Rolls Royce 35 Phantom Drophead Coupe isn’t sketchy

RollsRoyce_WaterspeedRolls-Royce Motor Cars is delighted to reveal an exclusive sketch of the Bespoke Waterspeed Collection, a series of 35 Phantom Drophead Coupés that seeks to celebrate an act of British daring and endeavour.

On the morning of Sept. 1, 1937, at the height of the battle between the US and Great Britain to be the fastest nation on water, Sir Malcolm Campbell headed out onto the calm blue waters of Lake Maggiore on the Swiss-Italian frontier.

On taking the wheel of his Bluebird K3 hydroplane boat, powered by Rolls-Royce’s R-Type engine, he established his legend, setting a record of 126.32 mph. A day later, he topped that mark reaching a speed of 129.5 mph, breaking the United States’ five-year stranglehold on the world waterspeed record.

Campbell’s momentous achievement reaffirmed the Rolls-Royce R-Type engines’ record-breaking superiority after triumphs on land and in the air.

Echoing the cutting-edge technology employed in the construction of these craft, only the finest contemporary materials never used before on a Rolls-Royce furnish the Waterspeed Collection. Brushed steel perfectly complements an exclusively developed Maggiore Blue color scheme while hand-crafted wood inlays evoke the sense of a boat effortlessly gliding through water at pace.

“Sir Malcolm Campbell’s successful pursuit of world-speed records on land and water were the result of his commitment to the most exacting standards of British design and engineering excellence,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “Such attributes are hallmarks of every Rolls-Royce motor car, ensuring the marque’s position at the pinnacle of super-luxury manufacturing. This special Collection, and those to follow in 2014, serve to display the breadth of Bespoke personalisation available to every Rolls-Royce customer. I very much look forward to revealing these remarkable cars over the coming months.”

VW says its XL1 at 200 mpg’s world’s most fuel-efficient car

VW's XL1

VW’s XL1

BY GERRY MILES

With the capability to produce 200 mpgs in the United States (compared to an estiamted 261 mpgs in Europe), Volkswagen introduced the XL1 as the most fuel-efficient and aerodynamic production car in the world at 23rd Annual Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) Conference at the Chattanooga Convention Center recently.

In its zero-emissions or all-electric mode, the XL1 can cover but 32 miles.

“The XL1 offers a glimpse into Volkswagen’s present and future eco-mobility capabilities, and highlights the ultimate successes of ‘Thinking Blue’,” said Oliver Schmidt, General Manager of the Engineering and Environmental Office (EEO), Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “VW is proud to debut this ultra-fuel-efficient vehicle before the Society of Environmental Journalists, a group that shares in our commitment to environmental stewardship.”

XL1 Features

The XL1 is an automotive standout that follows pure sports-car design principles:

  • light weight (1,753 pounds)
  • exceptional aerodynamics (Cd 0.19)
  • low center of gravity
  • The XL1 also has a top speed of 99 mph and can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 12.7 seconds.

The XL1 can cruise at 62 mph (100 km) using just 8.4 PS (6.2kW) horsepower. In all-electric mode, the XL1 requires less than 0.1 kWh to cover more than a kilometer.

The XL1 emits just 21 g/km of CO2, thanks to its high-tech lightweight design, aerodynamic efficiency, and a plug-in hybrid system consisting of a 48 PS (35kW) two-cylinder TDI® engine, a 27-hp electric motor, a seven-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission, and a lithium-ion battery.

The estimated European driving cycle of 261 mpg fuel consumption figure is a record that has not been achieved by any other vehicle to date, a number that VW claims is proof that it is feasibly redefining the auto industry.

When the new millennium began, Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Piëch, now Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG, envisioned a practical car that had combined fuel consumption of one liter per 100 km (235 mpg). In the two-seat XL1, this vision has become reality.

Despite the tremendous efficiency of the XL1, the engineers and designers successfully came up with a body design which delivers more everyday utility than the two previous prototypes. In the L1, the 1-liter car that was shown in 2002 and 2009, the driver and passenger sat in a tandem arrangement for optimal aerodynamics; in the XL1, the two occupants sit slightly offset, side by side, almost like a conventional vehicle.

The XL1 is 153.1 inches long, 65.6 inches wide, and just 45.4 inches tall. By comparison, a Volkswagen Polo is slightly longer (156.3 in) and wider (66.2 in), but is significantly taller (57.6 in). Even a purebred sports car like today’s Porsche Boxster is 5.1 inches taller. The XL1 will look spectacular going down the highway—a car of the future, built for today.

