Ford First to Offer iTunes Tagging with Launch of New HD Radio

In 2010 Ford will start offering HD Radio technology with iTunes Tagging capabilities. The crystal-clear radio sound can be installed at factory level to give risk-averse customers extra piece of mind.

"iTunes Tagging and HD Radio technology are strong new additions to the growing collection of Ford convenience features and technology we're offering customers to make driving even more enjoyable," said Mark Fields, president of The Americas. "This is another example of Ford's commitment to bring the widest variety of factory-installed customer-focused technology, features and conveniences to millions of people."

Users will be able to listen to songs on the radio, tag them via the push of a ‘Tag' button, and be able to buy them at a later stage through the iTunes Store. Song titles, artist names and other information crops up on the screen as songs play. Up to 100 Tags can be stored on SYNC, waiting to be downloaded into the iPod if one is not present at the time.

CD-quality music is possible through HD when broadcast on the FM band while FM-quality can be experienced by AM band users. Additional and often exclusive and unique content can be accessed on HD systems. For example in Dallas, Texas there is now a dedicated Cowboys football team channel broadcasting 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Can Ford beat the Chevy Volt two years later with a cheaper PHEV?

Will the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt and Ford Fiesta really compete with each other? Maybe not the two cars, but the underlying vehicle architectures will compete, and Greentech Media talked to Ford's chief engineer for global hybrid core engineering, Sherif Marakby, who said that his company's later, cheaper, smaller strategy will beat the competition. Ford will use the global C-segment platform (which includes the Fiesta) for its PHEV, and GM has spoken many times about using the Volt's Voltec powertrain in a variety of vehicles (see: Converj). Once the opening round goes to GM in November 2010, then things start to get a bit more interesting.

Marakby said that Ford's 2012 introduction date for its first plug-in hybrid and parallel hybrid architecture (the Volt is a series hybrid) will allow the Blue Oval's cars to be cheaper. For one thing, the batteries can be smaller. Plus, Ford isn't targeting the same 40 miles of electric range that the Volt has (maybe 20 or 30 miles?). By going the parallel hybrid route, Ford also expects to save money by use components from conventional hybrids.

Chrysler to bring electric Fiat 500, hatchback concept to Detroit

Just because Chrysler won't be holding a press conference at next month's Detroit Auto Show doesn't mean that America's third-largest automaker is coming to the party empty-handed. Far from it, in fact, assuming there's truth to the rumors that the Pentastar will be showing off both an electric version of the soon-to-be-US-bound Fiat 500 along with a Chrysler-ized version of the Lancia Delta hatchback.

While the Chrysler-branded concept is said to be nothing more than a standard-fare Delta emblazoned with Chrysler's trademark chrome fascia, the electric Fiat 500 is a bit more interesting. We've heard that the automaker's erstwhile ENVI group was disbanded and assimilated into the rest of the company's product development workforce, so we're curious to see the integration of a battery-powered drivetrain into the little urban runabout. Will it be a fully-functional vehicle or just a mock-up of what could potentially be possible?

Not surprisingly, we'll also be treated to the rest of the Fiat 500 lineup, including the 500C Cabriolet (no word on bikini-clad models) and the sporty 500 Abarth. Finally, tucked into a corner of the Chrysler booth in Detroit will also reportedly be such premium Italian machinery as the Ferrari 458 Italia and the Maserati GranCabrio. Hey... if you've got it, why not flaunt it, right?

New “Eeco” Car from Maruti Suzuki at Delhi Auto Expo

Maruti Suzuki is ready to introduce its new family car “Eeco” at the upcoming Delhi Auto Expo. The car is expected to be priced under Rs. 4 lakh. The new model has been specifically developed for the domestic market and will be powered by 1.2L petrol engine that is compliant with new BS IV norms which come into effect from April 2010.

Eeco seems to be the new replacement of Versa which failed to generate volumes for MSIL. It will have three-row and two-row seating arrangements that will be capable of seating 5 or 7 passengers. MSIL engineers have been developing the model since past three years and it will now be introduced in the C-segment. “The new car represents the growing expertise of our engineers to conceive, design and produce vehicles here. This is also in line with parent Suzuki Corp's vision of turning India into a global hub for small car research and development," said IV Rao, MSIL Managing Executive Officer (Engineering).

More details about the car will be available when the company finally launches the car at the Auto Expo in the Capital next month.

Kia Soul Ignition Special Edition Announced

The special edition 2010 Kia Ignition Soul is now available from Kia dealerships in the US. Prices start at $17,500 for the 5-speed manual. Kia throws in the standard 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile limited basic warranty and a five-year/100,000-mile antiperforation warranty with that. A five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance plan is also included.

What makes the Ignition Soul special is its unique "ignition orange" exterior paint colour with an off-set black racing stripe for starters. Then come the black 18-inch alloy wheels with machined accents, a sporty body kit, fender vents with side marker repeaters, fog lights and an alloy fuel door.

Like the special edition Denim Soul before it, the Ignition Soul is based on the Soul+ model (which starts at $14,950) and features interior features such as carpeted floor mats, black cloth seats with Soul logo inserts, a moon roof, an iPod connection, Bluetooth connectivity and an audio package consisting of a centre speaker, a subwoofer, an external amplifier and speaker lights that pulse to the music.

Some safety features include ABS brakes with EBD, Brake Assist, a tyre pressure monitoring system and Electronic Stability Control (ESC).

Hopefully the 2010 Kia Ignition Soul shows up at the 2010 NAIAS in Detroit next month.

2010 Acura NSX to Live as Super GT Racer - Road Car Plans Still Dead

Acura's NSX supercar may rise from the dead to compete in the Super GT racing series.

According to InsideLine, Acura circumvented Super GT Series homologation rules that require race cars be based on a production vehicle. They did this by using another rule which allows production ready (but not currently in production) cars to be entered into the series. The trick appears to have worked, as series officials (the Japan Automobile Federation) have given the NSX the green light.

While details are limited, the race car is expected to be virtually identical to the production NSX that was killed off late last year. However, the NSX racer will reportedly use a 3.4-liter V8 instead of a 5.0-liter V10 which was expected in the production model.

Look for more information to be released when the 2010 racing season starts up.

Detroit 2010 Preview: Volvo C30 EV evolves for road trials

Volvo has built versions of the C30 with efficient diesel engines, plug-in hybrid powerplants, flex-fuel ICEs, and pure electric drivetrains. It's the all-electric version that will get some extra attention at the Detroit Auto Show next month with Volvo's announcement today that it will build at least 50 versions of the all-electric C30 hatchback. The cars will be made next year and are due to start real-world tests in 2011.

Volvo brought a driveable prototype version of the C30 BEV to Frankfurt earlier this year, but the machine that will be shown in Detroit is a more evolved iteration. Volvo says that the NAIAS unit has a complete interior, full instrumentation, and enhanced battery packaging.

Lennart Stegland, director of Volvo Cars Special Vehicles, said in a statement, "The first prototype helped us identify the main technological challenges, such as battery packaging and safety issues. We have addressed these challenges without compromising the C30's cool and fun-to-drive personality. I am very happy with the result. The electric C30 in Detroit is a much more complete product."

U.S. Honda Insight sales continue to stall, Japanese sales beat projections

Though the Honda Insight is handily outpacing sales projections in its home market of Japan, sales in the rest of the world are falling well short of expectations. Of the 200,000 Insights Honda had hoped to sell annually, 100,000 of those were supposed to come from the American market, 60,000 from Japan and the final 40,000 from Europe.

In reality, Honda has sold roughly 80,000 Insights in Japan but only 20,000 so far in the U.S. and another 15,000 in Europe. By way of contrast, Toyota is continuing its strong sales showing with the 2010 Prius. For the month of November, Honda sold 1,403 Insights while Toyota sold 9,617 Prius hybrids.

