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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Hybrid / Green

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive

On: Fri, Oct 5, 2012 at 2:13PM | By: Traci Benoit

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive test 2

When you drive a Mercedes-Benz, you aren’t trying to blend in with the crowd. And you won’t blend with much if you drive the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive. Mercedes went to extensive lengths to make sure that the gas powered equivalent had nothing on the electric powered version. In fact, the SLS AMG coupe is the fastest electric car available on the market today.

With 740 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque, the electric version edges out the gas version with its 563 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. Although leading in power, the Electric Drive achieves a zero to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds compared to 3.8 seconds for the V8 motor. Top speed for the Electric SLS AMG is electronically limited at 155 mph vs. 197 mph for the V8. But who’s keeping score?

Consumer Reports Flunks Fisker Karma

On: Fri, Sep 28, 2012 at 9:48AM | By: Chris Weiss

Consumer Reports Flunks Fisker Karma test 2

It's been a while since we've reported anything about Fisker, which can only mean one thing: something bad has happened with the brand. Outside of an exception here and there, Fisker headlines tend to run pretty negative. In this case, Consumer Reports has put on its high school teacher glasses and given the Karma a big, red F.

The Karma didn't exactly get off to a good start with Consumer Reports. Back in March, the Karma that CR purchased for testing barely made it to headquarters before an electrical problem turned it into a large, aesthetically pleasing paperweight. CR had to send it back to Fisker immediately for a battery replacement, and a greater battery replacement program was born. Bad first impression.

Lexus Shows The LF-CC Concept Before The Paris Motor Show

On: Thu, Sep 20, 2012 at 5:24PM | By: Chris Weiss

Lexus LF-CC Concept test 2

Earlier this year, Lexus made a stir with the sporty 2 + 2 concept it calls the LF-LC. For the Paris Motor Show, it will premiere the closely related LF-CC concept. Conveniently enough for us impatient industry watchers, Lexus has revealed and detailed the sporty concept ahead of the Paris world debut.

A little more polished, but a little less dazzling than the LF-LC, the LF-CC molds some of the LC's styling cues into a more compact package. The car shares prominent elements like the spindle grille and air intakes below the headlamps, but makes a clearly distinguished move from "dramatic concept" toward "production-ready sports car." It includes a sporty, rear-slung profile; raked windshield; trunk spoiler; and bold front fenders. The airflow regulating fins toward the rear fenders help to increase down force on the rear drive wheels. The car is brushed in Fluid Titanium paint.

Finally! An Auto Auction Lot That Comes With A Lifetime Mating-Prevention Guarantee!

On: Thu, Sep 6, 2012 at 11:49AM | By: Andrew W Davis

Photoillustration by Author test 2

Have a problem with getting too many women? I, being such a person, know what it’s like; they follow you everywhere, looking for any excuse to hop in your car and go…wherever.

This is why I’ve been considering replacing my eight-passenger 1989 Olds Custom Cruiser. If only I could find something that would not only seat one (and some groceries) and—most importantly—would instantly kill the mating instinct of the human female on sight.

As it turns out my ideal lust-killer’s been around since the 1980s: the Litestar Pulse. And if only I’d been at Auctions America’s Auburn Indiana sale last weekend—and been suffering from a tragic-yet-comical brain injury—I could’ve been the sad… I mean LUCKY guy who traded $22,000 actual American dollars for Lot 4052, a “1990 Reconstructed Pulse Litestar.”

Way to go, dude! No more girl-sourced cooties for you!


Toyota Plans Fuel Cell Launch Within Three Years

On: Tue, Aug 14, 2012 at 11:47AM | By: Chris Weiss

Toyota Plans Fuel Cell Launch Within Three Years test 2

Despite the fact that only a handful of hydrogen fuel stations exist in the United States, automakers are slowly moving forward with fuel cell vehicles. Toyota has reiterated plans to launch a fuel cell vehicle in 2015.

Sort of a split between an electric vehicle and fuel vehicle, fuel cell models use an electrochemical reaction to create electricity for powering the motor from hydrogen. The hydrogen is purchased at fueling stations, similar to gas, and fuel cell vehicles can get several hundred miles per fill-up. Hydrogen and oxygen combine to create the electricity, and the only emissions come in the form of water vapor.

Ford C-Max Hybrid Earns Itself 47 MPG

On: Fri, Aug 10, 2012 at 10:10AM | By: Chris Weiss

Ford C-Max Hybrid Earns Itself 47 MPG test 2

Ford announces this week that the 2013 C-Max Hybrid is EPA certified at 47 mpg. The car gets a rare round EPA rating of 47 highway / 47 city. And, of course, that equates to 47 mpg combined. Take out the fours, and it's a jackpot of EPA certification.

