Tag Archives: Nissan Leaf

Chevy Cruze Reviewed, Audi RS 7 Priced: Car News Headlines

Today at The Car Connection, we reviewed the 2013 Chevrolet Cruze and we spied a 2016 Mercedes-Benz MLC-Class prototype. Audi priced the 2014 RS 7, and the Nissan Leaf electric car just might be the perfect New York City taxi cab. All this and more in today’s car news, right here on The Car Connection. The 2015 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG might be… …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at The Car Connection

Official: Renault-Nissan zero-emissions car sales whir past 100,000 [w/video]

By Jonathon Ramsey

2013 Nissan Leaf - maroon - front three-quarter view

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The electric vehicle has gone gold at RenaultNissan, clocking 100,000 sales in a three-year period that began with the first Nissan Leaf being sold in Silicon Valley, California in 2010. Since then, the Leaf has become the EV champion of the world, selling more than 71,000 units so far, the majority of those in the US. The 100,000th EV sold by the Alliance was also a Leaf and also sold in the US, but on the other side of the country, in Georgia.

By comparison, Renault has sold 30,000 electric vehicles since late 2011, looking after other segments of the EV market with the Kangoo Z.E., Zoe, Twizy and Fluence Z.E. The alliance estimates that its efforts have been driven 5.2 million ion-powered miles and saved 14 million gallons of oil since they appeared. For a bit of sobering context, the US averaged 18.83 million barrels of oil per day in 2011, which is almost 791 million gallons. Per day.

So we’re getting there, albeit slowly. Quietly. There’s a press release and a video below with more details on the achievement.

Continue reading Renault-Nissan zero-emissions car sales whir past 100,000 [w/video]

Renault-Nissan zero-emissions car sales whir past 100,000 [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 23 Jul 2013 17:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Ultimate Electric Machine? BMW i3 Starts at $42,275

By Nick Palermo

2014 BMW i3

Ahead of its simultaneous triple debut on three continents, BMW announced pricing for the first electric vehicle from its i sub-brand: the new i3 starts at $42,275 before any EV tax incentives. BMW expects an all-electric range of 80 to 100 miles for the lightweight, four-passenger hatchback, or 160 to 180 miles with an optional 2-cylinder gasoline engine.

Pricing tops other small EVs by a significant margin. The i3 is about $5000 more than its next-highest-priced competitor, the lease-only Honda Fit EV, and more than $12,000 pricier than the Nissan Leaf. But it’s also the only premium brand in that group; the much larger Tesla Model S starts at $71,070.

While the i3’s pricing demonstrates some confidence on BMW’s part for the U.S. market, the brand stumps observers by offering the i3 at a surprisingly low 29,370 euros before tax in Germany. That puts it on par with an uplevel Nissan Leaf. And it is an unusual pricing strategy, as BMW models are typically more expensive on their home turf than here in the U.S. It confirms what we’ve heard: Within BMW, there is considerable concern about the i3′s sales performance in Germany and Europe.

The i3 is unique in its design, with a three-plus-two-door arrangement that requires the front doors to be open before accessing the back seat through smaller, rear-hinged doors. Aluminum and carbon-fiber construction contribute to a svelte (for an EV) curb weight of 2630 pounds, according to BMW. A 170-hp electric motor is mounted just ahead of the rear axle and drives the rear wheels. The 22-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, resting under the passenger compartment, provides energy. An optional, range-extending 650-cc gasoline engine can be fitted adjacent to the electric motor and does not compromise cargo space.

Driving dynamics are unique, too, not only among BMWs but even among electric cars. In normal traffic, the i3 can be controlled with only the right pedal. Lifting off the pedal induces a coasting mode; back off farther and regenerative braking kicks in.

When it arrives in the second quarter of 2014, the i3 will give drivers that want a premium nameplate and zero tailpipe emissions a more affordable choice than the Tesla Model S. And with an extended-range gas option, the BMW also offers a premium-brand alternative to the Chevrolet Volt. While it may not convert performance-minded 3-series owners to EVs, the i3 could attract others that aspire to go electric—and can afford it—to choose BMW.

