Hyundai’s Kona Electric SUV will travel up to 292 miles on a single charge

Hyundai’s second all-electric vehicle, the Kona Electric, will get a full debut at next week’s Geneva Motor Show, but today the South Korean automaker revealed most of the specs and pulled the wraps off of the new SUV. There’s no pricing yet, but the Kona Electric will come in short-range and long-range models, with 186 and 292 miles of range, respectively.

Built to look almost like the standard combustion engine Kona compact SUV, the new EV is Hyundai’s second, following the Ioniq. Both versions of the forthcoming Kona Electric outperform the Ioniq, though, and should give Hyundai a suitable competitor to fully featured EVs like the Chevy Bolt.

The short-range Kona Electric uses a 39.2kWh battery and a 99kW electric motor, and Hyundai says it will go from 0–60 mph in about nine seconds. A full charge from a standard AC outlet will take a little over six hours, while 54 minutes on a DC fast charger will get the car up to 80 percent battery life.

The longer-range Kona Electric has a 64kWh battery pack, hence the extra range. It also uses a more powerful 150kW motor. It can go from 0–60 mph in a little over seven seconds. But while it’s quicker and has a more respectable range, the top-tier Kona Electric will take around three hours longer to charge on a standard outlet, thanks to the bigger battery.

Both models will come with Hyundai’s suite of semi-autonomous driving and safety features, including adaptive cruise control, forward collision assist, lane keep assist, and blind spot warning. Each version of the Kona Electric will also come standard with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Qi wireless charging, a heads-up display, and a 7-inch infotainment screen.

The Kona Electric is slightly taller (20mm) and longer (15mm) than the standard Kona. A two-tone roof helps further distinguish it from its combustion engine sibling, and customers will be able to mix and match seven exterior colors and three for the roof.

Hyundai plans to launch the Kona Electric later this year in Europe and South Korea before hopefully bringing it to North America, too.

Ford is bringing its self-driving cars to Miami

 

Ford is bringing its fleet of self-driving cars to the neon-splashed streets of Miami to test out its future commercial plans for robot cars, which include ride-hailing and deliveries, the automaker announced today.

With a pipe organ-style suit of sensors on the roof and the Spanish word for “research” emblazoned below the grille, Ford says its self-driving cars bring the promise of safer streets and more efficient deliveries — and probably more than a few fender benders. The cars arrived last week, and testing is already underway.

Initially, Ford will test two types of autonomous cars in Miami: the aforementioned blue-and-white research vehicles with hardware and software technology by Argo, a self-driving startup backed by Ford; and self-driving delivery cars that Ford last deployed in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in partnership with Domino’s Pizza. Ford said it hoped to eventually have “thousands” of self-driving cars deployed in the city.

But for now, the company won’t say exactly how many it has prowling the streets of North Beach and the surrounding communities. The Argo research cars are currently driving all over the city in autonomous mode while collecting high-definition mapping data. Meanwhile, the Domino’s car (there is only one at the moment) is being operated by a human driver while the company studies how customers interact with an autonomous delivery vehicle. Safety drivers will remain behind the wheel of all of Ford’s autonomous vehicles for the time being, although the company is currently building an AV without traditional controls like pedals and steering wheels, which it plans to release by 2021.

Ford has also built a service center for its autonomous vehicles close to downtown Miami. The new terminal will serve as a home base for Ford’s cars when they aren’t out on the streets and a place where they can transfer data and have their sensors cleaned and calibrated.

Miami will also serve as a testbed for Ford’s forthcoming Transportation Mobility Cloud, an open-sourced platform for cities and other transportation partners that it announced last month at CES. Companies that have announced partnerships with Ford, like Lyft and Postmates, will soon be able to provide ride-hailing trips and deliveries using Ford’s self-driving cars, said Sherif Marakby, Ford’s vice president for autonomous vehicles and electrification.

“We’re really excited that we’re doing this already,” Marakby said in a call with reporters. “We’re not announcing that we’re going to the first city, we’re announcing that we are in the first city. We have a depot. We’re mapping the city. And we’re operating a business. So we’re very excited, and we feel that it does take all of these elements coming together and starting the development in parallel is absolutely the right thing to do, and we feel that differentiates Ford from the others.”

