Lexus Hybrid becomes Toyota Hydrogen Prototype – available to buy in 2015
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Lexus Hybrid becomes Toyota Hydrogen Prototype – available to buy in 2015


As widely reported in the automotive press this week; Toyota have unveiled their latest working prototype hydrogen car to journalists in Japan. Apparently based on the discontinued Lexus HS 250h, the car has received positive feedback on ride and performance, and Toyota say a production version will be available to buy in 2015.

A similar concept vehicle that will give a better clue as to what the production car might look like, is expected to be unveiled at the upcoming Tokyo Motor show (22 Nov – 1 Dec). Toyota don’t say how much it will cost, but the unveiling of this working prototype comes shortly after Toyota announced they would knock $1m USD from the price of their hydrogen vehicles.

Somewhere between £50,000 and $75,000 USD seems to be the ball-park figure, which if true would be a massive step for fuel cell vehicles: it has been estimated that Honda’s FCX-Clarity (the only current series production fuel cell car) costs more than $120,000 per car just to build.

Much of 2013 has been dominated by EV news and launches, and now it seems the headlines are owned by hydrogen vehicles: the major manufacturers are developing power-trains, often in (more…)

Malaysia: Hybrid and EV industry anticipates National Automotive Policy update
Feature

Malaysia: Hybrid and EV industry anticipates National Automotive Policy update

With Malaysia’s exemption of import and excise duties on hybrid and electric cars expiring at the end of this year, a National Automotive Policy update is widely expected, and industry experts are predicting that a New Policy Could Make Malaysia The Next Big EV Market.

The infrastructure of Malaysia is one of the most developed in Asia and it has had one of the best economic records in the region, with GDP growing an average 6.5 per cent annually, making it the third largest economy in ASEAN and the 29th largest in the world. The country has shifted towards an industrial/manufacturing based economy and aims to attain developed country status in 2018 – most economists agree that it has all the right ingredients to achieve that.

Automotive manufacturing is a key part of Malaysia’s economic development plans, and in particular the manufacture and development of low emissions vehicles that will also help it to realise it’s COP15 commitment to reduce its CO2 emission’s to 40 per cent by the year 2020.

According to regional press: Datuk Takashi Hibi, Deputy Chairman of UMW Toyota Motor Sdn Bhd, says [Toyota] are considering the possibility of assembling hybrid vehicles in Malaysia – The company (more…)

Mitsubishi to unveil three new plug-in hybrids in Tokyo next month
Hybrid cars

Mitsubishi to unveil three new plug-in hybrids in Tokyo next month

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) will unveil three world premiere concept vehicles at the 43rd Tokyo Motor Show 2013.

TOKYO, October 8, 2013 – Incorporating a new design identity that symbolises the sense of security and functionality of an SUV, the three models highlight Mitsubishi Motors innovative engineering, MMC’s next-generation advanced technologies that embody the concepts of environmental responsibility, driving pleasure, toughness and safety.

The first of the three concepts, the MITSUBISHI Concept GC-PHEV is a next-generation full-size SUV that uses a high out-put PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) system. The MITSUBISHI Concept GC-PHEV offers both the dynamic drivability of an SUV and class-leading environmental performance. MMC’s S-AWC (Super All Wheel Control) integrated vehicle dynamic control system delivers superior handling, stability as well as the all-terrain capability an SUV offers. The MITSUBISHI Concept GC-PHEV is a “connected car” that also offers next-generation preventive safety technology and driver support technology through wireless connectivity.

The MITSUBISHI Concept XR-PHEV is a next-generation compact SUV loaded with a lightweight and highly efficient PHEV system with dramatically enhanced environmental performance. The MITSUBISHIConcept XR-PHEV offers nimble drivability and a body style resembling a sport coupe.

The MITSUBISHI Concept AR is a next-generation compact MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) that offers both the mobility (more…)

New policy could make Malaysia the next big EV market
Government funding

New policy could make Malaysia the next big EV market


According to Malaysian newspaper The Star Online, prices of hybrid cars may go up if the Government decide not to extend the exemption of import and excise duties on hybrid cars, that expires at the end of the year.

In the same week UK business newspaper the FT is reporting “Carmakers flock to new southeast Asian growth frontier“, in which case; they should be looking at manufacturing or part-completing their vehicles locally: An industry insider believes that the current exemption will be extended for vehicles which are partly manufactured/finished in Malaysia, but not for pure imports, and both Honda and Toyota are preparing for a drop in sales of their imported hybrid models.

Import duties have been high in Malaysia for many years as part of a strategy to support local automotive manufacturers such as Perodua, and Proton. Foreign vehicles are seen as highly desirable, status-products due to the high cost compared to domestic vehicles – the exemption has so far been effective in boosting sales of hybrids in the country, because it has made a number of popular Japanese vehicles affordable to consumers, which also happen to be fuel efficient (more…)

China: low speed electric vehicle industry gains government approval
China

China: low speed electric vehicle industry gains government approval


The proliferation of small electric vehicles in China and in particular the Shandong province over the past 10 years has been driven in-part by favourable Chinese policy support and restrictions on alternatives such as petrol scooters, but also by loose regulation and a demand for low-cost transport from a fast-modernising, increasingly urbanised population.

Rural Chinese people are choosing small EVs instead of petrol engined cars, because there is no requirement for the driver to have a license and insurance. Plus the vehicles are very simply constructed, and are not subject to the same safety requirements as regulated combustion powered vehicles; so the production costs and purchase price for these simple cars is also low.

The demand for low-speed EVs is growing, and many new, un-regulated EV manufacturers have sprung up to meet it, with more than 20 companies now building low-speed EVs in Shandong Province.

Some of the larger automotive manufacturers have recognised the demand too, and are manufacturing their own low speed EVs for the market, including Shifeng Group, Fulu Motor and Dezhou Baoya New Energy.

But China’s Government have still been under some pressure to introduce new regulation; to ensure these vehicles are safe (more…)

Kia to launch an all-electric car for the US market in 2014
Electric cars

Kia to launch an all-electric car for the US market in 2014


Korean automotive manufacturer Kia has announced that it will be selling an all electric version of it’s “Soul” cross-over in the US market in 2014.

There isn’t much detail yet, but Kia plan to announce more at the next big auto show. They do mention recyclability, claiming 85-percent of its materials can be recycled after use.

Source: Kia UK websiteThis isn’t Kia’s first EV, in 2012 they began production of an electric car based on the “Ray” for use by Korean government agencies as a pilot project. It was expected that the Ray would be launched as a production EV, but it seems that have chosen a different model as their EV platform for the US market – rumours have been in the auto press for some time, with spy shots circulating since July.

Kia already produce a hybrid for the US market, and along with affiliate partner Hyundai are working on Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicles.

The press release from Kia…

At the media launch of the all-new 2014 Soul, Kia Motors America (KMA) today announced plans to offer an all-electric version of the company’s iconic Soul urban passenger vehicle in select markets in (more…)