Tag: hybrids

By on May 17, 2019

As per its $11 billion investment in electrification, Ford intends to have 40 electrified vehicles — 16 of which will be battery-only — on sale by 2022. That includes the widespread hybridization of trucks, crossovers, and SUVs. As towing has not historically been a great strength of hybrids, the automaker is developing a new transmission system it calls “modular hybrid technology.”

The system, which debuts on the 2020 Explorer, is said to incorporate an electric motor, clutch and torque converter to help vehicles deliver superior fuel economy without sabotaging a vehicle’s ability to haul ass or whatever customers choose to hitch up behind the tailgate.  (Read More…)

By on May 8, 2019

Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo provided a run-down of his company’s future on Wednesday, revealing a new global architecture slated to underpin a slew of vehicles in the coming decade.

Efficiency was the thread connecting all of Hachigo’s promises — efficiency in development, in manufacturing, and in driving. The company feels it has a good thing in its two-motor hybrid system, so a decision was made to spread it around. As for upcoming models, Honda suggests its future lineup might not be as diverse as it is today. (Read More…)

By on May 6, 2019

2019 Chevrolet Volt rear

February 15th was a sad day, even for those who hate cars. On that day, General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant produced the last Chevrolet Volt — a green car born at the dawn of a new era that didn’t take off exactly as envisioned.

In the truck-loving land of (relatively) cheap gasoline, electric vehicles are only just now eating up more than 1 percent of the market, thanks mainly to the Tesla Model 3 and what ownership of said vehicle says about your lifestyle and viewpoints. Plug-in hybrids are struggling, however, and the most famous of them all is now dead. A victim of falling sales, though your author would be curious to learn the model’s margin.

Despite offering the most practical combination of conventional gas-powered driving and electric ability, many claim the Volt’s failure was one of marketing, not engineering. (Read More…)

By on April 17, 2019

By now, you’ve all had a chance to digest Lincoln’s new take on a compact CUV. Underpinned by a platform shared with the equally new 2020 Ford Escape and boasting a model-specific rear multi-link type setup (“integral bush suspension” in Lincoln parlance), the 2020 Corsair is the brand’s latest attempt to restore Lincoln’s faded lustre.

“We are American luxury,” said brand boss Joy Falotico during the model’s New York Auto Show debut. Surely, the Corsair embodies this mantra better than its MKC predecessor, with a stronger commitment to interior trappings and exterior style. But what of the plug-in variant that wasn’t a part of today’s debut? (Read More…)

By on April 5, 2019

Image: Karma Automotive

With the recent loss of the Chevrolet Volt, the term “range-extended electric vehicle” risks going the way of the passenger pigeon, closing the door on the era in which automakers tried to lure nervous buyers into an *almost* electric car that contained a gasoline engine only for sporadic electricity generation. The Volt had this system, the BMW i3 REx still does (but not in Europe), and the glitzy Fisker Karma popularized the term among the Hollywood elite.

The Karma met a swift end, yet lives on under a slightly altered name, all thanks to Chinese dollars. A new version of the exact same car — the Revero, sold by Karma Automotive — appeared in 2016. The California-based, Wanxiang Group-owned Karma is a low-production automaker, flinging out a few hundred examples of the Revero each year for the tidy sum of $130,000. The current car kept its GM-sourced 2.0-liter four-cylinder generator, which feeds two powerful rear-mounted electric motors. Combined power is 403 horsepower and a stump-pulling 981 lb-ft of torque.

As it prepares to debut a revamped Revero at Auto Shanghai 2019, Karma has detailed some changes to its ultra-lux green car. For starters, GM got the boot in favor of BMW. (Read More…)

By on April 3, 2019

On Wednesday, Toyota announced plans to offer royalty-free access to its cache of hybrid technology patents. While the automaker already licenses aspects of its Hybrid Synergy Drive to other automakers, the new strategy seeks to drastically expand the use of its systems as the world gears up for widespread electrification.

Toyota, cautious as ever, has been understandably hesitant to throw itself headlong into costly BEV development programs. It did have the foresight, however, to jump into hybrid technology earlier than most other manufacturers, and doesn’t want to see that edge lost as battery-only vehicles grow in popularity. Providing open access to the nearly 24,000 patents on hardware used in the Prius and Mirai could help the company stack the deck in its favor.  (Read More…)

By on April 3, 2019

Image: Ford

Amsterdam, home to green medicinal plants and red lights, was the site of a Ford product extravaganza on Tuesday, with the automaker announcing a number of hybrid or electric models for the highly regulated European market.

