2016 McLaren Sports Series Spy Shots (With Spider Convertible)

2016 McLaren Sports Series spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-MedienThese are the latest spy shots of some prototypes for McLaren’s new supercar destined to sit in the automaker's entry-level Sports Series range. Yes, like the Super Series and Ultimate Series it will sit under, the Sports Series will be a range of vehicles where different members are distinguished by performance and styling attributes. The...
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Ferrari 458 Italia Hits and Kills Pedestrian Before Smashing Into a Mercedes S-Class

Warning: The following video contains a graphic scene which some may find disturbing.

When we first watched this dash-cam footage of a speeding Ferrari 458 Italia rear-ending a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, we thought it was just another one of those accidents involving a fast car, but upon closer inspection, it turns out that this story is much more gruesome as the supercar hit a pedestrian before the impact with the sedan.

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Nissan Ditches Altima Coupe Due to Lack of Buyer Interest

A Wards Auto report said that Nissan will be removing the Altima Coupe from its lineup, a move prophesized by the automaker’s decision not to improve the car in any way in the 2012 model-year to 2013. Officials are apparently staying tight-lipped about the real reason for the decision, but it is suggested that poor sales and a lack of buyer interest may have been the deciding factors to not go ahead and present a new model. Read more »

New Corvette Stingrays Arrives in Europe for Quality Tests [w/Video]

Chevrolet tells us that, besides the usual development tests, after the introduction of a new car but before any of its models go on sale in Europe, the brand's technical experts drive early samples as part of the so-called, "GM standard quality control program".

The same procedure applies for the new Corvette Stingray with Chevrolet having just shipped two examples of the sports car to the Old Continent where Patrick Herrmann, technical manager at Chevrolet Europe and his team will drive them in Germany, Switzerland, France and the Netherlands over the course of the next couple of months.

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Tesla Stock Sees Biggest One-Day Stock Price Drop Since January 2012

Today Tesla Motors’ stock price declined $18.21 or 14 percent, closing the day at $109.05 on the NASDAQ exchange.

The decrease was its largest in one day since Jan. 13, 2012 when it lost 20 percent, and follows one day after being listed to the NASDAQ 100 Index.

Blame for the drop was pinned on a research note by Goldman Sachs analyst Patrick Archambault which pegged TSLA’s value far lower than its present price.

Archambault’s note pertained to the automotive sector as a whole, but with regard to TSLA, it set a six-month target up from $61, but at just $84, while leaving his “neutral” rating intact.

He offered three potential long-term scenarios in his analysis.

Under one scenario, the analyst projects Tesla selling 105,000 cars including the smaller car it has yet to bring to market along with the Model S. Here he projects 14.6 percent operating margins and earnings per share of $5.99.

In another potential future, he projects 150,000 sales, 14.8 percent margins and $8.59 earned per share.

And in the third potential scenario he foresees 200,000 sales, 15.2 percent margins and $11.69 per share in earnings.

The $84 per share constitutes an averaging of the three scenarios which means if someone holds TSLA stock bought today at $109, that person can plan on losing $25 per share in the next six months.

Not a pretty picture, and not good for the TSLA price today as the news hit.

Tesla issued a press release today saying nothing about the stock drop, but instead stating that on Wednesday Aug. 7 at 2:30 Pacific time it will release its Second Quarter 2013 financial results.

Also not stated is whether the results will be very good, as other Tesla watchers have predicted, noting Tesla has of late been exceeding its previously stated production levels, with the potential therefore to sell more cars.

The post Tesla Stock Sees Biggest One-Day Stock Price Drop Since January 2012 appeared first on HybridCars.com.

Consumer Reports Says 2014 Ram 1500 is “A Very Impressive Truck”

The new 2014 Ram 1500 is definitely a contender in the hugely-competitive pickup truck market, and while it trails some of its rivals in a few areas, the downsides are not really that significant, and according to Consumer Reports, it’s a very worthy buy, especially after it has been incrementally improved over the years, with most of its faults being ironed out. Read more »

US Military More Than Doubling Alternative Transportation Spending By 2020

Should you ever find yourself talking with someone who asserts alternative energy research is problematic or worse, or that we have all the petrochemicals we’ll ever need, you can calmly cite massive expenditures by the U.S. military that validate the effort.

According to a recently published report by Navigant Research, the U.S. military will be ramping up its annual budget to $926 million by 2020 for alternative fuels development and alternative drive vehicles (ADVs). This compares to $435 million spent in 2013.

Every conceivable technology is being looked at in order to cut down on fossil fuel use. Included in these are increasing numbers of E-85 and B-20 capable vehicles as well as hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles.

The military is also investing heavily in microgrids, and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technologies within its non-tactical vehicle fleet.

What are some of the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) motivators?

It has less to do with tree hugging, and Pollyanna thinking that green energy advocates are sometimes accused of, and more with bottom-line fiscal reality.

The U.S. military is the single largest consumer of energy and fossil fuels on planet Earth.

