GM to expand Chevy Bolt EV sales, bring battery production to US

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EVAs part of a sweeping update on General Motors’ electric-car plans, CEO Mary Barra announced the company will expand production and sales of the Chevy Bolt EV. At the same time, GM is expanding battery production for the Bolt EV from South Korea to a new factory in Michigan. In a blog post on LinkedIn on Wednesday, Barra laid out the company’s…
Source: Hybrid and Electric Car News and Reviews

Mary Barra Reiterates GM’s EV Commitments And Financial Investments

However, there is still a long way to go to meet the lofty goal of ‘zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion’

This week, General Motors’ CEO Mary Barra published a blog post on LinkedIn to address the company’s all electric future. Last October, Barra made the announcement that 20 new all-electric vehicles would be released globally by 2023.

The Chevy Bolt EV has been in high demand globally and will see a production increase of 20% next quarter above the average production rate for the first 3 quarters. The 2019 Chevy Volt has also managed to stay relevant despite a significant increase in PHEV competition. On the other hand, the Cadillac CT6 PHEV has yet to gain a foothold.

In her LinkedIn blog post, Barra confirmed what was already widely expected. LG Electronics’ new facility in Hazel Park, Michigan will be supplying battery packs for the Chevrolet Bolt EV.

Chevrolet Bolt EV

The GM battery lab at the Global Technical Center in Warren Michigan will also be receiving “major enhancements” this fall including “new test chambers and advanced equipment to accelerate our next-generation battery architecture”. Automotive News reports that the facility will receive $28 million for the new upgrades this year.

The CEO also confirmed that the automaker will deliver a prototype vehicle capable of 180-miles of range in less than 10 minutes of charging.

Unsurprisingly, China is getting the bulk of the electric vehicle attention

Outside of the U.S., the diminutive Baojun E100 has been a surprise hit in China. Baojun is also launching a follow up to the little 2 seat-er this month. Creatively named the Baojun E200, the new model will have sleeker styling and longer range than the E100 sibling.  The Velite 6 PHEV will also be launching in China, although reports have indicated battery supplier issues might delay the launch.

These vehicles join the Baojun E100, Buick Velite 5 and Cadillac CT6 PHEV that are already on sale in the market. This focus on China was expected considering the country has rolled out stronger New Energy Vehicle requirements. Barra states “China is the world’s largest EV market and will be a large driver of global EV adoption.”

An InsideEVs source anonymous) was at a focus group this Summer, and confidently states THIS is GM's next all-electric vehicle - a compact utility offering under the Buick badge

As far as the United States, there have been no new electric vehicle announcements recently. Certainly the increase in Bolt EV production is a positive development. But much of this increase will actually go to meet the demand of other markets.

Still GM has embraced plug-ins in the U.S. more than any other traditional automaker. So we are excited for whatever their next move is. What we are waiting for is an announcement of the rumored Buick CUV that is based on the Chevy Bolt. We certainly hope General Motors has some news to share with us soon on this front.

Source: LinkedIn Post

Source: Electric Vehicle News

University of Michigan researchers develop non-combustible, non-degrading ceramic electrolyte

Scientists at the University of Michigan have developed a solid-state electrolyte which they claim is non-combustible (which is good, because it’s heated to over 1,800° F during manufacturing!) and not vulnerable to dendrite formation due to a stabilizing ceramic layer. The electrolyte has special properties that allow for increased capacities and faster charging rates as well.

Current graphite anodes have a specific capacity of 350 milliamp-hours per gram (mAh/g) and current Li-ion batteries that use them have a maximum energy density of 600 watt-hours per liter (wh/L). Theoretically, solid-state batteries can have a specific capacity of 3,800 mAh/g and energy densities of 1,200 wh/L.  Also, without liquid, dendrites, filaments or combustion, charging rates can be increased without the tradeoffs of lifespan or safety.

“Up until now, the rates at which you could plate lithium would mean you’d have to charge a lithium metal car battery over 20 to 50 hours (for full power). With this breakthrough, we demonstrated we can charge the battery in 3 hours or less. We’re talking a factor of 10 increase in charging speed compared to previous reports for solid-state lithium metal batteries. We’re now on par with lithium-ion cells in terms of charging rates, but with additional benefits,” says project head Professor Jeff Sakamoto.


