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Posts Tagged ‘electric vehicles’

Ford Planning Long-Range EV to Challenge Tesla, GM

Goal is to be “in a leadership position,” says CEO Fields

by on Apr.29, 2016

Ford is upping the range of the current Focus Electric to more than 100 miles for 2017.

Ford Motor Co. plans to join the ranks of automakers offering a battery-car capable of at least 200 miles per charge, said CEO Mark Fields, helping eliminate the so-called “range anxiety” that has many potential customers shying away from electric vehicles.

That’s a shift in strategy for Ford which decided to hold the range of the updated 2017 Focus Electric to just 100 miles. But a growing list of manufacturers are pushing to 200 miles or more, including Tesla, General Motors, Volkswagen and Audi.

Plug In Now!

“We want to make sure that we’re either among the leaders or in a leadership position,” Fields said during a conference call with automotive analysts and reporters. “When you look at some of the competitors and what they’ve announced, clearly, that’s something we’re developing for.”

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Karma Set to Build Renamed Battery Car in the U.S.

Plug-in hybrid now dubbed the Karma Revero.

by on Apr.26, 2016

The original Fisker Karma relied on a 2.0-liter I-4 range extender gas engine from GM.

The recently reborn Fisker Automotive will formally unveil its revived battery vehicle this coming summer, but both car and carmaker will be carrying a new name.

Now owned by Chinese auto parts company Wanxiang Group, Fisker has now been christened Karma Automotive, picking its name up from the plug-in hybrid vehicle it was building before its 2012 bankruptcy. That battery car will now be known as the Revero.

Stay Charged Up!

The original Fisker Karma cost around $110,000, around the same price as a well-equipped version of the current Tesla Model S P85d battery-electric vehicle. The company’s new, California-based management team isn’t saying when the new model will go on sale, nor what it will cost, Chief Marketing Officer Jim Taylor cautioning that, “We are being careful about making promises.” But the goal is to start taking orders over the summer.

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Carmakers Beating Fuel Economy Mandates, Study Finds

Some models nearly meet goals set for 2025.

by on Apr.25, 2016

The new Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid already meets the fuel economy target for 2021.

Low fuel prices have been driving a surge in demand for big pickups and SUVs. That’s a seeming recipe for poor fuel economy, but a new report reveals that the auto industry is not only managing to meet federal fuel economy standards but, in many cases, handily exceeding the current mandate.

A total of 56% of the newest models in dealer showrooms match or exceed today’s federal target, according to the survey by the Consumer Federation of America. And a number of vehicles already come close to meeting the tough, 54.5 mile-per-gallon target that’s not supposed to take effect until 2025.

Step on the Gas!

“Fuel efficiency increasingly comes standard with new cars, trucks, and SUVs” said Jack Gillis, Director of Public Affairs for the CFA and author of The Car Book. “Even if you’re in the market for a large pickup or SUV, you’d have to go out of your way to find a true gas guzzler.”

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Tesla, BMW Lose Key Battery-Car Talent

Apple and Chinese start-up Future Mobility go poaching.

by on Apr.20, 2016

Several key members of the BMW i team, including the head of i8 development, have bolted.

It still refuses to acknowledge any plans to develop a car of its own, but consumer electronics giant Apple has reportedly been poaching a number of auto industry veterans for what is believed to be known internally as Project Titan – and that now includes a senior Tesla executive.

Chris Porritt, a one-time Aston Martin designer, had been more recently working at Tesla, helping in the development of its two current products, the Models S and X, as well as the upcoming Model 3 battery-electric sedan. According reports in several Silicon Valley publications, Porritt will now serve at Apple as Special Projects Group PD Administrator.

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Porritt, however, isn’t the only battery-car executive jumping ship. German automaker BMW has reportedly lost a number of key members from the team that developed it i3 and i8 electric vehicles. The group, which includes Carsten Breitfeld, leader of the team behind the i8 plug-in sports car, will now work on EV development for the Chinese-funded start-up Future Mobility Corp.

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Chinese-Funded Faraday Future Breaks Ground on $1 Bil Las Vegas Plant

Project set to be ready within two years.

by on Apr.14, 2016

Officials dig in at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Faraday Future plant near Las Vegas.

The Chinese-backed battery-car start-up Faraday Future has broken ground for a $1 billion assembly plant set to rise in the Las Vegas suburbs.

The factory, which will eventually employ 4,500, is expected to produce a series of new electric vehicles, though the California-based company has provided only a faint glimmer of what it has in store once production begins in 2018.

Electrifying!

