Hybrid

Toyota Promises Solid-State Batteries By 2025

While electrification has felt like the only thing automakers are willing to talk about anymore, CES 2022 provided yet another opportunity to see which companies are willing to make the biggest promises when pitted against each other. This encouraged plenty of manufacturers to issue reminders of their existing EV timetables, though we’d be lying if we expected any company to adhere to them all that closely.

Then there’s Toyota. Despite being the largest automaker on the planet by volume, the Japanese company is famous for hedging its bets and not being all that secretive about it. When other manufacturers were vowing swift electrification at all costs, Toyota said they would need to continue producing hybrids if they were to realistically serve the public. But the business is still developing battery tech, with a vested interest in selling it off to rival manufacturers who are more willing to run with BEVs exclusively. It’s also been developing solid-state batteries, which it has confirmed are on track for delivery by 2025.

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Toyota, Stellantis Announce North American Battery Plants

Automakers Toyota and Stellantis separately announced plans to construct lithium-ion battery plants in North America on Monday. With regulatory pressures mounting, the industry has been shifting its eggs between baskets to avoid trouble. But the ultimate goal for most brands is to transition toward selling EVs, requiring meaningful action and financial expenditures on the part of manufacturers.

We’ve already seen General Motors and Ford Motor Co. squabbling over who will nestle the biggest battery facilities between America’s Frost and Sun Belts. It’s only fitting that the remnants of the Chrysler Corporation contained in Stellantis walk the path of electrification, especially now that it’s absolutely riddled with European influence. Meanwhile, Toyota is predictably exercising a bit of caution as it similarly navigates how to modernize itself via upcoming lithium-ion plants.

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Junkyard Find: 2017 Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell

I have become accustomed to running into the unexpected during my junkyard travels, finding everything from a JDM Nissan Fairlady Z to a bullet-riddled Cadillac from a Mythbusters episode to a British tank. That said, I never expected to find a four-year-old hydrogen fuel-cell car, more than a thousand miles from the only state in which they were sold that year. This becomes the newest junkyard car I’ve documented, taking the top spot from the now-second-place 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage.

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Do You Care? Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV New for 2022

Let’s assume you’re lost and have made your way to a Mitsubishi dealership to make an emergency phone call and use the bathroom. Suddenly, the urge to buy a hybrid SUV overtakes you and you involuntarily find yourself asking a salesperson to direct you to the nearest model. They have several available and walk you over to the Outlanders, where they totally bypass the new models to show you the previous-generation PHEV.

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Is the Toyota Prius C Better Left in Japan?

While the Toyota Prius was an inarguable success on the North American market, its smaller sibling really only had a few good years before sales figures started trending in the wrong direction. The Prius C attempted to court urbanites (the C stands for city) by offering the same hybrid concept in a smaller package. Unfortunately, Toyota only managed to move around 13,000 between the United States and Canada in 2017 before its discontinuation the following year — leaving us with the standard Prius and the tongue-twisting Prius Prime Plug-in Hybrid.

But the C has since been revised in its native Japan, where it’s called the Aqua, resulting in a slightly roomier automobile with a new high-output bipolar nickel-hydrogen battery that’s supposed to deliver improved responsiveness and range. Considering the escalation of Western fuel prices, we’re wondering if it’s time for the Prius C to make a comeback in our neck of the woods or if it’s better left to cruise around the tight streets of Tokyo where its success is all but assured as the Aqua.

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Junkyard Find: 2003 Toyota Prius

It took many years before the first (non-wrecked) Toyota Priuses began showing up in the big self-service car graveyards I frequent, partly because Toyotas tend to hold together pretty well and partly because buyers of early Priuses seem to be the kind of car owners who obsess over the proper care and feeding of their vehicles. This ’03 Prius in Denver, painted in I Love Gaia Green™ (actually, it’s Electric Green Mica), appears to be one of those well-loved cars that finally just wore out.

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2022 Ford Maverick Arrives in Hybrid Unibody Guise, Turbo Option

Ford’s latest addition has officially arrived, with the compact pickup showing off its surprise standard hybrid powertrain. While we knew there would be a hybrid motor, we weren’t anticipating it coming as default equipment — especially since it seemed important that the manufacturer keep it priced a healthy distance from the midsized Ranger.

