green cars

green cars

  green cars are good for the environment, saving gas, reducing CO2 emissions and use recycling materials

The original Prius hit the streets of America back in 2000 with its Corolla -like looks and a funky hybrid-electric drive that was unlike anything else on U.S. roads except the two-seat Honda Insight. That first-generation Prius was replaced in 2004 with the familiar hunchback turtle look we’re all used to. The second generation is where Toyota really gained ground with hybrid sales, moving over 600,000 cars before the third-generation Prius took over in 2009. With the new model, the Prius gained a few reshaped exterior panels and a more futuristic interior while retaining is stellar fuel economy numbers. Since then, Toyota has moved over 710,000 third-gen cars.

I recently found myself behind the wheel of a 2014 Toyota Prius with the “Three Model” option package. One level up from the base model my tester came equipped with some nice features like a 6.1-inch touch screen in the center dash, Sirius XM radio, navigation, Toyota’s smart key entry and start system, and power windows. But despite those features, the car still felt very basic. Cloth seats, a rubber steering wheel, manual seats, and hard plastics everywhere kept the car feeling rather down-market.

Besides the interior’s shortcomings, the Prius performed just as you’d expect: slow and efficient. So does the car live up to all the hype that’s been following it all these years? Click past the jump to find out.

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Toyota Prius

The culture of open-source information just got a massive supporter. Tesla Motors has voluntarily revoked every patent the company previously held in the field of electric-powered vehicles, opening up other companies to use Tesla’s original ideas for free.

The unprecedented move comes as Tesla Motors’ founder and CEO Elon Musk released a statement citing his passion for zero-emissions vehicles and his belief in the growing need for such vehicles. “Given that annual new vehicle production is approaching 100 million per year and the global fleet is approximately 2 billion cars, it is impossible for Tesla to build electric cars fast enough to address the carbon crisis.”

With that, the company is now open to sharing its discoveries and innovations in developing, building, selling, and recharging electric vehicles. Well-established automakers like General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Toyota Motor Corporation, and others will now have free access to Tesla’s once-protected innovations.

Musk further elaborates in his candidly written letter that the electric car industry and eventually the world will benefit from having access to open-sourced and rapidly evolving technology.

Tesla originally held patents on its developments out of fear the large automakers would copy the technology and snuff out Tesla’s small operation. However, now that Tesla has made a such a name for itself and has a well-established (yet still rapidly growing) network of Supercharger recharging stations, that likelihood has diminished. What’s more, Musk points out that out of the 100-million vehicles produced annually, less than one percent of those are zero emissions. Thus far, Tesla’s competition seems noticeably absent.

Click past the jump to read more about Tesla’s giveaway.

Audi is adding to the number of A3 models that are available with the very efficient 1.4-liter, I-4, TFSI engine currently sipping gasoline in Europe. The impressive powertrain is now available in the four-door sedan, three-door hatch, five-door Sportback, and of course, the Cabriolet pictured above.

Audi is offering the engine with a choice of transmissions: standard six-speed manual or seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch. The highly engineered mechanics inside the engine allow for outstanding fuel efficiency to the tune of nearly 50 mpg on the European combined cycle. The engine’s carbon footprint is equally impressive, emitting only 175.4 grams of C02 per mile.

Though the engine does well at sipping fuel, it lacks somewhat on power. Its horsepower rating is listed at 150 and it propels the car to 62 mph in an underwhelming 8.1 seconds. Then again, 50 mpg is a pretty solid trade off for losing nearly every light-to-light drag race.

If torque is what’s needed, Audi also offers the 1.6-liter, TDI engine in the A3 Ultra. Making 110 horsepower, the turbo diesel consumes fuel at the sparse rate of 71.3 mpg. Its clean-diesel technology also keeps it from cutting holes in the atmosphere, emitting only 141.6 grams per mile. The TDI is available in both the four-door sedan and three-door hatchback versions.

Sadly, it seems Audi will be keeping these fuel-efficient models away from these United States, likely due to regulations and red tape.

Click past the jump to read more about the Audi A3 1.4 TFSI Cabriolet Ultra.

It’s been 25 years since Audi launched its TDI engine, and the Germans are celebrating the milestone by introducing a diesel-powered Audi RS5 . Just a concept vehicle for now, the RS5 had its regular V-8 engine replaced by an oil-burning 3.0-liter TDI that features the company’s new electric turbo unit.

