Rabu, 30 April 2014

Lexus is300h First Drive - Fully Charged [VIDEO]

Robert takes a 'very comfy' drive in the hybrid Lexus is300h, and some musings on the scale of electricity use by fossil fuel refining.


Chris Harris takes a trip to Los Angeles to drive the new BMW i8.

Capable of 23 miles all electric before the 3-cylinder turbocharged motor kicks in to recharge the batteries. Harris things the i8 is one of the closest production cars ever seen that looks almost identical to the concept car it's based on.

Selasa, 29 April 2014

Ferrari LaFerrari 950 hp Hybrid Supercar Test Drive [VIDEO]

The LaFerrari is powered by a 950bhp petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain. It can accelerate from 0-62mph in less than 3sec, from 0-124mph in less than 7sec and from 0-186mph in less than 15sec. Top speed is 220 mph and production is limited to just 499 models.

The battery compartment is integrated into the chassis (the batteries and engine are mid-mounted) to improve stiffness, while the electric drive itself consists of two motors, one with 161bhp to power the rear wheels and another for the ancillaries. The batteries weigh 60kg and can be charged either under braking or via any excess torque produced by the engine, which is diverted from the rear wheels.

This is all attached to a 6,262cc V12 with a screaming 9,250rpm rev limit, driving through a seven-speed paddle-shift gearbox. On its own this engine produces 789bhp and 516lb ft of torque. Combined with the electric motor this swells to the 950bhp headline figure, as well as 664lb ft of torque.

First driving impressions suggest Ferrari have successfully combined the superior low rpm torque characteristics of an electric motor to give the LaFerrari the instant throttle response and acceleration of an EV, what McLaren call 'torque fill', with the enormous top end torque of a 6lt V12.

TDK Licenses WiTricity Patent Portfolio for Wireless Charging

The wireless charging space is on fire this week with first Hella and now TDK announcing that it has entered into a licensing agreement for wireless power transfer technology with U.S. based WiTricity Corporation (Watertown, MA). The aim of the alliance is to develop wireless power transfer systems for electric vehicles (EV) and other mobility applications, and to promote business.

Wireless power transfer technology can supply electricity without using cables. The technology TDK intends to implement is known as resonant magnetic coupling for wireless power transfer*. Because power can be transferred efficiently even though the power source device and power capture device are separated by many centimeters and through roadway materials such as concrete and asphalt, this technology is expected to find commercial application in EVs and other mobility areas requiring recharging.

TDK boasts ferrite and other proprietary magnetic materials. Leveraging its strengths in magnetic materials technologies and circuit technologies, in 2009 TDK developed wireless power transfer coil units for smartphones and other compact electronic equipment, which it is now manufacturing and selling.

Furthermore, since 2010, TDK has been developing wireless power transfer systems based on unique technologies that are envisaged mainly for EVs. In 2013, TDK created one of the world’s smallest and lightest prototype wireless power source and capture systems, and verified its ability to transfer the required power levels at high efficiency for charging electric vehicles.

Capitalizing on this licensing agreement with WiTricity, TDK plans to quickly commercialize wireless power transfer systems for charging EVs and other electric mobility applications.

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive Priced From $41,450

The all-new 2014 B-Class Electric Drive features dynamic design, a premium interior and a powerful electric motor for emission-free mobility. This allows for lively, effortless driving pleasure over a real-world range of 85 miles (EPA)*. In addition, the B-Class Electric Drive is digitally networked. Thanks to its connectivity, it can be conveniently checked and configured via the internet. As the Mercedes-Benz among electric vehicles, the B-Class Electric Drive sets clear standards in terms of comfort, quality and safety for up to five occupants. The B-Class Electric Drive, bearing the unmistakable three-pointed star trademark, will first be launched in the US market in the summer of 2014.

The new B-Class Electric Drive surprises with an especially dynamic driving experience. It provides noticeably powerful acceleration, while gliding along quietly. The new electric Mercedes offers the driver and up to four passengers the familiar high standards of ride comfort in a high-class, spacious and precision-designed interior. The B-Class Electric Drive combines dynamic and driving pleasure with zero local emissions – in short: it delivers electric driving at premium level.

Powerful drive with brisk acceleration

The new Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive is based on the conventionally powered B-Class, for which the current generation has become a bestseller since being launched in many countries in 2011. Since the launch of the first B-Class version in 2005, Mercedes-Benz has seen customers taking delivery of over one million of these vehicles. As an especially versatile vehicle concept, the B-Class with its innovative electric drive now allows additional environmental friendly capabilities to Mercedes standards.

Mercedes-Benz has collaborated with TESLA Motors to develop the electric B-Class. The two companies share many years of cooperation in the field of electric mobility. The battery for the predecessor model of the smart fortwo electric drive, for instance, came from TESLA. For the B-Class Electric Drive, Mercedes-Benz is once again leveraging the extensive know-how available from the electric car pioneer and is using the TESLA drive system in its own vehicle.

Quiet and local emission-free driving is ensured by an electric motor generating 177 hp (132 kW). Typical for an electric drive system, the motor develops its maximum torque of 251 lb-ft (340 Newton meters) from the very first touch of the accelerator. This is approximately equivalent to the torque from a modern three-liter gasoline engine. The result is noticeably powerful acceleration from a standing start. The electrically driven B-Class drives from zero to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds. Effortless drivability and exhilarating driving pleasure with a high level of comfort are thus guaranteed in every situation.

The power supply to the electric drive is delivered via a highperformance lithium-ion battery, which is compactly and safely housed in the “Energy Space” in the underfloor of the vehicle. Such intelligent packaging allows the five-seater to retain the B-Class’s familiar spaciousness in both its interior and its luggage compartment of 17.69-51.42 ft3.

Zero emissions also on longer journeys

In the interests of optimizing range, the top speed is electronically limited to 100 mph. Depending on driving cycle; the vehicle has a range of 85 miles (EPA)*. This permits emission-free driving not just in city traffic and on short journeys, but also over longer distances – such as a daily commute. The B-Class Electric Drive can be charged from any standard domestic power socket. For a range of 60 miles, the charging time at 240V in the United States is less than 2 hours*. On the road, the electric drive itself makes its own contribution to a favorable energy balance by converting kinetic energy into electric current during coasting and braking, and feeds this energy into the battery.

Dynamic Mercedes-Benz design

Refined sportiness combined with aesthetic appeal – the B-Class Electric Drive features the self-assured and dynamic styling so typical of Mercedes with powerfully defined lines and finely crafted details. The front and rear sections express the width of the vehicle. This is ensured by the wide, prominent grille and the headlamps, which wrap round into the sides, as well as by the wide rear window, two-piece tail lights and large tailgate with deep sill. A dynamic look is created by door-sill panels and striking bumpers with bar-shaped LED daytime running lamps. The charge socket is inconspicuously installed behind the conventional fuel door.

Sporty interior with classy touches

The interior underscores the high standards of comfort typical of Mercedes-Benz. High-grade materials and finely textured surfaces, classy touches and precision workmanship make it clear that Mercedes-style electric drive is defined by high standards.

The three large round center air vents with their uniquely styled cruciform nozzles add a sporty flair that contributes to the overall emotive design idiom of the interior. Positioned above the air vents and seemingly free-floating is the screen for the telematics system – a state-of-the-art eye-catcher in the cockpit.

In terms of information and communication systems, the electric B-Class offers levels of comfort and functionality that is customary of any Mercedes-Benz. The standard equipment package includes a head unit with 5.8 in (14.7 cm) color display, twin tuner and MP3- Page 4 compatible CD player as well as USB port. The Becker® MAP PILOT is the standard navigation system while the COMAND multimedia system with internet access, navigation and LINGUATRONIC voice control is also optionally available.

The instrumentation of the B-Class Electric Drive is rounded off by functions that are specific to electric vehicles. One of the striking features is the power display in the right-hand circular instrument. The instrument pointer moves in a clockwise direction from the green zone towards the red zone, when full power is demanded by the driver. It drops back below the zero line when the vehicle is feeding energy into the battery through the recuperation feature.

Ideally networked: connected services

Thanks to its state-of-the-art technology, the B-Class Electric Drive is not just sustainable and agile, but also connected. For example, the Vehicle Homepage allows convenient remote interaction and remote configuration of the vehicle. The driver can use their PC or smartphone to conveniently access the vehicle via the internet. It is possible, for instance, to determine the current state of charge of the lithium-ion battery or show the vehicle’s current range on a map. In addition, the planned route can be displayed, showing at a glance where the vehicle can be recharged along the way, should this prove necessary. The range of connected services is rounded off by a feature that allows individually timed pre-heating or cooling of the vehicle. This pre-entry climate control system makes the B-Class Electric Drive unique in its segment.

