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Should plug-in hybrids be forced into EV mode in cities? Fiat tests the tech

Many automakers seeking to comply with stringent emissions rules are selling plug-in hybrids instead of pure electric vehicles. And yet there’s no guarantee that plug-in hybrid owners will regularly plug in. The answer could be a geofence system that automatically forces off the combustion engine when a plug-in hybrid enters a city zone. Fiat Chrysler announced today that it’s testing that technology in Turin, Italy.



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BMW and Mercedes shift CO2 strategy from EVs to plug-in hybrids

Mercedes-Benz plug-in hybrid models in the compact class (A 250 e, A 250 e saloon, B 250 e)

Mercedes-Benz and BMW are adding a wide range of new plug-in hybrids as they strive to reduce CO2 emissions to meet stricter EU targets this year. Both companies said putting plug-in hybrids versions on more models would help reduce carbon emissions this year by 20%.

LMC Automotive, an analyst firm, predicts that plug-in hybrids will outsell EVs in Europe this year.



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BMW’s Mini confirms its first plug-in hybrid will be its next Countryman

2015-MINI-Countryman-1

I’ve hoped to see an electric Mini make it to market ever since BMW produced a few hundreds all-electric “MINI E” cars to test its electric drivetrain technology for what eventually became its “i” electric brand, but the vehicle never made it to a wide release.

Now although not fully electric, we should “pretty soon” see the first electric vehicle from BMW’s popular Mini brand, according to a brand representative.

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Chrysler unveils 2017 Pacifica minivan with plug-in hybrid drivetrain for 30 miles of all-electric range [Gallery]

001-2017-chrysler-pacifica-1

Chrysler unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show today the new 2017 Pacifica minivan with an option for a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. The “Pacifica Hybrid” is equipped with a 16 kWh battery pack which allows for an all-electric range of 30 miles, according to the automaker.

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VW will introduce the plug-in hybrid Golf GTE Sport at the LA Auto Show [Gallery]

Volkswagen Studie Golf GTE Sport Volkswagen announced today that the Golf GTE Sport plug-in hybrid will make its North American debut at the Los Angeles International Auto Show, which starts November 19. Although the vehicle is still only in its concept phase, considering the “Dieselgate” situation, some expect VW to accelerate its electric car projects in order to compensate for the recent scandal, which could lead to the potential commercialization of the GTE Sport. 

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Volvo unveils its electric vehicle strategy, first all-electric car for 2019

This morning Volvo sent out a press release outlining its plan to introduce more electric vehicles in its lineup. The Swedish automaker plans to introduce plug-in hybrids in all its series of models, including a new compact category, but more importantly, it will bring to market its first all-electric car in 2019.

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In light of emission scandal, VW plans on making an EV push starting with an all-electric Phaeton

Side Pose Of 2011 Volkswagen Phaeton In GreyVolkswagen’s new board of management issued a new statement this morning highligting its new strategy to come out of the emission scandal. CEO Dr. Herbert Diess about the announcement:

“The Volkswagen brand is repositioning itself for the future. We are becoming more efficient, we are giving our product range and our core technologies a new focus, and we are creating room for forward-looking technologies by speeding up the efficiency program.”

On top of obviously changing its diesel strategy to now comply with American and European standards, the company plans on making significant investments in electric vehicles.

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Billionaire hedge fund manager goes after Tesla and SolarCity, but can’t get his facts straight

Jim Chanos

JIm ChanosJim Chanos is a famed billionaire hedge fund manager known for short selling companies. He is also a regular market commentator for CNBC and Bloomberg. Chanos recently disclosed having a short position on solar installer SolarCity (SCTY) and although he refused to disclose his position on Tesla Motors (TSLA), he doesn’t have good things to say about the company.

During an interview with Bloomberg on Monday morning, Chanos explained why he thinks both companies are overvalued, but the “facts” he used to support his opinion are misleading.

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Tesla Model S is the best-selling all-electric car in the Netherlands – sales up 37%

IW20G9BThe Netherlands is an excellent market for electric cars, it’s not quite Norway, but when adding plug-in hybrids it’s getting close. As for all-electric vehicles, Tesla’s Model S is by far the best-selling in the country based on registration data.

Tesla confirmed last week that it delivered 11,580 vehicles worldwide from July through September and based on registration data, the Netherlands contributed to ~3.5% of the total with 409 Model S’s during the third quarter.

