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Despite its size, Porsche’s positively tiny 919 Hybrid racecar makes massive power

Porsche finally took the wraps off its 919 Hybrid Le Mans Prototype race car at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show.

The 919 will mark Porsche’s return to top-tier endurance racing when it hits the track for the 2014 World Endurance Championship season.

Camouflaged prototypes have been seen testing, but now that the camouflaged has been removed … it looks like Porsche should have left it on. Much of the design was dictated by racing regulations, not to mention aerodynamics.

The 919 won’t go down in history as the prettiest race car ever, but luckily race cars don’t need to be pretty.

As its name implies, the 919 has a hybrid powertrain. Internal-combustion motivation comes from a 2.0-liter gasoline V-4, which produces around 500 horsepower, and is teamed with two energy-recovery systems.

An electric motor mounted on the front axle can recover energy during braking and store it in a lithium-ion battery pack. It can also drive the front wheels in certain situations, giving the car temporary all-wheel drive.

In addition, the 919 has a thermal energy-recovery system, which uses an electric generator powered by exhaust gases to send additional power to the battery pack.

After a 16-year absence, Porsche is looking to rack up some victories in top-level endurance racing, including an overall victory at Le Mans. To do that, it will have to beat the hybrids from corporate sibling Audi and Toyota.

Porsche will field two cars for the 2014 World Endurance Championship season. The number 20 car will be piloted by ex-Formula One drive Mark Webber, along with Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley. The 14 car will be driven by Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, and Marc Lieb.

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Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
Volvo S60L Petrol Plug-In Hybrid concept slated for 2014 Beijing Motor Show debut
Volvo S60L Petrol Plug-In Hybrid

For its first production plug-in hybrid, Volvo chose a diesel station wagon. The V60 plug-in hybrid remains an unusual vehicle in one of the automotive industry's newest niches.
The Volvo S60L Petrol Plug-In Hybrid set to debut at the 2014 Beijing Motor Show follows a more conventional route. Like the name says, this plug-in has a gasoline engine under the hood.
Based on the recently-updated S60 sedan, the S60L PPHEV features a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine from Volvo's Drive-E family, which produces 238 horsepower on its own.
The engine is teamed with an eight-speed automatic transmission, an electric motor good for additional 68 hp, and an 11.2-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack.
While the gasoline engine drives the front wheels as it does in a normal S60, the electric motor drives the rear wheels, giving the car all-wheel drive. There are also three driving modes that adjust the distribution of power depending on how the car is being used.
In the default "Hybrid" mode, the S60L plug-in uses both its gasoline and electric power sources for fuel-efficient cruising, while "Pure" mode switches the car to all-electric power. Volvo estimates the electric-only range at around 31 miles.
Finally, there's a "Power" mode for your inner Jeremy Clarkson. With this performance-oriented setting, Volvo says the S60L plug-in will do 0 to 62 mph in 5.5 seconds.
However, Chinese customers will most likely be the only ones who will get to experience this range of performance.
The Volvo S60L plug-in hybrid will be launched in China next year, and will be built locally at a plant in Chengdu. Plans for sales in other markets have not been announced.
However, Volvo still might put plug-in powertrains in other future models, including the next XC90 SUV.

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Audi increases the range of its all-new A3 with a five-door, diesel-powered TDI Sportback
audi concept a3 tdi 1

The smallest Audi in the US market continues to get more interesting. Audi has just announced that a TDI sportback will be joining the A3 Sedan, Cabrio, e-tron and eventually S3. The A3 family now includes more combinations of bodystyle and powertrain than some entire car companies.
The new five-door TDI will feature Audi's 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine, that boasts 150 horsepower and Audi's excellent six-speed S tronic transmission. Unfortunately Audi can't tell us yet what kind of mileage the A3 TDI will have, but it will no doubt be less than the 73 highway mpg that the 1.6-liter TDI the European market gets.

That may be too bad, but the A3 TDI has the potential to fill a void in the American market: a drivers' car that won't break the bank or be hard to explain to your spouse. We already know that the new A3 platform is dynamite to drive, and while the diesel motor is going to add some weight and reduce some fun, it still promises to be good to drive.
While Audi can't release mileage until it has completed testing for the EPA cycle we might be able to get some idea of the end results by looking at the A3's stablemate the Jetta TDI. The Jetta uses the same modular platform and the same 2.0-liter engine and it is good for 30 city and 42 highway, and a real-world average of around 38 mpg. If the A3 gets similar mileage it should be comparable to a hybrid, but way more fun.
Audi hasn't announced a release date yet, but the TDI may be along sooner rather than later in the A3 family's 18 month rollout. When it does get in, the A3 should offer a configuration for just about every conceivable buyer (I am holding out for the S3), which I am pretty sure is what Audi had in mind.

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Toyota’s TS040 Hybrid Le Mans racer isn’t your neighbor’s Prius
toyota ts040 hybrid revealed 2014  feature

This year's 24 Hours of Le Mans is shaping up to be one of the most competitive in recent years. Defending champion Audi and its R18 e-tron quattro will face green and mean hybrid racers from Porsche and Toyota.
While Porsche has been on a hiatus from top endurance racing, Toyota has been trying unsuccessfully to topple Audi with its TS030 Hybrid for the past couple of years. For 2014, the Japanese automaker will field a car that's improved in almost every way, including its name.
The Toyota TS040 Hybrid may look similar to last year's model, but Toyota has made many modifications to make the car more competitive, and to comply with new racing rules.
The TS040's powertrain consists of a 513-horsepower, 3.7-liter gasoline V8 and a pair of electric motor-generators, one for each axle. And unlike the rear-wheel drive TS030, the new car will send power to all four wheels. The motors recover energy during braking, just like in your hippie neighbor's Prius. That energy is stored in a super capacitor, and can be released to give the driver a temporary boost of 473 hp, for a total of 986 ponies.
With this setup, Toyota expects a 25-percent gain in fuel economy compared to last year, and that's more than a perk. Toyota says the improvement is required by the revised 2014 World Endurance Championship (WEC) regulations.
Other changes include extra safety equipment, and a body that is a bit narrower, and more aerodynamic, than before. Engineers had to balance smooth airflow for fuel economy, with downforce to get maximum grip out of the tires, which are narrower than last year's.
Toyota will field two cars for the 2014 WEC season. The number 7 TS040 will be driven by Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin, and Kazuki Nakajima, while the number 8 will be driven by Anthony Davidson, Nicholas Lapierre, and Sébastien Buemi.
The TS040 will test this week at Circuit Paul Ricard in France, before heading to the 6 Hours of Silverstone next month, where it will face its German rivals for the first time.

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