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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Hybrid / Green

Euro-Spec Up! Headed For Production

On: Wed, Dec 28, 2011 at 9:58AM | By: Chris Salamone


VW Up! test 2

Back in 2007, VW unveiled the Up! concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Americans giggled condescendingly in delight, unable to appreciate the benefits of minicar ownership. Well, now we’re waste deep in a global recession and stuck paying gasoline bills on cars which rarely summit 25 miles per gallon.

Who’s laughing now? Although currently slotted for a European production run, VW’s Up! will officially go on sale in February of 2012. The company has yet to specify whether not the Up! will drive under the good ole’ red, white, and blue, but microcar fans can at least wait with some level of enthusiasm in knowing this production vehicle looks good…really good.


Ford Unveils An Ecoboost Concept Sleigh For Santa

On: Mon, Dec 26, 2011 at 10:02AM | By: Chris Weiss


Ford Unveils An Ecoboost Concept Sleigh For Santa test 2

In a whimsical bit of holiday merriment, Ford introduced a concept sleigh that it thinks can save Santa a lot of money. The company's Ecoboost Sleigh uses a tiny, 1.0-liter Ecoboost engine to deliver some serious fuel savings to the jolly, old guy.

Personally, I would have thought that traveling by way of reindeer was already about as green as you can be, but according to Ford, Santa's herd puts out some 214,670 tons of CO2-equivalent emissions a year. I was going to challenge that assessment, but then realized I'd be arguing about a fanciful concept created for a fictional character. Plus Ford actually provides a pretty thorough breakdown of its numbers.


Chevy Malibu Eco: A Hybrid, Hybrid?

On: Thu, Dec 22, 2011 at 4:46PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Chevy Malibu Eco: A Hybrid, Hybrid? test 2

Truth be told, when you look at the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco with eAssist, it doesn't look like anything special. Same old Malibu, blah blah blah. That's not to say it's a bad looking car, but to enthusiasts, the Malibu is what it is - a company car. Chevy plans on the Malibu being its first global offering in the year ahead, and with that in mind, the GM guys went out of their way to make a version of the Malibu that has drawn our attention.

To your average enthusiast, a hybrid (outside of the exotic Porsche 918 Spyder hybrid) is nothing more than a harbinger of death for our beloved internal combustion engines. While some see a decrease in oil consumption, we see a decrease in performance and driving enjoyment. Well, it seems that the guys over at Chevy are enthusiasts, with an eye for the future. The Malibu Eco is a sedan that starts with a gasoline powered engine (thankfully), and then utilizes a small electric motor powered by a 115-volt lithium-ion battery. Now, that probably sounds pretty familiar by now, but instead of using a tiny 98-horsepower motor like the Prius, the Malibu uses a legitimate 150-horsepower 2.4-liter inline four cylinder engine to begin with, making the Eco a legitimate sedan even in the non-hybrid segment.


Honda EV-STER Headed Toward Production

On: Thu, Dec 22, 2011 at 12:01PM | By: Chris Weiss


Honda EV-STER Headed Toward Production test 2

Toyota has already set a clear goal of returning to its sporty roots. Now it looks as though it will be joined by one of the other Japanese Big Three. Not only does Honda have a new Acura NSX concept on the way to Detroit, but indications are that it will also be building a sporty electric two-seater based on the EV-STER concept it showed in Tokyo.

According to a conversation between Honda CEO Takanobu Ito and German magazine Auto Motor und Sport--a conversation we ran through Google Translate--Honda plans to build a production version of the EV-STER. While the concept was shown as a pure electric vehicle, Honda may offer it in both electric and gas varieties, helping to broaden the appeal of the sporty roadster.


 

The End Is Nigh: Google Patents Autonomous Driving

On: Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 5:11PM | By: Chris Salamone


Google Autonomous Car Team test 2

Motoring fans everywhere have witnessed a slow degradation of the driving experience for years. 6-speed manual transmissions have shifted to something entirely less exciting, the CVT, and the road-feel of yesterday’s vehicles has become a mere afterthought on the pillow-top suspensions of today. And yet, the savvy tycoons at Google have claimed yet another aspect of the automotive industry – this time chipping away at the very essence of what makes driving fun.

Originally filed May 11 of this year, the USPTO just recently awarded Google patent #8,078,349 which specifically claims ownership of certain events where a mixed-mode car can transition from a human driver to an autonomous mode.


Down To The Wire: Chevy Volt Edges Out Nissan Leaf For Second Straight Month

On: Tue, Dec 13, 2011 at 10:06AM | By: Chris Weiss


Down To The Wire: Chevy Volt Edges Out Nissan Leaf For Second Straight Mont test 2

The Nissan Leaf may have dominated during the meat of the year, but the Chevy Volt is picking up its sales pace when it matters most. The Volt outsold the Leaf in November, leading to its second straight monthly lead. However, it will likely be too little too late for the Volt, as the Leaf leads by nearly 2,000 sales on the year.

