How far will state car-dealer associations go to prevent Tesla Motors from opening its electric-car showrooms and selling cars over the Internet?
A long, long way.
In North Carolina, a new law passed by the state Senate would apparently make it illegal for Tesla to e-mail its customers.
In other words, if you're a North Carolina resident who has a question about Tesla, the new law may prohibit Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] from responding to your question via e-mail. ( Continue… )
Some of the most popular small SUVs have failed crash tests that simulate a common and deadly front end collision.
"These are troubling results," said Joe Nolan with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "These small SUV's are very popular and for the most part pretty safe, but with these tests most of them did not do well."
For the first time the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted small overlap crash tests with small SUV's. Eleven of the thirteen models tested received marginal or poor ratings. (Read More: Bigger Is Better: SUVs and CUVs Rule the Road in China)
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"Too often many of these models did a poor job protecting the front occupant cabin," said Nolan. ( Continue… )
Since Tesla issued its first-quarter financials last week, its stock has been on a tear.
So Tesla is taking advantage of the price runup; it announced Wednesday afternoon that it would issue up to 2.7 million to 3.1 million more shares of its common stock.
Among the factors discussed was its ability to "rapidly swap out the Model S battery pack, and the development of specialized public facilities to perform such swapping, which do not currently existbut which we plan to introduce in the near future." (our emphasis)
Hmmmmmm. ( Continue… )
It's been a great run for Tesla Motors these last few months.
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Over the weekend, the first photos and details for a brand new Lamborghini concept cropped up. We now have all the official details for the concept, which goes by the name “Egoista” and was developed as a tribute to Lamborghini’s 50th anniversary by a team led by Volkswagen Group designboss Walter De Silva.
The concept’s name, which is Spanish for “selfish,” has been applied because of the single-seat design. But rather than signify a potential for single-seat racing, the design was picked to allow its driver the ability to express their individual personality to the maximum.
The Italian designer also used the words “hedonism,” “four-wheeled UFO” and even “Never Never Land” in describing the car. ( Continue… )
Your mileage may vary.
We've heard it for years, we all know it's true, and yet we put our trust in the EPA's fuel-efficiency ratings as a guide to what kind of gas mileage a car will really get.
10-15 percent leeway
In general, buyers seem comfortable with variance of 10 or 15 percent from the advertised EPA ratings.
And although automakers generally publicize only the higher rating number (for gasoline cars, always the highway cycle), the EPA's combined rating is usually pretty close to real-world fuel economy for most buyers--within that margin.
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But the new 2013 C-Max and Fusion hybrid models have generated a drumbeat of dissatisfied buyers, who claim their real-world mileage doesn't even come close.
Inevitably, there are now lawsuits.
'What was Ford thinking?'
Here's just one of many comments Green Car Reports has received on the topic:
What was Ford thinking when they published 47/47/47 estimates? Based on the advertised EPA estimates, I would have been OK with low 40s, but 28-33 mpg is not even in the ballpark.
This is not an issue about EPA testing standards, but rather an issue about setting false customer expectations in order to promote sales.
Ford's "47MPG" marketing campaign tarnished what should have been the rollout of a truly remarkable vehicle, the C-Max. Real-world MPG estimates should have been promoted in the mid-30s.
Only EPA estimates allowed
We've gotten dozens of comments like this, following our coverage of the disparity between published 47-mpg combined EPA ratings and real-world figures achieved by drivers. ( Continue… )
Chrysler is recalling 469,000 Jeep SUVs worldwide because they can shift into neutral without warning on startup.
The recall affects 2005 to 2010 Grand Cherokees and 2006 to 2010 Commanders.
U.S. safety regulators say cracks in a circuit board can cause a faulty signal as the SUVs are being started. If the vehicles shift into neutral they can roll away.
Chrysler says the problem has caused 26 crashes and two injuries. ( Continue… )
In the face of plummeting gas-tax revenues, both state and Federal, electric cars seem to be emerging as a culprit and a target.
Before we discuss how to fix this ... first, a little Gas Tax 101.
The Revenue Act of 1932 under the Hoover administration instituted a Federal 'excise' tax on gasoline of 1 cent per gallon: the first Federal gas tax.
Eighty-one years later, that tax is now 18.4 cents per gallon--and has remained so since 1997.
In my home state of Maine, the state's additional excise tax on gasoline is 31.5 cents, bringing the total tax to 49.9 cents per gallon. (The national average is 45.8 cents.)
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To help put this in perspective, the average national sales tax is 5.6 percent, whereas the national excise tax on gas at the current average price per gallon is about 13 percent.
Based on an estimated 150 billion gallons of gasoline sold each year in the U.S. at an average tax of 46 cents a gallon, that works out to be combined state and Federal gas-tax revenue of roughly $69 billion. ( Continue… )
We're not mutual fund managers, but if we were, we'd be taking a good, long look at Facebook right now. Though its stock prices faltered after the IPO, recent developments suggest that Facebook will retain its 800-pound gorilla status for years to come, thanks to a renewed focus on mobile devices.
First we saw Facebook Home, a skin for Android handsets that puts the Facebook news feed at the center of the user experience. There had been talk for some time of a Facebook phone, but Zuckerberg et al. took the smarter, safer route: instead of having to persuade customers to shell out for a new cell phone, Facebook Home gives the company access to every Android phone user via a completely free app.
Now come word that Facebook is looking to buy the hyper-popular navigation app Waze.
We've covered Waze numerous times in the past, and it's one of our favorite apps for getting around. Not only does it offer real-time traffic data, but it also provides gas prices and gamification elements to make using the app fun. (And like Facebook Home, it's free.) Waze's user base currently stands at around 45 million, and it's recently averaged over 1.5 million downloads per month. Waze has offices in Ra'anana, Israel and Palo Alto, California -- the latter of which is where Facebook HQ used to be, until the company relocated to Menlo Park, about three miles down the road. ( Continue… )