One of the more familiar perceptions of green vehicles is that the energy they require to build outweighs any benefits they may have in use.
The reality couldn't be more different, but there's still plenty to be said for getting the most out of the car you have, and extending its usable life.
Some people take that to extremes. Among them is Irv Gordon, a 73-year old retired science teacher from New York State and Guinness World Record holder for most miles driven by a single owner, in a non-commercial vehicle.
How many miles? Currently, Gordon's 1966 Volvo P1800 coupe has seen 2.99 million miles pass under its wheels, with the 3-millionth mile expected some time in September.
Gordon bought the car new all the way back in 1966, and loved it so much his first weekend with the car already clocking up enough distance to require its first service on the Monday. He's had the car serviced with religious regularity, and over the past 15 years it's been looked after by the same Volvo technician, Nino Gambino at Volvoville in Huntingdon, NY. ( Continue… )
Tesla CEO Elon Musk last night provided details on a new battery-swapping service for his company’s Model S electric sedan (and future models) that will allow owners to get a fully charged battery swapped into their cars in around 90 seconds.
Musk demonstrated the service using a pair of Model S sedans and also showed how swapping the battery is even quicker than filling the tank of a conventional gas-powered car.
The battery-swapping service will be done at special stations to be launched from this year. The first stations will be located next to Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] Supercharger stations along the high-traffic corridor between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
More battery-swapping stations will follow, with the next launches to take place along the corridor running between Washington D.C. and Boston.
Owners simply drive over a specially marked spot and remain in the car. An automated machine then emerges from a hole in the ground and swaps the battery with a fully charged one. For even more added convenience, the station will bill the owner’s pre-registered credit card for the service. ( Continue… )
After a few years of late-starting, lackluster deals, the summer auto sale may be back in full force.
Light vehicle sales were up 8.2 percent in May compared to the previous year, according to research firm Autodata Corp. Sales year-to-date are 7.3 percent higher than in 2012. That demand, paired with fairly lean inventory on lots, should have put automakers in the driver's seat as it did last year—which led to cash discounts, financing deals and other offers staying fairly flat.
But the recovering economy has put automakers under some pressure this year to keep up the momentum by increasing sales and gaining market share, said Lincoln Merrihew, vice president of transportation at market research firm Compete. "That can get pretty tough," he said.
At an American International Automobile Dealers Association meeting in May, executives for brands including Kia and Hyundai predicted a competitive summer with incentives that could limit profitability. ( Continue… )
The new model, likely to be the redesigned 2014 Mazda3 we’ve been spying in prototype form for several months, will be revealed at 9:00 p.m. EDT on June 26 at a location in New York City, with the event to be streamed live over the Xbox Live network.
For those readers not signed up to Xbox Live, Mazda will also be placing updates on its official website (MazdaUSA.com). Here, a link will be placed that leads users to a Mazda landing page on the website Xbox.com.
The special landing page will include details of the event and a countdown clock, and will host a sweepstakes for one lucky entrant to win $2,500 to create their dream trip to a music event of their choice. To help build awareness, Mazda will also be making announcements on its various social media pages.
Mazda is keeping quiet on just what model will be revealed, though the only new Mazda we’re expecting this year from the Japanese automaker is the Mazda3.
Stay tuned for an update.
47 mpg combined
With a more powerful electric motor than its competitors, the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid matches the best EPA fuel efficiency ratings in the hybrid mid-size sedan category.
It also delivers a combined rating almost 60 percent higher than its gasoline Accord counterpart.
Honda projects the new Accord Hybrid will achieve a combined EPA rating of 47 mpg (49 mpg city, 45 mpg highway).
That compares to the Fusion Hybrid at 47 mpg combined, the Sonata and Optima hybrids at 38 mpg combined, and the Camry Hybrid at 41 mpg. ( Continue… )
Show us someone who actively enjoys getting stuck in heavy traffic and we'll show you someone with nothing better to do.
But if you have little choice but to sit in that traffic on your way to work, a new study shows you'd be best off with a hybrid vehicle.
You probably didn't need a study to tell you that, of course--a look at the EPA window sticker of any hybrid vehicle will quickly show off its strengths.
The study, conducted by Carnegie Mellon University (via the Pittsburg Business Times), does put numbers on the hybrid car's benefits, showing you just how much better such a car is when faced with a congested commute.
Hybrids aren't bad on the highway either, but there the benefits are much smaller given the cars' extra cost over conventional vehicles.
