Ford is backing a federal ban on texting while driving--well, of course they are! Do you need a nanny to hang up the phone for you? GM thinks its cars and technology are good enough for a money back guarantee. And we roll in the Mercedes that looks more expensive than it is.Subscribe now: iTunes (audio) | RSS (audio) SHOW NOTES
Hot on the heels of the S 400 Hybrid's European launch, Mercedes-Benz is set to trot our its new Vision S 500 Plug-in Hybrid at the 2009 Frankfurt auto show. (Wait, isn't BMW's new hybrid concept also called "Vision?" Oooh, scandalous!)
The Vision S 500's engine room is predictably similar to that of the S 400. Both vehicles use the same direct injected V-6 gasoline engine, both vehicles … Read more
Here we go again. Automaker Fisker throws its hat into the claimed mpg battleground with its announcement of the official fuel economy and emissions ratings for its Karma plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.
According to Fisker, the Karma will have an economy rating of 3.5L/100km (which works out to 67.2 mpg) and emit just 83g CO2/km, according to Society of Automotive Engineers estimates. Wait, does that mean that the Karma--a sports car that outputs 403 horsepower and hits 62 mph in an estimated six-seconds--may be more fuel efficient than the 2010 Prius.
According to Fisker:
"Fueling … Read more
CNET News' Martin LaMonica takes a test drive in a plug-in hybrid SUV being developed by GM at GM's Milford Proving Ground in Milford, Michigan.
WASHINGTON D.C.--Google is developing "smart charging" software to ensure that plug-in electric vehicles don't cause traffic jams on the power grid.
The search giant is researching a number of energy-related technologies, including car charging software, where IT and "ET," or energy technology, meet, said Dan Reicher, director of climate change and energy initiatives at Google.org.
One of its projects, still in the experimental phase, is writing software to better manage when plug-in electric cars are charged, Reicher said at the Kema Utility of the Future conference here Thursday.
There is some concern … Read more
The maker of some of the world's safest vehicles will soon be the maker of one of the world's most fuel-efficient vehicles. Volvo announced today plans to produce a plug-in hybrid vehicle that will be available in 2012.
"Most car journeys are short trips, for instance to and from work. We will be able to offer a product that fulfills this transportation need. In order to cover longer distances as well, the car will also be equipped with one of Volvo's fuel-efficient diesel engines," Volvo President and CEO Stephen Odell said in a press statement.
The new development will be a joint venture between Volvo and Swedish energy company Vattenfall. Volvo plans to create a plug-in version of an existing model rather than create a new one, and its charging systems will be developed and supplied by Vattenfall.
Volvo has previously stated its plans for a fleet of 10 plug-in hybrids. The Swedish car company did not name which of its existing cars will be the first to go plug-in, but last year Volvo road-tested the ReCharge Plug-in Hybrid, which is based on the C30 coupe platform and uses a diesel engine to power the lithium ion batteries. … Read more
Washington based start-up Greenlight is launching a new charger aimed at electric cars and plug-in hybrids, but it's not exactly cheap.
The ChargeBar can charge both 120-volt (the standard U.S. household socket) and 240-volt batteries, and the company says it will work with virtually any electric car or plug-in hybrid, including the upcoming GM Volt.
The exception is electric cars that use 480-volt charging, which according to the company is not yet an established standard for upcoming electric cars.
A number of electric sedans are planned for market introduction in the next two years. But automakers say that … Read more
Start-up Bright Automotive unveiled a light-use vehicle on Capitol Hill on Tuesday that gets 100 mpg for its first 50 miles.
The Idea, as the plug-in hybrid utility vehicle is called, uses battery power almost exclusively for the first 30 miles when starting with a fully charged battery. It then moves to the electric with gas supplement system found on any typical hybrid vehicle.
Because of this 30-mile electric start, Bright Automotive estimates that in a 50-mile drive the Idea consumes half a gallon of gas, getting it roughly the equivalent of 100 mpg. On a total drive of 70 … Read more
Raser Technologies will unveil a plug-in hybrid Hummer H3 that gets more than 100 mpg at the SAE World Congress in Detroit on April 20. The project was developed in cooperation with GM and is the "have your SUV and drive it too" answer to automotive industry critics and increasingly environmentally-conscience drivers.
By swapping the Hummer's conventional power plant--typically a V-8 engine--for an electric motor powered by a lithium ion battery, the SUV is transformed from a gas-guzzler to a green machine. The plug-in vehicle can travel up to 40 miles in all-electric mode. After the energy is depleted from the battery, the four-cylinder engine kicks in. However, the four-cylinder engine isn't connected to drivetrain and never turns the wheels of the car--its sole purpose is to recharge the lithium ion battery. … Read more
Bright Automotive announced an earlier-than-anticipated reveal date for its plug-in hybrid vehicle, IDEA.
The Indiana-based automotive company will unveil the prototype light-duty vehicle, which includes pickup trucks, SUVs, and sedans, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on April 21 instead of at the Norway's Electric Vehicle Symposium in May.
No explanation for this change was given, but the press release states, "Members of Congress and companies involved with Bright Automotive will take part in a briefing on the IDEA and a public event."
Little is known about the IDEA, but the start-up's CEO, John Waters, hinted that the first production PHEV vehicle from Bright Automotive may not be a passenger sedan. … Read more