In 2011 a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated the northeastern coast of Japan, killing more than 20,000, destroying the power grid and bringing the Japanese auto industry to its knees. Toyota’s rebuilt production plant in the hard-hit Miyagi prefecture now has a gas-fired power plant on site, with enough juice to power the nearby town in case of another disaster.
Browsing the "2011" Tag
When historians look back on this moment in history, will they see a turning point? It is possible, as new studies seem to confirm what many people have already assumed; the developing world has hit peak car saturation. Since the massive economic meltdown of 2007-08, car sales have shrunk, and continue to shrink, not just in the U.S. but also in Europe. But don’t celebrate yet.
A year ago, it seemed like every major outlet was eagerly awaiting the final sales tally for two of the most-watched new cars in the industry, the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt. This year, the sales numbers are barely a blip on the radar. But something very important happened in 2012, as consumers overwhelmingly chose the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt to the pure electric Nissan Leaf.
Do you hear that? It’s the sound of silence coming from right-wing pundits and politicians who became very vocal critics of the Chevrolet Volt in the past year. What has them shutting their collective yappers? Sales of the Chevy Volt have consistently risen every month this year, with over 1,800 sold last month, and over 10,000 sold so far in 2012. It seems that despite the vitriol directed its way, customers are finding their way to the Volt.
The Nissan Leaf is a different story however, with sales falling off of a cliff. What exactly is happening here?
Americans have recently embraced a new wave of economical-yet-refined small cars, abandoning decades of obsession with supersized land yachts. Yet even our compact cars are huge compared to the kei cars of Japan, where government regulations have given rise to a new class of small cars that are light, small, and a whole lot of fun. Japanese automaker Honda is hoping to tug on some nostalgic heart strings with a new line of kei cars based on the popular classic design of the old Honda N-series, which was revealed in recent patent filings.
I’m not sure how long ago it was when I first heard that Toyota was looking to move Prius production to the United States. Besides being their biggest market, Toyota was probably hoping to stifle some criticism regarding the green credentials of a car that is produced from parts shipped all over the world (sometimes […]
First hitting the streets in the last month of 2010, the Chevy Volt has had a long, hard slog as a new car on the market. Having been lambasted and unfairly linked to Obama by GM-hating conservatives, the Volt has also suffered from questions about battery safety and as well as a high price that makes […]
First announced in July of 2010, the Brammo Empulse promises to be the fastest, longest-range production electric bike when it hits markets later this year. The official reveal for the production model is set for May 8th, but Brammo has released this teaser video a month early to drum up some excitement for this revolutionary […]
Car advocates take note; traffic congestion cost Americans untold hours and over $100 billion in wasted fuel in the past year. That’s 1.9 billion gallons of fuel gone, wasted, used for nothing more than idling and getting a big fat 0 for mpg. That is money out of our pockets, ladies and gentlemen. The new […]
To hear some people tell it, the five-week Chevy Volt production hiatus that GM announced last week is the death blow to GM’s plug-in hybrid. After missing 2011 production goals by about 24% and selling less than 1,700 Volts in the first two months of 2012, the Chevy Volt really seems to be struggling over […]
The meteoric rise of China was the world’s newest (and soon to be biggest) economy has not been without its growing pains. But in many areas, infrastructure and green energy chief among them, China has surged ahead of America in just about every regard. This includes electric vehicles, which are heavily subsidized with government grants […]
On Wednesday, President Barack Obama laid out his vision for America’s future energy destiny, citing shale gas formations as one of many potential fuels to reduce our oil dependency. Indeed, many pundits and economists talk about the natural gas economy. The only problem? The lack of CNG-powered cars in America. Honda was first out the […]
2011 was a bad year for gas prices, but a good year for Big Oil. 2012 is shaping up to be even worse, with a perfect storm of ending energy subsidies, uncertainty in the world’s busiest oil-shipping corridor, and growing demand from developing nations. Could this be the first year of $5 a gallon gasoline? […]
With the end of 2011 comes the final sales tally for both the Nissan LEAF EV and the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid, and I am sad to report that both cars failed to meet their goals of selling 10,000 units. On the other hand, both cars came pretty close to those goals. So who won […]
The political climate in Washington D.C. right now is contentious these days, to say the least. Chief among these debates is that about the budget deficit and wasteful spending. So it should come as no surprise that, just as electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids start gaining market share, the Fed’s have decided to let three […]
I spoke with Richard Hatfield about his plans for 2012. In this video, he discusses the new motor they’re using, which is lighter and more powerful than the EV1 motor which propelled them to the top of the North American TTXGP 2010 Championship.
Alternative fuels have a lot of negative press to overcome, first and foremost in my mind is the idea that only gas-powered cars are fast. Well my friends, tell that to Susan Roush-Mclenaghan who, along with teammate Donnie Bowles, took their propane-powered Ford Mustang to a second-consecutive drag racing championship a few weeks ago. Driven […]
We’ve covered BMW’s new maxi-scooters since they were drawings, on through the prototype stage, and now – finally! – they’re in production, coming to a BMW dealer near you early next year. It’s no wonder we’re excited about the new BMW maxis. They’re fast, they’re refined, and – offering 50+ mpg fuel economy and more […]
This week was EICMA, the motorcycle equivalent of the Tokyo, Geneva, and Detroit Auto Shows all rolled into one – and this little beauty was the star of the show. Officially, it’s called the Vespa 46, but they could have glued chrome badges reading “La Bella Macchina” to the side of the little blue 2-wheeler […]
The Chevy Volt is a lightning rod for criticism, especially from the right-wing of American politics. The $40,000 plug-in hybrid has been lambasted as being too expensive, an “Obama-mobile” and most recently, as a sales failure. Unfortunately for these critics, Volt production and sales are picking up steam, to the point where GM is now allowing dealers to sell the over 2,000 demo cars sent to them this summer.