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Mercedes-Benz unveils its revamped G-Class

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The all-new G-Class makes its public debut at the Detroit auto show in G550 form. Completely redeveloped and fitted with a 4.0-liter V8 biturbo gasoline engine offering 427ps and 450 lb-ft of torque at 2,000rpm to 4,750rpm, despite near-identical looks to its predecessor plenty has changed for the Mercedes-Benz SUV.


Ford’s F150 pickup gets its first diesel motor

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Developed by the powertrain team behind the 6.7-liter Power Stroke engine for super duty trucks, the all-new 3.0-liter V6 Power Stroke unit promises 250ps, 440 lb-ft of torque, and an anticipated 5175kg of towing capacity.


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In light of Fisker's solid-state battery breakthrough and claims of a one minute charge time, will this electric vehicle technology development kick-start mass BEV uptake? 

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Electric RAV 4 unveiled

Toyota has taken the covers off the RAV4 EV concept, an electric vehicle jointly developed with Tesla.

A total of 35 vehicles will be built for a demonstration and evaluation program through 2011, with the introduction of a final production model in the USA in 2012.

Toyota has confirmed that the final production vehicle will have a target range of 100 miles in actual road driving patterns, in a wide range of climates and conditions.

The RAV4 EV concept is based on the current Toyota RAV4 compact SUV body and fitted with a Tesla electric powertrain. “When we decided to work together on the RAV4 EV, president Akio Toyoda wanted to adopt a new development model that incorporated Tesla’s streamlined, quick-action approach,” said Jim Lentz, president and COO of Toyota Motor Sales USA.

“The result was a hybrid – a new decision and approval process and a development style that our engineers refer to as fast and flexible.”

Tesla is responsible for building and supplying the battery, as well as other related parts, that met specific Toyota engineering specifications. Toyota will cover development and manufacturing leadership aspects as well as undertake the integration of the powertrain.

The demonstration vehicle weighs approximately 100kg more than the current RAV4 V6 (USA model), but Toyota says it will accelerate from 0-60mph nearly as quickly. The added weight factor meant that the development team had tot retune major components, with the focus being on weight distribution. Not only were suspension and steering modified, major components needed to be relocated to better balance the increased mass of the battery pack.

The demonstration vehicle Toyota is currently testing is powered by a lithium metal oxide battery with useable output rated in the mid-30kwh range. However, many decisions regarding both the product, as well as the business model, have not been finalized. Battery size and final output ratings, as well as pricing and volume projections of the vehicle Toyota plans to bring to market in 2012, have also not been decided.

Toyota is said to be considering several options when it comes to production location of the RAV4 EV. The basic vehicle will continue to be built at its Canadian production facility in Woodstock, Ontario. Tesla will build the battery and related parts and components at its new facility in Palo Alto, California.

In 1997, Toyota brought to market the first-generation RAV4 EV in response to the California zero emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate and was the first manufacturer to meet the mandate’s Memo of Agreement on volume sales. Powered by a nickel-metal hydride battery pack, the vehicle had a range of up 110 miles on a single charge. From model year 1998 to model year 2003, only 1,484 vehicles were sold or leased in the USA. Toyota says that some 746 first-generation RAV4 EVs are still on the road.

 

25 November 2010


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