Tag: Green

By on January 17, 2020

2018 Kia Niro PHEV gauges

Whether you or I like it or want it, the industry is changing — pivoting towards things that cause many readers’ blood to run cold and their soul to wither and die. Futuristic things like electrification and mobility and autonomous driving. Soulless things, to some.

For most — if not all — industry players, this pivot is Plan B (Plan A being the traditional selling of internal combustion automobiles to customers who walk into dealerships). For Kia, it falls under the official title of Plan S. This week, the automaker dived into what it means for loyal customers. (Read More…)

By on January 7, 2020

nissan

What can a nine-speed automatic do for a full-size pickup that once carried a seven-speed unit and a reputation for guzzling fuel at a prodigious rate?

That’s a question answered not by the EPA, which hasn’t gotten around to posting updated MPG figures for the refreshed 2020 pickup, but by its counterparts north of the border. Natural Resources Canada has the new figures on file, but you’re out of luck if you’re only interested in rear-wheel drive Titan models. For 2020, Canadians aren’t allowed to have those. (Read More…)

By on January 2, 2020

2019 Mazda CX-3 rear quarter

The smallest Mazda crossover, which happened to be too small for a friend of this writer, enters the new decade with a greatly reduced presence. Not just in America, but overseas, too.

While the U.S.-market CX-3 subcompact stands to lose all but one trim in a carefully calculated move by Mazda brass, a different plan is afoot on the other side of the Atlantic. (Read More…)

By on December 30, 2019

A fairly stylish electric concept car revealed this past year by Kia will become a reality in 2021, the automaker’s European chief operating officer claims. The Kia Imagine, a high-riding, fastback C-segment offering, will be put into production on a dedicated platform not only because the company feels it’s a potentially successful vehicle, but because it has little choice in the matter.

Come 2020, the European Union plan to level punitive fines on any automaker caught breaking its increasingly stringent fleetwide emissions standards. It’s a case of go electric, or pay up. (Read More…)

By on December 20, 2019

The fun police, also known as European regulators, are causing sleepless nights for that continent’s automobile manufacturers, all thanks to their imposition of ultra-stringent Euro 6 emissions standards.

You’ve already read about Mazda cutting back on 2.0-liter MX-5 sales in the UK to lessen the brand’s fleetwide emissions output. Now, Mercedes-Benz’s performance arm might have to cull a great number of AMG-badged vehicles to keep itself in good standing. (Read More…)

By on December 11, 2019

The European Union has approved a 3.2 billion-euro fund to promote the research and development of battery technology, with cash pouring in from Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Sweden. While Brussels has been on an electrification push ever since Europe fell out of love with diesel, now may not be the best time to double down on EVs.

We recently covered China’s ailing automotive market, noting the poor performance of new energy vehicles (which fell by at least 40 percent vs the previous November). We’ve also covered a survey showing how eager the nation’s consumer base appeared to be to purchase them, with both writer and readership wondering how reliable those figures actually were. Our collective dubiousness appears to have been valid. Despite being the top region for EV sales, new data from Bernstein Research claims about 70 percent of the 1.2 million electric or gasoline-electric hybrid models sold in China over the past year went directly to government or corporate fleets. When the government started removing subsidies, sales plummeted with little private interest to soften the impact.

Europe may be on a vaguely similar path. While worldwide EV sales are up about 13 percent through October, sales in North America are down 2 percent (at 301,000 deliveries), with Europe rising 37 percent (to 395,000). That’s partially due to European cities being closer together (with more charging points between them), though most EU member states also offer various electric vehicle purchasing incentives and tax exemptions. They’ve likewise adopted stricter environmental rules that make EVs more appetizing to own in the future.  (Read More…)

By on December 10, 2019

2020 Ford Escape

The Mustang Mach-E isn’t yet available for public consumption, leaving a trio of hybrid SUVs as the brand’s electrified vanguard. For 2020, the Escape returns to its hybrid past, joined by the newly electrified Explorer and its plug-in Lincoln Aviator twin.

EPA figures have been revealed for all of these beasts, so let’s take a look at what gas savings that additional expenditure can get you. (Read More…)

By on December 5, 2019

Image: GM

A battery plant mentioned in General Motors’ recently ratified UAW labor contract will soon become a reality in the hard-hit city of Lordstown, Ohio. That locale recently saw the lights go out at GM’s Lordstown Assembly, which closed its doors this spring after the discontinuation of the Chevrolet Cruze. The plant’s now in the hands of a fledgling electric automaker.

