EVs

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  • 6 next-gen electric vehicles taking on Tesla

    by 
    Inhabitat
    Inhabitat
    09.30.2015

    By Cat DiStasio Tesla tears up the headlines like nobody's business. The California-based company makes the most widely coveted luxury electric vehicle in existence, and it just officially launched its next car, the Model X, last night. The automaker has garnered attention from car enthusiasts, green technology fans and even those with budgets too small to pay for a single Tesla hubcap. Even the consumer buying guides love Tesla's cars. The company might be the best and biggest dog in the fight for the moment, but that could change. In the coming years, more than a handful of carmakers are getting into the electric-vehicle game to entice would-be Tesla owners to spend their hard-earned dollars elsewhere. Read on for a look at the upcoming EVs that could give Elon Musk & co. a run for their money.

  • UK to trial under-road wireless charging for EVs this year

    by 
    Jamie Rigg
    Jamie Rigg
    08.11.2015

    Plug-in charging infrastructure like Tesla's Supercharger network are currently helping drive the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), but the UK government is already looking towards a future where charging is also possible on the move. Highways England today announced its plan to start off-road testing of wireless charging tech that could allow EVs and hybrids to travel much longer distances on the UK's major roads without needing to refuel. Trials are expected to start before the end of the year, just as soon as the right vehicle and under-road tech "to replicate motorway conditions" has been sourced. These should run for around 18 months, after which the hope is to progress to testing the wireless charging infrastructure on real roads.

  • NASA demos incredibly agile, remote-controlled EV

    by 
    Daniel Cooper
    Daniel Cooper
    04.14.2015

    When we talk about the cars of the future, we're normally bandying around names like Google and Tesla. NASA's engineers at the Johnson Space Center might have just trumped those other names after unveiling its new Modular Robotic Vehicle prototype. While it may look like the world's dullest golf cart, the MRV is actually a futuristic EV that could serve as the test bed for future rovers, amongst other things.

  • Great, another 'solution' to your smartphone's terrible battery life

    by 
    Steve Dent
    Steve Dent
    02.03.2015

    If you want your smartphone to last longer without carrying flammable gas in your pocket, there may possibly, conceivably be new battery tech coming soon (maybe). Yep, we're skeptical after many a disappointing "breakthrough," but an MIT spinoff company called SolidEnergy claims it has developed a new type of lithium-ion battery that can store more energy and still survive hundreds of charging cycles. It resorted to a method that's been tried before: replacing the usual graphite electrodes with lithium metal. Previous attempts failed, however, because such electrodes react with the battery's electrolyte, forming "dendrites" that cause tiny problems like explosions.

  • Unsure about buying an EV? This Heads-Up Display may someday help

    by 
    Brad Molen
    Brad Molen
    11.19.2014

    Say you've thought about getting an electric vehicle but didn't want to take the plunge until you were absolutely certain that you wouldn't wind up on the side of the highway with a dead battery. It's a legitimate concern known as "range anxiety," but assuaging that problem involves either manually keeping track of everywhere you go from day to day or actually buying the car and figuring it out as you go along. The AT&T Foundry, a startup incubator tasked with coming up with clever new tech products, has designed a Heads Up Display (HUD) that may sooth the nerves of skeptical EV shoppers. The lightweight HUD can be placed inside your gas vehicle and programmed to mimic the dashboard of whatever EV model you're thinking of buying. As you go through your daily grind, you get a feel in real-time of how far you can drive before needing a recharge.

  • Formula E to let teams build their own batteries and motors

    by 
    Edgar Alvarez
    Edgar Alvarez
    10.01.2014

    Now that the first major race is out of the way, which took place in Beijing a couple of weeks ago, it's time for Formula E to look toward the future. Accordingly, CEO Alejandro Agag has revealed some interesting details ahead of the EV racing league's sophomore season, namely its plans to allow teams to build batteries and motors of their own by then. As great and exciting as Formula E is, currently all cars are using hardware from the same manufacturer, so allowing others to take part will bring it more in line with Formula 1, in which there are engines from the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault. "They could build their own whole car if they wanted. But the regulations are quite strict and they don't allow a lot of development in aerodynamics, but they do allow development in motor and battery," Agag stated. He said the idea is for Formula E to have "three or four" different companies working on motors and batteries, something that would definitely make the competition even more interesting.

