Infiniti Getting Charged Up Over New Sports Car Concept

Infinity has announced that their new “highly advanced”, range-extending electric sports car concept is now under development. It will be revealed to all at the Geneva Auto Show in March 2012.

Andy Palmer, Executive Vice President, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd and Infiniti said: "At the Geneva show next year, we will present our vision for a totally new kind of inspired premium performance car”

This adds to current Infiniti already has hybrid and clean diesel models on sale. 

Electric Living

So as mentioned before we have just had the chance to test Mitsubishi's all new iMiev.  An interesting car to say the least and one that really demonstrated to us how feasible electric motoring really is.  It is unsurprising really how impressed we were, given that the Prius was such a refreshing approach to motoring and had us besotted with hybrids. 

2011 sees us taking electric motoring to the next level, Tesla have a high powered Lotus look-a-like and Nissan put the Leaf on the roads.  But the real story to follow is Renault and the Z.E range they unveiled at Paris last year.  Utilising the success of the Fluence in Europe, Renault are able to appeal to both an existing customer base and a new market with the electric version of the small saloon.  Alongside the Kangoo Z.E van and the little Twizzy micro city car, the range looks promising and may well take the lead in eco-motoring. 

That's if you can understand how to buy one.  Instead of buying the car outright or offering a lease contract like Mitsubishi and Peugeot respectively, Renault have decided that you buy the car and simply lease the battery over a 3 year period.  This means you own the car, yet Renault are effectively responsible for the battery, or at least maintaining and replacing any parts.  For a mere cost of £75 a month I think this is a steal comparing it to the likes of a 4 year/£400 a month contract with Peugeot or nearly £30k on a Mitsubishi which only gets you 70 miles (but does include sat-nav so you don't get lost within that 70 mile radius)

So in all Renault seem to be winning with their offering.  Stylish cars at more realistic prices (after a £5k grant from 10 downing street) and better milage figures so far.

Mitsubishi can't be too far behind though I'm sure, sharing the production car with their French allies isn't a bad move, it seemed to work with the Outlander after all, but when it comes down to it, the initial cost they are charging is a lot for what seems not much car.

I can't wait to see the Z.E range and recommend you too wait a little longer until joining the eco race. Hopefully we will be seeing Renault's new range from spring/summer next year.

Back in the Driving Seat

Happy Independence Day and a final farewell to America! today we are taking down the red white and blue bunting and going back to normality here in the UK a big thanks once again to Mazda for letting us take the CX-9 and the lovely people we ment throughout our journey, a special mention for Linda and her Lesbians :)


But it's time to catch-up on some stories that we didn't cover because we weren't here...


First up it's Renault and the announcements of such cars like the Fluence Z.E.  We covered the Z.E. range including concept ZOE at Paris last year and the Fluence was definitely one to watch.  Well Renault have announced Prices for the electric saloon and it seems a lot more affordable than the Mitsubishi iMiev we currently have sat on the drive... and does 40 more miles to a full charge too.

From a mere £20 pre-order deposit (non-refundable) you can reserve a Fluence that will set you back just £17,850 after receiving the government incentive of £5,000.  However Renault are leasing rather than selling the battery at a cost of £75 a month (based on 6,000 miles a year on a three year agreement) making the buying process of the Fluence a rather confusing one.  More details here


Next up, quite clearly to compete with our 4,000 mile trip across America, Jaguar took one of it's new 2.2 diesel XF's and managed 816 miles over 4 countries, using just one tank of fuel!  Very impressive Jaguar!  Averaging 57mpg the XF drove across motorways, country bends and urban traffic to achieve an accurate and fair test... lovely.




Audi made a lot of noise at Elton's recent bash by putting a chrome R8 Spyder up for auction.  Raising money for the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the mirrored monster fetched a tidy sum of £620,000.





Jeep next and a lot of noise seems to have been made about the new Grand Cherokee.  I haven't seen any official press releases, but my inbox is swamped with pictures of the sexy new car.  So one assumed it's officially launched and on sale - plus if it's anything like the US spec Cherokee, otherwise known as the Laredo, it will be very nice indeed.




