Kamis, 26 Desember 2013

NHTSA reaffirms 5-star safety rating of the Tesla Model S

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reaffirmed the 5-star safety rating of the Tesla Model S overall and in all subcategories for Model Year 2014, confirming the highest safety rating in America.

While Tesla is awaiting feedback from NHTSA regarding their investigation of recent fire incidents, the German Federal Motor Transport Authority, Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (KBA), recently concluded its review of the incidents, finding no manufacturer-related defects or need for further action.

It is worth noting that a Tesla vehicle is over five times less likely to experience a fire than the average gasoline car and that there have been zero serious injuries or deaths for any reason ever, fire or otherwise, in a Model S.

Over the course of more than 100 million miles driven in almost every possible terrain, weather and crash conditions, the Tesla Model S has consistently protected its driver and passengers, achieving the best safety track record of any car on the road.

Minggu, 22 Desember 2013

U.S. EIA sees only 1.5% Hybrid sales growth to 2040

The U.S. Energy Information Agency seems to have totally sold out to the oil lobby.

The agency predicts, in a report released Tuesday 17th December, that 78 percent of all cars and trucks will still run on gasoline in 2040, down from 82 percent last year. It predicts a big upswing in micro-hybrids and other advanced fuel technologies to 42 percent of all vehicles by 2040.

EIA predicts full hybrids will account for only 5 percent of vehicles in 2040 — up from 3.32 percent today. That's an increase of just 1.5% over the next 26 years?

It predicts just 1 percent of total sales will be plug-in hybrids and 1 percent full electric vehicles in 2040.

Those figures are misleading, to say the least.

The EIA are including car sales with light-duty vehicle sales (LDV <= 10,000 lbs. GVW). Even still their predictions barely represent reality today, let alone in 25 years time. The DoE's own latest figures show HEV and Plug-Ins already account for 7.5% of car sales... a rise of 3.5% in just the past two years.

The EIA predict 1.5% rise over the next 25 years?.... based on the trajectory of the top line in the chart above, that seems extremely unlikely!

If we look further ashore for leading indicators of market trends we find Norway where full electric vehicles already account for 12% market share amongst passenger car sales and The Netherlands where a plug-in hybrid was the top selling car last month, selling almost twice as many as the best selling petrol only car.

Source: Detroit News

Sabtu, 21 Desember 2013

Airbus signs MoU to develop electric taxiing for A320 Family [VIDEO]

As part of on-going research and development into future technology options, Airbus has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with EGTS International, a joint venture company between Safran and Honeywell Aerospace, to further develop and evaluate an autonomous electric pushback and taxiing solution for the A320 Family.

The agreement marks the selection of EGTS International’s Electric Green Taxiing System to be evaluated as a new option on the A320 Family – referred to by Airbus as eTaxi. This option would allow the aircraft to push-back from the gate without a tug, taxi-out to the runway, and return to the gate after landing without operating the main engines.

eTaxi will use the aircraft’s Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) to power electric motors fitted to the main landing gear wheels. The architecture will include the ability for pilots to keep full control from the cockpit over their aircraft’s speed and direction during taxi operations.

Olivier Savin, EGTS Programme Vice President, Safran said: “We are extremely pleased to strengthen our relationship with Airbus, a key customer and industry leader in innovation. Through this agreement we are creating the ideal context to collaborate to best utilize our own landing gear systems expertise to develop a green taxiing solution for the A320 Family.”

Brian Wenig, EGTS Programme Vice President, Honeywell Aerospace said: “Following our demonstration of the technology at this year’s Paris Airshow, this MoU marks the next critical milestone in the advancement of the Electric Green Taxiing System as an option for Airbus’ A320 Family, by securing Airbus’ support in the development of the system. Airbus will provide extremely valuable insight to facilitate a seamless integration into the aircraft.”

Daniel Baubil, Airbus EVP, Head of A320 Family Programme said: “Today Airbus delivers the world’s most eco-efficient single-aisle aircraft – the A320 Family. This is the result of our permanent research for innovative enhancements to make our aircraft even more efficient and capable.” He adds: “We therefore look forward to working with our EGTS International expert partners – Honeywell and Safran – with whom we share the common view that the A320 Family is a natural fit for an electric taxiing capability.”

The eTaxi option will offer several operational and environmental benefits for the A320 Family:

  • Per trip, the projected fuel savings and CO2 reductions would be approximately four percent;
  • It would contribute to significantly more efficient taxiing operations and save around two minutes of time on pushback;
  • Taxiing-related carbon and nitrous oxide emissions would be cut by more than half.

    Over the next few months the partners will jointly develop and present a global commercial case and implementation plan to determine the feasibility of an electric taxiing solution for the A320 Family. To this end, Airbus and EGTS International are reinforcing their existing teams to finalize validation studies, define specifications and converge on market requirements for a fully tailored forward-fit and retrofit technological solution.

    To regularly enhance the A320 Family’s capabilities and performance, Airbus invests approximately 300 million euros annually in keeping the aircraft highly competitive and efficient. More than 10,000 A320 Family aircraft have been ordered and over 5,800 delivered to operators worldwide. With a record backlog of over 4,200 aircraft, the A320 Family reaffirms its position as the world’s best-selling single-aisle aircraft family.

  • Nissan Leaf to Launch in China April 2014

    Recent Chinese media reports indicate that the Nissan Leaf will soon be launched in China under the Venucia sub brand name from Dongfeng-Nissan. The Leaf will be renamed for the Chinese market where it will be named the Venucia E30, or ‘Qi Chen’ in Chinese.

    What is surprising is that the Leaf/e30 is exceptionally close to being produced in China, reports indicate that the model will be on sale in April 2014 in the Beijing and Shanghai areas, and will receive government subsidies of around 100,000RMB (US$16,500) owing to municipal subsidies along with central government subsidies.

    Jumat, 20 Desember 2013

    The Porsche 918 Spyder Tested [VIDEO]

    Tested by /DRIVE's Chris Harris at the Valencia circuit in the winter of 2013. The Porsche 918 Spyder has come a long way since when we first saw it at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2010. Competing against the Ferrari LaFerrari and McLaren P1, it is the cheapest of the trio of new hypercars at a base price of $845,000.

    The engine weights 140 kg according to Porsche and it delivers 608 horsepower (453 kW) at 8,500 rpm and 528 N·m (389 lbf·ft) of maximum torque. This is supplemented by two electric motors delivering an additional 279 hp (208 kW) - One 154 hp electric motor drives the rear wheels in parallel with the engine and also serves as the main generator.

    Kamis, 19 Desember 2013

    Kawasaki "J" EV Motorcycle Concept [VIDEO]

    The Kawasaki J has three wheels. However it uses more than one mode, allowing it to transition to a sports bike, making the two front wheels mesh together. In that mode, the vehicle also lowers, closer to the ground.

    The bike was recently unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show. Housing an all electric motor, when the rider is taking part in leisurely, slow cruises, or stop and go trips through the city, the two wheels remain separated and the handlebars raise offering the driver more comfort.

    It's during the fast speed, highway type of rides, the tires comes together and the bars lower, allowing the rider to have optimal positioning and posture.

    The basic idea behind the bike is for it to stretch out as speeds increase. The radical and mean looking machine has been generating some serious buzz since the premiere, however it is just a concept for now.

    Kawasaki did not release any plans to put it into production.

    Autosport Magazine Test the Nissan ZEOD RC [VIDEO]

    Autosport exclusive test: Electric Le Mans Nissan ZEOD RC.

