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VW Up! Concept  (Source: Autoblog Green)

  (Source: Autoblog Green)
Volkswagen's tiny Up! to get a hybrid powertrain

Volkswagen (VW) is no stranger to fuel efficiency in the United States. While the company may currently known for its 200HP GTI pocket rocket and Eos retractable hardtop-chick mobile, the company also has deep roots in diesel motors.

The company is famous for its TDI engines which in recent years have been available in a number of vehicles including the New Beetle, Jetta, Passat and Touareg. TDI engines are currently on hiatus in the United States due to more stringent emissions requirements, but VW will bring to market a new Tier 2 Bin 5 TDI engine for the Jetta next year (and likely also for the Passat, New Beetle and Rabbit).

If VW has its way, consumers may have an alternative method for achieving high fuel economy with its vehicles.

VW is looking to introduce two variants of its recently introduced Up! rear-engined concept car. The tiny Up! measures just 135.8 inches from nose to tail and is only 64.2 inches wide.

The first variant of the Up! would be a small minivan aimed at families who clearly don't need all of the space afforded in today's super-sized minivans from Chrysler, Honda and Toyota. The second variant on tap is a plug-in hybrid model.

The plug-in variant would ditch the concept Up!'s hatchback profile for a more traditional sedan configuration (which is more in tune with American buying tastes). According to Auto News and Autoblog, the plug-in hybrid Up! would achieve close to 100 MPG.

The Up! minivan is scheduled to be unveiled shortly in Tokyo while the Up! plug-in hybrid will bow in Los Angeles.



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Safety...
By vortmax on 10/2/2007 1:43:11 PM , Rating: 2
Cool tech, but I cringe at the thought of one of these getting hit by a 4000+ pound SUV...




RE: Safety...
By mdogs444 on 10/2/07, Rating: 0
RE: Safety...
By TomZ on 10/2/2007 2:19:09 PM , Rating: 3
A government that makes such a law is a government that needs to be replaced immediately.


RE: Safety...
By mdogs444 on 10/2/2007 2:21:19 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks TomZ for the backup, glad we agree on something today :-)


RE: Safety...
By Polynikes on 10/2/2007 8:34:23 PM , Rating: 2
I like the term "violently overthrown" better than "replaced," personally.


RE: Safety...
By headbox on 10/3/2007 12:33:47 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, because getting to drive the car I want is more important that saving the planet. Freedom means I get to be a selfish dickwad at the expense of the Earth.


RE: Safety...
By mdogs444 on 10/3/2007 12:46:32 PM , Rating: 1
Fortunately, liberals not only argue like liberals, they throw like girls.


RE: Safety...
By eyebeeemmpawn on 10/2/2007 2:37:54 PM , Rating: 2
what do you think about the government making a law requiring a certain level of fuel efficiency?


RE: Safety...
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 10/2/2007 2:41:19 PM , Rating: 3
Or driver/passenger airbags, side curtain air bags, side-impact door beams, stability control, 5-MPH bumpers, tire pressure monitoring systems, etc.

Or helmet laws for that matter.

That being said, I don't envision a law like the one proposed above to ever come into play. Some people need pickups (for towing), minivans (for transporting kids), sports cars (for mid-life crisis's), etc.


RE: Safety...
By eyebeeemmpawn on 10/2/2007 2:51:07 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see an efficiency law coming either (not one with any teeth anyway). The safety laws only infringe on your ability to choose for yourself, we pass those "for the children". An efficiency law would cut into to those record oil profits; it would never make it through the "checks and balances" of our current Energy Regime.


RE: Safety...
By Ringold on 10/2/07, Rating: -1
RE: Safety...
By FITCamaro on 10/2/2007 3:24:38 PM , Rating: 2
We also pass safety laws to save lives. Which lowers insurance costs. I already pay plenty for insurance because others in my age group drive like crap and people in my area are drastically under-insured if at all. I'd never seen minimum coverage commercials before I lived in South Carolina.

I can't wait to turn 25. Then to the insurance companies I magically overnight become a better, more responsible driver who's worthy of lower rates that are still higher than women's. Because women drive better than men....


RE: Safety...
By timmiser on 10/3/2007 2:58:04 PM , Rating: 2
Efficiency laws already exist in various forms. The gas guzzeler tax that you pay for when you purchase a low mpg vehicle; requirements that a certain percentage of your vehicle base must include high mileage cars, etc.


RE: Safety...
By clovell on 10/2/2007 2:53:59 PM , Rating: 2
I'll just have a quarter life crisis - I can't wait for mid-life to get a sports car.


RE: Safety...
By mdogs444 on 10/2/07, Rating: 0
RE: Safety...
By mdogs444 on 10/2/2007 4:04:07 PM , Rating: 2
They wont pass an efficiency law. They can pass emissions laws all they want, but not efficiency.

