July 13, 2010 § Leave a comment
- First fruits of the Toyota-Tesla tie-up: all-electric versions of the RAV4 and Lexus RX-series. Prototypes will be sent to Toyota later this month, Tesla has said, and an all-electric Corolla/Auris is also on the cards. Toyota has invested $50million in Tesla and is said to be specifically interested in Tesla’s small-cell lithium-ion battery packs (Bloomberg).
- Nissan has announced a series of new fuel-saving measures. The March (Japanese-market Micra) gets an all-new three-cylinder, 1.2-litre engine with stop-start and an all-new CVT gearbox, smaller and lighter than before; the X-Trail diesel receives a cleaner-burning engine with new lean NOx (nitrous oxide) trap and particulate filter, enabling it to meet the stringent Japanese emissions legislation. There’s a new 1.5-litre petrol engine for the Juke, with two fuel injectors per cylinder giving a 4% economy improvement, and a direct-injection, turbocharged 1.6 for the Juke said to give the power of a 2.5 but the fuel consumption of a 1.8. Expect these engines to filter through to the European market for the 2011 model-year.
- Hyundai has tweaked its popular i20 supermini to improve fuel economy and emssions. The 1.2-litre petrol now emits 119g/km, bringing it down a UK tax band; the 1.4-litre drops two bands to 129g/km and sees its economy improve by 4.3mpg. The 75bhp diesel now emits just 110g/km, and the 90bhp model has economy improved by over 7% thanks to a new six-speed gearbox. All versions have received a small underbody spoiler to improve aerodynamics, a new alternator management system and lower-friction engine oil, plus a gear-change indicator to help the driver shift more efficiently. Small changes, significant effects.
- “We’re headed toward a future that is 100% electric”, says Tesla CEO Elon Musk in a Time 10 Questions. “Within 20 years, the majority of new cars manufactured will be pure electric.” Well, he would, wouldn’t he? Supply giant Bosch, announcing a $507million annual investment in EV-specific components, is a little more circumspect: it’s predicting that EVs – and plug-in hybrids – will account for only 3% of the global car market by 2020.