A reader linked me to an article last week that started off strong but went downhill near the end. I agree with the main thrust, though. Mainly, that Elon Musk’s Tesla Model 3, in yet-unattainable base form, is wholly unnecessary. We’ll leave the company financials aside — Musk claims high-zoot Model 3s are necessary to keep the cash-burning company afloat, and there’s little reason to doubt it — and focus on the broader argument. Electric cars are nice, but you don’t need one to save the planet. Most of the public’s driving duties are easily accomplished by a plug-in hybrid with a Honda Clarity or Chevrolet Volt-type range, the author states, and this is certainly true. The vast majority of driving miles — commuting, running errands — can be handled with a vehicle that doesn’t entirely dispense with gasoline, but doesn’t need it for trips of roughly 50 miles. If those trips suddenly went electric, … [Read more...] about QOTD: Is Your People’s (Green) Car Already Here?
Little green cars
The Buckminster Fuller designed Dymaxion - image: National Automobile MuseumEnlarge PhotoOften the growth of green cars comes in fits and starts, and new ideas are rushed to market regularly before they're ready. Visionaries with dreams of changing the world may have little real-world experience and find themselves in over their heads after they jump in too quickly. Even pure charlatans sometimes emerge from the woodwork to hawk new ideas that they may or may not have any intention to produce. All these have happened in abundance through the history of boosting fuel economy and promoting new electric cars. Here, we'll take a look at a dozen or so of the most bizarre models through history, from the Depression when there were some notable exceptions to cars becoming more standardized, through the end of the 20th century. Many of these cars were developed to meet the needs of more austere times—and some found significantly more success than others. We'll present them all … [Read more...] about That’s wacky! The most bizarre green cars ever proposed, Part I
Charging 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV and 2015 Tesla Model S P85D at home in garage [photo: Jay Lucas]Enlarge PhotoLast week in our Twitter poll, we asked a different kind of question: how often Green Car Reports readers would like to follow the horse-race of plug-in car sales. A surprisingly large 73 percent of of our Twitter followers said you would follow every month. Green Car Reports has been reporting the monthly data to see who's selling the most electric cars since the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf went on sale in late 2011. It gives a sense of which technologies resonate with consumers, whether it's plug-in hybrids like the Volt or battery electric cars like the Leaf, and how much electric range consumers seem willing to pay for. DON'T MISS: Plug-in electric car sales for April: Leaf sales lag, spendy Porsches take off In those early days, it also gave us a gauge to measure which automakers seemed serious about serving the burgeoning market for electric cars, and which ones seemed more … [Read more...] about How often should Green Car Reports report plug-in sales numbers: Twitter poll results
Alex wrecked his Prius, but he is using this as an opportunity to get what he has always wanted: a pickup truck. The only hangup is that his budget is tight, and we all know finding a good truck for cheap is not easy. What car should he buy? (Welcome back to What Car Should You Buy? Where we give real people real advice about buying cars. Do you want us to help you find a car? Submit your story on our form.) Here is the scenario: My Prius was totaled when I was rear-ended. Always wanted a truck and now I have the opportunity to buy one on a limited budget. I can only spend about $5000. I live in Southern California and it will be my daily driver so it needs to be reliable as can be. Four doors would be ideal because I have a kiddo that will come for a ride, but other than that I’m not too picky. Quick Facts: Budget: Up to $5,000 Daily Driver: Yes Location: SoCal Wants: Cheap, Reliable, Pickup Doesn’t want: Anything pink Expert 1: Tom McParland - Go Cali Vintage So we … [Read more...] about I’m Trading My Prius For A Cheap Pickup! What Car Should I Buy?
