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Archive for the ‘green cars’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Toyota Prius TRD

We here at TopSpeed don’t shy away from exploring the weirder and wilder side of performance vehicles. In fact, we relish in it. Any chance we come across to break away from convention and blow your mind is worth it, especially if it gets the unruly mobs up in arms. And that’s exactly the sort of reaction we’re expecting with this – a performance-oriented Toyota Prius TRD. Here’s the formula – ditch the eco tires, slap on some real rubber, boost the engine, stiffen the suspension, add the proper cabin gear, and voila – the perfect solution to a dearth of jimmy rustlin’.

But here’s the thing – we’re actually totally serious. This isn’t some April Fool’s joke. We legitimately think there’s a real case to made for a performance Prius. Don’t believe us? Then read on. We dare you.

Continue reading to learn more about the Toyota Prius TRD.


PostHeaderIcon Honda Goes Full Eco Warrior, Expands Clarity Line With PHEV And EV

Between low gas prices, national carbon reduction pledges, and fluctuating regulations, it’s not exactly certain where the market for environmentally friendly transportation will head next. But that’s not bothering Honda, which just announced it will expand its Clarity lineup to include new plug-in hybrid and all-electric variants, essentially providing all avenues of attack when it comes to green options for consumers.

You probably recognize the Clarity nameplate as Honda’s hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, the four-door sedan offered up in December of last year as an answer to the Toyota Mirai. The move to include a hybrid and an EV, in addition to the hydrogen Clarity, coincides with Honda’s stated intentions of reducing carbon emissions over the long term.

“The Honda Clarity is aimed at accelerating the deployment of advanced electrified powertrain technology and bringing electrified vehicles further into the mainstream,” said senior vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Jeff Conrad.

Honda has previously indicated that it wants 2 out of every 3 vehicles sold to be electrified by the year 2030. That’s a mighty ambitious goal, but an expanded Clarity lineup is a big step towards making it a reality.

Read on for more details, as well as a few of the specs on the newly unveiled Clarity hybrid and EV.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Acura MDX Sport Hybrid

Acura first presented the third-generation MDX in production form at the 2013 New York Auto Show, and it went into production just a month later in Lincoln, Alabama. Offered with a 3.5-liter V-6 that makes use of variable cylinder management, and as a FWD vehicle in the U.S. for the first time, the MDX was ready to continue its battle in an overpopulated segment. But, to stay at the top of the food chain, the MDX has to remain as relevant and fresh as possible, which is why Acura gave it a fairly intensive facelift for the 2017 model year. As such, it’s more aggressive than ever and features Acura’s new Precision Grille on the outside while the interior took some minor changes to offer better refinement and space. Now, Acura is bringing an updated MDX Sport Hybrid to the market, and it offers a significant improvement in power over the range-topping, non-hybrid MDX.

To put it simply, the new MDX Hybrid uses the same three-motor setup that is found in the RLX Sport Hybrid and the Acura NSX and pushes the output for this new range-topper over the top with an extra 30 ponies and 40 percent better fuel economy in the city. That’s a pretty big deal for those of you who are concerned with fuel usage, and for those who want just a little extra oomph. The MDX Sport Hybrid is set to hit dealers starting in early April, so let’s take a closer look at it and see what it brings to the table before it gets there.

Continue reading to learn more about the Acura MDX Sport Hybrid.


PostHeaderIcon Volkswagen Could Throw the Proverbial Turd in Bentley's Punch Bowl

A couple of years ago, Bentley surprised us all by showing off the 2015 Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 Concept, a delicious-looking coupe with a bold design and more character than a Stephen King Novel. Then, just a couple of years later, Bentley found itself in the same place, only this time with the 2017 EXP 12 Speed 6e Concept. It had the bold styling of the first concept, but this time it was said to have an electrified drivetrain and unlimited headroom. The business case has been made, and the masses have shown lots of interest in such a model, but the Volkswagen Group could keep the Bentley two-seater from ever seeing production.

