January 24th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
For the last ten years the engineering team at Volkswagen have been chasing their own holy grail – a car that can average just 1 litre/100 km fuel economy. It’s been a tough road but VW isn’t throwing in the towel just yet and according to recent reports will reveal another “One Litre” concept at the Qatar Motor Show.
The oil rich nation of Qatar seems an odd place to unveil an extreme fuel-sipping machine and information remains scarce at this stage. The car will likely feature a two-cylinder diesel engine and an electric motor that is powered by a lithium-ion battery. The premise is very similar to VW’s L1 concept (pictured) which debuted at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, but this time the plug-in hybrid motor will further increase fuel efficiency beyond the already amazing 1.2 L/100 km achievement from the L1.
The concept should be officially unveiled later this month and could possibly see some form of production as early as 2013. Continue reading “VW to reveal new 1-litre economy concept in Qatar” »
November 2nd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
In an effort to grab some market share in the lucrative premium compact segment, CitroÃ«n is set to push its higher-end DS line even further. The DS4 was recently unveiled at the Paris Motor Show, and now reports indicate that the French automaker plans to take on the likes of the Audi S3 and Volkswagen Golf R with a new scolding-hot version of it’s premium hatch.
What’s interesting is that the CitroÃ«n DS4 Racing is expected to go hybrid, following the likes of the Honda CR-Z and Lexus CT200h. A 95-horsepower electric motor will be matched up to the car’s 200-horsepower turbo four, in either a all-wheel drive setup or as a front-driver. Sounds like an exciting machine right? Well there’s plenty of time to ponder that question because the hybrid DS4 isn’t expected before 2013.
October 22nd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
As automotive efficiency becomes more and more important for all car makers, even hardcore sportscar manufacturers have decided to look at providing more efficient speed. Now, in a bold move, Porsche has taken it one step further, committing to a hybrid version of each of its model lines in an attempt to get its average CO2 emissions down to 216 g/km by 2015 (from the current 255 g/km).
“In the future, we will have hybrid drive in every model line,” Porsche’s development chief Wolfgang Duerheimer, said in a recent press conference.
After the hybrid Cayenne and the upcoming Panamera hybrid is released, Porsche is set to up the ante with the hybrid 918 Spyder (pictured) as a halo car to get attention and learn more about the new path the company is taking.
Other efficiency-raising efforts also include a 10-percent reduction in weight, increased use of carbon fibre bodywork and there’s even talk of returning to four-cylinder engines in some models, likely with forced induction and direct injection.
“If the CO2 guidelines require it, then our engines will become smaller and may have just four cylinders,” Duerheimer said. “The important thing is that the performance has to be right. The 911 must always be on the cutting edge.”
The Porsche development chief added: “We want to learn how we can electrify all our sports cars in the future with the help of the 918′s short production run.” Continue reading “Porsche to build hybrid version in every model line” »
September 29th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Lexus New Zealand has just confirmed that the all-new CT200h hybrid hatchback will launch into the New Zealand market. Due on sale early next year, the CT200h will become the fourth Lexus hybrid model available in New Zealand.
Lexus National Manager, Debbie Pattullo said, “CT200h is the most significant Lexus vehicle since the introduction of the IS250, and will bring a whole new range of customers to the brand.”
The CT200h will be New Zealand’s only full hybrid luxury hatchback, featuring a 1.8 litre petrol-electric hybrid drive train with a high performance battery. The CT200h is expected to deliver CO2 emissions of just 96g/km.
Preliminary fuel consumption figures are an anticipated 4.1 litres per 100km in combined cycle driving.
The CT200h has four driving modes. Normal mode is for everyday motoring, ensuring a smooth linear throttle response, while Sport mode provides a more responsive throttle, and modifies the Electronic Power Steering (EPS) settings to give a faster response to driver inputs. Continue reading “Lexus confirms CT200h hybrid hatch for New Zealand” »
August 26th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
The Honda Jazz Hybrid has been officially unveiled and is being prepared for sale in the Japanese domestic market and European markets. The visual updates over the lesser standard models are subtle, with reworked bumpers and headlight glass and a special Lime Green metallic color. The price hike over the cheap standard Jazz isn’t slight at all. Apparently a $6,600 NZ premium over the standard Jazz is expected. However, even with the price premium the Hybrid Jazz would still be the cheapest hybrid in the market.