2014 BMW i3 photo gallery

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

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.

Continue reading 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV [w/video]

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

Report: UK to begin testing driverless cars in bid to ease congestion

By Brandon Turkus

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Google, Stanford University, and a few other institutions have been testing driverless cars on American roads for some time now. Soon, though, the autonomous vehicle will go across the pond for their first tests on the wrong side of public roads.

The BBC reports that the British government has approved testing of driverless cars, provided a real human being is riding along in the event that things go wonky. The okay came from the Department of Transport, which included the testing as part of a 28 billion pound ($42.5 million at today’s rates) investment to combat the notorious congestion on British roads.

The appeal of driverless cars is rather easy to see on the overused UK road network. As the DoT report states, driverless cars “maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front at a set speed and without deviating from their lane – all without the driver’s input.” That means a smoother flow of traffic and a lower chance of accidents.

The cars will be operated by the brains at Oxford University, which had previously tested an autonomous Nissan Leaf. It’s unclear whether Oxford would continue to use the Leaf, or switch to the Toyota Prius favored by Google.

And before our British readers start worrying about driverless EVs hurtling down the M1, the testing will be done on lightly used roads, only.

UK to begin testing driverless cars in bid to ease congestion originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 18 Jul 2013 08:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Nissan Delays Infiniti’s Electric Car to Add New Features

By Clifford Atiyeh

Infiniti LE concept

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn always looks like he’s smirking, but with Infiniti delaying a second critical product in a week’s time, we’re sure he’s frowning hard. On Wednesday, Nissan executive vice president Andy Palmer told The Wall Street Journal that the company would “push back the timing” of its Infiniti LE, a luxury electric car based on the Nissan Leaf that was scheduled to go on sale by next spring. A week earlier, Infiniti delayed the launch of its new 2014 Q50 by another month to make engineering tweaks. The LE, first shown at the 2012 New York auto show, may need much more time, although Palmer didn’t specify a ballpark date.

“Certain technologies that we see now, which we didn’t see two years ago, are going to be available in a time frame that was relatively close to where we were going to introduce the Infiniti,” Palmer told the Journal. Our attempts to reach Nissan went unanswered.

An outspoken advocate for electric cars, Ghosn made Nissan the first major automaker to sell a mass-produced EV since the GM EV1. His insistence on pure electric power using an entirely new platform—as opposed to developing EVs and plug-in hybrids from existing models, as Ford has done—means the company needs to sell more EV variants to recoup costs. The Infiniti LE, along with the e-NV200 commercial van, is essential to that plan. But with plug-ins accounting for a half-percent of all market share, no one is betting Nissan—which built a new battery plant in Smyrna, Tennesse, using $1.4 billion in federal loans—will be generating EV profits any time soon. Nor will any automaker, for that matter.

Likely, those “certain technologies”  Palmer refers to involve the SAE fast-charging combo plug, which the company (along with Mitsubishi) continues to oppose despite approval from eight other U.S. and European automakers. Nissan has supported the Japanese CHAdeMO standard for the Leaf, which requires a separate connection as opposed to the SAE’s all-in-one design.

Nissan also may be considering liquid cooling for its lithium-ion battery pack, another feature the company has strongly resisted to cut costs. In September of last year, dozens of Leaf owners in Phoenix told Nissan that the area’s desert heat had prematurely cut their range, with some owners reportedly losing up to 30 percent of battery capacity in less than two years. In April, Nissan responded with a new battery warranty that would offer replacements, although Palmer said at the time that the Leaf’s air-cooled pack did not require further improvements.

Or, Nissan engineers simply could be too busy. They’re preparing a hybrid powertrain for the next-gen GT-R, a car we’d gladly take first over the LE.

