Reviews/Test Drives: CR-Z, Rav4 EV, Spark EV, Zelectric Bug (videos)

Nicholas Zart (CarNewsCafe.com) Week Long Test Drive:

2013 Honda CR-Z 6-speed manual hybrid

Article here:
http://carnewscafe.com/2013/07/test-drive-hondas-sporty-cr-z-hybrid-why-we-loved-it/

 

Pamela Woon (Car Pro) reviews 2013 Toyota Rav4 EV

(Available in California only at this time)

 

Engadget on the 2014 Chevy Spark EV

Full article & pics here: http://www.engadget.com/2013/07/26/spark-ev-test-drive/

(Available in California & Oregon right now, more states on the way)

 

Driving the Zelectric Bug

(Coming soon. Check out the website: http://www.zelectricmotors.com)

 

 

Advertisements

2013 Luxo-Sport Sedans, Leaf, Rav4 EV & More

$46K Sport Sedan Shootout

The winner is no surprise, but 2nd place might be.

 

Hurricane Sandy and CNG fueled vehicles

 

2013 Nissan Leaf

First Look:

 

UK Review:

 

2013 Toyota Rav4 EV (CA only for now)

Translogic test drive w/Toyota

 

A full review:

 

One Year Driving the Nissan Leaf

For those seriously interested in this or other all-electric vehicles

(from description: “My good friend Chris Emerson has driven a Nissan Leaf for the last year, and we spent an afternoon chatting about his experiences driving an electric vehicle. Friendly warning that this is a long video, but Chris is a pretty insightful guy. If you’ve been curious about EV’s in general (and the Leaf specifically) this is a pretty in-depth look at what owning one in Los Angeles is like”)

 

I hope to blog more often in the near future, enjoy these videos for now. 🙂 -Benji

Did you know there were Electric cars on the road over 10 years ago?

Did you know that in the early 1900s there were more electric cars on the road than gas? There were three types of cars on the road at the turn of that century: steam-powered, electric-powered, and gas-combustion powered. While steam cars were the fastest, steam cars ran out of steam because it had a very long warm-up time. While electric cars were favored among women, gas combustion won because, at the time, they were able to make gas cars faster than electrics, began making gasoline available and the cars were easier to mass produce. Ford had innovated mass car production with the first conveyor-belt assembly line for the Model T. And you know the rest. …Or do you?

Innovation…

Anyone remember the Japanese car that changed auto-making history?

1982 Honda Accord Sedan

The 1982 Honda Accord looked very similar to BMWs of the day.

1982 BMW 3 Series Sedan

This was no coincidence. This car (Sedan & Hatchback) was a game-changer for the auto-industry. Although it had a similar look to the BMW, the front grille had sleeker styling w/rectangular headlights instead of the old round ones. (However, Honda changed the grille every year until the next redesign–perhaps it was too similar?). But, it was not only the sleek looks, this pre-Acura/Lexus/Infinity Japanese car had upped the ante not only on looks and the overall quality of the mainstream car, but also on interior quality/refinement and fit & finish. No, honda didn’t have a six-cylinder option yet, but, it combined the quality of an expensive european luxury car and the astuteness of a compact japanese car in such a way as to shake up the auto-industry. They raised a new standard for mainstream automobiles.  The result was, Honda became the best selling Japanese nameplate in the US, holding that position for 15 years. We would not have the cars today from the US that we do, if it was not for this one innovation that stirred up the competition, because, it outsold them.

Today, there is a new car innovation, beyond previous innovations because it does away with the one factor they are all afraid to let go of, that has stirred up the auto-making industry once again (and most of them are pissed, like a hornet’s nest that’s been stepped on). One word. Tesla.

But, before we get to Telsa, you need to know that GM had the chance to become what Tesla has. They were given the first opportunity to re-invent the car and make the first viable electric car, over ten years ago, and could not get past Big Oil’s stranglehold on the automotive industry, politics and their own old vision/profit path. GM was given a bit of a head-start on California’s 1996 laws governing that a certain percentage of automobiles be emission-free. But, Detroit, Big Oil and lobbyists fought it….

Did you know…

Did you know that from 1996-2004 there were all-electric cars made by GM, Honda, Ford, & Toyota in use in the state of California? Until a few years ago, I did not. Not many of us outside of CA did. They were not for sale, only on lease contracts, and only in the state of California. GM was given a bit of a head-start and made an all-electric car called the EV-1, and, to the people that drove them, they were a perfectly usable car, that drove as well as any car, without gas, for their daily driving. Now, you will find GM talking about the marketing hyped Chevy Volt as if the electric car lives on. Deception. The Chevy Volt is not an all-electric car, but, an electric/gas hybrid. This would be considered a plug-in hybrid or PHEV vehicle, while the former car, the EV-1 was a true EV (Electric Vehicle) or ZEV (Zero Emissions Vehicle). The Volt still has all of the things that gas-combustion cars have, because it still has a gas-combustion engine. Yes, you can drive it on the electric motor alone, for up to 40 miles max., then the gas engine kicks in. (Go to wikipedia, in the first sentence you will see what GM does not want you to see, it is a plug-in hybrid vehicle.) Hybrids (all types) are a compromise car for an ignorant american society. And they want to keep you ignorant. However, on the other side of that coin, the success of hybrids (especially the Toyota Prius) has helped pave the way for EVs.

