Apr 052014
 

By Nicholas Brown.

Matt Farah and Zack Klapman of The Smoking Tire went on an electric car test drive to compare the value of the Chevrolet Volt and Cadillac ELR. Zach Klapman drove the Cadillac ELR, and Matt Farah drove the Chevy Volt.

Video Credit: The Smoking Tire on Youtube.

Unsurprisingly, the ELR was found to be more pleasant overall, but the reviewers were disappointed in its value. They agreed that $50,000 would be a much better price for the Cadillac ELR (where value is concerned). There is an enormous price difference of $40,815 between these two electric vehicles. The Chevy Volt MSRP is $34,185, and the Cadillac ELR is $75,000 (as of April 2014 for the base models).

GM-Volt.com asked if this makes me happy I have a Volt, or if I wished for an ELR. If I had a Volt, my answer would be the former.

Source: GM-Volt.com.

Apr 042014
 

By Nicholas Brown.

Panasonic, a major manufacturer of batteries, is hesitant to join Tesla Motors’ ‘Gigafactory’ project, because it would raise investment risks, according to Panasonic’s CEO Kazuhiro Tsuga.

Tesla Model S Drivetrain. Image Credit: Kompulsa.

Tesla Model S Drivetrain.
Image Credit: Kompulsa.

“Our approach is to make investments step by step,” Tsuga said yesterday. “Elon plans to produce more affordable models besides Model S, and I understand his thinking and would like to cooperate as much as we can. But the investment risk is definitely larger.”

I don’t blame them for being cautious, as this is a very large project. It costs $5 billion! (Tesla already raised $2 billion). On the other hand, sometimes big risks result in big rewards.

If this project succeeds as Elon Musk hopes it will, it could reduce lithium-ion battery manufacturing costs, making them more feasible for electric vehicles and home energy storage. It would also enable Tesla to manufacture hundreds of thousands of electric vehicles annually. To top it off, the success of this project could provide peace-of-mind to others who are interested in pursuing similar projects, leading to more large-scale factories that produce low-cost lithium-ion batteries.

Those are big rewards!

Source: Bloomberg.

Mar 202014
 

Brainstorm Project – Home

Autonomous cars open a window of opportunity for amputees, people who suffer from visual impairment, Parkinson’s disease, and any other condition that could have an effect on their safety, such as severe cases of ADHD.

Ford Fusion Automated Research Vehicle. Image Credit: Kompulsa / Nicholas Brown.

Ford Fusion Automated Research Vehicle at the NAIAS (Detroit Auto Show).
Image Credit: Kompulsa / Nicholas Brown.

It enables them to get around privately without soliciting lifts. That’s a godsend, but how is this related to energy or science?

Autonomous vehicles offer the ability to avoid the consequences of typical driving habits, such as reduced fuel efficiency, which is caused by frequent, sudden acceleration, sudden braking, and speeding.

Implications Of Autonomous Vehicles For Electric Propulsion

The electrification of automobiles is impeded by the short range of electric vehicles. Therefore, the improved efficiency achieved by autonomous vehicles (especially due to the fact that they don’t speed) can help to conserve range. As a matter of fact, it can substantially improve average range, making electric vehicles a far more viable and attractive option than they ever have been.

Autonomous vehicles can also be equipped with smaller battery banks and achieve the same range that today’s electric cars do, reducing their cost.

Mar 192014
 

By: Rachel DiFranco, Sustainability Coordinator, City of Fremont

The City of Fremont has made a number of local headlines this month for reports on the high number of electric vehicle owners living within its boundaries. With a population of 221,986, Fremont holds 14.3 percent of Alameda County’s 1,554,720 residents.1 But with 3,870 electric vehicle rebates issued in Alameda County since 2010 under the California Clean Vehicle Rebate Program, Fremont, with its 1,143 rebates to date, represents 29.4 percent of all-electric vehicles owned within the County.2

Pie Chart

Fremont's EV Rebated By Month

The reason for the heightened media attention is that many people were surprised that this southern Alameda County suburb could be “the East Bay’s epicenter for electric vehicles,” questioning, “What makes it so special?” The news of increasing EV ownership in Fremont, however, is less of a surprise to those responsible for City development. As the City’s deputy director of Community Development, Dan Schoenholz, stated when pointing out that a slightly larger number of electric vehicle rebates had been issued in Fremont than in San Francisco, “San Francisco has the reputation for being a super-green city, but this shows that Fremont is quietly pushing the envelope.”

The story, in fact, fits nicely into the future vision that the City has created for itself. This is a future of sustainable urbanism, one in which Fremont has evolved beyond its early agricultural roots and post-war suburban sprawl into a center for clean technology, a mecca of cultural diversity, and the home of eco-conscious citizens. Beginning in 2011 with the City’s award-winning General Plan that strategically positioned “Sustainability” as the opening chapter for its 2030 vision, and gaining momentum with the adoption of its Climate Action Plan in 2012 to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 25 percent by the year 2020, the City of Fremont continues to challenge the conventional model of development with an alternative one that places the health and well-being of future generations at the forefront of policy-making.

