Four Cars They Should Build (for People Like Me)

08.04.2011

Am I nuts (it's debatable) or are there a number of important auto niches that nobody's exploring? Here are some concept cars I'd really like to see, some of which would actually sell if given half a chance.

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Flying Cars: They're Closer Than You Think

07.27.2011

The flying car has been around as long as the automobile--did Leonardo Da Vinci sketch one? Nobody's ever been able to make a business out of it, but Terrafugia is making great strides. And leaping tall buildings in a single bound.

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Electric Cars Need "Corridors," Just Like the Big Cats

07.22.2011

Networks of EV chargers 40 to 60 miles apart will turn electric cars into long-distance travelers. The west coast is going to get hooked up first, but the pace is accelerating all over the country.

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Fixing Electric Cars: Will the Bill Be Big?

07.15.2011

There isn't much data yet on how much it costs to repair crashed EVs, but Cars.com got hit with a big bill when its Volt was in a fender bender.

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Where the EV Revolution Should Start: With FedEx, UPS and Wal-Mart

07.08.2011

Big delivery companies have central garages that are perfect for charging EVs. They want to be green. But so far it's happened only in small volumes, largely because of price premiums that can total $30,000. FedEx has a novel solution: Smaller batteries, shorter ranges, and cheaper trucks.

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Cellulosic Ethanol: Corn's Cleaner (and Better) Cousin

06.30.2011

Corn ethanol never made any sense, either economically or environmentally. Congress is finally killing corn ethanol subsidies, but it shouldn't abandon ethanol entirely. Made from the fiber of plants and with a really good energy balance, cellulosic ethanol is the better alternative.

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The Little EV That Couldn't: High Prices Lead Think into Bankruptcy

06.24.2011

The Think electric car has been through four bankruptcies, but this one looks terminal. There's a lesson in this--start-up EVs priced higher than volume leaders like the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf are going to have a tough time in the marketplace.

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The Cat Fight Over the Fuel Economy Rules: Would 62 mpg Bankrupt Detroit?

06.15.2011

Automakers and environmentalists are in a battle royal over not just a federal fuel economy standard (greens want 62 mpg, the industry will settle for 47) but over how it will affect future sales. Lions don't lie down with lambs, so don't expect a happy resolution with everybody singing "Kumbaya."

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IBM's Watson, a Jeopardy Champ, Could Deliver Natural Voice Recognition That Actually Works

06.10.2011

From a perch in the cloud, Watson-like supercomputers could offer solutions for clueless drivers, including finding that sushi restaurant whose name you forgot, or that song by the guy who sounds kind of like Bob Dylan.

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No C-Minus Cars but the New Window Stickers Are Revealing Anyway

06.03.2011

The new fuel economy window stickers are out, minus the big, fat letter grades that would have made it especially easy for consumers. But at least the replacements have plenty of other information.

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Memorial Day Memo: Don't Drive Like an Idiot (or My Brother)

05.27.2011

I prove that it's not hard to drive like a complete moron this holiday weekend. But you can also drive smart and actually save bundles of money at the pumps.

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The Hydrogen Highway: Lots of Fuel-Cell Cars, But in Pockets of America

05.20.2011

The fuel-cell revolution is coming, and sooner than you'd think. Automakers are planning significant volumes in 2015, but they'll be deployed around the hydrogen stations--like the network Proton OnSite is building.

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Carbon Pioneers: A Swedish Family Dramatically Cuts Its CO2 Production

05.12.2011

The Lindell family of Stockholm, Sweden, is living in the middle of a corporate greenhouse gas reduction experiment that includes an ultra-green house and a battery-powered Volvo C30.

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The Big Three, Off Life Support and Profitable, Are Making Good Cars Again

05.03.2011

The Big Three are baaa-ck, after a long, agonizing skid. With Chrysler announcing Monday that it has finally turned a modest $116 million profit in the first quarter, all of America’s carmakers are back in the black. What a relief. I hate “The Big Two.”

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The Electric Car Is Back: And Chris Paine's New Film Chronicles Its Triumphal Return

04.26.2011

Chris Paine's new film is Revenge of the Electric Car, and it's the optimistic flip side to his previous one--which chronicled the crushing of GM's all-electric EV-1. What a difference a decade makes.

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