As we determined last week in one of the articles on here....

A person who drives a car that get 30MPG but drives 60 miles per day is still using more gas than the guy who has a car that gets 15MPG and only drives 5 miles per day.

Efficiency is really in the eye of the beholder, and can relate what ever you want it to relate to.


RE: Safety...
By rcsinfo on 10/2/2007 8:09:00 PM , Rating: 2
They won't pass an efficiency law??

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_Average_Fue...

Now if you want to make the point that the law is full of loopholes such as classifying SUVs as buses, I won't disagree. But the US government has been regulating fuel efficiency since 1975.


RE: Safety...
By mdogs444 on 10/2/2007 8:19:49 PM , Rating: 2
LOL way too many loopholes. If you really read into it, its not designed to stop manufacturers from producing less fuel efficient cars. Its designed to increase the price of the car, while the government gets a "tax" on it of $5.50 per 0.1 mpg that it misses the cutoff.

Another reason that large motor cars cost more - suvs, american sports cars, etc.

Its really more of a "guideline" than a law, because it doesnt prohibit anyone from now following it.


RE: Safety...
By DeepBlue1975 on 10/2/2007 10:18:50 PM , Rating: 2
Not even ABS is mandatory by law, so no such kind of law could ever be even dreamt of being proposed.

It'd be like a law requiring everyone to drive a violet car because the gay side of a governor would say so :D

Laws about fuel efficiency, safety items (like ABS) can and, IMNSHO, should be issued.
I wouldn't agree on laws about passive security, but I would certainly like strict laws about active security devices, because those ones can keep many accidents from happening in the first place.

Heck, even though I really love driving, I'd love fully automatized driving systems to come alive and then a law requiring every single car out there to be able to self-drive and with no disengagement possibility in "normal circumstances".


RE: Safety...
By FITCamaro on 10/2/07, Rating: 0
RE: Safety...
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 10/2/2007 2:23:16 PM , Rating: 2
Well, that sucks for you :-)

I personally love smaller cars. I drive a Mazda 3s Hatchback and have no problems fitting in my car or in the back seat. My GF has a 2004 Civic EX Sedan and I also don't have an issue with it (comfort wise).

I've also driven smaller vehicles like the previous generation Echo and the Mini. Again, I felt entirely comfortable in all. Then again, I'm 5'10" and pretty thin.

I'm of the opinion that you should have just enough vehicle to suit your needs. I bought a hatchback b/c a sedan would never meet my cargo requirements.


RE: Safety...
By clovell on 10/2/2007 2:56:05 PM , Rating: 2
My last car was an ECHO, and I loved it - that thing was so nimble. I'm 6'2". Different strokes.


RE: Safety...
By jskirwin on 10/2/2007 3:09:29 PM , Rating: 2
I sympathize.
I have a soft-spot for the Honda Civic 4 door. It's a great little car with lots of OOMPH when you need it - at least the 5 speed comes with OOMPH standard (dunno about the automatic).

However try owning a home and relying upon a tiny car like this to do anything other than commute. No hauling drywall, a bathtub, studs, plywood, or even more than a bag or two of mulch. Forget shopping if you have kids, because there won't be anyplace to stash the groceries.

People don't buy minivans because they are cool; they buy them because they are useful. Ditto SUVs and pickups. Personally I'd like to have a small car to commute in, a larger sedan to go shopping/traveling in, and a pickup to use to buy stuff at Lowes. However I can't afford to have 4 cars, so I make do with a cute-ute and a slightly bigger SUV.

My carbon footprint? Still smaller than Al Gores.


RE: Safety...
By Ringold on 10/2/2007 3:18:47 PM , Rating: 2
To each their own; I test drove an Civic a couple years ago. Tried merging on to Interstate 4 here in Sanford.

Thank god that particular on-ramp was a little lengthy; I was flooring it and it was still accelerating much slower than I'd of liked. Also good that I was getting right back off without actually merging with traffic -- I did eventually get to 75 (the prevailing speed in the right lane), but only after I'd got past the point where I'd of needed to merge. It'd be a death trap, or at least a huge pain, at some of the shorter on-ramp and merging lanes, like the OBT one in Orlando.

To be fair, it was an automatic, but it was so vastly underpowered I don't know that it'd of made a difference. Also thought it was overpriced, but thats even more subjective.


RE: Safety...
By Spivonious on 10/2/2007 3:30:25 PM , Rating: 2
You do know that Lowes/Home Depot/etc usually offer delivery services for a small extra charge. I own a home and get along just fine with my hatchback. I would never even think of trying to haul a bathtub home. And if I fold the seats down I could fit roughly 25 bags of mulch.

