For 2009, General Motors is offering an even more fuel-efficient version of their no frills, Chevrolet Cobalt XFE, this car is a step in the right direction for the American automaker, the 9% improvement in fuel economy is also an answer to the upcoming CAFE regulation put in place by the U.S. Senate. Although it is the base model Cobalt, and we do mean base, lacking power assisted creature comforts like windows and door locks, there isn’t even an automatic transmission option.
However, the checkbook friendly Cobalt does come with a air conditioning, an AM/FM/MP3 stereo and a sporty wing on the trunk. The 2.2 Liter ECOTEC four cylinder is up 7 HP from last year’s model, for a maximum output of 155 HP. The added power is necessary in order to turn the more economical 3.74:1 final drive, the extra gearing means that the XFE can run at a lower RPM, and burn less gas, when cruising on the highway in 5th gear. This is only one of the fuel saving features that make the Chevrolet Cobalt XFE a segment best in the fuel mileage category; better than the Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic. The $16,000 entry level Chevrolet model gets an EPA estimated 36 MPG on the highway.
In an attempt to conserve more of the Earth’s natural resources, Volkswagen’s future line-up will include a three-cylinder power plant and an all new hybrid engine. Unfortunately, the planed 55 MPG clean diesel roadster is on hold until the economy picks back up. In an interview with the German magazine, Auto Motor Und Sport, with VW’s head of development, Ulrich Hackenberg had this to say: “The three-cylinder is certainly a great future; we devote ourselves to intensive mechanical, thermodynamic and acoustic development. We will continue the three-cylinder, in any case in the VW Golf to offer."
The hybrid Golf will debut sometime in 2011 and Ulrich thinks that it will be the perfect personal transportation solution for densely populated urban centers, like the growing mega cities found in China and the United States.
If the roadster ever does become a reality, you probably won’t see a Porsche version, but according to Hackenberg, there is a strong possibility that Audi will have a four ringed version as well.
With fuel prices on the rise and the upcoming CAFE requirement imposed by the U.S. government, fuel efficiency has become a very important aspect of automaker’s vehicle lineups. When it was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show, the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox was hailed as the 9th vehicle offered by Chevy to reach an EPA estimated 30 MPG. Just as we like manufacturers that underrate their engines, it is even better when the automakers don’t exaggerate fuel mileage.
The latest tests have revealed that the new Chevrolet Equinox returns an impressive 32 MPG on the highway. This best-in-segment fuel economy results in a range of up to 600 miles for the General Motors CUV. The Equinox’s front-wheel drive power train and direct-injected 2.4 Liter four cylinder engine showed an EPA estimated fuel mileage of 22 MPG in the city and 32 MPG while cruising at highway speeds.
The Equinox’s closest competitors from Japan are nowhere as efficient at speed. The Honda CR-V gets 20/27 MPG and Toyota’s Rav-4 returns an estimated 22/28 MPG (city/highway). American cars are looking better and better every day.
Times are changing and as raw power gives way to economy some people are talking about the extinction of the internal combustion engine, like Nissan/Renault CEO Carlos Goshen. Fortunately for some of us gear heads, Ford’s Executive Vice President Mark Fields has confirmed that consumers will be seeing gas burning, piston pumping engines for at least the next 20 years. Mr. Fields also assured Top Speed that there is still a lot of development and technological advancement to be done, one of the reasons for Ford’s new EcoBoost V6.
The American automaker Lincoln has announced that an EcoBoost engine will power the 2010 MKS. By the year 2013, Lincoln’s parent company Ford plans on using the same fuel-efficient power plant in over 90% of their vehicles. The 3.5 Liter EcoBoost V6 found under the hood of the all-wheel-drive 2010 Lincoln MKS will produce 355 HP and 350 ft-lb of torque, all on regular grade gasoline. The twin turbocharged 6 cylinder provides the output of a V8 while returning a minimum of 17 MPG around town and at least 24 MPG during highway driving.
It is said that 25% of fuel savings depend on the driver’s right foot, but one thing is for certain, when idling at a stop light or sitting in traffic, all cars get zero miles per gallon. That is why the German luxury car builder Mercedes Benz is planning on incorporating the fuel saving start/stop technology in their E200 CGI model by the middle of 2010. The E200 already has an economic four cylinder gas engine, but without wasting gas while standing still, the vehicle’s fuel efficiency is that much greater.
According to Christoph Spengel, head of engine development for Mercedes, the start/stop technology will be standard in every model. In a recent interview with AutoCar Spengel said: "I won’t name a year when we will achieve this goal, but it is a priority for Mercedes. We are pushing hard, and there is the possibility to jump ahead of BMW."