In any case, Infiniti’s delay is good news for General Motors, which would prefer its upcoming 2014 Cadillac ELR to have all the electric attention.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

All of a sudden, Nissan doesn't have enough Leafs to go around

By Sebastian Blanco

2013 nissan leaf

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March: 2,236. April: 1,937. May: 2,138. June: 2,225.

Those are the US sales totals for the Nissan Leaf over the last four months. According to Erik Gottfried, Nissan’s director of electric vehicle sales and marketing, the numbers are a bit too high. Or production is too low. Or something. Point is, demand is apparently outstripping supply.

Nissan says it’s “going to be short on inventory all through the summer.”

Despite having a stated annual capacity of 150,000 Leaf EVs at its Smyrna, TN plant – over 10,000 a month – Leaf production in the Volunteer State has not yet ramped up to a level that can satisfy demand for 2,200 Leafs a month. According to Automotive News, Gottfried recently told dealers in Texas that, “we’re doing everything we can to get them more inventory. But it’s taking some time. … We’re going to be short on inventory all through the summer. It will be late fall before we can produce enough to satisfy everybody.”

Everybody in this case means the expanding markets outside the West Coast, where all the cool EVs have long been allowed to play. AN says that the third-largest market for the Leaf is now Atlanta, where there is only a nine-day supply of the EV. The world’s most popular highway-speed EV (over 60,000 have been sold worldwide, and around 30,000 in the US) got a big price drop earlier this year when the company started making the car in the US. Previously, all Leafs were exported from Japan.

All of a sudden, Nissan doesn’t have enough Leafs to go around originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Mon, 15 Jul 2013 17:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Roadster batteries likely to perform better than Tesla predicts

By Sebastian Blanco

orange tesla roadster with lightwriting

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Once the epitome of EV cool, the Tesla Roadster has kind of taken a back seat to the new electric vehicles in the market it helped spawn. Turns out, even in the background, the Roadster has things to teach us. Or, at least it does to the experts at Plug In America who recently took a closer look at the EV’s battery pack.

See, in 2006, when the Roadster was new, Tesla said the Roadster’s 53-kWh lithium-ion battery pack – good for 244 miles of range when new – would have 70 percent of its capacity after five years or 50,000 miles. With plenty of “old” Roadsters on the road, PIA studied four percent of the packs out there today and discovered that the packs have an “average of 80- to 85-percent of capacity after 100,000 miles driven.” The numbers were self-reported to PIA’s website by Roadster owners in a project that started in January.

The numbers come from PIA’s chief science officer, Tom Saxton, who conducted the first-ever independent assessment and announced the results at the recent Teslive Tesla users conference. According to a statement, he said, “Our study also found no discernable effect of climate on battery-pack longevity. Roadster owners in hot climates are not seeing noticeably different battery capacity profiles than owners in moderate climates.” Last year, PIA surveyed Nissan Leaf owners and discovered that hot climates were affecting the packs more than expected. Surveys on the first-generation Toyota RAV4 EV and Tesla Model S are underway.

Continue reading Roadster batteries likely to perform better than Tesla predicts

Roadster batteries likely to perform better than Tesla predicts originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Mon, 15 Jul 2013 14:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Official: The 100,000th EV sold in the US is… a Mitsubishi i-MiEV

By Brandon Turkus

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The news here isn’t that 100,000 EVs have been sold in the US, although that’s quite the accomplishment. It’s that the 100,000th car is a Mitsubishi i-MiEV – a car that takes nearly a full day to recharge on a standard outlet and can only travel about 62 miles per charge (according to the car’s Monroney).

Jabs at the Mitsubishi aside, the fact that US dealers have moved 100,000 electric cars is made more impressive in that it’s only been done since the latest generation of EVs arrived, typified by the Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus Electric and aforementioned i-MiEV. Chronologically, that means roughly the last two years. It’s a number that we can only expect to climb, as EVs gain a stronger foothold among manufacturers and consumers.

