Ford are testing an electric Fiesta with new, extremely efficient, in-wheel motors.
The motor is provided by Schaeffler in Germany and produces the equivalent of 55 bhp per wheel, but because of the nature of the unit, the effective torque is a huge 500nm. The Fiesta is not a hybrid, but an all electric car with both rear wheels being driven. This design with sub-floor batteries will lead to cars being made even smaller but with just as much luggage room as the engine bay is freed up. Some interesting and previously unconsidered upshots of this research such as the ability to turn a wheel through a much larger angle than before or even turning all four wheels will bring about huge benefits in city driving terms. Interestingly, following initial testing, Ford is said to be putting together a hybrid with the same in-wheel motor and as the motor can be changed to an electric brake by polarity changing, a system along the lines of F1 Kers is being explored, where your electricity used for acceleration is free.
VW, forever on the Green bandwagon, are determined to have their European vehicles down to 95 g/km before 2019. Obviously this is an average and electric cars such as the new UP e car, will bring the average down. With European governments reducing the emissions ceilings for Car Leasing cars to ever lower figures, having a company like VW getting ahead of the targets is useful. That said, although business car leasing has been affected by the new tax changes, a movement to cleaner cars has all but negated the changes. VW are rumored to be working on a Hybrid which is also fully electric up to 30 miles. This can be based on any of the new models as they share a platform. Along with this VW are working on 10 speed versions of the DSG gearbox . The more ratios you have, the more efficient a car will be.