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.
Heads up EV fans, Kia is on track to launch its first global battery-powered vehicle in 2016.
It’s not every day you get to sit inside a concept car, and driving one is an even rarer occurrence since these special vehicles are typically one-offs that are more precious than gold to automakers. Against the odds AutoGuide got a very brief test drive of the beautiful Infiniti Emerg-E show car at the Nissan 360 media event in Southern California.
When it comes to cars, the color green isn’t just to signify eco-friendly anymore.
California is home to the most green car shoppers in the nation, with eight of the top 10 cities actually located on the west coast.
It’s no secret Fisker Automotive is in trouble. The maker of premium electric cars is clinging to life by its fingernails. One more setback could send them plummeting into the fiery abyss of financial ruin. Still, even if they roll snake eyes the firm’s founder has more than a few thoughts on what future transportation will be like.
Toyota is deepening its partnership with BMW by agreeing to supply the German automaker with hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell technology. The companies first partnered in December of last year with BMW supplying Toyota with small diesel engines for the European market in exchange for Toyota’s lithium-ion hybrid systems and research.
Ford announced the launch of a new campaign encouraging people to adopt a lifestyle devoted to environmental sustainability. The program includes a national electric vehicle education program, a multi-city tour, and finally the debut of a 10-film short documentary series.
Ford’s documentary series, The Big SHFT: 10 Innovators Changing Our World, goes beyond the automotive sector to put emphasis on people creating sustainable businesses to affect positive change around the world. The short film series will feature game-changing eco-entrepreneurs that have brought innovation in sustainability for areas ranging from food and fashion to urbanization, technology and design.
Is your car using too much gas? Price for gasoline is getting up there, and if you’re not careful enough while driving, you could be spending a lot more than you have to on fuel.
There’s some good and bad news for those looking to get better mileage with each tank. First, the good: it is possible to squeeze out more miles per gallon, even without having to spend money on a new hybrid car, or extra maintenance. The bad news: it’s going to require a change in your driving habits.
Nick Chambers, Green Car Specialist tells us that “even small changes such as driving a bit slower, anticipating traffic lights, trying to come to a full stop as little as possible, accelerating in a steady/relatively slow manner, using cruise control and planning trips to have the least amount of travel and stops, can make big differences.” In fact, these changes can account for as much as a 15 to 20% improvement, he says.
Focused on saving money and the environment from behind the wheel, ecodriving.org lists five “Golden Rules” for gas tank friendly driving, and have some reasoning behind why they work. Let’s take a look at a few tips they provide.
Ford is making some impressive headway in its use of green materials. Earlier this year, the automaker announced that it would be using recycled bottles for making the seating material found in the Escape’s interior. Now, Ford will be using a south Asian plant in the construction of the Escape’s doors.
The plant, which is called kenaf, will be used to make the interior bolster on each door of the Escape. Kenaf is generally used for making paper, but its fibers have been used to create rope and cloth. For the Escape, the plant will be mixed 50/50 with polypropylene (a commonly used thermoplastic polymer) to construct the bolsters.
Thanks to this eco-friendly move, this will offset 300,000 pounds of oil-based resin every year. Plus, by using kenaf, the Escape will lose a little weight, as the bolsters will be 25 percent lighter.
We look forward to seeing what other green initiatives Ford has up its sleeve for the Escape. Would you be more or less likely to buy an Escape now that it’s being made with greener materials? Let us know in the comments section below.
[Source: Good Clean Tech]
If you tell the McGees that their house looks like a scrap heap, they won’t be offended. That’s because it’s made from salvaged car roofs.
The McGees’ family homestead was designed by Leger Wanaselja Architecture and uses over 100 salvaged car roofs. The plan was to build a house that was eco-friendly by using green technologies and reused materials, and these reused materials included roofs from gray-colored cars found in Berkeley, California junk yards. And getting the right roofs wasn’t easy – they had to be in good condition, and this meant no dents or paint chips (the cars were in the junk yard for a reason, so not as simple as it sounds),
Once the right car roofs were found, they were cut into long tile-like shapes. Once cut, they were used to construct the upper outside walls of the house, giving tiles a slate-like appearance. And roofs weren’t the only car part used for this house. It also features cool awnings made from old Dodge Caravan side windows.
