Design Concept of the Day: worm-e, the ELVA competition winner

March 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

The winner of the EC-funded ELVA project competition is Spanish designer and 3D development engineer Jorge Biosca, with this city car concept called ‘worm-e’. ELVA (Advanced Electric Vehicle Architectures) worked in partnership with IKA, the Institute for Automotive Engineering at RWTH Aachen University, to call for four-wheeled concepts seating four or five people. In the next phase of the project, Biosca and the two runners-up, Enrico Gatto (Italy) and Lazlo Fogarasi-Benko (Hungary) will work with Fiat, Renault and Volkswagen to further develop their virtual concepts. And no, I don’t know, as yet, why Biosca calls his car the worm-e. More details on the comp at Car Body Design.

ELVA presented the winners alongside its own research paper at a symposium in Stuttgart this week. Its study, Customer Expectations and Technical Solutions for Third Generation Electric Vehicles, drew conclusions including: “customers expect changes in mobility and anticipate new drive concepts in the coming years” and that “customers accept that electric vehicles will be most suitable for urban and interurban usage, and related activities”, but “usage patterns contrast very much (with) expressed expectations, e.g. the actual daily driven distance compared to the desired autonomous range”, and “for electric vehicles, the refuelling comfort of an ICE vehicle sets the benchmark”. No surprises there, then.

In other news today:

  • Volkswagen is testing a fleet of 20 electric Golfs in selected US cities. 12 of the cars will be allocated to employees in San Francisco, Detroit and Washington DC for assessment of driving patterns, performance and range in different climatic conditions; no word on who’s going to get the other eight, but all participants will be issued with a 220-volt charging point and an iPhone with an app to monitor temperatures, charging and other data, and will feed back information to Volkswagen via a dedicated web portal.
  • BMW is reminding us that it’s been working on EVs for years with a short video featuring the 1972 electric 1602  which took part in the Munich Olympics opening ceremony, the funny little E1 and a very rudimentary-looking go-kart-style prototype.
  • The EU needs to support car manufacturers’ research and development work, and get behind incentives for consumers to choose lower-CO2 and electric vehicles, says Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby. Speaking at the EU Debate on Electromobility this week, he said: “European car manufacturers are facing a very difficult challenge when CO2 legislations requiring electrified cars are implemented without initiatives that make these cars affordable for a growing number of consumers”, and that “Volvo Car Corporation urges the EU to coordinate incentives whilst supporting research and development.” He also noted that it is far too early to dismiss the conventional diesel and petrol power trains. We continuously improve their efficiency“, and pointed to the high cost of battery systems for both full EVs and plug-in hybrids such as the upcoming diesel-electric V60 Plug-In. More details, more quotes here.
  • Ricardo is to form a “deeper collaboration” with Chinese supplier firm Shengrui to further develop its eight-speed automatic transmission for potential application in hybrid vehicles, or in conjunction with stop-start systems. Ricardo developed, tested and built the first Shengrui gearbox prototypes at its facility in the Midlands. More at Green Car Congress.
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