My guess is that anyone reading this blog probably also watched the big game last night (congratulations to the Saints and perhaps more importantly, to the city of New Orleans--you deserve it). During the second half of the game, a 60 second commercial came on with the soundtrack "The Green Police" (a take on "The Dream Police" by Cheap Trick in case you couldn't tell) that ended with what appears to be a green police approved vehicle moving on down the road. Well, the commercial was for the 2010 Audi A3 TDI clean diesel hybrid … Read more
For the second year in a row, the Green Car of the Year award has been handed to a clean diesel vehicle. This time around, it's the 2010 Audi A3 TDI and its 2.0-liter direct-injected turbo-diesel engine that's beaten its way to the top of a field populated mostly with gas-electric hybrids from Toyota, Mercury, and Honda.
Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of the Green Car Journal, which sponsors the award, cites the A3's EPA-estimated 42 highway mpg, five-seater hatchback functionality, and fun driving experience seasoned with healthy portions of low-end torque as the reasons for … Read more
Volkswagen unveiled one of the few new concepts at the 2009 LA auto show, a tiny hybrid concept called the Up Lite concept (or Up! Lite, if you have a penchant for gratuitous punctuation). This small turbo-diesel hybrid possesses a small physical footprint--being much smaller than the VW Golf--and a super small carbon footprint, reaching an astronomical 70 US mpg fuel economy on the EU testing cycle.
To create the power train for the Up Lite, VW took its 1.6-liter TDI engine, chopped it in half, and slapped an electric engine on the back. Of course, we're sure … Read more
BMW's sole U.S. assembly plant is preparing to launch a hybrid version of the X6 sports coupe late this year, said Josef Kersher, president of BMW Manufacturing Co., of Spartanburg, S.C. But that doesn't mean the automaker is losing faith that U.S. buyers eventually will embrace diesel vehicles, he said.
More than half of the X5 crossovers built in Spartanburg are diesels, Kersher said. Today, the vast majority of those are shipped overseas, he said. Spartanburg supplies all the X5s and X6s for the world market, Kersher said.
BMW has faith that Americans will buy … Read more
It's taken many years, but we've finally gotten a few diesel cars to choose from in the U.S. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen are all offering versions of their cars with diesel engines, and from what we've seen the fuel economy can be impressive. And unlike older diesel cars, these new models have good acceleration and no black soot spewing from the exhaust.
With falling gas prices dampening enthusiasm for alternative fuels, and poor economic conditions causing automakers to tighten their belts, plans for new diesel car launches in the U.S. have slowed. However, diesel engine cars still present a good option over gasoline-powered cars, generally getting much better fuel economy. Although automakers scaled back their plans, Bosch, which makes diesel engine components, still wants to change the perception of diesel cars in the U.S. so the public will be more receptive, and even demanding of this technology from automakers.
To that end, Bosch loaned us a 2007 BMW 123d, a car you can't currently get in the U.S., so we could see how it performed in comparison with gasoline cars. Combating the image of soot-spewing diesel trucks, Bosch adopted the slogan "good, clean fun" for its diesel technology, and the BMW 123d was a means to make sure we had some fun.
BMW started selling its 1-series car in the U.S. last year, as the 128 and 135, in coupe and convertible formats. While we found both cars to be very enjoyable, the 123d is a hatchback, a style that makes much more sense with the diminutive sports car. Increased rear headroom makes the cars rear seats more usable, although still tight, and the hatchback means you have substantially more cargo area. After driving the 123d, we really wish BMW would bring the 1-series hatchback to the U.S., with a diesel or gas engine. It didn't hurt that this 123d was also fitted with an M kit, meaning a sport-tuned suspension. … Read more
Mercedes-Benz has announced the addition of new four-cylinder E 200 CDI and CGI BlueEfficiency models to the European 2010 E-Class lineup.
The thrifty E 200 CDI is powered by a common-rail, direct-injected, 2.1-liter, diesel engine that outputs 136-horsepower and a staggering 365 pound-feet of torque. Zero to 62 mph happens in a decent 10.2 seconds, but what's most impressive is the 45.2 mpg that it averages while doing so.
Those who want a little bit more speed can hit 62 mph in 8.7 seconds in the E 200 CGI, which is powered by a turbocharged, … Read more
OGDEN, Utah--I love my iPhone, but usually, I try not to depend on it keeping a phone call active for that long if I'm moving around much.
But on Sunday, I had what I thought was a noteworthy session of iPhone continuity. On my Road Trip 2009 project, I was here in Ogden, Utah, nestled at the base of the Wasatch Mountains, about an hour north of Salt Lake City.
It was a stunningly beautiful day, and Ogden features hiking trails that go straight up into the canyons of these first few miles of the Wasatches. So I drove … Read more
BMW confirmed today that its BMW X1 crossover SUV will debut in the United States during the 2011 calendar year. The X1 will be available in rear-wheel drive and xDrive all-wheel drive flavors powered by both gasoline and diesel power-train options.
In Europe, the X1 will be available in six trim levels, from the 258 horsepower, straight-six gasoline powered X1 xDrive28i to the turbodiesel X1 xDrive23d, which produces 295 pound-feet of torque. BMW isn't telling which, if any, of the European power trains we will see in the North American X1, but the press release makes special mention of … Read more
The maker of some of the world's safest vehicles will soon be the maker of one of the world's most fuel-efficient vehicles. Volvo announced today plans to produce a plug-in hybrid vehicle that will be available in 2012.
"Most car journeys are short trips, for instance to and from work. We will be able to offer a product that fulfills this transportation need. In order to cover longer distances as well, the car will also be equipped with one of Volvo's fuel-efficient diesel engines," Volvo President and CEO Stephen Odell said in a press statement.
The new development will be a joint venture between Volvo and Swedish energy company Vattenfall. Volvo plans to create a plug-in version of an existing model rather than create a new one, and its charging systems will be developed and supplied by Vattenfall.
Volvo has previously stated its plans for a fleet of 10 plug-in hybrids. The Swedish car company did not name which of its existing cars will be the first to go plug-in, but last year Volvo road-tested the ReCharge Plug-in Hybrid, which is based on the C30 coupe platform and uses a diesel engine to power the lithium ion batteries. … Read more