Next week, the EPA is expected to set limits on greenhouse gas emissions by new power plants, The New York Times reports.
These new standards may deter the construction of new coal plants.
While full details of the proposal have not been released, the EPA is expected to set separate limits for coal and natural-gas plants. ( Continue… )
Things have not gone exactly as planned for Sergio Marchionne.
As the head of both Chrysler and Fiat, he's been planning for some time to merge the two companies. Fiat already owns a 58.5 percent stake in Chrysler, and Marchionne had hoped to buy the remaining 41.5 percent that's held by VEBA, a healthcare trust affiliated with the United Auto Workers union.
Unfortunately, the undisclosed offer that Marchionne made for that slice of Chrysler's pie didn't sit well with VEBA management, so VEBA refused. And so, according to Reuters, Marchionne is going with Plan B.
Plan B involves taking Chrysler public without Fiat owning VEBA stock. Marchionne says that he plans to file paperwork for the initial public offering sometime this week.
An IPO gives VEBA some advantages. For starters, selling Chrysler shares in the open market gives VEBA the chance to land a higher price. Also, the threat of VEBA's shares being purchased by an investor who might be hostile to Fiat is some encouragement for Marchionne to sweeten his offer to VEBA before trading begins.
Then again, VEBA doesn't hold all the cards. It can only sell 25 percent of its holdings in Chrysler on the stock market, which works out to be just over 10 percent of the total. The remaining 75 percent of VEBA's shares must be sold to Fiat.
In other words, Marchionne and Fiat will eventually own the lion's share of Chrysler. The questions are: (a) how much will Fiat pay for that privilege, and (b) will it have full ownership, or just 90 percent?
Chevrolet’s Corvette Stingray is gearing up for its showroom debut, not just here in the U.S. but elsewhere around the globe including in Europe where sports car fans are more attuned to Lotuses, Porsches and other exotics. Chevrolet is aware of this and is fine tuning the seventh-generation ‘Vette ahead of the car’s market launch later this year, and this includes testing at one of the world’s toughest race tracks, the Nürburgring-Nordschleife.
Chevrolet's technical experts are currently assessing two Corvette Stingrays in Europe, both of which are driven on a wide variety of roads. The testing procedures are part of an extensive quality control program which is conducted for each new Chevy before it goes on sale in Europe, though high-performance models like the Corvette Stingray get some extra attention.
The European tests are documented by Chevy engineer Patrick Herrmann, who is featured in the video above testing the Corvette Stingray at a different track, the nearby Dudenhofen Circuit.
At tracks like Dudenhofen and the Nürburgring, engineers pay particular attention to the suspension setup and the steering. European roads are quite distinct and different from those in the U.S., and so are driving habits.
Chevy is yet to release the all-important Nürburgring lap time for the Corvette Stingray. The fastest ‘Vette around the ‘Ring remains the C6 ZR1, which in 2011 completed a lap in just 7:19.63.
We’ve already driven the 2014 Corvette Stingray, so be sure to read our first drive report.
Every so often, electric-car skeptics will attack the idea of using grid electricity to power a car by bringing up coal.
"Yeah," the argument goes, "but you're just burning coal instead of gasoline in your electric car--so how's that any better?"
There is, of course, a fair amount of science that shows it actually is better when measured by wells-to-wheels carbon emissions.
The conclusion: Even in the few states with the very dirtiest grids, driving a mile on grid electricity is barely worse than the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid car (roughly 34 mpg). ( Continue… )
Speculating on what will happen to Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] can be endlessly entertaining, and the discussions have taken up terabytes of server space already.
But last week, a Forbes contributor suggested an intriguing notion: Should search giant Google buy Tesla?
The conventional wisdom has been that ultimately, Tesla's backers and board will sell the company to a large global automaker.
Such an acquirer could provide the parts-volume efficiencies and enormous capital resources required to grow production into the hundreds of thousands a year--ultimately perhaps millions.
Of course, Tesla has several times proven the conventional wisdom wrong--which is to say, the company built an astoundingly good car that has been snapped up by many thousand buyers already.
In fact, at its current production rate, the company will have more than 26,000 cars on global roads by December 31.
And Tesla has already surpassed four other fabled automotive startups: Delorean (9,000 cars), Bricklin (2,850 cars), Fisker (2,000 or more cars), and Tucker (a mere 51 cars).
So perhaps the company can remain independent, though the odds are still against it.
