electric cars

electric cars

We cover a lot of high-speed shenanigans here at TopSpeed, but this bit of news might take the cake for the fastest quarter-mile run we’ve seen in a long time. Then again, drag racing legend Don “Big Daddy” Garlits did set the world speed record for the fastest quarter mile time for an electric vehicle . Take a gander at the video above to see that ‘lectric sled complete the run in 7.258 seconds at 184.01 mph.

Through the shaky camera work, you’ll watch Garlits’ 2,000-horsepower electric dragster shoot from the starting line almost silently. With no exhaust noise, only the massive tires gripping the pavement is audible.

Making this possible is an array of lithium-polymer batteries comprised of four packs. The packs are divided up with two on each side of the car, with each pack containing 300 cells. The batteries produce 420 volts and 3,600 amps that feed six 7.5-inch series-wound DC motors. In total, the car produces 1,500 kilowatts, or roughly 2,000 horsepower.

Excluding those Top Fuel dragsters that rock massive hand-built V-8 engines snarling incomprehensible amounts of horsepower, this electric dragster might be the fastest thing on the planet. However, Garlits told Wired that he wouldn’t be satisfied till the car breaks the 200 mph barrier and drops the time into the six-second range.

Source: Wired

Factory Five Racing has been a front-runner in custom kit cars and hot rods for quite some time, building replicas of cars long since out of production. The California-based company also designed and built its own complete car called the 818 using drivetrain components from a Subaru WRX. However, for the particular car pictured above, the drivetrain takes a completely new spin on performance.

Missing is the usual Subaru Boxer engine, replaced by a AC35x2 motor fed by a 16-kWh lithium iron phosphate battery constructed of two 8-kWh sub-packs. The motor and battery unit is still connected to a WRX five-speed manual transmission that allows for reduced energy consumption and management of the motor’s output.

Speaking of output, the motor zaps out 165 horsepower and 189 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels. It might not seem like much, but the entire car will weigh just under 2,000 pounds – even with its body panels attached. Its claimed top speed is 150 mph, and though its still untested, the goal is likely obtainable.

Putting this electrified beast together are two other California companies that know a thing or two about building cars and electricity. EV West is undertaking installing and calibrating the air-cooled, Hi Performance Electric Vehicle Systems-sourced electric motor while the guys at 33 Machine work to incorporate all the components within the modified Factory Five Racing tube chassis.

In a video past the jump, the naked car squirrels around a test track with all the sidewise shenanigans of a V-8-powered muscle car, but of course is completely silent while smoking its rubber.

Click past the jump to read more about 33 Machine’s 818 EV

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The Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive is very different from the norm for Mercedes. Instead of the big V-8s featured across the network, this little car hums along silently on batteries driving its front wheels. It will be the first all-electric vehicle from Mercedes-Benz, and the first of any B-Class to cross the pond. This matches the latest company strategy to fatten the range of models from all sides.

Most of the systems that charge and run the little B-Class will be shared with its bright-yellow sibling: the upcoming SLS AMG Coupe E-Cell . Both systems are part of a deep tech partnership between Mercedes parent company Daimler and Tesla. Fruit from this sharing agreement has been limited to date, and arguably, some of the most sour fruit on the branch via the Smart ED . That car ran Tesla Roadster parts, but downsized. The resulting “car” was appallingly slow. Tesla didn’t seem to be sharing the good, M5-beating stuff yet.

This is set to change when the B-Class Electric Drive hits U.S. showrooms in January 2014. The model will arrive in dealers first before a limited roll-out in Europe.

As Mercedes’ first viable EV, the B-Class Electric is a complete package that excels in its mission of effortless city efficiency plus Mercedes-levels safety, durability, luxury and ownership experience.

Updated 04/30/2014: Mercedes announced prices for the 2014 B-Class Electric Drive which will go on sale in summer 2014. The model will be priced at $41,450, excluding $925 destination and delivery. Customers may be eligible for federal tax credits (which run up to $7,500).

Click past the jump for the full review.

