Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Aston Martin all-electric concept

Aston Martins DBX Concept is an all-wheel drive electric car.

Aston Martin debuted an all-electric, all-wheel drive grand tourer concept called the Aston Martin DBX at the Geneva show.

“The DBX Concept is a challenge to the existing status quo in the high luxury GT segment. It envisages a world, perhaps a world not too far away, when luxury GT travel is not only stylish and luxurious but also more practical, more family-friendly and more environmentally responsible.” said Palmer at the reveal in Geneva. “I asked my team at Aston Martin to expand their thinking beyond conventions, to explore what the future of luxury GT motoring would look like in years ahead, and the DBX Concept you see before you is the result.”

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Ford Will Reportedly Show A 200-Mile EV This Year With both the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3 set to arrive in 2017, Ford is finally getting ready to unveil its own electric vehicle packing a 200-mile range.

According to a very fact-light report by Automobile, Ford's EV is set to debut later this year. There's no word on when, but with Geneva in progress and the New York auto show just a month away, an unveiling at the LA auto show in EV-friendly California this November is a safer bet.

Based on the "200-plus-mile" range Automobile is citing, this likely isn't a re-do of the Focus Electric. To hit that range target, Ford would need a dedicated EV architecture to house the batteries, either a T-like arrangement similar to the Volt/Bolt or a flat slab of batteries spanning the floor, ala the Tesla Model S.1

Beyond creating a dedicated platform, the next obvious question is who Ford will pick as a battery supplier. Compact Power, Inc. provided the cells for the Focus Electric. It's a subsidiary of LG Chem, which is producing the lithium-ion packs for the Chevrolet Volt, previously signed an agreement with Hyundai, and has a manufacturing facility in Holland, Michigan. Although that plant has had some, well, issues in the past.

Regardless, for all of Ford's talk of evolving the company, a competitive EV has to be in the cards as we're moving beyond the bandaid approach of slapping a battery in the trunk of an existing car and calling it done.

Lexus city car concept

2015: LEXUS LF-SA CITY CAR CONCEPT ARRIVES IN GENEVA We had a few guesses for what Lexus’ concept for the Geneva auto show would be, but we never could have predicted this. The Lexus LF-SA Concept ventures into a completely new space for the luxury brand: the city car segment.

Maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised considering the Geneva show’s penchant for strange and unconventional concept cars, but the LF-SA still strikes us as a bizarre move for Lexus. This tiny “urban 2+2” measures only 135 inches long and 67 inches wide, fitting in somewhere between a Smart ForTwo and a Fiat 500. Despite the small footprint, the LF-SA concept still has plenty of life-size Lexus styling cues, such as the huge spindle grille up front and angular, multi-layered surfaces along the side.
The LF-SA concept’s interior is as unconventional as its exterior. The driver’s seat is fixed, with an adjustable steering wheel and pedals meant to accommodate different driving positions. The passenger’s seat slides to allow access to the rear seats, which are said to offer “2+2” capacity, though Lexus has not yet released any photos of the second row. A simple, futuristic dashboard layout is driver-centric, and combines a traditional head-up display with a hologram digital display in the instrument cluster to create multi-dimensional information displays for the driver.

There’s no word on the LF-SA concept’s powertrain, but we would assume that it’s some sort of all-electric or hybrid drivetrain. At this point, we’re doubtful that a city car like the LF-SA would reach production, though the company does say that its styling will inspire Lexus’ design trends going forward.

Mahindra makes progress as Formula E constructor – Dilbagh Gill Mahindra Reva can be called a pioneer. The Indian manufacturer already has over 15 years of experience in the development of electric vehicles and aims to go global by also launching an electric car in Europe this summer. No wonder that they are on forefront of electric racing now the FIA Formula E Championship opens up its regulations to allow powertrain developments. Mahindra becomes one of the eight constructors in season two.

The Formula E organisation has put electric racing on the world map in just a few years time. One of its goals is to provide a platform for the automobile industry to develop new technologies which we’ll be seeing in everyday’s cars in the near future. Mahindra understood that immediately and signed up for this new adventure.

But setting up a Formula E team in a new championship and racing with new technology doesn’t sound easy. And just after four races the FIA announced that Mahindra will be allowed to develop the powertrain. asked Mahindra Racing Team Principal Dilbagh Gill if he’s ready. “It’s very exciting for the entire team and Mahindra, this is an obvious natural progression,” says Gill.