Finally, last but by no means least whatsoever is the news that MINI are doing the concept coupé.  From only £16,650 OTR, the new MINI Coupé is the fifth model to join the range - featuring four engines from launch and only two seats!  Although described to me during it's concept phases as looking like a baseball cap, I (Marcus) think the new coupé looks great and will be thinking of any excuse to jump in one early and see how it drives.




So that's just a few highlights from the past three/four weeks but I will no doubt pick-up a few more stories over the next week or so, plus take a deeper look into the MINI Coupé and the topic of electric vehicles, focusing on the little Mitsubishi iMiev we are currently bobbing about town in.

Kia Unveil a Third EV Concept - Naimo

Kia seem very committed to the growing EV market and have unveiled a third concept today at the Seoul Motor Show.  Meet the Naimo, an electric Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV).

On first impression the Naimo looks boxy and typically Korean, but reading more about it - it's a lot more Korean than you might think.  Take the name for example, 'Naimo' inspired by the Korean word 'Ne-mo' (Neh-mo) meaning 'Square shape', a perfect descriptive for the new concept.  That's not all, the exterior design, from the lights the the wrap-around windscreen has all been inspired by the simple yet complex visuals in Korean art.

But stepping inside is where you really get the impact.  The door panels and floor are made from Korean Oak, while the headlining is made from Korean "Han-ji" paper, these elements are mixed with light emitting diode displays and full connectivity giving the Naimo a fusion between tradition and modernism.

There is no windscreen wiper, but actually a high powered wind jet to clear the rain and features 20 inch low-drag alloy wheels, equipped for efficiency in mind.

“Naimo is a perfect balance of innovation, high-tech and Korean tradition.  It was heavily inspired by the purity and grace of traditional Korean arts and crafts, but combines this with cutting edge technologies to deliver a truly premium experience,” commented Kia Motors’ Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer.

Naimo joins the EV range Kia are running current tests on, amongst various conditions.  Included in the fleet are not only EV's but hybrid and Fuel Cell technologies also, achieving zero or reduced emissions.

Lexus Invite us to Join The Quiet Revolution...

Yes, we're off to Eaton today to see why Kylie has been keeping so quiet about the all new Lexus CT 200h.  

The first premium hybrid hatch promises to be very nice indeed, and although I have always been unsure about Lexus' direction of styling with it, I may forgive it after having a play...

So I shall leave you with some lovely photo's of the pop icon herself, filming the advert and generally looking fabulous!



Rolls-Royce get Arnold Schwarzenegger to Talk to us About Electric RR Cars

Okay, it's not actually Arnold Schwarzenegger,  it's actually the CEO but he sounds like him...


Renault Confirm New Twizy

We saw this little dune buggy at Paris2010 and Renault have confirmed pricing will start from just €6,900 making it affordable and cute, though I still can't see any side windows, the Twizy does feature a windscreen wiper, so Renault are you suggesting we all just wear waterproofs?


Being part of Renault's Z.E. (Zero Emissions) range, the Twizy will need a battery and recharging, which is worked out on a lease agreement.  In total the running costs of the new Renault work out cheaper than running a three wheeled scooter (UK pricing to be announced at a later date).

Charging takes just 3 and a half hours and on a full charge the average milage out of the micro city car is around 60 miles.  So come Autumn 2011 while you're 'Think[ing] Bike' don't forget to 'Think Twizy' too.

smart forspeed - a Speedster Like no Other

Okay, so smart don't refer to it as a Speedster, but I think the raised arches behind the headrests suggest it, and I can't think of how else to describe it.

smart's newest concept is somewhat of a dream as it would never be produced to look like this, however the ability to feel as open air as this with it's 'wind deflector' windscreen and lack of door windows is pretty cool.

