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Like many other Opel/Vauxhall models across the range, the new Astra is getting a low-CO2 version to compete in the green market. Named ecoFLEX, the new Astra uses an updated version of the 1.3-liter CDTi engine that was co-developed with Fiat and produces 95 horsepower. This engine, along with the usual refinements to aerodynamics, higher gear ratios and low-rolling resistance tires, helps the model achieve a CO2 emission rating of 109 g/km and fuel consumption of 4.2 l/100 km (56 mpg U.S.). Fo

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Volvo trucks has announced new field tests of bi-fuel methane-diesel engines in partnership with seven different Swedish companies, adding a new technology to the brand's at-fuel tests with DME and hybrid engines. The new engines, which are based on the Euro-V compliant 7-liter model, reduce fuel consumption by 25 percent compared to standard diesels thanks to methane's lean combustion. The system still uses a small amount of diesel fuel which is injected and ignited by the compression, which in

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Want an oil-burning little box? Europeans can. They are able to get the boxy Nissan Cube with a Renault-sourced 110 hp 1.5 liter diesel engine, thanks to the underpinnings that are related to the Nissan Micra and the Renault Clio. The engine is only Euro-IV compliant, but regulations in Germany are pushing the the company to introduce a new 1.5-liter diesel Euro-V compliant engine for next October. The best news comes at the pump: the current diesel Cube burns 5.2 l/100 km in the Euro mixed cycl

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The new year means it's time for Peugeot to update its 1.6-liter HDI diesel engine and adapt it for the Euro V specifications. The new engine gets two additional horsepower added to the current 110 hp and its torque is increased by 12.5 percent. The existing overboost function increases available torque up to 270 Nm (200 pound-feet) when the gas pedal is pressed. The improvements come from a revised combustion chamber that lowers the compression ratio and reduces emissions. The new engine also c

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Some people believe that the battle for low fuel consumption in passenger cars is a competition between diesel and hybrid gasoline cars. These two contenders are also fighting it out in resistance races, where the way to beat diesels such as the Peugeot 908 HDi and the Audi R15 TDI seems to be: go hybrid. This is exactly what Porsche might have in the works.

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China has announced the extension of the country's vehicle scrappage scheme for 2010. Motorists will be able to trade in cars that are considered "highly pollutant" and receive a state subsidy worth between 5,000 yuan (about $730) and 18,000 yuan ($2,600), which is a significant increase over last year's maximum of 6,000 yuan. A "highly polluting" car is either a gasoline car that doesn't qualify for the first tier of Chinese emission regulations (e.g., early VW Santanas) or diesels that don't q

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France had one of Europe's most ambitious "cash for clunkers" plan, but the fun will end in the new year. Starting January 1st, France's program will only pay out the largest award – €1,000 – to buyers of just one model: the smart fortwo cdi. The reason can be found at the tailpipe.

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Ford of Europe has its headquarters in the German city of Cologne (Köln), so an electric vehicle partnership between the city and the automaker doesn't come as a surprise. Ford of Germany, the city of Cologne, RheinEnergie AG, and the University of Duisburg-Essen have signed an agreement to deploy a fleet of 10 Ford Transit delivery vans for use in the inner city, where the zero-tailpipe emissions and reduced noise of the EV can be maximized. Ford is (obviously) supplying the vans and Rhei

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After the call for offers by La Poste, the French Postal Service, a 250-unit contract for electric delivery vans has been awarded to the Citroën Berlingo First. The model, which is based on the standard Citroën Berlingo, features batteries and a powertrain developed by Venturi. The specs? A three-phase electric motor good for 42 kW (57hp) using nickel and sodium chlorine batteries that provides a range of 100 km (about 60 miles) with a maximum speed of 110 km/h. Using a standard Europe

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Fiat 500 Multiair concept - Click image for gallery

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Renault Fluence ZE Concept - Click above for high-res image gallery

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Toyota Sports 800 GT Hybrid - Click above to watch the video after the break

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BMW Hydrogen 7 - click above for high-res image gallery

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Irish Finance Minister Brian Lenihan has announced a cash-for-clunkers program for the Republic that will start next year. The plan, announced during the presentation of the 2010 budget, is set to help Irish motorists get rid of cars more than 10 years old with a €1,500 reduction in the Vehicle Registration Tax. The plan should boost car sales, which have dropped significantly the last couple of years, and renew the Irish motor fleet. Minister Lenihan also confirmed that an already-in-place

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2010 Nissan Leaf - Click above for high-res image gallery

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The story of the Paris' easy EV rental project, dubbed Autolib', is not a bed of roses. First of all, there were continuous delays announcing the specifics of the service. Finally, we found out it would consist of 3,000 cars that will be available 24/7 at a cost of €5 per half an hour. Now, the biggest problem is a legal complaint by Europcar that states that before the city of Paris announced the Autolib' service, Europcar had already registered a brand called Autoliberté (Autofree

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Brabus has launched a special edition of the Tesla Brabus Green Package which includes one free year of electricity. Mind you, the modifications to the Tesla in the Green Package are not related to the powertrain, but there is of course something that can be added besides cosmetic improvements. Brabus' solution? Team up with RWE utility to ensure that the car comes with a fast charging point to install in garage and a deal to get enough free electricity to charge the car for 30,000 km (roughly 2

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More electric car news from Taiwan. Two Chinese automakers are ready to develop and sell electric cars there. Chery, for instance, has announced the creation of an R&D center in the upcoming "Green Energy Intelligent Vehicle Innovation Park (EV Park)" in central Taiwan. This would give Chery access to Taiwan's EV technology. Geely Auto has announced sales in Taiwan of the electric version of the Panda model (pictured above) thanks to Yulon Motor Co, which would develop the EV with lithium-io

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