Hybrid Trailblazer: 2017 Lexus CT 200h Earned an EPA-Estimated 42 MPG Combined, All in a Luxuriously Compact Package

Fun to drive, versatile and efficient 42 MPG EPA-Estimated Combined Fuel EconomyF SPORT Package Delivers Sporty Flare

When more luxury brands build hybrids that can offer 42 MPG EPA-estimated combined fuel economy, they will have caught up to the Lexus CT 200h – which got there in 2011. From the instantly recognizable spindle grille to the impeccable workmanship throughout, the 2017 Lexus CT 200h delivers the brand’s signature design and luxury experience in a unique compact hybrid package.
Designed from the outset as a dedicated hybrid model, the Lexus CT 200h provides a roomy cabin within its compact exterior dimensions. For 2017, Lexus gives the CT 200h some distinctive new colors, including Atomic Silver, Caviar, Autumn Shimmer and Blue Vortex Metallic.

Lexus got the whole luxury category thinking about hybrids 11 years ago with its first, the RX400h. The CT 200h brought Lexus hybrid technology and benefits to a whole new segment and also became the brand’s entry model. “Entry” is a relative term; the CT 200h never lets you forget it’s a Lexus. Take the standard NuLuxe seating, for example. It feels as supple as leather yet, compared to leather, weighs half as much, and its manufacturing process generates far fewer CO2 and VOC emissions.

Source: Toyota Motor Corporation

Luxury Motoring on Very Little Fuel

The CT 200h draws from the world’s deepest well of hybrid expertise and experience to deliver responsive performance and fuel efficiency. EPA fuel economy estimates of 43 MPG city / 40 MPG highway / 42 MPG combined help make it one of the most efficient luxury hybrid models without a plug available today.

Lexus Hybrid Drive in the CT 200h includes a 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle inline four-cylinder gas engine teamed with a 650-volt motor generator for a combined system output of 134 horsepower. 
A second motor generator in the hybrid system serves as a starter for the internal combustion engine and generator to charge the hybrid battery pack.

CT 200h
Source: Toyota Motor Corporation

The powertrain is mated to an Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission
(E-CVT) that makes the best use of the electric motor’s instant torque and quickly finds the optimal ratio to enhance driving conditions.

It’s the unseen engineering details that really make a difference in the CT’s fuel efficiency. For example, an exhaust heat recovery system uses the heat of spent exhaust gases to speed engine coolant warm-up. That in turn allows the hybrid system to stop the engine earlier and more often in the driving cycle when it’s not needed, for example in low-power-demand city driving conditions.

Like other Lexus models, the CT 200h puts a wide range of vehicle control at the driver’s fingertips through the Lexus Drive Mode Select system. You can choose from four distinct modes: Normal, Sport, Eco or EV. Normal mode has an essentially linear throttle response that gives naturally progressive power. Sport mode yields a more responsive and dynamic driving experience.

Source: Toyota Motor Corporation

In Eco mode, air conditioning settings are adjusted and the throttle response is reduced relative to the pedal angle to emphasize fuel economy. Under certain circumstances, the EV mode can allow the

CT 200h to be driven short distances using only the electric motor. It’s ideal for crawling through a crowded parking lot or garage when searching for a space, for example.

 F SPORT: Green, with Envy

Source: Toyota Motor Corporation

A sporty chassis featuring a double-wishbone rear suspension and lateral performance dampers keeps the CT 200h connected to the road’s curves while providing a Lexus-smooth ride.

The CT 200h F SPORT model kicks it up a notch with even sharper curve-handling prowess thanks to F SPORT-tuned suspension with specially tuned dampers and springs. The 17-inch wheels get a five-twin-spoke design with two-tone graphite and machine finish. An exclusive mesh version of the Lexus spindle grille, black contrast roof, rear spoiler with two large air ducts, and mesh and fog lamp inserts with black surrounds complete the F SPORT exterior package. Among the color choices, Redline features a highly scratch resistant self-restoring coat.  
Advance Multimedia 

A 10-speaker system is available and includes Siri® Eyes Free Mode that lets you call contacts, get turn-by-turn navigation voice navigation through Siri, select and play music from iTunes and much more.
Both systems, of course, live up to the brand’s reputation for crazy crisp and tough sounding music. The Display Audio and Nav systems use that Bluetooth® 3.0 while including dual USB ports to ensure you can connect your music any way you like.

