Paris Motor Show: Seat IBE

September 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

Seat has updated its IBE coupe concept, first seen in Geneva in the spring. The Ibiza-based compact coupe, now shown in red and with a smartphone-enabled entertainment/communications system,  has an all-electric powertrain, with a 102PS/200Nm output, and is good for a claimed 0-62mph in a credible 9.7 seconds. Range is 81 miles and it’ll do 100mph. It previews Seat’s future styling direction, says design chief Luc Donckerwolke, and is “a gene pool for the next generation of our vehicles.”


Paris Motor Show: Peugeot HR1

September 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

The HR1 is a compact city concept seating up to four people, a high-riding mini-SUV on a similar theme to the Nissan Juke. It features Peugeot’s Hybrid4 petrol-electric tech, with a three-cylinder, 110bhp 1.2-litre engine driving the front wheels, a 37bhp electric motor driving the rear and six-speed automated-manual transmission; it returns 81mpg and emits just 80g/km of carbon dioxide. Though this is very much a show car, with scissor-opening doors, a movement-recognition control interface, and a tablet PC for the front-seat passenger, it does look like a serious proposal for production.

Modular pick-up truck transforms

September 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

MBtech, a subsidiary of Daimler, has created a radical pick-up truck concept for the Hannover Truck Show. The Reporter is a four-seat plug-in hybrid which can transform into a people-carrier, thanks to its modular body structure. It’s even “realistically feasible today and not in 2025”, says MBtech president Werner Kropsbauer. Power comes from a 101bhp 1.2-litre, four-cylinder engine (petrol- or natural gas-fuelled) driving the front wheels and a 70kW motor propelling the rear; top speed is (theoretically) 80mph and the range 185 miles. Battery power is supplemented by solar panels on the roof, which collect enough energy to power the vehicle’s electrical systems and air conditioning.

Midweek round-up

September 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

  • Opel is trialling three Meriva EVs in Karlsruhe, Germany, to study vehicle-to-grid communications and Level 3 (up to 400-volt) charging. This three-phase charging system can be set up to only charge the car from renewable-source electricity fed into the grid, or for an any-source feed which can charge the car within an hour. The Meriva EV prototypes themselves are good for 81mph but only have a 40-mile range; they’ve been built only to study the V2G network.
  • The main Mini story at the Paris Show will be the Vespa-alike electric scooter, but of more interest is the new entry-level diesel engine, now in the One D Clubman in which it returns 72.4mpg and 103g/km. The drop-top gets it too: the Cooper D Convertible does 70.6mpg and 105g/km.
  • Saab has inked an engine-supply deal with BMW: BMW’s to provide its turbocharged 1.6 to Saab. This is an engine-downsizing move for the 9-3 and perhaps even 9-5, and the engine will be supplied complete with BMW’s stop-start and brake energy regeneration tech. It could also feature in the upcoming 9-2 small car.
  • Rumour of the day: we’ve heard this before, but Motor Trend is reheating the whispers that a new-age Ford GT40 (oh yeah?) could be all-electric. Pigs, wings, etc., but you never know…

Paris preview: Exagon gets Furtive

September 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

French motorsport firm Exagon Engineering – maker of electric buggies for an ice-racing series – has announced a 2+2 range-extended coupe it calls the Furtive-eGT. Claimed to be a potential Tesla-beating sports car, its pair of Siemens motors develop 340bhp and take it 0-60 in 3.5 seconds; its small range-extending petrol engine allows for a total range of 800km (400km in all-electric mode, an extra 400km with the engine acting as a generator). Exagon says it could start production in 2012; the Furtive-eGT will be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show later this week.

  • Component-supplier Valeo is to showcase its latest tech in a concept EV at the Paris Show: battery management systems and drivetrain components will be highlighted, apparently, along with “realistic, high-performance solutions for mass production” of electric cars.  
  • An alliance of 70 companies and 17 universities and research centres has been formed to develop electric vehicles and technological innovation in the Italian auto industry, reports del Corriere della Sera. Participants include Pininfarina, Ferrari, Fiat, Brembo, Piaggio, Dallara, Electrolux, Indesit, the universities of Rome, Padua, Palermo and Naples, and the polytechnics of Milan and Turin; the aim is to “win leadership” for Italy in “a rapidly-growing sector”, says the paper.
  • Interesting research at the Argonne National Laboratory: putting petrol into a compression-ignition (diesel-type) engine. Reduces nitrous oxides emissions and particulates, gives super-precise ignition control and diesel-like fuel consumption, says an engineer in a post for Wired. All enabled by firing top-dead centre, as in the Scuderi engine.

Fuso truck gets E-Cell treatment

September 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

Mitsubishi Fuso – now part-owned by Daimler Trucks – has given its Canter workhorse the E-Cell treatment. Using the Daimler electric powertrain, the Canter E-Cell has a 120km range and a 3.5tonne gross vehicle weight. Its batteries are mounted in the chassis frame. It’s on display in concept form at the Hanover Commercial Vehicle Show, and production is likely; the Canter is already offered in hybrid form.

Paris preview: Kia Pop

September 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

Kia has released more shots of its Pop concept car in advance of its unveiling at the Paris Motor Show later this week. Its butterfly doors probably won’t make production, but these aside, it looks like a neatly-styled little city car. Designed at Kia’s European studio under the guidance of Peter Schreyer, it’s an attractive proposal for an all-electric commuter vehicle. Chief designer Gregory Guillaume says: “Designers very rarely have the opportunity to start from a clean sheet of paper and it’s great to be in a position to operate with such freedom.” More details in Paris, presumably.

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