The European Advanced Lead-Acid Battery Consortium (EALABC) will soon inform automotive industry executives of the environmental and cost benefits of advanced lead-carbon batteries now being commercialised for a new generation of low cost 48V ‘super hybrid’ vehicles. “The low additional cost of introducing 48V mild hybrid powertrains is proving a major attraction to carmakers, because it will help them comply with stringent CO2 regulations being introduced in 2020 with even tougher rules following in 2025,” says Allan Cooper, European projects coordinator for ALABC. “Significant emissions reduction and major improvements in fuel efficiency can be achieved with advanced lead-carbon batteries using materials that can be fully recycled into new batteries. This electrochemical breakthrough provides the most cost effective solution for 48V hybrids, which have a unique requirement for a battery demanding a high rate partial state-of-charge … [Read more...] about Advanced lead-carbon batteries could help deliver a new generation of low cost 48V ‘super hybrid’ vehicles
For a new generation
Mazda, which is the only company to ever market a commercially successful rotary-powered automobile in the world. The issue, as it has pretty much always been, is environmental.While the Wankel rotary engine does indeed make a lot of power in a small, lightweight package, it does so while burning lots of fuel and emitting lots of noxious gases into the atmosphere, at least when running on gasoline. And that means the rotary engine will likely only ever be able to power niche vehicles. And that, in turn, means that it is very difficult to turn a profit on vehicles with rotary engines, particularly for a small automaker like Mazda."It has to be a viable commercial proposition. If we are going to adopt it, it has to be a product that can generate at least sales of 100,000 units a year. We have to be able to achieve a profit," said Kogai in an interview with Automotive News. Mazda sold 56,203 RX-7 models in the United States (the automaker's biggest market) in 1986. Sales of the RX-8 … [Read more...] about Mazda CEO says rotary not viable, so don’t look for a new one
Ford India has started sending out invites for a new product. The launch date of what Ford describes to be “an highly anticipated all-new vehicle” in the invites, coincides with that of Ford Mustang as stated by various reports, which is slated for a January 28th launch.Mustang will be the first 2-door RWD sportscar offered by Ford in the Indian market. The car with the “galloping horse” badge is making its way to India for the first time as it finally dons a right-hand drive configuration. All of the previous Mustangs were offered in a left-hand drive configuration but as the American automaker is expanding the market of the 6th generation of this niche product, it will also be offered in right-hand drive countries like UK, which is lucky for us as we get to see this piece of Americana tradition on Indian streets soon enough.The sportscar has been spied in India on multiple occasions and a 5.0-liter V8 was spotted at ARAI recently, which insinuated that … [Read more...] about Ford India Sends Out Invites For a new Product
Each week, our German correspondent slices and dices the latest rumblings, news, and quick-hit driving impressions from the other side of the pond. His byline may say Jens Meiners, but we simply call him . . . the Continental.On the occasion of a press event in Bilbao, Spain, I had the opportunity to spend two days with board members of Kolbenschmidt Pierburg, a major supplier of powertrain parts, to discuss new product and the industry’s direction. A system that you will soon see in a number of cars is the UniValve valve-lift system. It allows for a seamless operation adjustment of the intake and outlet valves—the valves can remain closed entirely. Efficiency grows significantly, between 5.5 and 8.5 percent even if applied on the intake side only. A vehicle equipped with this system effectively needs no throttle anymore; the engine can be shut down by closing the valves entirely.Even though Kolbenschmidt Pierburg’s core business is parts for … [Read more...] about The Continental: Volvo C30 May Go Away, Fuel-Saving Insights from Suppliers, and Waiting for a New Car
There is a new Japanese bride on the Match.com equivalent of the international auto business. It’s Mazda. Despite pronouncements that Mazda’s “strategic alliance with Ford will remain unshaken” (as uttered at a Monday press conference by Mazda Executive VP Masaharu Yamaki,) everybody who knows the business knows: The bloom is off the rose between Mazda and Ford. What’s more, Mazda is on the prowl to do some nampa with another potent partner. Who will it be?Currently, all eyes are on Toyota. Last week, we reported that Toyota will sell Mazda the innards necessary to build a Prius-like Mazda hybrid. But Mazda doesn’t want an erector kit; they want to build the stuff themselves. So on Monday, Mazda announced it will get Toyota’s hybrid technologies under a license agreement. Says The Nikkei [sub]: “The deal, which allows Mazda to launch its own hybrid model as early as 2013, is the carmaker’s strategic response to its weakening ties … [Read more...] about Mazda On The Prowl For A New Beau
