Steering Wheel? Who needs a steering wheel?
Arcimoto, an Oregon-based electric vehicle company, recently came up with a protoype for its new EV. It has two seats, three wheels, and — that's right — no steering wheel. Why handlebars instead of a steering wheel? It helps keep the price way down. The EV, known as the Generation 8 SRK, should have a range of about 70 miles, reach speeds better than 80 MPH, and cost less than $12,000.
Toyota will abandon the plug-in model and change to hydrogen fuel cells.
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Toyota aims to reduce the carbon emissions in its new vehicles by an amazing 90% by 2050. How do they plan on doing this? By abandoning the current plug-in EV model and instead relying on hydrogen fuel-cell technology. They hope to sell 30,000 of these fuel-cell vehicles per year by 2020.
Introducing the electric supersport motorcycle
Just days ago, BMW Motorrad announced it has a new all-electric supersport motorcycle in the works. It's called the eRR, and it's based on BMW's current S 1000 RR model. Unfortunately, full technical details have not been released, but will be announced at a later date.
Tax incentives are a big, big deal.
For years, the state of Georgia offered a generous tax credit of $5,000 for people who buy electric vehicles. In July, this tax credit ended. What happened when they took it away? Sales took a nosedive. The number of new car registrations for EVs plummeted from 1,338 in June, to 776 in July, to a paltry 148 in August. That’s a drop of 89% in just two months.
An electric car stylish enough for 007?
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British automaker Aston Martin, famous for sports cars so classy and stylish that James Bond gets around in them, has decided to jump into the EV market. Just weeks ago, the company unveiled the RapidE, an electric version of its $200,000 Rapide S (pictured above). It's definitely not your standard EV. The first version, which could be available as early as 2017, will be a 560-horsepower rear-wheel drive model. A second version is also in the works — it will be an 800-horsepower, all-wheel drive model.
The “breathing battery” could dramatically improve EV range.
According to the science journal Nature, a team of chemists at Cambridge is developing a “breathing battery” which could be capable of storing up to ten times more energy than current lithium-ion models. This would dramatically affect the range of EVs, making them capable of going more than 500 miles on a charge. These breathing batteries, also known as lithium-air batteries, are still in the early stages of development — only time will tell if they live up to their promise.
Candle soot could be the key to cheaper batteries.
In other battery news, scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology are developing a new type that makes use of candle soot. Why candle soot? Because, according to studies, electric current travels more efficiently through this soot than most materials currently used in commercial batteries. Meanwhile, candle soot is extremely inexpensive to produce. Cheaper materials mean cheaper batteries, and cheaper batteries could eventually mean cheaper EVs. Again, only time will tell, but studies show early signs of promise.
Golf Carts are more popular than you think.
According to a recent story by CBS News, more and more people are using golf carts as a cheap way to get around. Technically classified as LSEVs (low-speed electric vehicles), these carts are beginning to flourish not only in golfing communities, but on college campuses, as delivery vehicles in large cities, and as basic transportation in emerging markets such as China, where most people can’t afford a traditional car. To put things in perspective, about 84,000 EVs and hybrids were sold in China in 2004. That same year, more than 400,000 LSEVs were sold.
Volkswagen hopes to recover from its emissions scandal by going electric.
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In the wake of its recent diesel emissions scandal, Volkswagen is planning on going electric. Rather than focusing on traditional diesel models, VW will instead concentrate on hybrids and pure EVs, beginning with a new version of it’s Phaeton, which will have a “pure electric drive.”
Insurance is a lot pricier for electric vehicles.
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It may not surprise you that insurance rates are higher for EVs than for their traditional counterparts. Just how much higher, however, might catch you off guard. A recent study by NerdWallet compared the price of insuring four models with both gas-powered and electric versions: the Chevy Spark, Volkswagen Golf, Fiat 500, and Smart ForTwo (pictured above). The results? Insuring the electric model cost an average of 21% more.