Can a Heated Hoodie Improve Winter Fuel Economy?

When the cold weather hits, fuel economy inevitably takes a dive. Lower temperatures impact gas mileage in a number of ways, including winter gasoline blends, lower intake air temperatures, longer engine warm-up times (to reach optimum efficiency), increased air conditioner use (with defrosters), and idling. Keeping your car in a garage will help decrease warm-up time, as can an engine block heater. A grill blocker can help keep under hood temperatures up while you’re driving in the coldest weather. But the biggest trick is keeping the driver warm while reducing the amount of idling at start-up and throughout the day.

I’m testing a Milwaukee Tools M12 heated hoodie this winter, to see if I can reduce idling. I’ve posted the first part of a two-part video review:

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Electric Car Manufacturer Tesla Changes its Tactics?

By all accounts, Tesla is a completely different type of auto manufacturer. It defies convention and throws it all in the face of the traditional automakers. They are, without a doubt, the darling of the tech crowd … and for good reason. The Tesla Model S is a truly spectacular car. The company has won over legions of fans and tens of thousands of owners in a short time, all the while avoiding conventional advertising. It appears that avoidance has lessened.

I logged into my Google account this morning to review the advertising that is targeted for I do this on a regular basis to block shoddy advertisers (of which there are many). I was shocked – no, make that pleasantly surprised – to see a real live advertisement from Tesla Motors.

The wording was simple.

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Chevy Spark EV: 5x the Tesla Model S at 1/5 the Price?

I had the opportunity to drive the 2014 Chevy Spark EV last month at a media event in Portland, Oregon. The drive route ran through the streets of the city, onto the highway, and out into the suburbs. This provided the Spark EV with an ideal setting for its virtues to shine.

It can be a trick to shoot media events like this. The schedule is extremely compressed and time behind the wheel is often limited. We set out from the garage of the Portland Kimpton hotel and headed to Electric Avenue. I hustled to get location shots and hung a pair of cameras on the car on our departure from the parking garage (although I only ended up using the external camera).

Spark EVs charging in the basement of the Portland Klimpton Hotel

Lets go out on a limb and call the Spark EV the first affordable electric hot hatch. Who could argue with 400 foot pounds of torque and a 0-60 MPH time of 7.5 seconds? With that much power, the engineers are clearly holding back its full potential, lest the front tires disintegrate into billows of smoke and shards of rubber.

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2013 Ford C-Max Energi Plug-In Hybrid First Drive

With California the most important domestic market for electrified vehicles, it came as no surprise that Ford chose San Francisco and the Northern California coastline as the backdrop for the C-Max Energi Plug-In Hybrid media drive.

The crossover-esque C-Max has been available in Europe since 2003 and comes to our shores for the first time. The C-Max rides on the Focus platform. It’s only available in America in hybrid or plug-in hybrid (PHEV) form.

The standard C-Max hybrid is rated at 47 city / 47 highway miles per gallon (MPG). The C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid uses a larger lithium ion battery to deliver up to 21 miles of pure electric driving, at speeds up to 85 miles per hour, before it switches to conventional hybrid mode.

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Mitsubishi i-MiEV Review : A NJ Electric Car Adventure

Remember Apple Computer’s “Think Different” advertising campaign, back in 1997? With photographs of Muhammad Ali, Jim Henson, the Dali Lama, and Albert Einstein, among others, Apple urged us to reconsider our computer purchases in a world dominated by computers running Microsoft’s DOS text-interface operating system. The idea of Apple, with the Macintosh, a computer running a graphic operating system, becoming the most dominant force in the industry was a huge leap of faith.

Steve Jobs may have passed on, but we’re in a similar place now, with regard to electric vehicles. Fifteen years later, we’re faced with far too many closed-minded Luddites, that refuse to see what’s roaring (quietly) down the highway.

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