But where does Google come in? ( Continue… )
If you get from place to place on four wheels, there are plenty of ways to go green.
But what if you prefer wings to wheels?
GreenWing International has announced the release of its first 50 eSpyder electric aircraft. The single-seat plane will be sold as a kit for $39,990.
A few weeks ago it was revealed that an investor group in Germany was interested in acquiring Fisker for the lowly sum of $25 million, with the intention to start limited production of the Karma extended-range electric sedan and several derivative models at a plant in the U.S. At the time, it was also revealed that the group, whose name is Fritz Nol, had drawn up a full restructuring plan for Fisker, which hasn’t built a car in almost a year and is on the verge of bankruptcy.
Fast forward to today, and it is being reported that Fritz Nol has submitted its formal offer for Fisker to the Department of Energy. The government agency, which is still owed by Fisker most of a $192 million loan, has a say in the ultimate disposition of the company.
Say what you will about Volkswagen, but the company isn't afraid of setting big, bold goals for itself.
Several years ago, VW announced its intention to become the world's largest automaker by 2018. And now, according to Detroit News, it's aiming to be the world's biggest maker of electric cars by 2018, too.
It won't be easy. Volkswagen lags behind many other major automakers when it comes to electric cars. (Remember: the Nissan Leaf arrived in the U.S. nearly three years ago.) Not only that, but the highest-profile electric prototype in the company's arsenal is the Audi e-tron -- which looked great in Iron Man 3, but last we heard, Audi had pulled the plug on the entire e-tron program.
What's the problem? Unlike many other automakers, VW pinned its hopes for fuel efficiencyon diesel cars. That perspective might be blamed on geography: Volkswagen is a European automaker, and diesels are big on the Continent. ( Continue… )
Old Spice, Wendy's, MySpace: rebranding campaigns are everywhere these days. Now, Ford is trying its hand at the "re-invigoration" game with a new series of videos that aim to dust off the Lincoln name.
It's called the Lincoln Reimagine Project, and it's an element of Lincoln's larger "Hello, Again" rebranding campaign. The Reimagine Project centers around three shorts that re-envision classic Hollywood film types: the 70s road heist, the screwball comedy, and the noir thriller.
To direct those three vids, Lincoln has recruited four indie directors (two work as a team) and matched them with filmmaking mentor Rodrigo Garcia, who has helmed episodes of The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, and Big Love, among other properties. Vanity Fair is a co-sponsor of the project.
What's the link between classic films and Lincoln? According to the company's Andrew Frick, "Lincoln continues to embrace its original spirit of forward-thinking design and innovation. The creativity and individuality of these filmmakers inspire them to transform iconic film genres from the past into new and vibrant visions of the future – an accomplishment that mirrors what Lincoln intends to do with its vehicles over the next four years."
The films debuted today on Hello-Again.com, the centerpiece of the "Hello, Again" campaign.
The good news is that all of the clips look great. They capture the essence of the three film styles they reference, while simultaneously offering fresh perspectives. That's no small accomplishment.
The bad news is that this seems like an awfully roundabout way to reinvigorate Lincoln's image -- even if it's just one element of a larger rebranding campaign. Who's the audience for the Reimagine Project? Is that audience going to sit through online videos up to 11 minutes long -- especially when the audience knows that the clips are, in some sense, ads? ( Continue… )
With average gas prices in America still hovering above $3.50 a gallon, fuel economy remains a major concern for new-car shoppers. According to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, that's having a profound effect on the vehicles consumers buy -- or, more specifically, the fuel economy of the cars they buy.
UMTRI researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle say that the average fuel economy of new vehicles sold reached a record high in August: 24.9 mpg. That's up 0.1 mpg from July 2013 and up 4.8 mpg since UMTRI began monitoring such stats in October 2007.
Just as impressive, the average fuel economy of all model-year 2013 vehicles sold to-date clocks in at 24.7 mpg. That's an improvement of 1.2 mpg over models from 2012.
As you'll see from UMTRI's chart above, the fuel economy of new cars sold has climbed steadily over the past six years. Spikes in efficiency typically occur in springtime -- perhaps because that's when gasoline gets expensive, as refineries squeeze off supply prior to the summer-blend changeover. That, in turn, likely makes shoppers more sensitive to the fuel rating of their new ride.
Gas prices often settle down in the fall, after the return to regular or "winter blend" gas has taken place. That's often when the fuel economy of new cars sold flattens out, as consumers worry less about their MPGs. ( Continue… )