Category Archives: Hybrid Car

Hybrid Car News

100mpg Ford Mondeo Hybrid

"Ford Mondeo Hybrid"

Ford Mondeo Hybrid

Ford has started production of its all-new Ford Mondeo Hybrid – the first hybrid electric car built and sold by Ford in Europe.

The Mondeo Hybrid combines a specially-developed 2.0-litre petrol engine with an electric motor and 1.4 kWh lithium-ion battery for 67.3 mpg (combined), reaching 100.9 mpg for urban driving and 99 g/km CO2 emissions.

“The Ford Mondeo Hybrid offers consumers the best of both worlds: the enhanced efficiency and reduced emissions of electric power, and the range and performance of a traditional powertrain,” said Roelant de Waard, vice president, Marketing, Sales & Service, Ford of Europe.

“With a range of Ford vehicles that also includes the Focus Electric, as well as fuel-efficient ECOnetic diesel and EcoBoost models, our customers will soon have more options than ever to optimise running costs.”

The widest-ever range of powertrains for Mondeo includes Ford’s new 1.5‑litre EcoBoost petrol and enhanced 2.0-litre TDCi diesel. The Mondeo Hybrid offers pricing competitive with Mondeo diesel powertrain variants, delivering on Ford’s promise to give fuel-efficiency-minded customers the power of choice.

In the U.S., Ford is the second largest manufacturer of hybrids, having already produced a total of 400,000 vehicles since their introduction.

The all-new Ford Mondeo Hybrid is available in the UK from December a four-door saloon from only £24,995 – the same as its 2.0-litre diesel Mondeo Titanium Powershift five-door equivalent.


Hybrids account for 22.5% of all Toyota sales

"Toyota Auris Hybrid"

Toyota Auris Hybrid

Britain’s drivers are switching on to hybrid in increasing numbers, with sales results for September and the first three quarters of 2014 showing Toyota’s technology attracting an ever greater proportion of customers. Figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders confirm that retail and business/fleet customers are recognising the real-world cost, performance and reliability benefits of hybrid and responding to Toyota’s unmatched choice of models.

The British-built Auris Hybrid – hatchback and Touring Sports wagon – remain the cornerstone of this success. Auris sales so far this year have leapt forward by more than 20 per cent, with hybrids accounting for almost half the total. In the supermini market, one in four of all UK Yaris sales is a hybrid. As a result, hybrid has accounted for 22.5 per cent of all Toyota sales to date in 2014.

The impact of hybrid is most marked in Toyota’s fleet sales performance, where volumes up to the end of September are almost 20 per cent up on the same period last year. Overall, Toyota sales have risen by 4.5 per cent.

New Aygo has arrived with bang, helping hike sales for the city car by almost 20 per cent in September compared to the same month in 2013, and by more than 15 per cent across the

RAV4 sales have also accelerated – up 80 per cent in fleet, 15 per cent overall – thanks in great part to the introduction of the new low CO2 2.0 D-4D two-wheel drive model.


Lexus NX 300h E-Four

"Lexus NX 300h"

Lexus NX 300h

The new Lexus NX 300h isn’t simply a crossover with SUV looks, it comes equipped with an intelligent electric all-wheel drive system that provides extra grip just when the driver needs it. Light and compact, the clever technology also avoids the weight, packaging, emissions and fuel consumption penalties associated with larger, mechanical AWD systems.

Called E-Four, the system uses an additional electric motor to drive the rear axle, providing more grip and better vehicle control on slippery surfaces. The front axle is propelled by power from the hybrid petrol engine or electric motor, or both in combination.

E-Four works intelligently, varying the amount of drive torque to the rear wheels in line with  driving dynamics and road conditions, to secure just the right level of stability when pulling away or accelerating in low-grip conditions. As operation is automatic, the driver doesn’t have to think about engaging AWD.

It saves energy and fuel, too, as all-wheel drive is only engaged when it’s needed. When the system detects a loss of traction to the front wheels, it reduces the electricity supply to the traction motor in the transaxle and increases the supply to the rear axle motor. The rear motor also acts as a generator for the NX 300h’s regenerative braking system, increasing the amount of kinetic energy that can be harvested and stored as electric power.

E-Four is fitted as standard on all UK versions of the new NX 300h, apart from the entry-level S model, which has front-wheel drive only. Its efficient performance helps the crossover  achieve combined cycle fuel economy of 54.3mpg with 121g/km CO2 emissions.