What’s so special about that, you may ask? Well, is appears that Audi somehow managed to enable its electric turbo to provide maximum torque from just 1,250 rpm. The unit basically ensures there’s no turbo lag until the regular turbos kick in at 3,000 rpm, turning the RS5 TDI Concept into a major breakthrough.

With that pesky turbo lag out of the way, the diesel RS5 is quite a performer too, needing only four seconds to accelerate from naught to 62 mph. Of course, that wouldn’t be possible without help from the 385 ponies and the 553 pound-feet of torque under the hood. Needless to say, the RS5 TDI is the fastest six-cylinder diesel vehicle ever developed within the Volkswagen Group .

But will this concept vehicle make it in to production to become the company’s first diesel RS? Unfortunately, Audi has yet to make a statement on that, but we have a hunch this new electric turbo technology will become more than just an experiment. We wouldn’t be surprised to see the RS5 TDI hop on the assembly line over the next couple of years, but, if that doesn’t happen, the electric turbo will find its way into other production cars.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Audi RS 5 TDI Concept.

Source: Autobild

It’s been a while since we heard anything of importance from Smart and as it turns out, there was a reason behind that. The Daimler -owned company has been busy with the testing and development of two very important models, the ForTwo and the ForFour .

As if to show everyone that it’s not cutting any corners with the development of both models, Smart decided to release a video of the two cars undergoing winter testing in Sweden . Why Sweden, you ask?

Well, Smart’s chief engineer Markus Riedel explains the rationale behind choosing Sweden as the testing ground is mainly due to its cold winter climate and snowy conditions. It allows the engineers to validate a number of things about the two Smart cars, including all of the car’s functions in the extreme temperatures. The car’s driving capabilities are also put to the test under the cold conditions, checking to see how the ForTwo and ForFour can handle while skidding across a sheet of ice.

After 14 days of testing near the Arctic Circle, Riedel expressed his excitement about both models, telling the world that the new ForTwo and ForFour models are ready to be launched. Finally, right?

2015 BMW i8 pictured above
We already know that BMW has trademarked an entire range of nomenclatures for its "i " range, but up until now, the only models that we know of that will carry the names are the i3 , the i8 , and the rumored i5 . Now, it appears that another model will be added to the i range and according to Auto Motor und Sport, and other sources. Word has it the new car is a four-door futuristic sports car that will be called the "i9."

This is interesting because it follows in BMW’s plan to create an entirely new segment of vehicles that will address the company’s commitment to future mobility and sustainability. The i3 and the i8 got the ball rolling on that end, presenting customers with two different models that share the same principles of combining BMW’s renowned engineering prowess with a fresh approach towards functionality and efficiency.The rumored i5 midsized MPV is also expected to follow in that blueprint, all while bridging the gap between the i3 and the i8.

All this eventually leads us to the i9, a model that a lot of people know little about but has instantly become a hot subject just by word of its impending arrival. Given its name and BMW’s standard way of badging vehicles, we can assume that the i9 is going to be slotted above the i8, if you can even imagine that given how ridiculously awesome the i8 already is.

Our best guess about the i9 is that it’s going to be a more exclusive version of the i8, one that will come with a similar carbon fiber body and all of the car’s latest technological features. More importantly, we see the i9 as something of an evolution of sorts from the i8, especially when it comes to improvements BMW will make on its hybrid technology to increase performance and efficiency at the same time.

All this is, of course, is speculation on our part. What we do know is that the i9 is going to be sick, kind of the way BMW blew us away with the introduction of the i8.

Click past the jump to read more about the current BMW i8.

Source: BMW Blog

Factory Five Racing has been a front-runner in custom kit cars and hot rods for quite some time, building replicas of cars long since out of production. The California-based company also designed and built its own complete car called the 818 using drivetrain components from a Subaru WRX. However, for the particular car pictured above, the drivetrain takes a completely new spin on performance.

Missing is the usual Subaru Boxer engine, replaced by a AC35x2 motor fed by a 16-kWh lithium iron phosphate battery constructed of two 8-kWh sub-packs. The motor and battery unit is still connected to a WRX five-speed manual transmission that allows for reduced energy consumption and management of the motor’s output.

