A few miles East of Ellensburg, WA, on the long winding descent into the Columbia river gorge, the little car, too small to run smoothly in both sets of the deep ruts that the semi trucks had worn into the pavement of Interstate 90, rolled from groove it had been following on the left side of the lane and dropped abruptly into the groove on the right. The lateral movement of the car within the lane was not great, maybe a foot or two, and I accounted for the motion with a simple counter of the steering wheel as I speed steadily along through the dark winter night.
The Nikkei [sub] detected a brand-new trend: Cars with an internal combustion engine. In Japan, 20 percent of new cars sold are hybrids. Elsewhere, especially in China and Europe, hybrid cars have a bit of a hard time. “Although being environmentally friendly is important, saving money is tops,” an unnamed Nissan exec told the Tokyo wire, and added that consumers in these markets look more closely at how much they can save on fuel costs in relation to vehicle prices. Now this trend is reaching Japan. (Read More…)
In an interview with The Nikkei [sub], Mazda’s President Takashi Yamanouchi mounted a spirited defense of the internal combustion engine. He said it won’t go away anytime soon. He thinks the ICE will remain a mainstream option, especially in emerging markets. As proof he points to the recently launched Demio subcompact, which gets similar mileage as a Honda hybrid.
Yamanouchi does not believe that hybrids or EVs will make a huge dent into the market, especially not in the emerging markets, where money is tight.
“The size of the global auto market is now at roughly 60 million units, but it will top 100 million sooner or later. Though we factor in opinions from outside the industry, the share of hybrid and electric cars in the global market will probably not exceed 5% in 2020. That means gasoline-powered cars are expected to continue to dominate the market.” (Read More…)
So far, if you wanted to save gas and if you didn’t want to suffer a coronary from range anxiety, you bought yourself a hybrid. The problem: They are expensive. You choose to pay Big Car instead of Big Oil. Don’t despair: Ye olde ICE still has a lot of fight in it. (Read More…)
If you are a carmaker, you need to have a hybrid and maybe even a plugin in the program, or at least on the schedule – whether your heart is in it or not. Even avowed petrol (and diesel) heads such as BMW and Volkswagen are dabbling with electrified powertrains – officially. Where are the last holdouts? In hybrid-country Japan.
“Mazda and Fuji Heavy are pursuing unique growth strategies as they continue to bank on refinements to the international combustion engine, in stark contrast with larger automakers that are rushing to roll out hybrid and electric cars,” reports The Nikkei [sub] to an aghast readership. (Read More…)