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Owners of Tesla Model S set out to counter NY Times Review

tesla-model-sA New York Times review of the Tesla Model S has blown out to a full blown hullabaloo between the electric car manufacturer and the reporter who wrote the piece.

A bunch of Model S owners are decided to prove that John Broder, the Times reporter, is wrong.

The electric vehicle owners will hit the road and take the same trip to Connecticut from Maryland. Before heading out, the owners will fully charge their Model S and try to prove that they can complete the journey the reporter failed to do.

Nine cars set off from Rockville in Maryland and headed 353 miles away to Groton in Connecticut. The owners live tweeted their telemetry updates during the trip. Not all vehicles completed the trip due to different reasons.

Well none of the the Tesla Model S called a flat-bed truck due to a drained battery pack but one car, for example, had circuitry problems. Tesla support was able to send a software update and the car was able to make it to Milford.

Only four of the bunch completed the whole trip. Some of the drivers opted out when they reached Delaware while another driver went to attend a Broadway play in New York City. Some of the drivers shared that through the trip, they were roughly on 65mph.

The Model S owners think that the NY Times reported encountered issues because he did not charge the vehicle.

New York Times also issued an official response saying that their reporter did not use good judgment during the trip but blames Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, for misleading the public for using the car’s log. The public editor defended the reporter saying that Broder reported how he experienced the drive.

CNN also conducted its own experiment and was able to complete the same route with some Tesla S owners. Two of the cars from the Tesla Motors Club were not even charged overnight and were able to complete the journey.

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Volvo V60 PHEV gets best safety rating from Euro NCAP

Volvo still makes the safest cars in Europe. The recent accolades come after the Europe NCAP gives the Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid its highest safety rating of five stars. This comes after a series of crash tests. The Euro NCAP is similar to the United States’ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If you do not want to take our word for it, it is okay with us because you can see the video of the Volvo V60 PHEV below.

Volvo designed the car well with all the safety measures taking into account the heavy and the big battery pack that weighs the vehicle down. The structure was modified and also reinforced to make sure that they up the safety level of the vehicle.

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The fuel consumption of the ride is also among the top concerns. The Volvo V60 PHEV has different driving modes such Power, Hybrid, and Pure. If you choose to operate the vehicle in Hybrid mode, the fuel mileage hits 1.8L for every 100 kilometers.

Before the end of September, around 1,000 units of the V60 were purchased and delivered.

A few months back, the Volvo V40 also aced the crash tests of the Euro NCAP. The vehicle were praised for the crash test results subjecting the safety assist, pedestrian, child occupant, and adult occupant.

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Land Rover confirms Range Rover plug-in hybrid set for production

A year ago, a plug-in hybrid Range Rover Range_e prototype was spotted charging in a mall in the United Kingdom. Land Rover recently confirmed that it has given the go signal for the production of a plug-in hybrid. The carmaker has not disclosed the date when the green Range Rover will roll out of the production lines but hinted that it will be between 2015 and 2020.

Knowing that the fourth gen Range Rover 2013 MY is due to hit showrooms before the end of this year, it is most likely that its plug-in hybrid cousin will derive its genes from the lighter, new platform.
The Range_e prototype plug-in hybrid was equippd with a 3.0L V-6 engine that runs on diesel. The conventional powerplant works with an electric motor that has an output of 69 kilowatts and powered by a lithium ion batter pack.

At the moment, there are no diesel hybrids in the US market. It is not yet clear if Land Rover will field the combination found on the concept vehicle.

In an earlier statement, Jaguar Land Rover has clarified that the United States will not get the diesel hybrid version of the 2013 Range Rover so the plug-in diesel hybrid is highly unlikely right now.

However, the car manufacturer has another plug-in hybrid prototype in its garage, the XJ_e. This vehicle depends on a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder powerplant, an electric motor with an output of 69 kilowatts, and a lithium ion battery pack.

Thanks to the possibility of a Range Rover prototype which can be very suitable for the US market. Still we have to wait for the confirmation from Land Rover.

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BMW announces details and pricing for 2013 ActiveHybrid 3

Some hybrid vehicles are built to impress consumers with their excellent gas mileage. This is basically what Toyota is doing with the 2012 Prius. Other hybrid cars like the 2013 BMW HybridActive 3 are conceptualized and built to lure in luxury car fans who already love the gas guzzlers of their lineup.

The ActiveHybrid 3 joins its sibling the ActiveHybrid 5on the BMW range. The Bavarian-based car manufacturer has recently revealed details and pricing for the 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 3. The sticker price starts at $50195 inclusive of destination charges. This makes the hybrid about $7000 pricier than the regular 2013 335i sedan. The green vehicle though adds to the equation a straight six with a turbocharger that allows the output to be boosted to 335bhp.

