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Consumer Reports Gives Failing Grade to Fisker

Magazine says Karma sedan has too many flaws to garner its recommendation.

by on Sep.24, 2012

Consumer Reports said it could not recommend the Fisker Karma, but, like almost every other review of the car, said it is beautiful.

Consumer Reports said it could not recommend the Fisker Karma following its test, which began with the car’s battery pack failing within the car’s first 200 miles.

“Overall, the Karma scored too low in our tests to recommend,” the magazine reported in its review of the car.

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While the magazine said there was plenty to like about the sleek Karma, there was a lot that was unacceptable. Read on to find out what the magazine editors found objectionable.

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Fisker Repairs Magazine’s Karma

Company spokesman: The Karma did exactly what it was supposed to.

by on Mar.14, 2012

Consumer Reports' Fisker Karma is back after technicians found a problem with the vehicle's wiring harness/battery and replaced it.

Two days after the Fisker Karma purchased by Consumer Reports died during initial testing, the luxury extended-range electric vehicle is back and the magazine said it is operating fine.

Last week, the magazine reported that a battery light on the instrument panel went on during a calibration run with just 180 miles on the odometer. After stopping the car, it locked itself in park. The dealer collected the car on a flatbed and returned it two days later.

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Fisker spokesman Russell Datz told TheDetroitBureau.com in an email that the issue was tracked to a “high-voltage isolation fault” in the wiring harness/battery pack unit. The company replaced the wiring harness/battery pack unit under warranty.

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Opinion: Don’t Be Afraid to Drive Your Volt

GM’s groundbreaking E-REV is no less safe than any other car on the road.

by on Jan.27, 2012

GM wants to salvage the image of the Chevy Volt.

Let’s cut to the chase: The Chevy Volt is as safe as any other vehicle on the road. And if something in the vehicle is going to cause a fire, it’s more likely to be its gasoline engine and associated plumbing than the groundbreaking car’s lithium-ion battery.

Still, General Motors finds itself having to defend the world’s first extended-range electric vehicle.

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The controversy stems from a crash test of the Volt conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last June. Two weeks after the test, a fire started when the battery’s coolant leaked onto a circuit board. The coolant was able to reach the circuit board on top of the battery when the agency did what it calls a rotisserie test, which simulates what might happen in a rollover crash.

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Fleets See Benefits of Electrifying Light-duty Trucks

Converter installs Chevy Volt-style E-REV system in GM trucks.

by on Jan.12, 2012

Bob Lutz, former vice chairman of General Motors, is advising Via Motors, which is converting GM trucks to run on electricity. "I do believe that the industry is about to be transformed."

Chevrolet’s groundbreaking Volt extended-range electric vehicle is a great first step, but a fledgling new company wants to do a similar system for light-duty trucks.

Considering the poor mileage such trucks get and the number of them on the road – making up half of all vehicles in this country – the company’s vehicles could have a huge impact in reducing carbon dioxide emissions and fuel use. And it will help that the company has one of important car executives in a generation lending his name to the project.

Via Motors is a startup company that converts existing full-size pickup trucks – and soon large vans and sport utility vehicles – into extended-range electric vehicles or E-REV for short.

Electrifying the Automotive Industry!

Speaking at a Detroit Auto Show press conference, Bob Lutz, General Motors’ former vice chairman and the father of the Volt, said light truck owners are recognizing the benefits of Via’s system.

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Bob Lutz Tries Retirement, Says No Thanks

Celebrated auto exec picks up yet another advisory role, his third

by on Sep.28, 2011

Alan Perriton, Bob Lutz, Kraig Higginson pose in front of VIA's Extended-Range Electric Truck

Maximum Bob is back. Again. Someone should talk to him about the definition of “retirement.”

Just weeks after General Motors announced that former Vice Chairman Bob Lutz was coming back as a consultant, VIA Motors, a Utah startup, has announced that Lutz would join the company as a consultant. Lutz also serves as an advisor to Lotus.

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VIA plans to convert existing pickup trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles into extended-range electric vehicles similar in concept to the Chevrolet Volt.

Lutz, 79, is coming on board to help raise capital for the venture and help establish partnerships with automakers, according to David West, VIA’s chief marketing officer, Automotive News reported.

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Is Chevy Volt Running Out of Juice?

Study finds potential buyers losing interest in Chevy plug-in.

by on Aug.15, 2011

Is the Chevy Volt driving off into the sunset?

Is the Chevrolet Volt running out of juice?  Even as the maker begins its long-promised production ramp-up, a new study suggests that potential buyers are rapidly losing interest in the plug-in hybrid vehicle.

Introduced last December, Volt is one of the first new vehicles to test the potential market for electric propulsion.  It has been going head-to-head with Nissan’s pure battery-electric Leaf.  Sales of the two vehicles have been marginal, at best, though the makers insist that has more to do with limited supply than buyer demand.