For what it's worth, roughly 10 percent of all cars sold in Japan are hybrids while U.S. hybrid sales, though up from previous years, struggle to crack the 3 percent barrier

Ford sends 10 Focus fuel cell vehicles to Iceland for continued testing

For the past four years Ford has been running a fleet of 30 fuel cell-powered Focus sedans in several locations throughout the United States and Canada in a program partially funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Those cars have accumulated more than half a million miles over that time. Testing of those cars is still ongoing, but some of the cars have recently been redeployed.

The next phase of testing begins this month in Iceland as 10 of Focuses have been shifted to the North Atlantic nation for further evaluation. Iceland has long been interested in taking advantage of hydrogen through its vast geothermal and water resources. Shell Hydrogen has been running a commercial filling station in the capital of Reykjavik for over 6 years.

Big city mayors announce C40 Electric Vehicle Network

TOKYO, December 17, 2009 - Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) has signed a cooperative Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding the popularization of electric vehicles (EV) with the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), a program of the William J. Clinton Foundation. The move signifies MMC's commitment to "Leading the EV era, towards a sustainable future" as laid out in its "Mitsubishi Group Environmental Vision 2020," MMC's environmental policy, part of which is to proactively collaborate with various partners in creating a pleasing and low-carbon society.

The move is also part of the C40 Electric Vehicle Network, announced on December 16 at the Climate Summit for Mayors in Copenhagen. The C40 is a group of cities that are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, of which CCI is the implementation partner. The Clinton Climate Initiative works with C40 partner cities*1 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through projects such as energy efficiency building retrofits, waste management and transportation.

Through the newly formed C40 Electric Vehicle Network, some of the world's largest cities have committed to take steps over the next year to collectively address the key areas of municipal action critical to successful introduction of electric vehicles. MMC has agreed to work together with the Clinton Climate Initiative and the C40 Electric Vehicle Network to help develop cities' electric vehicle policies, vehicle procurement and infrastructure decisions through advice on vehicle specifications, charging parameters and incentives.

MMC is committed to making progress toward its stated goal of having 20% of total production as either electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles by 2020. It also introduced the new-generation MMC electric vehicle, the i-MiEV, in Japan this summer and has already delivered more than 800 of these innovative vehicles to date with plans to roll out the vehicle globally.

Major points of the MoU for cooperation between the Clinton Foundation and MMC:

* Exchange information regarding EVs
* Promote development of demand for EVs in C40 cities
* Promote the expansion of EV charging infrastructure in C40 cities
* Gather and share data on EV usage in C40 cities

*1 C40 is a group of the world's largest cities committed to tackling climate change. It includes Addis Ababa, Athens, Bangkok, Beijing, Berlin, Bogota, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Caracas, Chicago, Delhi, Dhaka, Hanoi, Hong Kong, Houston, Istanbul, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Karachi, Lagos, Lima, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Melbourne, Mexico City, Moscow, Mumbai, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, Toronto, Tokyo, and Warsaw.

About the Clinton Climate Initiative:
The William J. Clinton Foundation launched the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) to create and advance solutions to the core issues driving climate change. Working with governments and businesses around the world to tailor local solutions that are economically and environmentally sustainable, CCI focuses on three strategic program areas: increasing energy efficiency in cities, catalyzing the large-scale supply of clean energy, and working to measure and value the carbon absorbed by forests. In each of these programs, CCI uses a holistic approach to address the major sources of greenhouse gas emissions and the people, policies, and practices that impact them. CCI is the delivery partner of the C40, an association of large cities around the world that have pledged to accelerate their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To learn more about the work of the Clinton Climate Initiative and the William J. Clinton Foundation, please visit

Rendered Speculation: BMW M5 F10

The folks over at and have sent in these renderings of the upcoming BMW M5. Shown in the drawings is a mid-size four-door that many would be pleased to drive.

While we like the conceptual drawings very much, we do not think the next M5 will have such a race-ready look. Expect the front air intakes to be a bit less prominent, and the side sills to be less aggressive. After all, this is a car meant to appeal to executives, and will likely have a more conservative appearance than the drawings depict.

The upcoming BMW M5 is expected to get a 500+ horsepower turbocharged engine that produces almost 500 ft-lb of torque. BMW already uses a 4.4-liter twin-turbo on V8 that generates 555 hp and 501 ft-lb on the BMW X5/X6 M. This may be a suitable and more efficient replacement for the previously used V10. A new transmission will be paired to the engine. It will likely be similar to the seven-speed dual-clutch unit seen on the M5 25th anniversary car.

Aside from active aerodynamics, look for the car to get a carbon fiber roof, taller gearing, and LED daytime lights. The next BMW M5 is expected to debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Audi A1 - The Countdown Officially Begins

It is official: the Audi A1 will make its first sanctioned public appearance at the 2010 Geneva International Motor Show. On March 02, 2010 Audi representatives will unveil their new baby to the media. Today marked the beginning of the countdown to this important company event.

Some of the scheduled dates leading up to the unveiling include a test drive with Bayern Munich football stars on January 28, a video statement from the Human Resources Director regarding the A1 and job security on February 4, and an undated online world premier with a press kit.

The A1 is a subcompact premium hatchback aimed at the young as this promotional video implies. Featured is a street graphic artist spray painting what looks like the A1 Concept car on a wall. Funky and fun the car aims to put youthful bums on Audi seats for the first time and hopefully keep them for life.

"The new A1 has Audi design in its genes," says Stefan Sielaff, Head of Design at Audi. "Like all Audi models, the ratio of greenhouse to body is between 1:3 and 2:3. The front overhang is short, but the wheel wells are pronounced, giving the A1 a wide road stance."

Much of the design is based on the two concepts; the Metroproject Quattro of Tokyo 2007 and the A1 Sportback of Paris 2008. The designers stayed largely true to the well-received shapes, which augurs well for the final product.

"Audi is renowned for taking a lot of features of its show cars into series production. The roof arch is a unique characteristic of the Tokyo show car; there is a certain dynamism in the flow of the A- and C-pillars. An important detail for customization; that much I can tell you," said Sielaff.

Hyundai Kia Considering Kee and Veloster Coupe Production

A production version of the Kee Coupe concept could be brought to market if Kia design director Peter Schreyer has his way. In an interview with Autocar, Schreyer acknowledged that the Kee Coupe could be attractive to customers that do not currently consider the company's cars for purchase.

The designer did acknowledge that there are no immediate plans to put the car in showrooms, but a production model could get attention in 2012 or beyond. The Hyundai-owned label has not yet conducted a study to determine the car's marketability. Schreyer also noted that Kia's executive team is incredibly conservative, and would not push the car into production without a guaranteed profit.

"When you’re making cars like this, it’s important to make them with a great deal of confidence,” he said. “So I think the Kia brand has to grow a little more in stature before the time will be right for Kee."

In similar fashion, Hyundai engineers are working on an all-new Veloster, perhaps to replace the Tiburon. The Veloster would come with a 145-horsepower 1.6-liter GDI four-cylinder engine, with a 175-hp unit also available. Bigger engines, and hybrid powertrains are also possible.

The Veloster was first shown off as a 2+2 concept at the 2007 Seoul Auto Show. If produced, it could get odd-shaped doors, and conceptual hatchback as a way of setting itself apart from other cars in the same segment. Look for pricing to be sub-$22k.

Schreyer says he would like the Kee Coupe to use a rear-driven platform, which might come from the Genesis. The company would also consider the Cee'd and Magentis platforms. Perhaps the Kia Kee Coupe will be developed in tandem with the Hyundai Veloster.

Toyota Releases Dedicated Hybrid Concept Teasers

Toyota has announced they will showcase a new hybrid concept car at the 2010 North American International Auto Show. No official details have been given but speculation describes the compact car as being smaller than the Prius and will go into production as early as 2011.

Incidentally Toyota made two announcements regarding new cars in recent days. One was that a concept slotting below the Yaris would debut at the 2010 Auto Expo Automobile Show in New Delhi. Secondly, it said a new plug-in hybrid would begin selling globally from 2011. Traditionally Toyota has only built regular hybrid systems for models such as the Camry, Prius, Highlander, as well as certain Lexus cars.

A plug-in Prius hybrid did appear at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show. Toyota plans to lease 500 of these to government and corporate customers in the United States, Europe and Japan starting later this month. Public sales are scheduled for 2011 with volumes expected to reach "tens of thousands".