There was no word on when or if the XL1 will ever see American shores nor at what price.

Nissan to offer Cummins V-8 turbo diesel in 2015 Titan

At the kickoff of Nissan 360, an industry showcase of Nissan’s global product and technology portfolio, the company announced it will offer a newly-developed Cummins V8 turbo diesel in its next-generation full-size pickup.

At the kickoff of Nissan 360, an industry showcase of Nissan’s global product and technology portfolio, the company announced it will offer a newly-developed Cummins V8 turbo diesel in its next-generation full-size pickup.

NEXT GEN TITAN GETS NEW CUMMINS TURBO DIESEL ENGINE

BY GERRY MILES

Well scratch the use of the Denzel Washington movie title “Remember the Titans”. With the announcement that Cummings will supply a diesel to the next-gen Nissan Titan fullsized pickup truck, we know that the new model will probably be a 2015 model and that Cummins – once the seemingly chief supplier of diesel grunt power to Chrysler – has expanded its reach.

Still in the latter stages of development, the optional Cummins 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel engine will be optimized for the Titan after forming a partnership with Nissan. Cummins also is developing a version of the engine for its commercial vehicle customers.

The diesel engines will be built at a Cummins factory in Columbus, Ind., for installation at Nissan's Canton, Miss., plant.

The diesel engines will be built at a Cummins factory in Columbus, Ind., for installation at Nissan’s Canton, Miss., plant.

With more than 300 hp and an unofficial torque rating in the mid-500s (lb-ft) the Cummins will provide light truck owners the combination of towing capacity and mileage that is highly-competitive in the North American truck marketplace.

“We have done our homework on the next-generation Titan. Truck owners told us there’s a demand for the performance and torque of a diesel in a capable truck that doesn’t require the jump up to a heavy-duty commercial pickup,” said Fred Diaz, divisional vice president, Nissan Sales & Marketing, Service & Parts, Nissan North America. “There is no question that the new Titan will turn heads, and with the available Cummins 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel, we expect to win new fans and attract buyers looking for this unique configuration.”

Nissan announced the next Titan will add powertrain options as well as cab-and-box configurations to broaden the appeal of the truck that was thought to be as stale as bread tossed to birds in a park.

“We are very excited to partner with Nissan on the introduction of the Cummins 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel to the North American pickup truck market,” said Dave Crompton, vice president, Cummins Engine Business. “This new engine will offer the right balance of power, performance and fuel economy while delivering the dependability that customers expect of a Cummins engine. This will be a great package.”

The Cummins 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel will be built at the company HQ in Columbus, Ind.

Titan will be built at Nissan’s Canton, Miss. vehicle assembly plant while its gas engines cast, forged and assembled at Nissan’s Decherd, Tenn. powertrain plant.

Nissan was mum on the release of the future Titan and Cummins engine coupling.

Volvo’s Drive-E powertrains offer power, efficiency

The new Drive-E gasoline engine. Volvo Cars' new Drive-E range of powertrains takes efficient driving pleasure to a new dimension in which the number of cylinders is no longer important to describe power and drivability. The first three engines from the two-litre, four-cylinder Drive-E powertrain family will be launched in autumn 2013. The diesel version features world-first i-Art technology, and the most powerful petrol version comes with a class-leading combination of a compressor and a turbocharger. (Volvo photo)

The new Drive-E gasoline engine. Volvo Cars’ new Drive-E range of powertrains takes efficient driving pleasure to a new dimension in which the number of cylinders is no longer important to describe power and drivability. The first three engines from the two-litre, four-cylinder Drive-E powertrain family will be launched in autumn 2013. The diesel version features world-first i-Art technology, and the most powerful petrol version comes with a class-leading combination of a compressor and a turbocharger. (Volvo photo)

BY GERRY MILES

 “The launch of our new Drive-E powertrains is an important step in Volvo’s product investment plan that will result in a stronger, more competitive position in the marketplace,” said Volvo Cars of North America President and CEO John Maloney. “A great deal of research went into learning how our customers drive and these highly efficient, low-emission engines were designed to provide greater customer choice while retaining the performance attributes our customers expect.”

Drive-E is now Volvo’s ecological moniker for all innovations reducing environmental impact from sustainable, efficient and clean manufacturing process, recyclable materials, low-emission powertrains.

