Early Porsche hybrid on the Veteran Car Run; Ford Focus Electric on sale; hopeful hydrogen tech news

November 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

Have just received an invite to drive on the RAC Future Car Challenge this weekend as a last-minute substitution on the British Gas team. I’ll be in a Toyota Prius PHV (plug-in hybrid), setting off from Brighton early Saturday morning for the 60-mile run to London. The Future cars then meet the veterans who come down to Brighton the following day: I’ll be looking out for this one, the Lohner-Porsche ‘Mixte’, a very early hybrid. Ferdinand Porsche (pictured here in a Mixte in 1903) built upon his early Electric Voiturettes for Austrian company Lohner, and combined the wheel-hub motors with a petrol engine which acted as a generator – much like the powertrain concept of today’s extended-range EVs. Only 11 were sold, but one won a hillclimb event and another was used to chauffeur a certain Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Full story (written by myself) on the Lohner-Porsche Mixte here.

  • In other news today: the Ford Focus Electric has gone on sale in selected states in the USA, priced from $39,995, which puts it head-to-head against the Chevrolet Volt. Federal tax credits of up to $7,500 are available, however.
  • Storing and transporting hydrogen could be easier, using surfaces of aluminium coated with titanium: this gives efficient catalysation, and the hydrogen can be stored at higher temperatures and lower pressures as a stable aluminium hydride. Lots of potential for automotive applications; more at The Engineer.
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