Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

PHEV

Fisker Surf

Shown for the first time at IAA in Frankfurt last week, the Fisker Surf is a luxury/sports "shooting brake" or station wagon, built on the same base as the Fisker Karma (electric drive with gas-engined range extender), though the Ferrari FF look makes it a lot easier on the eye. The Surf can be expected in showrooms in the first half of 2013 with a price tag in the low six figures.  Read More

New Prius Family - Prius, Prius  and Prius Plug-in Hybrid

Toyota is gearing up for a worldwide onslaught of hybrid vehicles in 2012 - part of a strategy to put out no less than ten new hybrids by 2015. The company has already begun launching hybrid versions of the Yaris light platform, the Auris/Corolla hatch and the medium Camry sedan in larger markets across the world - Japan, Europe and the US. But the most prominent (and branding wise the most important) is the expanded Prius family - Prius, Prius+ and Prius Plug-in Hybrid.  Read More

Ford's Evos Concept

Ford's Evos may only be a concept car but with its four scissor doors reaching skyward to the heavens, it is both the most distinctive and important concept from Ford in many a year. The Evos is the first manifestation of the Blue Oval's "first truly global design language," a visual signature that Ford hopes will make its next generation of vehicles more recognizable than the current fleet. The plug-in hybrid will debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show two weeks from now and previews not just the new family resemblance, but the intuitive "cloud connected" functionality Ford will infuse into the next generation of vehicles.  Read More

The BMW i3 and i8 electric and hybrid cars

BMW has fully committed itself to the battery-electric driving revolution by setting up a whole new sub-brand - BMW i - devoted to emission-free motoring. Now, the i group has released details of two concept cars that look set to become production models within a few years. The i3 concept is a fully-electric city car with an everyday driving range of around 160 km (100 miles) per charge, and the i8 is a sporty 4-seater plug-in hybrid that combines electric and petrol drive to give a good compromise between emission-free commuting and petrol-powered range and performance. Both cars make widespread use of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) to keep weight down, and both offer a raft of fascinating new driver assist and efficiency initiatives that seem likely to make it through to the real world.  Read More

Volvo C30 Electric

While there have been huge strides made in battery technology in recent times, the limited range of electric vehicles remains one of the main barriers to their general adoption. While maybe not an ideal solution, Volvo is producing a few electric test vehicles with range extenders – combustion engines that increase the effective range of the electric vehicle by effectively turning it into a hybrid. The project, which is supported by he Swedish Energy Agency and the EU, will test three different electric motor/combustion engine combinations.  Read More

The official Volvo illustration of the KERS system does not reference Torotrak or Flybrid ...

Volvo indulged in some odd behaviour overnight when it made a curious omission from a publicity release promoting the Kinetic Energy Recovery System development for which it has just received a US$1,000,000 grant from the Swedish Energy Agency. It named its partners in the project being Volvo Powertrain and SKF, but somehow managed to leave out the fact that the core technologies described in the press release and portrayed in the diagrams it released alongside the press release were Torotrak's variable drive technology and Flybrid Systems (UK) flywheel KERS technology originally developed for Honda F1 and set to debut in the Le Mans 24 Hour Race next week. Torotrak immediately issued its own press release setting the record straight, but it's hard to see any motive for Volvo's omission other than to mislead the public as to its progress and expertise in the field.  Read More

The Karma plug-in hybrid electric vehicle from Fisker Automotive

Following a series of funding setbacks that has seen the launch of Fisker Automotive’s Karma four-door saloon plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) sports car pushed back from the initial late 2009 launch date a number of times, there’s finally some good news. According to Gigaom, the company has surpassed its US$1 billion funding goal and plans to have vehicles in dealer showrooms in May or June and will begin fulfilling its 3,000-some pre-orders from June or July.  Read More

Audi's hybrid A3 E-tron

Audi's A3 e-tron concept to be shown at Auto Shanghai for the first time today, is a plug-in hybrid technical study based on the company's four-seat RS 3 Sportback. It uses a turbocharged, direct injection, 211 hp, 1.4 litre TFSI unit and a 27 hp electric motor to give the E-Tron a top speed of 144 mph plus exceptional frugality and energy efficiency.  Read More

Porsche plug-in-hybrid 918 Spyder to go into production in 2013

First shown as a concept at the Geneva Motor Show 2010, Porsche's highly innovative and deliciously proportioned Hybrid 918 Spyder is now available for order. Powered by a 500 hp V8 assisted by two electric motors, no more than 918 units of the new two-seater supercar will be made with production slated to begin in September 2013. The asking price: US$845,000.  Read More

'Born Electric' BMW launched its new BMWi sub-brand in Munich on Monday

In a move designed to highlight the company's commitment to "sustainable mobility solutions," BMW has launched a new sub-brand – BMW i. Two models based on existing concept studies will start the ball rolling under the new label from 2013. The BMW i3 will be based on the all-electric Megacity urban vehicle concept, while the BMW i8 is the planned production version of the plug-in hybrid BMW Vision EfficientDynamics sportscar shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show back in 2009.  Read More

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