    Article in 2013 Christmas special edition double issue.

    Rabu, 18 Desember 2013

    Netherlands: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV #1 top seller on debut

    Retail sales of Mitsubishi's Outlander plug-in hybrid (PHEV) only commenced on 21 October in the Netherlands and it has immediately become the best selling car by a significant margin.

    2,736 plug-in Outlanders were sold in November (from a total of 2,766 Outlanders) accounting for a market share of 6.8%. The second highest selling car in the Netherlands for November was the Renault Mégane with 1,505.

    In EU guise the permanent electric 'Twin Motor 4WD' has a claimed maximum driving range of 824 km, electric only range of 52km, fuel consumption of 1.9l/100km, CO2 emissions of 44 g/km and a maximum speed of 170 km/h. Braked towing capacity is 1,500kg.

    The battery pack takes five hours to recharge using a standard European 230V/10A domestic supply but just 30 minutes (to 80%) using a quick charger to CHAdeMO standard.

    MMC insists the Outlander PHEV is neither "a mere adaptation of an existing internal combustion engine vehicle nor a dedicated plug-in hybrid EV system high tech showcase" but a further variant of the Outlander – alongside standard petrol and diesel versions "and developed as such from the start of the programme: a unique/no-compromise proposal in the industry and "the first self-power generating twin motor (permanent) 4WD PHEV".

    Mitsubishi said dealers had booked 10,000 signed orders across the continent since December 2012 and was "Much expected by dealers and customers in a region forecast to be its largest global market". The automaker expects EVs, hybrids and PHEVs to account for 20% of its production by 2020. If this trend of 99% of all Outlanders sold being PHEV continues, 20% might be a very conservative estimate.

    Senin, 16 Desember 2013

    Nissan LEAF reaches 3,000th UK sale

    The Nissan LEAF has reached a milestone with the 3,000th sale of the model in the UK.

    The landmark was reached in November and came as Nissan's second-generation LEAF secures more than 1,300 UK sales in the six months since its launch.

    Jon Pollock, sales director at Nissan GB said: ‘The fact the we have been able to reach the 3,000 mark is a fantastic achievement and shows not only what a wonderful car it is but also that motorists are keen to experience the revolutionary new technology it introduces.

    He added: ‘The low running costs of the LEAF, not to mention its many other benefits, make it an incredibly attractive proposition and we have been seeing steady growth in sales.

    ‘We expect that trend to continue rising as the model's visibility increases and the rapid charging infrastructure expands across the UK.’

    With the price of unleaded petrol in the UK hovering around 132.9p per litre (AUD$2.42/lt) equal to US$8.21 a US gallon, EV sales can surely only continue to accelerate.

    To date, more than 16,000 LEAFs have found owners across Europe, while global sales have now topped 87,000.

    TRANSLOGIC Test Drives the BMW I3 [VIDEO]

    AOL's Bradley Hasemeyer gets behind the wheel of BMW's first production electric vehicle, the BMW i3.

    It is interesting to note the effect significant weight reduction has on range. Lets compare the BMW i3 to a Chevy Volt. The i3 has a battery capacity of 18.8 kWh with a maximum battery range of 190 km (120 miles) while the Volt battery is 16 kWh but achieves only 60 km (38 miles) - although in testing we routinely saw 80 km (50 miles) in EV mode.

    The BMW i3 (without 150 kg range extender) has a curb weight of 1,195 kg, significantly less than the Chevy Volt with it's full sized 1.4 Lt 4 cyl at 1,715 kg. We found the same when comparing the Volt to the Kei class sized Mitsubishi iMiEV. Both have a 16 kWh battery but because the iMiEV curb weight is only 1,080 kg it gets approx double the range (155 km) of a Volt.

    So less weigh equals more range per kWh of battery capacity.

    Minggu, 15 Desember 2013

    Tesla Model S is Top Selling Electric Vehicle in Canada

    Tesla’s Model S is the top-selling all-electric car in Canada.

    Consumer research by IHS shows that within its release year, the Model S captured a staggering 20% of the electric vehicle market share. Over the course of the next year (2013), it more than doubled to 43%, outselling all other OEMs. It is important to note that with such tremendous gains, Tesla did not necessarily conquest customers from other electric vehicle OEMs, but instead, brought new customers from outside the electric vehicle market to grow the current EV customer base.

    Current EV competition includes the Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi Imiev, Smart Fortwo, Ford focus EV, Toyota Rav4 EV and the Chevrolet Spark. This new option has helped the overall electric vehicle market volume more than double from 2012 to 2013 showing signs of continual rapid growth with Tesla leading the way. In short, Tesla's Model S has helped to boost the electric vehicle market in a big way. Perhaps now with strong customer loyalty, Tesla Motors can begin conquesting existing electric vehicle customers from other OEMs through the release of a family of Tesla vehicles.

    Sabtu, 14 Desember 2013

    Ford Reveals Automated Fusion Hybrid Research Vehicle [VIDEO]

    Taking the next step in its Blueprint for Mobility, Ford today – in conjunction with the University of Michigan and State Farm® – revealed a Ford Fusion Hybrid automated research vehicle that will be used to make progress on future automated driving and other advanced technologies.

    The result of an ongoing project that builds on more than a decade of Ford's automated driving research, the Fusion Hybrid automated vehicle will test current and future sensing systems and driver-assist technologies. Ford's goal is to advance development of new technologies with its supplier partners so these features can be applied to the company's next generation of vehicles.

    "The Ford Fusion Hybrid automated vehicle represents a vital step toward our vision for the future of mobility," said Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford. "We see a future of connected cars that communicate with each other and the world around them to make driving safer, ease traffic congestion and sustain the environment. By doing this, Ford is set to have an even greater impact in our next 100 years than we did in our first 100."

    Today's Ford vehicles already have technology that enables them to park themselves, understand a driver's voice commands, detect dangerous driving situations and assist with emergency braking. With these technologies and others that one day could allow a person to be driven to a destination, the driver always will need to be in control of the wheel if necessary.

    "In the future, automated driving may well help us improve driver safety and manage issues such as traffic congestion and global gridlock, yet there are still many questions that need to be answered and explored to make it a long-term reality," said Raj Nair, group vice president, Ford global product development. "With the automated Ford Fusion Hybrid research project, our goal is to test the limits of full automation and determine the appropriate levels for near- and mid-term deployment."

    The automated Fusion Hybrid will serve as the research platform to develop potential solutions for these longer-term societal, legislative and technological issues raised by a future of fully automated vehicles.

    The Fusion Hybrid research vehicle builds on driver-in-control studies conducted in Ford's VIRTTEX driving simulator. Using VIRTTEX, Ford researchers study how to merge the capabilities of human and automated drivers to create a seamless, integrated experience.

    Ford's Blueprint for Mobility
    Last year at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Bill Ford outlined Ford Motor Company's Blueprint for Mobility – a plan that describes what the automaker believes transportation will look like in 2025 and beyond, and the technologies, business models and partnerships needed to get there.

    Today, Ford is working on improving technology already used in vehicles on the road. This includes functions that alert drivers to traffic jams and accidents, and technologies for parking and for driving in slow-moving traffic.

    In the mid-term, vehicle-to-vehicle communications will begin to enter into the mainstream. This will include some autopilot capabilities, such as vehicle "platooning," where vehicles traveling in the same direction sync up their movements to create denser driving patterns.

