By Neil Roland, Automotive News
Automakers are seeking to head off an EPA ruling that would allow gasoline to contain 15 percent ethanol, up from 10 percent now, and they've won some bipartisan congressional support.
The two main automaker industry lobbies have argued that the U.S. Department of Energy has done insufficient testing to assure that gasoline containing up to 15 percent ethanol won't harm vehicles.
Despite GM's claims to the contrary, its new 'green' machine isn't a true electric vehicle.
Eco-friendly transportation is big business these days, and with the electric vehicle universally considered to be the Next Big Thing in the evolution to greener pastures, automakers are hard at work trying to hasten the transition from hybrid to EV. The Chevrolet Volt, General Motors' much-hyped battery-powered wonder car, has long been touted by its manufacturer as the poster child for this tranformation.
The Volt, GM has claimed, uses an electric motor to drive its front wheels, with a gasoline engine present only to generate electricity. The Detroit automaker's cry has been long and loud: The Volt is an electric car, plain and simple.
By Neil Roland, Automotive News
A government report says improving the gasoline engine will yield huge gains for the consumer and the environment as automakers consider ways to improve fuel economy over the next 14 years.
The Obama administration's technical assessment looked at four technology scenarios by which automakers might attain suggested CAFE goals of 47 to 62 mpg for cars and light trucks by 2025.
The scenarios differed by the portion of an automaker's fleet that was accounted for by electrics, hybrid electrics and plug-in hybrid electrics.
The pathway resulting in the lowest consumer price and the highest consumer savings over the life of a vehicle was the one that relied least on hybrids and electrics. Hybrid electrics accounted for a portion of the new-vehicle fleet under this scenario, though less than half.
That scenario, which depended most on advancements in current engine technology and reductions in vehicle mass, also yielded another benefit: the biggest cuts in carbon dioxide emissions.
Hybrid and Turbo sedans give buyers one green, one mean option.
On the heels of its breakout Sonata, which trails only the venerable Toyota Camry and Honda Accord in family-sedan sales, Hyundai unveiled its Sonata Hybrid and Sonata 2.0T Turbo last Thursday in La Jolla, Calif.
Hyundai won’t reveal the hybrid’s price until it goes on sale in December, but it's likely to start at less than $30,000. That said, the Korean company did keep its public promise to bring the turbo version in at less than $25,000: The Sonata 2.0T, which produces a robust 274 horsepower from its 2.0-liter direct-injected turbo four engine, will hit showrooms at a base price of $24,865, with the deluxe Limited model commanding $29,865. That sub-$25,000 price is nearly $3,000 less than a V6-equipped Accord or Camry, though the Hyundai offers more horsepower and 10 percent better mileage than either.
By Jullian Rendell
Jaguar is planning production feasibility studies of up to 2,000 cars a year for its new 780-hp supercar, sources say.
Jag is remaining coy about firm production plans for the elegant mid-engine C-X75, but AutoWeek sources say that two levels of production are under consideration.
Toyota announces plan to turn its popular hybrid model into a whole new brand of hybrid and electric vehicles.
The car that started the hybrid revolution is about to be transformed from a mere model into a whole new brand. At a recent dealer conference in Las Vegas, Toyota announced plans to add two new models to the Prius lineup by the end of 2012, expanding the name into a brand aimed at bolstering the automaker's dominance of the hybrid and eventually the electric-vehicle market in the U.S., according to a report by the Detroit Free Press.
By Julian Rendell
The mid-life refresh of the storming Nissan GT-R will feature a power increases as well as slightly updated styling and new interior trim options.
Nissan is keeping details of the extra power to itself, although rumors imply it might grow to more than 500 hp. The design tweaks are intended to flow more cooling air into the engine bay, which suggests the power might rise substantially.
Nissan may offer loaner cars to ease minds of Leaf buyers suffering from range anxiety.
In what has to be one of the more brilliant marketing strategies in automotive history, Nissan is considering offering free loaner cars to 2010 Leaf electrical vehicle buyers to help alleviate any concerns they might have about the machine’s limited range.
According to a report from The DetroitBureau.com, the incentive would be available to any Leaf owner who wanted to take a trip longer than the car’s stated 100-mile range. The no-cost loan of a conventional, gasoline-powered automobile would be made available to owners for up to a week.
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Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Raised in Volvos, he has grown to love fast, irresponsible vehicles of all kinds. He is the senior news editor at MSN Autos and also reports for Car and Driver, Road & Track, The Boston Globe and other publications.
In the garage: 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (not his)
Doug Newcomb has covered car technology for over 20 years for outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to Edmunds.com. In 2008, he published his first book, "Car Audio for Dummies" (Wiley). He lives and drives in Hood River, Ore., with his wife and two kids, who share his passion for cars and technology.
In the garage: 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS, two 1984 Chevrolet Blazers, 2008 Honda CR-V
James Tate learned to drive stick at age 13 in a 1988 Land Cruiser - in La Paz, Bolivia. He's since been a mechanic, on a pit crew and has wrenched on every car he's owned since his first 1989 Honda CRX Si (and won't stop until the car is a 1973 Porsche 911 RS). His work has appeared in Car and Driver, Popular Mechanics, Automobile and others.
In the garage: 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera, 1988 BMW M5