However, the Maverick starts at $21,490, distancing itself from its bigger brother by a few grand and maintaining a healthy amount of financial space from the unibody Honda Ridgeline. We’re likewise dubious that Hyundai will be able to price the upcoming Santa Cruz low enough to match the Ford. Though we’re going to need to dig a little deeper before any serious assessments can be made as to whether or not that’s meaningful. It could turn out to be a complete dud, nullifying any value its price tag represents.

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Lamborgreeni: Italian Automaker to Become Electric Only by 2024

Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann announced on Tuesday that the Italo-German supercar brand will officially be transitioning to electric vehicles, with the last traditional internal combustion model coming before 2024.

But these kinds of proclamations rarely adhere to observable reality, otherwise, we’d all be riding around in flying cars that can navigate autonomously. What Lamborghini is really promising is an intent to abandon models that rely exclusively on combustible fuels while it builds a bunch of them in the interim. It’s kind of like saying you’re going on a diet next month and gorging yourself on chocolate cake as you brag to your friends about how healthy you’re about to become.

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California PHEV Owners Return to Gas Power

Electric vehicles are one way to carbon neutrality. Yet 20 percent of California PHEV owners have gone back to gas-powered vehicles.

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QOTD: Does Hyundai's 2021 Ioniq Hybrid Deserve Awards?

Hyundai’s 2021 Ioniq hybrid and plug-in hybrid received the Best Hybrid Car and Plug-In Hybrid awards from U.S. News & World Report. Our question is, are they the best hybrids or not? Did the right car(s) win?

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Matchbox Moves Towards 100% Recycled Materials

Matchbox is headed towards 100 percent recycled, recyclable, or bio-based materials by 2030. Is this the end of die-cast cars as we know them?

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2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST – More For Less

The 2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST has the same 3.0-liter, 400 horsepower EcoBoost engine, with 415 lb-ft of torque, just like the Explorer ST. What it also has is a lower starting price, $49,995.

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Lexus LF-Z is Watts New

Today, Lexus dropped the LF-Z concept car, stepping on the electric-vehicle (EV) accelerator. By 2025, the company expects to have 20 new PHEV, HEV, and BEV models from which to choose.

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Great Wall Motor's Haval H6 Hybrid – Another Brick in the Wall?

Great Wall Motor (GWM) premiered the new Haval H6 Hybrid SUV at the 42nd Bangkok International Motor Show this week, a reaffirmation of the company’s xEV commitment to Asian if not world domination.

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2022 Hyundai Tucson Priced to Fit

Pricing for the all-new 2022 Tucson SUV was announced by Hyundai Motor America today, with 15 variations available to suit a wide range of needs and budgets. Starting at $24,950 MSRP for a base SE model with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, 8-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive, the range tops out at $37,350 for a Limited HEV, which is a 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder hybrid with a 6-speed automatic transmission and HTRAC all-wheel drive.

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QOTD: Hybrid Versus Conventional Drivetrains

Which drivetrain would you prefer: The hybrid two-motor setup that Toyota has paired with their 2.5-liter DOHC four-cylinder that puts out 245 horsepower or Kia’s conventional V6 that produces 294 HP?

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Toyota Trademarks Grand Highlander Nameplate

According to a report by gr86.org, Grand Highlander is the name Toyota has filed a trademark application for in the U.S. and Canada.

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Land Rover Defender Returns to Dakar in Supporting Role

Land Rover Defender 110s are taking on the 2021 Dakar Rally, the 13-day, 12-stage, 4,751-mile all-terrain challenge. One of the toughest sporting events in the world, these production-spec models will support an ambitious new Dakar Rally team, Bahrain Raid Xtreme (BRX) throughout the race.

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Are EV Batteries an Environmental Hot Mess?

Are EV batteries an environmental hazard? The European Commission (EC) is proposing stricter regulations on EV battery sustainability. A 2006 Battery Directive dealt with safe recycling and disposal of Pb-acid and Ni-Cd batteries when Li-ion batteries used in electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids were still in their infancy. These new rules will supposedly improve Li-ion batteries by reducing their carbon footprint, hazardous material use, and increasing responsibly-sourced material usage.

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Millennials Really Do Intend to Buy Cars. Thank the Pandemic.

Forget all you’ve heard about Millennials (24-39 years old) and their disdain for automobiles. COVID-19 has changed that, as 31 percent of those without a car intend to buy one in the next six months, and 45 percent of them are Millennials.

