Tag Archives: electric

New battery tech may lead to inexpensive, safer electric cars

Power Japan Plus announced its dual carbon battery technology, which promises longer-lasting and less expensive batteries for electric cars.

CNET Car Tech

Kia Soul EV joins electric car ranks

Kia converts its Soul model to an electric.

(Credit: Kia)

Kia chose the Chicago auto show, beginning this week, as the debut venue for the Soul EV, the electric version of Kia’s boxy little hatchback SUV thing. The standard Soul model received a major update for the 2014 model year. The Soul EV will be Kia’s first electric car.

As one of Kia’s more distinctive models, the Soul seems a good choice on which to base an electric vehicle. It will go up against cars such as the Chevy Spark EV, Fiat 500e, and the veteran Nissan Leaf.

In that crucial measure of EV performance, range, the Soul EV offers no surprises. Kia cites figures of 80 to 100 miles on a full battery, fairly standard in the current market.

Two charging ports hide under the front of the Soul EV.

(Credit: Kia)

The Soul EV’s charging ports live under a … [Read more]


Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Voxan debuts hulking electric motorcycle at Salon de la Moto

Voxan Motors debuted its massive Wattman battery-powered motorcycle at the Salon de la Moto in Paris. The 772-pound, 200-horsepower machine has a 12.8kWh battery. (Click to enlarge.)

(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)

PARIS — The usual suspects like Honda, Yamaha, and BMW were at the Salon de la Moto, but the motorcycle that really stood out was a massive all-electric machine called the Wattman from Voxan Motors.

The French company debuted the unusual machine here at the sprawling show dedicated to motorcycles, scooters, and off-road four-wheelers. Although bystanders gave it a lot of attention, don’t expect it to unseat any of the industry’s incumbent players: they’ll be built by hand, one at a time, for an “exclusive international clientele.”

For a full gallery of the machines at the show, check CNET’s photo gallery from the Salon de la Moto.

Salon de la Moto, Paris’ motorcycle show (pictures)

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Slow, fast, and faster: Where to charge electric cars

Plugshare's Web site shows electric car charging stations throughout the country.

(Credit: Screenshot by Wayne Cunningham/CNET)

One advantage of electric cars comes from the huge available infrastructure: We have electric plugs just about everywhere. There are many more electric plugs than even gasoline stations.

So charging an electric car should be easy, just plug it into the nearest outlet.

And it is that easy, almost. Your standard home outlet in the U.S. offers 120 volts of alternating current (AC), with a circuit breaker rated at 15 or 20 amps. Most electric cars I have seen come with a cable adapter for that outlet, a grounded three-prong plug on one end and a J1772 SAE electric car-charging plug on the other. The J1772 plug was specifically designed for electric car charging.

Problem is, given a typical electric car like the Nissan Leaf, it will take about 15 hours to charge the battery from empty to its EPA-rated 72 mile range from that standard household source.

Most plug-in cars have a J1772 port, letting them plug into public charging stations.

(Credit: Josh M… [Read more]


Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Smart undercuts all others in electric car pricing

The Smart Fortwo Electric Drive works well as a city car, providing adequate range and very economical operation.

(Credit: Wayne Cunningham/CNET)

Tooling around San Francisco in a convertible, taking in sights such as the Golden Gate Bridge, is a real treat. Doing it in an electric convertible car fits the city’s compact dimensions and progressive, high-tech culture even better.

And the only car for this mission is the 2013 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive, mostly because it is the only electrically driven convertible on the market.

Smart brought a selection of its Fortwo Electric Drive vehicles to San Francisco for a press event, and I grabbed the Cabrio, in Rally Red. The Fortwo Cabrio is sort of a half-convertible. The cloth roof rolls back, bunching up at the rear of the car, but leaving the rear pillars and roof rails up. You can also remove the roof rails and toss them in back, which I did, to open up the cabin a little more.

And like the standard Smart Fortwo, the Fortwo Electric Drive is only a two-seater, with a tiny bit of cargo room in back. Smart points out that over 100 million people commute to work by themselves every day. In addition, 80 percent of these commuters drive less than 40 miles round-trip to work.

That means a huge potential market for the Fortwo Electric Drive, if we Americans can ever get over the idea that we need a commute vehicle with room for f… [Read more]


Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

BMW’s short, innovative road to the i3 electric car

This sketch, released in 2010, was our first look at BMW's ideas around the i3 electric vehicle.

