Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Volkswagen Testing New Portable EV Charging Stations

New high-speed chargers can charge four vehicles at a time.

by on Dec.28, 2018

Volkswagen has developed a new portable electric vehicle charger that it will begin testing in 2019.

Volkswagen has been saying for months now that it plans to introduce a wave of battery-electric vehicles in the U.S. and around the world — as many as 50 vehicles by 2030.

However, as the motoring public begins to take a macro view of life with an EV, one of the questions being asked is where are all of the EV drivers going to recharge when the home charging station isn’t available?

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Plenty of companies are stepping up to build charging stations across America; however, Volkswagen isn’t just creating a problem with no solution with this tsunami of EVs is plans to introduce, it’s developed a mobile charging station. (more…)

Elon Musk Unveils His Boring Tunnel

Crowds cheer as first car races through 1.14-mile pilot tunnel at SpaceX HQ.

by on Dec.19, 2018

A Tesla Model X moves through Boring Co.'s pilot tunnel on December 18, 2018.

If Elon Musk hopes to find a way around L.A.’s famously treacherous traffic he still has a long way to go, but the entrepreneur demonstrated what could be one answer Wednesday night by officially opening the Boring Co.’s first test tunnel in the Los Angeles suburb of Hawthorne.

The 1.14-mile route that begins at the headquarters of SpaceX, one of the companies run by Musk, was anything but smooth, one reporter taken along for a demonstration ride complaining of motion sickness. But the pilot tunnel  was simply meant to demonstrate Musk’s belief that “to solve the problem of soul-destroying traffic, roads must go 3D,” according to a post on the Boring Company website.

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Capping what has been a tough year for the 47-year-old entrepreneur, the opening of the first tunnel could provide momentum for Musk’s plan to build similar structures across the country. The City of Chicago has already given the Boring Co. a tentative contract to develop an underground link from the city’s downtown to its busy O’Hare Airport. Other proposed projects could see links between Washington D.C. and its suburbs, even one running all the way from the capital to New York City.

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California Requiring Transit Agencies to Buy Electric Buses

New mandate means 14,500 new electric buses.

by on Dec.14, 2018

Daimler Truck has invested millions in California-based electric busmaker Proterra to help with its battery-electric development.

California is looking to keep its place as the leader for clean air initiatives after the California Air and Resource Board (CARB) voted to fully transition the state’s public bus fleet to electric power by 2040.

The unanimous vote makes California the first state to sign on to such a commitment. It’s definitely a commitment as the mandate requires the state replace more than 14,000 buses with zero-emissions models.

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The plan requires state agencies that buy buses make 25% of those purchases battery-electric models between now and 2023. By 2025 that number must jump to 50% and by 2029 all buses bought must be battery-electric.  (more…)

Sales Sliding, Toyota Rethinking Plans for Prius

As sales slip, “We need to find a new direction,” says senior Prius exec.

by on Dec.12, 2018

For 2019, Toyota is launching the first AWD version of the familiar Prius hatchback.

Say the word, “hybrid,” and one name is almost certainly going to pop into your mind: Toyota Prius. First launched in Japan in 1997 and brought to the U.S. three years later, it has been the world’s best-selling hybrid-electric vehicle, or HEV, ever since. For several years, earlier this decade, it was the best-selling vehicle in the huge California market and number one in Japan, as well.

But, as the cliché goes, times have changed. Whether due to increased competition, cheap gasoline, or other issues, sales of the original Prius hatchback have been tumbling. Though still the best-selling hybrid in the U.S., the first 11 months of this year saw demand dip 23.2%. And, at just 3,180 vehicles in November, sales are now running barely a quarter of their peak pace earlier in the decade.

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Toyota is trying to address some of the issues that came up with the launch of the fourth-generation Prius hatchback for the 2016 model-year, among other things tweaking its design and introducing a new electric all-wheel-drive system that could enhance the car’s appeal in Snowbelt regions. But during a series of interviews at a media drive of the 2019 Prius, Toyota officials acknowledged they are looking at even more radical options for the fifth-generation hybrid hatchback due out early in the coming decade.

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Trump Administration Still Fighting to Roll Back Fuel Economy Rules

Critics say mistakes made in calculations nullify Trump-propsed gains.

by on Dec.07, 2018

The Trump administration is proposing revoking California's ability to make it's own emissions and fuel economy rules.

While the industry is focused now on issues such as trade, manufacturing capacity and employment, the fight over fuel economy and emissions hasn’t gone away and could roar back to life any time.

The Trump administration proposed rolling back the fuel-economy rules imposed in the waning days of Obama administration. It also has proposed eliminating California’s hold on the auto industry.

