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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.
 |  Jul 11 2011, 8:58 PM

Mitsubishi is investing heavily in the plug-in hybrid craze with reports coming out that their 2009 Tokyo Motor Show concept Outlander Sport plug-in hybrid will make its way to North American markets by 2013. The hybrid crossover is being promoted by Mitsubishi as being environmental with on-road performance thanks to its electric powertrain combined with a 1.6L gasoline four-cylinder.

If the Outlander Sport plug-in hybrid does arrive in the United States by 2013, it’ll be Mitsubishi’s second electric offering with the 2012 i-MiEV hatchback already on sale.

Mitsubishi doesn’t plan on stopping the EV rollout then either, with plans for eight total electric/hybrid vehicles to launch globally before 2015.

[Source: Ward's Auto]

Click here to read AutoGuide’s 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Review

 |  Jun 30 2011, 7:28 AM

The leader in hybrid technology, Toyota will make a big push into further electrifying its fleet when it begins retails sales of the Prius Plug-In Hybrid, as well as two fully electric vehicles, next year. Toyota has confirmed that along with the Prius PHEV, it will begin selling an electric version of the RAV4 compact crossover, as well as a fully-electric version of the Scion iQ mini-car.

Toyota has partnered with Tesla Motors and displayed the RAV4 EV Demonstration Vehicle at the LA Auto Show last year, using the start-up American electric car company’s battery technology. The vehicle weights 220-lbs more than the standard model, but has acceleration on-par with its gasoline counterpart and manages to retain all of the 74 cu-ft of cargo room. Toyota is targeting a 100 mile range.

The second full-EV to hit dealers will be an electric version of the Scion iQ, with a gasoline-powered version arriving later this year. Using lithium-ion batteries under the floor it will retain the 3+1 passenger layout and improve the car’s center of gravity. Toyota is targeting a 65 mile range for this vehicle, designed for inter-city use.

Before those, however, Toyota will take its next step in developing the Prius, releasing the Prius PHEV. With a lithium-ion battery pack it will deliver 12 miles of emissions-free driving before operating more like a conventional hybrid. It isn’t expected to get nearly the same efficiency as the Chevy Volt, but will be priced just slightly higher than the conventional Prius, making it a higher-volume, more mainstream model.

 |  May 10 2011, 7:16 AM

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Toyota is denying a report that the automaker plans to switch all of its Prius models over to a plug-in hybrid setup by 2014.

With the Plug-in Prius about to go on sale, a report from the Nikkei business daily indicated that the Japanese automaker is set to then make all future Prius models use the same technology, likely starting with the next generation of the car. Using a more advanced lithium-ion battery pack, but retaining the same Prius engine, the PHEV model has an electric only range of 12 miles and can be recharged in 3 hours using a conventional household outlet or 1.5 hours using a quick-charging station.

It might not get the 25 to 50 mile range of the Chevy Volt, but Toyota is expected to price it much lower, allowing for a significantly larger volume of sales.

Speaking to PluginCars.com, Toyota environmental communications manager Jana Hartline refuted the Nikkei report stating that it is, “not accurate.” “There is no formal plan to make all Priuses plug-in by 2014,” she said, indicating that it doesn’t fit with the brand’s new Prius family plan.

Click here to read AutoGuide’s 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid Review

[Source: Reuters, PluginCars]

 |  May 03 2011, 12:27 PM

According to Daimler AG’s technical chief, Thomas Webber, the next generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class will possibly include an all-electric version.

In addition, the new car will likely share no cabin architecture with the current model and will also be offered in hybrid and plug-in hybrid forms, as well as conventional gas and diesel engined versions. In fact, the gas engines are rumored to be the new MoVe V-6 and V-8 motors, while oil burning options are said to include the 201 hp 2.2-liter diesel four, which would be the the smallest engine ever installed in a S-Class.

Other features are said to include a greater emphasis on interior technology, including driver-oriented  visual aids and heads-up display features. As to what the car will look like, the F800 Style Research vehicle, first seen at Geneva back in March, should help provide some visual cues.

