Petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric? How do you know what the right powertrain is for you?

Pollution in the UK

Car buyers are facing increasing confusion about what engine type is best for them and for the planet? So what’s the answer?

These are confusing times for car buyers looking to buy the car that best suits their needs.

Campaigners against diesel are making the most noise, and with good reason if the focus is on reducing Nox and particulates. The announcement regarding diesel tax hikes suggests the government backs this view, although it is intriguing that it also continues to promote the benefits of the latest Euro 6 compliant engines, so far excluding them from tax rises and potential congestion charges.

This new, shifted stance overlooks the equally logical reasons diesel was incentivised in the first place, namely because it puts less CO2 in the air, reducing concerns around greenhouse gases and global warming. 

Insight: is it time to give up on the diesel engine?

And therein lies one part of the dilemma, because choosing either fuel comes with an upside and a downside. One fuel type cannot deliver on both sides of the equation – at least not at present, although there is new tech in the pipeline looking to address this.

It was ever thus, and that is why car manufacturers invested so heavily in improving the emissions and economy of both, to the point that today’s Euro 6 engines are substantially cleaner than anything that has gone before.

Now, of course, there are alternatives, in the form of mild hybrids, plug-in hybrids and full electric cars. And guess what? None of them provide a holistic answer that can answer all of the conflicts raised by our desire for personal transport at no environmental cost.

Read more: Autocar’s best electric cars

Mild hybrid works well in certain conditions, plug-in hybrid works well in others and electric cars serve a niche of drivers perfectly today, and could potentially deliver for a huge proportion of drivers in the future.

All three present environmental issues, from how effective they really in are in the real world through to the knock-on pollution issues regarding where the energy to power them is generated and the environmental impact of both creating and disposing of their batteries.

So perhaps the most logical statement we can conclude from this is that, today, there is no silver bullet. Transport comes at a cost to the planet, however you fuel it.

The only way we can minimise that environmental cost is to select the most appropriate fuel type according to our needs and – to a large degree – reconcile that decision with our personal choices of how we want to pollute the planet.

What’s needed right now is some less emotive guidance. The government should be leading the agenda, but blew its leadership credentials on this issue once again with its muddled, misleading ‘line in the sand’ (which was nothing like a land in the sand) regarding electrification. Make no mistake, it pushed the ‘no petrol or diesel engines from 2040’ line initially – only backtracking to concede hybrids would live on after half a day of headlines making them look like they were taking a tough stance. The truth is that everything it actually announced was happening anyway.

What we need is legislators who will keep the car makers under the cosh to hit targets they prescribe, and a car industry that is left to unleash its resources and brainpower to meet them. Then, faced with a variety of option, it should be down to both sides to openly and honestly explain the pros and cons of every solution they deliver. Until that clarity is delivered, the muddle will go on.



Source: Autocar Online

Comment: Petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric? How do you know what the right powertrain is for you?

Pollution in the UK

Car buyers are facing increasing confusion about what engine type is best for them and for the planet? So what’s the answer?

These are confusing times for car buyers looking to buy the car that best suits their needs.

Campaigners against diesel are making the most noise, and with good reason if the focus is on reducing Nox and particulates. The announcement regarding diesel tax hikes suggests the government backs this view, although it is intriguing that it also continues to promote the benefits of the latest Euro 6 compliant engines, so far excluding them from tax rises and potential congestion charges.

This new, shifted stance overlooks the equally logical reasons diesel was incentivised in the first place, namely because it puts less CO2 in the air, reducing concerns around greenhouse gases and global warming. 

Insight: is it time to give up on the diesel engine?

And therein lies one part of the dilemma, because choosing either fuel comes with an upside and a downside. One fuel type cannot deliver on both sides of the equation – at least not at present, although there is new tech in the pipeline looking to address this.

It was ever thus, and that is why car manufacturers invested so heavily in improving the emissions and economy of both, to the point that today’s Euro 6 engines are substantially cleaner than anything that has gone before.

Now, of course, there are alternatives, in the form of mild hybrids, plug-in hybrids and full electric cars. And guess what? None of them provide a holistic answer that can answer all of the conflicts raised by our desire for personal transport at no environmental cost.

