Toyota launched their hybrid Prius in late 1997. 13 years later, Toyota has sold a total of about 2.6m hybrids, says The Nikkei [sub]. That mostly because it is the top selling car in Japan. And also “thanks to government subsidies that favor hybrids over other fuel-efficient cars,” as Automotive News [sub] remarks. Toyota doesn’t want to rest on its laurels. (Read More…)
What, you didn’t know that Amarok is Inuit for “Wolf”? Anyway, Forget Mahindra. Third-world compact diesel pickup fetishists can move their misplaced hopes for US-market salvation on Volkswagen’s Amarok. Not because VW is particularly likely to bring it to the United States, but because Auto Motor und Sport just posted a bunch of photos of the new single-cab version. Plus this sweet angle on the double-cab model. All this Eskimo wolf needs is a fire hydrant. And some magical way of passing EPA tests without an expensive diesel-scrubbing system. Not to mention a free pass on the Chicken Tax.
America’s ethanol producers were some of the few Americans optimistic or cynical enough to find a bright side to the BP Gulf spill. Ethanol’s lobbyists-in-chief, GrowthEnergy, decided it would be real cute to run ads highlighting all the bad things ethanol hadn’t done. One of which is not “Ethanol has never harmed the Gulf of Mexico,” by the way. As the ad parody above points out though, even if the ethanol was creating a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico for years before the BP spill, there are quite a few other things ethanol hasn’t done. Like this, just in from the AP [via Google]: convince the EPA to buy into its shameful, manipulative PR line and rush a decision on increasing blending limits.
- 2000 Honda Insight 5MT CVT (49/61/53)
- 2010 Toyota Prius (51/48/50)
- 1986 Chevrolet Sprint ER 5MT (44/53/48)
- 1990-1994 Geo Metro XFI 5MT (43/52/47)
- 1986-87 Honda Civic Coupe HF 5MT (42/51/46)
- 1994-95 Honda Civic Hatchback VX 5MT (39/50/43)
- 2006-2010 Honda Civic Hybrid CVT (40/45/42)
- 2010 Honda Insight CVT (40/43/41)
- 2001-2003 Toyota Prius CVT (42/41/40)
- 1989 Chevrolet Sprint/Suzuki Swift 5MT (38/45/41)
Keep in mind that this list [via our pals at Autosavant] is for EPA ratings, adjusted to the new post-2008 methodology (city/hwy/combined). Luckily, the EPA also accepts real-world mileage submissions from citizen-motorists to help illustrate the whole “your mileage may vary” thing. That list is after the jump.
Production of Chevy Volt “integration models” began last week, as Hamtramck tools up for final production of GM’s wundercar, but GM still isn’t saying anything about the car’s two most important features: the pricetag and EPA rating. The General has hemmed and hawed on the Volt’s price over the last several years of hype, but it hasn’t ever been shy about touting an “expected” 230 MPG rating. Because apparently it’s the EPA’s job to clear up GM’s misleading marketing claims. So what is the deal with that 230 MPG number, anyway?
By 2015, no new car made by Mazda will stand around idle. By this year, Mazda plans to install its idling stop function on all of its new automobiles, says today’s Nikkei [sub]. Some domestic and European Mazda already have this feature. In a few years, it will be universal, including North America, where current EPA regulations discourage idle stop. (Read More…)
The Obama Administration warns that automakers could be hit with unintended acceleration of their costs if Congress succeeds in blocking EPA greenhouse gas emissions. The Detroit News reports:
In a letter to congressional leaders, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s chief counsel, O. Kevin Vincent, said Congress would jeopardize a deal reached by automakers, California and the White House if it blocks the EPA from using its power to limit greenhouse gases.
California and a dozen states could go forward, each with its own rules, if Congress blocks EPA from setting national standards. That would have the impact of “creating confusion, encouraging renewed litigation, and driving up the cost of compliance to automobile manufacturers and consumers alike,” Vincent wrote.
