Volvo Gets Greener

Automobile maker Volvo has introduced 15,000 solar units at an auto production line in Ghent, Belgium.

The Ghent office likewise makes utilization of wind to supply around 11 percent of its energy utilization, Volvo said in a declaration Thursday. A heating framework introduced in 2016 cut carbon discharges by 40 percent.

Renewables have provided the power at Volvo Cars’ European plants since 2008. The organization has said it needs its worldwide assembling tasks to be carbon neutral and completely electric autos to represent 50 percent of worldwide sales by 2025.

Volvo said in a statement that they want their goal is for their plants to be as efficient as possible.

Volvo testing self-driving cars

The Volvo Car Group will release 100 self-driving cars on public roads in Gothenburg, Sweden. Endorsed by the government there, the “Drive Me” project aims to pinpoint the benefits of driving autonomously. It will give them insight to challenges they will face technologically as well as provide a way of receiving feedback from their customers.

The study will start in 2014 with the hopes of having the first cars on the road by 2017. The car will be developed on Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) and the first model will be the Volvo XC90 to be introduced in 2014.

The car will also feature autonomous parking. You can leave the car at the entrance and the car will park itself.

Joe Victor

How many cars have you had?

Hey Jody, most people go through more than 1 car in their lifetime. Some may even lease a new car and trade it in 2 years later for the newest model. Not Irv Gordon. He bought a brand new red Volvo P1800 in 1966. On September 15, he passed the 3 million mark. That’s right 3,000,000 miles on one car. That’s an average of over 63,000 miles per year. He set a world record for the most miles driven by a single person in a noncommercial vehicle in 1998 when he reached 1.69 million, but that didn’t stop him from continuing. The car still has its original engine!

Irv Gordon has driven through every state except Hawaii and 5 European countries with this car.

~ Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: Best Quality Cars, 2012

New cars continue to become more reliable and better built, according to the latest Initial Quality Study by J.D. Power and Associates.  I asked Jody Victor®  to tell us more about it.

Jody Victor®: J.D. Power and Associates does an annual survey to determine customer satisfaction within the first 90 days of ownership. The following vehicles had the fewest complaints. Here we go with the first of 4 installments from an article by Clifford Atiyeh of msn.com.

Top Subcompact Car: Toyota Yaris

The Yaris, with its old 4-speed automatic transmission and plebian interior, isn’t a stellar compact car compared with its more sophisticated competition. The redesigned, edgier 2012 model carries over much of the same equipment. But befitting a typical Toyota, the Yaris is cheap to maintain and simple to operate in either hatchback or sedan form. Toyota, at 88 problems per 100 vehicles, clearly has something right on its hands.

Top Compact Car: Toyota Corolla

Is it any wonder the world’s best-selling car winds up here? The Corolla name is nearly as old as Mustang, and when it comes to no-frills, dead-reliable transport, nothing is more renowned. Like the Yaris, the current Corolla is outclassed by its many rivals in technology, design and performance. That doesn’t seem to matter.

Top Compact Sporty Car: Mazda MX-5 Miata

When it was introduced 23 years ago, the Miata was meant to re-create the spirit of those iconic British roadsters — the lightweight and zippy MGs, Austin Healeys and Triumphs. What it left out were the atrocious electrical failures and other mechanical problems that plagued those old roadsters. A true enthusiast’s car, the Miata sets the standard for affordable sports cars that can go the long mile.

Top Compact Premium Sporty Car: Volvo C70

Refreshed for 2011, the Volvo C70 is an attractive alternative to the usual crop of $40,000 German convertibles. The folding hardtop, floating center control stack and understated interior blend well with the car’s turbocharged engines. But don’t get confused; the C70 is a cruiser, not a corner-dicing sports car. Safety, of course, is paramount; the C70 was the world’s first convertible with head curtain airbags.

Top Entry Premium Car: Lexus ES

Lexus once again leads the J.D. Power list as the most reliable automaker, with an average of 73 problems per 100 vehicles. The ES 350 is all new for 2013, with a more aggressive front end and sculpted interior, plus a hybrid trim. In any model year, the ES is smooth, steers with a finger and offers a lot of luxury for the money.

