According to various reports published over the Internet in the last few days, it seems that General Motors is at the moment working on a plug-in hybrid car based on the Cadillac SRX crossover. The car will most likely share some of the technology that General Motors developed for the soon to be popular Chevrolet Volt over the past four years, allowing the American car manufacturer to lower the costs of its emerging electric automobile offerings.
This new Cadillac model would also be inspired from an abandoned project to launch a rechargeable crossover car that General Motors had thought about 1-2 years ago under the now forgotten Saturn and Buick brands which were closed for good due to low sales. If the project will go into production, it will be the very first American luxury automobile after the company gave up on making the Converj concept car which was a Cadillac variant of the Chevrolet Volt.
The current Cadillac SRX debuted back in 2008 at the Detroit Auto Show as a concept car that General Motors said that it could carry an electric and fuel-cell powertrain in the near future. This new project will allow the company to extend its lead over the Japanese automaker Toyota, in what GM names “extend range electric vehicles.”
The Chevrolet Volt will be manufactured in 10,000 units next year, but recently the executives affirmed that this figure will go up as the demand for the car is very high. Officials at General Motors stated last month that the company is planning on hiring 1,000 engineers and research in Michigan in the next two years to have the necessary support for developing new hybrid and electric cars which will most likely replace conventional gasoline powered cars in the next 2-3 decades.
The first delivers of the Volt were made at the beginning of this month in several selected United States markets – including Michigan and California. The Volt is considered by General Motors to be the most important model at the moment in the company’s attempt to regain the image that was affected by the 2009 bankruptcy and the federal bailout. However, the $41,000 Chevrolet Volt will most likely bring a marginal profit for General Motors due to the high costs of developing this first-of-its-kind automobile that will definitely set new trends in the automotive industry.
The European variants of the Volt will be the Opel and Vauxhall Ampera, which will go on sale in the last part of 2011 for a bigger price. The Volt has been rated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a 35 miles range, powered by the lithium-ion battery pack that has a weight of 400 pounds. Beyond this range, the Chevrolet Volt will use a 1.4-liter gasoline power unit.
The Japanese automaker Toyota is already preparing a plug-in version of their highly acclaimed Prius model which will be launched in 2012 at a price more affordable than the Volt, according to the officials at the Toyota Corporation.
Kia is quite confident in the upcoming Chicago Auto Show, and has begun teasing one of its new concepts, the Ray plug-in hybrid, by releasing the sketch above.
No other details were given, but quite a few voices are saying that it will be based on the recently revealed Hyundai Blue-Will concept, which was shown at Detroit. From the above sketch it also seems that photo voltaic solar cells will be present on the roof, and might be used to recharge the battery or power the A/C inside.
Either way, we’re going to have to wait until the beginning of February to check out this new concept from the Korean carmaker.
Ahead of next week’s Detroit Auto Show, Hyundai has just revealed the Blue-Will PHEV concept, which is the first plug-in hybrid vehicle in the history of the South Korean company. Featuring the same Blue Drive technology, which will already be available commercially with the hybrid versions of the Elantra and the Sonata, set to arrive at the end of the year, the new model will certainly impress a lot of people.
For this plug-in version, the engineers at Hyundai increased the power of the electric motor, from the standard 30 kW to 100 kW, which means that it will go on for around 40 miles only on the electric energy stored in the lithium-ion batteries.
The recharging of the batteries will be done not only through the plug-in technology, but also thanks to a brake energy storage system and a new thermal electric generator, which will use the heat of the exhaust gases to generate and store electricity in the batteries.
Last but not least, the electric motor will be joined by Hyundai’s 1.6-liter Gamma inline-four engine, which generates 152 HP. Stay tuned for more details when the hybrid will be unveiled in Detroit.
Yes, you read the title right, Mercedes-Benz has just revealed that the next generation of its flagship S Class limousine will see a plug-in hybrid version, with the technology then set to be implemented in other classes.
In a new effort to boost its green cred and to attract people which have the money to spend on luxury hybrids, Mercedes promises figures around over 80 mpg and just 100 g/km of CO2 emissions. This will not only be due to the electric motor running in tandem with the gasoline one, as aerodynamic improvements and weight reductions will also be a part of the new S Class.
“It makes a lot of sense to bundle the high-price tech option to the sort of customers willing to pay for this sort of thing,” said Mercedes Reserach and Development boss Thomas Weber.
Don’t expect a purely plug-in electric variant though, as the Mercedes exec ruled it out almost immediately.
“It could be possible, but no,” he said. “Our customers expect a certain range and a level of comfort, safety and space; such things lead to a certain weight and that won’t mean a good [battery] range.”
While it hasn’t been dated exactly, the new S Class generation is certain to keep on bringing innovations to the Mercedes lineup. Let’s hope that the promises of such great fuel figures from the heavy limousine will become a reality.
For those of you not familiar with the aftermarket scene from Germany, Ruf, a company specializing in modified Porsche models, has released last year its first electric sports car concept, based on the 911, dubbed eRuf. The design was further tweaked and presented at this year’s Geneva Motor Show as the Greenster.
But it is quite difficult to pack in both an electric motor and the batteries required into the body of a 911, so the engineers looked to a bigger model in the Porsche lineup, the Cayenne SUV. The result? This new model, dubbed the eRuf Stormster, which is the first plug-in electric version of the Cayenne, and is available in both the regular SUV body, plus a Ruf wide body kit (pictured above).
The Stormster is powered by a Siemens electric motor, which can output 270 kW (around 367 HP), which even though towed down by the 2,670 kg (5,886 lbs), can get the car from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 10 seconds, and up to 150 km/h. The Li-Tec lithium-ion batteries can keep it going for 200 km in just one charge.
Overall, this model seems pretty interesting, and if you happen to be at the European Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, until December 17, you can view it on display.
We revealed last week that Mitsubishi is planning on releasing its Colt city car in the USA. After a heavy dose of rumors after that, the Japanese company has decided to issue a concrete statement, which details its plans for its small car.
Mitsubishi won’t bring the current generation Colt (pictured above), which can be found in Europe or Asia, but the next generation of the model, which will be smaller, packed with engines ranging from 1.0- to 1.3-liter and might see the light of day in 2012.
As for the US, the company said that it is studying the possibility of a plug-in version as well as an all-electric one, and will decide which it will launch onto the North American market.
Yes, I am aware of the blasphemy that the title expresses, but according to some insiders at the Japanese company Mitsubishi, the new PX-MiEV concept (pictured above), effectively a plug-in hybrid version of the Outlander SUV, might contain technology which will be used on the next generation, high performance Lancer Evolution XI.
The new concept, which is being show at the Tokyo Motor Show these days, contains a four-wheel drive system, which are powered by two 81 HP permanent magnet synchronous motors and a 1.6-liter MIVEC gasoline engine, which is connected only to the front wheels and serves as a generator. The most intriguing part is the fact that the whole hybrid drivetrain is centered around the company’s S-AWC handling system, borrowed from the Evo X model.
This system, which changes driving modes on the fly depending on the behavior of the car and the power in the batteries can deliver up to 140 mpg economy, according to Mitsubishi.
But while this concept will definitely lead to a hybrid Outlander by 2013, sources claim that the next Lancer Evo will also see it implemented in a production mode. What do you think? Would a hybrid Lancer Evo attract you or should the performance car be left how it is?