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We go inside BRD Motorcycles for more on the RedShift

Yes, They Are Still Building An Awesome Electric Supermoto

Posted Sep 12th 2014 4:30PM

Entrance to EV start up BRD Motorcycles

The Internet address of BRD Motorcycles is faster-faster.com, and while the expression also serves the startup as a motto, its would-be customers repeat it like a mantra. You see, they've been waiting for the company's first production bikes to be delivered for some time now – it's been three years since its RedShift supermoto was first unveiled and the original plan was to start shipping in 2012. No doubt they'd like the outfit to speed things up, but should they worry about the company shorting out?

In a world grown cynical from wading through the detritus of smashed electric-vehicle dreams it would be easy to write BRD off.

In a world grown cynical from wading through the detritus of smashed electric-vehicle dreams it would be easy to write BRD off. Despite rave-tastic reviews of its prototype and a seemingly empty market niche in need of filling, it's difficult to forget the failure of other promising efforts in recent times. But, being a naive idealist with an optimistic outlook, I've always been heartened by the occasional email update or blog posting purporting to prove that hope was alive, the lights were still on and a final product would eventually be forthcoming. When the opportunity recently arose to look around the operation and chat with CEO Marc Fenigstein, I was only too happy to bite at the slice of time offered.
Related GalleryBRD Motorcycles
BRD MotorcyclesBRD MotorcyclesBRD MotorcyclesBRD MotorcyclesBRD MotorcyclesBRD MotorcyclesBRD MotorcyclesBRD Motorcycles

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Domenick Yoney / AOL

Ford Recalling 70k Escape and Mariner Hybrids for cooling issue

Posted Sep 12th 2014 1:31PM

2008 Ford Escape Hybrid

Ford is recalling about 70,209 examples of the 2005-2008 Ford Escape Hybrid and the 2006-2008 Mercury Mariner Hybrid because the cooling pumps for their hybrid systems could fail.

According to the company's defect notice, it's possible for the original "Motor Electronics Coolant (MEC) Pump" to wear out and fail, which would could cause the hybrid system to overheat. If this happens, the vehicle goes into a safety mode that takes away most or all of its power. However, braking and steering still operate normally. After cooling down, the affected models restart normally. The company says that it's not aware of any accidents or injuries related to this problem.

Ford will begin repairing the vehicles in late October, and dealers will be installing improved, brushless pumps on the affected models at no charge to owners. If drivers had their pumps fail before this recall, they can contact Ford for a possible reimbursement. Scroll down to read the recall announcement from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or download the full defect notice as a PDF, here.

News Source: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [1], [2]

Recharge Wrap-up: Eigg's renewable energy grid, Wulin City Car EV looks like i3

London Mayor Renews Call For Diesel Scrapping Incentives; Automakers Partner For UK Rapid Charge Network; NYC Taxis Get More Flexible Mobile Payment

Posted Sep 12th 2014 12:06PM

isle of eigg

Scotland's Isle of Eigg's electrical grid relies solely on wind, hydro and solar power. It's the first grid of its kind after switching to renewable energy from noisy, unreliable diesel generators. Scotland's renewable resources are fodder for supporters of independence form the UK, and Eigg is a perfect example of that potential. Besides being a responsible community, it also seems like a lovely place to visit. Read more at Reuters.

London Mayor Boris Johnson is calling for incentives for diesel vehicle scrapping. The goal is to improve London's air quality, encourage the purchase of clean vehicles and offset the inconvenience of charging diesel cars to enter the city's proposed Ultra Low Emissions Zone. Read more at Green Car Congress or in the press release below.

BMW, Nissan, Renault and Volkswagen are teaming up to create a better EV charging infrastructure in the UK and Ireland. As part of the Trans-European Transport Network (T-ENT) program, the group aims to create extended EV-friendly roadways with the UK Rapid Charge Network, connecting major cities on the islands. Plans for the network include 70 rapid chargers along 684 miles of road. The four manufacturers also want to extend the project to mainland Europe to encourage the adoption of EVs. Read more at Hybrid Cars.

