Friday, December 29, 2006

2008 Peugeot 608 CGI

The next Peugeot 608 is generating interest amongst car enthusiasts. But it’s difficult to see why. It will not feature any major breakthrough; it will still be a FWD top of the range saloon which is a bit strange: how can the top model of a car manufacturer use such simple architecture as FWD? Peugeot really needs to move up a level.

Maybe the interest is because, regardless of the humble architecture, Peugeot can make the best use of it and improve on the already great features of the current 607: comfort, handling, diesel engines. The 607 is probably the best car you can buy today out of the E-class/5 series/Lexus GS/ A6-quattro usual luxury choices. The design will be an evolution of the 607 following several themes presented in recent concept cars. The front design of the next CGI is not accurate but the side profile is representative of a subtle approximation to the 4-door coupe class pioneered by Mercedes in the CLS model.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Mazda 6

A new CGI on the replacement for the Mazda 6 has surfaced. It incorporates several current design features of Mazda in a very nice design. However, since Mazda is coming up with a new design language (just check their new concepts for Detroit) we are not sure if this photoshop could already be outdated...

Monday, December 18, 2006

The road to EV future: the series hybrid already arrived

… to fleet vehicles of course. The auto community is highly anticipating the series hybrid concept that GM promised to show in Detroit. Series hybrids are very interesting because these are essentially EVs where the only function of the internal combustion engine (ICE) is to recharge the batteries. A very small generator can thus be used, working in the most efficient conditions and providing significant range extension. Want to know more about series hybrids? Check this link.

However we have just find out that serial hybrids are already available. French company
Cleanova has been testing their own system where a small 40kW engine is mainly used as generator although it can also provide assistance to the electric engine. Used with lithium-ion batteries the system provides up to 200km of autonomy (in full-electric mode) and maximum speed of 130km/h. In the mode “hybride a predominance électrique” the system provides unlimited autonomy as long as you can find fuel for the ICE-generator (BTW, it accepts gasoline or bio-ethanol).

The system is being tested by fleets of French companies (EDF and La Poste) and is expected to be available for public sale in 2008. The current test vehicle is based on the Renault Kangoo although, hopefully, in can be commercialized in the future with more attractive vehicles. Incidentally the Renault Kangoo keeps the same cargo-space as the original ICE version which is indicative of the maturity of Cleanova’s hybrid system.

We wish the best to Cleanova although in reality we would like to see a collaboration with PSA or Renault in order to make available in the future this kind of vehicles from major manufacturers. Until then just check how nice this sounds: hybride a predominance électrique

2008 Ford Fiesta CGI

A new CGI has surfaced showing Autozeitung's interpretation of the next Ford Fiesta. It borrows several styling cues of current Ford vehicles mixed in an unelegant way. Let's hope the final design is different and closer to previous CGIs. Incidentally the magazine also points to a 2009 market introduction which differs from other (usually well informed) sources.

Friday, December 15, 2006

2008 Honda Accord

A new CGI of the next "Euro" Honda Accord surfaced. It looks really nice with some clues from the 4-door coupe current fashion. Expect improved engines, including turbocharged gasoline and the excellent SH-AWD system.

Hopefully Honda will do their homework better this time: the current Euro-Accord is an excellent car but it should have been made wider. The body width is too narrow for European tastes and practice. Also the interiors are not very appealing. The USA version (Acura TSX) has a much nicer instrument panel and materials quality. Same thing for the Acura MDX/RDX vs Honda CR-V. The new CR-V needs better interiors. Don't forget: we Europeans are a bit maniac about quality interiors, so please Honda, deliver that!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The road to EV future: Renault EV in 2010

After the announcement of Nissan Green Program 2010 (NGP2010) that includes the development of an EV it comes without surprise the news of a similar program by Renault (Renault Commitment 2009) that, amongst other measures, will feature the development and commercialization of an EV. Interesting to note the tile of the programs and the slight difference in schedule (2009 vs 2010). It makes really clear who is the leader in “L’Alliance”.

Until 2010 both companies will be riding two curves: one downwards of battery prices and another upwards of robustness and validation of lithium-ion batteries. Hopefully these two curves will follow an expected pattern that will make high-production city EVs available in the beginning of the next decade. It is not known yet if the new EV will use an existing platform of some small vehicle like the new Twingo or if Renault will develop a new platform optimized for EV architecture.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Peugeot 207 SW

The picture presents the next Peugeot 207 SW. Expect everything you can find in a regular 207 plus some space… but not much. This SW is meant for style instead of pure practicality.

The reader might wonder if this is in reality a 308 SW. It wears a lot of camouflage and looks quite big but the top of the instrument panel gives clues to a 207 derivation. But the 207 is well known now so we wonder why so much disguise?

Monday, December 11, 2006

The road to EV future: Nissan's EV after 2010

Today Nissan annouced a series of measures included in a green program. Amongst these, several are EV related: Launch Nissan electric vehicle early in the next decade; Develop Nissan’s original hybrid vehicle (not the Altima hybrid using Toyota technology) targeted for launch in FY2010 and accelerate development of plug-in hybrid technology. Nissan also announced a new company focused on the development, production and marketing of lithium-ion batteries. Are these good news? Well, we have had many good news about EVs recently, but these are great because they mean a solid approach from a big and well-stablished manufacturer.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

2007 Calendar

And no, it's not the one from Pirelli. Autozeitung just presented a calendar with all the new cars for 2007. A nice way to visualize all the juice for next year. Check this link for all the info.

Monday, December 04, 2006

2009 Audi A1

Now that the production of the next Audi A1 was confirmed for Belgium we can expect more photoshops to surface and also spy shots during the next year. The new small Audi will feature typical Audi design cues like the front singleframe and high shoulder line plus the usual high photo-perceived interior quality. All this mated to some small Seat underpinnings for maximum profit. Business as usual for Audi. Let's just hope it has at least a proper rear suspension to fight the MINI's handling behaviour or... well forget about it, with good suspension or not this will appeal mainly for people who like handbags anyway!