Read more: Autocar’s best electric cars

Mild hybrid works well in certain conditions, plug-in hybrid works well in others and electric cars serve a niche of drivers perfectly today, and could potentially deliver for a huge proportion of drivers in the future.

All three present environmental issues, from how effective they really in are in the real world through to the knock-on pollution issues regarding where the energy to power them is generated and the environmental impact of both creating and disposing of their batteries.

So perhaps the most logical statement we can conclude from this is that, today, there is no silver bullet. Transport comes at a cost to the planet, however you fuel it.

The only way we can minimise that environmental cost is to select the most appropriate fuel type according to our needs and – to a large degree – reconcile that decision with our personal choices of how we want to pollute the planet.

What’s needed right now is some less emotive guidance. The government should be leading the agenda, but blew its leadership credentials on this issue once again with its muddled, misleading ‘line in the sand’ (which was nothing like a land in the sand) regarding electrification. Make no mistake, it pushed the ‘no petrol or diesel engines from 2040’ line initially – only backtracking to concede hybrids would live on after half a day of headlines making them look like they were taking a tough stance. The truth is that everything it actually announced was happening anyway.

What we need is legislators who will keep the car makers under the cosh to hit targets they prescribe, and a car industry that is left to unleash its resources and brainpower to meet them. Then, faced with a variety of option, it should be down to both sides to openly and honestly explain the pros and cons of every solution they deliver. Until that clarity is delivered, the muddle will go on.



Source: Autocar Online

Mini Countryman Cooper S E All4

Mini Countryman S E All4
Can this plug-in hybrid successfully meld capability, frugality and performance?

Mini’s famously youthful, urban-dwelling customer base would lap up the chance to buy an electric car, you’d imagine – and before too long, they’ll be able to do just that.The firm has been experimenting with an electric-only model since it introduced a fleet of 600 prototype Mini E superminis onto European roads in 2009. We drove one from Brighton to Glasgow in 2010, just to prove it could be done (although it took fully 96 hours, in the days before motorway fast chargers existed).In 2019, Mini will launch its first all-electric series-production model – a car the firm’s management is already describing as its ‘fifth superhero’ after the standard three and five-door supermini, the Convertible, the Clubman and the Countryman. Time will tell how great its superpowers will be – but the word is that they’ll be delivered by breakthrough battery technology.And for now, Mini is getting its owners, dealers and devotee fans used to the idea of an electrified option with the subject of this road test: the Countryman Cooper S E All4 plug-in hybrid.A medium-sized five-door hatchback ready to compete with the likes of the Volkswagen Golf GTE, Audi A3 e-tron Sportback, Toyota Prius Plug-in and Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in, the Countryman Cooper S E All4 differs from its key rivals by having a slightly raised crossover-style ride height and seating position, and also by backing that up with the extra capability of four driven wheels.The Mini’s appeal plainly attempts to be broader than that of many of the fledgling affordable plug-in-hybrids (also known as PHEVs).Mini claims three-figure fuel efficiency at one corner; sub-7.0sec-to-62mph performance zest at the other; a smattering of traditional 4×4 capability; and the company’s fashion-brand desirability to attract your attention.Such a challenging brief won’t have been easy to fulfil, of course, and may have made it impossible for the Countryman to excel in any one area. We’ll see.It’s certainly true that this car differs from the mechanical template of those predominantly front-wheel-drive competitors in ways that we’ll go on to explain and that have influences on its performance and handling both to praise and lament. 

Source: Autocar Online

Extreme Alpine A110 Cup racing model previewed in sketch

Extreme Alpine A110 Cup racing model previewed in first sketch

Track-spec version of Alpine’s mid-engined sports car will get its own one-make racing series

Alpine is developing a racing version of its A110 sports car to take part in a one-make series, and this is the first glimpse of how it’ll look.

The track-only model will race in the A110 Cup series and will benefit from modifications including a full rollcage, a bodykit with enhanced aerodynamics and a stripped-out interior, making it lighter than the 1080kg roadgoing model.

Alpine A110 first ride: will it be a Porsche 718 Cayman beater?

