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Found 162 results

  1. Genesis is working on a new sports car that will be utilizing a plug-in hybrid powertrain. This information comes to us via Australian outlet Wheels who spoke with two senior executives from Hyundai at the Consumer Electronics Show. “We are definitely doing it. I’m actually reviewing the project next week, after CES. I can’t tell you much more about it, but we are definitely doing it. We are not going autonomous for all of our cars!" said Hyundai design vice-president Luc Donckerwolke. Hyundai's vice-chairman of research and development, Woong-chul Yang acknowledged the project, saying the coupe would be a two-seater, feature some sort of electrification, and be under the watchful eye of the N performance division. “We are very much interested in it and as far as I’m concerned I’d love to promote that [a sportscar]. That’s something our brand needs at this time. The people working at N will be working on that, but how we put it in the N or maybe above N … it’s pretty high performance. It’s serious,” said Yang. “We cannot say it will just be hybrid,” he said “but we will use electric motors and batteries to make it more performance. Some areas we cannot just overcome by putting a big ICE [internal combustion engine], we like to minimise as much as possible the ICE and use the best application of electric motors. That means not only efficiency but also performance can be very much optimised using both powertrains. Certainly we will put some electric powerplant in there.” Right now, the project is still in the design stage and it will likely be years before the coupe sees the light of day. Source: Wheels
  2. Genesis is working on a new sports car that will be utilizing a plug-in hybrid powertrain. This information comes to us via Australian outlet Wheels who spoke with two senior executives from Hyundai at the Consumer Electronics Show. “We are definitely doing it. I’m actually reviewing the project next week, after CES. I can’t tell you much more about it, but we are definitely doing it. We are not going autonomous for all of our cars!" said Hyundai design vice-president Luc Donckerwolke. Hyundai's vice-chairman of research and development, Woong-chul Yang acknowledged the project, saying the coupe would be a two-seater, feature some sort of electrification, and be under the watchful eye of the N performance division. “We are very much interested in it and as far as I’m concerned I’d love to promote that [a sportscar]. That’s something our brand needs at this time. The people working at N will be working on that, but how we put it in the N or maybe above N … it’s pretty high performance. It’s serious,” said Yang. “We cannot say it will just be hybrid,” he said “but we will use electric motors and batteries to make it more performance. Some areas we cannot just overcome by putting a big ICE [internal combustion engine], we like to minimise as much as possible the ICE and use the best application of electric motors. That means not only efficiency but also performance can be very much optimised using both powertrains. Certainly we will put some electric powerplant in there.” Right now, the project is still in the design stage and it will likely be years before the coupe sees the light of day. Source: Wheels View full article
  3. Updated: 3:10 pm est with additional pictures Honda released a teaser image today, ahead of the 2018 North American International Auto Show, of a prototype of the forthcoming Honda Insight. This will mark the third time Honda uses the Insight name. The original Insight was the first hybrid offered in the US. A small two-seater, the Insight never caught hold. The second time around, Honda went for a Prius-shaped compact hatchback and the CR-Z sporty hatchback hybrid, still customers stayed away. The new teaser image reveals little, beyond the new Insight's shape. The prototype shares a profile now more closely related to the Civic sedan, though perhaps a bit more swoopy in the rear. The new Insight will be a five passenger sedan positioned above the Civic in the lineup. We expect the Insight to be powered by the same hybrid system as the larger Accord Hybrid. The Honda Insight Prototype will be revealed on January 15th. Click here to follow all 2018 Detroit Auto Show News. Click here to follow Honda News. View full article
  4. Updated: 3:10 pm est with additional pictures Honda released a teaser image today, ahead of the 2018 North American International Auto Show, of a prototype of the forthcoming Honda Insight. This will mark the third time Honda uses the Insight name. The original Insight was the first hybrid offered in the US. A small two-seater, the Insight never caught hold. The second time around, Honda went for a Prius-shaped compact hatchback and the CR-Z sporty hatchback hybrid, still customers stayed away. The new teaser image reveals little, beyond the new Insight's shape. The prototype shares a profile now more closely related to the Civic sedan, though perhaps a bit more swoopy in the rear. The new Insight will be a five passenger sedan positioned above the Civic in the lineup. We expect the Insight to be powered by the same hybrid system as the larger Accord Hybrid. The Honda Insight Prototype will be revealed on January 15th. Click here to follow all 2018 Detroit Auto Show News. Click here to follow Honda News.
  5. Rumorpile: Porsche Reconsiders 911 Hybrid

    The idea of Porsche doing a 911 hybrid has come and gone, and it seems to be coming once again. Bloomberg has learned from sources at Porsche that they are considering a hybrid powertrain for their iconic sports car once again. If given the green light, it would appear a few years after the launch of the next-generation 911 (due sometime next year) and possibly offer up to 40 miles of electric-only range. A problem that engineers are working on is trying to cut down battery weight the handling characteristics the vehicle is known for. It should be noted the Porsche has been going back and forth on this idea since 2014. Back in May, Porsche's head of development for the 718 and 911 said plans for 911 plug-in hybrid were canceled last year due to weight concerns and not being able to make much a profit as they would with a standard 911. Source: Bloomberg
  6. The idea of Porsche doing a 911 hybrid has come and gone, and it seems to be coming once again. Bloomberg has learned from sources at Porsche that they are considering a hybrid powertrain for their iconic sports car once again. If given the green light, it would appear a few years after the launch of the next-generation 911 (due sometime next year) and possibly offer up to 40 miles of electric-only range. A problem that engineers are working on is trying to cut down battery weight the handling characteristics the vehicle is known for. It should be noted the Porsche has been going back and forth on this idea since 2014. Back in May, Porsche's head of development for the 718 and 911 said plans for 911 plug-in hybrid were canceled last year due to weight concerns and not being able to make much a profit as they would with a standard 911. Source: Bloomberg View full article
  7. Next Subaru WRX STI May Go Hybrid

    When the next-generation Subaru WRX STI arrives sometime in 2020 or so, it will not have the turbocharged 2.5L boxer-four engine. Speaking with Dutch automotive site AutoRAI, Subaru Europe's General Manager of sales and marketing manager David Dello Stritto said the current engine would not be able to meet upcoming emission standards. "CO2 emissions are becoming increasingly important and the current 2.5-liter four-cylinder turbo boxer engine simply can not continue to be used in the future. We do not say goodbye to the WRX STI, the car belongs to Subaru, but there will be a period where we will temporarily not run WRX STI," explained Dello Stritto. We've previously heard that Subaru is considering using a hybrid power for the next WRX and WRX STI. When asked by AutoRAI about this, Dello Stritto said it was "something we have to investigate." "Subaru is awaiting what the market developments are, and sets the concept for that." Source: AutoRAI
  8. When the next-generation Subaru WRX STI arrives sometime in 2020 or so, it will not have the turbocharged 2.5L boxer-four engine. Speaking with Dutch automotive site AutoRAI, Subaru Europe's General Manager of sales and marketing manager David Dello Stritto said the current engine would not be able to meet upcoming emission standards. "CO2 emissions are becoming increasingly important and the current 2.5-liter four-cylinder turbo boxer engine simply can not continue to be used in the future. We do not say goodbye to the WRX STI, the car belongs to Subaru, but there will be a period where we will temporarily not run WRX STI," explained Dello Stritto. We've previously heard that Subaru is considering using a hybrid power for the next WRX and WRX STI. When asked by AutoRAI about this, Dello Stritto said it was "something we have to investigate." "Subaru is awaiting what the market developments are, and sets the concept for that." Source: AutoRAI View full article
  9. Lamborghini has been hesitant to move on from their naturally aspirated V10 and V12 engines to hybrid powertrains for their sports cars. “When they come to Lamborghini, they are asking for the power and performance of our naturally aspirated engines,” he said. “That’s why we have already decided that the next-generation V12 will stay naturally aspirated and it is one reason why the [Aventador] remains unique,” said Lamborghini's Commercial boss Federico Foschini a few months back to Autocar. But Lamborghini is working on a hybrid powertrain for the successor to the Huracán. “The [next] Huracán – that car will need hybridisation. Hybridisation is the answer, not [full] electric,” said Lamborghini boss Stefano Domenicali. Unlike the Urus, which will be the company's first plug-in hybrid vehicle, the Huracán's replacement brings a set of challenges. Packing a heavy hybrid powertrain into an SUV is no problem. Doing the same for a sports car is a big no-no. “It’s easier in our first plug-in hybrid, the Urus, because the ambition of the car in terms of packaging and weight is not so difficult. But this is one mission. It’s not the Lamborghini super-sports car mission," said Maurizio Reggiani, Lamborghini's R&D head. Reggiani added that current battery technology is not feasible for current supercars. “The issue today is the storage of energy. If I go to a track, I need to run all the laps that I want. But today, the problem is that if you go, you are only able to run one and a half laps [flat out].” Lamborghini's sister brand, Porsche has been investigating the use of lighter solid-state batteries which could solve this issues talked about by Reggiani. Lamborghini is also working with other industry experts to see if a solution can be figured out. The Huracán's replacement is due out in 2022. Source: Autocar
