GMC Yukon Hybrid

Written By Thomas Ponco on Tuesday, January 24, 2012 | 2:00 PM



By Larry E. Hall





The GMC Yukon Hybrid – and its counterpart the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid –were the first vehicles to utilize the advanced two-mode hybrid powertrain developed jointly by General Motors, BMW and the then DaimlerChrysler. This full-size SUV launched a new breed of larger vehicles that are significantly greener than their gas-powered versions.


Available with either two- or four-wheel drive, there are two trim levels available. The base Yukon Hybrid has a starting price of $51,610 for the 2WD model; $54,420 for the 4WD. The lavishly appointed Yukon Denali Hybrid 2WD starts at $58,925; the 4WD at $61,770. Other than an updated touch-screen navigation radio that includes a USB port and the ability to record broadcast audio, there are no changes to the Yukon Hybrid for model year 2012.

Powertrain



The core of the Tahoe Hybrid’s powertrain is GM’s 6-liter Vortec V8 with cylinder deactivation technology. In other words, this engine can shut down four of its eight cylinders when the additional power is not needed. That saves fuel. Beyond the engine, there’s a 300-volt battery that hides below the second-row seats. The vehicle’s two electric motors are housed within the transmission.


In order to keep the vehicle running at peak efficiency, this hybrid system is able to run in one of two separate modes – hence the name “two-mode hybrid.” For low-speed, low-impact driving, the powertrain works just like other hybrids; it stops the gasoline engine whenever possible so that it may draw power from one or both of the electric motors. The second mode is mostly for highway driving, at which time one or both electric motors can run concurrently along with the V8 engine in order to provide a power boost. The two-mode transmission is the key to the whole system, which attempts to keep the engine running at the optimum rpm for low fuel consumption. Essentially, it manages a balancing act between the engine and the electric motors. It is also responsible for making the transitions between the two modes practically seamless.


All of this technology results in a 25-percent improvement in overall fuel economy over the Yukon hybrid’s gas-powered counterpart. More impressive is a 40-percent improvement in city driving. Both the Yukon Hybrid two- and four-wheel drive models have an EPA rating of 20 city/23 highway/21 combined as compared to the conventional Yukon’s 14/18/16 with the 6.2-liter V8. Unbelievably, this huge SUV’s city fuel economy is 3 mpg better than a Honda Accord coupe with V6 engine and manual transmission.


Despite its focus on fuel-efficiency, the Yukon Hybrid still delivers all the power and capability needed from a full-size SUV. It boasts 332 horsepower, and can tow up to 6,200 pounds. Its four-wheel drive system is comparable to most trail-rated pickup trucks, allowing the Tahoe Hybrid to drive off-road or through difficult road conditions with excellent traction and stability.

Exterior And Interior



The GMC Yukon Hybrid is a very handsome vehicle, with pleasing proportions and a minimum of unnecessary adornment. Slight exterior changes make the hybrid version more aerodynamic compared with the conventional Yukon. A redesigned bumper eliminates the regular Yukon’s fog lights for some corpulent bodywork and two small openings. The grille has horizontal slats instead of a single-piece design.


Inside, the design is straightforward with leather seats that are large, supportive and conducive to long road trips. Materials and craftsmanship are top notch and the list of standard features is quite long including: tri-zone automatic climate control; 12-way power adjustable, heated front bucket seats; Bose sound system; CD/MP3 player; Bluetooth connectivity; navigation system; and power-adjustable pedals. Stepping up to the Yukon Denali Hybrid adds GM’s Magnetic Ride Control, a power liftgate, steering wheel mounted audio controls, heated second row seats and side blind-zone alert.



The Yukon Denali Hybrid features an opulent interior, but it will cost you.




Behind the 50/50-split third-row seats is a meager 16.3 cubic feet of cargo space. This opens up to 60.3 cubic feet with the third-row seats folded, but they don’t fold flat like some other SUVs. To achieve a flat cargo surface, the third row seats need to be removed, and they each weigh 50 pounds.

Driving Impressions




From a stop, the electric drive can power the Yukon up to about 30 mph and some practice with the accelerator pedal can keep the big SUV under electric power for a couple of miles or so before the gas engine takes over. The transition from electric to gas power is silky smooth and once underway the ride comfort is exceptionally good for a vehicle this size. Steering feel is on the mark, and while body roll is present during an aggressive turn, it’s less than you would expect from a three-ton vehicle.


