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

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 …

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

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

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 …

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

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 …

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

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

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 …

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

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

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 …

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

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

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 …

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

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

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 …

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

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

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 …

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

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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?)

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 …

Read more 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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BMW Vision Future Luxury Concept for Beijing 2014 – Previews Low-Roof 8 Series Gran Coupe?

This BMW Concept limousine for Beijing just broke cover, and is a huge and desirable rolling art form – a sculpture on wheels. This is what will set BMW’s future luxury sedans apart from the more ubiquitous and less-exclusive competing brands — all of whom are clamoring for Chinese and global limo shoppers. But volume and cache are mutually exclusive in most areas of the ultra-lux market. Anything that is mass-market is immediately disqualified – even the S-Class might share a bit too much with the the C-Class for these types of high-fashion clients. Coach doors are hinged at the …

Read more BMW Vision Future Luxury Concept for Beijing 2014 – Previews Low-Roof 8 Series Gran Coupe?

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VIDEO — Andy Stella’s Top 5 Cars to Street Park in Chicago, Year-round! Wrangler, MINI… Jaguar XJ?

By Special Contributor Andy Stella Spring is almost here in Chicago, and you know what that means: people forget that they just spent six months acting surprised every time it snowed. With snow comes decreased street width, huge banks plowed against our cars, and mounds of Honda Fit-sized snow piles taking up precious parking space. Once the snow clears, we must not forget to let some practicality guide our summer car shopping! What is my experience, you ask? Well, before I lived in Chicago, I endured even colder, snowier winters in Minnesota while attending college, and before that, I was …

Read more VIDEO — Andy Stella’s Top 5 Cars to Street Park in Chicago, Year-round! Wrangler, MINI… Jaguar XJ?

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FORD Debuts 2015 US-Spec Focus Sedan — Style Update Brings Chic Dark Trims, Plus Enhanced Tech — But No HIDs…?

Hot off the presses!  Initial thoughts? Much improved! The dark trims really make the sedan’s nose much more appealing. This dark trim will no-doubt be available on the five-door as well.   The Good News: The tail of the hatch is also much cleaner in its appearance from directly behind, while the production-spec Focus Electric goes from the looker of the bunch to a bit eco-wimpy. The dark grille of the sedan is by far the best and biggest single improvement. The Not-So-Good News: The latest US Focus does still appear to lack the bi-xenon + LED lighting from the …

Read more FORD Debuts 2015 US-Spec Focus Sedan — Style Update Brings Chic Dark Trims, Plus Enhanced Tech — But No HIDs…?

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2015 Acura NSX Set for Goodwood Debut — REAL Pre-Production Model — Plus! Dream Colorizer — 150 Shades of Hybrid Supercar

The NSX Concept is still making the rounds in near-production form — but there is big news on near-term horizon. Our prediction? The New NSX will debut in production form this summer’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in England in late June of this year. While the debut is only confirmed so far as the “prototype,” we have reason to believe this prototype is actually the real pre-production car. Why is this our prediction? Some inside info or a hot tip? I wish. No — we are working on a hunch. Informed by just historical data, careful analysis of the wording …

Read more 2015 Acura NSX Set for Goodwood Debut — REAL Pre-Production Model — Plus! Dream Colorizer — 150 Shades of Hybrid Supercar

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QOROS e-BIQE Concept Is Human Pedal Power + Plug-in Electricity

 QOROS e-BIQE Concept Is Human Pedal Power + Plug-in Electricity QOROS is showing some real promise lately. Here is the basic idea behind the QOROS brand: World-best European engineering, branding and safety expertise. Built in low-cost China, but to German quality standards. The idea certainly has promise, and some huge-name executives behind the efforts. Most of them are German OEM refugees — who know a thing or two about excellent quality, safety, performance and handling on two wheels, four, or 18. If there is one core template for (real) global transport exports from China, it will be led by a …

Read more QOROS e-BIQE Concept Is Human Pedal Power + Plug-in Electricity

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HD Road Test Review – 2014 TESLA Model S 85 – Smooth Power, Great Dynamics, Unequivocal EV Brilliance

