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…

Formula E: Decoded!

Vehicle racing has been around for decades now. There has always been something magical surrounding the idea of competition. The thrill of the chase, the rush of adrenaline and the glory soon after; All these separate but interrelated sensations all culminate to give birth to an experience inimitable by anything else. And with the invention of the motorcar, this competition was further extended to encompass games involving one’s skill behind the wheel.

Soon after, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) was set up as a governing body to manage numerous auto racing events. Among these events, Formula One is of the highest class and serves as the ultimate proving ground for many a racer. However, over the years, the rising concern for the environment and the fast depletion of naturally occurring non-renewable resources, Formula One has been increasingly looked upon as an indulgence we cannot afford. As a result, Formula E was conceived as a means to satiate our thirst for competition without undue damage to the environment.

Formula E's official insignia
Formula E’s official insignia

History

Conceived back in 2012, Formula E kicked off its first season in 2014 with official support from the FIA. For the series’ first season, eleven races were held in ten different cities with the last two rounds held in London. The season kicked off on the 13th of Spetember in Beijing’s Olympic Green Circuit. The street track is noted for being one of the longest (3.43 km) in Formula E. The track runs along the circumference of the Olympic Stadium used during the 2008 games. Lucas di Grassi, a part of Audi Sport ABT’s team became the very first race’s winner. ABT Sportsline is an auto tuning and motor racing company headquartered in Germany. Although the team managed to clinch the first spot in the very first race of Formula E, Audi Sport ABT ended the season in the third position.

Nelson Piquet Jr: The world's first Formula E Champion
Nelson Piquet Jr: The world’s first Formula E Champion

The winning team of world’s first Formula E championship was Nelson Ângelo Tamsma Piquet Souto Maior, better known as Nelson Piquet Junior. Son of three time Formula One world champion Nelson Piquet, Nelson Piquet Jr. has had a long history in racing including representing Renault in Formula One. Sadly however, due to a scandal orchestrated by the senior members of the team, Piquet Jr.’s career came to an unfortunate and abrupt end in Formula One.

With the Piquet name bowing out of one of the most prolific race events in human history, Formula E offered redemption. Representing China Racing, the Brazilian stole the championship from Buemi and Di Grassi, the season’s other front-runners. Other notable names that entered the very first season of Formula E was Nicolas Prost, Jarno Trulli and Nick Heidfeld.

The Car

Coming to the actual car, the first season saw every team race with an identical machine. Dubbed the Spark-Renault SRT_01E, the chassis is composed of a lightweight carbon fiber composite with the driver enclosure made of aluminum that offers better crash protection. The entire chassis is designed and built by an Italian firm named Dallara.

The Spark SRT_01E race car
The Spark SRT_01E race car

Similar to most racing cars or track only cars, the steering wheel or “command center” of the Formula E racer consists of a radio button, speed limiter for the pit lane, a button that engages a boost mechanism, a knob for adjusting the electric motor’s power outputs, paddle shifters and a display indicating the current battery levels.

Since the races occur in both tracks and common streets, the SRT_01E features a set of 18 inch wheels designed for all weather performance. The battery pack, consisting of 164 Li-ion batteries was designed by British racing firm Williams F1. Producing 30 kilowatt-hours, the battery pack does not offer more than 20-30 minutes of range. As a result, each team comes with two fully charged cars. Once the battery in one car almost discharges, the driver makes a pit stop and swaps out his current unit with the fully charged unit.

In any electric car, the BMS (Battery Management System) plays a pivotal role in the efficiency and power delivery rates. The BMS is also required to ensure that the battery is in normal working condition and is operating within permissible levels of variation. The task of building a BMS for cars used in high intensity racing brings a whole new level of difficulty due to the rapid charging/discharging of the battery. For Formula E vehicles, the BMS consists of a dizzying number of sensors (far more than any conventional electric vehicles’s BMS). Each second of battery use sends somewhere around 350,000 discrete values regarding the battery to the software that handles the health and performance of the battery pack. The motor, sourced from English automotive heavyweight McLaren is the same motor used in the P1 hypercar.

Current Status

With season 2 currently underway, Formula E has not fizzled out in its opening inning. The electric racing tournament has also seen the entry of English premium car maker Jaguar in the latest season. With Jaguar returning to motorsports, other car makers that had backed out of racing events may soon see a return; Hopefully in Formula E.

Jaguar has made an entry into Formula E
Jaguar has made an entry into Formula E

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

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.

 

Sweden’s Zbee Helps India

Zbee car

Clean Motion, a Swedish company has launched its advanced electric commercial vehicle, ‘Zbee’ in India.

