Archive for the ‘Chevrolet’ Category

Hyundai looks to build a >300-mile-range electric car

August 17th, 2017

Enlarge / Signage for an electric car charging booth is displayed at Federation Square car park in Melbourne, Australia, on Friday, April 28, 2017. Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg via Getty Images (credit: Bloomberg / Getty Images)

On Thursday, Hyundai said that it intends to produce a long-range electric vehicle by 2021 that will be capable of traveling 310 miles on a charge. That vehicle, a luxury Genesis sedan, will follow an electric version of the Kona sport utility vehicle that the Korean automaker hopes to release in the first half of next year. The electric Kona should have a range of 243 miles, Reuters noted.

Along with affiliate company Kia, Hyundai announced eight electric cars and two fuel-cell vehicles coming to market in the near future—a significant jump in the number of electric vehicles (EVs) that the company has planned to bring to market in years prior. Hyundai, like Toyota, has boosted the fuel cell vehicle for years. Fuel cell vehicles use hydrogen as fuel and emit water as a byproduct. But the compressed hydrogen that runs fuel cell vehicles is hard to store and hard to transport, so it has been slow reaching the market, although fuel cell vehicles do have the advantage of being fast to refuel, unlike electric vehicle batteries.

Toyota has also recently shown signs that it’s pouring more resources into mass-producing a long-range electric car as well. In July, an article in The Wall Street Journal noted that the Japanese automaker was working on building a battery with a solid electrolyte that would go into production in 2022. With Tesla and Chevrolet rolling out moderately priced EVs with long-range capabilities, other automakers known for moderately priced cars seem to be ready to get in the ring as well.

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GM, Lyft could deploy “thousands” of autonomous Bolts in 2018

February 18th, 2017
An array of Bolt EVs

An array of Bolt EVs (credit: Martin Klimek for Chevrolet)

On Friday afternoon, Reuters reported that two sources familiar with GM’s plans said the automaker would deploy thousands of Chevrolet Bolts equipped with self-driving equipment in 2018. The move would be in partnership with ride-hailing service Lyft.

GM has said it won’t sell autonomous vehicles to individuals. Instead, the automotive giant is targeting fleets for private companies and ride-hailing companies. The American automaker partnered with Lyft a year ago to work on driverless autos, and it even purchased a Lyft and Uber rival called Sidecar after that startup closed down.

GM announced yesterday that its in-house car-sharing service, called Maven, would launch 100 Bolts for rental in the city of Los Angeles. Those electric vehicles won’t be autonomous, but Lyft drivers will be able to take advantage of the Maven cars and use them as their work vehicle for a fee.

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Chevrolet’s 2016 Cruze sells what young people value most: Lots of mpg, free GBs

May 3rd, 2016

(credit: Megan Geuss)

NASHVILLE, TN—For the last several years, GM’s Chevrolet has remade itself deftly, rising from the ashes of bankruptcy to deliver cars that perform well, stretch for fuel economy, and judiciously incorporate new tech. The first Chevy Cruze was one of those cars. It hit car lots in 2009 and saw respectable sales—as of 2014, the Cruze line sold more than 900,000 vehicles in the US alone.

Specs at a glance: 2016 Chevy Cruze
Body Type 4-door compact
Layout Front-wheel drive
Steering Rack-mounted electric power steering
Horsepower 153 hp @ 5600 rpm
Torque 177 lb-ft @ 2000-4000 rpm
Fuel Economy Manual: 29/41 mph
Auto (LS/LT): 30/42 mph
Auto (Premier): 30/40 mph
Weight 2,932lbs (LT Automatic)
Dimensions Headroom: 38.9″ in front, 37.3″ in rear
Legroom: 42″ in front, 36.1″ in rear
Base price $17,495
Price as tested (Premium RS) $29,035

Now Chevy is introducing the 2016 Cruze, but the Detroit automaker stresses that this new model is a significant departure from the old line. This metamorphosis has taken place to accommodate a continued shift in priorities among car buyers these days, who value fuel economy and connectivity above all else.

Chevy swung for the fences to meet those two priorities. The new Cruze comes with 24GB or 24 months (whichever one runs out first) of data from AT&T, broadcast from an internal antenna to a 50 ft radius around the car. Chevy also says that its LT and LS models of the car will get a whopping 42mpg. That’s without a hybrid engine.

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Chevrolet’s new fire-spitting 640hp Camaro ZL1 breaks cover

March 16th, 2016

2017 is a big year for Chevrolet when it comes to electric vehicles. Between the second-generation Volt and the forthcoming Bolt, the company is in a race with Tesla to see which manufacturer will be the first to sell 200,000 EVs and lose the IRS tax credit. But lest you think that GM only cares about efficiency and being kind to the environment, think again. Today, it took the wraps off a new track monster—the 2017 Camaro ZL1. Under the hood is a supercharged V8 (the 640hp/477kW 6.2L LT4) and General Motors’ all-new 10-speed automatic transmission.

