July 28th, 2011
Automover News: Honda Canada has at large details and a photo of a meaner and more sculpted CR-V Concept that previews what the next-generation CR-V will look like when it arrives in showrooms early next year. The company also confirmed that the new CR-V, as will the Honda Civic, which shares the CR-V’s platform. It will also be built at the East Liberty plant in Ohio where the current CR-V is assembled, with Canadian production of CR-Vs coming online early in 2012.
Honda’s recent history of concept versions of production cars were little more than the real thing with larger wheels and tires, and darker tinted glass and headlights. If this concept CR-V follows that pattern, then the next CR-V certainly takes a more aggressive step forward in the styling department, with a radically upward-angled lower front clip that visually displaces the front bumper. This suggests a more adventurous approach angle to obstacles, though it is likely more a styling nod than a real improvement in off-road capability. Honda claims it’s a more Aerodynamic front face as well, the fuel economy and noise reduction benefits are more likely to place higher on the engineering (and consumer) priority list.
The next CR-V will also feature an all-new interior, says Honda, with a more accommodating and spacious design. The company did not confirm or deny spy shot suggestions that there may be a small third-row available on the CR-V for the first time. Rivals such as the Toyota RAV4 and Dodge Journey have dabbled with third-row options, but most vehicles in the compact crossover class are strictly five-seaters.
No engine or fuel economy details were forthcoming, but Honda Canada also confirmed that a new Canada-only touring model will be introduced for 2012. The CR-V seems destined to remain a Four-cylinder-only vehicle that emphasizes fuel economy over power, so don’t expect a swift turbo or V-6 version to add extra oomph to what has long been a slow mover but quick seller. With a record sales year in Canada last year, the CR-V is still proving popular in 2011 – it was the ninth best-selling truck in the market through the first half of this year.
July 21st, 2011
Automover News: Europe’s proposal to force shipping fleets to cut emissions of sulphur-dioxide gas will only add painful costs to an industry already in tight straights. But tough rules on sulphur, it seems, really indicates Europe is keen to get its shipping on readily available natural gas, which is forecast to remain plentiful until 2500. When he took the Royal Navy off of coal and got its warships running on bunker fuel. Burning oil proved decisive in both world wars, as it brought superior ship speed. Britain’s enemies had little of the stuff.
The trouble is natural gas engines can emit 90 per cent pure, unburned methane, a greenhouse gas 11 times more potent than carbon-dioxide. Switching to natural gas will dramatically cut carbon-dioxide but increase methane. There are already signs the industry itself realizes methane, and not sulphur, is the pollutant to target. An earlier costly initiative switching to natural gas engines in some ships proved it cut sulphur and carbon dioxide but released pure methane into the atmosphere.
Under the new rules, the maximum sulphur content of fuels will drop 90 per cent to 0.1 per cent from 1.5 per cent in populous areas like the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and the English Channel (and down from 4.5 per cent to 0.5 per cent in 2020 for all other areas). The industry had anticipated the fuel standard for sulphur, and had partly embarked on using natural gas as a fuel ahead of 2015, the start of enforcement. Europe’s involvement, however, appears to signal a strategic switch to safe supplies of gas, with cutting sulphur as the chief sales and enforcement point.
Judging by Europe’s mercantile history and the wording of treaties dating back 200 years, the shipping industry is gambling that if gas is a standard for cleanliness set at the highest levels, then low-cost competitors not burning gas aboard ship might one day be excluded from plying key sea routes. Liquefied natural gas propulsion now powers offshore service ships. Some 40 vessels, plus as many LNG carriers, are now driven by natural gas. A new generation of LNG engines in which methane emissions are greatly reduced. Rolls-Royce, too, boasts cleaner LNG engines in the works.