Rohan

A wanderlust, a foodie, an amateur photographer and a die hard automobile enthusiast. Gifted with the art of playing with words (and sentences) I've been writing (initially started with satirical writing) for a couple of years. Meet me on a good day and i'll definitely narrate my story (with a cup of tea and hopefully some delicious pakoda's) on how writing scripted my life. Happy reading :)

Karma Automotive: Get Served what you deserve!

Do you believe in karma? Well, sometimes karma might take plenty of time to show its action. But, here’s a karma that is pretty fast and too damn furious on roads.

A familiar name in the name of automobiles, Karma Automotive (previously known as Fisker) a califonia-based world class automobile manufacturer was launched in order to provide a path to a more sustainable future with its world-class luxury.

The name “Karma” was chosen because it was relevant to both the old and new brands while providing quite an inspirational message that embodies the manufacturer’s purpose. The company is based on the principle of cause and effect. This implies that a particular action creates your future.

The year was 2008 when the masses were pretty conscious about environmental friendliness. However, the electric cars back then were considered lame and did not ring a bell to buyers. In fact, even for people who belong to the elite category; such as Leonardo Dicaprio, the apex of going green was a Toyota Prius.

This is where Henrik Fisker planned on bringing in something different. This Danish designer made his name with some of the most amazing machines like BMW Z8, Aston Martin DB9 and more. In 2007, the company was formed and bringing out luxury and style in the electric segment made it one of the most premium selling cars.

The company snagged some VC cash and then after various efforts, the company named Fisker Automotive was formed in Irvine, California. A year later, Karma automotive was formed. Just like the Volt from Chevy, the vehicle had a plug-in hybrid drivetrain that was powered by electricity until the battery went flat. Later it used a gas engine as a generator so users would never be stranded.

However, unlike the Volt, this vehicle was freaking awesome and had curves that made it look like it was formed from a single piece of gentle melted metal and could pull 0 to 60 in just 5.9 seconds. That was FAST!!

 

Later, the automobile industry in America crumbled and Fisker had offered a new way. Forbes had put the same on the cover under the headline “The Next Detroit.”

Soon after, the US Department of Energy had promised $ 528.7 million and Fisker pledged to start production within 18 months. While he would begin with the luxury market, he wanted to build economical electric cars for the massed within the succeeding years.

Bankruptcy:

2013 was a terrible year for Fisker Automotive. Chinese auto parts giant named Wanxiang Group bought the company’s assets and everything else that remained of the unit at $ 150 million. Today, Wnaxiang is funding a comeback story and its Karma’s Revero.

Currently, the new Karma automotive team based in Moreno Valley California has spent the past 27 months eliminating the car’s many flaws and updating it with 5 years of technical advances.

Revero:

Karma Revero brought out the Revero that reminds us of its predecessors. The exteriors of the car are pretty much similar. This is however, an overly complicated electric with unorthodox looking gear setup. It has glass inserts in the dash and the doors look slightly futuristic.

The rear seats seem pretty cramped and its big batteries leave little trunk space. It does have solar roof that has been updated to give it a great appearance and comes in handy. During real sunny conditions, the car produces 200 watts of electricity per hour and this is enough to power 1.5 miles of emissions-free driving per day.

Unlike its predecessor, however, the Revero works. Crucially, Karma updated the drivetrain. Twin electric motors drive the rear wheels, powered by a 23-kilowatt-hour battery. General Motors makes the two-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine that works as a generator when power runs low. (GM’s not making the engine anymore, so once Karma runs through its stock, it’ll need a new solution.) For now, the Revero will go 50 miles on electricity and deliver 20 miles per gallon when the engine’s running. That’s a bit short of the 2016 Chevy Volt’s 53 all-electric miles and 42 mpg, but Karma’s car thrashes the Detroiter on looks and style.

Bottom line:

Karma made it to time’s 50 best inventions, automobile design of the year and top gear’s luxury car of the year. This definitely had to attract attention and within no time, Al gore put his order in early. Usher had given one to Justin Bieber who in turn wrapped it in chrome. In 2011, Dicaprio took delivery of his karma. It wasn’t a walk in the park for Fisker all this way.

The company outsourced everything, low-headcount and faced engineering problems. It also had poor reliability issues, missing deadlines and delayed loan payments. This steadily improved and the company announced the price of the car to $ 80,000. The production models are sure to fetch more than 6 figures.

HYPERLOOP: Is this the future of traveling?

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where brilliant minds explore, innovate and create something exceptional is what our article is going to take us through. Historic innovations, latest technology legendary things have happened here.

The MIT team is one of the several ones working on the future of traveling. Yes, I am talking about the Hyperloop, a vision for insanely rapid travel put forth by Silicon Valley’s most interesting and one of the most successful men, Elon Musk.

We know the Tesla man in the automobile world but he is the driving force of Hyperloop. The commute from San Francisco to Los Angeles that is currently a few minutes shy of 5 hours or approximately an hour’s journey by flight could be cut to just 30 minutes.

Yes, Hyperloop is definitely the future of travel.

So,What is Hyperloop?

Hyperloop is a conceptual transport system in which passengers are loaded into pods and fired through vacuum tubes at more than 600mph (1,000km/h). This sounds more like something you’d see right off some sci-fi movie or a spy movie. However, prototype pods have already been tested and a running along magnetic tracks much like the maglev trains that are currently used in countries such as Japan.

Air pumped out of the tubes reduces resistance that allows high speeds to be achieved. This potentially used less energy than a normal train.

This breakthrough idea could most certainly reduce journey times over long distances. That being said, there is more to it than meets the eye and the eye looks at various challenges before the idea becomes reality.