A total of sixteen electrified models made their (future) existence known, with most falling under the automaker’s new Ford Hybrid banner. Some, like the Fiesta EcoBoost Hybrid and Focus EcoBoost Hybrid, are products thrifty American greenies can only dream of. There’ll be no more Fiestas or Focuses for you, sorry. Another is one Americans with loftier lifestyles might desire, and one Ford could sell here, but won’t: a plug-in Explorer. (Read More…)

By on April 3, 2019

While much of the hype surrounding Ford’s electrified future involves the brand’s upcoming “Mustang inspired” crossover EV, due in 2020, there are other models that stand to gain an (albeit milder) electric boost. The F-150 and Mustang, to name a couple.

Ford’s long-running pony car is expected to gain a hybrid variant sometime in 2020, and a new trademark filing sheds light on what name we might expect to see adorning the Stang’s flanks.  (Read More…)

By on April 1, 2019

2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e - Image: Toyota

Toyota opened up its Prius line to slightly more rugged buyers this year, introducing an AWD-e variant of its once very popular hybrid that uses a rear-mounted electric motor to lend a helpful shove when traction gives way up front.

The model introduction, accompanied by hints of wider availability of all-wheel drive in Toyota’s lineup, coincided with the announcement of a front-drive Corolla hybrid for 2020. Could rear, electrically powered axles one day become Toyota’s go-to recipe for four-wheel traction? Not exclusively, it seems. (Read More…)

By on March 29, 2019

Image: Ford

Debuting in North America for the 2013 model year, the third-generation Ford Escape is getting long in the tooth, forced to compete against newer compact crossovers like the Chevrolet Equinox and Honda CR-V. Toyota’s RAV4 is all-new this year, too. And Dodge, well… Dodge still sells the Journey Abe Lincoln drove from rural Illinois to D.C.

Looking to cement its status in this white-hot segment, Ford has a fourth-generation Escape due out later this year. We’ll have full details for you on April 2nd (the media sneak peek was last week), but here’s something to tide you over. (Read More…)

By on March 26, 2019

While Jaguar is working towards padding out its utility lineup, the company has yet to deliver anything exceptionally large. Though not minuscule, neither the midsize F-Pace or smaller E-Pace are capable of swaying someone in the market for an Escalade — and don’t get us started on the slow-selling I-Pace (above).

The company needs a hit, especially now that Chinese sales have fallen off a cliff and the rest of the world cannot make up the difference. Sedans sales are floundering. As Jaguar Land Rover explores cost-cutting measures (mainly staff reductions and a scaling back of R&D), it’s also attempting to simultaneously improve its corporate fuel economy average while anticipating Britain and the EU’s next move re: Brexit. It’s a bad situation and the only saving grace is the company’s SUVs.

Fortunately, JLR has a bundle of new vehicles on the way, all borrowing the new MLA platform. Still a couple of years away, introductory models are said to include the fifth-generation Range Rover and Jaguar’s J-Pace. Jag’s new, larger SUV offering is shaping up a little different than expected, as reports claim Jag has abandoned mechanical all-wheel drive. (Read More…)

By on March 15, 2019

Image: Ford/Twitter

I’m not sure what the kids say these days, but Ford’s troll game was on-point Thursday night. As legions of fans and detractors took to their computers to watch the unveiling of Tesla’s upcoming Model Y crossover … at 11 p.m. Eastern time … Ford Motor Company figured it would help people pass the time after the show got off to a late start. (Read More…)

By on March 7, 2019

Image: 2018 Honda Civic Type R

Honda’s hottest front-driver, the Civic Type R, may be homeless once the company’s Swindon, UK assembly plant closes in 2022, but its future will not end there.

Based on comments made at the Geneva Motor Show, it seems the next-generation model will likely tone down its appearance while accepting a helping hand from electrification. (Read More…)

By on March 5, 2019

FCA

Fiat Chrysler’s reputation as an automaker that scoffs at fuel economy mandates is slowly being chipped away. Never mind the much-loathed Fiat 500e; it was the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid that really got the ball rolling, with eTorque-engined Ram 1500s upping the company’s green cred for 2019.

At this week’s Geneva Motor Show, the high-flying Jeep brand revealed the next salvo in its bid to lower corporate emissions while wooing eco-conscious (or heavily taxed) overseas buyers: Two crossovers, each bearing a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. (Read More…)

By on February 21, 2019

2018 Toyota Prius C - Image: Toyota.com

Toyota’s Prius C, introduced in North America in 2012, was a good idea that didn’t generate much consumer (or reviewer) acclaim. As an entry-level hybrid slotted below the Prius and wagony Prius V, the Prius C was no powerhorse. Its 1.5-liter four-cylinder/electric motor combo cranked out a combined 99 horsepower, a figure that still stands today. Journos found it lacking in both performance and ride quality.

Around these parts, I can’t recall the last Prius C I saw that wasn’t part of a Vrtucar fleet.

Well, kiss the Prius C goodbye, as it’s on its way to the automotive afterlife. Unlike other passenger car discontinuations, however, there’s a replacement waiting in the wings. (Read More…)

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