3.2s 2015 Tesla Model D Arriving in February With AWD and AutoPilot in 60D, 85D and 85D Performance Trims

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Pretty exciting news last night from Tesla! The Model S is now available with a dual-mode AWD system that boosts mileage by 10-percent and is a $4,500 option on all three battery sizes of the Model S. Few changes outside except a small radar box in the lower nose of the Model D, along with new badges out back. Inside, updated systems integrate a new AutoPilot automated drive mode — but we are still awaiting official details from Tesla on the functionality of the system. Overall, we expect lane-keeping assist, full-speed cruise control with city braking as new convenience and safety features. The order forms for the Model S simply add an “AWD” option that flips the badging to D and offers the same battery sizes from which to choose. The Model D’s first deliveries will be in February. But what is the buried lead? 0-60-mph times drop a full …

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4.3s, 400HP 2015 VENTURI America EV SUV Reaches Limited-Production!

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Exciting news from Venturi in Paris this week! The well-resolved America dune-buggy has a redesigned powertrain and will now grow past concept and prototype stages. Limited-production of the EV off-roader begins in early 2015 — but there is a catch. Only 25 initial copies of this innovative and stylish crossover will be made. Performance stats are looking very impressive, however, and the carbon-kevlar tub will make this thing unstoppable on the rough stuff. And likely a fun canyon-carver on hard surfaces or, gasp, tarmac! TECHNICAL MASTERPIECE   (Sorry for the watermark.) SPECIFICATIONS Like the Local Motors Rally Fighter and many Baja race trucks, the Venturi is RWD versus a 4×4. But the extremely chunky tires, 11-inches of ground clearance and 350-pound-feet of instant torque will get you up and over that rock easily. Most impressively, the Venturi America now runs a 53-KwH battery pack that is the largest-ever employed on …

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Updated USA Debut – 2014 BMW Vision Future Luxury Concept – Design Analysis

Updated 8.27.14 The fact that the BMW Vision Future Luxury concept headed to Beijing this Spring instead of to the concurrent New York show says quite a bit about its market-makers. This machine needs to be successful in China. Period. As the biggest growth opportunity, China represents perhaps the only non-American and non-German (domestic) volume market for ultra-luxury sedans in the coming decade. But while the Chinese limo shopper has whole-heartedly adopted the Audi brand, BMW and Mercedes-Benz find themselves playing second fiddle. At the same time, the VFL concept needs to revive the unpopular current 7 series in the US market. This 7 series has been a consummate flop — and is perhaps BMW’s biggest single mis-fire in the last few years when redesigning a core nameplate. So, is it successful in these missions, while also forging new market room above the current 760Li? Will this design be a …

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Update1 – 2015 Ford Focus Tech and Design Refresh Adds 8-Inch Nav, EcoBoost Triple + LED Accents

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Hot off the presses!  Initial thoughts? Much improved! The dark trims really make the sedan’s nose much more appealing. This dark trim is available on the five-door as well – in either SE Appearance package or the SE Sport (or the SE EcoBoost!) pack, which goes even darker for the wheels to gloss black. The specs are below.   2015 Ford Focus – TIRES AND WHEELS S  15-in. steel wi th silver painted cover, 195/65R15 all-season BSW SE  16-in. painted al uminum, 215/55R16 all-season BSW SE SFE Package  16-in. painted al uminum, 215/55R16 LRR all-season BSW SE Sport Package SE EcoBoost Package 17-in. black gloss al uminum, 215/50R17 all-season BSW SE Appearance Package 17-in. dark painted al uminum, 215/50R17 all-season BSW;  SE Black Pack 17-in. machined and black painted al uminum, 215/50R17 all-season BSW Titanium 17-in. painted al umi num, 215/50R17 BSW Titanium Handling Package 18-in. premium painted al uminum, …

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BMW Debuts Solar Carport and Triples Carbon-Fiber Output at Hydro-Powered Washington Factory

