Photokina 2014 highlights

Plug-in Hybrid

Honda's Accord Coupe Concept unveiled at NAIAS 2012

Even without taking into account Japan's recent natural disasters, Honda has struggled of late, seemingly having lost its prominence as a technology innovator. With much riding on next year's models, there was a lot of interest when Honda took the covers of the new Accord Coupe Concept at the 2012 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) recently, revealing the first official glimpse of a new styling direction, as well as revealing a host of claimed new technologies for the all-new, ninth-generation 2013 model, set to go on-sale this fall in America.  Read More

Toyota's NS4 advanced plug-in hybrid concept that was unveiled in Detroit this week

Toyota's NS4 advanced plug-in hybrid concept that was unveiled this week at the 2012 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit is the brainchild of Toyota engineers who were given the task of designing a new mid-size concept for potential launch in markets worldwide by 2015. While the NS4 concept is a dedicated plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), Toyota says it isn’t part of its Prius family, with a next-generation Hybrid Synergy Drive plug-in system that is not only smaller and lighter, but is also more fuel efficient, boasts better acceleration and a longer all-electric range than the current system.  Read More

The Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept pairs a 280 hp gasoline engine with a 70 hp electric...

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) 2012, which kicks off in Detroit next Monday, will see Volvo unveil its XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept car that it describes as “an electric car, a highly economical hybrid and a powerful high-performance car all rolled into one.” At the press of a button, the XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept can switch between Pure electric mode, Hybrid mode, or Power mode, which combines the power of the 280 hp gasoline engine with the 70 hp electric motor to propel the car from zero to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) in 5.8 seconds.  Read More

The Volkswagen Cross Coupe concept making its debut at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show (Image: G...

The opening day of the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show has seen Volkswagen unveil its Cross Coupé crossover concept. Featuring a long wheelbase and short overhangs, the all-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid is visually a cross between a four-door coupé and a compact SUV. The vehicle also represents the first public outing of Volkswagen's new modular transverse matrix (Modularer Querbaukasten or MQB) platform, which is intended to form the basis of a variety of different models (including the upcoming Golf and Audi A3), allowing the use of the same set of components while providing the flexibility for individual models to have a variety of wheelbase, track and external dimensions.  Read More

From top left, the Aqua, FT-EV III, FCV-R and Fun-Vii

The world's largest automaker has been slow off the mark in the race to bring electric vehicles to market, but it is now playing catch up at a fearsome rate, and we'll see the first of its new range of electric vehicles two weeks from now at the Tokyo Motor Show. The first Toyota EV (top right) will be a four-seater based on the iQ with a range of 65 miles (100 km) and it will hit showrooms next year. It is one of several new cars set to be shown, including a smaller, cheaper plug-in hybrid named the Aqua (top left - on sale in Japan THIS year), a plug-in version of the Prius hybrid and a hydrogen fuel cell midsize sedan (bottom left) to go on sale in 2015. The most intriguing of its Tokyo exhibits is the (bottom right) Fun-Vii concept “where people, cars and society are linked”. All we know is that the two “i”s stand for interactive and internet. As many details as are known inside.  Read More

SEAT's electric vehicle prototypes: the Leon TwinDrive Ecomotive plug-in hybrid (left) and...

SEAT is the latest automobile manufacturer set to make the move to electric vehicle production. With a view to mass-producing its first electric vehicles in the next five years, this week the company presented not one, but two prototype electric vehicles. The first is a plug-in hybrid called the Leo TwinDrive Ecomotive plug-in hybrid, while the second is an all-electric car known as the Altea XL Electric Ecomotive.  Read More

Few road-going cars have seen variable aerodynamics beyond the raising of rear  spoilers i...

Honda's AC-X is a plug-in hybrid concept that at first glance appears to be relatively conservative. It is not conservative in the least, and when the vehicle's full capabilities are unveiled in Tokyo a few weeks from now, we expect it to have front and rear bumpers which raise and lower to offer better aerodynamics depending on the speed, an autonomous or semi-autonomous driving mode which does not require the driver to steer, a radical smart key device and some very interesting 3D GPS displays which stretch right across the dashboard to give the passenger an unprecedented view of the surroundings.  Read More

TUV tests saw the Fisker Karma plug-in electric vehicle get a range of 51.6 miles (83 km) ...

Having received certification, a 10 out of 10 fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions rating and an electric-only range of 32 miles (51.5 km) from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last month, Europe’s independent regulatory body, the Technischer Ueberwachungs Verein (or Technical Inspection Association in English) has given the Fisker Karma a more impressive 51.6 mile (83 km) range in electric mode.  Read More

BYD's all-electric e6 hits the market - 87 mph and a range of 190 miles

One of the stars of the Chinese automotive industry is Shenzen-based BYD, which although only sixth largest of the Chinese manufacturers, had the country's top selling individual vehicle last year in the form of the BYD F3 (a Toyota Corolla E120 clone). Now, after substantive testing of its e6 all-electric model in taxi and company fleets, the five-seater 75 kW, 87 mph crossover has gone on sale to the Chinese public, with a (claimed) range of 300 km (186 miles), which would give it the longest range of any EV in the world at present. It also has a smartphone-based information system which seems at least as advanced as anything currently available anywhere.  Read More

Fisker Automotive's 2012 Karma sedan PHEV is now selling

Having unveiled the Fisker Karma at NAIAS 2008, Fisker Automotive had originally intended to begin sales of the Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) in late 2009, but funding setbacks saw the car’s launch date delayed several times. With the first deliveries to fulfill early customer orders taking place in late July this year, the wait is now finally over for U.S. retail customers with the 2012 model year Karma sedan hitting showroom floors after the vehicle received certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week.  Read More

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