Electric, Hybrid and Hydrogen Vehicles

By Michele Spencer

EV market notes:  Studies show that potential buyers are still turned off to EVs and Hybrids.  Lack of options, high prices, limited range, and perceptions about limited charging station infrastructure are real issues for the industry to overcome in order to gain acceptance and market share.  Federal rebates ($7500) are still in play.  CA rebates ($2500) are in danger of going away if the Legislature does not act to save them, but for the moment, they remain available. Manufacturers are not penetrating the market: Less than 1% of car sales are electric vehicles nationwide. Foreign governments are doing a lot more to encourage electric, especially China,  which has a mandate that by 2020, 8 percent of all new vehicles sold must be electric and is currently prohibiting travel in certain cities unless the vehicle is an EV.  Norway is going all EV by 2025, France and the UK by 2040, and along with that, these countries will be prohibiting sales of new combustion engine vehicles. Japan’s government is embracing hydrogen as its power of choice for automobiles and already has extensive infrastructure for fuel cell vehicles. The movement towards zero emissions standards in China in particular is credited for motivating the manufacturers so they can capture that market and not get left behind.

This is my list of currently-available EVs, anticipated EVs to be sold, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, currently-available hybrids, and anticipated hybrids, for sale in the US, with notes from press releases and news sources.  Prices are MSRPs.

Pure Electric vehicles (EVs) Currently Available

  • Audi A3 e-tron (hatchback) from $38,900
  • BMW i3 (crossover) – from $44,450 – BMW plans to launch 25 electrified vehicles by 2025, including 12 that are fully electric.  CA electric companies are offering rebates, so check with yours.
  • BMW i8 (sportscar) – from $143,000
  • Chevy Bolt (hatchback) – from $37,495. 238 mile range, Motor Trend Car of the Year 2017
  • Fiat 500e (subcompact) – from $32,995
  • Ford Focus EV (hatchback) – from $29,120
  • Honda Clarity EV (sedan) – 89 mile range, Lease only.
  • Hyundai Ioniq (sedan) – Base trim model from $29,500; Limited trim from $32,500) – Fell short of consumer expectations on range, did not sell as well as expected. Now has 124 mile range. Available only to California residents.
  • Kia Soul EV (crossover) – from $32,250
  • Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive (sedan) – from $40,895
  • Mitsubishi IMIev (crossover) – from $22,995
  • Nissan Leaf (hatchback) – 2018 model revealed Sept. 2017; available January 2018. Nissan had to put out a new model to catch up to the others on range. The 2016 model had only 106 mile range. For 2018, the second generation Leaf has 150 mile range. From $30,875.  An “e plus” Leaf will be introduced in 2019, which will have 225 mile range.
  • Smart car ForTwo (subcompact) – from $14,650. Parent company Daimler AG announced closing of 2/3 of the US Smart car dealerships (Automotive News). 70-80 mile range. Only 27 dealers in the US will be selling these by 2018. Penske Automotive Group will continue to sell them in San Diego.  All will be EV. Gas models will be dropped from production in 2017, but may still be in stock at dealerships.
  • Tesla S (luxury sedan) – from $68,000. 210-305 mile range
  • Tesla 3 (sedan) – from $35,000), 220 to 310 mile range
  • Tesla X (luxury SUV) – from 79,500, 237-295 mile range
  • Volkswagen e-Golf (hatchback) – from $31,345

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles Currently Available

  • Honda Clarity (sedan) – Lease only, from $59K. Launched 2016
  • Hyundai Tuscon ix35 FCEV (SUV) – from $50,875. Launched 2013
  • Toyota Mirai (compact) – from $57,500.  Launched 2014
Tesla Model 3 LA Auto Show 2017.jpg
Tesla Model 3 at the Los Angeles Auto Show 2017

