Talk about a drag of a way to kick off the New Year, Tesla, the electric car maker that makes cars that people actually want, is kicking up the prices on all of the all-electric Model S sedans by $2,500 on January 1.

Worst of all, this price jump even impacts Model S cars that have yet to be released. If you want to avoid paying an additional $2,500, you’ve got to get your order in by December 31, 2012. Although the electric vehicle making company gave no explanation for its Scrooge approach to the New Year, the truth is that now is the time for Tesla to raise its prices for its cars are popular with both drivers and critics. In fact, the Tesla Model S was recently named the 2013 Automobile of the year by Automobile Magazine.

Nissan has announced that it will offer a limited warranty against battery capacity loss in its electric Leaf models. The New Electric Vehicle Limited Warranty will be implemented next Spring.
Nissan executive vice president, Andy Palmer, confirmed on the online forum that the limited warranty is on its way. The warranty will cover capacity loss in the first five years or 60,000 miles for customers in America. Batteries covered by the warranty will be replaced if their capacity drops below 70 percent.

Nissan will be the first carmaker to offer such coverage on electric-vehicle battery capacity loss.

Tesla is opening a web of quick charging stations capable of giving electric vehicles a charge that will last 150 miles in just about half an hour. The electric carmaker announced that the so-called Superchargers will make owning a specific electric car much easier. So far, the solar-powered Superchargers are only in southern California.

However, the launching of these Superchargers is not all cotton candy and teddy bears. No, they, the charging stations, not the spun candy and stuffed bears, are capable of charging only the Tesla Model S and the Tesla Model X. When it comes to getting one for the road, the Tesla Roadster, Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Nissan Leaf are plumb out of luck.

Ready for the Fisker Atlantic? Fisker Isn’t!

Fisker Automotive has announced that the launch date for the $55,000 Atlantic is being delayed.

This postponement is the latest in series of setbacks the electric carmaker has experienced with its new mid-size plug-in hybrid sedan that has, on paper at least, been engineered to compete with the BMW 3 series and other similar vehicles. The launch of the vehicle will either be in late 2014 or sometime 2015.

The reason for this current delay has not been released and industry observers can only guess at its cause since, according to Fisker, the car has already been 90% engineered. One thought is that the delay has little to do with the car, but rather due to the federal government’s decision to stop funding pie-in-sky start ups while voters are paying attention.

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Fisker Karma has asked for the bankruptcy auction of the automotive battery maker A123 Systems to be delayed. The request for the dates of the bid deadline, auction and other related events to be pushed back by at least 30 days comes just about two weeks after A123 Systems declared bankruptcy.     

A Fisker attorney, Gregg Galardi, said in filed court papers, “A hurried sale process will be damaging to the estates and deprive creditors of value that may be realized through higher and better offers.”

The collapse of another green company that had been a recipient of taxpayer moneys is not merely politically troubling, but also an ill omen for both the Fisker Karma and the Chevrolet Volt, two vehicles powered by A123 Systems batteries.

Battery maker A123 Systems, unable to overcome its terrible name, has filed for bankruptcy despite having been granted $249 million in tax payer money by the Obama administration. A123 Systems said that the bankruptcy was unavoidable after it had lost $857 million over the last few years.

In addition to the federal dough, the Massachusetts-based company was also awarded $125 million in grants and tax credits from Michigan for building factories in the state. At the time that it was awarded the federal grant, Chief Executive David Vieux said that the company had plans to create 2,000 new jobs by 2012.

Obama called Vieux after an A123 plant had opened in the Wolverine State to say, “This is about the birth of an entire new industry in America — an industry that’s going to be central to the next generation of cars. When folks lift up their hoods on the cars of the future, I want them to see engines and batteries that are stamped: Made in America.”
Now, the dream is for the average American to earn enough to own a car with a hood.

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AMP Electric Vehicles has announced that it has stopped converting gas-firing cars to electric, and will instead turn medium-sized commercial vehicles to purely-electric operation.

Talking about this decision, Stephen Burns, AMP’s CEO said, “People told us how surprised they were that our Mercedes SUV performed every bit as good as the original vehicle – except quieter, quicker and surprisingly refined. However, it became apparent that the short-term market for passenger car EVs did not grow as quickly as forecasters had predicted,”
Industry observers feel that despite having been converting gas cars to electric for many years, AMP simply could not compete with the electric cars being produced by the large car makers.

Burns continued, “We believe that we are in the right place in this industry [converting trucks] at the right time. We have already had preliminary talks with various end-user Fortune 500 companies whose brand names you would recognize. For the first time in our history, we are to the point that we are positioned to begin revenues.”

Fisker Karma: Hollywood Star

Word out of Hollywood is that the “little electric car that couldn’t” is getting a cameo role in the new Harrison Ford action flick, “Paranoia.”

Ford, who happens to remember that rainy evening when Franklin discovered electricity, will play a character who receives a gift Fisker range-extended luxury sedan from a youthful, hard-charging employee played by Liam Hemsworth who is either also Thor or the blonde kid in “Hunger Games.” Australians tend to look alike to this writer.

Unknown yet is whether the Fisker is playing it straight as car that is constantly out of order or going for laughs by acting as if it were a viable transportation choice. Fisker is no stranger to interchangeable boy stars already being owned by Ashton Kutcher, Leonardo di Caprio, and Justin Bieber.

Green Tires: Tighter Gripping, Increasing Popularity

Unknown to many, green tires are growing in popularity day by day. Made to offer low rolling resistance, green tires improve a vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Most hybrid and plug-in vehicles are already fitted with them, while an increasing number of regular cars roll on green tires as well.

With gas prices at or near record highs in the U.S., it makes sense that people would be interested a simple way to increase their gas efficiency by five to seven percent. Wards Auto, predicts that in Europe, where gas prices are twice that of those in America, between 70 and 80 percent of all cars will be rolling it green style by 2022.

Obviously, the biggest knock against these tires is that low-resistance also means low grip, which can lead to disaster in wet or colder weather. However, new rubber compounds are being developed that offer both low resistance and solid gripping abilities in poor weather.

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Purely Electric: Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive

Mercedes-Benz has produced an electric vehicle that could very well be the electric-vehicle game changer if it weren’t so darn costly.

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive car offers performance that makes most gas-firing cars wet their little-boy britches. The all-wheel-drive vehicle produces 740 horsepower and its outer shell looks as if it might transform into a Terminator-chasing liquid-metal cop at any moment. Its 60 kWk of battery storage translates into a single-charge range of around 155 miles. Put that in your Chevy Volt and explode it!

Presently, the SLS AMG Electric Drive is only going to be sold in Europe for around $536,804. It will be Mercedes-Benz’s most expensive vehicle since the Maybach was sent to the glue factory.

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