" Britain to build new hybrid cars
Monday, 29th June, 2009
Britain is to become the first country in Europe to build hybrid cars following a decision by Toyota to start production of the Auris at its Burnaston plant near Derby.
The Sunday Times newspaper reports that production is expected to start at the end of this year.The Auris hybrid shares its chassis, 1.8litre petrol engine and electric motor with the Prius, but is a smaller and lighter vehicle. The new Prius emits CO2 emissions of 89g per kilometre, and an average fuel consumption figure of 72.4mpg.
The Auris will be pitched as a rival to the £15,490 Honda Insight Hybrid, a car recently crowned Green Car of the Year by the Environmental Transport Association.
A spokesperson for the Environmental Transport Association (ETA): “The government will have offered generous incentives to secure production of this car, but this will pay dividends if it positions us at the forefront of green technology.”
Ministers were at London's Guildhall to unveil a range of vehicles that will be tested in eight cities.
More than 340 cars will be involved in the test, including Mitsubishi's electric MiEV and the Mini E.
The government is putting £25m into the project, organised by the Technology Strategy Board, to showcase the technology which will be available in the next six to 18 months.
David Bott, the board's director of innovation programmes, told the BBC that electric cars were now coming of age.
"Electric cars are now credible. We're looking at cars with a range of 150 miles and decent speed.
"We're putting a variety of cars and systems on the road to see how they work for real. Not only will this enable us to see what works, and what doesn't, but also how people interact with them," he said.
Although the majority of vehicles on trial are electric, a small number are so called plug-in petrol/electric hybrids. The overriding requirement was that the car would emit less than 50g CO2 per km.
Matthew Lumsden, from independent energy consultants TNEI, is managing the project in the north-east of England and outlined how the trials would be carried out.
"The first cars will be on the road at the end of the year and then run for about two years.
"Individuals will get a car loaned to them for between six and 12 months so we can get a good collection of data.
Lord Drayson and Lord Adonis at the Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle test launch
"We're going to find users who are suited to the vehicles and we plan to get a good cross-section of society - from families doing the school run to people who regularly commute into work.
"We also want them to park the cars in visible places; half the process is about raising the profile of the vehicles," he added.
While some companies - such as Nissan - are developing custom-built electric vehicles, other companies - such as Smith Electric Vehicles - are putting electric engines into existing vehicle chassis, such as Fords and London-style cabs.
The government say the trial is an "important step" in helping it reach its target of an 80% cut in carbon emissions by 2050."
The £25 million project will implement eight demonstrator programs across the U.K., bringing together organizations that have committed to installing more than 500 roadside, car park, business and home charging stations by June 2010. The majority will be produced and installed by Brighton-based Elektromotive.
Eight separate consortia, involving car manufacturers, power companies, regional development agencies and academic bodies will each receive a portion of the funding. The consortia will coordinate trials of approximately 340 EVs and plug-in electric hybrid cars in London, Glasgow, North-East England, the West Midlands and Oxford.
Many of the new charging stations that will be installed are Elektrobays, identical to 160 already sited in London and in other locations around the U.K. The Elektrobay is the only recharging station currently in widespread day-to-day use anywhere in the world, and the high level of around-the-clock usage of the stations in London provides an insight into how the creation of a proven infrastructure has become a prerequisite for the widespread adoption of EVs and plug-in hybrids by consumers."