Green Machines Toyota

Toyota Yaris-based Hybrid-R concept teased

Toyota Hybrid-R teaser

Toyota is bringing a 400hp Hybrid-R concept to the Frankfurt Motor Show and here is the first teaser image. Toyota says the concept is based on a current production model and will employ technology found in its TS030 Hybrid LMP1 racecar.

We’ve fiddled with the image to try and reveal a bit more and found that speculation the concept is based on the Yaris Hybrid appears to be on the money.

There’s no detail yet, of course, but Toyota adds the concept will boast a high-powered internal combustion engine and electric motors (note the plural) to offer more than 400hp (298kw).

We’ve got Toyota’s unedited teaser image for you after the break, along with a couple of pics to the Yaris Hybrid production model.

We think the Hybrid-R thingy is kind of cool. A 400hp Yaris! It’s certainly much easier to hold some faith and belief in this model than the Toyota-based Aston Martin Cynical. Let’s hope the Hybrid-R makes the transition from concept to reality.

BMW Green Machines

BMW officially previews i8 hybrid sportscar

BMW i8 prototype

Hot on the heels of its i3 city car, BMW has given an official preview of its i8 plug-in hybrid sportscar ahead of its debut at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show. The rear wheels are powered by a 170kW/320Nm 1.5 litre three cylinder turbo and the front axle is powered by a 96kW/250Nm electric motor. The total combined output of the i8 is 266kW/570Nm.

Weighing in at around 1490kg, BMW says the i8 can accelerate to 100km/h in around 4.5 seconds and has a top speed limited to 250km/h. In full electric mode the i8 is limited to 120km/h and has a predicted range range of around 35km. Its overall range will be closer to 500km, thanks largely to the three cylinder petrol engine sipping fuel at the rate of just 2.5l/100km on the combined cycle.

A reliance on carbon-fibre reinforced plastic and aluminium has helped keep weight down, which has been distributed at close to 50:50 over each axle. Slick aerodynamics result in a drag coefficient value of 0.26, which is pretty good.

The i8 can trace its roots back to the spectacular Vision EfficientDynamics, first shown in 2009. Now, almost ready for production, BMW describes the i8 driving experience by saying:

Variable front-rear power splitting in line with changing driving conditions makes for excitingly dynamic cornering. On entering the corner, the power split is biased towards the rear wheels to improve turning precision. For more vigorous acceleration out of the corner, the powertrain controller returns to the default split as soon as the steering angle becomes smaller again.

You can read more about the BMW i8 by downloading the abridged press release (295kb PDF) and we’ll bring you full details at Frankfurt Motor Show time.

BMW Green Machines

BMW i3 revealed

BMW i3

After an early unofficial preview, here is the BMW i3, Munich’s first all-electric city, now car ready for daily duties. It’s the first model in BMW’s i generation, which will also see the i8 sportscar revealed in time.

The i3 was revealed simultaneously at launch events in Beijing, London and New York. Speaking at the New York premiere Norbert Reithofer, BMW Chairman, said: “Innovation drives change. The i3 is more than just a car. It’s a revolutionary step towards sustainable mobility. It is purpose-built around an electric power train to serve the needs of our megacity customers.”

Powered by a lithium-ion battery the i3 produces 125kW/250Nm and can reach 100km/h in 7.2 seconds, top speed is limited to 150km/h. BMW reckons with normal use the four-seat i3 has a range of 130–160km. When driven in its most efficient Eco Pro+ mode the predicted range is 200km.

A 25kW two-cylinder 650cc petrol engine “range extender” is available as an option and increases the claimed maximum distance available in everyday driving to 300km.

Through the use of carbon fibre body panels, along with a carbon fibre passenger cell mated to an aluminium chassis, the i3 weighs in at a relatively lightweight 1195kg.

