July 2011

Where will all the dead batteries go? Answers starting to emerge

(July 20, 2011) RALEIGH, N.C. — The expected growth in vehicle electrification is posing a challenge — what will happen to the battery systems after they reach the end of their useful life in the vehicle? 

Earlier this year, General Motors signed a definitive agreement with ABB Group to identify joint research and development projects that would reuse Chevrolet Volt battery systems, which will have up to 70 percent of life remaining after their automotive use is exhausted.

Toyota electric RAV4 will be made available to public

(July 20, 2011) Toyota announced on Tuesday that, indeed, it will be offering the RAV4 EV electric to the general public sometime in 2012. There were reports from some blog sites that the RAV4 would be offered only to fleet and car sharing programs.

Suzuki opens highest altitude service department in the world (12,200 feet)

(July 19, 2011) Maruti Suzuki already boasts the widest sales and service network in India and has now opened a new outlet in one of the most remote areas and at the highest altitude of any car workshop at 12,200 feet above sea level, even further up into the clouds than its previous high-altitude workshop at 11,500 feet.

OnStar to create wireless bridge between electric vehicles, grid

(July 19, 2011) RALEIGH, N.C. — General Motors and OnStar will launch the first real-world pilot of smart grid solutions for electric vehicles this year, paving the way for utilities to increase energy efficiency and offer lower charging costs to customers.

Starting this quarter, hundreds of employees of regional utilities will drive leased Chevrolet Volts as their everyday vehicles and participate in the pilot.

Nissan Leaf prices are raised, availability expanded

(July 19, 2011) Nissan North America is expanding availability of the all-electric Nissan Leaf to U.S. consumers for the 2012 model year, with upgrades based on feedback from the thousands of owners who already have driven several millions of miles in the first 100-percent electric car for the mass market.

Off-the-shelf OnStar to go on sale at Best Buy

(July 19,2011) DETROIT — OnStar For My Vehicle (FMV), the first out-of-the-box application of OnStar’s “blue button” automotive safety and security services that can work on 90 million older vehicles, goes on sale July 24 and can be pre-ordered at Best Buy stores nationwide.

New Ford Focus production begins in Russia

(July 19, 2011) ST. PETERSBURG, Russian Federation — Production of the all-new Ford Focus began Monday at Ford's Vsevolozhsk Plant near St. Petersburg.

The new Ford Focus will be assembled in Russia in all three body styles — four-door, five-door and wagon. The popular five-door door version began rolling off the assembly line today, while the four-door Focus and the wagon will go into production in September and January, respectively.

AAA unveils roadside assistance truck capable of charging electric vehicles

(July 18, 2011) RALEIGH, N.C. (PRNewswire-USNewswire) — AAA unveiled today North America's first roadside assistance truck with the capability to charge electric vehicles. The motor club is able to come to the rescue of its members with 'depleted' electric vehicles and provide Level 2 and Level 3 charging on the roadside.

400 Mazda owners bring their cars to event at Beaulieu

(July 18, 2011) Fine weather greeted the first ever Simply Mazda, held on the grounds of the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu in the South of England, which was termed a resounding success.

Around 400 Mazdas, spanning a range of models, descended on the Beaulieu attraction to participate in the event. Vehicle owners got a chance meeting other Mazda enthusiasts.

GM to invest $328 million in pickup truck plant

(July 18, 2011) FLINT, Mich. — General Motors will invest $328 million to prepare its plant in Flint, Mich. to build the next generation of Chevrolet and GMC full-size pickup trucks, creating or retaining 150 jobs.

The plant, which currently has 2,047 employees, builds the heavy-duty versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.