World Solar Challenge completed; Friday newsbriefs

October 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

Yes, this is basically a solar array on wheels – it’s the winning entry in the 2011 Veolia World Solar Challenge, a 3000km rally through (sunny) Australia from Darwin to Adelaide. A team from Tokai University, Japan, finished the four-day run just 30 minutes ahead of the second-placed Nuon team (Netherlands) and 100km ahead of the third-placed University of Michigan. The teams had to content with bushfires, cloudy skies as they came into Adelaide and, in the case of a Filipino entry, exploding batteries; they were allowed to start with 5kWhr of stored energy but from that point, had to proceed under their self-generated power, either from solar capture or energy regeneration systems. The Tokai car reached a top speed of 160kmph and cruised at 90kmph.

  • Chrysler is testing a US-market Fiat 500 EV, reports Edmunds AutoObserver, which has spy shots of this tiddler. To hit the market late 2012; no word yet on European activity, but it’s a likely prospect.
  • Mitsubishi has announced a new 1.8-litre petrol engine (139hp) with its latest variable valve timing lift tech, and a new-generation stop-start system. The engine will appear in the RVR/ASX/Outlander Sport and Galant Fortis/Lancer saloon and hatch; fuel economy improvements of 12% are promised. The stop-start system works with this engine plus a CVT gearbox.
  • Check out Morgenstadt, the city of tomorrow: this vision for the future, a low-energy city with electromobility and intelligent transport infrastructures, is on display at the UrbanTec trade fair in Cologne next week. It’s another project from the Fraunhofer Institutes.

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