The 2012 Ford Focus Electric is the very first all-electric car released by the company, and is marketed as America's most fuel-efficient five-passenger vehicle, what with it's 110 MPGe city rating (99 MPGe highway) and up to 76 mile range on a single charge. We were able to spend a week with the 2012 Ford Focus Electric, and we're here to report back with our thoughts. Is it a worthy contender in the electric car movement? Read on.
General Motors unveiled the long-awaited 2014 Cadillac ELR this week, the first plug-in extended range EV hybrid for the brand. For all intents and purposes, the ELR is a Chevy Volt that's been souped up with Cadillac luxury touches. Originally revealed as the Cadillac Converj, the ELR will feature a redesigned interior cabin that will supposedly define future Cadillac models, with features like Regen on Demand buttons on the steering wheel that let the driver capture the energy generated by the vehicle's momentum, conserving it for a bit more battery juice. The ELR also packs in the awesome Cadillac CUE infotainment dashboard system. The vehicle puts out 207hp, more than 25% more than the Chevy Volt. No final word yet on EV range, though, but the Volt gets about 35 miles before gasoline kicks in, and the ELR is a bit heavier. GM says that production on the ELR is set to begin later this year in preparation for a 2014 North American launch.
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GM is the first to announce Siri integration with two new car models: the Chevrolet Spark and the Sonic Drive. The feature was dubbed "Eyes Free" and was announced at Apple's World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June by former iOS chief, Scott Forstall. Basically, "Eyes Free" will be integrated via the car's Bluetooth functionality and the iPhone itself. The user can then initiate Siri's voice command by tapping a button on the steering wheel, and Siri's responses will be played over the car's audio system. Other car manufacturers such as Chrysler, Honda, Toyota, Jaguar, Audi, Land rover, GM, BMW and Mercedes are slated to incorporate Siri's "Eyes Free" as well. Check out the full press release after the break.
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In this episode we give you a look at the 2013 Ford Taurus Limited, focusing on the Active Park Assist feature. With Active Park Assist, the car takes car of parallel parking for you. That's right - THE CAR CAN PARK ITSELF! You simply hit a button to let the car know that you are looking to park, and it uses its sensors to find a space you'll fit into. Once it does, you're in charge of the gas and brake pedals, while the Taurus steers itself into the spot with perfection. Definitely a feature from the future that you can get on your Ford today.
[Camera credit: Eric Vitolo]
Lexus calls it CinePrint, we call it brilliant. The luxury auto maker has created a very nifty interactive marketing ad, which utilizes a user's iPad to bring a 2013 Lexus ES to life in a magazine. From a marketing standpoint, the illustration is very impressive and gets the reader involved in the process of merging print and video. This is surely lacking when just reading a static page or watching a traditional car commercial on TV, at which point we usually just turn the page or tune out. It's still an ad, but it's pretty freaking cool. Check out the video after the break.
Remember our 2012 Chevy Volt that failed while driving and almost got me in an accident? We updated the story with the details about trying to work with Chevy and GM to get a replacement Volt since we no longer felt safe driving the one we had. After all, it had been in the shop for repairs every two weeks since we had picked it up the first time. Well, we are please to report that Chevrolet and General Motors did right by us, and agreed to replace our 2012 Volt with a newer, similarly-equipped 2013 model. Since this was a lease, it was a bit more complicated than a simple trade. Instead, we did what's called a VIN swap. The result? We keep the same lease terms and paperwork, with the VIN being the only change on the documents. It took a while since the 2013 Chevy Volt wasn't available until very recently, and once it arrived, we needed to wait for all the paperwork to be completed. Still, it was worth the wait. Stay tuned for our 2013 Chevy Volt review.
Have you ever left anything in a cab? We know plenty who've lost iPhone and Android devices, tablets, laptops, and other expensive gadgetry, but Casey Neistat accidentally left over $13,000 in expensive technology in his taxi. After going through the frustrating process of filing reports with the taxi company, making calls, and getting a police report filed, he wondered if he'd get his stuff back at all. Seriously, how likely is it that you leave something expensive in a taxi and expect to get it back? Normally the item is found by another passenger, or the taxi driver himself, and then disappears for good. Not this time.
This week Ford unveiled its unique approach to measuring the interior space of its new Escape vehicle. The company didn't do away with the more conventional methods, as the ping pong measurement accompanied high-tech laser-scanned CAD renderings as well.
So, why ping pong balls? As vehicle interiors have become more modern, there are a lot more curves and swooping areas in a vehicle. Umbrella holders tucked away in the door, for example, make it more difficult to use the traditional tape measure. So the Vehicle Architecture team headed by Eric Jackson came up with the unorthodox approach.
In case you missed it, earlier this week we detailed how the Chevy Volt malfunctioned and nearly caused a high-speed collission while we were driving it. We've had plenty of readers writing in to ask for an update on the Chevy Volt fisaco that we've found ourselves embroiled in. We definitely planned on hitting you guys with an update on how Chevrolet and General Motors address the situation that we're facing once all was said and done, but since it's taking a bit longer than we'd hoped, and since there have been a couple of new developments, we figured we'd do an interim report.
Before we get into some of the good, we've gotta say right up front that dealing with Chevy/GM as a corporate entity has been frustrating. It seems that it's goal is to tell us that there is nothing they can do, with the hope that this will just go away, rather than doing whatever it can to ease the concerns of a customer who's done nothing but praise it's flagship product all the way up until it put us in harms way. More on that later.
Update 1: We're trying to deal with Chevy to get resolution that both us and the dealer believes to be the best option. GM would rather us forget about everything, it seems.
We've been keeping tabs on the Chevy Volt ever since the electric vehicle was unveiled in September 2008. We covered the 230 MPG announcement, and were on-hand for the introduction of the OnStar Mobile Integration announcement which showed how you would be able to send commands from your smartphone directly to your Volt (and other OnStar-equipped vehicles) remotely. While there were other pure EVs out there, the maximum range would leave some stranded without any other option but getting towed while the Volt had a gas tank that could run a generator to continue creating electric power even when the pure electric battery ran out. The Volt, in our minds, was the car of the near-future. Until EV range is bumped high enough to never cause charge anxiety, Chevy's flagship EV provided the best trade-off. So we leased one. That's where things started to go very wrong.