Tag Archives: BEV

First Drive: 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV [w/video]

By Jeffrey N. Ross

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

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Side Effects May Include Grinning and Tire Chirping

For anyone who has yet to experience the joys of indoor go-karting, you’re missing out. Electric karts race around the inside of former big-box retail establishments, warehouses and the like delivering more excitement than you typically get from those rickety old concession karts powered by lawnmower engines. Since we can’t afford anything wearing a Tesla badge, these usually come to mind when someone mentions an electric vehicle that’s fun. After driving the 2014 Chevrolet Spark, though, our mental association might just be out of date.

Thanks to their instant torque, an EV being a hoot to drive shouldn’t come as a complete surprise, but Chevy’s all-new Spark EV is making its bid to rise to the top of this growing class, a field that includes the Fiat 500e, Mitsubishi i-Miev, Nissan Leaf, Scion iQ EV and Smart Fortwo ED, and it’s doing so with more torque, better efficiency and a lower price. With a name like “Spark,” it would be easy to assume that this small car was conceived with an EV model in mind from the beginning, but that’s not the case.

Even entering its third generation in 2009 (the first two weren’t sold in North America), General Motors admitted that the Spark was not designed with an EV drivetrain in mind. Just four years later, though, the Spark EV is hitting America’s roads – in California and Oregon – so we headed to scenic Portland, OR to check out Chevy’s new battery electric vehicle (BEV) and the first EV for General Motors since the controversial EV1.

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2014 Chevrolet Spark EV [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 22 Jul 2013 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Has Obama's Electric Car Revolution Failed?

By John Rosevear, The Motley Fool

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Last Friday’s news that Fisker Automotive would lay off 75% of its staff after failing to find a buyer was yet another blow to the Obama administration’s efforts to foster an electrified automotive future.

Fisker received $193 million in U.S. government money, and produced┬ásome 2,500 cars – but it never came close to turning a profit, and its short history was marked by a long series of missteps.

Electric cars haven’t exactly taken the market by storm. President Obama‘s onetime goal of having 1 million electric cars on U.S. roads by 2015 now looks like a pipe dream. Was this whole idea misguided from the start?

Fisker wasn’t even building proper electric cars
In a way, Fisker’s failure isn’t a fair test. Despite receiving millions from a Department of Energy loan program, Fisker’s car, a luxury sedan called the Karma, wasn’t even a true electric car, or BEV (for “battery electric vehicle”). Instead, it was a plug-in hybrid, a term that means a conventional gas-electric hybrid that can be plugged in to charge the batteries.

Plug-in hybrids can typically go a short distance without using any gas at all. That was a cutting-edge idea when the Karma was first shown way back in 2008. But nowadays, plug-in hybrids are pretty mainstream: Toyota‘s popular Prius comes in a plug-in version, as do the hybrid versions of Ford‘s Fusion and C-Max and a number of other cars.

Several of the mass-market automakers also offer (or plan to offer) pure electric BEVs. Nissan‘s LEAF is probably the best-known, but there are a few others. Ford offers an electric version of its Focus compact, and General Motors will roll out an electric version of its tiny Chevy Spark in a few markets later┬áthis year.

The problem with electric cars
The LEAF and those other BEVs were introduced with much fanfare over the last few years. But the LEAF has missed its sales goals, and the Focus Electric has sold just over a thousand examples in its year-plus on the market – next to none, in other words, in the grand scheme of things.

There are several problems with electric cars – a lack of recharging stations is one – but a big obstacle is that the batteries are still too expensive. By mass-market standards, that means that electric cars that have enough batteries to give a decent range are too expensive for what they are. Or put another way, why pay almost $40,000 for an electric Focus when you can get a more useable gas-powered version for half of that?

That’s something that the government hasn’t yet figured out how to fix. But the only company that seems to be succeeding with electric cars so far, Tesla Motors , has figured out how to work around it.

Does Tesla’s success show that electric cars are only for the rich?
As far as pure electric cars go, Tesla’s Model S is as …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance