Midweek newsbriefs, the Frankfurt aftermath

September 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Infiniti has released a further sketch of its upcoming electric saloon, described as a “stylish, high-performance five-seat luxury vehicle” set to launch in 2014. It’s thought to be reasonably compact, and thus to share some mechanicals with the next-generation Nissan Leaf. And Infiniti has also done a deal with Mercedes-Benz to use the next B-Class platform for a small crossover (also 2014), reports Autoweek; hybrid or EV version of this possible too.

  • Flurry of news from Bosch today. The major supplier is to form a 50:50 joint venture with Daimler to develop and manufacture electric motors. The venture, called EM-motive GmbH, will be based in Hildesheim and production will start next year; it will make versatile, modular motors for use in battery-electric, fuel cell or range-extender powertrains in the Mercedes-Benz and Smart ranges and by 2020, plans to make one million motors a year. First vehicle to get an EM-motive motor will be the next-generation Smart Fortwo electric drive, to be launched next spring, but the motors can be adapted for a wide range of vehicles, including vans.

The EV infrastructure Bosch is building in Singapore is now operational, with 40 charging points to be available by the end of the year; these use Bosch’s software and eMobility web solution which directs drivers to a vacant point. This will eventually integrate route-planning, reservation of power at preferential rates and connections with other forms of transport. The compaany’s latest Motronic injection system for direct-injection, spark-ignition petrol engines aids downsizing and turbocharging; fuel economy improvements of up to 30% are promised, as well as reduced CO2, hydrocarbon and nitrous oxide emissions; its Denoxtronic exhaust gas treatment system gives nitrous oxide emission reductions of up to 95% and fuel economy improvements of 5% from diesel engines – important for meeting the forthcoming Euro 6 legislation. Enhanced stop-start systems are now on offer with ‘gliding’ functionality, increased engine shutdown times and potential fuel economy improvements of 10% over current systems, and Bosch is also working on new-generation brake energy recuperation systems for hybrids and EVs. Read your way through all this paragraph? Good – this stuff’s important. It’s at the supplier end of the industry where many of the most significant technologies are developed.

In other news:

  • Frankfurt Show pics of the Russian Yo-Auto concept at Autoblog Green – it’s now thought to have an extended-range EV powertrain.
  • The cost of owning an electric or hydrogen vehicle is to fall significantly by 2030, says the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership. It’ll cost an average of just £500-750 a year more  to buy and run one (compared to £5000 now), as batteries and fuel cells get cheaper, and the cost of conventional cars rises, according to the LCVP’s latest figures.
  • TRW has announced its next-gen regenerative braking tech for hybrids and EVs too; more at Green Car Congress.
  • Honda is setting a target of a 30% CO2 reduction across all product areas by 2020. “We continue to develop our Hybrid, Battery Electric, Plug-in, and Fuel Cell products alongside energy generation technologies such as Solar Cell and Cogeneration”, said president Takanobu Ito at Frankfurt. The new Civic (on sale early next year) is a good start: a 10% CO2 reduction from the 1.8 petrol engine, nearly 20% in the 2.2 diesel despite better performance, and an all-new smaller diesel will be added to the range later next year.
  • Latest update from the BMW i/Wallpaper Sustainable Neighbourhoods project now on YouTube.
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