Here’s some top clean car news from the past few days or so:
“Eccentric mega-builder Franco Sbarro wants to bring the experience of driving a Formula 1 racecar to public roads. Sort of. In Sbarro’s universe, the F1 “experience” does away with a screaming, high-strung V8 engine and 200-mph wind in your face aesthetics and focuses on a central driving position and terrifying your 2 favorite
victims friends with your behind-the-wheel antics.”
“Audi’s Urban Concept tandem-2-seater first debuted last summer, amid promises of revolutionizing the ‘city car’ concept and wireless, in-road charging for its on-board electric batteries.
“A few days ago, Audi posted a new video to its YouTube channel demonstrating the wireless system’s ability to conduct large amounts of electricity through the air at high speeds. Enough electricity, according to the video, to power some pretty serious-looking floodlights. Towards the end of the video (below), Audi shows an (computer-generated) electric A3 ‘re-fueling’ by parking over one of Audi’s inductive charging pads.”
“It’s not an exciting video – but the tech looks AMAZING!”
Petrol prices have hit a record high, according to new figures from the AA showing that the average price of a litre of unleaded fuel has reached 137.44p.
The motoring group said recent increases had taken prices past the previous record set in May last year. It also confirmed that diesel had set a separate price record, reaching 144.60p a litre yesterday.
The high prices are likely to continue to drive demand for more fuel-efficient vehicles, including new electric and plug-in hybrid cars.
Toyota reported this week that high pump prices in the US meant it had exceeded sales targets for its popular Prius hybrid. The company said that overall US sales were up 12 per cent last month, while Prius sales grew 52 per cent to 20,589 – the highest level in four years.
Nissan, Hyundai and Kia Motors, all of which specialise in relatively small and efficient vehicles, all reported February sales that exceeded expectations, according to news agency Bloomberg.
Toyota appears to be doubling down on its hybrid bet. In addition to the world premiere of the Toyota Yaris hybrid, the auto manufacturer will show off a new affordable hybrid city car at the 2012 International Motor Show in Geneva next month. The company released a sketch of the concept before the reveal.
You may think that the pint-sized Yaris Hybrid and the Prius C should already count as city cars, but it appears that Toyota has something even smaller and lighter up its sleeve. Not much has been shared about the car in advance of the world premiere, but the manufacturer says it is a study of an ultra-lightweight vehicle that can be manufactured affordably without using exotic and expensive materials. The FT-Bh concept will demonstrate how a hybrid city car can be mass-produced using materials and processes already used in the automotive industry.
We first saw Volkswagen’s plug-in petrol-electric hybrid Cross Coupé concept at the Tokyo Motor Show. Now there’s a new Cross Coupé concept to be shown at the Geneva Motor Show this week that use a turbodiesel direct injection engine (TDI) and two electric motors to achieve 1.8 liters per 100 km (around 157 mpg) with CO2 emissions of just 46 g/km.
The Cross Coupé is proof that achieving 150 mpg is not just the realm of asthmatic shopping trolleys as the 225 kW Cross Coupe has a top speed of 220 km/h (137 mph) and a curb weight of 1,858 kg (4,096 lb).