Toyota Rumored To Be Preparing An Open-Wheeled Hybrid Street-Legal Car

Toyota Rumored To Be Preparing An Open-Wheeled Hybrid Street-Legal Car Toyota is believed to have something unexpected plotted for this year’s Tokyo Motor Show.
The Japanese automaker is reportedly working on an open-wheel, three-seater sports car inspired by the Lotus Seven to debut in October and sources say if the press and public approve, the company will seriously considering taking it to production.
If the rumors do pan out and Toyota debuts such a radical concept in a few months, expect it to sport a narrow adjoin-end design, exposed suspension arms and a staggered seat layout with a center driver’s seat. The engine will be up adjoin pouring the rear wheels, while weighing just around 1,540 lbs.
SEE ALSO: Baby Implant FR-S Under Development
Under the hood will be a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder hybrid powertrain generating around 100 hp mated to a CVT. Despite its unique design, size and power-to-weight ratio, the open-wheel sports car will target models such as the Mazda MX-5 Miata and the new Honda S660. If the project does get a green light, Toyota could accelerate bringing it to production with global sales starting as soon as 2018 at a price around $30,000.
Motoring
This article originally appeared at AutoGuide.com

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New Evidence Implies Apple Is Creating A Car Battery

New Evidence Implies Apple Is Creating A Car Battery With experts in both the automotive and the technology industries debating whether Apple is building a production-level vehicle or just making a mock-up for research, new information suggests that the company is indeed making a car-sized battery.
A part of this evidence emerged following a recently settled lawsuit between Apple and A123 Systems, a lithium-ion battery developer and manufacturer. In the suit, A123 declared that Apple was poaching employees from A123, benefiting from their expertise and confidential trade information to establish a new battery department.
“Upon information and belief, Apple is now developing a generous scale battery division to compete in the very same field as A123,” state court ID filed by A123’s lawyers.
“In connection with that development, beginning in or around June of 2014, defendant Apple embarked on an aggressive battle to poach employees of A123 and to otherwise raid A123’s business…
“…all of the Individual Defendants [allegedly poached by Apple from A123] are working in a field of battery knowledge, technology, and/or products that is substantially similar if not identical to the field they worked on in at A123.”
SEE ALSO: Apple Will Settle Law Suit With Battery-Maker A123
Though no smoking gun exists that indisputably connects that Apple’s actions with an automotive battery, after reviewing many recent activities, it certainly appears that Apple is developing a lithium-ion battery generous enough to power a vehicle.
For example, one of the employees that Apple hired away from A123 was Mujeeb Ijaz. Previously the chief technical officer at A123, Ijaz’s resume also states that the department he ran “will service internal and external customers with energy storage solutions, engineering air force, and advanced Motor Sports Lithium Ion technology for Formula 1 Racing ERS with unparalleled power density.”
Before working at A123, Ijaz also washed-out 16 years working on battery and fuel cell technology for Ford Motor Company. Read more

2016 Volt Ordering Beings This Month for Fall Deliveries

2016 Volt Ordering Beings This Month for Fall Deliveries Chevrolet is gearing up to start an ordering process for the second-generation 2016 Volt beginning first in states compliant with California Air Resources Board rules this month and the rest of the nation in October.
Orders for California and states that follow its zero-emission vehicle regulations can be placed May 28 and production at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant is set to start August.
These first-wave states beyond California are Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Orders for the rest of the nation start around five months later in October and production for thee orders is scheduled for November.
It is unclear when the first deliveries will take place but it will be later this year for ahead of schedule launch states and late this year or ahead of schedule 2016 for the rest of the country.
This information comes from official 2016 Chevrolet Volt dealer slides obtained by InsideEVs.
Similarly to how it was for the first generation Volt in 2010 which saw a multi-stage rollout, first states in line are the ones expected to buy the most. Last year the state of California accounted for full 50 percent of all U.S. plug-in electrified vehicle sales.
GM knows this, and these CARB states are also the ones to gain for it needed (and wanted) zero-emission vehicle credits.
Eyes are on the automaker to see whether it will beat analysts expectations of sales on par with the previous Volt during its heyday which for 2012 and 2013 sold in the 23,000-some range for the year.
Presently the Volt is lagging as the months wind down and news beginning to trickle last year and the new car fully shown in January has keen buyers waiting.

