emissions

emissions

  Automotive pollution is a serious concern and new emission regulation are tougher each year. In some countries lower emission can mean lower car insurance or the right to use HOV lanes.

In 2011, Ssangyong debuted the XIV-1 crossover concept, but it never saw production. In 2012 at the Geneva Motor Show, Ssangyong brought the more modern and convertible XIV-2 , but it still had no release details attached with it. Now, Ssangyong is bringing another variant to the XIV concept lineup in the form of the E-XIV.

The E-XIV, much like its predecessors, has no anticipated release date, but it is expected to debut at the 2012 Paris Motor Show. The E-XIV is a huge step forward for the developing automaker, as it disposes of the traditional gasoline and diesel engines in favor of an electric drivetrain that uses a small gasoline engine to extend its range.

The details are very scarce, but we can tell that the front fascia of the E-XIV is slightly different than that on the XIV-2, as it lacks the air-intake ducts and plastic insert on the front fascia. In the place of the plastic insert are a series of small holes, but we are unsure of their purpose. On the rear en, you can see that there is really no difference between the E-XIV and the XIV-2, with exception to the illuminated “E-VIX” logo on the rear fascia. We also know that it’ll measure in at 163.2 inches long x 70.8 inches wide x 62.4 inches high and have a 102-inch wheelbase.

On the roof, instead of boasting a “convertible” top, the E-XIV features a glass roof and solar panels, meaning that this hybrid would use solar energy too. That would be a huge revolution in the industry, but it may be purely theory now, in the case of Ssangyong.

We’ll just have to wait and see what Ssangyong rolls out on September 29th to see if this solar hybrid is a reality or just another non-production brainchild.

We all knew that the Formula E series was on the cusp of becoming a reality, as its plans outlined a 2014 debut. Despite the planning, there simply wasn’t the funding available to get the series going. The key word here is “wasn’t,” as the FIA has just inked a commercialization deal to form Formula E Holdings (FEH), which better assures the 2014 debut of the all-electric racing series.

The new promoter of the Formula E series is now FEH. FEH’s anchor investor is a London-based businessman by the name of Enrique Bañuelos. Alejandro Agag takes the reigns as FEH’s CEO overseeing Formula E. There are other folks with significant involvement with the project, including: Lord Drayson, Managing Partner of Drayson Racing Technologies, and Eric Barbaroux, Chairman of the French electric automotive company "Electric Formula."

We will start seeing test runs of Formula E in 2013 and its debut is pretty much set in stone for 2014. While the cars are super fast – 0 to 60 in three seconds and a 137 mph top speed – they can only run on a single charge for about 25 minutes. This lack of longevity means that each team will have to field two cars and two drivers. Instead of stopping for fuel, as seen in other racing series, teams will be pitting to swap cars and drivers. It’ll be interesting to see how teams streamline this process and still remain within the series’ rules.

We can’t wait to see what this series has to offer and the kind of technology that it will eventually lend to typical street cars. We’ll keep a close eye on the development of the Formula E series and keep you updates.

Click past the jump to read the full press release.

CNG and LPG Gasses: Is there a future for going natural?

We often bring up the CAFE standards, as they directly impact our covering of supercars that obviously do not fit into this plan. As much as we hate to admit it, fossil fuels are at about a quarter tank right now and fading fast, so something had to be done.

First came the “Gas Guzzler” tax, but that had very little impact, as the folks buying those types of cars could afford the extra several thousand dollars. With our backs against the wall, gasoline prices over $4 per gallon and the current CAFE standards expiring in 2016, the government stepped in and began composing an extension to the CAFE standards, which would push the average mpg of all cars and light trucks up to 54.5 mpg by 2025.

There was some battle over these standards being unconstitutional and unnecessary, but ultimately the courts and all sides of the government came to the conclusion that it was a necessary evil. Now this law has become official, as it has successfully passed its final obstacle, the pen of Barack Obama.

The new law takes effect in the 2017 model year, but there is a chance that Mitt Romney could beat Obama and he made it clear that he would immediately repeal the CAFE standards and move more toward encouragement than legislation. We’re not a political site, but it’s likely too late for encouragement to move the mpg needle fast enough.