Source: University of Michigan

Source: Electric Vehicles Magazine

Supplier tests compact 100-kwh battery pack in BMW i3

BMW i Vision Dynamics concept, 2017 Frankfurt Motor ShowUsing new battery-pack architecture, BMW battery supplier Lion Smart has crammed triple the battery capacity into a BMW i3s. Lion Smart’s 100-kilowatt-hour battery gives the little city car a range of 435 miles on a charge, in the same footprint as the original battery pack. Lion Smart has developed a modular battery-pack design that makes cooling…
Source: Hybrid and Electric Car News and Reviews

Musk Sips Whiskey, Takes A Drag, Discusses Insanity Of Running Tesla

For a man who sleeps on the factory floor, a one-off good time was in order when he appeared on Joe Rogan’s podcast.

Lasting for some 2 and a half hours, an-often giddy Tesla CEO touched upon seemingly everything Tesla while sipping some whiskey and taking a drag from a blunt reportedly containing a mixture of tobacco and marijuana, which by the way is perfectly legal in California where the act occurred.

To us, it was a relief to see a more relaxed Musk, who openly admits to how insane it can be to head up an automaker, a task made even more difficult by the intense scrutiny Tesla is under from seemingly all those who’d like nothing more than for Tesla to fail.

Mostly missed by the media is that we see a joyful Musk here. This coming just a day after a Tesla placed 1, 2, and 3 in electric car sales for the month of August. Perhaps there’s a joyful connection still to this achievement.

Musk says marijuana isn’t really his thing “I’m not a regular smoker of weed,” but we wouldn’t mind if it was. His task at hand is more than just to push electric car mainstream. Musk wants the world’s automakers to follow Tesla’s lead and judging by the recent break out of new electric cars now hitting the market, his dream is becoming reality.

There are far too many topics discussed in the podcast to go into detail here (he even plays with a sword), so we suggest you just watch it in its entirety, but we will leave you with this closing comment from Musk:

“I think people should be nicer to each other and give more credit to others and don’t assume that they’re mean until you know they’re actually mean. It’s easy to demonize people. You’re usually wrong about it. People are nicer than you think.”

Source: Electric Vehicle News

Zurich Cancels 2019 Formula E Race: Bern To Step In

Bern is in line to replace Zurich on Formula E’s season five calendar after the latter’s scheduled race has been cancelled due to a clash with other local events.

The Zuri-Fascht festival runs every three years and will take place at the beginning of July in 2019, just a few weeks after the Zurich Pride Festival.

A statement on the Zurich government website explained that an “additional major event would be too great a burden for the population”, with the Zuri-Fascht using many of the same streets and areas as the Zurich Street Circuit in the city’s Enge district.

FE is understood to be looking for an alternative location in Switzerland to stage the season five race, which had been given a 9 June 2019 slot on the 2018/19 calendar.

Bern has emerged as the frontrunner as it is understood the local mayor is in favour of hosting the FE race.

The Zurich government statement suggests a permit for a 2020 race on FE’s season six calendar will be granted, but the event would take place at a new location within the city due to issues with planning and construction of the inaugural race, which was won by Audi driver Lucas di Grassi.

“Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible to find alternative dates that worked for both the city of Zurich and our calendar of events in 2019, but we remain in conversations for a potential return in 2020,” said a FE spokesperson.

“The Zurich E-Prix in June proved to be a huge success at both a national and international level, seeing great participation on all fronts from multiple stakeholders, including fans, sponsors and media alike.

“This has also sparked interest from other cities within the country and our promoter is leading a number of discussions to look at alternatives for this coming season.

“We’re currently evaluating the best option from a technical and commercial perspective.

“With Formula E bringing back motorsport to Switzerland after nearly six decades, we can only be proud of how well we’ve been received nationwide.”

Source: Electric Vehicle News

German Automakers May Need To Take Notes To Compete With Tesla


Congratulations are in order. Finally. Plans are starting to surface for German electric cars. But some are disappointed. Germany’s Handlesblatt reports, “Mercedes, Audi and BMW will present new electric cars… none of the models, however, is expected to be the much-hoped-for ‘Tesla killer.’” Why? Evercore ISI analyst, Arndt Ellinghorst says, “Germany’s first, real electric cars will be expensive compromises between the old and new world.”

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Matt Pressman. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs.

Above: Slated for sale in the U.S. in 2020, Mercedes EQC’s press kit cites a 200-mile range for the SUV (Source: Jalopnik)

Patrick McGee (via Financial Times) takes a deeper look at disagreements plaguing German automakers. Factories are struggling with fractured electric vehicle strategies. McGee writes that “leading German manufacturers [continue to] grapple with how best to switch to greener vehicles.” Furthermore, he surmises that the switch to all-electric vehicles, like the cars that Tesla produces, could pose an “existential challenge” to the German automotive establishment.

