BMW i8, electric ice-speed record, microcar updates and more

March 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

Car magazine has spy shots of the BMW i8,and a few details: it’ll come as a plug-in hybrid only (the V8-only option has been dropped), with a 170bhp motor driving the front wheels and a turbocharged three-cylinder 1.5-litre engine (223bhp/295lb ft) driving the rear. This carbonfibre/aluminium 2+2 with pop-up doors and wing-like rear spoilers weighs 1450kg, andwill return over 140mpg; its all-electric mode is around 20 miles, but with both motor and engine in action, it can do 156mph and 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds. There’s a four-speed gearbox, torque-vectoring, active steering and all the latest BMW driver assistance systems, and the price tag will be around the 100,000-euro mark when it goes on sale in 2014.

  • The E-RA – Electric RaceAbout – created at the Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences has set an ice-speed record. Finnish Porsche GT3 champ Janne Laitinen took it to an average 156.64mph on a stretch of Lake Ukonjarvi, aided by specially-studden Nokian tyres. The 280kW E-RA has a carbonfibre body and can accelerate 0-62mph in six seconds; its range is 124 miles. Pics, video at the Charging Point.
  • Update on the Swatch-designed Belenos ELV2, a fuel cell car developed by Nick Hayek (son of the man behind the original Smart Fortwo). Hayek told NZZ am Sonntag that “We already have a test car with a fuel cell. Liquid hydrogen and oxygen are used as fuel, producing very efficient combustion.” Belenos, an energy firm, is a Swatch subsidiary. The car is up and running around Biel, Switzerland, and launch is said to be four to five years off if Swatch decides it is financially viable, and if a suitable refuelling infrastructure will be available.
  • Denver Zoo has modified a tuk-tuk truck to run on animal poo and rubbish. The zoo’s new energy management system will also power the Elephant Passage exhibit,  process 1.5million tonnes of waste a year and offset 20% of the zoo’s energy consumption, reports the Denver Post (via Autoblog Green).
  • Vauxhall has teamed up with British Gas to offer Ampera buyers a fast-charger; this 16-amp circuit reduces total charging time by two hours to four hours, and costs £799. Price includes a free assessment/home electrical survey by British Gas, the charging point, a three year parts/labour warranty and three years’ Home Electrical Care cover. And an Ampera won the New Energy Monte Carlo Rally at the weekend; more at the Automobile Club of Monaco.
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