Study: US faces constant Labor Day-like traffic in coming decades

Filed under: Government/Legal, Safety

US map of future traffic congestion

With Labor Day weekend upon our American readers, many of you have probably loaded up your vehicles for the last road trip of the summer. But with Labor Day weekend comes traffic. Lots and lots of traffic. And while the Labor Day scrum is generally as bad as things get for the year, a study by the US Travel Association reports that a number of freeways across the country are in danger of heavily increased traffic levels becoming the new normal.

As originally reported on The Car Connection, Americans may be driving less, but the number of cars on our roads is outpacing that decline, which in turn places greater stress on the interstate network. Take Interstate 96, the freeway that runs from downtown Detroit to Grand Rapids, as an example. The only major cities on that east-west road, besides its termini, is the state capital, Lansing. But during Labor Day weekend, its traffic volume increases 154 percent. The USTA warns that unless a project is started quickly, the increased traffic flow will become the norm by 2030.

The USTA also analyzed 15 other major interstates, including three different stretches of I-95 on the country’s east coast, I-5 between Los Angeles and San Diego, I-45 between Dallas and Houston and I-15 between southern California and Las Vegas. Each route was at risk of anywhere from 117- to 159-percent increases in traffic flow by 2040. See the map above for more examples.

All of that sounds pretty daunting, but we also have to wonder if advances in vehicle-to-vehicle communications and autonomous technology over the same period will go a long way toward increasing average traffic speeds by greatly reducing accidents while safely increasing traffic density through platooning.

Either way, scroll down to take a look at the complete study.

Continue reading US faces constant Labor Day-like traffic in coming decades

US faces constant Labor Day-like traffic in coming decades originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 31 Aug 2013 10:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Study: US faces constant Labor Day-like traffic in coming decades”

Infiniti Boss De Nysschen: EVs ‘absolutely’ coming, just not right away

Filed under: EV/Plug-in, Infiniti, AutoblogGreen Exclusive

Johann de Nysschen with Infiniti Emerg-E

“There absolutely will be EVs in Infiniti’s future” – Johan de Nysschen

Despite being closely connected to the electric vehicle pioneers at Nissan, Infiniti is taking the slow road to bringing an EV to market. Last month, the first Infiniti EV – to be based on the LE concept from the 2012 New York Auto Show – was delayed to add better tech. Infiniti president Johan De Nysschen wants to make it perfectly clear that this delay is both intentional and in no way a cancellation.

Speaking with AutoblogGreen at a media event in Newport Beach, California this week, de Nysschen was blunt: “First and foremost, I simply must state that there absolutely will be EVs in Infiniti’s future.” The first Infiniti EV was delayed, in part, to give the brand room to grow in all directions. De Nysschen, who took over Infiniti in June of 2012, told us:

We have a massive journey ahead of us. We have to diversify our product portfolio, we have to enter a bunch of new market segments, we have to enter new geographies, we have to invest in new production capacity. And all of these things together amount to a massive investment in the brand. When it comes to EVs, that is another area that would require very huge investments and it is simply, for us, balancing the investment amounts with the short-, medium- and long-term profitability requirements and the role that all these various cars will play as we shape and reposition the brand.

As Infiniti gets ready to become a global player, one thing company representatives made clear is that the big goal, a plug-in car, is not at the top of the “To do” list. It’s on there, sure, but not what’s driving the company in 2013. Plus, as de Nysschen said, when the Infiniti EV arrives, it must have the latest and greatest tech.

Continue reading Infiniti Boss De Nysschen: EVs ‘absolutely’ coming, just not right away

Infiniti Boss De Nysschen: EVs ‘absolutely’ coming, just not right away originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Thu, 22 Aug 2013 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Infiniti Boss De Nysschen: EVs ‘absolutely’ coming, just not right away”

Teased: Nissan says next Rogue coming September 10

Filed under: Frankfurt Motor Show, Crossover, Nissan

2014 Nissan Rogue teaser

The Nissan Rogue has been around since 2007, and after nearly seven years on the market, it’s about due for replacement. Which is just what Nissan has announced is coming up next down the pipeline.

