Archive for the ‘EV’ Category

Hyundai Ioniq and Kia Niro review: Korean tanks parked on Japan’s lawn

January 4th, 2017

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Specs at a glance: 2016 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
Body type Five-door hatchback
Layout Front-wheel drive
Powertrain 1.6L 4-cylinder Atkinson cycle petrol engine, with electric hybrid drive and 1.56kWh Li-ion battery
Transmission Six-speed automatic DCT
Horsepower 105ps (petrol engine) / 32kW (electric motor) / 104kW/141ps (combined)
Torque 147Nm (petrol engine) / 170Nm (electric motor) / 265Nm (combined)
Suspension MacPherson strut (front) / Multi-link (rear)
Tyres 195/65 R15
Top speed 115mph
CO2 79g/km
Combined fuel economy 83.1mpg
Weight 1,870kg
Wheelbase 2,700mm
Dimensions 4,470 x 1,820 x 1,450mm (LWH)
Base price £19,940

Sometimes the dice just roll the right way. I had been scheduled to spend a week kicking the tyres of Kia’s new Niro at the end of August but a mixup with the booking and then the theft of a press fleet car meant that I didn’t actually get my hands on it until the last week of September, which happened to be a week before the UK press launch of the Hyundai Ioniq.

So I decided to tackle them all at once. The Ioniq (that’s “ionic” rather than “ion-eek”) will eventually be available in three guises: pure electric, hybrid—which I’m reviewing here—and a plug-in hybrid due to arrive in Blighty next spring. As it happens, the Ioniq hybrid drivetrain is also found in the Kia Niro (pronounced like the actor rather than the pen), while a plug-in version of the Niro will also appear down the line.

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Posted in Cars Technica, EV, hybrid, hyundai, Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, Ioniq, Kia, Niro | Comments (0)

BMW boosts i3 battery capacity by 50 percent—and it’s retrofitable

May 2nd, 2016

(credit: BMW)

When we reviewed the BMW i3 back in 2014, the little rear-wheel drive city car left us quite impressed. However, the i3 has always had a couple of flaws in comparison with other electric vehicles out there; it costs too much and the range isn’t very good, even if you go for the optional two-cylinder range-extending engine. It appears BMW has decided to address the latter issue, because from this summer the i3 will now come with a 33kWh battery in place of the current 22kWh unit.

Battery technology—and the amount of kilowatt-hours a dollar buys—keeps getting better each year. Certainly it improves measurably over the lifespan of a car, and the fact that BMW has seen this and bumped the battery spec for the i3 is a promising sign for the industry. That probably sounds like we’re damning with faint praise, but technology now moves too rapidly for OEMs to stick their old cycles of refreshing cars every four years. If BMW wants to sell any i3s once the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3 start shipping, a range boost is the bare minimum it needs to do.

The new battery is 50 percent bigger, so more than 100 miles (160km) should be possible on a full charge. The gas tank for the range extender engine will also grow by 25 percent; expect to stop for gas every 75 miles if you try road-tripping. These range tweaks should help boost the i3’s appeal, but before long the Bolt and Model 3 are going to make people expect 200+ miles from their EV as a bare minimum.

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VW starts recall in Europe, gets serious about “BUDD-e” electric concept van

January 28th, 2016

A conceptualization of the electric BUDD-e. (credit: Volkswagen)

As Volkswagen began its European recall of hundreds of thousands of diesel vehicles with defeat devices, it’s also pushing forward with publicity for its forthcoming electric vehicles. A company official recently made a comment to a reporter at Car Magazine to indicate that Volkswagen would be moving forward with a concept design for an electric van that was on display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month.

According to Car Magazine, Volkswagen’s head of electronic development, Dr. Volkmar Tanneberger, said that by 2020, Volkswagen would start serial production of an electric van using Volkswagen’s “Modular Electric Toolkit” (abbreviated MEB from the German) called the BUDD-e. “You will see a car that looks a lot like this,” Tanneberger said, referring to the car’s “microbus” design.

In a press release at the beginning of January, Volkswagen said that its BUDD-e concept car had a range of 233 miles, based on a drive-cycle estimate using the Environmental Protection Agency’s guidelines, and incorporated a flat battery with a motor at the front and rear axles. The concept car envisioned a high level of Internet connectivity, with touch panels instead of buttons and digital screens instead of analog mirrors. At the time, Volkswagen said its MEB platform would be the basis for its electric vehicles by 2019, but the BUDD-e vehicle was merely referred to as a concept.

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