The Pre-Production Phase of The Tesla Model 3 Is Exciting!

Tesla is changing the way we think about cars, which is definitely sparking conversation. After all, over 115,000 people put deposits down on the Model 3, one of the latest cars in Tesla’s production lineup. We don’t know a whole bunch about this car yet, but the details that Tesla HQ has released give us enough to at least dream a little bit. We’ve been talking about electric cars, and why adoption is a beautiful thing. For those out in rural areas, charging stations are still scarce. However, that won’t last forever. As demand increases for electric cars, there will be more charging stations. Right now it’s up to people that do have the disposable income buying the cars before the affordability factor comes into play.

Tesla Model 3

This is why Tesla’s announcements on the Model 3 are so interesting: the company is focused heavily on affordability. Itís been the biggest jab to electric cars for a long time. Despite the intentions of the innovators, the fully electric car has been seen as a staple of the well to do, rather than the working class. But the Model 3 is supposed to appeal to middle class tastes without breaking the bank. The MSRP is posted at 35,000, but that’s before any incentives come into play. Most states are pushing for more electric car rebates and incentives in the future, especially as they chase the dream of zero emissions vehicles.

We also have some great features coming up, despite production not fully starting until 2017. The first feature that we noticed being mentioned was the fact that the Model 3 can get 215 miles of range per charge, and there is a supercharger available to cut down on the charging time. For city driving, 215 miles gives you a lot of range. Drivers that like fast acceleration will love that this car can go from zero to 60 in six seconds. No, that’s not a misprint at all: six seconds! That’s a great acceleration time and you’ll get plenty out of life out of this electric car.

The coolest feature in our opinion is the foundational hardware for self-driving cars. This is one of the most innovative feature yet, because self driving cars are on the horizon. Would you let your car drive you around? It’s definitely something to think about.

We’re excited about the Model 3, and plan on giving you more information as it is released.

Have You tried an Electric Vehicle yet?

Shopping for a new car is exciting, and we love the idea of seeing people get an awesome car. But have you considered the ins and outs of getting an electric vehicle? We know what you’re thinking: do you really want to drive something that is completely divorced from the traditional service station experience? Probably not, but it doesn’t hurt to at least figure some things out.

Cutting our dependence on foreign oil is a big deal, and it’s something that we can all pitch in and help with. After all, if there’s decreased demand, costs go down for everyone and the environment becomes a little cleaner too.

There are a few tips to keep in mind when you’re shopping for an electric vehicle. Even though there aren’t that many differences, the more information you get before you make the purchase, the less likely you’ll be disappointed years or even a few months down the road.

Electric Vehicle

1. Hunt For Those Incentives!

Skipping over the best part of the green revolution would just be insane! If Government is going to make a push to pour money into e-mobility and the plug in revolution, at least you can take advantage of any grants, subsidies or additional monies they’d like to throw your way. There are also manufacturer’s incentives, because they too need to increase the number of electric vehicles sold.

2. Get Familiar with Charging

Do you know where the nearest charging station is? How about how much a home charging array costs? If you don’t know the answers to those questions, you’re not quite ready to buy an electric vehicle. Make sure that you’re looking at this information before you buy. The last thing that you want to do is buy the vehicle and then get frustrated because charging is such a hassle. If you live in a city, charging is a lot easier than if you’re out in the country. Now, country living is awesome but you might be surprised at how few charging stations there are. Doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to enjoy an electric vehicle, but you’ll have to plan things out differently. Continue reading “Have You tried an Electric Vehicle yet?”

Here are the Top 4 Companies that are making Hybrid Technology a Priority

We hear a lot in the news about the “green revolution” and “going green”, but let’s be honest: not everyone is truly putting their money into the technology. In order for something to catch on for everyone, there has to be investments made by people that have the pocketbooks to do so, and that’s ultimately the companies that bring us these products and services in the first place. But we did find that there are some companies that are really expanding hybrid technology, and we’re pleased to hear about it.

