The Cadillac ELR is no underdog. Really, it’s in a class of one. That class is a range-extender luxury coupe, and one that costs $76,000 at that.
The ELR was previewed by the Converj concept of a few years ago and there have been a few changes. The super narrow headlights have been replaced with wider units while the exaggerated taillights seem to carry over. The ELR powertrain is based on the Volt architecture, so that means you have a battery good for about 40 miles and a gasoline range extender. That means a 300 mile point-to-point journey will happen before all the moving juice is depleted. Take a look. It could only be in America.
The ad for it called “Poolside” features Neal McDonough – the pride of Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood who once played Nicolette Sheridan’s creepy husband onDesperate Housewives – as the typical electric car buyer. Well, the typical Palo Alto electric car buyer with a $3.5 million home. And he’s apparently all about hard work.
“Other countries, they work, they stroll home, they stop by the cafe. They take August off. Off.
We’re crazy, driven hard-working believers. Those other countries think we’re nuts. Whatever.”
They think we’re nuts for other reasons. But hey, they can go eat sheep pancreas, I’ll add more cheese to things and we’ll call it even.
Neal, unfortunately, compares the ELR to Les Paul, Microsoft, landing on the moon and so on. That’s going too far. It’s all so smug-feeling. Smug in a way that makes you feel gross after watching the whole 60-second spot.
Not surprisingly, this ad was on Friday night between the coverage of the Opening Ceremonies for the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. There was less flag waving when the U.S. team walked out than in this ad.
From the Economist Jan 25th 2014. How much is linked to PPI payouts? Could be an interesting correlation.
UK Car sales jumped by nearly 11% in 2013, when almost 2.3m new vehicles hit the road.
About half of new cars are sold to individuals—the rest are fleet sales to businesses—and the former are driving the increase. Growing consumer confidence is one explanation. Yet sales have risen every month for close to two years, through bad economic weather and good. Britain is unusual. Germany’s solid economy did not prevent a 4.2% slide in car sales between 2012 and 2013 (see chart).
As important as the perennial desire to get behind the wheel of a new car is the way sales are financed these days. Fully 64% of new cars are now bought using a personal contract plan (PCP), up from 53% in 2009, according to Paul Harrison of the Finance Leasing Association, a trade body. PCPs, first introduced over a decade ago, finance the purchase of a quarter of used cars too. They require a deposit of around a third of the value of the car and, typically, three years of monthly payments. At the end of that period, drivers are presented with a choice between handing the car back or making a final “balloon” payment to own it outright. Old-fashioned hire purchase (HP) deals, by contrast, end with the car owned by its driver.
Lessors guarantee the minimum final value at the start of the contract. The lenders are often the big carmakers, which were forced to plug the financing gap when banks and other lenders deserted the market after the financial crisis. Paying off a much smaller sum than with HP on the same car makes monthly repayments a lot cheaper. Strangely, past financial misdeeds are making the market frothier. Jonathan Visscher of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) says that dealers frequently report that customers are putting down deposits using compensation payments for mis-sold payment-protection insurance.
It all looks like a canny bit of wheeler-dealing by carmakers. Owners generally stick with brand new cars for around four years, according to the SMMT. The taste for PCPs is pulling the average down to closer to three years. At the end of that period most drivers hand their cars back and get into a new one courtesy of another PCP. But this could lead to a nasty crash in a year or two as a wave of used cars hits the market, crushing the secondhand values that lenders rely on to make the deals work. If that comes to pass, PCPs will look like yet another financial innovation that has run out of road.
To invest over $400 million on new manufacturing equipment
According to the SFGate Tesla can expect state aid worth $35 million on the purchase of $415 million of tooling and manufacturing equipment for its plant in Freemont as the company gears up for increased production.
This year Tesla expects to build about 21,500 cars. The new equipment would help expand annual production by 35,000 cars.
California is one of the few states to tax the purchase of manufacturing equipment, a policy that California business associations have spent years trying to change. But the state does grant exemptions for clean-tech companies as a way to encourage the industry’s growth. The exemptions are issued by the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority, chaired by State Treasurer Bill Lockyer.
Tesla has received the exemptions before, on equipment worth up to $612 million. That equipment helped the company retool the former New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. plant in Fremont — which Tesla bought in 2010 — and launch the Model S last year. It also will help the company produce its next car, the Model X crossover SUV.
The state estimates that with the new purchases, Tesla will add 112 permanent jobs. And by increasing employment and, presumably, car sales, the authority predicts that California will take in more than enough additional tax revenue to make up for the exemption. A report by the authority’s staff predicts a $24.4 million net benefit to the state.