Peugeot 208 Hybrid 2L Demonstrator capable of 141mpg

"PEUGEOT 208 HYbrid Air 2L Demonstrator"

PEUGEOT 208 HYbrid Air 2L Demonstrator

Continuing its proactive approach to lowering fuel consumption and emissions, Peugeot is showcasing its 208 HYbrid Air 2L Demonstrator at next month’s Paris Motor Show.  The 2L stands for two litres per 100km, equivalent to 141 mpg, and is based on a production version of the Peugeot 208 1.2-litre PureTech 82hp 5-seater Hatchback.

To achieve such high fuel economy, Peugeot and its project partners used technologies previously reserved for competition and luxury models. Weighing just 860kg – 100kg less than the production car – the concept is a mix of steel, aluminium and composites. Engineers embarked on a meticulous selection process to choose only those materials compatible with existing production facilities and a high manufacturing output. In addition, the process involves reducing consumption without altering the car’s characteristics, retaining a style synonymous with high-end products and services.

Carbon composites are used for the body panels, sides, doors and roof, along with the coil springs providing suspension. In the latter case, the use of composites has a positive impact on dynamic handling by reducing unsprung weight. The car has also been fine-tuned aerodynamically, with a number of improvements to reduce drag, including a lower stance on the road.

The campaign to reduce weight has not focused solely on the use of new materials; it has also sought to redesign existing parts. This has led to changes in the thickness of the stainless steel exhaust system, enabling a 20% improvement on this part alone.

The standard powertrain has been replaced by a hybrid drive system featuring a mix of petrol and compressed air. HYbrid Air technology combines two types of energy to achieve greater efficiency depending on the driving conditions. The compressed air is used to assist and even replace the petrol engine to enable maximum efficiency during transition phases, such as acceleration and starts.

The system comprises:

  • a compressed-air tank located below the boot
  • a low-pressure tank near the rear axle acting as an expansion chamber
  • a hydraulic system consisting of a motor and a pump in the engine bay

New Lexus IS 300h Executive Edition

"Lexus IS 300h Executive Edition"

Lexus IS 300h Executive Edition

The Lexus IS 300h already represents a keenly cost effective proposition thanks to the low tax and running costs delivered by its highly efficient and refined hybrid powertrain. Now Lexus is adding the new Executive Edition model to the range.

The Executive Edition comes complete with leather upholstery and Lexus Navigation system, in addition to the wealth of equipment, comfort and styling features provided by the existing Luxury grade model. With an on-the-road price of £29,995, the new Executive Edition represents £3,390 of “complimentary” value to the customer.

The specification takes in front and rear parking sensors, 17-inch alloy wheels, dusk-sensing HID headlights, cruise control, auto-dimming rear view mirror, dual-zone climate control and rain-sensing wipers.

Displaying the distinctive, sharp contemporary styling that defines today’s Lexus models, the IS 300h has impressive street presence, yet offers the kind of comfort and luxury for which Lexus is renowned. The proven, reliable and supremely smooth Lexus Hybrid Drive system returns impressive official fuel consumption and CO2 emissions figures of 64.2mpg and 103g/km respectively, yet does not sacrifice performance – acceleration from nought to 62mph can be dispatched in 8.3 seconds.


Mercedes E300 Hybrid travels 1,223miles on one tank of fuel

Mercedes hybrid

Mercedes hybrid

A standard Mercedes-Benz E300 BlueTEC HYBRID has driven from Africa to the UK non-stop on one tank of fuel.

Averaging 73.6 mpg, the journey took journalist Andrew Frankel from Tangier in Northern Africa to the UK, visiting two continents, four countries and three time zones in a total time of 27 hours on the road which he shared with a relief driver – arriving at Goodwood in time for its appearance at the Festival of Speed having covered a total of 1,223-miles.

The original intention was simply to see if it were possible to get to the UK without refuelling, but on arriving at Goodwood and the Festival of Speed late last night the fuel gauge was yet to register empty, the car estimating an available range of 100-miles – equating to a range of 1,323-miles.

The car, fitted with an optional 80-litre fuel tank, was scrupulously standard – enduring the 26 hours of driving with relative ease. Despite the focus on economy on the run from Africa, the E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID, which emits just 109g/km of CO2, is no slouch. Its 204 hp diesel engine and 27 hp electric motor combine to allow it to accelerate from a standstill to 62 mph in 7.5-seconds before reaching a maximum speed of 150 mph. It’s equipped with COMAND, automatic climate control, DAB (useful on long journeys) and leather upholstery with heated front seats as standard.

The E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID is available as a Saloon or an Estate with prices starting from £39,880.


Record breaking XL1 available from £98,515



Volkswagen has announced pricing for its record-breaking XL1 model, the world’s most energy efficient production vehicle, which is now available to UK customers at £98,515 (RRP OTR).

