Archive for the 'Cars' category

GM buying back Volts

Dec 02 2011 Published by under Cars, Corporate America, Dumb Americans

So GM is offering to loan all 5000 Volt owners a non-Volt auto while the Volt battery problem is researched. OR GM will by back your Volt.  Plus GM will recall and fix all 5000 Volts when the problem is found and a fix is determined.  Sounds like GM is taking no chance on screwing up customer relations for the Volt.

Why is GM doing all this…read on.

It is amazing that people are concerned about the volt catching file SEVEN DAYS  after side impact crash testing.  The Vold is not starting to burn during the crash, or seven seconds after the crash or even seven minutes  after the crash. The fire starts seven days after the crash.

Mind you that when a normal gas engine car is tested all the gas is removed form the test car. The all electric battery cars are tested with fully charges battery packs and there are NO fires during the actual crash test.  To date there has also been on Volts catching fire in real file auto crashes.  GM is notified, by the On-Star computer whne a Volt is envolved in a crash. As a precaution GM is sending out team to drain the Volts battery with in 48 hours of  being notified by On-Star of a crash.

So the big question is why all the concern. A Gasoline powered car can explode and burn on crash impact. In fact there are over 200,000 fiery crashes every year.  Where is the out cry of who dangerous a car is caring around 10 to 50 gallons of flammable liquid?

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Want FREE fuel for your car?

Nov 01 2011 Published by under Cars

EV charging, fuel your car for FREE


Would you fill up your car with free fuel if some one offered your fuel at no cost. Or you you pull in to a Service station and pay $50.oo to fill up your tank?  What if there was an added bonus that the fuel was domestically produced instead of coming from foreign countries.

With an electric vehicle you can do just that. In the photo I’am re-fueling my Nissan Leaf at a FREE public fueling station. True it does pump out electricity instead of gasoline, but the fuel is free. This one is a ChargePoint charging station hosted by Koles department stores.  Did Koles get me into the store, you bet. Did I buy anything not this time. But maybe next time.

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Solar Park & ride

Sep 09 2011 Published by under Cars, Changing scene, Sloar

The park and ride, pictured above, is in Vacaville California off of interstate 80 at the Davis exit. The location is half way between Sacramento and San Francisco.   It is the first, location in California, to house a 440 volt quick charging  station.  The quick charge station will charge a Nissan Leaf from empty to 80% charge in just 30 minutes. The park and ride also has a very large solar array to supplement the electrical car charging done at this location. With several L2 charging stations.

Here the 440 level 3 charger, located under the solar panels,  beinging used to charge up a Mitsubishi i-Miev at a press event conducted at the  Vacaville California location. There are discussion and tentative plans to build over 300 of these CHAdeMo format chargers through the United States. Nissan has already build a CHAdeMo format L3 charging network through Japan, placing one every 40 or sol miles.

Will the every 40mile charging station work here in the United States or will EV’s just be around town cars. Oh do not forget the upcoming version two of the electric car where refueling will take less then 2 minutes.

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Phoenix Motor car Update

Aug 25 2011 Published by under Cars, Changing scene

Back in 2008 I wrote about Phoenix Motor cars. A small start up that was doing Research and development on electric cars. Original Phoenix Motor car had two models and sport truck and a sedan. If you visit their website it looks like they have drope the sedan. The sport truck is the only vehicle on the website. Plus they are ONLY doing fleet sales at this time . No private party sales. That is sad

I also had the opportunity to drive by their corporate offices in Ontario California. As you can see from the photo below

Phoenix Sport trucks waiting to be electrified, by Greg Powers

the lot is full of sport trucks. Lots of them for a small manufacture.  Well they are not really na automotive manufacture. They buy the rolling assembled truck for a manufacture in Korea. Then install the all electric drive train here in Ontario California.

The new policy of only doing fleet sales is reflected in the over wellming number of white sport trucks. The other strange thing is the trucks are sitting in a parking lot that is part of a lite industrial park.

phoenix Motor car sport truck, by Greg Powers

Her is another photo showing a side view of the sport truck.

