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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Hybrid / Green

Toyota (With A Straight Face) Announces The Prius Plus Performance Package

On: Fri, Jul 1, 2011 at 1:50PM | By: Andrew W Davis

2011 Prius with PLUS Performance Package test 2

“Developed to meet the evolving demands of the growing hybrid segment, PLUS enhances the driving experience for Toyota hybrid enthusiasts by offering cool and fun accessories that add sporty looks with performance handling.”

Despite the fact that “cool” and “fun” are two things NO Prius could EVER be to many, those crazy cats over at Toyota Racing Development are going to give the Prius—yep, all models—a “performance” makeover as the “first installment of the new PLUS brand of accessories from Toyota.”

This “exciting”—another non-Prius adjective—“new accessory package for 2011” isn’t half-bad, with many of the same kind of performance-enhancing bits that wouldn’t seem so out of place if they didn’t come in a Prius wrapper.

So, here’s the question: Did TRD transform a Prius into something that people who actually CARE about cars won’t be ashamed to be seen in? You decide!

Tech-Ghost Riding Now Legal in Nevada

On: Fri, Jul 1, 2011 at 9:57AM | By: Chris Weiss

Tech-Ghost Riding Now Legal in Nevada test 1-1

Not only can you play every betting game known to man and have relations with a street walker in the same night in Nevada, now you can legally ghost ride. Okay, it's not exactly classic ghost riding where you climb out of a moving car and dance like a fool on the hood or roof, but the effect is the same: empty driver's seat, moving car. After some hard lobbying by Google, the Nevada state legislature passed Bill 511, which legalizes certain self-driven cars on roadways. Google will now be able to test its fleet of advanced, autonomous cars.

Big Surprise: Toyota Announces Yet Another Recall

On: Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 2:44PM | By: Andrew W Davis

Photoillustration by author test 2

It’s over. Simple as that. Toyota’s reputation for being the go-to brand for thrifty reliability-seeking folks is over, opening the door for other makes to fill the gap.

This latest “voluntary safety recall” is on “certain 2006 and 2007 model year Highlander Hybrid and RX 400h vehicles” and involves 85,500 Toyota Highlander Hybrid and 36,700 Lexus RX 400h SUVs—45,500 in the U.S., Canada, Guam, and Puerto Rico, plus 15k in Europe and a little over 11k in Japan—being recalled “because some transistors were inadequately soldered.”

To see what that might mean for you, read on…

Latest Mitsubishi i Buzz Looks To Early 2012

On: Fri, Jun 24, 2011 at 3:13PM | By: Chris Salamone

 Mitsubishi i EV test 2

Whether or not you love the new Mitsubishi i, or electric vehicles in general, it’s impossible to ignore the palpable hue of anticipation surrounding the latest and greatest in fuel saving technology. Not surprisingly though, the upcoming 2012 Mitsubishi i is fast becoming the poster child for EV practicality vs. greener tomorrow debates. That’s because this new Mitsubishi can travel only 85 miles on a single tank… err, charge. On the flip side, Mitsubishi’s MiEV technology ensures that all systems are operating as efficiently and economically as possibly. Mitsubishi estimates that the 100% electric i will cost the average driver $2.40 per 85 miles driven, while a hybrid vehicle rated at 50mpg costs about $6.80 to travel the same distance. Like it or hate it, those savings are hard to ignore.


2011 VW POLO BlueMotion: Embrace Your Inner Diesel

On: Tue, Jun 21, 2011 at 10:37AM | By: Clay Ritchings

2011 VW POLO BlueMotion test 2

We have all seen the rise in popularity of such cars as the Prius, Toyota's stab at a fuel efficient eco-friendly car that, because of a drag coefficiency, has a “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” label attached. Let us not forget the Honda Insight; actually produced and available to the public way before Toyota pumped out any Prius from their factories. These are two examples among many Hybrid vehicles available today that squeeze as many miles out of a gallon of gas as technically possible and reign champions to the penny pinching public… that was until the VW Polo BlueMotion came along.

The Volkswagen Polo BlueMotion (BlueMotion is VW’s name for its line of hyper-frugal diesel vehicles) and is simply one of the most efficient cars on the market today.