Mr Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX published a white paper outlining a way to use airtight tubes to propel pods at speeds of up to 1130 km/h, he set a challenge to anyone and everyone who wanted to build the technology.

There’s a small twist to it. Mr Elon is not paying the firms. However, he has committed to funding a series of tests. His target is set to the year 2021 where humans would travel on Hyperloops around the world. The MIT team is one of more than 20 non-commercial groups also designing a Hyperloop pod – with money coming from SpaceX in the form of a competition.

Phases:

The project was split over 2 phases. A design contest that MIT, had won in January and an on-track test, which is coming up in summer. This might either be it or it could also be a colossal waste of time. The barriers to Hyperloop becoming a reality are enormous.

How does Hyperloop work?

With all that’s said, the obvious question arises. How does Hyperloop work?

Air Bearings or Maglev:

FRICTION!!!

That’s one of the major problems that anything that moves faces. Friction against surfaces and the environment. But, Hyperloop proposes to move away from traditional wheels by using air bearings for pods instead. This will have the pod floating on air. This concept is similar to maglev in which the electromagnetic levitation of the train means that there is no friction like a traditional train that runs on tracks.

  • Fun Fact: The Maglev can achieve speeds up to 500 km/h in Japan.

There is another proposal from Hyperloop Transportation Technologies that uses passive magnetic levitation. This means magnets are on the trains and work with aluminum tracks. Current active maglev needs powered tracks with copper coiling, which can be expensive. Hyperloop will take this technology to another level and would take traveling through low-pressure tubes.

The Hyperloop is built in tunnels that have had some of the air sucked out to lower the pressure. So, like high altitude flying, there’s less resistance against the pod moving through the tunnel, meaning it can be much more energy efficient, something that’s highly desirable in any transit system.

The air bearing and passive maglev ideas are designed not only to levitate the pod, but also see the pod moving through the air, rather than pushing the air in front of it and dragging it along behind. The air cushion will see the air pumped from the front of the pod to the rear via these suspension cushions.

The tunnels envisioned are metal tubes, elevated as an over ground system. Musk has suggested that solar panels running on the top of the tunnels could generate enough electricity to power the system. It could also run as an underground system too.

 

Proposed speeds:

Hyperloop is being proposed as an alternative to short distance air travel where the system will be much faster than existing rail networks and much cleaner than flights.

Speeds of over 700mph are suggested for journeys, but there are practical implications that have to be considered on a short stop-start journey, such as the acceleration and deceleration sensation that passengers would go through.

Hyperloop in Action:

Currently, Elon Musk has barely announced much about the Hyperloop. There is going to be a 1-mile track built by SpaceX adjacent to Hawthorne, its California headquarters. The plan is to have a competition for students with their various pod designs in the summer of 2016.

The planning documents that have already been shown off planned a route between LA and San Francisco, a 354-mile journey, which would cost around $6 billion in construction. This is based on a passenger-only model whereas one that can also transport vehicles too would be $7.5 billion. This extra expenditure would be worth it since more people could use the system, offering potentially larger returns.

How much will Hyperloop cost to a layman?

According to Hyperloop Transportation Technologies CEO Dirk Ahlborn the cost of a ticket should be around $30 mark to get a passenger from LA to San Francisco. That, he says, should allow the company to pay back its initial costs in eight years. Weather this will actually be the final price of a ticket remains to be seen. To my opinion, you’ve got to have some deep pockets in order to commute on Hyperloop. But, its totally understandable that the company needs to achieve its ROI at the earliest.

Bottom Line:

Innovation is exciting. You’d definitely want to travel once in a life time on the Hyperloop if not commute.

Arch Motorcycles- The Keanu Reeves brand

Matrix superstar Keanu Reeves is an absolutely marvelous person by heart and in the motorcycle world. Sounds a bit absurd right? Well, the 50 year old actor’s dream (just like most celebrities) started off by wanting a custom made bike. Instead, Keanu ended up owning a bike company (sigh!! Celebrities and their lifestyle)

Anyhow, the actor says that he had a “Harley Davidson Dyna” that he wanted to customize and what he was doing was, well lets just say “up to the mark”

That’s when Reeves says “I met Keith Oliver at Bill Walls, who was doing some custom seats, and I wanted a sissy bar. And he was like, ‘Yeah, this dude needs some help.’ He called Gard Hollinger, and we rode over later that day. Hollinger just looked at me and said, ‘You know, I don’t make sissy bars, but why don’t you come inside and see what we do here?’

 

ARCH:

Keanu Reeves chose the company’s name “Arch” because an arch “Provides strength, connection and passage.” Many models were bandied about- Enemy, Nemesis as well as Rival. Later, they settled on the alphanumeric KRGT-1.

"Arch Motorcycles"
“Arch Motorcycles”

So, What’s this bike all about?

Arch’s first motorcycle looks pretty modish and built for the 21st century. The bike comes with its proprietary S&S powered 2032 cc Twin Cam V-Twin phone that is a Harley Davidson “clone” motor however, the styling of this bike is of a “sport cruiser” the likes of which haven’t been since Victory’s V92SC. This bike is just downright impressive and it should be. Bikes such as these come from a 20,000 square foot manufacturing facility and there is definitely something with it.

It has a 2-piece gas tank that isn’t something you’d probably be reminded of the Fat Bob. It comes machined from aluminum billet and it also houses a K&N air cleaner that comes accompanying a downdraft induction system.