Powertrains Deliver Efficient Power

Drive-E powertrains are said to deliver what was previously thought possible from 6 or 8 cylinders motors. The engines can be used later in electric vehicle purposing or hybrid applications.

The engineers dropped the overall weight 100 pounds, which they say also lowers emissions while raising economy, depending upon the engine from 13 to 26 percent. Exact numbers have not be released yet.

The Drive-E engine range consists of just two 4-cylinder engines, one common rail diesel and one direct-injected gasoline version, that replaces 8 engine architectures across three three platforms. Both the diesel and the gasoline versions share the same architecture.

 Two gasoline Drive-E engines will be offered in the US:

  • a 240-horsepower version
  • a high performance 302-horsepower version.

In the United States, Volvo will continue to offer its current lineup of AWD powertrains, along with Drive-E. As a result, U.S. customers can choose between the new engines and some current engines until Volvo transitions solely to Drive-E.

Drive-E Powertrain Range:

T6

4 cylinders

2.0 Liter

Turbocharged and supercharged

302 HP

295 pound-feet

FWD

T5

4 cylinders

2.0 Liter

Turbocharged

240 HP

258 pound-feet

FWD

Technical Features

The new engine family reflects thoughtful design features to maximize the engine’s efficiency, as well as provide dynamic drivability and performance. Drive-E powertrains offer many technical features:

  • Friction reduction: Friction-reduction measures have been employed throughout the engine, including ball bearings on the camshaft, high-speed continuous variable valve timing and intelligent heat management with a fully variable electric water pump.
  • Start-Stop and Brake Regeneration: All Drive-E engines feature start-stop and brake regeneration. The technology uses brake pressure measurement to trigger when to stop and start the engine. The start/stop system is programmed to shut down the engine immediately when the car reaches a standstill. An electric pump keeps oil pressure up while the engine is stopped.
  • Turbo Only or Turbo and Supercharger: Using the supercharger to boost the low end torque gives the gas-powered 302-horsepower T6 engine a big, naturally aspirated feel. The mechanically linked compressor functions immediately at low revs, while the turbocharger kicks in when the airflow builds up.
  • 8-speed gearbox: To deliver the desired responsive, smooth and fuel-efficient drivability, the engines are teamed either with a new eight-speed automatic gearbox tuned for improved efficiency.

Drive-E engines are prepared for future electrification from the start. Key components, such as the integrated starter generator, can be connected easily — and the compact size of the 4-cylinder engines means that the electric motor can be fitted in the front or rear of the vehicle. The battery pack will be located in the center of the car.

Ford lowers mpg figures on C-Max hybrid

Ford C-Max Hybrid

Ford C-Max Hybrid

From Edmunds.com
Earlier today Ford announced that it will reduce the stated fuel-economy rating of its C-Max Hybrid. Edmunds.com has been tracking this story closely ever since consumers on our forums complained late last year that the vehicle does not come close to the advertised 47 mpg.
Edmunds.com Green Car Analyst John O’Dell offers the following take:

“Ford wouldn’t take such a drastic step if it didn’t feel that it was absolutely necessary, even if it’s just a move to protect its image. Edmunds.com’s own testing found that the 47 mpg mark is achievable in the C-Max, but that was under controlled driving conditions. As we all know, our own driving styles rarely reflect the perfect behaviors needed to reach peak fuel economy. Additionally, hybrids perform best in slow, stop-and-go city traffic while for many people the daily drive is spent mostly on the freeways. These are two areas where the disconnect between EPA testing and real-world driving experiences come into play.”
Just last month Edmunds.com worked with KNBC in Los Angeles to test a C-Max Hybrid that one local couple claimed fell far short of its advertised gas mileage, and over the course of a 105-mile loop, Edmunds.com achieved a rate of over 50mpg. Watch more on this test at http://www.nbclosangeles.com/video/#!/on-air/as-seen-on/Hybrid-Owners-Find-Gas-Mileage-Isnt-As-Expected/215939001.
Edmunds.com offers more detail into why real world MPG doesn’t match EPA ratings at http://www.edmunds.com/fuel-economy/heres-why-real-world-mpg-doesnt-match-epa-ratings.html.

Corvette Stingy-ray most fuel efficient sports car with 29 highway MPG?

The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, equipped with the available Z51 Performance Package, is capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, braking from 60 to 0 in 107 feet, and sustaining 1.03 g in cornering.