Plug In America, an EV advocacy group, crunched the numbers for a contest called #PIA100K, to find the lucky buyer, who would be given a ClipperCreek Level 2 charger (which takes the i-MiEV’s recharge time down to just seven hours). The winner, Rich Salmon of Grand Bay, Alabama, picked up his i-MiEV from Pete Moore Mitsubishi.

Continue reading The 100,000th EV sold in the US is… a Mitsubishi i-MiEV

The 100,000th EV sold in the US is… a Mitsubishi i-MiEV originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 12 Jul 2013 18:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

EV Price War: Ford Slashes Focus Electric Price by $4000, Now Starts at $35,995

By Nick Palermo

Ford is lowering the price of its all-electric version of the Focus, cutting the price by $4000 to $35,995. The reduction is further evidence of a price war in the EV market, following the announcement of lower pricing and/or special lease rates for electrics such as the Nissan Leaf, Honda Fit EV, and Fiat 500E, as well as the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt. Ford says the move is intended to make the electric Focus, which is available nationwide, more appealing to customers considering a plug-in vehicle.

The Nissan Leaf is still the most affordable of the aforementioned models, with a starting price of $29,650. It’s also among the most efficient, rated at 115 MPGe in combined city/highway driving. Range for the all-electric Nissan, though, is the lowest in this group at 75 miles. The Focus Electric, by comparison, ekes out one more mile of range despite a lower combined efficiency rating of 105 MPGe.

The $32,600 Fiat 500E is available only in California. The 500E can travel 87 miles on electricity alone and is rated at 116 MPGe combined. The Honda Fit EV, meanwhile, is rated at 118 MPGe combined and has a driving range of 82 miles. It’s priced at $37,415, although it is offered as a lease only. Currently, the Fit EV is available in California, Oregon, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

The Focus Electric now matches the price of the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt, which is available at $35,995 for cash buyers and $36,995 if it’s leased or financed through Ally Financial or Wells Fargo. And although the Volt relieves so-called range anxiety by backing up its battery power with a gas engine, it has a limited electric-only range of 38 miles. On battery power alone, the Volt is rated at 98 MPGe combined; once the gas engine takes over, combined fuel economy is 37 mpg. Chevy recently added the all-electric Spark EV to its lineup, but smaller and priced at $27,495, The Spark EV is not a direct competitor to the Focus Electric. The Spark EV’s availability remains limited to Oregon and California.

With EVs commanding less than 1 percent of U.S. market share, automakers are anxious to incentivize sales. Ford addresses some of the driving public’s reluctance to go electric with this price drop, and, as with all EVs, the Focus Electric’s price can potentially be even lower when eligible buyers take advantage of any federal, state, and local tax credits and incentives that are available to them. Concerns about range and long-term reliability, however, still remain considerable obstacles for many would-be EV drivers.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

Tesla: Better Warranty? Check! Upgradeable Cars? Sure! 500-Mile Batteries? Maybe Soon!

By Mark Rogowsky, Contributor

Leave it to Tesla Motors to turn what could have been a rather dull announcement about improving its service program into something of a mini-dazzler Friday. CEO Elon Musk not only promised to honor the company’s 8-year battery warranty under pretty much all conditions — “lighting the pack on fire with a blowtorch is not covered” — but Tesla also rolled out a plan that allowed owners to upgrade to a top-of-the-line Model S anytime their car goes in for service. Musk also hinted that today’s 265-mile range on the most-expensive model wasn’t any kind of endgame; but rather that a 500-mile battery could be available within 4 years. To top it off, Tesla finished the first quarter having outsold the much less expensive Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, to become the most popular plug-in vehicle in the U.S.

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

SRI tackling Baja's General Tire Mexican 1000 in an electric buggy [w/video]

By Danny King

SR1 off-road EV

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Whatdya expect, a Nissan Leaf? Nope, the National Off Road Racing Association’s (NORRA) General Tire Mexican 1000 off-road rally, which starts this weekend, will feature its first-ever all-electric vehicle, and judging by what we see above, it certainly looks the part.