The Japanese automaker didn’t reveal much to go with this teaser image of the headlight and front fender, saying only that “the all-new 2014 Nissan Rogue will push the envelope of CUV design starting on September 10 when it is unveiled.” That’s the day on which the Frankfurt Motor Show opens its doors for press previews, so it’s pretty safe to say that we’ll be seeing it at the Messe.

The news follows the spy shots we brought you two weeks ago. Expect the design to follow the lead set forth by the Hi-Cross concept from Geneva last year, with production to take place in Tennessee.

Continue reading Nissan says next Rogue coming September 10

Nissan says next Rogue coming September 10 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 22 Aug 2013 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Teased: Nissan says next Rogue coming September 10”

Official: Ford’s official Euro aftermarket partner Mountune coming to US

Filed under: Aftermarket, Performance, Ford

Now that we’re getting a steady stream of Ford’s European offerings, the aftermarket world is finally starting to catch up as well. UK-based aftermarket tuning company, Mountune has just announced that it will be setting up shop in California to provide high-performance and racing parts for Ford vehicles including the Focus ST and Fiesta ST.

Mountune lays claim to being Ford’s “official European tuning partner,” and US buyers will soon have access to these parts through Ford dealerships and with a Ford Racing warranty. Speaking of Ford Racing, Mountune also says that it will be working with Ford’s in-house team to develop future components for both street and track. There are no specifics as of yet for which products will be offered here, but the company plans to launch a US-specific website later this month with more information.

Continue reading Ford’s official Euro aftermarket partner Mountune coming to US

Ford’s official Euro aftermarket partner Mountune coming to US originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 06 Aug 2013 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Official: Ford’s official Euro aftermarket partner Mountune coming to US”

Video: Watch this bad parker get what’s coming to him

Filed under: Videos, Jaguar, Humor

Jaguar XK driver is taught a lesson

If you’re lucky enough to have a nice vehicle, do your fellow gearheads a favor and don’t park like a clown. Seriously. Not only will you anger everyone who is trying to find a place to park, but your nice car is a billboard reinforcing the stereotype that car people are self-important and inconsiderate.

Take this gentleman for example. He has a Jaguar XK, and understandably wants to take care of it. Rather than parking it far, far away from any other cars and getting a bit of exercise by walking to his building, he takes up two spots (albeit barely) close to the structure. From the cameraman’s narration, we can tell his coworkers are less than thrilled about his inability to stay between the lines.

Naturally, they wanted to teach him a lesson, so they parked a bigger vehicle as close to his driver’s door as possible. Mr. XK’s attempts to enter his vehicle are rather amusing, culminating in his climbing through the passenger side and scooching over to the driver’s seat. While we can debate this sort of treatment all day long, it was effective. The video includes a follow up at the end showing where the XK driver parked the next day, and as you might guess, it wasn’t in the same spot.

Take a look at the full video below, and remember, be a considerate car person.

Continue reading Watch this bad parker get what’s coming to him

Watch this bad parker get what’s coming to him originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 02 Aug 2013 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Video: Watch this bad parker get what’s coming to him”

Rumormill: Porsche forum claims eco-friendly 911 Blu coming to Frankfurt

Filed under: Porsche, Rumormill

2014 Porsche 911 Carrera Blu Edition front three-quarter

The fiftieth anniversary of the Porsche 911 has been a nearly year-long affair, with unique tributes and even a special anniversary edition with plenty of retro throwbacks. The party is expected to continue through the end of 2013, and if one 911 enthusiast forum is right, we’ll see yet another special edition model near the anniversary of the original car’s September 1963 debut, when it arrives at next month’s Frankfurt Auto Show.

It’s called the 911 Blu, and where the 911 50 Years Edition was more expensive than a 911 Carrera S hardtop, the Blu would be an entry level special edition. That’s right, a limited run car that actually slots in at the very bottom of the 911 range. According to Porsche forum 911UK.com, the new car would be priced at 74,600 euros ($98,718 at today’s rates) or 64,750 pounds. That undercuts the price of a base 911 in Germany by nearly 16,000 euros and in the UK by nearly 8700 pounds (although to be fair, it’s roughly identical to the price of a base 911 C2S in the US).