This is a unique way to keep car parts out of landfills. Would you ever consider buying a home that’s been partly constructed out of old car parts? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.
GALLERY: Home Built With Salvaged Car Parts
Electric cars not green enough for you? How about a solar powered car? Ford will be working with SunPower, an established solar provider, to build a solar energy system for the Focus electric vehicle that goes on sale later this year.
Solar panels will be mounted on the car owner’s house or garage, to power the vehicle. The panels won’t directly charge the electric car’s battery but will provide power to the house at a rate sufficient enough to offset nearly 1,000 miles of driving a month in the Focus.
The solar power option will allow for green electricity, rather than traditional electricity from a house, which is often made by burning fossil fuels at power plants. The 2.5-kilowatt system will produce about 3,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. The power will be generated by 147 square feet of roof panels (11 panels that are 4 feet by 2 feet). The solar power option will be offered through Ford dealers for about $10,000 after federal tax credits. The Best Buy Geek Squad will work with Ford to install home chargers at the customers house, after the purchase.
Ford has yet to announce the price of the 2012 Focus electric, but the first vehicles go on sale in California and New York later this year.
A new global survey from the international brand consultancy Interbrand, has named Toyota, the world’s greenest brand. The award was based on environmental performance coupled with public perception of a brand’s environmental sustainability.
Data was collected from the world’s leading markets, including the UK, France, Germany, Italy, USA, Japan, Brazil and India. The report gave Toyota a top score of 64.19 points, beating 3M that took second place. The Interbrand report also stated that Toyota is “a leading example of making the environment a core management priority, while also engaging in a meaningful way with audiences around the world”. Toyota is the market-leader in hybrid technology, according to the report, and Toyota and Lexus have sold more than 3.2 million hybrid vehicles since 1997.
Toyota’s environmental approach towards sustainable operations coincides with the official switch-on of a large-scale solar power system at the company’s car plant in Burnaston, Derbyshire This facility is known as one of the company’s global “eco-plants”, leading the way in cleaner and more efficient manufacturing and operations.
Recently, Formula One has take a greener turn, becoming more environmental by exchanging high-revving V8 engines for 1.6-liter turbo sixes in 2014.
In addition, changes to the 2012 regulations now make it mandatory that F1 cars run entirely on electric power for the entire time they’re in the pit lane. Rule 5.19 of the revised technical regulations states that, “The car must be run in electric mode (no ignition and no fuel supply to the engine) at all times when being driven in the pit lane.” To accommodate electric-only propulsion in and out of the pit lane, the new Energy Recovery Systems have been increased in capacity to 120 kW, and the system will also be allowed to recapture energy from exhaust fumes as well.
While a victory for technology in once respect, unfortunately it also means we will no longer be able to enjoy the high-pitched whine of the engine revving as the car leaves its pit stall. And with no sound to notify surrounding pit crews that a car is leaving, there’s certainly a level of danger involved too.
With the rise of turbochargers as a “green” technology, the lifespan of superchargers looked numbers as their popularity decreased, with the belt driven forced induction systems appearing only on high-end V6 and V8 powered sports cars. While superchargers delivery power in a smooth, linear manner, their cost, complexity and noise has relegated them to near extinction.
An interview with Automotive News, featuring Eaton’s Ken Davis, President of their vehicle group, suggests otherwise. Davis remarked that their new line of superchargers are gaining favor with automakers, among them Nissan and Volkswagen. Audi’s 3.0L V6 engines already use superchargers, as well as some of Volkswagen’s small displacement 4-cylinder engines not sold in North America. Volkswagen could use superchargers across a broader number of engines, but we’re stumped as to what applications the new Eaton blowers could have with Nissan products.
Davis also notes that Chinese OEM Chery has been using greater numbers of superchargers. Their QQ small car is equipped with a blower, and given the vast amount of vehicles sold in China, Davis’ claims of doubling supercharger sales in 5 years doesn’t look so outlandish anymore.
[Source: Automotive News]
The Obama administration will announce today it is buying 116 plug-in electric vehicles and will install charging stations in government buildings in five cities.
Of the 116 vehicles, 101 of them will be extended-range Chevrolet Volts. These vehicles are to be placed with 20 government agencies in five cities including Washington, D.C., Detroit San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
The purchase decision was made by the federal government after accepting competitive bids from automakers. The General Services Administration, which has already ordered 35,000 vehicles so far this year, claims there will be an overall average fuel efficiency improvement of 21%. The new cars will save 2.4 million gallons of fuel saving $9 million in spending. The GSA has doubled the number of hybrids in the federal fleet over the last two years.
