Saturday, January 31, 2015


The Infinity Electric car remains merely a concept for now, but hopefully not for long. That’s the latest word on the status of the Infiniti LE luxury electric car, which has never been given the production green light despite being first shown 3 years ago and wheeled out on several occasions since then .That includes Infiniti, the luxury arm of Nissan Motor Company, which is scheduled to get its first battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, sometime in the 2014 model-year. 

Yes, technically, what was on display was a show car. But unlike the concept vehicles of the past, that simply means Infiniti added a little bling and disguised a few final details it hasn’t yet worked out. That includes the final grille design which will look a bit more traditional than the cut crystal style nose shown at New York’s Jacob Javits Convention Center. But beyond that and a few other subtle sheet metal tweaks, what you see is what you’re going to get.

And that’s a very, very different vehicle from the Nissan Leaf, despite the fact that the two share the same specially designed platform and basic electric drive component set. The Infiniti LE is designed to stimulate, it seems, rather than simply transport.

The new model is lower to the ground and far more heavy metal rolling the sleek , with an overall sports car-like design, rather than the ungainly shape of the Leaf, which, like the Toyota Prius, was designed to look different from a traditional car. What’s particularly surprising is that Infiniti designers were able to switch shapes so effectively.

When you’re designing a car to run on battery power you have to keep one thing in mind above all else: range. The littlest things can shave off miles, so that immediately means low rolling resistance tires that sacrifice grip for improved aerodynamics. The better you cheat the wind the farther you can go on a charge.

The Infiniti LE has a wind-slick drag coefficient of 0.25, significantly better than the Nissan Leaf, we’re told, largely because it sits much lower to the ground. Yet the luxury brand didn’t have to adopt some of the more awkward details from the Leaf, like the blister-like headlamps. In its current form, the compact sporty design carries many key Infiniti design cues, such as the crescent-shaped rear pillar, as well as Infiniti’s LED head and taillights.

Significantly, Infiniti designers were told to stop the project three times, sources reveal, in order to ensure they stayed on the right course to deliver a truly sexy and sporty machine.

There’s been plenty of development done under the hood, as well, to maximize the performance of the basic Infiniti battery drivetrain. While the maker isn’t revealing specifics, yet, that appears to mean finding ways to improve the performance of everything from batteries to electronic control systems to the motor driving the LE. The goal was to improve acceleration performance over that of the Leaf.

One of the details that has yet to be finalized is the size of the Infiniti LE battery pack. The maker has reserved space for almost 10 percent more batteries than the 24 kilowatt-hours of lithium-ion cells on the Nissan Leaf battery-car. What Infiniti ultimately delivers will be a trade-off between range, performance and price. But the maker asserts a goal of getting at least 100 miles per charge.

And the Infiniti LE should be able to launch from 0 to 60 in 9 seconds or less. While that won’t threaten someone in a G37 it’s an acceptable number for an electric car and several seconds faster than the Leaf, which does not boast an acceptable number.

Friday, January 30, 2015


The Mercedes-AMG GT might be the talk of the town right now in Affalterbach, but the future of this car is that there's a Hybrid going in production. Speaking at the Detroit auto show, AMG head honcho Tobias Moers hinted that a Porsche 918-fighting hypercar is on the horizon.

In a conversation with Motor Trend's Jonny Lieberman, Moers responded to questions about whether AMG is readying its entry into the hypercar fray. “We want to be seen by the public on the same level as the other sports car makers in Germany,” he said. If the recent resurgence of the Maybach nameplate takes some of the luxury reins from AMG's hands, allowing it to focus more on performance, Moers has a shot to “Make race car technology street-legal.”

While AMG's top-dog AMG GT seems like a possible candidate for hybrid upgrade, it's not as easy as slapping on some electric motors. Part of what makes the Porsche 918 rocket to 60 mph from a dead stop is its mid-engine, all-wheel-drive layout, and there are some complications with turning the front-engine AMG GT into an all-wheel-drive car. That's not to say though that there isn't more muscle to coax out of the swept-back German showstopper—we already know there's a Black Series Mercedes-AMG GT lurking behind closed doors. 

When it arrives, the Black Series could pack as much as 600 hp from the GT's 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8, compared to the 503 hp available in the Mercedes-AMG GT S. There's also the potential for more AMG GT variants, if chooses to follow in the footsteps of the Porsche 911 with track-ready and convertible options.

If there does end up being a Mercedes-AMG hybrid hypercar to slot in above the GT, there's a fighting chance it'll inherit some of the best features from the now-defunct Mercedes SLS. That means, yes, Gullwing doors, and high-powered electric propulsion technology that might be related to the 740-hp EV powertrain from the SLS Electric drive.

Thursday, January 29, 2015


Houston, Houston Roger that We  don't have anymore Only a handful of supercars exist that can rightfully lay claim to achieving 200 mph Houston this was fast Roger that copy. With a serious injection of horsepower from Hennessey Performance (HPE), the new Corvette Stingray has entered that exclusive club. On December 11, 2013, an HPE-upgraded C7 Corvette, driven by company founder John Hennessey, achieved a top speed of 200.6 mph, making it the first C7 Corvette to break the double-century mark. The run was verified with both the VBox GPS-based data acquisition system and by radar courtesy of Texas DPS State Troopers who were on hand o k Houston copy over and out.

The record run took place on a closed section of the newly completed segment E of Texas State Highway 99, also known as the Grand Parkway that’s located west of Houston ok Roger that all speed a head. The new toll road section, which opens to the public on Saturday, December 21st, connects Interstate 10 with Highway 290 copy that.

Houston are all system a go for test  Roger c7 corvette you have the road is perfectly smooth and the Corvette was very stable and easy to drive at 200 mph,” said driver and company founder John Hennessey. “I’d put the Texas highway system up against any other highway in the world, including the German Autobahn. Our roads have proven to be smooth and safe at speeds well above 200 mph. Of course, under normal driving situations, drivers should observe speed limits that have been determined to be safe for travel on the road.”

Said Don Goldman, Hennessey CEO: “We’re thrilled to have validated our upgraded C7’s performance at one of the best possible venues not only in America, but the world.”

In 460-bhp production form, the production C7 Corvette Stingray straight from the Bowling Green factory is certainly no slouch—it’s a true 180-mph road car. But as aero drag increases with the square of velocity, the Corvette needed to supply serious power—700 bhp at 6500 rpm—to break through the aerodynamic brick wall and achieve that extra 20 mph. The record-setting C7 utilized the HPE600 package (long-tube headers, ported factory cylinder heads, high-flow cats, HPE camshaft and HPE tune) plus a Nitrous Express 100-hp nitrous oxide system to break the 200-mph barrier.

Hennessey Performance will soon be releasing its HPE700 supercharged upgrade—also capable of 200-plus-mph performance, but without nitrous—that employs a TVS2300 supercharger, HPE custom camshaft, air induction system, high-flow heads, long-tube headers and HPE tune. Installed price for the package is $22,500 Houston this will not break the Bank no.

