Saturday, December 24, 2005

SAAB to produce hybrid prototype

SAAB is planning on producing a hybrid prototype next spring based on the technology from the it's GM family's technology. All this is according to channel 4 news.

MD of Saab Sweden Bengt Nilemo says: "Current financial incentives (in Sweden) such as a reduction in car benefit taxes and projected city congestion and parking charges have, of course, contributed to our success. These initiatives from the government were far-sighted and the market has reacted just as everyone expected, choosing eco-friendly cars that cut C02 emissions& BioPower's major advantage is its simplicity and this is one of the reasons we are now introducing the car in Great Britain, France and Germany, followed by Norway, Finland and Denmark. At the Detroit Motor Show in January we will also show a concept for a 9-5 Aero with 310bhp."

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Hybrid Buyers Stall Dealers to Claim Tax Credit

Proving that hybrid car buyers are smarter than your average car buyer, they are now stalling on delivery of their new cars until January first, allowing them to be eligible for the up to (estimated) three thousand dollars in tax breaks next year.

You should expect December sales of hybrids to be way down, while January numbers should break out.
Hybrid Buyers Stall Dealers to Claim Tax Credit | American International Automobile Dealers |:

"I've got cars on the ground that I'd had (on) order for 18 months, and the customers want delivery after the first of the year," says Debbie Tufts, new car sales manager at Rudy Luther Toyota in Golden Valley, Minn.

"We have seen it around the country," Toyota spokeswoman Nancy Hubbell says.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

School Bus Hybrids

I first saw this at autoblog, but it makes a lot of sense to me. With the potential for providing cost savings at the pump and being environmentally friendly, it could pass muster at your local town meetings, too.

School Bus Hybrids:

Enova Enters into a School Bus Program with Major N.A. Truck and Bus Manufacturer

TORRANCE, CA, December 16, 2005 – Enova Systems, (OTCBB: ENOV and AIM: ENV and ENVS), a leading developer and manufacturer of electric, hybrid and fuel cell digital power management systems, announced today that it has entered into a joint School Bus program with a major North American Truck Manufacturer.

The School Bus project will feature Enova's post transmission 80 kW Hybrid Drive System and has the potential to lead to future production 2006 and beyond.

“Upon successful completion of the first hybrid-electric bus, (scheduled before December 31, 2005), we believe the annual market demand for these production drive systems could grow rapidly based on discussions with this customer. The current conventional market for school buses in the United States, with this manufacturer alone, exceeds 60,000 vehicles per annum " noted Enova's CEO, Ed Riddell. Enova believes its proprietary environmentaly-friendly technology, in addition to significant fuel savings to school bus operators, “will have added benefits of greatly reduced emissions, as well as noise, assisting town planners and local authorities in making towns and cities a better place to live in”, according to Enova Chairman of the Board Anthony Rawlinson.

Enova believes that its strengthened balance sheet - a result of its recent US$18 million capital raising from London's AIM market - together with its leading-edge technological position and growing global market presence, creates an ideal environment to attract production-oriented, hybrid-electric drive system programs of this type.
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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Why keep selling the Honda Insight hybrid?

The Honda Insight has sold only 624 units in the US for 2005 and has remained virtually unchanged since 2000. So why keep producing and selling the hybrid vehicle? Simple, says Gunnar Lindstrom, the senior manager of American Honda's Alternative Fuel Vehicle Programs.

Why the Insight soldiers on - Autoblog - _:

Every time the EPA and Natural Resources Canada publish their best and worst in the area of fuel economy, the Insight appears in the top spot, conspicuously above the name of one Toyota Prius, the runaway hit of hybrid sales. As long as Honda can squat in that top spot it will, which means the Insight will go on indefinitely until Honda can replace it with something just as thrifty.
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GM still behind the curve

General Motors, CEO Rick Wagoner feels, despite the success Toyota and Honda have had marketing their hybrid vehicles, it's hard to have a business model for hybrids. Despite promising improvement for GM in the upcoming year, it's hard to see any vision when it comes to improving the GM line of vehicles when they seem to want to avoid the trends.

