No, I haven’t seen the Tesla Model-X yet

February 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

Another day, another electric Elise – but the Evonik Industries Elise-E, on show at an event in Bochum this week, is more interesting than most of the myriad Lotus conversions. It’s a showcase for Evonik, an Essen chemicals firm, and features a lithium-ion battery with an innovative ceramic cathode/anode separator. Benefits of this are that it’s highly stable and allows for very compact battery cells, giving improved energy density at a low weight. The car’s body has patented Evonik structural foam and carbonfibres – it weighs just 950kg – and its composite panels are sealed with a new resin infusion process which improves surface quality. Weight is further reduced by  Plexiglas windows and lightweight low-friction tyres – and this thing thus does 0-100km/h in 4.4 seconds. Top speed’s limited to 124mph, though. More detail at Green Car Congress.

In other news:

  • Mitsubishi is to launch the third-generation Outlander at the Geneva Motor Show next month, and the new range is to include a plug-in hybrid (on sale 2013), as previewed by the PX-MiEVII concept in Tokyo last year. CO2 emissions will be less than 50g/km and it’ll return a combined-cycle 140mpg-plus; the all-electric range will be 30 miles. The powertrain combines a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and two electric motors, one driving each axle to maintain AWD capability.
  • A blast from the past: a start-up in Colorado which has the rights to the historic Studebaker brand-name plans to revive the long-defunct car company (d. 1966). First model to recycle the Lark name and to be a hybrid; motorcycles and scooters also in the plan, though there’s the little stumbling block of capital in the meantime. (ViaAutoblog Green).
  • Tesla will reveal the Model X crossover, complete with ‘falcon’ (upward/pivot/fold) doors, tomorrow. Not that there’s been much hype about this on t’ net or anything…
  • This Fisker business is getting messy; company’s calling it a “bump in the road” and says that Karma production is unaffected. However, it’s going to have to renegotiate its US government loan terms or find independent funding to bring the Nina to production, it seems.
  • Europcar is offering the Nissan Leaf EV on its short-term rental fleets in London and Paris. Charging will be free, with no ‘refuelling’ service charge. Hertz, meanwhile, is now trialling wireless induction charging in New Jersey.
  • The UK’s first pay-as-you-go public EV charging scheme has started in the north-east for a short trial; it includes fast-chargers and involves existing charging points already available through the Plugged-In Places network. More at, umm, The Charging Point.
  • Powered by plums: the Fraunhofer Institute, Stuttgart, is starting a project to extract biogas (methane) for vehicle fuel from waste fruit and veg at the city’s fruit and veg wholesale market. One of the challenges, apparently, is that “sometimes it (the waste) has a high proportion of citrus fruits, while other times there are more cherries, plums and lettuce”.
  • There’s a pretty rubbish new Beetle on display at  Delhi Airport at the moment as part of Volkswagen’s Think Blue eco-campaign: this totally-recycled Bug has been built from scrap and trash by Indian sculptor  Haribaabu Naatesan and his handy team of assistants. Nice time-lapse video showing its construction here.

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