbers to estimate that such a system with just a dozen plug-in vehicles could save a company as much as $27,000 a year. Get more details over at Wards Auto.
Related Gallery2013 Fiat 500e: Review
2013 Fiat 500e: Review2013 Fiat 500e: Review2013 Fiat 500e: Review2013 Fiat 500e: Review2013 Fiat 500e: Review2013 Fiat 500e: Review2013 Fiat 500e: Review2013 Fiat 500e: Review

News Source: Wards Auto

GM learning from current Chevy Volt owners as it works on next-gen model

Posted Sep 16th 2014 1:58PM

2016 chevy volt

Details of the second-generation Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in hybrid are coming in at a trickle, and the latest is that the 2016 model-year Volt will be improved in all meaningful areas, including performance and all-electric range, says General Motors powertrain director Larry Nitz.

60 percent of Volt customers only charge using a standard 110 outlet.

Nitz was speaking to Autoline After Hours about the current and future Volt. He said that GM has been tracking Volt driving habits and found that about two-thirds of the Volts' collective miles are driven in electric mode, and that 81 percent of all Volt trips were done in pure EV mode. Additionally, Volt drivers plug the car in 10 times each week, on average. Nitz also said 82 percent of the Volt's commuting miles are coming from the plug instead of the gas tank. Oh, and 60 percent of Volt customers only charge using a standard 110 outlet.

Last month, GM released a teaser shot of the 2016 Volt (above) and said the car would make its worldwide debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show next January. Earlier this year, the Volt was reported to be getting a new chassis for the upcoming version.

The Volt could use a bit of new life. Through August, Volt sales were down 12 percent from a year earlier to 13,146 units, and sales plunged 25 percent alone. That compares unfavorably to the Nissan Leaf battery-electric vehicle, whose 2014 sales have jumped 34 percent to almost 19,000 units.

You can see Nitz dish the goods in the video below (Volt comments start at around minute 15). You will also notice AutoblogGreen contributor Gary Witzenburg talk about his history with the EV1 and share his take on the Volt.

News Source: Autoline After Hours via Inside EVs

First test drive shows promise of Saab 9-3 EV

Posted Sep 16th 2014 12:01PM

Saab 9-3

We can't read Swedish, so when it comes to a first-drive review of a Saab 9-3 electric-vehicle prototype, we'll trust Inside EVs' translation of a write-up from Swedish automotive publication Elbilen i Sverige. And it's a decent one. The write-up, that is. The translation, too, we hope.

Taken to the test track, the Saab was found to be quieter than a Tesla Model S and had the stability commensurate for a car that tipped the scales at about 4,000 pounds. The sedan accelerated from 0 to 62 miles per hour in 10 seconds, though the goal is to bring that time down to 8.5 seconds. The prototype also uses a 37-kWh prototype battery made by China-based Kai Johan Jiang Annual National Modern Energy Holdings that should be good for over 180 miles (and there's room for a bigger pack in the car, apparently). The 9-3's electric motor will be able to deliver 200 horsepower but, for testing purposes, it was limited to about 140 horsepower. The overall impression was that the car is not yet ready for prime time, but has a lot of promise.

When prototype becomes production is the real question, given the financial condition of Saab parent National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS). The company acquired the brand in 2012 and started making cars at Saab's Trollhattan plant in Sweden last year, but production stopped in May because of cash-flow issues. Late last month, Swedish courts denied NEVS protection from its creditors, so the company is now looking to restructure.
Related Gallery2014 Saab 9-3
2014 Saab 9-32014 Saab 9-32014 Saab 9-32014 Saab 9-32014 Saab 9-32014 Saab 9-32014 Saab 9-32014 Saab 9-3

News Source: Inside EVs

Recharge Wrap-up: Tesla firmware update videos, Mercedes S500 Plug-In Hybrid

California Calls UberPool Illegal; The Man Behind China's EV Policy

Posted Sep 16th 2014 10:48AM

mercedes-benz s500 plug-in hybrid

See the Tesla Model S with Firmware 6.0 in action in new videos from Teslarati. The large software update includes improved traffic-based navigation, a calendar function, updated power management, "Location-Based Smart Air Suspension" as well as other improvements. Drivers get more route options to save energy, and more control over how the car saves energy. The car can also remember ride height settings when driving in those same locations again. Additionally, you can start and drive the car without a key, just using the smartphone app. See how it all works in the videos below, the second of which focuses on pairing with the updated phone app.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has deemed ride-hailing app Uber's carpooling service illegal. The way the UberPool service is categorized by the CPUC, charging multiple riders separate fares for a single ride runs afoul of the law. The technical details are a bit convoluted, and what supporters could deem arbitrary, but Forbes delves into the details a bit further to try to make sense of California's intentions (even considering the possibility of other ride services, such as airport shuttle companies, fueling the fire). Lyft - which operates a similar service called LyftLine - and Sidecar have also received notices from the CPUC. Read more at Forbes.

China's recent enthusiasm for electric vehicles could be largely attributed to a single person, Ma Kai. After the Politburo member was named vice premier, he encouraged maintaining and increasing EV subsidies when China sought to decrease them. He also seems ready to fight for more EV deregulation to encourage more clean vehicles. Read more about Ma Kai and what he's done for China's EV legislation at Automotive News.

Mercedes-Benz begins deliveries of the S500 Plug-In Hybrid this month. The high-tech luxury PHEV features energy saving modes based on driver, route and traffic, and features a haptic accelerator that can signal when the driver should ease off to save power. It's powered by a biturbocharged V6 and 85-kW electric motor. Its 8.7-kWh battery offers about 20 miles of electric driving. The S500 plug-in starts at about $146,000. Read more in the press release below.

News Source: Teslarati, Forbes, Automotive News, Daimler

Image Credit: Daimler

UC Davis is most EV-ready campus

Based On Number Of Charging Stations, Anyway

Posted Sep 16th 2014 7:57AM

UC Davis flag at football game

When it comes to deploying electric-vehicle charging stations, University of California Davis is giving it the old college try. The school, located just outside of Sacramento, has 38 plug-in vehicle charging stations on campus, making it the most charging-friendly institution of higher learning in the country. That's according to ChargePoint, which says more than 1,100 on-campus stations have been deployed since the first one was installed at Pasadena City College four short years ago.

In fact, the number of on-campus charging stations has jumped 35 percent in the past year alone, indicating that students may be a little more open to electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids than they used to be. Not surprisingly, the most plug-in friendly campuses tend to be of the urban variety, as Maryland's Towson University has 36 stations; California's Santa Clara University is home to 26; Western Michigan University has 22 [Ed Note: Go Broncos!]; and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (where lithium-ion battery maker A123 Systems was founded) has 21 stations.

Colleges have long been at the forefront of alternative transportation models, so it's not surprising that more of them are adding charging stations. Car-sharing companies such as Zipcar and Car2go have aggressively expanded operations either at universities or college towns to appeal to students who are usually more amenable to trying alternatives to traditional car-ownership in order to save cash. Find more in ChargePoint's press release below.

News Source: ChargePoint

Image Credit: UC Davis

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