Kia launches hybrid Cross GT Concept in Chicago

kia-cross-gt-concept-2013-chicago-auto-showKia recently pulled the covers off the Cross GT, a hybrid concept vehicle, during the recent Chicago Auto Show. The luxury crossover gives us a preview of what design we can expect from the brand. More importantly, it is a peek to what technologies will be implemented in future models.

The main power of the car comes from a V-6 gasoline engine with 3.8 liters of displacement working with an electric motor as backup.

This setup produces a monstrous output of 400 horsepower and a torque of 500 lb-ft. The Cross GT is bigger than the Sorento SUV. It can go around for 20 miles depending on electric power alone. The electric motor is placed between the conventional engine and the 8-speed automatic gearbox. The power is delivered to all wheels of the vehicle.

Just like the Cross GT, the hybrid powertrain is still a concept but Kia is hoping that one day, the technology will reach its production vehicles.

Different design elements catch the eyes. The roofline is sleek with hexagonal glass forming multipanel skylights. This design feature ends on the clam-shell tailgate.

The rear doors of the concept takes the suicide style form and are hinged on the rear for easier entrance and exit. The vehicle features four bucket seats that are wrapped in leather. A walnut trim surrounds the cabin, giving it a luxurious feel. Like most modern vehicles, all of the controls are accessed thru a touch-screen.

While it still does not have a go, the Cross GT is a good evidence that Kia is preparing to offer the market better premium vehicles.

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Toyota announces pricing for 2013 Camry Hybrid, Prius C

2013 toyota camry hybridToyota recently announced the pricing details for a number of their 2013 MY vehicles. Among these are sticker prices for its trucks and SUVs, the Prius C, and the Camry Hybrid.

Camry Hybrid fans should take note of some small changes on the pricing of this eco-friendly car. The LE grade is now selling for $26,140. The higher end XLE models go for $27,670. The Toyota Camry Hybrids has a fuel mileage of 43 miles a gallon on city driving and 39mpg on the highway. The combined mileage is 41mpg.

The Prius C prices also went up a bit. The Prius C One now has a sticker price of $19,080 while the Four variant is tagged at $23,360.

The Prius C also sports some interior upgrades including the dashboard cover made of SofTex material. The Four gets the same material for its steering wheel.

The combined mileage of the Prius C was measured at 50 mpg or 53/46 mpg city/highway.

There is also a slight change on the price of the Highlander Hybrids. The Hybrid Limited and Hybrid versions go for $46,170 and $39,970, respectively.

The 2013 Prius C and the Camry Hybrid will get to showrooms in the United States come January.

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Cadillac to build 2014 ELR electric coupe alongside Chevy Volt

General Motors recently confirmed that the Cadillac brand will push through with the production of the ELR electric luxury vehicle at the Detroit-Hamtramck factory in Michigan. It will be using the same line that produces its sibling, the Chevrolet Volt.

GM officially announced that the preparations of the assembly line for the Cadillac ELR is being done. The production of the luxury electric coupe will start before the end of 2013. A recent press release details that the company will spend around $35 million to accommodate the ELR at the Detroit-Hamtramck facility. Aside from the Volt, the plant also assembles the 2013 Malibu for the Chevrolet brand. It is also being set up for the production of the Impala sedan.

The Cadillac ELR will be the first two-door vehicle to be assembled at the factory since the Eldorado under Cadillac back in 1999.

The 2014 ELR will be the production version of the concept vehicle called Cadillac Convert that was shown during the 2009 auto show in Detroit. It is expected to sport the same upgraded Voltec electric powertrain with range extender that is also being used for the Volt.

The lithium ion battery pack will give the vehicle a range of 30-40m miles. An internal combustion engine will switch on after covering that distance, and a generator will turn to generate electricity that will run the motor linked to the front wheels.

The battery pack of the ELR will be manufactured at the battery plant of GM in Browstown, Michigan. The ELR will also be a new body style that will sport the Voltec powertrain after the Volt that was launched in 2010.

A lot of people don't know this, but even though hybrid cars are still a little more expensive, this hardly ever reflects in the car insurance comparison. Because of the profile of buyers, you can actually get great deals. Check it out on carinsurancequotes.com!

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Mitsubishi taps Infiniti for its first hybrid vehicle in Japan

The easiest way to make a car is ask someone to produce it for you. This is how it goes for Mitsubishi as it recently announced the release in Japan of a VIP hybrid luxury sedan called the Dignity.

