Self-Cleaning Paint On Your Next Leaf?

Self-Cleaning Paint On Your Next Leaf? Have you ever dreamed of having a car that was always clean? A self-cleaning one for example…
Nissan is working towards that goal and has begun tests in Europe on paint technology that repels mud, rain and everyday dirt. This means drivers may by no means have to clean their car again.
It also has the benefit of saving water as less will be needed to clean the car.
Nissan said the specially engineered super-hydrophobic and oleophobic paint, which repels water and oils, has been applied to a European market Nissan Note to start the world’s first self-cleaning car.
To assess the real-world effectiveness of the super-hydrophobic as a potential aftermarket application, engineers at Nissan Technical Centre Europe will be testing the self-cleaning Note over the coming months in a variety of conditions. Read more

Cruze Diesel Top Diesel Car Of The Year

Cruze Diesel Top Diesel Car Of The Year Chevy’s  2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel was awarded top diesel car of the year and Chevrolet is the top diesel manufacturer of 2014.
“The Chevrolet Cruze Diesel, with a market-leading 46 mpg highway (5.11 L/ 100 km) is clearly setting the pace for diesel-powered cars in the United States,” said Jonathan Spira, editorial director of The Diesel Driver. “The message from our readers is clear. Diesels are back and Chevrolet is in the forefront.”
The Cruze finished with 59.3 percent of the 11,030 votes cast.
Competitors included the  Audi A6, A7, A8, Q5 and Q7; BMW 328, 535 and X5; Jeep Grand Cherokee; Mercedes-Benz E250, GLK250, ML350 and GL350; Porsche Cayenne; and Volkswagen Insect and Insect Convertible, Golf, Jetta, Jetta Sportwagen, Passat and Touareg.
The Cruze Diesel can travel 717 miles on a release tank.
“The Cruze Diesel is really screening the world what diesel can do,” said Cristi Landy, Chevrolet senior marketing manager. “It combines fuel efficiency and performance into a fun-to-drive vehicle that really offers compact car drivers an option that speaks to their lifestyle and personality.”
Chevrolet received 45 percent of the 11,161 votes cast for top diesel manufacturer. The ballot included Audi, BMW, Jeep, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volkswagen.
Chevrolet recently revealed the 2015 Cruze at the New York International Auto Show, with revised exterior styling, enhanced interior convenience and superior connectivity – including new Text Message Alerts, Apple Siri integration and OnStar 4G LTE with available Wi-Fi hotspot.
The diesel engine in the Cruze is built in Kaiserslautern, Germany and the vehicle is assembled in Lordstown, Ohio.
Earlier this year the Cruze 2.0L diesel engine was recognized by Wards Auto as one of the 2014 Ward’s 10 Best Engines.

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Consumer Reports find mixed results with plug-in car salespeople

Consumer Reports find diverse results with plug-in car salespeople A four-month long survey using 19 secret shoppers inquiring in this area plug-in cars at 85 dealerships in various states found what anecdotal financial statement have been saying for the past three years: the encounter can be spotty.
That is, while there were exceptions, salespeople frequently gave incorrect answers to specific questions in this area tax breaks, charge times, operational costs, vehicle range, and more.
The salespeople varied in their knowledge and even enthusiasm to the point that 13 dealers really discouraged customers from buying plug-ins – seven of these were in New York.
The survey conducted from December 2013 through Development 2014 also found variances between brands.
When it came to answering basic questions, we found that salespeople at Chevrolet, Ford, and Nissan dealerships tended to be better informed than those at Honda and Toyota, with a notable distinction between Chevrolet and Toyota. This jibes with what we’ve found in talking to other representatives from these automakers. Ford, General Motors, and Nissan have made significant investments in plug-in vehicles, while they seem to be an afterthought in the Honda and Toyota lineups, and seem to lack corporate support. Rather than emphasize plug-ins, Honda and Toyota have been focusing their efforts on developing fuel-cell vehicles.
Consumer Reports added:
“Toyota salespeople, especially, were more likely to discourage the sale of plug-in models and less likely to give accurate or specific answers to basic questions in this area electric cars or to say they didn’t know.”
For example, when questioned in this area the battery warranty and how long the electric-car battery would last, one salesperson at Culver City Toyota in California said the Prius Plug-in required a battery replacement “each couple of years.” Perhaps they were referring to the car’s standard 12-volt starter battery, which our surveys have shown require more frequent replacement than in other cars.
Most of the Toyota dealerships we visited recommended against buying a Prius Plug-in and suggested buying a standard Prius hybrid instead. That may just be excellent advice: In our own tests, we found the Prius Plug-in existing a scant mileage advantage over the standard Prius at a huge additional cost. (We also spoke to a couple of Toyota dealers in this area buying a RAV4 EV, but the results were diverse and not significant.)
Degree of inventory also seemed to affect things. Most dealers had only one or two plug-in vehicles on hand.
Dealers with superior volume tended to have superior knowledge and enthusiasm.
Salespeople who had few electrics to choose from generally fell into two opposite camps when questioned why. The most common answers, given by 21 dealerships, were that the cars were very well loved or sold out. The next most common answers were “lack of consumer interest” and “nobody buys them.” A middle camp said it was because automakers don’t build very many or that electric cars are new technology. Read more

