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
This is my last day of Loaded for the next week. I am off to Los Angeles tomorrow to cover the E3 gaming conference for CBS News. You can follow all of CNET's E3 coverage here or of course you can follow me on Twitter for personal anecdotes of the event here.
Mark Licea will fill in for me on Loaded while I am gone next week. Please be nice to the sub!
Links from Friday afternoon's episode of Loaded:The iPhone 4 will go on sale at Wal-Mart on June 24The Nissan Leaf is being shown … Read more
With hybrids startling pedestrians in parking lots because of their silent running, there has been some talk of putting synthetic sound-emitting devices in the vehicles--to put a bell on the cat, as it were. Beyond the talk, nothing has actually been done, until now. Nissan announced a pedestrian safety sound system for its upcoming Leaf electric car.
The sound system includes a speaker under the hood and a synthesizer in the dash. The driver will be able to turn it off, but it comes on by default at start up. At speeds above 18 mph (30 kph), the system turns … Read more
Nissan Motor on Friday kicked off a week-long test-drive event for its Leaf electric car, saying it had a combined 20,000 orders in Japan and the United States six months before the car goes on sale.
Japan's No. 3 automaker is inviting 500 journalists, shareholders, government officials, and some customers who have placed reservations to drive the five-seater hatchback at its test track near Tokyo in an exclusive preview through June 19.
Nissan is counting on the zero-emission Leaf to regain its reputation as a technology leader after trailing Toyota Motor and Honda Motor in fuel-efficient hybrid cars. … Read more
Renault announced a sales target of 200,000 electric vehicles by 2015, according to an article in La Tribune. The French automaker will introduce its first electric vehicle--a version of a medium-size family sedan--in Israel and Denmark in 2011, followed by an electric version of New Kangoo based on the ZE Concept car for fleet sales.
While its sales goal forecast sounds high for a technology that hasn't yet reached mass production, the Nissan-Renault alliance partnership, which enables the carmakers to share key electric car components, is poised to meet whatever manufacturing demand exists.
LOUISVILLE -- Infiniti will introduce two model variations this year in an effort to broaden the brand's product line without adding body styles.
One of the changes is certain to involve Nissan Motor Co.'s new high-output direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which will debut in the United States this year on the new Nissan Juke crossover.
While withholding specific details, Ben Poore, vice president of the Infiniti business unit, told journalists here last week that dealers will receive the two additional products in October or November.
Poore described one of the new offerings as "performance-oriented" -- a … Read more
Tesla looks like a real car company all of a sudden; lifetime free traffic looking like the norm for GPS; new Pioneer AVIC gets married to Pandora mobile; TV broadcasts in your car have hit a snag; and we roll in our favorite sports sedan: the AMG C63.Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 170 SHOW NOTES