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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.
Its no secret that gas is getting expensive and making efficient clean diesels look more attractive, but a new study is estimating that diesel light-duty vehicles will account for 12.4 percent of global sales by 2018.
Mercedes-Benz has confirmed that its E300 Bluetec Hybrid is on the way and will hit showrooms in Europe by the end of 2012. While it hasn’t been confirmed for a U.S. launch, execs also haven’t ruled it out.
The first capable diesel hybrid from Stuttgart available for public use debuted at this past March’s Geneva Auto Show. It combines the latest generation 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel with a 20-hp electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack to deliver a sedate 204-hp. Torque, however, is significant at 428 lb-ft at some very low revs. The fuel economy advantages are impressive with an estimated 57.4 mpg average on the European test cycle. The EPA rating is a less impressive, but no less significant 45-mpg.
What hasn’t been confirmed is the cost, but you can bet it won’t be cheap, with both diesel and hybrid technology certain to tack on significant premiums to this already un-cheap luxury sedan.
Hyundai unveiled its i-Flow concept vehicle, calling it a preview for a future D-Segment contender. According to Hyundai, we may see the i-Flow’s styling and technology in a 2011 production model. Would it be too much to expect it in the 2011 Euro-spec Sonata?
The seventh of a series of concepts from the Russelsheim design studio, the i-Flow extends upon Hyundai’s “fluidic sculpture” philosophy. The outside offers a futuristic look while inside, the i-Flow has an alien, Hyundai calls it “bionic”, feel.
Under the futuristic shell, the i-Flow is Hyundai’s first diesel hybrid powertrain. At the i-Flow’s heart is the U2 1.7L two-stage turbo engine combined with a lithium-ion powered motor. No horsepower or torque figures were provided, but Hyundai says the i-Flow gets 78.4 mpg.
Like the Blue Will concept unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show, the i-Flow recycles exhaust heat, capturing the energy and using it to power auxiliary systems.
The i-Flow also uses a thermal engine encapsulation technology which helps the engine reach optimum operating temperature quicker by retaining heat when the engine is idle. According to Hyundai, the i-Flow’s engine will stay above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) for up to 14 hours, much longer than a non-insulated engine’s time of three hours. Hyundai estimates this will cut 5% of emissions in the summer and up to 9% in the winter.