  10. Lamborghini has been hesitant to move on from their naturally aspirated V10 and V12 engines to hybrid powertrains for their sports cars. “When they come to Lamborghini, they are asking for the power and performance of our naturally aspirated engines,” he said. “That’s why we have already decided that the next-generation V12 will stay naturally aspirated and it is one reason why the [Aventador] remains unique,” said Lamborghini's Commercial boss Federico Foschini a few months back to Autocar. But Lamborghini is working on a hybrid powertrain for the successor to the Huracán. “The [next] Huracán – that car will need hybridisation. Hybridisation is the answer, not [full] electric,” said Lamborghini boss Stefano Domenicali. Unlike the Urus, which will be the company's first plug-in hybrid vehicle, the Huracán's replacement brings a set of challenges. Packing a heavy hybrid powertrain into an SUV is no problem. Doing the same for a sports car is a big no-no. “It’s easier in our first plug-in hybrid, the Urus, because the ambition of the car in terms of packaging and weight is not so difficult. But this is one mission. It’s not the Lamborghini super-sports car mission," said Maurizio Reggiani, Lamborghini's R&D head. Reggiani added that current battery technology is not feasible for current supercars. “The issue today is the storage of energy. If I go to a track, I need to run all the laps that I want. But today, the problem is that if you go, you are only able to run one and a half laps [flat out].” Lamborghini's sister brand, Porsche has been investigating the use of lighter solid-state batteries which could solve this issues talked about by Reggiani. Lamborghini is also working with other industry experts to see if a solution can be figured out. The Huracán's replacement is due out in 2022. Source: Autocar View full article
  11. It was just a few months ago that Volvo announced their in-house performance arm, Polestar would be spun off to become a standalone brand. It would focus on building high-performance electric vehicles, though as we reported in the rumorpile back in the summer, their first model would be a plug-in hybrid coupe. That rumor was right on the money as the brand unveiled the Polestar 1 at an event in Shanghai. The Polestar 1 looks to be the production model of the Volvo Concept Coupe shown a few years back. The front end is very reminiscent of recent Volvo models with a concave grille and Thor's Hammer headlights. The rear end echoes the Concept Coupe with C-Shaped taillights and short trunk lid. With an overall length of 177.2-inches, the Polestar 1 is about six inches shorter than the BMW 4-Series Coupe. Inside the coupe, it is again like Volvo's 90 Series models with a large touchscreen, steering wheel, and even the crystal gearshift. With all of this similarity to other Volvo models, you can't help but wonder if there is anything original to the Polestar 1. The brand says 50 percent of the coupe's parts are specific to the P1. It begins with the body where the majority of panels are made out of carbon fiber, saving 506 pounds, The hybrid powertrain is comprised of a 2.0L Drive-E engine driving the front axle and two electric motors on the rear axle. Total output is rated at 600 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. Polestar says when the 1 is put into its 'Pure' mode (EV mode), it can travel up to 93 miles. Quick note, when the Polestar 1 is in pure mode, the electric motors offer a total output of 218 horsepower. A 34-kWh provides the electric juice. No information was given on 0-60 mph, top speed, or recharging time. The suspension features the Öhlins’ Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension (CESi). This system monitors the road and driver inputs, adjust damping within 2 milliseconds to deliver optimal handling. CESi also allows for driver-selected modes, though details on this are being kept under wraps. Bringing the Polestar 1 to a stop are a set of Akebono brakes with six-piston calipers and large 15.7-inch discs. “The Polestar 1 is a Performance Electric Hybrid, but with the longest pure electric range of any hybrid car in the world, we consider it an electric car with support from an internal combustion engine. All future cars from Polestar will be Electric Performance Vehicles but the Polestar 1 bridges today’s technology with the future, offering the perfect drivetrain for a Grand Touring Coupé that's likely to be used over longer distances as well as shorter, faster, enjoyable journeys,” said Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath. Polestar 1 will be built a new assembly plant in Chengdu, China that will be finished in mid-2018. Production of the coupe will follow a year later. Polestar plans on build 500 1s every year that you can through a new online-only ordering process. You cannot buy one outright however. A buyer will have to choose either a two or three-year subscription. But that subscription includes insurance and maintence. The order books for the Polestar 1 are open right now. Polestar also announced two forthcoming models called the 2 and 3. Both models will be full electric vehicles. Polestar 2 will be a midsize sedan that will compete with the Tesla Model 3, and the Polestar 3 will be an SUV. Production of the Polestar 2 will begin towards the end of 2019. No date was given as to when production of the Polestar 3 would start. Source: Polestar Press Release is on Page 2 Polestar unveils its first car – the Polestar 1 – and reveals its vision to be the new electric performance brand Polestar, Volvo Car Group’s performance brand, has today revealed its future as a new standalone electric performance brand. Polestar has confirmed the company’s first three models, a new purpose-built production facility in China and a new,customer-focussed route to market with all-inclusive subscription-based services that will set a new industry benchmark for performance car buyers. The company’s first car, Polestar 1, will start production in mid-2019. As an Electric Performance Hybrid, the car can travel up to 150km on pure electric power alone - the longest full electric range of any hybrid car on the market. In combination with its four-cylinder Volvo Drive-E engine, the Polestar 1 delivers 600hp and 1,000Nm of torque, placing the car firmly within the performance car segment. Polestar will act as a technology spearhead for the Volvo Car Group, bringing new technology and performance attributes to market. At the same time, Polestar will benefit from technological and engineering synergies within Volvo Cars and significant economies of scale as a result. These synergies will allow Polestar to accelerate the design, development and building of its electrified performance cars. Thomas Ingenlath, Chief Executive Officer of Polestar said; “Polestar 1 is the first car to carry the Polestar on the bonnet. A beautiful GT with amazing technology packed into it - a great start for our new Polestar brand. All future cars from Polestar will feature a fully electric drivetrain, delivering on our brand vision of being the new standalone electric performance brand". Pure, Progressive, Performance - a portfolio of Polestar models The first car from Polestar, named Polestar 1, will form a halo for the future Polestar brand. The Polestar 1 is a two-door, 2+2 seater Grand Tourer Coupé with an ‘Electric Performance Hybrid’ drivetrain. A maximum of 500 cars per year will be built. All cars will be offered on a subscription basis, with customers benefitting from the convenience of a single, all-inclusive payment that can be topped up by additional on-demand services if required. Showcasing Polestar’s technology spearhead role, the Polestar 1 is based upon Volvo’s Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) but approximately 50% is new and bespoke, created by Polestar’s engineers. Polestar 1 measures 4.5m in length compared with the 5.15m of the S90. This involved removing 320mm from the wheelbase and another 200mm in the rear to create the car’s powerful, sporty proportions. A further example of the technology spearhead role is an all-new double electric motor system driving both rear wheels, connected together by planetary gears. Producing 218hp, plus the support of an Integrated Starter Generator, the Polestar 1 in Pure mode, is a rear wheel drive Electric performance car with up to 150km of range. This distance ensures that many customers will only ever use the car in full electric mode. For those needing increased range, or wanting to exploit the full performance attributes of the Polestar 1, the double electric rear motors combine with a Volvo Drive-E two-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, powering the front wheels. In Power mode, the Polestar 1 delivers a total of 600hp and 1,000Nm of torque. Thomas Ingenlath, Chief Executive Officer of Polestar, continued; “The Polestar 1 is a Performance Electric Hybrid, but with the longest pure electric range of any hybrid car in the world, we consider it an electric car with support from an internal combustion engine. All future cars from Polestar will be Electric Performance Vehicles but the Polestar 1 bridges today’s technology with the future, offering the perfect drivetrain for a Grand Touring Coupé that's likely to be used over longer distances as well as shorter, faster, enjoyable journeys”. When the driver enters the first corner in their Polestar 1, the car further differentiates itself from its electric car competitors. This is what Polestar defines as Progressive Performance. Polestar’s experience of fitting Öhlins suspension to all its previous performance road cars has been harnessed, with Polestar 1 fitted with a state-of-the-art chassis, including the all-new Öhlins Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension (CESi) - the world’s first car to be fitted with this advanced chassis technology. Each Öhlins shock absorber is fitted with a new electronic valve, installed for the first time on any road car in conjunction with Öhlins shock absorbers. The valve constantly monitors the driver inputs and road surface conditions, reacting in two milliseconds, to immediately change the ride characteristics to the prevailing demands. For the first time on an Öhlins suspension, the driver can also make changes to the suspension settings within the car, constantly able to tailor the chassis damping and ride quality to their own requirements. Complementing the suspension technology is a powerful braking system to provide the driver with total confidence in all driving situations. Manufactured by Akebono, the 6-piston brake callipers and 400-millimetre discs provide maximum stopping capability. Weight distribution of 48F:52R also ensures the car delivers class-leading handling. The Polestar 1 also brings other new technologies to the market for the Group. Thanks to the double electric rear axle’s planetary gears, torque vectoring features for