The automaker has been lagging slightly in the race to develop self-driving cars — not necessarily for lack of effort, but because its competitors have moved much more aggressively in the last year. Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google parent Alphabet, is gearing up to launch a driverless ride-hailing service in Phoenix, while GM’s Cruise has said it would launch its own robot taxi service in San Francisco. Uber has self-driving cars picking up passengers in Pittsburgh and Phoenix, and Lyft has teamed up with NuTonomy to launch a small ride-hailing pilot in Boston.

Last year was a challenging one for the Blue Oval, with stagnate sales numbers and awkwardly timed management shuffles. Jim Hackett replaced Mark Fields as CEO right after Ford announced a $1 billion investment in Argo. And last week, Ford president Raj Nair stepped down after admitting to “inappropriate behavior.”

Ford

Lexus LC: 2018 Motor Trend Car of the Year Finalist Lexus LC: 2018 Motor Trend Car of the Year Finalist

We Like: Bold exterior, gorgeous interior, and the car’s overall audacity

We Don’t Like: Bizarre hybrid powertrain strategy, pathetic infotainment system

If Car of the Year were awarded solely on the basis of design, the Lexus LC would drive off with this year’s Golden Calipers. “The design has a lightness and proportion that is nicely gestured and blends with some beautiful surfaces, ” Tom Gale said. Added Chris Theodore: “The Lexus LC 500 is a startling sight on the road, with great proportions and a sleek profile.” However, many questioned the goofy grille, Insane Clown Posse headlights, and bizarrely shaped A-pillar.

Design however, encompasses both the outside and the inside, and the LC 500’s gorgeous interior is about as good as cars get. Said Frank Markus: “I find the finished product striking and engaging—especially on the inside.” As a group, we were smitten by the blue and orange interior trim with white leather seats on the LC 500h. This interior excellence falls apart when it comes to the infotainment system, though. “Congratulations, Lexus, you built the world’s worst user interface,” Christian Seabaugh said.

Don’t miss all the latest Car, Truck and SUV of the Year content at MotorTrendAwards.com!

Although we all loved the potent naturally aspirated thrills from the brawny 5.0-liter V-8, we decided to take the futuristic hybrid version along as a finalist. Probably a mistake. “Peculiar powertrain strategy in this car,” Frank Markus noted. “I fail to see the payoff of this incredibly complex hybrid. It doesn’t feel anywhere near as fast as the V-8, yet the real-world fuel economy doesn’t seem that impressive either.” Did we mention that the hybrid costs almost $5,000 more than the V-8?

Read about 2018 Car of the Year Contenders:

  • Audi A4 Allroad
  • Audi A5
  • BMW 5 Series
  • Honda Civic Si
  • Honda Odyssey
  • Hyundai Elantra GT
  • Hyundai Ioniq
  • Infiniti Q60
  • Kia Niro
  • Lincoln Continental
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe and Wagon
  • Nissan Leaf
  • Porsche 718
  • Smart ForTwo Electric Drive
  • Subaru Impreza
  • Toyota Camry
  • Toyota Prius Prime
  • Volvo V90

Read about 2018 Car of the Year Finalists:

  • Alfa Romeo Giulia
  • Honda Accord
  • Honda Civic Type R
  • Kia Rio
  • Kia Stinger
  • Porsche Panamera
  • Tesla Model 3

2018 Nissan Murano Gets New Standard Features, Starts at $31,780

The 2018 Nissan Murano goes on sale today with new standard features and revised package content starting at $31,780—up $780 from the 2017.5 Murano’s starting price.

The 2018 Nissan Murano adds Automatic Emergency Braking and Forward Collision Warning as standard on all trim levels. All Muranos also receive a new center console design that’s said to provide easier access to storage and an 8.0-inch NissanConnect touchscreen system with Navigation and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility as standard. Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert is now standard on the SV trim, which starts at $34,825, or $880 more than last year’s model. The SL trim, which starts at $39,225, increases by $950 but now gets a hands-free power liftgate and adaptive cruise control as standard. The range-topping Platinum trim gets all of the same features as the SL but also comes with 20-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, heated and cooled front seats, and more. For 2018, a dual-panel moonroof is standard and pricing for the Platinum shoots up $2,370 to $42,955.