EY, a global leader in assurance, tax, strategy, and consulting services, and a member of Ernst & Young Global Limited, issued their 2020 EY Mobility Consumer Index, surveying over 3,300 consumers across nine countries. Thirty-one percent of the respondents who don’t own a car plan to buy one in the next six months, while 20 percent that already own a car say they would be open to buying another vehicle. Both groups said that one of their principal reasons to purchase is the pandemic.

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ZF to Supply FCA With Glut of Hybrid-ready Transmissions

ZF Friedrichshafen has agreed to supply Fiat Chrysler with its second-largest order to date. While top honors belong to BMW, FCA will be using the same eight-speed automatic transmissions sourced for the Bavarian-based applications. “Optimized for electrification” as per ZF’s press announcement, the gearboxes are designed for longitudinally mounted engines ⁠— including those utilizing hybrid systems.

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The Internal Combustion-only Dodge Challenger's Days Are Numbered, Manley Says

Are the 66,716 Americans who helped take the venerable Dodge Challenger to a new sales record in 2018 just Luddites, rebelling against a rising tide of electrification and autonomy? Maybe, but the era of a Challenger line powered solely by gasoline is drawing to a close.

Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley addressed the muscle car’s future at this week’s Detroit auto show, admitting that, at some point, the Challenger needs to grow greener. That means venturing into the unsexy world of electrification — an unthinkable act for some American muscle purists.

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2020 Ford Explorer Again Appears in Cop Clothing

After rocking the same design with only minor alterations since 2011, Ford will soon debut an all-new Explorer. Arriving this year as a 2020 model, the model adopts the modular CD6 platform shared with Lincoln’s Aviator, making the new version of the venerable SUV rear-drive biased once again. New powerplants are also on the way.

Before we lay eyes on the new ute, however, Ford wants to show us, once again, the Explorer’s law enforcement brother: the Police Interceptor Utility, which the company first revealed under the cloak of darkness last June. We now have light. A wildly common sight on North American roads, the new version of the copped-up Explorer is all about nabbing bad guys … and saving departments money. The vehicle you see here arrives with a standard hybrid drivetrain.

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Infiniti QX Inspiration: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

“I thought the sun rose in your eyes, and the moon and the stars were the gifts you gave … to the dark … and the endless skies, my love,” sang Roberta Flack in the heady and decadent early ’70s. Suffice it to say this writer didn’t feel the earth move in his hand upon gazing at the Infiniti QX Inspiration, not did his heart tremble like a captive bird.

The QX Inspiration, like the Q Inspiration concept of 2018, heralds Infiniti’s electric — or at least electrified — future, and it’s a future without a face.

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Chevrolet Volt's Discontinuation Leaves Battery Plant Employees Out of a Job

The vehicle they provide batteries for has less than three months to live, and this week brought news to 50 workers at General Motors’ Brownstown Battery plant that their positions are even more short-lived. In a filing with the state of Michigan, GM said it will cut 37 hourly and 13 salaried workers at the Detroit-area facility, adding an extra dollop of job losses to the mass culling announced late last month.

If the idea of owning a plug-in hybrid with real electric range tickles your fancy, your time’s running out fast.

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Toyota Expects a Quarter of Prius Customers to Choose AWD-e, but 25 Percent of Prius Is Not What It Used to Be

As America’s new vehicle market shifts to vehicles with four driven wheels, greater ride height, and dog-friendly tailgates, it seems more than sensible for the Toyota Prius to take part in some community outreach.

The Prius, America’s 10th-best-selling car just a decade ago, can keep doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. Or, the Prius can make a significant change – via available “independent electric, magnet-less rear motor” – to offer all-wheel drive, one of the feature sets that’s drawing car buyers away from cars.

And that’s exactly what Toyota has done for the otherwise refreshed 2019 Prius ( reviewed last week by our own Matt Posky). In a manner of speaking, Toyota expects big things from the Prius AWD-e: 25 percent of Prius customers, to be precise.

But one-fourth of all Prius volume is not what it used to be. In fact, it’s a far cry from what it used to be. A mere fraction of what it used to be. One-quarter of all Prius volume will make the Prius AWD-e barely more common than the Alfa Romeo Stelvio.

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2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e First Drive - Keeping Green On the White Stuff

While an inarguable success for Toyota, the Prius lost considerable clout through some odd styling decisions, a market trending toward crossovers, and smug owners who put a sour taste in everyone else’s mouth. I was never really a fan of the model, but I appreciated what it offered — outstanding economy, sufficient utility, and rather good comfort (especially in the current generation) for a reasonable price.