Big on safety

Mercedes-Benz applies its familiar, high safety standards to the BClass Electric Drive. Thanks to the innovative “Energy Space”, the battery is safely accommodated in the underfloor of the vehicle, where it is ensured protection in the event of a crash. In addition, Mercedes-Benz has equipped this innovative electric car with the radar-based collision warning system COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST with adaptive Brake Assist as standard. This assistance system gives the driver a visual and audible warning of detected obstacles, prepares them for braking action and assists them with the braking process as the situation requires. In this way, it significantly reduces the danger of a rear-end collision. Additional cutting-edge driver assistance systems are also available, including Blind Spot Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and Active Parking Assist.

Electric drive made by Mercedes-Benz

Locally emission-free electric vehicles such as the new B-Class Electric Drive are a key part of Mercedes-Benz’s strategy for sustainable mobility. The Stuttgart-based premium manufacturer is asserting its claim to leadership in this sector with electric vehicles that are fully suitable for everyday use. Mercedes-Benz aims to strengthen its position in future, not least with the new BClass Electric Drive, which will be available initially in the USA as of mid of 2014, before subsequently being launched in European markets.

Technical data*
Output177 hp (132 kW)
Torque251 lb-ft (340 Nm)
Range85 miles (EPA)
Charging time for a range of     60 miles [US City]USA: under 2 h at 240V
Acceleration 0-60 mph7.9 seconds (estimated)
Top speed100 mph (160 km/h),     electronically limited
*provisional figures

Senin, 28 April 2014

BMW i8 testing on the Nürburgring [VIDEO]

In more news on the soon to be launched BMW i8, we've found a short video of the car testing at the Nürburgring. Also, while in Munich recently on business, I personally spotted an i8 test mule in morning peak hour traffic with a young lady at the wheel (I didn't take the pictures as I was driving the rental)

BMW plans to sell the i8 in about 50 countries, with the U.S. expected to be the largest sales market. In Europe, Germany, France and the UK are expected to be the top markets. Deliveries to retail customers in Europe are scheduled to begin in June 2014, and about one month later in the U.S.

Pricing for the 2015 BMW i8 destined for the U.S. market starts at US$135,925. BMW are currently taking orders for the i8 in Japan. Pricing starts at ¥19,170,000 (US$191,500)

Sabtu, 26 April 2014

HELLA Developing Wireless Charging Systems For Electric Vehicles

HELLA is working with Paul Vahle GmbH to develop wireless charging systems for electric and hybrid-electric vehicles.

Commonly used to recharge small consumer products such as smartphones and electric toothbrushes, inductive or wireless charging for cars will make it easier for drivers to charge car batteries and extend a vehicle's driving range.

Rather than using plug-in charging stations, car owners in the future will simply need to park over an inductive charging unit to trigger the process, according to Dr. Marc Rosenmayr, CEO for HELLA Electronics in North and South America.

He adds that if inductive charging coils were embedded in streets, electric vehicles also could be recharged when stopped at traffic lights or even while being driven.

For electric car buyers, a contact-free method of transferring energy to the vehicle certainly will be more convenient and less time consuming. Cables no longer will be necessary. Inclement weather and the risk of vandalism also can be avoided if outside charging stations are involved.

"Wireless, inductive charging is a far more convenient way to recharge a vehicle's battery system," Rosenmayr points out. "The driver only needs to stop or drive over a charging unit or network to activate the process. As wireless charging has become more available and easy to use, it also might allow automakers to reduce battery size and weight on electric and hybrid electric vehicles.

Rosenmayr notes that a number of technological and infrastructure challenges still must be overcome before wireless charging for cars and light trucks can be successfully introduced. Energy transfer over high-frequency fields that are at the heart of inductive systems, for example, cause heat to build up in metal objects which could lead to safety issues. The impact that wireless charging might have on other vehicle electronic systems such as navigation, infotainment, driver-assistance and keyless entry systems also will need to be studied.

The cooperation between Vahle and HELLA combines the expertise and experience of both companies in the field inductive charging. Based in Kamen, Germany, Vahle has 15 years of experience in contact-free energy transfer in industrial environments, while HELLA is a recognized leader in the development of electronics, software, processes and production in the auto industry.

BMW i8 test drive in China [VIDEO]

According to Bloomberg's Stephen Engle, the ultra high-end electric and hybrid car space is suddenly getting a bit more crowded in China.

Tesla had the first deliveries of the Model S to Chinese customers this week, while BMW will roll out its hybrid i8 super sports car for the China market by the end of the year.

Engle got behind the wheel of BMW's new offering in Beijing.

Jumat, 25 April 2014

Airbus Developing Hybrid Electric Jet Aircraft

Airbus is learning from automakers as it works on developing a small aircraft powered by hybrid electric engines that could represent its first move into the market for regional jets.

The development of a regional plane, seating between 70 and 90 people, that can take off and land using electric power could take between 15 and 20 years, Airbus Group Chief Technology Officer Jean Botti told reporters in Munich.

Airbus, which with Boeing dominates the market for passenger jets, presently makes planes that seat more than 150 people.

Airbus is already working on an all-electric two-seater plane, powered by two electric motors with a combined output of 60 kilowatts, hoping this technology will serve as a step to bringing electric motors on to larger aircraft.

The two-seater, which Airbus says is suited for short missions such as pilot training and aerobatics, can run on its lithium-ion polymer batteries for half an hour, with the aim to get it up to an hour.

The batteries are tricky, Botti said. "They're causing us a lot of headaches."

Kamis, 24 April 2014

WEC 6 hours of Silverstone 2014 (full race) [VIDEO]

With the FIA having put all World Endurance Championship live TV coverage behind a pay-wall for 2014, we are indeed fortunate that enthusiastic Youtubers are willing to upload the entire 6 hours for those of us who prefer free TV.

Senin, 21 April 2014

Daimler-BYD Unveil All-Electric DENZA with 300 km range

BYD Daimler New Technology Co., Ltd. (BDNT) officially unveiled its DENZA all-electric vehicle at Auto China 2014, in Beijing. The world premiere of the serial production model is the culmination of cooperative efforts at the 50:50 R&D technology joint venture established by Daimler and BYD back in 2010 – the first Sino-German joint venture dedicated to an all-electric vehicle in China. Combining Daimler’s renowned tradition and engineering expertise as a worldwide leader in safety technology and quality excellence with BYD’s leading battery technology, DENZA is styled as an honest and modern urban vehicle concept that fits both private and fleet customers.

“Daimler is constantly moving forward with emission-free mobility; and with our DENZA we are also on the right track in China, which is destined to become the world’s most important market for electric vehicles“, said Hubertus Troska, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG with responsibility for China, and Chairman and CEO of Daimler Greater China. “With DENZA we deliver the safest, most reliable, and most convenient electric vehicle to our Chinese customers – designed, engineered, and produced in China, for China, once again proving our full commitment to the country.”

DENZA has been designed around its lithium iron phosphate battery which is framed by a lightweight aluminium case with extrusion profiles. Designed to absorb large amounts of energy, it is located at the safest place in the car - underneath the body. The layout also ensures that all powertrain components are separated from the passenger compartment. Additionally, DENZA’s intelligent Power Flow Management System constantly monitors the energy flow between the battery and powertrain to guarantee that, in the event of an accident, the battery is disconnected automatically and, if needed, quickly discharges to levels below critical values.

As a forerunner in electric vehicle safety, BDNT worked closely with China’s official safety certification body, CATARTC, to jointly develop an electric vehicle safety standard for China. By also considering real life accident data, DENZA has gone even further than these legal requirements to ensure that its customers enjoy the highest level of safety.

“DENZA is the first complete vehicle that Daimler has developed together with BYD outside of Germany and it is undoubtedly one key pillar of Daimler’s electric vehicle strategy in China“, noted Prof. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Research and Development. “No compromises have been made to design and develop, in China, an all-electric car that raises the bar in its segment. We assure our Chinese customers the highest standards of safety, paired with maximum convenience, outstanding reliability and unique driving fun as part of a superior overall concept.”

The DENZA has been put through 18 months of intensive testing that saw various cars drive over 1.2 million kilometres across all of China under extreme and various weather and road conditions – be it hot, cold, dusty or icy. This testing program, which looked at overall quality and endurance, was complemented by additional component testing and crash test programs. In total, BDNT crashed more than 20 cars, including high-speed, low-speed and rollover-scenarios. DENZA also became the first electric vehicle to be tested according to C-NCAP consumer ratings at C-NCAP facilities, obtaining the highest possible rating of 5 stars.