The i3 is fitted with a tailored version of BMW ConnectedDrive functionality and has a SIM card included, BMW says it’s the “world’s first fully networked electrically powered car.” With the BMW i Remote app you can use your smartphone to check on your i3’s battery status, remotely activate on board systems such as the air conditioning (while charging), send navigation information to the car and more.

Deliveries will commence in Germany and selected European countries from November, with China, Japan, USA and other markets to follow in the first half of 2014. There’s no official word yet on plans for an Australian release, although it’s expected to be on sale mid mid-next year. Expect to pay around $50,000 for your first BMWi experience.

BMW Green Machines

BMW i3 images leaked ahead of official launch

BMW i3 leaked image

BMW’s i generation is due to begin in earnest next Monday when the all-electric i3 city car is officially launched. We’ve seen it concept form before, most recently as the i3 Concept Coupé, but now leaked pics of the production model have emerged.

Earlier this month BMW released technical details of the i3, including a 24 page press kit (185kb PDF). The i3 will be powered by a 125kW/250Nm electric motor capable of covering up to 200km in its most efficient Eco Pro+ driving mode. In regular daily use BMW says the i3 has a range of 130–160km.

A two-cylinder 650cc petrol engine “range extender” is available as an option and increases the claimed maximum distance available in everyday driving to 300km.

The i3 is pretty quick too, with a claimed 0–100km/h time of 7.2 seconds, it’s as fast as a Mk5 Golf GTI (6sp manual).

Electric cars will be a new experience for many, especially when you consider the i3 has just one pedal. That means you press the pedal to accelerate and braking commences the moment you lift your foot off the pedal. BMW explains it like this:

The single-pedal control concept in the BMW i3 – configured by the BMW Group’s drive system development engineers – also contributes to the engaging driving experience. Recuperation mode is activated the moment the driver takes his foot off the accelerator. The electric motor switches from drive to generator mode, feeding power into the lithium-ion battery. At the same time, it generates a precisely controllable braking effect. This recuperation is speed-sensitive, which means the car “coasts” with maximum efficiency at high speeds and generates a strong braking effect at low speeds.

There’s been no word on Australian pricing for the i3, but we do know it will set you back €34,950 in Germany, £25,680 (after a £5,000 government subsidy) in the UK and $41,350 in the US. Averaged out that equates to around AU$45,650. We’re not sure if that is a realistic price expectation for our market, but we remain hopeful.

We’ll bring you full details of the i3 once BMW releases them. In the meantime there’s another eight leaked images for you after the break.


Green Machines Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz sets new electric record at the Ring

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive

Mercedes has knocked off Audi at the Nürburgring once again. First, Mercedes took Audi’s crown at the Nürburgring 24 hour race, now the three-pointed star has set a new lap record for an electric-powered production vehicle around the Nordschleife.

At the wheel of an SLS AMG Electric Drive Markus Hofbauer lapped the 20.832km north loop in 7 minutes 56.234 seconds. That’s comfortably quicker than the previous mark of 8 minutes 9 seconds held by the Audi R8 e-tron.

There’s no video of the lap at this stage, but Ola Källenius, Chairman of Mercedes-AMG, isn’t missing his chance to brag about the achievement.

“Mercedes-AMG impressively shows the potential of the SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive with this new record on the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Mercedes-AMG is the first vehicle manufacturer to have circled the Nordschleife in under eight minutes with an electrically-powered series production vehicle. This record run is further proof for our constant innovative vigour,” Källenius proclaimed.

This record is the perfect way to kick off the sales launch of the electric SLS AMG, which boasts key figures of 751hp (552kW)/1000Nm. Power comes from four motors, one placed at each wheel. Weighing 45kg each the motors can be controlled individually by the AMG Torque Dynamics system. The 100km/h sprint can be done in only 3.9 seconds and Mercedes claims a range of 250km if you behave.

While Mercedes can lay claim to producing the fastest electric-powered production vehicle around the Green Hell, they’re still some way off the outright electric record, which is currently held by the Toyota TMG EV P002 (7 minutes 22.329 seconds).