The first true full hybrid (Saturn Vue) shouldn't be ready until late next year.

Industry Report: Dec. 19, 2005 - The Car Connection:

In a wide-ranging conversation, Wagoner said he expects oil prices will do some "bouncing around" in 2006, though he expects that things should level out in the $50 to $60 per barrel range. That is "another argument…for production flexibility," he said, which would give GM the ability to shift from larger, high-power cars and trucks, to smaller, more fuel-efficient models, according to market demands. GM is betting that there will still be strong demand for full-size pickups, such as the Tahoe. But it is also hoping to cover its bases with the planned roll-out of new hybrid-electric vehicles. The automaker's first true hybrid, a gasoline-electric version of the Saturn Vue, will debut next year, not long after the Tahoe. Wagoner said it is still difficult to make a good business case for hybrids, in part because there's no clear sense of how high demand will go for the high-mileage technology. -Paul A. Eisenstein
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Monday, December 19, 2005

Car and Driver Magazine names the Honda Accord hybrid 2006 as the best family sedan

Car and Driver names the Honda Accord hybrid as the best family sedan out there for 2006. The Honda Accord hybrid is faster than it's (all gas) counterpart.

Unlike most of the other hybrids out there, the Accord does not get it's best mileage in the city. It's hybrid engine works best on the highway (37/29 EPA estimates), not in stop and go traffic.

Kelley Blue Book has noted the Accord Hybrid has the "Best Resale Value" in the Sedan category and is a Top 10 overall "Best Resale Value" winner as well.

Car and Driver Magazine - 10Best Cars: Best Family Sedan - January 2006:

All of this adds up to an Accord family—sedan, coupe, and hybrid—that's an improvement on the 2005 edition: smoother, quieter, and more comfortable. Add that to the qualities that have always distinguished Accords, such as excellent road manners, first-rate ergonomics, exemplary reliability, quality construction, high resale values, and a strong element of fun-to-drive, and you have a powerful case for calling this the best family-sedan lineup in the business.
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Thursday, December 15, 2005

The State | 12/13/2005 | Bill would help hybrid-car owners

Good news for people who buy hybrids next year in South Carolina. Between the federal tax credit and the possible state credit, you could be looking at some significant savings!

The State | 12/13/2005 | Bill would help hybrid-car owners:

Bill would help hybrid-car owners
Tax credits would be higher for those using alternative fuel sources
Staff Writer

A proposed state tax credit could save you hundreds if you buy a car propelled by something other than just gasoline.

S.C. House Majority Leader Jim Merrill, R-Charleston, has drafted a bill to extend a federal tax credit to the state level for cars powered by hybrid and alternative-fuel engines.

If enacted, the state income tax credit would be 20 percent of the federal income tax credit for low-polluting cars fueled by diesel, natural gas or a hybrid, such as those pairing gasoline engines with battery-powered motors.

“With the spike in gasoline prices, it became pretty much a no-brainer to encourage hybrid usage if we could reduce our dependence on gas and oil,” Merrill said.

A buyer of a Toyota Prius gasoline-electric hybrid in 2006 would receive the highest credits: $3,150 federal and $630 state, or a total of $3,780, according to estimates from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

The smallest credits would be for buyers of a Chevrolet Silverado or GMC Sierra hybrid: $250 federal and $50 state.

Merrill said he began considering the bill in spring 2004, drafted it last summer, and prefiled the bill in November. It has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.