    In the longer-term, vehicles will have fully autonomous navigation and parking. They will communicate with each other and the world around them, and become one element of a fully integrated transportation ecosystem. Personal vehicle ownership also will change as new business models develop. The benefits include improved safety, reduced traffic congestion and the ability to achieve major environmental improvements.

    Tomorrow's technology, today
    The Ford Fusion Hybrid was chosen as the test platform for the new research effort because it is among the leaders in offering the most advanced driver-assist technologies in its class.

    These technologies include Blind Spot Information System, active park assist, lane-departure warning, and adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support. These vehicle sensing systems, offered on many Ford vehicles today, are the building blocks for the future of fully automated driving.

    In North America, these technologies can be found on Ford Focus, C-MAX hybrids, Fusion, Taurus, Escape, Explorer and Flex. In Europe, these technologies are available on Ford C-MAX, Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy.

    "Products such as Ford Fusion Hybrid give us a head start in the development of automated features," said Paul Mascarenas, chief technical officer and vice president, Ford research and innovation. "Our Blueprint for Mobility aligns the desired outcomes of our work in automated functionality with the democratization of driver-assist technology found on today's lineup of Ford products."

    Ford's Fusion Hybrid research vehicle is unique in that it first uses the same technology found in Ford vehicles in dealer showrooms today, then adds four scanning infrared light sensors – named LiDAR (for Light Detection And Ranging) – that scan the road at 2.5 million times per second. LiDAR uses light in the same way a bat or dolphin uses sound waves, and can bounce infrared light off everything within 200 feet to generate a real-time 3D map of the surrounding environment.

    The sensors can track anything dense enough to redirect light – whether stationary objects, or moving objects such as vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists. The sensors are so sensitive they can sense the difference between a paper bag and a small animal at nearly a football field away.

    Working together
    Developing the necessary infrastructure to support a sustainable transportation ecosystem will require the collaboration of many partners across multiple industries. State Farm and the University of Michigan's robotics and automation research team are critical to creating the visionary research project.

    Ford's work with others on the future of mobility is longstanding. Ford was an active participant in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)-controlled autonomous vehicle challenges in 2004, 2005 and 2007, the year Ford extended its efforts to include the University of Michigan.

    While Ford is responsible for developing unique components allowing for the vehicle to function at high levels of automation, the University of Michigan – under the direction of faculty members Ryan Eustice and Edwin Olson – is leading in development of sensor-based technologies. The sensors aid in the logic and virtual decision making necessary to help the vehicle understand its physical surroundings on the road.

    The university's researchers are processing the trillions of bytes of data collected by the vehicle's sensors, from which they can build a 3D model of the environment around the vehicle. The goal is to help the vehicle – and the driver – make appropriate and safe driving decisions.

    "This research builds on the University of Michigan's long history of pioneering automotive research with Ford," said Alec Gallimore, associate dean of research and graduate education at the school's College of Engineering. "The unique collaboration will enable Ford to benefit from the university's deep knowledge of robotics and automation, and it will allow University of Michigan faculty and students to work side-by-side with some of the best auto engineers in the world."

    Meanwhile, State Farm has been working with Ford to assess the impact of driver-assist technologies to determine if the technologies can lower the rate of rear collisions.

    Last year there were nearly 34,000 fatalities due to traffic accidents in the United States. By developing more intelligent vehicles, Ford helps create smarter drivers.

    "By teaming up with Ford and the University of Michigan in this research, we are continuing our decades-long commitment to making vehicles, roadways and drivers safer," said State Farm Chairman and CEO Edward Rust. "The changes new technologies bring to our lives are exciting, and we are always looking at how technology can better meet the ever-changing needs of our customers."

    Setting the stage for mobility in Michigan
    Today's Ford Fusion Hybrid research vehicle announcement follows an aggressive plan released this week by Business Leaders for Michigan to position the state as the global center for mobility and grow up to 100,000 new jobs in its auto sector by becoming a hub for excellence in advanced powertrain, lightweight and smart/connected transportation technologies.

    With Bill Ford as champion of Business Leaders for Michigan's mobility initiative, the plan has been developed with a coalition of top industry experts, the Center for Automotive Research and McKinsey & Company. The plan identifies growth strategies for the auto sector as it transitions to an increasingly advanced technology-based sector.

    Porsche 919 Hybrid to use 4-Cyl Petrol Engine with dual regen systems

    Porsche has concluded its 2013 test programme with the new LMP1 race car. The Porsche LMP1 completed its final test laps of the year on the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve near Portimão, Portugal. Testing will resume in early 2014. Porsche AG will field two LMP1 race cars in the sports car World Endurance Championship (WEC) which starts in April 2014, with the Le Mans 24 Hours as the highlight of the season.

    The WEC regulations stipulate that manufacturers run hybrid vehicles in the highest class for Le Mans Prototypes (LMP1). In developing the all-new LMP1 race car featuring a very efficient, high-performance hybrid drive, Porsche's engineers are faced with major challenges that can only be solved using innovative solutions. Therefore, the race car features a hybrid system that consists of a four-cylinder petrol engine with direct injection and two energy recuperation systems. The recovered energy is stored in a battery until retrieved by the driver. A powerful electric motor then provides additional drive to the front axle. However, the WEC rules limit the amount of fuel as well as the electrical energy, or so-called boost, available to the driver per lap. The development of such a highly-efficient drive will have positive influences on production development at Porsche.

    On the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, Mark Webber (37) got his first chance to climb aboard the Porsche LMP1 racer. The Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team gave the Australian the green light to conduct these initial tests, despite Webber still being under contract. From 1 January 2014, Mark Webber officially joins the Porsche factory team as a works driver and reinforces the already-signed driver line-up of Timo Bernhard (32), Romain Dumas (35) and Neel Jani (30). Mark Webber commented in Portimão: "My first day in this fascinating project was an intense experience for me. I would like to thank Red Bull Racing for giving me the chance to join the project so early. This is a major and important step for us all. It allows me to integrate with the team quicker and to contribute to further developing the LMP1 race car. We have a long way to go and it involves a lot of hard work. I have no misconceptions about this." Head of Porsche LMP1 Fritz Enzinger also appreciated the goodwill shown by the Austrian F1 team: "I'm delighted to have Mark in the team so early. Red Bull Racing has helped us considerably in allowing this!"

    On the schedule of the final test for 2013 in Portugal were primarily suspension and tyre tests with partner Michelin. Previously, the Porsche LMP1 squad had pressed ahead with the development of the new race car on the Magny-Cours (France), Monza (Italy) and Paul Ricard (France) circuits, as well as on the Eurospeedway Lausitz (Germany). Enzinger stated: "Between the roll-out of the completely new car in June and now we have made significant progress. Every single kilometre was important, providing us with new data that brought the development forward. The whole team has worked extremely hard and I would like to express my sincere thanks for this. Our efforts will continue unabated in 2014. Until the start of the season at Silverstone mid-April there is still a lot to do."

    Wolfgang Hatz, Member of the Executive Board for Research and Development at Porsche AG, added, "We always knew it wasn't going to be easy to return to top endurance racing after 16 years. Hence, our efforts in developing a competitive Porsche LMP1 race car are immense. Up to this point, our engineers in Weissach, the drivers, and the entire team have performed impressively. We are finding new approaches in the development, implementation and application of leading edge efficiency technologies. This also leads to further improvements of the entire hybrid technology in our production cars. Ultimately, our customers will benefit the most."

    To follow the preparations of the LMP1 team in the lead up to tackling the WEC and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, visit: www.porsche.com/mission2014. Many exciting images, films, background information and a multimedia journey through Porsche's racing history await visitors on the homepage.

