Hybrid cars

2016 Chevrolet Volt to launch next year: What we know so far

There's been very little news lately about the Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric car, and its sales in 2013 sales were stagnant.

In fact, the most recent item of note was a $5,000 price reduction on the 2014 Volt last August, to bring it closer to the center of the volume-car market.

But behind the scenes, Chevrolet is preparing the next iteration of its pioneering plug-in car.

Based on published articles and a host of private conversations with industry analysts, electric-car advocates, and--yes--a few General Motors employees, here's what we know so far about the next Volt.

Timing … Read more

130 mpg VW Golf GTE is a plug-in hybrid hot hatch

GENEVA -- Following in the footsteps of the turbocharged VW GTI and the turbodiesel VW GTD is the newly announced plug-in hybrid Volkswagen GTE. Like its Golf GT siblings, this high-performance hatchback makes about 200 horsepower but distinguishes itself with a claim of up to 130 mpg.

Under the GTE's familiar hood are two powerplants working in tandem. The first is a 1.4-liter TSI engine that generates 148 horsepower by combusting turbocharged, force-fed air with direct-injected gasoline. On the other side of the engine bay are the bright orange cables that feed electricity to a 101-horsepower electric motor … Read more

Cadillac ELR an extraordinary car at an extraordinary price

Call it a plug-in series hybrid or extended range electric vehicle, the 2014 Cadillac ELR, using the same drivetrain architecture as the Chevrolet Volt, attempts to help the quintessential American luxury automaker push the boundaries of advanced, economical mobility. This type of post-oil development has been taken up by other companies, such as BWM with its 'i' brand, but the show has really been stolen by the Tesla Model S.

To Cadillac's credit, the ELR shows excellent exterior design, employs solid cabin electronics, goes about 37 miles without using a drop of gasoline before its engine has to kick … Read more

Lexus GS 450h excellent on fuel economy, short on emotion

Buyers considering a BMW 5-series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, or even a Tesla Model S would do well to look at the 2014 Lexus GS 450h. The BMW has its handling, the Mercedes-Benz nearly drives itself, and the Tesla is the best electric car on the market. Against all that, the GS 450h has a no-nonsense character.

The GS 450h is a luxury car for the driver who doesn't want to spend a lot of time thinking about his car.

The unobtrusive exterior design supports this mission. Although Lexus added some unique styling cues in the car's last update, such … Read more

New Fiskers will have V-8s or batteries, Wanxiang says

If lithium-ion batteries are "the heart of Fisker," according to new owner Wanxiang, then what does it say is "the soul of Fisker"?

That would be the VL Destino, a version of the Fisker Karma range-extended electric luxury sedan with no batteries, electric motors, or plugs at all.

The Destino is powered instead by a supercharged V-8 engine from a Chevrolet Corvette, which takes it to a projected top speed of 200 mph.

And Wanxiang, China's largest auto-parts supplier, plans to build and sell both versions now that its purchase of Fisker was approved by … Read more

2015 Volvo XC90 Plug-In Hybrid could arrive summer 2015, execs say

When the all-new 2015 Volvo XC90 large crossover utility vehicle goes on sale in the spring of 2015, it will be followed by a gasoline plug-in hybrid version.

And, according to Volvo executives, the plug-in Volvo could come as little as three months after the launch of the regular version.

The timing came from a series of interviews conducted with Volvo's vice president of powertrain, Derek Crabb; its manager of lifecycle, business, and brand strategy, Art Battaglia; and vice president of corporate communications Dean Shaw during a drive event in Las Vegas this week of its new 2015 models. … Read more

Next Toyota Prius Hybrid to have more 'heart-racing' design?

For the last decade or so, Toyota's Prius hybrid has been the go-to car for buyers wanting something a little more fuel-efficient, a little greener than the norm.

While still immensely successful, today's Prius has more or less lost its unique selling point -- a host of plug-in vehicles has taken away its crown as the most efficient car on sale.

Perhaps a new and more "heart-racing" design will help the next model regain some of its shrinking green status, as that's what Toyota is planning for some of its less dramatic models.

Speaking to … Read more

Acura RLX Sport Hybrid conquers the turns, and the pump (hands-on)

With its flagship sedans, formerly the RL and now the RLX, Acura has struggled to maintain parity with the likes of rivals Lexus and Mercedes-Benz. That difficulty had to do with Acura's insistence on a front-wheel-drive platform fitted with a V-6 engine, pitted against rear-wheel-drive V-8 cars, and relative size. Acura's flagship sedans tended to compare with second-tier cars from the competition. Despite the large cabin and impressive Krell audio system, Acura stuck to its guns with the 2014 Acura RLX model.

The 2014 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid, however, sets itself apart through high-tech power and economy.

Sport … Read more

The Jaguar C-X75 is too much for its time

Picture the scene: it's the 2010 Paris Motor Show, the new Bentley Continental GT has been launched; Lotus has announced a stupidly overambitious all-new, five-car lineup; Renault has revealed a concept Zoe EV. It was all good stuff, but nothing that would light your face on fire. Until you got to the Jaguar stand. You see, Jaguar had brought the C-X75 -- a concept hypercar that had an all-electric drivetrain and jets to provide the electricity. JETS.

Jaguar said it was going to make it and was set to reenter the supercar market for the first time since the … Read more

Honda Accord chosen as the 2014 Green Car of the Year

LOS ANGELES -- It's that time of year again, where the Green Car of the Year is announced at the LA Auto Show. This year, the honor goes to the the Honda Accord, chosen from a field of 5 finalists that included the Audi A6 TDI, BMW 328d, Mazda3, and Toyota Corolla.

The Accord was chosen for its because it offers a reasonably efficient conventional gasoline model, up to 50 mpg from its hybrid variant, and an impressive 115 mpg combined equivalent from its plug-in hybrid model. The Green Car Journal's panel, which is responsible for choosing the … Read more