Through the end of July, Chevy has sold about 3,200 of the plug-in hybrids compared to 4,500 Nissan Leafs.  But both makers have begun ramping up production, General Motors forecasting sales of around 16,000 for the year as a whole – including a small number of Volt clone Opel Amperas targeted at markets abroad.

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But a new study by CNW marketing raises a red flag, finding that the potential buyers GM is most counting on are rapidly losing interest in the Volt.  In March, 21% of so-called Early Adapters said they were “very likely” to consider buying a Volt, while 38.1% said they were “likely” to do the same.  That slipped to 14.6% saying “very likely” in July, and 31.1% “likely.”  Among EV Enthusiasts, reports the CNW study, the number of those likely or very likely to consider Volt fell from a combined 71% to 51% during the same four-month period.

“It’s way too early to tell, but the signs aren’t encouraging,” said CNW’s chief analyst Art Spinella.

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‘Sorry, Officer, I Didn’t Hear Your Patrol Car’

N.Y. cop: ‘That’s because it’s a Chevy Volt electric vehicle.’

by on Jul.14, 2011

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announces the addition of 50 new Chevrolet Volt electric vehicles to the city's fleet.

Be careful, tooling around New York. The next time your speeding along the 9A – OK, it’s probably a rare day when it’s possible to actually “speed” on 12th Avenue – there might be a Chevrolet Volt silently tracking you.

That’s because the Big Apple is adding 50 Volts – along with 20 other electric vehicles – to its fleets. It is also adding 10 Ford Transit Connect Electrics and 10 Navistar eStar trucks.

Arresting News!

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the vehicles will help reduce pollution, carbon emissions and gasoline consumption.

Electric vehicles aren’t new to the city’s fleet, but until now, it’s only had electric scooters and golf carts.

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Vivaro Suggests Future Applications of Extended-Range Electric Vehicle Technology

Concept is a European delivery van based on technology in Chevrolet Volt.

by on Oct.07, 2010

The Opel Vivaro concept suggests what might be next for General Motors' extended-range electric vehicle technology.

While the Chevrolet Volt, due to hit dealerships in limited numbers later this year, is critical to General Motors’ resurgence, expanding use of the technology to other types of vehicles will be important for the automaker’s future.

But concepts using what GM calls Voltec technology, have been lacking, partly because the automaker has been so focused on developing the Volt itself, partly because development money has been scarce as the automaker recovers from its 2009 bankruptcy.

There was the Cadillac Converj concept, basically a Volt dressed up in Cadillac clothing, and Opel is planning to sell a version of the Volt as the Ampera.

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Now GM Europe is showing the Vivaro e-Concept, a delivery van that would be capable of traveling about 60 miles on battery power only. The Vivaro’s battery is double the size of the 16 kWh battery in the Volt, which is projected to have an electric-only range of 40 miles.

There are no plans to introduce the Vivaro in the U.S., but it does illustrate how GM might expand its lineup of extended-range electric vehicles beyond the Volt. In theory, the Vivaro’s drivetrain could be placed in a minivan or a Chevy Traverse-style crossover or other larger vehicle.
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Four Cars to Get Excited About

Automakers ready some groundbreaking new models.

by on Aug.19, 2010

A prototype 2011 Chevrolet Volt wends its way through Los Angeles traffic. The official retail launch is November 2010.

It’s going to be a fun year for automotive journalists and anyone who loves cars. Here is a list of four cars we’re looking forward to driving this year.

Some of the cars on this list are there because they are true game changers, an over-used term, but one that really applies here. The world is about to change with the world’s first two mass production electric vehicles expected to start production at the end of the year. If you think this country uses too much oil, foreign or domesticly produced, these cars should be on your radar.

But the others are here because they also advance the issue of increased fuel economy. So here we go with the list:
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Initial Chevy Volt Production to Triple in 2012

Maker reveals dealer plans, other details for upcoming debut.

by on Jul.01, 2010

Not quite coast-to-coast. The 2011 Chevrolet Volt launch will kick off with a 1,766-mile drive from Austin to Detroit, while seven states will now be part of the E-REV's launch.

General Motors expects to produce only about 10,000 of its Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrids by the end of 2011, as it ramps up operations, expands distribution and trains dealers and service technicians, but the maker says it will triple output to 30,000 of the so-called Extended-Range Electric Vehicles, or E-REVs, in 2012.

General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre returned to his home state of Texas, today, to kick off the start of the Volt “Freedom Drive,” a 1,766-mile demonstration trip that will take a Chevy Volt from Austin to New York City.  Those two cities anchor two other regions of the country that GM has decided to add to its list of launch sites when Volt makes its formal entrance into the retail market in November.

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In all, the automaker plans to start with sales in six states – New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Michigan and Texas – and Washington, D.C.  Confirming an earlier report in TheDetroitBureau.com, GM officials also confirmed that a full roll-out of the Volt to all 50 states and Canada could take a little longer than originally planned.

The current goal is to complete that process “within 12 to 18 months,” which could push the end date back into 2012, acknowledged Doug Wernert, the Chevrolet VoltAge Community Manager.

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