Jumat, 28 Februari 2014

Drayson Racing B12 winter tests continue at Silverstone

Drayson Racing ran its World Electric Land Speed Record-breaking Drayson B12/69 EV for the first time this year at Silverstone, as its winter test programme continues to develop the world’s most advanced electric-powered racing car.

The aim of the latest test was to try a variety of new motor cooling options and traction control settings – and the extremely wet track conditions were ideal for gathering valuable wheelspin data from the B12’s one thousand data channels.

This time running the B12 with reduced aero and power, test driver Jonny Cocker recorded the same lap time around the Silverstone National Circuit as he’d achieved at a test before Christmas, when the prototype ran in full downforce specification and with full power.

Standing water prevented the B12 reaching its top speed of 220mph, but the pioneering Drayson Racing Technologies technical team were delighted with the results of the test – as the duty cycle of the powerful electric motors and cooling challenges faced doing a land speed record attempt are completely different to running circuit laps.

Tesla Model S P85 v Tesla Model S P85 - Quietest Drag Race Ever? [VIDEO]

A 1/4 mile drag race video of 2x Tesla Models S P85's going head to head. This may be the quietest drag race you'll ever hear.

Kamis, 27 Februari 2014

Fully Charged - 2nd Generation Nissan Leaf Launch in Norway [VIDEO]

Robert Llewellyn reviews the UK built 2nd generation Nissan Leaf from Oslo Norway.

BASF Commits R&D to EV battery market

BASF, the largest chemical company in the world, is betting customers will flock to electric cars, using its chemical products to create a battery that will enable vehicles to run longer. BASF, with an annual 1.7 billion-euro ($2.3 billion) research budget, has made battery materials one of 10 areas it’s targeting for growth.

“We are committed,” Adrian Steinmetz, head of global business management at BASF’s battery materials unit, said in an interview at the company’s headquarters in Ludwigshafen. “Having this long-term strategy is typical of BASF. It’s the reason why this company has existed for 149 years.”

To become a major supplier for electric cars, BASF needs to challenge the dominance of Asian market leaders Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corp., Sumitomo Chemical Co. and LG Chem. Those companies have an advantage in lithium-ion technology, crucial in car batteries and helped by their proximity to the region’s booming electronics, computer and phones industries.

Advanced battery pack for Kia Soul EV [VIDEO]

The Kia Soul EV is equipped with an advanced power pack featuring lithium-ion polymer battery cells supplied by SK Innovation. The pack, which has a class-leading energy density of 200 Wh/kg, is the result of a three-year joint development program between Kia Motors Corporation and SK Innovation in Korea.

Engineers from Kia have developed the outstanding power pack featuring 192 lithium-ion polimer battery cells in eight modules, delivering a total power output of 27 kWh. The pack incorporates state-of-the-art thermal control technology to maintain individual cells at optimum temperature and structural design to enhance crash worthiness.

Nickel-rich NCM (nickel-cobalt-manganese) cathode material is used in the mass production of the battery cells for Soul EV. Energy density, which is dependent on cathode capabilities, is a core performance factor deciding EV driving range. By exploiting the class-leading energy density of its battery, the Soul EV offers a driving range of 'around' 200 km on a single charge.

Toyota to Increase Yaris Hybrid production to 200,000 for 2014

Toyota announced this week that it will start operating a third production shift at its European Yaris factory from June 2014 in order to meet high demand for its two products, the Toyota Yaris and the Toyota Yaris Hybrid.

The Yaris is unique among small cars in having the option of proven Toyota hybrid technology, bringing the easy driving, fuel efficient hybrid drive to a wider audience than ever before.

The three-shift operation will require an increase in manpower by 500 production employees, which will bring total employment at Toyota Motor Manufacturing France (TMMF) in Valenciennes to more than 4,000.

Until the third shift is in place, some Saturday production is planned to meet the demand.

“Sales forecasts have led us to increase production plans by around 15 per cent for 2014, for a total annual production volume of around 220,000 units,” confirmed Koreatsu Aoki, President of TMMF.

Selasa, 25 Februari 2014

LaFerrari hybrid voted Best Sports Car in Madrid

Ferrari has taken the prize in the Best Sports Car category during the Best Cars 2014 awards celebrated in Madrid. The award ceremony at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium was organized by the prestigious Spanish motoring magazines, Autopista, Automóvil, Coche Actual and Autovía.

Ferrari’s "LaFerrari", the limited-edition hybrid special of which only 499 units will be produced, was voted Best Sports Car, winning its first award in Spain. Since its launch, "LaFerrari" has earned worldwide critical acclaim from clients and media alike, in part because it is the most powerful Ferrari ever produced and also because it´s the first hybrid vehicle from the brand.

Panasonic may invest $1 billion in Tesla's U.S. battery plant

Panasonic Corp is inviting a number of Japanese materials suppliers to join it in investing in a U.S. car battery plant that it plans to build with Tesla Motors, with investment expected to reach more than 100 billion yen, the Nikkei reported.

Tesla shares also hit an all-time high on Tuesday after one brokerage firm set a new target price that suggested shares would rise almost 50 percent from Monday's closing price.

The plant, expected to go on-stream in 2017, will bolster Panasonic's supply of lithium-ion batteries to the U.S. electric-car maker.

Last week, Tesla shed some light on its plans for building a lithium-ion battery plant, or "giga factory," that will cut battery costs and allow the company to launch a more affordable electric car in 2017. However, it said at the time that further details would be announced this week.

Tesla declined to comment on Tuesday. Panasonic, the carmaker's primary supplier of lithium-ion batteries, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The U.S. plant, which will handle everything from processing raw materials to assembly, will produce small, lightweight batteries for Tesla and may also supply Toyota Motor Corp and other automakers, the Nikkei said.

In Tesla's earnings conference call last week, Chief Executive Elon Musk said the electric car maker expects to build the factory with more than one partner, but a "default assumption" was that Panasonic, as a current battery cell partner, "would continue to partner with us in the giga factory."

"The factory is really there to support the volume of the third generation car," Musk said on the call. "We want to have the vehicle engineering and tooling come to fruition the same time as the giga factory. It is already part of one strategy, one combined effort."

Tesla posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter results and said deliveries of its luxury Model S electric sedan would surge more than 55 percent this year to more than 35,000 vehicles.

Shares in the Palo Alto, California-based company, which was founded in 2003, surged as much as 19 percent on Tuesday, hitting a new all-time high intraday trading price of $259.20 a share after Morgan Stanley raised its target price for the stock to $320 a share from $153.

Tesla shares were still up $30.50, or 14 percent, at $248.15 in afternoon trading on the Nasdaq.

Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said in his research note that the potential for lower battery costs through higher sales volume could nearly double Tesla's share of the global car market to 0.9 percent by 2028. Tesla remains the firm's top pick in the U.S. auto sector with an "overweight" rating.

"Tesla is an extremely ambitious company for whom flooding the market with fun-to-drive EVs and giving competitors a headache might not be the endgame," he said.

Stifel analyst James Albertine said the giga factory could be far more than an auto opportunity, as Tesla could have an even more significant opportunity to supply the energy storage market. He expects the factory would take two to three years to build and require a $5 billion to $6 billion capital infusion.

"While we remain negative on Tesla shares above $200 as an automotive OEM (original equipment manufacturer), the energy storage opportunity requires a broader perspective and could very well justify current, if not higher valuation levels," he said in a research note.

Consumer Reports: Tesla Model S as "Best Overall" Automobile [VIDEO]

Electric luxury car Tesla Model S was named by Consumer Reports magazine on Tuesday as its overall top pick for 2014, while Japanese models took just five of the top 10 spots, their worst showing in the 18-year history of the annual rankings.

The battery-powered Tesla Model S was chosen best overall for its "exceptional performance and its many impressive technological innovations," Consumer Reports said, noting it was "pricey" at $89,650.

Tesla Motors said it expects to deliver about 35,000 of the model this year. By comparison, the best-selling car in the United States last year, the Toyota Camry, sold about 408,000 in 2013.

Consumer Reports hasn't named a best overall since a Lexus model took the top honors in 2010.

BMW to launch Carbon Fiber wheels

BMW say they could offer entire wheels in carbon fiber reinforced plastic. The wheels are close to production and may be available in one or two years. According to BMW the full-CFRP wheel is 35-percent lighter than a forged alloy wheel, and the one using a CFRP rim and alloy spokes will be 25-percent lighter.

