With recent high-profile failures of government-backed alt-fuel projects including Fisker Automotive and the Vehicle Production Group, one wouldn’t be blamed for thinking the green energy loan program was a flop. But a well-written analysis of the program finds that, despite incessant criticisms, the program did better than some people would have you think.
There have been plenty of doubters, haters, and detractors from Elon Musk’s electric car dream. For a while there his baby, Tesla Motors, was a political football punted between Democrats and Republicans. But with the full repayment of the $465 million Tesla borrowed from the U.S. government, Tesla has not just defied the odds, but proven the viability of a pure electric automaker.
The search for an alternative fuel source other than oil should leave no idea untested. Still, there are some ideas with more potential than others, and some alt-fuel concepts are just plain strange. Compressed air vehicles have been around for around 150 years, but the technology has never caught on with automakers. There’s a reason for that, and it’s called torque, or the lack thereof.
For electric racing fans, there is no event more anticipated than the inaugural Formula E season, which kicks off next year. Several world-class cities have already been selected to host these contests of speed, and most of the schedule is already determined. This week though Bangkok was added as a host city, and Formula E also revealed what the Renault-designed race cars will look like.
Can the power of social media literally propel a car halfway across the country? That’s the hope of a group of high school students who converted a Karmann Ghia into an EV, with plans to drive it from Kansas City to Washington D.C., but with a twist. The car will only go when it gets mentioned on social media. So you know what we have to do.
The not-quite-bankrupt Fisker Automotive is struggling to stay afloat, and affluent buyers of the beautiful plug-in hybrid know it. While hundreds of lining up for a supercharged V8 conversion, other owners are divesting themselves of their Fiskers on the used car market, taking a huge financial hit in the process.
Compressed natural gas, or CNG, may be the fuel of the future here in America. Vast untapped resources of CNG are only now being exploited, and automakers are responding with a limited offering of CNG vehicles. Spy shots suggest that GM could be prepping a CNG-powered Chevy Impala for either fleet or public sale.