The Silvretta Electric Car Rally lasted three days, with each day more difficult than the previous. The cars had to drive 109, then 118, and finally 134 kilometers (68, 73 and 83 miles). Short distances, but the hard part was to use as little energy as possible. That’s where the Volkswagen e-up! was the best by far, thanks to its low weight and sheer agility. Continue reading
We knew it. Smart will unveil very soon a new generation of its unique model, the Fortwo. A larger Forfour model will follow, at least that’s what we thought, but we were wrong: both models will be unveiled at the same time. One major difference though, will be that the two-seater Fortwo will be built in France, in Hammbach, while the larger four-seater will be built in Slovenia, alongside the Renault Twingo. The video below (official) gives the clearest shot yet of the new range.
There are only a few miles between Europe and Africa. The ferry to cross the Gibraltar strait takes less than an hour, but with flying so cheap, few drivers are getting on it. This may change now that we have cars which can begin the journey in Africa and drive all the way to the UK without a refill. One car just did it. A 1,223 miles trip. A Mercedes E300 Bluetec Hybrid left Tangiers in Morocco, and drove North, all the way up to Goodwood, West Sussex. Driving time was 27 hours.
Car-sharing is an idea many city-planners dream of as it increases space efficiency, but in Paris, drivers see the Autolib electric car sharing service as a nightmare. The cars are very poorly built, most of them already looking more than ten years old, and their battery technology is outdated, self-discharging themselves to death in less than 48 hours. The worse part being that thanks to its political connections, Vincent Bolloré, the man behind Autolib, has launched similar services in Lyon and Bordeaux. Will he conquer the whole of France? Continue reading
More than a third of all Peugeot 508 cars are sold in China. this is a sign of changing times. Conventional four-door sedans are out of favor in most of Europe where drivers prefer SUVs, but they’re still appealing to image-conscious Chinese buyers. Peugeot knows this, but it’s 508 still looks like it’s designed to please the European consumers first, as the emphasis on diesel engines shows. Continue reading
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors, made headlines everywhere when he announced he would share his patents with anyone who could help the electric car raising to stardom. It’s a bold move, no doubt about that, but is that going to change anything? There are many differences between a Tesla Model S and all the other EVs, but the biggest isn’t about some secret and tricky tech. No. Continue reading
This might be the Nissan Leaf’ strongest competitor, the electric version of the Kia Soul. It just entered production in South Korea, and it’s expected to arrive in export markets during the fall. It promises a lot because it has the largest battery of the market, this side of Tesla Model S: 27 kWh. Official European testing methods should give it a 131 miles rating, that’s one mile more than a Renault Zoé.
MeinFernBus is the largest innercity bus company in Germany, it just reached a partnership with DriveNow, the car-sharing service launched by BMW. Continue reading
When the first X6 was unveiled, most greenies were puzzled and disappointed. A big powerful SUV with less utility, but without any improvement in fuel economy, or performance. What was the point? It just didn’t make sense, but customers didn’t care. They were plenty of them, and the X6 proved successful for its lucky manufacturer. Nearly a quarter of a million have been sold, and the world is still waiting for an electric car selling like this. There’s no doubt that this year, BMW will sell three times as much X6 SUVs than little i3 electric cars.
Everybody knows that lithium-ion batteries are better than lead-acid ones. The best proof is that lithium cells are everywhere these days, in phones, laptop computers or cameras. Their only issue compared to lead is their much higher price. In a car that requires to store a large quantity of energy at a sensible price, the old tech is still leading. The only production gas car fitted with a lithium battery today is the Porsche 911 GT3. A great car, no doubt about it, if you can afford it.
Ford had another idea when it launched a R&D partnership with Samsung SDI. If lithium cells alone are too expensive for high volume cars, let’s cut the problem in two. How about a dual solution, with two batteries, one lead-acid, the other lithium-ion?
When it comes to solar energy, the Intersolar show (this week, in Munich) is said to be the largest in the world. Mitsubishi is there shwoing its i-MiEV electric model, but the manufacturer isn’t showing its car as a car. It tells visitors its car is the perfect buffer battery for a house fitted with solar panels. There might be a demand here, as this is a big concern for homeowners, maybe the biggest one. When someone puts photovoltaic cells in his house: what to do with the electricity? Sending it to the grid, or keeping it at home for later use? The last solution is more tempting, but it’s also very costly. A bank of stationary batteries costs thousands, and that leaves room for a third solution, from Mitsubishi.
This vehicle is not intended for production. It’s a R&D prototype mostly built with European public funds. It was built in Aachen (Aix La Chapelle), and several manufacturers were partners in the project, Fiat, Michelin and Volkswagen. This is about an all electric compact van, built on a dedicated platform. The name is Deliver, Continue reading