Internal combustion cars dominated the last century, but led to pollution and unpleasant foreign entanglements due to oil imports. Electric cars solve both of these problems through much greater efficiency and the multitude of means by which electricity is generated. The cars reviewed here look to be the first generation of the kind of vehicle that will dominate the new century. All of them are pricey compared with gasoline-fueled equivalents, but they cost considerably less for both electricity and maintenance. … Read more
With cars such as the RL, TL, and TSX, Acura occupied a very narrow band of the sedan market, but now the ILX extends the brand down toward the compact segment, giving buyers real model differentiation. And the ILX brings Acura its first hybrid car.
I spent a day with the 2013 Acura ILX Hybrid in that cauldron of cars, Los Angeles. My CNET colleague Antuan Goodwin previously reviewed the ILX Premium, the non-hybrid, top-trim version of the car. When we had that car in at CNET HQ, Antuan pointed out where its Honda Civic foundation showed through the Acura … Read more
Sometimes, things just blow up.
It happens to iPhones, so why shouldn't it happen to lovely, shiny hybrid cars?
I am grateful to Jalopnik, which discovered that a lovely Fisker Karma is slightly less lovely today, after it appears to have set itself alight.
I don't think it was a protest against continued ignorance of global warming, though local fire crew in Woodside, Calif., are currently mystified as to why the Fisker lost its karma and simply flambeed.
No one appears to have been hurt in this incident, which occurred when the owner went into a local grocery … Read more
When I took the wheel of the Toyota RAV4 EV during an event in Los Angeles, two things stuck out: a Prius shifter on the console and the all-digital instrument cluster. Clearly, this SUV would not be a typical RAV4. That feeling was accentuated when pushing the start button produced a silent system check, the car booting up, as opposed to the crank of an internal combustion engine.
The exterior of the RAV4 EV also offered a few clues to the nature of its drivetrain, not least of which were the EV and Electric logos on all sides. By comparison, the lack of a large front grille seemed almost subtle.
One cue that few would notice without a spec sheet was the LED low-beam headlights, tucked away in their casings next to standard projector high beams. Toyota made a smart move here, reducing energy usage of the low beams, while reducing costs on the high beams, which get less use.
Driving a blue Honda Fit EV down El Segundo Blvd. in Los Angeles, I began to feel a bit guilty. To my left stretched a massive complex, a big stretch of beachfront property devoted to a Chevron oil refinery. As the Fit EV whispered by this facility, which Wikipedia told me later was founded in 1911 and gave the town of El Segundo its name, I thought of all the oil workers the little electric car I was driving would put out of a job.
Lacking a gas tank and exhaust pipes, this Fit EV would never need to sully itself at one of the many gas stations I passed on this drive through Los Angeles, except maybe to top off the air in the tires.
The Fit EV represents one of the new breed of electric cars, which current battery technology is making more practical for daily use. And in my drive I found the Fit EV the best of the bunch.
In the last decade, BMW's motorcycle division dabbled in scooters as a green solution for crowded urban centers, producing the C1 for a few years. Now BMW is showing off the final fruits of a new project, an electric scooter designed to achieve the performance specifications of a gasoline-fueled scooter.
The C Evolution is the third generation of an electric scooter that BMW has previously shown in concept form. This two-wheeler uses an electric motor and an 8 kilowatt battery pack to drive the rear wheel. BMW says that it can go 62 miles on a full charge. Although … Read more
Toyota has had an excellent run with the Prius, making it the most popular hybrid in the country. Now Ford will attempt to supplant the Prius' position with the new C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi, dedicated hybrids that can boast similar specs.
The Prius faced competition from the Honda Insight previously, and handily trashed it, so Ford will be challenging a tested competitor. Previously, Ford put its Fusion Hybrid up against the Toyota Camry Hybrid, but this is the first time Ford has brought out a dedicated hybrid, a characteristic that has helped the Prius maintain its position.… Read more
The electric vehicle Ford showed off last year is finally hitting the streets, and CNET spent a week with this EV in Focus clothing. Unlike Nissan building the Leaf from the ground up as an electric car, Ford dropped an electric drive system in its existing Focus model.
Ford gains production line efficiencies in using the Focus, but it also results in some compromises in the car. For example, the hatchback area features a big bump where the battery intrudes. The weight distribution also feels as if it is biased toward the rear, a problem when you have to stuff … Read more
Tesla's model ramp-up is looking rapid indeed, as Franz von Holzhausen, the electric vehicle maker's chief designer, talked to British publication Autocar of a new model planned for 2015 to compete with the BMW 3-series. Tesla's Model S, the first car it built from the ground up, began deliveries to customers just last month. Tesla also showed off a new concept, the Model X crossover, earlier this year, which enters production at the end of 2013.
Von Holzhausen said Tesla would target a price of $30,000 for the BMW 3 competitor, and would experiment with more-radical … Read more
It may not be quite as green as the Tesla Model S, but I was gratified to see the range-o-meter showing over 500 miles as I cruised the Lexus GS 450h up and down California freeways. And I was surprised how well it got down and dirty on some curvy mountain roads.
The GS 450h manages to show how technology can make a car get decent fuel economy while also turning in great driving performance. It's no track-day car, but Lexus' new focus on handling lets it eat up the turns. Thank you, adaptive-suspension technology.Lexus' hybrid system remains … Read more