I’m impressed with the cylinder deactivation as a tool for increasing fuel economy. With a little practice, the big V8 can be coaxed into operating on four cylinders at around 40 mph, and can do so for several miles. On the Interstate it’s not difficult to maintain four-cylinder operation at 70 mph.

The Hybrid SUV For You?



If you are dead set on buying a full-size hybrid SUV there are only three choices, the GMC Yukon Hybrid and its corporate siblings, the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid and the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid. Chevy’s Tahoe Hybrid is only a few hundreds less but its styling is more pedestrian than the Yukon’s and the base model isn’t as well appointed. On the other end, the Escalade Hybrid is more tech heavy and more luxurious, however, it’s 10 to 20 grand more than the Yukon.


What the Yukon Hybrid offers is plenty of capability for work-related endeavors, hefty towing capabilities and an abundance of space and amenities for large families, even up to eight. Oh, then there’s also that 20 city/23 highway/21 combined fuel economy numbers.


Prices are Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) at time of publication and do not include destination charges, taxes or licensing.

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Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Qatar Special Edition

W16 / 7.993 cc / 1.001 PS / 922 lb/ft (1.250 Nm) @ 2.200 - 5.500 / quad-turbo / 4WD / 0 - 62 mph (100 km/h): 2,7 s / Vmax: 253 mph (407 km/h)

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Survey Suggests Massive Potential Hybrid Market

Published January 24, 2012


By Jeff Cobb



Toyota_Prius_c

2012 Toyota Prius c.


While ongoing CAFE hearings discuss mandating eco-friendly and efficient vehicles, a survey by Deloitte says perhaps an even more powerful force in their favor is also in play.



This would be “Generation Y” consumers – those aged 19-31, alternately known as "Millennials."



This demographic is the largest since the baby boomers and reportedly has a preference for hybrids and in-vehicle connectivity.



Of respondents to the Deloitte survey, 59 percent of respondents want an electrified vehicle.
Of Gen Y respondents, 57 percent said they were interested in hybrids, only 2 percent were interested in battery electric vehicles, and 37 percent wanted traditional combustion-powertrain vehicles.



If this portrayal is accurate, it means a profound push toward more gas-electric vehicles by a purchasing constituency numbered at 80-million strong.



What’s more, these are younger aged buyers who are forming these preferences. This means their sensibilities stand to influence – and challenge – the automotive market for decades to come.



“When millenials are ready to buy a vehicle, they consider nearly twice as many vehicles as baby boomers,” said Mark Fields, head of Ford Motor Co.'s Americas unit to Automotive News. “This is a generation of consumers that has to be reckoned with.”



Whether EVs would do well with this crowd at this juncture is in doubt. The number one reason in favor of electrified vehicles was improved fuel economy with no perceived downside.



According to Craig Giffi, automotive practice leader for Deloitte which conducted the survey, respondents were concerned for the environment, but did not want to be inconvenienced with contending with plugging in, he said.



Smart phones on wheels



Joe Vitale, global automotive sector leader for Deloitte's parent company, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd., said Gen Y consumers would spend more than $3,000 for in-vehicle connectivity.



What features would be worth spending that extra money for? Fifty-nine percent said the most important was in-dash technology, with nearly 75 percent asking for touch screens.



Observers note that automakers have been shown they have an opportunity to capitalize on these preferences, as 77 percent of respondents said they would like to buy more accessories and upgrades on an ongoing basis.



Somewhat Ironic Trend



The U.S. Department of Transportation has for the past few years held “summits” to discuss the “epidemic” of distracted driving.



In short, multitasking behind the wheel has been shown to be a threat or lethal.



The Gen Y respondents to the Deloitte survey are mindful of this reality. They still want a load of in-dash bells and whistles, but also want tech to improve their chances of not having the experience end badly – and are willing to pay up to $2,000 per car extra for it.



A desirable bundle of safety features for these connected hybrids includes collision-avoidance systems, blind-spot detection, and sleep-alert systems.



