2019 Hyundai Nexo
Hydrogen fuel cell technology has been making headlines in the auto industry for a few decades now, with many claiming it’s the future of the fossil-free automobile. However, unlike the electric car market, the hydrogen segment has evolved rather slow, with most automakers opting to stay away from the big development costs and the expensive carbon-fiber fuel tanks. Until Toyota debuted the Mirai, Hyundai was the only company that actually launched a production model. The ix35 FCEV, also known as the Tuscon FCEV in some markets, was introduced in 2013. After several tests, full-scale production began in 2015 and examples were delivered in more than 20 countries worldwide. Come 2018 and Hyundai wants to take things up a notch with a brand-new model, called the Nexo.
Introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show, the event where automakers launch their high-tech products for a few years now, the Nexo will replace the ix35/Tucson FCEV. And the new hydrogen-powered EV is a significant departure from its predecessor. Not only riding on a new platform, it also features a unique design, a brand-new interior, and bespoke technology. And unlike many vehicles we usually see at the Consumer Electronics Show, the Nexo is ready to go into production and will become available in select markets later in 2018. Let’s find out more about Hyundai’s next-generation FCEV in the review below.
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2019 Nio EP9
Founded in 2014 in Shanghai, China, Nio has quickly grown to become a major industry player, establishing itself as a force to be reckoned with in the world of electric vehicles and self-driving technology. Boasting over 2,000 employees spread out over 13 locations globally, Nio is known for creations like Eve, a forward-thinking autonomous concept, and the ES8, a seven-passenger high-performance all-electric SUV, as well as its involvement in the Formula E championship with powertrain support for the Nio 003 race car. However, the start-up is best known for this – the EP9, a high-performance all-electric speed machine aimed squarely at all things quick and internal combustion-propelled. Inspired by the FIA’s Le Mans Prototype regulations, the Nio EP9 is street legal, but has made a name for itself setting some very impressive records on the track, including a sprint around the Nurburgring’s north loop in just 6 minutes, 45 seconds, a run around the Circuit Paul Ricard in 1 minute 52.78 seconds, and a lap of the Circuit of the Americas in 2 minutes 1.11 seconds. Granted, these records were done on track-only slick tires, but it’s impressive stuff all the same.
So then – what makes this thing tick? Is it just an overblown blender, or is there more to it? Read on for the details.
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2018 Polestar 1
Originally named Flash Engineering and rebranded in 2005, Polestar is Volvo’s go-to when it comes to performance applications. Now, however, Polestar has broken away from the mothership, seeking its own destiny as a “standalone electric performance brand.” The Polestar 1 is the company’s first effort in that role, promising huge hybrid power, stylish GT car looks, a classy interior, and even a new take on modern car ownership models. It’s an ambitious undertaking and, if successful, it will undoubtedly shake things up across the industry. However, the question remains – will Polestar have what it takes to fend for itself?
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2019 Land Rover Range Rover Sport P400e
The Range Rover Sport is getting a facelift and thorough update for the 2019 model year, along with an all-new gasoline-electric hybrid variant called the P400e. In addition to the new exterior and swanky updated, technology-laden interior, the 2019 Range Rover Sport P400e will offer 31 miles of all-electric driving from its 13.1-kWh lithium-ion battery paired with a 2.0-liter gasoline four-cylinder. But this isn’t some slowpoke Prius. Rather, the P400e packs 404 combined horsepower and 472 pound-feet of combined torque to shoot this all-aluminum SUV to 60 mph in just 6.7 seconds with a top speed of 137 mph while also being able to squeeze out 101 MPGe on the European scale when driving conservatively.
The 2019 Range Rover Sport P400e is part of Jaguar Land Rover’s recent promise to have an electrified variant of each of its vehicles by 2020. The P400e joins the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace crossover as the second member of JLR’s new-age lineup. Obviously, we can expect many more JLR vehicles coming with similar hybrid powertrains in the near future, especially since 2020 is only two model years away. While we have no insider information on the subject, it would be a safe bet JLR will use hybrid systems very similar to the P400e’s in the majority of its vehicles. The range will include everything from the sporty Jaguar F-Type to the luxury-minded Range Rover. Until then, let’s take a look at the 2019 Range Rover Sport P400e, its hybrid drivetrain, and its updated aesthetics and technology.