“I’m pleased we could take this action to encourage Tesla to expand its electric vehicle production in California, which will create green jobs and improve our air quality,” Lockyer said Tuesday, in a prepared statement.
This new capacity is unlikely to benefit the Model S alone, but also the upcoming Model X crossover model and Tesla’s future lower-priced electric sedan, as well as increased capacity to build powertrains for Tesla partners Daimler and Toyota. Tesla’s other manufacturing needs include vastly increasing the supply of batteries to power the cars and also to supply to the small but growing number of solar installations using battery storage solutions to reduce dependence on the Grid.
The jury at Car of the Year 2014 or CotY 14, as they say has trimmed the initial long list to a short list that contains two electric cars: The BMW i3 and Tesla Model S.
For this voting phase, each juror selected seven candidates in a simple vote, and the ones with most votes comprise the group of seven Nominees 2014. Now the Jury will focus only on those models, and will be conducting tests near Paris next February, prior to the final vote and the announcement of the winner in Geneva on March 3rd, 2014.
The seven finalists include regular cars as Citroën C4 Picasso, Mazda3, Peugeot 308 and Skoda Octavia along with the extra-luxury vehicle Mercedes S-class, and full electric BMW i3 and the Tesla S.
Established in 1964, the European Car of the Year award was set up to celebrate a “single, decisive winner” each year among all new cars in Europe.
Read more at CotY14 site.
Tesla Model s Test Drive
The Model S is currently scheduled for UK delivery in Spring 2014. The UK is right hand drive, unlike the rest of the world, or at least most of the rest of the motoring world. The design chaps at Tesla have to produce RHD models for us Brits, the Japanese and a few old British colonies – Hong Kong, Malysia and a few others.
However Tesla have a number of LHD test cars to drive. We are set to take one for a spin on Saturday. Expect a full report in due course.
Europe has sluggish car sales – apart from the UK most market are hurting
So when we learn that the BMW i3 is selling well in Europe that’s big news.
According to Automotive News, the German automaker has over 8,000 reservations for the i3 and is considering a production boost above that of the 10,000 cars it originally intended to produce in the car’s first year.
The company will “adjust capacity according to demand”, said BMW’s Chief Financial Officer Friedrich Eichiner. If demand continues at its current rate, he said, the company will soon have to invest more in i3 production.
The i3’s early popularity, at least in terms of reservations, is a breath of fresh air for the European car industry, which has so far struggled to shift electric cars in truly impressive volumes.
Through July, just 12,000 Nissan Leafs had been sold in Europe since going on sale. Renault has fared a little better–its 5,000 Zoe electric cars may not sound like many, but represents just four months sales through July, having debuted in Europe in March.
European deliveries of the i3 begin on November 16, with the first cars hitting U.S. roads in the first half of 2014. The car starts at £30,800 and BMW have some attractive lease options.
“The interest in the i3 electric car is generally a good sign,” said Sascha Gommel, a Frankfurt-based analyst with Commerzbank. “BMW has already absorbed the research and development costs for the vehicle and the car is profitable. So every car sold contributes to profits.”
BMW has invested at least 2 billion euros ($2.7 billion) on developing the “i” series, analysts say. BMW developed the i3 from scratch rather than converting an existing model, an approach to electric vehicles that contrasts with other conventional automakers.
The i3 is the first car for BMW’s i sub-brand. The i8 hybrid supercar will go on sale next year. More models may be on the way. BMW has trademarked i1 through i9, Ian Robertson, BMW’s sales chief, said in July.
The spending on development of new models and expanding production capacity caused the operating profit margin at BMW’s auto division to narrow to 10 percent in the second quarter from 12 percent a year earlier.
“We’ll have to work very hard to keep profitability within our target corridor” of 8 percent to 10 percent in the coming years because of large investments required to meet stricter emissions regulations and the weak car market in Europe, Eichiner said.
No production halt
The rollout of the i3 will go ahead as planned next month and won’t be impacted by issues that typically affect the ramp up of a new model, Eichiner said. The executive was responding to a report by the German publication Wirtschaftswoche over the weekend that said problems bonding carbon-fiber components for the car led to a 10-day production halt.
With the i3, BMW joins Renault and Nissan in betting heavily that electric cars will win wider consumer acceptance despite their high price and limited range compared with vehicles powered by internal combustion engines or plug-in hybrids.
