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DeltaWing Unveils New GT Concept

Prototype takes unusual design “one step closer” to street-legal.

by on Oct.02, 2015

The DeltaWing GT's extreme design would help it achieve a wind-cheating 0.26 drag coefficient.

The radical, dart-shaped DeltaWing race car has come “one step closer” to going street legal, the Georgia-based DeltaWing Technology Group says, with the unveiling of its DeltaWing GT Concept.

The highly aerodynamic design, based on the company’s Le Mans race car, would serve as the basis for a road-going, two-seat GT car. And DeltaWing hopes to follow it with a four-door sedan version, as well, it previously indicated.

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“Real-world testing” is set to begin before the end of this year, DeltaWing announced in a statement, though its didn’t lay out production plans. The wind-cheating design and lightweight, spaceframe chassis would allow the GT to deliver sports car performance while still getting up to 74 miles per gallon, DeltaWing has estimated.


Toyota Prius Named “Greenest” Vehicle

by on Jan.16, 2013

The Toyota Prius C is hailed as America's "Greenest" car.

The Toyota Prius C, the newest member of Toyota Prius “family,” has been named the nation’s “Greenest” vehicle by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.  At the other end of the spectrum, the ACEEE tarred the Ford F-350 as the “Meanest,” or dirtiest vehicle on the road.

The organization, which describes itself as a “catalyst to advance energy efficiency,” hailed the growing number of hybrids, plug-ins, pure battery-electric vehicles and other environmental friendly vehicles now coming to market and noted that new products dominated the dozen models on its “Greenest” vehicle list.

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“The vehicles at the top of this year’s rankings are proof that automakers are really ramping up their offerings,” said ACEEE lead vehicle analyst Shruti Vaidyanathan. “There are more hybrid and electric options on the market this year than ever before and the race for a spot on the Greenest list is increasingly competitive. Automakers have revamped their offerings to meet the growing demand for efficient vehicles and new fuel economy standards.”


US Fuel Economy Hits All-Time Record

But declining fuel prices could buck trend.

by on Jan.07, 2013

GM claims being first to sell 1 million cars getting over 30 mpg, such as the Chevy Sonic.

American motorists are getting more out of their new vehicles as the average fuel economy of new cars and trucks sold increased 6% and set an all-time high in 2012 as consumers responded to higher gas prices and the increased availability of attractive high-mileage products, according to a study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, or UMTRI.

UMTRI’s Eco-Driving Index indicated the average fuel economy of new vehicles purchased in 2012 rose to a record 23.8 mpg, up 1.3 mpg from 2011 and up 2.9 mpg from 2008.

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But whether that trend will continue, especially with the economy recovering and fuel prices falling – at least for the moment – remains to be seen.  The University study found the fuel economy of vehicles purchased in December was 23.9 mpg, down 0.2 mpg from November, likely reflecting the recent reduction in the price of gasoline.


Rising Gas Prices Driving Sales of High-Mileage Cars

After summer break, consumers looking at mileage again.

by on Sep.10, 2012

Sales of high-mileage models like the 2013 Nissan Altima are rising - along with fuel prices.

Surging gas prices – which have now topped $4 a gallon in much of the country – are sending motorists scurrying to dealers looking for more fuel-efficient vehicles.

There’s been a near lock-step between gas prices and vehicle mileage this year — consumers opting for more fuel-efficient vehicles last spring when pump prices neared record levels.  Then, as prices slipped in May, mileage numbers also dropped.  August saw both gas prices and fuel-efficiency rise once again, according to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute’s monthly fuel economy index.

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The average fuel economy of new vehicles sold in the U.S. in August was 23.8 miles per gallon –up 0.2 mpg from July, and up 3.7 mpg or 18% from October 2007, according to UMTRI’s Eco-Driving Index.

“The improvement from July to August most likely reflects the increased price of gasoline,” analyst Michael Sivak noted.


“Eco” Models Aren’t Worth the Money, Finds Consumer Reports.

The Toyota Prius C “fuel efficient, but not a deal.”

by on May.31, 2012

Despite great mileage, Consumer Reports pans the new Toyota Prius C.

Hoping to squeeze every last mile out of a gallon of gas?  Automakers have been launching a flood of new “eco” models designed to do just that.  But a new report warns that the minimal extra mileage isn’t worth the hefty price tag – which in some cases would require as much as 38 years of driving to recover in terms of lower fuel costs.

The new study by Consumer Reports raises questions about a variety of conventionally powered Eco models, such as Ford Focus SFE, Chevrolet Cruze Eco and Honda Civic HF. But it was also skeptical of the benefits promised by some hybrid models, such as the new Toyota Prius C which, it declares, “is fuel efficient, but not a deal.”

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The problem is that the savings are offset by hefty initial premiums averaging between $500 and $800 above standard models.  But in some cases, the savings on fuel may be as little as $20 per year.  And, in some cases, consumers wind up sacrificing further in terms of cheaper interiors and poor road dynamics.


Is $4.50 a Gallon the New Gas Price “Wall”?

