Wednesday newsbriefs

October 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

Mazda is to embark upon a programme to give a targeted average 30% cut in fuel consumption of its vehicles by 2015. The Skyactiv programme involves lighter-weight construction, high-compression direct-injection petrol engines (promising 15% fuel economy and torque improvements), lower-compression clean-burning diesels (20%), new manual and auto gearboxes and lighter bodyshells (pictured) and chassis structures. Regenerative braking and hybrid systems will follow.

    • The next Mercedes B-Class – and related models including the A-Class and a new Audi A3 rival – will be on a patented front-wheel drive architecture capable of supporting fuel cells, battery packs or CNG tanks (Autocar).
    • BMW is to collaborate with PSA Peugeot-Citroen on hybrid tech for small front-wheel drive vehicles (Autocar).
    • Porsche is planning a hybrid in each model-line, with the low-volume 918 Spyder Hybrid to serve as a technology testbed. The Panamera, meanwhile, will get the Cayenne Hybrid’s powertrain next year (Autoweek).
    • Ford is to roll out its all-electric Focus (100-mile range) in the States from next year; details of the schedule at Detroit News.
    • Mitsubishi is testing a prototype light commercial EV in Japan in partnership with home-delivery firm Yamato Transport. This Minicab-based vehicle is a separate project from the van tie-up with PSA Peugeot-Citroen.
    • The Daimler Car2Go car-sharing scheme, trialled in Ulm, is to launch next spring in Hamburg. 300 Smart Fortwos will be equipped with dedicated telematics systems and solar roofs, and will be available on demand either by reservation or on the spot  for pick-up and drop-off within a 25-mile wide zone.
    • ECOtality is to install 960 EV charging points, including 40 fast-chargers in the Phoenix metro area, Arizona.
    • Questions are being raised (and quite rightly so) about the crash safety of the Reva G-Wiz, and indeed, other quadricycle-type microcars exempt from the usual EU crash-testing programmes, following a fatal crash in London last week. More at the Independent.
    • And finally: just to remind y’all that electric cars have been around since the proverbial dawn of motoring, a link to a story on the Lohner-Porsche (1900; 36mph; a three-hour operating range).

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