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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.
 |  Nov 28 2011, 11:00 PM

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An article in Automotive News suggests that the Cadillac ELR, which will share major driveline components with the Chevrolet Volt, will actually be rear-wheel drive.

The report states that the ELR has been dubbed a 2+2, meaning two small seats in the rear, similar to a Porsche 911. The Volt uses a t-shaped battery pack that is adapted for a front-drive layout, but a 2+2 configuration would allow for the battery pack to be mounted in such a way as to clear a driveshaft sending power to the rear wheels.

Rick Kranz, the author of the piece, suggests that rear seat room would be compromised, but the 2+2 layout of the coupe – plus the use of the rear-drive platform shared with the Cadillac ATS – would allow for Cadillac to justify a price premium over the Chevrolet Volt, something that new sheetmetal and an advanced infotainment system would not be able to achieve. If this report turns out to be accurate, then the ELR could be a game changer, as the first front-engine rear-drive electric car on the market.

[Source: Automotive News]

Discuss this story at Cadillac-ELR.com

 |  Nov 28 2011, 3:30 PM

While Chevrolet is readying a diesel version of their Cruze compact in 2013, an interesting tidbit of information leaked out regarding another gas-saving variant of the Cruze – a plug-in hybrid model.

Australia’s GoAuto reports that the Cruze will be a traditional plug-in hybrid, where the engine and hybrid system work in tandem, rather than the Volt, which is described as an electric vehicle with a range-extending gasoline engine. “Plug-in Cruze doesn’t make Volt redundant at all. Plug-in Cruze would have a different powertrain. Plug-in hybrids use both the engine and motor all the time,” said Jim Frederico, who is in charge of General Motors’ small electric vehicle program. “The plug-in Cruze has a place and it will be a hybrid.”

GM is testing an all-electric Cruze in South Korea currently, but so far it remains an experimental vehicle. A Cruze plug-in could debut as early as 2014, given the car’s strong sales and the introduction of the diesel version in 2013 (which a plug-in version would likely overshadow).

[Source: GoAuto]

 |  Nov 22 2011, 12:05 PM

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Reports from the Guangzhou Auto Show state that the Chevrolet Volt has been approved for sale in China with a starting price of 498,000 yuan, or $73, 800 USD.

TTAC’s resident expert on China, Bertel Schmitt, astutely remarked that the kind of subsidies we see on our shores for the Volt are “…for made-in China vehicles only…” which could be why the Volt is priced so high in China. We’ll wait on an official announcement before passing judgement.

[Source: The Truth About Cars]

 |  Nov 22 2011, 11:49 AM

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This may look like a BMW 7-Series sedan with some oddball rims, but our spy photographers report that the vehicle in question is actually a prototype for a new BMW i sedan, based on a couple key points.

For starters, there are apparently electric motors mounted in the wheel hubs, which would suggest a new kind of electric propulsion system previously unseen on a BMW. Furthermore, the front and rear fenders look like they’ve been radically altered to fit the vehicle, which further suggests some alien technology lurking underneath the sheetmetal.

If we had to guess, we’d say that BMW is preparing something to bring the fight to the Tesla Model S and Fisker Karma, but there’s very little information to go on at this time.

GALLERY: BMW i Large Sedan

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 |  Nov 21 2011, 11:59 AM

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BMW‘s i3 may not be getting as much buzz as the 2012 3-Series, but their upcoming compact city car is probably the most important vehicle they’ll launch all decade.

With the i3, BMW is moving in a totally different direction, both in terms of technology and sustainability. The i3 will have a chassis made of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic, a first for a volume production car, and will help offset the weight of the car’s electric powertrain.

BMW claims that the i3 will make 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, good enough for an 8 second 0-60 mph time. While BMW has previously said that the i3 is a pure electric car, the vehicles spied here displayed decals declaring the i3 a “hybrid test vehicle”, leading us to wonder whether there will be some kind of range extender on board. Regardless, the i3 will require just one hour of charging to replenish the batteries by 80 percent, a figure that has us optimistic regarding the i3′s usefulness.

Our spy photographer noted that the styling is fairly close to the concept, and that the i3 will have rear suicide doors similar to the MINI Clubman, where the front door will have to be opened to access the rear doors.

Gallery: BMW i3 Spy Photos

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 |  Nov 15 2011, 9:31 AM

Toyota will add another vehicle to the Prius lineup shortly, with the upcoming Prius c subcompact. Intended to be the entry point into the Prius range, the Prius c will supposedly get over 50 mpg in the city.

Technology will also be at the forefront of the Prius c, which comes with an integrated app suite for use with websites like Bing, MovieTickets.com, Pandora and OpenTable, along with Bluetooth integration and a host of safety features.

