As a brand, the Chevy Volt is well-known in the electric vehicle market. That said, mind-share doesn't equal sales, and GM is set to step up its efforts to make the Volt the car that EV buyers end up choosing when it's time to buy. To fix this, GM is planning on bringing down the entry-level price of the 2016 Volt, and then offering tiered upgrades, similar to the way Tesla sells the Model S.
At the low end, the 2016 Chevy Volt should cost just over $30,000, which is about $5,000 less than it currently costs now, bringing it closer in line with competing vehicles like the Honda Accord plug-in and Ford C-Max Energi. Total range of the entry-level Volt should be under 300 miles, and won't be as heavy on the upgraded feel of the car--but if those options aren't your jam anyway, then you can save yourself some money.
The next big thing from Cadillac will be the release of its ELR, and it looks like Saks Fifth Avenue of all companies gets the first crack at selling a limited edition model of the new electric vehicle. The Saks version of the Cadillac ELR is so limited that there will only be 100 of them made. For the privilege of being 1 of 100, you get the Cadillac ELR in White Diamond with your choice of Light Cashmere or Jet Black interior. You also get a premium 240V charging station and included installation service.
Wanna get your hands on one? You'll have to pick up the phone and dial 855-SAKS-CAD to place a special order. The dedicated order line is open now, and will stay open through January 10th. No word on if the limited model will see a price increase from the standard starting Cadillac ELR MSRP of $75,000. All special edition vehicles will be available for delivery in March 2014.
If you're looking for a luxury EV and want a more established name than Tesla, BMW has entered the fray with the i3. In fact, the BMW i3 is both the first EV from the company, as well as a platform to build on for the future. The i3 will be priced at $41,350 when it goes on sale in the US in Q2 2013, although, like many electric vehicles, it isn't for everyone.
While it isn't the most expensive EV on the market, it also costs well above what the typical car buyer pays for a new vehicle. Also, range anxiety will be a problem for some as well, as a fully-charged BMW i3 will only get you 80-100 miles. If that worries you, you can opt for the 650cc two-cylinder generator add-on, that makes the i3 similar to a Chevy Volt, letting you get extra range through using gasoline. At 170 horsepower coupled with 184 pound-feet of torque, you'll be able to go from zero to sixty in seven seconds.
BMW definitely knows how to make a car, and for EV enthusiasts who've grown weary of the odd space-age concepts found in some other car manufacturer lines, could be a breath of clean, fresh, environmentally-safe air.
Read More | BMW i3
Last night Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk teased that the company would show off its battery swap service this evening, and lived up to the promise with an impressive demonstration. Tesla owners will be able to pull into a battery swap facility with their charge is running low, and a staff member will swap out the low battery with a full one. The kicker here is that the swap is performed faster than it takes to fill an empty gas tank at the pump--less than 90 seconds. Owners don't need to leave their vehicles, and the service is priced to be competitive with gas station services. The first swap stations will cost about $500,000 to build, and will appear in some of the busier Tesla corridors, including I-5 in California.
Swapping will take 90secs. You'll never get out of your car. Return the pack on your journey back or keep it & we'll bill you the difference— Tesla Motors (@TeslaMotors) June 21, 2013
Check out the video after the break for the live demo, recorded from the crowd.
At the D11 conference, Tesla CEO Elon Musk just announced a major expansion to the Tesla Supercharger network. According to Musk:
"There's going to be a dramatic acceleration of the Supercharging network. By the end of next month, we'll triple the Supercharger coverage area. There's a map that'll go live tomorrow. By the end of this year, you'll be able to drive from LA to NY just using the Supercharger network. We're improving the density of Superchargers in well-traveled routes, as well as the overall coverage area."
This is huge, as there is always range anxiety for owners of vehicles that are 100% powered by electricity. Rapid expansion of Tesla's Supercharger network is essential to curbing that feeling. Tesla Model S owners using the Supercharger can go from 0% to 80% charged in 30 minutes. Of course, the Model S is a very expensive vehicle, but getting Superchargers in place for when Tesla expects to have a $30,000 range vehicle for sale (in about three years, according to Musk,) will go a long way towards buyer confidence.
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.
Read More | GM
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.
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.