The Murano is still powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 making 260 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque. This engine is mated to an Xtronic CVT. All-wheel drive continues to be a $1,600 option on all trim levels. Adaptive cruise control can now be had on the SV trim through the SV Premium package, which also includes Nissan’s Around View Monitor, drowsy driver alert system, an 11-speaker Bose stereo system, heated front seats, a power panoramic moonroof, and 18-inch Gun Metal alloy wheels for $2,790. SL trim shoppers can now opt for a brighter cabin with the new $1,420 SL Moonroof package. Finally, Nissan says the Midnight Edition package for SL models, which costs $1,395, includes more content for 2018. As we previously reported, certain Murano functions such as remote start, locking and unlocking doors, and honking the horn can be performed via an Alexa skill on the Amazon Echo.

2018 Hyundai i30 N Performance First Drive Review

“Wow!” That was the first thing written in the notebook after getting out from behind the wheel of the 2018 Hyundai i30 N Performance. So let’s cut to the chase: The i30 N Performance is not just seriously good for a Hyundai. It’s seriously good, period. It might not have quite the surgical precision of Honda’s dazzling Civic Type R, but it’s one of the best hot hatches in the business, a quick yet coolly composed car that makes Ford’s Focus RS feel a little crude and klutzy.

The bad news? The i30 N Performance won’t be sold the U.S. The good news? The guys at Hyundai’s new N division, working under the direction of former BMW M engineering chief Albert Biermann, are using exactly the same engine, transmission, and suspension hardware to create an N Performance version of the Veloster that will be coming to the States next year.

N comes after M, but the nomenclature has nothing do with Biermann’s shock 2014 move from a plum job at BMW to become Hyundai’s vice president of performance development and head of the company’s new High Performance Vehicle Division. N, says Hyundai, stands for Namyang—the company’s global R&D center in Korea where the performance hardware is engineered—and for the Nürburgring Nordschleife, where the hardware’s honed to perfection. Also, the N logo looks like a chicane. Okay, we get it …

Americans know the i30 as the Elantra, and they’d recognize the N Performance as a variant of the Elantra GT Sport hatchback, a car that’s already impressed us with its Golf GTI-lite chops. The N Performance version turns everything up to 11, however. Insiders say Biermann was given a green light by Hyundai bosses to make whatever changes he felt necessary for this, the first ever Hyundai N model.

In place of the Elantra GT Sport’s 201-hp, 195-lb-ft, 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the i30 N Performance is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo-four that develops 271 hp at 6,000 rpm, with 260 lb-ft of torque on tap from 1,500 rpm through 4,700 rpm and another 18 lb-ft available via an 18-second full-throttle overboost function. The engine drives the front wheels through a beefed-up version of Hyundai’s own six-speed manual transmission and an electronically controlled limited slip differential. (There is an entry-level N version available that makes do with 247 hp, plus smaller wheels, tires, and brakes and misses out on the Performance model’s trick-e-diff, among other things.)

The suspension layout is the same as the Elantra GT but features heavy-duty components such as redesigned steering knuckles, plus new springs and electronically controlled shocks, and the ride height has been lowered. The Elantra GT’s EPS system has been replaced by a more robust setup with the e-motor mounted on the rack rather than the steering column to improve response and sensitivity. Other changes include the adoption of bigger brakes, with 13.6-inch rotors up front and 12.4-inch units at the rear, and 19-inch alloy wheels fitted with 235/35 P Zero tires developed specifically by Pirelli for the i30 N Performance.

N Performance prototypes underwent 6,000 miles of durability testing on the Nürburgring Norschleife—equivalent to almost 120,000 miles of hard, real-world road driving, says Hyundai—and twice competed in the grueling 24-Hour race on the Green Hell. That level of experience is reflected in detail touches such as the bar across the body behind the rear seats to improve body rigidity and the large vents in the redesigned front bumper to help cool the brakes. So confident is Hyundai of the car’s durability that Hyundai UK is promising to honor its regular five-year, unlimited mileage mechanical warranty even if you take the i30 N Performance on the track.