(Credit: BMW)

Back in 2010, BMW began talking up what it called a Megacity Vehicle, a new electric car it would develop for the cities of the future. Not taking any half-measures, the company would run a test fleet of converted electric vehicles, come up with new carbon fiber manufacturing processes, launch a whole new brand, and design a car from a clean sheet.

The result of this intensive effort, the production version of the i3 electric car, will be unveiled Monday in New York, London, and Beijing.

Although BMW likely began plans for what would become the i3 electric car before 2010, the amount of time between concepts and prototype testing to the production release on Monday represents lightning speed for a new model launch in the automotive industry. Other automakers have shown relatively quick electric drivetrain development, but BMW also had to come up with a new design, innovate manufacturing processes, and ink deals for new carbon fiber factories along the way.

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Electric car price war? Chevy chimes in with Volt incentives

Chevrolet Volt.

(Credit: General Motors)

Chevrolet is offering a sizable price incentive in the face of price slashing in the electric car market.

The 2013 Volt now comes with a $ 4,000 cash-back incentive and the 2012 model ups that to $ 5,000, according to Michelle Malcho, a Chevrolet spokeswoman.

That’s the largest Volt cash incentive that Chevy has offered to date, Malcho said.

Alternatively, a Volt can now be leased for $ 269 a month for 36 months with a $ 2,399 down payment.

The Volt is a plug-in hybrid (GM refers to it as an extended-range electric vehicle or E-REV) with a range of about 40 miles on electric power and another 300 to 400 miles on the range-extender gas engine.

The base price is $ 39,995 but — in addition to the new Chevy incentives — the Volt comes with other cash-back incentives and tax credits to effectively bring the price far below what’s on the sticker. That includes a federal tax credit of $ 7,500 (if you buy the vehicle) and a $ 1,500 cash incentive in California.

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Why now? In addition to getting ready for upcoming 2014 Volt, “there’s increased price competition in the market, whether it’s electric vehicles, hybrid v… [Read more]


Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Coolest Earth Day ride: The Sora electric superbike

(Credit: Lito Green Motion)

If you wanted to impress on Earth Day, you could do worse than this all-electric motorcycle from Canada.

The Sora superbike from Quebec-based Lito Green Motion is finally hitting the streets after years of development and promos. The Canadian Ministry of Transport recently certified the firm as a motorcycle manufacturer, and the $ 41,000 bike is getting lots of attention.

The Sora, which means “sky” in Japanese, has a 12 kWh lithium polymer battery and a range of 185 miles on a single charge, which takes 8 hours, or 90 minutes with a quick charger. It can be recharged anywhere using a conventional plug.

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Its top speed is 120 mph and it can do 0 to 60 mph in about four seconds. Lito is emphasizing that the Sora is designed to satisfy on a performance basis.

Quiet a… [Read more]


Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Terra Motors launches electric tuk-tuk for Philippines

Terra Motors' e-tricycle can carry six and travel 31 miles per charge.

(Credit: Terra Motors)

Tuk-tuks are a common way to get around in many Asian cities, but they contribute to urban pollution and high fuel costs.

Tokyo-based startup Terra Motors wants to put more non-polluting vehicles on the streets with an electric tuk-tuk unveiled this week for the Philippines.

The blue and white “e-tricycle” is powered by a lithium-ion battery and can carry six people including the driver. It’s just under 11 feet long and is steered with handlebars.

It can travel some 31 miles per 2-hour charge, according to the firm, which is hoping to become the world’s top electric tuk-tuk maker.

Related stories

“There is no single company in Asia that mass-produces electric bikes or tricycles,” president Toru Tokushige was quoted as saying by AFP.

“I think it could h… [Read more]

Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

2013 Ford C-Max Energi moonlights as an electric car

For those not ready to jump feet-first into the electric-vehicle pool, the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi offers a toe-dipping experience, a chance to check the water temperature before committing to the deep dive. And after experiencing the C-Max Energi, any reservations about electric cars should be erased.

The C-Max Energi is a variant of Ford’s C-Max Hybrid, a funky European-derived car abounding in sheer practicality. In our testing, the C-Max Hybrid achieved consistent low-40s fuel economy, while offering a large amount of versatile interior space.

Due to a larger lithium ion battery pack, the C-Max Energi sacrifices some of its cargo area, but gains the ability to drive under pure electric power for 21 miles, according to Ford.

The EPA estimates the C-Max Energi at 44 mpg city, 41 mpg highway, and 100 mpg equivalent, the last number based on it being driven under electric power. After a week of testing, my fuel economy in the C-Max Energi came to 58.2 mpg.

And that mileage observation is almost completely useless.

2013 Ford C-Max Energi plugs in for maximum mileage (pictures)

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