Another Tesla Model S fire

Here’s the latest news on the third fire reported for the Tesla Model S. Tesla has sold over 19,000 of the all-electric Model S sedans but this news threatens to change the mostly positive image the company has created over the years.

Electric competition coming for Tesla?

Tesla Model S f

Tesla is riding high right now, as the Tesla S is a beautiful car and it’s piling up awards. The company is certainly worthy of all the praise directed its way. But, things are changing quickly in the auto business, as technological innovation is progressing rapidly. Thus, things can change quickly for Tesla as well with competition lurking.

GM and Honda made big news this week with an announcement that they’re teaming up to develop a mass-market fuel-cell system for future cars. The system, which is expected to debut in about 2020, chemically “burns” hydrogen to generate electricity without toxic emissions.

That electricity can then be used to power an electric motor: In other words, these will be electric cars, only without the batteries. GM and Honda also pledged to work on storage technologies for all that hydrogen, as well as on infrastructure — places to “get gas” for your future hydrogen-powered ride.

This doesn’t mean that the world is giving up on battery-powered electrics, of course. Batteries remain heavy and expensive, and take a while to recharge, but Tesla Motors has recently made it very clear that a great car can be built around a big heavy battery pack, despite the trade-offs.

But the GM-Honda link-up, along with Toyota’s recent confirmation that it would launch a fuel-cell car next year (a car that seems likely to be aimed directly at the Model S, by the way), is a good reminder that battery-electrics aren’t necessarily the way forward, just one of several possible ways.

That’s something that investors in any car company, including Tesla, should keep in mind.

Of course, this article is aimed at Tesla investors, and the stock issue is separate from the company and its current and future prospects. The stock may be a bit overpriced yet the company’s outlook can be fantastic.

Tesla has proven to be a leader in this space, and I think they can handle the competition. But the competition will be there.

Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid looks badass

Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid
© General Motors

GM showed off this new Caddy at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year. It looks pretty awesome and it’s basically a luxury version of the Chevy Volt as Cadillac brings plug-in hybrid technology to the Cadillac brand.

When General Motors (GM) decided to make a plug-in hybrid several years ago, there was a lively discussion behind closed doors about whether the first model to showcase the expensive technology should be a Chevrolet or a Cadillac. The Chevy advocates won and the Volt was born. History suggests that may not have been the right choice. The Volt—the first car to mix all-electric capabilities with an auxiliary gas engine to extend its driving range after the battery’s depleted—has had disappointing sales. Republicans during the presidential campaign pilloried it as a symbol of the failings of President Obama’s auto-industry bailout.

GM has decided to take a second stab at Volt technology, and this time it’s heading upmarket, with the Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid, introduced Jan. 15.

That may be going a bit too far, as there’s nothing to indicate that a Cadillac would have fared any better as GM’s first plug-in option. The technology is just getting started, and the Volt’s price point was always an issue.

Hertz First Car-rental Company to Deploy A Zero-emissions All-electric Bus

This is great news for the advancement of green vehicles. From Market Watch:

The Hertz Corporation, the world’s largest general use airport car rental brand, announces today the use of BYD’s eBUS-12 at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the first such use to be conducted by a rental car company. Hertz is testing the all-electric on its main routes to gain data on this new platform.

“Hertz is aggressively moving forward with its Global EV program, introducing electric vehicles into its worldwide fleet and testing other electric vehicles as they become available,” says Mark P. Frissora, Hertz Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Hertz’s mission is to provide the most technologically advanced mobility solutions to our customers, including the buses we use as part of our everyday operations at airports. We continue Hertz’s track record of innovation by being first to deploy an all-electric shuttle bus in the US.”

The BYD pure electric eBUS-12 is able to run 155 miles on a single charge in urban conditions, more than enough for Hertz’s use at its airport locations, and its energy consumption is less than 100 kWh per 60 miles. The eBUS-12 is designed with the customer in mind, with a low floor and ample space to allow easy passenger loading and unloading and the bus has specially engineered sound insulation for a quieter cabin experience. The eBUS is being tested at Hertz’s Los Angeles Airport location, shuttling car rental customers between the terminals and Hertz’s rental facility. With a lower cost of ownership than a traditional gas powered bus, replacing just one traditional bus with the eBUS will reduce emissions by over 320 kg of CO2 (per 150 miles traveled) and save Hertz an average of $76* per day, per bus in fuel costs! (*32 gallons of diesel at $3.20/gal are replaced with $25.92 in electricity for $0.08/Kwh — the night time EV charge rates in LA).

Read the full article.

Chevy to produce an all-electric version of the Spark

Chevy has announced it will produce an all-electric version of the Chevy Spark mini car, the Spark EV. This vehicle complements Chevy’s growing range of EVs, including the Volt and the 2013 Malibu ECO with eAssist technology. It will be sold in limited quantities in select U.S. and global markets starting in 2013. See here for more information.

Also, in an effort to meet the growing demand for safe, connected personal transportation, GM has decided to work on the next-generation EN-V concept vehicle and brand it with the Chevy badge. This two-seat, electric urban mobility concept is a zero-emissions vehicle powered by lithium-ion batteries. The Chevy EN-V concept will be updated with new features that customers need such as climate control, personal storage space and all-weather and road condition operation.

To learn more about the Chevy EN-V, check out the release here.

Related Posts