Jumat, 31 Januari 2014

World’s largest lithium-ion battery maker invests in graphene manufacturer

XG Sciences announced today it has closed on a strategic investment led by Samsung Ventures Investment Corporation.

Philip Rose, XG Sciences CEO, said the investment will be used to fund additional research and development of the company’s advanced materials. The terms of the investment were not disclosed.

“The investment from Samsung is a real honor for XG Sciences,” Rose said “and it represents another significant milestone in our progress toward commercialization of large-scale graphene applications. A number of applications for our advanced graphene and battery materials have been demonstrated in the electronics industry, and a partner like Samsung will help us move these applications to market faster than we could on our own.

We look forward to formalizing our development work with Samsung SDI in a joint development program aimed at next-generation batteries for consumer electronics and other devices. Samsung’s shareholding will reinforce our leading position and help serve all our customers better.”

“Our investment in XG Sciences is consistent with our strategy to work closely with established market leaders.” says Michael Pachos, Senior Investment Manager at Samsung Ventures. “XGS is a technology leader and has built a significant business in the graphene and energy storage spaces. The company has demonstrated both a technical and business vision in driving adoption of graphene across a wide variety of industries and we look forward to contributing to the progress of XG Sciences.”

Kamis, 30 Januari 2014

Japan’s Terra Motors unveils electric superbike

Japanese electric two wheeler maker Terra Motors Corporation has unveiled an electric superbike, the Kiwami electric bike in India.

The company, which plans to start selling the bike in next couple of months, also plans to bring in a premium electric scooter, a range of affordable electric bikes and electric three wheelers into the Indian market.

“Besides, Kiwami, we plan to bring in a premium electric scooter and an electric three-wheeler this year. We will also consider launching affordable range electric bikes in the future,” Terra Motors Chief Executive Officer Toru Tokushige told reporters in New Delhi.

The Tokyo-headquartered firm, which will be importing the superbike initially into the country, is looking to garner 25 per cent market share in the Indian electric bike segment.

“We are targeting 25 per cent market share this year in the electric bike segment. We also plan to invest Rs 30 crore during the year,” Mr. Tokushige said.

The Indian electric bike market is estimated to be around 60,000 units per annum.

The Kiwami can cover a distance of 200 km with a single charge and achieve a top speed of 140 km/hr.

Terra Motors, which sold 20,000 electric vehicles in Japan last year, is also in the process of finalising dealer partners in India.

“With immense knowledge of electric vehicles, we will associate ourselves with the dealers who are well experienced in service quality,” Mr. Tokushige said.

Terming India as an important market, Mr. Tokushige said the company wants to be a front runner in the electric two-wheeler segment in the country.

“India is the second largest producer of two-wheelers in the world. Hence it is an important market in our strategic growth plan,” Mr. Tokushige said.

Nissan Installs Europe's 1,000th 30-Minute Electric Car Charger

Nissan has announced 1,000 CHAdeMO quick chargers have now been installed in Europe with the commissioning of the charger at the Roadchef Clacket Lane Services in Surrey, UK. The fast charging unit can recharge the batteries of compatible* electric vehicles- including the 100% electric Nissan LEAF- from zero to 80 percent charge in just 30 minutes, and at zero cost.

The installation of the fastest type of chargers dramatically increases the uptake and usage of electric vehicles. In Norway, Europe's biggest EV market, the number of electric vehicles using the E18 highway increased eight fold in an 18 month period after a CHAdeMO quick charger was installed on the route**.

The new charger has been installed in collaboration with Ecotricity, a UK green energy specialist and pioneer in electric vehicle charging. The location south of London on the M25 motorway, one of the busiest in Europe, allows drivers west of London easy access to Kent and onwards into Europe.

Director of Electric Vehicles, Nissan Europe, Jean Pierre Diernaz commented: "This is a huge landmark for zero-emission mobility, allowing a range of EVs, including the Nissan LEAF and forthcoming Nissan e-NV200 electric van, to quickly extend their journeys. The UK charging network is expanding rapidly and through our partner Ecotricity, customers are able to "refuel" their car for free with wind and solar generated electricity."

This latest charger is part of a network of 195 chargers in the UK, which is forming electric corridors across the country, linking major towns and cities. In the UK, Nissan has been working with partners including IKEA, Moto, Roadchef, Welcome Break and Nissan dealers to create this rapidly growing network with 124 quick chargers installed in 2013.

The rate of installation of CHAdeMO quick chargers across Europe rose sharply in 2013, hugely increasing access for Nissan LEAF customers. In 2010 there were just 16 quick charging points. This rose to 155 a year later and 540 in 2012. The 1,000 mark in 2013 will be dwarfed by the end of 2014 with over 1,800 quick charger points expected. Together with Nissan, investment in this Euope-wide development of infrastructure comes from a multitude of partners in the energy field, including the Swiss multinational power company ABB, French quick charger manufacturers DBT, and the Portuguese EFACEC Corporation, leaders in the electromechanics field.

Rabu, 29 Januari 2014

Toyota Racing release details about AWD hybrid powertrain

TOYOTA Racing can reveal the first details of its participation in the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), in which it will push the limits of hybrid powertrain technology in motorsport.

TOYOTA Racing entered two cars for the WEC season, including the Le Mans 24 Hours, and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest is scheduled to confirm the full grid on 13 February.

For the third consecutive year, Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre, Kazuki Nakajima, Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Stéphane Sarrazin will drive for TOYOTA Racing. They are joined by test and reserve driver Mike Conway.

The TS040 HYBRID prototype has been designed according to new regulations intended to keep the WEC and Le Mans at the forefront of road-relevant technology development.

Its first public appearance will come at the WEC official test session on 28-29 March when it will take to the track alongside prototypes from Audi and Porsche for the first time.

After the TS030 HYBRID established TOYOTA Racing as a pioneer in the field of hybrid powertrains for motorsport, its successor, the TS040 HYBRID, takes the technology to the next level.

The addition of an Aisin AW motor/generator on the front axle, in combination with the DENSO unit at the rear, means the TOYOTA HYBRID System – Racing now provides power to all four wheels.

Under deceleration, the motor/generators apply braking force in combination with traditional mechanical brakes to generate energy, which is transferred via a DENSO inverter to the Nisshinbo super-capacitor. During acceleration, the motor/generator reverses its function, acting as a motor to deliver a significant power boost.

That four-wheel-drive hybrid power is allied to a petrol-powered V8 engine, both having been developed by Motor Sports Unit Development Division at the Higashifuji technical centre, where next generation TOYOTA road car technology is also under development.

Such a link between motorsport technology and future road cars is fundamental to TOYOTA Racing, with the TS040 HYBRID, like its predecessor, acting as a real-life test bench for TOYOTA’s latest hybrid concepts. TOYOTA has already sold 6million hybrid road cars since the launch of the Prius in 1997.

The TS040 HYBRID chassis is designed, developed, manufactured, built and operated by TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH (TMG) in Cologne. It represents a major evolution on the TS030 HYBRID thanks to advanced aerodynamics and lightweight design.

New regulations with revised dimensions have made the 2014-generation LMP1 cars narrower by 10cm while measures such as wheel tethers and a rear crash box have further increased safety.

Intensive simulation and calculation work at TMG has refined the TS040 HYBRID, utilising hardware-in-the-loop technology to test individual components based on real track data and powerful calculation computers to optimise designs.

Such cutting-edge techniques are significantly more efficient than track testing, allowing TMG engineers to continue optimising all aspects of the TS040 HYBRID chassis and lay-out for longer than rivals relying on traditional methods.