It goes without saying that the quality of the production is secured at a modern, independent production line in Shenzhen, following Daimler’s proven production philosophy and quality control methods.

With a driving range of up to 300 kilometres, the DENZA offers the ease and convenience of emission free mobility for day-to-day use – in urban areas, and beyond. Charging the battery is highly flexible, as it can be done at any household power outlet, public charging facilities or special wall boxes. The latter of which can be installed at homes or in offices at the request of DENZA customers, guaranteeing fast charging, ranging from seven hours to less than an hour. With the DENZA app, available for both Android and iOS phones, wall box customers can even remotely check on their charging status and vehicle location using their smartphones and, if needed, get connected right away to a dealership or customer service centre.

DENZA clearly aims to change mobility, but not the mobility behaviours of its customers. That is why, thanks to its luxury class level wheelbase, it can comfortably accommodate up to 5 passengers, with ample legroom and an inviting 460 litre trunk volume. The roominess of the interior is complemented by a clean, functional design and high craftsmanship.

DENZA’s package is convincing, and so is its heart, the electric powertrain and battery technology. The vehicle is powered by an 86 kW (peak) all-electric engine that provides a maximum speed of up to 150 km/h and impressive peak torque, at 290 Nm. Together with its big 47.5 kWh battery capacity, and a convenient suspension, customers can rest assured that they can enjoy both maximum driving fun and comfort with a range of up to 300 km. In light of the fact that the average daily driving distance in China is 50 to 80 kilometres a day, the typical customer will only have to recharge DENZA twice a week. This bi-weekly pit stop will be met with joy as driving 100 km with a DENZA cost less than 20 RMB (2,35 EUR). All this classifies the DENZA as the perfect vehicle for day-to-day use – in urban areas, and beyond.

Wang Chuanfu, Chairman of BYD Company Limited, stated: “With our DENZA, I see my vision come true as we make big steps towards sustainable development in and for China. Backed by a supportive government and the win-win alliance between BYD and Daimler, and its Chinese heart, DENZA offers a convincing package to our Chinese customers, pointing the way and contributing strongly to the development of the electric vehicle market in China.”

Tesla Will Make Cars in China in Next 3-4 Years

Tesla Motors Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk, who’s preparing to begin deliveries of the Model S electric vehicle in China, forecast the company will be making cars in the country in the next three to four years.

The company is also building a “big” network of battery-charging stations in China, including superchargers in Beijing and Shanghai, the billionaire CEO said at a packed Geekpark Conference in the nation’s capital yesterday. Musk is scheduled to host an event tomorrow to mark the beginning of Model S deliveries in the country.

“At some point in the next three or four years we’ll be establishing local manufacturing in China,” Musk said. “China is very important to the future of Tesla. We’re going to make a big investment in China in terms of charging infrastructure.”

Local production in the world’s biggest auto market would allow Tesla to sell cars at cheaper prices by avoiding China’s 25 percent import tariff. While entering the country presents an opportunity for Tesla to sell as many vehicles there as in the U.S. by as soon as next year, Musk, 42, will attempt to accomplish what the Chinese government has struggled to do: get people to buy electric cars.

“I think they can sell quite a few here in the market,” said Finbarr O’Neill, president of J.D. Power & Associates. “There’s a lot of talk about Tesla but, you know, their numbers are not huge. Mr. Musk has been successful in many fields. I wish him luck, but there’s a limit to every market.”

Source: Bloomberg

Sabtu, 19 April 2014

UK motorway to charge electric cars on the move

The Highways Agency intends to equip an English motorway to test wireless charging of moving electric cars.

The Highways Agency (HA) has yet to give details of the trial site or dates. But it has issued criteria for system adoption, including a lifecycle comparable to that of asphalt (typically around 16 years), cost-effective maintenance, resistance to vibration and weather, and efficient charge collection at high speeds.

Static inductive charging experience to date in the UK involves test cars parking at existing plug-in stations in London and an electric bus service launched in January 2014 in Milton Keynes, where vehicles top up their overnight charge during drivers’ rest breaks. Managing this five-year demonstration is the eFleet Integrated Service joint venture between Mitsui Europe and consulting engineers Arup.

Arup helped create a wireless power transfer system branded HALO in Auckland, New Zealand in 2010. US wireless technology developer Qualcomm, which bought HALO in 2011, is running the London static car trial and planning a dynamic test track in Auckland.

For operational experience, the HA can look to Asia, where the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) is running two online electric vehicle (OLEV) buses on a 12km continuous charging route in the city of Gumi. It claims 85 per cent maximum efficiency in power transfer.

The HA will also be monitoring the semi-dynamic charging trial highlighted by Transport Scotland chief executive David Middleton at a Chartered Institute of Highways & Transportation conference in March 2014. A halfway house between static and dynamic technologies, it will enable a hybrid bus to pick up charge from a series of modules installed under the road surface at strategic points along the route so it can run for long periods in fully electric mode.

A Transport Scotland spokesman explains that the approach “is likely to cause less disruption than, for example, installing dynamic charging along the length of a road”.

A similar technique is being used in Braunschweig, Germany, where a bus fitted with Bombardier Primove fast-charge technology went into passenger service on 27 March.

Source: E & T

Audi unveil TT plug-in hybrid SUV concept car [VIDEO]

The Audi TT offroad concept breaks the mold, combining the sportiness of a coupe with the lifestyle and utility of a compact SUV. The four-door model, which Audi is presenting at the Beijing International Automobile Exhibition, adds an entirely new expression to the Audi design language. Its plug-in hybrid drive with two electric motors and a system output of 300 kW (408 hp) provides for dynamic performance, yet consumes on average just 1.9 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (123.8 US mpg).

“The Audi TT offroad concept provides a glimpse of how we might imagine a new model in the future TT family,” says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development. “It combines the sporty genes of the TT with the strengths of a compact Audi SUV. Its plug‑in hybrid drive with the option of inductive charging is a major step toward the mobility of the future. We chose to present the Audi TT offroad concept in China, our second domestic market, because it represents the urban mobility of tomorrow: It is sustainable, dynamic, intelligent and connected.”

The plug-in hybrid drive

The plug‑in hybrid drive in the Audi TT offroad concept delivers 300 kW (408 hp) of system output and 650 Nm (479.2 lb‑ft) of system torque. The show car accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 5.2 seconds and reaches the electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h (155.3 mph) without any trouble. It consumes just 1.9 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (123.8 US mpg), a CO2 equivalent of 45 grams per kilometer (72.4 g/mile).

The Audi TT offroad concept can drive over 50 kilometers (31.1 miles) solely on electric power and thus with zero local emissions, and has a total range of up to 880 kilometers (546.8 miles).

The combustion engine is a 2.0 TFSI producing 215 kW (292 hp) and 380 Nm (280.3 lb‑ft) of torque. The two-liter, four‑cylinder unit with the large turbocharger is packed with Audi's potent efficiency technology. At part load, indirect injection supplements gasoline direct injection for lower fuel consumption. The exhaust manifold is integrated into the cylinder head – the foundation for the high-performance thermal management system.

A separating clutch links the transverse 2.0 TFSI to an electric motor producing 40 kW and 220 Nm (162.3 lb‑ft) of torque. The slim, disc-shaped electric motor is integrated into the six-speed e‑S tronic. The dual-clutch transmissions sends the torque to the front wheels. Mounted on the rear axle of the Audi TT offroad concept is a second electric motor independent of this drive unit. This produces a maximum of 85 kW and 270 Nm (199.1 lb‑ft).

In front of the rear axle is a liquid-cooled, lithium-ion battery comprising eight modules. It contributes to the balanced 54:46 weight distribution between the front and rear axles and to the low center of gravity. The battery stores up to 12 kWh of energy, enough for an electric range of 50 kilometers (31.1 miles). An Audi wall box, which manages the energy feed conveniently and intelligently and can deal with a variety of voltages and outlets, is used for stationary charging.

The show car is also designed for use with Audi Wireless Charging technology for contactless inductive charging. The infrastructure side – a plate with a coil and an inverter (AC/AC converter) – is placed on the parking spot of the Audi TT offroad concept and connected to the power grid. The charging process begins automatically when the car drives onto the plate. The alternating magnetic field of the infrastructure side induces a 3.3 kW alternating current across the air gap in the secondary coil, which is integrated into the vehicle. The current is inverted and fed into the electrical system.