Innovative use of materials in the BMW i3 and BMW i8.
Systematic lightweight design is particularly important on electrically powered vehicles, given that vehicle weight is one of two main constraints on vehicle range, along with battery capacity. For EVs, too, reduced weight means reduced energy consumption and improved driving dynamics. In order to offset the weight penalty of the electric components, the BMW Group came up with a rigorous lightweight design strategy for the BMW i brand in the form of the LifeDrive concept, an innovative vehicle architecture which for the first time combines an aluminium chassis and a CFRP passenger cell.

CFRP: high-tech material of the future.
Carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) boasts a particularly favourable strength-to-weight ratio and is therefore an ideal material for use in the vehicle body. For the same functionality, CFRP is around 30 per cent lighter than aluminium and 50 per cent lighter than steel. Used in the right places, this material therefore reduces weight, optimises the vehicle’s centre of gravity and improves body strength. This material is currently being used not only in the new BMW i3 and BMW i8 models: the sporty BMW M3/M4 and BMW M6 models have likewise been utilising the benefits of this high-tech material for some time. Components such as their roof and bumper supports are made of CFRP. The BMW Group is currently working on further potential applications, including the use of this material in rotating-mass components. Examples include hybrid aluminium/CFRP wheel rims, while CFRP’s high rigidity and low weight allow the CFRP propeller shaft on the BMW M3/M4 to be produced as a single-piece component, without a centre bearing. This results in 40 per cent weight savings over the previous model and reduced rotating masses, leading to further improved response.

In future, other BMW and MINI models will also benefit from this lightweight material in various ways. For example, production offcuts can be reprocessed into “secondary” (recycled-content) CFRP, which can be used to reduce the weight of components such as seat frames, instrument panel frames and spare wheels by up to 30 per cent, with simultaneous improvements in terms of cost-efficient, environmentally friendly manufacturing.

Technology leader in mass production of CFRP components.
After more than ten years of intensive research, resulting in improvements to processes, materials, production machinery and tools, the BMW Group has today become the first and only car manufacturer in the world with the necessary know-how to use CFRP in mass production. The processing technology used is unique and cycle times for even the more complex CFRP components are unusually short. The same is true of the specially developed bonding process used in the fully automated assembly of body parts.

As well as setting standards in the production of CFRP finished components, the BMW Group also attaches utmost importance to the use of environmentally friendly, resource-efficient and largely CO2-free processes in the manufacture and processing of the raw materials themselves. From fibre production right through to recycling of fibres and composites, the company is involved in all the various process steps in a state-of-the-art CFRP production chain that begins in Moses Lake in the USA and moves through Wackersdorf and Landshut to final assembly in Leipzig.

Senin, 24 Februari 2014

Garlits 200 Mph Dragster gets Lawless V-6 Electric Motor Installed

SR-37, the Quest for 200 MPH on Batteries Dragster, is being configured with its own 1.5 megawatt power grid for 2014. At the famed Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, FL, a technical team from Lawless Industries (Poland, OH) has outfitted SR-37 with a large battery-powered motor system befitting the largest name in drag racing sport.

Lawless Industries, using six (6) 7.5” series-wound DC motors custom-built by General Electric and donated by Crescent Electric Supply (East Dubuque, IL), carefully modified the motor package for drag strip use in SR-37. Motors were tuned with a splined shaft for high torque output, internal motor wiring and insulation improved for high load, brush timing advanced to synchronize the 6-pack, and the package rigorously unison-tested prior to assembly into the dragster. The completed Lawless V-6 electric motor assembly has been final-fitted into the SR-37 digger’s rear engine motor compartment and engaged to the Goethe Enterprises driveline directly behind. Motor control for Big Daddy is provided by Manzanita Micro “Zilla” controllers. The entire motor package is engineered so that each motor can be driven by over 200 horsepower for a 200 MPH+, 6-second run down the 1/4 mile asphalt strip.

The distinctive side pods of SR-37 will conceal the source of the massive power. A custom one-off multi-cell Lithium Polymer battery system engineered by Derek Barger/HighTech Systems LLC of Colorado will produce 1500 kilowatts (1.5 megawatts) of instantaneous launch energy for the digger, a total power source of over 2000 HP! The array is comprised of (4) packs, (2) per side pod, and operates at a peak voltage of 420V. Total battery power weight is 500 pounds, about the same as a fully dressed Top Fuel engine. The entire battery array can be fully recharged and ready for the next run in as little as 5 minutes.

The SR-37 Quest for 200 MPH on Batteries BEV Dragster has it all: Big Daddy Don Garlits, 1500 kilowatts, over 2000 horsepower, starting line launch times nearly as quick as a Top Fuel dragster, energy cost per run-about 25 cents.

The team hopes to commence spring testing soon with a build-up to full sub-200 mph 1/4 mile runs. The summer event schedule for record runs is being developed and will be announced during the test program.

Minggu, 23 Februari 2014

Tesla, Apple Merger Deal 'Unlikely' Says Elon Musk [VIDEO]

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has confirmed that his company has met with Apple but added that it is "very unlikely" that Tesla would be bought by the company.

“We had conversations with Apple,” Musk said in an interview with BloombergTelevision. “I can’t comment on whether those revolved around any kind of acquisition.”

When asked if the electric automaker is for sale, Musk answered, “I think that’s very unlikely because we need to stay super focused on achieving a compelling – creating a compelling mass market electric car. And I’d be very concerned in any kind of acquisition scenario, whoever it is, that’d be become distracted from that task which has always been the driving goal of Tesla.”

Last week, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Tesla met with Apple’s top deal maker Adrian Pernica leading to speculations of a possible Apple acquisition of the electric car company that has been going from strength to strength. The report also caused Tesla shares to soar as much as 11 percent to an all-time high of $215.21 on Thursday. The shares closed at $209.97, up 8.4 percent.

Sabtu, 22 Februari 2014

Yamaha Select Zytek Powertrain for MOTIV.e city car

New Zytek high-efficiency electric powertrain selected for Yamaha’s innovative MOTIV.e city car concept.

Yamaha’s new MOTIV.e city car concept, shown at the Tokyo motorshow, will be powered by an advanced electric drive from Zytek that employs a range of new design approaches to minimise the cost, weight and size of the system while maximising the performance and range. By supplying a number of core high voltage components as an optimised system, Zytek is also minimising the time required for vehicle development.

MOTIV.e comes from the partnership between Yamaha and Gordon Murray Design, using Murray’s revolutionary iStream® manufacturing technology to deliver a highly efficient yet fun-to-drive electric vehicle at an affordable price. Zytek’s sales and marketing director, Steve Tremble says that taking a fresh approach to the powertrain is central to achieving these goals.

“Yamaha wanted the vehicle to reflect the company’s reputation for outstanding engines,” he adds. “Interpreting this in an electric vehicle has driven excellence in performance and driveability, but also in weight reduction and efficiency to build on the potential of iStream to deliver an agile drivers’ car as well as maximising the range.”

Zytek supplies the electric motor, paired with a reduction gearbox from Vocis, and the electronic vehicle control module (EVCM) which provides the interface between the powertrain and the rest of the vehicle. The low cost power electronics is manufactured in high volumes by Zytek’s technical partner Continental. In keeping with the light weight and high efficiency targets for the MOTIV.e, the 25kW motor revs to 15,000rpm, much higher than comparable units, and drives through a single-speed reduction gearbox to give the required wheel speed. Increasing motor speed allows the electric engine to be smaller, lighter and more cost-effective than previous-generation units.

“The motor weighs just 13kg, the gearbox just 11kg,” explains Zytek’s engineering program manager, Neil Cheeseman. “These are components that you can pick up with one hand.”

Cheeseman believes the power electronics also set new standards for weight and packaging. The inverter, for example, weighs just 7.5kg “By making everything in house, Continental has eliminated many of the compromises that stem from using bought-in components,” he said. “Their substantial investment in power electronics has delivered a scalable, power-dense and cost-effective product range that is already proven on everything from small city cars to hybrid commercial vehicles.”

The Zytek EVCM is unique, being built on an electronics platform that duals as a development tool and a cost-effective production unit complying with all relevant automotive standards. Zytek says that unlike other dual-purpose systems that are suitable for production, their unit is cost-competitive with bespoke production technologies. It is also thought to be the only EVCM that takes a big further step in powertrain control integration by including thermal management within the decision-making algorithms.

