Car sales rebounded in October from September's lull, despite the government shutdown.
Most of the major automakers represented in the U.S. market posted big gains year-over-year in October, though not as strong in some cases as hoped.
Among the Big Six automakers, the domestic brands--GM, Ford and Chrysler--all posted double-digit gains. Nissan sales grew 14.2 percent, while Toyota was up only 4.8 percent, below expectations.
The West Coast "green highway" will expand from Oregon and Washington states into British Columbia, under a plan announced today that will site DC quick-charging stations for electric cars along heavy-traveled roads and at popular destinations.
BC Hydro, the province's electric utility, said it will install 13 DC fast chargers, made by both ABB and Eaton, in greater Vancouver, in the Fraser Valley, along the so-called "Sea to Sky Corridor," on Vancouver Island, and in Kamloops.
The fast-charging stations will be leased to local governments in each location.
The complete network will be managed by GreenLots, a San Francisco company whose Sky network provides open access to electric-car charging equipment and networks via smartphone app or credit cards without requiring prior registration, subscriptions, or access fobs. ( Continue… )
When you're on the road, you're out in the world, and the world can get dangerous when you least expect it--especially if your car breaks down or runs into trouble. So what can you do about it? You're (probably) not a mechanic, after all.
Fortunately, you don't have to be a mechanic to give yourself a much better chance of getting home or to the nearest repair shop with a small kit of essential tools and equipment--and in the event of an accident or other emergency, you'll even increase your odds of survival.
This short list of items encapsulates some of the most functional and likely items you'll need, while requiring minimal mechanical or other knowledge to employ. They're the basics. You could load your car up with dozens of other tools, of course, but you could also do a lot worse than keeping these nine inexpensive core items with you at all times.
(Note: The items linked are merely offered as examples; there are many options within each item category, varying in quality, price, and application.) ( Continue… )
The disappearance of internal-combustion engines is far from inevitable today, but several groups and governments are now predicting when the last gasoline vehicles will be sold.
The latest prediction comes from a particularly unlikely source: Shell Oil Company, one of the largest petroleum producers in the world.
The company predicts in its latest report that petroleum-powered cars could be nearly gone by 2070.
The concept is part of Shell's 'New Lens Scenarios', reports Autoblog Green. They are forward-looking predictions that help the company decide how to operate over the coming years.
Shell is actually no stranger to such scenario building, and 2013 actually marks the 40th year of this policy. This year, Shell has developed two New Lens Scenarios, which it terms "Mountains" and "Oceans". ( Continue… )
Can you drive from the Mexican border to the Canadian border for free?
On Saturday, Tesla Model S drivers woke to find that radical idea was now a reality.
The Supercharger stations work only with the Tesla Model S luxury electric car, and using them is free for all Tesla drivers.
Tesla Supercharger quick-charging stations on West Coast, October 2013
A Supercharger station can recharge the Model S battery pack to 80 percent capacity--or about 200 miles of range in the top-end 85-kWh model--in about 20 minutes.
Tesla has hinted that further engineering is in process to cut that charging time to as little as 10 minutes in the not-too-distant future.
The world's car buyers aren't very original. According to vehicle paint giant PPG Industries, white is still the most popular color for new cars worldwide. The company's data shows that 25 percent of new cars are painted white; black and silver tied for second place with 18 percent each.
White claimed the top spot for the third year in a row. It ended silver's decade-long streak as the most popular car color in 2011. The figures are based on PPG's automotive production data, which includes vehicles sold to fleets. That might partially explain white's continued dominance.
The data is also broken down by geographic region. In North America, white still took the lead with 21 percent, followed by black (19 percent), gray (17 percent) and silver (15 percent). White is also a color that's available across all vehicle segments, although other paint colors are more popular in some of them.
In North America, PPG found that sports models tend to be red or blue. That fits the stereotype perfectly and, coincidentally, Ford recently found that red has been themost popular color for the Mustang over that car's 50-year lifespan. Also matching a stereotype are minivans, which are more likely to be gold or beige than other vehicles, according to PPG.
