Archive for August, 2010

Golf Blue-e-motion full EV may get BYD batteries

According to the October 2010 Car and Driver, lithium ion batteries from Sanyo and Toshiba are in short supply so VW is looking to BYD to supply batteries.

BYD is not a no-name company.  Although their name isn’t very creative, (their auto division stands for Build Your Dreams), it’s the Chinese car company that Warren Buffet bought 10% of.  Since 2003 when they entered the car market, their revenues have gone from about 0.5 billion to 4 billion.  They initially began as a company supplying batteries for cell phones as substitutes for more expensive Japanese parts and was the first company to sell a production plug-in hybrid.  My main criticism of the company is that the styling has been a rip off of other, more well known companies.   When I say rip off, I don’t mean derivative, I mean the styling is a 95% directly copied from other models.   One example is the BYD F8 (google it).

If BYD wants to move beyond supplying components for other cars and come to North America, they better steal the stylists from their competitors instead of just stealing their styles.

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Yet another benefit of EV

An interesting point brought up in the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car” was the low maintenance of EV.   EV need no oil changes, air filters, or transmission oil changes.  The greasiest thing on an EV is the CV joints on the axles.  They might need coolant changes for the batteries but what else could an EV need for regular maintenance?  Decreased maintenance is a major benefit of EV over alternative technologies like hydrogen powered cars.

What does this mean for the future of dealership and independent repair garages?  At least EV still use tires.

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VW Touareg R V8 high performance hybrid rumors

According to the Italian car magazine Auto Evolution, VW may plan on using a V8 engine for a special VW Touareg R hybrid.  This car would replace the 333 hp supercharged V6 engine with a V8 engine.  Combined with the electric motor, the goal is about 550 hp total.  Does this mean that as discussed in this post: , that the hybrid system can handle much more power?  Would it be possible to chip the VW Touareg hybrid to increase the supercharger boost and fueling?  The base 333 hp V6 is also used in the Audi S4 where it’s been found that the engine is seriously underrated in power and chip tuning is producing around 400 hp.

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Dyno curve of the VW Touareg hybrid and Porsche Cayenne hybrid

As you can see from the dyno graph chart showing horsepower (red line) and torque (blue line), most of the VW Touareg hybrid and Porsche Cayenne hybrid electric motor’s assist is at low engine rpm.

With the electric motor’s assist, the combined torque curve is almost flat up to 4000 rpm and then begins to trail down.  This means the engine will have tons of pick-up and throttle response down low.  The engine by itself is a supercharged V6 used in the Audi S4, the sport version of the A4, so it is no slouch.

The transmission is rated to handle up to 627 lb-ft of torque so there should be room for tuners to increase the boost and fueling on the supercharged engine.  The question is can the rest of the drivetrain take it?

Click the image to enlarge the thumbnail.

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Electric sports car sets new record on pikes peak climb

Ikuo Hanawa’s 2010 Pikes peak climb time of 13:17:575 beats the old 7 year old record by Jeri Unser, setting a new record for EV in the 88th running of Pikes peak.

The Colorado springs race course starts at 9,390 and ends at 14,110 ft which highlights one of the advantages of EV – no loss of power at altitude.  Loss of power at altitude due to thin air is a well known problem for naturally aspirated engines.  So far, the VW Touareg hybrid, Porsche Cayenne hybrid, and Porsche Panamera hybrid will all use the supercharged 3.0L V6 engine.  Supercharging and turbocharging can reduce the amount of power loss by turbo normalizing the air pressure – compressing air to restore air density.  However, because most cars are engineered for best driveability at sea level or close to sea level, they simply aren’t designed to give sea level air pressure to the engine at altitude.

Hanawa’s EV Sports Concept Vehicle HER-02 makes 268 hp from a 15 kilowatt hour Sanyo lithium ion battery pack.  This race was chosen because of the short endurance and the car performed admirably.  To put it in perspective, the all time record for any car is 10:01:408.  Congrats to Hanawa on the record and it just goes to show what kind of performance is possible with an EV.

Below is a video of one of the starts and another where you can hear the silence of performance.

