Auto Show Coverage

Gas 2 covers several auto shows throughout the year, with an emphasis on alternative fuel, high-mileage, and low-emission vehicles.

Kia to Focus on CNG Future

If Kia’s chief powertrain engineer gets his way, the Korean automaker will continue its push to reduce harmful carbon emissions by building its future models (like the Rio-based Trackster, above) to run on compressed natural gas (CNG). Dr. Joachim Hahn, speaking to the automotive press at the Geneva auto show last week, voiced his strong support for CNG as a means to a quick, inexpensive way for automakers to cut emissions, saying “With all the work we do on internal combustion engines and hydrogen-powered cars, making big gains in CO2 reduction is either incredibly difficult or incredible expensive. That’s why I see big potential in CNG. It can offer a 20 per cent CO2 reduction just like that – what other technology can give you that?” Indeed, Hahn’s comments...

The CNG Civic GX Returns!

The CNG Honda Civic GX has returned to the Chicago Auto Show this year. Named the 2012 Green Car of the Year by the Green Car Journal, the unassuming sedan looks just like any other 2012 Civic. The only indication that this is not a car running on standard gasoline is the CNG badge on the back, proudly but quietly claiming that this car is one of the cleanest-burning in the world. CNG vehicles (NGVs) are still somewhat of a niche, mostly due to natural gas stations being a little hard to find (the US Department of Energy does have a locator application to find alternative fuel stations), but natural gas burns very cleanly. Just about the only way to be greener with your vehicle is to get something purely electric and then power it with solar panels alone. In addition to being much cleaner-...

Plug in, Hit the Road: Toyota Prius Camper

There are little Prii, big Prii, plug-in Prii, racing Prii, and now – just revealed at this weekend’s Tokyo Auto Salon – there are full-fledged, fully-equipped, and very Real Toyota Prius camper vans. Starting with a new, 3rd-gen Prius, the conversion company adds a streamlined, fiber-reinforced plastic shell that expands the Prius’ interior into something that’s, well, livable! The “living area” has room for a small coffee table with booth-type seating and underseat storage which can be converted to a queen-size bed (as shown, below), with an additional “permanent” bed in the forward section (above the cockpit). At the rear of the shell, the Prius RV features a shower/bathroom stall, which seems big enough for (quick) standing showers....

Yamaha’s Zuma 50: 132 mpg of fun!

I spoke with Yamaha's Tim Olsen about their Zuma 50 and Zuma 125, both excellent scooters for new riders and young urban commuters. The 50 gets a mind-boggling 132 mpg, and must be loads of fun to ride. I only say this because I haven't ridden one yet, but I know of at least one very talented racer whose preferred mode of commuting 60 miles to work is on his Zuma 50.

Honda Reveals New (Electric!) Motocompo Successor

  Do you remember the Motocompo? Do you remember the super-awesome Honda of the 1980s? The Honda that built the Gyro scooter, oval-pistoned NR750 superbike, reinvented the Ferrari with the NSX, and reinvented the sportscar with the CRX Si? Honda does, and it’s drawing more inspiration from its own past with each new mention of the CR-Z, the upcoming “new” NSX hybrid, and – now – this. Making its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show, this new suitcase scooter invokes the departed spirit of the old Motocompo foldable scooter, and calls itself the MOTOR COMPO, in case you’re too young to recognize the Motocompo on sight. The Motocompo isn’t the only source of inspiration for the new electric moped; a Honda employee (who remains nameless in the original, Japanese-la...

EICMA 2011: Honda Brings Twist-n’-Go to the Big Time

What makes a scooter a scooter? What makes a motorcycle a motorcycle? When you have bikes like Honda’s DN-01 – with a 100+ mph top speed, automatic transmission, and big “v twin” engine – it’s tough to tell. True to its category-busting form once again, Honda is blurring the scooter/motorcycle line even more at this year’s EICMA show, releasing a quartet large-displacement 2-cylinder 2-wheelers that (despite their varied “mission statements”) share the same “shiftless” transmission that has (despite the existence of manual-transmission scooters like Genuine’s Stella) defined “scooter” for the last 2 (maybe 3!) decades. In addition to the automatic transmission and twist-n’-go operation (just like my 5...

AltCar Expo 2011 | More Players in the Game

28 models representing the cleanest of the clean in 4-wheeled transport were on hand to be test-driven by the public, while the Expo floor showed some of the more exotic models, as well as interesting new tech in the industry. There were interesting panel discussions and presentations by directors of great films about EV's.

EVCONN 2011: Mike Picard’s Electric Willys Jeep Conversion

  Mike Picard’s cooler-than-yours electric car, based on a vintage Willys military Jeep, was present and accounted for at EVCCON 2011.  As you might recall from our original post covering Picard’s build, the NetGain WarP11 electric motor has way more horsepower (80) and torque (120 lb-ft) than its original gasoline engine (an even 60 hp and 60 lb-ft at 5250 rpm, for the curious), and that many of its parts were authentic, WWII-era iron.  It is, without question, a Jeep made of win. Like many of the attendees, Picard did most of the work himself.  Although he started his conversion working with a local garage, it quickly became clear to him that they were “completely clueless”.  In his word, “They would look at what I brought in, and then Google it to see what other ...

EVCCON 2011: Electric Opel GT

It’s not easy to make a 1973 Opel GT sexier than it already is – but ripping out the engine to install an electric motor is a pretty good start, and that's exactly what Texans Charlie and Tamara did! The married couple bought the Opel three years ago, and have been working to make the 70's coupe into a forward-looking EV ever since.

Ford Debuts Lightweight E-Bike Concept

The press days at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show may be over, but there are still a few tidbits trickling in here and there. Take this Ford E-Bike concept, which has an electric-assist motor that provides up to 53 miles of power, and is loaded with all sorts of high-tech goodies.

“Concept_One” EV Super Car Boasts 1,088 HP,600 KmRange

Electric cars have quickly gone from sideshow attraction to main stage in the global auto industry, and the wealthy are especially interested in electric luxury cars from companies like Rimac Automobili, whose Concept_One EV supercar boasts nearly 1,000 horsepower.

IAA EV Rundown

The IAA 2011 is fast approaching – it starts Thursday, Sept. 15th in Frankfurt and will go on until the 25th. This year, electric cars get their own display – all of Hall 4. The usual suspects - Opel Ampera, Citroen C-ZERO, Renault Twizy, Peugeot iOn and the BMW prototype i3 and i8 – will all be there. Visitors can not only get information, but sign up to test drive a variety of electric cars.

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