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Official price remains a mystery

Volkswagen has delivered the first XL1 diesel plug-in hybrid to a customer from Berlin, Germany. Dr. Christian Malorny received his Oryx White XL1 with black and grey interior from Volkswagen Germany's director of sales and marketing for passenger cars, Thomas Zahn, at the company's Transparent Factory in Dresden.

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Five-plus years may have been about enough time for Daimler AG to know whether it wanted to be in the battery-pack production business. The Mercedes-Benz parent may stop making electric-vehicle batteries and ultimately sell its Li-Tec battery-cell factory in Germany within two years, according to Bloomberg News which cites Manager Magazin. The beneficiary may be LG Electronics, which would likely take over battery-production duties for models such as Daimler's Smart ED battery-electric vehicle.

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Mercedes-Benz is about to give Americans another choice of battery-powered vehicle. Offering more all-electric range than the Nissan Leaf or BMW i3, and with a smaller price tag than the Tesla Model S, the B-Class Electric Drive is officially set to arrive in the US this summer. Indeed, the first examples have begun rolling off the production line in Rastatt, Germany.

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Audi is proving that the fresh water flowing through the European Alps isn't just for bottling and drinking anymore. The German automaker struck a deal with Hamburg-based LichtBlick to offer buyers of the Audi A3 Sportback E-Tron a chance to get their electrical juice from all renewable-energy sources. That means all the power going into charging stations can come from hydroelectric power from Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

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Garage chargers? We don't need no stinkin' garage chargers. Germany-based Feddz is getting ready to start European sales of its electric bike, and, to do so, it's touting a removable-battery system that makes garage chargers unnecessary, if not almost quaint.

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Just 265 miles of range on a single charge? Meh. That's what the folks at Audi might be saying about the Tesla Model S and its estimated range. Because the German automaker says the next iteration of the R8 E-Tron could go 450 kilometers on a charge, or about 281 miles. This information comes from Automotive News, which cites a presentation from Audi technology chief Ulrich Hackenberg at the company's annual press conference.

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With Mercedes-Benz bringing out coupe and plug-in hybrid versions of its S-Class sedan, the German automaker just may follow through with a battery-electric variant as well. That's what the company's Uwe Ernstberger told the folks at Top Gear during the Geneva Motor Show. And while he noted the company still needs to work in a larger-than-usual battery pack and was less than specific with details, he did envision an all-electric S-Class "in the future." Of course, rumors started bubbling about a

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As diesels continue to account for a minority of cars sold by Audi in the US, the German automaker and Volkswagen unit continues to expand its diesel models in Europe for the sake of fuel efficiency. Early this year, Audi will debut its new A4, A5 and A6 variants in Europe as part of what it calls its "ultra" strategy of pairing performance with fuel economy. Audi will have 11 new models for 2014, and the updated A4, A5 and A6 will use Audi's 2.0-liter turbodiesel powertrain. Versions of that en

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As expected, the new four-seat vehicle that Daimler AG's Smart division is will start selling later this year will still be pretty darn short. Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche, speaking at the Mercedes-Benz parent company's annual press conference, disclosed a few details about both the next-generation Smart ForTwo and the new Smart ForFour, according to World Car Fans.

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While you can't drive a Tesla from the US to Europe, Model S drivers on both sides of the pond are seeing a robust Supercharger network. Today, Tesla announced that enough stations exist in central Europe to get a Model S from Amsterdam to cities 500 or 600 miles away in the Alps. As in the US, using a Supercharger is free.

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As Tesla Motors proved mightily in 2013, an expensive EV with a long range can sell quite nicely, thank you very much. Perhaps Audi was taking notes, since its all-electric R8 E-Tron's on-again/off-again odyssey appears to be on again, according to UK's Autocar, citing Audi's Urlich Hackenburg. The model is near the approval stage for production, and the key to the green-light is the fact that its single-charge range has been almost doubled to 250 miles.

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Turns out, your car's engine is useless about a third of the time when you're driving. Bosch is using that math to estimate that the newest generation of its stop-start system could cut a car's overall fuel use by about 10 percent.

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Sales of the Tesla Model S haven't been very good in Germany, but a thumbs-up safety rating by the German government might help. The Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (KBA, known as the German Federal Motor Transport Authority in English) did not find any defects in the Model S and says that no further safety investigations are necessary.

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If Germany sneezes, does the European Union catch a cold? Kind of, at least when we're talking about the EU's recent step to making its greenhouse-gas emissions standards set for the end of the decade a little less stringent after months of German automakers crying uncle, Reuters says.

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There's even more to digest from the Elon Musk speech in Germany video that's been making the rounds this week. Our original post mentioned the highlights of an Autobahn performance package for the Tesla Model S and Tesla CEO Musk's distaste for hydrogen fuel cells. Then we took a look at the new of the next-generation EV tidbits, including the news that we can expect to see the car for the first time in 12-18 months. Given the length of the video and the release of a new press release, we've go

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Elon Musk is unafraid to speak his mind. Whether he's talking about other players in the electric vehicle space or sub-par reporting from The New York Times, this is a man with few filters. To further illustrate this point we need look no further than yesterday's address to an enthusiast crowd at a Tesla service center in Germany.

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The Germans have an idea: when calculating fleetwide emissions rules at the end of the decade, don't count the 20 percent of our vehicles that are truly road-mauling gas guzzlers. That's more or less what the German government is asking for in its attempt to get the European Union to be a little more lenient about its strict emissions mandate for 2020, Bloomberg News reports.

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We're not sure how to translate "biting the hand that feeds you" to French, but we're pretty sure the phrase is appropriate here. See, Renault recently won funding of about $28 million from the European Commission to develop diesel-hybrid powertrains for commercial vans. The thing is, the French company may now join lobbying efforts with German automakers as they ask EC officials to loosen emissions restrictions set for the end of the decade, according to Reuters.

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Could the European version of the Chevrolet Volt be smarter than its American brethren? In so many words, that's what General Motors' Opel division in Germany is saying after the Opel Ampera extended-range plug-in vehicle was chosen to conduct a test involving intelligent navigation systems.

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OK, this time they're really doing it. Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler is leading a collaboration between a half-dozen companies - including Air Liquide, Linde, OMV, Shell and Total - that will rapidly expand Germany's publicly accessible hydrogen refueling network in order to better spur the hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle market.

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The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive may be powered by batteries, but it is a legitimate supercar. It has exotic supercar styling, supercar paint, and a 416,500 Euro ($550,600 at today's rates) supercar price tag. Now, it also has a sub-eight-minute supercar lap time around the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

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