 2014 TESLA Model S 85 Review After a scathing Op-Ed the other week about Tesla Motors’ many (perceived) shenanigans on Wall Street and in Washington: I decided it was time to get behind the wheel to experience the car itself. I registered my interest in the Model S at TeslaMotors.com and promptly received a nice phone call from Silicon Valley to help arrange things. But the nearest Tesla dealers were at least five hours away from me, so I put a pin in the Tesla test drive and went back to work on normal vehicle reviews/ keeping the website up/ …

Read more HD Road Test Review – 2014 TESLA Model S 85 – Smooth Power, Great Dynamics, Unequivocal EV Brilliance

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2014 LeMans LMP1 – Toyota TS040 Hybrid – A Dark Horse in Audi vs. Porsche Battle

The TS040 Hybrid is looking mighty rapid this year, with a huge increase in stamina and budget for the Toyota Motorsports Group based in Cologne, Germany. Training with past winners and local talent can only be considered a huge new asset in the Toyota WEC racing ambition for its LMP1 cars. TS040 Hybrid running from ToyotaGB on Vimeo. So, is the TS040 fast and powerful enough to outwit the Porsche 919 Hybrid and Audi R18 trio? Fast enough remains to be seen, but the Toyota effort in LMP1 has garnered five race victories since 2012, which is certainly nothing to …

Read more 2014 LeMans LMP1 – Toyota TS040 Hybrid – A Dark Horse in Audi vs. Porsche Battle

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Road Test Review – 2014 Ford C-MAX Hybrid SEL – Great Handling, Refinement, Efficiency and Cargo Space

2014 Ford C-MAX Hybrid SEL Review Looks like I shaved before taking video two (in blue shirt), which always helps to look less like a mountain man…! Second video is directly below and is a bit more interesting overall. These are from last Fall, but went unpublished due to my then-editor rejecting the story topic. This was pre-GoPro — which just proves how much easier it is to make quality content when you have a week with the car versus twenty minutes. Sadly, my long-form original review and photos of this machine were shredded via a previous Toshiba laptop. My …

Read more Road Test Review – 2014 Ford C-MAX Hybrid SEL – Great Handling, Refinement, Efficiency and Cargo Space

2.8s QUANT e-SportLimo – Design Shootout vs Porsche 918

2.8s QUANT e-SportLimo – Design Shootout vs Porsche 918 Why so curious about this car’s origin and vision? A few things seem a bit unusual. Let’s dive into the salty blue of QUANT together.     We knew suspected from first seeing this car’s badge that it comes with a large beer-mug of Bavarian heritage: the Quandt (with a D) family is a major controlling shareholder in the BMW Group. Along with the Porsche’s and the Piech’s — these are some of the most revered industrial dynasties in Germany. And also some of the most shielded and private. But is …

Read more 2.8s QUANT e-SportLimo – Design Shootout vs Porsche 918

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Unpainted Black Carbon-Fiber is Draining Hypercars of their Beauty! McLaren P1 Before/After Digitally Painted Surfaces

The epidemic of unpainted or dark-lacquered carbon-fiber is magnificent to behold from just a few paces. But for the rest of us, from far away, there is little beauty in these dark, cavernous ‘holes’ in the latest hypercar bodywork. Both the Pagani Huayra and the McLaren P1 have liberal amounts of unpainted CF — but must it be this way? Without a McLaren P1 configurator available to the public — the car is already sold out — we have taken it upon ourselves to visualize the P1 with fully-painted surfaces. Of course, nothing is simple in the hypercar battle royale …

Read more Unpainted Black Carbon-Fiber is Draining Hypercars of their Beauty! McLaren P1 Before/After Digitally Painted Surfaces

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Hyundai COUPE Design Analyses: Concept HND-9 Shows Best Possible Style Roadmap for Both Shorter and Longer RWD Coupes From Hyundai

Hyundai is a very smart and savvy organization, staffed by some of the keenest automotive minds available at any price. Further proving their strategy to move upmarket and laterally toward enthusiasts, the Genesis sedan and Coupe lines continue to blossom. With this core rear-drive platform, many cars are possible that would have been mere pipe-dreams in the past. (And the present for others such as Acura who are tied to front-drive up and down the range.) HYUNDAI CONCEPT HND-9   My favorite details on the HND-9 are many, but include the free-form grille shape, the swan-wing doors that bring part …