SRI EV1, built by SRI, SRD and EV West, is an open-wheeled monster that delivers 535 horsepower and houses enough battery power to supply a typical American home. For a week.

Concessions needed to be made to accommodate the electric racer, since as the SR1 doesn’t have battery packs big enough to tackle all of the 1,200-plus mile race. The plan is to complete all three of the Special Stages on the first day and then run in portions of the distance on the ensuing three days depending on how the pack fares (there are no Blink stations in southern Baja, as far as we know). Check out NORRA‘s press release and a short video about the SRI EV1 below.

Continue reading SRI tackling Baja’s General Tire Mexican 1000 in an electric buggy [w/video]

SRI tackling Baja’s General Tire Mexican 1000 in an electric buggy [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Sat, 27 Apr 2013 10:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

AOL Readers' Secret for Buying Electric Cars: Don't!

By Bruce Watson

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Rick Diamond/Getty Images for NPG

A little while back, I asked DailyFinance’s readers for their stories about buying vs. leasing cars. While many of their responses focused on fairly common concerns — financing, mileage, long-term value, and so forth — another trend quickly emerged. Many readers were traditionally car buyers, but switched to leasing because of another consideration entirely: rapid changes in technology. Several readers offered suggestions of ways to get the best technology — and the best price — through a lease

Stable vs. Unstable Technology

While nobody wants to get stuck with an outmoded car, the danger of driving last year’s technology is increased when it comes to electric vehicles. With improvements in batteries and electrics constantly on the horizon, there is a very real possibility that this year’s technological marvel will be next year’s Betamax on wheels.

This concern definitely played a large part in “Mary’s” decision to go with a lease. She wrote that “We always bought our cars new,” but that she switched to leasing when got her electric Nissan Leaf. “Electric car technology is changing and so fast that we didn’t want to be tied to soon-to-be-obsolete technology for the long term,” she wrote. She has a three-year lease, and expects electric car technology to be “greatly improved” by the time it runs out. Next time around, though, plans to buy a hybrid crossover, based on the idea that the technology is “stable” and less likely to change as rapidly.

Getting Help From Car Companies

Future shock is nothing new when it comes to consumer purchases: Apple, for example, often finds itself on the sharp end of furious screeds about their incredibly short product cycle, which takes roughly six months to transform the hot new thing into an outmoded dinosaur. But, unlike Apple, car companies often have a hard time selling their unique value proposition. Put another way, electric car manufacturers can’t rely on customer loyalty; they need to find some way to help car buyers overcome their worries.

It’s not surprising, then, that so many car companies seem to be working around this technology concern. As “DElia3630” notes, she got a special deal on her electric car: “The deal was a special factory lease with a low out of pocket expense and a low monthly payment.” Like Mary, DElia is wary of getting stuck with outdated technology. On the other hand, if electric car technology proves relatively stable, she explains, “I can buy the car at the end of the lease and take advantage of its popularity.”

Gas Prices: The Real Payoff

“John” also got a good deal on a Nissan Leaf lease. Because of a friend, he was able to get his car at $1,000 below invoice, and an added $7,500 government tax incentive helped seal the deal. The …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Detroit Electric to launch sedan, hatchback models by end of 2014

By Steven J. Ewing

Detroit Electric SP:01 - front three-quarter view, blue

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Detroit Electric revealed its new SP:01 electric sports car (pictured) at Detroit’s historic Fisher Building Wednesday – the same place where the company’s headquarters are located – marking the rebirth of a marque that had been dormant since 1939. And while the first SP:01 cars won’t even be built until August, the company is already looking to the future, promising two more vehicle launches before the end of 2014.

During a press briefing, Albert Lam, chairman and CEO, and Don Graundstadt, CEO of North American operations, told reporters that the new models coming to market will be a sedan and hatchback, both of which will cost far less than the $135,000 SP:01 sports car (a price that does not include the federal tax credit, by the way). Specific pricing hasn’t been announced, but Lam said that the vehicles will be priced for “everyday practical usage,” and that one of them could fall in the $30,000 to $35,000 range – similar to that of a Nissan Leaf.