“This is a new generation of EVCM that integrates torque arbitration, temperature control and voltage management to allow better decision making,” Cheeseman explains. “It optimises the driver’s torque request based on a broad range of parameters including battery charge and temperature and the grip available at the tyres to support control. By integrating these decisions, we can provide more with less to improve both the driving experience and the range while reducing the size, weight and cost of the power electronics and battery pack.”

Electric Nissan e-NV200 van on sale in May

The new e-NV200 is based on Nissan's existing NV200 van but, it features the electric drive system from the Leaf.

Nissan will initially offer the e-NV200 in van and five-seat people carrier variants. Using the Leaf's electric motor and battery pack will grant it around 107bhp and 207lb ft, and the range has previously been claimed to be equivalent to the Leaf's - around 80 miles in real-world conditions.

The e-NV200 is targeted primarily at businesses. Official pricing is yet to be confirmed but Nissan had said the initially higher price would be offset by a "reduction in operating costs", compared to a standard diesel van. Currently, the diesel NV200 is priced upwards of £13,585.

Kickstarter: An Unpretentious Guide to Electric Vehicles [VIDEO]

Here's a unique way to promote Electric Vehicles!

Los Angeles based Ayumi Kim works for a certain well-know California based electric vehicle manufacturer and initially got the idea to start this project as a way of sharing some of the left-field questions about electric vehicles she gets asked on a daily basis.

Ayumi, along with illustrator friend Sarah, have written a humorous FAQ that answers such real-world concerns as ""Can you plug a chainsaw into the cigarette lighter?" or "What happens if I hit a wombat with this car?"

Most of the booklet IS kid friendly, it being a coloring book and all, but there may be one or two questions that are PG.

The girls are looking to raise the modest sum of $3,500 to cover printing costs so if you're looking for a way to promote the cause and help them publish "educational materials to promote sustainability and green thinking" a pledge of US$15 will secure a copy.

Source: Kickstarter

Jumat, 21 Februari 2014

Explained: 2014 Formula One Brake-By-Wire Regeneration [VIDEO]

This year, the FIA Formula One World Championship is set for a wholesale change of the technical regulations that have doubled the power of the KERS system. because of the harvesting demands of the energy recovery systems, rear braking can be controlled electronically for the first time.

The braking system concept is totally new, taking the form of a brake-by-wire system for the first time at the rear wheels. This has become necessary due to the significantly increased performance of the ERS, which requires much greater variations in rear wheel braking torque than previously. With brake-by-wire, an electronic system measures how hard the driver presses the brake pedal and then – using the additional information from energy recuperation – determines in a split-second the amount of braking pressure that should be fed through to the rear brake callipers.”

Because the ERS (Energy Recovery System) is so much more powerful on these new cars compared to the KERS on the 2013 cars, harvesting energy when the car is braking – 161bhp of energy compared to 80bhp with the KERS – it is essential that the engineers install a system to compensate for the powerful effect that has on brake balance and braking stability. This makes it acceptable for the driver and doesn’t destabilise the car with a sudden balance shift. A lot of the lap time in modern F1 comes from stable braking.

How does it work?

An F1 car has two brake systems for safety – front and rear – so that if one fails the other will stop the car. For 2014, the rear brake system has the brake-by-wire, which assesses how much brake pressure the driver has called for when he presses the pedal and an electronic system modulates the power to the rear brakes, allowing for the ERS effect, that is taking energy to charge up the kinetic motor generator unit (known as MGU-K). It smooths out the process, slowing the car in a consistent way at the same time as ensuring the maximum energy harvest for the ERS.

Ideally, the driver would feel nothing unusual with this system, in that it should provide consistent, stable braking on demand. The job of the new rear brakes system is to ensure consistency. Some people might argue that the electronic assistance to the driver makes it a “driver aid” and in the sense that without it, it would be difficult to maintain a brake system that the drivers would be happy with. This damps it out. But as it’s written into the regulations it doesn’t fall foul of the regulation saying that the driver must drive “alone and unaided” – a rule that prevents the use of traction control, ABS and countless other technical goodies.

While FIA and pit lane boffins label everything with an acronym and make it sound overly technical, effectively formula One cars are adapting the 'brake pedal feel simulator' that most road car hybrid drivers, especially Chevy Volt owners, will be very familiar with, and from all reports it's taking the drivers some time to get used to it.

Kamis, 20 Februari 2014

First Look: BMW X5 eDrive plug-in hybrid

At BMW’s Efficient Dynamics Innovation Days 2014 in Germany, the company provided the first opportunities for test-driving the BMW X5 eDrive plug-in hybrid (PHEV) prototype. BMW also presented the first four-cylinder member of its new EfficientDyanamics engine family—the 2.0-liter unit would serve as the engine component in a future production X5 eDrive PHEV—as well as ideas for future solutions in the field of lightweight design, aerodynamics and thermal management.

Powertrain technology is key to BMW’s EfficientDynamics strategy, with a dual focus on the continuous evolution of conventional internal combustion engines on the one hand and the development of alternative drive concepts on the other. As well as achieving significant emissions reductions based on continuous evolutionary advances of the TwinPower Turbo gasoline and diesel engines, future BMW core brand models will also benefit from the transfer of new electrified drive technology (BMW eDrive) developed by the BMW i sub-brand.

All BMW eDrive components are developed in-house by the BMW Group and customized as necessary to suit different powertrain applications. Current examples are the all-electric BMW i3 and the plug-in hybrid BMW i8. The BMW i8 is at the leading edge of the Efficient Dynamics strategy; the technology used in the i8 powertrain will find its way into vehicles of the BMW core brand.

The i8 powertrain.

The plug-in hybrid powertrain of the production BMW i8 unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show (earlier post) combines electric drive with a highly turbocharged internal combustion engine. With its combined maximum output of 266 kW/362 hp, combined peak torque of 570 nm (420 lb-ft), 0 – 100 km/h (62 mph) acceleration in 4.4 seconds, EU fuel consumption of 2.1 l/100 km (112 mpg US) and CO2 emissions of 49 g/km, this plug-in hybrid sports car shows that it is possible to improve performance and reduce fuel consumption at one and the same time.

The electric motor provides a boost effect that assists the gasoline engine when extra accelerating power is required. It can also act as the sole source of driving power, providing a maximum speed of 120 km/h (approx. 75 mph) and a range of up to 35 kilometres (approx. 22 miles). Its power is supplied by the lithium-ion high-voltage battery pack.

During overrun, the high-voltage battery can be recharged via the electric motor. It can also be recharged by the electric motor when power demands allow. The high-voltage starter-generator, responsible for starting the engine, can also be used as a generator to charge the battery.

Plug-in hybrids are efficient whether used for short-distance or for long-distance driving, or a mixture of the two. Intelligent powertrain management ensures that both power sources always work together optimally. Power sharing between the internal combustion engine and the electric motor is managed in accordance with load and driving situation.

Driver preferences are also taken into account, with a bias either towards sporty, dynamic performance characteristics or towards extra-energy-efficient operation of the overall system. To set these characteristics, the driver can choose from a range of pre-selectable driving modes, offering very dynamic, more comfortable or highly efficient operation.

Powertrain electrification has enormous potential for reducing fuel consumption and emissions—even for large, heavy vehicles—without compromising performance and dynamism. Quite the reverse, in fact, BMW noted: the boost function of the electric motor, the additional drive torque of which supplements the internal combustion engine during low- and mid-range acceleration, significantly enhances the sporty driving experience.

As a further step in the Efficient Dynamics strategy, there are plans in the medium-term to transfer the advanced powertrain technology of the BMW i8 to vehicles of the BMW core brand as well.

The X5 plug-in hybrid.

The BMW Concept X5 eDrive model presented in September 2013 at the IAA in Frankfurt showed a way in which Sports Activity Vehicles can be made more efficient. The SAV concept model combines the BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system with a new BMW plug-in hybrid system.

Supported by the boost function of the electric motor, the SAV can deliver powerful acceleration and a 0 – 100 km/h (62 mph) acceleration time of less than seven seconds. The development goal for this model is average fuel consumption of approximately 3.8 liters per 100 kilometers (62 mpg US) in the EU test cycle, and CO2 emissions of 90 grams per kilometer—new benchmarks in this vehicle category. The vehicle is also capable of all-electric operation for up to 30 kilometers (more than 18 miles), in which mode its produces no emissions at all at the point of use.

