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.
The state of California has stopped awarding high occupancy vehicle (HOV) access permits to plug-in hybrids.
Gas-powered vehicles will remain dominant on the road in 2040 according to a report by the U.S. Energy Information Agency.
According to a recent survey, 95 percent of U.S. car shoppers aren’t aware of state and local subsidies, rebates and other incentives related to plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles.
A recent study has revealed that truck shoppers are the least likely to join the hybrid and electric vehicle movement.
Today marks the third annual National Plug In Day, highlighting the accelerated growth in the electric vehicle market.
When it comes to technology, having the latest gadgets makes you look both smart and cool, but does that strategy work with cars? Automakers say that electric vehicles are the future of the industry, but even with many EVs on the market, they may not be the perfect choice for you.
Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the U.S. company responsible for developing product safety tests, is revamping the lithium-ion battery standards.
Sometime over the weekend, the 100,000th plug-in vehicle was sold in America.
According to a recent study released by IHS Automotive, an estimated 10.7-million charging stations will be available globally by the end of the decade.
Few have been optimistic about the market for plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, but Edison Foundation believes there will be at least 5 million of them on the road by 2035.
Infiniti has announced that its upcoming plug-in hybrid sports car concept will be called the Emerge-E.
Using a gasoline range-extended to add power and range to an electric powertrain, this will be the first such system used in an Infiniti product. The “advanced sports car concept” will also be the first Infiniti to use a mid-engine powertrain configuration.
Few details are yet known about the brand’s new flagship performance vehicle but Infiniti is promising a zero emissions mode as well as “vivid performance.”
Watch the latest video teaser for the Emerge-E below:
Ford has announced it expects its upcoming C-Max Hybrid multi-activity vehicle to achieve an average fuel economy rating of over 42 mpg, exceeding the rating of the recently released Toyota Prius v. In addition, the C-Max Energie electric vehicle will top the Prius plug-in hybrid’s electric only mode rating of 87-mpge (miles per gallon equivalent).
Both models will use a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine mated to Ford’s next-gen hybrid system. Ford also claims the plug-in model will be able to achieve a total range of over 500 miles, while it, along with the Focus Electric, will get a new version of the MyFord Touch system, designed to work with electric vehicles and integrate the MyFord Mobile app.
These two C-Max variants join the Focus Electric, expanding Ford’s 40-mpg range, which already includes special Fiesta and Focus models. Ford has also said it will add three more 40-mpg or more rated models in the near future, resulting in a lineup where one third of vehicles offered can be had with a 40-mpg version.
GALLERY: Ford C-Max Hybrid
GALLERY: Ford C-Max Energi
At $32,760, Prius Plug-in provides more standard features like heated front seats, Entune, LED daytime running lights, an enhance keyless entry system as well as a remote start air conditioner, letting the car’s interior cool off even when the car is off. For $40,285, customers can opt for the Prius Plug-in advanced trim, featuring GPS navigation, a better speaker system, radar-guided cruise control, and much more.
With a 15 mile electric range, the Prius PHEV gets an impressive 87 MPGe rating, with a 49-mpg rating once operating as a conventional hybrid. A recharge cycle is said to take fro 2.5 to 3.0 hours using a conventional household outlet or 1.5 hours with a special charger.
At nearly $10,000 less than the Chevrolet Volt, the Prius PHEV is also expected to receive federal tax credits to make it an even more enticing buy.
GALLERY: Toyota Prius PHEV
After debuting the car earlier this week at the Frankfurt Auto Show, Toyota has now released official details on the new Prius Plug-in Hybrid including expected fuel economy numbers. While it’s not quite up to the much-hyped Chevy Volt, the Prius PHEV will feature, “more affordable pricing than pure electric or range-extender type vehicles,” says Toyota; though no numbers have yet been released.
With a 15 mile electric only range, it falls well short of the Volt and is a few ticks shy in terms of a MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) rating of 87 MPGe, compared to 96 for the Volt. However, the Prius PHEV is more efficient after, with a 49-mpg rating once it reverts to its conventional hybrid mode, compared to 37-mpg with the Volt. And if it matters to your wallet, the Toyota uses conventional 87 octane gas, while the Volt required premium.
Charging for the Prius PHEV doesn’t take too long with a 2.5 to 3 hour charge using a conventional 120v household outlet or just 1.5 hours with a more powerful 240v household outlet.
With the use of a lithium-ion battery pack, the Prius PHEV does gain 123 lbs but doesn’t give up any space in the passenger or cargo departments. One thing it does gain Toyota’s new Entune system, as first seen on the Prius v. Additions to this system for the PHEV include Charge Management, Remote Air Conditioning System, Charging Station Map, Vehicle Finder and an Eco Dashboard.
