B1 EV Sports Utility Truck Aims for Work/Play Niche
Good ideas don’t always seem attractive at first glance—ugly sweater parties, for example, or your neighbor’s pug. But dig a little deeper and you might find yourself wondering why you decided to get a poodle. That is the case with new American startup Bollinger Motors.
Passing the 4×8 test
Earlier this week, Bollinger unveiled its new fully electric B1 “Sports Utility Truck” at Manhattan’s Classic Car Club. Reminiscent of Top Gear’s Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust, the B1 is not exactly a “looker”; but it doesn’t seem to be lying on its resume either.
Based in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York, founder Robert Bollinger wanted to build an electric vehicle that focused more on what it could do, rather than what statement the car could make.
“I envisioned the [B1] as the ultimate truck for work and play,” said Bollinger, “The perfect truck for ranchers, builders, DIYers and off-roaders, but without the environmental effects and carbon footprint of a traditional gas-powered SUV.”
Basic Analog Truck
With the B1, Bollinger also wanted to find a different, and ironically more analog, side of the EV industry. The B1 will be available with an AM/FM receiver, Bluetooth connectivity, and an AUX input, but no touchscreen.
Back to basics interior
Other than the head unit, the dashboard will be almost completely analog; even including an analog battery level indicator; the only digital display being a small LCD screen that shows outside temperature, range and MPGe.
Despite its lumbering looks, the B1’s dual-motor drivetrain is rated at 360 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque; good enough to move the two-ton truck from 0-60 miles per hour in 4.5 seconds.
According to Bollinger, the B1 will be available with two battery options—a 60 kWh battery good for about 120 miles of range and a 100 kWh battery good for about 200 miles of range.
In terms of utility, the B1 lives up to its ethos with a front trunk (because there is no engine taking up space), removable rear seats, and 15 1/2 inches of ground clearance that can be raised or lowered by five inches using the truck’s self-leveling, four-wheel independent hydro-pneumatic suspension.
Pricing for the B1 has not been officially set, but it should cost somewhere around $60,000. B1’s can currently be reserved online with no obligation, however a down payment will likely be required at a later date.
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Real Customer Deliveries Start in Late October
Say what you will, Elon Musk and his team at Tesla know how to manage excitement and entertainment. Friday night, July 29, at 9 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, Musk and a variety of Tesla folks spent 36 minutes hyping Tesla and, finally, showing off 30 new Tesla Model 3s being charged for their waiting new owners (all Tesla employees). During the show more details of the Model 3’s two trim levels were revealed along with future iterations. You can rewatch the whole thing here.
In spite of the promise of an affordable, $35,000 compact electric car, the initial Model 3s produced will all be the high-end model (dubbed the Long Range because of its larger battery). It has a starting price of $44,000 (options such as any color other than black—just like with the Model S and Model X—or a power driver’s seat or leather) and could reach almost $60,000 with all the option boxes checked.
Model 3 Specs
During what Tesla called the Handover Party the two flavors of the new Model S gained some details. The base $35,000 car is called the Standard. It will have:
- 220-mile range
- 0-60 in 5.6 seconds
- 130 mph top speed
- Single motor on rear wheels
- Charging capability of adding 30 miles of range an hour on 32-amp 240-volt chargers
- 130 miles of range at Tesla Superchargers in 30 minutes (charge for use)
- 15-inch touchscreen
- Dual-zone climate control
- Hybrid steel/aluminum body
- Standard 18-inch wheels
- All this in a package that is 185 inches long, 73 inches wide and 57 inches high.
