BMW, Kia, Toyota, Honda.
Hybrid BMW: BMW will officially launch its new iPerformance model designation in Geneva. The new plug-in hybrid variants of the 7-series will be the first to sport the new BMW core brand: the 740e iPerformance, 740Le iPerformance, and 740Le xDrive iPerformance, which will also debut at the auto show in March. The new label will be given to all plug-in hybrids in the BMW line-up from July 2016.
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BMW i8 goes red: A limited Protonic Red Edition of BMW’s top-selling hybrid sports car will go into production at the Leipzig facility in July. First deliveries can be expected in September. The red is accented by frozen grey metallic highlights, while 20-inch W-spoke alloys will be standard.
Kia Optima with plug: Kia revealed its first plug-in hybrid model at the Chicago Auto Show. The Optima PHEV features a 50 kW electric motor, which is 42 percent more powerful than the one used in the previous Optima Hybrid. All-electric range is estimated at 27 miles and sales will most likely kick off in Q4 of 2016.
Electric Kia Niro? The hybrid variant of the Kia Niro will arrive in the U.S. in about 11 months, with the plug-in version to follow at a later, still unconfirmed date. And since the car shares a lot of the powertrain technology with Hyundai’s Ionic, AutoblogGreen’s Sebastian Blanco wonders if we will even see an all-electric Kia Niro at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show.
Toyota hybrid in Wales: Toyota Manufacturing UK says it will build next-generation hybrid engines for a new Toyota crossover at it Deeside plant in North Wales. The vehicle will be based on the C-HR concept and is said to go head to head with the Nissan Juke. Toyota Motor Europe was therefore able to attract an additional 7m pounds of investments, including a 700,000-pound grant from the Welsh government.
Honda to produce in China: The carmaker will begin building hybrid vehicles in China, starting with the Acura and Accord. By producing locally and cutting shipping costs, Honda hopes to lower vehicle prices and increase sales in China, especially as the government there will continue to tighten fuel economy regulations gradually through 2020