Hybrid Technology

1. Nissan

When it comes to hybrid and electric technologies, Nissan is definitely leading the charge. They’ve even teamed up with Foster + Partners recently to expand on the connected car concept further, adding style and ergonomic comfort to the mix. After all, you can’t just focus on function. The cars of the future need to be comfortable, otherwise we’re not going to bother driving them. You might recall that this automaker came out with the Nissan LEAF, a revolutionary car for its launch time.

2. BMW

If luxury and performance are more your speed, you’ll be pleased to know that BMW is really taking the reins and making hybrid technology a priority. Their flagship hybrid right now is the ActiveHybrid 5, which can go from 0 – 100 km in 5.9 seconds. That’s very fast acceleration, making it a treat to drive any day of the week.

3. Niftylift

Adoption of hybrid technology isn’t limited to just the automakers, of course. Niftylift is a company devoted to bringing hybrid technology to its products, which focus on cherry pickers and boom lifts. Manufacturing these industrial products has to strike a balance between safety, functionality, and environmental awareness. We think that heavy industry is the perfect place to promote green solutions, because if other companies adopt them, then the fight gets a little easier and more people embrace the technology.

4. General Motors

General Motors doesn’t get nearly the credit it deserves for jumping into the hybrid technology space as quickly as it did, but we remember! They’ve taken a lot of customer feedback into consideration to improve on the Chevy Volt, and the Malibu is a decent option for people looking for their first hybrid. 47 mpg is going to catch a lot of people’s attention for sure.

Overall, if you want to watch the hybrid technology space, these are the companies to check out. While you may have to save up to get a hybrid in your driveway, there are plenty of incentives in place to reward you for doing your part to protect the environment we all share.

Check out Cars so Fast, You’ll think You’re in a Movie

Here’s a treat from Drive Benfield for all of you dreaming about speeding down the motorway: the world’s fastest cars await. Sure, you can’t drive them and show off to all of your friends. And it’s also true that most of these are so expensive that you’d need a hundred lifetimes to afford them, maybe even two hundred lifetimes. But there’s something about the power of imagination at work here. Step back and let yourself dream, because these cars really are so fast that you’ll think you’re on a Hollywood movie set. These cars bring you fast acceleration, turbocharged engines, and a cool factor that just can’t be put into words.

But hey, there is a bright side to reading about the cars instead of driving them: at least you can enjoy a few pints while you check ’em out at home!

Benfield Motors - the worlds fastest cars-1

Going With a Fully Electric Vehicle For the First Time – This Is Your Guide

Imagine giving up gas for good. for most drivers, this would be almost unheard of years and years ago. The idea that we can go and take care of the things that we need to do and just plug our vehicle in after we’re finished used to be a complete fantasy. Now it’s a viable reality, with more and more charging stations available on the road. Gone are the days where you just had to stay close to home lest you ended up getting stuck without a charging station to “refuel”. But now you have charging stations on the road and the cost is very reasonable.

But that probably doesn’t help you answer the big question: just how do you shop for an electric car? What are the tips that you need to keep in mind as you go? Here’s what you need to know before you bring a car into your driveway.

Electric Vehicle

1. Get The Full Shopping Experience

If you just go for the first electric car that you see, you’re going to have a bad time. What type of car do you need? Getting a sedan when you really have your heart set on a crossover or a full SUV is silly. You can get the space you need and still get a plug-in vehicle. If you’ve got a lot of car dealerships around your area, they will actually let you test drive a n EV just like you would a traditional vehicle.

