Volkswagen's latest eye-catching creation, the ultra-efficient diesel-hybrid XL1, debuted at the Qatar Auto Show, immediately garnering attention both for its looks and its specs. But according to German publication Automobilwoche (warning: German), VW actually intends to bring the XL1 to market, albeit in a (very) limited run.
If you had to separate the speakers at this year's Lithium Supply and Markets conference into two camps, you could do it like this: There are those who believe that the electrification of the automobile will proceed at a steady, orderly pace, and that over the next 10 or 15 years the world's lithium producers together to mine and process an additional 7 or so percent each year. Then there are those who believe anything could happen--who think this kind of orderly extrapolation is blindly conservative.
In principle, the Chevrolet Volt is simple: It's an electric car with a gas-powered generator for backup. Yet the machinery under the hood is complex. The overarching goal is to wring maximum miles out of the Volt's lithium-ion battery and, when gasoline is necessary, to use it frugally. This requires the Volt's drivetrain—composed of two electric motors, a gasoline engine, three clutches and a planetary gearset—to blend power from different sources to find the perfect balance in every driving situation.
We’ve heard it said that electric cars make driving like using an iPhone app. It’s not true, but Ford’s choice of venue for the reveal of the Ford Focus Electric—the Consumer Electronics Show—probably won’t help change that perception.
Modern electric cars are still in their infancy, and one of the most onerous growing pains has to be their limited range--even the otherwise-pretty-awesome Nissan Leaf can only go about 100 miles on a charge. In answer to that issue, the Pru trailer concept offers a 700-mile boost in range, extra storage space, and sweet details like topographical analysis via Google Earth.
That the Chevy Volt exists at all is something of a miracle. The project, which was announced at the Detroit Auto Show nearly four years ago and goes into production next month, has survived two CEO shakeups, major bankruptcy, and an unprecedented rescue by the Federal government. For every wave of goodwill, the Volt has endured a backlash of bile and skepticism. By now, the car has become a political football, a proxy for anger over the bailout of GM and Chrysler and a symbol of the future of the American auto industry. That's a lot of baggage for a compact car to carry. And it's a remarkable amount of baggage to accumulate before anyone even knew how the finished car would drive.
Now, after several hours and nearly 200 miles driving and riding in saleable Volts, we know how the finished product drives. And the news is very good.
Happy 75th birthday to British automaker Jaguar! As a birthday present, they've actually given us something new to drool over: A 780 hp mostly-electric supercar capable of hitting 250 mph with a whopping 500-mile range, all wrapped in a body inspired by the 1966 XJ13, the car the chief designer calls "possibly the most beautiful Jaguar ever made."
Electric motorcycles no longer need be thought of as slow and boring. When the Brammo Empulse, successor to last year's Enertia, goes on sale early next year it'll be capable of reaching speeds in excess of 100 mph with an average range of up to 100 miles.
By Wes SilerPosted 06.11.2010 at 11:57 am 9 Comments
Update on the world's most advanced electric motorcycle: The 2010 MotoCzysz E1pc won the TT Zero electric motorcycle race yesterday, lapping the Isle of Man at a record 96.820 MPH, just shy of the 100 MPH goal the team was aiming for. The win is history-making for more than just electric motorcycles--it's the first time an American-made bike has won a race at the Isle of Man since Indian debuted a two-speed gearbox in 1911 and only the second time an American rider has finished first there.