Category Archives: Green

2012 Fisker Karma gets EPA Certified at 52 MPG


2012 Karma Fisker Eco Sport Static Front

Fisker Automotive confirms that the 2012 Fisker Karma sedan has received emission certification and fuel economy ratings from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  As the first luxury sports sedan on the market with a range-extended electric powertrain, the Karma creates an alluring class of its own. It blends supercar performance and luxury with a tailpipe CO2 output that is comparable with today’s conventional compact hybrid cars.

The EPA – with its newly formulated methodology for rating electric vehicles – found that, when running in electric mode, the Fisker Karma sedan achieves the energy equivalent of 52 miles per gallon city/highway combined. The Karma sedan’s 52 MPGe is close to the Obama administration’s mandate of an industry average goal of 54.5 mpg by 2025, demonstrating that Fisker Automotive’s Electric Vehicle with extended range (EVer™) powertrain technology clearly represents the future for the automotive industry.

The Karma’s all-electric range was found to be 32 miles by the EPA under its test criteria. To put that figure in perspective, a Karma driver with a 40-mile commute who starts each day with a full battery charge will only need to visit the gas station about every 1,000 miles and would use just 9 gallons of gasoline per month.

Fisker’s own analysis suggests that many Karma drivers will actually experience a longer all‑electric range under most every day driving conditions. Research also reveals that more than half of American’s have a daily commute of less than 32 miles, a comfortable distance for the Karma to run in electric-only mode from a single charge. The EPA certification allows the company’s dealers to begin selling the car to customers immediately in most states.

“We are delighted to have EPA certification and fuel economy ratings that verify the Karma’s remarkable green credentials.” said Henrik Fisker, CEO and co-founder of Fisker Automotive.

“As with all electric vehicles, range varies greatly on the conditions of the road and how you drive the car. We firmly believe that most owners will get up to 50 miles of driving range on a single charge and will use our electric-only mode most of the time they drive the car, thereby running on zero emissions. Overall, we are very pleased with the results of EPA’s tests. The Karma is a groundbreaking product with a unique powertrain.”

Jaguar Debuts Hybrid C-X16 Concept

2011 Jaguar CX16 Concept Car Overhead

Jaguar has released details of the C-X16 concept ahead of its world debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Jaguar engineers and designers are still living off the fruits of Ford labors… While Ford is quietly kicking themselves for divesting Jaguar instead of the struggling Lincoln brand. Looking firmly to the future, the C-X16 marks a new chapter for Jaguar.  The two-seater concept has inspired new advances in design, in engineering and in vehicle technology to create the most compact and responsive Jaguar in a generation.  A hybrid, the C-X16 combines searing performance with beautifully realized styling.

Adrian Hallmark, Global Brand Director, Jaguar Cars: “The C-X16 embodies the established Jaguar strengths of sensual design, animal-like agility and inspirational performance and combines these with attributes that set us on a course to create sustainable sports cars of the future.”

Ian Callum, Director of Design, Jaguar Cars: “Jaguars have always been dramatically different. With the C-X16 we have moved the current award-winning design language on to the next generation, creating a car that is the very essence of future Jaguar performance.”

Under the muscular clamshell bonnet is a next-generation supercharged V6 engine producing 380 PS (280kW) and 332 lb ft (450 Nm) of torque. Already boasting a high specific power output of 126 PS-per-litre, the performance of the C-X16 is further supplemented by a Formula 1-inspired hybrid boost system with a steering-wheel mounted button for on-demand acceleration.

Integrated into the eight-speed gearbox is a motor generator which draws power from a 1.6kWh battery pack mounted behind the seats for ideal 50:50 weight distribution. Charged through a brake energy regeneration system, the batteries allow the motor to provide an additional 95 PS (70 kW) and173 lb ft (235 Nm).

Mounted in an aluminium chassis structure, the result is 0-62 mph acceleration in 4.4 seconds, a top speed of 186 mph and acceleration from 50-75 mph of 2.1 seconds. The  C-X16 is also able to travel at speeds of up to 50 mph under electric power alone and has CO2 emissions of 165 g/km.

