Kia Naimo; Subaru and BMW hybrids; Nissan trials Mobility Concept

September 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Kia is developing a CUV-style electric vehicle, reports This is codenamed TAM, and is thought to be based on the Naimo concept, a small Nissan Juke-style crossover, seen at the Seoul Motor Show last spring. Coming 2014, with a Hyundai counterpart in 2015, apparently. The Naimo (“square shape”, Korean) is a 3.9m-long five-door, four-seater; the concept featured an 80kW motor and a claimed range of 124 miles.

  • Subaru is to go it alone with its hybrid technology and not source it from Toyota, reports Subaru is said to be planning to develop its own ‘mild’ hybrid system for a model to be launched in Japan in 2013; this will not have an all-electric mode, but will work with Subaru’s own trademark ‘boxer’ engines to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. Clues were given in 2009’s Hybrid Tourer concept, which featured a 2.0-litre flat-four with direct injection and turbocharger, all-wheel drive and Lineartronic auto gearbox, a 10kW motor driving the front wheels and a 20kW motor powering the rear, plus lithium-ion batteries, though that was a full hybrid – and a production Legacy’s unlikely to get gullwing doors.
  • BMW’s ActiveHybrid 5 – based on the 535i saloon – is to go on sale in the US inMarch 2012. The 5 combines the 3.0-litre straight-six with BMW’s EfficientDynamics tech and eight-speed auto gearbox to give 335hp and 330lb ft, 0-60mph acceleration in 5.7 seconds and all-electric propulsion for up to 2.5 miles and 37mph; no official figures yet for mpg, but it’s thought to be a 10% improvement over the standard car’s. Full lowdown at Green Car Congress.
  • Nissan is to trial seven Mobility Concepts in Yokohama; local residents and tourists will try out this electric two-seater on public roads in free test-drives. The Mobility Concept is Nissan’s version of the Renault Twizy; it’s good for around 80kmph and a 100km range. Further short trials will then take place in Aomori and Fukuoka prefectures, reports Integrity Exports; Nissan will collect feedback from users.

Paris preview: Kia Pop

September 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

Kia has released more shots of its Pop concept car in advance of its unveiling at the Paris Motor Show later this week. Its butterfly doors probably won’t make production, but these aside, it looks like a neatly-styled little city car. Designed at Kia’s European studio under the guidance of Peter Schreyer, it’s an attractive proposal for an all-electric commuter vehicle. Chief designer Gregory Guillaume says: “Designers very rarely have the opportunity to start from a clean sheet of paper and it’s great to be in a position to operate with such freedom.” More details in Paris, presumably.

Hybrids, flybrids and all-electric vehicles

September 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

  • A consortium including Jaguar Land Rover, Ford, Flybrid Systems, Prodrive, Ricardo, Torotrak and Xtrac has unveiled flywheel hybrid technology claimed to add up to 82PS of extra reclaimed power and  improve fuel economy by up to 20%. The FHSPV (Flywheel Hybrid System Premium Vehicle) tech works with a small CVT gearbox connected to the rear differential; this collects kinetic energy and sends it to a compact flywheel instead of a battery. On application of the accelerator, the energy is sent back to the driven wheels. The flywheel (from Flybrid) is compact, as is the CVT (Xtrac/Torotrak); both are integrated into the powertrain using control systems developed by Prodrive. The system, announced this week at the Low Carbon Vehicle Show at Millbrook, is now under testing.
  • Fisker Automotive has confirmed the production launch of the Karma saloon (pictured) at the Paris Motor Show. A plug-in hybrid, the 403bhp  Karma can do 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds and 125mph, yet it returns an average 100mpg and emits only 83g/km of carbon dioxide. Fisker’s also promising to announce details of the expansion of its global dealer network.
  • Hyundai-Kia is to make an all-electric version of an upcoming new small SUV, and start trials of this model in late 2011; public sales are planned for 2013 (Automotive News).
  • Renault’s confirmed the launch of its four electric vehicles next year. The production version of the Zoe ZE small hatch will be made in Flins, near Paris; the Kangoo Van ZE will be made in Maubeuge, northern France; the Twizy ZE city car in Valladolid, Spain, and the Fluence saloon in Bursa, Turkey. Renault says  that it plans to sell and lease the cars, with subscription plans for the batteries and mobility services (such as battery-swapping, in some countries), with purchase and ownership costs to be no higher than buying or leasing an equivalent diesel car.

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