DeltaWing LMP, downsized engine for Alfa Romeo, Tuesday newsbriefs

October 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

Michelin has been announced as the first major technical partner for the Project 56 DeltaWing Le Mans prototype (pictured), due to run as a special entry in the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans. Michelin has developed a special high-performance tyre for the DeltaWing, a race car which aims to halve the weight, aerodynamic drag, fuel consumption and tyre wear of a typical Le Mans Prototype, and thus need half the power, yet will deliver all the necessary speed to compete. The front tyres of the DeltaWing will be just four inches wide, and all wheels will have 15-inch rims, compared to the usual 18-inchers. The car’s to have a turbocharged four-cylinder, 1600cc engine giving 300hp. More details – and video – at Green Car Congress.

  • Latest on the Trexa Enertube ‘skateboard’ platform at AutoblogGreen (with pictures): the Enertube is a tube-like structure with attached wheels, conceived as a basic platform on which buyers can build their own EV. The central 9-inch aluminium cylinder houses the batteries – the concept’s cells give a 30-mile range at 70mph – and a variety of bodyshells can be easily fixed on. The structure allows for two- or four-wheel drive as well, and could be well-suited for beach buggy-type vehicles. The California-built Enertube was on display last week at the 2011 AltCar Expo in Santa Monica, and Trexa is said now to be looking for funding to put it into production.
  • I’ve written before about technology transfer from the electric superbike scene to four-wheelers; now, the Lola-Drayson Racing  EV (an 850bhp, 200mph would-be Le Mans prototype and 2013 Formula E racer, with induction charging) is to feature a battery pack adapted from the Mavizen TTXGP ‘bikes, reports Wired Autopia, which has more detail on this car and its tech. Note the plans to sell the set-up as a ‘plug-and-play’ kit – as with the Enertube (above), expect to see more such proprietary systems and licensing deals.
  • The French government is ordering Renault-Nissan 15,600 EVs for various agencies, reports Le Figaro; these will include 10,000 Renaults for use by the postal service (probably Kangoo ZE vans, though details haven’t yet been released). A further deal for 3,900 PSA Peugeot-Citroen electric cars will follow, to a total of 25,000 EVs in new fleet contracts to be announced later this month.
  • GM is looking into split-cycle engine technology, reports Green Car Congress, with a view to its potential for efficiency gains. GM is also planning to bring in HCCI (homogenous charge compression ignition) for its downsized turbocharged petrol units such as the 1.4 Ecotec.
  • Fiat’s doing the downsizing thing with a a pretty damn powerful new four-cylinder, 1.8-litre petrol engine it’s developing for Alfa Romeo; this turbocharged, direct-injection unit, which will meet the Euro 6 and US Tier 2 Bin 5 emissions standards, is going to give 300hp. It’ll go into production in 2013, in time for Alfa’s much-delayed reintroduction to the USA (if that does eventually happen), and will probably be fitted in the next-generation Giulia (159 replacement) and the upcoming rear-drive big saloon co-developed with Chrysler. The Multiair variable-valve tech is thought to feature.
  • Tesla’s been giving out passenger rides in the pre-production Model S saloon. Reports suggest it’s pretty damn good; “an extremely well-accomplished machine with a real depth of engineering behind it”, says Autocar.
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