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Frankfurt Motor Show – Peugeot HX1

Peugeot HX1

From Peugeot’s stand at the Frankfurt Motor Show we find the exquisite HX1 concept, they’re vision of an MPV for the year 2020. It is a plug-in diesel-electric, low-slung hybrid that features the most recent version of the company’s AWD diesel-electric drivetrain dubbed Hybrid4.

Peugeot HX1

The front wheels of the HX1 are powered by the 2.2-liter HDi engine that fires 204 hp and is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The rear wheels are motivated by a 95 hp electric motor that is fed by a pack of lithium-ion batteries with plug-in capability, unseen up until now on a Peugeot model.

Peugeot HX1

Driving the car only in electric mode can be done for up to 18.6 miles, while the mpg UK figure is 88.2 in the combined cycle. The CO2 emissions stand at only 83 g/km, in comparison to the automaker’s most frugal model in the current lineup, the 5008 that returns 134 g/km from its 112 hp 1.6 HDI engine.

Peugeot HX1

The car measures 4954 mm long, 1990 mm wide and is 1373 mm high, making it 424 mm longer, 153 mm wider and 265 mm lower than the aforementioned 5008, which is a 7-seat car. As you can see, the car benefits from the new front treatment adopted by Peugeot, which is considerably more attractive than what we’ve seen in the company’s models in the last few years. It rides on a set of alloys that have a seven-spoke design and can change their shape in order to improve aero efficiency. At a speed of above 62.1 mph, the HX1’s side skirts and the rear spoiler are deployed.

Peugeot HX1

One of the best things about this car would have to be those exciting half-scissor doors that open upwards and outwards, revealing a superb interior that has a lot of brushed metal, oak, along with a nice leather trim. The reclining rear seats of this futuristic MPV feature a coffee machine and a mini bar which are mounted between them. The car can accommodate a neat center row consisting of two seats which folds out from the back of the HX1’s front seats.

Source: Peugeot via Autocar

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Mercedes-Benz Concept B-Class E-CELL PLUS Goes Official

Mercedes-Benz Concept B-Class E-CELL PLUS

One of the most interesting cars in my opinion revealed this week at the Frankfurt Motor Show is the Mercedes-Benz Concept B-Class E-CELL PLUS. A very long name for a promising plug-in hybrid that has a 134 hp (136 PS / 100 kW) electric motor that can provide a continuous output of 94 hp (95 PS / 70 kW).

Mercedes-Benz Concept B-Class E-CELL PLUS

The on-board power unit is a gasoline engine that develops 67 hp (68 PS / 50 kW) that can fill up the battery at low speeds but it also can kick in at high speeds for driving the wheels in the front along with the electric motor. It has a brand new gearbox which has been developed by the company especially for this model.

Mercedes-Benz Concept B-Class E-CELL PLUS

It has CO2 emissions of only 32 g/km in combined driving and it can offer a driving range of up to 373 miles (600 km). In electric mode, the Mercedes-Benz Concept B-Class E-CELL PLUS concept can be driven for about 62 miles (100 km).

Mercedes-Benz Concept B-Class E-CELL PLUS

No word about a possible production version, but we’ll certainly keep you posted if MB changes its mind. Stay tuned for additional details.

Source: Mercedes-Benz

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One Million Annual Green Car Sales By 2015

According to a recent report from Pike Research, annual sales of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles will surpass one million units by the year 2015. Despite the fact that this “green” technology is relatively new to the market, more and more people are buying these cars thanks to their lower or zero CO2 emissions, quieter ride; money saved on gas, and why not, government tax deductions.

At this moment, almost all of the car manufacturers in the world are either launching electric / plug-in hybrids to the market or they are testing this technology. This report predicts that despite the fact that the penetration of such cars will remain somewhat low in the years to come, sales will reach a critical mass in the following period, allowing the uptake to be accelerated. This should happen by the year 2015, when the annual sales will exceed the 1 million units mark for the first time.

