BMW i3 tries to be the answer for a changing world [w/video]

Filed under: EV/Plug-in, Hybrid, BMW, AutoblogGreen Exclusive

orange bmw i3

The production version of the BMW i3 was unveiled Monday at three simultaneous events in New York City, London and Beijing. Given that the i3 grew out a BMW electric vehicle project called Megacity, the urban debut locations make a lot of sense. Since BMW literally spent years researching urban trends in the Megacity project, years when the competition was building and selling EVs already, there is a lot of pressure on the German automaker to come out with an EV that is the right fit for today’s cities.

BMW’s message is that the i3 actually represents the beginning of electric mobility for the company.

BMW had help in this from the Mini E and Active E electric vehicle pilot programs. One way you can see the company’s EV history is in the location of the charge port on the rear passenger side. Most plug-in vehicles today put the charging connector in the front, but both the Mini E and Active E had a rear charge port and BMW didn’t get enough complaints to change it for the i3. If you opt to pay the roughly $4,000 extra for the gas-powered range extender, then your i3 will be built with a second fuel door, this one on the right front of the car. Putting the ports in these locations cuts down on the amount of fuel lines and wires required in the car, which in turn contributes to the i3’s light weight (official figures are not yet available, but BMW estimates the i3 weighs around 2,700 pounds). It’s all connected.

Despite BMW’s years of testing and driver feedback on earlier EV programs, the official message in New York was that the i3 actually represents the beginning of electric mobility for the company. As Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG, said in New York, “The car has existed for nearly 130 years. Today marks a shift – a change – in the future of mobility.

Does it?

Continue reading BMW i3 tries to be the answer for a changing world [w/video]

BMW i3 tries to be the answer for a changing world [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Wed, 31 Jul 2013 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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ETC: Ford celebrates its founder’s 150th birthday around the world

Filed under: Ford

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Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company and the man that is widely considered to have put America on wheels, would have been 150 years young today. Naturally, there are celebrations at Ford’s Dearborn headquarters, and the state of Michigan has declared today, July 30, 2013, Henry Ford Day.

While Ford’s flaws are well documented, his institution of the moving assembly line and $5 work day were largely responsible for the middle class explosion in Detroit during the 1910s and 1920s, while vertical integration in his production contributed even further to the affordability of Ford’s products. Ford’s company was also a key component of the Arsenal of Democracy, with the company’s Willow Run Assembly Plant one of the crown jewels of war-time production.

Besides celebrations in Michigan, Ford facilities around the globe are celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founder’s birth. Ford’s German outlet is holding five road rallies over the course of 2013, while 21 markets in the Asia Pacific region have converted showrooms into displays celebrating Ford’s history, as part of Ford Heritage month. There will be more celebrations in the coming months, as well.

Have a look through the gallery above for lots of historical photos of Henry Ford, as well as celebrations taking place in other parts of the world.

Ford celebrates its founder’s 150th birthday around the world originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 30 Jul 2013 18:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Watch 1,208 Porsche 911s collect at Silverstone for world record

Filed under: Videos, Porsche, UK

Porsche 911 parade lapping Silverstone Grand Prix circuit

Porsche has been spending the majority of 2013 celebrating the 50th birthday of the 911, with its latest stunt taking the German brand to the home of British motorsports, Silverstone. To celebrate, Porsche invited enthusiasts to take their personal 911s on a lap of the former airfield, and boy, did the Porschephiles show up. 1,208 911s took part in the lap around the Grand Prix circuit, making it the largest-ever gathering of the iconic, rear-engined cars.

This wasn’t just a celebration of 50 years for the 911, though. Funds raised were channeled towards Hope For Tomorrow, a cancer charity that works with the United Kingdom’s National Health Service in operating mobile chemothereapy units that make life just a little bit easier on cancer patients.

Take a look at the long video below, and enjoy the passing of what are likely examples of every 911 model ever built.

Continue reading Watch 1,208 Porsche 911s collect at Silverstone for world record

Watch 1,208 Porsche 911s collect at Silverstone for world record originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 29 Jul 2013 19:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: World’s Most Expensive Motorcycle has frame made from gold

Filed under: Videos, Motorcycle, Design/Style

World's most expensive motorcycle?

This motorcycle embraces two very different dynamics. On the one hand, it’s quite possibly the most expensive motorcycle ever built, with some experts speculating that the frame alone is worth $1 million. On the other hand, it looks old and beaten up, like a steampunk MadMax.

Designed by an extremely wealthy Turkish motorcycle fan, Tarhan Telli, the basics are include an 1801cc V-Twin with 125 horsepower, a six-speed transmission and a 700-pound curb weight. But what makes it special, aside from the frame that’s made entirely from gold, is the artistry. As Motorcycle explains, Telli wanted high-end materials, like the gold, but wasn’t looking for something shouty, opting for worn materials with interesting patinas. So, basically, he commissioned a bike with a frame made from gold, but didn’t want it to be too loud, so he went to further lengths to obscure the gold finish. This may be the world’s biggest humblebrag.