Hoping to reach new customers living in the snowbelt and restore some of its lost groove, Toyota has updated the Prius and will begin offering the model with all-wheel drive. Well, I say “all-wheel drive,” but things are a little more complicated than that.

The 2019 Prius AWD-e utilizes a small, magnetless motor to drive the rear wheels, while keeping the aft axle completely independent from the existing 1.8-liter hybrid system and its own pair of motor/generators. Fortunately, I had an opportunity to explore the new system in the wintry wilds of Wisconsin to see if it’s any good.

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Why Two Compact Hybrids? Demographics Play a Role, Toyota Claims

For two decades, the name “Prius” was all a committed Toyota buyer needed to know when searching for a compact hybrid vehicle. Soon, there’ll be two options, not counting the plug-in Prius Prime.

The automaker’s decision to offer a hybrid version of the still strong-selling Corolla was not made to usher its famed hybrid model into the shadows; rather, there’s two key reasons for it. Sure, the Corolla nameplate carries an enviable reputation and boatloads of name recognition, but Toyota’s also willing to admit that the Prius’ attributes just weren’t resonating with a certain segment of the American public.

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So Long, Synergy? Toyota Wants to Break From Its Hybrid Naming Tradition

Despite long, grinding years of adulthood, the word “synergy” still reminds this author of the character on the excruciatingly 1980s cartoon Jem and the Holograms, which his older sister would commandeer the TV set for on various mornings. To Toyota, the word is the centerpiece of Hybrid Synergy Drive — the name applied to its hybrid drivetrains since the dawn of the gas-electric era.

Times change and, just as hoop earrings are no longer rad, the word “hybrid” has evolved to mean any one of a confusingly long list of gas-electric propulsion systems. Studies show that a great many consumers are still mystified about hybrids.

Hybrid Synergy Drive needs a makeover.

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Cadillac Loses Its Only Hybrid Model

As one hat joins the wardrobe, another leaves the closet for a trip to the goodwill store. Cadillac’s flagship CT6 appeared at dealers in early 2016 with a range of powerplants in tow, most notably a plug-in hybrid promising 31 miles of gas-free driving. Big, traditional, American luxury sedans needn’t be dinosaurs, Cadillac said of the lightweighted plug-in.

Well, an asteroid just fell on a new, green Detroit.

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PHEV Is Fine: Mitsubishi Says It Knows What Green Buyers Want

While the brand name inspires more than a few snorts of derision and jokes in North America, Mitsubishi, now backed by the mighty Renault-Nissan Alliance, carries greater clout overseas. The automaker’s Outlander PHEV outsells all other plug-in hybrids in the UK, and global sales of the brand’s vehicles are on the upswing.

Being a part of the alliance means Mitsu will soon have its hands on new architecture, but the brand claims it isn’t about to go all snobby with a line of dedicated electric car models. Sure, there’ll be EVs in the future, but they won’t be standalone models. The automaker claims the technology it’s most known for — plug-in hybrid powertrains — remains the best bet for most consumers, and that’s why it plans to focus mainly on PHEV.

Also, you really won’t need an EV if you buy the next-generation Outlander PHEV, claims Mitsubishi strategy boss Vincent Cobee.

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Hyundai, Kia Aiming for Solar Roofs Starting in 2019

Imagine a parked vehicle that slowly sucks dino juice from vast, underground deposits through its tires. That’s essentially what Hyundai Motor Group wants to do with its vehicles, the only difference being the energy source and the direction it’s coming from.

Despite being talked about for years, solar roofs on automobiles haven’t seen widespread adoption. Cost, practicality, and rollover safety concerns mean the largest user of the technology is the Japanese and European-market Toyota Prius Prime. Now, Hyundai wants to go solar in a big way, starting next year.

The automaker wants buyers to know that solar roofs aren’t useless for regular, gas-swilling vehicles, either.

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Mystery Mustang Appears in New Ford Ad

Ford Motor Company dropped its first Bryan Cranston-filled “Built Ford Proud” commercial today, offering the Breaking Bad alumnus an opportunity to cast aspersions at the company’s rivals, including industry startups. It’s filled with Ted Talk-bashing, futurespeak-trashing bravado linked together with a thread of get ‘er done, implying that talk is cheap, and real progress takes hard work.

You can count on Ford to build the future — that’s the message here.

Halfway through the ad, a 1960s Mustang blasting through a desert landscape morphs into a contemporary model, then morphs again into something else. But what is it?

