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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Tech and Vogue
Going green on wheels
     2011-August-5  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

When it comes to solutions for greener transportation, one size does not fit all. And with nearly every major automaker gearing up to launch plug-in vehicles, you could have many choices for your next car.

 

IF you’ve been following the growing electric car momentum, you probably know about all the buzz that’s built up around the most anticipated electric vehicles of the year — the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt. The Chevy Volt has already won the title of 2011 Green Car of the Year at the LA Auto Show. On the other hand, the Nissan Leaf has been named the 2011 European Car of the Year.

When you step into the Volt, press the blue Power button to start up the car. You’ll hear a Star Trek-like whoosh and you’re good to go. If you’ve never driven an electric car, the first thing you’ll notice is how quiet it is.

The Volt’s pick-up and speed are impressive, as are the overall handling and performance of the vehicle. Techies would like the Volt’s large touchscreen display for viewing and accessing things like navigation information, a rear back-up camera, climate adjustment and entertainment, such as CD or radio. There’s also a USB plug to insert an iPod, iPhone or other device to listen to your favorite music. A second large color screen in front of the driver gives fuel and battery info, oil levels, speed and distance, and such.

But there are a few things to keep in mind. For one, despite this car’s sporty look, it’s a small, five-door compact for a maximum of four people. Secondly, don’t expect a lot of fancy trimmings in the Volt.

The Leaf, an electric car, feels sprightly and gets up to speed with no drama — as an urban runabout, it certainly excels. Press on the brakes and the pedal is firm and sure.

The Leaf’s cabin is dominated by a split-level instrument cluster similar to that of the Honda Civic. The center control panel features a touchscreen, which controls the standard navigation system as well as special features like cruising range. You can even program the start time for the recharging system to take advantage of lower rates for electricity. Interior quality is about the same as other economy hatchbacks, but overall fit and finish is noticeably a cut above.

One important distinction between the two cars is that they cater to two different markets — the Volt is very much a sporty commuter sedan, while the Nissan Leaf is ideal for city driving. As such, the Nissan Leaf has an all-electric, emission-free range of 160 km. Meanwhile the Chevy Volt has a somewhat limited 70 km electric range, but makes up for that in spades with its gas-powered generator, which adds a range of 480 km to the car on longer journeys.

Then, the Golf Blue-e-motion is a prototype for the Nissan Leaf rival you’ll be able to buy from Volkswagen dealers in 2013. Apart from the battery range — a modest 150 km — it’s as practical as any other Golf. The motor is up front where the engine would be and the batteries are under the floorpan and boot floor, so to look at and sit in, there really is no difference.

Even the cabin looks the same, at a glance. The gearstick is the standard DSG item but a power gauge replaces the rev counter and the fuel and temperature dials by clocks showing how much charge is left and what range that will give.

As for the drivetrain, it’s superb. The throttle response is crisp without being overly eager, the diesel-like torque output pushes it up hills like a bobsleigh on rewind, and the refinement is incredible compared with conventional engines.

Another big brand working on electric cars is BMW. BMW says a fully charged Mini E has a driving range of about 240 km, well within the round-trip commuting range of many drivers. Top speed is said to be governed to 150 kmph and 0-100 acceleration is electronically limited to about eight seconds, to preserve battery power. Regenerative braking charges the battery every time the brakes are applied.

The Mini E dashboard has a battery-charge meter in place of the tachometer and a power meter in the speedometer. There is no conventional transmission in the car, because the torque provided by the electric motor is sufficient without multiplication through a transmission, but there is a conventional reverse-neutral-drive shifter on the floor. The air conditioning system is electric, and all the standard Mini chassis systems, electronic traction and stability control, are included. (SD-Agencies)

Chevy Volt

Price: US$41,000

Top speed: 160 km per hour

Acceleration: 0-100 in 9 seconds

Motor: 111 kw electric motor

Gasoline engine: 1.4L 4-cylinder

Horsepower: 150 hp

Range: 550 km

Battery: 16 kWh lithium-ion

Charge time: 3-6.5 hours

Plug: 110 volt

Nissan Leaf

Price: US$32,780

Top speed: 144 km per hour

Acceleration: 0-100 in 9.7 seconds

Motor: 80 kw electric motor

Horsepower: 110 hp

Range: 160 km

Battery: 24 kWh lithium-ion

Charge time: 4-8 hours

Plug: 110 volt

Mini E

Price: Not for sale yet

Top speed: 150 km per hour

Acceleration: 0-100 in 8.5 seconds

Motor: 150 kw electric motor

Horsepower: 201 hp

Range: 190-240 km

Battery: 35 kWh lithium-ion

Charge time: 4 hours

Plug: 240 volt

Golf Blue-e-motion

Price: Not for sale yet

Top speed: 135 km per hour

Acceleration: 0-100 in 11.8 seconds

Motor: 85 kw electric motor

Horsepower: 115 hp

Range: 150 km under normal conditions

Battery: 26.5 kWh lithium-ion

Charge time: 5-7 hours

Plug: 240 volt

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