Starting the week: Tuesday newsbriefs

May 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

Tesla will reveal a Model X crossover prototype (production 2014) by the end of the year, reports Edmunds. Model S saloon (pictured) coming 2012; production of 20,000 a year planned in Fremont, California; range of up to 300 miles; prices from $57,400 and over 4,600 deposits and orders have already been taken. Production of the Roadster will cease at the end of the year, but a convertible on the Model S platform is planned. The once-rumoured van may have been crossed out from the plan.

  • GM’s pulled the plug on a range-extender EV version of the Cadillac SRX crossover, reports Autobeat Daily.  SRX platform will be up for replacement by the time this model (with the Volt’s powertrain) would be ready, and they don’t think it would be profitable. Project could be revived at a later date, however, and all of GM’s North American brands are to get at least one plug-in hybrid or EV.
  • Chrysler has sent the first 10 of its plug-in hybrid Ram trucks to the city of Yuma, Arizona. A test fleet of 140 is to be built, featuring the HEMI 5.7 V8 (359bhp) plus electric motor and batteries giving an extra 40bhp and 20 miles in all-electric mode (Edmunds AutoObserver).
  • The first Chinese-made BYD e6 electric crossovers of a 75-strong fleet have arrived in Rotterdam for trials (Green Car Congress).
  • Prince Charles is to lay the foundation stone for an eco-village in Ayrshire this week – and each house in Knockroon will have a recharging point for an electric vehicle. The development will also offer residents a pool car – diesel or hybrid – for when they need to go on longer journeys, reports Scotland On Sunday (via @EVCUP).
  • Road test of the Liberty E-Range (battery-electric Range Rover) at BusinessGreen. Verdict? Expensive at £160,000 (yes indeed), might not be much more to run overall than a standard RR once you take into account company car tax breaks, exemption from the congestion charge etc. Should you wish to run a Range Rover as a company car, obviously. On a more realistic/appropriate note, road test of the Renault Zoe at Wired Autopia.
  • Mitsubishi has rushed out a device to convert the i-MiEV into a power supply, following the Japanese earthquake. The i-MiEV’s battery will be able to power rice cookers, washing machines or a domestic power supply for up to a day and a half in an emergency situation (or on a camping trip, presumably). Thanks to for this one. Mitsubishi has also said this week that it’s planning to sell 25,000 i-MiEVs this year, a three-fold rise in sales, most going in Europe to public-sector organisations and fleets. Oh, and it’s also just taken 100 orders for its Minicab MiEV electric van, reports Autoblog Green.
  • Audi is to put its A3 TCNG into production in 2013. The TCNG is powered by ‘e-gas’, a synthetic gas derived from hydrogen via electrolysis with electricity from a reneawable source. The engine can also run on normal petrol, but has an efficiency-enhancing high compression ratio when using gas.
  • Aftermarket upgrades now available for fast-charging a Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt (AllCarsElectric).
  • British engineering consultancy Ricardo is working with China’s Lifan Automobile Group on a range of downsized petrol engines. Two 1.2-litre units, one ‘mid-boost’ with direct injection to replace 1.5-1.8s, the other ‘high-boost’ to replace 2.0-litres, both meeting Euro 5 standards. Chongqing’s Lifan has ambitions to export.
  • Volkswagen is to announce a major battery supply contract with Bosch, reports Reuters.


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