Take One: The Ruf 911 Greenster EV. From AB Green’s report:
Last fall, Porsche high performance tuning specialist Ruf announced that it had built a prototype electric sports car called the eRuf which was essentially a lithium ion battery-powered 911. That was just the beginning of the story as the company has brought the Greenster here to Geneva. The Greenster is a targa top 911 in the old style with a chopped speedster type windshield. In the back sits a 270 kW Siemens electric motor with 695 lb-ft of torque. The battery pack system has been improved and is now 30 percent smaller in volume, restoring the front trunk space that was lost on the original. The battery pack now has greater power capacity allowing it to release and absorb power faster, enabling more regenerative braking capacity. The battery can apparently be charged in only one hour from a 400V outlet. The next iteration will switch to a twin motor setup and the company is planning a small series production run in 2010.
Porsche 911 have been a favorite target for EV conversions fir decades. Ruf’s version is almost series ready. It will probably have an EPA mpge rating similar to the Tesla’s 256 mpge. How many would Porsche have to sell to increase its fleet average to the amount necessary? (Read More…)
TTAC GM Bashing Alert! The following article has been read and reviewed by the TTAC-GM Assault Protective Services Committee and has been found to contain material that may put GM in a negative light. Reader discretion is advised.
Unless the elves are asleep at Google, the odds are good that there will be an ad for the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox immediately to the right of this article. And it will proudly trumpet its 32 mpg EPA highway rating, like every other Equinox ad. From GM’s first gleeful announcement, it was hard to swallow from the that a tall, almost 4,000 lb CUV could actually get 32 mpg on the highway, or 26 mpg combined. It appears others are having the same blockage of the pharynx. Now that there’s a number of reviews out, they all show the same pattern: the Equinox EPA numbers are highly deceptive. But would the EPA ever come down on Government Motors? (Read More…)
Idle-stop technology, which turns off a car’s engine instead of idling, is available from a number of automakers in the European and Japanese markets. Mazda claims nearly half of its Mazda3 compacts and Biante minivans sold in Japan are ordered with the $500 option, as consumers seek out fuel economy improvement without the cost of a full hybrid system. So, why doesn’t Mazda sell idle-stop equipped cars in the US? According to the company, though Japanese fuel economy tests show stop-start improving efficiency by seven to nine percent “the EPA city-mode test cycle includes only one complete vehicle stop, so stop-start technology registers only a 0.1- or 0.2-mpg improvement.” And who would pay $500 for that?
Well, the good news is that the EPA has thus far refused to allow gasoline blends of more than ten percent ethanol. The bad news is that the Agency has yet to take a firm stand against the idea of eventually allowing E15 into the nation’s gas pumps. In fact, as the EPA’s response to the ethanol lobbying group Growth Energy’s request to allow E15 [full document in PDF form here] opens:
It is vitally important that the country increase the use of renewable fuels. To meet that goal EPA is working to implement the long-term renewable fuels mandate of 36 billion gallons by 2022. To achieve the renewable fuel requirements in future years, it is clear that ethanol will need to be blended into gasoline at levels greater than the current limit of 10 percent.
The EPA is set to rule as soon as tomorrow on the so-called “blend cap,” which forbids the sale of gasoline with more than ten percent ethanol. The petition to raise the blend cap came from a relatively new pro-ethanol lobbying group, Growth Energy, which requested the cap be moved to fifteen percent ethanol. Growth Energy’s request cites foreign oil dependence, “green-collar jobs” and the future of cellulosic ethanol as reasons to bump the blend cap, but as the New York Times reports, the real problem is that the ten percent limit is bumping up against a congressional mandate to blend 15b gallons of biofuels with gasoline by 2012. What the Times fails to mention is the financial incentive for raising the blend cap: the 51 cent-per-gallon of ethanol blended tax credit. In 2007, when gas consumption was at an all-time high and ethanol blending mandates required a mere 4.7b gallons (with 7b actually blended), that credit cost taxpayers nearly $3b. In 2012, when the mandate hits 15b gallons, the taxpayer tab will be closer to $7.65b.