EVs Not Yet Available + Projected Production Year  + Notes

  • Audi e-tron (midsize luxury crossover) available 2019.  Will have 311 mile range. A sportback will be launched later in 2019 (fastback that will sit lower than an SUV but offers a more elevated seating position than a standard hatchback.)  Audi’s third EV will be a compact, based on VW Group’s new MEF platform for EVs.  It will debut in 2020, after VW debuts its ID compact hatchback.
  • Aston Martin  Rapid E – 2019. Will transition entire lineup to all EV and hybrid by 2030.
  • BMW “iVision Dynamics” (coupe style sedan) – Concept revealed at 2017 Frankfurt Auto Show.  Production version slated for launch in 2021.
  • Bollinger Motors B1 (all wheel drive 4×4) – Hopes to start production in 2019. 10,000 people are claimed to be on the waiting list.  Pricing to be announced.
  • Byton (Crossover SUV) – Concept revealed at Consumer Electronics Show in January 2018. Will initially be sold only in China. U.S. sales “to begin later.”  Reservations are being taken.  Pricing:  Starts at $45K. Entry trim level will have 250 mile range; upper trim level will have 325 mile range.
  • Detroit Electric Motors – To be announced
  • Dyson – 2019 target for launch of its first EV, from the vacuum company.
  • Faraday Future FF 91 (luxury SUV) Release date is unknown – Scrapped its plans to build North Las Vegas factory, instead is refurbishing a former Pirelli tire factory near Silicon Valley; many rumors of financial issues with its Chinese investor.
  • Fisker Inc. EMotion (sport sedan) – 2020 – 400 mile range, can charge in 9 minutes
  • Ford “Model E” (crossover) – 2019 – 300 mile range.
  • Genesis “premium long distance” sedan – 2021 – 310 mile range
  • Honda “Urban” EV (concept) Revealed at 2017 Frankfurt Auto Show – Production will be for Europe only. Looks like a 1st gen Civic meets Mini Cooper; tiny, with retro styling.
  •  Hybrid Kinetic Group H600 (luxury sedan) – Chinese startup, plans to launch H600 in US in 2019-2020.  Designed by Pininfarina.  804 HP.
  •  Hyundai Kona (small SUV) – second half 2018 – 242 mile range
  •  Jaguar I-Pace (5 seat crossover)  – Available summer 2018, this is Jaguar’s first fully electric/battery powered vehicle. Built on a unique aluminum-intensive platform by Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria. 220 mile range. 400 HP from twin electric motors. Jaguar/Land Rover says it will go all EV and hybrid by 2020.
  • Kia Niro EV –  Concept revealed at the 2018 Consumer Electrics Show in Las Vegas; will likely be the first of 16 advanced powertrain vehicles Kia aims to introduce by 2025. Plans include a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle also.
  • Lucid Air (luxury sedan) – Release date unknown – Production starting in the 2020s. 200 mph, luxury interior.  Its plan to build a $7 million factory in Casa Grande, AZ has been on hold pending financing.
  • Mazda – Recently announced a platform partnership with Toyota to produce its first EV.  It will come out with a “pure EV in 2019” but did not say what model or type of vehicle.  Will come out with a plug in hybrid after that.
  • Mercedes Benz – Parent company Daimler says it will bring 10 new EVs to market by 2022; it is expected that some or all will be under the subbrand named “EQ.” The first vehicle released will be the EQC (compact crossover) in 2019, with 300 miles of range claimed.
  • Mini E – Due in late  2019 – No details released
  • Morgan EV3  (3 wheel roadster) – EV version of the Morgan 3.  120 mile range. 56 HP. Production to begin late 2018.
  • NIO ES8 (luxury SUV) – Chinese startup revealed concept in 2017; first deliveries expected in US in 2020.  “Tesla-type vehicle for China” that seats 7.  Sold only in China for now. “Our goal is to built a robot that looks like a car.”  Will have swappable batteries to help combat charging station anxiety.
  • Pagani – EV coming. details TBA.
  • Porsche “Mission E” (sporty 4 door coupe) – Looks like cross of a Panamera and 911.  Available in late 2019 – early 2020. 310 mile range is goal.  Price is $85K. No final specs. Goal to charge 80% in 15 minutes; 60 mph in less than 3.5 seconds; top speed 155+.  Three AWD models to be produced with HP of 402, 536, and 670. No hybrid 911 coming – Porsche killed the project because of battery size issues; may be resurrected if they can engineer a lighter battery.  Porsche says it will add PHEVs and electric variants to its lineup.
  • Renault Zoe EV – Available late 2018 – early 2019.
  • SF Motors – To be announced
  • Tesla Long Haul Semi Truck – Prototype unveiled November 26.  “In a couple years” is the production goal.  Will have 200-300 mile range. Will be testing in Nevada, which allows robo-truck prototype testing.  $15k deposit.
  • Tesla Model Y (small crossover) – Production to begin in 2019 at factory yet to be built in China.
  • Tesla “Roadster” (four place convertible) – Production slated for 2020.  Will cost $200k.  $50k deposit.
  • Tesla Pickup Truck – Production will begin after the Model Y at factory in China.
  • Volkswagen – ID Buzz (microbus) – Range of 270 expected. 2022 is target.
  • Volkswagen –  ID Crozz (crossover) – 2022 – 302 HP, 311 mile range.
  • Volvo – All models will be EVs or hybrids by 2019.  It has plans to introduce three EVs between 2019 and 2021.  Its Polestar subbrand will release two EVs between 2019 and 2021.  The Polestar vehicles are expected to be similar to BMW’s M and Mercedes-Benz’s AMG badges.