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First production diesel hybrid by Peugeot

VW had a Rabbit hybrid TDI concept a few years ago but it was a study only and too expensive to produce.  Peugeot will be the first to sell a production diesel hybrid, the 3008 Hybrid4 and have solved much of the complexity and cost of a hybrid system by also being the first hybrid to have separate drivetrains.

The front wheels are driven by the 2.0L 163 hp HDi diesel engine.  The rear wheels are driven by the electric motor. Not only does this improve the weight distribution of the car, it also gives the car all wheel drive capability.  The car’s computer coordinates when the front wheels and rear wheels are powered but the car can also operate in rear wheel drive electric only mode.  The diesel engine also has start stop.  While combined output of the engine is only 200 hp, the combined torque of the engine is 369 lb-ft of torque!  European mpg is rated at 74.4 mpg which is 61.9 mpg US gallons (UK gallons are bigger than US gallons).   The press release from Peugeot below.


  • Powered by a 2.0 litre 163 bhp HDi diesel engine and a 37bhp electric motor
  • Potential 74.4mpg, with 99g/km of CO2
  • All electric mode (Zero Emission Vehicle)
  • A maximum combined power output of 200 bhp

The Peugeot 3008 Crossover, with HYbrid4 technology, is the first diesel ‘Full Hybrid’ production car in the world

By launching the world’s first diesel full hybrid vehicle – the 3008 HYbrid 4 – Peugeot will be writing a new chapter in motoring history. The combination of a fuel efficient 2.0 litre 163 bhp HDi diesel engine and a 37 bhp electric motor is the optimal combination for a hybrid vehicle. Unlike previous hybrid vehicles which have chosen to use a less fuel efficient petrol engine, the Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4′s diesel engine provides superior Combined Drive Cycle fuel consumption of 74.4mpg, and CO2 emissions of 99g/km.

The use of diesel hybrid technology also brings a range of other benefits:

  • High performance combined with excellent driveability
  • Freedom and simplicity of use with the possibility of choosing four different operating modes: ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle), Four-wheel drive, Auto and Sport
  • Silent operation, when driving in electric only mode
  • Peace of mind offered by the safety inherent in a four-wheel drive vehicle
  • Environmental friendliness with CO2 emissions from 99g/km

The Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 is designed to appeal to demanding, technophile customers who are in search of a rewarding and original vehicle.

In terms of performance, the Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 benefits from the combined power of the HDi diesel engine and electric motor during acceleration and when an immediate surge of power is required (the “boost” function). The maximum combined power output is 200 bhp, 163 bhp from the 2.0 litre HDi FAP diesel engine and 37 bhp from the electric motor. A maximum torque of 500 Nm is available, split with 300Nm at the front from the HDi diesel engine and 200 Nm at the rear generated by the electric motor.

To manage all the available performance a control selector mounted on the centre console enables the driver to choose between four different operating modes.

  • “Auto” mode: the entire system is automatically controlled, including operation of the HDi diesel engine and the electric motor. This provides optimal driving for fuel consumption and dynamic performance
  • “ZEV” mode (Zero Emission Vehicle) provides access to an extensive all-electric mode. Activation of the HDi diesel engine is programmed to coincide with only more sustained phases of acceleration. This requires the high-voltage batteries to be sufficiently charged and turns the vehicle into a “city run-around” par excellence due to the total absence of noise and emissions.
  • Four-wheel drive mode (4WD) instructs both power trains to operate together as far as possible; the rear wheels are driven by the electric motor and the front wheels by the HDi diesel engine. It offers peace of mind, safety, improved driveability and accentuates the vehicle’s dynamic character. At low speed it allows “all-terrain” capabilities equivalent to those of an SUV. The driver will, therefore, no longer be concerned by the prospect of a slippery track or a snowbound uphill drive to a ski resort
  • Sport” mode favours quicker gear changes at higher engine speeds than normal mode. In this mode, the notion of “controlled power” comes into its own, coupling the diesel engine with the electric motor provides more dynamic performance, optimally distributed and transmitted to the road by the four wheel drive for a level of stability and driveability that will appeal to motoring enthusiasts.

With the Peugeot 3008 equipped with HYbrid4 technology, the aim is to appeal to customers who expect both environmental-friendliness and technological sophistication, and also genuine driving enjoyment.