SPECIFICATIONS
|Arch KRGT-1
ENGINE TYPE|OHV V-twin
DISPLACEMENT|2032cc
SEAT HEIGHT|27.8 in.
FUEL CAPACITY|5.0 gal.
CLAIMED DRY WEIGHT|538 lb.
PRICE|$78,000

 

Design:

The road race-style solo tail is engineered from billet and is weight-bearing. This bike carries plenty of design touches that are stunning. The arch double-cradle steel frame is coupled to the billet swing arm along with billet side plates. The bike has a billet oil tank that accompanies the engine and its gearbox. It also carries a bandit belt working with right-side chain final drive. It also has an upswept yoshimura exhaust with carbon-fiber end cap. That said, it also has a cove-style reflective Led taillight along with tidy bar-end mirrors. Buyers have the liberty to choose 2 or 3-inch bar risers, forward or mid-controls along with narrow or wide-mounted foot pegs. All of these come machined from billet and they are created using a sophisticated computer-aided design program. Strangely enough, this bike has no brand name or model designation anywhere on the bike except the dash.

"Arch Motorcycles"
“Arch Motorcycles”

The KRGT-1 has a long 68-inch wheelbase and its 613 pounds heavy. The bike comes with heavy muscle and respectable composure along with ISR brakes that carry twin 6-piston calipers up front that provide immense stopping power. Its rear suspension is also designed in such a way that makes up for an exceptional cruiser. The rear 240/40-18 Michelin commander tire makes the KRGT-1 feel like nothing so much as a Diavel. It comes with a 6-speed baker gearbox that helps immensely. The KRGT-1 that’s based on a custom Harley-Davidson Dyna that Reeves brought to Arch co-founder Gard Hollinder half-finished with a passenger seat and sissy bar. It’s almost a café racer.

"Arch Bikes"
“Arch Bikes”

Costs:

This is by far something that makes a boutique brand unique from the rest. Wondering about the costs that go into making the KRGT-1? Well, you’ve got to know that the company plans to sell only 50 units of this motorcycle. Here comes the major part, this motor cycle is priced at a whooping $ 78,000/-. It’s certainly stunning to hear such a huge price tag. Many would consider settling in for a luxury car rather than settling in for this expensive a bike. But, if you are really in for limited edition bikes and you want to settle for nothing less, this is certainly worth the dollars you spend. After all, its got Keanu Reeves vouching for it.

 

“Keanu’s Bike”

Bottom Line:

The KRGT-1 is an exceptionally designed motorcycle that comes at a premium price. This isn’t a bike that you would come across every day. It redefines a completely new sector named sports cruisers. It’s bikes like these that will set a rider apart from the rest.

Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100- self-driving luxury

If you’ve got enough dough to drive around in a chauffeur driven ultra-luxury car, here’s a car that defies all that you’ve believed in and give you an entirely different perspective.

The idea of self-driving cars isn’t something that you might find fresh. But, like every other car manufacturer, Rolls Royce wanted to join the league but differently.

Rolls Royce Vision Next 100

On the 16th of June, Rolls Royce, at a press event held in London, the luxury carmaker unveiled its newest concept car that goes by the name Rolls-Royce 103EX, its vision of what the future of one-percenter travel will look like. Without further wordplay, here’s what the Vision Next 100 looks like:

Interiors:

Open the single door that brings you into a space that is uniquely designed for the disgustingly wealthy people. The interiors comprise of a cream colored textured finish with a whole lot of wood paneling.

Seats? Oh that? Well, that’s quite old school. Here’s something better:

Rolls, instead of seats have opted for a silk-covered couch. Or, to use the company’s own words: “A beautifully textured, ivory-colored luxurious throne upon which our passengers are conveyed, and from which they command.”

 

This happens to be Rolls Royce’s vision of the next 100 years of extravagant automobiles and this is certainly next generation. The car comes with incredible technology, the most advanced features and plenty more.

It also seems to have some sort of holographic internal display that forms its logo out of semi-luminescent specs that swirl around the interior of the car. According to a video from Rolls-Royce, it’s an AI assistant with a “soul,” called Eleanor. It’s unclear whether this would be part of an additional upgrade package, or a futuristic version of OnStar.

Very soon, Eleanor will become a Rolls-Royce owner’s personal digital assistant and chauffeur. The future system’s artificial intelligence allows ‘her’ to remind occupants about itineraries, schedules, appointments and other tasks which apps such as Siri, Cortana, and Google Now already do.

However, Eleanor can do something neither of the aforementioned assistants can do: drive your Rolls.

Exteriors:

The outside of this palace styled car looks like something ripped right out of the retro-futurist settings of a Tim Burton Batman film. Although, this is a concept car, the Vision NEXT 100 not only continues the spirit of Rolls-Royce’s elegance, but steps into the world of advanced driver assists by introducing the “Voice of Eleanor” (Eleanor is the winged female visage gracing each Rolls-Royce hood).

The concept car is electric, has a self-stowing luggage compartment, and doesn’t need a steering wheel or dashboard, as those would be “superfluous in this model,” Rolls-Royce claims.

Once at its destination, the VISION NEXT 100’s glass canopy will lift, giving room for occupants to stand while still being sheltered from the elements. The doors of the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 will then automatically open and a running board will slide out with a splash of red light simulating the red carpet entrance every time a person exits the car.

Narrow, 28-inch wheels created from 65 individual pieces of aluminum will convey owners to their destination in a “futuristic catamaran”. Through Rolls Royce VISION NEXT 100 ‘Grand Sanctuary’ concept, customers will be surrounded by handcrafted wood paneling (similar to many other Rolls-Royces) with a generous OLED screen viewable from the rear passenger ‘sofa’.

Since this view of the future is a fully-autonomous vehicle, there’s no need for unsightly steering wheels or other inconvenient contrivances. In fact, the VISION NEXT 100 could be mistaken for a small viewing room on wheels, filled with a transparent screen, pillows, sumptuous interior materials, and drapery.

