Toyota To Reveal New Avensis At The Geneva Show

Toyota will unveil the new Avensis at the Geneva Motor Show next month, the latest development of its contender in the European mid-size (D-segment) car market. New Avensis has been styled at Toyota’s ED2 design studio in the South of France and developed by the company’s R&D centre in Brussels. It will be built by Toyota Manufacturing UK at the Burnaston car plant, near Derby.Toyota says the new model will deliver innovations in comfort and safety and will feature a new range of engines that promise both performance and efficiency. Avensis has been designed to appeal to fleet and private customers alike.Toyota will present new Avensis and host a press conference on its stand at the Geneva Motor Show at 12:15 on 3 March.

Plug-in Car Sales Surge in Europe

Plug-in car sales have undergone a huge rise in many key European markets according to figures released by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA). In total 75,331 new electric cars have been registered according to the ACEA, with Norway leading the way with just under 20,000 new registrations. The biggest gains came in the UK, where a 300 per cent rise in electric cars has taken place compared to this time last year. In Germany electric car registrations are up by 70 percent, while in France they had climbed by almost 30 per cent compared to the 2013 figures. In Q4 2014, total plug-in car sales in the EU decreased slightly (‑7.7%), totalling 24,552. Of these, pure electric vehicles represented about half of the total: 12,755 in Q4 2014, up from 8,418 in Q4 2013 (+51.5%). The remaining 11,797 was made up of extended-range electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, down (‑35.2%) compared to Q4 2013.

Total Electrically Charged Vehicles 

Q1-Q4

Q1-Q4

% Chg

 

’14

’13

14/13

AUSTRIA 

3,641

3,227

12.8%

BELGIUM

2,032

819

148.1%

BULGARIA

2

1

100.0%

CZECH REPUBLIC

583

475

22.7%

DENMARK

1,612

650

148.0%

ESTONIA

402

150

168.0%

FINLAND

440

218

101.8%

FRANCE

12,488

9,622

29.8%

GERMANY

13,118

7,706

70.2%

GREECE

64

4

1500.0%

HUNGARY

43

16

168.8%

IRELAND

256

50

412.0%

ITALY

1,473

1,174

25.5%

LATVIA

391

13

2907.7%

NETHERLANDS

12,920

22,495

-42.6%

POLAND

3,968

1,900

108.8%

PORTUGAL

289

221

30.8%

ROMANIA

7

4

75.0%

SLOVAKIA

169

136

24.3%

SPAIN

1,405

883

59.1%

SWEDEN

4,667

1,547

201.7%

UNITED KINGDOM

15,361

3,833

300.8%

EUROPEAN UNION

75,331

55,144

36.6%

EU15

69,766

52,449

33.0%

EU (New Members)

5,565

2,695

106.5%

NORWAY

19,767

8,210

140.8%

SWITZERLAND

2,693

1,717

56.8%

EFTA

22,460

9,927

126.3%

TOTAL EUROPE (EU+EFTA)

97,791

65,071

50.3%

WEST. EUROPE (EU15+EFTA)

92,226

62,376

47.9%

 

Plug-in Car Sales Surge in Europe

Plug-in car sales have undergone a huge rise in many key European markets according to figures released by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA). In total 75,331 new electric cars have been registered according to the ACEA, with Norway leading the way with just under 20,000 new registrations. The biggest gains came in the UK, where a 300 per cent rise in electric cars has taken place compared to this time last year. In Germany electric car registrations are up by 70 percent, while in France they had climbed by almost 30 per cent compared to the 2013 figures. In Q4 2014, total plug-in car sales in the EU decreased slightly (‑7.7%), totalling 24,552. Of these, pure electric vehicles represented about half of the total: 12,755 in Q4 2014, up from 8,418 in Q4 2013 (+51.5%). The remaining 11,797 was made up of extended-range electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, down (‑35.2%) compared to Q4 2013.

