Introducing the Lexus CT Hybrid

By dancurranjr On December 22nd, 2010

Lexus is going to try to sell the CT as a value proposition. “For just $1,000 more than the cost of a non-luxury hybrid, buyers can indulge in a CT 200h with our proven Lexus Hybrid Drive technology,” said Mark Templin, group vice president and general manager, Lexus Division. He says Lexus hybrids currently make up 90% of all luxury hybrid sales in the U.S.

Hybrid Namplate

Let’s break down that name. The “ES” portion is obvious enough, as is the appended “h,” which is attached to the end of every Lexus hybrid nameplate. We can safely assume that the “300″ in between—like the digits in other Lexus hybrids—refers to a faux engine displacement. Fearless prediction: an ES300h would use a four-cylinder engine paired with Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system. This could either be a straight swiping of the
Low Cost Of Entry

In some ways it’s not surprising that the Lexus CT 200h bears such a low cost of entry. The vehicle is clearly youth-oriented, in a way that only the brand’s IS sedan, coupe and convertible have been up until this time, and its small dimensions would also seem to suggest a more affordable sticker. However, the CT 200h is a hybrid, and in the luxury world gasoline / electric automobiles are almost always saddled with higher than average price tags. Not only that, but the CT 200h is also positioned as a hybrid that offers an engaging, even sporty driving experience, qualities that frequently command a premium. This combination of affordability, enthusiast-oriented design and hybrid drivetrain serve to mark the Lexus CT 200h as a unique player in the eco-luxury segment.

Power

However, seeing as it’s the power that Lexus is boasting about, we pretty much have to focus on how the new engine improves the LS 460. Umm, it doesn’t, actually. It’s still as great as ever, not noticeably any quicker, and as quiet and pampering as you’d expect. Maybe the six-and-a-half second sprint to 100kph should mean something to me, but I spent all my time with the LS 460 as any normal owner would; wafting about at quarter-throttle and nodding off at every traffic light. I did like the ‘eco mode’ feature, but that’s always been there, and even with it on you hardly save any fuel shoving a 1,945kg heap of steel down the highway.

SOURCE: AOMIDNews

http://aomid.com/lexus-is-really-making-2011-the-year-of-the-hybrid/225327/

Hybrid Lexus Goes on Display at Harrods

By dancurranjr On December 20th, 2010

Billed as the first ever hybrid luxury hatchback, the Lexus CT 200H has gone on display in the window of the world’s most luxurious department store this week.

The green luxury car boasts a hybrid engine which offers the option of powering the car by either electric or petrol. The Lexus CT 200H is aiming to offer a green choice of vehicle for the luxury car market. What better place is there to showcase the first ever hybrid Lexus than in London’s most prestigious store?!

The Lexus is on display in the window usually used to showcase super cars such as Ferrari vehicles and Aston Martins. In fact, the last vehicle to go on display in the Harrods shop window was the Aston Martin Cygnet, as reported by Cars for Stars News last month.

Thanks to its super green credentials, the hybrid Lexus is the only luxury automatic to be exempt from the London congestion charge. As well as offering reduced emissions which makes it ideal for city driving, the Lexus CT 200H offers the same level of performance and comfort as you’d expect from a vehicle from the top name car maker.

The hybrid is part of a four window Lexus display in Harrods which will run from this week, until January 15th 2011. The window display has been designed so as to allow customers the opportunity to get up and close to the luxury vehicles so they can get a real feel for the car,  so what are you waiting for?! Head down to Harrods now for a chance to check out the new Hybrid Lexus CT 200H in the flesh.

SOURCE: Cars for Stars

Electric-Car Maker Fisker Strikes Distribution Deal In China

By dancurranjr On December 18th, 2010

Fisker Automotive, a maker of high-end electric cars says it entered a partnership with China Grand Automotive Group, or CGA, a large dealership group, to have its vehicles distributed, marketed and serviced in China. The move is part of the company’s strategy to take advantage of China’s rapidly growing luxury-car market and its push to reduce emissions.

The Irvine, Calif., car maker says it formalized the non-exclusive agreement with executives from CGA during a ceremony near the Chinese company’s headquarters in Shanghai today. Fisker says CGA has a network of more than 200 retail stores that sell 40 auto brands including BMW, Lamborghini, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz. In 2010 the company’s sales totaled about $7.5 billion.

Henrik Fisker, CEO, Fisker Automotive, says the CGA agreement gives his company ”an instant and credible footprint in the region” and ensure that Fisker customers will get the kind of service they expect from a luxury brand.

Fisker’s first car, the Karma, will make its Chinese debut at the Shanghai Motor Show in April 2011. The company says the Karma represents responsible luxury and is the world’s first true electric vehicle with extended range. The car can travel 50 miles on battery power and 250 miles on hybrid-electric power. It uses a gasoline engine as a generator to run its electric motors, similar to the way diesel-electric railway locomotives work.

Fisker says it plans to sell 15,000 Karma vehicles per year globally and has received 3,000 pre-orders. The company expects to begin delivering the Karma to customers in China next fall. Fisker is also developing a higher-volume line of premium electric vehicles with extended range, scheduled to start production in the fourth quarter of 2012.

SOURCE: WSJ

2012 BMW 5 Series Hybrid: Spy Shots

By dancurranjr On December 16th, 2010

You got to love car geeks and their cameras. While BMW had originally unveiled its 5 Series Hybrid Concept at the Geneva Motor Show, Motor Authority has managed to get some photographs of the production ready car being driven around in Munich.

