Green Culture auto news

Pages:  1   2   3    ..  

When you put Rimac Concept One batteries into a wheelchair, magic happens

07/28/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: EV/Plug-in, Green Culture

Rimac EV batteries wheelchair Rolli

Rimac Automobili is no stranger to our pages, but it's usually for the Concept_One supercar or its sleek spinoffs. Today, though, the company is talking up a feel-good alternative use for the electric vehicle's batteries: powering a wheelchair for a young fan, Rolly Bugnar, who suffers from a serious and legitimate case of range anxiety.

"We were confident that we could relatively quickly adapt our battery for a wheelchair." - Mate Rimac

So Bugnar contacted Rimac to see if the company could repurpose its batteries for his daily conveyance. Mate Rimac, the company founder and CEO, said, "Since we have already used the technology originally developed for the Concept_One supercar in other products like the high-performance Greyp Bikes, we were confident that we could relatively quickly adapt our battery for a wheelchair. ... It still took us months of development and adaptation, but we are all very satisfied with the performance and reliability of the prototype system."

What did Rimac do? It took the li-ion battery system from that Greyp G12 bike as well as the company's battery management system, vehicle control unit and human machine interface. As you might suspect, the wheelchair now has better range (37 miles vs. just six with the old lead acid batteries) and weighs less. The new batteries went from 70 pounds down to 47, and the EV has more consistent power, too. You can tell Bugnar is a true EV fan, since he likes to keep close tabs on the individual cells and he wishes his wheelchair could go faster.

Sadly, Rimac Automobili doesn't have a plan to sell any wheelchairs like this, but we expect a lot of wheelchair users would enjoy a new ride like Bugnar's. See what we mean in the video below. It might be the most heartwarming seven minutes you'll spend online today.

Continue reading When you put Rimac Concept One batteries into a wheelchair, magic happens

Read more..

Unplugged Performance sweetens the look of your Tesla Model S for around $6,000

07/23/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: EV/Plug-in, Green Culture, Tesla Motors, AutoblogGreen Exclusive

Tesla Model S with Unplugged Performance Tuner Kit

Tesla electric vehicles are no strangers to the tuner set. Saleen is working on a modified Model S. Brabus once offered neon for your Roadster. And new we find a number of body panel upgrades for the Model S from Unplugged Performance.

Unplugged Performance has its offices right by the Tesla's Supercharger in Hawthorne, CA, and sales manager Mark Borushko told AutoblogGreen that Tesla employees often express their appreciation for what UP has done to change the look of the Model S. The upgrade parts are made in the US and were designed in-house by an ex-Ferrari guy, Borushko said.

What upgrades are there? There's the front spoiler and diffuser (starting at $995), the rear spoiler and diffuser ($1,550), trunk spoiler ($895), side skirts ($1,450) and the Complete Front Fascia System ($1,000). Those prices are all for the unpainted parts. Add a few hundred bucks to each to upgrade to matching paint colors or carbon fiber parts. Borushko said that in the year that Unplugged Performance has been around, they've sold about 30 kits - meaning one of everything - worldwide. There are people who just buy just the trunk spoiler, for example, he said, but about 90 percent of UP's customers opt for the full kit. Borushko said UP will have to see if there's interest in a kit for the Model X, but there likely will be.

Unplugged Performance is a part of Bulletproof Automotive, which offers upgrades for all sorts of vehicles. The Unplugged Performance phone number is the same as the one for Tesla Everything, so we're pretty sure someone over there is a big Model S fan.

Read more..

Elon Musk promises $1 million, Supercharger for New York's Nikola Tesla Museum

07/13/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: EV/Plug-in, Green Culture, Tesla Motors

Earlier this year, Matthew Inman, the creator of The Oatmeal, penned a gushing review of his Tesla Model S, and followed it up with a request to Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk for $8 million to help build a museum dedicated to the achievements of the company's namesake because "any less than $8M would pretty much leave us in the same boat we're in now." Musk Tweeted a response that said, "I would be happy to help."

So, the news that Musk will donate $1 million to the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe towards the construction of the museum, which will be built on a 16-acre site in honor of scientist Nikola Tesla, is a mixed blessing. A million bucks is a million bucks, but it's not the amount Inman was hoping for. The museum says, "[Musk] has challenged us at the Center to use our resources wisely, find additional resources, and reach our goal of creating this museum." In other words, anyone have $7 million?