Chevy sold 1,139 units in November, a slight increase from the 1,108 that it sold in October. Nissan, on the other hand, sold only 672 Leafs in November, a slide from the 849 that it sold last month.


Rinspeed Unveils Range-Extending 'Backpack On Wheels' For EVs

On: Mon, Dec 12, 2011 at 11:56AM | By: Chris Weiss


Rinspeed Unveils Range-Extending 'Backpack On Wheels' For EVs test 2

It looks like more utility within the electric city car segment is going to be a theme at next year's auto shows. We've already seen a Detroit-bound Smart For-Us pickup concept, and now we have another versatile Smart: the For-Two Electric Drive equipped with Rinspeed's new Dock+Go.

Unlike the Smart For-Us concept, Rinspeed's Dock + Go is an aftermarket accessory, not a unique model. It is designed to work with the Smart For-Two and is essentially a range-extending trailer that can be outfitted with either a gas engine or fuel cell. In this way, you can have an electric city car for your daily commute and a longer-range hybrid or fuel-cell electric for longer drives.


Chevy Volt Tops Customer Satisfaction

On: Fri, Dec 9, 2011 at 3:14PM | By: Chris Weiss


Chevy Volt Tops Customer Satisfaction test 2

In its first year, the Chevy Volt has already earned all kinds of awards, including World Green Car of the Year and North American Car of the Year. And it's not done yet. While not necessarily as prestigious as industry awards selected by top journalists, Chevy recently took home honors that should prove to be more valuable to the Volt's overall success: customer satisfaction.

In Consumer Reports' customer satisfaction survey, the Chevy Volt pushed perfection, taking home the very top spot.


Pigs Fly: Top Gear Names Fisker Karma It's Car Of The Year

On: Fri, Dec 9, 2011 at 12:39PM | By: Chris Weiss


Pigs Fly: Top Gear Names Fisker Karma It's Car Of The Year test 2

Well here's a little piece of left field debris: Top Gear Magazine has named the 2012 Fisker Karma its Luxury Car of the Year. For Karma that's some great news in a year that's brought mostly bad news. For Top Gear, it's an odd, head-scratching move that leaves us wondering.

Had any other magazine chosen the Fisker Karma, we would have understood, but the Top Gear franchise has a history of outright torturing and skewering electric cars of all kinds. Just refer to the pending Tesla v. Top Gear lawsuit for proof. They didn't go easy on the Nissan Leaf, either.

Of course, the Top Gear television show and Top Gear Magazine are two separate entities, and the magazine isn't the part known for its abuse of EVs. However, Top Gear television host James May selected the Fisker as his "Car of the Year." Even more surprising.


Honda Details Possible-NSX Hybrid And Electric Powertrains Of The Future

On: Fri, Dec 9, 2011 at 10:55AM | By: Chris Weiss


Honda Details Possible-NSX Hybrid And Electric Powertrains Of The Future test 2

Honda came to this year's Tokyo Motor Show with a clear focus on green technology. In addition to its electric Small Sports EV Concept and Advanced Cruiser-X plug-in hybrid concept, Honda detailed a raft of new green powertrains that it calls Earth Dreams Technology. Though a somewhat spacey, new age-y name, the technologies promise to deliver superior electric and hybrid driving and may preview the upcoming NSX successor's motivation.

The Earth Dreams platform will be integral to Honda's ambitious plans for the next few years. Honda aims to offer industry-leading fuel economy within every vehicle class within three years' time. It also plans to cut fleet emissions by 30 percent by 2020.


Amidst Growing Concerns, GM Offers Volt Refunds

On: Fri, Dec 2, 2011 at 2:26PM | By: Chris Salamone


Chevrolet Volts on Woodward Ave. test 2

This last month has not been kind to GM’s latest EV innovation, the Chevy Volt. From fire risks, to government probes, to competitor advancements, and an unexpected sales slump – a mere 60% of the company’s sales target for 2011 – GM will have to face some difficult hurdles in order to raise the Volt to the vehicle’s full market potential. But have no fear, the good General is always ready for decisive action. On Thursday the automaker said it would buy back any Chevrolet Volts from customers nervous about fire risks.

This is exactly the type of product ownership that consumers need to see. People must believe that Chevy will stand by the Volt, through thick and thin, stalwartly accepting responsibility. But, the true beauty of GM’s buy-back plan is that the company expects few, if any, of the 6,000 current Volt owners to ask for a refund.