The vehicles will be priced for “everyday practical usage,” and one of them could fall in the $30,000 to $35,000 range.

Much like the Lotus-based SP:01, the new vehicles will follow the strategy that the company is currently using, where most of the car’s components will be outsourced from another automaker, with final assembly of the Detroit Electric product happening in the United States. Officials declined to reveal what automaker(s) it will be working with on these new products at this time, but Autoblog has learned that an official announcement about a partnership with a global automaker will be announced at the Shanghai Motor Show later this month.

Specific details about the new sedan and hatchback have not been divulged, but Detroit Electric says the vehicles will have both short-range and long-range battery options, and they will also feature the SAMI (Smartphone Application Managed Infotainment) system and 360 Powerpack found in the SP:01.

As for how the company plans to sell and service its vehicles in the US, Detroit Electric is allegedly in talks with a large organization that has an existing dealer network as means of setting up shop. Following the launch of the SP:01, which is limited to just 999 units, the company hopes to sell as many as 10,000 vehicles around the world each year, with the goal of increasing that number to as high as 40,000. Production of the SP:01 will kick off at an undisclosed Detroit-area facility this fall.

The SP:01 features a 37-kWh, AC Propulsion-sourced lithium-polymer battery and electric motor capable of producing 201 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque mated to either a four-speed manual transmission or a two-speed automatic. The first SP:01 will be delivered in September, and the company plans to hand over the keys to its initial vehicle in – you guessed it – Detroit.

Detroit Electric to launch sedan, hatchback models by end of 2014 …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog

Nissan Turns Over a New Leaf

By Rich Duprey, The Motley Fool

Ford Atlas Concept Early Design Sketches

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It’s safe to call me something of a bear when it comes to electric vehicles. Though I find Tesla‘s luxury EVs sleek and awesome, I’m not ready to go so far with the automaker itself and am less than impressed with its quarterly profit reported the other day (at least till I see some hard-and-fast numbers).

And I’m still not willing to think General Motor‘s Chevy Volt is anything more than a taxpayer-financed, money-losing boondoggle at the moment as U.S. sales of the hybrid EV plunged 35% in March to 1,478 vehicles. And it should be noted that General Electric bought 160 of them — or 11% — for its fleet purchases. Consumer demand, therefore, is even less than what’s been depicted. Heck, even Tesla’s sold more EVs in the U.S. over the first three months of 2013 than GM has sold Volts and that was after juicing the financing with $3,000 in rebates.

While Toyota sold more than 22,000 Priuses in March, that’s 20% fewer than it sold last year.

Yet consumers are only willing to shell out $4 or $5 a gallon for gas for so long before they start looking at alternatives. And more so than Model Ss or Volts, it seems the EV they want is a Nissan Leaf, which recorded its best month ever for sales in March, moving 2,236 vehicles. Indeed, last month was the Japanese car maker’s best month ever across its Nissan and Infinity lines, with sales rising to 137,726 units, a 1% increase over 2012.

It remains difficult, nevertheless, to estimate real consumer demand for the cars since Nissan’s sales have been all over the place. Until last month, it hadn’t sold more than 1,500 cars in a month since Nov. 2012.

Along with all my other bearishness on the sector, I’m not sure the technology is completely ready for prime time. While the battery fires GM experienced has died from the headlines and the battery woes of the Tesla are no longer front and center, the implosion of A123 Systems and numerous other battery makers suggests there’s still room for technological improvement.

Yet after a sluggish start to the New Year, it could be that Nissan has turned over a new leaf and will give GM, Tesla, and even Toyota a run for their money in 2013.

Running down the highway

Near-faultless execution has led Tesla Motors to the brink of success, but the road ahead remains a hard one. Despite progress, a looming question remains: Will Tesla be able to fend off its big-name competitors? The Motley Fool answers this question and more in our most in-depth Tesla research available for smart investors like you. Thousands have already claimed their own premium ticker coverage, and you can gain instant access to your own by clicking here now.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Nissan Has Best-Ever U.S Sales Month in March

By Rich Duprey, The Motley Fool

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Recording 137,726 units sold in March, the 1% increase from last year marks Nissan‘s best month ever for sales in the U.S., the company announced Tuesday.

