Peugeot – Here’s A Peek

by Douglas Black, enerficiency On The Road, Sept.14,2012


Peugeot 2013RCZ
Peugeot 2013RCZ new stylish facelift


I like the Peugeot look – always have.  But the large-mouth bass look was a tough one.  So when I ran across this release today it got my attention.  This is what the style leader has to say…

Peugeot has unveiled a facelifted version of the popular RCZ coupe and has shown a tantalizing look at a hot RCZ-R variant coming next year.

The RCZ has been one of the most stylish coupes around since it went on sale in 2010, but has always been somewhat blighted by the huge gaping grille that it inherited from the 308. That model was updated last year and thankfully Peugeot has now seen fit to update the front end of the RCZ for 2013.

So out goes the massive fish mouth and in come re-profiled headlights, a smaller grille and thin lower opening much more in line with the 508. It gels much better with the rest of the car, which had some great design treats such as the Zagato-esque double-bubble roof, swollen wheel arches and tightly curved rear.

To accompany the facelift there are increased levels of equipment available inside, along with new trim options and new alloy wheels. The standard engine line-up remains the same with the 1.6 litre petrol engine in 154 bhp and 197 bhp guises and the 161 bhp 2.0 litre diesel model. The lower powered petrol engine will be available with an automatic gearbox as an option.

Peugeot 2013RCZ rear

The new addition later next year will be the RCZ-R model, which will be previewed as a concept at the Paris Motor Show and is shown in concept form in the images above. Featuring satin black paint and rose gold trimmings it shares the facelifted model’s new front end, but the real news in under the skin where the 1.6 litre turbo petrol engine is tuned to 260 bhp. There is also tweaked suspension and a Torsen limited slip differential to help tame the power going through the front wheels. There are lighter alloy wheels and the interior is likely to be more sporting with fixed back racing seats and alcantara trim.

This could really be the car that takes the fight to the Audi TT now – with the much improved looks, a hotter handling and performing model and a potential 30k price tag the RCZ-R could be one of the performance car stars of 2013.


Having more than 30 years experience in the green and sustainable building field, Douglas Black has dedicated the past 20 years to energy efficiency in the built environment.

Mr. Black is a high performance car enthusiast, always with an ear to the pavement for what’s fast and new.  He began blogging enerficiency On The Road in 2001, and now continues reporting from Auto Shows and Swap Meets at his Hot Flying Rats! blog –

He also uses his MagicEightBall to predict sporting outcomes and shares on his blog

Photography is a lifelong passion for Douglas Black, and while not capturing enthusiastic smiles at Wrigley Field he captures moments in the built environment.

And in his spare time, he works on getting that Captains License, expecting to retire on the water one day, taking photos.



The Logic of Car Sharing

(first published Feb 3, 2012)

by Douglas Black, enerficiency On The Road

Earlier this year we ran a short piece on the enerficiency blog titled “Pros and Cons of Car Sharing”.

There are a couple of schools of thought on this.  One is that if you are giving up a vehicle, as in selling it or donating to the CarTalk Guys, and even become a car-free household, utilizing the car-share to shop at Ikea – it’s a good thing.

On the other hand, if you had no vehicle, and were tired of pestering your neighbor to cart you and Fluffy to the vet or what have you, then it is a net gain to vehicular traffic.

But as we did research for this piece we discovered that this movement is heading in several directions, and it seems to be the wave of the (perhaps distant) future.  Some companies offer various models, including luxury and sports cars as well as family vans.  Zipcar is one such provider.  They are always popping up on my screen, presumably because my online researching has left a clickstream of cookies as wide as Lake Michigan and the marketeers are just following the trail.

Being as we Americans are so fiercely independent, it almost seems unpatriotic to hand over your keys (unless you’re drunk and your buddies are also relieving you of your shoes).  The idea of “my car, don’t touch the radio” is even stronger if you are a native Detroiter, as I am.

