Toyota’s hybrid LMP1; Nissan fuel cells; Friday newsbriefs

October 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Toyota is going to Le Mans next year with a petrol hybrid LMP1 racer. This will feature a Japanese-built TMC engine and powertrain, and a chassis built by Toyota Motorsport in Germany; it will be entered in other 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship races, and will break cover at track testing early next year. It’ll be Toyota’s first entry at Le Mans since the GT-One in 1999, which set a lap speed record.

  • Nissan has announced its new-generation fuel cell stack. Improvements to its membrane electrode assembly and separator flow path (sorry to get all arcane on you here on a Friday) have improved its power density 2.5 times over that of the 2005 model. It’s now giving 2.5kW per litre, which Nissan claims as “a world’s best” (from the car makers, at least). Changes to its supporting frame also means that it’s now half the size – and as it needs only a quarter of the platinum and number of parts as used in the 2005 design, it costs one-sixth of the price.
  • Also from Nissan: its new front-wheel drive hybrid system, developed in-house  in combination with an improved CVT gearbox, and to go in next year’s Altima (US-market). Lowdown at Autoweek.
  • Detailed range-by-range rundown of BMW’s future product plans at Autoweek. i3 and i8 we know about (2013, 2014), and they’re also talking about the rumoured front-wheel drive compact cars, to include the new 1-Series ‘family’, Minis, a mini-MPV and a compact wagon.
  • A drive (briefly) in the Audi E-Tron Spyder plug-in diesel hybrid concept – Auto Observer gave it a go.
  • Heard about the 8,571mpg car? It might not be the most practical thing to go shopping in, but the Team Fireball entrant achieved this phenomenal economy in the 2011 Honda Eco Mileage Challenge. Full story from Integrity Exports.
  • Volkswagen is launching a car-share programme called Quicar in Hanover next month. Members get to use a fleet of 200 Golf Bluemotions for short-term use, and Quicar Plus gives access to 70 more cars for longer-term use including the up!, Passat estate, Golf cabrio, Caravelle and Transporter. Membership is a one-off fee of 25 euros, with a minimum rental of 30min (6 euros, all-in) and further charging by the minute (20 cents); preferential parking fees apply (Green Car Congress).
  • Had been ignoring this proposal by Energy Secretary Chris Huhne re. extending the motorway speed limit to 80mph for EVs only, as I thought it was far too ridiculous to be taken seriously. Because, y’know, doing 80mph is really good for an EV’s battery range, and such a ruling is going to be really enforceable. But it’s still making me laugh, until I consider the consequences of having such a well-informed energy secretary… ‘Strewth.

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