Every week the site Green Car Reports covers the entire field of green and greener transportation, including battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, conventional hybrids, high-efficiency clean diesels, and just smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles in general. Here’s a selection of their stories from last week, including how we could use old nuclear waste to run our cars, the gorgeous Audi all-electric R8 e-tron, Tesla’s all-purpose charging/service stations and the best way to get yourself banned from Green Car Reports.
First, influential magazine Consumer Reports named the Tesla Model S its best overall pick for the second consecutive year. The editors noted that buyers are more satisfied with their Teslas than they are with any other make or model on the market, regardless of whether it’s electric, gasoline, or diesel.
Tesla isn’t resting on its laurels – the company continues to innovate: Tesla has just opened its first combination showroom, service center, and solar-supplemented charging station. The company always intended to generate energy for its hundreds of Supercharger sites using solar panels; now, there’s one site where that vision has become reality.
On the energy front, there may be new hope of using old nuclear waste for power generation. More immediately, a new Senate bill proposes ending the ethanol mandate that demands increasing amounts of ethanol–most of from corn–be blended into our gasoline.
Gasoline, with or without ethanol, is now as cheap as it’s been for years. But that’s not necessarily affecting sales of plug-in cars, conventional wisdom to the contrary.
Consumers are a little more wary of an eventual increase this time, and they are keeping fuel efficiency a priority for their new-car purchases–aided by continually stiffer corporate average fuel-economy regulations between now and 2025.
Still, if you wanted one of the remaining 2014 C-Max Hybrid and Energi models, this is the time to buy: Ford is hiking incentives on both versions to clear out its last stock.
Audi revealed details of its all-electric R8 e-tron sports car. Long rumored, prototyped more than five years ago, the all-electric R8 will arrive in dealers within the next couple of years–channeling the spirit of the old Tesla Roadster in an updated and Teutonic way.
On the performance angle, if you’re eager to see electric cars at high speeds right now, there’s video of the Rimac electric supercar in action, on the track. The noise it makes is clearly not that of a car with a combustion engine–and it’s worth hearing.
The site also pondered how fast the Tesla Model S P85D might go if CEO Elon Musk allowed his engineers to remove that model’s speed limiter. Could it match or beat the 707-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat’s 202-mph speed? We already know the P85D can beat the Hellcat in a drag race.
On the geekier side, there’s a deep dive into how the powertrain in the 2016 Chevy Volt works…and what makes it different versus the current first-generation Volt.
There’s also a look at how cloud connectivity and traffic-pattern prediction could combine with a navigation system to help drivers get better gas mileage. A major automotive supplier intends to do just that, and is now showing off one such system.
Finally, Green Car Reports stepped outside its news-reporting role to address readers directly. In response to a small number of problem commenters, the site told readers outright how you can get flamed, moderated, or all-out banned in its comments.
But as the video concludes: “We know you’re all tree-hugging peaceniks, so…just…have a groovy week.”
For more news from Green Car Reports, you can visit the website. You can also sign up for an e-mail that delivers every story in one neat daily package (just look for “News In Your Inbox” in the right-hand column of any GCR page).