electric cars

electric cars

Toyota GT 86

Toyota must be starting to love collaborative projects. Coming out of a tight relationship with Subaru where they developed the GT 86 (pictured above) and the BRZ , the Japanese company has now established a working relationship with BMW . In fact, the two companies first announced plans to join forces back in December 2011 when they announced a partnership for sharing hybrid systems and diesel engines. Then, in March 2012, they signed a binding agreement on collaborative research in the field of next-generation lithium-ion battery cells.

Today, Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motor Corporation and Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW BMW AG met again and talked about a new agreement that could lead to developing a new sports car. The two leaders talked about joint development of a fuel cell system, joint development of architecture and components for a future sports vehicle, collaboration on powertrain electrification, and joint research and development on lightweight technologies.

BMW will supply highly-efficient 1.6 liter and 2.0 liter diesel engines to Toyota Motor Europe starting in 2014 and, in return, Toyota will share their knowledge on environment-friendly hybrids and fuel cells. The relationship makes sense due to the fact that one of BMW’s strengths is their production of engines and Toyota was the first to push out their electric vehicle - the Toyota Prius - with much success.

Hit the jump to read the statements from the two CEO’s.

Saab 9-3

Just when we thought that the Saab saga was reaching its closure, a new wrench gets thrown into the mix. When NEVS purchased Saab’s assets a little while ago, we were under the impression that this sale included the rights to the “Saab” name and logo. According to reports coming out now, this is not the case.

Apparently, the sale of Saab only covered the failed Swedish automaker’s physical assets. The truck-building company, Scania, and Saab AB still own the rights to the Logo and the “Saab” name. For NEVS to legally use the name, both Scania and Saab AB will need to sign off on the usage, and the companies are reportedly in talks about how to handle this.

We would assume that Scania has no issues at all and just wants a piece of that Saab resurrection pie. Saab AB, on the other hand, still runs Saab’s line of parts, which was not included in the bankruptcy. Saab AB could benefit by using this opportunity to negotiate their way into new dealerships when NEVS starts rolling out new electric-powered Saabs. Saab AB also has to consider protecting its brand image, and it NEVS completely botches this revival, it will make Saab AB look bad as well.

We’re confident that a deal will be struck between the three companies to allow NEVS the rights to the name and logo, but Saab AB will likely have a heavy hand in how the name is used.

As always, we’ll keep you updated as additional information comes to the surface on this seemingly endless Saab saga.

Even though the Audi R8 e-tron hasn’t officially been launched yet, it is already a world record breaker. With a lap time of 8:09.099 minutes, the R8 e-tron has just become the fastest production vehicle with an electric drive system around the Nurburgring. The car was driven to success by racing driver Markus Winkelhock.

The R8 e-tron is powered by electric motors that deliver an output of 375 HP and a peak torque of 604 lbs-ft. The electric car will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds and hit a top speed of 124 mph (electronically limited). To achieve the record-setting lap, the electronic speed limiter was removed so that the top speed could go up to 155 mph.

"The R8 e-tron has given a magnificent demonstration of its potential on the toughest race track in the world," said Michael Dick, Audi AG Board Member for Technical Development. Dick, who completed a fast lap himself in the R8 e-tron, added: "The record-setting drive confirmed that we are on the right track. To us, electric mobility has never been about sacrifice, but rather is about emotion, sportiness and driving pleasure."

The Audi R8 e-tron will grace the market with its presence by the end of 2012.

Infiniti EMERG-E

There is no doubt that a fairly wide gap exists between Infiniti and its F1 sponsorship. Really, there is not a single production Infiniti that anyone can point to and say “Ah, that is a car that relates to open-wheel performance racing.” Sure, there have been concepts and so forth, but nothing firm.

The halo car was once thought to be the upcoming Emerg-E hybrid, but signs are pointing that the Emerg-E may disappoint. Infiniti is planning to have a running prototype of the Emerg-E ready to go for Goodwood Festival of Speed and, according to several outside sources that Car and Driver has spoken to, this gas-electric hybrid may not be the performance car that everyone is expecting (sub-five-second 0 – 60 time, 420 horsepower, etc.).

