Holden Commodore gets new fuel sipping options

General Motors' Holden division down in Australia has been building the company's 3.6-liter high feature V6 at its Melbourne plant since the engine first launched in 2003. Until now, however, the Australian plant has only built the original port fuel injected variant. For 2010, Holden is adding the new 3.0-liter variant that is also being used in a number of North American market models like the new Equinox, LaCrosse and CTS. Another first for Holden is that both engines are now direct injected across the board.

When paired up with the 6L50 6-speed automatic that is now standard on the V6 models, the Commodore Omega is now rated at a combined 25.3 mpg (U.S.) on the Australian driving cycle. The Commodores benefit from weight reductions, new low rolling resistance tires and other upgrades.

The 3.6-liter versions also get fuel efficiency improvements from the direct injection ranging from 7-13 percent while power improves from 262 to 282 hp. The upgraded engines will be available in the Commodore family starting in September.

SB LiMotive to supply batteries for BMW Megacity electric car

BMW is one step closer to getting its upcoming Megacity electric vehicle on the road. According to the German automaker, SB LiMotive, a 50:50 joint venture of Bosch and Samsung SDI, has been officially selected as the battery supplier for the Megacity project. Samsung, which is already a market leader in batteries for personal electronics applications, will reportedly deliver the individual lithium ion battery cells while Bosch will handle the job of assembling these cells into large-scale packs suitable for automotive use.

Milestone for future electric vehicle

Munich. The BMW Group has opted for SB LiMotive as the supplier of battery cells for the future project Megacity Vehicle. This gives the company access to state-of-the-art lithium-ion storage technology. "The decision is a major milestone along the way to serial production of the Megacity Vehicle. The battery is a key component in any electric vehicle - it determines the range and performance of the car. With SB LiMotive we have selected a supplier who offers the best available technology, combining leading German automotive expertise with future-oriented Korean battery know-how," explains Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG.

SB LiMotive is a 50:50 joint venture of Bosch and Samsung SDI. Here the two companies pool their expertise to develop and produce lithium-ion storage cells. Samsung SDI is a leader in the use of lithium-ion batteries in mobile phones and laptops. The technology has a proven track record in this area of application with millions of products to its name. However, integration in an automobile requires higher standards in terms of durability, operational stability and safety. Here, Bosch contributes its experience from a company history which goes back over 100 years.

"In this collaborative effort, three global technology leaders are coming together to shape the future of the electric vehicle. With our SB LiMotive joint venture as a supplier for the Megacity Vehicle's battery cells, we are sure that we can play a major role here," says Franz Fehrenbach, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH.

"Our foremost objective is to supply BMW with the best battery technology available in terms of performance, range, and safety. At the same time, we want to establish SB LiMotive lithium-ion battery cells as a sustainable product which, after being used in the car, can be reused in other areas or recycled," says Soon Taek Kim, CEO of Samsung SDI.

By opting for a battery supplier, the BMW Group underscores its commitment to electric mobility. The company concentrates its activities relating to electric motoring and urban mobility solutions in project i, an initiative which forms part of Strategy Number ONE. The first outcome of project i is the MINI E: this purely electrically powered vehicle is currently the focus of a large-scale field test involving some 600 vehicles in the US, Great Britain and Germany. Insights gained during this field test will be just as essential to the serial development of both the Megacity Vehicle as the battery technology. The zero-emissions vehicle will go into serial production in the first half of the next decade.

BMW will create new electric vehicle sub-brand

BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer told Reuters this week that its future electric cars will be badged as BMWs. This contradicts some earlier rumors that the automaker would revive another brand such as Triumph or Isetta for its electric vehicles. The company will stick with its existing BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brands. Reithofer did reveal that the board has voted to create a sub-brand for electric vehicles. This new sub-brand would be along the lines of the "M" badging currently used for high performance models. These new vehicles will be targeted at urban drivers and include a two wheeler. The first of these new vehicles will likely start appearing sometime around 2012-13.

Chevy Cruze Bumblebee by Irmscher

As Europeans await the official arrival of the Chevrolet Camaro on the continent, the smaller family-sized Cruze is taking its shine. Tuning and design firm Irmscher has transformed the Cruze into a Transformers 2 centrepiece, basing the look and feel on the Camaro Bumblebee. The basis for the car is a 1.8 LT automatic model.

The Irmscher model features orange colour 18-inch wheels with the Turbo Star design and 225mm-wide tyres. These are unique to the Cruze Bumblebee. Irmscher has lowered the body by some 30mm and fitted an orange rear diffuser to match the wheels. Orange is carried through as a double-stripe hanging over the black body as well as on the side mirrors. The tuner is confident that interest will be so deep in Cruze Bumblebee that a series might come out of it.

Prices will be available on request to people wishing for the kit. For the rest who want a test drive of the standard car and not the Bumblebee version, their nearest dealership could arrange one. Alternatively the Frankfurt Motor Show will have factory units available for the public to drive.