With synchronization of the BMW eDrive technology with the intelligent BMW xDrive all-wheel-drive system, the drive torque from the electric motor, the four-cylinder gasoline engine or both power sources operating in tandem can be split in a variable ratio between the front and rear wheels. The split is automatically controlled to provide superior traction, optimal stability and highest standards of agility and performance under all conditions.

Whereas the BMW i8 is fitted with the BMW Group’s highly turbocharged three-cylinder engine, the future BMW X5 eDrive will use an advanced four-cylinder gasoline engine from the same family—the new Efficient Dynamics engine range with TwinPower Turbo technology. BMW said that this demonstrates its overall aim of providing a customized electric mobility solution in every model series.

Four-cylinder TwinPower Turbo.

The new Efficient Dynamics engine family comprises three-, four- and six-cylinder units. By increasing the aluminium content and using magnesium, the BMW Group has also achieved substantial reductions in the average weight of the new engines. At the same time thermal management and acoustic properties have also been improved.

The first member of this new engine family is the 1.5-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine making its debut in the BMW i8. BMW is now presenting the first four-cylinder engines in this new engine family. These 2.0-liter engines with TwinPower Turbo technology will enter the market in the first half of 2014, in both gasoline and diesel versions.

“TwinPower” stands for a combination of variable load control with advanced injection technology. TwinPower incorporates fully variable components such as VANOS or Double-VANOS seamlessly variable camshaft timing; VALVETRONIC variable valve control; and/or VNT (variable nozzle turbine) turbochargers on the diesel models. These are complemented by High Precision Direct Injection on the gasoline models, with common-rail direct injection on the diesels, and finally by the third element in this high-tech concept—turbocharging.

A feature of the gasoline models continues to be VALVETRONIC throttle-free load control.

Common to all units in the new engine family is an in-line configuration. The core engine comprises cylinders with an individual displacement of 500 cc. This means the new three-cylinder engine has a displacement of 1.5 liters, the four-cylinder engine 2.0 litres and the six-cylinder unit 3.0 litres. Thanks to construction commonality within a combustion type, the proportion of shared components has increased to as much as 60%, while design commonality between gasoline and diesel engines is approximately 40%. Finally, all the engines run cold on the intake side and hot on the exhaust side. This is one reason why the three- and four-cylinder engines from the new family can be mounted either longitudinally or transversely in future BMW and MINI models.

With the new modular engine family, the BMW Group is able to develop three-, four- and six-cylinder engines with different power ratings that are suited to different vehicle concepts. This makes it possible to achieve higher production volumes, leading to significant savings on development and production costs. At the same time the high level of design commonality between the engines makes it easier to develop additional versions and makes it possible to build relatively small volumes of such engines at short notice and cost-efficiently.

As a result it is now possible for the first time at the BMW Group’s engine plants to build both gasoline and diesel engines from the new family at the same time, on the same production line. That allows for flexible responses to variations in demand or in market trends.

Proactive drive system.

BMW’s proactive drive system—which is also applied in the X5 PHEV concept—is based on the principle that energy should not be used unless it is actually needed. The vehicle should anticipate driving situations in advance, so that it can automatically prepare for upcoming requirements. The necessary information is supplied by the vehicle electronic system’s numerous sensors, the navigation system and, most recently, front-mounted radar and camera sensors.

More models from all BMW Group model ranges are already adopting this type of vehicle energy management, with navigation-based information allowing the transmission management and the Proactive Driving Assistant to identify the upcoming route and route profile, i.e. features such as uphill and downhill gradients and speed limits. This ability to “see ahead” allows the transmission to automatically select the correct gear in good time to suit the driving situation.

Depending on individual driving style, ECO PRO mode can achieve a reduction of up to 20% in fuel consumption. A further 5% saving can be achieved by using the coasting function, Proactive Driving Assistant and ECO PRO Route. The Proactive Driving Assistant works in tandem with the navigation system to identify route features in good time. It takes into account speed limits, corners, the start of built-up areas, roundabouts, turn-offs and motorway exits. And based on the recorded driving data, the system also offers tips on a fuel-saving driving style.

In COMFORT and SPORT modes, the proactive drive system adapts the automatic transmission’s shift program to the driving situation. Whereas a conventional shift strategy is “blind” and only operates reactively, in response to throttle position and driving resistances, the Proactive Driving Assistant makes it possible to “anticipate” the route ahead and to adapt gear changes appropriately in real time.

The coasting function (on models with automatic transmission) disconnects the engine from the powertrain at speeds between 50 and 160 km/h (approx. 30 and 100 mph), allowing the vehicle to coast using only kinetic energy.

When ECO PRO mode is activated, the BMW navigation system shows the driver not only the fastest and shortest routes to a given destination but also the most efficient. Taking into account the current driving situation and route profile, the system calculates which route will offer maximum fuel savings with minimum loss of time. The driver can then decide whether to save time or fuel. The savings achievable on a particular route are shown as a percentage. In the event of congestion or other hold-ups on the selected route, the system will propose alternative routes. The route calculations also take into account, on a continuous, real-time basis, the driver’s individual driving style, based on vehicle fuel consumption in different driving situations.

The ECO PRO Analyser, which is a standard component of ECO PRO mode, allows drivers to analyze their driving styles at any time and to identify further potential for reducing fuel consumption. Before, during and after the trip, the driver can call up statistics in the ECO PRO Analyser to check efficiency of accelerating, decelerating and changing gear, and to see what sort of positive impact an improved driving style could have on fuel consumption and therefore also on range. The ECO PRO driving tips are intended to aid more fuel-efficient driving.

Using BMW ConnectedDrive Services and the free-of-charge BMW Connected App, the recorded data can also be transferred to a compatible smartphone. A rating scale indicates the fuel efficiency of the driving style.

With onboard radar and camera sensors, the third generation of the Proactive Driving Assistant is also able to incorporate the vehicle’s immediate driving environment into its operating strategy. This information allows the automatic transmission to adapt its shift strategy even more precisely to the current driving situation for greater efficiency. For example, the system can identify slower-moving vehicles in the lane ahead, as well as vehicles in neighboring lanes. Strategically timed gear changes can then be performed which provide sufficient deceleration, even without braking, to prevent collisions with vehicles in front. At the same time, gear changes can provide the necessary power reserves for overtaking and dynamic lane changes.

The proactive drive system also improves the dynamic characteristics of the vehicle, whether in ECO PRO mode, which is geared to maximum efficiency, in SPORT mode, where the automatic transmission uses a performance-biased shift strategy, or in COMFORT mode, which adopts a more relaxed, easygoing strategy.

If the vehicle is approaching a curve, the transmission automatically changes down to the most appropriate gear, if necessary making use of engine braking effect. All the necessary shift operations will have been completed by the time the vehicle enters the corner. If the system detects that another bend is coming up very soon, it identifies the radius of the corner and again selects the optimal gear. This ensures that higher engine braking power is available on approach.

The power reserves available for subsequent acceleration are also increased, while unnecessary gearshifts and hunting between gears on or between bends is avoided.

The proactive drive system works in a similar way at roundabouts, intersections, turn-offs and at slip roads on or off motorways. Regardless of the route specified in the navigation system, the proactive drive system also reacts to the use of the direction indicator.

Volkswagen Unveils Golf GTE Plug-In Hybrid [VIDEO]

Volkswagen is the first automaker worldwide to offer a model line with a full range of conventional and alternative powertrains. The new Golf GTE plug-in hybrid, which will be presented at the Geneva International Motor Show (March 4 to 16, 2014) is the fifth powertrain to be offered in the Golf, adding to gasoline, diesel, CNG and full electric versions. The Golf GTE has an NEDC hybrid combined fuel economy rating of 157 mpg (equivalent to 35 g of CO2) and has an all-electric range of 31 miles along with an overall range of 584 miles.

GTI, GTD, GTE. The Golf GTE name is in line with the GTI and GTD abbreviations-two sporty icons of the Golf range. The first GTI in 1976 invented the term "hot hatch" and is currently the most successful compact sports car in the world. The "I" in the name stands for electronic fuel injection while the "D" in GTD, introduced for the first time in 1982, stands for diesel fuel injection. The latest versions of these two best-selling Golf sports cars were introduced in 2013. Now Volkswagen has transferred its sporty compact car philosophy to a third model-the Golf GTE.