A total production run of around 200 XL1s are being built at Volkswagen’s Osnabrück factory in Germany, a proportion of which will be made available for the UK.  The first delivery was made to a German customer at the end of May, with a number of UK customers already in line to purchase a car.

The XL1 is currently on display at this weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, turning heads on the Volkswagen stand, and making its way up the iconic hill among a host of other supercars.

The design brief for the XL1 was to produce a ‘one litre’ car – that is to say, a car that uses one litre of fuel per 100 km, equivalent to 282 miles per gallon.  The resulting vehicle uses just 0.9 litres per 100 km, or 313 mpg on the official combined cycle, and this high mpg figure correlates to a very low carbon dioxide emissions value of just 21 g/km.  This is achieved using a two-cylinder 48 PS 800 cc diesel engine with a 27 PS electric motor, driving through a modified seven-speed DSG transmission.

The XL1 was also aerodynamically optimised, adopting the classic ‘tear drop’ shape and utilising innovations such as removing traditional wing mirrors and replacing them with small cameras called e-Mirrors which transmit exterior images to interior displays.  With a drag coefficient of 0.189 the XL1 can maintain 100 kmh on a level road in still air using just 8.4PS.

It looks like a vision of the future, sitting very low on the road, and features scissor-opening wing doors.  Its striking and innovative yet highly functional design helped it win the Transport category of the Designs of the Year 2014 competition, and an XL1 remains on display at the Design Museum in London until 25 August.



New Lexus NX Hybrid Crossover

NX 300h F Sport

NX 300h F Sport

The NX, Lexus’s first mid-size crossover, will arrive in the UK this October, initially in the form of the full hybrid NX 300h. Next year the range will grow to include the NX 200t, the first model to adopt Lexus’s new 2.0-litre petrol turbo engine.

The NX 300h uses a sophisticated hybrid system control specially developed for the model, using the proven Lexus 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle engine, generator, motor and battery. Total system output is 195bhp/145kW.

Lexus is targeting CO2 emissions of less than 120g/km, which corresponds to combined cycle fuel economy of 54.3mpg.  The NX 300h will be available in front and all-wheel drive versions, equipped with one or two electric motors respectively.

In common with other Lexus models equipped with Lexus Hybrid Drive, the NX 300h will offer customers considerable cost of ownership advantages, thanks to a combination of low maintenance and running costs, high residual values and significant tax incentives or benefits in many European countries.

Five equipment grades will be on offer, all demonstrating Lexus’s continued commitment to luxury, comfort and the application of advanced, user-friendly technologies. NX will be the first model to feature Lexus’s Pre-Crash Safety system and Adaptive Cruise Control as standard on all versions. Other “firsts” for a Lexus include a wireless charging tray for easy charging of mobile phones and other devices and the first application of a new Remote Touch Interface with a touchpad control.

Further features include a new Panoramic View Monitor, a comprehensive multi-information display (incorporating for the first time a G-sensor and boost meter on NX 200t), head-up display, blind spot monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

The NX 300h S, the entry point to the range, will be available with front-wheel drive only; all other NX models will have all-wheel drive, equipped with a second electric motor on the rear axle.

Advance orders for the new NX can be placed now.

NX 300h S FWD £29,495
NX 300h SE AWD £31,495
NX 300h Luxury AWD £34,495
NX 300h F Sport AWD £36,995
NX 300h Premier AWD £42,995



Volvo V60 R-Design D6 AWD Plug-In Hybrid

"Volvo V60 R-Design D6 AWD Plug-In Hybrid "

Volvo V60 R-Design D6 AWD Plug-In Hybrid

The super-efficient Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid – one of the best-selling hybrid-electrified vehicles in Europe in 2013 – is now also available in Volvo Cars’ R-Design specification.

“We sold almost 8,000 plug-in hybrids in 2013. Adding the R-Design dynamic attributes to the V60 Plug-in Hybrid – the world’s first diesel plug-in hybrid – will further broaden its appeal. The customer gets segment-topping performance combined with outstanding efficiency,” says Alain Visser, Senior Vice President Marketing, Sales and Customer Service at Volvo Car Group.

The Volvo V60 D6 AWD R-Design Lux Nav is available from £51,675 (excl £5000 Plug-In Car Grant) on-the-road and can be ordered now, with expected deliveries from August 2014.

The V60 Plug-in Hybrid R-Design features a number of unique interior and exterior features that create a sporty presence. The exterior blends the Plug-in Hybrid identification with the R-Design front bumper and grille, rear diffuser and 18-inch Ixion wheels.