After the recent success of the Lotus Exige 270E Tri-Fuel at the Shanghai Motor Show, Youngman Auto, the lightweight English sports car builder’s Chinese partner has submitted a request that the concept go into production, at least for the Chinese market by the end of this year. The alternatively fueled Lotus made its debut at Geneva in 2008, and what set the car apart from normal flex fuel vehicles that can run on a blend of gasoline and ethanol, the Exige 270E adds methanol into the mix. It is no surprise that the Chinese are so interested in the Tri-Fuel, because back in 2007 China became the world’s largest producer and consumer of methanol. In 2008 nearly 1 Billion gallons of the alternative fuel was blended with gasoline in the panda loving country, and mixtures of methanol/gasoline are already available at many gas stations throughout the land.
Check out the diagrams after the jump to see how Tri-Fuel works.
You may be familiar with the musician Sheryl Crow; but did you know that she and a group of other celebrities are doing their part to conserve the Earth’s natural resources and lower their negative impact on the environment? With the help of her Mercedes Benz R320 BlueTEC the singer songwriter believes that “the newest clean diesel vehicles are eco-friendly and deserve as much attention as other gas alternatives like hybrids.”
These next generation diesel vehicles are extremely quiet, unlike the traditional clackers that you can hear from a mile away. These new diesels are cleaner and have an extremely efficient range of over 500 miles from a single fill up. The best part is that they qualify for similar IRS alternative power train tax credits just like their gas electric hybrid cousins.
What is most shocking is that the EPA estimates that the U.S. is capable of conserving 1.4 million barrels of oil per day, if only one third of the light duty automobiles on the road were state of the art clean diesels, utilizing technology like the Mercedes BlueTEC vehicles.
U.S. President Barack Obama wants to make stricter emissions laws and increase overall MPGs for cars in America. He started by giving California and thirteen other states the rights to enact stricter emissions laws. While this may make us breathe a little easier, is this the beginning of the end for the performance car?
Power doesn’t just come from burning gas but the mixture of air and fuel. The more air available in the engine, the greater the possibility of burning more fuel and creating higher performance. This unfortunately does not coincide with green-minded emissions or MPGs.
California is traditionally the hardest state on emissions, which is why most aftermarket products must be California Air Resources Board (CARB) certified to be street legal. If California gets stricter with the laws, there is a good chance that the new regulations could make some old exhaust systems noncompliant, rendering many cars in the costal state illegal.
Tuners may have to find new ways to unleash power in the constant quest for speed. The engineers at Mitsubishi chose to replace the diamond star standard 4G63 with the new 4B11 in their EVO X because they didn’t feel that they could continue tuning the old iron block and be environmentally compliant.
President Obama is taking a major step toward addressing global warming by cleaning up the American transportation fleet. Hopefully the car companies will be able to sneak a few more modified vehicles on U.S. roads before the hammer drops.
Overindulge this holiday season? You may have just powered your next road trip.
A Beverly Hills plastic surgeon decided to turn waste fat into biodiesel. Dr. Craig Alan Bittner used the fat from his patients for his Ford SUV and his girlfriend’s Lincoln Navigator. Bitter wrote on his now defunct lipodiesel.com, "Not only do they (patients) get to lose their love handles or chubby belly but they get to take part in saving the Earth." Classy.
Bitter faced some big problems for his creative fueling. For starters it’s illegal to use medical waste to power vehicles in California. But that’s not much of a problem anymore, because he closed his practice in November and moved to South America.
Bitter’s big change likely doesn’t have to do with just the health code. It seems that during the gas crisis a few months ago others were also taking advantage of the Krispy Kreme-sourced fuel. Three patients are suing the practice for not only allowing Bittner’s girlfriend and assistant to perform surgeries without a medical license, but also taking too much fat and leaving them disfigured.
Exxon Mobil posted the highest quarterly profit for any company by making $14.83 billion in the third quarter of this year. This shattered the previous record of $11.68 billion, which was set in the last quarter also by Exxon Mobil.
But don’t get mad yet. Poor Exxon Mobil will likely lose $500 million from the effects of Hurricane Gustav and Ike, and oil production is down. So it is likely that Exxon Mobile won’t post any record profits for the fourth quarter of 2008.
Although the near $100 fill-up of your SUV may have you want to riot in the streets, remember to not try to burn anything to the ground (you’re likely to have to use Exxon Mobil’s product to do it.) Instead hopefully the U.S. Government will take a page from the older and wiser Brits. It seems parliament is demanding that BP share some of its good fortune.