Beijing: Audi TT offroad concept wirelessly charges E-Tron quattro powertrain

Filed under: ,

Audi TT offroad concept in Sonora Yellow

Audi has been diving deep into the concept ideas pool for a while now, with out-there auto-show-only vehicles like the off-road Nanuk Quattro Concept (last year's Frankfurt Show) and the TT-previewing Allroad Shooting Brake (Detroit earlier this year). The automaker has also been hinting at wireless charging through its work with WiTricitiry and the Urban Concept Sportback from Frankfurt 2011. The latest evolution of these ideas is the brand-new Audi TT offroad concept show car, which makes an appearance at the Beijing Motor Show this weekend after being teased earlier this month.

Putting wireless charging into an off-road body makes little sense at first glance - after all, if you're heading out into the wild, you'll be lucky enough to find a standard outlet - finding an in-ground induction pad will be near-impossible. Thankfully, we don't need to worry ourselves with this sort of logical conflict, since this is once again an auto show study.

The powertrain is capable of 408 hp and 479.2 lb-ft of torque as well 123 MPGe.

And that means interesting powertrain details, like a plug‑in hybrid E-Tron quattro powertrain that uses two electric motors (one rated at 40 kW for the front axle, the other at 85 kW for the rear) and can even dispense with the plug part thanks to Audi Wireless Charging technology. The powertrain is capable of a total system output of 408 horsepower and 479.2 pound-feet of torque as well as a provisional fuel efficiency of over 123 miles per gallon equivalent. All with the ability to hit 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles per hour) in 5.2 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph. All-electric range is pegged at 31 miles thanks to a 12-kWH lithium-ion battery. More details than you can shake a stick at are available below.

Audi says the TT offroad concept, which blends both coupe and compact SUV, could be a preview of "a new model in a future TT family," so if you've been hoping for another entry in the growing crossover coupe segment, tell Audi you'd like to see this in the real world some day.

Continue reading Audi TT offroad concept wirelessly charges E-Tron quattro powertrain

Audi TT offroad concept wirelessly charges E-Tron quattro powertrain originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Sat, 19 Apr 2014 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Official: DOE offers $10M to advance biomass-to-biofuel efforts

Filed under: , , , ,

Biofuel Grant

The Department of Energy has made it clear that it favors a technology-somewhat-neutral, "all-of-the-above" strategy for developing energy alternatives for the US, as the new Strategic Plan 2014-2018 (PDF) states. What this looks like in the real world is another $10 million for "Technologies to Produce Advanced Biofuel Products from Biomass."

That's what the DOE is looking for with a new Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) that has the main goal of finding alternatives to petroleum-based fuels (so, advanced biofuels) as well as products (like plastics) that are made from "renewable, non-food-based biomass, such as agricultural residues and woody biomass." The long-term goal for those petroleum alternatives is an effective cost of $3 a gallon by 2022 as the US reduces petroleum use by 30 percent from today's levels. You can find more information in this announcement: DE-FOA-0001085 (PDF), including the fact that lignocellulosic sugars are not going to be supported by these funds.

Continue reading DOE offers $10M to advance biomass-to-biofuel efforts

DOE offers $10M to advance biomass-to-biofuel efforts originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Sat, 19 Apr 2014 11:06:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Read This: A detailed look at the dreams and failure of Better Place

Filed under: , ,

better place station schiphol

If you've been curious about why Better Place went under, have we got the 8,000-word profile for you. For your weekend reading, check out a detailed history of the company's downfall over in Fast Company. Max Chafkin writes an engaging tale of the ups and downs that Better Place went through, and the personalities involved, foremost among them founder Shai Agassi, are also described in honest detail.

Hindsight is always 20-20, but Chafkin does a good job of showing how the $900-million Better Place project managed to be a beautiful dream, for a while. The public excitement over Better Place really started with Agassi's 2009 TED talk, which he describes this way:

This was science fiction, but Agassi presented it as fact, as if just by announcing his company he had already built it. It was "Shai math," as his employees would come to call it. And it was intoxicating. The TED crowd gave Agassi a long standing ovation.

Read the whole thing here. For good measure, we've included a video of the TED talk below, so you can get a feel of how big the original concept was. Enjoy.

