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We could have electric buses that recharge in 15 seconds

Posted Aug 18th 2014 8:02AM

tosa quick charging but stop

First, Swiss watches. Now this. Switzerland is home to a system that will allow battery-electric buses to get their juice in 15-second increments at bus-stop-mounted electric chargers. High-tech, indeed.

Switzerland's Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) is leading of a group of public and private entities that is developing something called the TOSA bus system. TOSA buses get recharged via a robotic arm that connects the roof-mounted bus batteries to an electric charging system mounted on the bus stop. The buses can hold up to 133 people and the "flash charging" provides enough juice in a 15-second charge to get the bus to the next electrified stop without delaying the route. The researchers say such buses could be put into regular service in Geneva by 2017.

Bus electrification has been topical because of the traditionally low fuel economy of diesel-powered municipal buses as well as the troublesome electrification systems that require overhead lines for electric power. With that in mind, companies like China-based BYD have been developing battery-electric buses. This spring, BYD started making electric buses at its California factory and, earlier in the year, said it received an order for 1,200 electric buses from Dalian, China. There's a 100-second video about the TOSA system below.

News Source: EPFL

New Saab parent NEVS: we're not totally broke

Posted Aug 17th 2014 8:59PM

2014 Saab 9-3

The many fans of 1987's The Princess Bride will recall Billy Crystal's Miracle Max character optimistically referring to the protagonist Westley as "mostly dead." It looks like National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), the company that now owns the Saab brand, fits that description. Of course, Westley does end up surviving and getting the girl.

NEVS put out a statement last week saying that, while it doesn't have the cash to pay off all of its outstanding debt (hey, who of us does?), it is "not insolvent" because its assets are greater than its debt. Its suppliers will get paid, but that NEVs "cannot say exactly when."

NEVS, the partnership between a Chinese company and a Japanese investment firm that acquired the Saab name in 2012, restarted production at its Trollhattan plant in Sweden last year and had promised a vehicle line that would include a battery-electric version of the 9-3 sedan. Instead, NEVS stopped the production line that was only making about a half-dozen vehicles a day (the gas-powered, turbocharged 9-3) in May because it said shareholder Qingbo Investment Co. didn't provide the agreed-upon cash. NEVS now says it held positive talks with two manufacturers this summer, and that once funding is secured, it will rewrite its business plan with its new partners to resume production. The supplier that filed a bankruptcy petition is withdrawing it based on this new information, says NEVS.

Saab made its first cars in 1947 and was eventually owned by General Motors before being sold to Spyker in 2010. Bankrupt by the end of 2011, Saab was acquired by NEVS the following year. Check out NEVS's most recent press release below. And have fun storming the castle.
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: NEVS via Green Car Congress

Renovo Motors Coupe buzzes into Monterey with electric power and vintage style

Posted Aug 17th 2014 3:59PM

Renovo Motors Coupe

The Shelby Daytona Coupe is one of the best looking vehicles ever to go racing from any era; it's not exactly known for its amazing fuel economy, though, with a big V8 creating tons of muscular power. Electric car company Renovo Motors aims to revolutionize this American classic by keeping its fantastic styling but fitting a powerful electric motor to maintain the performance in a greener way. The company's coupe makes its debut in Monterey at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance on the Concept Car Lawn.

This jumble of famed design and modern propulsion uses a lithium-ion battery pack and electric motors to make 500 horsepower and 1,000 pound-feet of torque. According to Renovo's original announcement, the company claims that the Coupe can hum to 60 miles per hour in 3.4 seconds all the way to a top speed of over 120 mph with a max range of 100 miles. That's pretty impressive by any standard.

The Coupe starts life Shelby American CSX9000 rolling chassis so the exterior differences are fairly small. Renovo even has trim on the sides like vestigial, side exhausts to fool your friends at first glance. Once the hood opens up, all doubt is removed that there's something different here with no V8 to be found. Scroll through the gallery to check out this electric supercar.

Saleen turns its hand to Tesla Model S with mixed results

Posted Aug 17th 2014 1:45PM

Saleen FourSixteen Tesla Model S

Tuning cars with internal-combustion engines is a bit of a known science. Tuning cars that run on electricity, though, is a newer proposition. In Saleen's case, that hasn't meant so much a modification of the electric motor on this Tesla Model S, as a thorough reworking of the car's aesthetics.