VW XL1 Awarded Transport Designs of the Year Title

VW XL1 Awarded Transport Designs of the Year Title The Volkswagen XL1 hybrid car has been named the winner of the Transport category in UK’s annual Designs of the Year Awards.
The XL1 is one of 76 designs in seven categories now on show at the Design Museum in London until August 25.
It will now go on to compete for the Design of the Year 2014 choice against the winners of the other categories – Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Furniture, Graphic, Product – with the overall winner announced June 30.
Now in its seventh year, the Designs of the Year exhibition gathers together cutting-edge innovation and original talent, aiming to showcase the very best in global design.
“From the daringly innovative to the reassuringly excellent, Designs of the Year 2014 is a condensed and vivid selection of the last twelve months in design,” said Curator of Designs of the Year Gemma Curtin. “This spectrum of expert-chosen design is an insight into what design can do for us both as individuals and as a the upper classes.”
Penned by a team led by Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design for the Volkswagen brand, the XL1 is a limited series production two-seater car that explores the limits of energy efficiency for a road-legal production vehicle, said VW.  It was nominated for the exhibition by author and automotive design and technology expert, Andrew Nahum.
VW clarified the design brief for the XL1 was to produce a ‘one liter’ car – that is to say, a car that uses one liter of fuel per 100 km, equivalent to 282 miles per imperial gallon. The resulting vehicle uses just 0.9 liters per 100 km, or 313 imp. mpg.
Members of the public can also have their say on Designs of the Year in the Visitor Vote, which allows visitors to the Design Museum to pick their favorite design from the exhibition.
New for 2014 is the Social Vote which sees two nominations fight it out each day through the exhibition’s online Social Vote platform. Broadcast to over one million of the Design Museum’s Twitter and Facebook followers, the Social Vote allows public from all over the world to participate in Designs of the Year.

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Lincoln Unveils MKX In China

Lincoln Unveils MKX In China Lincoln has unveiled its MKX Concept during Auto China 2014 in Beijing.
The Lincoln MKX Concept hints at an EcoBoost-powered global SUV that will become the third of four all-new Lincoln vehicles due by 2016. It is designed to capture the attention of patrons worldwide.
This unveiling in Beijing marks the first time Lincoln has stepped beyond U.S. borders to reveal a concept vehicle.
“Fantastic emphasis was place on the proportions of this concept vehicle,” said Andrea Di Buduo, exterior design manager of the Lincoln MKX Concept. “It’s a very emotional, athletic design. Its horizontal lines and defined undercuts are gracefully integrated and very refined, yet convey a powerful and dynamic presence.”
Lincoln said intensive study of the Chinese luxury customer over the past few years revealed that a medium premium utility vehicle should express off-road capability and sportiness.
Based on that, the MKX Concept includes elements such as a separated adjoin skid plate, heightened ground clearance and reinforced wheel arches. Lincoln stated this execution communicates adaptability to different road conditions, combined with crafted execution and attention to detail. Read more

