Nissan says it can make the Prius look like a pig, BMW jumps on the best kept secret of iPhone 4, the new traffic tool coming soon to your Blackberry, make the Acura TL less ugly, and we drive the Goldilocks of BMW's: The 335is.Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 176 SHOW NOTES
Toyota fired the first shot with its updated and redesigned Sienna minivan, revealed at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show. When Honda unveiled its updated Odyssey last month, we couldn't help but note a few similarities between it and the Toyota. Now, Nissan enters the fray with teaser photos of its upcoming Quest refresh and we can't help but notice that it sort of looks like someone just Photoshopped a Nissan badge onto a dark photo of a Sienna. Come on automakers, we understand that a van should look like a van, but is it too much to … Read more
Thirty minutes used to be the gold standard when it came to charging electric-car batteries. But JFE Engineering, a Japanese energy technology company, has unveiled a way to recharge batteries in one-tenth of that time.
In only three minutes, the company claims that it can recharge a battery up to 50 percent of its capacity, and in five minutes recharge the battery up to 80 percent, according to an article in CrunchGear.
The Mitsubishi iMiev had a 50-mile range after a five-minute charge in testing.
Nissan Motor said it aims to nearly double the mileage on its first hybrid car developed in-house compared with the gasoline engine version, while keeping costs down with a simple, single-motor system.
Japan's No.3 automaker is due to launch a gasoline-electric Infiniti M sedan, called Fuga in Japan, late this year, lagging rivals Toyota Motor and Honda Motor by more than a decade in offering a proprietary hybrid model.
While admitting to the late start, Nissan said its one-motor, two-clutch system would achieve far better fuel economy, at a much lower technical cost compared with hybrid leader Toyota'… Read more
Two contenders are about to duke it out for our automotive future. Nissan brings out an all-electric car that promises emission-free driving along with low maintenance and per-mile costs. The Volt is also an electric car, but Chevy fits it with a range extending gasoline-powered generator, giving it about five times the range of Nissan's Leaf but adding to the complexity.
Brian Cooley takes an early look at both of these cars, weighing not only their drive-train technology, but also their connectivity and cabin tech systems. Watch as he gives a preview of which car might come out on … Read more
DETROIT--As the era of the electrified car shifts into second gear, a central question looms: Can electric vehicles gain mass acceptance despite their limited range? Or must electric cars have gasoline range-extenders so the car can meet all its owner's needs?
And Nissan, BMW, and General Motors have different approaches to that crucial issue. BMW's Rich Steinberg says drivers find they love the electric Mini E, whose 100-mile range handles nearly all daily driving needs.
But at GM, Micky Bly, approaching the launch of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, says automakers must go beyond early adopters and sell a car that can handle the weekend trip as well as the daily commute.
"I feel strongly the early-adopter movement is done in North America," Bly, GM's executive director for global electrical systems, hybrids, electric vehicles and batteries, told the Automotive News Green Car Conference/Exhibition here last week. The early-adopters market soon will be sated in Asia and Europe, too, he said.
Bly is in charge of the Volt, which is scheduled to arrive in October or November. He touts the Volt's gasoline generator as the way to attract mainstream buyers. If there were any doubt about GM's position, Bly's presentation included a slide saying: "The mass market EV has to be CAPABLE of being your primary vehicle."
"I think pure battery electric vehicles--they're not going to be niche vehicles, but they're not going to be a primary vehicle," Bly said in an interview. … Read more
We'll reveal the *real* range you can expect from the Nissan Leaf...Find out what secret sauce Tesla will use to build the coming Model S...See where Chrysler hid the owners manual...and drive a Lexus SUV that straddles more than creeks & gullys.Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 174 SHOW NOTES
GM recalls one and a half million cars, Audi puts 62 speakers in a Q7, Nissan makes the Leaf noisy, and we check out the back of a Toyota Sienna minivan.Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 173 SHOW NOTES
A few good features help make the Nissan Sentra a solid daily driver. The Bluetooth phone system, which lets you voice dial by name, is an exceptional feature. The continuously variable transmission is a far better choice for a small car than a fixed-gear automatic. Although we were happy to find an iPhone port, the interface leaves a lot to be desired. And cars like the Sentra, Corolla, and Civic have a tough time justifying themselves these days, with models such as the Fit and Nissan's own Versa nipping at their heels.
A small but serviceable infrastructure for charging the batteries in electric vehicles is springing up in the United States, but it's largely in people's own garages.
Outside the home, more charging stations are being built, but locations are still widely scattered. In the long run, experts say, the basic charging technology being used to launch tiny volumes of EVs today probably will predominate in the near future.
"Most of the technology issues are minimal," says Phil Gott, director of automotive consulting for IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Mass.
Global Insight's main concern about electric vehicles is consumer resistance because of the limited range of EVs, Gott says. A widespread charging structure--particularly high-voltage, fast-charging stations--could overcome that objection.
But the consensus is that the majority of initial EV owners will recharge overnight at home using slower, comparatively low-voltage charging stations. High-voltage charging stations will top off the battery during the day if necessary, at locations such as shopping malls or at recharging stations along highways
Home is where the charger is
Most home charging uses a Level 2 charging station. According to Coulomb Technologies Inc. in Campbell, Calif., which makes charging stations, the most common Level 2 in-home installation will require 240 volts.
Older homes may need a bigger electrical panel, but most homes built since the 1980s probably can accommodate a home charging dock, says Kristen Helsel, vice president of EV solutions at AeroVironment Inc. in Monrovia, Calif., another manufacturer of charging stations.
It takes two to six hours to recharge a car with a Level 2 station, depending on how far the battery is depleted. AeroVironment says a Level 2 setup costs $2,000 to $4,200. Local labor rates account for much of the difference, the company says.
Level 1 charging uses a standard 110-volt household electrical outlet, Helsel says. Because that takes at least twice as long to charge as a Level 2 setup, manufacturers expect consumers to use household outlets only as a last resort. … Read more