And I'm not going to look up the numbers again, but for a previous article I compared cabin space between my Ford Focus ZX3 hatchback and the Ford Escape SUV. I had something like 150 more cubic feet.

People buy minivans because they have lots of kids to truck around. People buy SUVs because they think driving a big hunk of steel makes them better than me. Or maybe those 5'2" power suit-wearing 40-something women in the Suburban is just hiding her kids and drywall in the back. :P

Note: this is not a personal attack; it's an opinion, just like your post was.


RE: Safety...
By weskurtz0081 on 10/2/2007 4:00:54 PM , Rating: 2
When you live more than 1 hour away from Lowes or Homedepot, you do much of your shopping in the local towns and most of those places don't offer delivery for a lot of items.

When you have a lawn to mow, need to move a riding lawn mower, if you ever want to own a boat, or any number of different things. A car just won't cut it.


RE: Safety...
By FITCamaro on 10/2/2007 3:11:35 PM , Rating: 2
Thats fine. I agree with you as well. Buy what you need. I drive a Cobalt. I don't need a truck. But if I could afford a GTO, I'd be driving one of them. ;)

I've sat in a Mini. I wouldn't own one though. I had enough room for myself but beyond that, theres absolutely no room in them.


RE: Safety...
By mindless1 on 10/3/2007 4:31:50 AM , Rating: 2
Another perspective. I'm 5'11", not fat nor thin but built brick-house muscular. I feel constrained in even a Ford Explorer SUV, it is too cramped. I don't meant to be offensive, only an opinion, but a fat person brings along their own padding, needs less in the seating design to feel comfortable.

Honestly, the most comfortable ride I ever had was a '76 oldsmobile with thick padded bench seat. I hate thinner padded bench seats but if the padding is thick enough to contours to your shape, it can be better than a fixed-sized bucket or other contoured individual seating arrangement unless you like taking curves really fast. At that point it is just a matter of training oneself that their abdomen instead of the seat sides is keeping them upright.

On the other hand, total car size doesn't necessarily correspond to driver capsule space. On certain midsize and almost large sized cars like a Ford Taurus or Buick Centry, I find myself backing the seat up as far as it will go. granted, part of the reason is I don't sit slanted backwards like I'm in a recliner, but nevertheless I would never own a car that didn't have that level seat adjustment and as such, find most midsized cars constraining even being only of medium height.

A Civic makes me feel like tuna in a can. Maybe I just travel in cars too much, if my commute were only a few minutes it would matter less.


RE: Safety...
By DeepBlue1975 on 10/3/2007 9:13:47 AM , Rating: 2
Second that about hatchbacks.
It's been more than 10 years since I last had a sedan, and now the sole idea of driving a sedan again seems creepy to me.
95% of the time it's just me and my wife into the car (now I have a 5dr, but I like 3dr versions even better), and we rarely need to carry anything more than 2 bags.
Then again, when I need to carry a big TV or furniture, I find hatchbacks so much more suitable than sedans.
What's a huge boot capacity worthy of if the opening is not big enough to make really big things pass through it? :D

If ever a "1+1" car configuration becomes available, I'm surely going to look at it with a lot of interest :D


RE: Safety...
By Misty Dingos on 10/2/2007 2:57:07 PM , Rating: 2
Put giant foam bumpers on it. That way when it gets hit by a real car or truck it will just be 'nudged' out of the way.

You know folks the SUV is not a killer machine. The term has been demonized to the extreme.

Someone says. “I drive the Acme SUV 2000. It is a nice vehicle and gets decent mileage. ”

What people hear. “I drive the Acme SUV 2000 car crushing death dealer! I want your bones ground beneath my tires! I will use your children’s blood for oil in it if you cross my path! And if I have to drill through the heads of a million cute white furred baby harp seals to keep gasoline in my Acme SUV 2000 I will gladly do it!”

Oh by the way the Acme SUV 2000 is imaginary. Which means it doesn’t really exist.


RE: Safety...
By Kougar on 10/3/2007 3:54:59 AM , Rating: 2
How about you experience a Dodge Ram pickup plowing into the back of your car while you're making a ~10mph right-turn off a roadway, before you spout random nonsense. Foam bumpers do squat when the truck (or SUV) impacts the vehicle above your giant foam bumper. In my case it didn't matter anyway, he took it out along with the entire back end of my car.

The Dodge Ram pickup compacted the entire trunk against the back seat of the vehicle, foam bumper and all. The pickup only got away with a buffed up front end, but the Somerset had three tires blown out with the trunk solidly compressed against the rear wheels/axle, enough to lock both rear wheels in place and blow them out. It left me comletely turned around to face oncoming traffic head on but thankfully inside the parking lot I was turning into.

