Hot on the bumper of Porsche’s electrification news comes the announcement of the death of the Porsche Diesel engine.
The latest Cayenne version of the high selling SUV is a petrol only vehicle. The original 2009 Cayenne offered a diesel and was a reasonable seller.
In a move that a Porsche spokesman said mirrors the “cultural shift” of the brand’s customers, the German manufacturer has discontinued its last two diesel models, the Macan S Diesel and Panamera 4S Diesel leaving a petrol and hybrid line up.
In an official statement, Porsche said that the Macan S Diesel has been “taken out of the production programme” as buyer demand moves towards petrol and hybrid versions.
The brand revealed that the diesel’s removal was also linked to “another software update” that has been subject to an “ongoing consultation with the authorities”. While not directly confirming it, this suggests that like with BMW and its F80 M3, Porsche has decided against re-engineering the Macan S Diesel to conform to the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) standards. Such a move highlights the shrinking demand for the model, which a Porsche UK spokesman said represented a small portion of the SUV’s 97,000 global sales from 2017.
The same justification was given for the demise of the Panamera 4S Diesel, which was removed from Porsche’s ranks during the luxury car’s range update at the start of the year.
Porsche said the change was linked to falling demand for the variant, which accounted for 15% of the Panamera’s 11,000 global sales in 2017. Petrol versions accounted for 35%, while the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid accounted for an astounding 50%.
The results of this electric focus will produce the Mission E next year, while a hybrid version of the 992-generation 911 is also due in 2019.
The new Hyundai IONIQ Plug-in Hybrid goes on sale this month, priced from £25,000, including the £2500 Plug In Car Grant. The Plug in joins the all Electric Version and the petrol model.
The Plug-in Hybrid is the third and final variant of the IONIQ line-up – the first car in the world to offer three electrified powertrains within one body type.
IONIQ Plug-in Hybrid offers up to 39 miles of pure electric driving with a total range of 680 miles. It combines a 105 PS 1.6-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine and a 61 PS high-efficiency electric motor, driven through a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. The combined system output is 141 PS. Ultra-low CO2 emissions of just 26g/km means it attracts zero-rate VED in the first year and offers a low BIK rate of just 9% for 2017/18.
The new model is available in Premium and Premium SE specification. The former offers a high level of standard equipment, including: 16” alloy wheels, Bluetooth, Apple Car Play and Android Auto, Smart Cruise Control and an 8-inch integrated satellite navigation unit. Unique to the IONIQ Plug-in Hybrid variant, the navigation system features state-of-the-art ECO-DAS technology. ECO-DAS has predictive energy management that optimises the battery charge and discharge, as well as a coasting guide for the driver, instructing them when to lift off the throttle to use less fuel.
Further highlights of Premium specification include: heated front seats and steering wheel, LED headlights and rear combination lamps, wireless smart phone charging, and a Rear Parking Assist System with Rear View Camera. Standard safety features include Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS) and individual Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
For drivers seeking even greater comfort and convenience, IONIQ Plug-in Hybrid Premium SE trim starts from £26,795 including grant. The step up adds leather seat facings, front seat ventilation, rear seat heating and an electrically adjustable driver’s seat with memory function. Premium SE also includes alloy pedals, rain-sensing wipers, Blind Spot Detection and Front Park Assist.
The IONIQ Plug-in Hybrid is available in Polar White as standard, or with a choice of six metallic colours; Phantom Black, Platinum Silver, Iron Grey, Demitasse Brown, Marina Blue and Phoenix Orange. The lava stone interior trim features blue accents throughout the cabin and control surfaces.
Hyundai Motor UK previously named POD Point as its preferred charging partner, and a 7kW wall box can be supplied and installed at the customer’s home for £300, which includes standard installation. The Plug-In Hybrid is available as standard with the Type 2 connector and an ICCB Charging Cable which allows the car to be plugged in to a domestic three-pin outlet when no dedicated charging points are available.
IONIQ Plug-in Hybrid will be available from a dedicated Hyundai network of 70 dealers from 13 July. All IONIQ models come with Hyundai’s industry-leading 5 Year Unlimited Mileage Warranty package, with the additional high voltage battery cover of 8 years / 125,000 miles.
“This is an exciting addition to our electrified line-up,” comments Tony Whitehorn, President and CEO Hyundai Motor UK. “With up to 39 miles of electric-only power there is more than sufficient range for zero-emission daily commutes, as well as the reassurance of longer range from the hybrid powertrain when needed. We anticipate keen interest from private buyers and fleet users alike, given the Plug-in Hybrid’s great value pricing and low tax rates.