- Wheelbase is 113 inches
- 15 cubic feet of trunk space
The $44,000 Long Range model adds this:
- 330-mile range
- 0-60 in 5.1 seconds
- Top speed of 140 mph
- Charging capability of adding 37 miles of range an hour on 40-amp 240-volt chargers
- 170 miles of range at Tesla Supercharger in 30 minutes (charge for use)
Option costs beyond the $9,000 for the upgraded battery pack are:
The early production Model 3s will be high-end versions
- Paint: $1,000 for any color other than black
- Wheels: $1,500 for 19-inch wheels
- Interior upgrades: $5,000 (premium materials, power seats in front, premium audio+more)
- Enhanced Autopilot: $5,000 (adaptive cruise control, lane keeping, automatically change lanes, transition from one freeway to another, exit the freeway and self-park at your destination)
- Full Self-Driving Capability: $3,000 (an add-on to Enhanced Autopilot due
More Details Coming Later
We expect more details, such as the battery pack size, will be released prior to the late October start of deliveries to customers outside Tesla. Musk said 50 initial models had been built with 20 going to engineers for validation. I guess that would mean the 20 delivered to supposed paying Tesla employees are not fully validated.
The timeline for the Model S, as laid out by Musk, is:
- Late October 2017, customer deliveries
- November 2017, start of Standard production
- Spring 2018, all-wheel drive production to begin
- Second half 2018, left-hand drive international deliveries to begin
- 2019, production of right-hand drive models to begin
Engineering validation appears to be taking place alongside early deliveries
At the “party” Musk said the company had more than a half million reservations in hand. He indicated that any new reservations could expect to have their Model 3 built and delivered in late 2018. He then added that the aggressive production ramp-up planned for this car (Musk has targeted a 5,000-unit/week goal for the end of the year) will lead to “at least six months, maybe longer” of “production hell.” He pledged to ramp up production “as fast as we can,” but noted that it is a complex machine with 10,000 unique parts sourced from all over the world (one-third from outside the U.S.). The other linchpin of the ramp-up is the parallel ramp-up of production at the company’s Gigafactory outside Reno, Nevada, that is to produce the batteries and electric drivetrains for the car. Anticipating the cars getting on the road, Musk also pledged that the company would be tripling the number of outlets in its Supercharger network by the end of 2018.
Musk also added a brief sales pitch for the current Tesla models—S and X—saying the could be custom ordered and delivered in one-to-two months (the company’s website said some could be delivered in seven days). Purchases of Models S and X “make the Model 3 possible,” he noted.
In the electric car world, the Model 3 era has begun, even though it won’t begin in earnest for several months. Clean Fleet Report will continue to report on the model’s progress (or lack thereof) as things progress. In the meantime, the Chevrolet Bolt EV (with models starting at $37,495 and a 238-mile range) will be available nationwide starting next month (August 2017). More models from other automakers are around the corner. The EV world may never be the same.
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Is It Real Or An Italian Job?
Renegade is defined as “one who deserts and betrays an organization.” That’s a definition that many Jeep faithful have pinned on the bargain-priced Jeep subcompact Renegade crossover SUV and for good reason. The little Renegade is built in—oh-my-goodness—Italy. That makes the Renegade the first U.S.-market Jeep built outside the country (well, except for a nine-year stint when the square-headlight Wranglers were made in Canada).
“Small-wide-4×4” is the descriptive name of the Renegade’s platform, and it’s shared with—gulp—Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s Fiat 500X. It confers on the Renegade a transverse, front-mounted engine layout and is—oh no—predominantly front-wheel drive. That’s down right sacrilege!
However, the Renegade naysayers don’t have to worry, the little crossover isn’t targeted to the legions of Jeep aficionados. This is a vehicle aimed at the masses who are clamoring for small crossover SUVs. With the Jeep name affixed, it is the number one selling vehicle in its class through June of this year. It’s also doing quite well in Europe, China, Brazil and Argentina.
A Meaningful Badge
But Jeep doesn’t have to put its tail between its legs. Our 2017 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk test driver with its “Trail Rated” badge can follow a Wrangler Rubicon on any off-road trail you want to tackle, yet still feel at home on city streets or the daily freeway commute.
