Friday, May 21, 2010

One more T/Thing: new EV before Model S

"In an interview with The Chronicle, Musk said the new alliance would produce a joint Toyota-Tesla car that would be a Toyota vehicle powered by a Tesla drive-train, hitting the market before the Model S. The companies also plan to develop other electric vehicles together, he said."
[Source: San Francisco Chronicle]

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Toyota and Tesla make a deal; NUMMI back in business

This is a big deal. Biggest EV news since Carlos Ghosn got religion.
I just watched the press conference where Musk and Toyoda announced an agreement.

Toyota's investing in Tesla.
Tesla's buying the NUMMI factory.
Model S and subsequent vehicles will be made at NUMMI.
Tesla won't oppose any union activity.

This is obviously great for Tesla and advocates of electric cars.
It's great for the San Francisco Bay Area.

It's also great for Toyota. They appear forward-looking. And give people something other than brake problems to think about when they hear "Toyota."

Toyota gets to continue their "everything hybrid" goal without damaging the brand's strategy.

And they take their great knowledge of electric vehicles off the shelf where it gathers dust.

As one whose 8 year old Toyota electric car with 78,000 miles on the original battery pack drove exactly 100 miles yesterday using 89% of the charge, I welcome Toyota back.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Electric VW due in 3 years

VW has released some more information on its electric plans. Look for an e-Golf to be launched in 2013. 93 mile range from a 26.5 kWh lithium battery pack. Similar to the LEAF or RAV4-EV, the car weighs about 3400 pounds, a few hundred pounds heavier than the gas/diesel versions.

Around the same time, VW intends to have two other EVs on offer, a smaller e-UP, and a Jetta.

One interesting side-note: Many of us RAV4-EV drivers have become used to and supportive of an option to "free-wheel" when letting off the accelerator. Although Tesla and LEAF don't incorporate such an option, it seems VW will. According to VW's press release:
"...the Golf blue-e-motion - with its top speed of 140 km/h - ... can even coast or "sail". "Sailing" occurs whenever the driver – adopting an anticipatory style of driving - releases the gas pedal, or more apropos: the electric pedal. As in the drive system of the Touareg Hybrid, which is being produced today, the motor is then is disengaged from the drivetrain so that the car can coast..."

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Oil Spill Containment Attempt Fails

“I wouldn’t say it has failed yet,” said Doug Suttles, the operating officer for exploration and production for BP, the company that was leasing the oil rig when it exploded April 20. “What I would say is what we attempted to do last night didn’t work.”

The slick, which has already come ashore on the Chandeleur Islands off southeast Louisiana, is projected to curl west in the next three days, threatening not only the Mississippi River Delta but also miles of Louisiana coastline to the west of the river.

[Source: New York Times]