Thursday titbits

June 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

GEVCO – Global Electric Vehicle Company, with a base in Warwickshire – has released new pictures and first details of its i-Mav electric city car. Developed in collaboration with MIRA (Motor Industry Research Institute), it’s a four-seater 135mm shorter and 51kg lighter than the Toyota iQ, on a flexible platform that will support future van and roadster versions. It could be produced anywhere in the world to meet global standards, could achieve a Euro NCAP four-star crash test result, and is claimed to have a 430-mile range. GEVCO describes it as a ‘white label’ product which could be licensed to established brand-names, and says that two operational prototypes are under construction.

  • Renault-Nissan has announced a partnership with British Gas to supply, fit and maintain domestic charging points for buyers of the Leaf, Fluence, Kangoo ZE, Zoe and Twizy EVs. The points will cost £995 including VAT, with three years’ warranty and free Home Care service (unlimited callouts, parts and labour). Customers will pay from £995 including VAT for the domestic installation of a charging point by one of British Gas’ nationwide network of qualified installers.  A specific electricity tariff for electric car users is to be launched by BG in early 2012, making it cheaper to charge vehicles overnight, and smart meters will be installed to give a clear indication of costs.
  • Mind you, in the USA you can buy a compact aftermarket domestic charger for $995 from ClipperCreek. Full press release at AutoblogGreen. Expect ever-more competitive pricing of home units as more get launched.
  • Volkswagen is delivering a second test fleet of 80 Golf blue-e-motion EVs in Germany, reports Autoweek. 53 of these will go to Berlin and the rest to Hannover and Wolfsburg, to be used by businesses – including Coca Cola, Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Telecom and Continental – as well as public bodies and private motorists. The 86mph, 90-mile range Golf is scheduled for full production in 2013.
  • Demand for the Prius Alpha wagon – a five- or seven-seater hybrid MPV – in Japan is such that Toyota has upped its production targets from 3000 a month to 5000 a month. European-market versions, called Prius+, will be launched at Frankfurt Motor Show this autumn, with sales from mid-2012, reports Edmunds AutoObserver.
  • One hybrid arrives, another departs: the slow-selling Nissan Altima Hybrid has been canned in the US. Edmunds AutoObserver has a good analysis of the whys and wherefores. Ah, and the Kia Optima Hybrid (sister model to the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid) has just gone on sale in the US too. More on this at Ward’s Auto. And in Japan, the Fit Shuttle Hybrid (Jazz-based mini-estate), reports Green Car Congress.
  • Fuel consumption of petrol, diesel and hybrid cars can be greatly improved using current and near-production technologies, without compromising safety and performance, confirms a new US study. Lots of interesting figures on the fuel-saving value of different developments. Worth remembering, when much media attention’s on more expensive EVs. Engines aren’t dead yet.
  • Volvo Special Vehicles chief Lennart Stegland talks about EVs and range anxiety at Wired Autopia. He ain’t anxious.
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