Performance is not an issue. To boot, the ActiveHybrid 3 has a good sprint from 0 to 62 miles per hour in a little over 5 seconds. The carmaker claims that this car can run on pure electric power for 2.5 miles. Drivers can cruise it as high as 45 mph while depending on the electric power alone.

The numbers should definitely help on improving on the 23 mpg of the 335i while on city streets. BMW though has not yet revealed the EPA of the ActiveHybrid 3. The 335i does 33 mpg on the highway so we are pretty sure the hybrid will be coming a bit close to this mileage.

Like the other BMWs of recent, the ActiveHybrid 3 has a driving mode that encourages a more earth-friendly driving. The ECO PRO makes most of the time when the engine is off while tapping into a coasting mode while running on higher speeds. The car also allows you to view the history of your fuel consumption just like other hybrid vehicles in the market today.

BMW fans will not miss the dynamic driving experience if they are planning to switch from the gas guzzlers since the ActiveHybrid 3 has Sport modes to provide sharper responses and more potent driving characteristics.

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Ferrari hints of a hybrid V12 powertrain option

The hybrid powertrains have been heading to the conference rooms and drawing boards of the manufacturers of the fastest cars in the world. During the launch of the F12 Berlinetta in March, Italian carmaker Ferrari has been hinting of exploring a V12 hybrid setup and the big possibility of a Ferrari hybrid in the coming years.

The upcoming Ferrari is said to be the first vehicle to roll out from the Ferrari garage using the new gen of V12 engines. According to reports, Ferrari wants to inject a green factor into their cars in order to lower the emission of greenhouse gases by their whole fleet.

Back in 2010, Ferrari started using the regenerative braking technology called HY-KERS on the 599 GTB so it will have a better fuel mileage thru electric energy. Amedeo Felisa, CEO of Ferrari, have also stated during an interview that it might reintroduce their V6 engines but not in the near future.

Ferrari has also been making some loud buzz in the past two years about the electrification of their engine when top executive of Ferrari hinted that the successor to the Enzo Ferrari might have a V12 working with an electric motor. Also in 2010, the president of Ferrari hinted of the development of a V6 powerplant which will will be more efficient than the 12-cylinder, 10 cylinder, and 8-cylinder powertrains.

Back in August last year, there were reports again that Ferrari has been working very had on a hybrid Ferrari. The president of the Italian car company though clarified that it is highly unlikely that we will see an electric Ferrari.

If you have been keeping track on how green Ferrari is going, it is not really their number one goal. In the United States, for example, the 458 Italia Coupe and Spider has a fuel mileage of 18 mpg combined. The Ferrari California gets a 15 mpg fuel consumption while the Ferrari FF guzzles up 13 mpg combined.

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The future ride of the President: Fiat 500 Electric Limo?

fiat-500-limopresidential-by-italian-coachbuilder-castagna-milanoWhen you think of a presidential car, you might be thinking of what US President Obama’s black Cadillac code named The Beast. Recently, an Italian firm has been making some buzz as It tries to come up with a stretch limousine for the president in the form of he Fiat 500 electric limo.

Castagna Milano can actually deliver this Fiat 500 based ride call LimoPresidential in your garage as long as you got the bank account for it.

The carmaker combines a pair of electric motors which can bring the limousine to about 100 miles per hour and makes sure it has a big enough battery pack to bring the discerning occupants to around 160 miles enjoying all the luxury the vehicle has to offer.

The LimoPresidential is double the length of the Fiat 500. The all electric ride of course decreases its originial maneuverability because of the new longer configuration but it boasts of agility over uneven surfaces compared to what President Obama rides.

Although it looks all elegant in black just a real presidential car, the Italian made limousine does not have the tons of provisions like bomb proof body, bulletproof windows, tires that can run on flat, and oxygen supply for the occupants compared to the Beast. You might have to spend more if you want to come any closer to that setup.

The limousine manufacturer offers variations of the concept in the form of the LimoSun and the LimoCity but we still doubt that these will end rolling out of the White House or even on the Las Vegas Strip. You might be asking why? The car manufacturer is the same firm which provided fallen dictator Qadaffi his electric Fiat 500. And we know you heard how his story ended.

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Honda EV-STER gets green light for production

Honda tries to contribute as much as possible to the conservation of the environment for the next generations and they clearly showed this during the recent motor show in Tokyo. The event was a lot less extravagant than the previous editions but perhaps it is just a show of respect for the calamities faced by the country this year.