See, since Bentley is a part of the dirty VAG (pun intended,) it has to be careful when it comes to intergroup competition, and with the Audi R8 being a big model for Audi, VAG may not approve of the EXP in production form. In an interview with Motoring, Uday Senapati – the Head of Technical Operations at Mulliner – said, “From within Bentley, definitely yes [there’s momentum]. But we’re part of a big group, and it has to work with the rest of the group… Because we are a portfolio of brands, we can’t be overtly competing against each other.” When asked if a direct competitor to the R8 was off limits, he responded with, “Exactly. So if we can create a niche segment for it, then yes [we can do it].”

So, with that said, Bentley can’t just go the usual route with the two-seater if it’s ever to see production, but that doesn’t mean all is lost. Keep reading to find out.


PostHeaderIcon A Look at America's Relationship with Electric Vehicles

Electric cars have technically been around since 1837 when a chemist named Robert Davidson built an electric car that was powered by galvanic cells. But, the first highway-legal electric vehicle didn’t hit the market until 2008. Since then, interest in electric vehicles has increased slowly but steadily, and in 2017 there are at least 25 PEVs now available on the market. This includes models like the Tesla Model S and X, Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, Mercedes C350E, and the Volvo XC90 90 T8 PHEV, among others.

So, what is a PEV, really? A PEV is a subset of electric vehicles that includes all-electric or battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs), and electric vehicle conversions of hybrid electric vehicles and conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. But, are PEVs actually taking a hold in the automotive market or are they set to see a decline as they did in the early 1900s? Well, we’ve put together an infographic to detail our relationship with PEVs here in the United States and just how well they sold in 2016 in comparison to 2015. So, let’s take a look at the infographic in detail and talk a little more about it.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon 2016 Electric Vehicle Sales in the U.S. [INFOGRAPHIC]

Electric cars have technically been around since 1837 when a chemist named Robert Davidson built an electric car that was powered by galvanic cells. But, the first highway-legal electric vehicle didn’t hit the market until 2008. Since then, interest in electric vehicles has increased slowly but steadily, and in 2017 there are at least 25 PEVs now available on the market. This includes models like the Tesla Model S and X, Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, Mercedes C350E, and the Volvo XC90 90 T8 PHEV, among others.

So, what is a PEV, really? A PEV is a subset of electric vehicles that includes all-electric or battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs), and electric vehicle conversions of hybrid electric vehicles and conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. But, are PEVs actually taking a hold in the automotive market or are they set to see a decline as they did in the early 1900s? Well, we’ve put together an infographic to detail the electric vehicle market statistics here in the United States for the year 2016, including market growth, most popular models, and the number of sales by state. So, let’s take a look at the infographic in detail and talk a little more about it.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon BMW i8 Spyder

When BMW first showed off the i-brand concepts, we had no idea we would see production models so fast. In what seemed like just a few seconds in the grand scheme of things, we were looking at production models of the BMW i3 and BMW i8. With the i8 Spyder Concept debuting in 2012, and the production version of the i8 hitting dealers for the 2015 model year, Bimmer fans everywhere have been itching for a production version of the i8 Spyder. So much, in fact, that the rumor mill has been working overtime and there have even been a few false sightings of the unicorn. But, either hell has frozen over or pigs have sprouted wings (or, maybe it’s both) because someone finally caught an official i8 Spyder prototype cruising in the middle of nowhere. They aren’t the best photos we’ve ever received, but the top is clearly down, and it appears to be every bit legitimate thanks to that “hybrid test vehicle” sticker prominently displayed on the rear fascia.

And, while we’ve all been waiting somewhat impatiently for the i8 Spyder, the fact that we’re finally seeing a prototype isn’t all that surprising. Just a few months ago, BMW CEO Harald Krueger not only confirmed the car was in the works, but that it had a production target of 2018! That means that we should see it in production form sometime toward the end of 2017. It’s doubtful that this is the i8 Spyder’s first venture onto public roads, so props to BMW for managing to keep it out of the public eye for so long. But, with that said, let’s talk a little more about what we can see from these few spy shots in my speculative review below.

Updated 02/28/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming i8 Spyder during winter testing in Sweden.