Development of the TS040 HYBRID has been completed alongside a range of external motorsport and automotive projects running concurrently at TMG, for third-party clients and Toyota Motor Corporation.

The car completed a successful roll-out at Paul Ricard earlier this month (21-23 January), with Alex Wurz and Anthony Davidson driving. Further testing is planned prior to the season-opening Six Hours of Silverstone (20 April).

More details about the TS040 HYBRID, including technical specifications, will be released immediately prior to the 28-29 official WEC test.

“Big Daddy” Don Garlits Quest to drive the first Battery powered Dragster to 200 mph

Drag racing legend “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, on the 50th anniversary of Garlits’ historic first official 200 mph pass in 1964, will attempt to drive the first battery-electric dragster to exceed 200 mph on a ¼ mile drag strip.

The Quest Dragster will be powered by a 1.5 Megawatt array of lithium polymer (LiPo) batteries. This equates to over 2000 HP which will drive 6x General Electric DC motors via 3x Zilla controllers.

This powertrain is being built by the same team behind the first electric vehicle to break 200 mph in the quarter mile. The Rocket bike made history May 4, 2012 with a record run of 6.940 at 201.37 mph.

The bike was built by Lawless Industries and Orange County Choppers. Where the Rocket bike used A123 high-performance Nanophosphate lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries the dragster will use a lithium polymer (LiPo) battery pack supplied by HighTech Systems LLC. While A123 cells are known to have a very impressive peak discharge rate of 50C, Li Po cells like those used in the 9 second electric Mazda Miata 'Assault and Battery' peak at 100C with the newest LiPo batteries rated up to 150C.

The title of World's fastest Electric Car in the quarter mile is currently held by Dennis Berube's Current Eliminator V dragster with an elapsed time of 7.956 @ 159.85 MPH. This record has stood since December 30th 2007. Power for the record run came from Altairnano lithium-titanate batteries via a early version of the same GE 13 inch DC Motor used by the Lawless Rocket. and now Don Garlits' Quest SR-37 Dragster is powered by six 7.5" GE motors in a V6 arrangement not a single 13" as in the Rocket drag bike.

Zero Motorcycles Announce Australian Distributor

Zero Motorcycles, as featured on a recent episode of Fully Charged, today announced a new Australian distribution partnership deal with Cento Per Cento. The team credited with re-launching MV Agusta to the Australian market in 2011, Cento Per Cento is an Australian- based distribution company focused on delivering premium motorcycle brands. Now serving as the official Australian distributor for Zero Motorcycles, Cento Per Cento will trade as Zero Motorcycles Australia in launching the all new 2014 model lineup.

“Zero Motorcycles is leading the most exciting development in the two wheel industry, representing the next curve in technology and extreme performance delivered via a unique riding experience and low cost of ownership, coupled with social awareness,” said James Deutsher, Director of Zero Motorcycles Australia. “Zero Motorcycles is a high performance global company with a range of products already changing the way people experience electric vehicles. Zero Motorcycles Australia is very proud of this partnership with one of the world’s most exciting technology and automotive companies, Zero Motorcycles.”

“The opportunity to work with a partner such as Cento Per Cento in a market as promising as Australia is a very exciting one for Zero Motorcycles,” said Phil Wilkinson, Director of Sales Asia Pacific for Zero Motorcycles. “Australians have shown strong interest and continually demand for the presence of Zero Motorcycles in Australia and we feel that with the combination of Cento Per Cento together with our thrilling 2014 model lineup, Australia won’t be disappointed.”

Delivering the first high performance, 100 percent electric motorcycle to the Australian public, Zero Motorcycles Australia will offer Zero’s 2014 model line featuring the new Z-Force® Power Tank accessory, allowing riders to travel up to 276 kilometers in the city or 141 kilometers on the highway. The new flagship Zero SR has now reached extraordinary levels of consumer performance including 0-100kph in just 3.3 seconds, up to

270km combined range, a superbike killing 144 Nm of torque and an instant 67hp on hand to the rider at all times. The industry leading Z-Force® powertrain embodies a philosophy of "sophisticated simplicity” by maximizing the exhilaration of riding and minimizing needless complexity. With instant torque, a nearly silent belt-driven system and no shifting, riders need only focus on enjoying the ride. For the owner, there is no routine powertrain maintenance and the ‘fuel’ cost is only a penny a mile.

Under the trading name Zero Motorcycles Australia, initial shipments of the 2014 Zero Motorcycles range including the SR, DS, and FX models will arrive in March.

Fully Charged - BMW i3 [VIDEO]

The BMW i3 was launched last year but is already available in the UK.

Robert Llewellyn took an i3 for a brief spin including drag racing a BMW M3 at Brands Hatch.

2016 Nissan GT-R Hybrid Rendered

Is this (above) a preview of the 2016 Nissan GT-R Hybrid? The Nissan Sport Sedan concept (below) revealed at The North American International Auto Show was originally expected to transform into a new Maxima sedan but reports out of Detroit hint at one other potential evolution of the concept: the next-generation GT-R.

Hungarian graphics blogger X-Tomi has rendered a two door coupe version of the Detroit show car that looks feasible. EV News have reported several times that the next generation GT-R will have a hybrid powertrain with the 600 hp Infiniti Essence Hybrid revealed at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show and confirmation from Nissan engineering, sales and marketing boss Andy Palmer in 2013.

Some unanswered questions remain, will the new GT-R continue to be all-wheel-drive and will the wheel motor powered 380Z sports car Nissan is working on play any role in GT-R development?

Tesla Model S P85 vs 2014 Chevrolet Corvette C7 Z51 Drag Race [VIDEO]

Drag Times have uploaded another drag racing video of their Tesla Model S P85, this time against a 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray / Z51 with it's 460 hp normally aspirated Gen V small-block 6.2-liter pushrod V-8 good for 0-60 mph in less than 4 sec.

Senin, 27 Januari 2014

EVDrive Demo a UTV with 4-Wheel Motor Torque Vectoring [VIDEO]

EVDrive completed development and demonstrated a powersports industry first, an "electric 4-wheel 4-electric-motor torque vectoring technology" called Terra-Torque-Drive™, specifically geared to 4-wheel off-road powersports vehicles, such as for the rapidly growing market segment of side by side Utility Terrain Vehicles or UTVs. After taking recent demo rides in the EVDrive-UTV tech demonstrator, powersports industry insiders, such as UTV OEM reps and UTV racers enthusiastically agree, that the Terra-Torque-Drive™, technology would beat almost all of today's top "gas/mechanical powered" 4wd UTVs. OEMs now have the opportunity to license this unique technology for integration into their own future powersports side by side UTV vehicle offerings.