The main focus of the autoshow is about mobility and harnessing alternative sources of energy. So aside from the showcased normal cars, the spotlight was on electric cars, fuel cell vehicles, and hybrids plus everything you can think of about reducing fuel consumption and carbon footprint.

Honda had the biggest booth during the show which displayed their upcoming products and concept cars. This includes the Micro Commuter, AC-X, and the Concept EV-STER. The EV-STER is really an eye candy and represents the direction the Japanese car manufacturer wants to take. It looks really fast even as it stands still.

The Honda Concept EV-STER is a two-seater ride which relies on battery and controlled by the driver using a twin joystick. Output is pegged at 78 horsepower and has a 150-kilometer range. This ride is definitely the eco-friendly ride Honda wants to make in the future and we heard that it will be hitting the production line.

It can be very exciting if truly this all electric vehicle rolls out the showrooms. It has a great potential showing good looks and performance which is very hard to achieve. Some great green cars we have now try to do it like the rides from Tesla, concept E-Tron from Audi, and there are even hints that carmakers want the KERS on production cars. The EV-STER by Honda has really a lot of promise of success. It has a lot more to offer compared to the Honda CR-Z which we think lacks the sporty attitude.

According to sources, the Honda EV-STER may come as early as next year and may come with an all electric version and a conventional engine that runs on gas.

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Buyers trade in their Toyota Prius for Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt

There is a good reason why car manufacturers are rolling out low volume electric vehicles and that is to lure in customers to showrooms which most likely they will not visit. This marketing strategy might be doing some good for Chevrolet that produces Volt plug-in and Nissan which makes the all electric vehicle Leaf.

From January thru September this year, Chevrolet has delivered 3,895 units of Volt and Japanese automaker Nissan was able to sell 7,199 units of Leaf.
A private firm which look into the buying habits of car buyers said that the car manufacturers benefit a lot when vehicle launches generate buzz on social media networks and the press in general.

Another significant figure to look at is that around 78% of people who bought Volt did not have a Chevrolet at the time they bought the plug-in vehicle. This means that the Chevrolet Volt helps bring customers which buy other brands into Chevy showrooms. The plug-in bring in new buyers more than twice than the other cars of the brand.

General Motors also shared some information about the profile of their market. According to GM, about 37% of consumers who buy the Volt are residents of the state of California. It also shows that about 7% of the trade-ins to buy a Volt is a the hybrid car of Toyota, the Prius.

There are also German branded vehicles being traded in for the Chevrolet Volt. Combining for 6% of trade ins are the Audi A4, Volkswagen Jetta, and the 3 Series of BMW.

The trend for the Nissan Leaf is also the same. Ninety percent of the buyers of the Leaf did not own a Nissan at the time of the purchase. About 18% of consumers trade in their Toyota Prius and another 38% trades in another model of Toyota.

The survey spotlights the way the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt are bringing in new customers for their respective brands after they are officially launched to the market.

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Toyota has sporty hybrids on their drawing boards

p25 Toyota hybridThe versatile petrol-electric hybrid technology of Toyota might be going from the engine bay of the Prius to their new models as the carmaker plans to have hybrids in all of their vehicle ranges come 2020.

Toyota is aiming for a million drivetrains using a hybrid setup this year to run the Prius and the Auris HSD. The Japanese car manufacturer is not really looking in the direction of new designs for their upcoming hybrids especially with the good reliability and performance they are getting from their 1.8L small hybrids.

The powetrain executives of Toyota confirmed that they will be launching new hybrid units that will tap into the flexibility of their current hybrid technology to give the cars sporty characteristics.


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Deal Closed: DOE Loans Fisker Automotive $529 Million to Open GM Plant in Delaware

The Department of Energy announced the closing of a $528.7 million loan to Fisker Automotive. The money will be used to support the development and production of two plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, namely, the Karma, and the recently started PROJECT NINA. The Karma is a full0sized four-door sedan-type vehicle, while Project NINA summarizes a line of family-oriented electric vehicles.

Aside from the development and production of the two environmentally-friendly lines of vehicles, the GM plant will also open up at least 2000 jobs for plenty of qualified American assembly workers. Because of the pending projects, economic experts also foresee more employment opportunities coming from service providers and domestic parts providers.

The Fisker projects are also set to contribute to reduced carbon emmicions and cleaner air. According to Secretary Chu, the release of these hybrid cars should put the production of American environmentally-friendly vehicles at the forefront of automotive design and production.

Initially, the money from the loan will be used by Fisker for qualifying engineering costs. This will be conducted in Irvine California, with the engineers designing tools and equipment and working on efficient manufacturing processes. The Karma should hit the showrooms in 2010, with the Project Nina hitting the assembly lines by late 2012.


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