30 April 2015

Charging in... from Finland

Whilst Tesla is due to imminently diversify into domestic energy storage, its dominant position in aspirational all-electric cars may be under threat from an unlikely place - Finland.

Only a concept car for now, this is the Toroidion 1MW Concept.

The rear light cluster reminds me of the mighty Jaguar XJ220, with the front having elements of a TVR Cerbera/Tamora, Aston Martin DB7, and Jaguar D-Type.  But of course it's what's under the skin that's the really interesting part.

Launched at Top Marques, Monaco 2015 (note: happy to cover the show in person next year), the Toroidion 1MW has:

  • 1341 horsepower
  • A high-performance and swappable battery (useful for the racetrack at at home)
  • 4WD (one electric motor per wheel)
*June 2015 UPDATE* Here's a video of it's first day on the road:

19 April 2015

Shanghai Motor Show - Highlights

The Shanghai Motor Show has become increasingly important for western car manufacturers, as they seek to export into China's fast-growing market. Below is a summary of the hybrid cars which are hitting the headlines.  And as a reminder, for UK readers, have a look at my list of hybrid and pure-electric cars available now, with CO2 75g/km.

Audi prologue Allroad

A concept car, the third car in the Prologue series from Audi is the four wheel drive, five-door Allroad.

A four litre, V8, twin turbo-charged petrol engine is mated to an electric motor, giving performance of 0-62mph in 3.5 seconds, 724 bhp, yet 117mpg.  A 14.1 kWh lithium-ion battery in the rear provides 33 miles of pure-electric range, with 'Audi Wireless Charging' (AWC), meaning induction charging would be possible.

Audi Prologue Allroad Concept

Audi Q7 e-Tron quattro - Petrol-electric hybrid

At the Geneva Motor Show, earlier this year, Audi introduced the Audi Q7 e-Tron, with a diesel engine.  In Shanghai, and for Asian markets only, they've now mated the electric motor with a (just less than) 2 litre turbocharged engine.  Combined, they give performance of 362bhp, and 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds.  The all-electric range is 32.9 miles, courtesy of 168 fluid-cooled lithium-ion cells, at 17.3kWh capacity.

Audi Q7 e-Tron (petrol-electric)

Audi A6 L e-Tron

Audi A6 L e-Tron
Audi continue to introduce hybrid powertrains into a variety of their models, this time it's the stretched A6, the 'L' version, which will be produced in China.  We see the 2.0 litre TFSI petrol engine mated to a 14.1 kWh capacity lithium-ion battery (104 cells).  The all-electric range is 31.1 miles.

BMW X5 xDrive40e

Seen in the metal for the first time at Shanghai, BMW's first mainstream plug-in hybrid, the X5 xDrive40e was showcased.  More details in my recent New York Auto Show post.

BMW X5 xDrive40e

Citroën Aircross concept

Citroën Aircross concept
Citroen have released the Aircross concept, a petrol-electric hybrid.  A  218bhp 1.6 litre engine is mated to a rear-mounted 95bhp electric motor.  0-62mph is made in 4.5 seconds, and there's an all-electric range of 31 miles.

Peugeot 308 R Hybrid Concept

Aiming to appeal to a slightly different segment that most hybrids, Peugeot's 308 R HYbrid concept mates a 16 litre turbocharged petrol engine with a pair of electric motors to give 4WD driving, a 0-62mph time of 4.0 seconds, and 500hp.

Peugeot 308 R Hybrid

03 April 2015

New York Motor Show - Highlights

The 2015 New York International Auto Show has introduced a handful of cars which are helping maintain the momentum towards a more sustainable form of personal transport. Predictably for a US auto show, most of the models are at the super-sized end of the spectrum.  Below are the highlights, in alphabetical order.

BMW X5 xDrive40e

Revealed a couple of weeks before New York started, the BMW X5 xDrive40e is a plug-in hybrid, mating a 242bhp 2.0 litre turbo-charged petrol engine with a 111bhp electric motor.

BMW X5 xDrive40e
It has an all-electric range of 19 miles, 85.6mpg fuel consumption and emissions of just 77g/km.  The 9kwH lithium-ion battery takes-up 150 litres of boot space.

The fourth generation of the Lexus RX was revealed, with the hybrid version, the 450h, with the F Sport trim being available for it, for the first time.

Lexus RX 450h
A 3.5 litre V6 engine will be mated to an electric motor.

Mercedes-Benz GLE 500 e 4MATIC

The GLE 500 e 4MATIC is Mercedes-Benz's first plug-in hybrid SUV.

Mercedes Benz GLE 500 e 4MATIC
A 3 litre V6 twin turbo-charged engine, combined with a single electric motor provide 328 and 114 bhp respectively, and it can run for 18 miles in all-electric mode (one of three driving modes to choose from).

The emissions are 78g/km, with fuel consumption of 85.6mpg, albeit presumably less outside laboratory conditions.

As the pioneers of hybrid technology, everyone takes note when Toyota releases a new model - and they've just done so with the new RAV4.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid (2016)
Toyota are mating a 2.5 litre petrol engine with an electric motor for the rear axle.

VW Camper

Volkswagen hinted at ongoing work to potentially bring back the classic VW Camper, but this time, as an all-electric version.  I believe it was at the 2012 Canadian International Auto Show that the VW Bulli concept was released, which may hint at some of the styling we'd see.

VW Bulli Concept (2012)