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Posts Tagged ‘high-mileage cars’

Renault Eolab Concept Delivers 235 mpg in Style

Prototype opts for lightweight materials, advanced aero and new hybrid technologies.

by on Sep.18, 2014

The Renault Eolab sips barely 1 liter of fuel every 100 km, and gets 37 miles per charge.

When Volkswagen announced plans to go into production with its 261 mile per gallon XL1 it seemed unlikely any manufacturer would be able to top it. Perhaps, but Renault is ready to come close with the new three-door Eolab concept vehicle it plans to unveil at the Paris Motor Show next month.

The French hatchback will only be able to manage a mere 235 mpg, according to Renault – but it also should deliver nearly twice the power of the anemic German mileage champ.

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For now, the real difference is that Volkswagen is rolling out 250 copies of the XL1 where Renault plans to use the Eolab as a test bed for technologies it says it might bring to market in the near future.


Other VW Models to Share 261 MPG XL1 Drivetrain

Diesel plug-in will also power version of Volkswagen Up! minicar.

by on Feb.26, 2013

A high-mileage "Lite" concept version of the Volkswagen Up! minicar could wind up sharing the diesel plug-in system going into the VW XL1.

Volkswagen apparently has big plans for the high-mileage diesel plug-in hybrid powertrain that will be used in its little XL1 microcar.

Reports from Europe suggest the drivetrain – which will yield an astonishing 261 miles per gallon under the hood of the XL1 – also will make an appearance as an option for VW’s little Up! minicar. And versions of the powertrain could show up in other models, as well.

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The XL1 is the latest version of VW’s ongoing 1-liter car project, that a reference to its goal of using just 1 liter of gasoline to travel 100 kilometers. In U.S. terms, that works out to about 240 mpg – a target the XL1 reportedly will beat by about 10%.


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.


Start-Up Automaker Takes Over Old GM Plant

Elio promising an affordable 3-wheeler by 2014.

by on Jan.04, 2013

Elio plans to sell the tadpole-shaped 3-wheeler for just $6,800. It promises up to 84 mpg.

A small start-up that hopes to begin producing a new high-mileage automobile in mid-2014 has taken over an abandoned General Motors plant near Shreveport, Louisiana.

Elio Motors plans to use about a third of the 1.8 million square foot facility, one of 89 properties GM shuttered in the wake of its 2009 bankruptcy.  The company hopes to begin hiring the first of 1,500 new workers about a year from now, though it is unclear whether it will seek out the employees who previously staffed the GM facility.

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“We go into production 18 months from now, and so we will begin hiring around 12 months from now,” said Elio CEO Paul Elio.

The plans call for the production of a significantly different vehicle than what GM had previously built in Shreveport, which included a small Hummer SUV and, just before the factory’s closure, the midsize Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups.  Elio is developing a tadpole-shaped 3-wheeler that promises to deliver high mileage for a low price tag.


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.


GM Confirms Chevrolet Cruze Diesel for 2013; Could Get 51 MPG

Will other makers follow with diesels of their own?

by on Jul.22, 2011

Chevy will add a diesel to the Cruze line-up for 2013.

General Motors has formally confirmed it will add a high-mileage diesel to its Chevrolet Cruze line starting with the 2013 model-year.

The long-rumored diesel is likely to be an adaptation of the 2.0-liter VCDi direct-injection “oil-burner” already offered in Europe on their version of the Chevy compact.  Insiders report that the diesel could deliver as much as 51 miles per gallon – significantly more than the current Cruze Eco and in line with the Toyota Prius Hybrid.

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For its part, GM won’t do more than confirm plans to add the diesel, but that is a distinct reversal of the company’s long-standing opposition to the technology.  Former GM car czar Bob Lutz, in particular, had argued that the cost of meeting U.S. emissions standards was too high.


“Clunkers” Extension DoA?

Senate reluctant to approve additional $2 billion, despite clear signs the rebate program is spurring U.S. auto market.

by on Aug.04, 2009

Without a fresh infusion of government cash, the Clunkers program will have to shut down by this weekend.