Pike Research estimates that 56% of all green cars will be electric vehicles and they will be very popular in the Asia Pacific region, a market that will represent more than half the total global market, followed by the Europeans who will also start to buy more and more electric or hybrid cars.

Regarding United States and Canada, buyers will prefer hybrids thanks to their extended range and the combustion engine back-up option. For these markets, hybrids will represent 71% of all green cars sales by 2015.

Source: pikeresearch.com via nextgreencar.com

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China announces new subsidies for hybrid and electric vehicles


China is quickly becoming the biggest car market in the world, but this has led to a pretty major pollution problem, especially around the big metropolitan areas like Beijing or Shanghai.

As such, the government of the country will implement a new set of subsidies and discounts for all future hybrid and electric vehicles. The first stage of the program will affect models sold in four big cities: Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Hefei.

If the program proves successful and people are going to buy more eco-friendly cars, it will no doubt expand to the rest of the country. Currently, the subsidy is speculated to be around $7,320.

Besides helping customers decide on less pollutant vehicles, the program will no doubt spur the development of such vehicles from the many carmakers now active in China. Besides that, you can also guess that other companies will definite kick their hybrid development into overtime, in order to profit from these new subsidies.

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Honda researching EV battery technology in China, says a breakthrough is needed


Honda has been covering all its bases in terms of future technologies, with projects involving hybrids, electric vehicles and even fuel-cell cars.

While many carmakers are just focusing on electric vehicles, Honda’s CEO, Takanobu Ito, has revealed that a breakthrough in battery technology is required in order to really make EVs profitable from a business standpoint.

In order to acheive such a thing, his company is currently looking into opening research centers in China, given the fact that the country has vast resources for such endeavors. Also, the government subsidies for research into electric vehicle technology are quite attractive, according to the Japanese executive.

Concluding, Ito revealed that another 10 to 20 years are required in order for electric vehicles to become reliable in everyday use and attractive from a price standpoint for the average consumer. Until then, Honda will continue to push hybrids like CR-Z (pictured above) and research other technologies.

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Toyota Prius Alpha MPV set to arrive in early 2011


A few weeks ago, we heard a pretty interesting rumor about Toyota‘s future plans with its hybrid endeavors. It revealed that the long awaited expansion of the Prius lineup will be made with a full pledged seven-seat MPV.

Now, according to MotorTrend, we will see this new hybrid MPV, presumably called the Alpha, as early as spring 2011. According to their sources, the Toyota Alpha will get a lithium-ion battery pack, a first for the hybrid models produced by the Japanese company.

Just so it has all its bases covered, Toyota is also thinking of a smaller, five-seat compact MPV. This version would be the cheaper one, as it will still use the nickel metal hydride battery pack as the current Prius hybrid hatchback.

Toyota knows that more hybrid models will guarantee its success, especially in markets like Japan or USA, so these models will arrive sooner or later. Now it’s time to bet on what motor show (Tokyo or LA, probably), will host the official announcement of these family-friendly hybrids.

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Quiet electric vehicles or hybrids will be required to make noise if new bill gets passed


Hybrid or electric vehicles are becoming more and more frequent on the road these days. With it, the seemingly age-old question of whether or not these cars are too quiet has once again emerged.

It seems that a coalition of carmakers and groups representing the blind have proposed a new bill to the US congress that would force future hybrid or EV models to make a specific noise, in order to alert pedestrians and the visually challenged.

The bill, if it will be voted, will require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to draft a set of regulations in one and a half years, and to enforce them in at most three years. As you can imagine, feedback from both the actual carmakers and the ordinary people will be taken into consideration.

Such a regulation is also being talked about in Japan, where EVs and quiet hybrids are even more popular. Some manufacturers have said that they will offer exterior speakers on their silent models and we’ve even seen the Chevrolet Volt’s ‘chirping’ system in action.