Alliance 2022 – Collaboration between Renault, Nissan & Mitsubishi plans to roll out 12 EVs. “With the emissions rules coming in, it’s the end of gas” per Carlos Ghosn, CEO of the Alliance. EVs are the future not because of consumer demand, but due to regulations on emissions.  By 2040 we will be done with diesel and gasoline car sales.  Common platforms (4) will be used; no details on any concepts.

Hybrids Currently Available

  • Audi A3 Sportback e-tron (hatchback) – Plug-in hybrid. From $40,475
  • Chevy Volt (hatchback) – Plug-in hybrid. From $33,220
  • BMW i3 (hatchback) – From $44,550
  • BMW 530e (luxury sedan) – Plug-in hybrid. From $52,400
  • Chrysler Pacifica (van) – Hybrid and Plug-In hybrid versions. From $39,995.  84 mpge and 566 total range.
  • Fiat 500e (subcompact) – From $32,995
  • Ford C-Max Energi (hatchback) – Hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions.  From $32,950
  •  Ford Fusion Energi (sedan) – Plug-in hybrid.  From $33,305
  • Honda Accord Hybrid (midsize sedan) – from $29,605
  • Honda Clarity Plug-in hybrid (midsize sedan) – from $34,290
  • Honda Civic hybrid (compact sedan) – from about $27,000
  • Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid (sedan) – Should be available 2nd half of 2017. Blue (base trim) from $23,035; SEL trim from $24,785.
  • Hyundai Sonata (midsize sedan) – Plug-in hybrid. From $34,600.
  • Karma Revero hybrid (four door sports sedan) – 51 mpge, 300 total range, 403 HP, 21 kwh battery capacity. From $130,000.
  • Kia Niro hybrid (compact crossover) – from $23,240.
  • Kia Niro (compact crossover) – Plug-in hybrid. Available late 2017 to early 2018. From $22,890
  • Kia Optima Hybrid (midsize sedan) – from $25,995
  • Mercedes-Benz C350e (small luxury sedan) – Plug-in hybrid. From $46,400
  • Mercedes-Benz S550e (full size luxury sedan) – Plug-in hybrid. From $96,600
  • Mini Cooper SE Countryman All4 Plug-In hybrid (hatchback) – from $37,650 – Only 12 miles of electric range.
  • Mitsubishi Outlander (SUV) – Plug-in hybrid.
  • Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid (SUV) – Plug-In hybrid.  From $79,900.
  • Porsche 918 Spyder (sports car) – Plug-in hybrid. From $847,000.
  • Porsche Panamera 4-E Hybrid (sports sedan) – Plug-in hybrid. From $99,600
  • Toyota Prius Two Eco (sedan) – Base model from $26,050 and Prius Prime – Base model from $27,100.
  • Toyota RAV-4 Hybrid (crossover) – 194 HP.  3 trim levels.  Base model from $27,235.
  • Volvo XC90 (large luxury SUV) – Plug-in hybrid. From $64,950.