Indeed, as well as the social benefit of the steep reduction in fuel consumption, the level of performance provided by this technology will delight even the most demanding customers in terms of road holding, responsiveness, driveability, peace of mind regardless of road conditions and the possibility of enjoying silent operation in town in the all-electric mode.

HYbrid4 technology brings together Peugeot’s best technologies and experience: HDi diesel engines, electric vehicle knowledge, second-generation Stop & Start and electronically-controlled sequential manual gearboxes.

The “hybrid” power train simply combines an HDi diesel engine and an electric motor. With their exceptional efficiency, HDi diesel engines are thermodynamically more efficient than a petrol engine and offer a 30% reduction in fuel consumption. Clearly the HDi diesel engine is the best internal combustion engine choice.

For the “electric” component, Peugeot has historical expertise in the field of electric vehicles. To date, the 106 Electric, marketed between 1995 and 2003, remains the world’s best selling zero emissions car (in total nearly 10,000 vehicles were produced). At the end of 2010, Peugeot will become the first to launch a latest-generation 100% electric vehicle in Europe, the Peugeot i0n.

Pursuing the common sense approach of capitalising on the best existing components and expertise, it was only natural to use Peugeot’s electronically-controlled 6-speed manual gearbox, not only for its engine management capabilities but also for its ability to optimise fuel consumption. To improve performance even further a second-generation STOP & START system is also used.

The choice of hybrid architecture was also guided by the search for optimal efficiency and consistency. Hybrid technology uses two power trains which can operate alternately or simultaneously:

  • The HDi diesel engine operates in its most optimal operating window on longer, out-of-town journeys. A diesel engine still remains the most efficient and versatile choice to power any vehicle
  • The electric motor takes over from the HDi diesel engine in phases of lower power demands, particularly when pulling away, driving at low speed and decelerating (for energy recovery). These are precisely the features that characterise urban driving

Changeover from the HDi diesel engine to the electric motor occurs automatically, due to a STOP & START system which places the HDi diesel engine in standby and restarts it as and when conditions require (the operation of the accelerator pedal, low battery charge level, etc…).

The two power sources also complement each other in certain driving conditions (“boost” effect during hard acceleration, or when overtaking another vehicle, for example). The performance of the HYbrid4 is therefore directly comparable to that obtained with a single HDi diesel engine of a much higher capacity, with good levels of responsiveness backed by a real breakthrough in terms of reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions (around 35 % less in the combined cycle for equivalent performance).

The electric motor and its ancillary equipment (inverter, converter, etc) are fitted at the rear of the vehicle. This provides a number of advantages not only in terms of customer benefits and it also helps reduce costs and optimise the production process.

The original layout of the Hybrid4 system allows for the possibility of four-wheel drive. The HDi diesel engine drives the front wheels, while the electric motor (in the rear drive train) drives the rear wheels.

Everything is controlled electronically (“by wire”) and there are no mechanical links between the front and the rear drivetrains. This gives the system many advantages over a “traditional” mechanical system.

  • No structural constraints affecting the layout and design within the passenger compartment
  • 4×4 and environmental-friendliness are no longer contradicting terms

The installation at the rear, of all the vehicle’s “electrical components”, has further technical and economic benefits.

Firstly, it avoids the need for any major redesign of the vehicle’s engine compartment, while also improving weight distribution. It also leaves intact the possibility of using a range of different capacity engines, for possible future introduction.

Secondly, this architecture is achieved by means of the use of a simple and compact rear module containing the electric motor, its ancillary equipment and also the rear drive train and suspension.

The costs of the rear module are, therefore, reduced because of the technical possibility of deploying the same HYbrid4 technology into different market segments, in different body shapes, etc…, regardless of the type of internal combustion engine used.

A real breakthrough in terms of reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, while improving dynamic performance levels, providing four-wheel drive and an electric only mode, HYbrid4 technology brings a number of benefits without compromises.

Furthermore, the driveability, safety and eco-efficiency of the system are based on simple, reasonable and consistent technological choices.

The Peugeot 3008 Crossover was chosen as the first application of this innovative technology.

The Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 – In Detail

2.0 litre HDi FAP 163 bhp diesel engine
With a capacity of 1997 cm³, this Euro 5 engine develops a maximum power of 163 bhp at 3750 rpm and a maximum torque of 300Nm at 1580 rpm. To obtain this level of performance it uses Peugeot’s latest generation ECCS (Extreme Conventional Combustion System) combustion chamber design, a variable-geometry low-inertia turbocharger, a high-pressure injection pump allowing a maximum pressure of 2000 bar and solenoid injectors with eight apertures.

Naturally this is combined with the latest generation “octosquare” Eolys additive-enhanced diesel particulate emission filter (FAP) system.

Electronically-controlled 6-speed manual gearbox (BMP6)
The HDi diesel engine is mated to an electronically-controlled manual six-speed sequential gearbox:

  • In automatic mode its electronic control helps provide significant savings in fuel consumption, compared to a traditional automatic gearbox or even a traditional manual gearbox
  • It offers real driving satisfaction derived from the possibility of choosing the gear change mode at any time – manual or automatic – with either the gear lever or via controls behind the steering wheel

The gear change quality of the gearbox has been enhanced with HYbrid4 technology, as the rear electric motor is activated during gear changes to improve the smoothness of the operation, and sustains drive in between gear changes.

Latest-generation STOP & START system
This system places the HDi diesel engine in standby when the vehicle is at a standstill (at traffic lights, a stop sign or in a traffic jam, etc) and when the vehicle is being driven in electric-only mode. It significantly reduces fuel consumption and emissions in urban driving conditions while also enabling.the HDi diesel engine to be restarted instantly and smoothly, when required.

The “high voltage” STOP & START system has a maximum output of 8 kW and can generate enough energy to supply the power requirements for the rear electric motor if required (four-wheel drive mode).

Rear suspension
To ensure a dynamic performance on a par with Peugeot’s reputable road holding standards, the rear electric module also includes a multi-arm rear suspension within which are housed the electric motor and the reduction gearbox.

The ESP system fitted to the 3008 HYbrid4 incorporates an “improved traction control system” (ASR) able to exploit the car’s four-wheel drive capabilities to the full on challenging surfaces. The performance of the system can be enhanced by the fitment of optional 16” ‘Mud & Snow’ tyres.

Electric motor
The synchronous permanent magnet electric motor is located at the rear of the vehicle. It provides a constant 27 bhp, with a peak output of 37 bhp. It generates a constant torque of 100 Nm, or a peak of 200 Nm when necessary.

PTMU (Power Train Management Unit)
The PTMU is the electronic control unit that automatically manages the different operating modes of the HDi diesel engine and the electric motor, programmed to optimise fuel consumption.

An inverter and a converter are used to control the electric power. The inverter controls the torque of the electric motor by regulating the electrical current supplied from the high-voltage battery pack. It operates in a voltage range of between 150 and 270 volts. The converter reduces the 200 volts from the high-voltage battery pack into 12 volts to supply the vehicle’s onboard systems.

On the Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 all these components have been made as compact as possible to optimise the installation and weight effect in the vehicle.

High-voltage battery pack
The Ni-MH (Nickel Metal Hydride) batteries are located under the boot floor, near the electric motor. The high-voltage battery pack is in addition to the standard 12V battery under the bonnet, which carries on performing its normal duties.

In the medium term, this battery technology remains the most appropriate in terms of cost and industrialisation for vehicles produced in large volumes.

Energy recovery
An energy recovery system (the electric motor becomes a generator) enables the kinetic energy created by the vehicle to be transformed into electrical energy to recharge the Ni-MH batteries during deceleration (release of the accelerator pedal and during braking). This recovery system enables the driver to re-deploy the “free” (Kinetic) energy to reduce fuel consumption accordingly.

Man-machine interface
A 7” 16/9 colour screen or a multi-function display, according to the car’s specification, informs the driver in real time of the operating status of the hybrid power train. It also shows, for a given journey, operating times in different modes and the status of the battery charge.

On the instrument panel the left-hand dial indicates the percentage of power used or recovered during phases of braking or deceleration. Different scales indicate the battery status: Charge, Eco (optimal operating range), Power, Boost (maximum use jointly with the HDi diesel engine).