Aston Martin Green Machines Motorsports

Aston Martin Hydrogen Rapide S debuts at N24h

Aston Martin Hybrid Hydrogen Rapide S

Aston Martin is racing a very unique version of its four-door Rapide at the Nürburgring 24 hour race. It’s based on the Rapide S, due to debut very soon, and is powered by a hybrid hydrogen drivetrain. It’s the first racecar of its kind in the world.

The hybrid system comprises a twin turbo 6.0 litre V12 and four ultra-high strength carbon fibre tanks storing a combined total of 3.5kg of hydrogen at a pressure of 350bar. Two tanks are placed near the driver and two are placed in the boot.

During qualifying CEO Dr Ulrich Bez became the first person to complete a zero emissions lap under competitive conditions.

“We exceeded our already very ambitious target of completing a full lap of the Nürburgring and went on to cover 40 km in race conditions—nearly two laps—before the car automatically and smoothly switched to gasoline power,” commented Bez.

At the time of writing the Hydrogen Rapide S, wearing number 100 in honour of Aston Matrin’s centenary year, is placed 146th outright having completed 21 laps with a best time of 10:02.574.

Green Machines Porsche

Latest tech specs on the Porsche 918 Spyder

Porsche 918 Spyder

Here’s the follow up from Porsche on their 918 Spyder hybrid hypercar after the preview given by motoring journos last week.

Things have changed since Porsche last gave an official preview in September last year. You can download the latest tech specs from Porsche, and read the embellished press release, after the break. Before you do here’s a quick snapshot of the key figures.

  • Engine power (combined): 657kW/887hp (up from 795hp)
  • V8 engine: 447kW/608hp (up from 580hp)
  • Electric power: 115kW rear; 95kW front (up from 95kW; 85kW)
  • Maximum revs: 9150rpm (up from 9000rpm)
  • Maximum torque: 800Nm+ combined; 530Nm V8 engine (up from 780Nm; 500Nm)
  • Kerb weight: 1640kg (down from 1700kg)
  • 0–100km/h: 2.8s (down from 3.0s)
  • 0–200km/h: 7.9s (down from 9.0s)
  • 0–300km/h: 23.0s (down from 27.0s)
  • Consumption (NEDC): 3.3l/100km (up from 3.0l/100km)
  • CO2 emissions: 79g/km (up from 70g/km)
  • Pure electric range: 30km (up from 25km)

Of course, none of these changes/improvements have been made in response to the more powerful and faster competition in the shape of the LaFerrari or the McLaren P1. No, not at all.

BMW Green Machines

BMW i8 seen charging round the ‘Ring

BMW i8 prototype

Almost four years after the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics first showed its face the i8 production model is nearing completion. The petrol-electric hybrid has been spied charging its way around the Nürburgring.

Based on the info from the i8 Concept we can expect it to boast a total of 260kW/550Nm from its hybrid drivetrain. Enough to propel the i8 to 100km/h in around 4.6 seconds. Separating the power individually, a 1.5 litre three cylinder petrol engine drives the rear wheels and produces 164kW/300Nm. The front wheels are powered by the 96kW/250Nm electric motor, which can achieve a 100% recharge in less than two hours. In all-electric mode the i8 has a 35km range.

An exact launch date for the i8 is unknown, but speculation suggests it will be on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

[Source: Pistonspy]

Green Machines Mercedes-Benz

Chris Harris drives the future

Mercedes-Benz SLS Electric Drive

For his weekly video update Chris Harris spent some quality time with the Mercedes-Benz SLS Electric Drive. That’s an all-electric 552kW/1000Nm supercar, in case you’d forgotten.

Okay, the downsides are familiar, the range is no match for a conventionally powered SLS and at around 2200kg this car is a lot heavier as well.

But just as the Prius was a starting point for Toyota’s hybrid technology, the SLS ED is a starting point for the electric-powered hypercar of tomorrow.