Honda Is Not Trying To Dethrone Toyota’s Hybrid Dominance

Honda Is Not Trying To Dethrone Toyota’s Hybrid Dominance Honda, which started the modern hybrid segment in 1999, now possesses “world-class” hybrid technology but for those wondering when it means to assert its theoretical superiority in new Toyota-beating products, it’s still steady as she goes.
Today Honda has three up-and-coming hybrid technologies – in general stipulations, a 1-motor, 2-motor, and 3-motor system. These all outperform Honda’s Integrated Motor Help (IMA) still riding it out in some Town-based models, and their capabilities really could surpass present-generation U.S. hybrid sales leaders.
In other words, if Honda wanted to make a run toward the hybrid market end-zone, it could in theory do so if it fully applied its existing technology to new products.
As proof of that, in Japan, the 1-motor setup in the Fit Hybrid exceeds both the home-market Prius c (known there as the Aqua) and Prius Liftback in fuel economy and emissions. Also, here in the U.S. the new Treaty Hybrid’s 2-motor system outperforms the Camry Hybrid and other competitors.
Even in the plug-in hybrid segment, Honda’s Treaty PHEV tops all others in fuel efficiency, but Honda has made that a limited market car to gather data for the future.
During an interview last week at the New York auto show with Honda spokesman Chris Martin, we noted as much, saying it does not seem like Honda is nervous to “dethrone” Toyota.
2014 Treaty Hybrid.
“Could we? I mean let’s reckon in this area it. Our goal has by no means been sales leadership,” Martin said. “We’ve by no means aimed to be number one in a segment. That’s not Honda’s goal, ever. Our goal is satisfy customers, retail leadership.”
By “retail leadership,” Martin said Honda focuses on one-at-a-time sales to individual patrons, and the Japanese automaker avoids inflating its numbers with fleet sales.
In contrast, he said, Toyota – whose Prius family and other hybrids comprise a sizable slice of the U.S. sales pie – adds in fleet sales to its retail numbers to come up with more impressive figures.
Martin said as a customer-centric company, Honda does not reach as far to make the absolute most sales it could, and its cars tend to retain their value because of this.
“If somebody goes to trade in [a Honda car] in three years, they don’t lose their shirt on it because we don’t do fleet sales,” Martin said. “You know, we don’t do heavy idiotic cash on the hood discounts, so all the whole value of those cars goes down.”
But while Toyota has said its Prius is the number one seller in California, Honda in qualified stipulations says its Town really is.
“So, I would say we’re not aiming for number one in any segment on total sales because if you look at California for instance, where Toyota has claimed Prius is the best selling vehicle in California,” Martin said, “it’s not to individuals, because how many taxi cabs are there that are Priuses? The best selling car in California to individuals is the Honda Town.”
So, we chimed in, Toyota adds in its fleet sales?
“They’re fleet sales,” Martin continued. “They add their fleet sales into their retail and so total sales, yes, the Prius is the best selling car in California, but that’s not Honda’s priority.
“So you question us, ‘would we want to beat Toyota?’ I’m sure some public within Honda would tell you that would be absolutely fantastic, but only if we’re doing it on retail sales.”
Steady As She Goes
Meanwhile Martin said, Honda has fundamentally committed to its 2-motor system as found in the Treaty.
The company has announced no plans to introduce to the U.S. the Fit Hybrid or small SUV Vezel Hybrid which use the 1-motor system. The Vezel – to be called the HR-V here – will only come to the U.S. at this point as a square gas-engined vehicle.
The 2-motor system does away with a square transmission and simulates a CVT with its direct drive motors.
Honda in 1999 introduced the Insight, a car that has now been canceled due to low sales and a bit of redundancy within the IMA hybrid ranks.
From that same period onward, Toyota started to more successfully breed its Prius – a car that’s now in its third generation, and whose Hybrid Synergy Drive system is the basis for a host of Lexus and Toyota variants.
Martin said Honda’s bread and butter at this point comes from success in square vehicles.
“We had the number one car in America last year, the Treaty, to actual individual buyers,” said Martin, “Number one compact car overall was Town, and then of course that makes us the retail leader as well. Number one SUV, CRV retail. Odyssey number one minivan retail. Pilot was like number three, I reckon, but it’s an aging model.
“So those are really the four core vehicles in our lineup that are most of our sales.” Read more

Volkswagen Launches ‘Biggest e-mobility Initiative in China’s Automotive History’

Volkswagen Launches ‘Biggest e-mobility Initiative in China’s Automotive History’ Already enjoying success, at the ongoing 2014 Beijing Auto Show, Volkswagen has announced a huge commitment to increase China’s budding electrified vehicle presence.
“We are launching the largest initiative for e-mobility in China’s automotive history,” said CEO Martin Winterkorn.
The German automaker’s e-mobility battle will dedicate 18 billion euros ($24.9 billion) to bring a new wave of vehicles, technologies and infrastructure to the rapidly expanding market.
Vehicles – aside from square cars under various nameplates also coming – include all-electric, plug-in hybrid, and even fuel cell electric types. Read more