Lexus Enform Remote (subscription required) allows the owner to remotely view and control certain vehicle features using a mobile app for iOS and Android devices. Key features include remote door lock/unlock; remote stop/start for the engine and climate control; vehicle finder, guest driver monitor and more.

New for 2017

New colors include: Atomic Silver Caviar, Autumn Shimmer, Blue Vortex Metallic

Vehicle Details


Suspension design combines a MacPherson strut front system with a fully independent double-wishbone rear suspension.

The CT 200h braking system is augmented by regenerative braking which also helps recharge the hybrid battery pack and enhance fuel efficiency.


Standard eight-airbag Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) with dual-stage driver and front passenger airbags and knee airbags, side curtain airbags, and front seat-mounted side airbags.

Optional Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control can help reduce collision damage under certain conditions Dynamic Radar Cruise Control system uses millimeter-wave radar to measure and help maintain a pre-set distance from a vehicle traveling ahead. PCS is equipped with a front-mounted radar sensor that is designed to detect certain obstacles in front of the car.


8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support and four-way manual-adjustable front passenger seat.

Dual-zone automatic climate control system.

Standard six-speaker audio system features speakers constructed with sustainable bamboo and resin.

Voice recognition and Bluetooth technology hands-free communication when paired with a compatible smartphone.

Luxury Options

Navigation with Lexus Enform Destinations, Lexus Enform App Suite (Destination Services, Pandora®, iHeartRadio, Slacker, Open Table®, Yelp®, Movie Tickets.com), and HD Radio with iTunes tagging. Package includes HDD navigation system, back-up camera and voice command. Also features Bluetooth hands-free phone, phone book download capability and Lexus’ exclusive Remote Touch controller with user-adjustable haptic feedback.

Premium Audio Package includes the Lexus Premium Audio System with 10-speakers and six-disc CD changer, Homelink and electrochromic rearview mirror with compass.

Leather Package includes perforated leather-trimmed seats, driver memory, and rain sensing variable intermittent wipers.

Seat Comfort Package: Heated front seats and four-way power passenger seat.

LED low-beam headlamps with headlamp washers.

Electrochromic (auto-dimming) rearview mirror with backup camera.

Pre-Collision System with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.

Intuitive Parking Assist.

Power tilt-and-slide moonroof with one-touch open/close and manual sliding sunshade.

F SPORT Package

The last time I test drove the car, it was the F SPORT-tuned suspension and 17-inch wheels two-tone finish.

Now, it includes a front grille with mesh inserts, metal front scuff plates, black contrast roof, a perforated leather-trimmed steering wheel, leather-trimmed shift knob, aluminum sport pedals and metallic trim on the dash panel all add to the sporty feel.

Black NuLuxe trimmed seats or available perforated black leather-trimmed seats with white perforation.


48-month/50,000miles basic limited warranty with roadside assistance for 48 months/unlimited miles.

72 months/70,000 miles powertrain and restraint system coverage.

72 months corrosion perforation protection coverage, regardless of mileage.

Eight years/100,000 miles hybrid-related components, including the HV battery, battery-control module, hybrid control module and inverter with converter.

Do Solar Panels and Electric Cars Work Together?

Shopping for a new car? If you’re looking for one that makes the most financial sense, you should definitely consider an electric car. With high and volatile gas prices, many car shoppers are exploring alternative fuel vehicles such as hybrid or electric cars.

