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Tesla Model S driver goes from Mexico to Alaska, loves the experience

Posted Aug 23rd 2014 12:00PM

tesla model s

As range anxiety lessens, and more chargers are installed along major roadways, increasing numbers of people are taking road trips in their electric vehicles. The Tesla Model S in particular has become the go-to vehicle for electric touring. When equipped with the 85-kWh battery pack, the Model S offers up to 426 kilometres (265 miles) of range, which is a respectable distance to cover in one sitting. It's still notable, though, when a Model S driver makes a particularly long trek, especially when much of the route is mostly devoid of Tesla Superchargers.

Guy Hall, the president of the Sacramento Electric Vehicle Association, drove his Tesla Model S from the US/Mexico border outside of Yuma, Arizona to Fairbanks, Alaska in just 17 days. He calls the trip the T5 (Tesla Tijuana to Tundra Tour), and he encourages other people to make the journey, despite the challenge of driving through areas that are sparsely populated.

Charging "slows you down to take a break. I've met some marvelously nice people here." – Guy Hall

Driving through California, Oregon, and Washington isn't too difficult. North of Vancouver, British Columbia is where charging starts to get a little tricky. Hall says that when gas stations with electrical outlets were few and far between, he stopped at RV parks to charge (a trick of the Tesla tripping trade we've seen before). Hall made use of his charms, and would offer rides in his Model S to curious employees at mechanic and welding shops in return for the opportunity to more quickly charge his battery using their 240-volt outlets. While the trip took quite a bit longer than it would have in the Ford Taurus Hall owned before switching to EVs, it allowed him to soak in the beauty of his surroundings, meet people along the way and answer questions about the Model S. Charging "slows you down to take a break," says Hall. "I've met some marvelously nice people here."

Guy Hall now hopes to turn the T5 trip into a sort of event, where EV drivers who make the trip in the shortest amount of time could win a trophy. If you're interested in making a similar journey, Hall has posted his route from Sacramento northward, here. Read more about Hall's journey at News Miner, or read his thread at Tesla Motors Club.

Tesla Connects US Coast-to-Coast Supercharger Network

News Source: News Miner

Image Credit: Tesla

Vancouver airport hilariously parodies sports car ad... for new luggage cart?

Posted Aug 22nd 2014 6:30PM

Vancouver Airport's Luggage Cart Promo Hilariously Parodies Sports Car Ads

Vancouver International Airport is promoting its new free luggage carts with the hilarious ad shown above that parodies sports car commercials we're used to seeing.

Much like the latest performance car commercial, this ad claims they're lighter, stronger and faster than the old model. A new handbrake makes them safer... And the wheels are made of "dual composite rubber for better grip and durability," according to the airport's video.

Watch the clip above as the fleet of "new and improved" baggage carts rolls out in the slick video produced to promote them. Sporting a "sleek, upright, ergonomic design," the 3,000 carts feature major upgrades, the airport says.

Best of all, these high-performance carts are free to use terminal-wide. Click here to watch the video for yourself.


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Wait, we could have electric buses that recharge in 15 seconds?

Posted Aug 21st 2014 6:00PM

First, Swiss watches. Now this. Switzerland is home to a system that will allow battery-electric buses to get their juice in 15-second increments at bus-stop-mounted electric chargers. High-tech, indeed!

Switzerland's Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) is leading of a group of public and private entities that is developing something called the TOSA bus system. TOSA buses get recharged via a robotic arm that connects the roof-mounted bus batteries to an electric charging system mounted on the bus stop. The buses can hold up to 133 people and the "flash charging" provides enough juice in a 15-second charge to get the bus to the next electrified stop without delaying the route. The researchers say such buses could be put into regular service in Geneva by 2017.

Bus electrification has been topical because of the traditionally low fuel economy of diesel-powered municipal buses as well as the troublesome electrification systems that require overhead lines for electric power. With that in mind, companies like China-based BYD have been developing battery-electric buses. This spring, BYD started making electric buses at its California factory and, earlier in the year, said it received an order for 1,200 electric buses from Dalian, China.

Click here to watch, as there's a 100-second video about the TOSA system below.

News Source: EPFL

Smart ED ready for high-horsepower Mustang on city drag strip

Posted Aug 21st 2014 11:00AM

Smart ED City Drag Racing

Hey, all you fans of the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, where will you ever use that 328 kilometre per hour top speed? Probably not in very many places, and Smart would kindly like to remind you that, "Top speed means nothing in the city."

That's the tagline for a new ad for the all-electric Smart ED from Smart Canada. The scene is iconic: a couple of high-power cars at the drag strip. But they're up against the battery-powered Smart ED, which you wouldn't think would hold a candle to the overkill horsepower in the Ford Mustang, Audi A5 and Porsche Boxster. Well, maybe it doesn't, but that's why the message here is interesting.

We won't give everything away – that's what the 90-second video you can watch below is for – but we will say this ad does a good job of taking something we think we know and turning it on its head.

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News Source: Smart Canada via Green Car Reports, YouTube

Autoblog readers come clean with their own controversial automotive beliefs

Posted Aug 20th 2014 6:00PM

You Shared Your Unpopular Opinions And We Respond

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno - Season 20

A couple weeks back, the editors here at Autoblog sounded off with some of our own unpopular automotive opinions, voicing the controversial sentiments for which we often catch flak from other enthusiasts upon expression. Along with our own, we invited the Autoblog faithful to share their unpopular opinions. We were thrilled to see how many of you shared your own opinions – nearly 400 of you weighed in with thoughts of your own at last count.