Approximately 323,000 UTVs were retailed in North America in 2012, according to Power Products Marketing (PPM), a market research firm. PPM found consumer models (for example: Polaris RZR XP900) accounted for around 35% of total sales; Prosumer models (example: Deere XUV825i) garnered around 55% share, and commercial models (example: Bobcat Toolcat) were responsible for about 5% of sales. Industry insiders concur that the new EVDrive technology could apply to all 3 market segments. Compared to the top UTVs sold today, a Terra-Torque-Drive™, powered UTV with EVDrive Range Extender (REX) installed would excel in these areas:

1 - Highest efficiency 4wd drivetrain on any UTV today (least mechanical losses)
2 - Adjustable hill descent control (accomplished via an "electric engine braking" called "regen" putting energy back into the vehicles battery system from each of the 4 wheels)
3 - Dynamic torque vectoring modes both for high and low speed operation, e.g. industry unique "Zero Radius Turning" and high speed active torque vectoring allows for better and safer handling off-road
4 - Torque and power from -100 to +100% can be dynamically sent to any wheel, in either direction, in any combination, at any time.
5 - True Series hybrid with optimized internal combustion engine powered REX to allow for longer range matching or exceeding gas powered UTVs sold today. (REX is a high voltage specialized generator- LPG, gas or diesel powered REX engine easily adaptable, no mechanical connections to vehicle)
6 - 120vac power from onboard battery pack, backed up with the REX for general utility use
7 - Lower cost to maintain and operate - superior fuel economy, estimated average 50-100% better – for short trips, no fuel may be needed at all – plug-in to standard electric car chargers.
8 - Superior straight-line and rough loose material, curvy trail acceleration
9 - Greater river depth traversal possible due to completely sealed liquid cooled e-motors/power electronics.
10 - Stealthy low noise operation in electric only mode e.g. wildlife observation & hunting
11 - Torque vectoring software platform allows new traction capabilities to be supported like "apps" without costly mechanical NRE expenses to the OEM – OEM can provide customers software updates for new capabilities.

EVDrive chose the 4-seat Kawasaki Teryx4 as a tech demonstration platform because of its short wheelbase, smaller turning radius, and large break over angle to minimize getting hung up on obstacles. EVDrive modified this UTV with complete removal of the gas engine and AWD mechanical drivetrain and replaced with a 160hp peak total version of the Terra-Torque-Drive™. Unlike the stock Kawasaki Teryx4 UTV mechanical AWD drive, no additional mechanical losses are incurred in the Terra-Torque-Drive™, regardless of AWD mode from lack of transmission, driveshafts and differentials. "Off-road UTVs are ideally suited to our torque vectoring technology where only single fixed speed reduction is required per motor-wheel to attain 55-75mph top-speeds with the type of high RPM brushless motor technology we employ," said COO, co-founder, Steve Tice.

The Terra-Torque-Drive™, is a customized version of the general and modular EVDrive-Train architecture™ (http://bit.ly/EVD-Arch) used on all EVDrive conversion projects, with an in-house developed scale-able torque vector software platform added running on the EVDrive VCU (vehicle control unit), which supports new traction modes with inputs from all driver controls plus vehicle sensors such as accelerometers, etc. Some planned traction modes, that go beyond what is currently running on the demonstrator: auto dynamic terrain type posi-traction control, variable inclination angle offset descent control, zero radius turns on incline, emergency 4-wheel panic braking/stop & boulder climbing.

The Terra-Torque-Drive™, powered e-UTV demonstrator uses 4 of the sealed liquid-cooled EVDrive EVD35 35kW/47HP peak drive sub-systems, de-tuned to ~30kW/40HP each or delivering a total of ~160HP/120kW peak. At each motor shaft, ~66 ft-lbs peak torque is delivered. The 4 gearboxes allow ratio changes with off-the-shelf gearsets. With the currently installed single speed gearsets, at the CV joint of each wheel, a whopping 726 ft-lbs peak torque is delivered. This is the kind of torque necessary to perform Zero Radius Turns with a fully loaded vehicle and perhaps even some extreme rock climbing. "With these gearsets, a top speed of 45mph is achieved with acceleration to this speed of less than 4 seconds if you get good traction – at zero speed all 4 wheels will break loose on dry asphalt!" said EVDrive's CTO & co-founder, Bob Simpson.

In the accompanying video to this press release, some of the e-UTV tech demonstrator more technical features are revealed, such as: control touch screen for the Terra-Torque-Drive™, specifically the interface to the in-house developed VCU, shown in accompanying picture links below, and optional engine sound synthesis unit some OEMs expressed interest in, with 2 sounds demonstrated in the video, a gas turbine and V-twin motorcycle sound.

Addition of the15kW REX not only gives the UTV full performance and range to match and exceed top UTVs on the market but also offers a feature the competition does not, that is 120vac of electrical power anywhere you need it. "With the REX sub-system part of the Terra-Torque-Drive™, a hybrid UTV can be a true swiss-army-knife UTV, able to deliver power in remote locations for construction/utility/ranch applications, run silent for hunting/wildlife observation & with full-time 4wd torque vectoring, can deliver off-road handling and performance for sports/recreation, in summary, addressing all needs in the consumer, prosumer and commercial markets," said CEO, Steve Tice.

"Similar to our 25kW REX technology installed in our Series-PHEV BMW325 tech testbed -> http://bit.ly/PHEV-BMW-3-series but smaller, our custom high voltage 15kW-single cylinder (ICE) powered REX for the UTV is located between the rear seats – so with this sub-system, competing against top 4-seat UTVs in range will not be a problem - certainly the performance meets and beats stock UTVs we have tested" said EVDrive's CTO Bob Simpson. The REX gas engine can be modified to run on LPG as well offering additional emissions and operational cost advantages. EVDrive's REX technology supporting the hybrid e-UTV development has been already designed & proven in EVDrive Series PHEV BMW 325i Technology Testbed here shown sealed below rear spare tire floor - no protrusion above stock floor as shown in pictures at link included above.

EV West is partnering with EVDrive to deploy and demonstrate Terra-Digital-Torque-Steer™ all-wheel torque vectoring technology on full-size off-road vehicles. EV West is known for many milestones; e.g. Builders and drivers of the record breaking all-electric BMW 3-series street sedan at the Pikes Peak International Hill climb and builders of first ever electric off-road race car to run the Baja Mexican 1000 race in the National Off Road Racing Association's series.

TRANSLOGIC Test drive the Audi A3 Sportback E-Tron PHEV [VIDEO]

Aol's Translogic get an early drive of Audi's first plug-in vehicle for the U.S. market, the A3 Sportback E-Tron PHEV.

Part of Audi's all-new A3 lineup, the Sportback E-Tron boasts an estimated electric driving range of about 30 miles at speeds up to 80 miles per hour. Does Audi's first ever production E-Tron deliver the same performance and technology that the luxury German automaker has become known for?

Minggu, 26 Januari 2014

2015 Porsche 918 Spyder: The Future of the Hypercars? [VIDEO]

Carlos Lago of Ignition tests the Porsche 918 Spyder in Spain.

Boasting an electric motor on the front axle and a parallel hybrid setup for the rear, this hypercar produces a combined 874 hp and 944 lb-ft of torque and aims to set a new precedent for performance and efficiency. To this end, it has dizzying amount of motorsports-derived technology -- its carbon fiber passenger tub, engine, and chassis are derived from the concepts that created the RS Spyder ALMS racecar -- but its European test cycle fuel economy results are comparable to the Toyota Yaris Hybrid's.

Sabtu, 25 Januari 2014

McLaren P1 - Autocar track review of the world's ultimate hybrid hypercar [VIDEO]

The 903bhp McLaren P1 is certainly one of the most exciting hypercars ever. But is it better than a Porsche 918 Spyder? Steve Sutcliffe, one of the few in the world to have driven both, reveals all.

Source: Autocar

Jumat, 24 Januari 2014

Tesla China chief unveils aggressive growth plan for China

Tesla Motors expects its China sales to contribute one third of global sales growth this year, a senior executive said, adding that a trademark issue stalling full-entry into China had been resolved.

Veronica Wu, vice president of Tesla's China operations, said the Palo Alto, California-based company planned to open stores in 10-12 Chinese cities by the end of 2014, including its flagship store in Beijing that opened late last year.

Wu, the 43-year-old executive who jumped ship to Tesla from Apple's China unit at the end of last year, said Tesla China had a "very aggressive growth objective".

She said the unit was aiming to contribute "30 to 35 percent" of Tesla's overall global sales growth targeted for 2014.

