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Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Nissan Boosts Range, Performance With New Leaf Plus

World’s best-selling battery-electric vehicle breaks 200-mile barrier.

by on Jan.09, 2019

The 2020 Nissan Leaf Plus.

It’s been the world’s best-selling battery-vehicle since its introduction nearly a decade ago, but the Nissan Leaf had been losing ground as competitors like Tesla have rolled out an array of new competitors.

Now, the Japanese automaker is aiming to regain momentum with the introduction of a critical update to the battery-electric vehicle, the new Nissan Leaf Plus set to increase both range and performance by about 50 percent. That will position the five-door model, to be sold as the Leaf e+ in most other markets, as the latest BEV to top the 200-mile mark.

Stay Charged Up!

“This is a big psychological barrier,” said Denis LeVot, the CEO of Nissan North America, during the debut of the Leaf Plus at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Along with the improvement to Leaf’s traditionally anemic performance, he added, that should prove to potential buyers that “these are more than real cars.”

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Infiniti Aims to Electrify With QX Inspiration Concept

Detroit show car hints at future plans for a plug-based future line-up.

by on Jan.04, 2019

Infiniti will reveal the all-electric QX Inspiration concept at the 2019 NAIAS on January 14th.

It’s been a year since Infiniti, Nissan’s luxury brand, announced plans to shift to an “all electrified” powertrain strategy starting in 2021, but the automaker plans to give us a hint of what’s coming with the debut of the QX Inspiration concept vehicle at the North American International Auto Show later this month.

The show car picks up some of the design cues we first saw at the 2018 NAIAS in the form of the well-reviewed Infiniti Q Inspiration. But it picks up on the dramatic market shift from sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs.

Beyond the Headlines!

“QX Inspiration is the beginning of a new era for INFINITI and an illustration of where we want to go with the brand,” explains design director Karim Habib. “New technology has given us the opportunity to evolve our design philosophy – and the new vehicle communicates the serene strength at our core.”

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Polestar’s First All-Electric Model Breaks Cover

by on Jan.03, 2019

Polestar hints that its first all-electric model will adopt a "fastback" shape.

Volvo’s electric performance division is finally charging forward, the plug-in hybrid Polestar 1 getting ready for production, while the sub-brand’s first all-electric model is set to be “fully revealed in the coming weeks,” it confirmed today.

According to a statement, “The car will go into production shortly after the long-range hybrid Polestar 1, which will enter production later this year.” The automaker also emphasized that Polestar 2 will take direct aim at Tesla’s Model 3.

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Breaking Product News!

The teaser shows an overhead view of the Polestar 2’s rounded back end, so not much to go on beyond the fact that it features very aggressively raked rear glass flowing into a rather short trunk lid. That would suggest either a hatchback or an edgy crossover design, Polestar calling it a “fastback.”

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Oil-Rich Norway is the Land of the Battery-Electric Vehicle

BEVs generated a third of country’s new car sales, a record, in 2018.

by on Jan.02, 2019

Picture courtesy Norwegian Electric Vehicle Assoc.

Norwegians have roundly embraced EVs.

It has massive offshore oil reserves that have helped fuel its economy, but as far as millions of Norwegian motorists are concerned, they’d rather spend their money on an electric vehicles.

Battery-cars accounted for a record 31.2% of all new vehicles sold in the Scandinavian nation last year, according to the Norwegian Road Federation, up from 20.8% in 2017. And the shift away from gas and diesel is only expected to accelerate as Norway has set a goal of eliminating sales of vehicles using internal combustion engines by the middle of the decade.

Stay Plugged In!

Last year’s surge “was a small step closer to the 2025 goal,” Oeyvind Solberg Thorsen, head of the NRF, told a news conference in Oslo on Wednesday.

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Volkswagen Testing New Portable EV Charging Stations

New high-speed chargers can charge four vehicles at a time.

by on Dec.28, 2018

Volkswagen has developed a new portable electric vehicle charger that it will begin testing in 2019.

Volkswagen has been saying for months now that it plans to introduce a wave of battery-electric vehicles in the U.S. and around the world — as many as 50 vehicles by 2030.

However, as the motoring public begins to take a macro view of life with an EV, one of the questions being asked is where are all of the EV drivers going to recharge when the home charging station isn’t available?

Business News!

Plenty of companies are stepping up to build charging stations across America; however, Volkswagen isn’t just creating a problem with no solution with this tsunami of EVs is plans to introduce, it’s developed a mobile charging station. (more…)

Elon Musk Unveils His Boring Tunnel

Crowds cheer as first car races through 1.14-mile pilot tunnel at SpaceX HQ.

by on Dec.19, 2018

A Tesla Model X moves through Boring Co.'s pilot tunnel on December 18, 2018.