“Setting up the team in the inaugural season was a fantastic journey which has been very rewarding and we are now looking forward to a new journey in the coming years. We have developed a great structure within the team with the relationship between Mahindra Reva and Carlin engineers, I know that it’s going to be an exciting new challenge for us in Formula E.”

Gill explains that the Formula E global competition is massively important to Mahindra. “Not least because Mahindra are a successful manufacturing company who have already developed a fully electric road car through our Mahindra Reva subsidiary. They have a history of creating great products and we’re proud to be racing in the Formula E Championship showcasing Mahindra’s name and heritage to the world.”

Formula E will open up its regulations, but it doesn’t mean that the cars will look different from next year. Developments on the e-motor, inverter, gearbox and cooling system are allowed. The battery, provided by Williams Advanced Engineering, will stay for at least another year. And so is the Spark-Renault SRT_01E chassis too, provided by Dallara. No aerodynamic changes made by the teams are allowed for now.

With the final races in London being held in the end of June and testing to commence in summer, will there be enough time? “With the timescales involved it was not possible to develop a brand new e-motor so we will develop some aspects internally,” knows Gill. “For some of the larger components we will be working with our partners to develop a bespoke powertrain.”

Despite a tight schedule, Mahindra, Carlin and its partners are well on track to take the next two steps. “We’re already at the point of working on homologation with the FIA. We aim to be testing by end May – which is an ambitious time line – but it’s a target we need to meet in order to be in good shape for season two.”

Future expectations
It’s Formula E’s aim that the teams will run one car per driver in season 5. Therefore the powertrain and battery need to evolve. “Things like this don’t happen overnight though which is why the championship is in such a strong position to pioneer this type of technology,” explains Gill.

He emphasizes the technology is improving rapidly. “If you had asked people ten or so years ago if they thought an electric racing series like this was possible, many would have said no – and look where we are since then. I think that the goal is very realistic and something we’ll all be working towards.”

Indian ePrix
It’s no secret that Formula E has India on its wish list to organise an ePrix. When asked if Gill would expect to race on familiar ground in the next three years, he expressed that he is hopeful that it will happen. “It would be brilliant to have a Formula E event in India in the next three years and I’m hopeful that we can bring the series to the fans there,” he hopes. “The races are always so well attended and supported by the residents of the cities we race in and I know that the Indian fans would really get behind the event. The championship already goes to amazing cities around the world and of course we hope that we can add India to that list and have a home race soon.”

Gill knows that the championship has gained already a strong following both within India and around the world. “It’s only going to become more popular as it continues so Formula E is a great platform in which to have your brand. It’s also a strong field for developing new technology and we’re proud that Mahindra and India are at the forefront of that.”

Mahindra is currently ranked seventh in the team standings with drivers Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna each scoring a fifth and sixth place. With seven races to go anything can happen and a first podium finish isn’t far away.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Audi Prologue Avant Concept Those who like their vehicles to be electric, and their cars to be shaped like “wagons,” take note — the recently unveiled Audi Prologue Avant Concept may be exactly what you’re looking for.

In addition to the notable “looks” of the concept, there’s a fair amount of power — in particular, a 455 horsepower plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) drivetrain and 553 lb-ft of torque, coming via a 3.0 liter TDI coupled to a 100 kW electric motor.

The new concept PHEV was recently unveiled in anticipation of the upcoming 85th International Geneva Motor Show — which is set to take place at the Geneva Palexpo convention center in Geneva, Switzerland, March 5-15, 2015.

Gas2 provides more:

That’s enough grunt to haul the family sailboat clear across the continent, and in style. While not as much oomph as the original Audi Prologue Coupe Concept, which offered 677 horsepower and 701 lb-ft of torque, it’ll still get you from Point A to Point B in a hurry.

But there’s more to the Prologue Avant than raw brute force, as a 33-mile all-electric driving range means quick trips to town won’t require a single sip of fuel. A 5.1 second 0 to 62 MPH ensures you’ll never want for power merging onto the highway, and even though specific fuel economy isn’t mentioned, you can assume it will be something exceptionally frugal.

It should also be noted of course that this quite a stylish vehicle — as demonstrated in these promo images. The detachable OLED tablets in particular — quite fancy. Not as “interesting” looking as the recent Rinspeed Budii concept, but still attention grabbing.

According to Audi, most of the technologies used in the concept are “near production-ready,” but it’s not clear exactly what that means. The company has been dithering a bit when it comes to bringing EVs and PHEVs to the market. Perhaps that’s set to change now?

