Monday, August 31, 2009
The 2+2 seater has a 1.5 liter, direct injection, turbodiesel engine with only three cylinders capable of 163 hp with peak torque of 214 lb-ft with a double clutch transmission with six speeds for maximum efficiency and flexibility.
The electric side of things combines two electric motors powered by 10.8 kwh lithium ion battery pack. One motor provides a hybrid synchronous motor on the front axle and the other a full-hybrid system at the rear.
The electric motor situated between the diesel engine and the dual clutch outputs 33 hp, with a peak of 51 hp and can produce 214 lb-ft. This rear motor can act to support the diesel motor, or can act on its own for all-electric driving.
For a short time, such as in passing maneuvers, the cumulative maximum output of all three engines increases to 356 hp, with maximum torque generated by the three engines reaching 590 lb-ft.
The lithium-ion battery pack can be recharged by regenerative braking and by plugging in. It can take two and a half hours to charge at 220 V, 16 amps. If a higher voltage is availabe (380 V, 32 Amps), the battery pack can be fully charged in 44 minutes.
The 6.6 gallon tank for diesel is capable of moving the vehicle for 400 miles. An all-electric range of 31 miles pushes the total range up to 431 miles.
Applying the criteria of the EU test cycle, BMW Vision EfficientDynamics offers average fuel consumption equal to 62.6 mpg and CO2 emissions of 99 g/km. The overall drag coefficient is 0.22.
Press Release Follows
Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, 29 August 2009, 6pm Eastern… For decades, BMW has made the reduction of emissions and fuel consumption a key part of its product development strategy, just as enhancements to the dynamic ability of each BMW have been a lasting, sustained brand value. BMW’s EfficientDynamics engineering philosophy – the pursuit of an enhanced, athletic driving experience while simultaneously lowering the consumption and emissions of each vehicle – resulted in the most dramatic drop in fleet consumption of any automaker from 1990 through 2005, according to an Environmental Defense study.
Now, the BMW Vision concept car clearly demonstrates that the EfficientDynamics objectives are fully compatible when applied to a sports car. Conceived as a 2+2-seater with plug-in full-hybrid technology, this unique car combines the performance of a BMW M vehicle with a standard of fuel efficiency and emission management that exceeds even the current levels achieved by the latest small cars. This outstanding result is made possible by the combination of BMW ActiveHybrid components with an extremely economical combustion engine, and outstanding aerodynamic qualities.
Through this unique balance of driving pleasure and fuel efficiency, the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept car clearly demonstrates the potential of BMW ActiveHybrid technology, which makes its world debut at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show in the BMW ActiveHybrid X6 and BMW ActiveHybrid 7 production models.
The power and performance are made possible by combining a fuel-efficient 3-cylinder turbodiesel with one electric motor on each axle. The intelligent combination of these units, together with precisely controlled energy management, simultaneously enhances the dynamic performance and the efficiency of the car. Overall system output is 356 horsepower, and peak torque is 590 lb-ft. The special arrangement of the two motors and diesel engine allows all-wheel drive when driving in all-electric mode. The result is minimum power loss and a harmonious transmission of the power available under all conditions.
In its design, BMW Vision EfficientDynamics for the first time conveys the dynamic look of a BMW sports car to a hybrid vehicle. Developed with decades of experience in Motorsport, the body of this unique sports car is a result of intelligent lightweight technology and aerodynamic efficiency. In the design of the interior, the focus was likewise on both the fascinating driving experience and, in particular, on transparent, hands-on technology and maximum reduction of weight.
Turbodiesel engine with unprecedented specific output.
The combustion engine is a cutting-edge turbodiesel featured for the first time in the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept car. Displacing 1.5 liters on three cylinders, the engine consistently follows the downsizing principle of using a relatively small engine combined with a turbocharger to reduce fuel consumption.
Through its compact dimensions, the 3-cylinder fits conveniently in front of the rear axle like in an agile mid-engine sports car, despite the two seats at the rear. Fuel is injected by the latest generation of High Precision Direct Injection, and the turbocharger features variable intake geometry for maximum efficiency. Engine output is 163 hp with peak torque of 214 lb-ft.
The specific output of 109 hp per liter sets a new benchmark in diesel technology. The power delivered by the turbodiesel is conveyed to the rear axle by means of a double-clutch transmission (DCT). This advanced transmission technology, which already offers a particularly dynamic driving experience in BMW’s M3 and Z4 Roadster, allows the driver to shift gears without the slightest interruption of power. BMW Vision EfficientDynamics features a newly-developed version of BMW’s DCT with six speeds for maximum efficiency and flexibility.
Two electric motors for full-hybrid drive.
The combustion engine is supplemented by two electric motors. Consistently applying the BMW ActiveHybrid philosophy, development engineers followed the principle of “Best of Hybrid,” choosing the optimum combination of a hybrid synchronous motor on the front axle and a full-hybrid system at the rear.
In this concept, the driver benefits from the efficiency of the electric motors over a far wider speed range than with a conventional hybrid car. The rear axle comes with a second-generation full-hybrid system corresponding to the technology in the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 production model. The compact electric motor positioned between the diesel engine and the DCT outputs a consistent 33 horsepower and is able to reach a peak of up to 51 hp. Maximum torque for the rear electric motor is 214 lb-ft, the power, either supporting the diesel engine or in all-electric motoring. When coasting or applying the brakes, the electric motor acts as a generator and feeds electric power to the lithium-polymer battery in the car. The electric energy developed in this way is therefore captured without any additional consumption of fuel through the principle of Brake Energy Regeneration. Energy wasted on the brakes of a conventional car is thus saved within the new power system for subsequent use in driving the car.
A second electric motor acts on the front axle. This engine, a hybrid synchronous motor, offers continuous output of 80 horsepower and peak torque of 162 lb-ft. Extra power of 112 horsepower is available for a period of up to 30 seconds, and, for a 10-second “burst,” the electric motor is able to develop 139 horsepower. The power is transmitted through a 2-stage, single-speed reduction gearbox.
BMW Vision EfficientDynamics is able to run completely under electric power, with the power of the turbodiesel engine alone, or through an infinite combination of the three power sources. Depending on driving conditions, the two electric motors may be used both for accelerating and for regenerating energy when applying the brakes and while coasting. This principle ensures efficient energy management, with the charge status of the lithium-polymer battery constantly remaining within the optimum range. When accelerating, the electric motors help to boost the car for even greater performance, ensuring immediate response and a significant reduction in fuel consumption. For a short time, such as in passing maneuvers, the cumulative maximum output of all three engines increases to 356 hp, with maximum torque generated by the three engines reaching 590 lb-ft.
Lithium-polymer battery for electrical energy.
The energy cells featured in BMW Vision EfficientDynamics are housed in a chassis element running from front to rear through the middle of the car. The front unit is the lithium-polymer complex, an ongoing development of the lithium-ion battery. Overall, BMW Vision EfficientDynamics comes with a total of 98 lithium-polymer cells, each offering a capacity of 30 amp/hours and developing continuous output of 600 Amps at a voltage of 3.7 V. For a period of 30 seconds, each cell is even able to develop maximum output of 1,200 Amps.
Serial arrangement of the lithium-polymer cells serves to generate nominal voltage of 364 volts, the gross storage capacity of the battery is 10.8 kW/h. With an unusually high discharge capacity of 80 percent, the battery delivers 8.6 kW/h for driving the car. This superior performance comes on overall weight of the entire energy storage system of just 187 lb. A further advantage is that through their optimum dimensions tailored to the specific qualities and features of the car, the lithium-polymer cells, together with the operating strategy chosen with a concept of “forward looking” energy management, reduces the thermal load acting on the battery to such an extent that there is no need for active cooling.
Plug-in solution: convenient charging of the electric power system from a conventional power socket.
Brake Energy Regeneration captures electric power generated while driving without additional fuel consumption, which is subsequently used to supply power to the electric motors and on-board network. A further option is to connect the lithium-polymer cells to a conventional power socket for a simple and efficient charge process, using a plug-in connector in the front-right wing of the car. Connected to a standard EU power outlet (220 V, 16 Amps), the system requires a maximum of 2 ½ hours to fully charge the lithium-polymer cells. And wherever a power source with higher voltage and amperage (380 V, 32 Amps) is available, the charge time is an even shorter 44 minutes.
In addition to electrical energy storage, BMW Vision EfficientDynamics comes with a conventional fuel tank at the rear end of the central chassis tunnel, offering a capacity of 6.6 gallons. Running on diesel fuel alone, BMW Vision EfficientDynamics is able to cover a distance of approximately 400 miles with its combustion engine. Benefitting from an extra range of up to 31 miles in the all-electric mode, the car offers an overall range of approximately 431 miles. As a result, this unique concept car offers all the requirements for using energy with maximum efficiency and at the same time experiencing the dynamic performance typical of BMW without any restriction of everyday driving qualities.
Performance, fuel efficiency and emission management opening new dimensions in hybrid technology.
The power delivered by the two electric motors and single diesel 3-cylinder engine gives the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept a level of performance superior to anything provided so far by a hybrid vehicle. Acceleration from a standstill to 100 km/h, for example, comes in just 4.8 seconds and the car could exceed its electronically-limited 155 mph top speed.