Continue reading A detailed look at the dreams and failure of Better Place

A detailed look at the dreams and failure of Better Place originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Fri, 18 Apr 2014 19:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Official: First Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive rolls off line, coming to US soon

Filed under: , , , , ,

Mercedes Benz B-Class Electric Drive

Mercedes-Benz is about to give Americans another choice of battery-powered vehicle. Offering more all-electric range than the Nissan Leaf or BMW i3, and with a smaller price tag than the Tesla Model S, the B-Class Electric Drive is officially set to arrive in the US this summer. Indeed, the first examples have begun rolling off the production line in Rastatt, Germany.

Featuring drivetrain parts from Tesla Motors, the luxury compact hits all the performance parameters mentioned during its debut at last year's New York Auto Show. For a refresher, that's a single-charge range of 200 kilometers (124 miles) along with a 0-to-100 kilometer-per-hour (62 mile-per-hour) sprint in a respectable 7.9 seconds. These achievements comes courtesy of a 28-kWh lithium battery located in the floor of the passenger compartment and a 132-kW (177-horsepower) motor powering the front wheels. Torque specs for the unit seemed to have increased somewhat and are now given as 340 Newton meters (250.77 pound-feet). It boasts an 11-kW charger and can add as much as 62 miles of range to a deleted battery in an hour and a half. Sadly, it is not Supercharger compatible.

The B-Class Electric Drive, which is built on the same production line as the gasoline-powered version, is going to go on sale in Europe around the end of the year and will also come in a right-hand drive version for other markets in 2015. Although pricing has not yet been announced, Mercedes execs expect it to be quite competitive with the BMW i3. Scroll below for the press release (Google translated from German).

Continue reading First Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive rolls off line, coming to US soon

First Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive rolls off line, coming to US soon originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Fri, 18 Apr 2014 17:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Official: First Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive rolls off line, coming to US soon

Filed under: , , , , ,

Mercedes Benz B-Class Electric Drive

Mercedes-Benz is about to give Americans another choice of battery-powered vehicle. Offering more all-electric range than the Nissan Leaf or BMW i3, and with a smaller price tag than the Tesla Model S, the B-Class Electric Drive is officially set to arrive in the US this summer. Indeed, the first examples have begun rolling off the production line in Rastatt, Germany.

Featuring drivetrain parts from Tesla Motors, the luxury compact hits all the performance parameters mentioned during its debut at last year's New York Auto Show. For a refresher, that's a single-charge range of 200 kilometers (124 miles) along with a 0-to-100 kilometer-per-hour (62 mile-per-hour) sprint in a respectable 7.9 seconds. These achievements comes courtesy of a 28-kWh lithium battery located in the floor of the passenger compartment and a 132-kW (177-horsepower) motor powering the front wheels. Torque specs for the unit seemed to have increased somewhat and are now given as 340 Newton meters (250.77 pound-feet). It boasts an 11-kW charger and can add as much as 62 miles of range to a deleted battery in an hour and a half. Sadly, it is not Supercharger compatible.

The B-Class Electric Drive, which is built on the same production line as the gasoline-powered version, is going to go on sale in Europe around the end of the year and will also come in a right-hand drive version for other markets in 2015. Although pricing has not yet been announced, Mercedes execs expect it to be quite competitive with the BMW i3. Scroll below for the press release (Google translated from German).

Continue reading First Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive rolls off line, coming to US soon

First Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive rolls off line, coming to US soon originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Fri, 18 Apr 2014 17:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Report: VW may not bring diesel Golf GTD to US after all

Filed under: , ,

2014 Volkswagen Golf GTD

There is some bad news for hot hatch fans who also love efficiency. The chances of the Volkswagen Golf GTD coming to the US are increasingly slim, according to an interview with Volkswagen Group of America CEO Michael Horn in Automotive News. Horn says that the model would cost too much to import from Germany. Cue the sad trombone.

"The GTD would be a great car. The price point is not really attractive. So the probability is sort of diminishing," said Horn. While other Volkswagen diesel engines for North America are built in Silao, Mexico, the factory can't support the high-output 2.0-liter diesel, he claims.

The Golf GTD seemed like a sure thing for the US market. It was slated to launch as a 2016 model for around $27,000. The opportunity of a hot hatch with 181 horsepower, 280 pound-feet of torque and over 40 miles-per-gallon fuel economy seemed perfect. Earlier, VW even brought a few previous-generation models for journalists to try out, and we liked it.

However, the GTD isn't completely off the table quite yet. "Within product planning it's still under investigation, but it's looking less likely," said Mark Gillies Manager of Product and Technology at VW US Media to Autoblog. He didn't say what caused plans to change.

