PopSci's own senior editor (and senior car expert) Seth Fletcher has a great op-ed in the New York Times today, giving an overview of the Obama administration's plan to put a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015--a plan he says is vitally important, highly ambitious, and totally possible.
It’s been a brutal few years for the auto industry. But at this year’s New York International Auto Show, the world felt right again. The crowds were thick, the parties were plentiful, and the cars were appropriately flashy. Here are some of the highlights.
Volkswagen's latest eye-catching creation, the ultra-efficient diesel-hybrid XL1, debuted at the Qatar Auto Show, immediately garnering attention both for its looks and its specs. But according to German publication Automobilwoche (warning: German), VW actually intends to bring the XL1 to market, albeit in a (very) limited run.
The Detroit Auto Show is kicking off this morning, and the first big news from the showroom is the Porsche 918 RSR, a hybrid supercar that not only takes design cues from sexy predecessors like the 911, the 908, and of course the 918 Spyder, but that churns out a whopping 767 horsepower between its gasoline and electric-powered motors.
Modern electric cars are still in their infancy, and one of the most onerous growing pains has to be their limited range--even the otherwise-pretty-awesome Nissan Leaf can only go about 100 miles on a charge. In answer to that issue, the Pru trailer concept offers a 700-mile boost in range, extra storage space, and sweet details like topographical analysis via Google Earth.
Happy 75th birthday to British automaker Jaguar! As a birthday present, they've actually given us something new to drool over: A 780 hp mostly-electric supercar capable of hitting 250 mph with a whopping 500-mile range, all wrapped in a body inspired by the 1966 XJ13, the car the chief designer calls "possibly the most beautiful Jaguar ever made."
When the Chevy Volt concept first materialized a few years back, there were a lot of questions surrounding America’s first mass-market electric car. While answers to most of those questions dribbled out over the last few years, GM remained mum on one critical aspect: price. But today it’s official: the Chevy Volt will cost $41,000 before a $7,500 federal tax credit, and the cars will arrive in driveways later this year.
With Detroit reeling and Toyota busy trying to explain away some rather egregious design flaws, it might seem like a ripe time for an innovative car company to introduce a mind-blowing, paradigm-shifting idea to the automotive world. This is not that idea. Hungarian car company Antro's ambitious reinvention of the modern auto involves creating a six-seat hybrid-solar car that splits into two three-seater cars.
Cars could shed their image as energy hogs and become mobile storage points for the electric grid, if engineers backed by the National Science Foundation get their way. Hybrid electric vehicles might even feed unused electricity back into the grid and earn money for their owners, not unlike how some homeowners who create renewable energy can sell back electricity to utility companies.
Nissan can officially start its engines for its all-electric car, Leaf. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has finalized a $1.4 billion loan to the car manufacturer that should help it retool a Smyrna, Tennessee factory to build electric cars, and also revamp an advanced battery manufacturing center. Nissan's projects are expected to create up to 1,300 American jobs.
The 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit was quieter, smaller and shorter than in years' past. But it was not, however, depressing, and considering the smoldering wreckage that is the automotive industry, that’s quite an accomplishment.
The first morning of this year's Los Angeles auto show, the CEO of General Motors, Fritz Henderson, was scheduled to give the keynote address. The night before, he got fired. (Excuse me: He "resigned"). That, however, was the only real drama at this year's show, and for the sake of the auto industry, that's a good thing.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.