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Green Isn’t Gone From NY Auto Show

It ain’t easy being green, but it sure can be fun! 

by on Apr.14, 2017

This Lucid Air prototype set a new record pushing 217 mph on a track using electric motors on each axle.

Performance and muscle cars dominate the New York International Auto Show this year, with everything from the 840-horsepower, wheelie-popping Dodge Demon to the more subtle but equally jaw-dropping Koenigsegg Agera RS1, at 1,360-horsepower, making their debut at the Jacob Javits Convention Center.

There are high-performance SUVs, exotic sports cars, coupes and, well, just about everything that you can imagine. Perhaps that’s no surprise considering the fact that gas remains cheap and the Trump Administration is hinting it may roll back the aggressive fuel-economy mandates that were expected to rise to 54.5 mpg by 2025.

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But while the green machines that have had such a high-profile presence at the New York International Auto Show in recent years may be taking a back seat, they are far from gone entirely. In fact, some of the more intriguing debuts during this past week’s media preview show that environmentally friendly vehicles are becoming even more of a presence than ever. (more…)

Finalists Named for 2016 Green SUV of the Year

No U.S. brands make the final five.

by on Dec.01, 2015

Honda's new HR-V is one of five finalists for the 2016 Green SUV of the Year award.

With the first two “Green” vehicle of the year awards for 2016 handed out to domestic automakers, it seemed possible that a sweep could be in order; however, it will not happen as the five finalists for the Green SUV of the Year all come from foreign makers.

The Green Car Journal announced its five finalists and the platform is dominated by Asian automakers after the Ford and Chevrolet captured the Green Car and Truck of the Year awards earlier this year.

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The Ford F-150 and Chevy Volt captured the first two honors the magazine hands out, but the move to build a green utility vehicle is important as crossovers sales continue to grow. The sport-ute finalists included the BMW X1 xDrive28i, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-3, and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. (more…)

Honda Provides Clarity on Fuel Cell Leadership

New hydrogen-powered sedan hits streets next year.

by on Nov.19, 2015

The Honda Clarity fuel-cell vehicle made its U.S. debut at the L.A. Auto Show. It's coming to selected markets at the end of 2016.

The race to fuel-cell supremacy just got a new participant as Honda introduced its new Clarity sedan to the U.S. during the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Like the other recently introduced fuel cell vehicles – the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Santa Fe – the Clarity will be available in limited numbers and areas, mostly California, which is undergoing a concerted effort to expand the hydrogen refueling network.

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“Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are a zero emissions technology that Honda believes in, and has worked to advance for more than 20 years,” said John Mendel, executive vice president, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (more…)

Honda, Daimler Make Major Forays into Zero Emissions Energy Sourcing

Daimler backing hydrogen, Honda putting its money into solar power.

by on Oct.08, 2014

A Mercedes-Benz fuel-cell vehicle protoype with a Linde hydrogen gas tanker.

Facing increasingly stringent emissions and fuel economy mandates around the world, automakers are looking for clean alternatives, such as electrification and hydrogen. But making the switch isn’t as easy as coming up with a long-range battery or an affordable fuel cell. It also means making available to the public ways to “fill up” with clean sources of energy.

Both Honda and Daimler AG today announced plans to invest millions of dollars in sustainable energy – on top of what they’re already spending to develop clean powertrain technologies. Honda is partnering with U.S. based solar energy company solar city. Daimler, the parent of Mercedes-Benz, is, meanwhile, teaming up with Germany’s Linde Group to set up a network of hydrogen fueling stations.

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“There is no question that fuel-cell technology is reaching maturity,” explains Herbert Kohler, Vice President Group Research & Sustainability and Chief Environmental Officer at Daimler AG. “From 2017, we are planning to bring competitively priced fuel-cell vehicles to market. So now is the time to build a nationwide fuelling infrastructure.”


Ford, Coca-Cola Partnering to Save the Earth

Companies make seat fabric out of special PlantBottles.

by on Nov.15, 2013

Ford and Coca-Cola are teaming up to produce fabrics made from the beverage maker's PlantBottles, including the seats in this Ford Fusion Energi.

Ford Motor Co. is teaming with Coca-Cola to save the planet.

It may be a bit of an exaggeration, but the corporate behemoths are partnering in a venture to make interior fabric out of recycled plastic bottles. While Ford has been doing this for some time, the difference now is that the companies are using Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle material, which is composed of plastic and plant materials, which is friendlier to the environment that just using recycled plastic alone.

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Since 2009, Coke has produced 18 billion PlantBottle containers, saving 400,000 barrels of oil in 28 countries combined. (more…)

GM Parterning with Solar Power Provider

Maker betting use of sun power will double by 2016.

by on Jul.28, 2011

Sunlogic solar canopies will be used at a variety of GM dealerships and other operations.

General Motors Ventures, GM’s private venture capital fund, will investment $7.5 million in Sunlogics PLC, a firm specializing in solar projects.The investment reflects estimates that the use of solar panels will double between now and 2016.

