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Detroit Auto Show prankster 'damages' hundreds of thousands of dollars in cars

  • Detroit Auto Show prankster 'damages' hundreds of thousands of dollars in cars
  • 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk [w/video]
  • 2017 Jaguar XE
  • Ford reveals new F-150 Raptor packs 450 horsepower

2013 Nissan Leaf [w/video]

Posted May 16th 2013 12:00PM

If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It

Look at the 2013 Nissan Leaf – even one parked next to a 2012 model – and you'll be hard-pressed to spot the differences. Changes and updates have been made, but you have to know the details to tell. It's sort of like listening to a hipster tell you why Interpol and The National have completely different sounds. We should mention upfront that Canadians will have to wait a little while longer before they can stroll into their local Nissan dealership to pick out a 2013 model year Leaf. For now, you'll be shopping for a 2012 model year, which, as you'll find below, is not so different from the latest version.

Nissan says it didn't reinvent the Leaf because what the company has created is working. Over 25,000 Leafs have been sold to our neighbors south of the border (a few thousand have been sold here as well) – amounting to 62,000 around the world – since the car went on sale in late 2010. That may not sound like a lot, but it's heads and shoulders above any other all-electric car available anywhere. The car has its detractors – boy, does it ever – but Nissan knows it's hard to argue with real-world success.

We recently spent a few hours driving the new Leaf around the hills of central Tennessee after a visit to Nissan's new 44,129 square-metre (475,000 square-foot) battery plant. What we learned there provided a lot of hints about the company's electric future. Nissan may be leading today, but company head Carlos Ghosn has made huge, multi-billion-dollar bets on zero-emission technology and the rest of the world has been very slow to prove him right.

Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Sebastian Blanco / Christopher McGraw / AOL

Detroit Electric, Geely announce strategic partnership for electric vehicles

Posted May 5th 2013 4:00PM

Detroit Electric Technology emblem The revived Detroit Electric company will be partnering with China's Geely, but the mission is not to cooperate on bringing the all-electric Tesla Roadster-like SP:01 to market (pictured above). Instead, Detroit Electric and Geely will co-develop more normal passenger vehicles from Geely's Emgrand brand, starting with the EC7 sedan. The two companies will also work on "related electric drive systems." The recent announcement was made at the Shanghai Motor Show.

Geely and Detroit Electric have been working quietly for three years on feasibility studies and a joint development program that finally selected the EC7. All of the vehicles that emerge from the strategic partnership will be sold in China, and the first model, which will be called the EC7-EV and come in two range flavours 161 km (100 miles) and 257 km (160 miles) is due in 2014. The EC7-EV will apparently have a top speed of over 200 km/h (124 mph). The companies are bold enough to put out sales predictions already, saying they expect 3,000 to be sold in the first year and 30,000 in the first three years.

Detroit Electric is in the midst of an aggressive launch phase, with plans to already start building the SP:01 in Michigan in August. To refresh your memory, the SP:01 scoots on up to 100 kilometres per hour in just 3.7 seconds on the way up to a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph). The powertrain includes a 37-kWh lithium-polymer battery and an air-cooled, asynchronous AC electric motor that puts out 201 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque. The range (as calculated on the New European Driving Cycle) is 180 miles (290 km) – we figure that means about 150 miles (241 km) using American-based tests.

Click here to watch a video on the latest from Detroit Electric.

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News Source: Detroit Electric

Image Credit: Detroit Electric

2013 Fiat 500e

Posted Apr 15th 2013 12:00PM

Cinquecento's Electrifying One-Price Strategy Is A Gas

North America's electric vehicle segment is getting crowded, but sales remain tiny compared to the overall market. Listening to EV pitchmen, a key phrase heard over and over is "no compromises." This particular EV, the seller says, offers all* the things you want in a car, without the gasoline and without compromises. That asterisk thing? Well, sure, the electric vehicle paradigm requires you rethink the "one car that does everything" mentality, but once that's out of the way, there are no compromises here. No siree.

Of course, all EVs require compromises – but the truth is that every car forces owners to make compromises. Big SUVs don't always fit into parking spaces and suck down fuel. Subcompacts can't hold a gaggle of children and dogs. High-performance sports cars compromise wallets. Once you wrap your head around the idea that choosing electric is an option just like vehicle size or colour – where no one choice is right for everybody, even if it's perfect for some – the 2014 Fiat 500e, going on sale this summer, asks a simple question: when you're driving in a city, why would you drive anything except an EV?

Fiat has been making the 500e at its Toluca, Mexico plant since early December, but it isn't busy building a million so that just anyone can own one. In fact, the automaker is going out of its way to make sure you don't buy a 500e if it's not right for you. The official website will soon have a "compatibility matching service" that will use information you feed it to determine if you're an EV candidate (we're guessing a short commute, an understanding of new technology and a place to charge at home will be the key factors). If the system doesn't think you're EV-ready, it'll propose a different 500 for you. Nice, huh?