Tesla Supercharger site in Vacaville, California, before expansion [photo: George Parrott]Enlarge PhotoPredictions range all over the map on when electric-car sales are going to take off, depending on whether you're talking to a Wall Street bull or bear, what happens to gas prices, and even who's in office. With that in mind, we thought we'd ask our Twitter followers with an interest in electric cars how soon they think electric cars might become mainstream. Perhaps predictably, a majority of participants thought that electric cars are likely to come faster than most people think. LEARN MORE: Plug-in electric car sales fall in Jan after year-end surge Only a little more than a quarter of poll respondents thought electric-car adoption may lag most people's expectations by a little or a lot. In large part, whether you think electric cars are coming faster or more slowly than most people think depends on how global your outlook may be. If you're talking to people who look at … [Read more...] about Your predictions for electric-car growth: Twitter poll results
The 2010 Jetta Sportwagen is not as well known as the Toyota Prius. But the two vehicles have been compared. The Prius is the much talked about, industry-leading hybrid. The Jetta TDI is the increasingly popular and peppy diesel. The Prius made many of 2010 Best-of-the-Year lists and even topped some of the compilations. But the Jetta and its surprising value and impressive gas mileage ratings weren’t too far behind. In short, the Prius revolutionized the hybrid industry in the United States and the Jetta may well do the same for cleaning-burning diesel engines. A 2010 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen. The Weekly Driver Test Drive There’s no easy Northern California or San Francisco Bay Area connection to Mendocino. In either of the two major options to get to the picturesque coastal city, stretches of winding roads interrupt steady freeway driving. One route is more severe, but either journey has a reputation as unfriendly for car passengers. In other words, there’s a … [Read more...] about Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI, 2010: The Weekly Driver Car Review
Teaser for Buick Enspire concept debuting at 2018 Beijing auto showEnlarge PhotoA startling announcement from a zero-emission truck maker, some grim news on climate change, sloppiness from the Trump administration's EPA, and a quixotic round-the-world electric-car trip. All this and more on Green Car Reports. Over the weekend, as we do every seven days, we ran down last week's most important green-car stories. It may seem just a little 2009, but a Dutch man is traveling from The Netherlands to Australia in a converted electric VW wagon and relying on donations of shelter, food, and recharging for the trip. Startup Nikola Motors seems to want you to know it's no Tesla; it says it will refund all the deposits it's received for its zero-emission semi tractors, because it has received $8 billion in pre-orders. Even if every nation on earth met its commitments under the Paris Climate Accord, it's possible the effects of climate change will be far, far worse than previously predicted. It's … [Read more...] about Nikola hydrogen semi deposits, EV around the world, climate forecast grim, EPA sloppy: Today’s Car News
2018 Nissan Leaf with EVgo fast charger at NJ Turnpike Molly Pitcher travel plaza, Feb 2018Enlarge PhotoAs Tesla has shown, not all fast charging is created equal. Now owners of the new 2018 Nissan Leaf are complaining that the car's "fast" charging is not always as fast as advertised. Owners have found that the car's electronic management software dials back charging speeds with each successive fast charge on any given trip. Nissan says this behavior is a safeguard designed to protect the battery from overheating, which could otherwise shorten its lifespan and reduce the car's range over time. Still, owners suggest the behavior makes the new Leaf much less useful on long trips, when recharging starts to take hours instead of minutes as you get closer to your destination. So many drivers are frustrated by the situation that the issue has taken on its own Twitter hashtag: #rapidgate. Green Car Reports reached out to Nissan North America to ask for comment on this issue, but had not … [Read more...] about 2018 Nissan Leaf electric car: Is there a fast-charging problem?
A joint study by the highly respected Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research finds that plug-in hybrid cars with at least 36 miles of electric only range (think Chevy Volt) are just as good at keeping carbon emissions out of the atmosphere as a pure battery electric car (think Chevy Bolt). The debate rages among green car advocates, government regulators, and political leaders about whether a plug-in hybrid is a “real” electric car. The feeling in some quarters is that any car with a range extender gasoline engine is like wearing brown shoes with a tuxedo. You can go that route but it’s not quite right, is it? The researchers gathered data about the performance of 49,000 battery electric cars and 73,000 plug-in hybrid vehicles in Germany and the US. The information came from fleet trials, auto manufacturers, and from website that allow drivers to manage and monitor their vehicles. The results of the … [Read more...] about Plug-In Hybrid Emissions Same As Battery Electric Car — Sometimes
It’s the last day of the year, and so we come to the signature final post to sign off 2017. The sixth edition of the paultan.org Top Five list continues on that seen in the 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 editions, and as usual, we have the members of the editorial team each picking five cars that impressed them the most out of that sampled throughout the year. A recap, in case you missed the last five outings. The intent from the start was to see which five cars driven in a particular year had the most impact on each of us, and the idea continues to roll on as such. As defined by the headline, you might find that many of the selections are driven by sentiment and emotion, with no consideration of the things that drive say, a vehicle purchase. As for the limitation to a selection of five cars, which was set when we first ran with the idea, that isn’t because we have anything against the usual 10 as found on most lists – my original intent of going with half of that … [Read more...] about The paultan.org 2017 Top Five cars list