Aside from the monstrously large wheels (which are responsible for a 30-pound reduction in unsprung weight), the Saleen FourSixteen Model S sports a heavily revised front fascia that is perhaps the most questionable styling choice. Gone is the Model S' large Tesla badge, and in its place sits an undersized Saleen logo. This swap gives the front of the car an almost oversized look, which is further exaggerated by the total lack of anything resembling a grille. In back, there's a substantial rear spoiler and a large, carbon-fiber diffuser.

There are some actual mechanical changes here, as evidenced by the FourSixteen's carbon-ceramic brake package. The suspension has also been tweaked, with specific-rate springs and dampers, which should lend some edge to the EV's ride, while a new final drive ratio should deliver snappier acceleration from Tesla's P85 electric drivetrain.

Pricing for this more distinctive Model S, meanwhile, starts at $152,000, which includes the cost of the donor car. Of course, it's unlikely any buyers will actually pay that figure, thanks to the standard government tax rebates available for EVs. According to Saleen, a California buyer would see prices starting at $142,000.

Take a look up top for our gallery of live images from today's concept car display at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

Tesla Model S driver goes from Mexico to Alaska, loves the experience

Seeing The Benefits Of Needing To Stop For A Charge

Posted Aug 16th 2014 3:00PM

tesla model s

As range anxiety lessens, and more chargers are installed along major roadways, increasing numbers of people are taking road trips in their electric vehicles. The Tesla Model S in particular has become the go-to vehicle for electric touring. When equipped with the 85-kWh battery pack, the Model S offers up to 265 miles of range, which is a respectable distance to cover in one sitting. It's still notable, though, when a Model S driver makes a particularly long trek, especially when much of the route is mostly devoid of Tesla Superchargers.

Guy Hall, the president of the Sacramento Electric Vehicle Association, drove his Tesla Model S from the US/Mexico border outside of Yuma, Arizona to Fairbanks, Alaska in 17 days. He calls the trip the T5 (Tesla Tijuana to Tundra Tour), and he encourages other people to make the journey, despite the challenge of driving through areas that are sparsely populated.

Charging "slows you down to take a break. I've met some marvelously nice people here." – Guy Hall

Driving through California, Oregon, and Washington isn't too difficult. North of Vancouver, British Columbia is where charging starts to get a little tricky. Hall says that when gas stations with electrical outlets were few and far between, he stopped at RV parks to charge (a trick of the Tesla tripping trade we've seen before). Hall made use of his charms, and would offer rides in his Model S to curious employees at mechanic and welding shops in return for the opportunity to more quickly charge his battery using their 240-volt outlets. While the trip took quite a bit longer than it would have in one of the Ford Tauruses Hall owned before switching to EVs, it allowed him to soak in the beauty of his surroundings, meet people along the way and answer questions about the Model S. Charging "slows you down to take a break," says Hall. "I've met some marvelously nice people here."

Guy Hall now hopes to turn the T5 trip into a sort of event, where EV drivers who make the trip in the shortest amount of time could win a trophy. If you're interested in making a similar journey, Hall has posted his route from Sacramento northward, here. Read more about Hall's journey at News Miner, or read his thread at Tesla Motors Club.
Related GalleryTesla Model S
Tesla Model STesla Model STesla Model STesla Model STesla Model STesla Model STesla Model STesla Model S

News Source: News Miner

Image Credit: Tesla

Recharge Wrap-up: Ford HQ gets giant solar array, Chevy City Express gets 24 MPG city

University Of Wisconsin Engineers Blend Diesel And Gas For Improved Efficiency; Southeast Alternative Fuel Conference

Posted Aug 16th 2014 8:00AM

2015 chevrolet city express

Ford will be building Michigan's largest solar array at its Dearborn headquarters. With funding from DTE Energy, the solar carport will provide covered parking, as well 30 charging stations for electric vehicles. The array is expected to generate 1.13 million kWh per year for Ford's operations, and offset 794 metric tons of carbon emissions. Read more in the press release below.