But if you cannot afford to buy a complete shop full of power tools and drill presses, wouldn’t it be great to be part “owner” of the rental shop, all your grinding, buffing and drilling supplies at your disposal for a small fee?  That seems to be the basic idea behind car sharing.

Some have also compared the concept to the airline industry.  I needed some hand holding to get my head around this one, so bear with me.  The airline industry has a “fleet” of vehicles which are expensive.  The fleet has huge upfront costs, regular and pricey maintenance/insurance/debt service, and the vehicles need a place to sleep when you aren’t using them.  I don’t know about you, but I personally cannot cover that expense.  The airline industry will cover all of that, fuel up the vehicles for us, and for a fee they will let us use them.  Not a pilot?  No problem, Big Daddy Airliner will provide a pilot for you.

With Car Sharing, the company offers everything the airlines offer, but you can be your own pilot! (Cars don’t fly, by the way.)  (Sept 13, 2012 update – They do.  I am working on a blog about it)

Folks in other countries value their independent mobility as well, but they may be more open to the community concept.

ENERSPEC conducted a worldwide poll January 31, 2012 asking the question “Would you give up your car to share community cars?”  Although not a truly scientific survey, the results were eye-opening as responses came in from Morocco to Malaysia and more than 20 other countries around the globe.

Younger responders less likely to give up ownership of their car.

One third of total responders said that they would be willing to give up their vehicle to share a community fleet.

Not surprisingly, younger people were more likely to hold onto their own set of keys than responders over 40 years of age.   The divide between men and women, however, was not as distant; for women twice as many said they would keep their car while men would rather hold their own keys by a ratio of three to one.

Further, affluent drivers, those indicating household income higher than $80k annually trended toward sharing a community fleet.

Comments came in as well. A woman responded from the US noting that lack of a utility truck or delivery van as part of the “shared” mix would be a deal breaker.

According to the Federal Highway Administration (April 4, 2011), the typical driver between the ages of 20-54 travels around 15,000 miles per year by car.  Now if your typical Zipper travels less than 5,500 miles after signing on to car sharing, that could be a reduction in emissions.  However, if the so-called Zipper has signed on simply because the bicycle is getting tiresome, then further study is needed here.

My friend Dave Quilty, blogger and publisher of The Good Human blog points out in his piece “Finding & Using A Car Sharing Service Near You”  that there are cars ready to “grab and go” in more than 100 cities around the world.

The Good Human cites Zipcar as one provider whose fee will include up to 180 miles of driving.  That’s more than just running your Spaniel to the vet for “happy times”.

I suppose it boils down to geography and the supporting infrastructure.  While I lived in Detroit, having no car meant you were a needy friend, had blisters on your feet or led the solitary life of a hermit.  Detroit has no real forms of public transportation, sidewalks are deathtraps, and distances between destinations are definitely not pedestrian friendly.  Few people would give up their precious car, and placing cars in lots scattered about in a city known for unusually high auto theft is, well, unwise.  Having no car in Detroit is not logical.

Here in Chicago it makes perfect sense for those who want to eliminate the ongoing expense of insurance, maintenance and fuel,  as well as the storage/parking responsibility.  Richard Kosmacher, Business Development Manager of I-GO Car Sharing in Chicago says members basically fall into one of three categories.  “They (I-GO members) went from two cars down to one and occasionally need another, or they sold their only car, OR it is simply an improved quality of life issue for those who had no vehicle of their own in the first place” say Kosmacher.

I’ve noticed cars are ready to go all around town in various lots, conveniently located near train or bus or subway stops.  I-Go Car Sharing even has a new member bus pass deal that gets you to and from your grocery getter.  This holistic approach to transportation sounds like a good idea to me.


Having more than 30 years experience in the green and sustainable building field, Douglas Black has dedicated the past 20 years to energy efficiency in the built environment.