The Zbee looks pretty much like a rickshaw. However, this 3-wheeled electronic ride is here for a major transportation and economical change.

Zbee India

Zbee is already running successfully across Europe and Indonesia, and would be used as last mile connectivity in the CyberHub area of Gurgaon as an active toll of green vehicles in the first phase. Post its launch on February 10, the company flagged off its commercial operation. As part of a cluster, 25 Zbees will provide last-mile connectivity from the CyberHub to nearby offices of DLF Cyber City and later on to the metro stations. The zero-emission Zbee is currently imported as a CKD kit.

Under its pact with DLF, Zbees will function from various retail formats in Delhi-NCR. Homologated by ICAT Manesar and certified by government authorities as an electric vehicle with a registered number plate, about 100 Zbees per month will be locally assembled at Faridabad; local manufacturing is being explored at a later stage. The Zbee is currently sold in Sweden and Indonesia and India will be the third country on its radar.

 

Why is this a fun to drive electric you ask?

Build:

The Zbee is made from a fibre reinforced plastic body, the lightweight EV weighs around 270kg enabling it to strike a balance between its light body structure and safety requirements. The Zbee weighs in just within the 1500 kilogram limit, thereby making it quite nimble.

Energy Efficient:

The perfect vehicle for short distance transportation of up to three people and smaller goods. The vehicle, through its energy efficiency and zero emissions will improve the environment both logically and globally.

Zbee

 

Fun to Drive:

The Zbee is quite a practically built, fun to drive vehicle that lets behind all the efforts and delivers safety. Zbee also offers parking ease, because this vehicle can even be parked inside your home.

Zbee Fun to drive

 

Practical:

Zbee is weather protected, seats three people with ease and features a protected luggage compartment. The parking brake has a lock and protects the vehicle from theft. It’s designed around your actual needs. Since when did you need a vehicle weighing 1500 kg, with a top speed of 200 km/h, just to go shopping?

Zbee Practical

 

Economical:

The battery powering the hi-tech motor charges quickly and needs little service. It costs only about a dime per 10 km of driving. The advanced lithium ion battery allows the Zbee to be driven for up to 50 kilometers. Recharging takes an hour, says Clean Motion. Later a rapid charging device, which enables a recharge within 30 minutes,  will be introduced.

The company claims that three Zbees fit into a single parking lot. Operating cost is 30 percent of the cost of a fossil fuel vehicle. It can seat two passengers and the driver and has a top speed of 45kph. In addition, it comes with a parking brake to prevent theft.

Fossil fuel-run vehicles have contributed significantly in adding to the carbon footprint and emissions in our environment. To combat this, we started developing technology which is lean, clean and safe and can be a potential alternative transport solution. This led to the Zbee,” says Goran Folkesson, CEO of Clean Motion.

Expanding footprints in India:

Clean Motion has so far invested over $1 million (Rs 6.6 crore) in its Indian operations and plans to invest another $10 million (Rs 66 crore) by 2017 for expanding its reach across India. An upcoming IPO to raise a capital of $5 million this April will go towards setting up a manufacturing facility for the Zbee in the vicinity of Faridabad, confirms Folkesson.

The target is to achieve about 70 percent localisation of parts over the next 6-8 months so as to bring down the production cost by 2017. At present the Zbee costs Rs 5 lakh and with indigenisation the product cost is expected to down by 50 percent within a year according to Anil Arora, country head of Clean Motion India.

The Faridabad assembly facility can roll out around 3,000-5,000 units annually and a new modern manufacturing plant is expected to have an annual production capacity of 5,000 units as well. The target is to set up multiple micro factories for producing the Zbee in close proximity to its customers as it expands across the country.

At a rough estimate, each micro factory will require an area of 500-1000 square metres and involve an investment of Rs 4 crore producing 5,000 units annually. Franchisees will be tasked with marketing the Zbee.

It would soon be marketed in Delhi, Noida, Jaipur and other smart cities. The company aims to sell over 1,000 Zbees in India by March 2017.

The company plans to train women drivers for Zbee and would work with Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System Ltd and other organizations in this regard. It is expected to be a viable energy-efficient solution to the critical issues of pollution and last-mile connectivity in urban metros.

Besides, the company has entered into an arrangement with DLF to operate Zbees from various retail format in Delhi-NCR. Zbee has a fibre-reinforced plastic body, which is light as well as strong from a safety perspective. It comes with an advances lithium ion battery and a full charge allows it to be driven for up to 50 km.

Clean Motion has invested over $1 million in India so far and would be pumping in $10 million by 2017. Currently, Zbee is being assembled in India at Faridabad and the India team expects to bring down the production cost significantly by 2017.