This 911 will reportedly feature a detuned flat-six with 300 horsepower and 211 pound-feet of torque.

This 911 will reportedly feature a detuned flat-six with 300 horsepower and 211 pound-feet of torque, while cylinder deactivation and active grille shutters should help with economy. Stop-start technology will be standard, along with Porsche’s new Regeneration System. (There’s no explanation of what this system is, by the way.) The wheels will be 18-inchers, and will use hollow spokes for less weight. Porsche’s Active Suspension Management will be an optional item rather than standard. Finally, the Blu is reportedly a hardtop convertible.

If you’re like us, you’re mainlining salt by this point. There are so many things about this proposed special edition that don’t make sense that it’s difficult to cover them all here. And that’s without us even mentioning the woeful Riviera Blue/Guards Red exterior seen above. (No, we aren’t kidding.)

First and foremost, there’s been nothing from Porsche about this car. Not a peep, not a spy shot, not so much as a hint that something special was coming to Frankfurt. The oft-rumored budget 911 is already available – it’s called the Cayman S. There’s even a convertible version called the Boxster S. The reported run to 62 takes 5.4 seconds in the PDK-only car, meaning you will get trampled by most other sports cars that cost half as much as this 911. Who, but the most diehard 911 fanatic, is going to spend this kind of money on a car that will be slower and more expensive than a Cayman S? Also, if Porsche had developed some kind of “revolutionary” hardtop for the 911, why not show it on one of the more robust Carrera models? We could go on.

According to the forum, the 911 Blu will be limited to 911 units (cute), with 300 earmarked for the US market. We’ll see if any of this is true when we attend the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show next month.

Porsche forum claims eco-friendly 911 Blu coming to Frankfurt originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 01 Aug 2013 10:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Rumormill: Porsche forum claims eco-friendly 911 Blu coming to Frankfurt”

Report: Next Chevy Spark coming in 2015, Sonic delayed

Filed under: Budget, Hatchback, Chevrolet

As the best-selling Chevrolet product in Europe and a surprising new hit here in the US, the Spark is proving to be quite an important global vehicle for General Motors. Even though the Spark just went on sale in the US last year, it has been on sale globally since 2009, and Automotive News Europe is reporting that the next-generation Spark is expected to debut during the first half of 2015. There is no information about the new Spark except for reports that it will continue to be built in South Korea.

This report also says that the redesign of the Sonic/Aveo has been delayed until after 2015. Again, there was no information as to the cause of the delay, but this means the third-gen Sonic and Aveo will likely debut sometime in 2016 – five years after the debut of the current model. This follows the recent report saying that the redesign of the Cruze has been delayed by almost a year, until the end of 2015, due to engineering changes.

Next Chevy Spark coming in 2015, Sonic delayed originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 30 Jul 2013 11:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Report: Next Chevy Spark coming in 2015, Sonic delayed”

Official: Production of Shelby GT350 is coming to an end

Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Performance, Ford

One Autoblog staffer who drove the limited-edition Shelby GT350 wrote it probably was the best Mustang he’d driven, but, at some point, the fun had to come to an end: December 31 is the last day the GT350 will be available to order.

The GT350’s option list has evolved much like it did for the original 1965-67 GT350. For 2011, the 45th Anniversary edition only came in coupe form and was painted white with blue stripes, just as with the 1965 car. The 2012 GT350 was offered as a coupe or convertible, and three colors were added to the option list, just like the 1966 model. For 2013, more colors and options were added in addition to equipment and styling updates, which resulted in Wilwood instead of Baer brakes. No major changes were made for the 2014 model. From the first car in 2011, customers have been able to choose between three different configurations for their 5.0-liter V8: naturally aspirated with 440 horsepower, supercharged with 525 hp (with warranty) or supercharged with 624 hp (without warranty).