The N Performance offers five drive modes accessed via paddles mounted on the front side of the steering wheel. The left-hand paddle toggles between the Normal, Sport, and Eco modes that are familiar fare across the current Hyundai range. The right-hand paddle is the fun one, allowing you to access N mode, which dials the powertrain and chassis settings to the max, or Custom mode, which allows you to mix and match settings across seven individual functions: engine response, rev matching, e-diff, exhaust sound, shock rates, steering, and stability control. The menu is easily accessed via the 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen at the center of the dash.

2018 Jaguar E-Pace First Drive Review: The No-Brainer Jaguar

There was a certain inevitability to the Jaguar E-Pace. With its midsized F-Pace, Jaguar’s first ever SUV, powering an 80-plus percent increase in global sales for the storied British brand over the past year, and demand for the compact Range Rover Evoque blasting past 600,000 units worldwide since 2011, the decision to build a small Jaguar SUV was a no-brainer. Especially as the Evoque and the Land Rover Discovery Sport had provided Jaguar with a platform and a parts bin as a starting point.

The E-Pace shares its basic body structure, powertrains, and sundry other pieces of hardware with the Evoque and the Discovery Sport. But JLR has worked hard to keep the two brands distinct, giving the E-Pace a unique character that’s more than skin-deep. Quicker and sportier, the E-Pace is more fun to drive than either of the Rovers. Which is as it should be. Eager to see it? It has just gone on sale in the U.S., priced between $39,000 and $55,000,

Critics will note that this is only the second-ever Jaguar built on a front-drive architecture, with a transverse-mounted engine under the hood. (The other? The unloved X-Type sedan, which was based on the Ford Mondeo.) Nevertheless, the E-Pace successfully morphs the studied emotion of Ian Callum’s design language onto a tall package with a short dash-to-axle ratio. The trapezoidal grille, power bulge on the hood, and slimline taillights are key Jaguar family visual triggers. A bold, crisply defined haunch over the rear wheels and a greenhouse that riffs on that of the F-Type sports car give the E-Pace its own personality.

Inside, the PRNDL shifter and the flying buttress that arcs down from the dash to the center console give the E-Pace cabin a dash of F-Type spice. And the TFT instrument panel and InControl Touch infotainment interface are straight from the JLR parts bin. But careful attention to materials—both in terms of quality and execution—has made the E-Pace cabin appear more discreetly upscale than that of the F-Pace. Impressive, given the price leap to the larger crossover. Significantly, there’s no wood trim available, not even as an option. The E-Pace truly is a modern Jaguar.

Dimensionally, the E-Pace is an inch longer than the Range Rover Evoque, a half-inch taller, and has a wheelbase nine-tenths of an inch longer. The difference in wheelbase is due to a different rear suspension. Whereas the Evoque has struts, the E-Pace rear axle has the same integral link design as the F-Pace and the Discovery Sport; the rear knuckles are the same as the F-Pace’s, and the subframe and control arms are shared with the Discovery Sport. The E-Pace therefore has a different rear floor to the Evoque, with more legroom for rear-seat passengers and more room for luggage—there are no strut towers intruding into the load space.

Early in the E-Pace development program insiders acknowledged the biggest problem with using the all-steel Evoque platform—which traces its ancestry back to Ford’s ownership of Jaguar and Land Rover—was its weight. Developing a new, lighter platform from scratch simply wasn’t an option, so the engineering team applied what weight-saving countermeasures it could. The E-Pace’s hood, front fenders, roof panel, and tailgate are aluminum, delivering weight savings of almost 75 pounds over comparable steel parts. The bodysides are also stamped from special, thinner steel that saves almost 8 pounds. Even so, a base E-Pace still weighs 155 pounds more than the entry-level version of the larger F-Pace, which is built on JLR’s aluminum-intensive D7a architecture.

