Wednesday newsbriefs

September 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

Citroen’s launching the DS5 (posh C5-based hatchback) at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The range is to include a diesel-electric Hybrid4 model, with 200bhp, four-wheel drive, an all-electric mode, acceleration boost function, sport mode, six-speed auto gearbox, stop-start and CO2 emissions from 99g/km. On sale next spring. Oh, and Lexus is to show the new GS 450h hybrid for the first time in Europe.

  • Autocar’s driven the Volkswagen Up (1.0 Bluemotion version): “the most modern baby car going and one of the most technically interesting.” Auto Express likes it too, especially that three-cylinder engine.
  • Hyundai will be offering passenger rides in the iX35 fuel cell prototype at the EcoVelocity Show in London next week.
  • Also at EcoVelocity, 3.15-4pm on Saturday Sept 10th: an EV discussion panel with debate and Q+As, featuring TheChargingPoint’s Robert Llewellyn, radio DJ/Nissan Leaf owner Mark Goodier, the Campaign for Better Transport’s Sian Berry, a spokesman from the Nissan Technology Centre Europe plus one special guest tbc.
  • Heard the one about laser-powered cars, giving emissions-free transport, forever? “Still a few problems to solve”, says Autoweek
  • The new Audi S6, S7 and S8 feature a 4.0 TFSI V8 (turbocharged, stratified-charge fuel injection) with cylinder deactivation, energy recuperation and stop-start; fuel consumption improved by up to 25%.  Launch at Frankfurt. Full lowdown at Green Car Congress.
  • Leaf looks like a limo: stretch jobs now available from the Electric Car Company, reports Autoblog Green. One for the more eco-minded hen party, perhaps.
  • Fisker is to source a four-cylinder turbocharged engine from BMW for its ‘Project Nina’ saloon, an extended-range EV due next year (Green Car Congress).
  • Williams F1 is to supply its flywheel energy recovery/storage system, developed for KERS, for use in mass transit and rail systems. It’s just signed a deal with Kinetic Traction Systems Inc. to advance and promote the tech for such applications (Green Car Congress).
  • The Canadian province of Ontario and Magna International are to jointly invest some CAN$400million in the development of electric vehicles (Globe and Mail).

Thursday newsbriefs

July 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

A lightning-quick digest of the top stories. First: 4000 new EV charging points for the UK (40 apiece in 100 towns and cities) courtesy of Chargemaster & a privately-funded initiative. Payment 90p a time and a monthly subscription for access to the network. More at The Charging Point; debate continues over public vs. private facilities.

  • Volkswagen’s Up! city car (new Lupo; pictured) will be unveiled in Paris next month in an event prior to the Frankfurt Motor Show. 1.0-litre petrol and 1.2-litre diesel versions first, EVs follow later. Prices from around 10,000 euros, say reports.
  • Scepticism growing about these Russian Yo-Avto low-cost hybrids; word is that they’ll be launching with conventional engines first of all. Reports of lots of interest (not the same as firm orders). Best pics yet at Car Advice (Australia).
  • From 2013, F1 cars will have to run on electric power only in  the pit lane, from KERS (kinetic energy recovery). Much resistance to electrification from Ecclestone and from Ferrari, says F1 pundit James Allen, but a change is gonna come – probably in the form of a series parallel to the mainstream one at first, like the TTXGP for electric bikes.
  • More EV charging points: the US state of Washington is installing Aerovironment quickchargers every 40-60 miles along the I5 and Route 2 major highways.
  • Toyota is doing a $100million deal with Tesla for electrification of the RAV4 – an ongoing programme leading to proper production from 2012.
  • GM and the ABB Group have demonstrated a prototype energy storage system using recycled Volt batteries – a use for them at the end of their automotive life. More at Green Car Congress.
  • Mercedes-AMG is to launch a new 5.5-litre V8 (415bhp) with cylinder shut-off; it’ll go in the SLK 55 AMG first, giving an average 30% fuel saving. Launch at Frankfurt (Green Car Congress).
  • The BBC has checked out the HaloIPT wireless induction charging system for EVs. Yep, wireless is the way to go, and it’s got to be better than battery-swapping.
  • More EV charging, Stateside: mega drugstore chain Walgreens is installing a first batch of 60 charging points in its carparks in Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston and Chicago, and aims to become the country’s largest ‘retail host’ of charging points. It’ll have quick-chargers, too, reports Green Bang.
  • EVs connect to the cloud: Coulomb Technologies has developed services for billing, charging, charging point location and support, battery charge monitoring, car usage monitoring and car-to-grid communications. All connected up on a cloud-based platform (Reuters).
  • And more US EV charging news: IKEA has jumped on the EV train to provide charging points, reports Autoweek – an initial batch of 10 at stores in Arizona, California, Washington and Oregon. With meatballs.
  • DIY EV of the day… is a flying car. Well, a hybrid, with two 450cc engines driving generators, which drive the motors, in a bizarre twin-hulled arrangement. More on the Burt Rutan Model 367 BiPod at Wired Autopia.

Tuesday newsbriefs

November 9, 2010 § Leave a comment

The 2010 RAC Future Car Challenge (see earlier posts) has been judged a jolly good success all round. Most energy-efficient car of the event was judged to be the all-electricVolkswagen Golf blue-e-motion driven by What Car? ed Jim Holder; other individual efficiency prize-winners in their respective categories were the Tata Indica Vista Electric, the Gordon Murray T.25 City Car, one of the Toyota Auris Hybrids, the BMW 320d, the Lotus Elise S1 Electric, a Honda CR-Z, the Zytek Mercedes-Benz eVito taxi, the Nicholson McLaren Citroen Nemo Van Electric, the Ford Fiesta Van 1.6TDCi ECOnetic, the Proton Exora Extended-Range EV, and the Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-Cell. The Vauxhall Ampera was judged ‘best public choice’ and ‘best private entry’ was Russ Sciville’s Lotus Elise S1 Electric. 64 vehicles took part in total.

  • Fiat is to put the 500 EV into production in Toluca, Mexico (a Chrysler facility) in 2012. Its lithium-ion batteries are to be supplied by SB LiMotive Co., a joint venture between Bosch and Samsung SDI Co (Autobeat).
  • London mayor Boris Johnson wants 1300 EV charging points across the city by 2013. He’s setting up a new programme called Source London. But didn’t he promise 25,000 by 2015? Some way to go, then (Autocar).
  • BMW’s expanding its Leipzig plant and investing $560million to build EVs: the 1-Series ActiveE in 2011 and the little Megacity in 2013.
  • First deliveries of the Volkswagen Up! (replacement for the Lupo city car) next year, prices from E10,000. Electric e-Up! comes 2013.
  • The Powertrain & Vehicle Research Centre at the University of Bath is getting £590,000 from the Technology Strategy Board to develop its downsized engine concept. Its high-torque petrol unit is said to promise performance of a 5.0-litre V8 with less than half the capacity. Partners in the project include Jaguar Land Rover, Lotus Engineering, the University of Leeds and Imperial College London.

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