Compounding things is that gas and diesel in tactical theaters of operation can range from $25 per gallon to $600 to “well over $1,000 per gallon” depending on how far the fuel must travel – and be defended – to the end user.

According to the 2007 CIA World Factbook, only three countries consume more oil per capita than the U.S. DoD, and only 35 countries consume more oil in total than does the DoD.

DOD Spending_alt_vehicles

Already 55 percent of military vehicles run on “alternative fuels” but the General Services Administration (GSA) says 70 percent of non-tactical vehicles yet burn gasoline.

“Navigant Research forecasts that annual fuel consumption in the non-tactical fleet will decrease by a 2.5-percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) almost from more than 81 million gasoline gallon Alternative Drive Vehicles for Military Applications,” says an executive summary for the report.

Navigant reports the military is particularly focusing on microgrids along with V2G-enabled plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs).

Development of microgrids enables bases in both tactical and non-tactical operations to more efficiently utilize energy generation sources and to operate independently of grid conditions, say the researchers.

An additional layer of energy support and storage are V2G-enabled PEVs used solely in non-tactical applications. By providing power from the vehicles’ battery packs to buildings. These can assist “islanding microgrids” and balance distributed energy generation resources.

“V2G-enabled PEVs can also be used to reduce military facilities energy costs through demand charge reductions and generate revenue through ancillary service (AS) market participation,” observes the researchers.

What does this mean for regular citizens and consumers? It will likely mean the usual trickle down of technologies will eventually come our way, or at least we’ll in time get technologies not considered classified or otherwise off limits.

“The military serves as a prime test bed for V2G technologies as there are few entities with the purchase power capabilities and fleet dynamics that can realize the many potential benefits,” says Navigant. “By the end of 2013, the military plans to spend $20 million to test a fleet of 500 V2G enabled trucks and buses.”

The Obama administration has already instructed all light duty non-tactical vehicle acquisitions to be ADVs beginning in 2016.

“As a result, military spending on ADVs for the non-tactical fleet will increase from over $435 million in 2013 to $926 million by 2020, a CAGR of 11.4 percent,” says Navigant. ”A majority of the growth will be made through spending on HEV, PHEV, and BEV technologies.”

Momentum Underway

Not said is how much of the oil-consuming budget goes toward direct or indirect protection of the oil supply line itself.

Nor was it said the military is trying to work itself out of that aspect of its job. But, it is believed, positive changes are afoot by the heavily fuel-consuming military to increase the viability of alternative energy.

U.S.S. Makin Island

U.S.S. Makin Island

The report is aimed at Automotive OEMs, defense contractors, V2G tech developers, fueling and charging companies, and of course, the military and government agencies.

Several of these stakeholders will be in position to turn around and build out solutions for the rest of society.

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Journalist Independently Verifies 816 Mile Range / 54 MPG For Chevy Cruze Diesel

We’ve already seen stories from General Motors that its Cruze Diesel intended to take market share from Volkswagen has the goods when it comes to beating the 46 mpg highway rating the EPA gives the Cruze.

On Saturday, an independent road trip was documented by GM Inside News effectively saying more of the same: Alex Villani wrote a personal and detailed account of an out-and-back road trip from New Jersey to Ohio with the more-then-$25,000 Cruze that saw 53.6 mpg on average and above 56 mpg on the return trip.

The EPA estimates the 15.6 gallon tank should allow for 717 miles, but Villani went 99 more than that at 816.

“So what does this mean? It means to us that the Cruze diesel can walk the walk, proving that it can pull down considerably higher fuel economy numbers than the ones that the EPA published,” wrote Villani. “It means that Volkswagen no longer has the market cornered when it comes to affordable diesel options.”

He said that also considering the Cruze incorporates lessons learned in the Cruze Eco, and though it’s much pricier than entry level Cruzes, it comes packed with nearly every option.

Outwardly, the car appears much like any Cruze except for badging. Under the hood, it has a 2.0-liter turbo diesel – the same displacement of a Jetta TDI.

Villani said he did not resort to hypermiling tricks, nor did he shed any weight that came standard in order to get his travel distance and mileage.

Average speeds were legal, and the trip did include up and down grades, construction traffic, and stormy weather.

Source: U.S. EPA.

Source: U.S. EPA.

“Even though the car and I had to put up with both topographical and environmental hurdles, the Cruze managed to record a fantastic 52.6 miles per gallon!” Villani said of a first leg of his round trip journey to the Lords town Assembly Plant in Ohio. “Mind you, this was with moderate air conditioning use and doing anywhere between 55 and 62 miles per hour, as I found the 60-62 mph range produced the best numbers while maintaining speed up hills.”

His story finished with a hopeful note, having been satisfied the car is competitive.

“This could open the floodgates of acceptance for diesel engine technology at GM and make it something viable for the US market in more than one car,” wrote Villani. “This could be the start of something different for GM’s North American arm and something that could help separate GM’s entries versus the competition in their respective markets.”

To read the whole account in detail, go to GMInsideNews.

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