2. Understand Charging Etiquette

Do you imagine always using a charging station, even when you don’t need it? You might have some trouble as an EV driver. Once you get your charge up, you just need to move on. The opposite is true: if you don’t need a charge, don’t pull over into that spot. You just never know if you’re keeping someone else that desperately needs a charge from not getting what they need. Continue reading “Going With a Fully Electric Vehicle For the First Time – This Is Your Guide”

Solar Electric Vehicles Could Be the Next Big Thing

Have you joined the ranks of the EV obsessed? Hey, no judgment here. We’re pretty passionate about electric vehicles, green technology, and making the world a better place by reducing our overall footprint whenever possible. There comes a point where we see so many different technologies that complement electric vehicles that we have to talk about them separately in order to see their overall value. Take for example solar panels and their integration with electric vehicles. Is it a viable idea, or just a dream for now?

Solar Electric Vehicles

The truth is that solar panels do have a place in terms of charging electric vehicles, but it’s important to understand the realities and the fantasies on the subject.

First and foremost, you should understand that these panels don’t charge the car when you would expect. If you’ve got a home solar panel system that gives you power during the day, then anything that’s plugged in feeding off that system is going to benefit. This is the most straightforward way to explain it to new EV people. However, if you’re going to charge at night, your solar panel system isn’t going to be diverting energy to your EV at all. You’re going to be putting it back in the grid, where other people will help themselves to that energy. This is the goal of most solar homeowners, because they want to lower their electricity bill through the credits they’ll receive from the grid system.

Solar Electric Vehicles renault

The idea of putting your solar panels on top of your car just isn’t going to work. The car’s roof isn’t that big, and the net positive is only a few miles.

There are a lot of details that come into play with solar tech and electric vehicle technology. The first detail would have to be price. If you don’t have a solar panel array yet, you’re going to have to price it out for yourself. Do you get a lot of sun in your area? This would make solar technology much more appealing. If you don’t have an electric vehicle yet, then you’re going to have to look at the overall amenities in the car that you want and see if you would be best served by a full EV or if you need a hybrid. For example, if you live in a rural area you might be better off getting a hybrid, because it’ll switch over to gas for those long drives. The rural areas of the country are notorious for not really having charging stations readily available. This can be quite the problem when you’re trying to get the most of the electric side. But if you’re in a more urban area where there are several charging stations, you can definitely benefit. Make sure that you look up the type of charging station available — the new fast charging stations are best for getting the battery back up to optimal levels.

Overall, we think that solar technology does have a role to play in the world of electric vehicles, but it isn’t as simple as fixing up some panels on top of your car’s roof.

When Will There Be More Electric Vehicles on the Road Than Gas-Powered Cars?

Many people see the enormous advantages in electrically-powered vehicles, and lament the fact that there are relatively few of them in operation. With the technology in place to convert to an “on-grid” system of transportation, how long will it be before electric vehicles dominate the scene?

In order to answer this question, it is important to look at all facets of the problem. If we simply focus on the benefits of EVs, the resulting lack of enthusiasm for them and consequent low sales figures does not make sense. There are other factors which are contributing to the slow growth of EVs worldwide.

Electric Vehicles

First, it is interesting to note that EV technology is not a new phenomenon. In the early 1900s, electric cars were actually a popular mode of transportation, and dominated the “new” technology of the gasoline-powered car. However, new advances in internal-combustion technology soon caused the gas engine to outstrip electric engines in terms of performance and operational costs.

At that time, gasoline was a relatively cheap commodity because of low demand, so those switching from an electric format to one based on fossil fuels noticed a sharp savings. Soon, the gasoline-powered engine was the preferred form of technology for automobiles.

During the 1970s and the sudden rise in gas prices, electric vehicles made a short comeback, but the leveling of oil prices effectively killed the new movement. However, the seeds were planted, and many dedicated researchers have spent the intervening years with an eye to the future, realizing that at some point, the volatile fossil fuel situation would again erupt and a demand for EVs would once again occur. Continue reading “When Will There Be More Electric Vehicles on the Road Than Gas-Powered Cars?”