Click past the jump to read in detail about the 2018 BMW i8 Spyder


PostHeaderIcon Nanoflowcell's Quantino Concept Could Go Into Production

First showcased at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show in concept form, the innovative NanoFlowcell Quantino might go into production in the future. According to the London-based company, NanoFlowcell is in talks with a “large manufacturer that is not German” about moving the Quantino from concept to production form. The Quantino could be rebranded and become reality in “four to five years’ time,” the company’s technology boss, Nunzio La Vecchia, told Autocar.

It’s not yet clear which automaker will help Nanoflowcell and how much the company will spend to bring the car onto public roads, but the Quantino’s arrival could change the way we look at green cars. That’s because the technology behind it is not only revolutionary, but it could also make electric cars seem dated.

Specifically, the Quantino takes its power from a ion exchange between a positively charged liquid and a negatively charged one. The liquids, which consist of water and an undisclosed mix of organic and inorganic salts, are kept in separate on-board tanks and pumped into a semi-permeable membrane. Working like a typical fuel cell membrane, it keeps the liquids separate while allowing ions within them to cross and create electricity.

The system produces 48 volts and drives four 25kW electric motors that give the Quantino an output of around 106 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. The car can travel for 620 miles with both tanks full, while top speed is estimated at 124 mph. The refueling process is similar to that of an internal combustion engine car, but it needs two different fluids instead of one. Much of the car’s running gear and components come from a BMW 2 Series, but this could change as the vehicle moves closer to production.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Tesla Model 3's First Year Of Production Is Sold Out

Elon Musk’s Twitter account has been a go-to source for breaking news recently, and the Tesla CEO once again took less than 140 characters to announce (somewhat indirectly) that the Model 3’s first year of production has sold out. The company’s founder revealed the enlightening information while responding to an article shared by Fortune Magazine saying that new rounds of reservations for the Model 3 aren’t expected to be reopened for another two years.

The news marks the first time that Musk or anybody from Tesla has commented about the Model 3’s production status since May when the automaker confirmed that it had received more than 370,000 reservations for the entry-level model. Tesla has been quiet on that front since, but with Musk’s tweet, we at least get a good idea on the timetable for reservations on the car to re-open.

Tesla is still targeting a mid-2017 date to begin production of the car with a goal of getting the first wave of models delivered later in the year. At its current rate, the automaker is still in the process of ramping up its production capacity to accommodate all the Model 3 orders that have arrived. It’s only expected to deliver around 80,000 units in 2016, which is a big improvement from the 50,000 units it delivered in 2015. That number is expected to go up again in 2017 onwards as the company gears up to start production of the Model 3. The goal, according to Fortune, is to have manufacturing capabilities to produce around 500,000 models, many of which are likely going to be the Model 3.

In the meantime, those who have made the $1,000 refundable deposit on the car will have to continue to wait for their names to be called and those looking to join the long queue for the Model 3 will have to wait a little while longer to get in line.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon New Patent Images Could Point To Volkswagen's EV Future

Volkswagen made its plans loud and clear when it introduced the ID Concept at the 2016 Paris Motor Show. The prototype marked a turning point in the German automaker’s future as it signalled the start of its pursuit towards electrification and autonomous vehicle. Specific details about this future have not yet been revealed, but the company has already said that a production version of the ID concept will hit the streets in 2020, becoming the first of many EV models that VW plans to release.

On that note, recent patent filings released by the Intellectual Property Organization and unearthed by Autocar have given us a glimpse of possible new models that could be included in Volkswagen’s EV family. One of these models appears to be a low-slung sports coupe that features gull-wing doors and an active set of aerodynamic features, including an extendable rear fin at the roof of the car. Separately, the inquiring minds over at VWVortex have also discovered other vehicles that have been identified in the same patent filing, two of which appear to be vehicles of the public commuter variety, including one that literally looks like an oversized oven toaster with hidden wheels.