Chevrolet announced the fuel economy for the 2015 City Express, at 25 mpg combined. The cargo van is rated at 24 mpg in the city, and 26 mpg on the highway. Chevy credits the van's inline four-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission for its impressive city mileage. For its customers - which are mainly businesses - "The fuel economy of the City Express will help stretch their dollar at the pump and give them the flexibility to invest the savings back into their business," says Chevrolet's Ed Peper. The City Express starts at $22,950. Read more in the press release below.

Engineers at the University of Wisconsin have developed an efficient engine that runs on a diesel-gas blend. The engine, which uses a computer to control the blend proportions, is about 15 percent more efficient than the any diesel engine according to mechanical engineering professor Rolf Reitz. The team has put the experimental reactivity controlled compression ignition (RCCI) engine in a demonstration car - a 2009 Saturn. "This vehicle can do 50 miles per gallon," says Reitz, who believes the system could be improved further. Read more at Wisconsin Public Radio.

The Southeast Alternative Fuel Conference and Expo will take place in October in Raleigh, North Carolina. Held at the NC Clean Energy Technology Center from October 22-24, the event will feature a variety of exhibitors, speakers and, most importantly, alternatively powered vehicles. "The three day conference will be a one-stop shop for fleet and transportation related decision makers to learn about return on investment, efficiency and alternative transportation fuels such as biodiesel, electricity, ethanol, propane and natural gas," says Anne Tazewell of the NC Clean Energy Technology Center. If you can't make it to Raleigh for the Expo, you can still enter to win a free two-year lease of a Nissan Leaf at the Center's website. Learn more about the event in the press release, below.

News Source: Ford, Chevrolet, Wisconsin Public Radio, NC Clean Energy Technology Center

Image Credit: Chevrolet

This is what it takes to build a Tesla Supercharger

Posted Aug 15th 2014 7:49PM

tesla supercharger building timelapse video

One construction company has taken a seven-day process and shrunk it down to about seven minutes in a new video that shows a Tesla Supercharger being built. And the video comes with some cool bluegrass music. Only in the USA.

Electric Conduit Construction took a time-lapse video of its building out a station next to a Holiday Inn Express in Goodland, KA, which is about 200 miles east of Denver, CO on Interstate 70. All the not-so-gory details are there, including the digging up of four-foot-deep trenches, pouring footings, backfilling with gravel and sand, and installing supercharger cabinets and fencing so that no one gets zapped.

Tesla Motors says it has 105 Supercharger stations strung across North America, which is impressive given that its station count was in the single digits as recently as last May. The company has said that there will be enough of such super-fast charging stations to be reachable by 98 percent of the US population via a Tesla Model S (we should all be so lucky to afford one) by next year. The California-automaker estimates that a half-hour plug-in at a Supercharger station can add as many as 170 miles worth of range to a Tesla Model S. See how one gets built in the video below.

News Source: Electric Conduit Construction/YouTube via Teslarati

Renovo Coupe electric supercar offers 500 HP for just $529,000 [w/video]

Entering Limited Production In 2015

Posted Aug 15th 2014 6:24PM

Renovo Coupe EV Supercar

What you're looking at there, a Shelby Daytona decked out in classic glorious blue with white racing stripes, is the just-revealed, all-electric 2015 Renovo Coupe. Renovo calls it, "America's First All-Electric Supercar." We call it dope.

Here's why: powered by a lithium-ion battery pack and direct-drive twin sequential axial flux motors that can spit out 500 horsepower and 1,000 pound-feet of torque, the Renovo Coupe will be able to go from zero to 60 in under 3.4 seconds and has a top speed of over 120 miles per hour, Renovo says. That's fast enough to beat the Tesla Roadster Sport's 3.7 seconds. Of course, the 3,250-pound Renovo Coupe will also cost a pretty penny more, with the limited production vehicle coming in 2015 for a reported $529,000. It will be on display at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance this weekend.

For your half-million, you not only get the ridiculous performance numbers cited above, but also a zero-emission vehicle that can go 100 miles on a charge and can be refilled at a DC quick charger in a half hour or in five hours at a standard Level 2 charger. Like the Tesla EVs, the Renovo is built in Silicon valley, but the new company uses modified Shelby American CSX9000 rolling chassis as its starting point.

