Mazda US Research And Development Goes Solar

Mazda North America’s Research & Development facility in Irvine, Calif., is now powered by solar energy.

Mitsubishi Electric photovoltaic (PV) modules are now powering Mazda’s automotive research and development facility.

Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc. said it supplied Mazda with 1222 PV modules for a 317 kilowatt solar electric system that is expected to deliver half of the facility’s power needs.

Solar installation firm, Sun Integration, of Sherman Oaks, Calif., installed Mazda’s PV system, which also includes a Solectria Renewables inverter and Orion Solar Racking.

Mitsubishi Electric estimates the PV system will supply more than 489,684 kilowatt-hour annually; with the clean energy produced over the system’s expected lifespan of 25 years will prevent an estimated 18.6 million pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. This is equivalent to the emissions resulting from burning 19,625 barrels of oil, added Mitsubishi Electric.

The project was financed in part by the federal business energy investment tax credit and the California Solar Initiative rebate.

“Diversifying our energy sources and using them efficiently is part of Mazda’s environmental charter to maintain harmony with nature in our business activities worldwide,” said Jim O’Sullivan, president and CEO for Mazda North American Operations. “In addition, as a result of powering this building with solar, we can direct our utility bill savings toward further investment in automotive research and development.”

Mazda declared its investment in renewable energy for its facilities complements the company’s core environmental initiative: using existing technology to maximize driving efficiency while keeping this technology affordable for everyone. Mazda has managed to improve fuel mileage in every vehicle equipped with its SKYACTIV Technology, including the 2014 Mazda3, 2014 Mazda6 and the first vehicle to debut with the full-suite of SKYACTIV, the CX-5 CUV.

“Mitsubishi Electric prizes our long-standing relationship with Mazda, a valued customer worldwide,” said Katsuya Takamiya, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc. “We’re pleased to help strengthen the performance of Mazda’s North American Operations by supplying our solar modules, which represent the top quality Mazda has come to expect from Mitsubishi Electric.”

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Greener Volkswagen For Chinese Roads

Expect to see greener Volkswagen, SAIC and FAW vehicles on Chinese roads in the future.

The Volkswagen Group announced March 31 it will be cooperating more closely with its Chinese joint venture partners SAIC Motor Co. and First Automotive Works (FAW) Group in the field of forward-looking technologies.

Joint declarations to that effect were signed in Berlin on Friday by Prof. Dr. Jochem Heizmann, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft with responsibility for China and President and CEO of Volkswagen Group China, with Chen Hong, President of SAIC Motor Co. Ltd., and with Xu Jianyi, Chairman of FAW Group.

VW stated the further development of particularly eco-friendly models along with a joint research project was agreed for Shanghai Volkswagen (SVW), while the development and production of a new, very eco-friendly vehicle in China was agreed with FAW. The signing ceremony took place in the presence of the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, and the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr. Angela Merkel.

“Volkswagen has already been a reliable partner for the People’s Republic of China for 30 years,” said Prof. Heizmann while speaking at the ceremony. “We will continue to set the standard in the Chinese automotive industry with highly-efficient engines and forward-looking technologies.”

These projects are part of the €18.2 billion investment program in new plants and products which Volkswagen and its joint venture partners are implementing between 2014 and 2018. VW said in total, the investment program is the largest in the history of the Chinese automotive industry.

At the same time, VW explained an agreement was also reached on further expanding production capacity at the FAW-Volkswagen joint venture; a location has not yet been selected. Volkswagen has set its sights on installing the technical capacity to produce over four million vehicles per year in China by 2018.

In 2013, Volkswagen produced and sold over 3 million vehicles in China.

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Purist Loves This Car Just the Way It Is

We’ve been asking–actually, begging and pleading–for a ride in this monument to Americana but James Chen always found a way to politely turn us down. He is, he says, willing to share his Ferraris and Lamborghinis and Cadillacs, but he and his family enjoy such a personal relationship with this particular car that he seldom shares it with outsiders. He finally gave in.

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Introducing The Diesel Driver’s Next Long-Term Car: the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTec Sedan

DSC_0748NEW YORK—A 2014 Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTec 4Matic sedan is the newest member of The Diesel Driver’s long-term fleet.  The Iridium Silver Metallic Benz was delivered to Jonathan Spira, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, on Tuesday.

The E250 is part of a wave of new diesel-powered vehicles that have been put on sale for the first time in the 2014 model year, although it’s a refreshed version of the outgoing E350 BlueTec, substituting a more fuel-efficient four-banger engine for the torque laden V-6.  A quick look at the balloting for the Diesel Car of the Year, the winner of which will be announced on April 15 at the New York International Auto Show, reveals that that number has almost doubled since the previous year.

The E-Class’ mid-life refresh, however, wasn’t just a simple nip and tuck.  Given the design language introduced by the new CLA-Class and S-Class, the E-Class and wagon bodies have been significantly redesigned as well, making it the most extensive facelift we’ve yet to see and giving it the appearance of a new model.
DSC_0790

In a recent poll, more readers of The Diesel Driver, 24.2%, guessed that our new car would be the E-Class diesel, while the runners up were the Jeep Cherokee Diesel and the BMW 328d.