    Protean & FAW-VW China to Develop RWD In-Wheel Motor System

    Protean Electric has announces a partnership with FAW-VOLKSWAGEN (China) to develop an all new electric propulsion system that will include Protean Electric's in-wheel motors with intent towards a demonstration vehicle program and production.

    FAW-VW will create an all-new rear-wheel drivetrain for a pure Electric Vehicle (EV) based on the new Bora compact sedan, utilizing two Protean in-wheel motors. This cooperation began several months ago and so all bench testing, engineering calibration and on site application support is expected to be completed within a year. Protean Electric will also assist FAW-VW in the development of safety and vehicle controls that can be applied to additional vehicle programs.

    Protean raised $84 Million in VC funding last year and moved their operation to Liyang, Jiangsu Province, China.

    "Protean Electric is very pleased and honored to be working with FAW-VW. Our involvement with this prestigious automaker shows that Protean Electric is continuing to serve as a valuable resource for OEMs as they develop New Energy Vehicle programs," says Kwok-yin Chan, CEO of Protean Holdings Corp. "This is a two-phase project that will capitalize on the torque and packaging freedoms that Protean Drive™ can bring to an automaker. Our technology will return the space to the new Bora vehicle platform that was formerly occupied by an in-board motor and powertrain."

    Like the recently revealed Schaeffler Ford Fiesta eWheelDrive prototype, the Protean powertrain will be rear-wheel-drive only. One of the main reasons many in-wheel motor prototypes demonstrated to-date have only been used on the rear axle is due to front steering geometry. Most FWD cars use negative scrub radius to prevent torque steer. Due to their outer dimensions, many ‘drum brake type’ wheel motors adversely affect the scrub radius so are simply unsuitable for FWD operation.

    The first-ever BMW i3 Hot Lap [VIDEO]

    Reportedly faster 0 - 30 mph (48 km/h) than a 400 hp V8 E90 BMW M3, BMW North America took an i3 for a silent hot lap around an un-named race track.

    Jumat, 13 Desember 2013

    The new technology behind the 2014 Audi R18 e-tron quattro [VIDEO]

    The 2014-generation Audi R18 e-tron quattro is the most complex race car ever built by Audi. At first glance, the new hybrid sports car appears like a continuous further development of the World Championship winning car and Le Mans winner of the past two years. However, due to the new LMP1 regulations that will come into effect in 2014, Audi Sport factually redeveloped every single component.

    “The next Audi R18 e-tron quattro represents a completely new generation of Le Mans prototypes,” explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “The principles of the LMP1 regulations have fundamentally changed. The idea behind this is to achieve similarly fast lap times as in the past with considerably less energy. Making more out of less: a forward-thinking approach.”

    Chris Reinke, Head of LMP at Audi Sport, talks about a ‘revolution in thinking.’ “A fundamental approach to motorsport is being abandoned. Instead of power output, energy consumption will be subject to limitations – this is in line with the spirit of our times and opens up great technical freedoms to the engineers. In 2014, we’ll be seeing a wide variety of concepts on the grid at Le Mans.”

    The basic elements of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro’s new configuration were defined back in 2012 and the design of all the single components started at the end of 2012. The new LMP1 sports car was rolled out in the early fall of 2013, followed by track tests of the most recent R18.

    In the new Technical Regulations, a large number of principal definitions, which concern the powertrain, body dimensions, safety and aerodynamics, were re-determined. With the new R18, Audi Sport has opted for a similar concept as in the past – albeit with innovative detailed solutions and an additional hybrid system. The key details:

  • A further developed V6 TDI mid-engine powers the rear wheels
  • e-tron quattro hybrid system at the front axle (ERS-K – Energy Recovery System Kinetic, a system to store kinetic energy)
  • Optimized flywheel energy storage system
  • Hybrid system with an electric turbocharger in the internal combustion engine (ERS-H – Energy Recovery System Heat, a system that stores energy converted from heat)

    New approaches to powertrain technology and energy management

    Never before has a race car been powered by technology as complex as the one used in Audi’s new LMP1 sports car. The TDI engine, which sets the benchmark in terms of efficiency, remains a time-tested and important element of the overall concept. The further developed V6 TDI unit of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro makes a crucial contribution to the car’s compliance with the energy specifications of the regulations. The new R18 has to do with up to 30 percent less fuel than its immediate predecessor.

    In addition to the internal combustion engine, the powertrain concept, for the first time, features the integration of two hybrid systems. As in the past, a Motor-Generator-Unit (MGU), during braking events, recovers kinetic energy at the front axle, which flows into a flywheel energy storage system. For the first time, the turbocharger of the internal combustion engine is linked to an electrical machine, which makes it possible to convert the thermal energy of the exhaust gas flow into electric energy – for instance when the boost pressure limit has been reached. This energy also flows into the flywheel energy storage system. When the car accelerates, the stored energy can either flow back to the MGU at the front axle or to the innovative electric turbocharger, depending on the operating strategy.

    The overall design of these systems and their direct impact on engine and powertrain management require highly complex coordination and tuning work. Audi Sport initially performed theoretical analyses and simulations, followed by rig testing and, since October, by track tests. The options available to the drivers and engineers as a result of the new technology are now more extensive than ever before.

    Significantly changed conditions for the aerodynamicists

    New freedoms, accompanied by greater restrictions – this is how the new framework conditions for aerodynamics can be put in a nutshell. A few examples: The 10 centimeter slimmer body of the new LMP1 sports car means that the front of the R18 becomes mathematically smaller – which is an advantage. The bodywork accommodates slimmer wheels, which, in turn, reduces aerodynamic drag. This is contrasted by other innovations that do not provide any advantages in aerodynamics. At 1,050 millimeters, the race car has to be 20 millimeters higher than before, and larger cockpit dimensions are prescribed as well. This leads to less favorable aerodynamics. The lower overall width of the car results in a slimmer underfloor. In addition, it features a completely different shape in the area of the cutouts for the front wheels. Consequently, the area that can produce downforce becomes smaller. With respect to designing the front end, the engineers enjoy new freedoms. Instead of a diffusor, a genuine front wing with a flap may be used for the first time. This promises aerodynamic advantages and lower costs, as this part of the bodywork will lend itself to easier modification to suit the various race tracks. In the past, it was necessary to produce different bodywork assemblies.

    On the other hand, greater limits have been imposed on the aerodynamic design freedoms at the rear end. Use of the exhaust gas in the area of the rear diffusor, as in the case of the 2013-generation Audi R18 e-tron quattro, is now prohibited.

    Further improvement of safety

    Even in the past, LMP1 sports cars with their closed CFRP cockpit structure were regarded as one of the safest race car categories of all. Two severe accidents of the R18 at Le Mans in 2011 saw the Audi drivers get off lightly. But this is no reason to stop. The rule-makers have continued to improve the safety of the latest race car generation by imposing numerous discrete requirements.

    The new monocoque has to resist higher loads. At the same time, it is reinforced by additional layers of fabric, which are hard to penetrate in the case of a concentrated impact. This reduces the risk of intrusion by pointed objects in accidents.

    For the first time, wheel tethers are prescribed. They connect the outer assemblies of the front wheel suspensions with the monocoque and the ones of the rear suspensions with the chassis structure. Each of the two tethers required per wheel can withstand forces of 90 KN – which equates to a weight force of nine metric tons. Another new feature is a CFRP structure behind the transmission – the so-called ‘crasher’ – which absorbs energy in a collision.

