Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cruze Diesel Driven 900 Miles At 57.7 Average MPG

General Motors has posted a video showing yet another potential advantage offered by the pending 2013 Chevrolet Cruze turbo diesel over the Volkswagen Jetta TDI.

At least that’s the hope, because the competitive advantages appear to possibly be mixed with disadvantages as well, such as a starting price higher by $730, and city mpg lower by 3 mpg.
But the Cruze diesel is well equipped at that price, promises more power, highway mileage of 46 vs 42 for the Jetta TDI, and on that note, GM engineer Tessa Baughman says she achieved an 800 and 900 mile run, each on a single tank. She did this, she says, while avoiding other hyper mileage techniques with the only concession to maximizing fuel economy being that she drove 5 mph below the posted limit.

With a fuel tank capacity of 15.6 gallons for the Cruze diesel, this equates to a highway figure of 51.28 and 57.69 mpg respectively.

As a point of comparison, the record set with a manual-transmission 2013 VW Passat TDI rated at 43 mpg highway was an astonishing 84.1 mpg over 1,626 mpg.
However this was set by expert hyper mileage instructors, John and Helen Taylor, and in this case, the boilerplate caveat “your mileage may vary” applies doubly.
The take home message with the Cruze Diesel is it too can substantially beat its highway numbers, so, is it thus possible it can beat its city mpg number and close the gap between it and the VW as well?
The Cruze diesel starts at $ $24,885 plus $810 destination charge. It is available only with automatic transmission. Volkwagen offers a manual for $23,055 plus $795 destination or automatic for $24,155 plus destination charges.
The EPA mileage per gallon estimates for the Cruze Diesel are 27 city, 46 highway, 33 combined. For the Jetta TDI, it’s 32 city, 42 highway, 33 combined.
This said, options can easily make either car overlap each other, and GM says for the starting price, its Cruze Diesel is a comparatively solid value as equipped.
Without a doubt, VW has established a fan base for its Jetta TDI, which leads the small but growing clean diesel car market. The Chevrolet, GM points out, has a track record too, however. It was launched in other markets in 2010, and 33,000 units have been sold so far.
The gas variants of the Cruze furthermore have proven to be a top seller for GM, even usurping once stalwarts such as the Honda Civic.
So, if the Cruze diesel, engineered with help from Germans to give all comers a run for their money is as good as promised, GM does stand to begin eroding VW’s market.
Working against them all is diesel remains more expensive than gasoline, making the premium each vehicle costs over gas equivalents a real exercise in number crunching.

In their favor also, diesels can operate at lower rpms, potentially can last longer for those who keep their cars till the wheels fall off, and their power characteristics are excellent also.
The Cruze is said to offer performance like a V6 with highway mileage only 2 mpg less than the Toyota Prius Liftback, and with potential to match the Prius Liftback’s mileage and be much faster when desired. Of course, The Prius’ 51 mpg city and 50 mpg combined figures solidly trounce the Cruze diesel’s 27 mpg and 33 mpg respectively, but the Toyota is an altogether different technology that lends itself to excellent city figures.
We could go on and on with point and counterpoint, but the addition of a new contender, whether it sells well, or only moderately, can only be seen as a step in the right direction.
Rome was not built in a day, and neither will a changeover be to more fuel-efficient transportation.

Honda’s Civic Tops All Safety Ratings

The new 2013 Honda Civic Sedan has received the highest possible overall safety ratings from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

This is good news for a car that is known to be one of the most popular small car among individual buyers
The 2013 Civic Sedan recently received the top 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score in the NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), and the highest possible rating of Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS, including a top score of Good in the new small overlap frontal collision test.
Honda said it leads all automakers with every one of its tested model year 2013 vehicles earning a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS.

The 2013 Honda Civic Sedan and Coupe are the first and only small cars to earn the IIHS’ highest safety rating of Top Safety Pick, and the NCAP 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score for the Civic Sedan further separates Civic from the competition in safety ratings performance.