Hybrids Not Yet Available

  • Bentley Bentayga Plug-In Hybrid (ultraluxury crossover) – Second half of 2018. Bentley plans to introduce plug-in hybrid versions of all models.
  • Bentley Continental GT Plug-In Hybrid – After debut of Bentayga.
  • Bentley Flying Spur and Mulsanne (sedans) – Unknown debut date, after GT.
  • BMW i-8 Spyder hybrid (roadster) – On sale in 2018 for the 2019 model year.  BMW not releasing any details. Expected to come out with a fully electric version in 2022.
  • Ford Expedition – Late 2019
  • Ford F-150 – 2020
  • Ford Mustang – 2020
  • Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid – 2019
  • Honda CR-V Hybrid (crossover) –  prototype at 2017 Shanghai Auto Show.
  • Honda Insight (compact to mid-size sedan) – 2019
  • Infiniti Emerg-E – concept revealed in 2012, no announcement on final design, production date, or range/mpge.
  • Jaguar F-Type (sport sedan) – The F Type will have “an electrified powertrain,” no details announced.  Available approximately 2020.
  • Lamborghini Urus (sports car) Plug-In Hybrid – Available 2019.
  • Lexus 500h Hybrid – 2018
  • Lincoln MKC Plug-in Hybrid (SUV) – 2019.
  • Mazda Plug-in Hybrid – After 2019.
  • Mercedes CLS Hybrid (four door coupe) – Debuted at 2017 LA Auto Show. Expected to be available in 2018.
  • Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid – From $185,450.  Available early 2018.
  • Volvo XC60 T8 Plug-in Hybrid (midsize luxury SUV) – Late 2017 or early 2018. Debut at OC International Auto Show (9/2017) 400 HP.  From $52,900.
  • Volvo S 90 Plug-in Hybrid (sedan) – Available 2018.

Chevy Volts and Bolts Century City Boltaversary

Updated 3/4/2018   

[For additional information on the low emission vehicles listed, we recommend https://www.greencarreports.com/ ]

 

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TEST DRIVE REVIEW – The 2017 Chevy Bolt EV is The Best Electric Vehicle Deal of the New Millennium

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV – The Best Electric Vehicle Deal of the New Millennium

by Michele Spencer

When the decision has been made to go all electric in that next vehicle, there’s a secondary decision that must also be made:  luxury or basic.

The high-end EV buyer will be looking for expensive interior materials, probably wood and leather, with state of the art technology, including self driving mode, and the car’s style must be futuristic and look costly.  The price tag of the high end buyer’s vehicle is going to start in the $60,000s.

The buyer who doesn’t need interior luxury amenities, self driving mode, or Silicon Valley cred will pay far less, with the price starting at $36,620.  It is this buyer who Chevrolet has made the 2017 Bolt EV for.  Chevrolet has made EV ownership a reality for everyone, not just the well-heeled.

An automotive critics’ darling, the 2017 Bolt EV was named the 2017 North American Car of the Year, the 2017 Motor Trend Car of the Year, and Green Car of the Year by Green Car Journal.

The Bolt EV wasn’t intended to do battle with the Tesla Model S, but because it hit the market way ahead of the Model 3 (which is still not readily available due to production glitches), Chevy’s Bolt EV sales numbers have been giving Tesla a run for its money, with the numbers steadily climbing each month since the Bolt EV’s introduction in January 2017.

No wonder, since the base price of the Bolt EV LT is $29,995 after the federal tax incentive is factored in.  The battery range is comparable that of Fremont’s finest, and the crossover delivers on driving experience.  For a lot less cash out of pocket, the buyer is in a quality EV with an 8 year/100,000 mile battery warranty.

The Bolt EV’s EPA estimated range is 255 miles city, 217 highway, and 238 combined. In the week of testing, it charged up to 260 consistently.

