Smart will not make another generation of the Roadster, but a Smart SUV might be in the cards. According to Smart's CEO, Annette Winkler, "The Roadster isn't a profitable business case. Everybody is keen on the car, but nobody wants to pay the bill." What Car? states that Smart is likely planning a baby SUV to take on the Nissan Juke and its ilk. But for the immediate future, Winkler says Smart "must focus on how we can maximize potential of the Fortwo and Forfour. That is strategy number one."
Crowdfunding has not been kind to electric vehicle projects. The Derringer electric bike, while cool, didn't make it. The ultra-fast battery charger idea raised just $2,666 out of a $50,000 goal. And there are many more failed examples. (That Kickstarter project for that EV coloring book, on the other hand, did reach its modest goal.)
Each time is like the first time. That's the challenge – read: opportunity – that Nissan has whenever it brings the all-electric Leaf to a new market. For the EV's South African debut, the local Nissan arm decided that humor would be the best way to teach people about the new car with the new powertain.
The car may look like a throwback, but the important bits are on the inside. South Africa-based Metair takes a retrofitted two-door hatchback and uses it to show off what the group says is the most advanced lead-acid battery around.
The dream of having a practical electric vehicle from South Africa has ended. At least, for now. Optimal Energy, which first trotted out its Keith Helfet-designed Joule at the 2008 Paris Motor Show has announced that it is shutting down.
Ultra low-cost transportation doesn't have a particularly successful history in the recent past. Just ask Tata. The company's Nano subcompact was supposed to revolutionize the way low-income families the world over moved themselves, but as it turns out, even those with no money don't want to be seen in a vehicle known primarily for its cheapness. Even so, one company is working to give rural Africans a shot at changing their lives with a new low-cost SUV. Nairobi-based Mobius Motors wants to bui
Venturi does more than create whimsical concept vehicles for auto shows. The company also supports electric vehicles going on long-distance adventures, like from Shanghai to Paris. The latest mission sends an EV along 4,800 kilometres (2,982 miles) from Kenya to South Africa. The trip started last month and the car already has 3,500 km (2,174 mi) under its tires. Venturi says the trip represents "a fabulous human and technological adventure in the interest of sustainable development."
It may not be on most people's news radar, but the West African nation of Nigeria has a problem with the effects of roadside pollution. As Africa's most populous nation, Nigeria has its share of smog-filled cities, congested roads and aging vehicles. In an effort to clear the air, Nigeria will, effective December 1, 2012, require all vehicles sold within the country to meet Euro II emissions standards, according to Nigeria's National Automotive Council (NAC).
Libyan leader (ex-leader?) Muammar Qaddafi apparently had some unusual items in his personal collection. Rebel forces stormed his compound this week, and we now know he had a scrapbook dedicated to former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, lots of weapons and, oddly, a doorless, all-electric Fiat 500 (similar to the model shown above).
BP's massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year has moved off the front pages in most of the nation, though the damage done to the environment and economy of the Gulf region is far from repaired. However, at least that spill once had some attention from the nation and the world.
Kenya, of all places, is looking to get in on the plug-in vehicle action by eliminating import duties on battery-powered vehicles. With Somalia to its east, Ethiopia to its north, Uganda to its west and Tanzania to it south – and bordered by the Indian Ocean to the southeast and situated near the equator – Kenya might not be the first nation that comes to mind when you think of plug-in vehicles, but finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta feels confident that the African country is ready to
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), Saudi Arabia has boosted its oil output to compensate for shortages in global crude supply caused by the unrest in Libya. Reports confirm that Saudi officials have met with European refiners to discuss the amount of oil required to fill the shortfall, estimated to be 1.2 million barrels of oil per day. An IEA spokesman released a statement claiming that there's "every indication that increased volumes are now being made available to the market"
If you're interested in hearing how the turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East is connected to the recent spike in gas prices, we hope you've got an hour to spare. That's how long it'll take to listen to today's Diane Rehm Show, which is a great "where are we now" piece on a lot of the factors that connect the demonstrators in Libya with Saudi Arabia, the U.S. gas tax with biofuels and more.
Challenged by fluctuating oil prices and stricken with poverty, Ethiopia is searching for a way to boost the nation's economical situation and perk up the country's poor living conditions. Some Ethiopian leaders believe that the solution lies in renewable fuels.