Nearly 9 in 10 would buy more fuel efficient car “immediately.”

by on Feb.20, 2012

A new study finds most buyers ready to switch to hybrids if fuel prices hit $4.50 - maybe.

Industry observers keep wondering what it would take to produce a wholesale shift in the American automotive marketplace.  Despite near-record prices last Spring and the brief push to $4 a gallon several years earlier, U.S. motorists have largely continued buying the products they’ve always bought.

But a new survey suggests the market could hit a “wall” at $4.50 a gallon, nearly nine of every 10 “new-vehicle intenders” telling CNW Marketing they would purchase a more fuel-efficient model “immediately” were prices to reach that level.  And the vast majority of those buyers said they would specifically be in the market for a hybrid.

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“Toss in the possibility of $5 per gallon gasoline,” said CNW Marketing director Art Spinella, and the study would suggest the hybrid – and presumably electric – vehicle markets should explode.”

Or will they?


First Look: Mazda CX-5 Skyactiv

Maker claims new technology will outdo hybrid mileage, performance.

by on Nov.16, 2011

Mazda will introduce a wide range of Skyactiv technologies on the new CX5 crossover.

With the launch of the new 2013 Mazda CX-5, the Japanese automaker is “planting a stake in the ground” that will very likely determine the future of the zoom-zoom brand.

The third crossover in Mazda’s line-up will introduce the full range of technology that the maker collectively calls Skyactiv.  Mazda, which has a history of taking a different path on powertrains with technology like the Wankel rotary engine, is putting itself even further out of the mainstream with the Skyactiv system.

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The technology – which ranges from significantly modified gas and diesel engines to a distinctly different approach to body and chassis development – promises to deliver fuel economy that’s as good as more complicated gas-electric hybrid systems, declared Takashi Yamanouchi, the maker’s president and CEO, but also much better performance.

Mazda’s strategy, he said during the keynote speech at the 2011 L.A. Auto Show, is to “improve the efficiency of core technologies and then offer them as standard equipment.”


First Look: Volkswagen L1 Ultra-Mileage Concept

From here to eternity on a gallon of gas?

by on Sep.15, 2009

The hyper-efficient Volkswagen L1 can go about 100 miles on a liter of gas - more than 200 miles per gallon.

The hyper-efficient Volkswagen L1 gets 100 miles on a liter of gas - more than 200 miles per gallon.

Imagine driving from New York to Los Angeles on a tank of gas.

Volkswagen’s bullet-like L1 concept vehicle could come close to pulling that off.  What a senior VW official calls, “a technology driver,” has accomplished the seemingly impossible: going 100 kilometers (62.5 miles) on a single liter of petrol.  If you’d prefer to avoid the math, that works out to more than 236 miles per gallon.

The goal of the L1 was to serve as “a spearhead of technical innovation,” according to Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, the German maker’s technology director, testing out “visionary concepts” that might one day find a role in more conventional vehicles.

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“The question we asked ourselves,” said Hackenberg, “is whether we would be able to design a 1-liter car (a vehicle using just 1 liter of fuel to go 100 km) that is also affordable.”


New York to Los Angeles on a Gallon of Gas?

Student engineers achieve record mileage in Eco-Marathon.

by on Apr.19, 2009

From NY to LA on a gallon of gas?  That's the equivalent of what one student team achieved in the 2009 EcoMarathon.

From NY to LA on a gallon of gas? That's the equivalent of what one student team achieved in the 2009 EcoMarathon.

Imagine making the drive from New York to Los Angeles on a gallon of gas.  You’d probably burn through more Red Bull by the time you hit the Rockies.  But a team of students achieved the equivalent of just that high-mileage performance as part of the Shell Eco-Marathon Americas, a track event that focused on miles per gallon, rather than miles per hour.

A team of student designers and engineers from Quebec’s Laval University pulled off the seemingly impossible, logging a full 2,757.1 miles per gallon with their a vehicle they dubbed NTF 3.0.  Surprisingly, that’s not an all-time record.  In 2008, a high school team from Evansville, Indiana, actually clocked 2,843 mpg.

“We knew coming into the challenge this year that we would have a lot to go up against,” said David Vallée, of Laval University. “But we had confidence in our vehicle and all the hard work that had gone into building it over the past year. We’re just excited the long hours paid off and we were able to win the 2009 Shell Eco-marathon Americas.”

A total of 44 high school and college teams participated in this year’s Eco-Marathon, which was held in Houston.  Entrants came from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil and even India.

Participants could field vehicles in either of two categories: UrbanConcept entries had to be reasonably roadworthy, and aimed at meeting real-world needs, while Prototype entries could stretch the boundaries of motor vehicle designs.  Teams could use any and every possible source of energy, from conventional gas or diesel to biomass, hydrogen and even solar power.

Laval’s combustion engine-powered NTF3.0 captured the Grand Prize – and $5,000 in cash – in the Prototype category.  Using a complex calculation, a team from Purdue University actually achieved the equivalent of 4,913 mpg on solar power, with their sun-fueled Solar prototype.  And Penn State University got the equivalent of 1,912.9 mpg using hydrogen in their Blood, Sweat & Gears.