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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Hybrid / Green

Infiniti To Build Range-Extending Sports Car

On: Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 11:01AM | By: Chris Weiss

Infiniti To Build Range-Extending Sports Car test 2

For most companies, the Frankfurt Motor Show is where the teasing stopped and the full revealing began. But for Infiniti, the Frankfurt Motor Show was the place for teasing its next exciting release. Nissan's luxury arm said that it will be revealing a range-extending hybrid sports car at the Geneva Motor Show next year.

As is fashionable, Infiniti is calling its car an electric sports car, but reports indicate it will have a small gasoline engine serving as a range-extending generator—that would be a series hybrid.

Smarts To Descend On The "Dragon" This Weekend. I, Sadly, Must Be Elsewhere.

On: Thu, Sep 15, 2011 at 4:24PM | By: Andrew W Davis

Photoillustration by author using photo from OutSMARTINGthedragon.com test 2

It has been brought to my attention that I may have alienated some of this site’s potential “fans” through my story (or ten) that MAY have contained some less than laudatory comments regarding the, um, transportation device that hates capital letters, the smart.

So I’m going to play this one more carefully than the others, letting the Smart fans—I still refuse to call them “smart fans” for religious reasons—tell the story (somewhat) themselves.

This, folks, is my serious face.

Fisker Goes Surfing

On: Thu, Sep 15, 2011 at 10:42AM | By: Chris Weiss

Fisker Goes Surfing test 2

Love it or leave it, it looks like we're going to have to get used to high-end shooting brakes. At the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, Ferrari created a stir—and some conflicting opinions--with the FF. And now, green sports car staple Fisker has made its own statement with the Surf Concept, a range-extending hybrid shooting brake based on the Karma.

Engines Get Smaller: Ford's One-Liter Three-Cylinder To Debut On 2012 Focus

On: Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 12:05PM | By: Chris Weiss

Engines Get Smaller: Ford's One-Liter Three-Cylinder To Debut on 2012 Focus test 2

Ford has announced the availability of its next great efficient engine—the 1.0-liter Ecoboost I-3. Ford will officially drop a cylinder in the European-spec 2012 Focus, which will go on sale next year.

The I-3 engine was first seen on Ford's Start concept at the Beijing Auto Show last year. Despite losing a cylinder and dropping displacement down to a mere liter, Ford says that the turbocharged, direct injected Ecoboost I-3 will offer output comparable to a 1.6-liter I-4 while delivering the predictable bump in fuel economy. The new engine will come in 99-hp with five-speed manual and 118-hp with six-speed automatic varieties.


Jaguar C-X16 Hybrid Concept

On: Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 10:49AM | By: Chris Weiss

Jaguar C-X16 Hybrid Concept test 2

Around this time last year, Jaguar stole the Paris Motor Show with its ultra-awesome C-X75 concept. Not only was the concept a sexy hybrid supercar with jet turbine technology, and not only was it Jaguar's first supercar since the ever-lust-ible XJ-220, but it kind of came out of left field and overshadowed more anticipated debuts, like the Lamborghini Sesto Elemento. It was show car through and through.

This year, Jaguar expands the C-X hybrid concept family with the C-X16. A look at a future entry-level sports coupe, the C-X16 isn't quite the show-stealer that the C-X75 was, but it's a car that more of the world has a chance at owning. And it's pretty sexy in its own right.

Audi A2 Goes Electric

On: Fri, Sep 9, 2011 at 2:17PM | By: Chris Weiss

Audi A2 Goes Electric test 1-1

Volkswagen is really getting its green on in Frankfurt this year. We've already seen the Audi Urban Concept and VW Nils, and here's another all-electric concept: the A2 electric. Unlike the previous concepts, this one is a preview of a definite production model.

The A2 is a five-door hatchback with four seats. It shares some of its underpinnings with the A1 hatchback, which debuted at last year's Geneva Motor Show. Unlike the A1, the A2 will get an electric powertrain, though Audi has yet to release the full details. According to Car magazine, Ingolstadt plans to offer it in all-electric and range-extending hybrid varieties. In concept form, the A2 packs an 85 kW motor and lithium-ion battery that is good for about 125 miles of range.

Fisker Previews Surf Concept

On: Thu, Sep 8, 2011 at 10:38AM | By: Chris Weiss

Fisker Previews Surf Concept test 2

We know that Fisker has some ambitious plans to expand well beyond its Karma range-extending sedan, and it's officially previewed its second vehicle. Called the "Surf," the new car will be a shooting brake and should feature similar technology to the Karma.