Trailhawk is top of the line
The lineup starts with the Renegade Sport with a base price of $17,995. It’s front-wheel drive and comes standard with a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine rated at 160 horsepower and 184 pounds-feet of torque. It’s paired with a six-speed manual, which is the sole transmission for this engine. That’s followed by the $21,495 Renegade Latitude with the same powertrain and more features. Optional for both models is a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder making 180 horsepower and 175 pounds-feet of torque.
Next up is the Renegade Limited, priced starting at $25,195. That gets you the 2.4-liter engine connected to a nine-speed automatic transmission as standard and a load more of features than the Latitude. Want four-wheel drive? For $2,000, the Limited (as well as the Sport and Latitude models) can add off-road capability with Jeep’s Active Drive system.
At $26,895 to start, our Renegade Trailhawk was competitively priced with the larger engine, automatic transmission and an Active Drive-Low four-wheel drive system, which puts it in the same off-road league as the Wrangler Rubicon. Options that made on-road miles a little easier to take included a $1,245 navigation upgrade that put a 6.5-inch touchscreen on the dash with Chrysler’s user-friendly Uconnect Access infotainment system. It also had a $1,605 package that included leather-trimmed heated bucket seats, eight-way power driver’s seat, heated steering wheel, dual-zone climate controls and 40/20/40 split rear seats.
Additional options included the $1,495 My Sky retractable/removable roof panels plus a $395 tow package. Add passive entry ($295), remote start ($125), security alarm, blind spot warning and cross path detection ($645). The bottom line, including a $995 destination charge, totaled $33,125.
Fuel economy numbers for both engines are on the low end for the segment. The EPA estimates fuel consumption at 24-mpg city/31-mpg highway/26-mpg combined for both front- and all-wheel drive models, but the turbocharged engine requires premium gasoline. The 2.0-liter four is EPA rated at 22 city/31 highway for front-drive models and 21 city/29 mpg highway with all-wheel drive.
Unmistakable Jeep Look
The Renegade is all of the Jeep brand’s character distilled into its smallest SUV offering. Boxy wheel arches, squared-off dimensions, old school round headlights and the seven-slot grille that’s become a logo on its own make this small crossover unmistakable for any other vehicle brand.
Seven slots says it all
This is a boxy, square-jawed, high-rise Jeep in the traditional Willys mold. It’s a tall, wide—and stubby—vehicle. It’s just 166.6-inches end-to-end, but 66.5-inches top to bottom You may either see that as a refreshing departure from the norm or something of a visual anachronism, but don’t be surprised if the car’s visual charm puts you in the former camp when you see it in the metal.
Just in case Jeep newbies aren’t familiar with Jeep’s history, there are countless Jeep-themed Easter eggs throughout the design, like the “Sarge” face in the headlights and “Jerry Can” shaped taillights.
Surprising Interior Quality
The 2017 Jeep Renegade may have a low starting cost for the class, but its cabin punches above its price. Upscale materials abound, and even the plastic trim pieces are of high quality. Whether you buy a model with the standard cloth upholstery or one with the optional leather, you’ll find firm, supportive seats to keep you comfortable. There’s ample headroom in both rows of seats, but legroom for tall adults is limited in the rear. Still, the back is wide enough to fit three people in a pinch, though it’s probably better to stick with only two for maximum comfort.
For those with a young family, the Renegade can fit two car seats in the second row and booster seats are easy to install, depending on the size and configuration. There are ample storage cubbies in the cabin, like large usable door pockets and a decent-sized glove box and center console. A 60/40 rear folding seat offers versatility for passengers and cargo space on the base model. Higher trims can be equipped with a 40/20/40 split-folding rear seat for even more flexibility. The seatback is nearly flat when folded down, making it easy to load stuff in the back. Regardless of trim, a standard front-passenger seat gives space for long objects.
