Electric Car Reviews

Volvo XC90 T8 Plug-In SUV Review

Posted 01.27.2016 in Reviews by Editor

Ever since seeing the plug-in electric Volvo XC90 T8 rotate under glittering lights at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2014, I’ve been keenly interested in driving one. To say the XC90 is impressive is an understatement. The “dual motor” XC90 T8 redefines Volvo’s market position, putting it on even footing, at least, with the PHEV versions of the Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE. Volvo says the XC90 is not just a relaunch of the vehicle, but of the entire brand. After driving the XC90, I can confirm the transformation.

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Segway i2 and X2 SE

Posted 08.03.2016 in Reviews by Editor

With almost 15 years of product development, Segway continues to improve their self-balancing transporter. A simplified handle removal procedure makes removing it easier than on previous models. Just unscrew two bolts and the handle detaches for storage or transportation. The streamlined foot bed features a charging plug port that has been beef up, recessed a little and given a sturdier cover that closes when not in use.







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GS Battery

Posted 06.29.2016 in Reviews by Editor

GS Battery boasts that their top-of-the-line ECO R SLR1000-2 is rated for 5,000 cycles at a 70% depth-of-discharge. Pretty impressive numbers for a valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery. Introduced in the summer of 2015, this battery's cycle numbers put it squarely in the realm of lithium-ion battery cycles.



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Q Lite Electric Kick Scooters

Posted 06.29.2016 in Reviews by Editor

An electric kick scooter can be a perfect solution as a last mile mode of transportation or for low speed recreation. They are smaller than electric bikes and more stable than electric skateboards. They are not just for kids, either. Built with sturdy frames, using lithium batteries and reaching speeds of 15 MPH, these scooters can carry up to 250 pounds 15 miles.



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Crown Battery Renewable Power Batteries

Posted 06.28.2016 in Reviews by Editor

The Crown Renewable Power Battery line of lead-acid flooded-cell batteries were designed from the ground up to be used in renewable energy stationary storage systems. The Ohio-based company has designed the line to be easily maintained. The PROEye electrolyte monitoring system makes keeping watch of fluid levels easy. If the indicator is green, watering isn't needed. If the indicator is clear, watering is needed.



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Evatran Plugless

Posted 06.28.2016 in Reviews by Editor

The Plugless system takes the convenience of not having to fill up at a gas station to the next level. Never mess with a wet or dirty charging cable. Don't worry about accidentally running over and damaging the plug. Even the most forgetful EV owner can come out to a fully-charged car in the morning. Plugless offers 3.3kW wireless charging for Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt and Cadillac ELR models. A series of lighted arrows guides drivers to ensure they are parked properly over the floor pad.



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EMW JuiceBox Pro 40

Posted 06.28.2016 in Reviews by Editor

The JuiceBox Pro 40 is the flagship charging station by Electric Motor Werks (EMW). The 10kW 40A EVSE features energy metering, Wi-Fi connectivity, scheduling, notifications, and a smartphone app, which can be used to configure the unit remotely. The JuiceBox can be configured to send up to 10 different notifications, including charge start, time in use, and end of charge. The JuiceBox Pro 40 can even alert owners via the app if they forgot to plug in their car by a particular time.




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Trina Solar

Posted 06.15.2016 in Reviews by Editor

Trina Solar is the world’s largest manufacturer of solar photovoltaics and for the past few years has repeatedly been on Fortune 's list of 100 fastest growing companies. Trina is a fully vertically integrated manufacturer. This means they handle every step of the solar panel manufacturing process from raw material to production. The company produces mono- and multi-crystalline panels for utility, commercial and residential applications. Trina makes two models of panels for residential installations.

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Delta AC Mini Level 2 Charger

Posted 06.15.2016 in Reviews by Editor

Delta introduced its second generation Level 2 40-Amp, 10kW EVSE earlier this year. Approximately half the size of the first generation, the unit's white housing with black accents give it a clean, modern look and its rated for indoor or outdoor use. Its small size means finding a suitable mounting location should be easy. An integrated cord reel makes storing the cord when not in simple task. Adding to the unit's ease-of-use are 3 indicator LEDs that notify users of vehicle charging and any potential faults.

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LG Electronics NeON 2

Posted 06.09.2016 in Reviews by Editor

Worldwide producer of electronic products, LG Electronics, solidified their commitment to being a provider of solar products in 2004 when they consolidated several research laboratories under one umbrella. By doing so, the company was able to leverage R&D experience that had begun with GoldStar Electronics. In 1985, GoldStar conducted its first research into the use of multicrystalline solar cells. Then in 1989, the GoldStar Central R&D Lab and Lucky Chemical developed solar cell technology and established a photovoltaic power plant. Over the next decades there were more advancements until the 2004 consolidation. Mass production began in 2010 from the company’s Korea facility.