The Somerset is not remotely a small car in comparison to this thing or a Mini Cooper. That crash was on a 35mph road with moderate traffic using three lanes, it should never of happened. Airbags will not help if you are run over, especially the kind of truck/SUV that drives on oversized tires which would plow over this thing or a Mini Cooper alike. At least you won't live long enough to worry if the idiot had insurance.


RE: Safety...
By Misty Dingos on 10/3/2007 3:56:40 PM , Rating: 2
It is clear to me that you have no grasp of the concept of humor. Let me explain.

When I mentioned the use of "giant foam bumpers" it was a type of humor. Specifically sarcasm. I have found that using this punctuation (!) at the end of sentence indicates that sarcasm is being used. I am going to start using that as sarcasm is difficult to translate cross culturally. Shakespeare used it a lot and it worked for him but I am not that skilled a communicator. So I will just use the useful clues here and there.

Using giant foam bumpers large enough to actually be functional would be so large and so unwieldy that the car could not move them. So for you to take my comments literally is not useful nor will you benefit from the humorous aspect of the post.

Thus deprived of the humor in my post your day is not as bright and cheerful as it could have been. In fact it is likely the opposite, you likely said things about that twit that could make such a ludicrous comment. Probably something like this. “I nearly got killed and he is making jokes!”

But it was never my intent to minimize the danger of an auto accident. Been in a couple myself. I have never had a Dodge Ram make an impression on me like the one made on you. And I am happy to hear that you are recovered. I note though you blame the driver of the truck and not the vehicle itself. This is important an important distinction. Some people do indeed blame the vehicle and not the driver.

One other thing, if you had been struck by a smaller vehicle the result would likely have been very similar. How much damage the other vehicle suffered is probably not apparent to you as you were, rightly, concerned more with your own vehicle. From the amount of damage your car suffered I can not imagine the other vehicle combatant emerging from the fray as unscathed as you describe. It is either that or you car was made from something akin to aluminum foil.

There has not been to my knowledge at least an SUV that has gone out hunting people to maim or kill. SUVs don’t have a hidden agenda of depopulating the planet. They are just cars. You want to drive one, go right ahead. Just use your seat belt (because it is a good idea not because it is a law) and don’t drink and drive.


RE: Safety...
By Kougar on 10/5/2007 2:35:58 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the interesting reply. I do have a solid grasp of humor (or so I would like to think), however I will confess I have a problem of detecting it in online text without any cues. I will keep an eye peeled for said exclamation points in the future, but they don't specificly denote anything of the like to me.

I don't have anything against large vehicles, I would be driving the largest extended cab 4-door Silverado pickup if it was more in my price range. As you pointed out I do tend to take issue with a great many drivers though, holding a salad or a bowl of lunch in one hand and a fork in the other hand and driving with an elbow or knee is not something I can laugh about seeing people doing.

I was not exaggerating about the pickup though, as to his credit he at least turned around and came back to the scene. It scratched up his front bumper, and left one the corner of the bumper slightly hanging off the vehicle since he impacted at an angle to the rear of the car, and his grill and front end didn't impact the car at all. Just about all the force was transferred to/from the frame of his truck instead of the body work. My sister and I were wearing seat belts thank god, but the impact did cleanly snap the back of my drivers seat so it couldn't even stand upright.


RE: Safety...
By Hoser McMoose on 10/3/2007 7:30:52 PM , Rating: 2
I've said it before and I'll say it again:

Extra weight does NOT make a car safe, smart engineering DOES!

There are MANY 4000+ pound SUVs with extraordinarily poor safety records. The Chevy Blazer 2-door/2WD model, which weighed in at 4450 lbs gross weight, had the unenviable distinction of being the LEAST safe 4-wheeled vehicle in for the 2003 and 2004 model year (latest figures I've seen). At 232 driver fatalities per 100 million miles driven it was more than 3 times as bad as the national average of 79 fatalities per 100M miles.

Pick-up trucks generally do even worse, there are VERY few 4000+ pickup trucks that can match the safety record of a Toyota Echo or MINI Cooper. The Echo managed an above-average 70 driver fatalities per 100M miles driven, the Cooper was slightly better at 68 fatalities. Meanwhile Ford F250 4WD drivers suffered fatalities at a rate of 122 per 100M miles.

Source:
http://www.iihs.org/sr/pdfs/sr4204.pdf


RE: Safety...
By Steve Guilliot on 10/4/2007 5:13:41 PM , Rating: 2
I sure hope as many people hassle SUV owners for making everyone else less safe as hassle small car buyers for making themselves less safe. (somehow with all the male hoorah!!! floating around here, I doubt it)

The answer to safety isn't for everyone to drive big vehicles. If so, we'd all be driving Mac trucks, and then no one is safer and everyone is poorer. Rather we should encourage others to drive smaller vehicles.