Inside, the car comes with a full R-Design interior, featuring sports seats as standard with a blend of black nubuck textile and perforated leather. Amongst the other unique R-Design features, it also includes sports pedals, sports floor mats and charcoal headlining. The car retains the special plug-in hybrid instrumentation and information.

Also fitted as standard on all PHEVs is Volvo’s telematic system, Volvo On Call. This system allows users to use a free mobile app to access a number of functions and keeps the driver in constant contact with the vehicle, no matter where he/she is.

The front wheels of the V60 Plug-in Hybrid are powered by a five-cylinder 2.4-litre turbodiesel producing 215 hp and 440 Nm of torque. The car has a six-speed automatic transmission.

The rear axle is powered by an electric motor producing 70 horsepower and 200 Nm of torque. It is supplied with power from an 11.2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack installed under the floor of the load compartment.

The driver selects the required driving mode via three buttons that give the car three entirely different temperaments: Pure, Hybrid or Power.

In the default hybrid mode, the carbon dioxide emissions are down to just 48g/km. This corresponds to fuel consumption of 155.2 mpg (NEDC certification driving cycle for hybrids).

What is more, at the touch of a button the driver can choose to cover up to 31 miles on pure electric power – or utilise the combined capacity of the diesel engine and electric motor to create a veritable driving machine that offers 215+70 horsepower and 440+200 Nm of torque.


Lexus NX Crossover



Lexus today issues the first pictures and further details of the new NX, a sharply styled compact premium crossover which will make its world debut at the Beijing motor show on 20 April.

The NX will mark Lexus’s entry into the mid-size crossover/SUV market and targets customers new to the brand with sharp, edgy styling. Both in terms of its striking design and its use of high-end technologies, it will stand as a hero model, setting new standards for future Lexus models.

The Lexus NX has been designed to look as though it is has been cast from a single piece of metal. Strong, flared wheel arches house 17 or 18-inch wheels, giving the car a crouching, muscular stance. Lexus’s signature spindle grille is the central focus of the NX’s angular shape, reinforced by LED headlamps and daytime running lights. The grille blends seamlessly into a sculpted bonnet, creating strongly contrasting surfacing that projects a sense of depth.

The side profile is instantly recognisable as a Lexus, accentuated by a roofline that’s set towards the rear of the vehicle to give maximum visual impact. Details include an innovative door mirror design and a world-first door handle mechanism with a concealed key barrel and integrated lighting. These features enhance the overall premium look by creating a smooth finish along the side of the car.

The rear is punctuated by Lexus’s L-shape combination lamps, fitted with seamless LED lighting. The bodywork design echoes the spindle grille treatment at the front.

Lexus aims to bring a sense of excitement to the NX’s cabin with a design more like a sports car interior, complimenting the angular bodywork.

Details include a thick-rimmed sports steering wheel and contrasting trims. At the same time, Lexus has focused on interior space and seating and has worked to ensure the driver enjoys intuitive interaction with the controls, instrumentation and HMI technology. The NX continues the development of Lexus’s display and operation zone concept.

Powertrains and technology

Three powertrains will feature in the NX range: a highly efficient petrol-electric hybrid in the NX 300h; a Lexus-first 2.0-litre petrol turbo in the NX 200t; and a naturally aspirated petrol unit in the NX 200. Each will offer the choice of front and all-wheel drive. UK powertrain line-up will be confirmed in the near future.

Innovative on-board technologies include a Lexus-first wireless charging tray for portable devices; a new iteration of the Lexus Remote Touch Interface with a touch pad control; a Panoramic View Monitor; and a comprehensive multi-information display with a Lexus-first G-sensor and boost meter. The NX will also offer a head-up display, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

Takeaki Kato, NX Chief Engineer, said that Lexus has approached all phases of the model’s development from the perspective of its target customers – young, urban drivers with active lifestyles who want premium products.

NX specifications and powertrains will differ according to market; details of the range and specifications for the UK will be announced ahead of the vehicle going on sale towards the end of this year.


Electric car with wireless charging



Recharging a Toyota plug-in hybrid or all-electric vehicle could in future be as simple as parking the car. Toyota has announced verification testing is to begin later this month of a new wireless battery charging system it has developed for vehicles that use an electric powertrain.

The new technology allows a vehicle to be charged simply by parking it in alignment with a coil set into the surface of the ground. This makes the process simpler and easier, dispensing with cables and connectors.

The Toyota charging system transmits electricity using magnetic resonance created by changes in magnetic field intensity between a transmitting coil in the ground and a receiving coil in the car. It is designed so that it can reduce any loss in power transmission efficiency caused by misalignment or height differences between the coils.