Telli has approached the Guinness Book of World Records to get his one-off creation certified as the world’s most expensive motorcycle. He isn’t revealing what it cost him to build, but if he spent a million bucks on the frame, we’d expect the entire bike might be a few times that. Scroll down for the video.

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World’s Most Expensive Motorcycle has frame made from gold originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 28 Jul 2013 17:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Toyota hangs on to title of world’s largest automaker for first half of 2013

Filed under: Plants/Manufacturing, Toyota, Earnings/Financials

Toyota USA Headquarters

General Motors and Ford can have all the success they please, but it doesn’t seem like America’s two largest manufacturers are going to topple Toyota in the first half of 2013. According to Reuters, Toyota moved 4.91 million vehicles in the first six months of 2013, representing a 1.1-percent drop from the same period in 2012.

GM is on the rise, though, with a four-percent increase in global sales, to 4.85 million. Volkswagen, still sitting in third, saw a 5.5-percent jump to 4.7 million vehicles in the first half of 2013.

If this pace continues for Toyota, it’ll finish 2013 in the top sales spot for the second year in a row. The manufacturer fell to third, behind GM and VW, in 2011 after earthquakes and tsunamis ravaged its production capacity.

Toyota hangs on to title of world’s largest automaker for first half of 2013 originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 26 Jul 2013 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Citroën to campaign World Touring Car C-Elysée with Sebastian Loeb

Filed under: Frankfurt Motor Show, Motorsports, Citroën, Racing

2014 Citroën C-Elysee WTCC front three-quarter

Citroën has released the first images of its latest racecar, the C-Elysee, which will be contested by Sebastien Loeb in the World Touring Car Championship next year. Based on the C-Elysee sedan, a model first shown at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, the WTCC variant has been designed for the new regulations set to be imposed by the FIA.

The C-Elysee is offered with a range of low-powered gas and diesel engines, but the WTCC model gets a 1.6-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder with 380 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed sequential gearbox from Sadev sends power to the front wheels through a twin-disk, carbon-fiber clutch. Hopefully all this potential won’t result in any shenanigans this season.

The roster for next season is far from finalized, although Honda will be contesting the championship with its Civic WTCC.The C-Elysee WTCC will make its race debut with Sebastien Loeb at the wheel when the 2014 FIA World Touring Car Championship starts, likely around the end of March 2014. Citroën will also be showing its new racer at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Continue reading Citroën to campaign World Touring Car C-Elysée with Sebastian Loeb

Citroën to campaign World Touring Car C-Elysée with Sebastian Loeb originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 25 Jul 2013 11:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Drayson Racing EV hits 204.185 mph, sets new FIA world land speed record

Filed under: EV/Plug-in, Green Culture, Racing

Michelin Drayson Electric Speed Record

A 39-year-old FIA World Electric Land Speed Record has fallen to a sleek, green electric machine called the Lola. Officially the Drayson B12 69/EV electric Le Mans Prototype, the 1000-kilogram (2,204-pound) race car hit a top speed of 204.185 miles per hour yesterday at RAF Elvington Airfield in Yorkshire, England. That’s over 29 mph faster than the previous record of 175 mph that was set in 1974 by Battery Box General Electric.

“I’m delighted we’ve beaten the record tonight and can show the world EVs can be fast and reliable.”

Completing two runs down the three-kilometer track, Lord Paul Drayson piloted the finely tuned, 850-horsepower EV to the record-setting run. Afterwards, the proud driver said, “I’m delighted we’ve beaten the record tonight and can show the world EVs can be fast and reliable. It is not the outright speed of 204.185mph that is most impressive about this record, but the engineering challenge of accelerating a 1000kg electric vehicle on a short runway over a measured mile.” The car has a 30-kWh battery and ran on confidential-specification LM P1 Michelin tires. You can see a video of the run below.

Of course, there are records and then there are records. The Ohio State University Buckeye Bullet, for example, is an EV that has topped 300 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. But, according to the FIA, Drayson is now the team to beat. We have to assume that someone will try to snag the title before another four decades are up. Nissan, perhaps?

