Just unwrapped at Geneva is this extraordinary Porsche 918 Spyder concept car, a mid-engined two-seater combining supercar performance with just 70 grams CO2 per kilometre emissions and a fuel consumption of 3.0 litres/100 kilometres (94 mpg imp). Under those curvaceous lines hides a 500 bhp V8 plus three electric motors totalling 215 bhp offering a wickedly fast 0-100 km/h time of 3.2 seconds, a top speed of 320 km/h (198 mph) and it's already done a lap of the Nordschleife Nurburgring circuit under 7:30 minutes, which is faster than even the Porsche Carrera GT. Buyers will be queued up around the block if (or more likely, when) this goes into production. Read More
Set to debut at the 80th International Geneva Motor Show, the Lotus Evora 414E concept is a hybrid plug-in technology demonstrator that uses a 1.2 liter, three-cylinder engine and independent electric motors for each of the rear wheels. The result is 0-60 mph (97 kph) in under 4 seconds and power output of 414 PS (306 kW). The claimed range of over 300 miles (483 km) and glass engine cover are also impressive, but one of the most interesting aspects of the car is its sound system. To address concerns about pedestrian safety raised by the arrival of near silent EVs and hybrids, Lotus has worked with Harman International to develop "HALOsonic", a "noise solution" that works externally to alert pedestrians and internally to give you the fun of real engine sounds. Read More
If you were a hybrid vehicle manufacturer, and you wanted to lower the world’s CO2 emissions, would you first...
- a) Try to replace all the privately-owned gas vehicles, that mostly just drive to and from workplaces, one vehicle at a time, or...
- b) Replace entire corporate fleets of gas delivery vehicles, that typically spend all day, every day, on the road?
Hyundai's tasty Blue Will concept car turned up at the Detroit NAIAS this week for its first showing on American soil. We got to take a close-up look at the Korean company's blue-sky plug-in hybrid and were impressed by some of the details - headlamp surrounds made from recycled PET bottles, a full undertray for sleek aeros, a glass roof impregnated with solar cells, drive-by-wire steering column and a thermal generator to turn waste heat from the combustion engine into electricity. Read More
Piaggio's MP3 was the world's first hybrid three-wheeler and at EICMA this week, it showed what is likely to be the first two-wheeled hybrid – the Piaggio USB (urban sport bike). The combination of a highly efficient, low-emmission GDI (gasoline direct injection) two-stroke motor and an electric motor, the USB is much smaller than it looks in the images and weighs in at just 130 kg. The USB runs 50km (30 miles) on electric only, and returns 1.5 l/100 km (156 U.S. mpg and 188 imperial mpg). Read More
“Electric cars should be rewarded for their energy efficiency, not for moving emissions from exhaust pipes to powerstation chimneys” says the UK's Environmental Transport Association (ETA). In a report titled "How to avoid an electric shock - Electric cars: from hype to reality", the ETA has taken a close look at electric-powered vehicles (EVs) and their associated technologies. In what could be a shock to some commuters – and governments - the report states that EVs could potentially speed climate change, rather than reduce it, and might not be as good for the planet as some of the spin suggests. Simply put, it’s not necessarily the cars themselves that will cause the damage, but the way the electricity is generated to power them and how often we drive them. For instance, EVs powered by “green energy” - wind or solar - are obviously superior, but if the electricity comes from coal, hybrids perform better. Read More
UK car manufacturer Axon Automotive has used the Milton Keynes Science Festival to preview its plug-in hybrid lightweight passenger car. The car combines carbon fiber composite construction with a full electric mode for short-run local travel and a petrol or bioethanol-powered engine for longer distances or highway travel. Read More
A lesser-known fact about the operator of the world's most popular Internet search engine is that it's been running a small fleet of hybrid vehicles for the past few years to support its effort to reduce CO2 emissions, cut oil use and stabilize the electrical grid by accelerating the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles. Google engineers have put the cars through numerous tests to both prove and improve electric vehicle technology whilst publishing the results on the Internet. More recently, Google has confirmed that the fleet is currently running smart software to enable communication between the grid and the vehicles. Read More
The 41st Tokyo Motor Show in October looks set to lift the veil on the first wave of Japanese electric cars we’ll actually see in mainstream distribution, so it’s incredibly exciting to see what will be rolled out as we are entering the pre-announcement period for the show. Mitsubishi’s MiEV (Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle ) lineage gets two new offspring concept cars – the PX-MiEV (PX stands for Plug-in hybrid crossover) and the i-MiEV CARGO. The CARGO in particular looks like it will fill an immediate need for emission-free delivery vehicles in the world’s most congested cities and, not surprisingly, although it’s classed as a concept, the company is currently accepting pre-orders for delivery in April 2010. Read More
Citroen showed an ultra-chic plug-in REVOLTe hybrid concept inspired by its iconic 2CV at the Frankfurt Motorshow. Compact, with a visually-stunning low stance, REVOLTe measures just 3.68m long, 1.73m wide and 1.35m tall. Apart from the drive train, the most interesting feature is its original and distinctive three-seater layout - driver’s seat to one side with two passenger seats behind it - is designed to resemble a lounge, with the rear seats taking the form of a contemporary sofa. Read More