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Electric Car

October 26, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
When electric-car company Tesla Motors Inc. started selling its flagship Model S luxury hatchback earlier this year, it eschewed the traditional dealership network to open its own stores. But that's not sitting well with U.S. auto dealers, who have controlled new-vehicle sales for nearly a century. The nation's roughly 18,000 new-car dealers got a cut of every one of the 12.8 million new cars and trucks sold in the U.S. last year, from the biggest domestic sport-utility vehicle to the tiniest Japanese import.
March 28, 2014 | By Jerry Hirsch
Tesla Motors Inc. has announced plans to reinforce the undercarriage of about 16,000 cars with high-strength shields to reduce the risk of damage from a crash starting a fire. Elon Musk, the electric car company's chief executive, outlined the retrofit Friday morning, at the same time the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced it has signed off on the changes and was closing a probe into two fires that occurred in Tesla Model S sports sedans. The NHTSA said it has not identified a safety defect trend that would justify asking Tesla to issue a recall for the Model S. It said "consumers should have their vehicles serviced promptly once they receive notification from Tesla Motors.
October 21, 2011 | By Mindy Farabee
In 2006, when director Chris Paine released "Who Killed the Electric Car?" the story of GM's short-lived, battery-powered EV-1, the villains were many, but consumer apathy played its role. With "Revenge of the Electric Car," Paine's entertaining follow-up, top GM exec Bob Lutz gives much credit for the company's 180 to consumer outrage. Wall Street might want to take notice of how quickly tides can change. "Revenge" follows the three-way race between GM, Nissan and Silicon Valley rogues Tesla Motors to bring an electric model successfully to market by centering on the three biggest personalities involved: Lutz, Nissan head Carlos Ghosn and Elon Musk, the PayPal mogul behind Tesla who goosed GM into action with his sexy gas-free sports car. Invited "behind enemy lines" as narrator Tim Robbins intones, by GM themselves in 2007, the filmmakers gained access across the board by promising not to release the film until the cars hit showrooms in 2011.
March 24, 2014 | By Mary Forgione, Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
Nikola Tesla would be proud. In May, Croatia will host its first electric car rally that winds from the northern coast to the capital Zagreb through some of the country's most scenic spots. The route includes a visit to electricity pioneer Tesla's hometown too. The Nikola Tesla EV Rally 2014 starts May 27 and will be divided into five legs that cover some 530 miles. It starts in the coastal town of Pula in the north, heading south to the mountain village Smiljan where Tesla was born, Krka National Park and Zadar on the coast before heading inland and north to the capital Zagreb.
December 5, 1991
In yet another misguided use of funds, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has gone out and gotten in the car business by investing $7 million in the development of an electric car (Nov. 8). While the DWP increases rates, DWP's well-pampered officials are hoping to compete with GM, Ford, BMW, Acura, et al., with a $25,000 electric car--and one that can't make a round trip from Malibu to Pasadena without resorting to auxiliary gasoline power. Can you imagine this thing struggling up the Grapevine at night with lights ablaze?
September 19, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch
Electric car advocates say one reason for the slow adoption of the vehicles is that not enough people have tried them out. They note that EVs are quiet and have a lot of zip at city speeds.  In other words, the cars do better going from zero to 30 mph than they do from 30 to 60. People can test drive the latest generation of electric cars at the Automobile Driving Museum near Los Angeles International Airport on Sept. 23. The event is organized by Plug In America, a nonprofit that advocates the use of rechargeable cars, and runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 610 Lairport St., El Segundo.
August 4, 2011 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
Electric car company Tesla Motors Inc. posted a loss of $58.9 million in the second quarter as it sunk money into developing its Model S sedan and a crossover that it is calling Model X. Tesla, based in Palo Alto, is refurbishing an old Toyota factory in Fremont, Calif., where it plans to build the cars. The Model S, an all-electric luxury sedan, is expected to go on sale next year. The loss was 53% larger than the $38.5 million the company lost in the same period a year earlier.
December 7, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch
The chief executive of cash-strapped Fisker Automotive is in Europe looking for investors and business partners for the Anaheim maker of expensive rechargeable sports cars. Fisker needs about $500 million to launch a second vehicle, which would be made at a factory in Wilmington, Del., but has had to halt development after the Department of Energy barred the automaker from drawing down a federal loan. Fisker said it is using Evercore Partners Inc., an investment bank, in the search for investors.
September 11, 2012 | By David Undercoffler, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
A small slice of Audi's future recently began testing on U.S. roads around the country, but if you look too hard for these prototypes, they'll probably drive right under your nose. That's because rather than spend precious development dollars on a uniquely-designed body that's more science experiment than it is a practical application, Audi went and hid an all-electric drivetrain under the skin of its well-known A3 hatchback. Jeff Curry, the head of Audi's electric vehicle strategy in the U.S., brought one of the 17 A3 e-tron prototypes to Santa Monica this week for a few hours of driving.
July 17, 2013 | By Jim Peltz
Formula E, a proposed new series featuring all-electric race cars, got a substantial boost Wednesday when the Andretti Autosport team said it would join the program. Andretti Autosport, led by former racer Michael Andretti, is one of the major teams in the Izod IndyCar Series. The team's drivers include reigning IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti, Michael's son. Formula E proposes to hold street races starting next year in 10 cities around the globe, including Los Angeles.