Speaking of output, the motor zaps out 165 horsepower and 189 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels. It might not seem like much, but the entire car will weigh just under 2,000 pounds – even with its body panels attached. Its claimed top speed is 150 mph, and though its still untested, the goal is likely obtainable.

Putting this electrified beast together are two other California companies that know a thing or two about building cars and electricity. EV West is undertaking installing and calibrating the air-cooled, Hi Performance Electric Vehicle Systems-sourced electric motor while the guys at 33 Machine work to incorporate all the components within the modified Factory Five Racing tube chassis.

In a video past the jump, the naked car squirrels around a test track with all the sidewise shenanigans of a V-8-powered muscle car, but of course is completely silent while smoking its rubber.

Click past the jump to read more about 33 Machine’s 818 EV

With so many cars promising the world these days, British sports car brand Trident is promising something completely different with the Iceni Magna, a fastback-styled sports coupe that not only runs on a diesel engine, but also features torque multiplication technology, allowing to reach a top speed of 190 mph with a capability to cover 2,000 miles on a single tank.

Such a promise will definitely raise some eyebrows, but Trident is welcoming the curiosity because it believes it has a technology that could go a long way in redefining how automakers work on future powertrains. According to Trident, properly utilizing a car’s torque numbers to "multiply" its effectiveness improves its car’s performance and efficiency by up 20 percent. It’s a technology that Trident has patented, so it certainly has enough faith in what it’s created to take the time to secure the intellectual rights to it.

So that’s what we’re going to see on the Trident Iceni Magna. It’s got an impressive look with splashes of retro inspiration and adding to that, a powertrain technology that promises loads of speed and efficiency the likes of which we haven’t seen before.

Trident has said that availability for the model is limited and demand is pretty high, surprising for a brand that’s not that well-known. Its demand is fairly obvious by its steep starting price of £96,000, which is about $161,500 based on current exchange rates.

Click past the jump to read more about the Iceni Magna.

To say Tesla is the world’s leading automotive start-up of the last 90 years would be a gross understatement. The company has done extremely well for itself, considering its mere 10-year existence and two-model lineup. Now solely producing its second product — the Model S — Tesla is on the forefront of all-electric car design and manufacturing. The Silicon Valley company can pin the majority of its success on the shoulders of its founder and CEO, Elon Musk.

CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley recently sat down with Musk for an interview about Tesla. “Well, I didn’t really think Tesla would be successful,” Musk answered regarding how he could start a car company and be successful at it. “I thought we would most likely fail. But I thought that we at least could address the false perception that people have that an electric car had to be ugly and slow and boring like a golf cart.” That sort of tenacity seems to be a driving force behind Musk’s inability to think small. “If something’s important enough you should try. Even if you [think] the probable outcome is failure.”

The Model S has shown an electric car can be successful inside the U.S. It’s so successful, in fact, Tesla is having a hard time keeping up with demand, turning out 600 cars each week, despite a few fiery setbacks. Musk is even planning a $5 billion factory to be built within the U.S. for constructing enormous amounts of lithium-ion batteries. With the eventual lowered cost of battery production, Tesla’s next major goal is producing an all-electric car costing roughly $35,000, making the company and its technology open to a far greater number of consumers.

Click past the jump for more info on Elon Musk’s other projects

Posted on by Tushar  
Audi R8

We are witnessing the evolution of the electric car . With the world’s biggest players having entered the market, we could expect development in this field to happen at a brisk pace. BMW already has its i Series in place and Mercedes-Benz is still pondering over the SLS AMG Electric Drive . Audi, on the other hand, shocked the world when it announced the scrapping of the R8 e-tron.

As we speak, folks at Audi are reconsidering the decisions they made in axing the R8 e-tron program. Yes, Audi is currently looking at options to put the R8 e-tron in to limited production by the end of 2014. The Audi R8 e-tron was the latest zero-emissions concept coming out of the Ingolstadt factory and now a select few among us could even own one. In order to facilitate the production of the new two-seat electric sports car , Audi has made a number changes to its research and engineering divisions, spending lots of money in the process.

Such an investment could only mean, positive steps have been taken in order to make the R8 e-tron a reality. Being a Volkswagen Group entity, Audi also benefits from research and development being done by its sister company for the VW e-Up , e-Golf and the XL1 hyper-mileage car.

It’s pretty crazy how quickly things can change in the automotive world...

Click past the jump to read more about the Audi R8 e-tron

Source: Autocar

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