Renovo says it has been operating in stealth mode since 2010, on a mission "to build the world's most exciting vehicles." Find out more at Renovo's website and Twitter feed or 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: Renovo

GM files trademark application for 'Chevy Bolt'

Posted Aug 15th 2014 4:31PM

bangkok  march 27   close up of ...

Move over Chevy Volt, a little brother could possibly be on the way.

General Motors filed a trademark application for both 'Chevrolet Bolt' and 'Bolt' earlier this month, specifically for use as automobile names. Trademark filings often hold clues for upcoming models or new products from automakers, says
Manoli Katakis, editorial director of GM Authority, an independent news source covering the latest news from The General.

"It's really hard to tell what it could be at this point. It could be a word-play off the Volt, or it could be a concept of sorts," Katakis told Autoblog. "As we've seen with the trademarks of 'Stingray,' 'MyLink' and 'Z28,' it's usually a preliminary indicator that something is coming."

Trademarked names can also lead to dead ends. Car manufactures can apply for trademarks and sit on them for years. A company has to demonstrate use once it is granted a trademark, but the company can then file extensions on proof of use. That's how Chrysler got away with registering the name "Barracuda" two years ago, and more than a two-and-half years later, has filed four extensions to show use without building any new Barracudas. General Motors also holds on to a trademark for "Chevelle" 35 years after the last one rolled off the assembly line.

News Source: GM Authority

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Smart ED ready for high-horsepower Mustang on city drag strip

Posted Aug 15th 2014 2:44PM

Smart ED City Drag Racing

Hey, all you fans of the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, where will you ever use that 204 mile per hour top speed? Probably not in very many places, and Smart would kindly like to remind you that, "Top speed means nothing in the city."

That's the tagline for a new ad for the all-electric Smart ED from Smart Canada. The scene is iconic: a couple of high-power cars at the drag strip. But they're up against the battery-powered Smart ED, which you wouldn't think would hold a candle to the overkill horsepower in the Ford Mustang, Audi A5 and Porsche Boxster. Well, maybe it doesn't, but that's why the message here is interesting.

We won't give everything away – that's what the 90-second video you can watch below is for – but we will say this ad does a good job of taking something we think we know and turning it on its head.

News Source: Smart Canada via Green Car Reports, YouTube

GM admits Cadillac ELR no real competition for Tesla Model S

Hey Detroit, Where's The EV That Can Challenge California?

Posted Aug 15th 2014 1:16PM

Cadillac ELR

Last year, then-CEO of General Motors, Dan Akerson, made it clear that the company lookouts at the Ren Cen had California automaker Tesla in their sights. "If you want to compete head-to-head with Tesla, and we ultimately will, you want to do it with a Cadillac," he said.

So, given the fact that the Cadillac ELR has a plug and sells for roughly the same price at the Tesla Model S ($75,000 vs $69,900, before incentives) and that Cadillac doesn't have any other electric vehicle on the horizon, you'd be forgiven if you thought that the way that Akerson wanted to challenge Tesla's EV success was with the ELR. Well, you'd apparently be wrong.

"The ELR is a different car, it's a different price point. It's way-different technology." - GM's Mark Reuss

Speaking yesterday in Detroit, GM's head of global product development, Mark Reuss, admitted that the ELR is not the Tesla competitor that Akerson promised. "People like to say the ELR is [competition for the Model S], but it's really not. It's a different car, it's a different price point. It's way-different technology." So, if we follow that logic to conclusion with Akerson's quote from last year, then the only way that Cadillac can eventually compete with Tesla is with a pure electric car, and that seems an outside chance, at best, for the foreseeable future.

Through the end of July, Cadillac has sold 578 ELRs since it went on sale earlier this year. Tesla doesn't break out monthly US sales, but has sold 15,114 Model S EVs around the world in the first six months of 2014.

For his part, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has already said that GM is headed down the wrong path with plug-in hybrids like the ELR or the Chevy Volt. Speaking about the Volt last year, Musk said, Chevy "sort of created something that's a bit of amphibian," which resulted in a car that's, "Okay but not great."
Related Gallery2014 Cadillac ELR
2014 Cadillac ELR2014 Cadillac ELR2014 Cadillac ELR2014 Cadillac ELR2014 Cadillac ELR2014 Cadillac ELR2014 Cadillac ELR2014 Cadillac ELR

News Source: The Detroit News

BMW i8 Concours d'Elegance Edition is so cool it's Frozen [UPDATE]

Posted Aug 15th 2014 11:01AM

The new, one-of-a-kind BMW i8 Concours d'Elegance Edition made a ritzy debut last night at BMW's private villa, giving the media its first chance to look at the ultra-exclusive hybrid.

