Midweek, midsummer: recent news round-up

August 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

Headline story ‘cos it’s a pretty picture: this specially-modified Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid just reached 185.394mph on the Bonneville salt flats during Speed Week, setting a new land speed record (unofficial, as yet) for hybrids. More at Green Car Reports.

  • Not ‘green’ in the first instance – the primary objectives are improving road safety and reducing congestion – but with interesting implications: the biggest-yet V2V and V2X trial, involving 3000 vehicles in Ann Arbor, Michigan, starts today. The vehicles, many privately-operated cars as well as trucks and buses, will test real-life applications of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) wi-fi communications, including crash-avoidance warnings, as well as vehicle-to-infrastructure comms (V2X) to improve traffic flow. The American National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is working with Ford, GM and the American R&D/technical centre divisions of Honda, Hyundai-Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen. More at Detroit News.
  • Daimler, meanwhile, is leading a similar 120-vehicle trial in Germany. More detail on both at Wired Autopia.
  • BMW’s DriveNow carshare – giving access to a pool of 70 ActivE EVs – has launched in San Francisco. The cars will be placed in eight locations, hirable by the minute and booked using a smartphone app. More here. It’s also to launch ParkNow, a space-reserving scheme; both this and DriveNow will be rolled out in other cities in due course as part of BMW’s iVentures programme. DriveNow, a partnership with Sixt in Germany, is already operating in Berlin, Dusseldorf and Munich using the conventional Mini Cooper and 1-Series for short-term rentals. More here.
  • Infiniti has confirmed production of its LE (”posh Leaf’) electric hatchback concept for 2014, and it looks as if it will be the first car on sale with integral induction-charging equipment, reports USA Today.
  • Cadillac’s to launch its ELR extended-range EV (on/off-again production version of the Converj concept, using Chevy Volt-derived tech) at next year’s Pebble Beach Concours, reports Left Lane News.
  • Nissan is to show an electric SUV concept at the Paris Motor Show this autumn, says Green Car Reports. It’s likely to be an evolution of the Hi-Cross seen at Geneva earlier this year, a preview of the next-gen X-Trail.
  • Melbourne-based EV Engineering claims to have broken a distance record: its retro-converted Holden Commodore EV ran 1886km in 24 hours on a loop between Port Melbourne and Geelong, aided by battery-swapping. It’s unofficial, but no mean feat; release here.
  • Dwindling sales of the Citroen C-Zero and Peugeot iOn have led to a suspension of their production (probably terminal). Too small, too limited, too expensive given current market conditions, I reckon, and though price isn’t necessarily an issue for many EV buyers, the well-heeled are probably now either driving Leafs or holding out for a BMW i3. The Mitsubishi i-MiEV (donor car for the PSA pair) continues, however.
  • The first Sanya Skypump has been been installed in Barcelona – a vertical-axis wind turbine, powering an EV charging point. It’s a compact solution which can be easily placed in public spaces where there’s wind… More here.

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