At the same time fuel efficiency and emission management now reach a standard only achieved, if at all, by far less powerful small cars conceived for city traffic and short distances. Applying the criteria of the EU test cycle, BMW Vision EfficientDynamics offers average fuel consumption equal to 62.6 mpg. CO2 emissions, in turn, are 99 grams per kilometer. These consumption and emission figures are measured on a consistent internal power balance, meaning that the batteries and storage media for electrical energy maintain the same charge level throughout the entire test cycle (with the same level at the beginning and end) and are charged while driving only by the car’s on-board systems.
As a plug-in hybrid, BMW Vision EfficientDynamics is able to cover the entire drive cycle for measuring fuel consumption also with its combustion engine completely switched off. Then, to subsequently charge the lithium-polymer cells to the same status as when setting off, all the driver has to do is connect the car to an external power grid. To determine the consumption of electric power, the only requirement is to compare the charge level of the battery before and after the test cycle. Applying this measurement process, the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept car consumes 17.5 kW/h per 100 kilometers, equal to a CO2 emission rating of just 50 grams per kilometer in the EU test cycle.
To determine the total volume of CO2 emissions when driving in the all-electric mode, new legal standards for measuring the level of fuel consumption are currently being prepared for hybrid and electric cars with a plug-in power supply. Applying this calculation method, the CO2 emission ratings generated by BMW Vision EfficientDynamics are reduced further to just one-third of the original figure of 99 grams per kilometer. Clearly, this significant reduction of emissions opens up a new dimension in BMW’s EfficientDynamics development strategy in this unique concept car.
Aerodynamic qualities reflecting BMW’s Motorsport experience.
BMW Vision EfficientDynamics also takes a new approach in its design and streamlining, the body and the interior clearly expressing the unique combination of supreme efficiency and the sporting performance of the brand. Following BMW’s design language, this concept car visualizes both highly efficient aerodynamics and intelligent lightweight construction.
In its design, BMW Vision EfficientDynamics differs from the usual low-emission car concepts. The principle of “form follows function” is not just for the overall look of the car, but embraces each and every detail. Measuring 48.8″ in height and boasting a sweeping, arch-like roofline, BMW Vision EfficientDynamics offers the slender silhouette of a classic Gran Turismo. With the combustion engine fitted in front of the rear axle, the designers have succeeded in giving the car a very low front end, with the flow of air being further smoothened by active louvers in front of the radiator, which close completely when the need for cooling air is low. This efficient function follows in the footsteps of the active air flap control already used as a feature of BMW EfficientDynamics in some of BMW’s current production models. As a further highlight, BMW Vision EfficientDynamics guides air smoothly and exactly as required into the car through an active air intake at the front.
Numerous details in the design of the body are based on the know-how BMW has gained in Motorsport, a number of body elements serving as air deflectors and guide vanes. Designed as ducts, for example, the A-pillars serve to channel the flow of air in the same way as the rear lights with their wing profile. The floor of the car is fully covered from front to rear and from one side to the other, thus maintaining a smooth surface to avoid any air swirl liable to increase fuel consumption. Slender openings around the front air dam guide the air flowing specifically into two closed ducts leading inside the front air dam to the wheel arches where the air comes out again through a very slim aperture at high speed, flowing just next to the outer wheel flanks. This air jet rests on the front wheels like a curtain and is therefore referred to most appropriately as the “air curtain.” It provides a highly stabilizing effect.
Overall vehicle concept for a drag coefficient of just 0.22.
To further optimize the aerodynamic qualities of the entire vehicle and keep rolling resistance to a minimum, BMW Vision EfficientDynamics comes with tires and wheels of quite unusual size on a sports car. The tires measure 195/55, while large 21-inch wheels provide a contact surface on the road otherwise offered only by a much wider tire. In combination with the sophisticated axle geometry, this ensures agile driving behavior.
The extra-large wheel covers extending over part of the tire flanks add to the unique, very different look of BMW Vision EfficientDynamics from the side. The blade profile integrated in the wheels serves furthermore to reduce the negative effect of the turning wheels on the overall aerodynamics of the car. In all, these features optimizing the aerodynamic qualities of the car give the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept car a very low drag factor (CX) of just 0.22.
Technological look as a strong impression of intelligent lightweight construction.
In both exterior and interior design, BMW Vision EfficientDynamics stands out clearly as a strong spearhead in technology. Many components of the vehicle are presented in full view expressing the “transparent” character of the car as a powerful visual feature of lightweight technology. The chassis and suspension of BMW Vision EfficientDynamics are made completely of aluminum; the roof and the outer skin on the doors are made almost completely of a special polycarbonate glass automatically darkening as a function of the light shining on the car.
Measuring 181.1″ in length, 74.8″ in width and 48.8″ in height, this unique concept car offers ample space for up to four passengers and their luggage. Thanks to the consistent lightweight construction strategy applied on the car, curb weight is 3,076 lb, with the center of gravity remaining very low. In its power-to-weight ratio, the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept car is far superior to all other hybrid cars, achieving the same standard as extremely dynamic sports cars with a conventional combustion engine.
Carrying a maximum payload of 981 lb, this unique 2+2-seater is fully suited for everyday traffic. Luggage capacity of 5.3 cu ft, in turn, allows the driver and passengers to conveniently take along two golf bags. And to meet additional loading requirements the backrests of the two rear seats may be tilted down individually to provide extra storage space.
Emotional design through sculptural shapes and layering technology.
Reflecting the innovative drive concept of this unique car, the design of BMW Vision EfficientDynamics likewise takes a new approach in combining functional progress with a most powerful emotional impact.
This has been achieved through the close cooperation of BMW’s Design and Technical Development Divisions starting at an early point and continuing consistently throughout the entire development process. The result is a brand-new vehicle architecture with the drive components as well as the body and interior elements perfectly coordinated and matched to one another with maximum flexibility and individual style.
A fully integrated design philosophy also provided new options in using harmonized design principles connecting the exterior and the interior and providing an interacting effect between the two areas.
Sculptural design language giving BMW Vision EfficientDynamics a fully harmonized, complete look ensures the proportions typical of a BMW sports car. The front, side, rear and roof areas, for example, flow smoothly into one another. Dynamically contoured surfaces and shapes, in turn, create highly attractive light and shade effects accentuating the light and sporting character of the car in an emotional manner.
Layering technology developed by the BMW Group Design Division acts as the fundamental guideline in designing the exterior and interior. Applied for the first time in exterior design, this technology layers one surface on top of the other, creating very smooth seams and joints to reduce the number of components and, accordingly, the weight of the car. As a result, BMW Vision EfficientDynamics meets the most demanding aerodynamic requirements without using any additional body elements, simply through the structure of the surfaces optimized for a smooth flow of air.
Interior: innovative lightweight construction and unprecedented orientation to the driver.
In the design of the interior, innovative layering technology provides an unprecedented symbiosis of function and stylish shapes intentionally reduced to a minimum, consistently implementing and visualizing the lightweight principle also inside the car.
Specific components such as the central air vent not only serving to enhance motoring comfort but also acting as part of the cockpit, perform several functions in one. This multi-functionality is then presented visibly within the car, the use of particularly sophisticated materials providing a highly attractive combination of innovation in technology and quality clear to the eye and the touch of the surface.
This interaction of lightweight construction and individual well-being also comes out clearly in the design of the controls and switches, with a leather band, for example, running round the aluminum gear selector lever on the center console. Materials combining lightweight technology and all the qualities required are also to be admired all round the cockpit of BMW Vision EfficientDynamics, giving the car an unusually generous feeling of space for a 2+2-seater. The body-contoured seats, for example, are made up of a kevlar shell, a backbone structure, and seat padding with personalized fillings. Clearly, this combination alone ensures comfort at a minimum weight. The driver’s and front passenger’s seats are connected firmly to the center console to form a joint interior “landscape”, while the rear seats anchored on the floor would appear to be hovering in space. Natural materials and light colors on the seat upholstery and all interior linings underline the light, sophisticated and sustainability-oriented atmosphere within the passenger compartment.
The instrument panel is deliberately padded only where technical components have to be appropriately covered, thus making an important contribution to passenger safety in the event of a collision. The instrument cluster played a fundamental role right from the start in the design process, serving as the starting point for all surfaces within the interior and thus creating a particularly powerful rendition of that driver orientation typical of BMW.
Innovative light technology: providing clear signals to the outside and offering soothing ambient illumination inside in a unique symbiosis.
LED lights at both the front and rear end of BMW Vision EfficientDynamics provide an innovative combination of the symbols typical of the brand and clear design language oriented towards trendsetting technology. The distinctive look of the dual round headlights characteristic of a BMW is emphasized in particular by the use of LED technology. The rear lights are integrated also in their function into the design of the entire rear section, forming part of the rear air deflector and thus merging completely into the rear contour.
Extremely flat and compact, the rear lights are made up of innovative LED units forming a smooth and consistent red surface when not in use. Only when used do the respective light chambers take on the appropriate color such as yellow on the direction indicators. This innovative light technology also provides an intense symbiosis of the exterior and interior, again promoting and further refining the driving experience.
This is also why the ambient illumination of the interior comes with new features and qualities, the light sources within the passenger compartment being fed from the positioning lights at the side, the rear lights and the brake lights, thus changing the atmosphere created by the lights within the car as a function of driving conditions.
The optical impression conveyed by BMW Vision EfficientDynamics also results in other areas from the symbiosis of the exterior and interior, eliminating the conventional barriers between the two. The lines within the interior, for example, continue on to the innovative design of the engine compartment lid, while in its shape the third brake light positioned higher up on the car follows the structure of the glass roof and tapers to the outside where the roofline moves down gently to the rear.