The new Golf GTE has two engines: a1.4-liter148 horsepower turbocharged and direct-injection TSI® engine and a 101 hp electric motor. These combine to provide the stated system power of 201 hp. If the electric motor is the sole source for propulsive power, the Golf GTE is capable of speeds of up to 81 mph. When the full power of the system is harnessed, the GTE sprints from 0 to 62 mph in 7.6 seconds and achieves a top speed of 135 mph on the autobahn and race courses. Of more significance is the superior pulling power of the Golf GTE thanks to its alliance of a gasoline engine and electric motor that produces a maximum torque of 258 lb-ft. This torque sets this first "GTE" apart from other plug-in hybrid models.

Despite its power and torque, the Golf GTE remains one of the world's most efficient cars. If you mainly run short distances, you can drive in emissions-free all-electric mode for days, weeks, and months. The battery takes about three and a half hours to charge fully from a conventional wall outlet.

If the battery is charged using a wallbox or a public charging station, the charging time is shortened to approximately two and a half hours. Thanks to the control options on the Golf GTE, the driver can also ensure on longer trips that only the electric motor is used in an urban area.

The automobile revolution has a name – MQB. The variety of products in the Golf lineup- TSI (including GTI), TDI® (including GTD), TGI (powered by CNG), e-Golf, and Golf GTE-is made possible by the modular transverse matrix, abbreviated to MQB. This modular technology platform, initially introduced with the current Golf in 2012, is synonymous with an automotive revolution because Volkswagen engineers have created the prerequisites for a high-volume model, such as the Golf, to accept all drive types. This explains why Golf models with gasoline, diesel, natural gas, electric and hybrid drives can be manufactured from bumper to bumper at Volkswagen factories. As soon as developments make it possible, the first Golf with a hydrogen fuel cell will become part of the range.

Golf GTE plug-in hybrid system

As mentioned, the new Golf GTE is driven by a 148-hp TSI turbocharged and direct-injection gasoline engine and a 101-hp electric motor. The electric motor is supplied with power from a high-voltage 8.8 kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery that is charged from a socket behind the VW logo in the radiator grille. The battery weighs 265 pounds, or about eight percent of the GTE's 3360-pound curb weight. The GTE has a six-speed DSG® automatic transmission that was developed specifically for hybrid vehicles.

Volkswagen integrated the electric motor in the transmission housing. Additional hybrid drive components also include the power electronics (which converts the battery's direct current to alternating current for the electric motor) and a charger. An electro-mechanical brake servo and an electric air-conditioning compressor safeguard optimal and energy-efficient operation of the brakes and air conditioning, especially for the GTE's "e-mode".

The Golf GTE can be driven in various intuitively named modes. For instance, the driver can push a button to intentionally switch to the "e-mode" which makes the Golf GTE a zero-emissions vehicle. The driver can also use the button to switch to "GTE mode", which activates the sporty side of this new Golf.

Design and features

The Golf GTE contains a pioneering, environmentally friendly, and sporty plug-in hybrid system. All of this is combined with a suspension that offers equally sporty handling and high levels of comfort.

Exterior. Volkswagen Head Designer Klaus Bischoff's crew created a look that merges GTI insignia with those of the e-Golf, creating an unmistakable identity. Klaus Bischoff explains the differences: "The presence of the electric drive is visually expressed by the prominent C-signature of the daytime running lights on the Golf GTE. Meanwhile, all other front design elements bridge to the GTI."

In those places where red dominates on the GTI, blue is used in the GTE. Bischoff continues: "A radiator crossbar running into the headlights provides further sporty accents within the context of Volkswagen electric mobility." Like the e-Golf, the four-door Golf GTE will launch with LED dual headlights as standard. The turn signals, parking light, and smoked numberplate lighting also use LED technology. Side skirts and a roof-edge spoiler provide further parallels with the GTI and GTD. Meanwhile, the aerodynamic 16-inch (standard), 17-inch, and 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels were designed especially for the GTE.

Interior. Like the exterior, the sporty interior of the Golf GTE reveals a clear relationship to its other two GT series counterparts. However, just as on the exterior, the interior's red accents have also turned to blue. Klaus Bischoff says: "Volkswagen's e-mobility color of blue creates attractive contrasts in the car's seating, decorative seams, and material design. Moreover, the blue ambience lighting builds a visual bridge to the world of e-mobility." The light blue decorative seams on the leather-wrapped steering wheel, on the edges of the floormats, on the seats, and on the shifter grip are perfectly matched with the exterior features of the Golf GTE.

Golf GTE-specific instruments and displays

Touchscreen. All Golf cars are equipped with a touchscreen. In the case of the Golf GTE the high-resolution 6.5-inch "Composition Media" radio system is standard. The "Discover Pro" radio-navigation system is available as an option. Both units are equipped with many additional functions on the GTE. These include a "driving range monitor", an "energy flow display", "zero emission statistics", "e-manager", and-with the optional navigation system-the "360° driving range". Additionally, all Golf GTE owners can download the "Volkswagen Car-Net e-Remote" app to their smartphone free-of-charge and use it to control functions and access information.

Driving range monitor: shows the current electric driving range of the GTE as well as the additional driving range potential from deactivating any auxiliary features that consume electricity.

Energy flow display: shows the power flow when accelerating (blue arrows) and when braking or regenerating (green arrows) as animated graphics.

e-manager: can program up to three departure and charging times; the Golf GTE ensures the set temperature and battery charge status at a defined time. Parallel to this, heating or cooling of the interior can be activated using standard air-conditioning while charging. Air conditioning therefore does not hinder the battery charging process, thereby extending the electric range.

360° range: the current radius in "e-mode" is shown by the 360° range in the local map. The inner area shows the range for an outward and return trip, the outer area the range for a one-way drive. Charging stations can be displayed and incorporated in the route as intermediate stopovers.

Car-Net e-Remote. Using the "Volkswagen Car-Net e-Remote" app it is also possible to make several of these settings and requests for information via a smartphone or the Car-Net website. In detail, the app can program the departure time, air conditioning, charging the battery, accessing vehicle data, and the vehicle's status.

Power meter. The power meter supplements the tachometer on the left-hand side of the instrument cluster; it displays how much system power is currently being used or the intensity of battery regeneration. The speedometer remains on the right-hand side. The color display which is located between the power meter and the speedometer (multifunction display "Plus") also permanently shows the electrical driving range and the current operating mode.

DENSO to Test Wireless Charging System

Global automotive supplier DENSO Corporation will begin a ten-month field test of its wireless battery charging system in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. The field test is intended to identify any potential operational issues and also look at ways to enhance the convenience of wireless charging. The field test will begin on Feb. 24 and end in December 2014.

How it works:

When there are two coils apart, electric current can flow through one coil by applying electricity to the other coil. The wireless charging system uses this mechanism to wirelessly transmit power from a power transmission pad on the ground to a power-receiving pad equipped on a vehicle.

For the test, DENSO has equipped a Yamato Transport delivery truck with a power receiver that will wirelessly receive the energy from a power transmission pad located on the pavement of a 7-Eleven convenience store parking lot. The electricity charged in the truck’s battery is then used to power the refrigeration system while the engine is stopped during pickups and deliveries. Not only will the system improve convenience, but it will also help reduce emissions of refrigeration trucks since the battery will continue to power the refrigeration system even when the engine is off.

DENSO has been developing the wireless charging system with the goal to commercialize by 2020. DENSO is working to reduce the size, weight, and cost of the system while also looking to enhance convenience.

In Japan, Toyota City is designated as an experimental city for next-generation energy sources and social systems, a program which has been promoted by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry since April 2010.

Rabu, 19 Februari 2014

Tesla Q4 earnings $46 Million with 6,892 Model S vehicles sold

Tesla today announced that is has earned $46 million in the 2013 4th quarter, and sold 6,892 vehicles. In total, Tesla has sold 22,477 vehicles and has in roughly 2.5 billion in non-GAAP sales. $TSLA stock quickly jumped to a record high of $217 with the announcement that a new assembly line will be arriving. The company plans to have the new assembly line pump out 1,000 vehicles per week by 3rd quarter.

Tesla sales in China have really taken off, and CEO Elon Musk mentioned the company is having trouble meeting demand, with orders being pushed to spring.

Meanwhile, the CEO says demand for Model X reserverations is still high.

Source: Tesla Motors

FULLY CHARGED | 670 km Welsh Electric Road Trip [VIDEO]

Robert Llewellyn takes a zero carbon electric road trip through Wales in his Nissan Leaf.

