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Your Guide to the 20 or More Long-Range EVs Coming to Market by 2020

Manufacturers betting on longer range, improved performance, lower prices and faster charging.

by on Sep.06, 2017

The 2018 Nissan Leaf.

With last night’s debut of its second-generation Leaf, Nissan becomes the latest automaker to charge into the long-range battery-electric market.

The 2018 model will travel an estimated 150 miles per charge — or nearly double what the original version of the battery-electric model delivered when it debuted in 2010. Though not quite up to the 200-plus-mile range of the new Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet Bolt, the new Nissan Leaf is expected to be part of a game-changing trend that will bring a wave of long-range battery cars to market, vehicles that will largely eliminate the concept of “range anxiety” from the vocabulary.

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The 2018 Leaf introduces a number of new features, such as its ProPilot Assist system, while keeping the price down at $30,000 – before factoring in federal tax incentives – underscoring another critical trend in the battery-electric market: as battery costs plunge, automakers are bringing more new EVs into mainstream price segments. Add faster charging and the potential appeal of these new models grows exponentially. (more…)

Flood of Long-Range Electric Cars Set to Plug Into U.S. Market by 2020

Many will target affordable niches

by on Aug.09, 2017

Mercedes will introduce a new battery sub-brand and launch it with a version of the Mercedes-EQ Concept.

With last month’s launch of the Tesla Model 3, U.S. consumers now have two “affordable” long-range battery-electric vehicles to choose from. Those with a bit more money in the bank can also opt for the more expensive Tesla Model S sedan and Model X SUV.

There are plenty of other electric vehicles in U.S. showrooms today, though most, like the current-generation Ford Focus Electric, can manage barely 100 miles per charge. The Mitsubishi MiEV, which will vanish at the end of the 2017 model-year, can only make it 59 miles before having to plug in again, according to the EPA.

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But the new model-year not only will bring us the new Model 3 but a complete makeover of the Nissan Leaf, which will nearly double its range to at least 200 miles per charge. And that’s just for starters. By 2020, virtually every major automaker is expected to have at least one long-range model in its showrooms. Many of them will be in affordable – that is, under $40,000 base MSRP – segments, with plenty more in premium niches.

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Voters in Trump States Less Likely to Buy Green Cars

Western motorists most open to battery-based vehicles.

by on May.11, 2017

Buyers in Trump states are more likely to view vehicles like the Toyota Prius Prime as "toys."

It’s often said that you are what you drive. And that apparently translates into how you vote.

A new study reveals that demand for battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, and other “green” cars is strongest in states that voted for Hillary Clinton in the last election, while sales of environmentally friendly vehicles is generally far lower in states that backed Donald Trump.

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The Big Picture!

“In some parts of the country buyers look at the Toyota Prius as a toy, something real men don’t drive,” said Peter Levy, CEO of the data-based car buying site Carjojo.com. “In other parts of the country, a Tesla and the Chevrolet Bolt are status symbols.”

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Autonomous Cars, Battery Vehicles and Record Sales: a Look at 2016’s Top Auto Stories

Industry at “an inflection point.”

by on Dec.29, 2016

Ford's next-generation autonomous Fusion prototype. Self-driving cars were a hot story in 2016.

Barring an unexpected, December surprise, 2016 will go out like a lion for the U.S. auto industry, automakers collectively racking up their third consecutive year of record sales. That’s an all the more massive achievement considering the decade began with the worst downturn the U.S. car market had suffered since the Great Depression.

What’s ahead for the industry is far from certain, demand showing signs of losing momentum in recent months. But what’s clear is that 2016 will not only go down in the record book from a sales perspective but that the year could be seen as marking a series of major transitions – “an inflection point,” in the words of John Krafcik, the CEO of Waymo, Google’s recently renamed autonomous vehicle subsidiary.

The Last Word!

What was once the stuff of science fiction began shifting into everyday reality this past year, with hundreds of self-driving vehicle prototypes taking to public roads across the country – some even being used as part of ride-sharing pilot programs in Pittsburgh and San Francisco.

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GM to Launch Autonomous Chevy Bolt EV Public Test

Self-driving battery car will roll off suburban Detroit assembly line.

by on Dec.16, 2016

GM CEO Mary Barra with an autonomous Bolt.

General Motors will join the growing list of automakers testing autonomous vehicles on public roads in Michigan, expanding a program that has already put 30 self-driving Chevrolet Bolt EVs on roads in San Francisco and Scottsdale, Arizona.

The new models will add the latest in sensor technology, including laser-based LIDAR, cameras and radar, and will roll off the same, Orion Township, Michigan assembly line producing the retail version of the Chevy Bolt EV. GM delivered the first retail version of the long-range battery car to three customers in California earlier this week.

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“GM will immediately begin autonomous vehicle testing on public roads in Michigan,” CEO Mary Barra announced during a news conference at the suburban Detroit plant on Thursday afternoon.

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First Drive: 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Getting charged up over battery power.

by on Dec.12, 2016

The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt can manage 238 miles from its 60 kWh battery pack, says the EPA.

