Aerodynamics are key to electric vehicle (EV) efficiency and driving range. The basic principle is simple; the lower the coefficient of drag (cD), the further you can travel per charge. The slickest cars follow nature. A bird that’s shaped like a brick cannot fly. Unfortunately, electric vehicle aerodynamics have taken a back seat to the whims of the market. In the quarter century since the introduction of the General Motors EV1, it’s 0.19 cD remains unrivaled.
Vehicle subscription services offer a compelling alternative to traditional ownership, leasing, and rental. They are useful in situations that prevent long-term commitment. Think of it as an in-betweener for those times when a traditional rental is too expensive and a lease is too burdensome. Need a car for a month or two (maybe six)? A subscription might be right for you. The primary differentiators between car subscription plans include service areas, monthly costs, upfront fees, mileage limits, flexibility, and vehicles offered. A slew of companies have launched in recent years and the marketplace is evolving rapidly.
On March 31st, Tesla unveiled their fourth car, the Model 3* to an unprecedented response. Before the tarp was pulled off the Model 3, over 100,000 customers lined up to reserve a car, sight unseen. Tesla’s first “affordable” boasts a base price of approximately $35,000, 215 miles of range and a 0-60 MPH time of six seconds. As of this writing, more than 250,000 reservations have been taken.
Turbocharging allows a small displacement engine to achieve significantly higher levels of horsepower (HP) and torque on demand, while delivering more miles per gallon (MPG) in light-load conditions. Once thought of purely from a performance perspective, forced induction technology has become a cornerstone of the march to higher fuel efficiency. You can have your cake and eat it too.
The top 15 list of highest combined MPG 2015 vehicles includes a mix of diesel and gasoline powered models, with the VW Jetta Hybrid taking the top spot. The Jetta Hybrid’s superior city fuel efficiency provides a significant advantage in tough traffic.
Folks often ask me, “what’s the ‘greenest’ car?” This is one of my favorite questions, because it can spur deeper conversation. Some people are shocked when I reply that the ‘greenest’ car is a recycled car. “Wait a minute,” comes the typical response, “a used car … for real?”
They often expect that I would answer with “oh, a (insert the most common name here) hybrid or an electric car (like the one that’s caught the tech world’s fancy that real world folks can’t afford).” Truth be told, 40 mile per gallon (MPG) cars are nothing new. You can find a ten or fifteen year old Honda Civic HX or Volkswagen TDI on eBay that will get 40 MPG on the highway. The older VW Jetta, Golf, Passat, and Beetle TDIs can even run on 100 domestic renewable biodiesel. Vintage Mercedes-Benz diesels can run on biodiesel as well, and they can all be converted to run on recycled fryer grease. There are great bargains to be found on fuel-efficient Saturns, too …
Oh Lord, won’t you buy me an old fryer-grease-powered Mercedes-Benz. All my friends slobber over Teslas, I must make amends …