Half of this review is filled with Harris chewing the fat with a Mercedes spokesman. If you’re a true car nerd you will love it.

Green Machines Volkswagen

Volkswagen e-up! revealed!

Volkswagen e-up!

When the e-up! concept was launched at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show Volkswagen said the production version would be ready in 2013; and true to their word here it is! We like the up!—it is the reigning World Car of the Year after all!—and think it’s a pretty nifty thing for ferrying folks around cities the world over! Now, with the e-up!, you can do all that ferrying with zero emissions!

Unsurprisingly the e-up! is not going to win any TLGPs, despite its lowish 1185kg kerbweight the little blighter only has a maximum output of 60kW/210Nm! Mind, VW also states the continuous power of the e-up! is just 40kW! That means reaching 100km/h will take you an epic 14 seconds! The e-up! has an equally modest top speed of 135km/h, but with modest driving can travel up to 150km/h on a single charge!

Charging is done through the Combined Charging System connecter—behind the fuel flap of course!—and can be used by AC or DC charging methods!

Volkswagen boss Dr Martin Winterkorn drove the e-up! to Volkswagen’s Annual Press and Investors Conference last week and the model will make its full debut in Frankfurt later thus year!

Green Machines Motor Shows Volkswagen

Geneva 2013: Volkswagen XL1

Volkswagen XL1

Time for a quick Geneva Motor Show catchup now with the two-seater Volkswagen XL1. It’s the slightly odd, but rather intriguing carbon fibre-bodied diesel-electric hybrid that uses just 0.9l/100km.

The XL1 has been a model a long time in the making, with its roots going back to 2002 when Ferdinand Piech, then VW Chairman, drove its forerunner, the 1 Litre car, to the company’s AGM.

Even the concept for the XL1 was first seen more two years ago. And now that it’s here Volkswagen will be making just 250 for the time being. The XL1 will only be sold in Germany and Europe and with a hefty price tag we suspect it will be as much a loss-making marketing exercise as a serious eco warrior.

The rear-wheel drive XL1 features a 35kW two cylinder TDI engine and a 20kW electric motor, coupled to a 7-speed DSG transmission. The combined 55kW will take the 795kg (unladen) green machine to 100km/h in 12.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 160km/h. In full electric mode the XL1 has a range of 50km.

In most images it’s hard to get a handle on the proportions of the XL1, as an object it looks slick and relatively well styled for what it is. But it’s not until you see a photo of the XL1 with two people on board that its compact dimensions become apparent. The press guff boasts that the XL1 is shorter than a Polo and lower than a Porsche Boxster.

We’re not really sure what the make of the XL1, but do think Volkswagen deserves a pat on the back for turning a crazy idea into a production reality, even if it’s just a limited production reality.

Green Machines Jaguar

Jaguar axes futuristic C-X75 e-hypercar

Jaguar C-X75

Jaguar has confirmed the unhappy news that it has cancelled its C-X75 project. The announcement comes only 18 months after the decision to build the hybrid supercar was made.

Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar’s global brand director, shared the news with journalists on Monday night. The decision “broke his heart,” Hallmark said.

The C-X75 was first shown at the 2010 Paris Motor Show and predictions of a seven-figure purchase price and tough economic times have helped to seal the supercat’s fate.

A total of five working prototypes were made by Jag. All powered by a 500hp twincharged 1.6 litre four cylinder and mated to 23kg of electric motors. Despite the light weight of the e-motors they can generate 400Nm.

Jaguar claims the C-X75 prototypes boast Veyron-beating capabilities, able to reach 100km/h in a measly 2.8 seconds, while emitting fewer smelly emissions than a Toyota Prius.

There is some good news, though. The five test mules will continue their development so that they reach full working capacity. At this stage Jag plans to keep three for its archives, so to speak, while the other two very exclusive models will be flogged off at auction.

Can we start the bidding at £2 million please. Do I have £2 million anywhere?

[Source: EVO]