Rising world-wide gas prices triggered automakers to release a new generation of small city cars at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. These cars range from the diminutive Toyota iQ to the more conventionally-sized Hyundai i20. Engine sizes go from 1 up to 1.5 liters, with fuel economies between 40 and 50 miles per gallon. Not much cabin tech is available in these cars, although, judging from its steering wheel buttons, the new generation Ford Ka might be getting the Sync system.
Although it may be a five-door hatchback, like Toyota's Prius, the Honda Insight concept, unveiled at the 2008 Paris Motor Show, probably won't significantly displace the Prius. This concept, set to unveil as a production vehicle at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show and go on sale in the first half of 2009, uses Honda's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system and, as such, is considered a mild hybrid, because it doesn't drive the car under electric power only. IMA integrates a small electric motor with the transmission, which provides extra boost when the car is accelerating, … Read more
SEOUL--Hyundai Motors is a latecomer to the hybrid-vehicle race, but the Korean automaker is setting high targets for the technology as it chases Toyota and Honda.
Hyundai is scheduled to sell its first U.S. hybrid, a version of its mid-sized Sonata sedan, in 2010. Initial annual volume is expected to be around 50,000 units.
But Hyundai expects its annual hybrid sales to balloon to 500,000 units worldwide by 2018, says Brandon Yea, senior vice president for marketing. That still puts Hyundai behind the forecasts of its two Japanese rivals but it at least puts it into the same arena.
Hyundai's confidence stems partly from its partnership with LG Chem, a South Korean company that is supplying next-generation lithium ion batteries. The batteries will boost the mileage of the hybrid Sonata by as much as 70 percent over the nonhybrid version, says Hyundai research and development chief Lee Hyun-soon.
We're not sure if "Evo" will be in the model name, but Mitsubishi released photos and specifications for its rally car of the future--2025 to be exact. Today, Mitsubishi is calling this concept the MMR25. It's an electric car, because there's no gas in 2025, and uses four in-wheel motors, plus eight supplemental motors for each wheel.
The details released don't make it clear how the eight extra motors work, but they apparently have something to do with the car being able to drive sideways, as the wheels can turn in any direction. According … Read more
TOYOTA CITY, Japan -- For a taste of future fuel-efficient styling from Toyota, go no further than the FT-HS hybrid sports car. It is counterintuitive, high-tech, and unconventional.
But global design chief Wahei Hirai says the FT-HS will form the foundation for all future styling as Toyota Motor Corp. tries to squeeze every mile from a gallon of gasoline.
The angular, low-slung FT-HS is just a concept. But its design elements already are incorporated into Toyota's iQ minicar, which will be on the streets in Japan and Europe in five months.
The new styling also will surface in upcoming hybrids, where green-conscious customers appreciate avant-garde looks.
From a design point of view, the goal is to make air-slicing cars even more slippery.
"Aerodynamics have always been important, but today they are getting more and more important," Hirai says. "We are paying very serious attention to very small details."… Read more
Since yesterday's unveiling of Chrysler's electric vehicle concepts, there have been many parallels drawn between the little electric hot-rod Dodge EV and the electric car that changed our perception of green, the Tesla Roadster. As it turns out, these cars may have more in common than you think.… Read more
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--Tesla Motors has received many accolades for producing an all-electric luxury sports car. But its long-term plans may hold its most challenging task: making a mass-market electric car.
The company intends to make a "family car" that it hopes will lead to the sale of millions of all-electric vehicles, JB Straubel, Tesla's chief technology officer, said Wednesday. He spoke earlier on a panel on "green transportation" at the EmTech 2008 conference here.
Code-named Bluestar, the car has been part of Tesla's plans for a few years. Tesla Chairman Elon Musk earlier this … Read more
Chrysler surprised everyone with the announcement of three electric vehicle concepts. The company showed working versions of the all-electric Dodge EV sports car, plus a range-extended Chrysler minivan and Jeep Wrangler. The two range-extended models use powertrains similar to that found in the Chevy Volt, an electric motor and batteries to run the car, and an onboard gas engine generating electricity to extend the range.
Following on the recent announcement by Mercedes-Benz of its mild hybrid sedan with lithium ion batteries, BMW announced its own mild hybrid sedan with lithium ion batteries.
Although it may sound like cutthroat competition, it's more conspiracy, as Daimler and BMW co-developed their hybrid components. And where Mercedes-Benz announced a production car, BMW is still at the concept stage with its Concept 7-series ActiveHybrid. But in keeping with its sport aspirations, the BMW shows no compromise in power, using a twin-turbo V-8 assisted by the mild hybrid system. The twin-turbo V-8 delivers 407 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque, … Read more
Updated 10:30 a.m. PDT: Added photos and a link to Chrysler's electric car site.
Struggling automaker Chrysler on Tuesday unveiled a line of electric cars scheduled to start shipping at the end of 2010.
The surprise announcement brings Chrysler in direct competition with General Motors, which last week showed off the Chevy Volt, an extended-range electric car also due in late 2010.
Chrysler's plans call for two electric cars, using the same concept as the Volt and two other all-electric cars.