President Obama has plans to cut oil imports by one-third by 2025 over 2008 levels and also wants to put 1 million plug-in vehicles on the road by 2015.
[Source: Detroit News]
Earlier today, Volkswagen launched its “Think Blue” campaign in the U.S. VW’s aim is to “encourage eco-friendly mobility and progressive ideas for responsible action in everyday life”.
This launch coincides with VW’s partnership with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, as well as the May 24th inauguration of VW’s plant in Chattanooga, TN, a facility that encorporates numberous energy- conserving systems and efficiency upgrades.
The idea behind Think Blue is to heighten broad public awareness for sustainable actions and encourage individuals to play an active tole. Eco-friendly technology and efficient production processes are of major importance but the key lies in addressing social and cultural issues.
Think Blue originated with VW’s “Think Small” slogan of the 1960s, which focused on how the VW Beetle played a role in “democratizing mobility.”
Volvo is collaborating with Belgian technological and development specialist Flanders’ Drive to develop inductive charging for its model line up.
Inductive charging allows electric vehicles to be recharged wirelessly. A charging plate(conductor) could be buried beneath the driveway so when the car is parked, it will charge. ”The aim is naturally that it should be as convenient as possible to own and use an electric car” explains Johan Konnberg, project manager from the Special Vehicles division of Volvo Car Corporation.
Volvo is focusing on the C30 electric design, and hopes to make it as comfortable, sporty and safe as the standard car. The electric C30 will have a range of up to 150 kilometers per charge and have a top speed of 130 km/h. Volvo’s ambitious “Drive towards Zero” program has the goal of a complete range of electric and plug-in hybrid cars by 2020.
[Source: The Green Car Website]
The engineers from General Motors have miraculously managed to improve the Chevrolet Cruze’s fuel economy by an additional 2 mpg. The Chevy already has a Cruze Eco option that delivers 28 mpg city, 42 mpg highway when fitted with the six-speed manual transmission.
For the 2012 model, Chevrolet has bumped the highway mileage rating of the Cruze model with 1.4-liter engine and an automatic transmission to 38 mpg, a gain of 2 highway mpg over last year’s EPA ratings of 24 mpg city, 36 mpg highway for that same combination.
This 2 mpg increase was attained through lowering the final-drive ratio to 3.53 from 3.87 in the current year’s model. This allows the engine to run at a lower speed burning less fuel. The Cruze is capable of hitting 40-mpg on the highway however buyers will need to order the extra-cost Eco model for that.
[Source: Green Car Reports]
Hyundai is partnering with technology company NAVTEQ to offer drivers a “green” option for route guidance. The “green” choice will apparently yield a 6 percent bump in fuel economy, which should dovetail nicely with Hyundai’s new Sonata Hybrid and their Elantra, Veloster and Accent small cars, which are capable of 40 mpg on the highway.
Of course, driving in anger during a high traffic stop and go commute is the worst way to conserve fuel, but also the most common mode of driving for many people.
Hit the jump to read the press release
A House of Representatives committee introduced a bill that would stop the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles from the year 2015 onwards, a key part of a national fuel economy program that is actually favored by many automakers.
While the bill was supposedly passed in the interest of keeping vehicle prices low for consumers, automakers have previously backed a single unified fuel economy system, rather than various state-by-state regulations. The automakers have not commented on the bill, introduced by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), but reiterated their support for a national program. Upton’s bill would leave NHTSA as the sole federal agency that was responsible for the program.
[Source: Automotive News]
If you want an aggressive looking Mercedes-Benz C-Class but can’t ante up for the psychotically delightful C63 AMG, the 2011 C350 BlueEFFICIENCY equipped with the AMG appearance package might be a suitable bridge between the standard car and the V8 demon lurking at the top of the C-Class food chain.
LED running lights and new front and rear fascias complement the aesthetic side of things, as do new 7-spoke alloy wheels. Under the hood, the 306-horsepower sedan can still get 35 mpg thanks to a start-stop system. The C63 could never hope the match that kind of mileage.
Gallery: Mercedes-Benz C350 BlueEFFICIENCY