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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Hybrid / Green

Daimler AG to Test New Electric Car Fleet in US

On: Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 12:06PM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

Electric Smart Car  test 2

Daimler AG – the gargantuan German automaker – is looking to go ‘green’ this year with the announcement of the launch of their newest electric vehicle innovation: Smart USA. The manufacturer of these newer mini electric cars is owned by Daimler, and is being spurred forwards by the company in attempts to capture potential US holdings of the ever-growing and expanding consumer demand for efficient and green electric cars in the US. Similar to the late 90s, when GM released the first electric car in the US, dubbed the EV1 (or Electrical Vehicle One), these newer Smart Cars will only be available for leases to businesses, as the company does not plan on selling them at dealerships right away.

The Wall Street Journal report really offers some perspective on what the German carmaker is hoping to accomplish by leasing these new test fleets in the US. “Smart will lease a fleet of 250 electric cars to businesses, organizations and select people, in Portland, Ore.; San Jose, Calif.; Indianapolis; Orlando, Fla.; and the Washington, D.C.-Boston corridor. A similar effort was started last year in Europe and will spread to Asia next year for a total test fleet of 1,500, Smart said in a statement.”

As to the range and efficiency, as well as the leasing terms, of these newer electric cars by Daimler, the Wall Street Journal report said that, “The car would be leased for four years at $599 a month and would be under warranty during the full period. It would have a projected range of 82 miles and would be limited to 62.5 miles per hour.”

The move by Daimler to start making electric cars in the US is tantamount to growing competition in all sectors with rival automakers, according to the Wall Street Journal report. “Smart also is joining a growing group of auto makers betting on electric vehicles. Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. is the most ambitious, with plans to sell as many as 150,000 electric cars in the U.S. in 2013, but Toyota Motor Corp. , General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC all have announced electric cars due out in the next few years.”

The president of Smart USA, Jill Lajdziak, stated in an interview with the newspaper that, “Certainly, for growth of the brand, this is a milestone. The mere perception in the marketplace of Smart is of an environmentally friendly vehicle.”

Ford Develops New Eco-Friendly Material for Seat Cushions

On: Sun, Jun 27, 2010 at 11:56AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Ford Develops New Eco-Friendly Material for Seat Cushions test 1-1

Ford has done it again! The Detroit automaker, known for changing with the times, is now adding more eco-friendly materials to their automobiles. For example, the new 2011 Ford Explorer will offer a new bio-based polyurethane foam made from soy in seat cushions and seatbacks, as well as a 25% increase in fuel economy over the 2010 model.

Ford was the first automaker to discover that soy-based foams could be used for automotive purposes, revolutionizing its use in seats as far back as 2008 in the Ford Mustang. Now Ford plans to continue developing the use of soy-based foam in the interior of nearly all of its 2011 line-up as part of a project to start utilizing more recyclable and renewable resources in designing all of its automobiles.

Already there are over two million Ford vehicles that have the bio foam used to construct interior seat cushions; Ford reports that the implementation of the innovative material has helped the company reduce the use of petroleum oil by three million lbs every year as well as reducing greenhouse gas emission by 11 million lbs. Those are very impressive numbers evolving from simply substituting one substance for another.

Ford, the First Automaker to Use Soy Based Eco Friendly Material for Seat Cushions
Prnewswire                               http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ford-adds-soy-foam-seat-cushions-to-ford-explorer-expands-use-of-eco-friendly-material-across-lineup-96996819.html
Ford has done it again!  The automaker has been known to change with the times is now adding more eco-friendly materials to their automobiles.  For example, the new 2011 Ford Explorer will offer a new bio-based polyurethane foam made from soy in seat cushions and seatbacks as well as 25% increase in fuel economy over the 2010 model. 

Stock 2011 V6 Mustang Travels Over 533 Miles On One Tank!

On: Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 3:16PM | By: John Welch

Stock 2011 V6 Mustang Travels Over 533 Miles On One Tank! test 1-1

Plenty of companies have come up with plenty of hairbrained hypermiler cars in the past. Oddities mostly. Not all that useful or relevant. High strung diesel engines bolted into single-seat, bob-sled sized cars don't really appeal to the average US consumer. A base-engined Ford Mustang, on the other hand, that is a little more palatable. Being proud of their new six-pot steed, Ford engineers decided to see just how many laps of Bristol Motor Speedway their baby could finish on one tank of gas. The goal was 1,000 rotations around the Bristol, TN,. bull ring, and they met that mark with flying colors.

“This is beyond our wildest dreams,” said Tom Barnes, the lead engineer for the Ford Mustang 1,000 Lap Challenge. “There have been a lot of people who have done a lot of things in preparing this 2011 Mustang V-6 to run the Mustang 1,000 Lap Challenge and have the success we have had today. It was great when we went past the 1,000 lap mark with David, but nobody could ever imagine that we still had five hours ahead of us. This is a fantastic feeling and it shows again what a great car the 2011 Mustang V-6 is.”

