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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Hybrid / Green

Toyota RAV4 EV To Debut At EV Symposium In May

On: Tue, May 1, 2012 at 10:01AM | By: Chris Weiss

Toyota RAV4 EV To Debut At EV Symposium In May test 2

In a short media advisory this week, Toyota announced that it will debut the 2013 RAV4 EV at the 2012 Electric Vehicle Symposium next week. The RAV4 EV will add a bit more size and utility to the fledgling EV market.

The new RAV4 EV will look much different from the original RAV4 EV, which Toyota launched all the way back in 1997. Toyota received help from Tesla with the powertrain underpinning the upcoming RAV4 electric. Toyota says that powertrain offers about 100 miles of range and acceleration comparable to the V-6 RAV4. The RAV4 EV is supposed to hit the market sometime this year, and we expect Toyota should give more details during next week's press conference.

GM Debunks Diesel Myths

On: Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 3:14PM | By: Chris Weiss

Diesel Myths test 2

Despite the pressure for more fuel efficient, clean-burning cars, and despite a strong presence in Europe, diesel engines are virtually non-existent in North America. Diesel cars just aren't all that available in the US, and Americans don't seem all that interested anyway. Diesels smell weird, are more difficult to fuel up due to lack of diesel pumps when compared with gas, tend to cost more per gallon because of taxation (though can save money in the long run due to better efficiency), and are really just for truckers. Right? Wrong, says GM with a new list of myths and truths.

According to a 2009 article on PopularMechanics.com, diesels make up about 50 percent of the European automotive market. Over here in the US, on the other hand, they're in the single digits. GM puts diesel sales at a mere 3 percent of the market. That really doesn't make a whole lot of sense, seeing as how Americans are very motivated to find cars that are cheaper to fuel. Still, diesel options are slim, and Americans believe that diesels are noisy, dirty and rough. They also see higher diesel prices at the pump, if they see diesel prices at all.

Incredible Rimac Electric Supercar Now Available

On: Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 11:57AM | By: Chris Weiss

Rimac Electric Supercar test 2

When we first saw the Rimac Concept One electric supercar at last year's Frankfurt Motor Show, we weren't necessarily expecting to see it hit the market. Ever. But it actually took less than a year for Rimac to go from debut to order books. That still doesn't mean it'll be produced right away, but things appear to be moving along swiftly.

There are several things about the Rimac Concept One that made me cough-blurt "vaporware" from my desk chair the minute I saw it. It's from Croatia, and nothing against the people or country, but we just don't see many cars, let alone electric supercar masterpieces, coming out of Croatia. It's a 1,088-hp supercar that's quicker to 62 mph than a Lamborghini Aventador, and when you let your eyes wander farther down the spec sheet, you'll see that it has a battery big enough to provide up to 373 miles of range yet still manages to weigh in at a pretty light 3,700 lbs. It's the type of vehicle that demands skepticism.

GM Unveils EN-V 2.0 In Beijing

On: Thu, Apr 26, 2012 at 12:36PM | By: Chris Weiss

GM Unveils EN-V 2.0 In Beijing test 2

GM updated its pod-like EN-V personal transporter at this week's Beijing Motor Show. Originally shown at the World Expo 2010 Shanghai, the EN-V gets a few driver-centric updates to make it a little more comfortable and functional.

Having not seen the EN-V in over a year, we were kind of hoping that it just disappeared into the land of forgotten bad ideas. But it looks like GM is still stuck on the whole personal mobility thing. I suppose in China, the world's most populous country, it might actually make some sense. But it's still a rather atrocious, embarrassing way to travel around.


Ferrari Updates HY-KERS... Here Comes New Enzo

On: Wed, Apr 25, 2012 at 12:13PM | By: Chris Weiss

Ferrari Updates HY-KERS test 2

For years, we've been hearing rumor after rumor about the upcoming Ferrari Enzo successor. Codenamed the F70, the new flagship, road-legal-F1 supercar is being readied for a 2013 debut. At the Beijing Motor Show, Ferrari provided a sneak preview of the powertrain that will drive the new Enzo.

While Ferrari didn't come out and say the updated HY-KERS system is the mechanical underpinnings of the F70, it's not too hard to deduct. The F70 will be the first Ferrari hybrid, and the new HY-KERS system is displayed in the mid-rear engine layout that the F70 will use.

