Archive for July, 2011

Obama reaches fuel-efficiency agreement with 13 automakers

  U.S. President Barack Obama said his administration and thirteen automakers from around the world agreed to raise fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light-trucks to 54.4 miles per gallon (mpg) by the model year 2025. “This agreement on fuel standards represents the single most important step we’ve ever taken as a nation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” Obama said. The president said that the new efficiency standards will save an average family more than $8,000 in fuel costs over time (while saving the country about $1.7-trillion). He added that by 2025, the amount of oil used will be cut by 2.2 million barrels per day. “This is another important step toward saving money for drivers, breaking our dependence on imported oil and cleaning up the air we breathe,” said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in a statement. “American consumers are calling for cleaner cars …

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BMW unveils i3 and i8 electric concept cars

  BMW presented two concept cars on Friday for the first generation of electric vehicles to be launched under its new sub-brand i starting in 2013, and said it will invest in a company named Parkatmyhouse, which offers a service to rent out private parking space via Internet or smart-phone application. The upcoming i3 “will mark the launch of the first volume-produced car featuring bodywork largely made of carbon,” BMW research and development chief Klaus Draeger said during a presentation in Frankfurt. BMW didn’t elaborate on the expected annual sales volume, but Chief Financial Officer Friedrich Eichiner noted that in terms of earnings per vehicle the new cars will contribute to the company’s targeted earnings before interest and taxes margin range of between 8% and 10%. Making electric cars economically viable despite expensive components such as the battery is a key challenge for the …

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World’s only street-legal turbine powered Batmobile

  How would you like to drive your very own, real-life, turbine-powered Batmobile? Casey Putsch discovered that you won’t find one at your local Chevy dealership. So he built one himself. An aspiring racecar driver, Casey Putsch took 5 months to build the car using spare racecar parts and military surplus. How did he get his hands on those parts? Obviously his talents go beyond auto mechanics. But don’t underestimate this man’s auto mechanics skills, either. His Batmobile reaches a top speed of 185 mph. The engine was made by Boeing and was reclaimed from a Navy helicopter. The turbine drives the car’s rear wheels via a semi-automatic transmission. The Batmobile he built is a replica from the 1989 Blockbuster Batman movie, which was directed by Tim Burton. It starred Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson and Kim Basinger and grossed over $400 million worldwide. When asked why …

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GM to boost Chevy Volt Production to 5,000 a month

  General Motors, trailing Nissan in electric-car sales, plans to boost output of its Chevrolet Volt to 5,000 a month as the automaker seeks to seize the lead and test consumers’ hunger for plug-in vehicles. Nissan is winning this year, selling 3,875 of the Leaf in the U.S. to GM’s 2,745 Volt sales. While Nissan accelerated production faster than GM, the Detroit automaker will outstrip its Japanese rival and make 5,000 of the Volt a month as soon as January, Tony Posawatz, the director of the vehicle line, said in an interview. At today’s production levels, both vehicles are in short supply and the automakers have thousands of consumers on waiting lists. It’s still unknown whether customers ultimately prefer a pure electric car like the Leaf or a plug-in hybrid like the Volt that can travel longer distances, and how many people are willing …

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Obama, Automakers Close to Announcing Car Fuel Efficiency Deal

  The Obama administration is reportedly close to closing a big negotation – but it’s not about the national debt. Rather, it’s about the fuel efficiency standard for cars and trucks in 2025 – only 14 years away. A deal is close to being announced, the Associated Press reports. They haven’t been easy. The administration reportedly wants 54.5 miles per gallon, down from a 56.2 mpg target just a month ago. Automakers, with the help of Michigan’s congressional delegation, have pushed back hard. The AP says automakers have said they’d work to get vehicles averaging 42.6 to 46.7 miles per gallon. An administration official not authorized to speak about the negotiations said feedback from many manufacturers is positive and discussions are wrapping up, according to the AP. In 2009, automakers agreed to raise fuel economy standards to 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. Click Here …

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Nissan Leaf earns top five-star safety rating

  The Nissan Leaf earned a top five-star rating in the federal government’s new, tougher crash test rating system. Under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s new rating system, all vehicles are given a single rating of one to five stars based on their scores in seperate front and side impact tests as well as resistance to rollovers. The Leaf earned four stars for occupant protection in front-end crashes, five stars for side crash protection and four stars for resistance to rolling over, resulting in the overall five-star score. The Leaf is an electrically powered plug-in car. It can go about 70 miles on a charge, according to EPA estimates. NHTSA used updated crash test regimen, introduced last year, which includes a new side crash test in which vehicles slide diagonally into a pole, mimicking a car skidding into a light post or tree. General Motors’ …

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World’s smallest four-seater ‘Scion iQ’ debuts

  In San Francisco, a city known for cable cars, crusty sourdough and intense competition for curbside parking, a tiny car that’s a bit more than 10 feet long might sound perfect for commuters. Toyota’s new Scion iQ will test whether Americans are ready to put aside more-is-more thinking in favor of a model that will be the second-shortest car sold in the U.S. market, after the Smart ForTwo. Just as road monsters such as General Motors’ late Hummer and Ford’s yawning Excursion pushed the upper extremes of sport-utility mania, microcars such as the iQ and the Smart show how far at least some consumers will go for a low price, high gas mileage and two-to-a-space parking. Smart was an 8-foot, 8-inch sensation when it rolled out in 2008, but sales have melted. Mercedes-Benz, whose parent Daimler makes the car in France, took back …

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Used car prices stay strong on fuel efficient models

  Your three to five year old Toyota Prius or Ford Focus may not be worth what it was in June, at the recent peak of gasoline prices, but it’s still likely worth 10% to 30% more than it was at the beginning of the year, according to the latest projections from the NADA Used Car Guide due out Friday. Used vehicle prices – and particularly prices for well-tended fuel efficient models — have been strong for much of the year. A combination of high gas prices and a shortage of Japanese-made cars – including the Toyota Prius – caused by the disruption after the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan drove prices to record levels in May. A Toyota Prius valued at $12,225 in January could be worth as much as $15,925 in August, according to the NADA guide’s projections. That’s down …

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Paris Hilton trades in her yellow Lexus LFA Supercar for the same car in white

  Paris Hilton has traded in her yellow Lexus LFA supercar because it reminds her of her ex-boyfriend for a white version worth $375,000. Paris Hilton sits inside her brand new Lexus LFA supercar. The hotel heiress received the Lexus LFA convertible, of which only 500 exist, as a 30th birthday present from her former lover Cy Waits in February and although she wanted to get rid of all reminders of him after their recent split, Paris loved the car so much she simply swapped it for a different colour, the Huffington Post is reporting. Paris Hilton receives a yellow Lexus LFA as a 30th birthday gift from her ex Cy. Perhaps the 30-year-old hotel heiress was keen to remove all traces of Cy from her life because she has got a new love interest. While only 500 of these japanese supercars are ever to be built, strange …

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Automakers research ways to re-use old electric vehicle batteries

  The electric car market has barely taken off, but automakers already are looking at what to do – and how to make money – from used car batteries in electric vehicles. General Motors said Wednesday it’s working with energy storage company ABB to build a prototype battery system that will go through field testing starting next year. The prototype system will can deliver 25 kilowatts of power for two hours, said Sandeep Bala, a power electronics engineer from ABB, during a conference call on Wednesday. GM and ABB are designing the system to suit the needs of utilities, particularly those who are adding a lot of solar and wind electricity to its energy mix. Solar and wind farms can’t deliver a steady flow of power to the electric grid because they only produce electricity when the sun shines or the wind blows. …

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