the first time, separating the power from each of the electric rear motors to drive the car through corners, rather than convention traction control systems that brake the inner rear wheel, slowing the car in bends. As another first for the Group, the major body parts of the Polestar 1 are made from carbon fibre. This lightweight material, more commonly found in supercars, gives the car three significant advantages. Firstly a substantial body weight reduction of 230kg by building in lighter Carbon Fibre. Secondly, an increase in torsional stiffness of 45%, from 22Nmm-2 to 32Nmm-2. And additionally, a lower centre of gravity. Reducing the weight of the upper body panels by using lightweight Carbon Fibre lowers the centre of gravity for the Polestar 1 and results in better handling, performance and drivability on an open and flowing road. “Most electric cars are fast - that’s a product of the attributes of an electric motor. However, for Polestar, performance is far more holistic than just straight-line speed. It’s about acceleration, of course, but it’s also about cornering, braking, suspension control, chassis feedback and steering feel. This is what Polestar calls Progressive Performance,” said Thomas Ingenlath. Polestar 2 and Polestar 3 to follow. All future Polestar cars will feature a fully electric powertrain. Polestar 2 will start production later in 2019 and will be the first battery electric vehicle (BEV) from the Volvo Car Group. Polestar 2 will be a mid-sized fully-electric car that will join the competition around the Tesla Model 3. Polestar 2 is currently in the engineering phase and will start production before the end of 2019, delivering higher volumes than Polestar 1. Polestar 3 is in the finishing stages of design and will be a larger SUV-style BEV, creating a modern expression of electric performance and driving dynamics, and sitting between Polestar 1 and Polestar 2 in terms of volume and pricing. “Being part of the Volvo Car Group enables Polestar to design, develop and engineer our cars using the processes of a well-established car company but at the same time, enables us to experiment with new technology in lower volume cars outside the mainstream segments. This pace of development means as we announce the future of the company, we can also already confirm that a portfolio of three Polestar cars will be on sale within the next four year timescale,” continued Thomas Ingenlath. A contemporary approach for modern performance customers. Polestar brings a fresh approach to taking vehicles to market, removing all the hassle and allowing the customer to focus on what’s important: the driving experience. At the heart of the Polestar customer offer is a monthly subscription payment. This all-inclusive, no deposit, flat monthly payment ensures that the customer need never concern themselves with the inconvenience or cost of depreciation, insurance and maintenance and all Polestars will be offered on this basis. The subscription also includes pick-up and delivery servicing where Polestar contacts the customer to arrange a convenient time for scheduled maintenance. It will also consists of a number of car rental days and access to a range of concierge services. Polestar also recognises that its customers can’t always plan their future motoring requirements. For this reason, Polestar on-demand services are available. Simply ordered online or through a Polestar app and added to the one monthly invoice, further reducing the “hassle” traditionally associated with car usage. As an example, a customer needs the short-term use of a roof box for a forthcoming skiing holiday. At a time and location specified by the owner, Polestar will supply, fit and subsequently remove the roof box, just adding a small incremental usage charge to their monthly invoice. Polestar offers extended concierge services, tailored to the requirements of the most demanding customers. Included is services such as the extended use of a larger Volvo car domestically and internationally for when the driver needs additional load capacity during long family holidays, for example. Other features include the ability to book a car wash and valet at a time and location convenient to the customer. Polestar’s own Phone-as-Key technology is the main enabler of its concierge services. Using an easy-to-use app on Apple or Android devices, the driver can gain access to the car without using a key if required. More importantly, the app allows the owner to virtually pass a key to a third-party concierge or driver to facilitate the collection of the car to re-charge it, service it and more, without the owner ever leaving their home or office. The subscription will be for a fixed term of two or three years. At the end of the contract, the customer simply returns the car, or Polestar collects it and delivers their next Polestar experience. Polestar will then refurbish the vehicle and prepare it for a secondary subscription as a high-quality pre-owned Polestar car. “Our vision is that the Polestar subscription model and services that we will offer will define the Polestar brand as much as our cars will. Services that exceed the needs, desires and expectations of the premium performance car customer are at the heart of Polestar, removing the inconvenience of ownership and allowing customers to purely concentrate on the pleasure of driving a Polestar car,” said Jonathan Goodman, Chief Operating Officer of Polestar. Access Polestar wherever, whenever and however. Polestar makes the entire user experience as convenient and effortless as possible, catering to the customer’s desired choice of interaction channel (digital or physical). All features, from test drives, subscription offers and on demand services are ordered online. The customer never needs to visit a Polestar environment if they don’t want to. Polestar also recognises that as a new entrant into the electrified automotive segment, customers still want to physically engage with the brand. The digital approach will therefore be complemented by the creation of a network of stand-alone retail Spaces around the world. These Spaces will be staffed by Product experts who can assist in demonstrating and explaining the Polestar car’s content and carrying out test drives should the customer wish to do so. Polestar facilities will not be located within an existing Volvo retailer showroom. The target date for the opening of the first Polestar Space is Q1-2019, followed by a ramp up as volumes grow. Polestar’s customers will have the confidence of knowing all aftersales servicing work will be carried out by selected Volvo retailers, giving the Polestar customer the peace of mind that their car will be looked after by a fully trained and professional network, but without the need for the customer to ever visit the Volvo retailer thanks to pick up and delivery servicing The order books for the new Polestar 1 open on 17 October 2017, with Polestar able to take expressions of interest from prospective customers immediately. Polestar Production Centre Polestar cars will be built in China. To facilitate this, Volvo Cars has formed a joint venture with two companies within its parent company, Zhejiang Geely Holding. This JV is capitalised with 5B RMB (640M Euro) of equity to support Polestar’s development. Polestar remains a subsidiary of Volvo Car Group and will be fully consolidated into Volvo Car Group. The new Polestar 1 will be built in a state-of-the-art, purpose-built Polestar Production Centre in Chengdu, China. Currently under construction and due for completion in mid-2018, the new Polestar Production Centre has been carefully created together with international award-winning architects, Snöhetta from Norway. The new Polestar Production Centre will also house one of the first Polestar Spaces, with a customer test track constructed within the campus to enable potential customers to evaluate the car to extremes not possible on public roads. When complete, the new Polestar Production Centre will be the most environmentally-responsible car factory in China, and one of the most efficient in the world, with a target of Gold status in the globally-recognised LEED ratings (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). “Our new Polestar Production Centre is no ordinary car factory,” said Jonathan Goodman, Chief Operating Officer of Polestar. “It is designed for the low volume production of Polestar 1 but is also being designed to cater for the larger volumes of the future. The Production Centre has also been designed to act as a strong representation of our brand as well as a state-of-the-art production facility”. View full article
  12. It was just a few months ago that Volvo announced their in-house performance arm, Polestar would be spun off to become a standalone brand. It would focus on building high-performance electric vehicles, though as we reported in the rumorpile back in the summer, their first model would be a plug-in hybrid coupe. That rumor was right on the money as the brand unveiled the Polestar 1 at an event in Shanghai. The Polestar 1 looks to be the production model of the Volvo Concept Coupe shown a few years back. The front end is very reminiscent of recent Volvo models with a concave grille and Thor's Hammer headlights. The rear end echoes the Concept Coupe with C-Shaped taillights and short trunk lid. With an overall length of 177.2-inches, the Polestar 1 is about six inches shorter than the BMW 4-Series Coupe. Inside the coupe, it is again like Volvo's 90 Series models with a large touchscreen, steering wheel, and even the crystal gearshift. With all of this similarity to other Volvo models, you can't help but wonder if there is anything original to the Polestar 1. The brand says 50 percent of the coupe's parts are specific to the P1. It begins with the body where the majority of panels are made out of carbon fiber, saving 506 pounds, The hybrid powertrain is comprised of a 2.0L Drive-E engine driving the front axle and two electric motors on the rear axle. Total output is rated at 600 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. Polestar says when the 1 is put into its 'Pure' mode (EV mode), it can travel up to 93 miles. Quick note, when the Polestar 1 is in pure mode, the electric motors offer a total output of 218 horsepower. A 34-kWh provides the electric juice. No information was given on 0-60 mph, top speed, or recharging time. The suspension features the Öhlins’ Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension (CESi). This system monitors the road and driver inputs, adjust damping within 2 milliseconds to deliver optimal handling. CESi also allows for driver-selected modes, though details on this are being kept under wraps. Bringing the Polestar 1 to a stop are a set of Akebono brakes with six-piston calipers and large 15.7-inch discs. “The Polestar 1 is a Performance Electric Hybrid, but with the longest pure electric range of any hybrid car in the world, we