electric cars

electric cars

Audi R8 E-Tron

Shortly after the Audi R8 E-tron became the fastest electric vehicle around the Nürburgring, rumors began floating around that it could be axed. When it was announced that Audi was eliminating the E-tron, the main reason was the high price of the batteries. As no surprise, however, things have changed and new reports suggest that the R8 E-tron will in fact live, but only in limited fashion.

Mark Dahncke, product and motorsports communications manager for Audi of America, said in a recent interview that "the R8 E-Tron project may still be continued in a very small volume of cars that has yet to be decided. What has been decided is that it will not be executed on a large scale production basis."

We don’t know about you, but we think that Audi considering the possibility of the E-tron making production a good decision, as Audi has dumped a ton of money in the research and development process. Unfortunately, if it does happen, the E-tron will only be available in small quantities. We guess a little bit of fun is better than none at all.

Fisker Karma

Few car companies can’t wait for 2012 to end more than Fisker , as it combated quality issues, loan freezing and supplier bankruptcy throughout the year. Well, it looks like drama is going to follow the electric-car company into the New Year, unfortunately. As we already know, 338 Karmas were damaged during hurricane Sandy and some 16 units actually caught fire – not related to any faults by Fisker – and an insurance claim was submitted.

Apparently, the insurance company decided to void the claim after reviewing the claim. According to the report from Reuters, the issue becomes whether the damaged Karmas were “in transit” when they were damaged. In the case of “in transit” vehicles, sublimits beyond the $100 million limit on the insurance policy would apply.

In response to the denial, Fisker has filed a lawsuit against the company in an effort to get a court order for the insurance company – XL Insurance America – to pay the claim and for damages caused by the breach of contract. Hopefully Fisker can sort this out and get itself on track, as we were extremely impressed by the Karma on our test drive and we would hate to see any more hiccups in the vehicle’s production.

Source: Reuters
Posted on by Aravind 0

It’s no big news that most electric engines have immense torque to compensate for meager horsepower. And we all know that the Tesla Model S has enough torque and power to burn those rear tires. Jay Leno did a burnout once and he was surprised. But, with the PR guy sitting shotgun, he never really could unleash it like Ken Block would do in a Ford Mustang. So, we never really could see how capable an EV was in performing a simple yet spectacular stunt.

That was until Road and Track got a hold of a Model S and started torturing it like a prisoner of war. The car was hurling chunks and leaving masses of smoke from its tire in its wake, which to any motorhead would look quite fascinating. And thanks to the 600 Nm of constant peak torque, the Model S will vaporize its rear tires without breaking a sweat.

One intriguing aspect of this burnout is the noise. While a Ford Mustang would have to be screaming at the top of its voice, the Tesla Model S doesn’t even open its mouth. Even with the volume at maximum, you can only hear the tires screaming for mercy and the faint hum of the electric motor.

If this is what the future of EVs looks like, then bring it on...

A few months ago it was rumored that BMW’s i sub-brand was facing some difficulties. Apparently, things must have smoothed out a little, as at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show BMW will expand its "i" lineup with the addition of a all-new i3 Coupe Concept. To no one’s surprise, this new concept will feature the same carbon-fiber-reinforced-plastic (CFRP) body as the previously announced concepts and under the hood you will find an electric motor with some pretty stout numbers.

The new i3 Concept Coupe sit atop the same platform as the standard i3, but it adds a gracefully flowing roofline and a fresh interpretation of the BMW i "stream flow" design. Exterior updates include a modified front fascia, restyled doors and new side skirts and for the rear new tailgate and a revised bumper.

So, is this new coupe version of the i3 worth all of the hype that will certainly surround it, or is this just another gimmick to drive up interest in the i sub-brand?

UPDATE 12/13/12: BMW has released a new driving video of the i3 Concept Coupe as it takes to the streets in what looks like downtown LA. Click on the photo above to check out the vid!

Hit the jump to read more about the 2013 BMW i3 Concept Coupe and find out.

Eco-friendly car buyers throughout the U.S. were anxiously awaiting the release of Chevy’s newest subcompact car, the Spark . Now that its release has come and gone, it is time to focus on the upcoming electric variant. After testing the car for quite some months, Chevrolet will officially unveiled the new Spark EV at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show.

With the Spark EV, Chevrolet adds another car to its electric-powered lineup that includes the Chevrolet Volt, a car that accounts for more than 50 percent of all plug-in electric-vehicle sales in the United States. Building on Chevrolet’s tried and tested electric motor and battery development program; it is expected to have among the best EV battery range in its segment and will be the first electric vehicle to offer SAE Combo DC Fast Charging capability that enables the Spark EV to reach 80-percent battery charge in just 20 minutes. That may not compare to the several minutes it takes to fuel-up your gasoline-powered car, but it’s certainly the fastest in its segment.

Will the Chevrolet Spark EV be another boring electric car to impress the government or is it one of the very few cars that are capable of drawing new customers towards the noble cause of environmental protection?

UPDATE 5/23/2013: Chevy has just released the base price for the new Spark EV, as well as a special lease offer. See more after the jump.

Tesla Model S

Currently, prices for theTesla Model S range from $57,400 to $77,400 — $49,900 to $69,900, if you add the $7,500 federal tax credit. However, we are all well aware of the fact that the Model S is being sold at, or even possibly well below, the cost to build it. This means that it is only a matter of time before a price hike is in order.

