MID WEEK MOTORING,
Want one of the new sevenseater $136,000 Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrids?
Join the queue. Not only are Kiwis waiting up to 12 months to buy one, they’re not even bothering to test drive the vehicle, named Car of the Year in 2015, before driving one away.
The first New Zealand allocation of the XC90 T8 was snapped up before the cars landed.
Despite the size of the vehicle, its 2.1 L/100km fuel economy make it more fuel efficient than many small vehicles on the road, but not at the expense of performance, with a combined output of 300kW and 0-100km/h time of 5.6 seconds.
Volvo’s first all-electric vehicle is due for global release in 2019.
As EV driving ranges increase, the prices are falling, making them much more accessible.
GM’s is saying its all-electric Chevy Bolt hatchback will have a range of at least 322kms. Nissan’s next-generation Leaf electric car will match that distance on a single charge. Tesla’s Elon Musk has says the US$35,000 (NZ$50,200) 2017 Model 3 will travel at least 345 km between plug-ins.
Ford’s new Focus Electric model has a driving range of 160km upgraded from the 2016 model’s 122km limit. Apparently the average Focus driver clocks up around 48km a day.
The carmaker is investing US$4.5 billion in electrified vehicles and will add 13 electric cars and hybrids to its lineup by 2020. Plug-in hybrids are expected to be the fastest-growing type of electric vehicle.
But with fuel prices low, Ford has had a hard time attracting buyers to its hybrid and plug-in models, the C-Max, Fusion and Lincoln MKZ hybrids. US sales of those models have fallen 6 per cent this year, with buyers preferring SUVs and pickups. US sales of Ford’s SUVs rose 16 per cent in the first quarter.
Responsible, trustworthy, selfregulating corporations? Yeah right!
First it was VW cheating on emissions testing. Now it’s Mitsubishi (MMC). The company admits rigging fuel economy testing methods in Japan over the last 25 years by as much as 10 per cent to get a better fuel economy certification.
So far limited to Japan, the test manipulations involved 625,000 mini-vehicles produced since mid-2013. Models were Mitsubishi’s eK Wagon and eK Space, and 468,000 cars it made for Nissan, which markets them as the Dayz and Dayz Roox.
But Japan’s transport ministry has found irregularities in mileage data on other MMC cars, and wants an explanation.
MMC is likely to have to compensate drivers for the extra fuel used, repay government tax benefits, compensate Nissan and face potential legal suits and fines.
The bill could be as much as 166,000 yen per car (NZ$2204) or close to US$1 billion (NZ$1.4b).
Following the news, MMC lost around half its market value (US$3.7 billion) in just over a week, while orders for its cars in Japan have halved.
A cactus-inspired skin could hold the secret to creating a more efficient electric car.
Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Korean scientists have created a membrane that holds water like cactus, and has the potential to boost the performance of fuel cells in electric cars.
Currently electric cars must carry a power-sapping radiator, water reservoir and humidifier to ensure their fuel cells stay cool.
The new fuel cell membrane emulates the tiny pores in the skin of a cactus that close to conserve water in dry conditions and open at night to absorb moisture.
It means fuel cells can remain hydrated without the need for bulky external humidifying equipment.
Plug-in hybrid versions of the Volvo XC90 are beginning to arrive in New Zealand – to a keenly waiting lineup of customers.