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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Hybrid / Green

Mercedes-Benz Working On Smart Charging

On: Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 10:24AM | By: Chris Weiss


Mercedes-Benz Working On Smart Charging  test 1-1

Much of the auto-show drama and theatrics of the past several years has been centered on the advanced technologies and promising efficiency of plug-in electric vehicles and hybrids. But there's been a side plot that is equally compelling, if not quite as flashy: charging technology.

With the growth of the plug-in market comes the need for a better charging infrastructure. Companies and team-ups between automakers and electric start-ups and mainstays have been working hard to make charging as fast, intuitive, efficient, and inexpensive as possible. Technologies like wireless charging and smart homes have been undergoing testing and promise to make a better future for plug-in vehicles.

Mercedes-Benz is spearheading one large effort toward creating a smarter charging system. The system would allow cars to communicate with the greater electrical grid toward providing less expensive charging.


Li Ion All-Electric Sports Cars Materialize; Production Set For This Year

On: Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 11:31AM | By: Chris Weiss


Li Ion All-Electric Sports Cars Materialize; Production Set For This Year test 1-1

Tesla is looking at a much more competitive future. Not only is Mercedes plowing full steam ahead with its SLS AMG E-Cell, but a new competitor just made things official. North Carolina-based Li-Ion Motors—a company that previously seemed to be hedging precariously on the edge of vaporware—announced at the Detroit Auto Show that production is go for its Inizio and Wave II models. And the company is looking at a quick turnaround, claiming that it will deliver the first models to customers this year.


High Gas Prices Are Great For The Auto Industry

On: Mon, Jan 17, 2011 at 3:17PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


High Gas Prices Are Great For The Auto Industry test 1-1

When gasoline prices blew past $3 a gallon recently, the highest level in 26 months, it was tough news for consumers, but a marketing boost for automakers trying to sell pricey new technology needed to meet tougher fuel economy rules that took effect January .

The new era will raise fleet fuel economy standards, in annual steps, to 35.5 mpg for 2016 models, a 30 percent rise from the 27.3 mpg of the 2011 model year.

The first step is a total fleet average of 30.1 mpg for 2012 models, which officially can go on sale this week. Automakers already are accelerating their use of costly lightweight materials and advanced powertrains on the way to 2016.


Volt Gets Cordless Charger

On: Mon, Jan 17, 2011 at 3:13PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Volt Gets Cordless Charger test 1-1

If there is one thing that American consumers love it's gadgets and gizmos, exhibited by just how many of us carry a cell phone or iPod. An average check-list for leaving the home usually breaks down to: keys, wallet, cell. The mere fact that we can take these devices on the road with us is what makes them even more attractive. But there is a potential drawback. The more we use them, the more we use up their battery power.


 

NAIAS 2010: The Europeans

On: Fri, Jan 14, 2011 at 1:35PM | By: John Welch


2011 MINI Paceman Concept test 2

Our ability to judge whether the global economic scourge is still affecting the auto industry is strained at best. Car makers, such as Porsche, returned to the North American International Auto Show this year, and brought pretty fantastic product with them. Well, Porsche did anyway; the rest of Europe sort of threw up a mulligan, introducing little and exciting few. Volkswagen insulted us with another beancounter design, the Passat; BMW rolled out its new 6 Series convertible, as well as the highly publicized 1M Coupe; and Mercedes brought along their new S Class BluTec. Audi, of course, introduced its newest schnozmobile, the A6. Seen that A7? Yeah, I don't care about the A6 anymore either.

We break the new cars down by brand inside the post; let us know if you agree or disagree with our assesments, in the comments.


Porsche 918 Gets A Healthier Engine And Harder Top

On: Thu, Jan 13, 2011 at 5:07PM | By: Chris Weiss


Porsche 918 Gets A Healthier Engine And Harder Top test 1-1

It's not quite the all new, high-end supercar that we had hoped for, but leading up to the Detroit Auto Show, we expected Porsche to deliver a hard top version of the 918 Spyder Hybrid. And deliver Porsche did. Stuttgart debuted an all-new, race-ready 918 hard-top that packs even more power than the original concept from last year. And the 918 RSR looks pretty hot too.


