May 17, 2005

Camry Hybrid Announcement Expected

From CNN Money:

Report: Toyota to announce version of No. 1 U.S. car model and its first U.S.-built hybrid.

The New York Times reported the announcement is expected Tuesday. It is to be built at the company's Georgetown, Ky., plant that makes the Camry, making it the company's first U.S.-built hybrid.

So the best selling car in America is about to have a hybrid option. It can't get any better than that.

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May 16, 2005

New Mileage Tests Proposal

From the NY Times:

WASHINGTON, May 16 - The Senate is likely to vote Tuesday to make the Environmental Protection Agency find a better way of measuring automobile fuel economy, to bring more realism to the stickers on the windows of new cars, which consumers have learned always to read but not to trust.

There was a perception that the tests inflated hybrids' efficiency: If a hybrid that is supposed to get 60 miles a gallon gets about 50, the consumer will surely notice. But if an S.U.V. sticker promises 17 miles and its mileage drops by a similar percentage, the difference is barely noticeable.

I think a new test would be great for the auto industry. Who doesn't like accuracy? As long as all vehicles are measured in the same conditions, the hybrids will always come out on top, and this nonsense might finally end.

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May 10, 2005

CNN Money Slams Hybrid Pickups

Behold GMC's new hybrid, the K15 Sierra. This pickup truck scores a 3 on the EPA's 0-to-10 emissions scale, with 0 being the worst. It gets a whopping 18 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving. That compares with the 16 mpg attained by its non-hybrid sibling, the K1500 Sierra.

So what, exactly, is green or even fuel-efficient about this vehicle?

You might ask the same question about Chevrolet's C15 Silverado hybrid (19 mpg, compared to the regular C1500's 18). Even some of the new vehicles touted as significantly less gas-hungry than their peers still post mileage ratings that could be bested by a regular old Toyota Corolla with a headwind.

This is kind of ridiculous. The author, Liz Pulliam Weston, is talking about the two least efficient hybrids and blanketing the entire category. Later, she criticizes the Prius' effective mileage by comparing it to the EPA mileage of a non-hybrid Civic.

"I drove a Prius for a week and never saw 60 mpg," Perry said. "I averaged around 42 mpg."

Now, that kind of mileage should make any Hummer driver blush. But it's not that much better than a fuel-efficient small sedan, like a Honda Civic. (The EPA clocks the Civic with Honda's "Lean Burn" engine technology at 36 mpg city, 44 mpg highway.)

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that you should compare EPA estimates with EPA estimates and real world figures with real world figures. What's she trying to pull?

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May 01, 2005

Environmental Technology, Fuel Cell Stack

Employing Variable Cylinder Management technology (VCM), Honda Accord Hybrid is the first hybrid vehicle to deactivate three of its engine's six cylinders in certain conditions like highway cruising for greater fuel efficiency without affecting its performance. [PRWEB Apr 25, 2005]
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