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The BMW i strategy is full-steam ahead — literally. Hydroelectric power in Washinton state is making it the global carbo-fiber manufacturing hub for the BMW Group, with an extra $200-million investment announced today. This will double the facility’s output and will help BMW meet strong i3 and i8 demand, as well as support the supply chain for the expected new BMW i models. i5 and i2? i4 and i1? It really could be anything. No announcements or even concepts have indicated which number BMW might be next on the i-Makeovers list — so it really is anyone’s guess. But considering the price gap between the i3 at $42,000 and the i8 and $125,000 — an i5 with pricing from $65,000 seems most likely. Fingers crossed it looks a bit sporty — like the i4 rendering we put together just a few days ago… But is water and hydro-electric the only …

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VENTURI Taking its Visionary EV Future-Tech to Bonneville and Formula E Racetracks

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PART ONE: INTRO TO BRILLIANT CONCEPTS You cannot fault Venturi Automobiles for their ambition – here is a company with the power to envision and make concept cars that might even fail the Rinspeed or ItalDesign “reality check” test. Wild ideas like a solar streamliner for commuters, the Antarctic shuttle on treads, and the America off-road cabrio concept are certainly enticing for their rarity and bold vision. The Volage concept is perhaps the most feasible as a sale-able vehicle — with unique ideas present even six years since its first look as a concept in 2008.   PART TWO: HARSH REALITIES The Venturi America off-roader concept also looks fun, but being stranded in a high-temp desert in an EV dune-buggy does not sound ideal. Nor does the same scenario in the arctic. [Batteries are notoriously trouble-prone and lose power rapidly in any extreme heat or cold.] The latest ideas from …

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Future Car Renderings – 2016 BMW i4 Imagined as Much-Lower, Much-Cooler Machine

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Today is the third or fourth time we have tried to get on-board with the BMW i3 via the online builder and the mechanical specifications. The i3 is a fantastically-interesting, futuristic, and brilliant solution to low-emissions motoring: priced from $41,000 as the pure EV model, the premium for the Range-Extender gasoline option up front is just a few thousand extra – well worth it in my opinion. But the style!? Where is the style of the future? In the past? We hope not. But my word – this i3 makes the Prius look sexy and slinky. It is best compared with the G-Whiz EV car that blights many European cities — except for the i3’s dimensions, that is. The car is HUGE. It is as tall as the X3 and just as wide. Low glass and a high beltline consipire together to become one of the must vile designs in …

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Venturi VOXAN WATTMAN Concept Bike is EV Brutalism on Two Wheels – Colors + Specs

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This concept bike from Voxan Motors is the debut model for the brand. An off-shoot of Venturi Automobiles, the bike is called the WATTMAN in a less-than-subtle nod to its electric powertrain. All seems well with the specs – until you get to the weight and performance — which are both pretty abysmal. The other missing element is the price, which is conspicuous in its absence. Even so, as a concept previewing a design vision? Stunning. Desirable. Brutal but delicate details. It is quite lovely. If only it weighed less than 700 pounds and was not projected to carry a $100,000-plus price tag when for sale some time in 2015…   COLORS   Type Type: Electric Power Cruiser, single seater Battery Technology : Lithium Ion Energy : 12.8 kWh Electric motor Max. power : 200 HP  (from 7,500 rpm to 10,500 rpm) Max. torque : 200Nm (from 0 to 6,000 …

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5.2s to 60mph, 148MPG Plug-in Hybrid AWD! Audi TT Offroad Concept – A Sure Thing As Future Q2 (or Q4?)

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The big three German luxury brands are infamous in charting each-others new models rigorously. When the Mercedes-Benz R-Class emerged to shocked faces across the globe, BMW was not far behind with the 5 series GT in a slight tweak on the theme. Once one of the big players has established a market, it is widely seen as almost a sure-fire new segment that all must either join or be left out of completely. The rationale is often more than a little flawed – as the R-Class seven-seater and five-seater minivan/wagon trend failed to spark much interest. But one clear segment that Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz would all like to excel in? The Coupe SUV Crossover. The MLC shown by Mercedes-Benz is much, much larger than this TT Offroad concept, but Audi is also expected to have a Q6 coming relatively soon – which may share some cues from this car’s …

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