Chevy toots Volt's long-distance horn on 'Freedom Run.'
Don’t try this in a Nissan Leaf: As we speak, Chevrolet is plugging the long-distance virtues of its upcoming Chevy Volt with a four-day, 1,776-mile run from Austin, Texas, to New York City. The trek coincides with General Motors' announcement that buyers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Texas can have a Volt soon after it goes on sale in December, in addition to previously announced markets in California, Washington, D.C., and Michigan.
While I might suggest the “Volt Bolt,” GM has dubbed the journey the Freedom Drive, citing the Volt’s “unique capabilities” (wink wink, nudge nudge) as “the only electric vehicle that can operate under a full range of driving conditions and climates without limitations or concerns of being stranded by a depleted battery.”
Trucks are leading sales growth.
Amid gloomy overall numbers, pickups are shining brighter than other segments. While the American auto industry as a whole rose 14 percent last month, demand for Ford's F-150 went up by 29 percent, and sales of the 2011 F-Series Super Duty shot up a whopping 58 percent. Overall for 2010, Ford's pickup sales rose by 33 percent -- and it's not just Ford seeing the benefits. Excerpts from a report on Automobile.com:
By Greg Kable
BMW has provided the clearest hint yet to the appearance and technical package of its upcoming MegaCity Vehicle in a pair of official sketches and detailed photographs of early-build prototypes revealing an initial four-door hatchback version of the advanced plug-in electric urban runabout.
Scheduled for launch in 2013, the new four-seater has been conceived under a sustainable mobility program at BMW's R&D center in Munich with the working title of "project-i"--a name that alludes to the possible resurrection of the historic Isetta nameplate.
The MegaCity Vehicle brings together a series of innovative technologies that provide it with simple construction, low weight and zero emissions in a car BMW says will carry a price premium over similarly sized small cars. But BMW is adamant the car will still be affordable enough to hit an annual production target of 50,000 units at its Leipzig, Germany, factory by the middle of the decade.
"In the future, leadership in the premium segment will belong to whichever manufacturer builds its products in the most efficient and resource-friendly way--and offers its customers the most advanced and exciting solutions for eco-friendly personal mobility," said Martin Arlt, head of project management for project-i.
Power steering issues lead to NHTSA investigation into BMW, Mazda models
From Automotive News:
"The model year 2007-2009 Mazda3s have had three reported crashes out of 33 complaints, and model year 2003-2005 BMW Z4s have had one crash and 107 complaints, NHTSA said."
Yep, it's a flying car.
On the other hand -- cool! A flying car!
The plane-car hybrid (plar? clane?) got a vote of confidence from none other than the Federal Aviation Administration, which made an exception and approved it for light sport aircraft status, although it is a tad on the heavy side. (Light sport aircraft licenses are far easier to obtain than private pilot's licenses, but the aircraft has to weigh 1,320 pounds or less; the FAA granted light sport aircraft status despite the fact that the Transition weighs in at 1,430 pounds.)
Land Rover's new Evoque.
Base models of the Evoque will be front-wheel drive, making it the first 2-wheel-drive Land Rover in history.
The Evoque was revealed today in England amid a 40th anniversary celebration for the badge, though details about the model were scarce. (The Evoque will officially debut at the Paris Motor Show, so we expect full specs, pricing, etc., in September.)
Toyota admits to engine problems for 270,000 vehicles.
This is just not Toyota's year.
The world's largest automaker announced in Japan yesterday that 270,000 vehicles face engine problems that could cause the cars to stall while in motion. How Toyota found out about the problem, or came to that precise number of affected vehicles, was not disclosed.
No accidents related to the issue have been reported, according to Toyota, and a recall has not been announced. The company has said that it is examining the situation to determine the next steps.
By Greg Migliore
Will a V8 lessen the bite of the Audi R8 spyder?
To complement the spotlight V10 engine in its supercar convertible, Audi is adding the 430-hp V8 to round out the powertrain lineup. This is the 4.2-liter FSI unit that will propel the drop-top to 62 mph 4.8 seconds on the way to a top speed of 186 mph. It's paired with the R-tronic sequential transmission or a six-speed manual. Quattro all-wheel drive is standard.
This is the powerplant that also dials up 317.15 lb-ft of torque between 4,500 rpm and 6,000 rpm. It weighs 476 pounds, displacing 4,163 cc with the cylinders banked at 90 degrees. Engine speed is electronically limited to 8,250 rpm.
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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