Midweek round-up: BMW’s i-strategy, GE’s high-temperature motor, solar power

August 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

BMW’s going to sell its i-models online, as well as through its differentiated standalone i-brand showrooms; more at Detroit News. Different marketing strategies for a different type of car, logically enough.

  • Heard the one about the Lexus city car? Not as silly as it sounds: a sister model to the Prius C, positioned to rival the Audi A1, Mini and suchlike, and featuring either the Prius C’s 1.5-litre hybrid powertrain or a 1.2-litre direct-injection turbo unit, reports paultan.org.
  • Good news for Detroit: the University of Michigan Solar Car Team has won the 2012 American Solar Challenge for the fourth year running and seventh time since the event was inaugurated in 1990. Despite bad weather conditions, its Quantum car came in 10 hours and 18 minutes ahead of its nearest competitor from Iowa State University, having travelled 1650 miles in eight days from Rochester, NY, to St Paul, Minnesota, and clocking up 44 hours, 36 minutes and 21 seconds on the road. Press release posted here.
  • General Electric has got to the testing phase with a new 55kW permanent-magnet motor for hybrid, range-extended and electric vehicles which can run at very high temperatures yet need only conventional transmission fluid as a coolant. This is said to be 3-5% more efficient than current EV motors, and GE is planning to licence the tech to car-makers and motor-makers with a view to commercial applications by 2015; the next phase of the project will be to develop it so it requires no rare-earth metals (Green Car Congress).
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