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Archive for March, 2011

Rent a Car From Zipcar, Even For One Hour

March 31st, 2011

Curious about how a Prius drives? Rent one. For an hour.

The innovative rental car service, Zipcar Inc., is preparing to launch its initial public offering within the next few weeks. As their second stock offering, the fledgling company hopes to raise enough money from investors to pay off its debt as well as expand its operations to other cities. The IPO is set at 8.33 million shares, priced at $14-16 per share.

The membership-based service is already hugely popular in major metropolitan areas—especially on or around college campuses.

Zipcar’s growing fleet of cars currently incorporates 30 different models from various manufacturers, running the gamut from Scion xBs to BMW 3-Series sedans.

The company has recently started focusing on eco-friendly cars, adopting Prius plug-in hybrids into their fleet. This approach to renting cars will definitely attract green-savvy investors to the company’s public offering.

With such a unique business model, Zipcar is bound to get plenty of attention the day its IPO goes live—and most likely the capital it needs to grow.

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Tuesday Teaser: 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1

March 29th, 2011

The rivalry between the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro hasn’t been this heated since the late ‘60s. If you haven’t been following, the Mustang currently holds the horsepower advantage over the Camaro with its tire-shredding 550-hp 2011 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 model. But the balance of power is about to shift, as details emerge about the upcoming 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.

Motor Trend recently got a chance to get up close and personal with the ZL1, which only recently debuted at this year’s Chicago Auto Show in February.   The ZL1’s 550-hp supercharged 6.2-liter V8 is the same engine found in the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V, the former world’s fastest production sedan.

As far as pricing goes, it’s estimated that the ZL1 will start at around $47,000—or about a grand less than the Shelby GT500’s base price.

Until the ZL1 gets closer to production, we can only speculate on its real-world performance. For now, we’ll have to savor this one video clip and soak in all that supercharged V8 aural goodness.

Click here to see Motor Trend’s exclusive footage of this rare beast.



2012 Ford Focus Electric Promises Low Maintenance

March 25th, 2011

One thing you have to remember about buying a car is that it’s not just the initial sale price you should be worried about, you also have to factor in how much you’ll spend maintaining it. And although you can’t predict what kinds of problems you’ll run into with a particular vehicle, you can at least expect the usual maintenance items. Of course there are the oil and filter changes, the regularly scheduled checkups and replacement of wear items like brake pads, brake rotors and windshield wipers.

But as your car gets older, the list of things that could potentially go bad gets even longer and you may find yourself sinking more money into your car than it’s actually worth.  And yes, we’re speaking from experience.

Now, close your eyes and imagine that you didn’t have to spend your nights worrying about maintaining your vehicle.

Now open your eyes and say hello to the 2012 Ford Focus Electric.

Ford is pushing this car using one substantial angle—ease of maintenance. To further illustrate, Ford has listed the top 25 items that usually require inspection, maintenance or replacement during the first 10 years, or 150,000 miles on a conventional car. Keep in mind that you won’t have to worry about any of these things if you own a 2012 Ford Focus Electric.

* Air Filter
* Alternator
* Battery
* Clutch
* Fuel Filter
* Fuel Injectors/Fuel Pump
* Motor Mounts
* Motor Oil
* Muffler
* Oil Filter
* O2 Sensors
* Power steering Fluid
* Radiator
* Radiator Hoses
* Serpentine Belt
* Spark Plugs
* Spark Plug Wires
* Starter
* Thermostat
* Timing Belt
* Transmission Adjustment (automatics)
* Transmission Filter (automatics)
* Transmission Fluid or Oil
* Water Pump

Just think of how much you’ll save not having to replace any of the above items. Whether you currently own a car and already know the hardships of maintaining it or are simply looking to buy your first car, you can appreciate the Focus Electric’s low-maintenance design philosophy.

And the odds are your bank account will too.

The 2012 Ford Focus Electric will be available around December of 2011.




New Battery Will Allow EV’s To Be Charged In Minutes

March 24th, 2011

The Nissan LEAF battery takes 8 hours to charge.

The biggest hurdle that EVs must overcome before they can truly enter the mainstream is charge time. Innovators like Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, believe that EVs will one day utilize ultra capacitors which can both store a great amount of energy and charge very quickly—a feature that would dramatically increase the convenience factor and practicality of an electric car. But sources say that another technology in development now could make fast charging a reality even sooner.

This cathode will allow EV owners to charge their cars in minutes vs. hours.

A new type of battery is being researched at the University of Illinois that is pushing the boundaries of electrical engineering. This battery uses nanostructure-based cathodes, which reduce charge time to a matter of minutes.  With the help of nanotechnology, these batteries are able to charge quickly without affecting charge capacity or discharge rate. Research also seems to show that receiving such a fast charge does not negatively affect battery life.

While these batteries do exist today, the lack of an electric infrastructure will keep them out of the hands of consumers for still some time. But this gives scientists plenty of time to perfect the technology. All we can say for now is that the argument for electric cars just got a little bit stronger.


EPA Offers Printable Fuel Economy Labels for Used Cars

March 18th, 2011

Selling your car has always been a hassle. Between advertising the car, negotiating a price and finally transferring the title, selling a car is hardly ever easy—or fun, for that matter—for anybody. But according to Consumer Reports, it might get just a little bit easier, as the EPA will soon be offering printable fuel economy stickers for used cars.

These stickers list city, highway and combined mpg as well as some vehicle specs like engine size, transmission type and grade of fuel recommended. There’s also a 2D barcode on the label that you can scan with your smart phone to take you directly to the EPA’s website for more information. Unfortunately, if you own a car made before 1984, these labels aren’t yet available for your vehicle.

Once a selling point reserved strictly for new cars, the EPA is making fuel economy stickers available to anyone looking to sell their car. And there’s no doubt that the process of making that sale just got easier.

If you’re looking to buy a used car, click here to browse our selection of used and certified pre owned vehicles.