Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Diesel

The environmentally-responsible Qubo Trekking with Traction +

FIAT is likely to develop a whole new set of cult followers with the release of its Qubo Trekking, a new version of Fiat’s “free space” vehicle targeting nature lovers, outdoor sports and leisure enthusiasts. This original vehicle is also ideal for the non-conformist driver in search of substance with a sense of environmental responsibility. Powered by the 75 HP 1.3 Multijet, and equipped with the new “Traction +” system, the new Qubo Trekking offers performance similar to that of a “light crossover” but with the economic benefits that only a diesel-fuelled 4X2 can offer (27 km per litre in the extra urban cycle). Environmental performance is excellent too (115 g/km of CO2).  Read More

Feather-light and with miniscule drag, the Volkswagen L1 will be the most fuel-efficient c...

Volkswagen rocked the automotive world at a lunchtime press conference on the first day of the Frankfurt Motor Show with a carbon fiber, half width, 1-liter hybrid electric diesel tandem two-seater car named the L1. When the car makes production in 2013, four years from now, it will almost certainly be the most fuel efficient car available with a combined diesel fuel consumption figure of 1.38 l/100km (170 U.S. mpg), thanks to its frugal motor combo, feather-like weight – 380 kg in total - and an aerodynamic drag co-efficient of just 0.195!  Read More

The most fuel-efficient diesel engine in the world, the Wärtsilä RTA96C, converts 50% of f...

The two engine technologies tend to be regarded as completely separate, so we rarely contemplate how gasoline and diesel can work together. But, in a series of tests conducted at the University of Wisconsin, scientists have used an engine’s fuel injection to produce the optimal diesel-gas mix for any given moment. The results are impressive: an average 20% greater fuel efficiency; combustion temperatures reduced by up to 40%; and effortless meeting of the stringent EPA 2010 emission regulations. Plus, the researchers believe that if their findings were implemented into every gasoline and diesel engine in the US, the savings could be as great as 4 million barrels of oil daily.  Read More

The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class Intelligent (E)state-of-the-art

The term “station wagon” is not favored by premium automotive brands, as it originated in reference to the distinctly proletarian vehicles with enlarged luggage space which loitered at railway stations to carry travelers the final miles to their destination. The term “Estate car” derived from the bodyworks modified upmarket vehicles used on the estates of European gentlemen to move people and gear. Estate cars have come a long way in 100 years, as witnessed by the fifth generation of the Mercedes Benz E-Class Estate with its nine airbags, adaptive damping, self-leveling rear suspension, adaptive highbeam, drowsiness detection and powered tailgate.  Read More

The new Volvo B5L hybrid bus makes London's iconic double-decker very green on the inside

There’s no better way to test the realities of hybrid technology than with public transport, where significant reductions in fuel consumption and emissions are not just desirable, but a commercial necessity. London got a little greener this week with the delivery of six new Volvo B5L hybrid double-decker buses to Arriva London. The new buses are powered by Volvo’s parallel hybrid I-SAM technology which, used on bus routes in Gothenburg, Sweden, has delivered fuel savings of 30%.  Read More

The X1 offers BMW's four-wheel-drive technology in a compact SUV

There’s no doubt that when BMW promises, it delivers. Last year we reported from the Paris Motor Show on the unveiling of the Concept X1, which BMW promised to have to market in 12 months. And, sure enough, one year later here it is: BMW’s first compact SUV (essentially it’s an X5 shrunk to a more city-friendly size) with a choice of two- or four-wheel drive and the first in the X series to have Auto Start-Stop.  Read More

The Mercedes-Benz CLS Grand Edition offers a sportier look

Merecedes-Benz is introducing a new variant in its CLS-Class four-door Coupé which features a slightly tweaked diesel engine and a host of cosmetic changes, including 18” AMG alloys and more stylish front grille louvres and headlamp housings. The CLS Grand Edition will be available in the UK from July, with a limited release of only 560 cars.  Read More

The new study by researchers at the University of California looks beyond the exhaust pipe...

By looking at the environmental impact of passenger transport – whether it be trains, planes or automobiles – beyond the exhaust fumes spewing from its collective tail pipe, researchers in the United States have discovered a significant spike in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. By taking into account transport support systems – which includes sourcing raw materials, manufacturing, as well as the construction and maintenance of infrastructure – researchers at the University of California hope to provide a more detailed view for transport planners and policy makers. And produce a better outcome for the environment.  Read More

15 of the world's biggest ships may now emit as much pollution as all the world's 760m car...

The Guardian has reported on new research showing that in one year, a single large container ship can emit cancer and asthma-causing pollutants equivalent to that of 50 million cars. The low grade bunker fuel used by the worlds 90,000 cargo ships contains up to 2,000 times the amount of sulfur compared to diesel fuel used in automobiles. The recent boom in the global trade of manufactured goods has also resulted in a new breed of super sized container ship which consume fuel not by the gallons, but by tons per hour, and shipping now accounts for 90% of global trade by volume.  Read More

 Kubota's innovative 4WD transforms between passenger and cargo mover

April 15, 2009 Work vehicles are evolving rapidly thanks to some clever design being applied to target niche markets, with the latest example being Kubota's transformable four-passenger 4WD utility vehicle. The new RTV1140CPX quickly converts from one-to-two-row seating, allowing the operator to choose between additional passenger capacity or cargo space, depending on the task at hand. We're betting such clever functionality will provide a unique solution for a wide variety of applications. The 24.8 horsepower diesel can carry a cargo of 1,100 lbs., or tow 1,300 lbs.  Read More

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