Mr. Black is a high performance car enthusiast, always with an ear to the pavement for what’s fast and new.  He began blogging enerficiency On The Road in 2001, and now continues reporting from Auto Shows and Swap Meets at his Hot Flying Rats! blog –

He also uses his MagicEightBall to predict sporting outcomes and shares on his blog

Photography is a lifelong passion for Douglas Black, and while not capturing enthusiastic smiles at Wrigley Field he captures moments in the built environment.

And in his spare time, he works on getting that Captains License, expecting to retire on the water one day, taking photos.



Pebble Beach 2012 Concours D’Elegance

Five Outstanding Introductions

by Douglas Black, enerficiency On The Road 

My friends the Chicago Auto Show Bloggers recently went to Pebble Beach and here are 5 gotta have ’em cars they picked…we agree completely.  Here is what they had to say.

Par for the course, Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance was yet again the place to be and be seen for uber-rich auto aficionados. Traditionally featuring some of the nation’s most pristine examples of yesteryear’s finest luxury offerings, Pebble Beach played host to a couple luxury and concept car reveals. We’ve selected our top five picks and think they provide some tasty automotive eye candy.

BMW Zagato Roadster
BMW Zagato Roadster

BMW Zagato Roadster

The result of six weeks of labor, BMW unveiled its latest hand-built car, the Zagato Roadster. Decked out in aluminum body panels, the vehicle boasts unique hindquarters a Z-mesh grille, a two-tone interior and leather-clad roll hoops. The one-off two-seater represents the manufacturer’s collaboration with the design and coach building-firm Zagato.  The roadster showcases BMW’s ability to rapidly develop a vehicle with advanced manufacturing techniques to attract the attention of wealthy customers.

Rolls Royce Ghost
Rolls Royce Ghost

Rolls-Royce Ghost

Previously only available on the Rolls-Royce Phantom, the 2013 Rolls-Royce Ghost gets a perforated leather headliner. The Ghost also features a two-tone paint scheme with Carrara White over Mazarine Blue offset by a Mandarin Orange twin feature line – not to mention the Pebble Beach and Orange Poppy polished tread plates on the door, which is the official flower of California and native to the Monterey peninsula (home to Pebble Beach).  The special edition demonstrates Rolls-Royce’s ability to create a custom-made experience, as the one-off model also features monogrammed headrests and a veneered dash inlay.

McLaren X-1 Concept Sports Car
McLaren X-1 Concept Sports Car

McLaren X-1

This one-off model is based on McLaren’s MP4-12C Spider concept and was created for an anonymous car enthusiast who requested this custom-made vehicle. With futuristic styling and luxury accessories such as a Jaeger LeCoultre clock, an Airstream trailer, a Thomas Mann Montblanc pen and a grand piano, the vehicle follows specific demands of the owner.  The futuristic styling includes carbon fiber body panels, unique head and taillights, custom wheels, solid aluminum trim and covered rear wheels.

Infiniti Emerg-e Plug-in Concept Car
Infiniti Emerg-e Plug-in Concept Car

Infiniti Emerge-e

Jazzing up the electric car category, Infiniti debuted its Emerg-e plug-in concept car at Pebble Beach. The new vehicle is a blend of supercar and electric and expands Infiniti’s expertise in the areas of electric vehicles and alternative propulsion systems.  The 402-horsepower mid-engined, twin electric motor-powered Infiniti Emerg-e is capable of accelerating from 0-60 miles per hour in just 4.0 seconds – and from zero to 130 miles per hour 30 seconds, while operating as a zero-emission urban transport over a 30-mile range.

Bugatti VEYRON Grand Sport Vitesse
Bugatti VEYRON Grand Sport Vitesse

Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse

The Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse SE model debuted at Pebble Beach features a custom Bianco and New Light Blue color scheme as a throwback to the Type 37A manufactured back in 1928. The upper body features the Bianco, including the air scoops and the roof area, while New Light Blue covers the side skirts, radiator grille frame, front spoiler and the rear apron with diffuser. The New Light Blue color also covers the underside of the rear spoiler and the inner surfaces of the wheel rims. The interior features Cognac leather with new Light Blue inserts.  The 1,184-horsepower supercar is capable of accelerating from 0-60 miles per hour before hitting a top speed of 255 miles per hour.

