• Birmingham City Council are planning to cut air pollution by no longer allow cars to travel through the city centre.

    The latest draft of the 2020 Birmingham Transport Plan, released this week, outlines the growth in number of vehicles on the road “needs to be contained and managed” and an increase in trips through the city centre are increasing congestions and poor air quality.

    The proposed plan would transform the city centre of Birmingham and create a network of pedestrian streets and public spaces, integrated with public transport services and cycling infrastructure. Any access to the city centre by private cars are therefore to be limited with no “through trips”, which would lead to looking at different options for the central section of the A38 and re-routing to an upgrade ring-road.

    The draft plan is next to be reviewed by the West Midland Combined Authority (WMCA) board and comments will be “considered and any necessary changes will be made prior to its adoption as a policy document”.

  • BMW are introducing mild hybrid technology to more models this year, including the BMW 1 Series and BMW 3 Series.

    First introduced to the 520d variants of BMW 5 Series last year, the mild hybrid technology comprises a 48-volt starter generator as well as an additional battery, which enhances both efficiency and dynamics.

    Beyond the new mild hybrid models, the 1 Series range will also become available with another Euro 6d certified engine, a 2.0-litre diesel engine with 190hp in the BMW 120d. As for the 3 Series, the lineup will also receive an additional engine in the form of a new four-cylinder 2.0-litre petrol engine in the BMW 318i. Available in both saloon and touring models, the new entry-level petrol engine will produce 156hp and get to 0-60mph in 8.4s and 8.7s respectively.

    These all new engine options will roll out in March/April this year, with the same mild hybrid technology also coming to the BMW X3 and BMW X4 further down the line.

  • Almost six years after its launch, the BMW i8 is to cease production in April this year. BMW are instead set to focus on their upcoming line of electric cars, including the iX3, i4 and iNEXT.

    The Vision M NEXT concept, revealed by BMW at the Frankfurt Motorshow last year, is the likely successor to the BMW i8, which also combines electric and petrol power in a plug-in hybrid configuration. Although still a concept, the Vision M NEXT is claimed to have an electric range of more than 62 miles and a total output of 592hp, with a 0-62mph time of 3s.

    More details of the potential BMW i8 successor are not expected until next year.

  • The ‘Hummer’ is anticipated to be revived as an all-electric pickup under General Motors’ GMC brand.

    Last available to buy in the UK in 2008, the Hummer brand had poor sales for its H2 and H3 models during their time in showrooms and were eventually discontinued. The brand had a similar fate in the USA as well, with the last of Hummer dealerships shutting down in 2010.

    Excepted to be revealed during the NFL Super Bowl in February, the all-electric GMC Hummer will be going up against other electric pickups, including Tesla’s recently unveiled Cybertruck and Rivian’s upcoming R1T.