When we went out for a test drive in the Fisker Karma last year, we thought that it felt a little more high-tech than the $100,000 price tag led us to believe. Everything operated smoothly, the interior was plush, the performance was admirable and its look was downright stunning. With all of this technology and design comes a hefty price, and boy did Fisker feel its belt tightening with each and every Karma it produced.
With its bankruptcy proceedings pretty mu inevitable, PrivCo dug up all the public record s it could to have a look at Fisker’s financial goings on, and it found that the each Karma produced cost a total of $660,000 but sold for only about $100k – that’s just bad business, folks. Now, we’re not saying that each car it built literally cost $660k, what this means is that when you take all of the research and development cost, advertising costs and the other costs associated with the car and divided it by the number of Karma’s sold, you get roughly $660k.
At that rate, there was no way Fisker could have survived anyways, but the fact that it was the victim of management that would likely make Lotus’ former management look good just accelerated things. In fact, PrivCo has released a detailed review of Fisker $1.3 billion debacle, which really opens our eyes to just how promising the model was and outlines exactly where things completely fell apart. You can see this study here.
The fortunate thing is that Fisker’s advanced EVer system will likely be bought out during the bankruptcy process, so even though we will not see another Karma on the road, it may live on in spirit through future models using this awesome drive system.
Click past the jump to read more about the Karma Full story
Cadillac unveiled a first ELR concept back in 2011 and ever since then everyone was pretty sure a production will also follow. Things got pretty clear in 2012 when a leak from OnStar confirmed Cadillac will dive into the hybrid realm with a vehicle not named "Escalade." The model finally made its world debut at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show and according to the first official details we have, it offers "an unprecedented combination of luxury, advanced engineering and progressive design."
However, this is not the first time in Caddy’s long history that it’s tread into the economy car world. The first one was the laughably Cavalier-like Cimarron. If you recall, Cadillac was so embarrassed by the Cimarron that the automaker refused to call it a Cadillac and instead dubbed it the “Cimarron by Cadillac” originally. GM later forced a name change to “Cadillac Cimarron.”
Needless to say Caddy does not want to relive those days, so they took things pretty serious with the ELR. The model is being powered by the latest GM EREV technology that combined a pure electric drive and an efficient, range-extending 1.4 liter gasoline-powered electric generator.
Updated 01/15/2013: This review has been updated with the official details, images and video.
Click past the jump to read the entire review to see if the ELR will end up on TIME’s “50 Worst Cars of All Time” list alongside the Cimarron.
UPDATE 4/14/2013: Cadillac has just revealed the details on the ELR’s unique regenerative-braking system that allows you to regen on demand. See more after the jump. Full story
Typically, when Jay Leno gets his hands on a car, it is all about horsepower and loud exhaust, but he does have his eco-friendly moments. This time around, Jay gets the best of both worlds, sans the loud exhaust, as Tesla stopped by to let him take the Model S on a drive. There is not an abundance of Model S driving footage available and certainly none to the degree that Jay Leno does it.
Jay gets us a good look inside the car and we even gets a nice idea of how the Model S’ driver information center – you know, the massive, iPad-looking deal in the center of the dash – works, and we are certainly impressed. It literally controls everything, taking the old days of buttons aplenty strewn up and down the center stack to a well-placed screen that offers up the same controls.
Then the part that we want to see: the drive. Jay takes it pretty easy on the main roads, as he focuses more on its economy and regenerative systems. He does manage to get into the Model S a little bit, but only in small doses. Well, at the end, we get exactly what we have all wanted to see: a Tesla Model S doing a burn out.
Good call, Jay. We bet that poor PR guy had to beg Mr. Musk to allow that one. Then again, that burn out likely sold a lot of `tweeners on this EV performance sedan.
Toyota is slowly announcing the trim levels for the Prius’ 2013 model year and it has been relatively “blah” so far. Toyota is at least attempting to spice things up – or at least mailing in its attempt – by releasing a :ahem: “Special Edition” model that it has dubbed the Prius Persona Series.