It’s no surprise that the first generation of battery-electric vehicles barely registered on the U.S. sales charts. They were small, costly and, with the exception of a few luxury-priced Teslas, not very much fun to drive. Add limited range and only the most green-minded buyers were willing to plug in.

But the equation is about to change and, if a handful of new models deliver what they’re promising, we could begin to see electric propulsion move into the mainstream. First out of the box is the new Chevrolet Bolt EV. With a range of 238 miles and a price tag dipping below $30,000 – once you factor in the $7,500 federal tax credit – there’s a lot to like about the Chevy hatchback.

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We’ve now had three stints behind the wheel of the Bolt EV, including our first drive of a pre-production prototype last January. While it may not have the cache of the Tesla Model 3 – which won’t make it to market until the second half of 2017 at the earliest – the new Chevy battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, really delivers on all its promises. It’s surprisingly quick, roomy and able to deliver nearly as much range as comparably sized gas vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Sonic.

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Getting it Right: Inside the Chevy Bolt EV Plant

by on Dec.09, 2016

A new Chevrolet Bolt rolls down the assembly line at GM's Orion Township Assembly Plant.

With the plant running at only about a third of its capacity, General Motors has dimmed the lights at much of its Orion Township Assembly Plant, save for one final station near the end of the production line. There, in a booth lit as brightly as a mid-summer’s day, a couple of hourly workers are carefully inspecting a Chevrolet Bolt hatchback.

They’re determined to make sure all the sheet metal and chrome fit together as planned, and that there are no nicks or scratches to the paint. GM can’t afford any mistakes. The Chevy Bolt EV could prove to be one of the most important products the Detroit-based automaker has launched in decades.

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The first long-range, affordably priced battery-electric vehicle isn’t likely to generate six-figure sales. Nonetheless, it will not only demonstrate whether there’s a mainstream market for EVs but also show whether GM can appeal to the sort of buyers who have largely flocked to either imports or new start-ups like Tesla.

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Will Trump Unplug EVs?

U.S. could lose lead in battery-car market.

by on Nov.21, 2016

The Jaguar I-Pace is making its debut appearance at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week.

It certainly doesn’t look like your typical Jaguar. Indeed, its cab-forward proportions are decidedly different from most vehicles on the market today. That’s because the Jaguar I-Pace Concept making its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week was designed specifically to take advantage of its electric propulsion system — with its batteries and motors below the floor that translates into a much larger cabin than you’d normally expect.

Jaguar is just one of the many automakers displaying new battery-based vehicles at the L.A. Auto Show. There’s the next-generation Fortwo Electric Drive, the new Volkswagen e-Golf, which gets a 50% bump in range, and the pure electric version of the Hyundai Ioniq. Chevrolet is not only showing off the production version of the Bolt battery-electric vehicle, but also the numerous awards it collected last week, including Green Car of the Year and Motor Trend Car of the Year.

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With dozens of new hybrids, plug-ins and battery-electric vehicles set to debut between now and 2020 it might seem to be a golden era for battery-based vehicles. But some observers wonder whether the push to electrify the automobile might suddenly be short-circuited by the election of Donald Trump, a man who has repeatedly denied climate change, declaring that global warming is a “hoax” created by the Chinese.

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Chevrolet Bolt Lauded as Green Car of the Year

Battery car claims another endorsement.

by on Nov.17, 2016

Chevrolet Bolt marketing manager Steve Majeros and Green Car Publisher Ron Cogan show off the battery-car's latest award.

The Chevrolt Bolt, the world’s first long-range, mainstream-priced battery-electric vehicle, was given another in a growing list of endorsements, being named Green Car of the Year during a ceremony at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Organizers of the award called the Bolt a “game-changer,” suggesting that its launch will transform the public’s perception of green powertrain technology from a quirky niche to something that can appeal to everyday drivers.

Green News!

“This takes battery power into the mainstream,” said Ron Cogan, publisher of Green Car Journal and the organizer of the annual Green Car of the Year award. “This is the transition year. Green technology is no longer for early adopters.”

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Chevrolet Gets a Jump as Bolt Production Begins

Sales set to begin before year-end.

by on Nov.07, 2016

A prototype Chevrolet Bolt rolls down the line at the GM plant in Orion Township, Michigan.

The line is moving at a snail’s pace, but production of the Chevrolet Bolt is finally ramping up at the General Motors assembly plant in the Detroit suburb of Orion Township, with the first of the new, long-range battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, set to go on sale before the end of the year.

Parent General Motors is hoping that it can steal a march on a variety of competitors, notably Tesla Motors, who hope to get their own long-range electric vehicles into showrooms over the next several years. With regulators in the U.S., Europe, Japan and China pushing the industry to expand sales of zero-emissions vehicles, the Bolt could provide the first real test of a vehicle designed to overcome so-called range anxiety.

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But whether motorists will take to the $37,495 Chevy Bolt – or any of the other, more mainstream BEVs to follow is far from certain. Fully electric models have accounted for just 0.4% of the U.S. market so far this year. Adding in plug-ins and conventional hybrids, battery-based vehicles still only make up a miniscule 2.5%.

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