Total distance travelled 418 miles (670 km), Total CO2 output. 0.0, Total fuel cost £0.00p

Chris Harris drives the McLaren P1 Hybrid on Road and Track [VIDEO]

Chris Harris drives the new $1.2 million McLaren P1 at the Yas Marina Grand Prix circuit in Abu Dhabi UAE. Before taking to the track at night, Chris Harris chats with Chris Goodwin, the Chief Test Driver for McLaren Automotive to discuss the technology of McLaren's latest offering, perhaps the definition of the modern day hypercar.

Fair warning, the McLaren Chris Harris drives in this video is the XP7, the pre-production prototype for P1. The car has had a long life over the past 15 months, driving around the world and clocking over 40,000 hard miles.

If you can tolerate the Jeremy Clarkson school of power slide car testing then the second half of the video should provide some light entertainment, but most of the technical info ends once McLaren's Chris Goodwin exits the P1.

As far as the P1's hybrid systems goes, it seems more like an F1 car with a 130 kw KERS system than a full-featured road-going hybrid. Sure, the P1 has an 'EV mode' but the 100 kg, 324-cell lithium-ion, 4.7 kWh battery only provides 10 kms range.

We noticed in this video that the car doesn't seem to have an engine stop-start system as the combustion engine continued to idle while the car was stationary in traffic and although the battery can be charged via a plug-in wall socket in two hours, an oft-mentioned feature of the car is a manual ‘charge' button that uses the 727 hp twin turbo V8 to drive the electric motor and replenish the batteries. You would naturally presume the car would primarily charge the battery with brake regeneration but this is never mentioned.

Five Electric Cars That Want to Kill Tesla [VIDEO]

Bloomberg's Matt Miller is at it again, making a career out of shorting Tesla Motors.

We've seen Miller's tabloid style video reports shorting Tesla before. This level of investigative reporting (oh where to start with the fact checking?) could only be classed as 'light entertainment' at best!

Saleen Adds AC Propulsion to Design Team for New Electric Sports Car

Saleen Automotive has announced that the Company has added legendary electric car developers, AC Propulsion, to its design team for the new Saleen Electric vehicle. AC Propulsion will provide the technology and implementation of the powertrain and battery for the project.

AC Propulsion is well-known for providing its proprietary technology to the Tesla Roadster, which was developed by Tesla Motors to mass-produce AC Propulsion's tzero concept car. AC Propulsion also provided drivetrains and support for the BMW all-electric Mini E. The Company specializes in alternating current-based drivetrain systems for electric vehicles. The company produces electric vehicle drive systems featuring high performance, high efficiency induction motors and integrated high power battery charging.

"We are assembling a team and vehicle that combines the finest technology and design available," stated Steve Saleen, CEO, Saleen Automotive. "AC Propulsion is a proven leader and seminal thinker in electric car creation and we believe will greatly assist us in introducing a revolutionary vehicle to the market. I believe we have secured the very best partner possible for our powertrain and battery."

"AC Propulsion is excited to partner with automotive legend Steve Saleen for his new electric vehicle project," stated Paul Carosa, President, AC Propulsion. "Mr. Saleen is on the verge of creating a vehicle unlike any on the market today, a tremendous new entry in the fast growing electric car market that lives up to the Saleen name and reputation. We'll do our part to make it even better."

Selasa, 18 Februari 2014

Self-propelled electric tank tread All-terrain vehicle [VIDEO]

Meet the MTT-136, a self-contained battery powered electric tank track. Developed by Canadian Inventor Yvon Martel, the tank track has different attachments and can be used for towing, pushing and grading on virtually any terrain.

The specs claimed in the video are battery dependant, with recharging time varying from 15 minutes to eight hours and range is a similarly variable 45 to 210 kms. The device as shown in the video weighs 280 lbs (127 kg)

Senin, 17 Februari 2014

Toyota begins testing wireless recharging [VIDEO]

Recharging a Toyota plug-in hybrid or all-electric vehicle could in future be as simple as parking the car. Toyota has announced verification testing is to begin later this month of a new wireless battery charging system it has developed for vehicles that use an electric powertrain.

The new technology allows a vehicle to be charged simply by parking it in alignment with a coil set into the surface of the ground. This makes the process simpler and easier, dispensing with cables and connectors.

The Toyota charging system transmits electricity using magnetic resonance created by changes in magnetic field intensity between a transmitting coil in the ground and a receiving coil in the car. It is designed so that it can reduce any loss in power transmission efficiency caused by misalignment or height differences between the coils.

The system is being developed with a future market launch in mind. Measures have been taken to minimise any electromagnetic interference with nearby equipment, and the transmitting coil in the ground has been madde robust enough to withstand vehicles driving over it.

To help the driver align the car correctly, Toyota has developed a function for its Intelligent Parking Assist system that shows the position of the transmitting coil in a parking space.

The test programme involves three plug-in hybrid used by homes in Aichi prefecture in Japan. It will assess user satisfaction, the system’s ease of use, misalignment rates and charging behaviour, such as how often charging takes place and timer-based charging it used.

Toyota will use the test results to develop the technology further, with the ultimate aim of bringing the system to market. Toyota believes its commercialisation will help promote the use of electrified vehicles and mobility options that are smarter, easier to use and kinder to the environment.

Wireless Battery Charging System key specifications
Charging methodMagnetic resonance
Frequency85kHz
Input voltageAC 200V
Charging power2kW
Charging timeApprox. 90 minutes

ABB to supply fast chargers for Daimler/BYD’s DENZA EV

ABB has announced it will enter into a partnership with Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology Co to supply direct-current fast chargers over the next six years.

The announcement said the agreement will result in the world's largest fast-charging network for electric vehicles.

According to the two companies, the wall-mounted chargers will have a number of innovations designed for user convenience and safety including a mobile app that allows cloud-based remote monitoring and control of charging sessions.

First deliveries are expected by the middle of the year. The chargers will be sold through BYD-Daimler's Denza dealerships along with the vehicle.

The first Denza dealership will open in Beijing and more dealerships will be built up simultaneously in Shanghai and Shenzhen.

Established in 2010 between BYD Co, a leader in China's electric vehicle industry, and German automotive icon Daimler AG, BYD-Daimler was the first joint venture in China specializing in developing and producing new-energy vehicles.

The joint venture's Denza brand launched last year will have its world premiere at Beijing auto show in April. It is slated to go on sale later this year, according to an earlier announcement.

Ulrich Spiesshofer, CEO of ABB Group, said at a news conference in Stockholm that he is confident about the deal with BYD-Daimler.

"We are honored to be a partner in this venture with BYD-Daimler to move urban transportation forward in a more sustainable way. By combining car and fast charger sales, Denza is taking a bold step to address a key obstacle for potential electric car buyers," said Spiesshofer.

"ABB's electric vehicle charging solutions have been expanding rapidly worldwide as the underlying technology combines our key strengths in power electronics, software, service and power distribution."

The fully electric Denza is designed for journeys of more than 250 km and will be among the first long-range electric vehicles on the Chinese market.

Market research shows that consumers value long drive ranges but at the same time expect short charging times.

Denza will offer its customers the convenience of charging their cars in a short time at home, at the workplace or at compatible public places, according to BYD-Daimler.

"The Denza represents a significant step in sustainable transportation for the Chinese automotive market. It was vital that we have the right partner to support this innovative concept," said Arno Roehringer, COO of BYD-Daimler.

"ABB is the ideal technology partner for us as they have proven themselves with electric vehicle chargers in China as well as globally and - equally important - the service to install it," he added.

The Chinese government adopted a GBT standard for direct-current fast charging to encourage technical innovation and stimulate market acceptance of electric vehicles.

Analysts said that urban charging infrastructure is key to widespread acceptance of electric vehicles by consumers.

The GBT standard will give Chinese consumers the option of charging their vehicles at home or in public, with DC fast charging expected to be rolled out in the near future.

Experts say China's electric vehicle market could quickly gain momentum due to technology, market innovations, the GBT national fast-charging standard and favorable incentives.

ABB has worked on pilot projects with local automakers and utilities in China since 2010. In 2013 it began to build up a local electric vehicle organization to support growth including R&D, manufacturing, logistics and services.