Government mandate is bad, agreed. But I think the vitriol is often misdirected.


Hmmm...
By clovell on 10/2/2007 2:08:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The plug-in variant would ditch the concept Up!'s hatchback profile for a more traditional sedan configuration (which is more in tune with American buying tastes). According to Auto News and Autoblog, the plug-in hybrid Up! would achieve close to 100 MPG.
I just have to wonder how exactly they're going to do that. The traditional MPG kind of goes out of the window on PHEVs - short commutes may not use electricity at all.

But, I'm more concerned with 0-60 time on these things - once you get past 60 or 80 'MPG', I tend to forget about efficiency.




RE: Hmmm...
By mdogs444 on 10/2/2007 2:12:31 PM , Rating: 2
I cannot see the 0-60 time at anything less than 11-13 seconds.

The power is probably comprable to fusing together a TYCO Rc Car electric motor and the gas motor from your black & decker weed whacker.


RE: Hmmm...
By FITCamaro on 10/2/2007 2:25:38 PM , Rating: 5
Thats ok. Throw some 20" wheels on it, a fart pipe, a retarded body kit, and a 3' tall wing, and 3000 watts worth of stereo equipment and it'll be faster.


RE: Hmmm...
By mdogs444 on 10/2/2007 2:35:05 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, and i thought all you needed to do to add horsepower were some decals on the windshield and taillight blackouts.


RE: Hmmm...
By eyebeeemmpawn on 10/2/2007 2:41:21 PM , Rating: 2
haha, the decals only get you 30-40hp boost, the stereo ads at least another 50hp ;)


RE: Hmmm...
By FITCamaro on 10/2/2007 3:26:28 PM , Rating: 2
If you didn't know, they actually have a measurement of the horsepower added for stuff like stickers and what not. It's called "perceived horsepower". No, I'm not joking.


RE: Hmmm...
By FITCamaro on 10/2/2007 3:12:56 PM , Rating: 2
I knew I forgot something.


RE: Hmmm...
By clovell on 10/2/2007 2:50:59 PM , Rating: 3
The Chevy Volt will have a 0 - 60 of 8.5 - 9.0 seconds. I figured Volkwagen's PHEV would probably be lighter, so maybe they could manage something respectable.

Link-
http://www.gm-volt.com/2007/09/20/chevy-volt-in-20...


RE: Hmmm...
By Spivonious on 10/2/2007 3:34:19 PM , Rating: 2
That's about what my Focus does now. Very impressive to get that out of a plug-in.


Stop griping and look at the positive side here!
By OxBow on 10/2/2007 4:22:43 PM , Rating: 3
It seems that any time a car like this get's mentioned, someone complains that it'll fold up like a tin can in a car accident. Then they complain it's to small for them because their 6'1", etc...

Considering the average height in Europe is increasing (6'3" in the Netherlands) and the average height in the US is decreasing, I don't see how the "I don't fit" argument works. It's bogus and denotes small minded preconceptions over actual abilities. A small car can be laid out to have plenty of room and be quite comfortable. Similarly, these cars still have to meet all the safety standards a modern auto must include. As such, their actually safer than the average SUV which uses the the truck exemption to get out of including many safety devices.

It would be nice if, once in a while, news like this was welcomed instead of railed on. I'll certainly check out the minivan they're talking about here. It sounds like just what I'm looking for. I hope it comes on the market soon.




By rgsaunders on 10/2/2007 4:34:14 PM , Rating: 2
Please keep in mind, when reading many comments in these forums, the thought "never underestimate the stupidity of the human race and you won't be disappointed".


By mdogs444 on 10/2/2007 5:21:41 PM , Rating: 2
I think you fail to miss out on several points.

In Europe, small cars and small hatchbacks are very popular because of busy city driving, the economy and how much the average person can afford, taxes, and the price of gas.

Each person has a different perception of what they feel is "comfortable" in a car. If you sit in a ford focus, then go sit in a ford expolorer, there are many different levels of comfort. I dont think anyone says that they cannot "fit" at all into the car - its more less that when they sit in it, they dont feel as comfortable as they want to be. And rightfully so, they are the ones spending their own hard earned money on a car and they should buy whatever they want. If the person wants to buy the smallest hatchback around, so be it, if another wants to buy the largest SUV, then so be it. Another point is usually, the person who buys the big suv or the v8 sports car isnt too worried about the gas mileage or the price of gas itself. They have a totally different budget. Also, lets not bring in the Netherlands argument - i can say that the average height of a person in Ohio is taller than a person in West Virginia - does that mean we should all change what kind of cars we drive?