Wu said the company aimed to double overall total sales this year. She put global sales at 23,000 to 24,000 last year. "I have my work cut out for me," Wu said in an interview. "But I am pretty confident."

Wu discussed Tesla's plans for its Chinese sales and marketing operations at Tesla's flagship store inside an upscale shopping mall in Beijing a day after announcing its pricing strategy.

Tesla said on Thursday that a version of the Tesla Model S, a sleek all-electric battery car which sells for $81,070 in the United States, would retail for 734,000 yuan ($121,300) in China after shipping costs and import duty and other taxes. The company was referring to a Model S with an 85 kilowatt-hour battery pack.

The Beijing-born executive, who worked for Apple's China unit in Beijing from 2006 until she joined Tesla in December, said that given the Tesla car's "quality," the Model S offered "great value".

Wu applauded Beijing's support for electric and plug-in electric hybrid cars.

She said Tesla had also resolved a trademark issue that had long prevented the company from using "Te Si La" - the Chinese name best known among Chinese consumers, which Tesla wanted to use in China.

"We went to court and we won," she said. "The court has given use right to use the name, which is why you see the Chinese name in our store now."

The name had been registered by a local businessman who had refused to give up the trademark. The U.S. company had started offering its popular Model S sedans in China, but with no Chinese language name.

Wu said Tesla had no plans to start local production of its cars in China, at least for the time being.

"Right now we are not considering (that) as yet," the Tesla China chief said.

"The most important task right now, now that we have announced our pricing strategy, is to focus on getting the right car and making sure we have the right service network, and making sure the Chinese customer is happy," she said. "Happy customers are the best advocate of your product, right?"

Technical Lowdown: McLaren Mercedes MP4-29 [VIDEO]

Take a closer look at the technical specifications of the 2014 Formula 1 season.

Sam Michael, McLaren Mercedes Sporting Director, gives an in-depth insight into the 2014 McLaren Mercedes MP4-29.

Porsche 919 Hybrid to run turbo V4 engine

Porsche's all-new LeMans contender will feature a turbocharged V4 2.0-liter direct-injection petrol engine.

The 919 Hybrid marks Porsche's comeback in the world of LMP1 racing and according to Autocar it has a turbocharged 16-valve 2.0-litre direct-injection V4 configuration already confirmed. It is believed Porsche opted for this configuration for packaging reasons to enable the best possible position for installing the hybrid drive system.

This petrol engine works with two energy recuperation systems called KERS and ERS which will store the energy in a battery pack until the driver presses a button to deploy it to the front wheels through an electric motor. It should be noted the V4 engine will power the rear wheels while the battery is of the lithium-ion type and has been provided by A123 Systems from United States.

Behind the wheel of the Porsche 919 Hybrid will be Mark Webber, Neel Jani, Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb and Brendon Hartley. The vehicle will receive its racing debut on April 20 when the 2014 WEC starts at Silverstone Six Hours.

In 2014 all three works hybrid teams - Audi, Toyota and Porsche - will run All-Wheel-Drive powertrains at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (14-15 June).

Source: autocar.co.uk

Rabu, 22 Januari 2014

Nissan and FedEx Express Put All-Electric e-NV200 to Work

FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., and Nissan announced today at the Washington Auto Show that the two companies will begin testing the Nissan e-NV200, a 100 percent electric compact cargo vehicle, under real world conditions in Washington, D.C.

This test marks the first time the vehicle will be running in North America. FedEx Express and Nissan have conducted similar e-NV200 tests with fleets in Japan, Singapore, the United Kingdom and Brazil.

FedEx and Nissan are both committed to reducing the environmental impact of their operations worldwide. Rotating the Nissan e-NV200 into the delivery fleet is part of the FedEx EarthSmart program, a global sustainability platform designed to guide the company's environmental commitment in the communities where it operates. For Nissan, this effort aligns with its "Blue Citizenship" corporate social responsibility program with a focus on increasing the number of vehicles that emit no greenhouse gases by exploring additional vehicle segments where its leading electric vehicle technology may be applied.

FedEx will deploy the Nissan e-NV200 in the Washington, D.C. area, where it will undergo field tests that subject it to the routine requirements of a delivery vehicle. The results will be used to help determine the viability of using an electric vehicle in this role in the U.S. Nissan e-NV200 is scheduled to begin mass production later this year in Europe.

"As a global fleet operator serving 220 countries and territories worldwide, FedEx is committed to improving the efficiency of its vehicles as part of our EarthSmart initiatives," said Mitch Jackson, vice president of Environmental Affairs and Sustainability, FedEx Corporation. "We are pleased to continue our work with Nissan and bring the e-NV200 into test in North America."

"We're eager to work with FedEx and other companies to put the e-NV200 through its paces to continue to build awareness of the capability of electric vehicles and to evaluate how well it meets the needs of the commercial consumer," said Erik Gottfried, Nissan director of Electric Vehicle Sales and Marketing. "We'd also like to explore clever uses of EVs in work environments where carbon emissions of gas-powered vehicles make them impractical or impossible to use."

Nissan's Second Global All-Electric Vehicle

Following Nissan LEAF, e-NV200 will be the second EV that Nissan markets globally. The all-electric compact cargo vehicle strengthens Nissan's leadership in zero emission mobility. The 100 percent electric model offers the same versatility, functionality and roominess as its gasoline-powered sibling. The e-NV200 delivers unique, emission-free and quiet performance thanks to a powertrain based on Nissan LEAF and the same advanced lithium-ion battery. It emits no carbon dioxide, compared to approximately 140 g of CO2/km emitted by gas-powered engines in a similar vehicle. The e-NV200 can be charged up to 80 percent of its full capacity in less than 30 minutes when equipped with a quick charge port and using a fast charger.

With front-wheel drive, the e-NV200 provides rapid and smooth acceleration and excellent handling with a high degree of maneuverability. The electric vehicle delivers immediate torque, which benefits acceleration with a heavy payload from a dead stop. The e-NV200 offers the low cost of ownership that EVs such as LEAF boast—based on fewer maintenance requirements and the reduced cost of charging versus fueling. The smart positioning of the battery ensures a larger cargo area, and the vehicle maintains a low load floor, key considerations for light commercial vehicles.

FedEx: The EV Global Fleet

FedEx Express currently has 167 electric vehicles and 365 hybrid electric vehicles in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and China, including the units that will be deployed in Brazil starting in January. By the end of this fiscal year (May 31, 2014), the company plans to increase these numbers to 222 and 393, respectively. From 2005 to 2012, the introduction of this type of vehicle in the fleet enabled the company to save nearly 2.4 million liters of fuel.

Initiatives like this, aligned with others, such as matching the right vehicle to the right route, buying vehicles with the right-sized engines and inclusion of light vehicles into the fleet, have allowed FedEx to quickly progress towards its goal of increasing the fuel efficiency of its fleet, which the company revised in the beginning 2013 by increasing its initial improvement target from 20 percent to 30 percent by 2020.

Fully Charged - Zero S electric Motorbike [VIDEO]

Danny John-Jules takes the Zero S electric bike for a spin.

  • Torque: 144 Nm (106 ft-lb)
  • Top Speed: 163 km/h (102 mph)
  • Range: 273 km (171 miles)
  • Cost: $0.01 per mile

    For more information: Zero Motorbikes

  • Close-Up Look @ 2014 F1-Spec Renault Hybrid Turbo V6 Power Unit [VIDEO]

    This year, the FIA Formula One World Championship is set for a raft of radical technical regulation changes. From 2014 onwards, the cars will be powered by avant-garde powertrain technology, with a powerful turbocharged internal combustion engine coupled to sophisticated energy recovery systems.