Competitors are not planning on being left out of the mass-market "green" race either. General Motors wants to sell about 60,000 Chevrolet Volts from next year, Volkswagen has plans pertaining to plug-in hybrids and Nissan commences sales of the all-electric Leaf in 2010.

Norway's Hydrogen Highway gets an electric back road

Back in May, 30 teams driving pure electric and hydrogen vehicles participated in the EVS Viking Rally from Oslo to Stavanger, Norway to mark the 24th Electric Vehicle Symposium (EVS) and the opening of the Hynor Hydrogen Road. For 2010, the event is changing its name to the Zero Emission Rally (see?) and will again feature plug-in hybrids, EVs and H2 cars. Instead of sticking to the main roads as it did in 2009, the 2010 route will send the vehicles on smaller back roads. Tipster and translator Finn S. says that there is no explanation in the Norwegian article on BilNorge about whether these rural areas have been outfitted with hydrogen refueling stations or high-speed EV recharging infrastructure. During a California-to-Canada hydrogen car rally earlier this year, the organizers brought the hydrogen along in big tanker trucks.

Planet Positive looks for your 2020 Visions of a low carbon world

2020 Visions
"I'd like to eat less and less meat, I'm doing my best but I haven't cut it out altogether."
Lord Nicholas Stern, Academic and Author of the Stern Review
"I wish for all nations to come together to have one vision. I wish for us to go back to living our ancestors' lives, to own our land, to have trees. Indigenous peoples are really affected by climate change so I urge all nations to come together to have one voice."
Moses Mopel Kisosion, Member of the Massai Tribe in Kenya
"I barely use the car, I travel by public transport and I turn the thermostat down a degree or two, though my wife is Spanish and she has an affection for warmer homes than I do!"
Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrats Leader

LONDON 14th December 2009: Celebrities, business leaders, environmentalists, politicians and school kids around the world have been communicating their hopes for life on earth by 2020 as part of a new campaign called 2020 Vision. The campaign, launched by Planet Positive, an international environmental mark for a better way of living, on, aims to reposition climate change as an opportunity to create a better way of living by presenting positive yet realistic views of a low carbon world.

The campaign was launched this week in the UK and has already been supported by celebrities such as Bianca Jagger, business leaders from M&S, ASDA, Barclays Bank, Eurostar, British Airways and every major UK political party. Environmentalists and scientists have also offered their visions including Lord Nicholas Stern, Sir Jonathan Porritt, Dr Pachauri (Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and Zac Goldsmith, director of the Ecologist.

The campaign provides people with the chance to provide their view of the future via online movies, illustrations or written word. The website allows anyone anywhere in the world to view visions and upload their own, stimulating debate around climate change. A group of school children's pictures of how their lives could look by 2020 sit alongside business leaders, politicians, designers and celebrities.

The 2020 Vision website also provides people with reassurance and clarity on the innovation, infrastructure and products that will help them shift into low carbon, more sustainable lifestyles. Ten website sections provide information on key areas of our lives such as Home, Energy, Food, Water, Travel, Transport, Communication and Entertainment.

Steve Malkin, CEO of Planet Positive, said: "The next 10 years are critical for climate change. We want to provide a clear, positive view of how our lives can be better by acting on climate change. You can see the 2020 Visions of business leaders, politicians, scientists and celebrities through to school kids and upload your own 2020 Vision."

The 2020 Vision campaign has been created by the Planet Positive Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation, focused on inspiring action on climate change and helping people reduce their environmental impact. Planet Positive recently screened a number of visions at Copenhagen, and was able to collect unique visions from indigenous peoples representing countries from all over the world.

Planet Positive is an environmental mark that certifies that a business, product or person is actively engaged in reducing their carbon emissions. The mark is based on a 4-step process of Measure, Reduce, Act and Report as laid out in the Planet Positive Protocol. Planet Positive certification has been adopted by companies such as M&S, who are constructing a Planet Positive building, and Atomic, who have created a Planet Positive certified ski boot.

Chevy Volt dance to go with song

"E for electricity, V for Chevy Volt and me..." Catchy little diddy, we admit. That said, we were mostly willing to let the Chevy Volt song make the deep, dark trek into obscurity with nary another mention here on our pages. That is, until today. What made us change our tune, you ask? Boy, are you in for a treat.

Witness the Chevy Volt dance. Yes, it is an official routine commissioned by GM. Showgoers that meandered near the GM area at the LA Auto Show may already be familiar with this little number, but the video is just too "good" not to share with the rest of the class. We especially like it when the four-person crew stops whatever they're doing to throw us an "E" and a "V."

Trust us. You owe it to yourself to click past the break and watch the video. Here's hoping The General antes up to send these dancers around the country for the rest of the auto show circuit.


Please Do Not Drool on the Electric Audi

LOS ANGELES — The Audi e-tron is to electric cars as dynamite is to fishing. There’s no other way to explain an EV with all-wheel drive, impressive power and absolutely absurd torque.
“Here it is - the future of electric mobility,” Peter Schwarzenbauer, marketing and sales board member of Audi, said as the e-tron made its North American debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
With four motors producing 313 horsepower and 3,319 foot-pounds of torque, the future looks very bright indeed. And it could be here by 2012.
Although the e-tron looks like a converted R8, Schwarzenbauer says it was designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle. Simply ditching the R8’s engine and installing a battery pack and a motor (or four) wasn’t an option, he said, because different propulsion technologies require different platforms if you are to maximize performance and handling.
The e-tron uses two motors per axle; they get their juice from a 42.4 kilowatt-hour liquid-cooled lithium ion battery with a claimed range of 154 miles. That’s it as far as specs go - Audi isn’t saying anything more. Asked why the car has such ridiculous torque, Schwarzenbauer smiled and said, “We want to have fun.”
Electric cars are all the rage right now with just about everyone working on one. Audi is the latest to join the party, but Schwarzenbauer says the company has been working on it for awhile now. “It’s not something we started yesterday,” he said. “Five years ago we began to dream of this car. It shows what is possible, and that an electric car can be very, very emotional.”
Schwarzenbauer says the e-tron will see “limited production” by the end of 2012, though he would not say how many cars Audi might build. It remains to be seen how closely such a vehicle will hew to the concept, and whether Audi will retain the four-motor set-up or use something more conventional. Whatever the case, the e-tron will be the first of several electric vehicles we’ll see from Audi, with another model coming by 2013 or 2014.
“This is our first electric vehicle and a stepping stone to our first series production EV,” Schwarzenbauer said. “We are going to have a whole range of electric cars, including small electric cars.”

The wheels look a lot better in person, but they’re still completely over the top. Kinda like the drivetrain.

We can picture ourselves spending a lot of time there.

No one seems to know what that is, besides extraneous decoration. A window would be much better.

Even the door sills are high-tech.

It’s hard to go wrong with leather and brushed aluminum. Lots and lots of it.

The e-tron uses cameras instead of mirrors because it looks cooler. Concept cars are all about looking cool.

That’s a whole lotta grille. But it matches the wheels

Ratan Tata again confirms hybrid Tata Nano

Once again, Tata chairman Ratan Tata has confirmed via the South Korean Maeil Business Newspaper that his company intends to launch a hybrid version of the Nano. While it's impossible to know for sure, we'd imagine that starting off with the World's Least Expensive Automobile may very well equal the World's Least Expensive Hybrid.

We're also unsure what kind of hybrid system Tata is developing – we wouldn't expect to see a full hybrid system with an electric motor and battery pack large enough to power the vehicle for long periods of time, but we'd still hope for something more substantial than a simple stop/start micro system.

Previous reports indicate that a diesel engine is also in the works for the Nano, and we have high hopes that the inexpensive machine will make its way in somewhat modified form to the United States. Even with its current drivetrain, the gas-powered Nano delivers well over 50 U.S. miles per gallon, which would surely make for a welcome option here in America.