Image Credit: Audi

Global EV fleet to pass 1 million in 2015 and 10m by 2020 Around the globe, one research company is predicting that nearly 500,000 electrified vehicles will be sold this year.

With these sales adding to the 712,000 cumulative sales totaled at the end of last year, the worldwide stock of all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars could reach 1.19 million vehicles at the end of 2015.

The estimate comes from Frost & Sullivan, a market research firm from the U.K. The company made the announcement in a press release this month, though it didn’t break down sales by country or elaborate or the types of vehicles included in the projection.

“According to recent analysis, over 480,000 EVs are expected to be sold globally in 2015 with Europe and China projected as progression markets to watch out this year,” stated Frost & Sullivan.

“Furthermore, the total EVs are likely to reach 10 million units by 2020 globally.”

The prediction also noted that the fuel cell market is moving “to the next level” in Asia after the launch of several hydrogen-powered vehicles.
One of the major causes behind the growing EV and fuel cell market are stricter emission supplies, said the firm, with top trends being set by Europe and North America’s efficiency regulations.

“Vehicle manufacturers are not just under pressure to adopt green cars, but also need to find the aptly powertrain technology mix to bring down the fleet emission average,” says Frost & Sullivan Programme Manager, Anjan Hemanth Kumar.

“Passenger car diligence is pursuing advanced engine technologies such as downsizing, boosting, cylinder deactivation, advanced injection technologies and exhaust after treatment technologies. It is hard to find the aptly amalgamation.

“On the other hand, electrification is a major trend witnessed globally from micro hybrids to battery and fuel cell vehicles.”
SEE ALSO: 2014′s Top-10 Global Best-Selling Plug-in Cars
If Frost & Sullivan’s sales projections are right, total sales will have grown by 38-percent over 2014.

Last year, just under 300,000 plug-in electrified vehicles were sold in the 10 countries leading the PEV market. The U.S. was the top country, with 119,000 PEVs sold, followed by China (53,000) and Japan (30,000).

Netherlands – Over 2,500 Plug-In Electric Car Registrations In January

Plug-in car registrations in the Netherlands (Source: EV Sales Blog) The Netherlands surprised us in January by reaching the mark of 2,500 registrations of plug-in electric cars (over 5% market share), which is the strongest result since December 2013 when a large bath of Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVs was delivered.

It seems that last month the same trick (in smaller scale) was done with the Volkswagen Golf GTE – 905 units and first place on the chart.

Together with 579 Outlander PHEV and 330 Volvo V60 Plug-ins, three plug-in hybrids accounted for over 72% of all the plug-in electric car registrations.

If we add the rest of plug-in hybrids, their lead is even more spectacular at roughly 84% of the plug-in electric car market.

The high ratio of plug-in hybrids to BEVs is mainly the result of a favorable set of incentives for them.

In 2014, the Netherlands had an unmatched 19,876 registrations of plug-in hybrids (two thirds of all the PHEVs registered in the EU that year) and in 2013 the number was 9,938.

Among BEVs, the electric smart with 174 registrations managed to take fourth place, while Tesla Model S with 110 took #6.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

India: Subsidies at last

Rs. 75 Crore Earmarked for Electric Vehicles

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley outside the Parliament before presenting the Union Budget. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today earmarked Rs. 75 crore for faster adoption and manufacturing of electric vehicles in 2015-16, a step which electric vehicles makers termed as a good beginning.

"Government is also launching a scheme for faster adoption and manufacturing of electric vehicles (FAME) with an initial outlay of Rs. 75 crore," he said.

Further, the concessional excise duty of 6 per cent on specified goods for use in manufacture of electrically operated vehicles and hybrid vehicles, presently available up to this March, is being extended for another year.

Reacting to the development, Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV), Director-Corporate Affairs, Sohinder Gill termed the allocation towards promoting electric vehicles and supporting charging infrastructure and R&D investments as a welcome step.

"Its like a life saver for the ailing companies who had invested into the environmentally friendly vehicles but were bleeding heavily because of the lack of government support," he added.

In addition to supporting the industry National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) will create a significant positive impact on the health index of country by promoting zero pollution electric vehicles and reducing the dependence on the fossil fuel.

Elaborating further, he said that the biggest beneficiary of the (NEMMP) will be companies manufacturing electric two wheelers and small electric cars, who have managed to survive through the difficult years and have been still active in the market.

"Although we are awaiting details, it is expected that aroundRs. 1,000 cr will be allocated for a period of two years, a large part of which will go directly into the hands of the customers in term of reduction of the prices of electric vehicles by around 20 per cent and in installing charging stations in many cities," he added.

