Tag Archives: Electric and Hybrids

My Drive in a BMW i8: A Concept Car for the Street

BMW i8 Review 4

I’ve been itching to get my hands on a BMW i8 ever since I first saw it, and the chance finally came. As a car blogger working to grow my following, it’s still a very special occasion when someone is willing to throw me the keys to a six-figure set of wheels. As you might expect, it’s awesome to get to live the dream, even if it’s only for a little bit.

The BMW i8 is a total show-stopper. More of a UFO than a car, people go crazy when they see it out on the street. Most of them won’t even know what it is, but they will know that it’s something very, very special.

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White Porsche 918 Spyder at the CF Charities Supercar Show

Porsche 918 Spyder CF Charities 1

We’ve seen a bunch of Porsche 918 Spyders around, but none have been in this striking white until now. It shows off the curves of the car quite nicely and definitely adds to the car’s jaw-dropping appeal.

The 918 Spyder remains my favorite of the hybrid hypercar trio. Now, having seen it in this white, my lust for it will be that much more excruciating.

-Nick

Porsche 918 Spyder CF Charities 2 Porsche 918 Spyder CF Charities 3

The Tesla Model 3 looks promising if promises are kept

 photo Tesla Model 3 Front.jpg

I was sold on the electric car the second I experienced 0-84mph in a Tesla Model S P85D. It’s not just brutal acceleration, it’s brutal acceleration you can actually use from any speed, available immediately. Even just squirting from 0-30mph off a city stop light is a total riot. It is the kind of enjoyment you can only have in an electric car. There is no engine, no gears, and no delay. Thrills come simply at a push of the button, or pedal, in this case.

I thought Elon Musk summed up Tesla’s path brilliantly. Prove electric can be fun with the Tesla Roadster, then prove them practical and desirable with the Model S and Model X. But now comes the make or break moment for Tesla Motors, a truly affordable, mass-production car, the Tesla Model 3. It must be practical, it must be dependable, and it must be quite desirable to out-compete fierce competition.

Only time will tell for dependability, an issue that Tesla has been working on. Any new car company should expect some bumps in the road, it’s how they deal with them that counts. This factor gets greatly amplified as you move into the mass-market realm.

What we did find out last night in the short part one of the Tesla Model 3 reveal is that the car will be quite desirable and quite practical… so long as Musk’s promises are kept.

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BMW i3 Review: Expectations are Everything

BMW i3 Electric Car Review 1

The BMW i3 is just a car in the same way that an iPhone is just a phone. It does the job, but it’s really about so much more than basic functionality. It is a techy gadget on wheels, and it’s as much a personal brand statement as it is a mode of transportation.

As a new age city car, a Toyota Prius C will do the exact same functional job as the BMW i3 for less than half the price. But you could say the same for any other BMW as well, compared to a normal car. BMWs are pure luxury items, just like an Apple products, so we need to look at the car in that way.

As a car reviewer, I have my experience driving the car for a few minutes, hours or days, and then I give the car back. Owners have to live with the car, day-in and day-out for extended time. Consequently, our two experiences can often wind up pretty different.

The BMW i3 is one such car. I had my experience driving it, and I developed my initial opinion based on that. But then I looked around online to see what actual customers were saying, and I found much more I needed to consider before rendering my verdict. I think a lot comes down to how you approach the BMW i3, and how you intend to use the car.

Here is my take from both my drive in the car as well as from further research I’ve done.

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Is the new 2017 Volvo V90 the Ultimate Daily Driver?

The new Volvo S90 sedan is very cool, but it’s a sedan. The car you see here is the 2017 Volvo V90, and it’s much cooler because the Viking god, Odin, decreed that true Volvos must be wagons.

I guess it’s sort of a brand image thing for me, but I always picture a proper Volvo as a wagon, even despite the fact that my mom had an S80 sedan for years. The S90 and V90 come as replacements for the S80, and they feature every ounce of Volvo’s newfound luxury swagger.

I drove the new Volvo XC90 last spring, and I was blown away, to say the least. Volvo came out of nowhere with what is probably the best luxury 7 seat SUV on the market. I mean, Volvos have always been nice solid cars, but they were hardly head-turners. Volvo has clearly decided to change that with their new generation of cars.

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Highlights from the 2016 Philadelphia Auto Show

Philly Auto Show 2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

The Philadelphia Auto Show was lively this year, with many of the newest releases on display.

I must admit that I am completely in love with the blue Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio you see above (it’s stick too). I also got my first look at the new Fiata (124 Spider), Cadillac XT5, Honda Ridgeline, and the oh-so-sleek Volvo S90. I also got a good look at the new Toyota Prius, which was regrettable on the eyes.

There are a lot of great new cars to be excited about!

Enjoy the gallery.

-Nick

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Reaction: 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

chevrolet-bolt_ev_2017_800x600_wallpaper_01

$30,000 gets you 200 miles of electric driving. Well played, Chevy, well played.

It would seem the new Bolt EV is prepped to lead the way for the affordable AND viable electric car. The Nissan Leaf was a complete joke, people, this isn’t. Now let’s all hope there’s no “GM catch” to the Chevy Bolt down the line that will ruin it.

Likes: GM seems to have gotten the price and the range just right for what buyers have been yearning for in an electric car.

