by admin on 12 May 2012

Toyota RAV4 EV

While not the most exciting electric vehicle announcement of the last twelve months the second generation Toyota RAV4 EV will undoubtedly prove popular (if you call 900 units a year popularity) amongst the EV faithful who shed a tear when Toyota stopped selling the first generation RAV4 EV in 2002.  The all new RAV4 EV features a Tesla powertrain and battery, will weigh 1829 kg (4032 lbs), gets to 60 mph in 7 seconds and should get 100 'real-world' miles (160 km) of range from its 41.8 kWh battery.  Toyota are quoting a six hour charge time using a 240V / 40A charger.  The partnership between Tesla and Toyota started back in May 2010 with the announcement of collaboration on electric vehicle development, a couple of months later they announced the joint development of the RAV4 EV, in February 2011 the first 30 RAV4 EV test vehicles hit the road.  The Canadian produced RAV4 EV will have an MSRP of $49,800 when it goes on sale this summer (US only). More »

by admin on 10 May 2012

Rimac Automobili Concept_One hits 60 mph in under 3 seconds

You won't have heard of Rimac Automobili before but the ambitious Croatian automotive startup is intent on producing the worlds first ground-up electric supercar, a vehicle which can reach 100 kph (62 mph) in under three seconds and has the equivalent of 1088 hp from its four in-wheel motors.  The Concept_One which when displayed at the Frankfurt Motorshow seemed to be little more than an interest concept has recently hit the track and 'shredded some tires' (see video above).  You'll need deep pockets to appreciate this beast, $980,000 to be precise and production of the Concept_One will be limited to around 88 units with first deliveries in 2013. More »

by admin on 9 May 2012

J1772 DC combo

Last year we reported that the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) were proposing a combined AC/DC EV charging connector and standard.  That appears to have come to fruition at the Electric Vehicle Symposium with the new SAE standard AC/DC connector and charging standard which promises charge times as short as 20 minutes (high power DC).  This new standard has been agreed by the big German and US car makers (Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Porsche and Volkswagen) but leaves them at odds with Nissan and Toyota who have both championed (and utilized) the Japanese CHAdeMO DC charging standard (typically 50-60 kW output).  This new standard enables charging up to 500 V with a maximum current of 200 A (up to 100 kW), connectors should appear on cars in 2013. More »

by admin on 23 April 2012

Audi A6 L e-tron

From the department of we-didn't-see-that-coming comes the A6 L e-tron concept with an 80 km (50 mile) electric-only range (at 60 kph; 37 mph).  The electric motor provides 70 kW (95 hp) power backed up by a 155 kW (211 hp) 2.0 turbo petrol engine.  Launched at the Beijing Auto Show Audi clearly state this car is "specifically designed to fulfill Chinese needs".  The Chinese market do love their long-wheelbase (perhaps beacuse owners prefer to be driven than to actually drive) and Audi confirm that the A6 L is their bestselling model in China (it's produced in China as part of a joint venture with FAW).  It'll be interesting to see when this concept becomes a reality and if it'll be available anywhere other than China. More »

by admin on 20 April 2012

IBM Battery 500

IBMs 'Battery 500' project was set up in 2009 with the target of producing a battery which would provide a family-sized electric car a 500 mile (800 km) range (or essentially 5-10x the capacity of todays batteries).  The game-changing battery works by absorbing oxygen from the air, the reaction of this with the lithium-ion generates electricity, considerably more than a typical lithium-ion battery.  The absorbed oxygen is released when the battery is charged.  Up until now it's been a labs-only project but IBM clearly feel now is the time to think commercially and have announced two new materials partners in Asahi Kasei (produces separator membranes for lithium-ion batteries) and Central Glass (producer of battery electrolytes).  IBM are still cautious however that it'll be sometime between 2020 and 2030 before we see it in a production vehicle. More »

by admin on 20 April 2012

Hitachi Axial-Gap MotorWhile it won't be powering any electric cars anytime soon Hitachi's new compact high-efficiency 11 kW axial-gap motor is perhaps a glimpse into a rare-earth-free electric drive future.  Axial-gap motors work by having the stator and rotor arranged as two discs facing each other and do not require the use of magnetic material (such as neodymium and dysprosium), instead they have an iron-based amorphous core. Not only is it rare-earth magnet free but the new motor is also about 5% more efficient than traditional motors at around 93% which means it fulfills the highest standard IE4 efficiency guideline a set out by the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission).

  More »

by admin on 11 April 2012

Tesla has taken the Model S to the Automotive Enviro Testing facility in Baudette, Minnesota, which according to Tesla is "one of the coldest places in the continental United States" for some winter driving testing.  More marketing hyperbole from Tesla, a pretty video, but little in the way of facts or details.  We're still waiting... More »

by admin on 5 April 2012

Infiniti LE Concept

Nissan's luxury sub-brand, Infiniti has today revealed the Infiniti LE Concept, a plug-in electric sedan which owes a lot to the Nissan Leaf and which Nissan obviously hope will give the Telsa Model S a run for its money.  Larger and swoopier than the Leaf the LE Concept also has a (slightly) more powerful 100 kW / 325 Nm (134 hp / 240 lbft)  electric motor but maintainsl the tiny Leaf-sourced 24 kWh lithium-ion battery housed in the floor (on this at least it can't compete with the Model S).  Another new addition to the platform is inductive coil wireless charging, the vehicle's coil mounted behind the rear bumper.  One thing which will certainly divide opinion are its looks, something the Model S hasn't struggled with. More »

by admin on 4 April 2012

Fisker Atlantic

Fisker are hoping the Atlantic will help to turn around its fortunes and bring its brand to the masses. The Atlantic shouuld be "in the range of the Audi A5" which means less than $50,000.  As per the Karma the Atlantic is a plug-in hybrid with a four-cylinder BMW petrol engine which kicks in to provide additional electrical power for drive and charging of depleted batteries.  Fisker clearly hope the Atlantic will bring the brand to the mainstream buyer,  "Fisker Automotive is transitioning from a start-up automaker to a fully-fledged mainstream car manufacturer and the Atlantic is a crucial milestone in that process," said Tom LaSorda, CEO Fisker Automotive. "We have a long way to go, but in the near future Fisker intends to deliver this exceptional American-designed, engineered, and manufactured vehicle to showrooms worldwide."   More »

by admin on 4 April 2012

BMW i8 Spyder

BMW i has decided that the electric-drive i8 Concept Coupe isn't enticing enough so they've sliced the top off and presented the i8 Concept Spyder.  The new i8 Concept Spyder is slightly shorter than the Coupe but under the skin is otherwise identical with an electric motor delivering 96 kW / 250 Nm (128 hp / 184 lbft) to the front axle and a 1.5L three-cylinder rear mounted petrol engine which adds 164 kW / 300 Nm (220 hp / 221 lbft) to the rear axle.  The i8 Spyder has a battery-only range of just 30 km (18 miles) and can be recharged in under two hours.  More »