An all-electric SUV from US company Tesla Motors will almost certainly be available in New Zealand within the next couple of years. The all-wheel-drive prototype Model X (above and here) has been pictured testing near Tesla’s base in northern California before its expected official unveiling later this year. It will go into production for US customers early next year and right-hand drive models will come later in 2016, or early 2017. Tesla’s Australian outlet says it has already taken orders for the Model X. Its coupe-like design picks up styling cues from the Model S sedan. On the inside is the tablet-sized touchscreen also from the Model S. The Model X prototype retains the so-called ‘Falcon wing’ rear doors from the original Model X concept. These fold up and out of the way allowing easy access to the third row seat, even from the narrowest of parking spaces, says the company.The Model X is expected to have a 600km electric driving range and be priced in line with the Model S. Auckland businessman Steve West imported a Model S sedan late last year to go with his Lotus Elise-based Tesla Roadster. Upgrades earlier this year to the Roadster’s battery pack have improved the range of the two-door from around 370km to 650km, says Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The changes mean good news for owner West, who in theory can now drive the 650km from Auckland to Wellington on the one charge. Mini Clubman Mini-maker BMW has ditched the rear-hinged half-door on the next-generation Clubman. The new model, spied here testing in Germany, has grown considerably to make room for two conventional front-hinged rear doors. The right-side half-door was a novelty of sorts in left-hand drive Clubmans but it proved cumbersome in right-hook models, where it opened out into traffic. BMW couldn’t switch it to the left side of the car for right-hand drive markets because of fuel tank complications. The Clubman range will get turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engines along with the
go-faster boosted 2.0-litre unit for the Cooper S.Mitsubishi Pajero The 2016 Pajero (disguised at left) will retain the off-road ability of its predecessors but be more carriage-like and offer more luxury, gadgets, and room inside. It will be lighter, too, thanks to a mix of materials in the platform to help performance and economy, reports Automedia. Petrol and diesel engines will be available along with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain borrowed from the Outlander. This powerplant will consist of a 2.0-litre inline-four petrol engine and two 60kW electric motors charging lithium-ion batteries. If the batteries get low on energy, the drive mode switches from all-wheel to a front-wheel. More details about the powertrain and the vehicle itself are expcted soon. BMW M2 BMW has again been testing its M2 coupe (left) at the Nurburgring circuit, although the carmaker still doesn’t acknowledge it is building such a car. The new M2 will be the company’s entry-level ‘M’ car and will be offered in both manual and auto variants. Its upgraded 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six engine is expected to deliver around 270kW/280kW. The M2’s likely official unveiling will be at the Frankfurt motor show in September. Ford F-250 Queenland company Performax International is lining up to convert the next-generation Ford F-250 truck
to right-hand drive. The Gympie-based company (roughly a two-hour drive north of Brisbane) has been converting with Ford’s approval the current F-250 for Australian buyers.Performax general manager Glenn Soper says NZ buyers are welcome. “If you have buyers over there, great,” he told me. “We’ll sell the trucks anywhere – we have been given approval to build any number we want.” But the process with the 2016 model (spied above under disguise) will be slightly different, because its body will be made from aluminium, which will cut weight and fuel use. The new truck is expected to retain the same 6.7-litre V8 turbo diesel in use in the current model.