Overhead doors for convenient access to all seats.
The doors on BMW Vision EfficientDynamics open up like bird’s wings, turning on pivots in the front roof column at the level of the side direction indicators. Since the car has no B-pillars, the large door cutouts ensure convenient entry also to the rear seats. The pivots on the doors also provide the base for the exterior mirrors, thus forming an ideal combination of function and aesthetic design. The structure of the doors is also characterized by several layers of materials on top of one another and the optical and functional symbiosis of the interior and exterior this technology is able to offer. Made up of three layers, the overall structure comprises the outer glass surface, an interim load-bearing layer, and the interior cover with its particularly smooth shapes and fl owing forms clearly visible to the passengers, layering technology again, therefore, opening up new perspectives.
The large glass surfaces extending far down on the body also provide a strong optical impression of the low seating position close to the road. And at the same time a stable sidebar ensures the body stiffness and crash safety naturally required on every vehicle. Flowing to the inside at its central point, this safety element also serves as an armrest. This interplay of the three layers also helping to minimize the weight of the car continues on the trim bar running along the door and extending out of the armrest, finally flowing into the outer door opener on its path from inside to outside.
Clear focus on the essential: 3-dimensional Head-Up Display.
Layering technology is also used on the displays in the instrument cluster and in the Head-Up Display developed to an even higher standard on BMW’s new concept car. The Display now creates a powerful impression of three dimensions, at the same time providing the option to present various signals more in the front or more in the background, depending on their relevance and current driving conditions.
The Head-Up Display projects information important to the driver on to the windscreen. Indeed, innovative presentation technology even allows the superimposed presentation of several views in three dimensions, keeping, the gauge graphics visible in the background while the latest information on route guidance or warning signals from BMW Night Vision, for example, are shown in the foreground.
The sequence in which such signals appear depends on the driving mode chosen by the driver, the display technology, again depending on the driver’s personal preference, enhancing a particularly sporting, a more comfort oriented, or an efficiency-based style of motoring. Through its design alone, the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept car clearly shows that highly efficient individual mobility may by all means be presented in emotional style. BMW already offers models in all vehicle segments which, compared with the competition, ensure the lowest level of fuel consumption and emissions combined with superior power and performance.
And now BMW Vision EfficientDynamics confirms BMW’s commitment to offer a perfect combination in future of unique driving pleasure and optimum qualities in the responsible use of natural resources.
In the design process the need for sustainable management is borne out most clearly by the GINA (Geometry and Functions in N-fold Augmentation) concept developed by the BMW Group. In this case maximum creative freedom sets the foundation for innovative solutions challenging the conventional and meeting the requirements of the future. This makes the GINA principle particularly well-suited for developing visions for the future reflecting both the wish for emotional style and individual character as well as the quest for sustainable management and efficiency. From the dimensions of its wheels through the design of the rear lights and all the way to the configuration of the cockpit, BMW Vision EfficientDynamics therefore boasts a number of details both outside and inside which, going far beyond conventional solutions, open up a new approach to maximum efficiency and that Dynamic ability typical of BMW.
Forward-looking energy management adjusting to individual requirements.
With the individual system components on board BMW Vision EfficientDynamics being networked with one another, conditions are perfect for implementing a forward-looking system of energy management using information gathered by the sensors of the driver assistance units fitted in the car. Data provided, for example, by the rain sensor or Active Cruise Control with its Stop & Go function as well as by the navigation system, and subsequently evaluated by the central control unit, offers an overview of current and upcoming driving conditions. Then, evaluating such data, the on-board computer is able to forecast driving conditions on the stretch of road immediately ahead, such calculations serving to prepare the car for upcoming requirements and make efficient use of the energy available through optimum operation of all systems.
Should the high-performance central computer establish, for example, that the driver is about to take the motorway, the power used for running the cooling system is reduced for a certain period in advance, on the assumption that the short increase in coolant temperature resulting from such an energy-saving measure will quickly be set off by the higher speed of the car on the motorway. Another example of such pre-conditioning is the regeneration of energy from the air conditioning, from Electronic Power Steering and the Brake Assistant.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Seattle received $1.4 million in federal grant money to purchase 15 diesel electric hybrid trucks. The money will also go towards equipping city-owned properties with electric charging stations. $500,000 of the grant will go towards the electric charging station, with the rest being used to pay for the trucks.
It's estimated the diesel hybrids will save more than 10,000 gallons of fuel annually.
The Electric Transportation Engineering Corporation (eTec) is line to get $20 million in federal grant money, which will be used to install 2,550 charging systems for electric vehicles.
Maryland will be buying 150 hybrid vehicles with $5.9 million in federal stimulus money. The hybrids will be used by private companies. Aramark, Efficiency Enterprises, Nestle Waters of North America, Sysco Corp. and UPS who are all part of the Maryland Hybrid Truck Good Movement Initiative. The new fleets will cost $14.7 million, so the companies are paying almost two-thirds of the cost.
Aramark alone is expecting to purchase 50 hybrid vehicles.
The hybrids are estimated at reducing fuel consumption by 460,000 gallons a year.
The Kentucky Clean Fuels Coalition will use $12.9 million in federal stimulus funds to purchase hybrid electric school buses. The money is coming through the Dept of Energy, which estimates the new buses will save 122,000 gallons of petroleum a year.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Honda Insight and the Toyota Prius received five star ratings as part of the safety testing for vehicles in Europe (Euro NCAP - For safer cars | Safety comes clean). Euro NCAP assesses the safety of new cars.
The report notes in particular the high scores for pedestrian safety that "not only fulfil Euro NCAP’s current five star requirements, but already meet the organisation’s challenging 2012 targets."
Euro NCAP’s top scorers with five star results are the Honda Insight, Kia Sorento, Renault Grand Scenic, Skoda Yeti, Subaru Legacy, Toyota Prius 3 and the Volkswagen Polo.
The Toyota Prius received 88%, 82%, 68%, 86% for Adult Occupant Protection, Child Occupant Protection, Pedestrian Protection and Safety Assist respectively. The Honda Insight scored 90%, 74%, 76%, and 86%.
From 2009, Euro NCAP’s new overall rating covers Adult Occupant Protection, Child Occupant Protection, Pedestrian Protection and a new area of assessment: Safety Assist. Under the new testing regime, vehiclesare awarded a single overall score from one to five stars. The assessment incorporates all previous aspects and includes the recently introduced Rear Impact (Whiplash) tests. In addition, the availability of ESC and speed limitation devices is considered. The overall rating is based on the car’s performance in each of the four main areas and the scores are weighted with respect to each other. Over the next three years, stricter requirements will be introduced increasing the emphasis on all-round safety performance and demanding higher levels of achievement in each area.
Currently under the new rating scheme, carmakers require 25% in pedestrian protection to be awarded an overall five star rating. By 2012 carmakers will have to achieve 60% in pedestrian protection to achieve this.
The final Cash for Clunkers numbers have been released. With 690,114 deals submitted, the final bill will total $2.877 billion. That was after the deadline was extended for submissions until Tuesday evening. The deadline was extended when the CARS website went down for dealers on Monday.
The White House Council of Economic Advisers said the program will create or save 42,000 jobs in the second half of the year. Check out my list of winners and losers during the C.A.R.S. Program.
Toyota, Honda and Nissan outpaced the 'domestic' auto makers; GM, Ford and Chrysler 41% to 39%.
New Vehicles Manufacturers
Toyota - 19.4%
General Motors - 17.6%
Ford - 14.4%
Honda - 13.0%
Nissan - 8.7%
Hyundai - 7.2%
Chrysler - 6.6%
Kia - 4.3%
Subaru - 2.5%
Mazda - 2.4%
Volkswagen - 2.0%
Suzuki - 0.6%
Mitsubishi - 0.5%
MINI - 0.4%
Smart - 0.2%
Volvo - 0.1%
All Other - <0.1%
The average fuel economy of the trade-ins ended at 15.8 mpg, while the new vehicles averaged 24.9 mpg. The result is a 9.2 mpg increase or 58% improvement.
Vehicles Purchased by Category
Passenger Cars: 404,046
Category 1 Truck: 231,651
Category 2 Truck: 46,836
Category 3 Truck: 2,408
Vehicle Trade-in by Category
Passenger Cars: 109,380
Category 1 Truck: 450,778
Category 2 Truck: 116,909
Category 3 Truck: 8,134
Top 10 new vehicles purchased
1. Toyota Corolla
2. Honda Civic
3. Toyota Camry
4. Ford Focus FWD
5. Hyundai Elantra
6. Nissan Versa
7. Toyota Prius
8. Honda Accord
9. Honda Fit
10. Ford Escape FWD
Top 10 trade-in vehicles
1. Ford Explorer 4WD
2. Ford F150 Pickup 2WD
3. Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD
4. Ford Explorer 2WD
5. Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan 2WD
6. Jeep Cherokee 4WD
7. Chevrolet Blazer 4WD
8. Chevrolet C1500 Pickup 2WD
9. Ford F150 Pickup 4WD
10. Ford Windstar FWD Van
Requested Voucher Dollar Amount by State:
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA $67,500
NEW HAMPSHIRE $23,045,500
NEW JERSEY $103,375,500
NEW MEXICO $13,941,500
NEW YORK $156,292,000
NORTH CAROLINA $78,601,500
NORTH DAKOTA $8,938,000
PUERTO RICO $2,252,000
RHODE ISLAND $10,690,500
SOUTH CAROLINA $37,207,500
SOUTH DAKOTA $10,367,500
VIRGIN ISLANDS $1,553,000
WEST VIRGINIA $13,477,000
Seems like a long time from now, but Mazda is planning on increasing their fleet fuel economy by 30% over the next five or six years.
