Mitsubishi PHEV gets 5 star safety results

Mitsubishi PHEV gets 5 star safety results

The Mitsubishi Outlander being NCAP crash tested

With a target for electric-based vehicles, both pure electric (EV) and plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV), to represent 20% of its production by 2020, Mitsubishi Motors aims implicitly to make these vehicle technologies as mainstream as possible.

Such was one of the primary reasons behind the development of Mitsubishi Motors’ proprietary plug-in hybrid electric technology, which has found its first home as the powertrain for the new Outlander PHEV. The Outlander PHEV has benefits in terms of charging abilities and driving range.

In 2011, the 100% electric i-MiEV went through the Euro NCAP crash test with flying colours. More than two years on, the Outlander PHEV has been awarded 5-stars in the European safety tests. The tests revealed an excellent level of protection of the under-floor battery pack and components of the high voltage electric system, unaffected by this crash test.

Some of the results were as follows:

* Adult Occupant Protection: 88%
* Child Occupant Protection: 84%
* Pedestrian Protection: 64%
* Safety Assist: 81%

Furthermore, the Outlander’s advanced “Front Collision Mitigation” system, recently tested by Euro NCAP, is similarly acknowledged for the PHEV version. Reinforced underbody construction coupled with an additional four-member battery frame directly connected with the chassis, strengthen the entire body and improve collision protection.

A new sealed drive battery pack construction allows the watertight battery pack to meet tough SUV driving standards. The battery pack tray is made of rigid sheet metal bonded to a solid frame construction to increase the durability of the battery pack while also sufficiently blocking electromagnetic waves.

A protective battery-pack tray under-coating has been applied to help protecting the battery from flying rocks and other road debris. With the recent news of the Tesla Model S catching fire in the US due to debris interfering with the battery pack, battery protection from the below is an important safety issue.

Outlander PHEV has just starting its commercial career in Europe with 12,000 orders received as of November 18th, 2013. In the Netherlands, its launch market, the current order rate is of 100 units per week and growing.

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British Gas tests Nissan e-NV200 fleet

British Gas tests Nissan e-NV200 fleet

British Gas’ Nissan e-NV200 electric van fleet

British Gas is piloting 28 Nissan e-NV200 vans throughout the winter to determine the future viability of 100% electric vehicle technology as part of its 13,000 home service vans fleet.

Run in collaboration with Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicle Solutions and Gateshead College, the pilot will see the four strategic partners working together during this testing period.

Nissan has been globally piloting the e-NV200 for two years ahead of the van going on sale to the public next year. As the UK’s largest ever electric commercial vehicle evaluation to date, the winter test underlines the importance of the relationship between Nissan and British Gas to be involved in this important phase of zero-emission vehicle testing.

The pilot of the Nissan e-NV200s is being conducted nationwide from November 2013 until April 2014 to assess how the vans perform in winter conditions during typical British Gas home services daily usage patterns.

Hitachi Capital has also undertaken IMI training to a high level in conjunction with Gateshead College and will be involved in generating accurate total cost of ownership modelling to compare this technology with conventional the internal combustion engine drivetrain.

Gateshead College has delivered all of the training to the British Gas drivers to ensure they are fully briefed in how to drive and live with the 100% electric Nissan e-NV200. Local to Nissan’s Sunderland Plant, Gateshead College is Europe’s leading facility for training in LCV development and will ensure drivers are fully able to exploit the Nissan e-NV200.

Available on forecourts next year, the Nissan e-NV200 is a breakthrough zero emission compact van that promises an dramatic reduction in running costs while also helping the environment by bringing CO2 emissions down to zero at the point of use. As British Gas home services engineers operate within a defined zone, the Nissan e-NV200 can easily operate within a British Gas’ daily usage pattern.

Colin Marriott, general manager fleet at British Gas said: “We’re committed to leading the industry in reducing the amount of carbon and other harmful tail pipe emissions emitted by our 13,000 strong vehicle fleet. This trial, the largest of its kind in the UK, is a great opportunity for us to understand how the Nissan e-NV200 vans perform during the winter as we move towards our goal of having at least 10% of our fleet running on electricity by 2015.”

“We have worked closely with Nissan and Hitachi Capital to ensure that the Nissan e-NV200 is ready to support our engineers during even the most demanding of winter conditions. All 28 have also been provided with a British Gas home charging point and access cards to public infrastructure to keep the vehicles charged up. I would like to thank Nissan, Hitachi Capital and Gateshead College who have all supported us to make this trial a reality.”