The government has an ambitious target of putting 5 million electric and hybrid vehicles per year on the road by 2020 under the NEMMP.

"A clear roadmap on GST, increased investment in infrastructure, agriculture investment and reforms, increased alloaction to electric vehicles and a focus on skilled development will also support auto demand," said PwC India, auto expert and partner, Abdul Majeed.

The previous UPA government had launched the NEMMP 2020 in 2013. The targets were envisaged to result in substantial lowering of vehicular emissions and decrease in carbon dioxide emissions by 1.3 per cent to 1.5 per cent in 2020 as compared to a status quo scenario.

It was estimated that the government would need to provide support to the tune of Rs. 13,000-14,000 crore over a period of 5-6 years to facilitate R&D and put in place charging infrastructure.

Second hand EVs - not bad news after all 

1. Battery depletion is not a major issue

Electric vehicle naysayers like to warn of the dire risks electric vehicle owners face with respect to lithium-ion batteries and power depletion. There are are at least two reasons why battery depletion is not a major issue on the used EV market.

First, Nissan guarantees its batteries to eight years or 100,000 miles (whichever happens first), so the best-selling vehicle in the segment is safe at least until then. Second, a study on the premium Tesla Model S showed the battery pack held 94% of its power after 50,000 miles. Based on the evidence and automaker-backed warranties, major battery depletion in EVs is a myth.

2. Model S and i3 retain value

Kelley Blue Book’s annual “best resale value” lists are respected for the research and care that go into the studies, but neither the Tesla Model S nor the BMW i3 were among the top three plug-ins for the 2015 model year. (Two Porsche plug-ins and the Fusion Energi were.)

Now a full year after i3 hit the market, there are no available used models for less than the MSRP minus federal rebate. The same is true for the Model S, which showed one 60 kWh 2013 model available in Illinois for $70,000. With a base price of $71,070 and $10,000 in credits available in select states, used consumers don’t gain much of anything by choosing a secondhand Tesla.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Audi R8 e-tron 280 miles Audi has just released a whole slew of details on its all-new R8 e-tron. The second generation of the Audi R8 forms the basis for two more models. Audi has made major engineering developments in its high-performance electric sports car, the R8 e-tron. The latest evolution of the vehicle takes up the multimaterial Audi Space Frame from the new series-production model.

The supporting structure was enhanced by a CFRP rear-section module comprising the luggage compartment. The walls of the CFRP luggage compartment well are corrugated. This way, in the event of a rear-end collision, more energy can be absorbed despite the reduced material weight.

Thanks to targeted modifications to the outer shell and on the wheels, the Audi R8 e‑tron achieves an aerodynamic drag coefficient (cd) value of 0.28. In terms of performance and range, the car enters entirely new dimensions.

The large T-shaped battery is structurally integrated into the center tunnel and behind the occupant cell – optimally positioned in the car. It supports the dynamics of the R8 e-tron with its low center of gravity. Audi produces the high-voltage battery itself, for the first time based on a newly developed lithium-ion technology which was specially conceived for a purely electric vehicle drive. In comparison to the first technology platform, the battery capacity has grown from 49 kWh to approximately 92 kWh. This progress was possible without changing the package.

The R8 e-tron achieves an electric range of 450 kilometers (279.6 mi) instead of a previous 215 kilometers (133.6 mi)with an energy density that has been increased from 84 Wh/kg to 154 Wh/kg and some other modifications to the car. The electrically powered high-performance sports car has theCombined Charging System (CCS) on board, which allows charging with direct and alternating current. Using this system, it is possible to fully charge the battery in significantly less than two hours.

The power is now twice 170 kW and the maximum torque twice 460 Nm (339.3 lb-ft). The R8 e-tron 2.0 accelerates from0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 3.9 seconds on its way to an electronically restricted top speed of 210 km/h (130.5 mph) or 250 km/h (155.3 mph). Intelligent energy management and an electromechanical brake system enable high energy recuperation rates. Targeted torque vectoring – needs-based distribution of power transmission between the rear wheels – ensures maximum stability and dynamism.

Audi uses the electrical high-performance sports car primarily as a mobile high-tech laboratory. Accordingly, the findings from the R8 e-tron help in creating a vehicle with a sedan character. Upon customer request, the R8 e-tron will be available for order in 2015 as an electrically powered sports car in supreme hand-built quality.

So, it’s now real and the numbers certainly impress.

All we need to know now is pricing, which we suspect will shock us when released soon.