We have already outlined what the supercar realm may look like by the year 2020, with high-strung 4-cylinders powering our fastest cars instead of massive V-12 engines. This can also cause a push toward LPG, CNG or hydrogen in the future, as the new law includes incentives for natural gas and fuel cell vehicles. We’ll have to wait and see exactly what happens, but the changes in the next 13 years will be drastic.

Click past the jump to read the press release about the finalization of these standards.

Source: Money News
Fisker Karma

A life lesson that most auto buffs learned from their parents is never buy a first-release vehicle, especially if it is bearing new technology. It is bound to have tons of bugs that will drive you insane. Well, when you dump $100K on a new car, you kind of expect it to be about as bug-free as possible. In the last year, we have seen two new cars come out bearing very new technologies, the Fisker Karma and Tesla Model S .

The Model S has moved along relatively unscathed with only minor complaints here and there. The Karma, on the other hand, has had a slew of issues and complaints. Oh, and this nasty little habit of spontaneously combusting when it’s parked.

Some of these bugs are being addressed in a very lukewarm sort of way, via a Fisker -created document called the “Customer Town Hall FAQ.” Some of the highlights include Fisker admitting that its navigation system pretty much stinks and they will “investigate ways to improve system performance” and Fisker realizing that they forgot to include a mute feature for the oft-error-filled navigation system. So, not only do you have a navi system that’s incorrect, but one that constantly blurts out “Left turn ahead” in the wrong places without the ability to mute it... Hmmm.

An odd one is a complaint that the engine still comes on when the car is in “Stealth” mode — a mode where it’s supposed to be noiseless. Fisker answered this by basically saying “the engine needs lubed,” “the emissions system runs with the fuel door open,” and “the high-voltage battery may ask for a charge when it really doesn’t need one.”

The biggest FAQ is when asked about software upgrades becoming free, Fisker simply says only warranty items will be free; anything that improves the functionality of existing will always carry a fee. Nearly every other car manufacturer performs these types of upgrades free of charge, what makes Fisker think they don’t need to? If GM will update my sister’s 160,000-mile Saturn’s computer for free (done a few weeks ago), why won’t Fisker update its year-old Karma’s unsatisfactory systems?

We guess Fisker needs a few more investors before they can afford that.

Click past the jump to read the entire “Customer Town Hall FAQ.”

Source: Fisker Buzz
Fiat 500 BEV

Chrysler has had only one mass-produced electrified vehicle in its history and that was the now-discontinued Durango hybrid . According to a report from Bloomberg, Chrysler is once again kicking around the thought of electrified vehicles, be it by 100 percent electricity or some sort of hybrid system.

Bob Lee, the head of Chrysler’s engine and electrified propulsion engineering department was quoted as saying “We do believe in electrification, sparingly and for the right kinds of targeted applications.” This basically means that Chrysler is taking its dive into electric propulsion very carefully until it knows that there is a market among Chrysler buyers.

That’s not a huge shock, considering that Chrysler was pulled from the financial flames twice in the last decade, or so – once by Daimler and once by Fiat . Chrysler is finally pulling in a profit and now it’s actually carrying its parent company, Fiat, on its shoulders to keep it from drowning in debt.

Speaking of Fiat, Lee also confirmed in the same report that Fiat is moving into production of the anticipated 500EV, the electric-powered Fiat 500 . The 500EV will go into production later on this year and be ready for release sometime in the 2013 model year.

The 500EV will likely be the testing grounds for Chrysler to see if it is a profitable venture or not. We are willing to bet that buyers gobble up the 500EV and that Chrysler soon follows suit with a small EV of their own. Down the road, with fuel prices going how they are, we may even see the Viper utilizing a hybrid system, much like Ferrari is planing to install on its upcoming Enzo/F70.

We’ll keep an eye on this and let you know once there is some confirmation on a Chrysler with electric propulsion.

Source: Bloomberg

Recently, we introduced you to the VIA VTRUX , an electric pickup truck with a range-extending gasoline engine. Now we are set to bring to you the SUV variant from the same company.