Mercedes Officially Going Electric With the SLS AMG E-Cell

On: Thu, Jan 13, 2011 at 2:23PM | By: Chris Weiss


Mercedes Officially Going Electric With the SLS AMG E-Cell test 1-1

Originally introduced last summer, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell is officially go, widening the very slim all-electric supercar market. Mercedes announced the news on Tuesday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and tied it into the 125th birthday of the [Benz-invented] automobile.

The SLS AMG E-Cell (which will undoubtedly come in some more flattering colors than that flourescent yellow job) (I hope) puts an electric spin onto Mercedes' gullwinged supercar, delivering 525 hp and 649 lb-ft of torque through a series of four electric motors. The motors are powered by a 48 kWh lithium-ion battery pack.


NAIAS: Big Mouth Styling Comes To Detroit

On: Wed, Jan 12, 2011 at 1:41PM | By: John Welch


Chevrolet Sonic test 2

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Mitsubishi's open nostriled schnoz or Audi's? One could argue that Aston Martin, or even Rolls Royce started this trend. I wanted to write a no-nonsense info article about all the new fangled curiosities circling the floor of the COBO Center, but after seeing my subjects lined up next to each other, I am unable to shake the creeping fear that gaping grilles are 'in' and here to stay.

Off the top of my head I can think of no less than nine new models or concept cars that are sporting rhinoplasty. The Chrysler 300, Ford C-Max, Ford Vertek, Mini Paceman, Honda Civic, Hyundai Curb, Toyota Prius C, The Mercedes SLS E-Cell (but all SLS models count), and the Chevy Sonic all feature grille work that is large, wide and ornamental. Not to mention the Audi A6 and all of its variants as well as the E-Tron. Granted, most of these examples are evolutions of previous design themes, but they were less exaggerated in their original flavors. These are the hood ornaments of the 21st Century, if you will.

The 2011 NAIAS played host to a smorgasbord of new technology, concept weirdness, and delightful presentations, but I was too busy staring at gorgeous, hook-nose free debutantes, such as the Porsche 918 RSR (they've riced it out already?!) and Cadillac CTS-V Coupe SCCA. Expect full write ups on both cars. We will feature coverage arranged by region throughout the week, but for now let's explore the besnouted new concepts and models on the NAIAS floor.


Volt and Leaf, Meet The Competition: 2012 Ford Focus Electric Debut

On: Tue, Jan 11, 2011 at 3:12PM | By: Chris Weiss


Volt and Leaf, Meet The Competition: 2012 Ford Focus Electric Debut test 1-1

As promised, Ford introduced the Focus Electric at an event at the Consumer Electronics Show on Friday. Ford's first all-electric passenger car will be available later this year, and is the first of five electric vehicles that Ford plans to release by 2013. Little was known about the drivetrain of the Focus Electric ahead of time, so Ford's event was really the first look. The Focus Electric is driven by a 100 kW electric motor powered by 23 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The motor gives the car 123 hp, 181 lb-ft and 84 mph. Ford hasn't provided a final range estimate, but indications are that it will be around 100 miles.


Ford Says Focus Electric Requires Half the Charging Time of Nissan Leaf

On: Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 5:27PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Ford Electric powertrain test 2

Ford’s new 2012 Focus Electric will require only half the time to charge its all-electric power source than the Nissan Leaf electric sedan, while being able to travel the same distance as its Japanese rival. The Focus EV will require only 3 to 4 hours to fully charge its battery on a 240 volt home electric outlet charging station, according to director of Ford’s electrification division, Sherif Marakby. The charging station will reportedly cost between $500 to $700, less than Nissan Leaf’s upgraded electrical station. It takes 7 hours to charge the Nissan Leaf when plugging into a 220 or 240 volt charging station.


Updated: Ford Teases 2012 Focus Electric

On: Fri, Jan 7, 2011 at 11:58PM | By: Chris Weiss


Updated: Ford Teases 2012 Focus Electric  test 1-1

2011 will undoubtedly turn out to be a year of green cars and concepts. And one of the first electric vehicles of the year will be Ford's first EV: the Focus Electric. Ford released a teaser picture of the Focus EV today, giving us a slight glimpse at the car, which it will debut this week.

Demonstrating the changing landscape of the automotive industry, Ford plans to introduce the Focus Electric, not at the Detroit Auto Show next week, but at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.

As is usually the case, Ford's teaser picture doesn't show much, but it does show a charging port encircled by blue LED lights—should prove useful if you ever have to charge in complete darkness. Other than that, we see the requisite electric badging and a powder-blue exterior paint job.