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2018 BMW 530e iPerformance
The 5 Series is Bimmer’s mid-size product, offered in a sedan, wagon, and fastback body style. Available since 1972, a total of seven generations have made their appearance over the years, with the current model making its introduction in October of 2016. This latest model sees an expansion into the Bavarian’s iPerformance lineup as the fourth such model to gain the designation. Seeking a balance between performance fun and a little efficiency as well, the 530e iPerformance gets all the same good stuff as the regular 5 Series, including the latest interior technology, snappy good looks, and a decent amount of performance, but adds a solid dose of hybrid efficiency and torque on top.
BMW says it’s doubling down on its electrified and hybrid offerings going forward, so it makes a lot of sense to see this relatively mild electrification for the 5 Series. We think it’s a smart move, as it manages to retain what we like about the 5 Series without diminishing anything in the process. It bodes well for future hybridized Bimmers, and sets a clear path forward as the Bavarians move to bring big batteries across its lineup.
Continue reading to learn more about the BMW 530e iPerformance.
2017 Hyundai Ioniq - Driven
Toyota Prius, you’re on notice: The Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid is here, and it’s arguably doing this whole hybrid, fuel-efficient family car thing better than you.
The Prius has had this market sewn-up for over a decade now. There’s been competition, but it’s been limited. Considering gasoline has been “cheap” here in the States for most of that time, it’s easy to understand why automakers haven’t been eager to challenge Toyota with a compact hybrid hatchback. After all, compact cars aren’t the hottest-selling things in truck-and-SUV-loving ‘Merica, so getting folks to pay a little more for a hybrid electric powertrain in a compact car can be a hard sell.
So while other compacts like the Ford Focus, Nissan Sentra, Kia Forte, and yes, even Toyota’s own Corolla and Hyundai’s own Elantra fought it out for a piece of a shrinking pie, the Prius more or less had the super-efficient niche all to itself.
All three versions of the Prius — compact Liftback, subcompact “C”, and midsize “V” — sold 136,632 copies combined in 2016 — down 48,162 from the year prior. (Toyota didn’t provide a breakdown of individual Prius model sales in its 2016 year-end sales stats.) By comparison, the brand’s Corolla sedan sold 360,483 copies in the same year, and that’s not counting the 17,727 copies of the closely related Corolla (née Scion) iM hatchback. But to show you how much we ‘Mericans love trucks and cheap gas, Ford sold more gas-guzzling F-Series pickup trucks in 2016 than all of the above combined — 820,799 trucks total.
Into this fuel-swilling American marketplace steps Hyundai with its first dedicated compact hybrid, the Ioniq, designed specifically to compete with the Prius Liftback. Even with the Prius getting a much-needed total redesign this year, there are things I like better about the Ioniq. First and foremost: its design.
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2018 Mercedes-Benz S 560 e Plug-in Hybrid
The S-Class – previously known as the “Special” Class – is Merc’s full-sized coupe and sedan, a flagship luxury vehicle that promises the highest levels of refinement, the finest materials, and the most advanced technology offered by the German automaker. Following its reintroduction in 1972, there have been six generations of the S-Class, with the latest generation introduced for the 2014 model year. But now, the calendar is telling me the date is 2017, and all that luxury, technology, and opulence can be had with some green sensibilities as well. Merc’s latest entry in this segment is the S 560 e, the successor to the S 550 e, which once again seeks to find a balance of both long range and a local emission-free motoring, all with that characteristic Mercedes gloss. The S 560 e just broke cover at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and it when it hits U.S. dealers in 2019, it’s expected to arrive with a twist-happy 3.0-liter V-6, 25 miles of all-electric range, a nine-speed automatic transmission, and plenty of Eco-focused features, plus all the traditional luxury bits, of course.
The S 560 e Plug-In Hybrid is the latest effort from Mercedes as it pushes for more extensive electrification across its entire lineup. Both all-electric vehicles and hybrids are slated to see a big boost in the Merc portfolio, so expect to see the same stuff previewed in the S-Class trickle down to the more accessible models.
Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-Benz S 560 e Plug-In Hybrid.
2017 Jaguar E-Type Zero
Back in March of 1961, Jaguar unveiled the E-Type, and it wasn’t long before the world fell in love with its long hoodline, curvaceous hips, and sonorous 3.8-liter six-cylinder soundtrack. Enzo Ferrari, a man with no shortage of good looking metal at his disposal, remarked that it was the “most beautiful car ever made,” and in the more than half century that followed its release, the E-Type has remained a mainstay of automotive splendor for enthusiasts across the globe. These days, the E-Type has served as the basis for a variety of special editions and reimaginings, but now, JLR is taking its iconic two-door into uncharted water. Say hello to the E-Type Zero, an all-electric iteration that promises the same distinctive driving experience as the original, but with no gasoline involved.