Everybody wants more for less. That is apparently why more and more value seeking consumers are turning to pre-owned smart cars. There are some good reasons that pre-owned smart cars are moving quickly from area car dealers. One of the biggest is that the innovative, distinctive looking vehicles are being embraced since an approved used smart can now be purchased at 0% APR from smart dealers. The 0% finance offer is for up to three full years. That’s an attractive offer for any vehicle, especially a used one. It makes a pre-owned smart particularly attractive.
The smart car was introduced in 1998, and for over 15 years it has been a trendy choice for those looking to make a statement about the environment. This is in great part due to its extremely economical use of petrol. Others have turned to a smart fortwo because it is perhaps the ultimate commuter vehicle that is exceptionally simple to park. It demure size also makes finding parking spaces a bit easier, particularly in large cities. Whilst you won’t find extravagance and exotic amenities in a smart fortwo, you will find an exceptionally affordable mode of transportation that many have found to be reliable and fun.
The 0% finance offer is bringing in a variety of buyers for the smart cars, but there are other reasons the pre-owned smart is getting so much attention recently. Buyers get complimentary 12 month roadside assistance, a year-long unlimited mileage warranty, and MOT test failure cover. These are proving to be popular perks, especially on a used vehicle. Smart dealers apparently are comfortable in providing these additional perks due to the rigorous multi-point inspection each vehicle undergoes prior to being offered for sale. In addition, each vehicle has its mileage and history verified. Smart dealers are even offering a 30 day, 500 mile exchange program for those who may discover another smart fortwo they like.
This 0% APR smart car on finance offer on approved used smart cars is certainly gaining attention from consumers. It appears to be another way in which the automaker is setting itself apart. It is also another way in which they are giving car buyers more for less.
We know that smart is providing their new and used car customers with value. What is next for the smart car? You can find out in this article from the Telegraph. It has details and photos of the new 2014 smart fourjoy concept car. The car made its debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show and it gives some indications as to what smart enthusiasts can expect in the future.
Interesting video care of Wired. Tesla can’t ask the dealer to handle the usual pre-delivery inspection as they don’t have dealers. So they do it themselves at the factory. This makes total sense. Once the car leaves a production facility fixing a problem is time-consuming and expensive if it has to be returned to the factory. Of course it’s best to build quality into the manufacturing process. Something that the likes of Rover and British Leyland never quite mastered.
Nowadays pre-delivery testing is commonplace, and means the shiny new cars we pick up from dealerships are mostly of higher quality than ever before.
It’s always nice to know just how much care is taken to ensure a car is perfect before you’re handed the key though–and Tesla Motors’ pre-delivery checks are particularly thorough.
The Wired video below shows the steps a Tesla Model S goes through before it’s shipped, the entire inspection happening inside Tesla’s assembly plant in California.
That’s something most automakers can’t do, of course–but Tesla can, with its clean electric cars polluting no more indoors than they do outside.
Paintwork is checked, the body is examined for possible leaks–using 228 water jets and 1,500 gallons of reusable water–before being driven over six different “shake and rattle” surfaces to check for any abnormal cabin noises.
A driving mode check is then carried out, each Model S strapped to a rolling road for 20 miles of various performance, settings and calibration tests–plus a check of the car’s ABS.
Finally, a 101-point check is carried out to ensure every aspect of the car is perfect before delivery.
Altogether, the checks take five hours. It’s amazing to see how much effort goes in to ensuring a car is in top condition before reaching customers, even following many hours of assembly and years of development.
At last week Goodwood festival of speed Mercedes showed off an electric blue SLS
This is a stunning example of what an electric car can be.
And it has a price tag. Yes you can order an SLS EV just £350 K. The car was in the main Mercedes stand and drawing a huge amount of interest. It also looked exciting in the glare of the English sunshine.
The SLS Electric was developed by AMG and the Merc F1 team. It used a motor at each wheel giving it total 4 wheel drive delivering a total of 730 bhp and 738 lb ft of torque. That’s a lot of power.
Car magazine gave it a drive and a review:
What’s different inside the Mercedes SLS Electric Drive?
Lift the vertical-opening gullwing door, vault the wide sill and there’s little to suggest the ZE power source or the pushrod dampers up front required, as the existing double wishbone set-up left no room for front driveshafts. The cockpit is fairly cramped, but the driving position near-perfect, that long nose stretching far into the distance and the unfashionably vertical A-pillars creating a view unlike most other supercars. Instead of a rev counter, there’s a power gauge with a strip of green lights between it and the speedo to tell you how much engine braking effect you’ve selected, which you do by tapping the now redundant shift paddles on the back of the wheel.