The E-Pace is the first Jaguar in history available only with four-cylinders under the hood. No V-6. American-market buyers can choose between two different versions of JLR’s 2.0-liter turbocharged Ingenium gas engine, driving through a ZF nine-speed automatic transmission. The regular E-Pace, which is available in standard, S, and SE trim levels, gets a 246-hp variant that also develops 269 lb-ft of torque from 1,200 to 4,500 rpm. In E-Pace R-Dynamic form, available in S, SE, and HSE trim levels, the engine has been tweaked to deliver 296 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque from 1,500 to 4,500 rpm. Peak power in both arrives at a modest 5,500 rpm. Jaguar claims the R-Dynamic’s extra horsepower cuts the 0-60-mph acceleration time from 6.6 seconds to 5.9 seconds.

JLR’s 2.0-liter Ingenium engine isn’t the smoothest in class. There’s almost a diesellike graininess at idle and under light throttle at low speed, especially when cold. But it delivers good performance and drivability on the road. The nine-speed automatic transmission has been recalibrated to deliver smoother and faster shifts, especially in Dynamic mode, and R-Dynamic models also benefit from having paddle shifters on the steering wheel for drivers who like DIY driving in the twisty bits.

Although the platform is front-drive-based, all-wheel drive is standard across the E-Pace range. There are, however, two systems available. The regular E-Pace lineup gets a conventional setup that simply varies torque between the front and rear axles, depending on load. The R-Dynamic models come equipped with Jaguar’s electronically controlled Active Driveline, which is capable of rapidly shifting 100 percent of the torque to either the front or rear axles and between the rear wheels. In steady state cruising, the Active Driveline switches to front-drive only, decoupling the prop-shaft to the rear axle to help save fuel. But it can funnel needed power back to the rear wheels in just three milliseconds. Two electronically controlled wet plate clutches on the rear axle also send precise measures of torque to each rear wheel to help control understeer and oversteer.

Subtle chassis and suspension tweaks have given the E-Pace a more alert and agile rear-drive feel than the Evoque. On the rear axle, positive camber has been increased to help initial turn-in response, particularly at low to medium speeds, and brake-induced torque vectoring is standard. Up front, there’s more negative camber to help get the nose of the car into corners, and the two rear-mounting points of the front subframe have been bolted directly to the body to deliver a more rigid platform. The E-Pace is 20 percent stiffer than an Evoque and 25 percent stiffer than a Discovery Sport, says lead engineer Matt Eyes. In turn, that stiffness improves steering feel and response.

What’s more impressive is that this fun-to-drive character happens with smoothness and silence, too. Our tester, a loaded R-Dynamic HSE riding on 20-inch alloys and 245/45 R20 Pirelli P Zero summer tires, felt calmer, quieter, and more relaxed on jittery British back roads than Evoques we’ve driven on 20s. Impact harshness is better suppressed, and there’s much less tire noise from the rear axle.

In terms of off-road capability, the little Jaguar doesn’t give much away to the baby Range Rover. All E-Pace models can be switched between four drive modes—Normal, Dynamic, Eco, and Rain, Ice, and Snow. The latter setting allows drivers to activate the standard All Surface Progress Control (ASPC), the low-speed, off-road “cruise control” system developed by the off-road specialists at Land Rover. ASPC is masterful at exploiting every last vestige of available traction, especially when working with the Active Driveline system.

Worldwide sales of compact SUVs last year totaled 9.8 million vehicles, according to JLR, and are forecasted to grow substantially in the near future. As it gives Jaguar the opportunity to play this white-hot segment for the very first time, the E-Pace is arguably one of the most important new Jaguars in history.

Although comparisons with the Range Rover Evoque are inevitable, the E-Pace’s real targets are BMW’s X1, Audi’s Q3, and the Mercedes-Benz GLA, along with buyers moving up from mainstream U.S. and Asian brands. Its mission is one of conquest, and early indications show that’s exactly what’s happening—more than 90 percent of customers who’ve placed an order for an E-Pace in the U.S. are newcomers to the brand. A lot of buyers are looking for a stylish, accomplished, competitively priced premium compact SUV, and they are likely going to see that Jaguar has a definite place in this segment.