The system is being developed with a future market launch in mind. Measures have been taken to minimise any electromagnetic interference with nearby equipment, and the transmitting coil in the ground has been madde robust enough to withstand vehicles driving over it.

To help the driver align the car correctly, Toyota has developed a function for its Intelligent Parking Assist system that shows the position of the transmitting coil in a parking space.

The test programme involves three plug-in hybrid used by homes in Aichi prefecture in Japan. It will assess user satisfaction, the system’s ease of use, misalignment rates and charging behaviour, such as how often charging takes place and timer-based charging it used.

Toyota will use the test results to develop the technology further, with the ultimate aim of bringing the system to market. Toyota believes its commercialisation will help promote the use of electrified vehicles and mobility options that are smarter, easier to use and kinder to the environment.

Wireless Battery Charging System key specifications

Charging method Magnetic resonance
Frequency 85kHz
Input voltage AC 200V
Charging power 2kW
Charging time Approx. 90 minutes



Soul EV is Kia’s first mass-market electric vehicle

"kia electric car"

kia electric car

Kia Motors has unveiled its first ever mass-production electric vehicle, the Soul EV at the Chicago Auto Show.

Set to go on sale in the United States market in third quarter of 2014 and in Europe and the UK after that, the Soul EV will be Kia’s first all-electric, zero-emissions car sold in the U.S. and expands the brand’s line of environmentally conscious vehicles.  The Soul EV joined the refreshed Optima Hybrid illustrating Kia’s intent to lead the industry in providing technologically advanced vehicles that also reduce dependency on non-renewable resources.

A top concern for EV buyers has commonly been range anxiety.  The Soul EV addresses this issue by utilizing a highly energy-dense lithium-ion polymer battery.  Located beneath the floor, the 27kWh, air-cooled, 200 watt-hour/kg battery is expected to yield a range of approximately 80-100 miles of real-world driving on a full charge, with internal testing and evaluation results exceeding 100 miles in some instances.

The 360 volt 96-cell lithium-ion polymer battery has been engineered for high capacity, thermal stability and safety.  Accordingly, the battery features a nickel-cobalt-manganese cathode, which helps increase capacity, and a graphite-based anode, which increases durability while reducing weight.  Additionally, the cells use a gel electrolyte, and each cell contains ceramic separators to significantly improve thermal stability and safety.

The front-wheel drive Soul EV is powered by an 81.4 kW, 109-hp electric motor, producing a generous 210 lb.-ft. of torque.  The liquid-cooled AC synchronous permanent magnet motor uses multi-layer magnets to help improve efficiency and reduce the whine that’s commonly experienced with other electric vehicles.


Audi Allroad Shooting Brake Hybrid



Audi has pooled the genes of its rugged allroad models and its forthcoming e-tron hybrids to create a striking and fittingly futuristic new crossover concept bound for this month‘s  2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Incorporating a host of design elements that define the brand’s future design values, the Audi allroad shooting brake combines the elegant lines of a shooting brake with the purposeful stance of an allroad. As befits an allroad-themed study, its hybrid drive – which is as powerful as it is efficient – also makes a new form of quattro drive possible – e-tron quattro.

With exceptional functionality and versatility the Audi allroad shooting brake is geared towards those with an active lifestyle, but it also advances the development and design elements of one of the most recent Audi show cars, the mighty Sport quattro concept originally shown at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. The main highlights of the show car are an aluminium and carbon fibre body shell, MatrixBeam LED headlights and the e-tron quattro drivetrain.

plug-in hybrid drive

The plug-in hybrid drive delivers impressive key performance data with 408 PS of system power and a system torque of 650 Nm (479.42 lb-ft). The show car, which weighs around 1,600 kg unladen, launches from a standstill to 62 mph in 4.6 seconds, and is capable of reaching an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.

Fuel consumption is measured at 148.7mpg according to the relevant ECE standard, which equates to CO2 emissions of 45g/km. A total driving range of up to 510 miles is achievable.

The 2.0 TFSI in the Audi allroad shooting brake delivers 292 PS of power and generates 380 Nm (280.27 lb-ft) of torque. The transverse mounted 2.0-litre four-cylinder with a large turbocharger is a high-end engine. In part-load operation, indirect injection supplements direct gasoline injection to improve fuel economy; the exhaust manifold that is integrated in the cylinder head enables high-performance thermal management.