Being able to apply strong retardation simply by lifting the throttle is brilliant, intuitive fun, effectively making the SLS a one-pedal vehicle. What a shame the full braking effect isn’t available when the battery’s full as there’s nowhere for the charge to go. Never mind, a couple of drag-strip starts should make a bit of room…
What’s the SLS Electric Drive like on the move?
Punch the throttle from a stop and the E-SLS feels supercar quick, but nothing more. All the torque vectoring in the world can’t disguise that this thing weighs 548kg more than the standard car, with zero to 62mph in 3.9sec, a tenth slower than in a standard V8-powered SLS.
But from there upwards, a slightly giddy feeling in your gut tells you there’s more to the story. A giddy feeling that develops into full-blown nausea. It’s that same sensation you get when pinning the right pedal in a Bugatti Veyron, that same dizzying unsureness: I think I’m enjoying myself, but I also think I might chunder. And with no gearshifts to interrupt proceedings, that push is utterly relentless.
There’s no waiting for the engine to climb onto its power wave before surfing the thing on to redline. Whatever the speed or situation, ask for more power and it is delivered instantly. While cars like the Tesla Roadster, and even the Leaf, feel rapid at legal speeds, the push in the back tails off before you’re satisfied. Not so the SLS, which keeps pulling and pulling, well into three figures.
What about the handling?
But the scale of the performance on offer is actually far less exciting than the way it is deployed. We’ve yet to drive a car that delivers such a perfect illustration of what real torque vectoring can achieve than this battery-powered SLS. Because each of the four wheels is driven by its own motor, torque can be apportion from 0-100% at each corner by the computer.
Comfort Mode, programmed for safe understeer and a reluctance to change direction that makes a Tory Euro-sceptic look open-minded, is so dull you’d have more fun in a long wheelbase S-class diesel. Switch through Sport Mode, to Sport Plus, and it feels like someone’s moved the ‘engine’ back six feet in the chassis. The turn-in, the poise, are almost incomprehensible given that gargantuan kerb weight. Steering happens with feet, not hands, yet that agility is backed up by real stability.
On the downside, the now electro-hydraulic steering lacks feel compared to the SLS Black we drove on the same day, and the driving beyond the tyres’ grip limits can feel snatchy until you learn to let the four-wheel drive system tidy up those slides for you.
AMG has invested much time to create a unique sound for the E-SLS. The car I drove didn’t have the sound effects, so I had listen to some sound files on an iPad instead. They’re a Tron-like take on a regular car noise, and rather lacking in character.
The Electric Drive is a fascinating piece of machinery, but at £350,000, would you pay twice the price of a regular SLS for one – and still have the usual battery-car foibles to deal with? Merc claims a 155-mile range, with a recharge taking from three to 20 hours.
Be in no doubt that this SLS is a genuinely exciting machine, but it still feels slightly sterile besides the petrol-engined alternative. So it comes down to having a car that no one else has.
There’s a bigger picture, here, though; the lessons from this car will filter down to real-world affordable Mercs. A torque-vectoring electric C-class that handles like a Lotus Elise? That sounds like money well spent.
Nissan UK have just released the details for the updated Leaf:
We have known the US specifications and pricing for some time and now we have ours.
As well as updating the Leaf is terms of looks and specifications Nissan have also updated the way you can purchase a Leaf. There are now three models: Leaf Visia, Acenta and Tekna with an outright ownership or purchase prices of £21K, £23,500 and £25,500 or you can now select Leaf Flex where you own the car and lease the battery pack: These prices in turn are £16K, £18,500 and £20,500 with a £70 per month leaf battery lease cost.
We welcome the increase in options that Nissan have dreamt up as this will allow more customers to take advantage of the all-electric Leaf.
If you regard the monthly battery fee of £70 as a fuel cost which is about the same as filling the tank on any car in the UK then you can regard this as a running cost rather than a capital charge. This is reasonably smart thinking.
The 2013 Leaf offers:
INNOVATION DESIGNED FOR EXCITEMENT
Nissan’s innovative customer focused approach has resulted in over 100 fascinating new features for the Nissan LEAF, including an updated Carwings system, and even a warranty plan for lithium-ion batteries. Other enhancements include an increased boot capacity, an improved front charging port area, better i-Key features and an improved overall comfort level.
THE NEW LEAF: MAKING THE BEST, BETTER
Remote access to the front charging port, introduction of an LED light within the charging port area, increased boot space, much improved comfort and the availability of the New Nissan LEAF in not one, but 3 versions – all as a result of customer feedback.