Scheduled for presentation at the Jaguar Land Rover Tech Fest on September 8th, the E-Type Zero was restored and converted by Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works in Coventry, which, JLR points out, isn’t far from “where the [original] E-Type was born.” Based on a 1.5 Series Roadster from 1968, the Zero is an almost completely all-original spec, except for the powertrain, obviously. “Our aim with E-Type Zero is to future-proof classic car ownership,” says Tim Hanning, Director at Jaguar Land Rover Classic. “We’re looking forward to the reaction of our clients as we investigate bringing this concept to market.” That’s right, folks – a production iteration could be in the works. Read on for the details.
Continue reading to learn more about the Jaguar E-Type Zero.
2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid
Acura first presented the third-generation MDX in production form at the 2013 New York Auto Show, and it went into production just a month later in Lincoln, Alabama. Offered with a 3.5-liter V-6 that makes use of variable cylinder management, and as a FWD vehicle in the U.S. for the first time, the MDX was ready to continue its battle in an overpopulated segment. But, to stay at the top of the food chain, the MDX has to remain as relevant and fresh as possible, which is why Acura gave it a fairly intensive facelift for the 2017 model year. As such, it’s more aggressive than ever and features Acura’s new Precision Grille on the outside while the interior took some minor changes to offer better refinement and space. Now, Acura is bringing an updated MDX Sport Hybrid to the market, and it offers a significant improvement in power over the range-topping, non-hybrid MDX.
To put it simply, the new MDX Hybrid uses the same three-motor setup that is found in the RLX Sport Hybrid and the Acura NSX and pushes the output for this new range-topper over the top with an extra 30 ponies and 40 percent better fuel economy in the city. That’s a pretty big deal for those of you who are concerned with fuel usage, and for those who want just a little extra oomph. The MDX Sport Hybrid is set to hit dealers starting in early April, so let’s take a closer look at it and see what it brings to the table before it gets there.
Continue reading to learn more about the Acura MDX Sport Hybrid.
2020 Nikola One
Nikola Motors has been in the news lately over its innovative yet seemingly troubled turbine hybrid electric turned hydrogen electric Class 8 semi truck concept. Well, the startup automaker has defied naysayers by actually producing a working prototype and meeting its December 2, 2016 debut deadline. Company founder and CEO Trevor Milton hosted the debut event near downtown Salt Lake City, Utah to a crowd of people from around the globe.
If you recall, the Nikola One was initially designed to be a fully electric truck with a “fuel agnostic” turbine engine acting as a range extender. Only a few months after the Nikola’s announcement of the semi truck in May 2016, the company shifted gears, concentrating on a custom-built hydrogen fuel cell-powered range extender. The change in plans planted seeds of doubt in hopeful onlookers, but Nikola Motors has seemingly made the truck a reality.
The truck is said to be 100-percent zero emissions with an 800 to 1,200-mile cruising range when fully loaded with 65,000 pounds thanks to its 320 kWh battery that generates 2,000 horsepower and 1,000 pound-feet of torque via six electric-drive motors. Nikola Motors is backing its truck with a million miles of free hydrogen fuel. Part of Nikola Motors’ business model is building a network of hydrogen stations. The initial phase has 56 stations planned, with the eventual number growing to 364 across the U.S. and south Canada. Construction is set to begin in January 2018 with an opening date in late 2019. Non-Nikola owners will be able to avail themselves of the hydrogen, but at a cost of $3.50 per kilogram.
The Nikola One is still in the development stage, but production is set to begin in 2019, with units hitting the road in 2020. The truck will be built by a third party manufacturer and will be serviced by Ryder, a current giant in the trucking industry.
CEO Trevor Milton shared a barrage of information at the One’s debut. We’ve compiled the high points in our review below, so keep reading for more. You can also watch the entire 42-minute keynote speech.
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2017 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle
Hyundai’s sixth-generation Sonata (2009 – 2014) sold pretty well here in the U.S., but over in the brand’s home turf, South Korea, the car didn’t exactly exceed sales expectations. As such, 2014 brought the seventh generation model to S. Korea, which ultimately came stateside for 2015. Featuring styling cues from the Hyundai HCD-14 Concept, the car utilizes Hyundai’s Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design language that brings together things like a new grille design, new headlight lenses, LED foglights, an all-new dashboard, and there’s even a dual-clutch, seven-speed transmission available for certain models. Come 2016, and Hyundai released the Sonata Hybrid with pared a 2.0-liter engine with a 51 horsepower electric motor to provide fuel economy as high as 44 mph while cruising the interstate. With the Hybrid already on the road, it should come as no surprise that Hyundai has finally announced a plug-in variant of the Sonata Hybrid that offers an all-electric range of 27 miles and 99 MPGe when operating in EV mode.