Wuling is working on an EV, called City Car, which liberally takes visual cues from the BMW i3. The City Car EV concept is slated to make its debut in November at the Guangzhou Auto Show, while a production version could make its way onto Chinese roads next year. We might have to wait until the debut to know what powers the City Car, as those details haven't been released yet. General Motors is a 43-percent stakeholder in Wuling. Read and see more at Car News China.

Taxi customers in New York will enjoy greater payment flexibility with the new interoperability between RideLinQ and Way2ride apps. Now customers will be able to use either app to pay in any of the city's 20,000 green and yellow taxis. There's no need for separate apps for separate cabs, and no need for drivers to install any new equipment. The groups behind the apps hope to expand this functionality to other cities across the country. Read more in the press release below.

News Source: Reuters, Greater London Authority, Green Car Congress, Car News China, Hybrid Cars, Creative Mobile Technologies

Image Credit: Kevin Walsh - Creative Commons 2.0

Fuel cells will flop outside Japan, says VW

Posted Sep 12th 2014 9:30AM

Toyota FCV

"It may fly within Japan, but not globally," VW's Shoji said.

It's long been battered into our beleaguered auto writer brains that the ultimate future source of motivation for tomorrow's cars and trucks is not gasoline, diesel, electricity, natural gas, propane or solar power – it's the hydrogen fuel cell. It's been the Next Big Thing since the start of Next Big Things.

Despite decades of prophesizing, the availability of fuel-cell vehicles and the infrastructure to go with them remains exceedingly limited. And to hear Volkswagen explain it, things aren't poised to get any better any time soon.

The German manufacturer's Japanese president, Shigeru Shoji, tells Bloomberg that FCVs aren't likely to catch on beyond Japan's borders, where the vehicles have a shot at catching on due to huge subsidies offered by the government. Hydrogen buyers in Japan can receive up to $28,500 in breaks from the government if they adopt the zero-emissions vehicles.

"It may fly within Japan, but not globally," Shoji told Bloomberg in an interview.

The heart of the issue rests, not surprisingly, with costs. Because storing and transporting hydrogen and building out the necessary infrastructure to make it available to consumers is so pricy, the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – which as Bloomberg explains it, is targeting a "hydrogen society" – needs to incentivize adoption.

Volkswagen's statement comes as Toyota prepares to launch a fuel-cell vehicle (shown above) on the American West Coast. With sales slated to kick off year, Toyota expects the cost to fill up the FCV to start at around $50 before falling to $30. VW, doesn't seem too sure of that, though.

"There are still a lot of questions lingering about how practical it is even though Toyota launches next year," VW spokesman Yasuo Maruta told Bloomberg. "By the time it gets very usable by the normal customers, it's maybe still a decade or two decades away."

News Source: Bloomberg

When your Tesla Model S gets stolen, fire up the app [w/video]

Posted Sep 11th 2014 6:32PM

tesla model s

It's a nightmare for anyone who loves their car: you return to your parking spot, only to find it empty. You flash the lights or honk the horn with your key fob just to make sure you didn't forget where you parked, but nothing happens. What do you do? If you're a Tesla Model S owner, you get out your phone, open your Tesla app and track that baby.

That's exactly what Shahin Pirani did when her Tesla went missing after visiting a friend in San Diego. Seeing that the car was nearby, she called the police as she tried to track down the car. When the cops showed up, the two thieves fled, resulting in a 20-minutes chase.

Pirani watched it all go down through her app, able to track her car's location and speed throughout the pursuit. "The car was actually running at 100 mph so we figured the car was being chased by the cops." Eventually, the police were able to stop the car with spike strips and apprehend the suspects.

