Holden Volt 2012 Review

January 29th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

Here is the bridge to the full EV (electric vehicle). It’s a sensible option that gives you up to 80km of highway cruising using fully electric motoring, but with a petrol engine that will back you up another 450-500km if you need the extended range.

200kg of batteries provides the motive urge: 114kW comes from two electric motors, one of which charges the batteries when you’re decelerating.

At the best part of 1800kg I expected the Volt to handle Continue reading “Holden Volt 2012 Review” »

Kia continues quest to build world’s most efficient vehicles

November 2nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Kia is continuing its quest to become the producer of the world’s most fuel-efficient and greenest vehicles. New developments will see the Korean carmaker introduce an all-electric city car, along with a range of other technologies to make its cars go further on various fuel sources.

Full technical details on Kia’s new EV haven’t been revealed, but the new model will enter the light CUV segment and is expected to use an advanced LiPoly battery to power an electric motor. Officials says it will be able to travel a 160 kilometres on a single charge and deliver a maximum speed of 130km/h.

The Korean carmaker initially plans to produce 2,000 of its small EV cars in 2012 for use in its domestic market. Automotive commentators say the Kia Naimo concept (pictured), revealed at the Seoul Motor Show earlier this year, could offer a hint for the new EV’s styling. Kia has also confirmed it will introduce a second EV in 2014 in the form of a Soul-sized small car.

In addition to hybrids and all-electric vehicles, Kia Motors has been introducing other fuel-saving technology under its green Eco-Dynamics brand.

New Zealand has already seen elements of this technology in the recently launched Kia Picanto mini car, which features fuel-saving technology called Idle Stop & Go (ISG), which stops the engine when the car is idling at traffic lights and automatically re-starts when the clutch is depressed. Combined with its small 1.25-litre engine, the Picanto ISG is currently New Zealand’s most economical petrol dedicated car with a 4.3L/100km combined economy rating. Continue reading “Kia continues quest to build world’s most efficient vehicles” »

Development starts on all-electric DeLorean DMC-12

October 18th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

From our ‘About Time’ file comes news that the DeLorean DMC-12 will be brought back from the dead and rebuilt in a new EV form. The DMC-12 was made famous by the popular  Back to the Future blockbuster movies and has enjoyed an iconic status ever since. With legions of fans for the vehicle a modern-day rebuild makes plenty of sense and is destined for much publicity.

Planning to build a new DMC-12 in electric form is a collaboration effort between the reborn DeLorean Motor Company and an electric car startup company named Epic EV. DMC is now operating out of Texas, U.S.A and expects to put the new electric vehicle into production by 2013. Epic EV is a firm started by Aptera co-founder Chris Anthony and currently has other electric-powered projects in the pipeline.

Little is known about the car itself at this stage but early reports say it will a power output of around 195kW and a top speed of 200km/h. It will cost around $100,000 USD. In terms of styling expect the gullwing doors from the original to remain, but the engine layout may shift from the rear and who knows where the batteries will go. Continue reading “Development starts on all-electric DeLorean DMC-12” »

Honda reveals more info on Jazz electric concept

September 23rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Honda traveled fairly light to the recent 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show and didn’t unveil any ground-breaking performance concept cars. But it did use the event to show off some of its greener prototypes including the EV concept.

The EV concept hasn’t been given a production name yet, but uses a platform very similar to the Honda Jazz and is designed to meet the needs of the daily commuter.

When the production version of Honda’s EV Concept is released sometime next year, it will be powered by a lithium-ion battery and coaxial electric motor. Interestingly, the motor is derived from the unit found in Honda’s FCX Clarity fuel cell car. The unit is efficient and powerful while remaining quiet at motorway speeds. It can go as fast as 145km/h according to Honda.

Estimated driving range for the EV Concept is 160 km, and this can be maximised with the use of a clever three-mode electric drive system adapted from the Honda CR-Z. Continue reading “Honda reveals more info on Jazz electric concept” »

Gordon Murray unveils T.32 full electric roadster

September 22nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Gordon Murray is known as something of an automotive oracle. The man drastically improved Formula 1 cars through the 1980s and was responsible for the creation of the ground-breaking McLaren F1 supercar. More recently, Murray has turned his had to developing environmentally friendly vehicles.