McGee notes that “When Tesla started production of the Model S saloon in 2012, the start-up had fewer than 3,000 employees. Chief executive Elon Musk had the luxury of beginning with a blank page, to hire just the specialists he needed… [in order] to launch the first successful electric-only car brand.” One former Tesla executive said the company ethos, at the time, was: “There’s only one way, and it’s forward.”

In contrast, if legacy carmakers aggressively push forward with electric vehicles, they’ll need to give up the cash cows of the past — diesel and gas-guzzling cars powered by the internal combustion engine. For Germany’s automakers, according to the Ifo Institute, “up to 600,000 of their jobs would be at risk if the internal combustion engine died. However, all incumbent carmakers acknowledge that electric cars are the future.” That said, Germany’s legacy automakers are struggling to address this conundrum.

To make matters worse, the shift to electric, “will re-sort the carmakers in profitability,” says Christian Senger, head of the e-mobility line at the VW passenger car brand. “Those who [take] the hardest road will be more successful than the others.” But they’re nervous about “over-spending on a technology that may or may not upend existing facilities devoted to cars powered by internal combustion engines.”

Above: A look at the Tesla Model S and BMW i3 (Image: Drive Zero)

Meanwhile, “This is not a dilemma Tesla ever faced. Among its early competitive advantages was a vehicle architecture built specifically for an electric car. Its Model S saloon was designed to house large batteries that would give it the longest driving range possible. When it debuted in 2012, the middle-of-the-range Tesla model could drive for 335km— a range many rivals even in 2018 fail to match.” And now, “it sells variants with ranges greater than 500km.”

An analyst at Bernstein, Max Warburton, warns Germany’s carmakers, “If you have a dedicated EV platform and the demand doesn’t come, you’ve lost a lot of money.” BMW’s chief executive Harald Krueger says, “We can’t afford having two factories standing still.” He notes, “with a flexible [vehicle architecture] approach you can always manage the capacity of your plants. But if you have a specific EV architecture, what do you with the old one? What do you do with the people?”

Mercedes is also miffed. “We have hybrids, plug-in hybrids, electric cars and maybe robo-taxis tomorrow,” says Daimler production chief Markus Schaefer. “It’s hard to predict volumes for the best way in an uncertain world.” Meanwhile, Germany’s top auto suppliers continue to cling to fossil fuel tech. Recently, “Bosch claimed it reached a breakthrough to cut nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel-engine cars.”

The marketplace, however, is moving towards vehicle electrification. It’s reported that “Customer preferences are becoming greener and increasingly stringent regulations will make it necessary for electric cars to be a substantial part of [automaker] fleets in the coming decade.” Right in Germany’s own Frankfurt, courts just ruled to “ban polluting, older diesel and gasoline vehicles from the city center starting next February.”

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Above: An example of how European cities, like London, are beginning to transition to electric vehicles (Youtube: Financial Times)

With the pressure on, Germany’s latest EV investments could be “an acknowledgment that its current line-up of electric cars fall short of competing with Tesla on range, acceleration and other measures.” That said, Germany’s electrification efforts remain constrained by its allegiance to the internal combustion engine.


Source: Financial TimesHandlesblattJalopnikAutomotive News Europe

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers, free of charge. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX. Check out the site here.

Source: Electric Vehicle News

Road Test: 2018 Chevrolet Colorado Duramax 4WD ZR2

Midsize Off-Road King

With the Colorado ZR2, Chevrolet has created a midsize off-road king. Drop in a turbodiesel, and it becomes a torque and fuel economy wizard. Over a far too-short week, Clean Fleet Report took the Colorado ZR2 Duramax both on- and off-road and came away wanting more time behind the wheel.

2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Duiramax Diesel

We wished we had more time to explore the Colorado ZR2’s capabiltiies

Power, Torque and Fuel Economy

The 2018 Chevrolet Colorado AWD Duramax is powered by a 2.8-liter double overhead cam (DOHC), direct-injection I4 turbodiesel engine, pumping out 186 horsepower and 369 pound-feet (lb.-ft.) of torque. With the Hydra-Matic six-speed automatic transmission, the EPA fuel economy is rated at 19 city/22 highway/20 combined. In 432 miles we averaged 24.1 mpg, which included freeway miles but also some semi-serious off-roading. Out on the freeway over 242 miles, with the cruise control set at 65 mph, we averaged a very impressive 28.2 mpg. When driving your Colorado ZR2 AWD turbodiesel sanely on the open road, the 21 gallon fuel tank could take you more than 575 miles before needing a refill.