Total Electrically Charged Vehicles 

Q1-Q4

Q1-Q4

% Chg

 

’14

’13

14/13

AUSTRIA 

3,641

3,227

12.8%

BELGIUM

2,032

819

148.1%

BULGARIA

2

1

100.0%

CZECH REPUBLIC

583

475

22.7%

DENMARK

1,612

650

148.0%

ESTONIA

402

150

168.0%

FINLAND

440

218

101.8%

FRANCE

12,488

9,622

29.8%

GERMANY

13,118

7,706

70.2%

GREECE

64

4

1500.0%

HUNGARY

43

16

168.8%

IRELAND

256

50

412.0%

ITALY

1,473

1,174

25.5%

LATVIA

391

13

2907.7%

NETHERLANDS

12,920

22,495

-42.6%

POLAND

3,968

1,900

108.8%

PORTUGAL

289

221

30.8%

ROMANIA

7

4

75.0%

SLOVAKIA

169

136

24.3%

SPAIN

1,405

883

59.1%

SWEDEN

4,667

1,547

201.7%

UNITED KINGDOM

15,361

3,833

300.8%

EUROPEAN UNION

75,331

55,144

36.6%

EU15

69,766

52,449

33.0%

EU (New Members)

5,565

2,695

106.5%

NORWAY

19,767

8,210

140.8%

SWITZERLAND

2,693

1,717

56.8%

EFTA

22,460

9,927

126.3%

TOTAL EUROPE (EU+EFTA)

97,791

65,071

50.3%

WEST. EUROPE (EU15+EFTA)

92,226

62,376

47.9%

 

2016 Honda Pilot SUV Makes World Debut at the Chicago Auto Show

The all-new 2016 Honda Pilot SUV made its global premiere at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show The 2016 Honda Pilot SUV will be the first time the Japanese automaker will use fuel-saving stop-start technology in a non-hybrid vehicle.The all-new 2016 Pilot, launching at Honda dealerships nationwide this summer, is the third generation of Honda’s three-row midsize SUV to be designed, developed and manufactured in America.The all-new design of the 2016 Pilot sports a modern, sleek, yet commanding and muscular form incorporating new premium features, including optional brighter and more efficient LED projector headlights with auto high beam technology, available signature LED daytime running lights and taillights, plus available 20-inch wheels and a first-ever panoramic roof option. The premium quality of the new Pilot carries over to the interior, where designers have applied high-quality, soft- touch materials throughout the cabin and added thoughtful details such as LED map lighting.Advanced TechnologyThe new Pilot delivers the connectivity and power access that the modern family demands, including up to five USB ports, four that provide better recharging with 2.5-amp output, to charge iPads or smartphones while in use. Additional ports and plugs include an auxiliary jack for nearly any audio player, an HDMI port for a gaming console, two headphone jacks, two 12-volt power outlets and a 115-volt outlet to power just about anything.The new Pilot also incorporates Honda’s latest thinking for advanced, family-friendly technology, including an upsized 8-inch capacitive touchscreen Display Audio telematics interface powered by a new Android-based operating system and more powerful processor, along with an available all-new embedded Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System. The new navigation system features improved graphics and new capabilities, including 3D renderings of terrain, buildings and road signs, improved lane guidance, live search function, 911 emergency services and more.The Pilot’s Display Audio system enables simplified smartphone connectivity making for easier access to all the features and connectivity options of the HondaLink connected-car system. A 9-inch rear entertainment system with DVD and new Blu-Ray disc capability is available.Family-Friendly UtilityThe new Pilot builds on its reputation for best-in-class interior space, versatility and utility with 3.5 inches of added overall vehicle length, enabling a larger cargo area that can hold an 82-quart cooler without compromising third-row seating capability, a segment-exclusive feature. Third-row entry and exit is made even easier and more intuitive courtesy of an available one-touch walk-in second-row seat that slides and tilts to its forward-most position at the touch of a button. As compared with the current Pilot, the width of the lower portion of the third-row entryway has been increased by 2.5 inches with 1-inch lower step-over height.The Pilot’s new center console features a cavernous storage compartment capable of accommodating items as large as a full-size iPad or large purse. And with its seamless cover in the closed position, the console provides a convenient, non-slip surface for items that the driver or front passenger may need close at hand.Earth Dreams Technology PowertrainThe 2016 Pilot delivers more refined, powerful and fuel-efficient performance than ever before courtesy of its new 3.5-liter, direct-injected i-VTEC V-6 engine with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) cylinder deactivation technology. For improved fuel efficiency, the Pilot will include available Idle Stop technology that shuts off the engine when the vehicle is stopped, instantly and smoothly restarting the engine when the driver lifts their foot off the brake pedal. The new engine is mated to one of two advanced new transmissions – a Pilot-first 6-speed automatic transmission, or on upper trims, a Honda-first 9-speed automatic transmission – both delivering notably refined, responsive and fuel-efficient performance. The new Pilot will be available in front-wheel and all-wheel-drive configurations and will feature a completely new Honda all-wheel-drive system that delivers even more confident, efficient and dynamic all-weather performance.The new Pilot is almost 300 pounds lighter than the outgoing model; its more rigid, tightly sealed yet lighter body in combination with new, efficient powertrains, a new all-wheel-drive system and class-leading aerodynamics result in class-leading dynamic performance and fuel efficiency along with a new level of cabin quietness befitting its status as a premium family SUV.Advanced Safety PerformanceIn keeping with Honda’s commitment to safety, the new Pilot will feature the most comprehensive set of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies ever offered on a Honda vehicle. Together these technologies make up Honda Sensing, a suite of technologies designed to expand the driver’s situational awareness while sensing and responding to potential road hazards, including other vehicles, road obstacles and even pedestrians, mitigating the possibility or severity of a collision.It includes Honda’s popular LaneWatch display, Blind Spot Indicators, a standard Multi-Angle Rear View Camera, and available Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Rear Cross Traffic Monitor, Adaptive Cruise Control and a Honda-first Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) system.The new Pilot is expected to deliver the highest safety ratings in its class and targets a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and a TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), including a GOOD rating in all crash modes. The new Pilot incorporates Honda’s next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure, designed to more efficiently absorb and disperse the energy from a frontal collision, along with a new ultra-high-strength door ring designed to help better protect occupants. The 2016 Pilot also incorporates an all-new 3-bone platform while also utilizing high and ultra-high strength body materials, which together reduce noise, vibration and harness (NVH), improve handling, increase rigidity and reduce weight.Standard safety and driver-assistive features include four-channel anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Brake Assist and Hill Start Assist; Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with Traction Control; an Expanded View Driver’s Mirror; dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags, driver and front passenger SmartVent side airbags and side-curtain airbags for all outboard seating positions; and a new Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with real-time display of individual tire pressures.All-American Honda PilotAll three generations of the Honda Pilot have been designed and developed in America by Honda R&D Americas, Inc. at its Los Angeles design studio and Raymond, Ohio, vehicle development center. The Pilot and its engine are manufactured at Honda’s Lincoln, Alabama auto plant. In 2014, nearly 98 percent of all Honda-brand vehicles were produced in North America.

