Ford GT set for hybrid-powered comeback

February 7th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The rumours are swirling around the upcoming Ford GT successor with speculation on the supercars powertrain taking a seemingly unlikely turn.

Apparently the next GT40 inspired supercar from Ford will use hybrid technology to help it achieve break-neck speeds. Like the Porsche 918 Spyder the layout will consist of a standard combustion motor turning the rear wheels with an electric motor powering the front wheels for better low-sped efficiency and to boost high-speed power.

It seems radical but electric-assisted drivetrains are here to stay and are beginning to find applications in all vehicles – even retro-styled supercars.

Before you Ford fans start tearing your hair out, the good news is that the primary engine is set to be a beast. Ford is expected to use a supercharged V8 motor and the total output including the fancy new hybrid system will be in the region of 600 horsepower. That output figure would exceed the last Ford GT’s 5.4-litre dry-sump, aluminum-block supercharged V8, which was rated at 550 horsepower. Continue reading “Ford GT set for hybrid-powered comeback” »

BMW and Peugeot hook up for a hybrid drivetrain

February 3rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

After months of “are they really a couple” rumours BMW and PSA Peugeot Citroen have officially hopped into bed together to work on a hybrid drivetrain.

Building all the systems and hardware that goes into crafting a hybrid drivetrain can be highly expensive so the two Automotive heavyweights have joined forces. The companies are set to partner up on everything from battery packs and generators to software and chargers. However the main goal of the corporate marriage is to build an open European hybrid platform which will give them a little bit of structure and an edge in the upcoming electrified battle.

The joint venture is expected to get under way in the next few months, and BMW says that the first products to make use of the new technology will be on roads by 2014 at the earliest. According to reports, the very first vehicles to carry the new-age hybrid gear under its bonnet will likely be the Mini Countryman or a Countryman-based model.

Volvo taking V60 plug-in hybrid to Geneva Show

February 1st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Volvo is well known for it’s progressive stance on safety but soon it may become known for it’s fuel economy. To prove it Volvo is preparing to unveil a V60 Plug-in Diesel Hybrid – a virtually production-ready car with carbon dioxide emissions below 50 g/km and a fuel consumption of 1.9 l/100 km, at next month’s Geneva Motor Show.

By next year Volvo Cars will be the first manufacturer on the market with this new breed of hybrid – which is the result of close cooperation with the Swedish energy supplier Vattenfall.

The first of the new V60 sports wagon which will be conventionally powered diesel and petrol models will arrive in New Zealand in April this year.

The V60 Plug-in Hybrid features some new tricks including being able to drive up to 50 kilometres on pure electricity alone.

“This second-generation hybrid is the perfect choice for the uncompromising buyer who wants a superbly carbon dioxide-lean car packed with driving pleasure,” says Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO of Volvo Cars.

The front wheels of the V60 Plug-in Diesel Hybrid will be driven by a five-cylinder 2.4-litre D5 turbo diesel, which produces 215 horsepower and maximum torque of 440 Nm.  The rear axle features ERAD (Electric Rear Axle Drive) in the form of an electric motor producing 70 horsepower, which receives its power from a 12 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The car features a six-speed automatic transmission. Continue reading “Volvo taking V60 plug-in hybrid to Geneva Show” »

VW to reveal new 1-litre economy concept in Qatar

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” »

Citroen to build hot hatch DS4 Racing Hybrid

November 2nd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

In an effort to grab some market share in the lucrative premium compact segment, Citroën 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 Citroën 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.

Porsche to build hybrid version in every model line

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” »

Lexus confirms CT200h hybrid hatch for New Zealand

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” »

Honda Jazz Hybrid officially revealed in green

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.

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