Full details are yet to be confirmed, but racing trends suggest that the A110 Cup will also get a less restrictive exhaust and freer-breathing induction system to enable small increases in power. As standard, the A110’s turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine produces 247bhp.

Racing company Signatech will design, make and sell A110 Cups, ensuring that they conform to FIA-homologation standards. The French brand runs Alpine’s LMP2 racing cars in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and at Le Mans.

Alpine expects its series to attract around 20 entries, with races due to take place on several yet-to-be-confirmed European circuits. No date has been set for the opening round, but 2018 seems likely.

The A110 Cup series won’t be Alpine’s first one-make championship. Between 1985 and 1988, the brand ran the Alpine GTA Europa Cup with track-versions of its GTA V6 Turbo sports car. Each of the series’ rounds ran as a support event for European Formula 1 grands prix.

More content:

A brief history of Alpine, 1955 – 2017



Source: Autocar Online

Seat reveals nine potential names for its new seven-seat SUV

Seat seven-seat SUV Autocar image

This is an Autocar image of Seat’s forthcoming seven-seat SUV

Nine names have now been chosen from a list of 10,130; the three finalists will be revealed in September

Seat has revealed the nine potential names for its forthcoming seven-seat SUV, as voted for by the public last month.

The names are all taken from Spanish geography, in keeping with the rest of the brand’s range. A total of 10,130 names have been whittled down to Abrera, Alboran, Aran, Aranda, Avila, Donosti, Tarifa, Tarraco and Teide.

Seat will slim this list down to three finalists, due to be announced on 12 September at the Frankfurt motor show.

The new model will be based on the Skoda Kodiaq and will join the Ateca and forthcoming Arona in the firm’s SUV range.

Seat’s names from Spain

Ronda: Produced from 1982 to 1986, this was the first Seat named after a town in Spain. Ronda is located in a mountainous area of the Málaga region.

Málaga: This saloon, built from 1985 to 1992, took the name of Spain’s sixth-largest city.

Marbella: This was a rebadged Fiat Panda, named after a city on the Costa del Sol.

Ibiza: The long-running supermini shares its name with the party-friendly Balearic island.

Córdoba: A bigger version of the Ibiza, named after the historic city in Andalusia.

Toledo: Small family car has the same name as a historic town that’s a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Leon: Seat’s family car is named after a large city in the North-West of Spain.

Alhambra: This large MPV gets its name from a large palace in Granada.

Altea: The name of Seat’s discontinued small MPV was taken from a town on the Costa Blanca.

Ateca: The hugely popular SUV was named after a small town with a population of less than 2000 people in the province of Zaragoza.

Arona: A small port town on the island of Tenerife gives its name to Seat’s forthcoming small SUV.

Arosa: The small city car Seat produced from 1997 until 2004 referenced Vilagarcía de Arousa in the Galicia province. Seat returned to the city car market in 2012 with the Mii, which of course isn’t named after anywhere in Spain.



Source: Autocar Online

Renault-Nissan overtakes Volkswagen Group on 2017 first-half global deliveries

Renault-Nissan closes on VW Group in 2017 first half global sales

Since taking control of Mitsubishi, Renault-Nissan is on track to overtake the VW Group and Toyota to become the largest producer of cars in the world in 2017

The RenaultNissan Alliance is poised become the largest car maker in the world following deliveries of 5.268 million cars in the first half of 2017.

Across the same period, the Volkswagen Group sold an almost identical number of cars, at 5.27m, but slipped behind Renault-Nissan, having delivered only 5.156m of these. With a new Volkswagen Polo on the way, as well as other volume-selling cars from elsewhere in the group, there’s still uncertainty as which group will take the title this year.

Renault-Nissan, which comprises the Renault, Nissan, AlpineDacia, Datsun, InfinitiLada, Mitsubishi and Venucia brands, also reported sales of 480,000 electric vehicles, which is the highest of any automotive group in the world. 

Last year, Renault-Nissan delivered just shy of 9.96m cars globally, meaning more than one in nine of all cars sold that year came from the group. That year, the Volkswagen Group delivered 10.3m cars globally. 

