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Ultra cheap cars are often a tough proposition, as Tata knows only too well following the original Nano, which failed to meet expectations. Nonetheless, the Indian conglomerate is pushing forward with plans for the future, which could include another tiny city car, inspired by this, the Megapixel concept.
It might not come equipped with a digital Camera, but the MegaPixel does boast some interesting technological features, including easy access sliding doors, a lithium ion battery pack and four electric motors (one for each wheel), supplemented by a small 325 cc on-board gasoline generator that extends range beyond 54 miles.
The electric motors not only help deliver 369 lb-ft of torque, they also help the Megapixel achieve a very tight turning radius (nine feet), a valuable asset for a city car aimed at buyers in large urban centers. Whether some of the technologies employed on this pint size concept make it to production remains to be seen, especially on car pitched at very low price.
Nonetheless, given the advancement of automotive engineering and Tata’s ambitious plans (after all it’s pumping a lot of effort into Jaguar and Land Rover), there’s every indication that when it finally does arrive, the next generation of the company’s entry-level car will likely be far better than the last.
GALLERY: 2013 Tata Megapixel
California told 85,000 hybrid drivers to move over, literally. Now everyone is feeling the sting.
Starting last July the yellow stickers allowing hybrid owners to drive alone in the high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane expired. The move came in preparation for an anticipated increase in electric vehicles on the road that will be allowed to retain the privilege. Though it may be the case that EVs are gaining popularity, pushing hybrids into regular traffic is causing problems for everyone.
According to a study released Monday by the University of California-Berkeley, the change had the effect you might expect: regular traffic speeds decreased and HOV speeds went up.
That isn’t all though, traffic actually slowed in HOV lanes at points where drivers try to merge back into regular traffic because of the slowdown. In other words, drivers in both lanes are noticing new slowdowns.
The report was based on six months of roadway sensor speed and congestion data, and written by Michael Cassidy, a civil and environmental engineering professor, and Katae Jang, a doctoral student in that department.
Cassidy said there is still plenty of space for hybrids in the HOV lanes, even with the new EVs on the road.
The only new production cars available that meet the standard are the Tesla Roadster and the Nissan Leaf. The Chevy Volt doesn’t qualify because of a specific California emissions law, though Gm says it will be addressing the issue soon.
[Source: Green Car Reports]
If you’re eagerly awaiting a more family friendly Volt, or a more luxurious and sporty one, you’ll have to be patient. According to Nick Reilly, the head of GM Europe, the automaker isn’t planning to release any Volt spin-offs until 2015.
The reason for the date is that that’s when the current Volt’s life-cycle is up and GM is currently focused entirely on making the Volt a success. GM doesn’t want to split its attention on other models, and with the high price of the Volt’s high-tech components, future generations of the technology should be more affordable.
Two models currently being considered for production are the Volt MPV5 Concept, based on the Chevy Orlando platform, as well as the Cadillac ELR Concept.
GALLERY: Chevrolet Volt MPV5 Concept
GALLERY: Cadillac ELR Concept
[Source: AutoNews via CNET]
In the battle of hyped EVs, it appears that Nissan‘s Leaf is so far winning, at least on the sales front. Despite a slow start to production and difficulties in acquiring cars for US consumers, the Leaf appears to be taking off. So far this year, 3,708 of the lithium ion powered cars have been delivered, versus some 2,745 Chevy Volts during the same period.
As Japanese automakers get back on track and resume normal production levels, following the March 11 Earthquake and Tsunami, Nissan hopes to shift around 12,000 Leafs by the end of the year. Al Castignetti, Nissan Nice President for US sales, said, “we’ve been telling you we’d grow every month, and now you’re seeing more normalized production flow.”
GM has said it plans to sell around 12,000 volts by the end of 2011.
Nevertheless, despite growing demand, overall sales are still small and for most consumers, the vehicles remain relatively expensive purchases – the Leaf selling for $33,000, the Volt $41,000, though government incentives ease sticker shock somewhat.
Analysts including George Peterson of consulting firm AutoPacific, based in Tustin, California, say that while electric vehicle sales are growing, don’t expect them to have a significant impact on overall car sales anytime soon. “From a sales standpoint, Nissan and Chevrolet have been very cautious, wanting to make sure these vehicles are as bulletproof as possible, taking time to thoroughly inspect and check everything.”
He went on to say that sales of such rechargeable vehicles might rise to around 3 percent of total volume but “we’re not going to see hundreds of thousands of these on the road.”
With all this talk about sustainable mobility, automakers from around the world are trying all kinds of things. In Europe, Opel has one in the shape of this a “green” commercial concept, based on its Vivaro delivery van. On display at the IAA Commercial Vehicle show in Hannover, which runs from September 23-30th, the Vivaro e-Concept is, according to Chris Lacey (Director of International Operations for Opel/Vauxhall commercial vehicles), designed to “test the acceptance of our advanced propulsion technology for those attending the [IAA] show.”
The Vivaro e-Concept is a plug-in, extended range vehicle that uses technology similar to the Chevy Volt. It incorporates a 111 kilowatt electric motor that can provide a driving range of more than 220 miles on pure electric power, plus an internal combustion engine that acts as a generator to extend the vehicle’s range beyond that.
The batteries are stored under the floor to help protect them from the elements and can be recharged using a standard household 230 volt outlet. According to specs released from Opel, the Vivaro e-Concept can still haul loads of more than 1,500 lbs, which should make it a viable alternative to it’s regular, gasoline engined counterpart, particularly in parts of some European cities which are currently off-limits to cars and trucks because of noise and pollution restrictions. It’ll be interesting to see what the punters at IAA make of it.