May 27th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Rumours have begun circulating that the release of Toyota’s FT-86 rear-drive sports coupe will be delayed from 2011 to 2013.
The reasons behind the delay are varied, and include speculation on a different design direction, the economic slowdown, Toyota’s recent recall issues and interestingly the possibility of a revised powertrain strategy that could include some kind of hybrid power.
The FT-86 generated some serious interest in the performance car scene after all it was to be the spiritual successor to the Corolla AE86 but it was just a concept. Now, Toyota is apparently second-guessing the styling of the coupe before it reaches production. ToMoCo is also keeping a close eye on the success of the Honda CR-Z, which may end up influencing Toyota’s decision on the final drivetrain specs of the FT-86.
That could mean a hybrid powerplant is on the cards, which may not be a bad thing, but if Toyota decides to produce the coupe as a front-driver, it will loose most of its cred rapidly. More will be revealed when the next example of the FT-86 debuts at the Tokyo Motor Show at the end of 2011.
May 20th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Luxury is starting to mix in with hybrid technology more and more. Now it looks like BMW’s 3 Series will be the next vehicle to get the electric motor treatment. While speaking with shareholders, BMW top brass Norbert Reithofer annouunced that the company’s high volume seller 3 Series will be offered with a hybrid option shortly. Exactly when hasn’t been announced but the 5 Series hybrid is scheduled for sale next year, so the 3-Series hybrid may spark up sometime in 2012.
BMW says that its biggest motivation for spreading hybrid tech amongst its models isn’t just emissions standards. The German manufacturer also said that high demand in Japan has created the move. According to Reithofer, most Japanese consumers won’t take the time to look at a brand unless there are multiple hybrid options offered.
While the move is mostly sales based, it won’t hurt the company’s goal of cutting CO2 emissions by 25 percent between now and 2020. It appears now that hybrids are key to meeting the new emissions rules while still allowing adequate power to move relatively large, heavy luxury cars around.
May 13th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Is the world ready for a kinder, gentler, environmentally friendly Sport Utility Vehicle? Land Rover thinks so and is hoping to cash in with its hotly anticipated LRX. The new SUV will be unveiled in production form at the Paris Motor Show later this year. With a North American debut in LA following shortly after. According to reports, the LRX will go on sale globally in the third quarter of 2011.
The LRX Concept was first seen at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show, where it was very well received by both the press and the showgoing public. The LRX is expected to be Land Rover’s most fuel efficient model and will be offered with both a conventional combustion engine and later a diesel-electric powertrain.
Land Rover’s first hybrid drivetrain will consist of a 3.0-litre diesel V6 engine mated up to a 25kW electric motor. The system would be a full parallel hybrid, meaning it could operate on any combination of gasoline or electricity using a lithium ion battery pack. The hybrid version of the LRX will be more than 100kg heavier than the standard version and will make use of the new ZF eight-speed transmission.
April 28th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Porsche is reporting that is now has more than 900 potential customers for its upcoming 918 Spyder hybrid.
The two-seater 918 Spyder hybrid was first shown at the Geneva auto show last month and represents an entirely new model for Porsche, which is aiming to increase sales to around 150,000 units a year by developing new products.
The hybrid drivetrain on the 918 Spyder features a V8 with 368 kW (493 hp) mated to three electric motors totaling 160 kW (215 hp). In total the 918 produces a whopping 528 kW (708 hp). The 0 to 100 km/h sprint is achieved in a mere 3.2 seconds and top speed is 320 km/h.
Fuel economy is also very impressive with the 918 Spyder hybrid sipping on just 3 liters/100 km, according to Porsche.
Porsche development boss Wolfgang Duerheimer said in a recent interview “I’m confident that we will soon reach the threshold of 1,000 potential customers. We need 1,000 seriously interested people to make a sound business case,”
The 918 Spyder hybrid is scheduled to make a production-ready debut sometime in the next five years.
April 19th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Rumours of a larger Prius vehicle have been circulating for a while, but it now looks increasingly likely that Toyota is preparing to launch a new hybrid minivan that will wear the Prius badge. This new vehicle will be the first completely new vehicle added to the Prius range and could join the well-known hatchback sometime next year.
The new Prius hybrid minivan may be the first vehicle from Toyota to be equipped with an in-house developed lithium ion battery pack. With three rows of seats the Prius Minivan should also be equipped with sliding doors and should be able to seat up to seven people, further pushing Toyota’s hybrid appeal into the family-vehicle market.
Very few details are currently available but in terms of pricing Toyota would like to keep the price close to that of standard petrol minivans currently on the market.
April 7th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
The Porsche 918 Sypder was one of the biggest surprises of last month’s Geneva Motor Show and proved extremely popular with the visiting masses (read news item). After such a warm reception Porsche has signaled an intent to put the hybrid sportscar into production.
To back up the plan, Porsche has unveiled a new advertising campaign, calling the sportscar “The future of motorsport and series production.” To accompany this new marketing, Porsche has released a new video that offers a bit more information about its latest machine.
It’s an interesting video and worth a look, to check it out click on the link below. Continue reading “Porsche shows off 918 Spyder hybrid in video” »
April 1st, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
The all new Hybrid Camry from Toyota Australia. ‘Everyday Amazing’ commercial
March 29th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Later this week at the New York Auto Show, Hyundai will unveil its first hybrid model for global markets based on the recently released Sonata sedan. Unlike the Camry hybrids which are almost identical to their standard siblings, the Sonata Hybrid will apparently receive a completely new front fascia. If the teaser image is to be believed then the new look will include a massive lower front grille, this is likely inspired by the Blue-Will Concept that was shown at the Detroit Auto Show in January.
While exact details are still unknown, the Sonata hybrid should retain the same 2.4-litre direct injected inline-four found in the sedans. However, it may be re-tuned to work on the more efficient Atkinson cycle like other hybrids. Unlike the Toyota hybrids, Hyundai’s system is expected to use a conventional six-speed automatic gearbox with a 30 kilowatt electric motor.