consider it an electric car with support from an internal combustion engine. All future cars from Polestar will be Electric Performance Vehicles but the Polestar 1 bridges today’s technology with the future, offering the perfect drivetrain for a Grand Touring Coupé that's likely to be used over longer distances as well as shorter, faster, enjoyable journeys,” said Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath. Polestar 1 will be built a new assembly plant in Chengdu, China that will be finished in mid-2018. Production of the coupe will follow a year later. Polestar plans on build 500 1s every year that you can through a new online-only ordering process. You cannot buy one outright however. A buyer will have to choose either a two or three-year subscription. But that subscription includes insurance and maintence. The order books for the Polestar 1 are open right now. Polestar also announced two forthcoming models called the 2 and 3. Both models will be full electric vehicles. Polestar 2 will be a midsize sedan that will compete with the Tesla Model 3, and the Polestar 3 will be an SUV. Production of the Polestar 2 will begin towards the end of 2019. No date was given as to when production of the Polestar 3 would start. Source: Polestar Press Release is on Page 2 Polestar unveils its first car – the Polestar 1 – and reveals its vision to be the new electric performance brand Polestar, Volvo Car Group’s performance brand, has today revealed its future as a new standalone electric performance brand. Polestar has confirmed the company’s first three models, a new purpose-built production facility in China and a new,customer-focussed route to market with all-inclusive subscription-based services that will set a new industry benchmark for performance car buyers. The company’s first car, Polestar 1, will start production in mid-2019. As an Electric Performance Hybrid, the car can travel up to 150km on pure electric power alone - the longest full electric range of any hybrid car on the market. In combination with its four-cylinder Volvo Drive-E engine, the Polestar 1 delivers 600hp and 1,000Nm of torque, placing the car firmly within the performance car segment. Polestar will act as a technology spearhead for the Volvo Car Group, bringing new technology and performance attributes to market. At the same time, Polestar will benefit from technological and engineering synergies within Volvo Cars and significant economies of scale as a result. These synergies will allow Polestar to accelerate the design, development and building of its electrified performance cars. Thomas Ingenlath, Chief Executive Officer of Polestar said; “Polestar 1 is the first car to carry the Polestar on the bonnet. A beautiful GT with amazing technology packed into it - a great start for our new Polestar brand. All future cars from Polestar will feature a fully electric drivetrain, delivering on our brand vision of being the new standalone electric performance brand". Pure, Progressive, Performance - a portfolio of Polestar models The first car from Polestar, named Polestar 1, will form a halo for the future Polestar brand. The Polestar 1 is a two-door, 2+2 seater Grand Tourer Coupé with an ‘Electric Performance Hybrid’ drivetrain. A maximum of 500 cars per year will be built. All cars will be offered on a subscription basis, with customers benefitting from the convenience of a single, all-inclusive payment that can be topped up by additional on-demand services if required. Showcasing Polestar’s technology spearhead role, the Polestar 1 is based upon Volvo’s Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) but approximately 50% is new and bespoke, created by Polestar’s engineers. Polestar 1 measures 4.5m in length compared with the 5.15m of the S90. This involved removing 320mm from the wheelbase and another 200mm in the rear to create the car’s powerful, sporty proportions. A further example of the technology spearhead role is an all-new double electric motor system driving both rear wheels, connected together by planetary gears. Producing 218hp, plus the support of an Integrated Starter Generator, the Polestar 1 in Pure mode, is a rear wheel drive Electric performance car with up to 150km of range. This distance ensures that many customers will only ever use the car in full electric mode. For those needing increased range, or wanting to exploit the full performance attributes of the Polestar 1, the double electric rear motors combine with a Volvo Drive-E two-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, powering the front wheels. In Power mode, the Polestar 1 delivers a total of 600hp and 1,000Nm of torque. Thomas Ingenlath, Chief Executive Officer of Polestar, continued; “The Polestar 1 is a Performance Electric Hybrid, but with the longest pure electric range of any hybrid car in the world, we consider it an electric car with support from an internal combustion engine. All future cars from Polestar will be Electric Performance Vehicles but the Polestar 1 bridges today’s technology with the future, offering the perfect drivetrain for a Grand Touring Coupé that's likely to be used over longer distances as well as shorter, faster, enjoyable journeys”. When the driver enters the first corner in their Polestar 1, the car further differentiates itself from its electric car competitors. This is what Polestar defines as Progressive Performance. Polestar’s experience of fitting Öhlins suspension to all its previous performance road cars has been harnessed, with Polestar 1 fitted with a state-of-the-art chassis, including the all-new Öhlins Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension (CESi) - the world’s first car to be fitted with this advanced chassis technology. Each Öhlins shock absorber is fitted with a new electronic valve, installed for the first time on any road car in conjunction with Öhlins shock absorbers. The valve constantly monitors the driver inputs and road surface conditions, reacting in two milliseconds, to immediately change the ride characteristics to the prevailing demands. For the first time on an Öhlins suspension, the driver can also make changes to the suspension settings within the car, constantly able to tailor the chassis damping and ride quality to their own requirements. Complementing the suspension technology is a powerful braking system to provide the driver with total confidence in all driving situations. Manufactured by Akebono, the 6-piston brake callipers and 400-millimetre discs provide maximum stopping capability. Weight distribution of 48F:52R also ensures the car delivers class-leading handling. The Polestar 1 also brings other new technologies to the market for the Group. Thanks to the double electric rear axle’s planetary gears, torque vectoring features for the first time, separating the power from each of the electric rear motors to drive the car through corners, rather than convention traction control systems that brake the inner rear wheel, slowing the car in bends. As another first for the Group, the major body parts of the Polestar 1 are made from carbon fibre. This lightweight material, more commonly found in supercars, gives the car three significant advantages. Firstly a substantial body weight reduction of 230kg by building in lighter Carbon Fibre. Secondly, an increase in torsional stiffness of 45%, from 22Nmm-2 to 32Nmm-2. And additionally, a lower centre of gravity. Reducing the weight of the upper body panels by using lightweight Carbon Fibre lowers the centre of gravity for the Polestar 1 and results in better handling, performance and drivability on an open and flowing road. “Most electric cars are fast - that’s a product of the attributes of an electric motor. However, for Polestar, performance is far more holistic than just straight-line speed. It’s about acceleration, of course, but it’s also about cornering, braking, suspension control, chassis feedback and steering feel. This is what Polestar calls Progressive Performance,” said Thomas Ingenlath. Polestar 2 and Polestar 3 to follow. All future Polestar cars will feature a fully electric powertrain. Polestar 2 will start production later in 2019 and will be the first battery electric vehicle (BEV) from the Volvo Car Group. Polestar 2 will be a mid-sized fully-electric car that will join the competition around the Tesla Model 3. Polestar 2 is currently in the engineering phase and will start production before the end of 2019, delivering higher volumes than Polestar 1. Polestar 3 is in the finishing stages of design and will be a larger SUV-style BEV, creating a modern expression of electric performance and driving dynamics, and sitting between Polestar 1 and Polestar 2 in terms of volume and pricing. “Being part of the Volvo Car Group enables Polestar to design, develop and engineer our cars using the processes of a well-established car company but at the same time, enables us to experiment with new technology in lower volume cars outside the mainstream segments. This pace of development means as we announce the future of the company, we can also already confirm that a portfolio of three Polestar cars will be on sale within the next four year timescale,” continued Thomas Ingenlath. A contemporary approach for modern performance customers. Polestar brings a fresh approach to taking vehicles to market, removing all the hassle and allowing the customer to focus on what’s important: the driving experience. At the heart of the Polestar customer offer is a monthly subscription payment. This all-inclusive, no deposit, flat monthly payment ensures that the customer need never concern themselves with the inconvenience or cost of depreciation, insurance and maintenance and all Polestars will be offered on this basis. The subscription also includes pick-up and delivery servicing where Polestar contacts the customer to arrange a convenient time for scheduled maintenance. It will also consists of a number of car rental days and access to a range of concierge services. Polestar also recognises that its customers can’t always plan their future motoring requirements. For this reason, Polestar on-demand services are available. Simply ordered online or through a Polestar app and added to the one monthly invoice, further reducing the “hassle” traditionally associated with car usage. As an example, a customer needs the short-term use of a roof box for a forthcoming skiing holiday. At a time and location specified by the owner, Polestar will supply, fit and subsequently remove the roof box, just adding a small incremental usage charge to their monthly invoice. Polestar offers extended concierge services, tailored to the requirements of the most demanding customers. Included is services such as the extended use of a larger Volvo car domestically and internationally for when the driver needs additional load capacity during long family holidays, for example. Other features include the ability to book a car wash and valet at a time and location