H. Kesteloo

June 16

“Goodbye car,” is what it says on the Trek website and that was our initial question: Can this bike replace a car for a meaningful percentage of commuters?

Clearly, Trek is positioning the Trek Super Commuter +8S bicycle as a viable alternative to a car for your daily commute. As far as the price of this bike goes that comparison is a fair one. For the $4,999.99 that you have to shell out for this bike, you could buy a used car! But let’s not talk money yet, could this bike replace a (preferably electric) car for your daily commute? Is the bike good enough and practical enough to replace the car for your drive to and from the office? I rode the Trek Super Commuter +8S from Croton-on-Hudson, NY to New York City to find out. Along the 40+ miles I rode on this bike, I encountered backroads, muddy single tracks, gravel roads, bike paths and the busy city streets of Manhattan. Granted, I don’t expect people to use this bike for a daily 40 miles commute each way, but the point was to put the Trek through its paces and see how it would stack up. How good of an electric bike is it really?

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June 15

A few weeks ago I wrote about the sales of EV’s in Europe, and one thing stood out like a sore thumb; the success of the Renault Zoe. Now in its second generation, the Zoe is the number one selling EV in Europe with a 14.7% market share. However, when you look at the sales in Renault’s home country, France, the Zoe is simply killing the competition with a 70.1% market share. The little Renault has enjoyed an oversized market share of at least 50% ever since she was first launched in 2013. What makes the Zoe so special and what else can explain its mega success. By coincidence, I happened to be in France last month, so I stopped by a local Renault dealer to get some background on these sales numbers and to have a quick test drive in this number one selling EV.

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May 22

According to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, alternative fuel vehicles (AFV’s) in the Europe Union are off to a very strong start in the first quarter of this year, increasing their numbers sold by 37.6% to 212,945 vehicles.

Hybrid vehicles (HEV) showed the biggest growth with 61.2% versus the same period last year, now counting 111,006 units. Electrically chargeable vehicles (ECV = BEV and plug-in hybrids) grew with 29.9% from 36,322 units sold in Q1, 2016 to 47,196 units in Q1, 2017. This includes 49% growth for “battery-only” (BEV’s) to 24,592 units sold and 13% growth for the plug-in hybrids (21,644 units). The U.S. market showed a similar growth of 49% for electric car sales to 40,700 units sold in the first quarter according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The American car market is about 16% larger.

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9to5toys 

May 18

The market share of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids keeps increasing steadily in California during the first quarter of 2017 according to the California Auto Outlook quarterly report. On the other hand, the market share of hybrids, excluding plug-ins, has been declining since 2013 and continues to do so in the current calendar year.

Nationwide new car registrations decreased by 1.4 percent. However, dealers in The Golden State saw a 0.7 percent increase in registrations and the state is now on track to top 2 million new car registrations again for this year. The Californian market hit a low of 1.04 million new light vehicle registrations in 2009 and topped the 2 million mark in 2015 after years of strong recovery since the financial crisis.

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May 16

The opinions of people on the BMW i3 seem to be very divided. They either love the car or simply hate it. It is either good or bad. Black or white. Is that accurate though? Can it be placed in a box like that or is there more to this little EV?

I think there is a lot more to this car than meets the eye. The i3 seems to be the only car over a long period of time where BMW actually took a risk and thought outside of the box. BMW went all out and built a car that was entirely new from the ground up. And when I say new, I don’t mean new, like the new 5 series is new. No, I mean new as in using a new approach with new materials, based on a new design and with a new way of propulsion, i.e. electric.

BMW thought way outside of the box and built a very efficient and lightweight electric vehicle. I lease an electric-only i3 from 2015, and over the last so many months I have put more than 10,000 miles on it, driving it all over the NY metro area. I drove it during warm summer days, during torrential downpours and during the Stella snowstorm. By now, I think, I have enough miles under my belt to know (and share) what it is like to daily-drive the BMW i3. The last twelve months have changed the way I see this car and it is anything but simply black or white. Some features, I love and some others I don’t. Read on and find out what it’s like to drive in, and live with, the BMW i3.

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May 12

Electrek BMW 330e Hybrid 3 series sports sedan review croton reservoir
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“Charging is optional, thrilling is not.” it says on the BMW iPerformance website. A bold statement but one that is unfortunately true. The regenerative brakes charge the battery, so you don’t necessarily have to charge it, and the 330e is indeed a thrilling ride. However there are so many questions: Is the 330e still the Ultimate Driving Machine? Did BMW successfully bridge the gap between a sports sedan with an internal combustion engine and an electric vehicle? Can it drive like an EV in urban environments and still provide a thrilling drive on backroads while being somewhat frugal on gas? Is the BMW 330e the ultimate hybrid or an overpriced Prius on steroids?