“With CO2 emissions of just 26g/km, IONIQ Plug-in Hybrid is another milestone in extending the company’s product range of low-to-zero emission vehicles, which is central to our sustainability strategy,” he concludes.
We look forward to driving a sample. Should be with dealers from July 13th.
Learn more hyundai.co.uk/new-cars/ioniq/electric
Strong demand for the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has seen Mitsubishi UK notch up two consecutive months of record sales of pre-owned internal fleet vehicles.
Of the 717 pre-owned vehicles that Mitsubishi dealers have bought directly from the manufacturer’s UK division since the start of the year, nearly 45 per cent were the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, highlighting the unwavering popularity of the UK’s best-selling Plug-in Hybrid Electric vehicle.
Such is the demand for pre-owned examples of the versatile all-wheel drive SUV, that 2017 YTD sales figures of used internal fleet vehicles represent an increase of over 43 per cent compared to the same period in 2016.
In addition to more and more motorists appreciating the significant benefits of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, the sales growth has been driven by Mitsubishi Motors in the UK’s focus on making its pre-owned vehicles even more appealing to retail customers, as well as the continued expansion of its dealer network.
Mitsubishi has recently introduced an enhanced, industry-leading Approved Used Programme and a strong 5.9% APR PCP offer that allows drivers to own a pre-owned 2016 Outlander PHEV GX4H for £299 per month, plus deposit and final payment.
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV offers the best pure EV range of any of its direct competitors, has the lowest emissions of any all-wheel drive vehicle and remains amongst the lowest-emitting vehicles in the plug-in hybrid segment. It is also the only AWD vehicle to utilise electric power to drive both front and rear wheels for superior traction both on and off the road even in pure electric mode. It is also the only Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle to offer rapid charging (up to 80% in approximately 25 minutes) and five-mode adjustable regenerative braking, which is controlled via the steering wheel paddles to further enhance the driving experience.
The best-selling BMW 3 series is getting a make over with slight changes to the body and the powertrain lineup. The cabin is getting a major boost with extra chrome highlights, a redesigned center console and improved materials on touchpoints around the cabin. There’s also an upgrade to the navigation system, which boots up and finds routes faster, as well as offering improved 3D graphics.Externally, the updates are fairly subtle. Full LED headlamps are now an option, and the graphics of the taillights have been revised to make the car seem wider on the road. The front apron has also received a rework to include the sensor for BMW’s active cruise control system.
The big news from an EV front is that from 2016, the 3 Series range will also include the 330e plug-in hybrid, designed to rival the Mercedes hybrid option offers on the C-Class. According to BMW, the maximum output of the 330e’s hybrid drivetrain is pegged at 185 kW (252 hp). Both Mercedes and BMW claim fuel economy of 2.1 l/100km (112 mpg) for their hybrids, while the BMW will travel 35 km (22 miles) on battery power alone – 4 km (2.5 miles) more than the C350 plug-in hybrid can manage.
It’s expected the model will use the new four-cylinder-based drivetrain that was shown in the concept X5 EDrive shown at last September’s Frankfurt show. This means the car will primarily be powered by a four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, in conjunction with a 95bhp electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack.
Judging by the claims BMW has made for the rather larger and heavier X5 plug-in, the new 3-series should be able to cover over 25 miles on pure battery power at speeds of up to 75mph. This 3-series is likely to be given an official consumption figure of over 80mpg when it undergoes EU fuel consumption tests.
The car will have switchable driving modes, and will default into EcoPro mode when the car starts up. BMW says this offers “intelligent hybrid functionality, whereby the energy management system tailors the interplay of combustion engine and electric drive system to most efficient effect.” A fully charged battery pack can also be put into ‘hold’ mode, so drivers can utilise emissions-free driving, for example, at their city-centre destination.
BMW says the new plug-in drivetrain means that “drivers can also enjoy the services of the hybrid-specific Proactive Driving Assistant, which teams up with the navigation system to incorporate factors such as route profile, speed restrictions and the traffic situation into the driving mode selection”.
We are looking forward to our test drive and expect the fact that BMW is introducing a Plug In in the extremely popular 3 series is a big plus for the EV world.
At last we get a chance to drive the first plug-in hybrid from Audi, the now available A3 sportback e-tron.