Tesla’s legal team has yet another case added to their already cluttered desks as the self-described "King of Lemon Laws" attorney Vince Megna files a suit against the California automaker with allegations of a defective product. Already contending with the New Jersey car sales ban fiasco, Tesla must now confront the auto industry’s most notorious lawyer and his Franklin, Wisconsin-based client.

The issues apparently started when Megna’s client purchased a Tesla Model S in March of 2013 for a cool $98,000. Shortly after delivery, the car had troubles starting and holding a charge. With no dealers around, the car had to be towed an hour and a half south to Chicago, IL. Over the first five months of ownership, the Model S spent a total of 66 days in the shop.

After attempting to have Tesla buy back the car on three separate occasions — as possible under the Federal government’s Lemon Law — the owners contacted Megna for help.

With a reputation for never going easy on automakers, Megna has been known to make short videos full of ironic humor, wit, and duct tape-wearing paralegals detailing his clients’ cases, just as you can see in the video above.

Be sure to stay tuned to TopSpeed for any developing information on Tesla’s first Lemon Law case.

Click past the jump for the video and to read more about the Tesla Model S.

It is infuriating that this news even deserves printing, but when faced with massive change and new technology consumers are overtly concerned. After a pair of isolated incidents that resulted in Tesla Model S vehicles to catch on fire, due to a damaged battery pack, Tesla has designed an entirely new underbody protection system that uses multiple stage of protection, as well as exotic materials like titanium.

Let us just clear the air first. As Tesla claims in its press release, the odds of any Model S catching on fire are far less likely than in a standard gasoline-powered car. According to Tesla there were more than 200,000 gasoline car fires last year in the United States alone. Compared to two Model S fires. In North America. One of the fires was a result of a collision that happened at more than 100 mph. Would you be even slightly concerned if a car crashing at 100 mph had burst into a fireball?

Nevertheless, people were concerned about safety with the Model S, so Elon Musk and the gang have responded. The new underbody system has been created to prevent punctures and damage from any sort of road debris collision from concrete to hardened steel. During testing, Tesla even mounted pointed objects into the test surface at the perfect angle to force a "piking" event, and the new protective system successfully prevented any damage.

The Tesla Model S was already one of the safest vehicles currently in production, and now it might just be one of the safest vehicles in all of existence.

Click past the jump to read more about the Tesla Model S’s triple underbody shield.

Audi R8 E-Tron

The Audi R8 E-tron is officially a ’go’ after Audi successfully made revisions to make the electric sports car run longer distances than its initial range.

So, it looks like the on-again, off-again status of the R8 E-tron has now been resolved, and not a moment too soon because Audi has spent a pretty long time coming to this decision. To be fair, the German automaker understood that to green light the production of the R8 E-tron, significant improvements had to be made to increase the model’s range of 134 miles.

It turns out that the solution, according to Ulrich Hackenberg, board member for technical development, was found after significant progress had been made in battery technology, including the way it was packaged, which made them more space efficient.

Ultimately, Audi successfully bumped up the E-Tron’s range, thanks to a re-engineering program, and to be fair, it wasn’t just a marginal increase in range. From the initial 134 miles, Hackenberg’s team of engineers managed to more than double the electric sports car’s range to an impressive 279 miles.

So with that headache resolved, the road to production for the R8 E-Tron just got a lot smoother, even though a specific time frame for its arrival has yet to be announced.

But hey, one problem at a time, right? The important thing is the R8 E-tron is going to be produced after all, even if the decision that led to it took a lot longer than a lot of people anticipated.

Click past the jump to read more about the Audi R8 E-tron.

Source: AutoCar

BMW just announced that delivery of its all-new i8 hybrid sports car will begin this June after the car goes into full-scale production starting in April 2014. Sadly for us in the United States, our European friends will be getting their i8s first.

BMW seems to have struck a chord with consumers as orders for the i8 have been poring in since BMW opened the books in the fall of 2013. It says the car has already exceeded the planned volume. To help satisfy the interested, BMW i BMW i s holding demonstration in strategic regions of Europe with pre-production i8s and what the automaker calls "BMW i agents." These informants and their demonstrator vehicles will help inform and educate folks about the i8’s uniqueness.