Source: Energy Sage

On first blush, these cars may seem more expensive, but if you conduct a full “cost of ownership” analysis, the gap narrows considerably and electric cars may even come out ahead. What’s really amazing, though, is what happens to the cost of owning and operating an electric car when the electricity you use to fuel it is produced by a solar panel system installed at your home or business. When you add solar panels to the mix, the electric car becomes incredibly economical. Here’s how it works:

PV Solar Compared to Electric Cars: Leaf, Prius vs. Civic

Source: Energy Sage

To illustrate, we looked at three compact car options, comparing the costs of buying, maintaining and operating a traditional gasoline fueled car (e.g., Honda Civic), an electric car (e.g., Nissan Leaf or BMW i3) and a hybrid car (e.g., Toyota Prius). If you look only at purchase price, the gas-powered cars are the cheapest, while the electric cars are quite a bit more expensive. Once you factor in the $7,500 federal tax credit for electric cars, however, the difference narrows substantially.But purchase price can’t be your only financial consideration. Over the course of your ownership, you will incur other costs such as fuel, maintenance, insurance, and other expenses related to running and maintaining your vehicle. We totaled up the costs for a 10 year period and this is what we found: the electric car is the cheapest to own and operate at about $48,500, while the gasoline powered car is the most expensive to own and operate at about $63,500. That’s a $15,000 difference in favor of the electric car.
For more on this story 

Federal Court rules EPA failed to update hazardous air pollution rules

Clean Wisconsin Wins Toxic Air Pollution Lawsuit 
MADISON, WI — A federal judged on Tuesday ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to review health standards for hazardous air pollutants from 13 types of industrial sources, including tire, plywood, fiberglass, and other facilities. 

Clean Wisconsin and three other environmental groups sued the EPA in 2016 for missing legally required deadlines to protect public health from toxic air pollution. To protect public health and safety, the Clean Air Act requires EPA to regularly review the health and environmental hazards faced by people who live near major industrial sources. The agency also has a duty to review the latest best available pollution control technologies. EPA is years overdue in fulfilling its legal duty to protect people from industrial sources of toxic air pollution. 

“We have a fundamental right to breathe clean air, but people throughout Wisconsin are being denied that right every day because industrial facilities are releasing toxic chemicals into the air,” said Katie Nekola, general counsel for Clean Wisconsin. “We have at least 35 industrial facilities that crank out toxic air pollutants across the state.”

Clean Wisconsin, Blue Ridge Environmental Council, Sierra Club and Midwest Environmental Defense Center filed lawsuit Washington, D.C. in February 2016 on behalf of communities exposed to toxic emissions. The plaintiffs asked the court to ensure EPA completes rulemaking to strengthen national health protections which are especially needed to protect people in Wisconsin. 

“We know air pollution kills by causing cancer and a range of other health problems. Yet major polluters have for years avoided reducing air pollution to protect public health, even though effective controls are readily available and in use in other places,” Nekola said. “That’s why we are working to ensure the Clean Air Act gives children in our communities the protection they deserve. 

“As EPA begins work reviewing and updating these rules, we will ensure the agency pays attention to reducing toxic pollution.”

As a result of the Court’s decision EPA is required to review health threats and technological updates and strengthen air standards to protect protect public health and ensure no local communities are left behind as pollution reduction methods advance in some parts of the United States. EPA will have to fulfill these important Clean Air Act requirements for seven industrial sources by Dec. 31, 2018, and for the remaining six by June 30, 2020. EPA may choose the sequence in which to complete its duties for the thirteen air toxics source categories.

Source: Clean Wisconsin http://www.cleanwisconsin.org, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, March 23, 2017

McLaren Health Care Partners with Future Energy Group to Transform Energy Footprint with $1.6 Million Annual Savings

Largest Cree SmartCast® Installation Improves Patient Experience, Increases Staff Productivity and Reduces McLaren Health Care’s Energy Consumption by nearly 70%
FLINT, MI and STERLING HEIGHTS, MI (February 21, 2017) – McLaren Health Care, a statewide integrated healthcare network, and Future Energy Group, a turnkey energy solutions provider, have partnered to revolutionize exterior and interior lighting across 11 hospitals in Michigan.The massive undertaking—25,000 Cree outdoor and indoor LED fixtures and over 12,000 Cree SmartCast® intelligent lighting fixtures were installed—will enable McLaren to reduce their energy expenditure by nearly 70% and realize an estimated cost savings of over $1.6 million annually in energy and operating costs.


