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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Hybrid / Green

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.

Ford Previews Evos Concept

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

Ford Previews Evos Concept  test 2

Ford teased its Frankfurt appearance last week with a short presser about four new designs that it will reveal at the show. One of those was described as a "major new design concept." This week, the Blue Oval revealed what that new design concept is: the radical Evos Concept.

Let's just not set ourselves up for disappointment. Despite looking better than pretty much every Ford in the current line, the Evos won't be making it to production. Derrick Kuzak, group vice president of Global Product Development made that quite clear in the press release: "... you will never see this car on the road..."

That's a damn shame, because we would love to see a sporty Ford sedan with quad gullwing doors on the road. That's right, the Evos features gullwings in front and back, providing a wide, inviting entry. Those gullwings are one of the first signs that this isn't your ordinary four-seater. From there, the Evos doesn't disappoint.

Next Bio-Fuel: Old Newspapers

On: Thu, Sep 1, 2011 at 2:09PM | By: Chris Weiss

Next Bio-Fuel: Old Newspapers test 2

A group of scientists from Tulane University has made an interesting discovery. Their research has identified a way of making fuel from one of the most readily available types of waste around—old newspapers.

Newspapers come out every day in towns across the world. They never stop. Newspaper, newspaper, newspaper. Back when I used to read a hard copy of the paper on a regular basis, I used to quickly pile up newspapers until I was drowning in them. Dirty, inky, tattered piles of old newspaper just cluttering my living room, kitchen, bedroom...

Sure, there's recycling. But at one point, the local recycling authority required that you tie newspapers up with string to a certain thickness—who the hell wants to do that?!! Instead, they went in the garbage or just piled up in the corner.

So, though I no longer buy newspapers regularly, I find this news to be pretty exciting. Not only is it a great new way of recycling old newspapers, it provides a cleaner form of fuel to boot. That's like green squared.

Hybrid VS. Conventional Cars

On: Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 1:52PM | By: Peter C Sessler

Hybrid VS Convetional Cars test 2

Hybrid cars have definitely made a dent in the sales of new cars. More and more people are evaluating whether they should buy one or at least, look at one before they buy. The reason is obvious. With gasoline prices rising this year, conventional cars are really starting to become too expensive, especially trucks and SUVs. You can save money with a hybrid car, but you have to be careful.

Hybrid cars stand out because they get much better mileage. Compared to a regular car, you can save substantially in fuel costs with a hybrid. For example, the Toyota Prius, the best-selling hybrid car, has an estimated 51/48 mpg. Compare that with the highest mpg from a regular car and you’ll see that the Prius is ahead. What about cost? Yes, you may pay extra for your hybrid up front, but you can recoup the gap in gasoline savings later. The hybrid can put you into the plus when compared to a conventional car when you reach the break-even point on the fuel cost.


A Different Kind of Microbus From Mia Electric

On: Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 12:05PM | By: Chris Weiss

Microbus From Mia Electric  test 2

While the world waits for an official Microbus decision from Volkswagen, a new player has swept in and stolen some of its thunder. In VW terms, "microbus" was but a nickname for Type 2 (T1 and T2). It wasn't an official model name. Over at Mia Electric, on the other hand, "Microbus" is an official model name.

Not only did France-based Mia Electric borrow VW's name, it borrowed some of its talent. The all-electric Microbus was designed by Murat Günak, former VW head of design. The design reinvents a quirky van for modern times by making it smaller, lighter and far more efficient than ever. According to the company, the standard Microbus weighs just 1,650 lbs. and the longest version adds about 20 lbs.

The Microbus is offered in three varieties: the standard, small-wheelbase version, a longer L model and the box van. While each is a different size, they all feature the same funky shape.

Ford Focus Electric Gets Greener With Solar Charging

On: Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 4:31PM | By: Chris Weiss

Ford Focus Electric Gets Greener With Solar Charging test 2

Despite the fact that studies—like this one from the Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicle Data Center—have shown that the overall emissions of electric vehicles are less than gas-powered vehicles, the sentiment about electric vehicles not being clean because they rely on dirty, dirty electricity still prevails. Well, Ford is attacking that sentiment head-on with a new solar-charging option for the 2012 Focus Electric.