While that is really disappointing, as we were anticipating huge things from the Emerg-E, we cannot say that we are surprised. Infiniti has been really tight-lipped on this project, which oftentimes means that there are some issues going on. If the reports are accurate, then the tight lips have been due to the Emerg-E not being able to reach the power numbers that Infiniti estimated.

Don’t fret though, as Infiniti does have a fallback plan, in the form of the 2009 concept, the Essence . Yes, the Essence has been effectively shelved since its debut, but, according to reports, there are still talks about this 592-horsepower hybrid making its way into production in one form or another.

For now, all we have are unconfirmed reports from outside sources, so we will reserve our judgment for Goodwood. Who knows, the Emerg-E could come out and blow us away, and Infiniti may have kept it quiet just to avoid the competition, like Acura’s NSX and BMW’s i8 , from knowing what Infiniti is planning.

Goodwood kicks off on June 28th, so we don’t have to wait too awful long to find out. We’ll update you just as soon as we hear more about this situation.

Source: CarandDriver

One of the few thorns in the side of the EV market place is the battery charging systems. The vast majority of them require upwards of six to eight hours to reach 100 percent capacity and at the quickest, most can reach 80 percent in about three to four hours. Well, Tesla has been at the forefront of EV engineering, especially with its 300-mile-range Model S, which screams to 60 mph in about 4 seconds.

The Model S , as delivered, is no different than any other EV when it comes to charging, as its 85kWh battery requires eight hours to charge, using its standard 240-volt charging system. Tesla plans to separate itself from the competition once again by releasing a 440-volt fast-charger, which Tesla has cheekily dubbed the “Supercharger” (obligatory rim shot).

Anywho, this new “Supercharger” will be able to get the Tesla S from full discharge to 100 percent in just about an hour. The catch is that this fast charger is not designed for everyday use, it is only for those emergency fill-ups on the road. Tesla is planning to have these stations installed in high-traffic areas for on-the-spot fill ups in just about a year.

Once Tesla releases this new charger for use in the States, it will firmly place itself in the driver’s seat in the EV market, leaving everyone else looking up at it wondering how this small company managed to pull off these stunts. We think the time for the other car companies to start investing more money in EV models is now, before Tesla runs away with it all.

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is famous for a lot of things. Last year, a whole lot of things happened, including Nissan’s record-breaking attempt climbing the hill with a Leaf ...and doing it in reverse.

This year, the Japanese automaker is headed back to Pikes Peak and to no one’s surprise, they’re attempting to break their year-old record. Professional stunt driver Terry Grant will once again man the wheels of the electric Leaf as it tries to complete the 1.16-mile hill climb course faster than it did a year ago. It’s a unique record, to say the least, one that Nissan is all too happy to have as its own.

"The LEAF Reverse Record isn’t going to be easy and will be very challenging," said Grant. "I’d prefer to do it on a nice straight and level strip of tarmac rather than on Lord March’s drive. The hill not only climbs, but is also full of twists, turns and obstacles."

We’ve seen some weird record attempts in the past, but we have to admit, Grant’s record attempt at Pikes Peak is something we’re really looking forward to.

Tesla Model S

In what was more of a publicity stunt than anything, Tesla delivered its “first” Model S to its “first” owner about two weeks ago. Well, said owner just so happened to be an executive with the company that likely didn’t pay much, if anything, for the car. Now we are ready to announce yet another milestone for this all-new electric-powered sports sedan, and that is its official EPA ratings.

Keep in mind, that these ratings are all based on the 85-kWh battery, not the smaller and less expensive batteries. The Model S came in at a respectable 88 MPGe in the city, 90 MPGe on the highway and 89 MPGe combined. MPGe is basically how far an electric car will travel on the electric equivalent of the energy contained in a gallon of gasoline.