To develop its HYbrid4 technology, the PSA Peugeot Citroën Group has teamed up with suppliers offering the best expertise in each field. Based on the manufacturer’s technical specifications, BOSCH has provided its expertise with respect to the electric motor, the power electronics, the reversible high-voltage alternator / generator and other systems managing the dialogue between these components, the braking and trajectory correction systems (ABS and ESP). Similarly, SANYO has provided its extensive knowledge in the field of Ni-MH high-voltage batteries.

A distinctive design
The new Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 is distinguished by its cutting-edge technology, combining responsible driving and driving enjoyment, but also by its specific styling.

At the front, Peugeot’s latest design cues have been adapted to match the 3008′s generous dimensions and to mark a break with existing models. The headlamps now have an integral bar of LEDs providing a daytime lighting function and accentuate the 3008′s appearance. The 3008 HYbrid4 also proudly wears the Marque’s new Lion badge on its bonnet.

At the rear, the rear spoiler has a two-tone finish with a high gloss black section, helping to differentiate it from the other 3008 models in the range, as do the chrome badges which decorate the sides and rear of the car.

Inside its roomy architecture, the driving position bears all the hallmarks of a top-of-the-range vehicle, or even that of an aircraft cockpit. An expansive fascia panel, controls within easy hand’s reach and an ergonomic centre console clearly separate the territory of the “pilot”. Combined with a raised and dominating driving position it has everything in place to reward its drivers and offer a range of new driving experiences not previously found in a conventional hybrid vehicle.

Distinctive materials are deployed throughout to accentuate the Crossover feel and explore new avenues of expression. This is true in particular of the new and specific Guérande & Tramontane two-tone leather finish which subtly combines bright pale grey on the seat cushions with a black finish on the sides of the seats.

The gear lever with its modern and elegant design is a key feature of the HYbrid4 technology. It enhances the technological ambience in the same way as the 7” colour display which provides information on the flow of energy. A specific steering wheel bearing the signature HYbrid4 adds a touch of exclusivity to the car.

“Multiflex” interior
Due to its intelligent “Multiflex” interior and clever integration of the batteries and the innovative rear suspension, the Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 can also be transformed to offer a considerable load capacity under the parcel shelf of 420 litres (362 dm3 VDA), with 66 litres (29 dm3 VDA) available under the boot floor.

The split lower tailgate opens to reveal a boot with a flat floor equipped with longitudinal securing rings that exude quality and strength. From the boot, a rear seat folding system, controlled by switches mounted on the load area side trims, allow the seats in the second row to be folded automatically, ‘as if by magic’.

Combined with the folding front passenger seat, the 3008 HYbrid4 offers a perfectly flat floor from the tailgate to the fascia panel. This frees up a gigantic 1501 litre compartment that is easy to load.

Driving aids:
Comfortably seated behind the steering wheel, drivers will note among the equipment at their disposal certain references to the world of aviation.

For example, to ensure that the driver never needs to take an eye off the road ahead, and as in a jet aircraft, essential driving information is projected onto a retractable transparent panel which cleverly extends from the instrument panel. The Head-Up Display system can be adjusted by means of toggle switches.

These switches, located above the centre console, add a further touch of style to the in-car ambience. They also control another original item of equipment – the Distance Alert system. As its name implies, this function helps the driver to keep aware of the safe distance from the vehicle in front, according to the 3008′s speed.

Another item of equipment that helps to ensure maximum driving convenience is the Parallel Park Assist (PPA). This system assesses the size of a space during parking manoeuvres and determines the possibility of parking in it.

Similarly, the electric handbrake coupled with the Hill Assist function, helps the driver during manoeuvres but also optimises the interior space within the vehicle.

Finally, a latest-generation satellite navigation system helps to guide users on their travels.

The Peugeot Connect 3-D Media Navigation (NG4) includes all the benefits of the Marque’s existing satellite navigation systems. These include a juke-box function, linked to a hard disc, Peugeot Connect services, GSM function, a USB connector, a DVD player, a Bluetooth® system and a display which shows specific buildings in full 3D.

The Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 is a Crossover with an exceptional technological content offering unique versatility and safety, unrivalled driving enjoyment and CO2 emissions of a very low level. Peugeot’s choice of the diesel hybrid demonstrates that it is possible to combine uncompromising environmental demands with driving experiences not previously available in a hybrid vehicle.