In the similar fashion that the ‘Spirit of Ecstacy’ design was used for the vehicles of the past, the Voice of Eleanor will be the guiding theme for vehicles of the future. And, of course, the graceful Eleanor figure will still stand front-and-center on the ‘futuristic catamaran’.

The designers say the 28-inch wheels; hand built using 65 individual sections of aluminum is enclosed creating the impression that the car is skimming across the road’s surface.

“The Rolls Royce patron will continue to be a famous figure in the future” says the director of design, Giles Taylor.

“I envision that the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 will play a key role in these people’s lives, guiding and conveying them effortlessly through their life’s journey in an exquisite sanctuary where they can reflect in peace ahead of arriving in the grandest style.”

Bottom Line:

While there’s no guarantee that a vehicle like this will be hitting the streets of the nicer parts of town anytime soon—or even at all—it does show that Rolls Royce has a plan for bringing its distinctive brand of conspicuous consumption into the self-driving age. “In a future where transport is commoditized—void of beauty, space and form-RR will definitely stand apart” the company said on its webpage.

Flying cars, the next big thing?

Admit it, we’ve all been fascinated with the big boy toys that James Bond had flaunted on screen. But, have you ever wondered if these toys were real, what could the consequences be?

This article is all about unveiling that reality and bringing you closer to what seemed as objects from fantasyland. This is certainly going to give your imagination plenty of wings. So gear up and read on.

Transportation by any means (road, rail, water, air) was meant to carry a person or a group of people from point A to point B. Seems quite boring right? But what if I were to tell you that you can get rid of the boring lines at the airport/ railway station and directly be the pilot to your next trip? Wouldn’t that be fun!

Well, flying cars have been spoken about for a very long time now. It’s a personal vehicle intended on providing door-to-door aerial transportation. The good news is that the fulfillment of such vehicles is being developed. These vehicles include roadable aircrafts and hovercrafts. These vehixles might have caught your attention in fiction movies such as Harry Potter, Jetsons, Star Wars or perhaps the Back to the Future series. The flying cars remains a common feature of science fiction and will always be. Here’s a look into some of the production ready (well, almost) flying cars.

Moller Skycar:

Moller Skycar is a prototype Vertical take off and landing (VTOL) aircraft that was invented by Paul Moller.

Here’s a fun fact: Paul Moller has been attempting to develop such a vehicle type for more than 50 years.

The M400:

The M400 is a craft that is currently under development that is purported to transport at least 4 people. There are 6-seat variations planned too. The reason that this is defined as a car is because it is aimed at being a popular means of transport for anyone who can drive.

Moller Skycar

After 40 years and around $ 100,000,000 in expenditure, the Skycar had demonstrated tethered hovering capability. After several attempts and a few lawsuits filed against the company, the efforts are still on to bring out the Skycar.

Engine:

An affiliate to Moller company called Freedom Motors are developing engines for such cars. They are Wankel Engines branded “Rotapower”that have a direct drive to propulsion fan. Each fan is contained in Kevlar-lined housings that provide further protection for bystanders. The good part is that the Rotapower Wankel Engine is claimed to operate on any fuel, but not limited to gasoline, diesel, methanol and clean renewable ethanol.

Moller had announced a 503 cc Rotapower engine on November 1, 2013. This engine had achieved 102 horse power. Despite the announcements and such, the Rotapower engines have never been mass-produced.  As of 2015, Moller claims to have a backlog of conditional orders and letters of intent of over 3.5 Million Rotapower Engines.

Here’s more on the Moller skycar:

General characteristics

Crew: 1

Capacity: 4

Length: 21 ft 6 (prior prototype (year 2010): 19’6″) in (6.5 (prior prototype: 5.9m) m)

Wingspan: 8 ft 6 in ((prior prototype: same) 2.6 m)

Height: 7 ft 6 in ((prior prototype: same) 2.3 m)

Empty weight: 2,400 lb ((prior prototype: same) 1,088 kg)

Gross weight: 3120 lb (1,415 kg)

Powerplant: 8 × 530cc Rotapower rotary engines, 180 hp (134 kW) each

8 × electric motor back-up (short-term boosts of up to 900lb thrust with both rotary and electric engines powering the prop), 120 hp ( kW) each

Performance

Maximum speed: 331 (prior prototype: 330) mph (533 (prior prototype: 531 kmh) km/h)

Cruise speed: 308 (prior prototype: 305) mph (496 (prior prototype: 491) km/h)

Range: 805 miles (1,213 km)

Endurance: 5.9 hours

Service ceiling: 36,000 ft ((prior prototype: same) 10,973 m)

Rate of climb: 4,800 ft/min (24 m/s)

 

2. AeroMobil s.r.o. AeroMobil

* Please note that Aeromobil is to be confused with Aeromobile ot Airmobile.

Aeromobil s.r.o Aeromobil is a Slovak prototype roadable, aircraft that was designed by Stefan Klien and first flown in 2013. Co-founded by Juraj Vaculik indicated in Marh 2015 that the vehicle is intended for “wealthy supercar buyers and flight enthusiasts”.

With expectations of deliveries somewhere in 2018, the Aeromobil is currently taking shape and flight.

The Aeromobil:

The first prototype was developed from the idea that a vehicle can be converted from an automobile to an aircraft. Seemingly enough, the version 2.5 proof-of concepts took around 2 decades to develop and it finally took flight in 2013.

As of 2013, there have been 4 developmental versions of the Aeromobil (1.2, 2.0, 2.5 and the 3.0). The earlier versions lacked folding wings and the later versions had folding wings and fins around their wheels. Since the crash of one of its prototypes in 2015, the company hopes to deliver a fare few cars by 2018.