    This is another example of the considerable challenges faced by the Audi engineers, as all these innovations increase weight, in addition to the second hybrid system. Audi’s previous Le Mans prototype weighed 915 kilograms. But in the future the car’s weight may be reduced to 870 kilograms – which means that Audi’s ultra-lightweight design technology reaches a new dimension.

    A large number of further innovations – for instance in the areas of vision and interior ergonomics – characterize the new Audi R18 e-tron quattro that will be making its racing debut in the 6-hour race at Silverstone (Great Britain) on April 20, 2014. The highlight of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) will be the Le Mans 24 Hours on June 14/15, 2014. The aim is clear: Audi is setting its sights on continuing to maintain the leading role it has enjoyed in sports prototype racing since 2000 and on again demonstrating ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ at Le Mans.

  • Five Steps To Not Hating Electric Cars [VIDEO]

    ICE fans love the vicious sounds, smells and excitement of combustion cars. But can they learn to love electric cars the same way?

    Follow these five steps. With Mike Prichinello and Zac Moseley from the Classic Car Club Manhattan.

    Next Gen Lancer Evolution Hybrid to get different name

    This makes sense. Because the next generation Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution performance car is so different from the Evolution models that came before it, the Japanese automaker could assign it a completely different name, according to Motor Trend.

    While the next-gen car will still reportedly be turbocharged and all-wheel-drive, the engine will be downsized to a tuned version of the brand's 1.1-liter three-cylinder engine and will use electric motors on both front and rear axles similar to the Outlander PHEV's setup.

    Sources are hinting that those motors combined with Mitsubishi's next-gen S-AWC would give the Evo replacement handling capabilities beyond any past model. That is really saying something considering Mitsubishis's AYC (Acive Yaw Control) - an electronically controlled active rear differential - and S-AWC (Super All Wheel Control) - adds dynamic braking to AYC - already set the industry standard for performance-oriented active stability control systems.

    Bloomberg: Can the BMW i8 'Topple' the Tesla Model S? [VIDEO]

    It's good to see Bloomberg reporter Matt Miller talking UP Tesla stock for a change.

    We've previously posted video of Miller trying to make a case that BMW and Audi are going to squeeze out Tesla at the top-end of the market, but the analysis was fairly poor.

    BMW i3 Range Extender Test Drive [VIDEO]

    The Telegraph takes the range extended BMW i3 for a test drive in some typically wet English countryside.

    Maxwell & SK to Develop Integrated Lithium Ion Battery-Ultracapacitor

    Maxwell Technologies announced today that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with SK Innovation, a subsidiary of SK Holdings and Korea's leading energy provider, to develop next generation energy storage solutions leveraging the complementary characteristics of SK's lithium ion batteries and Maxwell's ultracapacitors.

    The two companies will explore and identify global commercial opportunities for products that enable enhanced functionality and improve energy efficiency in industrial, transportation and other markets. Lithium ion batteries are characterized by their high energy density, while ultracapacitors offer rapid charge and discharge capabilities, reliable performance in extreme temperature conditions and long operational life.

    "As our name implies, we are seeking to move beyond the limitations of existing technologies to develop and deliver products that better meet the requirements of the most demanding energy storage and power delivery applications," said Stephen J. Kim of SK Innovation's battery division. "Our goal is to develop truly differentiated products that will create large new opportunities for both companies."

    "While our respective products currently meet the needs of many applications as stand-alone solutions, Maxwell has always believed that ultracapacitors and batteries can be integrated to provide optimized products that offer the best of both worlds in terms of energy and power," said David Schramm, Maxwell's president and chief executive officer. "We are very pleased to have found a major lithium-ion battery producer in SK Innovation that is willing to invest in joint product and market exploration."

    Kamis, 12 Desember 2013

    VW XL1 hits the streets of New York with $145,000 price tag

    New Yorkers got a glimpse of the future this week, as the Volkswagen XL1 arrived in the City as part of a month-long American tour that took in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and the Big Apple.

    The XL1, which looks like it could have driven off the set of a sci-fi movie, is the most fuel-efficient production car in the world, with a European combined fuel consumption rating of 261 mpg and CO2 emissions of 21 g/km. Thanks to its plug-in hybrid system, this two-seater can also cover up to 31 miles as a zero-emissions electric vehicle.

    To achieve this incredible fuel economy, Volkswagen engineers married an incredibly efficient, diesel-electric plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain with a lightweight carbonfiber structure and the best aerodynamics of any production car in the world. The XL1 weighs just 1753 pounds, has a coefficient of drag of just 0.189, and uses a 48-horsepower two-cylinder turbocharged and direct-injection TDI® Clean Diesel engine that is mated to a 27-horsepower electric motor, a seven-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission, and a 5.5 kWh lithium-ion battery. Thanks to this formula, this super-efficient Volkswagen can cruise at a constant 62 mph while using just 8.3 horsepower. In all-electric mode, the XL1 requires less than 0.1 kWh to cover more than 0.6 miles (one kilometer).

    The 261 mpg fuel consumption figure is a record for a production car, showing that Volkswagen is in the automotive industry’s technical vanguard. The XL1 also has a top speed of 99 mph and can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 12.7 seconds.

    Conceptually, the XL1 represents the third evolutionary stage of Volkswagen’s 1-liter car strategy. At the start of this current millennium, Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Piëch—currently Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG—formulated the visionary goal of producing a practical car that had a combined fuel consumption of one liter per 100 km (235 mpg). In the two-seat XL1, this vision has become reality.

    Despite the tremendous efficiency of the XL1, the engineers and designers successfully came up with a body design that delivers more everyday utility than the two previous prototypes. In the L1, the 1-liter car that was shown in 2002 and 2009, the driver and passenger sat behind each other for optimal aerodynamics; in the XL1, the two occupants sit slightly offset, side by side, almost like a conventional vehicle.

    The XL1 is 153.1 inches long, 65.6 inches wide, and just 45.4 inches tall. By comparison, a Volkswagen Polo is slightly longer (156.3 in) and wider (66.2 in), but is significantly taller (57.6 in). Even a purebred sports car like today’s Porsche Boxster is 5.1 inches taller. Just 250 XL1s will be produced at the Volkswagen factory in Osnabrück, Germany, priced at approximately $145,000.

    XL1 SPECIFICATIONS
    Body                                                    Carbonfiber reinforced polymer monocoque and panels
    Length x width x height                        153.1 in x 65.6 in x 45.4 in
    Wheelbase                                           87.6 in
    Drive system                                       Plug-in diesel hybrid, rear-wheel drive
    Engine                                                  TDI Clean Diesel, two cylinder
    Capacity                                               830 cc
    Output                                                  48 hp, 89 lb-ft
    Electric motor                                       27 hp, 103 lb-ft
    System output                                      68 hp, 103 lb-ft
    Transmission                                        Seven-speed DSG automatic
    Battery type                                          5.5 kWh lithium-ion
    Weight                                                 1753 lb

    Performance/fuel economy
    Max speed                                           99 mph (electronically limited)
    European fuel consumption                 261 mpg
    C02 emissions                                     21 g/km
    EV range                                              31 miles
    EV/TDI range                                       More than 310 miles (10 liter fuel tank)

    Audi R8 e-tron Production Back On - Now with 400 km Range

    Audi, who is on its third R&D chief in 16 months, has backtracked on an earlier decision to cancel production of the R8 etron, and will now push ahead with small-scale production of the zero-emission two-seater as part of a number of sweeping changes made to its research and engineering operations since the arrival in June of its new head, Ulrich Hackenberg.