"It's almost as if they're saying 'I'm going to be distracted, so I want the car to give me protection from myself,'" Giffi said. "The safety technology they want is the next generation of accident-avoidance technology."



The survey included 250 Gen Y consumers from China, 300 from Western Europe, ad 1,500 from the U.S. and is considered a statistically significant data sampling of where today’s Millennials place their priorities.



Automotive News, press release






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Study Suggests Massive Potential Hybrid Market

Published January 24, 2012


By Jeff Cobb



Toyota_Prius_c

2012 Toyota Prius c.


While ongoing CAFE hearings discuss mandating eco-friendly and efficient vehicles, a study by Deloitte says perhaps an even more powerful force in their favor is also in play.



This would be “Generation Y” consumers – those aged 19-31, alternately known as "Millennials."



This demographic is the largest since the baby boomers and reportedly has a preference for hybrids and in-vehicle connectivity.



Of respondents to the Deloitte survey, 59 percent of respondents want an electrified vehicle.
Of Gen Y respondents, 57 percent said they were interested in hybrids, only 2 percent were interested in battery electric vehicles, and 37 percent wanted traditional combustion-powertrain vehicles.



If this portrayal is accurate, it means a profound push toward more gas-electric vehicles by a purchasing constituency numbered at 80-million strong.



What’s more, these are younger aged buyers who are forming these preferences. This means their sensibilities stand to influence – and challenge – the automotive market for decades to come.



“When millenials are ready to buy a vehicle, they consider nearly twice as many vehicles as baby boomers,” said Mark Fields, head of Ford Motor Co.'s Americas unit to Automotive News. “This is a generation of consumers that has to be reckoned with.”



Whether EVs would do well with this crowd at this juncture is in doubt. The number one reason in favor of electrified vehicles was improved fuel economy with no perceived downside.



According to Craig Giffi, automotive practice leader for Deloitte which conducted the survey, respondents were concerned for the environment, but did not want to be inconvenienced with contending with plugging in, he said.



Smart phones on wheels



Joe Vitale, global automotive sector leader for Deloitte's parent company, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd., said Gen Y consumers would spend more than $3,000 for in-vehicle connectivity.



What features would be worth spending that extra money for? Fifty-nine percent said the most important was in-dash technology, with nearly 75 percent asking for touch screens.



Observers note that automakers have been shown they have an opportunity to capitalize on these preferences, as 77 percent of respondents said they would like to buy more accessories and upgrades on an ongoing basis.



Somewhat Ironic Trend



The U.S. Department of Transportation has for the past few years held “summits” to discuss the “epidemic” of distracted driving.



In short, multitasking behind the wheel has been shown to be a threat or lethal.



The Gen Y respondents to the Deloitte survey are mindful of this reality. They still want a load of in-dash bells and whistles, but also want tech to improve their chances of not having the experience end badly – and are willing to pay up to $2,000 per car extra for it.



A desirable bundle of safety features for these connected hybrids includes collision-avoidance systems, blind-spot detection, and sleep-alert systems.



"It's almost as if they're saying 'I'm going to be distracted, so I want the car to give me protection from myself,'" Giffi said. "The safety technology they want is the next generation of accident-avoidance technology."



The survey included 250 Gen Y consumers from China, 300 from Western Europe, ad 1,500 from the U.S. and is considered a statistically significant data sampling of where today’s Millennials place their priorities.



Automotive News, press release






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Honda Delivers First Fit EV to City of Torrance, California

Written By Thomas Ponco on Monday, January 23, 2012 | 5:00 PM

Published January 23, 2012



The first of Honda's electric hatchbacks has officially been delivered to the city of Torrance, California. Honda delivered a single Fit EV to the city of Torrance on Friday as the first step in the Honda Electric Vehicle Demonstration Program, a prelude to the "retail market launch" of the Fit EV to customers (actually, only to lessees) in California and Oregon starting this summer.



Steve Center, vice-president of the Environmental Business Development Office at American Honda, described the Fit EV hand-off, stating:



"This is an exciting day as we take another important step toward Honda's comprehensive vision for reducing CO2 emissions while at the same time advancing our relationship with the city of Torrance... With Honda's extensive experience and the real-world feedback from the city of Torrance, we will be even more prepared for the further customer adoption of electric vehicles."