Safety is a different issue. We all know cars have to pass safety tests. But there is a big difference in the average collision between the US and Europe. If two small hatchbacks get into an accident, the safety features of the car and probably going show to work much better. But if a small hatchback gets into a collision with a large SUV, ill put money on it that the hatchbacks safety features do not react the same. Thats another reason in the US that hatchbacks are just not as popular. Its not the car you are driving that may not be safe, its also thinking about the other cars on the road that you may get in an accident with.

I personally am not going to "rail" on this car in the article, but i also have no interest at all in buying something that small. I travel and go on vacations quite often - and i prefer to have an SUV to carry 4 people confortable with 4 sets of golf clubs and all our baggage for a week. I also have a large dog (great dane) that would not be too comfortable sitting in the back seat of a hatchback, and in no way could it fit the dogs cage in there either.

So my argument is not to say that yours is wrong, but to say that comfort, safety, and convenience really depend on your situation.

Here in the US (as i suspect you are not from the US), we dont expect the rest of the nation to do what we want them to do or have the government put enforcements on what we drive. If they did, it would sure put a huge damper on our automobile manufacturers, our citizens jobs in the auto industry, as well as our freedom to be decisive and purchase what we feel is our moneys worth.


By PlasmaBomb on 10/2/2007 6:08:41 PM , Rating: 2
If you have need of an SUV that's fine however many people in Europe drive them because they have become status symbols. This then leads to people worrying about their safety and buying SUV's to make themselves feel safe, despite modern small cars being very rigid and punching above their weight safety wise.

A comment was made about a person driving 60 miles vs a person driving 5 miles to work. The question should be does the person driving 5 miles really need to take the car? Sure there will be times when the answer is Yes (stuff to carry etc.) but conversly they could take some other forms of transport some of the time, assuming the local public transport doesn't completely suck like here...


By mdogs444 on 10/2/2007 6:35:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If you have need of an SUV that's fine however many people in Europe drive them because they have become status symbols. This then leads to people worrying about their safety and buying SUV's to make themselves feel safe, despite modern small cars being very rigid and punching above their weight safety wise.


There always have been, and always will be products that emulate status symbols. Im guilt of buying them as well. Do we need to buy expensive clothing, a 50" tv, designer shoes? No, we dont NEED to...but if life was based solely on needs, then we'd be a second or third world country just trying to get by.

I understand the argument of people feeling worried for their safety because other people have bigger cars, trucks, suvs, etc. But there is no definitive answer for that - its an argument what should be done:

1. make everyone drive small cars because someone people cannot afford or want suvs? That would be a socialistic approach, and that is not what america is about.

2. punish the suv owner because he has a different taste in car, because he has a better job, or because he makes more money? thats not right either.

quote:
A comment was made about a person driving 60 miles vs a person driving 5 miles to work. The question should be does the person driving 5 miles really need to take the car? Sure there will be times when the answer is Yes (stuff to carry etc.) but conversly they could take some other forms of transport some of the time, assuming the local public transport doesn't completely suck like here...


Again, a very socialistic and liberal approach of defining what someone else should do because thats what you would do or thats what you want them to do. Why does that person not have the right to have whatever car he/she wants, and drive it whether its 5 miles or 50 miles? Democracy and our freedoms do not allow someone to be "punished" or "told what to do" because some people do not think they should do something.

As i said before, these arguments are really all political. A conservative trying to argue with a liberal (and vice versa) is like arguing with a tree. You arent going to get anywhere because each has their own mindset of what they feel is right and wrong - and the beauty of our country says that both can exist and neither can have total power.


By PlasmaBomb on 10/3/2007 6:54:08 AM , Rating: 2
I think we are all guilty of buying things that some would class as luxury, again it is a personal opinion.

As I said I am well aware that there are times when public transport won't cut it, which is something that politicians should wake up and realise. This leads us onto -

quote:
Punish the SUV owner because he has a different taste in car, because he has a better job, or because he makes more money? That's not right either.


It is happening here already (UK), vehicles which produce the most CO2 have a "luxury" vehicle excise tax (road tax). The government has just introduced the first of a series of three tax increases on fuel (petrol/diesel) over the next 18 months.

It has been reported that the price of fuel will be over £1/litre by the end of the year, to put it into context that $7.72 per US gal, and you are at $3.10 per gal (if wiki can be trusted).

There are also plans to implement road pricing to "combat congestion". It wouldn't take too much of a stretch of imagination to think that if/when this comes in there may be additional penalties for driving large vehicles which take up more road space.

-Actually it looks like the politicians have already had this idea

quote:
Ken Livingstone has announced that the £8 per day London congestion charge will rise to £25 for 4 x4s in 2009


From personal experience a lot of congestion is caused by people driving their kids to school, poor drivers and poorly planned road works. Though those topics are perhaps for a different time...