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Nissan Leaf Reservation Update

Aug 05 2011 Published by under Cars


Just a quick update on the leaf reservation process. I have been receiving e-mails from Nissan informing me that my estimated time of delivery has been updated. The original estimated delivery was mid to late September.  So, an August date this is good news. Remember I started the reservation process in mid May, 2011. So if the Leaf is really delivered in Augest that will be a four month wait.

I have also received an invitation from Nissan to initiate a CARWINGS account. What the heck is a CARWINGS account? Well the Nissan Leaf has a telemetry system that reports (prepaid AT&t cell connection for three years) things like the number of trips you drive , the distance you drive, miles per kilowatt , and number of trees you built for any given day.  It is all reported and presented on a very nice graphical website.

Two other notable cool features about CarWings. Nissan compares you against other Leaf drivers for getting the most miles per kilowatt and the number of trees created among other things. This is done world wide and by region.

The other great CARWINGS feature has to do with the navigation system.  You can plan your trip using you desktop computer and then send it to you leafs nav system through the internet. very nice, I always disliked sitting in the car planing out a route on the nav screen.

So for now I just continue to wait. One surprise is the requirement to install a charging station using Nissan’s preferred vendor has gone away.

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Nissan Leaf ordering process

May 17 2011 Published by under Cars

If you want a Nissan Leaf you are forced through an on-line seven step process.  After you create your Leaf account you wait for an invitation to start the process.  The seven steps are locked until you receive your invitation. As you work your way through the first step addition steps are unlocked.

The first step is to reserve your Leaf and that is going to cost you some money. The reservation is going to cost you a hundred bucks. Not bad and the reservation fee goes toward you purchase.  Not bad but it is still a hundred dollars just to get in line. If you are buying a Volt there is no reservation fee. On the other end of the spectrum is the Tesla Model S reservation fee of $5,000 or if you want a early delivery of the Model S signature edition it will cost you $30,000. So the Leaf is not bad, it is doable.

Next they hit you up for another hundred dollars for a home assessment. What is that? will Nissan want to make sure your home electrical system will handle the electric vehicle (EV) charging station. The process also generates a quote for the charging system that can be added to the purchase of your Nissan Leaf.  But a HUNDERED DOLLARS for an estimate??

If you do not sign up for the assessment the ordering step will not unlock. The ordering step is where you get in line with a prefered dealer. This is where I’am now. The dealer Quotes you the list price, surprise,  surprise. So far I have been unable to get the delivery,tax and other delivery charges. The big unknown is, in the 3-4 months, will there be a dealer add on premium???

Well for now it is a wait and see. The next several steps are locked. I will see when they get unlocked.

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Tesla Model S

Mar 25 2011 Published by under Cars, Changing scene

I drove down to Newport Beach to see the Model S at the Tesla dealer. I had been invited to a special showing of the touring Model S. Getting there and seeing the car being rope off I was disappointed. Then to find out that we were not going to be able to touch or even get in the car was a real bummer.  Apparently this particular Model S is a concept Model S and not a production version.  The sale person claimed that the the concept car cost over two million dollars to build.  So no touching.

The real reason is the exterior and interior of concept are close to the production but not exactly the same. The exterior is about 90% the same, just some minor aerodynamics changes for efficiencies.  As for the interior there will be major differences. Seams the concept was built on a existing rolling platform.   So the concept still has a drive train tunnel. The production Model S will not, as the entire drive train is only 12 moving parts mounted around the rear axial. Sales staff said the will be considerable more room in the cockpit of the production Model S.

Good news is the 17 inch touch screen that makes up the center stack will be in the production version. This will be a full connected car.  The dealer/Tesla will push out updates to you car automatically.   Tesla also said there will be third party apps available for the car. Using a smart phone you will be able to check the stats of you Tesla, charge levels etc… Remember that two big investors in the start-up of the Model S were founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. It is rumored that an internet connect car was a stipulation of the investment.

