Geneva Motor Show Concept of the Day: Subaru VIZIV

March 6, 2013 § Leave a comment

subari vizivSubaru has been playing around with hybrid tech for a while, but this concept goes a stage further with plug-in capability. It uses the familiar Subaru 2.0-litre flat-four diesel plus Lineartronic CVT, with two independently-controlled motors driving the rear wheels and a single motor driving the front axle in an AWD system likely to feature in future production models. As the rear motors directly drive the rear wheels, there’s no need for a prop shaft, and the floor can be lowered for extra rear legroom. The diesel engine drives the front axle. More here. I like this better – and find it more relevant to the mainstream production-car world – than the other headline-grabbing hybrid in Geneva, the LaFerrari, for all you might argue about tech trickle-down.

  • Volvo pulled out a nice piece of tech at Geneva, too: a pedestrian- and cyclist-detection safety system with auto braking. On sale in model-year 2014, more here. No substitute for drivers using their eyes (and mirrors), obviously, but vulnerable road users need all the help they can get…
  • Non-Geneva news: Toyota is to start a three-year smartcard-enabled EV-share project in France at the end of 2014 in partnership with EDF and the Cite Lib car-share. This will involve 70-odd ultra-light compact vehicles – the i-Road and COMS – and will take place in Grenoble and the surrounding area; the aim is to explore the use of light EVs on a ‘last mile’ basis. More here. And there’s video of the Nissan New Mobility Concept (Japanese Twizy) trial here.
  • Save energy, only light highways when a car is approaching: trials are to start in the Netherlands of ‘smart roads’ with motion sensors, glow-in-the-dark paint, automatic ice warnings – and priority lanes for EVs. More at Forum for the Future.
  • Debate of the day: the RAC Foundation is talking about “transport poverty” – low-income households spending over a quarter of their income on running a car, averaging £44 a week (ONS data). Cuts in buses are a contributing factor to car dependency, and an obstacle for job-seekers, says the Campaign For Better Transport. The answer’s not cutting fuel duty (as the RAC Foundation is calling for), say many, including @geographyjim, who points out that only 31% of the poorest households have a car, and that households in (car) “transport poverty” only account for 2% of the country’s total fuel spending – so any cut would overwhelmingly benefit the better-off, and not help out the majority of low-income households anyway.
  • More fuel (sorry) for thought: a study from UMTRI (University of Michigan Transport Research Institute) argues that all the benefits of efficiency improvements made in the last 40 years in the US have been cancelled out by people travelling higher mileages, and with a higher tendency to travel alone. Handy rundown here; full report here. Data is 1970-2010, however, so may not fully reflect any impact of recession.
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