Detroit Electric Reveals First Production Image of SP:01

Detroit Electric - Final design of SP01 production vehicle showing new fastback design

Remember Detroit Electric? The startup company, which is resurrecting a brand last seen in 1939, announced plans more than a year ago to build a new electric car by August 2013. The first car — the all-electric SP:01, based on the now-defunct Lotus Exige — debuted in prototype form at the Shanghai auto show in April 2013. Four months later, Detroit Electric pushed back the plans, which involved building the car in the Detroit suburb of Plymouth, Mich., citing ongoing business negotiations.

Related: Detroit Electric SP:01: First Look

The saga continued yesterday, when Detroit Electric released more details and production images of the SP:01's exterior. The automaker plans to sell the car on three continents "starting in 2015." But it won't come from Michigan. Rather, the SP:01 will come from Leamington Spa, England, a city some 85 miles northwest of London. Detroit Electric plans to sell it in North America, Asia and Europe. It calls the SP:01 the "world's fastest production electric sports car," with zero-to-60 mph acceleration of 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph. (The designation appears to discount the forthcoming Tesla Model S P85D, which is quicker with reportedly the same top speed.)

By Kelsey Mays | October 30, 2014 | Comments (0)

Tesla Unveils All-Wheel-Drive Model S, New Driverless Tech

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Thursday evening, California electric-carmaker Tesla made good on CEO Elon Musk's eyebrow-raising tweet a day earlier that it's "about time to unveil the D and something else." Well, the D is here, and it's an all-wheel-drive, dual-motor (hence the "D") Model S. USA Today reports that the Model S variant, available in Model S 60D, Model S 85D and Model S P85D, will include all-wheel-drive with two motors, one for each axle.

Related: Tesla Selects Nevada for Site of New Battery "Gigafactory"

When the all-wheel-drive Model S arrives in February 2015, it should increase Tesla's appeal on the East Coast and in the Snow Belt states, where the car's top-shelf rivals — cars like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, Audi A8/S8 and Lexus LS — all offer all-wheel drive. The Model S P85D, meanwhile, will offer unrivaled performance: Tesla says it hits 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds.

That's a mammoth increase over the already-quick Model S Performance (4.2 seconds), given how blistering these times already are. It torches the S63 AMG and Audi S8 (both 3.9 seconds), plus the BMW Alpina B7 (4.3 seconds). And it does this with two electric motors that make 691 horsepower — 221 hp at the front and 470 hp at the rear.

By Kelsey Mays | October 10, 2014 | Comments (10)

Mazda Leads, Fiat Chrysler Trails in Latest EPA Fuel Economy Report

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Mazda's 28.1 mpg led all major automakers in average fuel economy for the 2013 model year, according to a new EPA report on industrywide fuel economy. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' 20.9 mpg, meanwhile, trailed the 11 automakers surveyed. The 148-page report notes that all major automakers except sixth-place Toyota and ninth-place Ford saw their averages increase between 2012 and 2013, and the industry's overall 24.1 mpg is the highest average since the EPA began tracking the data in 1975.

Related: Gas Prices Are Up, But So Is Average MPG

Preliminary 2014 model-year data shows Mazda still in the lead, with 28.8 mpg. That beats Honda (27.6 mpg), Subaru (27.5 mpg), Nissan (26.8 mpg), Volkswagen (26.7 mpg), Toyota (25.8 mpg), BMW (26.0 mpg), Daimler (22.8 mpg), Ford (23.4 mpg), GM (22.0 mpg) and FCA (21.1). The overall 24.1 mpg incorporates corrected mileage from Hyundai-Kia, but the EPA didn't include the Korean automaker in its rankings because Hyundai-Kia is under a continuing investigation for the mileage corrections it issued in late 2012.

By Kelsey Mays | October 9, 2014 | Comments (3)

Recall Alert: 2010-2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV

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Vehicles Affected: More than 1,800 model-year 2010-14 Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric vehicles manufactured Sept. 15, 2009, through March 25, 2014

The Problem: Either because of software programming or corrosion caused by road salt, the brake vacuum pump might stop working, increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Depending on the vehicle, dealers will either reprogram the pump controller, replace the brake vacuum pump or do both for no charge.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Mitsubishi at 888-648-7820, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or go to www.safercar.gov for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

More Recalls

By Jennifer Newman | October 1, 2014 | Comments (0)

2016 Volvo XC90: First Look

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Competes with: Acura MDX, BMW X5, Infiniti QX60

Looks like: Sleeker elements meet the same upright profile

Drivetrain: 320-hp, supercharged and turbocharged four-cylinder or 400-hp (est.), supercharged and turbocharged four-cylinder with plug-in electric motor; available all-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: Early 2015

After a protracted rollout that included a reveal of the interior and details on powertrains, Volvo finally unveiled the next-generation XC90's exterior. It's all here, now, and much of it reads like a concept car. But so did the original XC90, which debuted gyroscopic rollover detection and was among the first SUVs with three-row side curtain airbags.

Related: Porsche, Hyundai Top New J.D. Power Study, Volvo and Mitsubishi Sink

That was more than 12 years ago.

