Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid video

This video shows the beauty of the new Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid. We’re seeing more and more luxury and performance hybrids, so this one will get plenty of attention.

  

Going green may not save you green with your auto insurance

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Will buying a hybrid save you money on your auto insurance? That might not be a good assumption given this recent data.

Hybrid car owners may be a different shade of green than their insurers hoped.

Insurance companies often give discounts to drivers of hybrids, perhaps because the image of a tree-hugging environmentalist suggests a cautious type who is a good risk to insure. But hybrid drivers rack up more miles, more tickets and costlier accidents than conventional car drivers, according to a study released Wednesday.

“High-mileage drivers seem to be attracted to [hybrid] vehicles,” said Raj Bhat, president of Quality Planning Corp., the San Francisco firm that conducted a study of 360,000 vehicle-insurance claims made to 12 U.S. insurers over the last two years, comparing hybrid and conventional vehicles. Quality Planning is a unit of Insurance Services Office Inc., a closely held group of companies that provides data, analytics and other services.

The disconnect between perception and reality could leave insurers with unprofitable hybrid policies unless they adjust pricing to reflect the unexpectedly high costs, or make up the difference elsewhere, said Robert U’Ren, senior vice president of Quality Planning, in an interview.

For 2008 hybrid cars, the most recent model year it studied, Quality Planning found that the cost to insurers of providing collision coverage for hybrids was 13% higher than for conventional vehicles. The cost of providing comprehensive coverage, which also includes the expense of noncollision-related damage, was 17% higher. For older and particularly for larger hybrid models, the difference was even bigger. U’Ren said that the more complicated hybrid engine design likely accounted for much of the difference in cost.

The article goes on to explain that most insurance companies have not made significant adjustments relating to premiums and coverage for hybrid cars, and several insurance companies, including Farmers Group Inc., a subsidiary of Zurich Financial Services AG, and Travelers offer hybrid owners up to 10% off coverage prices. It will be interesting to see how this develops as more data becomes available.

  

Mastering the new lingo – parallel vs. series hybrid

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Wired.com’s Autotopia blog has a cool post of five auto-related terms that will be dying out soon along with five new terms that we’ll need to become familiar with. You’ll soon be forgetting terms like gas pedal, MPG, throttle, transmission and tachometer. Here’s one of the new ones:

Parallel vs. series hybrid – These terms have so far been relegated to the geeks, but as the industry progresses and hybrids of all stripes become more common, you’ll want to know the difference. They refer to how the gasoline engine and electric motor are configured. A parallel hybrid like the Toyota Prius uses a traditional transmission to couple the gasoline engine and electric motor to the wheels. Such vehicles use internal combustion and electricity to drive the wheels. A series hybrid like the Chevrolet Volt does away with the transmission because the engine drives a generator that takes over when the battery runs down. The electric motor is the only thing driving the wheels. Many see the series hybrid as the “true” hybrid configuration minimizing energy loss due to wasteful idle engine spinning friction.

Also, get ready to hear the following terms as well: Lithium-ion battery, continuous vs. peak power, kilowatt-hour vs. kilowatt and drive-by-wire.

  

Welcome to Dashboard News

We are launching this car blog at a time of great turmoil and uncertainty in the auto business. With the economic crisis, the United States has had to bail out banks and auto companies just to prevent the economy fm collapsing.

Apart from this crisis, the auto industry is facing challenges rearding energy as well. Summer gas prices convinced many that our addiction to oil must be addressed, and looming climate change is also driving policy changes. Fortunately, significant progress has been made on hybrids, including plug-in hybrids, that might change the auto industry in ways not imagined just several years ago.

Yet even with all these problems, many of us still love cars. We’ll be addressing the tough issues facing the auto industry, but we’ll also bring you reviews and stories covering the great new vehicles being produced around the world.

  

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