Tuesday 8 January, 2013. The Green Piece Column.
It’s the year after the year after the year that was meant to be the ‘year of the electric car’. With that mouthful out of the way, now two years into the electric car revolution we look ahead into future to see what 2013 has to offer as part of our hunt for evermore efficient and clean cars.
2013 highlights to come
Detroit Motor Show –As ever, one of the highlights of the year and a brilliant way to kick-start 2013. This year’s show promises a delightful display of fuel-optimised vehicles as well as new hybrid and electric cars. Confirmed for this year’s event, formally known as the North American International Auto Show, is the Cadilliac ELR, a range-extended electric car which see the brand use Chevrolet’s Volt powertrain, a new 2013 Nissan LEAF and the new BMW 2 Series cars. The show runs from 14-27 January 2013.
Volkswagen Polo GT- Featuring a new EA211 engine with cylinder deactivation technology for lower emissions, the new GT’s engine develops 140PS, for a 130mph max speed and a 0-62mph time of 7.9 seconds. Yet emits just 107g/km of CO2 and returns 61.4mpg on a combined cycle. Already available to order, deliveries began in the New Year (more info here).
It is a trend to note-we expect that this year and the years to come will see more use of this kind of cylinder deactivation technology, which switches of cylinders when they are not needed for better economy.
Mazda6-the second model to get the Skyactiv treatment following the CX5, the new Mazda6 arrives in the UK from January, 2013. Benefitting from the full Skyactiv range of technologies including fuel-efficient petrol and diesel engines. Emissions are as low as 108g/km and fuel economy as strong as 67.3mpg.
Renault ZOE-set to become the UK’s most affordable electric car, when it goes on sale from the spring, the Renault ZOE is the long-awaited fourth and final model in Renault’s Z.E electric vehicle range. With prices from around £14,000 with a battery lease of around £45 a month, this new electric supermini will help widen the consumer base for electric cars (more info here).
Geneva-Another motoring show we adore. Held on ‘neutral territory’, the motor industry loves it too, because neither French nor German carmakers dominate, in this display of Europe’s automotive prowess. The result is an eclectic mix. In true Geneva style, debuts will the lesser known names including Rinspeed, with its new microMAX electric car and Chinese carmaker Qoros with as yet un-named small sedan car. More familiar will be the debuts from Vauxhall/Opel and Audi, with the new Adam and new A3 respectively.
Ford Focus Electric-This electric model will be the Ford’s first electrified model to arrive on our shores, as part of its plans to launch five ‘electrified’ cars (including hybrids and fully electric models) in Europe by 2015. No news yet on a firm launch date, but when it arrives, it is expected to cost in the region of £25,000 after the £5,000 Plug-in Car Grant has been deducted. Its range is much in line with the competition, at around 100 miles per charge, so will the electric version of one of the UK’s best-loved models follow in the footsteps of its combustion version and become a best-seller in its field? We’ll have to wait to find out.
BMW i3- The first model in BMW’ s new ‘born electric’ sub-brand of electric cars, the i3 will first launch in hatchback form with a coupe model to follow before the year is out. Featuring a lightweight carbon-fibre body and an electric motor capable of developing 125kW and peak torque of 250Nm, the i3 is expected to accelerate to 37mph in less than four seconds. A 0 to 62mph in less than eight seconds and a top speed of 93mph is also expected. More info here.
Honda Civic i-DTEC-As part of Honda’s mission to woo more Europeans who are clearly in love with the diesel engine, Honda is planning to develop a range of efficient, small diesel engines. The first of which is the 1.6 i-DTEC fitted to a new Civic model. Designed to offer performance as well as efficiency, this engine develops 118bhp and 300Nm of torque but offers economy of 78.5mpg with CO2 emissions of 94g/km.
Tesla Model S-Here in the UK, we’ll have to wait to the final quarter of 2013 to see the Tesla Model S arrive on our soil in right hand drive. The silicon-valley start-up’s second model, following the electric Roadster, the Model S is a family-sized fully battery electric saloon, with room for up to seven people. Prices have yet to be announced for UK, but in mainland Europe, they start from around €72,600 (about £59,030) and come with a choice of batteries, with driving ranges of around 230 miles or 300 miles depending on the size chosen. More info available here and our first UK encounter here.
Golf Bluemotion-The seventh generation Golf promises up to a 23 per cent improvement in efficiency across its engine range, thanks in part to the models being constructed between 40 and 100 kilos lighter than the Golf mark 6. For the most efficient choice, the Golf Bluemotion, emissions are slashed to just 85g/km and fuel economy boosted to 88.3mpg (combined cycle)-making it the most efficient diesel C segment car around.
New LEAF-with a new and improved Nissan LEAF already on sale in Japan, it is only a matter of time before we get a refreshed model in the UK and US too. With production of the car moving to Nissan’s UK plant in Sunderland, we expect to hear soon, if we too will get a leather seats option. In Japan, the model has been rated with an improved range up to 228km (141 miles) per charge, increased from 200km (124 miles) for the old car, according to Japanese JC08 cycle. There is also a new entry-level trim called the S Grade which joins the existing G and X trims. Prices now start from 3,349,500 JPY (about £25,895, down from 3.76 million JPY (around £29,068). More info here.
New smart fortwo ed- The new smart fortwo electric drive (ED) is expected to arrive in the UK from the spring. Boasting improvements over earlier, limited production models, the new fortwo ed has a range of 90 miles, a top speed of 78mph and is capable of up to 80 per cent charge in just 3.5 hours. Fitted with a 17.6kWh lithium battery, this little city electric car achieves torque of 130Nm and 74bhp (Our first test drive here).
Looks like 2013 will be an exciting year, as the UK market expands its range of available electric cars and welcomes new lower emission petrol and diesel cars too. There will be more announcements throughout the year no doubt, so we’ll keep you up-to-speed as the year progresses.
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