How You can profit from Sustainable Transportation

As populations continue to rise, and the people of China, India and other developing countries gain affluence, fossil fuels will continue to rise in price. This creates both opportunity and danger. Countries that refuse to adopt sustainable methods of transportation will face more problems as current energy supplies deplete. The same can be said for individuals. People who act early and avoid the rising costs associated with transportation stand to profit from having cheaper, renewable options.

Current Transportation Costs

transportation-costs

The Huffington Post reports that the average American spends over $2000 per year just to fill up their gas tank. The volatility of gas prices means that this expenditure fluctuates, but prices have been rising regularly for decades and will continue to do so. Forward thinking people can get ahead of others and begin using sustainable methods of transportation now and save time, money and effort.

Methods of Sustainable Transportation

The term sustainable transportation means any form of transport that has minimal impact on the environment. Some methods of sustainable transport have less environmental impact than others, but everything from walking to car pooling creates a more sustainable transportation system. Other methods include cycling, green vehicles and expanded public transportation. Continue reading “How You can profit from Sustainable Transportation”

Smart: Uncovering the Uncar

The observant European tourist has no doubt taken notice of the comically small Smart cars zipping about the continent. Originally introduced to Europe in 1998, the Smart car has been busily migrating westward. The Smart fortwo model hit American markets in January of 2008, with a heretofore unheard of fuel efficiency of 33 city / 41 highway miles to the gallon, and an MSRP of under $12,000. Why, then, have American sales of the sprightly little vehicles remained lackluster? With gas prices shooting skyward, a cost effective and fuel efficient alternative seems like it would be an excellent choice. Is American culture at fault, or is the American version of the Smart car simply not as intelligent as its Old World cousin?

Uncar

Reception in Europe

Praised by city drivers and environmental enthusiasts alike, the Smart car received a welcome reception in Europe, with sales in its first year of availability exceeding expectations and demanding immediate acclaim. In a continent of tiny roads where gas prices ranged from about $6 to $10 (or two to three times as much as in America), an equally tiny car with an excellent fuel economy was a welcome addition to the vehicle lineup (4).

Reception in the United States

Unlike its predecessor, the American Smart car never took off with the same ferocity. Initial excitement at the novelty of the vehicle drove sales for a short time, but the fervor was unsustainable in a market suddenly inundated with small cars with comparable fuel economy, like the Chevy Aveo or the Honda Fit. Penske Automotive Group (PAG), the original American distributor of the Smart brand, lost $16 million in its SmartUSA division in 2010. After such a profound loss, PAG gave the rights to sell Smart brand cars back to Smart’s parent company, Daimler AG, ensuring that now only Mercedes-Benz dealers distribute the vehicles in the US (5). The popularity of large cars in America may also be to blame for the stunted sales; not only does American culture tend to praise bigger as better, but the implication of an accident between a giant SUV and a tiny Smart car presents a frightening image, regardless of whether the car meets American safety standards. Continue reading “Smart: Uncovering the Uncar”

Homemade Batteries

There are few things in life as exciting and satisfying as creating something; one popular form of creation is homemade batteries. Remember the thrill you first got when you created electricity with some rubber, wires and a lemon for an elementary school science fair project? There are few things as mystifying and awe-inspiring as the creation of electricity.

Soda Can Battery

Soda Can Battery

There are many ways to make a battery from household products. All you need are a few pieces of metal and a conducting source (like a solution). One of the simplest homemade batteries comes in the form of a soda can. You place the copper into the soda, and you place a strip of the aluminum can into the soda as well (you will need to rub the paint off the soda can with some sandpaper, as the paint will deter the conductive properties of the metal). This battery will produce about .75 volts, which is not much, but will prove entertaining.

Zinc Battery

Another popular and easy-to-make homemade battery is the zinc-air battery. Zinc tends to be one of the most conductive types of metal for homemade batteries and can be obtained through a hardware store, specialty shop or via the Internet. For the conductive solution, you will need a small dose of salt and a cup of water. The zinc will oxidize when placed in the salt water solution, which will create electricity. Continue reading “Homemade Batteries”