    Power output will be boosted to levels not seen in the sport in over five years, however, two types of energy will propel the cars. The internal combustion engine will produce power through consumption of traditional carbon-based fuel, while electrical energy will be harvested from exhaust and braking by two motor generator units. The two systems will work in harmony, with teams and drivers balancing the use of the two types of energy throughout the race.

    The advent of this new technology means that the word 'engine' is no longer sufficient: instead the sport will refer to 'Power Units.'

    Renault is fully prepared for this technical revolution, with its Energy F1-2014 Power Unit designed and developed at its Viry-Châtillon HQ in France ready for track testing.

    'Grand Prix racing is a pioneering sport, representing the pinnacle of human endeavour and technological innovation. From the rear mounted engines of the 1930s to the ground effect of the 1980s, F1 technology has always been years ahead of its time. With cutting-edge energy systems and highly advanced turbocharged combustion engines, in 2014 F1 remains true to its DNA. We are absolutely at the vanguard of powertrain technology this year.' Jean-Michel Jalinier, President of Renault Sport F1



  • 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 internal combustion engine
  • Direct injection
  • Max engine speed of 15,000rpm
  • Potent Energy Recovery Systems incorporating two motor generator units – the MGU-H, recovering energy from the exhaust and the MGU-K recovering energy from braking
  • Electrical energy recovered stored in a battery
  • Combined maximum power output of 760bhp, on a par with previous V8 generation
  • Double restriction on fuel consumption: fuel quantity for the race limited to 100 kg (-35% from 2013) with fuel flow rate limited to 100 kg/hr max (unlimited under V8 regulations) – cars will therefore need to use both fuel and electrical energy over one lap
  • Engine development is frozen during the season, only changes for fair and equitable reasons are permitted
  • 5 Power Units permitted per driver per year


    Internal combustion V6 engine

    In short
    V6 is shorthand for an internal combustion engine with its cylinders arranged in two banks of 3 cylinders arranged in a 'V' configuration over a common crankshaft. The Renault Energy F1 V6 has a displacement of 1.6 litres and will make around 600bhp, or more than three times the power of a Clio RS.

    The challenge
    Contrary to popular belief, the ICE is not the easiest part of the Power Unit to design as the architecture is very different to the incumbent V8s. On account of the turbocharger the pressures within the combustion chamber are enormous – almost twice as much as the V8. The crankshaft and pistons will be subject to massive stresses and the pressure within the combustion chamber may rise to 200bar, or over 200 times ambient pressure.

    One to watch
    The pressure generated by the turbocharger may produce a 'knocking' within the combustion chamber that is very difficult to control or predict. Should this destructive phenomenon occur, the engine will be destroyed immediately.

    Direct fuel injection

    In short
    All Power Units must have direct fuel injection (DI), where fuel is sprayed directly into the combustion chamber rather than into the inlet port upstream of the inlet valves. The fuel-air mixture is formed within the cylinder, so great precision is required in metering and directing the fuel from the injector nozzle. This is a key sub-system at the heart of the fuel efficiency and power delivery of the power unit.

    The challenge
    One of the central design choices of the ICE was whether to make the DI top mounted (where the fuel is sprayed at the top of the combustion chamber close to the spark plug) or side mounted (lower down the chamber).

    One to watch
    The option still remains to cut cylinders to improve efficiency and driveability through corners.


    In short
    A turbocharger uses exhaust gas energy to increase the density of the engine intake air and therefore produce more power. Similar to the principle employed on roadcars, the turbocharger allows a smaller engine to make much more power than its size would normally permit. The exhaust energy is converted to mechanical shaft power by an exhaust turbine. The mechanical power from the turbine is then used to drive the compressor, and also the MGU-H (see below).

    The challenge
    At its fastest point the turbocharger is rotating at 100,000 revolutions per minute, or over 1,500 times per second, so the pressures and temperatures generated will be enormous. Some of the energy recovered from the exhaust will be passed on to the MGU-H and converted to electrical energy that will be stored and can later be re-deployed to prevent the turbo slowing too much under braking.

    One to watch
    As the turbocharger speed must vary to match the requirement of the engine, there may be a delay in torque response, known as turbo lag, when the driver gets on the throttle after a period of sustained braking. One of the great challenges of the new power unit is to reduce this to near zero to match the instant torque delivery of the V8 engines.


    In short
    On conventional turbo engines, a wastegate is used in association with a turbocharger to control the high rotation speeds of the system. It is a control device that allows excess exhaust gas to by-pass the turbine and match the power produced by the turbine to that needed by the compressor to supply the air required by the engine. On the Renault Energy F1, the turbo rotation speed is primarily controlled by the MGU-H (see below) however a wastegate is needed to keep full control in any circumstance (quick transient or MGU-H deactivation).

    The challenge
    The wastegate is linked to the turbocharger but the auxiliaries occupy very little space. The challenge is therefore to make it robust enough to withstand the enormous pressures while small enough to fit.

    One to watch
    On a plane there are certain parts that are classified as critical if they fail. By this measure the wastegate is the same: if it fails the consequences will be very serious.


    In short
    The MGU-K is connected to the crankshaft of the internal combustion engine. Under braking, the MGU-K operates as a generator, recovering some of the kinetic energy dissipated during braking. It converts this into electricity that can be deployed throughout the lap (limited to 120 kW or 160bhp by the rules). Under acceleration, the MGU-K is powered from the Energy Store and/or from the MGU-H and acts as a motor to propel the car.

    The challenge
    Whilst in 2013 a failure of KERS would cost about 0.3s per lap at about half the races, the consequences of a MGU-K failure in 2014 would be far more serious, leaving the car propelled only by the internal combustion engine and effectively uncompetitive.

    One to watch
    Thermal behaviour is a massive issue as the MGU-K will generate three times as much heat as the V8 KERS unit.


    In short
    The MGU-H is connected to the turbocharger. Acting as a generator, it absorbs power from the turbine shaft to convert heat energy from the exhaust gases. The electrical energy can be either directed to the MGU-K or to the battery for storage for later use. The MGU-H is also used to control the speed of the turbocharger to match the air requirement of the engine (eg. to slow it down in place of a wastegate or to accelerate it to compensate for turbo lag.)

    The challenge
    The MGU-H produces alternative current, but the battery is continuous current so a highly complex convertor is needed.

    One to watch
    Very high rotational speeds are a challenge as the MGU-H is coupled to a turbocharger spinning at speeds of up to 100,000rpm.

    Battery (or Energy Store)

    In short
    Heat and Kinetic Energy recovered can be consumed immediately if required, or used to charge the Energy Store, or battery. The stored energy can be used to propel the car with the MGU-K or to accelerate the turbocharger with the MGU-H. Compared to 2013 KERS, the ERS of the 2014 power unit will have twice the power (120 kW vs. 60 kW) and the energy contributing to performance is ten times greater.

    The challenge
    The battery has a minimum weight of 20kg to power a motor that produces 120kW. Each 1kg feeds 6kw (a huge power to weight ratio), which will produce large electromagnetic forces.

    One to watch
    The electromagnetic forces can impact the accuracy of sensors, which are particularly sensitive. Balancing the forces is like trying to carry a house of cards in a storm – a delicate and risky operation.


    In short
    The intercooler is used to cool the engine intake air after it has been compressed by the turbocharger.

    The challenge
    The 2014 Power Unit generates huge temperatures so the cooling requirements are far greater than those of the V8.

    One to watch
    Integration of the intercooler and other radiators is key but effective cooling without incorporating giant radiators is a major challenge and key performance factor.