Meanwhile, environmental body, CSE has said that the high number of diesel vehicles in the recently concluded Auto Expo shows a scary trend of high pollution causing models hitting the market despite 2,000-cc diesel engines being banned in the NCR till March 2016. CSE claimed that as many as 27 per cent of all displayed car/SUV models in Auto Expo were in the bracket of 2,000-cc diesel engines.

 Bottom Line:

We hope to see more Electronic vehicles that serve a better purpose in India soon. Hope you enjoyed the article? Please feel free to share/like/comment.

2016 Upcoming Cars In India

The following article should drive you through the various upcoming cars that will add splendor to the Indian market. So, watch out for these new hot rides that should help confuse you a little more with your buying decision:

Toyota Rush:

Toyota’s collaboration with Kirloskar motors has brought quite the reputation to the Indian Automobile market. With a wide range of vehicles, the company is now planning to introduce a new model named Toyota Rush. The Rush looks like a robust sports utility vehicle that is expected to be launched sometime in 2016. This car is already available in Malaysia.

Exteriors:

The sporty looking Rush is quite the compact that you’ll ever need. This vehicle certainly reminds us about the Fortuner that is running quite successfully in India. The front façade with a perforated radiator grille along with the logo as well as a chrome strip adds to the style. This vehicle will be a compressed version of the Fortuner.

Toyota Rush

Interiors:

The interiors of the Rush will be quite spacious and plush with 2 tone color scheme.  That said, this vehicle is most likely to feature a 2-DIN infotainment system along with high quality speakers.

Engine:

The Toyota Rush might come with a 1.5 litre petrol power train with 1495 cc capacity. This 4 cylinder enabled car will feature 16 valves. This mill is tuned to return a decent mileage along with an impressive top speed. Moreover, it also has the ability to churn out a maximum power of 107.5bhp in combination with torque output of 141Nm, which is also good.

Further info:

The Toyota Rush might carry a price ranging from 8 lakh to 12 lakh. This car will compete with Maruti Brezza, Hyundai Creta, Ford Eco sport and Renault Duster.

 

 

RENAULT LAGUNA:

The French automobile giant, Renault, has launched plenty of cars in India.  The latest offering is the Renault Laguna which will hit the Indian roads probably during the end of 2016.

Exteriors:

The front look of the Renault Laguna looks similar to the Renault Fluence. Although the Fluence did not do too well in India, Renault has hopes with the Laguna. The car has am elegant looking design with the company’s logo placed between the headlamps. The C-segment sedan should amaze various corporate customers due to its sophisticated looks.

Renault Laguna

Interiors:

In terms of interiors, the Renault Laguna should carry pretty much the same offerings as the Fluence, only a bit more elaborate. The car will have an excellent set of speakers, great infotainment system and plush interiors.

Renault Laguna

Engine:

The same K9K engine powering the Duster and Captur will also power the Laguna in its higher state of tune. The 1,461cc four-cylinder engine develops 109bhp at 4,000rpm and 240Nm of torque, mated to six-speed manual transmission. A 1.2-litre M9R petrol engine is available in the international Laguna, which is not expected in India. The car will bear a new name when launched in India.

The car comes with disc brakes front and rear, making it easy and convenient to handle. This convenience is further enhanced by the power steering. The Laguna is capable of an impressive top speed of 210 kmph. It has a turning radius of 11m. The average mileage of the car is not known but it is expected to be quite competitive. This is one of the first cars to be given a five star safety rating by the European NCAP.

Further Info:

The Laguna is expected to be priced between Rs 18 to 25 lakhs. It is a car of the D+ segment which will be in direct competition with Honda Accord, Skoda Superb and the Volkswagen Passat. The Renault Laguna in India is expected to be available in two variations. One is the Renault Laguna Expression 1.4 and the Renault Laguna Dynamique 1.4.

 

 

 NISSAN GT-R:

This vehicle you just can’t miss because this is the Porsche Killer. The GT-R, ecer since its launch has evolved to become one of the fastest and yet highly practical supercars of all time. What’s even more impressive is the fact that developments on this all-wheel drive coupe has never really slowed down, with Nissan introducing yearly updates with more power and upgraded mechanicals. Now, Nissan is finally planning to bring the GT-R to India by the end of this year to take on the mighty Porsche 911 Turbo.

Exteriors:

Speed is the only thing that you can expect out of the GT-R and so, the design is kept as aerodynamic as possible. While the uninspiring look of the front-end isn’t the most impressive piece of design in the supercar world, the GT-R makes up for it with its jet fighter-style canopy, striking multi spoke alloys and that massive rear wing. Lastly, the signature Skyline look at the rear is courtesy the traditional four-ring taillights, while air flow below the vehicle is handled by the carbon fibre underbody diffuser.