General characteristics:

Crew: two

Capacity: two passengers

Length: 6 m (19 ft 8 in)

Wingspan: 8.32 m (27 ft 4 in) wings extended

Width: 2.24 m (7 ft 4 in) wings folded

Empty weight: 600 kg (1,323 lb)

Powerplant: 1 × Rotax 912 four cylinder horizontally-opposed liquid and air-cooled piston aircraft engine, 75 kW (100 hp)

Performance

Maximum speed: 200 km/h (124 mph; 108 kn) maximum road speed: 160 km/h (99 mph)

Stall speed: 60 km/h (37 mph; 32 kn)

Range: 700 km (435 mi; 378 nmi) Road range: 875 km (544 mi)

Driving fuel consumption: 8 l/100 km (29.4 mpg-US; 35.3 mpg-imp)

Flight fuel consumption: 15 l (4.0 US gal; 3.3 imp gal) /hour

 

Volocopter:

Manufactured by a company named e-volo, the VC200 Volocopter is a single-place experimental electric multi-rotor helicopter.

VC 200:

The e-voloVC200 is the second in a series of multi-rotor designs from the German manufacturer e-volo. The single-place 16 motor all-inclusive VC1 was demonstrated on 21 October 2011. However, the VC200 comes with 18 engines suspended around an aluminum truss frames.

Although, the company isn’t too open about the volocopter, here is what we know:

General characteristics:

Crew: one

Powerplant: 18 × Direct drive electric, 2 kW (2.7 hp) each

Propellers: two-bladed

Wrap up:

The future is coming sooner than you might have expected. Soon, individuals will be able to explore more open skies and we might see traffic above us too 😛

Chevrolet Volt Hybrid

Volt, not Bolt!!!

Chevrolet Volt is quite a familiar car in the U.S. This plug-in hybrid car is manufactured by General Motors and marketed and rebadged as the Holden Volt in Australia and New Zealand and also carries different fascia as the Vauxhall Ampera in the U.K and as the Opel Ampera in the rest of Europe.

The Volt started making its appearance on roads in U.S during mid-December 2010. This was the start and then the Volt made it big in the European market and international markets in 2011. Global sales combined, the Volt and Ampera family sold about 1,10,000 units by the end of March 2016. The U.S was the leading market with over 96,000 Volts delivered through May 2016.

The Volt II is a new concept that envisages newer boundaries and better sales than ever. The new Volt proves that GM’s novel idea for enviro-hybrid has cleared the tower of experimentation and is on full-powered ascent into regularly producing a sustainable vehicle.

Either way, the new Volt’s styling makes a 30-year thematic leap to contemporary windswept sensuality, and the interior is no ­longer something out of the Apple catalog c. 1999. The silly touch-sensitive capacitive controls are gone, replaced by a mosaic of conventional push buttons set in a pleasingly organic fan of interior plastics and complemented by an elegantly integrated infotainment screen.

No doubt some Voltifosi will lament the car’s reach toward design normalcy, toward looking a lot more like a Honda Civic. But the car both looks and functions a lot better, especially since GM makes a terrific effort to cater the car’s controls to the needs of EV buyers and especially their hyper-miling radical elite. And Volt lovers can rejoice that the basic four-door-hatchback envelope is essentially unchanged, with just about a half-inch inserted in the wheelbase and 3.3 inches added overall, mainly for styling and to give rear-seat passengers a little more legroom. Indeed, the frontal area and claimed drag coefficient of 0.28 are essentially as they were before.

Engine:

GM had marching orders from its wide range of customers demanding more range in EV mode. The engine was loud and the customers wanted a quieter and a spunkier car. The old power train that paired an iron-block 1.4-liter four-cylinder to one large propulsion/regen motor/generator and one smaller multi­purpose electric machine, got a complete rethink. Now, the company has added a more powerful engine named the Atkinson-cycle 1.5 liter aluminum-block engine that works in concert with two smaller motors that are housed inside a transaxle to drive the differential through a chain instead of gears as the vehicle did before.

The reason behind choosing the 1.5 is because a bigger engine turning more slowly can be remarkably efficient and quiet. A T-shaped battery pack still lies under the tall center tunnel, but its capacity climbs from 17.1 kWh to 18.4, with fewer but larger liquid-cooled prismatic lithium-ion cells to generate more power from a lighter but slightly larger package.

You can drive it around 50 miles a day and recharge it overnight. The Volt runs on electric power until it depletes the usable portion of the battery, and then seamlessly switches to a combination of gasoline and electricity.

Aesthetics:

Although the Volt has an eco-friendly image, the car is actually pretty fun to drive. The car cuts down all the range of anxiety of the otherwise known electric cars. The gasoline-hybrid power train is pretty impressive all by itself. The engine delivers greater efficiency, and better acceleration. The all-electric range is 53 miles; after that, the gas engine starts up to recharge the battery and keep you going. Total driving range is 420 miles. There are five seats, but the middle rear seat is almost unusable. Charge times are 13 hours on 120V and 4.5 on 240V. Aesthetically, the car has 17” x 7” 5-spoke painted aluminum wheels. The vehicle gets a fresh looks and the noticeable attractions such as headlamps, LED low-beam, halogen reflector high beam, automatic exterior lamp control are a few additions. The car also has tail lamps with LED illumination and solar absorbing glass.

 

Interiors:

Inside, this car has plenty of additions that make quite an impression. The Volt has front bucket reclining seats with adjustable head restraints, 60/40 split rear seats. The center console comes with covered storage bin with front and rear dual cup holders and 12-volt rear power outlet. It also has floor mats, carpeted front and rear, tilt and telescopic steering column, leather wrapped steering wheels, steering wheel controls with mounted audio controls. Entertainment has also been given a lot of attention.

