Hybrid / EVs

ZF Reveals 2 Speed Transmission for Electric Cars

Most electric cars like the Tesla and Nissan LEAF— heck, even the 250 MPH Koenigsegg Regera!– use a one-speed transmission, or single reduction gear, that is linked to the electric motor. It’s a simple, durable solution that takes full advantage of the fact that electric motors generate peak torque at 0 RPM. Around town in stop-and-go traffic, it works great, and it was the ideal solution for electric cars that were built around commuting and shorter driving distances. Notice how I said, “was”? That’s because today’s electric cars offer ranges in the hundreds of miles and, with an infrastructure of fast-charging stations that’s just getting bigger every day, will soon be good enough to serve as solid road trip companions. At highway speeds, a...

Video: Inside the Koenigsegg Regera Direct Drive Transmission

Christian von Koenigsegg has been called many things, but it would be hard to argue that he isn’t a visionary. The engineering coming out of the Swedish design firm that bears his name can sometimes a Tesla look like Model T, and the multi-million dollar, 1500HP Koenigsegg Regera hybrid hypercar is chock full of it. From the car’s advanced, power-packed battery to its biofuel-capable, twin-turbocharged V8 engine and lightweight, aerodynamic body, the Regera oozes big-brain details. Its most impressive detail, though, may be its unique, “direct drive” transmission. Instead of a multi-speed transmission, the Koenigsegg uses a viscous a fluid to transmit mechanical power from the engine directly to the rear axle. The coupling can open and close, connecting or disconnec...

Illinois Doubles Gas Tax, Cuts Proposed EV Fee Hikes

The State of Illinois recently passed some pretty serious measures to curb– or, at least, tax the snot out of– the proliferation of fossil fuel-burning vehicles. In addition to doubling the State’s gas tax, Illinois lawmakers have increased the cost of registering gas-powered cars by more than 50%. The change in fee prices follows a proposed hike in the cost of electric vehicle registration from $17.50 to $1000 (yeah, that says “one thousand US/American dollars”). The justification of the proposed hike was that, since gas taxes fund road maintenance and EV owners don’t buy gas, EV drivers weren’t paying their fair share of escalating infrastructure costs. In something of an about-face on the matter, Illinois put that burden even more squarely on ga...

Toyota Releases Thousands of Hybrid Patents

In a complete reversal of its longstanding policy, Toyota has decided to stop suing every manufacturer that dares to offer a hybrid vehicle to the public in an effort to protect its more than 24,000 patents on the technology. It says everyone is free to use those patents without paying royalties from now until 2030. Why? Because it thinks there is more money to be made consulting with others than preserving the moat it has built around it hybrid systems. Toyota executives believe that other companies will be happy to pay it fees to use its tech, saying “when (other companies) use Toyota’s motors, batteries, PCUs, control ECUs, and other vehicle-electrification system technologies as part of their power train systems,” according to Green Car Reports.   More Hybrids for More People Toyo...

Bloomberg’s Tesla Q1 Estimates Were Way Off

We have to eat crow. That is the civilized way to say it. What we wrote was completely off. It was logical, believable, and wrong. After submitting it, I thought I should have included that famous line about complex problems having simple answers that are completely wrong — a point I did prove. Another way of saying it, it was FUBAR. Like many other people, we were fooled by a desire for Tesla progress and trust in the Bloomberg Tracker. There was a nagging feeling it was too optimistic, but no expectation that it was this far off. It was supported by rumors from Gigafactory 1 (GF1) that battery pack production was at a steady 6,000+. Those are either in storage, or those reports were too optimistic, too.   What is happening with Model 3 production is worth a long explanation by ol...

Will Tesla Production in Q1 Shock the Market?