Without a fresh infusion of government cash, the Clunkers program will soon shut down.

Despite clear signs of success, the U.S. Senate seems reluctant to approve an extension of the so-called Cash-for-Clunkers bill.

The House authorized a $2 billion extension to the original, $1 billion fund, formally known as the Car Allowance Rebate System, or CARS, and the Obama Administration has joined those lobbying for approval by the other side of Capitol Hill.

There would be a significant irony should the Senate reject the proposal, as many observers are now calling CARS the most immediately effective stimulus program to emerge from Washington since the nation fell into the current, deep recession.  Not only has the program spurred hundreds of thousands of motorists to buy a new vehicle, but it appears they are purchasing even more fuel-efficient models than Clunkers proponents had anticipated.

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Describing CARS as “inept and poorly run,” South Carolina Republican Jim DeMint signaled he is unlikely to support the requested $2 billion infusion, though his Carolinian colleague, Lindsay Graham, also of the GOP, told the Today Show, “I think the Senate will act this week and get some of the clunkers off the road.”


100 MPG: Holy Grail or Hype?

Regulators and automakers collude in bending the fuel economy numbers.

by on Apr.21, 2009

100 mpg from a Hummer H3?  Depends on how you do the math.

Get 100 mpg from a Hummer H3? It depends on how you do the math.

The morning headline in the online version of our local Detroit Free Press blares out “100 mile per gallon truck,” a reference to the IDEA, a concept vehicle developed by Bright Automotive, debuting on paper today, at a press conference in Washington DC.

And as regular readers of read, just yesterday, a prototype plug-in hybrid version of the Hummer also claims to be getting 100 mpg.  Hummer boss Jim Taylor told me, “It’s safe to say” that the truck maker, the brand environmentalists love to hate, will need to seriously consider such an alternative energy approach when it’s formally sold off by GM, in the coming weeks. There are no plans to produce this Hummer; it is strictly a concept.

Then there’s the Chevrolet Volt, General Motor’s eagerly-awaited plug-in hybrid – GM prefers the term, extended-range electric vehicle, by the way – which is due to market late next year.  It’s also expected to deliver that Holy Grail number, 100 mpg. The problem here is the President’s Auto task Force has already declared that the vehicle is  too  expensive to be competitive with already on sale hybrids. Still, 100 mpg  is a great headline.

Subscribe to TheDetroitBureau.comThe huge numbers promised for the new crop of plug-in hybrids should be taken with a large shaker of salt.  Mileage numbers aren’t always what they seem.  And in the race to deliver better fuel economy than ever, one has to ask whether the auto industry has discovered the Holy Grail, or is simply delivering a lot of hype by taking advantage of how the numbers are generated, and with the U.S. government looking the other way.


Mercedes Eyeing “Wonder Diesel” for U.S.

E250 Bluetec could deliver 44 mpg.

by on Apr.08, 2009

Mercedes wants to know if Americans would embrace a 4-cylinder diesel delivering 44 mpg in a midsize luxury sedan.

Mercedes wants to know if Americans would embrace a 4-cylinder diesel delivering 44 mpg in a midsize luxury sedan.

Would American luxury buyers embrace a midsize Mercedes-Benz sedan delivering fuel economy better than most of today’s hybrids?

That’s the question the German automaker is trying to answer as it ponders whether to begin importing its E250 Bluetec, a high-mileage luxury car that European autowriters have taken to calling the “wonder diesel.”

“We’re asking whether (people) could imagine a 4-cylinder diesel E-Class here in the U.S.,” said Klaus Meier, Mercedes’ executive vice president of sales.

The automaker already plans to introduce a new Bluetec version of its E350, shortly after the launch of the gasoline-powered 2010 E-Class sedans and coupes, later this year.  The E350, which will meet the toughest emissions standards in all 50 states, provides near-V-8 performance but V-6 fuel economy.  The E250, would provide V-6 levels of horsepower and torque, but fuel economy Meier estimates at 44 mpg.  That would meet or exceed the mileage of the best hybrid models in its segment, but still offer substantially better performance, according to the automaker.