Long Live The Wankel: Mazda (and Maybe Audi) Working On Next-Gen Rotary

On: Fri, Jun 17, 2011 at 10:56AM | By: Chris Weiss

Long Live The Wankel test 2

With the Mazda RX-8 set to be discontinued, the rotary engine is teetering on the edge of the automotive endangered species list. But that's not stopping Mazda from working on it. The company is hard at work on an improved version of the Wankel, which should find its way into a sports coupe.

According to anEdmunds report last week, Mazda has a team of about 100 engineers working on the Wankel. The newest iteration of the spinning engine will incorporate laser ignition, eliminating the need for spark plugs, which will in effect make the engine cleaner and more efficient.

New Photos: Tesla Model S

On: Wed, Jun 15, 2011 at 5:59PM | By: Chris Weiss

Tesla Model S  test 2

Though it's winding down, the electrifying (lame pun Intended) Tesla Roadster, Tesla is working hard to bring the market a new electric performer. The Model S will launch next year and Tesla is busy testing prototype versions of it. Just so you don't think they're lying, they released some new photos proving that they're doing work.

The "Improved" Volt Goes On Sale In All 50 States (Enthusiasm Remains Limited To Two)

On: Wed, Jun 15, 2011 at 2:44PM | By: Andrew W Davis

Photoillustration by author test 2

Hooray! Yippee! Wow… oh, forget it.

Look GM, I tried REALLY hard to be enthusiastic for you now that your 2012 Volt sparkwagon can be ordered—and presumably taken home and kept—by folks in all 50 states.

And giving it a “starting” price of $39,995—or “$32,495 assuming a full federal tax credit of $7,500, which is subject to the customer’s eligibility”—including an “$850 destination freight charge but excludes tax, title and license fees” which is “$1,000 below the price of the 2011 model”… Stop! You are literally killing me here with your number-laden caveat-fest.

And therein lay my problem with the Volt: NOTHING can be easily and/or clearly be said about it without an explain-o-page full of notes attached. Well, I’m gonna go ahead and translate your press release MY way, asterisks be damned (except for one).

World's Largest Gathering Of Smart Fans: Another Reason To Avoid Italy This August

On: Wed, Jun 15, 2011 at 11:29AM | By: Andrew W Davis

Photoillustration by author test 2

I kid. It’s not like smart (damn lowercase) did something horrible to me or mine at some point, it’s just that I find it hard to resist putting into words what the design of their ridiculous-looking pseudo-cars screams out in pictures.

But here is where it ends. Well, if I am kidnapped and flown to “the seaside resort of Riccione on the Adriatic coast” (Italy) between August 4th and 7th then (and only then) will I feel like perhaps starting the beginning of the ending procedure.

Why? Because “More than 4000 smart enthusiasts from 22 countries, some with individually designed vehicles, are expected in Riccione where they will celebrate their passion for smart cars together and connect with designers, tuners, and industry experts.”

God help them.

Porsche Panamera S Hybrid: 100 Grand Never Looked So Green!

On: Mon, Jun 13, 2011 at 6:02PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Porsche Panamera S Hybrid test 2

So you're finally in the market for a hybrid. Enough of the 7-Series BMWs and the big S-Class Mercedes, you want something different, something that makes you feel a little better about yourself. But let's face it, after working your way up life's ladder for the past few decades; you can't demean yourself to the likes of a lowly Prius or Altima Hybrid. A Tesla looks like fun, but you still have to pick up the grandkids every now and then or take that extended weekend with the wife at the country club, so, of course, you need your space. So, what are you options? Not many, my friend, not many. But, thankfully, there is at least one new option on the block, and it may be the only one you need:  The 2012 Porsche Panamera S Hybrid. That's right; the biggest Porsche car is now also the greenest. 

Good Move/Bad Move? Nissan Launches Mobile EV Charging Station

On: Fri, Jun 10, 2011 at 4:28PM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan Launches Mobile EV Charging Station  test 2

In building the market's first real, mass-produced electric vehicle, Nissan bravely went where no other automakers were ready to go. And now it's going somewhere else where no other automaker has gone. But the question is: should it? 

One of the primary reasons that other automakers are focusing more on hybrids and range-extenders is range issues. Batteries can get you only a fraction of the distance of gas engines and hybrid powertrains. Now, if there was a robust electrical charging infrastructure on highways and byways, this wouldn't be as much of an issue. But since there isn't, people are basically limited to home and work charging, something that's given way to the rightful fear of getting stranded. It's called range anxiety and it's a major obstacle that electric-vehicle manufacturers face.