The 2.0 TFSI operates together with a disc-shaped electric motor via a decoupling clutch; the electric motor outputs 40 kW of power and 270 Nm (199.14 lb-ft) of torque. It is integrated in the six-speed e-S tronic. The ultra-fast shifting dual clutch transmission sends torque to the front wheels.

A second electric motor, which is separate from this drive unit, is mounted to the rear axle. It supplies propulsive power at low and moderate vehicle speeds with its maximum power of 85 kW and 270 Nm (199.14 lb-ft) of torque. It can also be operated in tandem with the motor and engine at the front axle if the hybrid management system decides that all-wheel drive makes sense. In such situations, e.g. on a slippery road or in light off-road conditions, this essentially makes the Audi allroad shooting brake an e-tron quattro.

Located just forward of the rear axle is a lithium-ion battery that consists of eight modules. It contributes towards a balanced distribution of weight, and it hardly affects cargo capacity at all. The liquid-cooled battery has an energy capacity of 8.8 kWh, which is enough for 31 miles of all-electric driving. An Audi wall box is used for stationary charging; it can operate with different voltages and plug connector types, and it regulates the energy transfer conveniently and intelligently.



Lexus hybrid Euro NCAP safest large family car 2013

"LEXUS IS 300h hybrid euro ncap safety"

LEXUS IS 300h hybrid euro ncap safety

The new Lexus IS 300h has been declared the best in its class for safety by Euro NCAP. The full hybrid saloon achieved the highest ratings in the “large family” category in the organisation’s 2013 safety performance testing programme, achieving the top overall five-star rating and an overall 91 per cent score.

The IS 300h excelled in each area of testing, including adult occupant safety (91 per cent), child occupant safety (85 per cent), pedestrian protection (80 per cent) and safety assist features (66 per cent).

In its test report, Euro NCAP noted the effectiveness of the active pop-up bonnet, a feature fitted as standard to all models in the IS range. Sensors in the front bumper detect when a pedestrian has been struck and trigger a system that instantaneously raises the height of the bonnet, increasing its clearance over the engine and other hard elements. Tests also commended the performance of the front bumper and leading edge of the bonnet, which secure a maximum score for the protection offered to a pedestrian’s legs and pelvis.

On sale in the UK since July 2013, the IS 300h is the first full hybrid version of Lexus’s premium sports saloon. The Lexus Hybrid Drive system secures a best-in-class combination of performance and efficiency and low running costs. With CO2emissions from 99g/km (SE model), the rear-wheel drive IS delivers particularly attractive benefit–in-kind tax rates for company car drivers.



New Yaris and Yaris Hybrid

"Yaris and Yaris Hybrid"

Yaris and Yaris Hybrid

The new 2014 Toyota Yaris and Yaris Hybrid go on sale today, with new grade line-ups that prioritise the features today’s customers value most. There is an added incentive for the 1.4 D-4D diesel Yaris, which now dips below the 100g/km CO2threshold to qualify for a zero annual road tax bill.

2014 Yaris

1.4 D-4D engine

The on-going cost of car ownership is a significant consideration for customers and Toyota has taken steps to make its 1.4 D-4D diesel-powered Yaris even more wallet-friendly. Engineering revisions have improved the unit’s efficiency and brought its official CO2emissions figure down from 104g/km to 99g/km.

As a result, the 2014 Yaris 1.4 D-4D Icon Plus model is in Band A for road tax (Vehicle Excise Duty), with no annual charge. Less money will be spent on filling up as well, as combined cycle economy has improved from 72.4mpg to 74.3mpg.

2014 Yaris Hybrid

The 2014 Yaris Hybrid follows the pattern set by its sister model in adopting a new grade structure, albeit with different equipment specifications.

Active and Icon Plus grades replace the previous Tand T4, with Trend taking on the role of flagship in place of the T Spirit. Across the board the standard features have been refreshed to reaffirm Yaris Hybrid’s status as an advanced, innovative competitor in the supermini market.

Toyota made good use of customer feedback to determine the new specification for the Yaris Hybrid Trend, including the introduction of the C-pillar decal to create the floating roof look. Other styling elements include a rear spoiler, 16-inchTrend alloys and part-leather seat upholstery, while the equipment manifest includes auto headlights and wipers, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, power windows all-round and keyless entry with push-button start.

2014 Yaris Hybrid prices

Active 1.5 VVT-i CVT 5dr £15,495
Icon Plus 1.5 VVT-i CVT 5dr £16,495
Trend 1.5 VVT-i CVT 5dr £17,495

CC exempt Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

"orsche Panamera SE-Hybrid"

orsche Panamera SE-Hybrid

The new Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, the world’s first plug-in hybrid for the executive saloon class, has gained OLEV (Office for Low Emission Vehicles) Grant approval.

