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Posts Tagged ‘electric vehicles’

Tomorrow’s Mustang Will Likely Adopt Radical New Powertrain Options

Downsized engines, e-turbos, hybrids and other options all under study.

by on Sep.18, 2014

The 2015 Ford Mustang now gets an EcoBoost engine option that balances performance and mileage.

When Ford Motor Co. unveiled its 50th anniversary Mustang late last year, it delivered a shock to the market by adding a new turbocharged 4-cylinder engine to its powertrain line-up alongside the pony car’s classic V-8 and V-6 packages.

The EcoBoost engine is expected to have significant appeal to fuel economy-minded buyers, especially those overseas, where Ford will aggressively market the Mustang for the first time. The inline-four also will help Ford prepare to meet increasingly stringent mileage and emissions standards in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

A Real Performer!

But it is likely to be just a first step in what could become a radical transformation in the powertrain options Mustang buyers will be offered in the not-too-distant future. Various Ford officials tell TheDetroitBureau.com that the range of alternatives that could be required to keep the pony car in the fleet range from even higher-tech turbo and supercharged engines to gas-electric hybrids that can deliver both improved mileage and serious performance simultaneously.

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Tesla Confirms Plans for 3rd, Mainstream Model

Maker plans to have a line-up full of S-III-X.

by on Jul.16, 2014

Tesla hopes to charge up a more mainstream audience when it launches the new Model III by 2017.

California battery-car start-up Tesla Motors has shown it can take on established premium-luxury brands with its Model S sedan, but the real test will come when it launches an all-new mainstream electric vehicle it’s planning to call the Model 3, or Model III, depending on which tweet you read.

CEO and founder Elon Musk has long made clear his plans to go down-market, the new sedan expected to come somewhere around $35,000 – or between one-half and one-third of the price of the bigger Model S, depending on equipment and range. That would position the new offering as a direct competitor to the likes of – appropriately enough, the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedans.

Get Charged Up!

The Model 3 actually would be Tesla’s fourth model, following the original Roadster, the Model S and the upcoming Model X sport-utility vehicle set to debut next year. But it would be, by Tesla’s count, bring the debut of the brand’s third-generation battery technology.

And it would allow the maker to come close to its original plans for a somewhat inside joke. The smaller model was originally scheduled to be called the Model E – until, that is, Tesla was reminded by rival Ford Motor Co. that the Michigan maker owned that trademark.

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Harley Goes Electric with Futuristic Battery Bike

"The sound is (still) a distinct part of the thrill."

by on Jun.20, 2014

The Harley-Davidson LiveWire prototype would be the maker's first electric motorcycle.

If the thought of a Harley-Davidson brings to mind not an image but a sound, the ear-splitting, trademark chug of its motorcycles’ exhaust, you may soon be in for a big – if not necessarily quieter – surprise.

The Milwaukee-based manufacturer has taken an unexpected leap into the future with the unveiling of its first electric bike, developed as part of its top-secret Project LiveWire. Harley officials gave the media a preview of the new LiveWire this week, with a select public audience invited for a look at the first hand-built prototypes in New York next Monday. It’s part of a program designed to help Harley shape the bike it hopes to put into production in a couple years.

Plug In!

“America at its best has always been about reinvention,” said Matt Levatich, Harley’s President and Chief Operating Officer. “And, like America, Harley-Davidson has reinvented itself many times in our history, with customers leading us every step of the way. Project LiveWire is another exciting, customer-led moment in our history.”

Whether motorcycle riders really want a battery-powered bike, especially from Harley, is a question of debate, however.

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Musk Hopes Patent Move Will Boost EV Sales

Developing cheap, long-range battery nearly as tough as going to Mars, says Tesla founder.

by on Jun.18, 2014

Tesla CEO Elon Musk during a recent TV appearance.

It’s a risky – some would say foolhardy – strategy, but by opening up the company’s patents to its competitors, Tesla Motors founder and CEO Elon Musk said he is hoping to stimulate completion in the battery-car market.

In a pair of television interviews, the South African-born entrepreneur also noted that he is looking to develop a cheap, long-range battery that will make it possible to produce a “compelling, mass-market” electric vehicle. But Musk, who also runs the SpaceX rocket company, admitted that goal is nearly as tough as sending a man to Mars.

Electrifying!

The list of companies that have tried and failed to break into the automotive market is long, Musk said during an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, adding that stimulating competition by giving away your patents, while unorthodox, is one way to encourage more competition – and investments — in battery-cars.

“If we succeed, it will help kick-start electric vehicle sales,” he said, noting that Tesla’s sales are expected to grow by almost 60% this year to 35,000 Model S sedans, compared with about 22,000 in 2013.

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Tesla Offers Up Access to Patented Technology to Competition

EV maker’s hoping to accelerate growth of battery electrics with move.

by on Jun.13, 2014

Tesla's Model S is one of the best-selling electric vehicles in the U.S., however, EV sales are still less than 1% of all vehicles purchased, but Elon Musk is trying to accelerate that.

Apparently, Tesla Motors’ CEO Elon Musk really believes in the adage “a rising tide lifts all boats” as he’s decided to give all automakers access to the company’s patents. By giving everyone the technology, it may boost innovation and, by extension, sales.