Mazda will be working on its powertrain, but without giving up the rotary engine. They are looking to add in idle-stop (start-stop technology) and direct injection spark ignition. That may also lead to regenerative braking, electric power steering, and electric water pumps.
The direct injection spark ignition will have a combination of smaller displacement, higher power output, and greater efficiency. It's estimated the 2.0 liter four-cylinder engines paired with the new transmissions will increase city and highway fuel economy by 10 mpg to 32 and 42 mpg, respectively.
Mazda is also considering lightening up the frame using alternate structural materials and new bonding tech.
The next generation of engines will most likely start with the redesign of the 2013 RX-8, Mazda 5, or the MX-5 Miata.
Monday, August 24, 2009
So, here we are on the last day and the CARS website is broken again. As dealers rush to submit all the last minute claims by 8 PM tonight, they have apparently overwhelmed the government run site again.
Although that might not be a bad thing, given that some dealers wanted some extra time to make sure they got all their entries in anyways. A hard deadline of 8 PM tonight was set, but given the hiccup in service, I'm wondering if the deadline will be extended.
On the other hand, that might be a bad thing since 635,186 claims for $2.65 billion have already been submitted, according to the Dept of Transportation. With only $3 billion in the well, it has some dealers wondering if the government will cover their deal if they overrun the limit.
See the winners and losers in the cash for clunkers program for more details on the CARS program. Both its successes and failures have been a free-for-all ride that seems to be determined to continue right up to the last minute.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Toyota will introduce another hybrid sedan (Kyodo news via GCC), based on the Lexus HS 250h. The price is expected to fall between the Prius and the HS 250h.
The SAI will have the same platform as the 250h, but with a different interior and exterior.
Toyota is also looking to introduce a cheaper hybrid based on the Vitz and a hybrid minivan, possibly by 2011.
Cash for Clunkers will officially end on Monday at 8 p.m. But don't wait till then to make the deal if you're still interested. That's the hard deadline for dealers to file their paperwork, although based on history, I'm guessing they'll be given time to have the claim rejected for errors, at which point they can resubmit.
Cash for Clunkers to end on Monday - Yahoo! News
The popular program will end at 8 p.m. EDT Monday after burning through much of its $3 billion in funding in just a month. All new deals will have to be completed and dealers must file their paperwork by the deadline in order to get repaid for the big incentives.While the program has certainly increased sales for car makers over the past month and a half, the program has certainly seen a lot of issues that made it a headache for almost everyone else.
History of the Cash for Clunkers (CARS) program
After setting aside $1 Billion in funding, car makers quickly jumped on board, setting up advertising and websites for customers to get all the details.
The program was criticized roundly by analysts and environmentalists. One thought the impact would minimal on sales, while the other thought the environmental impact that was being touted would be negligible.
Government Gets a Refresh
Then there was the 'refresh' of fuel economy figures by the government. Vehicles on the borderline were being pushed back up over the minimum fuel economy requirement even after the program had begun. Which meant that some vehicles were being sold under the program were no longer eligible for the program. The government ended up telling dealers if they had made the deal before the 'refresh' the government would still cover the sale.
Is There Such a Thing as Being Too Popular?
The CARS program was so popular with dealers at first, they crashed the website almost immediately after it was opened. Within a week of its official beginning, the program was almost brought to a halt since the Billion dollars set aside was already gone.
Congress worked 'quickly' to set aside another $2 Billion for the program. The CARS program was supposed to last four months on $1 billion. It took almost four days to burn through most of that. The two billion add-on helped the program last one month in total. The program was originally going to be funded for $4 billion and last one year.
The Check is in the Mail
Then dealers started complaining that it was taking too long to get the money from the government. Processors working on the claims were doubled, then tripled, but even over the past few days, little of the promised rebates have gotten to dealers.
This causes big issues for the dealers because they have to pay for the car within days of selling it. Dealers complained they had sold over 100 cars using the program, but did not have the money to cover the cost of the rebate to pay off the car.
Things were so bad, Chrysler, Nissan and GM both ended up promising to cover the cost with interest free loans, while Toyota has added a 60 day loan that is not interest free for dealers until they get paid by the government. In the meantime, a lot of the cars sold under the program are still sitting on dealer lots, waiting for the payment to come through. Dealers are refusing to deliver until they've received payment.
Numbers? What Numbers?
Although the Transportation Department has released summarized tables on the program almost daily (see the halfway point), the AP and others have complained loudly that the Obama administration refuses to release the full list of trade-ins and purchases. Certainly, the figures released have been slightly different than those compiled elsewhere by surveys (which is to be expected). But why not release the full list?
The final numbers put the total at $2.877 Billion, with a total of 690,114 submissions.
Winners and Losers
In the end, the government is claiming the program has been a wild success. It's certainly been way more popular than expected. But 'success' is defined by the beholder.
Environmentalists laud the increase in fuel economy, while denouncing the 'recycled' vehicles going into the landfills. They also point out the program could have been set up to improve the fuel economy a lot more.
Analysts were right that the number of sales made were a small portion of those made on an annual basis, and are worried that these sales are just ones that would have already been made, if not now. Instead, they worry the program has accelerated the sales of that would have been made over the coming year, which now that the program is ending, will put a crimp on future sales.
Dealers, while extremely excited about the foot traffic and extra sales, have been going into the hole to cover the costs of waiting for the rebates from the government. It's gotten so bad that a lot of dealerships were already backing out of the program, before it's official end. In fact, dealer associations were asking the government to end the program sooner rather than later.
Auto maker executives and workers are probably the only group who thought very highly of the program at the beginning and are still excited about it. It certainly led to an increase in sales over the past couple of months, and did lead to several decisions to re-open or speed up production of certain vehicles. That certainly has to make the laborers happy. But I guess we'll have to see what the long term impact is on sales.
Customers, I'm sure, were happy to get a new vehicle with such huge rebates on vehicles they could not have gotten a trade-for as much as they did. But it's been widely reported that car dealers were taking advantage and were not cutting back on the purchases as much as they normally would have. In other words, people were paying sticker price for the cars they normally would have haggled a lot more about.
And that may be a problem for some. In the immediate aftermath, of 1,000 buyers surveyed by CNW Purchase Path, 17% said they had some or serious doubts that they should have made the new-vehicle acquisition. Only 6-8% normally have buyers remorse after just one month according to the report.
"Primary reason: They are now facing a $275-$350-per-month car payment that didn't exist prior to acquiring the car or truck. That amount, they say, could negatively impact the total family budget more than expected prior to buying the new vehicle."
Tax revenues will certainly go up for some, both for sales and excise. That will certainly help some state and local tax bases. But then, the money came from the federal government, so tax money paid for it in the first place.
Insurance companies are probably happy to have higher premiums being paid out on the more expensive vehicles.
Charities are losing out, however. With these 'clunkers' being recycled, they will not end up in the hands of charities who would have normally gotten the donation.
Tax payers may not be happy since they just spent $3 billion on a program to prop up auto makers who they have already paid billion to become part owners of. Unless they were the customers who participated in the program. I know I've heard of some resentment ("Where is my rebate for buying a fuel efficient vehicle in the first place?").
And then there's the argument being made that Toyota has been the majority winner for sales under the program. Does that mean we just propped up a foreign company more than we helped the 'domestic' companies? I would have to say no, since the most popular cars being sold under the program are mostly made in the US (Yes, the cars from Toyota are made here). But the argument can be made, and won, in the other direction.
How About You?
Was it a success or a failure for you?
Toyota will be raising their output from 6.3 million to 6.67 million for the current business year through March 31 according to the Yomiuri newspaper (via Bloomberg). The increased output is due to the increased demand in hybrid vehicles.
Businessweek writer Ian Rowley thinks this might mean Toyota could be headed back into profitability one year ahead of schedule. That is, if sales improve a little bit more or the yen weakens a little bit more.
And that may all be due to the highly popular hybrids in and out of Japan. The LS 250h has 10,000 pre-orders (20X the expected number) and the Prius is still the top selling car in Japan with a back order months long.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Does no one at the New York Times know about the electric RAV-4?
Toyota Holds Back in the Race to Go Electric - NYTimes.com
“Why is Toyota waiting on electric cars?” asked Tadashi Tateuchi, a former race car designer turned electric-car evangelist.The EV RAV-4 was around for years (1997-2003), and for that matter, is still running strong if you look at the vehicles that are still running even if they're not being sold.
Even when electric cars are sold widely, the company says, they will be suitable only for short trips and serve a decidedly niche market.
Toyota is instead building on its hybrid technology, bringing out a plug-in, gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle later this year that runs a short distance on batteries before the hybrid system kicks in.
“Electric cars are a disruptive technology, and Toyota knows that,” Mr. Shimizu said. “I wouldn’t say Toyota is killing the electric vehicle. Perhaps Toyota is scared.”
Now, that's not to say that Toyota is all that interested in electric vehicles, as opposed to hybrids. They have the most popular hybrid on the road today and are likely to want to keep that sort of success.
So the argument in the story being made is a legitimate one. But missing the electric car Toyota had out over a decade ago seems a little bit ... wrong.