The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, equipped with the available Z51 Performance Package, is capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, braking from 60 to 0 in 107 feet, and sustaining 1.03 g in cornering.

2014 model unmatched in combo of 455 hp and EPA-estimated 29 mpg highway

BY GERRY MILES

Sure, we’ve heard muscle car owners bragging about who has the faster car off the line, more outright power and how their rig can hang in the corners while others can only spring in a straight line.

When was the last first time you ever heard anyone say my Vette’s better at the pump than yours? Perhaps never, right?

If you’re lucky enough to score a 2014 ‘Vette you just may announce that to someone, and with gas prices climbing (again), it’s not a bad thing now, is it? I didn’t think so.

“The Corvette Stingray establishes the benchmark for modern performance cars by using technologies to deliver more performance and more miles per gallon,” said Tadge Juechter, executive chief engineer for the Corvette. “We expect more and more performance cars will follow Corvette’s example.”

The EPA estimate of 17 city/ 29 highway is for the Vette with the new 7-speed manual transmission with both the default “Tour” mode, which delivers 28 mpg highway, and driver-selectable “Eco” mode, which delivers 30 mpg highway. The Eco mode utilizes  Active Fuel Management, which disables four of the cylinders for improved fuel economy during light engine loads such as cruising along the highway.

For Stingrays with the 6-speed automatic, Active Fuel Management is active in all drive modes until the driver engages the manual-shift mode via the steering-wheel paddles. Epa numbers for the automtic 6-speed aren’t finalized yet.

Further notable economy boasts include an 11-percent increase in highway fuel economy over the previous Vette, while the all-new 6.2L LT1 V-8 delivers 455 horsepower, a 6-percent increase over the previous Corvette. The LT1 delivers 460 horsepower with the available dual-mode exhaust.

By comparison, the Porsche 911 Carrera S delivers 400 horsepower, and an EPA-estimated 27 mpg highway.

For example, the Jaguar F-Type S offers 495 hp and 23 mpg highway while the Audi R8 V10 offers 510 hp and 19 mpg highway.

Sports cars that deliver more than 29 mpg highway based on EPA estimates typically deliver significantly less engine output. For example, the Porsche Cayman offers 30 mpg and 275 hp while the BMW Z4 sDrive28 delivers 34 mpg and 241 hp.

Global Prius Sales Top 3 Million

2012 Toyota Prius

2012 Toyota Prius

BY GERRY MILES

Although it seems hard to believe, it also doesn’t because the car has been around so long, so many iterations are out that in hindsight, having produced 3 million copies of the Prius doesn’t seem to be that big a deal. But it is.

At the end of June, Toyota announced that worldwide sales of the quirky hybrid – the one that had a packed 1997 NY Auto Show press conference where journalists did NOT have to be told to quiet down as the price was anxiously announced years ago at $19,995 – had eclipsed the 3 million vehicle sales mark.

The second gen Prius arrived in 2003 and stayed as is until the third generation rolled out in 2009.  TMC says it applied for 1,261 patents relating to the third-generation Prius, achieving progress worthy of the Prius name (derived from a Latin word meaning “to go before”).

Since the development of the first-generation Prius, TMC has positioned hybrid technology as a core technology required for the development of various types of environment-friendly vehicles and has placed emphasis on the development and production of core components such as motors, inverters, batteries and electronic control units (ECUs), giving rise to substantial investment in Japan.

TMC will continue to conduct R&D and invest in facilities in Japan for the development of hybrid and other cutting-edge technologies and achieve sustainable growth by deploying these Japan-developed technologies across the globe.

In the fiscal year ending March 2014, TMC expects to spend a consolidated 890 billion yen(4) (790 billion yen(5) unconsolidated) on environmental technology development, and strengthening new platform and major component development.

In the same period, TMC also plans to make consolidated capital expenditure investments of 910 billion yen (up seven percent year-on-year), with 440 billion yen invested in Japan (up nine percent year-on-year).

Investments in R&D infrastructure include a new R&D facility (651 hectares) and the Powertrain Development and Production Engineering Building (a 12-story structure with a total floor area of 100,000 m²) in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, that will serve as a next-generation powertrain development base, as well as the Aerodynamics Laboratory (capable of producing winds of 250 km/h) located in the Honsha Technical Center.

Future capital investments by consolidated subsidiaries include an investment by Primearth EV Energy Co., Ltd. (PEVE) for expanding battery production capacity at its Omori Plant in Kosai City, Shizuoka Prefecture.