The vehicle has an 8-inch color digital reconfigurable LCD screen with driver information center, compass, trip fuel information, vehicle information and vehicle messages. It also supports On Star, Remotelink app and can be paired with the smart phone. Additional features include keyless ignition, push start button, passive unlock and lock on all doors, Remote start, panic alarm and delayed charging override functions. Cruise control, electronic with set and resume speed comes as an addition. Lastly, this car has umbrella pocket, bottle holder, Map pockets and front passenger seatbacks.

 

Bottom Line:

The Volt has been quite a successful car throughout and has been awarded the 2009 Green Car Vision award, the 2011 Green car of the year award, 2011 North American Car of the year, 2011 World Green Car, 2012 European Car of the Year,and 2016 Green Car of the Year. With plenty of credibility at stake, the new Volt should continue the legacy just fine…

Buick Lacrosse HEV Hybrid Unveiled

Things did not seem too bright for General Motors, the appeal of the brand Buick in the Chinese market has however, saved the brand from peril. Pontiac had seen the darkest of times, but Buick was smart enough to redeem itself. General Motors, since then has been giving the Chinese market much needed attention. Owing to that, the Buick La Crosse HEV that just made its global debut at the 2016 Buick Day event held at Shanghai took its dibs. In addition, Buick also released the new “Buick Blue” logo, which is prominently displayed on the LaCrosse HEV’s rear deck lid.

The Executive Director of Global Propulsion Systems, Larry Nitz says, “GM’s leadership in electrification technologies, now and in the future, are coming to Buick in China. In fact, over the next five years, we will roll out more than 10 new energy vehicles in China, including several models for Buick. That includes full hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and extended-range electric vehicles.”

Getting into the Hybrid division has been quite exponential for Buick. It’s now clear with the company’s eco-friendly models such as LaCrosse eAssist and La Crosse Eco-Hybrid that the HEV is a sure shot success.

The new LaCrosse HEV shares pretty much the same style and design cues as the all-new Lacrosse in the US. However, the new Lacrosse features a specific power train and some other electric goodies that help it achieve excellent gas mileage. So, with that said, let’s dive on in and review the newest hybrid from Buick.

 

Outside:

The Lacrosse HEV is pretty much an identical twin to the Lacrosse. The vehicle features the same grille that was inspired by the Avenir and has a gorgeous looking sculpted hood. That said, the car also includes little vents on the fenders and the chrome-cladding strip on the doors. In fact, the only real difference on the outside is Buick’s new “Buick Blue” logo and the “HEV” badge it is connected to on the rear deck.

Considering it has all of the standard car’s good looks, but an energy-efficient drive train, it should do pretty well on the Chinese Market. The similarities in the design aside, the vehicle’s performance is better than its predecessor.

Inside:

Step inside and the cabin gets the same Avenir-inspired cabin that was presented in the Lacrosse that made its debut in the U.S. The car has a wraparound dash that features plenty of curves and a unique padding structures that make the car even more comfortable and luxurious. The insert on the passenger side of the dash looks to be an ash-colored wood, with the grain running horizontally to give the cabin a wider feel. The same inserts are used on the doors around the door handle. The trim inserts on the center console, and around the infotainment display are painted flat black.

Its seats, door pull handles, padding on the center console as well as the padding on its lower portion of the dash are all wrapped in white leather. This adds to the upscale looks of the HEV. The infotainment system in this car is equipped with Buick’s latest IntelliLink system that comes with an 8-inch display as Apple CarPlay & Android Auto. It also has other goodies such as acoustic-laminated windshield as well as front side windows, triple-sealed doors as well as noise path sealing.

Engine:

The Lacrosse HEV comes powered by a 1.8-liter SIDI engine that is connected to an electric variable transmission. The engine is mated to a 1.5 kWh high-performance lithium battery unit. The vehicle can achieve a fuel economy of 4.7 liters per 100 km.

Price:

Since Buick is keeping some secrets about the car for now, it’s no surprise that the price details are yet to be revealed. The 2017 Lacrosse base model is expected to fetch approximately $ 32,000. The current, 2016 LaCrosse eAssist model claims $34,500.

Wrap up:

For the Chinese market, the Buick Lacrosse happens to be a big deal. The advantage this vehicle has over the others is that the Lacrosse has better fuel economy and better performance than other hybrids. It’s no surprise that this model broke cover in China, considering the Chinese market seems to express more interest in hybrid vehicles than in the U.S. Both the Buick LaCrosse HEV and the Buick Avista Concept will be making another appearance at Auto China 2016 in Beijing on April 25th, at which time further information about Buick’s new Hybrid vehicle will be revealed. More updates coming soon, stay tuned for more. J

2017 Honda Accord Hybrid

Honda has been one of the premium players in the global market. The cars have posed some serious threat to competitors.  After taking a year off to move production from Ohio to Sayama, Japan, Honda is launching this new 2017 Accord hybrid this spring. Available in all 50 states, this mid-size four-door has several driveline revisions aimed at improved mileage and performance. While pricing hasn’t been announced, Honda hints there will be minimal rise from the 2015 Accord hybrid’s $30,140 base.

The company has in its efforts to keep the end customer exhilarated has released some interesting specs about its upcoming Hybrid edition Accord. Some sources suggest that the new 2017 version of the Accord will carry a lithium-ion battery pack and an improved two-motor driveline. Revisions to the 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine and the two AC motors have upped total system urge to 212 horsepower (16 more than before) according to Honda’s project manager, Ryan Harty. EPA mileage ratings are slightly improved to 49 mpg in the city, 47 mpg on the highway, and 48 mpg combined.