The truth about disadvantages of electric cars

It would be too clean, too greedy, too expensive ... The electric car does have a future? The five key points of debate. And if the electric car pollution as much as the petrol car? A priori, a car with no muffler and emits no gas is necessarily environmentally friendly! Not so simple. "It does have an exhaust pipe, said Celine Mesquida, head of transport France Nature Environnement. The power plant. "Indeed, as we must produce the current, the electric car pollutes like a powerhouse. The current must then be transported and stored in a battery, causing the loss, and thus further pollution. Thus, according to ADEME (Agency for Environment and Energy Management), the electric car requires 62% more energy than a car for the same thermal performance. Result, says Action for the environment, "said the electric vehicle" zero emissions "is a figment of the imagination. We can lend advantages such as reducing the noise or harmful emissions in urban areas but suggest that these vehicles are climate-neutral and would be the ultimate technological solution is the intellectual dishonesty ". Should we bury the electric car in the cemetery of seemingly good ideas? No. For the question of ecological balance is more complex than it seems. It is light-account several parameters: the source of electricity, how to recharge the vehicle, type of battery used ... Here are five key points.

Electric or petrol is the same CO2 emission

FALSE well-to-wheel, as experts say, what is the carbon footprint of the electric car?
This is the origin of the power that determines the volume of C02 emissions. If it comes from a hydroelectric dam or wind, nothing to say. But if it comes from coal, is another matter! "In China, the electric car is a car with coal, summarizes Coroller Patrick, head of transport and mobility ADEME. It pollutes more than diesel, "In Europe and the United States, the situation is different: the coal plants are part of the energy mix but they are not the majority, so the C02 balance is undoubtedly positive. WWF recognizes that such "in Europe and the United States electric vehicles emit significantly less CO2 than conventional vehicles. Same story at Greenpeace International: "To reduce CO2 emissions in the transportation, electric vehicles are the best." These words differ markedly from those of the French organizations named above. The reason? In France, electricity does not emit C02, but is predominantly nuclear (see chart cons). Hence the reluctance of environmental organizations to support the electric vehicle. The balance is however clear: "For us, an electric vehicle emits ten times less CO2 than a gasoline car," says Patrick Coroller.

The batteries can be recharged anytime

FALSE "If everyone recharge to 19 hours once returned home to I'heure extreme peak power consumption is a nightmare scenario for CO2," insists Yannick Vicaire, to act environment. The explanation of Patrick Coroller of ADEME: "Zion burden hours depicted, electricity suppliers must rely on coal-fired or gas." The solution is to have a "pricing system that encourages load to peak during the night. " But who will charge between midnight and 7 o'clock in the morning? "B is enough to have a computerized management burden, says Patrick Coroller. You go home, you plug your car and the computer feeds you when we pass the peak. "Assuming that the vehicles would routinely recharged at peak hours is the best argument against the electric car! His supporters themselves, advance figures studied French, Swedish and Swiss where electricity is décarbonée (hydro, nuclear).

The batteries are polluting

TRUE manufacture of batteries generates significant pollution. Especially since they have a lifetime quite short and it must change several times during the life of a car. "The CO2 emissions associated with the manufacture of a vehicle thermal represent roughly 15% of emissions from the use of the vehicle throughout its useful life, ie C0 $ which leaves the pot of exhaust, "said Philippe Pinchon, Director-energy engines of the French Institute of Petroleum.
This pollution double in the case of electric vehicles, if we take into account the change batteries regularly. No need to add the losses from the battery itself. Who has not been annoyed to see that his mobile phone was left on for one week at time of purchase, does more than a few hours a year later! "Yes, admits Jerome Perrin, director of advanced projects and C02 environment at Renault. But this is not the same. There is no purpose "memory" we meet with the mobile phone. We know fire 80% of the capacity of a car battery and it continues to grow. "

There is not enough power for 100% Electric Park

FALSE Already, it is illusory to believe that the French fleet will be converted to all-electric with a magic wand! At best, according to a study by ADEME, France can expect 1 million electric vehicles by 2020, about 3% of the fleet. As for the electrical capacity, it would be quite sufficient: one that will be available on that date will feed 4 million vehicles are recharged between midnight and 7 am, the study said. Moreover, if Europe keeps its goals of reduced consumption and use of renewable electricity, it should theoretically have sufficient power and less carbon than today.

The electric car is too expensive

TRUE Needless to veil the face: it costs almost twice the price of a car heat. Main reason: the drums strike on budget! "It costs 12 000 euros, said Max Blanchet, a partner at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, a specialist in automotive industry. Hopefully the price will fall by half by 2020. But the driver caught up on maintenance and consumption. If we calculate the total price of an electric vehicle over its lifetime, it is up to 5% over a conventional vehicle. "Specifically, for 100 miles in urban use, a small car costs about 10 30 euro fuel as calculated by Max Blanchet, against € 2.03 in electricity. The gain is very clear that if the user rolls sufficiently to offset the price of the battery. But do not expect miracles from a car whose autonomy is limited to 100 kilometers per day!
And yet today there is no TIPP (domestic tax on petroleum products) on the electrical. If the State applied, the cost advantage of killowatt hour drop accordingly. Result, according to Max Blanchet: the electric car is good ecologically, but it is a niche representing 40,000 vehicles per year maximum.

Tata Motors may Launch Electric Version in india 2011

A Tata Motors’ Tuesday announcement, which marks the automaker’s interest in launching an eco-friendly vehicle for the domestic market, specified that the company might launch Indica’s electric version in India by early 2011.
With the electric Indica being developed by the company in team up with Norway-based Miljøbil Grenland/Innovasjon, in which Tata Motors is a 50.3 percent stakeholder, the company’s Managing Director of India Operations, Prakash M Telang, said: “The electric Indica, which was unveiled at the auto expo last year, will be available for launch in the country simultaneously with its global unveiling in 2011.”
However, noting that Tata Motors will initiate a feasibility study pertaining to the vehicle once it has been readied for launch, Telang added that the electric Indica “will be launched in Norway, Denmark and the UK in 12-14 months. We’re evaluating the option of an Indian launch, but are still not sure if the electric vehicles (EVs) are the best option for the country.”
Commenting on the key issue associated with electric vehicles, Telang said that the cost of these vehicles is rather high – almost 70-150 percent higher than other vehicles - because of the expensive batteries used.
As such, Telang further added that the company will bear the ‘cost equation’ in mind while launching the electric Indica in the ‘price sensitive’ domestic market.

Jag Land Rover's 'green attack'

Jaguar Land Rover must "attack emissions like never before" if it is to be a sustainable business, according to owner Tata Motors's vice chairman Ravi Kant.

Speaking at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders International Automotive Summit, which was attnded by business secretary Lord Mandelson, Kant highlighted the collapse of Detroit's car industry, and warned that the same could happen in Birmingham or Liverpool if car makers don't adapt.

Mandelson backs low-carbon tech

"We must accept both the rigours of the changing global economy and the challenges of a changing global society," said Kant.

"That is why in JLR we are in the midst of a major transformation plan to withstand future shocks and to create a sustainable business. That is why the new product plan laid down by JLR will attack emissions like never before.

"Jaguar has a new line-up that is transforming the brand. The new XJ is not only a beautiful and highly desirable product; it is also one of the most fuel efficient luxury cars on sale in the world.

"The Land Rover range has also been refreshed and we recently announced that a new smaller Range Rover will soon join the family. It will be the most environmentally friendly Land Rover ever.

"The company is moving towards lighter vehicle architectures for both brands and fuel efficiency will be further improved through hybridisation and alternate energy options.

"We believe Jaguar Land Rover can be a protagonist in the UK's drive for low-carbon leadership."

Kant says JLR's investment in green tech is already paying off, and highlighted the fact that JLR spends £400 million on research and development every year in the UK, and has committed £800 million to developing environmental technology in the UK in the future."

"We are investing to take forward that same philosophy and want the two iconic brands Jaguar and Land Rover, each with its unique heritage, to regain their past glory," said Kant.

"Tata Motors is committed to stand alongside and support JLR to emerge as a strong and competitive global auto player.

