Archive for the ‘General’ Category


Jul 14

Exagon to show Furtive eGT this week in London


Are you familiar with the French e-sports car – that we’ve heard may optionally be range extended – and that looks a bit more potent than a Tesla Model S and more exotic than the Roadster? Then again, it ought to be excellent, costing five times more.


This week at the Salute to Style event, at the Hurlingham Club, in London, Exagon Motors will have on display its Furtive eGT all-electric luxury sports car.

The company’s Web site is limited for details, but high on superlatives for a car that at current exchange rates may cost $528,000 (388,000 euros).

Among specifications divulged from a press release from last year, is the car will have “the first monocoque light carbon fiber body” weighing just 273 pounds. Total curb weight is estimated at around 3,600 pounds, or about 1,200 pounds lighter than a Tesla Model S.


Propulsion is via two Siemens motors, said to be extremely light and compact, for an output of 402 horsepower and 380 pounds-feet of torque.

Said rear-wheel-drive power is directed through a Exagon’s own ZTI three-speed semi-automatic gearbox “with seamless torque delivery.”

On each gear change, one of the two motors continues to transmit power to the wheels. This process avoids any break in torque in order to maintain power at all times. Furthermore, the motors function continuously within their optimum range of power and efficiency, enabling the vehicle to take full advantage of their power and to increase energy efficiency.

This should enable the vehicle to sprint to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, and top out at a limited 155 mph. Range (aka “autonomy”) has been previously estimated as follows:

• Autonomy at a constant speed of 50 km/h (31 mph) : 402 km (249 miles)
• Autonomy at a constant speed of 90 km/h (56 mph): 288 km (178 miles)
• Autonomy at a constant speed of 110 km/h (68 mph): 241 km (149 miles)
Autonomy at a constant speed of 130 km/h (80 mph) : 197 km (122 miles)

The liquid cooled, battery pack weighing 450 kg is by Saft, is rated at 53 kilowatt-hours.


In 2012 a report prior to its showing in Geneva, talk was of a range-extender being made available.

Unclear is whether the RE is still in the plans, but the last report about it said 6.6 gallons (25 liters) of fuel will extend range (on a generous euro test cycle) to 501 miles (807 km) in urban cycle or 457 miles (735 km) in the combined cycle.


Less ambiguous is the vehicle is being positioned for people willing to pay five times the price of a Model S, and following is the company’s marketing verbiage:

Define an object or a means of locomotion, describe an emotion or develop a vision, demonstrate power or evoke intensity. The Furtive-eGT calls on us to alter our approach to the prestige sports car – an approach that fantasized about excessive and tortured aerodynamic styling; that delighted in the roaring and whining of past times; that put performance in conflict with the environment. Today, the criteria have changed. Electrical power propels you prophetically into a new automotive era – an era of unprecedented audacity that arouses troubling, hard-to-describe sensations. With the Furtive-eGT, Exagon Motors brings back the notion of driving as sport by combining pioneer spirit, advanced technologies and French know-how in luxury automotive design.


The title of the above passage is “Unique” and true enough, the car is exclusive, and being presented as beautiful automotive art doing the most with present technology.

Compared to the $980,000 1,100-horsepower Rimac which is being produced in a series of eight units, it’s only half the price, and still unique.

Pending the London showing July 17-19, look for more news or photos of the latest on this extreme EV, or check out the company’s Web site. Following is a promo video from Oct. 2012 of the vehicle at the Nurburgring.

And people said the median $175,000 household income was rich for the first Volt buyers. Who is this marketing copy written for? Someone in Dubai or Monaco? QUOTE:

Thanks to its extraordinary technical achievements, the conquest of space has made its mark on our technology-oriented planet by offering mankind the long-dreamed-of and unhoped-for opportunity to delight in an otherworldly spectacle. Among all these innovations, the lithium-ion battery will prove very useful, now and in the future. This artificial satellite perched 36,000 km overhead is chasing the stars at 11,000 km/h.