The C-X16 measures 15.38′ in length, 6.72′ in width and 4.25′ in height and has a wheelbase measuring 103.2″.  In terms of overall length, the C-X16 is the smallest Jaguar created since 1954 and the XK120.

The C-X16 will be presented at the Jaguar Land Rover press conference in Hall Five at the Frankfurt Motor Show on Tuesday September 13 at 09:15 CET.

Video of the Day: Ford Evos Launch at Frankfurt Auto Show

Ford Evos Design Concept Fastback 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show-Motor-City

Ford just launch their first Global Design Vehicle at the Frankfurt Auto Show: the Ford Evos Concept. The Evos is Ford’s new flagship for interior and exterior design language, as well as driver interaction. Watch the footage of the reveal at the Frankfurt Auto Show in our video of the day. -Motor City Muscle Cars

Ford Reveals 2011 Evos Design Concept in Berlin


Amid the sculpted body lines, touch screens and gullwing doors, Ford made a incredibly strong statement today unveiling their sexy new design concept the Ford Evos in Berlin. The Evos fastback concept vehicle, is Ford’s first truly globally designed car, and captures the momentum of the company’s “One Ford” Global product plan.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming the Ford Evos Concept is just a design-led exercise, because  it’s not. It also embodies the global Ford product development team’s move to design and develop vehicles as more than just an interior and exterior, or a collection of attributes. For the first time ever ford has succeeded in designing a GT sports sedan that looks like it was designed around the driver.

With the recent design translations of the North American Ford Explorer, Fiesta and Focus from concept car to everyday production vehicles, we expect the Evos will become Ford’s next generation flagship sedan. -In North America that means the Ford Taurus and Fusion models. Looks for the Evos to evolve into the 2014 or 2015 Taurus less the rear gullwing doors. The concept is still possible with rear mini van’esqe sliding doors. Can you imagine the Taurus looking sexier than Aston Martin? They is even the possibility that the Evos is the 2014 50th Anniversary Ford Mustang, without the running pony or tri-tail lights.
Driver Driven Design
2011-Ford-Evos-Concept-Instrument-Panel-Motor-City“Our goal is to focus on enriching a customer’s every experience with their vehicle – by personalizing it, adapting it, and creating unique, unexpected features that surprise and delight them,” said Kuzak. “In the Ford Evos Concept, this objective is explored and extended to the area of connectivity, where the intent is not to convert the vehicle into a smartphone, but rather to provide personalised and safe connection to the outside world in an enriching manner designed totally for the vehicle context.”

Ford’s global Research and Innovation team, led by Paul Mascarenas, was tasked with building Evos Concept around a technology experience as visionary as the design. The result signals how Ford intends to build on the momentum of innovations like the SYNC in-car connectivity system.

“At Ford, the future of technology in the car will be defined by the experience that it delivers to the driver and passengers,” said Paul Mascarenas, chief technical officer and vice president of Ford Research and Innovation. “We see technology as more than just an impressive list of microprocessors, sensors and software; it’s about the application of that technology to create an experience that enhances the driver’s time behind the wheel.”
“We’re researching how we can use patterns or preferences set by the driver to make life simpler,” said Mascarenas. “The car gets to know you and can act as a personal assistant to handle some of the usual routines of a daily commute.”

It could automatically play the same music or news program that was just streaming at home, or heat or cool the interior to an ideal temperature before the driver gets in without having to be requested by predicting departure time based on his calendar. Wirelessly communicating with devices in the home, it could close the garage door and switch off the lights automatically as it pulls away.