"And, given the scale of our presence in this country, we in Tata would like to be perceived to be as British as any major UK company. We have a great stake in success in Britain and Britain also has a great stake in our success."

New 2010 Renault Twingo Gordini Renaultsport

Renault has announced the new Twingo Gordini Renaultsport which will debut at the Atelier Renault on the Champs-Elysées, in Paris on January 10, 2010. As previously announced, the little Twingo marks the revival of the successful Gordini/ Renault partnership.

Gordini touches have been restricted to styling which is characterised by the combination of French blue and white racing stripes on the exterior. A choice of two paint colours, Malta Blue or Pearlescent Black metallic will be made available. The tyres are encased in 17-inch alloy wheels with a polished face and a black inner rim. Buyers can specify a 'Cup' chassis with a lower ride height, stiffer springs and dampers as well as the same 17-inch alloy wheels but with Malta blue inner rims instead.

The 1.6-litre naturally aspirated engine was not tweaked and remains at 98kW (133hp). But the exhaust note is especially tuned to give a throaty note under acceleration. The steering wheel offers good feedback and is precise according to the Renault statement.

Other Gordini features include blue and black Gordini-embossed leather seats, blue leather door panel inserts, blue gearlever gaiter and Gordini-badged gearlever knob and a blue rev counter with white surround. Additional equipment from the Renault shelf includes automatic climate control, cruise control, a radio/ CD/ MP3 player and a fully disconnectable ESP system.

UK sales will commence in March 2010, not long after prices are announced.

MEC Design SLS AMG Design Proposals

The Mercedes Benz SLS AMG supercar only goes on sale next year but already German tuner MEC Design has presented three design studies for it. Although the styling packages depict what might be the final look, nothing has been decided yet.

"We're very excited about the SLS," said MEC Design CEO Cem Altun. "It's already becoming a classic just like the 300 SL Gullwing. These first studies have received a lot of good feedback and now we just can't wait to get our hands on one."

The first is a front-end canvas featuring a new front bumper with a deep mesh grille and curved side air inlets. Here the Mercedes-Benz three-point star was shifted up to just above the grille in similar fashion to the old SLR McLaren. New side skirts with integrated lighting and 22-inch bi-coloured wheels are proposed.

The second car also concentrates on the front end. It is finished in a golden yellow colour and features three-piece 22-inch wheels. Most of the interior is left untouched apart from the carbon fibre/ Alcantara MEC Design sports steering wheel.

The last design focuses on the rear. A dramatic MEC Design diffuser is fitted as well as a rear spoiler and branded exhaust system with oval chrome tips. The latter promises amazing sound.

Ford GT Geiger HP 790 Revealed

GeigerCars has unveiled their new performance package for the Ford GT.

Dubbed the Geiger HP 790, the package features a larger 4.0-liter compressor (up from the stock 2.3-liter unit), new throttle valves, a sports air filter, improved cooling systems, and revised engine electronics. Thanks to these changes, the supercharged 5.4-liter V8 produces 790 horsepower and 863 Nm of torque. This allows the car to accelerate from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 3.6 seconds, 0-200 km/h (0-124 mph) in 9.6 seconds, and 0-300 km/h (0-186 mph) in 22.8 seconds. If you keep your foot planted, you'll eventually hit the car's top speed of 360 km/h (224 mph).

Other performance tweaks include a specially-developed coilover suspension (which reduces the ride height by 60mm), a sports exhaust system with two 110mm tail pipes, and massive matt black wheels (9x20 front, 11x21 rear) outfitted with Dunlop SP Sport Maxx tires.

As you may recall, Geiger's original tuning package for the Ford GT (with a 3.3-liter compressor) produced 701 bhp (523kW) and 837 Nm of torque. It ran from 0-100 km/h in 3.5 seconds (0.1 seconds faster than the HP 790) and hit a top speed 340 km/h (211 mph)

Test Date of Citroen C3 1.4 VTR+

What is it?

This is the new Citroen C3, complete with 94bhp 1.4-litre naturally aspirated engine. Our pre-production test car came in VTR+ spec, which includes 15-inch alloys, air-con, auxiliary input, wheel-mounted audio controls and a panoramic windscreen that stretches back to above the driver’s head and is standard on the entire model range.
What’s it like?

Spacious, bright and undeniably a huge step on from the outgoing C3. The friendly looks are still there, as are the high roofline and practical interior, but the higher-quality cabin materials and sharper design add a lot more appeal.

Driving the Citroen C3 on UK roads is a pleasant, if not particularly involving experience. Ride quality is among the best in class; even very rutted surfaces are absorbed by the soft springs and body movement remains restrained over even severe undulations in the road surface.

The forgiving suspension does result in some nose diving under heavy braking and body roll under sharp turns but otherwise the ride quality is one of the C3’s most appealing elements.

Unfortunately, the cabin itself is not as comfortable as it should be for the driver. An almost complete lack of lateral support in the seats combines with a seating position that never quite seems to sit comfortably with the steering wheel, despite rake-reach adjustment. Offset pedals, squeezed into a small footwell next to a footrest that is too close to the clutch pedal, also make it difficult to get comfortable.

Other niggling faults include the sliding ceiling. It is very clever in that it is simple to move backwards and forwards, but having such expansive areas of glass and sun visors that are not hinged and therefore can’t be used to shade the side window is frustrating.

The handling is perfectly adequate for the C3’s purposes, but is short on flair and the steering is particularly lacklustre. It is too springy, has a too-strong self-centering action and the speed-sensitive action is inconsistent; it is fine at low speeds, but too sensitive and lacking resistance immediately off centre at motorway speeds.

The 1.4-litre 94bhp engine is short on low-down acceleration, which is typical of a small naturally aspirated engine, but it is perfectly usable for everyday driving. The standard five-speed ‘box needs to be worked to keep it in the higher rev range, where there is a lot more response than you get anywhere south of 2500rpm, but ultimately it’s a frugal engine that suits the needs of low-mileage buyers.
Should I buy one?

The Citroen C3 is a well packaged supermini that majors on space, comfort and value. It is not the best car in the class to drive, but ultimately it is one of the most practical compact family hatches and it has plenty of appealing elements. If that is what you are looking for, then the C3 should be on your shortlist.

First drive data

How much?

* Price as tested £13,200
* Price as tested £13,200

How fast?

* 0-62 mph 10.6 sec
* Max speed 114 mph

How big?

* Weight 1150 kg

How thirsty?

* Combined 47.8 mpg
* CO2 emissions 136 g/km


* Layout 4 , 1397 cc
* Max power 94 bhp at 6000 rpm
* Max torque 100 lb ft at 4000 rpm

New Fiat Doblo is all about space

Fiat has revealed the first details about the redesigned 2010 Doblo van.

Designed to blend comfort with functionality, the Doblo offers upscale styling and room to accommodate seven people. Speaking of space, the van rides on a 2755mm (108.5") wheelbase which allows it to have a healthy 790 liter luggage compartment. For added flexibility, the interior is outfitted with seats that can be folded and tilted.

At launch, the Doblo will be available with four different engines: a 95 hp petrol and three Multijet diesels with outputs rated at 90, 105 and 135 hp. Later, a dual fuel engine (petrol/methane) and a diesel engine with a Dualogic robotized gearbox will be offered. To help reduce operating costs and emissions, the whole Doblo range has been equipped with a standard engine start/stop system.

In terms of safety, the Doblo is outfitted with hill-decent control, electronic stability control, and ABS with electronic brake force distribution.

While no interior pictures were released, Fiat says the Doblo offers automatic climate control, cruise control, parking sensors, a built-in Blue&Me hands-free communication system, and a Blue&Me TomTom navigator.

Besides the standard passenger van, Fiat has also introduced the new Doblo Cargo. Featuring a larger load compartment than the previous model, the Doblo Cargo will be available in seven different body configurations (short/long wheelbase, high top, short/long wheelbase five-seaters, and short/long drop-framed versions for easy conversion into refrigeration vans and flatbed trucks).

Pinky and the Brain map out their plans for McLaren

McLaren Automotive is further confirming their plans to sell the company's cars worldwide. Citing a McLaren insider, automotive publication Autocar says the firm has carefully laid out a 12-year plan orchestrating the company's sales and marketing strategy.