Driving Experience: On the Road

The Colorado ZR2 Duramax is stable and quiet on the road, belying the off-road equipment that makes it so competent in the dirt, snow or on rocks. Acceleration is smooth, but not fast, with 0-to-60 times right around 9.7 seconds. Freeway onramps and passing on the freeway were accomplished with confidence, as was cornering, where there was little body roll. The ZR2 off-road suspension package was tuned so that driving on-road was not stiff or jarring.

2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Duiramax Diesel

The turbodiesel came into its own off-road

The engine is quiet and smooth, partly due to the Centrifugal Pendulum Vibration Absorber that balances out undesirable engine torsional vibrations. General Motors says the Duramax 2.8L is the cleanest diesel truck engine they have ever produced, meeting the toughest U.S. emissions standards. Look for turbodiesel engines in trucks to become

more standard in the coming years.

Stopping was solid with four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, featuring four-piston front calipers and Duralife brake rotors, which Chevrolet says will double the service life over a normal rotor. Street driving stops were straight and true with excellent pedal feel. On dirt, it was easy to use the brakes to control slides and come to an abrupt halt when necessary.

2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Duiramax Diesel

The ZR2 package gives you all the equipment you need for serious off-roading

The Duramax diesel engine comes with driver-selectable exhaust brakes. This technology uses the compression power of the engine to improve stopping distances, increases the driver’s feeling of control and reduces brake pad wear. This is all helpful when towing the rated 5,000 lbs.

The Colorado ZR2 comes standard with electric power assisted rack-and-pinion steering which was engineered to give good road feel. With a raised ride height and an overall length (with the 5’2” Short Box we were driving) of just under 18 feet, parking was a non-challenge.

Driving Experience: Off the Road

Clean Fleet Report’s time in the Colorado ZR2 demanded we seek out some off-roading areas. We didn’t do any rock crawling, but did find unpaved, high-speed dirt roads in the Tehachapi Mountains and the Los Padres National Forest. Venturing around a bit we encountered a sandy, dry stream bed and some loose shale covered inclines. The goal was not to push the Colorado ZR2 to its limits, but to get an idea of its off-road driving attributes versus paved surfaces.

2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Duiramax Diesel

Out back, a well-anchored spare and a bed ready to work

Grip was easy to predict with the Goodyear all-terrain, 31-inch 255/65R tires on 17-inch aluminum wheels. The ZR2 package comes with front and rear, driver-selectable electronic locking differentials, independent coil-over shocks and a two-speed electric transfer case. Also unique to the ZR2 is the Multimatic DSSV system, a professional motorsport suspension technology that is now available for road use. Before going any further about the ZR2 off-road capability, it has to be noted that on the freeway, around town and on curvy roads, the 5,011 lb. ZR2 was a pleasure to drive. There was no road harshness in the cabin nor squeaks or groans from the body-on-frame build.

Now, back to the non-paved surfaces. The ZR2 did whatever it was asked to do. Based on driving fast on loose dirt and shale, the climbing and descending we project (when using the hill descent control) should be an experience of control and confidence. It also adds handling stability and traction control. The ZR2 comes with a transfer case shield, rock sliders and aluminum off-road skid plates to protect the radiator, oil pan and front differential. Where the Colorado ZR2 with the Duramax turbodiesel really shines is the availability and willingness of the 369 lb.-ft. of torque. Nothing like hitting a soft spot of sand or dirt and feeling the wheels dig in—then grip and go. Clean Fleet Report is hoping to get into the 2019 Colorado ZR2 Duramax and check-out some snow and that brand of off-roading.

Driving Experience: Exterior

The Chevrolet Colorado was redesigned in 2014. The designers were going for an athletic, sleek and a strong look to match its targeted buyer, an active outdoor lifestyle with activities such as bicycling, canoeing, surfing, scuba diving and camping. With the ZR2 model, add off-roading to that list of outdoor adventures. But the ZR2 is not just a name with a fancy paint job. The ZR2 has a two-inch factory lift compared to the standard Colorado and has a 3.5-inch wider track. The front bumper and grille are unique to the ZR2 as are the fender flares, a cowl-style hood with a tasty black insert and the bed-mounted full-size spare tire. There is also a ZR2 logo sport bar with off-road LED lights.


