Archive for the ‘electric cars’ Category

Faraday Future raises $14m, leases old factory for future electric car line

August 7th, 2017

Enlarge / Faraday Future’s rendering of the refurbished Hanford factory. (credit: Faraday Future)

Faraday Future announced on Monday that it has signed a lease on a turn-key manufacturing facility in Hanford, California, south of Fresno. The company has been hyping its plans to build a luxury electric vehicle called the FF 91 that would compete with high-end Teslas, but it has struggled with funding and production. Faraday recently pulled out of plans to build a massive factory north of Las Vegas as well as plans to negotiate a deal for another new factory location in Vallejo, California.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Faraday Future received an emergency loan from an investment firm to the tune of $13.75 million, using a claim to the company’s Gardena, California, headquarters as collateral. The company will need to raise millions more to deliver market-ready FF 91s by the end of next year, as it has promised to do. Stefan Krause, Faraday Future’s Chief Operating Officer, told the Times that having an assembly line will attract additional investors, as it “makes it more real” for them.

The warehouse being leased was originally a tire factory, first built by Armstrong Rubber Co. in 1962 and purchased by Italian tire maker Pirelli in 1985. Pirelli shut the factory down in 2001 for economic reasons, and tenants have been various since then, most recently a potential pot-growing operation.

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Formula E wows the crowds with street racing in NYC

July 20th, 2017

Elle Cayabyab Gitlin

NEW YORK—On July 15 and 16, the fledgling sport of Formula E racing managed something its older, bigger, much richer sibling never managed: racing with the Statue of Liberty and the downtown Manhattan skyline as a backdrop. After races in Miami (2015) and Long Beach, California (2015, 2016), the Big Apple became the third US venue to host an ePrix, and it should provide the electric racing series a home for some time to come thanks to a 10-year contract with the city.

Before a sold-out crowd of 18,000, DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird stepped up to the pressure and took two wins from two races. And with championship leader Sebastien Buemi absent—the Swiss driver was committed to racing in Germany in the World Endurance Championship the same weekend—ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport’s Lucas di Grassi made up ground in the title fight, narrowing the gap to just 10 points with two races left to go. Given all the excitement (and the fact NYC qualifies as the closest stop on the Formula E calendar), Ars took to the grandstands to see how one of our favorite racing series is starting to mature.

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BMW at critical junction on electric car strategy, Reuters says

September 12th, 2016

A BMW i3 drawing. (credit: BMW)

Late last week, Reuters reported that several top executives from BMW would be skipping the Paris Motor Show to figure out how the company will proceed in its electric car strategy.

Anonymous sources said the company is weighing whether it will change course on its electric i3 program, which only saw 25,000 deliveries last year. Some executives want the company to produce an electric Mini that would hit markets as soon as 2019—but that’s likely an expensive endeavor since the company would have to alter the Mini platform to house a giant battery and upgrade its factories to accommodate that production. One anonymous source told Reuters it would be more expensive to retool the i3 platform for a Mini body than to re-engineer the Mini platform to support the kind of battery it would need to be all-electric.

Still, government regulation in the US and Europe is increasingly favoring low- and zero-emissions vehicles, and the popularity of Tesla’s Model 3—which received hundreds of thousands of reservations in the week after it was announced—are encouraging companies to invest in electric vehicles.

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Electric Vehicles at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb: Race report

June 29th, 2016

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.—The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb turned 100 this year, making it five years younger than the Indianapolis 500. Other than age, the two events have very little in common. The first Indy 500 came about because Carl Fisher wanted to give America’s new car builders somewhere to test their creations; by contrast, Spencer Penrose organized the first Pikes Peak Hill Climb in 1916 to help draw tourists to the mountain (and in turn, his hotel the Broadmoor). Ironic then that all these years later it’s Pikes Peak—rather than Indianapolis—that’s being used to test the cutting edge of automotive technology.

In particular, people have been bringing electric cars and motorbikes (you can read about those later today) to test them on the hill climb. The 12.4-mile (19.99km) course is short enough that they don’t need to be overburdened with batteries, for one. And unlike internal combustion engines, electric motors don’t care whether they’re at sea level, the start line (9.390 feet/2,862m), or the 14,110-foot (4,300m) summit—they make the same amount of power everywhere.

When last we checked in from America’s Mountain, Romain Dumas and his Norma M20 RD Limited Spec-2016 were the fastest combination of man and machine, topping the qualifying charts. This somewhat upset the narrative—for the Norma runs in the Unlimited class and does so on gasoline, not electrons. As the fastest overall qualifier, Dumas would be the first of the cars to set off, some two hours later than planned. Below the tree line the weather was perfect, but icy conditions up top saw several motorbikes crash, causing several lengthy delays.

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How much do electric cars actually pollute?

July 16th, 2015

Last week, we took a look at the role incentives can play in encouraging people to buy electric vehicles (EVs). Today, we bring you a paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research that attempts to calculate the environmental benefits of EVs versus conventional vehicles in light of those subsidies. Is it as desirable to encourage EV use in a state where the electricity comes from burning coal as it is in a state where that electricity comes from natural gas or nuclear power?

The authors, four economists from the University of North Carolina (UNC) Greensboro, Dartmouth College, Middlebury College, and UNC Chapel Hill have created what they describe as “a powerful and unprecedented modeling framework for analyzing electric vehicle policy.” They do this with three different components. First, a model of consumer choice between EVs and gasoline-powered cars. Next, they then incorporate the effect of EV charging on air pollution from individual power stations. Finally their model compares the emissions from these power stations with the emissions internal combustion vehicles would produce at the same location.