The UK was in the top ten markets for all three of the main Alliance brands (Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi) with sales of the Nissan Qashqai making the UK the fifth-strongest market for Nissan – the USA, China, Japan and Mexico make up the top four. For both Renault and Mitsubishi, UK sales rank ninth overall. France is Renault’s top market, while the USA is top for Mitsubishi. 

Carlos Ghosn, Renault-Nissan chairman, said: “The Alliance has delivered record sales during the first semester of 2017, reaching 5,268,079 vehicles sold. We will continue to leverage our significant economies of scale and global market presence to deliver valuable synergies for our member companies this year, while maintaining a strong technology line-up and offering customers breakthrough electric models.

“Our enlarged Alliance is well placed to realise its full potential, not only in terms of unit volumes, but also by providing next-generation mobility services to customers around the world.”

Read more: 

Top 10 best-selling cars in Britain

The most popular cars in Europe – by country

The top 10 Autocar reviews of 2016



Source: Autocar Online

New 200mph Vanda Dendrobium electric supercar video released

Vanda hopes to be Singapore’s first car maker with its British-built electric supercar, created in conjunction with Williams Advanced Engineering

The Vanda Dendrobium, the first in an upcoming range of electric road cars from Singapore-based Vanda Electronics, has been previewed in a new video showing it running on the road.

The 200mph British-built electric supercar concept, which made its debut in March at the Geveva motor show, is being lined up for production, where it is expected to command a seven-figure price tag. Vanda said it has already received a number of orders for the car.

 

 

The two-seat ‘petal-roofed’ Dendrobium is the product of Grove-based Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE), whose engineers spent 2016 turning design sketches into the neatly finished concept. According to Larissa Tan, the boss of Vanda Electrics, the next step is to engineer the Dendrobium for limited production “in the tens, rather than the hundreds”. Production is planned to kick off by 2019.

As shown by the new video, WAE head of programmes Ian Cluett, who is leading the project, had the car built to a running standard. Full details of the electric powertrain have not been revealed, but to hit 200mph, the Dendrobium will need more than 700bhp, four-wheel drive, a two-speed gearbox and most likely three electric motors — one at the front and two at the rear.

However, to turn the concept car into a ‘dynamic demonstrator’, it features a single motor and a lithium ion battery pack derived from the Formula E set-up that WAE designed for the race series. WAE has been set a number of tough challenges by the Dendrobium’s design which features a teardrop-shaped centre section, exposed rear suspension components and unique roof/door opening.

The rear-hinging doors and roof lend the supercar its name, their ‘petal-like’ shape mimicking the Vanda orchid, Singapore’s national flower. Dendrobium is an orchid genus.

Locking the doors and lightweight roof shut at 200mph will be a considerable engineering challenge for WAE. The Dendrobium hasn’t been in the wind tunnel yet, but Cluett said its behaviour has been computer modelled. The tapering rear bodywork also leaves little volume for a battery pack. WAE can’t package the battery between the wheels, Tesla-style, because that would push the centre of gravity too high. As a result, it is likely to feature a relatively small battery pack of 30- 50kWh, rather than the 80- 100kWh of the Tesla Model S. The powertrain will be tuned to deliver the project’s two main targets: 200mph and 0-60mph in 2.7sec.

There is also work to be done on the interior packaging which places the occupants too far outboard and pinned against an intrusive door trim.

Remarkably, the Dendrobium’s design dates to 1996 and was created by an unnamed designer. According to Tan, it was revised “in the mid-2000s”, but the designer wishes to remain anonymous.

Vanda Electrics is a privately funded engineering company with investors in the United States and China.

Watch the Tesla Model S P85D take on the McLaren 650S in a drag race in the video below.

Read more Geneva motor show news



Source: Autocar Online

Borgward to show sports car concept at Frankfurt motor show

Borgward to show new concept at Frankfurt motor show

Reborn German brand looks to be lining up a performance car concept for September’s event

Reborn German car maker Borgward will reveal a low-slung concept car at the Frankfurt motor show this September.

The car has been previewed with a picture of its bonnet. The image suggests the model will be a sports car, rather than an SUV, like the brand’s most recently revealed production models. It could preview a future halo production model.

