Midweek newsbriefs

May 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

The Nissan Leaf is the first all-electric vehicle to be awarded a full five-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash tests. It earned an 89% score for adult occupant crash protection, 83% for child protection and 84% for its safety systems such as a speed limiter and stability control, though a more average 65% for its pedestrian safety. Its battery system, with automatic power cut-off, passed all tests. The Leaf has also received ‘Top Safety Pick’ status in the USA’s IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) ratings. The Lexus CT 200h hybrid, meanwhile, also got five stars with 94% for adult protection, 84% for child protection, 86% for safety assist systems and 55% for pedestrian protection.

  • A Chinese-built electric SUV made by the Zoyte Holding Group is to be imported into the US by a firm called Green Automotive Company, reports Autoblog Green. Doesn’t sound (or look) terribly inspiring given that it appears to be a conversion of the tiny Daihatsu Terios – just 26kW of power, top speed 70mph, range 150 miles, warranty three years/50,000 miles and a price-tag of nearly $35,000 – but Zoyte says it can buildĀ  8000 a month.
  • Motor Trend is speculating that the Mazda RX-9 (replacement for RX-8) will be a conventional two-door coupe – and a hybrid. Rotary engine remains its USP, but it’ll incorporate Toyota-sourced tech.
  • Students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey have developed a new type of super-capacitor for storing solar energy. This uses biochar electrodes – a by-product of biofuel manufacturing – in place of activated carbon, and is cheaper and easier to make. Could well have automotive applications. (Inhabitat.com).
  • The engine-less minibus: the human-powered City Cycle ‘party bike’ carries 14, ten of which need to be pedalling, plus a sound system and beer coolers. It’s to be used for city tours as soon as local authorities clear it for safety. Like it. (Wired Autopia).
  • Good summary of opinion on Germany’s EV expansion plan at Spiegel Online. The tabloid press doesn’t approve…
  • Students from the Carlos III University, Madrid, have built a prototype electric motorbike using car-like battery tech; the e-Moto is a ground-up design, said to be lighter-weight than existing e-bikes and with performance similar to a conventional 400cc. They’ve created a spin-off company and are now looking for backers to develop it further.
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