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ChargePoint Home 25

Posted 06.02.2016 in Reviews by Editor

ChargePoint has been a leader in the public and commercial charging business since the modern reintroduction of electric cars. With the introduction of their Home 12 and Home 25 products, ChargePoint brings the sophisticated connectivity and 24-hour customer service the company is know for to the residential EVSE market. The smart appliance allows users to use the ChargePoint mobile app to remote start, schedule and set charging reminders for their home charger. The app allows them to see how much energy is used and the number of miles added based on their car model. ChargePoint Home chargers update automatically with the latest software upgrades over WiFi. The residential charger integrates with the entire ChargePoint network allowing users to see all the residential, public and workplace charging done with their ChargePoint account and consolidate electricity usage information. It also works with Nest brand smart home thermostats allowing users to track usage and energy costs through integration with Nest and Nest energy reports. Plus, Home identifies the local utility provider and recommends the best time to charge.

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Dow Powerhouse Solar System

Posted 05.26.2016 in Reviews by Editor

The Dow Chemical Company took a different approach to solar panels when they introduced the Powerhouse Solar System. The system uses shingle-sized solar modules called building integrated solar-photovoltaic (BIPV) products. These photovoltaics are copper indium gallium selenide solar cells, or CIGS cells, that can be manufactured to be a thin, flexible membrane. This allows them to be made into the shingle-like product. Although BIPV products had been on the market before Dow's Powerhouse product, Dow worked hard to create a product that could be installed by roofers without a lot of extra training or extra labor-costs, which results in lower overall system costs.

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Mitsubishi Electric MLE Series

Posted 05.24.2016 in Reviews by Editor

In 2010, Mitsubishi produced a polycrystalline solar cell with a world-record setting 19.3% efficiency. Mitsubishi has taken what they’ve learned from developing that record-setting technology and applied it to their residential solar panels.

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Aerovironment TurboCord

Posted 05.24.2016 in Reviews by Editor

Aerovironment’s TurboCord is such a marvel of compact, elegant design that you can’t help but wonder why all electric cars do not come with this unit standard-issue. In fact, Volvo has included the TurboCord in their top-of-the-line PHEV SUV. The dual-voltage TurboCord plugs in to either a standard 120v household socket or a 20-amp 240v outlet. The TurboCord is especially well suited for owners of plug-in hybrids and other cars that have 3kW chargers, which charge at 16 amps. Although the TurboCord will charge cars with 6kW chargers like the Fiat 500e and most newer Nissan Leafs, it will be at half the speed they are capable of. If you have or can install a low cost NEMA 6-20R outlet at the office, this unit could serve as your workplace charging solution and as your everyday travel cord. It can also work as your home charger if your daily drive cycle can be satisfied with the 10 mph charging that the 3kW TurboCord can deliver.

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2015 Quick Charge Power Jesla

Posted 05.23.2016 in Reviews by Editor

The JESLA™ is a custom conversion of a Tesla 40 amp charging cable to make it compatible with any EV that accepts a standard J1772 connector. Depending on your car’s internal charger rating, the JESLA can charge an EV up to 600% faster than using the OEM charging cable.



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Tesla Powerwall

Posted 05.23.2016 in Reviews by Editor

When Tesla announced the Powerwall lithium-ion battery storage system it was a loud shot across the bow of the utility companies. The Powerwall positions the Silicon Valley company to be as big a disrupter to the electrical utilities as its vehicles have been to the automotive industry.




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SolarWorld Sunmodule

Posted 05.22.2016 in Reviews by Editor

SolarWorld is the largest US producer of solar panels. From raw silicon to crystal growing to wafer making to cell manufacture to final assembly; it is all done in the company’s Hillsboro, Oregon facility.







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Electrified Classic Ford Mustangs For Cruising, Show and Track

Posted 01.22.2016 in Reviews by Editor

Few cars elicit pure excitement like a Ford Mustang. The design is iconic and beloved by everyone from gear heads to soccer moms. So if you're looking for a conversion that will get conversations started, this muscle car is the one. Each of the Mustangs showcased here ditched their internal combustion engines in favor of electric motors. They all tell a different story but the end result is the same: fun, exciting, one-of-a-kind rides that introduce people to the advantages of electric drivetrains.

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Home Charge Stations Reviewed and EVSE Sizing Guide

Posted 01.18.2016 in Reviews by Editor

Except for cases where an EV driver is looking to conform to the limitations of existing wiring or a constrained budget, the selection of charger rating is usually dictated by the specifications of the car. In a residential installation, there’s usually no advantage to purchasing a more expensive charging station that has greater capacity than a car can handle. The exception to this is if a purchaser wants to “future-proof” the installation and anticipates the purchase of an electric car with a faster onboard charger, although falling prices might make advance purchases a false economy.

