General Motors is recalling more than 145,000 pickup trucks because the hoods can fly open unexpectedly and block the driver's vision.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says some of the trucks may not have a secondary hood latch. If the main latch isn't fastened, the hoods can open while the trucks are in motion.
GM said Thursday that it doesn't know of any crashes or injuries caused by the problem. The automaker traced the problem to a parts supplier after getting four reports of trucks with missing secondary latches. ( Continue… )
New crash tests replicating some of the most deadly head-on collisions show less expensive midsize cars do a better job protecting the driver and front seat occupants than many luxury and near luxury midsize cars.
"This is a surprise to us," says Adrian Lund, President of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "It shows you don't have to spend a lot of money to get state of the art crash protection." (Read More: Whoa! 1.7 Billion Cars on the Road by 2035.)
The latest IIHS small overlap crash tests measure how well mid-size cars handle accidents involving their front quarter panels. Small overlap crashes are responsible for approximately one out of every four frontal crashes. The Insurance Institute says more than 10,000 people are seriously injured or killed in small overlap crashes every year. ( Continue… )
For decades, the stalwart of the taxi ranks has been the full-size sedan.
Sturdy, simple and cheap to buy, cars like Ford's Crown Victoria have become part of the landscape in cities like New York. But with rising gas prices and concerns over emissions, things are really changing.
While not yet a dominant force in taxi fleets,hybrid and electric vehicles are increasingly popular as a way of cleaning up city fleets.
Initial concerns over the reliability of hybrids have long passed thanks to taxis still going strong at 300,000 miles, and electric vehicles are proving their worth in the environment to which they're most suited--inner cities.
One of the major contributing factors to the Great Recession was the U.S. credit crunch. For years, banks had been loaning money to many people who probably shouldn't have been taking on additional debt. When the economy began tanking, a significant number of those consumers defaulted on their loans. As a result, banks became more cautious with their lending, which had a ripple effect on the entire country -- not least of all, the auto industry.
Five years down the line, the U.S. has begun to recover, and, not surprisingly, credit has become much easier to find. That's worried some folks (including us), but so far, Americans are keeping up with their financial obligations -- or at least their car notes.
Speaking to Peter Turek, the vice president of automotive financial services at TransUnion, theDetroit Free press reports that the percentage of Americans who are 60-days behind on their carnotes is projected to reach 0.36% by the end of December. That's near the record low.
Why focus on those who are 60 days late? Because that's how TransUnion defines delinquency. Folks who fall behind 60 days or more on their loans are often unable to catch up and frequently default. ( Continue… )
There are three main paths to improving batteries for future electric vehicles.
One is the development of entirely new technologyreplacing today's batteries entirely with something lighter, more powerful and more energy dense. The next is the greening of batteries--reducing their environmental impact.
The other is simply to find incremental improvements in today's technology--like eliminating some of its current weaknesses.
According to the Ohio State University (viaCleanTechnica), One such weakness has been found in the chemistry of current lithium-ion batteries, and scientists are now looking into fixing that issue. ( Continue… )
However you choose to enjoy herbal products, the last place you'd expect to find them is in your electric car battery.
Thanks to a new discovery though, the Madder plant, also known as Rubia, could prove useful as a natural cathode in batteries.
Madder has long been used as a source of purpurin, an organic dye used since ancient times to color fabrics.
Unlike many other future battery technologies, this one isn't aimed at improving charging time, increasing capacity or reducing weight--it's simply tasked with making batteries greener.
While the battery toxicity and rare earth metal arguments from electric car naysayers are often exaggerated, finding a renewable alternative to lithium and cobalt cathodes certainly couldn't hurt.
“Green batteries are the need of the hour, yet this topic hasn’t really been addressed properly,” suggests Arava Leela Mohana Reddy, author of the study.
"[Lithium-ion batteries aren't] environmentally friendly. They use cathodes of lithium cobalt oxide, which are very expensive. You have to mine the cobalt metal and manufacture the cathodes in a high-temperature environment. There are a lot of costs."
While current lithium-ion batteries are recycled and reused in huge numbers (and lead-acid batteries are the world's most recycled product), Reddy also explains that extracting the cobalt from batteries, during the recycling process, is quite energy-intensive.
The discovery that purpurin was a suitable alternative came during testing different organic molecules for their ability to interact with lithium ions.
Purpurin turned out to be most suitable. 20 percent carbon is added to increase conductivity, and the cathodes can even be made at room temperature. Better still, some of the purpurin used in future could be harvested from agricultural waste.
In addition to the organic cathodes, the team is working on finding organic materials suitable for anodes, and an electrolyte that doesn't break the molecules down. A working prototype of a completely organic battery could be completed in only a few years.
As with other battery technologies, we await the team's results with interest. It's good to see that, in addition to improving a battery's performance, work is still being done to make them greener, too.
There's a lot of discussion about hybrids and plug-in electric cars being sold to private buyers.
But some of the biggest gains in reducing emissions and running costs are likely to come from vehicle fleets.
While individual car owners may suddenly have to take a car 100 miles instead of their usual 25, that's far rarer for municipal fleets.
And the cost savings from greener, more fuel-efficient vehicles can be properly evaluated by savvy fleet managers.
General Motors has pulled the wraps off extensively refreshed versions of its full-size pickups, offering new (stronger and more fuel-efficient) engines, improved refinement, more advanced safety technologies, and up-to-date connectivity and infotainment systems – as well as some innovative cargo-bed and utility features.
While the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 – first shown here at a special event at Michigan Motion Picture Studios in Pontiac, Michigan, aren’t radically different from a styling standpoint, what we see here are two mainstream trucks that have been updated to fit in with the increasingly upright, imposing style of rivals like the Ram 1500 and Ford F-150 – as well as the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500 HD (heavy-duty) models, which were redesigned for 2011.
On the outside, these new trucks stand out for their tall detailed grilles, twin power-dome hoods, and projector-beam headlamps (in some trims), along with flared fenders and more sculpted sheet metal in between. Big 22-inch wheels are indeed available as an accessory. ( Continue… )
Two weeks ago, we noted that drivers of theChevrolet Volt had covered 100 million electric miles.
What we neglected to note at the time was thatNissan Leaf drivers are keeping pace, having covered more than 100 million electric miles as well.
And it's appropriate to note that total today, just one day after the two-year anniversary of the first Nissan Leaf delivery to take place in the U.S.
As of today, in fact, both cars are comfortably over 100 million electric miles.
If you're a couple of years late launching your car, and it gets only tepid reviews, and then its frontal crash safety is rated at just two stars out of five, it might be safe to say your company has a few challenges.
That's the situation for Coda Automotive, which yesterday confirmed that it had laid off about 50 people, or 15 percent of its 330-person staff.
The company's senior vice president of government relations and external affairs, Forrest Beanum, issued a statement saying:
Coda has released approximately 50 employees or 15% of our workforce across all functions to streamline our operations and right-size the Company. The Company is taking this action to better position our business going forward. We remain committed to the continued development and distribution of our products.
The quality and safety of our products is of paramount importance. Coda vehicles meet all applicable U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) and achieved an overall 4-star rating in National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) testing. ( Continue… )