In addition to the 200-mph C7, Hennessey also brought out its first HPE600 supercharged Chevrolet SS that, despite being gear-limited, easily achieved 164.2 mph on the Grand Parkway all speed houston copy that.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


The  new Escalade “blings things up,” but I think that’s playing to a stereotype about the Escalade that doesn’t completely hold on this latest model. Bling implies ostentatious flash or excess; the 2015 Escalade instead brings one of GM’s most tastefully elegant interiors ever to the market. Every inch (and there are a whole bunch of inches here) of the cabin has been considered, resulting in soft touch materials, felt flocking and switches with solid, satisfying detents in every position. There’s nothing too ambitious or forward-looking about this old-school, truck-based SUV, but the Escalade has done more for Cadillac’s public image than any other model in recent memory, and reports say that the Escalade name will survive on even as other Caddy SUVs are renamed XT3 or XT5. So even though there’s plenty of anticipation for the upcoming Cadillac CT8 or CT9 flagship sedan, it strikes us that the Escalade already carries the torch for this American luxury brand.

The Escalade definitely sits at the top of the current lineup in terms of numbers. It’s the biggest and most expensive Cadillac by far, as our test 2015 Cadillac Escalade ESV Premium’s sticker price of $90,675 is $10,000 more than even the ridiculously overpriced ELR plug-in. Ours wasn’t even the highest ESV Platinum trim, although it did boast high-zoot features such as power-extendable running boards, Kona brown leather,I got it to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds (with two passengers inside, lucky them). Cadillac lists 0-60 in 5.9 seconds, no doubt with RWD and all the seats , adaptive cruise control.
This new 2015 Cadillac Escalade also ups its style quotient while retaining the swagger that made the Escalade such a cultural icon in the first place. The new front end is more subtle than the brash, in-your-face chrome overload of previous Escalades. It still can’t avoid the conspicuous consumption vibe  no giant, luxurious SUV can but the nice detailing on the LED headlights and the cleanly styled grille go a long way toward classing up the look. The interior is gorgeous too, with its open-pore wood, beautiful stitching, and subtle use of chrome, though we did find detail shortcomings such as the annoying sound of the retractable running boards and some panel-fit issues.

By all measures, the 2015 Cadillac Escalade shouldn’t be as successful as it is. Its monstrous size and mediocre fuel economy are completely out of sync with the times, yet sales have soared this year. Clearly, there’s something about the Escalade’s classy, confident character that jibes perfectly with Cadillac’s history and brand messaging. It’s not quite a flagship worthy of what Cadillac wants to be in the future, but the Escalade will do nicely for now, at least.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Meantime, driving the GMC Canyon is so comfortable, so easy, it makes one question why we all but abandoned the segment in the first place. I say that not just as a former compact pickup owner (though I really did love my Ford Ranger), but because full-size trucks have bloated to such comical proportions that it’s curious we still flock to them in such numbers. Seriously, for every compact pickup sold last year in the U.S. (mostly Toyota Tacomas, but with some Nissan Frontiers and a few dozen carryover GM compacts), almost eight people made space in their driveway for a Ford F-series, Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra, Toyota Tundra, Ram or Nissan Titan.According to auto journalists, the 2015 GMC Canyon's interior is one of the most luxurious in the class, with first-rate materials that are attractive, yet sturdy enough for use in a truck. They say the crew cab has ample rear-seat space for adults to sit comfortably and that the cabin is very quiet.
And seeing as they can’t all be construction site managers or farmers, that makes for a heckuva lot of suburbanites trying to squeeze their King Ranches between the Toyota Priuses populating most suburban parking lots. 

Well, there’s price. Compare this loaded Canyon with a $27,000 base Sierra and the first impulse is to super-size things. But that’s not a fair comparison. A 4WD Sierra 1500 with a comparable set of options -- SLE package, bed liner, the works -- stickers for close to $49,000. Fuel economy is nearly equivalent if you opt for the V6 (but honestly, who does that?).
Select that 5.3-liter V8, an extra $1,100, and you’ll be able to haul and tow more than you will in a Canyon. When it comes to capacities and capabilities, the full-sizers are going to win out every time.

But you chase raw capability at your own peril -- especially in an era when full-size trucks have more potential than any would-be Tom Silva can ever hope to tap. It’s nice to have the biggest, baddest truck on the block -- provided you don’t have to park it every day (Natalie breaks down the specs nicely). I’ve said similar things about the Colorado, but there’s a case to be made for paying a relative premium for the convenience a smaller truck, especially once you realize a stationary Silverado or a Sierra can render your driveway impassable.

Though I don’t think GM is doing its new midsized trucks any favors by pricing them to within spitting distance of its full-sizers, and it’s hard to make the case when it comes to fuel economy, I do think there is a market for the Canyon and Colorado among those who want the refinement and comfort of today’s big trucks, while remaining realistic about how often they’re actually going to be towing a flatbed of cinder blocks. At the very least, you should try this before you dive into a Sierra. 

2015 GMC Canyon SLE Crew Cab Short Box interior 
The interior of the 2015 GMC Canyon SLE Crew Cab Short Box is well thought-out and well assembled.

Options: All-terrain package including Z71 off-road suspension package, hill descent control, all-terrain blackwall tires, 17”x8” dark argent metallic wheels, rear bumper body color, transfer case shield, jet black and cobalt red interior, heated driver and passenger front seats, four-way power adjustable front passenger seat, power lumbar front seats ($1,190); RVP 3-inch step bars ($745); SLE convenience package including remote vehicle start, automatic air conditioning ($500); premium Bose audio system ($500); color touch with navigation and IntelliLink 8-inch diagonal screen ($495); CGN spray in bed liner ($475); trailering equipment package ($250)

Sunday, January 25, 2015


Audi will introduce a new more powertrain car, lighter and more fuel-efficient version of its Q7 sports utility vehicle at the 2015 Detroit auto show in January.The big news for plug-in fans: the new Q7 will be offered with a powerful one-two combination of plug-in capability and a 3-liter V-6 diesel engine.

Total new Audi Q7 E-tron Quattro which will come sometime after the no-plug gas-powered version arrives in early 2015 will be a beastly of an SUV: cranking up 369 horsepower and 516 pounds-feet of torque from the diesel-electric combo.

This is news and the specs are impressive but the impact on the plug-in movement, when the Q7 E-tron arrives, might be less than spectacular. The promise of combining the outsized torque and efficiency of electric motors and diesel engines has been out there for years—with few vehicles actually on the road. The diesel plug-in Volvo V60 debuted in Europe last year, with a decent 10,000 units sold. We still don’t know for sure when the V60 diesel PHEV will come to the the big apple U. S. A. 

The double-vision  obstacle facing a diesel-plug-in in the U.S. is American’s odd reluctance to adopt diesel cars—even with all the torque and efficiency they provide—and the bigger issue of cost: The Volvo V60 diesel plug-in variant sells for the equivalent of around $70,000. A Q7 E-Tron will likely come in around the same price, or maybe  higher.

While many plug-in fans are pining for a relatively affordable EV with at least double the 80-mile range of many small electric cars available today, the news of the Q7 E-tron points to an emerging counter-trend: expensive luxury plug-in hybrid models. In November, Porsche reported the first month of sales of the $100,000 Cayenne S-E. Hopefully, the numbers will grow from the first month tally of 45 units. BMW is talking about plug-in versions of many of its models, including the X5 SUV.

Of course, the purely electric Tesla Model X will be among this class. In typical Tesla style, the company is promising much higher production numbers. Perhaps these European luxury automakers were inspired to put up some competition to Tesla and the X, even if the size of the market for six-figure electric SUVs and large sedans is small.

