The updates are largely detail changes to equipment levels, everything else continuing pretty much as the 2013 model left it.
RearView Monitor, Nissan's backup camera system, is now standard on all grades, S, SV and SL.
Also standard on relevant models is an updated EV-IT system, Nissan's dedicated information technology system for electric vehicles. The system now includes voice destination entry and SMS readout.
Sometimes, change is painful, devastating -- just ask the folks at Blockbuster Video or the residents of any neighborhood that's been split by new freeways.
Sometimes, change is wonderful, life-giving -- just ask the folks at Netflix or ambulance drivers who now have faster ways to get from the sites of emergencies to nearby hospitals.
Change is finally coming to the taxi industry, and no one is entirely sure whether the shift will mean the death of cabs as we know them or their radical transformation.
But given what we've seen of people and businesses that have dug in their heels and tried to stem the tide of progress (e.g. George Wallace, Yellow Pages, the recording industry), it doesn't look good for today's taxi drivers.
And if they do meet their end, they'll probably have the smartphone to blame. ( Continue… )
If you've been considering an electric car but have been deterred by pricing, it might be worth another try—or at least another look at the numbers.
This past week, Ford dropped the price of the 2014 Focus Electric to $35,995; that's about a 10-percent cut from the 2013 sticker price of $39,995.
This past week, we caught up with Ford's Focus Electric Marketing Manager Chad D'Arcy, on the matter. While D'Arcy wouldn't speculate on what is or isn't happening in the electric-car market, he did say that keeping pace with the market is a chief concern.
“The biggest thing is that we wanted to remain competitive ... and we're going to continue to monitor the competitive environment,” said D'Arcy.
Downward pricing pressure
It's rare to see a price adjustment of this magnitude in the auto industry (although Nissan did effectively cut the price of the Leaf by about this much going into 2013 after it shifted production from Japan to the U.S.). ( Continue… )
Typically, fuel prices spike in the spring and the fall, as refineries stop making one seasonal blend of gasoline and start making another. The changeover produces an artificial gas shortage that drives prices up until the floodgates open and a new fuel blend arrives.
But according to CNN, motorists could see pump prices rise by 25 or 30 cents per gallon next month -- well before the uptick we expect in September and October. That prediction comes largely from oil trader Dan Dicker and industry analyst Tom Kloza (the latter of whom works for one of our favorite gas pricing sites and apps, GasBuddy).
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Here's the problem as they see it. Gas futures and oil prices have been on a tear in recent weeks, climbing more than 10% over the past month alone. But at the pump, prices haven't moved in a steady line. Four weeks ago, the average price for a gallon of unleaded was $3.63. Last week, it was $3.48. Yesterday, it was $3.52, and today, it's $3.55.
That rise we've witnessed over the past week could be the start of something major, with gas prices beginning to reflect gas futures and oil prices. And we may not have seen the worst of it.
Though ongoing fears of turmoil in the Middle East could certainly affect oil prices, an even bigger problem may be the plummeting price of gold. Over the past year, the price of gold has fallen from nearly $1,800 per ounce to around $1,275 per ounce today. According to Dicker, traders and fund managers who prefer commodities have been funneling money that they would've put in gold into oil. That's driving oil prices up, and gas prices should ultimately follow.
Our take? We're not oil analysts, so we're not experts in these matters -- not by a long shot. However, we know that few people can accurately predict the future. Heck, even Nate Silver would have a hard time nailing down gas and oil prices, which seem especially squirrely.
That said, Dicker and Kloza clearly know their stuff, and their arguments do make sense, so we wouldn't be surprised to see gas prices tick up 20 or 30 more cents before summer's end.
That doesn't mean much for most folks, though. Unless you've got a safe, easy means of stocking up on gasoline before your August road trip, you may just have to grin and bear it at the pump.
The folks most affected by news like this are car shoppers. Due to inflation and other factors, fuel prices aren't likely to dip below $3 per gallon in the near future -- if ever. If you're in the market for another set of wheels and fuel economy is important to you, check out the stats onnew and used cars in our handy-dandy shoppers' guides.
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All is still well at Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA], it seems, with CEO Elon Musk announcing the company is beating its self-imposed production targets.
