What defines a “green car” can be the source of much discussion among environmentalists, advocates, and actual buyers. Every week Green Car Reports shines a light on the industry with coverage of battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, conventional hybrids, high-efficiency clean diesels, and smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles in general. Read on for a selection of their stories from the past week!
You might not expect a battery-electric car to be able to take you across the country, but that’s reality for Tesla Model S owners–and those mythical cross-country trips in electric cars are getting closer to reality for the rest of us as well. One of the problems with so-called DC quick charging–which recharges your battery to 80 percent of capacity in 20 to 30 minutes–is that there are three different standards out there. Now, a new Tesla Supercharger site located in Dorno, Italy, offers all three charging standards–Supercharger, CHAdeMO, and CCS–in a single site. That may be a world first, and it’s an encouraging omen for the future of fast electric-car charging.
While we’re talking about Tesla Motors, last week it emerged that Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler had sold all of its Tesla stock–adding $780 million to its books and netting a healthy profit on an original 2011 investment of just $50 million. Then the very next day, Toyota confirmed it had sold some of its Tesla holdings too. Will battery-cell maker Panasonic be next?
But it’s not all about electric cars. Toyota is gearing up to launch its first hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle later this month at the Los Angeles Auto Show. What will compete with fuel-cell cars? Some say battery electrics, but perhaps the most likely competition to upcoming hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles may be plug-in hybrids instead. Which takes us to plug-in hybrid news: Next year, we’ll see plug-in hybrid versions of the new Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima mid-size sedans. They’ll compete with the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, the Ford Fusion Energi, and others.
Last week opened with the news that the EPA will tighten its gas-mileage test procedures, closing a loophole and requiring carmakers to test more production models to confirm the results they get from early prototypes. Your mileage may vary, as the saying goes, but the EPA hopes it will vary less than some of the more notorious cases in recent years.
Finally, there’s a new and greener spiritual successor to the famous Volkswagen Westfalia camper van: a Nissan e-NV200 electric minivan with the same popup top. Sadly, Nissan’s electric van isn’t sold in North America–at least not yet–so the conversion is actually from a firm in the U.K.
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).