EQUIPPING THE 2014 MERCEDES-BENZ E250 BLUETEC 4MATIC SEDAN

The Benz starts off very well equipped, with numerous standard features ranging from Collision Prevention Assist, which uses radar-based technology to alert the driver if approaching a vehicle or stationery object at a speed that could result in a collision, Attention Assist, which Jonathan Spira renamed Coffee Cup Assist (a coffee cup icon pops up on the dash whenever the car’s computer determines the driving pattern indicates that the driver is too tired to be behind the wheel), to Brake Assist, which senses panic braking and applies maximum available power boost in such situations.

Click here to continue to Page 2Driving the Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTec

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Ford C-Max Ad Parodies Cadillac’s ‘Poolside’

What should we make of this Ford C-Max Energi commercial posted on Youtube by “Upside?”

So far the view-counter tally of the ad posted March 26 is skyrocketing faster than the original and controversial Cadillac ad at 762,735 views and a ratio of close to 7:1 thumbs up to thumbs down.

Cadillac’s ad now has a ratio closer to 3:2 thumbs up to thumbs down.

The inversion of Cadillac’s ELR “Poolside” commercial is clearly a spoof of an American ethic according to the maker of the $76,000 Cadillac ELR with the heart of a $35,000 Chevy Volt.

Instead of a rich white guy at his $28.8 million house, a black woman, Pashon Murray, the founder of Detroit Dirt promotes urban farming in a decidedly less well-to-do neighborhood.

Her dialogue and the choreographing of the 1-minute skit closely mimics the power broker character played by actor Neal McDonough in Cadillac’s ad.

This one could be analyzed a lot of different ways. A couple of obvious interpretations are that it’s a blatant capitalization on the ode to capitalism that was GM’s ad.


Another could be it’s a backlash against the rich elitism some decried.

Our comment: no comment. You are free to decide what you wish, but the C-Max ad’s inspiration is obvious – whether all in good fun, or not so much, some will surely think it’s pretty funny.

How about you? What do you think?

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This Saab Makes Us Wish Winter Was Here A Bit Longer

The timing was right for Andrew to purchase this 95 as he recently retired from working as the airport manager at the Lake Hood Seaplane Base in Anchorage. This Saab has a Ford V4 engine, four-speed shifter on the column, front wheel drive (great for Alaskan winter driving), free-wheeling carried over from early Saab two-stroke days, and a third seat in the rear for carrying children.

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Can the Desert Concorso Become a Top-Tier Concours?

The inaugural Desert Concorso was held this past weekend in Palm Desert, California, about two hours drive east from Los Angeles. There was an interesting mix of cars, and lovers of Italian machinery couldn't have been disappointed. It was a gorgeous, sunny day in the desert and walking on to the green you were immediately greeted by a fleet of Ferraris.

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Moskvich to enter WRC

Moskvitch
The Moskvich name is to return to motorsport later this year in selected WRC events ahead of a full campaign in 2015. Renault which acquired the brand in 2008 via its Avtoframos subsidiary announced the move in a press conference in is keen to use motorsport to market the brand in developing markets. The WRC project will include a full suite of Group-R rally cars as well as a wider but yet to be revealed programme.

“When you are analysing the exposure of motorsport in countries like Russia, China, India, Brazil, the south east of Asia, North Africa and even Africa, this is a very popular sport that people watch very closely” Carlos Ghosn Renault President told the assembled press. “The fact is people associate your brand with an engine and a team that is winning. People can see that Renault means technology, that Renault means reliability, we see that in Formula 1 and now we want to see it in the WRC for Moskvich.”

The new Moskvich G6-WRC (shown only as a teaser image) will be based on a yet to be launched production car which utilises the Megane platform, it will make its debut on Rallye Catalunya after being launched at the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi. Carlos Tavares, the former head of Renaultsport is heading up the project after initiating it in secret last year, the Technical Director will be Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky and the Chief Designer will be Italian Robert Ludvigovich Bartini who penned the little known Beriev VVA-14 F3 car. In Spain only a single car will run, driven by Evgeny Novikov but at Rally GB a second car will be fielded for Russian Champion Rodion Raskolnikov, whilst Mikhail Berlioz will handle testing duties.

The cars will be prepared in a special facility in Ramenko, Moscow which is complete to have a Laurel Hill style aerodynamic facility underneath the main workshop based on a disused tunnel built for a cold war era government railway that was never completed dubbed “Metro-2″.

The Russian marque will be the latest addition to a resurgent rally championship which also features VW, Ford, Hyundai, Citroen, and on selected rounds privately run Minis. A Ukrainian team is also developing a MG for the series.

Moskvich does have a long history in the sport and even developed a series of F1 cars in the 1960′s. Its last foray was the development of a Group-S specification Rally Car in the 1980′s (below).
Moskvitch
During a Q&A at the press conference, held in Lubyanka Square in Moscow, Ghosn was asked what the wider project could include his answer was tantalising “we would like to take the brand back to its open wheel roots, perhaps replacing another badge in an existing series. We have a development project at our new power unit R&D facility in Tunguska, but that is something Carlos will reveal at Sochi…”

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Tesla and U.S. Auto Alliance Petition NHTSA to Replace Side and Rear View Mirrors with Cameras


No sooner than the feds released a final rule on requiring rear visibility tech to be offered as standard on all cars sold in the U.S. by 2018, and Tesla, together with the 12-member Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) asking for permission to substitute conventional side- and rear-view mirrors with high-tech cameras. Read more »
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