Episode 110 – Tesla Unveils New Sedan, Mazda To Focus on Diesels, No Dark Car Ban

March 27th, 2009 at 12:00pm

Runtime 6:29

Tesla unveils its much-anticipated Model S electric sedan. Mazda is focusing on clean diesel engines instead of hybrids to get better fuel economy. The California Air Resources Board is not looking at banning dark colored cars. All that and more, plus a preview of this week’s episode of Autoline Detroit about in-car technology.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. Tesla unveils its impressive electric sedan. Mazda chooses diesels over hybrids. And the California Air Resources Board is NOT trying to ban dark-colored cars.

Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.

This is Autoline Daily for Friday, March 27, 2009. And now, the news.

Tesla has done it again. Yesterday the company revealed its much-anticipated sedan, the Model S. This hatchback four-door is all-electric. It can seat seven people – five adults AND two children in small, rear-facing jump seats. Its spacious interior can hold a 50-inch TV, a whole mountain bike and a surfboard, AT THE SAME TIME. The Model S offers a range of 160-miles with the standard battery pack. Tesla will also offer larger batteries that can go 230-miles and 300-miles on a charge. With a $7,500 federal tax break, the base car with a 160-mile range will cost $50,000.

Instead of jumping on the hybrid bandwagon like everyone else, Autoblog reports that Mazda is focusing on clean diesel engines and weight reduction to get better fuel economy. The company says this strategy is the most effective way to get fuel-efficient cars on the road. It plans on selling an efficient, diesel-powered vehicle by 2011.

General Motors is making progress on the restructuring plan it needs to present to Congress next Tuesday, but the Wall Street Journal reports that they won’t be ready by then. GM still hasn’t obtained the concessions it needs from its bondholders or the UAW. Yesterday, President Obama said the Administration will be giving more money to GM if it makes the necessary changes. And it sure looks like this is going to drag on past the March 31st deadline.

Hyundai will show an electric plug-in hybrid concept, called the Blue Will, at next month’s Seoul Auto Show (subscription required). According to Ward’s, the concept is powered by a 1.6-liter gas engine with direct injection that’s mated with a 100kW electric motor and a continuously variable transmission. The interior is made up of eco-friendly materials as is the headlamp cover and engine cover.

Chinese automaker Brilliance crash tested its BS4 sedan under European guidelines and the car received a zero-star rating. According to Autoblog, Germany’s ADAC tested the car under new Euro NCAP guidelines that take into account the availability of electronic stability control as standard equipment and potential injury to pedestrians. Under old Euro NCAP rules the BS4 would have received a three-star rating.

Yesterday we ran a story saying, “You’re not going to believe this story,” about how the California Air Resources Board is talking about banning dark colored cars. Well the CARB contacted Autoline Daily yesterday to say, “You’re right, you shouldn’t believe that story.” The truth is that the CARB is exploring paint pigments that reflect more of the sun’s rays, which keeps cars cooler so the A/C doesn’t work as hard, which saves gas, which reduces C02. The pigments work with any paint color, so the Air Resources Board is not looking at banning dark colored cars.

In case you missed it, last night was the first edition of our new Autoline live webcast. We talked about everything from GM’s and Chrysler’s restructuring plans to new product like the Chevrolet Camaro. You can find it in the John’s Journal section of our website. And join us next Thursday night as we do it all again.

Coming up next, a preview of this week’s episode of Autoline Detroit, we’ll be back right after this.

This week on Autoline, we’re talking all about in-car technology. Joining me in the studio is Chet Huber from OnStar and Tony Bongiovi – no, not the rock star Bon Jovi, but his second cousin who became a famous record producer in his own right. In the following preview, Bongiovi talks about the breakthrough he’s come up with for radios in cars.

If you want to know exactly how this technology works, tune in to Autoline Detroit this week for my exclusive interview with Tony Bongiovi of Bongiovi Acoustics, and Chet Huber from OnStar.

And that’s it for today’s show, except for one more thing. I’ve got to announce the winner of this week’s trivia challenge. We challenged you to tell us who’s the Chairman of BMW’s board of management. And as most of you correctly responded, the answer is, Dr. Norbert Reithofer, Norbert Reithofer. As always my crack team has randomly selected today’s winner from the pool of correct responses. Pookie, the envelope please! And the winner is… Marshall Hall of Sun City, Arizona! Congratulations Marshall, you’ve won a deluxe Mazda5 scarf, and just in time for those warm spring days down there in Arizona.

And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. But don’t forget, you can get podcasts, transcripts and a whole lot more on our website, AutolineDaily.com. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you next week.

3 Comments to “Episode 110 – Tesla Unveils New Sedan, Mazda To Focus on Diesels, No Dark Car Ban”

  1. G.A.Branigan Says:

    YES….Mazda gets it.Small diesels are far more effcient then gassers,by us using diesels(biodiesel)will get the bigger media attention it deserves.For you naysayers,pull your camper with your gasser,then pull it with a diesel that is much smaller in hp and displacement then tell me which one you prefer.I got the same torque(pulling power) out of a 2.8L CRD as with my 05 F150 with a 5.4L.PLUS I was getting 28 plus mpg hwy!!!Diesel used to be a by-product of the gas manufacturing process so the super high prices we saw was all crap.You should have known that.

  2. pedro Fernandez Says:

    John: you interview with Mr. Bongiovi was one of the most informative and entertaining I have ever seen you do. Can’t wait to try out this technology, finally someone realizes that just because you can’t afford a luxury car, you have to listen to a mediocre radio. Kudos to Mr. Bongiovi.

  3. pedro Fernandez Says:

    John: one caveat on the Bongiovi radio, according to their website it costs from $700 to a grand to have it installed in your car, Whoa! for that kind of money, John, I can get a pretty decent complete audio system