Spec sheet from last year:

Motors Two Siemens Inside e-Car motors (148 kW each), liquid cooled
Power 402 hp between 5,000 and 10,000 rpm
Torque 516 N.m between 0 and 5,000 rpm

Battery Saft Lithium-ion with no memory effect, highly recyclable
Capacity 53 kWh
Minimum battery capacity
after 3,000 cycles (+/- 10 years) More than 80%

Type of transmission Rear-wheel drive with self-locking differential
Gearbox ZTI three-speed semi-automatic gearbox with seamless torque delivery, developed by Exagon
Suspension Double wishbone suspension in aluminium at front and rear based on the Cobapress process

Type Carbon and honeycomb monocoque weighing 124 kg Structural carbon and honeycomb floor accommodating the batteries positioned under the body
Bodywork Full carbon
Braking system Beringer brakes developed specially for the Furtive-eGT
Front brakes Vented discs (380 mm) – 6-piston callipers
Rear brakes Vented discs (360 mm) – 4-piston callipers
Deceleration 1.2 G (on a par with the world’s best)
Energy recovery On deceleration and braking
Front wheels 8.5”x 20”
Rear wheels 11”x 20”
Front tyres Michelin Pilot Super Sport 245/35 ZR20
Rear tyres Michelin Pilot Super Sport 305/30 ZR20

Length 4,465 mm
Width 1,913 mm 2,160 mm overall (with door mirrors)
Height 1,292 mm
Wheel base 2,780 mm
Weight 1,640 kg
Boot capacity 325 litres

Top speed Limited to 250 kph
0-100 kph 3.5 seconds
Weight/power ratio 4.08 kg/bhp

Urban cycle (ECE15 standard) 360 km
Combined cycle (NEDC standard) 310 km
Fast charge in 32 minutes between 30% and 80%


Jul 11

America’s Least Expensive Vehicles To Fuel


Depending on how you slice it – as in, in EV mode – the Volt could be on this list, but as you’ll see, other choices were made for good reason.

Hope everyone has a good weekend.


Are you tired of spending significant dollars at the fuel pump and interested in ways to save on your next car?

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – which actually suggested this topic to us – the cheapest cars to “fuel” don’t take liquid fuel at all, but rather, are all-electric.

How cheap is cheap? A 23-mpg combined 2014 Chrysler 300 with 3.6-liter V6 is one car representing an average efficiency rating and costs $2,400 per year to fill up – or, $1,900 more than one of a few $500-per-year electric cars on our list.

The EPA’s annual fuel cost estimates assume: average fuel/electricity prices and 15,000 miles driven comprised of 55 percent city and 45 percent highway driving. Under each car’s rating, the EPA has a “personalize” link to estimate your actual costs.

EVs are rated by miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) and most get over 100 MPGe.

But can’t you do just as well with a high-mpg car or hybrid? Not necessarily. The Toyota Prius gets 50 mpg but its gasoline still costs $1,100 per year, more than double the best EVs’ annual energy costs.

Even at double the 12-cents per kilowatt-hour the EPA figures, a Nissan Leaf’s annual electricity bill on 24 cents per kwh juice would just equal the Prius at $1,100 annually.

SEE ALSO: Should You Buy an Electric Car?

Of course an EV involves acquiring a home charger, and accepting range limitations, but there’s a growing contingent of people who’ve jumped in and say the EV waters are fine – some having purchased, and others leasing to avoid long-term commitment.

Unfortunately however, some of the cars on our list are what are called “compliance cars” to meet California mandates. Only four cars are sold in all 50 states, some are sold in several states from east-to-west, and others are quite limited indeed.

SEE ALSO: Is Electricity a Clean Energy Source?

For those who “get it” now, EVs are also gratifyingly zero emissions vehicles, and even factoring in “dirty coal” as the energy source, they wind up being cleaner in most cases. And, no soldier or civilian has ever been killed over the right to electricity extraction from the Middle East, nor do we need to transport electricity by tanker across the sea. Nope, we make it here, in the U.S., and the grid is getting cleaner year by year.

EVs also qualify for up to a $7,500 federal tax credit and state credits where applicable.

