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Categories: Environmental alternatives

Tesla goes public. Mind the risk.

Posted by: David Welch on January 29

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is finally preparing to take his car company public. On Jan. 29, Musk’s company filed for an initial public stock offering, which he has...

Detroit Auto Show: Nissan's green strategy is to go to zero

Posted by: David Welch on January 12

If there a lesson that the auto industry has learned about selling hybrid-electric cars, it’s that it’s tough to take on Toyota. The Japanese giant sold almost 12,000 copies...

Plug-in Prius on sale in 2011

Posted by: David Welch on December 16

In less than two years, Toyota plans to sell a plug-in version of its popular Prius hybrid to consumers. The company will want to fend off challenges to its...

Fisker to convert a GM plant in Delaware to build plug-in hybrid cars

Posted by: David Welch on October 26

Out with the old, in with the new. California electric-car startup Fisker Automotive will announce plans tomorrow to turn an old General Motors plant in Wilmington (Dell.) into a...

Fisker gets $528 million in government funds

Posted by: David Welch on September 22

The U.S. Government sure is hot on these electric car programs. The Energy Department granted Fisker Automotive, a California electric-car startup, a $528 million loan to finish work on...

Chevrolet Volt gets 230 mpg in the city, and only in the city.

Posted by: David Welch on August 11

General Motors made some big headlines this morning with word that its Chevrolet Volt electric car will get 230 miles per gallon in the city. That’s an impressive feat...

Buick To Get GM Plug-In SUV

Posted by: David Kiley on August 06

TRAVERSE CITY, MI--General Motors said Thursday that it will deploy the plug-in technology it has been touting for the Chevy Volt across its other three brands well, starting with the...

Introducing the Nissan Leaf Electric Vehicle

Posted by: Ian Rowley on August 02

Amid much fanfare, Nissan finally showed off the first of several new electric vehicles this morning at the opening of its new global headquarters in Yokohama. Nissan chief Carlos...

BMW pushes its diesel cars

Posted by: David Welch on July 29

Finally, a carmaker is trying to promote diesel in a meaningful way. BMW said this week that the company will offer $4,500 in “eco credits” for anyone who buys...

Honda to launch Fit and CR-Z hybrids in 2010, plans larger hybrids

Posted by: Ian Rowley on July 13

Back in May I reported that Honda had brought forward the launch date for a hybrid version of its popular Fit subcompact to late 2010. It seems the rumors were...

Nissan's Ghosn confirms Smyrna plant will make electric vehicles

Posted by: Ian Rowley on June 23

It is annual shareholder meeting time in Japan and, after receiving dozens of questions from Nissan investors in Yokohama this morning, CEO Carlos Ghosn answered a few more from reporters....

As hybrids go mainstream, Toyota, Honda rush to produce smaller models

Posted by: Ian Rowley on May 27

In Japan, it's getting difficult to make the case that hybrids are a niche for drivers keen to demonstrate their environmental credentials. In April, Honda's new Insight, which want on...

The Honda Insight, the Toyota Prius and profits

Posted by: Ian Rowley on April 28

Ask a Toyota or Honda executive how much their respective companies make per hybrid car and you're unlikely to get a straight answer. Indeed, it was progress of sorts a...

Nissan pushes electric cars, a lot of them

Posted by: David Welch on April 08

Ready or not, here come the electric cars. Nissan Motor has said that it will build an electric car in 2010, and the company has several more coming after...

GM's Electric Scooter

Posted by: David Welch on April 07

What’s next? An electric unicycle? General Motors and Segway announced in New York today that they will pair up to develop an electric two-wheel car for urban driving. The...

Insight versus Prius

Posted by: David Welch on March 18

In this corner, the challenger, weighing 2,700 pounds, the Honda Insight. Honda is taking aim at Toyota’s hybrid crown with its new Insight, a five-passenger gasoline-electric hybrid that will...

Toyota to offer cheaper Prius in Japan?

Posted by: Ian Rowley on March 16

If reports in Japan prove to be correct, the battle between Honda's new Insight and the Toyota Prius is about to get a little rougher. Today's Nikkei newspaper is reporting...

And now, GM says it has a hybrid that can beat Toyota

Posted by: David Welch on January 07

Every throne has its challengers, or pretenders in some cases, and Toyota’s hybrid crown is finally getting a bit of a test. Not only has Ford said its Fusion...

Who needs a hybrid?

Posted by: David Welch on January 06

Green is for sale. But who’s buying? Seriously, who needs a hybrid? Without question, fuel-saving technology is essential both for automakers who hope to compete in the next decade...

