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Archive for August, 2011

Hertz and Marriott To Offer EV Test-Drives

August 29th, 2011

2011 Smart Fortwo Electric Hertz Rental

Car rental giant Hertz will soon be offering electric cars amongst its rental fleet, available first at two locations in San Francisco, California: the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront hotel and a Hertz Rent-a-Car office on Mason Street.

Hertz Partnering With Marriott

Hertz will offer EVs, expected to include the Smart Fortwo Electric and Nissan LEAF, for rental as part of its Hertz on Demand short-term rental program. This will give potential buyers a chance to test the EVs for as little as $6 to $8 per hour. Returning the EV with a dead battery will not cost the renter extra. At the Marriott location the hotel will offer free valet service and charging to all electric car drivers, including those participating in the Hertz rental program.


Tesla CEO Elon Musk Bets $1 million on Tesla Model S Release

August 29th, 2011

2013 Tesla Model S

The Tesla Model S all-electric luxury sports sedan has charged forward bringing some truly ambitious promises from the pioneering electric car company and its flamboyant CEO, Elon Musk. Up to 300 miles of range and a sub-$50,000 base model price after government rebates have caused some eyebrow raising, and now Pulizer Prize-winning auto journalist Dan Neil has asked Musk to put his money where his mouth is.

Neil is betting Musk that the Model S cannot meet its release date, specification and safety targets as promised. The stakes? If Tesla cannot deliver, Musk will donate $1 million to Doctors Without Borders. Neil will donate $1,000 to the same charity if the Model S comes out on time and is everything it’s cracked up to be. As for the disparity, Musk is a wealthy CEO and Neil is but a professional working journalist. Here are the terms as reported by

  • Release Date – Tesla must deliver the Model S to paying customers by the end of 2012.
  • Seating and Safety—The Model S must seat 7 and achieve a 4- or 5-star safety rating as determined by the NHTSA.
  • Battery Swapping—The car’s battery pack must be hot-swappable, further extending range.
  • Price and Range—Released prices must come in at or under $57,400 for the 160-mile version, $67,400 for the 230-mile variant and $77,400 for the 300-mile version. All prices are before applicable Federal and state rebates.

Tesla Model S Battery Pack

“It doesn’t do anyone any good for Tesla to overpromise–and Elon has a habit of overpromising,” Neil told GreenCarReports. Clearly both men hope that the Model S will deliver. If Tesla can come through the attractive sedan will surely shake up the industry.


Muammar Gaddafi’s 2012 Fiat 500 Falls Into Hands of Libyan Rebels

August 29th, 2011

2012 Fiat 500 Col. Gaddafi Edition

The Libyan rebellion has made big gains in recent days, capturing the city of Tripoli, Muammar Gaddafi’s last bastion of a quickly crumbling rule. In days of heavy looting, rebels have managed to capture Gaddafi’s 2012 Fiat 500 from an administration compound, this particular example a rather strange custom chop job painted in the regime’s green-and-gold livery.

Other upgrades include an aero kit, custom badging and the removal of the two side doors. No word on what the Transitional National Council plans to do with the 500, though repainting it might be in order. Gaddafi’s government once owned a large stake in Fiat.


2013 Nissan Altima Spy Shots

August 29th, 2011

2013 Nissan Altima Spy Shot Header

The attractive and sporty midsize Nissan Altima has done well with critics and customers, but as competitors like the Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, and upcoming Toyota Camry offer fresh styling and better fuel efficiency it is high time for a redesign.

2013 Nissan Altima Spy Shots Profile

Ace spy photographers at Brenda Priddy & Co. have now captured the redesigned 2013 Altima in heavy camo, offering the best look yet at what to expect. The design shows a bold new grille, snarling headlights and beady foglamps well integrated into a front splitter that shows hints of the 370Z.

2013 Nissan Altima Spy Shots Rear Quarter

Autoblog says the new Altima may feature a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, likely slotting between a naturally aspirated 4 and a 3.5-liter V6. Car and Driver suggests the turbo motor may be just a rumor. Transmission options will include a CVT and a 6-speed manual. Sedan and coupe body styles will return, as will the Altima Hybrid after a 1-year hiatus.

Nissan’s Bottom Line Sales Event runs through the end of August. See the best deals on new 2011 Nissan models here!

Honda Invests $355 Million in New Plants to Cope with Increase in Demand

August 29th, 2011

Honda Motor Company is investing $355 million to make some key improvements to production and R&D facilities in Ohio, the Detroit News reports. Honda became the first Japanese automaker to build cars in the U.S. all the way back in 1982. Now in slow recovery, the automaker is preparing to resume full U.S. production next month as the company’s severely natural disaster-battered supply chain returns to normal.

Honda Research and Development CR-Z Concept R

Investments include $166 million for the company’s East Liberty-based facility and a new $64 million stamping press in Marysville. In neighboring Raymond, Honda’s key U.S. R&D center has seen heavy upgrades as well. The company also opened a new wind tunnel late last year at a cost estimated at around $25 million.

[Check back here for the best current deals on new Honda models.]