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Green Fleet Roundup: Nissan, Ford, VW, GM

UQM Technologies’ PowerPhase Pro 100 electric drive systems are powering a fleet of zero-emissions, fuel cell London taxicabs during the 2012 Olympics. The taxis have a range of 250 miles and refuel in five minutes. A fuel-cell system designed by Intelligent Energy works in conjunction with a high-voltage battery pack and a UQM DC-to-DC converter to power the vehicle. According to Intelligent Energy, the company plans to put the vehicles into full production following the 2012 test program.

Not to miss out on the Olympic buzz, Nissan has rolled out its fuel-efficient NV200 London Taxi, the Wall Street Journal reports. Powered by a 1.5-liter engine with 89 horsepower, the six-speed manual transmission vehicles will travel 53.3 miles on a gallon of fuel, compared with 35.3 mpg for the TX4 series of taxicabs.

The 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible is the most fuel-efficient convertible in the US, according to official EPA ratings. The premium gasoline four-cylinder, manual six-speed gets 21 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, while the diesel version gets 28 mpg city and 41 mpg highway.

Meanwhile, the 2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid is the first hybrid vehicle to offer 47 mpg across the board, with EPA-certified 47 mpg city and 47 mpg highway ratings — 7 mpg better than Toyota Prius v on the highway. The vehicle also has a top speed of up to 62 mph in EV mode.

In other Ford news, the Detroit giant has announced it will invest $220 million to transform Van Dyke Transmission into an operation capable of producing Ford’s new hybrid transmission, HF35, as well as other fuel-efficient transmissions. HF35 will be used in five electrified vehicles being introduced this year: the Ford C-MAX Hybrid, Ford C-MAX Energi Plug-in Hybrid (pictured), Ford Fusion Hybrid, Ford Fusion Energi Plug-in Hybrid and the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid.

Waste Management has launched a local fleet of 25 compressed natural gas trucks — the first of its kind in Kentucky — and unveiled Louisville’s first public-access, 24-hour CNG fueling station. CNG reduces particulate matter emissions to up to 86 percent, carbon monoxide emissions by 80 percent, nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 32 percent and carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent, the company says.

General Motors Ventures has invested in the NanoSteel Company because of its light-weight steel alloy technology, GM says, which can improve vehicles’ fuel economy. The companies didn’t disclose terms of the investment.

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