“We want to show we are not in this for the short haul,” the source said.

The automaker had previously confirmed their intentions to create a dealership network across Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and North America. By 2011, up to 40 retail outlets will have been created, beginning in the UK and Europe. Eventually, there could be as many as 15 dealerships there, and another ten in the US & Canada.

For the first time, McLaren is confirming their aim to introduce the brand in Hong Kong relatively soon, with an eventual push into China. The worldwide slate of showrooms should all be open to the public by 2021.

However, McLaren needs a global sales force in place by early 2011. Their latest supercar, the McLaren MP4-12C, will go into production by the end of 2010. Sales of the highly anticipated car are expected to start by March 2011.

Audi R10 Supercar artists speculative rendering

Ever since Audi launched the R8, people have been craving high performance variants. Quick to oblige, Audi responded by introducing the R8 GT3 and the street legal R8 V10.

Inspired by these two models, 23-year old industrial design student Marouane Bembli decided to go one step further by creating the R10. Featuring futuristic styling, the R10 is envisioned as a lightweight supercar with a V10 engine and a dry weight of 1200kg (2,645 lbs)

While just a flight of fancy, the overall design is impressive despite being a CGI dream.

BMW's Baloga confirms four-cylinder diesels for U.S. market

While some of us here at ABG HQ are major fans of BMW's diesel engines, we were disappointed when BMW opted to enter the U.S. market only with the twin turbo 3.0-liter six cylinder diesel. As fantastic an engine as that is, the 2.0-liter four cylinder is also plenty strong and yields even better fuel efficiency. At an event at BMW's North American headquarters this week, VP engineering Tom Baloga told the audience that BMW would introduce the four-cylinder diesel to the U.S. lineup now that tougher fuel economy standards have been imposed. In keeping with BMW's performance image, we will get the more powerful variants, likely the dual turbo, 204 hp version used in the 123d rather than the super-high-efficiency versions. Even with that engine, we averaged 37 mpg in the 123d last year. BMW plans to clean up the four cylinder diesel with a lean NOx trap like VW uses for the Jetta and Golf TDI rather than a more expensive and complex urea injection system. The four cylinder will most likely go into the 3 and maybe 1 series cars with the six being reserved for larger cars like the 5, 7 and X5.

Honda to launch a specific small car for the Asian markets

Japanese auto maker Honda Motor Company is working on its expansion plans in India. It intends to launch a specific small car for the Asian markets. The new small car will be placed in A-segment but will not compete with Nano. "We don't have any plan for ultra low-cost car. We are still undergoing tough times in many traditional markets," Honda Chief Executive Takanobu Ito said. "Our top priority is on China and India, where we would like to grow the size of our business as much as possible," he added.
Honda is eyeing India and China as its top markets where it intends to book profits earlier than the rest of the world. It sold 50,600 cars in China in October which is up 42 per cent from the previous year. India is a smaller market. Honda sold 34,430 cars between April and October, an increase of 38 per cent from a year earlier.

Honda has premium sedans in India like Accord, City and Civic. It launched premium hatch model Jazz earlier this year. However, its second car model will be more competitive and at “expected and accepted” price levels of Indian customers.

Wheelsandmore Aston Martin DB9 Volante

German tuner Wheelsandmore has some ideas of its own for the Aston Martin DB9 convertible.

First up is a performance upgrade for the 6.0 liter V12 engine with 476 hp and 600 Nm (442 lb-ft) of torque that comes with the production version. Wheelsandmore boosts that by 60 hp while adding 68 Nm (50 lb-ft) of torque too. They've done so by tinkering with the ECU and adding a stainless-steel sport exhaust system with 200-cell sport catalysts and noise-volume valve control.

Suspension-lowering is part of the package with the DB9 sitting 25 mm lower.

The DB9 also gets a new body kit made of polyurethane along with side skirts, front and rear aprons and a rear lid spoiler. The convertible gets fitted with Kahn RS-V 20-inch wheels with Dunlop Sport Maxx performance tires - 255/35/20 for the front 9.0x20 rims and 285/30/20 for the 11.0×20 rear rims.

Prices are €5,999 for the wheel set, €9,000 for the body kit, €8,800 for the exhaust system, €3,400 for the ECU upgrade and €1,150 for the lowering springs.

Project Sartre uses road trains to save fuel on the highway

Road trains that link vehicles together using wireless sensors could soon be on European roads.

An EU-financed research project is looking at inexpensive ways of getting vehicles to travel in a 'platoon' on Europe's motorways.

Each road train could include up to eight separate vehicles - cars, buses and trucks will be mixed in each one.

The EU hopes to cut fuel consumption, journey times and congestion by linking vehicles together.

Early work on the idea suggests that fuel consumption could be cut by 20% among those cars and trucks travelling behind the lead vehicle.

Spanish trials

The lead vehicle would be handled by a professional driver who would monitor the status of the road train. Those in following vehicles could take their hands off the wheel, read a book or watch TV, while they travel along the motorway. Their vehicle would be controlled by the lead vehicle.

Funded under the European Commission's Framework 7 research plan, Sartre (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) is aimed at commuters in cars who travel long distances to work every day but will also look at ways to involve commercial vehicles.

Tom Robinson, project co-ordinator at engineering firm Ricardo, said the idea was to use off-the-shelf components to make it possible for cars, buses and trucks to join the road train.

The goal is to try and introduce a step change in transport methods," he said.

"We're looking at what it would take to get platooning on public highways without making big changes to the public highways themselves," said Mr Robinson.

A system that involved wiring up motorways with sensors to help control the road trains would be prohibitively expensive, he said.

"Each of the vehicles will have their own control and software monitoring system," said Mr Robinson. "There may well be a platoon sensor envelope that collates information and presents it to the lead vehicle so it can understand what is happening around all the vehicles."

The idea is to make platoons active so vehicles can join and leave as they need. Mr Robinson speculated that those joining a platoon or road train may one day pay for the privilege of someone else effectively driving them closer to their destination.

Sartre will run for three years. The project partners are currently doing preliminary research to find out all the elements needed for a working system and the situations in which it might be used.

There were also behavioural elements to consider, said Mr Robinson, such as whether all the vehicles will need to have their hazard lights on while in a platoon.

Also, he said, there had to be a way to ensure the vehicles in a platoon are organised to make drivers feel safe.

"Car drivers do not want to be between trucks," he said.

Towards the end of the research project trials will be held on test tracks in the UK, Spain and Sweden. There are also plans for public road trials in Spain. The first platoon will involve two trucks and three cars.

GM to put electric Cadillac Converj Concept into production

It’s official. Sort of. Cadillac is getting a Volt of its own. Word has it the stunning Converj concept car is slated for production as a series hybrid.

We’ve been hounding General Motors about this car ever since Vice Chairman Bob Lutz revealed it at the Detroit auto show earlier this year, and there have been rumors afoot about its impending production for awhile now. Now, according to the Detroit News, the concept’s been greenlighted. We have to wonder if Lutz wasn’t bending a few arms behind the scenes to make it happen.

The Converj uses the same technology and drivetrain layout as the Chevrolet Volt. The extended-range electric car not only will offer consumers some serious green cred and great mileage in an all-American brand but also put them miles beyond the Toyota Prius when it comes to style.

The News, citing unnamed sources familiar with the General’s inner workings, says the Converj is as real as a heart attack. Cadillac officials are said to have presented the production plan to GM’s board of directors last week.

It’s no secret “Maxium” Bob Lutz has been a big supporter of the Converj, nor is it any secret that what Lutz wants, Lutz pretty much gets. He’s said the production model would look similar to the concept pictured above. The show car was bold and striking, like something from Giorgetto Giugiaro, not Detroit. It’s as sexy as the Volt is mainstream. Sultry sheet metal aside, though, the two cars probably will be essentially the same.