So, does the 500e actually offer pure electric mobility without compromises? Yes and no. Mostly yes, and it's a fun yes.

2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid finally adds gas-electric option to the brand [w/video]

Posted Mar 28th 2013 7:31PM

2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid - front three-quarter view, live on 2013 New York Auto Show stand

For a company that does a pretty great job of tying its vehicles to the environment – or, better said, to people who like to actually get out into the environment – Subaru hasn't exactly been a leader in green vehicle production. In fact, it's 2013 and the company is finally releasing its first-ever production hybrid, the XV Crosstrek Hybrid. Tom Doll, Subaru's executive vice president, admitted as much at the unveiling today at the New York Auto Show: "We at Subaru were not the first to market with a hybrid, but we sure made sure we did it right."

That may be, but for now the automaker doesn't want to tell us all the details of how right it is. We do know that the powertrain takes Subaru's 2.0-litre boxer engine and adds in a 13.4-horsepower electric motor and continuously variable transmission. All-wheel drive will be, of course, standard, and Subaru promises the XV Crosstrek Hybrid will offer the "same utility and versatility as the gasoline model," including 221 mm (8.7 inches) of ground clearance. The hybrid does weigh 136 kg (300 pounds) more, though, which required a re-engineered chassis.

The motor can move the lifted Impreza in all-electric mode up to 40 km/h (25 mph) for a distance not specified. Subaru isn't talking precise fuel economy numbers, either, just that it will be the "most fuel-efficient all-wheel-drive crossover" and will unsurprisingly have start-stop functionality. We do hear, though, that the hybrid will get around 10 per cent better fuel economy than the standard gas-only XV Crosstrek. The most efficient version of that car, the one with the CVT, estimates are 9.4 L/100km (25 mpg) in the city, 7.1 L/100km (33 mpg) highway and 8.4 L/100km (28 mpg) combined. Whatever this hybrid XV Crosstrek gets, we expect Subaru will sell a bunch.

For more Canadian info, scroll down to watch an official video and read the Subaru Canada press release.

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News Source: Subaru

Image Credit: Live photos copyright 2013 Steven J. Ewing / AOL

New York Auto Show displays 2014 BMW 328d, marque's first 4-cylinder diesel sold in NA

Posted Mar 28th 2013 9:30AM

2014 BMW 328d

We brought you coverage of BMW's new 328d bowing at the Vancouver Auto Show yesterday, and today we bring you another photo gallery of Munich's latest diesel-sipping sport sedan. Unfortunately, the company remains vague on the price, but we did hear dig up a few facts in Vancouver. We have confirmed that the 328d will be packing a variation of BMW's N47 engine which powers the European-spec 320d. We can expect to see 180 hp, 280 pound-feet of torque, and fuel economy at the 4.5L/100km mark on the highway. The New York Times obtained an estimated fuel economy of approximately mid-30 mpg (6.7 L/100km) in the city. If the engine isn't detuned for our market we can expect peak torque to roll in at 1,750 rpm, and holding solid to just shy of 3000 to propel the vehicle to a mid-7-second 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) time.

We regret that the 2.0-litre TwinPower turbocharged and direct injected engine will not be available with a manual, but if we're forced to drive an auto-box, BMW's eight-speed ZF unit is a sweet one. As we noted earlier, the 328d will be available with every option and trim level – like all-wheel drive – that other 3-Series models have in Canada (transmission excepted) and should start just above $40,000 when it goes on sale this fall.

Officially, the 328d will be able to accept biodiesel blends up to B5 (or, just maybe B7), which is standard diesel with five (seven) per cent biofuel.

Can't get enough of BMW's latest uber-efficient 3-series? We were the first to post the 328d breaking cover at the Calgary Auto Show, you can find the corresponding photo gallery here. Click through to watch a diesel 3-series Touring in action.

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News Source: The New York Times, BMW

Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Drew Phillips / AOL

2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive headed for North America?

Posted Mar 27th 2013 3:30PM

Despite the fact that Daimler's press release doesn't mention this company by name, we have to assume that the 28-kWh lithium-ion battery in the upcoming 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive comes from Tesla Motors. What Daimler is being much more clear about is that the B-Class EV is likely coming earlier than you might expect. The car has a range of around 185 km (115 miles) and is being unveiled today at the New York Auto Show.

Last year, there was a hint that the electrified small Mercedes-Benz would have a range extender, but the information released today is all electric, all the time. We've got mention of "completely emission-free driving" and "electric driving at the premium level." With a motor that offers up 134 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque, the B-Class Electric Drive (we like the naming convention here, just like the Smart ED) can scoot from zero to 60 mph (96 km/h) in "less than ten seconds." The top speed has been limited to 160 km/h (100 miles an hour), "in the interests of operating range." Even if Tesla is providing the battery here, there is no Supercharging in sight: the recharge time for 96 km (60 miles) worth of range is two hours from a 240-volt, Level 2 charger.