Charging stops automatically when the battery is fully charged. It takes about as long as charging via a cable, and the driver can interrupt the process at any time. The Audi Wireless Charging technology is more than 90 percent efficient, and is not affected by weather factors such as rain, snow or ice. The alternating field, which is only generated when a car is on the plate, is not harmful for people or animals.

The intelligent plug‑in hybrid concept of the Audi TT offroad concept really shines when driving, making the show car every bit as efficient as it is sporty. The Audi drive select management system offers three driving modes. EV mode gives priority to electric driving. In this case, the front drive unit is inactive, and the electric motor at the rear axle with its powerful torque can rapidly accelerate the four‑door car to a maximum of 130 km/h (80.8 mph). In Hybrid mode, all three drives work together in various ways as necessary. In many situations the front electric motor assumes the role of a generator.

Powered by the engine, it recharges the battery and thus extends the electric range. Full system output is available in Sport mode. During “boosting,” i.e. strong acceleration, the rear electric motor works together with the 2.0 TFSI. The same thing happens when the hybrid management system decides that all‑wheel drive is appropriate. In such situations, e.g. on a slippery road or in light off-road conditions, this essentially makes the Audi TT offroad concept an e‑tron quattro.

When the driver takes his or her foot off the accelerator, free-wheeling or “coasting” is activated. Recuperation occurs here at low speeds and when braking. The driver can use the “Hold” and “Charge” functions in the MMI system to specifically influence the battery's charge state, e.g. to increase storage of electric energy so that it can be used over the final kilometers to the destination.


The Audi TT offroad concept shows its strong character on any road surface and in any terrain. On asphalt the show car is sporty and composed, and it can easily handle light terrain thanks to its high ground clearance, short overhangs and e‑tron quattro all-wheel drive. 255/40-series tires are mounted on 21‑inch wheels, whose delicate five-arm design draws on the look of the Audi e‑tron models. Dark trim provides contrast.

Many of the components of the McPherson front suspension are made of aluminum; the four‑link rear axle handles longitudinal and transverse forces separately. The ratio of the progressive steering changes with the steering input. The Audi drive select system allows the driver to modify the function of various technical modules in multiple steps.

Driver assistance systems

The Audi TT offroad concept show car features two Audi driver assistance systems that are almost ready for production: the intersection assistant and online traffic light information technology. The intersection assistant aims to help to avoid side-impact collisions, or reduce their severity, where lanes merge and at intersections. Radar sensors and a wide-angle video camera scan zones to the front and sides of the car. If the system detects a vehicle approaching from the side and assesses it to be critical, graduated warnings are displayed in the Audi virtual cockpit.

Online traffic light information is a technology that connects the Audi TT offroad concept via the cell phone network to the central traffic computer, which controls the traffic light systems in the city. Based on the information from this system, the Audi virtual cockpit shows the driver what speed to drive in order to reach the next traffic light while it is green. The cockpit displays the time remaining when waiting for the light to turn green.

New Record: 431 EVs in world's quietest parade

The Québec electric-car group has set a new world record for plug-in electric cars gathered in one place.

431 battery-electric and plug-in hybrid cars gathered in a car park near the Jacques Cartier Bridge along the Saint Laurence River, in Montréal Canada.

The cars included not only the usual Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, and Ford Focus, but also a variety of other plug-in vehicles including a VIA V-Trux Plug-in Hybrid truck, a BlueCar Bolloré (the car in car-sharing AutoLib Paris' ), a Porsche EV conversion and hundreds of Tesla S and Roadster,

The AVEQ also considered applying for the world record for quietest parade!

Source: AVEQ

Jumat, 18 April 2014

Electric Car sales set to take off in South Korea

In 2010 the South Korean government unveiled a plan to produce 1.2 million electric vehicles a year by 2015, or 21 percent of the domestic automobile market, and a nationwide goal of one million registered electric vehicles by 2020.

The South Korean government’s Ministry of Environment is providing a 15 million won ($13,900) nationwide subsidy for EV purchases, and 10 major cities or provincial jurisdictions are providing additional subsidies ranging from 3 million to 8 million won ($2,800 to $7,400).

The semitropical island of Jeju, which is located about 60 miles (100 km) south of the Korean peninsula in Korea’s East Sea, Plans for all cars to be electric by 2030.

The Jeju government adds a hefty 8 million won subsidy to the federal incentive for EVs purchased on the island. The combined price abatement of 23 million won ($21,000) nearly halves the EV’s purchase price in some instances, dramatically reduces it in all others and makes the Chevrolet Spark EV less than the cost of a gasoline-powered Spark.

While the federal subsidy is open-ended and applies nationally, there is a limit to the number of subsidies Jeju will grant. For 2014 Jeju has a cap of 500 subsidies, but officials say they are swamped with thousands of applications.

Jeju is a natural fit for EVs because it has been a smart grid test bed for years, which included building public charging infrastructure. Also, Jeju is a relatively small, oval-shaped island (about 70 km by 30 km), so drivers can easily get around the island on a single battery charge.

There are currently only about 360 electric vehicles amongst the population of about 607 000, a figure that the province wants to expand to more than 500 this year. The provincial government expects about 370 000 total cars on the road in Jeju by 2030 compared to about 300,000 today.

This will be achieved in steps, with the initial subsidy phase adding 500 new EVs this year, then more subsidies to boost the number to 29,000 by 2017 and to 94,000 by 2020. The island has 500 easily accessible 240V recharge stations, said to be the highest density anywhere in the world. More stations are being added every month.

South Korean buyers, who buy almost exclusively cars made in the country, have several Korean-made electric cars from which to choose. The current sales champion on Jeju is the Samsung SM3, which is a clone of the Renault Fluence ZE sedan.

Kia's Ray EV, Samsung/Renault's SM3 EV and General Motors Spark EV got off to a modest sales start in 2013. Nissan will begin selling the Leaf in South Korea in the second half of this year along with BMW's i3 and Kia's Soul EV. Hyundai plan to launch their first battery-powered electric car in 2016.

South Korea has installed 1,510 charging stations for electric cars across the country, including 110 quick charge stations. As of June 2013, a total of 1,146 electric cars were used in the country, mostly by government agencies and public corporations.

Li-Sulfur Batteries with Metal-Organic Frameworks offer 800 km Range

Researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) added a kind of nanomaterial called a metal-organic framework, to the battery’s cathode to capture problematic polysulfides that usually cause lithium-sulfur batteries to fail after a few charges.

A paper describing the material and its performance was published online April 4 in the American Chemical Society journal Nano Letters.

“Lithium-sulfur batteries have the potential to power tomorrow’s electric vehicles, but they need to last longer after each charge and be able to be repeatedly recharged,” said materials chemist Jie Xiao of the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. “Our metal-organic framework may offer a new way to make that happen.”

Today’s electric vehicles are typically powered by lithium-ion batteries. But the chemistry of lithium-ion batteries limits how much energy they can store. One promising solution is the lithium-sulfur battery, which can hold as much as four times more energy per mass than lithium-ion batteries. This would enable electric vehicles to drive farther on a single charge, as well as help store more renewable energy. The down side of lithium-sulfur batteries, however, is they have a much shorter lifespan because they can’t currently be charged as many times as lithium-ion batteries.

The reason can be found in how batteries work. Most batteries have two electrodes: one is positively charged and called a cathode, while the second is negative and called an anode. Electricity is generated when electrons flow through a wire that connects the two. To control the electrons, positively charged atoms shuffle from one electrode to the other through another path: the electrolyte solution in which the electrodes sit.

The lithium-sulfur battery’s main obstacles are unwanted side reactions that cut the battery’s life short. The undesirable action starts on the battery’s sulfur-containing cathode, which slowly disintegrates and forms molecules called polysulfides that dissolve into the liquid electrolyte. Some of the sulfur—an essential part of the battery’s chemical reactions—never returns to the cathode. As a result, the cathode has less material to keep the reactions going and the battery quickly dies.

Researchers worldwide are trying to improve materials for each battery component to increase the lifespan and mainstream use of lithium-sulfur batteries. For this research, Xiao and her colleagues honed in on the cathode to stop polysulfides from moving through the electrolyte.

Many materials with tiny holes have been examined to physically trap polysulfides inside the cathode. Metal organic frameworks are porous, but the added strength of PNNL’s material is its ability to strongly attract the polysulfide molecules.

The framework’s positively charged nickel center tightly binds the polysulfide molecules to the cathodes. The result is a coordinate covalent bond that, when combined with the framework’s porous structure, causes the polysulfides to stay put.