[Source: Autocar]

 |  Apr 26 2011, 8:20 AM

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Building a reputation for fuel efficient cars over the past few years, Hyundai is looking to solidify itself as a leader by introducing a rival to the Toyota Prius.

Hyundai first indicated it would take on the Prius when it unveiled the Blue-Will concept two years ago. Powered by a 152-hp 1.6-liter direct-injection engine and 100 kW electric motor, the concept car was touted to achieve as much as 106-mpg when operating as a plug-in hybrid, while still achieving 50 to 55-mpg once the gasoline engine was engaged to power the wheels as well.

In addition to this 40+ mpg car, Hyundai has hinted it will also introduce one more 40-mpg car in the near future – thought to be the Elantra Coupe or Touring.

GALLERY: Hyundai Blue-Will Concept

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[Source: InsideLine]

 |  Mar 23 2011, 8:03 AM

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Remember the Fisker Karma? The plug-in hybrid luxury saloon from an upstart California automaker was touted as beating the Volt to market when it debuted over two years ago, a testament to the ability of small companies to get things done when giant automakers flopped their bloated carcasses into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

But the Volt is now on sale the the Karma? Well, Fisker is proud to announce that after what seems like endless delays, it has now officially entered production, with the stunning, powerful and incredibly fuel efficient $88,000 machine hitting dealers in April.

The Karma, in case you’ve forgotten, makes 402-hp and can run up to 50 miles on pure electric power. And unlike the Chevy Volt, it’s got power seats.

 |  Feb 16 2011, 9:05 AM

Land Rover will unveil the next step in its mission to become a ‘greener’ automaker at the Geneva Auto Show in just a few weeks time. Set to take the stand alongside the new 3-door and 5-door Evoque models is the Range_e Range Rover Sport.

Powered by a turbo-diesel V6 engine, mated to a plug-in hybrid setup, the Range_e can travel up to 20 miles on pure electric power and reach a total distance of 690 miles.

While an excellent solution to fuel economy and environmental concerns, hybrid diesels are prohibitively expensive for most automakers. That rule may not, however, apply to Land Rover, as many customers purchase the vehicles particularly because of their exclusivity and price.

Still just a concept at this point, Land Rover may make a production announcement for the hybrid diesel SUV in Geneva, with previous reports suggesting it would see production in 2013.

[Source: AutoExpress]

 |  Feb 14 2011, 8:30 AM

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For years Honda has relied on its Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system, designed to help improve fuel economy without adding a lot of additional cost. A more basic system than Toyota’s two-mode, it doesn’t speak to Honda’s engineering prowess and has become out-dated.

Honda will aim to rectify that soon with the introduction of a proper two-mode hybrid system, and one that will also feature a plug-in feature, in a new mid-size vehicle soon. While that vehicle isn’t ready to be unveiled, Honda will provide the first details on the PHEV platform at the upcoming Geneva Auto Show.

While no additional details have been provided, the photos clearly show an inline (presumably 4-cylinder engine), which has been rumored to be the basis for the PHEV setup.

In addition, Honda will showcase the EV Concept, which is the next step in a plan by Honda to bring an electric car to market. At last year’s LA Auto Show, Honda unveiled the Fit EV, and little is expected to change for the car, with a 100 mile range and several drive modes (ECON, Normal and Sport) just like in the CR-Z.

GALLERY: Honda PHEV Platform, EV Concept

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 |  Jan 28 2011, 10:27 AM

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Volkswagen‘s 261-mpg XL1 concept car is headed to production, easily besting fuel economy claims by cars like the Chevrolet Volt. Unveiled this week at the Qatar Motor Show, the vehicle is actually billed as a prototype and not a concept, with Volkswagen commenting in an official press release that this latest rendition of its 1 Liter car (a vehicle that can travel 100km on one liter of diesel), puts the project one step closer to production.

In an interview with Automobilwoche, VW execs confirmed plans to build a small production volume of the car (about 100 models), with initial sales in Germany, then in the U.S. and China.

