The Tesla Model S might be the headline-grabber of the electric vehicle world, but the Nissan Leaf is the segment's secret star. With over 130,000 sold worldwide since its introduction and record US sales in 2014, the little hatchback has helped its parents at the Renault-Nissan Alliance to sell over 200,000 EVs since 2010.
Despite recent rumors to the contrary, don't expect to see much collaboration between Tesla and BMW in the near future. Based on some rather prickly statements from the German automaker, Elon Musk might have even burnt some bridges in Bavaria with his latest proclamations.
With Toyota and Daimler no longer holding Tesla shares, the electric vehicle company might be looking for a new partner – possibly a Bavarian one. In a new interview with Germany's Der Spiegel, CEO Elon Musk confirmed that he has had talks with BMW execs about future collaboration.
To paraphrase Dr. Evil from Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, why spend a trillion when you could spend ... billions? That's what Panasonic is saying about its investment in Tesla's gigafactory, though there's a catch. The billions are in Japanese yen.
The big news on the electric vehicle front today is that Nissan is considering slowing down EV battery production in the US and UK and source all of Nissan's big packs come from Japan. Nissan may also buy some batteries from the Korean company LG Chem. This is apparently causing dissent within Nissan, but it follows what Alliance partner Renault is doing in the hunt for 180-mile EVs.
With pro football season about to begin, we thought it appropriate to use a gridiron metaphor: one research firm is estimating that Tesla Motors will outkick its coverage when it comes to the Gigafactory it's planning for the western US, likely Reno, NV. The electric-vehicle maker has said needs the giant battery plant because its annual sales will reach a half-million by the end of the decade. Lux Research is saying the company's EV sales will be closer to about half that.
Just how intimate would you like to get with the powertrain in a Chevy Volt? If you're anything like YouTube user d55guy, then spending a half hour filming yourself taking apart the battery pack, motor, inverter and more for a look inside sounds like your idea of fun. After all, this way you get to see the cooling system, the heavy safety kill switch and count up the individual cells in the battery modules. Fun!
The first of perhaps 'hundreds' of gigafactories is now one step closer to reality: Tesla and Panasonic have announced their official agreement to work together on the gigafactory. The two companies have worked together for many years on electric vehicles, but this new deal takes the partnership to a whole new level.
The Chevrolet Volt isn't changing much for the 2015 model year. According to specifications uncovered by Inside EVs, though, the new Volt's battery does have a slightly larger capacity. According to the spec sheet, this doesn't translate to increased range. Real world driving, though, might tell a different story.
Getting 17 More Miles From 36-kWh Pack Is A $600 Option
There was something unexpected hiding in the new configurator for the 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive: a $600 "Temporary range extender." Since we've never heard of such a thing, we had to click through for more.
The 2012 and 2013 model year Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in vehicle may have a battery glitch caused by low coolant levels. No recall has been issued and General Motors is taking care of the issue at no cost to drivers.
Ford must be desperate to get itself ready for the beach this summer because it is really trying to get into shape. Shortly after unveiling the Lightweight Concept that cut the weight of a Fusion down to that of a Fiesta, it's now the rest of the line's turn for improvement. The company is wrapping up a 10-year research project aimed at developing next-gen automotive batteries to improve efficiency.
Beginning this fall, used hybrid batteries that would otherwise be recycled will get a second life in Yellowstone National Park. 208 nickel-metal hydride batteries are being retired from the Toyota Camry Hybrids they once helped power and will become part of an off-the-grid energy system at Yellowstone's remote Lamar Buffalo Ranch field campus. The Lamar campus provides field seminars and other education and research in the northeastern corner of the park.
Phinergy and Alcoa show off a modified Citroen C1 with two battery types
If the groups behind it are to be believed, this little electric vehicle could travel 1,000 miles on a single charge. Battery developer Phinergy and metal manufacturer Alcoa have teamed up to demonstrate their aluminum-air battery in a small electric vehicle at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, and our friends at Autoblog Québec were there to check it out.
Tesla Motors Chief Elon Musk has always been a big-picture guy, and the company's chief technology officer appears to be following suit. JB Straubel, who was a keynote speaker at the Joint Venture Silicon Valley symposium near the automaker's Northern California home base recently, says the company is just as much an energy-storage company as a car maker. And he said the rate of battery-technology improvement shows no signs of slowing down, according to Green Tech Media.
Tesla Motors said earlier this month that the agreement it has with Toyota to supply battery packs for the Toyota RAV4 EV SUV would be finished by the end of the year. The deal is done, but Toyota is now singing its best version of Baby, Please Don't Go.
Samsung? Who's Samsung? That's what Panasonic is asking as the electronics conglomerate makes it clear it is looking to secure its position in Tesla Motors' plans to build a huge car-battery factory over the next three years.
The electric vehicles that Renault offers today are having a bit of difficulty attracting customers. Maybe 180 miles of range could make prospective car buyers shed their anxiety. That's what Renault and LG Chem might one day find out, since the two giants signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) last week to co-develop battery technology for long-range EVs.