Audi executives have also talked about a diesel-plug-in version of the A8 sedan, promising to be another impressive but ultra-expensive vehicle. Yet, the move toward TDI-PHEVs plays to the strength of Audi’s diesel engines, which over time, could be increasingly paired to a plug-in hybrid powertrain. Audi CEO Rupert Stadler told Automotive News, “We strongly believe in plug-in hybrids.”

The news of a couple of Audi diesel plug-in hybrids, following next year’s introduction of the more modest Audi A3 gas-electric E-tron, puts another milestone in the road for German automakers attempting to make a tangible (if not high-volume) contribution to vehicle electrification. For well-heeled buyers, the plug-in hybrids from Audi,  BMW and Volvo will be among the most desirable high-tech electron-powered marvels on the road. Average combined fuel-efficiency for these vehicles is likely to be around 100 miles per gallon equivalent.

Saturday, January 24, 2015


VIA Motors Inc. a closely held assembler of plug-in hybrid pickups, expects to sell 40,000 to 50,000 vehicles per year by 2018, Chairman Bob Lutz said in an interview.

VIA's plug-in pickups and delivery vans, like the Chevrolet Volt, have a gasoline-powered generator that can extend driving range by providing electricity to the battery pack and drivetrain.

The plug-in trucks reduce fuel costs and provide electricity at remote locations for campers, catering companies, utilities and the military, said Lutz, who helped develop the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid as vice chairman of General Motors Co.

The 82-year-old former Marine has also worked at Ford Motor Co. and BMW AG and was vice chairman of Chrysler Corp. under Lee Iacocca and Bob Eaton.

"We're not trying to be Tesla" Motors Inc., Lutz said, referring to billionaire Elon Musk's maker of high-end electric cars that aims to grow from 50,000 sales next year to 500,000 by 2020. "But these vehicles get over 100 miles per gallon and have lots of other advantages. They basically act like mobile generators."

VIA buys Chevrolet Silverado pickups from GM and installs two electric motors and a lithium ion battery pack that, when fully charged, can propel the vehicles for 40 miles (64 kilometers).

The 4.3-liter V-6 gasoline engine powers a generator that, in turn, recharges the batteries. The trucks can travel as far as 400 miles on a full charge and full tank of gas.

For utilities, 40 miles of electric range is enough for a truck to reach many job sites and return for overnight charging. At $1.80 per gallon for gasoline, the utilities can cut monthly fuel costs by about $300 with electric-only driving, Lutz said.

This amount helps offset the monthly lease payment for the truck, and it will grow if gasoline prices start to rise, he said. Customers such as utilities that need mobile power won't have to haul a generator on a trailer, Lutz said, because VIA pickups have an array of 120- and 240-volt electrical outlets.

The Orem, Utah-based company also offers an optional solar panel, stretched across the top of the pickup bed, for recharging the batteries. VIA will start selling the pickups to fleet customers in February and to individuals by the end of the year, Lutz said. Duke Energy Corp ,.PG&E Corp., FedEx Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc. have already placed orders, Lutz said at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Sun Country Highway has agreed to buy over 1,000 pickups and delivery vans from VIA and will distribute them across Canada, said founder Kent Rathwell. Sun Country, based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, has already built a nationwide network of electric-car recharging stations that includes most of the Best Western International Inc. hotels in Canada.

"This is about developing transportation that's socially, economically and environmentally sustainable," Rathwell said. Crew-cab versions of the VIA pickups, with seating for up to six, cost about $65,000, Lutz said. For 2015, he said, the company would be happy selling as many as 10,000 vehicles.

Friday, January 23, 2015


The legacy midsize-sedan world is filled with numerous choices  a fact that Subaru knows all too well. The new Legacy is more conventionally handsome and appealing than a Camry, a Malibu, a 200 or a Passat. It's more spacious than the Fusion, the Altima, and the Accord. Add in good gas mileage and a recent run of great crash-test scores, and the Legacy now throws a few elbows of its own in the mid-size segment .The Legacy is offered in three trim levels: a base-level 2.5i model, a mid-level Premium model and a top-end Limited version. The 2.5i and Premium models only use the sedan's 4-cylinder engine; drivers who upgrade to the Limited can choose between the 4-cylinder and the 6-cylinder.

Opt for the 2.5i ($22,200) and you get automatic headlights, a backup camera, Bluetooth, a 6.2-inch color touchscreen with Subaru's Starlink infotainment system, power accessories and steering-wheel audio controls.

Upgrade to the Premium ($24,280) and you'll get heated seats, heated mirrors, a power driver's seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a larger touchscreen and SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

Topping the Legacy lineup is the Limited ($27,000 for the 4-cylinder; $30,400 for the 6-cylinder). The trim adds a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, leather upholstery, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert.
Options on the Legacy include a navigation system, a power sunroof, keyless access with push-button starting, and the brand's EyeSight safety suite, which features adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and other high-tech safety gadgets.

All new 2015 Legacy includes a long list of standard safety features, from stability and traction control to side-curtain airbags, Options include adaptive cruise control, forward-collision alert with automatic braking, backup camera and automatic headlights. ,rear cross-traffic alert and a blind spot monitoring system.

Most 2015 Legacy models will feature the brand's 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, with Subaru projecting that the 2.5i Premium will be the sedan's most popular trim. The 4-cylinder is hardly a hot-rod engine, but that's not the point. Instead, it offers a surprisingly smooth driving experience (even by CVT standards) and excellent fuel economy, even with heavy standard all-wheel drive.

Shoppers who opt for the 6-cylinder will get a lot of extra power on tap, though the Legacy's smoothness doesn't go away with the larger powerplant. Unfortunately, 6-cylinder models are pricey, and they drink a lot more fuel than the smaller 4-cylinder.

Around corners, the Legacy feels composed, though it's not as sporty as its smaller Impreza stablemate. Still, the driver's seat is a great place to be, largely because it's so comfortable -- a fact that also applies to the Legacy's back seats and passenger seat, all of which are roomy for a midsize sedan. Visibility is also excellent to all directions, much like many of the Legacy's rivals.

All new 2015 Legacy is one of our favorite midsize sedans, and the 2.5i Premium model is our favorite version. Worth every penny of its price increase over the base-level Legacy 2.5i, the Premium offers a lot of standard features, and it allows you to choose from options such as Subaru's Eye Sight safety system , a navigation system and a power sunroof. For drivers who really want the extra power, the 3.6R Limited is also a viable option, Subaru guy's  made very well  job combining sporty driving experience and reasonable pricing and luxury qualities too.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


The world turning to electric vehicle purchase is a vote of confidence in the companies helping to wean the world from a petro-based transportation infrastructure. Obviously, a vehicle’s features—its style, handling and range—are essential for making a good decision. But for many EV buyers, the level of commitment an automaker makes toward the electric car future is another important consideration.

To help you better understand the company behind the car, we offer these brief assessments of how much EV street cred each of the major automotive companies deserve to the next.

What indicates that an automaker is making a serious level of commitment to vehicle electrification?
Some EVs use existing internal combustion platforms. The automaker finds a way to swap out gas or diesel systems with batteries, motors, chargers and electric controls. This creative reuse can be viable. But auto companies that design and build an EV from the ground up specifically and exclusively as an electric vehicle are making a bigger investment—one that results in a car optimized for electric propulsion.

