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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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Volvo ramps up assembly of the world's first diesel plug-in hybrid

Volvo Car Corporation has confirmed it is currently ramping up production of the new Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid. After the initial batch of 1,000 model year 2013 cars, the Swedish company says production will increase to between 4,000 and 6,000 units as of model year 2014.

The assembly of the world's first diesel plug-in hybrid has been successfully integrated on the same line as the company's other models at the Torslanda plant in Gothenburg. Industry commentators say that this represents a remarkable manufacturing achievement considering that the sophisticated plug-in hybrid technology includes two complete drivetrains and a powerful battery that provides a range of up to 50kms on pure electric power.

"We are first in the industry to integrate a plug-in hybrid in an established production flow together with other car models," said Peter Mertens, senior vice president for research and development at Volvo Car Corporation. "The integration in the standard production flow gives the plug-in hybrid buyer the possibility to choose in principle all options available for the standard V60."

Volvo says that all the additional equipment and additional systems in the plug-in hybrid have led to many parts of the final assembly line being rebuilt and modified. The adaption makes it possible to smoothly integrate the assembly of over 300 more parts that are included in the plug-in hybrid compared to an equivalent V60 model.

Examples of the integrated production flow at Torslanda include the electric motor along with its drive shafts being fitted on the same station as the final drive on the standard four-wheel drive models. The cooling system and the high voltage cables are assembled on the pallet, which is also used to assemble the car's drivetrain and chassis parts. The battery pack is lifted in through the car's tailgate short side forward. It is then spun a quarter of a turn in the passenger compartment – a maneuver that takes 60 seconds and is carried out with less than 20mm to spare.

"The 11.2kWh lithium-type battery is the single most complex system in the car. The precision maneuver to get it in place is an excellent example of the state-of-the-art assembly process," added Mertens.

The Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid is the result of a close cooperation between Volvo Car Corporation and Swedish electricity supplier Vattenfall. The two companies have financed the development project jointly.

"The V60 Plug-in Hybrid is a unique car, a historic step, not only for Volvo Car Corporation but for the entire car industry. The first year's 1,000-car batch was sold out even before the car reached the showrooms and the order books for next year's cars are already filling up," Mertens said.

21 November 2012


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