The ZL1 has also been on a significant weight loss program. It’s 200lbs (91kg) lighter than the previous ZL1, but the new car has an extra 60hp (45kW) and 80ft-lbs (109Nm) to play with. Although you can get the ZL1 with a conventional six-speed, the new automatic gearbox sounds rather interesting. Several years ago, Ford and GM decided to collaborate on a new generation of automatic transmissions for rear-wheel drive cars and trucks—this is the first application of that project to come from Chevrolet, although with some parts and software unique to the ZL1.

The car has also had an aerodynamic facelift to distinguish it from lesser Camaros—but more importantly, to aid high-speed stability and improve cooling. Chevrolet’s Corvette Z06 supercar has faced criticism that it overheats too quickly on track—a shame given that it’s so ludicrously fast that the track is the only real place it has to stretch its legs. GM will be hoping the same isn’t true for the ZL1, which uses the same engine.

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GM and the US Army team up to test a fuel cell pickup truck

November 19th, 2015

A teaser rendering of the fuel cell Chevrolet Colorado. (credit: Chevrolet)

While they might not be perfect for every use case, powering a vehicle with a hydrogen fuel cell can be quite a compelling solution. They’re quiet, they don’t generate a lot of waste heat, and once they’ve used their fuel, you’re left with pure water. Companies like Hyundai and Toyota both have fuel-cell powered cars for sale, with Honda and others close behind. But there are other potential markets for fuel cell vehicles, including the US Army.

The traits mentioned above—being quiet, creating water as a waste product—are appealing when your mission involves being stealthy but you still need to get around. Which is why General Motors is working with the US Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) to test a modified Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck over the next 12 months to see if it can cope with the daily grind of military life. “The potential capabilities hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can bring to the Warfighter are extraordinary, and our engineers and scientists are excited about the opportunity to exercise the limits of this demonstrator,” said TARDEC Director Paul Rogers.

GM actually has a long history of fuel cell development. On a visit to the company’s heritage center earlier this year, we saw the 1966 Electrovan, a fuel cell powered electric vehicle that used the same technology that NASA employed to generate onboard power for its manned spaceflight program. More recently, in 2007 the company also tested a fleet of almost 120 fuel cell-powered Chevrolet Equinoxes with consumers, and it maintains a fuel cell research lab in Warren, Michigan (TARDEC has its own fuel cell research program in nearby Pontiac).

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Chevrolet’s autonomous, electric concept car has a swivel chair driver’s seat

April 21st, 2015

Chevrolet showed off its latest concept car this week in Shanghai with a nod to the not-so-distant future. The Chevrolet-FNR is an electric vehicle that can also drive autonomously, but the real eye-catcher is the car’s design, marked by dragonfly dual swing doors and a hubcap-free set of wheels.

Within the car, the front seats swivel 180 degrees to face the rear seats, allowing the driver to give complete control of the act of driving over to the car’s computer. Obviously, this is just a concept car, but it’s not absurd to imagine that this kind of trust in the car’s driving might be possible in several years. That would be pending government approval, of course: autonomous cars are already on US roads today, but several US states have ruled that the driver of an autonomous vehicle must stay alert and in complete control of the vehicle at all times. Component-maker Delphi recently did a cross-country trek in an autonomous vehicle, and in a few states, the driver was required to keep at least one hand on the wheel.

The Chevrolet-FNR also includes an iris-recognition start, as well as a wireless charging system (so your garage can be clear of unsightly power cords, presumably). A roof-mounted radar system maps out the surrounding environment as you drive.

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Chevrolet to build a Tesla-killer

February 13th, 2015

Chevrolet announced yesterday at the Chicago Auto Show that the company has greenlit the production of the Bolt, its new electric vehicle (EV). The car was first shown to the world at last month’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, MI as a concept, but according to Alan Batey, president of GM North America, the response from the public has convinced the company to build the car.

Although details are still scarce, the Bolt will sell for around $30,000, and GM promises a range of 200 miles on a charge. The car will be built at GM’s Orion Assembly, located near Detroit. Boosting the car’s green credentials are the fact that the plant is powered by gas from two nearby landfills and a 350 kW solar array.

The Bolt will be a direct rival to Tesla’s future affordable EV, the Model 3, and it may indeed beat the as-yet unseen Tesla to market. It’s a relatively conventional looking car, less outrageously styled than BMW’s clever (but expensive and range-limited) i3, but with an equally interesting interior—assuming that the production car hews closely to the concept GM is showing off. Bolts should start appearing in showrooms in 2017. Here’s hoping they drive well.

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