More upscale than you would expect
Most subcompact SUVs have just under 20 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and around 50 cubic feet of overall room. The Jeep Renegade fits the mold, with 18.5-cubic feet and 50.8-cubic feet, respectively. The cargo floor behind the rear seats can be adjusted up or down and includes a compartment under the floor to discreetly stow items away. However, if you get a Trailhawk model, most of the space under the floor is consumed by a full-size spare tire—a necessity when off roading.
If you buy a Renegade that comes with either the five-inch or 6.5-inch touch screen Uconnect infotainment system, you’ll find it easy to use. Uconnect’s intuitive menu structure and quick responses to inputs help make it one of the most user-friendly infotainment systems you can get. You can also access internet apps like Yelp using Uconnect. When you need to adjust climate or audio settings, you can use the large physical controls on the center stack.
Jeep does offer optional navigation and 3G Wi-Fi (unfortunately not 4G) in the Renegade. Also, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not yet available for UConnect, and a backup camera is only available on touchscreen units.
What’s That “Trail Rated” Badge All About?
In 2004 Jeep started using a special “Trail Rated” badge on certain Jeep vehicles to mark that the vehicle was trail-worthy according to Jeep’s specifications. It signifies that the vehicles have passed off-road testing for traction, ground clearance, off road articulation, maneuverability, and water fording.
A real badge of honor
The Renegade offers two off road systems, Active Drive and Active Drive Low, which is only available with the Trailhawk trim. Both systems feature full-time four-wheel drive, and Active Drive Low adds low-range gearing that mimics the “4WD” low range of conventional systems. Active Drive includes Jeep’s Selec-Terrain system, which provides four settings to adjust driving dynamics for different trail types: Auto, Snow, Sand, and Mud. Trailhawk models add a fifth setting for Rocks.
Almost nine inches of ground clearance, beefier suspension pieces, skid plates, knobby all-terrain tires on 17-inch rims and tow hooks complete the Renegade’s Trailhawk rating. To top things off, a Trailhawk can tow 2,000 lbs.—the highest tow rating in the class.
Driving The Renegade Trailhawk, On- and Off-Road
The 2017 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk is an off-roader, and folks who regularly leave the pavement know there are compromises involved. The short wheelbase and all-terrain Goodyear Wranglers that serve so well in the boonies make for a jarring ride quality. It’s a Jeep thing, right?
On the highway, body movements were more pronounced than those of most crossovers and weren’t dealt with subtly, but they reined in well enough to keep the car on-line
A comfortable spot for the Renegade
and under control, even when pushing on. Unfortunately, the tall stance made for lots of body roll, and its heavier curb weight contributed to understeer in the corners. That said, the ride wasn’t Jeep Wrangler Rubicon-jarring. After a couple of hours of highway driving, what had been noticeable just faded away.
The ride was more livable at reduced speeds on city streets. This is where the Renegade rides and acts pretty much like any other subcompact crossover. Its small size slips easily into and out of small parking spaces, yet there is enough room to load a Costco-sized grocery run. However, it’s not capable of darting through traffic like some others can.
The Engine—More & Less
Powering our 2017 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk was an engine with more horsepower, but less torque, than the base engine. That fact became apparent when stepping on the accelerator, as it takes nearly nine seconds for the Renegade to get up to 60 mph. That meant adjusting my driving style to deal with this.
The Trailhawk had no reserve power to call upon when it came to passing—like another car cresting a rise in the opposite lane—while I was still trying to finish my slow-motion pass. I had to become adroit at estimating time/distance relationships, and learned to get the drop on those I planned to pass. I may not have passed many cars or SUVs on the road, but when the road ended, not many SUVs could pass—or even be able to follow me.
Room in back for the fun stuff
When I needed to scratch an itch to go off highway, the rugged, rock strewn, abandoned logging roads southwest of Mt. Rainer was a good off-road test for the littlest Jeep. With its 8.9-inch ground clearance and 60.6-inch wide track, it handled deep ruts, crawled over medium-size boulders and handled extremely rough trails with nary a hitch. The overall length and short turning radius were a definite advantage in tight narrow turns.
