“There’s a good reason I keep a 1:18-scale model of the 1993 Porsche Boxster concept car sitting on a teak cabinet in my studio,” writes Automobile Magazine’s Robert Cumberford, “it’s gorgeous, the first Porsche to bring the spirit of early Porsche 550 racing cars to the road.”
Cumberford acknowledges that the first- and second-generation mid-engine Boxster’s design never appealed much to his sense of style; however, twenty years after the original Boxster concept, the all-new 2013 Boxster’s style managed to “wow” Cumberford and the rest of the Automobile Magazine staff enough to give magazine’s “2013 Design of the Year” award to the two-seat Porsche roadster.
Available with a 2.7-liter 265-horsepower flat-six engine, the standard Boxster will take the roadster to 60 mph from rest in just under six seconds. Moving up to the Boxster S puts a 315-horsepower 3.4-liter flat-six engine behind the driver’s head. Equipped so, the car’s 0-60 time is shaved to a tick under five seconds.
Available with either Porsche’s responsive six-speed manual transmission or the quick-shifting PDK semi-automatic gearbox, Automobile Magazine’s “2013 Design of the Year” is arguably more fun to drive than it is to look at.
If Cumberford doesn’t purchase a 1:18-scale model of the 2013 Boxster to sit next to his 1993 model, we’ll understand. After all, a car of the Boxster’s caliber can only truly be appreciated as a full-size model sitting in your home’s garage.
Fisker Automotive, the leading manufacturer of luxury Electric Vehicles with extended-range (EVer™), today announced that the company’s flagship Karma sedan already surpasses its 2025 fuel economy target under Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards – recently finalized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
“It’s a testament to the disruptive power of technology that a premium luxury sedan like the 2012 Fisker Karma beats its fuel economy target for 2025 – today,” said Fisker CEO Tony Posawatz. “We applaud NHTSA and the Environmental Protection Agency for their efforts to increase fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With the Karma, we have brought to market the technology that these regulations are designed to encourage, and we’re pointing the way for the rest of the industry.”
On August 28, NHTSA and EPA finalized fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards for model years 2017 through 2025. The rule sets an average fuel economy target for an automaker’s entire fleet of new vehicles, based on the footprint of each individual model in the fleet. For a vehicle of the Karma’s size, the fuel economy target for 2025 is 45.6 MPG. Current NHTSA methodology – notably different than the EPA label – assumes the Karma will drive half its miles on gasoline and half on electricity and takes into account the energy consumption of both, giving the Karma an equivalent fuel economy of 47.3 MPG.
“The Karma is way ahead of the curve, and we are pleased that these fuel economy standards demonstrate that,” said Henrik Fisker, Executive Chairman. “Regulations must make assumptions about how a car is driven on average, but the appeal of the Karma is that the driver can decide when to drive on electricity and when to drive on gas. The car’s performance in the real world is what matters most – and customer feedback so far suggests Karma owners are outperforming the assumptions behind the regulations.
On a recent conference call, Karma owners were asked to report their fuel economy. The results were impressive: the group of over 30 respondents averaged 150 MPG. One customer reported achieving 57 MPG for the previous 5,500 miles of driving, which included weekend trips of over 300 miles, while another averaged over 100 MPG with 5,000 miles on the odometer. One owner reported consuming only 20 gallons of gasoline over the last 3,500 miles – for an average of 175 MPG – and many others reported average fuel economies of well over 200 MPG.
“This is just a small sample of Karma owners, but they demonstrate what we’ve said all along – the Karma’s fuel economy performance depends on how you use it,” said Henrik Fisker. “The Karma’s technology puts the freedom in drivers’ hands. We’re thrilled to see from these early reports that Karma customers are relying predominantly on the electric range – plugging in at home and maximizing their zero emission driving – but not compromising on their driving habits.”
by Zach McDonald – HybridCars.com
Anyone who doubts the impact that cleaner vehicles can have on air quality would be wise to take heed of Los Angeles, where a new report from the University of Colorado’s Institute for Environmental Sciences has found pollution from smog-causing chemicals to be down 98 percent since 1960, thanks in part to the emergence of cleaner cars and trucks.
The transformation began in the late 1940s, when Los Angeles established the first air pollution control program in the nation’s history to combat a growing smog problem of unknown origins. After studying the issue, the Los Angeles County Air Pollution Control Program concluded that much of problem stemmed from the growing presence of automobiles in the area, and set out to find ways to make those cars and trucks cleaner.
Over the coming decades, those findings would lead to an array of clean air regulations, as well as technological developments ranging from the catalytic converter to the re-emergence of the electric vehicle. Modern plug-in cars like the Toyota RAV4 EV can in large part be credited to regulations passed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), whose legacy can be traced back to LA’s early efforts to combat smog.
Remarkably enough, LA’s success in curbing smog pollutants has come in the face of drastically increased overall fuel usage. As the county’s population and overall vehicle miles have skyrocketed since the 1960s, so too has the gasoline and diesel required to fuel the expansion. Nevertheless, by passing controls to make the fuels themselves cleaner as well as the engines that burn them, regulators have found ways to improve air quality even as fuel usage has almost tripled over that period.
For Los Angeles, despite the tremendous progress that has been made over the last half century, the battle to curb emissions is nearly as dire today as it was 50 years ago. The city’s air quality still ranks among the lowest of any major urban area in the country, with automobile transportation remaining just critical a part of life in LA as it’s ever been.
The challenge ahead lies in improving the overall efficiency of new vehicles in California. Overall fuel economy in the United States has risen by less than 5 miles per gallon since 1960, which is something CARB has been fighting hard to change. The growing popularity of hybrids like the Toyota Prius will be instrumental in improving air quality over the coming decades, and advocates hope that the next generation of plug-ins will follow in their footsteps.