Even as J.D. Powers predicts the best month of the year due to the CARS program, the Obama administration is talking to dealers and telling them the program will be winding down, most likely by early September.
J.D. Powers and Associates is expecting August retail sales at slightly more than 1 million units, up nearly 2 percent from one year ago. This is the first time, if it happens, that sales will have increased year to year since June, 2007.
Given the positive impact of the CARS program, J.D. Power and Associates is increasing its forecast for 2009 to 10.3 million units for total sales. Retail sales are projected to come in at 8.6 million units--300,000 units more than previously expected--while the projection for fleet sales has been reduced to account for a shortage in inventory.Meanwhile, the Obama administration is making plans to wind down the program. An announcement on the end is expected by tomorrow.
Already 435,000 sales have been made using the Cash for Clunkers program. But dealers are still waiting on the money and are opting out of the program without waiting for the end.
Last night on a new report, one dealer spoke about making over 100 deal with the CARS program, but he still hasn't seen one cent back from the government. He has started to hold up on delivering the vehicles to the new owners until they get a check from CARS. ("Dealers typically borrow money to put new cars on their lots and must repay those loans within a few days of a sale.") Multiply 100 by $3,500 or $4,500 and you can quickly see why dealers are frustrated with the program.
The program is tripling the number of people processing claims.
In the meantime, despite receiving a lot of summary numbers, the AP and others are still waiting to get their hands on the full list of vehicles being turned in and sold.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
As the CARS program, also known as Cash for Clunkers, now hits $1.8 Billion (out of the $3 Billion now available) in submissions, questions about how much longer the program will last are getting louder. Dealerships are apparently getting sick of waiting for their money.
NY dealers pull out of clunkers program
The Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, which represents dealerships in the New York metro area, said about half its 425 members have left the program because they cannot afford to offer more rebates. They're also worried about getting repaid.
Dealerships work on cash, and they can't afford to wait for the government to pay them back. I read the other day (I wish I had the source) that dealers have to pay the money they owe on the cars they sell within days of making the sale.
Despite tripling the number of workers processing claims, dealerships are starting to opt out of the program.
That may work to the CARS program advantage. At the pace they're running, the money is going to run out by the end of August, rather than in September.
Or maybe that should be dead on the table? Either way, the crossover from Buick was killed off almost as soon as it was announced.
Based on feedback they were getting, within one day GM executives killed off the crossover, along with the plug-in hybrid that was to go along with it.
This does not mean the plug-in hybrid is dead, but it will have to find a new home. After starting out as a Saturn Vue plug-in hybrid, the technology was said to be moved to the new crossover. Badging for the the test vehicle was changed, but now GM will have to find a new home for their plug-in.
Reports from the Front | GM FastLane
Last Friday, reaction to the Buick crossover was discussed at the meeting of our Executive Committee, the newly formed group that steers product decisions, and it was decided that if it didn’t belong, it didn’t belong. Buick crossover canceled. Fritz Henderson, Bob Lutz and I and the rest of the committee decided to take swift action to prevent a potential underperformer from reaching the marketplace. And we decided that the important plug-in hybrid technology would be applied to another vehicle, at no delay, that we’ll discuss in the very near future.Again, the plug-in vehicle will live on, even if the crossover from Buick will not.
The depressing part of all of this for me is the plug-in Vue was supposed to be coming out sometime soon. Now, who knows? If they can't even find someplace to put the engine...
Starting in 2011, Toyota will buy batteries for its line-up of hybrids from Sanyo Electric (Reuters).
But what kind of batteries?
If we're talking about lithium-ion battery packs, then we get a good idea about when Toyota is going to start using Li-Ion, and how many they are going to use per year. Toyota is planning on buying 10,000 batteries a year from Sanyo.
Could this be the upper limit on plug-in Prius for 2012?
Or this could just be a way of obtaining more battery packs for their current Prius. Production has been limited by the number of battery packs Panasonic can build right now. Perhaps Toyota is just working on alleviating that issue.
I find the first possibility more plausible than the second.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
The Cash for Clunkers program has reportedly seen 358,851 submissions for the program from dealerships. Those submissions indicate the government owes about $1.5 billion in rebates, making this the halfway point for the program. That is, unless the government once again decides to push more money out.
The government has only released some summary numbers on the program so far. The AP and others have applied for the raw data, but so far they have not received anything.
The latest figures from the government indicate that Toyota has surpassed GM for the most popular car maker to buy from using the CARS program. Cars make up the majority of vehicle bought, while trucks are the majority of vehicles being recycled. That leaves a lot of room for improvement in fuel economy (from 15.8 mpg to 25 mpg). It's interesting to note the differences between what the government is releasing and the figures obtained from surveys by Edmunds and others.
Top 5 manufacturers for new vehicles
- Toyota 18.9 percent
- GM 17.6 percent
- Ford 15.4 percent
- Honda Motor Co. 12.9 percent
- Chrysler 9.1 percent
- Toyota Corolla
- Honda Civic
- Ford Focus fwd
- Toyota Camry
- Toyota Prius
- Hyundai Elantra
- Ford Escape fwd
- Honda Fit
- Nissan Versa
- Honda CR-V 4WD
- Ford Explorer 4wd
- Ford F-150 2wd
- Jeep Grand Cherokee 4wd
- Jeep Cherokee 4wd
- Ford Explorer 2wd
- Dodge Caravan / Grand Caravan 2wd
- Chevrolet Blazer 4wd
- Ford F-150 4wd
- Chevrolet C1500 2wd
- Ford Windstar fwd
- California $152.4 million
- Texas $91.1 million
- Michigan $80.6 million
- New York $77 million
- Ohio $76.3 million
Types of Vehicles Purchased:
- Passenger cars 208,378
- Category 1 trucks 124,187
- Category 2 trucks 22,157
- Category 3 trucks 883
Vehicles to be Recycled by Type
- Passenger cars 60,365
- Category 1 trucks 233,704
- Category 2 trucks 58,154
- Category 3 trucks 3,506
- Average fuel economy of purchases 25 mpg
- Average fuel economy of trade-ins 15.8 mpg
Plug-in hybrids are coming, and if the car companies and government have anything to do with, are coming very soon. But, in order to be successful, plugging in your car is going to take a bit of co-operation between government, automakers, and utility companies. Ford is working in partnership with Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), an independent nonprofit organization to continue to develop and test plug-ins and how they're going to affect the grid in the coming years.
Part of the technology that Ford has been working on is the vehicle-to-grid communications and control systems. The control system allows the operator to program the vehicle charging station to recharge the vehicle during off-peak hours, when rates are cheaper. It also allows the car owner to tell the car how long to charge for. Ford announced they now have such a system.
When the vehicle plugs in, the plug-in hybrid will communicate directly with the smart grid via smart meters through wireless networking. The owner can then use the touch screen to make the most informed choices on when and how long to charge the vehicle.
Ford is working with utility companies across North America to develop the smart grid and smart meters to work with their plug-in hybrids.
Ford is partnering with utility companies across North America including:
- Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)
- U.S. Department of Energy
- Southern California Edison
- New York Power Authority
- Consolidated Edison of New York
- American Electric Power of Columbus, Ohio
- Alabama Power of Birmingham, Ala.; and its parent, Atlanta-based Southern Company
- Progress Energy of Raleigh, N.C.
- DTE Energy of Detroit
- National Grid of Waltham, Mass.
- Pepco Holdings
- New York State Energy and Research Development Authority, a state agency
- Hydro-Quebec, the largest electricity generator in Canada
Ford has two grants from the Department of Energy to help it on its way. The first grant is for $30 million and is used to help fund Ford's collaboration with utility partners across the nation with an expansion of a vehicle demonstration and grid integration program.
Ford is also set to receive a $62.7 million DOE grant for production of an electric-drive transaxle that could be used for hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles at Ford's Van Dyke transmission manufacturing facility in Sterling Heights, Mich. This grant will be matched by Ford.
DOE grant funds also will support production of electric-drive system components at Ford supplier Magna, for the Ford Focus battery electric vehicle, as well as Johnson Controls-Saft, which will supply high-voltage batteries for Ford's plug-in hybrid vehicle in 2012.
Ford plans to invest nearly $14 billion in advanced technology vehicles in the next seven years, retooling its U.S. plants more quickly to produce fuel-efficient vehicles and help meet the new, rigorous fuel economy requirements.
Dealing with a backlog of submissions, the Cash for Clunkers (CARS) program is now tripling the work force to process claims from dealerships. The number of public and private sector workers will go from 350 to 1,100 by the end of the week.
That's a lot of jobs to fill in just one week. I wonder what these people are going to do in a month or two when the program runs out of money?
The CARS program has now seen submissions for $1.6 billion for more than 390,000 vehicle sales. Details on the submissions have yet to be released, although edmunds.com and others are trying to keep track.
One little tidbit from edmunds, the Ford F-150 is number 2 on the list of vehicles being traded in to be recycled. But it's also number 8 on the list of vehicles being purchased. You don't see this sort of thing on the government releases.
GM and Honda are ramping up production slightly. GM is planning on building some more Chevy Malibu and Cobalts, while Honda is looking to make more Civics and CR-Vs. But don't expect them to be anything but cautious in producing more vehicles. Until the economy turns around, car makers are reluctant to build up inventory again.
Monday, August 17, 2009
The hybrid system will be installed in the Kizashi. The Kizashi is supposed to begin selling in North America in late 2009.
The midsize Kizashi has a 2.4 liter, dual overhead cam four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission or CVT. All-wheel drive will be optional, but it only comes with the CVT.