The Renegade’s four-wheel drive system found strong traction and conserved forward momentum quite well. With both the torque vectoring and hill descent control systems relying on the brakes to work, tougher tracks likely will set a test that the brakes can’t live up to indefinitely.
Still, the Renegade Trailhawk will go farther and harder into the rough than many would believe—and more than most owners are ever likely require.
Our 363 miles of driving was around 60 percent highway/30 percent city/10 percent off-road, with a combined fuel economy of 26.2 mpg.
In The Marketplace
There are plenty of competing two- and all-wheel drive crossovers facing the 2017 Jeep Renegade—Honda’s HR-V, Mazda CX-3, Nissan Juke and the Toyota C-HR to name a few—but the Renegade Trailhawk is in a space of its own. While many of the competitors can accomplish light off-roading, none can follow in the tracks of the Renegade Trailhawk. That leaves Jeep Wrangler Rubicon as the only competitive model.
Easter eggs that hint at history
One of the only areas that the Wrangler Rubicon one ups the Renegade Trailhawk is its legendary off-roading ability. A larger engine, bigger tires, and greater ground clearance, as well as optional rear locking differentials, make the Wrangler more capable off-road, but the Renegade Trailhawk handily outperforms it on regular pavement with better driving dynamics and a smoother ride. The Renegade provides more passenger room, especially in the second row, and has a better overall interior quality. In short, if you’re a Jeep fanatic who does a lot of off-roading, and you’re willing to sacrifice day-to-day comfort, then the Wrangler is for you. If you want most of the same off-road capabilities, but in a better overall daily driver package, then the Renegade Trailhawk is the clear choice.
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Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.
Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at email@example.com.
Another Manufacturer Joins Electric Car Racing Series
Mercedes is ditching the roar of four-liter fire-breathing V-8 engines for the hum and whine of electric motors. This isn’t a new product announcement (though they’re doing that, too), but it is related to future products. Daimler, Mercedes-Benz parent company, announced this week that it is pulling out of DTM racing, where it competes on mainly European tracks against its German luxury car rivals. The motorsports efforts will migrate starting in season six (2019/20) of the Formula E electric car racing series.
The roar of the gas V-8 will be replaced by electric motor whine
Patterned after the high-end Formula 1 series (in which Mercedes also competes), with which it shares a governing board, Formula E currently consists of 20 cars from 10 teams using standardized battery packs and cars. Over the years participants have gradually been allowed more innovations on their powertrains, something the race series has promised to open up even more in the coming years.
That is part of the attraction for Daimler, which has announced the launch of its electric EQ sub-brand. “Formula E is a significant step in order to demonstrate the performance of our attractive battery-powered electric vehicles under the EQ technology brand,” said Dr. Jens Thiemer, vice president of marketing, Mercedes-Benz Cars. “It is time to start a new path.”
The race commitment will mean Mercedes is joining Audi, BMW, Jaguar and Renault among major automakers already in the series. Given two German luxury marques are already involved, the Mercedes move should be looked at as almost a forgone conclusion.
Part of the Launch of the EQ Label
“Mercedes-Benz will market future battery powered electric vehicles using the EQ label,” explained Thiemer. “Formula E (gives) an emotional spin to our EQ technology brand through motorsport and marketing.”
Toto Wolff, managing partner of both the Formula 1 and Formula E teams, views Formula E as a brand new form of racing that reflects a rapidly changing automotive landscape.
Expect to see the Mercedes-Benz EQ brand in Formula E
“In motorsport like in every other area, we want to be the benchmark in the premium segment and to explore innovative new projects,” he said. “The combination of Formula 1 and Formula E delivers that. Formula E is like an exciting start-up venture: it offers a brand new format, combining racing with a strong event character, in order to promote current and future technologies. Electrification is happening in the road car world and Formula E offers manufacturers an interesting platform to bring this technology to a new audience – and to do so with a completely new kind of racing, different to any other series.”