While the patents do reveal some striking designs, none of them have been confirmed for production capacity like the ID Concept. Given Volkswagen’s timetable for the production version of the ID, it’s very unlikely that we’ll see any of these patents come to life soon, even in concept form. For what they’re worth, they may not even amount to anything, but at the very least, they point us to the electric and autonomous driving future that Volkswagen is planning to go to.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon DHL Kicks VW While it's Down; Builds its own Electric Delivery Van

German logistics giant Deutsche Post (known as DHL across Europe) is about to become a major threat to mainstream automakers after it has quietly designed and built its own electric delivery van. Dubbed StreetScooter and made with help from 80 suppliers, including Bosch and Hella, DHL’s electric hauler will replace the company’s fleet of conventional Volkswagen Caddy vans. DHL, which is also using Renault Kagoo Z.E. EVs, operates around 1,000 StreetScooters and plans to build 5,000 units a year in order to replace the 30,000 gas- and diesel-powered vans in its current fleet.

DHL’s new strategy is already creating great concern among automakers, especially Volkswagen, which will see its contract for the Caddy vans cancelled. Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller went as far as to say that the company is “annoyed beyond measure” about DHL building the StreetScooter on its own.

“I, of course, ask myself why Post did not talk to our VW Commercial vehicles division about doing something similar. Let’s see if we can still get a foot in the door there,” he said according to Reuters. However, Mueller did not mention the fact that DHL has been refused by several automakers because it wanted a limited number of cars. In other words, Volkswagen would have been happy to provide DHL with an electric van, but only as the logistics company ordered more than just a few thousands per year. Obviously, developing a limited-run Caddy EV wouldn’t have worked for the company that wants to retain its place at the top of the automotive industry sales-wise.

But DHL didn’t waste time trying to convince mainstream automakers to build its a delivery van. Instead, it acquired StreetScooter GmbH in 2014. A former start-up that became a consortium of about 80 companies in the automotive industry and related sectors, StreetScooter was established in 2010 and had already produced its first vans in 2013. The brilliant part of building the StreetScooter is that, because it is working with a network of 80 suppliers, DHL has very little engineering costs to cover.

The electric van uses a 40-horsepower motor that runs for up to 75 miles on a single charge, reaches an electronically limited top speed of 50 mph, and has a payload of 1,400 pounds. A heavier duty, 2,200-pound version is also in the works. The van has been designed to be used 10 hours a day and six days a week over a 16-year service life. DHL says that switching to the electric van will reduce maintenance costs by 50 percent and cut repair costs by as much as 80 percent. These figures have already brought the StreetScooter in the attention of other delivery companies and word has it DHL might sell it to others as soon as it replaces every conventional vehicle in its fleet.

Now this is what really bothers Volkswagen and the like.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Three Brothers From Austria are Doing EV's the Right Way and Tesla Should be Worried

Time and time again entrepreneurs and small startups have been the driving force between some of the world’s best and biggest companies. Want proof? Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Google, and even Amazon all started with a small crew working from some garage. In fact, Amazon got started by negotiating and signing its first contracts at a Barnes & Noble. Now another small startup is unfolding in Austria, and it has the solution to building battery packs that not even your boy Elon Musk over at Tesla has been able to come up with.

The company’s name is Kreisel Electric GmbH, it’s ran by three brothers, and is headquartered in a three-bay garage in the small Austrian town. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because the company recently got a lot of publicity for the electric conversion it did to the new Porsche Panamera that was able to outshine Tesla’s Model S in some regards. But, that’s not the only thing that’s drawing the company attention. It has a unique and patented process of building lithium-ion battery packs that gives them an edge. By using laser-welding and thermal cooling, the lithium-ion cells are completely preserved throughout the production process.

Because of this, the battery packs that the company makes can push a car farther and faster than anything any automaker, including Tesla, has made to date. So far, the company has been supplying battery packs and electric drivetrains to manufacturers, designs lithium-battery production lines for OE manufacturers, and is creating prototypes for “top-tier carmakers.” While we don’t know much about who Kreisel is selling to, Automotive News reports that the company is fielding as many as 20 inquiries about its products per day, with automakers like BMW, McLaren, and Volkswagen expressing interest as well.

