Put your ear to the ground. You’re probably going to hear the gravelly sound of a diesel engine coming… at least figuratively.
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.
Gasoline producers and automakers are at odds over fuel only this time it’s about sulfur levels instead of ethanol content.
A report from the National Research Council states that the U.S. could reduce fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 80 percent by 2050 in cars and trucks.
Changes that will affect car manufacturers and fuel companies could be in the pipeline with the aim to avoid two sets of rules.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), about one-quarter of all new vehicles sold today meet the 2016 federal emissions standard, which include a 35.5-mpg average for passenger vehicle fleets.
BMW unveiled its specially decorated 3- and 5-series cars bound for the 2012 London Summer Olympics today.
More than 40 examples of the specially dressed fleet cars have already been delivered to the Olympic Park where they will serve to ferry people during the competition. The fleet will eventually consist of a wide variety of BMW vehicles including diesels, hybrids motorcycles, electric cars and even bicycles. Those already delivered include the 520d EfficientDynamics and the 320d EfficientDynamics sedans.
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) outlined emissions parameters for the Game’s event, which was a challenge BMW met with its variety of vehicles.
The Chevrolet Volt will be able to qualify for California’s High Occupancy Vehicle lanes in 2012, after General Motors announced the availability of a Low Emissions Package for their hybird-electric car.
With traffic congestion in California a major annoyance for motorists, the ability to use the HOV lane – via one of the state’s 40,000 permits – will be a boon to Volt drivers. Motorists are normally barred from the HOV lane unless a vehicle has two or more passengers, but the sticker allows for single occupancy vehicles to be exempted.
A revised emission control system and catalytic converter help the Volt achieve Low Emissions status. Volt buyers in California will also be eligible for a total of $9,500 in state and federal tax credits.
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!
An updated U.S fuel economy label was unveiled today aimed at reducing gasoline consumption and exhaust emissions. These new stickers will be required on all 2013 models, allowing consumers to quickly glance at fuel consumption.
Lisa Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), says the reason for the redesigned labels is to give consumers, “the best possible information about which cars on the lot offer the greatest fuel economy and the best environmental performance.” The EPA developed the updated labels with assistance from the Department of Transportation.
Check out the video after the jump!
Quick, name the European car company that’s made the most progress in reducing their emissions. Peugeot? Smart? Even Dacia? If you had bet on Ferrari, the poster child for irresponsible motoring, you’d have won big.
Among luxury and supercar makers, Ferrari has made the most strides in reducing their CO2 emissions, according to recently-released figures. Their average emissions in 2010 across their model lineup was 326 grams per kilometer, a 46 g/km reduction from the previous year. This 12 percent reduction was better than the efforts from Aston Martin, Bentley, and Lamborghini, who could only manage paltry 0.6%, 1.9% and 1.5% reductions respectively. Lotus managed a reduction of 3.2%, coming in second.
The one car that Ferrari can bestow this success to is the California. At 46% of Ferrari’s sales last year, its CO2 emissions are at 301 g/km. As manufacturer emissions are calculated from the sales figures of individual cars, the California’s success helped boost Ferrari’s eco-cred above the rest.
Anbd to be fair, Ferrari is a company whose products aren’t already known for their frugality. The figures did pertain to high-end carmakers; don’t expect Ferrari to build their version of an Aston Martin Cygnet yet. But by 2015, the EU will start fining carmakers for missing their emissions targets: at five euros per car that misses their goals, fines could run into the millions. Even for a low-production company like Ferrari—and we know how they love their “exclusive” production figures—it could be bad for business.
For the fourth year in a row, the overall Fiat brand has produced the lowest CO2 emissions in Europe, a continent that actually pays attention to CO2 emissions figures.
The brand’s average, 123.1 grams per kilometer, dropped 4.7g from last year. And from the past four years the company’s CO2 emissions have dropped 10 percent, from 137.3g/km in 2007. In comparison, the European Union’s target for emissions is 130g/km by 2015.
Fiat chalks these figures up to its TwinAir engine, which they call “the world’s most ‘ecological’ turbo,” whatever that means. In America, their success translates to the Multiair fuel delivery system found in Fiat 500 engines, which the manufacturer claims to increase fuel economy and reduce emissions both by 10 percent without any loss of horsepower.
Mazda is still developing their next-generation rotary engine, dubbed the 16X, but development has been slowed by a number of issues, among them the engine’s failure to meet emissions targets.
Even though the 16X is expected to bring a 30 percent increase in fuel economy compared to the current 1.3L rotary engine, the 16X is so far off from emissions targets that it will take Mazda a minimum of two years before they can determine a timeline for bringing it to market.
