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Automotive News – April 27, 2010

Nissan, GE to Explore EV Charging Stations

Nissan LeafOne of the stumbling blocks to the widespread acceptance of all-electric cars is the lack of neighborhood charging stations similar to the gasoline vehicle service stations we’ve known for nearly a century. Now, General Electric Co. (GE) and Nissan Motor Co. have announced a joint research and development venture to see if a network of local charging stations is feasible. The companies are exploring how to build and manage “smart” charging stations that communicate with local utility companies so as not to put undue strain on community power grids. Such stations would have quick-charging 220-volt systems instead of the 110-volt ones found in most private homes. Nissan’s all-electric “Leaf” sedan is scheduled to debut in the United States, Europe and Japan later this year.

Lamborghini to Market Limited-Edition Super-Sports Car in China

Lamborghini Murcielago PL-670 SuperVeloceThe rapidly growing Chinese economy has increased demand for all manner of Western products, including high-end sports cars. To address this demand, Italian automaker Lamborghini announced at the recent Beijing Auto Show that it will sell 10 — and only 10 — copies of a special edition Murciélago LP-670 SuperVeloce sports car to high-end Chinese buyers. With a gray paint job marked with a distinctive orange stripe that is supposed to symbolize an erupting volcano, the car is powered by a 6.5-liter V12 that produces 670 hp. Featuring a lightweight carbon shell, the Murciélago LP-670 SuperVeloce has a power-to-weight ratio of 5.1 lbs/hp and a reported top speed of 209 m.p.h. Lamborghini has enjoyed significant success in China recently with its 2009 sales rising 11 percent over the previous year’s levels.

BMW Send Gran Coupe Concept Car into Production

BMW Grand Coupe Concept CarBMW’s Gran Coupe concept car was such a hit at the recent Beijing Auto Show that the German luxury carmaker has formally sent the four-door luxury sedan into production for an anticipated 2012 release. Although initially thought to be a 6-Series sedan, BMW-watchers now believe it may resurrect the company’s dormant 8-Series line. The Gran Coupe, expected to be BMW’s new flagship product when it hits the showrooms, will ride on the same architecture at its 5- and 7-Series models with engine offerings to match.

Porsche Closes in on ‘Threshold’ to Launch its 918 Spyder

Porsche 918 SpyderNine hundred down, 100 to go. That’s the reported status of pre-orders for Porsche’s much-anticipated 918 Spyder hybrid super-sports car. Since it debuted the 918 at last year’s Geneva Auto Show, Porsche has been taking orders for the sleek, futuristic-looking plug-in hybrid that reportedly will get up to 78 m.p.g., as well as reach 62 m.p.h. in just 3.2 seconds. According to Porche, they need at least 1,000 pre-order to make production financially feasible. At the current rate, experts don’t expect this threshold to take much longer to achieve.

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