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BUSINESS
September 10, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch
Is General Motors losing $49,000 on every Chevrolet Volt electric car it sells? If so, it could be bad news for taxpayers who helped bail out GM and now own a third of an automaker that has seen its shares plunge 30% since it went public in 2010. A Reuters report Monday said GM's plug-in hybrid was a big money-loser.   GM, though, disputed the contention, saying Reuters' research "is grossly wrong" and accusing the news agency of bad math. The automaker said the news agency incorrectly "allocated product development costs across the number of Volts sold instead of allocating across the lifetime volume of the program, which is how business operates.” The debate over the cost of the Volt is highlighting how much of a lightning rod GM -- and the Volt -- have become since the automaker's federal bailout in 2009 and as the presidential election approaches, analysts said.
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BUSINESS
August 28, 2011 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
Electric cars are back. Popular in early automotive history, electrics quickly got smoked by their internal combustion-driven cousins. But in this age of volatile gas prices and climate worries, these clean, quiet vehicles are winning new fans. Advances in technology have improved their range and power. Companies are rolling them out in every flavor. Need a small SUV? Take a look at the Toyota RAV4 electric hitting the market next year. How about a luxury sedan? There's the Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid, which the automaker compares to a Maserati Quattroporte but with better mileage and lower emissions than a Toyota Prius.
BUSINESS
September 8, 2011 | By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times
AeroVironment Inc., the Monrovia company that makes small hand-held drones for the Pentagon and charging systems for electric vehicles, swung to a profit in its first quarter, bolstered by a 62% increase in sales. The company Wednesday posted earnings for the quarter ended July 30 of $326,000, or 1 cent a share, compared with a loss of $3.4 million, or 16 cents, a year earlier. Analysts on average had forecast a profit of 1 cent a share. AeroVironment is the Pentagon's top supplier of small drones, which include the Raven, Wasp and Puma models.
BUSINESS
September 22, 2010 | Jerry Hirsch
Coda Automotive Inc., a startup electric-car company in Santa Monica, said Tuesday that it would start taking deposits for its four-door, five-passenger sedan this week and would begin delivering the cars in December. The automaker is pricing the car at $44,900, a sticker price above electric vehicle offerings from the much larger General Motors Co. and Nissan North America Inc. that also go on sale later this year. The Coda will be will be eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit and $5,000 California tax rebate, which brings the price down to $32,400.
AUTOS
June 21, 2013 | By Catherine Green
Nissan Leaf drivers throughout the U.S. will be able to upgrade to the latest lithium-ion batteries through a program costing $100 a month, the automaker announced Thursday. Nissan's current policy guarantees it will fix or replace Leaf EV battery packs which fail to meet performance standards during the first five years of ownership or before 60,000 miles. Under the new program, starting early next year, drivers of the 2011, 2012 or 2013 models will be able to get a new battery installed in their vehicles.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 17, 2012 | By Susan Carpenter, Los Angeles Times
The growing number of electric vehicle drivers in Los Angeles are behaving differently from the national norm. Not only are EV drivers in L.A. traveling farther than those in other cities, but they charge their vehicles more often at public locations and are more likely to charge at night to obtain less expensive electricity rates, according to Ecotality in San Francisco. Ecotality oversees the EV Project, a $230-million deployment of electric-vehicle charging infrastructure funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy to aid the rollout of electric vehicles and conduct research.
BUSINESS
March 23, 2012 | By Andrea Chang, Los Angeles Times
In a big boost to current and prospective electric car owners, most of a $120-million settlement with an energy company will be used to build a vast network of charging stations in California. The money will be used to construct at least 200 public fast-charging stations and install wiring for 10,000 plug-in units at 1,000 locations across the state, Gov. Jerry Brown said Friday. He also announced that he had signed an executive order laying out the foundation for 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles to be on California's roads by 2025.
AUTOS
November 21, 2013 | By Jerry Hirsch
As the automotive test director for Consumer Reports, Jake Fisher drives hundreds of cars a year and is known as one of the toughest critics in the auto industry. The Times took a cruise with Fisher at the L.A. Auto Show on Thursday and asked what he thinks are the most important new cars to make their debuts at the show. 1: The Chevrolet Colorado mid-size pickup truck. “It really looks impressive and it is nice to see an auto company taking smaller pickup trucks seriously,” Fisher said.
BUSINESS
November 18, 2010 | By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
Rival Japanese automakers Toyota Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. unveiled prototypes of upcoming electric cars as alternative-fuel vehicles took center stage Wednesday at the start of the Los Angeles Auto Show. Amid buzz about General Motors Co.'s multibillion-dollar initial public offering, major automakers scrambled to show off their latest electric car offerings to hundreds of reporters gathered for a preview of the annual event at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The show opens to the public on Friday.
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