Tesla will report its first quarter 2019 production and delivery figures in the next few days. The Q1 sales report is an extremely anticipated one as it will tell us whether or not Tesla managed to increase production and if the company was able to generate enough demand for the cars it has built over the last three months. Tesla is not the kind of company that we associate with a demand shortfall, as the company has always managed to create demand that far outstripped their production. Demand for Tesla Roadster 2008, Model S, Model X, and Model 3 have always remained on the higher side since the day they were launched. But the first quarter of 2019 has the potential to break that trend — even as Tesla pulled a multitude of demand levers in order to sell as many cars as they possibly could...

It’s Back! MotoE Announces Revised 2019 Race Calendar

A few weeks ago, the future of MotoGP’s all electric motorcycle racing series, MotoE, was thrown into doubt after a massive fire. The blaze destroyed not only the slick electric racebikes that were set to race in the series, but a huge amount of tools, equipment, and support machinery as well. Because of the devastation caused by the fire, race organizers, Dorna, were forced to cancel the first two rounds of what was to be MotoE’s inaugural season. The causes of the fire are still being examined, and a press release with more details on the fire is promised once the investigations have been completed. Better to focus on happier things, however– so, the new 2019 MotoE calendar is as follows: Race 1 – July 5th -7th – Sachsenring, Germany Race 2 – August 9th -11th – Red Bull...

Amnesty International: We Need Ethical EV Batteries

With both major auto and motorcycle manufacturers pushing hard to gain market share in the emerging electric future, sources of the raw materials needed to make advanced EV batteries are getting harder to come by. That’s especially true as manufacturers work to keep costs down– and those needs have led many companies to third world/emerging markets. As such, organizations like Amnesty International began to look into how companies’ policies are impacting those regions … and they didn’t like what they found. Amnesty International documented serious human rights violations linked to the extraction of the minerals used in lithium-ion batteries, particularly in the DRC. A 2016 investigation found children working in hand-dug cobalt mines. Children who were being e...

Harbour Air Set to Become First All-electric Airline

Harbour Air recently announced plans to convert its fleet of over 30 seaplanes to electric power with help from motor builder, MagniX. Each of the fleet’s current ICE engines will be replaced with a Magni500 electric motor packing an astonishing 750 (seven-hundred and fifty) HP! “Harbour Air first demonstrated its commitment to sustainability by becoming the first fully carbon-neutral airline in North America in 2007 (through the purchase of carbon offsets),” explains Greg McDougall, founder and CEO of Harbour Air. “Through our commitment to making a positive impact on people’s lives, the communities where we operate and the environment, we are once again pushing the boundaries of aviation by becoming the first aircraft to be powered by electric propulsion. We are e...

Honda Reveals Electric CRF Concept (10 Photos)

If there was any lingering doubt that the future is going to be electric, Honda just put another nail in the internal combustion future’s coffin with the release of an incredibly sexy and obviously capable electric motorcycle concept this past weekend. Meet the Honda CR Electric concept, and understand that this isn’t a 125-equivalent trainer, like Yamaha’s electric concepts. This bike is intended to be a direct replacement for Honda’s awesome, bigger, and race-ready CRF250R. (!) Launched at the Tokyo Motorcycle Show a few days ago, the concept seems to be based on a modified CRF250 aluminum frame. The electric motor appears to be liquid-cooled, with a pint-sized radiator featured prominently behind the race-spec suspension. Other bits, too– from the Renthal F...

Electric Class: Meet the Rayvolt Ambassador

Rayvolt. That’s the name of the Barcelona-based company that’s building the sharp, classy electric bicycle that you should want desperately based on its looks, alone. Luckily, there is a lot of clever substance backing up the Rayvolt’s Spanish style. First, the Rayvolt bikes themselves come in a wide variety of configurations. There are models ranging from cruisers to road bikes to even cargo bikes, they all carry the same classic/steampunk themes that rely heavily on upscale leatherwork and brazed copper accents. In addition to exquisite craftsmanship, there’s real technology at play in Rayvolt’s bikes, too. For example, riders can dial their e-bike’s performance up or down using a smartphone app. Everything from top speed, power, regenerative braking s...