Latest company and industry news

BMW will finally deliver the electric car everyone knew was coming at the NAIAS in January. The BMW ActiveE
Concept is essentially an electric BMW 1 Series Coupe built using the knowledge gained from year-long MINI E fleet trials, and the resultant vehicle is bristling with ideas and well worth a look. The 125 kW motor is located in the rear axle, the lithium ion batteries recharge in three hours, offer a range of 160 km (100 miles) and an interesting variation on regenerative braking can add as much as 20% to the range. With an electronically limited top speed of …

BMW claims the ActiveE will hit 100 km/h in less than 9 seconds (0-60 mph in 8.5 seconds), with the 60 km/h mark
being reached in less than 4.5 seconds and the maximum speed is electronically limited at around 145 km/h (90 mph).

Electrical vehicle components are usually much more [...]

A large percentage of the cars on the road, up to half in some countries, are owned and maintained by fleet management groups rather than individuals. In recent times we’ve seen a number of fleet management companies begin producing statistics on the reliability of their often massive fleets to better inform the public on the reliability of current vehicles. Now U.K. publication Fleet News has conducted research across a number of the major British fleets to produce a reliability survey across more than a million late model vehicles to reveal that the Honda Civic is the UK’s most reliable car and the Ford Transit the most reliable van. Honda snagged three of the top four most reliable cars but got beaten as the most reliable manufacturer.

The research, making it the largest vehicle reliability survey ever conducted in the country, quizzed companies
involved in the contract hire and leasing sector and asked them to [...]

Toyota Vitz recall

Toyota to recall 82,220 Vitz compact cars in Japan

TOKYO —October 22nd

Toyota Motor Corp will recall more than 82,220 Toyota Vitz compact cars in Japan due to a faulty window switch, the transport ministry said Wednesday.

The defective window switch could short out due to excessive lubrication, possibly causing it to catch fire, said ministry official Kazumi Furukawa.

The ministry has recorded 32 malfunction cases, including one fire, due to faulty window switches in the Toyota Vitz since 2007. No one was injured in the fire.

The recall in Japan will begin Thursday, 22nd October, Furukawa said. When a car maker wants to recall vehicles in Japan, it must inform the transport ministry of the plan.

Toyota Vitz subcompact, which is marketed overseas as the Yaris, is one of Japan’s top-selling cars.

The world’s No. 1 automaker announced last month it would recall some 3.8 million vehicles in the United States—Toyota’s biggest recall there—after four people were killed in August in a high-speed [...]

The Audi e-tron electric Quattro with 4,500 Nm of torque

One of the highlights of IAA 2009 was undoubtedly Audi’s electric Quattro, and the development ecosystem the company is establishing. Dubbed the e-tron, it has four motors producing in total a 230 kW (313 hp) and a stunning 4,500 Nm (3,319.03 lb-ft) of torque, enabling it to accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (0 – 62.14 mph) in 4.8 seconds, and from 60 to 120 km/h (37.28 – 74.56 mph) in 4.1 seconds. The car’s lithium-ion battery is stored directly behind the passenger cabin for an optimal center of gravity, and holds 42.4 kilowatt hours, enabling a range of 250 km.

The performance figures are by no means the only evidence of the consistent and holistic strategy. The design makes it clear that the e-tron belongs in the major leagues of sports cars, and the package takes into account the specific realities of an electric [...]

Mercedes announces three Concept BlueZERO electric vehicles

Mercedes-Benz reckons it won’t be just one technology that paves the way to sustainable mobility. After showing the 200 km range all-electric BlueZERO E‑CELL at the NAIAS in January, the German giant is to create a family of modularly-constructed, liquid-cooled Lithium-ion electric cars by adding two more derivatives of the close-to-production vehicle in Frankfurt next week. The BlueZERO E-CELL PLUS extends the range to 600 km using a turbocharged petrol engine as a range extender generator, while the BlueZERO F-CELL is fuel-cell-powered with a range of about 400 km.

The BlueZERO E-CELL PLUS is part of a family of modularly constructed electric cars, which will enable Mercedes-Benz to meet all customer requirements for sustainable mobility in the future. In this variant of the concept vehicle, the electric motor of the purely battery-powered BlueZERO E-CELL is combined with an additional three-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine. Putting out 50 kW, the [...]