  • Tesla opening up 400 EV charging stations across 120 Chinese cities

    by 
    Daniel Cooper
    Daniel Cooper
    08.29.2014

    There aren't more electric cars because there's no infrastructure, but there's no infrastructure because there's no demand. It's this chicken-and-egg problem that Elon Musk is hoping to end, at least in China, after a signing a deal that'll see Tesla open 400 charging stations in the country. The car maker has signed a deal with state-owned mobile network China Unicom, which'll see the latter business providing space at its retail locations for Tesla owners to re-juice at. The pair aim to have stations with two or more charging points up and running in 20 cities by the end of the year, with 100 further cities coming on board in the future. Why would a national phone carrier get involved in the auto industry? Unicom executive Jiang Zhengxin believes that the team-up will allow "effective use of the infrastructure" plus, hey, it's a nice bit of free publicity. Xinhua News, meanwhile, believes that the move will supercharge (pun intended) China's push towards green vehicles as a solution to its pollution problem.

  • Tesla seals landmark deal to mass-produce EV batteries in the US

    by 
    Daniel Cooper
    Daniel Cooper
    07.31.2014

    How is Elon Musk going to produce his vaunted $35,000 Tesla when EV batteries are so expensive? By making his own. Tesla has signed a deal with Panasonic that'll see the pair team up to build the Gigafactory. It's from here that vehicle packs and cells will be mass-produced on an unprecedented scale that costs are expected to tumble. According to the announcement, Tesla will build the plant and maintain it, while Panasonic supplies the lithium cells, plant, machinery and manufacturing equipment to make the whole thing happen. The Gigafactory is expected to produce 35GWh of cells and 50GWh of power packs by 2020 and will be built just as soon as Musk and co. work out which state -- Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada or Texas -- depending on which has the better tax rebate renewable energy resources.

  • Fiat's CEO still telling people not to buy his electric car

    by 
    Daniel Cooper
    Daniel Cooper
    05.23.2014

    If a company convinces you not to buy its products, it's normally destined for a spot on some "Worst Business Decisions" list. Sergio Marchionne, however, is a master of the art when it comes to dissing his own electric vehicle. The Fiat Chrysler CEO isn't a fan of the law that requires car makers to produce EVs, and has again gone on record to ask people not to buy the Fiat 500e. Last year, he told press that the company lost $10,000 on each compliance car that's sold, and now that figure's apparently bumped up to $14,000. This time out, the executive added that as soon as the EV has sold the minimum quantity required by law, it'll be withdrawn - or the Fiat Chrysler would soon be going back to Washington looking for another bailout. Then again, telling people not to do something could be a very dangerous tactic, since we all know how that worked out for Barbra Streisand.

  • 2014 Chevy Volt to be priced at $34,995

    by 
    Daniel Cooper
    Daniel Cooper
    08.06.2013

    While the price of a Model S may have increased ever-so-slightly, EVs for the rest of us are starting to become reasonable propositions. GM, for instance, has announced that next year's Chevy Volt will be listed at $34,995, knocking $5,000 from the current list price. Of course, you'll still have to pay an $810 handling fee on top of that, but federal and state incentives could cut the cost down to $27,495 -- which might make you think twice about that i3.

  • Fisker founder resigns over 'major disagreements' with management

    by 
    Alexis Santos
    Alexis Santos
    03.14.2013

    Fisker Automotive founder Henrik Fisker has resigned from his post as the firm's executive chairman. An email said to be sent by Henrik cites several unspecified "major disagreements" with the company's executive management on business strategy as the primary reason for abandoning ship. Reports suggest the decision was sparked by the firm's purported consideration of selling a majority stake to China's Geely Automobile, which would put much-needed cash in its coffers. For its part, the company says that it's strategy hasn't changed, and that it doesn't expect its namesake's departure to have an impact.