Tesla has now lifted the veil of silence on this topic and announced that there will be a price increase in the near future. Surprise! Well, not really, since the rumors have been floating around about a price increase for a while. There is no information on just how much of an increase we are looking at, but we would guess that it will be significant. It may even push the upper end of the Model S toward the base price of the Fisker Karma . One bit of information that Tesla let us in on is that some features that are now standard equipment will later become option packages, which means that we will not only see a price hike, but also a decrease in standard features.

This price increase will not apply to the existing reservations. Those customers who have placed a reservation will receive an email from Tesla where they will be advice to finish their configuration and order within a "fair, predefined time frame."

For those of you who do not remember, the Model S has a variety of battery and motor choices. Depending on the version, the Model S can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in in 4.5 seconds and can hit a top speed of 126 mph.

Full details on the price increase will be announced in the next two to three weeks.

Ah, the Fisker Karma . It is likely one of the most well designed and heavily debated cars available today. Some people love it and cannot get enough of it and others can’t stand it. It’s truly one of the most polarizing cars on the market and a lot of that is because of some of the issues it has run into and the massive DOE loan that Fisker took out to help produce it.

We pretty much sit right in the middle. We’ve loved its looks from the day we saw the concept model that no one believed would ever be produced. Its issues and some of the sub-par reviews, on the other hand, pushed us back toward the middle..

Well, the only way we can really find out if we truly love it or hate it is to test drive it. And that is exactly what we did, as we took a road trip to Fisker of Tampa Bay at 320 East Fletcher Ave. in Tampa, and met up with Fisker brand manager Jackie Daly and general manager Bryan Mobley for an exclusive viewing and test drive.

So, did we walk away impressed or did the Karma underwhelm?

Click past the jump to find out.

When we first saw the Honda Micro Commuter Concept at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show , we were pleasantly piqued at what the expected production version would look like. After all, the concept was pretty cool in itself.

What we got when the Japanese automaker finally revealed the production version of the Micro Commuter Concept was underwhelming. To be fair, we weren’t expecting the concept’s funky design to be retained for the prototype model. We know well enough that functionality and practicality take precedence over ostentatious styling. However, if you ask us, what Honda came out with was a little bit of a dud.

According to Honda , the Micro Commuter prototype rides on a new Variable Design Platform, a setup that puts the vehicle’s lithium-ion battery and motor at the rear end of the car to help maximize passenger and cargo room. The Micro Commuter is a certified city car, one whose measurements — 84 x 49.2 x 56.9 inches — affirm that widely known belief. Even the cabin isn’t necessarily spacey. It only accommodates one driver in the front and either one adult or two children in the back.

Is there a unique quality about the Micro Commuter that appeals to us apart from it being an eco-friendly vehicle? All we can come up with is the tablet device that was added to the interior to serve as an energy monitor, a back-up camera display, and a navigation system all rolled into one.

In terms of performance, the combination of the car’s lithium-ion battery and motor allows the prototype to produce an output of 20 horsepower, a top speed in excess of 50 mph, and a range of 37 miles with three hours charge time required to bring the battery to full capacity.

It’s also worth noting that this prototype model will probably undergo a number of changes before the production model arrives. Hopefully, there’s more emphasis on improving the car’s design.

Yes, you read that right: an electric Toyota GT 86 built by TGMY (based in Osaka, Japan) was taken to the famous Suzuka Circuit where it set an impressive lap time of 2 minutes and 57 seconds.

To create this electric GT 86 , TGMY replaced the standard 2.0 liter, naturally-aspirated petrol engine with an electric motor that develops a total of 100 HP and 177 lbs-ft of torque. The electric motor takes its power from a 37kWh Lithium Polymer battery pack that offers an autonomy of 250 kilometers, or 155 miles. However, because of the electric motor, the GT 86 is about 202 kilos (445 lbs) heavier than the standard GT 86.

Enjoy the video and let us know if you would like Toyota to create an electric GT 86.

Fisker Karma

Fisker began development of a revolutionary car, the Karma , roughly four years ago. At that time, folks were optimistic, excited, and had almost only good things to say about this upstart company. It’s crazy how fast things can change.

As time moved on, Fisker started running into some real issues that would likely destroy many startup companies. The downward trend started with the DOE freezing its loan to Fisker after it had only used about half of the available funds. The next issue was a pair or recalls – one in December 2011 and another in May 2012 – because of incorrectly positioned hose clamps that could cause a coolant leak. And you likely know, electricity and water do not mix.. Then came the fires…

The first fire came about in April 2012, when a man’s house and other two cars were damaged after his Karma caught fire in the garage. The cause of that fire was not known, but it is likely related to the following fire that came just months later. This second fire occurred in August and was easily contained to just the front end of the $100K luxury car. The one good thing to come out of this fire is that Fisker was quick to the aid of the owner and quick to mobilize a group of outside investigators to figure out that it was a failed low-temperature fan that caused the flame.

This final fire brought about the final recall of the Karma, to date. In this recall, Fisker asked 1,377 Karma customers to bring cars in to have the cooling fan replaced. Between all of these issues were complaints from customers about a Command Center that didn’t operate effectively and a “Stealth” mode that wasn’t too stealthy. Adding to those complaints was a very poor review of the Karma by Consumer Reports.

With these issues came a shellacking from the press – automotive and general – and all Fisker could do was try and get its own version of the story out. Well, we just gave Fisker an avenue to air its side of the story in our exclusive interview with Fisker’s Senior Director of Global Corporate Communications & PR, Roger Fisker.

To read what Fisker has to say about these issues and more about its future, click past the jump.


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