On Wednesday, GM announced the spending of $2.3 billion and the creation of 1,100 jobs in Lordstown — a necessary move to supply the automaker with battery packs for its electric vehicle push. (Read More…)

By on December 4, 2019

Always the innovator in creating car parts out of plants that aren’t trees, Ford Motor Company plans to burnish its green cred with a new building material: a composite created partly from dried coffee bean husks.

Following the automaker’s soybean experiments of the early 1940s, Ford adopted soybean-based foam for its seat cushions back in 2008. Now, coffee chaff will help add strength and lower energy use for the manufacture of headlight housings and other components. Its supplier partner on this project? McDonalds. (Read More…)

By on November 20, 2019

toyota

It seems the automotive industry has learned that the instant torque and potency potential afforded by electric motors can be a selling feature all its own, relegating the usual save-the-planet messaging to the back burner. Even the traditionally staid and sensible Toyota is getting in on the game.

Not just Toyota, but even the RAV4 — a compact and newly revamped crossover most often associated with placid nuclear families boasting at least one parent who works for the public sector. Toyota is eager to tell you that an upcoming variant, revealed this week at the L.A. Auto Show, will get you to 60 mph quicker than any RAV4 that came before.

And it’ll do so without using gas. (Read More…)

By on November 19, 2019

audi

And then there were two. Volkswagen Group, which is leading the (mainstream) charge on vehicle electrification, has a second high-end electric vehicle to tempt cozy greenies, and like its sibling, its styling aims to comfort, not repel.

The Audi E-Tron Sportback (“e-tron” Sportback in Audi parlance) is a slightly more curvaceous, sportier version of the E-Tron two-row crossover that began appearing earlier this year. Like that model, the Sportback doesn’t turn away traditional premium buyers with Jetsons-like styling and overbearing nods to the technology that lurks beneath its surface. It’s all-electric, yes, but you’d hardly know it from standing next to one. (Read More…)

By on November 7, 2019

VW

First off, this writer can’t speak enough to the grossness of purposely misspelled words, and that goes for recording artists who hate vowels in their name, too.

With that out of the way, there’s wagon news to share. Volkswagen, whose electric MEB platform is slated to underpin a wide variety of future models, has revealed its latest creation: the ID. Space Vizzion, an all-electric long-roof that will one day make its way to America. (Read More…)

By on November 6, 2019

It’s not just the increased taxation on diesel fuel that’s prompting Europeans to throw in the towel on compression ignition. Look to local lawmakers for Reason Number One why diesel, which just a few years ago comprised the majority of new car sales in the UK, is suddenly less popular than this writer was in high school.

Following similar moves by select German cities and other jurisdictions, the UK city of Bristol has become the first municipality in that country to approve a diesel ban, with fines set to be levelled against anyone caught entering the city with a non-spark engine. Amazingly, this motley crew of second-class vehicles includes transit buses. (Read More…)

By on October 31, 2019

vw

If you’re really, really into the vehicle assembly process and electric vehicles as a whole, Nov. 4th is a date to set aside on your calendar. You’ll probably want to plunk yourself down in front of a live-streamed broadcast showing the start of Volkswagen ID. 3 production at the automaker’s Zwickau, Germany assembly plant. Chancellor Angela Merkel will be on hand, if that spices things up.

Unveiled last month in Frankfurt, the ID.3’s job is to kick off an ambitious product offensive that will see a torrent of ID-badged EVs unleashed on global markets over the coming years. (Read More…)

By on October 23, 2019

Image: Mazda

Mazda put the future on display at the Tokyo Motor Show on Wednesday, unwrapping a battery-electric crossover that thankfully gives us something a little avant-garde to look at.

The brand’s compact EV makes things interesting not by offering a 130-mile range and relatively small battery pack (35.5 kWh), but by employing a team of designers to boost visual appeal in an otherwise bland segment. Kodo design language is front and center here, as is a cabin designed to instill a sense of openness. Materials that only Mazda could get excited about abound. Yet that’s not the MX-30’s most striking feature.

It’s about time another automaker returned to clamshell doors. (Read More…)

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