Volvo Releases initials details for new plug-in hybrid due in 2012

Volvo V70 Plug-in hybrid demonstration car
Volvo is teaming up with Swedish energy utility Vattenfall to create a new plug-in hybrid. The automaker claims a new diesel/electric vehicle will emerge from the partnership and hit the market in 2012.

The two companies began working together over two years ago to explore the technology that makes plug-in vehicles a reality. In conducting research, the two companies agree that these autos are not only better for the environment, but have the potential to create many new jobs with the introduction of a supporting infrastructure.
Volvo V70 Plug-in hybrid demonstration car

Volvo V70 Plug-in hybrid demonstration car

Volvo V70 Plug-in hybrid demonstration car

Volvo V70 Plug-in hybrid demonstration car

Volvo V70 Plug-in hybrid demonstration car

The Volvo Vattenfall plug-in hybrid public charging station

Volvo V70 Plug-in hybrid demonstration car

Volvo V70 Plug-in hybrid demonstration car

Volvo V70 Plug-in hybrid demonstration car

Volvo V70 Plug-in hybrid demonstration car

Volvo V70 Plug-in hybrid demonstration car

Volvo V70 Plug-in hybrid demonstation car components and packaging of the powertrain

Source:Volvo via World Car Fans

Press Release

Unique co-operation on environmental cars

Volvo Cars and Vattenfall to develop new plug-in hybrid

A Volvo that can be fuelled with electricity from a standard wall socket will be a reality in 2012. Swedish energy company Vattenfall and the Volvo Car Corporation are launching an industrial joint venture partnership to introduce plug-in hybrids on the market. The ground-breaking technology will considerably lower the environmental impact from traffic. In addition, owning a plug-in hybrid vehicle will be convenient since you can fuel up at home and fuel costs are significantly lower.

In January 2007, the Volvo Car Corporation and Vattenfall launched a joint project with the aim of testing and developing plug-in technology. Now their cooperation is being taken to the next level.

"We are investing in an industrial joint venture to series-produce plug-in hybrid cars in Sweden in 2012, cars that can be powered by both electricity and diesel. This is an important business development for us and our partnership with Vattenfall allows us to take a giant step toward offering our customers cars with an even smaller environmental footprint," says Stephen Odell, President and CEO of the Volvo Car Corporation.

Vattenfall and the Volvo Car Corporation believe that series production of plug-in hybrid cars and the development of infrastructure can generate new jobs and help Sweden maintain its position at the cutting edge of advanced pro-environmental technology.

The car can be charged at home

One of the major benefits of plug-in hybrids is that they can be charged from a regular household wall socket.

"We want to reinforce electricity's importance in society and its key role in solving climate issues. Through this cooperation we hope to be able to speed up the introduction of electric cars. Together we are developing the next-generation technology based on plug-in cars and various charging alternatives," says Lars G Josefsson, President and CEO of Vattenfall.

The development of the cars is being carried out and financed jointly by the two companies. The Volvo Car Corporation will manufacture the cars and Vattenfall will develop charging systems and supply the cars with electricity.

Innovative environmental technology

Electricity is very well-suited as a power source for cars. An electric motor has a high efficiency rating and consumes roughly one-fifth the energy needed to power an engine that runs on fossil fuels. The purchase price of the plug-in hybrids will be higher than that of cars with conventional technology. Batteries are still expensive but with the car running on electricity, its fuel costs will be cut to roughly one-third compared with diesel power.

Vattenfall will offer customers the opportunity to sign an agreement for renewable electricity sourced specifically from windpower or hydropower, as an alternative to the regular mix of electricity sources. Lars G Josefsson sees many benefits from chargeable plug-in hybrids, even in cases where the electricity does not come from renewable energy sources.

"Through electric power, we avoid the emissions from each individual car. Instead of petrol or diesel, the energy is derived from a few large power sources and Vattenfall is working hard to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from all electricity production. In Sweden, virtually all Vattenfall's electricity production is emission-free," explains Lars G Josefsson.

The plug-in hybrid cars will be driven by a powerful electric motor fuelled by a lithium-ion battery. The battery takes about five hours to charge from a standard wall socket, and the battery is also charged every time the car's brakes are applied.

"Most car journeys are short trips, for instance to and from work. We will be able to offer a product that fulfils this transportation need. In order to cover longer distances as well, the car will also be equipped with one of Volvo's fuel-efficient diesel engines," says Stephen Odell.

Demonstration cars on show this summer

In the summer of 2009, three Volvo V70 demonstration cars will be presented. The demonstration cars will be used to gather information about the wishes and demands that drivers may have on the new technology, to determine their driving habits and to establish how they want to charge their cars. Vattenfall will, among other things, test various concepts for high-speed home charging and also for charging stations in public places, where owners pay to fuel with electricity instead of petrol or diesel. The cars that are planned to go into series production in 2012 will feature somewhat different technology, but the launch of the demonstration vehicles is a step towards series-producing plug-in hybrid cars specifically tailored to market needs.
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Toyota's hybrid Supra successor on track for 2011

With all the rumors and anticipation surrounding Toyota's joint venture with Subaru to produce a front-engine, rear-wheel drive coupe, the automaker's Supra successor has been put on the news cycle's back-burner.