The main motive for Honda to accelerate its performance and be on top of the game is to take over the successfully running Prius from Toyota. Although Honda isn’t fretting over the new Prius for several reasons, one is that it was never able to fulfill demand for the previous Accord hybrid. A key aspect of this brand’s fortified attack on the environmentally friendly car business was moving hybrid production to Japan, where a better supply base and a deeper well of manufacturing knowledge exists. Honda will be happy delivering 28,000 of these hybrids per annum, twice what the previous edition achieved—but only 15 percent of the Prius’s 2015 volume in the United States.

Honda Accord 2017

Honda is already working on the 2017 Accord Hybrid. This new Honda hybrid car model will come with lots of changes and upgrades. According to the latest rumors, its exterior will be based on the concept that was presented during the 2014 Auto Show in Beijing. It will also have several similarities with the new TLX. However, the 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid will have attractive addition, which will definitely attract more attention as well as more potential buyers. If all goes as planned, we can expect the new model to hit the markets in 2017.

Here is what you can expect out of the all-new Honda Accrod Hybrid 2017 Edition:

Design:

According to various images surfing over the Internet, the new Accord Hybrid’s physical body has been changed for improved aerodynamics. The front side features with sleek body lines coupled with a shaped hood. The 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid is expected to be a luxurious appearance. At its front end, the brand new model will be situated in a completely new light bulb. It will also have fog lights in addition to an excellent net like grille design. The fog light bulbs are expected to be highlighted which will result in a more hostile look of this motor vehicle. The fog light bulbs will enhance visibility. The 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid will not alter with the measurements although it is anticipated to have a larger wheel as compared to the previous model. You can definitely expect a lot of change and a refreshing feel.

Honda Accord hybrid

Interiors:

The interior design will be extremely stylish with a majority of the newest gadgets that you’d anticipate in any luxurious car. While the interior design will be reminiscent of what the new Honda Accord Hybrid for 2017 has to offer, its materials are expected to be of a better quality. This new hybrid sedan is likely to carry an 8-inch LCD screen that has all the significant features suited best for entertainment and productivity.

 

Honda Accord Hybrid

Engine:

The all-new Accord Hybrid 2017 has used what it calls a two-motor hybrid system, which is comprised of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine geared directly to a motor-generator (A) and through a computer-controlled clutch to the front differential. The second motor-generator (B) is geared directly to the differential. Disengaging the clutch enables pure electric propulsion via motor B with the engine resting. When the battery’s charge is depleted, motor A cranks the engine and then generates electricity for motor B. At higher speeds and during cruising, engaging the clutch allows both the engine and motor B to drive the wheels; motor A continues generating electricity for B. The fourth, all-hands-on-deck mode uses both motors and the combustion engine for propulsion; this configuration works only when there is suitable charge remaining in the battery pack.

Release Date:

High anticipation towards the launch of the 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid lies in the first quarter of 2017. Based on the previous models, it’s safe to assume that the vehicle will carry a price tag ranging between 29,000 to 35,000 USD.

 

Maruti Suzuki Swift Hybrid – Anticipatory preview

Perhaps India’s top selling Hatchback, the Maruti Suzuki Swift is at their top game yet again. The Baleno that was launched a while back has taken a throttle over the modern hatchback enthusiasts. That makes the older cousin (Swift) a little less desirable. Main reason you ask? Well, for one, the design language hasn’t changed a tad since the launch.

However, all of that might change. Sources/ rumors and various motorheads suggest the launch of the Hybrid version Swift is on its way. This seems like an effort to lure  buyers towards electric and hybrid vehicles in the country. In fact, the Government of India has recently introduced the FAME India scheme- Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles in India’ – as a part of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan. Under the new scheme, the Government announced to offer incentives on electric and hybrid vehicles of upto 29,000 for two-wheelers and 1.38 lakh for cars.

Various carmakers such as Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki are working on such products for the Indian Market. One such product could be the Maruti Swift Range Extender, which has been showcased at multiple events including FAME. However, the company has clarified that it will develop its hybrid models only after getting further clarity about the schemes and incentives.

“The company will develop their hybrid models commercially only after getting further clarity on key aspects, including technology development fund, charging infrastructure and demand incentive.”, said CV Raman, executive director (engineering), Maruti Suzuki.

 

Swift Range Extender

“Range Extender” dubbed the hybrid variant of Swift was previously being considered to be supplied to the government of India, although this pilot project was shelved for unknown reason, but it seems that the Japanese auto giant is now contemplating to launch it in India for commercial use. The FAME India scheme might bring out this vehicle.

Power will be derived from a low displacement petrol engine, which is likely to generate pretty decent power output something against its low capacity stance. There will be three modes on which this hatchback will be driven around. The launch date is far away, speaking hypothetically, launch is likely to happen sometime this year. On the price front, the hatchback will be priced more than the regular version but we believe that MSI will tag the hatchback competitively.
Meanwhile, here is some information that is based out of speculation and expert opinions:

Maruti Suzuki Swift Hybrid Range Extender Engine:
Sources close to development have revealed that the Maruti Suzuki Swift Hybrid is likely to get a low displacement, 658cc, three cylinder, petrol engine. The gasoline mill is expected to work in conjunction with a permanent magnet synchronous motor. This engine will work in tandem with a 55kW electric motor mounted on the front-axle. There will be a 5kWh lithium ion battery, which can power the car for a range of 25.5km, and will take around 90 minutes to get fully charged via a 200V socket. The Swift Range Extender might be around 130kg heavier than its conventional petrol-engine that is smashing sales records in India, which weighs around 960-990kg. Maruti claims that the Swift Range Extender offers a combined fuel efficiency of up to 48.2kpl.