What makes this story particularly notable is its rarity. While the car can be a thief's target, the Model S was recently named the least-stolen car in the US. With the suite of technology on board to ensure the car's security, as well as Tesla's continual over-the-air updates to fix any vulnerabilities (including to hackers), that's not totally surprising. Teals even has a feature that can shut the car down remotely in some circumstances. And after her ordeal, Pirani remains a satisfied customer, saying "After this, I'm not going to get any other car for sure." You can watch some b-roll TV news footage of the event's aftermath below.
Related GalleryTesla Model S
Tesla Model STesla Model STesla Model STesla Model STesla Model STesla Model STesla Model STesla Model S

News Source: NBC Bay Area via Jalopnik

Kia Soul EV priced at $33,700*, leases start at $249/month

Posted Sep 11th 2014 3:44PM

Kia Soul EV in blue

Kia must have thought VW was aiming a little high when the German automaker priced its upcoming electric vehicle for the US market. Kia has just announced that the price for its new Soul EV will be $33,700 (before any tax incentives) when it comes to the US later this year. That's well above the base model Nissan Leaf, which starts at $28,980, but a few thousand dollars below the Volkswagen e-Golf, which starts at $35,445.

The upper end Plus model starts at $35,700.

The Soul EV will come in two trim levels, with the upper end Plus model starting at $35,700. The extra $2,000 will get you leather-trimmed heated and ventilated seats, fog lamps and power folding mirrors. As any EV driver in a cold climate will tell you, heated seats can do a lot for your body comfort when electrons count. Every Soul EV will have an onboard 6.6-kW charger, a nav system, a rear camera and Kia's UVO EV Services connection (with app) – as well as Kia's $800 destination charge. There are a few more details in the press release below. The Soul also has something that its competitors don't: an official range of 93 miles thanks to a 27-kWh lithium ion battery pack. The Leaf sits pretty at 84 miles while the e-Golf has not yet been officially rated.

For those more interested in leasing than buying, the cost will be $249 per month with $1,999 down for the base model. Kia will announce more lease details closer to launch this fall. By the way, the Soul EV will be "initially available in certain California markets only with limited availability," so only some of you will have the option to get one from the start. Kia has said that the Soul EV will be available in other states –Oregon, New York, New Jersey and Maryland – as well, so expect announcements on that front at some point.

News Source: Kia

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Custom Tesla Model S features incredible light-up paint

Posted Sep 11th 2014 12:45PM

LumiLor electro-luminescent paint

One of the most fascinating things about documentaries which examine the bizarre creatures populating our Earth's oceans is the concept of bioluminescence. Deep down in the drink, there are jellyfish and other creatures able to emit their own light – often in beautiful, strobing patterns. And now, it's apparently possible to give your car a very similar look thanks to an electroluminescent paint called LumiLor from Darkside Scientific.

As you can see on the Tesla Model S in the above video, the paint allows the driver to animate the vehicle's exterior when it's dark in quite bright colors, but it looks completely normal during the day. On its website, Darkside Scientific claims that LumiLor can be applied in a variety of colors with a standard paint gun, but does require some added electronics to apply the alternating current that makes the paint illuminate. It even works on plastic, vinyl, glass and other materials. However, the one potential downside is the that company admits that LumiLor's brightness fades with continued use, but it doesn't say how quickly this degradation takes place.

Autoblog has reached out to Darkside Scientific to learn more about LumiLor, and we'll update this story when we hear back. In the meantime, check out this Tesla that glows eerily like a jellyfish deep in the ocean.

News Source: Lumilor, Darkside Scientific via Vimeo

Tesla Model X reservations 20,000 strong and counting

Or So We Think

Posted Sep 11th 2014 11:59AM

Tesla Model X

Those falcon wing doors appear appropriate for the Tesla Model X, as pre-orders for the battery-electric SUV are flying. That's what Gas2.0 is saying, citing various sources. So despite Model X deliveries not happening until the spring of 2015, folks are lining up.

Company spokeswoman Alexis Georgeson called the estimated sales figures "merely speculation."