The Jazz Hybrid features the same IMA hybrid drivetrain as the Honda CR-Z and Insight, so it can’t quite match the Prius in fuel economy figures, though Honda claims they will be comparable to the smaller CR-Z.
The new Jazz Hybrid will make its formal debut at the Paris Motor Show next month.
August 17th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Recent reports coming out of Japan are stating that Honda will launch the hybrid version of its Fit (Jazz here in NZ) subcompact in the domestic market this October. The prices are attractive starting from around 1.6 million yen ($26,500 NZ), easily making it Japan’s cheapest hybrid model.
The Fit Hybrid, will use the same 1.3-litre gasoline engine and electric motor drivetrain as the Honda Insight and will cost 400,000 Yen ($6,600 NZ) more than the conventional Fit in Japan but still around 300,000 Yen ($4,900 NZ) less than Honda’s larger hybrid model.
There is no word yet on whether the Fit/Jazz Hybrid will make it into other markets, NZ included.
July 29th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
It’s just be made official that Porsche put its radical 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid concept into limited production.
“Reflecting the overwhelming response from the public and customers to the Concept Study, the Supervisory Board gave Porsche’s Board of Management the mission to develop a production model based on the car already presented,” Porsche said in a statement just released.
The money men at Porsche calculated that in order for the car to be produced, the company needed a minimum of 1,000 orders. Reports in the beginning of July stated that at least 2,000 individuals had placed non-binding expressions of interest for the supercar.
“Production of the 918 Spyder in a limited series proves that we are taking the right approach with Porsche Intelligent Performance featuring the combination of supreme performance and efficient drivetrain concepts,” said Michael Macht, President and Chairman of the Board of Management of Porsche AG.
“We will develop the 918 Spyder in Weissach and assemble it in Zuffenhausen. This is also a very important commitment to Germany as a manufacturing base.”
The concept version of the mid-engined two-seater 918 Spyder utilised a plug-in hybrid drivetrain comprising of a mid-mounted 500HP 3.4 litre V8 petrol engine, and electric motors located on the front and rear axles with a combined output of 218-horsepower.
The company claims that the hybrid supercar should return an impressive 3 litres/100km economy with CO2 emissions of just 79g/km. In terms of performance the 918 should reach 100km/h in just 3.2 seconds and continue on to a top speed of around 320km/h and will lap the Nurburgring faster than its predecessor, the Carrera GT.
Porsche hasn’t announced when it will introduce the production version of the 918 Spyder, which is rumored to carry a price tag of around $630,000 ($871,000 NZ).
Continue reading “Porsche 918 hybrid heading into production” »
July 28th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Hybrid vehicles are the way of the future it would seem and while the Toyota Prius is hardly an excitement machine, hybrid tech will shortly be in many performance cars. The latest vehicle to be apparently receiving electric power is the next-generation Ford Focus RS. It’s another sign of things to come, that one of Europe’s hotest hatches may come with a hybrid drive set-up similar to that of the Peugeot Hybrid 4.
Recent reports state that senior sources at Ford say that the automaker is in the early stages of developing a hybrid set up that would mate a 2.0 litre EcoBoost unit with an electric motor on the rear axle, turning the Focus RS into an all-wheel drive sport hatch.
The 2.0 litre turbo EcoBoost engine would spit out around 250 bhp for an ST variant (XR5 Turbo), while the RS version would feature the same amount of power for the engine, while the addition of the electric motor would provide for a significant amount of extra power and torque. Total output would probably top out at around 300 bhp, similar to the current RS variant.
Naturally the new set up would offer far better fuel-economy than the current Volvo-supplied 2.5 litre, 5-cylinder turbo seen in the current RS now, which Ford may no longer have access to since it sold Volvo Cars earlier this year.
Ford will likely provide more details on the next Focus RS when it debuts the Focus ST at the Paris auto show later this year.
Click here to read a Car and SUV review of the current model Focus XR5 Turbo.