The Hungarian Prototype That Can Split Into 2 Cars

On: Wed, Jun 23, 2010 at 11:24AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

The Hungarian Prototype That Can Split Into 2 Cars  test 1-1

You may have heard of the Yugo from Central Europe it was known as “the worst car in the world.”  Many people think of the Yugo when automakers from countries such as Hungary come to mind, but things have changed recently and some European car enthusiasts are supporting the design of new environmentally clean vehicles manufactured in their own country.

One example is the car manufacturer named Antro in Hungary that has been developing a brand new concept in a prototype with financial backing from local sponsors. The company has invested 1.5 million Euros in designing a prototype of a car that can split into two smaller vehicles. The car is called the Antro Solo and plans are being developed to bring it to market by the year 2012.

The Solo incorporates a Hybrid drive system, it has a very sleek looking design with a center driver’s seat, doors that pivot, and a roof loaded with solar panels. It definitely looks like something in a futuristic movie setting.


Never Change Your Vehicle's Oil Again?

On: Wed, Jun 16, 2010 at 3:28PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Never Change Your Vehicle's Oil Again? test 1-1

What if a product existed that would enable motorists to never have to change their car’s oil again? The dutiful task that every car owner knows he/she has to perform every 3,000 miles. Imagine the amount of time, money, and resources that could be saved!

Believe it or not, such a product does exist, and not only does it prevent your car from needing its oil changed, it also increases fuel economy. The product is called an “Oil Refiner” and it has been around since 1977. For decades the specialized oil filter was used mostly on huge commercial ships, but it can now be utilized in cars, trucks, vans—literally just about any type of combustion engine that uses oil.

GM And Fisker Reorganize Delaware Plant to Build Plug In Vehicles

On: Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 1:09PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Fisker Karma test 2

Fisker, the automaker that designed the notorious Karma, is now working on plans for a new lower priced vehicle called the “Nina.”  The new automobile, second in the line-up for Fisker, will be produced at a new (well, new to Fisker anyhow), auto plant in Wilmington, Delaware. It is the plant that Fisker offered to purchase from General Motors, now Motors Liquidation Co., the bankruptcy estate company spun off from General Motors.

Panoz Unveils Abruzzi; So Wild It's Nearly Pornographic

On: Tue, Jun 8, 2010 at 11:46AM | By: John Welch

Panoz Unveils Abruzzi; So Wild It's Nearly Pornographic test 1-1

The Internet has a funny way of taking rumors and running with them. Like scissors. The Panoz Abruzzi is the source of a few rumors, and the Internet has sensationalized every aspect of the new Panoz supercar in any way it could.

"2,300 brake horse pressures!"

"Carbon-Kevlar dead-pedal and a licorice dispenser on the ceiling!"

"The nose doubles as a sweet three-blade razor! Lifts and cuts!"

On top of these ridiculous claims, the Internet has provided us with several concept drawings that were far from accurate. What I find hilarious about this is that the actual car is more outrageous than any of these fake Panoz drawings depict. I mean, geezus, this car is front-engined?! Where, exactly, does the engine go?! Not being manufactured by some elves in an Alpine cave somewhere, the Panoz Abruzzi has a lineage that helps us ease past the slightly Sci-Fi aerodynamic treatment. This is a real car, screwed together well, and the badge on its hood has the racing credentials to give it more cachet than, say, a Gumpert Apollo . . . which is built by some elves in some Alpine cave somewhere . . .

Lexus "Dark Ride" An Interesting New Avenue In Car Marketing

On: Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 6:24PM | By: John Welch

Lexus "Dark Ride" An Interesting New Avenue In Car Marketing test 1-1

Lexus has come to the conclusion that auto advertising does not involve you, the customer, quite enough. In fact, Lexus would like to extend to you the opportunity to control their commercials yourself. Such is the case with the innovative 13-minute featurette: "Dark Ride."

The movie puts you in the passenger seat as Norman Reedus, of "Boondock Saints" fame, does his best to pilot the Lexus CT 200h prototype to a Lexus "safe house" before dawn. Making you the navigator, Norman is screwed if you don't tell him where to go. That's right, you become a part of the commercial, guiding the Norman and the CT 200h through side streets and away from mysterious road-going "bad guys".

“With ‘Dark Ride’ we are creating a unique virtual test drive opportunity so consumers can experience this hybrid, that is like no other, months before it is available at dealerships in early 2011,” said Dave Nordstrom, Lexus vice president of marketing. “In it, consumers play a co-starring role as the fun-to-drive Lexus CT 200h is put through its paces. By guiding the driver and the CT through a series of adventures, customers will be exposed to ‘The Darker Side of Green,’ which is completely different than the way hybrids are usually portrayed.”

Honda's New EV-neo Electric Scooter Set to Debut in Dec in Japan

On: Tue, Jun 1, 2010 at 9:45AM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

Honda EV-neo Electric Scooter test 2

According to a recent press release Honda issued, they have plans to start selling their new electric scooter (EV-neo) in Japan by December of 2010. The car company is touting this as something that could really change the way that people get around in a country where there are very narrow streets and scooters are a very popular form of transportation. The press release really offers the whole scoop on this cool-looking and zero emission-producing electric scooter.

