Thursday newsbriefs

June 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Volvo is to start leasing the C30 Electric to customers this autumn, with its development phase now complete. There’ll only be small numbers involved, however – a fleet of 250 cars next year is planned – and the cars will only be offered in mainland Europe as first. No word yet on when there’ll be right-hand drive versions for the UK, but full series production at a later date is certainly being considered.

  • Production of electric and hybrid cars creates more carbon emissions than building conventional vehicles, but over their entire lifespan they’re lower-carbon overall, according to a new study by Ricardo for the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP). A typical medium-sized family car generates around 24 tonnes of carbon dioxide during its lifecycle, but its electric equivalent 18 tonnes; 46% of the carbon dioxide output of an EV is in its production before it has hit the road.  LowCVP MD Greg Archer says: “This work dispels the myth that low carbon vehicles simply displace emissions from the exhaust to other sources. However, it does highlight the need to look at reducing carbon emissions from vehicles throughout their lifecycle.”
  • Fancy a trip to the South of France – travelling in an eco-friendly way, of course? RIVE 2011 (les Rencontres Internationales des Voitures Ecologiques) claims to be the “largest green motoring event of its kind in the world” and will take place 6th-7th July at the Pôle Mécanique in Alès, in the Cévennes National Park. Attendees can test-drive vehicles from exhibitors, who will include Renault, Opel, MIA, Exagon and Think, and there’s a programmes of conferences, workshops and presentations. More at the RIVE 2011 website.
  • There’ll be a new-generation Mercedes-Benz M-Class hybrid despite low take-up of the last one, says Edmunds AutoObserver.
  • A senior engineer behind the Fisker Karma has joined Californian EV start-up Coda Automotive. The recruitment of Thomas Fritz signals that Coda  is still in the game despite delays to its product launches (Edmunds AutoObserver).
  • Honda is testing its Accord plug-in hybrid, whose powertrain will see production next year. It has three modes – all-electric, petrol-electric and all-petrol – and can do up to 62mph in all-electric mode; its all-electric range is about 10-15 miles and a full recharge will take 3-4 hours. The battery pack takes up much of the boot and adds a lot of overall weight, however, reports Automotive News.
  • ZF has developed a nine-speed automatic gearbox for front-transverse drive cars which can deliver fuel savings of up to 16% compared to today’s standard six-speed ‘boxes. It’s suitable for use in hybrid-drive and applications with stop-start, and it will also work with all-wheel drive. Full tech lowdown at Green Car Congress.
  • More on Black Current III, the Beetle-based electric drag racer, at All Cars Electric. Apparently the Daily Mail’s report yesterday is “rather inaccurate” (now there’s a surprise) and whilst an earlier version of the car had a repurposed milk float powertrain, this one has custom-built motors and a lithium-ion battery pack.
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