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Faraday Future Set to Reveal First Car at CES

LeEco’s autonomous debut short-circuited when its car wouldn’t run.

by on Oct.20, 2016

The LeEco LeSee concept.

Tesla Motors isn’t the only automotive upstart attempting to make news about electric and autonomous vehicles. Several potential competitors have their own, futuristic models to reveal – though, as Chinese-owned LeEco demonstrated Wednesday, there are plenty of pitfalls along the path.

With billionaire investor Jia Yueting on hand for a public unveiling in San Francisco, LeEco’s event went off the rails when the LeSee, its prototype autonomous electric vehicle, couldn’t drive down the runway, forcing Jia to run down the ramp on his own.

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Jia, who made a fortune in the Chinese electronics industry, is clearly hoping to do better with a second automotive start-up he is funding, California-based Faraday Future. That company made its debut last January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and will be back at the 2017 CES in less than three months to unveil its first production model.


Fisker Launching All-New Battery-Car Company

Breakthrough battery promised; range could top 400 miles.

by on Oct.04, 2016

Henrik Fisker shown in Geneva before his earlier company, Fisker Automotive, collapsed.

If at first you don’t succeed…

If you’re Henrik Fisker, it seems, the next step is to start yet another car company. Three years after the collapse and bankruptcy of his original effort, Fisker Automotive, the Danish designer is back in business. The new Fisker, Inc. plans to launch a new line of long-range electric vehicles that will rival the likes of upstart Tesla Motors, as well as the more mainstream manufacturers now pushing into the battery-car business.

While specific details are limited, Fisker said the company is targeting a minimum range of 400 miles per charges, something that would allow a driver to go even further without interruption than with all but a handful of gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles.

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“This is really the revival of the original Fisker, though it will be a completely new company,” the 53-year-old automotive veteran told in an exclusive interview.


Nissan Looking to Sell Battery Manufacturing Operations

Panasonic reportedly one possible buyer.

by on Aug.08, 2016

The Nissan Leaf has been the world's best-selling battery car since its late 2009 launch.

Nissan Motor Co. is reportedly looking to sell its battery manufacturing operations, with Panasonic Corp. considered the most likely buyer.

Japan’s second-largest automaker has made a major bet on electric vehicles, but, with the market for battery cars running slower than expected, it is seeking to unload its 51% stake in the Automotive Energy Supply Corporation, or AESC, joint venture. The likely buyer, according to a report by the Reuter’s news service is Panasonic, which is the partner in Tesla’s Gigafactory battery plant in Reno, Nevada.

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“The report on Nissan and its battery business is speculation and is not based on any announcement by us,” David Reuter, a senior company spokesman, told But he also noted that the maker will “continuously evaluate our business strategy in pursuit of optimal products and business structure.”


Toyota Delays Launch of Plug-in Prius Prime

U.S. sales not planned to start until winter.

by on Aug.03, 2016

The plug-in Toyota Prius Prime made its global debut at the NY Auto Show last March.

(Ed. Note: Toyota has now clarified details of the U.S. launch. See details, below.)

Toyota Motor Co. is delaying the start of production for its new plug-in model, the Prius Prime.

The move is expected to push back the availability of the new model in the Japanese market. The U.S. launch, has been advised, will begin in November, but will be slower than originally planned.

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The exact reason for the delay hasn’t been stated, though spokesperson Kayo Doi was quoted telling reporters in Japan that, “We decided we want to take our time and more care before starting mass manufacturing.” The launch of production will be slower than original planned, a U.S. official added.


Hyundai Working Up 250-Mile EV

Move would more than double range of new Ioniq model.

by on Jul.15, 2016

Hyundai will offer three version of the Ioniq: a regular hybrid, a plug-in and a pure battery model.

The Hyundai Ioniq hasn’t even come to market yet, but some analysts are arguing it’s already out of date.

The purpose-built model is designed specifically to use any of three different battery-based drivelines: conventional hybrid, plug-in hybrid or pure battery-electric. The latter is designed to deliver about 110 miles per charge. That’s slightly more than the original Nissan Leaf or Ford Focus EV, but still well short of what Tesla is planning with the Model 3 – or the 200 mile range from the upcoming Chevrolet Bolt.

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But Hyundai apparently recognizes that “range anxiety” is a problem keeping lots of potential buyers out of the EV market and it intends to more than double what the Ioniq will initially offer before the end of the decade.