The McLaren Health Care corporate-wide LED lighting project includes upgrading both indoor and outdoor lighting in parking lots and structures, hallways, waiting rooms, lobbies and staff centers. Intelligent lighting and LED fixtures were installed in over 5 million square feet at McLaren subsidiaries: Northern Michigan, Bay Region, Bay Special Care, Central Michigan, Greater Lansing, Orthopedic Hospital, Flint, Lapeer Region, Port Huron, Macomb and Oakland. To date, this project is the world’s largest intelligent lighting installation for both Future Energy Group and Cree.
“McLaren Health Care is committed to reducing our carbon footprint as much as possible by decreasing our energy use,” said Keith Miller, corporate facilities manager, McLaren Health Care. “Working with Future Energy Group to improve our lighting, with a suite of Cree products, allowed us to reach our sustainability goals quickly and cost effectively while improving patient, staff and visitor experiences.”

“Through our Corporate Programs, we were able to assist McLaren Health Care pivot to a more energy-efficient footprint,” said Michael Abraham, Jr., co-founder and president, Future Energy Group. “Our approach is completely turnkey, from a detailed energy analysis to project management of installation and commissioning of the new system. Our team personally counted each and every fixture in every facility where the new products were installed. That’s the attention to detail Future Energy Group is committed to.”  


Healthcare facilities consume enormous amounts of energy in the form of heat, light and electricity. A June 2016 Yale University study cited that the healthcare sector contributes 8 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, emitting more than the entire United Kingdom. This intelligent LED lighting project will enable McLaren to optimize energy savings and utilize their space effectively, furthering McLaren’s corporate-wide initiative to promote sustainable business practices.

“It was exciting to work on such a comprehensive project because we were able to get creative with Cree’s lighting solutions for McLaren,” said Sam DiNello, co-founder and vice president, Future Energy Group. “We selected the SmartCast fixtures with occupancy and daylight harvesting sensors to recognize if somebody is in the space or not. This technology allows for dimming capabilities when an area isn’t occupied, which further increases savings, sometimes as high as 90 percent.”

The Cree SmartCast and LED lighting installation provides McLaren Health Care with numerous benefits, including:
Substantially lowered operational costs, a total of $1.6M per year

Reduced environmental impact with a sustainable choice

A consistent lighting and brand experience across 11 facilities

For more information on the McLaren Health Care installation please visit http://betterlight.cree.com/mclaren.
SourcesFuture Energy GroupMcLaren Health Care

Midwest Republican Mayor Revises His Assessment of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt

Jim Brainard, the six-term Republican mayor of Carmel, IN, had deemed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt “extremely liberal” for Pruitt’s assertion that human activity is not a “primary contributor to the global warming we see.”

In a statement later, Mayor Brainard — one of only four from the GOP to serve on an Obama White House task force for climate change — revised his critique, referring instead to Mr. Pruitt as “extremely reckless”:

“I am not a scientist but I believe we need to pay attention to what people who have dedicated their lives to a field of study have to say. I am disappointed by the risky and extremely reckless approach taken by Administrator Pruitt when he challenges the scientists conclusions that humans contribute to global warming. A true conservative would cautiously take the position carefully researched by the scientific community as correct. A true conservative would hesitate to risk our future on nonscientific opinions. A true conservative would be prepared for the worst.”

Some might see the Mayor’s willingness to speak out against his own party leadership on this issue as a bit risky. 

 (And the fact that Al Gore tweeted plaudits for him probably adds little to his GOP credentials: https://mobile.twitter.com/algore/status/839572255428468736). 

But the Mayor is obviously quite passionate on this issue and is eager to show Americans that “conservative” can mean someone who cares for the environment rather than allowing it to be further destroyed.