Just Car Blog
|BMW i3 to be Unveiled July 29th||
BMW will officially unveil their final production version of the all electric i3 at the end of the month.
BMW’s space-like i3 will make it’s debut on July 29th. Ironically enough, this is two years to the day since the i3 Concept was unveiled.
The i3 will be offered with a 168hp, all electric powertrain, as well as plug-in range-extender which is called the REx.
In anticipation of the unveiling of the ‘greener’ electric BMW, the company has launched a teaser video as part of it’s marketing campaign and, of course, to get people talking about the car.
The video features people posing for pictures and jumping up and down – then it asks the viewer to learn a new German word: “Vorfreude” which means ‘anticipation’.
The teaser seems a bit strange, with no mention or image of the car until the end of the video, when we see a simple silhouette of the i3. It ends with the tag line “Born Electric” – which is cute. And appropriate.
Gallery: The all new, all electric BMW i3 –
From the silhouette, we can imagine that the production ready version of the i3 will probably be identical to it’s concept.
Although the teaser video is odd and the car looks a little like a Martian’s car, people are still excited about BMW’s latest creation. And if it helps to protect the planet, who are we to complain?
See for yourself: You can make up your own mind about the rather interesting teaser video –
|Toyota & BMW Collaborate – Potential Sports Car||
Partnerships with Toyota are nothing new even when you consider the joint venture in development of the new Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ. As it seems, working with Toyota is usually a good thing, which is part of the reason BMW seeks a partner in Toyota to potentially develop a new sports car.
Sources from BMW and Toyota have reported today that they have signed a memorandum that they will expand their development and research partnership, not only for new battery technology and Diesel engines, but to delve into other things including a sports car.
Already, Toyota and Subaru have made a positively received move with Subaru and they are probably thinking why not keep the forward momentum moving. Working together on a 4-part puzzle, composed of lightweight technologies, fuel cell systems, powertrain electrification and a sports car, it could mean a match made in heaven that satisfies many different future vehicle segments.
“I get so excited thinking about the cars that will result from this relationship. I think I can say I am the one who is most looking forward to a sports car that is environment friendly and truly excites car fans around the world,” said Toyota.
The collimation of BMW and Toyota could really do a lot for future innovation in the automotive world. Just think, Toyota has been the perfect (boring) driving appliance for many years, as BMW has been a very exciting and sports- conscious brand in their accomplishments of building the ultimate driving machines.
|California To ‘Require’ Sales Of Electric And Plug-In-Hybrid Vehicles||
Just when you thought that legislators in the Golden State had come to their senses, something happens to reaffirm our opinion that California may be the least-car-enthusiast-friendly state in the country. After showing some degree of sanity by agreeing to adopt the proposed EPA mileage standard of 54.5 mpg by 2025, California has announced that, by 2025, a minimum of 15.4 percent of sales must be of electric, plug-in-hybrid or hydrogen powered vehicles.
To frame that mandate with a dose of reality, let’s look at the two commercially available electric cars. In 2011, Nissan sold 9,674 Leafs in the United States; excluding trucks, that represents just 1.6 percent of its car sales in the United States. Chevrolet sold 7,671 Volts, which represented just one percent of its new car sales in the U.S. market.
Do we need to tell you that legislation requiring manufacturers to sell X percent of green cars is absurd, akin to requiring grocery stores to sell 15.4 percent of food from the produce aisle? While the penalties for non-compliance aren’t clear (yet), automakers can’t dictate whether or not customers will buy a “green” vehicle over a more conventional one. Sure, they can influence this via marketing, but at the showroom level it’s always the consumer who has the final say, unless, of course, the freedom of choice element is removed.
As Autoblog and Automotive News (subscription required) report, some ten additional states (including New York and New Jersey) will likely follow California’s lead, requiring automakers to significantly ramp up sales of green vehicles. Automakers, oddly enough, back the plan, but with good reason – by mandating sales of electric and plug-in-hybrid vehicles, manufacturers get an artificially inflated market to sell into.
|Could Honda’s EV-STER Concept Become A Tesla For The Masses?||
One of the highlights of this week’s Tokyo Motor Show is the debut of the Honda EV-STER electric roadster concept. Bold styling sets the EV-STER apart from the rest of the Honda lineup, and it may be an indication that Honda is listening to critics who find its current product line boring and uninspired.
Honda isn’t saying that the EV-STER will definitely be built, but it would keep with the company’s goal of being a “green” automaker. According to the details published by Honda, the EV-STER is rear drive (and, presumably, rear-motor), uses carbon materials to reduce weight and has a maximum range of nearly 100 miles on a charge. Honda claims the EV-STER will hit 37 miles per hour (60 km/h) in five seconds, before topping out at a maximum speed of 100 miles per hour. The 10 kW lithium-ion batteries can be recharged in less than 6 hours on household current, or less than 3 hours on 240V.
While the performance may not be enough to attract those who favor speed over saving the planet, it’s a starting point. If the EV-STER is built, tuners will find a way to add more powerful motors, hack the controller to send more voltage to the motors and even find ways to add additional batteries for more power or increased range. Tuning is tuning, regardless of whether you’re talking about an electric motor or an internal combustion engine.
If Honda builds the EV-STER, it has to be priced attractively (say, below $30k) and it has to handle like a true sports car. The CR-Z “sports hybrid” proved that very few buyers want a car that’s neither fast enough to be entertaining nor fuel-efficient enough to be green, and Honda can’t afford to make the same mistake twice.
|EDAG Reveals Light Car Sharing Concept||
EDAG has come up with a concept named Light Car Sharing, through which customers can rent the car. This idea revolves around the aspect that a customer needs to pay for the vehicle only when he uses it. The concept car sharing will be launched at the Geneva Motor Show and has been revealed ahead of it.