Who Killed The Electric Car?

Without further ado, for those who haven’t seen it yet, I would like to present to you the documentary made in 2006 about this subject, called “Who Killed The Electric Car?”. If you scroll down you will find a trailer for this video, followed by the movie, presented to you for free on youtube. (It is also available on DVD and on-demand.) If you watch the DVD, be sure to check out the special features. If you think that electric cars are not green enough because you have to use electricity to charge them and that means using a coal-power plant, that is a well over-exaggerated argument those against EVs use. To charge your car has much, much less damaging effects to our environment than some would lead you to think. For one thing, not all power-plants are based on coal. There are natural gas, hydro, and (ugh) nuclear powered plants. Some power companies are starting to also source their electricity from renewable sources as well. Plus, the nay-sayers never take into account how much electricity is used to process oil into gas, which far outweighs any charging argument.

Alright, if you haven’t seen this, watch this must-see documentary, it is enlightening, not only for what happened in California not too long ago, but it will reveal to you why there is still so much debate about electric cars today.

Who Killed The Electric Car? Trailer:

Who Killed The Electric Car? Full movie:

Other ways to watch:

• iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/who-killed-the-electric-car/id277048813

• Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Who-Killed-the-Electric-Car/dp/B000MRICYW/ref=pd_cp_mov_0

• I first borrowed the DVD from my local library.

• Or purchase the DVD from various sites or your local video store.

Some recent car news highlights:

Motor Trend Picks its SUV of the Year (via carbuzz.com)

http://www.carbuzz.com/news/2012/10/21/Motor-Trend-Picks-its-SUV-of-the-Year-7711167/

 

Racer-Built Toyota Sequoia, Camry, Tundra, and Prius to Take SEMA Stand for Charity (via motortrend.com)

http://wot.motortrend.com/racer-built-toyota-sequoia-camry-tundra-prius-to-take-sema-stand-for-charity-278523.html/0/#ixzz2AkaSPIo6

 

VW Reveals Taigun Concept in Brazil (via carbuzz.com)

http://www.carbuzz.com/news/2012/10/22/VW-Reveals-Taigun-Concept-in-Brazil-7711279/

 

Subaru BRZ STI to Pack 280 HP (via carbuzz.com)

http://www.carbuzz.com/news/2012/10/22/Subaru-BRZ-STI-to-Pack-280-HP-7711283/

 

4 Awesome Alfa Romeo Tune Jobs (via carbuzz.com)

http://www.carbuzz.com/news/2012/10/23/4-Awesome-Alfa-Romeo-Tune-Jobs-7711294/

 

A Few Hybrid & Electric Car News Links

Honda Hybrid Sales Top One Million — Can It Catch Toyota? (via automobilemag.com)

Fisker Atlantic Production Delayed to Late 2014 (via automobilemag.com)

Toyota Prius Dominates California as State’s No. 1 Model (via businessweek.com)

2013 Scion iQ EV: Is This the First Crack in the Zero Emission Mandate’s Future? (via blogs.motortrend.com)

Romney Slams Tesla, Fisker Again In Final Presidential Debate (via greencarreports.com)

Today’s drive: 2012 Toyota Camry SE

Aside

I drove a brand new ’12 Toyota Camry SE today. I’m not much into sedans, however, if you are in the market for a new sedan, I would recommend checking out and test driving a Toyota Camry SE (there are no changes for ’13 models), Over the last year, I have driven all the redesigned ’12 Camry models (base, LE, SE, XLE), and the SE is really the only one I can say this about. It is available with a 4 or 6 cylinder engine (I’ve driven both). This one had the 4, and while the 6 is more peppy, they paired their 2.5l 4 with a 6-speed auto tranny which turns out to be a good combination, I had no trouble getting through intersections or passing if I needed to be quick. I’ve not tried it, but you can put the transmission in “S” mode where you can tell it when to shift, via paddle shifters in the steering wheel. I just told someone that I find most seats in toyotas uncomfortable, however, the driver’s seat in this model, 8-way power adjustable (including lumbar), was actually comfortable, made of both “leather” and cloth (new for ’12). For an MSRP (before dealer add-ons) just under $25K (includes carpeted mats ($299), 8-way power adj. driver’s seat ($440), no other options, power windows, etc. are standard w/SE), in that price range it’s a pretty ok driver’s car, pretty good road feel/responsiveness. The base audio in this car has decent sound, there’s a sub and it sounds like it’s optimized. I was able to hook up my iphone 5 via USB, it took over control of my ipod (touchscreen display), and I was able to play pandora via the iphone, and, even though it doesn’t have apps, it showed the song titles and such, as if it was an ipod. I was also able to hear car talk via my car talk app, although the display looked like iPod pause mode. (I have had difficulty with other audio units, more on that some other time). It also has volume controls and such in the steering wheel, along with controls for your phone connected via bluetooth (which I have not tried). It seems roomy and such, but I just drive the cars and don’t have time to really go through them and check the cargo area and spare and all that. So that’s about it. If you have questions, pleas add a comment, and I may be able to answer or I’ll let you know if I can’t. …I’m not advertising, I’m not a salesman, I just drive for a dealership (new toyotas and used everything), and thought I’d share my thoughts. That’s my driver’s point of view, in a nutshell.