  • UPS takes 100 EVs on the road in California, makes delivering packages eco-friendlier

    by 
    Edgar Alvarez
    Edgar Alvarez
    02.08.2013

    The Golden State's without a doubt at the forefront of the so-called green movement, and thus it shouldn't come as a surprise that UPS chose it as the destination for 100 of its brand-new electric trucks. This initiative is a natural expansion of UPS' eco-friendly scheme, as the delivery behemoth has already implemented something similar in New York City and Europe, with nearly 30 roadsters currently being operated around those areas. It's also worth noting that's only a small chunk of the more than 2,500 "alternative fuel vehicles" on the company's roster, which includes more electrics, hybrids and others with natural gas technologies. In California, meanwhile, the 100 delivery EVs mark the culmination of a plan that started back in 2011, and will see UPS take these (and all of their 75-miles-on-a-single-charge goods) to a few West Coast cities, such as Bakersfield, Fresno, Sacramento and San Bernardino. Folks in the area, be on the lookout, since you may very well spot one the next time your expected package reaches its "On Vehicle for Delivery" status.

  • Fisker Karma production has been halted for a month, A123 Systems' bankruptcy to blame

    by 
    Alexis Santos
    Alexis Santos
    11.30.2012

    Fisker Automotive is certainly no stranger to hold ups, and it turns out they've had another: production of the firm's Karma hybrid has been halted since its sole battery supplier, A123 Systems, filed for bankruptcy in October. Since A123 slowed its battery output after the filing, the automaker has been too short on batteries to continue churning out vehicles. Fisker anticipates resuming production after the ill-fated outfit is auctioned off, but it doesn't expect to know the outcome of the sale until mid-December. If your Karma's lithium-ion pack goes kaput in the meantime, there's still hope. As of now, the company says it has enough batteries in stock for customers who need replacements.

  • Better Place founder Shai Agassi steps down from CEO post

    by 
    Alexis Santos
    Alexis Santos
    10.03.2012

    Shai Agassi has guided Better Place's vision of swap-and-go battery stations for electric cars since it was founded five years ago, but now he's stepped down as the firm's CEO. Evan Thornley, who helmed the organization's Australian efforts, has taken up the mantle of global chief executive officer, while Agassi will continue his role as a board member. As the Wall Street Journal notes, the changing of the guard comes at a time when the company has been spending cash faster than it's generating revenue thanks to the construction of battery swap stations. Idan Ofer, Chairman of the Better Place Board of Directors sees this as "a natural point in the company's evolution to realign for its second chapter and for the challenges and opportunities ahead." Something tells us they wouldn't mind if future chapters are filled with more swappable batteries than Superchargers.

  • Toyota's Smart Insect concept EV packs Kinect motion sensor, voice recognition (video)

    by 
    Sarah Silbert
    Sarah Silbert
    10.02.2012

    Toyota is showing off its new Smart Insect prototype at the company's CEATEC booth. The fully electric car charges via a standard 100-volt AC outlet, and it's decked out with gull-wing doors and motion detection courtesy of Microsoft's Kinect. The on-board motion sensors allow the car to recognize its owner based on face and body shape, and it predicts the owner's behavior by analyzing movement and determining when to open the door, for example. (It also allows for the front and rear displays to show a welcome message when the owner approaches the car.) There's also voice recognition for opening the car door and other functions, with a speaker on the hood of the car and dashboard-mounted "dialogue monitors" on the front and back. The tech carries through to the Insect's interior, which sports a wireless charging pad, a dash-mounted monitor that connects to the driver's handset and a button for dialing up Toyota's virtual agent. As a connected car, the Insect naturally ties in with entertainment and navigation services (in this case, via Toyota's Smart Center). There's also integration with a home energy management system, which allows the owner to adjust air conditioning and lock the front door via a smartphone app. As this is a proof of concept -- and one we couldn't test out, at that -- it's unclear how well these features work, and it's unlikely that we'll ever see the prototype make it to market. Still, it's fun to dream, and you can do that by tuning into our hands-on video just past the break.

