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Posts Tagged ‘hybrid vehicles’

Ford Plans to Take on Toyota Prius with New Hybrid Line

New “dedicated” hybrid line expected to debut in 2019.

by on Aug.22, 2014

Ford will take dead aim at the segment leader, the Toyota Prius, with its new "dedicated" hybrid.

Already one of the most ambitious players in the battery-based vehicle market, Ford Motor Co. wants to take a run at hybrid market leader Toyota with a new gasoline-electric model it will launch in 2018, according to a new report.

The as yet-unnamed model will be directly targeted at the Toyota Prius, the world’s most popular hybrid-electric vehicle, and will use a dedicated design, unlike other Ford hybrids that are pitched as optional alternatives in conventional vehicles.

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A report by the Reuters news service says the new model will be produced in a plant near Detroit, likely the factory in Wayne, Michigan that currently produces a mix of other Ford battery-cars, including the Focus EV, and the C-Max, which is offered in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid configurations in the U.S.

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Honda Set to Kill Off Insight Hybrid

Maker shifting focus to new generation of hybrids.

by on Feb.26, 2014

Honda CEO Takeo Fukui (l) was one of those celebrating the introduction of the latest Insight hybrid.

It appears Honda finally is ready to end production of its dedicated Insight hybrid-electric vehicle as the Japanese automaker moves to address some long-festering problems.

News reports from Japan indicate Honda executives have finally pulled the plug on the latest version of the Insight, the successor to Honda’s first hybrid model originally introduced in 1999.

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The likely demise of the Insight has been the subject of rumors for months and appears to reflect Honda’s inability to generate much consumer interest in the model which was once seen as the maker’s answer to the Toyota Prius.  Toyota’s hybrid was the best -selling vehicle in California last year and dominated sales charts in Japan, as well, while the Insight was never in the hunt.

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Kia Niro Concept Hints at Possible Urban Hybrid Vehicle

Show car features electric all-wheel-drive system.

by on Feb.06, 2014

The Kia Niro Concept uses a new B-segment platform likely to soon show up in production.

While a teaser image of the new Kia Niro suggests the show car is capable of doing some serious off-roading, the Korean maker is really exploring the possibilities of a “cutting-edge urban hybrid vehicle.”

Making its debut at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, the prototype “hints at” something Kia clearly has under development, a small, high-mileage crossover that would target younger, environmentally minded buyers living in urban environments much like the Windy City.

The goal is to come up with something that has more attitude and a more fun-to-drive feel than the typically stodgy hybrids of today that seem focused only on maximizing mileage.

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“Ten years ago people wanted understated style in the SUV market, but increasingly, as more people migrate to the B-segment, they are looking for strong character and individuality,” said Gregory Guillaume, Chief Designer at Kia’s Frankfurt, Germany-based Design Center Europe which developed the Niro concept.

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Toyota Prepping Next-Generation Hybrid Drive

Japanese maker will reveal new fuel-cell vehicle in January at CES.

by on Aug.29, 2013

Toyota is developing a new, higher-mileage hybrid system for vehicles like the Prius shown here.

Toyota is developing a new hybrid system that is smaller, lighter and more efficient than the current version in effort to keep pace with technical changes in the auto industry. It expects the system to deliver at least 10% better fuel economy in the next-gen Toyota Prius.

But the Japanese giant also sees opportunities with other alternative-power technologies, notably hydrogen. Toyota plans to unveil a new fuel-cell vehicle next January that it will put into production in 2015.

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“Hybrid is a technology for the future and for the next 20 or 30 years,” said Satoshi Ogiso, the executive responsible for Toyota’s hybrid business, during a media briefing session on the company’s alternative power plans.

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Chrysler Charging Up Over Electric Vehicles

After Fiat 500e, "additional" battery cars "coming" promises electrification chief.

by on Jul.18, 2013

Fiat plans to sell only a few 100 of its 500e battery cars in California -- at a significant loss.

Despite the seemingly entrenched opposition of its CEO, Chrysler suddenly appears ready to charge into the electric vehicle market.

With the new Fiat 500e now rolling into showrooms in California, the smallest of the Detroit makers has “additional vehicles coming,” hints Chrysler’s global battery car chief.

“The 500e is just the first step,” said Mike Duhaime, the maker’s new global director of electrified propulsion and engineering, in an interview with the Detroit Free Press. “There are battery-electric vehicles in our future.”

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Chrysler is clearly playing a game of catch-up when it comes to battery power, the maker way behind most competitors, large and small, when it comes to plug-ins, pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, and even conventional hybrids. One of the reasons has been the strong concerns about battery power repeatedly expressed by Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne.