convenient to the customer. Polestar’s own Phone-as-Key technology is the main enabler of its concierge services. Using an easy-to-use app on Apple or Android devices, the driver can gain access to the car without using a key if required. More importantly, the app allows the owner to virtually pass a key to a third-party concierge or driver to facilitate the collection of the car to re-charge it, service it and more, without the owner ever leaving their home or office. The subscription will be for a fixed term of two or three years. At the end of the contract, the customer simply returns the car, or Polestar collects it and delivers their next Polestar experience. Polestar will then refurbish the vehicle and prepare it for a secondary subscription as a high-quality pre-owned Polestar car. “Our vision is that the Polestar subscription model and services that we will offer will define the Polestar brand as much as our cars will. Services that exceed the needs, desires and expectations of the premium performance car customer are at the heart of Polestar, removing the inconvenience of ownership and allowing customers to purely concentrate on the pleasure of driving a Polestar car,” said Jonathan Goodman, Chief Operating Officer of Polestar. Access Polestar wherever, whenever and however. Polestar makes the entire user experience as convenient and effortless as possible, catering to the customer’s desired choice of interaction channel (digital or physical). All features, from test drives, subscription offers and on demand services are ordered online. The customer never needs to visit a Polestar environment if they don’t want to. Polestar also recognises that as a new entrant into the electrified automotive segment, customers still want to physically engage with the brand. The digital approach will therefore be complemented by the creation of a network of stand-alone retail Spaces around the world. These Spaces will be staffed by Product experts who can assist in demonstrating and explaining the Polestar car’s content and carrying out test drives should the customer wish to do so. Polestar facilities will not be located within an existing Volvo retailer showroom. The target date for the opening of the first Polestar Space is Q1-2019, followed by a ramp up as volumes grow. Polestar’s customers will have the confidence of knowing all aftersales servicing work will be carried out by selected Volvo retailers, giving the Polestar customer the peace of mind that their car will be looked after by a fully trained and professional network, but without the need for the customer to ever visit the Volvo retailer thanks to pick up and delivery servicing The order books for the new Polestar 1 open on 17 October 2017, with Polestar able to take expressions of interest from prospective customers immediately. Polestar Production Centre Polestar cars will be built in China. To facilitate this, Volvo Cars has formed a joint venture with two companies within its parent company, Zhejiang Geely Holding. This JV is capitalised with 5B RMB (640M Euro) of equity to support Polestar’s development. Polestar remains a subsidiary of Volvo Car Group and will be fully consolidated into Volvo Car Group. The new Polestar 1 will be built in a state-of-the-art, purpose-built Polestar Production Centre in Chengdu, China. Currently under construction and due for completion in mid-2018, the new Polestar Production Centre has been carefully created together with international award-winning architects, Snöhetta from Norway. The new Polestar Production Centre will also house one of the first Polestar Spaces, with a customer test track constructed within the campus to enable potential customers to evaluate the car to extremes not possible on public roads. When complete, the new Polestar Production Centre will be the most environmentally-responsible car factory in China, and one of the most efficient in the world, with a target of Gold status in the globally-recognised LEED ratings (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). “Our new Polestar Production Centre is no ordinary car factory,” said Jonathan Goodman, Chief Operating Officer of Polestar. “It is designed for the low volume production of Polestar 1 but is also being designed to cater for the larger volumes of the future. The Production Centre has also been designed to act as a strong representation of our brand as well as a state-of-the-art production facility”.
  13. The electrification future that is coming will help automakers with meeting upcoming emission targets. But it also means that enthusiasts may be left in the dark for having something fun to drive. Toyota's GR HV Sports concept sounds like on paper that the electrified future might not be so bad. The GR HV Sports concept looks to be a heavily modified 86 coupe with a new front that is said to be inspired from the TS050 Hybrid LMP1 race car, removable targa top, and altered rear end with the new taillights and diffuser. The interior looks like your standard 86 aside from a new digital instrument cluster and an interesting transmission arrangement. The center stack comes with a row of buttons that engages the various gears (park, reverse, drive, etc). A special M button enables the use of the shifter to give the impression of a six-speed manual. Toyota isn't saying much about the GR HV Sports concept's mechanicals aside from it having a hybrid system of some sort and the battery pack being placed where the back seat would be. We'll hopefully learn more details when it debuts at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month. Source: Toyota Press Release is on Page 2 Toyota to Unveil GR HV SPORTS concept at Tokyo Motor Show 2017 Presenting a new way of enjoying cars Toyota City, Japan, October 6, 2017―Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) is set to unveil the GR HV SPORTS concept car at its worldwide premiere at the 45th Tokyo Motor Show 2017, taking place from October 25 through November 5 at Tokyo Big Sight. The GR HV SPORTS concept represents a new way to enjoy cars by integrating the thrill of a sports car with the environmental friendliness of an eco-car. Main Features The design is reminiscent of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing's TS050 Hybrid racing car that competes in the World Endurance Championship (WEC). Features a targa top that was also used for Toyota's legendary convertible sports cars, the Toyota Sports 800 (a.k.a. Yotahachi) and the Supra Powered by THS-R (Toyota Hybrid System-Racing) that is infused with hybrid technology refined by the TS050 Hybrid Design While completely embodying functionality as a genuine sports car, the GR HV SPORTS concept features LED headlights, aluminum wheels, and a rear diffuser similar to the TS050 Hybrid. The design evokes Toyota's bond with motor sports. The matte black body color expresses power and aggressiveness. Interior A selection switch to choose the automatic gear position is located in the center cluster to achieve a racing car-like ambience. The push button ignition switch is playfully located on the shift knob. Enjoyment of control Drivers can delight in the performance of THS-R in a genuine sports car while experiencing a sense of freedom thanks to the targa top. Switching to manual mode is possible with the single press of a button, and 6-speed manual-style driving with H-pattern shifting can be enjoyed (the car is an automatic). The hybrid battery is mounted near the center of the vehicle. Installing the heavy battery in the center contributes to improved performance as a sports car.
  14. The electrification future that is coming will help automakers with meeting upcoming emission targets. But it also means that enthusiasts may be left in the dark for having something fun to drive. Toyota's GR HV Sports concept sounds like on paper that the electrified future might not be so bad. The GR HV Sports concept looks to be a heavily modified 86 coupe with a new front that is said to be inspired from the TS050 Hybrid LMP1 race car, removable targa top, and altered rear end with the new taillights and diffuser. The interior looks like your standard 86 aside from a new digital instrument cluster and an interesting transmission arrangement. The center stack comes with a row of buttons that engages the various gears (park, reverse, drive, etc). A special M button enables the use of the shifter to give the impression of a six-speed manual. Toyota isn't saying much about the GR HV Sports concept's mechanicals aside from it having a hybrid system of some sort and the battery pack being placed where the back seat would be. We'll hopefully learn more details when it debuts at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month. Source: Toyota Press Release is on Page 2 Toyota to Unveil GR HV SPORTS concept at Tokyo Motor Show 2017 Presenting a new way of enjoying cars Toyota City, Japan, October 6, 2017―Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) is set to unveil the GR HV SPORTS concept car at its worldwide premiere at the 45th Tokyo Motor Show 2017, taking place from October 25 through November 5 at Tokyo Big Sight. The GR HV SPORTS concept represents a new way to enjoy cars by integrating the thrill of a sports car with the environmental friendliness of an eco-car. Main Features The design is reminiscent of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing's TS050 Hybrid racing car that competes in the World Endurance Championship (WEC). Features a targa top that was also used for Toyota's legendary convertible sports cars, the Toyota Sports 800 (a.k.a. Yotahachi) and the Supra Powered by THS-R (Toyota Hybrid System-Racing) that is infused with hybrid technology refined by the TS050 Hybrid Design While completely embodying functionality as a genuine sports car, the GR HV SPORTS concept features LED headlights, aluminum wheels, and a rear diffuser similar to the TS050 Hybrid. The design evokes Toyota's bond with motor sports. The matte black body color expresses power and aggressiveness. Interior A selection switch to choose the automatic gear position is located in the center cluster to achieve a racing car-like ambience. The push button ignition switch is playfully located on the shift knob. Enjoyment of control Drivers can delight in the performance of THS-R in a genuine sports car while experiencing a sense of freedom thanks to the targa top. Switching to manual mode is possible with the single press of a button, and 6-speed manual-style driving with H-pattern shifting can be enjoyed (the car is an automatic). The hybrid battery is mounted near the center of the vehicle. Installing the heavy battery in the center contributes to improved performance as a sports car. View full article