“The car still is slated to share much of its drivetrain with the upcoming Chevrolet Volt,” according to the perennially perky Motor Trend. Others, including unnamed GM insiders, echo that claim. If so, look for a 1.4-liter four-banger up front and a big honkin’ lithium-ion battery pack providing juice to an electric motor. It should have the same 40 mile range before the gasoline engine kicks in to drive a generator that will keep the electric motor turning.

Still, we’re talking about Cadillac, so look for some upscale touches.

Slapping a Cadillac badge on a Chevrolet Volt is a smart move because it will help the General recoup some of the money it’s spent developing the innovative drivetrain — when we drove a Volt mule, GM told us it’s sunk close to a billion dollars into the Volt. The margins are, after all, much higher on a premium marque than a Chevy.

“You can charge more for a Caddy than a Chevrolet. It’s one of God’s immutable laws,” auto analyst Jim Hall told the News.

You can look at the upcoming Converj as being the exact opposite of Honda’s Insight. Where the Insight went down market to go up against the industry leading Prius, Caddy’s Converj is heading up to where the Haute Living set like to chill out. Cadillac is staying tight-lipped about how much cash the Converj will demand, but with the General desperately trying to keep the Volt under $40,000, figure the Converj will clock in north of that.

XFR, XKR: Jaguar launches R Performance

If you recently purchased a 2010 Jaguar XFR or an XKR and are looking for some high-speed driving lessons, Jaguar has just announced the launch of its R Performance Academy. Beginning December 1, Jaguar will offer sessions at Homestead Miami Speedway, which features 2.21 miles of challenging asphalt and 14 turns.

Starting 2010, the Academy will visit various tracks, including the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Monticello Motor Club in Monticello, New York and the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA, among others, on a quarterly basis.

The 2010 Jaguar XFR and the XKR are powered by a supercharged V8 engine making 510-hp, allowing for a 0-60 mph time of 4.7 seconds and 4.6 seconds respectively

Press Release:

Jaguar Announces Launch of R Performance Academy

High Performance Driving Academy Allows Customers to Satisfy Their Need for Speed

MAHWAH, N.J., Nov. 9 /PRNewswire/ — For some, a day at the track driving the fastest Jaguar with some of the world’s most renowned driving instructors is a dream. For those lucky buyers of a 2010 Jaguar XKR or XFR, it will be a reality. Jaguar Cars announced today the launch of its R Performance Academy, beginning December 1, with a session at one of America’s premier racing facility, the Homestead Miami Speedway, which features 2.21 miles of challenging asphalt and 14 turns that provide a rewarding challenge to even the most experienced racers.

The R Performance Academy is complimentary with the purchase of a 2010 XFR, the ultimate Jaguar sports sedan, or 2010 XKR, the new generation of Jaguar’s sports coupe, and offers an exhilarating, experiential adventure for the ultimate auto enthusiast. Both the XFR and XKR are powered by a supercharged, 510-hp V8 engine, and boast accelerations from 0 – 60 in 4.7 and 4.6 seconds, respectively. The Academy is designed to help drivers explore the capabilities of these special automobiles and develop the skills and techniques needed to safely experience their high-performance dynamics.

“Our all-new R Performance Academy was specially developed to ensure that our customers can responsibly enjoy the full potential and incredible capabilities of the dynamic XFR and XKR,” said BJ Colaric, General Manager, Sales Operations for Jaguar Cars. “The security of having a world-class professional driving instructor by your side on an enclosed, high-speed track creates the perfect setting for both education and appreciation.”

The experience begins with a reception the night before the driving day where coaches will explain the program and share some of their racetrack experiences. The next day, guests arrive at the track bright and early for a driver orientation and a full day of driving in Jaguar R Performance Academy cars. The lessons learned on the racetrack are made relevant to everyday, real world driving by the instructors and will leave Jaguar owners more aware of their vehicles’ abilities and feeling more confident behind the wheel. This program features unique and exciting driving activities:

* maximum acceleration using various Jaguar Drive Control settings
* braking – and experiencing complete ABS stopping
* emergency lane changes
* Dynamic Mode and DSC Off mode handling
* cornering
* autocross (slalom course)
* full laps at speed with driving coach and hot laps with racing drivers

In 2010, the Academy will visit various tracks, including the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Monticello Motor Club in Monticello, New York and the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA, among others, on a quarterly basis. Invitations to attend this unforgettable driving adventure were distributed nationwide to 2010 XKR and XFR customers who purchased a 2010 XFR or XKR through September. To learn more about the all new R Performance Academy, visit

Renault Gordini Return Confirmed

We’ve known this was on the cards for a while – the return of the Gordini badge – and we reported last week that Renault were going to announce their plans for a new Gordini range this week. And they have.

Aimed straight in the sites of Fiat’s Abarth and MINI’s Cooper badges, the Gordini badge will signify the ‘Sporty’ Renaults, sitting one notch down from the Renaultsport models, which are expected to become even more hard-core as the Gordini mops up sales from less enthusiastic buyers.

Sadly – unlike Cooper and Abarth – it looks as if our belief that Gordini will be cosmetic rather than performance is right. Expect to see the iconic white stripes reappear and liberal doses of blue Gordini paint jobs. Throw in a body kit and some loud alloys and you pretty much have the recipe for the new Gordini.

First of the new Gordini range will be the Renault Gordini Twingo RS which Renault are planning on launching on 25th November on the Champs Elysees. You can expect to see Gordini versions of the Megane and Clio following before too long.

Nissan will launch the 2010 Qashqai and Qashqai+2 in March 2010, with engine updates, a new nose and trim upgrades.

A camouflaged 2010 Nissan Qashqai caught testing recently

Nissan will launch the 2010 Qashqai and Qashqai+2 in March 2010, with engine updates, a new nose and trim upgrades.

The Nissan Qashqai has been a big success for Nissan. A very able crossover / Estate / SUV thingy, it has certainly made its mark since its introduction in 2007. And – in Qashqai +2 guise – it actually makes a decent fist of being a people carrier. But it’s remained pretty much unchanged since it was introduced – apart from the addition of extra models like the n-tec – so its time for a change. Bring on the 2010 Nissan Qashqai.

The spy shot at the top shows a 2010 Qashqai running around in disguise recently. The camouflage is restricted to the front end an the rear lights, which indicates that the 2010 Qashqai is going to get a new nose and some tweaks and tidies round the back. Trim updates will also come in to play and Nissan are likely to drop a bit of ‘Green’ fairy dust on the powerplants to up the output, improve the economy and lower emissions.

So when are these changes going to happen? Last news we had was that the 2010 Qashqai would hit the roads in the UK in the summer, with the Qashqai +2 following on in the Autumn. But we had some info in this morning that shows Nissan are ahead of the game plan.

The 2010 Nissan Qashqai and Qashqai+2 will launch in March 2010. Early next month (December) Nissan will be releasing full details on the 2010 updates, including prices. January will see the order book open and the first 2010 Qashqais will be in dealers by mid February, with customer deliveries starting on 1st March 2010.

The current Qashqai has had a good 2009, increasing its market share by 65%. Even with the new model now confirmed for launch in March the current Qashqai is still a good buy. But you should be able to screw a decent discount on the run-out model if that’s the route you want to go.

But we’re told that stocks are quite low, and dealers expect to run out of the current model by December. Get your skates on if you want one.

New S60 shapes up to beat 3-Series!

Meet the curvy compact exec that aims to build on Volvo’s growing reputation for creating stylish, exciting cars.

These are the first official pictures of the new S60, and while no image of the rear is available yet, drivers clearly have a great deal to look forward to.

It’s inspired by the concept which debuted at the Detroit Motor Show in January, and features the same swooping coupé roofline and neatly rounded edges. It’s even finished in the same copper paintjob!

Inside, the cabin is set to be equally dramatic, with LED lights and a swooping dashboard, incorporating an LCD instrument panel.

Volvo has announced that the showroom-ready S60 will be unveiled at March’s Geneva expo – and that production will start early next summer at the firm’s plant in Ghent, Belgium.

Bosses have also promised that the newcomer will be equipped with the innovative Pedestrian Detection system – a groundbreaking safety feature that can sense people in the road in front of the car, and apply the brakes automatically if the driver doesn’t react.