“When we unveiled this latest version of the Shelby GT350, we promised it would be built for a limited time to preserve its collectability and value,” states John Luft, president of Shelby American. He may have a point, because the original GT350, which also had a limited production run, is among the most valuable muscle cars in the world.

While the end of 2013 will mark the conclusion of a great modern-day muscle car, Shelby American wants us to remember one of the late Carroll Shelby’s favorite sayings: “Our favorite car is the next one we build.” That and the other vehicles in the company’s lineup, such as the GT500 Super Snake and Raptor, will continue to be offered for sale.

For more details on the GT350, scroll down for the press release.

Continue reading Production of Shelby GT350 is coming to an end

Production of Shelby GT350 is coming to an end originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 26 Jul 2013 10:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Official: Production of Shelby GT350 is coming to an end”

Report: VW Phaeton coming back to US, could be revealed in Detroit

Filed under: Sedan, Volkswagen, Luxury

Since its ignominious departure from the US car market in 2006, there have been any number of on-again/off-again rumors about the Volkswagen Phaeton returning to our shores. With that said, VW’s aggressive goals in terms of worldwide sales dominance would seem to countenance all manner of new product; taking a second stab at a halo-luxury car for the US, included.

At least that’s the gist of a new report from Bloomberg, which dangles the idea of a new Phaeton potentially being “shown to US consumers in January,” or just in time for the 2014 Detroit Auto Show.

Short on specifics and citations, the Bloomberg report seems to rely on the expansionist behavior of VW as a whole over the last few years, and a few statements of positivity from VW CEO Martin Winterkorn. The publication quotes Winterkorn as saying, “A brand as large as Volkswagen needs a halo project in the upscale segment.” Bloomberg also states that Winterkorn was “confirming” the Phaeton’s return to the US.

The supposedly Detroit-bound Phaeton demonstrator could come in concept form, as a way of better judging public reaction to the reintroduction of the sedan. Pending a greenlight, the next-gen Phaeton is likely to share architecture with the Audi A8, with the potential good for a hybrid version, as well.

VW Phaeton coming back to US, could be revealed in Detroit originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Jul 2013 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Report: VW Phaeton coming back to US, could be revealed in Detroit”

Elon Musk confirms Tesla Model S battery swaps, demo coming this week

Filed under: Emerging Technologies, EV/Plug-in, Tesla Motors

tesla model s red

For something as secret as a battery swap option in the Tesla Model S electric vehicle, we sure have heard rumors about it for years. Four (!) years ago, after all, we knew that the Model S was designed to accommodate battery swaps and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has talked about taking long-distance EV trips that included battery swaps, and Tesla’s proprietary Supercharger network was supposed to have a battery swap component at one time. But then the discussion shifted to focus on that Supercharger network, and how, by stopping for lots of 20-minute sandwiches along the way, a cross-country EV road trip would be totally doable. And, for a while, the Tesla battery swapping talk disappeared.

“Live pack swap demo on Thurs night. Seeing is believing” – Elon Musk

Until, of course, Musk brought it back a month ago by tweeting: “There is a way for the Tesla Model S to be recharged throughout the country faster than you could fill a gas tank.” That set off a fresh search for information, which we now know we will be cleared up later this week.

Yesterday, Musk tweeted: “Live pack swap demo on Thurs night at 8pm California time at our design studio in Hawthorne. Seeing is believing.” He also tweeted that Better Place founder Shai Agassi “actually got the idea from a visit to Tesla. The idea is obvious (many things allow battery swap), but the technology is not.”

We have so many questions about this new option: does it apply to all Model S vehicles? Will it be free, like Supercharging? Will the swap locations be at Tesla stores, Supercharger stations or at other locations? Why is Tesla thinking of battery swaps when it’s also been so bullish on its fast-charging technology? We’ll try to find answers to all of these questions when the first public swap is performed live on Thursday.

Elon Musk confirms Tesla Model S battery swaps, demo coming this week originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Tue, 18 Jun 2013 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Elon Musk confirms Tesla Model S battery swaps, demo coming this week”