“The MOF’s highly porous structure is a plus that further holds the polysulfide tight and makes it stay within the cathode,” said PNNL electrochemist Jianming Zheng.

Metal-organic frameworks—also called MOFs—are crystal-like compounds made of metal clusters connected to organic molecules, or linkers. Together, the clusters and linkers assemble into porous 3-D structures. MOFs can contain a number of different elements. PNNL researchers chose the transition metal nickel as the central element for this particular MOF because of its strong ability to interact with sulfur.

During lab tests, a lithium-sulfur battery with PNNL’s MOF cathode maintained 89 percent of its initial power capacity after 100 charge-and discharge cycles. Having shown the effectiveness of their MOF cathode, PNNL researchers now plan to further improve the cathode’s mixture of materials so it can hold more energy. The team also needs to develop a larger prototype and test it for longer periods of time to evaluate the cathode’s performance for real-world, large-scale applications.

PNNL is also using MOFs in energy-efficient adsorption chillers and to develop new catalysts to speed up chemical reactions.

“MOFs are probably best known for capturing gases such as carbon dioxide,” Xiao said. “This study opens up lithium-sulfur batteries as a new and promising field for the nanomaterial.”

This research was funded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Researchers analyzed chemical interactions on the MOF cathode with instruments at EMSL, DOE’s Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory at PNNL.

Rabu, 16 April 2014

More than 400,000 Electric Cars on the Road Worldwide

The number of electrically powered automobiles worldwide climbed to just over 400,000 in early 2014. This figure, which only counts battery electric and plug-in hybrids, was determined in an analysis conducted by the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW).

The vehicle count doubled over the twelve months of last year, increasing by an impressive 200,000 units. The Ulm-based researchers found that demand is greatest in the USA, Japan and China, which are currently the globally leading markets. Germany is just seventh in the ranking, trailing France, the Netherlands and Norway. The most telling statistic is that countries with incentive programs have taken the lead in electric mobility, a market with a bright future. The top-selling cars are made by Japanese and American automotive companies; batteries are sourced mainly from Asia.

Incentive programs have sparked a run on electric cars in the lead markets. This benefits especially the pioneering companies Nissan, General Motors and Toyota. "Efforts in Germany are also quite impressive,"says Prof. Werner Tillmetz, a member of ZSW's board of directors at Ulm. Research into batteries has been stepped up significantly and automobile manufacturers are fast-tracking the development of advanced electric drives. "However, it will take far more effort to establish a lead market in this country with an end-to-end value chain that includes the key component, the battery. Otherwise we will be left behind by the global competition."

According to ZSW's study, the number of registered electric vehicles increased at an annual growth rate of over 100 percent in the last three years. Nearly 100,000 electric cars were on the road worldwide in early 2012. A year later the vehicle count came to 200,000, and already reached 405,000 early this year. If the past three years' growth rates are sustained, then more than one million electric vehicles will be out and about worldwide as early as the beginning of 2016. The researchers tallied the global registration numbers for cars with battery powered electric drives, range extenders and plug-in hybrids. They did not count motorcycles, trucks, buses or full hybrid vehicles, of which there are now more than six million.

The United States are well ahead with 174,000 electric cars, followed by Japan (68,000) and China (45,000). Close to 30,000 electric vehicles are registered in the Netherlands, compared to just 17,500 in Germany. A similar picture emerges in the automotive company rankings. Nissan is in the lead, having sold more than 90,000 of its Leaf models, followed by General Motors with combined sales of its Ampera and Volt models topping the 60,000 mark. Toyota, which has moved over 40,000 Prius Plug-Ins, is in third place

BMW Powers Up with Concept X5 eDrive Plug-In Hybrid

The new BMW X5 has already raised efficiency to a whole new level in the world of the luxury Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV). BMW is using the New York International Auto Show 2014 to present what it sees as the logical next step towards bringing about a radical reduction in fuel consumption and emissions in the SAV segment.

The BMW Concept X5 eDrive succeeds in fusing the familiar brand of driving pleasure generated by the xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system and a luxurious ambience enshrined within an interior offering tremendous versatility of use with a plug-in hybrid drive system. A conventional combustion engine works together in perfect harmony with the cutting-edge BMW eDrive technology to produce the brand's hallmark sporty drive coupled with a significant reduction in fuel consumption, making it an impressive example of the effectiveness of the BMW EfficientDynamics development strategy. As a result, the car is able to drive on electric power alone at speeds of up to 120 km/h (75 mph) and for a distance of up to 30 kilometres (approx. 20 miles), while recording average fuel consumption figures of less than 3.8 l/100 kilometres (more than 74.3 mpg imp) in the EU test cycle.

The concept study underwent a series of detailed refinements in preparation for its appearance at the New York International Auto Show and is equipped with a drive system comprising a 180 kW/245 hp four-cylinder petrol engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology and a 70 kW/95 hp electric motor likewise developed by the BMW Group. The motor is supplied with power from a lithium-ion battery that can be charged from any domestic socket and has sufficient capacity to enable all-electric driving with zero local emissions for a range of up to 30 kilometres (approx. 20 miles). To ensure a particularly high level of crash safety, the high-voltage battery developed for the BMW Concept X5 eDrive is housed underneath the luggage compartment, whose everyday usability remains virtually uncompromised thanks to the 40:20:40 split-folding rear backrest and an almost level loading floor.

In addition to the settings that can be activated using the characteristic BMW Driving Experience Control switch, three driving modes can be selected according to requirements and the situation at hand: intelligent hybrid drive with an optimal relationship between sportiness and efficiency (AUTO eDrive), pure electric and thus local emission-free driving (MAX eDrive) and SAVE Battery to maintain the current charge level.

Majestic poise at its most sophisticated: dynamic, flexible, luxurious, plus zero local emissions if required.

Thanks to the BMW eDrive technology that has been specifically honed for this model as part of the BMW EfficientDynamics strategy, the concept car brings a whole new brand of poise and assurance to the SAV segment. The formidable power reserves produced by its duo of drive units, its outstanding levels of motoring comfort and the optimised traction, handling stability and dynamic performance qualities over any terrain courtesy of BMW xDrive technology all endow it with the all-round sporty prowess typically associated with BMW X models, while its landmark efficiency blazes a trail for its rivals to follow. The ability to operate purely on electric power with zero local emissions, especially in city traffic, puts a whole new slant on the SAV driving experience that shows the shape of things to come. At the same time, the plug-in hybrid drive concept does not impinge in any way on the exemplary versatility offered by the Sports Activity Vehicle's interior or its distinctly luxurious ambience. In short, the BMW Concept X5 eDrive shows itself to be supremely talented in every way, deftly bringing major advances in cutting fuel consumption and emissions into harmony with state-of-the-art functionality and everyday practicality that never fails to impress.

A number of understated styling touches have been meticulously incorporated into the exterior design to underline the groundbreaking character of the BMW Concept X5 eDrive. The kidney grille bars, air intake bars and the insert in the rear bumper are all finished in the BMW i Blue colour developed for the BMW i brand, for instance, creating a stunning contrast to the Silverflake metallic exterior paintwork. The BMW Concept X5 eDrive also comes with body-coloured wheel arches, specially styled roof rails, a connector for the charging cable which – as on the BMW i models – lights up during charging, as well as 21-inch light-alloy wheels in an exclusive, streamlined design.

To make sure that the styling of the luxurious passenger compartment echoes the highly sophisticated drive concept, light blue double-felled seams adorn the Ivory White exclusive leather upholstery covering the seats, door trim panels and dashboard. Further highlight features of the specially designed interior include the Piano Finish Black interior trim with blue accent strips, "eDrive" lettering embossed in the front of the headrests, ambient lighting with a blue hue, and an eDrive button that is also illuminated in blue. In the luggage compartment lined in black velour, a transparent cover – again illuminated in blue – affords a clear view of the high-voltage battery for the electric motor.

BMW eDrive in a Sports Activity Vehicle: intelligent hybrid technology promises outstanding efficiency and hallmark driving pleasure.

Electrification of the powertrain is a key component of BMW EfficientDynamics technology and allows BMW to unlock tremendous potential for reducing fuel consumption and emissions. The BMW eDrive technology developed for this purpose comes in various versions, each precisely tailored to the particular vehicle concept. Both the BMW i3, the first all-electric production vehicle from the BMW Group, and the soon-to-be-launched BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car are powered by BMW eDrive technology. The BMW Concept X5 eDrive now follows in the tyre tracks of the BMW Concept Active Tourer unveiled in 2012 by demonstrating how model-specific BMW eDrive technology can be employed in plug-in hybrid models from the BMW core brand.

