Week-end odds and ends

October 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

German battery-maker DBM Energy built an Audi A2 EV – and drove it from Munich to Berlin (605km/380 miles) on a single charge. The night-time run allowed the car to keep a steady 55mph much of the time, and it arrived still with 18% of battery charge in hand. DBM, which worked in partnership with Berlin’s Lekker Energie, says that its batteries have a 97% efficiency, are compact enough that they could be installed in the A2 without affecting cabin or boot-space, and that they can be recharged in just six minutes from a quick-charge zapper.

  • Continental AG is to supply ultracapacitor modules to PSA Peugeot-Citroen for use in a new stop-start system. The ultracaps can store electrical energy for quick boosts and surges – such as starting up again from a standstill – and are charged via regenerative braking or from engine power. It’s quicker-acting and more powerful than using batteries, can allow for low-speed cruising with the engine off, and efficiency gains are up to 15%. This tech is going to feature in the next generation of stop-start and micro-hybrid systems; first PSA model to get it will be the Peugeot 508 e-HDI (Edmunds Green Car Advisor).
  • Better Place is to work with the San Francisco Metropolitan Transport Commission on a battery-swap programme. Four battery-swap stations are to be built in the SF/San Jose/Silicon Valley region, to be used by 61 specially-converted electric taxis. Interestingly, Better Place is now promoting the battery-swap idea primarily as an option for people and businesses on the move, as a supplement to at-home charging, reacting to the advent of quick-charge points.
  • Honda’s going to show an all-new electric vehicle, and a platform for a plug-in hybrid, at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month. No pictures or further hints as yet.
  • Tesla’s going to make an electric SUV-crossover. It’s codenamed Model X; concept comes end of 2011, production 2014. Chances are it may be developed with a bit of help from major shareholder Toyota; Tesla is currently working on a RAV4 EV, though Model X may not be related to this.
  • Another split-cycle engine concept: HCPC, Homogenous Charge Progressive Combustion, controlling homogenous-charge ignition in diesel engines. Fitted in combination with a turbo, it controls the heat release rate without needing exhaust gas recirculation; the compressor piston has a fixed delay to allow for pre-compression outside the cylinder. Science bit at Green Car Congress.
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