Most electric cars on the road today are produced in minimal quantities—showing little confidence from their makers that a battery-powered vehicle can become popular. These cars are primarily produced and sold, a couple hundred per month, to comply with government mandates for zero-emission cars. However, a few companies—most notably Nissan, Tesla and (to some degree) General Motors—are working to sell plug-in cars in the thousands per month—and eventually in the tens and hundreds of thousands.

After nearly four years of EV sales, there are still only three electric cars—the Chevy Volt, Nissan LEAF and Tesla Model S—with availability widely across the United States. Most models are only available in California, and in some cases also in the New York area. Carmakers covering a wide territory, from one corner of the country to the other, deserve credit for making EVs a mainstream option. Another way to gauge commitment is the percentage of a brand’s dealerships that have inventory and EV-devoted sales support.

An electric vehicle is a different animal than an internal combustion car. Car companies that invest thought and resources into EV innovation are helping establish a new automotive category that maximizes the distinct advantages of an electric car. Notable electric drive features include: quick charging, range-extending, engines lightweight body materials, efficient AC/heating ,big battery packs ,mobile apps wifi hot spots,back up camers, and multiple regenerative braking settings with driver-controls such as paddle shifters. These features earn EV bonus points for car makers.

One sure-fire way to kill an EV program is to overprice a plug-in car. While cost and pricing are obviously complex proprietary issues, the current market has established benchmarks for purchase and lease pricing. Electric models that carry sticker prices significantly higher than the competition reflect a clear lack of interest in selling a plug-in car in meaningful quantities.

Every carmaker starts down the road to electrification by launching its first battery-powered car. But there’s a difference between dipping one’s toes in the water and developing a full electrification program that includes multiple models in different vehicle segments—from compacts and sedans, to wagons and crossovers, and one day hopefully minivans and pickup trucks. Relying on a single EV especially if it’s overpriced, produced in small quantities, and only sold in one state—indicates an anemic electric program.

Nothing undermines consumer confidence in an automaker’s electric efforts than strident anti-EV comments from a chief executive. Honest assessments of the challenges facing electric cars are obviously welcome. But off-the-cuff attacks are unfortunate. Claims from CEOs that EVs “make no sense,” that consumer don’t care, or that the cars lack sufficient range, can turn off buyers considering a purchase from that automaker.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


It may surprise EV newbies to learn that an electric car’s charger is found on board the vehicle. It’s the equipment buried in the guts of the car that takes an AC source of juice from your house, and converts it to DC—so your car’s battery pack can be charged.

This fact doesn’t stop nearly everybody from calling the wall-mounted box that supplies 240 volts of electricity a “charger.” Actually, that box, cord and plug has a technical name—Electric Vehicle Service Equipment or EVSE—and if you have an EV, you’re going to want to install one at home.

So, it’s slightly misleading to say we’re providing guidance about chargers, because we’re really talking about buying an EVSE—which is essentially no more than an electrical device allowing drivers to safely connect an electric car to a 240-volt source of electricity. It’s not rocket science, and you should not overthink the selection and installation of an EVSE.

That said, there are important differences between the various home chargers (uh, I mean EVSEs). And there are a few best practices to keep in mind.The general consensus among experienced EV drivers is that a capable and durable EVSE will cost around $600 to $700. You could spend a little bit less, or twice as much, but that’s the ballpark. This does not include installation. Read on to see which key features—such as portability and connectivity—can send the price higher, or can be avoided to reduce the cost.

By the way, from 2010 through early 2013, many EV drivers could get a free EVSE, courtesy of The EV Project, a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. But as of March 11, 2013, the program reached its threshold for handing out residential charging equipment, so no more freebies—you’ll need to buy one on your own.You should buy an EVSE that can handle at least 30 amps. The rule of thumb is that 30-amp service will roughly give you the ability to add 30 miles of range in an hour—just as 15 amps will add about 15 miles in an hour of charging. (These range numbers are somewhat optimistic.)

Keep in mind that most plug-in hybrids (and the Nissan LEAF prior to the 2013 model) don’t take full advantage of the faster rate. That’s okay. It’s still wise to have the capacity to charge at least at the 30-amp level, even if your current car can't fully utilize the higher amperage, so you don’t have to upgrade in a few years if/when you buy a new EV that has a faster on-board charger. Also, it’s nice to allow friends with faster-charging EVs to get a full charge from your garage.Before you buy an EVSE, imagine where your electric car will be parked. Think about the ideal location for this piece of equipment. Now measure the distance between where the EVSE will hang on your wall, and where the charging port is on your car. Cables usually run from approximately 15 to 25 feet. Make sure your cord can easily reach where it needs to go, and think about its length for a potential second plug-in car in your driveway or garage.

Depending on where you locate your EVSE, an electrician might have to run just a few feet of conduit—or dozens of feet. Longer copper runs will add installation cost, but because you’ll charge almost every night, you want it to be as convenient as possible.Okay, we’re finally ready to talk about specific EVSEs. There are at least a dozen different manufacturers, but we won’t cover all of them in detail. Instead, we’ll focus on the EVSEs most highly recommended by the EV intelligentsia. We’ll also briefly mention a few others worth considering.Manufactured by Schneider, a well-established brand associated with Square D products, the 30-amp Level 2 charger hits the competitive purchase price of $600, while earning consistently high rankings from EV drivers. While some mention that the body is made of relatively cheap plastic, nearly all owners believe that’s a minor issue, because the unit is effective, reliable and affordable. Its low-depth (it doesn’t protrude far from the wall) and overall small size mean that it doesn’t take up any more room than necessary. This unit is available below from Amazon as well as from Home Depot, which provides free in-home consultations about installation.When we reached out to experienced EV drivers, nearly all of them put Clipper Creek equipment at the top of their list. The company has been making these units for more than 15 years. They equipment doesn’t necessarily get the highest marks for aesthetics, but the same words keep coming up in those recommendations: durable, robust, and even indestructible. No screens, no software, no problems. In late 2013, Clipper Creek came out with a more affordable unit, well-suited to private garages: the HCS-40. It has a compact size, the necessary 30-amp limit, and a 25-foot cord.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


The new Era has come true evidence that electric cars will soon enter a new era of much greater consumer acceptance so don't be afraid of the new era. Unlike the current period circa 2010 to 2014 in which key vehicle shortcomings were overlooked, the next phase will be based on the toughest reality from the past few years: limited range is plus limit sales where to plug in.
President Obama set a goal of putting 1 million plug-in cars on U.S. roads by 2015 or by 2020. The reality is that it might take until 2018 or later to reach that milestone. Carlos Ghosn, Nissan’s chief executive, echoed Obama’s optimism, and until recently, held firm to his prediction that electric cars would represent 10 percent of the market by 2020. In late 2012, he finally admitted that his previous sales targets would not be met. This occurred in a time when affordable battery-powered cars averaged around 80 miles on a charge.

Why might the next phase of EVs be any better? EVs offering 200 or more miles are in the works. In recent weeks, carmakers are openly discussing the possibility of producing and selling electric cars that get 200-plus miles on a single charge. That’s huge.

Mark Reuss, the global product chief for General Motors, confirmed earlier this month that the company was working on a 200-mile car. As reported in Automotive News, a trade publication, two other people familiar with GM’s plans, said it would be based on the Sonic subcompact model.