This so-called special edition has pretty much just two things that are special about it. The first is a black-cherry paint job that can only be found on the Persona Series model. Also unique to this model are the darker-finished 17-inch wheels and the “Persona Series” badges on the outside. In addition to the black-cherry paint, you can also opt for black and Blizzard Pearl.
On the inside, Toyota will fit the Prius Persona Series with black SofTex seats with red accent stitching. For those that don’t know, SofTex is imitation leather that Toyota patented earlier this year. Also wrapped in charcoal-colored SofTex with black accents and red contrasting stitching is the steering wheel.
Lastly, the Prius Persona Series gets dark chrome accents throughout the interior, including on the steering wheel, gear shifter ring, arm rest, door handles, and front cup holders. Other than those additions, the Prius Persona Series comes with the same 134-horsepower, 1.8-liter engine that the base Prius Two comes with.
Toyota has priced this special model at $27,890, which is about $1,300 more than the 2013 Prius Three. At least this is a step in the right direction for the Prius, but we are still waiting for Toyota to find a way to really make the Prius “cool.” The wait shall continue…
As if it wasn’t already obvious, given GM is about as good at holding its secrets as a tissue is at holding water, the Cadillac ELR has finally been confirmed for production. Production will kick off in late 2013 in the automaker’s Detroit-Hamtramck factory alongside the Chevy Volt, Opel Ampera, and Holden Volt. This will also bring about $35 million in updates to the plant in order to get it ready to handle the extra production and this high-tech extended-range EV.
There are still no exact figures on its driveline, but we all assume it will be based on the Chevy Volt’s platform. GM’s presser does let us know that the ELR will feature a T-shaped lithium-ion battery and will run primarily on electricity. Once the battery becomes discharged, a 4-cylinder engine will kick in to recharge the battery.
We’re all anticipating – maybe more like hoping – that if the ELR uses the Volt’s drivetrain, GM will retune the system to be a little more performance-oriented. Given the sporty look of the concept version of the ELR, it just wouldn’t sit right with us if the ELR takes over 9 seconds to get to 60 mph, like the Volt does.
We’ll keep an eye on the ELR’s progress and relay its official specs to you just as soon as GM leaks – err – releases them.
Click past the jump to read GM’s full presser.
Few auto manufacturers would actually find themselves lobbying California lawmakers to pass more stringent zero-emission regulations. Then again, Tesla is not your “typical” automaker, as zero-emission cars is all they do, and that lobbying has put Tesla firmly in the minds of the state’s lawmakers.
With California having a vested interest in the success of the EV world, thanks to its growing number of cars on the road, it needs Tesla to start hammering out a more eclectic line of vehicles. The Model X is exactly the balance that Tesla and California need, but as an up-and-coming business, Tesla’s funds are a little tight. Well, California has upped its faith in the growing automaker, as it the state has issued it a $10 million grant to help the EV manufacturer get its Fremont, California ready for production of the new crossover SUV.
Now before you get yourself up in arms about the government handing out grants to another EV company, please note that per the terms of this grant deal, Tesla has ponied up $50 million toward the project. That $60 million will be used to create 700 new jobs, update equipment and bring in the new equipment that Tesla needs to stamp out the Model X.
This means that we are getting closer and closer to the scheduled 2014 release of the Model X, which will carry with it an MSRP from $57,400 to about $90,000. Models nearer the top end of the MSRP spectrum will boast dual-motor all-wheel drive and a 0-to-60 mph time under 5 seconds. That will put the Model X near the performance level of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo with a lower MSRP and no fuel to purchase. All that remains to be figured out is whether it will boast a 300-mile electric range like its Model S brethren. If so, Tesla certainly has a winner on its hands.
The Lotus Nemesis was able to shatter the U.K. land speed record for an electric vehicle in September 2012, but many people didn’t even know this vehicle existed. Did Lotus create an electric model while no one was looking?
No, the Nemesis isn’t an all-new electric vehicle built by Lotus in an attempt to rebuild its damaged image. The Nemesis is actually a one-off Lotus Elise converted to electric power by Ecotricity – a Great Britain-based renewable energy company.
