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Archive for the ‘Hybrid Cars’ Category

Bad Timing for the New Prius, But Does It Matter?

June 30th, 2015

2015 Toyota Prius Five pic-5640244198888418979

Gas prices are low, hybrids have lost their luster, and competition is fierce for alternative-fuel cars. So now is a great time to introduce a hybrid, right?

There was a time when the Toyota Prius was the only option for buyers who wanted to advertise the fact that they love the environment. Celebrities and consumers alike proudly drove the efficient little soapboxes as a statement of being different.

Today things have changed, as relatively low gas prices and an influx of new hybrids, electrics, and diesels sit on dealer lots around the world while the Prius has lost favor among trendsetters.

Basically, the timing for an all-new Prius couldn’t be worse. You know who doesn’t care?

The all-new Prius.

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The Next Porsche Killer: A Baby NSX?

June 25th, 2015
Can anyone beat it?

Can anyone beat it?

There aren’t many ways to compete with the Porsche Cayman.

Porsche is the most formidable player in the sports-car world, and the Cayman is as good as somewhat-affordable sports cars get. Very few companies field competitors to the Cayman. In fact, the biggest competitors are other Porsches, so the German automaker pretty much has a monopoly on the market for performance and luxury.

Buyers looking to avoid the price premium of Porsche can look to the Nissan 370Z and pay half the price but get half the car. There’s also an exciting newcomer on the scene in the form of the Alfa Romeo 4C, which is probably the fiercest competitor to the Cayman. The problem with the 4C is availability. Even if you can afford one, the odds of getting one aren’t good.

So who can step up and actually deliver a genuine competitor to the Cayman?

Honda.

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Dream of These Cars for Your 2015 Road Trip

June 12th, 2015

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid-pic-9170370577234996208

Like many of you, I’ll embark on a road trip this summer. My plans will take me from the plains of Eastern Washington down to Bend, Oregon, then on to Tahoe City, Los Angeles, San Diego, and back up north to Washington with passes through Arizona, Utah, and Idaho.

It’ll be my wife and me for most of the trip, and we’ll have some children on various legs, so we’ll take the SUV and sacrifice gas mileage for much-needed storage space. As much as I’d love to have a vehicle that delivers comfort and 30+ miles per gallon on the highway, it won’t happen on this trip.

Instead I’ll dream of my ideal car for road tripping while remaining thankful for the vehicle I do have. It sure would be nice to have one of these, though.

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Toyota Prius: Most Stolen Car in America?

June 2nd, 2015

2015 Toyota Prius pic-362296487971647730

Imagine the movie “Gone in 60 Seconds” with a Prius in place of the Shelby GT500.

Not very exciting, is it?

Car theft has been romanticized in movies and video games, but the reality is far less exciting. Cars are stolen every day in this country, and it happens in plain site at grocery stores, in home driveways, and in mass-transit parking lots.

Instead of targeting brash sports cars, thieves often go for the kinds of cars that blend in and are easily taken apart so in-demand parts can be sold. The traditional pièce de résistance of thieves is the Honda Accord, which fits those criteria perfectly.

There may, however, be a new king in town.

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NEMPA Panels Dig Into Green Vehicle Technology

May 22nd, 2015

DSCN1961

This week we attended the New England Motor Press Association (NEMPA)’s panel discussion on the future of green vehicle technology, California’s Zero Emission Vehicle mandate, and mass-market adoption of these technologies. It was a terrific, fruitful discussion. Two 4-person panels brought together expertise and opinions from automakers, energy research groups, electric utilities, and state politicians as they discussed the industry’s current strategies and what needs to change to increase the desirability and sales of Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs).

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Politics, Electric Vehicles, General Chat, Green Updates, Hybrid Cars

How to Find Your Perfect Car

May 20th, 2015

2002 Saturn SL2

“What’s the best car I can buy?”

The question pops up quite often at family gatherings, social events, in random Facebook messages, and anywhere people find out I write for a car blog.

The answer is always the same.

“The one that makes you happy.”

Of course, people want more information than that. They want to be told which car offers the best value, best performance, best fuel economy, best reliability, and so on. Needless to say, there is no “best car money can buy.” There is a “best car for you.”

Today we’ll look at the best car to buy if you want an inexpensive used car with great gas mileage.

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Tesla: From Underdog to Insane Mode

May 14th, 2015

tesla-model-s-p85d

A few years ago the idea of buying an $80,000+ electric car that had limited range, few places to refuel, and no dealer network was a laughable proposition. To top it all off, the company that wanted to sell the car had very little automotive design or manufacturing experience.

Around the same time, one of the world’s top automakers had plans for a new electric car that promised to be affordable, good looking, and easy to take on a road trip anywhere roads exist without worrying about running out of range.

The winner?

Like we even have to say it.

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We Want a Malibu That Looks Like the FNR Concept

April 24th, 2015

Chevrolet FNR concept

What you see above could be an early glimpse into what the 2065 Chevy Malibu might look like. True, it’s rare for an automaker to tease us with product that’s 50 years away, but I think Chevrolet has done just that.

For now, this is just a design concept that Chevy has dubbed the FNR and unveiled at the Shanghai Auto Show. I could try to describe its looks, but I think it’s best to let the pictures do the talking, because there’s just no good way to describe what is going on here visually.

How is it powered? I’ll let Gizmag explain:

The electric car is powered by magnetic hubless wheel motors and charged wirelessly. The driver starts the motor with an iris recognition system and can opt between manual and autonomous modes. A combination of sensors and a roof-mounted radar system analyzes the surroundings during autonomous driving, and a set of crystal laser head and tail lamps light the way.

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Time to Trade the Hybrid for an SUV?

April 23rd, 2015

2015 Jeep Renegade

Don’t jump back into an SUV just yet!

If you drive an electric car or a hybrid, you might be tempted by low gas prices to make the leap back into an SUV or crossover. It happens every time there’s a fluctuation in fuel prices; they rise, and people flock to hybrids. They sink, and people migrate back to the big rigs.

Americans are a fickle breed, and we have a hard time looking at the long-term picture. With gas prices currently well under $3 per gallon in most of the country, the great transition back to SUVs is already in place.

According to CNN, so far this year only 45 percent of people who traded in an environmentally friendly hybrid car purchased another. That means 55 percent of folks went back to gas, and many of those were SUV purchases.

The logic makes sense, but whatever happened to the days when someone made a decision and stuck with it for a while?

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2016 Volvo XC90 Twin Engine: Double the Induction

April 21st, 2015

2016 Volvo XC90 T8 twin engine

So the term “twin engine” has officially become a thing, and now the world is just a little more bonkers.

Cars have been using two engines, or perhaps motors would be a better word, since the advent of the hybrid vehicle. One motor runs on gas, and the other runs on electricity, both working together to provide fuel efficiency and power.

Volvo will sell its new XC90 with a similar setup, except it’ll market its flagship SUV as the XC90 T8 Twin Engine.

It sounds impressive, and it is. The two engines, though, are just the beginning.

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