Archive for the ‘Hybrids’ Category

First Drive: 2019 Toyota Prius AWD

Less quirkiness, more practicality.

by on Dec.13, 2018

The 2019 Toyota Prius comes in an all-wheel drive model that should stimulate sales in cold-weather environs.

When the original Toyota Prius first rolled into U.S. showrooms nearly 20 years ago it promised to transform the auto industry, delivering the sort of fuel economy numbers that seemed all but impossible at the time. Never mind the hatchback’s quirky styling – or perhaps because of it – the Prius quickly developed a broad and loyal following, at its peak becoming the best-selling nameplate in the huge California market.

Sales have been in a slump for several years, however, and a variety of factors, including cheap gas and some odd design choices on the fourth-generation Prius deserve much of the blame, along with the fact that the Toyota hybrid now has lots more competition.

News You Can Trust!

Yet, even as some of its key competitors are walking away from the passenger car market, Toyota is doubling down and betting it can breathe new life back into Prius. The 2019 model-year brings some modest, if much-needed design tweaks, as well as the introduction of a new electric all-wheel-drive system that, the automaker expects will account for about a quarter of the nameplate’s sales going forward by enhancing the hatchback’s appeal in Snowbelt climes. (more…)

Aston Martin’s Valkyrie Will Bring F1 Engine Tech to the Street

11,000 RPMs and 1,000 hp.

by on Dec.13, 2018

This snarling V-12 puts out 1,000 horsepower and 11,000 rpms and it powers the new Aston Martin Valkyrie.

The horsepower race continues to accelerate. Where 400 hp was once considered extreme, more and more exotics are nudging into four-figure territory, Aston Martin the latest to get there by taking some of its Formula One technology from the track to the street.

The British marque’s new Valkyrie is still more than a year away from production but it is offering up a first look at what will become the hypercar’s beating heart, a hybridized V-12 capable of revving up to a dizzying 11,000 rpms in the process of punching out a full 1,000 horsepower.

Product News!

“To anyone with a drop of petrol in their blood, a high-revving naturally aspirated V12 is the absolute pinnacle. Nothing sounds better or encapsulates the emotion and excitement of the internal combustion engine more completely,” proclaimed Aston CEO Andy Palmer in a release accompanying these images. (more…)

Sales Sliding, Toyota Rethinking Plans for Prius

As sales slip, “We need to find a new direction,” says senior Prius exec.

by on Dec.12, 2018

For 2019, Toyota is launching the first AWD version of the familiar Prius hatchback.

Say the word, “hybrid,” and one name is almost certainly going to pop into your mind: Toyota Prius. First launched in Japan in 1997 and brought to the U.S. three years later, it has been the world’s best-selling hybrid-electric vehicle, or HEV, ever since. For several years, earlier this decade, it was the best-selling vehicle in the huge California market and number one in Japan, as well.

But, as the cliché goes, times have changed. Whether due to increased competition, cheap gasoline, or other issues, sales of the original Prius hatchback have been tumbling. Though still the best-selling hybrid in the U.S., the first 11 months of this year saw demand dip 23.2%. And, at just 3,180 vehicles in November, sales are now running barely a quarter of their peak pace earlier in the decade.

Beyond the Headlines!

Toyota is trying to address some of the issues that came up with the launch of the fourth-generation Prius hatchback for the 2016 model-year, among other things tweaking its design and introducing a new electric all-wheel-drive system that could enhance the car’s appeal in Snowbelt regions. But during a series of interviews at a media drive of the 2019 Prius, Toyota officials acknowledged they are looking at even more radical options for the fifth-generation hybrid hatchback due out early in the coming decade.

(more…)

Daimler Investing More Than $20B in Battery Cells

Company furthers commitment to EVs.

by on Dec.12, 2018

Daimler AG's Dieter Zetsche announced the company's commitment to buy more than $22 billion in battery cells.

Daimler AG is prepared to put up $22 billion to purchase battery cells over the next dozen years.

Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said the commitment is expected to help insure that the batteries are available to move ahead with the development of electric vehicles.

Global News!

“Our electric offensive continues to gain momentum. After investing billions of euros in the development of the electric fleet and the expansion of our global battery network, we are now taking the next step,” Zetsche said. (more…)

China’s Auto Sales Sliding Downward

EVs and hybrids the only bright spot currently.

by on Dec.11, 2018

Electric vehicle sales are booming in China courtesy of subsidies and mandates by the government.

The world’s largest automotive market continues to face headwinds as auto sales in China dropped for the fifth consecutive month.