While the new plug-in model uses the same 2.0-liter, four-cylinder the electric motor has been upgraded from 38 kW to 50 kW. That means that the new plug-in hybrid is actually a little more powerful. But, there is a tradeoff. See, the Sonata hybrid pulls 39 mpg in the city, 44 mpg on the highway, and 42 mpg combined. While it seems like a plug-in hybrid would be more fuel efficient, this model actually gets 39 mpg combined when operating in hybrid mode. So, unless you plan to actually make use of that all-electric range on a regular basis, you might want to consider the regular hybrid over the plug-in model. But, more about that later.
For now, let’s take a look at the DNA that makes up the new plug-in Sonata and everything that it brings to the table.
Continue reading to learn more about the Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle.
2017 Karma Revero
Karma Automotive, previously known as Fisker Automotive, unveiled the preliminary details about the Revero, essentially an updated version of the hybrid sedan that Fisker built between 2011 to 2012. The exact details for the four-door are still under wraps for the most part, but the California-based company release a few pictures of the car, as well as a bit of information about the drivetrain.
But, before we dive into that, let’s have a quick look at the history of this hybrid sedan that is about to return to the market after nearly four years.
Launched as the Karma in 2011, it was built by Fisker Automotive and designed by the company’s founder, Henrik Fisker, the same man who penned the BMW Z8 and the Aston Martin DB9. Power was provided by two electric motors, while a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder acted as a range extender.
Production was suspended in November 2012 due to financial difficulties after sales of around 1,800 units in North America and Europe. Fisker Automotive filed for bankruptcy in November 2013, after the United States Department of Energy auctioned its debt and sold it to Hybrid Technology LLC for US$25 million. Later on, Fisker’s assets were sold to Chinese company Wanxiang, which announced plans to relaunch the Karma back in April 2015.
Meanwhile, the Fisker Karma was used as a starting point for the Destino, a V-8-powered sedan built by VLF Automotive. The company was founded by Bob Lutz and Gilbert Villarreal as VL Automotive and renamed when Henrik Fisker himself joined the automaker.
The new Karma Revero will be sold for the 2017 model year. The company says that existing Fisker Karma owners will gain exclusive access to a website that gives them the ability to reserve a Revero before the general public.
Updated 09/09/2016: Karma Automotive announced prices for its new Revero and also revealed that the company is now accepting orders for it. Full details on the "Prices" section. The announcement also comes with a series of new images and a new video. Check them out in the "Pictures" tab.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Karma Revero.
2016 - 2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron
Audi had been touting the electrification of its models for quite a while, but it was all talk until January of 2016 when the brand released the 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron. In typical Audi fashion, the A3 e-tron was nearly identical to its gasoline and diesel drinking brethren. Well, aside from a hidden charging port and a fancy little badge to demonstrate the cars electrified presence on the road, that is. Available with just one engine, a 1.4-liter four-cylinder, and an electric motor, the e-tron delivers just over 200 horsepower and can hit the 60-mph sprint in less than eight seconds. It’s not wildly impressive, but the car does offer around 31 miles of all-electric driving for those of you with a really short daily commute.
Another cool feature about the e-tron is Audi’s collaboration with SunPower. Through SunPower, Audi is able to offer charging via solar panels at your home. Of course, this probably won’t be cheap, but if don’t mind paying for the technology, it could save you a little money in the long run. Plus, you know, it’s good for the environment too.
For 2017, the A3 e-tron carries over unchanged for the most part. It does take on a couple of small updates, and there are some new options available that really add to the overall luxuriousness of the car. Pricing for the 2017 model year has also changed a bit, but nothing too drastic. With that said, let’s take a look at the 2016 – 2017 Audi A3 e-tron and talk about the minor changes that come with the 2017 model year.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 – 2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron.