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Ford EcoBoost engine wins SMMT prize

Ford EcoBoost engine wins SMMT prize

Ford’s range of models that use the EcoBoost engine

Ford’s internationally acclaimed 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine has earned another major accolade – the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) Award for Automotive Innovation 2013.

Other nominees for the award, which highlights advanced R&D and innovation in the UK automotive industry, included the new McLaren P1 supercar.

The 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine, International Engine of the Year in 2012 and 2013, is no bigger than a sheet of A4 paper, but delivers 125PS, and, in a Ford Fiesta, achieves 65.7mpg and CO2 emissions of just 99g/km. It was designed at Ford’s research and development centres in Dunton and Dagenham in the UK.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive and one of the Award judges, said: “The UK is a hotbed for global automotive engineering talent, a fact proved by the winning Ford entry being designed and developed at its UK R&D centres.

“The outstanding calibre of the entrants to this year’s Award is testament to the wealth of design and engineering talent here in the UK. SMMT is working hard with its members and government to ensure the UK maintains and develops its position at the forefront of automotive innovation.”

Ford’s Director of Global Vehicle Evaluation and Verification, Graham Hoare, said: “I’m delighted to accept this award on behalf of the 1,000-plus highly-skilled Ford powertrain engineers involved in the 1.0-litre EcoBoost programme. In 2007, the engineering teams at Dunton and Dagenham took on the challenge to produce a cutting-edge three-cylinder petrol engine – exciting, durable and efficient enough for both cars and commercial vehicles. Six years on, and with over 300,000 global sales, two back-to-back International Engine of the Year titles, and now this major Innovation award, we couldn’t be more proud.”

The 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine is currently available in the Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus, Ford B-MAX, and Ford C-MAX, Ford Tourneo Connect and Ford Transit Connect models, and will also feature in both the forthcoming Ford EcoSport SUV and the next generation Ford Mondeo.

It also powers the FF1 Formula Ford-based road car, which registered the 11th fastest time ever on the legendary Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit – a performance that put it ahead of a host of supercars including the 600+ horsepower Lamborghini Aventador, Ferrari Enzo and Pagani Zonda.

Oxfordshire-based YASA Motors won the ‘highly commended’ accolade for its compact but powerful YASA-400 electric motor, which was a major feature in the Jaguar C-X75 supercar prototype.

The SMMT Award for Automotive Innovation – sponsored by GKN and supported by The Times – recognises the best of the UK’s flair for world-class design, R&D and engineering with previous winners including bus manufacturer Optare, as well as Jaguar Land Rover and Gordon Murray Design.

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Porsche Panamera SE-Hybrid to get grant

Porsche Panamera SE-Hybrid to get grant

The new Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid PHEV being charged

The new Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, the world’s first plug-in hybrid for the executive saloon class, has gained Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) Grant approval.

Only a select handful of cars qualify for the Government-backed scheme, which entitles customers of qualifying Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV) models to a 25% grant towards the cost of the car, up to a maximum of £5,000.

Running since January 2011, the grant is designed to encourage vehicle manufacturers to develop electric and green technologies, and to help customers invest in ‘green’ automotive technologies.

Utilising a 3.0-litre V6 engine teamed with a newly-developed lithium-ion battery and electric motor, the Panamera S E-Hybrid is a four-door, four-seat sports car that is first and foremost a Porsche. That means that performance, power and driver-focussed dynamics are an intrinsic part of the newcomer’s character, yet its official economy and CO2 figures stand at just 91 mpg and 71 g/km respectively.

The S E-Hybrid is capable of running purely on electric power for emission-free driving and zero petrol consumption for up to 22 miles (subject to driving style and conditions) and can reach speeds of up to 84 mph in this mode.

Those ultra-low emissions ensure the Panamera S E-Hybrid qualifies for a number of other fiscal benefits and capital allowance benefits for business customers. These include:

* Company car tax BIK rate liability of only 5%
* Exemption from Vehicle Excise Duty, thanks to its official emissions placing it in ‘Band A’
* Exemption from First Registration Fee (first tax disc)
* Exemption from TfL’s Congestion Charge
* 100% first-year allowance (FYA) – a vehicle with less than 95 g/km is eligible for 100% of first-year capital allowance

Building on the Porsche full hybrid platform, the Panamera S E-Hybrid is a systematically advanced development of the proven Porsche parallel full hybrid, with a more powerful electric motor, a higher-performance battery that supplies more energy, while also having the ability to be recharged externally from the electrical grid.