“We’re trying to clear a path for the electric-vehicle industry,” he said during a conference call today. “I think to some degree here a rising tide lifts all boats. On balance it’s better if the rest of the industry pursues electric vehicles more vigorously.”

Your Automotive Source!

The access doesn’t come without some strings attached. Automakers using the information must provide something of equal value or agree to not sue Tesla. (more…)

Toyota Pulling Plug on RAV4-EV

Maker shifting focus from battery-electric to hydrogen power.

by on May.16, 2014

Toyota only planned to sell 2,500 RAV4-EVs.

Toyota is pulling the plug on the RAV4-EV, the battery-electric version of the soft-roader it introduced two years ago with the help of electric vehicle start-up Tesla Motors.

This year’s phase-out of the RAV4-EV comes as the Japanese giant gets ready to launch its new hydrogen-powered FCV, which made its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show last autumn. While it has been the most successful manufacturer of conventional hybrids, Toyota has repeatedly expressed its concerns about pure battery-electric vehicles relying on advanced lithium-ion batteries.

Stay in the Know!

The move also comes as Tesla gets ready to launch its own, first battery-electric SUV, the Model X due to market something in 2015.

“Our contract called for Tesla to supply approximately 2500 battery-electric powertrains for the RAV4 EV.  We anticipate that volume will be achieved this year,” noted John Hanson, Toyota’s national manager of advanced technology communications.

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Sales Up, But Tesla Drops $50 mil into the Red

Adjusted earnings stay in the black.

by on May.07, 2014

A model Tesla dealership.

It beat its own optimistic sales forecast, but battery-electric automaker Tesla Motors nonetheless dropped $50 million, or 40 cents per share, into the red for the first quarter of 2014.

But after excluding special one-time items, the Silicon Valley-based start-up managed to eke out a $17 million adjusted income, or 12 cents a share. That handily exceeded the consensus industry analyst forecast of 6 cents per share.

Plug In!

Tesla had a significant quarter, the maker coping with concerns about the safety of its battery packs – ultimately heading off a federal investigation by announcing plans to add a new, titanium safety cage underneath its Model S – while preparing for its much-anticipated product launch in the booming Chinese market.

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Detroit Electric Abandoning Detroit Production Base for Sports Car

Maker may still turn to Motor City for later models.

by on Mar.31, 2014

CEO Albert Lam with a prototype of the Detroit Electric SP:01 battery sports car. The car will now be built in Holland instead of Detroit.

Call it Not-So-Detroit Electric, apparently. Already a year late in plans to produce a $135,000 limited-edition sports car, the start-up firm says it will turn to Holland to produce its little SP:01 model starting later this year.

But the company still hopes to return to the Motor City when it launches a more mainstream, battery-powered sedan later in the decade.

The Leader in Global Automotive News

Named after a Michigan-based battery-car company that folded during the Great Depression, Detroit Electric was introduced by Hong Kong businessman Albert Lam, a former Apple executive, during a splashy news conference nearly a year ago. At the time, he admitted the project walked a fine line “between sanity and insanity,” and would be a challenge to get into production. (more…)

Electric Vehicles Save $100 Million in Gas Costs

Sales of EVs doubled in 2013 to nearly 100,000 units.

by on Mar.27, 2014

American EV owners saved themselves $100 million last year by not buying gas.

More than 160,000 Americans saved themselves $100 million in 2013 by not doing one thing that millions of others had to do: buy gasoline.

According to Union of Concerned Scientists, those drivers saved 45 millions of gasoline last year. Not surprisingly, Californians led the way accounting for nearly half of the savings – $40 million – and reducing emissions of carbon dioxide by 140 thousand tons per year.

Beyond the Headlines!

The number of plug-in electrics doubled in the U.S. last year to 99,827 vehicles compared with 2012. Again, California led the charge. In fact, 2.5% of the cars sold there in 2013 were plug-ins.

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Tesla Poaches Nissan VP Simon Sproule as New PR Chief

Plenty of challenges await.

by on Mar.13, 2014

New Tesla PR Chief Simon Sproule.

It’s been an up-and-down month for Tesla, and if at times it seems like the start-up battery-carmaker has struggled a bit to stay on-message that’s probably no surprise.  It has, in fact, struggled to keep staffed with PR professionals and even those now on the Palo Alto-based team have often been overwhelmed.

There’s the generally good news about the maker’s stock price run-up, the worrisome developments involving a series of vehicle battery fires.  This week, Tesla seemed shell-shocked when it was denied the opportunity to set up factory-run dealerships in New Jersey. Never mind the fact that its expanding in Europe, preparing to enter China and getting ready to launch a new SUV, to be followed by a more mainstream battery sedan.

Global Insight!

Making sense out of all that will shortly become the responsibility of one Simon Sproule, at 45 an industry veteran who has worked for Ford, Jaguar, and for most of the last decade with CEO Carlos Ghosn in a variety of duties at Nissan and the Renault-Nissan Alliance.  His most recent assignment was director of communications for that Euro-Pacific partnership.

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