Driving the Bolt EV is a pleasure.  Any doubts about EV performance are quickly dashed.  It offers a smooth and quiet ride.  Off the line, sheer power is delivered instantly and without hesitation.  0-60 is reached in just under seven seconds.  The Bolt EV cruises comfortably at highway speed and its suspension and handling are more than acceptable.  The windshield is large, offering outstanding visibility.   The cabin is quiet at highway speed.

Electronic drive shifting is done with a by-wire lever unit similar to a manual transmission shifter, with four modes available: park, reverse, neutral and drive.  To enable regenerative braking, the driver pulls the lever rearward, then the on-demand paddles behind the steering wheel are used to regulate braking.   “One-pedal” driving is done in order to maximize range.  The by-wire shifter is more compact than traditional mechanical shifters, allowing for more than expected cabin space.

There is a back up camera standard on the LT (base trim level).  Surround vision is an outstanding safety feature on the Premier trim, on today’s tester.  Both trim levels have traction control, side blind zone alert, and rear cross traffic alert.

The tester was equipped with the Driver Confidence II package ($495), which provides Intellibeam headlamps, following distance indicator, forward collision alert, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, and low speed forward automatic braking.  This package is highly recommended – it’s a bargain for the safety features that it provides.

On the interior, the driver’s information cluster shows speed, driving efficiency, battery range, and regeneration status.  Three choices of readout configurations are available. The 10-inch in-dash infotainment screen displays music, phone, navigation, and heating and cooling data for the occupants.  OnStar vehicle diagnostic information (subscription required) and 4G LTE wi fi are standard on both trim levels, as is Chevrolet Roadside Assistance, which is free for the first 5 years/60,000 miles.

2017-bolt-ev-technology-INTERIOR
The driver has an easy to understand instrument display with range, regeneration status, speed, and economy.   The infotainment screen display manages audio, settings, and navigation.  The roomy cabin has plenty of storage space, legroom and elbow room.   Visibility is excellent.

On the LT trim, the interior is dark galvanized sky cool gray with deluxe cloth seat trim.  With Premier trim, the same color scheme is complimented by perforated leather-appointed seat trim.

The tester’s Infotainment Package ($485) added a wireless charging pad, Bose premium 7-speaker sound system, and dual USB ports for rear passengers, all which are worth the additional charge.

The driver’s steering wheel controls and dash controls are similar to non-EV GM vehicles and will be familiar to Chevrolet or Buick customers. The tilting and telescoping steering wheel comes standard with a heater, as well as the driver and passenger seats, with three levels of heat settings available.   There is ample storage space in the cabin, with two cup holders in front and two more in the back.  Knobs are available for audio volume control and buttons for air circulation control.  Phone pairing for Bluetooth operation is easily done through the control panel.

The Bolt EV is a crossover, so it has plenty of room in the back seat for passengers and their things, as well as cargo space in the rear hatch.

Orange burst metallic was the tester’s color ($395).  Other Premium trim colors are Cajun Red Tint Coat and Kinetic Blue Metallic, which will add $395 to the tab.  The LT trim Bolt EV comes in Arctic Blue Metallic, Mosaic Black Metallic, Nightfall Grey Metallic, and Summit White, at no extra charge.

Bolt EV side view IMG_2930
Premium Trim level Bolt EV in Orange Burst Metallic paint.

In California, the best thing about EV ownership is HOV/carpool lane access as a single occupant.

As the EV market sits right now, there’s absolutely no way any other electric vehicle can beat the Bolt EV for what it delivers for the money:  Superior battery range, comfortable ride,  good handling, excellent technology, and all the roominess that a crossover provides.  Kudos to Chevrolet on a job well done – for the rest of us.

http://www.chevrolet.com/bolt-ev-electric-vehicle

Bolt EV back view IMG_2887

A Word on Adjusting to the EV Lifestyle

As a first-time EV owner or driver, there’s a bit of an adjustment period.  The dreaded “charging anxiety” that comes with EV ownership is caused by not knowing where to get your vehicle charged, and how to pay for it.  Knowledge is power in this regard.

