Remember when Elon Musk made a big deal about the near-magical 90-second Tesla battery swap that would permit his Model S to take on conventional vehicles, at least when it came to refueling/recharging times?
Yeah, we'd almost forgotten about it, too. It was well over a year ago that we first saw a dramatic demonstration of the technology in action, after all, and we have the memory of a goldfish. Then, radio silence. Until now -- according to Tesla, the electric automaker is set to roll out a pilot version of its quick-change battery swap technology, at least to an invitation-only group of Tesla owners.
The first station will open in Coalinga, Calif. Coalinga, you'll note, is juuuuuust about halfway between Los Angeles and San Franciso. There's already a Supercharger station there, so if you're not one of the few selected for the pilot program, you can still make the roughly 400-mile trek in your Model S without worring about running out of juice.
The next Alfa Romeo Spider will not be based on the new Mazda MX-5, according to CAR Magazine. That’s a reversal, of course, after we heard that the two companies would pool resources on a future roadster in 2012.
Harald Wester, the brand chief of both Alfa Romeo and Maserati, told CAR, “As far as the Spider goes, the final version is, of course, no longer the two-seater FCA co-developed with Mazda, but a derivative of project Giorgio.”
Giorgio is the in-house codename for Alfa’s new rear-wheel drive platform, which will be the basis of the new Spider.
Part of the problem is that Alfa has been mandated by CEO Sergio Marchionne to only build cars
ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: The Subaru Legacy, Honda Accord and Toyota Camry all come in at about $23,000. Equipped with four-cylinder engines, they all deliver about 175-185 hp, so really it all comes down to preference. The Legacy, though, is the only one that offers all-wheel drive.
I don’t know why it gets outsold by the thousands every year, because it offers nearly everything the other guys do, plus a little extra style to go with that AWD.
The 2.5-liter H4 is sufficient, but to make any sort of moves or passes, you have to basically floor it. The CVT makes fake shifts near redline, but that sound...it’s hard to get over, especially when you’ve been used to manuals and standard automatics most of your life. At least in the WRX the trans is tuned for fun; in the Legacy it’s tuned for efficiency. I guess 36 mpg on the highway is a good selling point.
ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: Kia did a fine job “taking inspiration from” the BMW on this K900. The shape is nearly identical, I’ve only seen it in BMW-ish colors and even that tiger nose grille is starting to look a little “double-kidney” to me. That’s not to say it’s a bad look. The 7-series is a big, imposing, handsome car, and so is this. I’m not a fan of chrome though, so, new wheels, new door handles and get rid of that strip in the back.
Power feels very BMW-ish as well. Throttle weight and tip-in are perfect, it doesn’t jump off the line like many Mercedes vehicles do. It has a nice progressive acceleration feel. Sport mode seems to do very little to change that, though I do enjoy the futuristic digits for the speedo and tach. The brakes were a little soft for such a big car. I found myself having to push a few inches down farther than I thought I should, to come to a stop.