February 26, 2014 | By Jerry Hirsch
Tesla Motors Inc. wants to raise almost $2 billion to help fund a giant battery factory in the Southwestern U.S. to supply its electric vehicles. The Palo Alto automaker said Wednesday that it plans to build a "gigafactory" that would slash the cost of the battery packs for its cars, allowing Tesla to introduce a less expensive vehicle. "Tesla is riding on its success to tell a bigger story than just being a car company," said Thilo Koslowski, an analyst at Gartner Inc. "The batteries will attract a whole new group of investors.
January 30, 2014 | By David Undercoffler
What does a three-horsepower, all-electric car that's more than a century old have in common with some of the modern world's most capable and powerful sports cars? They're both built by Porsche. On Monday, the German automaker announced it was putting on display in its Stuttgart, Germany, museum the Egger-Lohner electric vehicle, C.2 Phaeton. This small, open-top car, nicknamed the P1, was built in 1898 by Ferdinand Porsche when he was 22. It's the first car he ever built. PHOTOS: World's first car built by Porsche That's the same Ferdinand Porsche who would form his eponymous brand in 1931.
January 27, 2014 | By Jim Peltz
Eight more drivers have committed to racing in Formula E, a proposed series featuring electric-powered race cars competing on city courses around the world, the series said Monday. The drivers include IndyCar Series drivers Sebastien Bourdais, Oriol Servia and J.R. Hildebrand Jr. The others are Bruno Senna of Brazil, Narain Karthikeyan of India, Daniel Abt of Germany, Franck Montagny of France and Christijan Albers of the Netherlands. Bourdais also was among the trio of drivers who won the Rolex 24 at Daytona endurance race Sunday in the premier prototype class, driving a Corvette prototype for the Action Express Racing team.
January 8, 2014 | By Jim Peltz
Formula E, a proposed series featuring electric-powered race cars competing in cities around the globe, said Wednesday eight drivers had committed to the series, including IndyCar driver Marco Andretti. The series plans 10 races over several months, starting with a race in Beijing in mid-September and ending with a race in London on June 27, 2015. The sixth race is scheduled for Los Angeles on Feb. 14, 2015, although the race's exact location in the city has yet to be determined.
December 29, 2013 | By Evan Halper
NEWARK, Del. - The thick blue cables and white boxes alongside an industrial garage here look like those in any electric-car charging station. But they work in a way that could upend the relationship Americans have with energy. The retrofitted Mini Coopers and other vehicles plugged into sockets where a Chrysler plant once stood do more than suck energy out of the multi-state electricity grid. They also send power back into it. With every zap of juice into or out of the region's fragile power network, the car owner gets paid.
November 20, 2013 | By Brian Thevenot
Volkswagen used the Los Angeles Auto Show to launch its first U.S. electric vehicle in the nation's premier zero-emissions car market. The 2015 Volkswagen eGolf, in its North America debut on Wednesday, joins a host of electric cars from automakers seeking to comply with California's strict pollution standards, which essentially mandate production of cars with no tailpipe emissions. The eGolf will go on sale in select states in fall 2014. It will join a host of other electrics that sell in low volumes but nonetheless have sparked high competition among automakers.
October 5, 2012 | By Dan Turner
This post has been updated from its original version. A new paragraph, marked by an asterisk, has been added. Walking the dog the other morning, I heard an odd whistle and hum behind me; it was one of my neighbors returning home (I happened to be standing in front of his driveway at the time), driving his new Nissan Leaf electric car. "How do you like your Leaf?" I asked, while dragging the pooch out of his path. "Man, I absolutely love it. I haven't been to a gas station in, like, two months.
March 1, 2012 | By Deborah Netburn
Justin Bieber turned 18 on Thursday and to celebrate, his manager surprised him with a Fisker Karma -- a $100,000 electric car whose sporty physique belies its eco-friendliness. Bieber's manager, Scott Braun, presented the Canadian pop star with the car on the "Ellen DeGeneres Show ," of all places. "We wanted to make sure, since you love cars, that when you're on the road you are always looking environmentally friendly," Braun said as DeGeneres beamed in the background.
November 18, 2013 | By Jerry Hirsch
For decades, hydrogen fuel cell cars have been the automotive technology of tomorrow: the big idea, for someday far in the future. No longer. At auto shows in Los Angeles and Tokyo this week, Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Hyundai Motor Co. will introduce hydrogen-powered cars. Hyundai's will reach U.S. showrooms next year, while the other models will begin selling a year later. It amounts to “a coming out party for hydrogen,” said John Krafcik, chief executive of Hyundai Motor America.
October 4, 2013 | By Jerry Hirsch
Tesla Motors Chief Executive Elon Musk moved Friday to put out the financial fire that resulted from when one of the electric car company's expensive Model S hatchbacks burned up on a roadway near Seattle this week. Writing on Tesla's website , Musk explained how a big chunk of metal that fell from a semi-trailer impaled the undercarriage of the car and started a fire that was contained to the front battery module. “Had a conventional gasoline car encountered the same object on the highway, the result could have been far worse,” Musk wrote.
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