It’s clear that Mercedes will be spending the next two seasons scoping out the competition and planning to make its entry in a forceful way. Given its track record in Formula 1 and DTM, in motorsports “the best or nothing” translates into a quest for trophies.
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Four States That Rise Above the Rest When It Comes to EV Purchase & Infrastructure Incentives
Electric vehicles are quickly growing in popularity, and many states around the country are actively encouraging residents to purchase electric vehicles. Many buyers are purchasing electric vehicles after learning about the generous incentives that their states offer as well as the advantages to the environment. If you own an electric vehicle, or you’re considering making a purchase soon, below are the best states to buy and live with an electric vehicles. Each one has something special to offer buyers looking at EVs.
California is well-known as one of the very best states in which to own an electric car. Not only does the state provide generous tax breaks and incentives for car buyers to purchase electric vehicles, but there are charging stations in most towns and cities across the state. There are even special free charging spots in parking garages in the city of Sacramento, making it cheaper to drive around in an EV within the city. It’s highly convenient driving with an electric car there thanks to HOV lane-access that make traveling faster and easier to do. Below is a breakdown of some of the most common programs that California has in place for EV buyers currently.
Plugging in is easier and cheaper in some states
Low-income citizens in California can get money off a battery electric vehicle (BEV), a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) or an electric motorcycle. Varying rebates are available from the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project from $5,000 for fuel cell vehicles, to as little as $900 for electric motorcycles with electric cars falling in the middle of that number. Apply for the rebate within 18 months of purchasing a qualifying vehicle before funds are used up (the fund is typically replenished at each budget cycle in the fall).
There’s another rebate in place for residents of the South Coast Air Quality Management District offering between $2,500 and $4,500 for retiring an old vehicle amd replacing it with a low-emission model, including an electric vehicle. Residents that live in a “disadvantaged” community (according to state’s screening program) can get an additional $3,000 to $5,000 when retiring that old vehicle as well.
Not everyone will qualify for all the programs being offered in California, but many EV buyers can cut their costs significantly. And one state legislator has proposed an even more generous incentive program.
New York is a very EV-friendly state that offers plenty of perks to buyers that decide to go with plug-in or full-electric vehicles. The Drive Clean Rebate that kicked in on April 1, 2017, offers up to $2,000 toward the purchase of a PHEV or a BEV, making both vehicles more affordable. There’s also a special charging point rebate that offers up to $5,000 in rebates or 50 percent of the installation cost at qualifying locations. Insurance companies within the state are well-known for offering EV discounts to drivers. There is special plug-in vehicle parking at commercial buildings around the state, and EVs are eligible to drive in the HOV lanes on Staten Island for more convenient travel.
Colorado offers the best incentives in the country for electric vehicle owners. There are tax credits in Colorado of up to $5,000 available to car buyers that pick up an electric car and $2,500 available to people that decide to lease an EV There are also special grants available to help property owners install Level 2 chargers on their property that cover up to 80 percent of the cost of these units with rebates up to $3,260 for a single port and $6,260 for a multi-port installation. Property owners interested in Level 3 fast-charge technology can get up to $13,000 for a single-port charging station and up to $16,000 for a multi-port charging location. Colorado encourages a charging infrastructure and it’s easy to find chargers in most cities around the state.
Some states make buying an EV easier
Texas is another state that’s a well-known advocate of electric vehicles. Austin Energy, one of the larger power companies in the state, offers to pay up to $1,500 towards the cost of a charging station or half the cost of the charging station, whichever is the lower amount. EV buyers can also take advantage of $3,500 in purchase vouchers that make the vehicles considerably more affordable to purchase. It’s important to note that there are vehicle, income and location requirements to benefit from this rebate program.
It pays to own an electric vehicle in one of the states above, and more states around the country are implementing programs that favor electric vehicles and help encourage owners to pick them up.