Formula One is launching an international streaming service for its races

Formula One fans around the world will finally have a way to tune in to each and every Grand Prix without a cable subscription: the vaunted motorsport series is launching its own streaming service. F1 and its owners, Liberty Media Group, announced today that they’re launching an over the top service called F1 TV sometime early in the 2018 season, which starts on March 25th in Melbourne, Australia.

The streaming service will cost between $8 to $12 per month, and will start out as a “desktop and web” service. Apps for smartphones and streaming boxes like Apple TV and Amazon’s Fire TV will be “phased in,” according to the series, though no timetable was given.

F1 TV’s top tier, dubbed F1 TV Pro, offers commercial-free streams of every race, including every practice and qualifying session. Onboard views from every driver and live statistics will be available during each session, and users will be able to watch multiple angles at the same time. F1 TV Pro will also have “unique feeds not available on any other platform,” according to the series. It will include access to archival footage, as well as live races from the FIA Formula 2 Championship, GP3, and Porsche Supercup series, along with others to be named later.

A screenshot of what F1 TV Pro will look like, according to the Formula One press release.

F1 TV Pro will be available in the US, Germany, France, Mexico, Belgium, Austria, Hungary, and “much of Latin America,” according to the series. Broadcasts will be available in four languages: English, French, German, and Spanish. A “less expensive” tier, called F1 TV Access, will be available with live audio and statistics and delayed access to video of each race.

F1 has always been a bit of a chore to watch depending on where you live in the world. But the series has increasingly embraced YouTube and social media ever since it was taken over by Liberty Media in early 2017. F1 TV Pro sounds like a really positive step toward making the series available on-demand around the world, though TV contracts are apparently still restricting it in some obvious markets, like the UK.

Riding through the rain on the ‘Model 3’ of motorcycles

Zero has been occasionally described as the “Tesla of motorcycles,” and last year’s model DS ZF6.5 as the “Model 3 of motorcycles.” When you’re one of the only electric motorcycle manufacturers in the game, it’s frankly hard to avoid these comparisons. But after climbing aboard a DS ZF6.5 late last year, I got the sense that it wasn’t all just hot air.

It was a short ride, so the scope of these impressions is limited. Additionally, the proverbial ink of the “M” on my license was still so fresh that the excitement of showing it to people hadn’t worn off. Truly, all I wanted to get out of my first test ride of the DS ZF6.5 was a sense of what it feels like to slip through the city on a sleek, futuristic bike.

Of course, the day I rode was marred with drizzle and falling autumn leaves — two things that increase the danger of riding a motorcycle more than essentially any other variable that isn’t traffic-related. The rain came and went as I zoomed through South Brooklyn, down to the Verrazano Bridge and back to Union Garage in Red Hook. So we took things slow.

Even in tricky conditions, the DS ZF6.5 offered a smooth and scintillating ride. The suspension was capable enough to handle the Brooklyn’s neglected 3rd Avenue, which these days is more like a long stretch of asphalt-colored Swiss cheese than it is a road.

Zero has been occasionally described as the “Tesla of motorcycles,” and last year’s model DS ZF6.5 as the “Model 3 of motorcycles.” When you’re one of the only electric motorcycle manufacturers in the game, it’s frankly hard to avoid these comparisons. But after climbing aboard a DS ZF6.5 late last year, I got the sense that it wasn’t all just hot air.

It was a short ride, so the scope of these impressions is limited. Additionally, the proverbial ink of the “M” on my license was still so fresh that the excitement of showing it to people hadn’t worn off. Truly, all I wanted to get out of my first test ride of the DS ZF6.5 was a sense of what it feels like to slip through the city on a sleek, futuristic bike.

Of course, the day I rode was marred with drizzle and falling autumn leaves — two things that increase the danger of riding a motorcycle more than essentially any other variable that isn’t traffic-related. The rain came and went as I zoomed through South Brooklyn, down to the Verrazano Bridge and back to Union Garage in Red Hook. So we took things slow.

