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What Will Paris Climate Change Agreement Mean for Motorists?

Alternative power soon could be the norm, rather than the exception.

by on Dec.14, 2015

Paris traffic along the Seine River. The city has struggled with increasing pollution problems.

In a historic move, 196 countries – from small Pacific island nations to economic powerhouses like the U.S., Germany and China – have signed on to support the climate change accord negotiators hammered out in Paris over the weekend.

“History will remember this day,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said of an agreement expected to lead to a massive shift away from the use of fossil fuels. That is seen as key to efforts aimed at minimizing global temperature increases and a predicted rise in sea levels.

Climate News!

The accord came after a marathon, 48-hour session in the City of Lights. Paris was an apt place for the negotiations to take place as it has had to take emergency steps several times to deal with increasing air pollution problems in recent years. Going forward, the city will see a shift in how it powers the beacon atop the familiar Eiffel Tower, as well as the cars that crawl along its ring highway, the Peripherique, during rush hours.

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Mirror, Mirror: Who’s the Greenest of Them All?

Five finalists for Green Car of the Year revealed.

by on Oct.19, 2015

One of the five finalists: the 2016 Toyota Prius.

Sales of high-mileage and low emissions vehicles, especially battery-based models, have tumbled in recent months, along with fuel prices. But facing tough new mileage mandates in the U.S., and stiffened emissions rules in Europe and other parts of the world, automakers have been rushing to market with an assortment of new, green models.

But which is the most environmentally friendly? Five finalists for Green Car of the Year have been announced, ahead of the awards ceremony set to mark the opening of the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show next month.

A Global Perspective!

“This is the strongest field of finalists we’ve seen in our annual Green Car of the Year® program,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of the Green Car Journal and CarsOfChange.com.

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“Green Truck” Finalists Revealed – and Surprises Abound

The truck world is “changing in a very big way.”

by on Oct.10, 2014

GM jumped back into the midsize truck market with the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.

It’s that time of year, nominees for all sort of automotive awards being revealed in time for the launch of the 2015 models. But where performance and luxury features might sway most juries, at least one major award focuses on things environmental.

So, it might come as a surprise to see Green Car Journal tipping its hat to five new pickups, but the magazine says vehicles like the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and Chevrolet Colorado underscore the dramatic changes sweeping through all aspects of today’s automotive world.

Award-Winning News!

“The significant efficiency and environmental improvements being made in the truck segment signal an important change in the industry,” said Ron Cogan, publisher of the Green Car Journal and CarsOfChange.com.

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Diesel, Gas-Powered Models Dominate Green Car of the Year Finalists

Jurors focus on diesels, other high-mileage options.

by on Oct.17, 2013

Jurors picked two diesels, inclluding the new BMW 328d, the maker's first 4-cylinder "oil-burner" to reach U.S. showrooms.

Green cars are going mainstream.  American motorists no longer have to look for stone-pony-slow econoboxes or premium-priced specialty vehicles to drive something clean and fuel-efficient, and that has made for an interesting round of choices as the sponsors of the Green Car of the Year reveal their five finalists.

Significantly, while there’s been much media attention on electrification in recent years, the list includes only one battery-based model, the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid, with not a single additional plug-in or pure battery-electric vehicle making the cut. By comparison, there are two new diesels and a pair of models using new technologies to boost the fuel efficiency of conventional gas vehicles.

Your Green Car News Source!

The finalists for the 2014 Green Car of the Year, in short, underscore the general perception within the industry itself that there is no single, silver bullet when it comes to reducing emissions and improving fuel economy.

“The diversity of this field of finalists illustrates not only that ‘green’ has gone mainstream, but also that there is no single approach to achieving ever higher levels of fuel efficiency and environmental performance,” says Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and CarsOfChange.com, which sponsor the annual award.

The five finalists for 2014 include:

Ford, Toyota, Mazda and Dodge Square off for Green Car Honors

Hybrids face challenge from conventional gas technology.

by on Oct.25, 2012

Green car organizers note the new Ford Fusion shows how conventional and battery tech are both able to meet greener targets.

While hybrids and electric vehicles may be the very definition of “green” technology to the average American motorist, the organizers and judges of the Green Car of the Year award have a somewhat different take.

