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Daimler Investing $1B in US Plant to Electrify SUVs

Move gives company can produce EVs in U.S., China and Germany.

by on Sep.21, 2017

Daimler is investing $1 billion into its Tuscaloosa, Alabama, facility to ensure it can produce EVs and the batteries to run them.

The German automaker, Daimler AG, plans to add $1 billion in new investment and create 600 new jobs at its manufacturing center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to make electric vehicles and the batteries to run them.

The investment will finance the company’s strategic plans to produce EQ-branded SUV models Mercedes-Benz U.S. International that are expected to the latest technology needed for automated driving, said Daimler AG officials, noting the investment follow a $1.3 billion investment in 2015 for expanding the Tuscaloosa plant.

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The battery plant will also be built near the existing passenger-car plant ensuring availability of the very latest technology for future generations of Mercedes-Benz vehicles built in the U.S., the company said in the announcement, which coincided with the ceremonies, marking the 20th anniversary of Mercedes-Benz production in Tuscaloosa.  (more…)

Tesla Preparing for Battery Swapping Stations?

EV maker files application for patent.

by on Sep.18, 2017

Tesla filed a patent application for a battery swapping device.

Tesla appears to be following up on a plan it revealed a few years back to swap out dead batteries for fully charged ones for owners of vehicles who don’t have access to a supercharger.

The California-based EV maker filed a patent application for a portable battery changer design that would allow technicians to make the swap in as little as 15 minutes. A quick scan of the diagram in the application shows many similarities to the model it demonstrated in 2013.

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However, the version in the application appears to be smaller and portable, according to Electrek.com. This would allow them to be set up in areas that do not have superchargers. The company showed off its ability to swap the batteries in June 2013. (more…)

GM’s Barra Pushes For Government Help with China EV Sales

CEO says automaker will meet the mandates.

by on Sep.15, 2017

GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said consumers in China will need government enticements to buy EVs in the numbers it wants.

If the Chinese government wants a flood of electric vehicles racing around the streets of its largest cities, GM CEO Mary Barra believes they’re going to need to provide some substantial incentives to consumers to lure them behind the wheel.

Barra, who was speaking at company event in Shanghai, said the move toward new-energy vehicles, or NEVs, will require the government to entice a market that is very comfortable with gasoline-powered cars to make the switch along with viable products.

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“While we are exploring all channels to boost NEV sales, building raw consumer acceptance of NEVs will depend on continued joint effort between the government and automakers,” Barra said, according to Reuters. (more…)

Where Are the Diesels? You Have to Look Hard at Frankfurt Motor Show

They're still there...but you have to look for them.

by on Sep.13, 2017

BMW's unveiling of its electrified vehicle line-up highlighted the lack of diesels at this year's Frankfurt Motor Show.

For most of the past two decades, the Frankfurt Motor Show might have been described as the Diesel Motor Show, manufacturers spending much of the biennial event’s press days talking about the virtues of what they heralded as “clean diesel.”

As this year’s Frankfurt media preview draws to a close, however, one couldn’t help but notice the lack of diesels on the floor of the sprawling convention complex. And, when a manufacturer did bring up the subject of diesels it was, as likely as not, in some form of an apology.

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That’s largely the result of the ongoing scandal triggered by the revelation, almost exactly two years ago, that Volkswagen had crafted a way to cheat on emissions tests for 11 million diesel engines. Since then, other automakers have faced accusations, in both the U.S. and Europe, of using similar “defeat devices” to deceive regulators. (more…)

Bollinger Adds Four-Door Variant on Electric Truck

Two more doors, plus a new color option for the SUT.

by on Sep.08, 2017

Bollinger Motors is going to offer a four-door version of its electric sport-utility truck as well as a new color — orange.

Just a little more than a month after introducing its new electric sport-utility truck, the B1, Bollinger Motors is already on to its first variant: a four-door model.

The upstate New York-based startup released a sketch of the four-door sport-utility truck in a new color — orange.

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“We always wanted to make a four-door version of the B1,” said Robert Bollinger, designer and CEO, in a statement. (more…)

First Drive: 2018 Nissan Leaf

Second-gen model gets horsepower and range upgrades.

by on Sep.07, 2017

The second-generation Nissan Leaf offers more horsepower and nearly double the range of its predecessor.

Most anyone who has driven a modern electric car acknowledges that they are fun to drive with solid ride and handling and the kind of pickup from a standing start that can match a good old-fashioned muscle car.