A SMOOTH, COMFORTABLE DRIVE
QUIET, REFINED AND MORE RELAXED
The New Nissan LEAF’s improved chassis, adapted by Research and Development for the European market, makes for better handling resulting in more fun and excitement at the wheel. Improvements in performance and power have meant greater choice in terms of the size of vehicle, whereas previously electric cars were tiny, funny looking cars, now they come in all shapes and sizes up to attractive family sized cars. Power steering, air conditioning and all the comforting luxuries you’re used to are all included, plus a few new ones. Your smart phone and laptop can communicate with your LEAF so you can check out charging points on your route, start the cabin heating or cooling so it’s comfortable as soon as you get in. There’s no exhaust pipe and nasty fumes to inhale when you walk into the garage either, that is something to make a noise about.
Electric vehicle performance
Dynamic acceleration and motorway speeds from an electric car
Since the first generation of electric vehicles many years ago, technology, design and efficiency have improved beyond recognition. No longer a slow, unresponsive drive – electric cars like the Nissan LEAF are now a viable, attractive option for all kinds of driver. More and more of the world’s major car manufacturers now have, or are planning to introduce an electric vehicle to their range, maximising Government incentives to make them an affordable choice. Electric vehicles now offer dynamic acceleration, improved torque and motorway speeds that deliver comparable driving experience and comfort to petrol and diesel vehicles, only quieter, cheaper and with significantly less impact on the environment. All the fun – none of the fumes.
THE NEW NISSAN LEAF AND TECHNOLOGY
Hidden within the three available models are surprising technological innovations waiting to be discovered.
Easy to use technology
TECHNOLOGY THAT’S SOPHISTICATED BUT FRIENDLY
The new Nissan Carwings system enables you to control the heating and charging of your Nissan LEAF remotely and also logs information on charging, usage patterns and distance driven.
Bose speakers and subwoofer
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO LISTEN TO?
With BOSE Energy Efficient Series sound system installed within its plush exteriors the new LEAF is equipped to please. Want subwoofer bottom end? You can have it. So no matter what’s playing, the New Nissan LEAF will ensure you enjoy the music to the full.
B-MODE ADDITIONAL DRIVE
B-mode is a new additional drive mode that complements Normal and Eco drive modes. It allows you to engage in regenerative braking while decelerating and maximise energy recovery. It’s particularly effective whilst going downhill.
EASY PARKING AND MORE SAFETY
The New Nissan LEAF comes with an Around View Monitor (AVM) that helps you to park precisely. A network of cameras helps that you see the vehicle’s 360° surroundings as from above. The result: perfect parking every time.
Nissan Leaf charging:
All about charging
Most Nissan LEAF owners recharge their cars at home. The 6.6kW charger option lets you charge your Nissan LEAF at home in just 4 hours using a 32A Home Charging Unit. The dashboard LEDs indicate the status of charging. Charging port illumination is standard on all grades, the Nissan LEAF Visia, Acenta and Tekna. To stop charging the lithium-ion battery your Nissan LEAF, simply unplug the cable.
You can find below detailed information on the various ways to recharge the lithium-ion battery of your Nissan LEAF.
The Nissan LEAF lithium ion battery
Nissan LEAF’s battery has the ability to retain the maximum possible charge capacity even after multiple charges.
Resulting from 20 years of experience and investment, Nissan LEAF’s lithium ion battery is compact, powerful, safe and durable.They are located under the car; in other words, that means you have more room in the boot and the cabin while still enjoying a long-range (up to 124 miles on a single charge) and speeds up to 90mph. And true to Nissan LEAF’s minimal environmental impact, the lithium-ion battery is also more than 95% recyclable.
EXTENDING YOUR PEACE OF MIND
NISSAN LEAF OWNERS TO RECEIVE A BATTERY WARRANTY EXTENTION
Nissan is so confident in their revolutionary lithium–ion battery that we are expanding your warranty for all European owners retrospectively. Now, all Nissan LEAF drivers will be covered if the battery range goes below 9 out of the 12 bars displayed on your dashboard, over a period of 5 years or 60,000 miles. That means a guaranteed high performance!
STANDARD ELECTRIC CAR CHARGING WITH THE NISSAN EVSE CABLE
Your Nissan LEAF comes with a 6 metre long cable* allowing you to recharge your battery using a standard household outlet** in about 10 hours. The cable can also be used on some public charging stations throughout the UK.
The recommended method of home charging is via a Home Charging Unit installed by Nissan’s Electro-mobility partner, British Gas. The unit will be installed on a dedicated 16A or 32A circuit ensuring total safety and peace of mind.