Tuesday titbits

July 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

  • General Motors is developing a global test fleet of all-electric vehicles. First up for China is a battery-driven version of the Chevrolet New Sail (pictured), its locally-created entry-level car built in partnership with SAIC; the first prototype will hit the road later this year. The extended-range Chevy Volt and the Buick LaCrosse Hybrid will be launched in China next year too.
  • Saab is to launch a test fleet of 100 electric cars early next year. The EVs will be versions of the next-generation 9-3, and will be used at the company’s headquarters in Trollhatten, Sweden, and other global offices.  The lithium-ion batteries will be supplied by Boston Power, the powertrain conversion has been developed by Swedish firm Electroengine,  and the project is supported by the Swedish Energy Authority, reports Edmunds.com. Full-scale production’s a good five to six years away, however.
  • Fiat’s Tofas joint venture in Turkey is to team up with Arcelik, the country’s largest appliance-maker, to develop an electric powertrain for the Doblo van. Tofas, owned 38% by Fiat, is to invest up to E20million to build the Doblo EV, reports Automotive News, with a view to production by mid-2011.
  • The new-generation Ford Explorer, unveiled yesterday, is up to 30% more fuel-efficient than its profligate predecessor. It now features a unibody (monococque) construction rather than an old body-on-frame structure; the V8 engine option has been dropped in favour of a turbocharged direct-injection 2-litre four-cylinder (237bhp, 30% more efficient than the V6 it replaces) and a naturally-aspirated 3.5 V6 (290bhp, 20% more efficient than its earlier counterpart). Sales start in the US at the end of the year.
  • Mazda is to halve the electrical power usage (for motors and electronic devices) in its petrol-engined cars to 25 amps by 2020, reports The Nikkei; this will reduce average power consumption to 300 watts and result in a 10% fuel economy improvement.
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