Ford Fusion Smokes Camry Hybrid on Fuel Economy

Posted by: David Kiley on December 29

If timing is everything, as the old saying goes, then Ford has all the talent of a hurricane the day of an outdoor wedding. First, the headline. The 2010...

GM Seems To Have Chosen Battery Supplier For Volt

Posted by: David Kiley on October 23

Reuters is reporting that General Motors has made its selection of battery supplier for its extended range electric car--Chevy Volt--due to hit the market in late 2010. Reuters says the...

Mitsubishi Motors' electric dreams

Posted by: Ian Rowley on October 06

If Mitsubishi Motors chief Osamu Masuko is unduly concerned about slumping auto sales in the U.S., Japan, and Europe he wasn't showing it at a media lunch in Tokyo today....

Chrysler's volt, er, bolt from the blue

Posted by: David Welch on September 26

Chrysler is just full of surprises. Earlier this week, the company told its nervous dealers that the company isn’t being sold off. It will be around for years to come...

When is 100 MPG not 100 MPG?

Posted by: David Welch on September 26

On this blog, my colleague David Kiley writes that General Motors could get a fuel economy rating as high as 100 miles per gallon for the Chevrolet Volt when...

Toyota will give natural gas a spark

Posted by: David Welch on September 24

When it comes to fuel efficient technologies, the only play that may get a bigger snub from Americans than diesel is natural gas. Toyota may jump in and try...

Chrysler Surprises With Extended Range EVs--And I Drive One.

Posted by: David Kiley on September 23

I have driven electric vehicles before, so driving one of Chrysler’s forthcoming extended range electric vehicles was no big surprise. [Read the story online] When I got behind the...

Chevy Volt: GM's Moon Shot

Posted by: David Kiley on September 16

According to General Motors, the Chevrolet Volt extended electric car it plans to put in dealerships in 2010 will recharge on household current in about three hours. The question...

The Honda Insight is back

Posted by: Ian Rowley on September 04

Honda's name for its new Prius killer is perhaps the least innovative thing about it--it's going to be called the Insight. The old Insight was the first mass-produced hybrid...

Nissan shows off its electric car and new hybrid

Posted by: Ian Rowley on August 06

I just got back from first drives of Nissan's much-hyped new electric car and hybrid. The event, held in soaring heat at an advanced technology showcase 90 minutes outside...

Jack Nicholson Pushes Hydrogen Cars: Can We Handle The Truth?

Posted by: David Kiley on July 31

Actor ("What If This is as good as its gets?") Nicholson is promoting hydrogen cars in California. Thanks to colleague Roben Farzad for digging out the story from

GM's Euro Electric Car Plans

Posted by: David Kiley on July 29

With some help from the British taxpayers, General Motors is bullish about the U.K. market for its E-Flex vehicles that can be engineered for electric propulsion or petrol. How many...

Are Japanese carmakers mulling carbon fiber cars?

Posted by: Ian Rowley on July 24

One of the benefits of soaring commodity prices is that alternative technologies, often superior but more costly, edge closer to becoming viable. But surely reports that coming out of Japan...

Solar power for the new Prius?

Posted by: Ian Rowley on July 06

I can't be the only person to have been slightly underwhelmed after reading headlines in Japan today stating that the next generation Prius will use solar power, making Toyota the...

More Toyota hybrids for China

Posted by: Ian Rowley on June 30

For all Toyota's recent success in China, it's fair to say the Prius isn't one of them. While Americans can't get enough of the gas-electric hybrid, Chinese sales, stymied by...

Honda taps star power to boost fuel cell car

Posted by: Ian Rowley on June 16

I wrote an article recently which alluded to Honda's irritation at the way Prius-powered Toyota established itself as a green leader even though Honda launched the Insight, its first hybrid,...

Prius: Over 1 million sold

Posted by: David Welch on May 15

Most industry milestones make for pretty weak news events. Like when Toyota passes General Motors in global sales, or when trucks became more than half the U.S. car market,...

Trash-To-Fuel: GM Invests In Another Bio-Fuel Company

Posted by: David Kiley on May 01

GM says it is investing in a company that makes ethanol economically out of nonfood plant matter. The investment in Boston-based Mascoma comes at a time when the whole ethanol...

WSJ Attack on Chevy Volt----Shocking

Posted by: David Kiley on April 23

Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. writes a pretty tedious editorial in The Wall Street Journal today, suggesting that General Motors is wrong-headed for developing the plug-in Chevy Volt. Holman W. Jenkins...

Mahindra Going For Hyrbrid-Diesels in U.S. in 2010.

