ChargePoint Creates App to Help Users Pay for Electric Car Charging More Easily

The electric car train isn't showing signs of stopping anytime soon, but the infrastructure it requires is still huffing and puffing at the platform. Charging stations are finally commonplace, but ease of use and no-cost perks that EV companies have been promising aren't holding up. Those ignorant to electric cars may be shocked to hear that even Tesla is beginning to charge for on-the-go Supercharging.

While it can't do much about the cost, car-charging infrastructure company ChargePoint wants to make it easier to use and pay for supercharging at its 40,000 stations across the country. The California-native company told the Los Angeles Times that it is introducing a smartphone application that utilizes "Tap to Pay" technology to make paying for fast-charging seamless and intuitive.

The app is available on Android right now, and will available to iPhone users later this month with Apple Watch support. The payment process takes just two steps: "Tap" your device on a ChargePoint station, and plug your EV in to begin charging. There are no complex touch screens to deal with.

ChargePoint's efforts are designed to take plug n' play (in this case plug n' pay) to the next level, making electric cars as accessible as possible. The company knows that making charging easier than filling up at a gas tank will attract more people to electric cars, which is what will keep the company in business.

"ChargePoint is committed to getting every driver behind the wheel of an EV," explained ChargePoint Chief Marketing Officer Colleen Jansen.

The LA Times pointed out that ChargePoint's new payment system is a huge boost for accessibility in the EV community, as the company's stations can be used by any car—unlike manufacturers like Tesla, which reserve their charging stations for their own cars.

Team Penske Will Join Prototype Action Early, Jumping into Petit Le Mans

Team Penske has been taking its new Acura ARX-05 DPi venture seriously this year. So far, the crew has already been spotted testing at Sebring and its star-studded group has been taking time out from their racing schedules in preparation for next season. Now, prior to its proper class-debut in 2018, staff drivers Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castroneves, and Simon Pagenaud will be racing an Oreca 07-Gibson LMP2 at next weekend's Petit Le Mans.

The team made the announcement on Thursday that it will be competing in one of IMSA's biggest events of the year. Hosted at Road Atlanta, the 10-hour endurance race sets the stage for the final race of the season with WeatherTech Sportscar Championship competitors fighting in their respective classes to close out the year.

Montoya, Castroneves, and Pagenaud have all raced for Penske in IndyCar, and Simon has experience at Petit Le Mans as well, winning it in 2010. The LMP2-spec Oreca 07 they will be entering shares a chassis with their Acura prototype and all three drivers have tested both over the course of the year.

In an announcement, Team Penske president Tim Cindric said, " We’ve had this race on our radar for some time, but we wanted to wait until we were able to get our drivers some testing at Road Atlanta prior to committing, as it is a very fast track and these cars are very different to drive from an IndyCar. Unfortunately, we confirmed this the hard way as we have had to totally rebuild our car after an incident during testing last week."

Oreca was able to bust out another machine for Team Penske to use at the October 7th event after the aforementioned crash. The event at Road Atlanta will be the team's last competition before they enter full-time racing at January's 24 Hours of Daytona.

The Drive will be on site covering the Petit Le Mans event next week, so expect a full spread on the superstar group's efforts come race's end.

Honda Teases New Electric Sports Car Concept for Tokyo

Honda has had its share of sporty coupes. The Civic SI, CRX, Integra< Prelude, and S2000 name just a few of the iconic models that come to mind when pondering about the automaker's contribution to the market. Determined not to be left behind other manufacturers embracing the electric slide, Honda has teased a new concept to be revealed at the Tokyo auto show next month.

Honda's lineup is looking a little beige lately. Sure, the Civic SI existed, but up until the Civic Type R hit the market in the United States, there wasn't really a true sports car offering aimed at enthusiasts like there had been in the past. As it turns out, Honda has been working on something behind the scenes—just don't expect it to run on gasoline.

The automaker says that the car itself shares the very same platform as the Urban EV concept revealed last month. Unlike the more environment-friendly variant, the Sports EV is expected to be aimed at less of a commuter crowd and be more of an enthusiast-type vehicle.