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Forget Diesel - Tough Times Now Lie Ahead for the European Plug-in Crowd

The European new car market is in a period of extreme flux. Once-dominant diesels are on the way out thanks to new regulations, looming bans, and cancelled tax incentives, with electrified vehicles poised to take over the high-MPG role.

But not everything’s rosy in the clean, green market on the other side of the Atlantic. A new, more accurate way of measuring fuel economy went into effect last month, and governments — as well as automakers — suddenly realized certain vehicles weren’t as clean as initially thought. Looking to buy a plug-in hybrid in the UK? Say goodbye to that juicy government incentive.

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In the Hot Seat: Kia Niro Hybrid Recalled Over Fire Risk

Kia will be recalling 27,000 Niro hybrids sold within the United States due a potential defect in its wiring relay that could potentially send the rear seats up in smoke. According to filings with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Kia reported a few warranty claims involving burn or heat damage to the rear seats. There was also at least one customer complaint alleging that the rear seat actually caught fire.

Affected units are said to come from the 2017 and 2018 model years. The main relay located beneath the rear seats is believed to have poor connections between its contacts on some vehicles. This results in increased electrical resistance and heat. In a worst-case scenario, a fire is totally possible.

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Jeep Renegade Plug-in Promises to Conquer Nature the Socially Acceptable Way

There’s a raft of changes coming to Jeep’s Renegade for the 2019 model year, but the brand’s run-down of the various alterations for the U.S. market didn’t include the possibility of a gas-electric variant. That’s what’s coming to the model, however, as Fiat Chrysler looks to ditch its overseas diesel powerplants by 2021 and curry favor with green governments (and buyers).

On Monday, Jeep announced it had begun preparations for the production of a plug-in hybrid variant of its smallest model.

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In With the Old, In With the New: Mazda's Rotary Return Might Leave RX-7/RX-8 Fans Disappointed

Mazda, an automaker that lacks even the mildest of hybrid vehicles, has announced a plan to change its gas-obsessed image. In doing so, the “fun” Japanese brand will return a novel internal combustion engine to the automotive landscape: the rotary engine.

We’ve talked up this possibility ad nauseum in the past, but the plan’s now official. Announced Tuesday, Mazda will add a rotary engine as a range extender for its electrification program, with the first rotary-equipped hybrid production vehicle appearing in 2020.

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Nissan Launches Punchier E-Powered Note Nismo S for Japan

Nissan’s performance arm, Nismo, is wetting its beak on electrified powertrains. Last week, the company launched the Note e-Power Nismo S — upping the model’s performance output by roughly 25 percent. Sold in Japan since December of 2016, the Note e-Power Nismo offered 109 horsepower and 187 lb-ft. The new Nismo S brings those specs to 134 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, which Nissan attributes to a tweaked inverter, modified vehicle control module, increased electrical output and an improved reduction drive.

While it’s likely never going to come to North America, there’s a good reason for it to remain on your radar. Nissan is aiming for 1 million sales of fully electric and e-Power vehicles annually by 2022. It’s also going to expand its e-Power system to Infiniti in 2021 and intends to start sending them in our general direction.

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Back to Black: Infiniti's New Concept Is All About What's Under the Hood

Infiniti doesn’t want you to look at the Project Black S prototype and ooh and ah over its looks. It’s a Q60 with an aero makeover. No, Infiniti created the Project Black S as a technological showpiece, due to be revealed Monday in the periphery of the Paris auto show.

Beneath its hood is what Infiniti’s mulling for the sportier side of its electrified future. The prototype incorporates a hybrid system that finds energy at every turn — not just from regenerative braking, but exhaust gasses, too. While mashing the throttle of an internal combustion vehicle is hardly the greenest way to generate electricity, drivers looking for added boost likely won’t mind.

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Infiniti Joins Mazda in the Hybrid-free Zone

While popularity varies among brands, hybrids remain a tough sell in today’s marketplace, despite half of all automaker-produced literature going towards the touting of their environmental cred. Still, few automakers stand apart from the crowd by not offering a green vehicle of some sort, even if it’s a low-volume, rarely-heard-about offering aimed at satisfying the EPA.

Infiniti, which recently deep-sixed its Q70 Hybrid (not long after jettisoning the QX60 Hybrid), has now done the same with the gas-electric version of the Q50 midsize sedan. It’s a confusing product time at Infiniti, with new models arriving as others depart. This isn’t the end of green vehicles for Nissan’s luxury marque, however. Hybrid power will return, just not in the same form.