Click here for a closer look at our photo gallery.

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News Source: Daimler

Geneva displays Exagon Motors Furtive-eGT, one seriously fast Electric Car

Posted Mar 7th 2013 11:00AM

The previous version of the Exagon Motors Furtive-eGT was a subtle – in colour, not design – silver. At the Geneva Motor Show this week, Exagon took the wraps off a beautiful copper version of the carbon fibre and honeycomb body. We're not quite sure why the wrap was necessary, since the car was also shown off at the Paris Motor Show last fall, but that doesn't change the fact that it's an electric looker with a 53-kWh lithium-ion battery pack (not 57-kWh as was previously suggested).

Thanks to two liquid-cooled Siemens electric motors that put out 402 horsepower between 5,000 and 10,000 rpm, the Furtive-eGT has a limited top speed of 250 kilometres per hour (155 miles per hour) and can go from 0-100 kph (62 mph) in a scant 3.5 seconds. Despite this performance, the orange EV has a range between 360 kilometres (224 miles) on the urban cycle (as tested using the ECE15 standard) and 310 km (193 miles) on the combined cycle (NEDC standard).

That substantial range can be refilled (from 30 percent to 80 percent) using an undisclosed fast charge method in 32 minutes. Exagon is also claiming the batteries in the four-seat EV will retain "more than 80 per cent" minimum capacity after 3,000 charging cycles (which should take around 10 years). And if you don't trust those new-fangled battery things, the Furtive-eGT has an optional range extender to recharge the batteries (not drive the wheels). Adding liquid combustibles puts the car's fuel economy at something like 3.4 L/100 km (70 mpg) (depending on test cycle).

The base vehicle will start at 448,451 Swiss Francs, which is about $477,000. If you've got that kind of dough, you can order now and take delivery before the end of the year.

Be sure to watch Sabine Schmitz hurl this EV around the Nurburgring, and then hit the jump for more details in the press release.
Related GalleryExagon Motors Furtive-eGT
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Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Sebastian Blanco / AOL

Mitsubishi debuts Concept CA-MiEV, a new suburban EV with 300km range

Posted Mar 5th 2013 9:30AM

Mitsubishi is stretching the electric jellybean. For years, the i-MiEV was a regular presence at Mitsubishi's auto show booths around the world, and the car rightfully earned its nickname because of its rounded shape. Today, at the Geneva Motor Show, Mitsubishi finally unveiled a version of the i-MiEV that looks much more more at home among the alternative-powertrain car fleet of the near future.

But there's more being elongated here than just the shape. The official range of the standard i (as the i-MiEV is known in North America) is 100 km. The Concept CA-MiEV – where the CA stands for Compact and Advanced – is supposed to be able to go 300 kilometres (186 miles) from a 28-kWh lithium-ion battery and lightweight 80-kW motor/inverter/charger unit. This is kind of astonishing, given the range estimates of other compact and midsize EVs on the market today – most are in the 130 km - 160 km (80-100-mile) range. Of course, the specific test used to get the 300 kilometres (186-mile) result matters, too, since the regular i received 157 km (98 miles) on the LA4 driving cycle range. The NA-i has a 16-kWh pack.

The increased distance means that Mitsubishi is talking about the Concept CA-MiEV as the "suburban EV," with enough range for "about one week of driving for an average European driver." If you need more, Mitsubishi hints that the flat battery pack leaves room for a range-extender. Add in convenience features like WiTricity wireless charging and the ability for the car to send an emergency email if it's stolen, and you've got the commuting vehicle of the future. With a coefficient of drag of just 0.26 and boomerang lights, of course.

Mitsubishi is saying the CA-MiEV is "not planned for production," and is instead a showcase for "the various technologies MMC intends to introduce mid- to long-term across its range of global vehicles." That means, perhaps, some of the goodies here could make their way to rebadged, updated versions of the Peugeot iOn and Citroën C-Zero models, both based on the i-MiEV.

Check out our gallery of the CA-MiEV and read more in the press release below.

Toyota sizzle reel gives better look at i-Road Geneva concept

Posted Feb 26th 2013 4:31PM

Toyota i-road tandem vehicle concept - teaser video screencap

Toyota is taking the tiny tandem Tango to Tron town. In a teaser video for the new i-Road, debuting at the Geneva Motor Show next week, we catch a light-bike-like glimpse of Toyota's quirky tandem-seat concept. We still don't know much about the vehicle itself, but the video does flash the words "fun, compact, emissions-free," which suggests this is an electric ride. Then comes the apparent tagline: "i Roll, i Rock i Road." An indication that the tilting image we see in the video isn't just a special effect, perhaps? We'll have to wait until we get to Switzerland next week to find out. Until then, you can watch the video below.

In more earthly reveals, Toyota will also show off its hotly anticipate FT-86 Open sports car concept and Auris Touring Sports wagon on its Geneva show stand.

News Source: Toyota via YouTube