Friday round-up

February 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

Audi’s going to run two diesel-electric hybrids at the Le Mans 24 Hours this year. These are thought to have flywheel energy storage instead of batteries, says Autosport. They’ll be unveiled at the end of the month, and will make their racing debut at the Spa-Francochamps six-hour race on May 5th. Audi’s hedging its bets, however, and entering a pair  of conventional R18 TDIs as well. Toyota, meanwhile, has confirmed a two-hybrid entry at Le Mans as well, and says that the TS030 will be entered in the FIA World Endurance Championships; it too will debut at Spa.

  • Bladon Jets – backed by Tata – has opened a new engineering centre in Coventry. This has facilities to prepare its micro gas turbines “for volume production.” Bladon describes its products as “miniaturised jet engines”, scaled-down from aircraft-size to be well-suited for use as generators in range-extended EV powertrains. The company supplied the unit in the Jaguar C-X75 hybrid-electric concept, and continues to collaborate with Jaguar Land Rover.
  • Infiniti’s sports car concept, to be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show next month, is to be called Emerg-e. It’s  a range-extended EV, with its powertrain mid-mounted. I refuse to post yet another teaser pic.
  • Much crowing in some quarters over the Honda Civic Hybrid lawsuit – an owner’s win in the Californian small claims court over her failure to achieve the advertised 50mpg. Yup, hybrids aren’t necessarily the best tech for all driving conditions… but since when did any mpg claim hold up in real-life driving, anyway? (Check out this Which? investigation). As one Detroit News commenter wryly notes, “And once again, only the lawyers win.”
  • And the sad story from Indiana, and the demise (yet again) of Think – 100 EVs left on the factory floor. Wrong car, wrong place – shame they can’t be sent to some car-share scheme in Europe, or would that be too simple a solution?
  • Electric commercial vehicles equipped with vehicle-to-grid technology could be up to 12% cheaper to operate than equivalent diesels, reports a study from MIT. More at Green Car Congress.
  • Latest news on the Stanford University ‘electric highway’ project at Green Car Congress. A patent has been filed for the induction coil-type wireless charging system.
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