As some sustenance to diesel fans, Horn tells AN that a cheaper version of the standard Golf TDI is coming. VW is also still deciding whether to add tooling to build all-wheel drive vehicles in Mexico. It would allow vehicles the Golf TDI SportWagen concept from the New York Auto Show to be made. Petrol hot hatch fans can look forward to the seventh-generation GTI in June.

VW may not bring diesel Golf GTD to US after all originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

New York: Horse-drawn EVs for carriages? NYC may say ‘neigh’

Filed under: , , ,

Horseless eCarriage

For more than a century, horse-drawn carriages have been iconic fixtures in New York City. But the Big Apple's new mayor, Bill de Blasio, has been on a crusade to put an end to the nostalgic rides, saying the carriages are cruel to the horses and a common source of traffic congestion. Amid this simmering controversy, a possible replacement for the horses emerged Thursday at the New York Auto Show. That's when Jason Wenig, an automotive restoration expert and Brooklyn native, unveiled the Horseless eCarriage, a battery-powered creation that took six years to plan and build.

On display in the lobby of the Jacob Javits Center, the antique-looking vehicle is at once a throwback to an earlier era in automotive history and a model of current electric-car technology. It can carry eight passengers, reach a top speed of 30 miles per hour and travel about 100 miles on a single charge. The 46-kWh battery feeds into a variable speed AV motor that produces - no pun intended - 84 horsepower. It's also huge, with a 158-inch wheelbase, a width of 88 inches and a height (to the top of the windshield, without the convertible hardtop) of 86 inches. It also weighs 7,500 pounds with driver and eight passengers.

"If you're going to do something, it's got to be big, bold and daring" - Jason Wenig

Perhaps most importantly, it seeks to retain the charm of the horse-drawn carriage. "I said to them, 'If you're going to do something, it's got to be big, bold and daring,'" Wenig said of his first conversations about the car. "If people are about to lose the brand they understand, this has got to fill that vacuum powerfully."

Not everyone is enamored with the idea. Traditionalists in the city say the carriages comprise a romantic part of the city's fabric, and they oppose the mayor's efforts to end the horse-drawn carriage era. So do carriage operators, who depend on the rides for their livelihoods.

A poll conducted by Quinnipiac University showed that 64 percent of New Yorkers support the carriages pulled by the actual equines. Actor Liam Neeson has been a vocal opponent of the mayor, and wrote an editorial supporting continued use of the horses this week in The New York Times. "An entire way of life and a historic industry are under threat," he wrote. "We should ask whether this is the New York we want to live in: a sanitized metropolis, where local color and grit are thrown out in favor of sleek futuristic buildings and careening self-driving cars?"

The Horseless eCarriage project was commissioned by NYCLASS, an animal-rights organization that is seeking more humane treatment of the horses. The group approached Wenig about six years ago to ask about the project, and as a native New Yorker an animal lover, it was a natural fit. "I'm not necessarily an activist, but I am an animal lover, so I understood where they were coming from," he said. "All of the sudden, I'm in the barn, trying to hammer out steel."

Sixty-eight carriages would be needed to replace the current stable of horses. Although it took Wenig the past six months to construct the first (and so far only) eCarriage prototype, he believes he could construct the entire fleet in a matter of months, should the project go forward. His current operation is located in Dania Beach, FL, but he says he may open another shop back in his hometown, to help complete the project quickly. In a Google Hangout last week, de Blasio said he expects to take action on the horse issue within the year, so you've got time to peruse the official press release below.

Continue reading Horse-drawn EVs for carriages? NYC may say 'neigh'

Horse-drawn EVs for carriages? NYC may say 'neigh' originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Fri, 18 Apr 2014 13:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Report: New Fisker claims 50-50 chance it will build cars in Delaware

Filed under: , , ,

fisker logo

As soon as the bankrupt Fisker Automotive started crawling back from the dead, rumors that the new owners would restart production of the Karma plug-in hybrid crawled as well. We've heard that the car would be built in the old General Motors plant the company owns in Delaware, that it would happen in Michigan or that Valmet would get going again in Finland. Nothing official has yet been announced, but Delaware Online is now saying that it's even money that Delaware to play a role in Fisker's physical rebirth.