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Ford confirms hybrid and plug-in hybrid C-Max MPV for Europe

Ford confirms hybrid and plug-in hybrid C-Max MPV for Europe

Ford has just unveiled that its Valencia plant in Spain will be the first to produce hybrid and plug-in hybrid models destined for European use.

The models in question will be based on the new C-Max MPV, a five-seater that sits on Ford’s new compact car platform. Readers with a keen memory should already know that this platform will also be the base for the 2012 Focus hatchback.

The hybrid system is an all new assembly, different from the one on the Fusion Hybrid found in the USA, for example. Not a lot is known, but considering the C-Max will be the first model to benefit from the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine, our fingers are crossed so that the unit might be paired with an electric motor.

The new platform also allows the use of an electric powertrain, as highlighted by the announcement of the 2012 Focus Electric, but Ford officials haven’t confirmed such a version for the C-Max. The hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the C-Max will hit the European market around 2013.

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Ford Fusion Hybrid pays off quickest, hybrids still aren’t worth it, reports says


People who opt for hybrid models usually do so because they want to lower their fuel average and, as a consequence, pay less for their daily rides. But this can only be achieved by paying more than a regular car, as hybrids are much pricier than their normal brethren.

The San Francisco Chronicle decided to do a test and see how long it takes for the decreased fuel spending to balance out the financial effort a consumer made to purchase a hybrid. Seven of the most popular eco-friendly models were chosen.

The results are a bit surprising to say the least. The winner was the Ford Fusion Hybrid, which, at current gas prices, will pay off the investment in 5.6 years. This is largely due to the relatively low price difference between a regular Fusion and the hybrid counterpart.

But while 5.6 years might seem like a lot, bear in mind that Toyota Prius owners should wait 20 years for the price of their hybrid to be weighed out by the savings they make in terms of fuel costs. What was the worst car? The Nissan Altima Hybrid, which requires 21 years to pay off in fuel savings.

The bottom line, according to the San Francisco Chronicle is that hybrids, at least given today’s fuel prices, just aren’t worth the investment. If you want to reduce your carbon footprint or just look cool, then you might want a hybrid though.

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Porsche 918 Spyder hybrid already has 900 people interested


We saw a lot of great concepts at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, but all of them paled in comparison to the Porsche 918 hybrid sportscar concept, which practically stole the whole show.

Boasting a huge amount of power but also some massive green credentials, thanks to its electric motors helping out the big V8 engine, the 918 Spyder was adored by both the public and the media.

The Stuttgart carmaker followed up and revealed that if interest is high enough, the concept will be rushed to production, much like it did with the Carrera GT hypercar back in the day.

Now, Bloomberg reports that 900 people have already manifested an interest in the hybrid sportscar. According to the development chief for Porsche, Wolfgang Duerheimer, the company needs around 1,000 letters of interest and the case for the production of the 918 Spyder will be complete.

You heard him rich people, get to it, as this is the plug-in hybrid we can all approve of.

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US dealers not happy with all-hybrid Mercedes-Benz S Class plans


Earlier this month a new report surfaced, which claimed that the next generation of the flagship Mercedes-Benz S Class will adopt a full-hybrid setup, at least for the North American market, given the appetite of many consumers for such models.

As you could imagine, this report encountered a pretty big backlash from hardcore MB fans, who believe it isn’t a gamble worth attempting for the German carmaker. Now, some US dealers are also expressing their lack of belief in the all-hybrid S Class models.

They claim that the primary buyer of such models isn’t interested in hybrid propulsion, but performance and comfort, and is willing to pay for a lackluster fuel average. MB, on the other hand, revealed at the New York Auto Show that it will continue to investigate hybrid powertrains for its models.

Even though the all-hybrid S models haven’t been confirmed, the goal of lowering fuel emissions and averages in the near future might push MB towards such a decision. Other advantages include the fact that S Class buyers are early adopters of new technology, being more than willing to pay for it.

