Design concepts of the Day: Daihatsu D-X, Pico and FC Sho Case

November 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

Daihatsu has three cute little concepts for the Tokyo Motor Show. Most eye-catching is the D-X (“D-Cross”), a stripped-to-the-bare-essentials roadster with a tiny two-cylinder engine and lightweight resin body. Its modular construction allows for different body-types around the same frame, including closed coupe or shooting-brake.

The Pico is a 1+1 tandem-seater EV, designed for city commuting; it’s said to be easily-accessible for the elderly or those with restricted mobility, as well as useful for urban deliveries.

The FC Sho Case, meanwhile, displays Daihatsu’s thinking on fuel cells; its powertrain is packaged into the floor, leaving space for a large, boxy interior which could suit either a cargo-carrying application or a multi-seater MPV. The seats of this concept fold flat, and are transparent, in order to show off the powertrain underneath. Extensive picture galleries of all three at Car Body Design.

Design Concept of the Day: Nissan Pivo3

November 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

Nissan is to unveil a nearer-to-production Pivo concept at the Tokyo Motor Show at the end of the month, reports Automotive News. The Pivo3 – successor to concepts shown in 2005 and 2007 – is a bubble car-style city runaround with a super-tight turning circle, though it can’t quite pivot entirely on its axis like its predecessors. It features in-wheel motors which allow each wheel to be turned independently, plus an automatic valet parking system – it can park itself in specially-designated spaces and recharge its battery, and will return to pick up its owner when summoned by smart-phone. It’s “very close to what the next step in urban mobility will be”, says Nissan.

  • Full story of my RAC Future Car Challenge experience here, btw. Was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get to drive the Prius Plug-In myself (well, the celebs always have to take precedence) but a good day out nonetheless.
  • Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn has confirmed production – albeit small-scale – of a version of the XL1 streamliner (below) by 2013. He told Automotive News Europe that the two-seater, which weighs only 795kg and which returns over 280mpg, will go into limited manufacture. The XL1 features an 800cc two-cylinder diesel engine, seven-speed gearbox, electric motor and lithium-ion battery in its 74hp hybrid powertrain – and is said to be capable of 0-60 in about 12 seconds. It has a range of nearly 550km, with 35km in all-electric mode.

  • And Toyota has confirmed limited production of a fuel cell vehicle; just a few thousand a year, however, with price tags of some 100,000 euros… (Automotive News Europe).
  • Heavy-duty truck-makers Peterbilt and Kenworth have teamed up with Capstone Turbine to develop a hybrid powertrain for their load-haulers, using Capstone’s C65 microturbines in place of a conventional engine. Press release posted at AutoblogGreen.
  • Toyota has won the 2011 Green Manufacturing Award from the World Trade Group, due to the energy-efficiency of its plants at Burnaston and Deeside (Next Green Car).
  • Daihatsu says its e:S tech gives fuel economy savings of up to 40%; in the Mira city car, weight has been reduced by 60kg, enabling it to return over 70mpg. Detail-changes to the car include lighter seat frames and thinner door trim, plus a more efficient CVT gearbox which operates at lower hydraulic pressure; aerodynamics have been optimised as well, and there’s stop-start plus regenerative braking. Engine tweaks include modified piston rings, oil seals and timing chains. Such measures will next be applied to the Move and Tanto models (Autobeat Daily).
  • More on the hybrid Mitsubishi Evo at Automotive News – in-wheel motors under consideration.

Daihatsu A-Concept and other news

July 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

Daihatsu has unveiled its supermini-sized A-Concept at the Indonesia Motor Show. It’s intended as a ‘world car’, reports Paul Tan, and could preview the promised super-efficient ’30km/l’ (85.6mpg) car scheduled for launch this autumn. It’ll feature Daihatsu’s ‘E:S Technology’, including weight-saving measures and detailed efficiency enhancements throughout the powertrain (more on these at Green Car Congress). Whether it comes to Europe or the UK will probably depend on the strength of the yen and exchange rates with the euro/pound, though it- or its technology – may come here under the Toyota brand (Toyota is a majority shareholder in Daihatsu).

Daihatsu has also unveiled a two-cylinder, direct-injection, turbocharged engine, which also features exhaust gas recirculation and stop-start. It’s a 660cc developing 63bhp, and it will first be seen in the Move mini-MPV in September. Expect more such examples of downsizing; fuel cells to follow from Daihatsu (Paul Tan).

  • In other news: Think Global has been bought by Russian enterpreneur Boris Zingarevich, investor in battery-maker Ener1. Zingarevich has signed a memorandum of understanding both with Ener1 and the Finnish engineering consultancy/production contractor Valmet Automotive, which has been building the Think EVs, and plans to relaunch the bankrupt brand. His statement today: “Having achieved the position of one of the world’s most highly regarded electric vehicle products, the THINK brand is a valuable asset that deserves to continue its key role in the global shift to electrification. With the potential of working with the leading American automotive lithium-ion battery maker and Europe’s top automobile engineering and manufacturing company, I believe we could have exactly the right combination and value chain to ensure that the brand will be increasingly competitive in the worldwide electric vehicle market.”
  • GM is planning to put its EN-V electric pod-cars into production in 2020, reports Autocar.
  • Oxford’s YASA Motors is moving to larger premises in Milton Park. The company is working on its next-generation axial flux motor, is supplier to companies including Westfield (for the upcoming iRacer), Delta Motorsports (for the E-4 electric coupe), Morgan Motor Company and  TTX GP electric superbikes, and is collaborating with Sweden’s Electroengine.

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