2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Duiramax Diesel

The ZR2 is a great blend that melds off-road ability with on-road comfort

he movable tie-down rings and the spray-in liner are standard, and the locking tailgate has internal torsion bars and a damper for a more controlled lowering process, which is easily done with one hand.

Clean Fleet Report’s Colorado ZR2 was all black save for the ZR2 graphics and the small amount of chrome reserved for the badging.

Driving Experience: Interior

The ZR2 Package comes with upgraded materials, offering a high-end look, tone and feel. The Colorado benefits from acoustic engineering with triple sealed doors, fibrous wheelhouse liners and underbody insulation and panels to keep out road and wind noise. The seats were firm and comfortable, with the Colorado easily seating five adults.

The standard rear vision camera worked well, providing a clear, wide

2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Duiramax Diesel

Inside the Colorado has room for five and all the tech you could want

image on the 8.0-inch color touch screen monitor that also was home for Chevrolet’s six-speaker MyLink infotainment system. Included in MyLink is navigation, OnStar, FM/HD AM radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM (three-month complimentary service), Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio, Siri Eyes Free, text message support, four USB ports and an auxiliary power outlet. The gauges were easy-to-read and the radio passed the Clean Fleet Report minimum driver safety test as it had easy to use volume and channel selection knobs.

A note regarding OnStar: a simple push of a button connects you with a friendly General Motors representative to handle emergencies, directions and general assistance to make your driving experience safer and more enjoyable. This is one area where GM is the industry leader and, after the five-year service plan expires, it is well worth renewing.

 Also on Clean Fleet Report’s 2018 Colorado ZR2 was the 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot that can connect seven devices and has a 50-foot range. Because of a newly designed, more powerful antenna, the system is capable of video streaming even while the truck is in motion. The service is free for three months or three gigabytes of data, and then the subscription cost is based on the duration ordered (one day, one month or annually) and the gigabytes desired. Clean Fleet Report is a big fan of the Wi-Fi we find on General Motors cars, SUVs and trucks. If you are packing the family for a road trip, then the Wi-Fi is a must to keep the backseat crew happy, occupied and quiet.

Additional comfort and convenience features include cruise control, driver and front passenger leather-trimmed heated seats with four-way power adjustments and power lumbar, heated power outside mirrors, tilt and telescopic steering column, automatic A/C, power windows with driver side one-touch up and down, power door locks, floor mats, sliding rear window, front fog lamps, leather wrapped steering wheel with controls for audio, telephone and cruise.


The 2018 Chevrolet Colorado has six airbags, remote keyless entry and vehicle start, vehicle theft deterrence system and a tire pressure monitoring system. The 2018 Colorado has earned a US Government National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) with a 4 out of 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Colorado its highest rating of Good.

2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Duiramax Diesel

The outlined bowtie is about the only chrome you’ll see

Pricing and Warranties

Clean Fleet Report’s 2018 Chevrolet Colorado 4WD ZR2 Crew Short Box with the Duramax turbodiesel had a base MSRP of $42,000. With $7,540 in options, the total came to $49,540. All prices do not include the $995 destination charge.

The 2018 Chevrolet Colorado comes with these warranties:

  • Bumper-to-Bumper Three years/36,000 miles
  • Scheduled Service/Maintenance Two years/Unlimited Miles
  • Powertrain Five years/100,000 miles
  • Roadside Assistance Five years/100,000 miles

Observations: 2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 4WD Crew Cab Short Box with the Duramax Turbodiesel

Clean Fleet Report’s second time around in the turbodiesel Colorado only reinforced our feeling that if you are in the market for a midsize truck, then the Colorado ZR2 Duramax should be at the top of your consideration list. This is an excellent truck that offers performance, comfort, towing capability and to-talk-about fuel economy.

2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Duiramax Diesel

This is a rig that begs to be challenged on- or off-road

If you are looking for a pickup smaller, more maneuverable and fuel efficient than a full-size truck, then visiting your Chevrolet dealer is a must do. Competition includes the upcoming 2019 Ford Ranger as well as the sister-truck GMC Canyon, the Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier and Honda Ridgeline.

If you do not anticipate spending much time off-roading, then opt for the Colorado Z71 with the Duramax turbodiesel. You will get all the convenience features and build quality, along with the excellent diesel fuel economy, but at a much lower price than the ZR2. It all depends on your needs. But then that should be the #1 factor for any car or truck you bring home.

Whatever you buy, Happy Driving!

[See image gallery at]

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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


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Source: Electric, Hybrid, Clean Diesel & High-MPG Vehicles