earth friendly

BMW i3 range-extender gas backup engine priced up for US

BMW i3 range-extender gas backup engine priced up for US

BMW has finalized pricing for one of the more interesting options on its BMW i3 electric car, the range-extending gas motor that gives the city runabout longer legs. The two-cylinder gas engine - known as the "ReX" - increases the total range of the i3 to around 185 miles, BMW says, and will add $3,950 to the sticker price in the process. Without it, the i3 is estimated to manage up to 112 miles on electric power alone, and when in the most draconian driving mode.

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Toyota RAV4 EV first drive

Toyota RAV4 EV first drive

For a while, the modern eco-friendly vehicle had a familiar silhouette, and it was Prius shaped. Now, though, Toyota is branching out in not only its electric range but its types of drive, and so we have the RAV4 EV, eschewing gas and fuel-cells altogether in favor of what could be the most pious interpretation of green driving so far. Still, when your engine and battery are provided by Tesla, there's probably more to the story than just making all-electric family-friendly. We clambered behind the wheel (and brought our heaviest right foot) to see if the RAV4 EV holds up to scrutiny.

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Hybrids and EVs could soon cost up to $4k more Toyota warns

Hybrids and EVs could soon cost up to $4k more Toyota warns

Hybrid and ZEV car prices could rise by up to $4,000 as battery technology fails to keep pace with dwindling federal tax credits, Toyota has warned, despite aggressive targets for low-emission cars in the US. Development of cheaper, more power-dense batteries are likely to bring down the cost of building cars like the Prius, Toyota's Tom Stricker, VP of technology and regulatory affairs said, but countered that good news with the company's own internal calculations that its cars - and those of competitors, like GM's Volt and Nissan's Leaf - could still end up costing between $2,000 and $4,000 more as subsidies and credits expire and are not reinstated.

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Toyota: 5m US hybrid sales goal by 2016 is “friendly challenge”

Toyota: 5m US hybrid sales goal by 2016 is “friendly challenge”

Toyota may have sold 5m hybrids worldwide since the launch of the original Prius in 1997, but the company's next goal is a lot more localized: 5m hybrid sales in the US by 2016. Speaking at the company's Hybrid World Tour, senior vice president of automotive operations Bob Carter threw down the gauntlet to not only Toyota but the car industry in general, highlighting that if as a whole it could achieve the ambitious hybrid shift, it could save three billion tons of gasoline per year.

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Toyota hunts RAV4 EV buyers as eco-SUV sales stall

Toyota hunts RAV4 EV buyers as eco-SUV sales stall

Toyota will cut the cost of financing to boost sales of its electric vehicle range, the company has confirmed, after demand for models like the RAV4 EV proved less enthusiastic than predicted. The Japanese company had aimed to shift 2,600 RAV4 EVs - priced at around $50,000 apiece - by the end of next year, though sales from September 2012 to July 2013 amounted to 709 cars. Toyota isn't alone in struggling to sell its EVs, however, with suggestions that there is a growing "two-tier" market for the low-emission vehicles in which Tesla is leading while others struggle.

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Infiniti EMERG-E First Drive

Infiniti EMERG-E First Drive

As environmentally-friendly concepts go, Nissan's Infiniti EMERG-E is definitely more in the BMW i8 camp of performance first, rather than the meek eco-boxes that can give EVs a bad name, and we've been lucky enough to grab a test drive of one of the two working cars in existence while at Nissan 360. While most concepts look great but can often manage no more than a sluggish roll from delivery trailer to car show stand, the 402HP EMERG-E isn't short on either power or poise. Read on for some first impressions.

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BMW Concept X5 eDrive teases hybrid SUV to challenge Lexus

BMW Concept X5 eDrive teases hybrid SUV to challenge Lexus

BMW's i3 may be the company's first electric car to reach the market, but the company knows it's gas-guzzling SUVs that could really benefit from an eco-friendly update, hence the new BMW Concept X5 eDrive. Set to debut officially at the Frankfurt International Motor Show, the concept SUV bears a few design tweaks on the outside to differentiate it from its gas and diesel powered siblings, but the real magic goes on under the hood, where a plug-in hybrid drive system promises to take the polluting edge off of owning a big all-wheel-drive car.

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Tesla Model E trademark tips “affordable” EV name

Tesla Model E trademark tips “affordable” EV name

A new Tesla trademark registration for the "Model E" has prompted speculation that the company's much-anticipated low-cost electric car will launch under that name, following the Model S and upcoming Model X crossover. Filed on August 5, the "Model E" application - for "automobiles and structural parts therefor" - comes well in advance of the car expected to bear the name, which Tesla CEO Elon Musk has warned shouldn't be expected until 2016 at the earliest.

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Bill Gates: Google web balloons “won’t help” key issues

Bill Gates: Google web balloons “won’t help” key issues

Bill Gates has slammed Google's Project Loon, which would bring internet connectivity to developing nations using high-altitude balloons, arguing that getting online won't help core issues like malaria, and suggesting that the search giant has lost its way when it comes to altruism. "When you're dying of malaria, I suppose you'll look up and see that balloon, and I'm not sure how it'll help you" Microsoft founder Gates told Bloomberg Businessweek, when asked whether he saw schemes like Project Loon helping low-income countries. "When a kid gets diarrhea, no, there's no website that relieves that."

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