Typically, when you think of the electric vehicle, you imagine the likes of the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV; you think, a slow and ugly buggy that looks as if the manufacturer built it out of spite rather than to actually sell. Well, first we had Tesla eliminating the ugly and slow stereotypes rather effectively and now you have this Nemesis ripping that stereo type to shreds and stomping it into the ground.
Click past the just to read our full review on the Lotus Nemesis. Full story
So, Fisker has been out and about doing its corporate panhandling, err, "fundraising program" in an attempt to raise $150 million to keep its doors open and develop a red hot following to the on-fire Karma, which sold 1,500 models – all of which have been recalled at least once. Fisker plans to release this new follow-up model, the Atlantic, in December 2012.
Well, it looks like interest is starting to decrease in the Fisker line up, as it fell a full $50 million short of its fundraising goal. Fisker’s latest CEO stand-in, Tony Posawatz, seems to think that this is plenty of money to keep the heat turned on and develop its follow up model to the Karma. In a statement, Posawatz said ““We are grateful to both our investors and our initial customers who have supported our company and are quickly becoming our biggest advocates.” He also said “This is another major vote of confidence in Fisker’s pioneering technology and business model”
Last time we checked, falling short of a goal by 33 percent is far from a “vote of confidence.” Then again, Fisker did thank its initial customer base, which we are sure will add plenty to the pot as they pay to upgrade the crummy infotainment system in the Karma that Fisker said it will not upgrade for free.
Since 2007, Fisker has swindled investors out of $1.2 billion dollars and the federal government also tossed in an additional $193 million before turning off the leaking faucet that was its $529 million loan promise to Fisker. So that means they blew through about $240 million per year.
So the Fisker saga will continue for at least a short amount of time, as that $100 million likely won’t get them too far – maybe another six months. We should get to see at least a few CEO changes as it burns through the quarters and pennies that investors tossed into Fisker’s coffee can as they drove by…
We wonder how Tesla is doing…
Click past the jump to read Fisker’s press release.
In the world of electric vehicles, Tesla is busy placing the finishing touches on the Sistine Chapel while the rest of the automotive world is still fumbling around with paint-by-numbers kits. Tesla managed to pull off making an EV lineup that is sexy, efficient, range-heavy, and cost effective while the rest just can’t keep up.
We knew that Tesla had its new “Supercharger” that it was working on, but we were none too sure exactly what it was going to end up being. Well, now we know. The Superchargers are a line of charging stations that Tesla is building to help make driving EVs nearly as convenient as combustion vehicles by providing extremely fast charges.
Tesla announced that the initial six chargers will all been high-traffic corridors in California and will be 100 percent fueled by sunlight, which makes them 100 percent green too. They can provide 100 Kw of power in just 30 minutes, which is good for about three hours of driving at 60 mph. In the future, Tesla plans to crank them up to 120 Kw. To boot, Tesla also announced that these Supercharger stations will be completely free of charge for Tesla Model S owners to use.
Tesla plans to extend the Supercharger network next year to other high-traffic areas and eventually plans to have enough stations to travel from Vancouver to San Diego, Miami to Montreal, and L.A. to New York in an electric vehicle without worrying about discharging the batteries. For Tesla Model S owners, this would mean completely cost-free travel across the country, sans wear and tear on the car and food.
We must tip our hats again to the genius that is Tesla. How exactly it pulls off these types of advancements in technology without going belly up is beyond us. Let’s just hope it can keep this trend up and get us away from fossil fuels altogether and into EVs that put most gasoline-powered cars to shame.
Electric cars are certainly beginning to take flight lately, with Tesla becoming the unlikely leader of the whole revolution. Okay, maybe it’s not quite a revolution yet, but it’s at least starting to gain a little more traction. It has gained enough traction to garner the attention of UK coach builder, Prindiville.
Prindiville, being the creative company that it is, couldn’t just make any run-of-the-mill EV. Nope, its engineers and designers came up with a near mock up of the latest Hummer H3 – you know, one of the many defunct GM brands – only miniaturize and electric driven. What a concept!
Prindiville has now begun production and released a slew of specifications, so we felt it was time to give it the appropriate TopSpeed once over via a full review. So is this new custom EV in a shrunk-down Hummer body a good buy for the average driver?
To find out the answer to that and more, click past the jump. Full story