No one said real estate was inexpensive in San Francisco and the Bay area, ever. But news slipped from a major San Francisco and Silicon Valley commercial landlord that Apple, Google, and several car manufacturers are in the market, big time, according to the Wall Street Journal. Why all the interest? The most likely answer is land for autonomous car development.During an investor call, Victor Coleman, CEO of Hudson Pacific Properties Inc., said, “We’re seeing the Toyotas of the world, the Teslas of the world, BMWs, Mercedes. Ford now is out in the marketplace looking for space. I haven’t even mentioned the 400,000 square feet that Google’s looking to take down and the 800,000 square feet that Apple’s looking to take down for their autonomous cars as well.”Perhaps he hadn’t mentioned it before, but he did then. So if Google is looking for about 10 acres and Apple’s seeking 20 acres, give or take, are they building test tracks or … [Read more...] about Why are the major tech and car companies looking for land around San Francisco?
Just like in the world of cars, electric propulsion is coming to motorcycles, except bike makers are skipping the “hybrid” stage and going straight to all-electric operation.While major players like Honda, Yamaha and BMW have yet to jump into the game with production models, smaller outfits like Zero, Brammo, Mission Motors and MotoCzysz have all debuted polished, powerful and tech-laden models either for public consumption, as racing machines or as highly advanced prototypes. We’ve ridden the “R” version of the Brammo Empulse and came away impressed.Now it’s Mission Motors’ turn, and it’s taking a similar tack to Brammo’s two-tier approach with two new models, the R (above) and RS (down yonder), except you’d better get in line now for the top-of-the-line RS as only 40 will be built. Mission is located in San Francisco.In an interview with Digital Trends, President Mark Seeger, who has been mucking … [Read more...] about Mission’s hot new 160hp electric motorcycles: one gear plus reverse, 150mph – and no shifting
Considering how long BMW has made customers wait for the i3 electric city car, it’s not surprising that a few people are eager for a test drive. However, it’s hard to imagine that list having 100,000 names.That’s what BMW says, though. The company’s sales head, Ian Roberston, told Automotive News (subscription required) that 100,000 people around the world want to get behind the wheel of an i3, and that BMW has already taken a “significant number” of deposits for the electric hatchback.BMW says the i3 will be a game changer because unlike many other EVs, it’s not based on a production car. In fact, it will have little in common with any production car, electric or otherwise.The chassis is an innovative mix of aluminum and carbon fiber that BMW calls “LifeDrive.” The aluminum “Drive Module” holds the motor, batteries, and suspension, while the carbon fiber “Life Module” forms a crash-resistant cockpit.The i3 … [Read more...] about BMW: 100,000 people want to test drive the i3 electric city car
The first phase of the West Coast Electric Highway, which provides charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs), is open. The first phase covers a stretch of I-5 in southern Oregon, but the plan is to build charging stations all along the Pacific coast.“As the first state in the nation to establish an EV charging infrastructure along a major interstate, Oregon is leading the EV pathway and supporting adoption of the next phase in the evolution of transportation,” said Pat Egan, chair of the Oregon Transportation Commission and vice president of customer and community affairs for Pacific Power in a statement.The charging stations will be provided by AeroVironment, a California-based company. The stations can provide a full charge in less than 30 minutes, which is longer than it takes to pump gas, but still much shorter than the hours it takes to charge an EV from a wall socket. Charging will be free for a limited time; AeroVironment did not say what the eventual price of a … [Read more...] about West Coast Electric Highway will make EV drivers less anxious
Nissan is in the early stages of developing a brand new GT-R, and company sources are already hinting the next Godzilla will turn the dial up to eleven both visually and mechanically.Called R36 internally, the next GT-R will reportedly be powered by a gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain that will generate about 784 horsepower and 737 pound-feet of torque. That’s considerably more torque than the current car’s six-speed dual-clutch transmission can handle so the R36 model will get a brand new eight-speed unit.The current R35 GT-R’s twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V6 engine will be carried over to the new model with only minor modifications, as will the four-wheel drive setup. Electricity will be stored in a high-capacity battery pack developed jointly by Nissan and Williams F1.To gather data on high-performance hybrid drivetrains, Nissan will participate in next year’s edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a racer powered by a track-tuned version of the R36 … [Read more...] about Gas-electric Godzilla: Next Nissan GT-R to go hybrid?