    ENERGY F1-2014
    Displacement1.6L V6
    Number of cylinders6
    Rev limit15,000rpm
    Pressure chargingSingle turbocharger, unlimited boost pressure (typical maximum 3.5 bar abs due to fuel flow limit)
    Fuel flow limit100 kg/hr (-40% from V8)
    Permitted Fuel quantity per race100 kg (-35% from V8)
    Configuration90° V6
    Crank height90mm
    Number of valves4 per cylinder, 24
    ExhaustsSingle exhaust outlet, from turbine on car centre line
    FuelDirect fuel injection
    Energy Recovery Systems
    MGU-K rpmMax 50,000 rpm
    MGU-K powerMax 120kW
    Energy recovered by MGU-KMax 2MJ/lap
    Energy released by MGU-KMax 4 MJ/lap
    MGU-H rpm>100,000rpm
    Energy recovered by MGU-HUnlimited (> 2MJ/lap)
    WeightMin 145 kg
    Number of Power Units permitted per driver per year5
    Total horsepower600hp (ICE) + 160hp (ERS)


    In 2014, the fuel quantity for the race is limited to 100 kg and the fuel flow rate limited to 100 kg/hr. If the conditions and percentage of wide open throttle are such that the driver demands maximum power for more than one hour, there is clearly not enough fuel to make it to the end of the race. However, since the car will be propelled by both fuel and electricity, the balance between the two will become a key success factor, with the goal to maximise speed and minimise lap time.

    A standard lap
    Under acceleration (eg. down the pit straight) the internal combustion engine will be using its reserve of fuel. The turbocharger will be rotating at maximum speed (100,000rpm). The MGU-H will act as a generator and recover energy from the heat and energy lost in the exhaust and pass to the MGU-K (or the battery in case it needs recharging). The MGU-K, which is connected to the crankshaft of the ICE, will act as a motor and deliver additional power to pull harder or save fuel, should the control electronics be so configured. At the end of the straight, the driver lifts off for braking for a corner. At this point the MGU-K converts to a generator and recovers energy dissipated in the braking event, which will be stored in the battery.

    Under braking the MGU-H converts to a motor to keep the rotational speed of the turbocharger high enough to avoid the curse of the turbo engine – turbo lag. This is a phenomenon experienced under braking when the turbocharger speed slows as a lower volume of gas is produced. When the driver accelerates and more gas is produced, the turbo can take time to return to full rotational speed. To prevent this lag, the MGU-H turns to a motor and powers the turbo, keeping the rotational speed as close to optimum. When the driver exits the corner and gets back on the throttle, the MGU-H returns to a generator and picks up the energy from the active turbocharger and exhaust gases. The energy recovered can either power the MGU-K to keep the fuel burn as low as possible or charge the battery.

    Over the course of the lap, this balance between energy harvesting, energy deployment and (carbon) fuel burn will be carefully monitored.

    'The use of the two types of energy needs an intelligent management,' Technical Director for new generation Power Units, Naoki Tokunaga, explains. 'Electrical energy management will be just as important as fuel management. The energy management system ostensibly decides when and how much fuel to take out of the tank and when and how much energy to take out or put back in to the battery.

    'The overall objective is to minimise the time going round a lap of the circuit for a given energy budget. Obviously, if you use less energy, you will have a slower lap time. That's fine. However, what is not fine is to be penalised more than the physics determines necessary. In the relationship between fuel used versus lap time, there is a borderline between what is physically possible and the impossible – we name it 'minimum lap-time frontier.'

    'We always want to operate on that frontier and be as close to the impossible as we can. The strategy is subject its own limits, namely the capacity of the PU components and the Technical Regulations. The power output of the engine has its own limit, plus MGU-K power and the energy the battery can deliver to it are all restricted by the rules. It is a complex problem. The solution is therefore determined by mathematical modelling and optimisation – we call it 'power scheduling.'

    'As a result, there will be a complex exchange of energy going on between the components in the system network, at varying levels of power over a lap. This is completely invisible to the driver as it is all controlled electronically by the control systems. The driver will be able to feel it but no driver intervention is normally required, so they can concentrate on the race in hand.

    'Of course, there will be certain driver-operated modes to allow him to override the control system, for example to receive full power for overtaking. Using this mode will naturally depend on the race strategy. In theory you can deploy as many times as you want, but if you use more fuel or more electric energy then you have to recover afterwards. The 'full boost' can be sustained for one to two laps but it cannot be maintained.'

    The fact that the driver does not control the balance between fuel and energy does not lessen the involvement of the driver in any way, and in fact his job will be more complicated than in previous seasons. He will still be fighting the car to keep it under control during hard braking, managing braking to avoid understeer into a corner, applying delicate control over the throttle pedal mid-corner, sweeping through complex corners, throwing the car into high speed corners. In terms of driving style, there may well need to be some adjustments.

    'The throttle response will be different so the driver will need to readjust for this,' Tokunaga explains. 'Effectively, once the driver applies full throttle, the control systems manage the power of PU, with the aim to minimise the time within the given energy. However full throttle no longer means a demand for full engine power. It is an indication to the PU given by the driver to go as fast as possible with the given energy. He will still need to adjust for the different 'feel' of the car with the energy systems.'

    Race strategy and race management will also be more flexible than in the past and the optimum solution will vary vastly from circuit to circuit, dependent on factors including percentage of wide open throttle, cornering speeds and the aerodynamic configuration of the car.

    'In essence, engine manufacturers used to compete on reaching record levels of power, but now will compete in the intelligence of energy management,' Tokunaga surmises.

    2014 Qualifying: flat out, as always
    In 2014, the fastest car on a Saturday will still start on pole since the sessions will be run 'flat out'. The cars will still be limited by the fundamental fuel flow restriction of 100 kg/h but the 100kg fuel limit will be irrelevant since very little fuel is burned over one lap. The driver will therefore be able to use 100% of the allowed fuel flow and the entire energy budget from the battery store for his qualifying lap. However, should he choose to use all the energy on one lap, he will not be able to complete two flat out timed laps and will instead have to wait until the store recharges. This will lead to some even tenser sessions and a number of different strategic calls.


    Renault Sport F1 Deputy managing director (technical) 'We believe that the Power Unit will deliver a lot of power and will be more than enough to make cars quick... we will absolutely see real speed out on track.'

    How different do you think the Power Unit will be between engine manufacturers? We have to imagine there is an optimum solution within the technical and sporting constraints and that different competitors will approach the optimum in different ways, at least in the beginning. Within each different PU project, the immaturity of the technology means that there could be rapidly changing performance, and as at the start of any radical new technical change, we expect progress will be extremely quick. The relative pace between competitors could therefore change more than we are accustomed to. But we should not underestimate just how competent the F1 teams are – the steps will be rough but large, and the convergence on an optimum solution will be rapid.

    Will we still retain the speed under the new regulations? The short answer is yes. What was an academic question in the beginning has become a lot more real from every point of view, but we have no need to worry. Obviously we are still in the virtual world and not on track but we have measured PU performance on the test bed and have matched the most optimistic predictions. We believe that the Power Unit will deliver a lot of power and will be more than enough to make cars quick. The way that the cars will deliver this performance will be somewhat different this year due to the PU and aero regulations. The driving experience will be quite different, but we will absolutely see real speed out on track.