Nissan GTR

Interiors:

This should come as no surprise because the GT-R’s interior is nothing less than a tech-fest. It has plenty of computers and high-tech sensors that monitor even the tiniest of movements of this car. The GT-R may be termed as a four-seater but it essentially features a 2+2 configuration.

Nissan GT-R

 Engine:

The GT-R is powered by a 3.8-litre V6 engine. Now it may not sound like a lot in supercar space, however, Nissan has backed this highly advanced engine with two turbochargers. The end result is 542bhp of power and 612Nm of torque. This massive powerful brute does 0-100 in less than 3.8 seconds.

Further more:

The GT-R is certainly a force not to be reckoned with. The price tag is quite steep. The car crosses the 1 crore rupee limit.

 

 

VOLKSWAGEN UP:

Volkswagen is planning to launch one more compact hatchback in the Indian car market that’s going to be named UP. This is expected to be the first ever smallest and cheapest vehicle against its competitors like Hyundai, Maruti, Chevrolet and Ford. The best part of this car is the vehicle comes in 3 different body styles namely; 2 door hatchback, 4-door hatchback and 4 door wagon versions.

Exteriors:

The vehicle looks quite captivating with a new radiator grille, attractive halogen lights and interesting bonnet. The vehicle is overall an attractive looking package.

Volkswagen UP

Interiors:

The interiors of the Volkswagen UP has dual tone color scheme. The cabin has an advanced instrument panel that displays the aspects like vehicle’s speed, a digital tachometer, fuel level and provides several warning notifications for keeping the driver updated. It also has a leather wrapped steering wheel is mounted with audio and call control switches for additional comfort. Its center fascia has a high gloss black finish and is integrated with a proficient AC unit along with a lot of storage spaces.

Volkswagen UP

 Engine:

As per the speculations, the upcoming Volkswagen UP model series is going to be fitted with a 1.0-litre, petrol engine, which displaces 999cc. It is integrated with three cylinders and twelve valves using a double overhead camshaft based valve configuration. This turbocharged power plant has the ability of churning out a maximum power output of 58bhp at 5000-6000rpm in combination with a peak torque output of 95Nm in the range of 3000 to 4300rpm.

Further more:

The Volkswagen UP is expected to bag a price tag starting from Rs. 3.5  lakhs.

 

 

Honda Vezel:

Japanese carmaker Honda is planning to introduce its all-new compact SUV named Vezek in India. This car made its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show.

Exteriors:

Looks have certainly not been compromised on. This good looking compact SUV has sloping lines along its well planned C pillars and has sharp exteriors curves. This vehicle has a brilliant crossover appearance.

Interiors:

What’s good on the outside is sure to be brilliant inside. Honda is sure to add a couple of interesting goodies that will entertain the passengers. The cabin space will also be quite commodious as per its looks. The speakers and the infotainment system will also be built quite brilliantly.

Engine:
Honda will offer the all new Vezel in 1.5-litre petrol and 1.5-litre i-DTEC diesel engines with two-wheel drive (2WD) option. In Japan, the Mini SUV is available with only petrol engines. The 1.5-litre, four cylinder petrol unit produces a peak power of 132bhp and a torque of 155Nm. There’s one more electric motor version, but with the same 1.5-litre petrol engine. Both the petrol mills are made available with a CVT or seven speed CVT in two-wheel drive (2WD) or four-wheel drive (4WD) configuration.

Furthermore:

The Vezel will compete against competitors like Ford EcoSport, Renault Duster and will carry a price tag ranging from Rs. 9 lakhs to Rs. 13 lakhs. It is expected to be launched somewhere in November 2016.

Tata Megapixel vs Chevrolet beat Electric

Tata motors have created  much hype with its upcoming electric car that’s going to be named Mega Pixel. This vehicle has (as sources suggest) been specifically designed to cater to the European markets. Bringing quite the futuristic look and feel to the market, this car is the upgraded version of the small car Pixel that is based on Tata Nano.

On on the other side of the competition, presenting the Electrically charged Chevrolet Beat. The beat has been quite a successfully running hatchback car in the Indian hatch segment. The Beat diesel version was the most sought after vehicle that created quite the buzz. With eager anticipation, here is a small review on the upcoming Beat Electric version.

 

Exteriors:

A complete in house house project from Tata motors that adds quite the European design to make it look pretty futuristic. This car was a debutant at the wood festival of speed in UK. The Megapixel surely knows how to impress. This car looks more like a production ready car rather than a concept. The practical designing of this compact hatch is really commendable. The car doesn’t features scissor doors similar to its younger sibling pixel. Instead, it comes with double sliding doors which make it easy for you to go in/out of the car and they look quite attractive also. The single piece face of Megapixel features angular headlights on both sides which gel well with the black colored radiator grille of this car.