Expect the Prius c to be about the size of a Toyota Yaris, but positioned as a more premium product. Performance details have not been announced, aside from the obvious use of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive hybrid system mated to a 1.5L 4-cylinder engine. The Prius c will get its official unveiling at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show in January.

Gallery: Toyota Prius c

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 |  Nov 14 2011, 3:30 PM

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A fire involving a Chevrolet Volt that had undergone government crash testing has led to authorities investigating the possibility of requiring emergency responders to drain the batteries of electric and hybrid vehicles following a collision.

A Volt that underwent a 20 mph side-impact crash test caught on fire several weeks later, causing the Volt as well as surrounding vehicles to catch fire. The crash test was said to have punctured the vehicle’s lithium-ion battery pack. General Motors said that the fire occurred because the battery had not been drained following the crash, though NHTSA officials said that ”we don’t see the risk of electric vehicles as being any greater than that for a gasoline vehicle.”

200,000 car fires are said to occur in the United States annually, but the issue regarding a battery puncture has led NHTSA and GM to investigate the matter closely, despite both insisting that the vehicle is as safe as any other conventional car. GM currently dispatches a team to drain the battery of any Volt that crashes, and is hoping to make the necessary tools available to dealers in the coming year.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]

 |  Nov 11 2011, 1:24 PM

A Chevrolet Volt that went through crash-testing at a NHTSA facility in Wisconsin caught on fire three weeks after the test, prompting action from U.S. regulators.

While the investigation hasn’t been made public, sources told Bloomberg that the fire was severe enough to damage surrounding vehicles. An incident also occurred at a private home in North Carolina, where a Volt caught on fire while charging in a garage.

While NHTSA denied that the Volt posed any extra safety risk, sources say that U.S. regulators have since approached OEMs planning to sell electric vehicles regarding the safety of their batteries.

[Source: Bloomberg]

 |  Jun 22 2011, 2:59 PM

Fisker Automotive is looking to hire 120 workers at its newly refurbished Delaware plant as the company gears up for its second electric vehicle,  a sedan code-named Project Nina.

Although the Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid has still not gone on sale, Fisker is looking to hire assembly line workers as well as engineering staff and electro-mechanical technicians. A further 80 workers will be hired in 2012. Fisker acquired the Wilmington, Delaware plant from General Motors.

“This is an exciting time for Fisker. As we bring the Fisker Karma sedan to market and start delivering to customers, we are simultaneously starting to employ a world-class American workforce to build world-class American electric vehicles with extended range (EVer) in a re-commissioned American plant,” said Fisker COO Bernard Koehler.

 |  Jun 10 2011, 5:09 PM

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The 2012 Chevrolet Volt will now be available in all 50 states, priced at $39,995, including an $850 destination charge. The price reduction comes as in-dash navigation is now offered as part of an option package rather than standard. Some customers will qualify for a $7,500 tax credit, bringing the effective price to $32,495.

The Volt, with all available options, including a backup camera, navigation system, premium paint and wheels, will cost $46,265. New standard equipment includes standard keyless proximity locking, Onstar turn-by-turn navigation, Bluetooth integration and new alloy wheels. Chevrolet has sold 2,184 Volts through May of 2011.

 |  Jun 10 2011, 2:14 PM

Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby announced that the Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid will come to the U.S. by 2014, with one major difference. While the European market V60 will use a diesel-electric hybrid system, the United States will get a gasoline-powered variant.

Jacoby said that the V60 has a target U.S. launch date of 2013 or 2014, since more engineering of the gasoline powertrain will be carried out in advance of the launch. The V60 joins the limited production all-electric C30, and an electric car with a hydrogen fuel-cell range extender in the near future.

[Source: Motor Authority]

 |  May 06 2011, 11:11 AM

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At the 32nd International Motor Symposium in Vienna, Austria, Volkswagen head honco Dr. Martin Winterkorn announced that the Volkswagen Group will launch a range of plug-in hybrids starting in 2013, calling electric vehicles the “task of the century” for the auto industry.

Winterkorn didn’t specify which models would get a plug-in hybrid variant, and the move comes as slightly surprising considering how heavily invested Volkswagen is in diesels while offering comparatively little in the way of conventional hybrids. “The electric car will impact the future of individual mobility in crucial ways – and Volkswagenis spearheading this technology. Over the mid-term, the plug-in hybrid offers great potential,because it combines the best of two worlds in one vehicle,” said Winterkorn.

VW also released two diesel engines at the show, a 1.4L and 2.0L TDI engines, with the 2.0L meeting strict American emissions standards.