Previous to this news, Volkswagen claimed that at the introduction of the L1 Concept (the XL1′s predecessor) at the Frankfurt Show in 2009 that a vehicle based on that concept would see production in 2013.

The XL1 uses plug-in diesel hybrid powertrain, with a 2-cylinder TDI motor with 48-hp, mated to a 27-hp electric motor and using a 7-speed dual clutch gearbox. Volkswagen says that due to the plug-in hybrid setup, the power contained in the lithium-ion battery pack can propel the car 35 km (roughly 22 miles) emissions free.

GALLERY: Volkswagen LX1 Prototype

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[Source: TTAC]

 |  Jan 28 2011, 9:08 AM

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Volvo will strive to be the first to market with a diesel plug-in hybrid, debuting a near production ready V60 wagon at the Geneva Auto Show in March. The V6 Plug-in Hybrid will get a claimed 1.9 l/100 km says Volvo, which translates to an incredible 124-mpg.

Combining a 5-cylinder turbodiesel with 215-hp and 325 lb ft of torque with an electric motor, the gas engine will power the front wheels while the car will also include Volvo’s new ERAD (Electric Rear Axle Drive), to enable AWD with a 70-hp motor powering the rear wheels. A lithium-ion battery pack will be used to store energy and the car will use a 6-speed automatic transmission. In addition, it will be able to travel 50 km (31 miles) on pure electric power.

“This second-generation hybrid is the perfect choice for the uncompromising buyer who wants a superbly carbon dioxide-lean car packed with driving pleasure,” says Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO of Volvo Cars.  “In order to get true car enthusiasts to think green, you have to offer them the opportunity to drive with low carbon dioxide emissions without taking away the adrenaline rush that promotes genuine driving pleasure. The V60 Plug-in Hybrid has all the traditional properties of a genuine sports wagon. What we’ve done is to spice it up with spearhead technology.”

See AutoGuide’s complete 2011 Geneva Auto Show Preview here.

 |  Jan 27 2011, 9:35 AM

As gas prices to rise and automakers develop more fuel efficient vehicles, spurred on by CAFE requirements, all kinds of new developments are underway.

At MINI, one proposal is to bring a diesel version of the Cooper S across the pond, powered by BMW’s 141 hp 2.0-liter oil burning four. However, stricter emissions requirements, mandating the need for Urea injection, soon nixed the idea on the grounds of cost.

Now, it would appear that instead, future U.S. bound MINI will get a line of 1.5-liter three-cylinder engines and possibly a plug-in hybrid powertrain. As far the latter is concerned, MINI will partner up with Getrag to produce it and this will likely be a plug-in system, designed to extend the vehicle’s range on electric power alone.

According to Bimmerfile.com, if it does materialize at all, the hybrid driveline will  be relegated MINI’s larger models, such as the Countryman (shown above), where the benefits of hybrid technology will likely reap the greatest rewards in terms of fuel economy savings. The hybrid driveline will also probably be shared with BMW‘s smaller SUVs, such as the X1 and possibly the X3 to maximize return on development costs.

[Source: Bimmerfile.com]

 |  Jan 25 2011, 1:06 PM

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Ahead of its debut at the Qatar Motor Show, Volkswagen has unveiled a a new version of its 1L (1 Liter) car, bringing the company’s goal of delivering a production vehicle that can travel 100 km (62 miles) on a single liter of diesel fuel. The XL1 Prototype, achieves 0.9 l/100 km, or 261-mpg.

Powering the carbon fiber shell is a plug-in diesel hybrid powertrain, using a 2-cylinder TDI motor with 48-hp, mated to a 27-hp electric motor and using a 7-speed dual clutch gearbox. Volkswagen also says that due to the plug-in hybrid setup, the power contained in the lithium-ion battery pack can propel the car 35 km (roughly 22 miles) emissions free.

It may look like a bizarre concept, but Volkswagen clearly indicates this vehicle as a prototype, highlighting the side-by-side seating, rather than the odd tandem setup in the L1 concept from the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show. It even has a near-production interior.