The small bonnet of this car leads to its long and wide front windshield which makes it look extremely aerodynamic. The black colored air dam of Megapixel makes it look like a typical Tata car. The bulgy wheel arches and 16 inches alloy wheels add muscularity to Megapixel. The noticeable running lines on its doors nicely merges into the boot of this car. The tall look at the back adds visual bulk to this car. The tall positioned LED tail lights of Megapixel look sporty with its C-pillar. The rear glass eats up most of the space at the back and looks nice with its bulky rear bumper which features black colored air inlets. Overall, it is just the perfect blend of style and sophistication.

Tata Megapixel

General Motors on the other side of the wheel has taken a crack at revving fading customer interest in the Beat. The new Electric version is the essence of massive elegance that made this car so popular. The car features elegant bumpe s, new mirrors, a sporty looking rear spoiler alongside its LED inserts. It’s re-profiled head and tail-lights are quite prominent too. The slim seats give you optimum support and space. Megapixel is perfect for four adults. The double sliding doors not only give you easy access to this car but also improve the space inside. The panoramic roof also enlightens the mood inside and makes it look premium.

The dual tone dashboard of Megapixel will feature a big touch screen at its centre with AC vents on both sides. The instrument console and glove box will also be fitted in this dashboard. Tata may offer this car with door pockets, cubby holes and its spacious floor can also be used as a storage space. The bonnet of Megapixel is likely to act as the boot of this car similar to its younger siblings.

Chevrolet Beat Electric

 

Interiors:

Tata megapixel comes with a futuristic design. Tata Megapixel is likely to get dual tone interiors. The positioning of everything looks quite perfect and the cabin feels quite up-market. The floor and cabin feels quite spacious. The lack of B-pillar is the biggest reason which gives you more space inside this car. The slim seats give you optimum support and space. Megapixel is perfect for four adults. The double sliding doors not only give you easy access to this car but also improve the space inside. The panoramic roof also enlightens the mood inside and makes it look premium. The dual tone dashboard of Megapixel will feature a big touch screen at its centre with AC vents on both sides. The instrument console and glove box will also be fitted in this dashboard. Tata may offer this car with door pockets, cubby holes and its spacious floor can also be used as a storage space. The bonnet of Megapixel is likely to act as the boot of this car similar to its younger siblings.

Tata Megapixel

 

The Chevrolet Beat electric’s cabin looks pretty mum similar to the existing Beat models. With uniquely styled instrument cluster that’s made up of an analog speedometer and a digital pod for the tachometer that resembles a mid-’90s electronic Casio organiser and may not appeal to everyone. The front seats lack a bit of thigh support, but leg room is adequate. From the driver’s seat, the slightly high cowl and smallish rear windscreen hamper visibility, especially for new drivers. The equipment list is adequate. The vehicle sports features like airbags on both the sides, ABS, CD plays along with USH steering mounted audio controls as well as alloy wheels and power windows.

Chevrolet Beat Electric

 

Engine and Gearbox:
Technically, Megapixel is a futuristic and advanced car. Megapixel gets four electric motors, one on each wheel. These are lithium Ion Phosphate 13KWh batteries with induction charging system. They take 30minutes to get charge up to 80%. Megapixel is also equipped with a single cylinder 325cc single cylinder petrol engine. This 4-stroke engine is low on CO2 emission and generates a peak power of 30bhp. This engine is mated with an automatic transmission.

The Electric Beat on the other hand is supposedly powered by a Lithium powered battery with a maximum power of 20 kWh. This vehicle comes with a 5 speed manual transmission.

Suspension and Brakes:
Megapixel is likely to share its suspension system with its younger sibling, Pixel. It will feature McPherson struts at its front with independent coil spring suspension system at the back. The car might feature ventilated discs at its front or it may debut with drum brakes of 180mm on its all wheels. ABS with EBD and brake assist will further help you to stop this car accurately.

The Beat Electric on the flipside is likely to carry McPherson Strut brakes along with Compound Link Type Suspension.

Price:

The Megapixel is likely to carry a price gage between Rs. 5 lakhs to Rs. 6 Lakhs.

The Beat Electric is expected to be around the Rs. 6 lakh ball park.

Bottom Line: 

It is really difficult to decide which car is better than the other. Based on the design, the Mega pixel seems to hold more style. The Beat Electric on the other hand holds promise thanks to its predecessor models.