The 'next generation hybrid system' will most likely be the next generation in BAS hybrid system, which will mean it will be a mild hybrid. I would expect start-stop technology and regenerative breaking.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Once again, an effort to turn taxi fleets into hybrid fleets has been officially blocked by a judge. The judge had granted a temporary injunction of the switchover, but has now officially ruled in favor of the cab owners.
The US District Court ruled in favor of the taxi owners. The Judge William G. Young ruled that Mayor Menino was infringing on the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, which established fuel economy standards for vehicles and forbids local officials from setting up their own standards.
Young noted that his 10-year-old grandson had heard arguments recently in the case and wondered, ``Why can't Boston do what it wants with its taxis? It's for the environment.''Which is quite ridiculous on the face of things, but that seems to be the way the judges are going to decide this issue. The same argument was used in New York, and it made sense to the judge there, too.
``The answer, Cam, is that the Congress of the United States, pursuing national goals it considers important, has forbidden Boston from taking this initiative on behalf of its citizens.''
Do these judges really feel this is what Congress intended? I doubt it. But that doesn't matter based on the rulings they've made.
Source: Judge rejects hybrid car mandate for Boston cabbies - Local News Updates - The Boston Globe
What it's really all about is money. Hybrids cost more to buy and outfit than Crown Vics. I've seen estimates of $4-$10,000 to buy and outfit a Crown Victoria Cab, while it can cost 2-4X as much to outfit a hybrid cab.
So, cab owners do not want to switch over to hybrid cabs. Drivers, on the other hand, love hybrids because it saves them money when they drive around.
Boston wanted to switch over to hybrid taxis over a seven year period. Boston may appeal to a higher court, or they may be forced to abandon the plan. The lawyer for the taxi owners says he "hopes that the Menino administration will instead sit down with cab drivers and discuss a less onerous way to improve fuel economy for taxis."
Toyota announced price changes for the 2010 Lexus RX 450h. MSRP for the FWD and AWD models have by $450. The 450h FWD has a new MSRP of $42,110 and the AWD was set at $43,700.
The MSRPs do not include a delivery, processing and handling fee of $875.
2010 Lexus RX 450h
The 2010 RX 450h introduces an updated version of Lexus Hybrid Drive, featuring a 3.5-liter V6 Atkinson-cycle engine, lighter electric motors, a smaller and lighter power-control unit and other fuel-saving innovations. It offers up performance similar to V8s with better combined fuel economy than the average four-cylinder mid-size sedan. With EPA-estimated 32 mpg city and 28 mpg highway (30 mpg combined) ratings for the RWD –30 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, 29 mpg combined for the AWD – it earns 16-20 percent better fuel economy than its acclaimed predecessor. All this while producing 295 total system horsepower, which is 27 more than the previous generation RX 400h.
As a full hybrid, the RX 450h can operate in electric-only or gas-engine-only modes as well as a mode that combines the power of both. Extended electric-mode operation during low-speed or stop-and-go driving conditions helps reduce fuel consumption. Under certain circumstances, a new available driver-selectable EV mode can allow the vehicle to be driven short distances using only the electric motors. The RX 450h achieves Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) certification in California (Tier 2-Bin 3 in other states), producing nearly 70 percent fewer smog-forming emissions than the average new car.
With the Atkinson cycle, the gasoline engine’s intake valves are closed late to delay beginning of compression, resulting in a higher expansion ratio. That reduces intake and exhaust energy losses for more efficient combustion and improved fuel economy. The gas engine alone produces 245 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, up from 208 in the previous RX 400h; torque is 234 lb.-ft. at 4,800 rpm as compared to 212 at 4,400 rpm from the previous RX 400h’s 3.3-liter V6. The Atkinson cycle also reduces exhaust temperature.
Ford has shown that a small, fuel efficient hybrid can be popular. The hybrid system from Honda is certainly developed enough, yet there is still no Honda hybrid SUV on the horizon.
Honda hasn't been afraid to experiment with their hybrid line-up. The first hybrid was a two-seater (Insight), while the next was more practical (Honda Civic Hybrid). The third hybrid from Honda was the Accord Hybrid, built on the premise of delivering more power for less fuel, but that failed. And then Honda went on to develop the Honda Insight II, a more 'economical' hybrid only car to compete with the Prius.
So, why not a SUV Honda Hybrid? Or perhaps a crossover hybrid? Is there a limitation on the size of the vehicle that won't allow the IMA system to be laid into the Pilot or CR-V? Would Honda have to develop a dual-mode hybrid system to place into these larger vehicles?
Only Honda can answer these questions. It's been over a decade, and Honda has shown a willingness to experiment with their hybrid products. It may be time to show how fuel efficient these SUV and Crossovers can be by giving them a hybrid option.
Citing the Cash for Clunkers program, Ford is increasing production of their Escape and Focus by 10,000 units in the third quarter. They are also planning on producing 33 percent more vehicles than last year in the fourth quarter. The increase represents higher production across a range of cars, crossovers and trucks.
At Wayne (Mich.) Assembly Plant, Ford is increasing Focus production by more than 6,000 units in the third quarter through increased overtime Monday through Friday and adding Saturday production shifts.
Ford is focusing their efforts on bringing the vehicles in high demand, the Focus, Escape and Fusion, to the dealerships quickly. That requires a reprioritizing of vehicle shipments.
The fourth quarter production plan represents an increase of 75,000 vehicles versus the third quarter. The increase, which includes several Ford cars, crossovers and trucks, will help Ford rebuild inventories of key products.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
The 2010 Toyota Prius and 2010 Honda Insight (with the optional electronic stability control) were both awarded Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
To qualify for Top Safety Pick, a vehicle must earn the highest rating of good in the Institute's front, side, and rear tests and be equipped with electronic stability control. Criteria to win are tough because the award is intended to drive continued safety improvements such as top crash test ratings and the rapid addition of electronic stability control, which is standard on the Prius and optional on the Insight.
"Recognizing vehicles at the head of the class for safety helps consumers distinguish the best overall choices without having to sort through multiple test results," says Institute president Adrian Lund.
Honda Insight Test
In the Insight frontal test, dummy movement was well controlled. The driver side curtain and side torso airbags deployed during the crash. During rebound, the dummy’s head contacted the side curtain airbag, which kept the head away from any stiff structure that could cause injury. Measurements show a low risk of any significant injuries in a crash of this severity.
In the side impact test, Injury measures for the driver indicate that rib fractures would be possible in a crash of this severity. The risk of significant injuries to other body regions is low. The rear passenger tests indicate a low risk of any significant injuries in a crash of this severity.
The driver's head was protected from being hit by any hard structures, including the intruding barrier, by a side curtain airbag that deployed from the roof. While the rear passenger head was protected from being hit by any hard structures, including the intruding barrier, by a side curtain airbag that deployed from the roof.
Toyota Prius Test
The Toyota Prius test was conducted using frontal crash test verification. Since previous versions of the Prius earned a Good rating, the manufacturers testing was verified by the Insurance Institute, rather than conducting the test themselves.
The dummy in the frontal test indicate low risk of injuries to the neck, chest, and both legs regions. A high head acceleration occurred when the dummy's head hit the steering wheel through the airbag, indicating that head injuries would be possible. Head acceleration from the B-pillar hit was low.
In the side impact test, driver and rear passenger measures indicate a low risk of any significant injuries in a crash of this severity. Both the driver's and rear passenger head was protected from being hit by any hard structures, including the intruding barrier, by a side curtain airbag that deployed from the roof.
Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. President Jim Lentz had a lot to say at the 2009 Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars.
According to Lentz, people want the solar panel on top of their Prius. Although Toyota had estimated 2-3% of customers would opt for the solar panels, the going rate is actually closer to 12%.
That's putting a bit of a strain on production (along with the previously mentioned battery constraints on Prius sales). Toyota is currently projecting 135-140,000 units sold in 2009 for the Prius.
Sales are very brisk under the Cash for Clunkers (CARS) program, as the Prius has had the days supply drop to 6-7 days, which indicates long waiting lists. (A 6-7 days supply indicates it's taking less than a week to sell the Prius once it arrives on the dealers lot. In other words, it takes 6-7 days to move the Prius off the lot after calling the customer to let them know the Prius they had ordered was finally here).
Lentz says the Prius has been sold 5,400 times under the Clunkers program.
Oh, and Lentz also mentions the Blue Springs, MS plant is still set for Prius production. They just aren't going to start up until the 'volatility' in the present market goes away.
Yes, the Transportation Department has released their top 10 list of vehicles being traded in and being sold, but so far, the AP can't get their hands onto a detailed list of sales.
Source: SPIN METER: $3 billion buys not-so-green vehicles
Just how many consumers used the federal rebates to buy these larger, not-so-green vehicles is unclear. The Obama administration has declined so far to release detailed records of purchases under the program being compiled by the Transportation Department, listing every clunker deal requesting rebates. The Associated Press requested the data July 31.And the AP may be right to be concerned. Not because the information isn't true, but because of the possible 'spin' factor.
Edmunds.com, for instance, has said they believe fewer small cars and more large vehicles are being bought.
BTW, the current sales figures from the Transportation Department show 292,447 vehicles have been sold, at a cost of $1.2 billion to the government program.
Like the BMW ActiveHybrid X6, the ActiveHybrid 7 will mate a V8 engine to an electric motor to boost fuel efficiency. But unlike the X6, the 7 uses a mild hybrid system with a single electric motor that is used to assist the gas engine. The X6 will use the two-mode technology developed with GM and Chrysler and will use two electric motors. The X6 will also be capable of moving on all electric power at low speeds for short periods.