The state must conduct a study to estimate how much the credit would reduce state tax revenues, but Merrill expects it will be minimal.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The future in hybrid military vehicles

Lithium Technology Corp. Is Part of A Team Selected to Develop Advanced Lithium Ion Batteries For Future Military Hybrid Vehicles

PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA, Nov 14, 2005 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- Lithium Technology Corporation ("LTC") (OTC Bulletin Board: LTHU), a leading manufacturer in the rapidly emerging large format rechargeable Lithium battery market, announced today that the U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command in Warren, Michigan has recently awarded to T/J Technologies a 30 month, $5.1M Tank-Automotive Research Development Engineering Center (TARDEC) program requirement. Under this award, T/J Technologies will develop and demonstrate large format lithium-ion batteries for future military hybrid vehicles.

The T/J Technologies team consists of LTC, of Plymouth Meeting Pennsylvania, Saturn Electronics & Engineering, Inc., of Auburn Hills, Michigan, Powdermet, Inc. of Euclid, Ohio, and Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC), of Emeryville, California.

As was stated in the press release made by T/J Technologies, during the development and demonstration project performed under a separate TACOM contract managed by SAIC, test cells built by LTC using the T/J proprietary materials were shown to have superior discharge and charge performance over state-of-the-art hybrid vehicle batteries. Large format lithium-ion batteries may allow military and commercial heavy and medium duty hybrid vehicles to quickly become economically feasible.

Andrew J. Manning, President and COO of LTC commented: “This milestone demonstrates the continuous growth that LTC has demonstrated in the past few months. Through strategic partnerships, like the one with T/J Technologies, LTC enhances its presence as a dominant player in the large format lithium-ion batteries.”

About Lithium Technology Corporation:
Lithium Technology Corporation is a manufacturer of large format rechargeable Lithium Ion batteries, custom engineered for military, automotive and industrial applications. LTC customers include top tier contractors to the military and suppliers to industrial concerns requiring safe, durable, high power rechargeable power supplies for their applications and the development of new technology.

During the past twelve months, LTC and LTC's GAIA Akkumulatorenwerke GmbH subsidiary operating in Nordhausen, Germany, have contracted with ThyssenKrupp (the largest builder of non-nuclear submarines) to provide power supplies for underwater propulsion of manned submarines. Other applications include a prototype of lighter-than-air communication "stratellites"; unmanned surveillance vehicles (air, land, and underwater based); surface to air missiles; standby power applications; renewable energy generation sources (windmills); and hybrid electric vehicles ("HEV") for military uses.

LTC is leveraging its expertise in high power and large battery assemblies to commercialize advanced lithium batteries as a new power source in the military and national security systems, transportation and stationary power markets with a particular focus on the U.S. and European geographic market segments where the customers prefer a domestic supplier.

LTC manufactures the GAIA(R) product line of large, high power hermetically sealed rechargeable lithium ion cells and batteries. The Company's product portfolio includes large cells and batteries from 10 times the capacity of a standard laptop computer battery to 100,000 times greater. LTC produces high power cells designed for HEVs and military applications that can discharge hundreds of amps in times as short as a few minutes, and high capacity cells for applications such as back-up power and remote standby installations. Cells are manufactured in both cylindrical and flat form and employ proprietary extrusion, design and assembly technology. LTC manufactures a variety of standard cells that are assembled into custom large batteries complete with electronics (battery management systems) and electronics to communicate with other components of the system for performance monitoring.

Lithium Technology has two principal centers of operation - in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania and in Nordhausen, Germany. The Plymouth Meeting office is also the corporate headquarters for the Company. Sales into the U.S. and European markets are managed out of each of the offices.

For additional information on the Company's technology and products, please visit or

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Mercury Mariner Hybrid Review, 2006

In 2001, the Ford Escape was introduced and due to it's popularity, imitations have followed. With that in mind you get the Mazda Tribute and the Mercury Mariner (2005). In 2006, the Mercury Mariner is again following suit by imitating the Ford Escape Hybrid.