Possibly the biggest fan of convertibles myself, I have to admit I would love to see this on the road tomorrow, and it reminds me a lot of the Renault Wind, and the figures smart have published seem to suggest that they've been testing it for the real world, it reads...

"For example, the smart forspeed accelerates from 0 to 37 mph in just 5.5 seconds and reaches a top speed of 75 mph. A 30 kW magneto-electric motor is installed at the rear of the smart forspeed and the vehicle concept provides an immediate powerful response from stationary. Pressing a button in the centre console activates a boost function which provides an extra 5 kW of power for a short time and is ideal for overtaking manoeuvres on urban highways, for example. The smart forspeed is powered by a lithium-ion battery that delivers 16.5 kWh of electrical energy. It is simple to charge at any conventional 220 Volt socket. The charging device is located in the third brake light behind the smart logo and features a simple push/push opening mechanism. A fully charged battery is sufficient for 84 miles of driving fun (NEDC). Quick charging from 0 to 80 percent takes just 45 minutes."

Exciting stuff smart!

Nissan Esflow Concept

Nissan are also releasing a more sinister concept this year, and after last year's constant bout of stupidly named cars that an 8 year old could design (I sill haven't forgiven the Cube) and the unveil of the rather lifeless new Micra at Paris, they need to pull out a beautiful car that we can all take seriously.

Taking technologies seen in their newest EV the Leaf - the Esflow is a totally electric sports car designed to act, perform and look like a rear wheel driven two-seater.

Nissan created a nice little video to show it off too...


Ford to Unveil Exciting New Concepts at Geneva

Ford often utilise Paris Motorshow to show off new cars and announce to the journalists their next move in motoring.

Geneva this March is no different for the American giants, showing off not only their latest in electric tech, but we're told that at 2.30pm on March 1st, the big boss at Ford Europe will unveil a 'groundbreaking all-new vehicle' during their conference.

If you can't wait to see it, why not busy yourself with this - the rather interesting concept called the 'Vertrek'. 

The Vertrek represents a new direction in design for the next-generation of Kuga, and sees Fords vision for a sleeker more stylish SUV.  The fact it only has four seats might suggest it to be a contender for the latest trend of SUV coupés, but we can only speculate, as it is still just a concept.


Other models featured within Fords realm at Geneva are, the all-new Focus Electric (a first in electric passenger cars for the brand), a 'C-Max Energi' plug-in Hybrid and the rugged new Ranger due to go on sale late in 2011.

KA gets a little bling added to the booty and interior space, adding to the already wicked 'individual' range in April - presenting the 'KA metal'


Finally, the Mondeo ECOnetic suppresses it's CO2 down to 114g/km, plus ford have announced some 'additional large car powertrain enhancements', and a shiny new 1.6 diesel engine will be entered into the Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy ranges. 

They certainly have been busy, and to top it all off, today they delivered the first new-shape Focus' to their UK dealers.  Where have they found the time!?

Jaguar and Louis Vuitton - Romance in Paris?

Last night Jaguar was awarded the 'Classic Concept Award 2010' for its celebratory CX-75 Concept, unveiled at Paris Motorshow in September last year.

Led by Christian Philippsen, renowned automotive consultant, the panel also included author Serge Bellu, Director of Innovation for Louis Vuitton - Xavier Dixsaut, F1 designer Gordon Murray, former Porsche Design Head Harm Lagaaij and finally Journalist Masafumi Suzuki.

Jaguar celebrated their 75 years of luxury and innovation with the CX-75, creating a totally electric vehicle that showcased technology alongside beautiful design.  A lot has been said for the brands future development, words like 'nostalgic' and 'past' have been mentioned, however solely in the context of moving forward, and designing for the future.

Unfortunately, the CX-75 is a mere Concept Supercar, so let's hope Louis Vuitton decide to double the price of an XJ with an exclusive interior and a special edition paint job to match some big 'LV' rims - yummy!

But seriously, well done Jaguar - another award to sit alongside the many you have amounted in the recent years since your comeback with the lovely XF.