The electric drive produces 95 hp (70 kW), which is more than double the power of the previous Panamera Hybrid 47 hp (34 kW) electric motor. It draws energy from a new lithium-ion battery, which at 9.4 kWh has over five times the 1.7 kWh energy capacity of the previous (nickel metal hydride) battery technology. When connected to an industrial outlet, it can be charged within around two and a half hours via the integrated on-board charger and the standard Porsche Universal Charger (AC). It can be charged in less than four hours when connected to a conventional household electrical outlet.

The Panamera S E-Hybrid can reach speeds of up to 84 mph in all-electric operation, and the acceleration time from 0-62 mph has been shortened by half a second to 5.5 seconds. The electric boost function helps here, in which the performance of the electric motor aids that of the combustion engine. The car’s overall top speed is 167 mph.

The eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic gearbox is used in the Panamera S E-Hybrid, which creates optimal conditions for further development of efficiency functions. For example, the extended start-stop function now deactivates the engine earlier while coasting to a stop, which saves even more fuel.

At Porsche, plug-in hybrid technology will not remain the sole preserve of the Panamera S E-Hybrid. The technically remarkable and pioneering super sports car, the 918 Spyder, which is now on sale with first deliveries in the UK next year, also utilises this powertrain system in order to deliver ultimate levels of performance.

Porsche 918 Spyder

Boasting 887 hp from the combination of a race-bred V8 petrol engine and two electric motors, the fastest road-going Porsche to date is capable of catapulting from rest to 62 mph in 2.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 214 mph. And yet it is also the Porsche with the lowest emissions, with official figures of just 70 g/km of CO2 and fuel economy of 94 mpg.

Clearly, with the capability of delivering the high levels of performance expected from Porsche along with highly unexpected ultra-low emissions and low fuel consumption, there will be further plug-in hybrid developments from Porsche in the future.

Model Power
Top speed
NEDC economy
CO2 emissions
S E-Hybrid Tiptronic 416 @ 5,500 590 @ 1,250 5.5 167 91.1 71 88,967*

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Nissan launches new CARE-EV scheme

Nissan launches new CARE-EV scheme

Customers can confidently chose the Nissan LEAF EV with new CARE-EV cover

Nissan has listened to its growing LEAF customer base and is introducing a comprehensive customer commitment to dramatically improve the ownership experience of a Nissan LEAF.

Nissan CARE-EV LEAF customer commitment scheme makes five pledges designed to provide the ultimate in reassurance and peace of mind and answer many of the questions that customers face when considering EV ownership for the first time.

Available at all 205 Nissan retailers nationwide, the scheme makes the following promises:

* Rapid charge your LEAF for free at any Nissan dealership and on the Electric Highway

LEAF customers may rapid charge their vehicle for free at 60 Nissan dealerships across the country. LEAF owners can also charge at the 50 and growing locations equipped with rapid charging units installed by Nissan as part of Ecotricity’s Electric Highway. Powered by sustainably sourced electricity from wind and solar power and located at key service stations up and down the UK’s motorway network, these rapid chargers can charge the new Nissan LEAF from empty to 80% in just 30 minutes.

* Borrow a petrol or diesel Nissan free for up to 14 days

LEAF owners who need an extra car for a special occasion can borrow a petrol or diesel Nissan model free of charge for up to two weeks. Simply give your dealer seven days’ notice and cover the fuel and insurance.

* Get to know the Nissan LEAF

Guaranteed 24-hour test drives will allow potential LEAF customers to experience the vehicle and learn just how well it fits their lifestyle.

* Free pan-European EV roadside assistance

In the unlikely event a LEAF customer should run out of power on the road, help will soon be at hand with free towing from Nissan roadside assistance.

* Free battery state of health guarantee

The Nissan LEAF battery state of health guarantee covers against lithium-ion battery capacity loss below nine bars (out of 12) within the first five years or 60,000 miles.

Jim Wright, Managing Director at Nissan Motor GB said: “By making firm promises across five key areas we are tackling head on some of the questions we hear from potential customers when considering electric cars for the first time. These commitments deliver unprecedented levels of support to customers and make the LEAF a practical, desirable and affordable reality for many more motorists.

“The pledge to offer LEAF owners a free diesel or petrol Nissan for up to 14 days a year is particularly revolutionary. It means LEAF drivers can enjoy the many benefits of LEAF ownership, such as running costs of around two pence per mile, on their normal daily commute and then, when they’re going on holiday or have a longer trip to make, borrow a car that’s more appropriate to their journey.”

To find out more about Nissan’s You + Nissan CARE-EV scheme and access the full terms and conditions, visit Nissan’s website.