Sunlogics will shift its headquarters to Michigan and in the process create 200 new jobs in the Detroit suburb of Rochester Hills.

Officials say GM Ventures is looking for more projects in which to invest, and is particularly interested in projects in infotainment, advanced materials and advance manufacturing.

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“There is an obvious bias towards clean energy,” saiid John Lauckner, president of GM Ventures, the $100 million fund created last year to invest in companies with advanced technology.

About $45 million of the initial $100 million GM put into the fund has been invested in six different projects, Lauckner said. The fund has also assumed control of two investments in biofuels made before the fund was created.


A Dozen Ways To Improve Your Mileage

Don’t downsize, your current car can do a lot better.

by on Nov.01, 2010

You don't need a battery car or hybrid to ensure you're getting maximum fuel efficiency.

We’ve been spending a lot of time, in recent weeks, test-driving a variety of new electric vehicles, and it doesn’t take long to realize how even the most minor things can impact your range – the battery equivalent of fuel economy.

Sure, you don’t have to worry about turning on your heater in a conventionally-powered automobile, something that can cut range by as much as half in a battery car during a cold Michigan winter.  But our sojourns nonetheless underscored how simple driving behaviors, like lightening our admittedly leaden foot, can significantly improve energy efficiency, whether you’re driving on gas, diesel, battery or, for that matter, any other form of power.

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So, as we head into the cold season, here are an assortment of ways to improve your mileage, or range.  Yes, a few of these tips will require spending a couple bucks, but the payoff will be almost immediate – and often will deliver improved performance as well as increased fuel economy.

Some of the easiest ways to improve mileage simply require you to think about how you’re driving:


Green Car Finalists Revealed

Battery-power dominates.

by on Oct.22, 2010

Battery power dominates this year's Green Car of the Year finalist tally.

Battery power dominates the finalist list for the increasingly significant Green Car of the Year award.

The much-publicized Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt are two of the most anticipated models to land on the list, along with the new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid.

But it’s not all batteries all the time, jurors have made clear, adding the 2011 Ford Fiesta, with its fuel-efficient but conventional gasoline powertrain to the finalist’s tally.

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“These five 2011 Green Car of the Year finalists reflect an auto industry in transition,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and editor of “It wasn’t long ago when electric drive was a novelty. Now, it’s expected that auto manufacturers will include electric drive in some form among their model offerings.”


Wheego To Unveil “Affordable” Battery Car At LA Auto Show

David takes on Goliath in the battery car arena.

by on Oct.18, 2010

The "first affordable" battery car? The Wheego Whip LiFe debuts at the LA Auto Show.

The upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show could turn into the backdrop for something of a David-and-Goliath battle with a battery-powered twist.

Little Wheego, an Atlanta-based start-up, plans to formally unveil its new Whip LiFe battery-electric vehicle at LA’s Staples Center.  It’s billing the two-seat subcompact as “the nation’s first affordable electric car,” a claim it plans to cement by driving it into showrooms about a month ahead of the formal debut of the 2011 Nissan Leaf.

“Our highway-ready, full-speed electric car, the Wheego LiFe, is in production now and will be delivered to dealers and drivers in a few weeks,” said Wheego President Jeff Boyd.

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Several industry analysts, like Joe Phillippi, of AutoTrends Consulting, have told that the current push to “electrify” the auto industry is creating perhaps the biggest opportunity for automotive wannabes – including not only Wheego but Tesla Motors, Fisker Automotive, Think and others – since the Great Depression began whittling the domestic industry down to today’s so-called Big Three.


GM Invests $5 Million To Charge Up EV Truck Maker

Maker plans to partner on development of high-efficiency commercial vehicle.

by on Aug.03, 2010

The Bright IDEA is designed to deliver 40 miles on battery, 36 mpg on gas -- and target a segment of nearly 1 million trucks annually.

General Motors’ new venture capital unit is investing $5 million to help a struggling Indiana start-up bring its high-mileage plug-in hybrid commercial vehicle to market.

Bright Automotive originally had hoped to launch sales of its IDEA truck by 2012 but got sidelined by the global economic crisis.   Now, with GM’s cash – and technology – the start-up company believes it can put the project back on track by 2013 or 2014, targeting a lucrative fleet vehicle market that accounts for nearly 1 million sales annually in the U.S. – and even more abroad, Bright officials say.

“Our program has been put on hold for some time, but our partnership will reinvigorate the IDEA,” said Bright Automotive Chairman and CEO Reuben Munger, during a joint teleconference with John Lauckner, the president of newly-formed GM Ventures.

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As originally envisioned, IDEA is a lightweight, highly aerodynamic plug-in hybrid that will yield nearly 40 miles on battery power alone and then get as much as 36 mile per gallon in gas-electric mode.   The new partners said they have not resolved some specific technical details of the updated commercial vehicle but Bright is now likely to turn to GM to provide one of its inline-four-cylinder engines for the project.