Now consider what Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neusser, chief of powertrain development at Volkswagen, said at conference earlier this month: We’re about five years from an EV that gets between 300 and 370 miles per charge. Neusser characterized plug-in hybrids as a “bridge technology” for the next few years, until the longer-range electric car is commercialized.

“We can look today to the E-Golf, which has an operating range of around 115 miles,” said Nuesser. Let’s overlook this bit of exaggeration, when actually the E-Golf’s 24 kilowatt-hour battery will deliver something closer to 90 miles. Instead, let’s focus on this statement from Nuesser: “I expect the next generation in 2015-17 [range] will increase to around 185 miles, and the following step will be around 300 to 370 miles.”

There you have it. Two of the three of the world’s biggest automakers saying that 200 miles or more is coming soon. (Toyota, with its fondness for fuel cells, is the exception that proves the rule.) Meanwhile, Tesla, the most successful electric car company in the world, has for years said that big-battery longer-range EVs are the key to market success—and that 125 to 150 miles is a functional minimum.

Anybody can say that EV sales have been disappointing so far. Fair enough. Yet, that’s premature, because the EVs on the market (with one exception) are not currently offered with the minimal functional requirements. Based on what some influential auto execs are saying: that's about to change.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


The 2015 Ford Mustang convertible is on its way to dealerships …just in time for the worst of winter. If, like us, you're in the Snowbelt, fear not: The new Mustang offers remote start and heated seats, as well as selectable drive modes like “snow/rain spring .

Heated seats are standard on the premium-trim convertibles, while remote start comes standard on all automatic-transmission Mustangs. Ford says that the function doesn’t just warm the engine; it also warms the car to a comfortable temperature.

“Mustangs are made for year-round practicality and enjoyment,” said Melanie Banker, Mustang brand manager, “so it’s exciting that customers are taking delivery of their convertible Mustang models -- regardless of the season.For the pony-car faithful, the arrival of the sixth-generation 2015 Ford Mustang is a watershed moment. Now a luxury coupe of the first order, with enough performance on the order sheet to muscle up to sports-car territory, the Mustang is now fully free of its plebeian beginnings. It's fresh, advanced, plush, and technical, with more safety, too—a fitting 50th-anniversary tribute for a car that's as much a part of America as the original Model T.

The Mustang isn't quite a knockout from all angles, even if all the traditional Mustang cues were mashed into the new pony car. With a low and wide stance, the Mustang's pretty and graceful canopy rest on muscular haunches, but the some of the details are a little soggy—the tilted taillamp panel, the hashmarks that hashtag the headlamps. Inside, there is a distinct aviation-inspired theme. Large, clear instrumentation puts vehicle information right in front of the driver in the roomier cabin, while improved ergonomics and tactile switches and knobs provide better control. The cabin's solidly laid out and more youthful than just about any luxury coupe, and richer-looking than the Camaro's cabin.

The looks are an evolution, but what's underneath the Mustang's body panels is truly a magnitude shift. Its new turbocharged four-cylinder delivers strong performance even though it underwhelms in its soundtrack. The GT's intensely strong 435-hp V-8 hustles best when it's amped up with a Performance Pack that includes a Torsen limited-slip rear end, summer tires, Brembo brakes and extra body bracing.

Drive this and the last Mustang back to back, and the new car's overwhelming sense of ride control and tracking and stability thoroughly outclass any of its ancestors. Credit goes to a wider track, a new independent rear suspension design, and to a lot of engineers looking to eradicate all the negative Camaro comparisons. They've succeeded.

The ultimate gift to Mustang fans? Launch control and line lock. The former lets anyone knock off impeccable 0-60 mph times, while the latter enables NHRA-grade smoky burnouts.

The Mustang's a cathedral compared to the cramped Camaro, but it's still a 2+2 at heart even though it's nearly the size of a Ford Fusion. Front-seat room is generous and not just for the segment; Recaro seats are bound to be a popular upgrade over the standard sport seats, as good as they are. The back seats are token gestures, the trunk's about the size of the one in a Cadillac ATS (hint: not very large), but the Mustang's spacious enough for two, anytime.

Down the track will be a new Mustang Convertible. Buyers of the convertible will appreciate the standard multilayer insulated cloth top that gives the car a more upscale appearance and a quieter cabin, according to Ford. The new top also lowers twice as fast as before, and has a sleeker profile when down.

The 2015 Ford Mustang has not been crash-tested yet, but its list of high-tech features includes driver-adjustable stability, steering systems, throttle and transmission systems; standard Bluetooth and a rearview camera; and options for blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, and a forward-collision warning system.

Saturday, January 17, 2015


All new 2015 Mazda 3 s Grand Touring is like a Mazdaspeed 3 ,The 2015 Mazda Mazda3 has seating for five, comes standard with front-wheel drive and is offered in sedan and hatchback body styles. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is standard, and a 2.5-liter four-cylinder is available on s Touring and s Grand Touring trims. A six-speed manual transmission is standard with either engine and a six-speed automatic is available .In typical Mazda form, is tuned to the sportier side of the spectrum. And it’s not a stripper model, either, with leather-trimmed seats, Moonroof with one-touch open, 6-way power driver's seat with manual lumbar adjustment, Variable heated front seats, Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio capability, Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry & Start System, Rearview camera  Mazda navigation system, Bose 9 speaker surround sound system with Centerpoint 2 and AudioPilot, SiriusXM satellite radio w/ 4 month subscription, Dual-zone automatic climate control system, 18-inch alloy wheels, LED Daytime Running Lights, LED combination taillights, Active Driving Display for driving information, Paddle shifters, Bi-xenon headlights with auto leveling, Auto On/Off headlights, Auto-dimming interior mirror with Homelink, Perforated leather-trimmed seats, Adaptive Front-lighting System, Rain sensing windshield wipers, MAZDA CONNECT Infotainment system with: 7" full-color touchscreen display, multi-function Commander control, Infotainment system voice command,HD radio, Aha internet radio integration, Pandora internet radio integration, Stitcher  internet radio integration, SMS text message audio delivery and reply.

There’s definitely a respectable amount of power on tap to make things interesting. It’s not too far behind the Honda Civic Si’s 205-hp output, but this Mazda 3 has more torque with 185 lb-ft versus 174 lb-ft. The gap widens when you look at cars in this class that are even more performance focused like the Volkswagen GTI and Ford Focus ST. But for a “normal” version of a car, this 3 is a lot of fun with grunt that you’re able to really wring out on the streets. The Skyactiv four-cylinder is smooth and doesn’t mind revving. The gold standard for four-cylinders in my opinion remains Honda’s K-series engines, but the Mazda powerplant is creeping into the conversation now.

Unlike the manual shifter in the previous two generations of the Mazdaspeed 3, the six-speed gearbox in this 3 is incredibly slick slotting into gears with ease. Shift throws are short, and the clutch is light and easy modulate. Getting back to the engine for a quick second, it has good throttle response, which is always nice when you are going down gears heading into a corner.

And this hatchback is a handler. It stays well planted around sweepers and in turns with a little bit of body lean. Of course, if you push it too hard, the front tires will give way and you’ll push, but that takes really over-driving the car and that’s something you shouldn’t be doing on the streets anyway. Steering feels direct and well weighted for a sporty hatch, and the brakes are confidence inspiring beginning right at the top of the pedal stroke.