Instead of doing the luxury hybrid vehicle from scratch, the Mitsubishi Dignity makes use of the platform of the long-wheelbase variant of the M35h of Infiniti. It will also use the same hybrid drivetrain that gives out 359 horsepower. The hybrid setup couples an electric motor with a 3.5-liter petrol engine.

This is how Mitsubishi will launch its first hybrid vehicle in the Japanese market. It will overtake the first in-house attempt of the company to produce a plug-in version of the Outlander that is scheduled to roll out this fall.

The Dignity and its non-hybrid sibling, the Proudia, look very similar to their Infiniti counterparts. The only distinguishing factors are the badges and grille. The Dignity even has the infotainment service being used by the Infiniti M35h. The VIP sedan will have luxury level equipment such as leather treatment for the interior and a Bose surround sound system. Essential to the equation of course is the big leg room.

While the Dignity will be built for performance, it is expected to have a combined fuel rating of 29 mpg. The Dignity is expected to fill in the gap at the top of the range of Mitsubishi and will be the front-runner of the next hybrids that will be launched by Mitsubishi in the next four years.

The Dignity is already in showrooms in Japan with a sticker price of $105, 200.

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New Smart ForTwo gets fresh styling and new electric model

It has never been a smooth ride for the Smart ForTwo as it tries to penetrate the market in the United States. After doing well during its debut in 2008, when the gas prices skyrocketed, the sales of the small car has dropped dramatically thru the years.

The Smart ForTwo though is getting a facelift for 2013 and will be distributed by a formidable brand, Mercedes-Benz.

The new Smart ForTwo will get a new fascia for the front and its rear, and also rework on the side sills. The front gets a new treatment for its aprons under the hood, the lower grille is made wider while the badge is placed on the grille instead of the hood.

The gasoline models will have no changes on its powertrain, continuing with the 1.0L 3-cylinder engine mated with an automated manual gearbox.

The ForTwo though will get a new model with an all electric setup. The Electric Drive ForTwo will have a lithium ion battery pack from Evonik and dropping the one supplied by Tesla before. The battery pack will still be positioned under the floor with the same configuration as the older sibling.

The 2013 Smart ForTwo will get a more potent electric motor to get the rear wheels going. The power rating of the electric motor peaks at 74 horsepower with a sustained rating of 47 horses. This is a big improvement to the previous version which gives out 40HP on peak and a sustained output of 27hp.

There are no numbers yet from the EPA with regard to the range of the new Smart ForTwo but according to the company, the small ride can cover at least 145 kilometers.

Smart has not yet released the details of pricing for the new Electric Drive ForTwo but forecasters see it under $26,000. The 2013 model will be sold and also leased when it rolls out. The foreseen tag price will make the Smart ForTwo the most affordable car in the United States, a position currently held by the electric car “i” of Mitsubishi.

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Refreshed Toyota Prius for 2012 starts from £21,350 in the UK

Toyota-Prius-2012MY-2Japanese car manufacturer Toyota recently released is pricing scheme for the 2012 Prius hybrid which received a subtle facelift. The new Prius will heat showrooms in Britain by March 2012. The hybrid car will be offered in three different trims with sticker prices starting at £21,350 thru £24,620.

The new Prius hybrid was unveiled during the Frankfurt auto show last September with some improvements implemented for is exterior and interior.

On the outside, the Prius gets a new design for its bumper which receives new daytime lights, headlamps with new LED configuration, new graphics for the tail lamp, and new options for the alloy rim.

Inside, the front seats gets a new design, new upholstery, and the surfaces get a softer-touch treatment. The car manufacturer also installed better equipment like a new touch screen Toyota Control system which comes standards on all trim levels.

The designers and engineers also aim for better ride comfort and steering by making improvements to the suspension system and the car’s steering column.

The hybrid setup of the Prius remains unchanged with the 1.8L Atkinson petrol engine working with an electric motor. This setup has a combined fuel mileage of 72.4 mpg for UK standards and a carbon dioxide emission of 89 grams per kilometer.

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Buick plans to release hybrid Verano by 2015

GMC--Buick-Verano-2012Details about the future plans of General Motors might have spilled out over the internet recently. The page is a suppliers list for the 2012 model of the Buick Verano. As the compact sedan is being rolled out a major refresh is expected by 2015 and this might actually be a hybrid version of the Buick Verano.

The page that broke out into the open is used to monitor relationship with suppliers across the automotive business. The product run is expected from 2015 to 2020, and experts are assuming that the new powerplant will be the replacement for the 2.4L 4-cylinder engine that is mated with a mild hybrid setup called eAssist which is used for the 2012 Buick Regal and Buick LaCrosse. It will also be under the hood of the Malibu Eco under the Chevrolet brand.