    Citing recent advances in lithium-ion battery technology that has reportedly increased its range from an original 215km (134 miles) to close to 400km (248.5 miles), insiders at Audi’s headquarters in Germany suggest the R8 etron will now go into limited production during the latter half of 2014.

    The rear-wheel-drive R8 etron, cancelled in May by Wolfgang Dürheimer who is rumoured to have been fired over that decision, is set to act as a halo model for a number of smaller and more affordable new electric-powered Audi models, whose engineering is being overseen by Hackenberg – the man responsible for parent company Volkswagen’s new e-Up and e-Golf, among other hybrid-powered models, including the XL1 and Golf Plug-In Hybrid.

    Among the changes made to the R8 etron to enhance its suitability for production is a new lithium battery technology featuring an alternative chemical process and, it is claimed, greater energy density than the original 48.6kWh unit.

    Further details remain unclear, although the new car is expected to share the styling of the second-generation R8 – itself due to be launched with conventional petrol engines in 2014. The R8 etron was conceived from the outset around the second-generation R8’s new aluminium and carbonfibre body structure in a move that saw prototypes possess a kerb weight of 1780kg.

    Rabu, 11 Desember 2013

    Nissan tests new Leaf battery chemistry

    Nissan believes it can create a longer-lasting battery pack for its electric Leaf next year by altering the recipe used to create the component.

    The proposed change in chemical composition, which is still under review at the automaker, should make the lithium ion battery more resilient to hot-weather aging, says Billy Hayes, vice president for Nissan's global electric vehicle business.

    "We're working on an improved chemistry to improve the longevity of the batteries, especially in these prolonged extreme heat situations," Hayes told journalists during the Tokyo Motor Show last month.

    "We're optimistic that we would use that for replacements going forward."

    If approved, the new chemistry would go into production at Nissan's Smyrna, Tenn., Leaf and battery module assembly plant in the first half of 2014, he says.

    Leaf owners in hot-weather markets such as Arizona and New Mexico have complained that their batteries appear to be aging faster than the manufacturer envisioned.

    This year Nissan addressed the complaints by vowing to replace underperforming batteries.

    Hayes says the new chemical composition will not extend the Leaf's driving range, which averages 73 miles on a single charge, according to Nissan marketing material. But he said it should delay the degradation of the battery over its lifetime.

    EV batteries are produced in a baking process in which 48 modules of cells are sealed, injected with electrolyte and allowed to age.

    Altering the chemicals involved can produce differences in performance, weight, cost and other characteristics.

    Andy Palmer, Nissan's chief planning officer, says the Leaf battery has already gone through two other product enhancements since it entered production in Smyrna a year ago, to reduce weight and cost. He estimated that, after the expected change in chemical composition next year, it will likely see two more generations over the next two years.

    Meanwhile, Nissan is working on other EV batteries, as well as other battery-powered models, Palmer says. In 2014, Nissan will introduce a lithium-powered NV200 compact cargo van. And Nissan is also studying plans to build an EV sports car based on the recently unveiled BladeGlider concept.

    Selasa, 10 Desember 2013

    How It Feels Going From A Chevy Volt To A Tesla Model S [VIDEO]

    Business Insider's Alex Davies compares the Chevy Volt to the Tesla Model S and gives a very brief non-technical summary.

    Audi start testing new 2014 LMP1 R18 e-tron quattro

    Only a week after the World Championship winning Audi R18 e-tron quattro race car’s last run in a race, its successor is ready to hit the track. Tests of the new LMP1 sports car, which has been kept under wraps up to now, commence today on the U.S. race track at Sebring (Florida).

    Audi Sport in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm has developed a fundamentally new Le Mans prototype that corresponds to the Technical Regulations for 2014 and is designed for maximum efficiency. The development started in 2012. The roll-out took place in the early fall of 2013. Starting today, the next-generation Audi R18 e-tron quattro is being tested on the race track where all new Le Mans prototypes of the Audi brand have had to prove their worth: at Sebring.

    “We’ve reached a crucial stage in this project,” explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “After building the first prototype, testing on various race tracks is now taking center-stage. The tests are mainly focused on achieving high mileage, coordinating the highly complex hybrid drive systems and working out an efficiency-optimized total package that has never before been as complex as this one.”

    Audi has won the manufacturers’ and drivers’ classifications in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) for the second time in succession and the Le Mans 24 Hours for the twelfth time this year. Before the end of December, Audi will present the next generation of its hybrid sports car and announce further details.

    Senin, 09 Desember 2013

    Leonardo DiCaprio & Venturi Launch Formula E Team

    Venturi Automobiles today announced a joint venture with award-winning actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio to enter a team in the new FIA Formula E Championship - the world's first fully-electric race series beginning in September 2014.

    Based in Monaco, the new Venturi Grand Prix Formula E Team has been co-founded by DiCaprio and Gildo Pallanca Pastor, founder of pioneering EV manufacturer Venturi Automobiles, together with Bert Hedaya and Francesco Costa.

    Formula E is a new FIA Championship using electric single-seater race cars capable of speeds in excess of 225km/h. The series will compete in the heart of 10 of the world's leading cities including Beijing, Los Angeles and London. Ten teams, each with two drivers, will go head-to-head to create a unique and exciting racing series designed to appeal to a new generation of motorsport fan whilst accelerating the electric vehicle market and promoting sustainability.

    "The future of our planet depends on our ability to embrace fuel-efficient, clean-energy vehicles," DiCaprio said. "Venturi Grand Prix has shown tremendous foresight in their decision to create an environmentally friendly racing team, and I am happy to be a part of this effort."

    Venturi Grand Prix will now be put forward to the FIA for approval as the tenth and final team to enter the new zero emission series. They join international names from around the globe with IndyCar outfits Andretti Autosport and Dragon Racing, Asia's China Racing, Super Aguri and Mahindra Racing, and European squads Drayson Racing, e.dams, Audi Sport ABT and Virgin Racing.

    The team is centred around the award-winning Venturi Automobiles, a leader in high performance electric vehicles developing a range of sports, urban and utilitarian cars, as well as being the current holders of the world land speed record for an electric vehicle with 495kph (307mph). The team also plans to become a constructor from the second season, building its own Formula E car using a powertrain based on the one used in its 3,000hp electric streamliner - Venturi VBB-3 - unveiled earlier this year in Wendover, Utah, by H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco.

    "Venturi has been a pioneer in electric high performance vehicles for more than a decade and Formula E gives us the fantastic opportunity to further improve our advanced technologies through motorsport, as well as compete all over the world," said Gildo. "It also gives us the chance to be part of a new racing programme with a project that really shares Venturi's values for clean mobility, innovation in the field of electric propulsion and energy efficiency optimisation."

    "It's an honour and a pleasure to welcome the Venturi Grand Prix team as the tenth and final team of the FIA Formula E Championship," said Alejandro Agag, CEO of series promoters Formula E Holdings. "Gildo is a true pioneer in electric racing. From the desert of Salt Lake to Antarctica, his passion and vision pushes forward the technology barriers of what can be done with an electric car. But Gildo is not alone in this venture. Global entrepreneurs Francesco Costa and Bert Hedaya bring great experience and energy to the team.

    "And of course, I want to give a very special welcome to our Championship to Leonardo DiCaprio. Very few environmental leaders have helped more than him to spread the message of sustainability around the world. Having people like him and Richard Branson - global ambassadors for the environment - is a privilege for our Championship and will greatly help us to spread the use of electric cars in cities around the planet."