Also of note, VW says it has achieved “significant reductions in productions costs” for carbon fiber reinforced polymer parts (CFRP) allowing this project to move ahead. In the past execs at the German automaker have indicated the car will see production in 2013.

GALLERY: Volkswagen XL1 Prototype

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 |  Jan 10 2011, 1:01 AM

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Ford has just revealed two more examples of what kind of future the automaker is planning. Debuting at the Detroit Auto Show, the C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi (plug-in hybrid) clearly show the Blue Oval’s plan to expand the electrification of the vehicle, while also enforcing its position that the compact car is the way of the future.

Based on the same architecture as the new 2012 Ford Focus, the C-Max Hybrid and Energi join the new C-Max MPV, as well as the Focus hatchback, sedan and Focus Electric as a part of a plan to bring to market no fewer than 10 vehicles all based on the same global platform.

Like the Focus Electric, both models get a subtle restyle (complete with Aston Martin grille), although unlike the standard C-Max, these electrified versions only provide room for five – not seven.

While Ford isn’t releasing specifics on either powertrain, both vehicles will use a lithium ion battery pack. In the Focus Hybrid it will be a part of a system similar in principle to that of the Ford Fusion Hybrid and will operate the same. However, the lighter and more powerful battery promises to deliver big advantages with Ford claiming it will be able to drive on pure electric power above the 47 mph of the Fusion Hybrid. Ford also says to expect better fuel economy than the Fusion Hybrids 41-mpg rating.

As for the C-Max Energi, it will use a lithium ion battery that can be charged by plugging-in over night, so that initially the car will run on just electric power, before it reverts to operating like a conventional hybrid. In total it will deliver a range in excess of 500 miles – more than any other plug-in or extended range vehicle.

But as with all modern Fords the technology won’t be limited to what’s under the hood. In the cockpit will be a version of the new MyFord Touch telematics system adapted for electrified vehicles with special hybrid and electric battery information. A Brake Coach will also be included, helping drivers to better take advantage of the brake regeneration system. Plus, at the end of each journey, the display screen will show info including the total trip distance, miles gained from regenerative braking and total fuel consumed.

Much like with the Focus Electric, C-Max Energi owners will be able to stay connected with their car thanks to the MyFord Mobile app. Along with expected features like being able to check the state of charge from your smartphone, it can also do some unique things: like let you know how much longer it needs to charge to reach a pre-set destination in the Nav system; find charging stations; set the car warm up or cool down using power from the grid; and even let you pre-set charging times for off-peak utility hours. (Get more on the MyFord Mobile app here).

Both the Ford C-Max Hybrid and Energi will be built at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant and will go on sale in 2012.

GALLERY: Ford C-Max Energi Plug-in Hybrid

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GALLERY: Ford C-Max Hybrid

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Official release after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Dec 07 2010, 8:36 AM

Mazda will look to grow its offering of ‘green’ cars with the announcement that it is considering offering both plug-in hybrid models and electric cars in the future. In an interview with Bloomberg News, Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi said both types of vehicles are currently being studied by the Japanese automaker.

It’s not yet clear if Mazda intends to develop its own powertrain systems for these vehicles or if it will find a suitable partner in the auto industry. Mazda still has a close relationship with Ford, even though the Blue Oval is no longer a majority shareholder in Mazda. Another likely possibility is a tie-up with Toyota, which will provide the powertrains for a new line of hybrid models that Mazda is set to bring to market in 2013.

[Source: Bloomberg]

 |  Sep 23 2010, 8:52 AM


Porsche will again move forward with plans to build a new entry-level sports car, as well as a smaller SUV, while expanding its hybrid technology in the years to come. As its own entity, proposals for the baby-Boxster and smaller Cayenne were both axed, but under the new Volkswagen management the cases have been reexamined with the small roadster being given the green light while a compact SUV is still under consideration reports Automotive News.

The smaller Boxster model will join the range around 2013, as a new Boxster model arrives and grows in size. As expected, both Audi and VW could get versions of this roadster – which makes sense considering the first such example of this vehicle was shown as the Volkswagen Bluesport Roadster (above).