Only a select handful of cars qualify for the Government-backed scheme, which entitles customers of qualifying ULEV (Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles) models to a 25% grant towards the cost of the car, up to a maximum of £5,000.

Running since January 2011, the grant is designed to encourage vehicle manufacturers to develop electric and green technologies for market, and to help customers invest in ‘green’ automotive technologies.

Utilising a 3.0-litre V6 engine teamed with a newly-developed lithium-ion battery and electric motor, the Panamera S E-Hybrid is a four-door, four-seat sports car that is first and foremost a Porsche. That means that performance, power and driver-focussed dynamics are an intrinsic part of the newcomer’s character, yet its official economy and CO2 figures stand at just 91 mpg and 71 g/km respectively.

The S E-Hybrid is capable of running purely on electric power for emission-free driving and zero petrol consumption for up to 22 miles (subject to driving style and conditions) and can reach speeds of up to 84 mph in this mode.

Those ultra-low emissions ensure the Panamera S E-Hybrid qualifies for a number of other fiscal benefits and capital allowance benefits for business customers. These include:

  • Company car tax liability of only 5% (paid as a ‘Benefit in Kind’ based on the P11D value of the vehicle)
  • Exemption from Vehicle Excise Duty, thanks to its official emissions placing it in ‘Band A’
  • Exemption from First Registration Fee (first tax disc)
  • Exemption from the TfL (Transport for London) Congestion Charge (following an initial registration fee to qualify)
  • 100% first-year allowance (FYA) – any vehicle with an official CO2 figure of less than 95 g/km is eligible for 100% of first-year capital allowance under Government rules extended to 31 March 2015

New Panamera S E-Hybrid: UK price and powertrain overview

speed (mph)
S E-Hybrid Tiptronic 416 @ 5,500 590 @ 1,250 5.5 167 91.1 71 88,967




Congestion Charge exempt Mitsubishi Outlander plug in electric vehicle

"Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV"

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

In spring 2014 Mitsubishi will be launching the Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) version of its all new Outlander. Outlander PHEV is a 4×4 SUV built without compromise to interior space. The green credentials for the car are particularly impressive. Outlander PHEV can achieve up to 148mpg and only emits 44g/km CO2. This means that customers will benefit from tiny fuel bills, no vehicle excise duty (VED) and, for company car drivers, a benefit in kind (BIK) rate of just 5%. To add to this list of benefits Outlander has also just qualified to be London Congestion Charge exempt.

Before 1st July 2013 all hybrid vehicles qualified to be Congestion Charge exempt. After this date Transport for London (TfL) tightened the rules meaning hybrid vehicles had to be able to travel more than 10 miles using electric power alone and emit less than 75g/km CO2 in order to qualify. The result was that most of the hybrid vehicles in the market, which generally have an electric vehicle range of less than 10 miles and emissions above 75g/km, no longer qualified.

Outlander PHEV is totally different to current generation hybrids. The car can cover a significant distance and reach impressive speeds using just its electric motors (EV mode). In pure EV mode it can cover 32 miles (using both the combustion engine and electric motors range increases to 514 miles) and, where allowed, it can reach 75 mph (using the combustion engine in addition to the electric motors pushes this top speed up).

Outlander easily meets TfL’s new Congestion Charge exemption criteria and once launched will become one of the largest vehicles to get in and out of London for free.



Lexus CT 200h Studio



A new, more comfortable and refined Lexus CT 200h will be launched in the UK and Europe in March next year.

The full hybrid luxury hatchback has undergone a raft of changes that improve its styling and quality inside and out, raise comfort levels and deliver greater refinement. Equipment specifications have been raised and the F Sport model has been given a stronger individual identity within the range.

Lexus’s signature spindle grille provides a strong focus for the CT 200h’s refreshed styling. It has been reworked with the centre horizontal line pushed further forward with its “pinch-point” set lower down. The bottom corners of the spindle shape are also spaced further apart, adding to the overall effect of reinforcing the car’s low front profile and wide track.

New 10-spoke 16 and 17-inch alloy wheels have been introduced together with a shark’s fin roof antenna. At the rear the new-look bumper has stronger horizontal lines and incorporates distinctive L-shaped reflectors and a black lower centre section.

A revised range of paint colours will be available, all benefiting from a scratch-resistant, self-restoring top coat.

Changes to the CT 200h’s interior have been made to deliver greater comfort, higher equipment levels and better all-round quality in the look and feel of the cabin.

Details of specific UK trim and equipment features will be announced in January.

