Posts Tagged ‘hybrid’

At a time when the latest plug-in accessory is a car, Renault have unveiled their new prototype. The Be-Bop is based on the Kangoo and can carry four passengers while chugging along on its 60-horsepower electric motor using a lithium-ion battery. If anyone can explain that one to me I’d be grateful.

Now, there’s also the look of the thing:

renault be bop

Now this is going to be like marmite I guess but I really like it. Given that it’s gonna be pretty quiet too with no chuffing great diesel or petrol lump in it, I’m looking forward to seeing it about.

This Renault would be ideal for my Sussex thru Kent coastal summer drives, imagine the panoramic views you’d get; it’s almost all window.

The French manufacturer will offer two recharging options: using the ‘grid’ will recharge in 8-10 hours or a rapid recharge from industrial 400-volt plug-ins in 30 minutes.

Though I know the debate over the benefits vs true cost of electric cars is still raging, but it’s yet another big-motoring-name taking a step in the right direction.

Of course, while you’re driving it you won’t really see the outside. Good thing the prototype’s interior looks like this then:

renault be-bop

I spent this weekend in Paris as I often do (some would say I’m lucky) and I noticed something new – hybrid taxis. Now, ordinarily, my disdain for the “hybrid solution” is pretty well documented but if mass use of these cars could be useful anywhere it could be the centres of cities.toyota prius

Let’s face it, for all its charm and romantic-connotations, Paris is a pretty filthy city. Not just in terms of general dirt but pollution too. There’s no congestion-zone charge there and the traffic around the centre is usually packed. It made a pleasant change to see the clean-looking Toyota Prius (albeit one with loud livery) moving through traffic. Plus, if governments are as serious in moving green as they pay lip-service too then I’m sure some sort of incentive or funding scheme can be set up. Come on, if France in all their nuclear-reliance can make this a reality (and there may well be others I’m not aware of) this could be done elsewhere. 

The same could easily be said for other cities across the world, be it London, New York or…. Delhi. In larger, capital cities, there’s a huge amount of taxis on the road and if public transport could shift toward hybrid vehicles it could be of huge benefit. 

 Surely this is better than individuals using hybrids? From an objective point of view, far too many people are unlikely to even consider buying a hybrid. Yes, there’s some that do and their voices are loud – but there’s not enough structure in place (certainly not here in the UK) in terms of places to top up and the stigma attached to them is pretty powerful. Not to mention that nobodies really created one that looks halfway decent. 

However, from a passenger point of view it doesn’t really matter if you’re arriving at your destination in the back of a Prius or the back of an Audi. All that really governs it is the price of your transit and, if they’re as good on the juice as advertised, hybrid cars should make for cheaper taxis…

if more taxi companies shifted to hybrid vehicles (whether it be Insight or Prius it doesn’t really matter) is it likely to have more of an impact on inner city pollution than congestion-zone charges or the odd celebrity smug-fest promoting the virtues of going green?

Dylan may have started it but now everybody’s going electric including the auto makers. The latest to make a push for the plug is Mitsubishi with this:

new mitsubishi

It’s the new Mitsubishi MiEV and it’s possibly the most normal-looking attempt at a hybrid or plug-in to roll of a production line – though I’m not saying it’s a real good looker. Very much of the Smart school of styling I think. 

The MiEV is part of the company’s plans to move away from the SUV market and into more economy-friendly demographics. It’s launching this year and may well see sale in Europe as a Citroen Re-Volt (not too sure the French have a great history with revolts) and the Peugeot 1001. We shall see.

While it’s certainly a funky little thing (I’m not going to get into the plug-in argument) the question is: would you drive one??

It’s still months away but the Tokyo Motor Show is already starting to pop up in the headlines. One of the expected stars at the show is the nation’s own manufacturer Mitsubishi with the unveiling of their new plug-in hybrid. mitsubishi hybrid

 The new Mitsubishi seems to be the prime focus of the Japanese auto maker as they’ve pulled their motor sports engineers to work on their electric vehicle program and an exec from the company has stated that their main target now is in developing smaller and more fuel-efficient engines to power their SUVs. 

As for the Mitsubishi plug-in, it’s expected to be the size of a Nissan Qashaqai and will be based on the Concept cX the company previously unveiled.

The real question though, is whether all these plug-in hybrids are really worth all the hype and attention. You may not be using fuel from the pump but you’ll still be using it from the switch instead and that still comes from the lovely, dirty, smelly and polluting old fossil source.

Should companies continue to push such vehicles or focus on genuinely ‘green’ methods such as hydrogen cells? Are we replacing one environment drain with another?