All told, more than 20,000 Model X vehicles have been pre-ordered from Tesla's retooled Fremont, CA, plant. In fact, sales are accelerating, as about 8,000 of the SUVs have been ordered during the past six months, and more than 1,300 were pre-ordered in August alone. And that's despite the fact that Tesla has disclosed neither the Model X's price nor its single-charge range. Either way, the percentage split is about 75/25 for North America vs. oversees orders, according to Gas2.0.

If there were really 1,300 units ordered in August, the Model X would be the fourth best-selling plug-in in the US, trailing only the Nissan Leaf battery-electric, Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in and, of course, the Tesla Model S sedan. Tesla itself is being quiet about its figures. Company spokeswoman Alexis Georgeson, in an e-mail to AutoblogGreen, called the estimated sales figures "merely speculation" and declined to confirm them.

In late July, Tesla said it delivered a quarterly record 7,579 vehicles for the three months that ended June 30 and that it was on track to deliver more than 35,000 vehicles this year. And more recently, Tesla said it planned to build its massive gigafactory near Reno, NV, as the Silver State promised an incentive package worth over $1.2 billion over the next two decades.

News Source: Gas2.0

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Sebastian Blanco / AOL

2014 Maserati Ghibli Diesel

Posted Sep 11th 2014 11:57AM



It used to be easier to make sense of the auto industry. There were mainstream manufacturers, and there were niche sports car manufacturers. That was before Porsche starting selling more crossovers than it does sports cars, Lamborghini began preparing to go down the same road, and Ferrari introduced an all-wheel-drive hatchback. But long before the arrival of the Cayenne, the unveiling of the Urus and the advent of the FF, the storied marque that is Maserati was already bolstering its sports car offerings with four-door sedans.

In fact, it's now been half a century and six generations since the launch of the original Quattroporte. So the idea of a four-door Maserati shouldn't come as any surprise by now, but the vehicle you see here has the Modenese automaker breaking new ground in another way entirely. And it's not the size, either: although the new Ghibli is smaller than the current QP, it's roughly the same size as the aforementioned original – not to mention the Dodge Charger, a corporate stablemate which similarly revived a coupe nameplate for a four-door sedan. No, what makes this Ghibli 'special' is what resides under the hood, because the model you're looking at packs the very first diesel Maserati has ever offered in its hundred-year history.

Sacrilege, you say? Maybe, but as so-called performance brands have turned their attention to four-door sedans and crossovers, they've also begun to embrace diesel propulsion. In Europe these days, even Porsche, Jaguar, the BMW M division and Audi Quattro GmbH are burning the midnight oil. So while it may be new territory for Maserati, the Ghibli is far from the first high-end, performance-oriented diesel on the Old World's market. It's also a vital addition to the brand's portfolio, particularly in Europe where the advantageous price of diesel fuel over gasoline (and the smaller volumes of fuel a diesel engine typically consumes) makes offering a model so equipped vital to the Trident marque's ambitious growth plans. The question, then, is whether it delivers.

