Hyundai Prices Sonata Hybrid Below Toyota, Ford

By dancurranjr On December 27th, 2010

As Hyundai finishes preparations for its first hybrid, the automaker has released the model’s pricing rundown. No surprise here: It’s going to underprice the competition.

The 2011 Hyundai Sonata hybrid has only one trim, and it will start at $25,795, excluding a $750 destination charge. By contrast, the 2011 Toyota Camry hybrid starts at $26,575, and the Ford Fusion hybrid starts at $28,240. The Toyota Prius technically is a midsize vehicle, according to the EPA — and it’s cheaper and more fuel efficient than the Sonata hybrid at 50 mpg combined and $21,650 — but that vehicle is smaller nonetheless.

The Sonata hybrid gets an EPA rating of 35 miles per gallon city, 40 mpg highway and 37 mpg combined. The base trim comes standard with 16-inch aluminum wheels, LED headlight accents, LED taillights, front fog lights, heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals, push-button start, remote keyless entry, dual automatic climate control and a 4.2-inch LCD screen in the gauge cluster. For $30,795, you can add the Premium Package:

It includes a panoramic sunroof, 17-inch wheels, navigation system, backup camera, premium stereo, leather seats and auto-dimming mirrors.

Hyundai has confirmed that the hybrid will go on sale in January instead of December. This means Hyundai’s previously stated $1,300 federal tax credit no longer applies as the credit program expires Dec 31.

SOURCE: DriveOn

Toyota to Launch Prius Plug-in by 2012 in all Major Markets

By dancurranjr On December 24th, 2010

“Green Thinking” and development of nature friendly hybrid cars in the coming years is going to become a top priority for all the automakers. So says the Japanese company Toyota, which is one of the pioneers in the field of ‘green’ cars and is planning to bring hybrid car Prius by 2012 in a big way.

Now, while evaluating the results of this year, it is evident that Toyota has made huge investments in the development of innovative, and nature friendly technologies. In order to explore vast potentials of eco-cars, the company has set before it a large number of tasks for the next two years.

By the end of 2012, the world should see 11 brand new and updated hybrid models. Also in 2012, the company plans to begin intensive selling of Prius Plug-in model simultaneously in Europe, Japan and the U.S.: it is estimated that they will be able to sell about 50 thousand cars per year. In 2015, Toyota plans to release a model with a hydrogen engine mounted under the hood. Next year 2011, for strengthening the positive image of alternative technologies, Toyota iQ (in the electric version) will be included in the European program of road tests.

This year, as in the past, Toyota continues to develop new technologies. One of the promising areas is its development of new generation of batteries, which by their performance will be much better than the currently available lithium-ion batteries. These batteries are now being used in Toyota Prius Plug-in models. By the way, in order to evaluate the use of new generation of batteries in the automotive industry, earlier this year the company created a special organizational unit, bringing together a team of 100 people.

Toyota’s management is confident that eco-cars can have a positive effect on the state of nature, only if they would be used by maximum possible people in the world. Moreover, if the demand will be higher, more people will opt for the cars with new technologies thereby eventually leading to lowers costs.

SOURCE: Seer

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/

2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Base Price Announced

By dancurranjr On December 21st, 2010

Hyundai this week announced a price of $25,795 for the base-level 2011 Sonata Hybrid, with the premium package going for $30,795. That means the Sonata Hybrid will beat the Ford Fusion Hybrid ($28,240) and the Toyota Camry Hybrid ($26,575) on price. It already has an edge on fuel efficiency, aerodynamics, light weight, and enjoyable driving.

Fuel economy for the Sonata and Fusion Hybrids are nearly identical, but with highway and city numbers swapped. The Sonata Hybrid offers 36 in the city and 40 on the highway, while the Fusion Hybrid is rated at 41/36. The Toyota Camry Hybrid falls behind at 33/34.

Hyundai believes that its use of a six-speed automatic transmission gives the Sonata Hybrid an edge on driving enjoyment. “There’s nothing specifically synergistic between a CVT (continuously variable transmission) and a hybrid,” said John Krafcik, president and CEO of Hyundai USA, who rode with us during a recent drive of the Sonata Hybrid. Krafcik’s complaint about CVTs is the “non-linearity” between pedal input from the driver, and the sound you hear. On the other hand, with the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Krafcik believes that “you get back exactly what you expect based on what your foot is doing.”

Based on our driving experience, and now the announcement of a compelling price, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid raises the bar for hybrids in a mid-size model aimed for the heart of the mainstream market. It’s the first hybrid for Hyundai (which on a winning streak) and it’s the first affordable hybrid model to use lithium ion batteries. While not as exciting as the first mainstream electric cars being delivered to consumers this week, it offers the promise of hybrid technology being incorporated into the most popular models on the road, and therefore having a major impact on reducing fuel consumption.

The Sonata Hybrid hits dealerships in January. Unfortunately, that’s right after the expected $1,300 hybrid tax incentive will have already expired.

SOURCE: HybridCars.com

The LA Auto Show: Hybrid Battery Replacement and Winterizing

By dancurranjr On December 21st, 2010

The thirtieth meeting of the Milwaukee Hybrid Group (MiHG) on Saturday December 18 featured Wayne Gerdes’s eagerly anticipated report on the Los Angeles Auto Show, lively discussion of new projects for the five year old organization, and comparison of mileage and winterizing methods among the members.

Gerdes, organizer of CleanMPG.com, advocates ending American dependence on imported oil entirely. He supervised a staff that test drove and examined cars at the LA show, which featured 20 world debuts of new car models, and 30 American debuts. While reporting on the features of the new Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, Gerdes played up mid-size high-mileage gasoline cars, and mid-size or luxury electric and hybrid models, such as the Volvo C30 electric, Lexus CT 200h, Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, and Honda Fit EV. He expects these cars to attract many drivers who are not interested in the Prius or the Chevy Volt.

“Range anxiety” is a new term discussed at the meeting, a concern to those who will be driving cars powered solely by an electric battery. Randy Mays, a member of the MiHG planning committee, observed that Milwaukee commuters do not have to drive the distances of Chicago or LA drivers, and that he rarely drives more than fifty miles in a day. The Nissan Leaf has an EPA estimated range of 73 miles without needing to be recharged.

Gerdes related that Nissan is experimenting with direct current (DC) Level 3 charging equipment at Cracker Barrel parking lots near the Nissan plant in Tennessee that will be producing the Leaf, which can bring a battery to eithy percent of capacity in half an hour – less than the time it takes to eat lunch. This equipment is not likely to be available for individual home use for several years.

Owners of current hybrid models were glad to hear about a company called ReVolt, based in North Carolina, that provides replacement batteries. A member who arranged a battery swap at the Green Drive Expo in Madison last summer reported paying $1700, about half the price a dealer would charge. Gerdes observed that the company has a good reputation, and offers Gen II cells in replacement batteries, an upgrade from the Gen I cells in older Prius models.

More immediate practical discussion for the winter included use of standard foam pipe insulator material, available at most hardward stores, to block the flow of cold air through the grill. Cutting tubes of insulation in half, then fitting strips into the grill, can save a few miles per gallon.

Debbie Anders’s Ford Escape Hybrid continues to amaze with an average of 40 miles per gallon, and a couple from Fond du Lac reported their Toyota Highlander gets 29 mpg if they keep the speed under 55 miles per hour. Anders and Gerdes trained drivers for the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sanitation District in the MiHG Drive $mart program, resulting in a sixteen percent mileage improvement. MiHG Bradlee Fons continues to hold one of the top records, with 88.8 average mpg in his Honda Insight.

SOURCE: Examiner.com