So, without further ado, here’s the list ranked by annual energy cost or MPGe in descending order:

10. Toyota RAV4 EV – $800 Annually; MPGe – 78 city / 74 highway / 76 combined


A quintessential compliance car, with the lowest EPA rating, the $49,800 RAV4 is however the only electric SUV on the market until Tesla rolls out its Model X next year to the applause of EV fans everywhere.

Actually the RAV4 EV was jointly built under a partnership with Tesla as a follow-up to Toyota’s first RAV4 EV. Its powertrain is essentially by Tesla and has been called the cheapest way to get into a Tesla, albeit with Toyota body.

Certainly it’s less than the $79,900 85-kwh Tesla Model S which actually belongs in this #10 spot, but we’ll mention it along with number nine.

The electric RAV4 is available for sale or lease through select dealers in California’s regions of Los Angeles / Orange County, the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego and Sacramento.

And it’s due to be canceled after 2,600 units are sold as Toyota focuses on fuel cell vehicles which it has said are the more viable technology at the moment.

9. 60-kwh Tesla Model S – $650 Annually; MPGe – 94 city /97 highway / 95 combined


Tesla’s Model S with the 60-kwh battery ranks ninth and actually the 85-kwh Model S ranks tenth but we put the RAV4 EV in for perspective, and are mentioning both S Models anyway.

The 85-kwh version costs $700 annually to “fuel” according to the EPA, and MPGe is 88 city / 90 highway / 89 combined.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Model S Review

Nor does Tesla’s sedan need an introduction, having taken so many prizes, acknowledgements and awards they would have given it a Superbowl trophy if they could have figured a way to justify that.

Tesla, as you know, is exerting the EV agenda nationwide, and globally. Its 60-kwh cars however cost $69,000 to start when most consumers would rather pay less, but they’ll have to wait for its promised smaller sedan in the next couple of years or so.

The Model S delivers 208 miles range in 60-kwh form, or 265 miles in 85 kwh form.

8. Ford Focus Electric $600 Annually; MPGe – 110 city / 99 highway / 105 combined


An electrified version of the Focus hatchback, the electric version is available in close to half the country.

Ford also recently chopped the price by $4,000 to $35,200 a fair sum above a base $28,800 Nissan Leaf, but the modestly rated Ford does give liquid cooling to preserve its battery, and is worth a look if sold in your market.

7. smart fortwo electric drive coupe/cabriolet, $600 Annually; MPGe – 122 city / 93 highway / 107 combined


Owned by Mercedes-Benz, smart’s updated fortwo electric in both coupe and cabriolet form are evenly matched and available in selected markets across the country.

As electrified versions of the diminutive city car, prices start at
$12,490 for the coupe and $15,490 for the convertible with lease deals available, meaning while you may not be getting a lot of car, you’re not paying so much for it either.

6. Mitsubishi i-MiEV $550 Annually; MPGe – 126 city / 99 highway / 112 combined


The venerable Mitsu i-MiEV – pronounced “I-MEEV” – originated in 2009 as an electrified version of a Japanese “kei” tiny city car.

Badged under a few name plates, it has sold in the tens of thousands globally, and was better equipped for 2014 while its price was cut to $22,995, or a $6,130 price reduction from the previous generation.

DC quick charging is available for those who can use that to extend the EPA-rated range of 62 miles.

Hats off to Mitsubishi for making this vehicle 50-state available.

5. Nissan Leaf – $550 Annually; MPGe – 126 city / 101 highway / 114 combined


Also 50-state available, and the market leader is Nissan’s Leaf.

Launched in 2010 as a purpose-built EV, Nissan has also made it the global top seller, starting in the U.S. at $28,980, and low-priced lease deals have been offered.

Range is 84 miles, and DC quick charging is an option for recharging to 80 percent in under 30 minutes. Level 2 (240-volt) charging can take 4-7 hours depending on which on-board charger you get.

An overview is here and a full 2013 review with video is here.

4. Fiat 500e $500 Annually; MPGe – 122 city / 108 highway / 116 combined


Another “compliance car,” this one is an efficient little EV, but available in California only.