Fiat Family: Upcoming Fiat cars in India

Here are a couple of Fiat cars that are going to say hello to Indian roads…

Fiat Tipo:

Fiat India is looking to reinstate the existing Linea Sedan by remodeling it and introducing a new and attractive machine named Tipo or Egea. This new machine is going to be launched as a C-Segment sedan that was showcased as the Aegea Concept car. The production version of this car is going to be launched in 2016 by November. Here are some more details that should help you decide better:

Fiat Tipo

Exteriors:

Featuring a classy looking front façade, the Tipo features a dominative and angry looking muzzle grille that sports Fiat Insignia look in the middle and comes with angled headlamps. The side profile of this vehicle adds up similar Fiat sedan lines because of the strong shoulder lines. The rear side features elegantly designed tail lamps as well as a chrome strip above the number plate.  As far as the dimensions go, the Tipo will measure 4500mm in length, 1780mm in width and 1480mm in height.

Interiors:

The interiors look quite attractive. It features an instrument cluster, Uconnect infotainment system with 5-inch touchscreen display and automatic climate control. Tipo gets a sporty look, which will feature dual tone interiors as well as sporty seats. The new Tipo will be incorporated with features such as AUX and USB ports, Bluetooth connectivity and a navigation system along with a reversing camera. With the wheelbase of 2640mm, Tipo will offers quite a spacious cabin with ample of sitting and storage space.

Engine:
Under the hood, Fiat Tipo sedan is likely to be offered in both petrol and diesel engine options for the Indian market. The 1.4-litre TJet petrol and 1.5-litre MultiJet diesel engines will be mated to a 6-speed manual transmission gearbox and 6-speed automatic gearbox for the automatic variant. However, globally Fiat Tipo is offered in four engine options – 1.4L and 1.6L petrol engine, 1.3L and 1.6L diesel engine.

Further details:

The new Tipo sedan is likely to be priced in the range of INR 8 lakh to INR 11 lakh for the Indian market and will compete against the likes of Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, Honda City, Volkswagen Vento, Hyundai Verna, Nissan Sunny, Skoda Rapid and Renault Scala.

 

 

Fiat Viaggio:

Seen at the 2012 Beijing Motor Show, the Fiat Viaggio will be positioned in the executive sedan segment. Here are further details on the Viaggio:

Fiat Viaggio

Viaggio Interiors and Exterior looks:

The Viaggio is essentially a Fiat-badged Dart, except for few nips and tucks here and there. For instance, the Viaggio sports redesigned front and rear bumpers, taillights, badges and trunk lids. Fiat also promises that the Viaggio has the handling dynamics to match its Italian styling. That said, the interiors are going to be just as promising as the interiors.

Engine:

Under the hood, expect to see a 1.4-litre T-Jet petrol unit that is rated at 120PS and 150PS. A diesel powerplant could also be thrown in the mix. The engines could come mated to either a 5-Speed manual gearbox or a 6-Speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT).

Further Details:

The Viaggio is expected to launch in India by the end of 2016. Expect the price of this vehicle ranging from 8-12 lakh.

 

 

Fiat Panda:

With Punto and Linea mulling to expand its portfolio with more products. The Fiat Panda, which has been the best-selling supermini in the European markets is one such product that the Italian automaker could introduce in the Indian market very soon. However, supermini is a segment that is not very popular in the country.

That said, the Fiat Panda, which is now entering its third-generation has been modified to become to bigger, roomier and safer, making it a more practical and viable product for Indian customers.

Fiat Panda

Exteriors:

Dimensional, the new Panda is 66mm wider that the out-going model, which means that the hatchback can easily accommodate up to 3 passengers on the rear bench.
Interiors:

In terms of pricing, the Fiat Panda is most likely going to feature the same design language as the Fiat Punto.

Engine:
Under the hood, expect to see a 1.2-litre petrol engine and a 1.3-litre Multi-jet diesel engine.

Further Details:

In the international markets, the Fiat Panda is offered in three trim levels: Pop, Easy and Lounge. If the Panda arrives in India, it will go head to head with the Maruti Suzuki Swift, Hyundai Grand i10, Volkswagen Polo, Honda Brio, etc.

Bottom Line:

Fiat is really working on increasing its competency and by the looks of it, the company might progress with the upcoming launches.