    2014/2015 FIA Formula E Championship – Team line-up:
    1. Drayson Racing Formula E Team (UK)
    2. China Racing Formula E Team (China)
    3. Andretti Autosport Formula E Team (USA)
    4. Dragon Racing Formula E Team (USA)
    5. e.dams Formula E Team (France)
    6. Super Aguri Formula E Team (Japan)
    7. Audi Sport ABT Formula E Team (Germany)
    8. Mahindra Racing Formula E Team (India)
    9. Virgin Racing Formula E Team (UK)
    10. Venturi Formula E Team (Monaco)

    CNN: Bogota's fleet of BYD electric taxis [VIDEO]

    The Colombian capital of Bogota has rolled out a fleet of electric taxis, made by Chinese automobile company BYD.

    It is the largest such fleet in South America, and is designed to improve the city’s air quality and reduce pollution. But there are some challenges in maintaining these eco-friendly vehicles. CNN's Nick Parker takes a ride.

    Jumat, 06 Desember 2013

    FIA Approves Formula E Championship Calendar

    Formula E Holdings, promoters of the new FIA Formula E Championship, today confirmed its 2014/2015 calendar featuring 10 city-centre events spanning four continents.

    The calendar was submitted to the FIA during its World Motor Sport Council in Paris, France, and will run from September 2014 to June 2015. Beijing will remain as the host venue for the world's first ever fully-electric race commencing on 13th September 2014 – one week earlier than previously planned.

    After the opening round in Beijing, the 10 teams and 20 drivers will remain in Asia for Round 2 with Putrajaya, the federal administrative centre of Malaysia on 18th October 2014. Round 3 will now see the championship head to Rio de Janeiro, the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro and the second largest city of Brazil. Rio replaces Hong Kong which will instead be considered as a candidate city for the following Formula E seasons.

    From here, the series continues in South America with Round 4 in Punta del Este, Uruguay, on 13th December 2014 before starting the New Year in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for Round 5 on 10th January. The championship then heads to North America for Rounds 6 and 7 with Los Angeles on 14th February 2015 and Miami now brought forward to 14th March 2015.

    The season then moves to Europe for the final three rounds beginning with Monte Carlo, Monaco, on 9th May 2015 followed by the German capital of Berlin on 30th May 2015 where the former airport of Tempelhof has already been revealed as the circuit location. The inaugural season then reaches its climax in London, United Kingdom, on 27th June 2015.

    Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E Holdings, said: "It's a great feeling to be able to confirm our calendar for the inaugural Formula E season and we're very thankful to all the cities, and candidate cities, for showing their commitment to sustainable mobility. The level of interest we have received from cities all over the globe has been overwhelming and choosing the final 10 has been a challenging and meticulous process. We're confident our final 10 cities will provide an array of fantastic backdrops to showcase electric cars in their favoured urban environments, as well as allow us to put on a great spectacle for the fans."

    All Formula E events will feature a free practice session, qualifying session, one-hour race and live music concert taking place in a single day (Saturday) in order to minimise disruption to the city and its surrounding areas. Precise circuit layouts for each venue will be revealed at a later stage but all will use city-centre locations. Tickets for the first rounds will go on sale in 2014.

    Formula E is a new FIA championship featuring Formula cars powered exclusively by electric energy –representing a vision for the future and serving as a framework for research and development around the electric vehicle. For the first season only, all 10 teams - each with two drivers - will compete using the new Spark-Renault SRT_01E car which completed its successful test debut last month.

    2014/2015 FIA Formula E Championship – Calendar

    Round 1 Beijing, China 13th September 2014
    Round 2 Putrajaya, Malaysia 18th October 2014
    Round 3 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 15th November 2014
    Round 4 Punta del Este, Uruguay 13th December 2014
    Round 5 Buenos Aires, Argentina 10th January 2015
    Round 6 Los Angeles, USA 14th February 2015
    Round 7 Miami, USA 14th March 2015
    Round 8 Monte Carlo, Monaco 9th May 2015
    Round 9 Berlin, Germany 30th May 2015
    Round 10 London, UK 27th June 2015

    Kamis, 05 Desember 2013

    Toyota signs wireless charging deal with WiTricity

    WiTricity, an industry pioneer in resonant wireless power transfer over distance, today announced an intellectual property license agreement with the world’s top-selling carmaker, Toyota Motor Corporation.

    Having made an equity investment in WiTricity in 2011 to accelerate the development of automotive wireless charging systems and acceptance by carmakers, Toyota has cooperated technically with the company for the past several years. Under this intellectual property license agreement, Toyota will offer wireless charging power capture devices on their future rechargeable hybrid electric and battery electric vehicles. Compatible wireless charging sources will be manufactured by third party charging system suppliers, under license from WiTricity.

    WiTricity’s technology delivers electric power safely over distance and eliminates the need for the charging cable that is required for EVs and PHVs that are currently on the market. Toyota has identified this technology as a key differentiator in the marketplace because of its seamless operation and the convenience factor it offers the vehicle owners.

    “WiTricity’s mission is to make wireless charging available as widely as possible, and this announcement is a significant step toward accomplishing that mission,” said WiTricity CEO Eric Giler. “We envision a world in which wireless charging accelerates the adoption of clean, green electrified vehicles. To have Toyota, the world’s leading carmaker, licensing our intellectual property, underscores the importance of the technology.”

    Japan's Sekisui Chemical develop Silicon based 600 km range battery

    Sekisui Chemical has developed a material that can triple the capacity of lithium ion batteries, allowing electric vehicles to travel about 600km on a single charge -- roughly as far as gasoline-powered cars can go without refilling.

    The new material stores electricity using silicon instead of conventional carbon-based materials. The company's silicon alloy overcomes the durability issue that had kept silicon from being used.

    Sekisui Chemical also developed a new material for the electrolyte, which conducts electricity within the batteries. This eliminates the need for equipment to inject liquid electrolyte into batteries, stepping up battery production by 10-fold.

    The company believes that the new material can bring battery production costs down to just above 30,000 yen ($290) per kilowatt-hour, a decrease of more than 60 percent from around 100,000 yen ($976) today, according to a report in Nikkei.

    Lithium-ion batteries are a type of non-aqueous electrolyte rechargeable battery where the lithium-ion inside the electrolytes supplies the electrical conductivity. Standard models have lithium metal oxides at the positive electrode and a carbon material such as graphite at the negative electrode, and usually use electrolytic solution.

    Using electrolytic solution is a barrier to ensuring the safety of the lithium-ion battery, and many research institutes are seeking to solidify the electrolytic solution, but from the perspective of performance and productivity, electrolytic solution remains the standard substance.

    Sekisui Chemical, through its determined focus on using gel for electrolytes, has recently utilized new organic polymer electrolyte materials as gel-type electrolytes with high ion conductivity (approx. ten times other Sekisui Chemical products) to gain the prospect of realizing high-speed continuous production for battery cells (approx. ten times compared to other Sekisui Chemical products) and enhanced safety by using a continuous coating process rather than a vacuum infusion process. In addition, it has developed high-capacity silicon negative-electrode materials to make optimum use of this performance, realizing a high-capacity battery cell (900Wh/L).

    The development of high-capacity film-type lithium-ion batteries giving practical performance while being flexible, slim, long and covering a large area has massively improved freedom in designing the shape of the final products, leading to anticipation for their use in automobiles, houses, electrical appliances and so on while gaining unprecedented lightness, space-saving (a third the size of previous products) and enhancing design through being able to be installed in any shape of form

    Sekisui Chemical plans to begin sample shipments to domestic and overseas battery manufacturers as early as next summer, with mass production to kick off in 2015. It is targeting annual sales of 20 billion yen by fully entering the business of automotive battery materials.