It's not really clear what we can expect out of the Sports EV concept, besides its electric powertrain and some sort of artificial intelligence component. Given Honda's history of sports cars, and the trends of current EVs, it seems likely that the Sports EV concept will be rear-wheel-drive and produce somewhere around 200 horsepower. Additionally, since speculation of range could be a concern ( the Urban EV is only slotted for around 80 miles of range), a range similar to the Tesla Model 3 (around 220 miles) would be hoped for.

Though no additional details have been made public at this time, all we can do is speculate until next month's reveal. We've reached out to Honda for some additional details and will update this article if new information arises.

There’s a Renault R5 Turbo 2 Evolution for Sale in Oregon

Ask almost any fan of rally when the golden era of the sport was, and they'll tell you it was the Group B era of the early and mid Eighties. Runaway development meant that the Group B era was an arms race of new-to-rallying technology, with Audi introducing four-wheel-drive, Lancia shrouding their cars in lightweight (but flammable) Kevlar, and almost everyone cranking boost until the cars were approaching the status of rolling bombs. With all those chaotic new parts, it was but a matter of time before things started to go wrong—and after a string of fatalities of drivers and spectators alike, the FIA put the kibosh on the series.

Before the end, however, manufacturers were forced to leave a legacy of Group B in the form of a 200 homologated road cars apiece, which shared parts with their race-built brethren. Renault, with its R5 Turbo, exceeded that requirement almost 25-fold, producing almost 5,000 of the R5 Turbo variants.

One of the rarer variants, the Turbo 2 Evolution, has come up for sale on Bring a Trailer. It is located in Portland, Oregon, and is one of but a handful of R5 Turbos imported to the United States by Sun International. With a mere 18,000 miles on the car over 32 years, this is probably among the most well-kept examples in existence, with one owner storing it in a climate controlled garage for more than 20 years. It recently received a major service, with costs totaling over $20,000 altogether, which should have it ready for whatever the future can throw at this little French motorsport classic.

The auction ends next Wednesday, which should allow the current high bid of $60,000 to climb further. Interested parties can place their bids here. If we had a ton of cash to throw around, you can bet your life we'd be bidding on this gem too.

Chevy Silverado Pickup Cab Separates From Frame in Bizarre ‘Rollover’ Crash

Police responding to a vehicle rollover call in southern New Hampshire yesterday were understandably surprised when they arrived on scene and discovered this bizarre sight: a 2002 Chevrolet Silverado pickup with its cab flipped forward onto its roof while the bed, frame, and all four wheels remained firmly attached to the ground.

According to the New Hampshire Union-Leader, 21-year-old Danielle Taylor was driving her truck when she felt the steering wheel "start to shake" moments before losing control and crashing near Pelham, NH. The force of the impact apparently tore the truck's body from its mounts, sending the entire cab, hood, fenders, and front clip flipping over the front bumper, kind of like the world's least graceful gymnast on the uneven parallel bars.

Thankfully, Taylor was reportedly able to crawl out of the smashed cab and escaped with only minor injuries. And as much as this weird accident seems like perfect fodder for the never-ending Ford-Chevy pickup war, there are two likely culprits here. The first is rust, which anyone who's driven in New Hampshire will tell you is simply the status quo up there. The second possibility is a shoddy body lift, as the space between the rear wheel and fender arch is artificially big. Or, like many things in life, it was a combination of the two.

The Rezvani Tank Is a 500-HP Armored SUV with Night Vision for the People

You'd be forgiven if you haven't thought much about Rezvani Motors these days, the tiny California auto manufacturer founded in 2014 who might be most notable for having once been featured in a Chris Brown music video. But their two models—the Beast and Beast Alpha—are very real, very fast cars that you can buy, and they're about to add a third to their lineup in keeping with the times. Introducing the Rezvani Tank, a military-inspired, V-8-engined monster of an off-road SUV.