The plan is to locate the museum in Shoreham, New York, on Long Island's north shore, about 65 miles northeast of New York City. It's also the site of Nikola Tesla's last laboratory. He started working there in 1901 on an unfinished project that would have essentially been a precursor to e-mail. Thursday marked the 158th anniversary of Nikola Tesla's birth. The scientist died in 1943.

On top of the cool million, Musk says he will also build a Supercharger fast-charging station on site for those making the trip out to the museum in a Model S. So the Science Center will be just like Lusk, WY. You can check out the Tesla Science Center's press release below.

Continue reading Elon Musk promises $1 million, Supercharger for New York's Nikola Tesla Museum

Read more..

Man steals, crashes, catches on fire and breaks in half Tesla Model S

07/05/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: EV/Plug-in, Green Culture, Tesla Motors

Tesla Crash

Multiple injuries were reported in a dangerous high-speed crash involving a Tesla Model S this holiday weekend in Los Angeles. The EV was apparently stolen from a local Tesla store and was driven at triple-digit speeds through LA a little before 1 am, a sergeant Campbell from the Los Angeles Police Department's Pacific Division told KTLA 5.

"They tried to help but there was too much smoke." - Eyewitness

Following a call from employees at the store, police chased the apparent thief through LA until he crashed into two cars and a lamp post. The Model S split in half, with the back end getting wedged into a nearby synagogue while the front half caught on fire. An eyewitness told NBC Los Angeles that, "Everybody who was looking was screaming. They tried to help but there was too much smoke."

What, exactly, caused the fire is unknown, but let's just rehash the old chestnut that Tesla EVs are not inherently fire traps and that driving at over 100 miles per hour is a dangerous endeavor in any vehicle. It was originally reported that the thief died, but he, along with people from the cars he hit, were taken to the hospital for treatment and he is reportedly still alive.

More to come, most assuredly, and for now you can watch three local TV news video reports below.

Continue reading Man steals, crashes, catches on fire and breaks in half Tesla Model S

Read more..

Tesla's gains on the dealership status quo is freaking people out

06/18/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: EV/Plug-in, Green Culture, Tesla Motors, Legislation and Policy

Christie Appointees Ban N.J. Direct Sales for Musk's Tesla Cars

Tesla took two more steps towards being allowed to sell its vehicles as it chooses (that is, direct to customers) this week. Legislative efforts in New Jersey and New York both gave the California automaker legal permission (or near permission) to operate its stores. It's gotten so bad - or good, depending on your views, that other automakers are starting to speak up.

Yesterday, Tesla got official permission to keeps it five stores open in New York thanks to the signature of Governor Andrew Cuomo on a pro-Tesla bill that passed earlier this year. This is not a surprise. The bill also makes it difficult for any other automaker to operate its own stores in the state.

Other automakers are now saying that the dealers have too much power.

In nearby New Jersey, the state Assembly voted yesterday to allow EVs to be sold directly to the consumer. This vote follow an Assembly committee's vote earlier this month and the bill now moves to the New Jersey Senate and, if it passes, would need to be signed by Governor Chris Christie before becoming law. You may remember there's a bit of bad blood there. This is all quite a turnaround from mid-March, when the state legislature voted against direct sales. If passed, Tesla would be allowed to operate four stores in the state.

As you can see, progress is being made. And that's changing the battlefield. The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) released a new package of pro-dealership information called "Get the Facts: The Benefits of Franchised Auto Dealers" to take the other side. NADA says that the "current franchised new-car dealer model has benefited consumers, manufacturers and local communities for nearly a century" and then lays out its reasons why. You can watch the NADA's short Get The Facts video below.

Perhaps most interestingly, other automakers - through the Auto Alliance - are now saying out loud that the dealers have too much power. In a statement to Automotive News, the Alliance said, " When we look at the big picture, we may be at a tipping point. If dealer groups continue their push for more onerous franchise laws, we will be forced to keep an open mind about how best to serve new-car buyers in the future." That was enough to scare the chairman of the Automotive Trade Association Executives, who told AN that, the Alliance coming out against the franchise system was a "recipe for disaster."

Continue reading Tesla's gains on the dealership status quo is freaking people out

Read more..

Tesla gaining on dealership status quo is freaking people out

06/18/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: EV/Plug-in, Green Culture, Tesla Motors, Legislation and Policy

Christie Appointees Ban N.J. Direct Sales for Musk's Tesla Cars

Tesla took two more steps towards being allowed to sell its vehicles as it chooses (that is, direct to customers) this week. Legislative efforts in New Jersey and New York both gave the California automaker legal permission (or near permission) to operate its stores. It's gotten so bad - or good, depending on your views, that other automakers are starting to speak up.