VIA is headed up by former GM executive, Bob Lutz, so these all-electrics are based on Chevy models. The VIA VTRUX SUV, which is also dubbed the Suburban, is based on the 2011 Chevy Suburban , but with a vastly different drivetrain underneath it.

With all of the hybrid SUVs hitting the marketplace, we honestly wonder if there is room for an electric SUV of this nature. Sure, we have the Tesla Model X SUV showing up at some point in the coming years, but it is not your "typical" SUV. The VIA VTRUX Suburban is a traditional SUV that simply lacks the traditional gasoline power.

So, how doe this VIA SUV hold up to its hybrid competition, some of which comes from its own donor company, GM ?

You’ll have to click past the jump to find out.

Ford Boss 335 GT

As the global recession rolls around the Earth, automakers everywhere are starting to hit their breaking points. There have already been talks of Ford and Chevy pulling out of Europe and recently, Ford announced that it was cutting 15 percent of job in Australia due to poor sales.

On the heels of that announcement comes a report from International Business Times that claims Ford is simply ramping up to end its Australia-based manufacturing altogether. The consensus is that Ford of Australia will cease production in the Outback by 2016.

Now, the Ford pull-out from Australia, much like the potential pull-out from Europe, does not mean there won’t be any Fords sold there. This simply means that the Australia-built fords, like the Territory and the fairly bad-ass Falcon sedan, will no longer exist. In their place will likely be imported Fusions and Explorers , maybe bearing different names.

Slow sales are not the only cause to Australia’s No. 3 automaker pulling out, the enactment of tough-to-meet Euro 5 emission standards are likely the straw that broke Ford’s back. Both the Falcon and Territory cannot meet these stringent regulations without expensive revisions to the driveline.

Ford has yet to make any announcement regarding its Outback exit, but it looks to be a certainty. We’ll update you if Ford finally announces this exit.

Electric vehicles and various hybrid systems are taking over the front pages of the automotive world as of late. One of the areas where hybrids and EVs haven’t completely infiltrated is the world of pickup trucks. Well, that’s until former GM executive, Bob Lutz, joined forces with the little-known Via Motors.

Via Motors has quite literally taken the electric truck, SUV, and van ball and run with it, and has started carving itself a nice little niche in the automotive world. One of its entrants is the Vtrux, which is a range-extended electric truck. The information on this new green pickup is not 100 percent available yet, but Via has posted a good amount of information on this pickup’s upcoming release.

The question on the mind of the automotive world is can an electric truck actually do well in this world of powerful diesel- and gasoline-powered pickups? The answer to this question is very simple, but to get to that answer, we have to tear into the Vtrux and find out what makes it tick.

Click past the jump to read all about the Vtrux and find out the answer to that all-important question.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage Roadster

Aston Martin is not exactly your poster child for fuel economy, as every model, sans a re-badged Toyota iQ , boast either a V-8 or V-12 engine. That about puts them near the bottom of the list in average fuel economy. With new CAFE and emission standards coming about each and every year, Aston Martin needs to get up to speed with creating slightly more efficient cars.

According to a report from Autocar, Aston Martin boss, Ulrich Bez, said that Aston is “open to the concept” of using small-displacement engines under the stipulation that they do not hamper the boutique automaker’s desirability. This ultimately translates out to “as long as it is still fast.”

This need for speed means that the likely replacements for the powerful V-8s and V-12s that Aston Martin uses would be 6-cylinders with some serious boost. A supercharger certainly would not give a 6-cylinder the kind of pop that Aston Martin would require, so a turbo or pair of turbos would definitely be the only route to take.

We have already seen BMW making use of forced air to pump up its in-line 6-bangers. Take the 2012 BMW 335i xDrive Coupe for example; it has a 3.0-liter engine that pumps out a healthy 300 horsepower. Of course, BMW also de-tuned it a little to avoid it conflicting with M3 sales. At full tilt, we would anticipate a boosted 3.0 to crank out upward of 400 horsepower.

That would give Aston the chance to just about match their V-8-powered cars’ current output rating while helping save a few mpg. It would obviously be a win-win situation, with the exception of the likely price hike for the increased technology.

We’ll keep an eye on this situation and update you as more information becomes available.

Source: Autocar

Back to top