The 3008 HYbrid4 will be produced in France (in Sochaux and Mulhouse) and marketed in the spring of 2011 in Europe

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The future of VW, Audi, and Porsche hybrids in the US and Canada

There are unconfirmed reports that Honda of Canada will discontinue the Honda Civic hybrid and Honda Insight hybrid or at least not keep them in stock despite higher fuel prices than in the US.   Only about 2% of Civics sold this year have been civic hybrids.  Because Volkswagen Auto Group VAG (the company that owns Audi, VW, Porsche, Bentley, Lamborghini,) hybrids are parallel hybrids like Honda, what does this mean for the future of VW, Audi, and Porsche hybrids?

I think it will mean different things for the US and Canada.  Hybrids seem to sell much better in the US.  The hybrid premium price is bigger on the Honda hybrid than in the US.  Hybrids don’t work as well in the winter due to cold batteries.  However, most Canadians live in the southern half of the country in cities like Montreal, Toronto, or Vancouver where it’s quite mild and livable despite the constant polar bear attacks and penguin crossings.  Could the difference be due to the success of marketing?

The other problem for VW is that parallel hybrids like Honda’s IMA integrated motor assist cannot get the same fuel economy as Toyota’s HSD hybrid synergy drive, everything else being about equal.  The reason why VW and Honda make parallel hybrids is because the electric motor can be easily and cheaply adapted to existing engines.

I wouldn’t be surprised if VAG is researching full electric vehicles more than Toyota because why would Toyota want to kill a cash cow?  If you have a good seller, improve upon it to keep all your valuable patents, licensing deals to other makes like Nissan or Ford, and strong brand names intact.  VW doesn’t have much to lose by exploring different technologies so I suspect we’ll see some innovative solutions from them  in the next 10 years.  In the meantime, they’re doing what they can with existing technology and that is making parallel hybrids.

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Major Chinese investment in EV

Dongfeng Motor Corp announced a $443 millions US dollar investment in hybrid and EV technology over the next 5 years, according to the Shanghai Daily.  Donfeng is the Chinese partner for Honda and Peugoet.  VW’s Chinese partner is also based in Shanghai.  Foreign car companies must join with a local partner to manufacture cars in China.  China announced plans to subsidize 4 million green cars by 2012.  Many taxi cabs in major cities are already hydrogen powered.

What does this mean for EV?  America and China are the two biggest car markets and you may be surprised to learn that the Chinese bought about 1/3 more new vehicles (includes heavy vehicles) than the US in 2009 and VW sells more cars in China than in the US.  Audi is also the leading Chinese luxury car brand but remember that in China, even VW are designed to be driven by chauffeurs.

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Is there enough energy for hybrids?

An interesting chart from free insurance quote states that there is plenty of potential to meet the energy needs to run EV.  See the chart below:

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Blue-e-motion Golf EV hybrid and Up! confirmed to use li-ion batteries

According to an Autocar interview with Martin Eberhard, VW hybrids and EV will all use lithium ion batteries instead of the nickel metal hydride batteries used in current hybrids and EV.  Martin Eberhard was one of the founders of Tesla who is now electric vehicle engineering director at Volkswagen’s Electronics Research Laboratory.  He said that

“Our biggest projects at the moment are the development of the lithium-ion battery packs for Volkswagen’s Blue-e-motion Golf, the E-Up city car and the Audi e-tron. We’re working exclusively with ‘18650’-type lithium-ion cells. They’re the same size as the ones you’ll find in most laptop computer battery packs; that’s why they’re referred to as ‘consumer cells’…To illustrate the point, the lithium-ion cells we’re currently working with contain 2.9 amp-hours of power; five years ago the ones we were using at Tesla only had 1.4 amp-hours. That rate of development has already had an impact on the cars we’re working on. The batteries we used in the original Audi e-tron prototype, for example, gave it 60kWh of power and a range of just over 150 miles….But with the 3.4 amp-hour cells we’re about to take delivery of, it should have 100kWh and do close to 300 miles on a charge.”

This is a big step towards moving to greater use of hybrid and all electric EV because the main obstacle to widespread use of the cars is cost, consumer acceptance, and limited range.  According to the interview, Eberhard predicts a greater than 500 mile range for EV within 10 years.  How about 6?

source: autocar

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