By Dale Jewett
One of the key limitations to electric cars is lack of range. Most automakers say to expect between 60 miles and 100 miles on a full charge. And in many drivers' minds, that's not enough. Automakers working on EVs call this fear range anxiety.
An Indiana-based company is using this year's SEMA show to talk about one possible solution--a power-generating trailer that can extend the range of your electric car.
Electric Motors and Vehicles Co. builds small pop-up trailers with Jeep styling cues that are sold through the Mopar parts unit of Chrysler with suggested retail prices of about $10,000. Company founder Wil Cashen wants to build on that platform with his power-regeneration unit for electric cars.
SUV locks horns with Porsche sibling.
Interfamily competition aside, the Touareg Hybrid is largely on a playground by itself.
By Izzi Bendall
This year’s Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge is calling for lightweight four-passenger vehicle designs--about 1,000 pounds light, to be exact.
Submissions must weigh a maximum of 1,500 pounds with occupants and will be judged on qualities such as comfort, uniqueness of design, roadworthiness, sustainability, performance and user-friendliness.
Industrial behemoth plans to purchase tens of thousands of electric vehicles within weeks
GE has invested billions in various sustainability movements, including EVs. Although what, exactly, the company will be buying is not known, it's expected that the order will be spread across EV manufacturers; no automaker currently has the capacity to fill an EV order of 20,000 vehicles. In essence, GE is using this purchase to invest in an industry that could play a major role within the energy industry as a whole -- which makes sense, considering that GE provides one-third of the world's electricity and is the top provider of electrical generation equipment across the world. A GE spokesman, quoted in The Detroit Bureau, said the company "is betting that for every dollar spent on electric vehicles it will get a dime in revenues of its own."
By Jake Lingeman
Chevrolet Camaro Synergy Series 2011
The first Camaro Synergy was the 2010 Synergy Green special edition. It featured bright green metallic paint on the exterior and the same color in the interior. Because of the success of the Synergy Green Camaro, Chevy plans to make it an annual series.
The 2011 edition will begin production in the first quarter of next year. It will be offered in four colors, none of which are green. The new model will be available in either SS or LT trim.
The show car gets 21-inch painted wheels, a red instrument cluster with accent lighting, Brembo brake calipers and unique interior trim. It will also include a bunch of Chevrolet accessory parts including a Hurst shifter, a red engine cover, a lowering kit and a few other bits and pieces.
Pontiac flexes no more after 84 years
Throughout its heyday, Pontiac was known mainly for powerful engines, though its split grille and arrowhead logo also appealed to those who appreciated their horsepower with a side of distinctive styling. The GTO, developed by John Z. DeLorean; the Bonneville; the Firebird; and the Trans Am, which lives on forever in cinematic glory as the getaway vehicle for Burt Reynolds' Smokey, from the film "Smokey and the Bandit" -- all were big sellers with big engines.
By Ryan Beene, Automotive News
Kia's design boss wants to add a sports car or convertible to lend more appeal to the brand.
No such car is officially in the pipeline, said Peter Schreyer, Kia's chief design officer. Kia first needs to get on more solid footing, he said.
"I think Kia needs a car like that sooner or later, but at the moment it's not yet the time to make any promises," Schreyer told Automotive News.
Mitsubishi readies its i-MiEV for America
Like many electric cars, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV seems a city car in search of a charging infrastructure. I just handed back a right-hand-drive, Japanese-market version of the i-MiEV -- a button-cute, blue and white Easter egg of a car -- after driving it around New York all week. Coincidentally, this week Mitsubishi released a rendering, shown here, of a widened, slightly longer-range i-MiEV that it hopes to begin selling in the U.S. beginning next fall for around $30,000.
Mitsubishi will unveil that iMiEV at the Los Angeles auto show this month. The rendering reveals a more sculpted and aggressive face leading a wider body. A Mitsubishi spokesman said the company is targeting a 100-mile driving range for the U.S. version, which is farther than for the model I drove; my Asian-market car, with its 63-horsepower electric motor, was on pace for about 60 to 70 miles. Of course, as with any any EV, cold weather, a lead foot or extensive use of heating and air conditioning will chop into that already paltry range.
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Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Raised in Volvos, he has grown to love fast, irresponsible vehicles of all kinds. He is the senior news editor at MSN Autos and also reports for Car and Driver, Road & Track, The Boston Globe and other publications.
In the garage: 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (not his)
Doug Newcomb has covered car technology for over 20 years for outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to Edmunds.com. In 2008, he published his first book, "Car Audio for Dummies" (Wiley). He lives and drives in Hood River, Ore., with his wife and two kids, who share his passion for cars and technology.
In the garage: 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS, two 1984 Chevrolet Blazers, 2008 Honda CR-V
James Tate learned to drive stick at age 13 in a 1988 Land Cruiser - in La Paz, Bolivia. He's since been a mechanic, on a pit crew and has wrenched on every car he's owned since his first 1989 Honda CRX Si (and won't stop until the car is a 1973 Porsche 911 RS). His work has appeared in Car and Driver, Popular Mechanics, Automobile and others.
In the garage: 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera, 1988 BMW M5