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A Round-Up of Geneva Motor Show Previews: From Aston to Volvo, Lots of Major New Product

SUVs gain traction at the annual Swiss show – but so do battery-cars.

by on Mar.06, 2018

The new Aston Martin Vantage has been basically rebuilt from the ground up, sharing little with its predecessor.

With the 2018 auto show season beginning to wrap up, automakers and automotive journalists have made their pilgrimage to Geneva.

The annual Geneva International Motor Show has carried on the Swiss tradition of neutrality, no national automotive industry dominating the floor at the sprawling PAL Expo Convention Center. GIMS has a reputation for revealing some while and wacky specialty products, in fact, but virtually every major manufacturer is there with something significant to introduce.

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This year underscores the fragmentation of the global auto market, with those carmakers rolling out a raft of SUVs, as well as more traditional sedans, coupes and hatchbacks. And along with classic gas and diesel models, electrified offerings are filling the show’s stands – one marque unveiling a 2,000 hp electric hypercar. So, here’s a look at the most significant models on display at the 2018 Geneva show. (more…)

Detroit Electric Releases “Final” Design of SP:01 Electric Sports Car

Over a year late, the maker promises to launch production before year-end.

by on Oct.27, 2014

An obvious digital rendering shows the revised rear of the Detroit Electric SP:01 sports car's "final design."

Better late than never? That’s apparently the philosophy at Detroit Electric, the ambitious, if struggling, battery-carmaker that has been promising to put the world’s fastest electric sports car into production.

First teased at a splashy Motown event in the spring of 2013 – with a concept vehicle unveiled at last year’s Shanghai Motor Show, Detroit Electric has missed all of its original targets. But despite the legions of skeptics, it has today released an image of what it is billing “the final exterior design” of its pure battery electric sports-car, the SP:01.

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Apparently, quite a bit has changed since Detroit Electric first announced plans to revive a brand name that has been gone since the Great Depression.


Toyota Looking at New Supra – But Will it Be Electric?

MR2 Successor also reportedly in the works.

by on Nov.12, 2012

Toyota's FT-86 Concept II could serve as the platform for the long-lamented Supra. But might Toyota turn to Tesla to help develop a battery drivetrain?.

“Passion” is a word one hears a lot in conversations with Toyota executives these days, up to and including President Akio Toyoda, who points to recent introductions like the Scion FR-S and Lexus GS to underscore his intentions.

But it’s beginning to look like that’s just the beginning of Toyota’s performance aspirations, with new reports suggesting there could be at least a couple more performance machines on the Japanese giant’s horizons – notably in the form of all-new versions of the long-lamented Supra and MR-2 models.

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But, as the new FR-S demonstrates, Toyota may take a very different approach in bringing those – or other – performance models back to life. One very strong possibility is that it could turn outside for help, perhaps to the likes of California-based Tesla Motors to provide a battery-based drivetrain for a new Supra.


First Look: Li-ion Inizio Supercar

Green and mean supercar.

by on May.16, 2011

Li-ion is billing its new Inizio as the world's first battery-powered supercar.

Who says green can only mean clean.  Li-ion Motors intends to add “mean” to that list with upcoming unveiling of the start-up maker’s battery-powered supercar, the Inizio.

One of the big winners in last year’s $10 million green car face-off, the Progressive Insurance Automotive X-Prize, Li-ion has shifted gears with Inizio, which it claims can launch from 0 to 60 in just 3.4 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 170 mph – “without emissions,” the maker emphasizes.

While Tesla and some other specialty makers might debate Li-ion’s claim to be building the world’s first electric vehicle supercar, the Inizio clearly underscores several significant and converging trends in both the high-line and battery car automotive segments.

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Though high-line buyers might not have to worry as much as more mainstream customers when it comes to the price of fuel, there appears to be a significant amount of interest in alternative propulsion.  Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari and Lotus are among the many well-known luxury brands exploring the use of battery power.


Bugatti’s 800 HP Battery Car

Will supercar maker bring it to market?

by on Jun.08, 2010

Bugatti is getting charged up over electric propulsion but would it ever put its prototype battery drive system in a production car like the Veyron, now the world's fastest supercar?

Even high-performance automakers are getting charged up about electric propulsion, it seems, drawn to the technology’s potential performance even more than its environmentally-friendly aspects.

With Mercedes-Benz already developing a battery-based version of its SLS sports car, it was only a matter of time until Bugatti would weigh in.  Already boasting the world’s fastest production car, the Volkswagen AG division is working up its own electric supercar, though it’s unclear if it will ever make it to market.

Reportedly using a Continental chassis borrowed from sibling VW subsidiary Bentley, the prototype Bugatti electric reportedly makes an impressive 800 horsepower.  But that not the truly mind-blowing number.

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One of the key advantages of electric propulsion is torque – and especially the fact that it comes on strong the moment the motor starts turning.  So Bugatti’s as yet-unnamed electric reportedly makes a massive 2,200 pound-feet of torque – which hits peak at 0+ RPMs. In other words, maximum torque the instant the car starts moving.

“Absolutely amazing,” a Bugatti driver told Britain’s Auto Express about the vehicle’s acceleration.


Mercedes-Benz Tests Battery Version of SLS

Could hit the streets by 2013.

by on Mar.02, 2010

You'll have a chance to plug in your own Mercedes-Benz SLS supercar by 2013. (The new SLS Formula One Safety Car is shown here.)

The high-performance Mercedes-Benz SLS has barely had a chance to spread its gullwing doors, but the German maker is already beginning to test an environmentally-friendly version of the supercar that could give the gasoline-powered SLS a run for its money.

Mercedes is setting a target date of 2013 for the launch of its SLS Electric, a lithium-ion-powered version of the 2-seat supercar.  The battery model is expected to pump out a reasonably impressive 525 horsepower, but like all electric vehicles, the real story is on the tire-spinning torque side, and there the numbers soar to 649 pound-feet.  Preliminary tests suggest 0 to 60 times of about four seconds.

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The SLS Electric will use four separate motors, one for each wheel.  The approach is more complicated and costly – but has the advantage of creating a highly controllable version of all-wheel-drive.  Among other things, Mercedes engineers will program in torque vectoring, which will allow them to steer the car through a corner by directing power to one or more specific wheels.