With the introduction of the second generation all-electric Leaf, perhaps the most successful and popular electric vehicle on the market in the past decade, Nissan is doubling down on the fun-to-drive component of EVs, even as it extends its range and adds new technology into the car, while maintaining what it describes as an affordable price, which starts at $29,990 before adding in the $885 destination charge.

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At its heart, the 2018 Leaf’s electric powertrain has been upgraded. The new Leaf carries a 40-kilowatt battery with a range 150 mileswhich translates into a 40% improvement over the previous generation vehicle and opens the door to longer commutes and reducing driver anxiety. The new e-powertrain is rated at 147 horsepower and 236 foot-pounds of torque, providing improved acceleration and seat-of-the-pants driving enjoyment. (more…)

Nissan Looking to Add Electric SUV

Would join second-generation Leaf hatchback.

by on Sep.07, 2017

As the new Leaf begins rolling off assembly lines, Nissan officials are trying to determine what type of vehicle they'll electrify next.

Even as it launches its second-generation Leaf battery-electric vehicle, Nissan Motor Co. is looking to the future and considering what electrified products could come next.

“We might have a crossover EV shortly in the future,” Daniele Schillaci, the Japanese automaker’s global marketing and sales director told reporters on Thursday.

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Such a move would not only expand the automaker’s line-up of all-electric models but move it into one of the world’s fastest-growing product segments. SUVs are especially popular in the U.S., where light trucks, in general, now account for almost two-thirds of the total new vehicle market. (more…)

Nissan Expects 2018 Leaf to Turnover New Buyers

Maker plans to play up Leaf's performance, not its green impact.

by on Sep.06, 2017

Nissan's 2018 Leaf EV is expected to see a bump in sales as interest in electric vehicles is on the rise.

(This story has been updated to reflect the coming addition of an optional, longer-range battery and higher-performance powertrain for the Leaf.)

The rising interest in electric vehicles as well as well as the availability of competitive models will ultimately help Nissan sell EVs in the U.S. once the 2018 Leaf goes on sale across the country early next month, company officials predicted as they took the wraps off the Leaf during an event in Las Vegas.

Brian Mangano, director of EV marketing and sales strategy, noted during an interview that there is greater awareness of electric vehicles now than there was back in 2010 when the first-generation Leaf made its debut. “It’s the awareness that comes with more entrants into the market. It validates EVs as a viable mobility option. Those things help us along,” he said.

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“Plus, we’ve just learned a lot. We’ve expanded into new markets. We’ve been available in all 50 states for a long time, but we’ve expanded our marketing efforts in places like Vermont,” said Mangano, who noted the since its launch in 2010, Leaf has been the most affordable mass production EV in the world. (more…)

Nissan Rolls the Design Dice with 2018 Leaf

Conservative-looking EV expected to hit dealers early next year.

by on Sep.05, 2017

Nissan took a gamble with a conservative design for its second-generation Leaf, which debuted in Las Vegas.

For much of the motoring public, electric vehicles remain something of an exotic technology that carmakers are doubling down on EVs as the automotive landscape continues to change. Nissan and its ally, Renault, are moving to remain the leader in battery-electric vehicles.

José Muñoz, chief performance officer, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., and chairman, Nissan North America Inc., said Nissan’s objective is to remain the global leader in electric vehicle sales as he unveiled the second-generation of the Nissan Leaf at an event in Las Vegas.

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The Las Vegas debut immediately followed the Leaf’s global launch in Tokyo, Japan. The next-generation Leaf goes on sale at Nissan dealers in all 50 states in early 2018, Munoz said. (more…)

Honda Bringing CR-V Hybrid, Urban EV Concept to Frankfurt

Automaker moving forward on plans to electrify its line-up.

by on Aug.31, 2017

Honda heads into the Frankfurt Motor Show teasing two new EV concepts, including the CR-V Hybrid teased above.

Honda is charging into Frankfurt next month, bringing with it two electrified concept models — though at least one seems certain to go into production.

The Japanese automaker was one of the first to bring hybrids to market but has been slow to embrace more advanced battery-based technology. But that’s about to change, CEO Takahiro Hachigo pronouncing that his goal is to generate fully two-thirds of Honda’s sales from battery and hydrogen-powered models by 2030.

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Both of the models coming to the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show are, for now, targeted specifically at the European market, Honda says, but they should give us some hints about the company’s broader electrification strategy. (more…)