Lexus has achieved significant reductions in emissions from the 2014 CT 200h, taking CO2 output down by 5g/km to just 82g/km for the entry level S grade model fitted with 15-inch wheels. For versions equipped with optional 16-inch wheels the official figure has been reduced by 6g/km to 88g/km.


Lexus RX 450h Advance hybrid SUV available from £48,495

"Lexus RX450h"

Lexus RX450h


When it comes to the RX 450h, Lexus has gone beyond “Luxury” to add a new Advance model to its prestige full hybrid SUV range.

Advance takes the established Luxury grade features and adds a full complement of styling features that introduce an extra dimension to the RX’s impactful contemporary appearance. A new, deep front bumper increases the sense of the car being firmly planted on the road, with LED headlight units amplifying the effect and reinforcing Lexus’s reputation for harnessing innovative technology features. The lights further benefit from Lexus’s I-AFS auto-adaptive system, moving in line with the steering to give better illumination at junctions and through bends.

The specification also includes new seven-spoke 19-inch alloy wheels and the choice of either a fixed panoramic roof or an electric sunroof.

In other respects the new model delivers the same high quality, innovation and supremely refined and efficient performance that define the RX. The standard equipment list presents an impressive array of features, including Smart Entry and Start; dual-zone climate control; leather upholstery; heated, eight-way adjustable front seats; heated, auto-diming and folding door mirrors, automatic windscreen wipers; and rear privacy glass.

On-board connectivity and infotainment are fully covered by the Lexus Premium Navigation system, 12-speaker audio pack, DVD player (single disc) and DAB tuner. The system also provides a rear-view camera and Bluetooth for hands-free calls and audio streaming, and is operated using Lexus’s intuitive computer mouse-like Remote Touch Interface.

The essential functionality of a family-size SUV is addressed in details such as the 40:20:40 individual sliding and folding rear seats and a power-operated rear door.

The RX 450h’s full hybrid powertrain delivers a strong combination of performance and efficiency: deploying a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine and a powerful electric motor, it produces a maximum 295bhp, enabling nought to 62mph acceleration in less than eight seconds. Thanks to a second electric motor on the rear axle, the system can automatically deliver all-wheel drive performance when conditions require extra grip.

Lexus’s continuous improvement of its hybrid technology has secured impressive fuel economy and low emissions: official combined cycle figures are 44.8mpg and 145g/km.

The RX 450h Advance is available now, priced £48,495.



New BMW i3 electric car with range extender

"new BMW i3"

new BMW i3

The all-new BMW i3 is a revolutionary zero emissions electric car in a premium car package, yet at an affordable price.

The BMW i3 is the world’s first premium car designed from the ground up to be powered by an electric drive system. The result is a vehicle that embodies BMW’s commitment to driving pleasure without compromise.

The use of lightweight CFRP for the passenger cell compensates for the extra weight of the battery, while the low, central location of the battery pack enhances the car’s agility thanks to perfectly balanced 50:50 weight distribution and a low centre of gravity.

Model Price
0 – 62mph Seconds Top
Range (miles) CO2
Emissions g/km
BMW i3 £25,680** 170 250 7.2 93 80-100 0
BMW i3 Range Extender £28,830** 170 250 7.9 93 160-186 13

**With £5,000 OLEV Government grant.

The electric motor generates an output of 170hp, with peak torque of 250Nm on demand instantly. This allows the BMW i3 to sprint from zero to 37mph in a mere 3.7 seconds and zero to 62mph in just 7.2 seconds, while the lithium-ion battery gives a range of 80 –100 miles in everyday driving.  This rises by approximately 15 per cent in ECO PRO mode and by the same again in ECO PRO+ mode.

For customers particularly conscious of ‘range anxiety’, the BMW i3 is available with a range extender engine, powering a generator to maintain the charge of the lithium-ion battery at a constant level while on the move. This is performed by a 650cc two-cylinder four-stroke petrol engine developing 34hp and mounted immediately next to the electric motor above the rear axle. The range extender increases the car’s maximum range in day-to-day driving to around 180 miles on one tank of fuel. The BMW i3 Range Extender costs £28,830** OTR.

Both BMW i3 models include a three-year, unlimited mileage vehicle warranty and an eight-year, 100,000 mile battery warranty. The battery is also included in the price of the car negating a separate lease charge for battery, as is the case for other electric vehicles.

The price for the BMW i3 starts at £25,680** and £28,830** for the Range Extender. However, leasing is expected to be favoured by customers and the monthly rates are highly competitive. Starting at £369p/m for a 36 month contract and rising to £480p/m for an i3 Range Extender in Suite, the BMW i3 is a compelling package.