As their latest list of finalists for the annual honor underscores, there are plenty of high-mileage, low-emissions alternatives vying for consumer awareness.

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“This is an exciting time” for those looking for greener technology, suggested Ron Cogan, publisher of Green Car Journal. The magazine has run the Green Car of the Year program for eight years in conjunction with the LA Auto Show. The award will be presented this year on November 29th.

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Four More Markets Plugged Into Volt Launch Plans

New York, Austin battery fans getting access to plug-in hybrid.

by on Jul.01, 2010

TheDetroitBureau.com Publisher Paul A. Eisenstein test-drives a Volt prototype.

(This story has been revised from the original. A full update will be posted on TheDetroitBureau.com later today.)

As it nears the public launch of the much-anticipated Chevrolet Volt, General Motors has decided to add four more states to the initial three where the plug-in hybrid will first be made available.

Buyers in the greater metro New York area, including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, as well as those in Texas, will now get first crack at the Chevy Volt when it first rolls off the line, this coming November.  GM had originally planned to limit initial availability to three markets: California, M

Meanwhile, GM is planning a nearly 1800-mile “Freedom Drive,” from Austin to New York City, to promote the Chevy Volt debut.

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Green Car News!

In contrast to a traditional automotive roll-out, the rest of the U.S. and Canada will still have to wait for Volt distribution to slowly expand as production increases and the maker gets the necessary infrastructure in place.  Though original plans had called for Volt to be offered across the continent by the end of 2011, GM officials last month confirmed the full launch will likely stretch on into 2012.

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First Drive: Think City EV

Ready to Plug-n-Play.

by on Mar.25, 2009

Will the little City get American motorists to TH!NK more positively about battery-electric vehicles?

Will the City get American motorists to TH!NK more positively about battery-electric vehicles?

We’ve been reading – and writing – a lot about “electrification,” lately, especially here on TheDetroitBureau.com.  To hear the proponents, everyone from General Motors’ retiring car czar, Bob Lutz, all the way up to President Barack Obama, batteries are the future of the auto industry.

Sure, as our new review of the third-generation Toyota Prius suggests, the hybrid-electric vehicle is quickly coming of age.  The latest gasoline-electric technology is nearly seamless and, for many – though clearly not all – American motorists, hybrids are a sound choice.  We’ll have to wait to see if the even more advanced plug-in hybrids, like Chevrolet’s much-heralded Volt, will be equally enticing.  Certainly, there’s a tremendous appeal to the idea of being able to run your daily commute solely on battery power, while still having a gasoline engine to fall back on should you need to make some detours.

But is there a real future for a car with nothing but a battery and a motor under its hood?  That is, arguably, the ultimate goal of the electrified automobile.  Forget gasoline, diesel, ethanol, used cooking grease, or whatever else you might otherwise need to tank up with.  Simply find a plug, charge up and go.

Reality caught up with concept, back in the early 1980s, when California regulators tried to force the first Zero-Emission Vehicles, or ZEVs, down the throat of a reluctant auto industry and a skeptical public.  Back then, the only way to meet the mandate was with the relatively inefficient batteries of the day, heavy lead-acid packs that hadn’t changed much since the legendary Thomas Edison tried to design a better battery for Henry Ford’s wife, Clara, who preferred her clean electric runabout to Henry’s smoky Model T.

California rescinded the original ZEV mandate in a messy politicized process, though their persistence in promoting clean air and better mileage has encouraged automakers and battery manufacturers alike to keep looking for solutions, and the Nickel-Metal Hydride chemistry used in the Prius and other current hybrids is far more efficient than older lead-acid batteries.  Next up, we’ll be getting cars powered by the same, basic Lithium-Ion, or LIon, technology that we find in most modern cellphones and laptop computers.  If the original GM EV1 had used LIon technology, some estimate it could have gone from 50 miles range to somewhere between 150 to more than 200 per charge.

We’ll soon find out, as an assortment of manufacturers are rushing a new generation of battery-electric vehicles to market.  The Silicon Valley start-up, Tesla Motors, has already weighed in, though its $100,000 Roadster will only find a home with the most affluent of green-minded motorists.  Nissan plans to weigh in, by 2011, with a more mainstream BEV.  And others will follow – many of them non-traditional players, like Tesla, who see an opportunity to enter the normally closed automotive market, and a small wannabe named THINK.

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