But that doesn't mean you should just run out and buy the original. While the foundation is all Escape, the trim is all Mercury. The Mariner has a distinctive front end and metallic trim on the exterior. The interior has two-tone suede, with leather seating and contrast stitching that helps it stand out from the crowd. The hybrid has a few distinctive features, including an air vent built into the driver’s side rear-quarter window, discreet road-and-leaf "HYBRID" badges, and unique 16-inch, five-spoke wheels. The luxury interior and exterior (for an SUV) fits right in with the light 4WD system (standard) and unibody construction.

The 4-door, 5 passenger Mariner is a city vehicle, no off-roading with this SUV. It's powered by a Duratec 2.3 liter, DOHC, 16 valve, Atkinson cycle I-4. The combined power of the electric and gas engine is 155 hp. The powertrain comes with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with overdrive. The EPA gives an estimate MPG of 33 city/29 highway, but you should expect real-world conditions to lower those estimates.

The Mariner is expected to meet the Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (PZEV) standard for emissions. Since it's a full hybrid, the electric motor will remain in control under low speeds. But expect the gas engine to kick in when you need to accelerate quickly.

The Mercury Mariner has a MSRP of $29,840.

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Statement from Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman Regarding EIA's Long-Term Energy Outlook

If oil prices remain over $60/barrel (see EIA report), hybrid sales should continue to increase, while SUV sales continue to drop. The American public may cry that they want to be able to make a choice, but for how long will they continue to pay at the pump for it?

> : Press Releases : Statement from Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman Regarding EIA's Long-Term Energy Outlook:

Statement from Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman Regarding EIA's Long-Term Energy Outlook

WASHINGTON, DC – Earlier today the Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration released their Long-Term Energy Outlook. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman's made the following statement regarding the EIA’s Long-Term Energy Outlook:

“Today’s forecast from EIA emphasizes something we already know – demand for energy around the world will continue to grow as economies expand and prosperity spreads.

“It also demonstrates that many aspects of President Bush’s National Energy Policy and the energy bill he signed this summer will have a positive impact for decades to come: we will see more hybrids on the road as tax incentives continue to spur consumer interest and make them more affordable; nuclear power will expand as companies receive protections against bureaucratic delay; expanded use of coal, America’s most abundant energy resource, can occur in an environmentally friendly manner thanks to investments in clean coal technology; and the use of renewable energy will continue to grow as development and deployment are assisted by new tax incentives.

“However, along with anticipated increases in demand come forecasts for higher prices, demonstrating that there is more to do - we will continue to encourage Americans to be more energy efficient; we will continue to urge energy companies to invest in new production and refining capacity to meet demand; we will continue to encourage the participants in the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline to complete their negotiations and begin development so that the vast natural gas resources in Alaska can reach the lower 48 states; and we must expand domestic production of oil and natural gas in environmentally responsible ways, starting with ANWR.”

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Monday, December 12, 2005

Hyundai Joins Hands With LS, LG to Make Hybrid Cars

Hyundai jumps onto the hybrid bandwagon. Like Ford et al, they'll have a lot of ground to cover in catching Toyota's lead in the hybrid marketplace.

Digital Chosunilbo (English Edition) : Daily News in English About Korea:

Hyundai Joins Hands With LS, LG to Make Hybrid Cars

The Hyundai Motor Group will develop hybrid cars in collaboration with the LS Group and LG Chem, the company said Monday, amid growing worldwide competition in the market for more environmentally friendly cars.

A Hyundai official said the company will develop components for hybrid cards with industrial electrical goods supplier LS Group such as motors, power transmissions, inverters and wires. The two companies already set up a joint research and development team and plan a joint venture to make the hybrid car components.

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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Mitsubishi readies new hybrid concept car for Detroit

"The Eclipse Spyder and the breakthrough Concept-CT continue the excitement of the brand and demonstrate new design directions and potential future technologies," said MMNA president and CEO Rich Gilligan. "We are rebuilding our brand with products that consistently reinforce our commitment to being driven to thrill."