 “This cloud-connected vision shows the enormous potential of tailoring the driving experience to suit the exact personal tastes and moods of the driver,” said Mascarenas. “From recommending a great driving road from friends on your social networks or resetting your alarm clock to let you sleep in when a morning meeting gets cancelled!”
Enhanced driving experience
Ford Evos Concept explores adaptive vehicle technologies to redefine the driving experience. Current technology requires vehicle chassis settings to be defined based upon the abilities and tastes of a cross-section of drivers and the topography of typical roads. The concept foresees tuning handling and performance to the road ahead and the specific individual behind the wheel. Learning driver habits and capabilities, the technology can overlay map and weather data sourced from the cloud to adjust powertrain, steering, suspension and braking systems for optimum enjoyment, comfort and safety.  Because the vehicle is adaptive and honed to maximum performance based on the situation, it takes driving engagement to a new level.
Cloud-optimised hybrid powertrain
Completing the vision for the Ford Evos Concept is a state-of-the-art lithium-ion plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain providing the same next-generation performance and fuel economy as the Ford C-MAX Energi scheduled for introduction in North America in 2012 and Europe in 2013. Ford ‘powersplit’ hybrid architecture allows the electric motor and petrol engine to work together or separately to maximise efficiency. The advanced powertrain typically runs in all-electric mode before switching to charge-sustaining hybrid mode for continued optimal fuel efficiency.2011-Ford-Evos-Concept-Clay-Model-Motor-City
“Access to historical driver behaviour and travel patterns allows us to calculate the optimal fuel and energy efficiency by predicting the destination,” said Mascarenas. “Our researchers are working to increase understanding of driver behaviour, develop accurate protocols to predict it and enhance the trip by providing the smartest use of fuel or battery for the situation.”

The cloud-optimised powertrain would automatically ‘know’ when to save energy and switch modes, using information about the vehicle’s predicted travel route, any emission zone restrictions during the journey and current weather conditions.
This capability would further enhance the performance of Ford’s advanced PHEV technology, which offers an overall driving range of more than 500 miles (800 kilometres) using the battery and engine – more than any other plug-in or extended-range electric vehicle.
“With its leading-edge ‘cloud-optimised’ PHEV powertrain offering outstanding efficiency and range with supreme driving enjoyment, the Ford Evos Concept highlights our vision for greener, smarter vehicles with outstanding customer appeal,” said Kuzak.

Ford’s new design direction
The Ford Evos Concept was specifically developed to introduce the new Ford design direction.  Key design elements will be applied to forthcoming Ford vehicles.
The new global design DNA provides the company’s worldwide design teams with a common framework to guide the creation of new products, enabling them to shape a coherent family of distinctive vehicles sharing the same fundamental design character.
“We wanted the Ford Evos Concept to give a clear message about where Ford design is heading – shaping vehicles that are fun to drive, have a strong premium visual appeal, and above all, are stunningly beautiful,” said J Mays, group vice president, Design and chief creative officer.

Dramatic fastback design with unique proportions
2011-Ford-Evos-Concept-Door-Open-Rear-Motor-CityTo provide a fitting vehicle to introduce the new design language, the Ford Evos Concept was conceived as a dramatic fastback concept, combining a striking new profile with innovative proportions. Attention-grabbing lines conceal a unique new format, with a four-door, four-seat layout which combines dynamic appearance with surprising practicality.

“This is an exciting new interpretation of the fastback bodystyle, with a really innovative silhouette as well as dramatic and very modern proportions,” Mays said.
With the length of a typical C-car, but with width of a CD-car, the Ford Evos Concept has a powerful, sporting stance. The forward position of the cowl, the strongly rounded front screen and the A-pillars set further to the rear enabled the designers to create the impression of a classic GT car, but with a very contemporary feel. The concept’s spectacular hinged gullwing-style doors, both front and rear, provide outstanding access to the spacious four-seat cabin. The concept car measures 4.50m (177in) long, 1.97m (77in) wide and 1.36m (53in) high, with a wheelbase of 2.74m (108in).

Distinctive evolution
Shaped as the ultimate expression of the new design DNA, the Ford Evos Concept highlights key elements of Ford’s distinctive new global design language.
“The new design DNA marks a bold evolution of the kinetic design language featured on existing global Ford products and is characterised by a number of important elements that will contribute to an unmistakable future Ford look,” said Mays.