The official reveal is scheduled for next week, with the first customer deliveries set to begin by year's end, but we've already got a few details to analyze. While the brothers Beast are undeniably well-styled cars, the combination of boxy traditionalism and sci-fi futurism on display with the Rezvani Tank is bound to be a bit more polarizing. Frankly, the teaser images call to mind something off the set of Starship Troopers. That's either a great look or the worst idea ever to you, but then again, this truck isn't really about middle grounds.

Rezvani promises extreme off-road capability to back that up, mentioning the Tank's body-on-frame construction, "world-class" suspension system, and "massive" tires in its press release. They also toss around the phrase "purpose-built" a lot, though the exact purpose of its optional ballistic armor and night vision camera system goes unstated. Powering the whole package will be a 6.4-liter V-8 engine putting out 500 horsepower. Presumably we'll get all the technical specs as well as interior images at the official unveiling next week.

"We wanted to offer a fresh design for a purpose-built, rugged, off-road capable vehicle that was muscular, well proportioned, and brand new,"CEO Ferris Rezvani said. “The design was inspired by extreme off-road concepts typically never seen on the road, but is completely street legal and ready for production."

A starting price hasn't been announced yet, but considering both the Beast and Beast Alpha start above $100,000, you can bet the Tank will be yet another six-figure truck. If you've got the scratch, though, Rezvani Motors will take it off your hands: $1,000 refundable deposits are being accepted as you read this right now.

China Sets 2019 Deadline for Automakers to Meet Electric Car, Plug-In Hybrid Sales Targets

China will institute aggressive new sales targets for green cars in 2019, pushing back the deadline by a year, reports Reuters.

After years of incentivizing sales, the world's largest new-car market will now require automakers to sell specific quantities of these vehicles. Beginning in 2019, automakers will have to amass credits for so-called "new energy vehicles" equivalent to 10 percent of annual sales, increasing to 12 percent of annual sales in 2020. (A single vehicle can generate multiple credits, so actual sales volumes will be lower.)

China previously announced an 8 percent quota for 2018, so the new rules give automakers more breathing room.

The system is somewhat similar to the credits California uses to ensure compliance with its zero-emission vehicle mandate; the amount of credits earned will vary from model to model, and automakers will be able to trade credits among themselves. The Chinese quota applies to automakers with annual sales volumes above 30,000 units.

The term "new energy vehicle" applies to purely electric cars, plug-in hybrids, and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. Since the Chinese government hasn't made much effort to promote fuel-cell cars, automakers will likely focus exclusively on battery-powered vehicles and plug-in hybrids.

The overall environmental impact remains to be seen, but it will likely depend on what portion of those sales are plug-in hybrids. China has less-developed charging infrastructure than the United States, meaning plug-in hybrids are more likely to be driven on gasoline power only, without getting plugged in—and thus, are more likely to have lower fuel economy and greater emissions than if they were primarily running on electricity.

China has long tried to boost sales of green cars, both to address rampant air pollution and to help its domestic auto industry achieve competitiveness with the technology. And while the credits system will ensure that automakers to produce a certain amount of electric cars and plug-in hybrids, it may just be the start of the country's push to green up its vehicular fleet. Earlier this month, the Chinese government said it is considering an outright ban on sales of new gasoline and diesel cars at some point in the future.

Toyota Wants More Non-Hybrid Competition if it Stays in WEC

The fate of the World Endurance Championship's top category, LMP1, was put up in the air when top contender Porsche announced it would drop its prototype program after 2017. Toyota, the sole remaining competitor, has since expressed concerns with continuing its own team. Recent news from Gazoo Racing states that in order for them to return after 2018, FIA officials will need to ease restrictions and allow non-hybrid LMP1 cars to become more competitive against their electrified rivals.

A report from Motorsport.com says that Toyota officials reached out to the motorsport governing body to make these changes in order to close the competitive gap between teams. The Japanese crew fears that it would be harmful for the LMP1 category to be diluted with only one truly competitive entrant, and the WEC agreed.

Series boss Gerard Neveu reinforced the idea that hardly anyone would want to watch a race with "Toyota playing alone, 10 laps in front," according to Motorsport. Such is believed to be the case with next season, a campaign where Toyota will almost certainly earn its first 24 Hours of Le Mans victory.