Read more Hyundai COUPE Design Analyses: Concept HND-9 Shows Best Possible Style Roadmap for Both Shorter and Longer RWD Coupes From Hyundai

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2.8s McLaren P1 — 38 New Photos from Bahrain GP Course — Triumph Over LaFerrari Almost Guaranteed

The McLaren P1’s mission is clear: world hypercar supremacy.   And for the P1’s dynamic beauty in these latest photos, we’d say they are on the right track!  (No pun intended…) A few things are noticeable in these photos, which all may owe a debt to McLaren’s deep racing expertise: — The car is absolutely flying in these photos!  Serious 10/10ths driving in many cases, which is nearly impossible for amateurs to photograph as well as McLaren has. Clearly, this snapper has some F1 racing photo skills that we must bow to and respect. — The P1 is in final, …

Read more 2.8s McLaren P1 — 38 New Photos from Bahrain GP Course — Triumph Over LaFerrari Almost Guaranteed

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OP-ED: Tesla Increasing Already-Hefty Risks + Online Build Shows $72k Model S Is Tech Vanguard Bargain vs. Accord PHEV at $45k

As my Tweets previewed a few minutes ago: “When you or I flip a coin, there are two possible total outcomes. When Tesla flips a coin, it lands as a still-spinning Rubik’s Cube.” PART 1: DEVILS ADVOCATE DISCLAIMER — OPINIONS ONLY We have been pretty hard on Tesla recently for a variety of reasons that have little to do with the excellence of the firm’s main product: the Model S sedan. Before you write this off as uninformed Tesla ‘hating,’ please note a few things about his article right at the top:   The Model S is ** by far** …

Read more OP-ED: Tesla Increasing Already-Hefty Risks + Online Build Shows $72k Model S Is Tech Vanguard Bargain vs. Accord PHEV at $45k

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2014 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid — 30 Real-Life Photos — Live Configurator Link + 72 Images of Options, All Colors and All Wheels

Panamera desire but also confusion? Such is life in the fast lane. This hugely-successful model has bloomed into an eight-strong fleet this year. What is new? The Turbo S, Panamera LWB, Diesel and even this all-new plug-in e-Hybrid. (Versions outlined and pricing comparisons here in previous article.) The Panamera S e-Hybrid slides in between the Panamera S and the Panamera 4S on price. Surely, luxury limo’s are passe company cars for those with more dollars than actual eco guilt? No longer. The Panamera S e-Hybrid is the first-ever plug-in luxury car in existence. Doubtful? Count them down. 1. Tesla = …

Read more 2014 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid — 30 Real-Life Photos — Live Configurator Link + 72 Images of Options, All Colors and All Wheels

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The Inimitable Future-Tech 2015 BMW i8 — Feeling Chummy with Concept M4 and 1980 BMW M1 — Fleming Flashbacks

Did you guys ever read the James Bond continuation books? There have been dozens and dozens of writers who keep the series going — since the late 1970s, I believe, the publisher has been cranking out new James Bond adventures in print.. Do they pack the F-you-too-then-Sir swagger of Fleming chain-smoking at his typewriter? No, they generally do not. But they do capture the fast-cars/legal-outlaw image that Mr. Bond so embodies.   Sidebar: I read all 22 (or whatever) of the original Bond books in a lightning-flash of perhaps five weeks. It was summer 1995 at the Hinsdale Public Library …

Read more The Inimitable Future-Tech 2015 BMW i8 — Feeling Chummy with Concept M4 and 1980 BMW M1 — Fleming Flashbacks

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BMW i8 and M1 — Dynamic Desktop Wallpapers — Alpha Testing Reveals… They Do Not Animate =]

UPDATE1: These… do not work. They do not animate once set as desktop background. Sorry guys. =] We tried. A great idea from special contributor Chris Maypole yesterday! Add some downloadable desktop backgrounds! So here they are. =]   Dynamic Desktop Backgrounds — Usage Instructions: 1. Open this image in a new tab or window 2. Rightclick image   3. Select “Set As Desktop Background”   Piece of cake!  But this is a beta. I do not know if it will work on anything besides the exact type of Lenovo stinkpad I am typing on.   Sizes: 800×372 These are …