The EPA didn’t stop there, as it also had to put the Model S’s claimed 300-mile range to the test. In this test, the Model S came up pretty short, as it could only hit 265 miles on a single charge, which is a pretty significant 11 percent drop. In overall scheme of things, the Model S trumps the other, less expensive, EVs, like the Honda Fit , Nissan Leaf , and Focus electric in total range. In combined MPGe, however, the aforementioned EVs beat it out, as they net 118 MPGe, 99 MPGe, and 105 MPGe, respectively. The “as tested” Model S also has a base price of $69,900, which is over $30,000 more than the most expensive EV of the group, the Focus Electric.

Then again, the “as tested” Tesla Model S also zips to 60 mph in under 5 seconds and looks flat out awesome doing it. None of the other EVs can boast that combined with impressive range and MPGe. So, even though the Model S came up a little short, it is still impressively economical.

Daimler’s Smart lineup has been begging for an electric variant since its inception, due to its small stature and focus on being more “green” than other cars on the road. It took some time, but Smart finally did debut an electric variant and it is now due for an upgrade. Well, after much delay, the redesigned Smart electric drive – yes, it’s all lowercase letters to stay true to the “smart” way – is finally set to hit the streets without hitting the filling station.

With the influx of EVs in the marketplace, can the puny smart fortwo really stand up to the challenge? The fortwo has always been a niche car and adding in the hum of an electric motor in the place of its three-pot gasoline power plant just places it into an even narrower niche.

Only time will truly tell whether this car will gain any traction in the EV market, but we are all set to dive into it and tell you what to expect. We will also let you know if this car is one for the ages or one that you can live without.

Click past the jump to read our full review.

For those that are unaware, the FIA is still organizing and developing the Formula E racing series, which it almost the exact same racing as Formula 1, minus the vroom-vroom of the internal combustion engines. This series uses only cars that utilize sustainable energy, which means no gasoline or diesel, just the ominous hum of an electric motor.

The series is loosely set to kick off in 2014 and manufacturers have started coming forward with cars for the series. This latest car is pretty wild, to say the least. It looks almost like a Le Mans prototype car and the Batmobile had a wild night in the Batcave and the Bluebird GTL Formula E racing concept was the end result.

It takes most of its styling cues from the closed-cockpit-style Le Mans cars that have no rearward window, which was Audi’s reasoning for replacing the rearview mirror . It is very obvious that the focal point in building this machine was aerodynamics, as the curves are plentiful and there are no visual flat spots to catch the air.

According to its developers, the pictured model is purely just a prototype that they are using for wind tunnel testing and there is no motor information available yet. They anticipate a track-ready model to be completed by the end of September in hopes of racing in the Formula E’s debut season – if one ever kicks off.

We will keep you updated on this newest addition to the Formula E series and let you know the second its manufacturer releases some performance specs.

We have seen the supercar , supertruck , and we are just starting to get into the superSUV , so what else could engineers possibly put “super” in front of? Well, the engineers at the Delft Institute of Technology have a new one for you, the Superbus.

The Superbus has been a long work in progress and we have brought you several updates. First we broke the news to you about the designing of such a machine , back in 2006. In 2011, we alerted you that the machine was finally complete and could hit top speeds of 155 mph on electric power only.

Well, here we are, six years after its initial conception and we finally have and a purpose for this Lamborghini-meets-school-bus electric mass transit system, as well as a road-legal model. According to Fox News, a license plate was finally issued for this creation, which makes road testing legal, allowing its engineers to see how well it performs in real life.

You may wonder what in the world anyone would need with a 50-foot-long, 23-seat, six-wheeled Superbus. Well, the United Arab Emirates have your answer. Dubai and Abu Dhabi, two UAE members, are separated by about 75 miles of highways and want a way to connect the two cities with as little travel time as possible.

The two cities plan to build a stretch of highways connecting them and purchasing a fleet of these Superbuses to trek this journey in just 30 minutes. That’s some serious ass haulin’. We are at least three years away from seeing a production version of this all-electric Superbus, but the issuing of a license plate is a promising site. We will keep you updated on this slow development project as news becomes available.

You can catch a glimpse of this Superbus in the above video.

Source: Fox News

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