Yesterday, Tesla got official permission to keeps it five stores open in New York thanks to the signature of Governor Andrew Cuomo on a pro-Tesla bill that passed earlier this year. This is not a surprise. The bill also makes it difficult for any other automaker to operate its own stores in the state.

Other automakers are now saying that the dealers have too much power.

In nearby New Jersey, the state Assembly voted yesterday to allow EVs to be sold directly to the consumer. This vote follow an Assembly committee's vote earlier this month and the bill now moves to the New Jersey Senate and, if it passes, would need to be signed by Governor Chris Christie before becoming law. You may remember there's a bit of bad blood there. This is all quite a turnaround from mid-March, when the state legislature voted against direct sales. If passed, Tesla would be allowed to operate four stores in the state.

As you can see, progress is being made. And that's changing the battlefield. The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) released a new package of pro-dealership information called "Get the Facts: The Benefits of Franchised Auto Dealers" to take the other side. NADA says that the "current franchised new-car dealer model has benefited consumers, manufacturers and local communities for nearly a century" and then lays out its reasons why. You can watch the NADA's short Get The Facts video below.

Perhaps most interestingly, other automakers - through the Auto Alliance - are now saying out loud that the dealers have too much power. In a statement to Automotive News, the Alliance said, " When we look at the big picture, we may be at a tipping point. If dealer groups continue their push for more onerous franchise laws, we will be forced to keep an open mind about how best to serve new-car buyers in the future." That was enough to scare the chairman of the Automotive Trade Association Executives, who told AN that, the Alliance coming out against the franchise system was a "recipe for disaster."

Continue reading Tesla gaining on dealership status quo is freaking people out

Read more..

EcoCar2 is on the hunt for a better, cleaner Chevy Malibu [w/video]

06/13/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Biodiesel, Emerging Technologies, Ethanol, Green Culture, Hybrid, MPG, Chevrolet

The students spent three years transforming an ordinary Chevy Malibu into a revolutionary vehicle.

Not far from the building where General Motors once invented the Chevy Volt, a dozen or so college students are standing on the blacktop alongside a test track, watching a professional driver push the limits of a plug-in hybrid car they've built that's far more radical.

These students, from Colorado State University, have spent the past three years transforming an ordinary Chevy Malibu into a revolutionary vehicle. At first glance, it still looks like a regular sedan. But under the hood, they've installed a hybrid powertrain that contains both hydrogen and electric power sources. Even by the standards of the Department of Energy competition they're participating in, it's an outlier.

That's exactly what they had in mind.

"We didn't want to come here and tell them how to build a better Volt," said Tom Bradley, faculty adviser for the Colorado State team. "They already know how to do that. We can tell them how to think about these possibilities in a whole new way."

Continue reading EcoCar2 is on the hunt for a better, cleaner Chevy Malibu [w/video]

Read more..

Men, women drive and enjoy their EVs differently

05/27/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: EV/Plug-in, Green Culture

Japan Earns Nissan

That bad habit some men have of seeing how far they can go when the "empty" fuel light is on? Many challenge their electric vehicles in the same way. Some things don't change.

Men and women approach driving plug-in vehicles differently, according to a report by the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies. Researchers interviewed early adopters of vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S in 2011 and 2012. One of the findings in the 18-page study was that women appreciated the practicality of paying a fraction of the refueling costs compared to gasoline, while men were likely to approach the practice as a research and development opportunity. The study participants were all in California (Los Angeles and San Diego), which makes sense given the focus at the time.

The researchers found that the men involved in the study often explored just how far they could go on a charge before the plug-in conked out. Women, on the other hand, generally made sure that there was at least two to three times the necessary juice in the battery before embarking on their quiet voyage.

Last fall, multiple reports surfaced on gender habits in terms of buying plug-ins and suggested that women were about twice as likely to buy a Nissan Leaf as they were the year before, while the Tesla Model S remained almost exclusively a man's car. Whatever the vehicle in question, the UC Davis report says that, "gender represents the learned behaviors associated with masculinity and femininity. Increased mobility among women is construed as a challenge to these traditional gender ideologies."

You can find an abstract of and a link to the UC Davis study here, the details start on page 8.

Read more..

