Fast Lane: i8 Roadster revealed

BMW's i8 hybrid sportscar
BMW's i8 hybrid sportscarPHOTO: BMW
Lamborghini's Urus
Lamborghini's UrusPHOTO: LAMBORGHINI
Peugeot has gone to sea with its Sea Drive Concept
Peugeot has gone to sea with its Sea Drive ConceptPHOTO: PEUGEOT
VW unveils new electric trio: ID, ID Buzz and ID Crozz SUV
VW unveils new electric trio: ID, ID Buzz and ID Crozz SUVPHOTO: VOLKSWAGEN
Fiat's second-generation 500L
Fiat's second-generation 500LPHOTO: FIAT
VW's Moia
France’s Groupe PSA has unveiled a lightweight “electrified mobility solution”.
France’s Groupe PSA has unveiled a lightweight “electrified mobility solution”.PHOTO: GROUPE PSA

i8 Roadster revealed

BMW has unveiled the open-top version of its i8 hybrid sportscar. With a canvas roof which opens and closes in 16 seconds, the 2+2 seater appears three years after its coupe.

The i8 Roadster's canopy stows in a perpendicular position in the rear when retracted, taking up less space than a horizontally stowed roof. In this position, there is still 100 litres of storage space between the roof box and the seats, on top of 88 litres of space in the rear compartment.

The energy capacity of the latest version of the i8's lithium-ion battery has increased from 20Ah to 34Ah and gross energy capacity from 7.1kWh to 11.6kWh.

In turn, its electric motor's peak output rises by 12hp to 143hp. In typical electric motor fashion, it generates its maximum torque of 250Nm from rest.

In the EU test cycle, the BMW i8 Coupe achieves an electric-only range of 54km (53km for the Roadster) - nearly 50 per cent more than before. The Roadster is due here as early as August.

Renault joins EU autonomous vehicle trial

Scoop is a European Union project which facilitates trials of future vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure connectivity solutions. Groupe Renault is working with Scoop to test new technology on its Renault Megane. Some 1,000 Meganes will be deployed on 2,000km of roads in the greater Paris region, along the A4 motorway. Among other things, they will notify emergency services if a major incident is detected.

Mercedes sets sales record

Mercedes-Benz sold a record 195,698 vehicles worldwide last month, pushing its 2017 sales across the two-million mark (2,095,810 units). More than half a million units were sold in China.

Urus starts at $798,000

Lamborghini's Singapore agent EuroSports has announced the price of the new Urus (above) sport utility vehicle (SUV) - from $798,000 before certificate of entitlement. This puts it in the same ballpark as the Bentley Bentayga's turbodiesel V8 version.

The Urus is powered by a 4-litre twin-turbo V8. It accelerates from zero to 100kmh in 3.6 seconds, zero to 200kmh in 12.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 305kmh, making it the fastest SUV available.

It is due to arrive in the second quarter of next year.

Peugeot's boat concept

Peugeot has gone to sea with its Sea Drive Concept, created in partnership with leisure craft expert Beneteau.

Designed and built by Peugeot Design Lab, the concept combines the ergonomics of the French carmaker's i-Cockpit - featured in its new sport utility vehicle range - with the connected Ship Control technology developed by Beneteau.

The project shows a new way of designing a boat's helm.

VW unveils new electric trio

Volkswagen showed off three electric models at the Los Angeles Auto Show, which started last Friday. The ID, ID Buzz and ID Crozz SUV are built on a new platform for electric products. The new e-vehicles offer zero-emission long-distance travel, fast charging and spacious, flexible interiors.

By 2025, Volkswagen plans to sell one million electric vehicles a year.

Fiat 500L 40 per cent new

You know how carmakers are fond of saying their latest product is “all new”? Not Fiat.

The Italian manufacturer says 40 per cent of the components in its second-generation 500L is new. The car comes in three versions: Urban, Cross and Wagon, with a choice of petrol and diesel engines.

The interior is flexible, allowing up to 1,500 customisations.

VW debuts ride-sharing car

Moia, a mobility start-up from Volkswagen Group, has rolled out its ride-pooling concept just one year after its inception. The Moia car (above) is fully electric and can seat up to six passengers. The interior is spacious, with standalone seats, plenty of legroom and enough space to move around. Even passengers who wish to have no contact with others should feel comfortable on-board, it says.

More e-trucks at BMW plant

BMW has deployed three electric trucks in its car plant in Munich. The first 40-tonne e-truck was put to use two years ago. With three such trucks, BMW says it will reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by 82 tonnes annually. All are used on public roads in the Greater Munich area. At a top speed of 64kmh, they have a range of about 160km.

Groupe PSA’s new plug-in hybrid tricycle

France’s Groupe PSA has unveiled a lightweight “electrified mobility solution”.

Positioned between the two- and four-wheel segments, it is equipped with a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle powertrain, two electric inwheel motors and a petrol internal combustion engine.

Suited to both roads and highways, it boasts a tilting mechanism for better handling. The vehicle runs in zero-emission mode at a speed of up to 70kmh, using two rear electric in-wheel motors powered by a 48-volt battery.

When driving on inter-urban roads at speeds of between 70 and 130kmh, its single-cylinder petrol engine – from a Peugeot scooter – takes over.

It has a range of 300km and a top speed of 130kmh. Its 2.40-by- 0.85m footprint and rotating doors make it a cinch to park.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 09, 2017, with the headline 'Fast Lane'. Print Edition | Subscribe