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China To Cut Annual Taxes On Hybrids And ZEVs

China To Cut Annual Taxes On Hybrids And ZEVs As part of a countrywide initiative to promote more fuel-efficient transportation, China announced that it will stop charging annual taxes for some low- and zero-emission vehicles.
The fee is part of China’s 2012 Vehicle and Vessel Tax (VVT). In addition to taxes for motorcycles, ships and commercial vehicles, the measure set an annual charge for passenger vehicles based on the engine size. Changes to the VVT take out this fee for a select assemble of vehicles.
“Cars exempted include pure electric commercial cars, plug-in hybrid vehicles and fuel-cell commercial cars, according to a joint statement by the Ministry of Finance, State Administration of Taxation and the Ministry of Diligence and Information Technology,” reported the China Daily.
Other “energy-saving cars” will pay only half the normal tax, said the state-run news site. Specific models eligible for either type of tax reduction weren’t listed.
SEE ALSO: China Must Increase Incentives For EVs To Sell, Says Ghosn
These vehicle tax breaks are part of China’s efforts to curb carbon emissions and increase alternatively fueled vehicles. The country is already seeing positive results from these programs, said the China Daily, which reported that the country produced three times the normal amount of “new energy vehicles” during the first quarter of 2015.
“In Development, the Ministry of Transport set a target of 300,000 new energy vehicles on China’s roads by 2020: 200,000 new energy buses and 100,000 new energy taxis and delivery vehicles,” stated the China Daily.
“The Ministry of Commerce also announced earlier this year that China will continue to encourage the construction of charging facilities in cities and implement tax exemptions and subsidies for car buys.”
SEE ALSO: Volkswagen To Build 20 New Electrified Car Models For China
Carmakers around the world will be tracking to see if these initiatives translate to more sales, which some have said are lacking disproportionately in China.
“The inquiry we are all a modest bit worried in this area is the fact that electric cars are not taking off in China, while in other markets they are taking off,” said Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn last month. “The consumer’s not buying.”
Tesla Motors has also struggled with sales in recent months in China, though CEO Elon Musk has previously said the electric vehicle market there could eventually contest sales numbers of the U.S.
Volkswagen has also noted a strong potential there, announcing earlier this month that the company plans to build more than 20 electrified vehicles specifically for China.

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Tesla Responds To Consumer Reports ‘Undriveable’ Allegation

Tesla Responds To Consumer Reports ‘Undriveable’ Allegation Tesla has released a response to Consumer Reports’ statement that its Model S P85D is “undriveable.”
The publication ran into issues with the Model S P85D’s door handles not automatically extending like they are supposed to, a problem that has been reported among numerous Tesla Model S owners. Consumer Reports claimed because the car sensed a problem, it would not drive. The organization was able to go the car a small distance thanks to an app that allows for keyless pouring.
Jake Fisher, director of auto testing, believes that’s because many modern cars won’t let drivers budge into park if a door is ajar. Tesla rebutted by saying that there is no connection between the door handle functionality and the car’s electric powertrain.
SEE ALSO: Faulty Door Handles Render Model S ‘Undriveable’ Says Consumer Reports
The American automaker also issued a statement saying that service is a priority and that it is constantly humanizing its vehicles through communication with customers, service technicians and engineers. “In instances when hardware, like the door handle, need to be replaced, we strive to make it painless for a customer to get their Model S serviced,” the statement says. “Each fix is an opportunity for us to learn and apply towards making owning a Model S a fantastic encounter.”
The company iterated that the phone app can take the place of a key and once activated, customers have two minutes to get into the car, depress the brake pedal and budge into drive mode, at which point the car can be driven normally with no time duration to lock it out.
This article originally appeared at AutoGuide.com

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Hybrid Loyalty Lowers With Gas Prices