If you don’t have a charger installed in your garage, it is necessary to learn where all of the EV charging stations are near your home and near your workplace.

It’s a lot like having a washer and dryer in your place versus having to go to the Laundromat to do your laundry.

The Bolt EV’s navigation system pulls up a list of charging stations in the area, but use of an app or website on your phone is recommended.  The ChargePoint and PlugShare apps are good ones that most owners use.  In my experience, most of the available public charging stations shown on the apps are owned by ChargePoint.  The problem is that the ChargePoint charging stations do not take credit cards, but rather their own prepaid card, the ChargePass.  Some shopping centers, car dealers, and hotels offer free charging.

The MyChevrolet app provides information on locations of charging stations, allows the user to check on the charging status of their vehicle’s battery, and enables remote charging initiation.

The electric vehicle infrastructure is growing, but it is not at the point where electric charging stations are easy to find or widespread at the places where people live, work, eat and shop.  Because of the current situation of limited availability of public charging stations, most EV and hybrid owners choose to incur the cost of having a charging station installed in their garage.

An optional portable charger is available from Chevrolet dealers for $535 that you can plug in overnight in a standard 120 volt outlet. This will give the vehicle 4 miles of range per hour.  This “trickle method” of charging takes substantially longer than plugging in at a charging station, but at least you’re at home while it’s charging.

If your garage has a 240 volt outlet, a 32-amp charger is available from the dealer for $699, and will give 25 miles of range per hour.

The Bolt EV calculates and displays how much time it will take to fully charge as soon as you connect to either a charger or an outlet.

An EV works best for people who have a daily commute that is predictable and who do not have the “need for speed,” since high speed causes the battery to deplete much faster.

Staying at 65-70 miles per hour on the highway is the way to maximize range.  Lead foots, be warned.   Because there is nothing even close to a nationwide infrastructure of charging stations, EVs are not road trip warriors and it would be impossible to go cross country in one.   At this point in time, they work out best for those doing mostly in-town driving.

It’s also interesting that EVs use less power in stop and go traffic, unlike their gas engine counterparts.

The EV lifestyle works for people who can charge at home in their garage.  It also works for people whose regular work place has a charging station (or 100, in the case of Hyundai’s corporate headquarters in Orange County).

If you’re able to work around the current limitations on public charging, then you’re not going to experience “range anxiety” or “charging anxiety,” and the EV lifestyle is a good fit for you.

2017 Bolt EV Details

Type:  compact crossover SUV, hatchback, five doors.

Power:  Permanent magnetic drive motor, 60 kWh lithium ion battery, 288 cells.

Range:  255 city, 217 highway, 238 combined.

Chassis:  Front independent MacPherson strut-type with direct-acting stabilizer bar.  Rear compound crank (torsion beam) with coil springs

Steering:  Column mounted rack-and-pinion

Brakes: Four wheel disc, partially regenerative

Wheels:  17 inch aluminum; Michelin Energy Saver all-season tires

Drive Mode Shifting:  Electronic Precision Shift system, by-wire shifter

HP:  200

Torque:  266 lb-feet

0-60:  Under 7 seconds

Charging:  Standard SAE Combo connector for fast charging and trickle charger (supplied standard) for 120 or 240 volt outlet charging.

120 volt charge time – 4 miles of range per hour

240 volt charge time – Full charge in 9.3 hours

DC Fast Charging time – 90 miles of range in 30 minutes

Braking:  Regenerative braking system

Safety:  Ten standard air bags, rear vision camera, surround vision (latter standard on Premier only)

Wheelbase:  102.4”

Length: 164”

Width: 69.5”

Height: 62.8”

Curb Weight:  3563 pounds

Max cargo space, rear seats down:  56.6 cubic feet.  With seats up: 17 cubic feet.

Tech:  Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, USB ports, conventional charger, 10.2 inch diagonal color touch-screen, wireless phone charging, 4G LTE wi fi hotspot, and OnStar (subscription).