The car doesn’t look very different from the conventional gas-powered car and is based on the same basic mechanics as the 2011 5-Series.

The hybrid has a twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engine connected to 54-horsepower electric motor that runs on an lithium-ion battery pack.

The hybrid will be about 10 percent more fuel efficient than the original car, though you do have the option of a electric-only driving and stop-start technology.

Additional “luxury” features like climate control will also be powered by the battery pack rather than engine.

According to Motor Authority, “Regenerative charging, smart navigation software that takes topography into account when deciding how much hybrid juice to supply, and all the features and comfort of the standard 5-Series are going to make for a competitive hybrid package, particularly since there are few rivals outside of Lexus in this size and market segment.”

The car will make its international debut at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show in March.

Earlier in November, BMW also announced that it will build its first hybrid supercar, to further meet new environment standards.

The car, dubbed the Vision Efficient Dynamics model, will accelerate to 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles) in 4.8 seconds while emitting 99 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer. Its doors open upwards and it’s powered by a three-cylinder diesel engine and two electric motors.

That gives it a similar acceleration rate to BMW’s M6, while emitting just 30 percent of the M6 coupe’s CO2 per kilometer.

The M6’s starts at $102,350 in the U.S.

It’s great to see luxury and sustainability go together, because it opens up the cars to a whole new segment of the population.

SOURCE: AltTransport.com Click here for more photos.

You got to love car geeks and their cameras. While BMW had originally unveiled its 5 Series Hybrid Concept at the Geneva Motor Show, Motor Authority has managed to get some photographs of the production ready car being driven around in Munich.

The car doesn’t look very different from the conventional gas-powered car and is based on the same basic mechanics as the 2011 5-Series.

The hybrid has a twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engine connected to 54-horsepower electric motor that runs on an lithium-ion battery pack.

The hybrid will be about 10 percent more fuel efficient than the original car, though you do have the option of a electric-only driving and stop-start technology.

Additional “luxury” features like climate control will also be powered by the battery pack rather than engine.

According to Motor Authority, “Regenerative charging, smart navigation software that takes topography into account when deciding how much hybrid juice to supply, and all the features and comfort of the standard 5-Series are going to make for a competitive hybrid package, particularly since there are few rivals outside of Lexus in this size and market segment.”

The car will make its international debut at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show in March.

Earlier in November, BMW also announced that it will build its first hybrid supercar, to further meet new environment standards.

The car, dubbed the Vision Efficient Dynamics model, will accelerate to 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles) in 4.8 seconds while emitting 99 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer. Its doors open upwards and it’s powered by a three-cylinder diesel engine and two electric motors.

That gives it a similar acceleration rate to BMW’s M6, while emitting just 30 percent of the M6 coupe’s CO2 per kilometer.

The M6’s starts at $102,350 in the U.S.

It’s great to see luxury and sustainability go together, because it opens up the cars to a whole new segment of the population.

Toyota Confirms US Launch of Compact Lexus Hybrid

By dancurranjr On March 16th, 2010

Toyota officials last week confirmed that the Lexus CT 200h, a premium hybrid hatchback, is coming to the United States, according to a report in Automotive News. The Lexus CT 200h would be Lexus’s first compact car, and the first compact hybrid sold by Toyota in the US.

The car was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show last week, but until recently the company insisted that the compact hybrid would only be sold in Europe. According to Automotive News, Lexus executives pleaded with Japan to bring to the car to the US—partly in hopes that the smaller Lexus would appeal to a younger demographic. “When the all-new Lexus CT 200h enters the market it will be the only hybrid vehicle in the emerging premium compact segment,” said Mark Templin, Lexus Division group vice president and general manager.

The Lexus CT 200h will make its US debut at the 2010 New York Auto Show later this month. Production begins in late 2010. The car could go on sale in the US sometime in 2011.

Small Luxury Compact Hybrid Hatchback

The recipe for the CT 200h is to place a Prius-type hybrid system—featuring a 1.8-liter gas engine with variable valve timing, and energy storage with a nickel-metal hydride battery pack—into small relatively affordable premium compact car. Lexus said the CT 200h will ride on a new front-wheel-drive platform with a MacPherson strut front suspension and double wishbones at the rear.

While fuel economy numbers have not been announced, the CT 200h’s small size and aerodynamics should push its mileage ahead of the 50-mpg 2010 Toyota Prius [1], currently the highest rated car for mpg. It could also mean a more sporty drive compared to the larger Prius. Lexus claims that the CT 200h “does not compromise interior roominess,” despite the compact package.

The CT 200h will be Lexus’s second dedicated hybrid, behind the mid-sized Lexus HS 250h [2]. The smaller CT 200h is likely to be offered with the same luxury appointments and high-tech features [3] found in the HS 250h and other Lexus vehicles.

Commitment to Luxury Hybrids

There are also rumors that the Toyota Auris Hybrid, a small hybrid hatchback built on the Scion xB platform, will head to the US. The Auris Hybrid promised more than 60 miles to the gallon. However, the US launch of the Auris Hybrid could be delayed in Europe, according to the Sunday Telegraph in the UK. Tadashi Arashima, the chief executive of Toyota Motor Europe, said the global recall of Toyota vehicles due to accelerator problems could change the planned timeline. “We are discussing that, if necessary, we will postpone the launch timing. For us there is the hybrid in late May, which is really key,” said Arashima. “We want to make sure that this car is properly launched without any major issues.”

SOURCE: Hybrid Cars