The upcoming SKYACTIV engines and gearboxes also took much needed resources to develop, but one Mazda engineer re-affirmed the company’s commitment to the rotary engine, stating “we will never give up”.
[Source: Automotive News]
Turbocharging is moving away from the performance sphere and into the mainstream as companies seek to get more power and fuel economy from smaller displacement engines.
Honeywell, a leading automotive equipment supplier and turbocharger company, estimates that by 2015, 35 million new vehicles with turbochargers will be sold annually, up from 17 million right now. While Honeywell has an obvious interest in promoting the use of this technology, their numbers are backed by independent research firms like J.D. Power, and the company is hedging its bets on the internal combustion engine.
“Despite the buzz around hybrid and electric vehicles, it is clear that automakers will be looking primarily at turbocharged engines to help ‘green’ their fleets and meet the regulatory targets like CAFE in the U.S.,” Alex Ismail, president and CEO of Honeywell Transportation System, told Wired magazine.
While alternative fuel vehicles have their merits, you’ll never find us complaining about more turbocharged gasoline engines.
[Source: Wired Magazine]
Honda‘s highly acclaimed Civic Type R will end its European sales run later this year after emissions regulations become too strict for the car’s 2.0L engine.
12,000 Civic Type Rs have been sold since 2007, but Honda chose to remove the model from the European market rather than modify it to meet Euro V regulations. Despite being built in Europe, the car will remain in production at Honda’s Swindon, England facility for export markets like South Africa and Australia.
A new Civic Type R is due for the 2012 model year, but Honda is set to honor current Type-R owners with a special outing at the Silverstone race track’s British Touring Car Championship event at the end of August.
Wouldn’t it be great if cars put out less pollution? You can breathe a sigh of relief (go on, take a deep one), because researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology (EUT) may have discovered a breakthrough that will lead to reduced pollution and cleaner air.
Researchers at EUT believe that roads made of a blend of concrete and titanium dioxide can remove up to 45 percent of the nitrogen oxides that it comes in contact with. Capturing the airborn nitrogen oxides, the titanium dioxide (a photocatalytic material) uses the sun to convert the nasty nitrogen oxide into nitrates that are easily and harmlessly washed away by the rain.
These findings were tested by the EUT in the Netherlands using a 1,000-square-meter section of repaved road. Researchers found that this special blend of pavement could reduce nitrogen oxides by 25 to 45 percent more than traditional concrete. “The air-purifying properties of the new paving stones had already been shown in the laboratory, but these results now show that they also work outdoors,” said Jos Brouwers, professor of building materials at the EUT. More tests are planned for later this year.
More testing still needs to be done, and there are the extra costs to be considered. The pavement mixed with titanium dioxide costs 50 percent more than regular cement and road-building costs would increase by 10 percent. If additional tests concluded that these types of roads are better for our health and the environment, would you be willing to pay the extra taxes required to replace existing roads? Leave your comment below.
Think the environment is important? Think auto manufacturers are hopelessly out to lunch? Well the photo above shows aluminum shavings that are collected at a General Motors plant and recycled to make new transmission parts.
Sixty-two per cent of GM plants have achieved “zero landfill” status, according to a release. That means all normal plant waste is reused or recycled. Forty-three per cent of the company’s global operations no longer send production waste to landfills.
The company says that on average, more than 97 percent of waste materials from GM’s zero landfill plants are recycled or reused and about 3 percent is converted to energy at waste-to-energy facilities replacing fossil fuels.
These initiatives will prevent more than three million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent emission reductions from entering the atmosphere this year. Some of the materials recycled? More than 650,000 tons of scrap metal, 16,600 tons of wood, 21,600 tons of cardboard, and 3,600 tons of plastic.
Mazda is being forced to stop selling the RX-8 model in Europe next year due to the car’s inability to meet new Euro-5 emissions standards. Adapting the unique rotary engine used in the RX-8 would be both too costly and time consuming considering the low volume sales of the car in Europe.
That being said, the RX-8 will then take at least a two year hiatus, as a successor isn’t planned to arrive until 2013. Mazda will also have to keep in mind that come 2014, new Euro-6 standards come into effect that make the old Euro-5 rules look like a Dickensian industrial revolution.
With the next-gen still far off, it’s not surprising that Mazda has yet to release any details on the new RX-8, but rumors have suggested anything from an upgrade to a more high-powered RX-7 successor, to a complete elimination.
[Source: Auto Motor und Sport via TTAC]