The Focus Electric, which will be giving the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt some competition when it starts hitting dealers in select markets later this year, has gotten a little greener. Ford announced recently that it will offer a solar-charging option with the compact. The 2.5 kW solar option, offered in conjunction with SunPower, hooks up to your home via a solar roof panel and provides enough juice for about 1,000 miles worth of Focus Electric driving per month. It will provide up to 3,000 kWh per year.

So, if you choose this option and average less than 1,000 miles per month, you won't be taking a drop of juice from the power grid. And then you can officially tell all those EV naysayers to shove it—shove it good.

Bentley Talking Diesel And Hybrid Options

On: Tue, Aug 23, 2011 at 3:10PM | By: Chris Weiss

Bentley Talking Diesel and Hybrid Options  test 2

If you had to identify the two Bs of sheer environmental carnage and destruction, you couldn't do much better than "Bugatti" and VW stablemate "Bentley." Along with a few other perpetrators like Rolls Royce and Aston Martin, these two Volkswagen ultra-premium brands make up a who's who of the worst EPA ratings. And that happens year after year.

Luckily for them, both Bugatti and Bentley can sit back and rely on more efficient Volkswagen brands to offset the hefty numbers choked out by their massive-engined, heavy-bodied sports and luxury offerings. But that doesn't mean the brands aren't at least looking at ways of becoming more fuel efficient and eco-friendly. Even the richest of the rich want to feel good about themselves sometimes.

Tesla Model X To Launch In December

On: Tue, Aug 23, 2011 at 9:05AM | By: Chris Weiss

Tesla Model X To Launch In December test 2

Out with the old, in with the new... This year, Tesla will officially end production of its Roadster, a car that has invigorated the world of all-electric vehicles. According to a quarterly earnings call with Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Tesla will also launch a concept version of its next vehicle—the Model X crossover—before the end of 2011.

The Most Underrated Car Of 2011!

On: Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 12:34PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

The Most Underrated Car Of 2011! test 2

Driving along the mean streets of New Jersey a few days ago, I caught myself doing a double-take on the highway. Now, usually this type of behavior is perfectly acceptable for most cars that make more than 450 horsepower, or the occasional automotive rarity such as a Delorean or mint-condition late-80s Toyota MR2 solely due to their extreme uniqueness. But this particular neck turn wasn’t devoted to anything of the sort; in fact, I found myself very surprised at my own immediate visceral response. The car, believe it or not, was a brand new... wait for it... Indigo Blue Pearl Hyundai Elantra. Suffice to say, this was the biggest automotive surprise for this writer in all of 2011.

Yes, a Hyundai. No, not the sporty coupe. No, not even the high-end $65,000 Equus. No, what caught my eye was the $16,000 four-door Hyundai sedan. Seriously. And the sad part is that even as a writer, I am struggling to explain why it impressed me so, but that won't stop me from trying.

Cadillac Bringing Converj Hybrid To Market As ELR

On: Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 10:12AM | By: Chris Weiss

Cadillac Bringing Converj Hybrid To Market As ELR test 2

Well, that didn't take long. After news that Cadillac has made the decision to make a Volt-based hybrid production Converj broke last week, Cadillac officially confirmed with a press release. Though there are few details at the moment, as production has just gotten started, Cadillac confirmed that the car will take on the 3-letter structure of its other vehicles, being called the 'ELR' in production.

The name 'ELR' is inspired by the electric propulsion system of the car. The ELR will use an electric motor for primary motivation and a four-cylinder engine as a generator to greatly extend range. The car will store electricity in a T-shaped lithium-ion battery. Though Cadillac doesn't say it outright, the powertrain will likely be an updated version of the Chevy Volt's powertrain.

smart fortwo Electric Drive Gets Revamped For Frankfurt

On: Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 9:17AM | By: Chris Weiss

Smart ForTwo Electric Drive Gets Revamped For Frankfurt test 2

Other cars, like the Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus Electric, may get all the ink, but they're not the only fully electric options on the market. Sure, the Mercedes-backed smart fortwo Electric Drive is a little goofy, and God forbid you ever get into a crash in the tiny two-seater, but it's an ultra-compact, fully electric ride that's hard to beat for city driving. Just think about how nice it must be to park that car on crowded city streets and at events.

An updated version of the smart fortwo Electric Drive will make its debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show next month. Mercedes has addressed some complaints in redesigning the EV.