March was the 5th straight month of a SAAR above 15 million vehicles. Industry analysts have explained the strength of the market in a number of ways. The need to replace older vehicles is one (new car sales were hit hard during the recession as consumers held on to their vehicles for longer. This also caused used car prices to skyrocket, something TTAC has been documenting), while others have cited increasing fleet demand, and the desire to replace vehicles damaged in Hurricane Sandy.But one factor that is just starting to get attention outside of TTAC is sub-prime financing. Sub-prime lending, which involves giving high-interest loans to customers with poor credit scores, is driving the SAAR in a big way, by letting buyers with poor credit purchase new cars. In turn, the sub-prime bubble is being driven by Wall Street, whose clients cannot get enough of financial instruments backed by sub-prime auto loans.On the surface, it seems unbelievable. Unemployment is currently at … [Read more...] about How A New Generation Of Sub-Prime Auto Financing Could Cause Another Catastrophe
The lifespan of an average car-model usually lasts a half-decade before the automaker shells out for a full redesign, unless it’s a Nissan Frontier or Lincoln Navigator. That’s more or less the rule at Honda when it comes to the top-selling compact car in North America, the Civic.While the eighth-generation Civic soldiered on for a lengthy six years, Honda sold the preceding seventh, sixth, fifth, and fourth versions of the model for either four or five years. Thanks to a boring design and lackluster reviews, the automaker spirited the ninth-gen model off of dealer lots after just four years, but not before adding extra content and style via an emergency 2013 model year refresh.We’re now hearing the current generation — larger than ever before, radically redesigned for 2016, and a sales leader in a shrinking segment — won’t see a full redesign until the 2022 model year. That’s a six-year stretch. A stretch where automakers will be … [Read more...] about Will Buyers Wait Until 2022 for a Next-generation Honda Civic?
The manual transmission might be on its last legs, but you’d never know it by browsing through Subaru WRX equipment lists. A six-speed manual comes standard on all five trim levels, helping make the all-wheel-drive compact a perennial favorite among driving enthusiasts of reasonably modest means.For 2018, the WRX and WRX STI offers more standard equipment and a face that’s cleaner — and ever so slightly meaner — than before, though one feature seems notably absent. That, of course, would be the stiffer global platform found under the new Impreza. Oh, and add “extra horsepower” to that list.As Subaru fanboys wait for a next-generation model, at least the updated version won’t cost them much more.The entry-level 2018 WRX adds $300 to its MSRP, nudging its after-delivery price to $27,885. A turbocharged 2.0-liter Boxer four-cylinder provides the motivation for lower-rung models, making the same 268 horsepower as before. Premium trim sees … [Read more...] about Subaru Keeps 2018 WRX Pricing Sane as It Waits for a New Platform
No matter who you are or what status you hold in society, at some point in the past 34 years you did something in a Chevrolet Cavalier, and it was probably a lackluster experience (barring anything in the backseat, though even then…).For reasons unknown, the nameplate that once summed up everything that was wrong with domestic compacts will return to the automotive landscape on a China-only Chevrolet model, GMInsideNews reports.The name will return on a compact model built by SAIC General Motors Corporation, hopefully without the peeling paint, tinny body panels and bargain basement plastic that graced its American-market predecessor.Slotted between the Cruze and subcompact Sonic in terms of size, the new compact adopts plenty of Cruze styling up front but not much in the rear, if photos leaked to the Chinese media are accurate.GMInsideNews notes that the Cavalier shares an identical wheelbase to the Daewoo Lacetti, which underpins the Chinese market Buick Excelle. Their … [Read more...] about China Resurrects a Great Nameplate for a New Chevy: ‘Cavalier’
The departed Toyota FJ Cruiser was a vehicle of contrasts, depending on who you talked to. Too big, or not big enough. Too refined, or too often used as a grocery getter. Too retro, or not retro enough.An homage to its long-dead predecessor, the retro SUV defined “niche vehicle,” and it sold like one too. Not in huge numbers, but in consistent ones. When Toyota phased it out of the North American market after 2014, it left a vacuum that went unnoticed by most.Is Toyota now planning to fill that void?According to AutoGuide, the automaker has filed a trademark application for the “FT-4X” name, signifying a “future Toyota.”Dated October 10, the filing stirs hope in FJ Cruiser fans that Toyota plans to return with a new model that’s a little edgier than its current crossover and SUV lineup. Unless something’s changed in the automotive lexicon, “4X” implies a four-wheel-drive model with a penchant for offroading.Toyota keeps its … [Read more...] about Is Toyota’s FT-4X an FJ Cruiser for a New Generation?