Top 5 Hybrid/Electric Cars in India

India is heading on to take upon the electric and hybrid car segment. The catch is that the cars are not only pricey but their maintenance is expensive too. And when it comes to alternate fuels, we have relied more on LPG and CNG instead of electric energy. That has however not dampened the car manufacturers’ hopes in India as they have gone ahead and introduced clean and green vehicles. Not all the cars are expensive, some of them might befriend your price while some might seem shockingly expensive. Either ways, if you’re planning on buying a hybrid, you’d not be disappointed considering the focus some manufacturers are paying towards the price. Here is a list entailing 5 of the most popular hybrids/electric cars available in India:

5. Mahindra e2o:

Portrayed as a concept car back in the 2012 Delhi Auto Expo, the e20 from Mahindra found its way to the Indian market. Manufactured at its facility in Bengaluru, the Mahindra e20 rolls out as the first all-electric in India. The e20 from Mahindra comes powered by a 48V maintenance-free Lithium-ion battery that helps churn out around 25 bhp and 53Nm of torque. Speed is out of the question on this car but if you’re willing to go slow and safe, this ride tops a speed of 81 km/hr. Though a full charge takes 5 hours, Mahindra also has Quick Charge that helps charge the car in just about an hour. Once fully charged, it can cover a distance of 120Km, which is sufficient for city travel. The interiors on the e20 get s a large touch-screen interface as well as a monochrome digital speed information pod. The price expectancy of this vehicle ranges from 4.79 lakhs to 5.34 lakhs.

4. Toyota Prius

India was first introduced to hybrids when Toyota launched the Prius in 2012. It can run on both, petrol and electricity, so the customers get the best of both worlds.

Fun fact: The Prius is the world’s first mass production hybrid car.

Powering the Prius is a 1.8-litre 2ZR-FXE, 4-cylinder, inline, twin-cam petrol engine that puts out 97bhp and 142Nm of torque. It also gets a sealed Ni-MH (Nickel-Metal Hydride) battery, which increases the total power output to 134bhp. The Prius gets 3 modes, namely, EV (Electric Vehicle), Eco, and Power.

As green as the Prius may sound, it does come along with a hefty price tag. There are 2 variants on offer in India – the Z5 and Z6 – and even in city conditions; combined fuel economy stands at 23.91Km/l. The price of the Prius ranges from 38.10 lakhs to 39.80 lakhs.

 

3. Toyota Camry Hybrid

Toyota has another green car up its sleeve – the Camry hybrid. However, if you think you’ve driven the Prius, and this one will be something similar, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Just like the standard Camry, this one gets Toyota’s DOHC VVT-i 2.5-litre petrol unit, but it’s tweaked to accommodate the electric motor. The output tally of the hybrid system stands at 202bhp; 158bhp from the petrol motor, and 44bhp from the electric motor. The power-split device helps deliver seamless power to the wheels, and also to the generator that keeps on charging the battery. The battery is nickel metal hydride, unlike the usual lithium-ion, and is placed under a plastic cover inside the boot.

There are three driving modes to choose from – EV, Eco and Normal. The e-CVT (electronically continuously variable transmission) takes a bit of time to push itself off the starting line, but eventually offers utter smoothness and refinement.

Toyota has generously provided features that make it an ideal chauffeur-driven car. The 3-zone climate control for the driver, front passenger, and rear passengers, cooled front seats, cruise control, powered rear seats that recline, and a rear armrest that houses the controls for the recline functions, all find their way inside the car.

Toyota claims that the Camry Hybrid delivers 19.6Km/l (ARAI figure), which is truly impressive for a car of this size. The Camry hybrid carries a price tag of Rs. 31.19 lakhs.

 

2. Maruti Suzuki Ciaz Hybrid

Known commonly as the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz (Smart Hybrid Vehicle), the vehicle is priced in the range of Rs. 8.23 lakh – Rs. 10.17 lakh. Interestingly, the company the Ciaz’s old diesel range has been replaced by the SHVS-equipped variants.

The Maruti Suzuki Ciaz SHVS gets an integrated starter generator, a larger capacity battery, and start-stop technology that help the vehicle return better mileage. While the old Maruti Ciaz diesel had an ARAI certified mileage of 26.21Km/l, the Ciaz SHVS returns an outstanding 28.09Km/l. This effectively makes the Ciaz SHVS hybrid India’s most fuel-efficient car.

Incorporated with an ISG (Integrated Starter Generator), Suzuki’s new mild hybrid system – SHVS – offers engine power assistance using the motor, and thus achieves efficient power generation. With the help of ISG, the system also provides assistance to the engine start-stop technology that automatically stops the engine during traffic light, and starts when the clutch is released.

 

1. BMW i8

This beauty is just too good to be true. From the time when it was launched in India till date, the i8 holds its ground as one of the most thrilling car to be designed in a futuristic manner.

Under the hood, the i8 comes with a 1.5-litre, inline 3 petrol unit and a 7.1kWh lithium-ion battery. Power from the gasoline engine stands at 228bhp, while the electric motor punches out 129bhp, thus taking the combined tally to a massive 357bhp. In all-electric mode, the BMW i8 boasts of a top-speed of 120Km/h. In Sport mode, the i8 delivers a mid-range acceleration from 80 – 120Km/h in 2.6 seconds. The electronically controlled top-speed stands at 250Km/h.