From the front, the Ford Evos Concept immediately signals the arrival of something new – a new face for Ford featuring the signature trapezoidal grille mounted higher on the car and creating a confident, more premium look.
Bold, technical shapes, such as the extremely slim ‘laser cut’ front lamps or the dramatic graphic created by the front and rear screens connected by the thin glazed section of the roof, add a distinctive character to the design. Sculptured flanks highlight attention to detail on the surfacing, which lends a refined quality and a tauter, more muscular character.

“The Ford Evos Concept embodies the core elements of the new global design language, while capturing the dynamic, fun-to-drive spirit which is central to the Ford DNA,” said executive design director Martin Smith. “Most notable is the brand new ‘face of Ford’, with its higher mounted trapezoidal grille, and the design is characterised by the use of very bold, technical graphics. We have also created much more refined and precise surfacing, and these elements together give a strong visual sense of premium quality.
The vehicle was sculpted with the same purity of surface sculpture and attention to detail which characterise premium vehicles.  Around the world, a new generation of buyers have come to expect premium design in all products, regardless of the purchase price.

Built around the driver
Reflecting the fun-to-drive spirit of its exterior design, the interior of the Ford Evos Concept is built around the driver. A stylish and innovative cockpit promises new levels of driving pleasure and driver interaction.2011-Ford-Evos-Concept-Interior-Seats-Motor-City

The interior architecture features clean and simple surfaces, with a muscular, athletic character to the slim upper instrument panel, enhanced by bold trapezoidal cut-outs. Contrasting these muscular forms, curvaceous cockpit display surfaces sweep down either side of the driver, providing secondary information about vehicle and infotainment systems.

The concept features a bold red driver’s seat and the vision of unprecedented driver interaction via an advanced driver interface. The two rear seat passengers get an equally special experience, with dedicated touch-screen displays to interact with the vehicle and individually adjustable sports seats.
“Both the exterior and interior of the Ford Evos Concept clearly communicate that this is a driver’s car, so that as soon as people see the vehicle, they will immediately want to get in and drive,” said executive design director Moray Callum.

Chevrolet Malibu Engineers Break Wind in Name of Fuel Economy

Chevrolet Malibu Aerodynamic Engineers

Aerodynamic duo bring life’s passions to help Malibu buyers save money at the pump. John “Moose” Bednarchik and Suzanne “Suzy” Cody are not your typical automotive engineers. He’s an admitted “fitness nut” who got a second chance at life after nearly dying of a heart attack at age 33. She’s a blue-haired, Camaro-driving, roller derby-playing mom. Together, they’ve helped shape the design of Chevrolet’s most fuel-efficient midsize car ever, the 2013 Malibu.

John “Moose” Bednarchik and Suzanne “Suzy” Cody are not your typical automotive engineers. He’s an admitted “fitness nut” who got a second chance at life after nearly dying of a heart attack at age 33. She’s a blue-haired, Camaro-driving, roller derby-playing mom. Together, they’ve helped shape the design of Chevrolet’s most fuel-efficient midsize car ever, the 2013 Malibu.

Because of their work, more than 60 counts of wind drag have been removed as a result of the new Malibu’s shape and fine-tuning of the car’s exterior design. These aerodynamic improvements give customers up to 2.5 miles per gallon more on the highway.

Malibu Global Lead Aerodynamic Engineer John BednarchikBednarchik, 39, the lead aerodynamic engineer for the all-new Malibu, knows more than most how big changes can improve efficiency – aerodynamic and otherwise. Since his heart attack, he lost 100 pounds and maintains his weight by following a rigorous health and fitness regimen. He joined Motor City CrossFit in Sterling Heights, Mich. and participates in a high-intensity strength and conditioning program typically endured by police, firefighters, soldiers and professional athletes.