The analysis uses some quite complicated formulae to calculate the damages that result from emissions per mile from 11 different battery EVs on sale in 2014, compared to the closest internal combustion engine-powered equivalent, independent of price. Where possible they’ve compared like models, so the EV Ford Focus vs a regular Focus, a Fiat 500e vs a regular Fiat 500, and so on. For cars where there isn’t a conventional model (Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Tesla’s Model Ss) the authors picked cars they believed were equivalent in features (Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Spark, BMW 7-series). Then they compared the EVs’ kWh/mile rating with the gasoline cars’ fuel economy, as well as pollution from nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, small particulates, and volatile organic compounds.

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Electric Vehicles: Incentives work, but not without consequences

July 8th, 2015

Last week we looked at a National Academy of Sciences report about barriers to electric vehicle (EV) adoption. One of the topics the report focused on was the role of incentives in getting people to purchase EVs. Currently, the federal government and about half the 50 states offer some form of incentive to get people to buy plug-in vehicles.

California has traditionally led the way in this regard, and last week the state published its new rules for EV rebates. Gone is the blanket $2,500 state tax rebate. Instead, California EV rebates are going to be based on one’s income, and unless they plan on buying a car with a fuel cell, the wealthiest need not apply.

Under the new rules published by California’s Air Resource Board (CARB), the greatest rebates will go to low- and moderate-income buyers. Since California’s EV incentives come in the form of tax rebates, they’re tied to one’s annual income and filing status. And there are different sized rebates for plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEV), battery EVs (BEV), and fuel cell EVs (FCEV). The greatest rebates are available for those with incomes at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty level, which means individuals earning $35,310 or less (and increases by $12,480 for each additional person in the household).

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Review: Tesla’s new Model S P85D—double your engines, double your fun

May 24th, 2015

In its December 1997 issue, Road & Track published the first US road test of the otherworldly McLaren F1. The issue became one of the most famous in R&T’s history due to the 12+ page review of a car that the stateside automotive press hadn’t yet had a chance to spend a few days of unchaperoned time. The daily-driver details about the famous 240mph Lamborghini destroyer inspired true awe. The review, done with a privately owned F1 on loan to the magazine, contained superlative after superlative. The F1’s 627bhp BMW-built V-12 could rocket the car from 60 miles per hour to 160 miles per hour in the time it took to pour a glass of water.

“Surely,” I thought as I read and re-read the review with the fervor that only a teenage boy could have for the hottest of hot cars, “I’ll go my whole life and never get the chance to drive anything even remotely that fast.”

Turns out I was wrong—I had to wait 18 years.

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Posted in Cars Technica, electric cars, electric vehicle, Elon Musk, Features, Gadgetology, model s, model s p85d, review, Tesla, tesla model s, tesla motors | Comments (0)

Slow but thrilling: Formula E Schools is ePrix’s teenaged training ground

March 29th, 2015

The Miami ePrix—the first US round of the inaugural Formula E championship—managed the curious feat of having one race that was extremely thrilling to watch despite being rather glacial in pace. No, not the main ePrix. We are talking, of course, about the Formula E Schools competition.

You can read more about the proper Formula E series elsewhere on the site; the Schools series was created to promote careers in engineering and sustainability for young people. Here, teams of high schoolers compete in their own electric vehicle race before the main event. The students, aged 11-16, use identical cars they must build themselves in order to battle it out on the same circuit used by the full-size cars—only, it’s a 20-minute race.

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Racing goes electric: At the track with Formula E, the first e-racing series

March 29th, 2015

MIAMI—The pit lane we’re standing in is unusual, and not only because it’s a temporary setup placed in the shadow of American Airlines Arena (home of the NBA’s Miami Heat). Garages are set up on both sides rather than being limited to one. A few things also appear to be missing. To start, a familiar smell from the usual mix of burning hydrocarbons is absent. And it’s remarkably quiet. The occasional impact wrench bursts out in a mechanical staccato, generators drone here and there, but there are no V8s burbling, no V6s screaming.

Video: Ars visits the track. (video link)

But the biggest omission? Well, it’s what powers the entire event—or, perhaps more notably, what doesn’t.

Welcome to Formula E, the world’s first fully electric racing series. Miami is playing host to the first of two US rounds—the next being held in Long Beach, CA, on April 4—and it’s the fifth race in this ePrix’s inaugural season. Given we’ve got a bit of a thing about racing at Cars Technica, as well as an obvious interest in electric vehicles, we had to be on the ground in Miami to experience this for ourselves.

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Chevrolet to build a Tesla-killer

February 13th, 2015

Chevrolet announced yesterday at the Chicago Auto Show that the company has greenlit the production of the Bolt, its new electric vehicle (EV). The car was first shown to the world at last month’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, MI as a concept, but according to Alan Batey, president of GM North America, the response from the public has convinced the company to build the car.

Although details are still scarce, the Bolt will sell for around $30,000, and GM promises a range of 200 miles on a charge. The car will be built at GM’s Orion Assembly, located near Detroit. Boosting the car’s green credentials are the fact that the plant is powered by gas from two nearby landfills and a 350 kW solar array.

The Bolt will be a direct rival to Tesla’s future affordable EV, the Model 3, and it may indeed beat the as-yet unseen Tesla to market. It’s a relatively conventional looking car, less outrageously styled than BMW’s clever (but expensive and range-limited) i3, but with an equally interesting interior—assuming that the production car hews closely to the concept GM is showing off. Bolts should start appearing in showrooms in 2017. Here’s hoping they drive well.

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