With that in mind, BMW says they have improved fuel efficiency by 15% over the 750i, while giving the ActiveHybrid 7 a combined output of 455 hp and a maximum torque of 516 lb-ft. And it accelerates from 0-60 in 4.8 seconds.
This ActiveHybrid 7 will use a lithium-ion battery pack, which will provide power to the air conditioning and ventilation when stopped. That's important, since the mild hybrid will have start-stop capability for the V8.
At 120 volts, the lithium-ion battery pack is small enough to be mounted under the trunk floor. But, since lithium-ion is capable of storing more for less space, the trunk space is minimally affected.
Press Release Follows
Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, 13 August 2009, 6pm Eastern... On the heels of the ActiveHybrid X6, today BMW announced the production version of the all-new BMW ActiveHybrid 7, which will also premiere at the Frankfurt Auto Show (IAA) in September. The BMW ActiveHybrid 7 will reach America shores in Spring, 2010. Based on the newest BMW 7 Series, this unique car sets new standards for performance and efficiency in the premium luxury class.
This symbiosis of an upgraded twin-turbo, High Precision Direct Injection, V8 engine with a 3-phase synchronous elec¬tric motor gives the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 a combined output of 455 hp and maximum torque of 516 lb-ft (preliminary figures). Power is transmitted via an 8-speed automatic transmission with the electric motor positioned between the engine and the torque converter. The electric motor receives its supply of energy from a lithium-ion battery developed specifically for use in this automobile.
Precisely controlled interaction of both power sources serves to maximize the efficiency and dynamic performance of the BMW ActiveHybrid 7. The result is a unique driving experience that demonstrates the performance capabilities of modern hybrid technology. The BMW ActiveHybrid 7 accelerates to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds (preliminary), while delivering fuel economy approximately 15% better than the 750i. Official EPA ratings will be available closer to the US market launch.
BMW ActiveHybrid technology also provides new features that promote efficiency while preserving comfort. As an example, the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 is the first BMW with automatic transmission to feature Auto Start Stop to maximize efficiency by avoiding engine idling when stopped. Another advantage is that the air conditioning and ventilation system remains fully operational when using Auto Start Stop. In this case, power is supplied directly through the 120-volt on-board network powered by the lithium-ion battery.
Special displays in the instrument cluster and the Central Display inform the passengers of the degree of efficiency and the current operating status of the hybrid components. The ActiveHybrid 7 is distinguished from the 750i by aerodynamically-tuned ten-spoke 19-inch light-alloy Aero wheels, and model designations on the trunk lid, C-pillars, and on the door cutouts. The BMW ActiveHybrid 7 is also available in Bluewater Metallic exterior paintwork.
Like existing BMW 7 Series models, BMW's first luxury sedan with ActiveHybrid technology will enter the market in two body variants. The extended version of BMW ActiveHybrid 7 has a wheelbase increased by 5.5", all of which is devoted to the enhanced comfort of rear-seat passengers. Both models are available with a wide range of options from the portfolio of equipment and accessories offered on the BMW 7 Series, enabling the tailoring of the ActiveHybrid 7 to individual tastes and requirements.
BMW ActiveHybrid: A key element of the BMW EfficientDynamics philosophy.
The BMW ActiveHybrid 7 takes an innovative approach to ensure outstanding efficiency in this segment. At the same time this unique sport sedan offers dynamic driving characteristics at a level that one would expect from The Ultimate Driving Machine. BMW ActiveHybrid is an important element within the BMW EfficientDynamics philosophy meant to offer technologies able to significantly reduce fuel consumption and emissions on every new model while enhancing driving performance.
BMW uses hybrid technology because it can make an effective contribution to the reduction of fuel consumption and emissions. As a rule, the savings potential of hybrid technology increases with the power of the combustion engine interacting with the system. In the case of the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 precise coordination of the electric motor and the V8 serves to optimize the efficiency of the combustion engine under all operating conditions.
Intelligent energy management for generation, storage and use of electric power.
The ActiveHybrid concept stores energy in a compact, high-performance lithium-ion battery. The processes of charging the battery, supplying power to the electric motor, and electric ancillaries are managed by a control unit developed specifi¬cally for the BMW ActiveHybrid 7.
Electric power captured using no extra fuel.
BMW ActiveHybrid technology uses energy that would be normally converted into heat through the brakes, and therefore wasted in conventional cars. The BMW ActiveHybrid 7 features an enhanced version of Brake Energy Regeneration already used in some current BMW models running on a combustion engine alone. In this case the integrated electric motor acts as a generator when coasting or applying the brakes, in order to feed electric power into the battery. Brake Energy Regeneration converts some of the vehicle's kinetic energy into electric power for the on-board network whenever the driver lifts off the accelerator or applies the brakes. On acceleration, electricity is fed back into the on-board network from the lithium-ion battery. This sequence relieves the combustion engine from the task of converting some of its fuel energy into electric current, and thus enables the engine to provide more power directly to the rear wheels. The result is better acceleration even than the 750i, despite the fact that the additional power is obtained in a way that does not require additional consumption of fuel.
When the driver requires only a small amount of brake force, the system uses only the drag of the electric generator (motor). The mechanical brakes are activated only when the driver presses down the brake pedal harder for more stopping power. Dynamic Stability Control controls the balance of electrical and mechanical braking so adeptly that the driver does not even perceive the transition from braking with electric power to braking with the mechanical brake system.
Two interconnected on-board networks for flexible management of energy.
The BMW ActiveHybrid 7 features both a conventional 12-volt on-board network fed by an absorbent glass mat (AGM) battery and an additional battery featuring lithium-ion technology operating at 120-volts. The lithium-ion battery supplies power to the electric motor as required and serves to start the engine. Electric power generated by Brake Energy Regeneration is fed into both on-board networks. The air conditioner compressor on BMW ActiveHybrid 7 is integrated in the 120-volt network. All other electrically operated functions of the car are supplied by the 12-volt network. The two on-board networks are connected by a voltage converter featuring flexible energy management. Both batteries are charged and maintained through Brake Energy Regeneration. The 12-volt battery is fed with energy from the high-voltage network.
Cutting-edge battery technology: lithium-ion with superior capacity and multi-cycle operating strength.
BMW found that lithium-ion battery technology offers sufficient energy storage capability while taking up minimal space. The result is that the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 gives up almost no luggage capacity to its conventional siblings (750i and 750Li), because the 120-volt battery is small enough to be mounted underneath the trunk floor. Furthermore, the weight penalty incurred by this battery is minimal, meaning less energy is consumed to carry it. Using this technology enables the ActiveHybrid 7 to maximize storage capacity and acceleration in the hybrid luxury sedan segment. It is the fastest-accelerating hybrid sedan in the world.
The useful energy provided by this high-performance battery is 400 watt-hours. The battery itself is comprised of 35 cells and an integrated control unit which continuously analyzes the charge level and ensures appropriate dependability under all conditions. Despite its high level of performance, the lithium-ion battery measures just 14.6 x 8.7 x 9.1 inches (37 x 22 x 23 centimeters) and weighs a mere 59.5 lb or 27 kg.
Hence, it is only slightly larger than a conventional car battery and is housed conveniently in the trunk floor between the wheel arches of BMW ActiveHybrid 7, safely surrounded by a high-strength special casing. This location provides protection for the battery and helps to preserve the 7 Series' ideal 50-50 weight distribution. The luggage compartment with its capacity of approximately 13 cu. ft. offers adequate space for four 46-inch golf bags.
Twin-turbocharged V8 gasoline engine with High Precision Direct Injection.
The combustion engine is the innovative reverse-flow V8 introduced in the BMW X6. The world's first V8 gasoline engine with two turbochargers in the V-section between the two rows of cylinders develops power throughout the entire engine speed range. The spontaneous and direct response of this engine results from its compact configuration, which allows the shortest exhaust manifolds.
Displacing 4.4 liters, this outstanding engine delivers its maximum output of 440 hp between 5,500 and 6,000 rpm. Peak torque of 475 lb-ft is maintained from 2,000 to 4,500 rpm, with High Precision Direct Injection ensuring precise supply of fuel at all times. Piezo-injectors positioned in the combustion chambers between the valves ensure a smooth, efficient and clean combustion process. The engine fulfils the European EU5 standard as well as the ULEV II standards in the US.
Compared with the engine featured in the BMW 750i/Li, this version has been modified in numerous respects to the specific requirements of the BMW ActiveHybrid 7. There is no starter, alternator, or belt drive for the air-conditioning compressor and hydraulic pump. The cooling system has been modified for hybrid operation. The result is remarkable power from idle. The response of the engine is enhanced by the electric motor with its additional torque. The direct response to the accelerator pedal is impressive when compared either with conventional 7 Series models or existing hybrid vehicles already in the market. Acceleration to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds (preliminary) ranks it among the fastest and most thoroughbred sports cars in the world. Top speed of BMW ActiveHybrid 7 is electronically limited to 150 mph.
Electric motor starting and supporting one of the most advanced V8s.
The three-phase synchronous electric motor featured in BMW ActiveHybrid 7 is positioned between the engine and the torque converter, and is connected to the crankshaft. Shaped like a disc, the electric motor weighs 50.7 lb (23 kg). Its compact design ensures full integration in the transmission housing.