Even in tricky conditions, the DS ZF6.5 offered a smooth and scintillating ride. The suspension was capable enough to handle the Brooklyn’s neglected 3rd Avenue, which these days is more like a long stretch of asphalt-colored Swiss cheese than it is a road.

Also like the Model 3, there’s just one screen on the DS ZF6.5. (I know, it is a motorcycle.) But unlike the Model 3, it’s a very stark, utilitarian LCD screen. All the necessary, relevant info is there, like battery level, estimated range, battery temperature, and speed. But it’s not a particularly gorgeous display to feast your eyes on.

That’s fine. You don’t really want a display distracting you from the road ahead of you when you’re on a motorcycle, a form of transportation that really requires more concentration on (and awareness of) your surroundings. Zero could spice it up a little, though; something like Gogoro’s colorful scooter display would be nice.

One other way the Zero bike is actually like a Tesla is that it has the power to pull smiling conversations out of New Yorkers who would otherwise have never registered your presence. Half a dozen times on the short trip around Brooklyn, someone in the driver’s seat of a nearby car asked or remarked about the electric bike. They all sounded delighted by the idea, but surprisingly familiar with it, a testament to the rise in awareness of electric technology.

No one was puzzled as to why these bikes were quietly idling next to their cars instead of rumbling through their skulls. Most were happy to know what the name of the company was, or to steal some other small bit of information before the lights turned green. But one of them offered a word of warning: “Y’all be careful, it’s gonna be hard for folks to hear you coming.”

He’s right. The strangest thing about the DS ZF6.5 was how quiet it is. The videos I had watched before my ride of the bike being operated at higher speeds gave me the impression that it emitted a characteristic whine. But at or under 40 miles per hour, this motorcycle was essentially silent, save for some scuffy noises that come from the motor as it spins up to speed, and a low, rising tone that resembled the wind howling outside a house.

The silence is actually a wonderful thing if you want to be aware of the world around you. I was able to hear almost as much as I could if I was on a bicycle — car tires pawing at the greasy wet ground, conversations of people at a crosswalk, the sound of brakes being applied ahead of me. I could hear all these and more, even through my helmet.

This person did not hear me coming.

Where it felt dangerous is that, without the thunder of a combustion engine, the world can’t hear you. More than once, a pedestrian stepped out into the street thinking they were clear to cross before, mercifully, they spotted me charging at them. Other times, I was cut in front of by drivers who probably would have heard me if I were on a combustion motorcycle. As pleasant as my ride was, the silence made me more uneasy than the sketchy weather conditions.

This could all change. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wrote a set of rules in 2016 that will soon force manufacturers to add an artificial noise to EVs when they’re operating at low speeds. In response, some carmakers have been thinking up some wild ideas about what those sounds should be.

But the NHTSA rule is just for four-wheeled electric cars and trucks. There’s not a mandate for motorcycles just yet, though I hope one comes. I’m not sure I know what I think an electric bike should sound like, but I’d be willing to give anything a shot. Giving other people on the road as much information as possible that a motorcycle is coming can only be a good thing.

Tesla will supply free charging stations to office parking lots

Tesla is expanding its charging infrastructure into a new area: office parking lots. A new “workplace charging” program unveiled today offers businesses free Tesla wall connectors and will also cover installation, provided they meet certain qualifications set forth by the California carmaker. Tesla won’t cover the cost of operating the charging stations, and the company says there could be other permitting, construction, zoning, or labor costs.

The workplace charging stations will be compatible with all Tesla cars, but not with other EVs, and they won’t show up on publicly available Tesla charging maps. The wall chargers are 240 volts, or “Level 2,” which is capable of topping off a battery pack in a handful of hours, though the company says the charge rate will vary by location depending on the infrastructure available.

While the Supercharger network is the best-known facet of Tesla’s charging infrastructure, the company has steadily diversified those efforts over the last few years. It runs a “destination charging” program that is similar to the new workplace one, where hotels and restaurants are able to install the chargers at no cost. Late last year, it announced smaller Superchargers tailor-made for space-strapped cities. Tesla also offers home charging and energy storage solutions.