Mercedes-Benz Smart Car division has an especially small booth at the New York International Auto Show this year, but its cars have some big ideas. Above are some pictures of the new 2011 Electric Drive Passion Coupe from the show floor. The new cars are near identical replicas of the standard 100 percent gas-powered Passion Coupes (the all green cars at the end of the gallery), but appearances can be deceiving. The Electric Drive is a 100 percent electric vehicle that is following all of the new standards being set for electric cars and charging. It gets the equivalent of about 87 miles per gallon (94 city, 79 highway), has a range of 63 miles on a charge, and a charge time of about 12 hours. We haven’t driven the car, but Wired wasn’t too impressed with it. The magazine called the 20 horsepower car “ridiculously, maddeningly, needlessly slow.”Like other Smart Cars, this guy is built for short distance city driving. Most full-size electric cars seem to be … [Read more...] about NY Auto Show pics: Smart Car Electric Drive Passion Coupe
Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has been a vocal skeptic about electric vehicles over the past few years. Notably, he famously urged customers not to buy a Fiat 500e because the carmaker loses about $10,000 every time it sells one. It sounds like the executive is on the verge of changing his mind, however.Marchionne sees room in the Fiat-Chrysler lineup for a high-performance EV capable of keeping up with the Tesla Model S. Developing a battery-electric vehicle from scratch is costly, and easier said than done, so the yet-unnamed model will likely be based on the upcoming production version of the Maserati Alfieri concept that debuted in 2014. Like the Alfieri, the EV will take the form of a sleek-looking high-end coupe.At the other end of the automotive spectrum, Fiat is toying around with the idea of introducing an electric city car in Europe. The model would be groundbreaking because it would be the first series-produced battery-powered Fiat sold on the other side of … [Read more...] about Is Fiat-Chrysler CEO ready to embrace electric cars after all?
Bentley is one of the auto industry’s most tradition-focused brands, but it’s been breaking with tradition a lot lately. The British luxury automaker recently launched its first SUV, the Bentayga, and even sells a diesel version of it in Europe. Sacrilege.Now, Bentley is expanding in a different direction, one that might be more appealing to both car enthusiasts and environmentalists. Debuting at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e concept is not a hulking SUV. It’s a convertible sports car, with an electric powertrain to boot.The EXP 12 Speed 6e borrows heavily from the well-received EXP 10 Speed 6 coupe concept, which debuted at the Geneva show in 2015. Both cars share a similar front fascia, sculpted sides, and oval taillights. The styling used for both cars could be considered an evolved version of the look of the current Continental GT, but adapted for a much smaller car. The EXP concepts hint at what a true Bentley sports car could look … [Read more...] about Bentley’s EXP 12 Speed 6e concept may please car enthusiasts, environmentalists
Toyota is shifting position on all-electric cars. Toyota Motor Corporation has formed a small, in-house group to fast-track electric car development, as reported by Reuters.The new unit, which launches in December, will be responsible for electric car development and marketing strategy and will draw on other corporate resources. Starting with four people, the team will pull in engineers, designers, and any other needed personnel.Toyota spokesperson Itsuki Kurosu said, “Regulations on lower emissions vehicles are changing very quickly, so we also have to respond quickly. With its small size, the new venture will be able to be more nimble in its planning and decision making, to speed up the process to develop electric cars.”The initial four team members will come from Toyota itself and three other Toyota group entities, including machine manufacturer Toyota Industries Corporation and parts suppliers Aisin Seiki Company and Denso … [Read more...] about Strategy shift: Toyota commits to all-electric vehicles, forms special team
I watched in horror last week as Tesla's CEO Elon Musk attempted to turn a New York Times reporter into the next Ralph Nader and kill his company. It brought back memories of the ChevroletCorvair that died as a result of GM's decision to fight what turned out to be false allegations instead ofjust making the car better.Sadly, even though they made the improvements, folks walked away from thecar because they believed it to be unsafe. Technology transitions are painful, and moving from horses tocars in the first place wasn't easy either -- not helped by the fact that there were three core technologiescompeting for that next version of personal transportation a century ago: gas, electric, and steam.I'mnot expecting steam to come back anytime soon, but in a head-to-head battle, gas did win a century ago,and it is still the most efficient of the fuel sources -- just not the healthiest or the most politically correct.I'm actually a fan of electrics, but I have little doubt they will fail … [Read more...] about OPINION Killing Tesla Slowly: Horse vs. Gas vs. Electric and 1 Foolish CEO