The 2013 Accord also earned these high safety ratings in the midsize segment.
“Car shoppers cannot find a small car with higher overall safety ratings than the 2013 Honda Civic,” said Art St. Cyr, vice president of product planning and logistics at American Honda. “Safety ratings leadership across product lines is a fundamental part of not only our strategic business plan, but also our philosophy as a company.”

The Civic Sedan, which Honda said was significantly re-engineered for 2013, is equipped with Honda’s next generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure, which contributes to make Civic the first small car to earn a Top Safety Pick+ crash safety rating, and the first to earn the highest rating of GOOD in the IIHS’ new small overlap frontal crash test (sometimes called a ‘narrow offset’ test).

This aggressive test is designed to simulate what happens when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or an object such as a tree or utility pole at high speed.
Honda said the reinforced ACE body structure found on the 2013 Civic further enhances frontal crash energy through a wider range of these offset and oblique collision scenarios.

Additional standard safety equipment on all Civic models include Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with traction control; an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS); side curtain airbags; dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags; and driver and front passenger side airbags.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Infiniti’s Q50 Hybrid Price Released

Infiniti’s Q50 Hybrid Price Released

Infiniti unveiled during the New York auto show prices for the G37 sedan replacement, the Q50.
The Q50 will be offered with a choice of a 3.7-liter V6 or 3.5-liter Infiniti Direct Response Hybrid system in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
The base Q50 will start at $36,450 while the hybrid version will start at $43,700.
“From world’s first technologies to unmatched levels of connectivity and personalization, the 2014 Q50 sports sedan is a bold example of Infiniti’s future brand direction,” said Infiniti Americas Vice President Ben Poore.
According to Infiniti, two new world’s first production performance technologies make their debuts in the Q50 – Infiniti Direct Adaptive Steering technology and Active Lane Control.
The new steering system allows advanced control of the Q50’s steering effort and responsiveness, transmitting the driver’s intentions to the wheels faster than a mechanical system. Four different steering settings are offered, allowing customization by driver preference or road conditions.
The Active Lane Control uses a camera-based lane marker detection system to further enhance on-center driving capability and improve vehicle stability within the lane.
Suggested M.S.R.P.s for the 2014 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid sports sedan are as follow:
Model                                                      MSRP
Q50 Hybrid Premium                         $43,700 USD
Q50 Hybrid Premium AWD              $45,500 USD
Q50 Hybrid Sport                                $46,100 USD
Q50 Hybrid Sport AWD                     $47,900 USD

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Cars Doing Stop & Go Driving Autonomously By 2016