There’re also some pretty decent tires on this 3. The 18-inch performance all-season Dunlop SP Sport 5000s were respectable dry and weren’t really loud.

During daily driving, the ride quality is firmer, but the suspension still softens blows from larger impacts over ruts and potholes. Those seeking cushier rides will want to look at duller-performing entries like the Nissan Sentra or maybe Toyota Corolla . If you are willing to give up a little bit of ride comfort, then this Mazda 3,Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus  ,Civicare vehicles you will want to test-drive.

The latest-generation 3’s sheetmetal is distinctive still, even after ditching the smiley front-end appearance of the previous car. It looks all right to my eyes and follows in the footsteps of the 6 and the facelifted CX-5. I do prefer the old rear-end styling on the five-door hatchback that was more defined and less rounded like this new car.

Inside, things look good finally with a respectable central screen instead of the old screen inset into the dash. It makes dealing with radio and navigation functions easier, along with the command knobs on the center console. Materials are upgraded a notch with soft-touch surfaces in all the important areas, and the front bucket seats are comfortably firm and supportive in the right areas. It was easy for me to find a comfortable seating position, and pedal placement with the bottom-hinged gas pedal is really nice.

Friday, January 16, 2015


The Chevrolet Suburban has been the quintessential American SUV since forever. It departs from its truckly origins a little more with each generation, but longtime fans of the franchise will be plenty happy with the new model.

Those fans haven't been waiting for this review, either. In spite of all the nonsense GM is wading through right now, earlier this month the company reported that Suburbans were spending an average of only ten days on dealer lots before being sold. And 65% of those were in range-topping (very-expensive) LTZ trim.

So when it came time to redesign its big SUVS, GM had to walk a fine line by not changing things up too much when it came to styling, but it still had to look fresh. To my eye, GM succeeded with the Suburban. It still looks like a Suburban, but there are subtle things in the design that instantly let you know that it’s a new one. 
The 2015 is my third-favorite Suburban design yet. Yeah, even with "the headlights" everyone on the internet seems to be so fussy about. They look like a slightly modern tweak on the outgoing design, what's your beef people?

Chevrolet kept it conservative with the rest of the exterior, but the skin's been pulled a little bit tighter and a few new creases accentuate the body's long slabs of steel. Improvements from every angle compared to the outgoing design.

In the back, the shape's gone from "bulbous" to "boxy," which helps depart the design a little further from the minivans its inevitably cross-shopped against.
The effort to ratchet things up in the interior is really clear, though. There were a lot of hard and hollow-feeling plastic pieces littered around the cabin in the outgoing trucks, but now there a lot of quality, soft-touch areas and wrapped surfaces with a design featuring curvy lines to jazz things up a bit. Build quality appears high with tight panel gaps, and insulation from wind and road noise is noteworthy. It’s quite a nice place to spend time in now and I would argue that the jump up into the more premium GMC Yukons isn’t really necessary. The high seating position is great and the front bucket seats are real comfortable.Some other reasons why I don’t think upgrading to a GMC is necessary? Our 2015 Chevy Suburban LTZ tester is packed full of niceties like magnetic ride suspension, high-intensity discharge lights, LED running lamps, front park assist, heated and cooled front seats, blind spot warning and rear traffic alert to go with this Suburban’s leather-lined interior.

One thing you can’t get in the Chevy that you can get in the GMCs is the 6.2-liter V8 option. Instead, the Suburban is only offered with the 5.3-liter that propelled this near-5,700-pound barge around just fine. It never seemed like it was running out of steam. Instead it got things moving smoothly along with slick and well timed shifts from the six-speed automatic transmission.

Thanks to the magnetic ride suspension, the Suburban feels about as well composed as a vehicle of its weight and ride height can. You’ll still feel some roll in corners, obviously, but the electric power steering feels responsive and lightly weighted to make maneuvering the Suburban around easy enough. The 20-inch tires surely help by providing a nice wide footprint, too. Brakes are very responsive with the big clamps getting this slowed in a brisk manner. For such a monstrous vehicle, the Suburban drives smaller than it is, all while providing high levels of ride comfort.

Then, of course, there’s the never-ending mission of improving fuel efficiency, and the Suburban does deliver in that area a smidge. Compared to the rear-wheel drive 2014 Suburban that had an EPA fuel economy rating of 15 mpg city and 21 mpg highway, the 2015 version improves to 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.

If I was in the market for a mongo SUV, I probably wouldn’t look much further than the Suburban. I haven’t had a go with the new Ford Expedition yet and the Toyota Sequoia is getting up there in age. The only difference is that for Michigan winters I would plop down the extra $3,000 to get 4WD and forget the sunroof and 20-inch wheels that our test car has. 

2015 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ left rear 
The 5.3-liter under the hood of the 2015 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ is rather peppy.
EDITOR WES RAYNAL: I know, I know y’all are getting sick of me talking about how much I love Chevy Suburbans. Sorry. I can’t help it. I’ve loved them since I was a kid. The 2015 redo looks good to me, more creased, lower, more modern, bolder. Interior comfort and quality is way up. It’s really refined. The 5.3-liter V8’s horsepower and torque are up about 10 percent. Acceleration is borderline peppy if you leg it.

Like GM’s new pickups, the Suburban feels much better on the road ,slightly more wieldy around town with (again, slightly) quicker reactions. I realize I’m talking about a near-5,500- 5,800 heavy metal pound truck, so when I say words like wielder and quicker, I’m talking wieldy and quicker for something weighing this much.

That said, on the freeway it’s just amazing -- quiet (really quiet in fact) and smooth, stable, like the last one I drove. Gone are shimmies and shakes one can get from a truck-based boxed frame platform. In naming the pickups Best of the Best, we said there were luxury automakers that could take a lesson from the pickup’s refinement levels. That definitely applies here.

As I said the revamped interior is terrific. Needless to say there is tons of room and much better materials -- more soft-touch plastics and everything is screwed together well. It’s comfortable. There’s a lot of stuff to have fun with: heated wheel, A/C seats, power moonroof and MyLink… I spent several hours in the saddle this weekend and am ready for several more.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


DETROIT Tesla's game plan includes the Model 3, a compact and affordable electric car with a 200-mile range. At the 2015 North American International Auto Show here, Chevrolet looks set to beat Tesla to the eletric and price power down $30.000 to $38,000, unveiling its Bolt concept, a hatchback using lightweight body materials and a pure electric drive train.

Chevy wants to be a main player in the electric vehicle game. The automaker just gave the innovative but slow-to-sell Volt a full makeover, and the all-electric Spark is hardly a main player. With the Bolt, Chevy wants to cater to buyers who want an all-electric family car, but don't want to (or simply can't) drop $90,000 on a Tesla Model S. 

Onstage, Barra called the Bolt concept an EV for everyone. "For most, this can be an everyday driver," the CEO proclaimed. And from where we stood, the Bolt could maybe deliver on that promise.

Cabin design employs a flat floor, taking advantage of the elimination of the transmission tunnel, made unnecessary by the electric drivetrain. That flat floor and the dashboard, sporting two LCDs, look similar to those in the BMW i3 electric car.

Chevrolet places an LCD in front of the driver, presumably for a virtual instrument cluster, and a 10-inch LCD on the center dash. This capacitive touchscreen shows infotainment functions. It's not big, but it's not impossible to imagine using it as a small but sensible family vehicle.