Sabtu, 15 Februari 2014

Volkswagen launch e-Golf in Germany with 190 km range

The Golf is the most successful European car of all time. In launching the new e-Golf, Volkswagen is now bringing the bestseller onto the market as a full production electric vehicle as well. The especially agile and efficient compact car supplements the highly economic fleet of 3 Euro vehicles and boasts an extensive range of standard features. The e-Golf can be immediately recognised by its signature LED headlights and is available from €34,900.

In launching the e-Golf, Volkswagen is bringing its second electric vehicle onto the market inside six months. The agile and efficient e-Golf impresses with best-in-class qualities from the off, leading the way with low power consumption of 12.7 kWh/100 km. In addition to the environmental aspect, the practically silent and thus gliding e-Golf is also very inexpensive to run, as power costs are just €3.28 per 100 kilometres. Thanks to a particularly innovative overall technological system, improved aerodynamics (cw=0,281) and perfected rolling resistance, the new, all-electric Volkswagen is over 15 per cent more energy-efficient than the best steel-built direct competitor. Joining the e-up! and eco-up!, the e-Golf thus extends the Volkswagen brand's fleet of highly efficient 3 Euro vehicles.

The e-Golf is 'Das e-Auto' - it has the same handling, comfortable ride and generous amount of space that has seen the Golf so appreciated for decades by over 30 million car buyers. The e-Golf is in addition fitted with a very good range of standard features, including four doors, the high-end 'Discover Pro' radio/navigation system, heated windscreen, automatic climate control, parking heater and ventilation, leather steering wheel, aerodynamically optimised 'Astana' alloy wheels and, being used for the first time by Volkswagen, full LED headlights. Another especially economic and likewise standard feature are the LED daytime running lights, which by virtue of their signature C-shaped format immediately identify the e-Golf as a Volkswagen electric vehicle.

The electric engine delivers 85 kW / 115 PS and from a standing start develops maximum torque of 270 Nm. This deployment of power produces a superb driving performance: the e-Golf reaches a speed of 60 km/h within 4.2 seconds and after just 10.4 seconds the Volkswagen is up to 100 km/h. A fascinating factor here is the pull-away performance, which is extremely comfortable and totally free of any delay. Depending on the nature of the route, driving style and load, the range is between 130 and 190 kilometres. The new e-Golf is available in Germany now. Prices start from €34,900 (including the 8-year / 160,000-kilometre battery guarantee).

Kamis, 13 Februari 2014

World’s First Large-Scale Power Storage System Made From Reused EV Batteries [VIDEO]

Japanese Firm Sumitomo Corporation has developed and installed the world’s first large-scale power storage system which utilizes used batteries collected from electric vehicles. This commercial scale storage system, built on Yume-shima Island, Osaka, will begin operating in February 2014.

Over the next three years, the system will measure the smoothing effect of energy output fluctuation from the nearby “Hikari-no-mori,” solar farm, and will aim to establish a large-scale power storage technology by safely and effectively utilizing the huge quantities of discarded used EV batteries which will become available in the future. This project has been selected as a model project for "Verification of the battery storage control to promote renewable energy" for the fiscal year 2013 by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan.

Nissan and Sumitomo Corporation created the joint venture company, “4R Energy Corporation”, in September 2010, to address the secondary use of EV lithium-ion batteries. The used EV batteries that will be recycled into this large-scale storage system have been recovered and have gone through thorough inspection and maintenance at 4R, to confirm safety and performance. This prototype system (600kW/400kWh) consists of sixteen used EV batteries.

Battery Business Development Department General Manager, Norihiko Nonaka said “We are pleased to be a part of such an important verification project that can both utilize used EV batteries, and provide a large-scale power storage facility, which are important issues that need to be addressed for the future of renewable energy.”

Sumitomo will seek new business opportunities which can make use of the highly economical storage system, as well as work on developing new applications for used EV batteries. The company aims to actively promote this approach, which can both contribute to expanding the use of EV and encourage the use of renewable energy. Sumitomo is committed to the movement toward lowering the carbon footprint of a sustainable society.

Mitsubishi Develops EV Motor Drive with Built-in Silicon Carbide Inverter

Mitsubishi Electric today announced it has developed a prototype electric vehicle (EV) motor drive system with a built-in silicon-carbide inverter. The EV motor drive system, the smallest of its kind, will enable manufacturers to develop EVs offering more passenger space and greater energy efficiency.

Mitsubishi Electric plans to commercialize its new EV motor system after finalizing technologies for motor/inverter cooling, further downsizing and additional efficiency.

Features

1) Downsized motor drive system with integrated all silicon-carbide inverter
-Achieves further system downsizing (14.1L, 60kW) with smaller motor resulting from improved thermal resistance between motor drive system and cooling system.
-Equal to existing EV motors in power and volume, enabling replacement.
2) Improved motor cooling performance
-Integrates cooling system for motor and inverter thanks to cylindrical shape of power module accommodating parallel cooling ducts for motor and inverter.
-Ensures stable cooling with even a low-power pump.

Global demand for EVs and hybrid EVs (HEVs) has been growing in recent years, reflecting increasingly strict regulations for fuel efficiency and growing public interest in saving energy resources and reducing carbon dioxide emissions. As EVs and HEVs require relatively large spaces to accommodate their robust battery systems, there is a strong need to reduce the size and weight of motor systems and other equipment to ensure sufficient passenger space.

Patents
Pending patents for the technology announced in this news release number 94 in Japan and 29 abroad.

Rabu, 12 Februari 2014

Fully Charged - VolksWagen e-UP! [VIDEO]

Robert Llewellyn takes a first drive in the electric version of the VW UP!

Also includes extensive pondering on the 'Yorkshire connection' as regards the time honoured phrase 'aye -up.'

Bosch, GS Yuasa, & Mitsubishi Corp to Double Capacity for EV Batteries

In November 2013, Robert Bosch GmbH and the Japanese companies GS Yuasa International Ltd., based in Kyoto, and Mitsubishi Corporation, based in Tokyo, set up a joint venture. Known as Lithium Energy and Power GmbH & Co. KG, the new company will be headquartered in Stuttgart. It will develop next-generation lithium-ion battery technology. This next generation is needed in order to make the electric vehicle a successful mass product in the next decade. “In setting up this joint venture, we want to achieve nothing less than a giant leap forward in the development of battery technology. Our aim is to make lithium-ion batteries twice as efficient,” says Dr. Volkmar Denner, who, as chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH, is responsible for research and development.

For electric vehicles, more efficient batteries will mean greater range. For consumers, the car will also be more affordable, since the rechargeable batteries can be smaller. Robert Bosch GmbH and its partners are confident that electromobilty will become a mass market from 2020 onward. Electromobility is an important step toward making mobility climate-friendly and sustainable.

Bosch holds a 50 percent stake in Lithium Energy and Power GmbH & Co. KG, with GS Yuasa International Ltd. and Mitsubishi Corporation each holding 25 percent. The composition of the board of management reflects these shareholdings. Its members are Dr. Rolf Speicher from Robert Bosch GmbH, Toshio Ohara from GS Yuasa International Ltd., and Yutaka Kashiwagi from Mitsubishi Corporation. They will initially head up a team of some 70 associates in Germany and Japan.

Bosch will support these joint activities with its entire portfolio of components for electromobility. With its competence in the area of battery packs and battery management systems, Bosch specializes in the monitoring and control of cells and complete systems, as well as in integrating them into vehicles. In addition, it will contribute its know-how in production processes and quality management relating to the large-scale series production of complex products.

GS Yuasa will contribute its many years of experience in manufacturing lithium-ion battery cells whose high density makes for a longer range, as well as its expertise in materials systems and electrochemistry. As an established manufacturer of automotive and non-automotive lithium-ion battery cells, GS Yuasa has a strong engineering team and modern production lines with a high level of automation.

Mitsubishi Corporation will contribute its global sales network and experience as an integrated global business enterprise. In addition, Mitsubishi will use its strengths in the establishment of global value-added chains – which include raw materials, semi-finished products, and marketing – to take the joint venture forward.

Selasa, 11 Februari 2014

Mahindra unveil Reva Halo concept EV sports car [VIDEO]

Mahindra & Mahindra unveiled its concept electric sports car 'Halo' which it expects to launch commercially in the next three years.

"There is a plan to commercialise Halo, we are working on a bigger powertrain and a final design. It will take about three years to be production ready," Mahindra & Mahindra Executive Director and President Pawan Goenka told reporters at the Indian Auto Expo.

According to the company, the Halo can touch a speed of 0-100 kmph in less than 8 seconds. It has a top speed of 160 kmph with a range of 200 km on full recharge.