2017 Honda Accord Hybrid
Honda gave the Accord a much-needed facelift for the 2016 model year and, now that 2017 models are starting to break cover, Honda has upgraded the Accord Hybrid. Not only does it get that beautiful design language that just screams Acura, but it also gets an updated hybrid powertrain that promises to offer better fuel economy and performance. Furthermore, the Accord Hybrid also receives a new, more compact battery pack, which should increase trunk capacity to a midsize hybrid class-leading 13.5 cubic-feet.
John Mendel, the Executive Vice President of American Honda Motor Company, said, “The new Honda Accord Hybrid is the ultimate Accord – the most refined, technologically sophisticated and, of course, most fuel efficient in the lineup. With Accord already America’s most popular car three years running and the best-selling midsize car to younger buyers, we think this new hybrid model will add considerable momentum for the Honda brand.”
The 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid will come in three different trims, offer several different driving modes, and come with a long list of optional features that promise to make it the best Accord Hybrid to date. So, with that said, let’s take a closer look at the new Accord Hybrid and go into better detail about what you can expect. It makes its first public appearance at the Aquarium on the Pacific in Long Beach during the Earth Day celebrations on April 23rd and 24th.
Updated 07/19/2016: Honda dropped a new video in which it highlights the driving features of the 2017 Accord Hybrid. So hit "play" to learn more about its quality, sportiness, comfort and safety features.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid.
2017 Tesla Model S
Tesla discontinued the Roadster, and in quick succession, released its new Model S. Since then, the Model S has become widely popular and sales were good enough that Tesla has extended its offering of vehicles, now including the Model X and the soon-to-be-released Tesla Model 3. At first, the Model S sedan came only in rear-wheel drive and featured an extended range 265 miles. Not that it wasn’t a bad initial package – Tesla did effective set the standard for all-electric vehicles, and to date, it’s still the best all-electric model you can get.
Over the past few years, the Model S has seen several updates, including a new front motor that made all-wheel-drive variants available, plus Autopilot, and Ludicrous mode. In that time frame, the range has also been increased up to 295 miles for properly equipped models. The one thing that hasn’t changed since the car’s introduction, however, is the body style. But now as we approach the 2017 model year, Tesla has finally given the Model S a facelift.
Before you get to overwhelmed with excitement, be warned that the facelift is pretty minor. It was well needed, though, and the front end does sport a new look. Join me for an in-depth look at the Tesla Model S and what it brings to the table as Tesla ushers in the 2017 model year.
Update 06/09/2016: Tesla has announced that it is taking a step backward and offering a more affordable version of the Model S in 60 and 60D form. Check out the updates in our Drivetrain and Prices sections below for all the details.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Tesla Model S.
Nikola Motor Company Nikola One
Perhaps now Nikola Tesla has finally realized his posthumous revenge on Thomas Edison. Years after Elon Musk founded Tesla, a new start-up has snagged the scientist’s first name. Nikola Motor Company, like Tesla Motors, is focusing on all-electric propulsion. It recently announced two projects aimed at very different industry segments but both focused on high-performance, high-efficiency vehicles.
The first, the Nikola Zero, is an all-electric ATV slotted to compete against the Polaris RZR. The second is far more practical. The Nikola One is a long-haul semi-truck with a 1,200-mile range and the ability to pull the standard 80,000-pound load. The Nikola One uses electric motors at each of the six wheels, giving it AWD and torque vectoring capabilities. What’s more, the truck features the first fully independent suspension system on a semi, giving it a much smoother ride than conventional semi trucks.
Thanks to the lack of traditional drivetrain components and a cabin formed from carbon fiber, the truck weighs thousands of pounds less, furthering its handling characteristics and battery charge. Recharging is done via a “fuel agnostic” turbine engine that can run on gasoline, diesel, or natural gas.
What’s more, the Nikola One is designed to accept fully autonomous control systems in the future, giving owner/operators the ability to run multiple trucks with one driver watching live video feeds back at headquarters, according to Nikola. The trucks can accomplish this thanks to a system Nikola calls “Virtual Hitch,” which allows the driver to remotely hitch the semi to a trailer, all while sitting in a control station states away.
While this technology is years away from realization, Nikola is striving to lead the way. In fact, the company is already taking orders and deposits for the Nikola One. Reservations only cost $1,500. The company’s website states the truck costs $5,000 a month, including the lease payment with unlimited miles, maintenance, and unlimited fuel from one of its 50+ planned CNG throughout North America.
The plan seems rather daring and ambitious, but hey, Tesla Motors has dared greatly and seemingly succeeded in the face of overwhelming odds. We’ve detailed out the Nikola One below, so continue reading for the full scoop.
Continue reading for the full review