Thursday newsbriefs, in brief

September 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

BMW has signed off  a version of the Vision EfficientDynamics concept (pictured) for production, reports Car magazine. Rumoured name is i100 ActiveHybrid. Production 2012; three-cylinder  1.5-litre diesel engine plus a pair of electric motors.

Chevrolet is launching a Cruze EV trial in South Korea. The Cruze EV has a range of 100 miles and a top speed of 103mph; Chevrolet (aka the former GM Daewoo, in Korea), is studying its performance and also the use of quick-charge systems. More at Auto Express.

  • Renault-Nissan has signed an agreement with the City of Amsterdam to encourage EV use. The City wants at least 1000 EVs on its streets by the end of 2011, and is offering free charging – and free parking at its charging posts till March 2012. Amsterdam has nearly 100 charging points at the moment and plans up to 2000 public facilities, including quick-charge points which come next year. Nissan, along with Mitsubishi, has also joined a project with Spanish utility firm Endesa SA to install a  network of quick-charging stations in Malaga and Catalonia, and this week it’s also announced a partnership with local authorities in Cordoba, Argentina, to accelerate EV use in the city, where it has a production facility.
  • Dutch sat nav-maker TomTom is launching a product for fleets called EcoPlus. This is a simple, affordable and easy-to-install device enabling fleet managers (and drivers) to analyse vehicle usage, fuel consumption, carbon dioxide emissions, idling time and even gear-changes. It costs £129 excl. VAT. Eco-saviour or spy in the cab?
  • Santa Monica-based start-up Coda Automotive is promising first deliveries of its Chinese-built compact saloon in December. It will initially sell directly through factory-owned outlets in shopping malls in San Francisco and Los Angeles, with 17 sites to open by the end of next year, and sales of 14,000 cars are planned for this first year. Prices start from $44,900 but Californian and federal incentives and tax breaks bring it down as low as $32,400.
  • Kia is expected to unveil a hybrid version of the Optima saloon  at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November. This’ll be closely related to the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid recently launched.
  • Better Place, purveyor of battery-swap systems and partner of Renault-Nissan, has done a deal with General Electric to cover financing and technology transfer. GE can link its chargers to the Better Place infrastructure and vice versa, whilst  Better Place will gain financing for its purchase of 10,000 battery packs for its first swap-stations in Denmark and Israel.
  • Toyota is to build an EV for China in partnership with Tianjin Auto, reports the Nikkei. The small hatch will be based on the Vios supermini but will be sold under a new brand-name and targeted to undercut its opposition.
  • BMW’s X3 SUV is no eco-saint, but it is to gain stop-start and a more fuel-efficient eight-speed automatic gearbox option (Euro-market) with its six-cylinder engine. The updated-for-2011 X3 will be launched at the Paris Motor Show next week.
  • DIY EV of the week: the Probatron, built by James Killick of Basildon, Essex. Handily, he’s an engineer at Ford’s Dunton Technical Centre.

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