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 www.clintonfoundation.org/cci.

Rendered Speculation: BMW M5 F10




The folks over at M5Board.com and TeamSpeed.com 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.