As we said in our previous post, the most notable feature of the Concours d'Elegance i8 is its matte grey paint, known as Frozen Grey Metallic in BMW parlance. This isn't the first time we've seen this shade on an exclusive BMW, as it was last used for the Frozen Grey M3 from 2010.

Contrasting quite nicely with the i8's flat paint are its blue and white accents, and its Dalbergia Brown leather upholstery. Blue contrast stitching complements the interior aesthetic, as do the embossed BMW roundels in the headrests.

Provided Uncle Sam signs off on it, the i8 Concours d'Elegance will also be the first vehicle in the US to feature laser headlights. It will also include a complimentary set of Louis Vuitton baggage and a "professional edition" charging station.

The exclusive model will cross the auction block at Gooding & Company's auction on Saturday evening, where it will likely command a hefty sum, with proceeds going to the Pebble Beach Company Foundation and the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Take a look up top for our live gallery of images from the i8's debut last night, and then scroll down for the press release and original gallery from the car's announcement last week.

UPDATE: The i8 Concours d'Elegance Edition sold for a whopping $825,000 during Gooding and Company's auction on Saturday night. The car was presented by Jay Leno and BMW North America's president and CEO, Ludwig Willisch.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Brandon Turkus / AOL

Lexus NX begins production in Japan [w/videos]

Posted Aug 15th 2014 10:15AM

Lexus NX production

Lexus entered new territory this past April when it revealed the new NX compact luxury crossover at the Beijing Motor Show, but it wasn't until now that the Toyota luxury division actually started building them. The first production examples started rolling off the assembly line last week at the Miyata plant in Japan, with the accompanying turbo engines built at the adjacent Kanda plant.

The arrival of the NX marks both the first time that Lexus has produced a compact crossover – an increasingly important segment for luxury automakers – and the first time Lexus has offered a turbocharged engine, one of two options alongside the hybrid version. The NX builds on two previous competences exhibited by Toyota: one is the RAV4, which pioneered the compact crossover segment back in 1994, the other being the Lexus RX that was among the first luxury crossovers when it arrived in '97.

Lexus reports that it has already taken some 6,500 pre-orders in Japan alone, with many more coming in from markets around the world – including ours, where it is sure to be a key player for the Japanese automaker alongside the hot-selling RX. Watch the videos below to see the NX starting its production run in Japan.
Related GalleryLexus NX production
Lexus NX productionLexus NX productionLexus NX productionLexus NX production

News Source: Lexus

Polestar announces Volvo V60 PHEV performance upgrades

Posted Aug 15th 2014 7:51AM

Volvo V60 D6 PHEV by Polestar

In the market for a Volvo V60, but can't decide between the Polestar version of the D6 Plug-in Hybrid? Well, chances are, if you're reading these tree-hugging pages, you've already made up your mind, but allow us to make the decision a little easier for you.

Polestar, Volvo's closely affiliated racing and tuning partner, has announced a new range of upgrades for the V60 D6 PHEV. The package centers around a performance boost, squeezing out an extra 15 horsepower and 22 pound-feet of torque from the diesel-hybrid powertrain to bring output up to 298 hp and 494 lb-ft.

That's enough to make the Polestar-enhanced V60 hybrid the most powerful diesel Volvo has ever offered. The upgrades drop the 0-62 time down to six seconds flat, down from the 6.2 seconds we'd previously seen quoted for the incrementally shorter 0-60 time, all without sacrificing the diesel hybrid's fuel consumption or emissions figures or voiding the warranty.

Call it a win-win scenario, then, (especially with the optional factory R-Design package) and scope out the details in the press release below. Unfortunately, since the V60 D6 PHEV isn't available Stateside, this upgraded diesel hybrid power-wagon remains out of reach - which is just as well, because the package is currently only being offered in the UK, Netherlands and Sweden.

News Source: Volvo


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