Just recently, Kreisel announced its first major order from VDL, a Netherland-based company that wants as many as 2,000 electric powertrains and battery packs for its fleet of Mercedes-Benz Sprinters. When asked by Automotive News why VDL chose to go with Kreisel, Erik Henneken – VDL’s Business Manager – said, “We have chosen Kreisel because they have developed a very nice battery with some patented characteristics better than Tesla. Kreisel is dynamic startup yet very professional in what they do. They grow rapidly but remain in control.”

The guys over at Kreisel obviously seem to have a pretty good handle on what they are doing and expect to sell as many as 50 million battery cells or more in the next year alone. It just broke ground on a 68,000 square-foot battery factory that will have a capacity of 800 megawatt-hours per year. That factory will be built using money earned from sales, not investments from outside sources.


PostHeaderIcon Major EV Charging Corridors Now Open

German manufacturers Volkswagen and BMW joined forces with the California-based ChargePoint Inc. to expand the electric-vehicle infrastructure throughout the U.S., and this blitzkrieg has borne fruit in the form of two new major EV charging networks within two of the most heavily traveled corridors on the East and West coast.

The Express Charging Corridors Initiative announced on the 13th of September, 2016, the addition of 95 new public charging stations meant to support EV travel from Portland, Oregon to San Diego, California, out West and from Boston, Massachusetts, to Washington, D.C., down East. These are DC, fast-charge stations set at 50-mile increments along the main highway with additional stations on the branches that feed traffic to the local places-to-be-and-see, so suddenly EV touring is a thing.

Continue reading for more information on the new charging stations.


PostHeaderIcon Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle

Hyundai’s sixth-generation Sonata (2009 – 2014) sold pretty well here in the U.S., but over in the brand’s home turf, South Korea, the car didn’t exactly exceed sales expectations. As such, 2014 brought the seventh generation model to S. Korea, which ultimately came stateside for 2015. Featuring styling cues from the Hyundai HCD-14 Concept, the car utilizes Hyundai’s Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design language that brings together things like a new grille design, new headlight lenses, LED foglights, an all-new dashboard, and there’s even a dual-clutch, seven-speed transmission available for certain models. Come 2016, and Hyundai released the Sonata Hybrid with pared a 2.0-liter engine with a 51 horsepower electric motor to provide fuel economy as high as 44 mph while cruising the interstate. With the Hybrid already on the road, it should come as no surprise that Hyundai has finally announced a plug-in variant of the Sonata Hybrid that offers an all-electric range of 27 miles and 99 MPGe when operating in EV mode.

While the new plug-in model uses the same 2.0-liter, four-cylinder the electric motor has been upgraded from 38 kW to 50 kW. That means that the new plug-in hybrid is actually a little more powerful. But, there is a tradeoff. See, the Sonata hybrid pulls 39 mpg in the city, 44 mpg on the highway, and 42 mpg combined. While it seems like a plug-in hybrid would be more fuel efficient, this model actually gets 39 mpg combined when operating in hybrid mode. So, unless you plan to actually make use of that all-electric range on a regular basis, you might want to consider the regular hybrid over the plug-in model. But, more about that later.

For now, let’s take a look at the DNA that makes up the new plug-in Sonata and everything that it brings to the table.

Continue reading to learn more about the Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle.


PostHeaderIcon Electra Meccanica Solo

Coming straight out of Canada is a new and innovative take on the EV that is aimed at making EV ownership simple, fun, and affordable. Meet the Electra Meccanica SOLO. Powered by an all-electric drivetrain and riding on three wheels, this funky little city car is the work of Jerry Kroll, formally of KleenSpeed Technologies, and Henry Reisner, the President of Intermeccanica Inc. Featuring a striking exterior design, an interior suited for just one person, and an 84-horsepower electric motor, this EV isn’t aimed at combating the Tesla Model S, or even the Nissan Leaf. Instead of attempting to replace your gas-guzzling family hauler, the SOLO is all about personal transportation and making your daily commute simple and efficient.