Swift Hybrid

Expected Mileage
One of the highlights of the hybrid version of Swift is the expected fuel economy, it is being speculated that Sift Hybrid will be able to run up to 48.2 km per litre. The electric driving range of the vehicle is around 25.5 kms. That’s something that made Maruti Suzuki a desired brand in India.

Expected Price
One of the most vital factors before buying a car is its Price. Maruti Suzuki has always been on the greener side with its pricing. The record-breaking sales are proof enough. The Swift Hybrid is likely to be priced a tad more than the regular version of the hatchback for obvious reasons. Sources have revealed that Maruti Suzuki Swift Hybrid price in India could range between Rs 9 lakh to Rs 12 lakh owing to the high import duty and such factors.

Extender Expected launch date
As far as the launch of this highly anticipated hatchback is concerned, it is believed that there is still time for that. If we go by rumors, it suggests that Maruti Suzuki India  could roll out Swift Hybrid in domestic market between February 2017 to May 2017. It means there are still two years for that and we can expect to see glimpse of the hatchback at the 2016 Auto Expo.

 

Bottom Line:

With all that’s said and done, there is no confirmation yet on where Maruti stands in terms of its pilot project, or whether the commercial launch is any time soon, the company did showcase the model again on the occasion of World Environment Day (June 5). The carmaker is understood to still be working out the feasibility factor. Since the engine, electric motor and the battery pack are all imported, the pricing is likely to be on the higher side. But, considering the government’s keenness on promoting hybrids, the vehicle might be launched sooner than expected.

 

Hyundai Ioniq – An Atom that may gain

It might be surprising, but Hyundai has yet to put a dedicated hybrid into production. Well, now the Korean automaker is ready to make up for lost time by introducing one vehicle in three flavors of electric performance, and it brought them along to the 2016 New York Auto Show,

As the debate over the relative merits of different hybrid technologies and pure-electric power trains continue to simmer if not quite rage, Hyundai offers a compellingly simple solution: sell them all.

The company was planning to offer 3 power train choices for its Ioniq: hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and pure electric. Now, with its official unveiling at the Geneva Auto Show, here are further details for this Prius competing notchback.

Although, the Ioniq is not on sale yet, but here’s what we know. There will be three models: a hybrid, an EV, and later in the spring of 2017, a plug-in.

Hyundai IONIQ

The 2017 IONIQ is a brand-new model designed to be offered with only hybrid, plug-in hybrid or electric drive train. Here is a comprehensive preview on this vehicle:

Engine and Performance:

Both the Ioniq Hybrid and Ioniq Plug-in use Hyundai’s new Kappa 1.6-liter four-cylinder direct-injected engine. This produces 104 horsepower and 109 lb-ft of torque and has been tuned, predictably, for maximum economy. Those models also have an electric motor and a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which was chosen, the company says, to avoid the rubber-band sensation of a continuously variable automatic.

Then things start to diverge, with the plug-in being more than just a hybrid with a plug. The hybrid’s permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor makes 43 horsepower and draws juice from a lithium-ion-polymer battery pack rated at 1.6 kWh and located under the rear seats. The plug-in may share the same 1.6-liter engine and dual-clutch gearbox, but it gets a meatier, 60-hp electric motor wired to a bigger, 8.9-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Hyundai says its targeting more than 25 miles of range on electric power.

The Ioniq electric ditches the whole internal-combustion power train in favor of a single, 120-hp motor that drives the front wheels through a single-speed direct-drive gear. It gets a 28.0-kWh battery, which is estimated to be good for 110 miles of range. A 100-kW fast charger can recharge the battery to 80 percent of its maximum capacity in about 20 minutes, but it also will be possible to charge it from a household socket, albeit much more slowly.

More details:

Although the performance numbers claims aren’t yet revealed, the IONIQ sits on a new “eco” platform that will also underpin the Kia Niro Hybrid later this year. Weight is kept down by the use of high-strength steel and aluminum, and the Ioniq’s shape has been designed for aerodynamic efficiency. The three versions are distinguished by different front-end treatments, the Ioniq EV doing without an open grille on the basis that there’s no engine radiator in need of cooling air. It also has different rear lights to distinguish it from its old-fashioned fossil-gargling siblings.

Hyundai IONIQ

Interiors:

This EV gets a copper-colored character line and interior detailing in the same hue to, as the official release puts it, “create the impression that electricity is flowing through the whole car’s interior.” That sounds painful. The cabin otherwise seems quite conventional, with the hybrid and the plug-in getting console-mounted shifters and the electric model offering push buttons to select gears. The cars on the stand in Geneva featured a large central touch screen in the dashboard with the promise of integration with both Android Auto and Apple Car Play. There’s also a reconfigurable TFT instrument cluster and an inductive charging pad for compatible smart phones.

Hyundai has made no secret of the fact it wants to get to where Toyota is as quickly as possible, and the Ioniq is aimed squarely at a part of the market that the Japanese giant has owned ever since the Prius debuted. Hyundai is committed to producing 12 hybrids, six plug-in hybrids, two EVs, and two hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles by 2020, with the Ioniq in its three guises leading the way. On first impressions, it looks set to be the Prius’s toughest challenger when it goes on sale later this year.

Hyundai IONIQ Interiors

Bottom Line:

A car with a 200-mile range on the EPA Test Cycle would put Hyundai well in line with automakers like GMC, Tesla Motors as well as Nissan. A car with 250 miles or range for 2022 seems like a logical progression. This seems like a perfect strategically thought out decision. That said, Hyundai’s long-standing 7-year warranty program is all the assurance needed for this car. So, that said, would you consider a 200-mile electric car from Hyundai? Also, would it be really worth the money?

Do comment 🙂