Back in June, Murray revealed his first all-electric city car, the T.27 (read news), and claimed that three different manufacturers were interested in producing it.

But while Murray has been working on city cars, his true passion remains sports cars. An electric-powered sports car gives Murray the chance to combine his two passions on one project.

That’s where carbon fibre specialist Toray Industries Inc. comes in, the company has commissioned Gordon Murray Design to build an all-new all-electric roadster. The result is the open-top, two-seater Teewave AR.1, or the T.32. Continue reading “Gordon Murray unveils T.32 full electric roadster” »

Toyota breaks electric vehicle lap record at the ‘Ring (+video)

August 31st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It was only a few years ago that the electric vehicle lap record at the Nürburgring didn’t mean much to anyone, but the title is now hotly contested. The latest developer of electric propulsion to throw their hat into the ring, at the ‘Ring, is Toyota with its TMG EV P001.

The oddly named but beautifully curved electric Toyota set a new record recently with a run of seven minutes, 47.79 seconds. This new record has smashed the previous time, held by Peugeot’s EX1 by more than a minute. The EX1 clocked a lap time of 9.01:33 and prior to that the Mini E held the record with a time of 9 minutes 51 seconds. To achieve the feat the TMG EV P001 uses a 100% electric powertrain with a top speed of 260km/h and a huge 800Nm of torque.

Toyota’s electric racer record puts it in line with the lap times recorded by petrol-powered hero vehicles like the Porsche 911 Turbo and the Nissan GT-R. But what’s the point of it all? Turns out that Toyota wants to sell the powertrain used in the EV P001 from next year. Expect to see the components in passenger vehicles from 2012 which should mean a welcome improvement in performance of Toyota’s electric/hybrid offerings. Electric cars might just become exciting after all. Continue reading “Toyota breaks electric vehicle lap record at the ‘Ring (+video)” »

Cadillac confirms production for electric ELR Coupe (+video)

August 19th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Cadillac’s smooth styled ELR Coupe has been given the green light for production. With its sharp looks and range-extending hybrid drivetrain, General Motors has high hopes for the luxury two-door.

The model was originally shown as the Cadillac Converj concept at the 2009 Detroit Motor Show, rumours have been around ever since that it would enter production. Now, development has been officially confirmed with the new model, named the ELR Coupe, heavily borrowing technology from the Chevrolet Volt.

“The concept generated instant enthusiasm,” said Don Butler, vice president-Cadillac Marketing. “Like other milestone Cadillac models of the past, the ELR will offer something not otherwise present – the combination of electric propulsion with striking design and the fun of luxury coupe driving.”

No official specs have been released but Cadillac has confirmed its ELR will use a version of the same Voltec drivetrain as the Volt, but possibly a more advanced set up. This will feature a T-shaped lithium ion battery, an electric drive unit, and a four-cylinder engine-generator. Continue reading “Cadillac confirms production for electric ELR Coupe (+video)” »

Toyota Prius Plug-in charging to Frankfurt debut

August 16th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Eco-warriors rejoice, the production version of the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid will make its world debut at next month’s 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.

It’s a huge launch for Toyota and the Japanese carmaker is claiming that the Prius Plug-in is the next “major milestone” in its 40-year quest for sustainable mobility. The production plug-in hybrid sedan has a freshly designed, compact lithium-ion battery that allows this latest Prius to reach a new low in minimal fuel consumption, sipping just 2.2 litres per 100 kilometers with CO2 emissions of just 49 grams per km.

The plug-in Prius isn’t a successor to the current model and Toyota will continue to focus on hybrid vehicles without a plug,. But Toyota says the Plug-in Prius is its new flagship that showcases the latest developments in hybrid-drive technology. It also says that the car’s value and incredible fuel consumption combine to make it the ultimate eco car. Continue reading “Toyota Prius Plug-in charging to Frankfurt debut” »

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