Midweek matters

September 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

  • Toyota is to show its FT-CH Concept – a proposal for a new small hybrid – at the Paris Motor Show. This’ll appear in Europe for the first time alongside the plug-in Prius.
  • Jaguar’s Paris showpiece is an E-Type-inspired sports car concept, reports Autocar. This is thought to have a hybrid powertrain – V6 petrol engine, plus motor which can be easily integrated into the eight-speed ZF auto gearbox.  The car itself may not make production, but it previews the next-generation Jags.
  • Rumours of Maybach’s demise are premature, says Automobile magazine: Mercedes-Benz’s plutocratic/diplomatic division is to spin off new models (a CLS-style four-door coupe and a long-wheelbase cabriolet) and lessen its thirst for fuel by gaining hybrid tech. The 6-litre V12 will be teamed with a seven-speed auto gearbox and 20bhp electric motor, gaining a ten-mile all-electric range; a more efficient nine-speed ‘box and more advanced hybrid system will follow.
  • The Infiniti M35 hybrid saloon (aka Nissan Fuga) will be launched at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November. A 3.5 V6 and 50kW motor give V8 performance but four-cylinder economy, says Infiniti.
  • Toyota is considering a hybrid version of its Etios, a supermini-sized four/five-door developed for India and emerging markets. CNG and LPG versions are also under discussion. The Etios will be launched in India at the end of the year.
  • A fleet of all-electric buses is taking to the streets of Southern California; Foothill Transport of San Gabriel/Pomona has bought three EcoRide BE35s plus two charging stations, and plans to run 12 (Inhabitat.com). And the Sanyo-designed Solave, hitting the road in Okayama City, Japan, is claimed to be the world’s first solar-boosted diesel-electric hybrid bus.
  • The Avion is to fly again: an aerodynamic hypermiler built by Bill Green and Craig Henderson in 1984 set a fuel economy record for a Mexico-Canada run, and averaged 113mpg in tests. The car never saw mass production, as hoped by its creators, but Henderson has fitted it with a new bodyshell, tweaked the engine and made a few updates, and is setting out on another economy run. He’s aiming to get from the Canadian border to Mexico on just 14 gallons (US) of petrol (Inhabitat.com).
  • ‘Cello player Kristin Rule is to tour Australia on a solar power-boosted pushbike with trailer for her instrument (Treehugger.com). As a double-bass player, I’m sticking with my estate car… Treehugger’s also got a report on the Urban Arrow cargo bike, an electrically-assisted putative replacement for your second car.
  • DIY EV conversion of the day: a Beetle-based MG TD replica restored and converted by Doug Small of Illinois. It only has a range of 20-25 miles, and it’s pretty slow, but it looks classic  (Wired Autopia).
  • Lithium-ion batteries account for only 15% of an electric car’s total environmental impact over its entire lifecycle, including its manufacture, maintenance and disposal, according to a study from the Empa materials research lab, Switzerland. An EV’s impact over a 150,000-km working life will depend on the source of its electricity, but on average, a Golf-sized petrol vehicle would have to return over 70mpg to match it.
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