Category: Hybrid

By on November 25, 2015


Federal regulators have postponed rules to require hybrid and EV carmakers to add audible warnings to their cars to alert nearby pedestrians, bicyclists and visually impaired people, Reuters reported.

The audible warnings would be installed on cars made by Ford, Honda and Toyota and be activated when those cars are traveling slower than 18 mph. According to the report, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says hybrid and EV cars are 19-percent more likely to be involved in a pedestrian crash when compared to gasoline cars. The rule could prevent 2,800 crashes with pedestrians. Read More >

By on November 16, 2015


Kia on Monday released teaser images of its Prius-fighting hybrid, dubbed Niro, and said the car would go on sale late next year — maybe when gas prices aren’t $2 a gallon.

According to the automaker, the Niro’s hybrid powertrain and lightweight construction could help the car achieve up to 60 miles per gallon when it goes on sale. A plug-in variant will go on sale after a conventional hybrid arrives in 2016.

The car is positioned to fight directly against the next-generation Toyota Prius, which will go on sale later this year. It isn’t immediately clear whether the car is pronounced “NEE-ro” (like the Roman emperor) or “NY-ro” (rhymes with Cairo) because one of those would be an interesting choice.

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By on November 6, 2015

2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Platinum

I was driving along the other day and I realized something: the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is currently the most popular vehicle in North America.

Okay, this might be a slight exaggeration. For instance, I am told that the bicycle is quite popular. But on a list of today’s most popular vehicles, the Highlander Hybrid is right up there with the bicycle, and the wheelchair, and that Ford pickup that sells more units in an afternoon than Ferrari sells globally in an entire calendar year.

It is very obvious to see why the Highlander Hybrid is so popular. For one thing, it’s a normal family SUV with three-row seating, which is incredibly hot right now; so hot that I am quite certain it is not actually possible to rear children in today’s society without a three-row SUV. If you showed up at a child’s birthday party in a Toyota Camry, and you had forgotten to dress your child, and you had brought the wrong child, and your child was vomiting all over everything in sight, people would not call attention to your child-related issues. They would ask: Why don’t you have a three-row SUV?

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By on October 27, 2015

Hyundai 1.6-liter engine

Hyundai announced Tuesday its 1.6-liter hybrid engine that will likely appear in the company’s Prius fighter when that car goes on sale around 2017. The company also unveiled a new 8-speed automatic transmission for front-wheel drive cars.

The new Kappa 1.6-liter GDI engine runs on an Atkinson cycle and uses cooled exhaust gas recirculation to increase fuel efficiency.

Hyundai said the engine would produce 104 horsepower and 108 pounds-feet of torque and would be used in hybrid applications.

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By on October 21, 2015


Lexus released Wednesday a hint of what’s to come from the automaker’s 2015 Tokyo Motor Show display. According to the automaker, Lexus will be showing their “vision of progressive luxury” — which is vague-booking at its finest.

Although many believe the concept will be the automaker’s next-generation LS — which is certainly plausible considering Mercedes-Benz S Class, BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, et al. — it could be something different; Lexus has the Mirai and new Prius (aka CT) to play with from Toyota.

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By on October 15, 2015

Volvo Cars' vision of an electric future

Volvo announced Thursday that it would make an all-electric car available by 2019 and offer more plug-in hybrid versions of its cars sooner, starting with the S90. Volvo already sells a plug-in hybrid version of its XC90 SUV.

The automaker’s announced plans follow news that it would make a compact crossover by 2018, likely called the XC40, which would eventually share the same architecture as its V40 and V40 Cross Country.

According to the automaker, Volvo expects 10 percent of its sales by 2020 to be of electric cars. The automaker reported 465,000 sales in 2014.

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By on October 6, 2015

Scion LAAS Teaser

Scion, Toyota’s “youth” brand, released the above teaser image Tuesday morning along with a brief press release stating their third all-new vehicle will be displayed at the Los Angeles Auto Show this November.

Is this the Toyota CH-R in Scion drag? It very much looks to be.

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By on October 1, 2015


The average transaction price for a new car edged up slightly August to September from $33,563 to $33,730, researchers at Kelley Blue Book said Thursday.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles posted the largest gain over the same month last year, as the automaker increased its average transaction price 4.1 percent to $34,809. Unsurprisingly, Volkswagen was the only major automaker to post a loss in the report, losing 1.6 percent from August to September this year, and 0.1 percent from September 2014.

Ford, General Motors and Kia/Hyundai all posted gains over 3 percent, year-over-year. Overall, the industry average for new car transaction prices rose 2 percent from September 2014 to September 2015. Toyota was the other automaker to fall below the industry average for gains. Its average transaction price increased by only 0.6 percent.

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By on September 23, 2015


Porsche’s next-generation Panamera (likely 2017) was spotted going through its paces in Colorado this week. The new car will be the first MSB platformed car for Porsche, which is expected to underpin more Stuttgart models — and perhaps the Bentley Flying Spur.

Two models were visible in Colorado, including what could have been a Panamera S with a large rear spoiler. (Pictures after the jump.)

The stopover in Colorado is usually one of the last powertrain tests a car will undergo before its final announcement.  Read More >

By on September 18, 2015

Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé (2014)

Daimler announced Friday that it would spend $1.3 billion in its Tuscaloosa, Alabama factory to upgrade its equipment and technology, and to also add a 1.3 million square-foot body shop.

The investment will also add 300 jobs to the plant, which produces the C-Class and GL-class — and perhaps GLT? — and work is reportedly already underway. The plant has been open since 1997 and has predominantly produced SUVs, although its future products are less clear.

Mercedes is reportedly preparing to make a truck, based on the Nissan Navara, to release in global markets. In Frankfurt, the updated Nissan Navara and related Renault Alaskan made their debuts, although only the Navara will have a life in the U.S. — probably as the next Frontier. Mercedes would need to produce its pickups in the NAFTA zone to avoid a Chicken Tax if they were to sell one here. (Sprinter doesn’t care.)

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