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Volkswagen introduces a plug-in version of the Tiguan at IAA 2015 [picture gallery and video]

tiguan_gte_european_model_5308At the Frankfurt Motor Show this week Volkswagen introduced its first plug-in hybrid SUV: the Tiguan GTE. The German automaker revisited each trim of the gas-powered Tiguan and unveiled a new plug-in one, although unfortunately only as a “concept”.

The GTE is equipped with a 13 KWh lithium-ion high-voltage battery pack allowing for an all-electric range of 50 km (31 miles), then the direct-injection gas engine takes over.

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Scotland offers up to £50,000 interest free loans for electric vehicles

101_1082_ja_scottish_roadTransport Scotland announced earlier this month a new program to offer interest free loans of up to £50,000 for electric vehicles. The number of loans will be limited since the program is financed by a £2.5 million fund. The fund will close on 31 March 2016, applicants have until then to submit their loan requests.

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2016 Chevy Volt has 53 mile battery range says EPA, will that make a difference?

The all-new 2016 Chevrolet Volt electric car with extended range, showcasing a sleeker, sportier design that offers 50 miles of EV range, greater efficiency and stronger acceleration.

The all-new 2016 Chevrolet Volt electric car with extended range, showcasing a sleeker, sportier design that offers 50 miles of EV range, greater efficiency and stronger acceleration.

The results are in: the new 2016 Chevy Volt will get 53 miles of electric range on a charge of its new 18.4-kWh lithium-ion battery according to EPA numbers. That’s close to 40% more than the previous Volt’s 38 miles and a big psychological jump for buyers.

The typical American commute is around 48 minutes so adding those extra miles gets a lot more people home without using gas. Chevrolet expects many next-generation Volt owners will use power solely from their batteries for more than 90 percent of trips. Today, Volt owners use battery power on 80 percent of their trips.

The biggest turn off for me in the old Volt was the back seat which was split in half by the battery bar. The 2016 lowers the batteries so that a car seat or a passenger can straddle the bar which is worlds better for families.

That, and when you went to gas – like for long trips – you’d only get around 35 miles/gallon with the range extender. The next-generation Volt’s new 1.5L range-extender, designed to use regular unleaded fuel, offers a combined EPA-estimated fuel efficiency of 42 MPG. That’s very respectable but not yet on the same level as a Prius which typically sees 50+ mpg.

I think the new Volt is hitting new spec points that will make sense for a lot more buyers. It doesn’t have any range anxiety problems and it is getting pretty close to the range of the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3 (which also has a very small REX engine). Also, the faster acceleration, better back seat and sportier looks will draw new buyers along with the proliferation of EV charging points around the country.

The new EPA sticker is below:

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Tesla’s Range Anxiety and 6.2 update Live blog

Updated with Tesla’s Press kit. Overall the update mirrored my predictions pretty well. I will post audio when available.

Model S Software Update 6.2

View coverage in all regions

Model S is the only car on the road that improves with time, thanks to Tesla’s free, over-the-air software updates. With each new update, Tesla adds functionality, enhanced performance, and improved user experience to every Model S.

Today’s announcement of software update 6.2 introduces new features that expand the car’s intelligence which eliminate range anxiety entirely, enhance Model S’s active safety features, and bring Model S closer to having autonomous capabilities.

Energy and Range

Our energy and range functions eliminate “range anxiety” and remove the hassle of planning road trips before you embark. By introducing Range Assurance and Trip Planner into Model S’s navigation, long distance travel is now foolproof.

Navigation automatically routes Model S through Tesla’s charging network. Currently 90% of the US population is within 175 miles of a Tesla Supercharger; finding quick and convenient charging has never been easier. Include Tesla Destination Chargers and 95% of the US Population is now within ample range of Tesla’s charging network.

Trip Planner
Model S owners can now take road trips with confidence. Simply select a destination, and Navigation will now automatically route through the appropriate superchargers if charging is needed for your trip. Trip Planner will select a route to minimize driving and charging time. At each supercharger stop, Trip Planner will notify you via the iPhone app when you’ve charged enough to continue on your trip. Android app users can monitor charging needed for the trip via the Charging screen.

Automatic routing along Tesla’s Charging Network
Drivers can choose a final destination and Model S will route them through charging locations automatically. Navigation will display the fastest route to the destination and break the route into legs between Superchargers, displaying anticipated charge times at each station in a simplified list view.

Push Notifications at Superchargers
Model S will notify drivers via the App when they have enough juice to depart for the next Supercharger or their final destination.

Range Assurance
Model S does the thinking for you. By continually monitoring and advising owners when they are at risk of driving beyond the range of reliable charging locations, “range anxiety” is gone. When the warning is triggered, Model S provides a list of Superchargers, Tesla Destination Chargers, and locations where the vehicle has previously charged that are within current range. Drivers then select a charging destination from the list and Navigation will provide turn-by-turn guidance along with the predicted battery energy when you get there.