By mdogs444 on 10/3/2007 8:36:00 AM , Rating: 2
In the US, we already have a Fuel Efficiency Act - that car manufacturers have to pay a penalty on each car produced for not reaching the minimum requested average miles/gallon. Unfortnately, the EPA is about 15% off par when it comes to actually figuring out the efficiency.

Also, in the US - we pay "gas guzzler" taxes on cars that dont meet certain efficiency standards.

Our fuel costs are extremely tax based as well - and of all the taxes we pay, only 60% of the fuel taxes actually go to maintaining the roads - the other 40% go to "other unrelated items".

On your other note at the bottom - and not to completely change the political topic - parents should be allowed to drive their kids to school every day if they want. No one says that parents have to trust their kids riding in a school bus with no seatbelts driven by someone who they dont trust.

There are poor drivers - and much of that is because of the technology available today. Spending too much time on the radio, the navigation system, on the cell phone, etc. But there are still drivers who just plain suck. No idea how they passed a drivers exam in the first place.


By acer905 on 10/3/2007 10:09:50 AM , Rating: 2
One quick tidbit. I always hate when american politicians (mostly liberals) present an idea and back it by saying that "it worked in he UK" because of one simple little fact. We were once colonies. We got fed up with it, and fought a war to be independent. Personally i am rather glad that we did as well, because i feel sorry for people living in the UK today, with all the restrictions they seem to have to live with. Just my personal opinion though


By mdogs444 on 10/3/2007 10:13:02 AM , Rating: 2
I second that opinion.

I dont want a liberal, socialistic government to tell me what is good for me instead of letting me decide for myself.


"Minivan"?
By Anonymous Freak on 10/2/2007 3:33:18 PM , Rating: 2
Really? Looks like a micro-wagon to me.




RE: "Minivan"?
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 10/3/2007 8:47:51 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
VW is looking to introduce two variants of its recently introduced Up! rear-engined concept car . The tiny Up! measures just 135.8 inches from nose to tail and is only 64.2 inches wide.

The first variant of the Up! would be a small minivan


I never said that the vehicle pictured was a minivan. Just that two variants of it would be introduced later: a minivan and a hybrid sedan.


Idiodyssey
By hotkafka on 10/22/2007 11:49:19 PM , Rating: 2
You know, it's late, and i'm up wading through this self-serving masterbatory thread and i'm wondering -why in the world do people like these even bother to read about energy efficient cars? and what an irony it is that they're here wasting their time.

bereft i sat in pain and considered typing a burdensome rebuttal.

and then one so gracefully appears. thank you for voicing the plight of sanity my friend. very well said.




RE: Idiodyssey
By rogard on 10/29/2007 2:25:40 PM , Rating: 2
:-)

I should have chosen "Sisyphos" as a nickname...


Hmmm, women with hardtops!
By ninjit on 10/2/2007 3:08:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
GTI pocket rocket and Eos retractable hardtopchick mobile,


Hehe, maybe hardtop chick-mobile instead?




Toy yes, main car no
By mindless1 on 10/3/2007 4:37:57 AM , Rating: 2
Tiny cars are really fun, toy-like. You just wouldn't want one if you have to regularly drive any distance more than 5 miles. This car is best used in dense urban areas, not for the average american.




By rogard on 10/4/2007 5:28:34 AM , Rating: 2
There are arguments and statements I read all the time...and I just have to add my two cents.

Why is it that every single time when there is an article on DT about fuel efficient cars, people soon start a discussion about how cool big block engines are, how many bhp they have (or even sadder: would like to have!?), and similar offtopic chitchat? Why don't you open a new thread somewhere else where you can talk turbo-speed-kit-V8-dragster-talk in private? Thank you.

While I am totally d'accord that it's nice to have a powerful car, I always wonder how 40 ton trucks, RVs and buses get on the motorways you name at all? Surely those are not able to accelerate to 75mph? What happens? Do they have to reverse, or try again later? According to your opinion they probably should be banned, or have at least 2000bhp to be allowed to go on motorways in the US (or CA).
Even if short ramps were dangerous, it might be a good idea to build better ones. This is far more intelligent than having everybody driving around a 400bhp car just because of this lame excuse.

Same logical error for all the guys who drive a 4000+ lbs car to feel safe in case of a collision. Following your logic, y'all had to drive a 100k lbs truck or even better, a tank. If you are hit by a truck, it doesn't really matter whether you are sitting in a SUV or smaller car. Being the strongest, fastest and heaviest on the road has to stop somewhere. It really reminds me of knights in full plate armor. They got heavier and heavier, but in the end, they became obsolete because weaponry (read: circumstances and requirements) changed and they could not adapt/were no longer needed. Dinosaurs.
Modern cars, even small ones, are surprisingly safe in case of a crash. Probably much safer than older and larger models. You stand a good chance to survive heavy impacts that would have been your certain death 20 years ago, even in a big car.