Press Release from Honda

TOKYO, Japan, April 13, 2010 - Honda Motor Co., Ltd. revealed the latest prototype of the EV-neo electric scooter and announced plans to begin lease sales in Japan in December 2010 to businesses and individual business owners that provide mainly delivery services.
Honda developed the EV-neo, an electric scooter designed to provide the durability necessary for commercial use, envisioning a wide range of uses by businesses such as delivery services. Equipped with a lithium-ion battery and a brushless motor, EV-neo realizes excellent environmental performance with zero CO2 emissions in use. The battery is rechargeable using a household power source with attention given to the range per charge. Moreover, EV-neo provides performance equivalent to that of mass-market under-50cc gasoline engine motorcycles realizing a powerful ride even with cargo by leveraging the characteristics of a high-torque motor even at a low speed ride.

Under the key words of "quiet and clean" Honda held the world premier exhibition of the EV-neo concept model (under the name EVE-neo) at the 41st Tokyo Motor Show in 2009 as one of Honda's new-generation personal mobility products which will contribute to the realization of a low-carbon society while transporting people and cargo. The mass-market model of EV-neo is currently under development.

Honda will continue providing products with excellent environmental performance to more customers in order to contribute to global CO2 emission reduction efforts.”

This electric scooter – as you can see from the pictures above and in the slideshow – is very sleek and modern looking. But it also has some pretty amazing technology that is at work inside of it too. The car uses a newer and very powerful Lithium-ion battery that is made by Toshiba. According to their website (www.honda.com) the EV-neo will offer, “With quick charger: Approximately 80% of the battery capacity will be charged in 20 minutes (200V power source).” So you can really charge that battery up in a hurry, less than half an hour; wow! If you don’t have their quick charger it will take a bit longer to charge your scooter up, “With regular charger: 100% of the battery capacity will be charged in approximately 4 hours (100V power source).

Porsche Was the Original Innovator of Hybrid Cars in the Early 1900s!

On: Sat, May 29, 2010 at 10:47AM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

Lohner Porsche Hybrid Car test 2

There are a lot of people out there that think that hybrid cars and electric cars are something rather new (myself included here). But in actuality, they have been around for a lot longer than you may have ever thought. Another interesting factoid is that the original maker of the world’s first truly electric cars and hybrids was none other than Porsche. I know that this may be—or may seem—hard to believe at first glance; I sure didn’t think that this was true. But as you read on, I aim to reveal to you my findings. After coming across some rather interesting and eye-opening information on the history of electric cars and hybrids in the United States, I was quite intrigued to learn their moniker. And indeed, as I found out, Porsche was the pioneer of the very first electric cars and hybrids. Here is the kicker, the ice cream sundae-topper and the deal-maker: They were making these hybrid and electric cars way back in the early 1900s!

Before I delve any further into this, it begs to ask one question: If we had this technology for over a hundred years—and then some—why is it only as of late that hybrid cars and ‘green’ cars, like electric and solar-powered cars, are finally making their debuts? One has a good mind to think that the oil companies were not that enchanted at the prospect of losing business, to the tune of trillions of dollars. Because if you really think about how much gas Americans have consumed over the past 100 years or so, that’s quite a pocketful of goodies that have been earned! But if we had only embraced this hybrid technology far earlier, one has a good mind to think that we would be leaps and bounds from where we sit presently—as it relates to the overall technology of these cars, and our precious and fragile, deteriorating environment.

Also, it makes one ponder if we would have been able to avoid terrible and devastating environmental disasters, like the BP Gulf Oil Spill?

Feds to Green Automakers: Your Cars Are Too Quiet!

On: Fri, May 28, 2010 at 3:10PM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

Quiet Cars test 2

It seems that the world of autos and cars has been changed forever with the advent of hybrid cars, ‘green’ cars, solar cars, and electric cars alike. Now these cars finally are falling to normal price levels, comparable to not-so-‘green’ cars. 'Green' vehicles are finally being manufactured by tons of automakers, and this market is ever so quickly expanding. As the world makes more demands on automakers to rise to the challenges of combating global warming, there is yet another hurdle that is being presented to green vehicles by the US government (and others): Apparently, they are too quiet!

Before I delve into this, let us first recognize one thing: the Feds, and most countries, have forever and a day, to be exact, vied for cleaner and more fuel-efficient and less emission-producing cars. But now, these cars drive so quietly and smoothly that governments are actually considering passing what they will call the Auto Safety Bill. This bill, in essence, would require the makers of such green cars to provide some sort of alert noise whenever, say, a pedestrian is nearby—so that they are safer on the roads.

But this is not a bad thing. No way. For sure, a smooth and quiet ride is very desirable to most consumers and has forever been a mainstay in the marketing of many different cars. However, did we really think that we would ever see the day when technology has them running so quietly that there are now bills being enacted into law to regulate that lack of noise? The last time I checked, they were passing bills for quite the opposite reasons—mostly by city and region—laws that would limit how loud a motorcycle could be, for example. In the area of auto safety, however, something is often overlooked: the street-side pedestrian. So this new bill is actually a good thing, if you ask me.