BMW crushing ActiveE EVs, saving all batteries

05/24/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: EV/Plug-in, Green Culture, BMW

Crushed BMW ActiveE EVs by Jimmy Neamonitis

It's unlikely to spark a movement and a movie, the way a certain EV1 did a decade ago, but anyone who's seen Who Killed The Electric Car? will likely cringe at this bit of news. Despite the fact that crushing and recycling old vehicles is standard operating procedure in the auto industry, when EVs are involved, it's always a touchy subject.

The next phase is that "all of the lithium-ion batteries being repurposed for Battery Second Life research projects."

So, what's the news? Well, the image you see above, which comes from the spotting of 16 smashed BMW ActiveE EVs on flatbed trailers on California Route 91 near Los Angeles, CA. EV advocate Chelsea Sexton told Green Car Reports, "It's all very déjà vu, right down to [BMW's] DriveNow promotion as a don't-look-behind-the-curtain distraction - recall GM touting EV1s being donated to museums and universities? - and VINs spray painted on the sides, allowing former drivers to identify their own cars."

BMW's take on this is that the ActiveEs were always meant to have a limited lifespan, and their time has come. As spokesman Dave Buchko tells AutoblogGreen, "The learning begun with the ActiveE will transition to the next phase with all of the lithium-ion batteries being repurposed for Battery Second Life research projects." (You can read his full statement below.) Originally, there were 700 ActiveEs leased to Electronauts (give or take). Yahoo! Autos points out that the ActiveEs were originally imported into the US as "pre-production" cars, which means they can't be sold, they can only be used for carsharing projects or re-leased. Eighty of those ActiveEs recently found a second life as vehicles in BMW's DriveNow carsharing fleet in San Francisco (bringing the total of ActiveEs in the program to 150) and "some have also been returned to Munich for additional research markets," Buchko said.

The big picture here is that no one should be sad to see these cars go. Yes, they may have had some life left in them, but the rules say their time is done and everything is being done to crush responsibly in accordance with the law. Like Plug In Cars says, we're in a completely different era now than we were when GM crushed all those EV1s a decade ago. Instead of marking the end of a plug-in vehicle program, sending the ActiveEs away to be recycled is a symbol of the evolution and growth of BMW's i Project. As further proof, despite a few minor hiccups, the first BMW i3 runabouts with range extenders are being delivered in the US this week.

Continue reading BMW crushing ActiveE EVs, saving all batteries

Read more..

Elon Musk says yes to The Oatmeal's $8M request for Nikola Tesla museum

05/15/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: EV/Plug-in, Green Culture, Tesla Motors

The Oatmeal's Tesla Model S

Matthew Inman is known for his lengthy, often wordy online comics called The Oatmeal. He's also a huge fan of Nikola Tesla, and helped gather $1.37 million via crowdfunding in 2012 to buy up Tesla's laboratory and set the stage for a Tesla museum, the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe. It was such an Internet hit that Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk even chipped in $2,500 and Tweeted that he "will do more in the future." Well, Inman is getting ready to call in that favor.

Yesterday, The Oatmeal published a glowing review of sorts on how great the all-electric Model S is (slightly NSFW). In it we learned that Inman is bonkers in love with his EV, calling it his "intergalactic spaceboat of light and wonder" and saying the acceleration is "freaky." He adores the door handles, the frunk, the advanced powertrain and pretty much everything else. In fact, part one is so positive it reads like an over-the-top Tesla advertorial. But then comes part two, where Inman gets down to business.

Musk simply said, "I would be happy to help."

See, the $1.37 million was used to buy Nikola Tesla's property but was not enough to actually, you know, build the museum. To do that, the Science Center needs another $8 million. And guess who has those kinds of funds? How about a billionaire who is using the Tesla name and is already a fan of the museum idea? That's right, one Elon Musk. And part 2 of The Oatmeal's comic is an argument for why Musk should fork over the $8 million to help pay for the museum. Inman says it is, "A polite request from a humongous fan" and adds that, "You owe us nothing, and you've done nothing but good things in the name of Nikola Tesla. But the fact remains: Tesla Motors, a company now worth billions, is using Nikola Tesla's name, and they're using his technology, and all we want in return is a little bit of help."

Inman says that $8 million is "the bare minimum to build, staff, and maintain a Nikola Tesla Museum," and that the number was reached after getting "countless estimates from site planners, architects, and museum curators from all around the world." Something like $6 million would be good, he writes, but, "any less than $8M would pretty much leave us in the same boat we're in now." Tesla hasn't offered up an official statement, but on Twitter, Musk simply said, "I would be happy to help." Not sure what that means, exactly, but it's probably not going to make Inman hate his car any time soon.

Read more..

Pages:  1   2   3    ..