This is a very interesting car that is exceedingly well executed by Audi. It joins the ranks of Plug In petrol cars with a hybrid drive train incorporating the standard components of a 1.4 petrol A3 with an electric power train consisting of 75 kW motor and 8.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and charger. The pack is large enough to drive 31 miles in pure EV mode. This makes it totally useful as a short-range EV. Has the smart dash that shows charge state and power flow as all hybrids tend to do. Combines sporty seats with quality and refinement.
The Audi A3 offers the usual driving modes: Full Electric, Auto, Petrol and Charge. Auto switches between pure EV and the petrol engine and the transition is so smooth you would be hard tested to know the switch. In this mode the car will charge the battery pack automatically. In Petrol only mode the battery charge will be conserved, allow g a drive to reserve the EV mode for a journeys destination such as London. Just why you would need to micro manage the pack is unknown.
In the EC efficiency test Audi claim an impressive 176 mpg. These tests are virtually meaningless. You could do 176 miles in pure EV mode over 6 days and use no petrol, assuming you re-charged at home or work. Or you could blast down the A3 in an A3 e-tron in Petrol mode and expect a more realistic 40 MPG. Your data will vary considerably depending on your style and charging ability.
The car does drive rather nicely and is reasonable well equipped. For a £30,000 car of course it should be full of goodies. This includes the Audi DSG 6 speed auto gear box with steering wheel shifters and smart gear level. You should leave the car in auto at all times, it drives just fine as is. Performance is reasonable with 60 in around 7.5 seconds. That’s fast enough for day-to-day driving. Top end is a claimed 137 mph.
The performance is always a compromise between power and weight. The e-tron adds 125 kg of mass, bringing curb weight to 1,540 kg. This extra weight has little impact on the standard A3 ride.
It will be interesting to compare this with the new VW Plug in Golf. Both car share most of the components, just the Audi is a tad flasher and more expensive.
With a 30 mile EV range this makes the cute A3 a much better bet than the Toyota Prius plug-in that only offers about 10 miles in EV mode, hardly worth it.
The BMW i3 is a closer competitor especially at the £30 K price point.
Audi A3 e-tron
Tested: 1,395cc turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, plus 75kW electric motor powered by 8.8kWh lithium-ion battery, six-speed dual-clutch transmission, front-wheel drive
Price/on sale: £29,950 (including the £5,000 Government plug-in car grant)/now
Power/torque: total system output 201bhp/258lb ft
Top speed: 138mph
Acceleration: 0-62mph in 7.6sec
Fuel economy: 178.8mpg (EU Combined)
CO2 emissions: 37g/km
VED band: A (£0)
Electric range: Up to 31 miles
Verdict: Easy to live with, classy and capable of slashing your day-to-day motoring costs for short-range journey. – A Plug-In hybrid worth the hype, particularly for business users.
We drove the car care of Audi Guildford.
Audi joins the plug in bandwagon with the latest A3 variant the A3 E-tron.
Audi have shown a number of e-tron concepts and now seem fixed on bringing the A3 plug-in version to life with models expected in the UK in summer 2014.
The Audi A3 e-tron is a plug-in petrol hybrid version of the A3 Sportback. It’s powered by a 148bhp 1.4 litre TSI engine and a 99bhp electric motor sandwiched between the gearbox and power unit to drive the front wheels. The motor also doubles as the engine’s starter.
A six-speed DSG gearbox harnesses the power, its wide ratio spread enabling the electric motor to operate through a narrower, 0-2000rpm rev range that allows for a more efficient design. The adapted DSG transmission includes an additional clutch that decouples the motors to allow coasting, which is a more efficient use of kinetic energy than recuperation.
The e-tron’s 8.8kWh, 125kg battery lives under the rear seat, while the repositioned fuel tank sits beneath a slightly raised boot floor. Despite the tank’s proximity to the A3’s back end this car can absorb a 50mph rear impact without the plastic tank rupturing. At the other end of this A3 e-tron, neatly hidden behind the four rings of its grille, is the power socket for the charging cable.
Despite its low emission, fuel-saving hardware the e-tron can be considered as both fuel-saver and lightly sporting performance car. It has the scope to achieve a spectacular 188.3mpg – one tester has even managed 235mpg – besides sprinting to 62mph in 7.6sec and topping 138mph. It will also travel at up to 80mph on electric power alone, although its 31-mile range will obviously be compromised by high EV speeds like these.