"Hybrid and plug-in vehicles cost more without much benefit to the environment," said CMU's professor of mechanical engineering and policy, Jeremy Michalek, in a statement. ( Continue… )
Most automakers aren’t chomping at the bit to issue vehicle recalls. Sometimes, they try to avoid it altogether, such as Chrysler, which reluctantly announced a recall of 2.7 million Jeeps Tuesday.
So on Wednesday in sweeps Tesla, the luxury electric automaker and new kid on the auto block, with a recall that nobody asked for.
A defect on a back seat of Tesla's new Model S is causing the recall of 1,228 cars manufactured between May 10 and June 8, 2013. Tesla founder and chief executive Elon Musk weighed in on the issue himself, writing in a blog posted on the company’s website: A “mounting bracket for the left hand latch of the second row seat could be weaker than intended. This reduces our confidence that the left hand seat back will be properly retained in the event of a crash.”
He continued: “We do not wish to cause undue alarm, so it is perhaps worth clarifying that:
- The weld has not actually detached on any car
- There have been no customer complaints
- We are not aware of any injuries or near injuries
- No regulatory agency brought this to our attention.”
Perhaps owing to the vehicle’s luxury status (and Tesla’s lack of traditional dealerships), the automaker will contact owners and arrange for the cars to be picked up, repaired, and dropped off on Tesla’s dime. The repairs will cost Tesla around $150,000 in all, according to a company statement. ( Continue… )
FlightCar, a car-sharing service that launched in San Francisco in February, lets travelers rent out their cars while they are out of town. As long as a car is less than 14 years old and worth less than $60,000, it can be listed on FlightCar’s website as being ready to rent.
In return for dropping off their car with FlightCar, car-owners get black-car valet-service to terminals, a car wash, the peace of mind of not leaving their car in a fee-eating lot, and up to $10 a day if their car is rented. Car-renters skipping traditional rental companies for FlightCar save up to 50 percent on their vehicle and get free insurance, GPS, and curbside pickup and drop-off services no matter where they live within a 10-minute radius of the lot.
If a driver finds a car that can be rented more cheaply, FlightCar guarantees the driver a free rental.
It sounds simple, but it took a trio of teenagers to come up with it. The founders of FlightCar – who turned down Harvard, Princeton, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to do so – say their ambitions are big: to “revolutionize the airport parking and car rental industries one car at a time.” ( Continue… )
The 2014 Buick LaCrosse is ready to start rolling out into showrooms, and those interested can finally start putting down a number on the check they'll have to write.
General Motors has announced pricing for the updated machine, and it's set to start at $34,060. That price includes the $925 destination and handling charge as well as a handful of premium standard amenities.
For the base price of entry, the LaCrosse comes equipped with IntelliLink connectivity, an eight-inch touch-screen display that can be reconfigured, and the eAssist powertrain to aid in the ever-increasing quest for more miles per gallon. The 2014 LaCrosse is rated to hit around 36 miles per gallon on the highway.
The base price might start under $35,000, but the average transaction price may wind up closer to, if not greater than, $40,000 once the excellent V-6 is chosen. The order sheet can get a might expensive once you start ticking too many boxes. If you do that, you'll wind up paying Cadillac prices for a machine that's, um, not a Cadillac.
Still, it sounds like Buick is planning to stuff the car with a plethora of upscale optional extras that will make the car feel worth the price. The LaCrosse is a handsome machine that has an infotainment system which could make even the youngest outliers of the Buick buyers group rather happy. Pandora radio can be streamed through the cabin, and hands-free features abound. It will be interesting to see if any of that new tech can draw in a younger audience.
For more, see our 2014 Buick LaCrosse review.
After initially refusing, Chrysler has agreed to comply with a formal government request to recall 2.7 million model Jeeps. According to regulators, the Jeep recall will include Cherokee and Liberty models that can catch fire due to the position of the gas tank behind the rear axle.
The problem has already been responsible for 51 deaths resulting from Jeeps igniting after rear-end collisions, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The recall involves Jeep Grand Cherokees made between 1993 and 2004, as well as Jeep Libertys manufactured between 2004 and 2007. The affected vehicles will be inspected and, if necessary, have a trailer hitch installed to protect the gas tank. Chrysler didn’t say how much the hitches would cost the company.
“As a result of the agreement, Chrysler Group will conduct a campaign with respect to the vehicles in question that, in addition to a visual inspection of the vehicle will, if necessary, provide an upgrade to the rear structure of the vehicle to better manage crash forces in low-speed impacts,” Chrysler said in a statement. ( Continue… )