HYBRID CARMAGEDDON ARRIVES IN JULY

BACK SEAT DRIVING—In July, 85,000 hybrid vehicles get kicked out of the California carpool lanes. On July 1st, the yellow single occupant HOV lane stickers expire. On July 2nd, use of an HOV/carpool lane without the required number of vehicle occupants may lead to the driver receiving a hefty citation. Since July 2nd is the start of a long weekend, the full effect of the expiration will not be felt until Tuesday, July 5th. That’s when up to 85,000 additional cars get introduced into the non-carpool lanes of California. Welcome to Hybrid Carmageddon.

THE ‘POOR MAN’S PORSCHE’ HAS COME A LONG WAY, BABY

AUTO REVIEW—Back in the day, they used to call the Volkswagen the poor man’s Porsche. It was, after all, Ferdinand Porsche that came up with the design—and the overall layout of the Beetle was not all that different from the Porsche 365. Later, the title was penned on the Karmann Ghia, and then the Scirroco. But nowhere has a VW been so similar in design to a Porsche as the Touareg is to the Cayenne—they, in fact, share the same platform. What has changed, however, is that this new VW is not for the poor. Meet the professional’s cheaper alternative to the Porsche Cayenne.

44 FOR THE GALLERY

GALLERY—We showcase 44 of Kurt Fuhrmann’s captures from the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach for the LA CAR Gallery. Permission to enter—Go ahead, take your time and browse through the images.

HOLIER THAN THOU HYBRID NEWS

HOT WIRE— The first-ever hybrid popemobile will be able to go 18.5-miles on battery power, and require just a one-hour charge. The Honda Insight, Toyota Prius and Lexus CT 200h are deemed to provide the most hybrid bang for the buck. We thought the Nissan Altima Hybrid was dead, but it will be resurrected in a new and improved version for 2013. Nissan’s new, proprietary hybrid system is appearing in the rear-wheel-drive 2012 Infiniti M35h luxury sedan…

THE WILD, THE INNOCENT, AND THE PASSION CABRIOLET

AUTO REVIEW—Our go-cart Mozart checks out the Cabriolet Smart, to see if it’s safe to go outside. Then every Early-Pearly came in by her curly-wurly and asks him if he needed a ride. Yeah, our Big Man drives the Smart Passion Cabriolet and is blinded by the light (the car weighs but 1852 pounds).

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