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Archive for the ‘Hybrids’ Category

Project Black S Prototype Shows Infiniti’s Electric Future in Paris

Nissan's luxury brand moving to EVs for 2021.

by on Sep.27, 2018

The Infiniti Project Black S fuses high-performance dual-hybrid technology with brand’s award-winning VR30 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo engine.

Infiniti is ready to storm into Paris next month revealing its progress toward the electrification of its portfolio by 2021 with the new Project Black S prototype.

The prototype, which started as a design study in 2017, features Formula One dual-hybrid electric power train technology adapted for use in an everyday driver. It also showcases the advantages of being part of a large conglomerate as experts from across the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance all played a role in its development.

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“The Project Black S represents the very top end of electrification in the Alliance portfolio, and is another example of Infiniti’s entrepreneurial spirit on its journey to electrification from 2021 onward,” said Roland Krueger, chairman and global president at Infiniti, in a statement.  (more…)

First Drive: 2019 BMW X5

A crossover by any other name: a worthy successor to mark the X5's 20th anniversary.

by on Sep.27, 2018

BMW will offer three versions of the 2019 X5, including a plug-in hybrid to come later in the year.

Few new models have done more to redefine a brand – indeed, to help transform the auto business overall – like the BMW X5. But there were plenty of doubters when the Bavarian automaker first announced plans to add a sport-utility vehicle to its line-up back in the late 1990s.

Even BMW seemed to have some doubts, deciding to call the new line a “Sport-Activity Vehicle,” rather than an SUV. But those concerns were quickly forgotten, demand for the midsize ute taking off from almost the moment the first X5 rolled out of BMW’s then-new assembly plant in Spartanburg South Carolina in 1999. The first generation alone generated more than 600,000 sales and, with production of the third-gen X5 now winding down, that’s jumped to more than 2.1 million.

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These days, BMW offers a full range of Sport-Activity Vehicles, from the little X1 all the way up to the new X7 set to launch next year as a crossover alternative to the brand’s traditional flagship, the 7-Series. But much like the 5-Series sedan, the X5 remains a lynchpin of that line-up, meant to combine both the utility of a crossover and the performance of a classic BMW sedan.

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Mercedes-AMG Project One Hypercar Caught Track Testing

Virtual testing can only take you so far.

by on Sep.25, 2018

Much of the initial development work for the Mercedes-AMG Project One was done digitally.

There’s a race underway to see who can do the better, faster job of putting Formula One technology on the road, and Daimler AG wants us to know it’s getting close, providing a handful of images showing off a prototype of the new Mercedes-AMG Project One hypercar undergoing track testing.

Which track? Could it be the legendary Nurburgring? That’s a reasonable guess considering it isn’t all that far away from the company’s Stuttgart headquarters but, for now, the automaker is only hinting that prototypes are being driven on “closed-off test grounds. However, because of their characteristic F1 sound they are hard to keep from the public.”

Hypercars!

The Project One, which actually looks more like a Le Mans prototype than a Formula One racer, has been generating buzz for several years, though we only got a look at a complete mock-up at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year.

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Aston Martin Sketches Out its Future With Supercar Design Tease, IPO Plans

British marque hopes to repeat Ferrari’s success.

by on Sep.21, 2018

Aston has released a preliminary sketch of its third hypercar, the 003, which it hopes to have in production in 2021.

Aston Martin, the carmaker best known for its relationship with cinema spy 007, has laid out key details of its upcoming IPO while also releasing a preliminary sketch of the hypercar it’s calling 003 that it hopes will drive some of its future success.

Spun off by Ford Motor Co. in 2007, Aston struggled to avoid an eighth bankruptcy during the depths of the Great Recession, but its fortunes have skyrocketed over the last few years, a period coinciding with the arrival of CEO Andy Palmer and the subsequent commitment of hundreds of millions of dollars in new capital from its key investors.

The Last Word!

The IPO will go off next month on the London Stock Exchange, Palmer announced, declaring that it “will provide investors with a fitting opportunity to participate in our future success.”

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Toyota Recalling 1m Hybrids Worldwide Over Fire Risk

Prius, Prius plug-in and C-HR models targeted.

by on Sep.05, 2018

A problem with the Prius wiring harness could lead to a short-circuit and possible fire.

Toyota is issuing a worldwide recall for three of its hybrid models due to a potential fire risk.

The service action covers the Toyota Prius, the world’s most popular hybrid-electric vehicle, as well as the newer Prius plug-in hybrid and the C-HR hybrid SUV. According to the automaker, The problem involves a wiring harness that has been linked to at least one incident in which a short-circuit caused smoke to pour out of a vehicle in Japan.

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According to Toyota, the problem occurs the wiring harness can come into contact with the cover of the hybrid power control unit. If dust accumulates on either the cover or the wiring harness, the insulation on the wires can wear down over time and eventually result in a short-circuit.