Keep reading and find out our conclusion after putting this car through its paces. expand full story

9to5mac 

May 8

Plans for an all-electric MotoGP support class have been confirmed by Dorna Sports, the parent company of MotoGP and World SuperBike. Dorna’s CEO, Camelo Ezpeleta said electric motorcycle racing could start as early as 2019.

The FIA Formula E championship for racecars has been growing rapidly and has been quite the success story since it was started three years ago. For bikes, on the other hand, it has been relatively quiet with the exception of the Isle of Man TT, which has included electric racing (TT Zero) since 2010.

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May 1

Elon Musk discusses future plans for Tesla and his other endeavors with curator Chris Anderson at a TED Conference in Vancouver, Canada, April 28, 2017. The transcript below is an attempt to capture the conversation as accurately as possible. 

Chris: Elon. Hey, welcome back to TED. It’s great to have you here.

Elon: Thanks for having me.

Chris: So, in the next half hour or so we’re going to spend some time exploring your vision for what an exciting future might look like, which I guess makes my first question a little ironic. Why are you boring?

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April 27

For an oil company to forecast strong growth of EV’s, and to take steps to prepare for this future, is quite something, but that is exactly what Total has done. First with their purchase of a controlling stake [paywall] in the solar company SunPower Corp. in 2011. Secondly with their acquisition of battery maker Saft early in 2016. And then, later in the same year, Total announced to invest $300 million to install solar panels at 5,000 gas stations around the world. So, I think it is fair to say that Total is (reluctantly?) getting ready for a world in which oil will be less important for transportation purposes.

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9to5google 

April 26

Audi has had a very remarkable and successful history in rally racing. In the early eighties, long before Red Bull came around, Audi first introduced their 4WD Quattro system and shattered the competition. Then after a number of successful years, Audi launched one of the most powerful and infamous Group B rally cars, the Audi Sport Quattro S1 . Its combination of a 4WD Quattro system, a turbocharged engine, and a carbon-kevlar body shell meant that these cars literally flew around the rally stages in the most spectacular and dangerous ways. No wings required.

Now Audi will have a go at it again but this time with electric powered rally cars. Attracted by the abundant and instant torque of electric engines, Audi motorsport boss Wolfgang Durheimer has indicated that the prospect of electrified rallycross is a very intriguing one.

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April 21

As part of the BMW of North America and the US National Parks Services event we wrote about earlier, we had a chance to take a look at Thomas Edison’s garage in Llewellyn Park and his Detroit Electric Model 47 that is on display there. This is the actual car the Thomas and his wife Mina used about one hundred years ago when electric vehicles were quite popular. Around the turn of the century only 22% of vehicles on the road were gasoline powered, 40% were powered by steam and a whopping 38% (= 33,842 vehicles) of all the vehicles on the road were EV’s. Imagine 38 percent of today’s vehicles being electric vehicles and what an impact that would make on emissions and noise pollution…

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April 18

This year one of the sleekest, sexiest cars at the New York International Autoshow has to be the Concept One from Rimac. It is labeled as the first fully electric hypercar and was first introduced in 2011. The final version that you see here made its debut at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. We had a chance to do quick interview with Monika Mikac, COO of Rimac Automobili, during this year’s show.

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April 17

9to5toys 

April 11

The batteries in EV’s are heavy, expensive and in many cases slow to charge, this results in many affordable EV’s having a limited range. Obviously, this reduces the usefulness of EV’s for many potential buyers. For EV’s to really take off, we need an extensive network of public fast charging stations (DCFC’s). However, the current fee structure of utility companies, especially the additional peak demand charges during hot summer months, can make up a substantial part of the electricity costs of a charging location, forming a significant roadblock for the future of EV’s.

In a recent study for EVgo, analyzing data from every charging session in 2016 from all 230 of EVgo’s DC fast charging stations in the state of California where half of all the nation’s EV’s are being used, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) found that with today’s EV market penetration and current public DCFC utilization rates, demand charges can be responsible for over 90% of electricity costs, which are as high as $1.96/kWh at some locations during summer months.

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April 10

Spring has sprung and a new 2018 Nissan Leaf popped up in Germany. As you can see in the photos the next generation model looks refreshed and more modern.

Las month, we reported on the first sightings of the much anticipated next generation LEAF, but it was covered with a garbage bag-looking type of camouflage. These new photos of the next-gen Leaf, which surfaced on this German forum site, shows a still heavily camouflaged car, but we get a better look than last time. expand full story

April 7

9to5mac 

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