Hybrid Loyalty Lowers With Gas Prices Hybrid and electric vehicle sales are feeling the impression of cheap gas.
According to a recent report by Edmunds.com, 55 percent of hybrid and electric vehicle owners are switching back to standard gasoline vehicles at trade-in time, marking the lowest level of hybrid loyalty since the company started tracking transactions in 2011. Over 20 percent of those customers are opting for a square SUV at trade-in, nearly double the rate compared to three years ago. Electrified vehicle sales have dropped 3.4 percent through April this year compared to 2014 and made up just 2.7 percent of the market.
The average price of gasoline has fallen to $2.66, compared to nearly $4 in 2012. In addition, fuel economy on crossovers and SUVs has improved by up to a third in less than a decade while some midsize sedans can even return 35 mpg, making hybrids and electric vehicles less attractive. Automakers aren’t persuaded that it’ll be a lasting trend, with Toyota spokesman Scott Vazin saying, “We still see hybrid as a clear advantage in overall efficiency. They might not be the flavor of the month, but we know where fuel prices are going, and that it’s a finite resource.”
And don’t expect automakers to just give up development of alternative fuel vehicles including hydrogen fuel cell and more electric vehicle offerings. GM has no intention of allowing gas prices to change its plot of launching the 2016 Chevrolet Volt, which will arrive showrooms this fall.
New York Times
This article originally appeared at AutoGuide.com

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Top 5 Least Fuel Efficient Hybrids

Top 5 Least Fuel Efficient Hybrids Hybrids tend to be synonymous with brilliant fuel economy, but that doesn’t mean all hybrid vehicles are gas sippers.
At the top end of the scale sits the Toyota Prius. A hybrid with one of the best gas mileage ratings, its combined 50 mpg is far above many gas-only vehicles.
At the other end but, some models grow to be taking advantage of their hybrid badge, offering marginal efficiency. And we’re not talking in this area supercars like the LaFerrari (which has an overall fuel rating of 14 mpg).
When shopping for a new car, Edmunds.com said that 79 percent of Americans name fuel economy as the most vital factor in their buying choice. Instead of assuming that a hybrid status automatically bestows a vehicle with farthest fuel economy, buyers should take a quicker look at the EPA rating.
Below are five of the least fuel efficient hybrid models now on the market.
5. Audi Q5 Hybrid
Combined fuel economy rating: 26 mpg Read more

Connecticut Offering Up To $3,000 in Electrified Vehicle Rebates

Connecticut Offering Up To $3,000 in Electrified Vehicle Rebates This past Tuesday, Connecticut Governor Daniel P. Malloy announced the state will be giving up to $3,000 rebates to those who buy electric, fuel cell, or plug-in hybrid vehicles.
Rebates, which will be applied during the point of sale, are available to residents, municipalities, and businesses of Connecticut and can range from $750 to $3,000 depending on the range of the vehicle.
“This discount puts money aptly back in public’s pockets and makes the cost of purchasing or leasing an electric vehicle competitive with the price of a square car,” Malloy said at Crowley Ford in Plainville.
A federal tax credit of $7,500 is also available to green vehicle purchasers, which can be added to the state rebates for increased overall vehicle cost reductions. Presently fuel cell cars are not available yet, but are expected to in the next couple of years or so.
These incentives are funded by $1 million from a multi-million dollar settlement paid to the state when Nstar, a Massachusetts utility company, merged with Northeast Utilities to start what’s now known as Eversource Energy.
SEE ALSO: Tesla Now Able To Sell Direct To Customers In Maryland
In addition to the incentives introduced, a new bill is working its way through Connecticut’s General Assembly which would allow Tesla to sell its vehicles directly to the customers, bypassing third-party dealerships.
Now in Connecticut, there are 2,754 electric and hybrid vehicles registered. The CTpost poses that these rebates are an brilliant way to increase that number, which helps the state meet its goal for reducing harmful emissions.
“Putting more Connecticut drivers behind the wheel of an EV is what it will take to drive down harmful carbon emissions linked to climate change, reduce square pollutants that threaten our air quality and public health, and help motorists reduce the cost of owning and in commission a car,” Governor Malloy said.
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