MSRP starts at $31,800 and a lease deal is available startiungf at $199 a month for 36 month with $999 due at signing.

We’re making it fourth place as it has slightly less MPGe than the next few cars, but it’s actually tied in the loosely rounded off to “$500″ figure.

3. Honda Fit EV $500 Annually, 132 city / 105 highway / 119 combined


Honda says it does not think the term “compliance car” is fair, as it takes the burden from its lease customers, includes a charger, and has engineered a first class EV conversion.

However, this is a limited-market lease-only EV – although it was made available to the East Coast – and its tenure is due to end soon.

SEE ALSO: Lease Price Slashed By One-Third For New And Existing Honda Fit EV Customers

Honda introduced the Fit EV with an announced volume of 1,100 units over two model year and the 2014 model year will end early this fall, marking the end of production of the Fit EV.

Its EPA rating is the same $500 as others, but is here ranked by combined MPGe.

It was nice while it lasted. Like Toyota, Honda is refocusing on fuel cell electric vehicles and in the next year or two ought to have a follow-up to its FCX Clarity.

2. Chevrolet Spark EV $500 Annually; MPGe – 128 city / 109 highway / 119 combined


The Spark EV is also rounded to $500 annual energy cost but its MPGe is incrementally better, and the EPA says it costs 84 cents per mile, a tad less than 87 cents per mile for the previous two estimated at $500 per year.

General Motors’ subcompact is a “compliance car” sold only in California and Oregon – but as of July 2014 we have noted rumors of central U.S. and East Coast dealers telling their customers it’s coming.

SEE ALSO: Spark EV Test Drive Review

GM flatly denies its nice little electric version of its subcompact Spark is due anywhere else, but you never know what news may come later.

Base MSRP is $27,495, it can come with optional DC quick charging, and interesting is the over-sized motor capable of a (traction controlled, so no burnouts possible) 400 pounds-feet to the front wheels.

1. BMW i3 – $500 Annually; MPGe – 138 city / 111 highway / 124 combined


America’s most efficient car is 50-state available, and it comes from Germany.

It is available as a pure EV – which gets the higher EPA rating – and with a small range extending engine, rated at $650 annual fuel cost, and 117 MPGe combined.

For some reason people have made comparisons with the i3 to Tesla’s Model S but the two could not be any less alike.

Unless one counts that both brands are electric and targeting upscale shoppers, the innovative city car from BMW tops the efficiency chart, whereas Tesla’s larger, heavier, more powerful and longer running cars are at the end of the line.

That did not stop Tesla’s designer from panning BMW’s electric city car as being to automobiles what “Ikea” is to furniture.

BMW’s pure electric version starts in the low 40s, with range of 81 miles. The purpose built EV is lightweight due in part to advanced materials including carbon fiber reinforced plastic.

More info on BMW’s new sustainable i series can be found here.


Jul 10

Netherlands engineering students developing series hybrid to beat ICE records


There’s something to be said for ambition, and a team of engineering students in the Netherlands have it in spades as they aim to break a Nürburgring Nordschleifelap record and win the 24 hours of Le Mans with a series hybrid.


Nor is this an attempt in some pee-wee sub class. Nope, the Nürburgring record they want to transcend is 47 seconds quicker than a Porsche 918 Spyder could muster and has stood since 1983 at 6 minutes, 11 seconds as set by a Porsche 956 racer.

At LeMans, assuming they get there, they’ll be faced with major competition by the likes of Nssan’s ZEOD RC hybrid and Audi’s R18 e-quattro.


Called the IM01, the hybrid racer is being designed by students from the Technical University of Eindhoven and the Fontys University of Applied Sciences.

Motive power comes via four individual motors for the AWD monster to be, and range is extended by a rotary engine they aim to surpass normal 25 percent efficiency and reach 60 percent while running at a fixed rpm.


Actual specifications beyond that are not at this time divulged, but the students have a Web site up to support the project, and say all they need now to make it happen is money.

Test mule.

As they work toward the goal, they’re working with an open wheel race car called the IM/e. It was developed by three newly graduated engineers on the team, and is powered by bio ethanol.