Driving Notes
  • The basic parameters of the Ghibli should be familiar from our first drive in Italy and our subsequent review back on American roads. We won't go into the same depth in this short report, because this engine isn't coming to North America, and this diesel model is visually almost indiscernible from its benzine-burning stablemates. Suffice it to say that its evocative shape is a welcome addition to a segment that typically appeals to conservative tastes with cookie-cutter uniformity, but such non-traditional styling won't be for everyone: the shape may whisper "Italian Riviera" to some, but the detailing will say Buick Riviera to others.
  • The interior is a nice (if somewhat plain) place to be, the infotainment system is a marked improvement over those found in older Maseratis (thanks, Chrysler), and the seats are comfortable and supportive (if teetering a little too high for a proper sports sedan), but the cabin doesn't feel as special as a Maserati should, especially all in black like our tester.
  • Power in this least potent, most fuel-efficient Maserati comes from the same 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel as you'll find in a variety of models under the Fiat-Chrysler umbrella, which has by now fully absorbed the VM Motori engine manufacturer that supplies it. In the Ghibli (as in the diesel Quattroporte), it's been retuned to produce 271 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque – which is, by both measures, more potent than the same engine as fitted to the Chrysler 300, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500.
  • Relative to the diesel versions of the BMW 5 Series, for comparison's sake, that puts it smack in between the 535d available Stateside (with 255 hp and 413 lb-ft, sold overseas as the 530d) and the more powerful Euro-spec 535d (308 hp and 465 lb-ft) but well shy of the more performance-oriented M550d (376 hp/546 lb-ft). Clearly there's room for improvement, and we hope Maserati aims higher next time around.
  • Compared to the gasoline versions available in the US, the diesel Ghibli is down on power but up on torque, netting a (comparatively) lethargic 6.3-second 0-62 time versus to the 5.6 seconds quoted for the 345-hp base Ghibli (which gets a lower power rating overseas at 325 hp but the same torque and performance figures), and the 4.8 quoted for the top-of-the-line S with its 404 prancing horses (which comes standard with Q4 all-wheel drive in the US, available in Europe but not in the left-hand UK market). That's a hefty penalty in performance, which partially comes down to the difference in weight: the diesel model tips the scales at 4,045, which is heavier than either spec of the rear-drive gasoline models (but less than the all-wheel-drive version) - the diesel's extra torque failing to overcome the added weight under acceleration.
  • What you get in return, however, is far better fuel economy: 37 miles per gallon in the city, 56 mpg on the highway (by European standards) easily trumps the 20 mpg the base gasoline model gets in a European metropolis and 40 mpg between them. Factor in the diesel fuel that's cheaper in Europe and you're looking at a substantial savings at the pump.
  • The relative drop in performance, however, is not helped by a transmission that seems determined never to hold the gear selected, controlled (in addition to the paddles) by a console shifter that, to put it charitably, takes some getting used to. Naturally, the turbodiesel doesn't sound quite like a Maserati should, though the synthesizer engaged with the Sport button makes up for it, at least in part.
  • With the added weight in the nose – and on the punishing Hill Route at the Millbrook Proving Ground where we drove it – we didn't experience that perfect 50/50 weight balance Maserati's been crowing about with the gasoline versions. (Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to compare them back to back since the gasoline testers on hand, rather tellingly, ran out of fuel early on.) The impression with which we were left was one of a reasonably solid chassis, well damped from the surrounding environment, but saddled with a lackluster engine. We weren't entirely convinced, either, that a "reasonably solid chassis" can keep up in such a competitive segment – an impression further reinforced when we drove a diesel Panamera later the same day and a diesel Jag XF just a few days later, both of which (though based on older architectures) gave a better impression of the driver's connectedness to both machine and road.
  • The diesel Ghibli, however, is still new, and represents new territory for Maserati – one to which we trust it will become better adapted as development progresses... especially when a new diesel engine arrives. In the meantime, the current diesel, arguably better suited towards trucks than performance sedans, isn't one which American buyers should pine for when there are newer, better gasoline options available from Maserati and better diesels offered by the competition. At the end of the day, the diesel Ghibli's greatest achievement may very well be the more realistic proposition of actually driving one in Italy, where a troubled economy and high fuel prices – currently hovering at around $9 per gallon for gasoline and $8.50 for diesel – have made the sight of a Maserati on the road a tragically rare one.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Noah Joseph / AOL

VW issues orders for police version of e-Golf

Posted Sep 11th 2014 10:58AM

VW e-golf polizei

If the Toyota Prius could be used (in fiction, anyway) as a quiet way to do a drive-by shooting, then a pure electric vehicle should have some silent benefits for the police. It's happening in the real world thanks to the new police-spec VW e-Golf.

On display at an international police equipment conference in Germany this week (the Internationalen Fachmesse für Polizeiausrüstung), the 5-0-ready EV has a special paint job as well as the required top lights and digital communications gear. VW says the special e-Golf also stands ready to serve the mission of emissions reduction.

