January 16, 2011 |
Awards season is at hand, so it's only fitting to salute top performers in one of L.A.'s favorite categories: autos. Our work as Times car reviewers put us behind the wheels of dozens of vehicles last year. Breakout stars included two new electric vehicles: the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt. Luxury models by Jaguar and Porsche also impressed us with their style and power. The new Jeep Grand Cherokee, an American classic, got a big thumbs up. Fans in the cheap seats will find there's something for them too: One of our winning cars has a sticker of only $19,690.
January 14, 2011 |
Californians may end up paying the highest electricity rates in the country to charge their electric vehicles, a new study says. The state's tiered rate system, in which customers are charged higher rates as they use more electricity, could make plug-in hybrid and battery-powered vehicles more costly to own, according to a Purdue University study. The study was unveiled as the first of the electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles are reaching consumers. Two vehicles, the all-electric Nissan Leaf and the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt, started being delivered to their first customers last month.
January 1, 2011 |
The world's first mass-marketed electric car, the Nissan Leaf, boasts all of the safety features of a gasoline-powered model: air bags, anti-lock brakes, an impact-absorbing frame. There's one high-tech extra: a synthesizer that emits noise to alert pedestrians to the vehicle's approach. But it's not just any noise. Nissan Motor Co. spent years developing the Leaf's unique sound, which some listeners have described as a gentler version of an airplane taking off or the approach of a spaceship in a sci-fi movie . When backing up, the car pings like a sonar . What's clear is that the Leaf, which is just rolling into U.S. showrooms, sounds nothing like conventional cars.
December 24, 2010 |
California consumers counting on a $5,000 state rebate for purchasing an electric car may be in for a shock: The money may not be there when they go to collect. The state Air Resources Board, which is offering the program for eligible electric and other zero-emission vehicles, has $8 million in its coffers. That's enough to pay out incentives to about 1,600 buyers, estimated Jay Friedland, legislative director of Plug In America, an electric-vehicle advocacy group. But it's well below the expected pace of sales for vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf, which is just now hitting the market.
December 12, 2010 |
According to the government, the car with the highest mileage per gallon on the market doesn't use a single drop of gasoline. The 2011 Nissan Leaf, which was scheduled to be delivered to its first California customers this weekend, runs entirely on battery. But the Environmental Protection Agency says it can travel 99 miles on the equivalent of a single gallon of fuel. Confused? You're not alone. The mileage-equivalent ratings, meant to help potential buyers compare electric cars with others in their class, are befuddling some consumers who see them as an automotive example of comparing apples and oranges.
December 9, 2010
2011 Nissan Leaf Base price: $32,780 (before tax credits and destination charge) Price, as tested: $33,720 Powertrain: 80-kilowatt AC synchronous electric motor; single-speed transmission with eco mode. Battery type: Laminated 24-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery, 192 cells Horsepower: 107 Torque: 207 pound-feet Curb weight: 3,375 pounds Wheelbase: 106.3 inches Overall length: 175 inches EPA-rated range on a single charge: 73 miles EPA fuel economy: 106 city /92 highway mpg equivalent Final thoughts: Nissan defines revolutionary.
December 8, 2010 |
No one loves lofty rhetoric and prosaic hyperbole more than car manufacturers. With a dollar for every time a mundane car was described as "exciting," "revolutionary" or "race-inspired," you could pull an Oprah and buy everyone on your block a Lamborghini. But after a week of driving ? and more importantly ? living with a Leaf SL, it's clear that this is what revolutionary looks like. Whether it is successful with consumers, however, remains to be seen. The Leaf is revolutionary because when it hits the road this winter, it will be the first mass-market all-electric car on the market and will start at $32,780 before tax credits.
November 25, 2010 |
Electric vehicles, many of which will hit dealership showrooms starting next month, took center stage at this week's Los Angeles Auto Show. But while wooed by the futuristic designs and promises of huge fuel savings, many tire-kickers at the show raised worries about how they would keep the cars powered up and running. So amid a flurry of announcements about ever more clean-fuel models coming to market, industry officials kept busy touting how there was a growing network of public and private charging stations available for electric vehicle operators.
November 18, 2010 |
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.
November 17, 2010 |
Stalled for nearly a century, electric cars are about to move into the fast lane when the first of a new generation of vehicles reaches dealer showrooms next month. Every major automaker plans some sort of electric or plug-in hybrid offering over the next several years, a wave of competing technologies reminiscent of the beginning of the automobile age. General Motors Co. this month will start shipping its Chevrolet Volt, which uses a gas engine to generate electricity when the batteries run out. It will be available for sale in December.