Passenger cars and trucks aren’t the only road-going vehicles undergoing a fuel-saving transformation. Daimler has just announced its Freightliner SuperTruck has surpassed the Department of Energy’s criteria for the SuperTruck Challenge that began back in 2009. And surpass it did.
Passenger cars and trucks aren’t the only road-going vehicles undergoing a fuel-saving transformation. Daimler has just announced its Freightliner SuperTruck has surpassed the Department of Energy’s criteria for the SuperTruck Challenge that began back in 2009. And surpass it did – the Freightliner SuperTruck beat the DOE goal of a 50 percent improvement, surpassing the fuel economy averages of a 2009 baseline truck by a whopping 115 percent. That translates to an average of 12.2 mpg.
While that might not seem too impressive, consider the truck and its cargo weigh 65,000 pounds and was moving an average speed of 65 mph over a 312-mile test loop on the open interstate. Oh, and it’s powered by a 10.7-liter turbodiesel that makes 390 horsepower and 1,400 pound-feet of torque. Yep, I’m impressed.
This is all part of a corporate challenged issued by the DOE back in 2009 to raise fuel economy levels of transfer trucks. The challenge set forth the goal of a 50 percent improvement in fuel economy and a 50 percent improvement in brake thermal efficiency. While two other truck makers are in the competition, neither of their entries come close to touching the Freightliner’s advancements.
Continue reading to learn more about the Daimler SuperTruck.
The Lotus Nemesis was able to shatter the U.K. land speed record for an electric vehicle in September 2012, but many people didn’t even know this vehicle existed. Did Lotus create an electric model while no one was looking?
No, the Nemesis isn’t an all-new electric vehicle built by Lotus in an attempt to rebuild its damaged image. The Nemesis is actually a one-off Lotus Elise converted to electric power by Ecotricity – a Great Britain-based renewable energy company.
Typically, when you think of the electric vehicle, you imagine the likes of the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV; you think, a slow and ugly buggy that looks as if the manufacturer built it out of spite rather than to actually sell. Well, first we had Tesla eliminating the ugly and slow stereotypes rather effectively and now you have this Nemesis ripping that stereo type to shreds and stomping it into the ground.
Click past the just to read our full review on the Lotus Nemesis.
We saw the first rendition of the Golf BlueMotion Concept about five years ago and it was impressive, boasting a 62.8 mph rating and emitting just 119 grams of CO2 per km. We then got a look at the second-gen model in 2009 with its 74.3 mpg and 99 g/km of CO2. Here we are at the 2012 Paris Auto Show and Volkswagen has the third generation BlueMotion Golf ready to show off.
Volkswagen really has something to prove in the mpg department, as it is one of only a handful of automakers available in the U.S. that has openly protested the new CAFÉ standards. VW has attempted to make it clear that its reasoning behind protecting the standards is not because it doesn’t want to build fuel-efficient vehicles, but rather because it feels the yearly improvement numbers are skewed to making it easier on American car and truck manufacturers.
Well, here stands a chance for VW to truly prove that it is all in on saving us money at the pump. So let’s have a look at what Vee-dub-ya has served up.
Click past the jump to read our review on the Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion Concept.
The BMW Concept Active Tourer is set to be unveiled at the 2012 Paris Auto Show, which begins on September 29th and it will debut with some all-new BMW technology. BMW sees the Active Tourer as its way to fit in with the 5-percent annual mpg growth required by the recently passed CAFÉ extension through 2025. Believe it or not, this compact crossover actually shares a small amount of DNA with the upcoming i8 plug-in hybrid sports car, which we will get into later.
The Concept Active Tourer is just as its name alludes to, a concept. However, it is a great glimpse into the upcoming technologies that BMW plans to add to its line up in the coming years. One brand-new item the Concept Tourer bears is the eDrive system, which we’ll describe in more detail later. The second new technology is the first-ever appearance by the much-anticipated BMW 3-cylinder engine.
As with any concept car that we see, we have to ask a few questions. First, is this concept a reality or is it a pipe dream that will likely never see the light of day in its conception form (See: Pontiac Sunfire)? Secondly, can this concept even compete in its market in both price and performance?
Click past the jump to read all about the BMW Concept Active Tourer and get the answers to these questions.
Electric cars are certainly beginning to take flight lately, with Tesla becoming the unlikely leader of the whole revolution. Okay, maybe it’s not quite a revolution yet, but it’s at least starting to gain a little more traction. It has gained enough traction to garner the attention of UK coach builder, Prindiville.