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NAFTA Update Faces Hurdles Getting Approval

Talks with Canada have just started despite Friday deadline.

by on Aug.29, 2018

Until all three negotiators say there is a deal, passing the current bilateral will be difficult and take longer than expected.

An air of uncertainty and frustrations once again settled over the discussions surrounding the North American Free Trade Agreement despite the announcement by President Donald Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto of tentative agreement on the broad outlines of a new trade pact.

However, no one is yet certain about the specifics needed to make a new pact operational. For example, officials from Kia, which is about to launch a new vehicle made in Mexico, Kia Forte, in the U.S. market said it wasn’t sure about what impact the tentative pack might have on the automobile business. Like everyone else, Kia is waiting for more details, noted James Bell, Kia’s director of corporate communications.

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One specific piece of apparently settled under the tentative U.S.-Mexican agreement are the rules of origin, which have increased the requirements from 62.5% to 75%. The new agreement would increase the U.S.-Mexican content in the pact in an effort to draw automotive investment from China to Mexico or the U.S. The rules could penalize Asian carmakers, according to analysts. (more…)

Trump Administration Shifts US Energy Policy Away From Conservation

Country's leadership in oil production feted.

by on Aug.20, 2018

The president has ordered or supported the rollback of numerous Obama-era regulations.

The Trump administration is advocating a more relaxed approach to oil conservation, pointing to the rise of oil supplies from fracking as well as natural gas and other alternatives reducing the country’s dependence on foreign oil.

This new direction is in direct conflict with decades of efforts and programs by the federal government to promote fuel-efficient vehicles as well as conservation of natural resources.

Dig Deeper!

It was spelled out in a new in a memo released last month in support of the administration’s proposal to relax fuel mileage standards. The government released the memo online this month, according to the Associated Press. (more…)

Infiniti Set to Reveal “Electrified” Concept at Pebble Beach

Show car will “underline the electrified performance theme."

by on Aug.09, 2018

Infiniti is offering a tease of its Pebble Beach Concept.

It’s going to be a busy week when everyone starts rolling into California for the week-long celebration leading up to the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Automakers from around the world are promising to use the Concours and related events as backdrop to unveil an array of production cars and concepts later this month.

That includes Infiniti which today dropped some hints about the electric luxury model it will launch on the Pebble Beach show. While the Nissan luxury brand is being coy about details, it hints that the show car will “underline the electrified performance theme” that it has announced for future products, virtually all models set to be offered with some form of battery-based drivetrain – with an emphasis on plug-in hybrids and pure battery-electric vehicles.

What a Concept!

“Our new concept provides clues to where the Infiniti brand is heading,” said the brand’s design director Karim Habib, in a statement accompanying this teaser image. “For us, electrification means performance – our electrified cars will be powerful, efficient, and a joy to drive, and the new concept is a physical representation of our electrified performance future.”

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Ford Preparing Hybrid Version of Mustang

New powertrain will be about performance, not fuel economy.

by on Aug.09, 2018

Ford EVP Jim Farley took time during the celebration of the 10 millionth Mustang to discuss the evolution of the Mustang, including the upcoming hybrid model.

Ford Motor Co. is eager to keep the buzz around the Mustang alive as the company makes the transition to a world where autonomous and electrified vehicles are common, one of the company’s top executives told reporters after the automaker marked the production of the 10 millionth Mustang.

Jim Farley, executive vice president and president of Global Markets, said the long-running success of the Mustang, which has become a global brand, can serve as a beacon for the company as it goes through what amounts to once-every-100-years transition.

Product News!

“Mustang is the heart and soul of the Ford Motors Co. It’s a global product and it’s one of the reasons we’re different as a company.” Farley said. “It inspires other vehicles in the line-up. The ‘Mustangness’ of the company is starting with its products,” such the electric vehicles Ford has under development now. “The company has confidence in the Mustang and it knows the customer really well. (more…)

Ford Treks into New Territory With New China-Built Ute

New SUV to help revive sales in China.

by on Aug.08, 2018

Ford's new entry-level sport-utility, the Territory, is the first of a wave of 50 new or redesigned products coming to China between now and 2025.

Ford Motor Co. has been perpetually behind when it comes to selling vehicles in China. Last year’s results were bad and with 2018 shaping up to be worse, the automaker is looking to move into new territory in 2019 with its new Territory SUV.

The entry-level ute is the first in a slew of new products the automaker expects will cut its double-digit monthly sales losses. In all, the company plans to introduce 50 new or redesigned vehicles in China between now and 2025.

Product News!

The SUV, which is expected to be start at just under $22K, is part of an extremely popular segment in China. It’s a segment in which Ford has been a nonfactor until now. (more…)