November 15th, 2012 at 11:47am
Ford throws their hat into the plug-in hybrid ring with the C-MAX Energi and hopes to land some blows on the Toyota Prius. Toyota is suing the Mexican government, but why the lawsuit was filed may surprise you. BMW is using its resources to build a two-man bobsled for the Olympics, however it’s not for the German team. All that and more, plus we take a look into the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu.
Welcome to Autoline Daily, where the news just never stops.
GM PLUGS ELECTRIFICATION
When it comes to hybrids, General Motors is putting its money on plug-ins. GM’s Mary Barra, who heads up product development, says plug-ins can change the way people commute and will play a significant role in GM’s product portfolio. Maybe GM is just conceding the non plug-in hybrid market to Toyota, which commands 75 percent of the segment. GM says it will sell a cumulative 500,000 electrified vehicles by 2017. That includes extended range electrics like the Chevrolet Volt, and e-Assist vehicles such as the Buick LaCrosse.
FORD’S FIRST PLUG-IN HYBRID
Speaking of plug-ins, we got to drive Ford’s first plug-in hybrid the C-MAX Energi in the San Francisco Bay area yesterday. Ford made it very evident that they have Toyota’s Prius in their crosshairs. And with a vehicle that drives as well as the C-MAX Energi they may get their shot off. Thanks to a brand new 144 horse-power 2.0 liter Atkinson cycle engine this vehicle accelerates quite well. It is also the lowest priced and has the best fuel economy in the segment. But we did find the gasoline engine to be a little noisy when it engages, and the battery pack really eats up trunk space.
In other Bay area news, an algae-based biofuel, known as Biodiesel B20, went on sale Tuesday in areas around San Francisco. The biodiesel is made from 20 percent algae and 80 percent petroleum. It sells for about $4.25 a gallon, which is about the same as the average price of diesel in California and already has been used in trials by the military and industrial companies. It’s all very promising, but this is only a month long trial.
NOT IN MEXICO
Here’s a story that slipped through the cracks. Toyota is suing the Mexican government to prevent it from establishing fuel economy standards. The company known for its fuel efficiency is opposing Mexico’s efforts to copy US fuel economy standards. According to the National Resources Defense Council, the country is proposing that automakers meet an average of 35 mpg for its fleets by 2016. However, in September Toyota and a group representing Mexico’s auto industry filed a lawsuit against the government to stop the new requirement but that was overturned in court last week. But the process is getting held up again because Chrysler just filed its own injunction to stop the standards.
THEY’RE NOT JUST BLACK AND ROUND
Starting this month Europe will start labeling tires to let consumers know what they are buying. Tires will be rated on their traction on wet roads and on their impact on fuel efficiency. They will be rated on an A-to-G scale with an A being the highest. Tires can cost anywhere from 45 euros to 200 euros in Europe but regulators hope the new system will let consumers know what they are buying. Low-cost tires from Asia are flooding the European market. Chinese, Korean and other non-European brands made up nearly a quarter of the tire market in Europe last year.
GOING FOR THE GOLD
BMW North America is going to use its resources to develop a two-man bobsled for the US Olympic team. So far they’re only releasing this sketch, but BMW’s advance design studio, Designworks USA, has already built a prototype using its knowledge in lightweight materials, aerodynamics and chassis dynamics. Of course, for the last three Olympics running the Germans won the gold medals in 2-man bobsled. I can only imagine the German team’s reaction to learning a pre-eminent German company is going to help the American Olympic team. Vot, are dey krazy?
2013 CHEVY MALIBU
(2013 Chevy Malibu can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show)
Wow, 6.3 seconds for a 0 to 60 run is really quick for a car like that. By the way, so far sales of the Malibu are up about 4 percent this year.
We have a great Autoline After Hours tonight where we’ll be diving deep into the new Ford Fusion, as well as getting into some of the backstory to the big news stories going on in the industry. Join me and Peter De Lorenzo, the Autoextremist, tonight starting at 6 pm Eastern time.
And that wraps up today’s report, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.