If Elon Musk hopes to find a way around L.A.’s famously treacherous traffic he still has a long way to go, but the entrepreneur demonstrated what could be one answer Wednesday night by officially opening the Boring Co.’s first test tunnel in the Los Angeles suburb of Hawthorne.

The 1.14-mile route that begins at the headquarters of SpaceX, one of the companies run by Musk, was anything but smooth, one reporter taken along for a demonstration ride complaining of motion sickness. But the pilot tunnel  was simply meant to demonstrate Musk’s belief that “to solve the problem of soul-destroying traffic, roads must go 3D,” according to a post on the Boring Company website.

We Dig for News!

Capping what has been a tough year for the 47-year-old entrepreneur, the opening of the first tunnel could provide momentum for Musk’s plan to build similar structures across the country. The City of Chicago has already given the Boring Co. a tentative contract to develop an underground link from the city’s downtown to its busy O’Hare Airport. Other proposed projects could see links between Washington D.C. and its suburbs, even one running all the way from the capital to New York City.

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California Requiring Transit Agencies to Buy Electric Buses

New mandate means 14,500 new electric buses.

by on Dec.14, 2018

Daimler Truck has invested millions in California-based electric busmaker Proterra to help with its battery-electric development.

California is looking to keep its place as the leader for clean air initiatives after the California Air and Resource Board (CARB) voted to fully transition the state’s public bus fleet to electric power by 2040.

The unanimous vote makes California the first state to sign on to such a commitment. It’s definitely a commitment as the mandate requires the state replace more than 14,000 buses with zero-emissions models.

The Last Word!

The plan requires state agencies that buy buses make 25% of those purchases battery-electric models between now and 2023. By 2025 that number must jump to 50% and by 2029 all buses bought must be battery-electric.  (more…)

Sales Sliding, Toyota Rethinking Plans for Prius

As sales slip, “We need to find a new direction,” says senior Prius exec.

by on Dec.12, 2018

For 2019, Toyota is launching the first AWD version of the familiar Prius hatchback.

Say the word, “hybrid,” and one name is almost certainly going to pop into your mind: Toyota Prius. First launched in Japan in 1997 and brought to the U.S. three years later, it has been the world’s best-selling hybrid-electric vehicle, or HEV, ever since. For several years, earlier this decade, it was the best-selling vehicle in the huge California market and number one in Japan, as well.

But, as the cliché goes, times have changed. Whether due to increased competition, cheap gasoline, or other issues, sales of the original Prius hatchback have been tumbling. Though still the best-selling hybrid in the U.S., the first 11 months of this year saw demand dip 23.2%. And, at just 3,180 vehicles in November, sales are now running barely a quarter of their peak pace earlier in the decade.

Beyond the Headlines!

Toyota is trying to address some of the issues that came up with the launch of the fourth-generation Prius hatchback for the 2016 model-year, among other things tweaking its design and introducing a new electric all-wheel-drive system that could enhance the car’s appeal in Snowbelt regions. But during a series of interviews at a media drive of the 2019 Prius, Toyota officials acknowledged they are looking at even more radical options for the fifth-generation hybrid hatchback due out early in the coming decade.

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Trump Administration Still Fighting to Roll Back Fuel Economy Rules

Critics say mistakes made in calculations nullify Trump-propsed gains.

by on Dec.07, 2018

The Trump administration is proposing revoking California's ability to make it's own emissions and fuel economy rules.

While the industry is focused now on issues such as trade, manufacturing capacity and employment, the fight over fuel economy and emissions hasn’t gone away and could roar back to life any time.

The Trump administration proposed rolling back the fuel-economy rules imposed in the waning days of Obama administration. It also has proposed eliminating California’s hold on the auto industry.

Beyond the Headlines!

California, powered by an overwhelming political victory by Democrats opposed to Trump in last month’s midterm elections and bolstered by new reports both from the Trump administration’s Environment Protection Agency and the United Nations Independent Panel on Climate Change, have vowed a long and expensive court fight to protect the Obama standards and its authority. (more…)

10 Best of the LA Auto Show

Cars, trucks, crossover and concepts worth a second look.

by on Dec.03, 2018

The long-awaited Jeep Gladiator pickup made for one of the splashiest debuts at the LA Auto Show.

We’ve been to some dud auto shows over the last year. The Paris Motor Show, which kicked off the 2019 model-year, couldn’t even fill up a half day on the media calendar, and the Detroit Auto Show didn’t stretch much further. But this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show delivered some sweet surprises with its mix of cars, trucks, crossovers and concepts.

As we’ve come to expect from the Tinseltown extravaganza, there were plenty of green machines making their first appearance at the Los Angeles Convention Center, but these weren’t the sort of slow and stodgy sedans and quirky hatchbacks of years past, covering a broad swath of territory including electrified SUVs, pickups and sports cars. And there were plenty of promising products that fell into more conventional categories.

Auto Show News!

Here’s an alphabetical look at 10 of our favorite debuts at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show:

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