Thanks, Jody! More next time!

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: Best Quality Cars, 2012

Did you ever wonder how auto makers figure out where they went wrong? What could they improve? What makes us happy or unhappy with a vehicle? Me, too! That’s why I asked Jody Victor® to tell us about it.

Jody Victor®: Hey, Joe, the answer is:  surveys! Customer satisfaction surveys go a long way to tell manufacturers what they are doing right, but more importantly, what they might be doing wrong. Here’s a list, in 4 parts, of quality vehicles from an article by Clifford Atiyeh of msn.com.

Top Subcompact Car: Toyota Yaris

The Yaris, with its old 4-speed automatic transmission and plebian interior, isn’t a stellar compact car compared with its more sophisticated competition. The redesigned, edgier 2012 model carries over much of the same equipment. But befitting a typical Toyota, the Yaris is cheap to maintain and simple to operate in either hatchback or sedan form. Toyota, at 88 problems per 100 vehicles, clearly has something right on its hands.

Top Compact Car: Toyota Corolla

Is it any wonder the world’s best-selling car winds up here? The Corolla name is nearly as old as Mustang, and when it comes to no-frills, dead-reliable transport, nothing is more renowned. Like the Yaris, the current Corolla is outclassed by its many rivals in technology, design and performance. That doesn’t seem to matter.

Top Compact Sporty Car: Mazda MX-5 Miata

When it was introduced 23 years ago, the Miata was meant to re-create the spirit of those iconic British roadsters — the lightweight and zippy MGs, Austin Healeys and Triumphs. What it left out were the atrocious electrical failures and other mechanical problems that plagued those old roadsters. A true enthusiast’s car, the Miata sets the standard for affordable sports cars that can go the long mile.

Top Compact Premium Sporty Car: Volvo C70

Refreshed for 2011, the Volvo C70 is an attractive alternative to the usual crop of $40,000 German convertibles. The folding hardtop, floating center control stack and understated interior blend well with the car’s turbocharged engines. But don’t get confused; the C70 is a cruiser, not a corner-dicing sports car. Safety, of course, is paramount; the C70 was the world’s first convertible with head curtain airbags.

Top Entry Premium Car: Lexus ES

Lexus once again leads the J.D. Power list as the most reliable automaker, with an average of 73 problems per 100 vehicles. The ES 350 is all new for 2013, with a more aggressive front end and sculpted interior, plus a hybrid trim. In any model year, the ES is smooth, steers with a finger and offers a lot of luxury for the money.

Thanks, Jody! More next time.

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: Best Quality Cars, 2012

Believe it or not, we are halfway through 2012. Time to find out which 2012 vehicles are the best of show for the year. I asked Jody Victor®  to tell us the top vehicles in 21 categoreies from an article by Clifford Atiyeh of MSN Autos and msn.com.

Jody Victor®: Hey Joe, it is that time of year. We’ve had long enough to know the ins and outs of the new vehicles from all automakers. Don’t forget these may not be your favorites, but I’m sure you will agree with many of them.  And here they are the best picks from msn.com in 4 parts.

Top Subcompact Car: Toyota Yaris

The Yaris, with its old 4-speed automatic transmission and plebian interior, isn’t a stellar compact car compared with its more sophisticated competition. The redesigned, edgier 2012 model carries over much of the same equipment. But befitting a typical Toyota, the Yaris is cheap to maintain and simple to operate in either hatchback or sedan form. Toyota, at 88 problems per 100 vehicles, clearly has something right on its hands.

Top Compact Car: Toyota Corolla

Is it any wonder the world’s best-selling car winds up here? The Corolla name is nearly as old as Mustang, and when it comes to no-frills, dead-reliable transport, nothing is more renowned. Like the Yaris, the current Corolla is outclassed by its many rivals in technology, design and performance. That doesn’t seem to matter.

Top Compact Sporty Car: Mazda MX-5 Miata

When it was introduced 23 years ago, the Miata was meant to re-create the spirit of those iconic British roadsters — the lightweight and zippy MGs, Austin Healeys and Triumphs. What it left out were the atrocious electrical failures and other mechanical problems that plagued those old roadsters. A true enthusiast’s car, the Miata sets the standard for affordable sports cars that can go the long mile.