Frankly, we’re not so sure any carmaker should focus on an all-hybrid lineup, largely due to the costs associated with it. Only time will tell what will happen with the Mercedes-Benz S Class, as the company might announce something concrete in the following months.

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Audi planning more hybrids and electric vehicles


Audi has some big plans for the next few years, and not surprisingly, these include increasing efficiency and slowly offering viable alternatives to the gasoline and diesel engines it currently offers with its models.

We’ve already seen the attractive Audi e-Tron roadster concept, its little brother the A1 e-tron and the big A8 hybrid, but according to the company, other such models will soon appear. And don’t go thinking they will be limited to concept stages, as production variants are being worked on as we speak.

Hybrid lovers will get to see such a version based on the next generation A6 limousine, while the Q5 crossover is preparing both its engine and electric motor for a debut in the near future. Depending on the media and public reaction, this initiative will be continued.

In terms of electric vehicles, Audi isn’t decided on what type of technology to pursue. Either a pure all-electric, like the e-tron roadster, or an extended range electric vehicle, like the smaller A1 e-tron. Either way, the badge will be developed more and more in the future, so we’ll get to see it become as popular as the quattro one.

Regular internal combustion engines are also going to be improved in the next few years, with Audi aiming at a 30% increase in the efficiency of both gasoline and diesel units.

Are you confident in Audi’s long term strategy? Share your thoughts below.

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Video: Porsche promotes its 911 GT3 R Hybrid and Cayenne Hybrid


Porsche is quite proud of its new hybrid endeavors, and released a video, showcasing both the 911 GT3 R Hybrid race car and the Cayenne S Hybrid.

While the track car uses its hybrid setup to give it a boost in races (it even has a big shiny red button for that), the Cayenne will use its own setup to provide increased fuel efficiency in urban environments.

Hopefully we will soon see the 918 Spyder Concept tearing it up on the track. Until then, hit the jump to see the 911 GT3 R and Cayenne S hybrids.
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Porsche 918 Spyder Concept will become a reality, executive says


Without a doubt one of the biggest surprise hits of the 2010 Geneva Motor Show was the Porsche 918 Spyder Concept, a hybrid with 718 HP, using a conventional V8 engine and two electric motors.

The concept, which was created in a span of just five months, also impressed its creators with the great feedback it received from everyone at the show. While a concrete decision about entering production with the stylish model hasn’t been made just yet, according to the company boss, Michael Macht, it’s just a matter of time.

“There is no one inside Porsche who doesn’t want to build the 918,” he said. “The response has been marvelous; we will ask buyers to sign letters of intent. The 918 Spyder provides the answer to whether there can be high-performance cars in the future. Many have said they are finished. This car shows they are not.”

If Porsche will go ahead with producing the 918, it might prove to be a big winner. It will not only promote the idea of hybrid sportscars, but also provide a precedent for more manufacturers to attempt combining aggressive design, efficient technologies and lots of power.

What do you believe? Would a production version of the Porsche 918 Spyder Concept attract your interest? Share your thoughts below.

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GQ by Citroen concept presents itself


Citroen‘s design team is on a roll recently, showcasing stunning models left and right. What first started with the bold GT by Citroen supercar concept, has now evolved into many models. From the production DS3, to the Revolte or Survolt concepts revealed at trade shows around Europe.

Now, the French company is at it again, revealing the GQ by Citroen model, developed in partnership with the famous magazine, as “the ultimate gentleman’s drive”.

The car is a plug-in hybrid, using a 1.6-liter direct injection petrol engine coupled with an electric motor, both of undisclosed power. What is known is the 0 to 62 mpg time of 4.5 seconds and the electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. Last but not least, the CO2 emissions are pegged at a very impressive 80 g/km.

The GQ by Citroen concept was styled by a team led by Mark Lloyd, and you can fully admire it in the photo gallery below.

Photo Gallery: GQ by Citroen Concept

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