Honda unveiled the production-spec 2013 Fit EV at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show and announced it will lease the 76-mile-range electric hatchback to US customers in the summer of 2012. Unfortunately, Honda has no intention to outright sell the car to the general public.



At some later point, the city of Torrance will receive a Honda plug-in hybrid for testing and demonstration purposes. The carmaker's current plug-in hybrid drivetrain is designed to be fit to a mid-size sedan platform, with a range of 10-15 miles and a top speed of 62 mph in electric mode.



California has been a fertile testing ground for Honda's advanced vehicle technologies, in part because its zero emissions mandate forces carmakers to sell a minimum number of qualifying vehicles there each year. In 2008, Honda began leasing its FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle to select California customers, including Hollywood stars like Jamie Lee Curtis and her husband, director Christopher Guest. No word yet on whether the Fit EV has picked up any celebrity drivers of its own.







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BMW ActiveE enrollment process now open in test markets

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Some Chevy dealers rejecting further Volt allocations

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Ford F100 &quot;The Gold Chariot&quot; Custom Pick-up by Rick Erickson

No technical specification available

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Scosche debuts accessory that blocks all cell phone use in cars

Written By Thomas Ponco on Sunday, January 22, 2012 | 2:00 PM

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Venchurs Vehicle Systems shows off Xplore truck line

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Hummer H3 Wooden Wagon Wheels

S5 / 3.653 cc / 244 PS / 242 ft/lb (328 Nm) @ 4.600 / AWD / 0 - 62 mph (100 km/h): 11,5 s / Vmax: 99 mph (160 km/h)

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Porsche 911 (997) Speedster

Written By Thomas Ponco on Saturday, January 21, 2012 | 9:30 AM

B6 / 3.800 cc / 408 PS / 310 lb/ft (420 Nm) @ 4.200 / 0 - 62 mph (100 km/h): 4,2 s / Vmax: 190 mph (306 km/h) / Limited edition (356 cars)

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House Committee to Hold Chevy Volt Safety Hearing on January 25

Published January 20, 2012



The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a formal hearing to discuss and to investigate the potential fire risks associated with the extensively damaged Chevrolet Volts. Darrell Issa, R-CA, chairman of the committee, told members of the House that the hearing—titled "Volt Vehicle Fire: What did NHTSA know and when did they know it?”—will be held on January 25.



National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland claims that the White House was informed of the first crash-test related Chevy Volt fire in September, 2011. White House officials say they didn't request that the NHTSA keep the information under wraps, but it wasn't until Bloomberg News broke the story in November when the NHTSA decided to publicly disclose its findings.



In late November, the NHTSA opened a formal defect investigation in the Chevy Volt. In January, General Motors detailed modifications designed to prevent the Volt from catching fire following a severe impact.



Republicans have, time and again, asked General Motors and the NHTSA to answer questions regarding the delayed disclosure of possible fires in crash-tested Volts. Ali Ahmad, a spokesman for Issa, stated last Friday that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will demand that the NHTSA turn over all records related to the safety of the Volt:



"NHTSA has stalled on responding to the committee's inquiry for six weeks and inexplicably refused to provide any documents. The committee expects full compliance with its request and will consider compulsory methods if NHTSA does not immediately change its position."



General Motors CEO Dan Akerson has agreed to deliver his first testimony before Congress since taking over the company, and will be joined by NHTSA administrator Strickland.







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Barrett-Jackson 2012: Galpin Widebody Mustang nets $160,000 for charity

Written By Thomas Ponco on Friday, January 20, 2012 | 8:00 PM

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SMS Supercars unveils 620 Camaro, auctions first example for charity at Barrett-Jackson

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2013 Lexus LX 570 price increased to $81,805*

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Perana Z-One by Zagato

V12 / 7.291 cc / 525 PS / 555 lb/ft (750 Nm) @ 4.000 / 0 - 62 mph (100 km/h): 4,8 s / Vmax: 155 mph (250 km/h)

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Roush announces new performance product line for the Ford F-150

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TrueCar polishing edges off business model to comply with state regulations

Written By Thomas Ponco on Thursday, January 19, 2012 | 4:30 PM

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GM retakes global sales crown with over 9M units shifted in 2011

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