UK Plug-in Sales Break 25,000 Barrier

The popularity of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) continues to rise sharply in the UK, with more than 25,000 plug-in car and plug-in van grant claims submitted since the scheme began in 2010. Even the traditionally quiet January sales market saw nearly 2000 claims and total ULEV sales in 2014 were some 4 times the level of the previous year.The UK is now ahead of France and Germany in ULEV take-up, placing this country at the forefront of this green and cheap-to-run car technology. The acceleration in popularity is matched by the growing number of ULEV models on the market with some 25 car models and 7 van models eligible for the plug-in grant. A further 40 ULEV models from major manufacturers are expected to come to market over the next 3 years.To take account of rapidly developing technology, and the growing range of ULEVs on the market, the criteria for the plug-in car grant are being updated. From April 2015, eligible ULEVs must meet criteria in one of the following categories depending on emission levels and zero-emission-capable mileage:– Category 1: CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km and a zero emission range of at least 70 miles– Category 2: CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km and a zero emission range between 10 and 69 miles– Category 3: CO2 emissions of 50-75g/km and a zero emission range of at least 20 miles.As announced in April 2014, vehicles in all categories will continue to be eligible for the full grant of up to £5000, until either 50,000 grants are issued or 2017, whichever is first. The new categories will better reflect the range of vehicles on the market and make them accessible to the widest range of people.Grant availability will continue to be promoted as part of the Go Ultra Low campaign which is jointly funded by government and industry. The campaign aims to increase consumer and fleet uptake by highlighting the increasing variety and benefits of ULEVs.Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said: “More and more people are deciding a ULEV is the right choice for them. They are great to drive, easily chargeable at home or on the street, and cheap to use with running costs from just 2 pence a mile. The government’s £500 million investment will help more models become available to suit a wide range of budgets. This thriving industry will support jobs and build a stronger economy.”