To see locations of rapid chargers around the UK, both those in Nissan dealerships and Ecotricity’s Electric Highway, visit Next Green Car’s Zap-Map.

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Honda announces new Civic Tourer

Honda announces new Civic Tourer

The 2014 Honda Civic Tourer

A new British-built Honda Civic Tourer will be available to order in the UK from December and will begin arriving in dealerships from February 2014.

The Civic Tourer has been designed to offer the perfect balance between fuel economy and performance. Honda has announced prices will start from £20,265 OTR for the entry level 1.8 i-VTEC S model.

The Civic Tourer is available with the choice of two engines; the 1.8 i-VTEC petrol and the new Earth Dreams Technology 1.6 i-DTEC diesel and four generously equipped trim levels. The entry level S grade includes features such as Bluetooth Hands Free Telephone (HFT), DAB Radio, USB connectivity and 16 inch allow wheels.

In addition to these goodies, the SE Plus, the next level up, has rear parking sensors and 17 inch alloys, whilst SR customers will benefit from the new world first rear Adaptive Damper System (ADS), front heated seats, HDD Navi and privacy glass. Those who opt for the top EX grade will receive headlight washer, smart entry and start capability, sunglasses holder, interior blue ambient lighting and Bi-HID headlights with auto levelling.

The new 1.6 i-DTEC diesel engine delivers exceptional fuel economy to help keep running costs low without compromising power and performance. The light weight engine provides a punchy 120 PS and 300 Nm of torque with an acceleration time of 0–60mph in 10.1 seconds, while achieving 74.3mpg on the combined cycle. A range of 817 miles on one tank of fuel means less trips to the fuel pumps and CO2 emissions from just 99g/km keeps the car exempt from annual vehicle excise duty.

Honda’s proven and reliable 1.8 i-VTEC petrol engine will be available in both manual and automatic transmission and provides 142 PS and 174 Nm of torque, delivering 45.56mpg on the combined cycle and from 149 g/km of CO2 emissions.

Despite being the lowest and most compact estate in the segment and being just 235mm longer than the Civic hatchback, the new Tourer offers a class-leading 624 litres of boot space, with rear seats up. Utilising Honda’s unique Magic Seat system, the rear seats can be pulled down to create a completely flat load area with 1668 litres of capacity up to the roof lining.

Honda will offer the option to add a new suite of safety technologies to a C-segment car. Based on the philosophy of ‘Safety for Everyone’, this new suite of sensor based active safety systems uses a combination of cameras, short range lidar (laser radar) and radar, to deliver a high standard of safety in all conditions, giving drivers and passengers complete peace of mind.

The new Driver Assistance Safety Pack is available as a factory fit option from SE models upwards for £780 – additional safety packs are also available as optional extras.

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Mitsubishi to launch Outlander PHEV

Mitsubishi to launch Outlander PHEV

Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid SUV

In spring 2014 Mitsubishi will be launching the Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) version of its all new Outlander. The vehicle has been confirmed as being exempt from the London Congestion Charge.

The Outlander PHEV is a 4×4 SUV built without compromise to interior space. The green credentials for the car are particularly impressive, with it being able to achieve up to 148mpg and only emits 44g/km CO2.

This means that customers will benefit from tiny fuel bills, no vehicle excise duty (VED) and, for company car drivers, a benefit in kind (BIK) rate of just 5%. To add to this list of benefits Outlander has also just qualified to be London Congestion Charge exempt.

Before 1st July 2013 all hybrid vehicles qualified to be Congestion Charge exempt. After this date Transport for London (TfL) tightened the rules meaning hybrid vehicles had to be able to travel more than 10 miles using electric power alone and emit less than 75g/km CO2 in order to qualify. The result was that most of the hybrid vehicles in the market, which generally have an electric vehicle range of less than 10 miles and emissions above 75g/km, no longer qualified.

Outlander PHEV is totally different to current generation hybrids. The car can cover a significant distance and reach impressive speeds using just its electric motors (EV mode). In pure EV mode it can cover 32 miles (using both the combustion engine and electric motors range increases to 514 miles) and, where allowed, it can reach 75 mph (using the combustion engine in addition to the electric motors pushes this top speed up).

Outlander easily meets TfL’s new Congestion Charge exemption criteria and once launched will become one of the largest vehicles to get in and out of London for free.

Toby Marshall, Sales & Marketing Director of Mitsubishi Motors in the UK, said: “Everyone at Mitsubishi is incredibly excited about the arrival of the PHEV version of Outlander. Not only is it extremely clean and green, but it is fantastic to drive. Power from the car is delivered quietly and smoothly. It certainly doesn’t hang around either! With so much already going for it, the fact that it now qualifies for Congestion Charge exemption is great news.”