"This car has been fully designed and developed in India with all indigenous technology," Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicle CEO Chetan Maini said.

The company also introduced a quick recharge variant of its existing electric car e20, equipped with smart port technology.

The car can be fully recharged in one hour, while a recharge of 15 minutes will give a range of 25 km.

First all-electric BYD E6 taxi fleet launched in London

Chinese carmaker BYD will launch London’s first ever all-electric taxi fleet on Tuesday, pulling ahead of global rivals such as Nissan in the race to roll out zero emission cabs by 2018.

Following similar BYD E6 taxi fleets in China, Hong Kong and South America, BYD’s move into London transport comes ahead of a 2018 deadline set by Mayor Boris Johnson for all of the city’s taxis to be zero-emission, which has sparked a battle between manufacturers to develop green vehicles.

The Chinese manufacturer, 9.9 per cent owned by Mr Buffett, will initially launch a fleet of 20 electric cars operated by Thriev, a taxi company, less than two months after supplying the first-ever fully-electric buses to the capital.

“Londoners are typically early adopters to new technology . . . and we are very happy to be first and beat the deadline by a few years. This is where the electric vehicle technology will shine,” Isbrand Ho, managing director of BYD Europe told the Financial Times.

Although the E6 cannot be registered as a ‘Black Cab’ because of the turning circle requirements, Thriev is aiming at the established 50,000-strong mini cab market, which relies heavily on diesel-powered MPVs.

The BYD E6 is powered by a 40kWh battery and should offer a range of around 180 miles on a single charge, according to Isbrand Ho, managing director of BYD’s export division. The E6 was launched as a taxi in Hong Kong last March and a fleet is already operating in Shenzhen, the Netherlands and Columbia.

Toyota TE-Spyder 800 Plug-In Hybrid concept [VIDEO]

A Prius hybrid powertrain into a Toyota MR2 chassis sounds like a no-brainer.

This is the TE-S800, and it represents what one Toyota engineer imagines an MR2 successor could be. It weighs approx 1,000 kg and with the 1.5 liter Otto-cycle 1NZ-FE engine outputting more than 115 hp at 6400 rpm plus the plug-in Prius’ 102 hp electric motor coupled to a Toyota E-CVT transmission, the TE-800 does 0-100 km/h in just 5.8 seconds.

The MR2 plug-in hybrid was one of several cars unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Salon by the Toyota Engineering Society which is a volunteer collective that mostly comprises Toyota engineers.

Jumat, 07 Februari 2014

Renault Kwid Plug-In Hybrid Concept unveiled [VIDEO]

KWID CONCEPT, a concept car unveiled at the Delhi Auto Expo, highlights both Renault's commitment to new markets, such as India, as well as the company's ability to produce appealing products in the compact car segment. The vehicle's robust, yet fun design, along with its technology-driven features, is targeted at meeting the needs of young customers in these markets.

A robust yet joyful vehicle

The KWID CONCEPT was designed with inputs from Renault Design India and is covered by the 'Explore' petal of Renault's lifecycle-based design strategy. The vehicle's exciting proportions and dimensions as well as very short overhangs give the impression of a bouncing vehicle, while its oversized wheels protrude past the fenders and make the KWID CONCEPT look like a buggy car.

The playfulness of the vehicle's exterior design is offset by a robust appearance due to its protective guards and chunky wings, which exude an impression of strength. The vehicle comes with a two-wheel drive transmission, but projects the facade of an off-road car.

The interior of the KWID CONCEPT is designed to serve as a snug cocoon and is inspired by a bird's nest. The vehicle's seats, suspended over a solid base in white, give an impression of lightness, while their 2-tone elastomer material provides a sense of brightness. The KWID CONCEPT also features rear climate control with controls on the driver seat's back as well as ventilation through concentric perforations. The dashboard is an integrated tablet for commanding the navigation of the Flying Companion.

A high-tech concept car

Beyond the playful and imaginative styling of the KWID CONCEPT, the concept car also comes equipped with a host of technology-driven features, led by its Flying Companion. Aimed at offering a safe as well as fun driving experience, the Flying Companion is the first of its kind in the automotive world. Taking off from the rotating rear portion of the KWID CONCEPT's roof, the Flying Companion can be operated in one of two modes – the automatic mode using a pre-programmed flying sequence and GPS location as well as the manual mode, which enables the companion to be controlled using a tablet inside the vehicle. The Flying Companion can be used for a variety of purposes, including scouting traffic, taking landscape pictures and detecting obstacles on the road ahead.

"Customers in new markets are much younger. Their expectations are different and customers are basically gamers. They tend to take a closer interest in technology and want to enjoy themselves. This concept car meets those needs in a variety of ways, but mainly thanks to the Flying Companion which makes driving both safe and fun. This is the very first time in the long automotive history we can dry on earth with an eye in the sky. It's an amazing feature!" Serge Mouangue, Brand Manager and Innovative Cooperative Laboratory Manager.

The KWID CONCEPT is also Z.E. ready - being pre-disposed to receive batteries for electric use - and comes with a charging plug behind the Renault logo. It's powered by the latest-generation downsized 1.2-litre petrol turbocharged engine mated to dual-clutch transmission EDC to combine driving enjoyment with low fuel consumption. Other technology-rich features include electric operated front bench seat on a center rail, electric opening doors, LED lighting, lack of gearshift (command with touches next to the steering). The vertically-mounted TFT touchscreen display acts as the dashboard in the KWID CONCEPT and also provides access to connected services.

Designed by an international team for international markets

A multinational concept car, the KWID CONCEPT is the first of its kind in Renault to target new markets and Renault Designers around the world cooperated to conceive a vehicle made for local markets and designed to meet the latters' needs. The interior of the vehicle was designed by François Grenier (Technocentre Design, France) based on original drawings by Mishu Batra (Renault Design India) and the exterior by Anton Shamenkov (of Russian origins, Technocentre Design, France) based on original drawings by Jean Semeriva (Studio Design Brazil). The colors and materials of the vehicle were worked upon by Neha Lad (Indian trainee, Technocentre Design) and developed by Chie Yanagisawa (Japanese designer, Technocentre Design). Axel Breun (Technocentre Design) was the overall Project Manager.

"Renault Design is a highly international team with studios in France, Romania, Brazil, Korea and India. This concept car is a reflection of the distinctly international flavour of our design network." Laurens van den Acker, Head of Industrial Design

Reitarating commitment to India

The first Renault concept car to be unveiled outside Europe, the KWID CONCEPT also emphasises India's significant place in Renault's global strategy as well as the company's ability to offer appealing products in the compact car segment.

"This is the first time we have chosen to reveal a concept car outside Europe and this is an eloquent sign of our commitment to India. Young customers in India are often trend setters, looking forward to pushing the envelope when it comes to technology and enjoyable drives. The KWID CONCEPT, with its Flying Companion, meets this forward-looking spirit with both its dynamic styling and hyper connectivity." Gilles Normand, Chairman of Asia-Pacific Region, Renault S.A.S.

The KWID CONCEPT is also tailored specifically to meet the needs of Indian drivers. The vehicle is a compact five-seater to enable family trips, a common occurrence in India. The multimedia dashboard, along with the Flying Companion, answers the young and modern Indian need to stay connected, with a strong attempt for technology. The vehicle's lightweight interior design is also adapted to warm weather conditions.

The KWID CONCEPT 's two-tone body coloring consists of satin grey for the body and textured grey for functional parts as well as golden yellow for contrasting roof and air intake. The vehicle also sports yellow inserts on wheels, lower doors and perforated parts. While this colour scheme features the corporate colors of the Renault Group, the tones also evoke associations with India: the grey represents the soil, while the yellow and gold symbolise flowers and spices.

Additionally, the KWID CONCEPT features an unusual seat arrangement, with three passengers up front and the driver seat in the middle, in a slightly forward position to offer shoulder room, as well as two seats at the back. The central driving position afforded by this arrangement meets international driving demands, enabling the car to driven in both right hand and left hand drive markets.

"Renault has seen unparalleled growth in India in just under 3 years and the market is set to continue playing a significant role in the company's global strategy in the years to come." said Sumit Sawhney, Managing Director, Renault India Pvt. Ltd. "The reveal of the KWID CONCEPT in India – the first such unveil outside Europe, as well as its design keeping in mind the young customers in India illustrate our strong commitment to the country."