Opel to Preview GM’s OnStar at Geneva Along With Double World Premiere

Opel is to preview GM's OnStar at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show with a comprehensive package including high-speed mobile network and numerous services across its passenger car range. There will also be world premieres for the all-new Opel Karl and the Corsa OPC.In the second half of 2015, Opel will introduce OnStar across its passenger car range. OnStar will represent the next step in automotive connectivity in Europe. In the USA, Canada, China and Mexico around seven million customers already count on the comprehensive package, which includes Wi-Fi hotspot and numerous mobile and emergency services.OnStar is reliable. No matter what emergency the driver may be confronted with when on the road – the system can offer assistance, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. An advisor will always be available. And if the airbag deploys, Opel OnStar will be activated automatically.Information on and access to the car is also guaranteed. Vehicle data such as tyre pressure or oil life can be accessed via the OnStar smartphone app. Locking/unlocking can also be controlled via the app. And if the car is stolen, OnStar will ‘work’ closely with the police to locate the stolen vehicle.The Vehicle Diagnostics functionality is also very convenient: OnStar will send a monthly report with the most important vehicle data and information. Furthermore, a diagnostics check can be requested at any time at the push of a button.With the introduction of OnStar, each Opel will become a powerful, mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. Up to seven mobile devices can be connected simultaneously allowing for passengers to stay in touch with family and friends via social media, stream movies or watch TV via their favourite app and play games or for the driver to work while away from the office when stationary.The small Opel KARLIt is the ideal car for price-conscious customers: Make way for the new Opel KARL. For an entry-level price of euro 9,500 (RRP including VAT in Germany) customers can expect a five-door car with space for up to five people or optionally 940 liters of stowage area all packed in just 3.68 meters.Three trim levels and ten different bodywork colors are available. Following Opel’s design philosophy, the newcomer from Rüsselsheim is not just good looking, it also impresses with its inner values. Under the hood, it boasts the latest generation in Opel powertrain technology: the new 1.0 ECOTEC with 55 kW/75 hp. The all-aluminum one-liter, three-cylinder gasoline engine combined with a five-speed manual transmission and the ecoFlex package can reduce consumption to 4.3 liters of gasoline per 100 kilometers in the combined cycle, which is equivalent to 99 grams of CO2 per kilometer.Opel KARL comes fitted with numerous safety and comfort features that customers do not expect in this price category. In addition to standard Hill Start Assist, the Lane Departure Warning integrated in the front camera is a further safety feature highlight.Like the ADAM and Corsa, KARL also features the City mode that reduces steering effort at the push of a button (from Enjoy), greatly facilitating maneuvering in heavy city traffic. Park Assist is also available and Cruise Control with speed limiter comes as standard from the Enjoy trim. The fog lights guarantee improved illumination in adverse weather conditions whereas the integrated cornering light function ensure that turning maneuvers are safer for the driver and other road users.The new Opel Corsa OPCThe new Opel Corsa OPC will line up for its world premiere with experienced sport pilots in mind. Sticking to the OPC tradition the top-of-the-range Corsa in flash blue can immediately be identified as a true member of the Opel Performance Center. Recaro performance seats, the leather steering wheel, flattened at the bottom, the sports pedals along with large air intakes, a distinctive hood, bold sill side trims, a dominant rear spoiler and the twin-pipe exhaust with a diffusor around the tailpipes all show the power that the new generation Corsa OPC has to offer.152 kW/207 hp are only waiting to be kicked into action. The 1.6-liter OPC unit offers maximum torque of 245 Nm– an additional 35 Nm are available when required with the overboost functionality. The OPC power is transferred to the front wheels via a six-speed transmission with short and sharp shifting travels. Thus, the new Corsa OPC races to 100 km/h from a standing start in a mere 6.8 seconds. A maximum speed of 230 km/h is possible. In order to deliver the power to the road in the best possible manner the Opel engineers teamed up with the specialists from Koni to develop a chassis that can boast innovative damping. The new Frequency Selective Damping (FSD) technology enables the damping forces to adapt to the frequency of the car, thus enabling the balancing act between uncompromising athleticism and an adequate level of comfort. Experienced drivers can even switch off the ESP completely when pushing the vehicle to its limits on racetracks. The twin-pipe Remus exhaust delivers the matching sound.