The powertrain is the same as what you'll find in the civilian e-Golf, which means an 85-kW electric motor that can zip up to 62 miles per hour in 10.4 seconds and a li-ion battery that provides something between 80 and 118 miles of range. We imagine using this little car for a high-speed car chase will shrink that down a bit.

News Source: VW, AutoWeek

Recharge Wrap-up: Local Motors begins 3D printing Strati car, global liquid fuel use to increase 38% by 2040

California Funds $13.3M In Clean Car Manufacturing; Proterra Chooses Toshiba Battery

Posted Sep 11th 2014 8:04AM

local motors strati 3d printed car

Petroleum and liquid fuel consumption will increase 38 percent globally by 2040, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Developing parts of the Middle East and Asia account for 85 percent of that increase. In 2040, 92 percent of liquid fuel will be consumed by the transportation and industrial sectors. Liquid fuel use by the residential, commercial and electric power sectors is expected to decrease. Fuel consumption in areas with established oil markets, including the US and Europe, has probably already peaked. Read more at Green Car Congress, or in the press release below.

California is funding $13.3 million worth of programs for manufacturing zero-emission vehicles and advanced vehicle technology. The California Energy Commission's Zero Emission Vehicle Readiness grants, worth $3.3 million, will go toward planning for plug-in hybrid and fuel cell vehicles. Advanced Vehicle Technology Manufacturing grants, worth $10 million, will fund manufacturing lines for alternative fuel vehicles. That includes lines that manufacture complete vehicles, as well as ones that build power- or drivetrain components for those vehicles. The grants require a 50 percent cost share with the awardees. Read more at Green Car Congress.

Local Motors is currently making its 3D printed car, called Strati, at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago. The design, created by Italy's Michele Anoé, was chosen in the 3D Printed Car Design Challenge earlier this year. Printing began Sunday, and is expected to finish this Saturday. The Strati is being made using the Big Area Additive Manufacturing machine - which can print 10 pounds of plastic per hour - with carbon reinforced ABS plastic. If successful, the Local Motors team will drive the Strati away from McCormick Place, where the printing is taking place. Read more at 3D Print, or see the printing process in the video below.

Proterra has chosen Toshiba as the battery supplier for its electric bus. The Toshiba battery is the Rapid Recharge SCiB battery, which is capable of at least 10,000 charge-discharge cycles, as well as vehicle-to-grid operation. The Proterra bus' fast charge system can charge the battery in less than 10 minutes, making it ideal for the demands of public transit. Read more in the press release, below.

Image Credit: Local Motors

How Toyota's 100-year textile history influenced FCV hydrogen fuel cell car

H2 Tanks Will Likely Need To Be Inspected Every Few Years

Posted Sep 10th 2014 7:57PM

Toyota FCV Hydrogen Fuel Tank

Turns out, Toyota had a surprising ace in the hole when it came to building the new fuel tanks for the FCV hydrogen fuel cell car, which is coming next year. Well before Toyota became the Toyota Motor Company, it was the Toyota Industries Corporation and it made textile looms. This is important because the main structure of the hydrogen tank is wound carbon fiber. When Toyota set out to increase the strength of the tanks to hold hydrogen stored at 10,000 psi (up from 5,000 in the previous tanks), it was able to draw on its 100-year-old history as it designed its car of the future.

"A lot of that textile experience came back when we did the tank wrapping." – Justin Ward

"We have a lot of experience with textiles," Justin Ward told AutoblogGreen at the 21st World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) in Detroit this week, "and a lot of that textile experience came back when we did the tank wrapping." On top of being able to hold the higher-pressure hydrogen, Toyota's first attempt to build its own hydrogen tank was six times faster than the industry standard, so it saved time and money as well as working better. The company will also be able to inspect its own tanks. Ward is the general manager of powertrain system control at the Toyota Technical Center and hydrogen vehicles are something he knows a lot about.

