review Stories June 14

…except a Tesla killer

The first reviews of the Jaguar I-PACE came out last week and there’s a lot to digest. I won’t go through most of the information for the sake of repetition but when it was my turn this week to be in a group of 20 journalists to test the car, I noticed that I was one of the only folks with any EV experience. So we’ll talk below about the I-PACE experience from a Tesla and Chevy Bolt EV owner and electric car expert.

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review Stories June 11

  • 2018 E-JOE EPIK SE Sport Edition Electric Folding Bike 500-700W/48V – under $1500
  • 50lb foldable bike with enormous range and power, 2x competitors or more
  • Includes premium components: oversized 180mm disc brakes, lights, rack
  • Downsides: soft front suspension, sticky throttle, too much speed

Folding bikes are a curiosity for most. They imply that they need to be packed up whether on a plane, train or automobile (or boat, RV etc.). They are great for commuters in their last miles and if you live far from a rideable habitat, they are great companions. A foldable bike allows you to forego that air resistant bike rack on the back or top of the car. But they do have their downsides. They aren’t great for long distances, their often small wheels and multiple piece frames aren’t great for long trips and they are more heavy and complex than equivalent traditional bikes. Also, you often ride higher and less aerodynamically because of the different geometry.

Electrified folding bikes are no different. While the battery and motor add significant weight to the equation, they also obviously add propulsion that helps get you to speed on hills and from a stop. There are a ton of these which have 200 or so watt motors and about 10 miles of range. Usually they start at around $1000.

The 2018 E-JOE EPIK SE takes this idea and nukes it with a 48V 500W or 700W burst rear brushless geared hub motor and 500Wh battery, both of which are at least double the standard you see on typical foldable ebikes. Even better, it looks and feels like a mild-mannered foldable bike that no one would suspect hides a moped level turbo boost. Let’s dive into this… expand full story

review Stories May 1

I know what you’re thinking, “A kick scooter?” But stick with me here, because the Xiaomi M365 electric scooter is not your kid’s toy scooter. It’s a fully fledged personal electric vehicle capable of traveling at 15.5 mph (25 km/h) with a range of 18.6 miles (30 km). It has integrated headlights and brake lights, regenerative and disc brakes, a thumb throttle for quick acceleration off the line, and to top it all off, it’s just really fun to ride. At just $499, it’s a surprisingly cheap way to replace a car, Uber or public transportation in most cities, or just to toss in your trunk or carry on the bus as a “last mile” solution. expand full story

review Stories January 8

On December 29th, 2017, I took delivery of one of the first non-employee Tesla Model 3s.  This was a day which many of us early EV drivers have been awaiting for a long time – the realization of Tesla’s “secret master plan” announced more than ten years ago.

A lot has happened between then and now, and the industry has changed significantly.  At the time, basically the only electric cars on the road in the United States were DIY projects, golf-cart-like “neighborhood electric vehicles,” and the few first-generation RAV4 EVs which had made their way into private hands. GM had recently crushed its stockpile of lease-only EV1s.

The “plan” was that Tesla would be an example for the rest of the industry, that they would release a great car and other manufacturers would follow upon seeing that example. The plan would mean more competition as other manufacturers would try to make better and better EVs until they reached parity and eventually surpassed gasoline.

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review Stories December 8, 2017

In advance of the January launch of the New 2018 Nissan LEAF, which just started US production this week at Nissan’s plant in Tennessee, Nissan invited us out to Napa Valley to get some seat time with the new car.

Nissan says that this car is intended to fill the “white space” between the previous generation of entry-level, compliance EVs, typically with ~100 miles of range, and newer “long-range” offerings from Tesla and Chevrolet.  In our time with the car, we found that it fills this space admirably and seems to offer great value at the right price when compared to competing vehicles.

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review Stories August 18, 2017

Four months ago, Seth got a chance to try out the 2017 Hyundai IONIQ Electric at a Hyundai media day, and came away impressed. The IONIQ is Hyundai’s new three-powertrains-on-one-platform model, with a hybrid released and a plug-in hybrid planned, alongside the pure EV model we reviewed. Seth’s takeaway was that the IONIQ compares very favorably to the Prius, the car which it seems aimed to compete against.

Last week, I was given the chance to take a week long test drive of the IONIQ Electric, to go into a deeper dive of how the car works, more than our short test drive could give us (though do have a look at Seth’s review for a lot of the spec details). What I found is that the IONIQ is a lot of car for the money, and a complete game-changer in the “entry-level” EV market.

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review Stories May 16, 2017

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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review Stories May 12, 2017

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

review Stories April 5, 2017

Last month I had the opportunity to travel to beautiful Durham, North Carolina on Hyundai’s dime to check out the new IONIQ EV and hybrids. The IONIQ, you’ll recall, is a 3 car strategy from Hyundai aimed at the high-efficiency vehicle market traditionally dominated by Toyota’s Prius line.

Though the Prius-beating 58 mpg and nifty new 12V battery replacement technology in the IONIQ Hybrid was impressive, it’s the IONIQ Electric we’re all here to talk about. I spent the bulk of my time driving the EV – and boy was I pleasantly surprised…

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review Stories February 27, 2017

TL;DR – The 2017 Prius Prime doesn’t deserve coverage on Electrek. While a significant improvement over its predecessor the Prius Plug-in, the Prime’s internal combustion engine continues to turn on unpredictably and it cannot function as a complete car without gasoline.

Background:

I’ve been a Toyota Prius owner for almost 8 years. I loved my 2008 Prius so much that I decided to step up my game and get a 2012 Prius Plug-in. I regret that now because we had also looked at the Chevy Volt but the rear seat room vs. the Volt’s 4 seat option won out.

The local Toyota dealership sold me on the Plug-in version of the Prius getting 12 miles of range before the ICE motor kicked in. For me, that would have taken care of my commute and my wife could have gotten to work, charged up and gotten home without ever using a drop of gasoline. For long trips we’d use the gasoline and still get the great 50+mpg mileage of a Prius. Perfect! I don’t need the 2012 Volt’s 43 miles of range. Except one thing: The Prius Plug-in doesn’t go 12 miles on electricity or, in my case, often even get out of the driveway on electricity…

And I found out this week that Toyota’s new Prius Prime, while certainly an improvement in many areas over the Plug-in it replaces, still doesn’t function like the EV it pretends to be… expand full story

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