Dislikes: Marry Barra still seems to think it’s all about “beating Tesla”. Elon Musk wouldn’t have released Tesla’s patents to the whole industry if he didn’t want everyone to play his game. Her somewhat brawny attitude about beating Tesla makes me wonder if the mindset behind the Bolt is good GM or bad GM. Let’s hope they didn’t cut too many corners so they could be first to market in the $30K range, before the Tesla Model 3 hits.

-Nick Walker

2016 Toyota Prius, Designed By The Blind, For The Blind

2016 Toyota Prius

I’m all for equal opportunity employment, certain issues may hinder some people from doing certain jobs. At Toyota, it would seem that their design team is entirely made up of people without eyes, and they have brought us this hideous new Prius for 2016.

But what about sales, surely they expect people with eyes to buy the new Prius, otherwise it would be a total market failure. But I doubt anyone blessed with the gift of sight would want to be seen in something like this. So with that, I will have to assume that anyone driving a brand new Prius is in fact blind, and I will be sure to notify the authorities at once!

2016 Toyota Prius Rear

Look, I’m all for Toyota employing blind people, just not in the design department. My guess is the same person who designed the new Prius also brought us this automotive abomination:

Toyota Mirai

Seriously, though, how on earth did either of these designs make it through quality control. They are both utterly hideous, and if the designer isn’t actually blind as a bat, they should be fired and encouraged to pursue a new career path.

-Nick

The BMW i8 is Proof of Progress, and I Love It!

BMW i8 Amelia Island 1I saw my first BMW i8 out in the wild the other day, but only for just long enough to be awestruck, and then it was gone. While I didn’t manage to get a photo of that silver one on the road, I do have the photos from the i8’s first viewing at Amelia Island last year.

I must admit that I have love for everything that the BMW i8 represents, and I don’t think BMW could have executed this plug-in hybrid sports car any better. I remember in Monterey this year, we saw one parked in front of a restaurant, right next to a green McLaren P1. Which car drew the crowd?… The i8.

In fact, the most memorable part of that night was when I spent 10 minutes trying to convince a group of people that the i8 wasn’t a concept car, but was, in fact, on sale. They kept saying BMW would never make a car that looked so radical and actually expect to sell them. I had to pull out my phone and show them the i8 on BMW’s website, complete with its $136,000 base price. At that point, they finally believed me, and were wowed.

The BMW i8 is in the same price range as the higher-end Porsche 911 Carrera models, but BMW has given it the head-turning exotic appeal of a Pagani or a McLaren P1. The i8 looks like nothing else on the road. It even has show-y gullwing doors so you can make a grandiose entrance, or so you can’t get back into your car if people park on either side of you. Yes, that wonderful supercar idiocy is present and accounted for in the i8.

Performance wise, the i8 isn’t really a supercar by modern standards, but it’s plenty fast to have a lot of fun with. 0-60 takes 3.8 seconds, the 1/4 mile goes in 12.4 sec, and it tops out at 155mph. The kicker is the fuel economy. Where a Porsche 911 Carrera S can manage a respectable 29mpg, Motor Trend saw an Average of 45mpg in the BMW i8.

Put in 2004 terms, the i8 has the performance of a Ferrari 360 with the fuel economy of a Toyota Prius. This is progress people.

Enjoy the pics!

-Nick Walker

BMW i8 Amelia Island 3BMW i8 Amelia Island 5BMW i8 Amelia Island 6BMW i8 Amelia Island 2BMW i8 Amelia Island 7BMW i8 Amelia Island 4

Tesla’s Ticket Avoidance Mode (April Fools, but we wish not)

Tesla released their 691hp Model S P85D with an “Insane Mode.” Any company that would be so honestly bold with their products definitely has a sense of humor. Now the Model S can actually drive itself, and to highlight the car’s capability they released their new “Ticket Avoidance Mode” on April 1st. A gag, surely, but how great would it be if it were a real feature of the car?

-Nick

Let’s Discuss The Apple “iCar” Rumors

Apple iCar

A few weeks ago I had the privilege to drive a Tesla Model S P85D. The whole time driving it I was thinking that if someone had told me this was really the iCar from Apple, I probably would’ve believed them. The Tesla feels so much like an Apple product in car form, and that’s because Tesla has pilfered quite a few employees from Apple over the last few years. But here we are, just a couple weeks later and all of these rumors have surfaced about Apple’s “Project Titan.” Supposedly it is a sort of “iCar”, aimed to actually compete against Tesla.

This of course has gotten me thinking about the idea of Apple making a car, and how they might go about doing it properly. The following is my take on Apple making a car, the struggles they will face, and some possible ways they could make a successful product.

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Tesla Model S P85D Review

Tesla Model S P85D Front

Tesla has taken the industry by storm, shattering all expectations and continuing to surprise everyone. I remember about a year ago when Tesla shares were around $120 and many analysts were saying that was far too high. Well guess what, today shares are selling for $218.

Elon Musk’s can-do spirit permeates through the Tesla brand. That charisma associated with the brand seems to appeal to many customers as much the car itself does. Lately, I’ve grown accustomed to seeing Teslas everywhere in my area. For a high-end luxury car, they are selling like hotcakes.

The Model S P85D is surely the most multi-functional vehicle that I’ve ever experienced, and that is what surprised and impressed me the most about it. In fact, I’d say it’s like having four distinct cars in one…

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