by admin on 4 April 2012

Volkswagen E-Golf

This month Volkswagen America is beginning a nine month pilot scheme involving twenty E-Golf plug-in electric cars in three locations in the US (Detroit, Washington DC and San Francisco).  The four-door, five-seater E-Golf has a 85 kW (114 bhp), 270 Nm (199 lbft) electric motor and a 180 cell lithium-ion battery (arranged as a T-pack in the center tunnel and below the rear seats) with a paltry 26.5 kW hour capacity (less than half of the Tesla Roadster) providing a quoted 150 km (93 miles) range.  Interestingly the E-Golf features a three-level regenerative braking option which can be controlled via paddles on the steering wheel (providing more or less braking and hence electricity regeneration).  The E-Golf is expected to go on sale in the US in 2014 and will be based around the new VW MQB platform rather than the older Golf platform used for these pilot cars. More »

by admin on 2 April 2012

Morgan Plus E

The Morgan Motor Company are one of a few niche brands who have stayed true to their original design, now however they are showing an active interest in bringing the powertrain under those old fashioned body panels into the twenty-first century.  The Plus E concept is based on the Plus 8 but instead of the BMW V8 the Plus E has a 70 kW (94 bhp) 300 Nm (220 lbft) produced by Zytek Automotive which equates to a relatively sedate zero to sixty time of six seconds (compared to 4.5 seconds for the Plus 8 V8).  Most intesting however is the fact that Morgan have decided to stick to a traditional five speed gearbox, most electric cars do away with the added complication of gearbox due to constant torque and the high revving characteristics of electric motors. More »

by admin on 2 April 2012

Tesla Model S Beta

Last year European car leasing firm Athlon announced a relationship with Tesla which would bring the Model S to their corporate fleets.  Athlon has now put money where its mouth is by announcing it has reserved no less than 150 Model S sedans "to ensure early availability of Model S for its customers".  “We are thrilled to continue our collaboration with Tesla and to increase our EV offering to our customers under our one-stop-shop policy for electric vehicles”, Hans Blink, President of Athlon Car Lease, confirmed. “As a leading mobility provider, sustainability and innovation are in Athlon’s DNA and at the very core of our business. We believe that bringing EV solutions closer to customers is key in increasing the adoption of electric vehicles in the market. We are thus proud to be – once more – a frontrunner in promoting change in our industry.”  More »

by admin on 11 March 2012

Infiniti Emerge-E

Nissan's 'luxury brand', Infiniti, recently revealed its vision of an electric sports car.  The 'mid engined', rear-wheel-drive, Emerge-E packs two 150 kW electric motors for around 400 hp total power and a massive 738 lbft of torque (although maximum power only in 30 second bursts).  In addition the Emerge-E has a range-extender 3-cylinder 1.2 liter Lotus derived internal combustion engine which (in the same manner as the Fisker Karma) operates as a generator when the onboard batteries run low.  Which is likely to occur fairly quickly as this concept only packs enough lithium-ion batteries for 30 miles of 'urban' range.  Other interesting specifications are its zero-to-sixty time of just four seconds and 130 mph top speed.  Interestingly the Emerge-E was desigend in the UK with partial funding from the Technology Strategy Board (UK tax fund).  More »

by admin on 9 March 2012

Mercedes SLS AMG E-CELL

Mercedes and AMG have published an interesting insight into the drive system of the four-wheel-drive SLS AMG E-Cell, this includes a detailed news release and a series of images which clearly expose the various components which go up to make their concept electric sports car.  Four motors (one for each wheel) produce a total peak output of 392 kW (525 hp) and torque of 880 Nm (650 lbft - available from zero kph), this enables the SLS AMG to acclerate to 100 kph (62 mph) in just 4 seconds (only slightly slower than  the SLS AMG 6.3 V8).  Juice wise the SLS AMG E-Cell features twelve modular battery cells which provide a total 48 kWh of capacity.  Four wheel drive means torque vectoring for better handling (already good thanks to a very low center of gravity).  Other details include front pushrod suspension and ceramic composite brakes.  The drivetrain is a collaborative effort between Mercedes-AMG in Germany and Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth, UK. More »

by admin on 8 March 2012

Ford Fusion Energi

Panasonic has announced that it has been selected by Ford to supply lithium-ion batteries for Ford's new line of Energi hybrid-electric vehicles.  Sanyo had previously supplied Ford with NiMH batteries but they were acquired by Panasonic last year and so the relationship appears to have come along as part of the deal.  The newer lithium-ion batteries will have a capacity (specific power) of 0.84 kW per kg compared to 0.41 kW for the older NiMH batteries. More »

by admin on 29 February 2012

Audi announce A3 e-tron pilot program at TED2012

Audi has launched its A3 e-tron pilot program at TED2012 in Long Beach, CA.  Three years since BMW ran a pilot program for the Mini-E Audi is finally getting around to rolling some vehicles out onto the streets (although we're still unimpressed by the specs; 130 hp equiv. and optimally 90 mile range).  The pilot will take place in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver and Washington DC, although Audi hasn't revealed how many cars are involved or what the spread will be across those locations, nor what the selection criteria will be for pilot program members. More »

by admin on 29 February 2012

BMW teases its electric future view in a short i3 and i8 video

BMW's new, just over a minute, "BMW i. Born Electric" video tells us nothing new about the upcoming BMW i3 (plug-in EV) and BMW i8 (plug-in hybrid EV) however it does perhaps give us another angle on these interesting models and what they may look like on a "normal street" (in Chicago), it's clear from this video that BMW see their 'i' sub-brand as premium (which could also give us some hints as to how much we can expect these models to cost).   More »

by admin on 16 February 2012

Barack Obama - Chevrolet Volt

While electioneering Barack Obama talked up plug-in vehicles at every opportunity, promising to get a million on the road by 2015 (a pipe dream then and now).  His proposed budget now includes an increase in tax credit for plug-in vehicles of $2,500 (to $10,000), it also includes reduction in the (huge) subsidies that the big oil companies enjoy. On the other side of the America Washington State has just passed a bill which will impose a $100/year "annual fee" (AKA "tax") to compensate for the gas (petrol) taxes electric car owners aren't paying.  What One Hand Giveth, the Other Taketh Away. More »

by admin on 15 February 2012

Nissan Leaf

According to a set of service bulletins issued by Nissan North America a new software upgrade will soon be available for the Leaf which will among other things improve the range estimation (and charging time estimation) provided by the car.  Other improvements include a 'door open' alert if the car is in any drive mode other than Park, improved CARWINGS connectivity, improved ventilation and air-conditionining operation and improvements to the in-car information displays.  Best still is that these software updates can be applied at the owners home or place of work. More »