After a year’s worth of build-up, Nissan has finally confirmed it will bring its backward-working “e-Power” hybrid system to the United States. Unlike a conventional hybrid, e-Power drivetrains use an internal combustion engine to generate electricity for an exceptionally small battery. However, the gas-burner doesn’t also drive the wheels — it only runs at a constant speed to charge the battery pack. All propulsion is handled by an electric motor, making the internal combustion unit a full-time range extender.According to the automaker, the end result is a car with the characteristics of a battery-electric vehicle with an exceptional range and no slow-charging plug-in requirements. Cars using the e-Power system don’t even come with an electrical port. Nissan was spotted testing a few Notes equipped with the system last year in Michigan — presumably to get them ready for the North American market. But, despite e-Power seeming like the … [Read more...] about Nissan Finally Confirms e-Power for North American Models
fuel economy, General Motors will expand its use of a stop-start option to almost all of its light-duty vehicle models by the end of the decade. Start-stop is only one part of a broader plan GM has to improve efficiency of standard ICE vehicles, which also includes things like nine- and ten-speed transmissions, and the use of lighter materials. GM will also use absorbent glass mat (AGM) batteries, which are more efficient than lead-acid batteries, on its cars and trucks, and will employ smoother-starting tandem solenoid starters by the end of the decade, according to Automotive News.While stop-start systems typically add about $300 to the cost of a vehicle, they can also boost fuel economy by about six percent in urban driving conditions. As a result, the EPA will start giving compliance credits towards Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) levels to vehicles that include stop-start systems (see also: Mercedes). Continental AG, Delphi Automotive, and Robert Bosch GmbH are among the … [Read more...] about Almost all GM models will have stop-start option by 2020
VW aims to bounce back from lacklustre recent US sales with a brace of new models, starting in 2015. Among the new VWs is a large seven-seat SUV, a stretched Tiguan 4x4 also destined for China, and a new Passat coupe family.America’s relentless appetite for large SUVs is being supported by demand from China and Russia, so VW is set to give the people exactly what they want. A production version of the CrossBlue concept 4x4 will be offered in 2016, in five- or seven-seat configurations. Despite being larger than VW’s ultimate SUV, the Touareg, the showroom-spec CrossBlue is expected to be cheaper than the next Touareg.And while the next Touareg will continue platform-sharing with the Porsche Cayenne, the new SUV will be based on the MQB-B platform that’s destined to support the new Passat in 2015. The stretched MQB platform can’t fit six-cylinder engines in the engine bay, so VW’s large SUV will depend on turbocharged four-pot petrols and diesels, perhaps … [Read more...] about VW plots new model blitz for US market (2015) CAR scoop
all-new inline-six cylinder engine would rest under the hood of Mercedes-Benz products. It's been more than a decade since Mercedes has built an inline-six, so fans of the brand celebrated its return. The 2018 S-Class would be the first model with the new engine, though not here in the U.S. (we're getting the V6). Automotive News reports that AMG is working on its own variant, and we're very excited to see what the performance division has in store.We're not going to complain that cost cutting and parts sharing with four-cylinder engines brought about the return of the inline-six. Instead, we'll bask in the glory of silky-smooth revs and perfectly balanced combustion. In the S-Class, this new 3.0-liter engine makes 408 horsepower and over 368 pound-feet of torque. That's a significant step up from the already hearty 333 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque developed by the current V6. In AMG guise, the engine is expected to make about 430 horsepower.Look for two turbochargers … [Read more...] about New Mercedes-AMG 53 models to pack 430 horsepower turbo inline-six
judging at the Arse Freeze-a-Palooza 24 Hours of LeMons, a team with a Billy Carter-themed Ford Fairmont Futura handed me something I’ve been trying to find for years: a gen-yoo-wine Malaise Era 1:25 scale Revell model kit of Billy Carter‘s customized Chevy Stepside. I am so happy!Jimmy, was elected President of the United States, and the beer-swilling, quasi-street-smart Billy made quite a positive impression on me and my peers (remember, Northern California in the mid-70s was all about the celebration of dissipation and substance abuse, preferably involving a Chevrolet truck). Billy posed in a suit of chainmail made from beer-can pull tabs and scammed the Libyans out of a half-million bucks while his wholesome, atomic-scientist, turn-the-other-cheek-Christian big brother dropped a big wet blanket on America by telling us we couldn’t have everything we wanted all the time. Yes, chronic screwup Billy was a big embarrassment to straight-arrow Jimmy, and I’m sure … [Read more...] about When Embarrassing Presidential Relatives Got Model Kits: Billy Carter’s Redneck Power Pickup!