However, according to a report by Best Car, development has continued in earnest since the FT-HS Hybrid Sports Car Concept debuted at the Detroit Auto Show in 2007 and a prototype will supposedly begin making the rounds later this year.

While details are still limited, several sources are suggesting the rear-wheel drive sports car will be offered with a 3.5-liter V6 and the Lexus GS450h's 2GR-VSE 3.5-liter V6 which will be paired with the Toyota's Crown hybrid system. While the current 3.5-liter V6 only produces 268 hp and 248 lb-ft or torque, the Crown's hybrid system could enable the Lexus' V6 to produce more than 400 hp.

If Best Car's report is to be believed, we could see the next iteration of the FT-HS concept at the Tokyo Motor Show this November, with the production model debuting sometime in 2010 before its on-sale date the following year.

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Compact hybrid Range Rover LRX gets green light

According to the report, Land Rover will borrow liberally from corporate partner Jaguar's hardware stable, which is rumored to soon include both hybrid and extended-range EV options. Land Rover's innovative electric drive rear axle is supposedly on the LRX menu, which would work along with the automaker's well-known and highly-effective Terrain Response System to put power to the ground wherever possible.

If there's any truth to these rumors, we shouldn't expect Land Rover to have the hybrid LRX in production until at least two years have passed. In the meantime, the British-built, Indian-owned automaker is set to debut stop/start and regenerative braking on all of its models to improve their environmental performance.

Automakers that hope to continue doing business over the next few years need to be increasingly aware of their fuel consumption, emissions and environmental credibility. In deference to this fact, Auto Express in the U.K. is reporting that Land Rover is moving forward with plans to launch the new LRX compact hybrid 'ute, possibly with a bit of help from the U.K. government.

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2011 Range Rover Evoque

This is the 2011 Range Rover Evoque, which was unveiled following an exclusive preview in London for 300 guests attending a 40th birthday celebration of Range Rover held in partnership with Vogue magazine. The guests included model Erin O'Connor and television presenter Gabby Logan, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and Zara Phillips.

The Evoque will go on sale next Summer once it has bowed at the Paris motorshow on the 30th October. While Land Rover had remained tight-lipped about more details, we know the Range Rover will come in 2WD & 4WD and is the lightest, smallest and most frugal SUV in the firm’s line-up. The greenest Evoque will emit no more than 130g/km of CO2. 'The two-wheel-drive option will give customers the chance to benefit from lower entry-level pricing, plus CO2 and fuel-economy efficiencies,' said Popham. However, Land Rover has ditched its plans for a hybrid variant of the Evoque. Land Rover is working on hybrid systems and its first model to receive the system will be the next Range Rover in 2013.

The Evoque stays accurate to the LRX concept that was first shown two years ago. According to Land Rover design director Gerry McGovern, it is 'a modern and relevant execution of the familiar Range Rover design'.

Land Rover’s managing director, Phil Popham, said, ‘Customers can be confident that the new car will be premium, luxurious and just as special as the other Range Rover models. Its sporting looks and unique qualities will open the brand to a new group of customers who might not have considered a Range Rover before.’

Although no outsiders of Land Rover know what the car looked like before its launch, regardless of what it would cost, Land Rover says it has already taken deposits from buyers, and that it has received around 20,000 'expressions of interest' in the Evoque.

No interior photos have been revealed yet, but potential customers can expect the kind of premium and luxurious materials already found in other Range Rover models, according to the firm. Former Spice Girl, Victoria Beckham is now a creative design executive, and will be designing the interior of the Evoque. She described the new Range Rover as 'absolutely stunning' and that the chance to join forces on the design was 'an incredible opportunity'.

Land Rover and Range Rover design director Gerry McGovern said of Victoria Beckham: 'She knows a lot about fashion and a lot about trends, a lot about luxury products. I believe this appointment adds a new dimension to my design team as we continue to design products to appeal to a wider audience.'

"The all-new Land Rover Range Rover Evoque will be built at our multi-award winning plant in Halewood, creating 1,000 new jobs in the Merseyside area, a fantastic boost to the UK economy. The Halewood plant has a reputation for excellence and quality and is recognised throughout the industry as a leader in Lean Manufacturing.

"The all-new Land Rover Range Rover Evoque is a true global car and will be sold in over 160 countries. It was important to give the car a name that was instantly recognisable through language and cultural boundaries throughout the world. We wanted to create a new name which was innovative and different. A name which implies exclusivity and arouses emotions. Land Rover Range Rover Evoque is cosmopolitan and cross-continental, sophisticated and matches the car's urban elegance," he added.

Prices are expected to start at £35,000 for the 2WD and £40,000 for the 4WD. This would mean that the Evoque is at least £10,000 cheaper than the larger Range Rover Sport. While the Evoque is classed as a coupe, a more practical 5dr will join the range at a later date.