Prindiville, being the creative company that it is, couldn’t just make any run-of-the-mill EV. Nope, its engineers and designers came up with a near mock up of the latest Hummer H3 – you know, one of the many defunct GM brands – only miniaturize and electric driven. What a concept!
Prindiville has now begun production and released a slew of specifications, so we felt it was time to give it the appropriate TopSpeed once over via a full review. So is this new custom EV in a shrunk-down Hummer body a good buy for the average driver?
To find out the answer to that and more, click past the jump.
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.
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.
Lotus hasn’t seen a great share of luck in recent years, but in the past few weeks, its luck has taken a slight turn for the better. First came INDYCAR’s approval of desired changes to its IRL engines. Now Lotus is now extending this run of decent luck a little more by announcing that its running prototype for the Evopra 414E hybrid is ahead of schedule and ready for dynamic testing.
Lotus first unveiled the prototype at Geneva in 2010, but it was just that, a prototype. It had no engine or motor driving it; it was essentially just a shell. No one in the automotive world expected anything from Lotus in the next year or so, as it seeks a new CEO, fights a rumored lawsuit from its former CEO, and attempts to right this sinking shop.
It looks like we were all wrong, as Lotus just sent out a press release detailing all of the Evora 414E’s main specifications. So, we did what we do best and used our speculative abilities to put together a review for you to use to make an educated shopping decision, if you are lucky enough to be in the market for this type of car.
Click past the jump to read our full review.
When people think about Buicks, words like old, boring, and grandpa come to mind. Very rarely, if ever, does the word sporty get uttered as an accurate description, but get ready for all of that to change. In an effort to change the stigma attached to the brand, Buick is releasing an all new Buick Regal GS which will arrive at dealerships in the fall of 2011. This new vehicle will target models like the Audi A4 and the Acura TSX with its exclusive Ecotec 2.0L direct injected, turbocharged engine that delivers a total of 270 HP and 295 lb-ft of torque.
The last time a GS model was released by Buick, it was 2004. This model was powered by a 3.8 L L67 Series II supercharged V6 that produced 240 HP and 280 lb-ft of torque. Technology, and the constant need to improve fuel economy, has allowed Buick to pump out more horsepower out of a smaller engine, all while providing an estimated fuel economy of 33 MPG.
UPDATE 08/04/2011: Buick has announced that the Regal GS will be put on sale this fall at a starting price of $35,310, which includes a $860 destination charge. Standard features on the GS model include: push-button start; a leather-wrapped, flat-bottom sport steering wheel with audio controls; metal sport pedals; and leather-appointed, heated and 12-way adjustable sport seating, a Harman Kardon premium 336-watt, 5.1 Matrix Surround Sound system with nine speakers.
UPDATE 05/22/2012: During a recent test drive at Nevada Open Road Challenge, the 270 Regal GS clocked in an impressive top speed of 162 mph - making it the fastest model Buick ever made. The car was piloted by Rietow and Townsend and the only modifications were limited to safety equipment such as a roll hoop and five-point harness seat belts, as well as data collection computers. Check out the new video to see the test drive!
Hit the jump for more details on the Buick Regal GS.
Green cars are slowly starting to gain some traction in the automotive realm, as seemingly every manufacturer now offers some sort of hybrid model. Even electric cars are starting to see a lot of upswing lately, as most manufacturers are at least tinkering with the EV idea. However, there is one “green” mode of transportation that is getting overlooked at every turn. This is liquid natural gas and compressed natural gas.
One company has made LNG and CNG its No. 1 priority lately, and that is Maxximus. Maxximus’ first vehicle was a supercar dubbed the G-Force and it recently took that monster and turned it into a vehicle that can run on LNG, CNG, or even propane, and run at an extremely high rate of speed. This new vehicle is named the LNG 2000.
CNG and LNG are not only 90 percent cleaner burning than gasoline, making them the cleanest burning fossil fuel, but they are also as much as 50 percent cheaper than gasoline. Of course, some oil tycoon would snatch up the world’s supply and eventually drive process to the range of gasoline. At least it would provide a little temporary relief for the price of fuel, as we search for a legitimate alternative.
When most people think of alternative fuels, they think of a slow-moving vehicle that isn’t practical in the real world. Can the Maxximus LNG 2000 break this mold?
Click past the jump to read the full review.