Warranty:       Battery – 8 years / 100,000 miles

Powertrain – 3 years / 36,000 miles

Chevrolet’s Got the Ultimate California Cool Crossover – Meet the 2018 Traverse SUP Concept

2017 Chevy Traverse SUP concept-SEMA-2
The Traverse SUP in its natural habitat.
by Michele Spencer

The rest of the world will have to wait just a few more days until SEMA (running from October 31 through November 3), but a small group was honored to be shown the concept on the beach in Malibu, California this week.  It’s almost sad to think that it has to be shipped off to the desert to do its official duties in Las Vegas.

The gorgeous blue hues complement the ocean perfectly and capture the essence of the California beach lifestyle.

A specially made Thule rack carries the matching stand up Riviera paddleboard that comes with the package.  The concept sports gloss black bodyside molding, gloss black headlamp bezels, 20-inch black aluminum wheels,  tinted windows, and dark gray wheel opening trim.

Inside are three rows with easy fold-down of the seats in the back. Seats are embroidered with the Traverse logo.  The cargo space has an integrated liner.

The Traverse SUP concept will join approximately 20 other Chevrolet models at SEMA this week.  If you can’t make it to Las Vegas, follow the action at ChevySema.com and/or use the following social media tags:

Instagram:  #CHEVYSEMA

Twitter:  @ChevroletPerformance

Facebook: Chevrolet Performance

 

 

Chevrolet Gives Us Two 2018 Hot Wheels Edition Camaros – Because You’re Never Too Old For Hot Wheels or Fun Behind the Wheel.

18CHCA35040_V3.tif
Two Hot Wheels Camaros were revealed this week – One for the track, one for the road, in honor of 50 years of both toys.  Left: 2018 Camaro 2SS Convertible.  Right: 2018 Camaro 2LT.

October 25, 2017:  Under a clear blue sky with temperatures hovering in the high 90s, it was a hot day in El Segundo, California.  Heat records were in the process of being broken. The group gathered at Hot Wheels Garage clutched bottles of cold water as if their lives depended on it while waiting for the big reveal in the parking lot.  It was hot, but what rested under the black silk cloth was even hotter.

Chevrolet celebrated the 50th year since introduction of its iconic Camaro in 2016.  Hot Wheels is celebrating its own 50th anniversary this year.  It was only natural for the two to partner up for a special project hotter than Southern California during a Santa Ana condition.

The Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary Edition Camaros revealed this week are proof that we never outgrow our toys.  How wonderful that they grew with us.  The buyer can have a life size Camaro in Crush orange to drive around in, a 1/64 scale version to play with in a different way, and one to take out to the drag strip on Friday nights.

18CHCA35033_V2.tif
The 1/64 scale version of the 2018 Hot Wheels Camaro perches on the spoiler. 

The 2018 Hot Wheels commemorative package goes on sale in the first quarter of 2018, and the cost is $4,995.00.

The package includes Satin Graphite rally stripes, silver ice metallic accents, 20-inch forged aluminum wheels in Satin Graphite, 50th Anniversary Hot Wheels fender badges, a unique grill with Galvano Chrome inserts, orange brake calipers, smoked tail lamps, jet black leather interior with orange accent stitching, suede panels (only available on the Z06 Corvette, not on any other Chevrolets), embossed headrests, 50th Anniversary Hot Wheels badge on the steering wheel, illuminated doorsill plates with 50th Anniversary Hot Wheels badges, and premium floor mats with orange stitching and “ghost” stripes.

Of course, it has a 6-speed manual transmission.

For additional information on the Hot Wheels Camaro, go to  http://www.chevrolet.com/camaro-hot-wheels

ALSO REVEALED: 2018 DRAG RACE READY HOT WHEELS CAMARO
IMG_2866 2018 Camaro COPO
Chevrolet’s 2018 Hot Wheels COPO edition drag racer being revealed at Hot Wheels Garage in California.  

The 2018 COPO Camaro Hot Wheels drag race car will be a limited edition of only 69 produced, as per tradition.  It will be a three speed automatic ready for the track.  It comes equipped with a roll cage, a parachute, and racing seats.

For information on the drag race version of the 2018 Hot Wheels Camaro go to http://www.chevrolet.com/performance/copo-registration.