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Mar 042014
 

People have driven more than 1 billion miles in Tesla, Nissan Leaf, and Chevy Volt electric vehicles. This signifies that the public, and the electric vehicle manufacturers now have over 1 billion miles of EV driving experience and test data.

Tesla Model S touch Screen Interface.

Tesla Model S touch Screen Interface. Image Credit: Kompulsa.

This is critical to the electrification of the automobile, as early adopters are putting EVs to the test. When they fail, manufacturers learn of the mistakes they made, and enhance their electric vehicle designs further.

This also entails that many more than the billion people have been exposed to electric vehicles (due to the fact that they give their friends lifts and test drives in their electric vehicles).

Early adopters got today’s big industries where they are, and they are doing the same for the EV industry.

Source: Cleantechnica.

Mar 022014
 

Originally published on Cleantechnica.
By James Ayre.

Tesla’s stock has exploded upwards once again, climbing up to about $264 a share at about 10:00 am on February 26th — that’s a climb of over 15%, and only a week or so after a separate large percentage jump.

The most recent big boost that the stock received is largely down to all of the talk going around about Tesla’s soon-to-be-built Gigafactory, and a report that the market analysts over at Morgan Stanley released about that.

The expectations expressed in the report are very optimistic — anyone who trusts the judgement of the authors would be hard-pressed not to invest further, given the great potential for further growth that is noted.

AutoblogGreen provides more details about the report:

Authored by analyst Adam Jonas, the document looks forward to a Utopian future (around 2026, for those anxious for such a thing) where it is predicted that Tesla will enjoy a commanding share of both the battery and autonomous automobile market, and its revenues will be sixty times that of today. Sixty times. That’s a pretty sunny outlook. Not incidentally, the financial services company also has doubled its target price for TSLA, from $153 to a nice, round $320.

That rosy outlook report is not necessarily the only thing filling the sails of the California automaker today. Consumer Reports has also added to the momentum, naming the Tesla Model S its best overall top pick for 2014. And now we hear that Panasonic and some partners are interested in investing almost a billion dollars into Tesla’s new gigafactory.

It’s of course hard to say exactly what will happen when talking about something as volatile as stock prices, but, that said, it does look as though Tesla has placed itself on a solid course for growth, one that will likely make the company’s stock continue to appear as a strong choice for investors.

Feb 282014
 

Tesla Motors Takes Another Step Forward

Tesla Motors’ electric vehicles are among the best-selling EVs, and that means they need many batteries to build their cars. The company intends to construct an enormous ‘Gigafactory’ (possibly in Nevada) which could produce up to 500,000 electric vehicle batteries annually.

The batteries are to be constructed from the ground up in the new factory, potentially increasing their profits by a factor of two, and drive down the cost of the batteries via economies of scale, another step forward for the EV industry which will force the rest of the automobile manufacturers to kick their R&D into high gear.

Elon Musk, the CEO, hinted that the factory will utilize solar and wind power, making their electric cars greener than ever, or maybe it could make the rest of the car brands’ batteries greener, as it could sell those batteries to them. After all, this factories production capacity far exceeds their current battery demand.

Source: Gas 2.

Feb 272014
 

Juan Pablo Montoya is a racing legend who has won the Indy 500, the Monaco GP, the Daytona 24, and he raced in NASCAR. This became apparent when he posted a picture of himself at the wheel of a Tesla Model S on Facebook, which stood out especially because of its 17 inch LCD screen.

Now, why on Earth would someone accustomed to racing speeds want to drive an electric car?

Firstly, electric cars have gotten pretty good, secondly, the Tesla Model S is a spectacular car. It can charge in as little as 20 minutes using Tesla Motor’s solar-powered Superchargers at no charge. It can accelerate from 0-60 MPH in as little as 4.4 seconds, it can travel an average of 265 miles per charge, it seats seven people, it has two trunks (one in the front, and a big one in the back), it is comfortable, silent, efficient, and it burns no gasoline.

The Tesla Model S also won the title of Motor Trend Car Of The Year for 2013, and Consumer Reports named it the ‘best overall’ in 2014.

Source: Gas 2.

Feb 252014
 

In 2001, Dale Earnhardt died in a devastating accident during a NASCAR race at the Daytona International Speedway in his number 3 car. The number 3 car was retired since then.

Now, it has returned with an ethanol-powered engine. It was raced at the Daytona 500 on February 22, 2014 by Austin Dillon, the grandson of Richard Childress, who is the owner of the Richard Childress Racing team. It came in at ninth place.

It was good to see that the number 3 car’s comeback was a good one, and it was done using renewable, American-grown ethanol fuel.

See the press release below:

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