This lightweight electric car is perfectly suited for hassle free driving in urban traffic. Two years ago EDAG did bring up an earlier version of the Light Car. The EV features well lit surfaces on its plastic body indicating the present status of the vehicle i.e. whether the car is available or occupied by another customer and also the current range.
The car’s electric drive is run by a battery pack situated beneath the floor and undercover, far from damages due to accidents.
Internet access using customers’ smartphones along with the GPS enable to pin-point the location of the car and communicate with the customers. The customers can then, using their smartphones’ navigation system reach the nearest available car. The bookings can be done through the Internet and thereafter users can approach the vehicle using a Bluetooth key.
Other innovations include the intelligent charger whereby while charging the vehicle, information such as the ideal time for charging (calculating renewable energy sources and mobility), is the car fully charged, maximum range, next due service etc are received by the operator.
Besides the two side doors with simple sliding windows, the EDAG – Light Car can seat six and has a rear entry. To simplify things the car doesn’t have storage space or door trims, and comes with only one display console. Features such as entertainment, Internet access etc. can be booked as optional extras.
EDAG presents itself at over 45 locations in 20 countries throughout the world. Founded in 1969, EDAG’s focus is on the automotive, aerospace and rail industries, as well as regenerative energies.
|Almost 13,000 Falsely Claim Electric Car Tax Credit||
Imagine that: nearly 13,000 Americans tried to scam the government in the first half of 2010 by claiming they purchased an electric car. The false claims amounted to about 20% of credits granted, and totaled some $33 million. Twenty nine of the fake claims were filed by prisoners (why not roll the dice when you’ve got nothing to lose), while other fraudulent claims were actually filed by IRS employees. Currently unemployed IRS employees, I assume. Some taxpayers claimed the deduction for the purchase of a Hummer H3, a Dodge Durango or a Cadillac Escalade, and one form actually tried to claim the credit for purchasing a golf cart.
The $7,500 tax credit was intended to be used towards the purchase of a plug-in electric drive motor vehicle, so even conventional parallel hybrids didn’t qualify for the credit. The same amount was also given for converting a fuel-burning car to a plug-in, which seems to be a common conversion among Toyota Prius owners. The IRS is now working to recover the credits wrongly issued, and says that efforts to reduce incorrect claims helped them protect over $3 million in revenue so far. On the other hand, they could have simply hired a consultant who knows about cars to review manuals and software programs; I’d only charge $75 per hour, which would work out to be a whole lot less than the $33 million the agency paid by mistake.
Source: Inside Line
|Renault’s Kangoo Express Z.E. Displayed at ICV Show at Hanover||
The International Commercial Vehicle show in Hanover, Germany was the venue for the premiere of Renault’s Kangoo Express Z.E. The vehicle is an all-electric, commercial variant of the Renault Kangoo.
The Kangoo Express Z.E. is a compact commercial vehicle that runs on a 22 kWh lithium-ion battery (which comes with a separate €72 monthly cost if the vehicle is leased) that powers the electric motor to produces 44 kW (60 PS / 59 bhp) and 226 Nm (167 lb-ft) of torque. It has a range of 160 km (99 miles).
The price tag from Renault for the vehicle is €20,000 (excluding VAT). The good news is that the Kangoo Express Z.E. can come with tax rebates of up to a €5,000 in some European countries (like France) that offer tax credits for low emissions vehicles. This would bring down the price further – to around €15,000, not including VAT. The car will be on sale in Europe by the middle of 2011.
According to Renault, charging the vehicle will only cost only about €1 to €2, depending on the price of electricity in each market. Despite this, the Kangoo Express Z.E. will have the same payload capacity of 650 kg as the standard, non-electric model says the company.
|Saab 9-3 ePower Electric Prototype Unveiled||
The Saab 9-3 ePower prototype, Saab’s first electric vehicle, has finally been unveiled. The new offering from the renowned Swedish automobile company will debut at the Paris Motor Show.
Featuring a 35.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and a 135 kW (184 PS / 181 hp) electric motor, the ePower can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 8.5 seconds, hit a top speed of 150 km/h (93 mph), and travel up to 200 kilometers (124 miles) on a single charge.
Depleted batteries can be recharged with a standard household outlet in less than six hours. Charging time can be significantly reduced if the voltage of the electrical feed is higher says the company, because there is no limit to the battery’s input capacity.
Sources say that 70 ePowers will be “evaluated under a variety of real world driving conditions as part of the development process for a purpose-built, electric Saab vehicle.” The plan is that Saab will enlist hundreds of drivers as well as their families for test-driving and evaluation.
These tests are likely to take place in central, west and eastern Sweden during 2011-12. In order to keep track of essential data, each car will have aircraft-style, black box recorders. The company says that the car will not be going into mass production.
|Nissan Leaf pre-orders on the rise again||
Interest towards the Nissan Leaf has suddenly surged, after a brief lull. Though there had been lots of interest for pre-order, there had been a fall in numbers as time went by. However, the Leaf is seeing a comeback in interest. The car maker is said to be steadily jacking up more potential sales though not in the same tempo as it used to be earlier.
According to Nissan, Leaf’s pre-order status in the US market place which stood at 13,000, plus an additional 6,000 in Japan, has now gone up to more than 15,000 in the US. It looks like more US buyers are ready to shell out $99 as reservation fee to be in line to drive the initial batches of the Leaf.
It may be also noted that the pre-orders for the Nissan Leaf in the US and Japan combined would stand somewhere well over the 20,000-levels. In case you are interested to know what color is being most sought after, market analysis says that around 29 percent of the recorded pre-orders have chosen the Aqua Globe vehicle while the one with Silver hues comes in as the second most preferred at 26 percent.