Fast Lane: Racing ahead with the Nissan Leaf Nismo RC

A Leaf racing ahead

Behold the third-generation Nissan Leaf Nismo RC, an electric racer which borrows its name from the green Leaf but looks nothing like it.

The dual-motor, all-wheel-drive Leaf Nismo RC has 322hp and 640Nm of torque on tap – about double what the popular Leaf has. It hits 100kmh in just 3.4 seconds (nearly twice as quick as the 2011 first-gen car, which clocked at 6.9-second century sprint), but you won’t be able to verify that. The car, like the first two Leaf Nismo RCs, is not for series production. Pity.

Subaru’s compact all-wheel-drive hybrid

Following the introduction of the Forester e-Boxer, Subaru has just unveiled the XV e-Boxer. Powered by a 2-litre horizontally opposed petrol engine paired with an electric motor, the compact all-wheel-drive hybrid has a lithium-ion battery unit mounted under its boot floor. In pure electric mode, it can reach 40kmh. The car is expected to arrive as early as the fourth quarter of this year.

Audi’s carparks to get charging points

Audi aims to equip one-tenth of its company parking spaces (mostly in Europe) with electric vehicle charging points by 2022. This is said to be the largest charging infrastructure project carried out by a German employer. The plan calls for the setting up of more than 4,500 charging points – or some 22,000 chargers per point – at a cost of up to €100 million (S$150 million).

More cars in Singapore

Despite a zero-growth quota formula, Singapore’s vehicle population grew by 1.7 per cent to 973,101 last year. According to Land Transport Authority figures, the car population grew by 2.5 per cent to 630,596, fuelled mainly by an unrelenting expansion of private-hire car fleets. At the end of last year, there were 55,575 private-hire cars – 22.6 per cent more than in 2018.

Toyota set to electrify

Toyota is getting on the electric bandwagon at last. It unveiled the Lexus UX300e late last year and is said to be unveiling a battery-powered NX soon. Both premium crossovers could arrive in Singapore as early as this year.

New design for Seat’s Leon

Seat has unveiled its new Leon, built on Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform. Boasting a new design inside and out, the car sports full LED lighting, including wraparound ambient lights.

Powertrain choices include the usual turbocharged petrol and diesel units, a mild hybrid and a plug-in hybrid. Its wheelbase has grown by 50mm and the overall length of the five-door has increased by 86mm (Estate +93mm).

British healthcare staff to lease Jaguar’s I-Pace

Jaguar will deliver 700 electric I-Pace crossovers to a public healthcare provider in Britain. The Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said staff from more than 200 organisations across the country will be able to lease the battery-powered Jaguar over a three-year period. Employees will pay for their vehicles via salary sacrifice.

A more comfortable Lotus Evora

Lotus has launched a new version of the Evora – the GT410. As a second model in the range – it sells alongside the Evora GT410 Sport – the Evora GT410 has more features, improving its usability and comfort. It comes with Sparco sport seats, air-con, cruise control, reverse camera and an infotainment system with sat-nav, digital radio and Apple CarPlay.

Other changes include increased cabin insulation, AP Racing brake callipers and silver or gloss black V-spoke cast alloy wheels (19-inch front and 20-inch rear).

Complex stitched leather for a Bentley

The new Flying Spur will feature the “most complex Bentley interior in history”, the company says. Each cabin is made up of 350 leather pieces stitched together with over 3km of thread. Each car passes through the hands of 141 craftsmen, who have undergone at least five months of training.

Customers can choose from as many as 14 interior leather hide colours, which can be complemented by 23 different colours of contrast thread.

The steering wheel houses the “most elaborate hand-stitching and leatherwork to be found anywhere in the automotive industry”, Bentley claims.

Get an F1 car for $2.7m

Formula One specialist Tour-de-Force Power Engineering is offering mere mortals the chance to own and drive an F1 car. For £1.5 million (S$2.7 million), the TDF-1 is yours to tear around a race track.

The car is built on a 2011 Marussia or 2012 Sauber chassis, suspension and associated mechanicals.

Its 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine develops 600bhp at 9,000rpm and is mated to a six-speed semi-automatic gearbox. The result is a car that delivers 95 per cent of the on-track performance of an equivalent F1 car. It will generate 4.0 G in a high-speed corner and 4.5 G under braking.

Battery-swopping stations to be deployed here

Singapore-based Vanda Electrics, Bulls Eye Security Services and Y Ventures Group have agreed to collaborate to deploy battery-swopping stations and power-assisted bicycles at one of the sites that Bulls Eye Security has been engaged to provide patrol and securities solutions. The deployment of swoppable battery stations is a first in Singapore. Outcomes of the three-month trial will allow Bulls Eye Security to enhance its efficiency.

More hybrids from Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz has extended its plug-in hybrid range to include the GLC and GLE. The GLC 300e features a 2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine paired with a motor powered by a 13.5kWh battery. The combustion engine can produce 155hp and 350Nm, while the electric motor adds an additional 122hp and 700Nm. The car has an all-electric range of 46km.

The GLE 350de has a 2-litre turbodiesel making 194hp and 400Nm, paired with a motor powered by a 31.2kWh battery which adds an additional 136hp and 440Nm. The GLE 350de has an all-electric range of 105km – possibly the longest for a plug-in hybrid.