Although the engine line-up has yet to be confirmed, buyers are set to be offered an all-new 1.6-litre direct-injection EcoBoost petrol turbo unit, delivering 180bhp. A 1.6-litre diesel is also on the cards – this is likely to power an ultra-efficient DRIVe model.

It’s uncertain whether a high-performance R version of the new S60 will be produced. Sources close to the project say they want to emphasise the car’s eco credentials instead.

A hybrid is in the pipeline, though. This will be developed from experimental work Volvo carried out with an all-electric C30.

Prices for the newcomer have yet to be finalised, but it’s expected to cost less than the larger V70 estate. The range could start at around £22,000.

Read more:

The New Citroen C-ZERO Electric City Car

Zero fuel consumption, zero CO2 emissions and zero engine noise: with the Citroen C-ZERO, Citroen is broadening its compact vehicle range with a 100% electric offering.
The new city car is designed to make urban mobility easier - thanks to its compact dimensions, rapid charge and generous range for day-to-day car journeys. And all of this in a silence that makes occupants forget about the noise of the city. The Citroen C-ZERO combines technology and creativity to meet tomorrow's challenges today.

Having already produced more than 5,500 electric vehicles, Citroen has the experience vital to being a front-runner in a market segment that is set to grow significantly in the coming years.

Due for launch in the last quarter of 2010, the Citroen C-ZERO is developed in collaboration with Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.

The Citroen C-ZERO is a full-electric vehicle powered by a permanent magnet synchronous motor delivering 47kW or 64bhp EEC from 3,000 to 6,000rpm. Maximum torque of 180Nm is available from 0 to 2,000rpm. Power is transmitted to the rear axle via a single-speed reduction gear.

The motor is powered by a latest-generation 330-volt lithium-ion battery system comprising 88 50Ah cells (for onboard energy of 16kWh), mounted in the centre of the vehicle. Lithium-ion technology keeps battery weight down compared with conventional technology, while offering equivalent performance. It is also resistant to partial re-charges, which have no impact on battery longevity.

Re-charging the Citroen C-ZERO's batteries could not be simpler. Owners plug the supply cord into a 220-volt socket. A complete charge takes six hours, while an 80% charge is possible in just 30 minutes using an external station with a single-phase current of 125A at 400V, for power of up to 50kW.

Using the car is equally simple. When the driver turns the ignition key, a beep confirms that the car is running. The Citroen C-ZERO drives like a regular car with an automatic gearbox. The traditional fuel gauge is replaced by a battery charge indicator.

The Citroen C-ZERO is perfectly adapted to the needs of all kinds of users - including public sector operators, local authorities, smaller businesses and company fleets - and also to those of private customers looking for a car with exceptionally low running costs.

With four real seats - thanks to a 2.55m wheelbase - and a 166 litre boot, the Citroen C-ZERO is impressively quiet to drive and boasts a plethora of comfort and safety equipment. Original-fit features include power steering, ABS, traction control, ESP, electric windows, six airbags and air conditioning.

The Citroen C-ZERO's compact exterior dimensions - 3.48m long - and a 9m turning circle, make it a cinch to nip in and out of city traffic. And with a top speed of 80mph, acceleration from 0-62mph in 15 seconds and 37-56mph in 6 seconds, along with a range of around 80miles, over a standard combined cycle, it is also fully at ease out on the open road.

Miss Car SalesWomen of the Year (China)

The Chinese auto industry is experiencing some recession-defying growth. According to official data, the country sold 72 percent more vehicles last month than it did on the same month last year. This translates to 1.2 million cars and trucks, down on the 1.3 million sold in September but significantly up on the 838,000 pushed by the US domestic market.

The success is partly because of major tax cuts and government subsidies amounting to 4 trillion yuan (US$586 billion) meant to stimulate consumer spending on cars and other large items. As with a host of other commodities, China will soon overtake the US as the world's biggest auto market. Already companies like General Motors are finding good favour in the east than at home.

"This has been a year of records for GM in China," Kevin Wale, GM China Group president, said in a statement. The troubled General managed to sell 166,911 vehicles in China last month, double the number cleared in October 2008. Volkswagen and Daimler too saw an upswing in sales while local manufacturers like Geely and Chery increased market share as well.

SpeedART PS9-650 - Porsche Panamera Turbo - 1600

SpeedART has revealed additional information about their tuning program for the Porsche Panamera Turbo.

Set to be officially unveiled at the Essen Motor Show, the range topping PS9 features 650 hp and 890 Nm of torque thanks to bigger turbochargers, a sport exhaust system (with a sound switch), a sport catalyst, and a revised ECU. These changes enable the car to accelerate from 0-62 mph in 3.5 seconds, before hitting a top speed in excess of 200 mph. If 650 hp is too hot to handle, the company also offers more modest performance packages that allow the engine to produce 550 and 600 hp.

In terms of styling, the PS9 is outfitted with an aerodynamic body kit which consists of a front chin spoiler, hood vents, a rear diffuser, a roof spoiler, a modified rear bumper (with air outlets), and aggressive side skirts. Other design details include 22-inch three-piece 'LSC FORGED' wheels and the aforementioned sport exhaust system (available in polished stainless steel or matt black).

For the interior, SpeedART added a sport steering wheel with F1-shift paddles (which can be outfitted with aluminum-, wood- or carbon fiber inlays), carbon fiber trim, contrast stitching on the door panels and seats, revised instrument dials, and exclusive floor mats.

Autodelta Alfa Romeo Brera S 3.2 Compressore

Autodelta, continues a tradition of new model presentations at this year's MPH - the Prestige and Performance Show hosted by BBC's Top Gear's infamous threesome - with the launch of two new 'ground-breaking' products.

The first, a new package that aims to push the oft-touted Italian notion of 'gran turismo' to a performance-upgraded 159 saloon, this time to the 3.2-litre V6 version a year after the 2.2-litre model was first re-worked. The second, an Autodelta Brera, responds to customer demand following Prodrive's recent power output upgrade and weight loss program on the Brera S and completes the package with more wide-ranging performance modifications.

Autodelta's 'flamboyant' 159 - the J4 3.2 C - has been re-tuned for optimal driver orientation but also for the very greatest in coseted comfort and bespoke Autodelta luxury. The J4 3.2 C packs a 352 hp 3.2 V6 engine and is combined with upgrades to the chassis, electronics, brakes, and suspension - all adjusted after intensive R&D for the V6 version from the sporting but smooth-riding 2.2 C.

Building on Prodrive efforts to reduce weight by 100 kilos and now boasting Autodelta's established supercharged and intercooled 352 hp V6, the Brera S 3.2 'Compressore' places greater focus on the driver, turning the Brera S into a true high-performance sportscar. A bespoke Limited Slip Differential improves traction in addition to in-gear acceleration gains from Prodrive's switch from four-wheel to front-wheel-drive. At the request of clients, Autodelta have swapped Prodrive's more track-suitable suspension for a custom Autodelta Sportline suspension, optimised to balance track capability with everyday comfort.

Possible Audi A8 Test Mule Caught on Video in Mexico

A member of the community has caught a Volkswagen Group prototype undergoing testing in Puebla, Mexico.

While we're not 100 percent positive what model this is, it appears the prototype may be the new Audi A8 judging by its overall profile and a few other clues.

It is possible the protoype could also be the new mid-size sedan (NMS). If this is the case, it will be one of the first times the NMS has been caught on "film."

However, when comparing to previous Audi A8 prototype spy photos taken at the Nurburgring in Germany, we can see the same LED daytime driving lights integrated into the headlamps as well as the same exact wheels. Also, the sail panel portion of the C-pillar is showing some funky faux coverings on both prototypes.

Clearly the Puebla location is significant as Volkswagen has a plant there which manufactures Jetta/Bora and New Beetle models, however, we're a bit baffled as to why the Audi A8 prototype would be testing in Mexico. This isn't the hottest time of year there.

The next-generation 2011 Audi A8 is expected to debut sometime next year, possibly as the Geneva auto salon in March, or perhaps later at the Paris show in September