  • Tesla's Supercharger not compatible with competitor's EVs, keeps electricity within the family

    by 
    Alexis Santos
    Alexis Santos
    09.26.2012

    Planning on juicing up your Chevy Volt, Mitsubishi i-MiEV or Nissan Leaf with Tesla's Supercharger? Hold your horses, vaquero. The nighttime unveiling stressed that the quick-charge solution was Model S-friendly, but we should also note that it's only compatible with the firm's automobile. Vehicles from other automakers won't be able to jack into the station thanks to a 20-kilowatt hour converter, which would zap other batteries with too much electricity, and a proprietary plug. Unless something changes, those planning cross-country trips using EVs from other manufacturers will just have to find an alternative to Musk and Co.'s white obelisk.

  • Fisker completes investigation of latest Karma hybrid EV fire, issues vehicle-wide cooling fan recall

    by 
    Joe Pollicino
    Joe Pollicino
    08.18.2012

    Recall Fisker's latest fiery episode last week that left the front left quarter panel of a Karma hybrid EV burnt to a crisp in a Woodside, California parking lot? As promised, the company has completed its investigation with Pacific Rim Investigative Services Group into the scene, reporting that it's "located the ignition source to the left front of the Karma, forward of the wheel, where the low temperature cooling fan is located." As such, Fisker has decided to issue a full-on recall of the unit, although it's currently unclear if this and it affects all Karmas on the road. That said, Fisker is also stressing "that the incident was not caused by the Lithium-ion battery pack, new technology components, engine component packaging or unique exhaust routing of the Fisker Karma" -- naturally, the usual suspects for these types of accidents that keep plaguing the fledgling automaker. At least its new CEO Tony Posawatz is extremely qualified to handle the task at hand -- after all, a few weeks ago he was Volt-maker, GM's, Vehicle Line Director. Hit up the press release after the break for details about the investigation and its findings. Update: When asked about whether the recall affects all Karma models currently on the road, a representative simply (and promptly) replied to us stating, "yes" -- well then.

  • Fisker issues second statement about self-combusting Karma

    by 
    Daniel Cooper
    Daniel Cooper
    08.13.2012

    Fisker's inability to catch a break is matched only by its vehicles' worrying reliability record. The company has issued another statement after a parked, thankfully empty Karma EV opted for some self-immolation in a Californian parking lot last Friday. It currently doesn't believe the cause was its (previously recalled) Lithium-ion battery, exhaust routing or electrical components, having learned that the ignition zone was outside the engine compartment, in front of the driver's side front tire. We've got the full text after the break, meanwhile we're considering doing a lot more walking.

  • Nissan's e-NV200 all-electric van earmarked for a London taxi makeover

    by 
    Jamie Rigg
    Jamie Rigg
    08.06.2012

    Buried within an announcement from Nissan about its NV200 diesel compact van hitting the London streets, the company has also outed its plans to trial the all-electric variant for ferrying people around the city. The e-NV200 went from concept to reality earlier this year, shortly after the diesel version got a New York paint job and was branded the "Taxi of Tomorrow." The NV200 has satisfied all legal requirements and is set to challenge the iconic London black cab with its lower emissions, greater efficiency and, of course, competitive pricing. The e-NV200 prototype (not to be confused with the soon-to-be certified diesel version) is scheduled for testing in London during 2013. However, Nissan does note that rolling out the EV would only be realistic if there's "increasing investment in charging infrastructure" across the capital. [Image Credit: Auto Express]

  • Qualcomm pairs up with Delta Motorsport, flirts with Renault for Halo wireless charging trials

    by 
    Daniel Cooper
    Daniel Cooper
    07.24.2012

    Qualcomm will be trialling its wireless charging system in London later this year, adding two names to turn Qualcomm Halo from a New Zealand science project into reality. It's teaming up with Delta Motorsport, which will add the induction platform to some of its E-4 electric sports coupés in preparation for the city-wide trial. It's also signed a memorandum of understanding with Renault, paving the way for the French auto maker to investigate adding the tech to future EVs. As part of the deal, both companies will get a seat on the steering committee for the project -- maybe the company will let them sit in the passenger seat and change gears.