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Fleet Briefing: Lexus, Infiniti, Ram, Chevy Volt

Lexus unveiled its 2013 ES lineup at the New York International Auto Show. The lineup includes the ES 300h, the first sedan equipped with Lexus hybrid drive. Its 2.5-liter four-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine has four drive modes: normal, sport, eco and EV, and it is expected to earn an EPA fuel economy rating of about 40 mpg combined city/highway, the company said.

EV mode will allow for short distance driving at reduced speed using the hybrid battery pack. Normal mode benefits from the low friction twin cam engine with a beltless motor, and a near zero evaporative fuel system, Lexus said.

Infiniti’s first zero emission luxury sedan, the LE Concept, also made its debut at the New York auto show, and Infiniti announced that it will have a production version of the vehicle within two years. The car has a zero-emission powertrain with torque of 240 lb-ft, and a laminated 24 kWh lithium-ion battery with a ChaDeMo DC50kW quick charger. The vehicle’s EV aerodynamic efficiency design has a coefficient of drag of 0.25.

In terms of charging, the Infiniti LE Concept is equipped to use an integrated charging port, a DC fast charge option and an advanced wireless charging system.

The 2013 Ram 1500’s new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 has at least 20 percent better fuel economy when compared to the previous 3.7-liter V-6 powertrain, but still has 42 percent more horsepower and 13 percent more torque, Chrysler has announced.. The V6 powertrain is 76 pounds lighter. Other weight savings include an aluminum hood that cuts 26 pounds, and high-strength steel that cuts 30 pounds from the chassis, writes Green Auto Blog.

The 2013 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 offering includes fuel saver technology expected to deliver at least 20 percent better fuel economy when compared to the 2012 V-8 powertrain. The V-8 truck has 395 horsepower, and 407 lb.-ft. of torque. It is 30 pounds lighter than the earlier 5.7-liter model, writes Green Auto Blog.

The Chevrolet Volt will be back in production a week earlier than planned after GM said March sales were better than expected. U.S. sales of the Volt were 2,289 in March, beating the previous best month in December when 1,529 cars were delivered. Volt production will resume April 16 at the GM Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant; the automaker had planned to halt production from March 19 through April 23, Bloomberg said.

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