As for a smaller Cayenne, it’s expected to be built off the Audi Q5 platform.

In addition to these two models, Porsche will look to expand its hybrid offerings with plug-in hybrid versions of the Cayenne SUV and Panamera that will boost fuel economy even further.

As for the rest of the product lineup, over the next few years we could see a fully electric Boxster if the Boxster EVs that are set to be tested next year prove worthwhile. In addition, we could see a 4-cylinder Boxster in the future, while a Panamera convertible is still under consideration by Porsche exec.

[Source: Automotive News via Cnet]

 |  May 10 2010, 7:27 PM

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Ford has just announced that it will introduce both a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid version of its new C-Max model for Europe. Based on the new Focus platform, both models will be built at Ford’s plant in Valencia, Spain and sold exclusively in Europe. A larger version of this tall hatchback/wagon, called the Grand C-Max, will be offered in North America as well – although there are no plans for a hybrid Grand C-Max yet.

There’s no word on what sort of hybrid powerplant the C-Max will use, but Ford has said the C-Max will also be the first model to use the company’s new 1.6-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder. While it is possible that Ford could build an EcoBoost hybrid, it seems too complex an engine for a lower-budged compact model like the C-Max.

Ford hasn’t commented on an all-electric C-Max model, but with an electric Focus planned, a C-Max EV wouldn’t be much of a surprise.

Official release after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  May 03 2010, 7:54 AM

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Before it launched, rumors suggested the Lexus LFA supercar might be a hybrid. That of course turned out not to be the case, the high-powered and high-priced exotic instead opting for a naturally aspirated 4.8-liter V10 engine. But now several spy photos have emerged showing something that just may prove the original green supercar theories true.

Spy photog Brenda Priddy recently snapped a few shots of an LFA out testing – with camo on. This of course is odd, because the LFA has already been revealed.

So what’s with the camo then you might ask? Well, we can’t really comment about most of it, but there is one important piece that sparks our interest. On the left front fender a squarish piece of extra camo could be covering up an electric port to plug the supercar in. That’s right, an LFA Plug-In Hybrid. It’s not really all that much of a stretch as Toyota is already preparing to launch a Prius plug-in hybrid and could potentially use this high-priced exotic to cover some of the development costs of future hybrid cars. Besides, we already know Nissan is thinking about delivering the next-generation GT-R in hybrid form, based on the 600-hp powertrain found in the Essence Concept.

Is an LFA PHEV in the works, delivering amazing amounts of power while at the same time the ability to get amazing fuel economy around town? Quit possibly. After all, Porsche seems ready to deliver the 918 Spyder, while Audi has its e-Tron, Mercedes is working on the electric SLS and BMW is planning its EfficientDynamics supercar.

Then again, maybe that little square of camo is just a decoy.

Hit the link below to see the spy photos.

[Source: SEMA]

 |  Mar 22 2010, 9:51 AM

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Chrysler has announced that thanks to a government grant it will build a test fleet of hybrid Ram pickups. Chrysler had initially planned to build a Ram HEV (Hybrid Electric Vehicle) for 2011, but those plans were canceled when market demand was shown to be too minimal. The new truck, under the new Ram brand, will be a PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle), using a lithium-ion battery, electric motor, 5.7-liter Hemi V8 and a two-mode hybrid transmission. Chrysler claims a 20 mile emissions-free range, with an improvement of 65 percent over the current Ram 1500.

The $48 million grant comes as a part of a $2.4 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act DOE Vehicle Electrification program, from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

A total of 140 Ram PHEVs will be built to test market demand as well as the durability of such a truck. “DOE-support for domestic advanced technology is an important enabler for Chrysler Group and its key suppliers in order to understand and test customer acceptance and the capability of PHEV systems in a variety of real-world conditions,” said Paolo Ferrero, Senior VP of Powertrain technology at Chrysler.

It’s not clear how soon the trucks will hit the road, but Chrysler is looking to do a three year test of the vehicles before making any decisions.