GALLERY: 2012 Prius PHEV
Making their world premiere at the Frankfurt Auto Show, the BMW i3 and i8 may just be concepts, but point to a major push by the German automaker into the realm of electrified vehicles. In fact, BMW is so serious that its working towards an entire range of “i” branded alternative vehicles, sporting both electric and hybrid-electric powertrains.
As a full-electric car, BMW obviously has high hopes for the i3, naming it in line with its much-loved and best-selling 3 Series. Making 170-hp and 184 lb-ft of torque it can hit 60 mph in roughly 8 seconds and on to a top speed of 100 mph, making it functional for more than just city driving. With a unique regeneration system similar to that found on the MINI-E, even just laying off the throttle acts as a brake. Recharging the car’s batteries takes just one hour for an 80 percent charge.
The i3 is also BMW’s fist foray into the world of carbon fiber platforms, using a carbon fiber reinforced plastic chassis to keep weight to a somewhat reasonable 2,755 lbs.
More exciting, both to look at and to drive (we imagine) is the i8. A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, it makes use of a modified version of the i3′s electric motor mated to the front wheels, while a turbocharged 3-cylinder engine delivers 223-hp to the rear axle. While that might not sound like a lot for a car that looks this impressive, BMW claims a 0-60 time of roughly 5 seconds.
With an onboard battery pack, the i8 has a zero-emissions range of 22 miles and BMW claims a 78-mpg rating.
Headed to production, look for the biggest changes to happen not with the powertrains, but with the interior and exterior styling. Those looking to park an electric BMW in their driveway won’t have to wait too long either, with the i3 set to go on sale in 2013, while the i8 will arrive a year later.
GALLERY: BMW i3, i8 Concepts
Watch video of the i3 and i8 concepts from their Frankfurt debut after the jump:
After years of hype (and delays), Fisker finally delivered its first shipment of production models to customers this Summer. The next obvious step would be a concept, followed by several more years of teasers and production hickups. Not so, says CEO Henrik Fisker, unveiling the new Surf model at the Frankfurt Auto Show today.
A five-door shooting brake design, the Surf is intended to bring the Karma’s plug-in hybrid drivetrain to a more functional (yet still very luxurious) segment. Built alongside the Karma on the production line the Surf uses the same platform and engine as its sedan counterpart and will go on sale mid 2012 said Fisker during the press conference.
So if you’re in the market for a 402-hp hybrid that can travel emissions free for up to 50 miles, plus you’ve got kids and a dog, Fisker has your wagon.
GALLERY: Fisker Surf
With BMW preparing to launch an all-new 3 Series, Audi will follow a few years later with the next-generation A4. Expected to arrive in 2013 as a 2014 model year car, the B9 generation A4 is expected to receive some expected upgrades, as well as some impressive new technology.
With a new platform, the car should weigh anywhere from 265 to 331 lbs less than the current car. And yet it’s also expected to grow in size. No immediate details are known about engines, but look for fuel economy improvements to come through the use of a start/stop system and a bake energy regeneration setup.
The most exciting detail, however, is news of an A4 plug-in hybrid, which will get an electric AWD system. Dubbed e-Quattro, the system would use an electric motor to power the rear-wheels under certain circumstances, offering all-wheel drive, but without a driveshaft connecting the front and rear wheels. Along with performance and grip, the e-Quattro system would also help improve fuel economy in certain cases, with an electric-only range of 19 to 37 miles.
With a lead-up almost as log as the Chevrolet Volt’s, the production version of the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) will debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in just over a month’s time.
Using a more powerful and smaller lithium-ion battery, the Prius PHEV is expected to have an electric-only range of around 10 miles, at which point it will operate like a conventional Prius, using either gas, electric power or a combination of both to move the vehicle.
The car is expected to achieve a 128.4 mpg rating, although that’s on the European test cycle. U.S. EPA numbers are expected to differ significantly.
The Prius PHEV will set as the new flagship model in Toyota’s Prius lineup, with the conventional Prius continuing on, plus the addition of the new Prius v, as well as the upcoming Prius c.
Toyota is ambitious on sales of the plug-in version of its popular Prius hybrid. In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, company spokesman John Hanson commented that, “We’re certainly on line to sell 16,000 to 17,000 in 2012.”
That would put the Prius Plug-in Hybrid well ahead of rivals like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt. So far this year, Nissan has managed to sell just shy of 4,000 Leaf EVs, with Volt sales totaling in 2,745 at the mid-way point of the year.
Toyota is also confident that it won’t have any supply issues with the car, with Hanson commenting that they will build as many of the cars as the market demands.
When it does arrive in early 2012, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid will be able to travel 13 miles emissions free, before switching over to a conventional hybrid system, and achieving 50-mpg average. While the electric-only range won’t be equal to that of the Volt or Leaf, the Prius PHEV is expected to cost significantly less.