According to the press release:
The world reveal of the innovative Concept-CT MIEV will showcase a forward-thinking design study in B-segment packaging. The concept's inspiration was to create a "city-technology" model - a desirable small car optimized for today's needs. Designed at the Mitsubishi Motors design center in Cypress, Calif., the Concept-CT will feature a hybrid powertrain - incorporating a representative gasoline engine with Mitsubishi In-wheel motor Electronic Vehicle (MIEV) technology, a function recently shown at the Tokyo Motor Show, whereby the wheels are driven by four outer-rotor, in-wheel electric motors. Combining environmental technology and exciting design characteristics along with the all-wheel-drive MIEV system, the concept provides a glimpse into the future of next-generation hybrid powertrain vehicles. The "in-wheel motor" component systems, with accompanying graphics and video, will be displayed at the Mitsubishi NAIAS exhibit.

This idea, shown recently at the Tokyo show, drives the wheels using four outer-rotor, in-wheel electric motors.

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Saturday, December 10, 2005

Honda Civic Achieves "Top Safety Pick - Gold" Award

All-New 2006 Honda Civic Achieves "Top Safety Pick - Gold" Award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announced yesterday that the 2006 Honda Civic has achieved the Institute's new "Top Safety Pick - Gold" award, after earning "Good" ratings in frontal, side impact and rear impact tests and measurements. The 2006 Civic is the only small car and one of only five vehicles to earn this designation from the IIHS.

A "Top Safety Pick - Gold" award combines crash results achieved from frontal offset 40 mph, side impact and rear crash tests with static seat measurements for the head restraints. A result of "Good" in all three categories is required to earn "Top Safety Pick - Gold" status. The 2006 Honda Civic is the only small car to have ever earned a "good" rating in the IIHS Side Impact and frontal offset test. Due to a combination of "Good" results in the six categories comprising the frontal offset test, it was also awarded a "Good - Best Pick" rating for that category.

"The IIHS 'Top Safety Pick - Gold' designation validates Honda's dedication to creating safe vehicles regardless of size or price," said John Mendel, senior vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "The 2006 Civic demonstrates that a mainstream and affordable compact-size vehicle can achieve the highest levels of crash protection in these tests."

In keeping with the Honda "Safety for Everyone" initiative, standard safety systems in the 2006 Civic include the exclusive-to-Honda Advanced Compatibility Engineering(TM) (ACE(TM)) Body Structure. The ACE Body Structure design is intended to help manage the forces of frontal collisions and enhance crash compatibility in vehicle-to-vehicle frontal crashes. Conceived around "real world" safety, this newly developed front-end frame structure incorporates new upper and lower frame members to significantly enhance energy dispersion in frontal collisions.

All models of the all-new 2006 Civic provide a long list of standard safety equipment including side curtain airbags, driver's and front passenger's side airbags with the Honda's front passenger Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS), active front seat head restraints and a 4-channel anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD).

The 2006 Civic marks the introduction of Honda's new Active Head Restraint front seat design that enhances the seat's ability to minimize the potential for neck injuries caused by rear end collisions. In the event of a rear collision, a person's body is pushed against the seatback. The pressure from the seatback is transmitted mechanically from the lumbar plate via links that push the head restraint upward and forward to help to equalize the forces acting on the head, neck and spine.

Honda's commitment to safety extends to pedestrians as well. To help reduce pedestrian injuries in the event of a collision, the Civic's hood and fender areas are designed to help absorb energy if contacted by an adult or child pedestrian.

The all-new eighth generation 2006 Honda Civic debuted in early September with prices starting at $14,360 for the Civic DX Coupe and $14,560 for the Civic DX Sedan. The Civic Hybrid, which achieves an EPA-rated city/highway fuel economy of 49/51 mpg, went on sale October 19 and the high-performance Civic Si version with 197-horsepower debuted December 1. Additionally, Motor Trend magazine recently named the Civic its 2006 Car of the Year.