“Our aim is to complete a program that would normally take four years and do it in half the time, while still doing it right,” Dag Reckhorn, the head of global manufacturing for Faraday Future, said during a groundbreaking ceremony on a desert field in the Sin City suburb of North Las Vegas.

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Don’t Blame Battery-Cars for Plunging Oil Prices

Rising fuel economy likely a much bigger factor, says Navigant.

by on Mar.29, 2016

There'll be more battery-cars on the road in the years ahead, but not enough to bring oil prices crashing down, says Navigant.

Oil prices have tumbled sharply over the last year, and a variety of factors have led to the slide, including a weakening Chinese economy, as well as a reduction in demand among American motorists.

But battery-cars have had an almost negligible impact, and likely won’t have much of an impact going forward, despite some claims they’ve brought the oil market crashing to its knees. Far more credit goes to the rapid improvement in overall automotive fuel economy, suggests a new study by Navigant Research.

Energy News!

Such claims are “sensationalist,” says a report by the technology research firm, which adds that a much more substantial factor likely to hold down oil prices is “not a particularly sexy conversation topic.” But the reality is that fleet-wide fuel economy is expected to increase 22% over the next decade, says Navigant, reducing demand by millions of barrels of oil a day.

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Still Secret Apple Car Project Suffers Series of Setbacks

But project moving ahead, says key rival.

by on Jan.26, 2016

Apple execs won't confirm their plans but hint of "massive change" coming in the auto industry.

While tech giant Apple isn’t ready to confirm the car project it has reportedly dubbed Project Titan, it has become what one rival calls “an open secret.” But while the program appears to be moving ahead, sources warn that it has suffered a series of unexpected setbacks.

One of the key members of a team now said to number as many as 1,000 employees plans to leave, while another senior Apple exec has expressed his frustration at the progress the program is making, according to reports from Silicon Valley.

Insight!

That said, after touring Silicon Valley this past week, Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche told the German publication Welt am Sonntag he was impressed with what he learned about the car programs at Apple and tech rival Google.

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Honda, GM Exploring Joint Fuel Plant Project

Mass production reportedly set to begin by 2025.

by on Jan.18, 2016

Honda revealed its Clarity fuel-cell vehicle in LA, and will put it into production later this year.

(This story has been updated with a comment from GM.)

General Motors and Honda may partner on a new fuel cell plant in a bid to bring a promising, clean alternative to battery-electric vehicles to market, according to a news report from Japan.

The two automakers already have established a joint venture aimed at developing advanced fuel cell technology, but the new measure would take things a critical next step, helping put their research into production.

Technology News!

Honda is set to become the third major automaker to begin retailing a hydrogen-powered vehicle with the planned introduction, later this year, of its Clarity FCX. Hyundai introduced its Tucson Fuel Cell Vehicle in 2014 and Toyota launched its Mirai model last year. GM has not yet marketed a production model.

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GM Set to Move Faster on Future Battery Cars

Will GM partner with Honda on plug-based models?

by on Jan.07, 2016

GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra at the CES debut of the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt.

The launch of the new Chevrolet Bolt is likely to mark the start, rather than the end, of General Motors’ electrification efforts, a number of company officials tell TheDetroitBureau.com.

And though CEO Mary Barra was not ready to comment about future models during a media roundtable in Las Vegas, she stressed the speed with which GM will have gone from concept to customer with the 200-mile Bolt. It was first revealed in prototype form at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, returning in production form at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show. The Chevy Bolt will be on sale later this year.

Stay Plugged In!

“That speaks to the speed of this technology team,” said Barra, adding that, “We are committed to electrification. We see it as a very important part” of the GM portfolio.

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Faraday Future Sketches Out Plans for Tomorrow

But start-up leaves plenty of questions unanswered during debut event.

by on Jan.05, 2016

The Faraday Future FF Zero1 concept.

A revolution on wheels? That’s what officials from Faraday Future laid out for an audience at the Consumer Electronics Show late Monday as the mysterious, Chinese-funded start-up carmaker finally came out from the shadows.

Launched just 18 months ago, largely with the backing of Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting, Faraday plans to set up a $1 billion assembly plant in North Las Vegas, with the first car set to roll down the line sometime in 2018, R&D chief Nick Sampson confirmed during a high-energy presentation. But the CES debut left plenty of questions unanswered.

The Future is Now!

Among them, what will Faraday build? The California-based carmaker rolled out the FF Zero1, something that lead designer Richard Kim called “a concept of cars,” but it is admittedly nothing more than an “electric dream car,” Kim stressed, rather than something likely to go into production.

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