It also marked the best month for its all-electric Leaf since it was launched in 2010. Nissan Leaf sales totaled 2,236 deliveries, up 286.2% from the previous March, according to the company. March marks the first full month of deliveries of the lower-priced 2013 Leaf, now produced at Nissan’s assembly plant in Smyrna, Tenn.

The company’s Nissan division sold 126,623 vehicles last month, up 0.4% from March 2012, with the Pathfinder recording the second-best gain with a 177% rise in vehicles moved. (The Leaf’s jump topped the Nissan division.) The worst performer was the Quest, which saw sales nearly cut in half in March to 1,345.

While it sold more Pathfinders (9,071) than it did Leafs (2,236), the electric vehicle’s 286% increase in sales was tops in the division, making it the best-selling pure EV in the world.

Nissan’s Infiniti division saw a 9% jump in sales, for a total of 11,103 sold in March, compared to 10,185 sold last March. The biggest gainer in this class was the JX, which saw sales nearly quintuple to 2,633 vehicles.



The article Nissan Has Best-Ever U.S Sales Month in March originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Tesla Motors Still Proving Skeptics Wrong

By Travis Hoium, The Motley Fool

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Few people thought Tesla Motors could take on the entrenched auto industry and succeed. But today the company took a big step toward long-term viability by announcing that it would be profitable in the first quarter, on both a GAAP and non-GAAP basis. The news has the stock skyrocketing 17% as of 2:15 p.m. EDT.

As recently as mid-February, Tesla expected to deliver 4,500 Model S vehicles in the first quarter, but it actually exceeded 4,750 units. With the average sales price in excess of $60,000, that translates to more than $15 million in additional revenue for Tesla.

The other note in the company’s press release is that all 60 kWh vehicles will be built with Supercharger hardware. The company is building a national network of Superchargers, which can add 150 miles of range to a Model S in just a half hour. Tesla will eat some cost on this, but in the long term it may prove a solid strategic move.

Time to step up, Detroit
Tesla is the biggest maker of electrical vehicles, and the fact that it’s dropping its low-mileage version says a lot about the industry. The General Motors Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf were both flops because they didn’t have the range to compete with traditional gas-powered vehicles. Tesla has proved that greater range can make EVs a compelling option for consumers.

Because Tesla is providing drive trains to Toyota and Mercedes, it’s reasonable to think that these two companies could leverage Tesla’s technology to make successful electric vehicles. So far, they’re both just dipping their toes in the water, but the opportunity in the market is growing. There doesn’t appear to be a technology that can currently compete with Tesla’s range, and it looks like these companies may be stuck with a single supplier for the foreseeable future. That, too, is good for Tesla.

More on Tesla
Near-faultless execution has led Tesla Motors to the brink of success, but the road ahead remains a hard one. Despite progress, a looming question remains: Will Tesla be able to fend off its big-name competitors? The Motley Fool answers this question and more in our most in-depth Tesla research available for smart investors like you. Thousands have already claimed their own premium ticker coverage, and you can gain instant access to your own by clicking here now.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Mercedes-Benz Debuts 2014 B-class Electric Drive [2013 New York Auto Show]

By Alexander Stoklosa

2014 Mercedes-Benz B-class Electric Drive

As electric vehicles have begun trickling onto the market in greater numbers, it seems automakers face two routes when it comes to whipping up a gas-free ride. The first is to create an EV from scratch—see the Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf—and the second is to retrofit an existing model with an electric powertrain, as with the Ford Focus Electric, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, and Toyota RAV4 EV. Mercedes-Benz has decided that for the U.S. market it will follow the latter proposition, and is bringing the European B-class here equipped with an electric powertrain to be the first Electric Drive vehicle to wear the tri-pointed star.  READ MORE ››

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

Tesla Just Raised the Bar

By Rich Duprey, The Motley Fool

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Offering earnings guidance above expectations, whether from Wall Street analysts or internal estimates, is obviously a bullish sign, as over time earnings growth follows sales growth. And when a company predicts greater sales or profits, we expect its stock price to soon follow.