All car manufacturers today are being required by laws in different countries to improve their fuel mileage ratings. In the United States, carmakers are required thru 2025 to improve the numbers, and by that time fleet of companies should average 54.5 miles per gallon.

The eAssist hybrid technology is a light electrification which is simple and does not require radical modification of the design of the vehicle.

We will update you as soon as information with regard to the hybrid Buick Verano come up.

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Audi sources confirm A6 hybrid for US market

When the Audi A6 was unveiled in November 2010, the German automaker was hush-hush about the hybrid version that was available in the North America. Even today, Audi AG has issued no word about the rumors surrounding the availability of the A6 hybrid version.

And yet there are now rumors about the A6 Hybrid confirmation by inside sources from Audi. According to recent source reports, the A6 Hybrid will have an initial tag price of about $55,000 and will be available in the US market sometime next year. Experts assume that the US hybrid variant will be the same as the hybrid version that will be released in the European market 2012 with the combination of the 2.0-liter V4 TFSI gasoline engine (with 211 horsepower and 258.15 lb-ft of torque) and the electric engine with its 33kW output power and 155.63 lb-ft of torque. Combined output is at 245 horsepower and 354.03 lb-ft mounted to an 8-speed tiptronic gearbox in a front wheel drive platform.

The electric engine gets is power from a lithium-ion battery. This weighs around 80.91 lb. The lithium-ion battery is enclosed under the luggage compartment that has been built to be collision resistant. According to the carmaker, the electric car has a luggage capacity of about 13.24 cu. ft. This figure is lesser compared to the non-hybrid model whose luggage capacity is about 18.7 cu.ft.

The hybrid version of this car accelerates at the speed of 62 mph in 7.3 seconds with top speed of 238 km/h. Moreover, sources say that the A6 Hybrid can run up to 100 km/h in pure electric power.

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BMW hiring 2,600 more employees for hybrid and EV program

p30 BMW EVBMW, the biggest luxury car manufacturer, is looking for new employees to help with their electric vehicle and hybrid development programs as regulations call for greener vehicles.

The carmaker is looking to add around 1,300 people to their workforce by the end of this year and another 1,300 by 2011. BMW is looking to beef up their expert pool for EVs, hybrid power plants, and engines that have lower CO2 emissions.

The workforce of BMW was actually downsized back in 2009 when the car manufacturer bought out contracts and offered early retirement in order to improve profitability. This move chopped down their manpower to around 96,000 from 107,000 back in 2007.  BMW is currently busy developing a hybrid sports car due by 2013 and an electric vehicle.

Aside from green technology experts, BMW is also looking for sales and purchasing specialists. The producer of BMW, Rolls-Royce, and Mini is hoping to improve their sales by 10% or 1.4 million units by next year. A more ambitious move is to deliver around 2 million cars to consumers by 2020.

It seems BMW is not the only one gearing for future competition as Daimler AG and Volkswagen are also hiring more people. Daimler AG signed around 400 more employees in the past few months in Germany specifically in Rastatt where they produce their compact units. Mercedes plans to get additional 2,500 employees to help with their production in Hungary. Volkswagen meanwhile may generate 50,000 jobs across their market regions globally through 2015.

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Panda Natural Gas from Fiat tagged as most economical after ADAC Test

p34 - FIAT-Panda-1-2-Natural-Power---2007-Fiat’s Panda Natural Power vehicle topped the test of the German Automobilclub (ADAC) subjecting 241 cars to a fuel budge of 30 Euros and seeing who can go the farthest. The Fiat can boast covering 724 kilometers or 450 miles.

ADAC tested vehicles that range from small vehicles that can only seat two individuals through sporting supercars.

The Natural Power makes use of a dual fuel setup which relies on methane and gasoline. The designers of the car were able to install two tanks for the storage of methane under the floor of the car. The total capacity of the under chassis installation is around 12 kg of methane. Using the floorpan allowed the designers to keep the space of the interior for the passengers and any luggage they will bring.

The gas tank can carry 30 liters of fuel and can serve as backup when driving through areas where methane refilling stations are not very common.

The 8V 1.2L Bipower engine of the vehicle can bring it to 140 kilometers per hour or 87 miles per hour while running on methane or bring it up a little to 148 km/h or 92 mph when gasoline is used.

The CO2 emission of the Panda is at 113 g/km when using natural gas.

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