    And there will still be racing in 2014? This year there will be a lot of factors that drive unpredictable outcomes and from most people's standpoint, unpredictable results are good in a sporting event. We need to keep hold of some of the fundamental elements; there will be 22 cars on the grid and when the lights go out the guy that gets to the flag first is the winner. In between there will be a battle for positions on track, meaning there will be real racing. The way in which the races are managed by the teams is one of the big differences between 2013 and 2014. It is fair to say there are several different ways to skin a cat and this will produce different scenarios as we explore different possibilities about how to manage energy and power. Although the tool kit that we have is different, the fundamentals of the races remain very similar. Ultimately it is for the drivers to go for the opportunities presented to them.

    Will drivers have to change their style to the new regulations? The drivers are astonishingly skilled to detect the limit of the performance envelope of a car and adapt their driving to reach the limits. In the past, drivers have always been adept at adapting to different systems, such as the F-duct, KERS and so on, without too much issue: it's always remarkable to observe just how very close they can get to the theoretical limits. I do not think there will be a discussion of whether drivers are 'intelligent' or not – it is about being adaptable, just as they were with any other change.

    How has Renault Sport F1 had to adapt to the challenge of the new Power Unit?

    It is fair to say that we have had to strengthen the organisation and refresh the infrastructure at Viry to adapt to the very new environment of the Power Unit. We have recruited additional staff, some seconded from our parent company to complement the skills and experience of the existing Viry team. Additionally we have had support from Renault specialists and dedicated resources off-site, such as the materials laboratory. At the factory there have been upgrades to existing facilities and investment in new facilities adapted to the development of the Power Unit and its sub-systems including direct injection, turbocharging and electrical content. In parallel we have created new facilities at Mecachrome including a new dyno where the full PU will be signed off before delivery to the track.


    Renault Sport F1 head of track operations 'With the new Power Unit incorporating complex electrical and energy recovery systems alongside the standard internal combustion engine the workload pre-race will approximately double.'

    How will preparations for a race change with the new Power Unit? With the new Power Unit incorporating complex electrical and energy recovery systems alongside the standard internal combustion engine the workload pre-race will approximately double. As usual the chassis teams will send us the basic set-up information for each race about two weeks before the event. The engine engineer for the team will then combine this with Power Unit data in realistic conditions to simulate the general operating parameters of the car at that particular circuit. This will then be returned to the chassis teams for analysis with downforce and grip levels and other more advanced and detailed set-ups. This process is iterative and there will be several cycles of returns before we arrive at a set-up we intend to use at the track. As we learn more about operations this process will surely be refined, but we expect the man hours spent per team per race will run into hundreds – more than twice the preparation time for the V8s.

    Will anything change on operations during a race weekend? We have created an operations room to follow running in real time, which is a significant evolution over previous years when all data collection was monitored solely at the track. Additionally we will have greater support from the factory to analyse data post-sessions as we will repatriate information from the track to the factory more often. This quantity of analysis means we will use the dynos at Viry more often for 'live' simulations to optimise track performance. It's hard to say exactly, but I expect the dynos will be working up to three times more as there are more parameters to explore. With the V8 we could predict how it would go, and when there was an issue it was much more of a known issue. These units are vastly more complicated. In fact the only thing that is simpler this year is that there are no gear ratio changes as they are frozen at the start of the season. We can change once during the year but otherwise the eight gears are submitted to the FIA pre-season and they must be the same at each race.

    How will the engine support teams be structured this year with the new Power Unit? The new Power Unit comes with a very different set of challenges so we have strengthened the engine support team operating trackside. For each partner we will have a team of eight technical staff, with one engineer per car, one mechanic, and then one electrician plus a performance engineer, who will look after energy management and the set-up of the Power Unit relating to the balance between fuel and electricity. He will work in close collaboration with the chassis teams, particularly the strategists and the race engineers.

    Will the modus operandi at the tracks change between Renault and the chassis teams? Not fundamentally as we are already very well integrated with the chassis teams trackside. However the flow and the amount of information between the two halves will be much larger and more important than in previous years. The Power Unit will have two types of energy next year and the way we use them will have a much greater effect on the strategy and its deployment. With the V8 we decided on a strategy and knew at the end of the race we would be within 1% of the optimum. Next year we could have a delta of many tens of seconds if we get things wrong.

    Will we be hearing different calls on the radio next year as a result? We will hear different calls, for sure. We won't call out to change the fuel mixture, instead referencing fuel budget, or the quantity of fuel used per lap. Prior to the race the engineers will decide on the mix between fuel and electricity over one lap and we will have a target – or fuel 'budget' we will need to monitor to ensure we get to the end of the race. The engine engineers will monitor the rate of fuel consumption (both carbon and electric) and the driver will be told over the radio if he is over or under the fuel delta. He will have to manually adjust or alter the style to take this into account.

    From 2014 there are just five Power Units per driver per season, but the different components (turbo, ERS etc.) can be changed independently of each other. How will you manage this system? In an ideal world we will try to do as per last year, that is, we change everything together. The life of each part is designed to be roughly similar so we will try to keep the system as a whole, so changing the turbocharger, ERS and battery at same time. However there is also a system where you can change different elements if you need to. While we would not necessarily seek to run different life combinations, it does enable us to tailor the Power Unit to the specificities of each circuit should we need to. For example, we could run a new internal combustion engine at Monza with an old battery to get more power, or we could use a new battery at Monaco and an old engine as the sensitivity to electrical power will be higher and the need for outright speed a lot less. Keeping pace with it all seems difficult but I do not expect we will see too many people using the modular system in real life.

    Will any of the tracks pose any particular difficulties? In essence no more than in previous years. Monza will still remain the hardest on the ICE and high speed, while Monaco and Budapest will be critical for energy recovery. However what we will see is that the turbo will serve as an equaliser between ambient and atmospheric conditions so circuits that were not considered 'difficult' may have to be reassessed. For example, in the past we always said that Brazil was relatively low impact as we could use engine on the third race of its life due to the low atmospheric pressure that placed less stress on the internals. However since the turbo greatly increases ambient pressure inside the engine, the internal stresses are always the same and the amount of oxygen in the air becomes largely irrelevant. Similarly, in Malaysia we could always count on the humidity to limit the effect of the long straights but now there will be no power loss due to the lack of oxygen in air as we are mastering the quantity of air in the engine at all times.

    Do you expect the turbo to take longer to warm up at the high altitude races as we saw in the past? A lot of people remember when it used to take hours to start and warm the engines at places like Brazil and South Africa, but this time round I think we will be fine as technology has moved on a huge amount. Ultimately it's the performance on track that counts anyway!

    What are the main challenges of the unit for the engine teams trackside? First of all it will be how to dissipate the heat. The turbo and the electrical motors generate huge temperatures but the internal components will be running very hot too. Of course making everything work together – without interference – is a major challenge. The electromagnetic forces will be very high so managing all the systems simultaneously will be somewhat stressful!

    Quick guide: Power Unit management and what can be changed between races Unless he drives for more than one team, each driver may use no more than five Power Units during a Championship season. If a sixth complete Power Unit is used the driver concerned must start the race from the pit lane.

    However this year the power unit is divided into six separate elements:

  • Engine (ICE)
  • Motor generator unit-kinetic (MGU-K)
  • Motor generator unit-heat (MGU-H)
  • Energy store (ES)
  • Turbocharger (TC)
  • Control electronics (CE)

    Each driver can use five of each of the above components during a Championship season and any combination of them may be fitted to a car at any one time.

    The first time a driver uses a sixth of the above six elements a 10-place grid place penalty will be imposed at the next race. This then starts a new cycle so if another (different) part is used for a sixth time, he will receive a 5-place grid penalty.

    If a driver wants to use a seventh of the six elements, he starts yet another cycle so he will get a further 10 place penalty. The second time he wants to use a seventh part he will get a 5-place grid penalty.