Posted by: David Kiley on February 13

Global Vehicles USA Inc., the U.S. distributor of Mahindra brand pickups and SUVs, says it will offer hybrid diesel engines as an option on its vehicle line here starting in...

Honda backs diesel

Posted by: David Welch on January 13

I promise I won’t ride the diesel hobby horse too much longer. But the gas-saving engines will get a boost in the next couple of years as Honda starts...

Diesel Gets a Bad Rap

Posted by: David Welch on January 09

Here we go. California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a report saying that diesel emissions cause 84% of cancer risk in Southern California. Namely, diesel exhaust coming from...

Prius sales yet to catch fire in China

Posted by: Ian Rowley on November 05

Car sales, if not profit margins, in China are flying this year and Toyota, which is on track to smash an annual target of 430,000 units, is among the biggest...

Mahindra's Bold U.S. Plans

Posted by: David Kiley on October 25

In writing on Mahindra and Mahindra this week, I ran into considerable resistance to their plans to launch three vehicles into the U.S. in 2009—a two-door pickup, a four-door...

Civic hybrids in India--at a price

Posted by: Ian Rowley on October 12

The race to make an ultra-cheap, sub-$3,000 car for emerging auto markets has received plenty of attention of late with India's Tata and Nissan-Renault chief Carlos Ghosn among the biggest...

Toyota in trouble again with Brit ad watchdog

Posted by: Ian Rowley on June 05

Two weeks ago I noted that Toyota had got a smack on the wrist from Britain's Advertising Standards Authority(ASA) over misleading magazine ads for the Lexus RX 400h hybrid. Now,...

Green Lexus Gets a Ticking Off in Britain

Posted by: Ian Rowley on May 23

Red faces all round for the advertising execs behind a campaign for Lexus RX 400h hybrid in the UK. Britain's advertising watchdog has banned magazines ads for the green SUV...

The Diesel Armada

Posted by: Gail Edmondson on May 04

Thinking of buying a clean-diesel car to get better mileage? You might want to wait until 2008. European and Japanese automakers are about to invade the US market with new...

Nissan's green limo

Posted by: Ian Rowley on February 20

It mighn't be quite as glitzy as a stretch limousine, but for those looking to hire something a little greener how about Nissan's fuel cell-powered SUV? Starting today, Nissan...

Li-Ion Biz Attracting New Entrants

Posted by: Ian Rowley on January 23

The race to make affordable, safe and durable Li-Ion batteries for autos is heating up. Reports in Japan today reckon Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which has a stake in Mitsubishi Motors,...

A Greener BMW?

Posted by: Matthew Vella on December 28

Alt fuels -- everybody's doing 'em! BMW made headlines (in the auto press at least) by showing its Hydrogen 7 version of the 7 Series which runs, you guessed...

Will the US go diesel?

Posted by: Gail Edmondson on December 01

This year's Los Angeles Auto show is like a debutante's ball for automakers eager to display the charms of their new green technologies. Mercedes, Volkswagen and Honda are all betting...

Honda revs up its green techs

Posted by: Ian Rowley on September 25

On Saturday I got to try out some of Honda's newest green vehicles at the company's R&D center in Tochigi, Japan. Among the vehicles on show were operable versions...

Suzuki and GM plan US hybrid?

Posted by: Ian Rowley on June 12

When GM sold most of its decades old stake in Suzuki Motor in March, it looked like the end of the road for joint projects undertaken by the two companies....

Nissan brings fuel cells to the masses

Posted by: Ian Rowley on June 02

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn might not be a big fan of hybrids, but Nissan is doing its bit for fuel cells vehicles. This week, the company announced that, starting...

New York's next for Honda's Civic GX

Posted by: Ian Rowley on April 17

New York looks like being next in line for Honda's natural gas-powered Civic GX. According to Monday's Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Japan's leading business daily, unnamed Honda officials say New...

Any color you want as long as it's green

Posted by: Ian Rowley on April 06

In the era of the hybrid car and global warming--not to mention rising gas prices--Japanese carmakers don't need to be asked twice to talk up their tree-hugging credentials. Just look...

A new kind of electric car

Posted by: Ian Rowley on February 27

Okay so it's not the best looking machine in the world, but C-COMS (above) is a world first according to researchers at the University of Tokyo's Institute of Industrial...

GM and Toyota pull back on fuel cells

Posted by: Ian Rowley on February 24

GM and Toyota aren't saying a great deal on the matter, but reports in Japan's Asahi Shimbun newspaper yesterday claim the two automakers will stop working together to develop fuel...


Want the straight scoop on the auto industry? Our man in Detroit David Welch, brings keen observations and provocative perspective on the auto business.

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