We'll admit, the idea of the Formula E is an exciting one to us – all-electric, open-wheel racers silently zipping around on the streets of the world's greatest cities should appeal to any futurist/racing enthusiast. As the series approaches the start of the inaugural, ten-race season in Beijing, we're learning a bit more about FE and what it hopes to accomplish.
Toyota brought its new i-Road, a three-wheeled, all-electric low-speed vehicle that debuted in 2013 at the Geneva Motor Show, to the Capitol for some of our elected officials to test out. As easy as it is to forget that politicians are people, too, it was refreshing to see a human side to many of them as they zipped about one of the Capitol's many meeting rooms.
Plug-in vehicles, battery-electric cars and plug-in hybrids are cutting US gasoline use by 45 million gallons a year, which means Americans are already saving $100 million a year in refueling costs thanks to EVs. Now, imagine how those savings might look if startups like Aptera, Coda Automotive and Fisker Automotive had created hits instead of flops.
Electric cars may be reaching their time in the sun with successes like the Tesla Model S, but the basic concept goes back to practically beginning of motoring. EVs also saw a brief renaissance in the 1970s when automakers were trying find a way around rising fuel prices. This 1979 Chrysler ETV-1 concept for sale on eBay Motors is a great example from that era.
As regulations encourage wider adoption of electric cars and more OEMs get into their electric-car stride, we're getting a better idea of what the synthetic tones we'll be hearing on our electrified streets. Not only will it be unlike anything we've ever heard, it could get pretty raucous according to a Bloomberg article that surveys the sound engineers creating the notes sung by electric cars.
Electric cars may be great for saving money on gas, but a new report from Kelley Blue Book, commissioned by USA Today, shows that EVs might not be a great value option for their first owners. The study found that compared to gas-powered vehicles, EVs tend to lose significantly more of their value in the first five years of ownership, corroborating a study conducted in the UK, which we reported on earlier this month.
We had to check our calendar to make sure it didn't read April 1, but since it's not April Fool's Day, we have to assume that Nissan of Europe really has created a special air freshener scent to give away this Christmas. To create this original fragrance, Nissan looked to Dr. George Dodd, a master perfumer and aroma academy scientist who looks a tiny bit like Santa Claus (we seriously aren't making this stuff up).
Saleen may not be the first company you think of when it comes to electric cars. Tire-smoking modified muscle cars, sure, but not so much with the electric cars. That could, however, be about to change.
Struggling automaker Mitsubishi seems adamant that it will soldier on across the globe. Just last week, we told you how the brand would begin selling a pair of rebadged, Korean-built, Renault-Samsung sedans in the US market, and now comes an official statement from Mitsubishi about a mid-term business plan called "New Stage 2016."
When Bob Dylan and his guitar-driven poetry embraced the amp in the mid-Sixties, he famously endured cries of "Judas!" from at least one dejected folkie. The Voice Of A Generation had gone electric, and apparently not all of his concert-goers were ready for the transition. We suspect the Kia Soul and its dancing hamsters will have an easier time of it.
Tesla Motors has big plans for China and has already started taking reservations from the mainland for its Model S. One man, however, has a jump on the rest of his 1.3 billion fellow citizens, having taken delivery of the first example thought to have made it into the country. And it only cost him about $410,500 for the bragging rights.
Despite earlier reports, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced it will not be filing a formal investigation into the fire that engulfed a Tesla Model S earlier this month, as the agency says there was no evidence to suggest the fire was due to a manufacturer defect or that the car was in violation of government-mandated safety standards, according to Automotive News.
Our friends at Popular Mechanics have announced the winners of their 2013 Breakthrough Awards, which honor innovations and new technologies in a variety of fields, ranging from medicine to electronics to space travel. Among the winners were a pair of automakers.
The city of Palo Alto, in the heart of California's Silicon Valley, is already on the cutting edge of modern technology, as the home of Tesla Motors, Hewlett-Packard and Stanford University. It also has large facilities run by Facebook, Apple, Google and PayPal. Outside of the private sector, though, there's not a lot to distinguish Palo Alta from other very wealthy ZIP codes.
Cadillac will be taking on Tesla Motors, the underdog EV manufacturer that's seen heaps of critical acclaim and stock market buzz with its most recent sedan, the Model S. "If you want to compete head-to-head with Tesla, and we ultimately will, you want to do it with a Cadillac," Dan Akerson, the chairman and CEO of General Motors, told media in Washington, according to The Detroit News.
The Spark-Renault SRT_01E looks like it'd be at home on any Formula One track in the world, but this is a car with a different destiny: the all-electric Formula E series. Unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show this week, the SRT_01E from Spark Racing Technology is a 200-kilowatt/270-horsepower monster EV for the 2014/2015 FIA Formula E Championship, which starts zero-emission racing in urban areas this September.
Volkswagen has never been one to put all its eggs in one basket, be it brands, models, bodystyles or powertrain technologies. Germany's largest automaker is a major player in both gasoline and diesel internal combustion engines, but it has also dabbled in hybrid powertrains more recently, and it's cranking up its pure-electric campaign as we speak. A key part of that initiative is the new e-Golf that has just rolled out on VW's show stand here at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
Nissan is working away on its ZEOD RC (Zero Emission On Demand Racing Car) which is still on pace for a Le Mans arrival in 2014. As of right now, the DeltaWing-shaped car's carbon-fiber tub and chassis have been completed. The next step will be installing the twin electric motors and fitting the seat of driver and GT Academy winner Lucas Ordóñez. If the current schedule sticks, the zero-emissions racer will hit a UK track for test laps in September.