Who'd A Thunk? Study Shows Americans Buying More Fuel Efficient Cars

On: Wed, Apr 25, 2012 at 9:37AM | By: Chris Weiss

Americans Buying More Fuel Efficient Cars test 2

Americans may not yet be keen on buying multiple hybrids, but they are making a sure move toward more fuel efficient cars. With gas prices bubbling toward record highs, we probably didn't need a study to tell us what intuition is already whispering in our ears. But a study confirms it.

The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, which has been following these things for about four years, said this month that average fuel economy of new vehicles purchased in March topped 24 mpg for the first time ever. Average fuel economy took a small but notable step from 23.9 mpg in February to 24.1 mpg in March. That's a rise of 4 mpg/20 percent from October 2007, the first month that the Institute conducted the study.

Ford And Yahoo! Team Up On Video Series

On: Fri, Apr 20, 2012 at 3:07PM | By: Chris Weiss

Ford And Yahoo! Team Up On Video Series test 2

It must be nice to be a big corporation. Because you can go to other big corporations and say, "Hey I want to promote my new product; how about we go in on it together and both win!" That's what Ford and Yahoo! are up to in a new video series called Plugged In.

You see, Ford has its first electric vehicle to advertise (and given the car's high price, it will need all the help it can get), and Yahoo! has a new (launched last fall) video site called Screen. Ford needs to get out there and Yahoo wants content to drive traffic - a big, corporate win-win.

Next Nissan Leaf To Get More Range, New Looks

On: Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 10:31AM | By: Chris Weiss

Next Nissan Leaf To Get More Range, New Looks test 2

If there's one complaint about the Nissan Leaf, it's that it offers less than 75 miles of driving per charge. Given the courtesy of two complaints, we might have to point out the Nissan's unimpressive, pug-nosed looks. Let's face it: You drive the Leaf if you want to save money on gas and be a little greener, not if you want to look good driving. Nissan might just fix both those problems in the next generation Leaf.

Then again it might not. A new Automotive News Europe report says that Nissan plans to redesign the next Leaf, giving it a more European look. We're not sure exactly what that means, but we do know Europe has its fair share of tiny, unattractive hatchbacks, which makes us wonder if the next generation Leaf will look all that much better. Then again, Europe is also home to some of the world's most beautiful cars and most renowned luxury and exotic car makers, so let's hope that's the European influence Nissan is thinking about.

Fisker Lays Off A Dozen More Workers At Delaware Factory

On: Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 12:12PM | By: David Walter

Fisker Atlantic test 2

I remember first hearing that Fisker (maker of the innovative, high-performance $100,000 Karma) would be building their hybrid-luxury-sports cars at the former General Motors plant in Wilmington, Delaware. For a car enthusiast born and raised in the second smallest state in the nation, this was exciting news – and not because of the size and obscurity of the "Diamond State" (well, maybe a little).

Growing up there, everyone knew someone who worked in the auto industry – either at the GM plant in Newport or the Chrysler plant in Newark. My grandfather, two uncles, an aunt, and various friends and neighbors worked most of their lives at the Newark Chrysler plant. However, in 2008, the plant (where the Durango had been built since 1997) closed due to a slowing economy and demand for gas-guzzling SUVs.

Similarly, GM closed its factory in Newport/Wilmington in 2009 after building cars for decades.

So, you can see why car manufacturing’s return to Delaware came as such as an exciting surprise – and why recent news about Fisker is equally disappointing.

Hybrid Owners Quick To Jump Back To Gas

On: Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 11:12AM | By: Chris Weiss

Hybrid Owners Quick To Jump Back To Gas test 2

After paying hundreds of dollars a month (or week) at the pump, you might be thinking about ditching your gas powered vehicle and never looking back. Turns out, though, you may just look back - at least if you're like the average hybrid owner. A new study shows that hybrid owners are more likely than not to ditch gas-electric power.

On Monday, automotive research firm Polk released the results of an analysis that shows that only 35 percent of American hybrid owners came back for seconds when shopping in 2011. If you take the popular Toyota Prius out of the equation, hybrid owner loyalty drops below 25 percent. That's despite high gas prices and increasing selection of hybrids over the past several years.

Fisker Atlantic Sedan Barely Introduced, Delayed

On: Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 9:51AM | By: Chris Weiss

Fisker Atlantic Sedan Barely Introduced, Delayed test 2

According to new reports, the newly debuted Fisker Atlantic sedan will be delayed, just like its big brother the Karma. Fisker is still trying to figure out financing and production locations in the wake of the loss of its federal funding.

The Atlantic delay really doesn't come as a surprise given the turmoil going on at the company lately. Actually, more surprising is that Fisker was able to get the concept launched at the New York Auto Show.