Beijing Motor Show preview: Citroen Numéro 9

April 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

Citroen is launching its DS line models in China this year, and the Numéro 9 concept car – to be unveiled at the Beijing Motor Show next week – signals the future style of this growing product-range. It’s a slinky ‘shooting brake’ coupe-estate previewing the upcoming DS line saloon (small family-sized, ‘C’ sector), SUV and large ‘D’ sector family saloon which will join the DS3, DS4 and DS5 already on sale alongside the mainstream Citroen line-up.

Numéro 9 also showcases the latest iteration of Peugeot-Citroen’s plug-in hybrid technology; it has a powertrain delivering an average 166mpg and emitting 39g/km, with a 50km range in its all-electric mode. Total power output is a sporting 295hp, with a ‘boost’ function for quick bursts of acceleration; the Beijing show car features the 1.6 THP petrol engine (225hp/275Nm), but Citroen says that diesel versions will also be offered. The 70hp electric motor drives the rear wheels and the engine the front, giving 4WD capability, and 4WD can be manually selected for slippery driving conditions.

A full recharge of the lithium-ion batteries takes 3.5 hours from a standard domestic power supply, and with both motor and engine engaged, the ‘boost’ function enables acceleration 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds. The engine takes over at highway cruising speeds but otherwise remains on stand-by to supplement the motor as required and when battery power dwindles; top speed is 152mph.

This good-looking concept car is 4.93m long, 1.94m wide yet just 1.27m tall, and it sits on 21-inch wheels with turbine-style details to aid efficient airflow. Citroen promises “plenty of room for rear occupants”, the cabin benefits from glass roof panels – and the plug-in powertrain also enables it to be pre-heated on cold days.  Numéro 9 is finished off with full LED headlights and daytime running lights, chrome trim and a violet-tinted deep black paint.

In other news today:

  • Lithium-air batteries are  “the most promising technology in terms of energy density”, according to a study by battery-maker Axeon, Professor Peter Bruce from the University of St Andrews and Element Energy. The research looked into issues of cost and performance of lithium-ion batteries to 2030, from where lithium-air looks the most viable. Full (100-page) report here for all the detail.
  • One of the first two Nissan e-NV200 electric van prototypes will make its UK debut at the  EV & Low CO2Fleet Show at Silverstone next week. This van is currently being trialled by British Gas, and has also been tested by FedEx in London and the Japan Post Service in Yokohama. It’s due to go into production next year. Other new vehicles which can be driven by show attendees include the Peugeot 208 (with one petrol and three diesel engines which all emit less than 99g/km of CO2), the diesel-electric Peugeot 508 RXH hybrid, the Citroen DS5 Hybrid4 (also diesel-electric) and the Renault Twizy electric quadricycle. A number of recharging infrastructure providers will also be there to explain their fleet solutions.
  • Nice video about the University of Michigan’s solar car project, and the team’s entry in the World Solar Car Challenge, at Translogic.
  • Mitsubishi is building a prototype smart-grid system utilising ‘waste’ EV batteries – which have come to the end of their useful working life in cars – as energy storage units to balance demand/supply and enable overnight charging of a fleet of cars. More on the M-tech Labo project at Green Car Congress.
  • Some debate for a Friday. Autocar’s Hilton Holloway is loving ‘his’ Nissan Leaf, and says that “in the medium term, I reckon any serious luxury car has to have a electric motor driving its wheels, starting with the next flagship Rolls Royce.” Brave words. But down on the ground in the real world – well, the strange bubble that is Brighton – there’s been little usage of the council’s EV charging points, which critics are dismissing as a “green vanity project”. Discuss. Remember, folks, chickens and eggs – more here, too, on the Brighton issue.
  • More debate for a Friday: interesting article at the BBC about wireless automotive technology (connected cars, intelligent traffic flow systems, etc). The answer to making this stuff work is ‘white space spectrum’ and ‘Weightless’ chips, apparently (note the vested interest of the writer). Hmm. A bit over the top, says the Campaign For Better Transport’s @RichardHebditch on Twitter – “wireless and other intelligent transport system technology will help but overhyped claims bit like that for paperless office”. Yes indeed.


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