The New Toyota Trike…?

A Toyota i-ROAD during a demonstration drive in Toyota

If you need a good laugh, let me help you out a little bit. Just google the ‘Toyota Three-Wheeler’ and let the internet do the rest for you. Try to contain yourself because Toyota is very, very serious about this beaut, they mean it when they talk about the i-Road ultra-compact EV concept. About 100 people participated in the test driving of the new vehicle, each driving it for a month at a time. Some of these people are considered to be “trendsetters” and Toyota has stated that the project will last for a year.

“Toyota says that it is going to launch the project in Tokyo in July. It appears to be aimed at trying to try to drum up more support for the idea of tiny one-person minicar that can be parked virtually anywhere in one of the world’s most congested cities. The electric three-wheeler is distinguished by the way it leans into turns,” according  to Woodyard. The Open Road Project’s goal is to encourage individuals to use the i-Road, which prior to this new vehicle has only ever gained recognition as a design exercise, not as an innovative technology.

It’s still a work in progress, but I think we are ready to see where the i-Road can take us.


Hydrogen Fuel Cells: The Love-Hate Relationship

After Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors took the not ye on the market Toyota Mirai for a test drive, he mentioned in a press conference at the Automotive News World Congress that the futuristic vehicle was “extremely silly,” and the proceeded to rant about them and refer to them as “fool cells.”

And while we must admit that yes, there are still problems and flaws with these hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, it would be taking a huge step backwards to simply write them off and claim that such a technology could never actually work. Near the end of the 2015 year, Toyota plans to release its “first ever hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicle.” To give some sales history on the two companies, Tesla sold 31,600 vehicles compared to the 9 million that Toyota sold in the year 2014. Tesla’s annual income is a few billion dollars as compared to Toyota’s $250 billion annual income. Tesla had only three versions of one car on display at the 2015 Detroit auto show where Toyota had more than 70 distinct models to showcase.

“Toyota’s Mirai is the world’s first real attempt at a consumer hydrogen car. It costs $57,500, puts out 153 horsepower and has a zero to sixty of 9 seconds. With only four seats and a teardrop shape, the Mirai looks like a cross between a Toyota Prius and a Chevy Volt. It’s not a beaut. Indeed, unless you are an engineer, technophile, or middle- to later-aged computer scientist you are not likely to be impressed,” states Tillemann.

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Record Setting Automobile Exportation From Alabama

Mercedes-Benz C-Class, manufactured in Alabama

In the past year, 2014, the Alabama Department of Commerce revealed data through announcing that the state made nearly a million automobiles and exported to 99 countries which set a new all time record. Approximately 6.6 billion dollars worth of the vehicles that were built by companies such as Mercedes, Hyundai, and Honda in the state of Alabama were sent off to foreign countries, primarily Canada and China. The bulk of Alabama’s automobile exports we built in the Mercedes plant located in Vance.

With the increasing global demand for cars, Alabama found it’s “ever increasing capacity to build high quality vehicles” leading the market to believe that Alabama’s exports will only continue to grow at a rapid rate. “Alabama is off to a robust start with January 2015 statistics reporting almost a 15 percent increase from January 2014,” according to Hilda Lockhart, director of the Commerce Department’s international Trade Division.

It is predicted that there will continue to be records set in the years to come as automobile manufacturers revamp their investments in the state of Alabama. Mercedes announced in fall of 2014 that they would be introducing 200 additional jobs to the Vance, AL plant by 2015, which would then boost production by 300,000.

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Dwindling Gas Prices Don’t Always Control Popularity of Cars.

Many assume that when prices of gasoline go down, so do sales of electric automobiles. This is actually not the case. New research is indicating that “Electric-automobile sales, and sales of higher-gas-mileage cars, continue to hold steady, although the existing improve in sales of light trucks started prior to gas costs started to fall.”

“Nobody is trading their Nissan Leaf for an Escalade. And vice versa,” according to Chris Coleman, the founder of Carlypso, an online firm which facilitates private-celebration sales of employed automobiles. According to statistics found in Carlypso’s research, it stated the ratio of passenger car sales to truck sales at 51 percent as opposed to 49 percent in December of 2013.

As of June of 2014, that ratio had shifted noticeably with truck sales top passenger car or truck sales by 53 percent to 47 percent. “That is a ten percent uptick in truck sales,” according to Coleman, “But that occurred ahead of the precipitous fall in gas costs. Most people today made the decision to go truck or go automobile just before gas costs changed.”

Another study specifically stated that “When gas prices go down, truck sales go up. When gas rates go up, truck sales go down and passenger automobile sales go up.”  Coleman also mentions that “Customers do not often invest in automobiles with their own very best interests at heart, or in mind.”

“Purchasing an auto is a lot more an emotional buy than a rational one particular;” according to Coleman.

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Growing Car Sales Igniting Italian Economic Recovery

Bruno Bounavoglia, an Eastern Rome Volkswagen dealer, has a strong feeling that there is change heading to the automotive world. Sixty year old Bounavoglia, of Valentino Automobili, sells on average around 130 vehicles per month, but has now exceeded his monthly sales average with January’s sales turning out at 150 vehicles.

Bounavoglia states “January didn’t go badly and February didn’t start terribly either, Ican’t really explain it, but there are some small signs of recovery.”

Throughout Italy, many dealers have noticed new car registrations increase significantly. According to the Transport ministry data, new car registrations inflated to 131,000 in January, which is a 10.9 percent increase as compared to the previous year. A few other economic signs indicating potential hope that the “eurozone’s third-largest economy will finally post growth in gross domestic product in 2015 after three years of recession.”

Chief economist at Confindustria, the largest Italian business lobby, Luca Paolazzi stated “A series of data over the past month have been comforting: this really should be the year of a shift in the cycle. Things are moving in the right direction.” The European Commission released a statement that Italy is “expected to generate growth of 0.6 percent in 2015.” By Global or even European standards, this growth rate is extremely slow, but this “could feel like a boom for Italy after the economy shrank by 0.5 percent last year and by 1.9 percent in 2013,” according to James Politi.

The Bank of Italy reported that over the weekend it “expects the economy to grow by 0.5 percent this year and above 1.5 percent in 2016,” according to James Politi, “The forecast is a U-turn on a prediction given only last month – before the launch of QE – that the economy would grow by 0.4 percent this year and 1.2 percent next year.”

A turn around like this could potentially positively impact the entire eurozone, which would be “likely to improve Italy’s public finances and diminish fears that Rome could face a new debt crisis.”

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“A ‘driverless’ future in the UK”: