Kamis, 31 Oktober 2013

Subaru to reveal Viziv Evolution Plug-In Hybrid Concept @ Tokyo Motor Show

The Subaru Viziv Evolution concept, which was exhibited at the 2013 Geneva show, will be revealed at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show in a closer to production form.

The Viziv Evolution we saw in Geneva utilized a diesel-hybrid set up, whereas this iteration is a plug-in hybrid that employs the same 1.6-liter DIT boxer engine in the Levorg concept.

The overall design carries over, though, with the engine connected to a continuously variable transmission, one electric motor up front and two additional electric motors connected to the rear wheels.

Technology is a big component of the innovative all-wheel drive Viziv Evolution concept, which will also come with a new autopilot system that previsions the future of fully-autonomous vehicles.

Major Specifications

  • Engine Type: 1.6-liter Horizontally-Opposed direct injection turbo "DIT" engine
  • Transmission Type: Lineartronic (CVT)
  • Electric Motor Type: Interior permanent magnet synchronous motor;
    1 front motor,
    2 rear motors
  • Drivetrain: Independent-rear-motor-driven Symmetrical AWD (All-Wheel drive) + Plug-in hybrid system
  • Battery Type: Lithium-ion batteries
  • Rabu, 30 Oktober 2013

    Tesla Superchargers Enables Free Travel Between San Diego and Vancouver

    Tesla Motors today announced the opening of the West Coast Supercharger Corridor, energizing a network of stations that enable Model S owners to travel for free between San Diego, California and Vancouver, British Columbia.

    With stations along U.S. Highway 101 and Interstate 5, the West Coast's key routes, cities and destinations are connected by Tesla Superchargers. Model S customers can drive between San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Sacramento, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver for free with minimal stops. More than 99 percent of Californians and 87 percent of Oregon and Washington owners are now within 200 miles of a Supercharger.

    Tesla Superchargers are substantially more powerful than any other charging technology in the world, capable of charging Model S 20x faster than most public charging stations. Superchargers deliver up to 120 kW DC (Direct Current) power directly to the Model S battery, providing half a charge in as little as 20 minutes. Superchargers are strategically placed along major highways connecting city centers. Stations are located where customers want to stop, near amenities like roadside diners, cafes and shopping centers, so owners can stop for a quick meal while their Model S charges for free.

    This morning in San Diego, two Model S will embark on a 1,750 mile #DriveFree road trip to Vancouver powered only by Tesla Superchargers. The journey will take them through Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Sacramento, Mt. Shasta, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, with stops at popular destinations such as the Santa Monica Pier, Monterey Bay and the world famous Pike Place Fish Market. Throughout the trip, Tesla will be hosting owner and media events and providing real time updates from the road on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

    Panasonic Agree to Supply Tesla with 2 Billion Battery Cells

    Panasonic Corporation and Tesla Motors today announced that the two companies have reached an agreement in which Panasonic will expand its supply of automotive-grade lithium-ion battery cells to Tesla. With this agreement, the two companies update and expand their 2011 arrangement to now supply nearly 2 billion cells over the course of four years. The lithium-ion battery cells purchased from Panasonic will be used to power the award winning Model S as well as Model X, a performance utility vehicle that is scheduled to go into production by the end of 2014.

    This agreement builds upon a multi-year collaboration between Panasonic and Tesla to develop next-generation automotive-grade battery cells and accelerate the market expansion of electric vehicles. Panasonic’s cells combined with Tesla’s proven EV battery expertise have already enabled more than 130 million customer miles driven in Tesla Roadsters and Model S.

    “This expanded agreement with Panasonic is important to Tesla as we continue to increase the pace of production,” said Tesla Co-Founder and CEO Elon Musk. “We look forward to strengthening our relationship with Panasonic, and I’m confident that this partnership will continue to be an integral part of Tesla’s success for years to come.”

    Together, Panasonic and Tesla have developed a next-generation battery cell technology that provides the highest energy density and best performance cells in the market. Panasonic’s cylindrical cell is a customized technology designed specifically for optimizing electric vehicle quality and life. These cells are integrated by Tesla into the battery pack in a way that enables an industry-leading range of approximately 265 miles for the Model S.

    “We are extremely proud to be a strategic partner of Tesla,” said Yoshihiko Yamada, president of the Automotive & Industrial Systems Company, an internal company of Panasonic. “Panasonic will increase its production capacity of lithium-ion battery cells to supply Tesla’s growing needs as it expands its production of EVs.”

    Senin, 28 Oktober 2013

    BMW Joins VW in Backing Germany’s 1 Million Electric-Car Goal

    BMW backed the German government’s goal to have 1 million electric cars by 2020 on the country’s roads, a week after Volkswagen said the target is achievable under broader terms for alternative drives.

    Developing the European Union’s electric-vehicle market will need the backing of authorities, though official support in the bloc is lagging behind initiatives in the U.S. and China, BMW Chief Executive Officer Norbert Reithofer said today in a speech at an industry conference in Munich.

    “I hope the ongoing discussions between national governments, the European Parliament and the European Commission lead to a package that’s viable,” Reithofer said at the conference sponsored by Handelsblatt newspaper. “At the moment, the commission’s proposals don’t offer incentives to speed up introduction of alternative drives.”

    Carmakers are promoting electric-powered models to comply with tightening regulations that apply to their fleets’ emissions across the globe. Munich-based BMW, the world’s biggest maker of luxury vehicles, is putting the 34,950-euro ($48,200) all-electric i3 city car into showrooms in Germany next month.

    VW CEO Martin Winterkorn said last week that the Wolfsburg, Germany-based manufacturer, Europe’s largest volume carmaker, will “contribute” to the German goal for electric vehicles to play a larger role in the market by 2020. Authorities’ plans are feasible as long as they include plug-in hybrids, which can switch between rechargeable battery power and conventional combustion engines, as the models offer the biggest market potential, he said.

    Volkswagen outlined plans in September to offer as many as 40 electric or hybrid models in the event that demand for low-emission cars takes off. The manufacturer will produce 14 vehicles with alternative drive through next year after introducing electric versions of the Golf hatchback and Up! city car at the Frankfurt auto show last month. VW also showed new plug-in hybrid versions of the Porsche brand’s Panamera four-door coupe and Audi’s A3 compact.

    Purely or partly battery-powered vehicles accounted for 4,157 new car registrations in Germany in 2012, about twice as many as the year before, according to the VDA auto-industry association. Germany’s new car market amounts to about 3 million vehicles a year.

    Volkswagen’s e-Up! went on sale in Germany this month for 26,900 euros. The model is “deliberately positioned” against BMW’s i3, Rudolf Krebs, head of electric-powertrain technology at VW, said on Sept. 4.

    BMW presented the i3 at the Frankfurt show, as well as a plug-in hybrid version of the X5 sport-utility vehicle. Reithofer reiterated today that the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car will be added to BMW’s lineup in 2014.

    Minggu, 27 Oktober 2013

    Battery-powered driverless cars to be launched on UK streets by 2015 [VIDEO]

    Driverless cars will be trialled in Milton Keynes city centre from 2015, as part of a five year pilot scheme.

    100 pod devices will run on specifically marked out lanes between Milton Keynes Central train station, the centre:mk shopping centre and the offices in-between.

    They will be powered by an electric motor, and will travel along pavements at speeds of up to 12mph. Initially, they will be on separate lanes but the government may remove these lanes as the experiment progresses.

    The pods will be big enough to fit two passengers and luggage. They will also be fitted with sensors to avoid colliding with pedestrians and parked cars.

    A trial of the devices will begin in 2015, with a full rollout expected two years later. This will allow customers to hire pods from £2 a ride using smartphone apps to either hail or advance book one of the machines.

    The experiment is expected to cost £65million over the five year period, and has the backing of Business Secretary Vince Cable and Higher Education minister David Willets.

    Milton Keynes was chosen for the experiment because of its wide pavements. The trials will be the first driverless cars in operation on Britain’s streets.

    A driverless ULTra PRT pod transport system with 21 pods and over 4km of track has been operational at London Heathrow airport since May 2011. (see video above)

    Sabtu, 26 Oktober 2013

    Tesla eyes 10,000 annual sales of Model S in Germany

    Tesla Motors is aiming to sell around 10,000 cars a year in Germany by 2015 as it builds out its networks of charging stations, its chief executive told a German paper.

    "I have confidence in the German consumer," Tesla Chief executive Elon Musk was quoted as saying in an interview with Welt am Sonntag.

    "Our fast charging stations should cover around half of Germany by the end of March 2014 and the entire country by the end of 2014," he said, adding he expected there to be 25 Tesla dealerships in Germany by the end of next year.

    Tesla's high performance, all-electric Model S went on sale in Europe in August, and even overtook Volkswagen's Golf as the bestselling car in Norway in September.

    Even vehicle sales of 10,000 would be only a small fraction of the German car market. Main industry association VDA expects sales to reach between 2.9-3.0 million cars this year from 3.08 million in 2012, and keep hovering at around 3 million vehicles in coming years.

    Germany was the biggest market outside the U.S. for Tesla Roadster sales. The Model S costs from 71,400 euros ($98,500) in Germany, according to the group's website.

    Jumat, 25 Oktober 2013

    Graphene-Coated Silicon Supercapacitor could make batteries obsolete

    Solar cells that produce electricity 24/7, not just when the sun is shining. Mobile phones with built-in power cells that recharge in seconds and work for weeks between charges.

    These are just two of the possibilities raised by a novel supercapacitor design invented by material scientists at Vanderbilt University.

    It is the first supercapacitor that is made out of silicon so it can be built into a silicon chip along with the microelectronic circuitry that it powers. In fact, it should be possible to construct these power cells out of the excess silicon that exists in the current generation of solar cells, sensors, mobile phones and a variety of other electromechanical devices, providing a considerable cost savings.

    “If you ask experts about making a supercapacitor out of silicon, they will tell you it is a crazy idea,” said Cary Pint, the assistant professor of mechanical engineering who headed the development. “But we’ve found an easy way to do it.”

    Instead of storing energy in chemical reactions the way batteries do, “supercaps” store electricity by assembling ions on the surface of a porous material. As a result, they tend to charge and discharge in minutes, instead of hours, and operate for a few million cycles, instead of a few thousand cycles like batteries.

    These properties have allowed commercial supercapacitors, which are made out of activated carbon, to capture a few niche markets, such as storing energy captured by regenerative braking systems on buses and electric vehicles and to provide the bursts of power required to adjust of the blades of giant wind turbines to changing wind conditions. Supercapacitors still lag behind the electrical energy storage capability of lithium-ion batteries, so they are too bulky to power most consumer devices. However, they have been catching up rapidly.

    Research to improve the energy density of supercapacitors has focused on carbon-based nanomaterials like graphene and nanotubes. Because these devices store electrical charge on the surface of their electrodes, the way to increase their energy density is to increase the electrodes’ surface area, which means making surfaces filled with nanoscale ridges and pores.

    “The big challenge for this approach is assembling the materials,” said Pint. “Constructing high-performance, functional devices out of nanoscale building blocks with any level of control has proven to be quite challenging, and when it is achieved it is difficult to repeat.”

    So Pint and his research team – graduate students Landon Oakes, Andrew Westover and post-doctoral fellow Shahana Chatterjee – decided to take a radically different approach: using porous silicon, a material with a controllable and well-defined nanostructure made by electrochemically etching the surface of a silicon wafer.

    This allowed them to create surfaces with optimal nanostructures for supercapacitor electrodes, but it left them with a major problem. Silicon is generally considered unsuitable for use in supercapacitors because it reacts readily with some of chemicals in the electrolytes that provide the ions that store the electrical charge.

    With experience in growing carbon nanostructures, Pint’s group decided to try to coat the porous silicon surface with carbon. “We had no idea what would happen,” said Pint. “Typically, researchers grow graphene from silicon-carbide materials at temperatures in excess of 1400 degrees Celsius. But at lower temperatures – 600 to 700 degrees Celsius – we certainly didn’t expect graphene-like material growth.”

    When the researchers pulled the porous silicon out of the furnace, they found that it had turned from orange to purple or black. When they inspected it under a powerful scanning electron microscope they found that it looked nearly identical to the original material but it was coated by a layer of graphene a few nanometers thick.

    When the researchers tested the coated material they found that it had chemically stabilized the silicon surface. When they used it to make supercapacitors, they found that the graphene coating improved energy densities by over two orders of magnitude compared to those made from uncoated porous silicon and significantly better than commercial supercapacitors.

    The graphene layer acts as an atomically thin protective coating. Pint and his group argue that this approach isn’t limited to graphene. “The ability to engineer surfaces with atomically thin layers of materials combined with the control achieved in designing porous materials opens opportunities for a number of different applications beyond energy storage,” he said.

    “Despite the excellent device performance we achieved, our goal wasn’t to create devices with record performance,” said Pint. “It was to develop a road map for integrated energy storage. Silicon is an ideal material to focus on because it is the basis of so much of our modern technology and applications. In addition, most of the silicon in existing devices remains unused since it is very expensive and wasteful to produce thin silicon wafers.”

    Pint’s group is currently using this approach to develop energy storage that can be formed in the excess materials or on the unused back sides of solar cells and sensors. The supercapacitors would store excess the electricity that the cells generate at midday and release it when the demand peaks in the afternoon.

    “All the things that define us in a modern environment require electricity,” said Pint. “The more that we can integrate power storage into existing materials and devices, the more compact and efficient they will become.”

    Source: Nature

    Kamis, 24 Oktober 2013

    Alain Prost teams up with Dams for Formula E entry

    Four-times Formula One world champion Alain Prost will be involved with a team competing in the new electric Formula E series due to start next year, organisers announced on Thursday.

    They said in a statement that the Frenchman, who made a failed attempt to run his own team in Formula One from 1997 to 2001, had linked up with compatriot Jean-Paul Driot to enter a new e.Dams team.

    Five teams have now been signed up from a planned field of 10 to race in city centres around the world starting in Beijing in September.

    "Being able to actively participate in the development of this new technology, which is 100 percent electric, is extremely motivating," said Prost.

    "As we've seen in other championships, 2014 will see a move towards more sustainable racing, proving more than ever that motorsport is the benchmark for the future."

    Driot's Le Mans-based DAMS teams have won petrol-engined championships in various junior series, including GP2, A1 GP, Formula Renault 3.5 and International Formula 3000.

    Tesla hires Segway / Apple VP to lead vehicle development

    Tesla Motors hired a former Apple executive to lead development of the electric carmaker's new vehicles.

    At Apple, Doug Field oversaw the development of products including the latest MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and iMac, Tesla said in a press release announcing the hiring on Thursday.

    Field, who began his career as a Ford engineer, was previously chief technology officer at Segway, the maker of the self-balancing, battery-operated Segway scooter. His title at Tesla will be vice president of vehicle programs.

    The Model S, Tesla's first attempt to reach a mainstream audience for electric cars, has enjoyed stronger than expected sales, helping Tesla shares more than quintuple this year.

    But for Tesla to reach an even broader market and silence electric car naysayers, Chief Executive Elon Musk must successfully develop a third-generation electric car by 2017 that will cost between $30,000 and $35,000.

    "Tesla's future depends on engineers who can create the most innovative, technologically advanced vehicles in the world," Musk said in a statement. "Doug's experience in both consumer electronics and traditional automotive makes him an important addition to our leadership team."

    Volvo Developing Wireless Charging for Electric Vehicles

    The Swedish car manufacturer has announced the development of an energy transfer technology that uses electromagnetic fields. Long term, Volvo sees the technology leading to cordless charging solutions for its hybrid and all-electric vehicles.

    In an official press release, Volvo's Vice President for Electric Propulsion Systems, Lennart Stegland, announced that “inductive charging has great potential” and is “a comfortable and effective way to conveniently transfer energy.” Volvo's tests also indicated that the method is safe, although there are currently no common standards for charging vehicles using induction, a fact that makes it difficult to bring it to mainstream consumers in the near future. Nonetheless, Volvo will continue researching the concept and will soon evaluate the feasibility of integrating it into future hybrid and all-electric cars.

    Inductive charging uses electromagnetic fields to transfer energy from one source to another. One induction coil, located in the power source, creates an alternating electromagnetic field, while a second coil draws the energy from the first to recharge the vehicle's battery. Charging begins automatically as soon as the vehicle is positioned over the charging apparatus, without requiring the use of cables or plugs. Volvo claims that the technology is already used today in a number of home appliances, such as electric toothbrushes.

    The research project was carried out in partnership with Flanders' Drive, an automotive industry think tank in Belgium. The study showed that it is possible to recharge the Volvo C30 Electric without the use of cables in 2 hours and 30 minutes.

    WiTricity Secures Additional $25 Million in Funding

    WiTricity announced today it has secured $25 million in Series E financing from new and existing investors, including Intel Capital and Hon Hai/Foxconn, one of the world’s largest consumer electronics manufacturers. The funding will support the company’s growth strategy as it further develops designs and products for wireless charging in the consumer electronics, electric vehicles, defense and medical device industries, as well as allowing WiTricity to pursue other strategic growth opportunities in the wireless power field.

    “WiTricity’s vision is to usher in a world where wireless power is so ubiquitous, you never have to think about plugging in again,” said WiTricity CEO Eric Giler. “In securing this funding from our investors we are even more effectively positioned to fulfill that vision and deliver game-changing wireless technology to partners and customers around the globe.”

    The announcement marks the next phase in WiTricity’s continued growth as a leader in the wireless power space. According to analyst firm IMS Research, the global market for wireless power will grow 86.5 percent annually to be worth $4.5 billion in 20161. As the inventor of Highly Resonant Wireless Power Transfer, WiTricity is poised to capture that market through existing and new partnerships with major manufacturers including Audi, Mitsubishi, Delphi, Haier, IHI, MediaTek and Thoratec.

    With this infusion of $25 million, WiTricity’s investment funding now totals $45 million. In addition, the company recently secured its 50th patent, positioning it even more strongly for growth and success in the global market.

    Rabu, 23 Oktober 2013

    VW Says Germany’s 1 Million Electric-Car Goal Achievable

    Volkswagen says the German government’s goal to have 1 million electric cars on the country’s roads by 2020 can be achieved if partly battery-powered cars like plug-in hybrids are taken into account.

    “We will make our contribution toward this goal,” Volkswagen Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn said today at a panel discussion at a ceremony near chemical producer BASF SE’s headquarters in Ludwigshafen, Germany.

    Plug-in hybrids “offer the biggest market potential,” and should help with a roll out of electric mobility on a larger scale, Winterkorn said.

    The CEO reiterated Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen’s plan to offer as many as 40 electric or hybrid models in the event that demand for low-emission cars takes off. The manufacturer will produce 14 vehicles with alternative drive through next year after introducing electric versions of the Golf hatchback and Up! city car at the Frankfurt auto show last month. Volkswagen also showed new plug-in hybrid versions of the Porsche brand’s Panamera four-door coupe and Audi’s A3 compact.

    VW’s move echoes initiatives by peers such as Nissan and General Motors to promote purely electric and hybrid cars, which help automakers comply with tightening fleetwide emission regulations across the globe.

    VW’s e-Up! went on sale in Germany this month for 26,900 euros ($37,000). The model is “deliberately positioned” against the battery-powered i3 city car that Munich-based BMW is bringing out, Rudolf Krebs, head of electric-powertrain technology at VW, said on Sept. 4.

    BMW presented the i3 in Frankfurt last month, as well as a plug-in hybrid version of the X5 sport-utility vehicle. The i3, priced at 34,950 euros, will enter showrooms in Germany in November.

    Plug-in hybrids have the most potential and BMW plans to eventually offer one in every model line, Herbert Diess, the automaker’s development chief, said in an interview last month. Cars with electromobility will make up 5 percent to 10 percent of the market by 2020 from well under 1 percent now, Diess said.

    Other alternative-drive vehicles shown at the Frankfurt auto show included an all-electric Mercedes-Benz B-Class crossover from Daimler that will use a drivetrain supplied by Palo Alto, California-based Tesla Motors, and a hybrid coupe prototype from Volvo Car Group.

    Selasa, 22 Oktober 2013

    Nissan to Lead Rapid Charge Network Project

    Nissan is leading a consortium which aims to establish a network of rapid chargers for electric vehicles running the full length and breadth of the United Kingdom and Ireland.

    When complete, a total of 74 rapid chargers will have been installed, covering more than 1,100kms of major trunk routes and providing EV-friendly links to five seaports and five international airports.

    The project, named Rapid Charge Network (RCN), was presented at the Trans European Transport Network (TEN-T) event in Tallinn, Estonia, which was hosted by European Commission Vice President Siim Kallas. Estonia was the first country in the world to open a nationwide EV fast-charging network.

    Funding for the Rapid Charge Network (RCN) project is being led by Nissan and is co‑financed by the European Union through the TEN-T programme, with further contributions from fellow consortium members Renault, BMW and Volkswagen and ESB Ireland's Electricity Supply Board. It also draws on the network expertise of Zero Carbon Futures and Newcastle University

    "Nissan is delighted to be leading this important initiative. The UK's Rapid Charge Network will provide a vital sense of security for all EV drivers, not just those using the award-winning Nissan LEAF, as well as helping to promote the advantages of zero emission mobility to others," said Olivier Paturet, General Manager Zero Emission Strategy & Corporate Planning.

    Running on two priority road axes on the mainland, the network will link major ports and cities including Stranraer, Liverpool, Holyhead, Birmingham, Felixstowe, Leeds and Kingston upon Hull with connections to existing networks in Dublin and Belfast in Eire and Northern Ireland.

    Significantly, the rapid chargers being deployed will be the first state-of-the-art multi-standard units in public operation in Europe. This will ensure that every EV owner in the country can undertake long journeys secure in the knowledge that they will never be far from a rapid charger no matter what brand of car they drive. The units are compatible with cars using 44kW DC CCS, 44 kW DC Chademo or 43 kW AC systems. Installation of the rapid chargers is due to be completed by the end of 2014.

    By providing a network of chargers for EV drivers, the RCN project is designed to encourage further take up of electric vehicles in a bid to further decarbonize road transport.

    The network will also be used to gather strategic information from users, including customer charging behavior and changes in mobility patterns, to help plan the roll-out future rapid charging infrastructure in member states across Europe.

    The RCN project is one of 30 priority transport projects across Europe identified by TEN-T. The Projects were chosen according to the added value they offer to the European community and their contribution to the sustainable development of transport systems. They include rail, mixed rail-road, road and inland waterway projects, as well as a ‘motorways of the sea' scheme.

    Source: RCN

    Minggu, 20 Oktober 2013

    Audi Hybrids are World Endurance Champions in Japan

    Audi has defended its titles early in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in Japan. The success with the R18 e-tron quattro was achieved by Audi Sport Team Joest in odd circumstances: Heavy rain at Fuji meant that not a single lap could be completed under the Green Flag. In the end, the leaders of the standings, Loïc Duval/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish (F/DK/GB), as the best Audi team took second place overall in the race, their team-mates Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (CH/D/F) were classified in fourth place in the LMP1 category. Consequently, the drivers’ classification will be decided between the two Audi squads at the remaining rounds.

    At the sixth of eight WEC rounds, difficult weather conditions prevailed. Steady rain had prompted race control to start the endurance race behind the safety car. But the 4.563-kilometer track at the foot of Mount Fuji was too wet for the race to be released in these conditions, so the stewards of the meeting interrupted the race after eight laps. A resumption behind the safety car after two and a half hours ended in another interruption 22 minutes later. Another two hours later, the participants again started behind the safety car before the race was finally stopped after just one lap. The stewards decided that force majeure had prevented a regular course of the race. As a result, the drivers, due to the shorter race distance, were awarded half the points equating to their positions – even if they had not been in the cockpit at all. With two remaining rounds, Audi is out of reach in the manufacturers’ World Championship with a 66.5-point advantage.

    As the best Audi squad in the race, the leaders of the standings, Loïc Duval/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish, who had started from position four, achieved second place. They extended their lead in the Championship to 40.75 points. Among other things, the Audi designated as car number ‘2’ benefited from the fact that the number ‘8’ Toyota, which had qualified in position two, could not assume its place on the grid. As a result, the car had to start from the pit lane and was unable to overtake under safety car conditions.

    The number ‘1’ Audi suffered misfortune. André Lotterer/Marcel Fässler/Benoît Tréluyer initially led the race from position one on the grid. When debris impaired the intake duct of the engine Audi Sport Team Joest decided to perform a repair for safety reasons. The team used a second caution period to do so when there were prospects for a weather improvement and thus a resumption of the race. However, since this did not occur and the rain became heavier again, last year’s World Champions had to settle for fourth place in their class and 26th place overall. For the first time in almost exactly one year, the Audi LMP sports cars thus had to formally admit defeat. At Shanghai, the next WEC round will be on the agenda in three weeks from now. There, Audi could have another reason to celebrate, as an early title decision in the drivers’ classification is probable in China.

    New 1/4 Mile EV Record at 9.12 Seconds @ 145 mph [VIDEO]

    NEDRA President John Metric has taken his Miata, Assault and Battery to an all-time 1/4 mile record for an Electric door slammer at Royal Purple Raceway with a best time of 9.12 at 145 mph!

    The EV record has been held by Black Current III since 2010 with a 9.51 sec @135 mph pass of Santa Pod.

    The tube frame and tubbed 2002 Mazda Miata runs 2x 2000 amp Zilla 2K-EHV controllers feeding dual brushed DC NetGain 9-inch motors, a Lenco 2 speed and double GV overdrive.

    The boot mounted battery pack contains 450x LiPo 100C RC car batteries wired 90S5P that are good for 775 peak battery HP @ 375v. For the record run the controllers were set to 170 volt & 1100 amps per motor.

  • 60ft 1.312
  • 330' 3.729
  • 660' 5.793 118.29mph
  • 1320' 9.161 144.23mph
  • Sabtu, 19 Oktober 2013

    BMW say i5 'already in the works'

    BMW could build a large battery powered sedan to compete head on with Tesla's Model S.

    Following the critical success being enjoyed by the Tesla Model S many within BMW's i project are already convinced that there is potential for a model larger than the i3.

    The company is still deciding whether the new car – likely to be called i5 – would be a crossover or a conventional sedan.

    'We are having these discussions right now,' said the senior BMW source, 'and no decision has been taken. In fact, there's still not an absolute decision that the car, if it is called i5, should even happen. Many, including myself, believe that there is potential. Then if we decide the car should happen, we need to decide if it is a regular sedan or something where the passengers are sitting slightly higher up.

    'Then after that we need to decide whether a car of this size can be a fully electric edition, like the i3, or whether it needs to be a range-extender – or perhaps even a plug-in hybrid. That could ultimately be the best solution for that model; we don't know yet.'

    BMW have already underestimated demand for their first fully electric i3 and have announced they are planning to have a plug-in hybrid in each and every model series. BMW have also already road tested an all electric X1 crossover, initially bound for Chinese production in a joint venture with Chinese partner Brilliance Auto, so perhaps an all electric 5 series or X5 is a logical next step.

    Source: WHATCAR?

    Nissan Dualis Crossover EV 'likely' for UK Production

    Nissan bosses have refused to rule out the introduction of an electric version of the next-generation Nissan Dualis (Qashqai in EU)

    According to Autocar Guillaume Cartier, Nissan's head of European sales and marketing says the Japanese automaker won't consider an electric-drive version of the model "for now," implying that there may be one in the future for Europe. He added that economies of scale are driving battery-electric powertrain production costs down, so Nissan is likely to expand the battery-electric option well beyond models such as the Leaf.

    The Qashqai has been built at Nissan's UK plant in Sunderland since December 2006. Nissan started production of the LEAF at Sunderland in March of this year.

    Cartier also said that Nissan's EV lineup will continue to grow, but EV technology will not be retro-fitted into existing models. New models will be designed with electric propulsion in mind from the outset.

    Source: Autocar

    Jumat, 18 Oktober 2013

    Nissan ZEOD RC makes its first public run at Fuji Speedway [VIDEO]

    Japanese fans will have the first opportunity to see the revolutionary Nissan ZEOD RC in action when the car makes its public on-track debut at this year's Fuji Speedway round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

    Running in pure electric mode, the Nissan ZEOD RC will undertake demonstration runs on October 18, 19 and 20 – all three days of the Japanese round of the WEC. The Fuji demonstration was announced today at the Nissan 360 global media event in California.

    The ZEOD RC (Zero Emission On Demand Racing Car) will make its race debut at next year's Le Mans 24 Hour. The global leader in electric vehicles for the road, Nissan will trial variants of new electric drive train technologies as part of its intended future return to LM P1 competition to challenge for overall victory at the world's most prestigious endurance race.

    The Nissan ZEOD RC will kick off its testing and development program soon in the UK with inaugural Nissan PlayStation GT Academy winner Lucas Ordóñez behind the wheel.

    Ordóñez and Krumm were teammates at Le Mans this year where they scored third place in the LM P2 class with 2011 GT Academy winner, Jann Mardenborough.

    Nissan is also enjoying a highly successful season in the FIA World Endurance Championship in the LM P2 class with pole position and victory at the first four rounds of the season at Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans and Interlagos.

    "One of our goals with the Nissan ZEOD RC is to draw back the curtain for fans so they can see what goes on behind the scenes in the development of such a unique race car," said Nissan's Global Motorsport Director, Darren Cox.

    "As part of that philosophy, we thought it would be quite fitting that rather than just test behind closed doors, we give the fans the chance to see the car in action.

    "To be able to do that at such a great venue like Fuji Speedway only 90 minutes away from the home of Nismo in Yokohama was too good to pass up.

    "We'll be on track with many of the cars from the WEC at Le Mans next year so our demonstration runs will also give us some initial comparison data as well."

    After the Fuji events, the Nissan ZEOD RC will continue its development program in Europe with Lucas Ordóñez returning to the driver seat. The car is scheduled to make its race debut at next year's Le Mans 24 Hour where it will occupy Garage 56 – an additional entry reserved by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest for cars using new and innovative technology not previously seen in the French endurance classic.

    "Nissan has become a global leader in the development of zero emission automotive technology and the Nissan ZEOD RC will allow us to further develop those capabilities using the toughest endurance race in the world as a mobile test bed to test the potential of our planned LM P1 power train," said Andy Palmer, Executive Vice President and Executive Committee member at Nissan Motor Company Limited.

    "The ZEOD RC program is designed to develop multiple technologies to evaluate how they could be used for a future LM P1 class return of Nissan at the Le Mans 24 Hour."

    Nissan is already a global leader in the development of electric vehicles for the road. Launched in 2010, the Nissan LEAF has become the world's best-selling all-electric car. The LEAF won the 2010 Green Car Vision Award, the 2011 European Car of the Year, the 2011 World Car of the Year, and the 2011–2012 Car of the Year Japan.

    Nissan launched the Nissan LEAF RC in 2011 – a race car prototype powered by the same 107-hp electric motor that is used in the road car.

    The Nissan ZEOD RC is the next step in the electrification of motorsport. The new car will turn speeds faster than GTE class cars running purely on electric power with zero emissions.

    UPDATE: Bloomberg says BMW, Audi to Blitz Tesla With High-End Competition [VIDEO]

    Bloomberg reporter Matt Miller tries to make a case that BMW and Audi are going to squeeze out Tesla at the top-end of the market, but the analysis is fairly poor.

    Miller's argument starts by comparing BMW's two seater plug-in hybrid i8 sports car to Tesla's seven seater 100% battery electric Model S sedan? These cars aren't in the same market segment!

    We're not even sure how Audi enters the competitive analysis. Sure Tesla are taking sales off Audi but what does Audi have to offer? Audi admitted defeat and canned the R8 e-tron saying they couldn't figure out how to make a high performance battery only car economically viable and they have not announced any plans for a high performance battery only 4 door sedan to go up against the Model S.

    UPDATE: Recent news suggests perhaps Tesla's Model S will have some head on competition from Germany. Less than 5 days after the Bloomberg report was aired a BMW source leaked news that the firm has noted the success of the Model S and a similar spec i5 is 'already in the works'.

    Kamis, 17 Oktober 2013

    Pikes Peak EV Record Holder Demos 900 HP AWD [VIDEO]

    The recent Electric Vehicle Racing in Motor Sports Japan Festival saw some interesting EV race car demonstrations, some of which have made their way onto Youtube.

    While the environmental benefits of converting tire rubber into smoke are debatable, what is of particular interest is the demonstration of the horsepower available in Monster Tajima's EV class winning Pikes Peak Special.

    GKN EVO axial flux motors power all the leading Japanese Pikes Peak EV entries and we believe Tajima's Monster Sport E-RUNNER runs 2x AFM-240 Axial Flux motors, each capable of 335 kw (455 hp) and 1200 Nm Peak.

    While we don't know what differential gearing the car runs front and back so are unable to calculate torque at the wheels, that's just over 900 tire shredding horsepower in this car park demo. That equals the 900 hp 900 kg Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak Special used by nine time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb to win Pikes Peak overall.

    When asked about beating the new gasoline record, the 63 year old Tajima responded: “We are able to do that very soon, it depends on the battery. With a high quality and high density battery, I can beat that record for sure.”

    Rabu, 16 Oktober 2013

    Will Diesel dominance in EU be replaced by EVs?

    Europe's car fleets have been persistently transformed from being petrol-driven to diesel-driven over the last 20 years. The EU average for diesel new car sales is 55%, with Spain and France as high as 70%.

    According to leading automotive engineers the dominance of diesel engines in Europe’s new car market could be over before the end of the decade. A combination of increasingly stringent emissions regulations and the high cost of new-generation anti-pollution technology will make diesel engines much more expensive along with the high possibility of significant rises in the price of diesel fuel making them more expensive to run.

    Joe Bakaj, head of product development for Ford of Europe said “It is much cheaper to get petrol engines through EU6.2; with diesel engines we need technology such as selective catalyst reduction systems, and costs increase again with heavier vehicles.”

    Will EVs fill the void? With the average cost of fuel across the EU approx € 1.50 / liter (US $8 /US Gallon), those prices have driven european motorists to sacrifice the performance of a petrol engine for sluggishness and jack-hammer like soundtrack of a diesel engine in search of 10-20% fuel efficiency improvements.

    Based on these motives, if a 10-20% fuel saving can generate 50-70% market share of new car sales, then a 95% energy cost saving running a plug-in electric car has the potential to take over significantly more than 70% market share.

    Nissan Race 48 kWh LEAF at ECOseries motorsport event

    Nissan employees working at the company's Barcelona Technical Centre are proving there's more to motorsport than striving for the fastest lap times by taking part in a new concept in motorsport: ECOseries, which rewards efficiency and fuel economy rather than outright speed.

    The employees - who are all taking part in the series in their spare time - are using three Nissan Leaf in the zero-emission category.

    ECOseries, which is based in Spain and combines track and road-rally events over the season, attracts entries from a wide variety of road cars. Aside from the Nissan team, there are cars from rival manufacturers including Peugeot, Toyota, Volkswagen, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz.

    In the EV category, the Nissan LEAFs and a Mercedes A-Class E-Cell have been fighting for outright honours. Although two of the team's three LEAFs are essentially standard, a third was introduced as a mobile test lab, running in the series' EV prototype category. For the final race, its battery pack was doubled in size to take battery performance to 48 kWh and allowing it to perform on more equal terms with the 36 kWh Mercedes.

    In the end, although the LEAF was quicker than the A-Class and ran at the same pace as the Nissan Juke with no potential range issues to affect the car's progress, the Mercedes took outright honours by lapping closer to its regularity target.

    A 48 kWh Leaf could have up to 250 miles (400 km) estimated range, although the extra weigh would reduce that slightly.

    Kia Soul EV on sale in UK by end of 2014

    The electric Kia Soul is due to go on sale in the UK in October 2014, with prices set to rival those of other electric vehicles.

    Yaser Shabsogh, Kia’s UK Commercial Director, has confirmed that the electric Soul will be offered in the UK, but not until the end of 2014, some months after the arrival of the new Soul in early 2014.

    He said the projected prices were based on the assumption that the car would be sold with a battery, rather than via a leasing scheme. Kia is yet to decide whether to lease or sell the battery.

    The car, which Shabsogh says will have a "low-to-mid £20,000" price tag, will also be eligible for the government's £5000 electric car grant, assuming the scheme is still operational as the car goes on sale.

    Kia UK will use it to demonstrate Kia has cutting-edge EV technology available.

    Shabsogh told Headline Auto:

    It is not going to be priced to try to stimulate demand.

    We won’t be selling hundreds of them – maybe a couple of hundred, mostly in the key metropolitan areas.

    The bigger question for the manufacturer is the support network that an electric car would require, with Shabsogh saying: 'We would definitely have some specialist dealers that can charge and service it.'

    Selasa, 15 Oktober 2013

    Renault Leads Electric Vehicle Market in Europe with 34,000 sales [VIDEO]

    Renault leads the electric vehicle market in Europe where it has sold over 34,000 electric vehicles since its first model, Kangoo Van Z.E., went on sale in late 2011. In this developing European electric vehicle market, Renault has a market share of 47% so far this year.

    Renault ZOE, spearheads its Z.E. range of 100 per cent electric vehicles and is the world’s first affordable, purpose-built, all-electric supermini – perfect for households whether they’re commuting, doing supermarket and school runs, or even doing moderate distances.

    ZOE’s official NEDC range is 130 miles (208 km), the longest of any affordable EV on sale today, with a real-world range of around 90 miles in temperate conditions or 60 in the harshest conditions. It is priced from just £13,995 on-the-road after grant, plus battery hire from £70 per month.

    In addition to the Kangoo Van Z.E., Renault also offers Fluence Z.E. saloon; the two-seat commuter vehicle Twizy; and the ZOE supermini, launched earlier this year.

    Twizy is Renault’s best-selling model with over 11,400 units sold since it went on sale in early 2012, closely followed by 11,000 Kangoo Z.E.

    Renault Samsung begins production of electric vehicles

    Renault Samsung Motors, the local unit of French automaker Renault SA, has begun producing its electric sedans on Monday, its chief executive said.

    The annual production capacity for its SM3 electric vehicle (EV) will reach up to 4,000 units starting next year at its assembly plant in Busan, said Francois Provost, the CEO of Samsung Renault Motors, at a ceremony in the southeastern port city.

    The SM3 EV can travel 135 kilometers on a single charge, according to the carmaker.

    Though the price for an SM3 EV is set at 45 million won (US$42,000), with government subsidies for electric car buyers, the price tag comes down to 22 million won, the company said.

    As part of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the environment ministry and provincial authorities in Jeju have begun providing subsidies worth 15 million won and 8 million won, respectively, to zero-emission car buyers.

    The ceremony came two months after GM Korea Co., the local unit of U.S. General Motors Co., unveiled the electric version of the compact Chevrolet Spark.

    Kia Motors Corp., South Korea's second-largest carmaker, has also rolled out its electric car called the Ray and said it plans to introduce the electric version of its Soul box car in the first half of next year.

    As of June, a total of 1,146 electric cars were used in the country, mostly by government agencies and public corporations, according to the environment ministry.

    South Korea has installed 1,165 charging stations for electric vehicles across the country including 110 quick charge stations, the ministry said.

    BMW to Boost Electric-Car Capacity due to Strong Demand for i3 [VIDEO]

    BMW will have to increase investment in electric-car production if demand for the new i3 model continues in line with initial orders.

    Customers have reserved more than 8,000 of the battery-powered i3, which will cost $US41,350 ($43,500) in the US, even before the car hits showrooms in Europe next month, Chief Financial Officer Friedrich Eichiner said today in Amsterdam.

    BMW expects to sell more than 10,000 of the four-person car next year and “will adjust capacity according to demand,” he said at a press conference. “If demand holds, which is what it's looking like, we will soon have to invest more.”

    The maker of BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce vehicles is upgrading its lineup with the i3, the new 4-Series coupe and a revamp of the X5 sport-utility vehicle to maintain its sales lead over Volkswagen AG's Audi and Daimler's Mercedes-Benz. Both competitors have vowed to surpass Munich-based BMW in deliveries by the end of the decade.

    The i3 will go on sale in Germany for 34,950 euros ($50,100) on Nov. 16, followed by the US, China and Japan in the first half of next year. The model made its public debut July 29 at simultaneous events in New York, London and Beijing. The push to sell the electric car and recoup investments in the technology underpinning the vehicle include an international print, TV and Internet advertising campaign.

    The spending on development of new models and expanding production capacity caused the operating profit margin at BMW's auto division to narrow to 9.6 per cent in the second quarter from 11.6 per cent a year earlier.

    “We'll have to work very hard to keep profitability within our target corridor” of 8 per cent to 10 per cent in the coming years because of large investments required to meet stricter emissions regulations and the weak car market in Europe, Eichiner said today.

    Sales gains in China and the US have helped BMW cushion the effects of the sovereign-debt crisis on Europe's car market, which is sliding to a 20-year low. BMW, which doesn't anticipate a recovery in demand in its home region before the second half of 2014, expects deliveries to rise this year for its third straight annual sales record.

    “Demand in China and North America continues to be strong,” Eichiner said. “It makes sense for us to think about expanding production capacity in North America,” with the US and Mexico both options, he said.

    The rollout of the i3 will go ahead as planned next month and won't be impacted by issues that typically affect the ramp up of a new model, he said. The executive was responding to a report by Wirtschaftswoche over the weekend that problems bonding carbon-fiber components for the car led to a 10-day production halt.

    Senin, 14 Oktober 2013

    Shell: "By 2070, the passenger road market could be nearly oil-free" [VIDEO]

    According to the 2013 Shell Lens Scenarios, which tries to predict what the world’s energy dependence could look like in 2100, by 2070 we could be living oil free.

    There are lots of factors that went into this prediction, such as increased urbanization, more efficient urban planning, and regulations on CO2 emissions. But the people at Shell believed these factors were so powerful that it made the following claim: the rise in the use of electricity and hydrogen as transportation fuels will result in oil having a meagre 22% of the global transportation market by 2060. It further claims:

    By 2070, the passenger road market could be nearly oil-free

    Shell lumps electric and hydrogen into the same group, which they project will have a 60% market share by 2060. Shell has a vested interest in pushing the hydrogen barrow as they and Total are currently the only two major oil companies that have stated they are actively developing hydrogen based fueling technology for vehicles.

    The rest of the oil industry does not seem to share Shell's opinion. BP predicted in Feb 2012 that electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, will make up only 4 percent of the global fleet by 2030 while Exxon said electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and vehicles that run on natural gas would make up only 5 percent of the fleet by 2040.

    Let's hope big oil are only trying to fool themselves with these predictions. In the chart below Shell don't see EV's reaching 10% market share until approx 2035, over two and a half decades after the first mass produced EVs were launched, yet some markets are approaching 10% now.

    If market trends in Norway, the third largest oil exporting nation in the world, are an accurate leading indicator, fully-fledged electric cars have already captured a market share of 9.1 per cent, so even Shell's time scale looks very conservative.

    Minggu, 13 Oktober 2013

    Team Eindhoven Win Bridgestone World Solar Challenge Michelin Cruise Class [VIDEO]

    The Dutch have dominated this year’s 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. Having already won the elite Schneider Electric Challenger Class title when team Nuon crossed the line first on Thursday, Team Eindhoven made it two from two winning the Michelin Cruiser Class category announced at the Awards Ceremony in Adelaide on Sunday night.

    With a score of 97.5% to Eindhoven it was perhaps closer than the Dutch had predicted, with Germany’s Hochschule Bochum team a close second on 93.9%, in turn just beating Australia’s UNSW Sunswift team, who scored 92.3% taking third place.

    The Michelin Cruiser class was judged on the key criteria of solar kilometres travelled, passenger kilometres, speed, energy efficiency, and a subjective element of design and practicality.

    Of the eight Cruisers built especially for the Australian event, four completed the 3020 kilometres on full solar power, the University of Minnesota from the USA joining the ranks with the Dutch, German and Australian teams, taking out fourth place with 79.2%.

    Each of the top teams had differing strategic approaches to the contest. Eindhoven being a four seater car easily accounted for the most passenger kilometres; Bochum were the most energy efficient, and UNSW Sunswift were the fastest to the finish line.

    Final judging occurred on Saturday afternoon with the expert panel assessing characteristics such as: ease of access, comfort, controls, features, style, ease of charging, overall desirability, road registration, parking and cargo space. Judges put the cars through their paces on the finish line. Teams were tested for their parking skills, their ability to load the trunk with numerous suitcases and the ultimate cargo test – could the Aussie esky also be stowed the right way up in the trunk?

    The judging panel spent hours deliberating final scores with the topl three cruisers all shining in their own right. Team Bochum’s Powercore Suncruiser scored high on accessibility and desirability and Sunswift’s ‘eVe’ was the most stylish. In the end it came down to just five points between the three top teams with the world’s first four seater solar family car , ‘Stella’ taking the honours.

    The remaining four cruisers completed the Challenge with a combination of solar kilometres and trailer kilometres: Goko High School from Japan (2288 km); Apollo Taiwan (1558); Australia’s TAFE SA (1469) and University of Calgary (719).

    The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge started October 6th in Darwin and finished 3,000 km later on Sunday 13th October in Adelaide.

    Disclosure: EV News has been engaged by the South Australian Motor Sport Board to help promote the World Solar Challenge 2013.

    Rabu, 09 Oktober 2013

    2014 Toyota Prius Plug-In to Start Under $30,000

    Toyota is cutting the price of its Prius plug-in hybrid electric vehicle by more than $2,000, making it the latest automaker to cut prices of electric vehicles.

    Toyota reduced the price on the 2014 Prius Plug-in hybrid by $2,010 to $29,990, a 6 percent price cut.

    The automaker is also cutting the price on its 2014 Prius Plug-in Advanced model by $4,620 to $34,905, an 11 percent price reduction. That model has more features including navigation and infotainment, heated front seats and a heads-up display.

    Moe Durand, a Toyota spokesman, said the new pricing was a reflection of its competitors’ moves.

    “It’s dictated by market conditions. When somebody starts that trend of allowing a little softer prices, market demand can determine price,” Durand said.

    Toyota has sold 8,000 plug-ins in the first nine months, behind its target of 12,000 for the year. Durand said the automaker has been offering some “considerable” incentives on the 2013 model to help boost sales, but acknowledged it was behind were it had hoped to be at this point. Incentives vary by region.

    Toyota’s price cuts come nearly two months after General Motors Co. said in August it was cutting the price of its plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt by $5,000. The Detroit-based automaker cut the base price 12.5 percent, from $39,995 to $34,995. The price cut came shortly after the automaker announced a $5,000 incentive on the 2012 Volt and $4,000 on the 2013 model.

    The first Volt, a 2010 model, cost $41,000. Sales jumped in August to their highest level ever to 3,351 vehicles.

    In July, Ford Motor Co. said it would reduce the price of its low-selling Focus EV by $4,000 for the 2014 model year to $35,200.

    Ford also offered lease discounts of more than $10,000 and $2,000 off the base price for cash purchases.

    Sales of Nissan’s all-electric Leaf have jumped since the Japanese automaker dropped the base price by 18 percent, to $28,800 for the 2013 model year. Nissan also added extra cargo room, and for higher-end trims, an on-board charger that reduces electric charging times by half.

    Honda Motor Co. said in May it was cutting the monthly lease price of its Fit EV from $389 to $259 a month, and reducing by $130 a month the cost of existing Fit EV leases. The revised lease has unlimited mileage.

    Most of the vehicles are eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit. The Prius with a smaller battery pack is eligible for a $2,500 federal tax credit.

    Top Teams Nuon and Tokai Race to World Solar Challenge Finish [VIDEO]

    A familiar scenario is being played out between two champion teams in the 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. After nearly 2,800 kilometres just 20 minutes separates the two leading cars. It is almost a repeat performance of 2011 except on this occasion the order is reversed, with the Netherlands Nuon Solar team leading Team Tokai from Japan.

    The flying Dutch team have maintained an average speed of around 93 kilometres an hour accelerating at some points today up to 113 km but the Japanese matched their pace, refusing to let the gap between the two teams widen. Unless the Japanese team has something more in reserve, Nuon in their solar car ‘Nuna 7’ look poised to take back the title they lost to Team Tokai in 2009 and again in 2011.

    Both teams are camped south of Port Pirrie and are due to make their final run to the official finish line in Hindmarsh Square Adelaide, arriving mid-morning tomorrow.

    Netherlands Team Twente with their ‘Red Engine’ is in third place some 240 kilometres behind the leaders with Stanford University from the USA hot on their heels in 4th just nine kilometres behind, 49 kilometres south of Woomera. Belgium’s Punch Powertrain is in 5th with Solar Energy Racers about 25 kilometres behind in 6th. Still flying the flag for Australia, team Arrow holds 7th position. Other teams still under solar power include Onda Solare from Italy, Blue Sky Solar from Canada and Australia’s UWS Solar team in SolAce.

    Strong wind gusts today played havoc with some of the teams including the American solar champions Michigan, who were bumped to the side of the road coming into the Coober Pedy Control Stop. They are now frantically working on their solar car Generation hoping to resume tomorrow morning.

    All Michelin Cruisers are now in Coober Pedy for their last mandatory overnight stop before they resume tomorrow morning for the final stage. It will be a battle between Team Eindhoven from the Netherlands in their four seater Stella; the German Hochschule Bochum’s Powercore SunCruiser and Australia’s UNSW Sunswift Team, in their solar sports car ‘eVe’ who flew into Coober Pedy today hours ahead of the field. Final judging of the Cruiser class will be held in Adelaide on Saturday, taking into account design, practicality and person kilometres travelled which could put Eindhoven in a strong position as they have the capacity to carry four passengers.

    In the GoPro Adventure Class Australia’s Aurora arrived into Coober Pedy, their final overhead stop, ahead of the other contender still running on solar power, team Antakari from Chile.

    The leaders are expected to reach ‘finish of timing’ in Angle Vale tomorrow morning before proceeding to the Official Finish Line at Hindmarsh Square. Even if a team is first to Angle Vale they must still reach the official finish line to claim victory.

    The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge started October 6th in Darwin and finishes 3,000 km later tomorrow in Adelaide.

    Disclosure: EV News has been engaged by the South Australian Motor Sport Board to help promote the World Solar Challenge 2013.

    Nissan Sold 4,700 LEAF Units Globally in September

    Nissan achieved a new global record of 4,700 LEAF units sold in September.

    Of the 4,700 LEAFs sold globally, 1,953 were delivered in the United States.

    Nissan credits part of the US market success with the proliferation of 1,900 DC quick chargers installed by a variety of companies. Of these, 800 are installed at Nissan dealerships, and plans to install 700 more by the end of this fiscal year.

    By the end of September, cumulative global sales of the Nissan LEAF since launch totaled 83,000 units.

    Senin, 07 Oktober 2013

    Tesla Model S proves to be 'safest car ever made'

    Tesla Forum member 'jdovi' from Long Island, New York recently posted photos of an accident he was involved in while driving a Tesla Model S.

    The Model S was hit side on at an intersection by a driver who was talking on her cell phone and ran a red light. While the other driver left the scene of the accident in an ambulance, the Tesla Model S owner not only walked away without a scratch, the car which was extensively damaged on the drivers side front wheel by the impact, didn't so much as smoke or release any fluids onto the roadway.

    This 'real world' evidence only backs up the NHTSA Five Start crash test results for Frontal, Side and Side Pole impacts awarded to the Model S in August.

    'jdovi' feelings about the Tesla Model S:

    This is the safest car on the road hands down, and for me, I can honestly say it saved my life. Thank you Elon.

    Source: Tesla Forum

    CNN review gives Chevy Spark EV two Thumbs Up [VIDEO]

    It would be safe to say Peter Valdes-Dapena, the editor for automotive and other consumer content at CNNMoney.com, 'gets it' when it comes to EVs.

    Back in February of this year, when a reviewer at the New York Times drove a Tesla Model S around New Jersey determined to miss as many freeway exits as possible to get a photo of the Model S on a Flat bed truck, Peter Valdes-Dapena over at CNN volunteered to do the same trip to prove the doubters wrong.

    Here the CNN reviewer gives the Chevy Spark EV two thumbs up, saying the only down side is it's limited distribution in California and Oregon only.

    Minggu, 06 Oktober 2013

    Nuna 7 Takes Early Lead in 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge [VIDEO]

    Team Nuon from the Netherlands, in their solar car Nuna 7, took an early lead in the Schneider Electric Challenger Class of the 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge and at the end of day one are approximately 633 kilometres south of Darwin. Just 32 kilometres behind at the Dunmarra Control Stop there is one minute separating second placed Team Twente in ‘Red Engine’ also from the Netherlands and the 2011 Champion team Tokai from Japan, who as predicted, made up time early from 20th position on the starting grid.

    USA solar champions, team Michigan, are in fourth place approximately 10 kilometres out of Dunmarra with Australia’s Team Arrow showing they can mix it with the elite international field just behind in fifth place.

    In the Michelin Cruiser Class team Bochum from Germany are in first place approximately sixty kilometres north of Dunmarra, with team Eindhoven from the Netherlands just five kilometres behind in second place, Minnesota Solar team from the USA in third place and University of NSW Sunswift team in fourth place approximately 100 kilometres north of Dunmarra.

    Leading the GoPro Adventure Class was Australia’s team Aurora who have never missed a solar challenge; followed by IVE from Hong Kong and Antakari from Chile.

    The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge started today October 6th in Darwin and finishes 3,000 km later on Sunday 13th October in Adelaide.

    Disclosure: EV News has been engaged by the South Australian Motor Sport Board to help promote the World Solar Challenge 2013.

    Sabtu, 05 Oktober 2013

    Electric car tops registrations in Norway for first time

    An electric car model has topped the list of new car registrations in Norway for the first time, a car industry group said Thursday.

    In the month of September there were 616 registrations of the Tesla Model S, accounting for 5.1 percent of the total, according to Opplysningsraadet for Veitrafikken(OFV) which compiles data on Norwegian car sales.

    Overall, electric cars took 8.6 percent of the market in September, compared to 5.2 percent a year ago. The figures illustrate strong interest in electric cars in a country ranked among the world's top ten petrol exporters.

    Norway has encouraged electric car sales with tax incentives, congestion charge exemptions, access to public transport lanes and free parking.

    "I have no doubt that electric cars will increase their share of the market again in the coming months, and particularly next year with the arrival of several new models,"said Oeyvind Solberg Thorsen at OFV.

    In September hybrid cars, which do not enjoy the same incentives as electric vehicles, took 7.3 percent of the market.

    Underdog Team Scores World Solar Challenge Pole Position [VIDEO]

    Qualifying day for the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge at Hidden Valley Raceway didn't follow any script with an underdog team setting the fastest overall time, a Michelin Cruiser Class car coming in second fastest and many of the favorites struggling to set a competitive time at all.

    Pole position goes to Australian TeamArrow, a Queensland based team associated with the Queensland University of Technology, who set a lap time 5 seconds clear of the entire field. Second in the Schneider Electric Challenger Class is Japanese team Kogakuin University Solar Vehicle Project with a close third place going to the Stanford team with Luminos.

    Of the favorite teams, University of Michigan are fifth in the starting order with Nuna7 starting lucky 13th having set a time 33 seconds off the pace while Tokai Challenger starts 20th after spinning twice at the final corner leading onto the main straight. The 'official' reason given is sand on the track although only one other car spun at that corner, the Hochschule Bochum SolarCar Team who still qualified third in the Michelin Cruiser Class.

    Of all the asymmetric cars (with the driver positioned in a side pod of the car) in the 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, Tokai Challenger is the only car with rear wheel steering which may have contributed to the car spinning each time it negotiated the final turn at Hidden Valley. We don't expect there are many hairpin corners along the 3,000 km route from Darwin to Adelaide so this may not be a good indicationn of likely race performance.

    On pole for the Michelin Cruiser class, and second fastest time overall is Solar Team Eindhoven with their 4 seater Stella. University of Minnesota starts second with final turn spinners Hochschule Bochum SolarCar Team starting third.

    UNSW Solar Racing Team with their Sunswift eVe two seater start forth with a qualifying time 26 seconds off the pace following some drama on their first attempt at a flying lap. Sunswift's eVe literally limped around the Hidden Valley track on it's first warm up lap and came straight back into the pits barely moving under it's own power. The problem turned out to be a seized front brake caliper that was only diagnosed after the team were forced to set a time before eVe could be repaired. The team has also been having persistent motor controller issues.

    Pole position for the GoPro Adventure class, which includes quite a few older generation three wheeled solar cars that no longer qualify for the outright class, was set by SIKAT Solar Philippines with SIKAT II followed by Aurora Evolution and Team Solaris from the Dokuz Eylül University in Turkey.

    This year’s Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is held from 6th – 13th October. If you can’t make it to Darwin or Adelaide, you can follow the race on Twitter via @tsport100 or @WorldSolarChlg.

    Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. Words and thoughts are entirely my own.

    Full results: Bridestone World Solar Challenge

    Jumat, 04 Oktober 2013

    Finnish Electric RaceAbout Blitz the Nürburgring [VIDEO]

    During a recent Nürburgring expedition the Electric RaceAbout team set a new, greatly improved, lap time.

    While testing the latest powertrain improvements and the new Nordschleife Aero-kit Micke Be rgman stopped the timing at 8:23.56. To put this in context the Audi R8 e-tron did it in 8:09.099 while the Mercedes SLS E-Cell set a time of 7:56.234

    Due to the limited possibilities for only three complete laps this time there is still room for significant improvement.

    According to Micke the new Nokian Hakka Black tyres, the torque vectoring control and Aero-kit combined with the lighter and more powerful battery take the E-RA to a completely new level of performance.

    The almost unlimited new potential unleashed by the torque vectoring both improve the car's agility and stability. This was not previously possible with traditional powertrain technologies and together with the team we'll continue to explore the possibilities and improve the technology.

    Kia Soul EV confirmed for 2014 launch

    Kia has announced plans to offer a Soul EV in the United States.

    Set to go on sale next year, the Soul EV is described as a "natural extension of the Soul's urban-friendly place in the brand's lineup of award-winning vehicles." The company declined to release additional information but said we can expect to learn more at an upcoming auto show.

    While Kia is remaining mum on details, our spies have already caught the model undergoing testing. Despite being heavily camouflaged, the photos revealed the model will have a revised grille with an integrated charging port.

    Little else is known about the model but previous reports have indicated it could accelerate from 0-100 km/h in less than 12 seconds, have a top speed of 140 km/h (87 mph) and travel up to 200 km (124 miles) on a single charge.

    GM creates a Tesla task force

    We've already heard reports that General Motors is working on a new electric vehicle with a Tesla Model S-like range of 200 miles (322 km) but new details are starting to emerge about the company's Tesla task force.

    In an interview with Reuters, General Motors Vice Chairman Steve Girsky revealed the company has created a new task force to study Telsa and the Model S. The diverse group - which includes product planning, engineering, manufacturing and sales personal - will attempt to learn everything they can about Tesla so they can improve their own future products. As Girsky explained, Tesla is "revolutionizing the business model ... not just how you put an EV together [but] how you go to market with something like this."

    While it's unclear what lessons General Motors will learn, the company is reportedly working on a handful of new hybrids and EVs. Besides the 200 mile (322 km) Chevrolet EV, which is expected to cost between $30,000 and $35,000, the company is reportedly developing fuel-efficient flagships which could be badged as Cadillacs and cost more than $100,000.

    Source: Reuters

    Kamis, 03 Oktober 2013

    Porsche 918 Spyder: Engine Technology [VIDEO]

    The Porsche 918 Spyder is a plug-in hybrid with four driving modes, two electric motors, and a 4.6 liter mid-mounted V8 engine. E-Drive is an all-electric mode primarily for city driving, with a range of up to 20 miles and a top speed of only 93 mph.

    There are also three different “hybrid” modes (Hybrid, Sport, and Race) that use varying degrees of power from both the V8 engine and two electric motors. Hybrid mode is obviously on the more fuel-frugal end, with the engine and electric motors working to optimize fuel economy. Meanwhile Race mode is reserved for on-track shenanigans, with a special sub-mode called “Hot Lap” which unleashes the full fury of the 918 Spyder, with the electric motors providing even more of a power boost.

    The 918 Spyder also has a carbon fiber-reinforced monocoque for a curb weight of just over 1,632 kg. But really, it’s all about the cutting edge drivetrain, and while it may remain prohibitively expensive for now, there’s no doubt Porsche is working to bring more economy-minded plug-in hybrids to the roads. The 918 Spyder is merely the R&D test bed.

    Rabu, 02 Oktober 2013

    Top Gun Scrutineering for the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge [VIDEO]

    The Clipsal and Schneider Electric Challenger Class single seat aerodynamic masterpieces were presented to Scrutineering on day 2 of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge at the Royal Darwin Showgrounds.

    This year’s Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is held from 6th – 13th October. If you can’t make it to Darwin or Adelaide, you can follow the race on Twitter via @tsport100 or @WorldSolarChlg.

    Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. Words and thoughts are entirely my own.