Mercedes Planning to Tackle Tesla with Electric Performance Sedan

Maker confirms long-range, high-performance electric sedan.

by on Jul.11, 2016

Mercedes-Benz will reveal a concept version of a long-range performance battery sedan in Paris.

Not all that long ago, Tesla and Daimler AG listed each other as partners, the battery-maker’s CEO Elon Musk going so far as to credit the German company with helping keep it in business at a time when Tesla was short of cash.

But that relationship is about to turn into a rivalry. Several reports have suggested Daimler’ Mercedes-Benz brand is working on a high-performance, long-range battery-electric sedan that could take on the California EV maker, and the Germans have now confirmed that plan, with a concept vehicle set to make its debut at the upcoming Paris Motor Show.

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Using a “highly efficient lithium ion battery supplied by Daimler’s subsidiary Deutsche ACCUMOTIVE combined with the intelligent Mercedes-Benz operation strategy allows purely battery-driven ranges of up to 500 km (or about 312 miles) for the first time,” says a statement from Mercedes.


Mini Fast-Forwards to the Future with Vision Next 100 Concept

“A completely individualised, permanently available form of urban mobility.”

by on Jun.16, 2016

Mini's vision of the future suggests we'll be more dependent upon car and ride-sharing.

Mini has made a specialty out of squeezing big things into little packages. But how might it take this “clever use of space” philosophy even further?

The British maker is offering up a hint in the form of the Mini Vision Next 100, one of three futuristic concept vehicles unveiled as part of the celebration of parent BMW’s 100th anniversary. The Mini prototype offers up some intriguing ways to enhance ingress and egress while also focusing on the connected car technologies that are rapidly becoming a part of mobile life.

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With the Vision 100, “Mini looks to offer smart and bespoke mobility in cities that engages all the senses. And in the future, you might not actually have to own a vehicle to enjoy the benefits,” says Adrian van Hooydonk, the global director of BMW Group Design.


Cadillac Unplugs the ELR Plug-In

Caddy shifts focus to upcoming CT6 plug-in.

by on May.18, 2016

Driving off into the sunset: Cadillac has given up on trying to salvage the ELR plug-in hybrid.

If you’re determined to drive something green that has plenty of luxury touches but a price tag significantly less than that of a Tesla, you might want to head over to your local Cadillac dealer.

The luxury maker quietly pulled the plug on the ELR, a high-line version of the Chevrolet Volt, due a decidedly weak response by American motorists. Though the Caddy plug-in hybrid has been out of production since March, “a very small quantity…remains available at dealers,” Cadillac spokesman Dave Caldwell told

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Launched with high expectations just two years ago, the Cadillac ELR never seemed to charge up the market. Originally priced at $76,000, or nearly double that of a Volt, Caddy tried a number of tricks to build momentum including about $11,000 in price cuts.


Nissan and Renault Set to Launch 10 Autonomous Vehicles by 2020

“The future is not clear,” says CEO Ghosn.

by on Mar.24, 2016

“This is not a time to be conservative or cautious,” said Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn in NY.

Already the world’s number one producer of battery-electric vehicles, Japan’s Nissan and its French alliance partner Renault intend to become the leader in autonomous driving, as well – CEO Carlos Ghosn telling a New York International Auto Show audience the partners intend to offer 10 vehicles with “significant autonomous drive functionality” by 2020.

According to Ghosn, the Renault-Nissan Alliance will begin to roll out increasingly advanced version of its technology over the next four years, starting with cars capable of operating hands-free in a single lane on limited-access highways. The next step will allow vehicles to pass and change lanes, with the alliance’s first, fully autonomous car set to go into production by 2020.

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“This is not a time to be conservative or cautious” about changing technology, said Ghosn, who added that traditional automakers face a series of potential challenges, some posed by an assortment of outside tech companies like Google and Apple.


Toyota Primes up PHEV Market with New Prius Prime

Better equipped, lower priced, sales could double original plug-in.

by on Mar.23, 2016

The Toyota Prius Prime makes it NY Auto Show debut.

Toyota is nothing if not persistent, occasionally missing the mark, only to come back with a new model that’s closer to target – and that’s what the Japanese giant is aiming to do with the Prius Prime making its debut at the 2016 New York International Auto Show.

The Prime takes the place of Toyota’s original, largely ignored plug-in hybrid, roughly doubling its range and, the maker hopes, doubling the earlier model’s sales. It should help that the 2017 model will come in at a lower price point, even while offering more content including an array of advanced safety features.

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“Our goal is to have it be a great value,” brand boss Bill Fay told following the public unveiling of the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime at New York’s Jacob Javits Center.