Those 31 miles are enough to allow most commuting trips to be completed without resort to the petrol engine; this practice encouraged by the automatic defaulting to EV mode on start-up. The petrol engine can instantly be engaged via the kickdown button however, or by using a centre console-mounted rocker switch to toggle to hybrid operation. Because kickdown can demand maximum effort from a cold engine, Audi has reworked this TFSI’s piston rings and liners for wear-protection, and included a sensor to measure oil quality.
The DSG transmission provides the same features as you get in a conventional car, including a manual paddle-shift mode, a creep function and kickdown, your chosen gear indicated in the instrument pack. As is the car’s range, a yellow and green bar graph indicating its distance potential with petrol and electric power. You can also select an energy flow read-out, and the infotainment display provides a box-out highlighting your chosen mode.
Otherwise, the interior looks standard, although an electric heater and air conditioner lie behind the familiar controls on the dashboard. The A3’s exterior appears similar too, there being no additional aerodynamic aids, although it does have low-rolling resistance tyres.
What is it like?
As quiet as any other electric car on take-off, the e-tron’s easy silence provides relaxed, and swift urban progress. That said, your advance isn’t always as smooth as it should be because there’s sometimes a solid thump as drive takes up.
“You can be sure that Dr Hackenberg won’t allow that,” Audi A3 programme manager Alex Pesch wrily says of his boss, this pre-production e-tron not quite the finished article. Nor do you quite enjoy the rangey, seamless power surge that a single-gear pure electric delivers either.
But, however, the familiar sensation of power being parcelled through a multi-speed transmission is a small price to pay for the undoubted efficiency advantage of having an electric motor geared through six forward speeds, as it is in the Volvo V60 diesel plug-in hybrid.
The general integration of petrol engine, transmission and electric motor is otherwise excellent. There are no jolts when the drivetrain is combining or switching between motors, and the 1.4 TFSI has a subtly pleasing rort about it when it’s worked hard. Not inappropriately either, because adding a battery pack, shifting the fuel tank to the rear and installing a particularly light engine means that this A3’s 55:45 front rear weight distribution improves on the diesel’s 60:40 apportioning, to the noticeable benefit of its handling.
The e-tron turns out to be the best-balanced, sweetest-handling A3 in the range, which makes for a pretty satisfying steer. It rides well too, although there’s still some damper calibration work to be carried out. Hopefully that won’t firm things up significantly.
Recharge times vary depending on your power source of course, but you’re looking at 3hrs and 45mins using a 230 volt 10 amp supply, which reduces to 2hrs 15mins with 16 amp power. Either way, an overnight charge, which you can time via switches beside the Audi’s socket, is more than enough.
Should I buy one?
Audi’s A3 e-tron is a fascinating car that has the potential to be very cheap to run, especially given its ultra-low, tax-dodging emissions. It also offers entertainingly strong performance and well-balanced handling to go with it.
The e-tron’s fuel and money-saving potential are best realised if your daily slog to work falls within its 31-mile electric range, in which case the cost of your commute will tumble significantly. And because this is a hybrid, you have the convenience of a 550-mile range using both on-board energy supplies.
True, this e-tron looks likely to cost a good £9000 more than an A3 2.0 TDI Sport when it arrives in summer 2014, but it’s a lot more entertaining and will cost you even less to feed.
Audi A3 e-tron: the full lowdown
Audi UK’s number-crunchers have been trying to calculate the market’s size, to estimate potential demand and help shape the A3 e-tron’s spec. ‘Audi’s plug-in hybrids must be no compromise cars,’ says our source. That translates to a 30-mile electric-only range, CO2 emissions below 76g/km to unlock tax breaks, and a back-up petrol engine to ensure owners aren’t left stranded.
The A3 e-tron’s lithium-ion batteries can be recharged from a socket, unlike the full hybrid A6 and A8 models already on sale. Audi showed a concept A3 e-tron back in 2011, which coupled a 1.4-litre TFSI turbo engine with a 27kW electric motor. Working in parallel, the engine and motor can blast the A3 to 62mph in 6.8sec, though tickle the car around town and a 34-mile pure electric range is promised.
In 2012, UK punters bought just 2226 pure electric cars (like the Nissan Leaf) and uprated hybrids: range-extenders like the Vauxhall Ampera/Chevy Volt, and the plug-in Toyota Prius, whose 15-mile range is half that Audi promises. So, how big will the equivalent market be at the end of 2015? ‘If you accurately knew the answer to that, we’d pay you a lot of money to tell us,’ says our source, only half-jokingly. The market will certainly have grown, as more models – Renault’s electric Zoe, and BMW’s i3 EV and range extender hatch – pile into the segment.