Now the bad news. The touring of the concept model is a road show to get you to put down a $5,000 get in the queue deposit. The sale person said she would be happy to put it on your credit card. Definitely an upper crust crowd, no cash.  Mind you the 5 grand does not get you a relative position in line. It just gets you in the queue. What to put more money down or sign up for more options you move up the list. But the options are expensive.

To start with there is the “Signature”  edition. It will cost you 40 grand down to order the “Signature”, but you will one of the first to get a Model S Tesla.  Plus ALL the “Signature”  edition model S cars will be the 300 mile version of the battery pack, which is a $20,000 upgrade. In addition the the battery upgrade the “Signature”  edition will also be the highest trim level. So this is not the $50K Model S, it will be more like $100K.

So what about everyone that does not to sign up for the “Signature”  edition? Will, the first non-”Signature”  edition cars to roll off the assembly line will also be the 300 mile battery pack version. So if you want a reasonably priced Tesla Model S, like the advertise $50 price point, you are going to be waiting a long time. Maybe another 24 to 36 months.

But like the sales person said it is a “luxury electric Car” . She said it with a BIG smile.

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Chevy Volt Test drive

Mar 17 2011 Published by under American Consumer, Cars, Changing scene

My wife made a visit to the local Chevy dealer to check out the Chevy Volt.  Thought they may have one on the show room floor. To my surprise that had several on the lot. so we started look at a few that were on the lot. A salesman approchased and invited us into the show room to look at and drive  the Volt.

So here are my first 10  impressions.

  1. I like the concept car/ show car styling a lot better, the production version is dumbed down a lot
  2. No leg room in the back seat when the drivers seat is move back all the way. I mean non, not any, zero, so forget about using the back seat if the drive it Tall like me 6’4″
  3. Do not like the painted center stack of buttons. Overwhelming at first maybe it grows on you.
  4. Loved the multiple display screens and the total glass dash
  5. The electric motor provide tons of  low end torque.
  6. Front grill in not a grill so do not make it look like one, get daring and create something different
  7. It is EXPENSIVE compared to the Nissan Leaf, but cheaper then the Tesla model S.
  8. Dual power plants revealed the wifes “Range anxiety”
  9. Drives like any other car
  10. Very quite aka no tailpipe.

So bottom line, Would I buy this half electric, half Gas powered car? Not for me but my Wife loved it. So I guess we will be buying one in the next 12 months or so.  How is that for a positive answer. But I would still like to see the Nissan Leaf.

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20,000 Nissian Leaf sold

Oct 01 2010 Published by under Cars, Corporate America, Geek stuff

The Nissian Leaf, the All electric car, has not even shipped yet and the entire first year production is SOLD OUT. Nissian has stopped taking asseveration on the Nissian Leafs web site. A month or so ago you could get a reservation, but only after you had a special electrical survey of your house to make sure that the Leaf could be charged at your home.

Nissian claims that the overwhelming demand, for the Nissian Leaf, far exceeds their expectations.  Problem is anyone wanting a new Nissian Leaf will need to wait until for the 2012 model next year.

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Chevy Volt pricing

Well today is the day Chevy announced the pricing on the new Volt.  If you have been living under a rock, the Volt is Chevy answer to the electric car. It is not a true ALL electric since it has an on-board gas driven generator. So Chevy called it a “extender Range” electric vehicle. I guess you need the generator as the Volt has one of the worst range numbers in it’s field. There are several other ALL electric cars that bost a 100 mile range, like the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla S.

So now that pricing has been announced you can order you new Chevy Volt at selected Chevy dealers. Yo can find thoughs special dealers here. The volt will first be available is selected markets like California and New York and the rolled out the the other areas. The list price with out any rebates starts at $41,000 and will be in showrooms in November 2010.

It have been a long wait since the GM EV1 was pulled form the public. There have been lots of manufactures discussing products in this field. In late 2010 and 2011 we will starts see several electric cars on the highway. Is going to be and exciting time. We will see it the wait was worth it. So get you solar PV panels installed and start driving fossil fuel free!



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