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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
Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4

The TopSpeed time machine has taken us ahead before to see what Porsche has in store , now that VW controls it. It has also taken us to an alternate reality, where we got to see just how the i8 could completely fall on its face. Well, now with McLaren confirming what we all suspected (that the V-12 is about to becomes extinct), we are going to fire the old time cruiser back up and see what the supercar world might have in store for us in 2020.

McLaren has already come out and said that the V-12
"belongs in a museum" and plans to downsize its engine lineup, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. You see, in 2014, the FIA is dropping its engine sizes to petite 1.5-liter V-6 plants with turbochargers and energy recovery systems. Six years after that changeover, fuel will likely be so expensive that the FIA may drop to a 4-cylinder regulation, which opens the door for supercars to borrow said technology.

This would mean no more V-12, V-10, V-8, or V-6 engines and just super-powerful 4-cylinders will remain. Pumping 500 to 600 ponies from a 4-pot is not an impossible task, but it requires very precise research and development. The smaller engines will also result in lower weight, more manageable weight ratios, and better handling. Lower weight, in turn, results in better fuel economy and quicker acceleration.

There will be some tradeoffs, as expected. No longer will we have these 200+ mph supercars. You will also have a much less comfortable drive than expected, as these 4-bangers will be much more high-strung and touchy, much like a race car.

The big picture is what matters in all of this. No longer will there be a hunkin’ V-12 engine chugging down a gallon of fuel every 8 to 11 miles. In 2020, we should see smaller 4-pots getting 16 to 18 mpg and still keeping up with their larger ancestors up to 100 mph, which is really all that matters. Ask yourself, “When was the last time I drove 200 mph in my Aventador ?”

But what about electric? Click past the jump to read about electric-powered supercars in 2020.

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.

McLaren MP4-12C

We mentioned a few months ago about how advancements in turbocharging is starting to render V-8 and larger engines obsolete . As much as readers may not have wanted to hear that, it is true. For additional confirmation, we now have supercar builder, McLaren, in our corner.

In a recent interview with De Telegraaf’s Autovisie, McLaren managing director, Antony Sheriff, was quoted saying that “the V-12 engine is a thing of the past” and “the engine belongs in a museum.” Just as we pointed out, Sheriff claims that a boosted V-8 can pump out the same horsepower and more torque than a naturally aspirated V-12, plus it is lighter, less complex, and boasts better fuel economy.

Sheriff went on to further solidify our stance, as he explains that turbocharged V-6 engines may have a place in the supercar world as replacements for naturally aspirated V-8 engines. Granted, this is only the opinion of one automaker and it is not one of the big-three supercar builders – Lamborghini , Ferrari , and Porsche – so it doesn’t mean the V-12, V-10, and V-8 engines are going away just yet.

Having said that, we still hold firm in our belief that, in the next decade, the V-12 and V-10 engines will not be able to survive in a world of $5-per-gallon gasoline. Inside of this time period, smaller displacement engines and electric motors will replace these large, fuel-hungry engines. For now, we at least know that McLaren is on-board with the much-needed changeover.

Source: Autovisie
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.

Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4

If someone hears the term “Green Aventador ,” it’s likely that they would think the supercar is just painted green and has nothing to do with the vehicle’s Eco-friendliness. Well, you may start seeing the Aventador in a completely different – and greener – light in the near future.

Auto Motor & Sport out of Sweden is claiming to have official documents that show a revised Aventador that sports cylinder deactivation and engine start-stop technology. Both of these technologies are obviously fuel saving and neither have been seen on a Lamborghini.

Supposedly, Lambo is using information from its parent company, Volkswagen , to create the deactivation system. The start-stop system is reportedly Lamborghini’s own design that is super-capacitor-based and fires up the engine faster than the typical battery system, which will result in a 180 millisecond start-up time.

The cylinder deactivation system is pretty much just like all others. At cruising speed, a series of cylinders will shut down, but once you need extra power, just slam on the gas and the cylinders fire right back up. This system, combined with the start-stop feature, is claimed to save up to 7 percent in the Aventador ’s fuel consumption.

Also in the documents is a revised suspension to make the Aventador’s ride a little more bearable. That takes it from the equivalent of a go-cart on a cobblestone road to a go-cart on a brick road. Yeah, we don’t think anything can fix the Aventador’s unbearable ride.

For now, these are just reports and rumors. We will update you as soon as Lamborghini confirms or denies the reports.

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.

The Toyota iQ, which us in the States know as a Scion iQ , is never mistaken for a speedster or a sports car. However, weighing in at only 990 kg (2,182 lbs) means that it doesn’t take too much power to make it quick. The folks at GAZOO Racing decided to see what happens when they toss a supercharger on a Toyota iQ with the optional 1.33-liter engine.

The end result is a super-lightweight car that pumps out an impressive 122 PS (120 horsepower) at 5,200 rpm and 174 Nm (128 pound-feet) of torque at 4,800 rpm in a compact package. This means that the supercharger added a full 28 PS (27 horsepower) and 56 Nm (41 pound-feet) of torque. GAZOO Racing is building a very limited number of these iQs – 100 to be exact – and they have dubbed this machine the Toyota iQ GRMN Supercharger.

In addition to a supercharger, GAZOO Racing included an updated suspension and transmission. Also added in were 4-wheel disc brakes, allowing its driver to bring this micro-machine to a halt quickly.

The Toyota iQ GRM Supercharger retails at 3,550,000 Japanese Yen, which is $45,367 at the current exchange rates. That’s a full $27,332 more than the base-level Scion iQ, which is quite a price hike.

The 100 units are already sold out, so if you are looking to snag one of these iQ GRMN Superchargers, you’re going to have to check out the used car market and hope you’re lucky enough to find one.

Lexus LF-A

Earlier this week, we brought forward reports that Aston Martin is considering downsizing its lineup of engines, which almost exclusively include V-8s and V-12s. This consideration is an obvious attempt to squeeze a few more mpg out of its lineup without depleting horsepower, which will allow the boutique automaker to achieve the fuel economy numbers required by the ongoing CAFE standards.

According to De Telegraf, Aston Martin may be considering Toyota as a partner in this downsizing attempt. In particular, Aston is eyeballing the V-10 engine used in the Lexus LF-A and the 8-pot used in several other Lexus models.

If you are wondering how Aston plans to milk these engines out of Toyota , keep in mind that Aston and Toyota already have a working agreement for Aston Martin to use the Toyota iQ to create its own Cygnet . So, for Aston Martin executives to get into conversation with Toyota brass about this possibility wouldn’t take too much.

The only issue that Toyota may have is the fact that this sharing of engines may result in added competition for the LFA and other Lexus models. Then again, with Aston Martin being such an exclusive brand without a long production list, Toyota Toyota may not see this as a threat, but rather a way to get its name on the tip of premium sports car buyers’ tongues. This could result in the ultimate word-of-mouth advertising for Lexus’ sports cars, which will soon include a car that may rival Aston Martins, the LF-LC.

We’ll keep you up to date on this developing situation and let you know as soon as more details become available.

Source: De Telegraf
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

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