There’s no word if BMW plans on holding these demonstrations Stateside, though our suspicion is it will and on a smaller scale. The U.S. is only slotted a couple hundred i8s for 2014 with numbers only growing in to the low thousands for 2015. Pricing for the UK begins at €126,000 while Germany will pay £ 99,125. Pricing for the U.S. will start at $135,700.

Click past the jump to read more about the BMW i8.

Tesla Model S

Allow me to get this off of my chest ahead of time. You all know that I love Tesla , but what you likely do not know is how much I loathe Apple and everything it produces. From the Macbook all the way to the iPod Nano, I can’t stand it. I’ll spare you the gory details of my hatred for fear of igniting a nerd war...

With that in mind, imaging my panic when the rumors of Apple buying/merging with Tesla started flaring up. Well, those have fortunately died down and Telsla’s Elon Musk squashed the rumors, but that is not the end of the Apple/Tesla news. A report indicates that Apple’s head of mergers and acquisitions met with Musk last spring, but likely not on the topic of acquiring the electric car supergiant; rather, the most likely situation is that Apple is interested in being a part of Tesla’s "Gigafactory" project.

Apple is well known for dealing in green factories, and what greener of a factory than this one that will more than double the world’s output of lithium-ion batteries? It’s very obvious that Apple has serious interest in Tesla, but after Elon Musk made it clear that the company is not for sale. this is the most likely route for Apple to take in order to get a small slice of the Tesla pie.

Not only would this add a new revenue stream to Apple, but it would also alleviate some of the costs that Tesla will endure and give apple better access to more lithium-ion batteries at a significantly cheaper price. It’s a win-win, so I can’t see any reason for a deal like this to not take place.

What do you guys think; are these two tech giants about to make a deal for this factory or are we all sadly mistaken? Let me know in the comments below.

Click past the jump to read more about the Tesla Model S .

Source: 9to5mac

Very few cars in this world can match burnout wits with a muscle car as revered as the 1968 Pontiac Firebird 400 so at first glance, you’d be excused if you laughed when you saw that a Tesla Model S was taking a stab it.

But hey, you can’t judge a book by its cover, right?

It sounds crazy, but the Tesla Model S, despite being electrically-powered, can do burnouts with the best of ’em. Granted, performing burnouts in a Model S is a little trickier than on a Firebird 400, so you have to excuse the electric sedan ’s short bursts of tire smoke.

William Hawkins II, the guy who owns both cars, admitted that disabling traction control on the Model S only allows you to achieve a certain amount of smoke, not nearly enough to compete with the Firebird 400. But in the end, that Model S burnout could be described as a little more impressive given what the car has to work with compared to the Pontiac, which, let’s be honest, was created for things like this.

So give the Tesla Model S its due props for earning its burnout keep. Impressive for a car that runs on electricity.

Click past the jump to read about the Tesla Model S.

Source: YouTube
Koenigsegg Agera R BLT

I have come to know and love Tesla , though I try to keep our love affair under wraps for the most part. It’s not fair for myself — a journalist — to attest my love for a brand, but in this case, I feel I am in good enough company to let that little tidbit of information out.

The reason I feel so comfortable doing so is that Christian von Koenigsegg — yeah, the dude who some of the most bad-ass supercars in the world are named after — wears his love for the electric car manufacturer on his shoulder. Yup, he actually drives a Tesla Model S every day. Let that sink in for a second; the guy could drive any one of his hypercars to work, but he prefers his Model S.

He went on to say that he feels that about 80 percent of the cars sold by the year 2020 will be electric.

An added twist to this story is that when Koenigsegg was in the market to snatch up the now-defunct Saab , its intentions were to manufacture and sell all-electric cars. This may have led to Mr Koenigsegg singing a different tune had that gone through.

No matter what way you slice it, it is pretty cool to have him give Tesla the ol’ hat tip.

Click past the jump to read about the car he loves so much.


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