"It definitely makes economic sense to consider [the Delaware] facility" - Roger Brown

Roger Brown is the interim president of Fisker Automotive and recently said that there is a "50-50" chance that the Newport, DE will be where the company rises again. "We inherited this situation, and because the facility is one of the assets we purchased, it has ... good bones, it has a paint shop, and you know, it definitely makes economic sense to consider that facility," he told Delaware Online.

Before Fisker's bankruptcy, Delaware offered over $20 million in incentives to get the automaker to build cars there. It never did, and a recent settlement agreement does not give the state much of a return on that money. The bankruptcy proceedings are not yet finished, but Brown made what has to be considered a bold statement. In deciding which locations makes sense to restart production, he said that, "if they provide incentives, obviously that would go into the equation; if they don't, obviously that would go into the equation also."

The closest that the new Fisker has come to saying where it will restart building cars is in documents that new owner Wanxiang filed with a federal court earlier this year. That three-part plan included restarting Karma production at Valmet, using partner VL Automotive's manufacturing facility in Michigan and then building the Atlantic somewhere. Brown gave a timeline to Delaware Online - new Karmas by August 2015, start building the Surf shooting brake by March 2016 and then add in the Atlantic by the end of 2017 - which would give Fisker time to tool up the Delaware plant for the Atlantic. Brown also said that building with VL Automotive has now been ruled out.

New Fisker claims 50-50 chance it will build cars in Delaware originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Fri, 18 Apr 2014 11:51:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Official: Toyota launches new Passo hatchback in Japan [w/video]

Filed under: , , , ,

2015 Toyota Passo

With considerable manufacturing capacity here in the United States and even a NASCAR program, it'd be all too easy to categorize Toyota as an American automaker. Only it's not. It's Japanese, of course. And back in the Japanese Domestic Market, it offers a whole range of models we'll never see in North America. Models like the Crown sedan, Noah minivan and this, the new Passo hatchback.

Sold in various markets as the Daihatsu Boon, Daihatsu Sirion, Perodua Myvi and (for a time) the Subaru Justy, the Toyota Passo is a compact hatchback that slots in size-wise between the Yaris sold in America and the Aygo offered in Europe (except the Passo is taller than either).

Power comes from a 1.0-liter engine with 69 horsepower that can be had in front- or all-wheel drive, or a 1.3 driving 95 horses to the front wheels alone. A continuously variable transmission is on duty regardless of engine choice. Front-drive models get a stop/start system, but even all-wheel-drive versions are eligible for government tax credits. That's because, though the new Passo only appears to be mildly updated, the engines have been thoroughly reworked to deliver 30-percent better fuel economy than the previous model, coming in 20-percent better than the standards being enacted by the Japanese government for next year.

Powertrain configurations aside, Toyota is offering JDM customers a wide array of trim and equipment levels, all of which you can read about in the press release (and scope out in the video) below.

Continue reading Toyota launches new Passo hatchback in Japan [w/video]

Toyota launches new Passo hatchback in Japan [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Official: Chevy and GMC trucks get CNG option pricing

Filed under: , , , ,

2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD CNG at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, front three-quarter view

Chevrolet and GMC have clued us in to pricing of the bi-fuel option for the 2015 Silverado and Sierra 2500HD CNG and 3500HD CNG pickups: it starts at $9,500; we're still missing the rest of the pricing inferred by the word "starts," however. If you remember from the Chicago Auto Show introduction, the 6.0-liter V8 puts out 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque when drinking gas, 301 hp and 333 lb-ft when inhaling CNG.

Chevrolet figures that a bi-fuel Silverado HD is worth $2,000 in savings if driven 19,500 miles on CNG and 7,500 miles on gasoline in the span of a year, a recoup rate easily attainable to high-mileage fleet owners. It can be specced on double- and crew-cab pickups with single rear wheels, not on dualies.

The 2015 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana short-wheelbase passenger and cargo vans also get CNG options, starting at $10,825 for the three-tank system, and $12,090 for the four-tank system that can only be had on the cargo hauler. You'll find a bit more info on all of the permutations in the press release below.

Continue reading Chevy and GMC trucks get CNG option pricing

Chevy and GMC trucks get CNG option pricing originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 18 Apr 2014 08:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Categories

Tags

Other Green Topics

What’s a good Minivan or Hybrid for a family of 4/5?
  • What other ways is there to run Automobiles other then on oil and gasoline?
  • What’s the cost of gasoline powered energy?
  • What are the cost savings, if any, from buying and driving a hybrid SUV?
  • Are hybrid cars better for the environment than Gasoline vehicles?