December 8, 2012 |
It's hard to get America's most senior auto executives together in the same building to address the same topics, but we managed to do it with Mark Reuss, president of General Motors Co.'s North American operations, and Mark Fields, the newly appointed chief operating officer of Ford Motor Co. They came to town for the Los Angeles Auto Show, which ends Sunday. Even then, they weren't in the same room - so we just asked them identical questions, in separate interviews, to create this virtual debate.
December 7, 2012 |
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.
November 30, 2012 |
Don't be surprised to see a decline in electric car prices over the next several months. When Chevrolet introduced its Spark EV at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week, it said the car will sell for less than $25,000 after a federal tax rebate. That would be lower than the prices of electric vehicles on the market now, although there are attractive lease deals. The Leaf starts at $28,550 after the federal tax credit. California buyers get an additional $2,500 state rebate. Nissan also offers the Leaf through a 36-month lease for $199 a month with a $1,999 down payment in some regions of the U.S. A week ago, Nissan disclosed that the version of the Leaf electric vehicle it sells in Japan will see a price drop and an increase in driving range per charge.
November 8, 2012 |
Sales of electric vehicles won't take off until automakers lower prices and demonstrate the economic benefits to consumers, according to a J.D. Power and Associates study of electric vehicle ownership. Almost two years after automakers started selling battery-powered rechargeable cars in the U.S., the segment is an almost immeasurable portion of auto sales. Nissan has sold less than 6,800 Leaf electric cars this year through October, and that's down 16% from the same period last year. Honda has leased just 48 of the electric version of the Fit this year.
October 26, 2012 |
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.
October 17, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Exposing President Obama to further criticism of his administration's economic policies, a leading electric-car battery maker that received a large federal grant filed for bankruptcy protection and said it was selling its auto-business assets. A123 Systems Inc., a company built with innovative MIT-developed technology and a $249-million grant under Obama's 2009 economic stimulus program, said Tuesday that it signed a deal to sell its two Michigan manufacturing plants and some other assets to Johnson Controls Inc. in a deal valued at $125 million.
October 9, 2012 |
Last Friday, I set out to write a blog post that would answer the question, "With gasoline prices spiking, are electric cars really a good deal?" I learned two things from this exercise. First, doing a cost/benefit analysis comparing vehicles is trickier than it seems, thanks to differing government incentive programs that can radically alter the cost equation. Second, readers are really, really passionate about this topic. After having been informed, repeatedly and in no uncertain terms, about my many failings on that post, I've decided to start over -- hopefully screw-up free this time, and with a new comparison among "green" cars.
October 5, 2012 |
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.
September 29, 2012 |
A team of researchers at Utah State University has created a biodiesel fuel out of the watery waste of mass-produced cheese. There are two reasons this fuel, which can be substituted for regular diesel, is cool. First, it creates a use for the millions of gallons of liquid cheese waste produced by the industrial cheese industry each day. It also produces a sweet exhaust that smells like fresh-baked bread. "The smell is fun, especially when the engine is warm," said Mike Morgan, a Utah State biochemistry undergrad who recently drove a dragster that runs on the fuel.
September 26, 2012 |
Electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. cut its revenue projections as supplier problems and production delays hurt sales of its Model S sporty hatchback. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Tuesday, the Palo Alto automaker said it has had trouble producing the number of vehicles it anticipated since launching production of the car in June. Tesla said it will generate $44 million to $46 million in third-quarter sales, compared with the roughly $80 million analysts had projected based on the company's production goals.