The electric motor generates boost of approximately 20 hp and peak torque of 155 lb-ft. When operating as a generator in Brake Energy Regeneration, the electric motor produces approximately 27 hp of brake force.
In total, the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 features a maximum system output of 455 hp and peak torque of 516 lb-ft (preliminary). Normally, this level of power output would require a correspondingly high increase in fuel consumption. The BMW ActiveHybrid 7, in contrast, combines its power with an equally impressive increase in fuel efficiency of about 15%.
8-speed automatic transmission in combination with Auto Start Stop.
To transmit the drive power developed jointly by the V8 and the electric motor, the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 features a newly developed 8-speed automatic transmission specifically tailored to the demands of hybrid technology. This high-tech transmission combines shift comfort, sportiness and efficiency at unprecedented levels.
The new 8-speed close-ratio automatic transmission uses an inno¬vative gear-set configuration providing two additional gears and a larger overall gear range than the 6-speed automatic transmission used by BMW without negative effects on size, weight, or internal efficiency. With the new transmission, the V8 engine is better able to stay in the power peak while ensuring greater overall efficiency.
Overall efficiency is further enhanced with the Auto Start Stop function. Auto Start Stop automatically switches off the combustion engine at idle, eliminating fuel consumption when stopped. Once the driver's foot comes off the brake pedal, the engine restarts instantaneously.
Starting of the V8 engine is accomplished by the electric motor, which is supplied with power from the high-voltage battery. This enables the engine to start extremely quickly and without any vibration. The automatic transmission is maintained in a "ready-to-drive" mode by a new hydraulic pressure accumulator for the valve body of the transmission. Additionally, the engine control unit "remembers" engine crank position and uses delay-free ignition to restart the engine in less than one crank rotation. The engine is also switched off when the driver uses the Auto Hold function. The driver just has to slightly press down on the gas pedal in order to reactivate the engine.
Continuous climate control in all circumstances.
The climate control system in the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 is supplied with power directly from the high-voltage battery, thus ensuring all the usual functionality regardless of whether the engine is running.
Hence, operation of Auto Start Stop does not compromise the infotainment or climate system operation. The desired interior temperatures are maintained consistently, regardless of how frequently or for how long the engine shuts off.
The standard 4-zone automatic climate control has a parked-vehicle function activated whenever desired by remote control. This feature serves to cool down the interior in hot weather before getting into in the car. The highly efficient air conditioning system can reduce in interior tem¬perature quickly and efficiently by more than 50 degrees Fahrenheit, providing pleasant starting conditions in an appropriately cool and pleasant passenger compartment. By running on pure electric power, the air conditioner compressor begins cooling the car more quickly than in a conventional system.
Efficiency made visible: special display concept.
Featuring Black Panel technology, the instrument cluster in the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 is supplemented by an energy flow display in the lower section of the tachometer, a blue arrow shows the current status of Brake Energy Regeneration. When accelerating, an additional graphic display illustrates the boost effect generated by the electric motor.
Using the iDrive control system in the Central Display, the driver is able to see a detailed view of the interaction between the V8 engine and electric motor. Beyond the current charge level of the lithium-ion battery, this display also shows the real-time flow of energy. As an alternative to this graphic display, the system can analyze the current efficiency. In this case a bar graph, which is updated every minute, shows the efficiency levels achieved by the hybrid components during the last fifteen minutes.
Cutting-edge suspension technology for maximum control and comfort.
When the new BMW 7 Series was introduced in 2009, it set new standards for comfort and driving dynamics. The double-wishbone front suspension and an enhanced Integral-V rear suspension provide the ActiveHybrid 7 with the ride comfort one would expect of a BMW sport-luxury sedan with the handling and control of a sports car.
The long-wheelbase version of BMW ActiveHybrid 7 includes self-leveling rear suspension. Both models are fitted with BMW's vehicle speed-variable Servotronic power steering as well as Driving Dynamics Control. The driver is able to choose the preferred shock absorber setting, the appropriate operation of Dynamic Stability Control, the shift character of the automatic transmission, as well as the throttle response and Servotronic steering assist.
The brake system on the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 provides excellent stopping power in every situation. Inner-vented discs and floating calipers front and rear guarantee resistance to fade. The ActiveHybrid 7 comes standard with 19-inch light-alloy rims in an aerodynamically optimized ten-spoke Aero turbine wheel design, unique to this model. Likewise, runflat tires measuring 245/45 R19 front and 275/40 R19 rear enable the driver to continue even after a complete loss of pressure at a speed of up to 50 mph for up to 150 miles. As an added measure of security, the Tire Pressure Monitor will warn the driver if ever the pressure in any of the tires drops more than 20 percent.
ActiveHybrid safety systems.
The safety concept for the car's hybrid components is comprehensive. All components in the high-voltage system feature full insulation and special plug connectors. The lithium-ion battery is protected by a high-strength steel housing and is positioned between the wheel wells in the luggage compartment, and has already been subjected to a wide range of crash tests. Last but not least, the entire high-voltage system is automatically switched off within a fraction of a second in case of a malfunction or collision.
Best of Hybrid: flexible development for optimized concepts on each model.
The hybrid components featured in BMW ActiveHybrid 7 were developed jointly by BMW and Daimler in a cooperation project seeking to develop and test components for hybrid drive in luxury performance cars. Apart from the electric motor and the lithium-ion battery, this joint venture also served to develop the power electronics for the high-voltage network featured in the BMW ActiveHybrid 7.
Each manufacturer subsequently integrated the hybrid components into the respective model in accordance with individual, brand-specific requirements. One of the unique characteristics of the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 is exemplified by the combination of an electric motor with a V8 engine.
BMW ActiveHybrid is based on a modular principle which, following the Best of Hybrid strategy, ensures perfect integration of the optimum component in vari¬ous vehicle concepts. Hence, the mild hybrid concept of the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 is tailored ideally to the specific requirements of this model as is the full hybrid concept for BMW ActiveHybrid X6, which will arrive at BMW Centers later this year.
BMW Ultimate ServiceTM:
Providing owners with incredible value and peace of mind
The 2010 BMW ActiveHybrid 7 will feature BMW Ultimate ServiceTM, a suite of services that includes the BMW Maintenance Program (formerly called Full Maintenance), Roadside Assistance and the New Vehicle Limited Warranty. BMW AssistTM with TeleService is available on all 7 models.
BMW Ultimate ServiceTM includes:
The BMW Maintenance Program is the only no-cost maintenance program in the industry that covers wear and tear items like brake pads and rotors for 4 years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. BMW owners pay nothing for all scheduled inspections, oil changes, brake pads, wiper blade inserts and other wear-and-tear items.
BMW Roadside Assistance is one of the industry's most comprehensive plans available. Not only is it no-charge for the first 4 years, but there is no mileage limit. BMW drivers enjoy the assurance of on-the-road help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, anywhere in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. This includes everything from flat tire changes, emergency gasoline and lock-out assistance, to towing, alternative transportation and even trip-interruption benefits. This service also includes valuable trip routing advice.
BMW New Vehicle Limited Warranty: All 2010 BMW passenger vehicles are covered by BMW's excellent Limited Warranty, which includes:
• New-vehicle warranty – 4-year/50,000-mile coverage of the vehicle.
• Rust-perforation warranty – 12-year/unlimited-mileage coverage.
BMW AssistTM provides the driver with services that enhance on-the-road security and convenience, for added peace of mind. The BMW Assist and Bluetooth® System is available and includes the Safety Plan for 4 years at no additional cost when ordered. BMW is the only manufacturer that offers this duration of service as other manufacturers only include the first year of service. The BMW Assist Safety Plan is a subscription based service that is subject to certain limitations.
The in-vehicle equipment for BMW Assist includes GPS technology and hands-free communication functions to deliver emergency and other services, accessed via buttons in the overhead or center console. The BMW Assist system transmits the location and vehicle information to the BMW Assist Response Center. A response specialist speaks with the vehicle occupants to coordinate dispatch, notify emergency contacts on file, and link BMW Roadside Assistance or emergency services as needed and/or requested. A severe accident automatically activates the Automatic Collision Notification function. The BMW Assist Safety Plan also includes Door Unlock and Stolen Vehicle Recovery services, which can save the owner time and money. New to BMW Assist is MyInfo, which allows users to send business listings and street addresses with associated phone numbers from the internet, directly to their BMW.
TeleService automatically notifies the BMW center when the vehicle will need service. A service advisor then proactively calls the customer to set up a convenient appointment and have the needed parts ready.
BMW Assist subscribers can also enroll in the BMW Assist Convenience Plan (available at an additional cost of $199 per year) to avail themselves of many BMW Assist concierge services, from finding the lowest fuel price or the best French restaurant in the area to information on flight arrival gates or times, as well as receive directions, and traffic and weather information. On 2007 and later models, a selected destination and its phone number can be sent directly to the BMW Navigation system and the customer's Bluetooth linked mobile phone, after a push of the Concierge menu option. New is BMW Search, which allows online access to the Google Maps database inside the vehicle to quickly find a desired business with just a key word. The Convenience Plan also includes Critical Calling, a service that can connect the driver to a requested party via a response specialist in case their mobile phone is not in the vehicle or its battery is discharged.
Lastly, the BMW Assist system includes Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity with phonebook access and speech recognition for dialing by name or number via the steering wheel controls. Use of this feature requires a customer-provided compatible Bluetooth mobile phone. To learn more about BMW Assist, please visit www.bmwassist.com.