As Bloomberg reports, Tesla is ahead of its 400-per-week production goal, by a margin Musk describes as "not trivial."
Meeting such a target is all the more important as Tesla's sole new product, the Model S, is set to go on sale in European markets in the next few months.
Back in January, the company announced it had reached full production capacity of 400 units per week, after a slow start in 2012 which saw Tesla miss its 5,000-car delivery goal.
Tesla is clearly capable of more, though. Musk says the pace of production will rise to 800 per week by late 2014: "I'm very confident we'll get there," he told Bloomberg. ( Continue… )
The MINI Countryman is an answer to a question you may not know to ask, but it's one worth hearing. Compact, feature-packed, and surprisingly versatile, the Countryman is a modern take on what a utility vehicle should be.
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Maybe knock a few degrees of conviction off that statement, as it seems not everyone in the European country is as keen on electric vehicles as some.
Companies operating regular gasoline and diesel filling stations certainly aren't keen. So much so, that NOS reports they're filing a lawsuit against the Dutch state to prevent third parties from operating charging points at freeway service station locations.
As part of the recent announcement that the country would be home to almost 250 DC quick-charge stations--none located more than 30 miles from every person in the country--provider Fastned would operate charging points at several freeway rest stops and service stations.
Energy or "fuel"?
26 service stations have filed the lawsuit, centering on whether these charging points constitute "fuel", and are therefore governed by the same regulations (and need to incur the same costs, rather than being offered space for free) as the filling stations. ( Continue… )
It's new for 2014, and though the Land Rover Range Rover Sport looks familiar, the scope of change it brings is pretty vast. A better off-roader than ever, it's also quicker than ever, more deft on pavement, and more finely rendered.
For the rest of this story, click here.
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No doubt about it: Volvo has had a rough couple of years. After being sold to Chinese automaker Geely in 2010, the brand has struggled to regain its footing.
Whether that's due to the shift in administration, a slowdown in research and development, lackluster quality scores, or a general lack of enthusiasm for Volvo vehicles is debatable. What we do know is that Volvo is one of a tiny handful of brands that's faring worse in 2013 than it did in 2012. As of June 30, Volvo had only sold 32,578 vehicles in the U.S., putting it 5.9 percent below last year's stats.
But we're not counting Volvo out just yet. (Heck, if Mitsubishi is still kicking, anything's possible.) For decades, the Swedish brand has based its reputation on safety, so it's only appropriate that snazzy safety features sit at the core of Volvo's planned comeback.
The automaker recently debuted three new safety features that should begin appearing on Volvo models in late 2014. It's all part of Volvo's plan to completely eliminate deaths and serious injuries for occupants of its vehicles by the year 2020. The features are:
Pedestrian detection in darkness
Volvo bills this as a "world first", though Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Toyota have all unveiled similar technology, incorporated into self-dimming headlights. Still, it's a great feature, and one that fits well with Volvo's reputation of being highly pedestrian-friendly. (According to a press release, Volvo's long-awaited animal-detection system should roll out soon after this.)
Road edge and barrier detection with steer assist
We've seen plenty of lane-assist features that alert drivers when they cross over the center line. This detection system focuses on the edge of the road, helping to steer the car back toward center -- even on roads without markings on the outer edges.
Adaptive Cruise Control with steer assist
Many brands have unveiled Adaptive Cruise Control systems, but given their importance as safety features, adding one more automaker to the list seems like a good thing.
These three features should debut on the 2015 Volvo XC90 during the latter half of 2014. For more info, check out the video embedded above and the two below.
The NASDAQ isn't exactly a top topic amongst most gearheads, nor is its NASDAQ-100 Index, used to track the exchange's climate. But as of July 15, Tesla Motors will become one of the 100 companies that compose the index.
That will make Tesla [NSDQ:TSLA] the only automaker listed in the index, owing mostly to the fact that it's the only automaker listed on NASDAQ.
So what does this mean for the electric car fan? Basically, it means Tesla is being recognized by the financial world as a legitimate force rather than a potentially unstable newcomer. That may not mean much, however, as changes just this year have seen Starz, Kraft Foods Group, and Netflix come onboard with the NASDAQ-100 while Starz, Virgin Media, and now Oracle have left. Starz joined and left in just three months. ( Continue… )