RISING TO FUEL CHALLENGE
Electric vehicles will account for 3 per cent of Volkswagen’s global sales by 2018. Its zero-emission, all-electric range will start in 2013 with versions of the Up model. VWhas signed up its second battery supplier, Bosch, to develop car batteries. It also has a contract with Sanyo. To meet stringent emission regulations and thwart rising fossil fuel prices, all makers are fasttracking plans for hybrid, plug-in hybrids or full electric models. Challenges are the cost of batteries and limited range of electric vehicles.
SAFE WORLD CAR
The reigning world Car of the Year has become the first electric car to score top marks in the European New Car Assessment Program. The Nissan Leaf attained the highest five-star car safety rating following its performance in the independent organisation’s stringent crash tests. It rated 89 per cent for adult safety, 83 per cent for child protection and 84 per cent for onboard safety assist systems, which include electronic stability control and a speed limiter as standard. The compact family hatch also earned an aboveaverage 65 per cent rating for pedestrian safety.
HIGHWAY FUEL ROBBERY
Fuel has become so expensive in Britain that thieves are targeting fuel tanks. Last week a driver was physically threatened by several people siphoning 40 litres of diesel from his truck while he was parked at a highway service station. The Road Haulage Association says criminals are selling stolen diesel at less than bowser price.
US FLEET TRIMSDOWN
Government workers must downsize vehicles under a new US presidential order. The ruling covers vehicles used for law enforcement, protective, emergency response or military tactical operations. Executive fleet vehicles larger than a mid-size sedan, or not meeting alternative-fuel vehicle requirements, must be disclosed.
Safety leader: The electric Nissan Leaf