Wednesday newsbriefs

June 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

Henrik Fisker showed off his Karma to Prince Albert of Monaco at the Grand Prix last weekend, the pair taking a couple of laps of the circuit. Fisker, never one to understate his case, is opening a dealership in the principality, and is claiming the £100,000-odd Karma four-door to be ‘the world’s first true electric vehicle with extended range’ as well as ‘the only luxury sedan in the world that meets future fuel consumption and emission requirements making it suitable for any international city’. Two 202bhp motors drive the rear wheels, giving a 50-mile range, whilst a petrol engine drives a 175kW generator; there is no mechanical link between the engine and the drive motors. Total range from all power sources is about 300 miles. The difference between this and the Chevy Volt/Vauxhall Ampera (price tag/market position apart, obviously) is largely semantic – though the GM range-extended EVs don’t call their extra-economy mode ‘Stealth’ (still giving a top speed of just 95mph and 0-60mph in 7.9 seconds). Sport mode, incidentally, gives a total 403bhp, 125mph and 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds, the engine driving the generator. Fisker’s gunning for the Porsche Panamera, Mercedes-Benz CLS and suchlike, and production has just started at the Valmet Automotive plant in Uusikaupunki, Finland.

  • Daimler AG is to work with industrial group Linde to establish a network of hydrogen refuelling stations in Germany. Announcement expected later today.
  • Road test of Porsche Panamera S Hybrid at Edmunds Inside Line: ‘a car that forever feels at war with itself’, apparently.
  • BMW i3 – the little electric hatchback – to make its debut at Frankfurt Motor Show, says Auto Motor und Sport. Spy shots of the car here.
  • Liberty Electric Cars, maker of the E-Range, has recruited an entire engineering team – the 12 engineers from Coventry’s Modec, a builder of electric commercial vehicles which went into administration earlier this year. Liberty has intentions to expand into the CV sector.
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