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Kia Picanto voted the most reliable car

A car reliability survey carried out by consumer magazine Which? have acknowledged that the Kia Picanto is the most reliable new car on sale.

Although being one of the cheapest new cars on sales at £7,195, the petite Kia beat every other car to the top spot with a customer satisfaction score of 98.1%. Only 1.9% of people experienced problems and found the 7 year warranty offered something to fall back on. But, Which? doesn’t vouch for the Picanto thanks to its lack of safety features and poor Euro NCAP crash test rating. So in its place, the 2nd placed Mazda3 received the Which? Best Buy gong.

Asian car manufactures primarily dominate the chart, with seven making it into the top 10 list. Only Volkswagen and Mercedes represent Europe.

Most reliable new cars:

1 - Kia Picanto – 98.1%

2 - Mazda3 – 97.6%

3 - Daihatsu Sirion – 97.0%

4 - Honda Insight – 97.0%

5 - Honda Jazz – 96.2%

6 - Toyota iQ – 96.1%

7 - Toyota Prius – 95.4%

8 - Volkswagen Golf Plus – 93.3%

9 - Mercedes-Benz SLK – 93.3%

10 - Mazda2 – 93.2%
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Fiat Punto to acquire newly built 4-cylinder engine

Fiat Group's plant in Brazil, formally belonging to Chrysler, will produce engines for the new Fiat Punto. Since the late ‘90s, Tritec Motors, built 1m 4 cylinder 1.6 litre engines for Minis and the Chrysler Neon and PT Cruiser. Since March 2008, the plant has belonged to Fiat Group.

The 538,000 sq/ft facility, located on 321 acres near Curituba, had previously been the focus of media reports, which a Chinese manufacturer wanted to dismantle the factory and take it back to China. Instead, through Fiats investment into Chrysler, the factory has been renovated to the tune of $250m. On three shifts, the plant is aiming to make 40,000 engines by 2014, 40% of which will be exported.

As well as the current 1.6 litre engine, Fiat has developed a new 1.8 litre, producing 130bhp on the E100 ethanol that is supplied throughout Brazil and 128bhp on petrol, both at 5,250 rpm. That engine will be debuting in the Punto Essence 1.8 and Sporting 1.8, linked to a 5 speed Dualogic gearbox.

Both engines are called E.torQ: the E allegedly stands for engineering, energy (dynamism), environment and emotion, and torQ means the twang on low-end power, as much as 80% of maximum torque at just 1,500 rpm. The larger engine replaces the 1.8 litre Opel/Chevrolet engine used since 2001 under the GM-Fiat joint venture, which continued to be supplied after GM and Fiat broke up in 2005.

It goes from 0-60mph in less than 10.5 seconds with a top speed of 114 mph. The 1.8 Essence and 1.8 Sporting models reach 60mph in less than 9.8 seconds and have a top speed of 119 mph, both on ethanol.

Other models likely to be fitted with the new engines include the Linea sedan, which launched in September 2008. Its current 1.9 litre DOHC engine is produced in Argentina but shares all performance specs with the 1.8 litre engine made in Campo Largo.
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Jeep revises 2010 Grand Cherokee with new special edition

In order to increase sales before the 2011 Grand Cherokee is launched, customers have been treated to a spiced up 2010 Grand Cherokee, which comes with SRT-inspired interior and exterior features and is called the "S-Limited".

Production of the new special edition is limited to 250 units, which are powered by a 3.0 CRD V6 diesel engine producing 215bhp and 509Nm (376lb/ft) of torque.

Based upon the Limited grade, "S-Limited" adds a body-coloured mesh grille, 18” alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlamps, rear spoiler, body-coloured bodykit extensions and tinted windows. Internal upgrades consist of leather steering wheel and gear knob with carbon fibre style inserts, aluminium bezel finished interior items, grey leather sport seats with suede inserts, leather dashboard binnacle, aluminium pedals and heated front and rear seats.

The Grand Cherokee S-Limited is available in Brilliant Black, Bright Silver, Dark Carbon and Modern Blue, with prices starting from £33,995.
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Citroen GT concept still under assessment

Citroen has denied previous reports alleging it no longer has any plans to put its wild GT by Citroen supercar into restricted production.

Citroen was likely to build 6 cars costing around £1.1m each, but French media claimed Citroen had scrapped plans after it decided the engineering and development costs needed to get the GT production ready would not be worth the returns on the car; each unit would be sold at a significant loss. However, Citroen has now verified that the GT by Citroen is still "under evaluation" for production and no choice on whether or not the supercar will make production has been decided.

Earlier reports suggested Citroen is planning to focus on developing smaller sporty cars, such as the Citroen DS3 Racing, rather than developing a range-topping supercar. The GT by Citroen's engine has never been publicised, but it was believed to be powered by a V8 petrol engine producing more than 500bhp supplied by either Ford or GM. The production car is expected to use a manual gearbox with paddle shifters.

The Citroen GT concept stole the lime-light at the 2008 Paris motor show.

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