Proof of concept of the technologies under development are expected to be done with this test mule.

After it’s constructed, the plan is to test the IM/e on race tracks and hill climb events in Germany and the UK.

The team posted a video of a petrol-powered hill climb racer to give an idea of what the test driver will see during R&D.

Hill climb – Onboard with David Hauser (Dallara GP2) – Course de côte de St. Ursanne – Les Rangiers 2013



Jul 09

Plug-in cars now past 500,000 global milestone


Apologies for the late post today – my access was cut when my ip address got changed, I think.

The Volt we named as the top contributor to energy independence and indeed, it gets cited by alternative energy researchers and others in Europe as a disruptive car that’s sending ripples in the global pond.

People not hung up with American politics see the Volt for what it is, and it’s the second-highest global seller.


As various nations increase demand, and automakers increase plug-in electrified vehicle (PEV) models and availability, their cumulative world-wide total sales has quietly crossed the half-million unit mark.

This is counting highway legal plug-in hybrids and all-electric passenger vehicles, since PEVs began in the modern era around 2009. It excludes motorcycles, buses and trucks. The figures also include light-duty plug-in vehicles, mainly the Renault Kangoo ZE, with over 13,000 units sold by the end of June 2014, but even without these, the milestone has been crossed.

It was actually crossed with qualifiers as described with around 505,000 estimated as of the end of May 2014. Due to some delayed sales reporting in various global markets, and accounting for potential minor error, it’s safe to say the number by end of June was closer to 525,000 – thus conservative to say 500,000 now one week into July.

After this was written, but before posting, we were informed also UCDavis has also published confirmation of the 500,000 milestone.


Of all countries, the U.S. has accounted for around 45 percent of sales since numbers started to tally in earnest in 2010. Among the top half-dozen PEV consuming countries, Japan ranks second, China third, and the Netherlands is fourth.

As reported at the beginning of this year, the U.S. had around 168,000 units sold excluding Tesla Roadsters, Fisker Karmas, and Mini Es. As of June, the count is about 227,000 PEVs sold in the U.S.

According to the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) in Germany, globally the count was at 405,000 in January.

According to Jose Pontes, who from Portugal runs EV-Sales blog, and is cited by other more-established publications and believed accurate, as of May 2014 there were close to another 101,000 PEVs sold globally.

As of June, while all counts are not in, it’s estimated another 20,000 or so have been sold this calendar year globally.


The world sales leader is the Nissan Leaf, which Nissan yesterday said has sold “over 120,000” units in 35 markets across the globe. Brazil-based alternative energy enthusiast, and plug-in car statistician, Mario R. Duran, said he believes the actual count is around 122,000.

Next in line among global top-selling cars is General Motors Chevy Volt Opel/Vauxhall Ampera siblings, estimated by Duran at about 77,000.

Following this is the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, at around 60,000, and after this is Tesla’s Model S at perhaps 38,500.

Both the Toyota and Tesla were launched later than the Volt and Leaf. In the U.S. the Toyota is sold in only 15 states, whereas the others are 50-state cars.

In the U.S. the Volt remains the top seller, but its lead is slipping. As of June, GM had sold 63,167, and the second-place Leaf was at 54,858 with monthly sales this year edging out the Volt.

At the present rate of PEV sales growth, President Obama’s goal of one million PEVs on U.S. roads by 2015 will be missed, but ZSW estimates globally, one million will be on the roads by the beginning of 2016.


Jul 08

Former Volt engineer to work on Harley-Davidson EV


The former General Motors engineer who oversaw the Chevy Volt and Spark EV will be in charge of Harley-Davidson’s Livewire electric motorcycle project.


Jim Federico, 56, finished up a 36-year career at GM having been among other things, its chief engineer for small cars and electric vehicles, so he knows a thing or two about electric vehicles.

“We’ve been talking to Jim about this position for some time,” Harley-Davidson spokesperson Maripat Blankenheim told Reuters.

For the maker of traditional big V-Twins, he will oversee research and development of the iconoclastic H-D EV from concept to potential production.