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BMW Dropping Diesel in the U.S., With an Asterisk

If, like most American consumers, there’s a diesel-powered BMW on your Christmas wish list, you’d best tell your loved ones to hurry. The German automaker plans to drop that meager sliver of its U.S. product line for 2019, but there’s a chance the wishes of the oil-burning crowd will force the automaker to hang on to a single model.

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Silent Running: Ford Sought Exception on Federal Noise Requirements for Hybrid Cars, EVs

One of the benefits touted by early electric car advocates was a reduction in noise pollution stemming from automobiles. Electric motors have the potential to run far quieter than their internal combustion rivals, which could result in softer-sounding roadways.

The U.S. Department of Transportation started seriously worrying about the safety implications of silent-running vehicles back in 2010. Still, it wasn’t until this year that it legally imposed artificial noises on EVs as a way to warn inattentive or impaired pedestrians. Starting in 2020, vehicles with a GVWR of less than 10,000 pounds must emit a pedestrian-warning noise at speeds below 18.6 miles per hour.

However, despite a lengthy dialogue between government and industry, Ford was apparently seeking an exception for the federally mandated noise maker.

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Ford Recalls Green Car Charging Cords Because House Fires Aren't Good For the Environment

Going green shouldn’t lead to the appearance of orange flames, so Ford Motor Company wants you to bring your charging cord back to the dealer. A number of fires associated with the 120-volt factory charging cord provided with C-Max and Fusion plug-in hybrids, as well as the Focus Electric, forced Ford’s hand in the recall.

It seems some owners’ wall outlets aren’t the beefy piece of infrastructure Ford engineers assumed, but some owners can be faulted for using a cheap extension cord to “refuel” their environmentally sensitive ride.

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Toyota Mulling a Different Kind of Small Hybrid - the Fun Kind

We’re a long way from any kind of confirmation, but Toyota’s upcoming Corolla Hatch could become something you’d want to toss around — assuming top brass listen to the brand’s chief engineer.

With the Corolla iM hatch giving way later this summer to a vastly improved five-door that ditches the Scion-era “iM” designation, the automaker has an opportunity on its hands. If Yasushi Ueda has his way, Toyota’s head engineer would turn the model into a hybrid. God, what boredom, you say — I remember borrowing that Prius C from Vrtucar. And cousin Wendy has that Prius she keeps rubbing in our face, like that makes her saviour of the world or something –

Stop! This one wouldn’t be a narcolepsy inducer. Such a vehicle would put down two types of power through all four wheels, giving Toyota a shot of that youthful image it so desperately craves.

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2019 Range Rover Offers Up a Shiny British Bauble for Environmentalists

Whenever I see a Range Rover — the true Range Rover — I always assume there’s someone connected to the music industry behind the wheel. Just like Lambos and hockey players, we associate a type of person with a type of vehicle. And, given its origin as a vehicle designed to crush vegetation beneath its wheels while coddling its occupants with the supple hide of dead livestock, “environmentalist” is not the persona we associate with Land Rover’s Range Rover stable.

We’ll have to change our assumptions. For 2019, Range Rover’s glitziest nameplate adds a plug-in hybrid variant, allowing drivers to spew zero tailpipe emissions while taming nature in classic Victorian fashion.

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Infiniti Culls Another Hybrid From Its Lineup

Who isn’t talking about the Infiniti Q70? Okay, maybe more than a few people. The Infiniti brand’s largest passenger car enjoys low but fairly stable sales, returning volume in the high 5,000s in both 2017 and 2016.

Alongside the rear-drive, V6- or V8-powered four-door was a hybrid variant, but that green companion dies for 2019 — leaving just one gas-electric model in the Infiniti stable.

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Land Rover's Least Pricey Model Due for Makeover, Plug-in Variant

The Discovery Sport serves as an entry point to the Land Rover lineup, retailing in the U.S. for $37,795 before delivery and offering a similarly sized, cheaper alternative to its Range Rover Evoque platform mate.

Two flavors of four-cylinder power is your only option in this model, but that might not be the case for long. Land Rover apparently has big changes in store for its lowest-rung model.

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Plug-in or Not, Hyundai Doesn't Want to Be Seen as the Expensive Choice

Exclusivity is not a word often associated with Hyundai, and with good reason. Like Nissan (but even more so), Hyundai’s reputation is built on a foundation of mass-produced vehicles with inherent value. And, even in the world of green cars, it seems that game plan can’t change.