Bednarchik applies the same intensity and discipline at work. After four years of development and more than 400 hours testing and fine-tuning the new Malibu in GM’s wind tunnel, Bednarchik achieved the lowest wind drag for a Chevrolet midsize car in the past 100 years.

Overcoming wind resistance can account for one-third of the fuel used at highway speeds.

“A tough training regimen and aerodynamics have a lot in common. In each case, you worry about increasing the total efficiency of the body. For aerodynamics, we want forms and surfaces that make the vehicle more slippery when traveling through air. Good aerodynamics means free fuel economy for our customers.”

The Malibu’s aerodynamic improvements are measured one “count” at a time – or 0.001 coefficient of drag. Initial testing of pre-production Malibu vehicles in GM’s wind tunnel has recorded a low drag coefficient nearly as efficient as the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle of .28 Cd.

Some of the Malibu’s key aerodynamic features that help improve fuel economy include:

  • 11 counts: Outside rearview mirrors are specifically designed to deflect wind without “upsetting” the airflow
  • 10 counts: Rounded front corners – from the  bottom of the fascia up through the headlamps – help air flow smoothly along the Malibu’s body sides
  • Seven counts: Shutters in the lower grill opening on select models open and close automatically to maximize aerodynamic efficiency. This increases cooling airflow to the engine under certain conditions, such as under high engine loads at low speeds, and reduces aerodynamic drag when extra cooling is not needed.

Like Bednarchik, his colleague Suzanne Cody defies any preconceived notions associated with engineers.

Chevrolet Malibu Aerodynamic Engineer Suzy CodyBy day, this 34-year-old mother of two works to make the all-new Malibu more efficient. At night, she is “Shovey Camaro,” a member of the Bath City Roller Girls derby team from Mt. Clemens, Mich. Her derby number of “6.2L” pays homage to the power and size of the V-8 engine in her 2010 Camaro SS, and her blue hair displays her passion for GM.

“When all the other moms pull up to school in their minivans or crossovers, I arrive in my Inferno Orange, 426-horsepower Camaro Coupe with my blue hair and twin child seats in tow,” said Cody. “I usually get a few laughs and some stares, but roller derby has given me the confidence I need to aggressively work toward my goals.

“For a lot of people, their work and private lives are fairly well segregated, but that doesn’t work for me. I apply the same passion at the roller derby and at work, to benefit our customers.”

Improving the aerodynamic efficiency of the new Malibu wasn’t easy. Bednarchik and Cody’s testing is detailed and exhaustive, at times requiring midnight shifts in GM’s wind tunnel in Warren, Mich. They test aero changes as small as 1 millimeter at a time, and they may test one part of the Malibu multiple times until they are satisfied they’ve achieved the most efficiency possible.

“Negotiating the competing interests of design, manufacturing and vehicle engineers – all of whom have different goals for an individual part or the vehicle’s overall design – can be inspiring,” said Cody. “But we all have a common goal – to give Malibu customers around the world Chevrolet’s most fuel-efficient midsize car ever.”

Adding to the complexity of vehicle design, Bednarchik and Cody also needed to create an aerodynamically efficient Malibu that meets the government safety requirements of multiple countries around the world.

“The Malibu was my first assignment on a truly global program, so I spent a lot of time researching the different standards around the world,” said Bednarchik. “For example, smaller mirrors could improve aerodynamics further, but each global market has requirements for mirror size that must be met.

“Ultimately, we were able to design the Malibu so that drivers around the world would benefit from aerodynamics, or free fuel economy for our customers,” Bednarchik said. “It’s amazing when I think that the design decisions we made in the wind tunnel could save Malibu buyers around the world hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars at the pump.”



Impact of being Green

Hybrid car parking only

Have you ever thought past the commercials for being green to what the actual impact of green products might be? My students have been doing projects on alternative transportation and fuel sources and it amazes me how one sided the information can be. For example, if a hybrid car has to be plugged in to charge, and we all switch to hybrids, what will that do to the power grid, which is mainly run on traditional fuels where we live? It […]
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