It should be noted that each color encompasses many different shades and finishes. Even basic colors like white can produce seemingly limitless variation.
Going forward, PPG excepts more buyers to opt for blue, based on that color's 50-percent increase in popularity in sport models between 2011 and 2013.
"Inductive charging has great potential" according to Volvo following its study into wireless charging of electric cars.
The Swedish automaker conducted testing with Flanders' Drive, an automotive technology knowledge center in Belgium and a consortium of other companies, to determine whether wireless charging was practical, efficient and safe in real-world trials.
Their conclusion? Quite simply, that it is practical, safe and efficient.
"Cordless technology is a comfortable and effective way to conveniently transfer energy,” said Lennart Stegland, Vice President, Electric Propulsion System at Volvo Car Group. The project won't end there though, as Stegland adds, "There is not yet any common standard for inductive charging. We will continue our research and evaluate the feasibility of the technology in our hybrid and electric car project." ( Continue… )
Yesterday, Tesla took another bite out of Apple.
Until then, the automaker's highest profile recruit from Cupertino had undoubtedly been George Blankenship, the man who turned Apple's wheelbarrows full of money into truckloads by creating ludicrously high-grossing stores in malls across America.
On Thursday, however, Elon Musk & Co. announced that they had hired Doug Field -- arguably, a much bigger coup.
At Apple, Field served as Vice President of Mac Hardware Engineering, meaning that he was key in creating the company's sleek, pricey laptops and desktops. Before that, he engineered products at Segway (yikes) and Ford. At Tesla, the MIT grad will serve as Vice President of Vehicle Programs, which means that he'll be in charge of developing new Tesla vehicles.
We see where this is going. We're not the first to point out that Apple is a great role-model for Tesla to follow. Since re-inventing itself in 2001 with the launch of the iPod, Apple has cemented its reputation as a tech leader -- one that's passionate about creating sexy, well-designed products. It charges a premium for those products, but because the Cool Kids use them, everyone seems willing to pony up. ( Continue… )
The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray 2014 hasn't been off the delivery truck for very long, but the carnage is already beginning. What may have been the first customer Corvette Stingray crash showed up just last week, and now another Stingray has bit the dust.
This image comes from Corvette Forum, although the poster was not aware of the circumstances of the crash, or whether the occupant(s) made it out unscathed.
Judging by the imploded windshield and other topside damage, it appears this Corvette was on its roof at one point. Either that, or the owner tried to reenact a scene from The Fast & The Furious.
The damage is limited to the top of the car, making it into an impromptu convertible.
The front of the car is blocked by a pillar in the photo, but we can see that the hood can still open. The front fenders, doors, and even the wheels also appear to be untouched.
Sadly, this probably won't be the last time we see a Corvette Stingray in this state. Wh don't know when the next crash will happen, but we do know that the Internet will be there to tell us when it does.
For some unblemished 2014 Corvette Stingray photos, check out our mega gallery.
Autonomous cars are coming, slowly but surely. Over the past several years, automakers (and Google, of course) have unveiled an array of self-driving technologies, with some promising to deliver partially self-driving vehicles by the "mid-2010s".
Questions about public acceptance and legal liabilities remain, but frankly, the biggest hurdle facing autonomous cars is the technology they depend on, which is still very expensive and, in some cases, rudimentary. That will change over time, as software and hardware improves, and as economies of scale make those things more affordable.
Also helping matters will be the deployment of vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems. Autonomous cars can function on their own, but creating a support network that allows cars to "talk" to one another will provide an exponential boost to autonomy and, ultimately, driver safety. For example, if one car detects a potential collision, it can use V2V to distribute a warning to other cars nearby, leveraging the power of one car's sensors to maximum effect. In fact, V2V alone is projected to reduce highway fatalities by over 80 percent -- and technically speaking, that's without fully autonomous technologies in place. ( Continue… )