  15. Land Rover will be offering plug-in hybrid variants of Range Rover and Range Rover Sport next spring. This news comes from Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth at the Frankfurt Motor Show last week. The models will pair JLR's 2.0L four-cylinder Ingenium gas engine with an electric motor. EV range is said to be about 30 miles when the battery is charged - although the range could be based on the European cycle. No power ratings were given for hybrid system. More details on the plug-in hybrid models will be announced next month. Land Rover has sold a hybrid version of the Range Rover for a few years in Europe, but it uses a diesel engine. Source: Motoring, Motor Trend
  16. Land Rover will be offering plug-in hybrid variants of Range Rover and Range Rover Sport next spring. This news comes from Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth at the Frankfurt Motor Show last week. The models will pair JLR's 2.0L four-cylinder Ingenium gas engine with an electric motor. EV range is said to be about 30 miles when the battery is charged - although the range could be based on the European cycle. No power ratings were given for hybrid system. More details on the plug-in hybrid models will be announced next month. Land Rover has sold a hybrid version of the Range Rover for a few years in Europe, but it uses a diesel engine. Source: Motoring, Motor Trend View full article
  17. Review: 2017 Kia Niro EX

    The Kia Niro is the Korean automaker’s first dedicated hybrid vehicle. But if you look at any of marketing materials, you will notice that ‘hybrid’ doesn’t appear anywhere. Take for example this line from a TV ad: “We call this the Kia Niro, but that’s only because ‘breakthrough, game-changing crossover that gets over 40 miles per gallon combined and is really fun to drive’ just wouldn’t fit on the back.” It is a smart move by Kia as more people are buying crossovers like they’re going out of style and it reflects in the sales. In July, Kia moved 2,763 Niros. The Hyundai Ioniq, its sister model only moved 1,252 units. This left us wondering; how does the Niro stack not only as a hybrid vehicle but also as a crossover? We got to spend a week in the midlevel EX to find out. We couldn’t decide if the Niro was more wagon or crossover in terms of the overall design. For the former, the Niro has the two-box design you see on a wagon - separate spaces for the engine and passengers/cargo. The body features smooth, rounded lines that not only gives more credence to the wagon idea but also helps with aerodynamics - the Niro has a drag coefficient of 0.29. For the latter, there is a fair amount of lower body cladding to give the illusion of a taller ride height. Other crossover cues include a faux rear skid plate and roof rails. No matter which side of the argument you come down on, you’ll most likely agree that the Niro looks quite conventional for a hybrid vehicle. The Niro’s interior is very straightforward and normal for a hybrid model. It looks like any other Kia vehicle we have driven with a fair amount of high-quality plastics, the simple control arrangement of the center stack, and a clear set of gauges. The seats were upholstered in cloth and leather and felt nice to sit on for short trips. Longer trips revealed the seats to be lacking in support. Rear seat passengers will like the decent amount of head and legroom on offer. Being a clean sheet design and not taking an existing vehicle to hybridize means Kia was able to maximize the cargo area. Open the rear tailgate you’re greeted with a flat floor, not a raised floor like competitors. Space measures out to 19.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 54.5 cubic feet when folded. This puts the Niro towards the top of the class when compared to other subcompact crossovers. Only the Honda HR-V offers a more spacious cargo area - 24.3 and 58.8 when equipped with FWD. Most Niros get a 7-inch touchscreen with Kia’s UVO infotainment system. The top-line Touring comes with an 8-inch screen and navigation. Kia’s UVO system is beginning to show its age as competitors begin to introduce updated interfaces and brighter screens, but it is still one of easiest systems to use. A logical layout for the interface, quick performance, and physical shortcut buttons keep it at the top of our favorite infotainment systems' list. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard across the board. We found the Apple CarPlay integration to be seamless with the system quickly finding our iPhone 7 Plus and bringing up the CarPlay interface. Power comes from a hybrid system comprised of a 1.6L GDI four-cylinder (104 horsepower and 109 pound-feet) and electric motor (43 hp and 125 lb-ft). Total output stands at 139 hp and 195 lb-ft. This is paired with a six-speed dual-clutch transmission and front-wheel drive. Before you ask, Kia isn’t planning on offering all-wheel drive on the Niro for the time being. The Niro feels slightly quicker than the Prius in around-town driving thanks to the higher torque figure from the electric motor. Stay light on the throttle and the Niro can get up to 40 mph on just electric power alone. But the Niro begins to show some weakness at higher speeds as it takes a long time to reach them. This makes merging or passing a somewhat tricky proposition. Kia also needs to do some more work on smoothing out some of hybrid system’s rough edges. At various times, there was a delay from us putting our foot on the accelerator pedal to the powertrain responding. We also noticed surges and pulsation from the powertrain at low-speeds. Kia and sister brand, Hyundai have stood out by not equipping their hybrid vehicles with CVTs. Instead, they tend to go for either an automatic or in the case of the Niro, a dual-clutch transmission. The upside to this is that the Niro feels like a normal vehicle as it doesn’t have the loud droning from the CVT during hard acceleration. But the dual-clutch does introduce some other headaches. Gear changes are noticeable and at times as the transmission seems hesitant to go down a gear when you need to get up and go. Most Niro models will have EPA figures of 51 City/46 Highway/49 Combined. We saw an average of 51.2 mpg in mostly city driving. The base FE returns figures of 49/52/50 and the top-line Touring comes in at 46/40/43. This mostly comes down to weight and various features fitted to each model. For example, the Touring is the only model to come with 18-inch wheels. The Niro is a bit of mixed bag in terms of ride and handling. On smooth and slightly bumpy roads, the Niro does a good job of soaking up bumps. This changes when driven on a rough road as passengers will be bouncing around somewhat. Going through a corner, the Niro exhibits a fair amount of body roll, making you think twice about having some fun. Steering is not particularly quick but does exhibit a nice amount of weight when turning. Wind and road noise is quite noticeable on the highway, but quiets down somewhat when driven in an urban area. Judging the Kia Niro depends on how to look at it. As a crossover, the Niro scores quite well as it offers plenty of space and the tall ride height many buyers are looking for. The lack of all-wheel drive might make it a tough sell. From the hybrid perspective, the Niro begins to lose some ground. It offers slightly better performance than the Prius around town, but struggles when getting up to highway speeds. There also the need for the hybrid system and dual-clutch automatic to go back in the workshop for the various rough edges to be smoothed over. Kia made a wise move by designing the Niro as a crossover and it is paying off. It offers the plus points of the Prius without the exuberant design. But the Niro has some issues that Kia needs to address ASAP or it may lose out on this golden opportunity the model currently has. Disclaimer: Kia Provided the Niro, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2017 Make: Kia Model: Niro Trim: EX Engine: 1.6L DOHC GDI Atkinson Cycle Four-Cylinder, Electric Motor Driveline: Six-Speed Dual-Clutch Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 104 @ 5,700 (1.6L), 43 @ 0 (Electric), 139 (Total Output) Torque @ RPM: 109 @ 4,000 (1.6L), 125 @ 0 (Electric), 195 (Total Output) Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 51/46/49 Curb Weight: 3,161 lbs Location of Manufacture: Hwaseong, South Korea Base Price: $25,700 As Tested Price: $28,895 (Includes $895.00 Destination Charge) Options: Sunroof & Advanced Technology Package - $2,300.00 View full article
  18. Review: 2017 Kia Niro EX

    The Kia Niro is the Korean automaker’s first dedicated hybrid vehicle. But if you look at any of marketing materials, you will notice that ‘hybrid’ doesn’t appear anywhere. Take for example this line from a TV ad: “We call this the Kia Niro, but that’s only because ‘breakthrough, game-changing crossover that gets over 40 miles per gallon combined and is really fun to drive’ just wouldn’t fit on the back.” It is a smart move by Kia as more people are buying crossovers like they’re going out of style and it reflects in the sales. In July, Kia moved 2,763 Niros. The Hyundai Ioniq, its sister model only moved 1,252 units. This left us wondering; how does the Niro stack not only as a hybrid vehicle but also as a crossover? We got to spend a week in the midlevel EX to find out. We couldn’t decide if the Niro was more wagon or crossover in terms of the overall design. For the former, the Niro has the two-box design you see on a wagon - separate spaces for the engine and passengers/cargo. The body features smooth, rounded lines that not only gives more credence to the wagon idea but also helps with aerodynamics - the Niro has a drag coefficient of 0.29. For the latter, there is a fair amount of lower body cladding to give the illusion of a taller ride height. Other crossover cues include a faux rear skid plate and roof rails. No matter which side of the argument you come down on, you’ll most likely agree that the Niro looks quite conventional for a hybrid vehicle. The Niro’s interior is very straightforward and normal for a hybrid model. It looks like any other Kia vehicle we have driven with a fair amount of high-quality plastics, the simple control arrangement of the center stack, and a clear set of gauges. The seats were upholstered in cloth and leather and felt nice to sit on for short trips. Longer trips revealed the seats to be lacking in support. Rear seat passengers will like the decent amount of head and legroom on offer. Being a clean sheet design and not taking an existing vehicle to hybridize means Kia was able to maximize the cargo area. Open the rear tailgate you’re greeted with a flat floor, not a raised floor like competitors. Space measures out to 19.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 54.5 cubic feet when folded. This puts the Niro towards the top of the class when compared to other subcompact crossovers. Only the Honda HR-V offers a more spacious cargo area - 24.3 and 58.8 when equipped with FWD. Most Niros get a 7-inch touchscreen with Kia’s UVO infotainment system. The top-line Touring comes with an 8-inch screen and navigation. Kia’s UVO system is beginning to show its age as competitors begin to introduce updated interfaces and brighter screens, but it is still one of easiest systems to use. A logical layout for the interface, quick performance, and physical shortcut buttons keep it at the top of our favorite infotainment systems' list. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard across the board. We found the Apple CarPlay integration to be seamless with the system quickly finding our iPhone 7 Plus and bringing up the CarPlay interface. Power comes from a hybrid system comprised of a 1.6L GDI four-cylinder (104 horsepower and 109 pound-feet) and electric motor (43 hp and 125 lb-ft). Total output stands at 139 hp and 195 lb-ft. This is paired with a six-speed dual-clutch transmission and front-wheel drive. Before you ask, Kia isn’t planning on offering all-wheel drive on the Niro for the time being. The Niro feels slightly quicker than the Prius in around-town driving thanks to the higher torque figure from the electric motor. Stay light on the throttle and the Niro can get up to 40 mph on just electric power alone. But the Niro begins to show some weakness at higher speeds as it takes a long time to reach them. This makes merging or passing a somewhat tricky proposition. Kia also needs to do some more work on smoothing out some of hybrid system’s rough edges. At various times, there was a delay from us putting our foot on the accelerator pedal to the powertrain responding. We also noticed surges and pulsation from the powertrain at low-speeds. Kia and sister brand, Hyundai have stood out by not equipping their hybrid vehicles with CVTs. Instead, they tend to go for either an automatic or in the case of the Niro, a dual-clutch transmission. The upside to this is that the Niro feels like a normal vehicle as it doesn’t have the loud droning from the CVT during hard acceleration. But the dual-clutch does introduce some other headaches. Gear changes are noticeable and at times as the transmission seems hesitant to go down a gear when you need to get up and go. Most Niro models will have EPA figures of 51 City/46 Highway/49 Combined. We saw an average of 51.2 mpg in mostly city driving. The base FE returns figures of 49/52/50 and the top-line Touring comes in at 46/40/43. This mostly comes down to weight and various features fitted to each model. For example, the Touring is the only model to come with 18-inch wheels. The Niro is a bit of mixed bag in terms of ride and handling. On smooth and slightly bumpy roads, the Niro does a good job of soaking up bumps. This changes when driven on a rough road as passengers will be bouncing around somewhat. Going through a corner, the Niro exhibits a fair amount of body roll, making you think twice about having some fun. Steering is not particularly quick but does exhibit a nice amount of weight when turning. Wind and road noise is quite noticeable on the highway, but quiets down somewhat when driven in an urban area. Judging the Kia Niro depends on how to look at it. As a crossover, the Niro scores quite well as it offers plenty of space and the tall ride height many buyers are looking for. The lack of all-wheel drive might make it a tough sell. From the hybrid perspective, the Niro begins to lose some ground. It offers slightly better performance than the Prius around town, but struggles when getting up to highway speeds. There also the need for the hybrid system and dual-clutch automatic to go back in the workshop for the various rough edges to be smoothed over. Kia made a wise move by designing the Niro as a crossover and it is paying off. It offers the plus points of the Prius without the exuberant design. But the Niro has some issues that Kia needs to address ASAP or it may lose out on this golden opportunity the model currently has. Disclaimer: Kia Provided the Niro, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2017 Make: Kia Model: Niro Trim: EX Engine: 1.6L DOHC GDI Atkinson Cycle Four-Cylinder, Electric Motor Driveline: Six-Speed Dual-Clutch Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 104 @ 5,700 (1.6L), 43 @ 0 (Electric), 139 (Total Output) Torque @ RPM: 109 @ 4,000 (1.6L), 125 @ 0 (Electric), 195 (Total Output) Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 51/46/49 Curb Weight: 3,161 lbs Location of Manufacture: Hwaseong, South Korea Base Price: $25,700 As Tested Price: $28,895 (Includes $895.00 Destination Charge) Options: Sunroof & Advanced Technology Package - $2,300.00
  19. Chevrolet’s previous attempts at building a hybrid version of the Malibu are less than stellar. Their first attempt in the late-2000s was not well received due to mediocre performance and fuel economy figures that fell way behind the pack. The second attempt was the last-generation Malibu Eco. Chevrolet hoped to draw people in with a lower price and slightly better fuel economy figures due to the mild-hybrid system. But once again, it would prove to be a flop as the performance was meh and fuel wasn’t that noticeably better from the regular four-cylinder model. Chevrolet isn’t one to give up though. When the next-generation Malibu was revealed a couple of years ago, they announced a hybrid variant would be available. But this one was going to be different as the model would feature ideas and tech from the Volt. We spent over a week in a 2017 Malibu Hybrid to find out if Chevrolet has repeated the same mistakes as before or if they have learned from them. The Malibu Hybrid powertrain is made up of a 1.8L DOHC four-cylinder paired up to the Volt’s electric drive unit - comprised of two electric motors. Power for the electric motors comes from an 80-cell, 1.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Total output is rated at 182 horsepower. This powertrain is quite surprising. The Malibu Hybrid leaves a stop effortlessly and quickly thanks to the instantaneous power available from the electric motors. If you keep a light throttle, you can get up to 55 mph on just electric power alone. If you need to make a pass or get up to speed somewhat quickly, the gas engine kicks on and delivers the extra shove. It needs to be noted that the gas engine will make a fair amount of noise when you have your foot to the floor. Otherwise, the engine is muted for the daily grind. Transitions between electric and hybrid power is mostly smooth thanks to the gear-free transmission and a number of clutches from the Volt. There were a few times during our testing that we felt the gas engine kick on, but this mostly happened at times where we needed the extra power. Fuel economy is rated at 49 City/43 Highway/46 Combined by the EPA. We saw an average of 45 MPG on a 50/50 mix of city and highway driving. Brakes are the key weak point on most hybrid vehicles as they tend to feel very grabby due to the regenerative system. The Malibu Hybrid may have the best brakes we have ever driven on a hybrid vehicle. They feel linear and have the bite of a normal braking system. Thank the Volt for lending its braking system. Despite being a few hundred pounds heavier than the last Malibu we drove, the Hybrid retains the balanced ride and handling characteristics we liked so much. The suspension keeps the vehicle composed over some of the roughest roads on offer in Detroit. On a winding road, the Malibu feels agile and stable. Some will be disappointed by the lack of feel offered by the steering, but most buyers won’t notice this. Unlike most hybrid midsize sedans, the Malibu Hybrid doesn’t scream about it. Looking at it from all angles, you would find it to look like the standard Malibu. Only the ‘H’ badge on the trunk reveals its true identity. One of the issues we had on the last Malibu was material choices. For the price, the fabric covering for the dash and a large amount of hard plastics felt like a huge misstep and put the Malibu way behind the pack. The Hybrid does show some improvements if you order the Leather package that replaces the fabric covering for leather on the dash. It not only makes the Malibu look more premium, it also feels much nicer. Now Chevrolet needs to work on adding more soft-touch materials around the dash, door panels, and center console to make the Malibu truly stand out. Trunk space is slightly smaller in the Hybrid - 11.6 cubic feet vs. 15.8 - due to the battery pack. There is a trunk pass-through, albeit a small slot. It's better than nothing. The Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid carries the most expensive base price of any midsize hybrid sedan of $27,875. But you do get a decent amount of equipment such as dual-zone climate control, push-button start, keyless entry, backup camera, automatic headlights, power driver’s seat, and a 7-inch touchscreen. Our tester came fully loaded with three packages - Leather, Driver Confidence, and Convenience & Technology - to bring the as-tested price to $32,730 with destination. For the money, it is quite the value. Disclaimer: Chevrolet Provided the Malibu Hybrid, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2017 Make: Chevrolet Model: Malibu Trim: Hybrid Engine: 1.8L DOHC VVT Four-Cylinder with Direct Injection, Two Electric Motors Driveline: Two-Motor Drive, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 122 @ 5,000 (Gas), 182 Total Torque @ RPM: 130 @ 4,750 (Gas), 277 @ 0 (Electric) Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 49/43/46 Curb Weight: 3,366 lbs Location of Manufacture: Kansas City, Kansas Base Price: $27,875 As Tested Price: $32,730 (Includes $875.00 Destination Charge and $745.00 Leather Package Discount) Options: Leather Package - $2,140.00 Driver Confidence Package - $1,195.00 Convenience & Technology Package - $895.00 8-Inch MyLink System with Navigation - $495.00 View full article
  20. Quick Drive: 2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