General Motors made a lot of noise Aug. 11 with the announcement of a 230-mile-per-gallon city fuel-economy rating for its Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric car. Not to be outdone, Nissan (NSANY) said its Leaf electric car gets an equivalent of 367 MPG.

This one-upsmanship by the two automakers probably just confused any would-be buyers of these cars, which will both hit the market later next year. It also raises serious questions for the government and car companies: How will federal regulators rate the efficiency of the newest-tech cars, and how will the automakers use that data to market
them? Neither number is likely to match up the real fuel-economy performance for either car, since Volt buyers will all drive it differently and Leaf drivers won’t even use gasoline.

To see how unhinged MPG becomes as electricity takes a bigger role under the hood, look at the Chevy Volt. The Volt will always drive using [...]

The concept RCZ Hybrid4 has 147 kW yet delivers 70 mpg.

These are the first images of Peugeot’s RCZ sports car due to debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in mid-September. First unveiled as a concept two years ago, the production model’s unique shape houses some remarkable technology. F’rinstance, an active rear spoiler, a Twin-Scroll turbocharger, direct petrol injection, variable valve lift and variable valve timing, Hill Assist to facilitate maneuvers on steep gradients, an intelligent traction control system (ASR), electronic brake force distribution (EBFD) and emergency brake assist (EBA). There’s also a concept RCZ Hybrid4 which uses a 120 kW 2.0-liter HDi FAP diesel engine at the front and a 27 kW electric motor at the rear to deliver 70 mpg.

Three engines will initially find a place under the aluminum bonnet of the RCZ – all complying with the Euro 5
emissions standard.

A new 1.6-liter turbocharged petrol engine has been developed [...]

Eight Japanese automobile manufacturers suffered historic falls in their output, exports and sales in the first half of this year, following the global economic crisis.

In June, however, the performance of the car makers varied widely depending on whether they had best-selling eco-friendly vehicles on offer.

Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. have overcome their slump to an extent as their hybrid cars sold well due to government’s tax breaks and subsidies for the purchase of eco-friendly cars. In sharp contrast, Suzuki Motor Corp. and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. continued to suffer declines in June.

Automakers’ strategy for eco-friendly vehicles is likely to emerge as a decisive factor for their business performances in the entire business year ending in March 2010.

Eight major auto manufacturers made a combined 3,223,085 cars for the domestic market from January to June, down 44.2 percent from a year earlier. This is the first time since 1990 that the [...]

ROLLE, Switzerland (July 20, 2009) – Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., within the Renault-Nissan Alliance, today announced together with the governments of the United Kingdom and Portugal their plans to build two plants for the production of its advanced lithium-ion batteries in Europe. In doing so, the Renault-Nissan Alliance marks the first significant step towards producing batteries for its Zero Emission Mobility Program in Europe.

The two governments have offered to extend financial assistance and other support to ensure that Nissan locates the proposed plants within their respective countries. This recognizes the significant contribution that the plants are likely to make to the long term health of both the national and regional economies by being central to the growth of the automotive and associated industries, boosting jobs and the skills sector and pioneering the manufacture and sale of zero emission vehicles in Europe.

After finalizing details and concluding discussions with Her Majesty’s Government, the UK site [...]

OKYO (July 22)–Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., a long-time leader in the development and application of CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) technology, and its affiliate transmission supplier JATCO Ltd. today announced the joint development of a new generation of compact and lightweight CVTs.

Next-generation CVT

The next-generation CVT design features an innovative structure combining conventional CVT belt operation with an auxiliary gearbox and a significantly increased gear ratio range. The new CVT is scheduled to appear in compact Nissan vehicles worldwide in the near future.

Major features of the new CVT are:
World’s highest transmission ratio for quicker starts and acceleration The new structure raises the available transmission ratio from current 6.0:1 to 7.3:1, more than 20 percent higher than other CVTs, for enhanced responsiveness on starting and acceleration. The 7.3:1 ratio is higher than the average conventional 7-speed automatic transmissions used on high-displacement engine-equipped vehicles, making it among the world’s highest ratios for production vehicle [...]

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