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Porsche 912 Conversion: A Classic Sports Car Goes Electric

Posted 01.18.2016 in Reviews by Editor

If people weren't already intrigued by the little silver 1966 Porsche 912, then the quiet crunching of the tires against the asphalt as it is pulled out of its parking spot will make them take notice. It's unusual to not hear a classic car as it pulls away. Ian James Corlett's Porsche 912, which originally was the 4-cylinder little brother to the 911, is a one-of-a-kind head turner thanks to its electric drivetrain.

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Porsche 918 Spyder: Million Dollar Kinetic Sculpture

Posted 01.18.2016 in Reviews by Editor

We'll leave the discussion of the rationale of driving a near million dollar race car on city streets to another day. But before we examine the vehicle’s technical merits, let's consider the motivation for building it. I asked Dr. Frank Walliser, the director of the Porsche 918 Spyder project, that question as we stood in front of the vehicle at the LA Auto Show in November 2013. Why did Porsche build this car? His answer was remarkably candid: "Because we had to show that sports cars will exist in the future." As we discussed the increasingly stringent European and US emission and fuel consumption regulations the extent of the challenge became more clear. Porsche saw an existential threat in the new standards: would it be possible to deliver the performance car experience within the new fuel consumption and emissions requirements?

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British Roadster Reborn by Electric Vehicle Restoration Company

Posted 01.18.2016 in Reviews by Editor

The British roadster has been an enduring automotive icon for over six decades. Many of the marques are still well known despite having sold their last sports cars in the US in the 1970s and 80s; AC, Austin Healey, MG, Triumph. The Electric Vehicle Restoration Company, a British Columbia, Canada restoration and customization shop with plans to establish a US operation in Las Vegas Nevada, seeks to give classic sports cars a second life as zero-emission electrics. In a phone interview from the firm’s Kelowna offices, company founder and CEO Andrew Mynheer pointed out that by replacing the cars' internal combustion engines with electric motors, a majority of the usual maintenance and repair of a 60s-70s era car can be avoided and performance will improve.

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Driving on Sunshine: Envision Solar EV ARC – Electric Vehicle Autonomous Renewable Charger

Posted 01.18.2016 in Reviews by Editor

Workplace charging is becoming an increasingly popular employee benefit, used to attract the highly educated technical workers who represent the majority of early adopter electric car drivers. Since the goal of electric transportation is true zero emissions, pairing the chargers with solar panels is appealing. The energy source is zero emission, zero carbon and inexhaustible.

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ClipperCreek offers high-quality 3.6kW charge station for $379

Posted 01.18.2016 in Reviews by Editor

ClipperCreek announced new lower pricing on their LCS-20 240 volt 15 amp charge station. The unit is matched for plug-in cars with 3kW on-board chargers which includes plug-in hybrids, older Leafs, the Chevy Spark and Smart ED. The unit is also ideal for people who want to install the slower 240v charger using an existing 20amp electrical circuit to avoid the expense of installing new wiring to the garage or parking space.

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2016 Chevrolet Volt Review

Posted 05.23.2016 in Reviews by Editor

The totally redesigned second generation 2016 Chevy Volt was named the 2016 Green Car Of The Year at the LA Auto Show. Judges praised the vehicle's stylish new exterior, driver-friendly interior, and completely upgraded drivetrain.

The 2017 Volt, available summer 2016, continues the evolution with addition of adaptive cruise control bundled with a safety tech package on the Premier model.

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Driving the Future: EPA veteran's memoir on combating climate change

Posted 01.18.2016 in Reviews by Editor

Let's get straight to the dirt: Margo Oge knows where the bodies are buried. Her new book Driving the Future reviews the prospects of various new technologies to address the public health concerns caused by the tailpipe emissions of cars and trucks. But the part I found most interesting was the astonishing revelations about how good policy based on science is thwarted by political hacks. It's all a matter of knowing where to turn the screw it seems. Or which button not to push. The story that best characterizes the kind of galling obstructionism that delayed passage of more stringent air quality regulations during the G.W. Bush administration is related in a chapter aptly named "Tortured Policy."

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OpenEVSE - a DIY charge station

Posted 01.18.2016 in Reviews by Editor

I'm not sure if it was the desire to save $500 or the more fundamental curiosity of “what's in the box?” that interested me in the OpenEVSE. When I heard that you could build your own high-power 240 volt 30 amp home charge station from high-quality off-the-shelf parts and a couple of custom circuit boards created by an open source hardware collaborative, I was intrigued.

 

 

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