Cars Doing Stop & Go Driving Autonomously By 2016

Following Google’s lead in testing autonomous vehicles in California and Nevada, Continental has also begin doing so in Nevada.
As Google did earlier last year also, automotive supplier Continental received Nevada’s “Autonomous Vehicle Testing License” – a state approval from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to test automated driving on the state’s public roads.
Continental’s testing license is for the company’s highly automated vehicle, and represents the first license granted by the Nevada DMV to an automotive supplier.
“At Continental, we continue to invest in research and development for next generation technologies – such as our highly automated vehicle – that will drive us toward a safer, more efficient and more comfortable future,” said Dr. Elmar Degenhart, chairman of the executive board of Continental. “As a company, Continental’s strategy is clearly focused on making this type of future technology a reality. It’s clear to us that automated driving will be a key element in the mobility of the future. As a system supplier, we are perfectly positioned to develop and launch series production of solutions for partially automated systems for our customers by 2016. We will be able to develop the first applications for highly and ultimately fully automated driving, even at higher speeds and in more complex driving situations, ready for production by 2020 or 2025.”
After completing driving demonstrations on Dec. 18 in Carson City, Nev., the DMV’s Autonomous Review Committee approved Continental’s safety plans, employee training, system functions and accident reporting mechanisms.
Following these approvals, Continental will receive its testing license and red license plate featuring an infinity sign to represent the car of the future.
The plate is designed to be easily recognized by law enforcement and the public at large. This license plate will only be used for licensed test vehicles for automated driving.
“This vehicle demonstrates what modern technology can do to provide a safer, more comfortable drive. Earning this license represents an important intermediate step towards automated driving for Continental,” said Dr. Peter Rieth, head of Systems & Technology in Continental’s Chassis & Safety Division. “Continuing our research and testing in the most challenging environment – public roads – will allow us to continue to assess and develop our highly automated vehicle.”
Continental says its current highly automated vehicle is designed to always have a driver monitoring the vehicle behind the wheel, unlike a completely driverless vehicle.
The automated vehicle can accommodate, according to Continental, multiple driving scenarios. Utilizing four short-range radar sensors (two at the front, two at the rear), one long-range radar and a stereo camera, the vehicle is capable of cruising down an open freeway as well as negotiating heavy rush-hour traffic.
Taking advantage of Continental’s sensor fusion technology as part of the ContiGuard safety concept, the vehicle is able to track all objects as they enter into the sensors’ field of view. The object information is then processed and passed on to the control unit (Continental Motion Domain Controller) to control the vehicle’s longitudinal and lateral motion via signals to the engine, the brakes and the steering system.
The equipment in Continental’s highly automated vehicle differs from the customized sensors and tailor-made actuators in other automated vehicles. The vehicle, which has already logged more than 15,000 test miles (24,000 kilometers), is built primarily with equipment that is already available in series production.
Continental says its short term goal is to relieve the driver of tedious and monotonous activities, such as driving on highways with minimal traffic or in low-speed situations like traffic jams.
Although the concept of complete fully automated driving is valid, it is not yet fully viable, according to Continental. Continental’s highly automated vehicle, however, is seen by the company as an intermediate step toward fully automated driving.
Continental’s vehicle brings Continental closer to achieving the company’s Vision Zero – the goal of reaching zero accidents and zero fatalities on the roadways. Continental will continue real world evaluations with this vehicle.
Continental expects that, starting in 2016, partially automated systems may be assisting drivers in “stop & go” situations on the freeway at low speeds of up to 19 mph.
“Over the last few weeks, we on the Executive Board have considered the strategic and budget planning for our five divisions for the coming year in great detail. For our automotive divisions, this planning includes all of the necessary elements that need to be implemented step-by-step across the board so that fully-automated driving becomes reality by 2025,” said Dr. Elmar Degenhart, chairman of the Executive Board of Continental.

According to Continental, with suitable systems on board, drivers will in the future be able to decide whether to do the driving themselves or to let the vehicle take control. With the market launch of highly automated vehicles by 2020, drivers will be able to concentrate on other activities, such as reading the latest headlines on the Internet. This will give drivers much more freedom.
At the same time, an automatically controlled vehicle will be even safer thanks to the increased interaction with itself and its environment. Furthermore, the energy management and driving characteristics of the vehicle will be optimized on the basis of a real-time data concept, thereby enabling more energy-efficient driving.
Today, more than 1,250 specialists at Continental are working on the basics of automated driving. They are working specifically on driver assistance systems, such as adaptive cruise control and emergency brake assistance, which employ sophisticated technology to record the vehicle environment using a camera, infrared, and radar in various driving situations and therefore to warn, support, and relieve the driver.
While Continental expects to launch autonomous vehicles progressively in 2016, 2020 and fully autonomous in 2025, legislation is decisive when it comes to actual market launch.
“The basic technical prerequisite for the implementation of automated driving is system reliability. Road safety of the highest degree is therefore the essential foundation on which automated driving must be based,” explained Degenhart. In concrete terms, this calls for fail-safe architecture that keeps the vehicle in a safe state in the event of a fault. However, the time frame for development of this necessary safety architecture will not be the sole factor that determines the timing of market launch: “Legislative bodies will take the major decisions as to when and how automated vehicles will be introduced onto the market, and the required legal framework still needs to be drawn up,” added Degenhart.

 Cars Doing Stop & Go Driving Autonomously By 2016