 (first published August 22, 2012 on  )


2012 Chicago Auto Show

Friday, February 10, 2012

Had some fun with the technology exhibits at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show.  The Buick Display invited me to sit in this big info scanner that looked like an MRI machine, to integrate the cars computer with my cell phone and I don’t know what-all.

Well friends, I guess my phone is dumber than I am, because it was “incompatible” , not able to communicate with the Buick on-board computer.  I guess I have the “smert” phone!

Over at Cadillac there was a driving simulator that was more like a jet fighter simulator, which was great fun.

And Toyota showed how its car would “see” me, kind of like the vision sensors Predator has while hunting down Swarzenegger – that’s fine as long as the car is on my team.

Visit the 2012 Chicago Auto Show website at

Friday, February 10, 2021. So much to write about. Today I will upload pictures and stories gathered, including reports on the Dodge Ram 1500 Longhorn, the flagship of the Ram Fleet.


Thursday, February 9, 2012 6am.  Sitting at Panera with hot black coffee, notes and chargers humming.  Working on Grocery Getter and Hockey Travel Team stories, expect results of analyses later today.


Got here Wednesday February 8, 2012 7am. Everywhere you look people are looking at a device and poking at it like a cobbler at his bench!

A very busy day getting pics with the camera/phone, tweeting, texting, emailing and posting to facebook, tumblr, yfrog and this site too!  A little plate spinning never hurt anybody, as long as you don’t drop plates.





0 > 60 in Under 3

0 to 60 in Under 3 Seconds1200 hp Caddy

by enerficiency Douglas Black, On The Road Blog, September 8, 2012
I need to find out if my cousin Fred is one of the twelve.  His style all the way.
John Hennessey’s shop fabbed a dozen which offer more than double the power of their everyday lookalikes with a Bugatti-challenging 1,226 hp and a top speed of 242 mph. This special Hennessey V1200 Cadillac CTS-V coupe lives up to the little ol’ shop in Texas’ credo that there is no such thing as too much horsepower.
While the already sinister CTS-V makes due with 551 hp, these babiesw do 0 to 60 in under 3 seconds. 

Grocery Getters

My Favorite Grocery Getter, The Citroen DS3 Cabrio

by Douglas Black, enerficiency On The Road Blog, September 6, 2012

Earlier this year I did a piece on SUVs and Crossovers titled Grocery Getter.  Too bad this Citroen DS3 Cabrio wasn’t in the mix then. I do like this vehicle. Fun, Sexy,Stylish. And it has that cool name.

Here is what Mike Hanlon,  founder of Gizmag (my favorite source for news of the cool) says;

“Citroen’s DS3 is characterized above all else by the sense of fun it engenders in those who drive it. It has impressed automotive journalists around the world since it was released two years ago, winning countless awards in both diesel and petrol form, for its sweet handling, spacious interior and frugality.

The DS3’s range-topping turbocharged 152 kW (204 hp) 1.6 liter engine was developed jointly by Citroen, Peugeot and BMW, and can be found in several models from the Citroen, Peugeot and MINI ranges and it’s a one of the sweetest motors in existence, having won its class in the International Engine of the Year Awards for the last SIX years running.

On top of that, the DS3’s sporting pretensions are now unquestionable, as the car won both the World Rally Championship Drivers and Constructors titles at its first attempt in 2011 and it will win both championships again this year.”

How cool is all that, huh?

The Citroen DS3 Cabrio is a HOT Crossover

Citroen DS3 Cabrio Rear          Citroen DS3 Cabrio Top Down


Cars You Want, Leading Edge and Bleeding Edge. And Other Automotive Stuff I Want To Talk About. ……. …From enerficiency On The Road, Douglas Black

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