This is the first time that BMW eDrive technology has been hooked up with the BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system. The BMW Concept X5 eDrive boasts the superior driving characteristics that stem from the permanent and fully variable distribution of drive power between the front and rear wheels. Regardless of the selected driving mode, the drive power generated by the electric motor, the combustion engine or the two units acting in unison is channelled swiftly and precisely to wherever it can be converted into forward propulsion most effectively. This allows the concept study to deliver all the qualities that SAVs are renowned for – superb traction and optimised handling stability in all weather and road conditions coupled with enhanced agility when taking corners at speed – in remarkably efficient fashion. The highly versatile and sporty driving abilities of the BMW Concept X5 eDrive are accompanied by average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle of less than 3.8 l/100 km (more than 74.3 mpg imp) and CO2 emissions of under 90 grams per kilometre.

Both driving pleasure and efficiency in the BMW Concept X5 eDrive are given an extra boost by an electric motor generating a maximum output of 70 kW/95 hp together with the instantaneous power delivery that has become a hallmark of electric drive units thanks to the high levels of torque available from the word go. The electric motor variant developed for the BMW Concept X5 eDrive as part of the BMW EfficientDynamics strategy also boasts sporty performance credentials, a compact design and optimised weight. The electric motor alone is capable of propelling the BMW Concept X5 eDrive to a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph). With 250 Newton metres (184 lb-ft) of torque on tap from stationary, it gives the vehicle wonderfully spontaneous response that translates into thrillingly dynamic acceleration. It also works in tandem with the combustion engine to boost its power significantly whenever a quick burst of speed is called for. The BMW Concept X5 eDrive is able to complete the standard sprint from rest to 100 km/h (62 mph) in under 7.0 seconds.

The task of ensuring the engine and electric motor team up together to optimum effect is handled by the power electronics that were developed by the BMW Group and apply the same basic concept used in the BMW i cars. The power electronics combine a liquid-cooled inverter for driving the electric motor, supplying energy to the onboard electrical system from the high-voltage battery and for centralised control of the hybrid-specific drive functions into a single integrated system.

ECO PRO mode and all-electric driving: BMW EfficientDynamics

As in other members of the current BMW production line-up, the Driving Experience Control switch in the BMW Concept X5 eDrive can be used to select not only the COMFORT and SPORT settings but also the ECO PRO mode that fosters a particularly economical driving style. This driving mode is programmed for highly intelligent hybrid functionality, whereby the energy management system orchestrates the interaction between engine and electric drive unit as the driving situation changes in order to maximise efficiency. As a further component of the BMW EfficientDynamics technology, a hybrid-specific Proactive Driving Assistant has also been included, which works together with the navigation system to allow the route profile, any speed restrictions and the traffic situation to be factored in as well for the purpose of drive management.

In addition to this, the driver also has the option of engaging the all-electric driving mode by switching from AUTO eDrive to the MAX eDrive setting at the push of a button. With the battery fully charged, the vehicle is able to cover a distance of up to 30 kilometres (approx. 20 miles) on electric power alone, which means zero local emissions. There is also a SAVE Battery mode, which can be selected to deliberately preserve the battery's energy capacity. This might be the case, for example, if a longer journey is due to end with a final stage through urban traffic that drivers wish to complete in all-electric mode.

Everyday usability: flexible charging scenarios and impressive viability. In order to capitalise as much as possible on the superior efficiency of its electrified powertrain, the BMW Concept X5 eDrive is designed as a plug-in hybrid, allowing its high-voltage battery's energy levels to be renewed from any domestic power socket, a special Wallbox that can handle higher currents, or at a public high-speed charging station. The Wallbox Pro is designed for installation in the customer's garage and offers complete ease of use as well as exceptionally short battery recharging times, thanks to a maximum charging rate of 7.4 kW. It is controlled by means of a high-resolution touchscreen including proximity sensor, while LED light strips provide an additional indication of the charge status. The built-in load management facility governs the charging current in accordance with the current draw on the household electricity supply. The Wallbox Pro even makes it possible to use home-generated electricity, such as that obtained from solar panels. There is also a function for creating different user profiles and displaying the respective charging histories. On request, the corresponding data can be sent online, e.g. for billing purposes.

The high degree of flexibility drivers can enjoy when it comes to choosing an energy source is given an added boost by the charging cable that is carried in the vehicle. The battery unit is located underneath the luggage compartment, so that there is only a small loss of load capacity overall – the luggage compartment is able to hold two large suitcases or four 46-inch golf bags. The SAV's excellent versatility – helped by the 40:20:40 split-folding rear backrest – has been fully retained, along with its ample sense of spaciousness and the impressive level of comfort offered to the occupants of all five seats.

Intelligent connectivity for yet greater efficiency.
Innovative functions from BMW ConnectedDrive assist with planning journeys in such a way as to maximise the amount of time spent driving on electric power alone. In the BMW Concept X5 eDrive, the current electric range thus appears as a numerical value in the instrument cluster. Intelligent connectivity enables the vehicle's dynamic range display to constantly make allowances for any factors affecting the range, such as traffic conditions, route profile and driving style.

When route guidance is activated, the location of local charging stations is added to the selection of points of interest shown on the navigation map. Drivers are able to call up charging stations situated along the planned route or at their destination, while the system additionally notifies them of the charging time needed to fully replenish the battery's energy levels. Furthermore, information graphics indicating the current operating status when engine and motor work together in unison, the impact of the driving style on vehicle efficiency and the fuel consumption history for selected periods of time can be shown in the iDrive operating system's Control Display, along with other information.

Drivers are also able to view all information relating to the battery's charge level and electric driving range on their smartphone. A Remote app from BMW ConnectedDrive that has been specially designed with electric mobility in mind even enables them to control the charging process from their phone. It also allows the vehicle to be pre-programmed whenever it is connected to an electricity supply: the heating and air conditioning systems can be activated remotely in this way to get the passenger compartment to a pleasant temperature ready for the start of the journey.

BMW-Toyota sports car to use all-wheel drive and supercapacitors

BMW's newly minted alliance with Toyota will result in a hybrid all-wheel-drive Z4 / Supra replacement, complete with supercapacitor technology for increased performance, Autocar reports.

The car will have a front-engined direct-injection four cylinder turbo and electric motors driving all four wheels. The supercapacitor system will be derived from technology first seen in Toyota's Hybrid Supra HV-R in 2007 when it won the Tokachi 24 hour race and more recenly Toyota's Le Mans LMP1 race cars.

BMW will supply the 2.0 liter turbocharged engine combined with electric motors produced by BMW at its engine plant in Munich while a Toyota-developed electronics system is expected to provide torque-vectoring capability.

With the car expected to have a front mounted engine and sequential manual gearbox in a conventional longitudinal powertrain layout it will be interesting to see what type of electric motors BMW deploy to drive the front wheels, perhaps in-wheel motors as speculated back in 2010?

1,000-hp AWD hybrids to dominate 2014 Le Mans

There's no more popular saying in the world of motorsport than "racing improves the breed". Although in most cases, most racing series require strict rules on technology to keep races competitive and costs down, that's rarely the case.

The one place where automakers still push the limits of technology? The 24 Hours of Le Mans, which this year will feature three machines from Toyota, Audi and Porsche that offer radically different paths to cars of the future — hybrid, all-wheel-drive ones at that.

The favorite comes from Audi; they've won 12 times at Le Mans since 2000, and in one of the two races it didn't win the Audi machinery still won under the Bentley brand. The R18 e-tron quattro the company drove through the streets of western France earlier this week features the latest changes to the winning strategy, with a 4-liter, turbocharged V-6 diesel engine paired with a flywheel hybrid system for maximum fuel efficiency. That flywheel powers the front wheels, and a second system recaptures energy from the heat of the exhaust.

Toyota has been attempting to challenge Audi in endurance racing for a few years, making some progress and winning a couple of races, but never breaking through the German automaker's dominace. For this year's TS040 model, Toyota revised its entire system, adding a front-wheel-drive to the 3.7-liter V-8 supercapacitor powered hybrid from last year. In total, Toyota says the setup can generate nearly 1,000 hp, while using 25 percent less fuel than last year's vehicles as required by Le Mans rules for 2014.