BMW started the car’s deliveries in August, 2014, and had already managed to sell 1,741 units by December, 2014. Furthermore, the first batch of BMW i8 to arrive in India has already been sold. The car carries a whooping price tag of 2.29 crores.

Nissan Teatro for Dayz, or nightmare?

"Nissan Teatro"

It swings across once every two years or so but, the Tokyo Motor Show is one of the finest consortiums of carmakers from all across the world. This is a huge platform for all the companies to portray their best jaw dropping, eye gluing machines. In my opinion, Love at first sight really takes place here.

Japanese carmakers eagerly await such opportunities to show to the world that nobody designs cars better than they do. Hence, the carmakers often do their best to stand out amid the outlandish designs. Then again, there is a little chance of Nissan’s latest concept getting lost in the crowd for bizarre reasons. The company introduced a rather bizarre looking vehicle that can transform according to your whim,” says the company.

Also, it’s called “Teatro for Dayz.” So, yeah!

Teatro? Say What?

So named Teatro for Dayz, the Nissan vehicle is the “first car designed specifically for the generation known as ‘digital natives,’ or “share natives.”

It’s hard to stake a claim to the silliest appearing concept car at a show like the Tokyo Motor Show, But Nissan seems like it has the word Bizzare written all over. There are some cars with gaudy interiors with seats (even the steering wheel) spruced up with grass, leopard skin or even abstract patterns that seem just too much for your brain to take in. Then, there’s Teatro for Dayz, a free-spirited step-sister of Nissan’s serious, buttoned-down self-driving EV, and it’s Nissan’s hope that it’ll convince non-auto fans to, well, take an interest.

There’s so much fun to be had with a concept car with fancy looks. Nissan has proven that it has enjoyed this truism to the fullest with this car. This all-electric minivan has a little bit of normalcy; its suicide doors. This vehicle, just like the IDS concept is a vision of an autonomous, electric future, the Teatro for Dayz is one extreme way to connect your smart phone and your vehicle. Nissan calls is, “an innovative concept that signals a new direction in mobile technology.” It’s certainly a new direction in distracting the driver.

 

"Teatro for Dayz"
Image Source: www.littlegatepublishing.com

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn says that the Teatro for Dayz was specially designed for “Share Natives”. Carlos Ghosn says that this generation of young Japanese people like the efficiency of an electric vehicle and the functionality of a Kei car. “These young people are now getting their drivers licenses,” he said. “They have never known a world without the Internet, email or social media. They are always connected and eager to share their experiences.” With a car like the TfD, they can gather in person and virtually in a car that’s a vehicle for self-expression and connecting with friends as much as it is for getting to the next hot spot in Harajuku.

 

On the Outside:

The LED screen in action is overwhelming. Yes, LED screen. Like I said, there is plenty of craziness with the Teatro.

 

"Nissan Teatro"
Image Source: www.autoblog.com

Designing a car to appeal to the generation we call ‘share natives’ required us to intentionally not use knowledge and tried-and-true approaches we had amassed,” Nissan’s executive design director Satoshi Tai said. “For example, through design we typically try to convey a sense of acceleration, power, or supreme quality. But these values do not resonate with share natives. If anything, such car traits just call to mind old-fashioned technology that bears little relevance to their lives.”

Share natives feel that time spent in a car should be time for connecting and sharing experiences with friends,” agrees product planning general manager Hidemi Sasaki. “We can no longer attract their attention with the same old values.” The idea is that Teatro for Dayz can be a “clean canvas” for people to create and share their own designs.

The vehicle’s seats and steering wheel is made of LED screens. Pretty amazing right? This car also has LED screen as rear bumper that will display the vehicle’s status updates that show how crazy the driver can get with this car.

Inside:

The car’s interior is completely decked out in display surfaces.

"Nissan Teatro"
Image Source: hypebeast.com

The dashboard, seats, headrest-well, pretty much everything has display surfaces. Since conventional knobs and switches would limit display arrangement and expression, the change is pretty mind-boggling.

"Nissan Teatro"
Image Source: www.slashgear.com

The functionality works like air conditioning and audio is controlled by voice while important meters appear on the flat dashboard when the car is in drive mode. The exterior has LED panels that can display patterns or things like the car’s battery charge.

Bottom Line:

This concept is pretty futuristic. The certainty of this car working and being commercially produced is pretty doubtful. Let’s wait and watch what 2016 has in store for us. 🙂