Harley Davidson will be going on the road this summer drumming up enthusiasm – where it can – for an electric bike that has a family resemblance, if little else in common for what made the H-D brand what it is today.

Automotive News said also Federico led a team of GM engineers in the fall of 2012 that analyzed a defective ignition switch. This was more than a year before GM recalled 2.6 million cars with the part, and GM said this had nothing to do with his leaving.


Unknown also is if the need arises for a simulated pedestrian warning sound from the e-Hog, whether the music of a booming V-Twin might be called back into action.

If so, this could potentially be welcomed by H-D traditionalists. They could sit at a light, or while cruising in town and repeatedly twist the grip – just like they do now with their fuel-injected bikes as though to clear the carbs.

The sound could be anywhere from OEM muffled to uncorked, intimidating, and even ear splitting.

Music. Perfect for H-D’s pedestrian warning system?

Blatttt! Blatttt! Blattttttttt!

This way pedestrians would remain safe, because as everyone knows, loud pipes save lives.


Sound like a winner?

It’s an idea anyway …


Jul 07

Two Tesla drivers have no cause for celebration July 4th


July 4th was a bad day for two Teslas in California as two Model S accidents resulted in injuries in one incident, with another incident seeing more injuries and three deaths, including of two children.

Following are two separate stories.


Stolen Tesla chased by LA police, splits in half, burns


Model S-crashed_LA

Just in time for the Fourth of July, a man allegedly stole a Tesla Models S from a dealership and led police on an up-to 100-mph chase in downtown LA ending with the car being split in two, and firework-like flames.

Several cars suffered damage, and at least six people were reported injured, including four in a Honda Civic hit by the Tesla, at least one of which was critically injured.

Contrary to reports that the driver is dead, Sgt. Morien of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Department says the driver is still alive; listed in critical condition.

The ordeal took place in the wee-hours of the morning, and began with a phone call to police by Tesla store personnel saying someone was “tampering or messing with” a Model S.


The perpetrator somehow got the car, and police gave chase into the downtown area beginning at around 12:45 a.m., according to Sgt. Campbell with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Pacific Division.

As reported by KTLA 5 news, the pursuit at high speed ended when the Model S hit a pole, was cut in two, and sent bits of its battery pack on the roadway which began to flame and pop with small explosions “just like fireworks,” said one witness.

The front half of the Model S also landed on a white Civic, and the back half went several yards and was wedged against a building in the West Hollywood area.

Model S_back_half

“There were fires after that that broke out,” said a witness. “I saw the firefighters — like 25 firefighters – standing around the white car with the Jaws of Life.”

Injuries include the unidentified driver of the Tesla who was ejected through the windshield, and who was later declared dead according to reports – which were later denied by the Sheriff’s department investigating the incident.

There were five people inside the Civic the Tesla slammed into, four of which had various injuries.


Two Los Angeles Police Department officers also said they were injured after they crashed out of the chase, but later were released from the hospital with no injuries. Others remain in the hospital, and the whole incident is under investigation by the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Department. KTLA 5

Tesla slams into the rear of Toyota


smashed Tesla

Was this man in the Tesla doing a speed show? Was he texting or looking at the 17-inch touchscreen in the Model S?

We don’t know, police said he was not intoxicated, but Ric Garrson, 58, was named as the driver of a 2013 Model S that slammed the rear of a 2004 Corolla on the freeway with five occupants.


Killed were the driver of the Toyota, a 40-year-old man, and a 13-year-old boy and 8-year-old boy’s lives were also ended prematurely. Reports say they were family members and residents of Los Angeles.

The Tesla driver got out with minor injuries. The incident occurred around 10:35 p.m. on the 4th on southbound highway 14 in the Antelope Valley.


Another passenger in the Toyota, age 6, was sent to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles with minor injuries.

Also, Tyree Lavon Nash, a 31-year-old male passenger in the Toyota suffered major injuries and was transported to Antelope Valley Hospital.

All passengers in the Toyota were wearing seatbelts.

The Tesla did not catch fire. The Toyota did.


NBC Los Angeles