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Friday, December 09, 2005

Honda Civic Wins Motor Trend Car of the Year Award

Redesigned 2006 Honda Civic Wins Motor Trend Car of the Year Award
The all-new Honda Civic earned Motor Trend magazine's prestigious 2006 Car of the Year award, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., announced today. The award extends to the entire Civic Sedan and Civic Coupe lineup including the environmentally responsible Civic Hybrid and high-performance Civic Si models.

The Motor Trend editorial staff selected the Honda Civic from a field of 28 new or substantially revised models - the largest to date - recognizing it for exceptional value, superiority in its class and the most significant development on the new-car scene for 2006. Testing took place over a two-week period that included thousands of miles of on-track driving and on-street evaluation, along with several days of walk-around appraisals.

"For 2006, the Civic underwent the most radical transformation in its 33-year history," said John Mendel, senior vice president of American Honda. "It is a cornerstone of the Honda lineup, and we're delighted that Motor Trend has recognized the new levels of styling, performance, technology, safety and value that characterize the new Civic. Customers have validated our direction too, as evidenced by strong sales of the new model."

The 2006 Honda Civic establishes new segment standards for safety, technology and performance. Clean and efficient i-VTEC(TM) engine technologies deliver more power than ever before while still achieving an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 40 miles per gallon. In keeping with Honda's "Safety for Everyone" initiative, the Honda Civic features advanced standard safety equipment including side curtain airbags, front side airbags and the Advanced Compatibility Engineering(TM) (ACE(TM)) Body Structure, regardless of price or trim level.

The most noticeable features of the 2006 Civic include its expressive exterior styling, a high-tech and spacious interior, and fun-to-drive performance. The Civic further rewards drivers and passengers with as many as seven ways to enjoy audio entertainment - including XM(R) Satellite Radio, MP3 and WMA support and an accessory Apple(R) iPod(R) adapter that connects the popular music player to the Civic's audio controls.

The Civic Hybrid provides the ultimate in clean and efficient technology with a 1.3-liter i-VTEC engine and a new generation of Honda's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) technology that helps the hybrid achieve an estimated city/highway fuel economy of 49/51 miles per gallon and an Advanced-Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) rating. Additionally, the Civic Hybrid can deactivate all four of its cylinders and operate using only the electric motor in certain low-speed cruising situations.

The Civic Si showcases the high-performance potential of the Civic platform and offers a 197-horsepower, DOHC 2.0-liter i-VTEC engine connected to a 6-speed manual transmission and a limited slip differential.

The majority of Civics are produced and assembled using domestic and globally sourced parts in the United States and Canada. Civic Coupe and Civic Si models are solely produced and assembled at the Honda of Canada Manufacturing plant in Alliston, Ontario. Civic Sedan models are primarily produced and assembled at the Honda of America Manufacturing plant in East Liberty, Ohio. Civic Sedans are also produced and assembled at Honda of Canada Manufacturing in Alliston, Ontario. Some Civic Sedans and all Civic Hybrid models are produced and assembled in the Honda Motor Co., Ltd., Suzuka, Japan, manufacturing facility.

A list of previous Honda winners in Motor Trend polling includes:

* 1994 Honda Accord - Import Car of the Year
* 1988 Honda CRX Si - Import Car of the Year
* 1984 Honda Civic CRX - Import Car of the Year
* 1980 Honda Civic - Import Car of the Year

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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Toyota Hybrid Sales are up in November

Toyota Reports November Sales

December 1, 2005 - Torrance, CA - Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., today reported best-ever November sales of 169,665 vehicles, an increase of 5.6 percent over last November. Calendar-year-to-date (CYTD) sales total 2,057,017, up 10.3 percent over the same period last year.

"As the market rebounds and consumer confidence goes up, buyers are returning to showrooms," said Jim Press, TMS president and COO. "The holiday buying season is off to an encouraging start and I believe we'll see improvement right through the end of the year."

