On today’s Transport Evolved: BMW and Volkswagen aim to bring CCS to the coasts, climate change is being denied, and how auto dealers are being told not to slam Tesla.
These stories and more coming up on today’s Transport Evolved, with Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield and John Voelcker.
A Stanford graduate, John Voelcker has spend many years writing about and enjoying everything automotive. Currently a Senior Editor at HighGearMedia –– the company behind GreenCarReports, Motor Authority and The Car Connection – John can also be found contributing on Fox News, Tech Review, IEEE Spectrum, HybridCars.com and Portfolio.com. He’s also an avid classic car fan, having authored and contributed to several books on classic british cars, and can often be found working on his own classic car collection and drooling over the Bring-a-Trailer listings.
We chat to John about the start to 2015 and the extremely busy past few weeks he’s had, including a whistle-stop, 50,000 foot review of the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit and the Washington Auto Show the following week in Washington, DC.
Also in Part One:
Looking back to the 2015 NAIAS one more time with a little more detail, we ask John for his opinions on the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Volt, which was revealed nearly two weeks ago in Detroit. Having attended the event and the reveal, we ask John if the Volt will have what it takes to encourage mainstream buyer to opt for a range-extended EV at last, or if the Volt is still ultimately too compromised for most buyers.
We also examine the possibility that the Volt’s new drivetrain could end up in other non-plug-in cars, and ponder what that means for GM’s future, evolving car lineup.
In Detroit, we heard that Hyundai would be bringing an all-electric car to market some time soon at the same time as it unveiled its Sonata Plug-in Hybrid. We look into the context of the announcement and ask what Hyundai’s future car lineup will look like.
Finally, we ask John to give us his first impressions of the Chevrolet Bolt, ask him who the Bolt concept really is aimed at and his opinions on where a future 200-mile production model would really sit in the automotive marketplace.
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On Thursday last week, Chevrolet announced that its 2015 Chevy Spark EV would finally become available on the U.S. east coast, with initial sales starting in the state of Maryland. We remind you what the Spark EV is like to drive, and who should consider buying one.
While there are currently no CCS quick charging stations in MD, an announcement made on Friday by Volkswagen, BMW and ChargePoint means that we’ll soon have a network of CCS-compatible charging stations running up both the east and west U.S. coasts. We tie this in with the news that Volkswagen has confirmed all new plug-in cars sold will have CCS quick charging as standard — even plug-in hybrids — and examine what this means for anyone considering a plug-in car.
Finally for the segment, we talk about the vote passed by the U.S. Senate last week against affirming climate change theory. With an oil-obsessed House, is there any hope for advancing both climate science and green fuel technologies in the next few years?
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This week, the National Automotive Dealer Association has been meeting in San Francisco, just down the road from Tesla’s HQ in Fremont. Despite ongoing legal battles across the U.S., there has been a strong underlying theme at the event suggesting that dealers tone down their anti-Tesla rhetoric. With customers liking Tesla’s approach to sales, some of the biggest names in the auto dealer business are urging caution before going after the Californian automaker’s sales methods, but that hasn’t stopped Missouri auto dealers from filing court papers against the state for allowing Tesla’s direct-to-customer sales model.
With a new head of the NADA, we wonder if things will change for Tesla moving forward, or if we’re going to see another year of anti-tesla legislation? And with automakers like Volvo, BMW and Lexus expressing interest in Tesla’s sales methods, are the flood gates about to open on automaker-owned stores forever?
Earlier this month, oil fell below $50 a barrel for the first time in five and a half years, and automakers like General Motors are starting to feel the pinch as smaller, more fuel-efficient cars and hybrids are becoming less popular with car buyers.
But despite this, plug-in sales remain buoyant (as we discussed a few episodes back). We try to predict what will happen moving forward, and ask if fuel efficient cars and plug-in vehicles are still a finically good buy, especially with shale companies going bust, major oil companies restructuring, and some analysts predicting another global recession if oil falls below $30 a barrel?
This week, a filling station in California became the first filling station in the U.S. to receive certification allowing it to sell hydrogen fuel by the kilogram. But with gasoline so cheap and electricity even cheaper, we wonder just what the ideal price for H2 will be?
Finally, if you’re not a sport fan and you’re doing everything you can to avoid the SuperBowl, we’ve got a viewing suggestion for you tonight in the form of the latest episode of The Simpsons, starring Elon Musk as himself. Ahead of the official screening, we try and figure out just what jokes to expect, and who will come out top out of Mr. Burns and Mr. Musk.
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