The FIA World Motor Sport Council announced last week that it would be working towards achieving this, giving non-hybrid teams more allowances like increased fuel usage per lap. Toyota is yet to respond if this will meet its requirements to stay put.

This initiative could also draw in new teams to the category, therefore expanding its lifespan and making it more interesting for fans. McLaren has already announced that it would consider returning to Le Mans if LMP1 got cheaper, and cutting the cost of hybrid development could aid those efforts.

Toyota had claimed in the past that it would withdraw from the WEC if the push for hybrid advancement slowed, but as conditions have changed, so has the company's stance. It now operates another FIA-regulated world championship team in WRC, making it extremely costly to have two separate programs without much incentive.

Watch a Waterfall Emerge From This Mercedes-Benz CLS Door Thanks to a Stuck Drain

Water is everywhere. It's in our bodies, the air we breathe, the oceans that surround us—and sometimes, strangely, the door of an otherwise well-sealed luxury sedan. A video recently posted to YouTube shows what happens when the door of a Mercedes-Benz CLS decides to serve double duty as a starboard ballast tank.

Contrary to what you may have heard, a car's door—especially that of a $75,000 luxury four-door coupe—is definitely not supposed to have gallons of water sloshing around inside of it at all times. If a car is flooded out, then yes, you'd expect to have water draining out from all sorts of nooks and crannies. But from the looks of it, this particular Benz simply had a nice long soak in your garden-variety rainstorm. It's pretty surprising to watch Thing unleash a literal torrent of water when he reaches down and pulls the drain plug at the bottom of the door.

A quick note about that plug: Every car features some sort of drain in the bottom of the door that allows rainwater to escape. Your doors and windows are well-sealed, but water is an invasive, pernicious bastard, so manufacturers have to give it somewhere to go when it inevitably seeps into the panel. Some cars have a series of small holes under the door, which themselves can get clogged with debris, while others are equipped with removable plugs.

Even after a massive downpour, the majority of cars doors won't be so thoroughly filled like this one. This mini-Niagara was formed during the Ice Age when a particularly bad seal and blocked-up drainage holes allowed water to flood the door from the inside out, the flow of which was likely aided by the car's sloping roofline. A combination of Mercedes' build quality and modern door construction techniques kept it all from leaking into the interior before the owner was able to pull the plug.

If you hear water sloshing around in your door and keep forgetting to clear out the drainage system, fear not—it will make its own hole eventually.

This BMW M3 E46 is Packing a Viper V-10

They say that if it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing. That mantra applies pretty well to this wild BMW M3 E46 with a massive, all-American Viper V-10 engine stuffed under the hood. I hesitate to say it’s “under” the hood because there’s a huge rectangle cut out of the hood to fit this engine and let it breathe. Oddly enough, this isn't the first time we've seen an M3 E46 powered by a V-10.

Not satisfied with the 3.2-liter S54B32 inline-six engine which makes 333 horsepower and 262 foot-pounds of torque that came standard in this M3, the guys at Sulava Racing Team in Georgia (the country, not the state) decided it needed more cylinders and more power.

We reached out to Sulava Racing Team and confirmed the donor engine is from a third-generation Dodge Viper. It’s an 8.3-liter V-10 that makes 500 hp and 525 foot-pounds of torque. The T-56 six-speed manual transmission also comes from a Viper. The engine appears to be unmodified with the only major mechanical modification to this M3 being the engine swap itself.

The body of the car has been heavily modified to accommodate the new power plant. There’s the panel cut out of the hood and a widebody kit to fit all the necessary tire in the car without having them stick out too far. It also gets custom front- and rear- spoilers to help keep all of that power on the road, a green paint job, and exhaust coming out of the back of the car rather than the sides like on a Viper.

With all of that extra weight up front and unwieldy power, one could argue that the Viper V-10 makes this M3 worse, not better. But it’s an M3 with a V-10. It’s not about practicality or refinement. It’s about doing something crazy so you can say that you did it.