Nissan To Apply Glow-In-The-Dark Car Paint to LEAF EV

Nissan in Europe has become the first manufacturer to apply glow-in-the-dark car paint to showcase how its market-leading, all-electric LEAF is helping more and more people convert to solar energy at home. The manufacturer worked with inventor, Hamish Scott, creator of STARPATH, which is a spray-applied coating that absorbs UV energy during the day so that it glows for between eight and 10 hours when the sun goes down.While glowing car paint is already available, as are glow-in-the-dark car wraps, the bespoke, ultraviolet-energized paint created especially for Nissan is unique thanks to its secret formula made up of entirely organic materials. It contains a very rare natural earth product called Strontium Aluminate, which is solid, odorless and chemically and biologically inert.Various third-party companies have applied non-organic glow-in-the-dark paint to vehicles before, but Nissan is the first car maker to directly apply such technology. Nissan’s unique paint, if made commercially available, would last for 25 years.

With running costs of just two pence or less per mile to run, the UK’s 7,500 plus Nissan LEAF owners have reported significant savings and are using the money they save on a wide variety of items; among the more popular of these are solar panels for the home, which decreases the household carbon footprint and means owners are also effectively charging their vehicle for free.Research revealed recently by Nissan showed that 89 percent of LEAF owners charge their cars at home overnight. Although solar panels do not store energy or provide it outside of daylight, any leftover power generated during the day is fed back into the national grid and homeowners can get a Government payment for it, meaning that the overnight charge is already paid for.LEAF owner Ian Finch is one of those who has combined the savings offered by running an all-electric vehicle with solar panels to power his home.”Running the Nissan LEAF costs a sixth of the amount we’d pay to run a diesel or petrol car,” he said. “Overall, we are probably using 25 percent less electricity thanks to our solar panels and it’s a fantastic experience to be able to drive the LEAF using electricity that’s been produced completely for free.””The Nissan LEAF is a shining beacon of sustainability and the future of motoring,” said Nissan Motor GB Limited EV manager Paul O’Neill. “Not only is it saving our customers money in running costs, but it we are now seeing how it is helping people become more environmentally sensitive by reducing their carbon footprint.”

Toyota, Nissan and Honda Joins Forces to Help Develop Hydrogen Infrastructure

Toyota Motor Corporation, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., and Honda Motor Co., Ltd. have agreed to work together to help accelerate the development of hydrogen station infrastructure for fuel cell vehicles (FCVs). Specific measures to be undertaken by the three manufacturers will be determined at a later date.For hydrogen-fueled FCVs to gain popularity, it is not only important that attractive products be launched―hydrogen station infrastructure must also be developed. At present, infrastructure companies are making every effort to build such an infrastructure, but they face difficulties in installing and operating hydrogen stations while FCVs are not common on the road.Following the formulation of its Strategic Road Map for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in June 2014, the Japanese government has highlighted the importance of developing hydrogen station infrastructure as quickly as possible in order to popularize FCVs. Consequently, the government is not only supporting the installation of hydrogen stations by means of subsidies, but has also resolved to introduce a range of additional policies aimed at promoting activities that generate new demand for FCVs, including partially subsidizing the cost of operating hydrogen stations.The three automobile manufacturers hope to both popularize FCVs and ensure that it will be easy to refuel them. Consequently, they have jointly recognized the need for automobile manufacturers to promote the development of hydrogen station infrastructure alongside the government and infrastructure companies, with the aim of working towards achieving the aims of the abovementioned Road Map, the source of the government’s subsidy support. The three automobile manufacturers will give careful consideration to concrete initiatives, such as underwriting a portion of the expenses involved in the operation of hydrogen stations.FCVs are expected to play a central role in the drive towards establishing a hydrogen society. Toyota, Nissan and Honda are aiming to contribute to bringing about such a society through ensuring the widespread use of FCVs.