Talking about the American way of life with freedom of choice as the highest goods...how can you be at ease with speed limits? Or no-parking-zones? Traffic lights? Does that not restrict you freedom? Shouldn't the government be immediately removed by force then? If not, if you think those rules are necessary, what is wrong with other rules like minimum fuel efficiency for cars, maximum size, maximum whatever? No? Not even when there are good reasons for a governmental intervention, because otherwise people will never do the right thing on their own? Hmm.

I am 6'3" and I fit well into all cars but the tiniest ones (Fiat Cinquecento et al) which are a bit inconvenient. You can sit quite comfy in a "Smart", by the way. I am not kidding. Reading some of the comments here makes me wonder if some of you are traveling in living rooms on wheels. What are you doing in a car that you need so much space? Gymnastics? :-)

I wish people would just admit that they simply like driving huge and powerful cars without frantically trying to find a good excuse or explanation for that.
Or, even worse, poking fun at attempts to save energy and build more efficient cars. It's a law of physics that the heavier and bigger a car is the more fuel it will consume.
Problem is, auto developers will always be forced to produce for the market. If nobody is willing to trade their semi truck for a smaller and maybe less powerful car, it cannot be successful on the market and will disappear soon. It is you that dictate what kind of cars are being built, so only you, the customers can change something. Just do it then.

Oh, the efficiency...as far as I know, "efficiency" is defined by the energy it takes to do/move something. If your car needs less energy to travel a distance than somebody else's car, it is more efficient. Period.
You cannot compare the efficiency of 2 people going different distances. Even if the one guy only goes 5 miles a week, he could still be more efficient in a smaller and less fuel guzzling car. (The total amount of fuel a person uses, and why, and how to reduce/avoid that is a totally different story.)

Diesel engines may have some drawbacks, but they are more efficient. Nowadays they produce the same power as gas engines while consuming around 30% less fuel. They are perfect for towing something (high torque) and they operate at low rpm. Coupled with chargers they rival acceleration of a gas powered engine and are therefore quite popular even in sports cars in Europe. I guarantee, you will not feel underpowered in a BMW with a diesel engine. BTW, I really cannot see why emission laws in the US are so rigid when you have more than 90 million diesel trucks going 50k miles a year each (on average). I bet the emission of a Peterbilt does not compare favorably to a passenger car.

All the worries that diesel fuel would be more expensive if more people used them are unfounded. In the US there are dozens of million diesel trucks. US diesel consumption is by far the highest in the world (as is gas consumption)
Rest assured, the impact, if any, would be minimal.

Here are some numbers for you:
United States: 92,794,859 Diesel commercial vehicles
137,633,467 gas, private vehicles
total diesel consumption 1,670,307,462,000 litres
total gas consumption 185,805,180,000 litres

(source: Report 2005, www.International-Fuel-Prices.com
Some interesting numbers and comparisons there)

Waiting for the full electrical or hydrogen fuel car is not an option when there are other technologies that are available in the meantime. At least some people should stop denying that it is reasonable to think about fuel economy.

One last thing: I know that some of you guys probably even tow a yacht when they go to work. And they are constantly transporting either 6 children, 3 bathtubs or 2000lbs of mulch. They are hereby officially "exonerated". You folks really need the truck you're driving. All the others, you better admit that you don't really need a huge car but you just want to have it. Next step would be to accept that it is not a bad idea to think about efficient use of resources in general. It's not about finding "the" way to propel a vehicle, most of the advances on this sector are done in small steps. In the end, getting a fuel efficient car will always mean that there is a compromise. You can't have a bigger, heavier and more powerful car that gets a better mileage (than a smaller lighter car). And even if you don't agree to that, please don't make fun of people who are willing to fold their limbs into a small car. At least they are doing something, be it for their wallet, or their conscience or because they have invested some thought in this topic. In my opinion that's better than just saying "WTF do I care"?

All of us need and use energy in various forms. Every decade the energy needs increase. The more each of us uses, the more expensive it gets, because high demand=high price and it's getting increasingly hard to get to the crude oil. That is the reason why I think everybody who deliberately wastes energy who could go by with half of it is wasting my share of it as well, and I even have to pay for their ignorance at the gas station, even halfway around the world. Just because many of you claim that what you can afford is rightfully yours does not negate your responsibility to take care of the world's supplies. There will be a day when even people in the richer countries cannot afford to go by car because fuel is too scarce and too expensive. By then, the whole world will suffer badly because the majority of people will be thrown back into the stone ages. It's mainly the responsibility of the industrialized and rich countries to try hard to reduce our energy consumption. So start thinking. You should care about all that. I should, too. We all should.

Go ahead, prove me wrong.




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