Friday, May 29, 2009

EV Future: Nissan Electric Vehicle Prototype

A nice video showing the Nissan EV prototype and some usefull information. Counting down for series production.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

EV Future: Citroen Ev'ie by The Electric Car Corporation

This car (conversion) is actually on sale now, in England! And it's a real car with proper safety features and practicality.

It makes one wonder how it would be if made by Citroen... what are car manufacturers waiting for?!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

EV Future: 2011 Nissan EV

Nissan has been showing their EV prototype to selected journalists and also presenting more info about the future car. The images below are from their technical presentations and reveal a bit more about the real car that will be on sale in 2010-2011, hopefully to individuals and not just company fleets…

So the car will be a conventional 5-seater with batteries under the floor and adequate luggage space. It also appears that the design of the front section will make good use of the smaller space required by the electric motor inverter and related stuff. This is really interesting because it suggests the future design evolution of automobiles and technical architectures resulting from the different packaging of electric cars.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

2011 BMW PAC (or 3 series GT)

The CGI below is from Autozeitung and shows a possible interpretation of a “New Crossover” by BMW, the 5-series GT equivalent of the next 3-series family. An important feature of the new car that is apparent in the CGI and confirmed by internal sources is that the 3 series GT will be an hatchback with a more complex rear section than the 5-series GT… I don’t know quite well how to explain this, but the design will feature more creases and surfaces in order to make it more err… complex. Thus it will not look just like a big hatchback as with the 5-series GT.

The rest of the car will be about classical BMW over-engineering and class leading fuel efficiency. And it will be more expensive than a 3-series touring but cheaper than a X3.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

2011 Lexus compact

Reports have surfaced on the possibility of a 1-series fighter from Lexus for the European market. This has even had a sort of official confirmation… One must consider why Lexus is trying to fight in this competitive market, but the premium hatchback, and compact cars and derivatives are a growing segment in Europe. So I guess it makes sense for Lexus to bring a 1-series competitor.

However, in order to achieve success Lexus must consider a few things: the new car must have several diesel engines. The BMW 116D starts at as low as about 115hp… Same thing with petrol engines and preferably with turbo versions. And of course, the new Prius powertrain would fit really well in such car, preferably with plug-in availability.

Small problem though: the luxury compact can not be a FWD Toyota Auris derivative. I mean, it could be, but then Lexus should really study Audi’s marketing techniques… The real compact luxury Lexus should be based on a shortened RWD IS platform.

Monday, May 18, 2009

2011 Ford Focus wish list

This was sent by a reader:

Hello David,
I enjoyed your articles about the Ford Focus but I think that to have more success the new car should improve some items. In my 2005 Focus tdci the floor carpet does not cover the whole area underneath the glove box. Ford shouldn’t be so cheap about those details.

And that is an important detail, I must add. But I’m showing this message because the statcounter software that provides feedback on the statistics of this blog is quite powerful and says to me that people from Ford actually read this joint. I kid you not!

So please Ford, take care of the complaint from the reader and while we are at a wish list session: please make the rear of the new car look like in the image below, that would be perfect.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Audi Q5 and its real competitors?

Well indeed, since Audi makes cars using parts and engines from Skodas and Seats it kind of makes sense to pitch the Q5 against mainstream America SUVs...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Discussion on the next Ford Focus III rear design

Currently there is no reliable information available on the rear design of the next global Ford Focus. A recent photoshop, pictured below, shows an interpretation with horizontal rear lights, as opposed to the vertical units found in the current and first generation versions. This artist impression is probably influenced by the recent Iosis-MAX concept. This blog post discusses why the Focus should keep the vertical design of the rear light-cluster and other design features.

Ford should understand that they are on the verge of greatness with the next Ford Focus. If they play their cards right, in a couple of years the Focus can be the best-selling car in its class in the world. For two reasons: One is that the Focus still has progression space in the European market and can gain market share there. It can not be the best selling car in Europe for obvious reasons, related to the size of the German market and their natural patriotism. But considering that the Focus is currently ranking number two in its segment despite its age, and that the new and very kinetic Fiesta is storming the market, I would say that with the right design the Focus can gain some more market share in Europe. Second reason is that being a global car the new Focus will sell very well in the USA. And if the economy recovers we can expect another spike in oil prices that will renew the recent love of Americans for smaller cars. So in conclusion, if Ford applies its kinetic design in the right way the Focus III will become the best selling compact car in the world. And we know the design part is good… so good that in focus groups for the NA market the response was “out of the ordinary”.

But, then why the insistence with the vertical rear lights? Because, in my opinion, the next Focus can be more than a best-seller: it can become a new icon. At this point we should remember the formidable list of accomplishments by Ford of Europe with the Focus model. The first generation marked a huge gap against the previous Escort, added a distinctive and fresh design that aged very well, but its biggest achievement was the superior multilink rear suspension. It destroyed the competition in the handling department and forced the best concurrence to a radical inverse engineering process that included some aggressive head-hunting… The Focus II did not score so high in the design department, brought more maturity in the interiors but still kept some design features like the rear vertical light-cluster, the third window in the C-pillar while adding a bit more coupe-ish shape. The restyling brought a much needed kinetic design infusion but the most important accomplishment is very recent: the Focus RS. The best FWD car on the planet!

Keeping some of the major design elements, such as the rear shape and vertical rear lights, while adding the kinetic design and the distinctive trapezoidal grille will contribute to raise the Focus III to new heights. If the market responds accordingly Ford will have more than a best seller, Ford will have a new icon. That would be a good thing, because icons are more profitable.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Forf Focus 2011

Just a new CGI from site. It looks like the sort of design that could work well in Europe and in the United States. However it does not show the rear design which could mark a change in relation to the current model.

The article mentions hybrid and electric versions. Everyone is considering hybrids at this stage but I wonder what Ford is doing in the pure electric version. We know it is supposed to be just for the american market and will have technical input from Magna. But will it be manufactured in big numbers or is it just for selected fleets?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

EV Future: the advantages of plug-in hybrids

The table shows it all. It is from a MIT study of the cars of 2035. The auto-future.