Outside of releasing the teaser picture above—which makes the car look rather bloated, if you ask me—Fisker hasn't provided much detail on its new concept. Between the name and obvious surfboard mounted up top, it's clear the concept is inspired by the beach, though we don't know if that inspiration extends to the styling of the car (hybrid woodie, anyone?) or just the overall green, Mother Earth-hugging nature of a series hybrid.

New Vaporware: Electric, Croatian Supercar With Near-200 MPH Capability

On: Wed, Sep 7, 2011 at 5:23PM | By: Chris Weiss

New Vaporware: Electric, Croatian Supercar With Near-200 MPH Capability test 2

It seems like all you need to start a supercar companies these days is a dream and a few fistsful of unlikely promises. The latest contender in the Transtar Racing - Rotary Supercars Not Holding Our Breath Fest is Rimac. Despite coming from an area of the world whose most famous automotive achievement is the Yugo, Croatia-based Rimac Automobili has a very ambitious project underway. We'll get a first look when Frankfurt gets underway.

Called the One Concept, Rimac's concept is an electric supercar. Alright, that's rare, but not unprecedented. But what makes Rimac's car seem highly unlikely is the ridiculous scope of its numbers. Not only will the One Concept boast a series of four motors (one per wheel) that produce up to 1,074-hp and spiral 2,802 lb-ft of torque onto the wheels, it'll also offer a 373-mile range. Oh, and it will weigh around 3,638 lbs.—not particularly superlight, but we'd expect it to weigh more like 7,000 lbs. when you imagine what type of battery pack can not only power a 1,000-hp motor, but can power it to more than 350 miles of driving.

Fisker Expansion Plans Start in Frankfurt

On: Wed, Sep 7, 2011 at 3:07PM | By: Chris Weiss

Fisker Expansion Plans Start in Frankfurt test 2

Though it seemed to have its hands more than full with getting the Karma to market, Fisker has been working on some other models too. The green luxury-sports automaker will showcase its latest creation at the Frankfurt Motor Show next week.

Fisker has a new production model to debut at Frankfurt. It will be based on the Karma's platform, utilizing the same dual-motor, range-extending powertrain and aluminum spaceframe. Past rumors have indicated the car will be a shooting brake/crossover model. It will go on sale next year.

Volkswagen Nils Concept: Frankfurt Preview

On: Tue, Sep 6, 2011 at 3:11PM | By: Chris Weiss

Volkswagen Nils Concept: Frankfurt Preview  test 2

It looks like the VW group is going to have two levels of ultra-compact, urban-maneuvering EVs on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show. We've already seen a bunch of the Audi Urban Concept, and now Volkswagen's revealed a concept of its own: it's called Nils.

Clearly developed in conjunction with the Audi model, the VW Nils features similar elements like the narrow, freestanding wheels. Unlike the Audi, though, the Volkswagen gets even smaller by eliminating the passenger—the Nils is a personal pod designed for a party of one. It also trades the unique slide-back door-roof for a pair of gullwings.

Built atop an aluminum spaceframe, the Nils weighs a mere 1,000 pounds and is powered by a small motor and 5.3 kWh battery pack. Volkswagen calls it a demonstration of "minimalist mobility." The engine pushes the car a total of up to 40 miles and speeds up to 80 mph, so it could foreseeably do some brief stints on the highway, though that's clearly not what it's aimed at. It takes two hours to recharge the battery.

Volvo's Game Changer, Or The First AWD Diesel Plug-In Hybrid

On: Tue, Sep 6, 2011 at 1:09PM | By: Chris Salamone

Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid test 2

Volvo is a company synonymous with safety, AWD, and perhaps the geometric square. In 2012, Volvo will also be known for an entirely new achievement: the first practical plug-in hybrid. Just as Chevy plans to release the Volt, which features both a short range electric motor and the long term benefits of an internal combustion engine, Volvo is looking toward the future to blend technologies from plug-in hybrids and diesels alike in their latest V60.

To date, all mass-produced hybrid vehicles are powered by unleaded fuel. This is primarily because of the differences associated with starting diesel engines versus starting an electric motor. Diesels require oil pressure and usually some warm-up time. This newest V60 manages to meet that challenge with some kind of mechanical voodoo—allowing oil-pressure to build while the driver releases the brake and presses the start button.