Official release after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Feb 04 2010, 10:36 AM

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Kia has released one more teaser photo of the Ray plug-in hybrid concept that it will debut at the Chicago Auto Show next week. As with all modern Kia’s it has a sporty, if not downright aggressive look and we’re eager to see what the whole package looks like.

We expect that the Ray will use the same hybrid setup as found in parent-company Hyundai’s Blue-Will concept, with a 152-hp 1.6-liter direct-injection 4-cylinder engine and a 100kW electric motor that achieves a 50-55 mpg in standard hybrid mode, or as much as 106 mpg in plug-in hybrid mode.

This same hybrid setup is also rumored to be what will power the upcoming Hyundai Sonata hybrid, although the Sonata won’t get the plug-in capability.

For complete 2010 Chicago Auto Show coverage click here

GALLERY: Kia Ray PHEV Concept

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 |  Feb 01 2010, 11:09 AM

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A senior BMW official has confirmed that the wild Vision EfficientDynamics turbo-diesel plug-in hybrid is headed for production. BMW showed the concept at the Frankfurt Auto Show last year where it received an overwhelmingly positive reaction.

As reported by InsideLine, BMW has not confirmed if in fact the hybrid sports car will retain its 3-cylinder turbo-diesel engine and electric motor with lithium-ion battery packs. In the show car, that setup made 356-hp and 590 ft-lbs of torque, delivering a 0-62 mph time of 4.8 seconds, thanks in part to its ultra-low curb weight.

When asked by InsideLine if the model might be a real supercar, their source commented, “quite probably.” For that to be true, it will likely need a bit more power,with some rumors suggesting the “next M1″ will be powered by a hybrid version of the company’s 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8. And wile we do expect impressive fuel economy numbers, they aren’t likely to be quite so good as the concept car’s 63 mpg rating.

Expect a slightly more robust weight when it does hit production in 2013, however, it is expected to deliver an incredibly low drag coefficient.

GALLERY: BMW Vision EfficientDynamics Concept

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[Source: InsideLine]

Report: Mitsubishi EVO XI Will Be a Plug-in Hybrid

Added handling technologies expected and output could be as high as 350-hp

 |  Jan 21 2010, 3:11 PM

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Mitsubishi’s next generation EVO will be a plug-in hybrid. Yup, according to a recent report by Motor Trend, a source inside the company has confirmed the rumors that the EVO XI is going green.

This news will most likely have EVO enthusiasts about ready to jump ship to Subaru, but worry not says the report, Mitsubishi isn’t building a Prius. The EVO XI will ride on the same AWD platform as the Concept PX-MiEV (above) – itself a plug-in hybrid. A 2.0-liter MIVEC engine from the current Japan-spec Galant will be used, along with lithium-ion batteries and an electric motor donated from the dorky-looking i-MiEV electric city car.

Interestingly, the main power source will be the electric motor, driving the front wheels for optimum fuel economy. When required, the gasoline engine will kick in to power the rear. The electric motor is expected to be a more powerful version of the i-MiEV’s, which already makes 63-hp. As for the gasoline engine, it should pump out roughly 320-hp, a 29-hp improvement over the current EVO. In total this could mean as much as 350-hp. Mitsubishi engineers have apparently targeted a time of 4.5 seconds to 60 mph as their goal.

In addition, the Motor Trend reports suggest added handling capabilities will help to win over enthusiasts. Expected to be included on the EVO XI are Active Steering and a Roll Control Suspension, as well as a new electronically controlled active yaw control system (E-AYC).

The biggest problem Mitsubishi engineers face is the added weight of the electrical components, especially after the EVO X already gained 250-lbs on the previous generation model.

[Source: MotorTrend]

 |  Jan 21 2010, 9:53 AM

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Kia has just released a single teaser image of a new plug-in hybrid concept called the Ray. Set to debut at the Chicago Auto Show next month, little is known about the new vehicle other than that it was created by the team at the Kia Design Center America. It appears to feature a solar panel roof and has a bit of a Honda CR-Z flare to it with a chopped-off back end.