Electric luxury car maker Tesla surprised Wall Street with a steeper-than-expected loss of almost $400 million in 2012 but also said it expected to be “slightly profitable” come the first quarter of the new fiscal year, which is several quarters ahead of expectations. And even in the face of a damaging and very public tiff with The New York Times, a row that it said probably cost it about $100 million in sales and resulted in hundreds of canceled orders, at least one analyst still believes the carmaker is ready to put the pedal to the metal.

Now don’t go blindly buying — or selling — on this bullish sentiment because you still need to do some research. Even if it looks like the situation is improving, we can only use the announcement as a jumping-off point for additional research.

Driving ahead
It’s not just Tesla’s Model S that’s lost its charge since the Times brouhaha began. The carmaker’s stock is also down more than 12% from the high of $40 per share it hit at the beginning of the month. CEO Elon Musk may have violated one of those cardinal rules of politics that says, “Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel.”

It’s understandable Musk would want to defend his car from what was seen as an unfair critique, but launching a Twitter war that called the road test a “fake” and using a high-profile blog post to attack the credibility of the Times correspondent only allowed the writer to write yet another article going into greater depth about what went wrong and that caused all the media to focus their attention on the issue. The Times then had its public editor dissect the matter yet again, and all that it’s done is have investors shy away from the stock.

A thin skin is causing Musk’s company to bleed while risking making Tesla out to be a riskier investment than previously believed.

As readers may know, I’m not a big fan of electric cars, though I find Tesla’s Model S and the similarly luxurious Fisker Karma to be gorgeous works of art in addition to being modes of transportation. But my concern is the EV hasn’t yet arrived for the mass market because they haven’t become practical yet. Without subsidies, they’re generally overpriced for the range they deliver, and until there are as many charging stations as there are Starbucks coffee shops, they’ll remain a niche toy of the well off.

Plug-in car sales in the U.S. tumbled 23% in January from the month before, with General Motors‘ Volt plunging 57%, followed closely by plummeting sales of the Nissan Leaf, which had …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Self-driving Nissan Leaf controlled from iPad

By Jon LeSage

self-driving nissan leaf

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“Siri, drive me home.”

Okay, so it’s not quite that simple (yet) but Oxford University is testing out a driverless version of the Nissan Leaf electric car using technology controlled from an Apple iPad on the dashboard. The car is guided by a low-cost navigation system that gauges its surroundings through small cameras and lasers discreetly built into the body of the car and does not rely on GPS. The iPad flashes up a prompt offering the driver the option of taking over a portion of the route. Touching the screen can switch back to “auto drive” where the robot system takes over.

The system is currently being tested at Begbroke Science Park, near Oxford. The next stage of the research will work on enabling the new robotic system to understand complex traffic flows and to make decisions on the best routes to take, said Dr. Ingmar Posner, who is co-leading the project.

It’s estimated that the current prototype navigation systems costs around 5,000 pounds (about $7,625 US) but, “Long-term, our goal is to produce a system costing around 100 (pounds) [$151 US],” said Professor Paul Newman, the other co-leader. A series of videos about the Robot Leaf is available below.

Speaking of driverless Nissan Leafs, you can view another video showing a prototype of a self-parking Leaf here. A right-hand Nissan backs itself at a 90-degree angle into a striped parking car so it can be wirelessly recharged. Drivers might soon be able to do quite a lot from the driver’s seat of the Leaf without ever having to steer.

Continue reading Self-driving Nissan Leaf controlled from iPad

Self-driving Nissan Leaf controlled from iPad originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Mon, 25 Feb 2013 15:56:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog