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.
To Frugality and Beyond!
Fuel economy is a major purchase consideration for new-vehicle shoppers; in fact it’s the No. 1 thing they look for in a car or truck. Consumers continue to demand ever greater mileage, and so does the federal government. Washington keeps turning up the wick on its Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations. In response to these stimuli automakers are working day and night to improve the efficiency of their products.
It wasn’t so long ago that diesel engines conjured images of black smoke belching trucks with exhaust stacks sticking out the sides.
When it’s time to top-off the tank, drivers are confronted with a dizzying variety of choices at the pump. There’s premium gasoline, mid-grade, regular and – depending on where you live – some even offer ultra-high octane, with a rating of 94 or above.
Last week Hyundai and Kia made an embarrassing confession; they’ve been overstating the fuel efficiency of their vehicles for the past three years. This miscalculation includes most of the models in both of their lineups. To make things right the South Korean automakers are readjusting the numbers and reimbursing customers. That should help rebuild trust but there could be more fallout from the blunder. Has the resale value of their vehicles been affected?
We’ve got to laugh a little at the German automaker for deciding to intentionally offer less-than-optimal fuel efficiency in the Q5s headed to North America. Their 2.0-liter TDI is actually more efficient than the hybrid powertrain that will be available stateside.
To keep people from flocking to the most efficient bird in the roost, Audi decided to slip the same 3.0-liter diesel from the Q7 into the smaller Q5, branding it as a more performance-oriented option.
You can see in the photos that the Q5 is getting Audi’s S-line treatment like the new A4 and A6. We’re also told that the compact SUV will come with the latest multimedia interface, including Audi connect and Google Maps.
GALLERY: 2013 Audi Q5 spy photos
Efficiency is important these days. The government is cracking down on gas guzzlers and imposing strict regulations that force automakers into saving more fuel than ever before.
That’s why it might come as a surprise that Audi of America is opting not to offer their most efficient diesel engine in the upcoming 2013 Q5. That’s right, the German luxury brand sees fit to package the same diesel 3.0-liter V6 that they currently offer American consumers in the Q7.
Why, you might ask? The answer is simple, though less than logical. Audi is afraid of selling a 2.0 turbo diesel Q5 because it gets better milage than the hybrid-electric powertrain they are offering in the same vehicle.
In other words, the diesel engine is too efficient for the discerning U.S. palette. Now, there may be some merit to the theory, considering diesel fuel is more expensive than gasoline. People can be quick to judge at the pump and diesels still carry a somewhat sordid name among American consumers, even today.
On the other hand Hybrids evoke green imagery and environmentally friendly thoughts, which is even funnier when you realize that Europeans have been driving diesels to save fuel for decades.
Regardless of the reasoning, Audi is doing a good job of pandering to consumer egos, saying they chose to offer a more performance oriented diesel and an efficient hybrid.
Speaking of performance-oriented diesels, the company will also be offering Americans the same engine in the A8 later this year. The same logic that spoiled the chances for a 2.0-liter diesel Q5 is also keeping the hybrid A8 out of reach.
“Our current A8 with the 4.2L gasoline V-8 gets the same fuel economy as hybrids from BMW, Lexus and Mercedes” due to its emphasis on weight-saving aluminum construction, Audi of America President Johan de Nysschen said to Ward’s Auto. “Imagine now what happens when you put a diesel in the car. You have all the driveability and driving enjoyment with even better fuel economy.”
In fact, 41% of Q7 and 55% of A3 sales in the U.S. were diesel models, though the fact that Audi still ships from Germany probably restricted supply, so it makes sense that they would be rolling more models out with the oil-burning option.
GALLERY: Audi Q5 Hybrid
[Source: Wards Auto]
There are many great reasons for owning a motorcycle. They cost less, are cheaper to run, easier to repair and easier to park. They even get better mileage and as a majority of commuter driving is alone, a motorcycle is all you need.
While a typical motorcycle’s mpg numbers do make it seem like its better for the environment, Discovery Channel series “MythBusters” discovers that the relationship isn’t necessarily true.
By testing three cars and three motorcycles, each one representing average benchmarks for 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, MythBusters performed tests to measure levels of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitric oxide emissions. While it is true that a motorcycle emits less carbon dioxide, it was revealed that motorcycles exhaled more carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon and nitric oxide pollution than cars.
To further improve motorcycle efficiency, the team at MythBusters even fitted their own aero bubble fairings onto the most efficient motorcycle in the episode in hopes to push the limits and see if it can compensate for its shortcomings. Even then, it was no match to cars in terms of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitric oxide emissions. Busted!
Be sure to check out the short clip to this Mythbusters segment after the jump!
Daimler and German chemical company BASF have teamed up to produce the electric Smart Forvision concept vehicle which premiered at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show. The result is a futuristic-looking Smart car with several innovations designed to maximize energy efficiency from the electric drivetrain.
The Smart Forvision concept uses five new technologies designed to conserve as well as generate energy: transparent organic solar cells, transparent organic light-emitting diodes, new lightweight components, plastic wheels and infrared-reflective materials.
Today, the Ford Transit Connect is targeted at taxi and delivery business where fuel efficiency is a top priority. Initially, the small van was rated for 21 mpg on the city and 26 mpg in the highway. For 2012 Transit Connectgets a 1 mpg bump in each category, for a ratings of 22 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. This is good news considering the the competition in this class with the new Nissan NV200 and the rumoured Fiat Doblo (which would be sold under the Ram brand). No other improvements are expected until the all-new Transit Connect arrives on the market sometime in 2014.
[Source: Ford Inside News]