    Chevrolet’s previous attempts at building a hybrid version of the Malibu are less than stellar. Their first attempt in the late-2000s was not well received due to mediocre performance and fuel economy figures that fell way behind the pack. The second attempt was the last-generation Malibu Eco. Chevrolet hoped to draw people in with a lower price and slightly better fuel economy figures due to the mild-hybrid system. But once again, it would prove to be a flop as the performance was meh and fuel wasn’t that noticeably better from the regular four-cylinder model. Chevrolet isn’t one to give up though. When the next-generation Malibu was revealed a couple of years ago, they announced a hybrid variant would be available. But this one was going to be different as the model would feature ideas and tech from the Volt. We spent over a week in a 2017 Malibu Hybrid to find out if Chevrolet has repeated the same mistakes as before or if they have learned from them. The Malibu Hybrid powertrain is made up of a 1.8L DOHC four-cylinder paired up to the Volt’s electric drive unit - comprised of two electric motors. Power for the electric motors comes from an 80-cell, 1.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Total output is rated at 182 horsepower. This powertrain is quite surprising. The Malibu Hybrid leaves a stop effortlessly and quickly thanks to the instantaneous power available from the electric motors. If you keep a light throttle, you can get up to 55 mph on just electric power alone. If you need to make a pass or get up to speed somewhat quickly, the gas engine kicks on and delivers the extra shove. It needs to be noted that the gas engine will make a fair amount of noise when you have your foot to the floor. Otherwise, the engine is muted for the daily grind. Transitions between electric and hybrid power is mostly smooth thanks to the gear-free transmission and a number of clutches from the Volt. There were a few times during our testing that we felt the gas engine kick on, but this mostly happened at times where we needed the extra power. Fuel economy is rated at 49 City/43 Highway/46 Combined by the EPA. We saw an average of 45 MPG on a 50/50 mix of city and highway driving. Brakes are the key weak point on most hybrid vehicles as they tend to feel very grabby due to the regenerative system. The Malibu Hybrid may have the best brakes we have ever driven on a hybrid vehicle. They feel linear and have the bite of a normal braking system. Thank the Volt for lending its braking system. Despite being a few hundred pounds heavier than the last Malibu we drove, the Hybrid retains the balanced ride and handling characteristics we liked so much. The suspension keeps the vehicle composed over some of the roughest roads on offer in Detroit. On a winding road, the Malibu feels agile and stable. Some will be disappointed by the lack of feel offered by the steering, but most buyers won’t notice this. Unlike most hybrid midsize sedans, the Malibu Hybrid doesn’t scream about it. Looking at it from all angles, you would find it to look like the standard Malibu. Only the ‘H’ badge on the trunk reveals its true identity. One of the issues we had on the last Malibu was material choices. For the price, the fabric covering for the dash and a large amount of hard plastics felt like a huge misstep and put the Malibu way behind the pack. The Hybrid does show some improvements if you order the Leather package that replaces the fabric covering for leather on the dash. It not only makes the Malibu look more premium, it also feels much nicer. Now Chevrolet needs to work on adding more soft-touch materials around the dash, door panels, and center console to make the Malibu truly stand out. Trunk space is slightly smaller in the Hybrid - 11.6 cubic feet vs. 15.8 - due to the battery pack. There is a trunk pass-through, albeit a small slot. It's better than nothing. The Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid carries the most expensive base price of any midsize hybrid sedan of $27,875. But you do get a decent amount of equipment such as dual-zone climate control, push-button start, keyless entry, backup camera, automatic headlights, power driver’s seat, and a 7-inch touchscreen. Our tester came fully loaded with three packages - Leather, Driver Confidence, and Convenience & Technology - to bring the as-tested price to $32,730 with destination. For the money, it is quite the value. Disclaimer: Chevrolet Provided the Malibu Hybrid, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2017 Make: Chevrolet Model: Malibu Trim: Hybrid Engine: 1.8L DOHC VVT Four-Cylinder with Direct Injection, Two Electric Motors Driveline: Two-Motor Drive, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 122 @ 5,000 (Gas), 182 Total Torque @ RPM: 130 @ 4,750 (Gas), 277 @ 0 (Electric) Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 49/43/46 Curb Weight: 3,366 lbs Location of Manufacture: Kansas City, Kansas Base Price: $27,875 As Tested Price: $32,730 (Includes $875.00 Destination Charge and $745.00 Leather Package Discount) Options: Leather Package - $2,140.00 Driver Confidence Package - $1,195.00 Convenience & Technology Package - $895.00 8-Inch MyLink System with Navigation - $495.00
  21. Volvo stunned the world last Wednesday when they announced beginning in 2019, they would begin to phase out gas only vehicles and replacing them with hybrid and electric models. The company claims this strategy heralds "a new chapter in automotive history". This move is an about-face for the Swedish automaker. Previously, the company said electric vehicles didn't make a great business case. But there is more to this decision than meets the eye. Automotive News reports that a key reason for Volvo's electrification plans comes down to the increasing regulation on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in three key markets; Europe, China, and U.S. Tim Urquhart, principal analyst at IHS Markit tells AN that Volvo would struggle to meet the tougher targets on their larger vehicle without some sort of electrification. "They've looked at the targets, and thought, we need to take serious action." Another reason comes in part from the fallout of the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal. Automakers in Europe were using diesel engines as they produced 15 to 20 percent less CO2 emissions. But the backlash against diesel after the scandal has caused buyers to look elsewhere. In Germany for example, sales of diesel vehicles dropped to 39 percent in June - this figure was almost 50 percent the same time last year. "Diesel was their main weapon of choice to hit these regulations. Now they have to come up with a plan B," said Matthias Schmidt, automotive market analyst for AID. According to data from AID, 83 percent Volvo's 2016 sales in Europe were comprised of diesels. This is high when compared to BMW (73 percent), Mercedes-Benz (73 percent), and Audi (68 percent). Only Land Rover (96 percent) and Jaguar (84 percent) were higher. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  22. Volvo stunned the world last Wednesday when they announced beginning in 2019, they would begin to phase out gas only vehicles and replacing them with hybrid and electric models. The company claims this strategy heralds "a new chapter in automotive history". This move is an about-face for the Swedish automaker. Previously, the company said electric vehicles didn't make a great business case. But there is more to this decision than meets the eye. Automotive News reports that a key reason for Volvo's electrification plans comes down to the increasing regulation on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in three key markets; Europe, China, and U.S. Tim Urquhart, principal analyst at IHS Markit tells AN that Volvo would struggle to meet the tougher targets on their larger vehicle without some sort of electrification. "They've looked at the targets, and thought, we need to take serious action." Another reason comes in part from the fallout of the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal. Automakers in Europe were using diesel engines as they produced 15 to 20 percent less CO2 emissions. But the backlash against diesel after the scandal has caused buyers to look elsewhere. In Germany for example, sales of diesel vehicles dropped to 39 percent in June - this figure was almost 50 percent the same time last year. "Diesel was their main weapon of choice to hit these regulations. Now they have to come up with a plan B," said Matthias Schmidt, automotive market analyst for AID. According to data from AID, 83 percent Volvo's 2016 sales in Europe were comprised of diesels. This is high when compared to BMW (73 percent), Mercedes-Benz (73 percent), and Audi (68 percent). Only Land Rover (96 percent) and Jaguar (84 percent) were higher. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  23. There could be some competition for the Chrysler Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid. Speaking with Wards Auto, Honda's lead r&d engineer Tom Sladek hinted that Odyssey minivan could be getting a hybrid powertrain. “The electrification initiative is definitely coming, but on which products and which timing is not 100% clear yet,” said Sladek. “We just released the hybrid (Acura) MDX so that powertrain could be considered in the future, although we can’t comment on particular plans.” That line gives us some idea that Honda is looking at possibly using this powertrain in other vehicles. Why the Odyssey? The main reason is that both vehicles utilize the same platform - known as 2SL according to Wards. The MDX Sport Hybrid uses a 3.0L V6 and three electric motors (one in the transmission and two for the rear wheels) to produce a combined output of 321 horsepower. While the MDX emphasizes performance with its hybrid powertrain, the Odyssey will likely focus more on fuel economy. Honda has set a goal of having two-thirds of its global sales to be electrified by 2030. Source: Wards Auto View full article
  24. There could be some competition for the Chrysler Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid. Speaking with Wards Auto, Honda's lead r&d engineer Tom Sladek hinted that Odyssey minivan could be getting a hybrid powertrain. “The electrification initiative is definitely coming, but on which products and which timing is not 100% clear yet,” said Sladek. “We just released the hybrid (Acura) MDX so that powertrain could be considered in the future, although we can’t comment on particular plans.” That line gives us some idea that Honda is looking at possibly using this powertrain in other vehicles. Why the Odyssey? The main reason is that both vehicles utilize the same platform - known as 2SL according to Wards. The MDX Sport Hybrid uses a 3.0L V6 and three electric motors (one in the transmission and two for the rear wheels) to produce a combined output of 321 horsepower. While the MDX emphasizes performance with its hybrid powertrain, the Odyssey will likely focus more on fuel economy. Honda has set a goal of having two-thirds of its global sales to be electrified by 2030. Source: Wards Auto
  25. At the Shanghai auto show, Honda introduced a hybrid version of the CR-V crossover. Not many details were released about it aside from it featuring the company's Sport Hybrid i-MMD two-motor hybrid system and would go on sale in China in the second half of this year. This got a few outlets wondering if Honda might bring the CR-V hybrid to the U.S. as the automaker has said they plan on electrify core models. Green Car Reports reached out Honda's U.S. office to ask about this and here is Honda responded, "We have already announced our intent to electrify core volume models, including light trucks. CR-V will logically be a part of that, and we'll announce timing for the U.S. at a later date." In other words, we're are planning to sell CR-V hybrid in the U.S. When it does arrive, it will face off between the Nissan Rogue Hybrid and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. Source: Green Car Reports View full article

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