When speaking of the Solo, Henry Reisner, who is also the COO of Electra Meccanica, said, “It has appeal for driving enthusiasts, practical commuters, and the environmentally conscious. We believe the SOLO will become the commuter vehicle of choice for the masses. The vehicle is non-­polluting, very economical to operate, and people will have a heck of a good time driving it too.”

Now, by saying “heck of a good time,” he’s not insinuating that you’ll outrun most of the sports cars out there, but it does hit 62 mph in about eight seconds, which really isn’t bad for a car with one-wheel drive and 84 horsepower, right? On top of this, it also has pretty modern technology inside that includes an LCD instrument cluster, Bluetooth, and USB connectivity, and there’s even a rear-view camera system. It’s really not that bad for a vehicle with a sub-$20,000 price tag. But, there’s a lot more to talk about than the few tidbits we’ve discussed here, so let’s dive on into the world’s newest, single-seater, EV.


PostHeaderIcon Ford To Launch Its Electric Cars Under Model E Family Name

Ford fought hard to prevent Tesla from using the “Model E” name, and now we know why. According to Automotive News, Ford is planning to use Model E as the name to a family of compact vehicles, all of which will be powered by different forms of electric configurations.

Based on the report, the Blue Oval appears to be developing the Model E as part of the company’s aggressive push towards introducing an armada of EV models into its lineup. The automaker previously said that it would invest $4.5 billion in EV models as part of a long-term plan to develop as many as 13 hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and battery-electric vehicle lines by 2020.

The Model E looks to be the first wave of these models and the Automotive News report suggests that it could come in different body styles with a compact car and compact crossover being the likeliest styles to carry the name. In addition, the vehicles will also feature a multitude of powertrains, each coming with a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and a pure electric vehicle that’s expected to carry a range close to 200 miles per charge.

Ford’s Model E strategy has drawn similarities to the Hyundai Ioniq, a lineup of mid-sized EV hatchbacks that will also carry hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric versions. The big difference between the Ioniq and Ford’s planned Model E lineup is that the American automaker isn’t limiting the model to just one body type like Hyundai did with its model.

Ford is expected to start production for the Model E in the spring of 2019 at its production facility in Mexico. The goal, at least as far as the Blue Oval is concerned, is to have the Model E serve as a direct rival to the Chevrolet Bolt and the Tesla Model 3, the same model that Tesla planned to use the Model E name before it was shut down by Ford.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Karma Revero

Karma Automotive, previously known as Fisker Automotive, unveiled the preliminary details about the Revero, essentially an updated version of the hybrid sedan that Fisker built between 2011 to 2012. The exact details for the four-door are still under wraps for the most part, but the California-based company release a few pictures of the car, as well as a bit of information about the drivetrain.

But, before we dive into that, let’s have a quick look at the history of this hybrid sedan that is about to return to the market after nearly four years.

Launched as the Karma in 2011, it was built by Fisker Automotive and designed by the company’s founder, Henrik Fisker, the same man who penned the BMW Z8 and the Aston Martin DB9. Power was provided by two electric motors, while a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder acted as a range extender.

Production was suspended in November 2012 due to financial difficulties after sales of around 1,800 units in North America and Europe. Fisker Automotive filed for bankruptcy in November 2013, after the United States Department of Energy auctioned its debt and sold it to Hybrid Technology LLC for US$25 million. Later on, Fisker’s assets were sold to Chinese company Wanxiang, which announced plans to relaunch the Karma back in April 2015.

Meanwhile, the Fisker Karma was used as a starting point for the Destino, a V-8-powered sedan built by VLF Automotive. The company was founded by Bob Lutz and Gilbert Villarreal as VL Automotive and renamed when Henrik Fisker himself joined the automaker.

The new Karma Revero will be sold for the 2017 model year. The company says that existing Fisker Karma owners will gain exclusive access to a website that gives them the ability to reserve a Revero before the general public.

Updated 09/09/2016: Karma Automotive announced prices for its new Revero and also revealed that the company is now accepting orders for it. Full details on the “Prices” section. The announcement also comes with a series of new images and a new video. Check them out in the “Pictures” tab.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Karma Revero.