Top Compact Premium Sporty Car: Volvo C70

Refreshed for 2011, the Volvo C70 is an attractive alternative to the usual crop of $40,000 German convertibles. The folding hardtop, floating center control stack and understated interior blend well with the car’s turbocharged engines. But don’t get confused; the C70 is a cruiser, not a corner-dicing sports car. Safety, of course, is paramount; the C70 was the world’s first convertible with head curtain airbags.

Top Entry Premium Car: Lexus ES

Lexus once again leads the J.D. Power list as the most reliable automaker, with an average of 73 problems per 100 vehicles. The ES 350 is all new for 2013, with a more aggressive front end and sculpted interior, plus a hybrid trim. In any model year, the ES is smooth, steers with a finger and offers a lot of luxury for the money.

Thanks, Jody! More next time!

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: Best Cars for Summer Sports

For every sport or outdoor adventure, there’s a perfect vehicle for ferrying your gear and getting you where you need to go, be it your favorite surf break, a new backpacking route or the ideal stretch of pavement for pedaling your road bike. But a kite surfer has different transportation criteria than a mountain biker, and a fisherman’s needs are not the same as those of an all-terrain-vehicle enthusiast. I asked Jody Victor  to tell us more about it from and article by Claire Martin of MSN Autos and msn.com.

Jody Victor: Sometimes you need all-wheel drive; other times, all you care about is whether your cooler will fit in the trunk. Here are the best cars for various outdoor sports, factoring in cargo capacity, hauling capability, horsepower, maneuverability and, of course, aesthetics, in 2 parts.

Surfing | Jeep Wrangler

The main benefit to the Wrangler is that your surfboard — long, short or anywhere in between — can fit in the vehicle when the top is off. If it hangs out a little bit, you’ll look all the more cool. When scoping out remote surf spots, the high ground clearance and 4-wheel drive come in handy. To keep valuables out of sight while you’re in the waves, the “add a trunk” feature creates a 3-cubic-foot mini trunk in the rear of the vehicle.

Mountain Biking | Honda Element

With enough space to fit three bikes and one rear-seat passenger, or two bikes and two friends in the back, the Element is ideal for mountain-bike outings. No need to hoist anything onto the roof of the car or to deal with a clunky rear-mounted bike rack. And you won’t have to remove your bikes’ front tires to fit them in, either. The vehicle’s all-wheel-drive capability helps get you to the trail. After your excursion, any dirt that collects on the Element’s urethane-coated floor is easy to sweep out.

Kite Surfing | Volvo XC70

This wagon’s minivan-size storage capacity lets you easily pack the bulky gear that kite surfing requires — boards, kites, harnesses and the like. But it’s also agile enough that you can negotiate winding coastal roads with power and ease. The XC70 is the longest of the Volvo models, making it easier to carry your quiver of boards inside the car without anything hanging out a window. Extra ground clearance and all-wheel drive keep you from getting stuck in any sand traps en route to the wind-whipped water. The optional plastic trunk liner keeps your wet gear from stinking up the car.

Road Cycling | Audi A3

If you’re a road cyclist, chances are you spend a lot of time on pavement that’s as fun to drive as it is to pedal, so you’ll want a car that handles well on twisting, curvy roads. The Audi A3 is turbocharged whether you buy the gasoline version or the diesel, and it has speed-sensitive power steering — helpful in hairpin turns. Roof rails make for easy installation of a bike rack, but because the A3 is a wagon, you could store your ride inside. Flip one seat down for one bike, or both to store two.

Backpacking | Ford Flex

To accommodate the bulky backpacks, tents and sleeping pads required for a backpacking trip, the Ford Flex has 83 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats down. If you’re taking a day hike, sans gear, the Flex is perfect for ferrying a group of friends to the trailhead; its three rows of seats accommodate seven passengers. Four skylights on the roof let you take in the beauty of your wilderness surroundings before you even get out of the car. Opt for bucket seats in the second row and you can also get a refrigerated console to keep your water supply cold.

Thanks, Jody! More next time.

Joe Victor