Don’t delay, though: Chevrolet is closing the registration for the 2018 Hot Wheels COPO Camaro on November 30, 2017.

Both 2018 Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary Edition vehicles will be on display at SEMA (October 31 – November 3) in Las Vegas.

 

TEST DRIVE REVIEW: You Owe it To Your Family and Yourself to Check out the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox Crossover – It’s The Most Fun You’ll Have Being Practical

By Michele Spencer

The Equinox earns the top spot on the list of family sport utility vehicles because it has everything that a busy family needs in a transporter/grocery getter/road tripper, and has a strong and powerful engine with nice handling to keep the driver very happy, at a very competitive price.

One of the features that sets the Equinox apart from other SUVs is one simple tech feature:  If you opened a back passenger door during the outing, you will be reminded by a message on the driver’s display screen to check the back seat once the car is turned off.  This feature needs to be standard on all vehicles, considering the stories in the news about kids and animals being left behind.

The Equinox is a two row compact SUV which seats five.  The size of the Equinox is about the same as a Honda CR-V, a Ford Escape and a Mazda CX-5.  There’s 30 cubic feet of rear cargo space.  The cabin is quiet, comfortable and roomy, with standard heated, leather-trimmed seats, 10-way driver’s seat adjustments, and a telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel.  There are lots of places to stow items in the console.  The panoramic sunroof (fully retractable) and glass roof let in as much light as desired with one-touch switch controls.

There are excellent cameras and displays for safe backing up, moving forward toward an object, and for those crucial side views.  When the (as tested) Equinox senses that it is too close to an object in front, the driver’s seat will vibrate lightly to alert them of the situation.

In order to increase MPG, the engine shuts off at common stops.  Once the foot is lifted off the brake, the engine restarts automatically.

Volume and temperature controls are by knob and button, instead of by screen touch, which is exactly how they should be so that the driver isn’t distracted performing common correction tasks on the road.

The Equinox was very close to the 25 MPG combined fuel economy rating (22 city and 29 highway) with a lot of stop and go Los Angeles traffic and a bit of open highway.  The engine is responsive and there are no issues with getting quick speed when necessary.  The turning radius is acceptable for the crossover segment.

As a tow vehicle, the tester could haul up to 3505 pounds.  The 1.5 liter gasoline and 1.6 liter diesel versions could haul 1500 pounds.

Chevy has improved the Equinox with this model year.  The tech and safety features on the 2018 Equinox combined with its handling and good MPG make it a no-contest champion over the top-selling compact crossover in the US, the Honda CR-V.  Its closest competition would be the Mazda CX-3 and CX-5.   The Equinox has gone from so-so to highly recommended.

The Equinox base price is $33,585.00, plus the destination charge of $895 for shipping from Canada, making it competitive in its segment as a sensible family vehicle with enough zip to make the driver a happy camper.

http://www.chevrolet.com/suvs/equinox-compact-suv

2018 Chevrolet Equinox FWD Premier 2.0 Liter Turbo

Engine:  2.0 liter turbocharged gasoline engine (as tested);  Also available in 1.6 liter turbo diesel engine and 1.5 liter gasoline engine, either AWD or FWD.

Transmission:  5 speed automatic

Wheels:  19 inch

Lights:  LED headlamps and tail lamps, daytime running lights

Trailering equipment:  standard, all models

Remote vehicle start, at press of button on remote key

Heated seats:  Driver and front passenger

Rear split-folding seats

Audio:  6 speaker system

Connectivity: MyLink audio, 8 inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, OnStar, 4G LTE wi-fi hotspot.

Packages on vehicle as tested:  “Confidence and Convenience II”  Package :  Power adjustments on front passenger seat, ventilated driver and passenger seats, heated steering wheel, low speed forward automatic braking, forward collision alert, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, following distance indicator, safety alert seat, surround vision, intellibeam auto high beam control, and roof rack cross rails. ($1895.00)  “Sun, Sound and Navigation” Package: Power sunroof, Chevrolet MyLink navigation, 7 speaker Bose sound system, HD radio.  ($2620.00)