AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Kia Motors is participating in an 8,000 mile trip with the 2011 Optima Hybrid sedan in an effort to break the Guinness World Record for the lowest fuel consumption in a hybrid car.
Drivers Wayne Gerdes and Chris Bernius will drive through 48 states in 16 days. Both drivers are experienced fuel economy drivers and the 2011 Optima Hybrid is bone stock, in accordance to Guinness’ strict rules. The Optima set off from Kia’s plant in West Point, Georgia on August 26 and is scheduled to conclude its drive on September 10 in South Carolina.
“Fuel economy is becoming increasingly important to car buyers all around the world, and the Kia Optima Hybrid is one of our latest models to address this consumer requirement,” Senior Executive Vice President & COO of Kia Motors Corporation Thomas Oh, said.
Currently, the Guinness World Record for lowest fuel consumption in a hybrid car was set in October 2010 using a Toyota Auris Hybrid. Amazingly, the Toyota covered 307.58 miles while only using 4.53 gallons of fueling, achieving 67.89 mpg.
GALLERY: Kia Optima
[Source: Left Lane News]
Toyota will be bringing an interesting blend of past, present and future cars to this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. Climbing up the famous hill this year featuring Toyota’s moniker includes their GT One sports car, Dynojet Racing’s Avensis, a rare MR2-based Group S rally car, the famous “King of Africa” Celica Twin Cam TA64, WRC Corolla and this year’s Dakar Rally class-winning Land Cruiser. In the factory cars department, Toyota will be showing off its Yaris Hybrid concept, Auris Hybrid and Prius Plug-in Hybrid.
The Toyota GT One sports car is the same car seen at the 1999 Le Mans and will be reunited with its driver from that race, Thierry Boutsen. The Belgian F1 grand prix winner will be back behind the wheel of the GT One as it climbs up the hill. The Dynojet Racing Avensis is one of Toyota’s current racers in the 2011 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. It will be driven by Frank Wrathall.
A rare sighting will include a MR2-based Group S rally car, which was once codenamed 222D. This rally car was a prototype car made in the 1980s that never saw competition due to championship regulations being changed. Only two of these are left and one of them will be campaigned up the hill!
Lastly, Toyota will have a strong World Rally Championship presence with their King of Africa Celica Twin Cam TA64, and the WRC Corolla that claimed 25 podiums between 1997-1999. The Land Cruiser from this year’s Dakar Rally (that claimed the win in its class) will also be present.
GALLERY: Toyota’s 2011 Goodwood Festival of Speed Cars
[Source: Toyota UK Blog]
Toyota is planning to offer hybrid versions of all of its vehicles by 2020 and the next step in that process is a Hybrid Synergy Drive version of the Corolla-based Auris hatchback sold in the U.K. Toyota unveiled a prototype of that vehicle, the Auris HSD Concept at the Frankfurt Auto Show today.
The Auris HSD Concept uses the same Hybrid Synergy Drive powerplant as found in the current third-generation Prius. With a 1.8-liter gasoline engine and electric motor, power output should be about the same with 134 ponies under the hood. With a slightly heavier package acceleration should be close with a 10 second 0-60 mph time. Fuel-economy is expected to be similar as well, but not quite as high as the Prius, due in part to a drag coefficient that isn’t quite as good as 0.28 cd, as compared to the Prius’s 0.25 cd rating. The Prius gets a rating of 51/48 mpg, so even a close rating will still be impressive.
Aerodynamic enhancements have been made over the current Auris, however, with different front and rear bumpers, underbody panels, a larger rear spoiler, a ride height that has been lowered by 20mm, low rolling resistance tires and special 18-inch wheels that cut air turbulence in the wheel arches.
Like the Prius, the Auris HSD Concept will get four driving modes, including ECO, Power and EV mode. The EV mode will allow the car to travel 1.25 miles or 2 km on just electric power at speeds up to 31 mph.
Another similar feature between the two cars are solar panels on the roof which work to power the fans in order to keep the car cool when parked. Toyota says it continues to look into ways to expand the use of solar panels on its hybrids and shows an example on the Auris HSD with solar panels on the dash that can be used to power cellular phones.
Toyota plans to bring a production model of the Auris HSD Concept to market in the U.K. in the second half of 2010 and will build the hybrid at Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK (TMUK) in Burnaston, U.K.
As the Auris is based on the Corolla platform, can a hybrid Corolla (or possibly a Matrix HSD) be far behind?
GALLERY: Toyota Auris HSD Concept
In a strange turn of events, a source inside Toyota has told the U.K.’s AutoCar that the Japanese automaker isn’t looking to build a hybrid version of the Yaris. The source says the car won’t be built in France, Japan or anywhere; not yet anyway.
Toyota does plan to build hybrid versions of every car it sells by 2020, but in the mean time the Yaris’s already fuel-efficient engine (sold with a 1.33-liter four cylinder that gets over 50 mpg in Europe and Japan) is sufficient. While the added weight and cost of hybridizing a car makes good financial sense on larger vehicles, it just wouldn’t be worth it on sub-compacts like the Yaris, says the unnamed source. That is, until battery technology improves, making the electric components smaller, lighter and cheaper.
Toyota has, however, officially said it will build a hybrid version of the slightly larger Auris in the U.K. starting next year.