The comments were so good, in fact, that we have gathered a bunch of the most interesting ones and are sharing them here (occasionally corrected for grammar, style, etc.), giving their authors their just reward for taking the time and effort to write out their thoughts. Scroll below to see some more unpopular opinions as well as our reaction to your thoughts. Perhaps you'll find you aren't so alone in thinking the Chrysler PT Cruiser wasn't all bad, or that the Nissan GT-R is overrated. Perhaps... READ MORE

Image Credit: Getty | Long Zheng / Flickr | Paul Sakuma / AP Photo | Jason Alden / Bloomberg | britl / Flickr I supergenijalac / Getty I Stacie McChesney / NBC

First BMW i8 sells for $825,000, over five times its $145,000 base price

Posted Aug 20th 2014 4:00PM

BMW i3 Pebble Beach Auction Edition

Here are some numbers. The standard BMW i8 starts at starts at roughly $145,000 in Canada. The first i8 in North America were auctioned off at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance this past weekend and the auctioneers, Gooding & Company, said before the gavel was lifted the fist time that they expected the i8 with unique Frozen Grey Metallic and other upgrades to raise between $150,000 and $200,000 for the Pebble Beach Company Foundation. Turns out, the car eventually sold for USD$825,000 to an unnamed buyer.

Along with the honour of having the first 2015 BMW i8 on these shores, the special plug-in hybrid comes with Dalbergia Brown leather upholstery, a set of Louis Vuitton luggage and something called a "professional edition" charging station along with laser headlights (subject to regulator approval).

A number of other i8s were delivered to a few wealthy car shoppers who managed to make their way to Pebble Beach over the weekend, including automotive guru Roger Penske and Nest CEO Tony Fadell. The special edition was presented at the auction by Jay Leno and BMW North America president and CEO, Ludwig Willisch. You can't put a price on that. Just kidding. You can, and it's apparently $825,000.

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News Source: Autoblog Green

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Brandon Turkus / AOL

Thieves stealing copper from EV charging stations in Vancouver

Posted Aug 20th 2014 2:59PM

In Europe, most EV charging stations don't have a wire permanently attached. Unlike North America, European EV drivers need to carry a cable around with them. This is a bit of a hassle, but it's far easier than pulling up to an EVSE and finding the cable simply cut out. That's what's happening to some Level 2 EVSEs in Canada. We have no idea how widespread this problem is – and we note that this isn't the first we've heard about vandals attacking EV charging stations – but vandalizing charging stations sure seems like a needless setback to the EV community.

Transport Evolved reports that a number of EVSEs in and around Vancouver, BC have had their cords removed recently, likely for the valuable copper inside. The vandals hit the charging stations with bolt cutters and sometimes manage to attack the same station multiple times, since the station owners spend the money to fix the damage. Transport Evolved says that the high price for some of the copper ($4 Canadian per pound) means that stealing one EVSE cable can offer a "tidy profit." Street lights in the area have been targeted as well.

Charging Stations For Hybrid & Electric Cars Multiplying

News Source: Transport Evolved

Image Credit: via wikipedia

We cruised Woodward in the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat [w/video]

Posted Aug 19th 2014 8:00PM

Calling Attention With A 700-Horsepower Megaphone

Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

We were definitely rock stars at the 20th edition of the Dream Cruise.

The yell came from somewhere in the crowd: "Hey Hellcat, push it!" We obliged with a jab of the throttle, and the 707 horses of the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat roared to life. It went on like this. All weekend. It's one thing to attend the Woodward Dream Cruise, it's quite another to star in it.

We were definitely rock stars at the 20th edition of the Dream Cruise, metro Detroit's annual summer car show that rolls up and down the area's iconic strip, Woodward Avenue. Chrysler tossed us the keys to its latest muscle coupe a few days before the cruise with the suggestion: "Have fun." Hmm, okay, think we can handle that. And with a vague game plan of burning as much fuel as possible, we hit the road.

Thursday night was a bit of a dry run – or so we thought. The idea was to get used to the Hellcat's heavy clutch in traffic, gun the engine a few times and head home. But the Dodge commanded immediate attention from the moment we pulled onto Woodward... READ FULL STORY

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Greg Migliore / AOL

2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4Matic

Posted Aug 18th 2014 12:00PM

Luxury Bruiser Loves To Run, Hates To Dawdle

2014 Mercedes S63 AMG 4Matic

Let us pause as I toss a Kleenex to the owners of Mercedes-Benz's $204,500 S600 and $249,500 S65 AMG models. The quickest S-Class is not fitted with a twin-turbocharged V12 driving its rear wheels. Instead, that honour goes to this $167,400 (the standard S550 is "only" $116,800 and the standard AMG 4Matic version is $156,400) S63 AMG, which arrives with a twin-turbocharged V8, a wickedly quick multi-clutch transmission and surefooted all-wheel drive. This particular Mercedes-Benz is a massive vehicle, stretching just over 17 feet long and weighing in at more than 4,800 pounds (2,177 kilograms), but in superhero fashion, it combines the luxury of a penthouse suite with the performance and moves of an exotic sports car.

During a recent trip to Washington DC, I was handed the key to a glistening Verde Brook (think metallic dark brown) S63 AMG. After a quick walk-around, which required prying myself out of its cavernous second row (complete with opulent heated and cooled reclining seats equipped with marshmallow-soft pillows), I dropped behind its steering wheel, fired up the engine and pointed its nose south. My destination was 300 miles (483 kilometres) away, which should have taken just over four hours, except this was a summer weekend and I was heading down dreaded Interstate 95 with a few million other motorists... READ MORE

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL