Monday newsbriefs

August 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

Volkswagen is planning production for its retro-look Bulli concept, reports Autocar today. The wide-bodied 3+3-seat MPV, styled to look like the classic Microbus/campervan/Transporter/Samba or ‘Bulli’, as it was known in Germany, was seen at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year complete with an 85kW motor and electric powertrain; Volkswagen suggested a 300km range, a 0-60mph  acceleration time of 11.5 seconds and a top speed of 87mph, and it certainly looked production-feasible. Smaller than the earlier retro Microbus concept, the front-wheel drive Bulli sits on Golf-based underpinnings, like the latest Beetle; Autocar says that it could be built alongside the Beetle on the lines at Puebla, Mexico. A limited run is suggested, perhaps as part of a ‘heritage’ model-line.

  • The Bluebird Electric land speed record team took some trial runs at Pendine Sands last weekend, but had to abandon the tests after hitting a hole in the sand and damaging the car. “Plenty of valuable experience”, they say @bluebirdspeed; lots of pictures on their Facebook page.
  • But a better weekend for the electric superbike brigade: Lightning Motorcycles has become the first to hit the 200mph mark with an electric racer, reaching over 205mph at Bonneville Speed Week. Reported by a rival racer, @ChipYates89 – the competition’s hotting up.
  • Toyota’s launching the production plug-in Prius at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The Prius PHEV is good for 49g/km and 128.4mpg thanks to its extended all-electric range.
  • Hertz has added the Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Smart Fortwo ed to its On Demand (car-share, membership-access) fleet in San Francisco; this is part of a programme rolling out in other key cities in the US and Europe in the not-too-distant.
  • Is the Aptera three-wheeler a non-starter? Green Car Reports says that the company is now returning deposits made on the 2e Ev and 25 hybrid.
  • Honda’s new Civic, to be launched at Frankfurt next month, gets Honda’s latest 2.2-litre diesel engine: 148bhp, 110g/km, the addition of stop-start, plus various aerodynamic enhancements to the car’s body to improve efficiency.
  • Tesla has taken 4,600 orders for the Model S saloon so far, and CEO Elon Musk has also confirmed that the Model X SUV will be shown in concept form by the end of the year. Launch late 2013 for that, says AutoTech Daily.
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