Continue reading Drayson Racing EV hits 204.185 mph, sets new FIA world land speed record

Drayson Racing EV hits 204.185 mph, sets new FIA world land speed record originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Wed, 26 Jun 2013 18:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Nissan shows off Le Mans Prototype, says it’s world’s fastest electric racer [w/video]

Filed under: Motorsports, Videos, Nissan, Electric, Racing

Nissan ZEOD RC Le Mans prototype - front three-quarter dynamic view

Nissan has announced plans and details around its upcoming all-electric racing car, the ZEOD RC. The Zero Emission On Demand Racing car is said to be capable of a top speed in excess of 300 kilometers per hour (186.4 miles per hour), is shaped a bit like the closed-cockpit version of the DeltaWing (albeit, to our eyes, better looking) and will make its debut in 2014 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This weekend, visitors to the race will have the opportunity to view the prototype near the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Nissan’s ZEOD RC has been invited by Le Mans organizers to compete as the Garage 56 entry in next year’s race; that’s essentially a spot on the grid held for vehicles with new and/or cutting edge technology.

Short of announcing a partnership with Michelin to develop tires for the EV racecar, however, Nissan is mum on any kind of battery or motor specification for the ZEOD. The press release (below) offers a sense that the Nissan and Nismo teams have still got a lot of work to do before the 2014 race. Ben Bowlby, designer of the ZEOD RC, says “We have many options to consider and test. The test program is part of a longer term goal of developing a system and a set of rules for this type of technology in partnership with the ACO that would be best suited to competing at the highest level of this sport.”

The ultimate goal of the ZEOD RC program, in terms of racing at least, is to sort out the feasibility of a LM P1 all-electric class for future Le Mans racing. Continue on below for more information, as well as a video about the ZEOD RC project.

Continue reading Nissan shows off Le Mans Prototype, says it’s world’s fastest electric racer [w/video]

Nissan shows off Le Mans Prototype, says it’s world’s fastest electric racer [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 21 Jun 2013 09:55:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Tata Nano updated, world’s cheapest car gets CNG option

Filed under: Coupe, Budget, India, MISC

2013 Tata Nano - blue

Back when it went on sale in 2008, the Tata Nano was heralded as something of a new Model T for developing economies. As the world’s cheapest new car – and not by a little – the four-door Indian runabout was poised to usher in a new age of personal transportation to the world. But things didn’t quite work out that way, and the discount rear-drive minicar has seen its sales fortunes undone by all manner of issues, from reports of fires and quality issues to protests at its assembly plant and poor public reception. But Tata Motors isn’t giving up on the Nano just yet, having just unveiled a newly updated design and a compressed natural gas (CNG) model.

The new updates don’t register as much more than a mid-cycle refresh, with small differences outside like a new rear fascia with mesh inserts and additional chrome trim. More meaningful updates indoors include a revamped center console and a new twin glovebox, updated upholstery, body-color trim bits and available extras that include remote keyless entry, a four-speaker AmphiStream audio setup with Bluetooth and USB hookups. Minor controls have also been relocated for improved ergonomics, and there’s a slightly larger steering wheel to ease parking maneuvers. In addition, a range of new personalization kits are available, including things like body graphics, aero kits, different alloy wheels and contrasting roof treatments.

The conventional two-cylinder gas powertrain remains unchanged, giving 37 horsepower. The new bi-fuel Emax model runs on gasoline and, with the flick of a switch, CNG. The four-stroke, 624-cc engine features an aluminum head and block, and it offers 37 hp on gas and 33 on CNG, while the torque peak sits at 38 lb-ft under gasoline power and 33 lb-ft on natural gas.

Along with the revamped Nano, Tata Motors also rolled out updated versions of its Indica, Indigo, Safari and Sumo models.

Tata Nano updated, world’s cheapest car gets CNG option originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 20 Jun 2013 13:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Renault and Nissan imagine a world where gas powers everything

Filed under: Hybrid, Sedan, Marketing/Advertising, Videos, Hatchback, Chevrolet, GM, Nissan, Renault, Electric

Nissan gas-powered everything

Nissan’s “Gas Powered Everything” ad – Click above to watch the videos after the jump

What would the world be like if everything were powered by gasoline?

Renault-Nissan has kicked off a massive advertising campaign intended to highlight the advanced technology of electric vehicles with the debut of a pair of videos that bang home the point that consumers depend upon electricity to power items used everyday and that using gasoline is, in some instances, utterly ridiculous.

In one spot, a middle-aged man wakes up for work to the burning whistle of his gas-powered alarm clock and with a few fierce tugs at his coffee maker’s rip cord, manages to fire up the gas-gulping machine. That same man, while at the office, walks up to a miniature gas pump to refuel his laptop computer.

Oh, and the owner of a Chevrolet Volt, while standing at the gas pump refueling his plug-in hybrid, watches in envy as another man across the street unplugs his Nissan Leaf and drives off as onlookers watch in amazement. Yep, that’s how Nissan sees the world if “Gas Powered Everything.”

Since the videos are, in our humble opinion, absolutely hilarious, we’ll refrain from revealing too much. Hit the jump to view the clips clip. Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

Continue reading Renault and Nissan imagine a world where gas powers everything

Renault and Nissan imagine a world where gas powers everything originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 27 May 2011 19:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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