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Flood of New Hybrids Take Aim at Toyota Prius

Dominant Japanese model tops 3-million sales mark.

by on Jul.08, 2013

The Toyota Prius continues to dominate the hybrid segment...but it is facing some challenges this year.

Once a rare technology limited to a handful of – mostly Japanese – manufacturers, the industry is unleashing a flood of new hybrid vehicles for 2014 covering just about every niche on the market.  Automakers such as BMW, Ford and Hyundai hope their latest offerings will finally give them the momentum they need to take on the hybrid segment’s best-selling brand, Toyota, which underscored its dominance with the sale of its 3 millionth Prius last month.

For many potential buyers around the world, in fact, the Toyota Prius is no longer a niche vehicle.  The gas-electric hatchback may be the most popular hybrid in the U.S. – routinely outselling all other hybrids combined — but in Japan it is now the best-selling vehicle overall.

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“They’ve turned it into an iconic status of fuel efficiency – whether you love it or hate it,” says Dave Sullivan, automotive analyst with AutoPacific, Inc.  “It’s the benchmark of hybrids.”

That said, 2013 could be a challenging year for Prius. A senior Toyota official cautions that the hybrid might fall short of its sales targets, something that certainly wouldn’t upset competitors like Honda.

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Honda to Add New Accord Hybrid for 2014

New, two-motor lithium-drive system delivers up to 49 mpg.

by on Jun.20, 2013

The 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid will adopt an all-new gas-electric drivetrain.

Honda will launch a new version of the Accord Hybrid this coming October featuring an all-new two-motor drivetrain that should deliver up to 49 miles per gallon in the city, the maker claims.

The 2014 Honda Accord will be one in a wave of new hybrids utilizing the Japanese maker’s new Earth Dreams technology which features three distinctly different gas-electric drivetrains tuned to specific driving applications.  Honda hopes the approach will expand its presence in the high-mileage market and help it challenge rival Toyota’s long-standing leadership in the hybrid segment.

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The basic look of the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid will be familiar to those who already know the look of the sedan as redesigned last year. Features distinct to the gas-electric model will include a blue-accented grille and light lenses, LED daytime running lights, unique wheels, a decklid spoiler and hybrid badging.

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Hybrid and Battery Vehicle Sales Finally Gaining Momentum

But getting buyers back is a problem.

by on Apr.22, 2013

2013 Toyota Prius again dominated the hybrid and advance battery vehicle segment in 2012.

It’s Earth Day, and if you’re thinking about something more environmentally friendly when it’s next time to trade in, you’re not alone.  While sales of “green” cars are often linked to the rise and fall of fuel prices, there’s been a slow but unmistakable increase in demand, especially for hybrids and other battery vehicles which set an all-time record in 2012.

Products like the ever-popular Toyota Prius accounted for 3.1% of the overall U.S. new car market last year, reports data tracking service Experian Automotive, a 49% year-over-year jump from the 2.2% market share in 2011. The downside is that only about one in three hybrid owners buy another gas-electric model when they trade in, according to other industry reports.

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“Hybrid vehicle owners have long been perceived as environmentally conscience consumers,” said Melinda Zabritski, Experian’s director of automotive credit. “While they may have made the vehicle purchase due to caring for the environment, our research shows that hybrid owners are economically minded as well. Hybrid owners tend to have outstanding credit histories, which also has enabled them to obtain financing at lower rates than typical consumers.”

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Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid Powers into NY

Subaru could be eyeing other hybrid opportunities.

by on Mar.28, 2013

A Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid in testing.

Subaru, the brand that helped popularize all-wheel-drive, is now trying its hand at hybrids.

The Japanese automaker unveiled its first-ever production gas-electric model, the Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid, at its 2013 New York International Auto Show press preview.

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The official unveiling comes barely a month after the Japanese maker revealed a plug-in hybrid concept, the DIZIV, at the Geneva Motor Show. The two announcements could signal that Subaru sees some serious opportunities going forward in alternative propulsion.

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Nissan Likely to Launch U.S. Hybrid Production

But despite new Tenn. battery-car plant, hybrid batteries will still be imported.

by on Jan.24, 2013

The hybrid-powered Nissan Resonance will reappear in production trim as the next-generation Nissan Murano.

Nissan is likely to start producing a new generation of hybrid-electric vehicles at its assembly plant in Smyrna, Tennessee in the near future.

The Infiniti JX is among the first models assembled in the U.S. that will be equipped with Nissan’s new 1-motor/2-clutch hybrid system, senior sources told TheDetroitBureau.com. Other American-made models, including the new Altima and Pathfinder, along with next-generation versions of the Rogue and Murano may also add hybrid drivelines in the near future.

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But countering some newly published reports, the batteries for the hybrids will likely continue to be imported from Japan despite the recent launch of a new lithium-ion plant alongside the sprawling Smyrna factory complex.

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