The Toyota Division posted best-ever November sales of 144,016, up 5.2 percent. The Lexus Division reported best-ever November sales of 25,649 units, an increase of 7.7 percent over the same period last year.

Toyota Division passenger cars recorded best-ever November sales of 81,315, up 6.3 percent over the same period last year. The Avalon full-size sedan recorded November sales of 8,225, up 248 percent. The Prius gas-electric hybrid mid-size sedan enjoyed best-ever November sales of 7,889, an increase of 29.1 percent.

Toyota Division light trucks reported best-ever November sales of 62,701 units for the month, an increase of 3.8 percent over last November. Light truck sales were led by Tundra, which posted best-ever November sales of 10,892 units, an increase of 20.3 percent over the same period last year. Tacoma reported sales of 13,878 units, up 19.4 percent. The Highlander Hybrid gas-electric mid-size SUV, which launched in early June, reported sales of 2,353 units in November. The Highlander and Highlander Hybrid posted combined November sales of 9,676 units.

Scion reported best-ever November sales of 11,763 units. All three Scion models reported best-ever November sales, with the tC sports coupe leading the way with sales of 5,542 units, an increase of 50.5 percent over last November. The xB posted November sales of 4,244 units, an increase of 9.1 percent, while the xA recorded November sales of 1,977 units for the month, up 1.0 percent.

Lexus passenger cars posted best-ever November sales with 14,001 units, an increase of 31.6 percent. Sales momentum remained strong with best-ever November sales of the GS 300 and GS 430 models, which posted combined sales of 2,619 units. The GS 300 recorded best-ever November sales of 2,223 units and an increase of 424.3 percent, while the GS 430 posted sales of 396 units, an increase of 317.8 percent. The IS luxury sport sedans, which debuted in October, enjoyed a best-ever overall sales month of 4,447 units, an increase of 633.5 percent over the same period last year. The IS 250 reported sales of 2,899 units, while the IS 300 and IS 350 enjoyed combined sales of 1,548 units.

Lexus Division light truck November sales totaled 11,648 units for the month. The 2006 RX 400h luxury hybrid SUV reported November sales of 1,722 units. The RX 330 and RX 400h posted combined November sales of 8,060 units.

Sales of North American-built vehicles accounted for 61.6 percent of total November sales. There were 25 selling days this sales month compared to 24 last November.

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) proposes $3000 tax credit

Emanuel laid out his American Hybrid Tax Credit Act at a news conference in Chicago. Standing next to a Ford Escape (SUV) Hybrid, Emanuel proposed upping the ante on tax credits for consumers buying hybrid vehicles.

With oil prices at $58 a barrel, Emanuel would like to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil. He expects support from across the aisle, pointing out Rep. David Camp (R-Mich.) has proposed a similar bill.

I found this story at the Chicago Sun-Times.

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Mitsubishi Canter Eco Hybrid Demonstration

Canter Eco Hybrid Demonstration

Also generating great interest at the New Zealand Canter launch event was the Canter Eco Hybrid. This pioneering, hybrid-electric light-duty vehicle reduces fuel consumption by as much as 30 percent and also substantially decreases emissions. The vehicle's hybrid system consists of a small, clean diesel engine; ultra-slim electric motor/generator; automated mechanical transmission and high performance lithium-ion battery.

Dealers, customers and press received briefings on and test-drove the Canter Eco Hybrid during the launch event of the new Canter. The vehicle is scheduled for introduction into the Japan market in 2006 and is being evaluated for other regions.

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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Save Money on Gas

The EPA, the Dept of Energy, and the FTC, have posted information on how to save gas. Fuel economy can be done on a day to day basis for all drivers.

