Midweek newsbriefs

June 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

Finalists have been announced in the Ferrari World Design Contest. 50 international design schools took part, submitting over 200 entries, and designs from IED and IAAD (Turin), London’s Royal College of Arts, the European Design Institute Barcelona, Hong-ik College (Seoul), DSK Supinfocom (Pune, India) and the College for Creative Studies (Detroit) have been selected. The next stage involves creation of 3D virtual and a 1:4-scale real models. The “Ferrari of the future” will be high-tech, super-light and “hyper-ecological”, says Ferrari, and the designs submitted to Maranello have “underlined great attention towards lowering consumption, combined with alternative powertrains, mainly focused on hybrids”. The winners, who will receive cash prizes and an internship at Ferrari, will be announced next month.

  • We’ve had exhaust gas recycling for a while, but a project at Oregon State University is working on a system which uses waste exhaust heat to generate electricity and also act as a coolant. It’s claimed to turn 80% of each kilowatt of waste heat into a kilowatt of cooling ability, or 15-20% of its energy into electricity (Huffington Post).
  • Plug-in cars are good for “grid balancing” – helping match up electricity supply and demand – reports a new study from Ricardo for the National Grid. This will be especially important as new renewable power sources, such as solar and wind energy, are hooked up. Full report at Professional Engineering.
  • Turkish firm Erteks Auto Decoration is to launch an electric sports car prototype; the Etox electric coupe is based on a four-cylinder petrol car already on sale, and the firm is now looking for Turkish state aid to put it into production. A range of 155 miles is promised, though a top speed of only 74mph. Prices from around 30,000 Turkish lira (about £11,700), apparently, should it get made (Anadolu Agency, via the Green Car Website).
  • General Motors’ venture capital wing, GM Ventures, is investing $6million in Proterra Inc., maker of electric buses. The Proterra EcoRide buses only have a 40-mile range, but can be fast-charged in just 10 minutes; GM Ventures reckons these could easily replace up to 80% of diesel buses currently in action without any changes to schedules or passenger services (Detroit News).
  • GM has opened a new technical centre for alt-fuel vehicles in Torrance, California. Next to the existing Advanced Technology Centre, it will house teams working on electric, hydrogen and fuel cell programmes. It has its own hydrogen refuelling station (Autoweek).
  • Renault-Nissan, meanwhile, is building a research office – for programmes including smart-grid communication and telematics – at Mountain View, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley and opposite the Google campus.
  • The US launch of the Nissan Leaf has probably been delayed, reports Edmunds Auto Observer, due to the Japanese earthquake, even though Leaf production for the US market will be in Smyrna, Tennessee. Nissan has lost months of production following the disaster, with parts supply affected.
  • A hybrid Range Rover emitting less than 150g/km of carbon dioxide has been spotted out testing. Spy shots at Autocar.
  • Toyota’s going to send cars across the Pacific on a huge solar-powered/hybrid ship, reports Wired Autopia.
  • The Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, is developing a new type of lighter, more efficient, cheaper-to-make and durable fuel cell using biomass-derived formic acid as a catalyst. This could revolutionise the fuel cell world and enable widespread commercialisation of the technology, they say, as such cells could power everything from mobile phones to yachts. Full story at Alphagalileo.
  • Toyota is launching a new charger for its EVs and plug-in hybrids with full internet connectivity and smartphone integration. The G-Station will initially be offered in Japan only. More at Green Car Congress.

 

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