Borgward, which was first founded in 1919 but went bankrupt in 1961, returned to the spotlight in 2015 when it revealed its first new model, the BX7 (above). That car is pegged to enter Europe next year, having just received EU Type Approval, but at the moment, it remains a China-only product.

Work on Borgward’s new European factory is taking place in Bremen, Germany, where the company was first founded. The manufacturer aims to deliver 800,000 cars per year by 2020, before ramping up production to produce 1.6 million annually by 2025.



Source: Autocar Online

Tesla Model 3: first customer delivery to take place tonight

First production Tesla Model 3

Elon Musk shared pic of first Tesla Model 3 off the production line on Twitter

Elon Musk will hand over the first Model 3 to its new owner during an event at 4:45am BST on Saturday morning

The first Tesla Model 3 customer car will be handed over at an event tonight, kicking off deliveries for the brand’s highest-demanded vehicle.

CEO Elon Musk will pass the Model 3 onto its owner at 4:45am BST – 8:45pm PT – before production is ramped up to more than 100 cars in August. Tesla plans to follow this with 1500 cars in September and then to move towards maximum output of 20,000 cars per month from December.

Several cars have already rolled off the production line at the firm’s Gigafactory in Nevada, US, but none have reached their owners as of yet.

 

 

The Model 3 has an entry-level price of $35,000 (about £28,000) and has been ordered by around 500,000 customers, which is the maximum output possible at Tesla’s new battery-producing Gigafactory. The first models will be given to owners at a handover event on 28 July.

 

 

Production starts as Tesla injects $1 billion (around £800 million) of investment into the company, something CEO Musk has previously said would help the company meet the high demand requirements of its new model.

The manufacturer has raised capital to help production and ease the financial risk associated with the production run, which led to a rise in its share price that was also helped by reports of its future model plans, including the Model Y compact SUV, according to New York financiers.

Tesla Model X road test

Tesla has also said it aimed to deliver a combined total of 47,000 to 50,000 Model S and Model Xs in the first half of this year, but did not give a figure for Model 3 target sales.

It has, however, reaffirmed its pledge to deliver 500,000 vehicles in 2018 and one million in 2020when the Gigafactory is expected to reach full capacity – a sharp rise from the 80,000 delivered in 2016.

Tesla’s Gigafactory in numbers



Source: Autocar Online

Porsche confirms LMP1 WEC withdrawal, Formula E entry

Porsche to quit WEC after 2017

Triple Le Mans winner quits series; Formula E entry from 2019

Porsche will withdraw from the World Endurance Championship (WEC) LMP1 class at the end of this season, but will maintain its GT effort with the Porsche 911 RSR. It has also confirmed its entry into the Formula E championship from 2019.

Porsche also announced that its LMP1 team would remain intact, and will work together on the brand’s Formula E effort; this includes drivers Nick Tandy, Neel Jani, Earl Bamber, Brendon Hartley Timo Bernhard and André Lotterer. Development of the Stuttgart-based firm’s first Formula E race car is already under way.

The brand will continue its effort in racing in the GT class of WEC, with the 911 RSR now the focus of its combustion-engined racing efforts. It has seen great success in the LMP1 class, with three Le Mans 24 Hour victories in a row. 

Porsche’s Volkswagen Group stablemate Audi withdrew from the WEC last year as Volkswagen looked to cut costs amid ever-growing Dieselgate levies. The group posted increased profits this year.

The announcement also raises the possibility that Audi will to make an entrance into Formula 1, pending  approval from the Volkswagen Group board,, from the 2021 season when engine regulations are tweaked. This is yet to be confirmed, however.

Like almost all of the other road car manufacturers who have entered the Formula E championship, Porsche will enter the pure electric race series with the interest of furthering its electric car development.

“Entering Formula E and achieving success in this category are the logical outcomes of our Mission E. The growing freedom for in-house technology developments makes Formula E attractive to us”, said Michael Steiner, board member for R&D at Porsche.

Earlier this week, Mercedes withdrew from the German touring car championship (DTM) and announced its entry into Formula E from 2019. 

Read more: 

Audi quits Le Mans and WEC for Formula E

Volkswagen Group profits continue to rise despite Dieselgate scandal

Mercedes to race in Formula E from 2019



Source: Autocar Online

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