September 21st, 2012 at 12:00pm
A new study says batteries in the Nissan LEAF degrade faster in hot climates. The Congressional Budget Office says that federal subsidies for manufacturing and purchasing EVs will cost taxpayers around $7.5 billion through 2019. Audi revealed the 2013 S3 which gets a walloping 300 horsepower from a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. All that and more, plus a preview of Autoline This Week about whether using ethanol in gasoline hurts our food supply.
Welcome to Autoline Daily, wow, do we have a full show today, so let’s get to it.
LEAF BATTERIES DEGRADE IN HEAT
There’s potential trouble for Nissan LEAF owners who live in hot climates. As reported by Green Car Reports, the EV’s battery degrades in the heat. Researchers tested 12 Leafs in Arizona, with the air conditioning off and traveling at pre-set speeds to make sure the data was as accurate as possible. Half of the cars that indicated they had a full charge could not achieve the EPA rating of 73 miles per charge. The worst one only was able to travel 59 miles. Of course all batteries degrade over time, but Nissan says it’s now going to do its own investigation.
EV SUBSIDIES TO COST BILLIONS
And speaking of electric vehicles, the Congressional Budget Office says that federal subsidies for manufacturing and purchasing EVs will cost taxpayers around $7.5 billion through 2019. The report says that at current vehicle and energy prices, the lifetime costs of EVs are still higher than conventional cars and hybrids, even with the tax credit which is up to $7,500. The average plug-in hybrid would need a tax credit of $12,000 to have the same lifetime costs as a conventional car or even a traditional hybrid. The report also says that in the short term the credits won’t reduce the total amount of gasoline used in the country or greenhouse gas emissions. Ouch!
NINE NEW MODELS FOR BUICK/GMC
Buick and GMC are coming out with nine new models in the next year. As we’ve already seen Buick gets a new Enclave, and the Encore. On the passenger-car side, they have a new Regal and a new LaCrosse coming. GMC, meanwhile, gets new versions of the Sierra, including a heavy duty version, and a new full-size Yukon and Yukon XL. So far this year Buick and GMC have collectively lost half a point of market share. It remains to be seen if they can regain that share, but one thing’s for sure, they could not do it without these new models.
ACURA REVEALS RLX
Speaking of new models, Acura is redesigning its flagship sedan, the RL but will now call it the RLX, but there’s no explanation of why they added the X. The new model, like the current one, is available in all-wheel drive. More interesting, however, is that the front-wheel-drive version will now offer all-wheel steer. They use actuators to change the toe angle of the rear wheels. Now that should be fun to drive. The RLX also gets a new direct injection 3.5-liter V-6 with 310 horsepower, and LED headlamps.
2013 AUDI S3
Audi is ready to unleash a new pint-sized performance machine. The 2013 S3 gets a walloping 300 horsepower from a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine! That’s good for a zero to 60 sprint of about five seconds! Fuel economy is an impressive 34 miles per U.S. gallon – we’re assuming that’s a highway figure. Engineers were able to trim about 133 pounds off the car’s curb weight thanks to the use of aluminum more high-strength steel. The new Audi S3 arrives at dealers early next year with a sticker price of about 39,000 euros in Germany, about $50,000.
AUTOLINE THIS WEEK
On Autoline This Week the topic is ethanol. Is it good for the country or are we hurting our food supply? I put that question to Candace Wheeler, the Technical Fellow and fuels expert at General Motors.
You can watch that entire ethanol discussion right now on our website.
AUTOLINE LIVE FROM PARIS!
And don’t forget to join us next week Thursday, September 27 for our special coverage of the 2012 Paris Motor Show. The LIVE webcast starts at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time at Autoline.tv so mark your calendar! And of course we’ve got to give a shout out to our friends at Audi for making it all possible. We do appreciate their help, plus I’ve got to thank LiveU for their amazing backpack-sized broadcast technology.
ROLLS-ROYCE UNVEILS ART DECO CARS
Rolls-Royce is heading back in time to an era of glitz and glamour, depression and dustbowl. So grab your favorite fedora because you’re invited to relive the 1930s! The super-luxury automaker will unveil a lineup of art deco-inspired cars next week at the Paris Motor Show. To promote these reveals it’s commissioned a series of posters that recall the elegance and majesty of the era. Crisp lines, strong forms and bold colors really make these pieces pop. I think they’re absolutely wonderful and wish we’d see more stuff like this from other companies. As for the vehicles themselves, we have no idea what Rolls-Royce has up its sleeve.
2013 FORD FUSION
(The Ford Fusion review is only available in the video version of today’s program.)
Boy that Fusion does look good.
Hey, before we cut you free, don’t forget that Roundabout is running tonight. They’ll be taxing your automotive knowledge, mesmerizing you with weird trivia, and playing another game of Enhance where small details make a big difference. Aaron Bragman from IHS joins the fun tonight at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time on your one-stop automotive video network: Autoline.tv.
So have fun, have a great weekend, and we’ll see you back here on Monday.