by admin on 6 October 2012

Car and Driver review the 2013 Tesla Model S

Contributing Editor Csaba Csere takes an in-depth and technical look into the 2013 Tesla Model S on the latest episode of Car and Driver: Tested.  Overall he comes away very impressed, with the technology, styling, practicality and also the performance and handling.  This is probably one of the most comprehensive and clear reviews of Tesla's electric sedan. More »

by admin on 1 October 2012

Ecotricity Network

Just over a year ago Ecotricity announced its UK nationwide fast charging network, since then it has rolled out a total of ten charging locations at motorway service stations (highway rest stops) around the UK.  Today it's beginning the roll-out of DC fast chargers, initally in three locations; South Mimms (M25/A1), Oxford (M40) and Hopwood Park (M42).  These DC fast chargers can deliver 70A at 440V meaning a full charge will take just 30 minutes and a 'top-up' from 20-30% to 100% takes just 10 - 15 minutes.  All you need to use the charger is a free swipe card from the Ecotricity website, the use of the chargers is completely free. More »

by admin on 28 September 2012

Mercedes B-class Electric Drive

Twelve months after Mercedes-Benz revealed the Concept B-Class E-CELL Plus they've brought an 'electric blue' version of what appears to be a mildly updated version.  In summary: 100 kW electric motor, a small capacity petrol engine (in this case 1 litre, 3-cylinder turbo-charged), 0 - 100 kph in under 10 seconds, top speed 150 kph and a 200 km range.  It's a pity that a year later Mercedes have nothing much more to say about this vehicle or even perhaps a fully electric version, there's still no news on price or availability and it's still being called a "Concept". More »

by admin on 28 September 2012

Mercedes SLS AMG Electric Drive

Almost two years since the 'SLS AMG E-Cell' was first driven Mercedes-Benz has brought a 'production ready' SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive (the final name, we'll just call it the electric SLS) to the Paris Motor Show, in a rather striking chromed 'electric blue'.  Back in 2010 the electric SLS had 392 kW (528 hp), the final version shown today, powered by four individual electric motors delivers 552 kW (740 hp) with a tire shredding 1000 Nm (737 lbft) of torque.  This results in a 0 to 100 kph (62 mph) time of 3.9 seconds.  Thanks to a 864-cell, 60 kWh battery pack the electric SLS can travel 250 km on a single charge (a full recharge using a fast wall charger is 3 hours).  As if the SLS AMG weren't exclusive enough the new electric SLS costs around twice the price of its combustion engined sibling; 416,500 euros ($536,000 US) and will be available next year. More »

by admin on 27 September 2012

Bmw Active Tourer

BMW aren't going to let Porsche take all the plug-in hybrid limelight, they've got their own, probably more affordable, concept to tempt you.  The new Concept Active Tourer looks like a slightly larger (slightly uglier) 1-series, it's front-wheel-drive with power coming from an electric motor and 1.5 litre three cylinder turbo-charged engine.  BMW aren't currently specifying the power split but say that there's a total of 190 bhp (140 kW) available and that the car will accelerate to 100 kph in 8 seconds (not shabby), battery only range will be the 'all too familiar' 30 km.  The Active Tourer also features some nifty 'ECO PRO' features including two-level coasting mode which can completely deactivate the petrol engine up to 125 kph and even the drivetrain up to 160 kph allowing for "full use of the kinetic energy already generated".  Average consumption is said to be "less than 2.5 litres per 100 km" (about 100 mpg). More »

by admin on 27 September 2012

Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo

At the Paris Motor Show Porsche today revealed the concept Panamera Sport Turismo.  Other than being (arguably) better looking than the previous model the new shooting-brake style Sport Turismo will also be the first Porsche to provide plug-in charging.  Porsche have for some time offered a 'S Hybrid' version of both the Panamera and Cayenne but neither of these have allowed plug-in charging.  Because it's a Porsche the Panamera Sport Turismo will be no slouch thanks to combined power form the 95 hp electric motor and a 333 hp V6 engine, the sprint to 100 kph should take less than 6 seconds.  Top speed will be 130 kph in electric-only mode and the batteries should provide a range of just over 30 km.  The Panamera Sport Turismo also appears to feature a considerable upgrade in driver user interface with touch screen panels and electronic displays replacing many physical buttons and controls in the previous model.  No word yet on when this will become a final product (although Porsche have a good track record of final products being very similar to their concepts). More »

by admin on 26 September 2012

Porsche 918 Spyder

Porsche's futuristic 918 Spyder hybrid supercar, kitted out with its two electric motors and 4.6L V8 engine (delivering a total of over 790 hp) has achieved a truly impressive lap time of 7 minutes 14 seconds on the notorious Nürburgring-Nordschleife (for reference that's faster than Porsche's own 911 GT2 RS and Carrera GT).  According to Porsche this lap time was completed in just one lap from a standing start with production (non-racing) tyres.  Want one?  You'll need a cool $845,000 and some patience, customer deliveries won't begin until 2014. More »

by admin on 26 September 2012

Tesla Model S

In a new US SEC filing Tesla has revealed that it is way behind in its goal of producing 400 Model S vehicles per week.  In fact so far only 255 have been produced, 132 of which have made their way into owners garages.  This has lead to Tesla slashing their full-year revenue outlook to between $400 million and $440 million instead of the prior $560 million to $600 million.  Tesla is now carrying a total net loss of $864.9 million, up $105.6 million in Q2.  Tesla claims to be ramping production from current levels to between 2,500 and 3,000 in the fourth quarter of this year (an unbelievable 800 - 1,000 vehicles per week).  At this rate Tesla expect to be around 4 to 5 weeks behind their previously announced production goals (1,600 - 2,000 vehicles).  In order to maintain cash flow Tesla will be selling 5 million shares, according to reports Elon Musk (Tesla CEO) will be purchasing $1M worth.  Hopefully Tesla can overcome its production issues as there's no lack of demand, they currently have 13,000 Model S reservations (up from approximately 11,500 at June 30, 2012). More »

by admin on 25 September 2012

Tesla Supercharger

Live in California?  Got a Tesla Model S?  Well from today you can recharge for free at any one of the first six Tesla Supercharger locations.  But that's just the beginning, Tesla are ambitiously aiming to cover the entire USA (100 stations) and expand to Europe and Asia "in the second half of 2013".  The solar powered Supercharger stations (carport style) are capable of charging at a much higher rate  (90 kW) than even a high power wall connector providing a not-too-shabby 150 mile range in just 30 minutes.  The Supercharger network is powered by another of Elon Musk's (CEO of Tesla) businesses - SolarCity. More »

by admin on 25 September 2012

Nissan Carla BailoThere's been quite a storm brewing among LEAF owners living in hotter climates that their batteries are suffering capacity loss which is beyond that which would be expected.  Nissan to their credit were very quick to pick up on this (in damage limitation mode) and took seven LEAF owners in the Phoenix area to their Arizona test facility where they tested each battery for capacity, voltage and even individual cell performance.  In an open letter to 'The LEAF community' Carla Bailo, SVP of R&D for Nissan Americas disclosed that the result of this testing was: The Nissan LEAFs inspected in Arizona are operating to specification and their battery capacity loss over time is consistent with their usage and operating environment. No battery defects were found. A small number of Nissan LEAF owners in Arizona are experiencing a greater than average battery capacity loss due to their unique usage cycle, which includes operating mileages that are higher than average in a high-temperature environment over a short period of time. To us the last part is perhaps the most important, it highlights that all EV manufacturers should be very careful when making claims about capacity and battery degradation and perhaps more clearly communicate the differences in environment and driving style / commute patterns. More »