The world of high performance sports car grows by the day and here’s another new beast to prove it. CCG automotive has revealed the super sports car customGT - an ultra-light dream car with up to 550 hp. The most impressive feature of the new customGT is the fact that it comes with an LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) system that helps reduces exhaust emissions. At first glance, this could translate into money in the bank since LPG is considerably cheaper than standard gasoline.
The CCG CustomGT is powered by an optimized 7.0 liter V8 engine created by General Motors. This engine delivers a total of 550 HP and is mated to a manually-operated 6-gear transmission. The sprint from 0 to 60 mph is made in 3.5 seconds and top speed goes up to an impressive 198 mph.
The man behind this creation is Tom Gerards, Head of CCG automotive GmbH and Creative Director of the CustomGT. His dream was to build his very own supercar so, in 2009, he began his journey. "What turned the customGT into reality was our passion, enthusiasm, dedication, and the steadfast belief in achieving the goal," says Gerards.
Hit the jump to read about how his dream turned into a high-powered supercar.
Audi has turned the corner on their new "Audi balanced mobility" moto with the launch of a new project called the TCNG e-gas project. The e-gas project will go into production starting 2013 and is the world’s first automotive manufacturer to set up an entire portfolio of sustainable sources of energy.
The TCNG e-gas project will use wind-generated electricity to manufacture hydrogen by means of electrolysis. Hydrogen can be used in the future as a source of energy for fuel-cell vehicles or, in an additional step, can be used to manufacture methane. Such methane is known as Audi as e-gas. It is chemically identical to natural gas and can power combustion engines. More important, it is completely CO2-neutral.
"Ecology and economy in unison: that is the greatest challenge of the future. To attain this we must bring mobility completely into equilibrium – with people and their new values and with the environment. CO2-neutral mobility is our goal," says Audi Chairman Rupert Stadler. He continues: "On the way to achieving this we are systematically using clean power. We are producing climate-friendly fuels and forming a new mindset for which our entire company stands. That’s the objective of Audi balanced mobility."
As Royal wedding fever was about to wear off, the Prince had one last surprise in store. For many years his Father has been the owner of an Aston Martin DB6 Mark II that was converted to run on biofuel. The car was decorated in traditional wedding fashion complete with ribbons, balloons, and a trick license plate reading Ju5t Wed. The dark blue Volante convertible was driven by the Prince through the crowds in front of Buckingham Palace on his way to a reception party. The car traveled down the procession route with top down and minimal security. A lone Range Rover followed the Aston and a RAF Rescue helicopter, much like the ones flown by the Prince, flew above with a flag waving below.
The Royals clearly have access to many things including the various Rolls Royce models and Carriages used today, but an Aston Martine DB6 Volante is rare even for them. This legendary car was the longest running production model that Aston Martin ever produced, but only 140 Volante versions were built. Furthermore, this may be the only one in the world running off biofuel made from excess British wine product.
Originally made famous by the James Bond films, these Aston Martin models have been coveted by collectors for years. Very rarely do they come up for sale or auction and the Prince’s will most likely never leave the Royal collection. The DB6 was a major improvement over the previous DB5 model and turned the car into a proper Grand Touring model. Performance for these models was increased through the Vantage edition which raised output to 325hp, but there is no word on the specific power output from the biofuel model.
Hit the jump for more details on the Aston Martin DB6.
Speedriven has been building some of the highest performing engines on the market for some time no and has released details on their newest project. Starting with a base CL600, this tuning team takes it from a tame luxury coupe and changes it into the most powerful CL on the market.
This firm is not about making your Mercedes the most ridiculous or unique looking car on the road, but rather focuses their attention exclusively under the hood. These are already some of the best looking luxury coupes on the market and there is no need for oversized chrome rims or carbon fiber aero-pieces to make it look fast – Speedriven would much rather make it perform to its highest potential.
The package is available for all models 2003+ that feature the Mercedes V12. This includes the ultra-exclusiveMaybach models. If you want Speedriven to turn your car into the ultimate Mercedes without adding the usual array of aftermarket exterior pieces then it’s going to cost $16,250. This price is not actually that ridiculous considering that companies like Brabus and Renntech charge much higher rates and don’t usually equal the same performance figures.
More details on the Mercedes CL600 by Speedriven after the jump.
Now that the Statesmay be receiving a diesel variant for the ol’ Porsche Cayenne, it’s fitting that we take a look at a tuning package for the luxury SUV. As of right now, Americans may not be all too interested in a diesel from Porsche, but things change rapidly and we want to be prepared for it. The new tuning package comes from Lumma Design, who recently prepared a monstrous cosmetic package for the petrol version of the Cayenne.