The 47 mpg is just short of the Toyota Prius' 50 mpg combined, which leads non-plug-in hybrids. However, Ford is quick to point out that the C-Max Hybrid is the first hybrid to average 47 mpg for both city and highway driving. Most hybrids get a bump in city fuel economy thanks to regenerative braking, but the C-Max Hybrid keeps it level.

2012 Marks Highest MPG Ever For New Cars

On: Wed, Aug 8, 2012 at 1:08PM | By: Chris Weiss

2012 Marks Highest MPG Ever For New Cars test 2

The idea that the fuel economy of new cars would reach record levels is almost intuitive. Automakers have been using new strategies and technologies to deliver higher fuel economy numbers, both to appeal to consumers and meet government regulations. With gas prices often flirting with record or near-record levels, consumers have responded by buying more efficient cars. It seems like we should be hitting record levels every year, and a new report shows that to be the case during the first half of 2012.

In March, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute reported that average fuel economy for new cars had topped 24 mpg for the first time. While it came down in April, consumers remain very concerned with fuel economy, and average new-vehicle fuel economy set a record during the first half of 2012. According to auto market research firm Baum & Associates, the average fuel economy for new passenger vehicles in the US between January and June was 23.8 mpg. That's more than a 1 mpg increase from the 22.7 mpg record set during the same half-year period in 2011.

Cost Of Natural Gas Fueling Stations Coming Down

On: Mon, Jul 30, 2012 at 4:18PM | By: Chris Weiss

Cost Of Natural Gas Fueling Stations Coming Down test 2

Natural gas cars like the Honda Civic Natural Gas often get overshadowed by electric and hybrid vehicles, largely because the lack of a natural gas fueling infrastructure makes them a low-volume niche. While we also lack a proper electric charging infrastructure, homeowners can plug their EVs right into their home sockets, or pay a reasonable amount for upgraded 240-volt hardware. Natural gas vehicle owners aren't so lucky, but according to a new report, they may be in a few years.

Natural gas vehicle fuel economy numbers don't jump off the page like those of hybrids and electrics (the 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas is EPA-rated at 27/38 mpg). However, natural gas is significantly cheaper than petroleum gasoline. In an April 2012 report on fuel prices, the EPA listed the cost of compressed natural gas at $2.08 per gallon with regular gasoline listed at $3.89. Even with modest fuel economy, there are savings to be had.

Ford C-Max Becomes America's Most Affordable Plug-In Hybrid

On: Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 4:37PM | By: Chris Weiss

Ford C-Max Becomes America's Most Affordable Plug-In Hybrid test 2

When the Ford C-Max Energi launches this fall, it stands to become America's most affordable plug-in hybrid (just barely, after tax credit). Its solid price combines with a Prius Plug-In-beating 20 miles of all-electric range, making it a solid combination of affordability and eco-friendliness.

The C-Max Energi is a plug-in version of the C-Max Hybrid and is more closely aligned with the Toyota Prius Plug-In than the longer e-range Chevy Volt. The car packs 20 miles of all-electric range and 550 miles of total range into a package that ducks below $30,000 after tax credit.

Aston Martin Toiling With Three- And Four-Cylinder Engines

On: Mon, Jul 23, 2012 at 12:15PM | By: Chris Weiss

Aston Martin Toiling With Three- And Four-Cylinder Engines test 2

Unlike other supercar marques, including Ferrari (Fiat), Lamborghini (Volkswagen) and Bugatti (VW), Aston Martin doesn't have the umbrella of a larger auto group to hide under when it comes time to meet emissions mandates. It's pretty much out there on its own, which is why we see weird but necessary cars like the Toyota iQ-based Cygnet. And even though it has reduced the emissions of its V-8 and V-12 portfolio, Aston may pursue drastically smaller engines in the future.

According to a short report on Autocar, Aston is considering six-, four- and three-cylinder engines. Aston chief Ulrich Bez told the magazine: "Four or even three cylinders are possible. If the spirit of the times demands six cylinders, then it has to be looked at."

Nissan Leaf Gets Stretched Into A Limo

On: Fri, Jul 20, 2012 at 4:52PM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan Leaf Limo test 2

The Nissan Leaf may not be the right choice for a taxi cab, where it would risk running out of power meeting the varying demands of street customers, but it could perform as a hotel limo, where specific guidelines could ensure that it never travels too far from home. At least one hotel in Nashville, Tennessee seems to think so.

We've heard whispers about a Nissan limo being designed in Missouri, but this is the first time we've seen a comment from Nissan on it. In a press release, the automaker quotes a hotel executive in calling it "the world's first road-worthy, licensed, street legal electric limousine."