Kia parent company Hyundai has been showing its Blue-Will hybrid concept at several auto shows recently and so we expect the Kia Ray to be similar in many ways. The Blue-Will is powered by a 152-hp 1.6-liter direct-injection 4-cylinder engine and a 100kW electric motor and uses a lithium-polymer battery pack to achieve 50-55 mpg in standard hybrid mode, or as much as 106 mpg in plug-in hybrid mode.

Hyundai has said the Blue-Will could see production as a Prius competitor and so we have to think Kia has similar plans. Hyundai has also said it will deliver a hybrid version of the new Sonata later this year.

We’ll be sure to bring you more on the Kia Ray PHEV concept with live coverage of the Chicago Auto Show starting February 11th.

Report: Cadillac Converj Headed for Production Says Lutz

Cadillac Coupe could use 350-hp Volt-style engine from XTS Platinum Concept

 |  Jan 13 2010, 3:23 PM

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Cadillac reps won’t say as much, but General Motors Vice Chairman and product boss Bob Lutz has said that the Cadillac Converj will see production. Similar in many ways to the Cadillac CTS Coupe, the Converj gets more futuristic styling and is powered by a similar drivetrain to the Chevy Volt.

According to a report by InsideLine, however, Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell said no production plans have yet been made. “It’s a concept we’re excited about and is under consideration,” he said. “Nothing has been changed in terms of the way we’re working on that project. It’s still in the same realm. It’s not as if the status of that project has reached a different level.”

Cadillac and GM as a whole will have to think long and hard about its strategy for Voltec powered vehicles, although offering the expensive engines in premium priced Cadillac models would make absorbing the cost easier. It is possible, as Lutz seems to indicate, that the Voltec strategy is already decided upon, with the Converj just the first of two Cadillac concepts to feature a version of the Volt’s high-tech electric engine setup.

Most recently Cadillac unveiled the XTS Platinum Concept, which uses a 3.6-liter direct-injection V6 and an electric motor to make 350-hp. It’s possible that a similar powerplant could be used for a production version of the Converj.

If what Lutz is to be believed (remember he erroneously said the G8 would stick around as a Chevy) the Converj wouldn’t arrive for at least two years, with the Volt still not due out until the end of this year.

[Source: InsideLine]

Detroit 2010: Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept World Premiere

Concept version of future XTS model powered by a 350-hp plug-in hybrid engine

 |  Jan 12 2010, 10:37 AM

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Designed to give a glimpse at what an upcoming Cadillac flagship model could look like the XTS Platinum Concept is also a showcase for the luxury brand’s premium Platinum series of vehicles.

Close in size to a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, it measures 203.5-inches (3.5-inches longer than an S-Class), however, the wheelbase is considerably less at 111.7-inches (about 8-inches less than an S-Class). It is also roughly one inch wider than an S-Class.

Sadly, the XTS isn’t rear drive, however, it does feature an all-wheel drive setup. Added handling and agility are provided thanks to 20-inch wheels, and GM’s Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) shocks that measure the road every millisecond and adjust just as fast.

The XTS Platinum Concept is also a plug-in hybrid system, using an electric motor, lithium-ion battery and a 3.6-liter direct-injection V6 gasoline engine to make 350-hp and 295 ft-lbs of torque. Capable of operating as a conventional hybrid, thanks to the plug-in capability, Cadillac claims it can achieve up to twice the efficiency of a conventional hybrid in city driving. The lithium-ion battery can be charged fully in just five hours using a conventional household outlet.

With an imposing look and a powerful and efficient engine, we’re possibly most impressed by the car’s interior. As a concept, it takes Caddy’s “Platinum” line philosophy to the extreme, using ultra high-grade materials and keeping with the Platinum mantra to hand cut and sew the interior leather. There’s also plenty of suede and we even have to admit the wood trim (which we typically hate) looks stunning.

The Cadillac XTS is scheduled to go into production in the near future and we’ll be sure to keep you updated on how close to the concept the production model will be.

At the press conference, Cadillac announced that it would expand its Platinum lineup with the more premium trim editions being offered for every vehicle model it sells.

GALLERY: Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept

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GALLERY: Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept Official Photos

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