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BMW offers green electric tariff for i3

BMW offers green electric tariff for i3

The all-electric BMW i3

BMW i continues with their strategy for sustainable electric mobility and responsible charging, which has led to a new partnership with Good Energy Ltd in the UK.

This partnership includes the provision of 100% green electricity to households of BMW customers throughout the UK (with the exception of Northern Ireland). This will allow BMW i3 and BMW i8 owners to charge their vehicle using renewably sourced electricity while at home.

Good Energy sources all its electricity from certified renewables across Britain. No other energy supplier in the UK can promise that, making Good Energy the natural choice to power BMW i – and the entire household.

With some of the strictest purchasing policies in the energy industry, and a main electricity tariff that’s certified by the independent Green Energy Supply Scheme, Good Energy has the rigorous product specifications and sustainability requirements customers would expect from any BMW i partner.

The partnership with Good Energy helps to displace CO2 emissions from ‘power plants to tailpipe’ and fulfill the BMW objective of providing truly low carbon driving. BMW will be the first electric vehicle manufacturer in the UK to offer a holistic product portfolio including a specially developed and purpose-designed home charging unit with complementary green electricity products and services.

This partnership will allow Good Energy to work closely with BMW to further develop custom-made green electricity tariffs for electric vehicles. This will take the UK’s supply and demand, as well as typical charging behaviours, into account to maximise the positive effects of electric vehicles on the national CO2 footprint.

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Honda FCEV Concept revealed in LA

Honda FCEV Concept revealed in LA

Honda’s new fuel cell concept – the Honda FCEV Concept

Honda has revealed their next-generation fuel cell vehicle concept this week at the Los Angeles International Auto Show – the sleekly designed Honda FCEV Concept.

This FCEV Concept follows on from their previous FCX Clarity saloon, a model that went into limited production. This vehicle gave Honda a wealth of information and experience that has helped them develop this new hydrogen fuel cell design.

The concept expresses a potential styling direction for Honda’s next-generation fuel-cell vehicle anticipated to launch in the US and Japan in 2015, followed by Europe.

Honda’s next generation fuel cell-electric vehicle will feature the world’s first application of a fuel-cell powertrain packaged completely in the engine room of the vehicle, allowing for efficiencies in cabin space as well as flexibility in the potential application of FC technology to multiple vehicle types in the future.

Significant technological advancements to the fuel-cell stack have yielded more than a 60% increase in power density while reducing the size of the stack by 33% compared to the FCX Clarity. It is anticipated to deliver a driving range of more than 300 miles with quick refuelling of about three minutes at a pressure of 70 MPa.

Showcasing exciting and modern styling, the Honda FCEV Concept features sweeping character lines underscored by an ultra-aerodynamic body. The Honda FCEV Concept also delivers ample passenger space and seating for five passengers.

“The Honda FCEV Concept hints at Honda’s future direction for fuel-cell vehicles,” said Tetsuo Iwamura, president and CEO of American Honda Motor Co. “While this car is a concept, it points toward a very real future.”

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Lexus to launch revised CT200h Hybrid

Lexus to launch revised CT200h Hybrid

The 2014 Lexus CT 200h Hybrid

A new, more comfortable and refined Lexus CT 200h will be launched in the UK and Europe in March next year.

The full hybrid luxury hatchback has undergone a raft of changes that improve its styling and quality inside and out. The new model made its world debut today at the Guangzhou motor show in China.

Lexus has achieved significant reductions in emissions from the 2014 CT 200h, taking CO2 output down by 5g/km to 82g/km for the entry level S grade model fitted with 15-inch wheels. For versions equipped with optional 16-inch wheels the official figure has been reduced by 6g/km to 88g/km.

The new CT 200h has greater body rigidity, revised suspension settings, enhanced aerodynamics and more improved suppression, all of which combine to deliver a more refined and comfortable driving experience and a quieter cabin environment.

Lexus has also remapped with hybrid drive system’s transmission control. This allows for a more linear build-up of engine revs, more closely matching the increase in vehicle speed. The result is a driving experience more akin to a conventional automatic transmission.

Lexus Hybrid Drive is already quiet, but 94 additional measures have been taken to reduce NVH levels in the new CT 200h. These include, in a first for Lexus, a new inlet duct design that is both quiet and highly efficient.

A revised range of paint colours will be available, all benefiting from a scratch-resistant, self-restoring top coat. Details of specific UK trim and equipment features will be announced in January.

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