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Tata introduces hybrid car ‘Prius’ in India

Posted by autotran on January 7, 2010

Japanese car major Toyota on Thursday launched the availability of its latest generation hybrid car ‘Prius’ in India, besides launching the CNG version of its popular sedan Corolla Altis.

Priced between Rs.26.55 lakh and Rs.27.86 lakh, the third generation Prius, which became the world’s first mass produced hybrid vehicle in 1997, com

Prius Plug-in Hybrid

BEAUTY ON FOUR WHEELS: Toyota Motor Corp. Executive Vice President Takeshi Uchiyamada demonstrates during a photo session of its "Prius Plug-in Hybrid" on Dec. 14, 2009 in Tokyo: File Photo: AP

es with 1.8 litre petrol engine with a battery of 60 kilowatt.

This will have three driving modes

  1. Power mode,
  2. Eco mode and
  3. Electric vehicle mode (battery).

Prius, which in Latin means ‘to go before,’ is ‘equipped with the latest version of its pioneering technologyToyota Hybrid System II (also called Hybrid Synergy Drive) — that has achieved world-leading fuel efficiency.

“Through the launch of Prius, Toyota is keen to demonstrate its commitment to offer the latest eco-friendly automotive technology to its customers in India. Prius today is the most successful hybrid in the world with cumulative sales of nearly 15-lakh. We will continue to popularise environmental-friendly vehicles in India to further our efforts to help save the environment,” said Toyota Kirloskar Motor Deputy Managing Director Sandeep Singh.

“Prius will be imported as completely built-up unit from Japan. We have ordered 200 units for India that will be sold during March-December 2010, while the bookings have already started. Prius will be available only in 10 cities, including the metros and smaller cities like Chandigarh, Pune and Ahmedabad, while the waiting period for the hybrid will be about two months” Mr. Singh said.



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Tata introduces Mini – Minivan

Posted by autotran on January 7, 2010

Visit New Delhi and you will be overwhelmed by the number of motorized trikes hustling and bustling through the city proper. They are practically the official vehicle of India because of their low cost, ease of maintenance and small (Mini)size. But just as Tata is trying to revolutionize the world of budget motoring with the Nano, the Indian automaker wants to offer another form of urban transport to replace the much-loved trike (Van). The Tata Magic Iris is it.

Tata Magic Iris

Tata Magic Iris

Tata Magic Iris

Tata Magic Iris

Tata Magic Iris

Tata Magic Iris

Tata Magic Iris

Tata Magic Iris

Tata Magic Iris

Tata Magic Iris

Tata Magic Iris

Tata Magic Iris

We don’t have exact dimensions, but as you can see in the images, it is small – the wheelbase isn’t much longer than a baseball bat and the wheels max out at 12 inches (10-inch hoops are standard). Nestled within the steel five-seater (two in front and three out back) is a 611cc, water-cooled diesel churning out a 11 horsepower, allowing the diminutive box to hit a maximum speed of 34 mph. While its specs aren’t about to set the world on fire, it’s considerably more versatile than the trike it aims to replace. Tata hasn’t announced pricing yet, but expect the Magic Iris to come in well below $2,000 when it hits Indian roads later this year.


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New DOT Consumer Rule Limits Airline Tarmac Delays, Provides Other Passenger Protections

Posted by autotran on December 21, 2009

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced a new rule that significantly strengthens protections afforded to consumers by, among other things, establishing a hard time limit after which U.S. airlines must allow passengers to deplane from domestic flights.

“Airline passengers have rights, and these new rules will require airlines to live up to their obligation to treat their customers fairly,” Secretary LaHood said.

The new rule prohibits U.S. airlines operating domestic flights from permitting an aircraft to remain on the tarmac for more than three hours without deplaning passengers, with exceptions allowed only for safety or security or if air traffic control advises the pilot in command that returning to the terminal would disrupt airport operations. U.S. carriers operating international flights departing from or arriving in the United States must specify, in advance, their own time limits for deplaning passengers, with the same exceptions applicable.

Carriers are required to provide adequate food and potable drinking water for passengers within two hours of the aircraft being delayed on the tarmac and to maintain operable lavatories and, if necessary, provide medical attention.

This rule was adopted in response to a series of incidents in which passengers were stranded on the ground aboard aircraft for lengthy periods and also in response to the high incidence of flight delays and other consumer problems. In one of the most recent tarmac delay incidents, the Department fined Continental Airlines, ExpressJet Airlines and Mesaba Airlines a total of $175,000 for their roles in a nearly six-hour ground delay at Rochester, MN.

The rule also:

  • Prohibits airlines from scheduling chronically delayed flights, subjecting those who do to DOT enforcement action for unfair and deceptive practices;
  • Requires airlines to designate an airline employee to monitor the effects of flight delays and cancellations, respond in a timely and substantive fashion to consumer complaints and provide information to consumers on where to file complaints;
  • Requires airlines to display on their website flight delay information for each domestic flight they operate;
  • Requires airlines to adopt customer service plans and audit their own compliance with their plans; and
  • Prohibits airlines from retroactively applying material changes to their contracts of carriage that could have a negative impact on consumers who already have purchased tickets.

Today’s final rule was adopted following a review of public comments on a proposal issued in November 2008. The Department also plans to begin another rulemaking designed to further strengthen protections for air travelers. Among the areas under consideration are: a requirement that airlines submit to the Department for review and approval their contingency plans for lengthy tarmac delays; reporting of additional tarmac delay data; disclosure of baggage fees; and strengthening requirements that airline ads disclose the full fare consumers must pay for tickets.

The rule goes into effect 120 days after date of publication in the Federal Register. The rule may be obtained on the Internet at, docket DOT-OST-2007-0022.

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FRA Issues NPRM on Technology to Prevent Train Collisions

Posted by autotran on July 21, 2009

New Rules Support Use of Positive Train Control

Today Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo announced proposed rules designed to prevent train collisions through the use of Positive Train Control. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) prescribes how railroads must use Positive Train Control systems to prevent train-to-train collisions.

PTC technology is capable of automatically controlling train speeds and movements should a locomotive engineer fail to take appropriate action. For example, such technology can force a train to stop before it passes a red signal, thereby averting a potential collision. Other benefits of PTC systems include prevention of over-speed derailments and misaligned switches, as well as unauthorized incursions by a train into work zones.

“These proposed rules give railroads the framework to use this life-saving technology,” said LaHood. “We believe this is an important step toward making freight, intercity and commuter rail lines safer for the benefit of communities across the country.”

Under the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, major freight railroads and intercity and commuter rail operators must submit their plans for PTC to FRA for approval by April, 16, 2010.  PTC systems must be fully in place by the end of 2015.  The proposed rules will specify how the technically complex PTC systems must function and indicate how FRA will assess a railroad’s PTC plan before it can become operational. 

“FRA is setting the bar high in terms of design, construction and oversight of PTC technologies among different railroads,” said FRA Administrator Joe Szabo.  “FRA will continue to advocate for ways to strengthen safety standards in the railroad industry.”

The major freight railroads have reached an agreement for the operation of PTC technology across different rail systems, allowing for industry-wide use.  In addition, FRA is coordinating efforts with the Federal Communications Commission to make a sufficient amount of radio frequency spectrum available, which is essential for PTC technology to function properly.  This development will allow PTC technology to send and receive a constant stream of wireless signals regarding the location and speed of passenger and freight trains moving along rail lines.


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