Can Chevy deliver on its promise of a lithium-ion powered four-door with 200 miles of range for a reasonable $30,000 $37,000 ? Can the company hit that price point on a car built with, as Barra promised, carbon fiber and active aero? Can it be successful not just in California, but across the U.S. and in markets worldwide?

Chevy's hoping the Bolt can hack it. With the Tesla Model 3 aiming for the same market, the electric runabout market may actually be verging on exciting.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Ponycar is getty more horse powers . Hellcat and Z06, be very afraid our  pony is super chard. Because when that 2015 Mustang 5.0L with the Hennessey script on its deck lid sidles up next to you at the stoplight, it might very well be packing 717 supercharged horsepower. Dig the spurs in, pilgrim, and she’ll bolt to 60 mph in a scant 3.6 seconds. Keep your foot down, and the pressurized Coyote 5.0-liter 4-cammer will blaze to a white-hot 11.2-second quarter mile at 131 mph. It’s ponycar meets supercar. 

“We’re very excited about the 2015 Ford Mustang and so are our performance-minded clients,” said John Hennessey. “Our HPE700 Supercharged upgrade will elevate this Motown Missile’s performance to rival some of the fastest European sports cars. We can’t wait to share our specially tuned Mustang with the world!" 

“This thing is uncaged, absolutely nuts,” says Hennessey partner Don Goldman. ”We’re thrilled to offer a 2015 Mustang that will outperform some of the fastest cars currently offered, at a lower price point.” 

Key to that 717 bhp (and the HPE700’s deep well of torque—632 lb-ft at 4400 rpm) is the Roots-type high-helix supercharger packing 7.25 psi of boost. Helping the Coyote V8 breathe more deeply is a high-flow throttle body and stainless-steel exhaust system. Upgraded injectors and fuel pump help feed the V8, under command of Hennessey’s proprietary engine management calibration. 

Just 500 units of the HPE700 will be produced for the 2015 Mustang model year. Pricing starts at $59,000 USD including the base 2015 5.0L Mustang GT. But greater personalization and performance can be had by adding options such as CarbonAero carbon-fiber bodywork (front splitter, side sills, rear diffuser and rear lip spoiler), 20-in. Hennessey H10 wheels shod with Michelin Pilot Super Sport 2 tires, and a Brembo brake package with 15.1-in. front rotors. As a package, they give the Mustang improved downforce, cornering and braking to keep pace with the colossal supercharged power. 

New 2015 Hennessey Mustangs can be ordered through any of AutoNation’s 37 Ford dealerships across America. A high-performance upgrade for the 2.3-liter EcoBoost-powered Mustang is also under development. 

Established in 1991, Hennessey Performance (HPE) now operates from a new facility comprised of a 36,000 square foot building that is located adjacent to Lonestar Motorsports Park, the company’s test track and IHRA sanctioned ¼ mile dragstrip. The 143-acre complex is located about 45 minutes west of Houston, Texas along Interstate 10. Hennessey offer a wide variety of dyno-proven, track-tested parts for modern performance vehicles. In addition, Hennessey operates Tuner School, the world’s first fully state-licensed school dedicated to teaching and training future performance vehicle tuners. HPE is also the only aftermarket tuner in North American that has its own proving grounds, the Lonestar Motorsports Park ¼ mile dragstrip. Lonestar is situated in 143 acres next to the company’s 40,000 square foot workshop and showroom on Interstate 10 near Sealy, Texas.

Monday, January 12, 2015


The 2015 Nissan Quest is a minivan well-suited for any situation. Its unique wraparound rear glass gives a real sense of individualism and style in a world saturated with crossover choices. There is even an available moonroof to accent the airy, open feel of the cabin. The fourth-generation 2015 Quest's available one-touch power sliding doors make loading up easy, even with your hands full. Just tap the button on the handle, and the door unlocks and slides open without effort.

Continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) are known for having a strange feel when driving, but Nissan has tried to alleviate that issue this year with its new D-Step shift logic for the Quest minivan. Gone is the disconnected feeling of having no shift points, as shift points can now be felt as you accelerate up to speed. Quest automatically adjusts its steering feel based on vehicle speed. It's easier at low speeds for parking, then firms up when you're cruising. Plus, using hydro-electric power steering instead of hydraulic power steering cuts down on the amount of power needed from the engine. And that means more miles out of every tank.

As the saying goes, bigger is usually better. So for all Quest trims, a highly visible, 5-inch color audio system display is now included for your entertainment pleasure, replacing the smaller 4.3-inch screen. This addresses the complaint of the old screen being hard to see and use in past models.With six standard air bags, plus additional roof and front seat mounted air bags , the Quest offers protection in every seat. So you can rest easy, knowing that your most precious cargo is secure. Quest also includes advanced braking and traction features, and safety technologies built especially for families. Like the LATCH System (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children), that lets you secure LATCH-compatible child restraints in certain 2nd- or 3rd-row seats, without seat belts or a locking cl

The familiar S, SV, and SL trims are still available, and top-of-the-line LE models (though now renamed Platinum) have all of the creature comforts you would expect in a premium trim. But, Platinum also now has moving-object detection for Nissan’s Around View Monitor. Minivans aren’t known for their strong driver visibility, Packing-up and Parking is a snap with the available AVM. Four cameras create a virtual 360° image of your Quest, then display it on the LCD monitor to help you see how much room you've got behind you, in front of you, and even between you and the curb.

Many front-wheel-drive (FWD) minivans seem underpowered, for the most part. But all 6 cylinders of the award-winning VQ-series 3.5-liter engine will astound you, making a powerful 260 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque. It has plenty of get-up-and-go available for any possible driving demand, easily reaching highway cruising speed in just under 8 seconds.

Regardless of all that gusto, gas mileage doesn’t suffer as much as you may think. Even with a curb weight of roughly 4,350 pounds, fuel economy of 20 mpg city/27 highway can be achieved. That's maybe not exceptional for this type of vehicle, but having this much power will also allow you to tow up to 3,500 pounds with ease. It’s basically a heavy-duty truck wrapped up as a minivan with better fuel economy.

Quest has enough room to fit seven adults comfortably, and the 2nd-row easily slides or tilts for easy access to the back. Need space for stuff? Fold everything flat for up to 119.8 cubic feet of cargo space . With easy-to-operate quick release fold-down rear seating, configuring your Quest is a snap.. Front passengers will enjoy nearly 44 inches of leg room, as well as ample head and shoulder room. For your cargo needs, you have 25.7 cubes in the rear with all seats in place; however some seats do not fold away, nor can they be removed as in some other minivans. But, you can achieve a maximum cargo space of 108.4 cubic feet by rolling up both the second- and third-row seats. Moving large objects might become difficult, though, since the side doors unfortunately do not offer a particularly wide opening.

Response and handling are where the Quest really shines. Handling more like a car than a minivan, Nissan’s D-Platform provides an excellent foundation for sharp, responsive feel and a smooth, pleasing ride. Road noise is kept to a minimum, so you won’t have to turn up your radio to drown out the droning sound of the pavement. The front strut and independent rear suspension harmoniously function to make the Quest one of the best riding minivans on the market.