    Virgin to enter team in Formula E

    Virgin is to enter a team for the first FIA Formula E Championship, which gets out of the grids next year.

    The all-new championship will take place on purpose-built street circuits in ten city centres around the world. The Virgin Racing Formula E Team, is headed by Team Principal Alex Tai and has the backing of Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson. Both have been involved in a number of pioneering technology projects in aviation, space and more recently racing.

    The Formula E Championship is intending to showcase electric car technology and speed up development and innovation amongst manufacturers. Against this backdrop, Virgin will bring fun, energy and excitement to create a concept that is compelling for both fans and commercial partners, and will create a winning team.

    Richard Branson said: “The launch of the Formula E Championship is exciting news for racing fans but also for those that believe in developing the great electric cars of the future. The need to create fast, dependable and durable race cars will help to accelerate the sector and showcase electric cars to a large global audience. With races around many famous city centres, I am expecting a lot of spectators, plenty of fun and some sparks flying as the competition hots up.”

    Alex Tai – Team Principal of Virgin Racing Formula E Team, said: “I’m absolutely sold on the concept of Formula E and believe that it is a great fit for the Virgin brand. The accessible nature of the series with its races being right in the heart of our great cities, should create a wonderful atmosphere. The drive to develop new technology appeals to Virgin, which has always been a pioneering organisation. I’ve been fortunate to have been involved in a number of such activities over years, from the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer to Virgin Galactic activities that push technological and human boundaries and capture people’s imagination.

    Alejandro Agag – CEO Formula E Holdings, said: “It gives me great pleasure to welcome Richard Branson and the Virgin Team to Formula E and for them to have chosen the FIA’s new zero emission series to make their return to top-flight motor sport. Having a global brand like Virgin, renowned for their technological innovation and sporting passion, as one of our ten teams is a fantastic addition to the championship and shows their commitment to sustainable mobility. Today’s announcement now means we just have one team left to announce before the grid for the inaugural 2014/2015 Formula E season is complete.”

    FORMULA E ENTRANTS SO FAR

  • Drayson Racing
  • China Racing
  • Andretti Autosport
  • Dragon Racing
  • e.dams
  • Super Aguri
  • Audi Sport Abt
  • Mahindra Racing
  • Virgin Racing
  • Zoox Reveal Autonomous Bi-directional Electric Vehicle Concept

    Meet The Boz; it's not really a car - it's what might come after the car - a vehicle design based entirely around autonomous driving.

    Inside the Boz, the experience would be like sitting in a train. Drivers become passengers, or "commanders." Without needing to focus on traffic and road signs, they would be able to use the commute to do some work or watch a video or have a snooze!

    Just as the internal combustion engine enabled the car to replace the carriage, Zoox believe autonomous technology will replace the car, and in doing so create a new class of mobility known as 'Level 4'.

    Level 4 is a term taken from a policy statement the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released on May 30, 2013. This document outlines a spectrum of mobility systems from the fully manual Level 0, through to Level 4 which is fully autonomous.

    From a design perspective, the first element you may notice is what's absent: the front and rear windshield. This is not to say L4s can't have them — certainly those designed for tourism would — but this vehicle makes the statement that you now have an option.

    Firstly, it gains thermal, aerodynamic and acoustic efficiencies. The thermal load lost through the windshield is significant, requiring energy intensive climate control systems, as well as a number of ancillary systems to keep the glass clear. These inefficiencies are removed.

    The entry profile of the vehicle is aerodynamic as a near teardrop, unattainable in a car due to the requirement for driver vision. The low profile roofline and absence of glass further lends itself to superior acoustic insulation. The side windows are thin, but double glazed, which enhances these properties.

    Because the requirement for the passenger to be situationally aware of their exterior environment is removed, external sound and light can be shielded to enhance a sense of serenity and safety. This is a superior environment for interacting with voice-activated systems, watching video or conversing.

    You can be in the middle of a bustling city, but when the door seals, you are in your own world.

    The Boz has all-wheel active suspension, all-wheel steering and all-wheel drive, all optimized by Artificial Intelligence. All-wheel drive means the torque applied to each in-wheel motor can be precisely regulated, delivering the benefits of anti-lock braking and electronic stability control without the need for ancillary systems. The electric motors, which are equally capable of spinning in either direction, also facilitate regenerative braking.

    While driverless cars sound fantastic, 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 and a larger scale trial of 100 pods will begin in 2015 in Milton Keynes.

    Source: Zoox

    Rabu, 04 Desember 2013

    Mitsubishi Drop 2014 i-MiEV Price to $12,995 in California

    Mitsubishi Motors North America have announced the 2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric-powered production vehicle not only receives an expanded standard equipment package but also sees a considerable price reduction of $6,130 over the previous 2012 model year vehicle.

    The 2014 model year Mitsubishi i-MiEV ES model including CHAdeMO DC quick charge port, battery warming system and heated side view mirrors now starts at only $22,995 – an astonishing $6,130 price reduction from the previous generation. After factoring in the Federal tax credit of $7,500, the net MSRP of the 2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV drops down to only $15,495.

    With a net MSRP of only $15,495 after factoring in the available EV federal tax credit of $7,500 and, for example, with the California state EV financial incentive of up to $2,500 (other generous financial incentives are available through numerous states and municipalities), residents in California can obtain the technologically-advanced 2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV for as low as $12,995.

    To date, more than 30,000 Mitsubishi i-MiEV and i-MiEV-based production vehicles have been sold around the globe. In such diverse markets as the U.S., Europe and Asia, the i-MiEV has proven to be a safe, convenient and utterly reliable eco-friendly form of personal transportation in any market in which it is sold.

    Selasa, 03 Desember 2013

    Norwegian Electric Car Sales hit 12% market share in November

    Electric car sales in Norway have set yet another record. According to OGV battery electric vehicles sales increased sharply with 1434 new EVs being sold in November giving them an 11.9% market share amongst passenger car sales. This is a 357% increase on the same month last year when EVs accounted for only 2.6% of the market.

    After topped the list of new car registrations in Norway in September, the top selling electric car for November is the Tesla Model S with 527 sold, accounting for 4.4% market share on it's own and the second most popular car over-all just behind the VW Golf.

    After leading the market for the first time last month, the second most popular EV is the Nissan Leaf with 512 sold and 4.2% market share.

    In fact EVs are so in demand in Norway another 249 used EVs were imported in November bringing the total to 1683 electric cars sold.

    BMW-Toyota making big steps in EV Battery technology

    BMW’s head of marketing, Ian Robertson, has said the partnership between BMW and Toyota has already heralded “big steps” in battery technology,

    “We’ve been genuinely impressed by the speed and quality of the learnings,” said Robertson. “The teams are working very well together. We are making some big steps, especially in battery performance and efficiency. We are now looking at how we can use the learnings together, because there’s no question they will make electric cars far more attractive.”

    The two firms announced they would jointly research a lithium-air battery back in January. A lithium-air battery has its anode filled with lithium, and cathode with air. Theoretically, the battery can store more than 5,000 watt-hours per kilogram. (A123 M1 cells are around 120 wh/kg).

    Ian Robertson was quoted as saying during the launch of the BMW i3 he expect the i3 to be powered by a 320 km (200 mile) range Lithium-Air Battery by 2017.

    Source: Autocar