The most interesting new model comes from Porsche, which hasn't raced in the top class at Le Mans for 16 years. The 919 Hybrid combines a battery pack and Formula 1-style hybrid energy system similar to what Porsche uses in the 918 supercar with a turbocharged V-4 engine — a configuration chosen to save weight and space. Porsche executives call the 919 the most complicated machine the company has ever built, and despite living under the same Volkswagen corporate roof as Audi, there's no apparent sharing between teams or slack in competition.

Selasa, 15 April 2014

BMW Lifts i3 Electric Car Production to Meet Rising Demand [VIDEO]

BMW has increased production of the i3 electric city car 43% to meet demand that has exceeded the carmaker’s initial expectations.

The premium manufacturer in recent weeks has raised daily output to 100 vehicles from 70 previously at the factory in Leipzig, Germany, where the model is assembled, Harald Krueger, BMW production chief, said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg.

BMW has already built more than 5,000 i3s since the start of the year, Krueger said. The current production rate translates to about 20,000 vehicles for the full year, almost twice as much as BMW’s initial sales forecast.

BMW began rolling out the i3 last November and will begin bringing the i8 hybrid sports car to market in June. Both vehicles have a carbon fiber chassis to cut weight and improve fuel efficiency. The Munich-based automaker said in February that it’s building a second production hall at a jointly run plant with SGL Carbon SE (SGL) to boost assembly of the material.

“Following the market introduction in Europe, we’re now rolling out the i3 in the U.S.,” Krueger said in the statement. “The U.S. will be the largest market for the i3.”

BMW gained as much as 43 cents, or 0.5 percent, to 90.57 euros and was up 0.3 percent as of 1:21 p.m. in Frankfurt trading. The stock has climbed 5.8 percent this year, valuing the German manufacturer at 57.9 billion euros ($79.9 billion).

Chief Financial Officer Friedrich Eichiner said in October the company was considering a production increase for the model after early demand exceeded expectations. BMW said at the time it had 11,000 orders for the compact car, which will cost $41,350 in the U.S., and aimed to sell more than 10,000 in 2014.

“BMW invested a lot of money” on their electric-car push and using carbon fiber, said Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany. “It was a bold move, but it also bears some risk as production is complex. They need to make this work.”

Minggu, 13 April 2014

Mercedes-Benz Starts B-class Electric Drive production

Mercedes-Benz has kicked off production of the new B-class Electric Drive at its plant in Rastatt, Germany.

Set for sale in left-hand-drive in selected European markets during the latter half of 2014, the five-seat MPV has been conceived as a rival to the likes of the BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf. Unlike the uniquely styled electric car competition, however, the new zero emission Mercedes-Benz is based on an existing model – the second-generation B-class.

At the heart of the new car is a lithium-ion battery produced by Tesla Motors – a company with which Mercedes-Benz has enjoyed close technical ties ever since its parent company Daimler took a minority ten per cent stake in the California-based electric car maker back in 2009.

Developing 177 hp and 340 Nm (252 lb ft) of torque, the electric motor of the car can propel it from naught to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 7.9 seconds, while the Tesla-sourced battery can keep it on the road for approximately 200 km according to European NEDC ratings or 115 miles in US city driving.

Source: Autocar

Kamis, 10 April 2014

Plasma Cam: 8 second electric Miata does 0-100 km/h in 1.5 seconds [VIDEO]

Take a look at what 2,000 Amps does to a set of DC motor brushes under the hood while an 8 second EV drag race car pushes nearly 1000BHP into two stock Netgain DC brushed motors.

Audi to build A6 E-Tron Plug-In Hybrid In China

Together with its Chinese joint-venture partner FAW, Audi is to launch a plug-in hybrid car for the Chinese market. The Audi A6 e-tron will be based on the long-wheelbase version of the Audi A6, which is already produced in China, and will be specially developed for the most important market of the German premium manufacturer.

"We are shaping the future of electric mobility in China," stated Prof. Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG. The efficient full-size sedan with a 50-kilometer range when operating solely under battery power is to be produced within the joint venture by FAW-Volkswagen in Changchun in northern China.

Zhang Pijie, President of FAW-Volkswagen: "Audi and FAW have been cooperating closely for more than 25 years. Together, we have built up the premium segment in China. Now we are cooperating on the next generation of automobiles." The two types of drive system of the plug-in hybrid technology offer customers emission-free driving with electric drive and unlimited range with the additional combustion engine.

The Audi A6 e-tron is equipped with the latest battery technology and represents another milestone in Audi's efficiency program in China. The Audi Group is pushing ahead with its activities in the area of electric mobility under the Audi e-tron heading. The focus is on a holistic approach. All systems and components are coordinated to work together optimally. This allows Audi to further reduce its cars' CO2 emissions and creates a basis for CO2-neutral mobility.

The brand with the four rings is the first manufacturer to equip all of its models produced locally in China with efficient start-stop technology and kinetic energy recovery systems. Audi was already a pioneer in 2012 with the integration of lightweight components in local production. Since the beginning of the efficiency program with FAW-Volkswagen in 2011, Audi has reduced the average fuel consumption of the models it produces in China by more than 20 percent.

"We are the market leader in China's premium segment and will continue systematically with the application of efficiency technologies. Audi is thus supporting the Chinese government's targets for the reduction of fuel consumption," stated Dr. Dietmar Voggenreiter, President of Audi China and Head of the China Region at AUDI AG. Starting this year, the company produces engines complying with the efficient Euro 6 standards in Changchun. Audi already offers its Chinese customers a wide range of imported hybrid models (the Audi Q5 hybrid quattro*, Audi A6 hybrid* and Audi A8 L hybrid*). The Audi A3 e-tron* plug-in hybrid will also come to China.

Strict efficiency criteria apply to the construction and operation of Audi's new factory with FAW-Volkswagen in Foshan, southern China. This is where the Audi A3 Sportback* is produced, which had its market launch on March 21. The Audi A3 Sedan* from Foshan will follow before the end of this year. In 2013, the brand with the four rings delivered 491,989 cars in China (including Hong Kong), an increase of 21 percent compared with 2012.

Mitsubishi Boss: Electric vehicles 'will beat petrol cars'

Electric cars will be so affordable and have such a long range between re-charges that petrol cars will not be able to compete in the next generation of cars, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation president Osamu Masuko predicts.

He said car and battery manufacturers were working on a seven-fold increase in battery capacity, increasing potential car driving ranges to more than 1000km, and major reductions to battery cost, one 20th of 2009 prices, that would drive the growth in electric cars.

“Once these things are achieved, the petrol engine can't compete,” he said, adding: “In 10 years time, we might see a dramatic change.”

He likened the rise of EVs to that of mobile phones, which had had a major impact on old style land-line telephones.

“The world is changing, and it is definitely advancing, this battery technology,” he said.

Mr Matsuko said the lithium-ion batteries for an electric car in 2009 cost as much as a Toyota Yaris, but had more than halved since.

He said the Japanese government had a target to reduce the cost of batteries for cars to one 20th of the price of the 2009 variety, and with seven fold capacity.

A 2009 electric car could travel 150km, he said, meaning the EV of the future should do more than 1000km.

Mr Masuko said Mitsubishi would not be able to meet future fuel consumption and emissions regulations in the United States, Europe and China if it did not introduce electric and PHEV cars into its mix.

He said car companies who failed to meet the regulations would have to pay penalties.

“Paying penalities is not realistic,” he said.

Mr Masuko said the fact that China – along with Bolivia and Chile – controlled one of the few sources of raw lithium for the making of current batteries was a concern, meaning the product was often used as a political bargaining tool.

However, Kazakstan supplies were now coming on stream, reducing the risk of supply instability, he said.

In the longer term, new battery substances possibly would further reduce the reliance on Chinese lithium, he said.

Porsche 919 Hybrid Le Mans Prototype at Paul Ricard [VIDEO]

Porsche's new 919 Hybrid during testing for the World Endurance Championship at Circuit Paul Ricard in France. April 2014.

Rabu, 09 April 2014

Bentley unveil plug-in hybrid concept

Bentley is envisioning a powerful and even more efficient Future with the Bentley Hybrid Concept - a technology showcase that previews Bentley's first plug-in hybrid model, set to be a dedicated version of the all-new SUV available in 2017. The Bentley Hybrid Concept will be on display at the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition on Sunday 2Qch April.

As the first luxury brand to present a plug-in hybrid, Bentley leads the way in bringing new powertrain choice to the luxury automotive sector. Dr Wolfgang Schreiber, Chairman and Chief Executive of Bentley Motors, comments:

"There is no doubt that plug-in hybrid technology is true to Bentley's values of outstanding luxury and effortless performance. Combining our renowned engines with electric power reinforces and enhances both principles, and so we will gradually introduce this powertrain across our model range. By the end of the decade, at least 90% of our production will be available as a plug-in hybrid. We are proud to be pioneering these developments in the luxury sector."