For the diesel variant now being sold in Europe, Lumma Design has opted to not only give it a cosmetic makeover, but an engine makeover as well. A D-box plug and play kit has been added that increases the Cayenne’s horsepower from 240 to 276. The torque also gets a jump from 550 to 630Nm. This change allows the SUV to get noticeable savings in fuel consumption. Who doesn’t love that? And if you want to add a little flare under the hood as well, then Lumma can also provide the consumer with an engine optics package. This package consists of red-coated covers and a crest logo made of metal.
Hit the jump for the full story plus the press release.
In another nod at green racing, the German automaker Volkswagen has just launched the Scirocco Bio-CNG-powered race series for 2010. With CO2 emissions reduced by 80%, the new Scirocco Cup will become the most eco-friendly one-make championship in the world, making it even more environmentally friendly than their previous Jetta TDI Cup. The Scirocco Cup car is based on the standard TSI unit that is fitted in the road going Scirocco, the Bio-CNG-racing version of the 2.0 Liter four pot develops a maximum output of 215 HP and 203 lb-ft of torque from the alternative fuel burning internal combustion engine.
In order to run a compressed natural gas setup, the Sciroccos are fitted with a 22 liter fuel tank mounted directly behind the driver and is protected by the race car’s roll cage. The so-called Bio-CNG that the Volkswagen Scirocco Cup cars will burn is produced from renewable resources such as grass or a special type of corn as well as from refined biological waste. In order to house the alternative fuel, the tanks themselves are made from a composite material and a series of stainless steel pipes and special valves are added which are required for CNG operation. The Scirocco Cup racing cars will use tried and tested components from Volkswagen production models with CNG engines ensuring that the competition cars are not only reliable, but that the innovations learned on the racetrack will be directly applicable to their street cars.
Press release after the jump.
The Volkswagen Golf is getting a little greener with the recent release of the second generation BlueMotion Rabbit. Although the alternatively fueled car is going on sale in its home market of Germany, we should expect to see the TDI powered 62 MPG Golf stateside sometime in the near future, that is if Americans can shake their distaste for diesels. Aside from the less refined fuel burning power plant Volkswagen’s engineering team has built a few more economical features into the new Golf BlueMotion, starting off with a brake energy regeneration unit. A start/stop function that automatically turns off the engine at idle to save gas when stopped at a traffic light, a gear recommendation unit to keep you on the right cog for optimum efficiency and a set of lightweight aerodynamic wheel wrapped in low rolling resistance tires as well as a slight drop in ride height.
All of those items help the Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion to make the most out of what it has under the hood. That would be a 1.6 Liter TDI power plant that delivers a very economical output of 105 HP connected to a very tall five speed gear box that could theoretically lap the Nurburgring’s Nordschleif almost five times on only one gallon of diesel. Although the other gas has caught a bad wrap over the years, modern day diesel fuel is much cleaner than it used to be and the result is nothing like the soot stained chimneys on top of 18 wheelers. Most new diesel automobiles make use of high tech particulate filters and with exhaust treatment systems in order to comply with the current regulation restrictions in Europe. With less moving parts and a whole heck of lot better fuel mileage, the 21,560 Euro Golf BlueMotion is a very practical solution to personal transportation.
Press release after the jump.
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.
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.
Honda today unveiled the FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle at the Los Angeles Auto Show, announcing plans to begin limited retail marketing of the vehicle in summer 2008. The FCX Clarity is a next-generation, zero-emissions, hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle based on the entirely-new Honda V Flow fuel cell platform, and powered by the highly compact, efficient and powerful Honda V Flow fuel cell stack. Featuring tremendous improvements to driving range, power, weight and efficiency - and boasting a low-slung, dynamic and sophisticated appearance, previously unachievable in a fuel cell vehicle - the FCX Clarity marks the significant progress Honda continues to make in advancing the real-world performance and appeal of the hydrogen-powered fuel cell car.
Volkswagen today unveiled in Shanghai the Tiguan HyMotion, a SUV prototype with a fuel cell. The electric engine has a maximum power of 134 hp and the fuel cell system develops 107 hp. The Tiguan HyMotion weights 1870 hg, makes the 0 to 60 mph sprint in 14 seconds and can hit a top speed of 93 mph.