So, it’s no surprise to see Hyundai take a hatchet to the price of its 2018 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid. In dropping the model’s entry price by $1,350 and adding one mile of electric driving range, Hyundai hopes it’s enough to attract the attention of would-be buyers. It needs to. In June, the model sat at 21st place on the public’s PHEV shopping list.

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America's Favorite Sedan to Take a Boat Trip

The Toyota Camry holds the remarkable distinction of being a midsize sedan with U.S. sales that actually increased over the first five months of 2018. Impossible, you say. It can’t be. You’d trade your kids for a crossover, but wouldn’t stoop to pick up a “free sedan” voucher if you passed one on the sidewalk.

Well, it’s true. Year to date, Camry sales are up 2.1 percent in the United States. Last year’s introduction of an eight-generation midsizer seemed to halt the sedan’s sales decline, though we’d be fools to think it’s anything other than a temporary lift. Camry volume sunk 7.9 percent in May. June could send the model into the negative.

Toyota seems aware of this, too. Maybe that’s behind the decision to send the Camry somewhere it hasn’t been in years.

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Night Moves: Ford Unveils 2020 Explorer Under Cover of Darkness

As you learned here, the 2020 Ford Explorer adopts the rear-drive platform found beneath the upcoming Lincoln Aviator, as well as the luxury division’s top-flight engine. A twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 of unspecified power will appear under its hood and mate to a 10-speed automatic, a source tells us, while the 3.3-liter V6 found in the F-150 replaces the current 3.5-liter unit. The 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder carries on unchanged for thrifty buyers.

Oh, and there’ll be a hybrid version, too. Ford’s only willing to talk about the electrified Explorer at this point, and on Tuesday it made the unusual choice of debuting the 2020 Explorer in fuel-sipping felon catcher guise.

Enter the Police Interceptor Utility hybrid.

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2019 Hyundai Tucson Gets Mild Hybrid Power, Remains Just Out of Reach

Those Europeans seem like a scared lot. Always trying to appease their domineering rulers’ demands for greener cars, all thanks to strict mandates handed down from the central powers in Belgium.

While we’re hardly that different over here (minus that whole “union of member states” thing), Europe’s push for fuel efficiency generates technological ripples that reach this side of the Atlantic. Eventually, anyway. For the 2019 model year, European customers gain a 48-volt mild hybrid option for the refreshed Hyundai Tucson, heralding a similar setup that’s expected to land in American showrooms before too long.

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Fiat Chrysler's 5-Year Plan: Back in the Black by June, Bullish on Jeep, Off-road Ram on the Way

The first part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ five-year product plan has emerged at the automaker’s Balocco proving grounds near Turin, Italy, where company brass detailed the near future of four key brands: Jeep, Ram, Alfa Romeo, and Maserati.

Yes, no mention of Chrysler, Dodge, or Fiat. They’ll get to that later this morning (is there a bell tolling for one or more of those brands, at least in America? Stay tuned…)

What we know at this point is that the company has no plans to back away from its goal of dominating the globe with the Jeep brand. There’s more SUVs coming — plenty of them, and hybrids, too. For North American truck buyers, a dedicated off-road variant of its new Ram 1500 is assured, giving the Ford F-150 Raptor a run for its money. FCA would prefer accepting your cash in that segment.

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2019 Subaru Crosstrek Plug-in: Heartbreak in Colorado, Rejoicing in Vermont

Specialty green models don’t normally end up in lots across the country, at least not initially, and the upcoming Subaru Crosstrek plug-in hybrid is no different.

The resurrected green variant of the wildly popular Crosstrek, which bit the dust following slow sales in 2016, appears late this year as a 2019 model, only this time with real all-electric range and a corresponding plug. It’s a model born of the automaker’s partnership with Toyota, and the Crosstrek PHEV borrows powertrain components from the plug-in Prius Prime. (Whether it’s a direct carryover remains to be seen.)

As your author noted on Twitter the other day, this model seems tailor made to become the darling of hip, achingly progressive enclaves everywhere. While that could one day be the case, four-fifths of U.S. states won’t see the model upon its roll-out.

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Volvo Boss Predicts a Plug-in-filled Future, but Americans Don't Seem That Keen on the Brand's Largest Greenie

The second-generation Volvo XC90 announced the brand’s confident and triumphant return to the forefront of automotive discourse. With its parental troubles behind it, the 2015 model year XC90 arrived with dignified, upscale sheetmetal and served as a styling template for future models like the S90 and XC60.