The Bentley Plug-in Hybrid System
Through Bentley's hybrid system, customers will have a wider choice of modern, powerful and efficient powertrains. The plug-in hybrid system will offer a power increase of up to 25% together with a 70% reduction in C02 emissions, both without any compromise to the exquisite luxury, timeless design and industry-leading refinement for which Bentley has become renowned. Bentley hybrids will also be capable of driving at least 50 km on electric power alone, allowing for emissions-free city driving with the option of enhanced performance on the open road.

The Bentley Hybrid Concept
The Bentley Hybrid Concept is based on the flagship model in the Bentley family, the Mulsanne, to show that hybrid technology enhances even the pinnacle of luxury and performance. Copper is used as an exterior and interior styling element to highlight the car's electrical veins, including copper details to the headlamps, radiator shell bezel, brake calipers, feature line details and badges. Copper accents continue in the cabin, with inserts to the hand-crafted veneers fascias, switch bezels and instruments. Copper cross-stitching to the Mulliner Driving Specification diamond-quilted interior provides the Finishing flourish.

Selasa, 08 April 2014

Close Look: Walmart's Turbine Powered Hybrid Concept Truck [VIDEO]

The Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience concept truck is the latest in their fleet efficiency program.

The one-of-a-kind prototype offers a whole package of firsts. The tractor has very advanced aerodynamics and is powered by a prototype advanced turbine-powered, range-extending series hybrid powertrain.

The trailer is made almost exclusively with carbon fiber, saving around 4,000 pounds which can then be used to carry more freight.

2014 Isle of Man TT Race: TEAM MUGEN contender revealed

Mr. Shin Nagaosa, President of M-TEC Co., Ltd., today announced the release of the new contender from TEAM MUGEN for victory at this year's Isle of Man TT Zero Challenge class, to be held during May and June.

M-TEC originally created the in-house TT Zero project as a means of developing and initiating their young engineers in the emerging technologies that are fast becoming prevalent in all forms of modern motorsport, and competed for the first time at the Isle of Man TT in 2012. Since then with two consecutive second-place finishes under their belt the team is gunning for a victory in 2014 with an all-new challenger, "SHINDEN SAN".

The development for this year sees a new oil-cooled 3-phase brushless motor that is increased in power output while at the same time is lighter and reduced in size. The team has taken the opportunity afforded by this new layout to increase the battery capacity over the 2013 machine and installed new control systems take advantage of the performance capabilities. Also with SHINDEN SAN the engineers have used the data gained from previous years racing and testing to optimise the aerodynamics of the machine and adopted newly-developed suspension in order to maximise the speed potential.

Having ridden with the team in the previous two years TT Zero events John McGuinness will be returning with TEAM MUGEN, bringing with him once again his brilliant track record and expertise on the mountain course, and this year he is joined by the highly experienced Bruce Anstey, himself a nine-time TT winner. With this talented rider line-up, and the experience and development gained in 2012 and 2013, the aim of the team is for SHINDEN SAN to raise the bar to a new level with a target at the same time, of course, to achieve victory.

* The Isle of Man TT Races are a traditional international bike race event, which has taken place since 1907 on the Isle of Man located between England and Ireland. The TT Zero Challenge class was first run in 2009 as a time trial format over the 60km mountain course on the public roads on the island, with the regulations requiring a zero CO2 clean emission power unit.

Machine Specification

  • Machine Name : SHINDEN SAN
  • Overall length / width / height (mm) : 2,125 / 680 / 1,130
  • Wheelbase (mm) : 1,485
  • Ground Clearance (mm) : 130
  • Seat Height (mm) : 840
  • Total Weight (kg): 240
  • Tyre (Front) : 120/70ZR17M/C (58W)
  • Tyre (Rear) : 200/55ZR17M/C (78W)
  • Frame : CFRP twin-spar type
  • Motor Type : Oil-cooled, 3-phase, brushless motor
  • Maximum Output (kW [ps]) : 100 [134]
  • Maximum Torque (N·m [kgf·m]) : 220 [22.4]
  • Battery Specification : Laminate-type Lithium-ion
  • Battery Output Voltage (V) : 370 or more
  • Victory for Renault ZOE on the 2014 'Rallye Monte-Carlo ZENN' [VIDEO]

    The prestigious Rallye Monte-Carlo ZENN saw Renault ZOE overcome horrendous weather conditions to celebrate its international competition debut with an emphatic outright win and victory on all four regularity tests.

  • 1st overall, Rallye Monte-Carlo ZENN,
  • 1st, regularity prize,
  • 1st, energy consumption prize,
  • 1st, autotest,
  • 1st, Teams' challenge.

    The Rallye Monte-Carlo ZENN (Zero Emission, No Noise) is the "greenest" segment of the Monte-Carlo New Energies Rally, the event is open only to electric vehicles. The fifth edition is holding from March 21 to 23, 2014 in Monaco and featured three special stages ranging from 46.51km to 88.08km in length. These stages were divided into a total of four regularity tests.

    The roads visited by the event included the breath-taking, twisty runs from La Turbie to Peille and from Sainte Agnès to La Turbie, high above the Mediterranean coast. Participants had to contend with a combination of torrential rain and fog on the busiest day (Saturday, March 22) which featured two special stages divided into three regularity tests. Action concluded with an autotest on the harbour-side in Monaco. 

    Almost two years after ZOE established a new 24-hour electric vehicle distance world record (1,618km) in June 2012, last weekend saw the all-electric hatchback's first attempt at the Rallye Monte-Carlo ZENN provide further eloquent evidence of its technical and dynamic qualities by securing every one of the five trophies that were up for grabs.

  • Senin, 07 April 2014

    Opel to launch city electric car by 2017

    Opel plans to start selling an all-electric compact car no later than by 2017 as the automaker is striving to meet EU emission targets, Automobilwoche reported on Sunday.

    The new model, dubbed internally as battery electric vehicle (BEV), will be much smaller and cheaper than the 38,300-euro ($52,400) Ampera electric car, the magazine said without citing the source of the information.

    The GM division last September announced a price cut for the Ampera of almost 8,000 euros in Europe's biggest car market for the model which can travel between 40-80 kilometers electrically and a further 500 km with a combustion engine range extender.

    Opel did not return calls seeking comment.

    Opel's new electric model would be launched as part of a small-car offensive that in 2015 may also bring to the market the "City" vehicle, due to cost less than 10,000 euros and rival Volkswagen's Up subcompact, Automobilwoche said.

    Top Gear: Mercedes SLS AMG - Petrol vs Electric [VIDEO]

    Clarkson drives the Mercedes SLS AMG Black Series and the Mercedes SLS AMG Electric Drive.

    Verdict: "The SLS EV is possibly the most brilliantly revolutionary thing that the already-bonkers lot at AMG have ever created: a fully electric AWD supercar".

    Sabtu, 05 April 2014

    BYD ebus achieves 325km on one single charge in Denmark

    What could be a distance record unmatched by any pure electric bus has been recorded with minimum fanfare by a BYD ebus on trial with Copenhagen Denmark bus operator City-Trafik.

    The 12 metre BYD ebus completed its normal service on Route 12 a week ago, a total distance of 110km (or 68.4 miles) carrying an average of 40 passengers. Then the bus set off along the Ballerup highway – a standard motorway – and further covered a distance of 215km (or 133.6 miles) ending the day with 8% of battery charge remaining, clocking up a total of 325km (202 miles) on a single charge.

    This result exceeds the previous best performance of a BYD ebus during the company's Europe-wide trial programmes. Last year an ebus achieved 310 km using only 69% of total charge between the Polish cities of Warsaw and Krackow.

    A second trial of an ebus in Copenhagen with the city's other operator Arriva produced a no less impressive result. The bus completed an arduous full day of city operation – 150km (or 93 miles) from 06:00 to 16:50, operating fully loaded and with the electric heating system in constant use. The bus was then taken on a 90km (or 56 miles) motorway run and again ended up with a 8% charge remaining, covering a total distance of 240 km (149miles) on a single charge.

    The two ebuses have been in service in Copenhagen since the beginning of January, in the hands of Movia's two service providers City-Trafik and Arriva. The bus, specially equipped to handle the rigors of the Scandinavian winter, has performed well. Operating costs have been low – electricity in Denmark costs 2DKK (€0.27) per kWh at normal prices. This compares with diesel at 9.79DKK (€1.3) per litre.