The Chinese economy was already experiencing a long-term slowdown, including auto sales, when the tariff fight between the U.S. and China began.

Global News!

Sales of SUVs, sedans and minivans in China fell 16% from a year ago to just under 2.2 million units, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, reported Tuesday. Through November, sales were down 2.8% from a year earlier at 21.5 million, putting 2018 sales on track to shrink for the first time in three decades. (more…)

Sales of Electric Vehicles Growing Steadily in California

Year-over-year increase in triple digits.

by on Dec.11, 2018

Electric vehicle sales are up 300% year-to-date in California.

Electric cars accounted for 7.1% of California car sales in the first three quarters of 2019 with fully electric, zero-emission car sales outrunning the plug-in hybrid sales.

EVs accounted for 4.1% of the vehicles sold in California while plug-in hybrids accounted for 3%, according to Veloz, which tracks the development of EV sales in the state.

News Now!

“It’s no longer a matter of whether electric vehicles will take off, but how soon,” said Josh Boone, executive director of Veloz, public-private coalition of major electric car industry stakeholders, told TheDetroitBureau.com. California hit the 500,000 electric-car sales milestone in November. (more…)

Trump Administration Still Fighting to Roll Back Fuel Economy Rules

Critics say mistakes made in calculations nullify Trump-propsed gains.

by on Dec.07, 2018

The Trump administration is proposing revoking California's ability to make it's own emissions and fuel economy rules.

While the industry is focused now on issues such as trade, manufacturing capacity and employment, the fight over fuel economy and emissions hasn’t gone away and could roar back to life any time.

The Trump administration proposed rolling back the fuel-economy rules imposed in the waning days of Obama administration. It also has proposed eliminating California’s hold on the auto industry.

Beyond the Headlines!

California, powered by an overwhelming political victory by Democrats opposed to Trump in last month’s midterm elections and bolstered by new reports both from the Trump administration’s Environment Protection Agency and the United Nations Independent Panel on Climate Change, have vowed a long and expensive court fight to protect the Obama standards and its authority. (more…)

Trump to End Electric Vehicle Subsidies by 2021

GM, Tesla have already enjoyed the best of the tax credits.

by on Dec.03, 2018

President Donald Trump said he told GM CEO Mary Barra that the country has been "very good" to the automaker.

President Donald Trump has threatened to kill one of the signature efforts of the Obama administration, but today White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow confirmed it: Trump will end subsidies for electric cars.

The move, which Kudlow said would happen in 2020 or 2021, covers other items including renewable energy sources. He revealed he plans in response to a question about what the administration plans to do in response to General Motors’ recently revealed plant closings and employee layoffs.

News Now!

The president, who is in China, did not offer an official proclamation, nor has he tweeted about it, which is often how he reveals impactful actions he plans to take. (more…)

10 Best of the LA Auto Show

Cars, trucks, crossover and concepts worth a second look.

by on Dec.03, 2018

The long-awaited Jeep Gladiator pickup made for one of the splashiest debuts at the LA Auto Show.

We’ve been to some dud auto shows over the last year. The Paris Motor Show, which kicked off the 2019 model-year, couldn’t even fill up a half day on the media calendar, and the Detroit Auto Show didn’t stretch much further. But this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show delivered some sweet surprises with its mix of cars, trucks, crossovers and concepts.

As we’ve come to expect from the Tinseltown extravaganza, there were plenty of green machines making their first appearance at the Los Angeles Convention Center, but these weren’t the sort of slow and stodgy sedans and quirky hatchbacks of years past, covering a broad swath of territory including electrified SUVs, pickups and sports cars. And there were plenty of promising products that fell into more conventional categories.

Auto Show News!

Here’s an alphabetical look at 10 of our favorite debuts at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show:

(more…)

FCA Pledges $5.7B Investment in Italian Auto Plants

Plans call for new 500 EV and Alfa Romeo hybrid.

by on Nov.30, 2018

FCA CEO Mike Manley signed off on a $5.7 billion investment plan in the company's facilities in Italy.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said this week that its plants in Italy would return to full employment with a $5.7 billion investment in new cars and engine technology, including a fully electric version of the Fiat 500 city car and a plug-in hybrid Alfa Romeo compact utility vehicle.

The FCA announcement plans to mollify anxious union workers – and uneasy political factions in its home country – offer a sharp contrast to the tack taken by General Motors Co., which announced plans to close seven plants and eliminate 15,000 jobs.

Dig Deeper!

GM’s announcement angered union officials in the U.S. and Canada as well as figures from opposite end of the political spectrum, such as U.S. President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (more…)

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