It also heralded the brand’s move towards downsized powerplants assisted by electric motors.

The company’s CEO, Hakan Samuelsson, sees a not-too-distant future where plug-in hybrids make up a quarter of its sales — an attainable goal on a global scale, given China and Europe’s fondness for such models. In the United States, though, Volvo’s plug-in XC90 — lately, anyway — seems to be headed in the opposite sales direction as its plug-free model. Slightly odd, as plug-in hybrids are ascendent in America.

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Kia Ready to Launch Its Mildest Hybrid Yet

It isn’t a model, it’s simply a powertrain. After the recent announcement of the Niro Electric and earlier hybrid and plug-in hybrid applications, Kia’s ready to dial it way back for the masses.

The automaker has announced a 48-volt mild hybrid system that shouldn’t confuse unsavvy buyers, providing it never uses the word “hybrid” in their company. The system’s name? EcoDynamics +.

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The Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Crawls Out of Its Grave Next Year

While a lot of average folks like Subaru, the brand has long been popular with the hippie-dippy demographic. Frankly, it seemed like the company missed a golden opportunity to further solidify its standing with the granola crowd by being a little late on the hybrid front.

However, maybe we’ve categorized the automaker’s consumer base incorrectly — or at least their taste in powertrains. After all, the Crosstrek Hybrid wasn’t an overwhelming success. The model only lasted three years until Subaru decided to kill it off in 2016. But it’s coming back from the dead for 2019, this time as a plug-in — making it Subaru’s very first PHEV.

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Alfa Romeo Readying an SUV for the Nuclear Family: Report

We’re talking one of those 1950s Leave It To Beaver-type families, not those downsized 1980s-onward broods. Yes, the range-topping utility vehicle under development by Fiat Chrysler’s sporty Alfa Romeo division will likely boast three rows and seven seats, according to UK publication Autocar.

It’s far removed from the diminutive Alfas of yesteryear, such as the 2000 GT Veloce driven by the titular character in Shaft In Africa, but it’s necessary to seduce the space-hungry American market. It’s also just one of several new products expected to be announced by FCA boss Sergio Marchionne next month.

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Shocking? Many Buyers Aren't Quite Sure What a Hybrid Car Is

The first mass-market hybrid in the Western World, the Honda Insight, debuted while we were still worrying whether Y2K would lead us back into the Stone Age. Some days, I wonder whether we’d be better off if it had.

Regardless of my personal feelings about humanity and societal progression, we’ve had nearly two decades to familiarize ourselves with the gas-electric powertrain, but apparently not everyone got the message. A recent survey of 1,000 drivers shows there’s still plenty of confusion over what a hybrid car is actually capable of.

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Nissan Finds the 2018 Rogue Hybrid, Gives It a Sticker Price

The crossover Rogue Hybrid appeared last year, teaming a 2.0-liter engine and 30kW electric motor that made 176 net horsepower and worked in concert to achieve the magical 35 mpg figure. For what it’s worth, the regular Rogue makes 170 horses out of its 2.5-liter inline-four. We feel confident your day has been enriched with this critical information.

Nissan has now announced pricing for the 2018 model, along with a few tech updates. The sticker jumps northward a few dollars and is similar to its chief rival, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid — but with one significant difference.

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Next-generation Volkswagen Golf to Offer Electric Assist, but Just a Tad

Audi is bullish on 48-volt mild hybrids, and its Volkswagen sister division is no different in wanting to see larger batteries take some of the load off of its internal combustion powerplants.

The automaker announced Thursday that its upcoming eighth-generation Golf will offer a low-cost alternative to purely gas- or diesel-powered motoring. The mild hybrid system appearing on that vehicle, due next year as a 2020 model, will soon spread throughout the VW lineup, the automaker claims.

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  • MRF 95 T-Bird I bet it has some electrical gremlins as well. Nonetheless it might make an interesting El Camino pickup truck conversation with one of those kits.
  • GrumpyOldMan "A manual transmission is offered, as is a single-clutch auto. "What is a single clutch auto?
  • ToolGuy It is raining super-hard outside right now.
  • Analoggrotto It's getting awful hard to tell these Mercedes apart from one another.
  • Analoggrotto Ah the Fisher Price car for the uncoolest of uncool dad-bods.