Read more BMW i8 and M1 — Dynamic Desktop Wallpapers — Alpha Testing Reveals… They Do Not Animate =]

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2014 INFINITI Q50S AWD Hybrid — 1080p Road Test Videos & 50 Photos — AAA+ Refinement — Truly Authentic Steering That Beats 535i on Feel

I worried about the new Q50 for three reasons: the name change did not sit well with me, at first the styling seemed … confused as well the steer-by-wire system’s early announcement freaked me out, because I actually drove a 2003 Q45 briefly (years ago, third-gen car with Gatling-gun HIDs) that had a   n appallingly-bad electronic throttle. The third-gen Q45’s throttle had two settings: no forward movement for first two inches of toe-tip, then a huge, huge over-surge that confused the transmission as you immediately backed off the throttle. Anyone know the big lurch I am referring to with …

Read more 2014 INFINITI Q50S AWD Hybrid — 1080p Road Test Videos & 50 Photos — AAA+ Refinement — Truly Authentic Steering That Beats 535i on Feel

Audi Allroad Shooting Brake Concept – Previewing Both 2015 A4 and Q2 e-tron?

This off-road hybrid concept is a promising step from Audi, and likely a bold preview of the 2015 A4’s styling updates. This two-door crossover shape could also wear a variety of other badges: Q2 e-tron seems like the most accurate. The official name of this NAIAS Detroit concept from Audi is the Allroad Shooting Brake. The powertrain and interior are the most innovative aspects of this new Audi Allroad style, with the full details from Audi below ahead of the car’s debut tomorrow in Detroit. Exterior     Interior Crossover in a compact package: The Audi allroad shooting brake show …

Read more Audi Allroad Shooting Brake Concept – Previewing Both 2015 A4 and Q2 e-tron?

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2015 VW e-Golf a Snooze, But its EV Tech Also Powers Very Cute e-Up Lite and EcoMotion Van

The Volkswagen e-Golf, e-Up! and Up Lite will join the Detroit auto show festivities, with the Golf BEV debuting its all-new battery and powertrains in 2015 production form. Featured in the cover image is the Frankfurt e-Co-Motion van concept. The newest is the Up! Lite, which appears to bring some of the cool tech and style of the XL1 exotic prototype. I called it the e-Up! Lite before by mistake, the up!Lite appears to be a PHEV of some kind. The 2015 VW e-Golf is a fully electric vehicle, evolving and refining some of the components previewed under the Blue-e-motion concept …

Read more 2015 VW e-Golf a Snooze, But its EV Tech Also Powers Very Cute e-Up Lite and EcoMotion Van

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2014 Scion iQ Glams Up With Two-Tone Styles. But Base Looks Best

The Scion iQ is still not a frequent sight in urban centers, two years since its arrival for American buyers. Why is this? For the new year, all iQ’s bring toughscreen controls for the center console. Overall, the iQ at $15,000 new is still a very ingenious package versus the much pricier, worse-driving and far less fashionable Smart Fortwo. The key difference for the iQ is width: this is as wide as any normal Corolla on the roads – which does wonders for driver confidence even on the U.S. highways. The 2014 iQ gets a tasty new grey paint finish …

Read more 2014 Scion iQ Glams Up With Two-Tone Styles. But Base Looks Best

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2014 Chevrolet Spark EV – First-Glimpse Photos Inside and Out – Looks Cute In White!

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV – First-Glimpse Photos Inside and Out – Looks Cute In White! We did not get a chance to silently disappear in the Spark EV, but those who did came back full of praise.   The cabin is dramatically lifted from its original roots with high-tech kit everywhere, plus a few glossy accents for good fun. The 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV also wears a gorgeous shade of “Escalade white” that looks really nice in almost any situation. It also keeps things cool in the warm West Coast climates who will see the fist Spark EV’s for sale …

Read more 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV – First-Glimpse Photos Inside and Out – Looks Cute In White!