R8 e-tron supercar is axed
A burgeoning recharging network and consistent government incentives will be crucial to nurturing the market. The £5000 rebate for ultra-low emissions cars is only guaranteed until 2015, the life of the current UK parliament. Benefit-in-kind tax still applies to drivers of the Prius plug-in (49g/km of CO2) or Ampera (27g/km), calculated on 5% of the cars’s £33-35k prices. The A3 e-tron is on course to qualify for the same rate of company car tax and London congestion charge exemption – unless politicians change the rules.
While Audi’s eco branding was introduced with the R8 e-tron in 2009, this pure electric halo car has been cancelled, having missed Audi’s ‘late 2012’ timetable for sales. With its lithium-ion battery pack and quad electric motors delivering 3319lb ft of torque, the R8 e-tron lapped the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife in 8:09 minutes – just 58 seconds slower than the Gumpert Apollo’s production car record. However, the R8 e-tron’s projected high cost, limited range and the lack of demand for a silent supercar means the project has been shelved.
Price £32,700 est; 0-62mph 7.6sec; Top speed 138mph; Economy 188.3mpg; CO2 35g/km; Kerb weight 1574kg; Engine 4cyls, 1395cc, turbocharged petrol, plus synchronous electric motor; Installation transverse, front; Power 1.4 TFSI 148bhp at 5000rpm, electric motor 99bhp, 201bhp combined; Torque 1.4 TFSI 184lb ft 1750-4000rpm, electric motor 243lb ft 0-2000rpm, 258lb ft combined; Gearbox 6-spd dual-clutch automatic.
Reporting from Car Magazine and AutoCar.
We recently drove the Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid and gave it a resounding 10 out of 10. Full review to follow soon.
It seems that many others thorough Europe share these views. Cars UK reports that production is ramping. It’s particularly appealing if you like a car with a decent turn of speed – the V60 will do 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds – like the reassurance and practicality of 4WD – the V60′s electric motor drives the back wheels – drive in to London on a regular basis – the 48g/km emissions are congestion charge free – and get taxed as BIK from your company.
Volvo built 1,000 V60 plug-ins in its first year, 2012 (which were sold out within hours) but expected to raise that to somewhere between 4,000-6,000 units in 2013. Now, they’ve said that production will be raised to 10,000 units.
With CO2 emissions of just 48 g/km, the Volvo’s popularity is largely to do with Europe’s heavily CO2-based taxation rates for vehicles. In the Netherlands, where CO2 taxation can add thousands to the price of a new car, buyers have already ordered 3,000 units.
Demand could go up in London too, with the announcement that the city’s congestion charge exemption will only be granted to cars producing below 75 g/km of CO2. Once the regulations come into force in July, Volvo will be the only automaker with a luxury car exempt from the outrageous London per-day charge.
Of course, dodging heavy taxes is just one of the V60 plug-in hybrid’s virtues.
Based on the 2.4-liter five-cylinder turbo diesel model sold in Europe, the V60 Plug-In drives its front wheels with diesel and its rear wheels electrically, with peak system output of 285 horsepower.
It’s quick, taking just over 6 seconds to reach 62 mph, and has an electric range of 31 miles.
Combined economy on the European cycle–on which CO2 emissions are based–is 129 mpg. However, this figure is highly variable depending on several factors, and even Volvo itself admits the figure is unrealistic for most drivers.
In an effort to launch the advanced Ampera vehicle Vauxhall are providing an incentive they call Leading the Charge.
You’ll love it when we tell you we’ll cover most of your Ampera costs for the first three years. Our new package gives you £2,000 free fuel and electricity to charge, free servicing for three years or 60,000 miles, a Type 2 public charger (worth £220), plus money towards the recently launched home-charge unit installation government grant to 100%. You’ll also get our Lifetime Warranty (excluding the battery, which has its own eight-year or 100,000-mile warranty). Switch on to the savings!
Plug in to the £5,000 grant
The government’s Plug-in Car Grant can save you up to £5,000 on an Ampera, cutting the price of an electric car that already delivers running costs and fuel consumption. Enjoy affordable electric performance without the range anxiety.
Lower your fuel costs
It’s all in the maths: the Ampera costs about £0.03 per mile to drive purely electrically, compared to £0.11 for a petrol-driven vehicle mile (assuming a petrol price of £1.39 per litre).* That’s about one-quarter of the cost. Why miss out on the stunning cost benefits of electric driving?
We hope to review an Ampera soon. We are on the wait list. Stay tuned.