RELATED: The 2015 Saleen S302 Mustang looks wickedThe car’s quoted output of 416 horsepower remains unchanged from the Model S P85 it’s based upon, but Saleen’s tuned EV isn’t just spoilers and stickers. Adjustable monotube-damper packages are available, as are carbon-ceramic brakes (which Saleen says will trim 18 pounds per corner compared with the factory steel stoppers) behind either 21- or 22-inch specialty wheels.The biggest difference is in the transmission, where the stock 9.73:1-ratio gets swapped for an 11.39:1 alternative with new straight-cut gears.“With that gearbox, it sounds like something that should be screaming down Mulsanne straight,” Saleen grins. RELATED: We pulled a fuse and now the Tesla Model S is a burnout machineOutside, the bumpers and rockers are redesigned, a trunk spoiler is added, and the hood, front splitter, and rear diffuser are all composite pieces. Thanks to the revised aero, cooling, the new transmission, and … [Read more...] about Saleen FourSixteen: Tesla’s All-American Model S EV Gets the All-American Tuner Touch
It’s a claim we’ve heard from America’s automakers time and time again: The Japanese car market is the most closed in the world. The latest press release from the American Automotive Policy Council (AAPC), a lobbying group for FCA, Ford, and GM, urges Japanese prime minister Shinzō Abe to “open up [Japan’s] market in a meaningful way to U.S. cars and trucks.” But Japan hasn’t had import tariffs on automobiles since 1978.Japanese buyers drive home 300,000 foreign cars a year out of about 5 million total, yet fewer than 15,000 are American imports. German automakers, which are subject to the same rules as American companies, do much better: BMW sold 46,000 vehicles in Japan last year, Volkswagen moved 55,000, and Mercedes 65,000 units. The numbers for the rest of the global auto industry indicate that maybe American companies are just no good at selling there.The AAPC sees it differently. “If the import participation rate is at 6.5 … [Read more...] about America Last: On the Futility of American Carmakers Selling in Japan
Officials from the United States and South Korea held a special session in Washington on Wednesday as part of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s request to consider amending the two countries’ trade agreement. The joint talks serve to reassess the countries’ five-year pact, with the Trump administration aiming to diminish America’s growing trade deficit with South Korea.One of the largest issues concerns the automotive industry. Korean rules stipulate a cap on the number of vehicles U.S. automakers can bring into the country each year that adhere to the country of origin’s safety standards. Presently, that quota sits at 25,000 vehicles per manufacturer. However, no U.S. company has ever made full use of the quota. General Motors, which is the most popular U.S. brand in South Korea, only sold 13,150 domestically built units in 2016. Still, Western officials are expected to pressure South Korea into … [Read more...] about U.S. Attempts to Convince South Korea to ‘Buy American’
Volkswagen Group’s Seat division has turned to Twitter to figure out a name for its upcoming three-row SUV. Yes, an automaker has entered the wild and woolly world of 140-character outrage in order to start a hashtag campaign, one destined to yield both a model name and positive PR.Imagine, an automaker asking its fans what name they’d like to see on their seven-seater. Makes you feel all cozy and loved. There’s only one rule for naming suggestions: the 2018 SUV must have a name derived from Spanish geography, much like existing models.While the company’s #SEATbuscaNombre (#SEATseekingName) campaign is both cute and trendy — and thus a little insufferable — it has this writer wondering if other automakers should do the same. Never mind looking like a follower, and never mind the inevitable jokes.There’s value in “regular” people’s opinions.If I had my way, the Chevrolet Cruze would carry a very different moniker. … [Read more...] about If One Automaker Can Let the Public Name a Model, Why Not Others?
Today is the beginning of the Independence Day holiday in America, which is this beautiful historical moment where we all take a few days off work and light things on fire. It’s also an excellent time to examine precisely what makes a car American.I want to do this because there are a lot of Americans out there who will only buy an American car, just like there are a lot of Japanese who will only buy a Japanese car, and a lot of Germans who will only buy a German car, and a lot of South Africans who will only buy cars with bulletproof windows. But in today’s globalized world, what exactly defines a car’s country of origin?Some would say where the car is manufactured – and that’s reasonable. After all, if a car is built in America, and sold in America by an American car dealership to someone in America, this is a pretty damn American vehicle, correct? You can only get more American if you were to get on a plane and ask personal questions to the stranger … [Read more...] about QOTD: What Really Makes a Car American?