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California, powered by an overwhelming political victory by Democrats opposed to Trump in last month’s midterm elections and bolstered by new reports both from the Trump administration’s Environment Protection Agency and the United Nations Independent Panel on Climate Change, have vowed a long and expensive court fight to protect the Obama standards and its authority. (more…)

10 Best of the LA Auto Show

Cars, trucks, crossover and concepts worth a second look.

by on Dec.03, 2018

The long-awaited Jeep Gladiator pickup made for one of the splashiest debuts at the LA Auto Show.

We’ve been to some dud auto shows over the last year. The Paris Motor Show, which kicked off the 2019 model-year, couldn’t even fill up a half day on the media calendar, and the Detroit Auto Show didn’t stretch much further. But this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show delivered some sweet surprises with its mix of cars, trucks, crossovers and concepts.

As we’ve come to expect from the Tinseltown extravaganza, there were plenty of green machines making their first appearance at the Los Angeles Convention Center, but these weren’t the sort of slow and stodgy sedans and quirky hatchbacks of years past, covering a broad swath of territory including electrified SUVs, pickups and sports cars. And there were plenty of promising products that fell into more conventional categories.

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Here’s an alphabetical look at 10 of our favorite debuts at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show:

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Honda Insight Named Green Car of the Year

Jaguar I-Pace and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV also honored.

by on Nov.29, 2018

Honda's Ray Mikichuk with Green Car Publisher Ron Cogan and Green Car of the Year Insight.

The 2019 Honda Insight was named the Green Car of the Year on Thursday, during a news conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The hybrid sedan had to share the stage, however, with two other winners, the Jaguar I-Pace taking home a trophy as Luxury Green Car of the Year, while the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was honored as SUV Green Car of the Year.

The award comes as something of a vindication for Honda. The automaker was actually the first to sell a hybrid in the U.S. market, but the original, two-seat Insight, launched in 1999, was a slow seller and a second version bearing the Insight badge didn’t do much better. The new model finally appears to be connecting with consumers by “being a no-compromise vehicle,” Ray Mikichuk, Honda’s assistant vice president for U.S. sales, told TheDetroitBureau.com.

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Rivian Shows Off Electric Pickup Before L.A. Show

Michigan-based EV maker's truck runs 0-to-60 in just three seconds.

by on Nov.27, 2018

The Rivian R1T pickup is designed to go anywhere, providing utility and functionality with plenty of power.

Rivian, a fledgling electric vehicle builder, is taking aim at both traditional rivals and new companies invading the automotive business with a battery-electric pickup truck capable of wading streams and climbing rocky hills with a unique blend of new technology and some traditional automotive engineering.

“We’re launching Rivian with two vehicles that reimagine the pickup and SUV segments,” said Rivian Founder and CEO RJ Scaringe. “I started Rivian to deliver products that the world didn’t already have – to redefine expectations through the application of technology and innovation.”

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He started with “a clean sheet,” spending years developing the technology to deliver the ideal vehicle for active customers. Scaringe was after a vehicle that delivered top-flight driving dynamics on-road or off, but could also function as a regular vehicle – meaning “being capable of driving long distances on a single charge.” (more…)

Range Rover Redux – 2nd Gen Evoque Breaks Cover

New platform, more technology for smallest Range Rover.

by on Nov.23, 2018

The 2019 Range Rover Evoque made a splashy debut in Britain on Thursday night.

At first glance, you might not recognize the compact ute has gotten a nearly complete makeover, but there have been plenty of significant changes made to the 2019 Range Rover Evoque, more than 90% of what you’d find under the skin of the compact SUV being all new.

First launched in 2010 as a 2011 model, the Evoque quickly became the most popular model in Land Rover history and, even as the first-generation ute approached the end of its run it has remained quite popular. But, in an increasingly crowded market, the British sibling of Jaguar is taking no chances.

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“When Range Rover Evoque made its debut back in 2010, it transformed the world of compact SUVs and the new model is set to continue that remarkable journey,” declared design director Gerry McGovern, at a splashy British unveiling on Thursday evening. “This characterful vehicle combines refinement and fun to create that all important emotional reaction that will turn heads and make people smile.”

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Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid, Brand’s First Plug-In, Debuting in LA

EV range of 17 miles per charge.

by on Nov.21, 2018

Subaru's first plug-in hybrid, the Crosstrek PHEV, will make its debut next week.

Subaru is about to become the latest automaker to plug-in to battery power – quite literally, with its first-ever plug-in hybrid set to make its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show next week.

The Japanese carmaker will underplay the plug-in side of the drivetrain by calling its new model the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid – apparently lifting a page from Fiat Chrysler’s playbook, the Detroit automaker calling its own plug-in the Pacifica Hybrid.

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That said, the new version of the Subaru SUV will have the ability to travel about 17 miles in pure battery mode. That’s relatively modest compared to some current plug-in offerings, such as the Chevrolet Volt which gets three times the range, but it’s about what Toyota manages with its latest PHEV, the Prius Prime.

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