Driver Assistance Features

The new Driver Assistance features in 6.2 are designed to intelligently anticipate and react to potentially dangerous situations. Since the unveiling of autopilot in fall 2014, Tesla has pushed a number of active safety features to Model S via wireless software updates that enhance the safety of Model S and bring Tesla closer to rolling out full autopilot capabilities to vehicles on the road.

Automatic Emergency Braking
This new Collision Avoidance Assist feature automatically engages the brakes to reduce the impact of an unavoidable frontal collision. Automatic Emergency Braking will stop applying the brakes when the driver presses the accelerator pedal, the brake pedal, or sharply turns the steering wheel.

Blind Spot Warning
Blind Spot Warning assists the driver to change lanes safely. When Model S is travelling between 20 mph (30 km/h) and 85 mph (140 km/h) and detects a vehicle in the driver’s blind spot, a white arc will appear on the instrument panel near the bottom of the speedometer. If a collision with the vehicle becomes likely, two red arcs will appear, the steering wheel will vibrate, and the driver will hear a chime.

Valet Mode

Valet Mode conveniently and discreetly limits Model S’s driving performance and restricts access to certain settings and personal information. With the touch of a button, owners can place a limit on speed, lock the glove box and frunk, and disable personal information like driver profiles and homelink settings.

P85D Top Speed

The top speed for P85D is now 155 mph (250 km/h).

Recently Released Software Update Highlights:

September 2014 (6.0):

Traffic-based navigation: The model S navigation system now takes real-time traffic conditions into account when determining your route, and estimated travel times are adjusted to reflect traffic. This feature will also continuously monitor traffic while navigating, and re-route if warranted.

Location-based smart air suspension: Useful on roads or driveways that require higher clearance, with this feature, Model S will remember where you select HIGH or VERY HIGH ride heights. The air suspension will then automatically rise at those locations in the future.

Calendar app: Allows drivers to view their phone’s calendar for the current and next day. If a calendar event has a location specified, they will be given the option to navigate to that location. When they have an event on their Calendar that will take place within the next hour, the Model S navigation system will notify them if there is a better route due to traffic, even if they’re not using navigation.

January 2015 (6.1):

Traffic-Aware Cruise Control: When TACC is engaged, Model S will adjust its speed based on the car directly in front of you, decelerating and accelerating as needed.

Forward Collision Warning: Forward Collision Warning will warn you when there is an object in your path and a collision is likely unless the driver takes corrective action.

Auto High Beam: Auto High Beam temporarily switches Model S to low-beam headlights if there is traffic or urban lighting detected in front of the car, such as from an oncoming vehicle or street lights.



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BMW has 10,000 i3 orders and has sold out its i8 inventory for 2014 and into 2015

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SoQNX5WF1M]
2 BMW i8s at a GAS STATION

Reuters got the numbers from the Los Angeles Auto Show

Luxury carmaker BMW has orders for nearly 10,000 of its i3 electric cars, the first of which were delivered in Germany last week, the company’s global sales chief, Ian Robertson, said at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday.

Robertson also said the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car due to be introduced in mid-2014 has sold out for its first year of availability. He did not say how many the company will sell in that first year.

Two BMW i8s spotted…at a gas station

Being shown filling up is not exactly good PR for BMW who’ve already shown off the full sized carbon-fiber i8 in promos. This would be one of the first public sightings.  If you aren’t familiar with how the i8 works, it has an interesting 131 hp front electric engine and a rear 231HP engine that sends it hurdling forward with a 4.4 0-60.

Think further to go further. The intelligent plug-in hybrid system in the BMW i8 combines the benefits of an electric motor and a petrol engine into an extraordinary driving experience: highest efficiency and maximum dynamics are simultaneously possible. The electric drive, a powerful 96 kW (131 hp), is located on the front axle. The rear axle is driven by an authoritative BMW TwinPower Turbo 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine with 170 kW (231 hp) of peak performance and up to 320 Nm of torque; combined with the electrical boost of the hybrid system, it guarantees typical BMW driving pleasure.

Together the pair accelerates the BMW i8 from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds*. And this with an enormous saving in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, as it uses just 2.5* l per 100 km and emits 59 g/km*.

Although I’m not a fan of the 131 EV engine (matches $19K Chevy Spark!) I do like the look of this thing!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3JAtvsqfF8

via InsideEVs