Volkswagen Up! Released Schedule Leaked; Official Debut in August

Important dates for the release of the Volkswagen Up! models have been leaked. The highly anticipated city vehicle will have its world premiere on August 22 in Paris. Following the premiere, the Up! vehicle will be present at the Frankfurt auto show in September 2011, and the official release for the 3-door hatchback is scheduled for the end of 2011. The bigger 5-door hatchback will be released at the end of 2012, and the first MPV Up! and electric-powered models will be available in early 2013.

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Toyota's RAV4 EV Will Not Be Sold To General Public

Toyota has decided that the RAV4 electronic vehicle will not be made available to consumers. According to Geri Yoza, Toyota’s national business planning manager of advanced vehicle marketing, the vehicle will instead be focused for “very strategic applications” such as fleets and car sharing programs.

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Honda's Fit Was The Best-Selling Car in Japan For 1st Half Of 2011

Honda’s best selling car in Japan for the first half of 2011 was the Fit compact, helped by the addition of a fuel-efficient hybrid model released in October.

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VW Golf Twin Drive Plug-In Hybrid Prototype Begins Testing Ahead of 2013 Launch

Volkswagen has unveiled its latest Golf Twin Drive plug-in hybrid prototype. This vehicle is a more refined and updated version of the Golf Twin Drive hatchback released in 2008. It has an electric-range of 35 miles and will use a direct-injected 1.4-liter gasoline engine that can achieve 559 miles. The electric traction motor cranks out a reasonable 85 kW (114 horsepower). The motor coupled with the engine allows for a total output of 161-hp.

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Mitsubishi Plans Electric Versions Of Three Vehicles

Contrary to public belief,  Mitsubishi still sells cars in America. And the company is hard at work on hybrid technology: they are planning to sell three electric versions of their vehicles: the i-MiEV, the Outlander, and the Outlander Sport.

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2011 Nissan Leaf Takes On Laguna Seca [Video]

Last Sunday, the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca hosted Refuel 2011, the third annual track day for electric cars and motorcycles. The event was open to anyone with an electric car, ranging from the Tesla Roadster to DIY conversion cars. This year’s event was the first time that fully electric production vehicles from mainstream car makers were present at the event.

Joe Nuxoll, Tesla employee and racing instructor achieved the fastest lap time in the production electric class and the Nissan Leaf wasn’t far behind.  The Leaf was two seconds behind the Tesla with a commendable time of 2:10.223.  Leaf owner Nadar Assemi took a video of the Leaf competing on the track. The Leaf surprisingly didn’t suffer from overheating issues like the Tesla and the DIY cars did.

“To my surprise almost every other EV out there (production or otherwise) had heat management issues after 2-5 laps. Tesla’s were hitting power cut by lap 4-5. Most of the other kit cars could do one or two laps due to heat or range issues.” Explained Assemi on a Nissan forum. “Conversely, the Leaf was pulling strong all day and the battery temp gauge didn’t move over 6 bars. Energy efficiency on the track was a stellar 1.2-1.3 m/kWh.”

Check out the video after the jump!

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AC Propulsion Electric Car Smashes Its Own Pikes Peak EV Record

AC Propulsion, a global leader in electric drive design, development and manufacturing, announced today that the Yokohama-sponsored electric race car using AC Propulsion’s proprietary electric drive system broke it’s own record set last year at the 88th annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

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One-Off Lexus LS600h Landaulet: Prince Albert Of Monaco's Open Top Wedding Chariot

Lexus has unveiled a one-off Midnight Blue LS600h Landaulet for the July 2nd wedding of Prince Albert of Monaco. Belgian coachbuilder Carat Duchatelet completed the conversion, but Lexus engineers partook in the project to ensure the highest levels of quality. The Landaulet has recently been completed, and took more than 2,000 hours to complete.

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Americans Choose Fuel Efficient Compacts Over Hybrids

Even with high gas prices, Americans are choosing fuel effiecient compacts with conventional gas engines over pricier gas-electric hybrids. Sales have steadily increased with the Hyundai Elantra, Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze while hybrids are showing little activity.

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What Percentage Of Your Car Was Made In America? [Video]

Are you curious to know how much of your car is made in America? Well if you are, Diane Sawyer takes a look into the automotive manufacturing business. ABC World News lauched “Made in American Summer” which focuses on American manufacturing, the economy and how ordinary Americans can help create more jobs in their country.

ABC worked with the Stewart family of Hillsdale, N.J during their time shopping for a new car. The Stewart’s compare a Ford Escape and a Toyota Camry and ABC News tries to figure out which car best supports US manufacturing.

Shockingly, the Camry is 80% American made, while the Escape is 65%. The Ford created 13 assembly line jobs for every 100 cars sold while the Camry provided almost 20.

Check out the video after the jump to see which vehicle the Stewart’s buy.

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2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid Targeting 48-MPG City

With Ford planning to blitz the auto-market in the first quarter of 2012 with its eight new models, the American automaker hopes the Fusion will make a major impact with its next-gen sophisticated hybrid system.

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Nissan Altima Hybrid Gets the Axe

Nissan has released full details on its 2012 Altima lineup with the Altima Hybrid notably absent. The Altima Hybrid officially launched in 2007 and featured Nissan’s first gas-electric engine, thanks to technology licensed from Toyota. It was able to achieve 33 mpg (7.1 L/100 km), which is still a respectable number. However, the Altima was only sold in a handful of states during its tenure and never quite caught on.

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Ford To Introduce Eight New Models in First Quarter of 2012

Ford is planning to blitz the auto-market for the first quarter of 2012. According to a source inside Ford, no less than eight all-new or refreshed models will start production for Q1.

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Redesigned Lincoln MKS And MKT To Debut Later This Year

Lincoln sales have been slipping and so far are down 8 percent this year. The automaker has sped up redesign plans for the full-size MKS and three-row MKT as sales have dropped by 40 percent this year for the sedan, and 38 percent for the crossover. The redesigned MKS and MKT will debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.

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Mercedes-Benz Launches Two M-Class Hybrids

Mercedes-Benz has recently unveiled its new M-class SUV and there has been confirmation that several variants for this crossover will be included.

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