Neil Young’s Hybrid Car Set Warehouse Aflame

By dancurranjr On November 29th, 2010

Neil Young’s plans to convert his beloved 1959 Lincoln Continental from a gas-guzzler into a fuel-efficient hybrid have gone up in smoke, along with roughly $850,000 in his possessions, reports the Associated Press.

According to officials, the LincVolt, which underwent a much-publicized makeover — there was a Web site,, and a four-part film series — caught on fire and triggered a blaze that spread throughout the San Francisco Bay area warehouse where the songwriter had been storing valuables and memorabilia.

Fire crews were able to save about 70 percent of the goods, but the car was damaged.

Entry Level Mercedes C Class Coupe Hybrid a Possibility

By dancurranjr On January 16th, 2010

Mercedes entered the entry level luxury vehicle category years ago with it C230 Kompressor coupe.  The vehicle was a capable model with strong performance, solid handling and a refined driving experience.  Mercedes buyers showed little interest and sales were unexpectedly low.  Then BMW entered the same segment with its recent 1 Series.  A capable performer on all fronts with a price that undercut the 3 Series by thousands and according to sales numbers, the model is a hit.

Why is the BMW a success and the Mercedes a failure?  It could easily be a result of the economic times right now and Mercedes seems to think so too as they are now considering a second go around at the entry level luxury segment.  The company is expected to offer a 2 door C-Class to compete with BMW’s 1 Series, but this time around Mercedes will offer a hybrid option as a a fuel efficient alternative to competitors.

The hybrid is rumored to be powered by a V6 engine from the Mercedes lineup.  It will be naturally aspirated and is expected to be the most efficient vehicle in its class.   Along with the hybrid option, Mercedes is considering a twin turbo V6, a 5.5 liter twin turbo V8 AMG model, and a DOHC V6 as the base engine.  Interestingly, no diesel option has been reported.

The C-Class coupe is expected to go on sale in 2011.  There is no word if the hybrid option will be available immediately at launch and pricing has yet to be announced.  Stay with us for more details as they emerge.

SOURCE: All Cars Electric

Details of Honda CR-Z Hybrid Leaked

By dancurranjr On December 13th, 2009

Honda CRZ HybridKeeping secrets in the internet age is a daunting task when photos and written material can be uploaded to the internet at the speed of light. That’s what happened to Honda yesterday when someone fed a purloined copy of the sales brochure for the new CR-Z hybrid sports coupe into a scanner and then put the results out on the web.

The brochure reveals some of the specifications for this much anticipated new model. The car will have a 1.5 liter V-TEC engine rated at 114 horsepower and 107 lb-ft of torque and an electric motor providing an additional 13 horsepower and 57 ft-lbs of torque. Both a CVT (continuously varialbe transmission) and a 6 speed manual transmission will be offered. 0 – 60 time is said to be 9.7 seconds.

While those performance numbers are not startling, the package that Honda has created certainly is. For the moment, it ranks as one of the sleekest, sexiest hybrids ever seen. The upgraded aero package from Mugen, Honda’s performance division, shown below, is especially tasty. The CVT will offer Normal, Eco and Sportt modes, but I’ll still take the 6 speed manual in mine, please!

The CR-Z is expected to be in showrooms by late Spring.


BMW Announces Pricing of New Hybrid Models

By dancurranjr On December 7th, 2009

bmw-hybridsIf you thought BMW was about to bring environmentally responsible driving to the average Joe, then you might be a touch disappointed with the price tag slapped on the 2011 ActiveHybrid 7 models.

The vehicles made their North American debut at the Los Angeles International Auto Show ahead of arriving in showrooms from spring 2011. So how much will they cost? Well the base price will be $103,215 (£62,406) which includes destination and handling for the ActiveHybrid 7 and $107,025 (£64,713) for the long wheelbase ActiveHybrid 7L.

Better start saving now then.

So what do you get for your money?

Well, the ActiveHybrid 7 is a mild-hybrid application that offers a 15 per cent reduction in fuel consumption. It includes a combination of an upgraded 4.4litre twin-turbo, high precision direct injection V8 engine with a three-phase synchronous 15kW electric motor, which is supplied by a compact, 400Wh lithium-ion battery. This gives the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 a combined output of 455hp and a maximum torque of 516lb-ft according to preliminary figures.

SOURCE: Green Car Website

GM’s ‘Reinvention’ Starts With $25 Million Battery Lab

By dancurranjr On June 16th, 2009

hybrid_battery_packGeneral Motors took a big step toward its reinvention as the “New G.M.” today when it opened what it calls the largest automotive battery laboratory in the United States, a move the struggling company believes will hasten the development of electric vehicles.

The GM battery lab is located at its sprawling Warren Technical Center campus outside Detroit, Michigan.

GM invested $25 million in the 33,000-square-foot Global Battery Systems Lab to develop and test the drivetrains underpinning the Chevrolet Volt and other hybrid, battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

The automaker believes the facility, at its sprawling Warren Technical Center campus outside Detroit, Michigan, will help make it a market leader in battery and EV technology.

“The new global GM battery lab will benefit consumers across America by helping us advance the development of battery technology in the United States and put cleaner, more efficient vehicles on the road more quickly and affordably,” CEO Fritz Henderson said in a statement.

“Our new lab improves GM’s competitiveness by speeding the development of our hybrid, plug-in and extended-range electric vehicles.”

The lab’s opening comes one week after General Motors filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and vowed to reinvent itself as a leaner, greener company focused on fuel efficiency.

It also comes as major automakers align themselves with battery manufacturers to bring cars with cords to market. Volkswagen, for example, recently signed a deal with Chinese auto- and battery-maker BYD, and Daimler bought nearly 10 percent of Tesla Motors last month.

The Global Battery Systems Lab is four times larger than the cramped quarters where engineers had been working on the lithium-ion battery pack used in the Volt. It employs more than 1,000 engineers.

The operation features 160 test channels and 42 thermal chambers that subject batteries to real-world driving conditions and temperarture variations. It also has 32 battery cyclers, “treadmills” used to deplete and charge the packs repeatedly.

“This facility is state-of-the-art and represents one of the largest and most capable battery test labs in the world,” said Jim Queen, vp of global engineering. The lab has a maximum power capacity of 6 megawatts.

The lab also features a thermal shaker table for testing the structural integrity of each pack and a battery tear-down workshop for failure analysis and reverse-engineering competitors’ batteries.

The Global Battery Systems Lab is the crown jewel in GM’s battery program, which includes labs in Mainz-Kastel, Germany and Honeoye Falls, New York.

General Motors is working with LG Chem on the battery that will provide the Volt with an all-electric range of 40 miles, and it has a joint deal with Compact Power and LG Chem to continue developing the technology.

GM also has joined the University of Michigan in creating a battery-specific engineering curriculum and a battery lab in Ann Arbor.

GM filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week and is radically scaling back its operations, but work on the battery lab started in December 2007 shortly after GM started developing the Volt. Construction started in August and engineers started testing batteries there in January.

The company plans to open a factory somewhere in Michigan to begin producing batteries by the end of 2010, at which point the Volt is slated to start rolling off an assembly line at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly factory.