PostHeaderIcon Don't Expect This Variant Of The Porsche 911 Anytime Soon

Electrification has been one of the auto industry’s biggest buzz words in recent years and, as more automakers continue venturing into the path towards electrification, expect to see a growing number of EV models hit in the market. But, there is one model that isn’t ready to go electric just yet. That model is the Porsche 911 and, if this new report is to be believed, it’s going to be a long time before an electric 911 finds its way into a dealership.

Speaking with August Achleitner, the brains behind the development of the 911 and the Porsche 718, Drive is reporting that contrary to the long-held belief that Stuttgart is pushing to develop a battery-powered 911, there aren’t any plans to dive into those waters, at least not yet. According to Achleitner, the current layout of the 911 isn’t suited for an EV version because the result would be an incredibly heavy car that would impede its power and performance capabilities. That, in turn, would be harmful to the model if Porsche forced the situation.

That said, Porsche isn’t ruling out an all-electric 911 altogether. It could still happen, but sometime farther down the road. Holding off on such an action gives Porsche enough time to layout its plan on how it wants to tackle the situation and, if there’s a model that needs to be planned out thoroughly, it’s the 911. Rushing it just doesn’t make sense.

In the meantime, Porsche is focusing its EV attention on the Mission E sports sedan, which it’s already developing as a model that will launch the company into the world of all-electric vehicles without having to compromise the performance integrity of the rest of its lineup. If the technology developed for the Mission E proves to be successful, it could eventually translate into the rest of the lineup, including the 911 and the 718 sports car.

Just don’t expect it to happen overnight.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon BMW 330e iPerformance

BMW is adding yet another model to its 3 Series lineup, this time in the form of a plug-in hybrid that will be known as the 330e iPerformance. The car takes a four-cylinder gasoline engine with TwinPower Turbo technology and mates it with eDrive technology derived from models like the BMW i3 and BMW i8 to deliver upward of 250 horsepower and more than 200 pound-feet of torque. As is the case with most plug-in hybrid models, the 330e iPerformance can be driven on battery power alone for a limited distance.

The 3 Series has arguably set the bar for things like performance and fuel economy in the past, so it’s no surprise that BMW looks to raise the bar again with this plug-in hybrid. The entire electric system has been strategically integrated into the 3 Series to ensure optimal weight distribution and energy savings and, as you would expect, the 330e iPerformance can be charged on the go through ChargeNow – BMW’s i mobility service that offers more than 30,000 charging points in 22 countries.

The 330e goes on sale this summer and will be considered the range-topping model price-wise in the U.S. with a starting invoice higher than that of the $43,000 3 Series Gran Turismo. Before get to further into detail on that, let’s take a closer look at the 330e iPerformance and all it offers.

Update 06/24/2016: Bimmer has announced pricing for the 2017 BMW 330e iPerformance sedan. Check out the prices section below for all the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW 330e iPerformance.


PostHeaderIcon Texas Auto Writers Association Names the 2016 Car of Texas & Family Car of Texas

Every spring, dozens of journalists from all over Texas and around the U.S. gather to compare, test, and crown the winner of the “Car of Texas” competition. The hard-fought award comes from the Texas Auto Writers Association as a result from its Springtime Auto Roundup, signifying the winner’s importance to the Texas people. On top of that, several other vehicles walked away with segment awards, including TAWA’s “Family Car of Texas” award.

As a member of TAWA, I traveled to Fort Worth, home of the Texas Motor Speedway, for some seat time in 51 cars and crossovers before evaluating each one on its performance of intended function and how it stacks up against its competition.

The list of competitors was certainly thick, with each category having multiple entries, some of which are new or heavily revised for the 2016 or 2017 model years. The compact car category had the largest number of contenders, with eight entries, followed by both the performance sedan and activity vehicle segments, each having six entries. There was one loner, the 2016 Dodge Viper GTC, holding down the supercar category.

Beyond the categories, there were also competitions for the best new feature and best new interior. Presiding above them all were the top honors – the Car of Texas and the Family Car of Texas. What vehicles were crowned? You’ll have to keep reading to find out.

Continue reading for the results break-down


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