The reason for the stronger, 10,000-psi tanks is because the 5,000-psi tanks only offered around 180-200 miles of range, even with four tanks in the early $129,000 FCHV Highlander hydrogen prototypes. The FCV only has two, but they will able to deliver the 300-mile range that customers told Toyota they wanted. Dropping the number of tanks not only obviously reduced the cost for the tanks themselves but also the number of valves and hoses and other components you need.

Despite the benefits of higher compression, going much higher doesn't make sense. 10,000 psi is the "natural progression," Ward said, because "you start to bump up against compression inefficiencies." Think of an air compressor. When hydrogen is produced at a wastewater treatment plant or a reforming site, Ward said, is it at around ambient pressure (14 psi). That has to be raised, using compressors, all the way to 10,000 psi. "That takes energy," Ward said, "and every doubling of pressure adds another doubling of energy needed, so it starts to add up pretty fast if you go too high." Component specifications are also fine at 10,00 psi, but more difficult at higher levels.

Recharge Wrap-up: Mini Superleggera decision delayed, Denza begins production

Local Motion Manages Fleet-Sharing For Businesses

Posted Sep 10th 2014 6:01PM

mini superleggera vision concept

A decision on whether or not to build the Mini Superleggera has been pushed back. Earlier this year, Mini's Peter Schwarzenbauer hinted that the electric roadster concept could eventually make its way to production. Now, Schwarzenbauer is saying that a possible call is still at least six months away. "To really investigate seriously," Schwarzenbauer says, "you look into several different options, you come to the question: do we produce it ourselves, do we give it to somebody else?" Mini is considering whether or not to expand its seven-car lineup to 10 models, or scale it back to five "superheroes," which still wouldn't rule out more models. Read more at Reuters.

The first EV from Daimler and BYD's joint venture, Denza, is set to go on sale this month, with production already starting. The 50/50 partnership said earlier that it was "well on track" to begin sales in September 2014. Now, Daimler has announced that the first Denza has rolled off the production line. According to Daimler, the cars will be sold through an independent dealer network. The Denza, which has a range of about 186 miles, will start at about $60,000. China's generous subsidies could help bring that cost down quite a bit (by nearly $20,000) for customers. Read more at Want China Times, or in the press release from Daimler, below.

Local Motion wants to help organizations pool their transportation resources through fleet-sharing, with a focus on EVs. The company uses software to manage and track vehicle use, diagnostics, energy consumption, vehicle reservations and the like. The keyless technology allows employees to reserve and use the right vehicle for the job, and allows companies to save on vehicle ownership and maintenance. Local Motion is working with companies like Nissan to encourage the adoption of emissions-free driving, as well. Read more in the press release below, or at the Local Motion's website.

News Source: Reuters, Want China Times, Local Motion, Daimler

Image Credit: Mini

Nevada lawmakers debating Tesla gigafactory tax breaks today

Posted Sep 10th 2014 4:16PM

Tesla gigafactory

When it comes to Nevada's financial incentives that lured Tesla Motors to build its Gigafactory in the Silver State, some lawmakers have said Gov. Brian Sandoval has some 'splain' to do. And such explanations are slated to start today, reports Reuters. When there are $1.3 billion or so worth of incentives, the conversation's likely to be a lengthy one.

Nevada Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick is expected to oversee the talks about the incentives, which have been criticized in some circles as being overly generous (even the idea of massive incentives was criticized). Tesla's tax exemptions alone would amount to about $725 million, and there would be about $300 million in payroll savings. Other goodies include business-tax abatements and discounted electricity rates.

Sandoval has argued that the Gigafactory, which could open by late 2016, could create $100 billion worth of economic activity during the next two decades, making it a pretty good deal for the state. The factory, to be built near Reno, will be about 5 million square feet and includes battery-maker Panasonic as an investor. It's considered vital to Tesla's goal of making a $35,000 electric car with a 200-mile range. Nevada beat out Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Tesla's home state of California for Gigafactory bragging rights, but the fight might be just beginning.

News Source: Reuters

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