    If a grid place penalty is imposed, and the driver's grid position is such that the full penalty cannot be applied, the remainder of the penalty will be applied at the driver's next race. However, no such remaining penalties will be carried forward for more than one GP.

  • AutoGuide Review - 2014 BMW i3 [VIDEO]

    Autoguide.com review the BMW i3.

    Fast facts:

  • 1. The i3 offers 125 kw and 250 Nm of torque for a 0-60 time of 7.2 seconds.
  • 2. BMW claims from 80 to 100 miles of electric range, or 150 to 180 miles with the optional range extender.
  • 3. It weighs under 1,195 kg thanks to a carbon-fiber passenger cell.
  • 4. BMW charges $42,275 including destination and before incentives.
  • Chevy Spark EV Tops EPA List with 119 MPGe

    In its 2014 Fuel Economy Guide, the United States Environmental Protection Agency puts one car at the top of the list when it comes to fuel efficiency: the 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV.

    With an EPA-estimated 82 miles of driving range and a fuel economy equivalent of 119 MPGe, the average driver can save $9,000 in fuel costs over five years compared to the average new vehicle.

    Last year’s top ten list of the most fuel-efficient vehicles was comprised entirely of electric vehicles, so it’s not surprising that this year’s ranking is also packed with EVs.

    The Spark EV, sold in California and Oregon, is also the first vehicle in the U.S. to offer the SAE International fast-charge connector as a vehicle option. The new combined AC and DC charging, or combo, connector is accessible via a single charge port on the vehicle and allows electricity to flow at a faster rate.

    How much faster? DC fast charging charges 80 percent of the Spark EV’s battery in just 20 minutes for over 65 miles of range. By comparison, AC 120V charging, which can be done using a conventional household outlet, takes around 17 hours to fully charge. AC 240V charging reduces recharging time to less than seven hours for a full charge, but it requires a dedicated 240V charging station.

    Many major automakers have announced they will adopt the SAE combo fast charge connector standard. Adopting an industry standard for EV charging is an important step in growing the public charging infrastructure.

    GM is committed to leading the charge in the U.S. to develop energy alternatives like EVs and biofuels that help reduce dependency on petroleum, improve fuel economy and reduce emissions.

    It’s why we were part of the unveiling of the very first public SAE combo DC fast charging station last year at the Fashion Valley Mall in San Diego.

    And it’s why our engineers work tirelessly to bring greener vehicles like the Spark EV, Chevrolet Volt, Chevrolet Cruze Diesel, Cadillac ELR and the bi-fuel Chevrolet Impala to market.

    If this year’s list of the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the market tells us anything, it’s that EVs are continuing to grow in popularity. And as more and more hit the market, choices for potential buyers will only increase, which means good things for the wallet and the environment.

    Minggu, 19 Januari 2014

    Nissan sells 100,000th LEAF Electric Car

    Amy Eichenberger of Charlottesville, Va., became the 99,999th global Nissan LEAF customer when she purchased her 100 percent electric vehicle at Colonial Nissan.

    Amy, a 47-year-old mother of two, wasn't even in the market for a new car. Then she spotted a University of Virginia colleague's Nissan LEAF and decided she wanted to know more about the "modern-looking, futuristic and progressive" car.

    "As an architect, the style first got my attention, and I loved the concept of zero emissions," Amy said. Amy is a project manager overseeing major capital investments for the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

    Nissan LEAF was the first car Amy test drove, and she loved the zip it had. A Mercedes driver for 10 years, Amy describes herself as "picky." Quality, safety, a "glide ride" and reliability were at the top of Amy's auto shopping list criteria.

    She said she had a few initial reservations—primarily around range—so she tested out some gasoline and diesel competitors as well. "I'd been told once I drove a Mercedes I'd never drive anything else again. I don't need fancy, but I do appreciate the solid feel and craftsmanship of a luxury vehicle, and I get that in the LEAF," Amy said.

    "The general fuel economy out there is unimpressive and many of them felt tin-canny. I didn't even want to look at anything in the 20 MPG range. I considered the VW Jetta TDI, Toyota Prius, Honda CRV and a couple of Subaru wagons, and I always came back to the Nissan LEAF. Everything else seemed stuck in the past," Amy explained.

    Amy ultimately chose a LEAF S in Glacier White. Her commute is about 10 miles to the university each day and most of her errand-running is around the city—well under the LEAF's estimated range of 84 miles on a full charge.

    "I have friends I like to visit in Richmond, which I can do in the LEAF with some planning, and in DC, which I'll do in my son's or boyfriend's car. LEAF will meet my needs 98 percent of the time, and I didn't want to let a little range anxiety prevent me from missing out on what I consider a much more progressive and forward-thinking vehicle than any of the alternatives."

    Chris Crowley, the dedicated EV salesperson for Colonial Nissan, sold Amy her LEAF. He explained that LEAF buyers are not typical walk-ins. "LEAF buyers generally come in well educated about the vehicle, looking for even more information and wanting to see how it feels and drives. We spend a lot of time talking about driving habits to make sure it meets their needs and reviewing how very much it's like any other vehicle in its capabilities with the added benefit of no fuel bill. Folks like to be green, but you can talk to their pocket books as well," Chris said.

    Chris has been with Colonial Nissan for two years and has been the lead EV person for most of that time. He's sold nine LEAFs total with three of those coming in the past three weeks. "LEAF sales have picked up because once we were selling to engineers who were fans of the car and knew exactly how it worked. Now we're selling to a much broader audience, and I think we've benefitted from a few folks who resolved to be greener in the new year."

    Nissan LEAF launched in the United States in December 2010. The United States accounts for nearly half of the sales worldwide. The pace of LEAF sales has continued to accelerate. In 2013, Nissan sold 22,610 of the electric vehicles in the United States, more than twice as many as in 2012 and more than 2012 and 2011 Leaf sales combined.

    Nissan LEAF traditionally has performed well on the West Coast with notable markets such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle, but now interest has expanded across the country. New hot markets have emerged such as Atlanta, which has been the No. 1 LEAF market for the past five months.

    "With LEAF, we see a high level of organic growth and viral sales where LEAF owners become our best evangelists and salespeople. With electric vehicles, many folks presume a 100 percent electric vehicle won't meet their needs until they chat with a neighbor, co-worker or family friend who loves their LEAF and explain its practicality, and then it goes on their consideration list," said Erik Gottfried, Nissan's director of EV Sales and Marketing. "In fact, we're seeing similar results with the geographic dispersion of sales. With sales high in Atlanta, we now see other Georgia markets such as Macon and Columbus picking up significant momentum, similar to Eugene, Ore., following on the success of Portland."

    Nissan LEAF is best-selling EV in history with 48 percent market share of the electric vehicle market globally. As of November 2013, Nissan LEAF drivers have completed an estimated 1 billion zero-emission kilometers, resulting in approximately 165 million kilograms of CO2 saved.

    Nissan LEAF offers powerful acceleration, quiet operation, energy efficiency and low cost of maintenance. Nissan has extended the standard warranty for the battery-power holding capacity with its own additional warranty for customer satisfaction and assurance.

    After leading the era of electrification in passenger vehicles with the LEAF, in 2014 Nissan will become the first to bring a mass-market all-electric light commercial vehicle to market. The e-NV200 will go on sale in Europe and Japan bringing the benefits of quiet, cost-efficient, zero-emissions mobility to businesses.

    In June 2014, Nissan will participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the NISSAN ZEOD RC and aims to set a record for the fastest all-electric, zero-emissions lap of the circuit. Nissan is committed to using the EV platform to break new ground in both the commercial-vehicle and motorsports arenas.