Monday newsbriefs

August 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

Volkswagen has released the low-down on the up! city car prior to its Frankfurt Motor Show debut. Essentially a Lupo/Fox replacement, it’s a tiny 3.54m-long four-seater which nonetheless offers over 950 litres of cargo space with its rear seats folded. Power comes from new three-cylinder petrol engines (60hp, 75hp), and a BlueMotion economy-optimised model fitted with stop-start delivers 67.3mpg and emits less than 100g/m of carbon dioxide. An electric-drive version is  planned, and diesel versions are also expected. There’ll be three trim levels: take up! (entry-level), move up! (more comfy) and high up! (top-spec), as well as two special edition launch models, up! black and up! white (that ! is going to get really irritating!). Options include a crash-sensing auto-braking system. European sales start in December.

In other news:

  • It’s not quite as cute-looking as the up!, but Kia’s new-gen Rio supermini sure is economical. Two petrol, two diesel engines; one 1.1-litre, three-cylinder, 74bhp diesel, fitted with stop-start, will return 88.3mpg and emit just 85g/km, and even the standard model gives 74.3mpg and emits less than 100g/km. A 1.4, four-cylinder diesel (89bhp, 70.6mpg, 105g/km) will follow.
  • Ricardo is reporting a ‘breakthrough’ with its Kinergy flywheel energy storage device for hybrids. A ‘significant improvement’ in the magnetic coupling and gearing now gives efficiency better than that of a conventional geared drive.  It’s a no-maintenance, sealed-for-life unit which is compact and lightweight, and will be integrated with a CVT gearbox. Full science bit at the Ricardo website.
  • The Ohio State University’s Buckeye Bullet land-speed team is aiming for 400mph with its Mk3 car, an all-electric streamliner built in partnership with Venturi. Beat that, Bluebird… (Inhabitat).

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