Driving well can improve your gas mileage dramatically.
1) Avoiding jackrabit starts and stops (5% savings on side roads - 33% on the highway)
2) Driving the speed limit (7% difference from 60 to 65!)
3) Avoiding unnecessary idling
4) Using overdrive and/or cruise control
5) Avoiding packing items on top of your car as it produces wind resistance(up to 5%)
6) Removing the unnecessary items from the trunk (100 lbs in the trunk = 2%)

Routine Maintenance can make a big difference
1) Keeping your engine tuned can make a 4% difference.
2) Tires properly inflated can save you up to 3%
3) Changing your oil regularly helps maintain your engine, but it will also increase your fuel economy. Make sure to use the correct oil for your car, though.
4) Changing your air filters can increase your fuel efficiency by 10%

A few other tips:
1) Don't use the A/C when it's not necessary.
2) Combine errands
3) Car Pool to work, ride the bus or use other public transportation, ride a bike, or just walk to where you're going.

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Top ten green cars from the EPA - 2006

The EPA rated the 2006 cars based on air pollution, greenhouse gas and fuel economy. With an air pollution score of 9.5, a greenhouse gas score of 10 and a city/highway of 60/51, the Toyota Prius came out on top. The Honda Civic hybrid comes in a close second with the same scores, but a lower fuel economy of 49/51. The Ford Escape Hybrid comes in third with 36/31, an air pollution score of 9.5 and greenhouse gas score of 8.

ModelAir Pollution ScoreGreenhouse Gas ScoreFuel Economy
Toyota Prius9.5
Honda Civic Hybrid
Ford Escape Hybrid 2WD
Ford Escape Hybrid 4WD
Mercury Mariner Hybrid
Mazda Tribute Hybrid
Mazda 3
Chevrolet Cobalt
Saturn Ion
Ford Focus

The air pollution rating is based on tailpipe pollutants that cause smog and health problems. 10 is cleanest. Greenhouse rating based on emissions of the greenhouse gas CO2. 10 is best.

Information from the EPA Green Vehicle Guide.

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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Device to improve fuel economy?

Are you skeptical when it comes to the device being advertised for fuel economy savings? You should be. If you're thinking about buying or trying out a device being advertised to 'save 26% on fuel', check it out first. Look at the EPA report first. Some of the devices are actually harmful to your car. Remember: if it's too good to be true, it probably is.

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Friday, December 02, 2005

FedEx Express awarded for using hybrids

FedEx Express and Environmental Defense (who produced the hybrid trucks) were awarded with the Blue Sky Award in Los Angeles today. The reward was presented for the recent addition of 18 hybrid trucks to the FedEx fleet in 2004. The trucks reduced particulate emissions by 97% and increase fuel efficiency by 57%. You can read more at

According to the WestStart-CALSTART website:
The Blue Sky Award is an international designation presented each year to companies, organizations or individuals selected for making outstanding contributions to clean air, energy efficiency and to the advanced transportation industry.

The advanced transportation technologies consortium, WestStart, and its California operating division, CALSTART, present the Blue Sky Award to formally recognize - and reward - outstanding contributions not only to develop clean vehicles and technologies, but also to actively bring them to the marketplace. The Blue Sky Award is specifically designed to recognize not just leadership and innovation in technology for clean, sustainable transportation, but a significant commitment to its use.

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

China to produce the first foreign built Prius for Toyota

The Asahi Shimbun notes China has been chosen by Toyota to build the first foreign built Toyota Prius hybrid vehicle. Apparently the Chinese government has been requesting the manufacturing because of their concern with exhaust pollution and energy preservation. It is not because of their large market for hybrid technology. More than half of Prius sold have been bought in the US.

"The Chinese government announced in June last year a policy to actively introduce environmentally friendly vehicles. The government, local automakers and research institutes are cooperating on domestic production of hybrid vehicles."

Considering the growth China has been facing in the demand for technology, and the pollution concerns that run parallel with those demands, it is not surprising to find they are concerned with those issues.

Toyota, on the other hand, should be able to produce components for less, reducing the price for the Prius in North America and Europe.

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