Saturday, January 10, 2015


Ford upgrade new Explorer for 2015 , as the fifth-generation SUV enters its fifth year of production. The most significant addition is a new appearance package for the Explorer XLT, which will feature 20-inch machined aluminum wheels with painted pockets, black body side plastic cladding, roof rails, and body-color door handles.First-row center floor console with wrapped armrest and storage bin Overhead console with dome/map lights and sunglasses holder .Color-keyed, carpeted floor mats, front and rear .This new appearance package will also feature mirror caps,A strong structure serves as the foundation for Explorer capability, along with advanced technology such as the available Intelligent 4WD with Terrain Management System , And there’s Curve Control, an enhancement to the standard AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control and its road-hugging capability. Inside, the Explorer provides seating for seven. When carrying things takes priority, the rear seats fold down for cargo space on demand – up to 80.7 cubic feet. lift gate applique, and grille painted in "magnetic metallic, or  caribou metallic , along with an "Explorer" hood badge. The XLT package will also offer heated leather and suede seats with contrast stitching,Leather-trimmed seats with Miko® suede insert and contrasting stitching
Floor mats with unique badging
Miko is a registered trademark of Miko s.r.l.

This appearance package basically brings the look of the Explorer Sport to the XLT trim version, which is one step above the base version but is positioned below the Limited and the range topping Sport.

Ford is also beefing up this version of the Explorer when it comes to in-car technology, with the XLT set Media hub with auxiliary input jack and courtesy light ,SiriusXM Satellite Radio SYNC with MyFord® Media hub with 1 USB port and courtesy light,SecuriLock  Passive Anti-Theft System
 Tire Pressure Monitoring System, Battery-saver feature Remote keyless/illuminated entry.

The base Explorer, the trim level below the XLT in the Explorer range, will also benefit from a few new pieces of kit and will now include 18-inch aluminum wheels as standard. The range-topping Explorer Sport, at the other end of the trim spectrum, will now receive a Class III trailer tow package as standard equipment, and the entire Explorer range will now also offer thee new exterior colors: magnetic metallic,caribou metallic, bronze fire metallic tinted clear coat. 

Friday, January 9, 2015


Toyota announced at this week's Consumer Electronics Show that it will open up 5,680 fuel cell patents to automakers and other companies. The patents include technologies developed for the upcoming Toyota Mirai, and will be available for use royalty-free. The move is intended to advance fuel cell development and the adoption of hydrogen for automotive use.

Included in the now royalty-free patents are 1,960 filings related to fuel cell stacks, 280 related to high-pressure hydrogen tanks, 3,000 related to fuel system control software, and 65to 70 pertaining to hydrogen production and supply. The patents are freely available for other automakers, fuel cell suppliers, and companies working on hydrogen-powered buses or industrial equipment. Energy companies will also have access to Toyota's hydrogen tech to help then better establish a fueling infrastructure. Suppliers and companies outside of the transportation sector will be required to submit requests to use the tech, which will be reviewed and approved on a case-by-case basis.

The first generation hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, launched between 2015 and 2020, will be critical, requiring a concerted effort and unconventional collaboration between automakers, government regulators, academia and energy providers," Toyota senior vice president of automotive operations Bob Carter said in a release. "By eliminating traditional corporate boundaries, we can speed the development of new technologies and move into the future of mobility more quickly, effectively and economically.the Toyota Mirai is the first fuel cell vehicle that is truly commercially available. It is set to go on sale in California in the fall and in a handful of Northern states by 2016. The price is $57,500, or $499 a month for a 36-month lease. Federal and state incentives could lower the final cost for buyers to under $45,000.

Fuel cells create a chemical reaction when hydrogen passes through them, resulting in the creation of electricity and water vapor. They have no moving parts, compared to thousands in traditional gasoline engines.

The technology clearly has a lot of upsides, but it requires a refueling infrastructure to really take off. That’s why Toyota has invested $7.3 million in fueling stations for California and will be investing more to help create a hydrogen network in the Northeast.

During his speech at CES, Kaku admitted he was a skeptic of the commercial potential for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. But after he learned that the Toyota Mirai can drive 300 miles on a tank of compressed hydrogen and requires only about five minutes to refuel, he was sold.

One huge advantage he pointed out is that the fuel itself is abundant. “Seventy-five percent of the universe is made out of hydrogen,” Kaku said. “You want to see hydrogen? Go outside, take a look at the stars, the galaxies, the sun. Hydrogen is the most plentiful substance in the universe. And contrast that now to oil, black gold, one of the rarest of substances on the planet Earth. Nations will kill to secure supplies of oil.

Toyota previously licensed its hybrid technology to other automakers in a move to bring hybrids into the mainstream, but the company says this is the first time it has made its patents available for free. Toyota's announcement follows a similar move by Tesla, which opened up its patents to the world last summer. Just as Toyota hopes to promote the adoption of hydrogen, Tesla made its patents available to encourage EV development and more competition in the all-electric car realm.

Toyota says its fuel cell patents will be available royalty-free until the end of 2020, while its hydrogen production and supply patents will remain open indefinitely. The company says it will request, but not require, companies that use Toyota's tech to share their fuel cell-related patents in return.

Thursday, January 8, 2015


Hennessey Performance doesn’t need Ford to make another Raptor pickup: It has its own. The Texas tuner will continue to transform the standard F-150 into the fire-breathing, 600-hp VelociRaptor 600.

The new VelociRaptor 600 is based on the 2015 F-150 FX4 Super Crew with the 5.0-liter V8. Hennessey adds a supercharger, high-flow air-induction system, stainless-steel exhaust, upgraded fuel injectors and a proprietary engine management calibration.

“We’ve built over 400 VelociRaptor 600 Supercharged Ford trucks over the past four years,” said John Hennessey. “We are simply picking up where we left off with our 2015 VelociRaptor Upgrade all new Aluminum monster truck   . Having Ford’s world-class new truck design, with a weight savings of nearly 700 pounds, our VelociRaptor 600 Supercharged will have an even greater level of performance.”

Key to the 2015 VelociRaptor’s 600+ horsepower is the Roots-type supercharger packing 8 psi of boost. Helping the 5.0L V8 breathe more deeply is a high-flow air induction system and stainless-steel exhaust system. Upgraded fuel injectors will help feed the supercharged V8, under command of Hennessey’s proprietary engine management calibration. The VelociRaptor will come with a 3 year / 36,000 mile warranty from Hennessey. 

Just 500 units of the VelociRaptor 600 Supercharged will be produced for the 2015 Ford F-150 model year. Pricing starts at $73,500 USD including the base 2015 Ford F-150 FX4 Super Crew 5.0L V8 . The VelociRaptor 600 Supercharged package will also include 33 inch BFGoodrich tires on 17 inch Hennessey wheels. Greater personalization and off-road performance can be had by adding options such as custom off-road coilover suspension, upgraded front and rear bumpers, front winch, LED light bars, Brembo brakes and more. 

“The 2015 VelociRaptor 600 will offer the best of both worlds for our clients,” says Hennessey partner, Don Goldman. ”Many of our VelociRaptor owners use their trucks to drive to work or to take the kids to school. However, when the going gets tough, the VelociRaptor is highly capable in inclement weather and off-road conditions.” 

New 2015 Hennessey VelociRaptor 600 Supercharged pick-up trucks can be ordered through your nearest Ford dealer, as well as any of AutoNation’s 37 Ford dealerships across America. Hennessey will also offer a VelociRaptor upgrade package for 2015 Ford trucks equipped with the EcoBoost engine.