This new XC90 gets some all-new tech in the safety arena like you'd expect from a Volvo but it may be the powertrain and interior opulence that woos luxury shoppers.

By Kelsey Mays | August 26, 2014 | Comments (10)

Redesigned 2016 Chevrolet Volt to Debut at 2015 Detroit Auto Show

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Plug-in fans, mark your calendars: The next-generation Chevrolet Volt will debut on Jan. 12 or 13, 2015. Those are the press days of the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and GM said today it will unveil the 2016 Chevrolet Volt at the show. The automaker calls the 2016 Volt "the next generation" of the car, a term usually reserved for full redesigns and not just refreshes. GM also released a teaser image of the Volt's trunk, which retains the current car's lightning-bolt logo but appears to have an integrated trunk-lid rise that's similar to the Chevrolet Impala sedan.

Related: Cars.com Chevrolet Volt Hits 10,000 Miles: The Good and Bad

Does that mean the Volt will ditch its hatchback for a conventional sedan layout? It's doubtful; the Volt's profile — along with the Toyota Prius, Honda Insight and other jellybean shapes — is what happens when you put aerodynamics first. Still, we'd like to see GM improve visibility and braking on the next Volt. GM says current Volt owners are driving 63 percent of their miles in EV mode, but shoppers will expect improvements in EV range and charging times.

Will GM deliver? We'll have to wait until January to find out.

Manufacturer image

By Kelsey Mays | August 7, 2014 | Comments (4)

Reduced MPG in Six Ford Models Matches Cars.com's Results

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If Cars.com editors' observed mileage is any indication, more drivers should see real-world fuel economy figures that match the new EPA numbers on six Ford models.

Ford Lowers Fuel Economy Ratings on Six Cars, Will Reimburse Owners

Ford announced June 12 that it would reduce EPA mileage on six vehicles – the 2013-2014 C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid, the 2013-2014 Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, the 2013-2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid and the 2014 Fiesta – because of an error in EPA mileage tests. The revisions, which downgrade EPA combined mileage as much as 7 mpg on the hybrids, will appear on new-car window stickers this week.

We've tracked mileage in four of those six cars, and our results fall a lot closer to the revised numbers than what they used to be. We haven't spent enough time behind the wheel of the Fusion Energi or MKZ Hybrid to report on mileage yet, but here are the rest:

By Kelsey Mays | June 16, 2014 | Comments (8)

Will an Electric Vehicle Work for Your Family?

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Electric vehicles have been a little too pricey to show up in most neighborhood driveways, but with the 2015 Kia Soul EV arriving at dealerships this summer, EVs and plug-in hybrids like the new-for-2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid are becoming increasingly more affordable and appealing to families.

More Plug-in and EV News

Of course the benefits from an environmental standpoint are motivating, as is information on fuel efficiency and range, but what does a family need to know when considering buying or leasing an EV or plug-in hybrid? This primer addresses a few things you may be wondering about.

By Carrie Kim | April 21, 2014 | Comments (0)

Cadillac Throws in Free EV Charger with 2014 ELR

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Cadillac announced Monday it will offer a free 240-volt charger — otherwise called Level 2 charging — on the new 2014 ELR, a pricey two-door coupe based on the Chevrolet Volt from parent automaker GM. The company says that depending on outside temperature, the ELR can get a full Level 2 charge in just 4.5 hours. That should enable 35 miles of all-electric range before a gasoline engine generator kicks in for another 300 or so miles.

2014 Cadillac ELR: First Drive

The ELR starts at $75,995 including the destination charge but before any tax credits. That's more than double the Volt's price of entry ($34,995, same conditions), on which the Level 2 charger is optional. (A household-outlet charger, called Level 1, comes standard.) How much does GM's charging freebie close the gap? It's hard to say. GM's supplier, Bosch, offers wired 240-volt (Level 2) charging stations from $490 to $1,195 plus installation — which can add hundreds or even thousands more, depending on complexity — but the federal Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit refunds a chunk of that in tax credits. The AFITC for electric vehicle stations expired on Dec. 31, 2013, but additional incentives exist in certain states.

By Kelsey Mays | January 28, 2014 | Comments (1)

Report: Plug-in Sales Increased 84% in 2013

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In January 2013, Nissan cut the starting price of its Leaf EV by $6,400. Shoppers responded and Leaf sales more than doubled by year's end. For the segment, 2013 sales for plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles increased 84 percent, according to Ward's Automotive data reported by the Detroit News.

Shoppers bought more than 96,000 plug-in cars in 2013 — 47,600 EVs and nearly 49,000 plug-in hybrids, the Detroit News reports. Meanwhile, traditional non-plug-in hybrid sales increased by 15.3 percent, reaching nearly 490,000 new-car sales in 2013.

Automakers cut prices on "nearly all" plug-in hybrids and EVs to jump-start low demand, the newspaper said. Still, it didn't work for all players. In August, GM slashed $5,000 off the starting price of its Chevrolet Volt, but sales ended the year down 1.6 percent, which iswell below former GM CEO Dan Akerson's 2011 annual production goal of 60,000 Volts.

By Kelsey Mays | January 6, 2014 | Comments (0)

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